The column which thinks taxidermy is the new tattooing

READER: I’m having a tattoo,
as it happens
MYSELF: Where?
READER: Where else? At SailorBware, the coolest tattoo parlour in town.
MYSELF: No, I meant where on your body?
READER: Oh, erm… I haven’t decided yet. Somewhere discreet prehaps, where no-one would normally look.
MYSELF: Your face?
READER: I’ll pretend I never heard that.
MYSELF: I’ll pretend I never wrote it.

Book review
The Cunning Mandolin by Rob Dulle.

Rob Dulle, much-published novelist and poet in residence at Sunderland University’s Raglan College, has a high reputation to live up to. This, his latest opus, will be warmly received by his fans as a welcome return to form, following his detour into magical realism and Arthurian fantasy in the 2017 deckchair blockbuster Pearls on a Random Brooch.

The Cunning Mandolin is a typical Dulle novel. All the familiar tropes are here, from the curious stammer-afflicted cocktail waitress with a grudge against Jehovah’s Witnesses to the Filipino pool cleaner suspected of money laundering and poultry bleaching. Chapter one begins with all guns blazing as a body is found gagged and bound and hidden in the
septic tank of a high court judge who has recently convicted a famous ventriloquist on charges of putting libellous words into other people’s mouths. Private investigator Mel Plume has a hunch, and the next three chapters concern a wild goose chase involving herring forgery, a plot to invade Albania by bicycle and a pair of Scandinavian pub quiz cheats. One for the beach.

MUSIC GOSSIP
Don’t say I told you, but my music business spies tell me rumours are flying that Hastings is to be blessed by a visit from The New Original Senior Moments, featuring members of the original Senior Moments’ road crew’s families. Watch this space.

FOOTBALL KICKOFF
According to recently-appointed director of football, Sir Leonard Pastry (QC, AA, RAC, Init), Hastings & St. Leonards FC are looking forward to the fast-approaching start of the 2018/19 football season under the dynamic stewardship of Pink Panther Entertainment Group, an internationally established company with its finger inserted in many pies. “We have great plans for the club,” Sir Leonard explained over gourmet pan-fried fish finger and oven-baked beans in the newly decorated pink clubhouse ‘n chillpit, “for example, my wife, Lady Pastry, who is a keen self-publicist, will be marketing her range of upmarket nail polish, in several shades of pink, with the club’s new logo, a pink panther with two faces embossed on the pyramid-shaped bottle, with its distinctive staring-eye cap”. Critics have pointed out that the last sport-related endeavour undertaken by the multinational conglomerate, the Pink Panther Crazy Golf Charity Celebrity Tournament, fell flat on its face when the only “celebrities” turned out to be none other than Sir Leonard himself and his chauffeur Frank “Lardy” Goosefat, a former Crazy Golf professional. There have been reports, however, of unrest amongst the playing staff concerning the new pink strip. Welsh wizard Craig Cattermole told us: “Where I come from, men are men, and have well-modulated baritone voices. Since I moved to the Warriors from crack South Wales club  Caerphilly Sentimentalists, I have naturally become more urbane and sophisticated, and will occasionally eat quiche, but I draw the line at wearing pink.” Goalkeeper Tim Smegma was more pragmatic, adding: “As a goalie, I get to wear a different coloured shirt, so I’m not really all that bothered. However I do refuse to eat quiche on a matter of principle.”

STOCK PRICES
Domestic Molecule down 3, 48
Argumentative Calliope Shortfunds down 5, 57
Marigold Mustard Futures down 44, 12
Moose Derivatives up 37, 85
Ham Stallions up 42, 77
Rumplestiltskin Clown shoe Trade-offs down 6, 2

Advertising Feature
THE INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLING EXHIBITION OF SCISSORS
Hastings Kitchen Museum, 27th July – 3rd August

From delicate Victorian chicken pruning scissors to the mighty shears which applied complex topiary to Hampton Court, one of the largest mazes in existence. Tiny Ming Dynasty nail scissors belonging to the Empress of China inlaid with ivory cut from the tusks of the imperial elephant, rub shoulders with the very electric shears which cut off Elvis’ famous quiff back in ’58. I urge all scissor fans to attend this compulsively interesting show, if only to gargle with helpless moronic laughter at the ornate eyebrow scissors of Louis IVX, or gasp in amazement at the Green Monkey scissors carried by Georgian explorer Rumsfeld Barbican during his early journeys into the Mongolian interior. All in all, if you are fascinated by the world of scissors, a visit to The Hastings Kitchen Museum is essential.

Sausage life!