Sunday 9 July 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 09/07/2023: Publication Announcement

Here it is!

With many, many thanks to editor mr verge for his unflagging work and determination to bring together the many and scattered literary works of my late husband, ishmael smith, into an accessible, four-volume set.  Volume 4 is now available.  The blurb reads as follows : "This is the fourth anthology in a sequence which began with Honest Not Invent, and continued with Vent Stack and Ishmael's Blues. Stanislav, the young polish plumber, was created (or channeled) online by ishmael smith in 2007, and this final collection showcases stanislav at his most scathing, in a coruscating symphony of scorn. Focusing almost entirely on British and American politics, Flush Test is heaving with transgressive satire at its uncompromising and hilarious best."
An "explicit content" warning will pop up asking for age verification, which is a simple matter of leaving the date as January 1 and adjusting the year to 1960 or whatever.  The voucher code WELCOME15 was still working when we ordered the final proof last week so don't forget to try that before check-out.  The book is  also listed on amazon but for now shows as "out of stock", because they won't have received any copies yet, but that should change shortly.  A hardback edition will shortly be available.

 Reviews of the the first three anthologies:
Vent Stack

" stan in one shot - couldn't resist. So much good shit in this one. The dead fucking Oxbridge parrot, John Paul George and the stupid idiot with the big nose and rambling queen Brenda ... Absolutely brilliant. I even checked out Brown's nose picking on YouTube that I hadn't seen before."  Malcolm Mc Neill, author of Observed While FallingThe Lost Art of Ah Pook Is Here, and Reflux.

Honest Not Invent 

mr caratacus:

Having been greatly humbled to be invited to proof-read the splendid 'Ishmael Project' I confess to have been a little daunted in the initial stages, not least because my ability to read the document was made difficult by the tears of laughter running down my cheeks. To return to the innermost thoughts of young Stanislav was a joy and I was reminded of something P.G. Wodehouse said when he first read the 'Flashman' tales by George MacDonald Fraser; "If ever there was a time when I felt that 'watcher-of-the-skies-when-a-new-planet stuff', it was when I read the first Flashman". Thus it was for me when I read of Gordon the Ruiner, written by Stanislav, a young Polish plumber. I will not tarry over long here, suffice to say that I envy those lucky folk who have yet to read mr. ishmael's writings - boy, do they have a treat in store. For those of us who have followed his blog over the years, you will - as I did - find yourself laughing helplessly as mr. ishmael jaunts effortlessly from one tussock to another, weaving words about him like the storyteller he was. Thank you, finally, mrs. ishmael, for making all this possible. We are forever in your debt.  

mr mike:
Editor Verge (peace and blessings be upon him) kindly sent me a final draft of this anthology and graciously asked if I would write a review. It was a challenge, almost a duty, I readily accepted and I hope I do the collection, and its author, justice - although I will roam a little further through Ishmaelia. Reading this anthology I have been through the gamut of emotions, there were tears of laughter and also sadness; only one keyboard was harmed during the production of this review (nasal red wine snort).
I first met stan at the blog order-order, maybe fifteen or more years ago. In those days blogging was like the Wild West; unmoderated and uncensored; not the milquetoast troll infested stuff of today. In between the metaphorical bar-fights, the snippets of information, and the pub-conversations between regulars, one contributor stood head and shoulders above the rest. It was like finding a gold nugget in a dry river bed. Stanislav – a young Polish plumber. Soon he gathered a cult following, and although it can’t be quantified, I would bet that many visitors at order-order came to read stan.
In the voice of a Scotch-Polish plumber, stan laid waste to frauds and incompetents. Brilliantly written – without a gift from God it would have been impossible to generate such style and power. But, as time moved on, stan grew tired of the editorship at order-order and a new child was born - Call Me Ishmael (the chronicles of ruin). In this blog, Mr Ishmael could spread his wings, although his young friend Stanislav appeared from time to time. The content was eclectic – everything from machine tools, gardening, cooking, dogs and cats, Victorian and Edwardian furniture – but mostly topical political commentary. The loyal readership was polite and informed. After an opening piece from our host a thread could go in any direction, unfailingly interesting and often very amusing. Conversations would spontaneously erupt – despite my being on the other side of the world, with eleven hours time difference, I would often get an instant reply from Mr Ishmael in what must have been the wee hours of the morning in Scotland, best part of England. Although we never met, I feel, I hope, I knew him, and the other regulars, well.
Of course, Mr Ishmael was incredibly lucky that public life was festooned with a large cast of miscreants at which to take aim – bigger than the cast of a Verdi opera. All manner of degenerates, liars, thieves, cheats, incompetents, hypocrites; the warmongers; the serial shaggers, cuckolds, and adulterers; the shirt-lifters, shit-eaters, snot-eaters, all knowing what’s best for you and me, but not themselves. The noncing monsignors; the be-jewelled and be-medalled of modern Ruritania; the vacuous celebs prepared to flash their knickers for a picture in the Sun, happy to be insulted on TeeVee. They were all in the cross-hairs, and regularly skewered with facts and wit, and then had a 4WD SUV driven over them and reversed for good measure. Mr Ishmael was always fair and factual - if they got a good rub down with a verbal housebrick, then you can be assured the subject in question truly deserved it.
Mr Ishmael wrote in many voices, not just Scotch-Polish, as befitted the subject. In one exchange I was recounting the travails of The Memsahib; Mr Ishmael counterblasted in the voice of Sir Henry Simmerson of the South Essex Regiment (Sharpe’s Regiment): “Heavens to blazes, Mr mike, ....”. Pure poetry. I’m sure I wasn’t the only reader who read his pieces with the appropriate accent, so good was the caricature. And Stanislavian, and other, phrases and idioms have inevitably encroached on the vocabulary. He could conjure up imagery with a few well chosen words; it’s probably lost in the mists of the blogosphere but I suspect it was stan who first described Gordon Snot wearing a nappy on his rocking horse. (He hints at this himself on p.50 of the anthology ).
It was very clear that Mr Ishmael was not just a prolific writer, but also an avid reader and watcher. He had an uncanny eye for detail which eluded many others, and this allied to an incredible capacity for mimicry in his writings gave birth to the many voices that enriched his work.
Over the years there were several occasions when his readers suggested he publish a book. I always felt his three part series on Ruin would make a book, a play, or film – or all three. I can just hear Dame Judi Dench saying: “throw another shitcake on the fire”. But he always resisted, for reasons not entirely clear to me. After his sad and untimely death, it was only natural that his readers would again take up the call. Mrs Ishmael readily agreed. And Mr Verge volunteered to take on the challenge of selecting pieces for an anthology.
To my reading the anthology starts serenely, quickly rises like a volcano, then rises even higher, and latterly becomes melancholic. Like the seven ages of man. The language can be a little fruity for some, excoriating at times, but this is explained early on in Mind Your Language – the reply to Jonny W and Mr Anonymous also shows also that stan (mr ishmael) did not suffer fools. “There are no dirty words, only dirty minds”.
The archive is vast. It must have been difficult to decide what to include. I gather from mr verge that some incendiary pieces were left out – lest the usual suspects placed a call to me learned friend. We knew Mr Ishmael had health problems, but we learn for the first time the extent of those problems, and his jousting with the National Health Service. Difficult reading, although hilarious. The piece on the death of Buster was particularly heart rending, and although I’m no wuss, I don’t mind admitting it reduced me to tears.
This book is not for everyone: if you are stupid, illiterate, woke, put soy milk in your coffee, then it may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you have two functioning brain cells and are fed up with the propaganda and bias daily doled out by the MSM and the PBC, and the increasing censorship that lets the powerful and connected escape scrutiny, and need an antidote, then this is it. It deserves to be widely read; in a sensible world it would be on the reading list for A-Level and Open University students, if only as an exemplar on how to write. It probably won’t because people are now increasingly afraid to voice their true opinions, except sotto voce to trusted colleagues, lest they be criticised or arrested.
Vale Mr Ishmael; bravo Editor Verge and Mrs Ishmael.

from the review caratacus provided when we launched Honest Not Invent:
 " ability to read the document was made difficult by the tears of laughter running down my cheeks. To return to the innermost thoughts of young Stanislav was a joy..."
and from mr mike's :
 Brilliantly written – without a gift from God it would have been impossible to generate such style and power.  

 Bungalow Bill said...

Fabulous work. A proper tribute to a brave and hugely talented man.

Top reviews too, thanks.
Many thanks to mrs Ishmael, mr Verge, mr Mike and His Majesty. I am sure the anthology will be wonderful, educational and fucking brilliant.
Cheers Mrs I and Mr Verge.

14 September 2020 at 06:02

 inmate said...

I shall be ordering one each HB and PB. HB for the coffee table, cos I is posh innit and PB for general consumption of visiting uneducated plebs who have yet to consume the delights within.

14 September 2020 at 11:46

 Bloggerthe noblest prospect said...

The original discount code worked this morning. My copy's in the post. Huzzah!

  15 September 2020 at 12:30

 Doug Shoulders said...

Thank you all concerned.
I have a hardback on order to arrive in time for the bookcase I’m building.
HONEST, NOT INVENT will go top left hand side.

16 September 2020 at 12:36

Bungalow Bill said...
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the great man, I submit that the time is upon us when mass non-compliance with the fools on the hill is required. They’re going to close the North East in a couple of days, apparently, the ludicrous bastards. Ignore them all and let RoboPlod do its damnedest.

Stand up now or they will have us on our knees indefinitely.

Book to be ordered ASAP, against the darkness.

16 September 2020 at 23:13

Anonymous Bungalow Bill said...

It's all very easy to do,  Mr Verge. (the ordering process)

17 September 2020 at 18:33 


Jock Roach said...

This is my first entry on the blog although I have been an avid disciple of the great man for many years.
Just confirming that I registered an account on Lulu and ordered my copy of this long anticipated anthology in memory of Mr I.
The process was very simple and 15% discount applied.
I very much look forward to a fantastic read.
Well done Mrs I, Mr Verge and the rest of the blog family for your efforts to make this publication possible.
I have long had a great empathy for the writings hailing from Dundee and worked in Brum for thirty years.
Probably not something I should be bragging about!
Keep up the good work Mrs I in these dark satanic times.
Jock Roach.

18 September 2020 at 12:51

Anonymous inmate said...

Yah they're here, the books, that is, Honest not Invent. 'Kin hilarious, stuff I've not read before.
...right before your fucking eye and you with it you fucking lunatic. Is only one fucking Queen round here, matey, and it aint you.
I literally wet meself laughing. Can't put it down.

25 September 2020 at 14:31


mongoose said...

My book arrived today. I have yet to dive in but it looks very excellent work indeed, mrs i and mr verge. Well done!

26 September 2020 at 02:11


Anonymous Bungalow Bill said...

Thus are the pious humbled. Always a fine thing to see. Nice one, Mrs I.

Honest Not Invent arrived today. Its been well said by others, but this really is a superb achievement by you both (and him) and in every sense a labour of love, done with astonishing speed. A truly cheering thing amid the loss of much else; but that was always the point.

2 October 2020 at 19:13 

Felix said.....Thanks so much for sending me the ishmael volume. It got here yesterday and I've been browsing it this morning, reading again that wonderful piece from
the 80s on his diabetes, sampling his more recent work as Stanislav and Ishmael, laughing "like a fucking drain" at his piece on Birmingham 2010 and admiring both Mr Verge's intro and your afterword. Thankyou so much for sending it. It captures the essence of a wonderful writer and man and I'll treasure it.

4 October 2020

Book Review: Honest, Not Invent


Brick. For the use of rubbing up and down.
Andrewlister, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Stanislav, a young Polish plumber, in reality a creation of blogger Ismael Smith, now sadly no longer with us.

His comments first appeared below the line in the place we don’t speak of, and subsequently transferred to the Call Me Ishmael blog.

Writing as Ishmael in December 2010, he explained:

“My young friend, stanislav, the polish plumber, never capitalised his name and always spoke of himself in the third person. But this was because, in his heart of hearts, he knew he didn’t really exist.”

However, in those early, heady days, when comments were cash to a certain fat Irishman, Stanislav brought a breath of fresh air to the stultifying political scene.

His trenchant observations of the weaknesses and moral turpitude of our political masters, coupled with an acidic wit, and tongue to match, brightened up this reviewers working day.

He created an alter ego, the eponymous Stanislav, who struggled to make sense of senseless situations, often reverting to his remedy of “quick rub down with housebrick” as punishment for those politicians who deserved no less a retribution.

It was inevitable that, as moderation descended on the comments in that other place, that he would fall foul of the rulez, but he went on to better and greater things on his blog, which I urge everyone to read.

Indeed, in a reference to his moderation he referred to the other place as “The Pizza House Of Blood” (something to do with crowd-funding junk-food for the IDF.)

His wit shines through almost every sentence, phrases that he used have slipped into common usage, the rub down one; Sofa-cunts; the drywank jawdrop; honest, not invent; these and others are now fixtures in the Ishmaelite lexicon.

Straight after the introduction the reader is inducted into the Stanislav put down; his retort to criticism from johnny w is a classic of invective, observation, polemic and crudity.

Would that we could all express ourselves in a like manner to the petty slights which come our way, I know that he has enriched my use of my mother tongue.

In response to a critic of his use of certain swear words he wrote this:

When people behave as badly as those in Westminster there is absolutely no point in challenging them with rhetoric and sophistry, they are too stupid; Caroline Flint, Hazel Blears, Bob Ainsworth, they are fucking idiots; few of them can frame a sentence, let alone marshal an argument. Stupid cunts.

No, it is not infantile, nor teenage, to hope that maybe Alistair Campbell’s precious spawn, safe from military action, might say to him, one day, Dad, why does everybody call you a cunt?

Cutting, I think you’ll agree, but also accurate.

When he speaks of the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, he pulls no punches, his ocular problem, his alleged bad tempered outbursts, the nappy and rocking horse stories, none of this is taboo to Stanislav.

His musings on Bowel Cancer screening, Laser Eye Surgery, Piano Tuning and Ringo Starr’s prowess as a drummer (of sorts) brings tears to the eyes, and tea down the nostrils.

Nothing, literally nothing, is outside his remit, Politics, Religion, The Royal Family, Snobbery, the NHS; all grist to the mill.

His “State of the Union” article is a gem, it is cutting, pointed, crude, funny and above all else, accurate.

Stanislav’s take on Scotland and its First Minister Alec Salmond is delightful

Scotland, as we say in the plumbing community, too big to be small

and too small to be big…

Our triple-salaried and -pensioned minority Lavender King, so pleased with himself that he bathes in his own piss, has vowed, for the next seven days, to Eat for Scotland – haggis, oats, rhubarb, haggis, chips ‘n’ Mars Bar, turnips, shortcake, haggis, potatoes, caramel wafers and tinned custard – as part of a national promotion of Scotch haute coronary cuisine. Honest, not invent.

………………….and so on.

Ishmael is a wordsmith par excellence, he ranks alongside Swift, Boswell, Wilde in his use of the printed word, and his put-downs rival those of Coward and (Groucho) Marx.

This book is a joy. It chronicles the human condition through the eyes of an outsider, but one who is unencumbered by the polite conventions imposed on us by “our betters”

Please, please, please, if you have never heard of Ishmael Smith, or his alter ego, Stanislav, do yourself a great favour, buy this book, read it, use his way of deflating pomposity, and, over all else, just damned well enjoy the writings of a modern literary genius.

(Ed. If you’d rather not buy from Amazon it is also available from Lulu. See The Sunday Ishmael: Publication Announcement: Honest, Not Invent where there is a review and links to other purchase options).


© Grimy Miner 2021


Sunday 2 July 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 02/07/2023

 Scotland: Drunkest part of England.
Orkney: Drunkest part of Scotland
The alcohol-related admissions rate to hospital in Scotland is 621.3 per 100,000.
Those Scottish drinkers are clearly not trying. Now, in Orkney, we really put our back into it. Kirkwall, the capital city, and surrounding area, has an admission rate of 760.5 people per 100,000. 
Quoted in The Orcadian,  Dr. Kirsty Cole said that health professionals were aware of the impact of emergency hospital alcohol-related admissions, putting individuals at risk of developing dependence, cancers, psychiatric and mental health problems and dementia. The same paper reported the "huge increase" in numbers of Orcadians experiencing severe mental health distress and needing to be transferred from the local hospital to the Royal Cornhill Hospital, Aberdeen, the specialist centre in the North East of Scotland for mental health problems.
Then there's the appearances before the Sheriff's Court. Week after week, The Orcadian's Court pages report the painful and doomed love-lives of Orkney's drunkards and their colourful, short-lived driving careers. Most cars in Orkney seem to be driven by women, with their banned partners sitting in the passenger seat. 
Here's this week's examples:  
a trial date has been set for a 27 year old man charged with repeatedly punching and biting his partner on her body, to her injury; a 41 year old man was caught driving with four times over the legal limit of alcohol at lunchtime after being refused service at Tesco where he tried to buy more alcohol - his car was impounded and sold on the order of the court and through his solicitor he said he was sorry and had reduced his alcohol consumption from two bottles of rum per day to two every week; a 22 year old man pleaded guilty to engaging in a drunken brawl; three men in their 20's engaged in a car chase through Kirkwall's town centre, overtook the other car and screeched to a stop, throwing plastic bottles at it and shouting at the driver to get out and fight them; a 76 year old man has had a trial date set for an incident in which he was driving 5 times over the legal limit, lost control of the car, which crashed through the fence and became airborne before landing in an adjacent field. Last week saw the trial of a 21 year old, charged with driving whilst incredibly drunk around the unpoliced island of Hoy, with his teenage friend, at 1.50 a.m., leaving the road, flying through the air over a ditch and an unclassified road before crashing into a garden wall where it became wedged between a shed and a polytunnel. The householder, pausing only to don his slippers, hurried to the scene, where he found the teenager taking a piss on his polytunnel. The Court found the teenager to have been the actual driver. I remember one young man, thwarted in love, his girlfriend having dashed into a wardrobe to escape his drunken embrace, who dealt with the situation by pushing over the wardrobe to her injury.
Now, Orkney does seem to be a strong contender for mr ishmael's award category of:  Jock, poor and  angry, malnourished and inebriate, cross-dressing, wife-beating, ginger tribesmen, but I daresay similar stories could be found in any local paper in the U.K. The thing is, how can the NHS be expected to shore up the consequences of determined self-neglect by a godless, drunken, obese and drug-addicted population, determined to sit on their airses imbibing cruelty T.V. whilst pondering the deep philosophical issue of whether they are male or female? 

Sunak has set out a workforce plan for the NHS which doesn't address pay,  in the teeth of strike action by all grades in the NHS for improved pay. Not that I blame him. They already earn more than enough. Junior doctors in their foundation year (just starting) earn £14 per hour. Not bad for a trainee. A friend of mine in her fifties was recently very excited about securing a temporary post at the rate of £15 per hour. The strikers want to restore pay to the purchasing power it had last century, and, while they are at it, doubtless want to restore the deference accorded to Sir Lancelot Spratt:

In response, our Prime Minister, Richie Sunak, who personally has no financial need whatsoever to call on the services of the NHS, has
promised £2.4bn over the next five years. (I know, a Tory promise) to achieve the following targets:
  • doubling medical school places for student doctors to 15,000 a year
  • a 50% increase in GP trainee places for junior doctors from 4,000 to 6,000
  • 24,000 more nurse and midwife student places a year - close to double the number now
  • doubling training places for nursing associates to more than 10,000 by 2031
  • increasing training places for physician associates to 10,000 by 2036
Talk and promises are cheap enough, I guess, especially as the Tories won't be in power to implement these measures. Where are the people to come from to take up all these places? The NHS has over-promised - it attempts to cure matters that are, essentially, sicknesses of the soul, and there isn't enough money nor enough people to do it. Time for being a little more open about rationing and about excluding treatment for certain "conditions". Here's an example - a  30 year old, very distant female relative-by-marriage, a  single virgin, has received IVF treatment. 
Then there's all those people busy digging their own graves with their knives and forks and looking at the world through the bottom of a beer glass. Diabetes is the biggest problem of the developed world. And it is increasing exponentially. There are at least three types of diabetes:
Type 1 is an auto-immune condition. Absolute insulin deficiency results from autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Without insulin replacement, people with type 1 diabetes would die within days or weeks. Type 1 has massively increased worldwide, up 27% on pre-Covid levels. No doubt mr ultrapox will link this to the vaccine, but it could be a consequence of keeping our kids too clean, so that their immune systems can no longer recognise the alien invaders they should be attacking and therefore turn on their own pancreas. Less showering and more making of  mud pies might help. It could also be a consequence of isolation, with kids not sharing their germs, again blinding their immune systems. 
Type 2  stops the body from using insulin properly, which can lead to high levels of blood sugar if not treated. Having too much body mass for the amount of insulin your pancreas can churn out  and/or eating too much simple carbohydrate will cause it. Over time, type 2 diabetes can cause serious damage to the body, especially nerves and blood vessels. It is preventable by improving diet and losing weight.
Type 3 is not yet generally recognised by medical practitioners, but cutting-edge researchers have developed the theory that insulin resistance and insulin-like growth factor dysfunction in the brain may cause Alzheimer’s disease. Now, if that is not enough to deter you from tucking into crisps, cake and chocolate, then there's no hope for you.
Just Say No.
mr ishmael developed Type 1 diabetes quite suddenly, in his thirties, when his pancreas packed up after an attack of gastritis. Here's an early account of his diagnosis.

Me and Diabetes - 1987

I got diabetes once. Still have it actually. Like AIDS or Margaret Thatcher or the Queen Mother, diabetes is one of those things that’s always there. You just have to learn to live with it. What happens is your pancreas packs up and your body can't process sugar. You wind up feeling like a dog’s breakfast. You have a raging thirst, sugar-loaded blood and you spend a lot of time urinating.
When I first had it I was weak as a kitten. I kept falling over all the time. People’d say to me take more water with it, or give me Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlets. I went to the doctor and said I keep falling over all the time. He said take more water with it. I said, no, seriously, have a look at all these bruises on my knees. He said there’s nothing wrong with you but take a few days off.
I would slump in an armchair all day watching Antipodean unemployed peoples’ programmes, feeling lousy. I figured I must be either having a mid-life crisis, or Mark, my stepincommonlaw-son  was poisoning me. I’d sit in the chair thinking Oh God what’s wrong with me, drinking gallons of lemonade and eating giant-sized Mars Bars. Mark and his sister Mandy’d come home from school, survey the dozen flagons of pop and the chocolate bars and say, Oh good, can we have some? No, I’d snarl, there’s only enough for me. I’d go to bed at night, taking a few bottles of lemonade and lie there thinking Oh God what’s wrong with me. I’d be up every hour, drinking lemonade and going for a leak. Sometimes thirst and bursting bladder demanded attention simultaneously. I’d stand over the loo, passing a torrent of piss, thinking Oh God what’s wrong with me and drinking lemonade all at the same time. No mean feat.
My partner, Helen, a social worker, said I should go back to the doctor. She wasn’t getting any sleep and the lemonade and chocolate bars were costing a fortune, maybe we could get them on prescription. We’ve got diabetes, said doctor, when I told him about the lemonade and the chocolate. No I haven’t, Helen says I’m comfort-seeking; all the chocolate and pop are signs of a mid-life crisis, she says it’s the strain of a new relationship and commonlaw stepfatherhood. I’ll be alright when I get back to work. We’re diabetic, says doctor, Doctor knows best, but we’ll just check, before we go into hospital, ha ha. Give Sister a urine sample.
Sister looked like she’d done her SRN in the torture chambers of the KGB, built like Sylvester Stallone with the charm of a hippopotamus. Not a Florence Nightingale type. Pee in the bottle, she growled. When I brought it back she dropped something into it and the pee started bubbling like a witches’ cauldron. Hmm, she says, you could sweeten your tea with this stuff. How long have we been diabetic? I was scared to mention my mid-life crisis so I said I’m not diabetic I’m just a bit run down, that’s all. Saturated! She shouts gleefully to Doctorbastard in the next room. Grinning,
Doctor said We’ll have to go into hospital to be stabilised, I’ll just arrange a bed. But we’re not, I mean I’m not unstable, I protested, a bit eccentric maybe, perhaps a shade idiosyncratic, but not unstable, well not for a long time now anyway. No-no-no-no-no, not like that, he says, shaking his head at me like I was a four year old. We have to get your blood sugar stabilised, just you leave it to me, Doctor knows best.
An hour later I was lying in Casualty, wearing one of those stupid gowns that are supposed to tie up at the back but never do, with this really glamorous, blonde student Doctor, aged about 18 years old, examining me. She looked in my throat, my ears and my eyes, she held her fingers up for me to count, she tickled my feet, bashed my knees with a rubber hammer, listened to my chest, jabbed her fingers into my stomach and said there’s nothing wrong with you. You mean I’m not diabetic, can I go now? Diabetic? She said, nobody said anything about diabetes to me, we haven’t covered diabetes yet. Just then Big Cheese arrived, with lots of little cheeses following behind him, laughing at his jokes, gushing, stammering and offering him their stethoscopes. Have we done his blood? He says to Blondie. No? Well I think we should, don’t you? (By we he clearly meant you but that’s how they speak in hospitals.) Blondie, humbled, produces a giant hypodermic. Have you covered blood samples yet? I enquired fearfully. Anyway, a bit later, Big Cheese returns and says, triumphantly, blood sample shows Diabetes, no question about it. Still, he booms cheerily, no reason you don’t lead a normal life, eh? I think it’s a bit late for that, I said. I beg your pardon? says Cheese. 

After a few days in hospital getting stabilised by being woken up every time I got off to sleep, I came home. I’d learned to inject myself with insulin by practising on an orange, how to test my blood and count my carbohydrates. The last of these was painless, if confusing, but the first two involved sticking needles in myself with painful frequency. C’mere, says Helen one time when I was timorously attempting to prick my thumb for a blood test, not like that, I’ll do it. She’s like most social workers, reads a leaflet and she’s an expert;  goes on a course and she's an Authority. Racism Awareness was the worst; tore through the kids’ cupboards, burning the gollywogs and ripping up the Enid Blyton books. Anyway, she rammed this horrible sharp thing into my thumb bone, pulled it out and a geyser of my life’s blood went up the curtains. I was too busy  stemming the fountain to catch her. Mark was laughing like a drain.  You’re just a diseased old hippy, he said, too many rock festivals, too much marijuana. You’re gonna die, ha ha ha. The girls were kinder. Eleven year old Rebecca said Dad, I think I’m diabetic too. Listen, Daughter, this is very touching, but you’re not diabetic. She kept on about being diabetic until I suggested Helen test her blood - then she made a dramatic recovery. (There was no way she’d be diabetic anyway, her mother, my ex-wife, bless her pointed little head, would get an injunction to prevent it.) Mandy was fascinated by the actual injection. You know how kids are with horror movies – curl up tight in a ball and peek through their fingers. Mandy looked on me as her personal horror film. Told her friends that her mum was shacked up with a junky and brought them round to watch me injecting.
After a while everybody got used to it. Everybody except me.  I’ve been in dozens of road accidents, several brawls, a couple of muggings, I’ve been stabbed, run over, scalded, poisoned and blinded; I’ve fallen off horses, ladders, ships, cranes, trees and motorbikes; I’ve been divorced, bereaved, sued, locked up, slandered, libelled and misunderstood; I’ve had eye problems, kidney problems, back problems, lung problems, drug problems, booze problems, money problems and sex problems. I went to have my skull x-rayed once. The radiographer shook his head as he looked at the plates. I’ve never seen anything like this, your skull’s a frigging jigsaw puzzle. Buy a crash helmet and wear it all the time – in the bath, in bed, everywhere. I became an instant celebrity. He called all his mates over. Come and have a look at these x-rays. And the guy’s still walking around. This is him here. 
So in my humble opinion I’d had my share of calamity and the diabetes was wholly unnecessary. Right out of order.
But the worst was yet to come. It wasn’t the injections or the blood tests. It wasn’t the fact that my feet are liable to drop off and that I’m likely to go blind; odds-on favourite for a heart attack. Nor was it the Hypos – which happen when you’ve messed up your food and insulin juggling act, turned into a gibbering wreck and people have to tip boxes of icing sugar down your throat to bring you round - a thirty-seven year old shaking like a jelly moaning Sugar, Sugar. I learned to live with these tribulations. Except the one no-one mentioned in the hospital. The one side effect of diabetes guaranteed to drive me insane. Harry Secombe.
You develop an incurable disease, you tell your friends about it, and the first thing they say is Harry Secombe, he’s got that, hasn’t he? It doesn’t matter who they are. It’s like a Pavlovian response. They all say it. Go on, admit it. You probably do it yourself. Nobody says Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. They all say Yeah, Harry Secombe and start making Goon noises. Bastards.
Fat bastard Harry Secombe warbling Abide With Fucking Me or Bread of Heaven, Bread of Fucking Heaven, feed me until is stuffed. Worst thing ever happen to stanislav was get dia-fucking-betes, everybody said Oh, fuck, diabetes, Harry Secombe, he's got that, innit, fat Welch bastard, never mind, stan, can sing If I Rued The World, like 'Arry? Good old 'Arry, was in the Goons you know, before he got diabetes, ying-tong-ying-tong-ying-tong-ying-tong-ying-tong-tiddle-eye-poo. Can sing that one, stan?
Me and Diabetes is on page 319 of Honest Not Invent, followed by More Musings on Diabetes, collected, edited and anthologised by mr ishmael's friend and editor,  mr verge, the House Filthster.  The three volumes of mr ishmael's Collected Works, are now available. The fourth volume will soon be available.

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France is burning. Oh dear. What a shame.