Friday, December 31, 2004

Diet Club

Diet Club

The first rule of diet club. You do not eat all the pies. The second rule of diet club. You DO NOT eat all the pies.

There was no denying it, Penny was a big woman, and a career sitting in a civil service office wasn't exactly helping her lose the pounds, particularly as our office was directly over a Tesco supermarket and the lure of the the daily cream cake run. To be honest, it was doing none of us much good, and the girl with the sandwich trolley was often lucky to escape with her life.

So, it was hardly surprising that Penny should come in one morning with the news that her doctor had ordered her to lose weight. About three stone. And rather than having a spare limb lopped off, she was going to do it the hard way - by not eating and taking exercise. Being civil servants with nothing to do except count the cars in the Tesco car park and work out the day's most popular colour, we jumped on this chance to do something - anything - like tramps at an all-you-can-eat dustbin.

We all set ourselves target weights, drew up a hugely complicated graph, and set out the rules of Diet Club in the best Civil-Servantese. I had a stone to lose, Mark two, and Jeff, the skinny streak of piss, actually had to put on weight. Andy, because of his dicky heart was excused, and was put in charge of liberating different coloured pens from the heavily guarded stock cupboard to make the graph more interesting. Andy was a militant vegan, recently made reduntant from a health food shop. When he told the Job Centre this fact, they immediately found him employment at an abattoir, cutting up freshly slaughtered cows. The civil service was his second choice.

Monday was weigh-in day. You had to go down to Boots the Chemist, put your twenty pence in the electronic scales, and by the miracles of the microchip age, you were to bring the read-out back to Andy for verification and proper recording on the graph, which was prominently displayed on the wall, just under my Joy Division poster.

Jeff: "Who's this Joy Davison bird, then?"

In effect there was only one rule to Diet Club: don't cheat. Monday mornings were spent swearing off the cake and squeezing the biggest log possible out on the toilet before lunch. You'd wear your lightest clothes, even on the coldest, wettest of winter days, and we would all sit there, starving, waiting for lunch time and the dash down to Boots for the computer slip of doom. All except Jeff, who would stuff his face stupid in front of us, and Andy stunk the place out which his herbal tea.

The desperation on a Monday was palpable. Penny steadily lost wieght, while Mark's steadily headed up the graph and mine see-sawed up and down like a see-sawy up and down thing. The forfeits were enough to encourage steady weight loss - essentially being everybody's tea-making and paper-filing bitch for the whole week, physically restrained from spending money on the sandwich trolley.

Reports soon reached us that Mark was offering money to colleagues to act as ringers at his weigh-in, and come back with a slip showing a stunnig weight loss. This, naturally, could not be tolerated, resulting in the severe punishment of hiding his cigarettes and getting the switchboard to bar phone access to his mate's betting shop. Mark was a desperate man, and desperation makes us take desperate measures.

It was three o'clock on Monday afternoon. We had all reported back from our lunch-time weigh-ins with a series of respectable results. Penny was particularly pleased as the weight was simply melting off her, straight onto poor old Mark. Just a shame he seemed to have left the office at one and rather neglected to return. Had he done a runner?

Security, ten floors below us, rang our extension. Could somebody come down and vouch for a staff member who has mislaid his pass? Of course we could. I went. Anything to get out of real life actual work. And God, was it worth it.

There in the reception area was the security guard, a burly police officer and Mark, wearing nothing but his crusty y-fronts and a blanket.

"Yeah, he works here," I said trying not to laugh, "but usually he's got clothes on."

Poor, poor Mark. He'd got to Boots the Chemist, and desperation took hold of him. Spurred on by that TV advert of that fella taking his clothes off in the launderette, he put his money into the weighing machine, stripped down to his pants, and as the world stared, he jumped onto the scales for his best weigh-in for weeks. When he stepped down from the scales to get dressed, he found that some joker had done a runner with all his clothes. It was only a matter of time before there was this blue flashing light and an invitation to spend the afternoon in a bang-you-in-the-ass police cell, which he politely refused.

I let him have his clothes back. Eventually.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Possible gay interest?

Possible gay interest?

A letter in South West Trains on-board magazine suggests a poster campaign urging passengers to use the racks provided instead of hogging extra seats for their luggage and coats.

"Seats are for bottoms, not tops and bags"

I find this incredibly funny, but I have also been accused of knowing far too much about the ways of the gayness, "and besides, we're full and we don't have any vacancies".

Not even for "Bi now, gay later?"

I have uncovered, much to my horror, a sordid world of gayness on ebay, enough to make the pages of the Daily Mail spontaneously combust. Search for "gay interest" and it's all very interesting. If you're gay*.

There is very, very little on e-bay for "possible straight interest". I blame Little Britain.

Get-out clause: mumblememumblemumble...some of me best friends, etc...

* According to ebay, gay people only wear very, very, very, very small underwear. *checks boxers*

Wednesday, December 29, 2004



"Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

To the theatre to witness a searing indictment of power politics in Blair's corporate Britain from an anarcho-Marxist* perspective in the Weymouth production of "Dick Whittington".

Dark themes of the abuse of power, the rape of Fallujah and the rise of the religious right in America are all exposed by a committed company of TV b-listers, with more than a passing nod to such giants of the dramatic arts as The Bard Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and the Chuckle Brothers.

The Dame's constant costume changes are redolant of Britain's transformation into a multi-cultural, gender-andogynous society; while the fool that was Idle Jack - a barbed critique of the so-called Chav Culture - appealed to the basest instincts of the lumpenproletariat.

While the evil King Rat - clearly a Blair/Bush amalgam that was quite properly booed from the stalls - battled with the good fairy - a metaphor for the gay rights battle in the face of the New Fundamentalism - it is clearly the central roles of Dick and his cat that steal the show.

Much like the one, true hope that this country possesses - a man wronged who will turn again and lead Britain to a brave, new world in the blurring of party political distinctions, this is a clarion call for the genius that is Boris Johnson to turn again - in a way that the hoplessly flawed Baroness Thatcher and her puppet Blair refused - and return in glory.

The fact that this production - a call for Tory unity in the face of "New" Labour's catastrophic abandonment of its socialist principals, forging a new covenant with the people of this Isle with Johnson at the helm - was staged in Labour's most marginal constituency is not lost on this critic. A triumph.

On the other hand, it was a most excellent night of arse gags, a bloke in a dress ("Eeh! I've pissed meself!" was clearly not in the script) and some of the finest corpsing ever witnessed on the stage of the Weymouth Pavilion. And I got to meet the Mayor, who was taking notes.

* Groucho would have been turning in his grave

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Going Postal

Going Postal

Things that convince you that the dice really are loaded:

1. Despite careful folding and the utmost sphincter control, your fingers always go through the paper on the first wipe.

2. Planting yourself on the toilet at the point-of-no-return to find that there is no paper at all. Worse still, finding only one sheet of paper, and your bottom resembles a Venezuelan mudslide.

3. Invisible dog poo which attaches itself to the underside of your carpet slippers when you have merely stepped outside for five seconds to put the bin out. You only realise your misfortune after you have walked it all over the hall, kitchen and living room.

4. The words "Can I have a word, Mr Duck?" when you go to pick the kids up from school.

5. The phrase "These funds will take six days to clear" when you transfer a balance in your online bank account. Six days? How do they send it? Carrier pigeon?

People I really, really want to kill:

1. Decaffeinated coffee? Why? In the name of shuddering fuck, why? I can produce witnesses who have seen somebody ordering a "de-caf double espresso" in a coffee shop. This person deserves to drown in a vat of freshly refined caffeine

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Boxing Day

Boxing Day

So, I ended up at work today. And my motivation, apart from the desire to bring red-hot, high-quality news at it happens to the screens of a baying public? Ah yes, I remember - 100 quid.

So thank you, dear Santa, for industrial-sized vat of jelly babies. And the socks. And the pyjamas. And the carpet slippers. And, of course, the Y-fronts. I haven't worn Y-fronts since I was a New Romantic, twenty-something years ago. It'll be like a trip down Memory Lane. But without the eye-liner, obviously.

Oh, and the cuddly duck was ...umm... most unexpected. I shall call him Wello.

Confess-me-do. What did you get? More to the point, what the hell are you doing here today?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Ski Jump: White Christmas Woe

Ski Jump: White Christmas Woe

And so, the Christmas Scary Story. You asked for festive chaos, and by golly, that's what you're going to get.

White Christmases have always been a bit of a rarity in my lifetime. Apart from the short period when I lived at the foot of the Rockies in Canada, they have been, sad to say, few and far between.

The only one I can remember in the UK was 1976, a cold, snowy winter that followed a summer of endless sunshine. For a ten-year-old kid, that's exactly the perfect kind of weather we should always be getting. Cooked to a cinder one day, up to your eyeballs in the white stuff the next.

So, Christmas Day 1976, where the snow lay, if not particularly deep, certainly crisp and even. After the present-opening ritual, we ran out into the street to discuss the day's swag with friends, and to get down with the serious business of our favourite hobby: chaos.

I've mentioned in other stories that our road in Twyford was on the side of a hill, and certain houses had driveways which resembled the north face of the Eiger. One of these houses remained empty for years (the speculation was that it was haunted following the mysterious death of the owner), and had the perfect drive for racing go-karts, bikes and skateboards. And with several inches of untouched snow, it was now the perfect ski slope.

Except there were just a few minor problems with the concept:
1. Nobody had any skis.
2. Nobody knew how to ski.
3. There was the small matter of Matty's house and several cars parked in the road opposite.

As if that was going to put any of us off. Rummaging around in freezing cold sheds and garages provided us merry few with planks of wood and endless supplies of gaffer tape, which would serve as bindings for our makeshift skis. They were, I am afraid to say, and utter disaster. You couldn't walk in them, you couldn't even stand up straight in them, and worst of all, their usefulness as ski-ing implements was zero.

Using a couple of bean poles as sticks, you'd push yourself off at the top of the hill, slide about two feet before the tips snagged on something, and you'd be left face down in the white stuff. Complete waste of time, and as we were called inside one-by-one for our Christmas dinners, it was agreed that we should try another tack later on if any fun was to be had out of the day.

A couple of hours later, we emerged into the dusk, fuller, wobbling slightly from too much turkey and the misguided parental application of "Oh let him have a glass of wine, it's Christmas after all".

John was carrying a large tea tray "A souvenir from Brighton" which he had swiped from under his mum's nose. Tea trays, as we all know are ten times better than any sledge or toboggan you can buy in the shops, and have the added advantage of being useful as giant frisbees when the snow melts.

To the top of the drive we struggled, and with the shove to end all shoves, John careered down the slope at speed, between two parked cars and clattered into Matty's front step opposite. Magic, so we all had a go. In fact, we all had several goes, and the ski run got fast and faster as the compacted snow turned to ice.

But there was something missing.

"What we need," I mused, having seen the world's greatest athletes on Ski Sunday, "is a ski jump."

Yes. We needed a ski jump. So we built one, right there on the pavement at the bottom of number 32's drive.

It was a monster, carefully crafted with every piece of snow from miles around, curving upwards from a gentle slope to a frightening forty-five degree angle, four feet off the ground. Evel Knievel would have had second thoughts about taking it on. And like Evel Knievel, we thought "Danger? What's a few broken bones amongst friends?" and got on with it.

Becuase of the dangers involved, we thought it best to ask for volunteers to try out the great ski jump. There were none, so we hit Squaggie until he gingerly sat on the tray and cast off.

Down and down he went, picking up speed, before he hit the ramp with a blood-curdling scream, rose gracefully into the air and executed a perfect landing on Matty's lawn.

What a disappointment.

"That hurt my arse," he said, so an old cushion was rescued from our garage and put to good use.

All of a sudden there was a clammering to have a go on the Great Ramp before grown-ups rumbled what we were up to and put and end to our fun. Just as long as they were glued to the Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special, we were fine.

John next, and defying the law of averages, he too executed a fine jump-and-landing that would probably have won a medal in the Winter Olympics. Matty, however, his "wee glass of wine" and grandmother-administered sherry getting the better of him, decided he just HAD to be different.

"I'm going down standing up," he declared.

"That's crazy talk!"

"You're mad!"

"You're gonna die! Can I have your presents?"

There was no talking him out of it. He stood on the tray, and gingerly pushed himself down the slope. As a fresh flurry of snow fell, the world fell silent in dread expectation.

Ffffffffffffffffffffsssssssssssssssshit! went the tray.

Flapflapflapflap went Matty's flares.

"Meeeeeeeeeee-aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!" went Matty.

It was close, so very, very close. The tray struck the ramp at a slight angle, and instead of hitting the gap between the two parked cars, Matty executed a perfect back somersault before spread-eagling himself across the bonnet of his grandad's pride and joy - his immaculate Mark I Ford Cortina.

We slipped and slid down the driveway to rescue our fallen comrade. He had landed straddling the front wing mirror, missing his meat and two veg by mere inches. He lay groaning in what could only be described as a boy-shaped depression on the bonnet.

"I don't feel too good."

He was right, too.


Rich, brown, steaming vomit filled with turkey, roast potatoes and all the trimmings, sweets, fizzy pop and some foul substance that we later realised was marshmallow. All over the front of the car, running down into a little brown pool round his stomach. It would take them forever and a day to get the last of it out of the windscreen jets.

"Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarch!" he said again.

There was only one thing to do under these circumstances of extreme vehicular and vomit woe: flee for our lives and let Matty take the rap. It was only fair, and after all, his sacrifice would be appreciated for many Christmases to come. It turned out, however, that he too had fled the scene of the crime, limping back to his house, with his family none the wiser.

During the night, the vomit froze. And the following morning Matty's grandad left the house for the long, slow drive back to Southsea.

"What's that on my car?" he asked.

John's tea tray was never seen again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Scaryduck Christmas Message

The Scaryduck Christmas Message

Because of this, I wrote this - a Christmas Tale in 100 words - rather making a mockery of Monday's post. See? I can do serious.

A child is born

Displaced persons.

Foreign armies.

No room at the inn, she heavy with child, he with nothing but dignity.

Amongst the animals, in Bethlehem's town, a child is born to the humblest of parents.

No angels to praise, no shepherds offering worship.

Kings and wise men remain far away in their towers, for theirs is the war we wage.

David's star flies overhead, rockets firing death at those below. Insurgency, suicide bombers, refugee camps, bulldozed homes, despair, anger, death is the only release.

Where is the love in the Holy Land?

Where is Christ in Beit Lachem?

And while we're talking war, Riverbend in Baghdad hopes Santa's got an armoured sleigh when he comes to visit this year...

Thursday sees a return to normal abnormal service with the publication of an all-new vomit-flavoured Christmas tale of woe, featuring pain, vomit and a Mark I Ford Cortina.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

James Herbert: A tribute

James Herbert: A tribute to the third greatest author of all time

When you're a teenager and coming to terms with the fact that books are, in fact, rather interesting, you need to find an author that appeals to a lad of your age. You've graduated from Famous Five and Roald Dahl, and you are thrashing around for something that reflects your interests. Those being, of course, extremely painful death and shit hot pornography.

Now, you could just clear the local library of every Sven Hassel book they've got and start a collection of works by the world-famous-in-motorway-service-station-shops "Anonymous", but why bother when there's a writer out there combing the two genres in a dream combination?

And along came James Herbert. It's as if he knew what we wanted. And thanks to parents who left copies of his works lying around, there seemed to be an endless supply of extremely painful death and shit hot pornography to feed our impressionable young minds.

The Rats. Giant man-eating rats invade London.

The Fog. Mind-bending hallucinogenic fog invades London, turning people into raving sex-crazed, axe-wielding homocidal lunatics.

The Dark. A bit like The Fog, only darker.

Lair. Giant man-eating rats invade London. Again.

Fluke: Man reincarnated as dog. No sex. No violence. Written solely to stop Mrs Herbert's nagging.

You can see a recurring theme here. Madness or blood curdling threat, with one man giving his all to save the day. But that is not why we read Mr Herbert's works. James Herbert wrote the filthiest porn imaginable, only trumped in recent years by Brett Easton Ellis, who is clearly influenced by the master of the genre*. Singlehandedly, Herbert spawned a generation of extremely twisted teenagers.

Just pick up any James Herbert novel, and let it fall open at random. Chances are, it'll flop open at the start of several pages of crazed sexual action, which often had an explose effect on teenage minds. Not to mention the groinal areas.

Unfortunately, these scenes often climaxed with the protagonists dying in the most foul manner imaginable, eaten by rats, or in one case, having a loaded shotgun shoved up their chuff. Grown men, to this day, still wince at the teenage memory of a rather stirring sex orgy in The Fog culminating in a gentleman losing his genitals to a pair of rusty garden shears. In fact, I think I'll go for a bit of a lie down right now.

James Herbert has sold over 40,000,000 books in his time. That's an awful lot of messed-up teenagers. What a man.

* If you don't believe me, read Glamorama with a) the mankiest sex scene ever and b) some of the most disturbing acts of violence ever committed to paper. I gave my copy to the Help the Aged shop.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 8

After years of speculation, the Turin Shroud - long held to be the image of Jesus after His crucifixion - has finally been proved to be a fake and the result of a crude practical joke.

Scientists, using the latest "Tesco Value range" technology have demonstrated that the shroud - venerated by millions of faithful as a holy relic - is, in fact, the result of our Lord and Saviour messing about with the office photocopier during the Joe Nazareth and Sons (Carpenters) Ltd [Motto: "Miracles in Wood"] Christmas party. Closer inspection shows that He is wearing the 17AD Manchester United replica kit, a birthday present from His mum, back-printed with the name "16 Keane" in tribute to his favourite player.

Further proof of this dramatic finding comes in the shape of papers suppressed for centuries by the Vatican, recently made public in a complex court case designed to keep Mother Theresa of Calcutta's boudoir pictures out of the public eye. These documents reveal a crude Xerox of the Messiah's arse marked "Important fax message for all departments", where the name tag on His boxer shorts is clearly visible.

Senior Catholic Church officials were today unavailable for comment pending preparations for this year's Vatican Grand Prix.

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Duke of Kent Story

Suggest. Oh.

Blimes. You are an imaginative lot, aren't you?

Tell you what, there's an awful lot of suggestions to get through, so I'll spend the week working out a) a story and b) how to ping Charles Clarke's enormous jug-ears until he passes a law on ear-pinging. Next Thursday (a day early for staying-at-the-parents-in-law-woe reasons) will be a Christmas Spectacular Tale of Mirth, Woe and a small boy with a limp saying "God Bless us, every one!"

Naturally, the whole exercise was just an excuse to foist the Duke of Kent story on you. So...

The Duke of Kent Story

I once met the Duke of Kent. Lovely chap, even if he represents an outmoded hierarchical system of feudal power, and probably eats live mice in his spare time.

I managed not to offend him too much either. Okay, only a little bit.

"Born in 1935, HRH The Duke of Kent is the son of the late Prince George, fourth son of King George V, and the late Princess Marina, daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece", says the Royal Family website adding, making the lot of them sound like a bunch of interbreeding country bumpkins, "He is cousin to both The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh." The website fails to mention where he gets his annual freebie to the Cup Final from, but by the sounds of things, it's to keep him quiet about that nasty business about Princess Anne marrying a horse by mistake.

Any road up, they spent millions of taxpayer's money building a whole new wing on our building, with a lovely shiny computer room, and a lovely shiny mainframe computer which they only got working properly a week before it was replaced. With all this cold, hard cash *cough* invested in new technology and stuff, it was only right to ask a big name to come and open the place for business. We couldn't get The Krankies or Jasper Carrott, so they sent the Duke of Kent instead. Which would have been nice, but they made us take all our camp beds and nudie calendars home.

Come the big day, the place is crawling with security, though it has to be said, rather less than when Ian Paisley came to the offices of my previous job in his capacity as loud shouty person to scare the shit out of our slimy boss. Totally non-plussed, I thought I could spend the day ignoring the whole event, feet up on the computer console, reading Viz. And that's exactly what I did, with some quality scratching of the bollocks added for effect. After all, the Royal Party was coming nowhere near where I was shacked up - just a quick peek at the mainframe at the other end of the corridor and away to far more exciting things, such as the free buffet.

Slight diversion:

One of my female colleagues is on a nightshift. With very little doing on a barely functioning system, she is doing what every other bugger does on nights - getting a good ten hours' kip on a camp bed. Much to her surprise, the phone rings. Our one and only user is on the other end, and his VDU screen has gone, to use the technical term, "tits".

"I'll see what I can do," she says, leaping from her pit and running into the computer room. A couple of taps on the console keyboard, and she darts back into the office to see if the user is happy. No he isn't. Back into the mainframe room she goes, reboots the chap's computer, and at last he can get on with his life.

It was at that point that my esteemed colleague realised that she was totally naked.

You don't get that on the twilight shift at B&Q.

Back on topic...

But no, HRH turns out to be a hardcore computer nerd, and a mere glimpse of the throbbing majesty of two Honeywell DPS8000 mainframes and a dozen DPS6 support processors (only one of two systems like this in the world, fact fans!), the cutting edge of late 1980s computing technology, was not enough for him. He wanted it all.

Before I knew what was happening, my quiet corner was filled with stern-looking men in suits, some of whom I knew as senior management, torn from their natural office environment and into alien space where people actually worked. The other chap I instantly recognised as the chap from the Cup Final. And they wouldn't even let me finish "Buster Gonad" either, the bastards.

"Ah," said the General Manager, realising he had no idea who, or what, I was, "Ah. Could you should the Duke our computer system?"


I could, but I wasn't actually logged in to show him anything, and there lay the nub. There were difficulties, you see. I tried to lecture him on the advantages of a mainframe text-based system over a linked computer network, which all experts agreed would never catch on. But no, he wanted red-hot computer action. I would have to log in. There was no escaping it - I would have to brazen it out.

You see, these were the days before your password came up as ****** when you typed it in. It didn't matter as most people didn't bother changing their own from the day the behemoth had been switched on, and "1" was good enough for them. Not me. Oh no! I had to be different. I had to be clever. And now the Duke of Kent was over my shoulder, and he and the Head of the BBC World Service were going to kill me. I typed:


No going back. Just do it, and collect your cards in the morning. I typed the second letter of the alphabet. Then the fifteenth. Twelfth. Twelfth. Fifteenth. Third. Eleventh. Nineteeth. Enter key. It was done. The screen cleared itself and presented the user menu. Not a word was spoken, except my nervous tones as I explained Europe's largest text-management system to the Queen's cousin and Cup Final gatecrasher. Then, at last, they left to unveil a small plaque in the Atrium. And breathe out....

Nothing happened the next day, or the day after that. It was only the following Monday that my manager put his head round the door, and in his broad Dublin accent said just one sentence to me:

"Scary, there's a chap - change your password."


Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Thursday Suggest-me-up

The Thursday Suggest-me-up

Thrashing around in the dark like a former Home Secretary forced to return his ministerial guide dog, I've gone and left my file of Scary Stories at work, and have no idea which ones to stick in this week's vote-o.

So... suggest a story idea for this week, and the best idea gets written up. Then I'll go out and make damn sure that it happens to me to ensure that my Scary Stories remain 100 per cent true. I may even end up with some sort of bastardised hybrid of all your ideas. Now that would be woe.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Concert woe

Concert woe

Scandal, woe and calumny struck the otherwise genteel junior school carol concert last night.

The recital of a poem entitled "The Barn" - recounting the story of the animals in the stable where Baby Jesus was born - resulted in a near riot, cries of "Well, I never!" and hoots of laughter in the pews of All Saints Church when one line just sort of came out wrong.

The line in question being: "I'm sick of those clucking hens."

Kids, eh?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Phone woe

Phone woe

The wife rang my office number in something of a frenzy.

"Why didn't you call me back?" she demanded, "I left an urgent message half an hour ago."

"I didn't get no steenkin' message," I protested, raising further ire from my beloved.

"I left it with Kevin."

Ah. Kevin.

I had deleted a cryptically blank e-mail with (and I quote) "ere u O ur missus" in the subject line not ten minutes previously.

I had assumed, and not without reason, that he was doing a rather poor text-based impression of Frankie Howard, and deleted it.

"It's the 'O'," said Kevin, "It means 'ring'."

"I beg to differ, it means you're a nob."

Emergency over.

Monday, December 13, 2004

On the Level

On the Level

To the Freemason's Hall on Friday night to celebrate a friend's birthday.

Plied with alcohol, we were "entertained" by a man with an accordian playing the hits of The Wurzels and other crimes against the musician's art.

At the given signal, drunken harlots, none of whom were my wife, nor a day under fifty, flashing cavernous cleavages and rotating flunges dragged the male guests to the dance floor. Accompanied by a never-ending medley of country and western hits, they spun and gyrated in front of us in the most wanton fashion imaginable. There was a buffet, too.

I'm not 100 per cent certain, but I think this means that I'm now in the masons, and it's all been a terrible, terrible mistake.

Luckily, I've got my own apron - I gather that the type with comedy breasts goes down a storm with the brethren down the lodge.

Anyone need a brickie?

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Elton John Story

The Elton John Story

Confession: I was once paid twenty quid to be in an Elton John video.

Twenty of your English pounds for a day which left me with mental scars of rejection and sexual deviancy that I fear will never heal. Damn you wiggy!

I was fourteen and in the scouts, camping out in a wood just outside Oxford with dozens of other scout troops from all over the country. It was one of those dodgy scout camps where the swimming pool was green, the climbing wall hadn't killed anyone for at least three weeks, and the camp fire talk was on the quality of the weed rather than ging-gang-goolies.

While our glorious leader played with his girlfriend's tits in a securely fastened bell-tent, we spent our time setting fire to things and trying to appear attractive to the neighbouring Girl Guide troop. In particular, there was a rather comely young thing called Sharon, who would meet your humble narrator in a quiet hollow for intense discussions on the state of the nation and the need for an increased morality in the nation's youth. And, following Skip's example, try to play with her tits. Baden-Powell would have had kittens.

And I might have gotten away with it too, if it were not for Elton Hercules John and his meddling ways! The Rocket Man had a single coming out, and in this MTV age, he needed a video to promote it. And, somewhere along the line, he decided that it would have teenage boys in it. Teenage boys in uniform, of which Boars Hill Scout Camp just outside Oxford had a plentiful supply running around trying to get off with Girl Guides.

A flunky turned up with a fleet of coaches at some ungodly hour of the morning, and after an endless drive into the countryside, we were herded into an aircraft hangar in the middle of nowhere. Once there, we were forced to run about in ancient scout uniforms - baggy shorts and wide-brimmed hats that smelled like they'd been rescued from the bottom of a swamp - for the cameras for about six hours by a bunch of luvvies wielding their best grooming poles.

To be frank, I wasn't entirely sure if there really WAS a pop video, but a grown man had thrust a newly-printed twenty pound note into my hand and that would go a long way toward impressing Sharon from Luton. And Elton, being virtually royalty, can be forgiven almost anything. The old queen.

It was all to no avail. The great man threw a hissy fit and didn't make an appearance - he famously loathes video shoots - and apparantly changed his mind about the whole thing soon after. I think he expected more nudity, dyb-dyb-dobbing and woggles, and the entire day's footage went unused. Unless you count its recent re-appearance on websites of a specialist nature.

My bid for stardom was thwarted, as were my chances with the lovely Sharon from 2nd Luton Guides, who had neglected to tell me that her troop had signed an exclusive deal with Whitney Houston, and would be striking camp immediately for the fresh fields of Bedfordshire.

I took the rejection like a man - the timely discovery of a stash of hardcore pornography works wonders for the broken-hearted. And good God, have you ever been to Luton?

Year down the line, however, it still rankles that Elton deprived me of a red hot summer of lust ...err... love where I too may have got my turn in the bell tent. I really feel I should be informing not only the Police over the nature of this episode, but also The News of the Screws and Popbitch.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Not a Thursday vote-o

Not a Thursday vote-o

Thanks to the wonders of blogger, I will only be pretending to be here tomorrow, and will therefore be slapping up a Scary Story chosen by Ed on the Farm. It'll probably be brilliant and will almost certainly be the one you would have voted for*.

Anyhoo, if you still have the urge to take part in a democratic process of some sort, why not scoot across to my padowan learner Scarydog, who, by the most amazing coincidence, is also holding a Thursday vote-o. I like to think that he's my Mini-Me. And mind your bloody swearing - he is but a kid.

* Lie

Spam of the Day

Dear Sirs,

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We learned from Internet you are interested in tents. We are specialize in tents. We are able to supply a wide variety of tents.

For example, what is the height of the tent? Are you interested in windows? What type of frame? Do you have a drawing of your requirement? What quantities do you wish to buy?

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We are able to supply tent to the specification!

The other Spam of the Day

As a man of the world, I consider myself fairly well up on the latest sexual deviancies.

However, today I was rather confused after receiving a spam e-mail with the subject line "Hot girls squirting milk out of their ass".

I accept that I spent my biology classes staring at Miss Shagwell's none-more-pneumatic chest when I should have been paying attention to the blackboard, but have I missed out on something?


Hat-based stupidity over at Robber Rabbit, a bit of a preview from my latest literary work which I'm trying out on real people. Your comments, etc...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Local news

Dorchester's town crier has returned to duty after an eighteen-month hiatus after suffering from a bout of depression. While there's nothing funny about mental illness (I'm as barking as the next man, if you'd care to use the correct medical term), the idea of a manic depressive town crier is full of comic possibilities.

"Oyez! Oyez! Oh what's the bloody point..."

"Hear ye! In the name of Her Majesty the Queen I cannot possibly be arsed to read this shit..."

"Oyez! Town crier *spang* beats self to *spang* death *spang* with bell *spang*"

Also from the Dorset Echo: Best Headline Evah for a local news story about local vicars holding Christmas carol services in Asda's Weymouth branch: "Jesus Christ, Superstore"

World News

In an attempt to make the Home Office more inclusive, David Blunkett has taken to interviewing all prospective job candidates himself with the question "Tits or face?"

Contrary to popular opinion, funnyman Benny Hill did not die in solitude in 1992. He simply moved to Finland where he set up one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. You may have heard their popular advertising slogan "Knickers! Knackers! Nokia!"

Top Tip!

Don't spend the night getting mind-bendingly drunk on a mixture of red wine and Scotch.

Pink vomit is ALL teh gay.


A sad, sad day in the Duck household where I have been forced to shatter my daughter's illusions about a certain fictional figure.

Dame Edna, I told her, tears welling up, is an extremely unfunny bloke in a dress.

The tooth fairy, according to my spies, is also a bloke in a dress. This solves, for once and for all, what it is that Michael Winner actually does.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

St Egbert's Day

St Egbert's Day

From Old Tosspot's Almanack - 7 December: The day traditionally set aside for the preparation and the bringing to the boil of vegetables for the Christmas Day feast.

If we study the scriptures (IKEA edition) St Egbert's letter to the Rostbifs clearly teaches:

"And 18 days shall thee boil these cabbages, and cauliflowers, and broccoli, and artichokes, and asparagus tips, and onions, and sprouts, and verily the carrots. No more, no less. For in this we remember the number of pole dancers at Our Lord's last supper, for it pleased him greatly. And Judas, in his sin, did offer to pay for 'extras'."

Followers of St Egbert (such as my parents-in-law) openly denounce the microwave oven as "Satan's Death Rays", following St Egbert the Anaemic's teachings to the letter. Acolytes should, by the 25th, be able to eat their Christmas dinner through a straw, and sell the waste water to B&Q as paint stripper.

8 December: St Kilroy's Day (not Belgium). Followers are encouraged to paint themselves orange, speak in tongues and pour a bucket of shit over their own head.

Dear Santa

At last. The Weebl and Bob DVD is with us. With added Brian Blessed shouty goodness.

Monday, December 06, 2004



Now, I understand that it is illegal to fish stuff out of the skips at your local rubbish tip one they have been thrown in my a previous punter. It is, in fact, theft - theft of other people's shit.

However, dumping several tons of builders' rubble, wood and associated detritus from the back of my car at Weymouth Municipal Tip, my eye was caught by the familiar shape of a DVD case.

How rare!

A swift look about me, and there was no burly council ape to prevent my act of petty theft, so I leant in and fished out my prize. Tucking it into my coat, I drove home, and in the relative safety of my shed, I examined my spoils.

"Grannies Cumming 2", an hour-and-a-half exploration of the sexual habits of the older generation, in full blood-coming-out-of-your-eye-sockets graphic detail. In the name of research, I watched every frame of that disgusting spectacle. Twice.

Um. Any takers?

Someone has suggested that perhaps the best way to get rid of my loot is to be as generous as I can to the local community: Go into Dixons, put it into one of their huge home cinema demo setups, press play and run away laughing like a drunken ostrich.

However, the old saying "You can't get rid of porn" will come back to haunt me - I will arrive home to find it sitting on the coffee table, laughing at me with a demented, elderly cackle, before sending me to the Post Office for its pension, five pounds worth of TV Licence stamps and a copy of "Forty and Naughty".

It has been pointed out to me that there was sufficient interest in Grannies Cumming 1 to warrant a sequel. Well, excuse me, I watch Film 2004 every week I never saw it at the Weymouth Cineworld. The manky amongst you may wish to look the title up on Google, where you will find it riding high in the porny video charts, kept off the number one spot by the John Leslie/Abi Titmuss fiasco, the "Shaddap you Face" of the pornographic art, as it were.

Abi: "She's got her finger up my bum. It's very rude."
Leslie: "Help ma boab!"

A little bit of digging through the seedy end of google reveals that the "talent" in this cinematic opus may be engaged for as little as £75 per hour to re-enact pivotal scenes from the drama* in the comfort of your home. You don't get that with Tom Hanks.

* Such as a nice bit of ironing and a cup of tea.

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Uri Geller story: Mystic woe

The Uri Geller story

Uri Geller, the big twat
Geller: Not a fraud at all
There are things you shouldn't do in life. Playing British Bulldog in the fast lane of the M1, for example. Or requesting "YMCA" at a British National Party Disco.

I'd like to nominate a third category: insulting those with the power of WITCHCRAFT. Especially when this is combined with the awesome power of CELEBRITY, a dread power chronicled in a recent paper published by The New England Journal of Shit I Could Have Told You Myself.

I just couldn't help myself, and now I firmly believe there is a shadow over me - a long, dark shadow of an evil hex by a man who, as I am sure you all know, is not a fraudulant publicity whore at all.

I'm not just saying that because he's an former Israeli Army paratrooper who could probably snap my neck and feed me to a starving Paul Daniels with just the merest flick of the wrist. And laugh about it afterwards over a bent-spoon buffet with his best friend Michael "I'm not weird, either" Jackson.

You see, and I really should have engaged brain first before opening mouth: I once told the world's number one mystic Uri Geller to fuck off. To his face. Whilst armed with a selection of cutlery.

There he was, right in my way, blocking a narrow doorway, impressing the mentally retarded with his genuine and not-fake-in-any-way-whatsoever spoon-bending skills and it just sort of slipped out.

"And so," said Uri to the huddled masses, "see how it bends, yes?"

Huddled masses: "Oooooh!"

Me: "Look, just fuck off, will you? And you as well. Fuck off."

He fucked off.

Short, sweet, and another brush with celebrity that had gone horribly, horribly wrong.

He didn't even try to kick me in the melvin or anything. Oh no, he was biding his time, planning to use his ancient DARK POWERS of Not-Fraudulant-at-all-Bollocks against my person.

Either that, or he was the bastard who let the tyres down on my bike.

Not long after that, both my legs fell off in a bizarre spacehopper accident, while my entire family was kidnapped and shipped to Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch where they eke out a miserable existence in unsufferable luxury. Worse, my house is now bent at a ninety degree angle to the rest of the universe and my boss has somehow got me confused with Kat Slater from EastEnders.

Cursed, I am, cursed!

Coincidence? I think not. It's VOODOO!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Dogging news

All this AND the Thursday vote-o

This week I finally got my grubby hands on a dictophone. Apart from boring colleagues to death with the world's only dictaphone gag ("No, use your finger like everybody else does") I am now able to mumble blog ideas, low quality jokes and general rants ("South West Trains can stick it up their arse" is a choice cut from this week's aural notes) into the thing whilst in public places.

This puts me, or "Man with dictation device" just above "People who call other people 'Jimmy'" and slightly below "Have you got five quid for me train fare home" on the Beadle scale of public nuisances, and should be avoided at all costs.

Enough already! The time has come to vote for tomorrow's Scary Story. Six to choose from, you lucky devils:

* Haunted Holiday: "Unsure about the legality of the whole affair, he instead decided to use horse manure instead, just to be on the safe side."
* Diet Club: "Come back and take what's coming to you!" she screamed. But it was no good, Glenn Hoddle had fled.
* Underneath the Arches: "I expect you're wondering why I called you here. And I'll tell you, but first show me that trick with the frozen sausage."
* The Elton John story: "Saturday Night may have been alright for fighting, but I was unsure if that move was strictly legal outside the bounds of a prison shower."
* The Duke of Kent story: "I say, old man," he said, licking his lips in a disconcerting manner, "You don't have a live mouse about your person, by any chance?"
* The Uri Geller story: "We set up all kinds of booby traps, some fatal, some not. And yet, like some hell-sent wraith, he defeated them all."

Still here? Vote, then! Vote-me-up!

Dogging news

Last night was spent in the most profitable manner possible, with a trip down to Whitehall with a big bottle of that aniseed-flavoured spray favoured by hunt sabateurs to send hunt dogs on a mad barking frenzy round the countryside.

Starting outside the main doors to the Home Office and doing my best to look like a goofy yokel tourist up from the sticks (an act that comes naturally, I am pleased to say), I managed to lay out a twisty-turny Benny Hill-type trail up and down the seat of British government, crossing several bus lanes and extremely busy roads, ending up in the Leopard enclosure at London Zoo.

So, as a top tip, you might like to watch one of the twenty-four hour news channels today for the moment David Blunkett and guide dog turn up for work - with hilarious results!

I am not mad.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004



It was bound to happen sooner or later, what with being the parent of two children of that difficult age.

"Dad - do my homework for me."

The lazy little sods.

"It's maths."


"And you've got to show your workings."

"Oh, spoons."

Here, you have a go if you think you can do any better:

Q: Johnny has £7.20 in 10p pieces, whilst Niamh has £11.60 in 20p pieces. Who has the most coins, and how many?
A: Johnny has 14 more, just get used to it. But extra credit to Niamh for having a) a stupid name and b) the nous to rob phone boxes.

Q: Which number between 30-60 is a common multiplier of 3, 4 and 8?
A: 48. However, I am unable to reproduce the synaptic pathways that got me to this answer on two-dimensional paper. In a future society, or with unlimited funding which may involve experiments on lower primates and teachers, I hope that, one day, this may be possible.

Q: Polly has a photo album of 48 pages which takes 10 photos on each page. If she has filled the first and last pages, how many more photos can she fit into the album?
A: "Photographs"? What a quaint, old-fashioned idea. The answer is 460, because my dad says so.

Q: Which number under 50 is a common multiplier of 6, 7 and 14?
A: x=[a(sin y)-by+z/e]/c where y exists in a parallel dimension and z is travelling at the speed of light, c.
It follows that: y=x(tan z)a/2x+z(cos a) where x tends towards entropy.
Simplifying the terms: "What do you get when you multiply eight and six?" = 42.

"Dad, you're such a smart b-word".

With any luck, Scaryduckling will never ask me again.

Top Tip!

Builders! When you get sacked from a job because of your shoddy work and unrealistic demands, it's best not to allow your harpy of a wife to follow your former clients around in your recently-acquired-on-credit Land Rover Discovery. It's crap, and makes her look a bit mental.