Thursday, December 31, 2009

On left/right confusion

On left/right confusion

"So," she said, lost in thought as her hand hovered over a mess of Post-it notes on the desk, "Is it by my left hand or my right?"


"Uh..." she said in the way that betrayed the fact that she was a citizen of the colonies, "Which hand's that?"

"Left. That side."

I pointed, being no help whatsoever.

"Sorry," she said, our brain-storming meeting taking a turn for the bizarre, "we drive on the other side of the road where I come from. I still can't see it."

I could. There, clear as day, was a Post-it note bearing the word "BAZOOKA"

"It.. it's by your left hand. You drive on the right."

"No I don't - I can't drive."

"Bu... you started it."

"And don't you guys call your right hand your left over here?"

No point in arguing with this impeccable logic.

"You're absolutely correct - it's by your right hand."

"Oh yeah - there it is. Why didn't you say?"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On random FACTS

On random FACTS

FACT! People who listen to music through headphones have heads 17% larger than those who do not. This is due to the long-term effects of music forcing micro-currents of air into the listener's cranium, gradually inflating the skull over a number of years. The medical term for this is Tefal Syndrome.

FACT! One of the world's most enduring urban myths is that Eskimos have over 300 words for snow. In fact, they have just two: "snow" and "yellow snow"

FACT: Thanks to a newly-signed sponsorship deal, there are 57 states in the United States of America. One for each tasty, tasty Heinz variety.

FACT! You can avoid giving blood by claiming that you once borrowed a sleeping bag from a male nurse.

Question: When giving blood, how do you know when you've given enough?
Answer: You know that sound you make with a straw when you get to the bottom of a McDonald's milk shake? That sound"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On the Daily Mail

On the Daily Mail

I've just broken into the offices of the Daily Mail. And aside from a caged Richard Littlejohn, I found a file marked "Future Front Pages. Warning: CANCER RISK".

I felt it was my duty, then, to kick Littlejohn right in the fuck, and to take my life in my hands and liberate the front page copy.

I've read through the lot. Nothing to worry about. Look for yourselves:

Headline: We're all doomed ARRRRRRGH!

The nation has been plunged into crisis after European Union bureaucrats refused the entire United Kingdom was a fire safety certificate on the grounds that many – if not all – of its trees are made of highly inflammable wood.

Confirming the Brussels edict, UK government Head Bastard and EU apologist Lord Mandelson told a huddled mass of reporters: "One match, one carelessly discarded cigarette, one hideous accident with a B-52 bomber loaded with napalm and WOOF! the whole lot could go up.

"Citizens! Stay in your homes!" he continued, that I-could-have-you-all-killed-as-easy-as-kiss-my-hand look on his face "Keep watching officially approved state broadcasting outlets!"

After pointing out that homes are just as dangerous as the outside world, Lord Mandelson advised Britons to dig a big hole in their gardens, throw themselves in and leave their twitching bodies for the rats.

"After a brief peak of 100 per cent fatalities in 2009, our analysts predict zero accidental deaths both in the homes and in the outside world for some years to come", Mandelson said.

"I am not mad."

Headline: We're all doomed ARRRRRRGH!

Secret European Union plans have been revealed that will doom each and every one of us to early DEATH through the enforced use of cancer-filled low energy lightbulbs.

Brussels Eurocrats plan to kill us all by plunging this nation into semi-darkness, whittling down numbers through a steady war of attrition via otherwise avoidable household accidents in the twilight caused by these foreign-produced pieces of shit.

Figures leaked from government sources see:

* 312% increase in deaths from sitting on toilet brushes
* 932% increase in roller skates-on-stairs-related fatalities
* 10,000% increase in summary executions for light bulb misuse

If that wasn't enough, Trinity House have revealed that all UK lighthouses must now be fitted with 12W low energy bulbs as per EU regulations, with foghorns restricted to 30dB during the hours of darkness.

Recent secret trials off the coast of Sellafield led to the loss of bulk nuclear waste carrier, the Liberia-registered MV Ship-full-of-darkies-and-immigrants-who'd-crap-in-your-airing-cupboard-given-half-the-chance and its cargo of fifty thousand tins of irradiated Special Brew.

"It's rather embarrassing", said a Trinity House spokesman, "We switched on the light, fell down the stairs in the dark and by the time it had warmed up, it had completely vanished.

"We are, however, investigating reports of 50, 000 glowing corpses in Blackpool. It's a most perplexing mystery."

UK government Head Bastard and EU apologist Lord Mandelson told a huddled mass of reporters: "You're on your own, bastards. Good luck."

Monday, December 28, 2009

On excellent Christmas gifts

On excellent Christmas gifts

The fragrant Mrs Duck found a rare gem on online tat market Ebay and got me one of these for Christmas.

Custom dictates that I should show the whole world the first picture I took with the monster:

And then to the local panto to see The Wizard of Oz, where I asked the Wiz for a Dorothy that didn't have a face like a smacked arse.

He didn't listen.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Rockets Rockets Rockets!

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Rockets Rockets Rockets!

Edit: Now with working video

What you see here is a reckless idiot fitting his motorbike with a rocket launcher, and the sane amongst us can only stand and applaud his genius.

But, be warned: This cannot end well.

And I shall tell you why.

For, as an idiot, reckless teen I tried something similar, only with my bicycle.

I had already tried jousting on a bike, and been left in a bleeding, dog-crap smeared heap in the middle of Twyford Rec.

Lightning surely couldn't strike twice. Racing toward my similarly-armed foe (Matty from next door) with rocket launchers blazing away couldn't possibly prove potentially fatal, could it?

Of course not, otherwise you'd be reading a blog authored by Derek Acorah; and Matty wouldn't be alive and well and living in Australia, and not in a shallow grave round the back of the industrial estate under six inches of quicklime. Because he's in Australia. Honest.

It worked well in theory.

In practice, I suffered burns to both thighs, fell my bike off into an unfortunately placed dog turd, and a passing busybody who came within an ace of becoming collateral damage scuttled off home and rang the police.

The police arrived, who laughed at me and offered advice which I have done my best to ignore for my entire life: "Don't be a prick."

Apart from that, a complete success.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On poor, dead R. Dahl

On poor, dead R. Dahl

That Roald Dahl, eh?

- James and the Giant Peachy Breasts
- Charlie up the Chocolate Factory
- Charlie and the Great Glass Stimulator
- The BFG (The Big Fat Gazoomas)
- Fantastic Mr Fux
- The Twats

Not to mention is superb work in the field of television:

- Tales of the Unexpected Finger In Anus

And his celebrated film screenplays:

- You Only Spuff Twice
- Titty Titty Bang Bang

Poor, dead R. Dahl – we salute you! We also salute your borderline boiler grand-daughter, but that's by-the-by.

R. Dahl, everybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On writing a letter to The Man in Room 22 of the Reading South Premier Inn last Saturday Night

On writing a letter to The Man in Room 22 of the Reading South Premier Inn last Saturday Night

Dear The Man in Room 22 of the Reading South Premier Inn last Saturday Night

Hello. I am the man from Room 21 of Reading South Premier Inn last Saturday night and I am excellent.

You might remember me as the person who hammered on the wall shouting "Shut up you plank" as you banged and groaned away at your significant other like a paired of rutting walruses.

Four times.

I'd like to point out that I am not jealous or anything - any man who can make that much noise on his fourth turn around the block within a space of three hours deserves some sort of medal and a catering-sized jar of cream for his burning bell-end.

It is just that room 21 also housed The Frangrant Mrs Duck and the Duck childs, and even with the TV turned up to 11, we still could not drown out the banging, crashing and the mating cries of the New Guinean Dugong.

Or, as we shall call her - "Your girlfriend".

Yeah, look. Yes, we did offer a round of applause after the third bout of moaning; and we breathed a sign of relief when you both scuttled off home to your respective spouses at two in the morning, but there is one thing we'd just like to say.

Thanks. We got our money back because of you.

Pop by any time. You can stay in the shed.

Your pal,

Albert O'Balsam

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On begging for your money

On begging for your money

On 2nd January, when I dare say the majority of you are still recovering from New Year sick-inna-hedge adventures, I shall be mostly stepping out on a sponsored walk for my very good pals at Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

I am short, slightly overweight and fabulously unfit, meaning there is a fair-to-middling chance that I may actually get killed TO DEATH in this endeavour.

So, it will be a comforting thought, as I take this final journey into the unknown*, to know that you have parted with your hard-earned cash to sponsor me.

Why waste money on Christmas presents and far too much chocolate? Visit this EXCELLENT WEB PAGE and send this excellent Dorset charity all your money instead.

Anything in excess of my modest £200 target will go toward the development of my compressed-air guide dog booster which will make us all millionaires**.

Sponsor me. Sponsor me GOOD.

* A six-mile circuit around Weymouth, which is much the same thing

** Lie

Monday, December 21, 2009

On pork

On pork

Any excuse"Good morning, and welcome to BBC Radio 4. It's 5.45, which means it's time for Farming Today."

I like a bit of Farming Today. I started my career as a paid slob in the Ministry of Cow Counting, and still harbour a touch of nostalgia for the business of agriculture. A business I do my best to help by running over as many badgers as possible.

"Today," said the charming Charlotte Smith, "We ask: Where does your pork comes from?"

I steer my car onto the A31 at Ringwood and manage the feat of simultaneously banging my head on the steering wheel.

Lordy, Radio 4's dumbing down.

Everybody knows the answer is: Pigs. Pork comes from pigs.

Yoinks! Rumbled by those new media curs at Radio 4

Friday, December 18, 2009

Neither Mirth nor Woe: Robbed

Neither Mirth nor Woe: Robbed

And then I got robbed.

Being a victim of crime isn't exactly a bundle of laughs, but I only have myself to blame taking the dog for a walk just as the sun set over Portland Harbour.

I thought I'd be fine, but as two burly shadows emerged from the bushes and blocked my path, I knew I was in for it.

"Evening," I said, hoping that the situation wasn't as bad as I hoped, but in vain.

"We're gonna rob you, innit."

Oh dear. Ali G has SO much to answer for.

"I beg your pardon?"

"We're gonna rob you, innit, or I'm gonna cut you with my flicky."

I was too terrified to remind him that statement was one 'innit' short and instead harkened back to my hazardous environment training, one of the few excellent perks you get from a career in journalism.

"Give us everything you got," said the second hoodie, "Or I cut ya. Innit."

My training, then, taught me two things. Depending on the situation, a nice former Royal Marine had said, you either do everything they say, hoping for the best; or you club them in the face and break their nose.

This was not a nose-breaking situation, and his "flicky, innit" was clearly a twig.

"What do you chaps want, then?" I ventured, hoping to get away with as little personal and financial damage as possible.

"Everything. Woss in that bag?"

I had forgotten I was carrying a small bag from H. Samuel the jewelers in my right hand.

"Oh, have a care, fella, "I pleaded, "that's my wife's Christmas present. Cost me a fortune. Do you WANT to wreck her Christmas?"

"Jus' f-ing gimme it," said the troll, "Or I stick ya, innit."

No point arguing. I f-ing gave him it.

Then, taking Falstaff's advice about discretion and valour, I fled.

I fled, not for my safety, nor that of Lucy Minogue - who had failed in her duty as a fierce guard dog throughout my hideous ordeal - but for what might happen if I wasn't hiding behind by sofa within the next thirty seconds.

For the long and the short of this story is this: Robbed, I was, for a small plastic bag containing a steaming fresh dog shit.

Good dog. GOOD DOG.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On cynical system design

On cynical system design

"So," I say to the IT chaps, "You say we're getting WYSIWYG on this new system."


"Wait... what?"


"Yeah, that's what I thought you said. What is it, and how much have we paid?"

"What You See Is What You Never Get, Ever. It's free, and adds comedy value."

"Well, that's a relief."

"You think you're putting together a complete and detailed audio-visual presentation for the board of directors, and it throws in whole pages of text in Comic Sans, sparkly Stars-and-Stripes and a mother-in-law joke written by Frank Carson. It's the way he tells 'em, so I hear."

"So I hear. How's the Uploaded Pictures of Your Arse detector coming along?"

"RUBBISH. We're having to use WYSIWYG."

"Oh, that is unfortunate."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On homeopathy

On homeopathy

Regular readers of these pages will know by now that I'm a big fan of SCIENCE and FACTS, and an even bigger fan of fake SCIENCE masquerading as FACTS in the pursuit of a quick fortune.

The above statement may or may not have anything to do with my latest SCIENCE and FACT based money-making venture – a trip into the world of complementary medicine and homeopathy.

Homeopathy, as you may know, is the practice of diluting a substance in water to such an extent that absolutely NONE of the original exists.

This process allows the quack to pass off a bottle of water as magic medicine that contains the "memory" of the original, and is hence a cure-all medicine that many people swear by.

I'd swear by it as well. They're fucking idiots.

However, they're easily-impressed idiots with lots and lots of money, to such an extent that even major High Street retailers have the front to sell bottles of magic water at an extraordinary mark-up.

And I want a slice of the action.

Just as your Take a Break astrologers rake it in with dial-up Astro-Tarot-Flip-a-Coin-Feng-Shui horoscopes, I'll be mixing up the best alternative medicines to provide a unique, scientifically unsound, highly profitable service.

And it is this: Combine the best natural therapies with reflexology and homeopathy to create a therapy that has guaranteed* results.

Applying homeopathic logic into the sphere of natural medicine: I theorise that if a plant such as mistletoe holds healing properties (with natural therapists claiming it can be used for lowering blood pressure and combating fatigue, whilst others say it is also useful for poisoning people TO DEATH), other parts of the tree on which this mistletoe grows must have the MEMORY of these properties even if they are not directly connected.

Therefore, other parts of the tree – or any tree growing nearby - can be used in healing, and may be used in my patent-pending herbalist-complementary-homeopathic-reflexology therapies for fee-paying customers.

For fifty quid a throw, I'm going to thrash stupid people's feet with a stick.

It's the very least they deserve.

* results not guaranteed

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Top Gear, again

On Top Gear, again

Some people are saying Top Gear's jumped the shark.

They're wrong, of course.

Having said that, it is clear they may be struggling in their quest to stay at the cutting edge of cocking about.

They've fired cars off aircraft carriers (failed), turned a Reliant Robin into a spacecraft (failed) and taken a nice, quiet caravan holiday in South Dorset (epic failed).

What else can they do? Where else can they drive their dream cars? How else can they outrage the outragerati at the Daily Mail?

Fear not, Stig fans – we're working on it. And after literally minutes of frenzied brain-storming, thought-showers, solutioneering and scuba-diving in our think-tank, here's what we've come up with:

- Which Japanese budget car would make the best Kamikaze plane? James May uses MATHS, SCIENCE and a bloody great catapult to fire Nissan Micras at the Isle of Wight ferry whilst jumping over a shark

- Jeremy Carkson takes the Bugatti Veyron on a tour of Ann Noreen Widdecombe ("Oh my Lord – this is the most cavernous nadge .. .. .. .. .. .. IN THE WORLD")

- Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car – Maureen from Driving School. And Stevie Wonder

- Richard "Hamster" Hammond drives the new Ford Ka down to the corner shop for twenty Bensons and a copy of Nuts magazine, but hilariously crashes and burns whilst negotiating a speed hump in Shepherd's Bush

- RACE CHALLENGE: The boys race across Europe from Bulgaria to a cabbage farm in Suffolk. How many immigrants can they get across the Channel in the back of a family-sized luxury estate? Jeremy wins with a grand total of 117 through cunning use of a garden shredder ("Nothing in the rules says they have to arrive intact")

"Next week we start our own Bulgarian-flavoured kebab vans. And on that bombshell..."

Monday, December 14, 2009

On having one's assets manipulated

On having one's assets manipulated

So, I return to work after two weeks' paid holiday in the bosom of my loving family.

I log onto the computer system, and groan inwardly as my mailbox reveals some 1,500 emails have arrive in my absence, work-related messages hiding behind a deluge of offers for Viagra and fakes Rolexes.

The last thing I want, then, is for my Outlook Calendar to do that cheerful "You've got an appointment" sound and remind me that I have a six-hour meeting entitled (and I quote) "Asset manipulation metadata".

In fifteen minutes.

While recognising that this is a serious business, where there is very little solutioneering, picking of low-hanging fruit and rear-view-mirrorism going on, the last thing you want to see on a Monday morning – unless used as the name for a particularly exciting Canadian industrial techno band - are the words "Asset Manipulation Metadata" in close proximity.

I'd go as far as saying that "Asset Manipulation Metadata" on a Monday morning is the sort of thing that makes a man want to slay his colleagues with a pick-axe handle, hiding their still-warm bodies in a hurriedly-dug trench at the far end of the car park.

In other news, a spate of sudden ...err... resignations and permanent emigrations to the Antipodes means there are now twenty-seven vacancies in my place of work.

CVs in the post, please. I promise no asset manipulation will occur.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Geography

Neither Mirth Nor Woe: Geography

The small boy sidles up to me with what can only be described as a shit-eating grin spread across his face.

And I should know, for I was – at that time – little more than a small boy myself, and shit-eating grins were my stock-in-trade.

"Ere," he says, shit-eating grin barely flickering, "What's the capital of China?"

I draw breath to give him the answer – for it is Peking – but my reply is not even given the chance to form itself in my mouth as his fist makes violent contact with my nether regions.

"Ha haaaaa!" he screams as he makes a dash for the safety of the school cloakrooms, "It's Bang Cock!"

"No it's not," I wheeze after my retreating foe, "I think you'll find that's in Thailand."

A little bit of sick came up into my mouth. Followed, as it happens, by quite a lot of sick.

And then I was sick inna hedge.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On THINKIUM, again


The first blow is cast. Once again, what started as a one-off gag egged on by fellow internet lunatics has taken over my life with new websites, email addresses and authentic-looking press releases. Let's see how far this little beauty goes...

PRESS RELEASE – For immediate release


LONDON, 9th December 2009: UK-based Think Tank THINKIUM has called for immediate and decisive action on climate change as world leaders meets to discuss the global crisis in Copenhagen.

Renowned for its out-of-the-box analysis, THINKIUM urges both world governments and citizens to take urgent and direct steps in order to combat the threat of rising global temperatures and sea levels.

Scientists engaged by THINKIUM note that global warming only became an issue AFTER the banning of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in hundreds of millions of refrigerators around the world.

Logic dictates, therefore, that CFCs – the very substance that makes things cooler – should be immediately un-banned by world regulatory bodies in order to reverse the indisputable rise in global temperatures.

Citizens are also urged to help this process of "Global Cooling" by leaving their refrigerator doors open for three hours per day.

Additionally, pensioners who cannot afford to run their central heating should simply leave their doors open at night to let the cold out.


In the light of this simple, elegant solution, THINKIUM disputes the need for the expensive, environmentally damaging Copenhagen Conference, and proposes that drastic measures are taken to offset the carbon dioxide generated by 60,000 people travelling to Denmark.

THINKIUM scientists have calculated that these 60,000 visitors, once humanely despatched, will provide 3,900 tons of prime fertiliser, or to put it another way, enough fresh, red, iron-rich mulch to grow nearly four million trees.

This solution provides answers to many of the questions surrounding climate change: over-population, deforestation, pollution due to excessive air travel and taxpayers' money wasted on useless research grants.

THINKIUM supplies answers to the world's most pressing crisis at both the governmental and societal levels, and if employed immediately, will provide benefits for entire populations.

THINKIUM: "We say what you pay us to say"


THINKIUM is an independent, privately-funded Think Tank with a select client base. Members of THINKIUM are available for analysis, comment and policy direction on matters of governance, law, society, science, faith and environment.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

On swimming in our think tank

On swimming in our think tank

You can always tell a slow news day when some mysteriously-funded think tank hits the headlines with some half-baked suggestion that the nation could slash its massive deficit by sacking all the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, police and firemen because "there are rather a lot of them, aren't there?"

Like this, for example: BBC News - Mysteriously-funded think tank calls for sacking of doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, police and firemen because "there are rather a lot of them, aren't there?".

It comes as no surprise to learn that absolutely anybody can set themselves up as a think tank, and get a slice of that big, fat mysteriously-funded mysterious think tank funding.

And the more outrageous your ideas, the bigger the headlines on a slow December Tuesday. And the more money you get for future cloud cuckoo ideas.

I want some of that big, fat tasty pie, and thus THINKIUM – the official Scaryduck Think Tank – is born.

All we need now is to do the hard work – the actual thinking – and come up with some money-making, headline-grabbing big ideas that will be splashed all over the Daily Mail as A Good Idea.

- All emergency services to be cross-trained into the other emergency services. Once everybody is trained, we can sack 66% of now unnecessary ambo-fire-police officers and save £££s from the public purse. As a side-effect, the AA renames itself "the second emergency service"

- Outsourcing all publicly-funded ambo-fire-police officers to the private sector, with the AA as the preferred bidder. As a side-effect, the AA renames itself "the only emergency service". See also: 0118 999 881 999 119 7253

- Diversify the Armed Forces into other, more profitable areas. For example: The Queen's Own Kwik Fit Light Infantry

- Replace Asbos with mandatory Butler Boot Camp for anti-social youths, creating a new generation of useful man-servants (@Flashboy)

- A one-in-one-out immigration policy. For every decent, hard-working person who comes in we kick out a scrounging BNP voter (@ThirdmanUK)

- Replace every government cabinet member with a think tank that works inside a giant statue of a politician (@mattround). At night, a door opens in the side of the statue, and the think tank is allowed out to fight crime, dressed as a crime-fighting dog

- State funding for Think Tanks

That's as good a start as any. Once David Cameron sends us £££s for these excellent ideas, we'll be on Easy Street. This time next year, Rodders...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

On things which are 100 per cent of truth

On things which are 100 per cent of truth

Scaryduck's "Did You Know...?" No 34,091
Footballer David Beckham is known as 'Goldenballs' to both his legions of fans and an unimaginative tabloid press. However, the sobriquet has nothing to do with any alleged footballing talent, but relates to a teenage masturbatory accident involving a tin of spray paint that was documented in a 1989 edition of the Barking and Dagenham Post.

Scaryduck's "Did you know...?" No. 56,022
All penguins are naturally inclined to join organised crime gangs. The first penguin to join the mob was "Genial" Harry Fishfinger, attracted by a promise that he would be "sleeping with the fishes", but ending his days on a life stretch for wanton acts of violence against puffins.

Look, I don't make this stuff up. It's all 100 per cent true. Honest.

Just to prove it, here's a bird's eye view of Ayrton Senna Road in Reading, built as a fitting tribute to the world's greatest racing driver, not terribly far from where he had a home. (Click on pic to embiggen)

The more eagle-eyed amongst you will note that a) it's a cul-de-sac and b) yes, those are speed bumps. Poor, dead Ayrton.

Monday, December 07, 2009



What's your bus count?

The 'bus count' is an internationally recognised measure within the business world quantifying how many key staff members falling under buses are required before any given company grinds to a halt.

A bus count of one in your company is bad news.

A bus count of four is regarded as the absolute minimum, but if you find yourself with four vital staff members falling under buses, you either have a pressing need to get the Green Cross Man to make a personal appearance, or your local bus company has no in-house procedure for rooting out the psychopaths and the registered blind.

Or, of course, your competitors could simply be using our services.

Welcome to BUS COUNT BEATERS - a new service for the business that wants to get ahead.

Worried that your competitors have the edge?

Is your throat getting cut in this cut-throat market?

Need to even things up a bit?

Never fear - get yourself to the front of the queue with BUS COUNT BEATERS

All our drivers are fully-uninsured and PSV unqualified, and only undertake their duties in the best, unmarked, un-MOTed, specially re-inforced double deckers sourced only from the least well-known Russian defence exporters.

All contracts 100 per cent fully researched, rehearsed and guaranteed - Your competitors buried between two barn doors, or YOUR MONEY BACK!


* But it will be a bus

Saturday, December 05, 2009

On charity

On charity

I've recently got back in touch with an old school friend, who is now trustee of a rather worthy charity supporting both people and the environment in Africa.

If you're planning a charitable donation this Christmas, please consider Tree Africa.

That is all.

Friday, December 04, 2009

On travelling by train

On travelling by train

Every now and then, I find myself travelling up to London for work.

Having trawled through the arcane ticket-booking website in which you need to click "BUY TICKETS" buttons on no less than four occasions, I eventually find myself in possession of both tickets to ride, but also seat reservations so that I may travel on a rush hour train to London in relative comfort.

Seat reservations are one thing, but the reality is somewhat more brutal.

By the time the 0730 to Paddington has arrived at Reading, I have darted from one end of the platform to the other to find Coach B, and am already at the back of the seething mass of humanity trying to board the packed train.

Then, squeezing down the aisle toward seat 47B to the sighs and stares of standing passengers, I discover the worst: My seat is already taken.

"Excuse me – I have a reservation for that seat," I say to the suited bastard, his Blackberry, Mac and Costa Coffee already laid out before him.

"And what are you going to do about it?" he said, possession being nine-tenths of the law.

Here's what I did about it: I stood for half-an-hour, reading a copy of Metro, farting in his face all the way to London.

WIN, snatched from the very jaws of FAIL, I am sure you will agree.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

On things not to say at a funeral

On things not to say at a funeral

Things not to say at a funeral. I repeat: Things not to say at a funeral

- "What's that Sam? The money's in the coffin? Bless you Sam."

- "...Funk to funky / We know Major Tom's a junkie"

- "3... 2...1... MEXICAN WAVE!"

- "We've swapped the funeral music for the Birdie Song. Let's see if they're GAME FOR A LAUGH!"

- "Skip to the end, padre. I've got a good feeling about the will."

- "Has anyone mentioned that you look SO hot in black?"

- "Can I have your autograph? It's not for me..."

- "Yeah, face down and covered in garlic, as per your instructions."

- "And the real tragedy is that Jim Davidson's still walking the Earth."

- "I thought it was going to be a Y-shaped coffin"

From Twitter's @DanielOppenheim, who wins an INTARNET: "HA! You dead bastard! I made it! I'm Solihull's 4th greatest piano tuner now!!!"

I have actually said one of these lines. Go on, guess.

Also: Add more.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

On Iceland

On Iceland

There are times when a man's got to stand up and be counted. And that time is NOW.

In these darkest of days, I have decided - for the good of the nation - that I shall make it my life's work to hunt down and mete out righteous justice on those behind this monstrosity:

Righteous justice may include any of the following:

- Public ridicule

- Turd through the letterbox, it being the only language these curs understand

- Tied to a dentist's chair and being made to sing "Well did you Evah" non-stop except for periods when the victim person under re-education is force-fed Iceland-branded nutrition-free calories and/or Coleen Nolan

- Being Coleen Nolan. Or Jason Donovan

I am not mad

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

On round robin Christmas letters, yet again

It's that time of year again, when we turn the smug dial up to eleven and tell people we barely see from one decade to the next what we've been up to for the year with the annual, dreadful Christmas round robin letter. And what a year!

Instructions: Cut, paste, change names and send to people you hate.

Hello everybody!

Or should I say "Malo 'e lelei" after I was elected King of Tonga this January on a unanimous vote by the islanders – aka my loyal subjects!!!

Of course, I was more than happy to take the job, for kingship is one of the "milestones" on my chosen career path, now that I have reluctantly decided three "Best Director" Oscars is more than enough! The Tongans were more than understanding when I told them that I couldn't possibly move to Tonga until John Lewis opened a branch there, but work is proceeding quickly following my decree that there should be more boutique shops and charming little trattorias and tapas bars.

Sadly, I am considering abdication already after the untimely death of dear, dear Michael Jackson in June. As I wept in front of GMTV on that sad morning, the private line rang, and Simon Cowell quite literally begged me to be the new King of Pop. Naturally I agreed, if only for the fact that I can now afford to have someone write my "Hello!" column for me, but feel that I cannot be two kings at once, so it's (reluctantly!) good-bye Tonga!!!

Then in November we won another £45 million on the Lottery to go with last year's bumper £27 million jackpot – using exactly the same numbers!!! What are we going to do with all that money?!

All that cash is burning a hole in our pockets, but after that fiasco with the Somali orphans (not one of the urchins bothered learning enough English to wish us a word of thanks), we've decided to give charity a wide berth. My lovely wife Vanessa – taking time out from her job as Max Clifford's PR advisor - went out and bought an entire set of Crown Jewels, but took them back to Elizabeth Duke at Argos under the 16-day no-quibble guarantee, finding them tacky to the extreme.

My young lad Adam changed school this year – to become Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge!!! He's taken over Stephen Hawking's old job, and has already sent out a number of corrections to his shoddy "Brief History of Time" and exchanged the electric wheelchair for a rather more modern and sleek Bugatti Veyron!!! Luckily, after becoming the fastest speeding offender ever, the judge was so impressed he let him off!!! Which was nice.

Our daughter Hazel has also had her fair share of success – she's became a dotcom billionaire with her new insurance comparison website comparison website. You might have seen the popular TV adverts for in which a friendly talking meerkat is dragged out and shot by Churchill the Dog on the town hall steps, while my newly-created John and Edward clones sing Gina G's "Ooh Aah! Just a Little Bit" in the background. A real viral hit!!!

That's all from us for another breathless, fun-packed year. We do hope you have a happy and prosperous Christmas (though not as prosperous as we are – LOL!!!). Just don't bother writing back – we've moved and we decided not to tell the poor, tedious people where we are.

Ciao – or as they say in Tonga – "nefo!"

King Duckalula e' Wakakulu III of Tonga (Retired)