07 October 2010


I’d like to point loyal My First Dictionary-heads in the direction of an upcoming project by the Very Us Artists, whom you’ll remember were responsible for the brilliantly twisted Sing-Along Dictionary songs earlier this year. Again mixing music, images and suitably dark reading material, they’ve conceived a unique, immersive experience called Foreshadows: The Ghosts of Zero, which, quite frankly, I can’t wait to get my hands, eyes and ears on... and possibly some other body parts too, depending on how much I like it.

Please check it out and, if you like the sound of it as much as I do, please also consider sponsoring it, for which you can receive all sorts of intriguing goodies – the best of which, to my mind, is an official My First Sing-Along Dictionary CD & book set. Yes, you really can get your mitts on one of these rare and wonderful items! But don’t do it because I want you to. Do it because you want you to... and I just know you do!

Today's word is take

22 June 2010

Today's song is anonymous

“This Song Is Anonymous (We Do Not Know Its Name)” by ButterflyPolite.

Richard Smith’s competition-winning definition of anonymous inspired this delightful bit of bespoke pop, which could hardly be more different in tone to its creator’s previous song, “Happy Families Fade”. Parody or profundity... or a little of both? Have fun deciding, and visit the Very Us Artists song page for lyrics and insights.

16 June 2010

Today’s word is anonymous

The above definition comes courtesy of Richard, whose competition-winning suggestion gave us a delicious case of the creeps, although we couldn’t quite put our fingers on why. In other words: perfect MFD material! I can’t wait to find out how Uglifruit of the Very Us Artists will set it to music but, luckily, we’ll only have to wait a week or so before the resulting song is magically posted here... Isn’t creative genius marvellous?

Richard, please get in touch using this contact page and we’ll pop your prize in the post once the CD’s been created. For the rest of those who entered, thanks for making it so hard to choose a winner. It really wasn’t easy. I loved the cleverness of Harrod’s “Gram-Gram is delusional. She thinks she is not in the facility” (talk about thinking outside the box there!) and lostophile’s “Johnny wears a uniform. His uniform helps him catch his victims off-guard” had an understated malicious streak to be proud of.

Jack Bush gave his definition a sly double-meaning in “Scout William wants to help Mrs. Billings with her shopping. He’s going to help himself to her bakery basket”, while bee’s “Scooter puts the cat in catering” line nearly made me LOL till some PP came out (“Scooter’s catering company makes the best appetizers. His paté is the talk of the town. Scooter puts the cat in catering”).

For sheer yuck-factor, I’m not sure you’ll beat: “The kitties smell food, but Aunt Maud has not been to the fishmonger’s today. Aunt Maud has questionable personal hygiene” (thanks to Fugitive) – although swishyhair certainly tries: “Charlie helps Aunt Agatha to carry her groceries home. Soon she will be carrying Charlie’s baby. Unfortunately, Charlie is also carrying syphilis”. Finally, Miscellaneous Fugitive offered an equally droll take on the scene with: “Mrs Rout always meant to read Scouting for Boys. Lord Baden-Powell was one of her heroes and she is proud to follow his example. She may have misinterpreted his intentions”.

Thanks again to everyone who entered. If you fancy a good laugh, have a read through the Comments on both of the previous posts and check out those submitted via Facebook... It’s even more bang for your MFD buck!

07 June 2010


Above: The picture you need to write a My First Dictionary-style definition for. Below: The amazing, unique prize you could win if you do!

Yes, there’s only a week left to enter the competition and, no, you’re not fantasizing – that really is a one-of-a-kind CD/book set containing all the My First Sing-Along Dictionary songs featured here over the last month PLUS an entirely new bonus song to be based on the winning caption submitted by a reader.

And, yes, they are in a picnic basket – but, no, that’s not part of the prize... Suckers!

Thanks to everyone who’s entered so far. There’s still time to get an entry in if you haven’t already – or another if you’re feeling particularly inspired. Just see the previous post for full details and bear in mind that the caption has to (a) define a word, and (b) sound like it might be from a real children’s dictionary, however twisted the subtext. (And remember: subtle suggestion is often the funnier way to go – something I should probably try to learn myself...)

Thanks also to John LaSala for not only producing the aforementioned CD but taking it on a picnic-themed photo shoot for the purposes of this post. I would’ve included the shots of him actually modelling the prize, but I decided to send them in to Tyra Banks instead, in the hope that the next cycle of America’s Next Top Model will concentrate on rugged, stubbly men whose oddly alluring grimaces exude a mixture of raw masculinity and, frankly, slight derangement. (Well, it’s the only way I have a chance of making it through to the finale, anyway.)

So get scribbling! Then maybe think about entering the competition... Good luck!

31 May 2010

Today's word is...?

Want to see YOUR My First Dictionary-style caption here? Want it to be turned into a song? Want a copy of that song on a limited-edition My First Sing-Along Dictionary CD with a lovely accompanying booklet?!

Well, you don’t want much, do you? But the good news is that all of these thrilling fantasies – and I know you dream about them nightly – can now become unequivocal realities, thanks to the My First Dictionary/Very Us Artists Collaborative Caption Competition Extravaganza Meltdown 2010! (Note to self: think of better title.)

Yes, you could be sitting there (or standing – it’s really up to you) listening to a song based on your very own MFD caption with your very own ears. Not only that, but it would appear as a bonus track on a CD containing all the Singalong songs thus far. All you have to do is come up with an amusing definition to accompany the above picture. Make it funny, make it mean, but above all, make it fit the MFD style, which means that, while you can pick any word you want, you do have to define it within your caption. (Take a look through past posts to get the feel if you’re not familiar.)

Get your entries in by 14 June (11pm BST) and one or more of the assorted Very Us Artists geniuses will write and record a song incorporating your definition, much in the same way as the last ten words have been set to marvellous musical accompaniment here at MFD. In fact, in exactly the same way. And, if you don’t believe me, have a listen.

I really couldn’t be more excited to see what you come up with and, thanks to the expressive tone of my writing, I know you didn’t just mistake my genuine enthusiasm for sarcasm there. Which it was... Honestly! (Oh dear, that seems to be making it worse.) In any case, there’s three ways to enter:

The old-fashioned way: Submit your idea in the Comments bit below.

The new-fangled way: Visit the Facebook page and leave your caption there.

The super-techno-fantastical-excitement way: Post the caption in your “Facebook status” along with a “link” to this post and a @My First Dictionary “tag”, thereby proving to your friends, family and own fragile ego how “with it” you are.

(I know which method I’d use, and it rhymes with “the pooper-hetero-testicle-excrement-gay” – although that’s hopefully a coincidence.)

The winning caption will be chosen using a special algorithm dreamt up by me and select members of the Very Us Artists whilst on the toilet, and posted here on or around 15 June, with the new song appearing a week or so later. Until then... enter! Enter twice! Email a friend and tell them to enter! Tweet and re-tweet, and then re-tweet that re-tweet until Twitter goes over capacity! Google Wave it, and then explain to me how Google Wave works! And then maybe have a lie down.

Here’s a preview of what the fabulous CD and booklet prize will look like:

And here’s how you would feel if you won it:

And if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

30 May 2010


The fat lady’s getting ready to sing a song about the Sing-Along Dictionary but, before she does, the Very Us Artists have one last little message for you all:

Many thanks again to all the VUArtists for spicing up My First Dictionary these past weeks, and especially to the twisted ringleader of the project, John LaSala. It’s back to the boring old, non-singing, non-dancing dictionary tomorrow, albeit with one fairly major difference: YOU get to pick the next word.

Yes, it’s caption competition time again! Remember last year? This time, however, there’s an actual prize at stake. And, no, I’m not telling you what it is. In fact, there aren’t even words to describe how exciting it is – and, being a dictionary blogger, I should know.

That’s right... I called myself a “dictionary blogger”. Deal with it, and see you tomorrow.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, the proper competition starts tomorrow with an all-new new picture. The image above is for illustration purposes only – although, seeing as we’ve already had two funny captions for it, feel free to practise!

21 May 2010

Today's song is put

“Everyone Loves Grandma (Put The Knife Down)”
by Colin Garvey.

Alas, today’s disturbing ditty marks the final collaboration between My First Dictionary and the über-talented Very Us Artists. You’ll be glad to hear we’re going out with a bang, however – even if it is the sound of a bloodstained basement door slamming shut! Visit Colin’s VUA song page for lyrics etc, and come back soon for a thrilling announcement...

18 May 2010

Today's song is fade

“Happy Families Fade” by Uglifruit.

Andy weaves a world of art-house melancholy from today’s simple line drawing, with a devastating little number that couldn’t be more aptly titled. Weep along with full lyrics (and interesting commentary) from the VUA song page:

13 May 2010

Today's song is creative

“The Vicissitudes Of A Creative Life” by John LaSala
& Ali Kilpatrick.

This macabre tale may be My First Dictionary’s first epic: a Machiavellian tale of music and murder that’s half ballroom, half Broadway, and all bloodcurdlingly clever. Visit the VUA song page for a closer look at the many lyrical twists and allusions...

11 May 2010

Today's song is paranoid

“Cave Canem” by Jeremy Simmons.

Jeremy’s ode to “dark, dog memories” – with added snuffling – gives today’s dip into My First Dictionary an enjoyably eerie edge... Check out the Very Us Artists song page for lyrics and more.

07 May 2010

Today's song is sacrifice

“Sacrifice: Hymn For Harvest Rain” by Bilian.

Bilian’s tongue-in-cheek warning on his VUA song page that “this record is not suitable for children” may just be the understatement of the year. When I first heard his twisted “hymn,” I wasn’t sure whether I was shaking with laughter or fear! Either way, I guarantee you’ve never heard anything like it before...

03 May 2010

Today's song is crisis

“The Midlife Crisis Song” by Joshua Wentz.

This melancholy tale takes us to visit Chico in the TV-lit gloom of his motel room one night... See the Very Us Artists song page for lyrics.

29 April 2010

Today's song is prepare

“Be Prepared For Anything” by Peter Fedofsky.

Peter’s sunny, sinister song lifts that yellow roller blind and drags you in through those blue curtains in a way that blew my mind. For his commentary (and full lyrics) visit the VUA song page.

26 April 2010

Today's song is short

“Matthew (Is Short Of One Block)” by Sudara.

I guarantee you’ll be humming this one for weeks, so visit the VUA song page for lyrics and info, and get ready for the funniest expletive-bleeping you’ve ever heard...

20 April 2010

Today's song is rather

“Mother Would Rather” by Nick Parton.

Visit the Very Us Artists song page for lyrics and more. Nick’s insanely catchy song was inspired by today’s word...

14 April 2010

Sing Along with My First Dictionary and the Very Us Artists

Warning: Today’s post is so exciting, I’m warning anyone with bladder weakness not to read it – or at least not to read it in public. Or to keep a milk bottle handy. Preferably an empty one. Why? Well, that’s between you and the milk bottle – which isn’t a place I’d care to be right now, incidentally – but, anyway, what’s so exciting about this post?

Back in December, I was approached by John LaSala of the staggeringly talented Very Us Artists, who had the gall to suggest that words and pictures alone simply weren’t powerful enough to adequately convey all the complex definitions My First Dictionary has been teaching you over the last year. What was needed, he postulated, was songs. You know, the kind with music... That, and it was nearly time for the annual RPM Challenge, wherein participating artists take it upon themselves to create an entire album in the space of February’s 28 days.

Why they do this, I’ve no idea. I wasn’t really listening. But I do know what it means for you, dear weak-bladdered MFD reader, and it’s very exciting indeed. Over the next month or so, you’ll be treated not only to your usual diet of lexicographical jollity, but each word will also be accompanied by a clever, hilarious or disturbing song – and, on occasion, one that’s all three (N.B. or just two). That’s ten new upcoming MFD entries for you* and ten fantastic songs to listen to... Does that make up for my irregular posting or what?!

I’ve heard all of the musical treats on the way and, lemme tell ya, they’re all amazing... Can I pick a favourite? That would be like picking a favourite child. And, as we all know, while everybody does that, they don’t tell anyone. So, no, I’m not telling. I’ll just give it better birthday presents. In any case, by way of introduction, here’s a little song to get you in the mood...

The Very Us Artists Have Cut A Record
(Click title for more about the song and project)

*Well, actually, it's nine more after today’s post, but ten just sounded better somehow.

08 April 2010

Today's word is decide*

*Lots to look forward to next week, when My First Dictionary gets a musical makeover!

27 January 2010

Today's word is above*

* Not a major entry today, but it's amazing what you
can do with a spare comma.