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Recent months have seen a flurry of activity in The Grubtown Daily Herald offices in a bid to find a budding new reporter who can then be tricked into writing for the paper for very little money indeed. A competition was run through our sister website www.visitgrubtown.com to find the best young would-be reporter of Grubtown news.
“I was amazed by the number of entries,” said Grubtown Daily Herald editor (and my boss, so I’d better be nice about him) Flimflam Midway. “I wanted the mayor’s son, Tundra Gomez, to win because the mayor said that, if Tundra didn’t win, he’d fill the Herald offices with pingpong balls, from floor to ceiling, which would make it a very difficult place to work.” When Tundra Gomez didn’t even bother to enter the event, Flimflam Midway was left with the difficult task of having to ring Mayor Flabby Gomez and ask, “Would you like Tundra to win anyway?” As it turned out, Flabby Gomez was extremely angry with Tundra for having just used one of his (fairly large) sandwiches as a sofa when watching a programme about breakfast on breakfast television, apparently leaving “a bottom shape” and “elbow marks” in the bread. “Do what you like, Midway!” he replied.
Shoona Loose later admitted that holding a press conference for bald eagles afraid of heights at the top of Lupus Tower (built by crazed millionaire Tartan Lupus in 1858) hadn’t been her best idea, but she’d managed to get the venue cheap following a last minute cancellation from the Vertigo Society.
BY ‘WEARING SILLY BEARDS’
from our clean-shaven correspondent
Grubtown’s Beardy Ardagh is one of this year’s official World Book Day authors, with GRUBTOWN TALES: The Great Pasta Disaster being one side of one of the official £1 flip-books. He has not been excluded from Mayor Flabby Gomez’s orders, so will be wearing a false beard himself. “This is utterly ridiculous!” said the strikingly handsome author on hearing the news. “Surely people will be wearing beards as a tibute to me and I’ll look less like myself if I’m wearing a disguise?” He was promptly arrested by chief of police, Grabby Hanson.
“Beardy Ardagh’s arrest has nothing to do with his disagreeing with the mayor,” Hanson stressed. ”The timing of the arrest was a complete coincidence. Beardy Adagh is simply helping us with our inquiries over the matter of some unpaid parking tickets.” When it was pointed out that Mr Ardagh neither drives nor has a car, Grubtown’s top policeman suddenly remembered that he had something important to do. And hid under his desk.
GRUBTOWN ACCIDENTALLY CELEBRATES NEW YEAR
A WEEK EARLY
Mayor Skips Diary Page By Mistake
from our fizzy-drinks-filled correspondent
Grubtown’s official celebrations for seeing in 2010 began on 25th December when Mayor Flabby Gomez accidentally turned over two pages — thinking that they were one — in his week-a-page diary. “I wondered what had happened to Christmas,” the mayor later admitted, “But I assumed I must have slept through it. It wouldn’t have been the first time.” Angry residents were forced to miss their Christmas dinners and listen to a series of compulsory speeches from Mayor Flabby Gomez, many shouting that it wasn’t even New Year’s Eve.
“Mayor Gomez couldn’t hear the shouting because he had his ears stuffed with pancakes,” Police Chief Grabby Hanson later explained. “This is a Grubtown tradition dating back to the days when Flabby Gomez’s father, Big Man Gomez ran the town.” No-one knows how the tradition came about and everyone was too frightened to ask Big Man Gomez at the time (and he’s dead now). Not that he would have heard the question, what with rolled-up pancakes in his ears, anyway.
It was only after the fireworks and free doughnuts that local children Jilly Cheeter and Mango Clatrap managed to convince the Mayor of his error. “Every Grubtowner still recieved his or her official New Year’s Day party bag, containing a free edible statuette of my good-self made either from luncheon meat or a meat-substitute for vegetarians,” Flabby Gomez explained, “but they’re not getting another one when the real start to 2010 comes around.”
These tasty statuettes were made by Pageant Conquest, the chief of police’s sister.
The only injury was to local resident Mrs Awning who was somehow became stuck to a Catherine wheel — a type of spinning firework — having already become covered in glue while making homemade Christmas decorations prior to the week-early celebrations. “She looked lovely,” said artist Partial Coggs. “Her burning hair brought out the colour in her eyes.” Apart from a singed wig, her most serious injury was a severe bout of dizziness, according to Dr Fraud (who isn’t really a doctor but is happy to be quoted in this newspaper on medical matters).
Website Editor’s important note: NEVER PLAY WITH FIREWORKS. THEY CAN BE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.
The untimely celebrations ended with the setting off of a dragon-shaped firework display. “This was to commemorate the Chinese Year of The Dragon,” Mayor Flabby Gomez told reporters, “even though this wasn’t the Chinese New Year either and 2010 is, in truth, the Year of the Tiger.”
BEARDY ARDAGH WINS ROALD DAHL FUNNY PRIZE. GRUBTOWN STUNNED
from our gobsmacked correspondent
Grubtowners were stunned by the news that local author Beardy Ardagh has won the prestigious Roald Dahl Funny Prize, announced at the Unicorn Theatre in London at a glittery award ceremony on Tuesday 10thNovember. “He trod on my foot with his size 16s once,” said sign-painter Marley Gripe, “and I didn’t find that in the slightest bit funny.”
“When I crashed into Beardy Ardagh’s house that time, he didn’t see the funny side,” sulked Mickey ‘Steamroller’ Johnson from his Grubtown Jail prison cell.
“He’s hardly a laugh a minute,” admitted Mayor Flabby Gomez in a hastily convened press conference, “but we do often laugh at him behind his back for his choice of trousers, so it’’s nice that he’s finally been recognised. When I say recognised I don’t mean recognised as in ‘Look! There’s Beardy Ardagh!’ because he’s always been very EASY to recognise, being so big and having such a hairy face. No, I mean recognised as in having his writing talent recognised.”
“He keeps telling everyone that he’s the greatest writer of his generation and, even if the Roald DahlFunny Prize doesn’t confirm this, it does confirm that he’s funny,” Chief of Police Grabby Hanson told reporters before climbing out of the window with their coats which he’d just stolen from the claokroom. “I’ve always thought he was a bit funny,” said local accident-waiting-to-happen, Mrs Awning, before falling down an open mine shaft (which she herself had finished digging moments earlier.)
Beardy Ardaghshares the prize (and prize money) with the illusrator of the Grubtown Tales, Jim Paillot but told reporters that he’d rather not talk about that. “Let’s make this all about ME,” he said.
‘MAGNIFICENT GRUBTOWN SEND-OFF’ FOR FAIRLY GOOD AUTHOR
HEADING OFF TO TOP LONDON AWARD CEREMONY
from our I-go-anywhere-for-free-food correspondent
With the announcement of the winner of this year’s Rald Dahl Funny [Book] Prize less than twenty-four hours away, the people of Grubtown — well, some of them — gathered in Dung Street to wish Grubtown’s resident author, Beardy Ardagh, the best of luck and, in the case of Hobo Brown, to ask him for enough money to buy a frothy coffee (from THE RUSTY DOLPHIN CAFE) and an iced bun (from MINTY GIBB’S CAKE SHOP). Beardy Ardagh will be spending the night in his second home, in Tunbridge Wells Kent, before heading for The Unicorn Theatre in London on Tuesday morning.
“I hope this isn’t a trick,” Beardy told waiting reporters. “I know there are no such things as unicorns so perhaps there’s no such thing as the Unicorn Theatre either… Maybe the Roald Dahl Funny Prize is made up too. It does sound a bit funny, now I come to think of it…”
In a short speech, lasting less than three hours, Mayor Flabby Gomez told the crowd, “I’ve not ready any books on the shortlist but it’s unlikely that Beardy Ardagh’s is the best. Having said that, he’s the only Grubtowner on this list and for that reason alone, we should all hope that he wins.”
Carlo Monty, manager of the illegal gambling ship, The Crooked Sixpence, moored just off Grubtown, told The Gruntown Daily Herald, ‘I’m not an expert on body language but when I recently saw the reaction of Michael Rosen (Roald Dahl Funny Prize founder and former childen’s laureate) to seeing a copy of Beardy’sshortlistedtitle, STINKING RICH AND JUST PLAIN STINKY, I’d say he rated it somewhere just above the delights of being trapped in a lift with a sack of horse manure. But only just. It wasn’t all sunny smiles I can tell you.”
Beardy Ardagh has announced that if he DOES win this prestigious and coveted prize, he’ll give the money to charity, but he did say this very quietly indeed — probably hoping that no-one would hear him — and he DID have his fingers crossed.
A number of those who had gathered to wish Beardy Ardagh well, and to enjoy the free orange squash, had their wallets and purses stolen. These were returned when chief of Police, Grabby Hanson, arrested himself for trying to pick the mayor’s pocket. He found the stolen items concealed inside his own policeman’s jacket.
BEARDY ARDAGH SHORTLISTED FOR BOOK AWARD. “I’D LIKE TO PUNCH HIM ON THE NOSE!” SAYS ANGRY BUNTY FOX
from our shortlists and boxing correspondent
Grubtown’s resident internationally best-selling children’s author, Beardy Ardagh, has been shortlisted for this year’s ROALD DAHL FUNNY [BOOK] PRIZE. “It’s further confirmation that my work is universally adored,” he told reporters, not that they were asking. “As well as my physical beauty and several personal hygiene awards, it would be nice to add this trophy to the cabinet, so long as I don’t have to dust it.”
After a quick snack and time to comb his beard, the larger than life — that’s newspaper-speak for ‘overweight’ — author continued: “The judges of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize obviously felt that it would be good to have the Ardaghnameassociated with Roald Dahl because, being dead, he is unable to produce any more humorous books of his own.”
Ardagh refused to discuss the other shortlisted books in what is agreed to be a very strong field of contenders. “Why should I want to give them publicity?” he said. “That’s their job. Let them do it.”
The press conference was broken up when Bunty Fox – co-owner of KILL ALL DUCKS, a shop devoted to badly-made homemade models of duck suffering nasty injuries — took the opportunity to accuse Beardy Ardagh of portraying her ‘peace-loving and friendly’ family as being ‘nasty and unpleasant’ in each and every GRUBTOWN TALE.
Mrs Fox then threatened to give Beardy Ardagh’s nose ‘a good punching’, and beat Officer Mustard Tripwire over the head with a baguette from her shopping bag when being forcibly removed from the room.
“Such a blatant waste of good food will not be tolerated,” Mayor Flabby Gomez said later from his newly-knitted mayoral residence, with his mouth full.
Philip Ardagh will be touring his own back garden in an open-top bus for the next three Wednesday evenings. To avoid disappointment, booking is advisable.
[Check blog entry for more details.]
NEW-LOOK BLOTCHY MILK CHURNS MAKE ME FEEL SICK SAYS LOCAL UNDERTAKER
from our slighty queasy correspondent
BEARDY ARDAGH WINS ROALD DAHL FUNNY PRIZE. GRUBTOWNERS STUNNED
from our utterly gobsmacked correspondent
Professional complainer, and town undertaker, Wide Brim Petty-Mandrake has already written 463 e-mails of complaint to the council about the churns. “One look at them and I keep seening blotches before my eyes,” he claims. “They make me feel sick. They make me want to retch. This is no laughing matter, it’s a barfing matter.”
Grubtown’s resident pretend-doctor, Dr Fraud, has been quick to assure fellow Grubtowners that the look of the churns poses no threat to public health. “And I’m not just saying that because I have a big cheque from Wretching’s Dairy in my pocket,” he told reporters at a news conference. “For all I know, the milk in the churns could be deadly poisonous, but the blotches won’t do any harm.”
Unfortunately, local resident, Mrs Awning, was slight injured when sixty-two of the churns rolled over her, one at a time, when they fell from the back of a Wretching’s Dairy lorry at the end of the news conference. “I haven’t laughed so much since my brother got ill,” said local sign-painter Marley Gripe.
MAYOR FLABBY GOMEZ HAS ‘QUIET WORD’ WITH BEARDY ARDAGH ABOUT ‘SHAMELESS SELF-PUBLICITY’
from our quiet words correspondent
The critical success of Beardy Ardagh’s first two Grubtown Tales has resulted in the local author having had an enormous poster of himself put up on the billboard in Rank Street, near the abandoned bowtie factory. Following such plaudits as ‘Philip Ardagh writes funny like he can’t help it’ from The Independent on Sunday, ‘Extremely inventive’ from The Daily Telegraph and ‘This man is a god!’ from Beardy Ardagh Weekly (in which the author reviews his own books), Beardy Ardagh has been described by some fellow-Grubtownersasbeing ‘even more big headed than someone with a really, REALLY big head.’
A source close to Mayor Flabby Gomez — in fact, Pritt Gomez, his wife (and you can’t get much closer than that) — has told this newspaper that the mayor called Mr Ardagh into his office to say that if ANYONE was going to have lots of posters of his face around town it was going to be him and not Beardy. He said it very quietly, though, so those listening in the corridor could only hear the words ‘thistle’ and ‘teapot’, though they might have been mistaken.
Beardy Ardaghwasunavailablefor comment last night, stating that he was too busy building himself a golden throne.
FOX FAMILY ‘REALLY VERY ANGRY’ ABOUT BEARDY ARDAGH’S GRUBTOWN TALES
from our angry Grubtown residents correspondent
The Fox family, Grubtown residents and owners of the local shop KILL ALL DUCKS, have expressed their anger at the way in which author Beardy Ardagh has portrayed them in the first two of his GrubtownTales. “He’s made us look like duck-hating nutters,” Derek Fox told me, while making a clay model of a duck withitsfoot caught in a piano. “If he doesn’t show us in a better light in Book 3, we’re going to put a hosepipe through his letter box and fill his house with yoghurt. We’re NICE, I tell you! NICE!” He then threw me out onto his front lawn.
Beardy Ardagh was unavialable for comment. He was too busy taping up his letter box.
The third Grubtown Tale, The Far From Great Escape, is published later this year.
GRUBTOWN DUCKLINGS SYNCHRONIZED SWIMMING TEAM WINS SECOND PLACE
from our waterfowl formation dancing correspondent
Despite bad weather, a polluted pond and the Fox family throwing stale rock buns and shouting, “Ducks aren’t very nice!”, Grubtown’s ducklings synchronized swimming team managed a silver medal at this years’ No-Training-Allowed Because-They’re-Wild-Animals-And-Not-Pets Animal Sports Extravaganza.
This is an animal sports extravaganza in which there’s no training allowed because the contestants are wild animals and not pets.
“Of course we were hoping for first place,” said Grubtown’s mayor, Flabby Gomez. “But second is better than third which is better than fourthwhichis, without a doubt, better than fifth.”
The competition was neck and neck with the ducklings of nearby Merry Moss, until a Grubtown duckling named Quackling (top left of photo) broke formation in the final cartwheel manoeuvre.
“It is, of course, against the law to bet on the competition,” said former riverboat gambler Carlo Monte and manager of the illegal gambling ship The Crooked Sixpence, “but I did it anyway, and made lots of money.”
Mayor Flabby Gomez went on to point out that it is better to come fifth than sixth and sixth than seventh.
The only reported injury in the three-day event was to a Mrs Awning who got a carrot stuck in her left ear.
THE SIGN OF THE TIMES
from our why do I get to write about boring old road signs correspondent
Following a near miss between a mummy duck and Grubtown sign-painter, Marley Gripe, Chief Grabby Hanson has put up a number of road signs at popular duck crossing points (including that nasty bend in Nasty Bend Road) to warn drivers to steer clear of ducks. “Luckily, Marley Gripe was on his bike,” said Hanson. “”If it had been Mickey ‘Steamroller’ Johnson, on his steamroller, things could have been a lot worse.” (Mr Johnson is currently in Grubtown Jail for flattening Minty Glibb’s cakeshop, and for trying to flatten Minty Glibbs herself.)
“Under normal circumstances, Marley Gipe would have been asked to paint the signs,” Chief Hanson told me, ”but, because he was the one who nearly hit the mummy duck, Mayor Flabby Gomez declared that Mr Gripe should not make any money from the signs put up to try and put a stop to such things. Instead, he had me have the signs made at the nearby GOMEZ SIGNS factory.”
CHIEF SOLVES CRIME BEFORE IT HAPPENS
from our floating gambling den and crime statistics correspondent
Grubtown’s chief of police, Grabby Hanson, has announced some of the best crime-solving figures since crime was invented. “Unlike other police forces,” the chief told reporters on the illegal off-shore gambling ship, The Crooked Sixpence, “here in Grubtown I carry out most of the crimes myself. This means that all I have to do is to arrest myself or to give myself up at the police station, making Grubtown a better and safer place for everyone!”
During the press conference, three reporters had their notebooks stolen, two TV crews ‘lost’ their cameras and TV presenter, Lobby Concourse, was kidnapped. All were found in Grabby Hanson’s locker and were returned in just a few hours. On her TV show, Lobby Concourse said, “I couldn’t have been grabbed by a nicer or more handsome person.”
GRUBTOWN TO WELCOME BACK NEARBY-VILLAGE IDIOT
from our drooling fool of a correspondent
Being GrubTOWN rather than GrubVILLAGE, Grubtown has never been allowed to have its very own village idiot but, thanks to the generosity of the nearby village of Werty, it will be visited by one this summer. Formal Dripping has won many national and international village idiot awards and, over his long career, has dribbled many gallons of drool. He will be bringing his ever-popular pig’s bladder on a stick, and promises to point at everything (and nothing in particular) guffawing loudly and stupidly for no apparent reason.
FOX FAMILY ACTUALLY SELLS SOMETHING IN SHOP
from our absolutely stunned correspondent
Ever since its opening a few years ago, KILL ALL DUCK (a shop which sells nothing but badly made models of ducks involved in fatal accidents) has not had ANY customer except for the shop-owners themselves. The Fox family opened their shop when Mrs BuntyFoxclaimed that she failed her driving test when a passing duck put her off with its QUACKING. She drove the car into the sea.
Husband Derek Fox told our reporter that they’d actually sold a model of a duck being struck by lightning, made by their daughter Garrideb. “We were amazed and delighted,” he told The Grubtown Daily Herald.
KILL ALL DUCKS’s first and only customer was later found trying to boil his own foot in a saucepan of nettle soup and is currently in the care of Dr Fraud.
MAYOR FLABBY GOMEZ NEEDS YOUR WOOL!
from our doing-what-the-mayor-tells-me-to-do correspondent
Work is well underway on the knitting of new home for the mayor and his family. Mayor Gomez is doing all the knitting himself, but needs all the wool he can get his hands on. If you have any unwanted balls of wool, or are willing to unravel any old socks and sweaters, please leave them in any of the official ‘wool drop bins’ located around Grubtown. While work on his new home is underway, Flabby Gomez, wife Pritt Gomez and son Tundra Gomez continue to live in a garden shed.
JILLY CHEETER GRUBTOWN’S OFFICIAL DUCK GATHERER
from our wildfowl and recently employed correspondent
Young Jilly Cheeterhasbeen awarded the important job of being the town’s new duck gatherer. The job comes with a duck-call whistle and a big key to The Duck House. “I didn’t apply for the job,” Jill Cheeter explained. “I was sent to the council offices to complain that we don’t have a cane toad living in our compost heap though our nextdoor neighbour does, and went through the wrong door.”
Before she quite knew what had happened, Grubtown’sofficial council job-giver-outer, Rambo Sanskrit, had made her duck-gatherer. “It’s lucky that I love ducks!” she said.
MANGO CLAPTRAPS SHORTS FRIGHTEN DRAGONFLY
from our out-of-fashion correspondent
Young Mango Claptrap is a very familar sight around Grubtown with his very short shorts. There is much debate about whether he has lots of look-so-alike-you-can’t tell-them-apart short shorts, or whether he just wears the same pair all the time. Eitherway, Grubtowners everywhere can spot Mango Claptrap (and his short shorts) from a long way off. “I’m happy for the citizens of Grubtownto wear whatever they like,” Mayor Flabby Gomez announced at a recent town meeting, “but I’ve heard reports that young Claptrap’s short shorts have been upsetting some of the local insects, so I will be keeping an eye on the matter.” The mayor strongly denied rumours that he might be introducing a ‘clothes tax’.
Ill? Dying Or Just Plain Old badly Injured?
Then call DR FRAUD on Grubtown 882.
“I may not be a real doctor, but I’m cheap and have my own stethascope.
No bils too big, no cuts too small.
Looking for a clean shirt or a wedding ring?
Then why not vist SCORN’S LAUNDRETTE & JEWELLERS on Wrong Street?
Lefty Scorn has years of experience unblocking dryers,
filling the washing-powder-dispensing machine
and sllingfinejewellery, most of it genuine.
“SCORN’S. We put the sparkle in your laundry and on your fingers.”
KEEP UP WITH ALL THE LATEST GRUBTOWN NEWS BY READING ‘GRUBTOWN TALES’
Children’s books just got a whole lot siller!
An extremely exciting and exceptionally silly new series from the creator of Eddie Dickens. Grubtown is certainly a town and certainly grubby - except for the squeaky clean parts - but everything else we know about the place comes from Beardy Ardagh, town resident and author of these tales …
Grubtown is full of oddballs - from the singing Grumbly girls to a family of duck-haters, and an out-sized mayor who’s knitting a new house - but Manual Org is too repulsive even for them. Getting him to leave town is top priority, until the discovery of a humongous diamond changes everything …
A startled cow falling out of nowhere onto Limbo Goulash while he’s riding Marley Gripe’s bicycle marks the start of a chain of events strange even by Grubtown’sstandards. With Mayor Flabby Gomez throwing a wobbly, all chief of police, Grabby Hanson, can do is have the cow-fearing townsfolk watch the skies. Underground, meanwhile, there lies another big surprise …
Don’t forget to check out the latest news from Philip ‘Beardy’ Ardagh in his blog