Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: An important new discovery which proves Einstein's Theory of Relativity

There's a scene towards the end of Steven Spielberg's epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind when a number of alien abductees disembark the mothership. As they're met by military officials, the following exchange is heard:

"They haven't aged a day. Einstein was right."

"Einstein was probably one of them."

So, bearing this in mind, take a look at this picture of Richard Dreyfuss, in character as the film's leading man Roy Neary.

Now skip forward 37 years to the release of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring the excellent Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, otherwise known as Starlord.

Compare. Contrast. They are clearly the same person.

Neary went voluntarily into the alien craft, and nearly four decades later, having not aged a day, he's flitting around with a raccoon and a tree completely shitting up bad people after taking on the Starlord identity. He's also worked out a lot and turned into a roving space git, but the boredom of endless space travel does that to a man.

It's the only logical explanation and fits entirely to the narrative I've made up completely in my head, and for those of you of a scientific bent, this is the final, conclusive proof of the Theory of Relativity.

Einstein was right.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

PIZZOPATHY: A scientific exploration into the health benefits of takeaway pizza

Much has been written - most of it appalling crap - about the benefits or otherwise of alternative therapies such as homeopathy, faith healing, blood-letting, and other ridiculous mumbo-jumbo that has no basis at all in scientific fact.

Effective medicine is peer-reviewed by competent and suitably qualified experts in trials and tests the prove, beyond all reasonable doubt the a drug or treatment does exactly as expected, without unfortunate side-effects such as growing a foot on the top of your head, turning purple, or painful death. Painful death as a medical side-effect is seen - quite rightly by the medical community - as A Bad Thing which should be avoided.

That is why myself and a number of knowledgeable experts with the highest-level qualifications in ordering takeaway food from pizza shops have decided to undergo risky clinical trials to determine whether takeaway pizza can cure such serious conditions as "feeling a bit under the weather", "the grumps", and "I've built a fort out of sofa cushions and I'm not coming until we get pizza". We call this Pizza Therapy PIZZOPATHY, and will shout long and hard at any so-called "scientist" who calls our findings bogus.

Of course, there had to be a control group that didn't get pizza, and it pleases our research group greatly that their evening meal of raw brussels sprouts and rancid meat left them grumpy, a bit under the weather, and setting fire to the cushion fort we left for them.

A second placebo group were given what looked like pizza, but was in fact carefully arranged cat turds, the insoles from old trainers and a spray-painted frisbee make to look exactly like pizza. They smashed up the lab, and it took three hours to extract the frisbee from an unfortunate laboratory assistant's rear passage, a reaction we considered totally unnecessary in the light of our entirely valid scientific enquiry.

Important scientific supplies are delivered to our laboratory
 Thus it fell to the third group to sample real pizza from a takeaway establishment and report back on the health benefits, or lack thereof.

In the light of the danger of side-effects (turning purple, death), we volunteered to undertake this task ourselves, paid for by a generous research grant and a 50% off voucher from a major chain of pizza takeaways, provided we collected the goods ourselves.

The results were stunning. I went from "a bit grumpy" to "feeling alright" by the time thee garlic bread had disappeared down my face-hole; and by the time the large Domino's Mighty Meaty had disappeared, my malaise was utterly lifted, and I was ready to give the world a good old punch in the conker. Other members of our group reported similar effects with potato wedges/pizza combination, proof positive that Pizza Therapy has its clear benefits.

WARNING: Do not try this experiment with £1 pizzas from Iceland. You will die.

In summary: Proper scientific enquiry PROVES that takeaway pizza has positive health benefits, and we will fight any so-called "expert" who says otherwise.

To try PIZZOPATHY for yourself, send us £50, and we shall arrange clinical pizza supplies sent to your own home (Pizza lab technicians may be wearing Domino's Pizza uniforms, but we assure you that we are not simply ordering pizza for you and trousering the difference*)

I am not mad.

* We are

Sunday, December 28, 2014


So. I watched The Interview.

Of the many bad comedy films I have seen, it is certainly one of them. I'm not saying that because I'm a Korea-watcher and they were bound to get details wrong, but because it's a really, really bad comedy.

The good news is that despite all the threats, despite hackers taking turns in stealing data from Sony and hammering North Korea with DDOS attacks while sitting back and necking popcorn, despite Pyongyang resorting to actual racism (KCNA refers to Barack Obama as the culprit behind The Interview, "a monkey in a tropical forest"), the film finally got released and is a beacon of freedom of speech. Or something.

The bad news is this: It's shit. Yes, there are one or two belly laughs (there's a fight in the TV control room that is thoroughly outstanding in its gross slapstick), but it took too long to get going, and once it found its feet it didn't go nearly enough. It takes thirty minutes before they even get to North Korea, and it takes ages to get to the much-hyped Skylark-Kim bonding scene via an all-too-predictable hiding-something-up-your-arse gag.

The trouble is that while the main character (James Franco as the Richard Madeley-esque Dave Skylark) is meant to be unlikeable, he's so detestable you actually hate him within the first five minutes and things really don't improve. Seth Rogen as his put-upon producer turns in a far better performance, but he's underused and the film suffers for it.

Kim Jong-un: No bowel control
But you can see why the North Koreans hate the film. Quite apart from encouraging revolution in their country, plotting to kill their Supreme Leader and suggesting that he has a fully functioning bottom, claiming that he gets tearful over a Katy Perry song is enough to take East Asia to the brink of nuclear war.

So, piss-poor comedy, gets better toward the end, but hardly worth the diplomatic tensions that it has brought upon us over the last few weeks. Could - and should - have been better. In fact, I then went on to watch A Million Ways To Die In The West, which - while hardly the greatest comedy in the world - packs more jokes and at least knows how to do smut without being a bit creepy. An adequate palette cleanser following a plateful of turds, if you like.

Kim Jong Un: Stand down the missiles, there's a good chap. It's not worth the fury. 

Also, they had the wrong type of helicopters, because there's no way North Korea flies American Sikorksy S-61 aircraft. And to think you can buy a second-hand Mi-8 around $1.75m these days, small change out of a big movie budget.

Gets an extra mark for having a cute puppy.

Scores on the doors: Kim Jong-Quatre (4/10)
YES! I'm still the number one film about the assassination of a North Korean leader!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hello, Wello

St Paul did a great many things. His was the original "Road to Damascus" conversion, he founded early churches and wrote a number of letters to the Corinthians, telling them - in a manner of speaking, not to be a bunch of assclowns. In one of these letters he told them that "when I became a man, I put away childish things", which I believe to be all manner of wrongness, especially in a world that (rightly) considers fart gags to be the acme of humour.

I tell you this because of Wello. Well is the small fuzzy duck in the top right hand corner of this page, and once existed in this world looking like this, back in the day when you weren't allow big pictures on the internet because dial-up was a thing:

Wello was a gift of apology to the first Mrs Coleman is December of 1990, after I had arrived home drunk from an office Christmas dinner and pissed all over her dressing table and Christmas present. Perhaps because of this genesis, the first Mrs Coleman and Wello didn't bond, so he became mine by default and her arch-nemesis because stuffed ducks are for kids. I never knew how deep this enmity ran until one year I was TRICKED into throwing him into an Oxfam clothes bank along with a bundle of old coats. And some other ducks. Such cruelty.

There were - I admit -a number of ducks. But we'll get to Bongo, Dingo, Honky and Tyoko (pronounced Choco) when we cross that particular bridge.

I tend not to write about the first Mrs Coleman if I can help it at all, because she's entitled to her own life without having to think I'm talking about her behind my back. But - damn - I might have been 35 years old and notionally a grown man at the time of the Great Wello Back-Stab, but to betray me and my priceless collection of stuffed ducks like that was something which hurt me deep inside. For thirteen years.

Well, I wasn't going to take that lying down. And it's three years after we split that Operation Get My Stuff Back has finally borne fruit, thanks to online tat market Ebay and a bank-busting bid of five pounds, plus postage. I bring you, ladies and gentlemen, after thirteen years in the wilderness, Wello:

I don't care what you think. I'm 48 years old and I've got my duck back. There are - I believe - no rules about growing up, and I am perfectly entitled to buy ducks off online tat market Ebay and keep them for myself. And give them names. And keep them on a special shelf in case the dog forms a negative opinion about his continued existence.

In fact, the president of a major Irish political party and one-time Public Enemy Number One on these shores has a large collection of Beanie Babies and rubber ducks, and you never hear anybody taking the piss out of him (mainly because he knows people who are acquainted with people who can possibly get in contact with people who could hammer nails through your kneecaps, no questions asked) (Is that enough degrees of separation to avoid a writ? I hope so), so if that's good enough for him, it's good enough for the rest of us.

Yes, nothing perfect - Wello MkII is a slightly different shade of grey (The back story is that he's developed a Philip Schofield barnet in his time wondering the world), and I had to add the lines on his beak myself, but the duck came back. THE DUCK CAME BACK.

This is going to be the best Christmas Walford's ever seen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A 100% Non-Patronising Exploration Of My Very Mild Mobility Problems

Now, I'll be the first to admit that my six-week stint in wheelchair and on crutches makes me little more than a Wheelchair Tourist, but it's opened my eyes as to how damn inconvenient the world can be for anybody with mobility difficulties.

With a following wind, I should be back to what passes for normal by the end of January, but there's one or two things that have opened my eyes to the world of (very mild) disability that I hope won't sound too patronising for readers who have suffered a lifetime of this sort of thing.

1. Mobility is difficult. I'm dreadfully unfit, and crutches have be gasping for breath within 50 yards. My chair is from the Red Cross, and made of the same stuff that the British Army uses in tanks and weighs a ton. The slightest upward incline is Hell.

2. Yes, people DO patronise you in a wheelchair, but not has much as you think. I've only had one person talking over my head (The "Does he take sugar?" syndrome, I believe it's called). Could do better, Tesco.

3. Accessibility Part One. Shop doors that aren't wide enough. Yes, you, Holland and Barrett.

4. Accessibility Part Two. So, we booked a table to eat out the other night. "I'll be on crutches, so can we have an accessible table, please?" Accessible was up two flights of stairs at the back of the restaurant. But within five paces of the accessible toilet, which was up two flights of stairs at the back of the restaurant.

5. Mobility Part Two. Wow, motivation is difficult. Out of two weeks so far, about 11 days have been spent on the sofa, and I'm developing a severe case of arse-ache and a mild trouser rash. So easy to be housebound.

6. Nice people. Jane has been awesome. She admits that she didn't realise how much like hard work looking after somebody with mobility problems would be, and I've only got a slightly broken foot. Many people don't have this help, so I'm extremely lucky. Also, pizza delivery is excellent in these parts, but could prove fatal.

I'm going to be better soon, but many people aren't so lucky. A few years ago, there was a nasty atmosphere to public discourse when the disabled were being portrayed as spongers in the press and by certain political parties. I'm glad that seems to be passing (at least among the general public), and nobody's tried to kick my stick away. But - here comes the patronising bit - my eyes are well and truly open to the struggles of millions. The mobility-impaired have to work twice as hard just to keep up, and I have the added benefit of having a decent job without any sort of financial struggle.

The British Red Cross have been kind to me without asking anything in return, so send them money. You can do this buy buying a special version of The Farm's Altogether Now, which I rank as the second-best version of the song.

Here's the definitive version:

And the one by Atomic Kitten that will have you poking knitting needles down your ears:

Despite the original's anti-war message, I would gladly call down air-strikes on the Atomic Kitten version.

That is all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Insulting The Dignity Of The Supreme Leader Of The Democratic People's Republic Of Korea (Again)

In retrospect, Kim's visit to the Pyongyang Children's Foodstuff Factory could have gone better for all concerned.

"Sweet mother of Kim Il-Sung, haven't you got any Haribo?"
"Look, I just want a packet of sweet, sweet Haribo, and now you're causing a queue"
"I don't care if Haribo is dead people, I'm the Supreme Leader and I want Haribo"
"I will personally kill the next person and enslave three generations of their family who says I can't have Haribo"
"Worst lucky dip ever"
"There, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
Next stop, a return visit to the lube factory.

"Yay lube!"
Boring reality of the factory visit here, if you're interested.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oh Lordy, Not The Rainbow Bridge Again

I was saddened recently when an internet chum recently lost an elderly pet cat, a beloved pet of many years standing who will - I'm sure - be sorely missed. The loss of a pet is an emotional stab in the heart that non-pet people cannot understand, and those who are well down the road of pet ownership develop defence mechansisms in the face of death's icy grip.

That is why my internet pal stressed NO RAINBOW BRIDGE OR FUR BABY RUBBISH on her timeline, and for good reason.

Regular readers will know that I have problems with the Rainbow Bridge poem, and my previous critiques of the World's Worst Poem have earned me stern rebukes from people who really ought to know better.

I've been told by an actual Christian that my dismissal of the entirely-made-up Rainbow Bridge is going to send me to HELL, which is fine by me as one fictional place is very much like another. Meanwhile, another tells me that my non-belief in said Rainbow Bridge shows I don't care about my two (then) recently deceased dogs, and I shouldn't be allowed to keep animals. Twats, the lot of them.

But enough for the h8ers, cos h8ers gonna h8, whatever than means, for I sat bolt upright the other night, head bursting with questions about the practicalities of there being a bridge where pets wait for you when they die. Because, frankly, such a place would be a fucking madhouse.

  • Is there a passage of time at the Rainbow Bridge? I'm pretty sure that childhood pets who be getting pretty bloody bored waiting for you to die peacefully in your sleep at the age of ninety. The place must be bursting at the seams. Is anybody in charge of - you know - scooping?
  • What if your animal was a family pet? Does he cross the bridge with the first of your clan to die, or wait for his favourite? In some families, that's going to cause a fall-out worse than the time Auntie Vera said something at Brian's surprise party...
  • What are the rules for adopted pets that have had more than one owner? First to die, last to own him, or wait for the favourite? Fight to the death?
  • I've had fish, birds, cats and dogs in my lifetime. All natural enemies. Am I going to arrive at the bridge to just one, very fat smug-looking dog?
  • I once adopted a leopard in a zoo, along with several other people. What are the rules? Timeshare, or fight to the death?
  • Bee-keepers. Discuss.
  • Do pets that have been neutered in their lifetime get their sexy parts back, and are they making up for lost time? You won't be able to cross the bridge for dogs clamping themselves onto your leg.
  • Do fish wait on the bridge itself or under it? Or perhaps in a plastic bag in a wheelie bin on the bridge? Do goldfish even remember who you are?
  • What happens if you live on a farm and have a pet pig, then eat the pig for bacon? That's hardly going to be a happy reunion, is it? I suspect Porky's going to be waiting by the bridge to completely shit you up.

So many questions, so much angry bacon. I put it to "Author Unknown" that you haven't actually thought the whole thing through, and you are unknown for a very good reason (for eg: savaged to death by angry bees).

Down with this sort of thing (again).

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Classic Turner: 80% wig, 100% talent
One of my favourite sights in the low pantheon of tribute acts in a white Tina Turner who entertains crowds on the south coast of England. Apart from the fact that she's clearly a fraction of the original star's age, she's Turner from head-to-toe, from the fright wig to the frighteningly short dresses; from the over-emoting of every single word, to the bandy legs through which you can drive a bus. To easily-pleased seaside audiences, it's like you're in the same room as Ms Turner, especially when it's a pub-full of drunks helping her along with a boozy rendition of Simply The Best.

The thing is, no matter how over-the-top your Tina Turner impression, no matter how drunk your audience, your dresses will never be short enough, the fright wig will never be frightening enough, the thigh gap too narrow, and you'll never be able to say "Why, he's just a raggedy man" in quite the same way as Real Tina.

At the risk of coming over all Patrick Bateman/American Psycho, there's much to admire in the example of Ms Turner's re-emergence as a star in the 1980s - a recognition that it's never to late to get what you want in the face of advancing years --- just as long as you've got a killer tune, huge shoulder pads, and Heaven 17 twiddling the knobs on your comeback disc.

The reason I mention this is real and pressing: I've had her 1989 hit Steamy Windows stuck in my head as an ear worm for three weeks now, and it's driving me mental.

Let's put this tune into perspective: Sixty-year-old Tina Turner is making out with a gentleman friend in the back seat of an automobile to the point that their combined body heat makes it impossible to see out. Fair play to her for finding herself in this position, I never knew Tuesday nights down the Gala Bingo were such a hotbed of passions, and this deserves future scientific investigation in the name of SCIENCE.

Now, as any fool knows, you leave one window open, if only to stick one leg out in the moment of the capital act. Also, it leaves the from windscreen clear in case you have to make a quick getaway.

Like any Tina Turner tune of any repute, it's best sung in the Vic Reeves club-singer style, and it is this that has been stuck inside my brain for most of the month of December so far: "Shhhhteamy winaaaaaaahs! Caused ba bod-ah heat a-wallah wallah wallah".

Alas, I have since discovered that Shhhhteamy winaaaaaaahs can now be added as a coda to virtually any song in existence, making them exactly 962% worse. Last night's viewing of the Bond epic Skyfall - for example - was dragged down to the level of farce as Adele's passionate theme tune ended with "caused ba bod-ah heat a-wallah wallah wallah", rendering [SPOILERS] Bond's presumed death a sideshow, and [MORE SPOILERS] poor, actual dead M's gift of a Tina Turner box set on a London roof-top in the closing scenes all the more moving.

Think about it: You're Dame Judi Dench, and you've been [EVEN MORE SPOILERS] trapped in an ancient car with steam-up windows all the way from central London to the Highlands of Scotland with that miserable bastard 007 - presumably for days - the first thing you're going to buy at the services on the M6 is a Tina Turner box set just to make him shut up. But you couldn't quite find the right moment to give it to him, not while he's busy killing people. And by the end of the third reel it's too late [LAST SPOILER, HONEST] because you're dead.

"It's got all the early stuff, too"
Tina Turner: You and your big hair and you big voice and your stupid steamy windows are wrecking my sanity.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


A grinning nerk in a fez wants to part you from your money
This Christmas, I shall be mostly supporting the tremendous charity Send A Cow. It's not just because they sent me this truly special Christmas jumper, which I shall treasure, but because they do important work in sustaining lives while everybody's attention has been drawn away to the cause du jour, that being the Ebola crisis in the west of Africa.

Also, I wear a fez now, because fezzes are cool.

Ebola is serious, and the cause deserves everybody's support, but it's not the whole story of  a massive continent of 54 countries and 1.1 billion people. For many in farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa, it's still very much a life-on-a-razor's-edge existence, and that's why help from the First World is still needed.

Now, I work with a lot of people from Africa, I've worked in Africa, and I've had my head pummeled by a nasty chap wielding a rifle butt in a certain country to which I have no wish to return, so I know to talk about "Africa" and "Africa's problems" can be patronising in the extreme. This especially when parts of it are doing very well, thank you very much, and they DO know it's Christmas. (Especially since Calendar Club is near enough universal these days).

But there are still developing areas that still need a nudge in the right direction, and Send A Cow - like Water Aid, another cause close to my heart, are doing the right thing for the right people. They're making lives better, and helping families become self-sufficient in food and facilities.

So. Send a farming family a donkey, a goat, a cow, or even a sofa (because, frankly, why not?) for Christmas, not because you've been guilt tripped or to make yourself feel smug about yourself, but because it's the right thing to do.

You don't need a grinning nerk in a fez and a truly special jumper to tell you that. Foreign aid matters - from governments, NGOs and individuals - because it's not about politics, it's about humanity.

Give to Send A Cow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


 So, back from Frimley Park Hospital covered in bandages. Funny how the threat of a catheter up your willy gets you discharged in double quick time and back home in the comfort of your own bed.

I'm lighter by a shaved-off bit of foot bone and a lump of Flappy Cartiliage (the name of Npalm Death's album of B-sides and out-takes, fake fact fans), and they've filled the problem area with micro-fractures in the hope that it all fixes in the right direction.

And the crutches. I didn't realise crutches would be such hard work. Just going to the loo in the middle of the night is a major logistical operation that requires major household turmoil. I'll have the upper physique of The Rock by the end of these six weeks hobbling around; and my Amazon order history now has a piss bottle, a pair of weight lifting gloves and a copy of Cards Against Humanity against my name. I'm only a side order of a Michael Bolton CD away from them tipping off the police.

Fiinal observation: The NHS is awesome. Let's keep it that way.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Smug, middle-class tweeting

So, what happens when you fill your Twitter timeline with hugely exaggerated and sometimes not-true-at-all #FirstWorldProblems and #MiddleClassProblems tweets with the sole aim of getting them picked up by lazily-compiled listicles on news websites?

Answer: They get picked up by lazily-compiled listicles on news websites.

That's The Times. The Times of London. The Thunderer. The world's newspaper of record.

The Times. Calling me a smug, middle-class tweeter.


Saturday, December 06, 2014


Give me your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle.

Move over, Schwarzenegger, that Terminator gig is mine.

Thanks to Dave Skinner for the photoshop job on an already awesome selfie.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

YouTube Comment Reconstructions are BACK BACK BACK

Warning: Contains enough sweary language to bring down modern civilisation

"I've had loads of anacondas. It's like an aircraft hangar down there"

And crapping nora! There's another one!

Monday, December 01, 2014

My first general anaesthetic

Next week, I shall take myself to Frimley Park Hospital, where I shall be rendered unconscious and a nice man will hit my foot very hard until it is broken.

Then I will wake up, and hobble around for a couple of months before - hurrah! - my gammy ankle will be fixed. Either that, or it will fail miserably and I go on the list for a foot transplant FROM A DEAD PERSON.

It is not - however - the first time I've had a general anaesthetic, for I got the benefit of being laid out sparko when I was a teenager so that surgeons could fix my hideously deformed British smile.

I can't say it was a terrific experience. In fact, my mother said it was the funniest thing she ever saw, and she had a long and fulfilling career working in hospitals and saw much strangeness involving partial and (one presumes) total nudity.

But I suppose seeing your own son, completely off his face on pre-meds, attempting to go to the toilet whilst wearing only an open-at-the-back hospital gown and bearing my arse to the entire ward, ranks right up there.

Later that same day, my face full of surgery and plastic, I got my revenge by puking stale blood all over the inside of the car on the way home, and up the stair carpet once we got there.

Not hoping to repeat the performance.