Friday, April 30, 2004

Piss IV

This man has a lot to answer for
Scouts! I joined up and found, to my disappointment, that they no longer dybbed nor dobbed, nor did they teach the young recruits secret martial arts skills that could kill a brownies at ten yards.

But look on the bright side, they sent us on a week's camp at Buckmore Park in some terrible corner of the Kent Countryside (or, as Sir Trevor McDonald once said on the News at Ten "Cunt Kentryside".

With our minibus sadly deceased - rotted from the inside by the acid effects of the horse shit we sold to raise funds - we piled into a hired bus and headed off to a camp, heaving at the gills with the cream of scouting from up and down the country. It had everything - climbing wall, rifle ranges, go-karts, football and a huge assault course.

In retrospect, it seemed to be run by a bunch of pedlos in uniform, as camp rules dictated that "all boys should wear shorts - no long trousers", and there were regular nude swimming events in the camp swimming pool, from which visiting girl guides were strictly excluded. Bunch of no-good killjoys. These days, the police and social services would be hammering at the gates, while a baying hate mob stormed the place with burning torches. Such was youthful innocence, however....

So, it was a week of far-too-cheerful organised events, including a remarkable egg-throwing competition in an attempt to break the world record which stood at something over three hundred feet. Cue a day of food wastage and teenage boys shouting “IgotitIgotitIgotit!” before covering themselves from head to short trousers with smashed egg. The world record remained safe.

The rest of the time, we were more or less let off the leash to do as we pleased. This included most of the day on a trip to Calais, where not only were we mostly unsupervised, but we were unsupervised in a foreign country where the drinking age is only fourteen, and there's a sex shop on the road between the ferry terminal and the main town.

Apart from drunkeness, an ill-advised wanking club (of which, you may be surprised, I was not a member) and scooting round at high speed in petrol-driven go-karts, this freedom mostly involved trying to get ourselves killed. From the materails available around us, we built weapons. Most of these were incredibly workmanlike catapaults and bows-and-arrows, showing that all those cold evening in the scout hut practicing knots and whittling techique were going to good use. Baden-Powell would have been proud (apart from the bit about wanking).

We split into teams and prowled the woods on a man-hunt. How nobody ended up in hospital is beyond me. Only one person was knocked unconscious (by a large flying log, rather like a device employed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Predator"), and he was revived by a good slap round the face and threats of a nude swimming gala with the creepy camp commandant.

Trevor Litzermann, our American recruit had honed his archery skills to a fine art with a rather spiffy crossbow. Just a shame that no-one told him not to try climbing a tree with the thing loaded. There was a "twang!", a scream, followed by a pause and the sound of a body hitting the ground. We ran to his aid, fearing the worst. He lay there, and arrow protruding from the front of his shorts, where it had gone off, having missed his tackle by millimetres and come out the other side. Trev was the only one of our number who had ever "seen a lady naked", and was rather relieved to have survived to repeat the experience.

He only had one comment for us, words that will live with me till my dying day: "I've pissed me pants!"

That wasn't the end of the drama. There was a troop on the site from Liverpool - 2nd Toxteth, or something. And let's be charitable and say that they were a bit wilder than most. Oh bollocks to that, they were a bunch of thieving scousers that confirmed everything you'd ever heard about the City of Liverpool. Some of them even insisted on long trousers, the bastards. Everybody knew they were on the rob, and some overheard bragging in the camp shop indicated that we were next.

Plans were laid to defend ourselves for that night's raid. We all slept with our boots on, and a sign saying "Stores Tent" was hung on a tent filled with the biggest bruisers in the troop. As darkness fell that summer evening, a none-too-subtle rustling was seen in the trees and bushes at the edge of our camp site.

Scousers! Dozens of thieving scousers, all working for their thieving proficiency badge!

There was a tense stand-off. They knew we were watching them, waiting for the raid; but they still had to go through with it as a matter of pride. We knew we were there, and it was just a matter of not backing down, and seeing them off. Hours passed. Something had to be done.

A day of heavily stewed scout tea (25p for 600 teabags) was resting heavily in my bladder. Something had to be done, and I did it.

I staggered out of tent to the hissed warnings from my paranoid comrades, who seemed certain that I was going, like Captain Oates, to my certain death. Instead, I went for a piss into the first bush I came across.

"Oh 'ey!" screamed a young Scouse voice from the bush which I was watering with no little relief. "Youse pissin' on me 'ead!"

"Was I? Oh, I am so terribly sorry young man. Now why don't you and all your pissy little mates BUGGER OFF AND LEAVE US ALONE?!"

There was no battle, there were no running charges through the night, just a bunch of thieving idiots breaking their cover and sloping back to their tents. Which we'd thoughtfully let down for them while they were away.

Victory for the little guy. You don't need a tough attitude or the biggest guns. Just a weak bladder.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, April 29, 2004

"Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos"

If it's gratuitous swearing you want, then top-quality cussing you shall have, my friends! Neil Gaiman points us towards the now-infamous Bill, recently introduced into the US Congress designed to make swearing illegal in the US media. The fucking shitty piss-sticks.

I, for one, welcome our overly-litigious puritanical overlords.

The vote! The vote! Tomorrow's tale of mirth and woe will be one of the following eight. Vote-o!

* Father Abraham
* Barmy ‘Army
* Spray that again?
* Barking Steve
* Piss IV
* Trench Warfare
* Buzzzzzz
* Osama and I


Straight from the "You would have thought that someone would have noticed" Department comes the story from my local rag on how some chap returned from holiday to find his hot tub stolen from his garden. It weighed two tons and cost seven thousand pounds. Probably the same people who pilfered the hanging baskets from our patch last year, may they rot in hell.

And in a vintage news day in the Bournemouth area comes the story of 20-year-old Thierry Henry, who changed his name from David Mercury in honour of the Arsenal striker. The Echo doesn't have static links, so here's a picture. See if you can tell which is which.

His mum, by the way, is Freddie Mercury, but has recently changed to Melek Aysemin Ayse Filikgi Del Boy. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to breed.

Meanwhile meanwhile...

I've been at home feeling ill and working on the Next Big Thing. Food for lazy people is in, with that old moo Aunt Bessie leading the way with ready made mashed potato, along with ready meals that come with a plate and even a knife-and-fork.

If you can't beat 'em join 'em I say, so I've written off to her in a quiet moment suggesting a whole new range of Aunt Bessie's Cheese on Toast, Aunt Bessie's Omelettes and Aunt Bessie's Boiled Eggs. It's a winner, you mark my words.

And let me leave you today with this Jerry Springer-esque final thought:

Nearly twenty years after its original release, "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins still makes me want to tear the top off his bald, bald head and paint the walls of my house with his brains, using a brush crudely fashioned from his brutally severed genitals. A perfectly reasonable reaction, don't you think? And rather pleasing to know that I haven't mellowed after all these years.

Meanwhile meanwhile meanwhile...

Timelord Tom Baker talks exclusively to Robber Rabbit on his harmless hobby of taking a crap in shoe shops.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

By the Ghoulies

The great thing about having Sky Digital is the sheer wall of tat that invades your living room. I'm a huge fan of Takeshi's Castle on Challenge TV , half an hour of Japanese madness with no point whatsoever. Unfortunately, the UK producers have actually managed to edit out half of the good stuff before it hits our screens - it's worth searching out just to get rid of the Craig Charles commentary.

However, I've been dragged in by the television phenomenon that is Most Haunted on Living TV. It is essentially a televised ghost hunt, where a bunch of idiots led by ex-Blue Peter girl Yvette Fielding and former Liverpool footballer turned psychic Derek Acorah spend the night at a crumbling old mansion in the middle of nowhere and scare the living shit out of each other.

I'm still trying to work out whether it's serious scientific study or the televisiual equivalent of scary campfire tales, and have given up speculating whether Mr Acorah is genuine or not. He's such a star, it doesn't matter if he's faking it or not. Uri Geller - you can tell straight away he's mugging for the cameras (or any audience of more than one person, I can tell you from dreadful, sweary personal experience), but Acorah plays it straight from start to finish. Especially in the bits when he's possessed by evil spirits demanding that Yvette Fielding gets her tits out. Quality TV moment that.

It's so bad it's brilliant, and my Tuesday nights would not be complete without seeing a former Blue Peter presenter running screaming down a corridor, swearing like it's going out of fashion. And she used to be such a nice girl. The whole crew gets involved, from the terrified sound recordist to the girl who makes the tea and launders piss-stained trousers. Night after terror-filled night is spent in draughty, dirty, cold rooms screaming "Argh! It's an orb!" every time a speck of dust drifts past the camera, running for their lives as an unexplained knock is heard in an adjacent room.

I watched it last night - a bunch of idiots running round a haunted hotel in Co.Durham screaming blue murder in abject fear. It was ace, mainly because Yvette said "Fuck". You'd never got that from Valerie Singleton.

Is there anybody there? Even dead people get their fifteen minutes these days.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Roll the tape!

Despite what they're saying in Hollywood, I think the talkies are here to stay.

There was a recent "Greatest Movie Line" poll which I didn't pay too much attention to, seeing as the damn fools let the public vote for it. Seeing that these are the same bunch who once voted Eddie Murphy's "Coming to America" as one of the greatest movies ever made, I have learned to ignore anything that tpurports to reflect the tastes of the public at large.

You're by-and-large a pretty well educated lot, and hardly likely to vote for Scooby Doo 2, so we'll be holding the definitive Movie Quotes Poll this week.

I'll set the ball rolling with a couple of my own suggestions, before opening "Speak Your Brains" to your nominations, with a final vote next week, which will, naturally descend into the usual Florida-style travesty of the democratic process.

* "Gordon's Alive!" - Flash Gordon
* "These aren't the droids you're looking for" - Star Wars
* "He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy!" - Life of Brian
* "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells of... victory." - the otherwise crap Apocalypse Now
* "You have a wonderful mind." "Yes, it's my second favourite organ." - The Sleeper

So, suggest-o! Debate-o! Tell your friends-o! Send me money-o!

A tribute to Jim Davidson 1953 -

Tributes are pouring in for cockney comedian and opinionated bastard Jim Davidson on the off-chance that he might die quite soon.

"It's not fair," says erstwhile radio jock John Peel, as he carefully sharpens a number of ceremonial knives, "John Lennon, Bob Monkhouse, Bobby Chariot, Eric Morecambe - all taken from us by Death's icy hand, yet Davidson still lives. Where's the justice?"

Equally keen to leave a moving tribute to Britain's number one bigot, pint-sized funnyman Ronnie Corbett tells us, "Let me at 'im!" whilst wielding a pump-action shotgun. "I want to torture him first!"

In a recent telephone poll carried out by this organisation, 78 per cent of those questioned said the only time they'd laugh at Jim Davidson would be when "he was lowered into a tank of Piranhas and rabid piranha-proof tigers, singing 'Shaddap you Face' whilst dressed as Joan of Arc."

Peter Stringfellow, Jeffrey Archer, Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch are still not dead either.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, April 26, 2004


Lovely weekend - warm and sunny, just right for getting the garden sorted. So, naturally, I've got the flu. Not your normal couple of days' off work sticky cold, but real live so-grim-my-arms-don't-work-properly flu. And then there's the mystery of the unexplained bruise on the back of my right hand.

Still, the football results fell very nicely, so the Arsenal won the Premiership at the ground of our pathetic arch-enemies T*tt*nh*m H*tsp*r. Unbeaten so far in the league, best player in the world, and safe in the knowledge that Ryan Giggs is still a window-licking wookie.

No sooner had the final whistle gone on this litle triumph when the phone rang with news of the death of a favourite aunt who lost her battle with cancer yesterday afternoon, rather exposing that famous quote of the late Bill Shankly as the pile of toss that it is.

Life goes on...


A modest and uniquely talented man, little is known of the pivotal role of snooker star Steve "Interesting" Davis in the course of recent world history. For example, he rarely speaks of a 147 maximum break against the odds which led directly to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism, but that is just typical of the man's humble attitude to life.

However, that is just the peak of a career which has seen Davis as the driving force behind the Sex Pistols, the model for "Blakey" in "On the Buses", and his narrow failure to assassinate Margaret Thatcher in the infamous Robot Len Ganley plot of 1987.

Much of this extraordinary life will remain a secret for many years to come, thanks to Davis's undercover work for the Dutch Secret Service - he has saved the world on no less than seven occasions, asking only for a lifetime's supply of donkey porn and a season ticket for PSV Eindhoven in return.

Steve "Interesting" Davis: Gentleman, Scholar, Acrobat.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, April 23, 2004


The Sky at Night

Life can be a frantic rush from cradle to grave, with little chance to slow down, stop, and take in the beauty of the world around us.

When we are not working for others, we are catering for our own selfish needs, and as such, there is little left for those around us.

Every now and then, you have to seize the opportunity to stop for a while, lie back and marvel at creation. An island in a sea of chaos. I think I've managed it a whole three times in my entire life. Under a tree by a block of flats in Reading, on a beach on Okinawa and lying on my back in the middle of an Air Force base.

Like I said, you've got to grab the chances when they come along, and every last detail of the last of these is still engraved in my memory some twenty years on.

We were under a Bomber's Moon in Lincolnshire; that legendary August full moon that war time bomber pilots used to find their way home after a long dangerous trip over occupied Europe. Full moon, cloudless night, and miles from anywhere, the canopy of the sky was filled with stars from horizon to horizon.

As a group of Air Cadets, we were on summer campand had spent the evening on a so-called night exercise, which was, in effect a bunch of spotty kids running around an airfield shouting "Ner-ner-ner-ner-ner" with fake guns while grown-ups launched flares into the sky and set off loud exploding things.

It had been a long, tiring evening, and at eleven o'clock the whistles went for the end of the exercise. In groups of ones and twos, we staggered back to the rendezvous point and waited for the bus to come and take us back to the barracks as arranged.

We waited, and we waited, lying on our backs in the long grass still warm from the heat of the day, heads resting on backpacks. The best part of forty teenagers, but hardly a word was spoken.

The first meteor skittered across the sky in a tumbling streak of white light. There were gasps from one or two, but otherwise, silence prevailed, each and every one of us lost in our private worlds. The meteors became more and more frequent until the sky was criss-crossed with trails, reminding us all of the power, the magnitude and sheer scale of the universe that we are such an insignificant part of.

A perfect, humbling moment. Nothing else mattered, as my friends and surroundings faded out of existance. Just me, silence, a small patch of ground, and the umbrella of the sky above my head, pockmarked with stars and the great, wise, smiling face of the moon.


“That Jackie’s got a fucking great pair of norks.”

"Too bloody right. A ripe pair of 36Cs, smooth and rounded like gossamer coated peaches. With the sweetest nipples, pert and proud."

“Yeah, but not as good as Gail’s. I wouldn't mind....”

And that was the end of that...

Brucie Bonus: Robber Rabbit has the sketch I wrote for Little Britain, which they didn't want. Punks.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, April 22, 2004


A startling self-revelation last week as I donned my none-more-sensible Marks and Sparks raincoat to leave work for home via the dubious delights of South West Trains.

I suddenly realised this: I'm wearing an anorak, generic non-brand trainers and jeans from Matalan. I am carrying my belongings - a nice packed tea, a thermos flask and a notepad - in a Tesco's 10p bag-for-life sad-bag. I am heading for the railway station where I shall undoubtedly check the name of the trains in which I shall travel, as is my habit ("Wright Brothers" and "Mum in a Million - Doreen Scanlon" as it happens). I have even seriously considered getting one of them folding bikes.

Jesus Bungee-Jumping Christ, help me! I'm Dwayne Dibley, the Duke of Dork! I'm a geek! A nerd! A dweeb! I even know what 3d6 means. My life is over.

Arse, bunch of.

The luscious, pouting (so I'm told) one-time Rear-of-the-Year Charlotte Church appears on the front cover of this week's Radio Times. As one of my charming colleagues said to me on receiving their free copy of the UK's premier TV listings magazines (don't knock it - it's our one and only perk): "Marks out of ten? I'd give her one."

And that's the trouble of having the hots for Charlotte Church. Despite the figure, the Voice of An Angel and the shedloads of cash, there will always, always be the knowledge in the back of your mind that she is Welsh. I, for one, couldn't handle it and have thus banished all thoughts of Churchiness from my mind. You'd be hammering away, and at the last minute you'll think of Neil Kinnock. A dead loss.

Commercial Break

New from Stannah: The "Scream if you want to go faster" Stairlift - as used by Dame Thora Hird on her fateful final flight. The ideal accompaniment to the "Schumacher" electric wheelchair. No worries, no hassles, no saleman will call. Just keep up the payments, or we'll have your children put you in a home.

And while we're on the subject of rubbish celebrity endorsed adverts for the elderly - what is it about those shonky insurance policies that deliver so-called "peace of mind" from "those final expenses"?

All well and good - no-one wants to be buried in a cardboard box, or end up carted away in a windowless white van to the Soylent Green factory, but it's the fake sincerity that gets on my tits. That, and Carol bloody Vorderman.

"Send us your money now, you old gits!" Frank Windsor and June Whitfield ought to be screaming, making a grab for the unguarded pension book, "You don't want to leave anything to your kids - leave it to us! US!"

But no - it's all well-furnished drawing rooms, catering-sized sacks of Werthers Originals and a pointless free gift for signing up to the Over-90s "We'll take anybody" Plan. And it's a clock. A bloody clock. You've taken out an insurance policy to pay for your funeral, and what do the bastards give you? "A stylish quartz movement carriage clock" so you can sit there, too scared to leave your barren council flat, counting down the seconds until the Grim Reaper comes to call.

Why can't they give the olds something useful for crying out loud? A nice pair of those zip-up furry boots, a shopping trolley with spiked wheels, or, if you're really looking to save on those "final expenses", a lovely new shovel to dig a six foot hole in the back garden.

Alternatively, you could just use it to beat Carol Vorderman over the head.

Terrible Pun Alert

My mate Kenn (mate = "layabout who happens to share the same office space as your humble author") tells me that it is a mere 12 days to international Star Wars Day.

"May the 4th be with you."

I have already smote him to save you the job.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Not the Thursday vote-o

After yesterday's little episode, that's more than enough killer bees for one lifetime. So, if you'd be so kind as to register your votes for Friday's scary story in the "Speak your Brains" section, I might even remember to take my medication. Nine stories! Nine! "Oh Mr Scary, with your profusion of witty cobblers you are spoiling us!"

* Father Abraham - Humiliation woe
* Barmy ‘Army - Burnt arse woe
* Peace - Norks, not much woe
* Spray that again? - Vomit woe
* Barking Steve - Mad colleague woe
* Piss IV - Toilet woe, with traces of masturbation woe
* Trench Warfare - Up-to-neck-in-shit woe
* Buzzzzzz - Hardly any woe at all. Or bees.
* Osama and I - Al Qaeda woe

Meanwhile, over at Robber Rabbit, The Right Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, talks to us exclusively on the dying art of dipping your todger in a cup of warm tea.

Kvetch v.: To complain persistently and whiningly.*

A creeping menace is entering our nation - a fearful, evil menace that is rotting the brains of our defenceless citizens who are too cowed to complain.

I refer, of course, not to the evil, perfidious nature of corporate governance because, let's face it, we're all too cowed and defenceless to complain, but to badly dubbed television commercials. What the blummin' fuck are they all about then?

Do these people really think we're so stupid not to notice that the cheapo Italian actor is merely moving his lips while Stephen Fry (the voice of them all, bless him) sits in a London recording studio dubbing on the English soundtrack? Do they not care that, no matter how hard poor Stephen tries, the lips are never quite in synch like a bad martial arts movie? Answers: Yes, and no.

And I bet you haven't even noticed that all car number plates on TV ads are reversible so the image can simply be reversed to show both left and right and drive? You did? Oh. Just getting it off my chest. I'll get me coat.

* Thank you to Gert for giving me a new word of the day.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Dreams of Peter Cook

It was a Tuesday. Nothing to do but sit at home, contemplating what might have been and thinking up ways of ridding the world of the scourge that is Vanessa Feltz for once and for all, when the doorbell rang, tearing me from my plot.

It was a brightly uniformed man delivering a parcel. Reg was his name. Reg wore a badge.

"Mr Duck?"

"That is I."

"I've got your bees."

"My what?"

"Bees, sir. Two hundred bumble. Two hundred killer and one hundred Chinese fighting bees. If you'd just like to sign here..."

I hadn't ordered any bees, and I told him so in no uncertain terms.

"I haven't ordered any bees," I said.

"I know sir. These are a gift."

A gift? A gift from whom? It was all very irregular - there are very few people in this world who know that I am a bee man. It's not the kind of thing you like the general public to find out - some sections of society can be so intolerant.

Bees are wonderful. Happy smiling faces, sweet yellow-and-black stripy fur like a cute little jersey. Not like those evil leathery wasps that'd sting your face off given half the chance. And it's public ignorance whipped up by a tabloid frenzy that kicked off those riots a couple of years ago. Who'd be a bee enthusiast in this day and age when you face bricks through the window, evil graffiti and insults in the street? It's a badge I wear with pride and not a little shame.

"Anonymous, sir. That's the beauty of send-a-swarm-dot-com, it's the gift of buzzy insects that keeps on giving. There's free membership of Bee of the Month Club thrown in as well. I envy you, sir, if you don't mind my saying."

Good thing I had my spare hive at the ready, then. Gladly I signed, and took the parcel to my most secret of secret places to inspect my prize.

Seconds later, and I am marching down the front path towards a frightened delivery driver "Reg at your service!", my face a mask of anger and allergic reactions.

"I'm dreadfully sorry sir," he said, straightening the peak of his yellow-and-black striped cap, "these mistakes do happen. Please accept this cream with our sincerest apologies."

But wasps? Who'd send me Japanese Ninja wasps, today of all days? Feltz had better watch her back.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, April 19, 2004

Rubbish Celebrity Endorsements

You know what it's like sitting in a doctors' waiting room. You're on time, but the quack's only just got off the golf course, and Dot Cotton's been in there showing the poor bugger her haemarroids for the last half an hour. It's either "Diagnosis Murder" on a badly tuned television (not the best choice of programme, now you come to mention it), or a grotty pile of magazines on a table in the corner.

Beneath all the People's Friends and Reader's Digests, I came across a copy of the RSPB magazine that was LESS THAN A YEAR OLD. A real find, and I spirited it back to my seat muttering "Precious! I have the precious!" under the hateful gaze of my fellow patients.

Apart from the many and varied pictures of ducks and other waterfowl, one thing struck me about this publication. Bill bloody Oddie. The man is everywhere, like a rash. Every single advert, there he was "As recommended by TV birdwatcher Bill Oddie" and "The man who sung 'Funky Gibbon' has one of the rain capes. Buy. Buy! BUY!!!" He's got the entire ornithology endorsements industry tied uup, I suspect through a campaign of intimidation and feathery death on rapid wings.

But fear not, celebrity readers! There are other industries out there just screaming out for celebrity endorsements, and you can earn £ £ £! and raise your profile into the bargain. Imagine, if you will, that masturbation became socially acceptable and a plethora of glossy magazines appear on the lower shelves of newagents promoting the practice. Some people say that this has already happened, but there will be an immediate call for the hard-working celebrities of this proud nation to endorse the wanking products they contain:

"This is the best scud I've seen in ages - my bell-end exploded with delight" - Ben Elton

"Zanussi make the best washing machines in the business - the fast spin really rocks my world" - Ann Widdecombe

Even if the onanists of this world wrap up that particular market, there's still plenty of other products just screaming out for celebrity endorsement:

"Co-op funerals are fantastic. I wouldn't be seen dead anywhere else." - Bob Monkhouse

"Ridico No-Leak colostomy bags really make my day. Who needs an arse with Ridico?" - Sir Cliff Richard

"Sabutex morphine sulphate is the dog's bollocks. It's never let me down." - Dr Harold Shipman

"Porn-Away is the best hard drive clean-up tool on the market. I wish I had the brains to buy it" - Gary Glitter

"Scaryduck is the sexiest man in the world, and we're going to have a naked cat-fight for the first go on him." - Sarah Beeny, Kirstie Allsopp and Konnie Huq

Advance Warning: This week's Scary Story Vote-o will take place on Wednesday. The story itself will appear on Friday as usual. It's complicated...

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, April 18, 2004


Need music? Living in the 1970s? Battery on your solid state transistor radio run out or Radio 1 closed down for the evening? Big sister hogging the Dansette? Fear not - just pick up the phone, and dial 16 for Dial-a-Disc.

Those were the days - charged at local rate so 2p would last forever. They only changed the record once a week (a fact I didn't learn until I'd heard the execrable "History" by Mai Tai for what seemed like a brain-numbing eternity, and the tunes themselves were introduced by a chuckling sub Tony Blackburn DJ who would have been shot at dawn in the New World Order. I would sneak out of the house, clutching loose change, to get my fix of hot music action in a urine-soaked phone booth.

Come to think of it now, what a load of steaming crap it was, but aged 12, in the red phone box outside the station with tuppence in your hand (the 1970s version of the mobile phone), it's either that or the dulcet tones of the speaking clock before he went corporate. Just don't try ringing during the summer, or you'll only get the cricket scores.

All of a sudden, Post Office Telephones became British Telecom and transformed itself from bumbling bureaucracy to multi-million pound business empire with shareholders to please. Dial-a-Disc bit the dust as some genius invented the 0898 premium rate number, and now you can get more or less anything from very bad sex to very bad tarot cards down the phone at a quid fifty a minute, and no need to worry about getting the cricket scores by mistake.

Au contraire, you only need to worry about the size of your phone bill.

Shed news

Big, BIG news in the world of sheds and outhouses, with the Discovery Home and Leisure Shed of the Year awards. Not only do you get to win (dare I say it? Go on - dare!) shedloads of cash, but you may also get the pneumatic, lightly oiled Sarah Beeny to come round and personally inspect your shed; before falling into your specially dug pit of starving tigers, because sheds aren't for girlies.

Sheds are graet, even if mine has an old "For Sale" sign blocking up one of the windows, is filled with boxes of outrageously flammable material and the cat (a GIRLIE CAT!) lives on the workbench. I once found a pair of old diving boots and a machete at the back. That's how graet sheds are.

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, April 17, 2004

The worst jokes in the world thread

Q: How do you circumcise a whale?
A: Send down four skin divers.

In a desperate attempt to fill my comments box: your turn.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, April 16, 2004

Space Dust

Wasn’t Space Dust great, eh readers?

Y'know --- Space Dust. Those packets full of brightly coloured rock cocaine that you put on your tongue and let crackle away in your mouth in an explosion of chemically enhance strawberry flavour. If you were lucky, you might get a shonky pack that had one huge rock of the stuff in it, that would go off like a small bomb in your mouth, knocking out several teeth and doing permanent damage to your tonsils.

It should, in retrospect, have come with a health warning of some sort. But then it was the 1970s, and you could still get sweet cigarettes, Licorice Imps made out of compressed napalm and toys made out of real lead and hardly anyone died. But still, "Don't try to eat three packets at once, you bloody idiot" wouldn't have gone amiss.

Or even "Don't feed to your pet dog, spazz-brain." Honestly, some companies just have no sense of responsibility. In retropect, I should be suing the bastards in a toothless class action.

So, we gave it to the dog. He loved it, especially when it started exploding on his tongue, and he came back and asked for more. We thought it was funny as well, the way he stood there with his tongue hanging out like an idiot, crackling away. The budgie, on the other hand, wouldn't touch the stuff. The feathery little killjoy.

Fair enough, quite understandable behaviour for twelve year olds with a small yet significant disposable income. But now I've grown up and I know stuff. Like how sugar makes kids go bonkers. Give my daughter a polo mint and it'll have her bouncing off the wall for hours; while anything from the Coca-Cola company is akin to leaving nuclear fuel lying around, and if the recent bottled water fiasco is anything to go by, it probably is.

Snoopy the dog went loopy, and did Bad Things.

Terrible things, like running round and round the lving room for half an hour, knocking ornaments off shelves and overturning tables. He darted upstairs, and before anyone could stop him, he had, in a flurry of fur and teeth, completely destroyed my hand-built radio controlled plane which had taken my the best part of three months to construct. Then he shat on my bedroom carpet, curling one off into my lucky football boots, a pair of Patrick Super Keegans personally signed by the man himself. And I had a match the next morning, which we lost 14-0, no thanks to the mutt.

If only we had listened to my mother on the subject of gum-rotting sweets, we might have learned a thing or two:

“All your teeth will fall out by the time you’re twenty”

She was right. The dog’s dead.

And have you noticed how Creme Eggs are smaller this year? *walks away mumbling*

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Not the Thursday vote-o

Another packed personal schedule this week, so another story imposed on you in a travesty of the democratic process. So, tomorrow will be Space Dust, which I shall dedicate to my brother-in-law who reckons I've got to scrape the barrel sooner or later. This one's for you, mate, and I promise never to call your wheels a "second division footballer's car" again.

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 319

Comedy Manchester United defenders Gary and Phillip Neville's father is called (and I kid you not) Neville Neville. So impressed was rock icon David Bowie at this news, he immediately sat down and wrote a song about him:

"Neville Neville put on your dress
Neville Neville your face is a mess
Neville Neville how could they know?
Hot Tramp I love you so!"

Fifteen Years

And while footie's at the top of my mind, today marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Hillsborough Disaster, where ninety-six Liverpool supporters died at a football match in Sheffield. Fifteen years of closing of ranks and those responsible have still not been held to account. A much over-used phrase, but Lest we Forget.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Problem Corner

Once again, our resident agony aunt answers your questions on those embarrassing personal problems that can only be solved by having them published in the national press:

Dear Auntie Scary,

I have a problem and I'm hoping you can help. When in the WC having just expunged a number two and noticing that there are only a few sheets of toilet roll left on the roll - do I a) try and pace the wiping so that I finish exactly on the final sheet and risk walking around with a dirty bottom or b) wipe normally and actually make the effort to put a new roll on the holder, fully aware that I'll then have to go to the trouble of putting the finished roll in the bin.

I hope you can help. I'm having kittens here!

loads of love, I'm a big fan and I've got every album you've ever made.

Grahame Linkman
Senior Executive Pot Collector
The Ape and Cheddar pub, Falmouth

Dear Grahame (or to avoid embarrassment, may I use a made-up name, such as Rich Wild from Funjunkie?)

As a member of the licensed trades, you know it is your duty not only to use the last sheet on the roll, but to rip up the little cardboard tube and use that as some kind of ersatz poop shovel to finish the job properly. On no account should you replace the roll, especially if your pub is one of those with no roof on the toilet.

And just a quick word about personal hygiene in case your public house is one of those modern establishments that serves food. Don't what do you think that brown stuff is in a Ploughman's Lunch? Chutney? Alternatively, just do as I do, and employ a Thai Ladyboy to do your wiping for you.

Yours smelling peachy clean,

Auntie Scary

Meanwhile, over on Robber Rabbit, former Blue Peter presenter and object of teen lust Janet Ellis talks to us exclusively on whopping her norks out in public. A must-read indictment of our celebrity-obsessed society in the face of mounting media instrusion, or and excuse to use the word "norks" in public? Go on, guess.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


The premise: Richard Desmond owns the puritanical Daily and Sunday Express, that writes about nothing except filthy illegal immigrants coming over here to take our jobs, and the latest enjoyable thing that's guaranteed to give you cancer. They are titles that daren't look down in case they notice their own genitals. Norman Tebbitt loves the Express, which says it all, really. Conversely, the same Richard Desmond also owns a large chain of pornographic titles, including such publications as "Forum", "Asian Babes", "Big Ones", and the the lovers of wrinkly old slappers, "Forty Plus", "Fifty Plus" and (gulp) "Sixty Plus", which comes with a free bus pass for every model.

What if, then, the two sides of Dirty Desmond's empire collided?

Dear Forum Magazine,

You won't believe the incredible thing that happened to me the other day.

There I was, sitting behind my computer screen struggling to find a new scandal to blame on illegal immigrants when I received an urgent call to go down to see Matilda Scrimley-Chang, the buxom, mature, Asian babe editor of the Daily Express womens' section. Her breathing was heavy and laboured, and I was certain that she didn't want to talk to me about a couple of extra pages for the latest Paris fashions.

I marched into her office to she her release her dark, flowing hair from the usually tight bun, and pull off her dreadfully unfashionable winged glasses. After years of dowdy dressing and starchy editorial meetings, she stood in front of me wearing a leather basque and very little else, strands of hair playing on her pert nipples.

"Oh Dicky, you naughty, naughty newpaper owner" she purred at me, one hand on her hip, the other pulling me towards her by my tie; my loins on fire at the anticipation of the night of lust to come.

We kissed, deeply and passionately, my hands exploring her body. We pulled away as she whispered "Have you met my twin sister? She's as hot for you as I am.", and there she was naked, sprawled across the desk, leafing through a copy of last month's Hot Gang Bang Slutzzz, new from my very own publishing company.

Two for the price of one, just like our Express reader offer for a day trip to Calais. Cash back! I rule!

Then a thought struck me. I was as good as dead! My ardour totally dampened as I remembered the warnings of that day's front page:


Hoisted by my own petard, I staggered back to my desk, my gonads the size of basketballs.


Richard D

PS Print this letter or you're all sacked.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, April 12, 2004

Monday stuffpile

Signs that your life may be an empty, emotionless shell: You have a website cataloguing manhole covers of the world.

You should, all being equal, be running a site about the history street lighting. In Eastbourne.

Better still, join the Russian Navy and build your own sauna out of spare parts from the galley. Then set fire to your ship.

Disturbing e-bay auctions

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll hurl! Get your filthy little paws on CD-ROMs featuring these sirens of British media culture.

Lorraine Kelly, smily, smily Carol Smilie and the thinking man's boiler Carol Vorderman. CD-Roms. For the manky old spunker in your life. Or yourself, if you're strange like that.

Chav News

Spotted in Toys R Us in Poole - "Flavas", otherwise know as "My Little Chav", proof, if it were needed, that our society is doomed. Pull the string for three separate phrases:
"What you lookin' at, cahnt!"
"Shut it, slag!"
"Got any blow?"

Crap sleb spot

To Linford Christie, spotted on the train between Southampton and Winchester recently: the fact that you are talking into two top-of-the-range mobile phones at the same time may be a sign that your life has been completely taken over by the technology and are microwaving your brain from both sides. And on an observational note, it also makes you look a bit of a twunt.


Bad ideas Department

What better way to mark the merger of Thames Trains and First Great Western into one super ("super" = meaning "shit" in this context) rail franchise by hiring a Basil Fawlty lookalike to the public launch? So they did. The new Director of Timetabling perhaps? Or maybe he's just in charge of the station announcements at Reading: "The train arriving at platform five is the 10:48 service to Torquay. No riff-raff. Sorry about the guard, he's from Barcelona."

The Scaryduck Archive

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Happy ...err.. Christmas

With Easter now upon us, it is my sad duty to report that one of my neighbours still has his Christmas lights up, four months after the festive season. It's not just a few lights and a neon Santa, but ALL the Christmas lights in the world in a tableau of bad taste that illuminates the area like the runway lights at Heathrow. I may be forced into tough executive action:

a) arson
b) crap through their letterbox
c) a strongly worded, yet anonymous note
d) nothing at all. Who are you calling "chicken"?

Does the religious significance of this festival mean nothing to these people? Did Santa Claus die for nothing?

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, April 09, 2004

Worst Gig Ever

John and Pat are brothers and regular drinking friends. They had, let us say, a rather eclectic musical taste and a habit of taking me to see unusual bands.

So there I was, not doing much in the office, except finding new ways to maim my collegues using only an elastic band, a drawing pin and several paper clips, when the phone rang.

“Hey Scary, want to see Al de Meola? Tonight.”

“Who's he, then?”

“Legendary guitarist. Brilliant. You’ll kick yourself if you miss this. Hammersmith Odeon. One night only.”

"Will it rock?"

"It'll rock."

Sold, one ticket to the idiot. I went.

We drove up to London that evening in the pouring rain. It was coming down in a solid wall of water as we reached Hammersmith Broadway. We didn't even park in our usual place - outside my old house a few minutes' walk away, such was the deluge, paying a scandalous fiver to park underneath the flyover that runs next to the theatre.

Good grief, I'd been to many a concert at the Hammy Odeon before (now, shamefully utterly corporatised as the Labatt's Apollo), but tonight, it was absolutely swarming with people. And not one of them spoke English.

What I hadn't been told was that I was being asked to shell out sixteen of my hard-earned English pounds to see the support act. The main event was some Brazilian chap called Milton Nascimento, who is huge on the continent, and completely unheard of on these shores. So, the place was swarming with Germans, Swedes, Portugueseses and God knows what else, all getting their last minute tickets to see Pele's brother. And then there was us, right at the back of the circle waiting for the support act, Al de Meola. Guitar great.

Al took to the stage to a smattering of applause, almost drowned in the Babel of voices. He was on his own. Just him, a stool and his guitar. No backing band.

Two words: Jazz odyssey.

Actually, that would be an insult to Spinal Tap. At least they had an excuse, an eighteen inch model of Stonehenge and a cucumber wrapped in tinfoil. Al had none of these, but where he did is excel was having the stage presence of a dead owl.

There were no tunes, just explorations of the sounds produced on the guitar by one very smug man on a stool. Like I've always said: Jazz is like masturbation, it should only be attempted in if you are supremely gifted, and Al was very, very good. He seemed to be enjoying himself. I certainly wasn't, and neither were the majoity of the audience, who had slipped out to the bar, and were getting noisily drunk, the lucky bastards.

It was not really a performance, more a musical act of onan, and Al whipping out his old man and shooting one off into a hat would only have been an improvement. Jazz is totally acceptable in its place. As long as the place in question is the surface of the planet Venus.

After an hour or so, he left. Two people cheered, one of them called for an encore. We beat him to death with the backs of our seats.

We stayed for one song from the Brazilian guy. The Norwegians went ape. We just went.

By nine, we were back at our usual Friday venue - The Old Devil, and were drunk by ten.

Next week...

“Hey Al, want to see The Charles Bronson Acid Skiffle Band?”

"Will it rock?"


“Fuck. Off.”

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Sensible Week: The BIG Vote-o

Four days into Sensible Week, and the word "twadge" has nary passed my lips, except in the essential context of the article. Like the mention of "twadge" back then. And then. Sorry.

*poker face*

Time to vote, then, for this week's sensible Scary story, which will have all traces of humour, swearing and weird shit excised from it, just to be on the safe side.

* Father Abraham - Social skills in a non-familial environment
* Barmy ‘army - Not very barmy, at all
* Worst gig ever - Neither funny nor sweary
* Space Dust - I wouldn't bother if I were you
* Spray that again? - You might as well go read the Diary of Anne Frank to cheer yourself up

Vote-o! Sensibly.

All hail the dear leader!

Now that Libya has firmly joined the good guys, I hereby pronounce North Korea to be the most bonkers nation on Earth by a fair old distance. There was an interesting story on the South Korean news agency Yonhap on how the usually secretive North is readying itself for the Internet.

The DPRK has done a pretty good job of shielding its people from the outside world. Radios and televisions come pre-tuned, or wired into a Soviet-style Tochka system of built-in speakers - the inspiration for Orwell's telescreens. Taking no chances, radio broadcasts from the South are routinely jammed. Foreign visitors are assigned to an official escort, and the secret police are there wherever you may to to keep you and your filthy capitalist ways from the hardworking Korean people.

So, it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear that Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il is allowing the internet into his perfect model of Juche ideology, where everybody's happy and all this talk of mass starvation is just a western capitalist plot born out of jealousy. So, he's reputedly the owner of the largest collection of hardcore pornography outside the Vatican, and he once had a South Korean movie starlet and her film director husband kidnapped so he could make his own Godzilla-style disaster movie (which turned out to be better than you'd expect, as it happens), but the Internet?

Naturally, it's a typical North Korean solution. If you surf from work, the odds are that you're on a corporate Intranet. Kim's boys, as we speak, are wiring up a national intranet behind the world's biggest firewall. Never mind the fact that P'yongyang is keeping the fact that its population is starving in the fields, it's blocking access to that counts.

And I'm going to make an educated guess here- your company intranet sucks the big one too - a 300kB picture of the head of accounts; criminal use of animated gifs, the blink tag and comic sans; and the worst one of all - cute cursor trails. God help you North Korea.

What's coming the other way? Not a lot to be perfectly honest. is supposedly the nation's national web site, and gives local tourist board homepages a bad name; while the official news agency KCNA runs its website from Japan. To keep the subscriptions for the print version rolling in, it specialises in news that's at least twenty-four hours old.

Then there's, a casino site designed with the sole intention of relieving gullible South Koreans and Japanese of their hard currency. It is, naturally, blocked by the Seoul government, so the North also does a nice line in proxy servers. There's a link on ...err... Jupae. Say it out loud: "You pay." See? They do have a sense of humour.

Still, if you really do feel the urge to piss your hard-earned up the wall, but are worried about it falling into the hands of a totalitarian regime that may use it to develop nuclear weapons, then foreward it to me and I'll flip a coin and send you the winnings. You can't get fairer than that. If, however, you are opposed to gambling, then money in all major currencies, or supplies of enriched Uranium can be sent to me, North Korea's offical representative in this part of the Internet at:

President and Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il
P'yongyang Presidential Palace
Behind the Hot Water Pipes
Gents' Toilets, Platform One
Winchester Railway Station, ask for "Boris"

That is all.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Sensible Week: Day Three

Bearing up. Just. Must... tell... gags... Must... tell... gags...

On Humour: a po-faced, humourless exploration on the roots of comedy. I'd stop here and now if I were you

"So, what's your website about then?" - a question I hear at least three times a day from people who wouldn't know an internet if it came to their house and crapped through their letterbox.

"Oh, it's funny stuff. Stories, jokes, one-liners, you know."

"Go on then -"


"Go on - say something funny. Tell us a joke."


And that, dear reader, is the price you pay for outing yourself as "funny." Your mind goes blank, your hands start to shake, and you couldn't think of a joke if you tried. Normal Wisdom got round this phenomenon (called Manning's Syndrome in the business) by falling over and shouting "Mr Grimsdale" until you laughed out of sympathy. Just to prove it, apart from an extremely offensive knock knock joke, my humour glands remain completely empty.

Spontaneous humour is tough. Give it a go yourself and try not to look a tit. I know from bitter experience and a reputation for a certain strangeness. All my best stuff is kept in Monkhouse style spiral-bound gag-books (a bargain 1.49 from all Wilkinsons stores), trotted out, like this very piece for your delight and disgust.

No writer, humourous or otherwise, should be without a notepad and pen - trusting an idea to memory is just asking for trouble. Many is the gag lost by sleeping on it; and more than one idea-of-a-lifetime has fallen victim to overnight amnesia.

The humour muse can strike at any time (often to Mrs Duck's annoyance at three in the morning), but you ignore it at your peril. How you choose to use it, or the luck you get in finding an appreciative and (if your dead lucky, and so far I am not) paying audience is another matter entirely.

I bet that Ricky Gervais never gets asked the Question of Doom: "Go on Ricky, do a funny dance, mate." Jammy git.

Oh, and if you're asking - that knock knock gag in full:

"Knock knock"

"Who's there?"


"Gopher who?"

"Go fuck yourself."

See? It sounded so much better in my head. Such is the curse of comedy.

The outsourcing of war

The recent deaths of four "independent security consultants" in the Iraqi town of Fallujah, and the subsquent burning and parading of their bodies has highlighted the increasing role of mercenaries in the Iraqi conflict. These soliders of fortune, to use the old cliche, in reality former special forces troops and commandos, can earn ten times as much as they did serving in the regular forces.

In Iraq, the largest "consultancy" belongs to Blackwater USA, which, according to International Herald Tribune, has been providing security for supply convoys, and have their own weapons, truck and helicopters. A private army for hire, in fact. And if you're just expecting there to be no more than a couple of dozen hard-cases buzzing around in a jeep, you'd be wrong: Blackwater provides some 10,000 personnel for the Iraqi operation, or approximately ten per cent of US forces in the region.

Simple maths: that's ten per cent of the man power, earning ten times as much as the regular armed forces. In salary alone, they are costing just as much as the troops working under Operation Iraqi Freedom, paid for out of American tax dollars or the every increasing national debt. And they're not just in Iraq - Afghanistan, Liberia and even directing hunt-the-Osama in Pakistan. It is a one hundred billion dollar industry.

So why employ them? The main reason is for their experience. Many are former Special Forces who have fought in previous conflicts and have specialist training in desert and urban warfare. They are exactly what the Pentagon needs, except they were too short-sighted to keep these people in the US Army and are now shelling out ten times as much for their services. But bearing in mind how much money has been frittered away by the likes of Halliburton et al, it is hardly likely to be noticed by the holders of a seemingly bottomless defence budget.

Secondly, it is by operating outside the coalition forces, outside the US Army, mercenaries are not bound by the rules of war. Where regular forces are bound to certain inconvenient treaties about respect for human rights and the asking of question before shooting, the independents are not. They are more-or-less cut loose from the military to ruthlessly stamp down on militias, gunmen, and "people looking at me in a funny way." They have no respect for prisoners of war, and are inextricably bound up in the Guantanamo fiasco.

And as such, that is why the unfortunates who were caught by an angry mob were singled out in Fallujah. It was brutal, ugly and symptomatic of man's own humanity. Yet, when your tormentors drive through your streets in their trademark top-of-the-range off-roaders, wraparound sunglasses, weapons pointed from the windows like an LA gang on a drive-by, you can see where the lynch mob was coming from, even if you find it hard to accept, forgive or even begin to understand.

An unaccountable army, working in an unaccountable war. Ironic really. It's as if somebody was in it solely to line their pockets.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Sensible Week: Day Two

Now on Scaryduck, a choice of programming. Stay on this channel for an almost-but-not-entirely sensible rant on the state of the railways (summary: borked); or switch to Robber Rabbit, where, in an exclusive interview, royal totty Camilla Parker-Bowles answers your questions on swearing. In a very, very sensible manner.

Death to South West Trains

Manic at Bloggerheads does a great line in ranting at the bane of his life - South West Trains. I too am cursed by their utter ineptitude, but as I don't travel daily and have a fluffy alternative in Virgin Trains, I tend not to get quite so shouty. My biggest beef with SWT is the fact that despite a glossy publicity campaign on how late you can stay in London because of their superb late-night service, the last train to leave the capital for Weymouth does so at half past eight. Miss this train, and you're stranded in Poole, a sixty quid taxi ride from home. Come the new timetable, I am told, this will become half past nine. I shall believe it when I see it.

Travelling on SWT, you really give the impression that the company don't give a shit about the customers. The staff try their hardest, but in a system so utterly borked, they really are pissing in the wind. And if the company insists on dressing them up as the Fat Controller, no wonder morale is so low. And just to show it's profits first, customers second, I really don't need to look further than my own local station.

Weymouth. It's a nice town and a popular holiday resort which heaves at the gills in the height of summer. It's also - like any town these days - got a bit of a drugs problem. Throw into the mix a few anti-social neds, winos and prisoners newly released from the three prisons up on Portland, and it's no wonder that the station has a reputation for trouble. That was until it got so bad that holidaymakers' first impression of the resort was a drunken brawl and being asked for "the price of a cup of tea, Jimmy." and SWT actually put their hands into their pockets and shelled out for four security guards. Nothing flash - minimum wage and as many skateboarders as they could eat.

And good grief - it worked. The drunks, the junkies and the troublemakers disappeared. Not only that, the security guards' visible presence seemed to put the kybosh on car theft, violence and intimidation in the streets around the station as well, once famously chasing a shoplifter halfway across town, before sitting on him until the plod eventually arrived. In other words: popular, effective and value-for-money. And come the end of this month, out of a job.

Good old South West Trains. The security guards have done their job, and instead of continuing their work ensuring passenger security, they're getting their P45s, and will be replaced by CCTV and some bloke who'll travel down from Bournemouth if there's any trouble. That's only an hour away, if he's not too busy sorting out trouble somewhere else. There's a 1,000 name petition to stop this from happening, naturally, but when was the last time corporation or government paid the slightest attention to one of those?

So, guess what kind of summer we travellers are going to get? Same as last year: drunken chavs in Burberry baseball caps, "Can ye spare me a couple of quid for me train fare home, son", druggies breaking into cars and station staff back in the firing line. Bad for passengers, bad for staff, bad for the local community, bad for police who will no longer have the deterrent factor at the station. But good for SWT and their squillionaire Stagecoach owners who trouser the savings. So that's alright then.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, April 05, 2004

A lad insane

After the madness of the last fortnight or so, it is my pleasure to announce that it is Sensible Week at Scaryduck. If it's laughs you're after, I suggest you seek professional help. I did, and let me tell you that after a couple of sessions with a head doctor, it took me ages to stop him laughing. The bastard.

In the words of the late, great Bob Monkhouse, "When I said I wanted to be a comedian, people laughed in my face. Well - they're not laughing now."

Sensible, then. Straight face. Try not to laugh. Let's see how long I can keep this up...

Smug Update: I got a passing mention in yesterday's Observer article on blogging (registration required), where I am apparantly A Big Name in bloggery. Not big enough for a link, mind you. Punks.

Black Gold

Murky conspiracy theories surround the death of local squillionaire Stephen Curtis, managing director of Group Menatap, a multi-billion dollar holding company with interests in the Russian oil business, as the battle to control Russia's massive oil reserves hits the local rag with a story that could have come out of a Bond movie.

Curtis lived with his wife and daughter in Pennsylvania Castle atop the Isle of Portland, and was well known in the area as all-round good egg and hard-nosed businessman. On 3rd March, his Augusta helicopter crashed at Bournemouth Airport, killing him and his pilot in a fireball so severe they were only recently formally identified by DNA records.

Now listen carefully, 007. Curtis, through Menatep, was a business associate of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich through a mutual interest in the Sibneft company. He was also a close associate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former owner of the YUKOS oil company, richest man in Russia, currently doing time at Vladimir Putin's pleasure on charges of tax-evasion. This is an arrest which has been debated in the US Senate and is subject to hearings in the European Court of Human Rights, while seemingly politically motivated arrest warrants are issued for others involved in the YUKOS affair.

Khodorkovsky is a known critic and rival of Putin, and his arrest is widely seen as a ham-fisted attempt at payback for his funding of the Yabloko political party and opposition media groups at a time when Putin has been moving to stifle press criticism and cement power in Russia. Curtis was the sole signatory for Khodorkovsky's bank accounts while he's been in prison, while the vultures have been gathering round YUKOS and Menatep.

Meanwhile, to keep himself out of trouble, and in the newly re-elected President's good books, Roman Abramovich has bought up the assets of another disgraced Russian oligarch - Boris Berezhovsky, who is hiding somewhere in London. There's Sibneft, the oil company, which will come in handy one day and Russia'b biggest TV channel, because David Hasselhof isn't on the box enough these days. A bit of a diversion, but when you're threatened with a detailed look at your tax affairs, you do as the President says, even if you're worth 300 billion dollars...

Curtis himself is known to have said that he feared for his safety just days before his untimely death. Yet, for all the talk of conspiracies, sabotage and Russian spooks crawling round the undergrowth at Bournemouth, this tragic incident seems to be nothing but an unfortunately timed accident. But then, with all that money, oil and engineering contracts up for grabs, there's no point angering our good friends in the Kremlin, is there?

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, April 02, 2004

The Raspbery Club

Fruit plays no part in this story. Sorry.
Oh my godfathers - this is so embarrassing. Where do I start?

Look, I'll confess. I was in the civil service, looking after sixty million pounds worth of beef for the Department of Agriculture. It involved sitting in an office adding up endless columns of numbers written in brown ink on blue paper. Brown on blue, those were the rules, and God forbid that you used another colour. The boredom was crushing. We had to do something.

We were joined one day by Penny, a very, very niced middle-aged woman who tirelessly campaigned for childrens' charities, all dinner parties and choral evenings. Bored out of our skulls, and our consciences pricked, we enthusiastically offered to join her. All of us. At once.

She encouraged us to collect money in a series of sponsored events, which had the impressive side effect of thrusting myself and the lovely Mrs Duck together, and I'm pretty proud to say that we raised the best part of two and a half thousand of your English pounds, all in loose change. The top people at Action Research were seriously impressed with our efforts and said they were going to send someone up to collect the money, which was sitting in a wheelbarrow in the corner of our office.

They also suggested "Why not get a local celebrity and the local press involved? Good publicity for everybody and you'll look oh-so-good in front of your friends and family." They even sent up one of those oversized cheques to hand over in a blaze of glory.

The Reading Evening Post turned up, as did some goon from the Department's internal newsletter, who would put us on page 16 after fifteen pages of Stalin-esque praise of the His Holiness the Chief Executive. On the celebrity front we got the captain of Reading Football Club, who turned up in a most impressive pink and black Top Man jumper.

Poor, sweet Penny, she didn't stand a chance.

You see, she was of a certain age with a certain innocent humour; while we were of that certain other age that takes the piss all the time. We were collecting for the innocently named Action Research for the Crippled Child charity (now, in this PC age where we're not allowed to mention these things, called Action! Medical Research in the same way that The Spastics Society is now called Scope). We callow youths, being the sick bastards that we were called the whole money-making thing "The Raspberry Club". Cockney rhyming slang. Raspberry ripple - cripple. If it was good enough for Ian Dury...

Someone told Penny. She didn't get it.

"So, does your club have a name?" asked Ms Evening Post.

"Nnnnng...." said my boss, knowing exactly what was coming next, but powerless to stop it.

"Fvvvvvvvvvv...!" I said, making a break for the door, but held back by sheer weight of numbers.

"Why yes! We're the Raspberry club" said poor innocent Penny.

"Pfffffffffffffffffffffffft," we all say trying gamely to hold in the shock, despair and laughter.

Mr Reading FC captain was not so tactful.

"Mua haha haaaaaaaaaaaRgh! Raspberry Ripple!!!"

You could still hear him laughing as he left, ten floors below.

"What?" asked Penny, "Did I make a joke?"

It made page six of the Evening Post, picture, full write-up, the works; and the letters page for several weeks afterwards.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Instant Fish

We have builders on Friday, so I won't be around to post up the regular story. So.... I'm going to impose The Raspberry Club on you with the Acme Blogger Auto-Publishing gubbins so the story should appear, all being well and with a following wind, sometime on Friday morning.

I'm also changing my working hours for the next three months, so God alone knows when this rubbish is going to get written, but regulars will be pleased to note that some of it is actually quite normal.

Oh, the agony

If Ann Widdecombe can have an advice column, then so can we. Send your most embarrassing personal problems to the usual address, and after we've finished laughing at them (don't worry, we'll be laughing with you, not at you), we'll post them up on these pages with humiliating and pointless answers. Just like Ms Widdecombe, then.

Dear Uncle Scary,

I sloped into work this morning to find my boss has given my desk to a new boy. Would should I do to get this prime piece of real estate with window views of the City of London back? Yours, Disgusted of Clapham.

My Dear Digusted,

There are ways and means of achieving your goal, several of them legal. Firstly, have you attempted the tried-and-tested "accidental" hand on the knee? This comes with the warning that this plan can backfire spectacularly.

Alternatively, you might wish to feign mental disability and have a Rainman style spack-out of screaming and self harm until your nemesis either vacates your desk or resigns on his first morning.

However, I find that by offering the new boy a "peace offering" of a tube of smarties filled with killer wasps never fails. As you know, many people give the tube a good shake and down the contents in one straight from the package. While he's in hospital, the desk is yours. How you get the wasps in the tube is your own affair. Who do you think I am, some kind of magician? Yours, Uncle Scary.

See? Piece of piss. Send-o!

Fish news

A colleague's just got back from working in Yemen. I don't know if you've ever flown in "developing" nations, but they are noted for the bonkers hand luggage people bring on board with them. In my experience, I've seen a ten foot scaffolding pole, thirty blocks of lard and a bucket of live worms. A box of snails for a top hotel in Brazzaville got its own seat in first class.

On Smithy's flight to Abu Dhabi, some chap boarded the plane with a pot of fish soup, which he stowed in the overhead lockers.

All well and good, right up to the moment the aircraft took off with everybody strapped helplessly in their seats...

The Scaryduck Archive