Tuesday, July 31, 2007

On complaining

On complaining

Every now and then you come across some useless bunch of workshy brigands who exist only to remove money from your pocket and expect you to go away happy no matter how crap is their service.

Every now and then I snap:

Dear Useless Workshy Cunt of an Internet Service Provider Sir,

I recently switched my broadband provision to your company.

I was assured at the point of sale that this would be a seamless process, and that I would not notice the change between providers.

My previous account was closed on 25th July.

As of the time of writing, I have not received my modem/router and I am unable to access the internet. I have been told by your phone centre that the equipment is not dispatched until after the account has been activated, and that can take "three to five working days".

This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, "seamless".

Your website says that the gap in service should be "approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours on the day of the switchover", which has given us a right old laugh in our household.

Clearly, if this is the kind of premier league muppetry I can come to expect from you people, I'd rather not be a customer, thank you very much.

Yours, Duck (Scary)

I care little for their reply. It's getting it off your chest that counts.

Tomorrow: An all-new condensed film, you lucky, lucky people. LOLOLOLZ

Monday, July 30, 2007

On being crap at golf

On being crap at golf

My name is S. Duck and I am a golf addict. It has been two days since I last went to the driving range.

Mark's rather good blog has reminded me that I haven't bored you all to death with news of my excellent golfing prowess of months.

I am an excellent golfer, as you all know, having hardly killed anybody at all on the course. I have not, however, quite reached the level of Golf Bore where you cannot drive past a course without saying the words "Oooh, Golf!", slowing down to about 15mph while you pass criticism some random bloke's swing.

I have never done this. Ever.

OK. I'll confess. I'm actually shit at golf. Really, awfully, badly shit. Even Scaryduck Junior pwn3d me at golf recently, on his first ever round. It wasn't even beginner's luck. I thrashed around like some horribly thrashy thing while the Boy laughed at me. The shame.

Worst of all is that I know I am shit. I know this because proper golf grown-ups told me so.

There I was, bumbling about in the traditional style, knocking all the balls I had stolen from the driving range down rabbit holes and into passing water features, when this bloke clad in a sensible wind-cheater and sharply-creased plaid trousers jumped out on us at the fifth tee. It was the club pro.

"I've been watching youse," he said in a manner that suggested he was quite happy to take our green fees, but less than happy with what we were actually doing to his greens. "Stop being so shit."

"Right. Right you are. What do you suggest?"

This was the wrong question.

"Just... stop it."

God, I love playing golf.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

On walking 1,000 miles

On walking 1,000 miles

I've always suspected that the vast majority of my readership are a bunch of complete mentalists, and this goes to proves that I am right.

As it happens, our very own Mosher is just about to embark on an epic 1,000 mile walk in aid of helping street kids in Vietnam.

Iain left his life as a computer whisperer last year to travel the world, and has decided to walk the last thousand miles of his tour to collect money for the Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Children's Foundation which provides education, medical help and shelter for impoverished children; and rescuing them from the curse of child labour.

Starting on the 1st August, he'll be walking from Monaco to Newcastle via just about everywhere in Western Europe, and will, I gather be making special arrangements for the tricky part of crossing the North Sea without drowning himself to death.

Impressively, Iain's already sorted out several discounts and sponsors for his hideous ordeal, and now he wants your money.

Go: HERE. Promise cash. Then - and here's the tricky part - actually open your wallet and give it.

So mote it be.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Marathon Man

Mirth and Woe: Marathon Man

Regular readers of these Friday Tales of Mirth and Woe may have noticed by now a recurring theme in which the main protagonists experience some sort of extraordinary genital-crushing trauma, resulting in their vomiting copiously, and with comic effect, into a nearby hedgerow.

Unlikely - and dare I say, shocking - as it may sound, the vast majority of these hideous explosions of stomach contents are embellishments of otherwise true tales of woe, added to the clamouring demands of my readership because, vomit, alas, is expected in this day and age of faked television and fixed phone-in quizzes.

It is, I am afraid to say, highly unlikely that any grown man should chuck lumps into a passing hedge, and I am beginning to suspect that it is a practice so rare as to be completely unknown.

That was my opinion, at least, until last Sunday.

I am still, you will be pleased to hear, working this turgid fitness and dieting thing out of my system. I've lost about a stone and a half (21 pounds, or ten kilos to you foreigns with your satanic weights and measures) and have taken up running in a big way. It's far cheaper than the gym, gets you out of the house, and you often run away from a better class of hooligan.

In an attempt to put some distance into my running, I rely on the lovely Mrs Duck to drive me out into the middle of nowhere, abandon me like a senile relative, and expect me to run home without hopping on a bus. Tight as a duck's arse, I refuse to give my money to Mr First Buses, so running it is.

On Sunday, this involved throwing me out of a speeding car in Easton Square on the cousin-marrying, useless-workshy-cunt-of-a-builder-harbouring Isle of Portland, a good five miles from home. Right in the middle of ASBO country, where mono-brows and shell suits are de rigeur, and conversation is limited to "Whatchoo looking at caahnt?"

If I ever needed any motivation to get my arse into gear and get running, this was certainly it.

And run I did. Happily, from Portland back to the mainland is downhill all the way. The road north from Easton takes you past Portland Heights, down through Fortuneswell, Chiswell, and the long, long stretch of the causeway that seperates the Island from the mainland, which can be easily blocked off if any of the residents try to escape.

Fuck me stupid, it's a long way. In fact, I had completely under-estimated the distance, and frankly, by the time I got off the island I was clearly hallucinating. As I snapped out of a vision of Ann Noreen Widdecombe in Lycra with the words "For heavens sake woman, swallow it, it's only porridge" ringing in my ears, I narrowly avoided stepping under the wheels of one of the huge lorries taking stone from the local quarries, and this tale would never have been told at all.

Happily, and quite some time later, I eventually reached Ferrybridge, and turned right along the seafront, knowing there was but a mile and a bit to go. In fact, by the time I was within the last half-a-mile, I was experiencing something of a second wind, and decided to make the run a bit more challenging.

I hung a right and took a slight detour down St David's, a road that takes you down a steep river valley and up the other side.


The words "dead on my feet" could not do justice to the aftermath of that 400 yards of awful uphill doom. Weird shapes danced in front of my eyes, and on the very periphery of my sight and vision, a voice was calling out for me to come into the light. A light that sounded all rather inviting, had I not subsequently been forced to summon what little reserves of energy I had left to fight off a deranged boxer dog and its equally rabid owner.

"What a cute puppy," I thought to myself. Until I realised what it was chewing on: my arm.

I fled for my life, rounding the corner to find myself in my own street, and panting heavily outside my neighbour's house.

My neighbour's house, where there was a large, shaggy privet hedge.

I don't know what came over me. It was almost certainly the ill-advised Snickers bar the night before, a special treat for losing so much weight over the previous month. Add this to a heavier-than-necessary breakfast, and before I knew it, I was bowking rich, brown vomit into Steve's hedgerow.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" I heard myself saying, repeating the onomatopoeia I have typed on these pages dozens of times before, coming round to marvel at the glistening beauty of fresh chunder in the glow of the morning sun.

'Comes up peanuts, slice after slice', as the old advertising slogan went. How right they were.

And then the seagulls came.

By then, I was already home, sitting, head in my hands in the back garden, taking great gulps of air as I recovered from my long-distance ordeal.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARCH!" I said again, only more so.



Oh. I appear to have been sick on sweet little Lucy Minogue. Poor dog.

"Om nom nom nom."

The puppy thought it was dinner time, apparantly. Good dog.

"Om nom nom nom burp LOL"

"What is it girl? Is Timmy trapped in a hedge?"

Luckily, I managed to hide the worst of it, and the gorgeous Mrs Duck will never, ever find out. Unless she reads this, of course. I fear she'll handle it like a cow with a rifle.

Also, big, rock-hard Steve the prison officer will never find out who spoiled his Sunday. A Sunday where he decided to take his electric trimmer and tidy up his front hedge.


I can still hear it, clear as day.


I can still hear that Black and Decker making short work of the ragged privet.


I can still hear him singing to himself as he went happily about his task.


I can still hear the exact moment when...


I didn't hear anything else. I was hiding under my bed.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

On poo, for a change

On poo, for a change

Yesterday, as I bade my colleagues a good evening, I left the office, to find this not entirely pleasant sight greeting me in the car park:

Aaargh!Charming. I know what you're thinking: either Scary drives a ridiculously small automobile, or, there is a bird flying around the Home Counties of England with an arse like a wizard's sleeve.

I can assure you, dear reader, that I drive a standard-sized, clapped out Ford Escort; and my certainty that there is no bird on God's Earth capable of a direct hit of such nuclear proportions has been utterly shaken to the core.

It is, I believe, a message. A turd-shaped message coming by way of revenge for an earlier post on these pages.

At first, I thought it to be the work of irate seagulls, worked into a frenzy over the bad press they got in last Friday's Tale of Mirth and Woe.

But no. Your average seagull, evil rat-with-wings that it is, just wouldn't have it in him. An albatross, perhaps.

Then it struck me, and the boys in Scaryduck Labs confirmed the awful truth with the latest Bird Poop DNA technology.

Owl blerk. From owls. Magic owls.

This can only mean one thing.

Rowling: You're a cow. I'm gonna get you if it's the last thing I do.

I am not mad.

On vomit

I saw this on the way to work in Reading this morning: A car pulling up to a set of traffic lights, the driver opening the car door, leaning out, and spewing rich, brown vomit onto the street, before closing the door and driving off at speed. And the lights were still red. Bloody disgraceful.

While my shattered nerves recover, there will be no Thursday vote-o today. Instead, I shall allow you to suggest lines for a specially-prepared Tale of Mirth and Woe, which features, you will be pleased to hear, a genuine example of the main protangonist being sick inna hedge.

And ...err... onna cute ickle puppy.


Get in there!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Funny Movies Vote-o Post

The Funny Movies Vote-o Post

The Observer recently published the results of yet another survey to find the funniest film ever. Hardly surprisingly, Monty Python's Life of Brian cleaned up, simply because it genuinely is one of the funniest films ever made. If you don't think so, you smell of poo. And old man's wee.

Of course, there's nothing quite so unfunny as discussing comedy, but the list itself bears scrutiny not only for what makes the top fifty, but also for what's been left out.

Where, for example, is the pants-pissingly funny Ghostbusters? Did they somehow mix it up with the about-as-funny-as-ebola The Big Lebowski instead? And Meet the Fockers? American Pie? Really? Have the vote-wielding Guardianistas gone bat-shit fucking mental?

Top ten:

1. Life of Brian
2. Airplane!
3. This Is Spinal Tap
4. Some Like It Hot
5. Withnail and I
6. Blazing Saddles
7. The Big Lebowski
8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
9. Duck Soup
10. Young Frankenstein

Rest of the list: HERE

I often wonder whether films make this list on reputation alone, voted for by people who have never actually seen them. I have rented movies based on the recommendation of friends ("This is the funniest film ever!") and barely cracked a smile throughout. Either humour is totally subjective, or I have very strange friends.

I dare say a similar vote in The Sun or Take a Break magazine would look completely different, and would feature the entire canon of the filmic craft of Jim Carrey and Eddie Murphy coupled with whatever was on the TV last Saturday.

Oh bollocks, let's take it to the vote: What are your Top Three funniest movies? And more to the point - your worst ever so-called comedy?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

On revealing the most memorable moment in your life

On revealing the most memorable moment in your life

Last week, Scaryduck Junior left his primary school of four years and steeled himself for a long, hard summer of red-hot Playstation action before that challenge of secondary school.

To mark this transition, the school held its annual leavers' assembly, where the Year Six kids sit with their parents in a nostalgic look back at their years of bullying, fighting, disappointment and occasional learning within the establishment.

Part of this assembly included a montage of interviews put together by the school's journalism club. This was - rather appropriately - called "My most memorable moment", pupils and teachers alike holding forth on their achievements in their otherwise mundane lives.

Most were not up to much, and mainly included prowess on the sports field, the collection of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards or sadly, endeavour in the classroom.

All except Mrs Spode. Mrs Spode, the school's special needs teacher with a particular remit to stamp out bullying. Mrs Spode who wouldn't otherwise say boo to a small, rather timid goose.

"Mrs Spode?" asked a disembodied child's voice at the end of a microphone, "What was the most memorable moment in your life?"

"Ah yes. It was a long time ago, when I was at convent school. I was having a bad day, and I did one thing that made me feel much, much better. I punched a nun."

"You... you did what?"

"I swung round and POW! I punched her right on the nose. That penguin went down like a ton of bricks."

"Oh. Right. Thank you Mrs Spode."

My most memorable moment in life was finding out Scaryduck Junior - spawn of my loins - had been kicked out of School Journalists' Club.

That's me boy!

What then, are you most proud of?

Monday, July 23, 2007

On fake television

On fake television

Once again television has been lambasted in the media after being found out over creative editing and competition fixing.

Sure, the Queen didn't storm out in a huff after all, Gordon Ramsay faked scenes for The F Word and poor, dead Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq won a dream holiday in the Caribbean after she won a Blue Peter phone-in competition, or something.

And so what? Does the average viewer give a shit? They do not. They care not whether Paul Potts cannot sing a note, even after six months of very expensive tuition in an Italian opera school - just as long as they're entertained and reach the next advert break without having to change channel. The poor bastards.

But now we are faced with The New Puritanism, and we need, as poor, dead Jade Goody would have said "escape goats". No heads ever rolled over bands miming on Top of the Pops. Surely it is not too late to bump off Jimmy Savile over this awful scandal that has blighted the BBC for years?

If only the print media - who have never made up a story EVER - knew what really goes on behind the scenes. With nothing to lose, we blow the lid off the foul, stinking pit that is the modern television industry. You, dear reader, must decide if these people should live or die:

* Big Brother is a carefully scripted and relentlessly rehearsed big budget drama with dozens of blogs, internet messageboards and websites created by an army of public relations staff. "Stars" such as the horribly unrealistic Charley (played by classically-trained actress Felicity Fotherington-Thomas) signing long-term contracts so they remain "in character" long after the production has ceased

* Sooty, Sweep and Soo are all puppets with a man's hand up their bottoms, with original scripts revolving around their love of "fisting". Whatever that is

* All news bulletins are recorded a week in advance. Sir Trevor McDoughnut has been in on the scam from day one.

* Infamous fly-on-the-wall documentary EastEnders has been scripted since that unfortunate business with Arthur Fowler, Ethel's Little Willy and a pole-dancing club

* Popular variety show Noel's house Party was pulled from the schedules after it emerged that the programme was not recorded in Noel's actual house, but in the home of an elderly, incontinent relative who they dressed in a large, pink rubber costume, cruelly parading him in front of the cameras every week to the hoots of the audience

* Doctor Who failed his medical exams in 1857, 1869, 1902, 1928, 1967 and 2038

Now that I've had a chance to think about it, it all makes perfect sense. I mean, there is no way on God's Earth that Jade Goody's for real. Is there?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Seagulls

Mirth and Woe: Seagulls

In 1942 and the early part of 1943, Barnes Wallis came down to Weymouth. There, he and his airborne chums tested the revolutionary bouncing bomb in the Fleet Lagoon behind the village of Wyke Regis, not 400 yards away from where I would, one day, send my children to school.

Aside from the tremendously tenuous coincidence that I was taught maths - quite badly, as it turned out - by Barnes Wallis's flawed genius of a son, it appears that the local wildlife watched and learned from the great man's experiments in targeting. For sixty years later, on the very same spot, came woe.

Allow me to hand over control of this tale of mirth and woe to Number One Son, who is excellent:

Hello. I am Scaryduck Jr, and I am still excellent.

Yesterday was my last ever day in Junior School, and I am now free of that dump until I start at an even bigger dump in September. Now that I am no longer there, it is safe to tell you this story.

It was a sunny afternoon less than a week ago. We were in our last term at school, and virtually every day was an outing to our new schools, primary college week at Weymouth College and a chance to play on what my Dad insists on calling the hallowed turf of Weymouth Football Club, whatever that means.

Don't listen to him. He is very mad.

One afternoon, we arrived back in school from an outing to find that the Year Five pupils were in our classrooms meeting their new teachers for next term. Some lucky people are getting Mr Payne-in-the-bum, who is a part-time magician and boy band singer, who is hoping to win the X Factor.

Our headmaster came out and made us sit in lines in the playground, and we had to wait quietly until the Year Fives were finished. He is a terrible Spurs supporter, just like my best friend Jim. My Dad says this is a life choice he made at an early age, which doesn't make him a bad person. Dad says he would still wee on him if he was on fire, because he's nice like that.

Anyway, as we sat waiting, a load of seagulls that live on the school roof flew down and started pecking at our school lunches. We have special trolleys where we put our lunches in the mornings, and these are wheeled out at lunchtimes and at the end of the day.

Our terrible seagulls know there's food on the trolleys, and as soon as our backs are turned will come along and try to steal what they can. Before we knew it, there were at least six birds pecking at Jim's half-open Tottenham lunchbox, doubling its value.

The Head heard the squawking with his incredible teacher's ears that can hear a whisper at the back of a classroom, and turned to shoo the seagulls away.

"Shoo!" he said to them, waving his arms in the air, "Shooo-oo-ooo!"

It was a pair of shoos.

The birds knew they were in trouble, and with a flap off their wings, they were away. All except one, stupidly brave seagull. Instead of making for its nest on the school roof, it took off like a rocket, and flew straight at the Head's head.

"Squaaaaaaawk!" it said, before peeling away at the last moment.

People who live in Weymouth keep telling me that it is good luck to get pooped on by a seagull. They must be complete mentals because until I saw what happened next, I couldn't think of anything worse.

The seagull swooped right over the Head, and let go with the biggest spurt of poop I had ever seen in my life. The Head was looking up, and he got it right in the face.

No. I am wrong. He got it right in the mouth.

"Mwaaaaaargh!" he said, wavng his arms about like a big, bald windmill.


We did a great big LOL. Some of us also did a ROFL, too, which just made him worse.

"MWAAAAAARGH! I suppose you think that's funny!" he shouted, spitting white bits all over the playground.

Yes. Yes we did.

Then he ran away to be sick in a hedge.

Now back to my awful Dad to tell you what he saw of this most excellent spectacle.

So. There I was sitting on a low wall in the Boy's school playground, waiting for the Head to usher the kids into their classroom and then let them finish for the day. Utter waste of time. The kids are there. Their coats and bags are in the cloakroom, and their lunchboxes are all sitting on the seagull-infested lunch trolley.

My mind is elsewhere, however.

Although I am a happily married man, and am above such behaviour, I find myself distracted by the sight of one of the other parents. Not exactly what I'd call a Yummy Mummy (the only Yummy Mummy I know being, of course, the fragrant Mrs Duck, who is the Yummiest Mummy, ever), the Sigourney Weaver lookalike was parading around the school playground in a mini-skirt that can only be described as a particularly wide belt.

Directly in front of me, and in the full sight of several other parents - both male and female - she bent over to pick up a carelessly discarded sweet wrapper in a display of public spirit that cannot go unrewarded in these environmentally conscious times. She bent over, revealing a pair of utterly bare, peachy - yet slightly sagging - buttocks. It would be a full moon that night, dear reader, for S. Weaver-a-like was going commando.

On the Scaryduckworth-Lewis Scale of Rating Things for Excellence, I would have given them an average score of 11: Susie Dent in shiny black rubber mini-dress, looking up swears in the dictionary while Carol Vorderman rubs herself against a bollard for 'one easy, monthly payment' , for there was a spot on the right one. This cost dearly in the points department, for 16: Kate Humble in a wet T-shirt competition clearly beckoned.

"Meep!" I said.

"Jesus!" said a shocked female voice.

"Meep!" I said again, noting a couple of spider's legs appearing between her legs.

"Jesus! It's an arse!"


"Oh, you smelly moo."

Meanwhile, not far away, all hell was breaking loose. The Headmaster appeared to be flailing about in his apparent death-throes, while the best part of fifty kids were screaming with laughter.

Couldn't have been that interesting.

For I saw a lady's back bottom. And it spoke to me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The '100% genuine Harry Potter leak' post

The '100% genuine Harry Potter leak' post

You may have noticed that the final Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - reaches bookshops around the world this weekend on a wave of hype.

You may also have noticed the enormous secrecy surrounding the plot of the book and the increasingly frantic attempts by JK Rowling and her publishers to keep the storyline off the internet.

So, with a gleeful shout of "OMFG LOLZ!", I have secured - at no little expense from an A+++++++ Ebay seller - a 100% completely and utterly genuine copy of the last page of the new novel as written on the back of a fifty pound note by JK Rowling herself.

Rowling's legals may actually nail my genitals to the pavement for this, but:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Hermione scurried across the Great Hall at Hogwarts, through the secret door and up the stairs to her luxurious chambers, where she slumped into her favourite chair by the roaring fire. She shivered, and Maximus slipped out to do whatever it is cats get up to on cold, winter evenings.

And thoughts of poor, dead Ron, Ginny, Hagrid, Snape and the final battle filled her scarred mind once again. Every night for how long? Twenty years. That long. All those friends, all of them gone.

The passage of time had not blurred her memories of those extraordinary days. She could hear Harry's dying screams and see the leer on Ron's agonised, twisted face as he forced the stake into his former friend's black, black heart every time she closed her eyes.

Poor Ron. His limbs, torso, and finally his sweet, sweet face turned to stone even as he forced the stake home and Hermione cast that final spell that tore the very life and soul from Harry Potter's evil, corrupt body.

Those seven years she had known Potter, fought and played alongside him. Those jolly wheezes escaping from the masters and Filch the caretaker. Those rum adventures as Griffindor won the House Cup. The months of screaming, spine-tearing terror as their young lives led up to that final good-against-evil battle. And it was all for lies.

How Harry had tricked her, used his dark magic to pull the wool over all their eyes. All that time they were running afraid of Voldemort, when the real evil was right in front of her, plotting, scheming, running his hands through her hair and over her pert, young breasts. Taking her. Taking her for everything she had.

She swallowed hard at the memory, but the acid taste of her last meal still filled her mouth as she fought the nausea.

And still she remembered how she enjoyed him at the time, for the young Potter certainly knew how to use that wand of his. But how the joy turned to despair as fast as he introduced her naked, yielding flesh to the sickening lusts of the Death Eaters. Even that had been fun, in its own way.

Compare that to the sweet, kind Voldemort she now knew. The caring, thoughtful man who had finally shown the dreadful Potter for what he was - the parent-slaying, rank, disgusting, perverted youth, filled with the ancient, evil magic that comes with a life of depravity.

Potter was The Boy Who Lived, to be sure. The boy who lived to destroy.

"Mum?" said the figure at the door, "Are you alright?"

"I… I'm fine. I'm just remembering again."

He was a handsome man, now almost twenty years old. Round-rimmed glasses like his father, but caring and thoughtful where Harry had been violent and cold.

"I'm just going out. It's curry night at The Three Broomsticks."

Aye, and no doubt there'll be a stripper, too, and a punch-up on the way home in the early hours. Just like his old dad, then, before those cleansing fires consumed his still twitching body.

But she could never have had that abortion, and, as Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, she knew it would be for the best to keep what remains of that ancient evil nearby, where she could see it. Where she could strike it down should it return.

As Harold left, the door to her bed chamber opened. Tom. Tom Voldemort, her beloved. The one man who kept her sane. Tom Voldemort, headmaster of Hogwarts. He was good, she smiled, remembering wistfully, but he would never be as good as the Weasley twins.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied, a knowing look on her face, "Harold's out for the evening."

"Good. Good. I've cast 'Engorgio' for you."

Hermione smiled. She wouldn't walk for a week.

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Topical! And ironic!

Topical! And ironic!

Should TV phone-in competitions be scrapped?

Dial 09011 69 69 69 69 to register your vote (£1.50/min)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

How Manky Are You?

How Manky Are You?

As the world plummets headlong into the new age of puritanism, it appears that one can no longer aspire to the manly art of mankiness. Well, bollocks to that, we say. What is a man if he can no longer be a filthy scrote? Or a woman, for that matter.

In these trying times, we have launched a worldwide survey to find out, exactly, how manky you all are on the scientifically approved Benny Hill Scale of Personal Filth.

Remember - it's not just the stuff you do, it's the lifestyle. Just ask P. Doherty of Blandford Forum, last year's lucky Mank Survey winner. Mr Doherty is still enjoying his prize - a night out with Kate Moss - which has now lasted 10 months.

Instructions: Score one point for each statement that applies to you. Add 'em up and look up your Mank Rating in the handy reference table below.


Bad language implies a limited education and a limited vocabulary, say our puritan masters. Well, shit on that. Score one point for each of the words that you use regularly:

- Tit
- Bollocks
- Arse
- Flange
- Spacker
- Shit
- Fuck
- Cunt
- Fucking cunt
- Cock-badger
Score bonus points for the location of your swearing:

- In the privacy of your own home
- On the internet
- In the street
- In a crowded shop
- At work (five extra points if you are a librarian)
- In church (five points)
- In church if you are a member of the clergy (ten points)
- On National TV, at a national commemoration service for the victims of a particularly gruesome disaster, attended by senior members of the Royal Family (ten thousand points)

Nobody likes a drunk. Unless they are a happy drunk who gets up to wacky comedy japes to the amusement of those around you. Can YOU take your ale?

- Drunk
- Falling down drunk
- Falling down drunk with vomit
- Falling down drunk with vomit and accidental urination
- Falling down drunk with vomit and accidental urination and public nudity
- Arrested for drunkenness
- Stomach pump (you big wuss - lose a point)

Gnargh! There go your clothes. Again. But in front of how many witnesses?

- Nobody noticed
- 1-3 people
- Up to ten people
- Small crowd of curious, though strangely disgusted onlookers
- Running across the pitch at a major sporting event
- On National TV, at a national commemoration service for the victims of a particularly gruesome disaster, attended by senior members of the Royal Family (ten thousand points)

Only the entirely manky can live without using the facilities provided. Please wash your hands. Or not. Your choice.

You've done a poo. Where?

- In the toilet
- In a toilet reserved for the opposite sex
- In a toilet reserved for disabled people of the opposite sex
- Outside a chip shop
- Inside a chip shop
- In a Tesco carrier bag
- On somebody else
- On a celebrity
- On a member of the Royal family at a national commemoration service for the victims of a particularly gruesome disaster

You filthy wanker. Where, exactly, has the bishop been bashed?

- In the privacy of your own home
- On the kitchen table
- On the kitchen table at dinner time
- At work (twenty bonus points if you cracked one out in the board room)
- On the main stage at Glastonbury Festival
- Front row, national commemoration service etc etc etc

And now we moved onto the advanced stuff.

Have you ever, like… you know… done it? With a lady? Or, if you are a lady, with a man?

If so, send pictures. For research purposes. Yes. Research.

- Yes. Yes I have.
- With an A-list celebrity (five points)
- Paris Hilton (zero points)
- Ann Noreen Widdecombe, over the bonnet of a Ford Escort at a popular Kentish dogging spot, whilst telling horrified, yet strangely transfixed onlookers that "It's just something to practice on, right?" (all the points in the world)

Tot up your score, and by using random numbers picked from a Chinese Takeaway menu, turn it into a percentage. How, we say, how manky are you?

0-30%: You are this: not manky. In fact, you certainly live a hopelessly sheltered life and are probably unaware that you possess genetalia.

30-55%: You may think that you are manky, but that copy of Fiesta in your bedside cabinet and a pair of crusty Y-Fronts aren't going to fool anyone. I bet you wash your hands after touching a vicar.

55-80%: Impressive. You are Mank with a capital M, and are probably on first name terms with most of your local magistrates. When projectile vomiting becomes an Olympic Sport, you'll be right up there in the medals.

80-99%: I bow down in your presence, Lord High King of Mank, except you'd probably chuck lumps on the back of my head. Clergy, small fluffy animals and Jerry Springer bodyguards fell as you approach. Your corrupting influence defines the vision of Hell for at least three major religions, while the US Government has promoted you to "Axis of Really, Really Evil". Jolly well done.

100%: You are Kate Moss. Or John Leslie. Or the hideously cruel and disfigured offspring of the two. You scare me. Have you ...um... got any plans for this evening?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous

On rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous

We have, at some time in our lives, all wanted to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Here's how it's done in four easy-to-follow steps:

1. Identify your target. Have a copy of Who's Who to hand for reference

2. Ensure that the Rubbee is a) rich, b) famous and c) at approximate shoulder height to yourself

3. Inspect for dandruff, excessive 80s-style shoulder-pads

4. Go for the kill. Barge in. Rub shoulders. Insert vol-au-vent up bottom if the opportunity arises. Leave.

"So," I hear you ask, "With whom did you rub shoulders with last week?"

I'm glad you asked me that, for my shoulder-rubbing mission was a complete and utter fiasco.

Although the target was indeed both exceedingly rich and incredibly famous, he remained seated for the whole evening and his shoulders remained horribly unavailable for the good, hard rubbing they deserved. And worse - my sad, limp vol-au-vent went unused.

So, R. Gervais* got away from Saturday's family wedding piss-up utterly scot-free, his shoulders unrubbed and his gait unfettered by the finger buffet up the bunghole.

Instead, we spoke at length on the End of the World, his part in the forthcoming apocalypse, and why the people running the bar ought to be the first into the firey pit of Hell.

The stogie of GervaisThen, I stole his cigar butt.

It being rather below me to flog it on Ebay, I have instead given it to Scaryduck Labs for purposes that can only be described as 'nefarious'.

By extracting the DNA of Britain's best known comedy dancer that's sort-of-related-to-Mrs-Duck we aim - thanks to tried-and-tested McDonald's Fruit Pie technology - to grow a dreadful wise-cracking Cigar/R. Gervais hybrid that tells jokes and breaks every anti-smoking law in the country.

Then, when the gag-telling stogie - hand-rolled on the virgin thighs of dusky Cuban senoritas - is large enough and making a number of prime-time, award-winning television comedies based on the concept of 'embarrassment humour', I will barge in, rub shoulders with the nicotine-fuelled funnyman, and my mission will be complete.

Then, I shall smoke him.

R. Gervais: Consider yourself shouldered. Not to mention vol-au-vented.

I am not mad.

W T and indeed F?I am merely avoiding the harmless snakes.

* He is, it turns out, my mother-in-law's brother-in-law's brother, which, when I've worked the maths through, makes him my sister. I think.

Monday, July 16, 2007

On relationships

On relationships

Relationships, they say, are never easy.

One day you're hammering away like rabbits, the next, you hear the dreaded words "We've got to talk" and before you know it, you've said completely the wrong thing and she's coming at you with the cordless drill your mother gave you as a moving-in-together present.

It is at times like that, when the last thing that goes through your head is "OMFG! I should have worn clean underwear today", you should really have noticed the signs leading up to this tragic and somewhat ironic last moment in your life.

Here's a few handy pointers to the fact that your relationship may not, in fact, be all sweetness and light:

1. Despite your reluctance to sleep in single beds, you arrive home to find two halves of a double and a still-warm chainsaw

2. She says: "It's not you, it's me. I think you're a cunt."

3. Your reply to the question "Does my bum look big in this?" is "Fuck, yes, like a barn."

4. You find your ultra-rare EMI pressing of the Sex Pistols' "God Save the Queen" now doubles as a drinks mat.

5. You have arrived at a point in your life where Jeremy Kyle is reading you the results of a DNA test in front of a studio audience.

6. She borrows your car for a date. And your lube.

7. When you foolishly ask "So, what do you want from this relationship?", her answer is not a million miles away from "George Clooney" and "That bloke from the Admiral car insurance adverts".

8. She starts charging you for sex. Again.

9. Her dresses are now too big for you.

10. She books a romantic table for two in a fancy restaurant, and takes her clockwork cucumber and three packs of spare batteries.

11. Her reply to "You love that dog more than you love me" is probably admissible evidence in a court of law.

12. That 'special sushi meal' she left for you while she and her buzzy friend were out enjoying a romantic meal for two wasn't, on closer inspection of your fish-tank, sushi.

13. You find her MySpace name is 42-DD-swinger, and she has 43,877 friends.

14. She owns a Coldplay CD.

15. The Cleveland Steamer has somehow found its way into your relationship. And it didn't end well for this pair, either

16. She's not terribly impressed with the spy cameras you've put in the bedroom, as they clash with her own subscription service.

17. "I've been chosen for Big Brother 9. See you in three months and don't you DARE tell the papers about the Cleveland Steamer."

My relationship is not on the rocks. She says so.

I am certain that you, dear readers, have more useful advice to add to this list, possibly involving washing-up liquid and door handles. Speak your brains!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Now that's what I call a scary duck

Now that's what I call a scary duck

More HERE and HERE, where we find that the monster measures in at about 75 feet tall.

But, as poor, dead Konnie Huq always used to say: "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye", and God she's right. Megaduck, they say, is unsinkable, so why bother with lifeboats?

This is a tragedy waiting to happen. Mark my words.

Now: allow me to go back to my glamorous life, hob-nobbing with the rich and famous. I am not making this bit up.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mirth and Woe: I was a Teenage Bomber II

Mirth and Woe: I was a Teenage Bomber II

100% of FACT: The terrorists you get these days are RUBBISH.

I remember a time when a nation quaked with fear at the very thought of the Provisional IRA, as their well-organised and murderously-skillful bomb-makers wrought havoc across the UK and Northern Ireland.

And what have we got now?

Crap, that's what.

After the horrific wake-up call that was 7th July 2005, the quality of terrorist in this country has taken a pretty shameful nose-dive. That's where the Provos had a bit of a head-start on today's terrorists - blowing yourself into little pieces wasn't part of the game-plan back then. No wonder getting decent recruits is a problem for today's terrorist tribute acts.

So, driving a Merc into a load of dustbins in central London with a boot full of petrol cans and 200 boxes of Swan Vestas does not a terrorist outrage make. The latest bunch of special needs suuicide bombers might be qualified doctors, but they clearly didn't listen in school. RUBBISH.

And good God, I should know.

The very first Tale of Mirth and Woe I ever wrote was a little number called "I was a Teenage Bomber" that did the rounds on the Danny Baker radio show and various internet discussion forums before it ended up here. It was the story of a young lad's misadventures with things that went bang and the woe that followed our inevitable bust by The Man, in the shape of a village copper on his push-bike.

After that little run-in with the Old Bill we vowed never to do that kind of thing ever again. And, apart from all that business with the hand grenade, the rockets, the fireworks and ...err... anything else of a flammable nature we could lay our paws on, we stuck by our vow to the word.

So, it came as little or no surprise to get a knock on my door one afternoon, and the usual call of "Is Scary coming out to play?" was replaced with a furtive "I've got something to blow up."

It was Geoff. Future research scientist, currently going through life as a complete lunatic.

On the back of his bike was something that looked very much like a propane gas cylinder.

"Err... Geoff, mate - what's that?"

"It's a propane camping gas cylinder."

"Oh. Right. You wanna be careful with that. You'll have someone's eye out."

"That is," he said, "the whole point."

Geoff had been cleaning out his dad's garage to earn a bit of pocket money, where he had found the half-full cylinder underneath a pile of old rags. He didn't need to ask twice. Nor did he need to ask me, but he did anyway.

"Are you going to help me blow it up, then?"

And so, we headed up to the woods towards White Waltham - where we were less likely to be fingered as "that pair of pyromaniacs", and set to work.

We tramped a good half a mile away from the road, carrying all the kit we had scrabbled together on the back of our bikes. Finding a likely spot as the woods gave way to fields, we dug a big hole in the ground and rolled the gas cylinder in with a gentle thud.

Then we buried it up to its neck in dirt, and added a few extras of our own. In this case, half a pound of weedkiller (the Provos' favourite, bought for us by an elderly neighbour who thought us keen gardeners) mixed with a packet of castor sugar half-inched out of our kitchen. A potent mix, and guaranteed to cause wanton havoc every time.

The piece de resistance - a coil of magnesium ribbon, on a long-term borrow from School Science Club, guaranteed to burn hot enough to set just about anything aflame, and all the Swan Vesta matches we could eat.

And having done all that, it was bloody hard work getting the gas to blow up, what with all the stupid safety features the manufacturers insist on building in to the bloody thing.

"You know, Scary," said Geoff as the magnesium ribbon failed to ignite for the third time, "I really think we've bitten off more than we can chew here. I might need to go home for the car battery and some of that filthy Irn-Bru muck."

"Tell you what, I'll go take a closer look. See if anything's started yet."

I crept out from our place behind a fallen tree, to see a pall of tell-tale white smoke rising from our Pit of Doom. A trail of smoke that suddenly burst into a blinding white light of burning weedkiller.

"Nah, I think we're...."



It was brilliant. Nearly as good as the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, only without the churchiness, the Michael Palin and the killer rabbit.

The heat nearly melted my parka coat to my back, and I watched as a large chunk of red hot metal - which turned out to be the gas canister's regulator valve - scooted past my head and embedded itself into a tree. Bits of it dropped to the ground as we stood there slackjawed and, to our dismay, slightly aroused.

And then... quiet. Flames licked around the pit, which was somewhat larger than before and was now doubling as an entrance to Hell.

It was quiet, primarily because I had been rendered totally and temporarily deaf from the explosion, a sound only matched by equally loud explosion in my trousers.

Silence, broken only by the ringing in our ears and the words:

"What the bloody hell's going on here?"

There we were, right out in the middle of nowhere, and what do we get? A farmer on the back of his tractor.

"This is moi land", he said in a country burr that he was clearly making up, "An' I'll bloody well take you in to the law if I get my hands on you pair. Come 'ere an' get what's coming!"

Also: "Ooo-aaar!"

We had absolutely no intention of going there and getting anything off anybody. So we legged it. We legged it to our bikes, and then charged off back to the road, and, eventually home.

Alas, the sound of an engine revealed our worst nightmare - Barleymow was after us on his tractor, and he followed us in a nightmare low-speed chase through Berkshire lanes and by-ways until we shook him off dashing in blind panic up a bridlepath.

There, completely exhausted, and smelling somewhat singed, we took stock of ourselves, and Geoff was sick in a hedge in the traditional manner.

"Never, ever again," he said, spittle down his front.

I agreed totally, and we both decided there and then that chemical reactions of that sort were best left in the school science block. A tad difficult, what with the place being declared off limits to after-hours clubs after the photographic society were caught masturbating in the science labs.

So, next day, there was a knock at the door.

"Hey, Scary, I've still got some of that weedkiller left."

And I countered with the discovery of a load of aerosol cans. The Great Smell of exploding Brut in the morning - smells like victory.

I've still got the scars, but it was OK though - hardly anyone died. No surrender!

That, Rubbish Terrorists, is how you blow things up. When you get out of the jug in 2047, you'll know better.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Nearly, but not quite, a Thursday vote-o

Nearly, but not quite, a Thursday vote-o

If there is one lesson from life that I have consistantly failed to learn, it is this:

* Remember to proof-read your blog posts, because you cannot spel for toffee, chiz chiz, because you will spend much of the following day receiving emails from people complaining about your awful spelling and grammar

I have, however, never received any complaints regarding my diction. Eh? Eh? Right.

In fact, this is not the lesson. The real, far more important lesson, which might, one day, have fatal consequences is this:

* For the love of buggery, remember to pull your trousers up BEFORE you flush the toilet

This dreadful going-to-the-toilet-in-the-wrong-order problem manifested itself once again yesterday, much to my horror, and of those in the neighbouring cubicles.

The release of several pounds of pungent nutty slack into the care of Thames Water confused me sufficiently to flush the lav mere micro-seconds before I bent over to - as they say in the most polite of circles - adjust my dress.

Result: A faceful. I will never learn.

The screams were sadly mistaken for the fire alarm, and that's never a good thing.

One day, I will do this whilst breathing in paticularly sharply and will undoubtedly receive enough crap-poisoning to finish me off for good. I will be found, face down in my own waste products, killed entirely to death by the undigested portion of a Ginsters Pasty.

It is surprisingly difficult to purchase insurance against such an eventuality, but those nice people at Norwich Union sold me a gimp mask to wear whenever I need to use a public toilet. Nothing at all can go wrong.

But enough of my bottom! I suppose you'll be wanting a Thursday vote-o.

Well, tough.

I've been too damn lazy, and too damn poisoned by doneing a poo to write anything this week, so you will mostly choosing from the following:

* I was a teenage bomber, part the second: A not untrue story of one lad's attempts to torch rural Berkshire back into the Dark Ages.

Instead, and after last week's total and utter triumph, I ask you for your words, phrases or sayings that I may add to the tale to enhance it for your reading pleasure.

Degree of difficulty: Ann Noreen Widdecombe does not appear in the story.

Get in there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Doctor's Note

Doctor's Note

Top hand shandy materialFans of my genitals - and I know there are thousands of you out there - will be pleased to hear the latest news bulletin regarding the ol' meat-and-two veg, which arrived in the form of a letter from Bridport Community Hospital.

I shall be conducting tours of The Mighty Mallet this weekend for interested parties, for which there may be a small fee.

The letter:

Dear Mr Duck

Vasectomy Service at Bridport Community Hospital

I refer to your vasectomy operation on 11th August 2005 at this hospital, in which I - having only met you for the first time some twenty minutes previously - hacked away at your most private and shaven of parts with a pair of old nail scissors and a kitchen knife. I'm sure you remember it. The cleaners most certainly do!

It was, I am sure you'll remember, a most excellent day, and I hope they'll let me do work experience again in the near future.

Whilst it is true to say that you looked down at exactly the wrong moment to find myself and a couple of sweet ladies of the night posing as nursing staff holding napkins and picking at your sliced open innards like a smorgasbord, all's well that ends well, and let's just let bygones be bygones, eh?

Setting that particular nastiness with the General Medical Council to one side, I am pleased to inform you that after receiving a number of samples from your good self, that there are no motile sperms present and the operation can, somehow, be deemed a success.

My first one! W00t!

This is - I believe - the twenty-seventh time we have written to you with this information. Yet you still come to our hospital on a daily basis, crack one out into a coffee jar in the car park, and leave your still warm spoodge at reception where the Trust's chief executive mistakenly uses it as dressing for his lunch-time salad.

Also, I feel the need to point out that back issues of the British Medical Journal are not usually considered suitable one-handed reading material; and both hospital security and the police have asked me to point out that - therapeutic necessity or not - asking passing nurses to "tug on this love - doctor's orders" crosses the line of legality by some considerable margin.

Whilst staff members can set their watches to the impressive regularity and power of your daily ejaculate, the Trust asks that you stop doing this as the assembled crowds block the entrance to Accident and Emergency.

I, however, salute your incredible talent. Have you ever considered a career on the stage? You could be the next Paul Potts.

I remain, sir, your most obedient servant.

Dr H H Crippen

I am teaching the Mallet to sing Nessun Dorma as we speak. I'll show that Simon Cowell who's got the X Factor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Condensed Films: The Empire Strikes Back

Condensed Films: The Empire Strikes Back

We just can't leave it alone. Another in our series of classic and recent films, beaten with a big stick and turned into something even your average granny-beating street-corner Chav could understand. As long as he's got someone to read it out to him.

Star Wars V: Teh Empire Strokes Back, LOL

L. Skywalker: Hello. I am L. Skywalker and I am excellent. So excellent, in fact, I am stuck on an ice planet with P. Leia in a see-through dress. They're like hat pegs. LOL

D. Vader: Hello. I am D. Vader and I am excellent. Today, I shall be mostly killing rebel scum, including my two children who I have - despite my l33t 51th p0w3rz - completely failed to recognise.

Mr Bronson out of Grange Hill: You! Boy! Bring this starship out of hyperspace! Oh. We appear to have missed and now the rebel scum are shooting at us.

D. Vader: You arse, Bronson. FFS.

Mr Bronson out of Grange Hill: Yes. GLAAARK! And now I am dead.

L. Skywalker: ONOZ! It is teh EMPIRE!

H. Solo: Hey! Those tanks hav legs LOL! Oh. They are killing us to death, FFS

L. Skywalker: Run away! I appear to have crashed on the Planet Shithole.

Yoda: Hello. Yoda am I and excellent am I too, even if sounding like Grover from Seasame Street is my voice.

L. Skywalker: What? WHAT? Are you mental or something?

Yoda: FFS. A Jedi teaching Skywalker will I be Luke.

L. Skywalker: What?

Yoda: Side the of dark avoid Luke must you. Oh. I am dead.

L. Skywalker: Remember kids - drugs fuck you up.

H. Solo: Hello. I am H. Solo and I am excellent. I too have escaped from the ice planet with Princess See-Through Dress, and the news is that the air conditioning on the Millennium Falcon has packed up and they are still like organ stops. A hub a hub a hub a hub hub.

C. Bacca: Waaaargh! LOL

H. Solo: Luckily, I have landed at my best mate's sky-base where we will be totally 100 per cent safe from teh BAD GUYZ. ROFFLE.

Teh BAD GUYZ: Hello! LOL

Sky-base owning best mate: Whoops. Fckd up, d00d.

H. Solo: Oh. Now I am deep frozen. PWN3D

P. Leia: Me, me, me. That's all it ever is with you. I've got to do teh sexxxus with J. The Hutt, and my dress is now even more see-through.

L. Skywalker: Hello! I am back slightly too late to save you all! LOL!

D. Vader: Die in a fire, Rebel Scum!

L. Skywalker: U klld my father!

D. Vader: No, L. Skywalker, I am yr father, and thank fckery that it has finally come back to me.

L. Skywalker: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMFG! You also appear to have cut my hand off.

D. Vader: LOLOLOL!

L. Skywalker: My dad's a cnt. Also: I appear to have fallen off this sky-base. ONOZ! Luckily, I have landed on H. Solo's ship. Result.

C. Bacca: Waaargh! LOL

L. Skywalker: Now to plan my revenge on Evil Death Star Building Cnt of a Dad. I'm so going to punch him in the cock and force an Ewok up his bottom. ROFFLE

Ghost Yoda*: Remember - anger to the dark side leads.

L. Skywalker: You still here? FFS.

Ghost B. Kenobi: I am also still here. Hello!

L. Skywalker: God, this is worse than Most Haunted.

Ghost B. Kenobi: Remember, L. Skywalker - dead Jedis are watching you masturbate. LOLZERZ!

L. Skywalker: Isn't that supposed to be 'May Teh FORCE b wiv u?'

Ghost B. Kenobi: No. No it is not. Wanker.


* Yes, yes, I know Yoda doesn't die until the next film. But nobody stopped George Lucas changing the plot, the effects and whole characters between various editions as it suited him. I, too, am making it up as I go along.

Digg my article

Monday, July 09, 2007

Kill an Argie, Win a Metro

Kill an Argie, win a Metro

I couldn't help but notice our new minister in charge of stopping us all from getting killed to death by terrorists is encouraging us to become a nation of snitches, stool-pigeons and green, green grasses to preserve us all from the dusky terrorist menace.

All well and good. I didn't get where I am today without the odd bit of tactical informing, leaving rivals kicking their heels and protecting their bottoms in jail cells, while I live it up on my ill-gotten gains.

So, you can see where this is heading, Mr Minister with the scary job title. What's in it for me?

I mean, you're encouraging me, a man as dishonest as the day is long, to run, squealing to the Old Bill at the merest hint of Johnny Foreigner moving in down my street and testing his car bombs in his back garden. It just ain't working for me unless I get something in return. Cold, hard cash, brought to my house by a number of lightly-oiled lovelies, for starters. Then, if push comes to shove, my own airliner, taken wherever I want, no questions asked.

There's a problem. Me and my neighbour are on pretty good terms. I can't put a number on the occasions I've found myself short of a cup of weedkiller and 50kg sack of chapati flour, and Dave bin Laden next door has been more than obliging. OK, he's a bit of an eccentric chap who uses the word "infidel scum" rather more than is absolutely tasteful, but is this necessarily a bad thing?

After all, the guy who lived on the other side of us - a lovely chap called Dave McGuinness - came home with a different Ford Cortina every week, and his garden was rent with the sound of his blasting away at the rats that plagued his household with his prize Libyan Kalashnikov. But lovely chap. Lovely. Wouldn't hear a word against him.

So. I suggest a sliding scale of rewards for patriotic, capitalist scroungers - such as my good self - to ensure that good, selfless deeds such as shopping Naked Mrs Warboys from over the road for the terrorist scum that she is do not go unnoticed by society.

* Terrorists letting their dogs crap on the pavement outside your house - a pony

* Terrorists having noisy parties when you've got to be up early for a decent law-abiding, patriotic day's work - a monkey

* Terrorists using their mobile phones whilst driving WITHOUT seatbelts in their filthy Johnny Foreigner cars - two weeks in Majorca

* Terrorists lighting bonfires before 7pm just as you've put your clean, British washing out - new Nissan off-roader

* Terrorists failing to separate their rubbish, putting cardboard in with tins in a fiendish attempt to bring patriotic, British recycling efforts to their knees - mortgage paid off

* Terrorists in socks and sandals, driving around in front of me in caravans at exactly 28mph - K. Allsopp, S. Beeny, vat of baby oil

* Terrorist Jade Goody - the thanks of a grateful nation

These may seem like petty crimes to you - but it's just a small step from an overdue library book to ramming a flaming 4X4 into the doors of a provincial airport. Ten years in the iso-cubes is the very least perps like these understand, citizens.

This is my best scheme ever. There is no way on God's patriotic, British Earth this can go wrong. Bloody terrorists.

I am not mad.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Mirth and Woe: Monsieur le Maire

Mirth and Woe: Monsieur le Maire

I've mentioned it before on these pages, but our school French exchange programme should have been a defining time in my life. A two week rite of passage, if you will, that would open my eyes to foreign cultures and mark my entry into the world as a true citizen of Europe.

I can't remember. I was drunk from day one and spent most of the two weeks trying to get off with Trudy, a strategy doomed from the start. I spent long, lonely evenings imagining myself vigorously frotting in her vast cleavage. Alas, she did not.

It is oh-so-easy to be cynical about the episode down the passage of some twenty-six years, but the fact remains that it was the first time that most of us were treated like anything near adults. Give an inch, we took several hundred miles.

The minor inconvenience of a French exchange is having a coach-load of French pupils coming to stay, with someone called Yves living in your house, eating you out of house and home, and leaving hairs in the wash basin as he shaved the gap between his eyebrows. Once that ordeal was well and truly over (although, somewhere, there is a French blogguer writing "An' zen I was sick in an 'edge"), we were set to invade the South of France.

In France, it was the greatest thing that had ever happened to the town of Mazamet, ever. The town's main industry was leather, so the place stunk of dead animal, and their only famous resident - the cyclist Laurant Jalabert - only became famous after riding out of town as quickly as he could.

We were feted as liberating troops, treated with an awed reverence, and given the best of treatment wherever we went.

And how did we, the fourteen-year-old ambassadors of English language and culture, repay this hospitality?

Answer: By getting as pissed as little beetles.

The drinking age in France being fourteen, we kicked the arse out of this like the awful English tourists that we clearly were. Then we would start on the local slappers who hung around the local square, looking for likely young men for we knew-not-what, for we could not think that far ahead.

Needless to say, these were not the demure desmoiselles of Gallic legend. One in particular could, without her teeth, suck a golf ball through a garden hose. It was a traumatic time in my life. Unaware that we British had moved on somewhat from the 1960s, she only charged me 2/6.

The local Spar market got most of our spending money, and our day rucksacks would clink to the sound of 33cl-sized Kronenbourg bottles.

Our stay in Languedoc was to end on a high note - we were to be carted off to the town hall to visit local dignitaries and press. This, as is the tradition in these parts, included an audience with the town's premier citizen M. le Maire.

In the UK, town mayors are usually the most senior town councillor, given a nice chain, a funny hat and free meals for a year. In France, the mayor is literally the most important man in the town, who wields real power and is treated with due respect by all those who deal with him.

We were ushered into the Town Hall, where there was an impressive lunch spread laid out for us. Mr Kipling makes exeedingly good cakes, but Monsieur Keepleeng had not quite reached France, so we had to put up with fondant fancies filled with horse, or something. Which, needless to say, we demolished in about ten minutes, washed down with the illicit contents of our rucksacks. Ernie's day bag, in particular, went from straining at the seams to almost completely empty in a matter of minutes.

Trudy, bless her curvacious bottom, was the only person who touched that most French of specialities: snails. She swallowed all of it and said it tasted like Superglue. Then she ran from the hall leaving a trail of snail-y vomit. She coughed, whereupon it shot across the room. Six!

Then, as a flunky set about the mess with a mop, a short, rotund man was ushered into our presence. The room fell silent, for M. le Maire, proudly wearing his ceremonial sash in the tricolor of France was to address us on this most auspicious of occasions.

"Bonjour" he said, the only word we were to understand for the next fifteen minutes or so.

We had learned the language from the venerable Longman's Audio-Visual French course, much loved of Secondary schools everywhere, and having failed to start his address with the words "Ecoutez et rrrrrrrrrrepetez", we were fucked from the off.

"Pompt de pompt de pompt-pompt" he intoned at length.

He went on for ages, as Ernie continued to neck Kronenbourg after Kronenbourg.

"Rostbif! De lu-lu camembert et les grands fromages d'Angleterre!"

"Booor-ing!" said a slurring Ernie who had clearly had enough.

"Le pompidou est la plus grand stylo de ma mere."

"I need a piss."

"Michel Platini tour de France bouf de bouf-bouf avec un chargement de camion de fromage de camembert!"

"You fat French WANKERRR!"

"Plongez-moi en miel et jetez-moi aux lesbiennes."


Some girls screamed.

Some other girls screamed in French.

"ZUT ALORS!" someone shouted without a hint of irony, followed by "Oh la la la la la!"

"Yaaaaaaaaaarch!" Ernie repeated.

And: "I've wet meself."

M. le Maire rubbed the vomit from his shoes in the time-honoured fashion against the back of his trouser legs, and addressed us in English for the first time.

"When are you goin' 'ome?"

"Tomorrow" said Mr Townsend.

"Ah! Tres bien! Good! Good!"

Frog-marched out of France, and told never to come back.

Result, to be honest.

I left France, however, with a present. A present from Sylvie the village square slapper, that I would cherish and loathe in equal quantities forever. No one would ever have to know where the rubber duck had been, but I did, and it hurt to confront it every day, staring at me with its cold, orange eyes from the center-right of the mantelpiece.

I would return one day. One day, when I would be sick on a mountain. Take that, Rene Artois and your big boobies!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Thursday vote-o of woe, and more woe

The Thursday vote-o of woe, and more woe

Robot Kylie - you can hardly see the join, you knowWednesday was a strange day to say the least.

Firstly, there was the Happy Dance-inducing news that my BBC colleague Alan Johnston was released by his captors in Gaza, closely followed by the surreal experience of being recognised in public as Scaryduck, blogger and genius whilst trying to escape from the mean dog-crap strewn streets of Southampton.

And then, the excellent Rikaitch got in touch.

"Why don't you," he asked, "do the old style Thursday vote-os?"

"Muh?" I replied not completely up to speed.

"You know - the one where you've got to add words into the story. It was excellent."

I remember full well how excellent it was. Excellent to the point where I had to sit up half the night re-writing a complete Tale of Mirth and Woe to include the phrase "And then I inserted a pomegranate up her mimsy" just to win some stupid online bet.

So, having explained the potential for utmost woe to him, I agreed.

Oh, God.

So. There is - for once - a Thursday Vote-o today. Old skool.

Choose from the three stories listed below, and suggest a word or short phrase that I must include in the tale for fear of being labelled a wet and a weed chiz chiz. The vote-o quote-os are stolen from the internet in the finest tradition of stealing-from-the-internet.

M. le Maire: "Why would anyone build a robot that looks exactly like Kylie Minogue?" he asked. The answer was all too obvious: "Can you imagine someone who could, and didn't?"

Embarrassment: I once had a totally irrational lust for Princess from The Battle of the Planets. Hot chicks in mini-dresses, you see. Then I discovered the Grattan catalogue.

I was a Teenage Bomber II: "I think there's something fishy going on. First somebody's been stealing milk from my part of the fridge WITHOUT ASKING. And now Catherine Tate's going to be in Doctor Who. It's a conspiracy, I tell you."

Choose, then, and make my life hell.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On curing the NHS

On curing the NHS

TAXI!You cannot help but notice the dreadful state of the National Health Service these days.

I remember a time - not so long ago - you could roll into any town in the country, feign illness, and presto - free bed and board for the night, and the chance of extras with a rather fetching nurse, followed by a free ride home in the back of an ambulance.

No such luck in the modern NHS. The hospitals are packed to the gills with old people; and now that they no longer employ cleaners, you'll probably end up killed to death from some hideous old granny disease caused by wee-encrusted dentures or a septic Stannah stair-lift. And you'd probably get the ambulance guy trying to sell you his book.

It's almost enough to make a man stay in a Travelodge. Almost.

"I don't want to end up in a hospital or a home," your elderly relatives will tell you. "They smell of wee and boiled cabbage, and you end doing nothing but watch TV all day, waiting to die."

And, by-and-large, they'd be right.

The trouble with these places is that they are simply not productive. Old peoples' homes and hospital wards are full-to-bursting with a veritable skills bank accumulated from lifetimes of labour, just waiting to be exploited by the right kind of forward-looking NHS manager.

Make the workshy buggers earn their pensions, their beds and stingy portions of gruel, we say. We'll soon see how over-crowded our hospitals get then. And then I wion't get poisoned by Alzheimer's Lurgi and forget who I am next time I fancy a bit of free shut-eye in the Royal Berks.

Here, then, are a few ideas our new Health Secretary Alan "Geezer" Johnson can be getting on with to trim so-called bed blocking down to a bare minimum, and free up spaces for we honest, tax-paying malingerers:

* Hospital security: "I fought in two World Wars for the likes of you". We say: "Here's a uniform you old sod. Prove it."

* Drugs trials: They're in a hospital. They're scoring free drugs by the metric shitload. A few extra uppers, downers and side-to-siders will hardly make much of a difference. Especially if there's comedy side effects. Hermetically-sealed coffins and forged death certificates are the way forward if it really goes ape.

* Sweatshop: Why encourage slave labour in workshops full of kiddies in China and Indonesia when there's a willing pool of workers - many of whom have a lifetime's experience of sewing - to knock together next season's Arsenal away kit for Nike. If there's enough material left over, you might even let them have their own clothes. But that's optional.

* Building a bridge over a remote tropical river in South East Asia: If it was good enough for the likes of Alec Guinness, then it's certainly good enough for today's scrounging old farts. And Ben Kenobi was dead old. And now he's dead, which goes to prove the value in this scheme. Or something.

* Low class brothel: Because, to be perfectly frank, they'd be thankful for the company in those long, lonely years after their families have dumped them. Also, the more active can go out in their Shopmobility scooters and put postcards up in phoneboxes offering "Gummy Brenda plays the Pink Oboe" with the phone number for NHS Direct. And if you build it, they will come. Solving the national sperm donor shortage into the bargain. Win-win.

I can, with these red-hot ideas force the NHS to pay for itself in a free, open market. It's capitalism at its finest, where everybody wins. Especially if you fancy old ladies.

I am not mad. Hospital Airborne Alzheimer's Lurgi.

Also: Lord Likely = excellent. That is all.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Condensed Films: Doctor Who

Condensed Films: Doctor Who

After somethingy-something years in the television wilderness, Doctor Who has made a triumphant comeback to our screens. However, with thirty-nine epsiodes and two Christmas specials to trawl through, that's a lot of television for even the most attentive of viewers in these time-poor days. So, we've turned it all inside out so that it is smaller on the inside and bring you....

D. Who: Cndnsd vrsn

D. Who: Eyup! I am Teh Doctor and I am excellent. Ecky thump! By 'eck - jailbait!

R. Tyler: *sigh* He's such a dish

R. Tyler's mum: Baggsy me first

Capt. Jack: Join the queue, love


Kid with gas mask: Are you my mummy? PS Bad Wolf


D. Who: Eyup! I shall thwart you through a carefully nuanced argument, a great big gun, and my knowledge of the ancient Lancashire martial art of Ecky Thump. By 'eck.


Capt. Jack: I am naked and on global television. Excellent! I have also killed TV's Trinny and Susannah with a gun I had hidden up my cavernous bottom. Also excellent!


R. Tyler: Hang on. I appear to be teh bad wolf. Die Dalek scum!

Daleks: ONOZ!

D. Who: By 'eck! I 'ave gone and killed myself t'death saving t'Earth from t'Daleks. Hang on while I get a new body. Ecky thump!

D. Who: Awight! I'm a proper geezer now. Geeeeeeeeeeeezer! LOL!

R. Tyler: *sigh* He's such a dish

R. Tyler's Mum: Baggsy me first

Q. Victoria: Want a bet? That Timelord meat's going to hammer me like a six-inch nail. Just as soon as I get over being a Werewolf. Also: Torchwood. Torchwood Torchwood Torchwood.

Trigger from Only Fools and Horses: Alright, Dave. I have invented the Cybermen. LOLZ.

Cybermen: CTRL-ALT-Delete

Trigger from Only Fools and Horses: Alright, Dave. I have discovered the flaw in my plan to take over the world and live forever, as I now appear to be a Cyberman, and have fallen to my firey death from an Airship. :(

M. de Pompadour: I wub you Doctor!

D. Who: I wub you too! Oh. She is dead, and I can never love again. Geeeeeeeezer!

R. Tyler: You'll excuse me while I rub myself down in this vat of engine oil.

D. Who: A hub a hub a hub a hub a hub a hub hub.

Elton Pope: By way of a quick aside, I star in an episode which culminates in my receiving oral sex from a paving slab to a soundtrack provided by the Electric Light Orchestra. Excuse: I needed the acting work. Also, I have been instructed to say "Torchwood" at this point.

Cybermen: Hello! Here we are again. Watch as we CTRL-ALT-Delete the whole world from our base in the not-entirely-secret Torchwood building. LOL.


Cybermen: You great bunch of pooves. LOL.


Cybermen: Fight! Fight! Fight! ONOZ! While we were fighting, we appear to have been sucked into a timeless void between dimensions


D. Who: And I appear to have let Rose - who I dearly want to see naked and smeared with engine oil - fall into another dimension. Now I'll never get to see those pert, round breasts and peachy bottom, and I can never love again.

C. Tate: Hello! Shouty Shouty Shouty Bovvered Screechy Shouty. Gudbye!

M. Jones: Hello. I am M. Jones and I am excellent. I shall mostly be spending the next three months trying to get ino yr trousers of time. LOL.

D. Who: A hub a hub a hub a hub a hub a hub hub. But you're not replacing R. Tyler, right? Geeeeeeeezer!

M. Jones's mum: Don't go near him! He's Evil! Eviiiiiiiiil! PS Vote Saxon


D. Who: Die in a fire, FFS.


D. Who: Now I must hide, pretend not to be a Timelord for a bit and accidentally fall in love.

Nursie: I love you, J. Smith! PS Vote Saxon

D. Who: Geeeeeeeeeeeeeezer! I am no longer J. Smith. LOL

Nursie: ONOZ! I no longer love you.

D. Who: Arse. I can never love again. :(

M. Jones: Oh look - a spare vat of engine oil

D. Who: A hub a hub a hub a hub a hub a hub hub. PS Yr still not replacing R. Tyler.

Capt. Jack: Hello! I am back again and looking for bottoms.

J. Simm: Hello I am Teh MASTER and I am evil. Just like Teh DOCTOR I am pretending not to be a Timelord. I also appear to have fallen in love with a large, blue ant. Acid flashbacks, man.

Capt. Jack: Never mind her. I'd MASTER-bate you any time! Yoinks!

D. Who: ONOZ! It is Teh MASTER! And he has stolen my TURDIS, leaving me stranded in the year 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 (about tea time).

J. Simm: My name is Teh MASTER. I had an accident, and I woke up in the year 100 trillion. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Now to take over the world, or something. LOL.

R. T. Davies: Hello. I am R. T. Davies and I am excellent. I apologise for the interruption, but I have run out of ideas on how to finish this storyline. Instead, I shall steal elements from Greek mythology, Superman, Douglas Adams, Batman, the Carry On films and ...err... Flash Gordon and hope nobody notices the complete dog's dinner I've made of what was, until I got my hands on it, a rather excellent series. Sorry. All sorted. Happy ending. I'll be off now. ROFL!

J. Simm: Can I go now, plz?

D. Who: Yes. Yes. Bugger off and don't darken my door again. Geeeeezer!

M. Jones: I'll be off as well, seeing as I won't be getting any Timelord meat for the forseeable future. Even Capt. Jack has shown me more interest, and he's a huge botter, FFS. Even in a million yrs time when he becomes the Face of Boe, and sits in a huge jar of his own wee AND DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A BOTTOM.

Capt. Jack: Pardon?

M. Jones: Oh. Nothing, nothing. LOL. Gudbye 4 Eva, D. Who!

D. Who: That's got rid of them. Now for an enormous wank over my R. Tyler hologram collection. LOLZ


K. Minogue (probably): G'day!

D. Who: WTF?!

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Monday, July 02, 2007

On losing your eyesight

On losing your eyesight

I was up in that London the other day, wearing the suit with the trousers that keep falling down, attending a conference where three of the most powerful men in British broadcasting punched the crap out of each other as an excited gallery wagered thousands in side bets.

Or, they could have just said a few rude things about each other. Memory's shot.

It was while I was on my way to this rather plush event at the Waldorf Hilton just off The Strand, that I realised, at the age of 41 and a bit, that my eyes just aren't what they once were.

As the The Best of Eighties Cheese 12-inch Remix Collection Volume Three pulsed through the headphones of my mp3 player, I was met by the following delightful vision, which played out thussly in my internal dialogue*

100 yards: Oh-ho! Shexxxy, shexxxy lady at twelve o'clock! OGLE MODE SET TO ON.

90 yards: Actually, nice legs

80 yards: And great hair, too. TARGETING COMPUTER SET TO NORKS

70 yards: Ok, maybe not such nice legs.

60 yards: Good God, bloody horrible legs. And that's clearly a wig

50 yard: Actually, maybe she's not as shexxxy as I might have thought

40 yard: Or even at all

30 yards: Five o'clock shadow alert.

20 yards: Oh God, it's a moose. And those norks appear to be a pair of socks stuffed up a canary yellow strappy top.

10 yards: No, actually... It's a man. In a miniskirt.

5 yards: In fact, she …err… he's trying to talk to me

3 yards: "Buy The Big Issue, guv?"


10 yards, steadily increasing: "No. No thanks, bloke."

My guide dog fitting is next week.

* It's like an internal monologue, except there's two of us in here

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Attack of the Coconutter

Attack of the Coconutter

This is what you get when you have far too much time on your hands over a weekend.

Who is this secret supervillain? And why does he keep asking for fish?

I am not mad.