Friday, February 29, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Red card

Mirth and Woe: Red card

In which I ask the question: How hard is it to get yourself sent off whilst playing football?

Answer: Ridiculously easy.

I have practical experience in the field. A large school field on the outskirts of Reading.

I grew up in a tiny little village with a tiny little village school. Our school team was in a league that was up against great big schools from the great big town down the road. They would turn up, kick lumps out of us, plunder a ten-goal victory, and leave us beaten and demoralised.

So, marching out onto the pitch on a cold, wet winter evening with my team-mates - most of whom were the kind who would stand at the back with their arms inside their football shirts - we couldn't help but notice our opposition for the day. It was EXACTLY like that healthcare advert where the enormous rugby team comes charging out of the changing rooms to kill the smaller, weedier team TO DEATH.

They were supposedly the same under-13s age group as us, but they were all twice our size, and several sported facial hair. Several, I suspected, were their dads filling in while the kids were serving time at Her Majesty's pleasure.

I, for one, soaked and miserable before the game had even started, didn't fancy it one bit.

About ten minutes in, and having already shipped three goals, I decided that all I wanted was to go home, have a nice cup of tea and watch the pneumatic charms of Leslie Judd on Blue Peter. So, I fell over like a complete weed, grabbed the ball, and clutched it to my chest in a foetal position.

"You dirty cheat, Coleman," said the ref - who happened to be our games teacher, "you're booked."

"Only booked? Crap!"



"And you know the drill, Coleman - SEWERS."

And so, my dreams of a quiet night in with Lesley Judd shattered, I instead plodded the standard route for games lessons criminals - down to the sewage works and back in the pouring rain, ankle deep in mud.

I staggered back onto the school field twenty minutes later - a trudge that seemed like a lifetime - mud clinging onto my football boots like huge, heavy plates, making every step a heart-tearing exertion.

Mr Prince had just blown his whistle for half-time, and eyed my return with that steely-eyed glare reserved only for Sergeant-Majors and Games Teachers.

"Back... Sir..." I gasped, reporting in like a good little foot soldier.

"Right. And don't do it again, you little scrote."

I certainly didn't. But I did do one thing, for pre-match Monster Munch feasts are a recipe for disaster.


Bacon flavour, I recall.

"Those are my second best football boots, Coleman"

"Sorry, sir."


"Tomorrow. After school. Sewers."

There's no justice, is there?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Condensed Films: Star Trek II

Condensed Films: Star Trek II

Good grief, this one's been on the drawing board for about three months, but here it is at last. The cinematic action adventure to end them all, condensed down to 1,000 easy-to-read words for today's educationally challenged youth and a new wave of Daily Star reading, Nuts TV-viewing web users. Enjoy.


Krk: Spc. Teh final frntr. Deez r teh vygs f teh Strshp Ntaprz onna 5yr mssn 2 sk out new life n cvlzashuns. 2 bldly go whr no mn hs gon b4

Spck: Pardon?

McCoy: I'm a doctor not a homosexualist.

Krk: Whateva. LOL

Chkov: Hello. I am Chkov and I am excellent. Today, I have found an uninhabited planet for a secret scientific test. Also: nuclear wessels. Oh. There are ppl here.

Khn: Hello!

Chkov: ONOZ! It iz KHN! Plz to not put worm in ear! Oh. Ouch. Khn is excellent. Khn is excellent. Must kll Krk.

Khn: LOL. Krk: I must kill him. TO DETH!

Krk's brd: Plz to help us! We are under attack and being killed to DETH! Also: Do not send Krk, becos he is a See You Next Tuesday.

Starfleet: OK. We are sending Krk on Teh Strshp Ntaprz.

Krk's brd: That is full of FAIL

Krk: Hello. I am J Krk and I am excellent. I am also here to rescue all the shexxxy female scientists, who will then conduct a series of naked experiments into how excellent I am.

Spck: USS Reliant Robin is also here. Don't worry sir, it's one of ours and they'll never try to kill us TO DETH.

Khn: Die! Krk! Die!

Spck: As a Vulcan, I am quite unable to profane. However, in these circumstances, I may permit myself a few seconds to say 'Fucking fucking fucking fuckity fuck'.

Krk: Scotch Scotty - dmg reprt, plz

Scotch Scotty: Hoots mon och, help ma boab jings crivens the dilithium crystals cannae tak it cap'n! I never wanted this job. I'm Canadian, for the love of crikey

Uhura: USS Reliant Robin on the line, sir. And you still would, even though I'm over fifty

Krk: A hub a hub a hub a hib a hub hub. On main scrn, plz


Krk: WTF?!

Khn: It is I, Khn. I hav come to kill you TO DETH. Plz to send us everything you know about Genesis. I also has special guest.

Chkov: Hello, Keptin. Teh mind control: I has it.

Krk: Oh, you TWAT!

Spck: Captain. We have loads of Genesis. Ask him if he wants the Phil Collins solo stuff as well.

Khn: No. Nothing by that baldy twat. Plz to send Genesis and Peter Gabriel only, or I will fck you TO DETH.

Krk: OK, you can haz Genesis. LOL

Khn: Why LOL?

Krk: We send you TEH BIRDY SONG. And virus. DIE! DIE! DIE!

Khn: ONOZ!

Krk: Now to rescue all the shexxxy naked and soapy female scientists. Oh. They are all TEH DED.

Spck: Although I might redeem myself slightly by pointing out that some of the survivors appear to be inside that small moon.

O-W Kenobi: That's no moon.

Krk: Fck off. This is our movie.

O-W Kenobi: Soz. LOL

Krk: Hello shexxxy female scientists! I am here to rescue you and then ...oh... I've already had you, haven't I?

Mrs Krk: And you were crap

Krk: And who is this lovely blonde thing?

Krk's bird: This is yr son. LOL

Krk's son: Hi dad!

Krk: Fck that Jeremy Kyle.

Khn: Hello! I am on ur radio saying 'Now to kill u TO DETH'. Now to kill u TO DETH. LOLZ

Chkov: Sorry, Keptin. I've got to kill u TO DETH. Oh. I cannot, and now I am feeling better. Also: Nuclear wessels.

Krk: LOL! Ur plan: It is full of FAIL

Khn: No, it is full of WIN. U R trapped inside planet. ROFFLE


Khn: If I might repeat myself at this point: ROFFLE

Spck: I have rescued you from Khn, by using CODES. CODES and SCIENCE. LOL

Krk: Now to run away. TO TEH NOBULA!

Khn: LOL! Krk - he is running away to TEH NOBULA, where I really will kill him TO DETH with TEH GENESIS COLLECTION

Krk: Oh yeah? Shooty shooty bang bang!

Khn: Well, double dumbass shooty shooty bang bang back at ya. Ouch. That hurt.

Krk: LOLOLOL! Now to close in for TEH KILL. WTF?

Scotch Scotty: Hoots och mon help ma boab teh warp drive: we have fcked it

Khn: And now I have selected "Easy Lover" from TEH GENESIS COLLECTION and we will all get killed TO DETH together. I cannot help feeling that despite my superior intellect, there might be a flaw in this plan, viz my actual dying.

Krk: ONOZ! Scotch Scotty! Plz to fix teh warp drive before "Easy Lover" comes on.

Scotch Scotty: Jings! Crivens! Stitch that Jimmy! Soz, we cannae fix teh warp drive. We haz bought a Dyson, and the nearest service agent is on Rigel III.

Spck: The needs of the many by far outweigh my need to done a poo. My l33t warp drive sk1llz - let me show you them.

McCoy: Speak English, you spacetard. I'm a doctor, not a crossword compiler.

Scotch Scotty: Teh Warp Drive - it is fixed. Nice one Spck. LOL

Khn: She's an Easy Lover...Oh. I am TEH DED.

Krk: Run away! I have saved teh Strshp Ntaprz, all on my own, because I am excellent. When I get back to Starfleet, all the naked, soapy space admirals from the Planet Nookie will want to sex me RIGHT UP

Scotch Scotty: Help ma boab! Och aye the noo! Spck is TEH DYING. DYING TO DETH

Krk: Spck! Plz to not die! Say some heroic last words, or something

Spck: "Bosoms"

Krk: WTF?!

Spck: Five fcking years sitting next to Lt Uhura in that miniskirt and the enormous chest. And I never once got to see her bosoms.

Krk: I have. LOLOL

Spck: You're a bastrd, J. T. Krk. A right, bleeding bastrd. Now I am teh ded. Or am I?

Krk: Yes. Yes he is. Or is he?

Spck: Yes. Yes I am. Or am I? Book ur tickets for Star Trek III: It's Still Got Spock In It Because He's Not Actually TEH DED

Krk: Is this the bit where we get to sing "Row row row your boat?"

McCoy: Try it and I poison you. Did I ever tell you my real name's Shipman?

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

On roadkill

On roadkill

God, I hate running over things in the car.

There's nothing worse than that stomach-churning feeling as the suicide bunny disappears under your front nearside with a sickening crunch, and you look in your rear-view to see a rapidly retreating red smear.

OK, I'll grant you there are much worse feelings, possibly involving the same fate bestowed on the passengers of a pensioners' charabanc to the seaside, but I've never had the pleasure.

Turning in approximately 15,000 miles per year burning up the ozone layer on country roads between Dorset and the Thames Valley, I've seen loads of wildlife on my travels. Unfortunately, most of it is on the extremely flat side and - as far as I can make out - formerly a badger.

I have, on the evidence of roadside carnage I have witnessed down the years, been extremely lucky with regards to sending our furry friends to meet the Grim Squeaker. In fact, the current scorecard reads like this:

Rabbits: 2
Fox: 1
Others: 0

The rabbits were both of the suicide variety, lurching out into the middle of the road, and making a concerted last-minute dive for doom; while the fox was a late-night casualty on the A35 Tolpuddle Bypass, getting his just desserts for skiving off his Tufty Club lessons.

Foot to the floor around the stately pile of Charborough House (seat of the superbly titled Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax family) I was confronted by yet another suicide bunny, sitting in the middle of the road, waiting for its inevitable doom.

"Kill me, mister," it said to me, "Life's too hideous to contemplate."

"Zooooooooom" I went

There was no sickening crunch. Emo Rabbit had passed completely under my car and out the other side, where he bounded off into the fields, life restored until the next time he decided to listen to his Nirvana box set.

Which was a shame. If there's one maxim we should all live by, it is this: "You kill it, you eat it".

There's good eating on Emo rabbits.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On stuff that I'll take to my grave

What it's supposed to look like...Some things, I have discovered, are meant to last a lifetime. I have, for example, a partially completed Airfix model of a Russian Mil-24 attack helicopter, which I bought and started building in about 1982.

It is, I realise, cursed.

More than cursed, in fact.


I planned to enter it into the Thames Valley Wing Air Cadets model-making competition that year - for which obsessive nerds with collections of single-hair paint brushes, magnifying glasses with built-in lights, and nippy tweezers competed for a small, battered trophy. Past winners were a procession of spotty youths, locked in the bedrooms, spurning the opposite sex whilst working on perfection. My victory would be a triumph for the workshy layabout, and would be the ideal diversionary tactic to avoid revision for school exams.

Determined to build the thing properly, I remembered to paint the pilot before I stuck him to his seat; and tried my hardest not to get glue all over the windows to make it look like the crew are all steaming up the windows.

Sadly, it was a little bit trickier than I anticipated, and it was packed half-built into a nice biscuit tin several weeks later.

The tin has followed me from house to house for the best part of a quarter of a century, and I'm still building the sodding thing now, 26 years later. In fact, I got it out of its biscuit tin last week to have another go, but I'm stuck on the rotors, which seem to require a degree in engineering to connect to the rest of the aircraft.

My helicopter, as it stands (or rather 'lies' as I haven't quite got round to gluing the wheels on) is a wonderful piece of minimalist art, an indictment of today's time-hungry age and the short attention span of feckless youth. See? It's beautiful as it is (pic right - 25 years of effort).25 years of effort

I now know that it is my life's work, to be completed on my last day on this mortal coil, some day in 2075, when I shall sit back on my commode, admire the workmanship, and sigh contentedly with my final breath.

Additionally, I am painfully aware that the second I unite airframe and rotors, the thing will no longer fit inside my lovely biscuit tin, and I will be entirely committed to completing it instead of keeping it under my bed for another five years.

The boy Scaryduck Jr has an unfinished 1:72 scale Concorde which we found, untouched, in a wardrobe these last five years. It's genetic.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On catchphrases

On catchphrases

A recent tribute to the work of entertainer Bruce Forsyth reveals that he has some 31 catchphrases that he has used throughout his career: "I'm in charge" - " Good game, good game" - "Tits or face?" - "Nice to see you, to see you... NICE!"

You'd be hard-pushed to find a man in the business with such longetivity who has given so much to our culture as poor, dead Brucie, with many of his catchphrases having slipped into everyday usage. Didn't he do well?

You may have noticed that over the years, I've picked up a few catchphrases of my own. Some original, some stolen, some I'd rather not have, thank you very much and none of them a patch on The Fast Show:

* "I am not mad" (As stolen by Phoney Pharoah Mohammed Al-Fayed at the High Court last week)
* "Done a poo"

* "Sick inna hedge"
* "Yes. Yes I am"

* "Ann Noreen Widdecombe"
* "Not as funny as I used to be"

You may be surprised to learn that I do not use these phrases in everyday life. This is because I am making a conscious effort not to be a mental in public, and my family respects me all the more for it, and continued reference to a lightly-oiled Sarah Beeny may lead to a stalky restraining order.

Instead, I habitually use the following, particularly when dealing with anybody employed in a public service industry who has made any sort of effort on my behalf:

* "Take the rest of the day off"

Always gets a positive response and it is particularly useful at 5.29pm on a Friday evening.

And not:

* "And now: A word from our sponsors"

What, then, are your catchphrases?

I am not mad.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On accepting genuine cash money for blogging and the ethical quandaries therein

On accepting genuine cash money for blogging and the ethical quandaries therein

ebuzzingThe more observant amongst you may have noticed that there are a small number of advertisements on these pages. Five of you have even clicked on the Google Ads to the left of the screen, earning me the grand total of a dollar and forty-nine cents. Whoever you are, I will remember this moment of kindness when - approximately this time next year, Rodders - we're millionaires.

I've got no problem with a few ads on this site. After all, they just cover the cost of my domain registrations, and almost-but-not-quite pay for my Flickr account. Other bloggers that I know of will recoil in horror at the thought of accepting genuine cash money from Mr Google to go alongside their pure, unpolluted text, but that's their decision and fair play to them.

However: I've got a dollar forty-nine and they haven't.

Double however: I have - as a media news journalist - been turned off by many, many media conferences with titles such as "Monetising Web 2.0", and yet, here I am, praising a newly-launched site that hopes to do just that.

Take this, then, as advance warning that I have signed up with the charming people at Ebuzzing. They will be paying me genuine cash money every now and then to write stuff on my blog. Rather more than Mr Google's pocket change, in fact. If it works - and I sincerely hope it does - Web 2.0 is going to get a right old monetising and I'll still be allowed to say rude words.

Stuff - including, but not limited to, articles on services, products and events - that Ebuzzing will hand over genuine cash money for the occasions I write cunningly-worded items in my own voice, on my own pages. It's an interesting concept that deserves to succeed for its sheer simplicity, and at ten of the Queen's pounds a throw, you'd be stupid not to give it a go.

Yes, it's advertising. Yes, it's in my blog content. No, you won't see the join. Yes, I can live with that. After all, I've a wife, two kids and Arsenal Football Club to support. If they let me, I'll even include the words "sick inna hedge" and references to virginal former Conservative cabinet ministers AND GET PAID FOR IT.

The challenge for me, or any other blogguer in the scheme, is to write content in my own style that doesn't look like a shameless product placement. I've plugged other people's sites and books before, some of which without even thinking of accepting payment or goods in kind. Ebuzzing will be no different as long as I use these new powers for good.

At this point I'd like to thank the Good Lord that my Ridico Toupee looks so realistic! That's Ridico - the slaphead's DREAM.
Or, perhaps, I'll be a bit subtler than that.

Here's the bargain, then. It will be made it perfectly clear that I am publishing something for which I am getting paid. There will be a small logo; and in a shameless attempt to join The Order of the Occult Hand, any paid content will contain the words "It was as if an occult hand had..." to differentiate it from any other content. It shall be our secret, akay?

Spread the love. Sign up here.disclaimer

"It was as if an occult hand had reached down and offered me a way to make money through creative writing."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Launcher

Mirth and Woe: Launcher

Kids! Drugs mess you upMeccano.

It's excellent.

Excellent if you've got the patience to fiddle about with lots of tiny nuts and bolts, strips of metal and a spanner, building a robot that may or may not work.

I had Meccano, but no patience. I built a crane over several weeks and it didn't work, so I put it under my bed and forgot about it.

Then Geoff came to the door.

"Scary!" he said, "You've got Meccano, haven't you?"

"Errr... yes... but..."

"Great - I'm building something and I've run out of parts."

Oh dear God, no. He's building the robot for which Meccano never gave you enough parts.

"Are you building that stupid robot?" I asked him, "You'll never get it to work."

No. No he wasn't.

"And bring your steam engine. We might need that."

Ah, yes. The Meccano steam engine. I had asked very nicely one Christmas, and had got the Meccano/Mamod steam engine that ran on meths.

It had already given me serious burns once when I had lost an important valve, and decided a small plastic peg from a solitaire set would be adequate (it wasn't), but I was more than willing to risk life and limb if Geoff was involved.

I got my gubbins together and followed him to his house, where I fully expected to help him build a steam-powered wanking machine.

There, screwed firmly to a large piece of wood was the beginnings of his project.

"What... what is it? It's not a wanking machine, is it?"

"It's my launcher."

"For what?"

"Anything. Ball bearings, mostly."

This was going to end well.

We set to work, adding my Meccano to his, and before the afternoon was out we had built this, well, thing, that housed several heavy-duty springs, a big lever and some sort of small metal platform.

The steam engine was intended to wind the thing up, but it was worse than useless, so we did it by hand with a large spanner stolen from his dad's shed.

Geoff ceremonially loaded a single steel ball bearing onto the platform, and after a short speech on this being the future of British engineering, he flicked the lever, and the ball bearing shot through the air at a rate of knots the length of his garden. Then out of his garden, over next door, a hundred yards down the road, where it narrowly missed an old chap mowing his lawn.

Geoff was ecstatic, and after a few more tests, where we punched neat holes through a number of plywood targets, he announced that tomorrow, we would be going onto Phase Two. Bring money.

Then we launched the still-chugging steam engine to see how far it would go, and the meths set fire to his dad's bins. Things were going excellently.

The next day, we took ourselves off to the chemists' shop in the village with a shopping list that, these days, would have you in Belmarsh Prison starting a forty stretch for the crime of blowing stuff to pieces, for fun.

They sold us everything we wanted, and more.

What we couldn't get, we found in an old car battery. And when, as usual, the garden shop refused to sell us two pounds of Sodium Chlorate weedkiller (the choice of your local Irish Republican militant), we turned to the elderly lesbian down our road, who we had convinced we needed the stuff to fulfil our Scout Job Week duties, weeding the gardens of elderly lesbians. She was only too happy to buy the stuff for us, and laughing evilly, we returned to Geoff's bedroom-cum-lab to make Loud Powder, and she to her tuppence-licking.

Our expertise as junior terrorists coming to the fore, we soon had a number of small yet viable packages, which could be lit by a fuse, and capable of considerable damage in the wrong hands. Ours, for example.

We loaded up the launcher and set the first - let us be charitable - banger on the platform.

"Geoff - don't point it down the road. The old bloke at number 23'll die if you do."

"Right you are."

So we turned the monster through 90 degrees, wound it up until the springs started making strange pinging noises and my Meccano bits buckled uncomfortably.



"You've got the matches."

"Err... right. Here you go. IGNITION."

"Shit. Broke the match."


"Got it!"


I think I've mentioned in previous stories that Geoff's garden backed onto a farm. A farm full of large greenhouses, growing, I think, tomatoes.

He missed them.

He missed the farm, completely, as a matter of fact.

He did, however, score a direct hit on his father's shed.

You will be disappointed to discover that the thing did not disappear in a ball of flame. Far from it. Our little bomb rattled around inside, came to rest, and then came a satisfying...


And a cloud of smoke puffed out of the door, but the shed remain steadfastly untorched.

So, we cranked the monster up again, and let it have both barrels. Several times over, in fact.


Oh, what fun we had.

Two lads, our little machine, and our barely adequate not-quite-as-exciting-as-we-wanted-them explosives.

"Last one."

SP-A-A-N-G! went our launcher.

Weeeeeeeee! through the air went our little gay bomb.

RATTLE-RATTLE-RATTLE it went around the floor of the shed.

KER-FUCKING-BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM! it went, being somewhat more excitable than the others.



"My dad's shed's on fire."

"Only a bit, mate. Only a bit."

"My bike's in there."

It was too. Some sacking had caught fire, one thing had led to another, and much of the inside of the shed was merrily ablaze.

We extinguished the flames with a hosepipe and a couple of buckets of water, but Geoff had to explain, somehow, why all the family's bike tyres were now melted to the floor of the shed, looking to all the world like little pools of vomit.

"It was a really hot day, you see" just didn't wash with the olds. They knew him too well.

"You've been blowing things up again, haven't you Geoff?"

"Yes, mum."

"I've told you a thousand times. If you're going to do that, do it at a friend's house."

So we did.

And when the Old Bill came knocking, the dim kid next door got the blame. Excellent!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

On sticking your oar into local politics where it's not wanted

On sticking your oar into local politics where it's not wanted

I wrote a letter to my local paper. One or two things about my home town need to be said:

Dear The Dorset Echo,

I note with a certain amount of consternation a campaign by the older generation of this fine seaside resort of Weymouth against the bulldozing of the venerable old - and frankly, crumbling - Pavilion Theatre and the nearby collection of shacks laughably known as the International Ferry Terminal (Last Monday's Echo: "Pavilion project rockets to £130m and first born son of every Weymouth citizen").

Granted that many of our senior residents have a great emotional attachment to the building, having hand-built the place themselves from sea shells and visiting plague rats, however, they really ought to realise that you cannot stand in the way of progress, nor the spiked wheels of the developers' wrecking machines, itching to wreak their awful destruction on the Ocean Room and any tea-dance goers that didn't get out in time.

It would be a right old laugh to see them try, though.

But, no! We've heard it all before from these senile delinquents* with their "We're bored - there's nothing to do around here" before careering around town in their Shopmobility scooters and glaring at people who hold up the queue in the Post Office on a Thursday.

Frankly, I am sick of it. These old duffers built the old theatre with their own bare hands - they can tear it down again and build a shining new one in its place, complete with the promised 200 foot statue of a mini-skirted Kylie Minogue, straddling the Weymouth Harbourside like a knickerless colossus.

And being "bored ASBO-fodder", they'd be quite happy to work for the price of their Old Age Pension (and a copy of Naughty Over Forty thrown in for the old blokes) to keep the costs of this mammoth project down for we, the hard-working Council Tax payers of this Borough.

When the whole thing's finished, I will be quite happy to look any of the survivors in the eye at the inaugural grab-a-granny night and offer them my thanks for a job well done.

I am not mad.

Yours etc

Albert O'Balsam, Wyke Regis

* (c) Python (Monty) 1971

Today's challenge: Sixty-nine comments and I'll send it in.

Today's other challenge: Choose tomorrow's Tale of Mirth and Woe from the following list. One of them might be on the subject of onanism. Can you guess which?

  • Launcher: "And he pulled and he pulled and he pulled at the big red lever, but only dust came out"
  • Leaving James Behind: "His nose streaming, he went straight upstairs to his room with nothing but a box of Kleenex and something to read"
  • Red Card: "I am charging you, me laddo, with three counts of assault and battery against His Holiness the Bishop of Bath and Wells. What say you to that?"
  • Shandy: "Three lager tops, please, mein host, heavy on the lemonade if you'd be so kind"

Vote! Vote me up!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On a new Scaryduck computer game

On a new Scaryduck computer game

A couple of years ago, one of my readers sat down and - with far, far too much time on his hands - produced a Scaryduck computer game. It was called 'Done a Poo' and featured a) poo and b) Sarah Beeny and was c) excellent.

Now, the world's greatest living non-Bummy Welshman, Rik "H" Aitch, tells me he is itching to produce another Scaryduck computer game.

Rik - who used to design fruit machines for a living and is the living, breathing inventor of a vending machine that cooks chips using only the power of 15kg of weapons-grade plutonium - is keen to use his powers for good rather than for evil.

All he needs is some kind of angle, and that, dear reader, is where you come in. I am minded to call the game 'Scaryduck2: Done an egg' with a degree of difficulty that precludes the use of faeces in the finished product.

A slight diversion:

As it happens, our conversation on the potential design for the proposed duck shoot went off on a bit of a tangent and ended up in the shady world of celebrity rumour and - I must point out here for legal reasons - complete and utter untruth:

Me: "Max Boyce is gay? Where's your proof?"

Him: "I know, because I WAS THERE"

I refuse to believe that the third greatest living Welshman eschews the Way of the Sheep. This is clearly the work of foul slanderers and rumourmongers, working to discredit Welsh national culture and the tradition of a grown man standing on stage with a large papier mache leek, singing about the joys of steaming rugby players.

However, digging a little deeper than was absolutely necessary, I find that a Channel Four TV special he made in 1982 entitled 'Max Boyce Meets the Dallas Cowboys' offers all the proof you will ever need.

Straight as a die, boyo.

Diversion: ENDS
Back to the game: Rik insists that my opinion counts for nothing, and he will listen only to your input for this potential work of art. Somebody PLEASE say "heaving bosoms", because, if you ask me, a computer game featuring heaving bosoms is what the world has sadly lacked since Samantha Fox Strip Poker disappeared from the shelves. And anything - anything - to prevent Rik's planned game levels, which range from "Slightly constipated" to "Positive Diarrhoea" via the joys of "Flowing freely".

So: Speak your brains! This is going to be the Best Christmas Walford's Ever Seen the best computer game ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On war not being funny in the slightest

On war not being funny in the slightest

'Shut it slag'There are no laughs to be had from the brutal war in Afghanistan in which our plucky lads are busy sticking cold British steel up the drug-addled, heathen, Westlife-loving Taleban. None at all.

In fact, one of my very best friends and work colleagues has recently taken a couple of years' leave-of-absence, specifically so he can go to Afghanistan and help in the effort to rebuild said devastated nation by sticking cold British steel up the drug-addled, heathen Westlife-loving Taleban who would probably shit in your airing cupboard given half the chance.

Shit in your airing cupboard and wipe their arse on your lucky boxer shorts.

They are probably obscenely cruel to small fluffy animals and feed them raw drugs just to watch them freak out, or something. I know this to be true because some bloke on The Sun newspaper's discussion forums said so, and he was IN THE SAS and saw it with his own eyes before killing them TO DEATH with his helicopter the army let him bring home at weekends, honest.

The Taleban are bad, bad people, and this is why we are at war.

And it is such a serious, serious war, they had to send Grant Mitchell out of EastEnders down to Helmand province to give the Westlife-loving bastards the damn good kicking they deserve whilst telling them to "Shut it, slag. This is famleee."

So: War. Not funny.

This being the case, I would go even as far as saying that there are absolutely no laughs to be had from a recent email alert I received from my learned colleagues at Channel Four news with the subject line "Soldier killed by poor equipment".

Alas, by the time the mail's header had been truncated by my low-quality email client, it read something like this:

No laughs to be had. At all.

Monday, February 18, 2008

On allowing intimate personal items out of your sight

On allowing intimate personal items out of your sight

I've got a confession to make.

I have allowed my family - with malice aforethought - to sit down on a Saturday night and watch ITV.

There. I said it.

It started innocently enough with the very excellent Harry Hill, but this is - I now realise - just bait to draw you into Michael Grade's web of deception and filth.

For next up comes Primeval, brainless action drama with dinosaurs for the kids, and heaving bosoms for the grown-ups. The ideal combination - how could this programme not be a hit?

And then... they hit you with the big one. The frontal lobotomy that is Ant and Dec's House Party Saturday Night Takeaway. Shouty gormless trash for idiots, and I sat there , transfixed, brain chugging along in neutral.

"Which one's Ant?"

"Both of them."


The first part of the programme involved some sort of fake game show wherea member of the audience is humiliated in front of millions, and is then rewarded for past bad behaviour with a luxury holiday.

Mrs Foghorn, it emerged, won a trip to the Caribbean on the back of cleaning the toilet with her husband's toothbrush.

"That's awful," I said, "what kind of message is that putting out?"

"Too right," replied my lovely wife, "I did much worse with your toothbrush when you were playing up*."



"You did what?"

"MUCH worse."

She refuses to elaborate.

Anton Dec. You're a bastard.

* A lost period in my life which lasted from approximately February 1966 until last Saturday.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Mix Tape

I've always been a music fan. My current MP3 player has about 4,500 songs, and it's still only about three-quarters full.

Back at the turn of the Eighties, I possessed a cheap Sanyo Walkman rip-off which was my constant companion. I wasn't the only one. There was a time where virtually everybody in the college common room sat, zombie-like, listening to their own music through headphones, while the jukebox fell silent.

The only noise would be the clack of the pool table, or voices raised to ask a headphoned Maggie behind the counter for a cup of tea and a rubber-flavoured - yet strangely addictive - cheese toasted sandwich.

Conversation was strictly limited to "What you listening to?"

There was never a reply, just the mute handing over of the cassette box and a nod of agreement from your peers.

This cycle was only ever broken twice, as Malcolm eyed the track-listing from my impeccably constructed mix tape and offered the following critique, before finding himself on the receiving end of a smack round the chops:

"It's crap. Especially the Simple Minds. Where's the fucking George Benson?"

Then there was the time one young chap was caught listening to a revision tape of his own devising. Cock punch.

I was always making my own obsessively-indexed mix tapes. I started off by taping the Top 40 off the radio, becoming highly skilled with the pause button, enabling me to cut out any trace of Tony Blackburn from the finished product.

Eventually, a weekend job stacking shelves and watching people have sex at a local supermarket found me in a position to spend actually cash money on actual records. I became a regular visitor to a dodgy independent record store in Bracknell, and built up a collection of 80s New Romantic classics that would, these days, be the envy of any balding, slightly overweight forty-something who used far too much hairspray in their youth.

No longer were the mix tapes made off the Sunday Top 40 show, but was compiled directly from my obsessively-compiled collection, onto the second cheapest C-90s I could lay my hands on.

Soon, I started making them for friends. Some - prog rockers to a man - even pretended to like my tastes.

Presently, I found myself hopelessly in love with a certain young lady from college who was part of our extended circle of silent common room Walkman listeners, and it was only a matter of time before I would offer her my services with a C-90.

Debbie, with spray-on jeans and pouting lips. I didn't stand a chance.

"Tell you what," I said on a chaperoned visit to a local public house where she drunk me into poverty on diet coke, "I'll make you a mix tape so we can see what kind of music we both like."

This - an offer to the girl who obsessed over Stevie Wonder's 'I Just Called To Say I Love You' - was doomed from the start.

Overtaken by hormones and the fiery desires of my loins, I decided to put in a short - and, in retrospect, decidedly sad spoken interlude halfway through side two.

The gist of it was this: "Debbie, I want to see you with very few clothes on."

I gave her a few days to let the message - mixed together with my irresistible choice of 80s New Rom standards - sink in, before giving her a call:

"Hey Debbie, did you listen to that tape I made you?"

"I didn't have time. I gave it to my brother."


"He's in the RAF Regiment. I thought it would be nice to give him something to listen to in his barrack room."


Meanwhile, at RAF Uxbridge, a battered ghetto blaster plays. Perched on top of the machine is a cassette box, bearing the words "Debbie's Mix Tape Vol. 1".

Half a dozen finely-creased and frighteningly muscular young men - some of whom are openly displaying wispy pencil moustaches - sit open-mouthed, hanging on to every last, pathetic word, their fingers tightening over a variety of semi-automatic weapons.

"...and Debbie, as the band plays on, we can make sweet, sweet music of our own..."


I was so scared I spent the weekend mulching into my trousers like Monty Don on an acid trip.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On celebrating John Frum Day

On celebrating John Frum Day

Possibly not John FrumTomorrow is John Frum Day. Happy John Frum Day!


John Frum is a mythical figure venerated by the people of Vanuatu who worship him as part of a cargo cult. The people of Tanna believe that Frum will return to them on 15th February, bringing much cargo, material wealth and all the trappings of Western Civilisation denied them by white settlers.

Convinced that luxury goods, made from materials and by technologies outside of their expertise, are the work of deities or their ancestors, islanders worship the mysterious Frum as the man who has promised to bring them 'cargo' as part of some sort of second coming.

They will go as far as constructing fake airstrips to attract said cargo, and will often have non-working replicas of radios, TVs and whole houses full of white goods in the hope that their deity will bless them with the real thing.

He is said to look "a bit like David Attenborough", which might explain a lot.

John Frum worship is not universal in Vanuatu. On the contrary, some people worship the Duke of Edinburgh as a god as well. Heaven help them if he decides on a bit of smiting whilst waiting for the grouse season to open.

Oh, and 15th February is my 42nd birthday.

I, too, worship a cargo cult, known to those of us residing in the First World as the Amazon Wish List.

That wasn't too mercenary, was it?

Love love, kiss kiss

On this day of lovers - St Valentine's Day - I thought it might hit the mood to reproduce the text of that most romantic of plays.

So, with a hey-nonny-nonny, a fire in my cod-piece and no refunds on tickets already purchased, we present:

Harry Hill's Romeo and Juliet

Act I Scene I - The Prologue

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
Montagues and Capulets toil with ancient grudge
But which one's better? Only one way to find out


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On your top five albums

On your top five albums

I've done made a list.

I've made a list of my top five albums, because all the other ones you see in glossy music publications fail to address my specific tastes, and are, by definition, shit.

Shit because I suspect they are put together by music journalists more worried about their cool credentials instead of owning up to a CD rack full of dodgy New Romantic classics.

Pet Sounds? Yeah, right. And frankly, I'd take Revolver or Abbey Road over Sgt Pepper any day of the week.

My list is certainly not shit, because the selections are tried and tested by my good self, and come with the Scaryduck SEAL OF APPROVAL that proves that everybody else listens to awful music, while I do not.

Strangely, while these are my favourite works of music, I find I hardly listen to them at all these days, preferring to savour them on rare occasions like a rough bottle of cheap vodka, binging the entire list at once and feeling slightly soiled afterwards.

1. Radiohead - The Bends: Far, far better than the critics' favourite OK Computer, and streets ahead of anything they've done since they decided not to bother with tunes any more.

2. Marillion - Misplaced Childhood: It took me about 20 years to finally "get" this album, but now that I have, I've recognised it as the rock masterpiece that it is.

3. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses: A complete one-off of an album that the lazy dogs could never, ever hope to repeat. After the doomed 'Second Coming', I'm rather glad that they stopped trying.

4. Kate Bush - Hounds of Love: Came to this one late after a friend noted that - of all the music in my collection - I only had about three discs featuring female artists. And Gad, he was right, for that's 50% more music available to my lugholes.

5. The Boo Radleys - Giant Steps: There's one track on this pre-Wake Up Boo CD where the music stops for just one beat, before everything surges back in one big explosion of guitar bass and beautiful analogue feedback. It's my favourite bit of music, ever, and having accidentally listened to it at full volume this morning, just a little scary.

OK, let's make it a top six, then:

6. Win - Uh! Tears Baby!: I've written on this obscure 1980s masterpiece at length in previous blog posts, and I still love it.

Crap. It's a top seven.

7. Ultravox! - Ha!Ha!Ha!: That's pre-Midge Ultravox! with a '!', thrashing their way through their art school punk critically-acclaimed-but-no-sales-at-all second album. Any album that gets Radio 1 inadvertently playing the line "Fuck like a dog" has got to be good.

So. That's Scary's top seven. I'm sure I've missed one somewhere and it'll be a top eight. Enlighten me.

8. Blondie - Parallel Lines

9. The Jam - Sound Affects

Somebody stop me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On the need for efficient pre-flight checks

On the need for efficient pre-flight checks

As TV's Jamie Oliver said just hours before the Great Raw Chicken Poisoning of Old London Town: "Failure to prepare is to prepare to fail".

Or, as Fat Tongue himself actually put it: "Fnurrnurr to prenurr is to prepuurrpurr oo ferrr."

Any good pilot would tell you the same.

"Fnurrnurr to prenurr is to prepuurrpurr oo ferrr," they will tell you.

If, as a pilot working for a major airline, you fail to carry out a decent pre-flight check, you only have yourself to blame when both the wings fall off and you plummet 36,000 feet to your firey doom, spread all over the North Atlantic like a rash on Amy Winehouse's mimsy.

And I should know. It is easy to lack preparation in straight-forward parts of everyday life - or even to take the most simple precautions - that might avoid future bouts of unnecessary woe.

"Can you give us a 'such as', Scary?"

Yes. Yes I can.

Simple things. Such as forgetting to check if there is sufficient toilet paper in the stall until you are halfway through parking your breakfast. This can only lead to the unnecessary woe of shuffling between stalls, trousers held up as high as they will go, buttocks clenched firmly together to avoid spillage, at the exact moment your head of department directs a visiting major stakeholder in the direction of the gentlemen's toilets during a pause in make-or-break talks on this year's budget round.

Your lack of preparation, then, might lead to hundreds of redundancies and the eternal hatred of your entire body of colleagues.

Woe such as that.

Or, if you are in need of another practical example, failure to prepare for a long coach journey by neglecting to don a pair of incontinence pants for the ten excruciating hours that follow the inevitable moment the chemical loo explodes just north of Watford Gap. Your choice of a window seat might have been good at the time, but wedged in next to Ann Noreen Widdecombe filming an ITV exposé on National Express coaches, you have nowhere to go except down your leg.

You will notice that both of these examples involve going to the toilet. Alas, this is my third 'such as' in this brief essay on the failure to prepare. For I appear to be completely unprepared for any other eventuality apart from toilet emergencies. Sorry.

On War Child

I have been prodded by the people behind Post of the Week towards contributing to a book designed to raise funds for the excellent War Child charity, which works to help children affected by conflict.

After a certain amount of deliberation - not least because of the subject matter of the story - I have submitted a shorter, tighter, somewhat funnier version of my Trip-to-the-Congo tale that will be exclusive to the book, detailing a naive journalist's trip into a war-zone expecting five-star service and finding nothing but woe.

If a) you want to purchase a copy or b) you have a blog and want to get involved, shoot on over to Peach's blog for the full details.

That is all.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On giving your car a name

On giving your car a name

I've done something really bloody stupid.

I've gone and given my car a name.

Giving your car a name is expensive. It personalises your relationship between man and automobile, leading to emotional attachment, expensive gifts and even more expensive maintenance, before the not entirely unexpected tearful split.

Just like any other relationship then.

TV's Richard 'Hamster' Hammond learned this lesson the hard way on a recent Top Gear, accidentally giving a clapped out 1960s Opel Kadett the name 'Oliver'. This led to our short-arsed hero developing a disastrous relationship with the machine that cannot be totally attributed to the knock on the head he got from his rocket car crash, resulting in thousands of pounds spent shipping the bag of bolts back from Namibia.


For a car.

A crap one.

And now, I have done the same.

I have a clapped out 1996 Ford Escort with 95,000 miles on the clock. Which I have named The Silver Hornet.

The Silver Hornet

Those of you who have seen my car can vouch for one thing about The Silver Hornet.

"You spacker, Scary. It's blue. How can a car called The Silver Hornet be DARK BLUE?"

It is. It just is.

I have compounded my folly by allowing this car to be my second with the same name. At least the first Silver Hornet (an Austin Allegro) was actually silver, but if there's anything to be said about its performance, it can never be described as hornet-like.

Sloth-like, perhaps, but never hornet-like. And I spent a fortune on the bloody thing, not least on getting an entirely new set of suspension for it just weeks before all the wheels fell off.

I also had a Renault 21 named after an obscure Brazilian footballer. But we don't talk about him any more.

What, dear reader - apart from "Start you useless piece of shit, START!" - do you call your car?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

"Jus' like that"

"Jus' like that"

Something's been bugging me about new England football manager Fabio Capello. And it was only after seeing him grinning like an idiot in a recent press conference that I finally twigged what it was...

Glass, bottle - bottle, glass - World Cup - Nothing up the sleeves - Jus' like that.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Bad Dog IV

Mirth and Woe: Bad Dog IV

It is probably completely politically incorrect of me to say so, but I am a big fan of our local police force. Every time I've had to call them out, they've arrived within ten minutes, put the wrongdoers in their place (at the bottom of a specially-constructed flight of concrete stairs at Weymouth nick) and generally acted like the professionals that they are.

This efficiency probably has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Minister of State for Schools lives just round the corner, at all.

It is only when police are taken out of their natural environment of hassling the kids and writing out speeding tickets with the admonishment "What if there had been a child in the road" (The correct answer being, of course, "I'd teach the little bastard for ignoring the Green Cross Code") that they become utterly hopeless.

For example, school summer fetes.

It is the law of school summer fetes that there should be at least one of the following:

- a badly choreographed maypole
- a terrifying display of Tae Kwon Do
- at least one emergency service on a public relations trip

Living as I do on the coast, we have the privilege of the coastguard coming along and perving everybody up in his wetsuit. Other schools are not so lucky. They get a visit from The Law.

Usually, the deal runs to PC Copper turning up on his push-bike and letting the girls have a go on his truncheon. Everybody goes home happy apart from the kid who insisted on a demonstration of practical hand-cuffing, who is, as we speak in the metalwork rooms having his arms sawn off.

One year, the coastguard chap was double-booked, so we were forced to slum it with the gentlemen of the Dorset Constabulary. Luckily, one of the teachers had a friend-of-a-friend at the Police Training College, so the school was blessed with a special visit. A dog handler.

Not just any dog handler. Dorset's TOP (and quite possibly, knowing our local services budget, only) dog handler. He even had a dog, which was a bit of a bonus, all told.

In celebration of this remarkable coup, the school pushed the boat right out, and organised one of those novelty dog shows that you thought had been stamped out years ago. Dogs with knobbly knees, that sort of thing. Billy Butlin would be turning in his grave.

No matter, for the competition was all but forgotten once our boy in blue - a sergeant, no less - turned up with Fang.

Fang was a huge, scary Alsatian who had tasted human flesh, and longed to taste it again.

Fang was also - as most dogs are - just one meal from turning back into a wolf.

Luckily for us, Fang obeyed his master to the letter and amused the crowd to a number of tricks, right up to and including chasing one of the braver padded suit-clad teachers, slobbering all over his arm until told to stop.

Alas, it was the request to jump through one firey hoop too many that proved to be Fang's undoing.

You could see it it his eyes: "Fuck that for a bowl of Marrowbone Pal".

Fang legged it.

However, his escape not no simple doggy plan to run amok in a crowded field of screaming, tasty children.

Fang's escape was one with purpose.

He charged like an arrow across the arena and across the school field, as if he had the smell of runaway drug addict on his nostrils.

He pounced.

He flew.

He landed squarely on the back end of The Dog That Looks Most Like Its Owner.


There were screams.

There were shouts.

Small children rang in small, confused circles until they collided - bleeding and vomiting - head-on into each other. I dare say some of that vomit even found its way into a hedge, but your humble narrator's attention was elsewhere.

For there is nothing quite so funny as two dogs copulating in front of visiting clergy.

"Fetch a bucket!" a shrill, large breasted woman shouted, as Canon Hugo attempted an exorcism. Alas, there was no stopping this hell-hound, and he humped away at The Dog That Looked Most Like Its Owner, as The Owner That Looked Most Like Its Dog watched helplessly.

At last, our visiting officer of the law had seen enough and gathered his wits sufficiently to call his charge to heel.

"Fang! COME!"

Too late. He already had.

If that's not police brutality, I don't know what is.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On Tubberware &c

On Tubberware &c

God bless Mrs Duck. Lovely, sweet Mrs Duck who still thinks plastic containers are called 'Tubberware', and would sue me - her charming husband - for 'liable' if she reads this has, once again, almost caused me to crash the car into the sea with a random snippet of conversation:

"See those houses they've built next to the church?"

"The expensive ones they put up with the fake lychgates and arches to make them look more churchy, you mean?"

"Those are the ones. Hideous, aren't they?"

"Yeah. What about them?"

"I wonder if they built them on consummated ground."

"MWA HA HAHAAAAAARGH! I mean: Fucked if I know."

"If you can't drive in a straight line, then I'm going to take over."

Honestly, you can't take me anywhere.

On having a Thursday vote-o

After last week's postponement thanks to Our Wall Collapse Drama That Is Now Fully Covered By Lloyds TSB Insurance, I am now in position to offer a Thursday vote-o this week. Woo, and indeed, yay. Choose, then, tomorrow's Tale of Mirth and Woe from the following list:

- Launcher: "And here, Prime Minister," said the tall man in the dark suit, "are the transcripts from our illicit wire taps. I'm afraid the rumours are true. Ann Noreen Widdecombe IS running a filthy sex line."

- Leaving James Behind: "Ip - dip - dog - shit - you - are - not - it." 'Surely,' thought Barack Obama, 'There must be a better way of choosing a President.'

- Red Card: "Och, that's dreadful defending," said TV pundit Alan Hansen, "They've left themselves open to their tricky winger, turned their back to the attacker, and now he's gone and taken him up the Gary Glitter."

- Bad Dog IV: TV's Monty Don emerged from the shed with a big smile on his face. "Mulching!" he announced holding up a reeking Tesco carrier bag, "If it's good enough for that Duck fella..."

- Mix Tape: At last, despite threats of court action, Scientology's darkest secret was revealed. Tom Cruise had recently taken part in a secret ceremony and changed his name to Gloria Sbuttocks. The aliens would be coming for him any day.

You know what to do: Vote me up!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

On six years

On six years

Six years ago today, I signed up to Blogger and wrote a dreadful first post which didn't mention poo in the slightest.

In the following half a dozen years, I've picked up the odd award or two, written the best part of 250 Tales of Mirth and Woe, published a book, and confessed to crapping in my shed on one occasion.

On one occasion.

And what am I going to be remembered for? Go on. Guess.

Let this snippet of conversation with Cliff Thisisthis illustrate my point:

Cliff had noticed the picture of my shed in last Friday's tale of My Wall Collapse Hell, and enquired whether if it was the shed. In fact, it is.

Me: "Good Lord, man. I only ever pooed in a shed once. It's not as if I make a habit of it."

Cliff: "These things should not define us. Edmund Hillary climbed Everest one time. You'd think that's all he did."

Me: "And, on a similar vein, Lofty from EastEnders has done loads of other stuff in the 20 years after he stopped being Lofty from EastEnders. Such as the radio phone-in '6-0-6 with Lofty from EastEnders'"

My life has been, I am certain, so much more than one heaving bag of steaming do-do in my outhouse. I've been sick in hedges, too.

So. Six years in, and my epitaph will read: S. Duck. Shat in his shed.

Happy Blogday to me.

*cough* Amazon Wish List *cough*

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

On manners not costing anything

On manners not costing anything

Here's another tip.

Do not - under any circumstances - exchange playful hand signals with your offspring when encountering your teenage family walking down the busy Portland Road.

This is especially true if sharing the Queen's Highway with the Great Unwashed.

You may die.


The sound of red hot brakes on a grubby, unmarked white van.

"OI! YOU!"

"Who? Me?"


"Could I render you some sort of assistance?"


"I beg your pardon, my good man?"


"What? No... I was waving at somebody else. And did they not teach you anything at the inner city establishment that passed as a school? Manners cost nothing."


"My ...err... children."

Them, sweetly:" Hello."


Saved by a text message, I fled to the safety of my nearby car, to see the thug roar off at speed, screech to another halt 100 yards down the road, and roundly abuse another passer-by.


Some cahnt clearly needs anger classes.

Monday, February 04, 2008

On three words you never want to hear

On three words you never want to hear

Sad AmyI was dragged out of a restful night's sleep this morning by three things: the wife's knee in my back, the insistent beep of my alarm clock and the horror of three words which had taken up camp at the very front of my brain:

* "Amy Winehouse naked"

Hardly the start of any perfect week, what with the events of the last few days - such as the outside of my house finding itself redecorated in a style known as "Early Stalingrad" and Mrs Duck's close encounter with a Final Destination-style hideous demise - but there they were. Those dread three words featuring Sad Amy - the skank's skank - that would make any sane man go off and be sick inna hedge. If I had a hedge.

Of course, there are many, many other three-word groups that pop into your brain at any given time, designed solely to spoil your day, and leave you with the slight taste of sick in the back of your mouth. On the plus side, once published on these pages, my website referrals from a certain kind of internet user* will go through the roof.

The list of DOOM:

- Thatcher's still alive

- Ann Widdecombe's nadger

- Executive breakfast menu

- "Bend over, please"

- Prince Charles up-kilt

- "I play rugby"

- All-day Heartbeat marathon

- Alex Ferguson lingerie

Go on. Spoil my day. Think up more.

* I can always tell when certain celebrities have been on the television when I get at least half-a-dozen hits searching for Sarah Beeny / Kirstie Allsopp / Konnie Huq naked and/or in a bath of beans. Are they ever in for a disappointment

Friday, February 01, 2008

On there being warnings of gales in all areas

On there being warnings of gales in all areas

There will, sadly, be no Friday Tale of Mirth and Woe this week. I was dragged from my office yesterday morning - before I had even sunk my first coffee of the morning - under instructions to return to my charming seaside abode toot sweet on account of large chunks falling off due to unclement weather.

No shit.

Woe, in fact. Luckily, there was nobody walking past at the time, or I dare say someone might have been killed to death. Let's face it, that kind of rubble landing on top of you is really going to hurt.

I would, at this point, like to thank Lloyds TSB insurance for doing their best to stop me from making a claim without even stepping foot outside their offices. I don't blame them, to be honest, for the Met Office had the wind speed at Gale 8, gusting to Storm 10.

I am told that the sky went black, rivers of blood flowed down the street, plagues of locusts, closely followed by a righteous mountain-levelling wind sent to smite the ungodly. Bang on target, then.

"If only," I told Mrs Duck as a JCB digger attacked our house, "If only we'd had a hedge there. But 'no', you said. 'Hedges only encourage people to be sick. We've got to have a house with a wall.' Now look what's happened."

Then I was sick inna hedge.