Thursday, September 30, 2010

On murdering another children's TV classic

On murdering another children's TV classic

He woke from another night of fevered dreams.

Dreams of the time BEFORE.

The time before he found himself in isolation with the three others. The three others who slept, while the sentinel moved between their beds, keeping a watchful eye.

But this time he remembered more. He recalled that he was an officer in the Air Force with a distinguished flying record in the Gulf, keeping an appointment some cold, wet morning in a sterile military facility, meeting the other three volunteers for the first time.

Nervous, joking amongst each other. One from the army. Two from the Navy, one a pretty young Asian woman. Gallows humour before the great unknown that was to follow.

And the general came and spoke. "Gentlemen. Lady. Thank you for coming. This, you realise, is your last chance to withdraw from this programme.

"Our nation's future security may hinge on its success, and we hope the surgical procedure will be relatively painless. There is, we remind you, no pressure for you to enter the operating theatre. It is entirely your decision."

And, together, they walked into the military hospital to receive their implants.

A screen.

Antenna, receiver and transmitter

Enhanced body armour.

Computer circuits imprinted directly onto the brain.

Phased plasma rifle in hands that could take life with consummate ease.

Cyborgs. Cybernetic organisms. Living, breathing killing machines.

But then, somehow, it had gone awry.

The surgery failed. The circuits never worked. Memories were erased. The military denied they ever existed. Dead. Lost in action. Very sorry.

And the four of them, still in their body suits, were exiled to a secret facility, many miles from prying eyes, with only the sentinel to look over them.

The others stirred in their beds, woke, and they blearily made for the machine that supplied their rations.

Fed, they stepped outside into the open, and prepared to receive their daily broadcast from their superiors - the one concession to preserving their sanity.

As the wind generator whirled above them, the captain turned to his lieutenant and greeted him for the first time that day.

"Eh-oh Dispy!"

"Eh-oh Tinky Winky!"

He yearned to kill again.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ten... no... Eleven things you didn't know about Ed Miliband

Ten... no... Eleven things you didn't know about Ed Miliband

Some time ago these pages carried ten awesome FACTS about awesome David Cameron. In the name of political balance, it is only right that we now publish a list of absolutely 100 per cent true FACTS about new Labour leader and international man of mystery Ed Miliband.

FACT: Forever in the shadow of his older brother David, the young Ed Miliband still wears his cast-off clothes. David also gets first dibs at the Labour Party Executive Breakfast Bar

FACT: Confused by Ed's endless repetition of the words "New Generation" during his the Labour Party conference speech? Don't be - he's a big fan of 90s indie band Suede and was merely trying to get as many song titles in as he could

FACT: However, Ed was unable to find a place for "We are the Pigs", which he hopes to use in his first speech on law and order - Next week, David Cameron's tackling Simply Red

FACT: Ed's main objection to the "Red Ed" nickname given to him by sections of the press is that he is, in fact, a Leeds United fan. He prefers to go by the nickname Ed-cellent Miliband, which hasn't caught on

: Much has been made of the alleged FACT that Ed has never worked outside of politics. Not true - he was once a three-star French Fry frier in the Holloway Road branch of McDonalds

FACT: Ed, aged 19, was once babysat by the author JK Rowling, and is the inspiration for Ron Weasley. That's why everybody thinks Ed's magic

FACT: Despite serving as MP for Doncaster North since 2005, he has never once visited the town. The nearest he came was a trip to Rotherham to ensure he got the crucial Chuckle Brothers vote for the Labour leadership election

FACT: In scientific terms, Ed and David Miliband are the equivalent to 0.002 of a Band. 0.002 of a Band is the metric equivalent of a "Drummer"

FACT: Despite his left-wing upbringing, thanks to the influence of his Marxist thinker father Ralph, Ed's hobby is brushing up on his Margaret Thatcher drag act, which is described as "truly frightening", "the best in the business" and "I'd do her"

FACT: Ed's ambition - likely to go unfulfilled - is to share a night in the Big Brother house with his political idol - step forward pop music's top neo-Stalinist polemicist Cheryl Cole!

Bonus FACT: Ed's elevation to Labour leader ends a years-long act of revenge upon his older brother, who once shat in his Lego. Things can get pretty tense at Labour Party Conferences...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Dr No

On Dr No

She emerged from the sea onto the Spanish beach like Ursula Andress in Dr No.

Tiny, white, postage stamp bikini that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.

Every curve, every inch of flesh, every gleam in her eye.

Hair slicked back on her head, cascading over her right shoulder.

She stood, surveying the beach around her, the man of uncertain age eyeing her from not far away, for when she bathes in the Mediterranean, every man's head is turned.

Twenty stone if she were a pound, world sea levels drop two inches.

She waves at her six-stone-weakling of a husband, revealing the Black Forest nestling in her armpit.

The man at the café table swallows back a little sick.

Followed by quite a lot of sick, which he fails to swallow back.


Monday, September 27, 2010

On winning a phone

On winning a phone

This Christmas I've been given an incentive. And it is this:

If I want to upgrade my rubbish mobile phone to something with web access, touch screen and built-in cattle prod, I've got to lose some weight.

The slogan I have been given is: "Lose a stone, win a phone."

After a month of so, it's all turning out to be rather too much like hard work, so I'm going to aim for the runner's up prize instead.

"Lose a gram, win a ham."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

Sufjan Stevens - I Walked

Related to neither Cat, Shakin' nor football's Gary, Sufjan's latest is available for free legal download HERE

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lunch Break Madness

Lunch Break Madness

I adjust my dress and wash my hands.

Then, I turn around to confirm what I thought I saw out of the corner of my eye. And it is this:

One of my colleagues carrying his lunch - on a tray - into the Gents' toilets.

It is a genuine "Wait... WHAT?" moment.

"Wait... WHAT?"

He looks at me apologetically, for there is no greater faux pas than taking a steaming bowl of soup and a vegetarian stir fry into the can with you.

"There had," I said, the disgust welling up inside me, "be a pretty good explanation for this."

And there was.

He had - it turned out - already read the newspaper during his tea break.

"You may proceed. Wash your hands."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

On destroying Bagpuss

On destroying Bagpuss

After the success of last week's complete murdering of any childhood memories you may have of Thomas the Tank Engine, I was warned in no uncertain terms to leave Bagpuss well alone. So here it is.

Bagpuss: See Emily Play

Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss
Old Fat Furry Catpuss
Wake up and look at this thing that I bring
Wake up, be bright, be golden and light
Bagpuss, oh hear what I sing

Emily, glowing with the happiness of a spring morning, placed the tangle of metal and rubber tubing on the floor of her shop, said the magic rhyme, and retired to a safe distance. As the raw liquid joy coursed through her veins, the animals came to life. They always came to life for Emily.

She watched - unseen by neither man nor beast nor toy - as the stupid, pig-headed woodpecker became the first to survey her find, and the creatures would fight and rage over their new toy until something that was not-quite-sanity would prevail.

Then the mice - her beloved mice - would sing their song, pushing rubber hose into the long metal wand, righting the big metal tank with writing in a language she didn't understand; and whatever it was she had found near the bloated, still-twitching bodies of the uniformed and porcine-faced devils that had tried to take her away took shape.

With a final "Heave! Heave! Heave!" at the direction of the great galumphing toad, the mice placed the object in front of the fat, old striped cat, and Emily clapped her hands in glee as he stirred with a groan and a yawn and found the switch that turned the thing on.

She would never forget the smell of kerosene and those beautiful, beautiful flames that seemed to come straight from some accursed gateway to the underworld, the very breath of the Old, Dark Ones.

She would never forget the hellish roar that drowned out the screams of the creatures, the sight of that loveable old cloth cat as he thrashed around, his final moments spent in the throes of burning agony.

And the pitiful howls of those from the village who came to extinguish that hell-sent inferno, as the fuel tank exploded, engulfing them in liquid death, blundering into each other, eyes burned into a sightless horror, a new smell of burning meat filling the air.

Then, police came and found Emily, crouching, feeding. Then doctors, and more doctors, and stern-looking men clutching wads of official papers, and judges and solicitors and barristers, and more police and yet more doctors. And the game was over.

Later, as they locked the doors - door after door after metal door - the doctors could still hear Emily's screams. Screams that would fill the halls and staircases and long, empty corridors of the institution for decades to come: "It wasn't me! It was the cat! The cat! THE MAGIC CAT!"

But Emily loved him.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More FACTS about FACTS

More FACTS about FACTS

FACT! Rap music's Usher got his name after working in a cinema for three years. Ironically, he worked behind the popcorn counter!

FACT! Before 1967, the seas of the world were crystal clear and perfectly safe to drink - that was before a collision in the English Channel between two supertankers carrying salt and 250,000 tons of blue food dye. The rest, as they say, is history

Don't talk to us about how the Yellow Sea got its name

FACT! The top programme on Indian TV at the moment is supernatural cricket drama Virender Sehwag and his Haunted Manbag, in which Indian cricket sensation Virender Sehwag solves a number of perplexing mysteries with the help of his haunted manbag

FACT! Incidentally - Australia's top TV show is also cricket related, telling the tale of a former team captain's whacky adventures with the spirit of a dead prostitute living in his neigbour's apartment: Steve Waugh and the Haunted Whore Next Door

FACT! The full text of any Customs and Excise winding-up petition is as follows: "We, the undersigned, think you're a knob-end"

FACT! A newly-opened Spanish restaurant in the town of Melton Mowbray goes under the name Pork Pie-ella

FACT! After months of combing through archives at the British Library, historians have finally managed to answer the eternal question that has vexed academics for years: "Who was in the first edition of Fiesta's Readers Wives when they clearly didn't have any readers before that point?" The solution, as published in the Journal of Scud Historians, is simple: Your Mum

FACT! I forgot to upload today's intended blog post (a sickening tale of death and destruction involving loveable old cloth cat Bagpuss), so you're getting FACTS today instead

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On breeding your own office furniture

On breeding your own office furniture

Here at Scaryduck Labs (Motto: This time next year, Rodders...), we're always thinking of ways to make your life easier, and the lives of your enemies more painful and somewhat shorter.

That's why we've spliced DNA from large, hairy spiders into the humble office chair.

With the Scaryduck Labs Arachnochair™, you need never leave your seat for the length of your entire working day, your comfortable eight-legged Arachnochair™ walking you from desk to meeting room to canteen to cigarette shelter and back again as you see fit.

It also eats flies, ideal if you work at the cutting edge of the international rancid meat market that is taking UK retail by storm.

Trouble with unruly staff? Simply replace their Arachnochair™ with our advanced "Black Widow" Arachnochair™, and watch with sick fascination as the office bully is wrapped in an unbreakable web and slowly eaten alive by the office furniture. Ideal if you work at the cutting edge of the international rancid meat market.

Also available: Scaryduck Labs Venus Filing Cabinet™ and Scaryduck Labs Crocodesk™.

Ask for our brochure!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fragrant Mrs Duck: An Apology

The Fragrant Mrs Duck: An Apology

There are, I am told, a number of so-called "Super Injunctions" in force, taken out by Premier League footballers to prevent reporting of their tawdry private lives.

So strict are these court orders, that even to report that the injunction exists means a conviction for contempt of court, let alone telling the world that ****** ********* of ******* FC has been ****** with ******, ******* ***** ****** and the Grand Champion of Crufts.

And that, until the day the rich and powerful decide that the British libel laws should no longer act as a sledgehammer of the rich and powerful, is the way of the world.

And that is also the way of this blog, although without the ****** with ******, ******* ***** ****** and the Grand Champion of Crufts.

Over the years, I have noted - with some glee - the Laws of the Household to which I am subjected by The Fragrant Mrs Duck. These include contradictory rules about toilet seats, feet on sofas and the use of garden out-buildings.

That was right up to the moment that I mentioned the Spoon Laws on these pages on the day of an unannounced spot-check of blog content. And, for this, I can only apologise to my charming wife.

So, there may or may not be a super injunction in force in which I cannot even mention the new house rule about not mentioning new house rules in blog posts about new house rules or the prohibiting of mentioning thereof.

Not even the new fatwa on cleaning out the hair trap in the shower.

Alles klar?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

Me, obviously

My scabby legs on the BBC Genius YouTube Channel. Camera work by the charming Scaryduckling.

{New series of Genius starts on 27 Sept on BBC2, the episode I may/may not be in *should* air on 18 October}

Friday, September 17, 2010

Prayer for the Day

Prayer for the Day

On my journey into work of a morning, I know exact moment when I switch the radio off and the MP3 player on. Sometimes, I don't quite make it to the "OFF" switch:

"It's seventeen minutes to six on BBC Radio Four, and it's time for Prayer for the Day. This morning's half-arsed moralising comes couresy of Sister Mary O'Dreary representing the Order of St Margaret the Dull"

"Good morning, everybody. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples that they were to shine as the light of the world. That got me thinking - what kind of light should they be? Should they be a searchlight, looking for the souls of the lost…?"
You know, I don't think Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was in the business of building and operating prisoner-of-war camps, so I have the impression that a searchlight is entirely out of the question.

If Jesus wanted his disciples to be any sort of light, it would have been this: Disco.

He lived in Roman times, he hung around with blokes and floozies, so I dare say he would have told his homies to get dressed up in a toga, be most excellent to each other and party on, dudes.

However, despite taking a vow never to gamble, I'd be prepared to bet you a sackful of shekels that her final conclusion won't be three flashing lights in a box at the Muscle Boyz Nite Spot in Ibiza.

"Oh Lord, teach us to be a soft, welcoming light so that we may..."
The dreary old moo.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thomas the Tank Engine: Death of a Fat Controller

Thomas the Tank Engine: Death of a Fat Controller

As usual, these things start as a single throwaway comment, and before you know it, you're re-writing a much-loved children's classic as a paranoid horror story. Sorry.

It was on the first day that he realised he was the only person on the island.

The automatons that brought him here had housed him, given him clothes and fed him.

All he had to do was run their railway.

And what a railway. A network that run on time to the very second. Express trains, branch lines, freight services, yet not a single human on the platforms.

No commuters. No travellers. No days out to the sea. Not even a driver stoking the boilers, or a guard to blow a whistle.

Just him and his ridiculously oversized uniform and the strange, tall hat the machines had forced him to wear.

And how they fed him. The blue machine - who appeared to be their leader - with the horrible facsimile of a human face, brought him meal after meal after meal, and did not leave until he had forced every last scrap in his mouth.

Apart from the blue automaton, all he had for company was the maddening groans and the screams and the ranting and the despair of the goods trucks in the sidings which invaded his dreams every night.

One afternoon, with the blue machine (whose name he had been told, but he had refused to listen) battering the trucks into cruel submission with an unearthly grin on its dead, dead face, he tried to escape. Running pell mell through pristine, deserted streets, he was unused to his rapidly filling bulk, and the automatons' flying machine herded him tripping, falling, sobbing back to his station house. Where he stayed, eating their meals, running their network like one of the human-faced machines that brought him to this accursed island.

Then, came the day that he put on the ridiculous oversized suit and top hat and found that they fit. He walked out into the yard and saw the automatons waiting for him, side-by-side. The blue one. The green one. The red one. The big express.

"Good morning, Fat Controller."

They fell, roaring, on him. The big express had him by one leg, the green one by the arm. He tried to scream and scream and scream but the small blue one took him by the head and there was nothing but darkness.

Light again. But still he screamed. He cursed and bellowed and swore without end, but had no fists to shake at the sky, no legs to thrash at his foes. Just wheels, and endless rows of truck upon screaming, roaring truck. And he knew, then, where everyone else on the island had gone.

And, before long, a small advertisement appeared in the specialist press on the mainland.

Situation Vacant: Railway company requires an experienced Network Controller. Good pay. Accomodation, uniform, meals provided. Apply: Mr Thomas, No.1 Engine House, Tidmouth, Island of Sodor.

A new arrival. He was the only person on the island.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An evening in front of the television

An evening in front of the television

"And next on Channel Four - Footloose. Viewers are advised that this film contains scenes of violence"

"What? I can't remember there being any violence in Footloose."

"Ah, yes," I reply, "That's because it the director's cut. Feet are actually severed."

"Oh. Right. Turn it over, I don't think I actually want to see that."

"Then there's the director's cut of Dirty Dancing."

"OK, I'll take the bait. Which one is that, then?"

"They put back the 'Paddling pool filled with mud' scene with Susie Dent out of Countdown. Oh yes."

"You lie."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On the poor, dead Reynolds Girls

On the poor, dead Reynolds Girls

Pic shamelessly stolen from NeonbubbleHi! I'm pop music's Dr Fox, genuine doctor of popology. You may have heard of my identical twin brother - also Dr Fox - who is the current Secretary of State for Defence. When we get together, life's a BOMB!

Today, I am investigating one of pop music's most enduring mysteries. What happened to the most popular one hit wonders of the 1980s? I refer, of course, to:

The Reynolds Girls


The dynamic duo burst onto the world of pop in 1989 with their hit "I'd Rather Jack".

"I'd rather Jack," they sang, "than Fleetwood Mac". And fair play to producer and music mogul Pete Stock-Aitken-and-Waterman for shoehorning that reference to filthy sex in there, the "Fleetwood Mac" being much the same deviant practice as the legendary Cleveland Steamer, only with orange food dye. Hence the term "Tango in the Night."

Let us consider the song itself.

"I'd Rather Jack", by which they mean perfecting the Acts of Onan instead of engaging in the aforementioned "Fleetwood Mac". And who -frankly - would blame them?

But: To "jack" in the masturbatory context is the masculine term. We all know - if we had been listening in class - that the feminine is to "Jill".

Therefore, the title of the smash hit song should strictly have been "I'd Rather Jill", with the not-quite rhyming couplet "I'd rather Jill than spend the night in the Vatican with a priest called Phil".

Unless, of course, The Reynolds Girls were The Reynolds Boys.

The Reynolds Ladyboys, even.

Another of pop's mysteries solved.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Because, frankly, I hardly ever write stuff about going to the toilet

Because, frankly, I hardly ever write stuff about going to the toilet

Time to make a phone call.

"Hello? Is that the Premises Operations department?"

"Yes. Yes it is. How can we help you?"

"I've got a complaint. No, actually… it’s less of a complaint, more of an observation."

"OK, shoot."

"Don't tempt me."

A brief, terrible pause.


"This is a ten storey office block, right? How come every single gents' toilet is closed for cleaning?"

"Ah. Well. That's the way the cookie crumbles at this time of the morning, in't it? Got to admire their efficiency, though."

"I suppose one must, though a bit of coordination wouldn't go amiss."

"I'm sure they won't take long, sir."

"Yeah - about that. Could you send a mop and bucket to the tenth?"

"You disgust me."

"I couldn't get a window open in time."

"You disgust me."

"And the sandwich trolley girl's slipped in it."

"This call is over."

"Covered from arse to ti…"

+++ CLICK +++

Honestly, you can't get the staff.

Sunday, September 12, 2010



Number one in a short series of things that freak me out, which I shall call Things That Freak Me Out

No.1: The Burger King

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Open Letter to the Mad Christian Fundamentalists who want to burn the Koran

An Open Letter to the Mad Christian Fundamentalists who want to burn the Koran

Dear Mad Christian Fundamentalists who want to burn the Koran,

Congratulations on being the world's top weapons-grade mentals! Here's the legendary Double Facepalm for your trouble.

But let me tell you something: I once saw this zombie movie where they set fire to all the zombies with a bloody huge zombie-slaying bomb. The zombies turned into vapour and smoke, came back to Earth as zombie rain, everybody breathed in the zombies, turned into actual zombies and ate the spicy brains of everything else that wasn't zombies.


And now you're planning to set fire to The Word Of God, we're all going to wake up on Sunday morning as Muslims*, and there's nothing the Daily Mail can do to stop it. And that's a 100 per cent true fact as proven by MATHS and SCIENCE and HOLLYWOOD.

Is that what you want? Cos that's what's going to happen.

Why don't you set fire to something by Richard Dawkins instead? Then we'll all turn into atheists and we won't have to put up with your religious bigotry ever again. Religion has fucked up the world enough as it is without like likes of you and your endless twattery making it worse.

Your pal,

Albert O'Balsam

Small Ad

FOR SALE: Two hundred copies of "The Teachings of Buddha" and a packet of fire lighters. BUYER COLLECTS

* Which may be a good thing depending on your point of view

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Tax on the Stupid

A Tax on the Stupid

A few years ago, I ran a poll on these pages to discover the most hateful invention of the modern age.

Despite such monstrosities as mini-roundabouts, hand-mutilating toilet roll holders and the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker, we came to the conclusion that the worst thing ever to fall out of mankind's fetid imagination was, in fact, James Blunt.

To quote Tomorrow's World: "That is, until now."

All of this awfulness has been trumped. Trumped by the Dettol No Touch Soap Dispenser, the planet's most paranoid invention.

What, I ask, is the point?

What, I continue to ask, is the first thing you do after touching an allegedly germ-ridden soap dispenser?

You WASH YOUR HANDS with their soap that kills "99.9 per cent of germs."

Twenty quid a shot. A tax on the stupid.

If we banned our great scientific minds from working crap like this, we'd be living on Mars by now.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"You see, but..."

"You see, but..."

This came to me in a dream, Kubla Khan-like, as my secondary school English teacher appeared to me and set my homework - an essay starting with the words "You see, but..." which had to be handed in the next day despite repeated attempts to fake my own death.

Then I woke up and my pillow was gone.

You see, but, there's absolutely no way I could have spent the entire summer holidays ringing Mr Pilbeam's doorbell and running away.

For a start, I react badly to strong sunlight, so I spent July and August with my Uncle Rodney in Punto del Arenas helping with the penguin census in the southern hemispheric winter. I couldn't have touched Old Man Pilbeam's doorbell for that reason alone. Not unless I designed some sort of remote controlled doorbell-ringing robot. Which I haven't.

Second, I'm allergic to the type of rubber they use in doorbell buttons, so just the merest touch of Mr Pilbeam's knob would have brought me out in hives, with my entire hand turning yellow and inflating up to three times the size, just like a clown's glove. Only funnier than a clown, obviously.

Third, he's probably mistaken me for Ernie, the milkman's son, who can be described as the living spit of my good self, except for his notorious fascination for doorbell music (a well-known side-effect of working in the milk delivery trade), and for the fact that he only has one eyebrow.

And lastly, the first thing that happened on my return from Punto del Arenas was to fall victim to a bizarre spacehopper accident at Heathrow Airport as customs officers pursued a gang of armed dacoits, which broke both my legs and set off my latex intolerance like there's no tomorrow.

I can't help but notice, Old Man Pilbeam, from my bed in the Charlie Cairoli Ward in the Royal Berkshire Hospital, that you have seen fit to repeat these baseless allegations in a rambling letter to the Maidenhead Advertiser, which they have reproduced on pages 1-7 under the headline "Bring on capital punishment for this teenage doorbell menace - The Duck Boy MUST DIE!"

I'll be seeing you in court, and pressing for the maximum penalty allowable by law. To whit: The rarely-used firing-out-of-a-cannon-straight-up-Bernard Manning.


I got a Grade D. Teachers just have no idea.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

On glass-bottomed boats

On glass-bottomed boats

So, we did the tourist thing and paid out far too much money for a trip on a glass-bottomed boat.

A trip where we saw an awful lot of green water, and at one stage, a small fish.

Everything went absolutely peachy right up until the moment things got a tad stuffy downstairs and I opened a couple of windows.

To the families concerned: I hope your loved ones were insured.


Especially the bit with the sharks. And the crabs.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Worst Person In The World Awards 2010

The Worst Person In The World Awards 2010

I'm gathering nominations for The Worst Person In The World Awards 2010. Top prize: A kick up the cludger. As featured on Sky News.

Confirmed nominees so far:

Naomi Campbell: For her sterling appearance at the Charles Taylor war crimes trial, where being forced by subpoena to give evidence regarding the violent deaths of 250,000 people was "a bit of an inconvenience, really"

John Terry: Representing all footballers, his inability to keep his johnson inside his tracksuit costing England any slim chance the team had at the World Cup

Nick Clegg

Nick Griffin: Wonky-face racist whose widely-predicted (by himself) 2010 political breakthrough turned into a spectacular trouncing at the polls. Get back to your farm, Griffin

Orly Taitz: Representing the Tea Party movement, a collection of loudmouths, nutters and people who'd dearly like to lick Sarah Palin's tuppence, for her doomed, hilarious attempts to have President Obama hurled out of office through a series of bewildering court cases. Orly contents that the President is really one Barry Soetoro, born in Kenya. Or Indonesia. And is part of a Communist plot to bring down America. I *ahem* quite like Orly.

Danny Dyer: Professional cockney and git, whose advice page in a lads mag told a reader to slash his former girlfriend's face with a knife so other blokes wouldn't go out with her. A charmer

Please suggest more, then we can all go out, have a nice vote, a bit of a punch-up and then declare my preferred choice as winner. That's democracy, folks.

Degree of difficulty: Nominees must have done something awful within the last 12 months.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Post Office Travel Money Card = Crap

Post Office Travel Money Card = Crap

I'm a twat. I took myself off on holiday to Spain without reading the bloody awful reviews and the bloody awful terms and conditions for the Post Office's bloody awful Travel Money pre-paid Debit Card.

So, I thought that the bloody awful Post Office might like to hear my opinion, whether they like it or not. Freepost.

Dear The Post Office®

Firstly - congratulations on registering your name and address as a trade mark. Nice touch. If you don't mind - and before we get down to business - I'm going to do the same with mine.

So, The Business: We went on holiday to Spain this year, and - foolishly, I now realise - we believed your advertising and got hold of one of your Post Office® Travel Money Cards.

If only I knew what a massive pain the whole thing would be, I frankly wouldn't have bothered.

If only I had read the terms and conditions which magically only fell into our hands after we got the card.

If only (and I blame myself for this woefully inept oversight) we read the pages and pages of poor reviews littering the internet.

Because when we arrived home with the best part of 400 Euros in our account, we were told by your helpless help line operators that it would take 15 working days to get a refund, and then, only after we receive a letter telling whoever-it-may-concern that we are entitled to retrieve our money.

That's fifteen working days. Or, in real-life-normal-people-count-the-weekends-as-well-oh-and-don't-forget-the-Bank-Holiday terms, twenty-two days.

Twenty-two days in which you task some learned scribe at a remote monastery to write a beautifully-illustrated letter of release on hand-made vellum, sealed with the wax from the very ears of St Julian of Norwich, before being sent - post haste and don't spare the horses! - on the Mail Coach to our residence in Dorset. Provided, of course, Dick Turpin or his lackeys don't get their hands on it.

In these days of computer-based and internet banking where moneys are debited and credited to accounts at the touch of a button, why - in the name of Satan's wrinkled testes - does it take the Post Office® three weeks to give me back MY hard-earned blunt which you so gleefully took from my savings account before the ink was even dry on the agreement?

I understand that times are hard, and record numbers of posties are living under railway arches, warming themselves in front of the flames of discarded Amazon mail cartons, waving signs saying "Wife and faithful cat Jess to support" at passers-by, but, if you'll excuse the rhyming slang, you're having a giraffe, right?

There has to be a perfectly logical explanation that doesn't involve the need to keep up with the interest payments on the Post Office®'s accidental and ill-advised purchase of the Russian Navy's entire Pacific Fleet, and I wouldn't mind hearing it. Please use simile, obscure cultural references and Google Image Search to illustrate your reply within the next - God, I love irony - fifteen working days.

Be lucky.

Albert O'Balsam®
Not a real letter? Oh but it is - and it didn't even cost me a stamp this time.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Weekend video

Weekend video

No videos as such, just caption cards and spinning records. Because: MY BLOG MY BLOG MY BLOG etc

Broken Social Scene - All to All

Neu! - Hallogallo

At the age of forty-something I heard Neu! for the first time this Wednesday. Where have you been etc etc etc?

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Day I Wore My Slippers To School

The Day I Wore My Slippers To School

One day, at the age of nine, I accidentally wore my slippers to school.

"Hey! Duck!" shouted Steven B, "You're wearing your slippers to school!"

I looked down, saw a red pair of carpet slippers, panicked, remembered we were allowed plimsolls instead of outside shoes in class, and came up with a bare-faced porkie: "No. No they're not. They're my new school plimsolls."

From that moment on, I was doomed. To avoid ridicule, I had to sneak them out of the house every day, and when challenged on the fact that I appeared to be wearing a pair of red carpet slippers to school reply "No. No they're not. They're my new school plimsolls."

I also had to wear them in PE, and my feet were agony.

Then, one day, the ultimate humiliation - a familiar figure in the door of the classroom. My mother. My mother had come into school.

Deathly quiet as one of the great taboos was broken. Your mother. In class. It couldn't get much worse.

Then, it did:

"I saw you wearing your slippers to school this morning, so I thought I'd drop off your shoes."

We had recently discovered a new word, and as my mother disappeared into the car park, thirty voices (including, for some reason, that of my teacher) echoed as one: "WANKERRRRRR!"

And there goes another repressed memory.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

On BB guns

On BB guns

"Dad?" says Scaryduck Junior, in that tone of voice that I know will result in the enforced opening of my wallet, "Can I buy a BB gun?"

He - of course - means 'buy a BB gun with your money'.

"Why, in the name of Beelzebub's withered left testicle do you want one of those things? You know how I feel about firearms."

He has already prepared his strategy.

"I need it for sporting purposes."

"Sporting purposes. And what sporting purposes are these?"

"I want to go out and hunt down Gary Lineker like a dog."

"Here's 20 quid."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

British Telecom Adverts: Fixed That For You

British Telecom Adverts: Fixed That For You

Phones giant British Telecom recently ran a poll asking TV viewers to vote on the plot twist for the next in their series of long-running, extraordinarily annoying "Adam and Jane" TV adverts, in which a floppy-haired youth sets up home with a neurotic, recently-divorced MILF.

It was hardly surprising, then, that the British public decided that six-cats-mad woman should trap young Adam in Fathers 4 Justice Hell by falling pregnant at a time in his life when he'd rather be face down in the gutter after an all-night drinking binge with his equally immature mates.

We have, at great expense to our poor, dead informer, managed to get hold of a script for the next in the series. It's a shocker.

SCENE: Adam and Jane's flat. Interior, night. Room is VERY dimly lit. ADAM is sitting on sofa with his laptop on the coffee table alongside several empty cans of strong lager. You can't see the screen, but ADAM's face is lit by its glow. Sounds of energetic coitus are coming from the laptop speakers, under a "Fap fap fap" sound that gets increasingly vigorous as the scene progresses

GRAMS: (Female voice) Oh yes! Yes! YES!

SFX: Fap fap fap fap

Camera slowly zooms in on ADAM's face, which has an expression of intense concentration

ADAM: (Breathlessly) Oh yeah, yeah... that's one hot MILF

SFX: Fap fap fappity fap fap

GRAMS: (Female voice) Give it to me! Give it to me! OooOOoOOOOOh! YEAH!

SFX: Fap fap ...pause... fap fap

ADAM's face contorts in orgasmic sexual ecstasy with a look that suggests he has been drinking vinegar

Lights in the room suddenly switch on. "Fap fap fap" SFX stops aruptly, sounds of sexual congress continue under, however. Cut to JANE. She is standing by the open living room door, with a shocked look on her face and finger on the light switch. She is wearing a nightdress and dressing gown, and is clearly heavily pregnant

JANE: (Exasperated) Oh, ADAM!

Cut to ADAM, annoyed look on his face

ADAM: What? WHAT? Well, I've got to get it somewhere, you dried up husk of a woman

Cut to End Card. Caption: "BT Broadband. Faster High Definition video downloads"
The BAFTA's in the bag.

And now, the alternative ending...

ADAM: ...dried up husk of a woman

JANE: (sobbing) That's it, I'm going back to mother's

ADAM: You can tell her now if you like - she's on webcam

Cut to JANE, whose mouth is opening and shutting in a passable impression of a goldfish

VOICE FROM WEBCAM: (off) Cooo-ee! Jane! I'll just get me knickers on

Cut to End Card. Caption: "BT Broadband. Bringing families together"
Yep. BAFTA, Golden Globes, the whole nine yards.