Wednesday, February 27, 2002

No more heroes: They're dropping like flies at the moment, I'm not going to have any heroes left at this rate. The sad news is that comedy legend (legend? He invented comedy!) Spike Milligan has finally bitten the dust. In the words of his own epitaph: "See? I told you I was ill".

Spike was a genius. Haunted by manic depression - the result of his wartime experiences - he wrote The Goon Show, a radio programme that changed the fce of British comedy. Everything that followed - Monty Python, the alternative movement is a direct result of Spike's influence. But he was much more than that - a musician, poet and conservationist, years before green issues became fashionable. And he was our hero.

Do us a favour: Read this book and listen to this tape. I grew up with The Goons and Spike's war memoirs. Trust me, you'll be snorting stuff out of your nose in public places in no time.

Random quote: "When I look back, the fondest memory I have is not really of the Goons. It is of a girl called Julia with enormous breasts." That's class, that is. Peace and love, Spike. Peace and love.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2002

YaaaaaaaaaaY!: They said it couldn't happen. After six months of trying, three (at least) false starts, including the unfortunate mailing of a dog turd to the bastard who totally jerked me off, it looks like Scary and Robber are finally getting their house on a beach. We've started the living on-a-beach countdown and it's exactly nine days from --- synchronise watches --- NOW!

For the uninitiated we're dropping out of the rat-race, moving away from the big city, and we're off to spend the next forty years of our lives building sandcastles and surfing for free porn on the internet. Mmmmmm.... free porn.....

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Friday, February 22, 2002

Scaryduck's Favourite Things: Part the First - Books. Read these books. NOW! NOW! NOW!

stephen king - the stand
Failing that, you could just use it as a doorstop

isaac asimov - the end of eternity
A fantastic, no, FANTASTIC story of love, fantasy, and mind-bending time-travel conundrums

f scott fitzgerald - the great gatsby
Who was Gatsby? Where did he come from? Where did he get his money? Where's the drink?

george orwell - 1984
So much of this book is happening now it's scary. Big Brother really is watching you. Now.

brett easton ellis - american psycho
Blood-crazed mass murderer or disturbed fantasist? You decide.

terry pratchett - men at arms
Larf-a-minute murder mystery by Britain's most-shoplifted author.

truman capote – in cold blood
Outstanding account of a real-life multiple murder - the victims, the detectives, the townsfolk, the accused. Superb detail, gripping.

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Thursday, February 21, 2002

I was a teenage bomber: Enough water has passed under the bridge in order for me to make my confession. Foolhardy child that I was, I was a teenage bomb maker, and at the top of my powers could construct devices that would have had Osama bin Laden running for cover.

It all started so innocently with long afternoons under my bed ignoring those public safety films about the dangers of playing with matches. It then moved up to "genie-ing" entire boxes of Swan Vestas and chucking them out of the window. Soon there was a whole gang of us diligently scraping the heads of matches and watching with abject terror as they all went up in about a quarter of a second, usually depriving one of our number of their eyebrows.

It would have stayed at this innocent level had my mate Graham not got involved. He was a wizz at science, and filled our heads with ideas of rockets, bombs, and certain combinations of garden chemicals and innocent kitchen ingredients which I won't go into right now as you'd get into trouble with the law if I did. He would turn up after school with something he'd knocked up in his shed, we'd pack it full of the "substances", light the fuse and dive for cover. At the peak of our art we had rockets that could travel a good quarter of a mile, and what the bomb disposal people would call "viable devices" that would leave a sizable crater. It was gratifying to see that some of the innovations we brought about subsequently turned up in the Iraqi Supergun a few years ago. This success, inevitably, was to be our downfall.

Being 14 year old kids, we didn't have a firing range to test on like the army did. So we used the school field instead. After one particularly excitable device had veered off course and set fire to a hedge [casualty of war, I'm afraid], we were chased home by a baying hate mob who had witnessed the whole affair from the adjacent youth club. In our confusion, we ran through the wrong hole in the fence into our neighbour's garden, and it was quite a relief that the little squirt took the rap for the whole affair and not us.

But had we learnt our lesson ? Oh no ! Up the local chalk pits we went the following weekend with a satchel of the things determined to make a noise. Dressing in combat gear didn't help our cause much : there was this blue flashing light and the plod eventually rumbled our little game of world domination..... Being the cowards that we were, we laid the blame squarely on one of our number who had got cold feet and had run off home to watch Saturday Superstore.

Graham is now a well known research scientist, and at least one of our gang has used the experience gained in this little episode to forge a career in Her Majesty's Armed Forces. I, for my sins, still have the scar tissue on my right hand. Still, you've gotta laugh. I should be up for parole any day now...

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Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Fight! Fight! Fight!: So, there I was in Reading Post Office, standing at the back of the world’s longest queue. One hundred and five pictures of the Queen waiting in my wallet to pay for the privilege of driving my wreck of a car on Britain’s roads for another year when the fight broke out. It was ace.

The line was stretching out the door, when in walked some old boy, who marched up to the counter and declared “I’m in a hurry. Serve me next.” Well, it was hardly surprising that the people behind him, some of whom had been waiting since 1987, took violent exception to this. Words were exchanged. Particularly some other old boy, seventy years old if he was a day, who made his feelings known very loudly and put his dukes up ready to offer the interloper out. Drink may well have been a factor. I hope so.

It all went off. Fists flew. Old geezers and little old ladies went flying. More blows were landed in the first ten seconds than in ten years of WWF Wrestling (ie at least two or three). Then the heavy weaponry came out. Old ladies’ handbags. Loaded with the accumulation of decades and at least one house brick. A walking stick flew through the air like an exocet missile. It was like the Somme, fought out all over again by the original participants. At some stage during this geriatric warfare someone called the police. I left. My car remains untaxed, but at least I’m still alive.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002

YaaaY! for the internet: The net never ceases to amaze us by throwing up brand new ways of wasting our time with utter crap filling our day with useful stuff. The latest of these comes via those lovely people at B3ta, who spend their entire working days doing even less work than we manage.

Take a look, then at Which is Better? - a fantastic time-waster which helps you decide what's best between two search strings. Here's one we made earlier, and frankly, the result comes as a major relief.

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got some serious bandwidth to burn up with badly photoshopped pictures and inane postings on It's a hard old life.

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Monday, February 11, 2002

Dying for a pint: It seemed such a good idea at the time. We were at work. We were bored. We were also ten years younger. And stupider. "Do you realise the Queen Mum's over ninety years old?" someone asked. "She's gotta croak soon." And so The Queen Mother Stakes was born - an informal betting scam trying to predict the day the old girl finally turns up her toes.

The trouble is, being the spoilsport that she is, she has steadfastly refused to kick the bucket. There was a brief flurry of excitement when she tried to swallow a fish whole, not to mention the time that she had both her legs replaced with indestructable robot ones. As a matter of fact, we've come to the conclusion that Her Majesty died some time in the early 1980's, just about the same time The Terminator came out, and was replaced by something similar knocked together by the Rolls-Royce factory in Derby. With spare parts running out, it looks like her time is finally coming.

The whole QM stakes thing remained, for about a decade, just between a dozen of us at work. Then the internet came. The internet+stupid people+free webspace = something horrible. In our case, The Queen Mother's Stakes went online. With a few changes, it became a dead pool where punters could choose a list of stiffs and wait for them to die. Call us sick if you want, but death is part of life, and we like to poke a big sharp stick into his boney eye-sockets. And besides, the Queen Mum's a betting woman, and knowing her, she'd even have a go herself. She's probably there RIGHT NOW.

The trouble with famous people, though, is their habit of not dying. Naturally, a few turned up their toes last year, but in general terms, even the likes of Bob Hope steadfastly refused to play ball. Saved us a lot of grief on the site updating, I can tell you. Until yesterday. God bless Princess Margaret, she was a lovely woman, but she's been teetering on the brink for years now, and virtually every punter in the dead pool knew it. It took me five bloody hours writing an obit, updating the scores and inserting the word "dead" on sixty pages of html. That's ten years of karma catching up on me.

All I need now is Ronald Reagan and the Pope to follow suit. These things always go in threes. I'm doomed.

Let me leave you with the words of comedian Peter Sellers, who allegedly had a thing going with Princess Margaret. OK, OK, he was giving her one. Words of wit, intelligence and deep thought to live your lives by: "Do you have a sister?"

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Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Is it on yet?: Now this is a new thing. I've been doing a bit of a diary type thing on since late last year, posting up random crapness to go with the crap gags and celebrity morphing whenever I had the urge. Then Wil Wheaton came along. Yup. That Wil Wheaton. Wesley "Annoying" Crusher out of Star Trek Wil Wheaton. Or Kid out of Stand By Me Wil Wheaton.

Wil's cool. He likes the same music as me, for starters. And he has a sense of humour. And and he swept the board at this year's Weblog awards, with perhaps the best weblog you'll ever see. He uses the word "spiffy" with embarrassment. He's cool about being famous, and he's still OK about being teenage Wesley, despite being -- like me - in his thirties now. So I signed up for a blog. And it's his fault.

I'll be hosted at the most excellent and free blogger/ blog*spot for now, until I get some space of my own sorted. Until then, just live with the adverts, yeah? It'll only be for a month or so, until after I've moved away from the big city to go live on a beach in the south of England somewhere. It'll happen. It's sorted. There's a yacht club, even.

Expect humour. English humour. Sick, sick, sick English humour.Football or "soccer" if you're colonial, swearing, cussing and more swearing. I'm a regular on Popbitch if you want some kind of idea of the level I'm prepared to stoop, but I'm not going to say who I am on there. It's the rules.

One good thing is promised from this enterprise: no pictures of cats. Sorry to have to break that one to you, but my Molly's one ugly mog, and I wouldn't want to have this place closed down before we even start. However, here's a picture of my butt I took earlier...

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