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: 27 by Ryan Davis

“One of the greatest rock and roll novels ever written, an exciting new voice!" – Ian Marchant. Oh my.

I've read a few stories about Birmingham but this is the first based in the modern era. The story of Jim Vale, AKA Jimmy of the Tyrants is told at the turn of this century. As it twists from gangland drugs to murders to stereotypical dodgy band managers and millennium parties, I find myself looking out of my Jewellery Quarter window to confirm to myself it’s not real.

27 being the infamous age when so many promising rocksters commit suicide, we wonder if this will happen to Jimmy, after the runaway success of one of their singles. He doesn’t like the way the band are going and his so called best friend/bassist seems desperate to take his frontman/singer slot.

He wants out.

But he doesn’t succeed.

So it is then decided by the Tyrants manager that he should lay low, pretend he really has shuffled this mortal coil and let the band re-invent themselves without him, milking the story for every £ they can so he can repay his debts.

He has nowhere to turn, firstly because he is meant to be dead but also because his mother is currently minus all her marbles, his former girlfriend wants nothing to do with him and he has no money to make music.

Instead he turns to an old friend whose ambition is to be the biggest drug dealer in the city. To earn himself the money he desperately needs to make his own album, he becomes his friend’s runner and finds himself embroiled in deeper trouble caught up between the city’s gangs.

Read the book to discover if and how Jim/Jimmy makes it through. But if you live in Birmingham, the city will look a lot different afterwards as you spot the various landmarks heavily featured from 1999.

 Ryan will be talking about this book and his writing at the Birmingham Favourites #MeetTheAuthor event on August 11th2014. Click here for details & to book your free seat.

Find Ryan Davis on Twitter @RoyMonde or take a look at his website.

By Rickie J, editor & founder.

Meet the Writer: Katharine D’Souza

By Elaine S Moxon Katharine D’Souza is a Birmingham writer. Her novel ‘Park Life’ features locations in and around the south of the city, such as Moseley and Kings Heath, and charts the story about two very different people thrown into each other’s lives because they become neighbours. Katharine attends the PowWow writers’ group in Moseley and is involved in organising the PowWow LitFest - a festival for writers to be held in Moseley September 2013. In addition to her writing she works for a university, sings in a community choir, reads for a talking newspaper for the blind and enjoys theatre and cinema trips.

PicMonkey Collage

1) What inspired you to set your novel in Birmingham?

I came from London to Birmingham over twenty years ago and stayed because I like it so much. There’s loads going on. Everything is more accessible and cheaper than equivalents down south, plus the people are friendlier; it’s that in particular that sparked the train of thought, which ended as a novel. ‘Park Life’ is a celebration of the things I like most about Brum: the people, the independent businesses (especially the cafes!) and the parks. We like to throw facts around about Birmingham: second city, more canals than Venice, etc, but the fact I’m most fond of is that we have more parks than Paris - one reason why it’s nicer here!

2) Do you have a favourite landmark in Birmingham and why?

That’s a tough one. I’m fond of Old Joe, the University clock tower (tallest free standing clock tower in Europe, fact fans!). It caught my eye when I first came to Brum to see my brother graduate from Birmingham University and I see it on a daily basis. I love driving past Selly Manor; Brum has so many new buildings and I like the reminder that people were busy here even before the Tudor period, which is when the building dates from. If I have to pick a favourite it would be the new library. I know others disagree with me, but I think it looks great from the outside, although I reserve the right to change my mind if the inside turns out to be a disaster when they finally let us see it!

3) Are there any places you mention in 'Park Life' that are particular favourites in relation to the story?

Definitely the parks; Highgate Park is one of my favourites because it’s that little bit wilder than the others, although if I still lived in Moseley the ‘secret park’ would win. If my fictional café Tall Trees actually existed, I’d have to pick there.  In its absence, I indulge my need to eat cake in many of the other great independent cafes we’re lucky to have.

Contact Katherine via Twitter @KatharineDS or visit her website to find out more: www.katharinedsouza.co.uk

Interview by Elaine S Moxon who can be contacted on Twitter @word_seeker or discover more about her work on her blog.