Wednesday, July 30, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 362”

Quantum physics has now shown that Wednesdays are simply Tuesday 22nd of July 1854 repeated again and again. This has led to what is known as a Tuesday/Wednesday paradox where Fridays cease to exist altogether.

”I’m feeling better, you know!”

Ah! You lot didn’t do as well as last time, but here’s the answers to yesterday’s quiz-o:

1. Spike Milligan
2. John Le Mesurier
3. Alexander the Great
4. Mel Blanc
5. WC Fields
6. David St Hubbins of Spinal Tap
7. John Peel, though he’s not quite dead yet.
8. Bette Davis
9. Martin Luther King
10. Frank Sinatra (he’s kidding no-one but himself)

Bonus: Margaret Thatcher, on the completion of the Thatcher Memorial Dance Hall and public toilets. Right, kids?

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

“The Bob Hope Memorial Quiz-o”

The famous last words quiz seemed to go down rather well, so here’s a list of famous epitaphs, death announcements and gravestone quotes. Answers in the Speak your Brains section, and no more than one answer per person, please.

1. “I told you I was ill”
2. “Conked out on November 15th”
3. “The world was not enough”
4. “That’s all folks!”
5. “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”
6. “...and why not?”
7. "Teenage dreams, so hard to beat"
8. “She did it the hard way”
9. “Free at last, free at last”
10. “The best is yet to come”

Bonus for twenty points: “Dance Here”

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, July 28, 2003

“Went the Day Well?”

I got an e-mail. “Hey Scary,” it said, “what’s your opinion on the Iraqi War and the WMD crisis?” I replied that it’s hardly my place to comment on the UK government’s vindictive attack on BBC journalism and veiled threats against the future of the Corporation. I couldn’t possibly comment on suggestions that by daring to suggest that someone in government may have actually lied about the reasons for going to war against Iraq and that there may be some sort of hidden agenda where the BBC is made to suffer to the benefit of Rupert Murdoch’s news and television empire. That would be an abuse of my position, I said Then I thought “fuck it”, there’s some stuff about the whole affair that I want to get off my chest, not just about government double standards, threats and lies, but about the whole mire that Bush and Blair have led us into. I’m spitting mad, and I haven’t done a good op-ed piece for nigh on nine months. Your time is now.

The war is over. The war continues. Endless, endless war. Endless lies. Endless death. What’s it all been about? Was it really all about those WMDs? Or was it about removing a ruthless dictator from power? Or should I be putting on my tinfoil helmet and blaming it all on oil, global economic and political hegemony and blind revenge of September 11th?

Let’s bare no bones about this, Bush and poodle Blair rode roughshod over world opinion in their haste to get on the road to Baghdad, spitting out threats to anybody who stood in their way - we’re still waiting for America’s threatened “revenge” on Germany and France who thought invading a sovereign state on the flimsiest of evidence may, in fact, have been A Bad Thing.

Chapter One, Article Four of the United Nations Charter states:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Even with the Iraqi regime under double secret probation over its alleged weapons programmes, it is clear that a line has been crossed. The inspections, as repeatedly pointed our by Herr Blix and the late Dr Kelly, WERE working, and given enough time and support the truth behind Saddam’s programmes would have come out either one way or the other. Then, and only then, would a case for war been made.

But the weapons were never found, and I’ll be willing to march naked down the Fulham Palace Road if so much as an illegal aspirin turns up in Iraq. Because, so our leaders tell us, it wasn’t about the ACTUAL weapons, but the fact that Saddam has a weapons programme. What a load of arse. The North Koreans have a nuclear weapons programme, and so, I suspect, have Iran, Israel, South Africa, India, Pakistan, France, Britain, Russia, China and the United States. And who’s going to stop them?

Anyone can have a weapons programme. I myself have pretty advanced plans to train an army of heavily-armed penguins to sweep through Europe and corner the world fish markets, but it ain’t gonna happen. I’ve even got some fish in my freezer at home if anyone from the UN wants to come and check them, but I have no intention on using them on helpless and frightened civilians, except perhaps if the in-laws come over for a barbecue.

Even the US administration has admitted that the whole WMD was more-or-less a front to find an excuse for war which America and her allies could agree on. Never mind that actual evidence was rather thin on the ground. Never mind that the intelligence communities of both Britain and the US said that the likelihood of finding gallons of anthrax and kilos of enriched uranium lying about is about as high as my penguin hordes being uncovered.

America now finds itself fighting a war on two fronts. Already mired in Afghanistan, where the situation is just as bad, if not worse than it was when they first arrived. Outside the major cities, the warlords which were supposedly swept aside in the name of Afghan Freedom are firmly in control, and the opium market is doing record business. The War on Terrorism? They didn’t even finish off the War on Drugs.

Despite overwhelming firepower and technology, the Americans in Iraq find themselves slipping down the slope into the same mire they faced in Afghanistan, and dare I say it, Vietnam. Having the most and biggest toys is nothing compared to a determined guerrilla force, something that many analysts pointed out before the Iraqi invasion, and advice which was seemingly ignored.

The problem facing America in its dealings with any country is its desire to impose American culture and ideals onto it. Sometimes, the ideas get through if you witness the growing globalisation of culture, brands and the dominance of Hollywood. Try selling western democracy to a Gulf Arab where democracy has hardly flourished in the past decades. You’re not going to find too many buyers, especially in Saudi and Kuwait where the democratic process is merely tokenism.

Hollywood. Iraqi TV was blown off the air at a late stage in the war, and such Iraqis that have electricity can now tune into Iraq Media Network. While Saddam-vision was a tedious procession of patriotic songs and news, INM is a bizarre hybrid of rabidly pro-US news, happy-clappy wedding music and the kind of violent Hollywood movies you rent three for a pound down your local Blockbuster. How well this is being received by Iraqis is unknown, but if the hostile reception greeting American TV channels beamed into Iran is anything to go by, where the amount of swearing and violence has been met with public disgust and a certain can’t-rip-your-eyes-away awe, they are facing an uphill struggle.

Exporting the Christian-American ideal has always been problematic. The Bush administration has returned to Reagan’s idea of America as a “shining city on a hill”, its manifest destiny to led the world, export American values, moulding civilisation into the American way through hearts, minds, and if needs be, big pointy weapons. And the question that they fail to address is “What if they don’t want us?” Does America understand the countries it is “liberating”, or does it even want to understand them? When “democratising” means “make like America”, a culture so alien, so opposite to the one they are replacing, is it surprising that they find open hostility? Not that democracy is anywhere near close in Iraq - the current governing council being nothing but a talking shop while L Paul Bremer calls the shots.

The killing of Uday and Qusay Hussein only makes martyrs of them to their supporters, another concept that is alien to the Anglo-American value system - showing their bodies on TV not only gave focus for anger among their supporters but displayed breathtaking double standards after the outrage following the Iraqis showing American prisoners of war. And still the cultural divide - the photos were released late on a Thursday - there are no newspapers in Iraq on a Friday.

Despite what many commentators think, I still don’t think the policy of endless war following September 11th 2001 is solely about oil. The black stuff is a factor - witness the shameless promotion of oilmen into key administrative posts, and Halliburton subsidiaries into Iraqi oil contracts, there’s got to be something in it for all the money that’s being “invested” in the region. Yet one gets the feeling it is all one shameless diversion.

The Cold War - based on false assumptions of Soviet expansionism - ended in 1991, and now the Reds Under The Bed have been replaced by Mad Murdering Muslims. The current administration freely linked Iraq to 9/11 before the invasion, an accusation quietly dropped as the tanks rolled. Now, once again you can freely be denounced as un-American just for criticising the President. So, what was it called when the entire Republican Party was out to get Clinton over a spunk stain and a soggy cigar? And all the while, laws are passed “for our protection”, civil liberties are eroded “but you’ve got nothing to fear if you’ve nothing to hide” and men in suits talk slowly and meaningfully in stage-managed press conferences repeating the lie enough times that it becomes the truth.

There’s still the hope that the lie will unravel, and despite all the media-spinning and the smokescreens in which media criticism is turned into government criticism of journalistic integrity to hide their own shortcomings, the truth behind this war will out. America may even get over the trauma of electing a stooge of the military-industrial complex, using aggressive foreign policy and ultra-patriotism to hide the fact that the domestic economy is melting around his ears. Fat chance of that though. The 2004 election results are held safely in a vault under the Pentagon, along with the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Where’s me tin-foil helmet?

“A frightened people losing dignity
The shadow of an island in their minds
While fools are bent on making history
With nothing gained, is this our destiny?

We ask is this some kind of victory?
Where is the dream, where is the sanity? “ - Killing Joke

(With thanks to Reporters Sans Frontiers for their help in writing this article)

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, July 27, 2003

"Reaper Man"

Today in the United States of America:

* 1178 people will die of tobacco-related diseases
* 303 will die of alcohol related diseases
* 83 people will kill themselves (several of boredom after reading this)
* 112 will die in road accidents
* 76 will die through the constitutional right to bear arms
* 0 will die through marijuana use.

Despite this apparant massacre, the population of the United States is increasing at the rate of approximately 4,000 per day. Compare this to the UK, where the increase is currently 160 per day, and Germany, where the death rate actually exceeds those being born. At this rate, there will be no Germans left on the planet by the year 3000.

All this pales into insignificance when you look at India, where the population will rise by 44,000 today, a fifth of the world estimated daily population increase of 200,000. I suggest you keep your legs crossed from now on, you'll be doing the world a favour.

Now, where are all these extra people going to live? I'd like to suggest Eastbourne, city of the living dead. Anything to liven the place up a bit.

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, July 26, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 447”

The German version of the World’s favourite quiz show is called “Ve Have Vays of Making You a Millionaire”.

“Crap Movies Redux”

Now look what’s happened. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the duck comes back with even more trashy celluloid. Thanks to the whole crap movie vote wossname, I am now actively looking for bad films. And they’re out there. Thousands of them, put together for for the sole reason of keeping unemployable idiots off the streets, backed by studios with more money than sense.

To aid my search, I’ve discovered help from a most unlikely source - the BBC’s Radio Times. With so many movie channels, and more films than you can shake a shitty stick at, they’ve employed people whose only purpose in life is to watch and review - in less than twenty-five words - every single film that appears somewhere on British television on any given day. I pity them. They have, however, got the short, pithy review down to a fine art; and for the films which score one star out of five, you can almost hear the cries of “I want my life back!” coming from the page. Strange that most of these movies are on Mr Murdoch’s Sky Movies Max channel, the TV station for the easily amused.

Cubbyhouse: "Horror about a possessed shed".

D-Tox: “This thriller is one of the worst films Sylvester Stallone has made. And that’s saying something.”

Death Train: “Action thriller that comes off the rails early on, and stays there.”

Highlander: Endgame - "Utterly stupid fourth installment in the series about the swordsman who is immortal and therefore unfortunately available for further sequels".

And yay:

Freddie Got Fingered: “Excruciatingly bad comedy that plumbs new depths.”

You can almost hear the screams for mercy in the Highlander review. My pain is your pain, oh humble reviewer. These people - your fellow human beings - need our help. Your gift of love can make a difference. On the other hand, they knew what they were getting into when they took the gig. Compassion? Me?

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, July 25, 2003


His Holiness brings the house down with his famous Craig David impression
“Now an official Gateway to Hell, one hundred percent approved by the Vatican Council.”

“You’re just a bunch of manky foul-mouthed spunkers. Repent you fuckers, repent!” -- His Holiness Pope John Paul II

"I've never been so disgusted in all my life." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"I, Assassin"

One of the great things about being a teenage air cadet was that you got to dress up in army combats every now and then and act hard. Only trouble was, ever since Cadet Sergeant Marcus Sergeant took his pot-shot at the Queen, we weren’t allowed to run around with guns. No problemo, we just went home and knocked out realistic-looking Uzi’s out of wood and scrap metal. We thought we looked hard. But in reality, we looked like twunts. Twunts with youthful stuble and acne, reeking army surplus combats and toy shooters.

Did I ever mention my dad, Professor Scary was a Territorial Army officer? No? Ah. At weekends, and for a couple of weeks a year, Professor Scary became Lt Col Scary of a certain Royal Army Medical Corps unit. Like we kids, they too were allowed to dress up in combat gear and run around the countryside looking hard. Only difference, they were allowed guns. Real ones.

In a bizarre set of circumstances I am still trying to fathom, Lt Col Scary was put in charge of organising a field exercise for his unit, in which they would simulate warfare, and a steady stream of casualties would arrive at their field hospital to be treated. And who would these victims be? Why, as many sea, air and army cadets that they could lay their hands on. You know, spotty gits like me.

We were carted up to Colchester barracks, fed, barracked and failed to get served in the NAAFI club bar. Colchester, as anyone who has visited the place will tell you, is the arsehole of the free world, and is permanatly full of battling squaddies and students. It also has, I gather, the highest suicide rate in the country, which is hardly surprising. Craphole doesn’t do the place justice, and is actually an insult to genuine crapholes.

It was on the first morning of the exercise that Lt Col Scary took us aside and explained the real reason he’d selected me, my brother and several others from our unit for this exercise, while all the other spotty erks were drawn from groups around London and Essex. He wanted us to break into the field hospital and kill all the doctors in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention. War is hell.

Holy poop, I was to be an assassin. Only we still weren’t allowed guns. We were, however, permitted by Her Majesty’s Armed Forces to point a finger at our intended victims and shout “Bang”. God help us if there’s a war.

Saturday morning, we were set free. We were carted off to the hospital - one of the larger barracks in Colchester - in field ambulances and dumped at the hospital with other cadets who had liberal quantities of tomato sauce smeared over their faces to simulate blood. It smelt like the back door of a Wimpy bar on a Saturday night.

Once admitted into the hospital, we split from the main group, stalked the corridors and found our quarry.

“Major Cholmodeley-Smythe?” I asked, saluting him for good measure.

“Why yes, can I help you corporal?”

“Yes, sir. Bang. You’re dead.”

It was like playing cops and robbers. A referee walked in, placed a sticker on the Major’s chest and told him to sit in the Officer’s Bar for two hours. I bet he was devastated.

Minutes later, our missions accomplished, we met up at the front of the hospital, laughing at our successful assassinations and our future careers as fifth columnists. It was then we received our next mission from Lt Col Scary.

We were to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere, sneak into the ambulance station and blow it up with a fake “bomb”. No worries, Dad ...err... sir.

Night fell. We blacked up, and rode in the back of a lorry somewhere in the Essex countryside, where we were thrown out and left to our fates. Using advanced tracking and skirmishing techniques known as “creeping about in the dark really, really quietly”, we soon made it to the edge of the ambulance station. This would be a doddle.

Would it fuck. The next thing I knew, this huge black guy was sitting on my head. A brief moment of panic saw that the same fate had befallen Nige, Shed, and the others from our group. We wewre surrounded by army regulars, all armed to the teeth, and ready to open a spectacularly big tin of whoop-ass on us at a moment’s notice. Me? I was bricking it.

The only person missing was Gary. Seconds later he burst out of the bushes, sprinted into the command centre and threw in the “bomb” shouting “BANG!” for good measure, before getting jumped on by a bunch of hairy arsed squaddies. A referee emerged from nowhere and liberally handed out red stickers to “victims” who were last seen heading towards the NAAFI bar.

But not us. We were prisoners. And worse, no-one had bothered telling anybody else we were part of the exercise. We were spread-eagled on the grass, searched and questioned. If I was bricking it earlier, it was running down my legs now as hairy arsed squaddies stood over us, pointing their huge weaponry at our heads.

“Name?” asked a hairy-arsed squaddie

“Duck, Corporal”


“Errr....” I replied trying to think of something that wouldn’t give me away as a pimply air cadet in over his head.

He got bored of me and started work on hyperactive Gary, who probably saved our lives.


“Parts. Private.”

“Private Parts? You kidding me?”

“No sarge. I’d never take the piss out of a man with a gun.”

There were a few sniggers from the back, which soon became open laughter.

Nige suddenly became Corporal Punishment, while Jez and Alan went totally over the top with “Major Disaster” and “Captain Caveman”, and the ice was finally broken. The full truth finally came out, much to the amusement of our captors, and our even greater relief.

“You was lucky,” said one particularly hairy squaddie, “We’d normally beat the shit out of you.”

Yeah, right. Thanks.

Just to show us how much they appreciated us livening up an otherwise drab exercise, they let us borrow one of their ambulances to drive back to Colchester. Ever the bundle of energy, Gary leapt into the back, and knocked himself out on the roof, the great idiot. Lights flashing and siren wailing we arrived back at the hospital of death with the only genuine casualty of the entire exercise.

Lt Col Scary summed it all up in carefully chosen words.

“You stupid bugger, you.”

Assassin? No thanks. Fucking awful, especially when your finger only fires blanks. Get me a real job. I want to be a lumberjack.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, July 24, 2003


The Alan Smithee Memorial Bad Movie Poll is now CLOSED. And thank fuck for that is all I can say. I didn’t realise the monster I had unleashed, and I’m glad to see the end of it’s rotten, twitching corpse. The poll drew some 25,171 votes, though I am ready to concede that at least three or four may have been duplicate votes. Still, ballot-rigging’s good enough for the President of the United States, so it’s good enough for me. Enough of the fannying around. The results:

Third: Titanic (4,000 votes): Three hours and sixteen minutes of utter arse, false endings and a sappy storyline about some lost jewelry which the daft old bint went and threw back in the sea. Made only slightly more bearable by seeing Ms Winslet in the nudd - which she does in all of her screen appearances anyway, typical Tilehurst girl - and the ship’s engineer being the spitting image of my Uncle Mick. I, like the rest of the audience, was cherring for the iceberg. King of the World? King of my arse, more like.

Second: Freddy Got Fingered (7974 votes): A movie that set out to be bad, and couldn’t even manage to do that properly. With Tom Green “writing”, “acting” and “directing” (I use those terms in the loosest possible definition), there was no-one to reel him in, no one to tell him when to stop, no one to tell him it just wasn’t funny. In short, no one to tell him it was totally fucking shit. A monument to the kind of stupidity that can only happen in Hollywood.

FIRST: Apocalypse Now (10029 votes): Number thirty-two in’s one hundred best movies of all-time. But then, what the fuck do they know? A victory of reputation over substance; an over-long pile of self-indulgent wank that could have been over in an hour if it wasn’t for Coppolla’s blind thrashing about with meaningful bollocks and a reluctance to edit out even the shittest of scenes.

As a matter of fact, given free range with the negative, my self-appointed director’s cut would go something like this:

Firstly, I'd rejig the cast slightly. Martin Sheen can't act for toffee, so for the purposes of the Scaryduck Cut, his part will be played by Benny Hill, with Stephen Fry playing the Top Brass in the style of General Melchett.

Scene One
Martin Sheen: Saigon. Shit.
Top Brass: BAH! Soldier! Go up country and kill Marlon Brando.
Martin Sheen: Sir! Yes, sir!
Top Brass: Still here then? Piss off!
Martin Sheen: Knickers! Knackers! Knockers!

Scene Two
The entire “Ride of the Valkyries” helicopter fiasco.
Robert Duvall: Charlie don’t surf.
Martin Sheen: Hey! There’s my boat!

Scene Three:
Martin Sheen: Are you Marlon Brando?
Marlon Brando: Ugnk.
High speed chase around jungle camp to the Benny Hill theme involving Brando, Sheen and a bevvy of busty beauties.
Martin Sheen: Take that, you fiend!
Marlon Brando: Ugnk! (dies)
Martin Sheen: That learned you.
Marlon Brando: Where’s my money?


Twenty minutes, tops, and I’ll even throw in the George Formby style ukelele version of the soundtrack that Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones did to cheer the whole bloody thing up. Feel free to purchase popcorn and souvenirs on the way out.

Apocalypse Now it is, then. The people have spoken, so mote it be. It's good to see a genuine Alan Smithee film winning his own award, a fitting end to the whole exercise. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make funny noises in a padded room. After all, I went through the terror of having to watch Freddy Got Fingered without adult supervision. Never. Again. You may wish to whine about the results in the Speak Your Brains section, and point out the fact that we completely forgot to mention Rambo III, or anything by Sylvester Stallone for that matter. Or Eddie Murphy, come to think of it. Sorry.


I have written a book. No, not that book down in the sidebar, *another* book. It's about a penguin. More specifically, it's a book, aimed at seven to nine year olds, about a penguin that hates the cold of Antarctica, and goes off with some friends to find somewhere warm to live. It's with various publishers, and their reticence to get back to me is either a) encouraging or b) a sign they've used my manuscript as toilet paper.

Any road up, I was watching BBC Breakfast this morning, and the actress-turned-novellist Nichola McAuliffe was talking about her new book Crime Tsar. Then, totally out of the blue, she mentioned her *other* book. It's a book, aimed at seven to nine year olds, about a penguin that hates the cold of Antarctica, and goes off with some friends to find somewhere warm to live. It's out next month.

At this present moment in time, I'd just like to say fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking ARSES!

I bet mine's better.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 364”

Yellow snow is a naturally occuring phenomenon and is perfectly safe to eat.


In the words of Young Mr Grace, “You’ve all done very well.” For those of you still trying to work out which stiff said what, here are the answers:

1. Mohandas K Gandhi, shot by militants
2. Captain James T Kirk, superbly hammy death scene
3. Oscar Wilde, “Oh God, not the pink shroud!”
4. Nostradamus. Just about the only prediction he got right.
5. King George V, although The Times made up a last words quote for him in “How is the Empire?”, though I'm inclined to believe that he actually asked for a final Capstan Full Strength ciggie.
6. Princess Diana, inflicting that bloody awful Elton John number on us
7. W.C. Fields, can't think of anything witty to go here.
8. Darth Vader, got out before Lucas really messed up the franchise.
9. HAL 9000. Bloody Bill Gates.
10. Karl Marx, outlived by his brother Groucho

Bonus: Elvis Presley, naturally.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, July 21, 2003

”Royston Vasey part 37”

Our local police officer is called PC Rick O’Shea. FACT.

“Famous Last Words”

"I'd like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. And the rest of the world can kiss my ass." — Johnny Frank Garrett, executed by injection, 1992.

“Don't worry, it's not loaded.” --- Terry Kath, Rock Musician whilst playing Russian Roulette, 1978

Right, I’m off into the garden today to do dangerous things with chainsaws. Just in case I don’t come back here’s a little quiz of my own devising. Leave your answers in the Speak Your Brains section below, and don’t be a smartarse and answer all ten as it spoils it for everybody else – be a good duck and leave one response only please. And yes, you can be an ever smarter arse and look up the answers on google, but, hey, you’re more intelligent than that, aren’t you?

Who said these famous last words?

1. “Hey Rama”
2. “It was fun. Oh my...”
3. “Either that wallpaper goes or I do”
4. “Tomorrow, I shall no longer be here.”
5. “Bugger Bognor”
6. “My God. What’s happened?”
7. “God damn the whole friggin’ world and everybody in it but you, Carlotta.”
8. “Tell your sister, you were right.”
9. “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true. I'm half crazy over the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage. I can't afford a carriage...”
10. “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

Bonus question for twenty points: “Here I sit, broken hearted, paid my penny, only farted.”

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, July 18, 2003

“Cream Crackered”

“Can you eat three cream crackers in a minute without stopping to take a drink?”

That was the challenge offered by BBC’s Nationwide programme, that bastion of early-evening viewing, news analysis and regular Nutter-of-the-Day spot. Today’s nutter was a pub landlord who offered that very challenge to his customers, charging them a quid a time for the privilege of taking part, with the lure of a tenner if they succeeded. Not many did, and the landlord looked like he was well on his way to his first million.

It certainly grabbed the imagination. It was the “Did you see it?” topic in the school playground the next morning, and one of the kids whose mother happened to be the school dinner lady brought along several packets of Jacob’s finest to spread the three-in-a-minute gospel, charging twenty pence a throw. He went home minted.

The craze, by happy coincidence, came just a couple of weeks before the school’s Christmas Fayre, complete with crap Olde Worlde spelling, and the promise of yet another new car for the headmaster. Straight onto the bandwagon we jumped, and signed up for an exclusive three-in-a-minute stall. We were even given a whole classroom to run the stall from, such were the expected crowds for the event.

Perhaps the organisers were blinded by the success we had had the previous year, when our stall had been one of the most successful there had ever been. The premise was simple. Two weeks before the event, we ran around the school taking pictures of all the teachers. “It’s for a project, sir” was the excuse. Then it was straight off to the darkroom to run off photographs of our esteemed educators in various sizes. On the day of the event, the photos were mounted on a large board, and punters were invited to part with their money in return for the chance to throw darts at their weekday tormentors. Even after subtracting our *cough* expenses, the Head’s new Toyota fund made more than three figures.

We got a few tables, chairs and a jug of water in case there were any choking emergencies, and Ernie’s mum turned up with a huge catering box of short-dated cream crackers she had bought on the cheap from the wholesalers. We were ready to go.

The doors opened, the punters flooded in, and true to form, no matter how hard they tried, no-one was able to down the requisite three crackers to win the promised tenner. Even the school fat kid, Big Mac (honest! that’s not the kind of thing you can make up) couldn’t manage it, and by God, he tried enough times. Like the previous year, we took a fortune, even after the subtraction of *cough* expenses and the school committee were more than pleased with our efforts.

But there was one fly in the ointment. Did I mention that Ernie’s Mum’s huge catering box of cream crackers was HUGE? The box was like the inside of the TARDIS, and no matter how many you took out, it was still full. There was enough in there to feed an entire army, and even after a couple of hundred punters having a go on the game, with only three or four requiring hospital treatment, we still had about three million of the bloody things left. What, in the name of God, were we supposed to do with several thousand almost-but-not-quite out-of-date cream crackers?

Ju-Vid knew exactly what to do. His chaotic brain worked differently to ours. That’s why, looking back from the relative safety of the twenty-first century, we always got ourselves into so much shit.

“Hey!” he said, “These things fly exactly like frisbees!”

And he demonstrated the fact by wanging one across the classroom. He was right. It DID fly exactly like a frisbee, right up to the moment it hit Cookie on the forehead and shattered all over the place.

“You git!” responded Cookie, grabbing a handful and chucking them back, scattering crackers across the room like a blunderbuss. Now, that looked like a good idea. All six of us grabbed handfuls from the box and ducking and diving behind tables, we started full-scale cream cracker warfare.

Let us quietly close the door on the battle raging in Room Ten of the school’s language block for a good quarter of an hour, while elsewhere the head handed out raffle prizes and congratulated the pupils, parents and teachers for their generous support, quietly going through the 1981 Toyota catalogue in his head. People applauded, held their prizes proudly to their chests and began to drift off home.

Now, see the scene from the point of view of Miss Olga, the school’s terrifying deputy headteacher, doing the rounds of the classrooms to make sure everything had been tidied away properly. Room seven - clear. Room eight - nice and tidy. Room nine - clear. Room ten. Room ten. The door appeared to have a table pushed up against it, and there’s rather too much noise going on in there to be healthy. She went back to the school hall and fetched Mr Prince, our arch-nemesis, former boxer and fearful PE teacher. With one good hard shoulder barge the door swung open. Doom.

I don’t think I really need to describe the scene to you. Six fifteen-year-old kids and an unlimited supply of cream crackers in an enclosed space. As the two teachers walked in, several of these crackers were still airborne, skimming through the air to join their wasted brethren lying several inches deep on the floor. They crunched underfoot. there was no point denying anything. Caught, as they say, like a Treen in a disabled space cruiser.

Prinny, the king of the imaginative and ironic punishment not only let the shit hit the fan, he also made damn sure we cleaned it up afterwards. This one broke all records. Not only did we have to clear up our mess, we had to stay behind after school until the end of term helping out the cleaners - not for the first time either. On top of that, we had to write a 1,000 word essay on why we shouldn’t waste food, which he promptly tore up in front of us without even a passing glance, coupled with two weeks doing home economics instead of metalwork. Then there was the indignity of a midwinter cross-country run, thrown in because old PE teacher habits die hard.

That certainly taught us.

It was during one of these after-school do-all-the-hard-work-for-the-cleaners sessions that we made a terrible discovery. There, in room ten, pushed into an alcove and forgotten, was a half empty box containing about five million cream crackers.

“Here!” said Ju-Vid, ”These things fly like frisbees!”

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, July 17, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 12”

* In New York, it is illegal for taxi drivers to operate without a beaded seat cover
* Ostrich racing is forbidden within the city limits of Dallas, Texas
* Californian law forbids the screening of Baywatch, a law upheld in the Supreme Court as “some things just CAN’T be covered by free speech”
* The death penalty still exists in Britain for the crime of “Cow Nudging”
* In Hazzard County, Georgia, them Duke boys are still unable to cross the county line
* In Sydney, Australia, you can be fined up to $500 for “not calling someone Bruce”.

We feel we must salute the fair city of Dresden in Germany, which has instituted death by bulunga for street mime and juggling.

"Jesus be praised! It's the last bad movie review!"

A.I. - Spielberg's travesty of a homage to Kubrick --- Review by Balders

Like many of the films nominated, A.I. is here not simply because it is a bad film (it truly sucketh), but also because it shouldn't have been.

A.I.s origins go waaay back to the early 1980s when the great Stanley Kubrick optioned a number of stories including the poignant Super-Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss. This and two other stories (Supertoys When Winter Comes and Supertoys In Other Seasons) were written at the end of the 60s and have a distictive charm and style almost unique to English SF of the time. The problem was that special effects were nowhere near as good as Kubrick would need, and he refused to compromise his vision.

And so A.I. became one of those movie treatments that gathers dust while rumours of its production surface every now and again. And in the meantime, Kubrick went on to make Full Metal Jacket (brilliant with small flaws) and Eyes Wide Shut (not so brilliant with slightly larger flaws).

And then Stanley saw that the effects industry had caught up with his vision, and the time was ripe for his hi-tech slant on the Pinochio story. But before he could really get out of the starting blocks, old Stanley went and carked it.

And that should have been that.

But it wasn't.

Unfortunately for us, Stanley had been corresponding with Steven Spielberg, and on the death of the former, the latter picked up the baton with the blessings of Stanley's family. Fools!

Don't get me wrong, I've a lot of time for Spielberg. Duel was a brilliant film, Close Encounters was inspired, and who can fail to be touched by Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan. Oh, but then there's E.T. or worse still, the revisionist E.T. with guns removed. And the cutesy elements he just can't resist.

And so what we ended up with was an arse-numbing two and a half hours of poorly explored plot ideas and scenic vignettes. Not to mention a completely wet Haley Joel Osment and a tacked on epilogue so shite I can hardly bring
myself to mention it.

It wasn't all bad. Jude Law pulled out all the stops and makes his scenes memorable and worth watching. But one performance can't save a stinker, especially one with William Hurt snoring his way through it.

Way back in 1982, Ridley Scott gave us Blade Runner, a film that challenged our perceptions of real and artificial and what it means to be "alive". With the Directors Cut, Blade Runner is a classic. All A.I. can do is travel the same road, but in a more mawkish and self-indulgent manner. Even Disney's Pinochio is a better film than A.I.

If there had been any justice, Kubrick would have called it quits after Full Metal Jacket, and Spielberg would have directed A.I. with a little less respect for Kubrick and a bit more respect for the audience.

That neither of them did is the reason why this film is a dog. If you must watch a film called A.I. I'd recommend "A.I. - Artificial insemination and how to revitalise your herd after the BSE crisis" by Defra. It's a lot more entertaining....

And that, my friends, just when I thought it would never end, is the last of the ten bad movie reviews. You know the form by now --- Vote in our bad movie poll!. Over 11,000 people have so far, though I suspect that there may be one or two duplicates in there. Still, honesty never won an election - the vote remains open until next Monday, when I shall be wrapping up the whole sorry affair.

Vote Freddie Got Fingered. You know it makes sense.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, July 16, 2003


There’s a bastard great poster doing the rounds on the South West Trains network advertising the horse racing at Ascot, in a desperate attempt to get the punters in for a sport that's dying on its arse. One of the things they are trying is the racing meet/pop concert in the misguided opinion that the gig crowd has money to burn on the gee-gees. Last Saturday it was a bunch of nags and The Human League. But it’s August 9th that caught my attention: the Blue Square Shergar Cup with Melanie C. How will the punters tell them apart? And more to the point, can I put twenty quid on Sporty Spice each way?

Whatever next - Robbie Williams rides Geri Haliwell to victory in the thousand guineas while Elton John pays good money to watch? Ah, that's already happened.

"Swearing News"

Swearing on TV: It's a fucking disgrace. I'm very impressed with the Mediawatch report, which was put together by obviously dedicated people, who clearly sat up until God knows what time in the morning, counting all one hundred and ninety-seven "fucks" in Reservoir Dogs. I could have told them it was a pile of over-rated bollocks and saved them a lot of effort. For absolutely no reason, other to reproduce a load of gratuitous swearing the following is copied verbatim:

"In the 60 films the word SHIT and its derivatives occurred 827 times, the word FUCK and its derivatives occurred 1429 times and JESUS and/or CHRIST used as expletives occurred 221 times


Other swear words used less frequently as terms of abuse or insult were: ARSE, ARSE HOLE, BASTARD, BUGGER, COCKSUCKER, PRICK, WANKER."

Sounds like your average evening down the pub; or the result of a small boy leafing through the family dictionary for the best bits, an activity I haven't indulged in for at least three or four weeks. Tops.

"Crap Movie Reviews - The final furlong"

Moulin Rouge - Reviewed by Jon Hill

A shrill, cunty, bewildering, pissed-up drama student of a film, like spending an hour with the world’s most annoying, deeley-boppered teenaged girl ‘ironically’ shrieking ABBA songs into your ear. The universally abominable cast smugly jockey for position and attempt to out-bellow and out-mug one another against an ugly, garish backdrop that makes Paris look like an enormous trifle.

Thoroughly post-modern in its utter wankery, Moulin Rouge is a film deeply in love with itself. “Oh Moulin Rouge, I love you – you are so very audacious and clever”, “No Moulin Rouge, it is YOU who is a hilarious, deliciously camp homage to all things fabulous!”

As with all kitsch, it is an affront to all that is GENUINELY fun, joyous, and uncomplicated. And at the core of this tasteless, humourless, brash, smug turd of a film lies the wizened, cynical heart of super-dilletante and all round cock Baz Luhrrman. If ever a man needed a slap… Worst of all, this film was so universally praised, that to say you hated it was to be branded a sour, joyless curmudgeon. The injustice…

To summarise:
Everyone in it is shit. The script is shit. The direction is shit. The whole thing, as a whole is wholly SHIT. And if you like it you are a twat. Is that unfair?

Scary says: "Come on John, say it like you mean it!"

Scary also says: "Vote in our bad movie poll. Just a few days left to rig the results!"

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Isn't fashion shit at the moment? And I mean this in a blokey kind of shit as well. Let's look at the evidence from my seat by the Jubilee Clock this afternoon. Naff 70's style tinted sunglasses. Extra short t-shirts. Flared trousers that refuse to die. And flip-flops. Flip-flops. What happened? Did they overstock at the seaside tat warehouse then? It's a national disaster, that's what it is. And Something's Got To Be Done.

At this point, I would like to pass on my thanks to the fashion czars for allowing tight white t-shirts to be worn for the tenth year in a row. For small mercies we are eternally grateful. HOWEVER! It is the trend for bare female mid-riffs that is most disturbing. I go outside in the lovely hot weather we've been experiencing recently, and I'm disgusted. I didn't realise so many girls had beer bellies. What looks great on some tanned stick insect in a fashion magazine does not look good on the seafront at Weymouth with a packet of chips. Put it away, before you take someone's eye out. And that goes for you blokes as well.

Scary's Rule of Thumb For Fashion: If you want to know what is going to look ridiculous, passe and just downright fucking awful on your local High Street in six months time, just take a gander at what Victoria and David Beckham are wearing right now. Cut the pair of them some slack - they're doing a vital public service. To the outsider they're just a couple of attention whores. To the rest of us, they're looking fucking stupid now so you don't have to in the future. Bless 'em.

Me: Grey tee. Black jeans. Worn out trainers. Since 1982.

Sad CNPS bit: The seventeen is thussly seen. I am now looking for a thirty-three.

Fresh Pie. With added tentacles.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, July 14, 2003

”Welcome to Royston Vasey”

The longer I live here, the more I suspect I am trapped on the set of The League of Gentlemen. It’s not as if life here is abnormal per se, it’s the little details that make you think everything is not quite as it seems.

For example, I am represented on the local council by Roy “Chubby” Brown, and if that weren’t already enough, there’s this little old fella who stands by the entrance to the beach asking all-comers “Are you local?” And God help you if you’re not.

But there was one final thing that tipped me over the edge. It was Scaryduck Jr’s school fete this weekend. All very nice, the sun shone, we won a jar of pasta on the tombola and there was the obligatory display of Tae-Kwondo. It was nice to see local businesses getting involved too, but that’s where my head was well and truly messed with. The bouncy castle, and I kid you not, was sponsored by the local funeral home. Unlucky for them, hardly anybody got killed.

Oh yes, the sign saying “Welcome to Wyke Regis, You’ll never leave” is a bit of a giveaway as well.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, July 11, 2003


I used to live in a village called Twyford. The name - as we were told endlessly at school - derived from the fact that there are two fords (a point where a road crosses a river or stream) in the village. As a matter of fact, there is only one, some bright spark built a bridge over one of them, and no-one had the heart to rename the place Monoford. To further confuse the issue, the remaining ford isn’t actually in Twyford at all, but in Land’s End, somewhere down a country road between Charvil and Hurst.

“Don’t play in the ford,” our parents told us, “The water’s deep, there’s cars and all sorts of people hanging round there. It’s downright dangerous.”

With these words of wisdom ringing in our ears, we hopped onto our bicycles and went to play at the ford.

It was a bloody long way out there. You have to cycle out along the Old Bath Road (affectionately known as the “Bends of Death” for their prediliction of throwing the unsuspecting driver off the road and down an embankment where the bloke with the scythe was waiting), through Charvil, under the railway and up into Land’s End. By the time we got there, we were all completely shagged out. Good thing there was a lovely, cool river to dip your red hot toes into.

On a normal day, Nige, Matty, John and myself plus-or-minus one or two others, would gather at the top of the rise above the ford. Then one of us, invariably with a blood-curdling scream (what else is there?) would thunder off down the slope and into the waters of the Loddon, feet up in the air, water gushing everywhere, with just enough oomph to get out the other side without pedalling.

If you did it really well, you’d get out the other side without getting wet. If you buggered it up, you’d meet a car coming the other way, and you’d end up soaked from head to toe and pedalling like crazy to get away. Often, there’d be the added distraction of other gangs of local layabouts throwing sticks and stones at you an your way through. These were usually the Hurst boys, mono-browed yokels, who one day might even be allowed to marry a close relative. This added an extra element of danger into the whole enterprise, and cheers would go up if there was a direct hit, or best of all, a biker toppling head first into the drink. You had to be careful though. If the Hurst boys got hold of you, it was Lord of the Flies time.

Unfortunately, this was not a normal day. Even though the sun was shining, and the sweat was coming off us in buckets after the marathon ride, this came on the back of a week of typically English weather - relentless, neverending rain. The river, to be perfectly honest about it, would be a tad swollen. This didn’t matter to Matty. He was going in, and anyone who didn’t follow him was a girl and a chicken.

Well put me in a frock and call me Amanda, but there was no way I was going to follow him. As the lads raced down the hill, I hung back, clucking quietly to myself. Matty was well in the lead, pedalling like fury, increasing speed so he could make it through to the other side all in one go. He rounded the final bend, and saw the river for the first time. The water was at least four feet deep and running in the kind of cascading torrent you only see in adverts for white-water rafting holidays. The bloke with the scythe had given up his vigil on the Bends of Death, and was beckoning Matty on the other bank, his face the rictus grin that the Grim Reaper just can’t wipe off his face.

“Oh fu.uuuu..uuuuuu!” he said, pulling on the brakes. Too late. His wheel rims were already wet from the water already in the road and, if anything, he continued to pick up speed.

He hit the river like a newly-launched ship down a slipway, and fair play to him, he made a brave attempt at getting to the other side, but before Matty knew it, he was in up to his neck and quite literally swimming for his life. Damn good thing he was the school’s best swimmer, or this story would have ended here. The rest of us screeched to a halt at the river’s edge just in time to see Matty, looking like a drowned rat crawling out of the drink about fifty yards downstream. His bike was nowhere to be seen such was the fury of the torrent.

He cared not one jot for his survival. “My dad’s gonna kill me when I tell him about me bike,” he said. We couldn’t agree more, and we couldn’t wait to stand outside his house to hear the fireworks going off.

Instead of more trying-to-drown-ourselves shenanigans, we trudged back home, this time across the old gravel pits, and out into the village behind the mill. It didn’t take us too long as this route is far more direct that going along the roads.There was also the off-chance of throwing things at Russ if he was fishing, as this pastime had recently become our life’s work.

We walked alongside the river, which was still flowing like a bugger and threatening to come over its artificial levees. Every so often a lump of tree would flow past on its way to the Thames at Wargrave. And there, in the race near the mill-pond weir, was Matty’s bike caught up in the bushes by the bank. It had come the best part of three quarters of a mile in less than an hour. With no little effort, and at a considerable risk to Matty’s life (there was no way any of us was going to lean out into that current, I can tell you for nothing), we eventually dragged the thing out.

“My dad’s gonna bloody kill me!” said Matty.

What now?

“The pump! I’m going back in to look for the pump!”

Matty is alive and well and living in Australia. Bar the unending ways of getting killed very painfully by the wildlife, it’s safer there for people like him. As a rule, they’re not allowed water.

"Bad Movie Madness - Freddy Got Fingered"

Last night I went over to Blockbuster and rented Freddy Got Fingered. I was openly mocked by the staff, who refused to believe it was for "a research project". And my opinion? It is a film with no redeeming features whatsoever, expect for the fact that is mercifully only 87 minutes long. It is a fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking, fucking awful movie, and laws should be enacted to keep Tom Green off our screens permanantly.

Just a couple of things worth noting. Number one: When I first saw Tom Green on MTV (the show where he paints lesbians on his dad's car), I thought he was quite funny. That was shortly before my nervous breakdown. Number two: There are actual reviews of this celluloid abortion on IMDB which say FGF is right up there with Citizen Kane as one of the greatest of all time. Are these people mental? Answer: Damn right. I urge you to vote for this pile of shite in our Bad Movie Poll. Often. Just think of the children.

The Scaryduck Archive. For Dummies.

Thursday, July 10, 2003


Oh Christ on a bike! Our civilisation is on its way to hell in a handcart. I have just discovered that not only is the world’s least interesting rock star Rod Stewart making a musical of his alleged “songs”, but it’s being written by that arch-wanker himself Ben Elton. That’s Ben Elton who wrote the God-awful Queen fiasco “We Will Rock You”, and Ben Elton who will find himself first again the wall come the revolution.

Oh yes, he also wrote and directed “Maybe Baby”, perhaps the smuggest film ever, during the viewing of which I had to be physically restrained from kicking my television to pieces.

I can’t believe this is the same Ben Elton that had the best stand-up routine I have ever seen (through stomach-cramping tears of laughter), the same Ben Elton that rescued Blackadder from the dumper with the sublime second series, the same Ben Elton that was the evil genius behind The Young ones. Right on, kids? There's so much great stuff that Elton's done, it seems such a shame I've had to resort to this cheap character assassination to unburden myself of this inner rage. And then I think of The Thin Blue Line.

There can only be one explanation for this unsatisfactory state of affairs: the evil twin Ben Elton in the sparkly suit has been imprisoned in an iron mask on an island somewhere, while his smug brother, the Third Baronet Benjamin Elton-Smythe is running around getting on our tits.

And if you’re still teetering on the brink of this hero vs tosser argument, may I provide the final, incontrovertable evidence. The prosecution rests, your honour, and we will settle for nothing less than the maximum sentence.

"Lyle fough the Law"

Lyle at Destruction for Dummies has fallen foul of the grabbing lawyers who "protect" the precious trademark of the "...For Dummies" series of books. In particular:

"In order to fully protect its valuable trademarks, Wiley unfortunately cannot allow use of the domain name,, for a web site....Wiley requests that you discontinue using the domain name, and remove all references to FOR DUMMIES from your site."

We here at Scaryduck for Dummies are more or less of the opinion that the fucking wankers can go piss up a tree, and have joined the growing list of sites that are now "...For Dummies". I'd like to be Swearing for Dummies, please.

"Cheap Laughs"

Check out the advert that blogspot serves at the top of this page. Google had the bright idea of sampling the page and suggesting searches related to it. So far today I've had "bastard", "kiss my ass", "retards" and "twunt". Most excellent.

"Just when you thought it was safe...ANOTHER Bad Movie Review"

Hearts of Darkness - A Moviegoer's Apocalypse - Reviewed by Balders

For a long time now I've hated the film Apocalypse Now. I'm not alone in this dislike, but I am in a minority although that doesn't mean I'm wrong. Once again we have a movie based on a book. This time Joseph Conrad's novel Hearts of Darkness, an exploration of human behaviour and the unconscious mind, inspired by Conrad's journey to the Belgian Congo. Now that might sound a bit prententious, but it's actually a damn fine short novel and not at all prententious.

Then along comes Francis Ford Coppola and lo and behold we have a 153 minute pretentious wankfest about the Vietnam War. The big question from my point of view has always been "How did it happen?" Take a classic novel, stir in a great director, sprinkle library with notable actors, add a dash of contemporary soundtrack and bake in the sweltering heat of the Philippines for the best part of a year. The result? Something a lot less than the sum of its parts, that's for sure.

It could have been great. It should have been great. It wasn't.

A lot of the blame must rest with Coppola himself. To say he was naive is probably an understatement. He started filming in the Philippines with Harvey Keitel as lead, an unfinished script and a 6 week shooting schedule. The Philippines? In the early 70's? Trying to film in a country fighting Communist rebels, and governed by the Marcos's was just asking for trouble. And then Coppola goes and gives Harbey Keitel the boot after 3 weeks. Lucky escape for Harve really.

So in comes Martin Sheen, and Francis is still waiting for the great Marlon Brando to appear. Then out go the helicopters. Yup, in a cost cutting measure, Francis had cut a deal with the Philippines Army to use their helicopters. Sounds like a neat idea, doesn't it? Just back up a second. "... fighting Communist rebels...". Yup, right in the middle of filming, at the drop of a hat, off go the helicopters to blow away some Commies. Leaving Francis and crew to twiddle thumbs.

Soon six weeks becomes 100 days. And still the script isn't finished. Then the monsoon season arrives and trashes most of the sets, suspending filming for months. And still the script isn't finished. And where's Brando?. Then Sheen has a near fatal heart attack. And still the script isn't finished. Two hundred days have passed. And still the script isn't finished. And oh Christ is that Marlon Brando or a misguided sperm whale? A million dollars for Brando to play Colonel Lard just about sums up the excesses of this film.

Sure there are some redeeming elements. Duvall is excellent in his limited screen time, the Ride of the Valkyries never looked better, and visually Vietnam never looked as beautiful and yet deadly.

But two and a half hours is just too long to spend looking at muddled dialogue, confusing scenes and a totally inadequate conclusion. So do youself a favour, and find something else to fill the time. Cross-stitch or maybe a spot of decorating. Or even mowing the lawn. Just don't waste it on this film.
If some of you want to watch a film about the Vietnam War, borrow a copy of Hearts of Darkness: A Filmakers Apocalypse. As a film about the making of Apocalypse Now, it is far more enjoyable and entertaining. And that's got to be the ultimate condemnation of a film; when the "Making of" movie is better than the actual film itself.

ACHTUNG! Vote in ze bad movie poll. Schnell!

Still looking out for reviews of Moulin Rouge and Freddy Got Fingered. Even if it's just the single word "Arse". Anybody?

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, July 09, 2003


I subscribe to the daily Newsnight mailout from the BBC. Fans of the list await the daily mailing with baited breath, for there’s a reasonable chance its been written by the God-like genius that is Jeremy Paxman. For those of you who not been paying attention, or merely living in America, Paxman is the acerbic presenter of Newsnight and University Challenge renowned for his persistant interview technique. He will not let a politician slither off the hook - he once asked the same question of a squirming government minister more than a dozen times until he got a straight answer. He’s that kind of guy, and as such would never appear on CNN.

Fans have realised that under that frightening exterior, there is a comedian struggling to get out, and it finds its release in his daily newsletter. For example, Zen philosophy, Paxman style:

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead.
Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow.
Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow.
In fact, just clear off and leave me alone.

And on eating out:

They've just opened a politically-themed restaurant around the corner. The waitress announced: "Today's special is the Richard M Nixon I-Am-Not-A-Burger."
"Sounds interesting," said the customer, "What is it?"
Waitress: "A burger."

Boom, and indeed, tish! The man needs his own show. Stand-up. Prime-time. Now. Come on Greg Dyke, you know it makes sense. Unfortunately, he’s taking the summer off from Newsnight. The world is a darker place already.

“Oh No! Not another Bad Movie review!”

Striptease - reviewed by Balders

Carl Hiaasen Says "Gimme More!!"

I should probably start with my excuses and thus get the embarassing admissions out of the way first. For starters, I like Carl Hiaasen's novels. Sure they're never going to win any literary awards, but they're entertaining, humourous, often quite satirical and always enjoyable. And the two collections of his articles for the Miami Herald should not be missed, especially for anyone intrigued by the Bush - Gore election fiasco.

Then there's Demi Moore who, for all her weaknesses as an actress, is a bit of a babe. In fact, I'll give you a little tip about Demi Moore - watch her hair. When her hair is long, the movie sucks (The Butchers Wife, Disclosure), but when it's short the movie is generally at least ok (Ghost, A Few Good Men, GI Jane).

Right, confessions out of the way, let's take a look at this baby.

Moore plays Erin Grant, an ex-FBI agent who loses her job, closely followed by custody of her child to her ex-husband who's a bit of a psycho. Desperately needing money to keep afloat and cover her legal fees in the custody battle, she takes a job as a stripper at the Eager Beaver strip club.

On paper it makes all the right moves to begin with. Based on a good novel by a popular novelist, with a star in Demi Moore who has some successful movies under her belt (in her knickers, bra,etc?) and a supporting cast of decent actors it has a lot going for it. Armand Assante knows his way around a decent movie, Ving Rhames had notched up a decent portfolio and Burt Reynolds was undergoing a sort of renaissance. Then there was Andrew Bergman who not only directed, but also wrote the screenplay. The same Andrew Bergman who wrote Blazing Saddles, Fletch and The Freshman.

The soundtrack was pretty neat too, including songs by Spencer Davis, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Prince, Smokey Robinson and original music by Howard Shore, Kenny Loggins and Stevie Winwood. Throw in the frisson of Demi getting her kit off and you've got a winner, haven't you?

In a word, no.

First warning sign was Demi's hair. Remember what I said earlier. Well, in Striptease the babe has long hair and that doesn't bode well. Then factor in her $20Million paycheck. And the titilation factor amounted to about 11 seconds. It was the screenplay that killed it though. A comedy that wasn't funny, a thriller that was just plain stupid and dialogue that required three - count them, THREE - dialogue editors. It isn't Shakespeare for heaven's sake. The acting varied from average to okay, although after his performance in this, it is a miracle that Burt Reynolds made it to Boogie Nights.

This movie was liking ramming a roadblock for most of the cast and crew. The damage done by this movie to the Holywood reputations of Bergman, Moore, Assante, et al is probably irrevocable. And deservedly so on the basis of this film. Oh yes, and Rumer Willis perfectly illustrates the fact that acting ability and talent are not genetic traits you can inherit from your parents.

The only way to salvage anything from this film would be to edit the thing down to a 10 minutes movie of Demi "strip dancing".Along with the shot from inside the washing machine.

Carl won't be complaining. Since this dog was released he's published at least a dozen books so his career didn't suffer whilst his bank balance gained a tidy sum from this film.

As for the rest of us. Well I for one would like my money back, along with 115 minutes of my life thank you very much. And yes, you can have the soundtrack CD back. Doesn't matter how good it is, I don't want to ever be reminded of this film.

Votez-vous dans notre election de films mauvaises, s.v.p! Pompt de pompt de pompt-pompt, as they say in the Latin Quarter.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, July 08, 2003


There is no spoon
Damn you Consecutive Number Plate Spotting! I vowed never to get drawn in, and now see what’s happened. I’ve got to the point where I am pretending not to look for a seventeen, hoping that one will catch me unawares. There is no seventeen. Someone, somewhere is having a right old laugh. Ha bloody ha.

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 365”

Entering the words "search engine" on any popular internet search engine will cause a catastrophic infinite search loop, creating a massive cross-server overload which will eventually crash the entire internet. It’s a known bug which Google and Microsoft have had top people working on for years.

"Another Bad Movie Review: Titanic"

An impassioned plea by Perky Pat.

Remember that slightly queasy feeling of deflation and disappointment as you left the cinema after watching “Titanic”? And then a few months later, the vague bewilderment of learning that the same picture had also won eleven, yes I say it again, ELEVEN Oscars? Did you ever wonder what those Oscars were actually for? And who actually won them?

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, in order to help reach your final decision I offer the following list of categories, along with the perpetrators and some previous offences of theirs that you may wish to take into consideration in reaching your final decision. You will note also, that more than one of these individuals has taken part in some of the other crimes against filmgoers that are already nominated for the Alan Smithee Memorial Movie Poll.

* Direction by James Cameron who also directed “Piranha II: the Spawning”.
* Cinematography by Russell Carpenter who also cinematographed “Critters 2: the Main Course”.
* Art Direction by Michael Ford who also artily directed "Nostradamus".
* Original Song "My Heart Will Go On" by James Horner and Will Jennings both of whom I personally would cheerfully castrate.
* Film Editing by Conrad Buff who also edited "Spaceballs".
* Original Dramatic Score by James Horner who also originally dramatically scored "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas".
* Visual Effects by Robert Legato who also visually effected “Rambo III”.
* Sound Effects Editing by Tom Bellfort who also sound effected “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”.
* Sound by Gary Rydstrom who also sounded “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence”.
* Costume Design by Deborah L. Scott who also costume-designed “Wild Wild West”

And to top it all of course, “Titanic” won the Oscar for “Best Picture” - an award you might reasonably expect to be accompanied by a fantastic screenplay and sterling performances from actors in leading roles. Did “Titanic” win any Oscars in those categories? Did it Hell.

My case rests.
Be it on your own heads.

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The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, July 07, 2003

"A long, quite possibly blasphemous, theological discussion on the meaning of Holy Communion which features hardly any swearing, but may still contain offensive images of vicars and stuff"

I went to church yesterday. Getting churched-up isn’t part of my regular routine, I’ll be the first to admit, but it was a lovely sunny morning, and Scary Jr was on church parade with his scout group. It was, all told, a rather pleasant experience, with songs (apparantly they’re called “Hymns”, and they’ve got a WHOLE book of them), near-the-knuckle jokes from the bloke at the front who dresses like Eddie Izzard, and a nice lady at the back who does tea and biscuits.

Enthused by the spirit of the occasion, I bowed my head, thanked Him upstairs for my family and in return promised not to swear quite so much. Arses. Whoops.

Now, I’m not a total ingoramus with churchy things. The whole idea of spirituality is the result of a complex set of belief systems deriving from folk superstitions,and evolving into a vast organised religion with disparate value systems which pervade the lives of many, whether they realise it or not. See? I’ve got a certificate from the Open University that qualifies me to write this kind of bollocks.

Take the act of Communion for example. Communion is representative of Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples, which was closely followed by The Last Argument Over The Bill. “I thought Judas was paying - he’s come into some money.” The bread is representative of Christ’s body, and the wine is his blood. We protestant types know this is purely symbolic. The bread is bread, the wine is a quid a gallon from Threshers. Catholics, on the other hand, take this as gospel. As soon as the sacrament touches the lips, it truly becomes the body and blood of Our Lord and Saviour.

Now here’s the nub. What happens if you’re a veggie? It’s OK telling yourself it’s just a biscuit and a sip of free booze, but then you’re denying that you’ve got your gnashers round a big chunk of meat. And then, it’s terribly non-specific. Which bit are you getting? For all you know, you might be munching on a bit of His arse, or far, far worse. Have the health inspectors been informed? There are clear food preparation guidelines to this, and they don’t involve a nice tablecloth and two chunky candles. I think we should be told - it makes the whole issue of gay bishops pale into insignificance.

So everybody queued up, got their bread and wine - which I politely refused as I was scared of making an arse of myself - and returned to their pews. With all-comers perfectly happy with their lot, one slight detail became all-too-clear to the vicar. He’d blessed-up far too much bread and wine, and the altar was swimming in the stuff like a kitchen table after a barbecue.

It turned out to be no real problem for the vic. He scooped up a huge handful of wafers and forced them into his mouth, cheeks bulging like a chipmunk, and followed it down with a quaff of wine, hoping nobody had noticed. I was mortified. One tiny wafer - fine. You could easily get away with that. But a whole pile of the things? That’s just greedy. It is, in fact, rather a large part of Our Lord which He might have wanted to use later. And let’s not forget all that wine as well. In the words of the great prophet Tony Hancock: “A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!”

I decided to have the issue his unashamed gluttony out with him after the service, as I’m well aware that it is one of the seven deadly sins. Not just run-of-the-mill sins. Deadly ones. As the faithful streamed out, blinking, into the sunlight, I caught him in a half-nelson and forced a confession from his quivering lips.

“Sirrah!” I raged, aiming a punch at his kidneys, ”You are nothing but a gluttonous, hypocritical murderer and the lizard-spawn representation of the Illuminati that crushes the human spirit underfoot in a global conspiracy to control our minds and bodies! What say you to that, eh?”

Or I could have just shaken his hand meekly and say “See you again soon.” After all, I’m overdrawn at the Bank of Eternal Damnation as it is.

And did I say he was a vicar? As a matter of fact, I found out he’s a canon. Tell him he’s fired.


Mel Brooks. Where do you start with Mel? There’s no two ways about it- the man is a comedic genius. When he hits the spot, he can produce some of the funniest moments you’ve ever seen. There’s people who’ve never seen The Producers that know about Springtime for Hitler. The words “Walk this way”, always have me acting like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, the whole film is a cult. On his day, Brooks is simply unstoppable. So, how did we end up with the dog’s dinner that is Spaceballs?

Spoof movies are not funny. Never. Ever. If you’re lucky, the one joke may be stretched out over ninety minutes and you might just get away with it. Unfortunately, when Brooks tried to spoof Star Wars in 1987, the joke lasted for about ten minutes, and it wasn’t a particularly funny Jewish gag to start with.

Let’s put it this way. I went to see this film in the cinema. I sat down with three other people, and having paid my money I decided to see it through to the end. As the end credits rolled, there were two of us left. I thanked the usherette and left. I think I laughed once, and the rest wasone groan after the other as yet another gag missed the target and crawled into a corner to die.

There’s people out there who think this is one of the funniest films ever made. What’s wrong with you? Were you dropped on your head like a child, or have you simply spent too long sniffing felt tip pens? Spaceballs is not funny. Go out an buy Blazing Saddles and forgive Mel Brooks for the evil he has wrought on your life.

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The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, July 06, 2003


Today I went to church for the first time in ages. It was great. There were songs, a comedy organist and everything. I promised to stop swearing.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, July 04, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 363”

In order to prevent bubblewrap from getting damaged in en route from factory to customer, it is carefully wrapped in bubblewrap.

“Bad Movie Review: Star Wars Episodes I and II”

The writing was on the wall in “Return of the Jedi”. Epdisodes Four and Five are quite rrightly regarded as two of the finest science-fiction movies ever made. So how could it go so horribly wrong? One word: Ewoks. The Ewoks were cute fluffy little critters that helped Luke, Leia and the gang defeat the nasty old Empire and save the galaxy from tyranny, or something. Did I say cute? Sorry, I meant “shit”.

Something must have clicked in George Lucas’ head. After a sixteen year wait, in which many a Star Wars fan wondered if they were ever going to see the rest of the series, Star Wars I hit the screens, a prequel which would show the roots of the evil Darth Vader. Right from the off, the writing was on the wall. The title: “The Phantom Menace”, sounded more like a cheapo cartoon character than a ground-breaking sci-fi epic. Then we saw it. Only three words: Jar Jar Binks. To which I have one reply: Fuck Off.

Visually, the film was stunning. No expense was spapred on the computer generated scenery, the special effects and the pod race and battles were second to none. In that sense, Lucas still had it. Where he fell flat on his face was his determination to take on the whole movie himself, and face it George, you’re no screenwriter. Between the set-pieces, the action dragged at a snail’s pace, and the dialogue was turgid and frankly embarassing.

Things could only get better for the second film, right? Wrong. Once again, visually stunning, with top-notch effects and battle scenes. But it was clear that all the money had been spent on making the film look good, and the talent had been replaced by cardboard cut-outs. The romance between Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen must surely be one of the most squirmingly awful ever committed to film. How could they say that dialogue and mean it? How could I sit through that guff? I remember now, I didn't. Total, utter shit, and it still had Jar Jar in it. Lucas still has one more chance to fleece the punters with Star Wars III. It had better be good, or we are legally obliged to burn him at the stake. With his fucking Ewoks.

The Alan Smithee Memorial Bad Movie Poll. Vote-o! Now-o!

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, July 03, 2003

“Slaps forehead”

In one of my earlier Scary Stories, I tell the tale of how my early teenage years were filled with an abject terror of the end of the world in a firey nuclear inferno. This fear was fuelled, in the main, by a story on BBC1’s Nationwide about Old Mother Shipton, a 16th Century Yorkshire witch, whose uncannily accurate predictions on the Fire of London and future technology were the stuff of folk legend. She lived in a cave with a waterfall that would turn any offering to stone (because of the high mineral content of the water, as it happens).

The fact is, that Bob bloody Wellings looked into the camera in a sombre fashion and told millions of petrified viewers of her most famous prediction - that the world would end in 1981 Every Thursday the locals would solemnly troop up to the magic well, dip their hands in and wish that she was wrong... 1981 came and went in a procession of sleepless nights and brown trousers, and we’re still here twenty-two years later. And now, thanks to the marvels of the interweb, I discovered the terrible, terrible truth.

Even Mother Shipton’s existence is uncertain - if she existed at all she was probably a mad old granny made to live in a cave by locals who were sick of her eating their cats and looking at them in a funny way. Not only were the old bag’s “prophecies” a big sack of hoaxes written years after her death for Ye Bestsellinge Booke by a certain Richard Head (Dick to his mates, not to mention me), but her apocalyptic vision of the end of civilisation went something like this:

“The world to an end shall come,
In eighteen hundred and eighty one.”

1881! 1881! Eighteen bastard bleedin’ eight-one!!! The best years of my life turned to a jellified wasteland by some TV researcher that couldn’t get their facts right. I’m fucking steaming and somebody’s going to pay. Burning at the stake’s too good for them. Where’s my nailgun? There’s gonna be a crucifixion.

"Classic Bad Movies: Spice World"

Girl Power. Great big steaming pile of wank, more like.

Bag of Shite
Where do you start? They came, they saw, they zig-a-zig-aahed their way to the top of the charts. Pre-teen girls bought their product in droves, and I should know, as my three year old daughter loved them. The trouble was, as anybody with an IQ higher than that of a slug could tell, is that they sucked. Hugely. They were false, totally contrived, with a half-baked proto-feminst notion of Girl Power which began and ended with the ability to do the peace sign for the camera and wear huge clumpy boots.

With even the Americans getting to hear about them, it was only natural that they should make a movie. And it was only natural that it should suck. Hugely.

It was never going to be another Seventh Seal, but jaysus, they could have made an effort. The trouble is, the only reference they seemed to take was that of the Carry On movies and the contents of the previous week’s Hello magazine. And the supremely awful Carry on Columbus, you knew what to expect. Nothing. A parade of guest appearances, lots of running about, screaming, a few songs and a forgettable story. And that’s exactly the whole film in a nutshell. Shit, in other words.

Let’s look at the evidence.The girls can’t act. My sister used to work in a record shop, and they’d frequently get life-sized cut-outs of stars to display on the premises, which would come to a horrible end in the alley round the back. If you didn’t know better, theey sent five of these two-dimensional cut-outs to make the film, while the real-life Spices whooped it up on a beach. They range from the vocal talents of Mel B (shout every line as if you’re standing on a football terrace) to Victoria Addams (now Beckham) who has the delivery of a milk crate. It’s got Richard E Grant for Christ’s sake - who I can only assume took the role for the money or the “ironic” kudos he might receive. Then there’s the guest stars, and never has a bandwagon been so cheerfully jumped on. Meat Loaf, Elton John, Michael fucking Barrymore, Jools Holland, Roger Moore, Bob Geldof. All should have been taken out and shot.

The story, what little there is of it, covers the girls’ efforts to get to a concert at the end of the week. This invloves capers around trendy London at the height of the “Cool Britannia” phase (remember that?). The film’s only six years old, but it’s dated far worse than any musical Cliff richard ever made. It’s embarrassing. I can’t beleive my daughter made me watch it so many times.

In short, the whole exercise was a cynical cash-in on the fame of the Spices by evil genius Simon Fuller, who has since repeated the same trick on a fickle public with S Club. If this film was a horse, I’d melt it down for glue.

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The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


Phase Two is over. The poll is closed, the ballot box has been well and truly stuffed and the 1,200 votes we received for the Worst Film Ever Made have been counted. After this long and arduous process, we are now in a position to whittle the initial list of over a hundred movies, reduced to fifty last week, down to a final ten.

I’m not going to pretend it was a close-run thing - a few determined punters made sure that their prefered turkeys remained on top of the pile while others fell by the wayside. I’m just pissed off that Pretty Woman only got ten votes, but there’ll be no sour grapes here. You bloody philistines.

The top ten, then:

1. Dune - 213 votes
2. Freddie Got Fingered - 208 votes
3. Apocalypse Now - 138 votes
4. Titanic - 112 votes
5. Spaceballs - 101 votes
6. Star Wars Episodes I and II - 51 votes
7. Moulin Rouge - 34 votes
8. Spice World - 31 votes
9. Striptease - 29 votes
10. A.I. - 21 votes

Bubblin’ Under: Nutty Professor II, Pearl Harbor, Xanadu, Batman and Robin, Highlander II, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Battlefield: Earth.

Phase Three: The vote has been re-opened with the figures reset to zero. Over the following days, you will read reviews and opinion pieces on each of the ten movies, some written by myself, some by guest writers, saying why you should vote for that particular film. At the end of this final voting phase, a winner will be declared with the producers of this epic winning the grand prize - a VHS copy of Flesh Gordon that’s proving rather difficult to get rid of.

This is where you lot come in. I’ve got a damning reviews of Dune, Apocalypse Now and Striptease from Balders, and I’ve wasted huge chunks of my life in front of several of these masterpieces. BUT! I’ve managed to avoid Freddie Got Fingered, Moulin Rouge, and A.I. I’d appreciate ANY reviews or opinions on these films, either in the Speak Your Brains window or by e-mail to scaryduck at fastmail dot fm.

It’s been a hellish voyage, but together we can get through this.


Review by Balders

You know there's really only one candidate for the worst film ever - one film, one word - Dune. It could - should - have been brilliant, but it ended up truly, truly awful. I mean, look at what it had going for it.

Based on the best-selling novel by Frank Herbert, it had his full support and endorsement. It had David Lynch as director, Freddie Francis as director of photograhy and many, many top names from the world of film making. The special effects team included Kit West (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Billion Dollar Brain, The Big Red One and later Dragonheart and Enemy at the Gates), Albert Whitlock (Catch-22, The Birds, The Blues Brothers); Barry Nolan (Star Wars IV: A New Hope, Flash Gordon); Carlo Rambaldi (ET, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

And Toto apart, most of the soundtrack was down to Roger and Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, none of whom could be classed as rank amatuers.

Okay, so Dino de Laurentis was executive producer which wasn't a good sign, but it was his daughter - Rafaella - who actually produced the picture. And she'd done a pretty good job with Conan: The Barbarian.

And then to the cast. And one the whole, what a cast it was: Jose Ferrer, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan, Jurgen Prochnow, Sian Philips, Patrick Stewart, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell, Max von Sydow, Sean Young to name the more notable members. And Sting - there's another ill omen. As far as I'm aware Sting is incapable of playing anyone other than himself, and every film he's ever starred in was shite.

Still, the good points should have outweighed the bad. And the fans - of which there were many - were behind it. Christ, we all had extremely dog-eared copies of the novel with "soon to be a major motion picture" on the front. Printed in 1974, with a ten year wait to get the juices flowing. It'd have to be really bad to upset the fans, piss of the general public and generally flop.

Thing was, it was worse than bad. Much worse. How much worse you wonder. Well, you know when you're really pissed and go for a shit. And you're so blindly drunk that you wipe your arse but forget the toilet paper? After fifteen pints and a very dodgy vindaloo from Mahatma's Curry Shed? Worse than that.

It pissed around with the story so much that the fans of the novel hated it. David Lynch spent so much money on wierd shit that the public hated it. And it was a big budget production, so the cult fans hated it too. Everyone hated it. Apart from Frank Herbert apparently.

So what did Frank see that the rest of us didn't? Not the movie, that's for sure. Money. Shit loads of money viewed through a drug-laden haze. Poor old Frank was - you see - in the early stages of a terminal illness. As a result, he was getting through a not insignificant quantity of opiates to handle the pain. Dino de Laurentis comes along and gives him wads of dosh. Well, if you're gonna die, die happy. After all, as Freewheelin Franklin used to say "Dope can get you through times of no money better than money can get you through times of no dope." And Frank had both. So a no-lose scenario for Frank. And one of the all-time crappiest films for the rest of us.

Eventually the "Director's Cut" came out, restoring cut scenes, unfinished footage and matte paintings to give us a 3 hour long travesty that was so bad that David Lynch disowned it. So Dune itself ended up as an Alan Smithee film, with Lynch credited as Judas Booth.

It could, and should, have been so much better. I saw it 4 times, but only paid once. I was invited along to subsequent viewings as a sort of interpreter, but would only accept if my hosts a) paid for my ticket, b) bought me a curry and c) gave me copious quantities of alcohol afterwards.

Dune. Stinking up a video shop somewhere near you. Don’t do it. Just vote.

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