Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Scaryduck Consumer Test: Value Brand Dog Poo Bags (39p for about a million)

So, we ask ourselves, are Value Brand Dog Poo Bags (39p for about a million) worth the money?

Armed with a handful, I took my canine assistant Charlie "Medium Beans" O'Hanrahan up the woods to find out.

After a short distance in which Charlie demonstrated his willingness to Bark Now, Ask Questions Later at two other dogs taking their exercise, he duly obliged with a pancake which could only be described as several slugs partaking in an orgy. An extreme test for the Value Brand Dog Poo Bags (39p for about a million), so how did they hold up?

Structurally, they were a shambles and structural integrity was lost at an early stage, resulting in a thumb ending up in the target faeces. There were witnesses. The resulting mess demanded that this operation now became a double-bagger, and the extra time pulling another Value Brand Dog Poo Bag (39p for about a million) off the roll resulted in an unimpressed Charlie pissing in my trainer.

Strength-wise, not so good. Brushing against some brambles later in the walkie led to both bags splitting open and spilling green turds own the leg of my fourth best jeans. Once again, there were witnesses, and it was an unprecedented triple-bagger that made it to the bin on the way home.

So, the results of our road test of Value Brand Dog Poo Bags (39p for about a million): No structure, no strength, fiddly to use, and about as trustworthy as the containment field in the film Ghostbusters. But, on the plus side, 39p for about a million.

Would buy again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The UK Citizenship Test Revisited

I see the government has launched a simplified version of Life in the UK, the test for people mental enough to want to become a British citizen. 

Gone are the nonsensical questions from the previous test ("Explain, drawing from your knowledge of Agrarian Reform, how the Industrial Revolution changed the master-peasant relationship in the second half of 19th Century England") to be replaced by new ones with a more meaning for today's modern Brits. 

Let's see what's prospective Britons are being asked: 

Daddy or chips? (The only question to remain from the previous test)
What is the average airspeed of a fully laden swallow? 

What is Victoria Beckham's nickname? 
a) Posh 
b) Skeletor 
c) The one that can't sing 

Which one out of Ant and Dec is Dec? 

Trick question: Do you own any Gary Glitter records? 

Who held the TV rights the last time Spurs won the league? 
a) Sky 
b) BBC 
c) Pathe News 

I own a black and white dog. What can you deduce from this statement? 
a) I am one of millions of UK dog owners 
b) I probably don't own a cat 
c) The licence is cheaper than a colour one 

How do you say "scone"? 
a) To rhyme with "gone" 
b) To rhyme with "cone" 
c) "Tea cake" 

Where is Adolf Hitler's other ball? 
a) In the Reichs Chancellory Ballroom 
b) Nobody knows 
c) In the Albert Hall 

Are you a Benny tied to a tree? 

Have you got Skill?
Czy wiesz, dobre hydraulika?
To be honest, no bugger's going to get into the country at this rate.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Rainbow Bridge, and why it must be destroyed with fire

Duck's deaf dog went the same way as Ken Dodd's dad's dog, ie dead

Call me a hard-hearted old git, but one side effect of losing a pet to old age is the number of well-meaning yet nonsensical messages of commiseration we have received from complete strangers on the electric Facebook.

Many of these refer to poor, dead Snowy going to "The Rainbow Bridge", a mythical place that exists in the minds of soft-minded people looking for a painless euthemism for Death's Icy Claw when their beloved pet goes paws-up. To us hard-hearted old gits, the Rainbow Bridge would be the one over the Basingstoke Canal, the waters of which being frozen solid, meaning the dog-inna-bag just sat there looking awkward until he was fetched a nasty peck by a passing goose.*

For those of you with a high tolerance to saccharin, here's the Rainbow Bridge nonsense in full, which I cut-and-paste from a website presented in Comic Sans, the Font of Champions:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Your sick bag is in the pocket of the seat in front of you.

Then we think back to poor, dead Snowy and realise that he'd probably tread his own poo all over the Rainbow Bridge, start a fight with all the other dogs, steal their food, breathe all over them with his Death Breath until the whole thing is swimming in sick, and they have to burn the Rainbow Bridge down and start again. A victory for the powers of Dogston.

And why - we ask - is it called the Rainbow Bridge when dogs are colour blind anyway? For accuracy's sake, it should be called the Shades of Grey Bridge, opening up all kinds of rolling vistas of kinky dog sex horror.

Besides that, we weren't even poor, dead Snowy's first owners. Who is he going to wait for? Us, or the elderly people who had him before, and are clearly going to get there first. Are we going to have to resort to fisticuffs? So many questions.

Down with this sort of thing.

* This didn't actually happen. No dogs were flung off bridges, even if it was what he would have wanted.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Rubbish Q Division

"Now, pay attention Double-O Seven, I've got some new equipment to show you, we've had top people working on it night and day."

"Good morning, Q. I hope you're feeling better after your little ...err... psychotic episode."

"Never felt better, Bond. Never felt better. A couple of weeks chained to a bed does wonders for a man, you know. Just like being back at the old school, what?"

"Errr... right. What exactly have you got for me? Blofeld's planning something nasty, and I need the right tools for the job."

"Glad you asked. Now watch this little beauty carefully - say you're out on a rainy golf course, and have an urgent need to fire live sharks at your enemies."

"Happens all the time, Q, old chap..."

"Good. Excellent. This may look like your common-or-garden golf umbrella, but press this button on the handle and it fires live sharks at your enemies, while you say something pithy like 'Fancy a bite?' Granted, we're still working on a way of carrying the sharks, but we're sure it's a winner."

"Brilliant, Q, brilliant. But surely piranha...?"

"Don't be a nincompoop, Bond. And we're particularly proud of this one: It may look like a traditional fountain pen, but by pressing this button on the remote control, and it sprays the user in the face with a dose of fresh spunk, rendering him utterly incapable."

"It doesn't appear to be working..."

"That's because I haven't filled it yet. Give me five minutes with these photos of Judi Dench and it's all yours. And put that phone away, it's rude."

"Hello? M? Bond here. You're right, he's lost it. I'll just get what I need from the Argos catalogue. Yes, I'll get a receipt."

"And don't touch that, 007. Why not? It's Mrs Q's vibrator, she's going to have the Valentine's Day of her life."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Snowy "Dogston" O'Hanrahan: A Tribute

Sad to report that our canine pal Snowy "Dogston" O'Hanrahan snuffled off this mortal coil at around 5 o'clock yesterday evening. He'd taken a turn for the worse over recent weeks, and it was clear that his heart and lungs could no longer cope. At the age of 17, it was the best we could do for him, and the last few days gave us time to prepare for a loving, painless end for the little chap.

Still, it's easier to remember him like this:

Or utterly unable to sleep in a bed like this:

And, indeed, with his beak on like this:

We are, you will be pleased to hear, not entirely without dog, having adopted Charlie "Medium Beans" O'Hanrahan a couple of months ago:

Both Charlie and Snowy were adopted by Jane from Oldies Club, a rescue charity that re-houses older dogs into loving homes. Oldies were kind enough to support Snowy's not inconsiderable vet bills, and for that we are very grateful. Like any charity, they rely on donations to continue their work, and if you'd like to help us give thanks for the life of our smelly, bad-tempered, lovable little monkey, please consider a donation.

Goodbye, Dogston. You were stinky, but we loved you.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Making Good Art

I'm a sensitive type, and to prove it, I'm allowing proper art to appear on these pages for the first time. After all, was it not Greatest Living Englishman Neil Gaiman who recently told us to Make Good Art?

So, here is Jane's finest work, made through the medium of finger-and-iPad.

We call it "Teddy Penishands"

...and my very own "Beaky O'Hanrahan" (same medium)

I cannot draw hands (penis or otherwise), so I missed out the hands. This - alas - on the day that Beaky goes to meet his maker. I shall miss the stinky little scruff.

Let's hear it for art, everybody!

Also, let's hear it for poor Snowy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Road to Highbury

How do you choose your football team?

The cliched answer is: You don't, it chooses you.

The real answer is: You don't, you just know.

My - for the want of a better word - journey to becoming an Arsenal supporter took rather longer than most people. Most people, you see, know which club they're going to support from a very early age, and they grow up with those colours being part of their identity.

Then there are others who flirt with teams, trying to find the right fit, the right partnership, the right bunch of eleven drunks and millionaire slackers on whom to waste their emotions.

Some people even go through life without finding their team. They might watch from afar, or not even watch at all, for not everybody is a football fan, and not everybody likes sports at all.  That's their life choice, whether their existance is richer or not because of this is neither here nor there, but it is a choice none the less.

My father took me to see Chelsea when I was nine years old. I liked football, I was allowed up late to watch Match of the Day at the age of six or so, and I was born in Parsons Green, within spitting distance of Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground. So, Dad wangled a couple of tickets, and away we went to see them lose at home to Stoke City.

I decided to "like" Chelsea, but I never followed them obsessively. There was something about the ground (a dump), the team (overpaid underachievers) and - most of all - the fans (knuckle-dragging simians with a liking for violence) which meant I could never choose Chelsea.

And then, in my late teens, I found work and my boss took me along to see Reading play. I flirted with Reading FC for a couple of seasons, like the nice girl who lives a few doors down who you fancy but can't quite find the courage to ask out. Watching Reading was genteel, not without interest, but unltimately unsatisfying. Yes, I lived in the town, they were my local team, but I was a London boy at heart.

At this stage, I would like to admit to a brief affair with Fulham. It meant nothing.

Football supporters will tell you when they KNOW they've chosen their team, and in virtually every case it's that moment they enter the stadium, climb the steps to the terrace and catch that first glimpse of green under the floodlights as the crowd sways and singss below. That's the magic moment. That's when it grabs you.

"Want to come see the Arsenal?" my brother asked, "More fun than that Reading shit."

Nigel had been to college for a year, and had fallen in with some local lads who were regulars at Highbury. Yes, I'll go.

"It's away. West Ham."

Holy Mother of Jesus.

The moment came as I climbed the steps into the away end of Upton Park. And - WHAM - the noise, the cigarette smoke, the raw aggression that was rather absent at Elm Park. The crowd swayed and surged, and I swayed and surged with it. Sometimes I could see the pitch, sometimes I couldn't. But I didn't care, because I was part of a larger whole, somewhere I knew I belonged.

Arsenal were shit that night and lost 3-1. I was hooked.

We had some fun times. We had some bloody awful times.

Twenty-something years later, I'm still hooked, even though Arsenal and I don't talk much these days. But I know, I'm part of it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thirteen years later

WARNING: Contains traces of sadness

In May 2000, my mother died suddenly. She was 61.

Emphysema crept up on her in a matter of weeks, and she turned from an energetic, active grandmother looking forward to retirement to wheelchair-bound within a few days. Then, as we were arranging for someone to come along and measure up the house for a stair-lift, she had a turn for the worse that proved to be terminal, her heart giving up under the strain of her destroyed lungs.

My abiding memory of the last days of her life was of barrelling up and down the M4-M5-A30, covering the 260 miles between my house and hers again and again, getting to know every skid mark, every service station on that stretch of tarmac and concrete. And then, one week before she died, we arranged to kidnap her from the Royal Cornwall Hospital with a wheelchair and half a dozen oxygen tanks and took her to the other end of the country for my brother's wedding in a country hotel.

It was a wonderful, celebratory weekend, and one of those very rare occasions that I've been together with my brother, sister and their own families in happy circumstances. It's not that we don't get on. We do. We just know where we all live, and that's good enough for all of us.

On the way back to Cornwall, as she dozed, this is the last song - a thing of beauty from an otherwise uninspiring album - that I played in the car, and it still gives me the goosebumps today to think back to that moment, knowing that time was running out and there was not one damn thing I can do about it.

Then, a horribly confused week, all of us thrown together, me sleeping in my childhood bunkbed, dreading the worst. And when the worst came, I was on a motorway somewhere at the moment of her death, travelling in hope to find all hope dashed as I arrived.

There were so many thing left to say.

So many things left to apologise for. Apologies that went unspoken.

And are still unsaid today.

And I don't know what I'd give to say them.

Thirteen years later, and I still love you.

Waltz away...

Monday, January 21, 2013

In which your author doesn't die of the Man Flu, or the Actual Flu

Flu. It's shit.

It started with the world falling out of my bottom at six o'clock on a Wednesday morning. I knew it was a Wednesday, because the world was falling out of my bottom.

"Oh, that's unfortunate," I said as Brown Windsor soup gushed out of me, "I hope it's not the start of something".

So, two days' of lying on my back, exhausted and groaning, I thought I would be fine to go back to work on the Friday. My sick leave record is shocking, and I hate taking time off, so I went back and felt reasonably fine.

By the time I got home, I was sweating and freezing, shaking and stammering, and that was me in bed for the next 72 hours. Not just the mouldering, tiring man flu of the previous two days, but ACTUAL flu in which people thought I was going to die. Delirious, I went onto the internet and offered my CD collection to people. If you are one of these people, I can only apologise.

At one stage I had everything I owned on top of me for warmth, and I was still hot-cold-shiver-shaking and wanting it all to end. Also, we ran out of tissues and chocolate.

And then, on Tuesday night, with one apocalyptic blow of the nose (a four tissue event, you'll be disgusted to hear), it was gone. The flu had vacated my head, leaving behind a bit of a cold and a chesty cough.

I went back to work. I even sat through a meeting, at the back, taking notes.

By the time I got home, the ear infection had taken hold and I was rendered almost entirely deaf. Deaf, except for when I was eating, when I could hear every bite, crunch and slurp, which drove me up the wall.

I found that by holding my nose and popping my ears, I could give myself a little minor relief from the deafness, as the goo inside my mucus-filled head slooshed around. I also found this made the entire world spin around and I would fall over. The first time I did this was in the bathroom, and it didn't get any less funny by the tenth occasion. Delirious, I went onto the internet and offered people my DVD collection. There were no takers.

Outside, it snowed.

Work looms again. I expect a leg will fall off or something.*

This post was brough to you by the words "woe is me".

* It didn't. Instead, I pulled a muscle in my stomach by coughing too hard 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekend Video: Bowie Double Triple Bill

Life on Mars

Absolute Beginners

I've got this thing with David Bowie: He's been out of the public eye for a while, and now that he's well into his sixties, you get the feeling we're going to be - one day - in a world without Bowie. 

That would be bad. But then, Mars has coped pretty well without him. And then, this came along...

Where Are We Now?


Friday, January 18, 2013

Lost in the health supermarket

To Aldershot's massive new health centre, built much on much the same lines as a shopping mall with a multi-storey car park and huge central atrium with reception areas around the side like shops.

Following mysteriously disappearing signs for the toilets, I find myself lost in the twisting corridors below stairs until I am accosted by some chap in a security guard uniform.

"Can I help you, sir?"

"I'm trying to find the Gregg's."
"The what, sir?"

"Gregg's. Gregg's the Bakers. I'm famished."


"Or the Starbucks. Surely this place has a Starbucks."

"I'm afraid this isn't a shopping centre, sir. What are you really after?"

"Eye tests."

"Very funny, sir. Now get out."

I got out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On not actually giving blood

So, I went to give blood, and after heeding advice not to mention a) Tony Hancock and b) vampires, I set to filling in the necessary paperwork. And while I thoroughly understand their fear of the Bad AIDS - man - the donor questionnaire is HARSH: 

Have you ever partied like an S Club Party?
Have you ever borrowed a sleeping bag from a male nurse?
Do you own a CD copy of Michael Bolton's "Timeless: The Classics"?
Do you find Jim Davidson funny?
How do you like your steak cooked?
Have you ever visited a Harvester before?
Daddy or chips?
Are you a Benny tied to a tree?
Have you got Skill?
What underwear are you wearing right now? Describe it for me.
If - by slim chance - it all goes horribly wrong and we accidentally go through an artery and kill you utterly to death, can we have your DVD collection?

Then they found out I'd been to the dentist in the last week and sent me packing, without even the promised tea and biscuits and crisps. All I was left with was the free parking permit ("I'M GIVING BLOOD") in my car windscreen  and a smug sense of self-satisfaction built on LIES.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The case of the missing sofa (solved)

"Where's the sofa gone?"
"Beg pardon?"
"The sofa. The one in the Prayer Room."
"It's not a Prayer Room, it's a non-denominational Quiet Room."
"A a non-denominational Quiet Room that had prayer mats, a big cross and a sofa. What happened to the sofa?"
"We didn't think a sofa was appropriate for a non-denominational Quiet Room, so we had it destroyed. The £27 we found down the back has gone toward a luxury hand towel for the Executive Washroom."

"A what for the whatty what?"
"A luxury hand towel for the Executive Washroom. It's a wonder this business even functioned."
"So... What about the sofa? Do you WANT to get the union involved?"

"Steady on, old chap, remember the concessions we gave over soup in the vending machine?"

"Let's make it perfectly clear: I worship my God through the medium of sleep. You are persecuting me."

There was a pause. I dare say one would call it "pregnant".

"Oh, look what I found in the back of my estate car. It wasn't destroyed after all. Ha-ha."

The right to worship has been restored.

*Didn't actually happen, though somebody once "borrowed" the office fridge without asking for a week when they moved house. They were asked to bring it back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On things not to say to the people who stick large pointy drills into your mouth

I phone the dental surgery.
Me: "Hi, I'm ringing about my 4.45 appointment today with Dr Da Silva. How much will it cost?"
That's Cristiano Ronaldo look-a-like Dr Da Silva. He's very popular.
Receptionist: "Your name, sir?"
Me: "Coleman. It's Coleman."
Receptionist: "I'll just look it up. Bear with me."
This is too good a chance to miss.
Me: "What are its teeth like?"

Receptionist: "What? I beg your pardon?"

Me: "The bear. The one that's with you."

Reception: "That's not what I meant."

Me: "It had better be gone by quarter-to-five."

Receptionist: "£48. Goodbye."
Good thing the appointment wasn't at two-thirty, there would have been hell to pay. I am SO juvenile.

I arrive in good time to find that the bear is gone. There is - however - a pungent smell coming from the nearby wooded area. Another of life's great mysteries answered.
Readers may be intrigued by the road sign in the picture accompanying this item directing drivers to "Pyestock". Try to imagine my disappointment when I discovered that is was not a pie-related benefit concert.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Even the spammers can't be bothered these days

Dear Spammer

Look, if you can't even spell "Lloyds" correctly (and I don't blame you, I've been a customer for 30 years, and bless sweet, sweet baby Jesus for my autocorrect), I don't know why you even bothered sending this one out to me.

Frankly, if anybody falls for your inept attempt to gain access to their account, then they deserve to be robbed blind. And that goes to any customer of Braclays, Naw Test, HBSC and Stantander that you can rope in.

In fact, ever thought of a career at the Guardian?

Yours, without botherng with the spell-checker

Albert O'Balsam

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Weekend Video: Metallica - Enter Sandman

This song is 22 years old and acknowledged as a rock classic, yet I must confess its recent arrival as an earworm is the first time I've knowingly heard it. Who knew?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Twitter and the Sarcasm Mark: A proposal

Too many are people getting into trouble on the internet these days for otherwise harmless Twitter jokes that The Man has decided is not a joke at all. 

While some of the stuff that gets the Plod involved is genuinely nasty and the authors of such filth deserve all they get, what about the innocent jokers who see their gag about - say - blowing an airport sky-high, or shooting Simon Cowell repeatedly in the face with large calibre weaponry land them in court?

What the internet needs is some sort of "This is a joke" punctuation mark that shows that the author is having a laugh and does not intend to shoot repeatedly in the face with large calibre weaponry.

In some Ethiopian languages, there is a "sarcasm mark", which looks like an inverted exclamation mark which denotes when the writer is taking the rise. Certainly, the same concept could be applied to the 140-character world of Twitter, using an underused, readily-available keyboard character. Like ~ or ^ or |.

Somebody's already had a go, devising the 'SarcMark' which has the enormous disadvantage of having to be installed on any computer that wants to use it. Basically, every computer in the whole world. Also, it appears to be a registered trade mark, which just wants me to be sarcastic. It's got to be ~ or ^ or | or nothing at all.

Of course, we already have smileys, but they're for planks, and anybody who suggests :) will see their house bombed back to the stone age and their dog worn as a scarf [twitter approved this is a joke mark goes here].

Sarcasm marks - the way ahead.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On a little something that somewhat spoiled my Christmas break

Dear the Government

I know you don't give two shits - and neither has any government in the last four decades - but I've just had the misfortune of driving down the A303 past Stonehenge again.

Look, I know you've done studies, pretended to throw money at it, and then done nothing, but there's no denying it's the worst length of road in the entire country, if not the world. THE WHOLE BLOODY WORLD.

That may strike you as hyperbole, but having sat in hour-long traffic jams in either direction, it's clear to even the most parsimonious bean-counter in Whitehall that the road is just a mess.

It's not that dual carriageways go into single lanes for no reason. It's not roundabouts stopping traffic. It's not a sudden 30mph limit through a village. And it's not a dangerous turn at the bottom of a hill that causes jams. Oh on, it is none of these.

What holds people up for hours on end is this: Perfectly normal people driving along, saying "Ooh, it's Stonehenge!" and driving past at 10 mph. TO A MAN.

Every time: "Ooh! It's Stonehenge!" and traffic jams five miles in either direction.

Dig a hole and bury the road in a tunnel.

Build a bypass.

Put up a fucking big fence.

Just do something, you muppets.

Your pal,

Albert O'Balsam

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A book review, in crudely-drawn penis form

My first book review is in, and it is - he said smugly - a five star one.

But what the Dickens is that in the text of said review?

And I quote:


It's an ASCII penis.

An ASCII penis with a load of ASCII spunk.

Five star ASCII spunk, for which I should be thankful.

Buy my book, and you too - as a special free offer -  can leave a five-star ASCII cock-and-spunk review.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

In Search of Gerry Gow: The Quest Comes to an End

Long has been my quest, but know ye this: It is over.
In the year 1978, spurred by unexpected access to my Post Office saving account, I set off on a misguided mission to complete the Panini Football 78 sticker album. Little did I understand the lifetime of woe that this would cause, for by the time Football 78 disappeared from both the shops and school playgrounds, my funds had run out and I was eight stickers away from completion.

And those missing stickers - along with an uncompleted Airfix model of a Russian Mi-24 helicopter which has sat in a biscuit tin for the last three decades - gnawed away at my soul, demanding that they be found. I could recite their album numbers - 66, 179, 281, 299, 368, 384, 450, 451 - like normal people would remember their phone number, until - at last - the internet caught up with me and people started putting their ancient swaps online.

It hasn't been easy as I slowly worked through my Wants List, picking up the odd one or two from internet tat market eBay and specialist websites, until I reached a point in the last year when all I needed were Frank Clark of Nottingham Forest and Gerry Gow of Bristol City. And it was inevitable that my arch-nemesis "Gentleman" Gerry Gow - who lived just miles from me for the best part of ten years - would be the final sticker I needed.

And there, on the Retro Football Stickers site, he was. A remarkably small sum of money changed hands, and on 19 December 2012, 34 years on, my quest was complete as Gerry Gow and his big moustache flopped through my letterbox. And I say "remarkably small sum", but my twelve-year-old self would have been horrified that I would spend £1.50 on a football sticker when they came in a pack of five for an eye-watering 5p each.

Now, sticker no.66 rests easily in its space in the Football 78 album, and half of my life's work is complete. Just give me time to finish that helicopter, and your might as well get ready to screw down the coffin lid.

Monday, January 07, 2013

How to commit the perfect murder

In this modern age of social media, the work of both the police and the press appears to be much easier on account of all the photos idiot would-be criminals leave lying around. The corpse is barely cold these days before a low-quality picture of the suspect appears all over the Daily Mail - drunk if a male, drunk and making a duck face if female, lifted straight out of the old Facebook.

Not good if you're considering a career as a murderer, and here lies my plan for doing the perfect murder. It is - you will be amazed to hear - as easy as 1-2-3: 

1. Change all your Facebook photos to Piers Morgan 

2. Do a murder 

3. Watch as Piers Morgan does 20-to-life for the murder you done 

Utterly foolproof, and if enough potential criminals do this, Morgan will never see the light of day this side of Doomsday. 

No need to thank me.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Meanwhile, in North Korea...

I just got a copy of the North Korean edition of the Littlewoods catalogue. Sexy stuff, I think you'll agree.
"I'd re-double my work-rate to build a great Songun nation for his Juche idea," eh ladies?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Weekend Video: Alanis Morissette - Ironic

I post this video not for any great love for the song, but for the fact that this week I was stuck behind a van with a sticker on the back declaring "This vehicle is restricted to 62mph". The name of the company: Speedy Services. 

Now that, Alanis, is how you do ironic.

Friday, January 04, 2013

An EPIC letter to Hampshire County Council

Dear Hampshire County Council 

Congratulations on being the number one county council on the central south coast of England, a position you've achieved despite stiff opposition from those bastards in Dorset. 

Having recently moved to Hampshire, and drawing on my experience of living in other lesser counties (for eg Dorset), I thought I should write to you and offer a couple of suggestions to make the central south coast's premier county even better! 

For a start, there's your county town of Winchester. Picturesque, historic, but a bit flat. Why not use your powers and rename the place to give it the vim and gusto the south's best county town deserves. Pulling on my experience of online communities, I've come up with this: 

 EPIC WINchester 

Yeah? YEAH?! That's what the people of Hampshire want and deserve. Make it so. 

Also, ALDERSHIT. Because you can. 

 I am not mad. 

Your new pal Albert O'Balsam 
Fleet (Soon to be renamed Galactic Fleet HQ), Hampshire

Thursday, January 03, 2013

This is what we did at Christmas

Christmas! To Beer in Devon with Jane's family for a holiday in a rented cottage.

One thing led to another, and we found that you could either have internet or dogs, and not both. After being told that leaving the dogs in a box with a load of meat to fend for themselves was not an approved position, we went with PLUS DOGS and high-gain wireless gear to ponce off the BT network.

And ponce we did, as well as spend most of the festive season clearing up after a small dog with a dicky bottom.

So to Christmas Day, and dinner with all the trimmings as you'd expect.

Myself, Jane and her parents in a frenzy of feeding and the finest wines known to humanity at the dining room table. Jane's little sister and the poopy dogs at the kiddie table.

Jane's sister did not know there was going to be a kiddie table.

Heather is thirty-four years old.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

SHOPS: Get a music policy so I can hate you some more

There's a local night club I pass on my crawl to work that has a notice by the door helpfully telling people what to expect once they get through the door. Under a photo of a classy couple in a frankly improbable pose (when in reality it should show a drunken Trevor screaming "I REALLY FANCY YOU" over the music into the ear of an equally drunken Sharon) come the words:

Music Policy: RNB, Hip-Hop and Commercial house
Now, I'm sure that this translates as "Music Policy: Shit", but I like the idea of there being a music policy notice outside the door of any business where music is played. That way, the prospective customer gets the chance to make up their mind whether they're going to go in or not, knowing that they could escape a chance encounter with Simply Red.

The music policy notices of a few of the places I've been in recent weeks might look like this:
Barber shop: Commercial FM radio, the wailing souls of the dead

Dentist: Beastie Boys - Ill Communication
B&Q: Sound-alike, royalty-reduced cover versions of popular chart hits
Starbucks: Selections from the works of the composer Edvard Grieg. Presumably royalty- and tax-free
Big-brand shops shop: Gangsta Rap, complete with swears and old ladies complaining to the manager
Asda: "Asda FM" in-store radio featuring chart hits. WARNING: My also encourage customers to sing along tunelessly, slumped over the bar of the supermarket trolley like they've had all the bones in the upper part of their body removed.

It's also a handy guide to where I ought to be sending the Death Squads in those bloody and confused days after the Glorious Revolution. B&Q - you have been warned.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Overdrawn at the Royal Bank of Wank

This one comes from the B3TA Question of the Week: Wank Bank stories. Trust me to break it.

When I was 15, I had an early-morning paper round. It took me from the posh end of the village (Telegraph, Daily Mail) to the rough end (Daily Star, Daily Mail) along the length of one road. I'd be up at ten past six, on my bike and home bay half past seven, giving me an hour on my homework before getting to school.

Of course, being up that early, you'd often catch glimpses of people shambling around their houses in various states of undress, some of whom were filed away for later, while others were sent straight to the mental dustbin. In the posh end of the village, there was the girl in the year above me at school who had teen comic Jackie delivered every Wednesday, and she'd wait on the other side of the front door in a short nighty, waiting for it to arrived. Memory duly filed for later use, even if she was the most terrible horsy type of the kind I despised.

Several doors down was the lady who took the Daily Express, who waited at the top of the stairs in an nighty shorter than Jackie Girl as I thrust my Red Hot News into her slot. Alas, the nobbly front door glass made her exhibitionism all for nought, her nadge looked like an aerial photograph of the Black Forest. Top marks for enthusiasm, nothing at all for presentation, but she gave me a fiver for my Christmas tip, so all was not lost.

And then, down the poor end of the village was Pete's Mum. Pete was - and let's not beat about the bush - the school git, who lived permanently under the wing of his over-protective mother, a twenty stone harridan who had no qualms about turning up on your front doorstep and punching you round the ear if you rose to young Pete's baiting. Which was often, because he was a git who lived for winding people up knowing that his old mum was his (enormous, sweary)shield. The sight of Pete's Mum stomping along London Road with Pete ten yards behind was something to behold, because you knew that some poor sap was in for a hammering.

Every morning for a year, I would turn up at their house at 6.45, rolled-up Daily Star held before me like some ineffectual sword, as Pete's mum got dressed in the living room window. The milkman would also be there, leaving his two pints of silver-top before fleeing back to his float to poke his eyes out with broken milk bottles. EVERY MORNING FOR A YEAR. That enormous bra. Those huge bingo wings. The back-tits.The knickers disappearing up the flabby arse-crack. Every detail filed, never deleted, still there three decades on. You can guess which of these memories stayed in my wank bank, corrupting it for ever.

No wonder I'm fucked up.