Monday, December 31, 2012

Taking the pi... mickey

Some years ago, before the internet happened, I used to buy a lot of magazines. Once I finished reading them, I would take them to work and leave them for my colleagues to read. A few other co-workers did the same, recycling at its finest.

After a while, I noticed that I was the only person bringing in magazines, which would disappear almost as quickly as I brought them in.

It came to a head one afternoon, when I was asked "Hey - when you are bringing in this month's Viz comic?" I pointed out it was still in the shop if he really wanted to read it, and never left a magazine for colleagues again.

I didn't learn, for I also found out I was the only person bringing in tea and coffee for the tea and coffee swindle. Returning to work after a week off, the first thing I saw was a (now former) colleague complaining bitterly that there were "No effing teabags left". I decided there and then I would no longer be a - oh-ho! - mug, and the free tree supply soon dried up.

And it's happening again.

"Oi! Coleman! Where are the amphetamines?"

That's it. Get your own drugs.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


Now that Jimmy Savile has become the Devil incarnate following the revelation that he was the most enormous sex fiend (perhaps the worst kept secret of the last 100 years), the world has to think of what to do with the hundreds of hours of archive video featuring the old perve.

This is a particular problem for the people airing old episodes of Top of the Pops, as the man who put 'Vile' into 'Savile' appeared in nearly all of them over a period of many years, and the axe has already fallen on editions featuring Gary Glitter. Frankly, we don't want to see any more of the creepy dead bloke, not after the damage he's caused.

It is a thought that will keep video editors in work for some time to come.

But thanks to the internet - and YouTube in the main - he's still out there, and we've now invented a game. We call it SAVILE ROULETTE.

The rules of Savile Roulette are simple:

  1. Watch random music videos on YouTube.
  2. If you get a TOTP clip with Jimmy Savile, you lose and have to hit yourself in the trouser department with a rubber mallet.
  3. If you get a TOTP clip where he is pushing himself up against a clearly freaked out female audience member, you have to beat your computer to death and burn the wreckage.
  4. If you get a TOTP where a UK viewer has had to explain to confused Americans what they mean by the words "Aaaaargh Paedo", give yourself a small prize.

Here's one to start you off, possibly the most miserable song of all time.

It is, says Jane, like being rickrolled, only you end up with a dead kiddie-fiddler

(And if there's one thing this dreadful experience has taught us, it's how to spell "Savile")

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Weekend Video: Diesel Park West - Like Princes Do

The best track from Shakespeare Alabama, one of the most overlooked albums of the 1980s. DPW are still going, still overlooked by cloth-eared bastards everywhere.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Star Wars: What really happened in that Death Star control room

"Krizzle blrp frip frip"

"That's right, Artoo, I'm the protocol droid in charge round here, just get your probe into the console and download those plans before the guards get back."

"Frrrrrrp brip freeeeeeeem"

 "I beg your pardon? What do you mean there's no interface? Get on with it - we'll be discovered any moment."

"Blenk skluuuuuuuuurg wizz"

"What the devil do you mean by 'five an a half inch floppy disk'? Are you implying I'm less the droid than I really am?"

"Skwizzzzle brp brp quag blonzzzzzzz"

"And they're on Compuserve dial-up? Oh dear oh dear Artoo the guards are outside the door, and we'll be broken down into spare parts for sure."


"Artoo? Artoo? Don't just sit there rebooting, say something!"


"Oh dear, the door's opening - please put that blaster down sir, somebody could get hu....."

THE IMPERIAL EMPIRE: Non-millennium bug compliant since 1977.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Really bad Facebook pictures

I've said before that Facebook the world's most complete collection of badly-spelled, wacky and sentimental fridge magnets. And so it proves.

Let's hear it for fridge magnet Facebook updates!

(If you are a Facebook friend and I stole this from your update - thanks!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: Rubbish music TV countdown shows

I've got a new guilty pleasure. It's switching to virtually any music TV channel and watching their countdown of (and the name never varies) Top Twenty Bump'n'Grind R'n'B classics. Because that's all they ever show these days.

Some of these programmes are called [Latest Reality TV star]'s Top Twenty Bump'n'Grind R'n'B classics, because even reality TV stars have opinions, right? 

Marvel at identikit videos of gold-encrusted R'n'B performers singing their latest song of sexual triumph, vocodered to Hell and back, whilst an army of scantily-clad young ladies rotate in the background, foreground and middle-ground.

Then there are a number of advertisements, followed by another stupendously expensive video where a gold-encrusted R'n'B performer sings his latest song of sexual triumph, accompanied in his struggle through life by an army of scantily-clad, rotating young ladies.

Sometimes these videos are not set in a night club, and appear to take place in the back of a TARDIS-like limo, or in a warehouse where a large party is taking place, or on a beach which suddenly morphs into a night club party, before the TARDIS-like limo turns up.

Some of the performers are now dead, or have convictions for beating their partners.
This post - in retrospect - marks the line where I am officially old.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Charades: Fun and games and fear and loathing

So, it turns out that miming John Lennon getting shot dead IS NOT an acceptable clue for Catcher in the Rye.

Some people are just so touchy.

My "I'm going to a Bootleg Beatles concert as Bootleg Mark Chapman" gag also failed to break the ice. What's wrong with people?

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Scaryduck Songbook

I quite like music, but I am no musician. Two years struggling with violin lessons to scrape a pass in my Grade One exam is testament to the fact that I have hardly a musical bone in my body.

However, in the last couple of months, I have written two songs which I fear will become as ubiquitous as Happy Birthday and as difficult to remove from one's brain as tapeworm. These tunes came into my mind fully-formed, and the fact that both have the word "Bum" in the title are purely coincidental.

Firstly, is the musical hall raucousness of the song "Bumface", about somebody with a face like a bum:

With a face like a bum
With a face like a bum
With a face like a bum
Face just like a bum

Quite the tune, you will agree. But that is nothing to the Noel Coward-esque advertising jingle for a product that doesn't (yet) exist. We call it Added Bum

Added Bum! Added Bum!
The magical ingredient is added bum
You can buy some for your sister
You can get some for your mum
The name of the ingredient is
Added Bum!

If you are not whistling this by the end of the day, you have cloth between your ear. Elton, darling, get in touch. Let's do a deal. Because I've even invented a new musical instrument called the E-o-phone. I am not mad.

(And if anybody out there is musical, I'd like to hear your versions. This time next year, Rodders....)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Day-Before-Yesterday's News Today

Here's our local newsagent shop, which fell victim to the Tesco petrol station and convenience store which opened just over the road.

As you can see, two of the three titles they advertise have actually ceased production, and the world seems all the better for at least one of these going down the shitter. Only The Sun left and we've got a full set. One day soon, one hopes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Weekend Video: The Pink Panther Show

Sing along if you know the words: "He's a gentleman, a scholar, he's an ac-ro-bat!"

Of course, the real star of the cartoon Pink Panther Show was The Inspector

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas and Pirates - Together At Last!

When somebody mentions Christmas, the first thing that always pops into my head are pirates. So, I was pleased to see in the Bournemouth Echo (the paper that gave Bill Bryson his break in the media , fact fans) that somebody has got their act together and organised a pirate themed Christmas event. Because pirates ARE the spirit of Christmas, me hearties.

It's a little-known fact that pirates were a central - yet scandalously unreported - part of the whole Christmas tale, with Mary and Joseph finding their way to Bethlehem with the use of an old treasure map, and finding the stable in which Jesus was born was wired up with pirate cable television.

The evidence is there to see in the Bible, too...

The Angel of the LORD came down to the Virgin Mary and sayeth: "You're a bit of alright. Here, hold my bottle of rum..."

And Mary went to the carpenter Joseph and married him. "Joseph", sayeth she as he looked up from the peg-leg he was making for Long John Cohen, "I am with child"

And, lo, the Angel of the LORD came down and sayeth unto the shepherds: "Arrrr, ye lubbers. Get ye down to Davy Jones's City and worship ye KING OF KINGS, born this day to a comely wench or thee shall be keel hauled like a scurvy knave"

And three wise men came from the east: Melchior, Caspar, and Cut-Throat Jake, and with them they brought pieces of eight, myrrh, and a bottle of rum

Let's not forget all those pirate-themed Christmas carols:

Away in a Mang-AAAARRRRR

...and many, many others which I cannot be arsed to think up right now.

Let's hear it for Christmas! And Pirates! CHRISTMAS AND PIRATES!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The body in the road: A tale of fear that will MAKE YOU SOIL YOUR UNDERPANTS

"What's that in the road?"

 We were in the van by the kerb on a dark, wet night. There, in front of us, illuminated by the headlights was... Something. Something dreadful. Something dreadful that had clearly been run over.

"Is it a cuddly toy?" asked Jane, peering through the windscreen, trying to make out what she saw there.

I had no idea, for to me it was just a mis-sharpen lump. Alive or dead, I was not certain. And if it were alive, it would be in terrible agony, and death would be the only relief.

"Oh," she said, horror on her voice, "I think it's an animal. Go and look."

I harboured no immediate plans to go and look, and told her so. For I am a coward of the first water, and I did not fancy putting some poor creature out of its misery above half.

"There's no way I'm going out to look," I said, "and that's final."

"But what if it's somebody's pet? They'll need to be told, and... Oh god, I just saw it move."

There was nothing for it. Coward of the first water or not, I was going to have to get out of the lovely warm van, and identify this lump in the road for alive or dead, pet or wild, and probably wring its neck. I was absolutely certain that the next moments would end in my soiling my own trousers in fear.

I got out, and approached my quarry, fear heavy on my chest like funbags on a Katie Price. The ears on the thing twitched in the light breeze, just making the ordeal worse for me. Dog? Cat? Rabbit? Something eldritch and squamous and not of this world? Ugh...What's that big tear down its side? I can see its insides and... Oh my Christ it's awful... It's... It's a plastic carrier bag filled with rubbish and tied up with a bunny-ears knot.


All that fear wasted, I kicked it into the kerb.

And found it was full of kittens*.

*It was not full of kittens

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On the danger lurking at your children's pantomime performance

Something must be done.

The police. The government. The Daily Mail. Anybody.
You see, it's this: Every year I used to take the kids to the Panto at Christmas. It was always fun, we had a great time, and it rounded off Christmas superbly. But one thing always seemed to nag me. Something disturbing.

Then it hit me. It was always the "Buttons" character - the rough-and-tumble comedian who acted as the warm-up act at various parts of the show to keep the kids screaming with laughter. There's something wrong with Buttons. And it's this:


Buttons: Hi gang!

Yeah. "Gang".

Not the fun idea of a kids' gang having larks in the school field. But LA-style gang culture, drinking crack and shooting up more crack, and shooting people completely to DEATH over crack while living in a crack house with a dog on crack. Have you got your gang colours? Have you got your gun? What about your crack? That kid next to you has crack. Kill him for his crack. Pop a cap in his sorry ass for crack.

That's what Buttons is saying. That's what Buttons is telling middle-class kids up and down the country. It's OK to join a gang. Join a gang and get some crack. First one's free, as long as you join the turf war against Keith Chegwin doing Aladdin in Swindon, over crack.

And don't get me started on Widow T Wanky. She's all about the crack as well.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BUY MY BOOK! --- WTF? --- A comedy thriller by Alistair Coleman

I'm pleased to announce that five years of toil have come to an end, and my first novel 'WTF?' is now available for Kindle owners.

A paperback edition of WTF? will be available very soon for people who prefer their reading matter in dead tree format, and in response to popular request, there will also be a print edition in Comic Sans, The Font of Champions.

If you are unsure of my genius, you can read free excerpts from the book on its promotional website, but you'll actually have to buy  or download WTF? if you want the spoiler-laden blooper reel.

"The ideal present for the somebody you hate. Or just by a copy for yourself." --- TV's Kim Jong-un

And here's the back cover bumpf:

A confused young man three hundred miles from home, a perpetually annoyed celebrity chef slightly past her sell-by date, and an old school friend who may or may not be the Adjustable Spanner Murderer of the City of Truro, trapped in a flat in the rich end of west London. With a bit of help from the hapless layabouts at an internet start-up company that isn't entirely as it seems, they accidentally get pulled into a world of corporate corruption, inept police, incompetent hit-men, and robot vacuum cleaners turning on their fleshy masters, until one of them ends up falling over a cliff and discovering how much it hurts.

In a comic tale of the doomed online executive tat merchants scaryduck dot com all lower case, can our hero - accidentally called Toby Young for the first two drafts - survive his appointment with gravity? (Answer: Yes) And will true love come through and win the day? (Answer: Almost certainly not)

The comedy thriller 'WTF?' is award-winning writer Alistair Coleman's fifth book, but his first novel.

BUY or borrow WTF? from Amazon for the Kindle


Paperback version from Lulu

Paperback Comic Sans The Font of Champions Edition


Monday, December 17, 2012

Why do lorries leave their back doors open when they park in a lay-by overnight?

Take any trip down a major road late at night, and you'll invariably see lorries parked overnight with their rear doors open.

Why is this?

Many people think it's to show prospective thieves that there's nothing worth stealing; others say this is to show the authorities that they are not carrying illegal immigrants.

Both theories are wrong, and the truth is all about SCIENCE.

As the sun comes up in the morning, the air inside the truck body expands. All well and good in normal situations, but in something the size of a 40 tonne truck, this could be disastrous. Sun up, air expands, and BOOMPH, Eddie Stobart exploding all over the place. All truck drivers know this life-saving fact, and now you do as well.

Thanks to hard-working and safety-conscious truckers, we haven't had a Dawn HGV Explosion Anomaly since 1973.

Well done lads (and lasses). Have a Yorkie.

NINJA EDIT --- Ben on that there Facebook says: "That's why they put air holes in those boxes for carrying pets to the vet in. It's not so the little critters can breathe..."


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Weekend Video: The Goon Show - What time is it Eccles?

Yeah, that's enough music videos for a bit. How about a bit of Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers and one of the finest pieces of radio comedy ever written?

Bluebottle: Surely you mean 'writted'?
Grams: Distant splash
Little Jim: He's fallen in the water

Friday, December 14, 2012

People who will be the first up against the wall (for a damn good talking to) come the glorious revolution

A short list of people who will be the first up against the wall (for a damn good talking to) come the glorious revolution:

* People who throw lighted cigarette butts out of car windows

* Mums who call their kids 'mate'

* Teenagers who listen to crappy music on the phone speaker in public

* Shoppers who reach the top of the escalator and don't get out of the way

* Smartarses who answer the question "Is it Wednesday?" with "Yes, all day"

* Both Daily Express readers

* People who take take McDonalds food to beauty spots and leave their rubbish behind

* Supermarket customers who wait until all of their items have been scanned at the till to goon a trek across the store to find the last item on the shopping list

* Supermarket cashiers who wait until all off a customer's items have been scanned at thetill before mentioning that there's a Buy One Get One Free offer onsomething on the far side of the store

* People who use the middle urinal

* People who compile lists

And from No Good Boyo:

* People who say "What can I do you for?", who are presumably the same people who call pub landlords "Mein host"

Ninja edit, after a night out drinking whisky: Bar staff who put ice in your whisky when you ask for "Whisky, no ice". Ice in whisky is for PANTYWAISTS and BLASPHEMERS.

* Bar staff who give you Jack Daniels, filled to the brim with ice when you ask for "Whisky, no ice". If I wanted Jack Daniels, I would have asked for my own stale piss out of a tramp's hat. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Banks and Dogs - TOGETHER AT LAST!

The news that a dog was recently sent an overdraft letter by a bank begs the question: What kind of financial institution takes a dog as a customer?
Loads of them, it turns out:
  • Bark-lays
  • Nat Westie
  • Lloyds TSBeagle
  • Santand Airedale Terrier
  • Royal Bank of Scotties
Or, the online bank Dog Egg, which has recently been taken over by the Yorkie Building Society
I'll get me coat

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Supper or Tea? On taking classism to new levels

So, I'm a snob. That much we have established. But, we ask, how deep does the snobbishness run?

Very deep, that's how deep. But not as deep as some.

Take evening meals. What do you call it? To me, it has always been dinner. Except when I've called it "tea", but there is a definate sliding towards the ponce end of the scale.

Because, call me a snob and a classist if you like, but there's a sliding scale of evening meal twattery at work:

Supper >>> Dinner >>> Tea >>> McDonalds >>> Chipshop

To the left of "Supper", there's the even more heinous "Supper Club", who will be the first against the wall come the glorious revolution, and to the right of "Chipshop" comes "Punching people coming out of Chipshops and stealing their chips".

Even further to the left is the "Roving Supper Club", where - I have been told by the shameless people who take part in such BLASPHEMIES - Supper Club members would dress up and have a course at each member's house, before moving on. So far, so poncy. BUT HOW DO YOU GET PISSED?

I fear, as my fifties loom, I may get involved in Suppers at some stage. But as long as egg and chips still exist, there will always be tea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some things I didn't say whilst having a hair cut

A haircut!
"So how does sir like it?" she asked as I sat in the comforting surroundings of the barber's chair, engulfed in the sheet, tissue paper stuffed down the back of my neck.

In the background the radio played. Not the soothing sounds of Radio 3, Classic FM or even the light banter of Radio 2, but the brain-dead thudding of commerical pop radio, the latest chart hits cleverly hidden within streams of dreadful adverts and a hopelessly deranged Dr Fox clone giving a shrieking listener the chance to stand out in the rain at a movie premier with an "Its B, you idiot" mulitple choice quiz for mind-numbing simplicity. Then more dreadful adverts with oh-so-funny parody songs show-casing a local taxi firm, followed by something vocodered-to-shite this is neither rhythim nor blues, bought into the charts by tone-deaf fools so they can listen to it through tinny speakers on the back seat of the bus.

A sign on the notice board shows they've actually paid the Performing Rights Society to give their customers this aural lobotomy.

"How does sir like it?" she asked again as I studied my reflection in the mirror, deciding I don't even want to sneak a look up the armholes of her T-shirt as she worked for cheap thrills.

"Done as quickly as possible - you actually listen to this bollocks?" I didn't say. 
"You go day in, day out with this shite pouring into the mush that's left of your brain? No wonder your shop's empty," I also didn't say.

"Christ, you might as well have a sticker over the mirror saying 'You don't have to be MAD to work here, but it helps!!!' - oh, but look, you do," I continued not saying.

"Trim all over, square at the back," I actually said.
"Going anywhere nice for your holidays?"

"Twenty years to life, at this rate," I didn't say.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The lap of luxury and the abuse thereof

One of the huge downers of my career is being forced to stay in luxury hotels in European capitals for days at a time, reporting on high-level business conferences. Beautiful views, top-notch cuisine, bathroom-slash-wetroom the size of a barn, all the free wifi you can eat, attentive service - a man can get sick of it very quickly.

The problem with these big hotels is that you're just as asleep as when you're in the one star B&B down the road, so the trick is getting your value for money.

And this time round, it comes with the fact that the hotel charges £4.00 for a small bottle of mineral water. You know, the type that sells for 40p in your local Asda. Fortunately for our little scheme, the hotel always leaves a free bottle of said water in your room, and such is their attention to detail, they appear to check your facilities several times each day.

The trick, then, is to hide your water, and wait.

Then pounce.

Then wait again, the in-room safe bursting at the gills with the world's most expensive Peckham Spring water.

Then wait again. And again.

Christ knows how I'm going to get two dozen bottles of £4.00 mineral water on the plane home, but once it's back in Blighty, this time next year, Rodders, we'll be millionaires.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Vote for me in the UK's funniest Blog Competition (again)

Fresh from last year's triumph in which I emerged as the UK's funniest blogger, I find myself on the shortlist for this year's award. This year the nod's gone to Angry People In Local Newspapers, your online resource for photographs of angry people in local newspapers and the sort of sexist commentary that makes me ashamed to be British.

APILN is something that I love doing, and it has taken over my life in a minor way, with floods of (very welcome) reader contributions and a whole slew of Google alerts keeping the site full of fresh pointy angry people. It's also spawned a Dull News spin-off, with one of our readers going as far as starting a Weird news site to house the stories that don't fit anywhere else.

Also nominated are my pals Ukcamerman and Oddbloke, so everybody's a winner.
I'm not in it for the AMAZING prize*, so vote for me.
* I am in it for the prize. Vote for me.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Weekend Video: The Pogues - Misty Morning Albert Bridge

It's December and I'm posting a song by the Pogues that's NOT Fairytale of New York. I am not mad

And while we're here, A Pair of Brown Eyes, which also isn't Fairytale of New York. Just don't read the comments --- Here be assholes.

Friday, December 07, 2012

The Wikipedia Bible Project

As a deity-curious atheist, my curiosity was pricked by a copy of the Wikipedia Bible found at the back of a charity shop. Naturally, I picked the thing up and strated to have a flick through. And pretty much as you'd expect, right from the start

1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth [citation needed]

2. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [citation needed]

3. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. [citation needed]

...and much the same for several hundred closesly-typed pages, except - worryingly - for much of the Book of Revelation.

So, I did what any good Wiki reader would do, and went back to the very top where I found the health warning:

This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Much uncited material. Confusing. Self-published sources. Difficult to find good sources.. Please help improve this article if you can.

Don't get me started on the Wiki Koran I found. Really. I don't want to die.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A small victory for the little man over the forces of twattery

Driving a car in a busy morning rush hour can be a little like playing a game of chess. Act like an arse, and somebody's eventually going to force a bishop up your nostril. And just because you act like King (or Queen) of the road is no guarantee of getting away with pushing the pawns about. That's the end of the chess/driving analogy, unless you're - oh-ho! - KNIGHT rider.

So, this is for the bloke driving behind me.
YOU: White, spanking new Range Rover Vogue, driven up my exhaust pipe for well over a mile on our morning commute into Reading.

ME: Filthy blue  fifteen-year-old Nissan Micra, fed up with the bell-end driving right up my exhaust pipe
The Range Rover Vogue. The car of twats. It's a sports car. It's an off-roader. It's a statement of conspicuous consumption for bell-ends. The only time it's used for sports is when you're driving the kids  to the swimming pool. The only time it goes off-road is when you park it on your drive.

Drive like an arse, and you eventually get your comeuppance. Imagine then, my annoyance as we come to the daily ten-minute queue for the A33 roundabout at Stratfield Saye. Obviously, I'm some sort of pleb, because I've settled for my place in the queue. You - on the other hand - despite not having flashing blue lights on the top of your car, or any indication that you are carrying transplant organs, are FAR more important than the rest of us, and attempt to nip to the front of the line on the wrong side of the road. As you do, like a twat.

Imagine again - if you will - my hoots of laughter as you come up against White Van Man coming the other way. White Van Man who has no intention of getting out of your way, and is making you reverse all the way back down the way you came. To the back of the queue and beyond, where you sit seething in a farm gateway, before you attempt a sixteen-point turn, and head off the way you came.

Those exhaust fumes that filled the air as you revved and over-revved in your fury: Smells like VICTORY.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sledgehammer: Man versus MEGASHED - A Tale of Mirth and Woe

I bought a house a few years ago, where the previous owner had an obsession with two things: Leylandia trees and garden buildings. The back yard was a forest of Leylandia, which were pulled out of the ground and chopped up over a period of several months, and there were no fewer than four sheds.

Thanks to a slash-and-burn policy, we soon ended up with a pretty acceptable garden, and I was set to work on demolishing the fourth shed at the top of the garden, which we had christened MEGASHED. It was huge. Previous Irish Owner had built it himself out of huge sheets of plywood and it stood well over ten feet tall and might have doubled up as a squash court if it were not such a bloody craphole.

After getting the doors and a few of the side panels off through brute force and a crowbar, I wondered if there might be a quicker way to finish the job, all the time eyeing up one of the huge lengths of four-by-four holding the thing up.

I selected my biggest sledgehammer, and with main strength, knocked out one of the corner supports with a single blow. Then, a couple of hefty swings took out another, as nails and other low-quality fixings pinged about me.

In retrospect, I should have stopped there, taken the roof off and perhaps a couple of now unsupported walls. But I did not. Instead, I lined up with a third corner support, felt rather satisfied with the thunk as it fell ago, almost immediately taken over by fear, darkness and agony as the entire structure folded in on itself like the final scene from Poltergeist.

I lay there for some time on the concrete floor, considering my folly. Then, shouted for help, and it came. Eventually.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

On effective New Year Resolutions (In which your author does something useful for a change)

It's that time of year again, as the old year withers and dies like ...well... anything that gets planted in my garden that people start thinking of their New Year Resolutions. And, let's face it, most of the resolutions are going to end up very much like that pet puppy you'll be giving to a spoilt nephew: Tolerated for a week, before being stoved over the head, and left at the side of the road for the crows.

Go on a diet. Walk the dog daily. Be nice to the boss and work hard for that promotion. Give up smoking. Cut down on the old booze. You know full well you'll be taking three-hour boozy, faggy lunch breaks while the dog steadily piles on the pound. All this, we guarantee, by the 10th day of the New Year.

On the other hand,  I'm going to think out of the box, and try for resolutions that are really useful. Resolutions that are going to make a difference to people's lives. I pledge, in 2013, that I'm going to:

* Stop telling confused tourists "you really must visit the delightful village of Tower Hamlets"

* Use the disabled toilets more often, to check the facilities are working properly

* Respect my colleagues: Only use two parking spaces in the office car park instead of the usual three

* Help old ladies across the road, whether they want to see what's on the opposite side of the M3 motorway or not

* Stop covering up the word "not" on important-looking signs at the zoo

Or, alternatively, you could join the British Humanist Association's Resolution Revolution campaign, and go out and do something properly useful. Give blood. Join a voluntary group. Bake a cake for your neighbour, without even putting something horrible in it. Help the disadvantaged. Make a difference to the world. You know you want to.

I've been meaning to give the red stuff for some time now, but have always found a piss-poor excuse to get out of it. This is me, saying in public, that I'm going to give blood in 2013. Not just the blood from some tramp I found going through the bins behind Waitrose - my own blood. A whole arm-full, if need be.

My other resolution: Guilt-trip my readers.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Subject: The Honesty Payment for your Patriot Act !

A nice man from the United Nations writes to me:

Subject: The Honesty Payment for your Patriot Act !

Attention Please!

I obtained your contact through the secret database of foreigners who are owed vast sums of money by the African Governments, the Central Bank and by individual Banks and institutions.

I have put in place a system to pay you immediately without request for UPFRONT fees or charges from you. This is important because having been disappointed in the past,I know you will not cooperate if upfront fees are involved in this transaction. THE ONLY THING I REQUIRE FROM YOU IS COMPLETE SECRECY AND CONFIDENTIALITY! YOU MUST NOT DIVULGE THIS PLAN TO ANY ONE, EVEN YOUR PARTNERS.

Therefore please keep faith with me, this money sum of $2.5Million will be transfer to you through an Atm card. I will do this VIA the Uba Africard Visa-Card ATM Cashing Card and in full compliance with the Patriot Act.

The ATM can be sent to you in two ways; One, by ordinary express mail; This method will take from 2 weeks to a month to reach you but it is NOT GUARANTEED! It is risky in that- the ATM could be stolen at any point in its movement to your address! Especially in the corrupt post Office system of Republic Du Benin here ...The second method is by DHL courier service, and it is safe, guaranteed and fast; the ATM card will get to you in 4/5 days.

Yours faithfully.

Mr.Ibeh John Llb Hons
Debt Settlement and Finance
Wow. One of these emails has to be genuine. Perhaps it is this one. No point beating about the bush, best I hit him with a reply:

My Dear Mr.Ibeh John Llb Hons

I need your advice! I have not told anybody about your AMAZING plan, but on reading your email out loud in the privacy of my own home, my pet parrot overheard and won't stop saying "secret database of foreigners who are owed vast sums of money by the African Governments", "corrupt post office system" and "Mr.Ibeh John Llb Hons" at the top of his squawk. I think the postman might have heard him this morning. Is the deal still on?

Your new pal

Albert O'Balsam SSC BSC
YES! The deal is still on.

Mr. Albert O'Balsam

Name:Albert O'Balsam
Proxy-Disk no:Z562UN8-45
Paper (ex. Ordering Checks): $2.5Million
Electronic (ex. Direct Deposit/Automatic Payment):$2.5Million

You should send us your Dhl account so that we can use it for sending the card to you.

The ATM card will get to you in 4/5 days, so you will provide your DHL account to the MR.David Hodonou to use on dhl for delivering the card to you.

Alternately: if you don't have an account with Dhl you're ought to send $64 for delivering the card to you, thus are the details you should use for sending the $64 through western union Or Money gram transfers.

Cheers !!!!


Mr.David Hodonou
Hot-line +229 93905641
Uba Africard .
Asia psf Bank net works Of ATM.Agent.
Yeah, there seem to be one or two local difficulties. Best ask if they can help me out:

Dear David

I presume you are part of this scheme with my new friend Mr.Ibeh John Llb Hons.

Oh, man. I don't have a DHL account. HOWEVER, I've got a Post Office Saver's Account with £13 16s 3d in it. Will that do?

Your new best pal

Albert O'Balsam BSC SSC

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Catalan Camera Corner

So, I go to Barcelona, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and my best photos are the ones I take - bored out of my mind - at the airport.

Click to embiggen.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Cocteau Twins Video splurge

One of my favourite albums is Treasure by the Cocteau Twins. The lyrics make no sense at all, but the music is beautiful 



And, from their final Milk and Kisses album, Treasure Hiding  

No, you're welcome.