The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Diatribe to Dynamite)

DIATRIBE           A bitter, sharply abusive denunciation, attack, or criticism.  Known in subversive circles as ‘conversation’.  There is little point in speaking about anyone at all except in derogatory terms.  All subversives are bitter about something, be it the blatant oppression of the working classes by the ruling elite; the exploitation of minority groups in our supposedly egalitarian society, or the price of deodorised socks at the Co-op, and will waste no time in denouncing¹ any or all of them.

1. The most important thing to remember about the act of denunciation is that it does not encumber the denouncer with any responsibility, e.g. suggesting a solution to the problem.  This is the job of politicians – who really should know better.

DICTATOR         (See Despot – above)  Charlie Chaplin played The Great Dictator in a film, only to find that a Mr A Hitler subsequently plagiarised his creation and went on to achieve worldwide notoriety without having to eat liquorice boots.  Many historians have considered how the impact of the Second World War might have been lessened had Mr Hitler been as funny as Mr Chaplin, but on closer examination of the latter’s films, most are forced to agree that he was.

DIM                   Rather stupid.  It is impossible to underestimate the importance of dim people to your organisation.  With proper persuasion, they will do all the things that you are far too scared to do.  Also, when captured by the authorities, they will waste no time in admitting to anything at all, as long as the policeman offers to share his Smarties.

DIGESTIVE          A medicine which aids digestion.  More importantly, a biscuit.  Should you ever find yourself in gainful employment, always strive to assume control of the staff tea fund.  Once in this lofty position of power, replace the digestives with Rich Tea and watch the fun begin¹.  Remember that, whatever is claimed to the contrary, the tea fund never did stretch to Custard Creams and always offer to reinstate the Digestives in return for an increase of the weekly subs.  Be prepared to deny emphatically that the quality of the tea has fallen during your time in charge and also that the tea money has, in any way, contributed towards your new Rolex watch, whilst pointing out the importance of proper timekeeping in the delivery of the tea.  Always keep a separate stash of Supermarket Own-Brand Rich Tea, which can be passed off as ‘low-sugar’ or ‘gluten-free’ as required and a small pack of Jammie Dodgers for the exclusive consumption of the person in charge of the photocopier and the recently divorced hottie in accounts.

1. It is a universally acknowledged truth that absolutely nobody likes Rich Tea biscuits – with the possible exception of vicars’ wives, who do so solely on a cost basis, and Supermodels, for whom a single biscuit provides a)100% of their daily nutritional requirements. b) A convenient ashtray. c) A nice shiny surface from which to snort their actual daily nutritional requirements.

DISMEMBER        To sever limb from limb.  Probably not the best course of action for the do-it-yourselfer.  To be efficient at this you need a sharp knife and a strong stomach.  It does make a dreadful mess in the bathroom and, unless you feel you really have to make a point, I recommend you dismember something with far less blood, gristle and sinew than the average human being.  Try a chocolate digestive biscuit, a plastic duck or Donald Trump (please).

DISSENT             To disagree with the methods, goals, etc., of a political party or government; take an opposing view.  Does this make you a subversive?  No, this makes you normal.  Governments in general serve only one rational function, that of being the focus of dissent.  It is perfectly logical to hold in contempt anyone who always knows what is best for you.  Government is full of them¹.  It is also full of people who know that what is good for you isn’t necessarily good for them.

1. Politics is the only profession for which being called a ‘sanctimonious prig’ is considered a good thing.

DODGE              To evade by sudden shift of place.  What one does with all responsibility.

DOMESDAY        Archaic word meaning ‘The day of Judgement’. Generally associated with the Domesday Book, an early census, ordered by William the Conqueror, who wanted to know exactly how much he could screw out of whom.  Think combined Census and Tax Return with the implicit threat of disembowelment for non-payment.            

DOOMSDAY       The Day of Judgement.  Your afternoon in Magistrates Court – £25 fine and bound over for two weeks.  Also, excluded from all branches of McDonalds until April.

DOWNHILL         Into a worse or inferior condition.  The direction in which your life is heading.  Generally, unless you are wearing skis, it is not considered ‘a good thing’ to reach the bottom first.  Even in Downhill Skiing, one is expected to reach the nadir with some form and grace; not with one shoe missing, a fat lip and a tampon up one nostril.  Also, remember that not even Franz Klammer was able to walk back up the mountain, no matter how quickly or elegantly he got down it.  A couple of paper cupfuls of gluhwein down at the bottom end and you’re staying there baby.

DUEL                  A prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure, esp. to settle a private quarrel.  Once an invitation to duel has been accepted, it is considered extremely bad form to hide behind one’s girlfriend pretending to be a non-English speaking Lithuanian with a dodgy leg.  You will be considered a complete cad if you do not go ahead with the duel and die with honour.  Duels are traditionally fought at dawn, with either swords or pistols.  (If you are offered the choice of weapons, go for celery.  Contempt is much easier to handle than fatal wounding.)

DUET                 A piece of music for two performers.  What you thought you’d read when you accepted the invitation to a duel.

DUODENUM       The first portion of the small intestine, from the stomach to the jejunum¹.  The first indicator that you are actually properly scared.

1. The section of the small intestine between the duodenum and the ileum – and you think your job, stacking supermarket shelves, is grim.

DYNAMITE         High explosive.  Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, this is never to be approached with an open flame.  Much like next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite can have a devastating effect on the neighbourhood.  Unlike next-door’s glue-sniffing son, dynamite is very rarely sick on your rhododendrons.


                          Place a soft-boiled egg up a politician’s exhaust (or that of his car).

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here

Just because it is already written, and as a prelude to beginning to post properly again, please accept my apologies for…


The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (DDT to Devil)

DDT                   Hydrocarbon compound, an effective insecticide.  Many of the people you will encounter in the pursuit of your subversive activities would benefit greatly from a spray down with this.  Pay special attention to all warm, moist areas: The Amazonian Rain Forest, North West India, all regions generally covered by underwear.

DAMAGE            To injure or impair.  It is a legitimate course of action to cause damage to those who themselves cause damage on a much greater scale.  There are those who would damage our communities, our countries, our planet and, were they to be given the opportunity, probably several others across the universe.  Now is the time to rise up and damage their cause.  It is impossible for even the seasoned subversive not to take sides.  Sit on the fence and you will get your balls creosoted.  Think of your children.  If you don’t have children, think of somebody else’s children.  If you don’t like children, think of yourself.

DANGER            Exposure to injury; jeopardy; risk.  Oh, dear me, no!  No, no, no, no, no!  Exposure to injury is to be avoided at all cost.  Besides serving no useful purpose whatsoever, injury is in itself a foreign word to the subversive.  It translates as ‘Pain’.  Pain is exclusively reserved for the benefit of others.  Pain is to be inflicted.  Pain is most certainly not to be endured.  Some people thrive on danger.  To the brave, it is like a drug.  To the subversive it is like a laxative.  It is best never to get involved in anything that could, in anyway, be considered dangerous.

DEATH               Extinction of life.  Death is not a skeletal figure dressed in black, carrying a scythe¹.  Death is an insurance salesman.  Death is called Nigel.  Death works at a call centre in Mumbai.  He got your phone number from the HMRC website.

1. An agricultural hand-tool for mowing grass or reaping crops.  How it became associated with Death, I am not certain.  A scythe is used in the reaping of crops and Death is, of course, The Grim Reaper.  I Googled ‘Grim Reaper’ and got a short piece about a heavy metal band from Droitwich.  I also accidentally Googled ‘Grim Reeperbahn’, which I do not recommend as a course of action, and I would like to make it known, here and now, that I have never met the lady.

DEBACLE            A confused rout.  Now here is a word I know all about.  My whole life is confusion – at least I think it is, I’m not sure.  A rout is any overwhelming defeat, which just goes to prove that my wife is completely correct when she describes my entire life as a debacle.

DEBATE              Contention in words or arguments; discussion; controversy.  To dispute; to deliberate.  Forget it.  Politicians do it all the time – and look at them.  The gentle art of persuasion is best served with a baseball bat.  Do not deliberate – it merely postpones the painful realisation that you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.  Debate requires at least two parties and has three rules:    

  1. Don’t get involved.
  2. If you do get involved, always stand by an open door.
  3. Write down very clearly the points you wish to make and, in an emergency, use the list to set fire to the other person’s trousers.

DEBAUCH          To corrupt; to pervert; to riot; to revel.  Excess in eating or drinking; lewdness.  This sounds like so much fun, the government will almost certainly tax it in the next budget.

DEFEAT              Frustration; overthrow; loss of battle.  Try to avoid all possibility of defeat by never openly being drawn into battle.  If you should become embroiled in a literary battle, use a pen-name and, if possible, somebody else’s typewriter or cut letters out of the newspaper.  If you are drawn into a verbal battle, remember always to speak slowly and quietly.  Very quietly if your opponent is bigger than yourself.  Keep calm when stating your own arguments and listen carefully and patiently to those of your adversary before destroying them with your incisive wit and perception. It is also a good tactic to stand behind them and pull faces.  Should you get drawn into a physical battle you have two basic choices: flight or fight.  Of course, one of them is right and the other one is fight.  If all possible escape routes are blocked, and a physical confrontation becomes inevitable, you must immediately adopt the correct stance.  This is best known as the foetal position.  Roll up in a ball, as tightly as you can, and whimper softly¹. 

Never worry about losing face – it does not hurt as much as getting beaten up.

1. Foam at the mouth if at all possible: your opponent will a) believe that you are in need of medical attention and will not want to get involved in all the questions that are associated with a 999 call (the answers to which are all ‘I don’t know’) b) will not want to get sputum all over his brand new linen trousers and c) will have just the vaguest suspicion that you might have rabies and/or a trapped fish bone – the consequences of either being far more messy than they would want to risk.

DESPERADO       Desperate fellow; reckless ruffian.  A media word for subversive.  If you like the sound of this title, do not wash or change your underwear for a week.

DESPOT             (See Dictator – below)  A king or other ruler with absolute, unlimited power; autocrat; any tyrant or oppressor.  Everything that you most revile.  Everything that you’d most like to be.  You could buy a dog, but remember that even the dimmest of canines might be inclined to answer back now and again – also it is not easy to remain imperious with dog crap on your slippers. 

DEVASTATE       To lay waste; render desolate.  The effect that the dedicated subversive can have on an ‘All U Can Eat Oriental Buffet’ during its £4.95 Afternoon Special session.  Also the effect that certain prawn dishes in the above may have on the hungry subversive after they have sat in lukewarm water for four and a half hours under a dodgy heat lamp.  (You know that I meant the prawns and not the subversives.)

DEVIL (1)            The supreme spirit of evil.  I drank some of this on holiday in Bulgaria and spoke Swahili for three days afterwards.

DEVIL (2)            An atrociously wicked, cruel, or ill-tempered person.  You will meet a lot of these.  Tell them that you have wandered into the Job Centre by mistake and, anyway, you can’t attend a job interview right now because you have a bunion.

DEVIL (3)            A person who is very clever, energetic, reckless, or mischievous.  Exactly the kind of person that you do not want in your band of desperadoes, but will almost certainly be first in the queue to join you.  Allow them to become a member at your peril.  Finding your shoes super-glued to the pub floor is all well and good the first time it happens, but can become seriously annoying, particularly when you are trying to evade the landlord.

DEVIL (4)            (Cookery) a grill with Cayenne pepper.  Something that you do with kidneys – although God knows why.  As far as I am aware, kidneys serve only one purpose in the culinary world, e.g. something to pick out of steak and kidney pie.

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Communism to Crucifixion)

COMMUNISM     Doctrine that all goods, means of production &c. should be the property of the community.  What a wicked system!  Communism is currently frowned upon by most countries of the world, particularly the communist ones.  It strikes me that the most obvious problem with the communist system is the confusion engendered by the paradox that those who are most doggedly communistic and therefore ardently opposed to all change and liberalisation, both socially and economically, are known as ‘conservatives’ and… actually, now I see that written down, it isn’t actually paradoxical at all, is it?

Most subversives are, nominally at least, Socialist¹ – except when it actually comes down to the principal of sharing things.  The average subversive is more comfortable with a more theoretical observance of Socialist principals, whilst maintaining their shares in BT and the little nest egg in Zimbabwean diamonds.

  1. A sort of user-friendly Communism, once much-vaunted in democratic societies, but now largely discarded in favour of personal advancement, capitalist expansionism and unparalleled levels of shoe ownership.  Socialist principles in the UK have been progressively watered down since the Second World War, through the Worker’s Party, The Labour Party, New Labour, New New Labour, and Sir Kier Starmer.

CONFLICT          Struggle, trial of strength.  Oh dear me, no.  No sensible subversive ever gets involved in such a thing: he/she is seldom well enough.  I, myself, have been almost exclusively mentally subversive for six months, due to a heavy cold.  Struggle is a very physical process and, should it become absolutely unavoidable, best left to somebody considerably fitter than yourself.

CONSCIENCE     The complex of ethical and moral principles that controls or inhibits the actions or thoughts of an individual.  E.G. ‘Am I likely to get caught?’

CONSERVATIVE  In politics, one who desires to preserve institutions of his country against change and innovation.  What a wonderful concept.  In Britain, we have a whole party opposed to change and innovation.  The only problem is that, these days, nobody is quite sure which one it is.  Generally, in politics, innovations, such as everybody getting a fair and equal chance in life, are frowned upon.

CONSPIRACY     An evil, unlawful, treacherous, or surreptitious plan formulated in secret by two or more persons.  The most widely known conspiracy in the UK is almost certainly The Gunpowder Plot of 1605.  The conspiracy was to blow up James I and the English parliament on its opening day, November 5th, in the hope of prompting a great Catholic uprising.  The brother-in-law of Francis Tresham (one of the conspirators) was warned not to attend the ceremony and the plot was subsequently exposed.  Guy Fawkes, a paid mercenary, was captured, tortured and killed, as were most of his co-plotters¹.  The plot back-fired as harsh anti-catholic laws were passed by the shocked establishment and November 5th became widely known as Guy Fawkes Night (as it had a better ring than Thomas Catesby Night) and the tradition of scaring the living daylights out of the elderly and setting fire to half the neighbourhood, nightly from October 1st to November 30th,  began.

  1. Robert Catesby, John Wright and Thomas Winter originated the plot and, when Guy Fawkes was captured, they fled to Holbeach House in Staffordshire, where they were killed during a gunfight with the local sheriff and his deputies the very next day, having accidentally ignited their own gunpowder.  Instant karma.

CORRUPT           Make rotten, pervert, make evil.  A common aim of all subversion and politics.  Calling a Right Honourable Member a corrupt politician is a double damnation similar to evil devil, violent war and Michael Gove.  If you believe that two wrongs can make a right, you may feel able to trust a corrupt politician.  I do not, but then I don’t trust Dettol.

How To Corrupt a Politician: Elect him.

COSH                 A bludgeon.  The subversive’s most subtle weapon.

CRISIS                Turning point or decisive moment.  I’m not certain that my interpretation of crisis is quite the same as my Dictionary.  A subversive’s definition of crisis requires just one word – ‘Life’.  Life is crisis, crisis is life.  If I have a crisis it is seldom, if ever, a turning point, it is usually a rabid fear of being found out.

CRUCIFIXION     A form of execution by being nailed or tied to a cross.  Although the Romans did not originate crucifixion, they did use it widely, generally on slaves and despised malefactors.  It would appear that Jesus of Nazareth, who could almost certainly be described as an early subversive were it not for the fact that both his motives and his methods were honest and virtuous, was killed in such a manner, with the intention that his importance was seen to be diminished to that of a common slave – well, that worked didn’t it… 

In order to speed up death, which could be slow and tortuous, the crucified party often had his legs broken.  This was considered merciful by the kind of person who regarded nailing an innocent man to a tree as justice.

As a subversive, you will have little time for religion, but you will have plenty of time to consider whether you are sufficiently committed to your own cause to run the risk of such punishment¹.

  1. The answer is ‘No’.


1. Describe in detail, the differences between Capitulate & Collaborate, Chaos & Crisis, Corrupt & Castrate, Capitalist, Communist & Conservative
2. Don’t bother.

© Colin McQueen 2022

N.B. I had intended to see this guide through to Z, but as my already meagre readership appears to have voted with its feet on this particular little strand and headed off into the sunset, The Subversive A-Z will now take what might well become a very protracted break.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Cabal to Collaborate)

CABAL               Secret plot.  Most of your D.I.Y plots will be extremely secret: you will probably be the only person ever to know anything about them.  If you feel that you are perhaps getting too much of a good thing, tell your wife¹, but expect to be held up for ridicule.

  1. Subversion is a notoriously sexist occupation and ‘partner’ still sounds a little too ‘woolly hat and lentils’ for many ‘traditional’ subversives.  If you are the wife, then tell your husband and expect the same result.  If you are single, then tell anyone you can think of and expect total apathy.  If you have a friend, then you are not a subversive.

CANT                 Hypocritical speech This is not the word I thought it was and it doesn’t mean anything like the same, however, no turning back, and it is quite an appropriate word for our guide.  Being hypocritical is one of the most essential subversive skills.  Without it, you may end up saying what you really mean.  Fatal.  Never fall into the truth trap.  Truth is a four-letter word to the subversive¹.  Lie at all times.

  1. Inevitable, as most of them cannot count beyond three.

CAPITALIST        Owner of capital.  Think of everything nasty, everything evil, everything you most covet – that is capital.  Think of the owner of the capital – that is a capitalist – and sheer, naked envy will make him your sworn enemy.  He has it and you don’t.  Now, how can that be fair?  Being fair is all about you having the capital and the capitalist slaving away in an attempt to get you some more.  Life, of course, is seldom fair.

CAPITULATE      Surrender on terms, give in.  This is something the good, honest, decent subversive will never do – unless it is to his advantage.  Surrender traditionally requires either the hoisting of a white flag or a good foreknowledge of the safe word.  Capitulation is, in fact, the greater part of subversive valour¹ and very rarely results in bruising other than to the ego – which does not hurt anything like as much.

  1. Oxymoron of the day.

CASTRATE         Remove testicles.  Not particularly effective as a political ploy, but great fun in the right company.

CEMENT             Fine mortar.  A fine, grey powder which, when mixed with sand and water, has many applications in building and construction work.  Mainly employed by the D.I.Y subversive in the construction of concrete boots:

  • Place victim’s feet into two medium-sized plastic buckets¹.
  • Three quarters fill with suitable cement mixture.
  • Allow concrete² to set (usually 3 to 7 days, depending on conditions).
  • Throw victim in river or lake.

It is wise to take a few precautions before employing such conglomerate footwear:

  1. Spread plenty of plastic around before mixing the concrete – splashes can be very difficult to remove from light-coloured carpets.
  2. Ensure that the concrete is correctly mixed.  Incomplete mixing could lead to surface cracking and eventually to the re-floatation of the corpse.  Whilst this may be acceptable in the large marine environment, it can be unsightly in the home pond or swimming pool.
  3. Ensure that the water depth is sufficient to cover the victim.  Throwing a six-foot victim into a five-foot garden pond is never going to work³; the weight of the concrete will ensure that the victim remains upright and, even allowing for a certain amount of settlement, his nose is unlikely to sink below the surface.  If you are not properly prepared, you may be forced to haul your victim from the water.  Beware – wet concrete is even heavier than dry concrete.  If you are unable to remove him from the water, try putting a small fishing rod in his hands or, alternatively, decorate his head to resemble a buoy.

Alternative Procedure: 3,000 tonnes of concrete spread evenly across the bridge of the nose will silence even the most stubborn of dissenters.

  1. Traditionally, the wearer of concrete wellies will be dead.  If this is not the case, you may need some help in holding their feet still while the concrete sets.
  2. Mixture of sand, cement and water is known by builders as ‘gobbo’ and is used in building walls – concrete (below) actually relies upon the addition of a harsher ‘ballast’ – usually pebbles or grit – in precise ratio.  It is a well-known fact that these ratios are never actually precise enough and the resulting mix is either too dry to lay, or so wet that next-door’s cat is consumed by it three weeks later.
  3. This is especially relevant if you are trying to submerge a living victim.  There is a very useful technique for ascertaining the vitality of your victim involving a small hand mirror, but I don’t know what it is.  Perhaps it would be best to gag the victim whether alive or dead, but not with the monogrammed handkerchiefs that Aunty Sheila has bought you every Christmas for the last twenty years

CHAOS              Disorder, confusion.  The ultimate aim of the subversive group is to spread disorder and confusion throughout society.  The ultimate dénouement is usually the spreading of disorder and confusion amongst the subversive group itself.

COLLABORATE   Aid an enemy in occupation of one’s own country.  To vote Conservative.  In a war (subversives are always engaged in a war – even if it’s only with the car) collaboration is perfectly acceptable, providing you do it with the winners.  In the Second World War, the French collaborators made three basic mistakes:

1. Collaborating with a party that offered little in return.
2. Collaborating with the losers.
3. Being French.

In order to make a real success of collaboration, you will first have to persuade somebody to occupy your country.  If you are American, Chinese or Russian, I think you might as well give it up as a bad idea straight away.  If, however, you live in Lichtenstein, you have a fighting chance¹.  Your first step is to talk to someone with a larger army and persuade them to invade.  Negotiating with a foreign power is not always easy:


                                  Advise them of the richness of your natural resources.

                                  Offer them money.

                                  Ask very, very politely.


                                  Be certain of their aims.

                                  Be certain of your aims.

                                   Get everything in writing.



  1. Although the non-fighting chance is always the preferred option.

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Blindfold to Burglary)

BLINDFOLD        If you have ever played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, you will know that it is practically impossible to properly blindfold anybody, especially if they do not want to be blindfolded.  Placing a bag¹ over the victim’s head is generally more successful and easier to do.  If you must go for a blindfold avoid handkerchiefs, which are never big enough; silk scarves, which are never opaque enough, and pink fluffy elasticated eye-masks, which, in my opinion, are never tight enough.

  1. It is generally worth investing a few pence on a ‘Bag for Life’ rather than a supermarket plastic carrier, as, not only are they more environmentally friendly, they have less of a tendency to leave your abductee dead.

BLOOD               It is my firm opinion that blood should be neither seen nor heard.  Spilling blood is never good.  If you feel the need to prove your commitment to the cause with the acquisition of a physical injury suffered in the pursuit of your principles, try to develop a blister or bloodless abrasion.  Pain is one thing, we all know the discomfort a paper-cut can cause, but bleeding to death is quite another.   Remember, blood on the external surfaces of the body is almost always a bad sign.

BOMB                 Explosive projectile.  Explosives, effective as they are, are expensive, difficult to obtain and apt to blow bits off the unwary – so why not avoid them altogether and pop an empty crisp packet instead?

BOURGEOIS        A person whose political, economic, and social opinions are believed to be determined mainly by concern for property values and conventional respectability.  The Bourgeoisie are held in contempt both by those who have no property and therefore no interest in its value, and also by those who determine just what, exactly, amounts to ‘conventional respectability’.  Heads you lose, tails you lose. This dichotomy was experienced most acutely during the French Revolution when the Bourgeoisie were reviled by both factions of the Gallic Class War.  To be honest, I don’t think they lost too much sleep over it.  ‘Here’s your options –  the nobility are going to treat you with contempt because of your petty concerns over conventional respectabilities, whilst the proletariat are going to hold you down on a block of wood so that Monsieur Guillotine’s latest invention¹ can permanently separate you from the full range of bodily functions – now, who are you going to support?’  The Bourgeois are currently known as Liberal Democrats and, strangely, have a deep affection for over-priced French Red and pieds-a-terre² in Normandy.

  1. Monsieur Guillotine did not actually invent, but rather improved, this instrument of capital punishment – formerly known as the Scottish Maiden (Demoiselle Ecossaise).  The guillotine replaced the previous method of execution, known as the Breaking Wheel (Rupture de la Roué) which was so barbaric that not even the French could stand it – and remember, this is the nation that dismembers frogs.
  2. Literally ‘foot on the ground’ – because the kind of hovel that the French generally sell to the English will have mud floors, three walls and a roof that is fine as long as it doesn’t rain.

BREAK                What you do to legs, arms etc.

BRICK                What you do it with.

BUBO                 Pus-emitting swelling in groin or armpit.  See Policeman’s Boot (below).

BURGLARY         The act of entering a building or other premises with the intent to commit theft.  Whilst this is not strictly an ethical act, it can be a highly efficient, if risky, method of raising funds, but then again, so can spending the day in a bath-full of baked beans.  As with all such endeavours, the primary objective is ‘don’t get caught’.  If you feel that this objective is not achievable, it is always advisable to pursue the secondary objective ‘persuade somebody else to do it for you’.

A TYPICAL D.I.Y BURGLARY – Walking along a quiet street, you notice an open window on the secluded side of a luxury, detached house.  You scale the fence and climb in through the window, using the wheelie bin as a step.  As you push your way through the open casement, the wheelie bin scoots away and demolishes the garden gate depositing week-old Indian take-away all over the drive way.  Stepping from the window ledge, you catch one foot in the sink and the other in a giant potted hibiscus, which crashes to the floor followed by a) the better half of a twelve-piece dinner service and b) you.  You attempt to clamber to your feet but find yourself staring into the glowering, yellow eyes of a giant, snarling bullmastiff.  You exit the window in one bound, smashing your shin painfully against the kitchen tap and your forehead against the window lintel.  Once outside you try to flee the scene, but slip on an extremely viscous Tarka Dahl and fall to the ground where you are immediately accosted by thirteen spitting feral cats and a postman with something brown and odorous on his shoe.

EXERCISE – Grow a beard:

  • Do not shave for at least six weeks.
  • Do you have a beard? (If the answer is ‘No’, you are a) a woman, b) a child, c) looking in the wrong place)
  • Eat a soft-boiled egg.
  • Try to look in the mirror, post soft-boiled egg without being repulsed by the aftermath.
  • Shave it off.

© Colin McQueen 2022

Letter ‘C’ of The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion will appear 22nd & 25th March.

The Beginners A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Blackmail)

BLACKMAIL        Money extorted by threat; hush money.  A simple and relatively inexpensive method of subversion, requiring the minimum of equipment:

  1. A smart phone with camera and voice recorder or, at a push, a camera and a voice recorder.
  2. An insight into the daily routines and habits of a notable public figure who is likely to do something disgusting enough to make him vulnerable.
  3. A large thermos flask and a Tupperware box for your sandwiches.

                          Blackmail is definitely not the kind of thing that you can go rushing into willy-nilly.  Planning must be thorough, meticulous and written down in really big capital letters to avoid any confusion:

                          Take great care when identifying your victim:

  1. He/she must be financially viable – there is little point in blackmailing someone who cannot pay.
  2. Ensure that they are doing something that they shouldn’t be doing – paragons of virtue are notoriously difficult to blackmail.
  3. Ensure that they care – you’ll get nowhere if your victim doesn’t give a toss what other people think about them.

                          In gathering the evidence you will require in order to execute your plot, you will almost certainly have to conceal yourself at some stage.  Take great care when selecting your hiding place: there are some wonderful places in which to secrete yourself, but they are of very little use to you if they are on the other side of town to the naughtiness. Try and find somewhere to hide in the room where the action is expected to take place.  Having decided on the wardrobe, ensure that the door can be opened from the inside – there is nothing worse than being trapped inside the closet whilst the action is taking place on the bed outside, particularly if the flash goes off.

                          Having leapt out of the wardrobe and captured an image of your victim(s) in flagrante, you must now face the biggest challenge of the whole operation – escape.  Plan, plan and triple plan your escape.  Have as many alternative escape routes arranged as possible and be aware that you will be attempting to negotiate them whilst lugging your out-of-shape frame along passages and alleyways at speeds far greater than furred-up arteries will appreciate, into a fire door that someone will, inevitably, have locked.

                          Should you manage to affect an escape, send a simple, straightforward blackmail note to your victim, informing him/her that you will turn the photographs over to husband/wife/police/avoid nausea, unless you receive £1,000 in used notes1 before the end of the week.  Don’t be dissuaded from proceeding if, in the excitement of catching them ‘at it’, you got the angle all wrong and cut their heads off in the finished photograph.  There is often incriminating evidence to be found on photos of knees and ankles.

                         Arrange somewhere very unusual for the money to be left; get somebody else to collect it in case things go wrong and always count the cash before you post the evidence.  Do not simply count bundles – remember they may be a ‘sandwich’ of real notes filled with carefully cut newspaper.  Always be suspicious if they are carried in a suitcase and the carrier removes one bundle and flicks the corners in front of your face before closing the lid and handing it over.  Also, beware of other people in the vicinity carrying identical cases, particularly if they sidle up to you whilst you are waiting for the bus.

                          A TYPICAL D.I.Y BLACKMAIL PLOT – You are probably the last person this side of Alpha Centauri to discover that your boss is having an affair with his secretary.  Through astute investigation and by asking the cleaner, you discover the location of their weekend assignations, and fight your way into the wardrobe where you wait for the main event.  You are woken by the 37 other subversives scattered around the room firing off their Yasichas in deafening unison.  You leap to your feet, partially garrotting yourself on a pair of braces and take a brilliant flash photograph of the contents of your nose, which the local chemist over-develops.  On leaving the hotel, you trip on the stairs and snap the shutter release from your Kodak.

  1. Personally I always prefer crisp, new ones, but the secondhand appears to be the preferred subversive note of choice.         

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginners A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Bacterium to Bilbo)

(Author’s Note: a slightly different Monday, Wednesday, Friday vibe to this week as letter B proved to be particularly fruitful and, let’s be honest, nobody wanted it to leach into a second week…)

BACTERIUM       Microscopic single-cell organism; a disease or germ.  The subversive’s brain.  Not to be confused with Bactrian, which is a camel with two humps on his back – similar to the shoulder/chip ratio of most subversives.

BALLISTA           An ancient military engine for throwing stones or other missiles.  Now known as a child¹.  A ballista comprised a long wooden arm, tied back and weighted at one end before being released, hurling the missile from the other end over a considerable distance, causing a significant amount of discomfort to anyone unfortunate enough to be under it.  Considerable physical effort was required in pulling back and tying the wooden arm prior to its release.

A child is a soft, warm frenzy of snot and noise, generally smelling faintly of chocolate, which will happily throw anything you give it – as long as you ask it not to.

  1. Whilst most right-thinking people would deplore the deployment of children in the furtherment of subversive activity – it would have to be considered almost reckless to ignore the opportunity when it is there.  Subversively speaking, little measures up to the explosive effect of a strategically placed baby in a full nappy.

BANG                A loud, sudden, explosive noise.  Result of a gunshot, an explosion or a teenager leaving the room. 

BARBARITY        Brutal or inhuman conduct; cruelty.  ‘Brutality, Inhumanity and Cruelty’ appear to have taken over from ‘Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité’ as the basic principles of revolution in the twenty-first century.  Unfortunately, nothing has taken over from the principle of slaughtering those who oppose the ‘revolution1’.

  1. In this instance, ‘revolution’ means ‘more of the same – and none of it good’.

BASTARD           A person born of unmarried parents; an illegitimate child; a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person.  Oh, come on, this is the twenty first century.  There is no place in our society for blind, ignorant prejudice of this kind.  Ok, he’s vicious and despicable – it doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person does it?  Goodness knows, if most of us disowned everyone we know who fits this description, we would have no friends left. 

If the word has any power as a term of abuse, then its significance must surely have been seriously eroded with the news that more children are now born out of wedlock1 than in it.  Perhaps, in the long term, it may become an accepted term of approval – maybe ‘legitimate’ will become an abusive term.  Think of it next time you whack your thumb with a hammer.

  1. Very similar to ‘arm-lock’, but with longer-lasting consequences.

BASTINADO       Beating with a stick, especially on the soles of the feet.  A method of torture that is reputed to cause excruciating pain whilst leaving no mark – a little like a James Blunt concert.

BATTER (1)         To beat persistently or hard.  Violence and subversion are often assumed to walk hand in hand – it is not necessarily so.  Many subversives are deep thinkers; much more inclined towards cerebral rather than physical methods of sedition – especially if facing an opponent with a small vocabulary and a large stick.

BATTER (2)         A mixture of flour, milk or water, eggs, etc., beaten together for use in cookery; to coat with batter.  This is what politicians are really for – although subsequent deep-frying may be a step too far.

BAYONET           A dagger-like steel weapon that is attached to or at the muzzle of a gun and used for stabbing or slashing in hand-to-hand combat.  If you’ve any sense at all, you will forget this weapon, it is messy and unpleasant and, most importantly, generally used in circumstances where there is a 50/50 chance of being on the receiving end.  If you are invited somewhere and asked to take a bayonet, go with a light bulb.

BEARD               Facial hair.  Generally speaking, subversives wear false beards as an occasional form of disguise – unless, of course, they normally wear a real beard, in which case they shave them off as a disguise.  Either course of action is legitimate – as long as you are not ginger.

BEAT                  Strike repeatedly.  A sort of all-encompassing bastinado, generally giving extreme pleasure to at least one of those involved.

BEG                    What subversives do when they’ve been caught.

BICYCLE             Two wheeled vehicle propelled by the rider.  A cheap and efficient method of getaway, particularly downhill.

BILBO                A long iron bar or bolt with sliding shackles and a lock, formerly attached to the ankles of prisoners.  Be honest, it’s not what you thought it was, is it?  A modern adaptation of the Bilbo is the Electronic tag, which, whilst not actually physically manacling the prisoner, does make it extraordinarily difficult for him to wear novelty socks.

© Colin McQueen 2022

The Beginners A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion Index is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Accused to Assassinate)

ACCUSED           Person charged with crime or offence.  Try not to get accused of too much.  Being hounded by MI5 is all very well for a little while, but it soon becomes exceedingly tiresome.  Far better to be an accuser and accuse MI5 of hounding you, even if it’s not true – which, of course, it is not.

ACQUIESCE        To comply; to admit without interrogation.  Acquiescence is not encouraged in subversive circles unless, of course, it saves a lot trouble.  It can certainly spare you an enormous amount of pain during interrogation.  Admit everything: be remorseful; weep uncontrollably; call everybody sir.

AD NAUSEUM    Latin term to describe anything that has continued to the point of nausea.  E.g. Noel Edmonds.

ADZE                 A type of axe.  But a far more exclusive word.  Why be the 357th Mad Axe Murderer, when you can be the first Mad Adze Murderer?  Exclusivity is the key¹.  Make the spelling clear to the newspapers and make sure that the handle is fixed good and tight.  There’s nothing worse than your adze-head flying off, mid-assassination and ruining the wallpaper.

1. Unless you’re trying to open a lock, in which case it’s probably a Yale.

AMBUSCADE      Ambush.  Conceal yourself in some bushes, wait for your victim to appear, leap out from your hiding-place yelling ‘This is an ambush – you’re surrounded’ and try not to look too embarrassed about the fact that you are alone. 

Surrounding a victim is not easy for the solo subversive.  You could try using mirrors, but beware – the reflections are indiscriminate.  A subversive friend of mine was reduced to a gibbering wreck when faced with the multifarious images of his victim staring out at him from the 17 strategically placed mirrors that he’d forgotten all about.

Be certain of your reasons for wanting to attempt an ambush.  Is kidnap the motive, or perhaps gang-violence?  Perhaps you are just not very good at making friends and this is the nearest you ever get to normal social interaction.  If the latter is true, you could always try to ambush a psychiatrist¹.  (You will find this impossible during the summer months, unless you live in the Caribbean.)

1. If you do decide to detain a psychiatrist in this fashion, ensure that you have enough cash to pay his bill.  Psychiatrists seldom accept cheques – nobody trusts a loony.

AMMUNITION    The painful, nasty bit that fits inside the weapon: the bullet in the gun; the pebble in the catapult; the lie in the politician.  

ANARCHY          Lack of government within a state; lawlessness; confusion.  Creating a state of anarchy is the penultimate aim of all subversion, because, only when this is achieved, can one move onto the ultimate aim of all subversion e.g. installing a government that represents all your own views¹.

In going about your legitimate subversive activities, you may be able to take the opportunity to accuse the government (or, more likely, the Parish Council) of ‘allowing a state of anarchy to exist’, which is both a damning indictment and the ideal springboard for your efforts to create such a state.  As in all matters, the wise subversive must be wary of public opinion.  The general perception of anarchy is not terribly good; it invariably receives a very bad press.  There is little that the solo subversive can do about this – good P.R. men² are very expensive.  If you are caught out and accused of being an anarchist yourself, try this argument – ‘In a truly Utopian State there would be no laws, as there would be no law-breakers.  Hence, the truly Ideal State would be an anarchistic one.  Just imagine that.  You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope some day you will join us and the world will live as one.’  If at all possible, attempt to end all public statements with a quote from John Lennon, but be prepared to paraphrase Salman Rushdie or Good Housekeeping in an emergency: it is unlikely to convince any but the terminally stupid, but might just work with a journalist.

1. Better still; install a government that is you.

2. Game of the Page – Spot The Oxymoron.


ARSON               Crime of intentionally setting fire to property or possessions.  Although burning things can be politically prudent, one has to accept that setting fire to the seat of our government is perhaps a little ambitious for the solo beginner.  Try burning unpaid bills.  Utility bills are a nice size in general and suitable for warming your hands by after you have been cut off.

ASSASSINATE     To kill by treacherous violence, especially for reward.  Don’t get involved in this sort of practice; it does not help your image.  If you feel that you really must rid yourself of a troublesome person, try sending them somewhere with a message and then changing all the locks before they return.  


Carefully plan an ambush: prepare maps, timetables, escape routes etc, and then think of 101 reasons why you should not go ahead with it.

Subject to legal advice, ‘The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion’ will return with the letter ‘B’ in 4 weeks time.

© Colin McQueen 2022

Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Index, is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Abduction to Abuse)

This was supposed to appear on Tuesday, but life got in the way…

ABDUCTION       The felonious carrying off a man’s daughter, wife, etc.  More often referred to by the media as kidnapping (see below) this is an excellent method of raising cash, but it is wise to be cautious:

a) Before deciding on your victim, carry out some basic research: is anyone likely to want them back and, if they do, can they afford to pay the ransom?  There can be little worse than being stuck with someone whom you can’t return, who eats like a horse and insists upon attempting to ‘discern the rationale of your didactic approach’ every evening over the cocoa.

b) When operating solo, always kidnap someone smaller than yourself.  If that is not possible, try to snatch his dog – as long as it is neither big and vicious nor small and yappy.

c) Do not get over-ambitious.  Kidnapping the mayor might seem like a wonderful idea after thirteen glasses of your sister’s homemade rhubarb wine, but it is unlikely to prove practical, and it is doubtful that you will be able to carry out your scheme without eventual exposure, capture and humiliation.

d) Do not attempt to kidnap someone of above average IQ¹.  There can be little more embarrassing than losing so many games of chess that you are forced to pay the ransom yourself before releasing the brainbox with money for train fare and a sandwich on the way home.

                          PLANNING AN ABDUCTION – Honestly, it is probably better not to.  The moment you start to get involved in meticulous planning, you will realise how fraught with problems the whole thing is and, like as not, will decide not to bother.  My best advice is to go into it as one of those spur-of-the-moment things.  Have a room set aside and fully prepared: buy a clean bucket, but other than that, take the whole thing as it comes and sooner or later, a suitable victim will walk into your life.

                          A TYPICAL D.I.Y ABDUCTION – Walking through Tesco’s car park one Friday afternoon, you spot a frail old man pushing a trolley piled high with luxury goods.  You make a split-second decision to abduct him as he starts to load up his car.  It is not until you get him home that he manages to convince you that neither the trolley nor the car was his own, and that he is himself an habitual thief.  Worse, he is old, small and frail – he is also poor and lonely.  You give him a hot meal and attempt to release him, but he refuses to go.

1. This is an immutable law of subversion – if it were not so, Stephen Fry would have been taken long, long ago.

ABSCESS            A gathering of purulent matter.  All of the main political parties have an annual abscess, usually at the seaside.  A subversive is expected to study this sort of thing carefully in order to understand what the enemy¹  is up to.  If this doesn’t put you off, nothing will.  Actually, it is not difficult to discover what the political parties are planning, as they are rarely off the television during the abscess season and go to great lengths to tell you, ad nauseum, what they intend to do next².  If you belong to a subversive group, you will probably have an abscess of your very own – probably in the pub on a Friday night.

1. As a subversive, you may decide to view all organised political parties as ‘the enemy’ – this is perfectly normal and, frankly, not terribly subversive.

2. In truth, what they want you to believe they intend to do next.  What they actually intend to do next is exactly the same as every other party in power over the entire history of the world e.g. feather their own nests.

ABSCOND          To hide oneself; to fly from justice.  Flying from justice will probably prove to be totally impractical for the do-it-yourselfer, but you can run away.  Ignore all the rubbish about attack being the best form of defence; run away and, if at all possible, hide.  Disguise has always offered additional scope for the prospective escapee and, in the case of a male disguising himself as a female, allows him to employ the supplementary safety net of tears if cornered.

ABUSE                Bad language addressed to a person; insulting words.  In order to be effective, abuse must be witty and incisive.  Abuse is never effective.  If you wish to employ abuse as a subversive tool, try to obey three simple rules:

  1. Never waste wit on anyone you suspect may not be able to understand it.
  2. Never abuse anybody you feel may be likely to beat you up as a result.
  3. If you feel that you really must abuse somebody who may beat you up, do it very quietly and from a very great distance.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Accused to Assassinate) will appear on Friday 28th January 2022 providing I remember.

© Colin McQueen 2022

Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Index, is here.

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Introduction (part two)

I urge you, now, before it is too late, to consider what it is that has drawn you to this subversive path.  Perhaps you have always harboured an urge to behave subversively.  Perhaps only now, after (comfortably) more than half a century of life’s travails, have you built up sufficient resentment to act.   Remember: into every life a little rain must fall.  There’s always sunshine after the rain etc. etc.  Except that there’s not, is there?  After rain, there’s normally even more rain, followed by fog on high ground and flooding in low-lying areas.  Subversion comes in many guises: think Guy Fawkes attempting to blow up the House of Commons; think ringing a call centre and leaving your phone off the hook; think taking an unfeasibly long time to read all of the myriad delights laid out before you on the Starbucks menu before asking the extensively over-qualified barista, ‘do you do Nescafé?’.

Whatever subversive action you decide to take, even if it is just sticking your tongue out at someone when they’re not looking, somebody is almost bound to take exception to it.  If they react badly, you will find yourself in ‘a situation’.  At this point adrenalin will kick in.  You are unlikely to experience the fight or flight dilemma as you will be too busy running away.  Whatever you do, always make certain that you have a suitable means of escape.  Bicycles are excellent, but only if you are heading downhill.  If you plan to escape by public transport, always ensure that you know the location of the easy access stops. 

Broadly speaking, subversives fall into two categories: a) those who consider themselves torchbearers for the right and good – enemies of injustice and inequality – warriors for a righteous cause and b) those who would really quite like to get their name into the newspaper.  Many of those who fall into category a) will enter into politics, whilst many of those who fall into category b) will also enter into politics.  The Houses of Parliament are the subversive equivalent of the elephant’s graveyard.  Politics is the domain of those who have lost all conviction – or at least home to those who have sued the press for releasing details of their convictions.  Subversion is simultaneously the enemy and the father of politics – whilst politicians are often simultaneously the father and employer of any number of tax-deductable children.  Winston Churchill remained subversive throughout his political career but then, so did Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner and look where it got them.  For most, subversion and political success are mutually exclusive – in much the same way as hand-knitted cardigans and sexual excess.  Indeed, for the majority of subversives, subversion and normal social intercourse are also mutually exclusive.  Show me a subversive with friends and I will show you a liar.  Subversion, like golf, is a group activity in which no member trusts any other member; consequently, most D.I.Y subversives also become solo subversives.  After all, what is the point of other opinions if they do not agree with your own?

Somebody once said that 99% of all subversive activity takes place between the ears.  They obviously associated with different subversives to me.  99% of what goes on between the ears of the subversives I have met is… well, zilch, quite honestly …and the other 1% involves sexual exploits – 99% of which are fictitious.

Remember, subversion is not all glamour.  Che Guevara was indeed glamorous, but not until after he was dead.  If you want glamour, you are reading the wrong blog – look elsewhere – there must be one somewhere about existing purely on the calories extracted from cigarettes and cocaine. 

I do not seek to persuade anyone that committing subversive deeds could in any way be seen as a desirable course of action.  Indeed, I consider it imperative to advise against any activity that may, in any way, be associated with terrorism or extremism and which might, ultimately, lead to the suspicion that it was me who placed the fake dog-dirt in the butcher’s doorway. Amateur subversion seldom involves killing your enemy – although it may necessitate tying his shoelaces together.  If you are happy living your life as a friendless bozo, perpetrating small acts of subversion whenever and wherever the opportunity arises distil from this such succour as you are able – then, for God’s sake, go out and get yourself a life…

The Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion (Author’s Footnote) will appear as a supplementary post on Sunday 23rd January 2022

© Colin McQueen 2022

Beginner’s A-Z of D.I.Y Subversion – Index, is here.