Friday, May 30, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Top Gun

Mirth and Woe: Top Gun

T. Cruise: NOT BUMMY AT ALLI spent far too many of my teenage years building Airfix models of military aircraft.

While the kid down the road was up in his bedroom, sniffing glue out of a plastic bag, I was using the stuff for the intention it was designed. I might as well have been sniffing the stuff as well, for the end results were invariably awful, with the wheels falling off and the plastic parts not quite fitting together.

There had to be more to life than building 1:72 scale model airplanes, and by God there was. Christmas came round with pay-dirt. A 1:24 scale F-14 Tomcat fighter.

Mine wasn't strictly an Airfix - it was by one of the lesser model companies that gathered dust in Reading's Model Shop (where you were served, fascinatingly, by a chap with one leg longer than the other) on which you would never bother wasting pocket money. But this was a present, and after measuring it up, it was clear it was going to be a monster.

My brother, however, got the Airfix 1:24 Harrier - THE holy grail of plastic model-making at the time. It came with all the paints, and an extra-large tube of glue that would have had the kid next door crying out for goblins to come and take him and his plastic bag of Bostik away.

We spent months - MONTHS - building them, obsessively painting the engine parts, remembering to paint the pilot before you glued him in, not getting sticky finger prints all over the windows. Mine even came with removable engine parts, which would come in handy at a later date.

And then they were done. Works of art, each of them.

Apart from the fact that the Harrier's nozzles could be moved, and my F-14 had swing wings, they were - frankly - a tad dull. And, as far as the Tomcat went, it was to be a good five years before Top Gun came out and turned one of the world's most advanced jet fighters ever so slightly bummy.

We had a dog fight.

The dog joined in, but without any of the associated pyrotechnics and no supply of genuine heat-seeking Sidewinder missiles, the only excitement came from Snoopy drawing blood as he sank his fangs into my thigh.

"Wouldn't it be great if they exploded when they crashed?"

"But... but... we spent AGES building these things. AGES. I could have been out having FUN."

"Yeah... but wouldn't it be great if they exploded when they crashed?"

I conceded. Yes. Yes it would. Just as soon as I stopped bleeding.

So, I yanked out the jet engines, packed them with explody stuff of our own devising - involving our family's entire supply of safety matches, causing a bit of household push-and-shove when it came to light the cooker for dinner that night - and shoved them back in.

"Nyaaaaaaar! Budda-budda-budda!" went the dog-fight

"Crump" went the plane as it crash-landed.

"Quick! Light it! Light it!" my co-conspirator urged.

"Floomph" went my beloved Tomcat in a less-than-glorious blaze of glory, and melted everywhere.

Luckily, we were still able to sell the house at a later date with my plane still forming part of the carpet.

The Harrier died a far simpler death. Crashing Harriers, you see, are spared flame. They are not, however, spared the five pound lump hammer. What a waste.

"What a waste!" said my best mate Geoff, as I told him the sorry tale, "I can do better than that."

He ran off to his bedroom and returned with his 1:24 scale Harrier. It was a beauty. Painstakingly assembled and painted, you could have sworn it could fly on its own.

"Now's the time to see if it'll fly on its own," said the winner of the school chemistry prize. "I've made a few adjustments."

He had, too. Gone was much of the back end of the plane. In its place was what appeared to be a large firework, stuffed up the plane's arse.

"I stuck a firework up its arse," he said, by way of explanation, "Nothing can go wrong."

We headed for the orchards around the back of Ruscombe, lest our scientific breakthrough were to be discovered. Geoff was like that - always planning the next leap of human discovery, but it always had to be carried out beyond the prying eyes of a) the law b) parents and c) just about anybody else. Geoff, in his time, set fire to a lot of our village. I'm amazed there's any left.

I was on blue touch paper duties, while the lad himself would take the hefty responsibility of The Launch.

This essentially meant waiting until I had set the thing smouldering with my Acme PG Tips Roll-Up Cigarette, and he would run like buggery and hurl the thing to the skies, where Newton's Laws and rocket power would do the rest.

I lit it. He ran.

With a roar of triumph, he hurled the thing into the air.

Hardly the gracious flight marking the triumph of British engineering know-how. More of an arse-over-tit lob onto a pile of sticks, logs, dead leaves and several years of accumulated rubbish.

"Foooooosh-WOOMP!" went the firework and the rubbish woofed into flames.

"Oh balls," I said, presently.

"Not a huge success," said the king of understatement, as the flames took hold and got well past stamping-out stage remarkably quickly.

"Leg it?"

"Leg it!"

We legged it, not even stopping to be sick inna hedge.

Berkshire Fire Brigade: It was Geoff who called you from a phone box that spring weekend in 1980, reporting a fire with a handkerchief over the mouthpiece. Geoff. He was the one standing at the front of the large crowd watching you dowse the flames. Him. Not me. I was miles away. Hiding under my bed, vowing to take up sniffin' glue as a hobby.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

On going green

On going green

This week on Scary Goes Green: "How can I recycle my waste environmentally?"

"Scary", people ask me, "I'm interested in following in your esteemed footsteps and wish to use my shed as a makeshift outside toilet? How do I go about it now that plastic Tesco bags are so hard to come by?"

This is a simple question to answer. Although Gardeners' World presenter Monty Don is a passionate evangelist for "mulching", it is beyond the realms of decency to be expected to squat over your runner bean trench, dungarees around your ankles, nipping out a length for the good of your future vegetable crop.

Particularly so if your garden happens to be owned by the Royal Horticultural Society and is open to the public; or if a lightly-oiled Rachel de Thame is standing by with a DV Cam, ready to get your composting on record for Friday night's broadcast, 8pm, BBC2.

No. Even though our favourite murderous dictator Kim Jong-Il reportedly advocated public composting amongst the front gardens and of North Korea (and I'd love to have seen his famous On-The-Spot guidance to local party officials as veins stand out of their foreheads in the rose garden of the Korean Workers' Party), the answer, my friends, lies in your local supermarket's 'Bag for Life' policy.

To the uninitiated, this might sound like the end result of a shotgun marriage to Ann Noreen Widdecombe, but, it turns out – for a small fee – you may purchase a carrier bag from your neighbourhood big store, and they will replace it free of charge, no matter what condition it is in.


No, really. WOW.

You can see what I'm thinking, can't you?

My advice is this: Be Green. At least wait until your bag is full before lugging it into Tesco for your free replacement. This might take a few weeks, and your mulch will be just about ready for compost in any number of your favourite supermarket's favourite recycling projects, but the store manager and his retinue of muscled security guards will be more than happy to congratulate you with 10,000 free Clubcard points. Or Crudcard, if I might be allowed to coin a new expression.

Also: Keep your back straight when lifting what will, undoubtedly, be a heavy load.

Next week in Scary Goes Green: How long does it take to make a candle from your own earwax?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On there being nothing on the telly these days

On there being nothing on the telly these days

Hello. I am Scaryduck Junior and I am excellent. You may call me Kingpin, brains behind the St Custard's School Tuck Shop Scam, if you wish. I am here because my dad isn't funny any more and I am TEH KING OF LULZ.

I was surfing all three million TV channels we get on our Sky dish, and noticed there was nothing on. Even the shoppping channels were rubbish.

It got me thinking, though. What if, I thought, what if TV stars from one programme accidentally got onto the wrong shows and ran amok, bent of destruction? It would be this: EXCELLENT.

Here's some that I came up with:

- Britain's got Tarrant: This could also be the Japanese version of our favourite low quality talent show

- Beale or No Beale: The EastEnders star is in a box with no air and nothing but a small portion of greasy chips. But which one?

- Only Fools and Morse's: Wrinkled old policeman solves crime in Peckham, then dies of a heart attack

- Emmerdalewinton: This is the best joke I've ever made up, ever

And some from my dad (who isn't funny any more):

- The Adventures of Connie Huq-leberry Finn: Lightly-oiled Blue Peter-presenting Olympic shill escapes down the Mississippi

- Steptoe and Clarkson: Rag-and-bone man trades in the horse and cart for a Bugatti Veryron

- Mr Lightly-oiled Sarah Bean-y: Starring Rowan Atkinson with a load of socks stuffed up his tank top

I know what you're thinking. Yes, mine were tons better, and you can't take him anywhere. We tried. They wouldn't let us in until he went back to the car.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On guarantees not being worth the paper you wipe your arse on

On guarantees not being worth the paper you wipe your arse on

Last week, I had cause to use the services of greatest lving Welshman Russel T Davies Rikaitch, inventor of the Vending Machine That Does Chips An' Stuff and all-round technical genius.

Seriously, Rik's bloody brilliant at computers, and he did a marvellous job of Scaryduckling's laptop, which she - to use the correct technical term - had completely cattled.

The only problem we had was with our choice of otherwise reliable courier, being just about the only one in the country who won't steal your shipment or try to play football with it, Parcelfarce take note.

So, running to a deadline, I was forced to make a phonecall:

"Hello, Otherwise Reliable Courier Limited, how can I help you?"

"Oh, is that Otherwise Reliable Courier Limited?"

"Yes. Yes it is."

"I was wondering where my parcel is. I booked the 3pm guaranteed delivery and it's now 3.10. I'm on a deadline, and..."

"Ah," said the girl on the other end of the line, about to explain company policy for the 200th time that week.


"It's our company policy. The 3pm guaranteed delivery doesn't actually guarantee a 3pm delivery. It's more of a target."

"More of a target?"

"That's right, sir. If we can't deliver for 3pm, we at least try for the same day."

"And if you don't?"

"We don't like to talk about that, sir."

"Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!" I said, putting the phone down.


Here's your chance to end this story in a hilarious and appropriate manner.

Dial 09011239590654703450 for "Guaranteed delivery? The bastards have still got it."


Dial 09011239590654703451 for "I'll give them a guaranteed delivery. Poo. Letterbox. It's the only language curs like this understand."

Calls cost £300, 0.000001p goes to our "Kick Ant'n'Dec in the chuff" charity. Lines close midnight 19th October 1968. Votes made after that time will not be counted, and you will still be charged for your stupidity.

Monday, May 26, 2008



Oh God, no.

"What's that on your head?" asks my charming wife last Sunday morning.

"Hmm… I reply, looking in the big mirror in the hallway," looks like it's one of the dog's hairs."

I give it a tweak.

It is part of me.


And, as my family gather round me to laugh:


I am going grey.

I am – henceforth – a silver surfer, and it's downhill all the way.

Still, there's always the free bus pass and the Viagra to look forward to.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Guest Mirth and Woe: Kittehs

Guest Mirth and Woe: Kittehs

Today's Tale of Mirth and Woe comes to you from greatest living Welshman Russell T Davies Rikaitch and features – those of a sensitive nature had better look away now) – kittens, the foulest, most vile creatures ever to stalk God's Earth. No, hang on, that's Wildebeest. Kittens, then.

A tale of two kittehs

Tweety and Sylvester were two kittehs.

Tweety was just like the cartoon character, very smart, very cute and very nauseating.

Sylvester, on the other hand, was nothing short of a bully, picking on Tweety and making her life hell. He was also the spitting image of the cartoon cat, with a black back and white flash down the tummy.

Sylvester knew he was stronger than Tweety and would take great pleasure in getting Tweety into a hold akin to a certain alien attached to John Hurt’s face. He’d then get his back legs and kick like fury until Tweety retreated to a safe distance (the next room), or passed out in a wave of scratches like a wire brush on bare flesh.

Tweety would still return to Sylvester for more of this beating though, and I’m sure it was the feline equivalent of a Conservative MP with a gimp mask and a slice of citrus fruit up the bumhole (Kids! Ask your parents, they can provide a full and frank explanation...)

Now unbeknownst to most people – and this is 100% of FACT - kittehs don’t have taste buds for the first 6 months. This leads to a simple palate involving mother’s milk, the occasional small bowl of real Whiskas kitten food, and when the craving arose (quite often, actually) being introduced to kitteh litter meant a large dosage of high fibre.

All three dietary requirements have one side-effect. The kitten’s delicate and newly formed stomach has yet to work out completely how to digest this new found solid food, kitteh litter and most importantly milk, and so it would spend as little time as possible in the stomach. Tweety was particularly susceptible to an attack of the runs, whereas no matter what Sylvester ate, he would still make small poos vaguely reminiscent of indoor fireworks.

One particular day, the squitty kitty had an uncontrollable burst of bowel evacuation and produced a fine puddle of what can only be described as English Mustard.

Sylvester, with his strong constitution said to himself “Oooh, that looks yummy,” and set about having a feast.

"Om nom nom nom tasty poop," he said, "Nom nom nom"

Tweety turned round like cats do, only to see Sylvester tucking in to his new dietary supplement and decided to join in. Delicately, she lapped at the puddle on the floor, then started to look undecidedly pale, gave the customary cat cough (eyes bulging, mouth open, sound of "ack") and then puked Whiskas Kitteh food all over the floor as well.

Yes, the Ironclad kitteh had that as well.

"Nom nom nom lovely spew nom nom."

Meanwhile, I couldn’t watch any more. I left the room green myself, and when I went back to clean up a while later the mess had almost completely gone, and Sylvester was now licking the carpet.

We got rid of Tweety shortly after, but the repugnant bulimic (no, not John Prescott) is still here. I don’t think his taste buds have ever recovered.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On things you have done for a very short time

On things you have done for a very short time

A couple of years ago, I was visiting my dad Professor J.C. Duck down in Truro, that well-known roadkill-eating capital of the world.

On a spare day, we went into the City Centre for a bit of sight-seeing and shopping. Wandering in and out of shops that were exactly the same as those in every other town in the UK, we stumbled across a crumbling building in a backstreet behind the cathedral with a large, hand-written sign outside.

"AUCTION: TODAY" it said.

Neither I nor my charming wife had ever been to an auction before, and spurred on by a world of orange-skinned David Dickinson and cheap-as-chips bargains, we decided to give it a go.

So, we squeezed into a packed auction room and found a couple of seats near the back just in time to hear the auctioneer's hammer and the words:

"SOLD! To the gentleman in the green baseball hat. And that concludes today's sale..."

I have, then, spent a total of three seconds of my life in auctions.

Of course, I could say that I was that gentleman in the hat just for comic effect, but that would be 100% of lie.

OK, I WAS that gentleman in the hat, and I'd just bought a piston engine. Happy?

What, he asks, shamelessly stealing the idea from Danny Baker's BBC London show, have you done for short periods of time? Premature ejaculators need not apply.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On having a reputation

On having a reputation

I don't know what kind of person you lot think I am.

I like to think of myself as a kind, caring family man with a talent for THE FUNNAY.

However, I am certain that others are of the opinion that I am slightly unhinged, harbouring an obsession for rich, brown vomit, bottoms and things that come out of bottoms.

These people are probably right.

That, then, explains, why a reader sent me a picture of a pool of vomit they photographed whilst on a trip to New York.

Graham went all the way to New York, saw vomit and thought of me. Pink vomit, at that.

Fair play to them, I thought, for including a pigeon in shot so the reader gets some idea of scale. [Warning: Picture contains vomit, pigeon saying 'Om nom nom nom pink vomit nom']

More tellingly, I immediately thought "They've been drinking red wine, that makes pink voms" because I have personal experience of the rosé deluge.

Tomorrow: "Hey Scary --- I done a fantastic poo last night that came out in the shape of Sarah Beeny. Here's a picture."

The day after tomorrow: Explaining to Mrs Duck why I broke my promise on no longer writing about waste bodily fluids

The day after that: "Dear The Dorset Echo --- Something involving public toilets, projectile vomit and Kylie Minogue, Yours etc, Kim Jong-Il"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On saying "Wait...WHAT?" thrice

On saying "Wait...WHAT?" thrice

The office phone rings.

"Hello - Luv-a-Rub Massage Parlour and Nudey Dance Club" I say, putting on my seediest voice.

"What are you on?"

It is my lovely wife, the charming Mrs Duck.

"You know that thing we talked about over the weekend?" she asks.

"What? About how you've forgiven me for the artichoke poisoning and you're in love with me again?"

"No - the other thing"

"You mean you WANT to do the thing with the whipped cream?"

Sigh... "NO. The other thing."

"Oh. Right. What about it?"

"I've made a start. I knocked the bedroom wall down after you left for work this morning."

"Wait... WHAT?"

"And do us a favour - sort out a plumber pretty sharpish. And a skip."

"Wait... WHAT?"

"And don't forget the whipped cream. I've got the bicycle pump ready."

"Wait... WHAT?"

This cannot end well. I'm supposed to be the mental in this household.

Monday, May 19, 2008

On playing up Pompey, Pompey playing up

On playing up Pompey, Pompey playing up

Although it pains me to see any team apart from the mighty Arsenal winning silverware, it was pleasing to see Portsmouth do the business against those Welsh curs from Cardiff under the twin Kylie statues at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

However, my enjoyment this weekend's FA Cup Final was ruined, ruined by the constant stream of sexual innuendo spewing from the mouths of the studio pundits on the otherwise, staid and upstanding Match of the Day.

This actual quote, for example, from former England hot-shot and McDonalds shill Alan Shearer:

"And Parry's been pulling off Sol Campbell time and time again."
Enduring mental image there, I'm sure you'll agree. Jumpers for goalposts, a game of two halves, followed by a quick rub-down in the communal bath.

And let us spare a minute for Portsmouth captain Sol Campbell. He may have lifted the FA Cup this weekend in the culmination of a career that saw major success at Arsenal and none whatsoever at Tottenham Hotspur, but those rumours just refuse to go away.

Poor, poor S. Campbell.

All the Colemanballs ("Any relation?" "Yes. Yes I am.") in the world HERE

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mirth and Woe: The Order of the Boot

Mirth and Woe: The Order of the Boot

Jesus Paul: Made Grown-up Jesus cry"Have you ever been sacked?" people asked me when faced with my special, excellent brand of incompetence.

Yes. Yes, I have, but I've already told you the story about a misguided all-points e-mail, and I've finally come to terms with the fact that I was a spectacular dork at the time, and will probably never recover.

I've seen loads of people get the sack, the most spectacular of whom was an unfortunate young chap who mixed work and drink, and ended up drunkenly planting his illegal mini-cab into a ditch when he was supposed to be at his real job.

Morality is lost on such people, and a bit of churching up would do them no harm at all.

Too much on the other hand…

Jesus Paul, as the name suggests, was not a spectacular dork, because he had Our Lord And Saviour Jesus Christ on his side.

I've seen a number of spectacular sackings in my time, but Jesus Paul's was rather special.

Jesus Paul was taken on by the Dole Office as a temp, and he had to send out letters to people who hadn't turned up to sign on to warn them they wouldn't get any money unless they showed their face pretty sharpish.

He was employed on the strength of having received one of these letters from one of his predecessors, which he waved in the face of some poor unfortunate on the customer desk with the unfortunate words "I could do your job".

In such circumstances, it was the Department's policy to take them at their word, usher them through a side door and give them a desk.

That is how Jesus Paul found his way into the civil service, hidden in a corner where he couldn't do any damage except send out form letters in pre-paid envelopes.

I've known many, many Christians in my time, and even went through a phase of enthusiastic happy-clappy church-going myself. Paul, however, was a breed apart. His was a simple philosophy: The fires of eternal damnation await anybody that did not follow the one true path. And he was more than willing to send you there if he suspected you of straying.

It was only after three weeks that we found out he was including a religious leaflet in each missive, and rounding off his letters with an invitation to accept The Lord Jesus into their lives or face the Wrath of God come the End Time, or a week next Tuesday, whichever came the soonest. Several replies were received on the subject, many suggesting that the Dole Office might consider "Getting to Fuck".

Jesus Paul was removed from letter-writing duties, and demonstrating the kind of official incompetence that resulted in the Battle of the Somme, they put him on the front desk, where Reading's charming Dole Office customers (otherwise known as 'The Scum of the Earth') would be greeted by his long, greasy hair and disturbingly crazed expression. Think Neil from The Young Ones, only on acid.

A typical conversation with a doley scumbag …err… customer would – according to those lucky few who saw him in action - go something like this:

"Where's me fuckin' dole money?"

"Do you have Jesus in your life?"

"Wait… What? Where's me fuckin' dole cheque? I signed on Monday an' I still ain't got nuffin'"

"But are you saved?"

"Jesus Christ, you'll need fuckin' savin' in a minute, mate. Where's me fuckin' money?"

It was at the point that Jesus Paul emerged from behind the plexiglass and let loose some righteous Wrath of God on the heathens, blasphemers and unbelievers that surrounded him.

"Do you believe in Jesus?"



"Do you believe in Jesus?"

"Fuck off"


And so on until he was shown the door.

The Army had him.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On deterring space bastards

On deterring space bastards

Space Hitler. HE'S REAL, PEOPLE!Those white-coated boffins at NASA are planning a return to moon exploration with the impending launch of the snappily-named Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

In the kind of public relations exercise that the Agency has been forced into in order to justify the frightening tax dollars they need for their $20,000 hammers, they have set up a website in which you can have your name placed on a chip that will be sent to the moon with the spacecraft.

So far, so good, and the kind of thing that will appeal to the inner geek amongst us all.

I cannot be the only person, however, who fears that they haven't thought this one through.

This is a scheme that's just asking for trouble, and inviting no end of grief upon the heads of the peace-loving, heavily-armed citizens of this fine blue/green planet.

While the U S of A splashes out squillions of dollars on homeland security, there's another branch of government blasting our personal details out into space!

What, I ask, if this database into the hands of a bunch of interstellar con merchants? They'll know your name AND exactly where you live (for eg: Albert O'Balsam, Planet Earth), and before you know it some three-headed tart claiming to be Darth Vader's widow will be constantly emailing you about the 80,000,000 space credits they need moving out of a bank account on Rigel IV before the rebel scum get their hands on it.

Then it's only a matter of time before you start seeing offers of Space Viagra, closely followed by "Grow Your Reproductive Tentacle By Up To Nine Yards", the kind of endgame that makes Apollo 13 look like a walk in the park.

They should copy the Soviets: Send up half a dozen copies of Health and Efficiency magazine. That's usually enough to keep even the most determined space bastards away from our planet.

When we are overrun by Space Hitler and his jackbooted hordes, don't say I never told you so.

I am not mad.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On tramps and microchip technology

On tramps and microchip technology

Twitter is one of those internet messaging services that you think is great when you sign up, realise that some people will have a whale of a time using, but dump after the first day when you realise that it is, in fact, an enormous waste of time. And if, like most users, you use it to send txt messages to the intarwebs every time you go to the toilet, enormously expensive.

Duckorange: "Done a poo. LOLOLOL" 15 minutes ago

Duckorange: "Oh spoons. Out of paper" 13 minutes ago

Duckorange: "No worries. Used the battery cover from my mobi… +++CARRIER LOST+++

Twitter? Twatter, more like.

I confess. I have a Twitter account. I signed up over a year ago and forgot about it after the first day. I used it twice, in fact. And the first message read thussly: "Test".

So, it might have come as a bit of a surprise to anybody who might have been following my Twitter stream to have received the following on the electronic device of their choice:

"Going undercover with local winos. Dirty job, but somebody's got to do it."

You will note that even though it was sent as an SMS text message, there's no excuse for dropping vowels and incorrect grammar.

Saturday, then, saw me dressed down in urban tramp chic, going undercover with Weymouth's down-and-outs in the seafront shelters of the town's Esplanade.

My motive? An Attenborough-esque voyage of discovery to establish the behaviour, language and mating rituals of these fascinating, elusive creatures.

"Fascinating. Utterly fascinating. And just a little painful", I told my Twitter followers a few days later, and for good reason for here is what I found:

1. They talk about cider. Cider, and the discount procurement thereof from the Weymouth branch of Asda, where there is a "serve yourself" till that negates the need for actual talking to shop staff

2. They discuss the value-to-paint-stripping ratio of cheap vodka, also purchased from the Weymouth branch of Asda, and where to sleep it off

3. They also pay particularly close attention as to who tops their current list of "I'm gonnur give 'im a fuggin' good kickin'", with particular attention paid to "that wonker from the Job Centre" (which is next door to the Weymouth branch of Asda), and, of course, the security staff at the Weymouth Branch of Asda

4. On a positive note, and contrary to reports from other discredited surveys into the behaviour of derelicts, tramps do not talk about, or indeed, engage in, licking other tramps. The phrase "Rutting away like drunken hoboes", then, is consigned to the bottle bank of history.

Then, my study concluded, I went home, had my annual bath and sent an update to my Twitter pals:

Duckorange: "Done a poo. LOLOLOL"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On troubleshooting guides

On troubleshooting guides

"Mwargh!" says my charming wife, "MWARGH!"

On further investigation, I find there is smoke rising from our brand new, eight-sheets-at-a-time document shredder.

"Well?" she demands, "Don't just do something – sit there!", or words to that effect.

I leapt into action, grabbed the illustration-heavy two-page instruction manual with the words "Identity theft... WooOOOOooooOOOOoo!" printed on the front in big, scary letters.

Problem: Smoke billowing from the unit after five minutes' operation.

Solution: Yeah, we know. But what did you expect for the money? PS We shredded your guarantee certificate, just for LULz.


Funnily enough, I had the same problem with The All-New Silver Hornet last week.

Having spent rather too much money replacing the old, posted-to-the-scrap-yard-in-a-matchbox Silver Hornet with a Renault Scenic-type Silver Hornet which is actually silver, I find myself already diving headlong into the car's user manual to find out why it's not actually working half the time.

For example, I stopped off at the garage for a loaf of bread on the way to work the other morning, only to find that the engine wouldn't start again. Oh, how we laughed.

To page 4,134 of the owner's guide! The engine on a Renault these days is almost completely covered with a large metallic shield, a warning to drivers to get their filthy hands out things they do not understand. There is little a man can do but to hit it with a hammer and hope it works.


Problem: Engine does not start when hot

Solution: Yeah, we know. Sit there like a twat for half-an-hour while it sorts itself out. Think of it as our way of removing you from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, where you can relax, listen to Radio 4 and shout "Start you Fucker!" every five minutes. That'll teach you for buying a French car.


Monday, May 12, 2008

On making an insurance claim

On making an insurance claim

J. The Hutt Insurance Brokers
Investigations Department
Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy House
Mos Eisley

Dear Mr Vader,

Claim for total loss: DEATH STAR

We note your recent claim for the total loss of your Death Star vehicle which is insured with our company.

Your witness statement maintains that you were "driving at 28 mph in a built-up area whilst wearing a seat-belt, and I wasn't on the phone, no way, honest" when your vehicle came into collision with an X-Wing Fighter driven by "uninsured rebel scum who jumped a red light who then fucked right off", resulting in the complete write-off of the insured vehicle.

However, evidence has come to our attention that may throw doubt over your statement. For example:

* While you claim that the accident occurred on the Uxbridge Bypass, police CCTV footage shows you driving recklessly towards Navin IV, whilst in possession of illegally held energy weapons and a defective right offside brake light

* You maintain that the other party was unknown to you. Independent witnesses, however, have stated that the driver involved is one Luke Skywalker of Tatooine, who is your son

* Information received shows that the incident was also planned by one Leia Organa, your daughter

* We have been unable to trace your witness, a Mr Darksideoftheforce, who does not appear on any Electoral Roll or database. We would suggest that you are making him up

* Your claim for £4,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to cover total loss of your Death Star seems rather excessive. A pre-crash estimate by our loss adjustors puts your vehicle's value at £3,295, mainly because you had a full tank of unleaded at the time of the accident

We also note an additional claim for (and we quote) "fucking rotten whiplash injuries" associated with this incident. Our investigating team draws your attention to your recent first place in the Galactic Empire All-comers Lightsabre Tournament, which was reported widely in the press and other media.

You are, Mr Vader, to use your turn of phrase, rather having a laugh, aren't you?

Yours truly,

J. The Hutt (Managing Director)

PS Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on us. We're trained accountants, so I wouldn't bother trying.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Shandy

Mirth and Woe: Shandy

The Air Training Corps.

A fine, upstanding organisation that takes young men and moulds them into fine, well-disciplined potential recruits for the Royal Air Force. If they're lucky.

In fact, it was a very good reason for parents to get their teenage offspring out of the house a couple of evenings a week, and, with a following wind, every other weekend. And then, the parental bliss that must have been the summer camp. A whole week without the brats as they are taken by coach to some awful barrack block at the other end of the country, where uniformed grown-ups will shout at them as they march up and down the parade ground.

Every August for the best part of six years, I would be carted off by coach to some awful barrack block at the other end of the country, where uniformed grown-ups did indeed shout at me as I was marched up and down the parade ground.

They also shouted at me every morning during kit inspection, and this shouting would last until well after lights out because for the Cadet Officers' Corps, it was the only shouting they got all year.

Shouting, marching up and down and bullshit apart, I quite enjoyed it.

For a start, they let us fire guns. And fly planes. And run around in mock battles pretending to kill people TO DEATH with a fake Tommy Gun as you shouted out "Na-na-na-na-na-NA!" like a demented Private Pike.

So, RAF Waddington (Vulcan Bombers), RAF Chivenor (Hawk fighter jets) and RAF Somewhere Else I Can't Quite Remember (Jet Provost trainers) got the benefit of eighty cadets from Henley, Reading, Slough and Woodley squadrons.

Then they sent us to RAF Newton. It didn't have planes at all. None.

It was, we found out, where they trained the RAF Police. Every single RAF copper in the service came through the base, and as such, it was Bullshit Central. There were wispy moustaches EVERYWHERE, and on every corner you would find at least one corporal telling his mate how "I was too hard for the SAS, me".

There were also not enough barrack blocks to go around, so they put us in a row of tents. World War II vintage four man tents which must conform to Queen's Regs at all times, with blanket bundles ready for inspection at five minutes' notice.

The trouble with these tents was that they gave you no privacy at all. If you farted, some bloke at the other end of the camp would call you a dirty bastard. Those with a rampant night manipulation habit would hope for the drumming of rain on canvas before they could even attempt a quick, furtive hand shandy. However, it was the height of summer, the ground was parched, and, for some, the nightly wank was off the agenda until the following Saturday, home comforts and your favourite gym sock.

But, for some, seven days without a quick strum were seven days too many.

And so, one evening, Dan refused an invitation to come to the NAAFI club for a few diet cokes and the off chance the bar staff might forget that we were cadets and offer us something a little bit stronger.

No such luck. Worse, the female police cadets ALL had faces like a smacked arse, and strangely, they weren't interested in the attentions of a bunch of Space Cadets from the Home Counties.

As the sun set and Lights Out time approached, we made our way back to our camp.


Too quiet.

"I thought Dan was here?" one of our number whispered.

"So did I..."

And there, in the half-light we saw it.

The rhythmic rise and fall under the blanket covers from Dan's tent that explained his unwillingness to join his mates in a few drinks and a round of bullshit.

Big-Nose Rich crept round the back of the tent, and pouncing like a panther, dived through Dan's flaps (Oh ho!), and whipped back the blankets to reveal the worst.


"Oh, you wanker!"

Of course, we couldn't let it rest there. Dan, his private parts now resembling the nozzle on a deflated airbed, was tied, naked, to the flag pole until passing grown-ups told us to stop.

And, as news of his shame got around camp, his misery became complete.

We were, lucky us, allowed to visit the police dog training school on the Friday. One of our lucky, lucky number would be allowed to dress up in the special protective suit and would have the privilege of being attacked by evil, slavering RAF police dogs.

Who, then, should it be? It was a question pondered by an RAF Police instructor for nigh on two seconds as he stroked his pencil moustache.

"You. The wanker," he said, all the time pointing at poor, poor Dan.

Fair play to them, they gave him a twenty yard head start as the set the dogs on him.

Twenty yards, waddling for his life in a straw-padded suit with extra protection around all the vulnerable parts.

"Any QW-EST-EE-I-ONS?" asked the moustachioed trainer as Dan readied for his ordeal.

"Yeah, Sarge. Where do these dogs bite?"

"Well, glad you asked me that. Most dogs are trained to go for the right wrist, as that's the one in which a fleeing suspect will invariably be carrying a weapon. Nipper here, however, doesn't."

"Why's that?"

"She goes for the bollocks. Never misses. It's a bugger to get her to let go an' all."

He was right.

Poor, poor Dan.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Condensed Movies: Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith

Condensed Movies: Star Wars III - Revenge of the Sith

At last, IT IS DONE - the last installment of George Lucas's Star Wars saga, condensed down to thing-hundred words in the easy-to-understand language of today's disaffected youth.

In order to cut out the tedium, there's no stupid droids (mostly), no boring back story and none of No Neck Lucas's risable dialogue. All that's left is what the punters paid to see: Light Sabre duels, younglings getting killed to death and scenes of andriods getting bummed silly by Sith Lords. Yeah, I know: Get on with it.

Star Wars III: Revenge of TEH SITH, in which lots of people get killed TO DETH

O. Kenobi: Hello. I am O. Kenobi and I am excellent. Today, my young padowan learner...

D. Vader: Hello

O. Kenobi: ...and I shall be mostly killing Count Dooku TO DETH and crashing his space cruiser for top LULZ

D. Vader: LOL

C. Dooku: Ouch. You bastard

O. Kenobi: I LOLed

D. Vader: Hi honey, I'm home! And Friday night is baby oil night

Mrs Vader: Plz not teh baby oil. The duff: I am up it

D. Vader: ONOZ! I mean... shite – who's the dad? FFS, so much for a life of Jedi sex tricks

O. Kenobi: I am off to kill G. Grievous TO DETH. Plz to stay here and not join TEH DARK SIDE

D. Vader: wanker

O. Kenobi: Pardon?

D. Vader: Nothing. Nothing at all.

D. Sidious: Plz to join TEH DARK SIDE

D. Vader: w00t!

S. L. Jackson: Sheeeeeiit. TEH DARK LORD: you are it.

D. Sidious: LOL. Now I am going to kill you TO DETH! PS You are this: TEH GAY LORD

S. L. Jackson: Sheeeeeiit. Eat light sabre, mother fupper. Fruuuuuuuuum

D. Sidious: Phear my l33t s1Th sk1llZ LOL. Froooooooooooooob

S. L. Jackson: Sheeeeeiit. Freeeeeeerrrrrb

D. Sidious: Zooooooooob. Ouch. You are about to kill me TO DETH

D. Vader: I'll help you boss, because I am rather enjoying being an enormous bastard

S. L. Jackson: Sheeeeeiit. You awful, awful little sheeeeeiit

D. Sidious: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzap! LOL

S. L. Jackson: Sheeeeeiit. You haz killed me TO DETH and I didn't even get to do my snakes on a plane gag. Mother fupper

G. Grievous: Oooh hark at 'er. I got killed TO DETH as well, and I'm a robot

D. Sidious: Now to take over the universe or something, LOLOLOL, and while I'm down here with a face like Jade Goody's: ROFFLE

D. Vader: Permission to join you in a bout of maniacal laughter, boss

D. Sidious: Granted


D. Sidious: Now plz to go kill all TEH YOUNGLINGS TO DETH

D. Vader: TEH WHAT?

D. Sidious: Look, I don't write this stuff. Just be a chap and bump off TEH YOUNGLINGS

D. Vader: But...

D. Sidious: Unlimited power, naked sexbots and all the space gak you can snort

D. Vader: Consider TEH YOUNGLINGS killed TO DETH. Whatever they are

C-3PO: Hello, would it be inopportune to mention at this point that I am NOT a sexbot?

D. Sidious: Shut up and bend over

C-3PO: Oh my!

Y. Oda: You will be pleased to learn that both myself and O. Kenobi have not been killed TO DETH. Which is lucky, as the rest of the series would make no sense whatsoever, Ewoks or no fucking Ewoks

D. Vader: Hi honey, I'm home!

Mrs Vader: Did you have a good day at work, dear?

D. Vader: Yes. Yes I did. I helped my boss take over TEH UNIVERSE, then I went out and killed all TEH YOUNGLINGS TO DETH and bummed R2-D2 all the way to Tatooine and back

Mrs Vader: Oh, you complete fucker

D. Vader: And where's my pissing dinner, FFS?

O. Kenobi: That D. Vader. What a complete fucker

Y. Oda: Told you so, I did

O. Kenobi: STFU, muppet. I am going to kill him totally TO DETH. But only in a way that doesn't take me to TEH DARK SIDE

D. Vader: Who's a padowan now, you posh bastard? Fwoooooooooop

O. Kenobi: I'm going to bum you so hard, you'll be tasting sausage all week LOL. Zaaaaaaaaaaaarb

D. Vader: Wait... WHAT? Fwooooooooooosh Caaaaaaark

O. Kenobi: Err... Nothing... Flaaaaaaaaaaaaarp. LOL – your legs I have cut them off

D. Vader: Tis only a flesh wound.

O. Kenobi: Now I haz cut off your arm, ROFL

D. Vader: All right, we'll call it a draw

O. Kenobi: Die in a fire. Oh, you are, LOLOLOLOLOLz, although, having seen the script for Episode IV, I might live to regret this

D. Vader: Ouch. That really, really hurt. Where is the true love of my life so that she might sooth my injuries with a bout of rampant, horny Jedi sex?

Doctor: Mrs Vader iz TEH DED


Doctor: Also, so are your unborn children

D. Vader: Despite being a Sith Lord, knower of all things, I cannot tell that you are lying through your teeth, and that I have, in fact, two younglings, who will be my nemeses in years to come. So: ONOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZ!

L. Skywalker: Wait... WHAT? You're leaving me in the hands of peasants?

P. Leia: Tough shit, dipstick, I'm a fucking princess, FTW!

Doctor: Also: Your wanking hand: It is gone.


Doctor: However, we have installed this experimental hand shandy device

D. Vader: Result! LOL.

O'Reilly Builders (Mos Eisley) Ltd: Begorrah, one DETH STAR an' damp course comin' right up. An' we promise not to leave any vulnerable exhaust ports that only your long lost son will have the required piloting and weaponry skills to hit from a small, lightly armed fighter craft, or nothin' LOL

D. Vader: Sod that, the battery's run out in my wanking hand. What's the Help Desk number?


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

On waking up in the middle of the night and shouting "Wait a minute!"

On waking up in the middle of the night and shouting "Wait a minute!"

Should've stuck with Hercules ParrotEvery now and then comes a televisual event so incredibly fantastic that is It talked about for years to come. Brideshead Revisited. The Ascent of Man. Life on Mars.

Alas, ITV’s Flood was not one of those programmes. In fact, this laugh-a-minute four-hour drama chronicling the watery destruction of London and 200,000 civilian deaths went right through “So bad it’s brilliant” and out into the rolling vistas of “Bugger me, I’m going to write a blog about this” territory.

If you missed this feast for the eyes over the weekend - and frankly, I wish I had watched Raiders of the Lost Ark on the other side as well - you really don’t know what you missed. Really. Canadian readers: This was a co-production with Canadian TV. Your turn soon. Miss at your peril.

Someone, somewhere at ITV Centre commissioned an effects-heavy disaster movie, and budgets being what they are in independent television these days, they - let’s be charitable here - rather cut corners on other aspects of the production. The flood itself looked great. The rest sucked. And blowed. A remarkable achievement.

In fact, I can guess what happened on the first day’s shooting:

“Right. Where’s the script?”

“The what?”

“The script. You know. The big book of words the actors read.”

“Ah. Let’s just improv, shall we?”

Christ onna bike. A plot you could drive the QE2 through. Every single disaster movie cliché in the book. Hilarious factual errors. Characters so awful, you find yourself rooting for the flood waters just to finish the whining bastards off for once and for all. Maverick genius coming to terms with his father. Maverick genius forced to work - and eventually make up - with his ex-wife. And David fucking Suchet.

In fact, the cliché Everyman Trying To Reunite His Family character and his dreadful, whinging daughter did nothing but sit around looking damp to the point that you really, really wanted them to die rather horribly.

This was, truth be told, what is known as Event Television. The event being waking up in the middle of the night with the words:

“Wait a minute… how did Neal from the Young Ones manage to be in the Met Office in Exeter and the Cabinet Office in London in three consecutive scenes?”

“Four, actually. Wait a minute… you mean EVERYBODY in this production‘s related to each other?”

“Wait a minute… how come they were up to their arses in water outside the chemist’s shop, yet it was dry inside?”

“Wait a minute… how come they were swimming about in freezing water for a WHOLE NIGHT yet nobody got cold?”

“Wait a minute… how come the Whinging Daughter’s mum got from a completely destroyed town in the North of Scotland, all the way down to Greenwich Park whilst wrapped in a blanket in a time of unprecedented national crisis, to find her family within 30 seconds of arriving?”

“You’re just being picky. Wait a minute… how come that famous Scottish actor Robert Carlyle’s got a dreadful Cockney accent. More to the point - what’s he doing in this shit?”

“Wait a minute… why didn't they just tell people to go into the large number of really tall buildings they have in London?”

“Wait a minute… the government COBRA committee consists of TWO PEOPLE? What DOES COBRA stand for, anyway?”

“Cabinet Office Briefing Room”

“What about the ‘A’?”

If anybody from ITV’s reading this: Do Attack of the 500-foot Ann Widdecombe next. Suchet’s available. Ant and Dec sadly drowned in the deluge.

Note to Channel Four: Grand Designs Live. Not even a lightly-oiled Beany and/or Allsop can save this from being truly, utterly fucking awful. That is all.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On sticking your nose into Premiership football where it's not wanted

On sticking your nose into Premiership football where it's not wanted

Peter Crouch: Great on the ground for such a tall playerDear Liverpool Football Club

Congratulations on your successful season!

It's great to see an insignificant city such as yours punching well above its weight in the field of competitive sports. As Dear Leader of the world's foremost military-first Juche-oriented one-party state, I know how tough it is to keep the common people under control, and admire your club's shoot-first-ask-later policy against slackers and saboteurs.

I couldn't help but notice the unseemly dispute between your organisation's two capitalist running dog owners who are running your otherwise fine club as some sort of Yankee puppet regime designed to enslave the people of your fine city.

To this end, I send you this letter as an offer to take the whole organisation off your hands and run it as part of the Korean Workers Party, with all your players and staff given posts in the Korean People's Army and their own AK-47. Luckily, as both our organisations play in the same colour, the transition won't prove too difficult.

As you'd imagine, this immediate and irreversible transfer of power, backed up by our million-man armed forces showing their undying love to the Dear Leader (me) does not come without one or two little conditions:

* An immediate ban on the song "You'll Never Walk Alone", associated as it is with Yankee Imperialist Hegemony and Naked Capitalist Aggression. Instead, I suggest a rousing chorus of "Oh, Dear Leader, You Rise Like the Sun over Sacred Mount Paekdu", to the tune of "Sgt Pepper", which I wrote when I was in the Beatles

* Get rid of fucking Peter Crouch. Keep his bird though - she's bloody tasty

* The immediate signing of the new star striker, a rising force in Asian football: Kim Jong-Il of Pyongyang United. I'm bloody brilliant and available most Saturdays except when we've got the nuclear inspectors in. They'll never find anything though: It's all in the Everton trophy room – LOL!

* The immediate renaming of Anfield to The Peoples' Revolutionary Juche Military-First Kim Il-Sung Memorial Sports Ground and Social Club, Quiz Night Thursdays

And before I forget: 300 foot, floodlit statues of Kylie Minogue in each corner of the ground. A fitting tribute to the brave Aussie songstress at the world's foremost sporting venue, don't you think? Give me the name of one Scouser who wouldn't be proud to gaze up at her mini-skirt-clad thighs and shout "Dey do dough dough don't dey dough?" with true revolutionary zeal, and I shall send him to the People's Re-Education Camp in New Brighton immediately.

I trust you find the terms of this offer (for eg We won't kill you TO DEATH with rabid dogs) satisfactory and that we can find common ground to do business. I enclose an SAE.


Your pal,

Kim Jong-Il

Monday, May 05, 2008

On root vegetables

On root vegetables

I am, I have realised, a middle-class Guardian reader.

How do I know this?

Once a fortnight, a bloke in a van turns up and delivers a box of seasonal organic fruit and veg, for rather more than you'd probably pay in your local supermarket.

We'd shop in Waitrose, but our town isn't enlightened enough to have one, and if they do, they'd probably burn it down on suspicion of witchcraft, or something.

So, the vegetable box, it is.

Things being seasonal, we get mud-encrusted examples of things we never new existed, and each delivery is met with a cry of "What the bloody hell's this?", closely followed by "And how do we cook it?"

And so, a few weeks ago we got a bag of brown knobbly things, that went straight in the drawer at the bottom of the fridge. Two weeks later, we got another bag of brown knobbly things, so I thought it best to cook and eat them rather than let them go manky in the none-more-middle-class compost bin.

Jerusalem Artichokes. Slice 'em up. Boil them or bake them. Eat. Delicious.

In fact, they made a rather refreshing change to our diet, for we ate the lot in one go and ordered some more.

Alas, I did not know that these root veg are known by a completely different name.

Jerusalem Fartichokes.

Christ, if that's where they come from, no wonder there's a war.





For twelve hours.

The kids were pumping gas when they went to bed, the charming wife was contributing to the planet's CO2 emissions well into the night, and I was powering the car with jet propulsion all the way to work the next morning.

I looked them up on the net:

Good Housekeeping: Famous for giving you wind

VegBox: Eat in small quantities

Jamie Oliver: Wahey-hey!

Delia Smith: Farted until I crapped myself

A new Veggie Box arrived this week.

"Who do you hate at work?" my lovely wife asked.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Wem-ber-ley

Mirth and Woe: Wem-ber-ley

Wembley Stadium. Venue of Legends.

I've been there on many occasions for both football and music events. And yes, I have seen many a legend. Gary Lineker. Marco Van Basten. Romario. Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne.

And then I've seen some right old crap. Gus Caesar. The infamous Geoff Thomas Shot. Genesis.

You win some - and as a German XI on 30th July 1966 will tell you - you lose some. And that day was the old stadium's finest hour - a Geoff Hurst hat-trick, the Jules Rimet trophy and a nation celebrates.

And from there on, it was downhill all the way - failure to qualify for the '74 World Cup, crumbling old terraces, the infamous Wembley River of Piss and a car park brimming with dog shit as the place became a greyhound track and car boot venue to make both ends meet.

Of course, there was the odd day or two of glory. And I should know, for like the 100-per-cent-not-gay-at-all Max Boyce, I was there. And I scored one of the finest hat-tricks ever seen at the old stadium.

Geoff Hurst, if you're going to get all German on us, only bagged two on that day in 1966. I got three, and the crowd went wild.

I queued for hours to get those tickets.

Up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday, worse for a night on the ale, and blessed with the patience of those in the queue around me who didn't mind my nipping off for a touch of diarrhoea and vomiting in a handy doorway, I wheeled away in triumph - four tickets for U2 at Wembley Stadium. Joshua Tree tour. The stuff of legends. At the Venue of Same.

And there we were - four of us squeezing through the turnstiles clutching over-priced programmes, wading through the Wembley River of Piss - which was of a particularly fine vintage that year - and out into the stadium bowl itself where tens of thousands had gathered to see The Pogues, Lou Reed and finally, the masters themselves - Bongo and the band.

Of course, there was rich, brown vomit to be had, as we partook in the moshpit for The Pogues - another night on the ale being absolutely no preparation for a long day's bouncing up-and-down. Then, we stood in worship for Reed, before the long wait as the road crew got the stage ready for the main event.

We mooched around the concession stands, waded through the river of piss and sat around for a bit.

Then - a touch of magic - somebody produced a football from somewhere.

All over a sudden, it was jumpers for goalposts, and the biggest football match Wembley Stadium had ever seen. Two hundred-a-side at the very least, with hot, sweaty rock music fans chasing the ball about, vying for the honour of having played at Wembley.

I confess right now. Like jug-eared, crisp-munching football legend Gary Lineker, I was a terrible goalhanger, and as soon as the ball came near me I took a swing at it, and ended up under a pile of bodies as I celebrated scoring the finest goal of my short but rubbish footballing career.

My pecker up, I went out looking for that darn football, elbowed some hippy out of the way, and bore down on goal, only the goalie to beat. In a shimmy that Thierry Henry would have been proud of, I sold all three keepers and outrageous dummy and slotted home a second time. This time I remembered to run away before I was mobbed by the baying hordes.

And then, with literally seconds left on the clock, the ball pinged around in front of goal, one of the seven keepers went to boot it clear only to see it rebound off my arse, straight between the mound of coats.


The crowd - all 80,000 of them - roared their appreciation.... the intro to "Where The Streets Have No Name" rang out across the Wembley terraces. Not a soul was paying any attention to the finest Wembley hat-trick since Hurst. Even the jumpers-for-goalposts goalposts had gone, and the ball rolled forlornly into the River of Piss, where it was never seen again.

My finest moment.


Robbed by Bongo out of U2.

The big-nosed bastard.

And then I was sick on the hallowed turf. Making it - in my humble opinion - even more hallowed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

On shaving, Gaiman and K. Minogue

On shaving, Gaiman and K. Minogue

And a haircut wouldn't go amiss, eitherPinch and a punch an' all that.

Greatest living Englishman Neil Gaiman – who I once pestered mercilessly until he wrote the foreword to my book – imparts this excellent piece of advice in a recent blog entry on the difficulties of male grooming whilst curs-ed with sensitive skin:

- Rub your stubble with hair conditioner. Wash it off. Shave. No scraping.

This is excellent news, because in a hurry to leave the house this Monday morning - completely distracted by the rush to get school-age offspring out of bed - in a week where I am working away from home, my entire wash kit comprises thussly:

a) Hotel theft toothbrush-and-toothpaste kit, indeterminate flavour

b) Industrial-sized, hairy bar of soap of the kind you only ever find in schools

c) One bottle of hair conditioner, 69p from cheapskates' parade in Budgens

d) A dodgy-looking disposable razor a colleague brought back from a least-said-about-it-the-better trip to the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan

With my oh-so-sensitive fizzog now sporting four days' worth of wirey bum-fluff, it is time to pop the blade from its 'Made in Quezon City, Philippines' wrapper and take my life in my hands.

This had better work, or Gaiman – providing I don't bleed TO DEATH - you're in trouble.

Some time later: Face. It hurts. Chin like Desperate Dan. Oh, the agogogonies.

Flight of the Darned

Whilst a nice man at BBC Bristol bases an entire future episode of Casualty on the blood-spattered bathrooms of this charming establishment, I prod you towards this:

The web's best – and only - Doctor Who / James Bond / Airplane! / Star Wars / Walking with Dinosaurs / Sarah Jane Adventures / Kylie Minogue mash-up video EVER

"Oh, God almighty"

Apologies for the K. Minogue ear-worm, but it's in a good cause.