This book popped into my head halfway through the middle of writing another book. It hung around in my brain, smoking, making passive-aggressive comments and sighing loudly until I finally relented and wrote it. On reflection it was a good way to get over the success of the astounding Fifty Shades of Grey, and perhaps an attempt to capitalise on it a little. (You’ve got to pay your rent somehow, right?)
Since Fifty Shades of Grey and its numerous knock offs all seemed to follow a similar formula – super rich man meets thin girl with social skills of pocket lint – I saw no reason to deviate and so Christian Grey (He used to be Edward Cullen – it’s complicated.) became cheeto-stained internet-billionaire Crispian Neigh. Anastasia Steele, a clumsy, lip-chewing bookworm with absolutely no similarity to that clumsy, lip-chewing bookworm girl from the Twilight books, became Hannelore Squeal, a beautiful moron with some kind of terrible inner-ear problem.
I then faced the considerable problem of how to parody a book like Fifty Shades of Grey. Is it really possible to take the piss out of a book where the heroine regularly forgets her own address and – through the power of a misplaced comma – the hero ends up wearing an anthropomorphic tie with Robert Pattinson’s hair? More to the point, was it possible to create a love interest more repellent than a charm-free joy-vacuum like Christian Grey?
Well, I tried. I found inspiration among the Fedoras of OkCupid, the self-styled ‘nice guys’ – those patient, weary travellers, waiting forever for a woman to repay the kindness they’ve been feeding her like coins into a vending machine, hoping that sex will eventually come out. A lot of these men were self-described nerds, and a startling number of them were ‘Bronies’.
Now, Bronies, for those of you who don’t spend all your time diving to the dark bottom of the internet, are adult male fans of My Little Pony. Like most internet fandoms they tend towards the obsessive and, like most people who construct their entire personality around a niche interest, they are quite amazingly vocal and annoying. Because I am a horrible person, I found their social ineptitude amusing and so Crispian Neigh became a loud, proud and intensely irritating Brony.
The irony is that while Crispian Neigh is a doughy fleshwaste who uses words like ‘Friendzone’ and peppers his conversation with internet memes and ‘Pick Up Artist’ techniques, he is still not nearly as bad a boyfriend as Christian Grey. I know there are many ladies out there who wish that Christian Grey was real – and I’ve got news for them. He is real. The psycho-wing of HMP Parkhurst is positively bursting at the seams with Christian Greys. Okay, so they’re not billionaires, but I’m sure there are plenty who know a thing or two about stalking (both local and intercontinental), emotional manipulation and smacking the shit out a woman for things they consider infractions, such as breaking up with them via e-mail or offering to pay for breakfast.
To those who say that Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t portray an abusive relationship, I say ‘Have you fucking read Fifty Shades of Grey?’ and to readers of Fifty Shades of Neigh, I apologise. As a parodist I have failed, in that I couldn’t make my leading man more repulsive, more unpleasant and more undesirable than the monstrous (almost) original. (Like I say, he used to be Edward from Twilight – and wasn’t he a rare catch? Like smallpox or the Black Death.) I just hope that I have made a few people laugh in the process.
Below are the links to Fifty Shades of Neigh as it appeared as a free web serial. The Kindle edition is an edited, more polished version, featuring funnier chapter titles and a hundred per cent more jokes about The Human Centipede. (I still don’t know why that exists.) If you enjoyed the serial, please consider buying the ludicrously cheap Kindle edition – I’m kind of in the role of a street entertainer here and this is the part where I go round with the hat. The book costs less than the ubiquitous five dollar hat on the cover and also has the benefit of not making you look like the top of your head is missing.
Fifty Shades Fatter – A sequel
Catch up with Hanna ‘Mess of the D’Urbervilles’ Squeal and her jail-bird billionaire boyfriend, in the car crash romance that’s outselling niche historical novels with a total readership of about six.
Yes, the idiots are back, and they’re dumber than ever. Despite having voices in her head and a broken heart, the most illiterate English Major to ever train for the fast food industry has somehow landed a job in publishing. Sadly her estranged boyfriend is in the pokey for numerous copyright violations, attempted bribery and (surprisingly) not kidnap, prompting Hanna to spend much of her time sighing, crying and staring at her thumbs. Even worse, she has to fend off the moustachioed advances of her hipster boss Timothy Grope, who keeps sending her mysterious and threatening text messages – that is when he’s not drawing doodles of her tied to train-tracks.
But soon she is forced to make the biggest decision of her life when Crispian wants her back. (Spoiler – she says yes. She’s an idiot after all.)
Thankfully (at least from the standpoint of dramatic tension) it’s not a happy, rose strewn path to the altar when your fiancé is in federal custody, your friends are preoccupied with Kindle porn and cryptozoology and there’s a strange girl who keeps climbing out of dumpsters to scream at you.
Really. It’s enough to make a girl crazy(er), and even with Crispian out on house arrest Hanna still has to find a wedding suit that adequately disguises the bulge of his electronic tag and suffer the horrified objections of her friends, her mother, his mother, her boss, her boss’s boss, the voices in her head and even Crispian’s annoying and suspiciously blonde, leggy, beautiful attorney. It’s almost as if getting married to someone you’ve known for less than a month is a catastrophically stupid idea…
Fifty Shades Later – An Inevitable Conclusion
Brace yourself for the final excursion into the dysfunctional life of Hanna Neigh (née Squeal) and her brooding, bondage-freak husband, Mr. Neigh.
It’s not easy being the skinny, rich and beautiful wife of a billionaire, especially when you’re in the South of France and the hotel where you wanted to stay has been besmirched by the presence of the trashy romance writer responsible for the infamous ‘Sasquatch Gangbang’ novels. To add further complications to her meaningless existence, Hanna can’t find a decent martini on the entire Cote d’Azur and someone keeps sending her threatening e-mails. Worse, her Inner Goddess keeps reminding her about the part of Book Two where her husband died in a helicopter crash, although that’s kind of her own fault for anthropomorphising aspects of her creaking mental processes in such an incredibly annoying way.
Who is driving the mysterious black van labelled INEPT KIDNAPPERS INC? What really happened to felonious Brony-billionaire Crispian Neigh on the night of the Kleptocrats Only Masqued Ball? Have the ponies stopped screaming yet? And is this the one where they finally do anal? (No)
Confused? You will be.
Incompetent editors, angry birds, sweary children, transvestite workaholics, myopic libertarians and horrible things that happen to My Little Pony all collide in the final part of the anarchic Fifty Shades of Neigh trilogy.