Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The stupidest YouTube video I have ever seen, and by God I've seen a few

The Huffington Post prods me towards this video, in which a self-styled Malawian 'prophet' proves he has the God-given ability to walk on air.

Let's see how well his claim stands up, shall we?


Because nobody's hiding behind the sofa, nor did anybody sneak in through the double doors which are suspiciously ajar at the end of the sequence. That's just the holy spirit hurrying off to perform his next miracle.

Of course, there's one thing these men of God need to learn: HOLD THE CAMERA IN LANDSCAPE, for the love of ...err... God.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Some pictures from a Florence + The Machine Concert

I went to a Florence + The Machine concert last week, and it was all rather enjoyable. In fact, that's such a solid quote, you can have that as a call-out quote on your next long-player, Flo.

"All rather enjoyable" --- The internet's Alistair Coleman

I took some pictures. They're on iPhone, so your mileage may vary. We start with the most important piece of kit at any concert:

The sound man has a kettle. I repeat: The sound man used a kettle to make himself a nice cup of tea.
She's in there, honest.
Fuck this person in particular
"They haven't aged a day. Einstein was right." ... "Einstein was probably one of them"
New York, London, Paris, Munich // Everybody talk about...
OK, I was miles back
Meanwhile, my daughter Hazel was at the very front and got this photo. This is what happens when you get to a gig six hours before the doors open.

Ooh, pretty
The messy aftermath. Also, I've found Wally
Pop music, eh? That was the third best gig I've ever been to. Up your game, Florence.

[Outisde, I was offered hooky merchandise, a prostitute and balloons of nitrous oxide within twenty yards of leaving the venue. London is aces. Weird and aces.]

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Perfect Lunch Box and A Mailshot to the Heart

To the Science Museum in London, where among the trains, boats, planes and spaceships comes this - the perfect lunchbox.

I think you will agree that this is SCIENCE at the cutting edge of human knowledge. Lunch comes out, poo goes in, poo gets taken home to generate electricity to cook tomorrow's lunch. Just be careful to eat out of the right side of the lunchbox, that's all.

Then home to find this hideous mailshot to my heart waiting for me on the doormat.

"Plan for your retirement NOW!" it implores me, urging me to visit their newly-built facility in Fleet town centre. I am forty-something years old, the cheeky bastard.

But - what-ho! - what is this on the front?

Aside from the silver-haired temptress on the front cover of their glossy brochure (they really do know their way to a man's groin heart) comes the promise of a £10 M&S voucher just for turning up.

Ten pounds from M&S is nothing to be sneezed at - that's nearly two pairs of socks these days, or slightly over one pair of pants. Exactly what the new boy in Fleet's finest retirement complex should be wearing while schmoozing round the day room, and I immediately resolve: "Yep, I'm having some of that".

I bet there's a catch.

"M&S voucher offer open to over-60s only."


Friday, September 18, 2015

Root Beer: A Warning From History

Just say "NO", kids
For years - and I really do mean years - my son has expressed a desire to try out root beer. I suppose it's the name - it sounds "cool" and it has the word "beer" in it and it's a part of American culture that just hasn't taken root over here, pun not intended.

He's now 19, and when I saw it on the international shelf in Tesco last week, I parted with far too much money to buy a bottle, direct from the bottom of a swamp somewhere in the continental USA.

So, on a recent dad-and-son evening, we slapped on a film [Interstellar. SPOILER: It's very very long, mainly because you're watching from outside of the black hole], and popped the cap on the bottle and tried root beer for the first time.

SPOILER: Don't bother waiting over ten years to try root beer. Buy a bottle of Listerine, put it through and sodastream, then drink. Then enjoy the rest of the day with minty-fresh breath, knowing that you've experienced the worst that it can actually get.

America, you're a disgrace. Root beer? Shit beer, more like.

Today's task: Soaking cardboard in toilet water and comparing the results in a direct taste test with Hershey Bars. We fully expect the cardboard to be the winner.

UPDATE: "I actually kind of liked it," says Adam. Gulp.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn versus the National Anthem

New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn can't get a break from the more rabid sections of the press, and this time it's because he didn't sing along to the National Anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial event.

Some say he lacks respect for the war veterans - which is fair enough but besides the point as he actually turned up to the event in the first place - but I says why should an atheist republican sing a song about an invisible sky fairy prolonging the hereditary monarchy? If he truly disrespected the monarchy, he'd be doing Nescafe Handshakes throughout.

This whole non-story would be a complete non-story if we went down the Spanish route and had a national anthem that had no words whatsoever. Then Jeremy - and the whole country - can keep their mouths shut and nobody can ever use the excuse that they don't know the words to all five verses.

But what tune to choose? Billy Connolly always thought that the theme tune to The Archers was a good idea, because it's quite jolly, epitomises middle England, and anyone who doesn't join in for the "rum-te-tum-te-tum-te-tum" bit in the middle is a traitor.

That's all well and good, but The Archers is a bit - you know - posh, and our culture has moved on since Billy came up with the idea.

So here are a few suggestions of my own:

  • The theme from Countdown - And anyone who doesn't do the duhduh-duhdudh-duddly-duh-POOO! at the end is a traitor

  • The theme from Grandstand - And anyone who doesn't do the BOOOOONG! in the middle is a traitor

  • The theme from Dr Who (classic 1970s version) - And anyone who doesn't go "Oooo-eee ooooh!" is a traitor

  • The theme from EastEnders - And anyone who doesn't do the Doof Doofs is a traitor

While these suggestions are all TV theme-heavy (a great way to connect with our television-obsessed population), they are also very useful as a means of rooting out traitors who refuse to say "BOOOOONG!" at the appropriate part.

They also help footballers, such as Wayne Rooney who appears to have problems with the current anthem, where most of the words are "God" and "Save" and "the" and "Queen".

Queen: "I'm going to shit you up, Corbyn. Shit. You. Up."
 Let's face it, the Queen and God - after 63 years - have probably got the message on the whole saving thing by now.

You'd better watch out, Corbyn. Watching you.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Crap cars: Walter White's terrible Pontiac Aztek

Several years ago, I made a list of crap cars to decide which was the worst one ever. I have no memory of what came out bottom, but I'd be very disappointed if it wasn't the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a vehicle which screams "The owner of this car is a terrible wanker!" at passers-by*. I've never seen a passenger in a PT Cruiser that is anything less than faintly embarrassed to be in a car that should only be driven by commercial radio DJs.

But that's until I started catching up with Breaking Bad recently and clapped eyes on Walter White's 2004 Pontiac Aztek. Now, there's the pinnacle of dreadful car making, from a country that really knows how to churn out dreadful cars.

The Aztek can only be the result of design by committee, the committee comprising five-year-olds tasked with drawing pictures of cars until a nice one came out. Or one that just had a wheel on each corner and looked a bit like a jelly mould.

I'm hardly one to talk, as I drive a Nissan Micra K.11, but that back end looks like they ran out of ideas on a sunny Friday afternoon, and decided to knock off early. I would too, if I'm going to be perfectly honest.

It's such a crushingly awful motor, it even turns up in American Dad.

So, beige or grey. Other colours were available, but as the old saying goes: You can't polish a turd.

I am aware that there are many other dreadful cars on our roads, but the Pontiac Aztek - which (thankfully) never made it across the Atlantic in the way the PT Cruiser did - is a clear winner.

The search for the crappest car never ends.One of my neighbours drives what seems to be a canary yellow Smart Car knock-off that looks and sounds like a sewing machine that just about manages 25mph up the very, very slight incline past our house. Once I have established what kind of new horror is roving the streets of Fleet (I doubt if it would manage to go much further), I shall report back.

*Except for people who are my friends who own one, because my rules.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015



On the day Her Majesty becomes Britain's longest reigning monarch, we take a look back at her glorious reign and present a number of facts about Queen Elizabeth II.

Did you know...?

  • Elizabeth wasn't always destined to be Queen, but in 1946, her owner gave her a sock and she was freed from being a house elf
  • The Queen employs a flunky whose only job is to insert USB sticks the right way up. A different flunky is employed to ensure that all USB drives are removed safely.
  • The Queen's favourite bit from Only Fools and Horses is the "Trigger's Broom" sequence. "He reminds one of Edward," she says.
  • Her Majesty once scored 14 points in the first round of the BBC series Mastermind, her specialist subject being "Ultravox, the John Foxx years". Unfortunately, she let herself down in the general knowledge round.
  • Elizabeth loves Windsor Castle, and likes to think of it as her family home. "But why did they build it so close to the airport?" she asks.
  • The Queen's favourite food is Chinese, but she hates kebabs.
  • As is often the case, the winner of the 1951 X Factor has slipped into obscurity. However, the runner-up has been Queen for 63 years.
All her own stunts
  • The Queen does all her own stunt work, but gave up acting after the Academy overlooked her performance in The Naked Gun.Her comeback at the 2012 London Olympics was strictly a one-off for shits and giggles.
  • The Queen has spent £3bn of her personal fortune trying to prevent her daughter Anne from turning into a horse, mostly without success.
  • Once a year, the Queen takes a driving holiday down America's Route 66, it being the only place in the world where she's not recognised and asked for autographs and selfies.
  • Those of you who think the Queen has a privileged life, remember she has to go to the Royal Variety Performance EVERY YEAR
  • As defender of the faith, the Queen once kicked Margaret Thatcher in the balls for swearing in front of the Archbishop of York
  • Her Majesty supplements her meagre income by forcing her 66-year-old son Charles out to work selling eggs and other farm produce.
  • Urban myth says the Queen thinks the world smells of fresh paint. Actually, it's fear. Fear and meat. 
There's an absolute crap-ton more HERE, some (most) of them quite funny.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Pets At Home Incident


To Pets At Home to buy a huge bag of charcoal biscuits in a desperate, yet doomed, attempt to control the gas emissions from our pair of canines.

I have chosen badly, for my visit coincides with the final week of the school holidays, and the place is rammed with small hyperactive children and their stressed-out mothers, wondering why this summer of Hell is never-ending.

I arrive at the tills to find one tiny tearaway hammering at the Perspex screen separating the rabbits from dozens of hyperactive six-year-olds, and his mother trying to drag him away while simultaneously trying to buy cat food an a fish tank.

"Stop it, Oscar," she says, in a voice that says "I'm so, so, so tired, please go back to school so I may sleep forever."

A minor miracle occurs, and Oscar stops bothering the bunnies and instead turns to me.

"I've got a rabbit, you know," he says.

Scared that any reply might render me some sort of kiddie-fiddler, I do my best to ignore him. But then Oscar lands the hammer blow.

"He's called Nipples."

"BWA HA HA HA HARRRGH!" I said, which I believe is the only acceptable response in the circumstances.

"Oscar!" Mum says, "What have I told you about strange men?"

I could not let this dreadful slur stand.

"Strange? He's the one being strange, lady."

She pays for her purchases, gathers her brood, and leaves.

"Help me. I'm so tired."

Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Cheesecake Pledge

Six out of ten for trying, but you're just stock image cheesecake
My mum died fifteen years ago, and I would give actual limbs to taste her Christmas lemon cheesecake one more time.

The picture above - stolen from the internet - doesn't do mum's lemon cheesecake any justice at all, for it was a once-a-year classic that mostly ended up inside me come the slack period between Christmas and the New Year. I would - I pledge - give actually freshly-severed limbs for just one more taste.

That may seem like a pretty extreme statement, but you may rest assured that it probably wouldn't be my own limbs I would be pledging for a tasteof that lemony chocolatey biscuity goodness, because - frankly - I'm still rather attached to them. However, good quality arms and legs are a tough commodity to come by these days and the reader should appreciate the effort I'm putting in.

If you're sitting there counting your arms and legs and worrying that I might have paid a visit in the night with my trust axe, fret no more, for this photograph of a certain notebook has fallen into my possession, thanks to the efforts of my sister.

Yes, that's the actual recipe book, with the actual lemon cheesecake recipe, and actual cooking stains from lemon cheesecake, all in my mum's actual handwriting. Observers will note that like any self-respecting 1970s recipe, it can't be done without heaps of gelatine, the cow- or horse-based product that held the very fabric of British society together back then in the time of the three-day week, the rise of Thatcher, and the Winter of Discontent.

Of course, there was little discontent in the Coleman household during those winter nights, because we had a brand new Kenwood Chef, a Renault 12 on the drive, and All The Cheesecake.

I will make this cheesecake.

I will make this cheesecake, vegetarian substitutions and 21st Century ingredients notwithstanding. Then I shall report back, complaining that I am a rubbish chef despite all the cooking skills Miss Orton tried to teach into me back at school, but still full of cheesecake and chocolate biscuits, because I bought two packets "just in case".

Or, somebody could just come round my house and make it for me. I'm not fussed, but I'll have fresh limbs for barter if you need them.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Lucy again, and some kind words toward my former wife

The former Mrs Coleman and I do not see eye-to-eye on a great many things, which is why we have now been divorced for the best part of three years. Our differences were many, and largely comprised (but are not unique to) my breaking the house rules about the slow-closing toilet seat. OK, I was guilty of some Other Really Bad Things, but it was the toilet shenanigans which drove her over the edge, I should imagine.

Be that as it may, I admit that I was welling up a bit over the dignity and care my ex-wife handled the final hours of poor, dead Lucy Minogue yesterday. OK, I welled up quite a lot.

Puppy was very ill in her last few days, and was at the point - on top of her blindness, deafness and creeping dementia - that she had lost continence of both bladder and bowel. But instead of taking Lucy on her final journey with matted and stinking fur, Vanessa bathed and groomed her and let her go to sleep neither smelling nor looking like a furry ball of turds. That's a gesture basic human kindness that is sadly missing in this world today, and I respect that.

And later, the former Mrs Coleman sends me this picture of the front of her local Weymouth butcher-stroke-publicity-hunter's shop:

"Home of the Juicy Lucy Burger", for all love
Man, that didn't take long. Lucy would be up there laughing her little face off.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Lucy (2004-2015)

Lucy 2004-2015
It's heartbreaking when a family pet dies, and today is no exception as Lucy Minogue crosses that ol' Rainbow Bridge at the age of eleven. Time's just caught up with the old lady as her eyesight, hearing (and probably the worst of all for a dog) sense of smell went, and she was left with zero quality of life.

It's always a terrible decision for any pet owner to make, but the former Mrs C has made the right one. I've only seen Lucy off-and-on over the last three years because of divorce, and it's the children Hazel and Adam I truly feel sorry for, having to experience the loss of a much-loved family member who we've known since she was a pup for the first time.

Family dog, with family
The consolation is that the house won't be empty when they get home from the inevitable, as there's another small fluffy dog on the scene by the name of Nelson. There's nothing worse than a house being empty of dog, and I can tell you that from personal experience. But it's not all about me, because today is all about remembering The Best Small Dog Ever with a huge pile of photos.

We'll all miss you, Puppy.

I mean, how could you ever resist that face?
Lucy never had puppies of her own, so here she is with one of her children
"I say, my good man, could I trouble you for a piece of cheese?"

"I suppose you think that's funny"

Dog on holiday
"I can has beefs?"
Butter wouldn't melt etc
"I'm sure there's a phone number I can ring and report you for this"

ZZZzzz... (reprise)
"Nothing much going on here - just the whole world revolving around me"
"You're an idiot. Get out"
If you've got a pet, go home and give him or her a hug. Unless it's a snake or a leopard, then don't.