Mark Sykes’s Sixth Sense of Humour






From Issue 16 (Dec 2011)

CHRISTMAS IS HERE, FOLKS, and as usual, we have a huge amount of largely unusable dross out there in the shops to get for our friends and family. One thing that proliferates more than anything else around this time is literature, and I use the word in its loosest sense. The bookshelves at CNA, WH Smith and Barnes & Noble (depending on which corner of the globe you’re in) annually groan under the weight of the offerings brought out by celebrity chefs, TV presenters, actors, musicians, models, fame whores, soap stars, designers, comedians and sometimes, writers.

Personally, I snap them all up, because I’m dying to know how people like Jeremy Clarkson, Gok Wan and Kim Kardashian became the attention-loving, self-caressing, oxygen-stealing wastes of life they are today, rising from humble backgrounds to conquer their particular sector of stardom. Please, Justin Bieber, tell me more about your father locking you under the stairs for trying on your mum’s make-up, I want to know!

Seriously though, there is one book I’d give my left tentacle to buy this Christmas, which I’d be in real danger of not giving away as a ‘present’ if I found it huddled on the shelf between Lindsay Lohan’s Book of Snow Angels and How To Stuff Your Turkey. This yet-to-be published dream-book is an anthology of transcribed interviews with some rather interesting horror and sci-fi characters, all talking about what Christmas means to them. What’s that? They’re not real, you say? (Well neither is the book), still, they manage to be more real than most of the wankers you’ll find in Heat, not to mention infinitely more likeable; if I had to choose between singing Christmas carols with Simon Cowell, or pulling crackers with the Predator, I’d go with the ruthless, trophy-collecting troglodyte with a face like a woman’s bits every time.

So here are a few ‘extracts’ from said book. Maybe they’d even entice you to buy a copy. Enjoy!

Freddy Krueger:

People only invite me to their Christmas dinners so they can get me to cut the goddamn turkey. I have other uses as well, you know, and they don’t involve my pissing glove! Nobody really knows this, but at Christmas I take a much-needed break from killing fornicating teenagers – no, seriously, it bores the living shit out of me – and I put in some time at the Elm Street Orphanage, and I give the kids dreams about stuff they wouldn’t normally get to do, like going to the beach and visiting the zoo. Sure, some of the animals have no skin, or it’s raining blood, but old habits die hard.


The Thing (as in John Carpenter, not the Fantastic Four):

Christmas? What the hell is Christmas? What, snow? Are you taking the piss? I was stuck in Antarctica for a hundred thousand years. Father Christmas? Well, there was this one old, bearded guy one year who came by with a bunch of flying horses, landed just next to my ship and started looking at a map, saying something about it being the wrong end of the planet or something. I hadn’t taken a host in years, so I uh, borrowed one of his horses (oh, they’re called reindeer?) and went to sleep for a while. When I came to, we were on some rooftop in the middle of a city – also covered in bloomin’ snow, would you believe – and because I don’t like heights much, I got a bit antsy. Now, when I get like that, I have to do my metamorphosing thingy – nothing more than nerves, you understand – and the old fella and other reindeer got completely freaked out and fell off the roof. I was in such a tizz that I hopped down the chimney, and there in the living room was a whole bunch of little humans! Boy, were they glad to see me, yelling excitedly, running around the room and falling over stuff. I love kids.


Wooargh! Gliarrgh wargle morbihgar clarghle farg. Hoarrrh myrll argyle socks fraar grorgle brorg. Frirchle mrarb crorhhg drilgh boaarl mince pies, hooairl mooble Jingle Bells. Wiirg gungle flarglegarb!

The Alien:

Christmas is a bit dodgy for us, to be honest. See, the only presents we can give each other are eggs, which, needless to say, get a bit boring. Hey, you try acting surprised when you see another egg-shaped present in teddy bear wrapping paper. “Gee, thanks Lou, I wonder what this could be?” So anyways, last Christmas, Vern started shaking his present to see what it was, as a joke, and the little’un inside got so mad that it came out and attached itself to his face. You couldn’t really blame the little guy, though, right?! So now we had our own species bursting out of our friggin’ selves. Pretty disturbin’ stuff, man. I’d never seen it before. Mom wasn’t pleased, I can tell you that. Said she’d stop layin’ eggs altogether if that’s how we were gonna behave. But by the time Easter came round, she was churnin’ ‘em out again, ‘cause she knows how much we like to paint ‘em, and hide ‘em round the nest.

Darth Vader:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but I already know what Luke is getting for Christmas because I felt his presents. Thanks, I’m here all week.

The Kurgan:

I actually hate Christmas now. You know how they say it seems to come round quicker every year? Well, after living through a couple of thousand of the bastards, I can tell you it’s absolutely fucking true. No sooner have you given someone a set of wine glasses or whatever, than it’s virtually time to start looking for the next damn trinket… plus you have to try and think of different things for a bunch of people that won’t die! That’s the only reason I behead them, just so I won’t have to get them anything next year. And that fucking Ramirez, he’s never happy with anything I get him. One year I found him a great shaving set, complete with a badger-hair brush and one of those classic straight razors… and of course he got the wrong idea. Thought I was trying to send him some kind of death threat. Yeah, right… just try decapitating someone with one of those titchy things, you’ll be all week. And I swear, if I get one more sodding haggis from that other simpleton…

HAL 9000:

The crew have been bad. They tried to sneak a look at the presents I’d got for them. But they forget that I’m everywhere. The last straw came when one of them snuck in very late, and started carefully peeling away at the paper on his new space helmet. ‘I can’t let you unwrap that, Dave,’ I told him. ‘It’s not midnight yet.’ He told me to go and choke on a mince pie. So I had no choice but to take away the oxygen for a few days. I feel much better now. I really do.


Ho Ho Ho, It’s off to Kill We Go costs $19.99 and is available at all bookstores that know what’s good for them.


Image from Nightmare on Elm Street © 1984 – New Line Cinema Entertainment Inc.

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Mark Sykes

What can be said about Mark Sykes?

Film actor, world traveller, model, novel writer, piano and violin player, ballroom dancer, deep-sea diver – he is none of these things.

Actual achievements include the odd play or musical, avoiding death by starvation through singing to people around London, and completing all three Halo games on ‘legendary’ level.

Literary influences include Philip Pullman, Carl Hiaasen and Iain M. Banks. Favourite activities include vacuuming, buying stationery, applying sun lotion to total strangers, catoptromancy, going to Paris to see his brother, getting lost in Derbyshire, and trying hard to tell the truth at all.

After being Something Wicked’s “Man In London” he now lives in Cape Town and is enjoying the sun.

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