The Rambo Shenanigans

I’ve said all this before, but I don’t care; this bugs me a lot.

The Rambo series is a feat of sequential numbering that will make your bum burn.

If someone says to you they’ve just watched Rambo, don’t ask them which one; you could be there for a week. And it’s not a film worth that much of your time.

The first Rambo film is called First Blood. It was released in 1982.

The sequel is called Rambo: First Blood Part II, and was released in 1985.

So far, so sensible enough.

The next film released was in 1988, and it was called Rambo III.


The 1988 release should by rights have been called Rambo II: First Blood Part III.

Things get even worse with the fourth instalment, belatedly released in 2008. Instead of opting for the sensible Rambo III: First Blood Part IV, they decided to call it Rambo.

So, if someone says they saw Rambo last night, they could mean the first instalment (they’d be wrong), they could mean the second instalment (they’d be just about right), or they could mean the fourth (they’d be right).

But what if they clarify and tell you they mean Rambo 2. There is no Rambo 2. They could mean the second instalment, or they could be being pedantic and mean the third instalment. They could even bum-squelchingly mean the fourth instalment, it being the second film in their mind to be titled Rambo.

If someone says they saw Rambo 4, punch them in the nipples.


And now … they’ve just announced the title of the fifth film in the series, due for release next month.

Rambo 5: Last Blood.



It’s Rambo IV: First Blood Part V: Last Blood.

The Rambo Shenanigans

End Of Level Boss

We took a vote on it.

Looking back now though, it wasn’t exactly they best way to have done it. There were no ballot boxes, or polling places. We just sent a text to a number at the bottom of the screen.

We’d been watching those screens for weeks, ever since the giant ship appeared in the sky. It hovered there for a couple of days, doing nothing. We later found out that it was assimilating to our environment, and the aliens inside were reconfiguring their organs so they could breathe our air.

Then they emerged.

A giant ramp descended, slowly, over the course of a week, and then a massive hatch opened, and a tiny little figure waved at us. He looked like a character from a 1990s computer platform game. That was what they based their new appearance on apparently. The alien was two foot high, and moved about by jumping and spinning, and stealing as many coins as it could.

That should have been our first warning, but we were all too distracted by, you know, the alien. Even if it was nicking all our money.

The whole race had turned itself into that one creature.

And down it came. To talk to our leaders in a series of chirps, whistles, electronic music, and by throwing discs at them.

Somehow, I dunno how, that little thing took over the world.

I suspect it rigged the phone vote in the first place too.

But today’s the day we fight back.

We’ve bred the weapon we need.

It’s a sixty foot thing, green, with a razor back, and it spits pixellated fire every four seconds. It’s not perfect. It can only move from side to side in a pre-determined pattern, and don’t tell anyone, but if you smack it on the top of its head, it loses one tenth of its power.

And we built it in a big warehouse, and now we can’t get it out.

So we’ve had to lure the alien to us.

We built a series of brightly coloured floating brick platforms, and left a trail of gold coins. It’s just down the road now, heading directly for The Boss. That’s what we nicknamed it.

This plan can’t fail.


The first part of the Normalverse trilogy is currently free to read on Amazon.



Rich Food

The revolution came when we least expected it.

For years it felt like it had been brewing, just bubbling beneath the surface, with social trauma after social trauma feeling like it would upend everything.

And then that just stopped.

Dunno why.

Everything just … calmed down a bit.

It was like the energy had run out. Politics seemed … normal again. The anger and division sort of subsided. Things got a little bit better. There was a bit more money about. Queues at the doctors were shorter. Even the roads had fewer potholes.

So what happened?

Why am I now here, gathered around a camp fire, watching a banker slowly rotate on a spit, as the flames cook and crackle the flesh, a delicious odour tickling at my nose, making my mouth water?

It was just one day, out of nowhere, we all decided to eat the rich.

We weren’t hungry.

We weren’t particularly bitter.

It was just like the time was right.

As one, we stood up, went to London, and cooked the Queen. It was only a tiny morsel for each of us, barely a mouthful. And most of us didn’t even get a taste. I didn’t even get a slice of a very minor royal.

It wasn’t until we got to the oilgarchs that I ate anyone.

Rich food we called it.

Couldn’t have too much. Else there wouldn’t be enough to go round.

We ate all the other things we used to eat still. Beef. Bread. Pears. You know, there’s no need to list all the food. And it wasn’t just here. At the same time, all around the world, like a switch had been flicked, the world got up and par boiled the one percent.

It feels like there should be a moral. Or a warning, or some twist to the tale. But there isn’t. We’re all better off for it.

We should have done it ages ago.

Rich Food

Rik On The Gloria Hunniford Show

There’s a story behind this interview.

Rik seems ill at ease, and not his usual self. He’s always more low key during interviews like this, but there’s something more here, and his discomfort is palpable.

This is because this happened just one day after Stephen Fry famously walked out of the play they were doing (Cell Mates), leaving a letter behind, and heading for Belgium. The oblique reference to the flu barely hides how distraught Rik must have been for his friend’s safety at this point, with no-one knowing where Fry was.

It’s remarkable that these seemingly facile interviews can often mask so much.