Wednesday, July 27, 2016

London 2012: Four years later

Four years ago, we held the Olympic Games in London.

We welcomed to world to our country with open arms, and we genuinely feel like we were part of something huge. Something important. Something to make us proud about Britain's place in the world.

Now it's 2016, and look at the state of us. Hateful, selfish, insular, stupid, threatening to throw out the people we called our guests. I'm ashamed.

So, here are some of the photos I took at the time of the Games, the test events, the people and the Good Times.

Here's to the return of better days.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Well Fancy That! No.5

An occasional series explaining the origins of well-known words and phrases

No.5: "Master of the Rolls"

WHO is the Master of the Rolls, and what does he do?

In olden days, judges had to make their own meals, but it was found that instead of doing important judging, they would spend their mornings deciding what they were going to have for lunch.

This led to all sorts of judicial cock-ups, not least the infamous Bloody Assize, when Judge Jeffreys was so busy deciding between Starbucks or a Quarter-Pounder from Ye Golden Arches that he accidentally sent 347 men to the gallows, and they had to send out for more rope.

So what exactly, does the Master of the Rolls, Britain's top judicial post do? The answer to this question is a simple one: It is is a traditional post, handed down through the centuries to the most senior judge in the country, usually after a legal career lasting many years, without falling asleep on the job.

He has seen infamous suspects come and go, criminals, traitors, politicians and has handed down judgements in some of the most important cases in recent years, and it is now time for him to take it easy. The Master of the Rolls does one job and one job only - he is in charge of the lunch menu at the Old Bailey.

In Italian law, the equivalent post is Il Padrone di Panini; while in Germany he is Der Bratwurstmesiter. The same post in the United States Supreme Court is traditionally held by a man called Greasy Joe.

So now you know! Share this with your friends and see their jaws quite literally drop!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Well, Fancy That! No.4

An occasional series explaining the origins of well-known words and phrases.
No.4: "A stitch in time saves nine"

WHERE did the popular phrase "A stitch in time saves nine" come from, and what does it mean?

While it sounds like the kind of line that your grandmother might have used, the phrase only dates back to the mid-1980s and the rise of the television infomercial. 

"A stitch in time saves nine" was invented by an advertising agency to go with a "miracle" sewing device that can still be found at lower-quality car boot sales, and its meaning has been largely forgotten after a mysterious tax-efficient fire destroyed the factory.

Experts in the English language now agree that it's "just a load of wanky bollocks, and anybody who uses it immediately exposes themselves as being a bit UKIP".

So now you know! Impress your friends and family with this new-found knowledge!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Well, Fancy That! No.3

An occasional series looking at the origin of well-known phrases or sayings.
No.3: "U OK hun?"

WHY do people on social media use the words "U OK hun?" to denote concern?
BECAUSE a similar phrase was already in use in the olden days and has simply lain dormant in our lexicography waiting for the right time to come back into fashion.

It actually comes from the last year of the First World War, when a British soldier accidentally discharged his weapon while accepting the surrender of a German soldier and shot him in the foot.

His exclamation "I'm terribly sorry, but are you alright, you swine of a Hun?" has since been shortened for the internet age and taken up with gusto.

So now you know! Next time somebody uses "U OK hun?" on social media you can impress them by showing them this page!!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Well, Fancy That! No.2

An occasional series explaining the origins of well-known words and phrases
No.2: "Four-minute egg"

WHERE do we get the phrase "Four minute egg"?

BECAUSE in olden times it was used not as a measure of cooking a the perfect boiled egg (because the egg cup was not invented until the late 1970s), but because of a ground-breaking experiment by then-Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, Sir Isaac Newton. 

Through a series of extensive tests, Newton found that the optimum time to sit on the toilet without leaving a red seat-print on the buttocks was exactly four minutes. 

As the wearing of trousers was out of vogue at the time, this was all the more important for the gentlemen of Restoration England. 

As a result, the term "four-minute egg" to denote the "laying" of the same became fashionable.

So now you know! Share this article on Facebook to impress your friends and work colleagues!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Well, Fancy That!

The first in an occasional series explaining the origins of well-known words and phrases

No.1: Cabinet

WHY does the Prime Minister have a Cabinet?

BECAUSE in the olden days, Winston Churchill literally kept his ministers in stout wooden wardrobes to prevent them from getting damaged in the Blitz. 

He would literally hold "cabinet" meetings where everyone was wheeled in by strong porters to discuss the matters of the day, and then be wheeled back to an underground bunker when finished. 

If Mr Churchill decided that one of his "cabinet" ministers had passed their sell-by date, he would have them nailed shut and tipped into the Thames from Westminster Bridge.

So now you know! Share this post and impress your friends!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Save our Stars: Join the global fightback against Death's icy claw

Winton: Cannot be allowed to cark it
Let's not beat about the bush - 2016 is killing off our icons like nobody's business. Bowie. Prince. Corbett.Victoria Wood. Sir George Martin. Alan Rickman. Every other day seems to bring with it the news of the death of a much-loved celebrity.

And this will not do.

So, what can we do to stop Death's icy claw taking away our heroes?

Join us - dear reader - in the Global Save Our Stars Scheme.

Bloody hell, who let Attenborough near this dangerous, flesh-eating creature?
This is what I propose: We all adopt a celebrity and make a daily check on them and remind them to keep breathing. Barring restraining orders and court injunctions, you should keep this up for as long as possible, and save us from having to mourn the passing of another great.

Your contribution to the SAVE OUR STARS programme needn't be a national treasure - for every David Attenborough there's a Dean Gaffney, so pick your celebrity and keep them alive until at least 2017 comes round.

I've already popped in on Dale Winton to make sure he's been properly sanded and varnished to the correct shade of orange, so he's all sorted. 

And it shouldn't just be heroes. We don't wish death on anybody, so we're all going to have to look after a pantomime villain as well. For every Dalai Lama there's a Vladimir Putin, and we're all in this together.

Trump: Has a note from his doctor, but can you seriously trust so-called science?
I've already popped in on Donald Trump to make sure he's been properly sanded and varnished to the correct shade of orange, so he's all sorted. 

Who are you going to adopt, citizen?

This is going to take a lot of effort, so please select your celeb and share these instructions. This year has hurt us enough already. Let's do this thing.

We were too late for Wellard, but Gaffney needs to be reminded to breathe

Friday, April 15, 2016

Sue me, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sue me

I took this picture. Me. With my pooey trigger finger.
So it appears that the world's most thin-skinned leader - Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan - fresh from persecuting anybody in his own country who might have a bad word to say about him, is now being allowed to prosecute a German comedian because of a bit of on-air mockery to which he took exception.

What a world we live in when politicians and leaders can't take a bit of a ribbing from satirists. Satire is a good thing. It holds the powerful to account in a way that the general public can understand and enjoy, and it deflates huge egos.

And I remember a time when Mr Erdogan wasn't like this. In fact, I met him at a conference in Istanbul where he seemed quite pleasant and almost tolerant of people asking him about the Armenian Genocide. There was only a minor riot. One could even go as far as calling it a bit of a barney.

And I've told this story before, but it's worth repeating in the current circumstances.

You see, I was running late to my conference meet-up with the (then) Prime Minister of Turkey. The reason: A surfeit of kebabs the night before in an epic feast up by the Blue Mosque, and it was - in the words of the Viz Profanisaurus - touching cloth.

Reader, I did what was - and remains to this day - the biggest poo in my life in that toilet on the top floor of the Hotel du Posh by the Bosphorus, and what made it worse was that it was a three-flusher that I had to beat to death with the toilet brush. And still it sat there for the maid to find (And she did. And she was disgusted).

With time against me, I fled from the room without washing my hands, into the express lift and down to the conference room, where the Prime Minister of Turkey awaited.

At some stage in proceedings I believe I shook his hand. Things were a bit of a blur, you understand. I might also have said something nice to Vladimir Putin's pal who runs Russia Today. It was a different world back then and everybody was friends.

But it still stands. My hand-shaking hand was the one that had the lurgi from The World's Biggest Poo. And it touched the Prime Minister of Turkey and the germs sent him down the road to where we are today.

Like a butterfly flapping its wing in China, these things spiral out of control.

And ten years on, I'm not even sorry. You hear that? I'm not even sorry.

So sue me, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Sue me.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The return of the revenge of #FacebookNews they announced it today on the radio

People keep sending me tat they find on Facebook.

It is my mission, then, to spread it as far and wide as possible.

No.1 "Seems legit"

Beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on the radio.

No.2 "Also seems legit"

It's amazing what you can do with a green filter on photoshop, a bit of imagination, and an endless supply of gullible aunts on Facebook.

What this picture doesn't say is beware it is very dangerous. They announced it today on the radio.

No.3 "Doesn't seem legit at all"

Why would you wrap your teeth in tinfoil on the say-so of some spammy nobber on Facebook? Is it because you are a nobber as well? Yes. Yes it is.

The only thing that's going to happen is that you will pick up the radio on your teeth, and it will tell you that you are a nobber. They announced it today on the radio.

No.4 "You're just taking the piss now"

Answer: You will look like a nobber, and complete strangers will come up to you and say: "Hey, nobber! Why have you got a piece of onion in your ear?" and you will have to eventually concede that it is because you are a nobber.

And you are a nobber. They announced it today on the radio.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Newsreaders with Extraordinary Hair - Another in an occasional series

No.3 Qatar

A young Simon Amstell reads the news on Al Jazeera International. Get your hair cut, and try to get your next suit at somewhere that isn't Top Man, you nerk.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pub Dog

Wilson. Canine photobomber of note, and now escape artist.

We know that he likes pubs, and you have to literally drag him out of one if he gets through the doors. So, let Jane describe what happened yesterday while on a walk through the Bummy Woods, where The Foresters lurks on the other side:

The little sod.

Closely followed by:

Wilson, you're an idiot. A sweet, adorable idiot with a face like a badger. And next time, we're going to write a drinks order on a luggage tag and tie it to his collar.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Big Time

This is the big one. I've finally made it into Urban Dictionary:

Click to embiggen

To repeat somebody else's joke (usually on social media) in the hope of claiming the credit for yourself. Named after Keith "Cheggers" Chegwin, whose Twitter output has a high proportion of cheggered jokes.
"That joke you told - you cheggered it straight off Ricky Gervais" 
If that doesn't get me #BlockedByChegwin on the Twitter, nothing will.

Next stop - the Oxford English Dictionary.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Newsreaders with Extraordinary Hair - An occasional series

No.1: Lebanon

All the hair. There are several people at this station who are completely bald balance the hair quota.
No.2: China

Like a 1950s version of what newsreaders in the future might look like. And they were right.The QR code leads you to the booking page of a really awful hairdresser.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Ed Stewart - Out of the Stewpot: My Autobiography

Long-time readers will know that I am a sucker for terrible celebrity autobiographies, and I have finally caught up with the work recently deceased Radio 1 DJ Ed Stewart. And after a few weeks to digest this book slowly, I'd say this runs Don Estelle close for the title of greatest.

So, here's what you get for 50p these days.

Ed Stewart - Out of the Stewpot: My Autobiography

Obviously, if you're writing an autobiography, you're going to need an opening line that catches the reader's attention. And how.

Nazis! And who's going to fight the Nazis? Why, it's WWII fighter ace Sir Douglas Bader! Ed and Douglas didn't get on.

So, his first "Needless to say, I had the last laugh" celebrity anecdote is how he insulted one of our greatest war heroes for having no legs. Classy.

Ed on his school days
He saw boys' willies. And I have no idea about "Ten seconds of purgatory", but it clearly left its mark.

Ed goes to Hong Kong

How did you get there, Ed? 

Say again?
Sorry, you're not making yourself clear.
Totally addicted to bass, and I'd see a doctor about that if I were you.

Ed on Rolf Harris

And what did you think of him?
Speaking of institutions, he's in one now.

Ed gets sucked off by an elderly Hong Kong prostitute

Going to prove that there is such a thing as too much information.

Ed passes through Germany

 The sole reason for his trip appears to be so he could drop this gag.

Ed's pirate radio days

And there's always a bit of time for some casual homophobia

"Tony" here is Tony Blackburn.Oh, how we laughed. But it's not just homophobia. There's sexism, too.

 Ed joins the BBC

Yeah, there's probably a reason J***y S*v*l* didn't do his picking-up girls in public, now you come to mention it.

Ed gets a) lots of TV work and b) lots and lots of sex

Charmingly, he calls it "squiring" the girls.

Ed meets his future wife

In 1970, Ed Stewart was 29. Still, there's nothing creepy about an age gap if you're sensitive about it, is there?


Ed manages a whole two pages about Crackerjack and is bitter at getting the sack

Ouch. That's gotta hurt.

The work dries up for Ed, so he swallows his pride

The most popular karaoke bar in the Cobham area of Surrey. Quite a boast.

Back in favour, Ed gets a foreign jolly in Norway, but he can't help being a dick

Well played, Ed. Well played.

Ed goes full Alan Partridge

You never go full Alan Partridge

Ed follows in some illustrious footsteps

Whoops. But to be fair, Ed did his fair crack for charity, and absolutely didn't like to talk about it.

Oh, who am I kidding? There's 35 pages of name-dropping on all sorts of charity football, cricket and golf events. And it's not like mild-mannered Ed Stewart to be a sexist rotter about the noble game of golf.

This is as funny as the book gets.

Ed manages to flip from his brother's untimely death to doing panto in Weymouth to appearing on the Weakest Link all in one paragraph

Writing skills that the likes of Shakespeare, Rowling and the great Jeffrey Archer himself would have killed for.

And amid the ten pages he devotes to the Weakest Link (as opposed to a whole two pages on his Crackerjack career), he manages to go full Partridge again.

You never go full Partridge.

And suddenly, Ed discovers that golf can be a cruel, cruel mistress

Bizarrely, Ed continues to live under the same roof as the lovers as the cuckolded ex-husband. After all, it would be madness to sack your golf teacher just because he's been banging your wife. But is he happy?

Rebound granny sex. He's happy.

And that's your lot. In the words of Ronnie Barker in the final scenes of the Porridge movie: "Our ordeal is over". While his days in Hong Kong and on the pirate radio ships was somewhat interesting, the rest is self-indulgent tat with no filter. Just like me, then.

If you're still interested, you may buy this work in good bookshops. And quite a lot of shit ones, too.