Friday, June 30, 2006

Mirth and Woe: Coming to my Census

Coming to my Census

It was no good. Broke again.

I'd come through a number of problems of my own making, and the long and the short of it was I was paying more money out than was coming in. The only real course of action was to supplement my main source of income with a second job.

Now, I have standards, so hanging about the railway arches looking for business was strictly out, so I bit the bullet and did the twilight shift stacking shelves in Sainsburys over Christmas until I could happily murder the persons responsible for the in-store muzak. It came as a bit of a relief in the New Year when they didn't offer me a permanent position, so I was back to square one. I bumbled by for a few months, before answering a newspaper advert and landing myself a job on the 2001 National Census.

I was to be paid genuine taxpayers' cash money to trudge the streets of Reading delivering and collecting census forms. In fact, I got three whole streets - one extremely posh with drives a mile long; one fair-to-middling where the net curtains twitched as I approached the front door; and one dog rough, where I was lucky to escape with my life. This was where the interesting stuff happened.

When I first started working shifts, I got the notion into my head (and I cannot imagine where from) that Reading was packed to the gills with bored housewives that would lure you in and sex you to death as soon as look at you. I wandered the streets for days, and the only sweat I raised was escaping from a pack of dogs. I damned the eyes of those Fiesta letter writers, for they had clearly lied to me.

Knock Knock.

"I'm from the National census and...."

"Oooooh! Come in dear, I'm 78 and I haven't had a young man in for 27 years, not since my Alfred went, I'll just slip into something more comfortable, I really love Daniel O'Donnell you know, would you like a cup of tea, something to eat, a nice bit of cake, please stay forever please please please..."

"'s your form to fill in."

"...I really love Daniel O'Donnell, I'll just put his new record on, do you like him, he's lovely, I could just sit and stare at his picture all day, I just wish he was here, I'm doing a cross-stitch of him, look, I've nearly finished, I've not had a young man in for 27 years, not since my Alfred went, isn't it hot in here?"

This happened fourteen times.

It wasn't all harlots, however.

Knock Knock.

"Hello, I'm from the..."

"Fuck off!"

"National Census..."

"Fuck off or I'll kick your head in."

"...and here's your form..."

"Didn't you hear? Fuck off! I'm having me tea."

" fill in, which is a legal obligation."

The last bit was spoken at a good 50 mph as I fucked off as fast as I could, a kitchen knife and several dinner plates sailing past my head. It was rather pleasing to receive a written apology from Mr Fuckoff, via the HM Court Service after that. And that was in the posh neighbourhood.

Just when I thought it was all over, there was more. My area manager came round to tell me that out of the two hundred-and-something houses on my patch, more than one hundred had yet to return their forms, and could I please go round and collect them?

"Oh yes, and what's my motivation?"

"One pound and thirteen pence per house."


"And while you're there, could you go round to these houses and get them to fill in their forms properly? They've missed out stuff."

"One pound thirteen per house?"

"You got it."

And so she handed me a small pile of rejected forms. In the main, people had neglected simple details, like their dates of birth, their addresses or even their names. One form caught my eye. Clearly a house full of dreadful student types, they had missed off their dates of birth - which was the reason I had to return - and had put their religion down as "Jedi". Oh funny ha ha.

Knock Knock.

"Hello. I'm from the National Census. We've noted a few problems with your form..."

"Ooooooh fuck. I told you Joel! I fucking told you not to put Jedi!"

"No... but..." I countered.

"We'll give you any money."

"It had better be good. I'm already on a pound thirteen as it is."

"We're not really Jedis, you know. Cross it out an' put C of E. Please."

And so, one last house. No form returned. These people are sent to try us.

Knock Knock.

"Ooooh! Dotty down the road said you might be coming, I'm 75 and I've still got me own teeth, I've not had a young man in since my Derek left me for that Polish sailor, it's just me and Daniel O'Donnell, I normally wear more clothes than this but you can't get a brassiere big enough in Matalans an' I heard someone might be popping by an' I've seen you walkin' up an' down the street an' I was wondering if you were goin' to call on me an' Daniel I've made a cake an everything please please please stay...."


The next census is due in 2011.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cockermouth - oh!

Cockermouth - oh!

Following on from this week's My town good/bad thing, here's a little list for you:

Top five place names that are a bit rude

5. Cockermouth, Cumbria
4. Sexmoan, Philippines
3. Wankers Corner, USA
2. Fucking, Austria
1. Shitonmytitsyouhornystud, Belarus

So, if it's Thursday, it must be a vote-o. While I cower* at the back of a rather important conference on the future of the broadcast industry in the country, I ask you, dear readers, to choose from the following tales of mirth and woe. Apologies for lack of vote-o quote-os, but I had booked the Tourette's Male Voice Choir for the purpose. But they fucked off.

* First Aid - a tale of inappropriate trouser excitements
* Census - featuring the massed groupies of Daniel O'Donnell
* Blind Date - a charming, yet sad tale of love, loss and mank.
* Swimming Gala - poo woe
* School Milk - vomit woe

Don't allow me to sway your votes in any way, but the management recommends "Census".

Vote! Vote me up!

* And only my closest friends and colleagues will know what, exactly, I am cowering from. Go on. Guess. A biscuit for the correct answer.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

B3ta questions of the week

"Paging Dr Freud"

To make up for the fact that I am working in that there London today, and haven't prepared anything for your reading pleasure, another bunch of B3ta questions of the week, in which the mankiest depths of my soul are laid bare. Sorry.

My first love

My first love was a leggy blonde woman in a bikini and large basooms who would frequent the pool where I was learning to swim.

I hatched a plan where I would somehow sneak up behind my nameless love on my bike, kidnap her, and keep her tied up in my basement until she learned to love me.

Like all the best plans, it was doomed to failure from the start.

I blame the insurmountable age difference.

I was five.

"What essential items do you always carry?" - Spare lucky pants

Oh, how they laughed!

"Ha ha hahahahaaaaaaaagh and his spare pants," they mocked, "Ha!"

And thussly, I was the only one not walking like John Wayne after he'd been bummed by a dog, when the pub crawl arrived at the wrong kebab house.

Spare pants: yes.

Also: a penknife and a camera, just in case of bumming dogs.

What Crappy Prizes have you won?" - A Radio phone-in...

...which just goes to show my lack of judgement in the first place.

Using my skill and judgment to identify The Beloved's "Sweet Harmony" played backwards on Reading's ALL NEW 2-TEN FM, I won two FREE tickets to the Skoda International Snooker Championships televised to huge national indifference at the Reading Hexagon.

First Qualifying Round, Monday afternoon session. Face value: 1 (one) english pound. On my way to the venue, I noticed panicking sponsors giving away armfuls of free tickets to passing shoppers, who, in the main, refused. The lucky bastards.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My town good/bad

My town good/bad

God, I love Weymouth. Small, convenient, just the right balance between locals and reasonably friendly visitors; and enough borderline crap tourist attractions to keep everybody happy. And thanks to the efficient sacrificing of virgins, officially the sunniest place in Britain. Also, it's not Dorchester. What a great place to live.

God, I hate Weymouth. Every August it fills up with total bastards, and the roads gridlock like buggery. Every Friday night the squaddies troll in from Bovington and the gutters run with vomit. The next land mass to the west is New York, so when the wind blows you can barely stand up. God, this place is shit.

What's so great about your home town?

And: what's so crap bit about where you live?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Joys of YouTube, again

The Joys of YouTube, again

I enjoyed last week's selection from the great dustbin of online creativity, that we're going to do it all over again. Only this time with mirth and woe music.

Mirth: A Not the Nine O'Clock News special

Music: A "God, Scary's old" special

  • Big Audio Dynamite: E=MC2 - "I like a bit of a cavort"
  • Sex Pistols: Pretty Vacant - that legendary TOTP (RIP) performance
  • Killing Joke: Love Like Blood - featuring barking mad frontman Jaz Coleman (no relation)
  • Blancmange: Living on the Ceiling, comes with the highly recommended Lose your Love, simply for a) the weird foot spins and b) the fact they are clearly having the most fun, ever.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The eyes have it

The eyes have it

Another day, another bizarre domestic accident.

And today's hideous ailment is a scratched cornea. A scratched cornea.

Or: AAAAAAAAAAAARGH! I've scratched by eyeball! Again!

The last time around I was lacing a pair of boots. Saturday's woe was at least the result of something manly - the act of cutting up large chunks of wood in the garden; but it is the most irritating injury ever, something you can do absolutely nothing about until it stops itching.

The nice people at Dorchester County Hospital gave me an eye-patch, so I am now living in a dreadful, toe-stubbing two-dimensional world tempered only by the fact that I am able to spend the next day or so in a darkened room, dressed as a pirate.

So: Yarrrrr!

Plz to stop laughing at me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mirth and Woe: In search of John McAlle

In search of John McAlle

Further tales from the Football 78 album

Anthony Morris needed John McAlle. Anthony Morris was the king of the playground craze, and was, by a country mile, the first to come anywhere near finishing his Football 78 sticker collection. After several months of buying stickers and swapping in the playground, all he needed to complete his album was sticker 369, the Wolves defender John McAlle. I had eight. Eight pictures of that lazy-eyed Scouser that nobody else wanted. Not even, it turned out, Anthony Morris.

Oh no, Anthony Morris didn't want to finish his collection on a swap. Neither was he prepared to send stamps to the value of 2p to Panini for his man. We was going to do it the correct, "pure" way. That is, he was going to waste his money buying dozens of packets of Football 78 stickers until he finally turned up John McAlle. Back in Italy, Mr and Mrs Panini were having a money fight in the corner of a cash-laden warehouse.

For several weeks, we witnessed an increasingly engaged moneybags Morris buying packet after packet of stickers, which contained anything but McAlle. God knows where he got his money from, but he alwys seemed to be loaded down with any passing fad that hit the school. When it was Top Trumps, he had every packet they sold. When it was Bazooka Joe cards, he blew the biggest bubbles we'd ever seen. In the five minutes we were allowed clackers, Morris had the reddest knuckles on the playground.

Morris's quest for John McAlle became all-consuming, and there was nothing anybody could do except pray for that glorious day when he would rip open a packet and see, amongst the other swaps, that one man in an old-gold shirt looking back at him.

And so it happened, in Darth Vader's newsagents on his way to school one morning.

"Twenty packets of Football 78, please. And a Mars Bar."

"Wheeeeze", said Darth, self-rolled cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth, "Pound ....gasp... twelve."

Anthony stuffed the Mars in his mouth in one go, and set about the small pile of Football 78 packets with a frenzy.

Then, he stopped, and his eyes opened to the size of dinner plates, his mouth too full of chocolate, Mars Bar goo and drool to speak.

"MMmm!" he said, "'On M'All! 'On M'All!"

And he was right, it was indeed 'On M'All. He also had John McAlle which was, indeed, a bit of a bonus, and we could all return to normal. Even Darth Vader seemed pleased, even if his profits for the week would now be slashed in half now that Anthony was no longer buying all the stickers he could get from Zombie Dave's Cash and Carry.

In his McAlle-inspired joy, Anthony rushed from the job to tell everybody that we had completed his task, and was the first in the school to fill his album. He dashed into the street and.... THUMP.

Straight under the 328 bus to Maidenhead and High Wycombe. That's gonna hurt in the morning. If the Green Cross Man hadn't run off the previous year to become Darth Vader this might never have happened, but that's what you get if you don't stop, look, listen.

It was unfortunate, then, that Anthony's demise was witnessed by dozens of schoolkids stopping of at Darth's on the way to school in order to spend their lunch money on anything that wasn't mushy peas.

There was a terrifying high-pitched scream.

"AAAAAAAAAargh!" went Helen, "It's his brains!"

And there, in the street, was a terrible lump of bloody mess, hanging out of poor, poor Anthony's mouth.

"AAAAAAargh!" went Helen again, fainting away stone dead and cracking her head open on the pavement.

"AAAAAAargh!" went Helen's friend Joanne, seeing both her best friend bleeding all over the place, and Anthony's brains spreading out slowly on he road. So she did what any traumatised twelve-year-old would do in the circumstances.

"YAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" she went, bowking rich brown vomit all over her shoes, and the poor, unconscious Helen.

"YAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" she said again, just for dramatic effect.

Several others responded by bowking, running away, or for one dreadful, loose-bowelled nightmare, backing up against the door to Nat West Bank (now, ironically enough, a trendy wine bar), leaving a tell-tale streak on the glossy paint-work.

"It's not his brains," said a clearly shaken bus driver, jumping from the cab to administer what first aid he could, "it's a sodding Mars Bar! I'm going to run late again..."

And it was. As Anthony had fought his losing battle with the bus, he had bitten his tongue, producing the chocolate, blood and caramel mess that had freaked out so many people. Mars. Not brains. He had little enough to spare as it was.

As the firemen and the ambulance service dragged the prone Anthony from under the bus, cutting him free of clothing that had got caught in the gubbins, it appeared, tragically that he had not been wearing clean underwear that morning. Woe, for he was wearing none at all, the manky little devil.

He didn't die, by the way. He only broke his hip and returned later in the year for his assault on Football 79.

I'll never set foot in a branch of Nat West, ever again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Hollywood, twinned with Sodom

Hollywood, twinned with Sodom

It is my pleasing duty to announce that sexual deviants have taken over London's West End theatres. As if they hadn't before:

* Back Side Story
* We Will Cock You
* Arselight Express

* Oklahomo
* The Pirates on Men's Pants
* Scat Balou

Now that Brokeback Mountain has smashed through the barriers in Hollywood, the studios are busting a gut to get the next gay blockbuster onto our screens.

What they don't know is that Michael Caine has stolen a march on all of them with a remake of his classic gritty tale of Northern gangsters, retold to fill this gaping hole (kyak, fnarr!) in the market. Look out, then for the release of "Oooh, Get Carter".

So, in touch with your inner homo, it's time to give Hollywood a few tips for this year's GayLesTransGender classic.

* Goatse Busters
* Raiders of the Lost Arse
* The Gaytrix

* The Mansex-churian candidate
* Cool Handjob Luke
* The African Queen, a title that doesn't even need changing

Suggest-me-up, loves.

No Thursday vote-o today, ducks, because - mostly as a result of last week's whinging - I've written a Football 78 special, involving both vomit AND poo. You lucky, lucky people.

Also: Plz to suggest further additions to the random quote generator I've added to these pages. There. At the top. Press 'Reload' for up to nine more.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Oh Lordy, it's The Return of Samuel Pepys

Oh Lordy, it's The Return of Samuel Pepys

More Pepys, because I can't leave it alone. And do you realise how hard it is to come up with this stuff when auto-correct keeps taking over? What I really need is MS Word Olde Englishe Version for Windowes Reformation Edition.

6th September 1666: Up betimes, and I can now safely emerge from my cellar, as it appears ye Greate Fyre is extinguish'd. Tis good fortune for Newton and myselfe that the conflagration should be blam'd on some baker's oven, and not on Newton setting fire to his owne fartes for a drunk'n wager. And woe, for it appeares that even Madame Pomprey's Slattern parlour has been raz'd to the ground, and her floozies are forc'd to ply for business in ye smould'ring ruins. Newton and I gotte six, as it appeares there is a fyre sale on.

8th September 1666: Up to the dockyards at Chatham in myne fynest carryage, where I did avail myself to the services of a comely sailor whom I buggr'd quite joyously in the presence of a fine artist called Taylor. I was most pleas'd with the results of his pen-and-ink drawings, and paid him a crown to buy his silence. Mrs Pepys accompanied me on this trip, as part of her worthy campaign for the welfare of this nation's sailors. I am told that her meeting was well attended by several dozen visiting matelots &c, and she is now much fatigu'd by her efforts, having the greatest difficulty walking the few yards back to our coach, remark'ng that she had "never in such tymes enjoy'd such seamen". It is g'd to think she shares the same interests as I.

12th September 1666: Up betimes and to my offices, where I signed several papers concerning the debts accrued on our country estate. Happily, this sad state of affairs was resolved when I found young Honourable Thomas Carr in the arms of the visiting Prince of Ludwig in some seedy den of vice I was visitynge as part of my surveys for the rebuilding of this fine capital, and not, I muste point out, to take advantage of the many buxom younge wenches who have fallen on hard times. Both Ludwig and the less-than-Honourable Carr entreated me with shock, tears &c not to tell their respective fathers, for fear of losing their allowances, and I heartily agreed, on the proviso that I should be allowed to watch their manly luste, and that they paid me a tidy sum for my silence. After my debts were paid, there was still a pretty penny to spare for much wenchinge, drunkenness and a kebab on ye way home.

13th September 1666: Mrs Pepys is still much wearied by her exertations in Chatham, and stay'd abed this morning while I visit'd my offices. I am grateful that her hand-picked footman and butler both stay'd behind in her attendance, to ensure that my beloved is eating properly. In fact, she enjoy'd a bountiful spread, as I heard both Wilkins and Fowler agreeing that Mrs Pepys had enjoy'd a "ryght olde stuffing" today, and particularly enjoy'd the "Cleveland Steamer" which form'd, I presume, the dessert.

15th September 1666: Awoken at some ungodly hour this morning by a hammer'ng at my door, with a voice without declaring "Alas! This is the ende of ye worlde" Fearing for my lyfe, I ran out into the street, wearing nothing but my baby-doll nightie to fynde a flaming mass on my doorstep. Thinking not, I stamp'd out ye flames, only to discover to my great woe, it was merely a bag fill'd with a dog turde. I'm going to fuckynge kill that Newton.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

In search of Gerry Gow

Regrets, as they say, I've had a few. Most are far too personal - even for me - to post here, and tend to involve me acting like a complete bastard. Many are of a trivial or selfish nature, such as my continued failed, after three decades to complete 1:72 scale Airfix model of a Mil-24 helicopter; or my youthful failure to see a girl called Julia naked, mostly because I was sick down her billowing cleavage at a party.

However, the one thing that I regret the most is this: Twenty-eight years on, and I still need eight stickers to complete my Panini Football 78 album. Now is the time to face down this particular demon, and do what I know best. Beg shamelessly off the internet.

February 1978. On my twelfth birthday, my mother decided that I was old enough to control my post office savings account. I couldn't agree more. I cashed in all my stamps, lumped in all my birthday money and pissed the lot up the wall on 150 packets of football stickers. My mum, when she found out, threw a total barney.

Still: Brightside. With a bit of luck and some judicious swappage, I reached a point where I needed a mere eight stickers to complete my set. At that point, I would have been able to send a cheque for 16p to get the stickers I needed. But - my chips were well and truly pissed on. I had wiped out my savings, and I never quite got round to completing my collection.

And what a collection. Where else would you see this picture of Newcastle's Paul Cannell, Wolves manager Sammy Chung (who joins Viv Anderson and Laurie Cunningham as the only three in the whole album who are not white Europeans) or Clydebank's Willie Munro, who clearly has a second job as a gamekeeper? Or, a frighteningly happy Alex Ferguson before he became a red-faced misery, or - best of all - Tottenham Hotspur in the second division.

So: is there anybody out there with the following swaps -

  • 66 Gerry Gow (Bristol City)
  • 179 Steve Whitworth (Leicester City)
  • 281 John Ryan (Norwich City)
  • 299 Frank Clark (Nottingham Forest)
  • 368 Frank Munro (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • 384 Brighton and Hove Albion team photo
  • 450 Stewart Kennedy (Aberdeen)
  • 451 Willie Miller (Aberdeen)

In return for these particular golden tickets, I will give you this: Any Money, and will most certainly Be Your Best Friend. Failing that, asigned photograph of my bottom, or something. Give the punters what they want, that's me all over.

But even if I complete my collection, there would still be dreadful, dreadful regret. The act of attaching the stickers, you see, would mean covering up the excellent doodles my sister added to fill the gaps. What's a man to do, because she might actually kill me to death over this.

I know now that I may go to my grave never knowing what Gerry Gow looks like.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Joys of YouTube

The Joys of YouTube*

Part XXXVIII: On three-piece indie bands with female lead singers

Saint Etienne: Two blokes with keyboards and a nice singer

Ah, Sarah Cracknell, how many ways do I love thee? (Even if once, completely by accident, I saw your front bottom at Reading Festival. Sorry.)

The Cocteau Twins: Two blokes with jangly guitars and a nice, slightly mad, singer

Do not, under any circumstances, try to understand the words.

And while we're still gushing (metaphotrically) over Elizabeth Fraser:

This Mortal Coil

And veering hopelessly off-topic, if you saw Doctor Who this weekend, you will be mostly wanting this ear-worm: ELO - Mr Blue Sky

* And Google Video, but it didn't fit in the title.

But seriously folks...

I understand there was a certain disquiet this weekend over the lack of poo and vomit woe in last Friday's Scary Story. I hear your concerns, I apologise for this dreadful collapse in this site's mank quotient, and will address it this morning with the following for your consideration:

"There is nothing quite so funny as hearing other people fart in public toilets."


Sunday, June 18, 2006



Today is Paul McCartney's 64th birthday.

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?" he asked in one of his most famous songs.

"Well, actually," said Heather Mills, "No. But here's some naked pictures."

Poor Vera, Chuck and Dave.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mirth and Woe: Food Fight

Food Fight!

The first rule of Bracknell College was: no drink. This was also the second and third rule, designed solely to stamp out any joy from our young lives.

The principal was a staunch tee-totaller and would not allow students to drink alcohol, on or off the premises, legal drinking age or not. So, naturally, every lunchtime we joined our lecturers down the pub. And as long as no-one turned up for the afternoon sessions steaming drunk, everything was fine.

But woe, every once in while, some thick-headed student would fill himself up with gin, stagger into the college buildings and yark up all over the place. Then, it was a one-way ticket to Bracknell dole office via Beardy Gott's office. Transgressors were often never seen again, not even in Bracknell's newly-opened McDonalds.

As the man said, "Act like adults, we treat you like adults." Unfortunate, then, that for some, the role model was George Best.

And then, in my second year, came the Christmas Dinner.

The fools let us have a Christmas Dinner.

Turkey, Figgy Pudding, the works. But NO BOOZE.


In the words of a pissed-up Jeff Goldblum: Booze will find a way.

And how.

Most eschewed the formality of lectures that morning, and made straight for Sainsbury's as soon as it opened and cleared the shelves of alcohol within a matter of minutes. Then, at 11 o'clock, the Red Lion threw open its doors, and a committed hard core set about exercising their drinking muscles in prepartion for the winter solstice festivities.

And finally, at one, the college refectory opened, and a beaming Mr Gott, splendid in his Santa outfit, welcomed his students to the party.

We had our own soft drinks. Great big two-litre diet Coke bottles, which were a fifty-fifty mix of Cola and Vodka. The more adventurous preferred orange tango, which was, of course, a charming cocktail of fruit juices and paint stripper.

Within twenty minutes, we had drunk the lot.

And then:

"Pass us another bread roll."

So we did.

In fact, everybody passed him a bread roll. With extreme force. He got one or two roast potatoes as well.

Then, I am sorry to say, it all went downhill from there.

Animal House had only recently been on television, and well, you know students - all too easily swayed by the goggle box.


Nobody moved. Nobody, it seemed could be that stupid.

Try again.


The air was filled with food. Bread rolls, turkey, greens, potatoes, gravy, and from one corner, the vegetarian option. Who says being meat-free can't be fun? Projectile nut roast hurts to buggery, I can tell you for nothing.

And in the centre of the melee, Santa Claus.


Poor, poor Gott. He got the full force, and he soon disappeared under a shower of food. And all this in the same week that Bob Geldof was calling up Midge Ure to ask him how he was getting on with that song he was writing for those poor, starving Africans. Shameless, we.

Nothing was spoken of The Food Fight afterwards. Not a word. It never happened, this dreadful stain on the College's copybook.

The canteen was cleared up, but months later, evidence could still be seen, clinging to the ceiling, and the following year, there was no Christmas.

On the first week of the following term, we headed to the Red Lion and ordered four pints of Courage Best.

"Sorry lads. Can't serve college students. Mr Gott's orders."

Also, in every pub from Wokingham to Ascot: "Can I take your names? The Principal wants a list."


Booze, however, found a way.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On B. Elton, bastard

On B. Elton, bastard

B. Elton, A. Lloyd-Webber: A study in smugI'm a pretty confident chap. So confident, in fact, that I am willing to lay a wager. And it is this:

"I bet you ANY MONEY* that at some stage before the next UK General Election, Ben Elton will stand up and declare his allegiance to David Cameron and the Conservative party."

I tell you, it's going to happen. I remember first seeing him, sparkly suit and ranting about "Bloody Thatcher" on Channel Four in the mid-eighties, saying to myself, 'he'll be a raging Tory by the time I'm forty, writing awful Terry and June sitcoms'.


Twenty years later, and he's writing musicals with Andrew Lloyd-Webber and churning out the kind of smug film, television and paperback product that makes you wish chopping up people with a blunt axe wasn't actually illegal.

Only the final transformation into Thatcher's love-child remains.

It will happen. Oh yes.

* Up to 37 Galactic Groats

The vote-o of three

And "three" is the number of the vote-o. Not two. Or four. Five is way out. Three.

I shall be spending today in a course, one which >gulp< doesn't have computer access. You will, then, be forced to talk amongst yourselves discussing a slow, painful death for Sir B. Elton, and of course selecting a story for tomorrow's Friday tale of mirth and woe.

First Aid: "Then, I had my first nervous breakdown, and realised this is how they make tramps."
Food Fight: In the name of science, I ate beetroot for a week to see if my poo would turn purple. Worryingly, three years later, it still is.
Taking Leave of my census: It was then that we realised it wasn't the vicar at all, but a homeless derelict known to the local Threshers wine shop as “Jimmy”.

So? Vote. Me. Up!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Song for Scary

A Song for Scary

J. Cocker: Unfortunate role modelRegular reader Fatfiz asked: "What is your all-time favourite line from a song?", a question which forced me into the excellent purchase of a compilation by The Jam.

I lay awake for some time pondering this question, trying to work out quite where I'd heard a line I use in conversation daily, but such is my addled brain, I couldn't even remember what it was, let alone recall whether it was Thomas Dolby or Heaven 17. God, that makes me sound so old.

So, in a similar vein, which one song sums up your life?

Until relatively recently, identifying with the deeply unpleasant person I suspect myself to be in real life, I went for The Boo Radleys' great undiscovered classic "Stuck on Amber" and its refrain of "And I make it hard/To get along/ To get along with me." That was, indeed, my miserablist stage.

Then, Jarvis Cocker came along and spoiled my wretched pit of despair.

On rediscovering a couple of CDs recently, I realise that my life is modelled entirely on the Pulp back catalogue. Specifically His'n'Hers and Different Class, both stunning essays in mankiness.

And a song? Given half the chance, J. Cocker would have written a song called "Done a Poo", describing the acute social embarrassment of the turtle's head whilst standing alone in a room full of strangers. Alas, he never quite got round to it. Maybe that vital part of his brain is still there, somewhere, somewhere in a field in Hampshire.

So it's got to be "Babies".

Good God - it is manky with the dial turned up to eleven. Its got voyeurism, inappropriate nudity, forbidden desires, and of course, other peoples' wardrobes. I could cut and paste the lyrics and publish them as a Friday tale of mirth and woe and you lot would be none the wiser.

Poor J. Cocker.

Poor, poor S. Duck.

[In reality, the one song that I can really call my own is older than I am - The Beatles "In My Life" from Rubber Soul. One of the two songs I know guaranteed to move me to tears, I can easily forgive them the cheesy harpsichord solo in the middle.]

And you?

Degree of difficulty: Girls! "I Will Survive" by G. Gaynor will single you out for ridicule. Guys! "Angels" by R. Williams may end in spilled blood.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A past, catching up

A past, catching up

I am indebted to Hellybobs for sending me this link: 'Depraved' civil servants play naked office pranks, while the BBC reports on "Probe into 'naked civil servants'", which would certainly bring a tear to the eye.

Civil servants who were supposed to be administering the government's much-criticised farm subsidies system have been taking part in 'depraved' office pranks such as leaping naked from filing cabinets.

The beleaguered Rural Payments Agency has begun an investigation into the behaviour of its staff at its Newcastle office, which allegedly included leaving cups of vomit in cupboards, taking drugs, having sex in toilets and holding break-dancing competitions during office hours.

The Rural Payments Agency was previously called the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, and was based at premises in Reading where bored civil servants would spend their working days doing anything to avoid the chore of actual work. One particular favourite was chatting up that nice girl in Beef Stats, then marrying her.

The Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce were foolish enough to employ both myself and the charming Mrs Duck during the late 1980s, not to mention virtually every single unemployable misfit that the town of Reading had to offer at the time. In fact, such was the criticism of the entire establishment, it actually moved to Newcastle and change its name in a doomed attempt to escape the shame. Unfortunately, many of the staff took up the offer to relocate, and by the sound of things, they're still there.

For any bored Guardian hacks looking for a follow-up:

This: Leaving Party - Civil Servant done a poo

This: Diet Club - Naked civil servant woe

And this: The Earl Grey Missile Test - an object lesson in office slacking.

The Grauniard continues: It is also disciplining others over what staff have describe as a real life Ricky Gervais office, only worse.

Gervais wouldn't have lasted five minutes, I can tell you for nothing.

Also: Plz to vote in Pie Poll.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Useless Workshy Duck of a Builder

Useless Workshy Duck of a Builder

Saturday 10th June, 10.30am - a date and time that will go down in history. For, after a dreadful, dreadful three days stuck up a ladder under the full glare of the sun, I finally finished painting the outside of my house. A job I started in 2003. Thanks to the curse of pebble-dash and the intervention of a certain Useless Workshy Cunt of a Builder it's been a bit of a haul. It wasn't the height I was worried about, it was the fact that anything I dropped took several seconds to reach the ground.

I am now a horrible shade of orange, and in the right kind of outfit could pass myself off as Judith Chalmers.

Alas, the same evening will hardly go down in history, as it happens. After letting the lovely Mrs Duck paint the landing and the office following the intervention of our friendly local plasterer ("UWCoaB? Yeah, this is the third job I've had to clear up after him"), I set about the task of reconnecting the lights and the electric sockets once I had witnessed England thrashing a pair of gays 1-0. Or something.

So, thanks to my usual DIY crapness, which I blame entirely on that UWCoaB, I managed to rewire the lights so that when you switch on the landing light, the spots in the bathroom came on instead. Nobody was impressed at this, despite vehemently insisting it was a "feature". A feature in which you could switch the kids' bedroom lights off from downstairs, which I deemed excellent, despite the warning that "you'll burn us all to death in our beds".

This, I said, would prove impossible, pointing out the water coming out of the smoke alarms.

Some people are never pleased. It's working alright now.

Next week, I am fitting a set of banisters. Or, to be entirely accurate, I shall be fitting a set of banisters, and Mrs Duck will be putting it right. As usual.

Friday, June 09, 2006

668 - The Neighbour of the Beast

668 - The Neighbour of the Beast

Doom!This week's terrifying 6th June 2006 - 6/6/6 - a day in which Satan made me put my underwear on back-to-front and forced me to eat a catering-sized pack of Mini Cheddars, also saw the release of a rather dull remake of The Omen, chronicling the birth and rise of the Anti-Christ of biblical prophecy.

The original film came out in 1976, and I didn't catch up with it until at least 1981 when it was shown on television at the height of my paranoia that the world was going to end on September 12th that year. It didn't. To say the film and its gory sequel had a profound effect on me would be an understatement to say the least, most notably in my failed attempts to arrive at Armageddon without the burden of my virginity. In this aspect, my life was an utter failure.

As a matter of fact, we recorded The Omen on our brand new push-button VHS recorder, which set our family back a whopping 450 pounds for a huge, clunking piece of machinery. I watched this film, and the other two we had [Jaws and Porridge: The Movie] - thanks to the prohibitively expensive cost of blank tapes - with a quasi-religious fervour, freeze-framing the part where David Warner's severed head bounced across a sheet of glass with appalled fascination. I even considered writing a letter of thanks to the producers, urging them to add more kinky nun sex to any further sequels, as you can't get enough randy nuns, ever.

I like to think that The Omen made me the sane, balanced individual I am today.

One of the plot devices in the original film was the use of photography to show which characters had been marked for death by the Devil. Anybody of Satan's doomed list would appear in photographs with a series of ever-darkening streaks depicting the eventual manner of their demise. David Warner, for example knew of his end in advance, the line through his neck tallying with his head falling off and bouncing like a little rubber ball down some darkened street.

It was the character played by former Doctor Who Patrick Troughton who revealed this phenomenon, his priest possessing photographs of himself, a dark rod piercing his body at the neck, emerging, as you do, through the groin. As he predicted in his hour of woe, he was impaled by a flag pole outside a church in Fulham, which serves him right, to be honest.

There are two things you should know at this juncture. One: I had an unnatural interest in photography, and with all the lights out, my bedroom became a passable darkroom. Two: I had this painful trapped nerve in my neck which I was convinced was the makings of a fatal brain haemorrhage. Every twitch of my neck would send a bolt of pain through the back of my skull, emerging through my right eye. Ouchies.

So, after watching The Omen for only the third time that week, I went upstairs, kicked the wedge under the bedroom door to keep family members out at inconvenient moments, and set about the film which I had just retrieved from my camera. After a couple of hours involving yellow liquids and fumbling around in the dark, I switched the light on to a couple of dozen prints hanging up to dry above the radiator.

Studying them closely for the first time, I realised that something had gone wrong at some stage in the developing process, and that light had managed to find its way in, probably a result of my mum switching on the landing light just as I dropped the unprocessed film onto the bedroom carpet. Every single photo had streaks of black and white across them. My evening's work. Spoiled, utterly. Bugger my luck.

My attention was drawn to one photograph in particular. It was a self-portrait, and yes, you foul specimens, I did have my clothes on, mostly because it was taken in the front garden. There was this unearthly black line, coming in from the very top of the frame, piercing my neck, and emerging from my body halfway down my abdomen. Marked for death, in the eternal burning pits of Hell. Those black lines didn't do the dog any favours either, and ten years later he died. Gneep!

My trapped nerved twitched, sending the now familiar blinding flash of pain up my neck, echoing around my skull. At any moment, devil-worshippers might burst into our house demanding a virgin for sacrifice in the name of the Anti-Christ, and I'd be bang to rights. Gneep!

Convinced the Prince of Darkness himself was coming after me, I shat meself. For several weeks.

I put my continued survival down to a technicality. The result of a series of unfortunate spelling mistakes by a dyslexic copy-typist, I appear to have sold my arsehole to Santa. Which is lucky for me, as it happens, because the old beardy fella's hung like a gnat and only comes once a year.

He walks amongst us, you realise. My money's on Daniel O'Donnell.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Colleagues o' Doom

Colleagues o' Doom

I love the people I work with. Really. I do. Every. Last. One. However, this has not always been the case. Some colleagues exist only to get on your tits, and are placed on the desk opposite yours by your personnel department solely as a test of faith of your loyalty to the organisation. The Civil Service does this too, but only because they'll employ any ratbag that crawls in off the streets. Me included, it turned out.

I bet the people you work for has at least one of these:

Miss "I'm getting married": A whole year of "I'm getting married", with conversation revolving about 'My Dave' and the minutiae of their forthcoming wedding-of-the-century, with endless phone calls to her "bunnikins" discussing dresses, suit hire, cake, marquees and the 300-person guest list. No-one has any idea what "My Dave" looks like, or even if he exists at all.

Who becomes…

Mrs "I've just got married": Her desk covered with dozens of wedding photos proving for once and for all that 'My Dave' is a real person, or an extremely ugly actor; a year's worth of conversation revolving about life with 'My Dave', how wonderful the wedding of the century was and "it's such a shame your aunt was savaged by a wildebeest on the morning of the ceremony, you missed everything. We've joined a badminton club, you know."

Who becomes…

Mrs "I'm having a baby": 'My Dave' eventually found the right hole, and now we've got nine months of baby planning before My Dave Junior appears. The office wag notes the due date is exactly nine months and six days after the departmental Christmas party. Oh!

This eventually became Mrs "I've just had a baby" in which a thousand wedding photos on the desk became a million pictures of something that looks like Winston Churchill. I handed in my notice at this stage to work for Mr "I'm off out to score some weed an' ting" at Motorway Tyres. A marked improvement.

Alas, there is no Thursday vote-o this week, as Scary "Two Sheds" Duck will be spending the day constructing his second shed. Instead, the Lord of Darkness himself, Satan, in lieu of the recent 6/6/6 dateline, and his forthcoming appearance in Doctor Who, tells of his attempts to visit an unpleasant and violent death on your humble author. Did he succeed?*

* No.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A World Cup-free Zone

A World Cup-free Zone

Hello girls!I understand that there is a sizeable minority amongst my readership who do not give half a shit (let alone a whole one) for the World Cup. I hear you, grieve for your pain, and may, under exceptional circumstances, help pay for your treatment.

This does not change the fact, however, that you will spend the next month having Wayne Rooney stuffed down your throat, and that is a mental image I would rather not entertain, thank you very much.

Therefore, I see it as my duty to find something to do for the next month in order to divert your attention away from the feast of sport and rampant commercialism that will occupy the so-called civilised world for the next four weeks. It's the very least I can do, and you'll thank me for it one day.

So, why not switch off your television set and try out one of these fulfilling pastimes?

* Cut your toenails, and spend four weeks carefully sorting and cataloguing the clippings as part of an entry for the Turner Prize

* Make meticulous plans, recruit a small army and purchase weaponry from the Chinese government in order to invade the newly-formed nation of Montenegro, to teach the buggers a lesson about the transient nature of democracy and independence

* Tell a load of minor celebrities such as "J. Goody", "Nigel from EastEnders" and "Chantelle" you are making a reality TV show called Celebrity Locked In A Broom Cupboard For The Entire World Cup Fed On Scraps Of Rancid Meat, and then lock them in a broom cupboard for the entire World Cup, feeding them on scraps of rancid meat.

* Secure the funding to design and build miniature jet packs for flightless birds such as penguins and ostriches, so they can enjoy the skies as much as their airborne cousins

* Invent a new kind of cheese made from human breast milk (called "Che- 40DD -ar"), recruiting TV's Wallace and Grommit for the advertising campaign, perhaps going as far as persuading the wacky inventor to come up with some sort of charming yet over-engineered milking machine into the bargain.

* Undergo a series of needlessly expensive and painful operations to have a bottom grafted onto your face, and change your name to Jenson Buttocks. With an arse for a face, just think of the lucrative career you'll enjoy on the Celebrity Lookalikes circuit. The girls will throw themselves at you - just ask Paul McCartney!

* Masturbate as many times as you possibly can during the World Cup group stages. Then try to beat that record during the knock-out phase. Involve friends and family to widen the fun - or, start a blog on the subject of your onanistic quest!

* Take a week's holiday in Sunni Iraq. By the time the SAS rescue your sorry arse, England will have been knocked out and everything will be back to normal.

* Get a hobby, like stamp collecting or something. I dunno.

So: what are you planning? A night on the tiles with Gazza and Five Bellies for the best suggest-o.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

How to be a football fan: Lesson one

How to be a football fan: Lesson one

Nice TackleWith the World Cup just around the corner, I invite you to save yourself the embarrassment of football-based twattery in public places, and urge you to sneak onto the bandwagon nice and early with this easy lesson.

Being a football fan is a life-long commitment. The supporter will find himself - or, indeed, herself - investing significant quantities of time and money into what those who do don’t follow the Beautiful Game call "twenty-two men kicking a ball about - why don't they just give them a ball each?" What little they know.

You may, however, as a non-football fan, find yourself in a public house or similar establishment at some stage in the next month, drawn in by the public fervour of the World Cup, or simply because your local has been invaded by desperate football fans, kicked out of the house by their Corrie-addicted wives (or, to give them their correct name, "traitors"). While doing the patriotic thing as part of this national bonding exercise, you do not want to expose yourself as new to the sport, or worse still, like so many of those wearing brand new Chelsea shirts, a bandwagon jumper.

So, ever the helpful blogger, here are a few things you might find it wise not to say during the World Cup:

* Why don't they just give them a ball each?
* Are they playing nine holes or eighteen?
* Oh, the referee's so biased
* Which one's Gazza?
* "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, coming forth to carry me home"
* You mean Sven Goran Erikkson's not English?
* So, why aren't Chelsea in this?
* Good kick! How many points do you get for a goal?
* What if a player needs to do a poo?
* Come on Freddie Flintoff! / That Jonny Wilkinson's got a smashing arse

Plz to add more.

Even if you keep your mouth shut, however, you will almost certainly find yourself betrayed by your body language. This is because football supporters, like freemasons, have a secret hand signal that only fellow fans can understand. Non-acolytes will find themselves flapping about like a nun at the World Masturbation Championships, exposed, for all to see, as an outsider.

So, risking the wrath of my fellow troglodytes, here is a brief lesson on how to go "You're shit AAAAAGH!" like a true pro. Given literally minutes of practice, you too will be abusing easily-confused opposition strikers like you've been doing it all your life.

Watch and learn: The correct way. Note stiff wrist, pivoting around just one axis, with a good loud "Aaaaaagh!" The supremely skilled may wish to add the words "you tosser" as a closing statement.

The incorrect way. Note confused manner, wrist all over the place and lack of quality "Aaaaagh-age". Probably thinks Queens Park Rangers are the Her Majesty's gardeners.

Tomorrow: the offside law in twenty-seven easy-to-understand lessons, by Offside Master Lobsang Beckenbauer.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Sod the Spurs

Sod the Spurs

Scene: The 0905 Virgin Trains service from Edinburgh Waverley to Bournemouth. My heart sinks as my hopes for a table seat to myself are dashed firstly by some loud, wittering woman, then by a mother and her hyperactive six-year-old son in an England football shirt. Ah well: Adopt, Adapt, Improve.

I ignored them as best I could, but soon found myself ear-wigging as shouty woman earnestly tried to strike up a conversation with the brat:

Wittering Woman, striking up a conversation: "So, d'you like football then?"

Kid: "Yeah."

WW: "Who's your favourite player then?"

Kid: "Owen."

WW: "Oh! Why's that? Don't you prefer Beckham or Rooney?"

Kid: "Newcastle."

WW: "So, you like Alan Shearer as well then?"

Kid: "S'pose. Retired."

WW: "I support Tottenham Hotspur. They're my favourite team. What d'you think of the Spurs?"

Kid: "Fuckin' wankers."

Kid's mum: "......!"


By way of reward, I gave him my last Jaffa Cake.

It being World Cup week, the rest of this week's posting may or may not contain a football theme, which will, inevitably, result in the most enormous number of swears. Excellent!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Mirth and Woe: The Drugs Don't Work

The Drugs Don't Work

My brain is obviously wired up all wrong. All the recreational substances I have ever sampled have left me completely unmoved.

I once did speed, and everything actually slowed down.

Engulfed in a cloud of cannabis smoke, and surrounded by giggling buddies, my mind was always, always focused in dreadful clarity, taking in every last detail.

I daren't take anything else, for fear that they are actually joke shop pills that give you the squirts, turn you tongue blue or make you into a ladyboy. Or possibly all three.

I have, in my time experienced positively no reaction from any wacky baccy, funny pills or giggling powder that has been offered to me, while all around me all kinds of illegality and immorality has taken place.

Life's a bastard like that. Or quite excellent, depending on your point of view. I veer towards the latter, because I value what few shreds of my sanity that remain.

Not so my companions at a football match a few years ago.

We drove up to Merseyside in a clapped out Ford Escort, the car filled with a fug of smoke of different varieties. Completely unmoved, and fearing for our safety, I ended up driving, thus costing me a small fortune in teeny Scouse car park minders. You've got to pay 'em up front - anything could happen to your car while you're away if you don't, the little shits. Not so the Brummie version, who accept payment on your return, and after all these years, they still haven't made a penny.

So, while I sat in the away end at Everton feeling cheated at the fact that large quantities of pills and doobage had produced the usual zero effect, all my companions were having a whale of a time watching the most dour, pointless end-of-season football match I had ever witnessed.

There's nothing funny about the Arsenal back four at the best of times, but the others where literally rolling in the aisles, while I was cold, wet, bored and disappointed by the quality of the meat pies.

It did come to a head, however, when one of my poor, poor somewhat-under-the-influence friends was shown the exit by some extremly burly stewards who had clearly seen enough on both the pitch and in the stands, and decided the best way to warm themselves up was to start throwing blitzed cockneys out onto the streets to an uncertain future at the hands of the waiting scallies.

Poor, poor Mike. We found him, a gibbering wreck, at five o'clock, huddled against the car in Stanley Park, tears in his eyes, doling out free cigarettes to a gang of lightly-armed twelve-year-olds.

Only one word would pass his lips.



We slapped him around a bit until he came to his senses, and found that he had possibly sold the Escort to a teeny crime lord to buy his silence.

There was a funny smell, too.

It was several days before he could bring himself to tell us why he had genuinely shat his own pants, in public, at a football match.

In lieu of a slice of orange and a cup of tea, Neville "Binman" Southall, the already big-boned Everton goalkeeper, had spent much of the first half growing to epic proportions, and had then tried to eat him as a half-time snack.

Of course, having a panic attack over a fifty-foot Neville Southall trying to climb into the stand, bite your head off and suck out your innards, does tend to single you out a bit in a crowd. Tony Cottee on the other hand, had shrunk down to the size of an ant, and had eventually disappeared. Much like his football career.

If that's what drugs do to your brain, then I am happy to remain relatively sane.

There is, of course, a dreadful moral to all this:


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Inappropriate Productions present again, again

Inappropriate Productions present again, again

We've done Nazi television, we've done Soviet television, and Gods it was excellent if I say so myself.

And now, Inappropriate Productions sponsored by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh throws political correctness to the four winds and asks "What's on Chinese TV this week?" I am particularly looking forward to Hong Kong Phooey - Number One Special Economic Zone Guy.

* The Egg Foo Yung Ones
* Stars in their Slitty Eyes (Don't blame me, this is one of Misty's)
* The Weakest Chink (and you can blame Nigle for this one)

* Tianenmen Street
* FarEastEnders
* Five Year Plan-et of the Apes

* Doctor Fu
* Ming Dynasty
* Subtle one, this: 24 (Special Fried Rice)

And from my layabout friends in Another Place:

* Peking Practice
* Jackie Channel 4 News
* Szechuan Foot in the Grave

* Teriyaki & June
* Quantum Reap, or Quantum Great Leap Forward
* The Applentice

* Peking Up Appearances
* Shanghai-de-Hi!
* Dad's Terracotta Army

Suggest me up!

I'll never get served in the Lucky Golden Shower, ever again.

Thursday vote-o? Errr.... HEY! Look over there! Lightly-oiled Kate Humble! *legs it*

Serious Face

Q. Why shouldn't you wear Ukrainian underwear?
A. Because Chernobyl fallout.

TV's Mr Biffo recently visited the scene of the 1986 nuclear disaster. Read it: here.