Sunday, February 29, 2004

Lord of the Ring

On awaking in the morning to find a throbbing pain in your chalfonts, ensure that you are fully awake before absent-mindedly reaching for your tube of Anusol in the bathroom cabinet.

Lo, for thou shalt have sleep in your eyes and your brain shalt still be running in neutral, and it is only when you are spreading a hefty dollop of McLeans Extra Minty up your ring, and you start to dance like a demented Scotsman, that you realise that something is wrong.

Here endeth the lesson.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, February 27, 2004


I'm at least 25 per cent Irish. Possibly more, and I'm pretty damn certain that it's all the important parts. And to prove it, I've done the going-back-to-my-roots tourist thing and kissed the Blarney Stone. An event which, in retrospect, explains a lot of things about the way I am now, to be sure, to be sure.

I'll draw a discrete veil over the fact that my family's actually from Belfast, a good two hundred miles away, city of charming murals and the roar of Ian Paisley.

The Great Kissing of the Stone marked the halfway point in a pissed-up student holiday in Ireland, and the day we discovered The Worst Pub In Cork. No disrespect to the fair people of the city, but the whole place appears to be twinned with Portsmouth, only without the sailors; and public houses staffed by the East German woman's shot putt team. In fact, Cork can be more than described by at least one of our party:

"God, what a shit-hole. Worse than Catford."

Not many pubs either side of the water greet you with the words "Goddam it, you're greasy", so I suppose John had a point.

Disgusted with the fizzy keg beer and stone cold welcome in O'Bastard's Bar, we headed into the country and the fine surrounds of Blarney Castle. To the top of the crumbling Gormenghastian edifice we climbed, leaned backwards over the abyss and landed a big old smacker on the legendary stone. Moist, but no tongues.

On the way down we ran into a party of Wilburs - elderly American tourists, doing a tour of the "Old Country" in a large air-conditioned coach with "The Emerald Isle" written in green lettering on the front. This was the only time I have ever seen these words written down in all the time I've lived and holidayed in Ireland. Walking cliches the lot of them - flat-peaked baseball caps, plaid trousers and facelifted wives. Easy meat.

"Top o' the mornin'!" we greeted them in faux-Irish accents, despite the fact that it was three o'clock in the afternoon. One of us at this stage may even have said "Bejebus" and "To be sure, to be sure."

Stopping for a rest, the Head Wilbur asked "Is it a long way to the top?"

"Miles," I lied.

"And then they hang you over the edge..." said Pat.

" the ankles..." continued John.

"...and there's no safety net," finished Balders.

The Wilburs just stared at us. They'd come all the way from Pigdick, Arkansas and nobody told them there was a higher than average chance of falling hundreds of feet to their doom.

"Do they..." started a clearly rattled Wilburette.

"...drop anyone?" Pat continued.

"That's right..."

"Hardly ever. No safety gear, but those old girls certainly have a strong grip."

Obviously, the stone's legendary powers were already coursing through us. Some of the Wilburs were already having second thoughts and were torn between completing their pilgrimage and fleeing to the air-conditioned safety of their Emerald Isle Express. Anywhere, in fact, that wasn't near these long-haired lunatics. Time, then, to twist the knife.

"Oh, it's all totally safe," said Balders, "except..."

"Except what?" gasped a Mrs Wilbur.

"They never wash the stone."

There was an instant, germ-free reaction.

"You mean..."

"You name it, we got it. Herpes. Hepatitis. Cold Sores. AIDS." The last was added with a completely unnecessary air of terror, striking horror into the hearts of the collected Wilburs.

"OH. MY. GOD. THAT'S IT!" screamed a Mrs Wilbur, "Come on Wilbur, we're leaving!"

There was a mild panic on the narrow stairs as two dozen Wilburs in varying sized draw-string pants attempted a three-point turn and flee to some nice craft centre selling plastic Leprechauns.

Mission accomplished. How we laughed.

We went to the pub that night to celebrate our victory over the Great Satan, in a village with a donkey roaming up and down the main street, and a public phone box that invited you to press button A and button B to make a call. Unlike Cork, the welcome was warm, and the Guinness and fire-water flowed.

As we reached that point in the evening on the border between consciousness and the technicolour yawn, a local collasped against the bar next to us.

"So, where've you guys been?" he asked, while gamely standing us all drinks.

"All over. Waterford. Cork. Blarney."

"Och, you didn't kiss the Stone, did you? Feck but them yanks is fat daft buggers. Sweet jayzus they is, or oim the Pope's mother."

"Well..." I replied, expecting to be lectured on the pitfalls of the local tourist trap.

"You do know about the kids there?"

"No, but I've a feeling you're going to tell us anyway."

So he told us. The local kids, so the story goes, get pissed on tins of Heineken shoplifted from the local Spar market, break into the castle when the last tourist buses have gone, climb the three million steps to the top and piss all over the Blarney Stone. Regularly. Twice a night sometimes, in the knowledge that gullible American tourists would be puckering up to their fresh onion water the very next morning.

And we had kissed it.

And we had prevented gullible American tourists from doing the same.

Violated, that's how I felt, and worse, there was no wire brush available to scrub my lips and tongue. Only one thing for it - dilute the germs and flush them out of my system.

"Barman! Six pints of Guinness please!"

"Right you are."

"And my friends will have the same."


The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, February 26, 2004


To mark the tenth anniversary of Bill Hicks' death, today I shall be mostly trying to kidnap a Gideon.

"Hello, room service"
"There doesn't seem to be a bible in my room"
"We'll send one right up"
Then you wait....

The man was a genius. Mental, but a genius.

Meme Hell

I don't normally do memes, as they are officially the lazy bastard's way of filling a blog (and heaven knows I've seen enough weblogs filled with nothing but meme fodder), but here are the Luxembourg jury's results of the "Set you media player to random and list the first ten tunes that come out" thingy.

1. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Walking On The Milky Way
2. Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

3. David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes
4. Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap

5. The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?
6. Green Day - Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)

7. St Etienne - This Is Radio Etienne
8. Joy Division - Atmosphere

9. Cocteau Twins - Aikea-Guinea
10. The Delgados - The Past That Suits You Best

Not wanting to sound a smug bastard, but that's not a bad list, is it? Yay for random tune throwy-up gubbins!


Listen to a Radio Five newsreader shouting soup live on air.

The complete History Today: "See that Geoff Gapes?" "Yes, I am aware of the athlete." "That's your mum, that is."

The "I can't believe it's a real web page" Department brings you "I can't believe it's a real web page"

New US Arabic-language propaganda channel translates as "The piece of shit".

Duck: Rear view. Photo scanned (badly) from the Reading Chronicle, showing your humble narrator doing real, live, actual work.

Today's reading

From the Gospel according to Saint Ken, the heavily censored. "I knew that Jesus before he was famous, you know. Had to choose between the drumming and my apprenticeship at Joseph's Pine Emporium. JC teamed up with that Judas fella, an' the rest is history. I'm not bitter, mind. Coffee table sir?"

And lo, Matthew came unto Jesus and said unto him, "Come on Messiah, show us yer norks."

And Jesus smote him verily, in accordance with the prophecy, and went home to watch MiddleEastEnders on the goggle box.

The Friday Vote-o

No vote-o this week, as we've already decided to do Blarney this time round. Your suggestions of words and phrases on an Emerald Isle theme will be either hugely appreciated, or sneered at and filed in the bin. Suggest-o!

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Send your gift of love

I've worked in the radio industry for fifteen years now, and there's nothing that makes me laugh more than American religious broadcasters. Mad as a sack of ferrets, the lot of them. We've got the First Amendment to thank for their continued presence on air, that US constituional guarantee that allows you freedom of speech, if people want to hear it or not. The Second Amendment (those one about guns) often gets a look in, as according to these nutters, Jesus would have packed heat given half the chance:

"Jesus told me to go out and get a gun. Because what are you going to do when you see that black guy raping your sister?"

An actual quote I once heard while listening to WRNO New Orleans one morning, the mouthpiece of the National Socialist White People's Party or similar organisation that's got a religious wing, a transmitter and far, far too much money; often sent to them by idiot listeners. Funnily enough, WRNO is now owned by a new bunch of right-wing lunatics - Clear Channel - and now features such deeply religious content as Babe of the Day and Shag Me or Bag Me, which is exactly what you think it is.

There are literally dozens of these stations. Most of them are pretty sterile, using the radio to spread the word of God in a not unpleasant manner, some of them taking their calling rather too seriously, broadcasting in every language known to man, including one or two they even made up. And esperanto.

However, there is some kind of dread fascination for the nutters - fire and brimstone, nazi jew-haters, send us your gift of love, we are approaching the final days. Get a gun, run to the hills.

My particular favourite happens to be one Brother Stair (The "Last day prophet of God", no less) and his Overcomer Ministry. This is one guy who has managed to get shedloads of money out of his followers by that old and trusted trick of telling them the world's going to end, so they won't need all those possessions and cash that'll bar them entry into heaven. Instead, dearly beloved, I'll take it off your hands and shoulder the risk myself. In another age, he'd be selling his patent cure-all medicine from the back of a wagon.

Apparantly, one mentally challenged donor coughed up a million dollars which he splurged on a transmitter in Germany to give us poor bastards in Europe crystal clear reception.

His message was clear: the world's going to end (he's been changing the date for this regularly for the last decade, and a promise to shut up shop if the biblical apocalypse failed to appear in 2000 was conveniently forgotten), and us sinner-sinners out there in radio land are all doomed unless we repent and send him our gifts of love and more women.

Ah, the women. Y'see, Brother Stair insisted that once you've sold all your possessions, the truly committed should come and live on his commune where a) you'd work like a dog in the fields and b) he'd have first go on your wife. And some of the followers were not best pleased with point b), especially when babies bearing more than a passing resemblance to the prophet Ralph Stair began to drop. The police were called, and soon it became abundantly clear that a) his false sect was based around forced sex and b) he was less driven as a prophet than he was for profit, and for those bloody awful puns I beg your forgiveness.

As far as I know, Ralphy-boy is still sitting in stir waiting for his turn in front of the beak. Unfortunately, his empire continues, and there's enough money in the kitty to keep repeats of his most bonkers recordings on the air, forever.

The advent of relatively cheap satellite television and the internet may one day put an end to these lunatics. The TV shows - and there are plenty to choose from on Sky, down among the shopping channels - aren't nearly as much fun, as the evangelists don't look nearly as good as they sound; and you're often put off by images of happy-clappy congregations and shots of puppies, flowers and nice stuff. They've also fallen foul of those dreadful killjoys at OFCOM, who have a bit of a downer on any barefacedlies and money-grabbing on their patch.

Give me radio any day. Switch on microphone, switch off brain. However, as your spiritual leader, I urge you to log on and send your gift of love RIGHT NOW or ...err... the puppy gets it.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Letters to the editor

Sir -

So, it appears that our government was perfectly justified in its decision to go to war with Iraq. But this is nothing but a smokescreen to deflect attention from the one, true issue that blights citizens' rights up and down the country. I refer, of course, to those unelected Brussels Eurocrats attempts to allow any Johnny Foreigner, frog, wop or dago to legally shit in my airing cupboard and wipe their arse on my curtains.

This is a blatant attack on any gun-loving British patriot's basic human rights and cannot be tolerated. It is only the start of a slippery slope into a quagmire that the Euro-Nazis are gleefully dragging our once proud nation into as part of their twisted revenge for The Brotherhood of Man's Eurovision song contest triumph. "Save all your kisses for me", translates into German as "Two world wars and one world cup, you humourless squareheads"; while "Buck's Fizz" is actually the French term for dog rimming.

Tony Blair must act now to put an end to this peril immediately with firm and decisive action. Seal up the Channel Tunnel I say, and pump it full of Dover's waste effluent like the outsized sewer that it is! Myself and David "Bomber" Blunkett have volunteered to take a Lancaster bomber over the Channel and drop twenty tons of best British soap on those Parisian soap-dodgers, it's the only language these snail-eating curs understand (apart from French).

It's time to throw our lot in with our friends and allies over the Atlantic. I, for one, would welcome our new overly-litigious puritanical overlords. God bless President Rupert Murdoch.

I am not mad.

Yours etc,

Lt Col Winston St John Cholmondeley-Cholmondeley Patel (Mrs)

This one will be arriving on the desk of the editor of my local rag any day now as a response to the local sexing-up scandal. That'll learn them.

Dear Sir -

I refer to the Dorset Echo's headline last Wednesday "Travellers leave site immaculate", in which a single unverified source claimed that the travellers which had been illegally camping in a council car park had voluntarily moved on and taken their rubbish and refuse with them.

However, subsequent information, verified by several independent witnesses, showed that the site was left resembling the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme, and it was only the council's own workmen moving in at 6am who left the car park in its now pristine condition, ending any danger to the sensitive bird sanctuary next door.

Therefore, one can only conclude that last Wednesday's front page was entirely without foundation, relying on unreliable, "sexed up" evidence to embarrass council officials while crediting an enemy of the nation (steady on! - ed) with actions which clearly did not happen. I expect a full and frank apology and high level resignations at the Echo forthwith.

Besides, I'm after a new job. I am not mad.

Greg "Call me Greg" Dyke.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, February 23, 2004

Movie News wants to know how The Passion of Christ turns out. He dies in the end - but there's a twist! Hope I haven't spoiled it for you.


This weekend I received a leaflet through my front door. It was from a self-stlyed Reiki master, known only as Jarman, who offers holistic Swedish massages, crystal attunements, animal healing and tarot readings, all at very reasonable rates (if you were mental and "list setting fire to money" as one of your hobbies).

This swami of all trades lists his qualifications for this licence to print money as "BSc Hon's". With an apostrophe. Honestly. You spent years at head massage university and you end up with a BSc Hon's with far too much punctuation. Jarman, for this crime against the English language, I may be forced to visit you in the near future and demonstrate Belfast Knee Massage, with the help of a cricket bat with a breeze block nailed to it.

And why this sudden conversion to Punctuation Nazi for the man who doesn't know where to put full stops when writing dialogue? I have just finished "Eat Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by Lynne Truss. This little treasure should be required reading for anybody before they are allowed to write, blog, e-mail, text or even switch a computer on. It is, naturally, manna from heaven for a sad bastard such as myself, who spends far too much type worrying about the state of other peoples' writing.

sCr1pt K1dd13s and l33t HaXXors take note - there's a whole alphabet out there and a myriad of interesting dots, dashes and punctuation marks designed to help your reader understand you. It's no use complaining to me when your mis-spelled Burger King application form is thrown back in your face. You should have listened in school.

Punctuation snob? Of course. I am deeply in love with Ms Truss and would gladly have her babies.*

* Despite the physical impossiblity of this statement and the handicap of her writing for the Daily Telegraph; but then, these things are sent to challenge us.

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, February 22, 2004

The Second Worst Joke in the World

TV chiefs are to hold a talent contest to find the best singing sailors, matelots, seamen and ship-hands in the country, and offer them a top music contract by way of a prize.

It'll be called Popeye Idol.


Friday, February 20, 2004

Gym of Doom

Bollocks to horrible diseases. Specifically, bollocks to TB. And if you want to be pedantic about it, bollocks also to the person who invented the BCG injection against said deathly plague. Granted, he saved generations from a horrible death hacking up blood and goo, but why oh why oh why did they make the injection and its aftermath just so bloody messy? There's a design flaw that just wouldn't get through the front door these days.

Anybody who's had the BCG knows what I'm on about. Your arm aches for days, and if you're really unfortunate, it begins to look like one of Popeye's. Then this huge great pussy lump comes up where the needle went in, which grows and grows. Then it bursts. On a regular basis. For the next year and a half. Usually at a crucial moment in your teenage life, such as the school disco just as you sense a slow dance off that quiet girl with the huge phunamic* norks you've fancied all year.

The scene of the crime, the upper right arm, then, was usually covered in anything from a plaster to a huge bandage, depending on the level of affliction; and became a legitimate target in any playground fight. In PE lessons, this led to carefully dressed upper arms and a system of in-the-field first aid that pre-dated professional rugby's blood-bins by a good fifteen years; and is now used by the armed forces as a model for casualty evacuation.

On a bad day, gym classes saw more blood than an Ozzy Osbourne concert, but Mr Prince had seen it all before. An ex-boxer, most of the blood he had seen was his own, and mere pain, blood and entrails just meant the boys needed a bit of toughening up. A cross country run through the flood plains by the River Thames. Hellish rugby. And Pirates.

Pirates was a special treat. Nobody had to die for at least a month before we were allowed Pirates. All the gym equipment came out, and it would stay out for a whole week, such was its popularlity. It was simply a game of tag. However, if you were off the ground - up a rope, on a climbing frame or balanced on something creaking and dangerous, you were safe. Terribly simple in theory, harder to achieve in practice, especially if you were playing in the lesson straight after lunch break.

The game was played out to an Indiana Jones soundtrack, interspersed with quotes from favourite movies and TV shows: "You throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip", "Vyvyan, you bastard!", "Braaains!", and bizarrely, "These aren't the droids you're looking for."

Andy Collins climbed a rope, all the way to the ceiling of the gymnasium - some twenty feet up - and by looping the rope around his leg managed to stay there. It took more effort that it looked, becuase he soon sweating like Alex Ferguson in front of an FA committee and looking decidedly peaky. I know how he felt. I couldn't climb a rope for toffee, and would usually get two feet off the ground before my bladder gave up and worried teachers would prize the thing from my cold, determined hands like it was about to explode: "Stand back, men - he has a rope!"

Andy was also the only boy in the school not to have had the BCG injection. A freak of nature, tests had shown he was immune to the TB virus - probably because not even a starving rat would bite him - and he went through adolescance with upper right arm intact. We hated the bastard. It has to be said that he was also the king of the double portion in the dinner hall. The shape of a cigarette, he could eat anything and not put on an ounce of weight. God knows where it went, but today it wasn't going to stay there.


Double sausage, beans and chips followed by sponge pudding and pink custard rained down onto the panicked ranks of pirates below, who slipped, fell and crashed into each other like the Keystone Cops XXX Mud Wrestling Spectacular that never quite made it to cinema screens. Puke. Diced carrots. Blood, blood, endless blood! And green arm goo.

Mr Prince freaked. His brand new PE mats looked like an entry for the Turner Prize, and would probably have won if entered as an allegory on human frailty. His best vaulting box would have to be burnt, and three basketballs were subsequently deemed a danger to human health and formed part of a government dossier on chemical weapons.

The vomit and blood-soaked hoardes huddled together in the corner of the gym, clutching oozing arms and swearing death on the miscreant Collins.

"Sorry," he said.

Oh, that's alright then.

We never played Pirates again.

* This is a real word, honest.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Thursday Fist

That time of the week again. Votez-vous for tomorrow's Scary Story from my ever dwindling list of completed tales. Due to increased sunspot activity and the close attentions of Hello! magazine, the descriptions of said tales may not be one hundred per cent accurate.

* An Inspector Calls: In which Dog-rimming is accepted as an Olympic sport
* Blarney: Her name was Lola, and she collected stamps
* Paul: Or, Madagascar on a shoestring.
* Gym of Doom: "Ach!" said Vladimir, "It tastes like rotten fish!"
* The Raspberry Club: On doctor's orders, I took to wearing a rubber band around them; it didn't help, the cravings were still there.

Choose-o! If you dare.

Oooh - if you've promised to send me money for a t-shirt, please get the ackers to me soonest. Thankyouverymuch, uh-huh-huh.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Wednesday Wad

Dolphin Sex Update

I haven't done a dolphin sex update for the best part of a year, since the sad news of one-eyed, sex-pervert, crime-fighting cetacean Randy/Jacques/Flipper's messy demise whilst on a booze cruise to the Netherlands. That certainly learned him.

But yay! There's a whole family of 12 to 15 dolphins arrived in Portland Harbour, literally a couple of hundred yards from Scaryduck Towers, flipping about, eating fish and generally being nice to people in the only way that dolphins know how. The poor, gullible fools. Now that the news is out, there'll be a swarm of dolphin perverts flooding Weymouth with their thigh-high wellie boots, fake rubber fins and gimp masks. And don't say I didn't warn you.


Dot dash dash dot dash dot. That's easy for you to say, but after 160 years of history, the International Telecommunication Union has added a new character to morse code. To me and you it's the @ symbol, primarily introduced so radio operators can continue their conversation by this new-fangled e-mail thing. Rather ironic isn't it? The one great change to Morse could well be the one that kills it off.


Blankety Blank. Go on, scroll to the bottom if you dare. "If you like this, we also recommend Alien (1979)". Sweet Jebus, I always suspected the worst of Terry Wogan, but this is taking the piss.

Now you come to mention it, Balders, I never quite caught up with The Director's Cut.


Now, I've got nothing against vegetarians; but why oh why oh why oh why, do all militant veggies prefix anything they are eating in the presence of meat-eaters with the words "delicious" and/or "nutritious"? Is it some kind of propaganda thing, or are they trying to kid themselves that their delicious and nutritious three bean salad doesn't taste like cardboard and will be burning up the ozone layer for the rest of the afternoon.

If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?

Film Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

It's got pirates who say "Yarr!" without any irony whatsoever. It's got zombies. It's got Johnny Depp ad-libbing lines from The Fast Show. It's got Gareth out of The Office with a false eye. It's totally daft and has plot holes you can drive a bus through. It's ace.


Best. News. Story. Ever. I laughed until my nobbies ached.

On second thoughts, no, this one is.


This weekend I shall be mostly attending a rock'n'roll themed fancy dress party. I will be going as Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli. Pray for me. Scary Jr will be going as Shakin' Stevens. He shall be plied with caffeine to ensure Shakiness.

And let it also be known that I have just written the world's worst joke, and have hidden it away in my arsenal of fear and woe. I reserve to right to unleash it on you any time I see fit. Be warned.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Death of Reith

I vowed never to blog about my work. So here it is.

I joined the BBC in 1989 during the Corporation's final days as a dusty, slightly dog-eared institution. The newsroom still used typewriters and messages were sent round the building by vacuum tube. We had two satellite dishes, and one of them was used solely for MTV. Instant news and the arrival of the computer (green-on-black monochrome monitors costing a grand each) put an end to all that, as so did another new arrival - corporate change.

As Director General Michael Checkland left for a retirement in the House of Lords, so John Birt arrived. Words like "culture", "values", "multiskilling" and "mission statement" were said openly and without embarrassment, as were the words "bollocks" and "bugger this I'm off". Undoubtedly, the corporation, still living in the age of Reith, needed a kick up the arse, and Birt applied it with business plans, seminars and a patronising manner that got right up everybody's nose. Birt saved the BBC as a business, prepared it for the demands of the global marketplace, but with it he destroyed staff morale and all pride in our work.

Birt's "change or die" preaching was well founded in a desire to modernise, but on the shop floor it more or less meant the proles getting their cards and hapless, toadying management promoted beyond their competence. Programme makers were forced to become businessmen, buying in expertise from other departments in a free market that would have given Margaret Thatcher orgasms. This was Birt's unpopular "Producer Choice" idea, which actually ended in many producers exercising their choice to work outside the BBC.

There was even a procedure to procure forms for this madness - producers drowned in reams of paperwork, and there are stories of programme-makers sending runners to the shops for CDs and stationary to save time and money. Getting someone search the music archive and fish out a track for a programme could cost, say, fifty quid. Sending a runner to Tower Records cost a tenner.

Birt may have been right in principle, but lost in his open-market dogma, he lost the plot over what the BBC was all about - creativity. There was a time in the early to mid nineties where it was frankly embarrassing to admit to working for the people that gave the world Eldorado. I told people I was a civil servant.

Greg Dyke appeared on a wave of apathy, and despite low expectations, he made it OK to work for the BBC again. You could read the staff magazine "Ariel" (otherwise known as Pravda) in the staff canteen without being laughed at. You could tell people who you worked for and still have their respect in the morning. Greg (we always called him that, bless him) may have come across as-too-matey-by half with his jacket slung over his shoulder, but he cared about the corporation from top to bottom, and wasn't afraid to make unpopular decisions. The sale of BBC Technology killed of the illusion of St Greg in some quarters, as did the outsourcing of property management and the construction of the Grey Lubyanka in White City, where jobs would mysteriously disappear en route from other locations.

However, he said "Cut the crap" and crap was cut. "Make it happen", and things happened. It was more than a glorified staff suggestion scheme, MiH allowed for simplified programme commissioning; and staff taking control of their surroundings and working hours. "One BBC" - while Birt's regime divided the corporation into competing units, it is now far simpler to work with another department without first asking "What's your charge code?", and job sharing and short-term attachments are the rule rather than the exception. Runners are still sent out to Smiths for CDs and Chris Moyles is still a dick, but who said things were perfect?

On the outside, the BBC hardly changes its public face - people just see the news at six, EastEnders, crapoid Saturdays nights. Any change is gradual and unnoticed in the long term. But inside, it is a rapidly changing beast, far younger than it used to be, and staffed with people who, at last, care about the corporation as much as their care for their own jobs.

There is nothing in the world, however, like a vengeful Blairite, and Hutton has left the BBC on a knife-edge just two years before charter renewal. The licence fee? Editorial independence? The right to take risks and ask difficult questions? All these, say here today, and dare I say it, gone tomorrow, culture minister Tessa Jowell are beyond discussion - but how many both within and outside the corporation actually believe her? After all, the Kelly affair left both Chairman Gavyn Davies and DG Dyke sacrificed to the government like pawns in a one-sided game of chess.

Governments are sprawling Jekyll and Hyde organisations. They come to power on a tide of promises and goodwill, but eventually the power hungry Hyde surfaces with his broken promises, trampling on those who get in their way. Underneath the officially airbrushed smile is a sharp-toothed monster, spinning for all it's worth, and is never, ever wrong.

So, who do you trust? A BBC that makes mistakes every now and then, or a rabid print media in the hands of a few millionaire businessmen that can lie and distort on their front pages and never have to take a word back; whilst spoon-feed stories by political spin-doctors?

For 116 quid a year you get eight TV channels, five national radio networks, separate networks for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with their own language services. Local radio. The world's best web site. Your taxes buy the world's most listened to radio station. I know who I trust, and I'm proud to work for them.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, February 16, 2004

Letter to the Editor


I am writing to express my disgust at recent advertisements which have appeared on our televisual apparatus over recent weeks. I never watch commercial television myself, as it is clearly the home of uneducated imbeciles with regional accents, but my lovely wife Brian is still in a state of shock over the horrors she was forced to endure several hours before the watershed.

I refer, of course, to the depraved advertising campaign for a so-called childrens' magazine called "I Love Horses", owned, I note by filthy Italians, who would, no doubt legally shit in my airing cupboard and wipe their arse on my curtains, before robbing the panties from my lingerie drawer given half the chance.

The advertising jingle "I love horses, they're the greatest animal, I love horses they're my friend." was clearly written with one aim in mind - to groom nubile, pouting young girls into a life of equine depravity at the hands of disgusting sex perverts masquerading as retired Colonels and suchlike, who would then post their filth on such web sites as for a modest fee.

This disgusting practice must be stamped out now, as there are few enough sixteen year old nymphettes to go round as it is, without attracting the great ITV-watching unwashed to this harmless hobby, which would them go down the pan like other once enjoyable pastimes such as dog-rimming, wrecked completely by the late Barbara Woodhouse's ignorant meddling.

I am not mad.

Yours etc,

Lt Col Winston St John Cholmondeley-Cholmondeley Patel (Mrs)

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Tsar Nicholas II!

Rasputin the Mad Monk! Vladimir Illyich Lenin! Ensign Chekov out of Star Trek! Can you hear me? Roman Abramovich? Can you hear me? Your boys took one hell of a beating!

Roman Abramovich's latest purchase, away from his Chelsea FC hobby - 49 per cent of Russian state television through three proxy companies, ensuring Perviyy Kanal's support for Vladimir Putin just before the Russian Presidential elections. Hmmm....

The Scaryduck Archive, comrade

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Valentine's Tale

Neil Gaiman once wrote an alternative Christmas greeting in one hundred words with the power to surprise and alarm, which he had made into the official Gaiman family Christmas card. Why not, thought I, have hundred word greetings for all seasons? No time like the present, then.

They dragged you, Valentine, to you death for you dared to love. Not so the victims of that other massacre that bore your name, lined up, faces to a wall and deprived of life; all for the love of power and money.

Once a year, in pink flurries, love sent in your hallowed name. No-one remembers who you were, or for who you died.

For shame, none dare sign their name.

For the love of God - the love of love.

"How could your God let the innocent suffer?" they asked.

"I am not innocent," you answered.

A sainted massacre.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, February 13, 2004


Bloody show-off
Surfing! The ancient battle between dude and sea. Ever since the aborigines jumped up on a dead kangeroo* and rode the wave back to shore, mankind has embraced this most noble of pastimes like a favourite son that hasn't washed for a month. Famous surfers include Professor Stephen Hawking, that fella off the opening titles of Hawaii 5-0 and ...err... Keanu Reeves. Surfing. It's ace.**

Newquay is the surfing capital of the universe, apart from all those other places like Hawaii and Australia. It is also the holiday destination for every wanker on the planet who seem to think it's the coollest place in the world. Which it isn't, not by a long shot. As a veteran of Cornish holidays (I've only got to go there for the next three hundred years to qualify as a local), you soon realise that the nearer you get to Newquay, the higher the wanker quotient.

So why in the name of God did we decide to visit Newquay? Ah yes, I remember now. We thought it would be cool to go surfing. It would end in tears. In fact, I could guarantee it.

Fistral Beach, a long, windswept curve of golden sand with some of the finest surfing waves in the country. I stood there, shivering in my Marks and Spencer bathing trunks while my brother negotiated the old getting-changed-wrapped-in-a-towel stunt, the traditional on-holiday contortion mastered by hapless Britons on the beach. At last, we were ready, handing over a sizeable deposit to the muscular and tanned board hire bloke.

"Strewth!" he said on spotting the two skinny nerks trying to join the in-crowd, "You two fellas know how to use these things?"

"Yes", we lied. We'd seen Hawaii Five-O, "Surfing's a piece of piss." Out on the brine, the experts were cutting up the water like old pros, and we were soon to join them. And unlike these total no-hopers, we were taking the dog with us too. We'd practiced at home; but if you must use a flymo like that, make sure your medical insurance is fully paid up.

So, out onto the waves we went, paddling our boards, arms going like a Wankel rotary engine, out ever deeper until we were at the point where the waves were just starting to break. Time to fly.

With a swift paddle, I launched myself off onto a wave and I was away. Now to find my feet.




It was at this point that we both realised that this surfing lark may be rather more difficult than it appeared. In the next two hours, I spent approximately ninety minutes with my head under water, drinking South West Water's finest sewage outfall, something which would only worry me for the next few days.

Then, finally, with a shout of triumph, I was finally up and standing, surfing the waves like a true star. Then I realised I was in about three inches of water with the tailfin wedged in the sand. Bumflaps. But it was a start.

My confidence increased, and fairly soon, I could ride a wave, fall off and look like I knew what I was doing. Time to go for The Big One. I'd go out with the big boys and ride one all the way back to the beach, and I too would attract girls, get a great tan, and if I was really, really lucky, chest hair.

I bided my time. I wouldn't get up on the first wave that came along. Everybody knows the sixth wave is the biggest. Or the seventh. Or something. I waited. And I waited. Then, it came. Like that huge wave at the end of Point Break, it was a monster. I turned the board, and looked along the line of surfers, all ready for the ride of their lives. It hit. We paddled. Three - two -one and HUP! Onto my feet and riding for the first time ever - I was a real surfer! King of the World!

For a whole twenty-seven nanoseconds, riding bareback on the pony of love.

With a blood-curdling scream I looked down into the valley of doom, and was flipped arse over tit into the drink, taking huge gulps of shit and tampon strewn water.

At this point in the tale, there's one thing you should know about surfboards. They come with a little velcro strap on the end of a long elastic. You put the strap round your ankle, so when you come off, you don't have to spend hours chasing after your board. This little device saved me hours of frantic wadng up and down the beach, but it was soon to have its awful revenge.

Spang! Went the elastic band, as the board was swept away from me.

Spong! It went as it reached full stretch.

Spung! It went as it accelerated twoards me at a rate of knots.

JESUSFUCKINGCHRISTMYARSE! I shouted as the sharp end of the board caught me squarely up the rusty sheriff's badge.

Not on either cheek, but right up the hole. A perfect bullseye.

That was it. I was getting out. The surf bums were openly laughly at me.

"Hey!" said my brother, "You're bleeding!"

He was right. The board had split my trunks clean in two, showing my bleedin' bleeding ringpiece to the entire beach.

Only one thing for it. Clench the buttocks and make for the hills as best you can. I slunk off back up the beach like a salubrious reindeer.

"Fun?" asked the board hire dude as I gave him his evil bit of wood back.

"Yes", I lied.

"You do realise your arse is bleeding," he observed.

Yes, I realised.

"And there's a big split in your trunks"

"Thank you. Goodbye."

I'm please to report that it stopped bleeding eventually. However, at three o'clock the following morning, the gallons of ingested sewage struck back. It was a camping holiday. I was in a sleeping bag. With an aching ring, which was about to spend the next thirty-six hours on fire, squirting brown windsor soup through the eye of a needle. The camp site toilets only had Izal shiny white paper. Fill in the blanks for yourself.

Worst. Holiday. Ever.

We went back the following year. I gave the surfing a miss. The dog won the UK championships.

* May not actually be true.
** No it's not, it's shit.

More surfing madness, bizarre injuries, mirth and woe at Local Surfer.

*cough* It's Scary's birthday on Sunday *cough*

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Thursday Flange

As promised last week, there is but one Scary Story lined up for tomorrow, a tale of pain and ill-fortune suitable for Friday the thirteenth:

Surfing: anal mirth and woe

So as not to bugger up the narrative, I will take up to five of your suggestions for words or phrases to feature in said yarn. Suggest-o!

And now, some other crap I found.

Think once, think twice, think Don't Fire A Dead Cow From A Trebuchet.

Had enough of clubbing penguins with baseball bats? Nope, we haven't either, and you've got 1224.1 to beat, you part-timers. Why not waste your time running over penguins with a yeti surfing a snowball instead?

Llapgoch, the Secret Welsh art of self-defence (as told by Monty Python).

Daleks on Robber Rabbit, while Pengor charts the further adventures of Trevor. Poor, poor Trevor.

This blog has all the makings of a modern classic. Tragic, beautiful, utterly unintelligable. Found on the "recently published blogs" section on the Blogger homepage, a constantly updated treasure-trove of the best and very worst on the net.

Radio FIP, the second best radio station in the world.

Live Journal user? Add this site to your friends list.

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

But I'm a Lady!

Spotted by my boss amongst the tattered tank tops, open-toed sandals and the stale body odour at the Harwell Amatuer Radio Rally the other day: three of the most unconvincing transvestites you'll ever see. Bloke in blonde wig, Laura Ashley frock and size twelve heels going "Naah mate, you'll be wanting a capacitor in series there and an induction loop or else you're buggered." The other two stomped around - quite separately from Debbie Harry's butch uncle - like rugby players in drag, pausing only to scratch their bollocks and to challenge entranced passers-by to a bout of arm wrestling.*

In my civil service days, where staff turnover was so high they had revolving doors installed, they'd take just about anybody on**. One guy would turn up for work in a scruffy business suit, disappear into the ladies' toilets at about quarter to five, and reappear as "Elizabeth-Jane"*** in a frock, high heels, bad wig and far too much make-up. S/He'd then cycle around Reading Town Centre on a girly bike with a basket on the front. He got the sack - not for the crossdressing, but for the fact that he'd never use the gents' toilet for his dressing-up, and for using the girls' 'special bin' as an ashtray.

Intrigued, we looked up "Bad Transvestites" on the internet, only for Google to take us to a skiing resort in Austria that is bidding for a forthcoming winter Olympics. Disappointingly, "unconvincing transvestites" provided little crossdressing joy either, so it appears there is a gap in the market just waiting to be exploited. Mullets, bad wigs and chavs have all been outed. Ladyboys, it's your turn now. If those "From He to She" adverts they have in the tabloid press are anything to go by, there's plenty out there.

So, our advice to you is simple: your female colleague with the five o'clock shadow and the tattoos may not be all she seems. Especialy if she insists you call her Brandi-Jayde-Kylie. Or Brian to his mum.

* This observation may not be 100 per cent accurate.
** Like me
*** It's a measure of gender confusion that they always seem to have double-barrelled names. The truly committed have three.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Springsteen was right

We've been living in a multi-channel home for the bst part of a month now, going from four channels to the best part of 16,000 more or less overnight by giving loads of money to that nice Mr Murdoch. Instead of taking thirty seconds to decide there's nothing on the box, it now takes most of the evening, scanning very small print in the Radio Times. And God, there's more.

- The kids will set up little surprises on the personal planner, sending you to some dreadful cardboard cartoon channel just as the film / football match / red hot pr0n action reaches its steamy climax.

- No one can resist the lurid charms of Granada Men and Motors. Theresa May's World of Big Boobs, did not, we were disappointed to find out, feature the MP for Windsor and Maidenhead.

- Channel 238, 10.30pm: All the news you can eat from Nigeria, complete with startled rabbit-in-the-headlights presenters promising you TWENTY-EIGHT MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS in the small matter of a confidential business transaction.

- Apart from the BBC's efforts, the so-called interactive content is a cunningly designed ploy to relieve you of your money via premium rate phone numbers. No wonder Mr Murdoch insists your receiver remains connected to a phone line. The grabbing bastard.

- Our taste threshold has dropped noticably. We watch the Sci-Fi channel with no sense of shame. We have yet to wonder if Egypt is populated solely by film crews making documentaries on the pyramids. And don't get me started on the Hitler Porn.

- "There's a film starting on 307." "How many stars has it got?" "One." "Put it on then."

- ITV2 is the worst channel in the world, ever. It makes Men and Motors look good, and even we've got standards.

Nothing beats a Saturday morning watching and American Informercial channels. Apart from having a life, that is. Sky is God's way of telling you to get out of the house more often.

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, February 09, 2004

Public Service Announcement

Cold legs? Receiving strange looks from friends, collegues? Then you have probably lost your trousers. Using my Uri Gellar skills of deduction, these would be a rather fetching light brown pair, in a smart yet casual style and an impressive crease.

Fear not, for you have merely left them outside the Prince of Wales pub in Reading. I have left them draped over a road sign so passing cars won't bugger up that razor sharp crease; petty thieves and your modesty notwithstanding, you can pick them up any time today.

God help us all if you've gone commando.

That is all.

Public Service Announcement Two

My former partner in crime Balders has finally opened his web site. Visit-o!

The Scaryduck Archive

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 328

Drug-addled film stars Cheech and Chong are to remake the classic action movie “Speed” in their typical doped-up style. Watch out for the Keanu’s never-to-be-forgotten line “There’s a bong on the bus.”

I'll get me coat.

The Scaryduck Archive

Friday, February 06, 2004

Top Shelf or... Days of Chunder

On the Bath Road between Reading and the aptly-named Maidenhead (it's full of twats) lies the village of Knowle Hill. It is the home of a drinking establishment known as the Old Devil Inn, purveyors of strong ales, stronger spirits and artery-clogging pub food. We went there so often, that several of us seriously considered having our salaries paid directly to them to cut out the middle-man.

Friday and Saturday nights - not to mention the odd Sunday and midweek binge - were spent in our favoured window seats knocking back the Royal Oak (original gravity 1054 - that’s damn strong) and polishing off the pub speciality quadruple chocolate gateau and cream. At any one time there could be as few as four of us, or as many as ten, depending on money and alcohol poisoning status. I’m lucky to be alive.

You know how it is with drink. You do stupid stuff, usually involving even more alcohol. All it takes is one loose comment, and your evening takes a turn for the worse. And Pat made it:

“How many shorts do you reckon you can you fit in a pint glass?”

“Why don’t we find out?” his brother John suggested.

Uh oh.

“You know,” said Pat, the connosieur of the alcoholic art, “a pint of spirits is known as a ’Top Shelf’.”

“How so?”

“Becausssse,” he slurred,”You go along the top shelf of the bar taking one shot from each optic. Top Shelf. Shimple.”

One thing led to another, and a brief inspection of funds indicated that we could quite easily afford such a drink, and one or two of us might even be pursuaded to take a sip or two. Myself, already three sheets to the wind was minded to decline, however.

“Why, you chicken?”

“Because I’ll fucking die, that’s why.”

“That’s fair enough then.”

We sidled up to the bar. Mike the Aussie barman gave us his usual “What are you mad Poms up to now?” look and we made the order with a feeble attempt to curry his favour.

“Top Shelf, please Mike. And whatever you’re having.”

“A what?!”

“Top Shelf,” Pat repeated, pointing to the top shelf of the bar behind our able server.

Mike tried his best, but he was unable to pull the shelf away from the wall. So instead, following our directions, he took a pint glass and worked his way along, pouring one shot from each optic. It took eighteen, and cost somewhere in the region of twenty quid. These days, it would be the wrong side of thirty.

“There you go chaps,” he said, carrying the thing to the bar as if it was filled with nuclear waste, “Don’t drink it all at once.”

All of a sudden, it had lost its appeal. It looked dangerous, and smelled sickly. The whole idea would have died a death had a) we not already paid for the bloody thing and b) some German visitor to the pub not overheard the whole episode and announced that she wanted to take part in this (and I quote) “quaint old English custom.” That would be the quaint English old custom of bowking large quantities of vomit into the gutter of a Friday night, then. We used to try and get our leg over anything back in those days, but we were all too far gone to take much notice of the Fraulein's ample charms. Drink! Such a cruel mistress!

In the end, only two of the drunkards were up for it. Pat and Balders. Like troopers they gave it a go, both proclaiming that it was “bloody disgusting” and “which idiot put Pernod in it?”, all the while staring at Mike, coolly sipping his glass of Diet Coke.

I will allow Balders to continue the story from here:

“I Seem to remember I gave up somewhere around the 3/4 pint mark, or maybe a
bit more. Anyway, I was slurred, sloshed, and barely capable of projectile
vomiting into the pan in the bogs. Scary and John carried (dragged) me to the
car park, as Pat said something like "Oi, not going to waste a good drink!"
and downed the remainder. He then walked out the front door, and as the cold
night air hit him, barfed all over one of the flower beds out the front. Oh such fun, at least neither of us were sick in the car on the way back.”

Nope - they waited until they got back to Balders’ house, where we witnessed a drunken sprint for the bathroom, followed by prolonged retching and the sound of heavy-duty redecorating. Balders’ mum, used to these episodes on a near weekly basis, rolled her eyes in the now customary “He’s done it again“ manner.

Balders survived, but not without cruel, unexplained injuries - the price the casual drunk pays for his crimes against sobriety. Spotted in Budgens, he was, buying a bottle of Bushmills and some Preparation H. Hair of the dog, as it were. If the dog had a sore arse.

It wasn’t over yet. Following the puking came an attack of the munchies. It was at that opportune moment that my brother turned up to give me a lift home. He had wheels. His pride and joy was a clapped out Austin Allegro he had got cheaply from an elderly great aunt, and we would use it to go to the Chinese Takeaway in Twyford. We piled in, and amused him greatly with our repertoire of Rugby songs on the way. Who can failed to be amused by a rousing chorus of "I'm a stupid dicky-di-dildo!" from a bunch of drunks?

This island of drunken tranquility couldn’t last.

“I’m gonna puke!” said Pat.


He did, staggering into the street and hurling all over the front wing of Nigel’s Aggro.

“I’m gonna puke!” groaned John, who had not even touched the Top Shelf.


Too late.

Fair play to John, he tried to wind down the window, only to find it would only go halfway. Isn’t it amazing how vomit splatters, dear reader? There was puke everywhere, all over the inside AND outside of the car, and I’m sorry to say, most of the occupants. We stunk like a stairwell in a multistory car park, and being my mates, it was all my fault. Naturally.

So, guess who, with a stinking hangover, had to clear the mess up the next day? As I hosed it down, I knew it was bad when I saw Dad's car floating into next door's garden on a tide of diluted vomit.

Most of it ended up in the windscreen washer bottle. It was the least I could do.

The Scaryduck Archive

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Another Thursday, another vote the Scary Story of the Week. But this will be no ordinary tale, dear reader, for tomorrow marks the second anniversary of this site. *cough* send money *cough*. Choose wisely, but above all, choose-o!

Top shelf - booze mirth and woe
An inspector calls - restaurant woe
Surfing - anal woe
Blarney - Irish mirth and woe
Paul - psycho woe
Gym of doom - vomit woe
The Raspberry Club - belming mirth and woe, with celebrity guests

Oh, and last chance for t-shirt orders.

Today's minor triumph

A letter published in my local paper pointing out that they print far too many letters from hang 'em, shoot 'em and flog 'em lunatics signed "Name and Address Supplied". Signed, naturally, "Name and Address Supplied".

The Scaryduck Archive

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Instant Sunshine

Apparantly, the average American kid sees 10,000 murders on TV before he is sixteen.

Hardly surprising since American news and entertainment channels gleefully show car chases, "real crime", military footage through night-vision goggles of Iraqis getting blown away by high-calibre machine guns, and precision strikes on military targets which are undoubtedly manned.

They don't, however, show the full-colour aftermath. It's no cop drama where you can take a bullet and still punch hell out of the bad guy with a lump of lead in your arm. Too messy, upsets people, puts off advertisers.

The first and second amendments allow an endless stream of uncensored pronography, hate-speech radio and guns, guns, guns.

But show them the briefest flash of a celebrity nork during the Superbowl half-time, and they're having a collective heart attack.

War and botched occupation in the Middle East, but who's the target of righteous indignation back home?

Bono said "fuck" on the Golden Globes.

Now there's a nation with problems.

In a country where religious fundamentalism meant throwing Christians to the lions - a habit they've since grown out of and replaced with Jeux sans Frontieres - daytime programming on Italian TV features a man drawing on some model's bare arse with a marker pen in a lecture on womens' arses featuring, unsurprisingly, dozens of womens' arses.

The studio chef prepares what can only be described as an Esther Rantzen salad out of rude vegetables, the wang made out of a mushroom and a spring onion is a triumph of inventiveness in the culinary arts. Meanwhile, the St Winifrids School Choir perform a song entitled "Wang wang-a wang la la la la" in the background. You never got that on Kilroy.

Pointless milestone

The hit counter should reach 250,000 today. Will it be you? Keep pressing f5 to find out!


I'll be placing and order for Scaryduck Brand T-Shirts this Friday. If you want one, please let me know soonest. Top quality, none of your schmutter.

The Scaryduck Archive

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Letter to the editor

Yesterday's missive in the Dorset Echo was clearly the work of a rank amateur. Stand back and watch the master at work:

Sir -

Congratulations to my old cell-mate "Lord" "Spanker" Hutton for his masterly report into the criminal workings at the BBC. He confirmed what every right-thinking Daily Mail reader already suspects - the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation is staffed by slackers and saboteurs under the pay of the KGB and Mossad, whose sole aim is to bring this once-proud nation to its knees.

Our Conservative Prime Minister Tony Blair is no Margaret Thatcher (God bless her), but he certainly knows how to whip these card-carrying lefties into shape. He had the right idea invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep it up Tony, and soon the Empire will rise again, with or without these treacherous pinko whingers who I steadfastly refuse to pay my licence fee towards.

Close down the BBC and let DailyMailVision show them how it's done. I look forward to the return of the Black and White Minstrels and wall-to-wall morris dancing; with news readers supplied by the Nationalist Socialist White People's Party Town Criers Division, a group of fine individuals I would join in a flash if it were not for the initiation ceremony involving hand-bells and a catering size barrel of KY jelly.

With Spanker Hutton getting the lefties against the thin wall, the time has come to put and end to this tide of AIDS-infected, benefit-scrounging, terrorist darkies and gypos swarming through the Channel Tunnel, clutching their Euros and forcing us to wear womens' clothes on Sundays.

Birch them all! The far-sighted Blunkett's got the right idea. Don't bother with a trial - the dervishes must all be guilty of something, otherwise they wouldn't be running away from their luxury homes up the Khyber Pass, wearing suicide bomb belts and heaving suitcases full of anthrax and sex aids.

I am not mad.

Yours etc,

Lt Col Winston St John Cholmondeley-Cholmondeley Patel (Mrs)

The Scaryduck Archive

Monday, February 02, 2004


On Thursday, I visited BBC Television Centre. It was the day after Hutton's great work of fiction and the mood was like a fairy tale: grim.

And they let us in, the fools! We were there for tedious technical reasons, which unless you understand 100 megabyte wossnames, and I don't, will be completely lost on you. The place is a veritable rabbit warren*, and there are groups of new staff huddling in basements, surviving only only vending machine tea, after weeks of trying to find their desks following a quick trip to the toilet. Remember those lesbian gatecrashers on the six o'clock news? Their target was actually the previous day's one o'clock but it took them a day and a half to find the studio.

Just to show you the state the BBC's in these days, they wouldn't show us where the Blue Peter badges were stashed; nor would they let us crash the News 24 set chanting "Tony! Tony! Tony! Out! Out! Out!" and "Lord Hutton - do you take it in the arse?" in the finest footballing tradition. This wasn't out of taste and decency, it's just that they couldn't find anyone to shout "Tony! Tony! Tony! In! In! In!" by way of an opposing view.

Lunch was taken in the infamous BBC canteen, scene of the infamous throwing of a fish at Omar Sharif episode.

Friend: Good afternoon, star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif. Welcome to the infamous BBC staff restaurant. What would be your pleasure?
Omar: I will have the fish. Serve it to me whilst I show these disinterested souls how to play bridge.
[five minutes later]
Friend: Et voila!
Omar: ...and hearts are trumps, whatever that means. What is this?
Friend: Er... your fish. You ordered it.
Omar: It is undercooked! Take it away!
Friend: mumblemumblemumble
[five minutes later]
Friend: There you go, mush.
Omar: ...and the rubber is mine! Gah! What is this! It is still undercooked! Are you trying to poison me? Take it away, and get me fresh sauce too.
Friend: Grrrrr.......
[five minutes later]
Friend: Oi! Tosspot! Your fish!
Omar: ...and that is why we call it the Picard Manouevre. What is this?
Friend. YOUR. bloody. FISH!
Omar: I do not want it. It is burned. Go and get me another.
[sound of fish hitting star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Omar Sharif across the head. Hushed silence as delicate parsley sauce drips from his finely kept moustache and onto a hand containing far too many aces.]
Friend: I'll get me coat.

I had the fish in his honour.

Famous people were rather thin on the ground. Greg Dyke had mysteriously slipped out of the building for the day, and it was the Chuckle Brothers' day off, so there was no senior management to be seen. Not even a Konnie Huq. Newsreader John Humphries did wink at me in a rather suggestive manner whilst eating a banana, though. I think I might be in there.

* I originally typed "rabbi warren", which I think is far better.

The Colonel strikes back

An actual letter published in my local newspaper today. Nothing to do with me. Honest.

HOW right the Dorset Echo is in its editorial comment (January 27) about not being able to identify a teenager upon whom a court had imposed an antisocial behaviour order.

If I had my way, this thug and other villains would receive, without question, 20 lashes of the birch. If they continued to behave antisocially the punishment would increase. And, incidently, let the punishment be carried out in public. I feel sure crime would drop like a stone - put it to the test.

The Home Office must be blind to the facts regarding justice. Keep the `do gooders' at bay. I for one would take the law into my own hands, as the law stands now, if I were attacked in any shape or form.


They appear to have edited out the words "I am not mad" at the end.

The Scaryduck Archive