A summary of this blog in one picture

A picture of Julian Ruck's books being pulped

The pulping of Rogered Caffis

I think that picture makes the rest of this blog redundant, doesn’t it?!

Having said that, there are of course mistakes on page 10 – unusually, though, they’re not mostly about commas. In fact, none of the 10 commas on this page is technically incorrect, which is a delightful surprise. It comes at the cost of more clunky, short sentences, inevitably enough – and for the purist, there is one missing comma.

Missing commas don’t suffer as much as commas in the wrong place, though, so we’ll not focus on that.

[What, you want to know where there’s a comma missing, Julian? No, no dice, we’ve done more than enough proofreading for the inevitable second edition of Boggled Clips (which I suppose will have to be a self-published limited edition, judging from the pic up at the top there!). But look, if you can find it, and comment to let us know, we’ll let you do a guest post on this blog…;-)].

The most entertaining hiccup on this page is one which, in another writer, we’d put down as a typo. With Julian, though, you just never can be sure.

He’s indulging in dialogue (bad idea, Julian, it’s not one of your strengths). He’s showing that Bronwyn has a Welsh accent by the clever insertion of an apostrophe instead of the letter H – you know, ‘ave, ‘im, ‘alf, ‘imself, that sort of inventive stuff. But just when you’re on the verge of death by tedium, he builds to a memorable crescendo:

Couple of weeks back he lost a coffin’ with the corpse still in it!

I love the way that the ‘he’ in there escaped the proofreader (What’s that you tell me? Julian doesn’t have a proofreader? Fie, for shame, that cannot be!) – but coffin gets the apostrophe instead.

That’s short for coffinh, I presume.

Or perhaps coffing.

I know, I know, it’s small beer by Julian’s standards. It pleased the monkeys, though, and that’s what really matters. If we ever get around to page 11, there’s some sillier stuff ready and waiting…

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Julian Ruck, the hardest-hitting Labour grassroots supporter you’ll never meet

[Jewels from page 9]

Dear Reader, have we really seen this blog grow so far (and share so much love) on the basis of the first 8 pages of Rickety Chops alone?

Yes, both I and the monkeys have been slack. It is true, and I throw myself (and them, to cushion my landing) upon your tender mercies. I am ashamed to admit it, but I grew bored with Julian. I know; how unreasonable. How short-sighted.

I thought he had run out of tricks – I thought complaining about arts subsidies and the Welsh language, while telling porky pies about his own sales figures, ‘organising’ ruinously bad festivals and complaining that some people find his prose vomit-inducing was all he had to offer.

But no.

I was a fool!

In his peculiar desire to say nasty things about Wales to as many people as possible, he has now quite brilliantly convinced a prominent Labour grassroots blog to publish articles from a not-so-closet rabid right-winger attacking the Labour party. Or, as it turns out, articles actually written and published by Tory politicians before being plagiarised by Jules! Really, it’s too Dada for words.

It’s lucky I have a sturdy bladder, or all this laughter would have some embarrassing consequences.

I must not be distracted, though – I have a mission to complete. The world is agog to know if there is indeed a mistake on every single page of the inglorious Ragged Cliffs. So, is there on page 9?

Page 9 is an oddity.

No, don’t give up hope! But Julian, to the monkeys’ surprise, goes a little easier on commas on page 9. In fact, he goes so easily that he almost gives up on them entirely – 6 commas in 40 lines of text. The result is a lower incidence rate of violence against commas, but a tone reminiscent of the primary school. Short sentences. Without much happening. Without commas for the most part. But also lacking life. Quite hard to read. Almost painful. Oh, there goes another monkey.

The commas don’t get off scot-free, though, I’m sorry to say; even when there are only 6 of the poor little beggars.

‘Lise wanted desperately to embark upon a musical career and dreamed of being a concert pianist. A dream, she and others knew, could one day become a reality.’

Now bear with me, Julian, because you might find this a little complicated, given how much trouble you have with more obvious problems.

The thing is, you want the ‘she and others knew’ to refer to the dream, don’t you? You’re not saying that Lise and others knew that dreams in general could become reality, are you? So that means that the ‘she and others knew’ needs to function as a descriptive phrase – and once you stick it between commas, it becomes disconnected from the word it’s meant to be describing, and works as an interruptive phrase.

In other words (for the grammatically-challenged) you don’t actually need those commas. If you went with:

A dream she and others knew could one day become a reality.

…it would still be every bit as maudlin and generally pointless, but it would actually mean what you wanted it to mean.

You’re also still struggling with the whole concept of abstract nouns and the way in which they don’t often work as subjects in the passive voice, aren’t you? It’s okay, you can admit it here, where you’re among friends (not like those loony socialists over at Labout-Uncut!). So:

His difference she knew would be bullied.

No, Jules, no. He would be bullied – perhaps because of his differences. You can only bully a person (or perhaps an animal, the monkeys demand that I add). You can’t bully a difference, or happiness, or a world-weary sense of tedium. If you could, I’d cheerfully bully the world-weary sense of tedium you manage to paint over so much of the internet.

So, small beer by Julian’s usual standards. It does, though, have my favourite sentence from Julian:

At first Lise was constantly faced with weird looks and despair each time she spoke.

You just know this comes from personal experience, don’t you? Probably at one of Julian’s talks on creative writing. At first, and constantly.

Good luck with attacking the Labour party, Julian dear. They’re big and ugly enough to look after themselves. But do please stop writing; you’re hurting the words.

Couldn’t you record your rants as podcasts? That would do so much less damage to the language.


Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas

I think I might be in love

No, not with Julian (unlike some of those monkeys!).

But with IWriteLike.com.

According to whom, the entries in this blog are variously and occasionally similar to:

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
L. Frank Baum

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

This is so much fun I could do it all day.

But I know, you’re dying to hear what it thought of Julian.

This little gem, in particular:

‘Suddenly he leapt up from the table and dashed for the dilapidated toilet situated next to the stables. It had to be this toilet; it was reasonably sound proof and hardly ever used by anyone. He reached the toilet door, yanked it open in a thorough state of panic and let loose a surging Niagara of vomit, at the same moment his bowels detonated and nearly lifted him off the ground. For one hour his arse and stomach continued to ambush him. All he could do was sit on the toilet and wail ‘Oh God!… Oh God!… Oh God! over and over again. He wanted to die.’

Now, I’m no fan of The Da Vinci Code, which I gave up on within a few pages because of the writing, but I still think that IWriteLike.com is being more than a little unfair to:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

I’ve got to admit, though, it did make me chuckle.


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Those fools at the Guardian

They’re taking liberties with Julian again – it really is too much to bear.

This time, they’ve wilfully ignored his credentials to be considered as one of the worst novelists of all time.

To be honest, the competition is pretty ordinary, for the most part. The headliner, Amanda McKittrick Ros, is lavished with admiration for such gems as:

“She tried hard to keep herself a stranger to her poor old father’s slight income by the use of the finest production of steel, whose blunt edge eyed the reely covering with marked greed, and offered its sharp dart to faultless fabrics of flaxen fineness.”

Okay, it has its weak points. But any single one of Julian’s musings on lavatorial habits is surely streets ahead, and deserves recognition.

I think someone with a Grauniad commenting account should direct them towards Julian’s own blog (and perhaps point them here as well, so that they can find some of his finest work without having to work too hard!).


[I’d set a monkey to do it, but I had to ban them from commenting on the Grauniad – they just kept finding themselves in endless discussions about xenophobia and interior design.]

P.S. Hope this gives you a chuckle, Julian! I notice you haven’t had time to post the Declaration of Juliependence on your blog yet, but the monkeys promise me you will. Their faith is so touching.


Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas

Different tacks and maudlin wistfulness – it’s birthday time!

I hand it to you, Julian, you’re a master of confusion!

Here’s my dilemma:

Your post-birthday ‘laugh-it-all-off’ missive would have convinced me of your good nature, had it been your initial response to our humble offerings of literary criticism.

Coming (as it does) after various implausible legal threats, after thoroughly wasting police time, and after mock-hysterical press releases, it smells unfortunately a little more like a bully running out of options.

Even so, because the monkeys have a trusting faith in the basic goodness of mankind, we’d probably have accepted it as genuine – but within three days, you’re yodelling about ‘cheap and spiteful bile’ and how nasty everyone is. Oh Julian, could you possibly be thinking of the monkeys and me when you type such cruel accusations?!

Meanwhile, you’re back to this business of a ’round-table discussion’ about grants. Now, I gather that there are a few people who are willing to take you up on that invitation – but I must, with sadness, decline. You see, I’m not very interested in grants.

A passing reader would expect me to be on your side – it is surely a sign of something badly wrong in Cardiff that this blog itself receives not a penny of public subsidy! – but no, I just can’t summon up the energy to care.

In general terms, I expect grants are broadly a good thing, that they need scrutiny, and that providing them in Wales in a similar way to how they’re provided in England is probably sensible. They are such a vanishingly tiny percentage of the Welsh Assembly’s budget, though, I just can’t get all that worked up about them.

Now commas – there’s a different matter.

Commas I care about.

So how can we resolve this in a way which causes the least possible further damage to commas?

Oh, I’ve got an idea!

If you really want to reinvent yourself as hale and hearty character who laughs off criticism, engages in a light-hearted way with his critics, and wins new fans and friends by his openness, his respect for others and his willingness to admit when he’s wrong, just copy this short declaration and put your name to it on your own blog – and we’ll have to confess that you’ll have confounded our expectations!

The Declaration of Juliedependence

#1 – Wasting police time is naughty, and I shouldn’t have done it.

#2 – Editing my own ill-fated entry in Wikipedia was naughty, and I shouldn’t have done it.

#3 – Calling myself a best-selling author without any evidence of my sales is silly, and I won’t do it any more.

#4 – Leaving reviews for my own work on Amazon is naughty, and I shouldn’t have done it.

#5 – Swearing at ladies walking their dogs is not the act of a gentleman, and I apologise.

Belated happy birthday to you, old bean. I must admit, I don’t hold out as much hope as the monkeys do, but it would be a genuine pleasure to see you take the unexpected route on this one.


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Anonymous screens and breakfast cereals

Here’s what Julian thinks we’re all eating:


The monkeys, in particular, are tucking in with relish. They’ve decided that since they’re imaginary in the first place (and thus could only throw imaginary dog-shit, Mr Policeman!), they don’t mind helping themselves to some imaginary porridge.

Personally, a breakfast like that would send me into carbohydrate shock, so I’m continuing this weary life on the run, ducking and diving like a ducky-divey thing, jumping at every shadow and trying my level best not to let the police know that I’ve hidden myself appropriately on the island of Foula.

Oh, damn. Monkeys, pack your bags again!

Now, on to more important matters.

Julian, my computer screen is not anonymous. It says ‘DELL’ on it, quite clearly – even someone with your limited interest in reading should be able to make the letters out.

And on that note, it’s time for me to reach for my marigold gloves and take up my well-thumbed copy of Buggered Clots once again. How far had we got?

Ah, yes. Page nine.

We lost three good monkeys there. They just couldn’t work out where to begin. Julian puts so much of himself into his writing – take, for example, ‘At first Lise was constantly faced with weird looks and despair each time she spoke.’ Oh, the humanity. Julian knows exactly how she felt. I mean, it takes a lot to make someone plunge into despair just because you’re talking to them, but Julian holds public meetings (and other people come to some of them) – he’s fine-tuned his art.

Incidentally, ‘at first’ and ‘constantly’ don’t play very well together, Jules – because they both describe time, you see. Just a little ‘heads up’ for you there.

‘There were the occasional smiles though even if these were tainted with narrowness and ignorance.’ Er… even if these were tainted with narrowness and ignorance what? It is tragic (or do I mean bathetic?) that on one of the few occasions when Julian does what we would like him to do more often, and leaves the commas out entirely, he so desperately needed a couple. ‘There were the occasional smiles, though, even if these were tainted’ would be intelligible, Julian. You want the ‘though’ to be an interruption – if you allow it to become part of the following phrase, you get ‘though even if’, which then requires some kind of a conclusion.

‘Early on she decided that her son would receive all the initial years of learning he required from her.’

So, Lise is going to teach Kristian herself.

‘Although she had little faith in the rough and basic schools on offer, she insisted he attend.’ What, all of them? Er, so that his mother can give him ‘all the initial years of learning he required’? Was she moonlighting as a teacher in some of these rough and basic schools, then?

A suspicion is brewing in the minds of my beloved monkeys.

The kind of suspicion that is no sooner uttered than it becomes a raging certainty.

Julian doesn’t just avoid reading books by real authors.

He also (and entirely understandably) avoids reading what he’s written himself.

We should have another poll.


Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas

To Julian Ruck – Criminal Writer.

Dear Mr Ruck,

I have just noticed that you are a regular visitor to my blog, a constant and loyal companion it would seem.

[Actually, quick heads up old chap, that would be better with a semi-colon after ‘blog’ and then the comma after ‘companion’ – oh, I know, I know, the written word deserves to be treated with contempt, doesn’t it?!]

I have often wondered (you don’t need a comma there! You like putting commas after verbs for no particular reason, don’t you? Please stop!) what drives an individual to say all sorts of unpleasant things about all sorts of people, with as much publicity as possible, and then act surprised when other people don’t like them (you might want to have a word with PR 4 Books about that – you’re meant to be improving your ‘likeability’ when you blog!).

You’re convinced that everyone hates you, aren’t you? To be honest, I think you get a little frisson of self-pity out of the thought; but it’s wide of the mark. I certainly don’t hate you – I just think you’re a dreadfully bad writer whose self-publicity is based largely on dishonesty – and as for the monkeys, they asked you to be their Valentine! You missed an opportunity there, I can tell you.

But one point I must, sir, insist upon. This is NOT a ‘fake Julian Fuck blog’. This is the REAL Julian Fuck blog. To the best of my knowledge, and believe you me I’ve set my monkey researchers on the question, it is the ONLY Julian Fuck blog in existence. If you persist in calling the REAL Julian Fuck blog a fake Julian Fuck blog, I shall have little choice but to report you to the police for harassment. I do not make empty threats.

Yours, more in sorrow than in anger,


Oh, I see you’ve deleted your delightful ‘threat’ to give Steve Mosby and David Hewson bad reviews in, no, the Llanelli Star! And your charming boast about blog views; so here it is for posterity:

Julian Ruck hints at bad reviews

(6,145 views on this blog so far this month – pull your socks up, Julian!).


Julian is starting to lose it, isn’t he? All this ‘Sniff, sniff, why are you being so beastly to me, I don’t deserve it’ stuff has the whiff of a man slowly realising that posterity will remember him more as a prize fool than as any kind of writer.


Filed under The Society for the Preservation of Commas