Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this terrific tale…
So, with trepidation evident, the threesome ventured out of the superfluous alcove. Naturally they followed the convenient signage, which, unsurprisingly, led them into a pleasantly lit corridor. Then, having traversed the aforementioned pleasantly lit corridor, Magnuss, Nennigross, and Lucian discovered the desperate occupants of the flying saucer assembled in the engine room, trying desperately to metaphorically kick-start the fuel pumps. But before anyone spotted them standing there like a bunch of lemons, the reality of the situation struck the three galactic travellers.
“The situation couldn’t be worse.” Nennigross whispered to Magnuss. “With the ship out of gas, it’ll float onwards through space unimpeded – until the wheel of eternity grinds to a halt. Death will hold dominion over all of us.”
But Lucian had more immediate concerns. He’d picked up a urinary infection in the Upper Realm, and desperately wanted to piddle.
Despite his personal fears, Magnuss plucked up the courage to ignore Nennigross, and forced himself to be positive.
“Guys.” He said loudly, “Quit all that panic-stricken arsing about: fate has a task lined up for you.”
This bold statement caused all activity to cease abruptly. Of course (being aliens from far away) not one of the prospectors recognised Magnuss: but Catford and Julian did. Their confident smiles proved that they had never doubted that their friends would return, following their unexpected disappearance. The appearance of Magnuss Earplug was a bonus, and both felt certain that an incredible adventure was bound to follow his arrival. Questions flowed like raging white water rapids, and filled the air with so much mental viscosity that anyone other than Magnuss would have sagged with brain-exhaustion beneath its intellectual weight.
“It’s like this,” Magnuss began his explanation for his opening statement. “We’re stuck up in outer space, and we’re whooshing away into deep space at huge velocity. It seems to me that the only course of action open to us is to embrace the situation and turn it to our advantage.”
This confused the heck out of his audience, but Magnuss’ apparent confidence filled them with some of their own.
“Tell us more.” Julian and Catford demanded.
“Well,” Magnuss replied, “not many people know this fact, but I once read some of the technical logs from the Museum of Future Technology’s sole star ship, Spaceship Number Fifteen – before it was destroyed in the Battle of the Museum, of course…”
“And?” Buddy Napalm demanded.
“And,” Magnuss replied, “what I discovered was,” Magnuss paused – less for dramatic effect; but more to draw breath – before continuing: “that when the ship was returning to Earth, the crew discovered a wormhole in space – exactly half-way between Earth and the Moon. They considered it so important that they left a warning beacon orbiting the event horizon. All we need to do is use our communication equipment to locate it, and then blast in its direction by using the manoeuvring thrusters. Then we enter the wormhole; travel through it; and end up somewhere else completely – possibly somewhere nice and safe – like a planet. We can worry about getting back to the museum later.”
It was a brilliant plan, and everyone who heard it said so. Except Wilhelm Von Schnottgobbling: “We don’t have no fuel for the thrusters either. We can’t steer.”
Magnuss was horrified at the news. “But, but,” he stammered, “without thruster fuel my plan won’t work! Whatta we gonna do?”
Plopper and Benjamin looked at each other – the same thought passing through both silicon brains at the same time: Holy heck – they’re gonna steal a flying saucer: what are we gonna do about it? Well what they did was call the T.W.I.T headquarters, Swotten Hetty. Just a few minutes later Major Flaccid called several operatives into his office. Unfortunately he’d been at a sherry sampling seminar, and as a result of this his memory failed him. He could remember who his operatives needed to find, but couldn’t recall what Plopper and Benjamin had told him that the prospectors intended to do.
“Look everywhere.” He said with a slurred voice. “All at the same time – twice. Leave no stone unturned, and no…things un…er…thingy.” Then he burped very loudly, and produced an enormous fart that stopped his agents in their tracks.
Naturally the operatives didn’t have a bloody clue what their leader required of them, except that they find, and presumably arrest, eight aliens in silver suits. So without enquiring further, they turned about and began their search.
By chance the prospectors had called into a public urinal for a pee, and watched as the agents of T.W.I.T passed by the window.
“Oops,” Brock said quietly to himself. “Looks like we’ll have to step carefully. It’s time to go into extreme stealth mode.”
This reaction was to save their endeavour, because RoboSecGuas were also on their trail. And Brock’s extreme stealth mode paid dividends when EvilRoboSecGua led a squad into the grand hall. But Brock was ready for them, and had already hidden around the corner.
“Right then,” he said, following the RoboSecGuas departure, “Let’s have a look at that map Mister Plop drew for us. I feel it in my bowels; we’re getting close.”
But little did any of them know, but Nennigross and her friends were following museum protocols strictly, and were in hot pursuit.
It was Galve Mullion and Torsten Gobbfist who took the lead as the prospectors made their way through a labyrinth of corridors through which the map guided them towards their goal. And they continued to lead, even when the museum security decided to go the emerald alert.
“Holy carp,” Galve exclaimed, “that nearly made me have an accident in my boxer shorts!”
Torsten would have been equally startled, but the thought of Galve experiencing a lavatorial accident in his company took his mind off the subject of the emerald alert like an unexpected kick in the groin or being hurled from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Natural Selection cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.
Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this magnificent tale…
Waiting until another law enforcement patrol had passed by, Erroneous and Hellfire sidled up to the door, where they duplicated the coded knock that the burglars had given only minutes earlier. A half-second later they had disappeared from the street. Not surprisingly they found themselves inside the burglar’s den – where the night’s paltry booty was being shared out over mugs of coarse ale and out-of-date Cornish Pasties, served to them by a pair of disgruntled end caps.
“Ho, ho, ho.” One of them erupted. “We’ll feast tonight, and make no mistake.”
Another concurred: “Aye, we’ll all have two pasties tonight. And maybe we could stretch to a celebratory flagon of ginger beer. Or maybe a half carafe of the house lemonade!”
This was more than Erroneous could stand. “Enough idle banter!” He roared.
Everyone turned to look at him – except the end caps, of course: they couldn’t give a hoot what he had to say: they had Cornish pasties that needed de-furring.
“Yes, enough!” Hellfire supported his friend ably.
“As burglars,” Erroneous continued, “you’d all make excellent bus drivers. In other words…you’re all complete…” He paused before adding a very rude word indeed.
To say that the burglars were shocked would be like saying that the enormous poop that blocked the Museum of Future Technology’s sewage system, and thereby saved it from an iron-fisted dictatorship, was…er…enormous. They were also stunned: no one had ever slipped past their security and called them crap before. This was new ground.
“Oh yeah?” One of them replied belligerently. “Who sez?”
Hellfire quickly selected a driving rock theme upon the juke box, before following Erroneous’ lead as he leapt upon a table.
“Erroneous Bosche, that’s who.” Erroneous growled.
“And Hellfire McWilliams.” Hellfire added. “Just out of Sloshed Antlers Mountain Penitentiary: we’ve been professional burglars for our entire lives. There is no place safe from us. We know a lousy burglar when we see one”
“That’s right.” Erroneous fired off those two syllables like bullets from a twin barrelled gun of some description – though he wasn’t sure that such a weapon actually existed. “We got past your security like phantoms in the night. So when we say you’re rubbish burglars, you’d better listen.”
“Especially,” Hellfire delivered the punch line, “since we can do something about it. How’d you like to be the first intake of The Whatever This Town is Called Academy of Burgling?”
Naturally the incompetent burglars were keen to join such an organization – though most of them thought that they could have authored a better name for it. But that didn’t matter: they were all ears.
“Well,” Erroneous said, once he knew he’d snared his audience, “we’ll brush quickly over the rudiments of burglary; then it’ll be on to the refinements – like lock picking; drain pipe shinning; glass breaking; how to help yourself to the contents of an alarmed fridge; and, of course, using a victim’s lavatory without them knowing about it, or leaving your DNA behind.”
“Sound’s great.” The previously doubtful oik who had spoken last yelled in joy. “When do we start?”
“Just as soon as you’ve signed up to the course; made a blood oath; and promise to give us – that’s Hellfire and me – twenty-five per cent of your booty.”
“Where do I sign?” The useless burglar said through a broad smile. “And whose blood?”
As a result of this huge success, Erroneous and Hellfire soon had the burglar gang fully trained and back to work. But they knew that efficiency in burgling wasn’t enough: they had to get the local law enforcement officers ‘on side’ as it were. So after several successful burglaries that netted the couple a considerable hoard, they led the gang to the nearest Cop Shop, where they left one gang member to keep watch.
The police officers were surprised when several known villains entered their establishment.
“What’s this,” they said, “come to hand yourselves in, have you?”
The remand prisoners in the cells were surprised too – particularly when the ‘look out’ entered as well.
“Not exactly.” Erroneous replied. “We’ve dragged ourselves all the way here so that we – that’s you and us – can come to some sort of accommodation.”
The police officers weren’t particularly well educated: the meaning of Erroneous’s words eluded them. So Hellfire handed them their recent takings.
“Does this explain better?” He said.
At this the Chief of Police replied, “Who said that?”, as he pocketed the booty and gave Hellfire a knowing wink.
By chance, the ‘new boss’, Mister Zinc, was taking the evening air with his biological android girlfriend, Blue.
“What’s wrong, darling Zincipoo?” Blue enquired when her delusional beau became silent, slightly moody, and reticent to elucidate his inner turmoil.
“This Father Superior stuff isn’t half as satisfying as I thought it would be.” Zinc confessed. “And it’s a bit boring too.”
Blue was about to author some banal and pathetic response, when this happened.
“Ye Gods.” Zinc blurted uncharacteristically. “You’ve been targeted by the Angelic Targeting Laser that sits atop the Holy Sniper Rifle!”
Mister Zinc wasn’t particularly surprised when the targeting laser shifted its aim. He tried to remain philosophical.
“I think someone is dropping an enormous hint, Blue. I also think I should react accordingly.”
So when Chester, Miles, and all the others arrived, they found Mister Zinc open to persuasion.
“Yeah, of course you can stay here until morning. Stay here as long as you like.” He responded to their request for lodgings. “You can join the order, for all I care. Find your way to the kitchens, why don’t you. Just don’t expect Blue to do the cooking: We’ve got bigger concerns to worry about right now.”
He then informed the attentive earplugs of the recent incident with the Angelic Laser Light, which Zak and Bolah both knew was utterly bogus, and who whispered this information to the heroic duo. Zinc then called all the monks of the Order of the Holey Vest to listen to his words.
Of course Dilbert and Gilman were among the crowd. They’d only just arrived in time, after hiding the Holy Sniper Rifle behind a low stone wall in the cemetery. They smirked because they had a pretty good idea what was coming.
“Monk guys.” Zinc called out. “I got a call from a higher order. Ya know what I mean? It’s time I took a hike. I just aint quite figured out the direction I should go yet.”
Naturally Dilbert and Gilman couldn’t help themselves: They offered to show him. Equally naturally everyone was thrilled, especially Chester and Miles, who knew what a lousy git and a silicone turd Zinc was.
“Off you go, then.” Chester said, unable to disguise his broad smile. “I’m sure they have somewhere lovely in mind for you.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2017
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Those Magnificent Earplugs cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.
Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this fabulous tale…
Like a soggy blanket, time hung heavily upon Hakking Chestikov’s shoulders whilst he waited alone on the fringes of the mystical mountain kingdom of Kah-Ki-Pu. But as dusk finally arrived, Hakking knew that he must do exactly as the Advice Shop computer had instructed him. That instruction was that he should stand directly beneath the huge vent pipe that protruded from the very bowels of the mountain upon which Kah-Ki-Pu stood. Once in position he must empty his mind of all thoughts bar his greatest wish. So, as deep impenetrable shadows slipped across the mountain like an approaching swarm of quiescent locusts, Hakking felt a strange sensation in the end of his nose. It quickly spread throughout his body, and he began to sparkle. Then the world seemed to spin out of control like a gigantic un-balanced ceiling fan, and he became disoriented. Although he had no mirror to hand, he felt absolutely certain that a great physical change had occurred. And he wasn’t wrong. So five minutes later he arrived back at Lilac’s – out of breath and sweating like an aging boar in a duffle coat.
“Look, Glenda,” he cried as Glenda Bootstrap emerged from the bar, “it’s me: Hakking Chestikov!”
Glenda was nothing short of amazed. “I’m nothing short of amazed.” She squealed with delight. “You’re so devilishly handsome; if you hadn’t spoken I’d never have recognised you. Not sure about the vaguely excremental hue though: that could take some getting used to. But at least you don’t smell.”
Hakking was very pleased with Glenda’s reaction. It allowed an idea to form inside his curator’s head: “I wonder,” he began nervously, “since I’m no longer the most repulsive male earplug on the planet…”
His request trailed off into silence; but Glenda knew what he wanted to say: “You’d like me to take you inside for a nice cup of tea and a round of crumpets, wouldn’t you?” She said.
Hakking nodded. “Please.” He said. “If you don’t think I’m being too bold.”
“Not at all.” Glenda assured her new-found chum. “It’ll give me the chance to use my new gingham table cloth.”
“I don’t know,” Findlay said with a sigh, “it’s almost as if they don’t want to be found.”
“I think you’re right.” John-Douglas grunted as he pulled himself through a roughly hewn hatchway that led to another level. “This place is deserted.”
But as they crept around in the subdued lighting, neither prospector was aware that any number of eyes were secretly trained upon them.
As they entered a vast hall, John-Douglas said: “I vote we go back and tell the sheriff that he’s a face-ache.”
Although John-Douglas was keen to quit, Findlay wanted to continue the search. “Sheriff Brooch swears that he saw movement and heard voices.” He replied. “In any case, what would the girls think of us if we just gave up?”
John-Douglas agreed regretfully, and so only half-noticed that the great hall was carpeted. Instead he was more concerned with the opinions of their girlfriends, Lillie Whitewater and Kirsten Sponduli. “If we return empty-handed, so-to-speak,” He squeaked, “do you think they might spurn us?”
Findlay nodded. “Lunch would be off the menu, that’s for certain.”
John-Douglas took a second to digest this. “Oh, right.” He said as he stepped forward. “Let’s get at it then. Leave no stone unturned and that sort of thing.”
So they did, and after only a short while they discovered a modernised section that included pre-stressed concrete as a major construction material. Then John-Douglas thought he heard voices accompanying a rather funky rhythm. So it came as no surprise when they turned the next corner to find a disco in full flow.
Some girls called to them: “Coo-ee,” they shouted above the insistent bass line of ‘Everybody Wear a Disco Hump’, by Hambledon Bohannon, “why don’t you join us? You can dance around our handbags if you want to. Let’s get down – huh!”
But, as it happened, neither Findlay nor John-Douglas really enjoyed disco music: and prancing around a dance floor in platform shoes was an absolute anathema to them. They preferred traditional folk, barn dances, and sensible sneakers. So they made their farewells – despite the fact that the girls were in imminent danger of falling off their high heels and showing their knickers as they sprawled gracelessly across the disco floor – and departed with the news that the catacombs contained a thriving and intellectually advanced society.
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2016
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the Stepladder to the Stars cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file.
I don’t use it often, but I have one of those trail / hunter cameras that take pictures all by themselves. The other day I placed some bird food in a hanging basket thing and set the camera up upon my even-less-often-used tripod; then awaited developments. I wasn’t surprised when the first ‘guest’ was a resident Robin…
It took him/her about a half-second to make the decision to enter the store…
The camera took rather longer to react – which (for once) was a good thing…
…otherwise all we would have to view is the Robin’s arse hole. He/she was so impressed with the fare that he/she came back later to feast with his/her wife/husband and three kids. Here’s one of them…
All three have grown very tame, and I think it’s a shame that before long they will be driven off to find territories of their own by their parents. Guess I’ll have to content myself with Mr and Mrs Mouse who live in the shed…
…which my pet chug (chihuahua/pug cross) loves to chase all around the shrubbery – along with the lonesome vole…
And, of course, terrorise visiting squirells…
For a tiny postage stamp garden, it certainly is wildlife-friendly. Or at least it would be, if it wasn’t for this monster…
In my first Fashion for Fogeys I displayed an uncanny ability to wear beige stylishly. On this occasion I take it a step further by dispensing with beige all together. What I must stress here is that it isn’t neccessary for old fogey’s to wear dull colours at all. This is never truer than when the sun is shining. Bright colours are not only for winter, young people or laplanders: anyone can wear them at any time of year in whatever weather. Take me for example: I like Spain. I like the Spanish flag too. Both are bright and cheerful. I cheer for their national football team and their riders in Moto GP and international motocross because they make me happy. Bright colours are happy colours. So I am not ashamed, in any way, to appear in public places dressed like this…
So I do. And you can do the same. It just doesn’t have to be red and yellow. Wear whatever colours you bloody like: South Africa’s are rather strident. Just make it bright and cheerful. And what’s more – as a bonus – you’re less likely to get knocked down by a bus too!
Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this wonderous tale…
Elsewhere – that is aboard the X1 – Magnuss and Nigel decided that it was probably a good idea to practice some emergency procedures.
“There’s a hypothetical space pirate vessel approaching.” Magnuss suggested. “What do we do?”
“Open hypothetical fire?” Nigel replied.
“No weapons – remember?”
“Oh, yeah, no time to fit them. Okay…swerve.”
“Correct. Now we’re about to encounter space turbulence: our seatbelts are in the wash: What do we do?”
“Easy.” Nigel answered, “We don our see-through helmets.”
Magnuss was most pleased with his colleague’s grasp of procedures. “Very good.” He said. “But what should we do if the landing engine fails?”
“Other than poop in our pants, you mean?” Nigel responded. But before Magnuss could speak, Nigel had flicked a few switches. “Inflate the giant transparent air bag.” He answered.
At much the same time, the Joyfulettes were finally having their audition with Ootis Wolliums. Much to their surprise Ootis had invited the other Trumptations – those being Dunnis Idwards, Cory Valentine, and Shat and Beeki Spitoon – along to the museum’s Grand Hall. After a relatively formal greeting, Ootis had some technicians wheel out the stage upon which the three girls would perform.
Naturally Beeki had a few words of wisdom to impart: “Don’t whine or shriek.” She told them. “And don’t sing in a higher key than Cory because he’s the group’s falsetto lead, and in his deluded mind no one on the planet can sing a higher note than Cory. Oh, and try to keep in step with each other: Ootis can’t stand elephantine dancers.”
And so their chance at the big time – a permanent act at the Museum of Future Technology – commenced. Initially all went well for Blinky, Piper, and Swetti. Piper and Swetti, in particular were admired for their ability to keep up with Blinky’s gyrations whilst delivering pitch-perfect Doo-Waps and Ooh, Baby-Baby. And any reservations Ootis might have harboured for Blinky’s vocal talents were extinguished when the act slipped down from the stage and Blinky fluttered her huge eyelashes at the ageing soul group leader. After clearing his throat several times, Ootis was finally able to deliver his opinion.
“Piper,” he addressed the smallest girl in the group, “you’re a short-arse and you don’t match so well with the taller girls – but it’s nothing some boosters in your high heels won’t fix. Blinky; you can’t sing for toffee, but we have machines in the studio to put that right. You look great, so any shortfall in the talent department can be disguised by fish net tights and a girdle. Swetti, with you I have a problem. You got a great voice – we all recognise that, girl; but you’re a little…how can I say it, Dunnis?”
Dunnis looked awkward when he answered in his rich, gravelly voice: “Homely?”
“Yeah,” Ootis continued. “Homely. Not so much the girl-next-door: but more the girl locked up in next door’s basement.”
“What he means,” the blind performer, Cory Valentine, interjected, “is that you should be seen and not heard. Well let me tell you, Ootis: I can’t see the girl, but I sure can hear her good. You know where I’m coming from, man? She’s best singer here today – and that includes Beeki – or you, for that matter, ya mealy-mouthed tonge. So if you pass on her, you can pass on me too – butt-wipe: the Trumps can perform without the best falsetto the world has ever heard.”
Cory had been one of the founding members of the Trumptations. Ootis had found, throughout their career together, that it was wise to heed the pink-ish earplug’s council.
“Yeah, alright then.” He said brightly to the girls. “You can all join us in the show tonight. Anyone who falls short gets shown the back door. Okay?”
Of course it was ‘okay’: Blinky might be no singer: Piper might be a little short: and Swetti might look like a barn door; but in show business any shortcoming could be hidden behind a half-decent backing band, ladled-on make-up, and subtle lighting. For the Joyfulettes the show was on. And they couldn’t wait!
Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Masters of Scroton cover image above to bring up the full PDF file.
….then I must be some kind of bloody saint. It has taken me (what feels like) forever to strip out sufficient megabytes from this blog – to make room for that mass of book covers (and their contents) on the sidebar, to your left. But the task is done. From this moment forward any Earplugger can access and download all forty volumes of the Earplug Adventures. In fact some already have! These…
…wondrous works of literary brilliance, boundary-pushing photographic techniques, inspired model-making, and vast artistic merit are available ABSOLUTELY FREE AND GRATIS! The early volumes are a bit, you know, ho-hum – I was, after all, finding my feet, so-to-speak – not really knowing what I was doing, so’s best avoid them, at least initially: you can always go back to them later and giggle at my inepitude. But, whatever you choose, enjoy this load of ridiculousness. I had fun creating them: you enjoy reading them.
Sometimes a location for an Earplug Adventure photo-shoot can disappear with little notice or warning; so it’s very important that I grab the opportunity to gather some story material before the opportunity is lost. This was especially so in my former workplace – often because the prop or set was due to be loaded upon a truck and despatched to far away places. Louvres were often a big deal, so if I chanced upon one that stood out a little – that could maybe become something else entirely in the Earplug realm – I’d shoot as many pictures as possible, irrespective of any story line. Just get them in the can, so-to-speak, and worry about the continuity later – often MUCH LATER, like months or even years. Here’s such a louvre…
In the absence of the original Main Thoroughfare that featured in so many Museum of Future Technology interior shots, I used this shelf and a perforated louvre as an alternative. A sort of secondary thoroughfare. The following picture features some cardboard packing-out pieces, upon which I stuck some little bits of yellow paper. It was to simulate apartment buildings. The length of grey/green insulation material is a grassy bank. Yeah – honest. Both are hidden beneath a sheet of plastic that served two purposes: One: to mask the area behind from the camera. Two: to hide the set from prying eyes. Even the boss couldn’t mistake the yellow paper for anything other than windows, right?
I can’t count how many times this ‘set’ was used. It’s not that it was a product that would likely disappear; but it could have come in very handy if the Despatch Department had required some packing-out material. So it was never secure. I was lucky to keep it. Here’s a couple of scenes in which it appeared…
And here is the same set in ‘action’…
Not in any danger of being carried off in a truck, but certainly likely to be placed where it belonged, this plastic light tube cover was also used extensively. There had been some trouble with the light fitting; so whilst the cover was off, I hid it in plain site on this shelf – and no one seemed to notice it – for three years!
Well what a perfect corridor / tunnel it has made…
And I was still using it in Haunted Mars…
There were other soon-to-disappear props that would…er…disappear for entirely different reasons. This shot from The Missing featured a hole that had been drilled through a concrete floor…
…which would soon be filled with concrete. And as regards this next shot from The Grand Tour…
Well soon that set would be powder coated in matt black and travelling along at 120mph. Yes, inspiration comes in many shapes: even engine casings of a 1979 Kawasaki Z1000!