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I'm not even sure where to begin with this. It was the end of January, only three weeks before I left Fairburn County Primary School for good. I'm not even sure I was meant to be there even then - I should have left at Christmas, but some grown-up house-related thing had kept us there longer than we wanted. And I knew that when I left, I'd be in a bigger place that was more impersonal, with less freedom to do what I want. So the last few books I filled at Fairburn School are a frenzy of creativity, and this is a shining example.

 

It's also, perhaps even more so than How to Be Nutty, one of the most embarrassingly unfunny things I have ever put to paper in the name of humour - and yet it tries so hard, way too hard - terrible jokes, badly written, flying at you at such a speed that it's almost possible to admire it. It certainly staggers me that I had the energy and the patience to attempt to write such a wild stream of consciousness as this - for there was certainly no planning involved - over two days. Two whole days. It reads like I didn't even breathe while I was writing it.

 

And yet despite this, it is so desperately awful. Some sentences have the air of being jokes but I don't understand them. Other things are definitely jokes - and, admirably, original ones at that, but so badly writtten that they almost become anti-jokes. Jokes which are so uselessly bereft of all the things which make jokes funny that they suck all the fun out of themselves. But they are so inept, and come so thick and fast, that as I read it I find myself beginning to laugh uncontrollably. Not because it is funny, but because it isn't. And somehow that makes it even funnier. Maybe it's something to do with the vacuum left by the fun having been sucked out that forces you to fill it with laughter? Or, if you're another way inclined, maybe you'll fill it with screams. Screams of "Let me out of here! I don't want to live in this world any more!" But it won't let you out. There are no exits in this story.

 

I don't know how it will affect you. You're not me so you've no need to be quite as embarrassed about it as I am. Perhaps it's just the embarrassment that makes me laugh, as I nervously contemplate actually putting this on the real internet for people to actually read.

 

But maybe I'm building it up way too much. This is a manically energetic but blisteringly crap attempt by a ten year old to make you laugh. Understanding some of it probably relies on you being a ten year old in 1982, especially the stuff about music. Perhaps you'll just read a sentence or two and say "That'll do" and move on to the next thing. That's probably what it deserves.

 

But if you do that, you'll miss Cyril Cockroach's amazing animal-based word search at the end. And such a glittering marvel should NOT be neglected.

The Bikeling Club (Feb 1st, 1982)
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How to Be Nutty (June 11th, 1981)
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How to Be Nutty
My comedy manifesto
June 11, 1981
Flash Harry
Nude men and bum sniffing
Jan/Feb, 1981
The Bikeling Club
It was very realistic
Feb 1, 1982
New Wave Daft Characters
Just what we needed!
Jan 1981
Christmas Already?
New school, new rules?
Dec 14, 1982
One of a handful of comical tales I wrote at Love Lane Juniors in Pontefract
I think the Bikeling Club is secretly on mushrooms
Gary Le Strange relaxing in the Comedy Store
Flash Harry - oh dear, now Shepherd's writing about childish stuff like streaking and bum smells. Can't he act his age for once?
The most effort I've ever put into the most useless shit
The glorious personal vision I had on the road to my own Damascus - the Damascus of comedy!