You may remember my recent article in which I explored how one goes about getting superpowers. Eventually I succeeded but I couldn't tell you which of the methods detailed worked. Personally my money's on the toxic waste one, but the fact remains - I now have the power to light fires with my mind, or 'pyrokinesis' as we oh-so clever people call it. I can also glow in the dark, but that's more of a distraction power.

The first step in being a superhero is to work out a costume. Now, according to the many comics I have read, these come in three flavours: Traditional Garish, Swishy Gothic and Big Boy Vest. Also known as the 'Spiderman, The Crow, Duke Nukem' sequence. Being a man of dignity I decided to ditch the first option, and since my new power had not granted me rippling pecs and rock biceps the last option went the same way. This left Swishy Gothic, a sub-genre which involves wearing long, black garments and a hat that casts a shadow over my face.

A systematic sweep of the local charity shops turned up only a furry black dressing gown. I slipped it on, left it open so it could swish properly, donned my favourite red cap so the shadow fell across my face, and set out about town. I ditched my secret identity and became the superhero LIGHT FIRES WITH THE POWER OF THE MIND MAN. Five seconds later I changed it to Pyroman.

STEP ONE: Bar fight

It's a prerequisite of the new superhero to find some cocky git who thinks he's so hard to take you on in fisticuffs, then beat them shiteless. This I was particularly looking forward to. Off I went to my local pub. No-one seemed in the mood to get into a fist fight. There was no-one there but the barman, two old men and a Yorkshire terrier. This absence got me a bit down so, I'm sorry to say, I had a few too many pints. Eventually, some time around seven, some students came in and started getting a bit tipsy too so I dragged myself up from my stupor and asked them if they wanted a fight. One of the boys called me a wanker and they all laughed. So I set fire to their barmats with my pyrokinesis. That about concludes what I remember of that evening, but I woke up in some vomit in the gutter outside with bruised knuckles, surrounded by unconscious students. Cool!

STEP TWO: Good or evil?

The question everyone with superpowers has to ask themselves is this - do they use their powers for good or evil? To take on the bad guys and villains, helping humanity regardless of colour or creed, or to just use being superhuman for my own personal gain? All options had something to be said for them, so I decided to go for a happy medium. On my first night on the prowl I went through the seedier streets and found an old lady being mugged. I instantly leapt into action, dressing gown swishing nicely, and floored the thug with a superpower-enhanced sucker punch to the stomach. Then I kneed him in the balls and set fire to his turn-ups. None of which was much fun, so I set fire to the old lady too and ran off with her handbag. But I called an ambulance from a phone box round the corner. I'm only superhuman.

So, profit from one evening's work - a bit of underworld reputation, fifteen quid, a pension book and a packet of Mint Imperials. Not bad for a beginner.

STEP THREE: Nosy pressmen

The final stage of establishing a superhero identity is to get some boring mortal interested in you. To come out of nowhere, do some superhero deeds, then fade back into the shadows always catches the eye of some nosy git. Or git-ess, as they do inevitably turn out to be women. This is incidentally a sure-fire way to get girls, as Highlander and Superman demonstrated. Anyway, one morning the world awoke to find all my old childhood bullies, and everyone I didn't like, lying around in gutters groaning and sizzling. To my utter dismay no-one was looking in my direction, merely blaming some kind of new Russian virus or some foolish thing. So then I thought I'd be clever and, in my secret identity, I asked a private eye to get me some info on my superhero persona.

"Why are you asking me to investigate yourself?" he asked.

My mouth dropped open. "How did you know?"

"You're still wearing the hat."

I was so angry I burnt the whole office building down. Oh, sod this, I don't really want to be a superhero. I just wanted the superpower discount at AllSports. Ooh look, Frasier's on, gotta go. That dog cracks me up.

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