Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

On dealing with government cuts ...err... savings

On dealing with government cuts ...err... savings

We are living in hard times. And, to be honest, I'm not quite sure how to handle the cuts being imposed upon us to slash our country's deficit.

I've heard many arguments as to whether the cuts are actually necessary or not, and I'm just grateful still to be in a job whilst others have - very sadly - found themselves out of the door.

And the big problem is this: Gideon "George" Osborne.

He's a millionaire product of a very expensive education, and, frankly, he's got that sort of face you can never tire of punching. That's no political bias, by the way, he's just got that sort of face you can never tire of punching.

He could be announcing the closure of every single primary school in the country and forcing 5-11 year-olds to labour down the mines "as a vital grounding in the world of voluntary work", and he'd still have that smirk on his face that you can never tire of punching.

This being the case, I propose a new law. And the new law is this: When announcing budget cuts for the good of the nation's finances, with a smirk on his face that you can never tire of punching, the Chancellor MUST finish his statement with the words: "By Grabthar's hammer - What a savings".

Then we'd know he's sincere, and not secretly laughing up his sleeve at us.

I shall write to my millionaire, Eton educated quadruple-barrelled-surnamed MP immediately.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On mocking Jehovah, and mocking him hard

On mocking Jehovah, and mocking him hard

Since I stopped taking the pills for me nerves, I like to think that I am a pretty calm individual, no longer taken with dark thoughts of hacking colleagues to pieces and burying them in the car park just because they muscled in front of you in the staff kitchen and used up all the water in the kettle. Yes, this is a heinous crime, but hardly worth painful death. Not for the first offence, at least.

So, during one my regular Thursday Nutters Club meeting at a local church hall, the casual observer may have been surprised to see your author shouting like a maniac at a leaflet he had found amongst the religious literature you tend to find in these places, a source of endless material for deity-curious atheists and acolytes of The Holy Church of Don't Be A Dick.

And the message of the leaftlet which had provoked my ire was this: "If you need anything, pray to our man Jehovah, and if he deems you pious enough, he will provide".

So, we get this sort of turd-spurt:

"I needed a job, prayed, and God provided me with a part-time post at a supermarket. Nice one, Lord, I no longer have to drink my own urine."
No... I'll think you'll find supermarkets take on anybody who applies as long as they have approximately the correct number of arms and legs. Unless, of course, the Invisible Sky Zombie is head of recruiting at Sainsbury's.

"I was carrying a cross across Wales, but ran out of water. I prayed, and somebody gave me water. Praise Jehovah, I no longer have to drink my own urine!"
Wait... WHAT? You were doing WHAT?

"We were looking for a house, prayed, went to an estate agent and found a house. Our piss-drinking days are over, all thanks to Jehovah!"
And I always thought estate agents were in the service of Satan (who, if God created the entire universe and everything in it, was created by ...err... God)

"I bought an oil lamp as a holiday souvenir when I visited the Holy Land. Recently, we had a power cut that had me praying and drinking my own urine, before I realised that God had provided me with a Lamp. Thanks, God!"
Shut up. Just SHUT UP.

And a large number of testimonies that read along the lines of: "I run a Christian organisation that relies on people giving us money. Sometimes people give us money, usually just as we are running out and drinking our own urine. Thanks, God!"

If you could put this in a flow chart:

Disaster > Urine drinking > Prayer > Money > Thank magic Sky Zombie > Take long holiday > Store urine in bottles > Repeat as Required

Normally, I'd say that this kind of harmless religion keeps these people off the streets. But no. These people are ON the streets, carrying crosses around Wales and making otherwise innocent estate agents doubt their sanity.

And, to be perfectly frank, it's asshattery like this that forces me to mock religion, and mock it hard. And to prove my point, I haven't prayed at all today, yet I have found a bottle of whisky on the bus. At least I think it's a bottle of whisky. Who's joining me for a snifter?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Kerry Katona drinking game

The Kerry Katona drinking game

It started as a harmless bit of channel surfing to see what all the fuss was about with all these celebrity reality programmes. Giving The Only Way Is Essex the short shrift that it deserves, I find myself completely addicted to the car-crash television that is Kerry Katona: The Next Chapter. I have no doubt that Kerry's actually quite pleasant when not being followed by cameras. But we will never know.

And it being Chip Shop Kerry, the only way that you can sensibly watch this televisual feast is to get yourself completely arseholed.

So, here are the official, not-endorsed by Kerry Katona in any way, rules of the Kerry Katona Drinking Game

1. Watch Kerry Katona: the Next Chapter (ITV2 9pm, repeated forever)

2. Take a drink every time...

- Long shot of her enormous lake-side home in Surrey

- Kerry bursts into tears for no reason whatsoever

- Filmed reading her own press in the gossip mags, and bursts into tears

- Talks about her bankruptcy, and bursts into tears

- Says "I'm just trying to be the best mum I can"

- Ham-fisted Kerry-does-something-heartwarming-with-the-kids-that-looks-completely-staged scene

- "Kerry has been called for an ostensibly pointless meeting in London with her agent"

- Her manager says "That's what we're all about, getting Kerry into a good place," or...

- Her manager says "She's on her way back"

- Filmed shooting a fitness video, or doing PR for a recently-filmed fitness video

- Filmed getting into an argument with a random in the street

- Filmed flirting with random in the street

- Kerry makes pretend phone call

3. Knock back the entire bottle...

- Stagger to your feet during an advert break to find Kerry on the sofa joining in with the Kerry Katona drinking game

I fully expect to be completely blatted within the first ten minutes.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



I promised that last week's BUS THAT LOOKS LIKE AN OWL was going to be the last one. Sadly, that proved to be a complete pack of lies, much like the previous week's pledge to knock it on the head.

Previously in things-that-look-like-other-things:

* Happy car / Angry car

* Surprised owl car

* Happy train that's really a complete bastard

* Train that's eaten YOUR MUM

* Bus that looks like an owl

And now, thanks to the world of motor racing:

A whole bunch of racing cars that look just like wide-mouthed frogs. Really, really angry wide-mouthed frogs that have just been carved up in the pit lane by that bus that looks like an owl.

Please make it stop. Please.

Monday, April 25, 2011



The phone rings in the IT Support Department.

"Yeah, I'm having problems with my computer. There's something not entirely kosher about it?"

"How so?"

"It only works on Saturdays."

Boom, and indeed, TISH!

*It's OK, I'm slightly Jewish

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

The Pixies - Cecilia Ann

When I grow up and be a famous comedian or something, I want this to be my walk-on music.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Poetry Corner: On Grandparents

Poetry Corner: On Grandparents

What, they asked on the radio, do you own that belonged to your grandparents?

Answer: Apart from 25 per cent of my genes, I have very little passed down from two generations.

Then, I remembered his old Boy Scout penknife (and he once told me of the time he met Baden-Powell), and in a rare moment of sentimentaility, I wrote it down as a poem.

A pome what I wrote about my poor, dead grandfather

Discovered my grandad's old pen-knife
In the biscuit tin under my bed;
Pleasing, heavy in my hand,
The blade still keen like it was new;
Eighty years old, and he's long gone,
And the only part of him I possess.
And from my grandfather on my mother's side: The ability to build pretty much unsinkable Royal Navy battle ships. (Ability as yet untested).

Grandparents, everybody!

Thursday, April 21, 2011



After a few months away while I found myself on pills for me nerves as a result of non-stop meetings, I am suddenly once more emerged in agendas, minutes and the painful, screaming deaths of my former colleagues.

On the bright side, their deaths are not in vain, providing - as they do - much chortlesome material for these pages.

So, after a mere fifteen minutes we reach the end of the agenda, and hopes are raised that we can get out of the meeting room before the canteen closes for its lunch break. Then, the dread words: "Any Questions?"

An hour later, the will to live is well and truly lost, and a shopping list is drawn up containing the words "shovel", "tin bath" and "two hundredweight of quicklime".

It is not the questions one minds if they are actually relevant, but they are not. They are simply questions posed by people who cannot stop asking questions, redolent of trying to watch a football match with a small child:

"Dad - Has anyone ever kicked a football and it's hit a pigeon?"


"Dad - Has anyone ever kicked a football and it's hit a man in the crowd?"


"Dad - Has anyone ever kicked a football and it's hit a dog?"


"Dad - Has anyone ever kicked a football…"


And then: "And we'll all meet again at nine-thirty tomorrow morning and start with a short team-building exercise."

I have a question: "Can I turn up at ten, please?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



Here it is: Alistair Coleman Live at the BBC Social Club

Thanks to my colleagues for laughing with me, and not at me.

The biggest laughs, sadly, come from jokes written by a) my son, b) my flatmate and c) unrehearsed ad-libs.

If you'd like that ten minutes of your life back - out the door, line on the left, one cross each.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On being a mobile helpdesk

On being a mobile helpdesk

I'm reasonably good with computers. The trouble is, once other people find out, you become their ad hoc mobile helpdesk.

Now, I don't mind setting up the odd home wireless network for the technologically challenged, but then you get the supplementary questions.

For example:

"When I switch it on, it just shuts straight down again"
"That's because the battery's run out"
"Oh, right. Right. I have to plug it in, then?"
"Yes. Yes you do. With a plug."


"Why is my internet going so slow?"
"That's because you've got six search bars on your browser all called SuperMegaHyperSearch"
"What's a browser?"


"Where's my Facebook? WHERE IS IT? I WANT MY FARMVILLE!"
"You're logged out."
"You need to log in."
"How do I do that then?"

Now, who needs a bit of help? Bored housewives given priority.

Monday, April 18, 2011



OK, I promise that this is going to be the last one.

* Happy car / Angry car

* Surprised owl car

* Happy train that's really a complete bastard

* Train that's eaten YOUR MUM

So, there I was, driving down the M3 the other evening in my rocket-powered Nissan Micra, where I spy one of these BLASPHEMIES in the Winchester Services.


And, to compare, an owl THAT LOOKS LIKE THE FRONT END OF A BUS

I'll stop now. Please, somebody make me stop.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



*Strokes chin in an exaggerated manner*


Colonials: Do not even consider asking for an explanation

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

Lanu featuring Megan Washington - Beautiful Trash

How long could I go without posting another Megan Washington video (who I am not stalking)? The answer: Not very long.

For the Washo connoisseur, the Natural Double Remix is tons better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

On keeping Formula One boring

On keeping Formula One boring

Despite all the tinkering and rule changes, the sad fact is that Formula One motor racing is still a boring procession where the first driver to the bend at the end of the pit straight wins.

Why not, radio's Danny Baker tweets, "make drivers do the last lap on foot?"

That's a spanker of an idea, but not enough. What they really need to do is bring back the old-style starts, where somebody fires the starting gun, the drivers have to leg it to their cars, start up, and drive away.

This means that particularly slow and/or fat drivers run the risk of getting run over, which would make F1 both better, and give more opportunities for up-and-coming drivers as they scrape Michael Schumacher off the track.

Still not good enough, and I propose that the mandarins at the FIA take a page from the School Sports Day book: Make the run to the cars an obstacle course.

1. Crawl under a net
2. Egg-and-spoon
3. Get dressed into overalls, welly boots and big floppy hat
4. Three-legged race with their mum

And then, once they reach their cars, the keys are all in a big bowl, like a swinger's party. One set of keys is for a clown car.

Once that's all done, there's the handicap system: Winner of the previous race has to drive a bright pink Nissan Micra. Not just for the next race, but he also has to drive it to the next racing circuit.

And to keep things on edge, one car is fitted - at random, in secret, and in the middle of the night - with an ejector seat. Bet on the right car and the lap number - win a Proton!

Brilliant, I'm sure you will agree. But I'm certain they'll find a way of keeping F1 boring.

Edit: Twitter's @tweetyaca offers this suggestion - "Hurdles"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On finding myself utterly pwn3d by the Dalai Lama

On finding myself utterly pwn3d by the Dalai Lama

OK, I've finally got round to it. Pick this one out, so-called Tenzin Gyatso…

Dear The Dalai Lama

Congratulations on being the world's number one exiled religious leader! As exiled religious leaders go, you're right up there with the best and you totally deserve the right to party HARD with Bono and the lads.

However, as a representative of the sprawling global Scaryduck Corporation, which boasts offices on all twenty-seven known continents, we note, with some concern, your recent use of the phrase "Not Daily, Not a Llama" in your official Dalai Lama™ merchandise.

We view this as a blatant attack on our own "Not Scary, Not a Duck" phrase, which we have used under copyright since the year 2002.

Knock it off, slap-head.

Especially the Lil' Lama™ stuff, which is not going to improve anybody's Karma™.

We expect a full and frank apology in your opportunist propaganda sheet of a newspaper: The Daily Lama.


Albert O'Balsam

PS Don't try your Jedi mind-tricks, they don't work on Cockneys

Dear Duck Bloke

Peace and eternal blessings upon you!

I note with interest your complaint about my use of the phrase "Not Daily, Not a Llama", which you maintain is a copyright infringement of your own tagline.

You might like to know that I first used the "Not Daily, Not a Llama" AND the more grammatically correct "Neither Daily, Nor a Llama" during my first incarnation in 1391.

Our own records show that you were existing at that time as a mongoose, having spent much of your previous life shatting through people's letterboxes.

That, I believe is a pretty emphatic first dibs.

In the circumstances, and after consulting with our New York-based lawyers, we think the best advice we can give you is this: "GET TO FUCK".

Be lucky

Your pal,

The Dalai Lama™
Not Daily, Not a Llama™

PS I have enclosed directions, should you need them
If you're going to get yourself an arch-nemesis, you might as well start at the very top.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On upsetting local politicians

On upsetting local politicians

It's that time of year again

[ding dong!]

"Good evening sir, I'm your Liberal Democrat candidate in the forthcoming local elections and I..."

"Oh, you poor, poor person."

"Wait...what? I ...err..."

"You poor person. Here's a pound."

He looked at me, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish, clutching his shiny Queen's pound.

"But... but... progressive policies?"

"You poor devil."

"Social mobility?"

"You want that quid or not? I pity you."

I'm only going to vote for one party on May 5th.

"Other political parties are available"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On what is, actually, the worst thing in the world

On what is, actually, the worst thing in the world

"Time to wake up, Mr Bond! Double-oh-seven - wake up, man!"

"What the Devil, Blofeld," said Bond, rubbing his head, remembering dimly how the SPECTRE henchmen had beaten him mercilessly.

He was, his senses slowly returning from the confusion of chase, capture and unconsiousness, all questions: "Where the hell am I? Where are my shoes? Do... Do you expect me to talk?"

Ernst Stavro Blofeld chuckled and ran his fingers through the fur of his white Persian cat.

"No, Mr Bond, I expect you to walk free!"

"Is this," a confused 007 said, "Is this some sort of trap?"

"You know me, Mr Bond", said Blofeld, a look of impending victory on his face, "I never lie in the line of business. You may leave through the door on the other side of this room."

Bond smiled.


Bond sweated.


Bond lost control of his bowels as his body descended into a panic for which years of Double-O training could not prepare him.

"Lego bricks?"

"Lego bricks."


Civilisation crumbled.

Monday, April 11, 2011



Right, where were we?

* Happy car / Angry car

* Surprised owl car

* Happy train that's really a complete bastard

"Ah-ha!" I hear you ask, "How do you know that Happy Train is really a bastard? Maybe he's just a happy train?"

That is where you are wrong. Here's his best pal 365507. Why so angry?

He's stuck at a red light at Peterborough, realising that he's late for a rub down and a happy finish from a Thai ladyboy at King's Cross.

And look at this angry fella. Years of pent-up branch-line frustration clear for everybody to see.

What's that he's eating? I'll tell you: YOUR MUM.

Somebody ban this SICK FILTH.

Sunday, April 10, 2011



Toby writes to me. His email reads simply...


Something just came out of my nose.

I love getting email.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

Chris Kamara misses a sending off at Portsmouth

There are sports bloopers and there are Colemanballs (no relation), but nothing compares to the child-like innocence of Sky's Chris Kamara as he misses a key moment in a Premier League football match. Sublime.

Friday, April 08, 2011

On stamping out FILTH on our nation's television screens

On stamping out FILTH on our nation's television screens

Good grief, something's got to be said.

Dear Confused dot com

Please find attached a still from your recent television advertisement for your insurance services.

Despite the pneumatic delights of a number of the animated cast which are a welcome addition to any household's evening entertainment, I draw your attention to the kind of FILTH that is bringing this nation to its knees.

Can you see what it is? CAN YOU?

That's right, you filthy curs - the follically-challenged Cara Confused is pulling a massive bunch of flowers out of her lady garden. HER LADY GARDEN.

A lady garden, which even taking the artistic licence offered by the cartoonist's art into account, must have the internal dimensions of the TARDIS.

In a subsequent advertisement, Miss Confused is seen pushing a full-sized laptop computer into the same orifice.

What else has she got up there? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? The Pipes and Drums of the Massed Band of the Scots Guards? The Go Compare man?

I do not want to know.


Also: Any chance of a discount?

Your pal

Albert O'Balsam
And once that's sorted out: The scourge of regional accents onchildren's television and WHY THEY ARE A BLASPHEMY

Thursday, April 07, 2011



Another day, another hideous toilet-related accident, and another enraged letter to a confused customer relations department.

Will this madness ever end?

Dear Mr T-Box

Congratulations on rebranding yourself after that nasty A-Team business. I'm so glad you were cleared of the crime you didn't commit, but that's by-the-by if my experience with one of your products isn't addressed forthwith.

I refer, of course, to your workplace toilet paper dispenser that goes under the name "Rottweiler". You know - the big round thing in which the paper is (supposedly)dispensed through two rows of jagged teeth.

I say "supposedly" because after my depositing a dose of nutty slack in the gentlemen's facilities in my workplace, I found that despite holding a near full roll of paper, the end of said roll had disappeared inside the machinery and could not be reached. No amount of rotating this way and that would give me the end of the paper, so in desperation, I reached inside the contraption, resulting - predictably - in getting my left hand trapped inside. Because that's the kind of thing that happens to me.

After several minutes fruitless tugging, I realised my hand was trapped, and it was some time before my cries for help were answered, having taken the liberty of availing myself of the little-used Executive Washrooms on the second floor.

After several members of cleaning staff came and pointed at me in my predicament - in which I was in a state of distressed deshabille, my hole beginning to itch in the only way it can when left with unwiped waste products for too long - it was decided that the Fire Service should be summoned.

Unfortunately, they had fires to put out, so rescue came some time later. When the firefighters finally arrived, pointing at my johnson - which, by now, resembled the nozzle on a deflated air-bed - they completely dismantled the cubicle and the toilet before some bright spark pointed out that it was my hand that was stuck.

Happily, a few hefty blows with a fireman's big, red chopper freed me from my prison, and I was able to go about my business with only minor humiliation. Luckily, I was able to stave off the effects of dehydration by drinking from the toilet bowl. I shudder to think of the outcome if it were not for this vital source of life-sustaining water.

And my complaint is this: Sort the paper out, you muppets - I've lost count of the number of times my finger's gone through, leaving me with an unwanted chocolate surprise. I don't care how you do it. Get the Andrex puppy, the Charmin bear and that little bastard from the Velvet adverts in for questioning and sort something out.

It's only a matter of times before you have a corpse on your hands.

Your pal

Albert O'Balsam

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

"Your life, dude, is nothing but a dumped supermarket trolley"

"Your life, dude, is nothing but a dumped supermarket trolley"

The cuts are beginning to bite at my kids' school:

"Listen up kids," says the teacher, "Today's the day the Education Bus comes to visit. Make the most of it."

So, out to the car park to make the very most of the Education Bus.

But there is no bus. The number of buses in the school car park amounts to zero.

Instead, there is a bored school-leaver, drawing on a cigarette with guilt in his heart and acne on his face.

"Behold," he lied through his teeth gesturing at a wide expense of nothingness, "the Education Bus. Watch and learn."

They watched, and, indeed, the car par was not entirely empty.

For there, with "Educasiun bus" written in felt-tip on a piece of cardboard was a shopping trolley. A shopping trolley carrying a tramp in a cider-induced stupor.

"This," he said, "is your life, dude, if you don't listen in school."

They watched. They learned. Some saw desolation and despair. Others saw a career move.

"Now get back to your class."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011



We've had happy cars and angry cars

We've had cars that look like surprised owls

But what we really need is a happy train.

Look! Look at his little face!

But that happy face hides a secret. He knows somebody's flushed the toilet when the train's been standing in the station. At Peterborough. And all stops to King's Cross.

And look what he's done to this poor, poor bus:

The sick bastard.

Monday, April 04, 2011


"Let me take you by the hand
and lead you through the streets of Basingstoke
I'll show you something
to make you say 'Holy Crap!'"


Holy crap! It's a ten foot willy in the middle of Basingstoke!

BONUS: The shop just behind the Willy is called "CEX Exchange". No, really, it is.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Weekend Video

Weekend Video

Blancmange - Drive Me

Blancmange are back after a short break of twenty-five years. Why didn't anybody tell me?

Friday, April 01, 2011



"Hey dad," says The Girl, "Have you seen the Weymouth Kangaroo yet?"

"The what whaty what what?"

"The Weymouth Kangaroo - everybody's talking about it."

I'm not talking about it, but I am intrigued.

"I'm everybody, but I'm not talking about it. However, I am intrigued."

"You know the Weymouth Relief Road?"

Yes, yes I am aware of the new road, and I have driven the length of it several times since it opened to the public several weeks ago.

"When you come over the hill and see the town for the first time, everybody says it looks EXACTLY like a kangaroo."

"EXACTLY like a kangaroo?"


I give her the chinny reckon, but vow to pull over and take a photo if there is indeed a giant kangaroo in south Dorset.


"What's that Skippy? They're charging £55 to see the Olympic sailing? In a public park? The first time that an Olympic committee has ever tried to sell tickets to the sailing, which is, traditionally, not a spectator event? And you want us to stop them? LET'S GET DOWN THERE."

Original photo thanks to Weldmar Hospice Trust