A blog pulling together all my fings.

Archive for the ‘Extra-Curricular Things’ Category


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This year has been dominated by huge news stories that shook the world. This video tries to show how it felt to live through 2011… the year beyond words.

(Warning: Contains graphic images)

Written by barrypilling

December 13, 2011 at 8:30 am


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You can get these bad boys on ebay and etsy

They’re 100% cotton bags with a Dot Cotton pun on the front. Priceless.

Dot Cotton bags in box

They make a cracking little stocking filler for Christmas and are way cooler than anything you’ve ever seen with your eyes.

If you’re thinking of making a bag I’d recommend Canby Bags, as they’re really helpful and make good quality products. You have to make a vector graphic, but don’t let that put you off. A bit of googling will get you through.

But seriously, get clicking… I need to shift these things.

Written by barrypilling

November 23, 2011 at 5:35 pm


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Confession time!

I love The Only Way is Essex. I love Made In Chelsea. I cringe throughout both, but it is fun to see overly-priviledged people get stressed about their self-made problems.

Both shows are back on air for new series so I decided to mash them up with some voice-swapping. What would happen if Joey Essex sounded like a cad and the posh types sounded like them people from that county wot’s in the south of Ingland where they drive them white cars and that and go to restaurants and, like, eat and have rows and that and stuff, d’you know what I mean babes…?

It’s already been shared over 500 times, including by Made In Chelsea’s Francis Boulle. The view count is up to 2,400 on day one so I’m hoping this one’s going to grow…

Francis Boulle Tweets Chelsex

Written by barrypilling

October 4, 2011 at 10:41 am


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In June I went to the world-famous Glastonbury festival and made this film out of photographs.  It was shot and edited on site within 24 hours before the festival began…


We were there working on several film projects for Shangri-La, part of the the late night area of the festival. This meant six days of the best filmmaking fun of my life but also six muddy days without a shower.


It’s fair to say we all smelled…OF AWESOME.

Written by barrypilling

August 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm


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Here’s a solid, undeniable fact… people do not express themselves using barbershop often enough.

I actually used to despair in that fact, until I met Barbershopera. These guys are talented. Like, really talented. If I was in charge of Radio 4, 5 Live… actually any radio station where people could speak, I’d get these guys on. Thanks to producer Ben Walker (who co-produced our Doc Brown comedy vids) we collaborated and made a spoof music video in time for the royal wedding. It’s called I Could Have Married Kate and features four dejected people and one horse who thought they had a shot with Kate Middleton… but in the end it just didn’t work out.

The video was featured in The Sun, ICanHasCheezburger CBC Canada, WhatsOnStage, Chortle UK, Chortle Australia,, CurrentTV, Euronews, AsiaOne, Kontraband, Prankies, The Poke, 3 News New Zealand, Stuff New Zealand,, local news in Bolton, Derbyshire, Birmingham, Amersham and Brockley and was played on Australian breakfast TV where they showed the bit with Prince William with a cock and balls on his head LOLZ.

Barbershopera Video on Australian TV showing Prince Williams cock and balls oops

It was a great project, we turned it around really quickly and I can’t wait to do more music video and comedy projects now I’m freelancing full time. The whole thing fell together easily and I’m really proud of what we’ve created.

If you know anyone who needs a director… call me.

Written by barrypilling

May 3, 2011 at 10:25 am


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The Junk Shop is a book I’m writing one chapter at a time, releasing each one as I go along. It’s the story of a man who enters a mysterious junk shop and ends up falling through a mirror to another world.

The story is written on my phone whilst travelling on the London Underground. In the darkness of the tunnels the story seems to write itself…

Read part one here.

The Tunnel

I suddenly realised my face was tender and grazed. If this was on YouTube it would definitely have been tagged ‘faceplant’. But where had I fallen from? Turning back I saw the curved stone wall that ran up both sides of the corridor, meeting in the middle above my head. It was long, expanding into the darkness on my left and right.

Now I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how strange this was. It was so far off the scale of strangeness it had come round full circle, tapped me on the shoulder and slapped me in the face. Really hard. And my face really hurt.

So no mirror. No junk shop. Was I high? No, probably not. I distinctly disagree with hard drug use due to the ravages of drug production on South America, for example, Mexico alone has… nevermind. Maybe I was dreaming and would wake up eventually? Or perhaps it was real and simply very strange? Either way the situation seemed distinctly out of my hands and I was British dammit so I wasn’t going to let a little thing like the most inexplicable and disturbing event of a young(ish) man’s life get me down.

My only option was to roll with the punches.

I shuddered, maybe from the cold, probably from fear creeping into my spine. I fought it by slapping myself about the face. Mentally you understand, not literally, my poor visage had gone through enough. I looked to the only light source… a flaming torch burning away in a holder on the wall. How very David-pissing-Bowie-in-Labyrinth. There was no-one in sight and my initial shock was turning to nerves so I decided to take the torch and keep it with me for as long as it would burn. A couple of hours perhaps? I don’t know, I’m not a scout. But the light felt comforting and the fact it was on fire was a total bonus. Light scares away tricks of the mind, monsters under the bed and such, but fire scares away real things like spiders and rapists. Oh yes, I was going to hold into this torch until I got out alive or woke the hell up.

I decided to name him Torchy.

I took Torchy from his holder and examined the walls. I wish I could say they were interesting… Lined with diamonds and held together with sparkley unicorn dung, perhaps? Well no, they were just regular slightly mouldy stone walls. No gaps, no cracks, no handle back to the other side. Drat and bugger. There was, however, an old cast iron sign post. On the left it pointed to Carlisle and on the right Berlin. Was I in some kind of long-forgotten Nazi tunnel? Surely even the Nazis, who loved being mean to just about everyone ever, couldn’t be arsed to walk from Berlin to Carlisle? Be honest, there’s not even that much in Carlisle.

Then I heard it… the sound of hooves. Not galloping. Not even cantering, just clopping and scraping in the distance. How the hell would a horse survive down here? There was only one way to find out. I must have walked a good six and a half minutes (what? I’m precise, deal with it) in the direction of Carlisle before I saw it. At first I thought it was a horse in a natty jacket. Then I thought it wasn’t a horse at all, but some kind of strange headless creature that must live exclusively in this tunnel, like a rubbish minotaur. I edged closer, holding Torchy and the old computer mouse in front of me in case it attacked. In hindsight that was daft. I’m pretty sure you can’t click a horse to death.

Then I finally saw what it was… a zebra.

Or, to be precise, a zebra with its head stuck in the wall. Keeping the zebra in place was a strong collar with a simple brass clasp at the top. I had no idea if the zebra knew I was there or not, he just seemed to be shuffling a bit, like he was sick of being held in the same position. The stone walls were so thick and the collar so tightly fastened that I couldn’t hear a single noise from the creature’s mouth, but I sensed it wasn’t happy. It felt wrong. Zebras are magnificent creatures and should be free to roam the Serengeti and get eaten by lions, not trussed up in a tunnel, unable to move a millimetre. It dawned on me that it was my responsibility, no, no, my duty, to free this creature and take whatever consequences came my way, safe in the knowledge that I, as a compassionate, noble and heroic human being had bestowed kindness and mercy upon this poor, unfortunate, incarcerated beast.

Plus it’s times like this in a young(ish) man’s life when curiosity outweighs, well… everything. So I reached out and flicked open the clasp.

Now I don’t know what I expected to happen. After all, I’d never freed a zebra before. But I didn’t expect this.

“THAAANK CHRIST FO’ THAT!” Yelled the zebra (yes, the zebra) as it yanked back from the wall, shaking its mane in fits and starts, sending a huge cloud of dust into the corridor. “I’ve been stuck in that wall fer ages, proper time!”

I swear to god the zebra had a Manc accent.

The zebra stretched out, coughing and spluttering. “Aaaah mate, ma neck proper kills… OH YEAH it feels SOOO GOOD to move around… UGH! I’m sick of lookin at that shop. It’s been proper time since I’ve seen this corridor. And my arse! Jeeesus I forgot what it looked like! Not so bad eh boss?” And with that he wiggled it at me. He wiggled… his arse… at me.

The zebra stopped, finally noticing my gobsmacked expression. I had a face like a slapped donut, and was so confused I’m pretty sure my brain had begun leaking out of my ear.

“Oh it’s you.” Said the zebra “…the bloke from the shop. I saw you fall through the mirror, that was piss funny.”

Again, I stared, open-mouthed.

“Oh, sorry. You’re not from round here are ya?”

More silence

“Don’t worry,” said the zebra, stepping forward “We can be pals, like, we can hang out and that. It’s been ages since I had a proper chat, about 40 years or so. I’ve got loads to talk about, me, honest I have. Oh, who won the last ten world cups? I had a bet on with Tony and he…”


He looked startled. Good. He was prattling like a tosser, someone had to stop him. Although my outburst mustn’t have shocked him as much as I’d hoped.

“Alright Colin Firth, keep your knickers on. I’m Keith, I’m a zebra. You’re clearly a human, and pretty rude with it, which is funny considering you just fell through the mirror like a right prick…” He actually got spittle on my face as he said that but I didn’t want to seem weak so I left it there until he looked away and then wiped it off. Small victory, but still counts. “…and you’re on the Flipside. Right, basics sorted.”

“The Flipside?”

“Yes Einstein, the flipside, the other side, the parallel wotsit… The place prissy suits like you don’t even know exists because your heads are too far up your own back sides with your stock markets and your London rent. Anyway, let’s walk and talk. Where are you heading?”

“Well nowhere. Actually… Carlisle I suppose.” I was getting a bit sulky. I’d only been here two minutes and I was already taking orders from a disco horse.

“And what do you expect to find in Carlisle?” Asked Keith.

“I dunno… A castle? Bad weather? A train back to London?”

“WRONG! Just as I thought, not a bloody clue. This isn’t your Carlisle, that’s on the other side.”

“Well what’s this Carlisle then?”

“Duh! It’s an island full of Carls!”

Got thoughts, comments or suggestions for where the story could go? Leave a comment below, and subscribe to the blog to get the next update!

Written by barrypilling

April 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Posted in The Junk Shop


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I’ve decided to write a novel in a new way.

Instead of doing draft after draft with editors and publishers and all that business, I’m going to write it in chunks, and use the feedback from readers as inspiration for subsequent chapters. I’ve done the first part, and have a rough idea of the second, but beyond that the story is open to a multitude of possibilities.

This story is called The Junk Shop, and is inspired by a real shop I pass every day on the way to New Cross Gate station, pictured below. One day I’ll tell you more about it, but for now here is my interpretation of what happens inside.

This novel is mainly written on my phone whilst on the London Underground. There’s no phone signal, so it’s the perfect place to concentrate on nothing but your own imagination.


The Real Junk Shop in New Cross


Every morning I pass the strangest and most curious shop on a quiet corner of the high street. It’s a junk shop. A junk shop so strange and so curious that, until now, I’ve felt far too strange and curious to enter. It has that effect on me, you see. But today all that was going to change.

Today I was going to go inside.

Stepping closer I approached the shop’s wares. They spilled onto the pavement like arms of tasteless tat trying to grab passers-by. I pretended to admire the variety of goods in front of me but couldn’t quite work out their purpose. Who needed computer spares from 1996? Who wanted a 3ft wooden tiger carved by a one-handed eight year old? Who desired a box of discarded shells? (Shotgun, not seaside.)

“You liiiike?” Said a voice, creaking the words out like a seldom-used door.

I turned quickly, having been put on edge by the bear trap snapping shut on the desk in front of me. Note to self, if something in this shop looks like a bear trap it probably is a bear trap and I don’t need to test it by poking it with my biro.

I pocketed the end of my shattered pen and took in the man’s visage. (FYI – That’s French for face.) He looked like a raisin. Not just any raisin, but a raisin that had been left out in the sun too long and shrivelled to the point where other raisins made jokes about it falling asleep on a sun lounger. Add spectacles and a bob hat and I think you catch my drift.

“Just browsing…” I croaked, picking up a computer mouse to add realism to my claim. It was one with the ball on top. I never quite got those.

“I’m Abduuuul” said the raisin, holding out a hand. I swear, had he not just not just walked and talked and done human things I’d have thought I was greeting a scarecrow, so skinny and twig-like was that extended limb. I shook it with minimal contact, too unnerved and unsure to grip like a man.

His hand felt like parchment.

He grinned a tombstone smile. Not wanting to make any more eye contact than was strictly necessary, I averted my eyes and ‘admired’ the shop front. On closer inspection it looked like more had been eaten by insects than had been left behind. A chipped and peeling panel above the door was the remains of a green sign with dark yellow lettering that read ‘Abdul’s Treasures’.

“This…is my shop” he rasped. “Would you like to come iiiiin?” He was still holding my hand. I thought about bashing him with the computer mouse but it seemed a bit extreme.

Then the words popped out before I had chance to bite my tongue. “Not really, no.” How incredibly un-British of me.

Abdul burst out in a raspy laugh. It reminded me of when I owned a petrol lawnmower. He released my hand and beckoned me with his shrivelled finger into the shop. “Come, funny man, come inside and see what treasures await you…”

Like a magnet I found myself walking forward through the doorway. I think my mouth was open, as I felt quite gormless from head to toe. Half a dozen steps later and I was inside the murky interior.

“You are a tricky customer… Back in Eeeengland you must be a saleseman, yes?”

Hold on a blimmin minute, I thought. Someone’s said that to me before. Yes, it was on a holiday to Egypt, when I was being sold a quad biking trip for double the price. In fact, hold on a minute more, I am still in England! This old crone was messing with my head.

“I say Abdul, I am in England…” It sounded pathetic even to my own ears.

He laughed a wheezy laugh once more. It sounded like he’d been punched in the stomach. “Oh funny man. You are in Abdul’s Treasures… Eeeengland is over there…” I turned back to the doorway. Like looking down the wrong end of a telescope the shining daylight of the outside world seemed a long way away. So far away I wondered whether I’d need my passport and jabs to get back in.

I currently didn’t have either.

“Ignore Abdul…” he said, doing that weird third person refererencing thing. “Take a look around and see if you find what you seek.”

What did I seek? A Playstation 3? A four-day weekend for double my wages? A nice girl with a gap in her teeth and big knockers? Somehow I felt Abdul’s treasures would have none of these things, but I was compelled to go deeper into the shop.

The first thing that struck me was the smell. The musty air seemed thick, causing me to breathe in the shortest gasps possible to avoid getting asbestos or fungus or whatever else on my nice pink lungs.

Then I realised how much stuff was in there. Seriously, just… stuff. Rooms and rooms of it.

An Aladdin’s cave of utter shite.

As I went deeper through the maze of rooms I saw house clearance remnants lining every wall, with wardrobes, chests of drawers, tea sets, statues and even a zebra’s head poking out to look at me. I felt sorry for the zebra. It would have been quite magnificent were it not for the fact it was bodyless and stuck to a plywood plinth. Oh the indignity.

Then I saw it. The mirror.

In a room of beige it sat like a gemstone. It looked old. From the 1700s maybe? Venetian? Parisian? I don’t know, I’m not on The Antiques Roadshow and I don’t intend to be either, I couldn’t stand the ‘tache and Toby jugs simply depress me. Look, it was a mirror. Ok, that’s a massive understatement. It was a beautiful mirror. In fact on that day, before my perception of beauty was altered forever, I can safely say it was the most beautiful object I had ever laid eyes on. The mirror seemed to shine without light being cast upon it. It calmed me the more I looked at it, like the soothing sound of a trickling stream. My blood warmed and my mind unknotted, any cares I had falling away the more I basked in its presence. Hypnotised, I found myself easing closer to this immaculate object. A warm breeze fluttered through the shop and the surface of the mirror began to ripple. I wasn’t frightened when that happened, I was simply entranced by the beauty of it. The closer I got the more I could feel a throbbing pulse from its surface, like the thud of the main stage from a distant glastonbury field. I reach my hand out ever so slowly, enjoying the building beat in my chest, as though the mirror itself had reached inside and began pumping my heart with its bare hands. And then I heard Abdul’s voice, close yet distant as though it were the sound of my own mind.

“Come now friend the time has come
To push the glass with hand and thumb
And if you make it back at all
From this face ten years will fall.”

And with that soothing chant echoing in my mind I closed my eyes and leant on the mirror’s mercury surface. It was warm and silky on my fingertips, a wondrous feeling, so I kept on going, pushing my arm deeper inside. Then I felt the warmth on my face and there was nothing I could do but succumb to this new sensation, pouring myself inside the mirror to merge with it as one.

Now I don’t know quite when it was that I snapped back to my senses. It may have been when my face went smack bang into the damp stone floor. Or it might have been when I turned and realised the mirror, the shop, everything had disappeared as if it were never there.

There was only one thought running through my mind…

“Oh shit.”

Should I continue to write The Junk Shop? Feel free to leave your thoughts…

Written by barrypilling

March 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm


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