My best friend Loz has a superpower. No – really. She’s been able to pass it off as Emotional Intelligence to protect her secret identity, but she actually reads minds; it’s quite astonishing. When teaching finally gets the better of her, she and I will throw aside our conventional lives and tour the villages of Britain with nothing more than chutzpah and a Campingaz stove, astonishing good folk everywhere with her incredible ability to work out why people are feeling grumpy. I’ll be the sideshow, with my own modest (but nevertheless impressive) superpower: I can find things in the fridge.

This latter may play better to all-male audiences.

I am enduringly fascinated by superheroes and by their superpowers – real or imagined – so I’m excited to be hosting an extract from Freaks by Caroline Smailes & Nik Perring (illustrated by Darren Craske). The book is full of dark humour, offering bite-sized stories about what happens when ordinary people are endowed with superpowers. There’s The Photocopier (who can reproduce herself at will), and a man who breaks into his lover’s dream, and a (filthy) woman who wears My Little Pony pants; I won’t tell you what her superpower is. Enjoy this taster of the book – and I’ll see you in a village hall, some time in 2015:



The ability to make

oneself unseen to

the naked eye



If I stay totally still,

if I stand right tall,

with me back against the school wall,

close to the science room’s window,

with me feet together,

pointing straight,

aiming forward,

if I make me hands into tight fists,

make me arms dead straight,

if I push me arms into me sides,

if I squeeze me thighs,

stop me wee,

if me belly doesn’t shake,

if me boobs don’t wobble,

if I close me eyes tight,

so tight that it makes me whole face scrunch,

if I push me lips into me mouth,

if I make me teeth bite me lips together,

if I hardly breathe,

if I don’t say a word.


I’ll magic meself invisible,

and them lasses will leave me alone





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