Arbitrary and Unnecessary

By Daniel Piper

The debut collection of comedy short stories, poems and plays by writer, comedian and national poetry slam champion Daniel Piper.


It struck me while listening to One Direction’s What Makes You Beautiful that the girl in question would cease to be beautiful if she heard the song, since not knowing her beauty was what made her beautiful. Desperate to warn her not to listen, I tracked her down to a hut near the beach from the video. She answered the door with a bag over her head. I was her first visitor in years. She had heard the song on its release and transformed immediately. The only thing keeping her going now was the hope that the boys might one day reform and write a new song in which she was beautiful, even though she knew it.



 Concerned about privacy, I deleted Facebook. While the absence was refreshing, I soon began compensating for it in my daily life. I would stop strangers and ask to see their holiday photos, show them newspaper headlines (whispering a single word such as shocking or appalling), and politely suggest that they respond with one of four facial expressions. I knew something was wrong with me after I furiously entered a lingerie shop, insisting that they remove their poorly-targeted window display and demanding to know whether I looked like the kind of man who wore women’s underwear.

The Metamorphillip

(Like a Phillip Out of Water)

It had been a long time since Phillip Schofield last looked in the mirror. He’d been very busy what with This Morning and Dancing On Ice and All Star Mr & Mrs and it wasn’t until he did look into the mirror one Tuesday morning that he realised he was no longer Phillip Schofield, the man.

At some point between now and the last time he had looked in the mirror (at least two months ago), he had become Phillip Schofield, the fish.

At first he was surprised. Why had nobody told me? He thought. Then he looked at his watch. Six-thirty! He had to be at the ITV studios in half-an-hour!

[I havent written the middle of this story. Im thinking that Phillip probably goes to work, people realise he’s a fish and there are all sorts of hi-jinks. I have written  the ending  though, because I know how I want it to end. All you need to know is that Phillip is now in a restaurant and at some point during the day he has changed his name to Fiship Scalefield]

The waiter approached. 

Are you ready to order, Mr Scalefield?

Fiship looked at the menu. 

Hmm. I’m not sure. Do you recommend anything? Let me see, said the waiter. The fish is good.

Fiship laughed. 

No thanks! He said. I think I’ve had enough fish for one day. I am one.



When I told the taxi driver I dabble in comedy, he told me to tell him a joke. I told him I don’t really do jokes, more like storytelling or poetry to be honest. He asked if I wanted to hear a joke about his penis but then said never mind actually, it’s too long. It’s a shame because I did want to hear it.


Wrong Side Of Twenty-Five

I’m on the wrong side of twenty-five
but the right side of thirty.
I’m on the right side of twenty-seven
but the wrong side of thirteen

because I’m twice that now, I’m twenty-six
and that’s halfway to a full deck.
In a few years I’ll be fifty-two
and in a few more, I’ll be dead.

I’m old. I’m twenty-six,
my railcard days are numbered.
If I want to spend Christmas at home this year,
it’s going to have to be crowdfunded.

I’m old, I’m twenty-six,
these days my favourite drink is tea.
Instead of going out, I stay in
and shout at my TV.

If I went on The X Factor,
I’d be in the Overs category.
I’d be the old bloke they let on as a joke
so the audience can laugh at me.

I’m old, I’m washed up,
my glory days are ending.
And I know what you’re thinking,
if you’re older than me,
you’re thinking, Stop pretending!

You’re not old, you ungrateful shit,
you’ve still got your life ahead of you!
I’d give anything to go back in time
and be twenty-six instead of you!

But haven’t you noticed? Things have changed,
have you been on YouTube recently?
On there there are millionaires
who retire at twenty-three.
Beyonce’s newborn babies have got more
Twitter followers than me!

I’m old, I’m twenty-six,
I’ve started reminiscing.
I’ve started ranting and raving
to anybody who will listen.

About the never-ending party
that was mid-to-late noughties!
Skins, Popworld, Hollyoaks!
Early Arctic Monkeys!
Kids these days listen to vinyl

but we made do with iPods!
And If you had a Motorola Razr,
you were automatically a heartthrob!
(And I had one)

If you wanted to make friends in my day,
you actually had to talk to people!
(On MySpace)

I’m old, I’m washed up,
the party’s truly over.
Yesterday I bought myself
a sleeveless knitted jumper.

I got myself a flat cap
and a bottle of Brut Cologne.
Tomorrow morning I’m packing my bags
and checking into a home.


A Short Play About Two Dinosaurs

Two DINOSAURS are walking through the desert.




Last night’s party was a roaring success!

Ha! Roaring! I like that. 



How To Cheat On Your Partner While Your Partner Is Away In Germany

So you want to cheat on your partner while your partner is away in Germany? No problem! Simply follow these three short steps:

  1. Organise a party, inviting nine people with whom you would like to conduct the infidelity.
  1. During the party, conduct the infidelity with those nine people.
  1. When your partner returns from Germany and asks whether you were unfaithful, simply reply: Nine!

Your partner will think that you are saying no in a comedy German accent.



She invited me to the office not for an interview but for a chat, so I spent all week researching the kind of things I like to chat about. I don’t think I’ve got the job. She kept asking what I could bring to the team and I kept talking about how underwhelmed I was by Spectre, particularly after Skyfall.



I visited Facebook on my girlfriend’s phone to check how my new photo looked on her smaller screen. I couldn’t find it, so she admitted that she had muted me. You’re pretty dull on there and you post too much, she said. You’re much more interesting in real life. Unsure whether to feel offended or flattered, I posted a Twitter poll which received two votes, one for each option

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