If I Ruled the World by Clovenhoof

I love the internet - I don’t have to lie about who I really am. If I met you in the street I’d have to tell you that my name is Jeremy Clovenhoof and that I live in Boldmere, but here I can come right out with it and tell you that I am Satan. That’s SATAN, Lord of Hell! I do live in Boldmere though.

Let’s just say that I was the victim of some corporate re-shuffling and they thought they’d park me in the suburbs to keep me out of the way. Keep a low profile they said. You’ll love it, they said. Well it’s been weeks since I’ve blown anything up, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on some changes that I have in mind to make things more interesting.

Okay, first up, I need to look after number one. It’s not selfish. How can I be expected to apply my full genius to the humdrum problems of the world if I’m chasing my tail trying to make a living? I’ve got a great job at the undertakers, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. They won’t even let me take my work home with me. So, here’s a couple of easy fixes that will see the cash come rolling in…

1) I’d like a column in the Daily Mail. I think it would suit my style, although I do worry that I’m not rude enough.

2) I’d like royalties from the church every time they mention my name in a service. Yeah, they love to chunter on about how Satan does this and Satan does that. Well a lot of it’s true, but I think I’m due a cut from the collection plate, it’s only fair.Now that’s sorted, let’s put the world to rights. The world of religion is obviously my thing. I think the main problem with it is that everyone takes it all a bit too seriously. I’m going to pep things up a bit.

3) Richard Dawkins is to be made pope. Seriously, I just want to see his face when he finds out. I’ll give the current pope a new job, don’t worry. I think he might enjoy a starring role in a Broadway musical. Something with lots of feathers and sequins.

Onto more general changes.

4) I think I can safely say that everyone will be happier if I stipulate that dogs are to have a minimum size. If a dog can sit comfortably in a teacup then it just isn’t a dog. Let’s reclassify those little ones as gerbils and move on.

5) I want food that bounces. I’ve had enough of the world’s scientists, doing this so-called research that tells us things that we already knew, I want to see them developing things that are genuinely useful, like bouncing food. Someone invent a kebab that you can drop on the floor and then catch on the rebound. You’ll all thank me for this one.Let’s get local now.

Birmingham’s fine. I like it a lot, but it could do with some small tweaks.

6) Birmingham is to be moved nearer to the sea. Canals just aren’t the same, so let’s sort it out. If it’s any easier to move the sea closer to Birmingham then that would be fine too. I don’t want you to think I’m unreasonable.

7) The Custard Factory. I went there and it was definitely not made of custard. As I said, I’m a reasonable man, so just a little custard fountain would be fine. I worry that the lawyers will turn nasty if we don’t throw them a bone. You can’t just say something’s custard when it’s clearly not.

8) While we’re at it, let’s make Spitfire Island actually spit fire as well. It’ll look a treat at night.On the subject of famous Birmingham landmarks, clearly Spaghetti Junction was designed to be viewed from above. It looks good on a jigsaw. Jigsaws - one of my finer inventions. Back in Hell, we had a team of demons who developed the whole concept. The demon who came up with the baked bean jigsaw got an award. Or it might have been an extra flogging, I forget. Anyway, on the ground, Spaghetti Junction’s way too dull. Even if you coerce the driver of a number 11 bus to take you over it, you blink and it’s over. I speak as one who knows. What’s needed is something to pep it up a bit, especially for us non-drivers

9) I’d like to see a helter-skelter installed there. Ideally it should have a device like they use on railways to shunt trains onto a different line. As people are sliding down, I’ll move the lever to send them either onto the soft cushiony landing place so they can have another go or if I don’t like them, I’ll send them the other way into the canal.

10) One more thing. Once a year, to celebrate wonderful me, I would like the canals of Birmingham to be filled with Cadbury’s chocolate instead of water. It will be reserved for me and my speedboat. I’m ruler of the world, aren’t I? I’m entitled to some perks. Okay, maybe if you’re really good, you can also ride up and down my Chocolate Speedway. I’m a reasonable chap after all.

Find out more about what Jeremy Clovenhoof gets up to in these books:

  1. Clovenhoof
  2. Pigeonwings
  3. Godsquad
  4. Satan’s Shorts
  5. Coming in October: Hellzapoppin’

 

Book: Pigeon Wings by Heidi Goody & Iain Grant

pigeonwings cover 2The follow up to Clovenhoof, one of the funniest books I read last year. That one had Satan being sent to live on Earth and covered all the trials and tribulations of the Prince of Darkness living in the West Midlands. This included working out what money is, what parts of the body do and what items are generally found in most homes across the civilised world. This time, after a – em, mix up – Arch Angel Michael is banished from heaven and is now the neighbour of his adversary. The other neighbours in the Sutton Coldfield building, Ben the book shop owner and Nerys the singleton who works in recruitment are still around.

Michael finds it easier to settle than Jeremy Clovenhoof did but the laugh-out-loud moments are still around him finding out what his man parts are used for.

Because he has been all about looking after mankind as his (former) boss wanted, he blends into human society so much better and is seen as a model citizen. Of course, he finds modern society with its lacksadaisy attitude towards church and god challenging. He even finds a way of earning a very good living by designing app for himself, which he is then encouraged to sell instead of giving way free. Who says being good doesn’t conquer all?

It took a little while longer to get into this one, what with monks on an island off Wales making magic jams, social climbing mothers and gay gym bunnies to contend with, but once past 100 pages, it’s a super-funny page turner.

By Rickie J, founder & editor of Birmingham Favourites @RickieWrites

@BrumFaves

 

Book: Million Dollar Dress by Heide Goody

Book review by Simon Fairbanks Million Dollar Dress is chick lit packed with quick wit by local author Heide Goody.

It tells the story of Justine, who obtains a high-tech dress which can change the body shape of the wearer. Once Justine masters the technology, she can alter her slightly plump body image to match that of a Hollywood supermodel. Meanwhile, a host of interest parties are looking to take the dress for themselves.

The synopsis may suggest this is targeted at a female audience and it would certainly please this market. However, Million Dollar Dress offers a rich plateau for readers of any demographic and genre: the plot moves with the pace of a thriller, the dress itself is pure science-fiction and its comedy is universal.

It is this comedy element that propels Million Dollar Dress above the rest of its canon. Heide Goody has a particular knack for delivering an ensemble of sharply-observed characters and executing comedy set pieces with the chaos and energy of a Carry On film. Anagram fans will note that Million Dollar Dress contains two LOLs and you will certainly be laughing out loud as the story escalates.

The titular dress is a clever concept. As with all best science-fiction, it introduces a futuristic notion that addresses everyday concerns, specifically those relating to the body image culture which keeps certain magazines and reality shows in business.

The dress also acts as the MacGuffin and provides the perfect excuse to bring together an unlikely ensemble, ranging from fashion designers to military operatives. Particularly memorable characters include Blake Charwood (Sutton Coldfield's answer to Justin Beiber) and Justine's interfering mother figures, Pat and Irma. Their recreation of a scene from Alien to scare off an interested party is hilarious.

And best of all, the novel is set in Birmingham so there are plenty of regional references (the Bullring, the Jewelry Quarter) which act as an extra reward for local readers.

You can download Goody's novel for Kindle for a reasonable £2.05. And Million Dollar Dress is worth every penny.

By Simon Fairbanks who can be contacted via @simonfairbanks

Contact Heide Goody via @HeideGoody