Thursday, May 31, 2012

On hospital waiting rooms and cursed cottages

Thursday night, and I am trapped in the waiting room at Frimley Park Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department, waiting for somebody to take a look at my newly-spacked ankle.

Minutes turn into hours turned into days as I am surrounded by members of the skilled and semi-skilled trades with broken arms and screwdrivers sticking out of their heads. A television plays in the background, stuck on Channel Four, much to the disgust of a loud woman who is missing EastEnders.

It's alright for you love, we had to sit through Hollyoaks before you came in, and the number of fucks we give for that is this: ZERO

Presently we are forced to witness the latest smug Channel Four property programme: "Phil Spencer: Secret Agent", in which the the smug celebrity estate agent tries to shift houses that their owners are unable to sell.

"There's no such thing as an unsellable" house, says Spencer smugly over the sound of the the local mumbler, clutching his plastic bag of belongings to his chest in the waiting room.

No such thing as an unsellable house? Try telling that to the owners of Murder Cottage, Old Indian Burial Ground Row, Mass Murder Lane, Murdertown - site of the famous village fete mass murders that inspired the TV series Midsomer Murders, the film Poltergeist and the career of Michael Barrymore.

Phil thinks they'll sell the place with a neutral colour scheme, new carpets throughout and getting Kirstie Allsopp in to carry out an exorcism.

[PING PONG] "Albert O'Balsam to the minor injuries clinic"

And I never found out what happned to the new buyers.

But they're probably dead.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Curse of the Carry Ons

Dear Comedians

Stop trying to bring back "Carry On" movies.

I know it's just another rumour, but take a leaf out of the book of the Holy Church of Don't Be A Dick, and don't be a dick.

They were funny in the sixties and seventies, and remain a high point of bawdy comic farce in the history of British cinema.

Bernard Bresslaw in drag. Sid James going "Kyuk kyuk kyuk". Barbara Windsor in her scanties. Hattie Jacques ...err... in her scanties. Something something Kenneth Williams "infamy" something.

But they remain of their time, and that's exactly where they should stay. Any attempt to revive the corpse is only going to end one way: Woe. I mean, look:

Carry on Cleo: YES

Carry on Screaming: YES

Carry on Up The Khyber: Thought I'd soil my trousers with laughter

Carry on Columbus: SHIT, NO

Stop it. Now.

Although, I confess, Carry on Cameron has a certain ring to it.

Be lucky!

Your pal, etc

Albert O'Balsam

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sorting out owls for once and for all

The casual reader of these pages may have noticed that I quite like owls. Unfortunately, my love for owls can never be unconditional because of their horrible spiky feet. Sorry owls, you give me the creeps. Wear some shoes, or something.

Yes, I know they were specifically evolved that way to enable Mr Hooty to sit on a branch and/or tear small rodents to shreds. But bugger me with a pointed stick, why did they have to be so damned ugly?

To this end, the lads at Scaryduck Labs have got our act together and made some owls with proper feet. Feet you could take home and show your mum.

Your basic duck-owl hybrid. Eats bread, but sinks if it tries to do a swim.

We call this one the Flamingowl. Falls over a lot. Is crap up trees.

The very pinnacle of owl evolution: The Socks and Sandowls. After we have KILLED IT WITH FIRE, our work here is done.

Next week from Scaryduck Labs: Geese with tits.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Today is the feast day of Saint Aaron. Little is known about him, except that he is the patron saint of businesses who want to appear on first page of the phone book, until usurped by Saint Aaaaaaaron, and latterly Saint 111111Elite Window Cleaners.

Saint 111111Elite Window Cleaners was martyred in 1152 by falling off a ladder. His last words were "Aaaargh". He is also patron saint of 1970s sex comedies.

Saint Aaaaaaaron went on to become the patron saint of sticky keyboards, until losing out to Saint Ron Jeremy. Not to be confused with Saint Zzzzzzzachary of Zzzzzyz, patron saint of people with improbable and made-up names.

Here endeth the lesson.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Star Wars VII: The Empire Dries Clothes

The X-Wing Laundry Airer. Having now seen this in my local branch of Robert Dyas, I've got to say that I'm more of a fan of The Imperial Empire Toilet Roll Holder.

That George Lucas would put his name to ANYTHING

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mills and Boon FACTS

Everybody loves a good book. But every now and then you find yourself trapped on a toilet or on a long journey, or on a toilet on a long journey with nothing to occupy your mind but romantic pulp fiction, in which a chaste your heroine eventually finds her one, true love, usually after having a hard time at the hands (and hands ONLY) of some unlovable rogue.

The story of Mills and Boon romantic fiction is a long and chequered one. Did you know that none of the following is true...

The plot for the Wesley Snipes / Sly Stallone shoot-em-up Demolition Man was lifted in its entirety from the Mills and Boon page-turner "The Lady and the Psycho Motherfucker"

The word 'Bumhole' has appeared in the Mills and Boon canon on only three occasions. Two of these were the result of misprints; the third appearing on the final page of Barbara Cartland's final work called "Fuck it, let's just write some proper filth, just this once"

Students of the craft of the romantic novel were surprised by the publication in 2002 of Felicity Volestrangler's "Bum Raiders of Astrakhan", which was a chaste tale of redemption featuring one woman's love for a drunken pirate captain on the River Volga

The romantic publishers caused controversy during the Second World War years, releasing "Slanty Desires" immediately after Pearl Harbour, on the bookshelf next to "Duchess Belinda's Schnitzelwurst". Both were subsequently banned by the Lord Chancellor's office

The British Broadcasting Corporation owns the TV rights to all Mills and Boons books, which is airs under the series name "Casualty"

JK Rowling's next announced work will be a short series for Mills and Boon, featuring a grown-up Hermione Grainger's chaste search for true love. The first title "Ginger Lavatory Lust" will be on sale this autumn

Thanks to evidence given by Boon, Mills has been declared a terrorist organisation by the United Nations*

Mills and Boon, however, are phasing out the use of human authors, thanks to the introduction of a clever computer application that - given a database character names, locations and sample plots - will churn out romantic novels at the rate of six a day. Similar programs have "authored" the readers' letters pages in pornographic magazines since 1985
Let's hear it for Bridget Jones ...err... dirty books ...third time's the charm... romantic novels!

* I may have actually confused Mills and Boon with the very similar Ayman al-Zawahiri**, who wrote romantic pulp fiction before he took up the whole global jihad thing

** Now we're getting down a rabbit hole - Saddam Hussein actually WAS a romantic novelist, and look how he ended up

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Last night.

I have been a helpful man-about-the-house and have got the washing in, folded and put away.

"Where," I ask myself, "Where should I put this large, teetering pile of badly-folded towels?"

After seconds of deliberation, I decide that, yes, they should go on the very top shelf in the bathroom, on top of another large, teetering pile of badly-folded towels. For they will be safe there, in the company of their teetering, badly-folded friends.

Job done.

This morning.

Two cups of tea from the magic kettle and a bowl of Weetibangs.

There is a loud "DOOF" from the bathroom, a muffled scream, followed by silence.

Swallowing hard on the last of my Weetabix, I investigate and find a scene of baby-soft carnage.

Jane is sprawled under a large, teetering pile of badly-folded towels.

"They doofed me," she said at length, "They doofed me right on the head. DOOF."

"That... That... That's TERRIBLE," I say, "How the devil could that have happened?"

"Doof," she says.

I flee.


Guilt: It is mine.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Review: The Graphic Bible - God

If you bought this book for full-page graphic images of smiting, beheading, genocide, nudity, child sacrifice, endless begetting and blow-by-blow accounts of hideous plagues on the many enemies of the author, then you are in for a big disappointment.

In particular, there was nothing graphic in the slightest about the Book of Leviticus and we were forced to purchase a copy of Watch Tower to fulfil our lustful urges.

Also, not impressed by this "God" character, who acts in mysterious ways from the first page. What's his motivation apart from poking his puny subjects with a stick and smiting them when they react? 

And, at the risk of spoiling the ending, even less impressed by the old "He's dead.... oh he's alive again" twist. Cliché, cliché, cliché.

A huge let-down.

0/10. AVOID.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Curse of Dogston O'Hanrahan. And also the Dalai Lama

"Hey, Twitter user!" Twitter shouts at me from the 'Who to Follow' section of my timeline, "Why don't you follow The Dalai Lama? He's really COOL and STRAIGHT and DOWN with THE KIDS."

I have absolutely no intention of following my arch-nemesis The Dalai Lama, for we have a bit of history, what with that entire "get to fuckery" business that got us off on the wrong foot.

"I have absolutely no intention of following The Dalai Lama," I said, stepping out of the bedroom to find our canine pal Dogston O'Hanrahan slipping out a length on the laminate floor in the hall. And the kitchen. And the living room. There is no shame in his eyes.

I hurl the errant Dogston out into the rain while I clear up the mess. In truth, O'Hanrahan is nearly seventeen years old, completely deaf, partially blind and beyond training, so he cannot be blamed.

The floor wiped spotlessly clean, Dogston is allowed inside once more, running through the house with an uncharacteristic canter, a large damp turd stuck to his front paw.

Dog out, and the cleaning tackle is retrieved from under the sink for a second time.

Dog in, and he is promptly sick on my foot.

I get the message, Dalai Lama. I'll follow you on Twitter.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Planet Earth... UPLOAD 67% COMPLETE

I really love my map of the world. Go on, ask me any question about countries, their square mileage and which currency they use, because I've memorised the lot. Frankly, it's cheaper than watching television, and it is pleasing to see the world completely flat AS THE LORD INTENDED.

The trouble is...'s still downloading. Can't wait for the finished version.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Football: All human life is here. And also in Hampshire

Schroedinger's BartonIn 1944, when he wasn't messing about with cats in boxes, the philosopher Erwin Schroedinger wrote a book asking the eternal question: What is Life? In my advancing years, I find life is far too short to read what he said, but I doubt it had anything to do with Association Football, which is where he went wrong.

Being a man of both a scientific and philosophical nature, I spent the climactic final Sunday afternoon of the Premier League football season surreptitiously observing the reactions of my next door neighbour, a recent school-leaver who was taking a rather animated view of proceedings.

The subject in question was a follower of Manchester United, this being the United heartlands of North Hampshire, and, as it became clear that the Reds may be pulling off the impossible and winning the Premier League title, he became noisier and noisier until his mum made him watch from outside the patio doors.

It was at that point that I had to pretend that my pen and clipboard was being used for an audit of garden flora, but these are the sacrifices one has to make in the name of scientific enquiry.

Then, with pure, undiluted elation filling his heart, the impossible happened: Arch-rivals Manchester City scored in the ninety-first and ninety-third minutes to wrest the title away from Old Trafford to a team scraped together on the pitiful budget of one million billion pounds. Instead of dancing on the streets of Hampshire, they would be dancing on the actual streets of Manchester.

Elation gave way to disbelief (expressed through the medium of very loud swearing), followed closely by resigned silence as the grim reality sunk in.

And there, in those brief two minutes of hope and joy followed by crushing despair, was a timely reminder to this young man - his whole life ahead of him - of what the next five decades or so has in store. I should know, I support Arsenal, for whom despair has been a frequent bedfellow.

The entire human condition exists in football. Triumph, frustration, teamwork, tribalism, defeat, greed, love, hate, and being Joey Barton. If Schroedinger had put a Chelsea fan in that box of his, I should imagine we'd have the meaning of life by now.

On a strictly personal note, I pin my faith upon my subject's hope-despair cycle not being extended to the next stage, that being realising that his creepy clipboard-wielding neighbour is writing about him on the internet, and launching his own little experiment called "How many pine cones can a man fit inside his mouth before he dies of pine cone poisoning?"

I'm hoping this will not come to pass, as there has been a lot of column inches in the press this week on how my home town has emerged as the kinky sex capital of the UK. In my youth, spurred on by the letters column in a certain gentlemen's monthly, I trudged the streets, trying to find where - exactly - these bored housewives in dire need of odd jobs being done around the house might be.

Now, after several house moves (none of which were to escape court orders), I have found them all in the quiet dormitory town and Manchester United heartland of Fleet. As a noted man of science, this is far too good an opportunity to miss, and a full study is clearly warranted. This is a field where I believe Schroedinger was also found wanting, his studies being limited to the mad cat women of Berlin and Dublin. I mean to right this wrong.

I'm starting at the library, clipboard in hand. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 18, 2012

In which your author tries and fails to sponsor a roundabout

A phone call.

"Hello? Is that Sponsor-a-Roundabout-dot-com?"

"Why, yes. Yes it is. How can we help."

"It's about the roundabout next to the station near Fleet in Hampshire."

"Yes, that's one of ours. What about it."

"Well, I'd like to sponsor it please."

"Oh, that's very generous of you. We have a wide range of packages for every..."

" I'd like to know what it's going to do."

"I beg your pardon?"

"If it's going to do a sponsored silence, I'll give it a quid. But if it's going to run a marathon or jump out of a plane, I could go as high as twenty."

"But sir..."

"And it's got to be for the right charity. I won't give anything where the money goes to... you know... ugly people."

"But sir..."

"Call me a fascist if you like, but ugly people can do their own sponsored silences. Somewhere where we can't see them. Know what I mean? Eh? Know what I mean?"

The roundabout goes unsponsored.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

On bringing down the very nature of society through petty acts of terrorism

The recent publication by the US government of documents found in Osama Bin Laden's compound show that Al Qaeda leader becoming increasingly frustrated at how the conflict against the Yankee-Zionist infidel was going. For eg: Having his arse kicked all over the Middle East and beyond.

With all his best plans coming to naught, the documents showed that my Arsenal pal Osama had even made attempts to reach out to Irish extremists with the view to destabilising the United Kingdom. Doomed to failure, of course, as the first and last contact would bring the reply: "So, are ye Protestant Al Qaeda, or Catholic Al Qaeda?"

His only source of intelligence being the film "Four Lions", poor dead Osama was reduced to petty acts of terrorism in the hope of bringing Britain to its knees from within:

- Take loads of books out of local libraries, and then don't bring them back. With not a western to be found on the shelves, Britain would instead be forced to masturbate itself into a stupor, while local government would sink under the weight of unpaid fines

- Get a job at McDonald's, volunteer for the litter patrol, and dump all the litter at Burger King. The resulting war between the burger chains will result in the needless deaths of thousands

- Ring all the "How's My Driving?" hotlines on the back of lorries with false reports of bad driving. Before long, every single lorry driver in the country will be either suspended or sacked, bringing about the collapse of the UK economy

- Go into Starbucks, make a large order, telling the barista that your name is "Heywood Jablomie". Being the 10,000th time he has heard this gag on this day alone, he will run amok through the town centre mowing people down with an electric coffee grinder (may be a suicide mission)

- Order pizza from a well-known takeaway, and give your address as that of their branch on the other side of town. Ring the other branch and do the same, and wait for their delivery drivers to collide on the bypass, causing rush-hour chaos

- Get a job at a major broadcaster, and stripe The Only Way is Essex and fly-on-the-wall reality shows about D-List celebrities across the schedule. The resulting stupor will strip the nation's pharmacies of Prozac, and the resulting social unrest will result in riots on the very streets (This may already have happened)

- Change your name to Nick Clegg, run for major office, and destroy Britain from the very top (This may also have already happened)
Remember kids: This is all for fun. Terrorism in neither big nor clever, and should never be tried at home

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One Hundred ....err... Forty-Nine Shit (mostly action) Movies You Should See Before You Die

This is NOT a list of shit movies. Shit movies are ten-a-penny.

This is a list of shit, brainless movies that you'd watch anyway, unable to tear yourself away from what is unfolding on the screen, despite the sheer shitness. And here lies the idfference between a mere bad film and a shit movie. Shit movies invite popcorn, bad films are fit only for scorn.

It's an important distinction. For example, I would watch Raise the Titanic because it's bad. I would not watch Titanic, because life's too short to waste my life watching again. Also, Pretty Woman.

1. Passenger 57
2. Demolition Man
3. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
4. The Fast and the Furious (Entire film series)
5. Death Becomes Her
6. Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
7. The Room
8. Forever Young
9. Hudson Hawk
10. Howard the Duck

11. Waterworld
12. Batman and Robin
13. Spaceballs
14. Battlefield Earth
15. Raise the Titanic
16. The Core
17. Anaconda
18. Snakes on a Plane
19. The Happening
20. The Boat That Rocked

21. Parting Shots
22. Mars Attacks
23. Casino Royale (1967)
24. Lifeforce
25. The Hottie and The Nottie (Paris Hilton. Needs to be seen to be believed)
26. Meet the Spartans
27. Son of The Mask (Everybody involved in this film should be hunted down and given a good, stern talking to)
28. Nothing to Lose (I saw this on a plane, and begged for the plane to crash)
29. A View to a Kill
30. Action Jackson

31. Big Trouble in Little China
32. Beverly Hills Cop III (Or, any film with the words 'Beverly Hills' in the title, or Eddie Murphy)
33. GI Joe: The Rise Of Cobra
34. Judge Dredd
35. Rambo II & Rambo III
36. Star Trek V (Or any odd-numbered Star Trek movie)
37. Leprechaun
38. The Black Hole
39. Wild Wild West
40. Sex and the City II

41. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
42. Mr Majorium's Magic Emporium
43. X Men Origins: Wolverine
44. Glitter
45. Big Momma's House II
46. The Scorpion King
47. Crank (or any film starring Jason 'Geezer' Statham)
48. Bangkok Dangerous
49. Road House (starrying Patrick Swayze, Patrick Swayze's mullet)

New entries
50. The Rock
51. Aliens vs Predator
52. Con Air
53. Starship Troopers
54. The Vikings
55. Commando

Several dozen other shit movies. Give me a break. I'm working on it. Leave your suggestions in the comments, if you'd be so kind.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Death of Television

TV on, and I accidentally catch yet another repeated episode of "My Family" on BBC1.

You can tell it's one of the later ones where they're not even bothering, as it's the one where Robert Lindsay is desperately trying to dispose of the dismembered corpse of one of the faceless teenagers, knowing full well that the next episode will feature a new faceless teenager, driving poor, demented Robert Lindsay to another desperate act in the name of so-called comedy.

Disgusted, I switch channels.

Emmerdale. Everyday glamorous country folk with hardly a farm animal to be seen, unless it is a brief shot of the pigs helping one of the glamorous country folk dispose of the dismembered corpse of another, slightly unlucky glamorous country folk, before he spends the next three months feeling guilty as the Royal Soapshire Constabulary arrest the wrong person, before taking himself round the back of the Woolpack with a shotgun to do the decent thing.

Disgusted, I switch channels.

And BLAT! Right in the middle of an advert break, where one of those dreadful BT Students is Googling the best place to dispose of a recently dismembered corpse, and the glamorous girl student is looking at him with all rolling eyes because he's a stupid idiotic male, while the other bloke flatmate isn't doing anything at all on account of the shovel through the back of his head.

I remember the days before they had an in-house television production department at Dignitas.

Monday, May 14, 2012

In Praise of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome

Another day, another brainless action movie I've seen for the first time. And, as usual: Mind. Blown.

Thunderdome has been an actual thing for the best part of 27 years, yet this cultural feast has somehow managed to elude me. Post-apocalyptic treats for the first time viewer, stuffing his face with chocolate and popcorn include:

- The knowledge that even after WW3 has wiped out society as we know it, there will still be saxophone music

- The demand for bad wigs is just as much in demand as it was in the mid 1980s, while men openly sport the mullet without shame

- Despite the lack of basic santitation, women in a post-nuclear Australia still find the time to shave their armpits

- Tina Turner cannot say 'Raggedy-man' without moving her lips as if it has been badly overdubbed from the original Japanese

- Even though there appears to be a shortage of just about every type of fuel, it still appears fine to run a car mounted with a jet engine

- Mel Gibson punches a woman and would never do so again
And if there's a message from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, it is this:

Unlike the pacifist 'make a bad thing good' message spread by Rastamouse, a brain-crushingly violent car chase will fix anything, allowing all surviving participants to go home for a nice cup of tea in their own little corner of the radioactive wasteland.

Oh, the wisdom of the (1985) ancients.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

In which my elephant takes to the water

Last year, I donated my wooden elephants from the Congo to The Boat Project, part of the Cultural Olympiad, in which a sea-going craft is constructed entirely from donated materials.

I was more than pleased, then, to see one of my elephants appear in news outlets as the craft was launched last week.

If it sinks, don't come running to me.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Weekend Video: Greg Davies - Nicknames

You might know him as Mr Gilbert from The Inbetweeners, but he's also a bloody immense, sweary stand-up. I approve.

Contains immense swears.

Friday, May 11, 2012

"Is that an elephant down your pyjamas or are you pleased to see me?"

Another day, another attempt to cure my dodgy ankle.

It turns out that ll the good work with gentle exercise and physiotherapy is being undone by the thing flopping to one side during long, painful nights in bed.

"Why not," says an anonymous benefactor, "Try a child's swimming armband? Works, you know."

So, a visit to a local tat shop and £1.50 later, I have a charming set of Disney swimming armbands, where the "This will not save you from drowning to death" warnings cover the entire packaging, 27 sheets of inserted paper and two-thirds of the armband themselves, with just enough room for a nice picture of Dumbo.

I shall draw a veil over the actual operation of the support itself, except to say, "Blow up my foot" is the least sexy thing you will ever see in bed.


It is the unearthly hour of eleven in the morning, and I fall out of bed to find the postman attempting to deliver a package.

He looks at me in a funny way.

I sign his electronic wossname.

He looks at me in a funny way.

 "Is that an elephant down your pyjamas or are you pleased to see me?"

"No. No, it's an elephant."

"That's lucky then."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Fourth Doctor versus the Telephone Scammers

The phone rings at the unearthly hour of ten in the morning.

"Out of area" says the caller display, which invariably means it's a sales call. Oh good.

"Hello?" says a distant voice from the sub-continent, "May I speak to Ms Baker?"

At last, years of practising a Tom Baker impression are about to pay off.

"I'm terribly sorry, but Ms Baker is unavailable, will I suffice?"

"Err... yes. Are you Mr Baker?"

"In a manner of speaking. Doctor."

With confusion on his voice, he returns to his call centre script: "This is Computer Help Desk. I'm calling about the fault on your computer."

"Are you sure, old man? This is Computer Help Desk, how may I be of service?"

"But... err... This is Computer Help Desk, we have a record of a fault on your computer."

"Come now, you're the one who rung us. Don't be shy, old bean. What's the problem?"

"No, sir, we have a record of a fault..."

"This is terribly confusing. What kind of computer do you think I have?"

"Err... Windows?"

"I have a Rasillon Systems Type Forty Multi-Dimensional Processor, powered by the final supernova of the Gallifrey system. They run on Apple OS, as any fool knows."

"I beg your pardon? This is Computer Help Desk, we have a record of a fault..."

"So you keep saying. Are you sure you're not the Master? This sound like the kind of thing the Master would try. Are you the Master?"


In the next five minutes, he rang back twice to abuse me. Fun.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

My excellent windscreen wiper invention

It's a shame that Dave Gorman's TV programme Genius is no more, as I've just come up with a spunker of an invention.

There I was driving up the M3 towards home the other evening, the rain coming down in torrents, when I noticed something quite extraordinary: The car's windscreen wipers were keeping a perfect beat with the song currently playing on the stereo, Coolio's 1997 hit C U When U Get There.

So amazed was I at this turn of events that I nearly put my car into a bridge support, leaving this planet in a firey inferno.

But why, I asked myself, still hypnotised by the beat, can't all car windscreen wipers play to the beat of the stereo? It would, for one, make those endless rainy drives far more fun, as the car itself beats out the time like an automotive conductor.


Yes, I know there are problems. For eg:

What happens if something plays in 3/4 time? (I envisage something clever with the rear wiper)

What happens if you like thrash metal? (You put your car into a bridge support, leaving this planet in a firey inferno)

What happens if I listen to Careless Whisper on a loop and it's chucking down with rain? (You put your car into a bridge support, leaving this planet in a firey inferno, this being the LORD'S way of weeding out the George Michael fans)

I shall ring up all the major car manufacturers immediately. Anybody got the number for those lovely Morris chaps?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

In praise of Passenger 57

As part of an experiment to see if brain-dead action movies really do rot your mind (Answer: Yes. Yes they do), I saw action movie Passenger 57 for the first time recently.

The Wesley Snipes airline hostage drama has been an actual thing for the last twenty years, but I have only just got round to see what is clearly the best worst film of all time. That's two decades of my life wasted, knowing that Passenger 57 exists, but not knowing the true terror within.

Let's not beat about the bush: Passenger 57 is a film that stinks so bad, it has gone all the way round from awfulness, back through "so bad it's good territory" into the rolling vistas of abject suckery that are usually reserved for the Twilight franchise.

In short, I loved it.

Made in 1992, it wallows out-of-time as an eighties throwback, full of slap-bass soundtrack, bad hair and huge trousers. It reads straight from the menu of clichéd film-making in a way that only Hollywood can manage:

Slap-bass soundtrack that can only be dated by cutting Level 42 in half and counting the rings

Maverick hero with a tragic secret which is replayed in flashback at intervals during the film

Maverick hero who has come out of retirement for just one, last job as a favour to a friend

Maverick hero who has had enough of this shit

Evil British villain with extraordinarily bad hair and a lax attitude to human life

Feisty female sidekick who thinks she knows better, but soon comes to see that kicking bad guys in the fork then shooting them in the head is the only way to solve delicate hostage situations

Slimy corporate boss who takes the plaudits in the final scene

The usual rent-a-hostage crowd: Spirited old lady, single mum with precocious child, Star Trek red-shirts who are slaughtered in their dozens

Incompetent, slightly racist local law enforcers who eventually see the error of their ways

Evil sidekick who is the living spit of former Top Gear host Quentin Wilson

Evil sidekick with a pony-tail

Completely unnecessary chase through a fairground as an excuse to show the logos of as many corporate sponsors as possible

Dreadful one-liners: "Always bet on black!"

Explosive decompression of aircraft at altitude, in which everything is sucked out, except feisty female sidekick, who is standing right next to the open door

Explosive decompression of aircraft at altitude, which stops the second Bad Hair British Psycho Villain falls to his doom
And that's just barely scratching the surface. I may actually have to spend cash money for the DVD, providing it's from a charity shop.

The huge, huge bonus from Passenger 57 is - of course - Liz Hurley as Bad Hair British Psycho Villain's posh British psycho sidekick, who exudes absolutely no menace whatsoever, and proves for once and for all that nothing good ever came out of Basingstoke except for the M3 motorway. Die Hard? Die Limp, more like.

We salute a truly awful film, and cannot wait for the sequel Passenger 58.

Also, the sex version, Passenger 69.

Monday, May 07, 2012

On sorting out football for once and for all

"When I am king," says the internet's Dotmund,"Shirt numbers over thirty will be banned in football."

The internet's Al__S agrees. "Ban personal numbers! The starting eleven should always wear numbers 1 -11"

But why use a system that is open to abuse? Why not use a method that is limited to - say - 26 squad members.

"I will support any team," I chip in, "whose players run out in alphabetical order, A-K. Except Spurs. And Chelsea."

We are agreed.

Squads limited to twenty-six players, lettered A-Z. "Plus," says Dotmund,"Your back four could spell out swears."

But why stop at the back four? Why not line up with a good old-fashioned 4-2-4 formation spelling out L I C K - M Y - A R S E?

The FA could even take on certain rules from Scrabble, and offer bonus points for words spelled out from the entire rack, double for swears: S I C K B U M HO L E

Sepp Blatter and his FIFA cronies need to get onto this right now - think of the language-learning opportunities that future World Cups could offer.

We are not mad.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Bringing a voice to the voiceless (owls)

This was on the back of Jane's Easter egg this year, and frankly, my mind is utterly blown.

Who knew that we live in a world where there are owls without the ability to hoot, without the ability to make their owly voices heard?

We here at the Give A Voice To Owls Who Can't Hoot Foundation have made it our life's work to end this travesty of Human Owl Rights and WILL NOT REST until every owl can speak freely without fear of being punched until an egg comes out.

And for this work, we need your help in providing the very staples that owls need to thrive: Beer, Money and Chocolate. Send as much as you can. And the new Ultravox album, as well. These poor owls need your help, and Ultravox.

In the words of Bono: "Every time I click my fingers, an owl is scared by a man clicking his fingers"


I am not mad.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Kim Jong-un's Hip, Thighs and Bum Workout

It must be terribly hard work being a military dictator these days, having to spend your nights with one eye open in case the down-trodden proles get ideas above their station and run amok through the streets in brazen revolution while you have to flee for your life down a sewage pipe. And after everything you did for them too, such as saving the nation from naked Yankee imperialism, equally naked British colonialism, and whatever it is they do in Russia with no clothes. Then there was the time you rescued the country's riches by squirrelling it all away safely into numbered Swiss bank accounts. And that's the thanks you get - living, terrified, down a hole.

It's the kind of thing that makes Bashar al-Assad wish for the quiet days when he was an optician, rather than killing unruly subjects to death.

That is why I'm not surprised to see on the website of the peace-loving North Korean official news agency (currently urging its readers to "cut off the windpipes of the South Korean president and his band of rats") recent photographs of North Korea's Young Generalissimo Kim Jong-un, in which the former East Asian heavyweight has shed a few stone and looks the kind of young, thrusting young dictator who should be running a repressive, murderous military-led one-party state these days. The stress of it all must be doing his head in.

Either that, or he tried out the escape capsule in the Presidential Palace and it told the portly Eternal Leader of the Songun policy-inspired revolution that it is "Maximum load eight persons".

I'd be ashamed if the escape capsule in my secret lair (which I haven't got, most certainly not at the bottom of Poole Harbour in Dorset where I'm not testing a number of top secret doomsday devices aimed directly at the cold heart of the Sandbanks millionaires row) told me that I'm a bit of a bloater, and I would absolutely set about launching missiles here, there and everywhere in defiance of UN resolutions if it also told me I had a haircut done by my mum. No wonder he's changing his image. How, we ask, does he do it?

Why - it's DICTATORCISE, the military-first exercise plan that's taking all the world's dodgy regimes by storm. Coming soon to a Fitness First near you - Goose Step yourself to a rock-hard bum, and sleek hips and perfectly sculpted thighs. As seen on TV's The Apprentice!

And while you're marching marching marching on the puppet regime of Yankee imperialists and aggressors in Seoul with the triumphant sound of DICTATORCISE ringing in your ears, why not try the North Korean Peasants Diet? Guaranteed results* as you discover the benefits of tree bark, grass and the remains of a crow to your health and well-being.

 Syria's Bashar Al-Assad swears by it: "DICTATORCISE: It's fucking great, you fucking fuckers".

Be a sex god like Kim Jong-un. Discover DICTATORCISE**

If this man didn't have nuclear weapons and a hangar full of malfunctioning rocketry, it'd be funny.

* Guaranteed results may include fatigue, scurvy, death

** DICTATORCISE operates in contravention to United Nations resolutions 825, 1695 1718, 1874, 1928 and 1985. Consult a doctor before embarking on nuclear research

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

A short list of things that I am not allowed to do

With a new relationship comes great responsibility,. While Jane puts up with a great deal of idiocy from me, there are one or two aspects of my behaviour where she has put her foot down. In lieu of starting some sort of argument, we have decided to leave it to you - dear reader - to decide who is right and who is the Queen of Wrongness.

My new pal Hooty McHooterson1. Shaking the tree behind our house where Hooty McHooterson the owl lives to see if an owl will come out. I maintain that owls enjoy the odd game of OWL QUAKE and will look up on me as their new pal, because owls are aces.

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2. Going to Ikea, creating a large collection of Ikea pencils from Ikea, openly flaunting my Ikea pencil collection by giving her an Ikea pencil whenever Jane asks if I've got something to write with. Also, going to Ikea, creating a large collection of Ikea pencils from Ikea, and leaving a pencil from Argos just to do their heads in.

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I am not mad.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


"Hello, is that ACME signmakers, makers of signs in MASSIVE Comic Sans, The Font of Champions?"

"Yes. Yes it is."

"Is the MASSIVE sign for our hairdressing salon ready yet, the one in MASSIVE Comic Sans, the font of champions?"

"Yes it is, but I'm not happy. We've had to call in the United Nations and everything. They're pulling their nuclear people out of Iran RIGHT NOW just to look at your sign. This could put me out of business."

"Just be a chap and put up our sign in MASSIVE Comic Sans, the font of champions. Nobody will notice, trust me."

"Don't say I didn't warn you..."

"OK, you're right. People are hurrying past in hoodies. And there's a weird man with a limp taking photos."

Could have been worse. Could have been...

Kids: Just say no to signs in MASSIVE Comic Sans, the font of champions.