I tell lies and you do too. Anyone who says they don’t is a liar, just not a very good one. I am writing this wearing lederhösen and a turban and listening to Sonic Youth.

No, of course I’m not, hipsters. I’m on the train, currently going past a Cornish landscape so waterlogged it looks like acres of paddy fields, wearing my Christmas scarf and listening to Blackstreet’s Mo Diggity.

You see? See how easy it is? I just told a peachy lie to the man in the cafe at the station. I told him I was allergic to his (admittedly dire) coffee, so would he mind making me one with my own coffee which I happened to have with me? I’m not allergic, I’m just a coffee snob. And a liar.


I’m not the only one. A friend once told me that there was a late night Happy Days spin off programme called ‘Fonzie After Hours’ in which you could see the leather jacketed philanderer actually PUTTING IT IN some of those girls hanging off his motorbike, visiting an STD clinic and cussing out Mrs Cunningham. I totally believed this. I even looked for it in the TV schedules.

Around the same time, just as I was expressing concerns about the repercussions of an imminent attack on Iraq another friend told me that Japan were so technologically advanced as a race that they had developed a force field which covered their entire country. I totally believed this too, although not for as long.


Here’s the thing. Telling lies is an art, and like art, requires a certain amount of imagination. It’s no good just opening your mouth and letting any old shit fall out. Let’s take an example.

It’s 1999 and I’m running late for work. I call my boss and tell him that St Paul’s cathedral was being replaced by a giant replica of Jimmy Saville’s chair and the building work meant that the resulting traffic was gridlocked. Result? I get bawled out.

A few days later I call in to say that I’d just had an emergency appointment at the Doctors and would be running late. But guess who I saw in the surgery? Anthea Turner.

Really? He said, interested. How did she look? Did she look ill?

Not at all I answered, she just looked like Anthea Turner.

My boss fell silent for a moment, pondering what infernal internal machinations Angela Turner’s body was subjecting her to. Chest infection? Ingrown toenail? Chlamydia?

No matter, I was off the hook and in bed for another hour to luxuriate in my hangover. If you’re bothering to tell a lie to someone, however mild, make sure you give a surreal element to it, to give it that edge of believability. I’d rather hear about the time Richard Branson stole your cab and shouted “Hairy Arseholes!” at you when you tried to complain than a ten minute monologue about how late the buses are running.


You know what else? URBAN LEGENDS. Like a lie in more outlandish clothes. A lie dressed up as a glam rocker.

Here’s one I remembered this morning. You’ve seen Fargo, right? Sure you have, the one with all the snow and all the Steve Buscemi. Do you remember the bit where the guy runs out of his car with his hood up and goes running across a dark snowy field and gets shot in the back? You remember that bit, right? THAT’S PRINCE. Prince the Purple Funk Eater. A man so future sex and androgynous he did away with the crude and lumpen matter us mortals call ‘words’ and christened himself a symbol like a fucking BOSS.


Here he is in the credits under Victim In Field. See? See that suckers?

Is it? Is it Prince? Is it really? Who cares? What a great story.


Here’s another. You’ll like this, unless like me you hate clowns in which case you’ll do what I did when I heard it and SHIT A CLOCK.


Teen babysitter. Parents going out for a meal, little Johnny asleep in his bed, baby monitor switched on, here’s the number for the restaurant, call us if any problems.
Off they go, leaving behind possibly the only teenage babysitter in the history of the world who doesn’t use the opportunity to drink all their vodka and invite her boyfriend over for a dry humping session on the couch. News report tells the story of a madman recently escaped from prison. Baby monitor rustling. Sounds of breathing. Teen goes to investigate. Baby asleep in bed, room dark. Scary figure by window! Oh no, it’s just an oversized clown doll. Teen goes back downstairs. Phone rings, it’s the parents. How is Johnny? Sleeping, says the teen before adding, hey, he’s got a sweet bedroom but you might want to get rid of that massive clown doll, it’s going to freak the poor kid out. To which the mother replies Get Johnny and get the hell out of the house. WE DON’T HAVE A MASSIVE CLOWN DOLL.