Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treat

The kids giggled as they jostled against each other, crowded into the gateway of the house at the end of the road. The dark house, the one they hurried past on those dark winter mornings. Just beyond the main sodium corona of the streetlights, the house brooded, strangled by cruel ivy and silent in its death-throes. Tonight, Hallowe'en, a solitary candle added flickering menace to its usual deathly presence.

The shuffling stopped and the giggling died to hysterical whispers as the trick-or-treaters, costumed denizens of an imagined necropolis, chose a sacrificial victim. "Go on..." they urged each other, "...go on. Ring it!" More playful, nervous crowdplay, pushing forward, pulling back, then inside the perimeter a solitary hero emerged. A young Frankenstein in clumping boots, the scar his mother gave him blazing on his brow, flickering in the guttering candlelight.

Regular breathing stopped, only the occasional gasp betraying the need for oxygen as the silent throng willed the juvenile monster forward. Step by step he paced the garden path until, reaching the darkness of the porch, he was hidden from sight. He reached up and in the dark silence rang the doorbell. Deep in the house a faint and incongruous 'ding-dong' sounded. For a while nothing happened, then the candle-flame briefly flared, as if breathed upon by a ghostly presence and... silence again.

Frankie stepped out of the shadows and raised his arms in a shrug to the crowd of young zombies outside. "Nobody there!" The crowd drew back in horror as, within the darkness of the stoop, a greater darkness appeared. A black hole from which a vaguely human shape emerged. The spectral figure towered above and behind the young daredevil, arms reaching out and forward as if to encloak him. A girl in the crowd yelped in fear and the costumed throng thrashed and dispersed in sheer terror, panicked, high-pitched screams banshee-ing through the night.

Silence returned. In the window the candle flickered and 'Frankie' turned to face his nemesis, golden specks of candlelight illuminating his hopeful cheeks. "Trick or treat?" He asked.

"Where are your friends?" asked the dark wraith.

"Scared." said Frankie. "Ran away."

The dark figure sniffed. "It's cold outside," he opined, "come inside,where it's warm."

Frankie looked back to the street, from where his friends had abandoned him. They would never know his fate. "I like the candle." he offered, "Nice touch, uncle Bryan."

"Power cut." said Bryan, "Come in and have some toffee."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Birth of Venus

In another time, long, long ago, I did a two-year tour of duty in Colonel Gaddafi's Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. A dozen young, ex-patriate Brits, half graduates, half ex-army toiled in the central Sahara Desert during the searing heat of the day and drank themselves into oblivion each and every night on a potent mix of home-brewed five-day-old 'beer', locally-procured 'flash' (a poteen-like potion) and on the odd, desperate occasion, aftershave-and-coke. (To be fair we only reverted to the aftershave when we'd run out of tape-head cleaner.)

Although The Young Ones had yet to be broadcast we did, indeed 'have a video' an enormous early Sony U-matic type, which ran tapes of only one hour in duration. This meant you needed two tapes to view a feature film. Only we didn't always get both tapes. To this day, I have no idea what happened to Mowgli after King Louie scatted him half to death*.

Limited at times to one grainy edition of Not the Nine O'clock News and an endearingly ancient Top of The Pops selection it was inevitable that at times we had to make our own entertainment. Our request for games such as Monopoly, Risk and Five-foot Blonde on a Piece of Hardboard had fallen on deaf ears, so we dredged our collective booze-riddled imagination... and came up with numerous variants on student drinking challenges such as, climb-over-the-mess-tent-between-flysheet-and-inner-while-being-beaten-with-broom-handles. Also, perch-atop-the-ridge-pole-being-pelted-with-potatoes and a perennial favourite; walk-through-the-dying-embers-of-the-barbecue-wearing-only-your-socks. What jolly larks!

And then, one day, our erstwhile leader, Mike 'Trigger' Trigg introduced us to the magnificent parlour game of Botticelli and we were hooked. For some reason this game, which relies on fair play, word-play and at least a modicum of intelligence and general knowledge became a firm favourite and kept us solidly, hilariously entertained, night after night after night. (Had the blonde-on-a-board turned up we may have reassessed our priorities, but I'm guessing we could have still played while standing in the queue.)

Since then I have endeavoured in vain, on occasion, to introduce the great game to a wider audience. The rules are simple, it requires no equipment other than a functioning brain, yet somehow just as with The Young Ones' Rik, my seeds fall on fallow ground and my efforts founder in a sea of incomprehension.

Is it the attention span of today's citizens? Is it just too Edwardian? I don't know. But it would be a shame if a younger generation were denied the simple pleasure of being amused just by our collective knowledge and imagination. Try it. You might enjoy it. Botticelli.

(*For a certain coprophiliac Mr Spoon. This is not that kind of scat.)

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Well, Harry

In 1984, the language of Newspeak pared to the bone the number of words freely available to the proletariat so that complex ideas of rebellion and insurrection could not be expressed and communication beyond the bare necessities of daily life became too difficult to bother with. In this way, Winston was bereft of the tools to explain his feelings and make sense of his world.

In real life Orwell himself bemoaned the kidnapping and enslavement of the language at the hands of politicians and the recent spate of mealy-mouthed 'un-apologies' beautifully illustrates the way in which words are pressed into the disservice of our supposedly elected sheep leaders. The amount of doublethink that must have gone into [the tit] Cameron's decision to use the whip on the 'We need to talk about Europe?' vote beggars belief. And of course, every broken promise of every political party is explained away by the snidely use of snivelling, weasel words and a bit of melancholic hand-wringing.

Well, in the new United Dingdom I'm having a war on words. Not getting rid of any, you understand - the more words the merrier, I say - just a crack-down on pointless pontification. (Apart from me, of course, I'm nothing if I'm not 'ponting'.) Whoever you are, you'll have to learn to talk properly and my first battle is against the widespread use of redundancy by those who influence the public, i.e. them on the telly.

For instance, what is 'designer' fashion? It all has to be designed, no matter what it costs, so it's just 'fashion', isn't it? Engineers refer to 'carbon' steel, when there is no other kind - you make steel by adding carbon to iron. How can anything be 'almost', 'quite', or 'fairly' unique? And if I hear one more company spokesman, local councillor, or financial analyst using the entirely redundant phrase 'going forward' I may well have to equip my snipers with bullshit-seeking rounds.

The use of 'I, personally' will definitely attract censure, as will, at the end of the dayto be honestwith all due respect , literally, one-hundred-and-ten-per-cent of every syllable which dribbles from the mouth of any footballer. This should never have to be endured (Steven Gerrard's accent is another gruesome offence entirely).

And, before, I explode with incandescent fury, I will introduce a mandatory violent sentence for anybody writing, saying, or even thinking 'should of' or any of its variants. That sentence will be, "You shitting ignorant fucking shitting shit!"

Sir Ernest Gowers must be spinning in his grave.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fawking Hell

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and what-the-fuck-was-that?

A huge explosion outside my window shakes me awake. My first proper early night for literally weeks and now this. Bloody kids, I assumed but, no... it's a sodding party. A party? On a Wednesday? What is happening to the world? I just Googled and Eid isn't until 6th November this year. Maybe it's Diwali? All I know is I can't understand a word of what's being shouted a few gardens along, so I'm guessing it's not a pre-Hallowe'en, pre Bonfire night party or any other of our home-grown festivals of the stupidly-aroused-by-fire-and-light persuasion.

Why bloody fireworks anyway? (Oh, how I hate the Chinese for that.) The fact is that once it starts getting dark at night, all sorts of gawping loons begin to literally burn their disposal incomes in brief, sputtering, ineffectual, premature orgasms of pyrotechnic patheticness... for what? For to keep me awake, that's sodding what!

It's primitive, this fire-worship. It's infantile, the unthinking, gurning love of flashes and bangs. Worse than that it has 'consequences' which are only to get worse. The world population is abut to hit seven billion. When I was a teenager it was four billion (and half of them were bloody Chinese). Something needs to be done because parties lead to people getting excited and people getting excited always, just always leads to more people.

Kall me a kallous killjoy, but unless somebody puts a damper on all this bloody celebration we'll end up swamped in citizenry, overwhelmed by knuckle-dragging, drop-jawed goons, gurgling, "Hur-hur... I make fire, hur-hur..." getting drunk and then getting down and dirty with anybody else too pissed to say, "Stop! Think of the world. It's full already!" and "Not until you've put this on..."

So, this is how it's going to have to be. Come the revolution we'll pool all our partying predilections - and some your taxes - into a single, national United Dingdom Day towards the end of summer. Enormous bonfires will burn into the night and you can let off as many squibs as you wish, shag whoever you want and visit the tented morning-after-clinic city when you wake. And then you can all shut the fuck up and let me get some sleep!

Goodnight. xxx

Monday, 24 October 2011

Rules is Rules

"Rules are made to be broken", they say. Do they indeed?

On the way home this evening, a moron undertook a line of speed-limit-obeying traffic at a junction in a residential area. Then, with no indication whatsoever of his cretinous intent, he turned right, directly across my path, clearing my bonnet by just a few feet. I can't even begin to think how many traffic rules he must have broken, all of which individually had the potential to create a fatal situation. Very few people witnessing this utter disregard for the safety of others would have had much objection to a public flogging sentence; at the very least a lengthy driving ban. But he got away with it because nobody died and there was nobody in a position to stop him.

Members of Parliament also break rules. Often they have recently made the very same rules they break with impunity; maybe they think this is in the job description. It certainly seems that way to the electorate. Their broken rules cost the tax-payers millions, if not billions of pounds and yet they appear to get away with it all in broad daylight. And sometimes politicians broken rules can result in lives being lost, but still they get away with it because there is nobody there to stop them.

As with rules, so with promises. In fact, with politicians the phrase "promises are made to be broken" would appear to be a mantra beloved by many of both houses. Tonight's utterly despicable, outright betrayal of the numerous pledges to go to the people over the discredited European Experiment is seen by many as little short of treason. Before 1998 the act of treason was punishable by death, but that was changed, promising only a maximum term of life imprisonment.

If ever there was a promise made to be broken, that's the fella, right there.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

It's a Puppet!

Traditions. Cultural values. Beliefs. Heritage. All sorts of words are used to justify the enormous effort some humans will go to in order not to evolve. As a society we seem to bend over backwards to accommodate the folklore, fable and myths of the daft, the simple and the criminal alike. We ask for little or no provenance, terrified of offending, for even a nano-second, the sensibilities of those we should really lampoon.

This week, the events at Dale Farm, the row over Ricky Gervais' use of the word 'mong' and the summary execution of 'Mad Dog' Gaddafi all revealed levels of belief - or unbelief - in imaginary ethnicity, umbrage and thralldom. Whatever your view, somebody, somewhere believes the opposite. Or worse; everybody, everywhere has another angle from which to take aim. It's a bugger innit?

From my gym this morning I watched the definitive yummy- mummy Susanna Reed presenting her Jeremy-Kyle-for-people-who-can-use-whole-sentences show, Sunday Morning Live. I have no idea what the issues were (Susanna you can watch with the sound off) but at least I know she's not for real. She's only on the telly and as much as I'd like it to be otherwise, there she'll stay.

So think on, Dinglings; whether it's god, Father Christmas, aromatherapy, the Easter Bunny, left-wing politics, Europe, football, the cosmos, Ant, Dec or Simon Cowell. Whatever you believe in, if you can't have it or prove it, in the words of the revered sage Brian Conley, "It's a puppet!".

Friday, 21 October 2011

Normal Service

I have been distracted. More than I ever thought possible. And I have been far too cheerful  today.

It's bloody amazing what you can pick up on the Internet.

But don't worry. I have stockpiles of bile, tons of tirades, all just waiting to be unleashed and normal invective will be resumed as soon as I can be arsed.

Even Kings get to take time off now and again.

Carry on, Dinglings

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Winning Words

There are times when only a well-vented rant will do and other times when you want the pen-and-paper equivalent of a big, comfort-blanket hug. The penis mightier than the sword and all that (see what I did there?). A few clever words can win that argument, with no opportunity for a snappy verbal rejoinder to interrupt the flow of invective; the last word and all that. And there are occasions when you need to express deep joy or sorrow or loss or even hatred.

Language lets us do all that. A world of illiterates would be a depressing place to reside.

So why do I do a job where illiteracy is very much the order of the day? Sometimes that's just how the currency crumbles, I suppose.  But it does give me an unusually wide fish-eye perspective on the efficacy of education over the ages. My piscine view? It's rubbish. Rubbish because probably eighty percent of the people I train are semi-literate at best. Their reading muscles withered away to pale, flabby strips of vile tissue, flailing away ineffectually at any words of more than two syllables - and some with only one.

But it's not just the young 'uns, the ones raised on a diet of thumb-mangled txtspk and video-game-parenting, it's across the board. From twenty to sixty, blokes can't [don't] read, so I can't just blame trendy, lentil-sandalled, new-age teaching although, obviously, I do.

But I also blame the parents, which is why, in the United Dingdom, parenting will be largely reduced to drooling over your brood and making up fantasies to tell each other about three-year-old Jocasta's marvellous world view and five-year-old Thor's outstanding Bottom (Shakespearean reference, before I get complaints!). Meanwhile, whatever your circumstances, whoever you are, your kids will be taught to read. Properly. Sitting quietly in rows, facing forward, as nature intended.

If you can read, you can learn. If you can learn, you might just have a chance out there.

No need to thank me.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Self Help

When I was a lad, I was aware of a world within my world, where anything was possible if I wished for it very hard. The thing is that world within was a more attractive place than the real world we all inhabit. But it was and should remain illusory; just like an imaginary friend it might have been a comfort but it was still a fantasy.

In our dreams we can fight tigers, slay dragons, cop off with the damsel and build empires, but at some point we have to wake up and get on with real life and in real life you have to work for things, find your talents, exploit them to the best of your abilities and basically make do with what you've got. Life's hard, then you die. That's pretty much all there is to it. Have a laugh along the way if you can.

But no longer, it seems. There's a better way. What was once referred to as an inferiority complex, requiring a good slap and a "Grow up and pull yourself together, man!" has regrouped, re-branded and relaunched itself as the shameful hypocrisy that is the low self-esteem industry. Simultaneously promoting the same fear it professes to treat, the low self-esteem industry targets the weak and preys on their genuine inferiority by dressing it up as a treatable condition.

Can't sing, can't act, can't get your lazy fat arse out of bed in the morning? Can't get a boy/girl friend, can't lose weight, not very bright? Feeling a bit off-colour, feeling a bit weepy, feeling a bit inadequate? Wanting fame, wanting fortune, wanting to be a better person? Then you are not special, you are just normal!

But put yourself in the hands of the LS-E Industry and you are normal no longer. In fact you are exceptional, extraordinary, amazing and if you shut your eyes tight and wish just that little bit harder all things will be yours. Except they won't; you may as well click your heels and hope to wake up in Kansas. You'll still be a lazy talent-less, fat, whiny shit, just a little bit poorer and a bit less able to pull your bloody socks up. And you'll feel a little less bad about doing fuck-all about it and be happy to pay somebody to keep you this way.

Britain is drowning in low self-esteem? WTF? If anything, we need more of it. It's evident that the nation is awash with a veritable flood of high self-esteem - what we used to call being up your own arse. The swaggering posture of supposed role models like footballers, bankers and BMW drivers. They are inordinately full of themselves; full of shit, more like. Full of self-importance, a complete lack of respect for others and a chronic incomprehension of the role played by good fortune, of luck in putting them where they are. Their sense of entitlement is overwhelming and nauseating in equal measure.

So, buck your ideas up, Dinglings. Stop snivelling, get them socks above half-mast and get out there. You might well be an under-achiever, but you have a vital role to play - you make the rest of us look brilliant.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Purely Personal

It's 1965, you're Jimmy Tarbuck and you've hit the big time. The nation has taken to this working-class lad made good and driving a brand-new Rolls Royce with the number plate COM 1C is entirely reasonable. You've earned, it, Jimmy, you've come good.

A few years later and "Ho-ho. That's magic!" as hugely popular entertainer Paul Daniels takes delivery of a Ferrari with the all-too-predictable registration MAG 1C. How we laughed.

But, as ever, the already valueless Monopoly(TM)  currency is further devalued by the clueless chancers, the halfwits and the utter nonentities that get their arse and elbow all mixed up, put the cart before the horse and confuse cause and effect. No longer do you have to achieve anything at all in order to acquire and display in public a personalised number-plate. If anything the reverse is true.

Just as dumb-fuck 'talent' shows have promoted the notion of celebrity before ability, sure enough the DVLA has cashed in on the gullibility of the Beemerwankers. I've said before, it's not the car that's the problem, it's the self-belief of the "I'm worth it" generation who degrade its status. If the only thing that defines you is your personal plate then, by definition, you are a moron. Just as with the Beemerwankers, the overt display of your own self-importance marks you out as a cock.

So, bring it on 5HA RON, CUP 36D and old bird T65 HRT. Laugh it up G 5POT, LOL 1 and BI6 LAF.

Because,as far as I am concerned, you are a bunch of CUN T1N, T055 ERS, SP1 GOTs and  BE11 ENDs

4QU you 4R 5E

Have a nice day. :o)

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I was working in the lab, late one night...

What is the point of kids, really?

Haven't we devised a way of reproducing in some sort of industrial fashion yet? Where are all these test-tube babies we heard about all those years ago? Surely that line of scientific enquiry can't be exhausted? Obviously, there's an issue with scale; I mean, you'd either have to start off with a big tube, or else you'd have to transplant the kids into progressively bigger tubes as they developed, but at least that would give you the opportunity to take a few measurements now and again. And fit the electronic locate-and-control tags.

Then, when they're at the right stage you can get them house-trained and inoculated and release them into the world. Makes sense, when you think about it.

Once suitable couples have passed the parent test they could pop along to their local retail outlet and purchase a sprog or two. (No more than two - that would be illegal; a breach of your licence.) They could come with a warranty and be exchanged if they're not up to scratch, then once they hit twelve you would trade them in for newer models. I can see no downsides. If you like kids you can continue rearing and nurturing until they have finally sapped all the strength and vitality from your dried out, empty husks, without having to endure the thankless thirteen-to-eighteen period.

 Otherwise you can opt for a peaceful, productive, happy child-free life if that's your preference.

Either way, nobody will ever have to put up with teenagers again because they will all be 'employed' in the factories, mining, agriculture, etc. From twelve to twenty they'll be worked and educated, streamed, selected and assessed and those that make some sort of grade will be allowed to continue into a more independent adulthood. Those who are too idle, thick or just plain useless will be recycled.

The United Dingdom will finally have the citizens it deserves. :o)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

History, boys.

David Cameron has said he wants potential British citizens to sit a history test. And then he ruined it by suggesting they should know about Boudica. Sorry, who? It's Boadicea, Dave. Janice Chaznay Doreen Boadicea if you want to be accurate. The name Boudica was made up by Magnus Magnusson for a series he presented in the nineteen-seventies, because when he tried to pronounce Boadicea it came out - in his heavy Icelandic twang  as áfangastaður which actually translates as 'bus stop'. So, Janice Boadicea it is.

It made me think though, that in the year 2011 AD (After Dingbat) we really ought to pay more attention to our past because he who forgets the lessons of history is destined to repeat his GCSEs in due course, after some intensive summer school and private tuition. So, listen up.

It is 1066 and King Winston Churchill II is celebrating the Battle of Britain and the defeat of the Spanish Ramada, a vicious tribe of wandering hoteliers who, having brought about the sacking of Rome (summary dismissal, for multiple offences) had been intent on bringing their voodoo religion to these shores. Anyway, our Winnie, gawd bless 'im, sat atop a bale of hay and lit a victory cigar with which to contemplate his next endeavour. He planned to write the definitive history of the English-speaking people but was struggling for a really good title.

Suddenly, an apple fell from above, hit him on the royal cranium and caused him to invent gravity instead. So busy was he drafting a new work, his incisive On the Origin of Species, that he failed to notice the burning embers of his cigar setting alight the straw bale. The ensuing Great Fire of London was initially hushed up, but a scapegoat was needed. Later that year, under torture, one Samuel Pepys, a notorious highwayman was persuaded to confess to arson. He was offered a pardon if he would blow up parliament, an offer he accepted and would have carried out had not the plot been foiled by general James 'Wolfie' Wolfe, who later became independent candidate for Tooting. Power, indeed, to the people.

As a result the clumsy fire-starter Sir Winston Frank Spencer-Churchill entered history as the saviour of our nation which has never again owed so little to so many politicians.

You see how important it is to learn our history? In the new nation that we are forging in the white heat of indignation, we will ensure that all children are thoroughly indoctrinated with our national myths and will bear in their hearts the stirring call to arms: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the United Dingdom lasts for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour".

History. You couldn't make it up.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Hurtful Words

Just caught the excellent Planet Word with sweary-Mary, Stephen Fry who at one point repeated the manifestly untrue mantra, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me". Try telling that to poor Clive Ezra Tusselthwaite, 73, from Cumbria.

Wait, you can't, because he's dead. He was killed by the word 'wool' when these four innocent-sounding letters left their devastating mark during the clumsy de-commissioning of the flagship Whitehaven Woolworths Mega-store in 2008*.

The new United Dingdom will definitely require plenty of robust swearing, but I'm not so sure the regular old cuss-words will cut the mustard. We need a whole new vocabulary of vulgarity, a fresh lexicon of lewdness and a bright glistening pile of profanities to dip into whenever we need to excoriate an inferior, or to frontriculate our fringular frupriosities.

So, to kick off, an obvious choice is mr_spoon's favourite 'cockspank'. I'm sure there will be many offerings in a similar, self-abusing vein, but why stop at crude onanistic imagery? Be inventive, swear with flair and add your abuse in the box below, you mendiculant troppists!

(*Ronnie Barker, circa 1972, probably . Recycled for today's discerning audience)

Monday, 10 October 2011

Driving me nuts... the answer to the question, "What's that steering wheel doing in your lap?". It's a joke, see, but, to the drivers I encountered on the way home tonight I have a different question. Really? I mean REALLY?

Firstly, to the driver of the (sorry HiMelanie_O) BMW who, despite the lights ahead being red and despite me being only twenty metres - or two seconds - away from said lights, insisted on occupying the green cyclists-only refuge by thrusting his big silver penis into the tiny sliver of time and space in front of me, you are an enormous, fetid, festering cockdrip. This was a bloke; of course it was a bloke. And the only reason he had to place his wheels beyond the allocated space was that stopping to mark the space with piss would take too much time, man and he was in a hurry, yeah? Because he had to get to the next red lights before anybody else.

Throughout the journey I saw slack-jawed imbeciles weaving, undertaking, tailgating, flashing, beeping, speeding and swearing loudly. Was it something I said? (It might have been, because I invariably wish upon them a swift and painful death.)

But lest the laydeez think they're getting away scot-free, I lose count of the number of dipsy mommas a-texting away while knitting from lane to lane (nobody weaves any more) and smearing their lippy all over the shop. Hair. Yes, they have also to style their hair while in motion. Or do something with an errant child. I absolutely swear this is true; I saw one blonde updating her Twitter status while baking a cake, simultaneously performing a complex yoga asana, breastfeeding her three-year-old twins and pleasuring herself with a rabbit*! (Had to be a woman - blokes just can't multi-task like that.)

Sorry, I tell a lie, she was a ginger.

So, men or women? Who is worst on the roads? Who should I ban? Well at great expense I commissioned a survey to work out just exactly who are the worst drivers. I made sure a complete and impartial cross-section of the population was sampled and I can now categorically state that the worst drivers of all, across both sexes, are babies**.

Yes, it's true. When it comes to driving babies are bloody rubbish and even though it might be legal in some middle-eastern countries, and parts of Venezuela, in the United Dingdom nobody under the age of two will be allowed a driving licence. So there.

(*No idea. I eavesdrop a lot, but I've never managed to fathom this one out.)
(**This neatly saves me from having to declare an unpopular sex-biased conclusion.)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mendacious Maxim

Many hands make light work. Indeed they did, amongst them the hands of Allessandro VoltaAndré-Marie Ampère and good old 'Ohmsey', of whom (the more astute readers may have observed) I am an enormous fan. But it's also said that too many cooks spoil the broth.

In the same vein fools rush in, yet he who hesitates is lost and while the end may not justify the means, all's well that ends well. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover and yet if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck... you get the picture.

If there's one thing you want in life it's a reliable adage, if only to sell self-help books. If you fail to plan you plan to fail and all that, but two can play at that game and two wrongs don't make a right, you see?

So, come the new dawn I will only allow those sayings whose advice is undeniably useful, accurate and downright pithy. For example 'the geek shall inherit the earth' has an eerily prophetic ring when you consider the likes of Bill Gates... and all the bankers. For you inveterate beast-keepers, 'scratch a cat and you have a job for life' and for you oldies, 'if life's a joke, I'm beginning to get it'.

If you've arrived here via Twitter you may like 'great groups from little icons grow' or 'know what to expect before you connect'. In the age of short-form communication, I guess 'a tweet in the hand is worth two in the blog'. It's a game anybody can play and as it's Sunday and I'm at work all day you could cheer me right up by contributing your own aphorisms in the comments box, down there, see? Finest contribution gets some sort of prize, probably.

Me? I always abide by the immortal words of Rik Mayall (same birthday, much prettier - check it out!) in the Comic Strip's Mr Jolly Lives Next Door: "Never ever, bloody anything. Ever. I've lived my life by that rule!"

Happy Sunday Dinglings

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mutton dressed as Lamb

Well, today's result came as no surprise to the many who have viewed the England rugby team's shambolic progress towards ignominious defeat today at the hands of the French. Zut alors, merde et all that. From the heady days of Romania to a frankly depressing display today.

But, isn't this typical of the British? Always wanting to be something they're not. It's many a year since Britannia bestrode the globe and that sun is unlikely to ever rise again. Gordon Brown famously claimed to have solved the  issue of boom-and-bust and later apparently saved the world from financial meltdown. Erm... nope. Don't think so.

And what about Saturday night's consolation offering? Bloody X Factor. Why don't they be honest and call it Ex Factor, thus recognising the hopelessly anachronistic programme format, coupled with the equally hopelessly has-been nature of the supposed 'abilities' displayed. Who the fuck is Cheryl Cole and why do so many slack-jawed, dribbling, tallow-complexioned, lard-arsed delusionists want to be her?

Lardy by name and lardy by nature, as 'to lard' means to embellish, to aggrandise, to lie through your teeth that your pathetic ability to snort milk through your nose while picking scabs off your odious, flabby jowls with a fungal-infected toenail somehow increases the sum total of world talent. You are not even entertaining, you are not even merely pathetic, you are simply surplus to requirements - another easy target for my population reduction programme.

So, here we are, back in the real world of the United Dingdom, where you do as you're told, work hard, achieve by your efforts and get rewarded by your results, just like England did an hour or so ago. Let mutton be mutton, let lamb be lamb and if you want either (or today's special: Mexican chilli beef sausages) go to a proper butchers like Taylors. That's a link by the way and you can order by email!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Gravity? Who needs it?

Watching Shock and Awe on BBC4 I couldn't help but think about Georg Simon Ohm.

Teutonic  tinkerer with the forces of nature that he was, he declared that V = IxR (forever remembered by the mnemonic Villa Is Rubbish) and that's the law! It's a good one because, as far as I know, nobody breaks it.

And yet, Isaac Newton for all his high and mighty principia must be hovering in his grave. How often have you read about people defying gravity? That's supposedly a law too, but one we seem to challenge with impunity every time we go on holiday. It's therefore a rubbish law and I'll have it repealed forthwith. Bring on the hover boots, I say!

Sod's Law causes nowt but bother. Murphy's Law says what can go wrong will go wrong and the Law of Averages decrees that we'll be visited upon by Sod and Murphy eleven-point-three-six times per person per year. On average.

Well, in the United Dingdom all laws will be fair and enforced, so I have no time for wishy-washy regulations which either cause untold misery or are regularly unheeded. Ever hear the expression 'rules are made to be broken'? Not in my world, matey.

So I'm going to get rid of all the laws we can't possibly abide by and stick to a few of the ten commandments. Thou shalt not kill, steal or play loud music while I'm on a nap. You can do as much coveting as you like and adults will be completely free to adulterate whenever they wish.

As long as you behave like decent human beings, which of course, you will, I'll only make up any new laws as required.

Although it's Sod's Law I'll be legislating like crazy shortly after I take power.

Humans, right?

Well, bugger me if I didn't just learn something. I've been reading up all this guff about Theresa May and Ken Clarke and all that Human Rights Act malarkey and now I see what the fuss is about. And it comes down to definitions, or more specifically the definition of 'human'.

There's your problem, right there.

Sometimes it's an easy decision to make. Study the following picture of my mate Froggy carefully and you'll soon realise that, while he is enormous fun and jolly good company, he's got no obvious opposable thumbs to operate an iPhone and is therefore, sadly, to be classed as 'not human'.

But, with certain species it's so much less obvious. Now, I'm far from being the first one to make this comparison, but the pictures below of the inestimably fine fellow, Wallace and his doggy sidekick Gromit are virtually indistinguishable and so long as their thumbs are firmly out of sight you will be very hard pushed indeed to tell which is human and which is a sad, bad, slightly mad copy of his older brother of the other.

You see my point? Stand on any high street and you'd be forgiven for thinking that all those shuffling, lurching bipeds cashing giros (do they still do that?) and trundling along on super-reinforced, electric lard-carts all belong to the same species. Undoubtedly many of them do belong to the same species; the question is, is it the same species as me?

So, come the revolution I will enact various basic human rights, such as the right to not be tortured, killed, burgled, vandalised, or mugged. In fact, sod, it I will protect your right as a defined human to lead a life without having to suffer from pretty much anything genuinely hurtful or harmful, as decided by a reasonable person, i.e. me.

All I ask in return is that you earn those enviable rights, by behaving towards others in what any reasonable person (i.e. me) would describe as a decent, courteous, benevolent... er, oh yes, 'human' fashion. Step outside the boundaries of such behaviour without extreme provocation and you instantly step outside the definition of human and have no more rights than Froggy. And my snipers will be trained to sniff out the vermin that you will have become.

It's only right.

Have a lovely weekend! X

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Independent Experiment

Thank god the United Dingdom* is a free and independent state-within-a-state and not subject to the vagaries of the European Experiment! The last I looked, the Bunsens had been going for a long enough time for all the test tubes to have exploded or at least boiled dry and still nobody is anywhere nearing to writing up a conclusion. Or, for that matter, a method or objective, because as far as I can see nobody has a fucking clue how it should work, or what its purpose might be.

Trade, they said. Can't the UK just buy stuff it likes from France, like we in the Dingdom do? I did an experiment of my own over the summer and I managed to successfully enter France, buy stuff, then come home again without any more aggro than it would have taken in 1974. So that trade argument is bollocks, then.

Integration? Why? They all learn English anyway. That's that sorted.

Somebody once told me that it was about creating a European federal superstate with all powers and funding centralised in an obscure Belgian town and designed to subjugate all the formerly free nations of Europe for unclear purposes and that no good could possibly come of this. But that can't be true, can it? If THAT was true then successive British governments would have to have signed over, again and again, huge chunks of your sovereignty and money. They would have to have agreed to extending your full-to-bursting welfare state to the support of donkey-abusing, tax-dodging hot countries. They would have been compelled to open the borders and freely accept as many insane, immoral, violent foreign criminals as possible and let them wreak havoc on your formerly respected society.

But, as none of these things have actually happened, I can only conclude that the European Project was abandoned and that Britain remains free and proud, in charge of its own economy, law and order, defence and social issues. Thank goodness it never went ahead because, without hearing a single coherent argument, ever, as to exactly WHY it might be a good thing, I would be a very poor ruler indeed to sign up for it, don't you think?

To save Britain from the unconscionable prospect of European rule I am considering offering you all some kind of partnership, on condition you sort your life out.

(*That's us. While you're reading this you are a subject... and I'm king. Don't forget it.)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Dandy in the Underworld

On September 16th, 1977 Marc Bolan drove his car into a sycamore tree. I've seen that tree - cycled past it one day in 1999 - and almost 35 years on it is still a shrine to his memory, adorned with trinketry and tinsel as befits an early exponent of glam rock. Fans come from far and wide to pay tribute and yet he remains dead! How ungrateful is that?

But at least he was famous and a kind of pandemic, socio-religious self-pitying mourning disease seems to set in when famous people die. Fuck it though; they're still dead, stay dead and this kind of pathetic outpouring is not cathartic it's just plain wrong. An example of just how wrong this can get is the over-the-top reaction to the death of the average-looking, dull-as-dishwater, royal-by-marriage head-the-ball, Princess DiaFayedFuckwit some twenty years later.

At least Bolan left some enduring music, but who remembers Princess what's-her-face now, eh? Exactly. Nobody. As pointless in death as she was in her over-privileged, under-appreciated life.

But whether or not you can remember a single useful thing about her, she's definitely to blame for the maudling, mewling, hand-wringing, garment-rending bunch of shrine-builders you've all become. Everywhere you look there is some overstated eulogy to some idiot who forgot the green cross code; some bunch of withered blooms marking the spot where Gary's mobility scooter ran out of battery in the path of an oncoming UPS truck. Gary: Father, brother, god, legend... tosser forgot to charge his scooter.

If you gotta mourn, you gotta mourn but, for fuck's sake, stop being all continental about it. Grow a set, stiffen the upper lip, stifle your sobs and take your grief indoors where it belongs.

When I go, what remains is up for medical experiments and as much as you'll all want to you are forbidden to even remember I ever existed.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Don't Call Me 'Mate'

"Okay, mate?" "Scuse me, mate." "Can you help me, mate?" "There you go, mate." "Awwright mate, keep yer 'air on!"

Listen to me, you imbecile, I. Am. Not. Your. Effing. Mate. It makes my blood boil, it literally does - look, my wrist-mounted thermometer is approaching 99.7 degrees Celcius; that is very nearly the boiling point of blood and it's only a matter of time. I go apo-bloody-plectic with incandescent fury when an acne-poxed teen-child addresses me as if I, too, shared his deluded, aspiration-free void of a world. Why would you want to upset me so? What have I ever done to you?

And anyway, there are better words to use; whatever happened to 'sir'? What's wrong with leaving off the redundant salutation altogether?  Why do people who not only don't know me, but will never know me insist on addressing me as an equal?

I am not sufficiently impressed by your ability to hand over a cup of coffee that I wish to make you one of my inner circle.  And just because you encounter me on the street, just because we are standing on the same bit of Tarmac, it does not mean you and I are bosom buddies.

Just in case I may be overreacting here - a very long shot indeed (I am nothing if not fair and even-handed) - I Googled the word. Here's what the Interworldwebnet came up with:


1. One of a matched pair:
2. A spouse.
a. Either of a pair of animals or birds that associate in order to propagate.
b. Either of a pair of animals brought together for breeding.
a. A person with whom one is in close association; an associate.
b. Chiefly British A good friend or companion.
c. A person with whom one shares living quarters. Often used in combination: advertised for a new flatmate.
5. A deck officer on a merchant ship ranking next below the master.
6. A U.S. Navy petty officer who is an assistant to a warrant officer.

So, unless you are one of the above you have no right to unilaterally elevate your social status above that of serf, vassal, or passer-by.

So, think on. People have been beheaded for far less.

Royal Tattoo

Hands up. Admit it. You've got a tattoo. For pity's sake, why?

To permanently disfigure your body you have to have a valid reason. Maybe you have undergone certain rights of passage in a far-off, isolated, Pacific island society. Maybe you survived a dangerous, elite-troops operation in a major international conflict zone. Possibly you scored for your country in  critical trophy-winning season. Or you have decided to mark yourself forever with the names of those you will love dearly for the rest of your life. I still don't like it, but you have made a significant impact on the world and are entitled to celebrate it.

Tattoos have always been emblematic of sacrifice, love and bravery or a deep-rooted sense of belonging, but now that's all changed. Rather than being a badge of courage, tattoos have been relegated, in the main, to being a badge of cowardice. Cowardice in the face of peer pressure, cowardice in the face of fashion, which has never been a cause to die for.

'But my tattoo is symbolic', you cry. Yes, symbolic of your inability to resist following a fad of infantile folly. Draw on your arm in Biro and you cause nothing more than ripples of mild amusement. Carve into your flesh a symbol you don't understand, which has no more significance to you than the Apple logo and you do nothing other than signal your inability to discriminate what is right from what is utterly moronic.

So, you tattooed clowns, you painted poltroons, you just saved me the effort of having you branded. The snipers will be able to pick you off with impunity.

Have a lovely week.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Long Live the King!

It looks like my time has come, peasants! Under mounting pressure to hold a referendum on membership of the EU, withdrawal from the travesty that is the Human Wrongs Act and a general clamour for better border control, the current collection of misfits that calls itself a government may have to do the right thing.

The right thing is, of course, to stand down in favour of a new regime. Me. It will be a new dawn and very much like a democracy... in that, just like all governments before me, I will pretty much ignore you and you will get what I decide. Admit it, you like it like that.

The first thing I will decree is a day of National Rest. I will create that day and I shall call it Sunday. And just in case you think I might be capable of renaging on my promises, I will do it right now. I don't need to be elected, I don't need a title, I don't need no stinking badges - here it is, done: Happy Sunday citizens!

Sadly, I have to go to work today. Even a king has to pay the bills!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Titled Idiots

Today I am exercised by job titles. What a meaningless indicator of true purpose they often are. Many moons ago I had reason to consort with the Rational Rose 'Evangelist'. (I know; me neither!?) A job title should scream out loud how that person justifies their pay package; if it doesn't maybe they're not.

What about the following fascinating occupations;  can you guess?

  1. Manager of Deep Web Research
  2. Assistant Catering Manager
  3. Chief Logistics Facilitator
  4. Director of First Impressions
  5. Social Media Maven

More importantly, can you guess their relative worth to their employers?

I don't mind so much because titles are important indicators of worth and any titles that are not self-explanatory automatically denote functions that are redundant. For instance 'salesman' says that here is a person who sells stuff. I want to encourage him to sell even more stuff because he'll keep my business buoyant. But 'retail account executive' is simply an idiot who takes orders over the counter.

You're fooling nobody. In the new kingdom you can have the fanciest job title you like but don't expect any respect. So, have a quick check of your business card and see if you can rate your chances of still being in a job a year from now.

Batsby. King. Says all you need to know.
The translations, by the way:

  1. YouTube monitor - we used to call him the apprentice.
  2. Barstaff - more title, no more pay.
  3. Truck driver - for the only truck in the business.
  4. Receptionist - sorry, they're all PAs now.
  5. Twitter follower and Facebook friend - nobody knows what their real job is, but this is what they actually do all day.