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This one's obviously supposed to be a cautionary tale about firework hazards on Bonfire Night. But since I'd already written zillions of serious things like this before (or maybe one, but it felt like zillions), naturally I had to turn it into an OTT ultra-violent nightmare.

 

The protagonist isn't Richard Forsythe but, apart from being way too rich, he may as well be. A psychopath with no thought for the well-being of others who thinks only of his own gratification through the act of wanton destruction, it's yet another example of me (because the protagonist surely is me) displaying some desire to destroy everything in my path and laugh about it as I do so.

 

Given the exploding dog, the decapitation of "Big Gob" Jones and the eventual six mile radius of devastation he causes, I wonder if this is the goriest thing I had yet tried to do in the name of comedy. And yet, despite this, it still all feels really tame. Is that because it doesn't ring of truth? Yet again, though it has an air of cleverness about it and there are jokes throughout, some marked more clearly than others, it's not really that funny at all.

 

But is it even as disturbing as it thinks it is? I obviously had some burgeoning obsession with destruction and death, and took great delight in writing about it. Maybe I felt hemmed in, wanted to do something really really naughty, but just didn't know what, or why.

 

The main thing: It;s difficult to believe I thought it was a good idea to draw a picture in my English book of a dog having a Catherine Wheel nailed to its head. And I can't believe the teacher called it "amusing and intelligently written" - unless of course he could see that I was really, really trying. And I was. I was seriously trying to write intelligent, well-structured, and yet violently insane comedy, with good jokes. I just wasn't very good at it yet. And perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh on my 11-year-old self.

 

Maybe it's because I know he wasn't really being himself? But don't worry - he will be.

 

NB. On the first page - a rare but genuine 1980s use of the word “skill” in adjective form.

A Christmas Tail (Nov 24th, 1983 - age 12)
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Last outing for old chums
1984
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1971-2016
First Day at School (Oct 17th, 1983)
A Cautionary Tale - Page 2
A Cautionary Tale - Page 1
A Cautionary Tale - Page 3
A Cautionary Tale - Page 4
A Christmas Tail
Ghosts ruin everything
Nov 27, 1983
Backwards Castle
A backward step?
Jan 27, 1983
WS is Ace
A tape of me boasting, badly
May 1983
First Day at School
Do I secretly wish I was him?
Oct 17, 1983
An angry bird called Raven Mad - blimey, how do I come up with these names? I must be some kind of genius
Richard Forsythe is back, but the Four Ghosts of Time have a trick in store for him this Christmas
Gary Le Strange relaxing in the Comedy Store
Another from Love Lane, featuring the hilarious vampire "Count Backwards" (yawn)
Yep - that's how ace I looked in 1983
My teacher Mr Shaw brands my character Richard Forsythe 'evil' but I just think he's bored and misunderstood