Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HAT THROWING: A WARNING FROM HISTORY


I'm throwing my hat into the ring to be a judge in the World Championships of Hat Throwing.

It's a world where throwing your hat - accurately - into a ring is paramount, and those who cannot throw their hat into the ring are cast out as losers.

After a recent split from those who throw their hats onto a spike or a so-called hat-stand, very much like the game of quoits, the World Competitive Hat Throwing Council re-asserts its drive for utmost accuracy and fair play in hat-throwing and will have nothing to do with the branch of the sport that is little more than a fairground game.

And, as such, we are now at war with the World Competitive Hat Throwing Board. While they have the weight of numbers, we have the dead-eye accuracy which will have this struggle over by Christmas, and the traditional World Competitive Santa Hat Throwing Championships.

Hats, everybody!

I am not mad.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

North Korea Watch: Kim Jong-il birthday special

North Korea, run by a bunch of raving lunatics, won't let the fact that he died last December get in the way of the celebrations of Kim Jong-il's 70th birthday. In fact, the fact that he's now absent will probably be an advantage, with hordes of sexy first aiders being able to stand down.

So, how do you mark The Day of the Shining Star, now that the Great Leader is lying, nicely embalmed in the local Hall of the People? Through the medium of chocolate equine statuary, that's how.

Alas, it proves - once again - the Danny Baker theory that no decent statue has ever been made since the advent of trousers. Still there's plenty of room on the plinth for a likeness of Kim Jong-un pulling off a dog, so who are we to argue?

Life goes on, and it's Thursday, which means Kim Jong-un's allowance is in his Post Office account! Time for larks, japes, a visit to the tuck shop and the mail order purchase of a comedy SS-20 missile system from Crazy Mahmud Ahmadinejad's Joke Emporium.

You enemies will laugh and laugh and laugh as they vaporise like the Yankee Imperialist Puppet Warmonger Clique that they are.

One trillion won = £4 17s 3d in the old money

Sadly, there's been a problem with Kim's pocket money, and the cheque's bounced. Thankfully, the manager is more than obliging...

However, some of the disloyal staff are fleeing, their minds corrupted - undoubtedly - by anti-revolutionary filth spewing from the mouths of Yankee infiltrators. Never mind, a touch of full metal jacketed Juche-style re-education will sort them out. Best job in the world.

And then home to watch the Oscars on North Korean television, using the latest viewing equipment from North Korean factories staffed by loyal worker-soldier technicians, their chests bursting with patriotic zeal. But what fresh horror is this? Yankee Imperialist Zionist dog Sacha Baron Cohen insulting the memory of the Songun Revolution's Eternal Shining Star Kim Jong-il?

The shit, as they say, is going to hit the output of the Pyongyang No.3 Juche Revolutionary Electric Fan Factory.

Monday, February 27, 2012

INTRODUCING JANE


This is Jane, known to readers on that Twitter as @RoombaQueen, and to the rest of you as "Oh, you poor thing".

As from the end of this month, we will be officially living together in a ground floor flat with a grumpy old Jack Russell terrier called Snowy.

We call this state of affairs "Doing a live" (rhymes with 'sieve').

We hope to be doing a live for many years to come.

Let's hear it for Doing a Live!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Weekend Video: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Breathless



"It's up in the morning and on the downs
Little white clouds like gambolling lambs
And I am breathless over you"

And I just say: "Yes. This."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hell is other people's posh children

THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED

Wednesday morning, and the quiet despair of the doctor's waiting room. Each and every one of us flipping through old magazines, lost in our own particular illnesses and injuries that have brought us all to this place at this particular time.

Peace reigns, broken only by the ping of the electronic noticeboard as - one-by-one - we are summoned into the consulting rooms.

And then: All this shattered as a family with three young children burst into our solitude and take over the waiting room in an explosion of shouting, running and "Have you brought your spellings? We can do your spelling while we're waiting."

The very worst: Posh kids. Posh kids with parents who actively encourage them.

You know where you are will feral little tykes. You expect the worst. But with posh kids, they don't even know they're being annoying, and neither do the parents.

They make their way to the toys in the corner of the waiting room, and with a great deal of banging and crashing around the Fisher Price play kitchen, which - truth be told - was genuinely beginning to harsh my mellow, launched into the cook-something-for-mummy-and-daddy routine.

"Mummy!" shouts one of the anti-feral kids, "Can I cook you something?"

"Why, yes, Oliver. I'll have a tall skinny decaff latte*, and then a salmon and goat's cheese bagel with seasonal leaves and a low-fat mayonnaise dressing."

SHE ACTUALLY SAID THAT THING.

"And daddy? What do you want?"

"Yeah. Tea. Two sugars an' a splash. An' a sausage sandwich."

Perhaps, then, there is hope for these poor children.

* Yes, she actually asked for a latte. I am not making this up

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to avoid arguments on the internet

Pic credit: XKCD
Arguing with people on the internet. It's the reason they invented the internet, and now that they've done away with the entrance exam, they let just about anybody in.

As you know, arguing on the internet is serious stuff, and it is vital importance that you do not allow the other party to come out on top, especially if they are a nobber.

Regretfully, there are times, when it is simply not worth the candle to argue, and it is for the best to just switch off your machine, walk away, and shut the door quietly behind you. But how do you know when to give it up? The warning signs are simple:


- The only insult they know is spelled "FAGET"

- Their user name (if younger than 18) is "Belieber100639367"

- Their user name (if UK) is "Common Sence"

- Their user name (if US) is "ObummerIsACommie"

- ALL CAPS BANDIT. And you know - if they allowed you to choose fonts, it would be ALL CAPS Comic Sans, the Font of Champions

- The First Amendment of the US Constitution is quoted at you

- After the First Amendment has been quoted at you, the subsequent threat of the FBI and/or CIA

- At least I can spell FAGET, YOU FAGET!

- You are on YouTube, the sixth circle of Hell

- They are sitting next to you on the sofa, and all priveleges are on the verge of being withdrawn
FIIIIIGHT!

Pic credit: XKCD

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The War Against Management Speak: IT HAS BEGUN

Another workplace motivational course, and I fear I may have broken the spirit of the motivational course motivator.

"Let's take the windscreen-wiper view of your aspirations," he said, pulling management buzzwords out of his hole as if he'd been doing it for his whole life. He surveyed the hall full of blank faces and continued:

"What," he asked, the Powerpoint presentation ten feet high behind his head, "What do we mean by 'windscreen-wiper view'?"

I raise my hand. He smiles. I speak.

"A time when we used plain English instead of pointless sloganeering?" I say, not exactly picking his low-hanging fruit, more kicking him in the plums.

He ploughs on regardless: "Anybody else who is not Alistair want to have a go? What do we mean by...?"

But it is too late. Nobody cares about the windscreen-wiper view, or rear-view mirrorism, or the fact that the Powerpoint presentation was not in Comic Sans, or featured pictures of clowns, as the law demands.

"I don't know why I get out of bed in the mornings for these motivational courses," the motivational course motivator wailed, his entire motivation evaporating in front of our eyes.

It was a sad, sad sight, and kept me motivated for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In which the man doth protest too much

THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

So, There I was, alone in the flat, working on some shit hot comedy action for these pages when I realised that I needed (not to put too fine a point on it) to nip off a length. The toilet is where our story starts, so I must apologise if I have put you off your breakfast/lunch/dinner.

I settled down with a copy of Patrick Moore's autobiography - memoirs of his career as an astronomer and broadcaster, interspersed with his forthright old-school (cough) Daily Express views - when, past the point of no return, I heard the front door open. It was my flatmate Sean, and our mutual pal this is scamp-around-town Kenn with a double-n, on their way to the pub.

They shout their greetings, and leave before I finish the job in hand, laughing suspiciously. All was revealed as I returned to my laptop to find the following scrolling off the bottom of my Twitter stream:

Oh, LOL.

I wouldn't have worried too much, but I was beginning to get a number of replies, including one (sincerely, and they wouldn't hear a word otherwise) congratulating me on having the courage to come out; whilst B3ta.com's Rob asked me:

Are you a bear?
To which the only sensible reply can be:

Actually, I suppose I'm a duckie
Yeah. Can you see what I did there?

Naturally, the madness didn't end there, with scamp-around-town Kenn with a double-n posting a grab of my coming out on Facebook, whereupon a number of witnesses (total number = one) coming forward with evidence that I had once been seen with a bottle of mineral water. Carbonated mineral water.

But I insist: I. AM. NOT. A. BUMDER. I'm rubbish with colours.

So, I have this to say: I'll get you scamp-around-town Kenn. I'll get you if it's the last thing I dooooo!*

* Up to and including scratching your eyes out

Monday, February 20, 2012

The political folly of flogging your own donkey

Back in the days when I was a boy electrician employed by a major broadcaster, my main duty was to sit up all night and watch television coming out of the old Soviet Union, just in case something unusual might happen.

At a quarter past four o'clock of each morning, I would watch - rapt - as a stern middle-aged woman in a too-tight leotard which left absolutely nothing to the imagination led viewers through 15 minutes of physical jerks to ready them for whatever Russian daily life threw at them. The thinking - I believe - was that nothing could possibly be worse than watching Mrs Sky Blue Leotard on all fours shouting "Ras - Dva - Tri - Chetyre" as if the secret police were about to hammer on the door should you even think of slacking off.

On morning in the early 1990s, my sanity was shaken to the core by the fact that the daily dose of unerotic aerobics to which I had become accustomed was strangely absent, and had been replaced by a grainy video of a production of Swan Lake.

Culture. At that hour. What were they thinking?

That is how I was one of the first people in the Western world to learn that there had been a coup in Russia, and that the Communists were making a (failed) bid to return to power.

This entire experience was the awakening of a love for what I term the Loony Tunes side of world politics. From the American Tea Party to the fruit loops that run North Korea, I am fascinated that these people are actually allowed to tell people how to think and behave. People who run around with cardboard cut-outs of Ayatollah Khomeini in the absence of the genuine article.

So when I receive an email from a chap called Carl that includes the words "Russian presidential candidate" and "donkey flogging" in close (but non-sexy) proximity, I am fascinated.

It appears - according to the Moscow News - that one of the most enduring fruit loops in Russian politics, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has found himself in no little trouble after one of his election campaign videos showed him flogging a donkey (I repeat: Not sexy slang).

I'm pretty certain that I speak for most sane people that an election campaign video for one of the most powerful jobs on Earth which features the candidate himself toughing up a donkey is virtually guaranteed only to appeal to the small-yet-powerful fruit loop sector of society. This is something former US Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin found out when she appeared in an entire reality TV show which basically consisted of her going out and shooting at things, losing support from both sides, the fruit loops disgusted that she was such a terrible shot.

If this is the kind of thing to which political fruit loops will descend for a bit of publicity, how long before we see Nick Griffin slapping a meerkat around the face whilst imploring punters "Don't be simples, vote BNP"? Nick Clegg, already taking a battering in the polls, may like to give a little thought to his next party political broadcast being nothing but a fight between himself and an angry baboon, presented as an allegory on politics within a coalition government. David Cameron will be dressed as an angry baboon, fighting Nick Clegg in a near-identical broadcast under Tory party colours.

The sad fact is that political lunacy often wins votes, particularly when offering knee-jerk, spiteful policies to the easily-impressed. Today, you might be watching a man giving a bunch of fives to a dolphin, the next he might be president. Beware.

If you're really interested, the Zhirinovsky video is HERE and it's not pretty. Vladimir, you're an idiot.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The fashion craze that's sweeping the nation

... if the nation was filled with mentals.

They are selling these in actual shops. Actual shops, where actual people are buying them and actually going home and actually wearing them.

Broken Britain, people. Broken Britain.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend Video: Public Service Broadcasting - ROYGBIV



Well, this is good isn't it?

And from the blurb:

PSB are proud to present their debut single, ROYGBIV, released on 5 March 2012. Pre-order it now from this website here

Who knows what miracles are yet to come?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The best dream I ever had

As I cruise the Facebook, Wessex FM (South Dorset's best music mix) asks its followers: "James had one of those really vivid dreams last night - he dreamt that Pixie Lott phoned him up to enter the Pop Quiz on the Breakfast Show! What was the last dream that you remember?"

You know this is just asking for trouble.

Last night I had this intense dream that I was on an adventure holiday in Malaga with Midge Ure out of Ultravox and that guy with the hair from A Flock of Seagulls. For female interest, former tennis star turned quiz show host Sue Barker joined the party, but was more interested in the all-you-can-eat buffet in the hotel than getting herself under a hang glider, and we left her piling a third plate high with cooked meats and bread rolls whilst even the German hotel guests harrumphed their dissatisfaction.

We last saw her being violently ill in the swimming pool, bowking rich, brown vomit all over a sun lounger.

Eventually, Midge, Hair Bloke and I were just getting our hiking gear together for an assault on the local snow-capped peaks for which the beach resort of Malaga is rightly famed, chasing local urchins down the street with ice picks when I farted myself awake with a start, looked over at the clock (2.07am) and the dream was gone.

And if this ends up on the radio, good luck.
It ended up on the radio.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dealing with the spammers (again)

I get email!

Dear Sir/Madam,

We Offer Private, Commercial and Personal Loans with very Minimal annual Interest Rates as Low as 3% within a year to 50 years repayment duration period to any part of the world.

We give out loans within the range of $5,000 to $50,000,000 USD.Our loans are well insured and your maximum security is our priority. Interested applicants should Contact us with the information below via: email:scammybugger@scammybuggers.com

Best Regards
Edmunds Kyle


Well, best I write back, then. In comic sans, The Font of Champions

Dear Edmunds Kyle

Thank you for your email, and your kind offer to join your Slattern of the Month Club ("Building up issue-by-issue, you'll soon have your very own harem and/or bordello filled to the brim with willing ladies of negotiable virtue").

Here is the information you requested which I hope you will find useful.

Please send my shrink-wrapped slattern by return of post, and don't forget the free binder with Issue Two!

Your pal,

S Duck

PS Pass on my regards to Jeremy.
I'm quietly confident

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The BLASPHEMY of the incorrectly-hung toilet roll

One again, and for reasons far too complicated to explain, I find myself in a church somewhere in the teeming metropolis of Reading - the cold, dark heart of the Thames Valley. Caught short, the result of a badly-cooked bacon sandwich, I find myself contemplating my very existence in one of the toilet stalls that Jesus has thoughtfully provided for his flock. It's a plumbing miracle, I tell you!

But what's this I see?

The toilet roll is on the holder back-to-front, the hanging bit of the paper running down the wall, the work of SATAN.

For did not OUR LORD once say:

"Blessed are those who let the toilet paper runneth over the top of the roll, for they are wise men whose fingers will not go through the perforations at the wrong moment."
Yes. Yes he did. It's in the Bible.

So why, I ask, is this particular establishment (a "Free" church, no less) hanging their toilet rolls in direct defiance to the teachings of OUR LORD?

It is nothing short of BLASPHEMY, and the kind of schism that can and will lead to hundreds of years of warfare; torture; the renting of clothes in twain; and the profane being burned at the stake, refusng to recant their devish toilet roll-hanging ways as the flames lick around their unmentionables.

In the end, I did the only thing that my coscience allowed: I turned the toilet roll around I showed the vicar the blue goldfish, before torching the place and ploughing their fields with salt

No wonder people don't bother with religion these days.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mid-life Crisis

So, there I was.

Two days short of my forty-sixth birthday (it's tomorrow, there's still time to spoil me), and where was I?

Sitting in a navy blue Nissan Micra, having a picnic lunch in the New Forest, drinking tea out of a Thermos flask.

There was a Jack Russell terrier in the back seat, leaving muddy paw-prints and dog fluff everywhere, and all the scene was missing was a jaunty hat and a tartan blanket.

The sandwiches were cheese and pickle, if you're asking.

The cutting edge of excitement, I think you will agree.

In my list of my greatest achievements in the last year, I list growing facial hair and buying a pair of open-toed sandals.

Is this all there is to life? (Hint: No)

Monday, February 13, 2012

On putting the flash into flash mob


"Tell me," he said apropos of nothing, coming toward me in a manner that could only be described as a sidle, "When was the last time you were in a naked flash mob?"

I refuse to answer, but truth be told, it was only a week last Thursday. And while we are being honest about it, the event wasn't exactly a flash mob either, mostly on account of me being the only participant.

I blame myself for arranging it for three in the morning outside the student nurses' hall of residence.

Rather regretting it now, as a matter of fact.

The thing about naked flash mob, I reflected, sitting in the police cell whilst wearing a paper suit, is that someboday's always got to be on the outside, tackle to the wind, as it were.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Next naked flash mob is Tuesday, 5pm, St Pancras Station. Be there!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Oh Lordy! It's the return of Happy Cars

I bring you the Mazda MX-5 Niata.

Have you ever seen such a happy little chappy?

Yes, I think you probably have.

Friday, February 10, 2012

NORTH KOREA WATCH: KIM JONG-UN VISITS THE NAVY

Another day, and another visit to dispense on-the-spot guidance to the valiant one-worth-a-hundred-enemy members of the North Korean Navy, taking the Songun-policy inspired fight against the puppet Seoul clique to the high seas.

In the Navy! You can sail the seven seas! In the Navy! You can put your mind at ease! In the Navy! You can sink foreign naval craft and deny it was anything to do with you!

Sadly for the Young Generalissimo, he is under the impression that some of these brave Juche Warriors are mocking his fullsome girth. He is - in fact - big boned. And it's genetic. And he has water retention. And it's his glands.

All this thought of food has made the Supreme Leader a tad peckish, for the path to eventual victory over the southern aggression army backed by the US warmonger human scum is a tiring one, so he heads below for a feast. Alas, the Great Ferrero Rocher shortage has hit the North Korean Navy hard.

Only one thing for it - head off to the nearest McDonald's and use his Supreme Leader credentials to get a guaranteed parking space while a brave warrior from the O Jung Hup-led Seventh Regiment is sent ashore for a dozen quarter-pounder with cheese meals. Large, for preference.

Kim is happy now. Look at his face! Look at his chubby little face! I'm dead.

Then it's off the the funfair, where young Kim Jong-un attempts to shoot a packet of Maltesers off a shelf with a gun that fires corks. Then with a real gun, after which everybody agrees that he's such a good shot that he ought to keep all the Maltesers, and also the Kinder Eggs and the Toblerones. Besides, the man who runs the stall is in no fit state to argue (For eg: On account of standing between Kim and the last of the Polo mints, with tragic results).

Looking for genuine North Korean political analysis? This is your man

Thursday, February 09, 2012

The Actual Real Truth About Soylent Green


I bring you shocking news: Soylent Green is still people!

Soylent Green is still people and they didn't change the recipe like they said they would!

If you see Soylent Green products in your local branch of Iceland, please remember that Soylent Green is still people, and pay no more than three pounds.

And why not purchase Soylent Green's new guaranteed people-free margarine: I Can't Believe It's Not Buttocks

Better still, have you tried the new, tasty Soylent Green Lite?

Soylent Green Lite has all the flavour of traditional Soylent Green, only without the calories. Or people.

Soylent Green Lite: It's not made of cat (It is cat)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

THE INEVITABLE WAR OVER CONTROL OF THE WORLD CHEESE SUPPLY

Call me mad, but I have a theory, and it is this: The bigger the country as a military power, I theorise, the worse its cheese and associated dairy products. Look at American cheese. Good grief, look at Russian cheese (if you can). In both cases, I'd rather eat next door's cat.

I mention this because it turns out that notorious cheese-criminals Russia and the peaceful cheese-producing nation that is The Ukraine* are on the verge of a major trade war over cheese exports.

Cheese!

It's just as bad as the spat the two countries endured over gas and oil exports, a dispute that ended with former glamour-puss turned mad cat woman Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko doing seven years in stir for dodgy corruption charges. Then there was that nasty business over a less than flattering review left in TripAdvisor ("Moscow seems OK, but the hotel maid didn't fold the toilet paper into a point"), after which all hell was let loose.

But this is Cheese! Cheese! One of the major food groups (along with Twiglets and Cherry Menthol-flavoured Tunes) that prop up the very fabric of our society. Governments rise and fall over the cheese supply, and we should be thankful that we have stayed out of the Euro and continued to plough our stable, bland furrow with English Cheddar, only sticking our heads over the parapet every Christmas with a brief foray into the lands of Stilton.

Will there be tanks at the gates of Kiev in a dispute over dairy products? Will the West be flying in stockpiles of Dairylea in the face of almost intolerable provocation? Will we be forced to witness a jeering Vladimir Putin mocking us all by moving the entire Russian government into a life-size copy of the Kremlin made entirely out of cheese?

Yes. I expect we will.

Worse: There is every danger that the Cheese War will turn into a Toasted Cheese War, culminating in the meltdown of society and Charlton Heston crawling up a beach screaming "EDAM them all! EDAM them all to HELL!" at a half-buried statue of Wallace and Gromit.

Some people think this would be A Bad Thing, but every cloud has its silver lining. In this case, the silver lining being stripping the bankers of the satisfaction of being the people responsible for the inevitable destruction of humanity as we know it. We will most certainly all be in it together, only some with better dairy products than others.

My advice to readers is to stock up on Cathedral City while you still can. Once this thing kicks off - and mark my words it will - there won't be an ounce of Feta to be found in any Waitrose for hundreds of miles around.

War is HELL, people. Cheese War will be - oh-ho! - CRACKERS.

But in other news, I am told, the butter crisis in Norway is officially over. No more crazy butter runs across the Skaggerak.

Thank heavens for small mercies, eh?

* Not to be confused with any other, lesser, Ukraines

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

An Angry People in Local Newspapers Masterclass

"If you vote for me in the funniest blogs competition," I said, "I'll post some pictures of me pointing angrily at things."

And, true to my word, here are some photos of me pointing angrily at things, presented as a guide for anybody thinking of posing as an Angry Person in their Local Newspaper.

1. The cross-armed glare. In which the subject of a story about an inadequate out-building stands in front of the object of his ire. Ensure you are wearing an approved "Bazinga!" T-shirt


2. Hands on hips. The alternative to the cross-armed glare. For advanced students only.


3. The point. A knowing smile may be a useful alternative to impotent rage and fury


4. Pointing at turds. The Holy Grail of local newspaper reporting. The crouch-and-point is, of course, what all top press lensmen aim for, and many eschew "nose-holding" as over-egging the dog-egg pudding. Fine technique here, we think you will agree.


5. The Letter. At some point, the local press photographer will have to obtain pictures of somebody with a parking ticket, a petition or official letter. It is imperative that the text of said document CANNOT be read by the casual newspaper reader. In this case, we have failed, but present a text-book rabbit-in-the-headlights look which will eventually end up being sold to the Daily Mail when the story goes national


6. The crowd scene. The more the merrier. Rope in small children and passing shoppers if needs be.


And that is how to be an Angry Person in Local Newspapers.

Monday, February 06, 2012

In which I have changed my mind about the right to change one's mind

On this, my tenth anniversary of writing this rubbish, Here's another blog I've written for Huffington Post Comedy. Those of you who have ever doubted my sanity may be relieved to read my views on the scourge that is Coldplay, and send me presents by way of apology. *cough* birthday coming *cough*

It is not often that one feels a touch of sympathy for David Cameron, but the news that he is attracting the wrath of members of his own party over a policy U-turn on Europe has struck me somewhere in the proximity of my cold, cold heart. It's not that I'm pro- or anti-Cameron because that is not the point of my argument, but the fact that - once again - a politician's about-face is being seen as an act of personal weakness.

Let's make this abundantly clear from the start: People are actually allowed to change their minds. This may be a novel concept for some readers, but I assure you that this is something I have changed my mind over on several occasions. You may start with one point of view, but - after weighing up the available evidence - you may go around telling people that you now think completely differently. That is the human way. That is how we learn things. This is how most people have given up on the idea – for example - that the Earth was formed on the 23rd October 4004BC, about tea-time.

Nobody points at the Vatican and says "Huh. I see you're no longer saying that the Earth is at the centre of the universe. How can I trust you now with that whole Holy Sacrament business?" People point at the Vatican and say quite a number of things, but their U-turn on the Earth's place in the whole scheme of things is not one of them, for that way madness lies. Even those with deity-given infallibility are allowed to change their minds, unless they are wrong.

For example, I openly admit that I used to think that the band Coldplay were "quite good, actually". Granted, I would not have been prepared to wage warfare lasting hundreds of years to prove that Coldplay are better than any other popular beat combo, but I was firm in my view that Chris Martin's lads are reasonably good musicians who could hold a decent tune.

However, after several years of reasoned thinking in which my opinion sallied back and forth like a drunk teenager in a fairground bumper car, I came to the conclusion - based on the evidence of a number of albums and concert appearances - that Coldplay are tedious, dull and the kind of thing that is hastening us toward premature destruction at the hands of alien invaders determined to put us all out of our misery because of our liking of smug soft rock. The near ubiquity of "Paradise" as Congratulations-You've-Made-It-To-Boot-Camp music on TV talent shows being the final piece of evidence that tipped this reasoned mind over the edge.

I know what you're thinking, and it is this: "You utter mind-changing git". Yes, judge me. I can take it.

There's even an Americanized term for this: The flip-flop. Hordes of politics-watchers scan with obsessive fervour anything that comes out of the mouths of the political elite, hoping that they will contradict something they said in 1997 about planning policy for bus shelters before firing up the Flip-flop Klaxon on their desk hoping to humiliate the speaker as a dreadful, pathetic political turn-coat.

Changing your find should not be a sign of weakness. Flip-flopping should be a sign of strength. Flip-flops should only be the preserve of off-duty footballers and bargain bins outside seaside tat shops. Churchill changed his mind on a great many things, shifting political parties on two occasions, but is still revered as our greatest leader. Public opinion is still split, however, on his decision to become a dog. But I, for one, respect the strength of his decision-making.

Hear that, Mr Cameron? Strength! You can U-turn on anything you like and should not fear the judgment of others. Not your own party, not the public, nor the shrieking damnation of a weak-kneed press. It is completely within your power to turn up in the middle of Trafalgar Square on horseback, naked as the day you were born, and, in the presence of a coach load of Japanese tourists, say it loud, say it proud: "These NHS reforms are rubbish. What was I thinking?"

Also: "I am Napoleon, I tell you! I am!"

You may - at this stage - U-turn on your policy of not pushing a pencil up each nostril.

Nobody will think any less of you.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

VLADIMIR PUTIN and the War on Democracy


See? He's a tough guy because he cares.

And while we're here:


That's what you get when you try to create your own Duck Army of Doom.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Weekend Video: Dara O'Briain's Big Head


My favourite ever panel show LOL from Mock the Week. Poor, moon-headed Dara. It was years before NASA sent out a probe to look at the dark side of his head.

Friday, February 03, 2012

IRAN WATCH: Cardboard Khomeini

I know what you're thinking. That Coleman bloke - he's obsessed with Kim Jong-un and North Korea. But no! I'm a big fan of political lunacy wherever it appears, and here's a prime example.

This week marked the 33rd anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's return from exile in France, an arrival which sparked the Islamic Revolution in Iran. And what better way to commemorate this auspicious event than through the medium of cardboard?



Full honour guard wielding the rose-for-the-lady they were conned into buying in a restaurant the previous evening, dodgy-looking geezers in dark glasses, the whole nine yards.

And when you've spent a tiring morning at Tehran Airport, the damp causing your cardboard to wilt, why not drop in on your old revolutionary pals for a nice cup of tea and a sit down? That's better.

Of course, North Korea would never, ever start running around with a cardboard cut-out of a Dead Leader of All Their Hearts, would they?

Oh.

Ninja Edit: Some genius has already set up a Cardboard Khomeini blog. Well played!

Ninja Ninja Edit: Not the Nine O'clock News - The Ayatollah Song

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Brazen Theft of Hot Chocolate from a Hotel Room


I recently had reason to spend a night in a hotel room whilst visiting family. Of course, this means only one thing: Stealing the entire contens of the tea tray in your room, and worrying about the consequences later.

However, with all stolen goods, there is always the problem with how to fence them, and I found myself stuck with a handful of hot hot chocolate sachets. I thought, then, it would be best to offer them to my beloved, because I'm a changed man these days.

"Hi honey, I'm home and I've got you a present! Behold: Stolen hot chocolate sachets!"

She is shocked and somewhat taken aback on account of her highly developed social conscience, which is no laughing matter, and tells me so.

"I am shocked and somewhat taken aback on account of my highly developed social conscience, which is no laughing matter."

"Oh."

"I do not think I can accept these stolen goods. In fact, I have dialled the first two nines of 999, and it is only the smallest of movements of my index finger to land you in a whole sea of trouble."

One final throw of the dice...

"They're Fair Trade."

"NINE."

There's no pleasing some people.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

That's Mr Britain's Funniest Blogger to you

Well, roll me in chocolate sprinkles and call me Susan, those very excellent and absurdly talented people at The Dog's Doodahs contact me this morning to say that I am officially Britain's Funniest Blogger, and to where should we post this shiny iPad2?

Thank you everybody who voted for me, and commiserations to the three runners-up, who are all superb in their own way:
- Lord Likely
- What Siri is Saying
- Poetry4Fun
And, after all this excitement, I think we can all agree that comedy is the winner.

And me.

Comedy, but mostly me.

After a brief period of smugness, I shall return to my usual morose self.

Publishers! Literary Agents! Want to make truckloads of money out of me? Contact me about my - frankly - bloody brilliant book. It really is bloody brilliant.

A vote of thanks: The Dog's Doodahs - Click through, spend money

NORTH KOREA WATCH: KIM JONG-UN MEETS SOME BEARS. YOU HEARD. BEARS

Another week, and another round of uplifting on-the-spot guidance by our least favourite East Asian despot. And what - you ask - has Kim Jong-un (Dress code: Shoplifter coat) been up to? And more to the point, what has he eaten, and where did he hide the bodies?

Our pal Kim Jong-un's been on another visit to his best pals in the North Korean military. Alas for our big-boned hero, it's a long time between elevenses and lunch-time, and the smell of tasty, tasty army rations becomes to much for him, and a loyal recruit happily gives up his bowl of crows' lungs and tree bark to the Young Generalissimo.

Having hardly sent anybody to the uranium mines on the prison moon of Rura Penthe for at least 30 minutes, Kim (he's not fat, it's his glands) finds new larks in the shape of his genetically engineered Bear Army. Bears! Bears with frickin' laser beams!

There's still time to drop off at the Air Force, where Kim Jong-un fancies a go on one of their sleek, fast MiG-29 fighter jets, worth a hundred of the puny American-built rust-buckets propping up the Seoul puppet regime. Except - what's this? - somebody's already in his seat. We'll have a bit less of that, won't we?

Supreme Leader of the North Korean Songun Revolution: Best job in the world.


Looking for genuine North Korean analysis? This is the site you're after