Friday, March 30, 2007

Mirth and Woe: On Her Majesty's Smelly Service

Mirth and Woe: On Her Majesty's Smelly Service

I worked as a temp in a civil service office a few (many) years ago. In fact, it was my first job out of college, which I sort of stumbled into when they stopped sending me unemployment money.

"We're afraid, Mr Duck," they said, confusing me with some sort of adult, "that as a former student that you are not actually unemployed, and really ought to be thinking about getting yourself some sort of paying job."

"Ah," I said, scratching the seat of my dole money-purchased jeans, "It was good while it lasted. Got any vacancies?"

"Yes. Yes we have."

Trapped. And before I knew it, I was dragged inside and introduced to my new colleagues, many of whom had asked - far too lazy to walk across town to the Job Centre - the same question, and had never quite got round to leaving. Some had been there for years.

I wouldn't have minded working for a living if it wasn't for the vexed and entirely new problem of how to deal with colleagues, some of whom were actually in their thirties. Or perhaps even older. And they smelled funny. In some cases - such as the fragrant Miss Dennis, who I still hold a torch for some 22 years later - "clean"; in the case of Jean-Paul - who I never fancied - "like a tramp's shitter".

Jean-Paul, who despite being French, had found his way into the heart of the British civil service - wore the same clothes every day I worked there: shirt, tie, tank top, cord trousers, and he stunk the place out. So much so, that over the course of several weeks, we all managed to move further and further away from him until there was a decent sized neutral zone between him and the rest of the section.

There was only one problem with this situation: he was the boss, and despite the massive clue that noone would go within ten feet of our minging manager, no bugger had the front to tell him he was a filthy, dirty bastard.

So: guess who - on his last day before getting a real job - was made to do the not-so-dirty deed?

His reply: "Oh. I thought you were all avoiding me, or something."

We were Jean-Paul, you soap-dodging dog, we were.

However, Jean-Paul was the least of our worries on the personal hygiene front. The Reading Unemployment Benefit Office could quite easily be twinned with any French armpit on the planet, and on any given weekday, the place would swarm with many of the town's smelliest residents.

Thursdays were the worst - that was the day that all the homeless, drunks and tramps came in for their money, and staff would go about their work with blobs of Vicks Vapor Rub under their noses to mask the awful, awful smell of piss, shit, sweat, puke and cider.

It was even worse when it rained, as you could actually see the smell rolling about the place in a big, grey cloud. Seasoned staff would resort to any possible scheme to avoid Thursday desk duty, up to, and including partial nudity. Alas, working as I did on the Thursday signers section, I was never excused Thursday desk duty. The only consolation was that Mr Wanker came to sign on Thursdays, and that was a treat never to be missed.

Soon came the day when I was no longer The New Boy, and had the pleasure of escorting a stick of a girl called Susan on her first Thursday desk duty. Despite repeated warnings, she completely failed to appreciate the sheer awfulness of the situation, believing, somehow that she would be immune from The Stink.

Still, I tried my best:

"Vicks?" I asked, hoping it might lead onto other things.

"Vicks what?" and "Who do you think I am - some sort of druggie?"

"Suit yourself. You'll regret it later."

Outside, it rained, and the dregs of the Capital of the Thames Valley shuffled towards the office at the bottom of London Street, like zombies to an all-you-can-eat brain buffet

The doors opened, and the derelicts burst forth in a grabbing human tide, clutching filthy UB40s, a fug of sheer unadulterated stench tarnishing any solid object they approached.

They had one goal. Get to the front, sign the form with an "X" (which they would invariably spell wrong), get their cheque, before heading to the post office and the nearest bottle shop, in that order. The nearest bottle shop being, of course, the branch of Prestos supermarket where I had my Saturday job. I was on virtual first name terms with most of the clientele already.

"Ah! Mr Thompson!" said poor, poor Susan, as a bearded thing of indeterminate gender who could have been any age between thirty and eighty, coat all done up with string forced his way to the front of the queue.

"Merp," she said, trying to hold it back.

"Where's me money?" growled the Bum.




It was beautiful. The perfect shower, aimed straight at the tramped hideous, twisted face. And it would have been a direct hit, too, if it were not for the panel of flexi-glass separating clients from staff. Some of the Bums clapped and cheered, for they had not caused such a reaction for several weeks at least.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" she said, by way of an encore, this time filling her tray of dole claims, pens and half a Snickers bar with rich, brown vomit.

This voms trickling down the glass window, Mad Old Tommo stood there impassively, as if this kind of thing happened to him every day. And in the World of Tramp, it probably did.

"Am I still getting my money, or what?"

I packed it all in and got a job with cows.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Jus' Like That"

"Jus' Like That"

A busy week at work sees your author and his colleagues turfed out of their improbably luxurious office in the billiard room of our country house headquarters, into was was once the ballroom, complete with chandeliers, exquisite mouldings around the decorative fireplace and stunning views across the Capability Brown-designed gardens. It's a tough old life.

Alas, the idyll didn't last long, as somebody in a fluorescant green polo shirt turned up on Tuesday to install the phones before hitting us with the phrase that all office staff dread:

"Where d'you want the fax machine?"

"The WHAT?"

"Fax Muh-chine."

"Next to the bin. Saves time."

The week got much better with the arrival of a couple of parcels. Duck (Scary) likes it when he gets unexpected gifts. So:


I can thank the excellent Rikaitch for the latter, and now my task is to find that special brand of tomato ketchup they use in greasy spoon cafes that goes black and crispy on exposure with oxygen. Then, my life will be complete.

I can't wait to show it to Mrs Duck. She'll think I'm the best person EVER.

And as this excellent week gets even more excellenter with the production of a script for the next Bummy Rabbit Adventure, I bring you a Thursday vote-o with five stories to choose from. The vote-o quote-os - gleaned from The House of Lies - may or may not, as usual, reflect the contents of the story.

* Doctors and Nurses: "Yellow snow is a naturally occurring phenomenon, and is perfectly safe to eat"

* Bullshit: "The game of Association Football, or 'Soccer', dates back to the early 1970's. It is loosely based upon the ancient English sport of dwarf kicking"

* Cretin Band: "Jeremy Kyle once filmed an entire edition of his TV show which contained no fighting, trailer trash or swearing. It was never broadcast"

* Smelly: "The vacuum cleaner was invented as a sex aid by a technologically advanced order of Carmelite nuns. Every time you buy a Dyson, a penguin has an orgasm"

* A Trip to Edinburgh: "Money is not the root of all evil. It’s Bonsai plants"

Vote! Vote-me-up! Hussssss!

I am not mad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jism News update

Jism News update

Good God, am I still giving sperm samples?

Yes. Yes I am.

Eighteen months after the snip, lost and spoilt samples, and the sheer inconvenience of trying to hoik a sperm sample into a very small pot in a hospital 100 miles away, have meant that we haven't quite got round to finishing the job in hand. As it were.

So, up I went to the second floor of the Dorchester County Hospital last Friday on my way to a red hot lunch date with the fragrant Mrs Duck, with my freshly-squeezed jizz sample (I know what you're thinking - the usual joyless process aided and abetted with the use of industrial-grade sandpaper) nice and warm down the front of my trousers and strode purposefully into the Path Lab reception area.

"Sample for you" I said, banging it down on the desk in the traditional manner, and turned to leave.

"Hang on a minute, sir," said the fetching young lady in a lab coat, "We've changed our procedures."


"We're wasting far too much time on lost and badly labelled samples. We've got to check and sign it in."


"So. What kind of sample is it?"

"Errr.... sperm?"


"She's on her break," said a colleague, "You'll have to tannoy her."


Five minutes later, she finally arrives, still clutching a cup of tea.

"Sperm sample?"

"Err... yes."

"Yours, is it?"

"Ummm... could be."

"There's not very much, is there?"

And: "Gather round everybody - this is how we're checking in sperm samples from now on..."

"Can I go now?"

"No. Not yet. How old is this sample?"

"Um... no more than thirty minutes. And I know what you're thinking. Nigella Lawson."

"You disgust me."

I fled.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tales of Tax and Woe

Tales of Tax and Woe

In which the Duck brings about The End Of Civilisation As We Know It by writing a blog post about his Income Tax arrangements

For reasons of taxation far too complicated even for my immense intellect, I find myself in need of becoming a limited company. I am, sadly, absolutely rubbish at money, and if it were not for Mrs Duck and her knowledge of the dark arts of accountancy, trial balances and (fnarr) double entry I would probably be living in a cardboard box under the railway arches by now.

So! I now have an appointment with a very nice man, and together we are going to fill in some forms and get me registered at Companies House as a bona fide - and corporate tax paying - purveyor of media services, which, frankly, scares the shit out of me. The whole process will almost certainly save me a visit to one for Her Majesty's finest prisons, where I would certainly learn the true meaning of double entry in a number of prolonged, violent lessons.

What I really need is a fantastic, completely non-offensive and legal name for my enterprise, and, let's be honest, S. Duck Productions Limited or Scaryduck Media Limited do not really fill me with a great sense of joy. I was toying with Flat Dog Limited, but some bastard beat me to it, and now I am thrashing around trying to find something a) puntastic and b) acceptable to the fragrant Mrs Duck who will be doing the tax returns.

Go on, then: suggest-me-up. There's a scary-looking Companies House searchable database here, if it helps.

Small prize for the winning idea!

Monday, March 26, 2007

On Fame

On Fame

Carr = CuntThe current proliferation of reality shows and gossip magazines means that just about anybody can claim to be a celebrity these days.

However, with a swarm of humanity's dregs looking for easy fame and the filthy lucre that goes with it have found - sadly - that the bar has been set so much higher than those that have gone before them. With a world shortage of bug-eyed D&G sunglasses to boot, it appears that the needy have to work that much harder to get themselves into the roped-off VIP area.

You could - if you set your standards low enough - throw yourself at a footballer, and sweep into fame as a WAG, the lifestyle of the most vacuous, worthless people in the world, ranking just below Nazi War Criminals in the list of people who should die slowly and painfully. Vacancies for both genders, you will be glad to hear.

It's no longer enough to be photographed drunk-in-charge of Charlotte Church; nor is urinating over a strangely willing Peter Andre whilst the world's press watches in stunned silence. Britney Spears' baldie shenanigans and the fact that Jade Goody even exists at all means that there are now minimum standards of head-turning manky bad behaviour before the red-tops even get out of bed for you.

It's sad, but a typical night in central London - or any other provincial town where you might find a press hack with a camera - sees a whole procession of desperate has-beens and never-will-bes resorting to ever more desperate stunts in order to secure that coveted front page in Chat! magazine, or - the Holy Grail indeed - the GMtv sofa.

At the risk of giving these scum the oxygen of publicity, here are a few of the more tawdry sights that took place over the last weekend alone which found scant coverage in even the local press:

* Keith Chegwin eating his own vomit outside Jamie Oliver's 'Fifteen' restaurant, before squatting in the gutter, telling passers-by he was "planting tomatoes"

* Tara Palmer-Tompkinson (from it-girl to shit-girl in one easy lesson) intervening in a brutal civil war in the Congo before falling over drunk outside The Ivy

* Billie Piper reviving the slave trade after a 200-year break with a shameless press release from her PR organisation "Doctor Who girl fills much-needed gap in public service industry", before falling over drunk outside The Ivy

* TV's Jimmy Carr ripping the wings off budgies and forcing them into the bottoms of disabled children at Great Ormond Street Hospital screaming "IT'S FOR CHARITY! IT'S FOR CHARITY!", whilst an equally desperate Vanessa Feltz demonstrates the art of self-fisting at a Women's Institute luncheon attended by the Duchess of Cornwall

* Several evictees from Big Brother Series 2-4 team up with a couple of Apprentice failures to kidnap a donkey from Blackpool Beach, fellating it in the middle of Leicester Square at the premiere of Eddie Murphy's Norbit, then projecting their tawdry animal lust onto thirty-foot-high screens placed in strategic places around central London. Nobody notices
Sad, isn't it? A dismal look into the world of these desperate, needy people who thrive only on the attention afforded to them by the gossip columns. A dismal look that actually had a little bit of sick rising into my mouth.

With your gift of love, we can help these people. Tell us who you have seen acting up for the cameras, and we can send a SWAT team round pronto to sort them out.

We've got to be cruel to be kind. We've said it before: we've got to see how committed to their fame these people really are. When reality shows talk of life-and-death decisions, they ought to really mean it. Culling useless celebrities is the only way forward.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Timmy

Mirth and Woe: Timmy

Buster Gonad: You bet he didA tale from Kendo, the most excellent Scaryduck Father-in-Law

Timmy was Kendo's mate at school at the arse end of the 1950s. When he says 'mate', of course, he means 'complete and utter psycho who we never managed to shake off for the best part of thirty years'. Still, Timmy loved his mum. We're just not 100 per cent sure that his mum loved him that much in return.

According to Kendo, Timmy was the King of the Random Dare. You could make up just about any stupid, pointless dare on the spot, and Timmy would go off and do it. Within twenty minutes, there'd be a copper at his front door, ready to hand out a thick ear by way of summary justice, and that would be the end of that, providing he also went round and apologized to the Women's Institute by the end of the week for that business with the dog turds.

"Here lads," he said one autumnal morning, "I've got some bangers. Where should I let them off?"

Quick as a flash: "In yer mum's gas oven."

So he did. His mum was cooking at the time.

"You idiot! Get it out before it goes…."


THRASH! went the carpet-beater on Timmy's arse in the time-honoured manner, and he was exiled from the kitchen while pie was scraped off the ceiling.

And ten minutes later:

"Go on Timmy, do it again."

"Right you are."

Alas, his old lady was waiting for him, still armed with the carpet-beater, and with the kind of skill that is currently sadly lacking in English cricketing circles, she clubbed the lit banger from her son's hand and clean over the fence into next door's garden.

'BANG ANG ANG!' It went in the small courtyard garden, which was all well and good apart from the small matter of their washing, now smouldering, and only mere seconds away from bursting into flames.

Which it did, with some gusto.

There was no need to get the local fuzz involved. Everybody in the street took turns to clip him round the ear and take turns on the carpet-beater.

"He got a job in a factory a few years after that," Kendo tells me. "They let him sweep the floors for a bit, and after a while they put him in charge of security."

As if anything could possibly go wrong with that little plan.

"He went a bit mental, cos of all of the break-ins on his watch, so he built a bomb."


"Yeah, a bomb to stop people from breaking in. The Police thought it was the IRA, an' everything, but it turned out it was only an idiot.

"He got on the TV over that."

Still, his mum loved him, exploding pie and controlled explosions in his former place of work notwithstanding. Why else would she patch up her number one son when he injured himself playing?

Why else would she scrape her poor boy off the grass when he fell out of a tree?

Why else would she nod in an understanding manner when he told her he'd nicked all of his dad's six inch nails? Nails, which he'd hammered into the tree to make a set of makeshift steps taking him all the way to the top.

Why else did she promise not to tell anyone that he'd come unstuck halfway up, losing his balance as he hammered away, falling, and catching his meat-and-two veg on one of those very stolen six-inch nails on the way down?

Why else, realising that he had ripped himself asunder, did she sew his ballbag back up with a needle and thread and send him on his merry way?

It is the very least any mother would do.

Top work, Mrs Timmy. It's people like you who ought to be congratulated, saving the NHS vital resources. I am wincing as I type this.

Dear reader: Your turn to be sick in a hedge, just this once.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Like The Two Ronnies Never Happened

Like The Two Ronnies Never Happened

A new game!

As if the Dorset Echo wasn't already the funnest local newspaper in the world (yesterday's front page headline: The Hedge of Destruction) young Scaryduck Junior has unwittingly produced big laughs in his attempts at the Quiz Challenge on the paper's Sudoku-tastic 'Take a Break' page.

Not realising that the answers at the bottom of the page were those from the previous day's quiz, he ploughed on regardless, his cries of "What the...?" becoming louder, eventually forcing us to dive for a pile of back issues looking for further funnies.


Name: S. Duck, Esq

Occupation: Genius

Specialist Subject: The Answers to The Questions Set Yesterday.

With which song did Sandie Shaw win the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest?
The London Stock Exchange

What is a beaver's home called?

Which fictional character came from Never Never Land?
Tony Benn

Which ballet includes the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy?
You Only Live Twice

Which flag is flown at the stern of Royal Navy vessels?
Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa Laa and Po

What is the scientific name for the white of an egg?

What type of animal lives in a lodge?
President Gerald Ford

Which Asian country was formerly known as the Dutch East Indies?
Acker Bilk

Who suceeded Kate Hoey as Minister for Sport in 2001?
Unwanted body hair

What is the Russian name equivalent in meaning to John?
The British Airline Pilots Association
Ah, literally minutes of sidesplitting fun on any given day (except Sundays, when we're expected to make our own entertainment. And we do, but we think the tramp's getting pretty pissed off with Lick-the-Derelict now).

Struck down with the lurgi and can't-be-arsed-itis, no Thursday vote-o today. Tomorrow's story will be decided by the scientifically-proven process known as 'One Potato, Two Potato'. Failing that: 'Ip Dip Dog Shit'.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wiki-me-do, dude

Wiki-me-do, dude

Wikipedia is excellent. It professes to be a storage vessel of the entire span of human knowledge. Which means, by very definition, they let some truly weird shit into it. Like this:

And waste your entire day with a shedload more here

Or, you could go the whole hog and have a go on an entire wiki resource owned and edited by complete nutters.

Favourite Wiki pages? Husssssss!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bummy Rabbit Adventures: Free Salad

ScaryVision presents:

Bummy Rabbit Adventures: Free Salad

It is the motion picture they said could never be made. The Citizen Kane of the bummy rabbit world, starring several rabbits who are very slightly bummy and have a thing for stealing other people's free salad. And getting bummy.

Shot entirely on location in our living room, the flm's producer, Scaryduckling says: "Sounds bummy? It probably is. About 34 % bummy; and there are more, even bummier films in the pipeline."

Scaryduckling is twelve years old and lists Lily Allen as her top MySpace friend; and I am very, very sorry to have corrupted her this way.

Yeah, I know: "Grow up."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Film Review: 300

Film Review: 300

To be perfectly honest, we only went along as we're holding out for the sequel: 301 - the utterly true story of how a small band of darts players, led by Crafty Cockney Sir Eric Bristow, saved Britain during the Blitz, but this would have to do for now.

The Iranian government really doesn't want you to see '300'. Like most outraged protests against popular culture, they probably haven't seen it yet at the Tehran Roxy, but it is a film that has made President Mad Dog Ahmadinejad so cross he can't even go to the toilet properly.

"This film," said a government spokesman, "is an example of psychological warfare against Iran and its people. Go and watch Norbit instead. That Eddie Murphy, he's a gas."

They've got a point, truth be told. 300, whilst the most spectacular retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persian foe resemble no Iranians that I know, and accusations that the film may be racist - whether intentionally or not - are not easily dismissed. But then, it's a simple Black Hat vs White Hat, good against evil, in the long tradition of Hollywood. The world may have moved on, but the action movie remains the same.

The ancient historian Herodotus tells of a million-strong Persian army that stripped the countryside for miles around and drank rivers dry; and a three day battle in the narrows of Thermopylae, where three hundred Spartans held back Xerxes' army back long enough to rally the rest of Greece behind them.

300's jaw-dropping CGI does well to convey the sheer magnitude of the invasion, yet, the basic story aside, realism is thrown right out of the window.

Loaded with U.S. vs Them imagery, the Persians are portrayed as swarthy sexual deviant warmongers bent only on the destruction of those good, white, European Greeks. Unable to learn from their mistakes, they use force of numbers against the more intelligent, better organised Spartans to no avail. Because, hell yeah, we're number one.

Sparta itself is seen as rolling wheat fields, as lush and bountiful as the American Midwest; while the Spartan army is the US military, outnumbered yet still winning surrounded by these Godless Al Qaeda curs miles from their homeland, helped only by their barely competent British ..err.. Greek buddies, who run off home as soon as the game is up.

Even those cowardly, treacherous Democrats are there, cowardly, treacherous and shagging about while the Real Men are out there, kicking Iranian ..errr.... Foreign ...err... Persian butt.

'Ouch'All this aside, this is - and to quote my companion of the night - the choppingest film I've ever seen. Do not care that in adapting Frank Miller's graphic novel, Zack Snyder has driven a large bus through the historical facts - a large double decker with "History? ARSE!" painted down the side - 300 beats all the "Rings" movies into a cocked hat with the sheer intensity, guts, gore and sub-bass rumble of its battle scenes. You see heads, arms, legs, bits of hors, rhino and elephant - and I might have been imagining here - a Zoidberg-type gentleman with lobster claws for arms chopped off, impaled, skewered or cooked in an orange sauce.

It is all beautifully choreographed, and there are stages where you forget you are seeing some of the most gruesome deaths ever committed to celluloid and just wonder at the sheer hideous beauty of it all. 300 is, all told it is a loud, bloody, and downright exhilarating experience.

Forget the plot holes, the stilted dialogue, the ham-fisted political imagery. 300 is the most intense action movie you will see for a long, long time. Not one for the family on Mother's Day, mind.

I am told that the IMAX version is even better...

And if there is a moral of this tale, it is this: The lack of an inclusive disability policy will be your downfall, soldier. I think.

Coming soon: In a world going mad - an epic tale of mirth, woe and a quest for carrots. In pre-production as we speak, Duck (Scary) Pictures present Bummy Rabbit Adventures.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Red Carpet

Red Carpet

Accidentally finding myself an A-List blogger again, some very nice people asked me if I would like to go to the London premiere of the gore-fest that is the Spartan war movie 300; and could I, if I liked it, write a review?

All casual like, and trying not to sound too keen, I virtually ripped their arms off for the tickets.

So, Thursday night, and I am joined by Tom, and together we milk the red carpet for all we are worth, waving at a bemused crowd and offering them autographs before being told to stop.

A film premiere is, it turns out, a rather excellent and completely over-the-top event that defies all logic and completely buggers up large parts of Central London just so a few hundred people can go watch a movie of an evening.

So good in fact, that I encourage you all to beg, borrow and steal in order to experience just once in your life.

Lordy, it had just about everything in a Leicester Square bursting at the seams: a large, excitable crowd of celeb-spotters; the full red carpet treatment featuring a number of lightly-oiled young men with very few clothes but unnervingly realistic weaponry; a meet-and-greet with the director, producers and stars (all fully-dressed, not lightly-oiled at all); all the popcorn you can steal; and a big, loud hack-and-slash-fest of an action movie that you can show you granny, if you want to send her to an early grave.

We left with just one word on our lips: "Wow."

OK, and "What the blummin' hell was that all about?" and "I want to do it again."

A hint for these occasions: When the star-struck celeb-spotters grab you on the red carpet and ask "Are you famous?", you sign your autograph, say "Yes. Yes I am", and then flee. I signed as Aled Jones. Poor, poor Aled.

Review coming Monday. Nine severed limbs out of ten.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Bin

Buy Stuff! For charity!

Before we start: Mike Atkinson set himself the improbable task of producing a book within seven days to raise funds for Comic Relief. The result - with only very minor assistance from my good self - is Shaggy Blog Stories, the best comic writing from British blogs.

Thanks to a deal cut with the publishers, getting on for half of the cover price goes to charity. You've got nothing to lose, then, and I can guarantee that my submission contains the word "YAAAAAAAAARCH". Get. In. There.

Mirth and Woe: Bin

Look out! I'ts already tasted human flesh!"I'm off to the corner shop for a paper - do we need anything?"

"Yes," shouted Mrs Duck from the top of the stairs, "get some milk."

"Right you are then."

"And don't forget to post that letter to the bank."

How could I forget. The thieving bastards. Sixty pissing quid.

"And that big pile of Christmas cards. Post them too."

How could I forget. The thieving ...err...

"But… but…." I countered, "It's still November."

"Stop complaining. It pays to be early."

So, out I stepped into the chill of the autumn morning that Saturday, clutching a bundle of letters and cards to my chest, munching on a nearly-out-of-date Wagon Wheel I had found abandoned in the kitchen. I would need to keep my strength up for the ordeal that was to come.

Down the hill I went, past The Old Castle pub - resisting the urge to pop in for a quick pint - and made brisk work of the hill up the other side where the corner shop stood cheek-by-wobbling-jowl to the Neptune Takeaway.

Being the good citizen that I am, I had pocketed the Wagon Wheel wrapper with the intention of throwing it into the bin outside the shop, before posting the letters and making my select purchases of milk and the local scandal sheet.

So I did.

Then, without thinking, I threw all of the wife's bank letters and Christmas cards into the bin as well.

Oh, spoons.

It wasn't a small bin either. It was a great big cast iron thing which the council had bought in a job lot from the Kharborovsk Bloody Huge Cast Iron Bin Concern several years previously, in a vain attempt to keep the borough looking tidy. Take a walk through Weymouth town centre first thing on a Sunday as I have done, shin deep in fast food wrappers, and you will see they have failed.

Big, deep, foul-smelling bin, and there, right at the bottom, were my letters.

If I could just reach in and get them…

And yes, you should know me by now, shortarse that I am - they were all literally inches beyond my reach.

There was only one thing for it. I heaved myself upwards and leaned into the bin, headfirst, as far as I could.

It stunk.

At the bottom, eating my mail, was the remnants of what might once have been a doner kebab, now evolving into a rudimentary life-form whose sole purpose in life was to eat anything that fell into its domain and smell like a bucket of dead rats.

And still the letters remained steadfastly out of my reach. So, with one final thrust, and with both feet off the ground, I made one final lunge for my property.

And fell in.

All the way in.


"Err... help?" I asked of a passing dog.

At least I had my letters back. I could get myself out, scrape the worst of the filth off me with a passing tramp, and nobody would be any the wiser.

Nobody, of course, except for the small crowd that had gathered to watch my performance. And the bus. The double decker, open-topped bus of the kind they only ever have in seaside towns, which had almost certainly made a wide detour from the other side of Weymouth just to see me flailing around like an inverted spacker.

There was a brief round of applause, and I fled, Napoleon Dynamite-style, not looking back until I got home, for fear that the man-eating bin had followed me.

A small amount of Wagon Wheel-flavoured sick filled my mouth, and there was an unexplainable stain on the seat of my second best trousers. Marks and Spencers, they were.


"Did you get the milk?"

*Boilk* "Err… they ran out," I lied, boilking again. "I'm going down the Co-op."

"So you couldn't post the letters, then?" she asked, "And Christ alive, what's that smell? Have you been climbing in and out of dustbins?"

Nothing gets past that woman. Nothing.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On not being able to win, ever

On not being able to win, ever

She: "You never buy me presents."

Me: "Yes. Yes I do. I remembered Valentine's Day and our anniversary. You got flowers, and I got 'where did you get the money?'"

"But you never surprise me. A present out of the blue would be nice."

"True - but now that you've mentioned it, it's not going to be much of a surprise when I turn up on Friday with a box of Milk Tray, is it?"

"Normal men buy their wives underwear. I bet you don't even know my size."

"Meh. I could find out, you know."

"That'll be the day."

Two days later:

"What the bloody hell are you doing in my underwear drawer?"

"I... err..."

"You pervert!"

"But you said..."


*sigh* "Flowers, then..."


Women: Can't live with 'em, can't stove 'em over the head with a blunt instrument and bury 'em under the patio.

The Thursday Vote-o

Another week, another list of both mirth and woe for you to choose from for tomorrow's Scary Story. Once again, they come with less-than-helpful descriptions left over from The House of Lies. Which is true? Which is false? Choose! CHOOSE!

* Bin: Outside of the tourist season, the mayor of Venice pulls out the great big plug on the canal, and the city has regular roads just like any other place in the world

* Doctors and Nurses: The events in the film 'Independence Day' actually happened. They just covered it up as part of a global conspiracy

* Timmy: Several government ministers have resigned their posts over the Trident controversy this week. You would have thought they had more important things to get so worked up about other than rubbish chewing gum adverts

* Bullshit: At least two of the Pokemon are classified as sexually transmitted diseases, giving the lie to the phrase ‘Gotta catch em all’

* Cretin Band: The Russians have a spy satellite so powerful it can tell if you have the crabs. The only way to defeat its Crab-detecting rays is to wrap the afflicted parts in tinfoil

In the name of Bummy Rabbits: Chooooooooooooose!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rubbish Book Reviews - Reviewing rubbish books so you don't have to read them

Rubbish Book Reviews - Reviewing rubbish books so you don't have to read them

No.2: 'Mad Frankie: Memoirs of a Life of Crime' - Frankie Fraser

Mad Frankie? Rubbish Frankie, more like.

My latest book rescued from the pile of abandoned dross found in the laundrette is the slash 'n' tell autobiography of one of London's most notorious criminals. I wasn't expecting Tolstoy here - not by any stretch. Good Lord, I didn't even expect Dan Brown, but this is hardly a work of literary genius.

The fact that - by his own admission - that he has spent more than half of his life doing stir suggests that he wasn't a very good one, but even in his 80s, Fraser would probably still be able to have both my legs broken for making such a scurrilous suggestion.

Less a book, unfortunately, more a series of unedited monologues spoken to an unfortunate ghostwriter, who, tied to a chair in the basement of a South London gymnasium made little attempt to make any sort of sense of Fraser's ramblings; and as such, it's hard to tell where one pummelling ends and the next inch-of-your-life slashing begins.

The whole experience isn't helped by the fact that the portrait Fraser paints of himself is so utterly unlikeable. He spent the Second World War dodging the draft, robbing shops, doing prison and feigning mental illness, and it was downhill from there.

Renowned for his brutality in the face of some slag who grassed him up and broke the criminals' code, he is remarkably reticent about the people he'd thrash into a bloody pulp, and the details of said thrashing, preferring, instead, the euphemism "sorting him out".

Random Criminal Code Quote: "And then we had a drink", meaning "I met the Krays in a pub, said very little, but came to an unspoken understanding that I was to beat the living shit out of a number of people. Then we had a drink."

Famous - and infamous - faces waft in and out of the confusing narrative, but there's no real continuity, and instead of the grudging admiration you get from Bark Charles Bronson's book, this leaves you with an overwhelming sense of "So what?" - a life wasted, and the waste of a book.

He's running guided tours of London Gangland for tourists these days. Poor Frankie.

The only other book left lying around the laundry is one about our Lord, big-nosed spiritual leader and creative tax-avoidance specialist Bono. I shall save myself the bother of reading it and writing a review by leaving the following two words: "sanctimonious cunt".

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"The perfect gift for Mothers Day"

"The perfect gift for Mothers Day"

With less than a week to go until one of those oh-so-special dates on the calendar that I'm not allowed to forget, I am at a loss what to get for the fragrant Mrs Duck for Mothers Day*. This is despite - and, lordy, I've looked it up - the day itself not actually being known as "Wives and Mothers Day".

I mean, we've got a perfectly good anniversary in just over a month's time. A day I cannot forget under any circumstances - we were married on Adolf Hitler's birthday. And what's wrong with that? I grew facial hair specially.

Good God, what more do these females want? As this is a proper sexist rant, I would point out that International Women's Day was only last week, a fact I made to my charming wife seconds before I demanded my dinner, on the table, NOW, "An' while you're at it, get yer knickers on an' rustle us up a cuppa tea".

"Where," I asked, recovering from a rather uncalled for kick in the 'nads "is International Men's Day?" The correct answer being, of course, the other 364 days of the year.

Any road up, you cannot currently avoid an endless stream of TV advertisements for any old crap from Neil Diamond CDs to ...err... other soppy CDs, all with the strapline "The Perfect Gift for Mothers Day".

This is a claim, and I'm sure you're with me on this, which is crap on two counts. Number one, I'm the one who wants the Neil Diamond CD (for sound and utterly valid reasons which Sigmund Freud could have written entire volumes about); and second, I'm not entirely certain that your average mother actually wants this crap.

Scary Sister, for example, despite her worrying knitting habits, would probably rip both your arms off for the entire Nine Inch Nails back catalogue and a backstage pass at Glastonbury; while Mrs Duck would clearly purchase every Westlife disc on the market, before inserting them violently up their bottoms. And she would not be out of order.

So: "The Perfect Gift For Mothers Day" is clearly an advertising executive's myth. In which case, I am open to your suggestions. Guys! What are you buying for women of the female persuasion? No-Tails! What, exactly do you want? Contrary to what you might have heard, we are not mind-readers.

My list so far - correct me if I am worng in any way whatsoever:

  • Ten Inches, or, failing that...
  • "Girth"
  • Alan Rickman Real Doll in a number of realistic, undraped poses
  • Egg
  • Front row tickets to the Chippendales and an AK47 assault rifle
  • Steady, well-paid work at a local lap-dancing club with adequate child-care facilities
What? WHAT?

* Fellow grammar Nazis! I am fully aware that there is an apostrophe in 'Mothers Day'. Unfortunately, no bugger can work out where it goes, so I shall duck the issue by not bothering. That is all.

Also: Congrats to Arseblog, Girl with a one-track mind and Zoe MyBoyfriendIsATwat, who are all officially The Best Blogs In The World.

Arseblogger's gong will be the only silverware the Arsenal are going to win this season, so, on a winning streak that he is, I encourage him to turn up with his boots at tomorrow's game against Aston Villa, where Arsene Wenger should stick him up front if he's got any sense. A big "Woo!" to all of you.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Scaryvision: Guess with Bogey

Scaryvision: Guess with Bogey

Hello children everywhere.

Bogey the Rabbit is playing Charades. Can you guess what he's trying to say? Can you?

And what is Bogey doing to poor, poor Robber Rabbit's bottom? Naughty, naughty Bogey.

The answers are:

* Dancing on Arse
* Jenson Buttocks driving an Arston Martin


* Toss Daly

Yeah, I know: "Grow up."

Aided and abetted by Scaryduckling, who also ought to know better.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Rubbery

By the power vested in me*, I bring you...

Mirth and Woe: Rubbery

There's no point my denying it. I was a teenage saddo. A geek and a saddo who liked nothing better than sitting at home building model airplanes out of bits of wood and plastic. The only problem being that I was not particularly good at it.

Airfix kits tended to be the kind with heavily steamed-up windows caused by gluey finger-prints, while the paint job tended -for reasons of budget - not to come in the regulation colours. My only success on this front came when I won a small prize in the Air Cadets, disguising a couple of my less successful projects as the end result of a plane crash.

Some of my projects even flew, after a fashion. A round-the-pole aircraft actually managed to fly round a pole, but only in the same way that half a brick will fly if you strap a powerful enough engine to it. My enormously ambitious radio-controlled glider was more successful, but only insofar as its unerring knack of crashing into peoples' bumholes when they least expected it.

Random quote: "BAAAAAAAAAAAAAARN - WOOOMPH - MWAAAAAAAARGH!", three words that have followed me in any project I have undertaken, ever.

So, what boyish stupidity led me to build by my ambitious and utterly pointless project of them all - a balsa-and-tissue paper aircraft powered by elastic power? Elastic. Like out of your knickers. This would, I hoped, lead me to a future career flying fighter jets, several years before the realisation that flying upside down makes me puke rich brown vomit all over the back of the pilot's helmet. This is not good, not in any circumstances.

Superbly crafted out of balsa wood and tissue paper and finely painted with dope - no it’s not what you think, but sniffing it had a very similar effect - for lightness of weight and strength, my elastic-powered plane soon took shape. Like a great white albatross it was, with a wing span of four feet, and of a similar length, but such were the materials used in this triumph of teenage nerd engineering, it weighed only a few ounces.

However, this would not be strength enough against its number one enemy: Dog Attack. I arrived home from school one evening to the gravest of news. My plane was in several dozen pieces across my bedroom, and what we couldn't find was assumed to be inside Snoopy. I didn't care if it was his birthday. He was in HUGE trouble. If he didn't already lack two in the bollock department, I might have personally cut them off with my modelling knife.

It was only a minor setback. A couple of weeks later, and the purchase of several yards of elastic later, the beast was ready to fly. It was a brisk winter's afternoon, snow on the ground, that we went out for a test flight. It was at this precise moment that we realised the number one disadvantage of this kind of model aircraft. You needed to wind the bloody thing up to make it go.

What I didn't realise was that most hobbyists in this genre often adapt an electric drill for this very purpose. Attaching it to a hook on the propeller, at 900 rpm, the winding is the job of seconds. I wasn't allowed a drill as I could not be trusted with power tools, so it was about ten minutes in the mind-numbing cold, finding brand new swears every time my finger slipped and taking a whack from a high-speed propeller.

Eventually, a small crowd had gathered in the school field, and we were ready for the launch. There was a solemn countdown, and I heaved it into the air with a wooden 'Thrumm!' and off it went, rather impressively and majestically if I may say so.


So impressively and majestically it went, that my joy turned to despair as it became clear that the aircraft would actually go about three times further than expected, and would clear the fence at the north end of the school field. The fence that separated the field from the school's open air swimming pool.


I took consolation on the fact that there was no audible splash. And so it proved. The plane was not in the water. Of course it wasn't. It had been so utterly sub-Arctic that week, it was ON the water, with the pool frozen solid.

Despite punching Squaggy hard on the arm, there was absolutely no way he was going to crawl across the ice and rescue my plane for me. It was either a waiting game, wait for the eventual thaw and fish it out several weeks later; or find something very, very, very long and poke it a few times.

Alternatively, we just threw stones at it until it got knocked back to the opposite edge of the pool. A triumph, which led to the school having to pay a small fortune to drain the thing and clean it out mere days before opening day in the spring.

Sadly, the plane was not long for this world. Moving away from the dangers of swimming pools and plane-eating trees, we thought the best place to test the thing further might be the street outside my house. We lived in a fairly quiet cul-de-sac, and the snow on the ground meant that we had plenty of warning in the unlikely event that a car should come down the hill and round the bend.

So, after another ten minutes of knuckle-rapping winding of the knicker elastic, we were ready for the off once again.

"Thrumm!" went the propeller.

"BAAAAAAAAAAAAARN!" went the plane.

Straight as a die, right up the road, and heading for a perfect landing at the bottom of the hill.


It was at that exact moment that something large and red hove into view. It was my father and his Renault Fuego sports hatchback. And possessing the Duck Driving gene which gives us all a heavier than average right foot, he was really carving up the snow, rally style.

The two would meet. Low flying model plane versus world's authority on bottom diseases in a big red sports car.

Bottom diseases won.

BAAAAAAAAAAAARN - WOOOMPH - and, of course, the groan of despair: MWAAAARGH!!

"That'll teach you", he said, handing back my plane.

Well, it certainly looked like my plane, if I had built it to be four feet across and six inches long.

"You're lucky it didn't hurt my car. Next time, build it stronger."

Thanks Dad. Thank you so much.

My enthusiasm for aero-modelling now as flat as my plane, we amused ourselves throwing snowballs at his car until he told us to stop.

Old skool ending: And then I was sick in a hedge.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

On getting weird emails

On getting weird emails

I used to get a lot of weird emails. This mainly had something to do with the email account I had a few years ago.

Back in the day when British Telecom were new to the whole intarweb business and slightly crap at it, they had a ropey email service called It's not there any more - they sold the site to Yahoo and it has since been eaten up by its larger rival. However, I got in there on the first day and signed up with my initials for a spiffily short email address:

What I didn't realise at the time - and bear with me on this - that any other talk21 user who wasn't entirely web savvy and used, say, commas instead of full stops in email addresses would find their mails defaulting to other users.

Me, for example.

So, anyone who might have been badgered into signing up for an email account in order to email their kids at university might find their mails going to my account simply because they couldn't work email. I'd get loads of rejected emails directed at the likes of 'HM1122, @, durham, ac, uk' which never got through to their intended targets, and, good God, what fun they were.

Edited highlights:

* "Don't be gay! What about the grandchildren?"

* "Don't ever bring that girl to our house, ever again. AM I CLEAR ENOUGH?"

* "Remember to do your laundry. It never hurts to make an impression in this world."

* Several dozen refusals from the same parent for further money because "I never had any money when I was at university. You'd only spend it on drink."

* The to-the-point: "Your cat got run over."

* And the enigmatic: "I shall be at Alton railway station at ten o'clock Saturday morning. I drive a white Ford Fiesta, and have a beard. Bring own condoms and lube."

Actually, I was tempted to reply to the last one, suggesting that he might like to have a shave.

After a while, impressed by the quality of this email wrongness, I stopped telling them that a complete stranger was reading their personal guff. Then I forgot all about it for a year, talk21 closed my account and that was the end of it. Bastards.

Still, fun while it lasted. And we'll always have Alton.

Post Script: The day after I wrote this, I got a wrong number voicemail on my mobile that wins the prize of King of All Wrongness. "Andy? It's Vince. The tranny orgy is tonight at [address in London]. Bring your own condoms and lube."

I now appreciate that "condoms and lube" play a very big part in the lives of rather more people than I realise; and that I am destined to receive this kind of smut for many years to come. Long may it continue.

I didn't go, by the way.

Post Post Script: Due to circumstances beyond my control (involving a useless workshy cunt of a builder, a council inspector, condoms and lube) I will be unable to administer a Thursday vote-o today. Instead, Misty, armed with a two foot length of tyre inner tube with a knot in the end and a gallon of axle grease, will instead do the choose-o for you.

Instead of voting, tell us your wrong number wrongness.

So mote it be.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

100% of SCIENCE!: How pikey is The Dorchester?

100% of SCIENCE!: How pikey is The Dorchester?

At 10am yesterday morning, in the name of SCIENCE I deposited a 1p piece in a urinal at London's none-more-posh Dorchester Hotel, and checked on it periodically throughout the day.

At 4.30pm, it was still there, proving conclusively, through theapplication of SCIENCE that The Dorchester Hotel is Not Pikey At All.

This procedure forms part of an irregular experiment to determine the Official Pikey Quotient of any pub, restaurant or hotel in the United Kingdom, for publication in a future Egon Ronay guide.

The experiment comprises the depositing of a small denomination coin in the gentlemen's urinal of said carefully chosen establishment, and measuring how much time passes before the coin is removed.

Points may be scored based on the denomination of the coin; the time period between deposition and removal; repeated removal of increasingly lower denomination coins; and (difficult one, this) whether monies are removed by staff or by customers.

Current Leaderboard:

Enormously Pikey: Weymouth Railway Workers' Social Club (1p, 5 minutes)

Moderately Pikey: Garfunkels, Paddington (Three 2p pieces over the space of one hour)

A Bit Pikey: The White Horse, Reading (5p, 30 minutes)

Not Pikey At All: The Dorchester, London ("I'm sorry sir, none of our guests feel the need to carry loose change")

We find ourselves, at this moment in time, at a loose end regarding future dabblings in the world of SCIENCE. What, we ask, should we be investigating next?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

On bees, and the dangers thereof

On bees, and the dangers thereof

The best part of three years ago, I wrote this cautionary tale on the dangers of accepting unsolicited gifts of buzzy insects, when the likes of wasp-fancier Vanessa Feltz are on the prowl, unleashing her evil, leathery offspring on an unsuspecting public.

Alas, come 2007, my words of warning have gone dreadfully, awfully unheeded. I draw your attention to the advertisement in this week's copy of the Radio Times.

EASY BEE: For all your bees and bee-keeping needs

Yeah, right, I'm sure these are wonderful people who care for each and every one of their bees as if they were their own buzzy family members, but this has happened to me far too many times before. Open the lovingly-wrapped DHL carton, read the sweet hand-written note from Feltz and WOOMPH! - a mouthful of five hundred man-eating killer wasps that play merry hell on your complexion, and hurt like buggery when they eventually emerge from the other end.

What happens, I ask, if they get your order wrong, and it's yet another crate of Chinese Fighting Bees? What if - Primeval-style - they're selling bees that have fallen through a time anomaly from the Jurassic Period, and I get one six-foot prehistoric Bee O'Terror who turns out to be my great-great-times-ten-thousand grandfather? Is there a honey back guarantee?* Or, are you stuck in an endless contract with the Readers Digest Bee of the Month Club from which there is no escape?

"You'll never be disappointed with your queens," Easy Bee promise in as blatant a double entendre I've ever read, offering all kinds of bees starting at the knockdown price of £19.50 per bee. How much?!?!

We are reminded, at this time, of the words of Delboy, ancient Egyptian God of Jubbly, who taught us: "This time next year, we'll be millionaires." To this end, I've been out and about with a jar, looking for bees that I might be able to sell on at a substantial mark-up.

It has not gone well, and it appears that those curs at Easy Bee (clearly the latest EasyProject from Stelios Ioniononiou) have cornered the market, leaving me with nothing but a slightly drowned earthworm, a couple of flies I squished near the compost heap and the spider that lives behind the tumble dryer. Our first million may have to wait a while.

Buzzy Top Tip: Looking for a quality present for your wife or girlfriend? A handful of wasps inside an empty Smarties tube makes for an ideal marital aid.

* This is Scaryduckling's best ever joke. Plz to humour her.

Late Early Warning: S. Duck, BBC Radio Berkshire, 7.30am-ish on Tuesday (or, use the listen again button if you're that desperate to hear me).

Monday, March 05, 2007

The Many Trials of Samuel Pepys Esq

The Many Trials of Samuel Pepys Esq

January 9th 1660: The gravest of news comes to me in my offices today. Mrs Pepys, in her profligacy has piss'd all my money up the wall on frilly extravagances and servant boys, who depart, exhausted within a week, short of breath, but heavy in gold. I am, alas, forced to write for my living again so to cover her debts and pay off the blackmailers who continue to bother me over certain incriminating woodcuts. It has been a long tyme, but the words, I find, come easily enough:

'Dear Deirdre, I am a happily marri'd woman of some means, and find myself often in the intimate company of our footman who has an unnatural craving for the arts of Greek Love whilst our cook watches & makes erotic drawings (enclos'd). What should one do? Achingly Yours, Lady Agatha J'.

And to think that the readers (Mrs Pepys includ'd) are under the impression that these letters are genuine. My Lord Murdoch paid me thrupence for my missive, which will appear in tomorrow's scandal sheets. And so to bed, hav'ng dined on a fine meal of cat & offal, our debts pay'd & knowynge that my terrible secret remains hidden.

January 10th 1660: As if yesterday wasn't bad enough, the gravest of news comes to me in my offices today. Lord Horace Johnson, husband of Lady Agatha Johnson has read today's scandal sheets and has slaughter'd his cook and his footman in their beddes, castynge his poor wife into the streets like a common slattern, thinkynge that my letter was by her hand.

All of London is agog with talk of this scandal, but the watch show no interest, with Lord Horace being a favourite of the late Protector, and the deadde servants being but servants and food for ye pigs in Spital Fields. The Good Lord help me should he ever fynd the truth of the letter's origyn. My thrupence spent, dined alone on something dead I founde in White Chapel.

January 11th 1660: The gravest of news comes to me in my offices today. Lord H. Johnson beat the truth of my letter out of My Lord Murdoch, and I feare he is on his way here to deal with me in the foull'st manner imaginable.

My friend and colleague Luellin tells me he is ye best swordsman in all London, and it is said that he won the Battle of Sodmore single-hand'd in the Civil War, bitynge the heads of his enemies long after his sword broke and his pistol could fyre no more. Luellin then remember'd an important wig-fittyng appointment, and fled, leaving me and my foul'd breeches to an uncertain fate.

I was so scar'd I was unable to face my usual slattern on the way home, and bowk'd rich brown vomit all over My Lord's eldest daughter Mrs Jem, who is staying in our lodgings. She said it was a greate privilege to be vomit'd upon by such a fine gentleman, which pleas'd me greatly. And to bed, with thoughts of Lord Horace's awful revenge and Mrs Jem's heaving, sick-spatter'd cleavage fillyng my mind.

January 12th 1660: Up betimes, and wearyng a cunnyng disguise took myself to my offices, foregoing even my morning visit to Mr Lambert's bakery at Westminster Hall to catch sight of his lusty young maid and her fyne bunnes.

Alas, behinde me I heard a booming voice cry "Ah-ha!" and I turn'd to find a nine-foot-tall Lord Horace, built like ye proverbial stone shitte-house, bearyng down on me, sword in hand and murder in his heart.

"My Lord! Have mercy upon an innocent man!" I begg'd of him as I made what peace I cld with The Good Lord with the contents of my bladder runnynge down my leg.

"Mercy? For the man who insult'd my wife? A wife who I cast out into the street thynkying her a vile slut and a slattern? A wife who is still scraping the mucke from her flanges as a result of yr foul'st of words? I must, and will have satisfaction, thou lowly worm!"

"At least allow me to face you with a weapon in my hand!" I whin'd most piteously, but he damn'd me with his wordes:

"A weapon? You us'd yr pen as a weapon and what good it did you!"

At this, he rais'd his sword to strike me down, but was, as fate decried, struck down by a runaway offal cart, which kill'd him stone dead in his tracks. Dined on spare offal. And so to bed, where I hid, with nary a slattern of company, until nightfall, and all the fuss had died down.

January 14th 1660: Lord's Day. To Mr Gunning's church at Exeter-house, where I offer'd up thanks for my deliverance from Lord Horace, and found the widow Lady Agatha in a side chapel offering up her thanks fr the same viz: deliverance from her brute of a husband, whereupon she threw herself upon me and thank'd me most profusely for my kindness, pushing her marvellous décolletage into myne face in a most pleasyng manner and implorynge that we should rendezvous at a much later date, when no person might suspect we are meeting so soon after Lord Horace's death. I heartily agreed, saying it best to wait untille ye heat was offe.

To the Widow Johnson's rooms for dinner, whereupon she didst introduce me to the mysteries of Greek Love, with what she describes as a 'strap-on'. Resulte!

Saturday, March 03, 2007



This picture makes me laugh like a stupid.

On a quest to find a monkey for TV's Mr Biffo, I instead found him the front end of a sloth, for sale at the knock-down sum of £200 from a Truro-based taxidermist who is having a closing down sale.

I think it is safe to say that never has an animal been so happy to find itself nailed to a wall. TV's Mr Biffo didn't want it.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Fairground Shoot-out

Mirth and Woe: Fairground Shoot-out

Our quarry"I remember Tofifee," somebody said to me recently, "You could only get them by shooting a box off the shelf at the fun fair with a cork."

And that is more or less true. There must be whole obscure brands of confectionary that can only be obtained as funfair swag, the result of outrageous luck with a clapped out pump-action air rifle that could shoot round corners, on a stall run by some old woman who could knock you down dead with one look of her mangled fizzog. When they stopped selling sweet cigarettes in the shops, you could still get them by the truckload by hooking a rubber duck with a number painted on the bottom when the fair came to town. Only a quid a go.

After several years of abject failure with a shooter, I suddenly realised that my finely honed marksman skills counted for naught in the twisted world of the fairground shooting gallery. I devised myself A Cunning Stratagem.

My Cunning Stratagem involved firing the first cork as straight as I could, aiming at a fixed point. A friend, acting as a spotter, would tell me where the cork had actually gone, and following his instructions, we found we could eventually hit the target nine times out of ten.

"Try aiming eighteen inches to the left," he would say, and this at a range of no more than six feet, which spoke volumes on how crooked the game really was.

We ate like Kings that night. Kings who would then bowk rich brown vomit all over the dodgems. Kings that were told to "Fuck off" by the carnies, who, as a rule did not have the highest regard for kids who puked over their bumper cars.

Squaggy from down the road had his own Cunning Stratagem to beat the wizened old hag and her wrecked pile of scrap metal that posed as air rifles. As soon as her back was turned, he would whip out his own air pistol - slightly modified to accept a cork up the muzzle - and blaze away to his heart's content, until the carnies told him to fuck off, as well. When you are told to fuck off by a mountain of tattoos wielding the three-foot long spanner they use to stop the Octopus ride from falling to pieces, you fuck off pretty damn sharpish.

Our fiendish Cunning Stratagem also seemed to be working far too well for their liking. Coming back for another armful of Tofifee and fake ciggies, the ugly old bat told us "You're barred".


We, of course, bided our time.

The Summer Fair might have been over, but we knew full well they'd be back at the arse end of October for the Bonfire Night celebrations. By that time, the old woman with a face like a sexually molested sloth would have forgotten us, and so it proved. And we had a new Cunning Stratagem.

The Cunning Stratagem was even more cunning than the first Cunning Stratagem. And it was this: try not to win with every shot. They tend to notice that sort of thing. Also, there was the small matter of honour and respect to be sorted out. We had a score to settle.

I put in my usual sighter, and John helpfully told me that the rifle was now at least two feet off beam and virtually firing sideways. Adjusting my aim, I eventually knocked a packet of sweets off the shelf into the canvas sheeting below. Eventually, we managed to attract Sloth Woman's attention to the fact that there were prizes to be handed out, and grudgingly, she bent over to fish it out for us.


That was the sound of four air rifles and a pistol firing a handful of corks up the old trout's arse.

"Shit, missed."

That was the sound of Squaggy - the only one with an honest gun - missing an arse the size of a small central Asian nation from all of three feet.

"And that was my only dart, too."


Sloth woman found her voice, and an enormous lump of muscle and flesh appeared from the Throw-a-ping-pong-ball-into-a-goldfish-bowl-win-a-teddy-bear stall to mete out Carnie Justice.

"These little bastards shot me up the arse."

"They done WHAT?"

"Shot me. Up the arse."




The Carnies must have had some sort of telepathic link - possibly through generations of funfair in-breeding - and before we knew it, spanner-wielding fairground workers were converging on us from all angles.


We legged it, into the night and far, far away; stopping only when we were safely behind Squaggy's shed, the sound of pursuit long gone.

We bided our time, and returned to the funfair the following summer hoping for further teenage revenge.

"Ten corks, please."

"Hang on - I know you - you're the bastards that shot me up the 'arris! PATRIIIIIICK!"


Thursday, March 01, 2007

The return of the Colonel, and a Thrubsday vote-o

The Regimental Correspondence of Colonel Albert O'Balsam, DSC and Bar

Oh Lordy, the Colonel's back again...

June 27th 1873, Nangahar

One would wish, at this stage, move to crush these scurrilous rumours surrounding my good self and the mysterious disappearance of "Fluffy", our beloved regimental goat.

While it is true that the luscious, pouting Miss Fluffy did accompany me on my trek to save the souls of the many, many sixteen-to-seventeen year old Swedish nymphettes to be found in Madame Inge's Himalayan Finishing School for Sixteen-to-Seventeen Year Old Swedish Nymphettes - where I had the good fortune to be engaged as games mistress - I would go as far as striking down and killing any cur who dare suggest anything untoward happened between myself and me ruminant companion. An act I have done on several occasions in the name of the LORD, making sure that all the negatives were destroyed into the bargain.

However, I am aware that these rumours persist, particularly in the pages of the Himalayan Times, where fearful tales of myself and my caprine friend - clearly the work of SATAN - have led the the local villagers raising a baying hate mob, which, utterly bewildered an' confused due to the large quanitites of mind-alterin' substances required by the ceremonial work, I was forced to quell with me trusty Gatling gun.

I hope this clears up the confusion re: Fluffy. The CO will remember that I went to great lengths to replace her before me enforced trek up the mountains, and I still have the signed witness reports regarding his good self and Steve, the regimental hamster.

There is still plenty of work to be done saving these unfortunate young ladies, which has provoked a surge of interest from several, dare I say, opportunist volunteers. My simple advice to these unsaved individuals is this: Join the queue, I saw them first.

I should thank my superior officers for their kind offers of assistance in what I see as my GOD-given pennance involving these Scandinavian temptresses.

Orders are orders however, and I am more than willing to shove some in the direction of regimental headquarters, because when you've reached my age, one barely clothed Swedish girl, writhing in baby oil, her moans reaching a peak of ecstasy as I lay hands on her in the ceremony of EXTREME UNCTION, is much the same as any other.

Like all acolytes of THE CRAFT, I insist that young ladies approaching MY INNER SANCTUM are not depilated, but are merely well trimmed in what THE LORD HIMSELF describes as "Brazilian".

I must take leave of you now - Inge is calling - but could the regimental Quartermaster prod a couple of crates of AA batteries in my direction? THE LORD'S work really chews up the power.

Thrubsday vote-rub

Good grief, it's Thursday again, which, thanks to some bastard messing about with my computer's custom dictionary will henceforth be known as "Thrubsday". So, on this, the first Thrubsday of the month, your votes, please for tomorrow's Fribsday Tale of Mirth and Woe.

The more observant amongst you may notice that one of the accompanying 100 per cent true facts may contain a minor inaccuracy. Can you spot which one it is?

* Bin: "Female beavers have a part of their bodies called the 'human'. For some reason, male beavers find this incredibly amusing. A male beaver, of course, is called a 'cock'."

* Rubbery: "In a new law passed by the US Government - concerned by the deadly threat posed by Al Qaeda, ultra-conservative survivalist groups and heavily-armed Jehovah's Witnesses - all security guards at sensitive installations much weigh at least 300 pounds and be able to complete the 100 yard dash in less than five minutes."

* Doctors and Nurses: "In George Lucas's original script of the movie ‘Star Wars’, Darth Vader was to have been called Graham Piles, and would complain bitterly about Mrs Vader's insistent nagging over the housework; while Luke Skywalker was to have been partnered by a world-weary veteran cop on his last mission before retiring to a yacht in Honolulu"

* Timmy: "When holidaying in Italy, there is no need to hire a motor bike or scooter to get from a to b. Follow the example of the locals, and just take one from the many public scooter dumps to be found around any town or city. And it's free!"

* Fairground Shoot-out: "Rat's urine is entirely odourless below room temperature. That is why Australian beer is always served chilled. Mixed with equal parts of Cillit Bang, the concoction is marketed as Creme de Menthe"

Vote! Etc!

Also: Duck world domination attempt continues