Thursday, September 30, 2004

Public Health Warning

Public Health Warning

There's no denying it, we live in a nanny state. You can't do anything without being warned of its potential fatal consequences, and it won't be long now before cars are sold with the warning "Driving this vehicle at speed into a brick wall my cause injury." It's getting to the point where products are sold with so many warnings and claims on the side you no longer know what you're buying. A study, to be released any day now, will conclude that buying the Daily Mail gives you cancer. God, that'd really make their century.

I have, after all, seen with my own eyes a packet of Tesco's mixed nuts and raisins featuring the health warning "May contain nuts." Good thing I checked. There could have been a dreadful accident.

What is it with food labelling? Pork Scratchings now advertise themselves as "Low in Carbohydrates", just right for your Atkins fiends. Of course, that's mainly because they are 98 per cent lard. I remember the good old days when the packaging just read "Ingredients: Bits of Pig".

The same goes for Turkish Delight, a food straight from Satan's arse. "A fat-free food!" the wrapper squeals in rapturous joy. Probably because there's so much sugar, they ran out of space for dripping. Nobody in their right mind should eat Turkish Delight mainly because it looks and tastes exactly like the brains of old ladies, slaughtered in their beds by axe-wielding care-in-the-community lunatics, mixed with elephant dung bought by the truck-load from London Zoo. This is because IT IS.

As somebody pointed out to be, it's nothing to do with any actual legal requirements, they're just looking on the positive side. Just like McDonalds label stuff "hepatitis free" and "three billion served, hardly anybody dead." Burger King: "The toilet's just through there" and "freeebola for every thousandth customer".

That's as nothing compared to Dunkin Donuts, now sweeping the police stations of this once proud nation. "Allergy data: Contains Crustaceans. Crustaceans include, crab, crayfish, lobster, and shrimponds." Crabs? In your doughnuts? Eeeew! I mean Aaaaargh! It's at times like this that you're forced to look on the bright side. Your Dunkin Donuts are almost certainly free of petrol, ravioli and mud-wrestling Big Brother contestants, for which we should all be thankful.

I left the Ministry of Agriculture many years ago now, yet my friend Tony has remained there, rising steadily to the rank of senior pencil shuffler. He is in charge of the Recipes - every food product marketed in the UK has to have their (secret) receipe registered with Tony. His only advice to me: "Don't have the meat pies". He's right: "Ingredients: Bits of Pig".


Tomorrow is Scaryduckling's tenth birthday, which means I've not really got the time to mess about with a Thursday vote-o. Instead, you will be seeing a specially-written tale of scatalogical woe:

* Shitfaced: "Lord Jeffrey Archer looked up to see the cow flying towards him. It would be the last thing he ever saw."

Vote! Vote! ...err... VOTE!


Chaffinches and I have somehow got ourselves into an article in The Scotsman about blogging. Great. Now the whole world thinks I'm obsessed with Sarah Beeny's breasts and am under the impression that Kirstie Allsopp is a pre-op transexual. Not a cutting to show the family...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Heads you lose

Heads you lose

It is all rather depressing witnessing captured Westerners in Baghdad falling prey to Iraqi head collectors while governments cite the age-old mantra "We don't negotiate with terrorists", whilst secretly negotiating with terrorists.

I am convinced that these militant groups have got a real PR problem, made infinitely worse by capturing harmless middle-aged men who think working in a warzone is the way to easy money, and parading them in from of the cameras whilst wearing their best balaclava, a present from Auntie Ada. If they're really serious about spreading dread and fear into the hearts of Western culture, they should be targetting their victims a touch more selectively, and for a small fee, I am willing to help them out.

Mr Zarqawi, you are, quite frankly, kidnapping the wrong people, and your demands are ...well... shit.

Look, go out and round up as many westerners as you like, and we will immediately exchange them on a one-to-one basis with high-value targets, convinced that they are taking part in a new series of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here". Can you imagine the tabloid frenzy should the likes of Abi Titmuss, former members of Hear'Say or Sonia from Eastenders turn up, handcuffed to a radiator somewhere in Sadr City?

Good Lord, convince the right people of the existence of Baghdad Fashion Week and you'll have any number of air-kissing, chattering wankers heading to their near certain doom Kate Moss. Naomi Campbell. Think of the publicity. Think of the public opinion. And I'll even throw Neil "Doctor" Fox in for nothing. It's a win-win. And by way of Brucey bonus - not only will you be the possessor of top-quality, hardly-used celebrity brains, but can you imagine the quantities of Class A drugs packed up their nostrils? You'd make a killing...

And your demands? Don't make any, except for the chance to appear on "Star in their Eyes", done up in drag as Chaka Khan singing "Ain't Nobody", and a series of glossy 8x10s of a naked Konnie Huq in a bath of beans. Trust me, those Yankee infidels will be fleeing from the Middle East before you can say "Hey! Isn't that TV's Ant and Dec?" Just take the bastards off our hands, we don't want them anymore.

I can start immediately: just follow the sound of barrels being scraped, and you will arrive at tonight's ITV Celebrity Awards, guaranteed to be heaving with some of the most vapid individuals ever to grace the pages of OK! magazine.

And while we're visiting Tasteless City

Seeing as the BBC has pulled the plug on Popetown - a cartoon lampooning the Catholic Church - the door has been left wide open for my brand new sitcom proposal: the story of a cafe owner in occupied Baghdad, his loyalties torn between making a quick buck off the occupying army and the head-collecting resistance whilst trying to smuggle The Fallen Mullah With Ze Big Boobies across the border to Syria. It's called "Allah! Allah!"

I'll get me yashmak.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The War on Stupid

The War on Stupid

Hey hey folks - I walked into a lamp post today! Perhaps the most embarrassing thing you can possibly do in the company of the opposite sex as there is no way you can do it without looking a complete twit.

Luckily for me, absolutely nobody saw this act of stupidity, except an entire busload of laughing, pointing schoolkids and a female work colleague.

"Ha ha haaaaaaah!!!!" she said, full of sympathy, as I rebounded into the path of a taxi, "You utter, uttter dick!" Which was more that I deserved, come to think of it.


Yesterday's bloggery seems to have stirred up at literary hornets' nest. So... what are the best - and worst - books you've ever read?

Having just gone through a run of a couple of complete duffers in The Da Vinci Code and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (Good God man - 1060 pages! Get an editor!), I'm in desperate need of some quality control round here. Suggest-o!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Oi! Brown! NOOOO!

Oi! Brown! NOOOO!

I mentioned last week that, against my better judgement, I am reading this year's summer blockbuster - Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code". Without shame, I have even been reading it in public, letting everybody know that I have joined the herd. It's OK though, I didn't pay for it, I just waited for one of my fellow passengers on the 0948 to Waterloo fall asleep and lifted it from his cold, dead fingers as he lay in a coma. I was doing him a favour, honest.

A lot has already been said about this book - whether it's a load of paranoid hokum, an anti-Catholic rant or a work of true genius. I cannot deny that in its context, it is a convincingly plotted novel, and the sheer pace of the action more than compensates for the holes in the storyline as large as the Channel Tunnel. On that front, I have to admit I enjoyed it.

However, "my" copy has more that its share of dents, creases, and in one unfortunate incident, stains, as I have variously thrown it at the wall, beaten it with sticks and attempted to flush it down the lav.

Dan Brown, you see, gives good action thriller. His major problem - and this from a nam who now has three major works under his belt - is that his writing style sucks. And blows. All the research in the world can't hide sloppy writing. I was pissing myself laughing after a mere four words. Not exactly, "it was a dark and stormy night", but not far off, and that was just the tip of the iceberg.

His worst habit is telling the reader that he knows an important fact about a major character, and then not telling you what it is. I suppose he calls it building tension, I call it a pile of arse. When I write for a character*, if they know something, if they've seen or done something important, I damn well put it on the page, and not save it up for chapter 75, where the reader is already planning the author's unnecessarily painful death.

The worst of these is on page 383, when [bad guy's name] is trussed up in the back of [good guy's car], knowing he has failed in his mission to capture [important plot device].

"'A miracle Lord, I need a miracle.' Silas had no way of know, that hours from now, he would get one."

That was the exact moment the book ended up down the toilet. If I had written that in my O-Level English paper, I would have failed. I don't think even Archer could have written such a crap line, even if he tried.

I persevered, against the odds, to get this book finished, as unfortunately, I cared enough to see how it finished. For those of you who want to know how it ends without the pain of reading what passes for written English, the plot twist was telegraphed about three hundred pages before: Franz Beckenbauer, in the library, with the battered cod fillet.

You could do worse than seek out the work of the second greatest living Englishman.

* God, I'm a smug bastard...

Friday, September 24, 2004

Ceiling - Always-walk-on-the-beams woe


"Living on the ceiling
No more room down there
Things fall into place
You get the joke - fall into place"

Sometimes, people just ask for trouble. For example, the architect who decided that an ideal position for the hatch that leads to the attic above our school's main building should be in the boy's toilet. They might as well have painted it fluorescant green with signs saying "Hey Lads! Look up here" just in case, by chance, it went ignored.

Of course, those in charge of the school were no mugs and made sure there was absolutely nothing of value up in the loft space, saving themselves 79p by not bothering to put a lock on the damn thing. "Boys! Boys! Jolly japes and larks up here!" And all within easy reach after a nimble climb on top of the toilet stalls.

It doesn't take a genius to work out what went on. Lads would go to the toilet just before the start of the school day, and emerge smelling slightly of cigarette smoke for lunch, before a long, hard afternoon of smoking and swearing, knocking off at home time. Hard work if you could get it. This tradition, passed down from father to son, carried on for at least forty years, give or take a decade.

The only disadvantage was that the loft ran above the language labs, where silence, and the odd muttered "Ach du liebe Gott!" and "Pompt-de-pompt-de-lu-lu" were all that could be heard from the huddled masses, trying not to stare too hard at Madame Talbot's norks. This meant, while class was in session, the haven of the loft probably wasn't the funnest (Hey! It's a real word. It was on The Simpsons) place in the world.

It had to happen sooner or later. Boys bunking off lessons are hardly the type to sit quietly, cigarettes and porn or not; and discovery was only a matter of time.

It started with a distant thudding. Thudding that got nearer and more disconcerting as we tried not to stare too hard at Madame Talbot's norks. The thudding, mixed now with shouts and cries of "Wanker!" got closer and closer, and soon they were overhead. Madame Talbot stopped trying to get us to ecoutez-et-repetez to "Histoire d'un canne a peche" (History of a can of peaches, apparantly, though there was precious little fruit in the illustrations) and looked up with a worried look on her face. It was just like that bit in Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the aliens are rattling over the roof, only with yobs. Confused, we stared at Madame Talbot's norks.

BOMF! That's French for "BOMF!"

A leg appeared through the plasterboard ceiling. Then another.

There was a cry of "Oh fuck!", which drew a certain amount of displeasure amongst us, as this was clearly a French lesson where Anglais was strictly interdit, and the startled figure of Sid Brandon plummeted from the (rather higher than you're imagining) ceiling, landing on his back on Madame Talbot's desk.

Sid lay there a minute, stunned; as Madame Talbot crossed and uncrossed her arms, causing twenty schoolboys to let out sighs of relief.

"Sorry miss."

Plasterboard, cobwebs and years of dust fell from the great yawning cavity, while his partners in crime - who clearly should have been in a Portakabin somewhere learning the complexities of CSE Money Management and crayon usage - stared down at him and called him a cunt. Which was fair enough, really.

"Right, I'll be off then," he said as if he had every right to be there, jumped to his feet, and did what any sane schoolboy would do when caught like a Treen in a disabled space cruiser: he fled.

The game was up. A hit squad led by Mr Ponting the caretaker and the collected might of the PE department raided the forbidden loft space, and the offenders were convicted at an assembly show-trial the following morning in front of the tutting local vicar; their booze, porn and smokes on a table as the most damning of evidence.

But those Jumanji drums kept on beating...

The following term, there we were in the Old School toilets when somebody glanced upwards and uttered the immortal words: "Hey! There's a loft opening here. And it's unlocked..."

As far as I know, it still is.

Firework Woe: Real life imitates duck. Remember kids: don't try this at home.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Narf! Zort!

Narf! Zort!

Riddle me this - why don't you see Pinky and the Brain on TV these days? PatB were the animated adventures of two genetically engineered lab mice - one a village idiot and one an evil genius - bent on taking over the world. Random quote: "Naaaarf!" Another random quote: "Egad! Your head is like a really clean carrot". Another another random quote: "Poit!". And all this from the none-more-massive mind of Steven Spielberg, who, after Schindler's List could have done with a few laughs.

And I'll tell you why it's not on the box any more. It's political dynamite, that's what it is, and the allegory is there for all to see. Pinky is cleary George W Bush, the loveable idiot you can't help but trust even when he's going to bring about the end of the world in front of your very eyes; while Brain can only be the sweary, conniving Dick Cheney, both trapped in a laboratory which is an obvious allegory for the Iraqi conflict, unseen hands - the power of the House of Saud - having them running through mazes and pushing long, spiky electrodes up their bottoms. Spielberg, as usual, was years ahead of his time.

Is it a coincidence that PatB disappeared at the same time George wangled his way into the White House? I THINK NOT. As usual, the American media cowed by aggressive powerbrokers, caves in to the power behind the throne. While there should be a concerted Bring Back Pinky and the Brain Campaign, they are still tied in knots over forged memos and Janet Jackson's nork.

"And what are we going to do now, Brain?" "Same as we do every night - Try to take over the World!"

Edit: "A Bring Back Pinky and the Brain campaign, you say?" e-mails Emrys, "Why certainly!" Naaaarf!

Woo! Yay! Thursday!

My Wednesday night viewing of Property Ladder was spoiled, spoiled I say, by the sight of a huge lump on the front of Sarah Beeny. You mean to tell me that *sob* she's promised her lightly-oiled body to another man? How dare a married wonky-eyed celebrity with enormous norkage have sex with her husband! I daren't watch Location Location Location any more just in case Kirstie Allsopp goes through with her sex change operation. Oh celebrities - why do you betray me so?

The Thursday vote-o is a simple one, as I will be up in That London for a media conference. Peruse the following compreshensive list and choose-sir!

* Ceiling: "Poring frantically over his tattered copy of The Da Vinci Code, it soon became perfectly clear: All Your Base really did Belong To Us, and it was far too late to do anything about it."

That is all.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004



Taxi offices are another world. A world populated by drunks, psychos and middle-aged chain-smokers who, for various reasons, the bus is not an option. And like its close relative the Pizza Parlour, where the casual observer may find themselves disturbed at the seedy origin of their meal, it is a place no reasonable person should frequent. Taxis, like takeaway pizza, fill an important hole in society; nevertheless your well-being entirely depends on your not knowing where they come from. Taxi offices, then, are not just another world - they are also a gateway to the Filth Dimension.

A taxi office, found at the end of the zig-zag path that only the truly drunk can walk. A shop-front, once brightly painted, now grey with dirt and neglect. Inside: three plastic chairs and a fruit machine on a lino floor pock-marked with cigarettes burns. The dried-up remains of a kebab which found its way to its present location after temporary residence in a previous punter's stomach.

Behind a grimy, barred window sits a chain-smoking woman of indeterminate age and the foulest humour. Dyed hair, ears pierced more times than an Amazonian tribesman, the act of raising cigarette to mouth - hands weighed down by sovereign rings - the only exercise she gets. Armfuls of lucky charm bracelets purchased from the back pages of Sunday newspapers and Old Moore's Alamack in the hope that her fortunes will change. And they have, if only for the worse. A prisoner of the dispatcher's radio, she can never leave.

With her behind the window, in badly-tuned FM, Errol Brown sings "You don't remember me do you? You don't remember me do you?" He's right. Everybody else is too drunk, too bored, too dead to pay him any attention.

The walls, once white, are yellowed with nicotine, the only colour a torn poster advertising a travelling circus that has long since moved on. Eyes, however, are drawn, hypnotised, to the flashing lights of the fruit machine. Play me! Play me now! Only 20p, a small fortune only a couple of nudges away. Unshaven, unwashed and reeking of sweat, one of the drivers feeds his last fare into the hungry slot and watches it disappear forever. There's no way he'll take you home, he's "on his break" - nicotine, a plastic cup of coffee and a bout of grim-faced, humourless petty gambling where the machine is the only one having any fun.

You read the list of fares, a typewritten A4 sheet stapled to the plywood wall next to the imprisoned dispatcher's window. The first few destinations are for the local prison, police station and casualty unit, all places the buses don't serve, at least, not the kind with windows. The prison is offered as a return fare. The others, worringly, are single only. And in the unlikely scenario that you are willing to part with a three-figure sum in the course of placing your life in the hands of a fat, sweaty man with a beaded seat cover, they may even get you to the airport.

"Patron's are warned there is a ten pound surcharge for the fouling of the companies car's, rising to fourty pound's for interior cleaning. Have a Nice day. The Management."

Time drags, as it always does in proximity to despair. From the inside, the world beyond always looks better, brighter, more welcoming. The rain smears down the huge "A1 Cars - 777777" logo, blocking charming views of the chip shop opposite, its own fruit machine blinking secret messages to its friend over the road.

Waiting outside is your only option, the rain failing to wash the office's stench from your clothes. You shelter in the doorway of the neighbouring double glazing showroom. Cardboard cut-out displays, cut out in the seventies, unpolluted by contact with customers ever since, the pile of mail and freesheet newspapers jammed through the door, fanning across curling carpet tiles shows they will never return.

At last, a car arrives. Another portly, sweating driver behind the wheel of a Mercedes which has clearly seen action on the streets of Beirut. He gets out to reveal a cheap, shining suit once given to his father on his demob from the war, Brylcreem stains on the collar, his yellowing hair matching the nicotine on his fingers.

Yes, he'll take you home for six quid. But the elastic-band suspension rocks you this way and that, the vomit wells up, and you find you can't wind down the windows. The only thing that works in this car are the central locking and the "Best Country and Western Album...EVER!" in the cassette player. The sternly-worded forty pound warning, you realise, was meant for you.

Next time, I'll risk the mindless violence, the kebab shop brawls, the near certainty of plummeting headlong into the river. I'll walk.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Lazy Blogging

Lazy Blogging

Publishing your referrer logs - the easiest, laziest way to fil your blog, and get a cheap laugh into the bargain. I, with my superior creative intellect, would never, ever do such a thing. So, here we go, and there's a leson to be learned here: Manky blogging attracts manky readers. Which beggars the question - how did you find this place?

* male celebrity cock size keith chegwin - I work in the same building as his charming former wife Maggie Philbin. I'll ask her.

* pictures of gorillas having sex

* Human Cow sex slave milking stories - what is there to say? It's not something I'm particularly proud of.

* free crazy animal fucking - as opposed to crazy animal fucking that you have to pay for.

* Lesbians getting fucked hard in a porno movie whilst looking at turds

* Konnie Huq in a bath of beans

* penguin orgasms - "And as I came, I thought of fish"

* lezbo tub fun - number one result!

* wanking club - number one result!

* Konnie Huq nude - number one result!

* anal sex with large rubber penguins - we could get this one together with free crazy animal fucking guy, with hilarious results!

A sparkling list, and not worrying in any way at all. I'd like to personally thank Miss Konnie Huq for being the rudest Blue Peter presenter since Valerie Singleton, and I look forward to the edition where she spends the entire show "looking at turds".

And while we're here, I've really got to keep plugging the Kirstie Allsopp naked and/or Kirstie Allsopp nude links before my rating slips any further. She's a lovely girl, and I feel that protecting her from the filth and degradation of the internet is my patriotic duty. I will, for a small fee, safeguard those nude photos from a grabbing press and a filthy-minded public, only getting them out for a good, hard polishing every other Tuesday.

And *cough* Natasha Kaplinski nude *cough* I despair for the future of the internet.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Sporting Heroes: Trevor Senior

Sporting Heroes

No.3: Trevor Senior, Reading FC

Curly-haired, gap-toothed, sounded like he'd fallen off the back of a tractor. He was about nineteen feet tall and scored hatfuls of goals as a result, all of them headers. Actually, that's a bit of an insult to El Trel's footballing skills, I clearly remember one goal, scored on a freezing cold February night at home to Huddersfield, where a Kevin Bremner shot went in off his arse and he had the front to claim it for himself. He slotted perfectly into Reading's hit-and-hope style of football - belt it up the field and hope Trevor got his head on the thing. The ball could go anywhere, and given the law of averages, some of the time it went in the goal. A God.

Trev and I finally bonded one May afternoon at Portman Road, Ipswich. Ninety-two minutes gone, one-nill down and Ipswich cruising towards the (then) first division. Uphe pops, unmarked at the back post to nod in a free kick and suddenly it's 1-1, the game's over and the place goes mad. That dropped point meansanother year in division two for Ipswich, and it's all Reading's fault. The resulting riot netted me an entire evening's beer money in loose change and the enraged home fans took it out on the visiting support. It was also El Trel's last game in a Reading shirt - for a bit.

Sold off to Watford in the close-season, in a thinly veiled balance-the-booksdeal, he flopped badly in the top flight, and Reading, drafting in the quadraplegic talents of Colin Gordon from Wimbledon, got relegated. A Wimbledon supporting friend, on hearing that Reading had bought Gordon told me: "BWA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!" for an entire evening.

But like the prodigal son, Trel came back, tail firmly between his legs, and was promply forgiven by the masses on the South Bank, where he saw out his final days as a player goalhanging and nodding home hopeful punts up the field. People call it gamesmanship, but it was an artform of which there are too few decent practioners these days. And none of them had Tervor's stunning good looks, either.

So where is he now? Running a pub, coaching some team in Qatar? He's doing something with tractors, obviously. (Actually he's the manager of Bridgwater Town, "Les Phillips Cup Winners 2002/3", but I bet we gets to drive the team tractor.)

Elsewhere: Brian Clough's dead. A great man. Mad as a fish.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Glider - model woe


Call me a dweeb, a geek and a nerd, but I went through a pubescent phase where I liked nothing better than sitting down with a big pile of balsa wood, some needlessly complicated plans and a frighteningly sharp craft knife; building enormously detailed scale model gliders.

Sad, isn't it? While my contemporaries were poring over magazines full of naked women, the only models I had an interest in involved several weeks of construction. The end result would be about four feet long with a wing-span of six feet, and with a following wind could do some serious damage if you accidentally took one straight in a soft, vulnerable part of your body.

Of course, we went to enormous measures to ensure that this sort of thing could never happen.

With the right radio control gear, and a large, windy open space, your fragile creation of balsa wood and tissue paper became a fearful weapon for frightening grannies, dive-bombing dogs and getting hideous and bloody revenge on the snotty little creep of a kid who just wouldn't leave you alone.

I had spent months building my craft, and even managed to finish it despite overcoming the obstacle of watching the dog eat it, for which he was greatly chastised. Up the park Graham and I went, he to launch the thing, and myself to twiddle the knobs on the radio control unit and pretend I knew what I was doing.

"Can I have a go?"

Oh crud. Greebo.

Greebo was one of those snotty little bastards who followed you around everywhere like a lost puppy, and then run home to his dad when you told him to fuck off, or, on one memorable occasion, broke the little git's nose.

"Fuck off Greebo."

"I'm telling my dad on you."

So he did. His dad told my dad, and my dad told me to "let the little shit have a go and perhaps he'll fuck off."

We let him have a go. Dads, eh? What do they know?

Up, up up into the air my beautiful, beautiful glider went. Soaring away into the blue, blue sky, climbing and diving, turning and err... soaring a bit more. You get the idea. I handed the remote to Greebo with a shrug.

His inexperienced fingers played over the controls, and my wonderful contraption lurched this way and that, narrowly missing a line of trees, and almost disappearing into the wilds of the London Road and certain destruction. Suddenly it hove back into view, coming straight at us, diving madly like a German Stuka on a bombing run.

Funny, both Graham and I - friends since the age of five - seemed to have a telepathic connection. We always seemed to do or say the same thing at once. And so in this case:


Graham and I fled for our lives, but Greebo stood there, transfixed, the monster getting closer and closer, his fingers frozen on the remote control as it whistled towards him.


Right in the love spuds.

"Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrr!" said Greebo as the air burst out of his body. He keeled over, and remained in a foetal position for several moments, wimpering softly to himself.

My beautiful, beautiful glider was no more - the impact had sheered the wings off and the fuselage was now about eight inches long, the rudder flapping forlornly like the tail on a naughty puppy.

It had been most excellent, made even more gratifying to find that Greebo had fallen directly into the kind of turd that could only be left by a Great Dane.

A week later, Greebo was back, still limping.

"I've made me own glider," he proudly announced, his voice an octave higher than usual.

Grudgingly, we agreed to meet him over the park to witness its maiden flight. And what a glider it was. He had eschewed the usual lightweight designed favoured by most model-makers, and gone for and old broomstick, with wings of scrap wood covered in newspaper. It took two of us to lift it, left alone get it airborne.

But fly it did, for five wonderful, glorious seconds. Graham and I took a wing each, and bowling along down the slope we got up enough speed and launched the lumbering thing into the void.

Up, up, up it went as Greebo operated the useless controls. Over, over, over, it flew in a great loop with a mind of its own. Down, down, down it screamed, picking up speed as terrified onlookers fled for the safety of their homes.


Dear reader, let us count Greebo's blessings for him, and they are but one: he was facing the other way.

Straight up the arse.

He keeled over forward, the leviathan still stuck there, and unerringly allowed a Great Dane shit break his fall.

There were only two things Graham and I, trained first-aiders, could do in the circumstances, and we did both. We laughed ourselves shitty, and we left him for dead.

The next one I built had a spike on the front. Just in case I got lucky a third time.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Apropos of Nothing

Apropos of Nothing: A cut-and-paste special

I sometimes wonder about the people I associate with on the internet. Italicised entries are my own work. Help me.

* "How come foxes are known for their cunning? Ripping up the bin bag and shitting on my lawn doesn't strike me as particularly wiley."
"It would make me worried. I mean, imagine if the fox got hold of any personal details from your rubbish and took over your identity. Then he'd laughing at you behind your back. Thus making him cunning."

* "Shit, sorry, I thought you said 'Who's got the BIGGEST norks in the world?' Um. Sorry about the link."

* "I stole a jar of ether from the chemistry labs and poured it into test tubes to sell as poppers. The playground resembled the Somme that day.... "

* "Sneak into your boss's office after he's gone home and sow cress seeds on his carpet in the shape of a huge, spunking cock. That's always good for a laugh."

* You know you're getting old when your first thought after masturbation is, "Made it"! - Peter from Naked Blog

* "Well I've finally reached the age where I have had to have my prostrate checked. It wasn't too bad, but I told the doctor 'If I catch you smiling I'll break your nose'"
"When I had mine checked the doctor made me feel more comfortable by putting both his hands on my shoulders as he eased his fingers into my - hang on...."

* The tagline for the Mail's website is "Daily Mail: 24 Hours a Day". Is that a threat, or something?

* He's also fond of telling people about his job at SignFM, "the radio station for the deaf."

* As the voice of sanity here, and therefore the one most likely to take a kicking, can we not just go round Natasha Bedingfield's house and take turns shitting through her letterbox? OK, painful death it is, then.

* "Simply Red? They're obsessed with shagging rabbits, aren't they? 'Holding back the ears' and 'Bunnies too tight to mention'"

Oh, and another thing...

If it's Thursday it must be time for the regular vote-o for tomorrow's Scary Story. It's a simple flip-of-a-coin today:

* Glider - "It was the most embarrassing night of my life. Everybody, but everybody had turned up to the party dressed as horse-faced cheat Ruud van Nistelrooy."
* Ceiling - "He was not the kind of person you'd expect to find working as a funeral director. His 'Buy one get one free' offer had not gone down terribly well at the bowling club."

Select-me-up, and if you're good, you'll get a full selection of stories next week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Scary. House.

Scary. House.

I am convinced that our house is visited by malevolant spirits. Bilt in 1939, just in time for the area to be bombed by the Luftwaffe, our neighbourhood saw regular action during the War as Hermann Goring's boys did their best to sink the Royal Navy in Portland Harbour. We've already got a ghost dog, and my secret supply of M&Ms always seems to go missing despite my children swearing on their lives that they haven't touched them, so an infestation of ghostly nutters from the Other Side is well within the realms of logic.

For example, just the other night, we were watching Most Haunted and an upstairs door FELL OUT OF ITS FRAME on its own accord. It was if a huge gust of wind got in through the massive hole in the roof where our builders are working on the loft extension and blew the door out of the door frame where it had been wedged. Spooky, 100 per cent genuine and definitely ghosts, who also kept hammering on the draught flap up our chimney, and nothing to do with those gales we've all been having.

I know what you're thinking, and you're right, I am talking bollocks. However, tell that to Alex the builder, who was wiring up the lights in Scaryduck Jr's bedroom. He had a large reel of cable in the loft and pulled a length through the hole to wire up the lighting rose. Someone in the loft yanked it back. So he gave it another tug, and ended up in a tug-o-war with a length of 13 Amp lighting flex.

"Ian!" he shouts to his mate as the cable wangs back and forth, "Stop playing silly buggers!"

The toilet flushes, there is the sound of hands being washed, and Ian steps out of the bathroom.

"What?" Ian asks.

"Gneep!" says Alex.

Any excuse for a tea break, if you ask me. I am certain there is a iron-clad logical explanation for all this. Should I call:

a) ghostbusters
b) a priest
c) TV's Yvette Fielding, or
d) Naked Lesbian Ninjas

Those mustachioed gimps at 118 118 has been less than helpful, and bearing in mind that this loft space is soon to become my bedroom, your advice and/or hardly reassuring ghost stories will be gratefully received.

You will bow down before me, Jor-El!

Woo! Yay! I so rule TEH INTARNET! My first ever by-lined news story. Fifteen years in this job writing about media developments and human rights, and what do I hit the big time with? Klingons. Fame is such a fickle mistress...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Anyone seen my pussy?

Anyone seen my pussy?

Call me manky if you wish, and I understand that there is a thriving adult party scene for people of a like mind, but is it wrong to have the hots for the cat in the Thompson Local TV ads?

Is it the skin-tight oh-so-curvy *ahem* cat-suit, the take-me-any-which-way gymnastics, or the ever so slightly kinky leather collar? Or is it the come-and-get-me-you-filthy-tomcat smile?

After long and considered opinion - yes, it is very, very wrong. Blue is certainly not my colour. Cold shower. Bad dog.

And while we're back in the gutter, a big up to the guest speaking on community garden projects on last Friday's Gardeners' World (excuse: 900 channels and nothing on). I give you Mr Dick Staines. How we laughed.

Junk Filter OFF

I got one of those consumer surveys in my junk mail recently - one of those with a free pen cunningly designed to deluge me with endless spam of the paper variety, with the added bribe of a twenty-grand prize draw I'm patently not going to win.

It was returned with the usual pack of lies - I am, according to my own hand, a fifty-a-day smoke with an interest in vivsection and the works of Wagner. Halfway down the second page the bastards threw in a trick question, straight out of the McCarthy Hearings :

"Are you a supporter of Manchester United Football Club?" Answer Yes/__

Where's the "NO" option? I do not support Manchester United, I hate them with all my mind, body and soul, and even hated them when everybody else was hating Liverpool. There was no space to answer no.

So, I helped them out a bit - I drew in my own "No" box. Actually, it said "You must be fucking joking, you bunch of fetid goat botherers", and added a great big X next to it.

That'll learn 'em.

Mrs Duck's response to this act of petty rebellion: "You're not going to send it off like that, are you?"

"Damn right I am, there's a twenty grand prize draw, you know. This time next year, Rodders..."

Oh Lordy! It's the return of the Colonel!

Monday, September 13, 2004



Splice the mainbrace, flog the ship's cat and we're having chicken tonight! September 19th is Speak Like A Pirate Day.

The world of entertainment will be pulling out all the stops to get into the spirit of things, featuring a special pirate-themed episode of EastEnders on the big day, with an unfortunate keel-hauling for Dot Cotton when Walford is ransacked by marauding buccaneers. Even TV's glamourous Natasha Kaplinski will be joining in the fun, readin' the Ten O'Clock News in the Pirate Stylee* while George Alagiah walks the plank.

But the highlight of Pirate Day will be the fatal public flogging of "comic" Jim Davidson and the parading of his head on a pole around the City of London "as a warning to others" who may be tempted into becoming an unfunny racist cunt. This will actually take place tomorrow, because we just can't wait.

In the meantime, I have ordered a gross of hatches and a quantity of timber from the Screwfix catalogue, so I can batten them down and engage in some hardcore shivering on the big day. Yarr!

Err... There be no law 'pon the high seas!

* May contain traces of lie.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Paint - Do it Yourself woe

Paint: A 125th Scary Story special

Despite my status as shortarse of this parish, I can safely say that I'm not scared of heights. I can climb up and down ladders all day if I had to without worrying for a second about falling. Oh no, it's the landing that I'm scared of, particularly headfirst onto the patio.

More fool I, then, that I should "volunteer" to paint the back of the house. After all, I had once spent a wonderful week one summer as a teenager painting my parent's house, and thus living rent free for a considerable time. And I'd hardly fallen off at all.

Having said that, my parents' front and back gardens were sensibly laid out and I didn't have to worry about where I was putting the ladder without it toppling to my certain doom. My own house, on the other hand, had gardens laid out by Incapability Brown, who obviously had a metal plate in his head and one leg longer than the other, creating a garden with more dips and crevices than Charlie Dimmock. Our window cleaner fled in fear, and when it came to paint the house, I realised that I was heading toward certain doom. Parents' house wasn't pebble-dashed either. Damn you 1930s builders!

A tanker arrived with a metric arseload of Masonry Paint. My best great big ladder was pulled out to its full extension and, in the privacy of my own shed, I donned my best shabby clothes. Like the chicken that I was, I started at the bottom and worked upwards, hoping that I'd get braver as I went along. Pebble-dash is a pain to work with, you can't just slap the paint on - you've got the force it into all the nooks and crannies, as loose chippings plummet onto your cranium.

It was only when I reached halfway up the upstairs windows that I realised that I was fast running out of ladder, and if I was to finish the job before sunstroke set in, I would have to take drastic measures.

Genius. I found an old tent pole and lashed it to my paint brush, giving me that all-important extra three feet of reach. It was enough, but only just - if I stood on the very top rung, praying for my life, reaching out as far as I could, I could just get my brush to the top corners.

Splonge splonge splonge. Can ya tell what it is yet?

"Yes," replied Mrs Duck, "It's a house."

I painted and I painted, reaching out as far as I could without dying. That was until I got to the bit above the bathroom. To reach that part, I had to plant the ladder in the middle of Incapability Brown's Great Flowerbed Full of Heathers, and hope for the best.

Things were fine as I climbed the ladder and set to work. It was when I had to reach over to paint behind the drainpipe which ran up the centre of the house that things got a bit hairy. With the Acme Extend-a-Brush, I could easily reach, but the long handle made detailed work a tad tricky. To finish the job properly, I would have to bite the bullet and get in there myself. Off came the long handle, and reaching out as far as I could, I *just* get to the very top behind the pipe.

It suddenly occured to me at this stage that I could now reach this point rather easily, and in fact, the pipe was rather closer than it was a few seconds ago. All of a sudden the pipe was no longer miles away, but was, in fact, sailing past me at a rate of knots as the ladder sank into the garden and toppled over like Ruud van Nistelrooy in the Arsenal penalty area.

Only one thing for it. I jumped. Or rather, plummeted.

I came to several minutes later. Like all true idiots I was completely uninjured, staring at the clear, blue skies through the rungs of the ladder, with Mrs Duck standing over me trying not to laugh. The side of the house was painted with a perfect arc down the wall and across the patio windows. Where my painter's kettle had toppled arse-over-tit on top of me, there was now a murder victim outline where I fell.

Strangely prophetic - when Mrs Scary saw the state of her windows, she bloody murdered me.

This year I shall be mostly painting the side of the house. We have scaffolding. It'll end in tears. Or pain. Or, knowing my luck, both.

Good deed for the day

Please sponsor TheBear in the Great North Run. That is all.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

One Good Turn

One good turn deserves another

I arrived home in Weymouth last Friday evening on one of South West Train's finest railway services which was only 45 minutes late. Out of the kindness of my heart, I woke up some chap who was sleeping peacefully amongst the detritus of several empty Stella cans, a trail of silvery drool running down the window.

"Wake up, we're there!" says I.

"Where are we?"


"Fucking hell, I got *on* at Weymouth..."

He'd been all the way to Waterloo and back again. The plastic carrier bag marked "HM Prisons" said all I needed to know.


Blogger was borked yesterday, so I only published at a quarter to nine of the evening. You may wish to catch up with yesterday's work of genius along with today's (mercifully short) offerings

Another limited choice for this week's Thursday vote-o in an attempt to clear the boards for future mankiness:

* Glider - "Dave managed to acquire a ball of string bigger than my head. Laughing like a maniac, I doused it in lighter fuel and warmed my toes by the roaring flames"
* Paint - "It's no good," he said, "I'm going to start collecting my wee in a whisky bottle, and when it's full I'm going to leave it on a bus."
* Ceiling - "I started getting up at five in the morning just to flash at the milkman," he told the doctor, "There's nothing wrong with that, is there?"

Standard disclaimer: Quotes attributed to these titles may not actually appear in the stories unless offers of cold, hard cash are forthcoming. I take paypal.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Two Minutes' Hate

Two Minutes' Hate

The Cold War never ended. Is it any coincidence that both protagonists are now involved in ideological and unconventional conflicts, which, like the Cold War, they know that they can never win.

But winning was never the point, instead the object was the continuation of the system. In America, Corporate Democracy thrives, disguising itself in compassion every four years, while Putin's Russia is a Soviet dictatorship in all but name, much the same as in the rest of the Former USSR where Lukashenko, Kuchma, Niyazov rule with the iron fist wielded by their communist forebears.

Without the nuclear stand-off which was the basis of world order for four decades, the military-industrial complex, the guarantor of jobs, investment and cold, hard cash was in danger of falling silent. After all, there's only so many killing machines you can export to Third World countries, only so many minor conflicts you can "police", ensuring the installation of a favourable regime, hungry for imports, in need of re-arming.

Orwell was right. Without perpetual war, where does the authority of the state stand? Without eternal war, the state is naked, the military-industrial complex has no purpose in which to perpetuate itself. Worse, control is lost over a well-disciplined, loyal and, above all, frightened population.

A new enemy must be found.

And like the wars against Eurasia and Eastasia, the enemy is unseen, far away, referred only to in the two minutes' hate and retold stories of barbarism. International Terrorism. Just as there were Reds under beds back in the fifties, regular drills and information films exhorting its citizens to 'Duck and Cover', it's now Middle Eastern terrorists, and unending drills for chemical warfare and dirty bombs. And still the language is the same - fear, homeland, conflict, the words "unamerican", "unpatriotic".

Just as America has unfinished business in both Afghanistan and Iraq, imposing its alien values on an unwilling population, Russia tries the same in its rogue republic of Chechnya, where struggles against political and criminal activity become bloody wars of nationalism and religion, acting as a catalyst and a magnet for those with an axe to grind. In a vicious circle repeated across the Middle Eastern theatre, aggression breeds retaliation, breeds justification and more aggression. The war now perpetuates itself.

Beslan, sickening as it was, just one of a string of outrages connected to the Chechen conflict where the value of human life to both sides has reached rock bottom. And as American losses in Iraq reach 1,000, arch-hawk Rumsfeld points to how the "civilised world" passed that mark some time ago. Indeed, the Iraqi civilian death toll has passed that milestone thirteen times over, and nobody even bothers to keep count in Afghanistan. Tanks and attack helicopters vs civilians tends to have that effect.

The language of both American and Russian governments is strikingly similar - vows of military might against outsiders threatening "our way of life", diverting their "War on Terror" away from specific targets and onto unspecified, unseen scary monsters, while the terror level is raised to newly invented frightening colours. Another fake war against another unseen enemy, keeping the status quo (no, not THAT Status Quo) in power.

War on Poverty. War on Drugs. War on Terrorism. They've done so well, haven't they? Enjoy your freedoms while you still can, citizen.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Great moments in history

Great moments in history

Back at the arse end of the 1980s when AIDS first came out, there was a huge panic both in government circles and amongst broadcasters on how to get the message across without causing a) mass panic and b) huge offence.

Just mentioning the idea of rampant bare-back bum-sex (or even rampant front-bottom sex, come to think of it) on prime-time television was a complete no-no, so the message had to be soothing, subtle, yet firm. The moral panic at the time was actually rather greater than the risks, with the Daily Mail leading the way, as usual, with such gems (if I remember rightly) as "Gay Black Immigrants to Shag us all to Death and steal our Jobs", or something.

Best get a mature, repsected celebrity in to put a nation's mind at rest. Lovely, lovely Sue Cook, then. She's done Crimewatch, Nationwide, Breakfast Time, Children in Need, and young impressionable men up and down the country would give anything to have a go on her. As it were. Nice, cosy programmes that carry out the BBC's remit to inform, educate and entertain. Best make it peak-time. Roll VT.

Sue is alone in a studio, sitting behind a desk with what appears to be a large mis-shapen lump of plastic. Soon enough it becomes apparant that it is, in fact, a lifesize lower male torso, sporting what can only be described as a generous hard-on of a size that most of us would be pretty pleased with. She talks, softly, firmly, reassuringly. Then... jaws hit the floor the length of the country.

Sweet, innocent Sue Cook rolls a rubber onto the plastic boner, as they sit eye-to-Jap's eye in a stark, lonely TV studio. She may even have repeated the trick for those who missed it the first time round, but it was far too late. My illusions were shattered. I'd never be able to watch Crimewatch again*. They let Ian Dury have a go as well, but face facts, it just wasn't the same.

The response was explosive. There was only one topic of convseration in the office the next day, and as civil servants, we immediately sent the office boy down to Superdrug and Tescos respectively for a pack of three and a cucumber to practice on. And as a result, my salad is no longer infected. Richard got straight on the phone and bought shares in London Rubber and lived handsomely for several years off the profits, while his mum panicked and scrubbed the entire house down with Domestos.

Self-appointed TV watchdog and battle-axe Mary Whitehouse was all over the press following day. Her words haunted her until the day she died, and, as far as I know, have been engraved on her headstone: "I don't want condoms thrust down my throat morning, noon and night."

In the words of the great Ron Manager: enduring image. A defining moment of my life. I am, however, just about the only person who remembers this. I didn't imagine it, did I?

* Except to check if I was in it.

Oh Lordy! It's the return of Hobbies of the Rich and Famous, where TV's Carol Smillie talks exclusively about the ancient Japanese art of Hot Bagging.

Monday, September 06, 2004



Speaking as a breeder, I always used to find it incredible how very young children - no more than a year or so old - learn to speak. With a vocabulary of no more than a couple of dozen words, they are able to communicate incredibly complex notions about the world around them to other people. Like my daughter for example (first word: hat), who, at the age of almost-but-not-quite-ten-years-old, we cannot shut up, was able to pass on these difficult concepts when she was little more than a year old:

"Ouch! Jebus! And ouch! Here we are in this large flooring retailer - and ouch! - I've just run off, tripped over - and Jebus! - I've gone and cartwheeled over my own feet and landed square on my head. Ouch!": Carpet. Bump.

"Oh woe is me! Here I was, toddling along with this freebie from McDonalds, the wind got up a bit, and woosh! Before I knew it, the bloody thing's up there, a dot in the middle distance. Any chance of a replacement?": Balloon. Gone.

"Christ on a bike! Will you just take a look at the weather out there - the road's running in rivers! There's no way I'm going out there, even if you paid me.": Raining. Outside.

"Wooah! What the bloody hell's THAT? Here I am sitting in this bath, minding me own business, and some twerp's gone and frightened the crap out of me with this stupid great rubber bath toy. There's no bloody way I'm going to play with it - get it away from me before I puke with abject fear.": Scary. Duck.

So now you know.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Leaflets - Holiday job woe


My older sister had a boyfriend. He was, to put it mildly, and I'm sure she'll heartily agree with me, an utter cunt who she became attached to in a brief moment of insanity. Thrown out of the Army for acting the wanker, he was far too much of a cunt to work for Top Man where he also got the sack; so he took his mullet, pencil moustache and Noel Edmonds jumpers to his mate's car accessories shop, where he acted the cunt and ripped them off for every Carlos Fandango part he could get his hands on for his ridiculous poseur's car. The cunt.

You can sense some tension here, and why not? The guy was a committed poseur, bullshitter and the slimiest creep known to man, and as far as I know he still possesses a large percentage of my diligently catalogued porno catalogue. Compiled, I might add, at great expense on a student's allowance and a Saturday job at a supermarket that made Lidl look like Harrods.

So, one day, just as half term approached, Cunty approached me with a small offer of cash. Fifteen quid. And all I had to do was deliver some leaflets for "his" shop. Fine. Anything to prevent a week of endless masturbation in front of Samantha Fox Strip Poker, and it was better than walking the streets. Fifteen quid was a small fortune in those days - damn near an entire year's worth of Razzle, I can tell you for nothing. Or I could really push the boat out - Escort.

On the Sunday evening, the Flanged One turned up with the "few" leaflets he had promised. They were in a box. A big, big box. On the side was printed "Tosser's Car Emporium - 1,250 leaflets." I spelled it out to myself. Twelve hundred and fifty. There weren't that many leaflets in the whole world, and clearly not enough letter boxes to post them all through. I leafed through a copy. They sold fluffy dice. Good God, I was doomed.

The next four days were spent tramping the streets of my home village, while curtains twitched, and dogs chased me down the long, long driveways. I hadn't exactly thought this through. I decided to push the leaflets through the doors of the landed country set, so were a) hardly likely to spend their hard-earned on a set of super wide-wheeled tyres and a bloody big spoiler for their Volvo and b) all nicely housed in country pads with drives half a mile long.

If I had gone into the centre of town, where Tosser and Cunty's little retail empire was based, I could have polished the job off in a day round the terraced houses and flats. Honestly, when they were handing out brains...

By Thursday, I was shagged out, sunburned, and the I swear the box had more in it than when I started. I had even taken to posting two or three through doors at once, and the Royal Mail got a spankingly huge wedge in a local post box. Still there were hundreds left, and I had my real job at the Pikeymart to get to the next day.

I was desperate to get rid of the bastard things. Offers for whip aerials and halogen fog lights filled my dreams, my waking hours were cursed by visions of Ford Capri body kits and steering wheels the size of a ten pence piece. They had to go.

A hundred were buried in a clump of trees next to the Old Bath Road. Another hundred were accidentally dropped into the foundations at a building site, just in time to get their concrete boots. A whole stack was wrapped up in a Pikeymart carrier bag with a couple of bricks and thrown into the River Loddon, where they took a distressingly long time to sink, and I was chased up the towpath by the bloke who checks the fishing permits.

In a blind panic, I went home and flushed fifty down the loo, only for the drain to block, sending piss, crap and soggy motor spares leaflets flowing down the gutter. Another fifty were burned, but the house was soon filled with choking white smoke, and the neighbours had to be talked out of calling the fire brigade.

I looked in the box. Hundreds.


Something had to be done, and fast.

In the shed, I found large quantities of garden chemicals, which were packed tightly into a paint tin with liberal quantities of ingredients smuggled out of the kitchen. Using arcane crafts known only to those studying A-Levels in Chemistry and Physics, the whole shebang was buried in the field at the bottom of our garden at a depth of several feet, along with the last of those bloody leaflets.

Taking cover behind an upturned wheelbarrow hundreds of yards away from the prying eyes of civilisation, I connected the terminal on the looted car battery and closed the switch from my 150-in-one electronics kit. There was a satisfying WHOOMPH and a sizeable portion of the field was lifted several feet into the air.

It was most impressive, and would have remained so, if it was not for the shower of motor accessory leaflets that rained down on the field, most shredded by the blast, many smouldering gently.

"Hoi! What's goin' on there?" cried a voice from the back of a tractor.

Oh, spoons.

I fled, leaving behind hundreds of leaflets wafting around on the breeze, not caring where they ended up. I barricaded myself in my room for two days, clutching my fifteen quid to my chest, only emerging to collect trolleys from the piss-stained multi-storey car park for Pikeymart.

The following evening, Cunty paid a visit.

"Finished delivering them leaflets?" asked Man-at-Burtons.


"Want some more? I've got three boxes in the car."

The shop is now a funeral directors. But they've got the hardest, meanest hearses in the business.

Oh well, that's Nice Week over and done with... how about rounding off with the complete collection of Happy Tree Friends. Which is nice. Sort of.

Thursday, September 02, 2004



Spang : onom The sound made when hit by a large metal spade/shovel, which unfortunately doesn't appear in my Scary Stories anywhere near often enough.

In an attempt to clear my files of certain stories which JUST WON'T GO AWAY, a rather shorter list than usual this week for the Thursday vote-o. All contain traces of mirth, and at least two have sizeable portions of woe:

Leaflets: "I screamed and screamed like a girl who'd woken up in bed with Ariel Sharon"
Glider: "I like big butts and I cannot lie"
Paint: "Witness the amazing power of ice-cold Dr Pepper as I pour it on my crotch and become sexually aroused!"

Standard disclaimer: Quotes attributed to these titles may not actually appear in the stories. Still, you can always take the chance.

People with Stupid Names

B3ta's recent Question of the Week asked for stupid names that you've come across. Everybody knows somebody with a stupid name, and I lay claim to a passing acquaintance to a certain Richard Head, whose parents should have been shot. In my years as a public servant and latterly a journalist, I've come across a fair few in my time, and... good grief, here's what I sent them...

I used to work at the dole office and hence met more than my fair share of losers who thought that changing your name to James Bond was the height of sophistication. There were four of them, all due at 10.00am on a Monday morning, all of whom introduced themselves as "Bond, James Bond".

Wednesdays saw Mr Plonker coming in, and I really, really hated Thursdays as I had to sign on Mr Wanka ("Have you ever thought of changing your name?" "No sir, I'm a Wanka and proud") without laughing.

I was doing fine until an entire family of Butts came in one day. Daddy Butt, Mummy Butt, and son and daughter Butt, all out of a job, and all after their giros. By the time I had called the oldest Butt forward, the entire place was in uproar. I was taken up to the chief's office and given a lecture in tact. Arthur Butt - he was asking for it.

The whole affair damaged me so much, I had to get it out of my system as part of my STILL unpublished novel Colin and the Dog. What's a man got to do to get a book deal these days short of having a talent bypass and changing your name to Ben Elton? Look, just read it here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Complete bollocks, I say! (6, 10)

Complete bollocks, I say! (6, 10)

I can't do cryptic crosswords. What in the name of hiary plums are they all about then? I consider myself the supreme intellect, but there's something not quite right about people who know the answer to "Iris's snuggled up to Welshman's pole (9)". Nope, I haven't got a clue, either.

Those who claim they can do The Times crossword in four minutes are obviously making it up as they go along, confidently writing "Hgamftamth" in nine across to impress the rest of First Class on their communter train of a morning. And what, I ask, are these so-called intelligent people doing reading The Times in the first place?

Nope, the work of evil, and there's no way I will be smugly convinced otherwise.

Got your number

Amongst the rash of 118 numbers that followed the opening up to competition (ie complete buggering) of the Directory Enquiries market, it turns out that the best of the bunch is the one of the smallest with the lowest advertising spend.

You can forget your crap seventies retro 118 118 and all the others (Orange, BT and ...err.. Tescos score particularly badly) - a survey has found that 118 429 is the most likely to find you the right number at the least cost. 118 429, and I kid you not, is Gay Directory Enquiries. They've REALLY got your number.

What's Gay Directory Enquiries, you ask. I'm not even going to ring to find out, but my friend Big Gay Ernie* tells me they're probably exactly the same as straight directory enquiries, but gayer and shag on the first date. I know nothing of the art of gayness, except for the fact that Naked Blog reckons this site is obviously in touch with its female side. I couldn't possibly comment.

I think it's a fantastic idea and look forward to the ranting Daily Mail editorial.

* Gay and proud, can spot a fellow club member at 100 yards; this is Big Gay Ernie's favourite gay joke:

Q: Where do lesbians go on a second date?
A: Househunting.

Q: Where do gay men go on a second date?
A: What second date?

He tells me this is deep philosophy of the human psyche, apparantly, and 100 per cent of FACT!