Saturday, April 29, 2006


I've been pondering as to whether there should be a Sleaze Diary podcast. Apparently podcasting is where it is all at these days - the cutting edge of information technology. Or so the media would have me believe. Anyway, just about every radio show on the BBC seems to have a podcast of its best bits. Then there are newspapers - several of the broadsheets have their own podcasts now, ranging from The Guardian's weekly 'Ricky Gervais Show' to recordings consisting of just top correspondents discussing the weighty issues of the day (why not just listen to Today on Radio Four or watch BBC2's Newsnight?). I have no doubt that leading 'down with the kids' politicians like David Cameron have podcasts (probably featuring 'Dave' rapping his latest policy initiatives over a hip hop baseline, accompanied by Dizzee Rascal). Maybe John Prescott has a podcast too, featuring his best shags of the week.

Personally, I'm waiting for Osama bin Laden to join the world of podcasting. He is just so conservative - always issuing his statements via cassette tapes! I mean, he doesn't even have a blog! You'd think he'd at least do that - what better way could there be for him chronicle his daily battle against the Great Satan? Can you imagine the jubilation he'd have been expressing in his September 11 2001 entry? I have no doubt that embracing new technology in this way would help Osama and his organisation connect better with the kids. Right now, the main impression young kids are getting of AL Qaida is entirely negative: suicide bombers, Jihads, Fatwas and ranting middle aged guys with long straggly beards and AK-47s. Not the kind of thing which young people can easily relate to. Now, if they were to present their campaign in the form of a well-designed blog, youngsters would find it far more accessible. An accompanying podcast would be the icing on the cake! Just imagine: all those kids listening to Osama's ten greatest terror ultimatums on their iPods as they skateboard! Radical, dude!

However, none of this gets us any closer to deciding whether to have a podcast for this site and, if so, what form it could take. I suppose the easiest option would be to record some conversations between me and my mates at the pub and issue a weekly highlights podcast. The result would probably sound something like Derek and Clive, but without the wit and possibly less swearing. The alternative - and this is the one I'm keen on - would be a podcast of my weekly top ten farts. These could either be the favourite ones I've let loose myself, or simply ones 've heard in pubs, shops, the street, etc. Of course, it could be tricky, going around with a tape recorder, waiting for people to break wind, but I think it would be worth it. Just think, great farts preserved for posterity! It surely must be worth the risk!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Crime Wave

What's the bloody country coming to, eh? Apparently we're now having to import criminals and perverts from abroad - our prisons are full to overflowing with East European, Asian and Arabic cut-throats, rapists, stalkers, child-molesters, bull-buggerers, arse-stickers and chicken thieves. Even worse, becuase we're so damned poor at producing new miscreants indigenously, the Home Secretary has been forced to release hundreds of these foreign bastards back into British society, rather than deport them, just to keep the crime figures up and the police in employment. It is nothing short of a disgrace that this once proud nation has been overtaken in the crime stakes by the Third World!

I blame the permissive society, myself. All that namby pambly liberal do-goodery and an emphasis on reform rather than retribution when it came to punishing criminals - it has just resulted in a generation incapable of commiting even the most minor crime without suffering pangs of conscience. What we need is some more bloody repression in this country: damn good thrashings meted out to the lower classes from the cradle to the grave - from teachers in childhood, police in adulthood and care home workers in old age; grinding poverty and social deprivation; and promising middle-class deviants given a nurturing as public school prefects and city dealers. That's why these foreign Johnnies are so good at crime - they come from desperately poor totalitarian dictatorships with no human rights! That's what we need more of!

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Time and Again

God help us all if they ever invent time travel. Whilst I'm sure that the scientific community, historians, sociologists and the like would see a time machine as a marvelous tool for expanding our knowledge about ourselves and the universe we live in by exploring the past, you can guarantee that big business will simply see it as another means for providing the masses with dubious entertainment. Let's face it, TV would probably be the first on the bandwagon - and not to make thought-provoking historical documentaries! Oh no, time travel would undoubtedly be put to use engineering new gameshows and reality TV series (I can see it now - fly on the wall documentaries about the sexual proclivities of our ancestors - did Prince Albert really have a Prince Albert?), not to mention providing historical guests for chat shows (can you imagine a bemused Socrates being shouted at by Davina McCall, Queen Victoria being told knob jokes by Jonathan Ross, or Gandhi being shown gay porn websites by Graham Norton?).

Inevitably, TV executives wouldn't be able to resist using time travel to gather the contestants for the ultimate version of Big Brother - just imagine: Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Lord Buddha and assorted other prophets locked together in a house for six weeks, with religious hegemony as the prize! At long last, the public get their chance to vote the religions they hate the most, not just out of the house, but out of existence! Another tack would be to have one of those shows which plays practical jokes on people, the twist being that the jokes are being played on famous historical figures. I can see it now: a panicking Churchill frantically searching for his German phrase book and practicing his goose-stepping after being told that the Battle of Britain had been lost. Or maybe Gandhi losing his rag and decking a bloke who keeps squirting water at him as he tries one of his sit-down peaceful protests. Perhaps John Lennon could be fooled into thinking that it is Yoko who has just let one rip during their bed-in. The possibilities are endless.

As well as putting a new spin on some tired old formats, time travel could also open up the possibility of some original new formats. One which springs to my mind is going back in time to actually test whether the great and the good of history really were that virtuous, by placing various temptations in their path. The obvious one is, of course, Jesus: was he really unwordly and without sin, or was he (as Derek and Clive put it), actually a cunt? This thesis could be tested by taking a group of strippers and exotic dancers back to the time of the crucifixion, and have them parade in front of Christ as he hangs on the cross, with the object of stirring some movement in his loincloth. 'Giving Christ the Horn' would be a good title. You know, I think I'm going to register that format and title because, you never know, they might get that time machine up and running any day now...

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Privates on Parade

As I seem to be in full blown rant mode this week, let's delve a little further into the issues raised in the previous couple of posts. Primarily the growing erosion of any distinction between private and public life, and the general public's love affair with entertainment technology, rather than actual scienctific innovation. In my opinion, the two go hand in hand - whilst many things have fuelled the idea that private lives should be made public, (the advent of 'reality' TV; the increasing use of celebrity and political sex scandals to sell newspapers; not to mention the whole growth of the 'cult of the celebrity'), there can be no doubt that the spread of mobile phones and surveillance cameras has been the real driving force. Once people can reach you absolutely anywhere by phone, then the whole notion of a private life goes out of the window. Suddenley, we are all instantly accessible by work, friends, relations, sales pillocks, at their convenience, rather than yours - you are instantly on call any time of day or night.

Actually, a slight digression here - have I ever mentioned how irritating I find those arseholes who stride around public places with bluetooth headpieces plugged into their ears? Can there be any greater form of self-aggrandisment? I mean, if they were top heart surgeons, directors of multi-million dollar corporations or hostage negotiators, I could understand the need for them to be on-call at a moment's notice. But let's be honest here, the ones you actually see sporting these accoutrements all appear to be dustmen, greengrocers and shoe salesmen - nobody is ever going to either want or need to contact them at a moment's notice! However, by posing around in public with their bluetooth earpieces, these pillocks are saying 'look how important I am - I need to be instantly available! The country would collpase otherwise!" Wankers.

OK, digression over; back to the point. Not only does mobile phone technology make invasions of your private life not just more likely, but inevitable, the latest such technology makes it possible to take pictures, or even videos, of you and send them all over the world. All of a sudden, something you would normally rather keep private, is in the public domain! When this is allied to the growth of surveillance cameras in our shops, streets and workplaces, all reinforcing the idea that is OK to be watched all the time by faceless perverts (face it, who else is going to sign up for a job like that?), then 'private' life as we traditionally knew it, is dead. But where is all this heading? Well, bearing in mind that most of the forms of 'entertainment technology' the public is so infatuated with are either devoted to the efficient delivery of pornography to the individual (the internet, video-enabled mobiles, portable DVD players etc), or the easy manufacture of inexpensive pornograhy (surveillance cameras, PCs, digital cameras, DVD recorders, etc), I'd say it was obvious. The next big thing will be porn movies beamed to your mobile. But not just any porn movies - these'll be porono flicks featuring real people, captured on surveillance cameras - engaged in drunken post-pub/club shagging in back alleys and on car bonnets. 'Happy Slapping' will probably be superceded by gangs of youths peering through bedroom windows, secretly recording their parents or neighbours bonking, and then sharing it with their mates via their mobiles. Maybe that's where we're heading - people recording themselves having sex and then sharing it via bluetooth for the rest of the world to masturbate over - and while they're whacking off over it, they'll probably recird themselves indulging in a hand shandy and share that with the rest of the world! The horror of it all!


Monday, April 24, 2006

Age of Unreason

Something which never ceases to amaze me is how, in this technological age, science has become so mistrusted. Whilst, on the one hand, people seem happy to embrace such fruits of scientific research as plasma television screens, mobile phones and iPods, on the other, they seem to have become increasingly mistrustful of other areas such as modern medicine, nuclear power, pharmaceuticals and the like. It is as if there is some spurious distinction being made between 'technology' (ie innovations with a suposedly practical, everyday use in the service of the consumer) and 'science' (ie often abstract seeming research usually carried out for its own sakeand used in service of faceless institutions. There really does seem to be some sort of addled idea in people's heads that 'technology' is controlled and used by them, whereas 'science' is something they are subjected to (in hospital, for instance), with this lack of control percieved as somewhat sinister and frightening. Ultimately, the trouble with 'science' as the popular press, in particular, sees it, is scientists. They are seen as remote, emotionally detatched, unaccountable, usually suffering from'God complexes' and - worst of all - intellectual. God forbid that anyone should be an intellectual and proud of it in this country!

Personally, I blame the pernicious influence of films, TV and comics - since the 1930s, at least, these have been portraying scientists in the most unflattering ways. Whole generations of kids have grown up convinced that anyone in a white coat is a gibbering lunatic hell-bent on discovering the secret of breeding giant bats - a goal which inevitably involves carrying out horrendous experiments involving glowing serums, radioactivity and brain transpants, on unsuspecting members of the public. Whilst many of these miscreants could easily be identified by their possession of a funny accent, ham acting and general resemblence to Bela Lugosi, others weren't antwhere nearso easy to spot! One could easily be fooled into believing that they really were kindly grey-haired old buffers who only wanted to benefit humanity with their research - just when you'd been lulled into a false sense of security, they started stealing your spinal fluid or turning you into an ape! But of course, those were just the mad scientists, who were generally self-employed and operated out of basement laboratories. One also had to be wary of the government scientists - truly sinister blank-faced characters who carried out experiments on industrial scales in order to provide their masters with death-rays, nuclear bombs and deadly toxins. Just like their freelance mad brethren, they always claimed to be working for the good of mankind - but we know better! Even when their experiments were supposedly beningn, they were always guaranteed to go awry and release giant tarantulas, fifty foot women radioactive gunk into major population centres. Face it, it doesn't matter whose government they were working for - you just can't trust 'em! Another group to beware of are the corporate scientists who work for pharmaceutical and chemical companies - they're always conducting cruel experiments on animals just for the hell of it, not to mention releasing untested chemicals into the ecosystem and carrying out dangerous drug trials on unsuspecting hospital patients! Finally, by the 1960s you also had the evil scientific genius, a cousin of the mad scientist who had better management skills and formed huge underground crime synidicates which regularly hold world governments to ransom through threats of biological warfare, giant space-borne lasers, stolen nuclear weapons and the like.

So, is it any wonder that people are turning away rom science in droves, preferring to seek out alternative medical treatments? Why risk being turned into a slavering half-man, half-venus fly-trap, when you go into hospital, when you could opt for one of those alternative therapies, such as coffee enemas? I mean, how much harm could possibly result from having coffee poured up your rectum? Unles it is served hot, of course. Actually, I've often wondered, does it make any difference if it caffinated or decaffinated coffee they use? Must it be taken black, or do you get a choice of milk, cream and/or sugar? However, I digress. Although I might sometimes despair at theis country's apparently ever-increasing appetite for new-age mysticism, astrology, alternative medicine and other such bollocks, in preference for science, at least we aren't as bad as the US yet. Over there they seem to be activily trying to roll back the advancement of science, with even the President advocating 'intelligent design' (ie creationism) over evolution. It seems the only type of science he wants is the type which allows him to blow up muslims, gays, 'old' Europeans and all other enemies of 'democracy'. With religion seemingly regaining the upper hand in the US, perhaps science should try a new approach. Maybe it is all that precision and certainty people dislike. Maybe scientists should all start wearing monk's cowls and heralding their discoveries as 'miracles', and just give up trying to explain them in rational terms. All their work could be justified as 'God given' then. Just a thought.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

The Price is Right?

Let's consider a couple of hypothetical scenarios - in the first, you've been voluntarily taking part in a drug trial which went horribly wrong, leaving several participants seriously ill, although, luckily, you turned out to have been given the control placebo and emerge unscathed. Do you now:

a) keep a public silence over the matter, co-operate with any investigation and hope everyone else survives;

b) give single public statement to the press giving the facts of your particular case and stating you hope the others recover completely, or;

c) sign an exclusive deal for your story with a national newspaper for an undisclosed, but undoubtedly large, sum of money (despite the fact that you'd already received several thousand for doing the drug trial in the first place and will probably get further compensation from the pharmaceutical company involved)?

Hypothetical situation number two: you find some classified military documents in a pub. Do you:

a) hand them over to the Ministry of Defence;

b) hand them over to the police, or;

c) send them to a national newspaper which pays you an undisclosed, but undoubtedly significant, amount for your story?

If you answered anything but c) to either of those scenarios then you are clearly have a dysfunctional personality and should immediately seek psychiatric treatment. You certainly shouldn't be at large in modern Britain, where the very idea that one's actions should be guided by anything other than personal gain (such as morality, civic mindedness or simpy a desire to do the 'right' thing, for example) is clearly ludicrous. Such anti-social behaviour can have no place in today's society!

It seems that everything, particularly personal tragedy, now has a price. Nothing can be done for altuistic reasons - look at the way the press treated norman Kember, the former Iraqi hostage: the idea that he might genuinely have believed in the concept of promoting peace in Iraq was treated with incredulity. Contrast this with the case of another British hostage who was, sadly, executed by his captors, who was working in Iraq as a contractor. The idea that someone might go to a war zone to make a quick buck was considered entirely understandable. Principles = crazy, profit = rational, as far as Britain's concerned, apparently!

You find this grasping attitude seeping into every aspect of modern life in this country. Take what's left of the civil service: the very concept of working there because you actually believe in elivering a service to the public is considered antediluvian. There's a new breed of managers (or, as I like to call them, cunts), who, in attempting to ape their private sector cousins, see the civil service merely as ameans to their personal advancement, pissing on the ethos of public service in the process. Meaningless targets replace the idea of service, because they are easier to quantify and therefore achieve. Achieving targets in turn means that managers can claim their fat bonuses and brownie points for promotion. In the process, the actual core business of the department and the idea that it has a responsibilty to the wider community rather than jst narrowly-defined stakeholders, goes out of the window completely.

But it is the way that personal tragedies now seem to have a monetray value which really bothers me. Hardly a day goes by when some newspare or other has a front page story in which a victim, or the family of a victim, or a friend of the victim or maybe even a victim's bloody dog, is telling us how horrendous their ordeal has been. You know something? I don't want to know! I'm sure that whatever has befallen them or their loved ones ios terrible. I'm sure that in the same situation I'd be devastated. However, the whole point of a personal tragedy is just that - it is personal, not something to be screamed cross the front pages of tabloids. At best it is undignified, at worst it is distasteful. Worst of all, from then on, every time I hear that particular tragedy referred to, or see the victim or relatives on TV, there's a part of me thinking 'how much are you charging for this appearance? What's it worth to you?

There's no doubt that the concept of a division between private and public life is fast being eroded. The desire for money is undoubtedly driving it. Not only is it now considered OKmto flaunt private tragedy across the media, it seems to be acceptable to be paid for it. But should we really expect anything different in a country where, over the past tweny five years we've seen public assets sold off to the highest bidders, hounours given to political donors and most recently (and shamefully) the education system effectively sold into the hands of entrepreneurs and religious freaks through Blair's lunatic 'City Acadamies' scheme? Everything's for sale folks! The car industry, the stock exchange, medical care, even our emotional traumas! What am I bid for my terrible tale of the half hour I once spent on an underground train between stations, trtapped in a carriage with an obese woman and a man with rampant BO? It was a personal tragedy that left me traumatised...


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Off The Wrist

It is possibly the greatest male pastime of them all - the masturbatory fantasy. Where do your thoughts wander to as you tug the T-bone? Perhaps you fantasise about that bored young housewife next door doing her household chores, and imagine bending her across the ironing board and giving her one from behind. Or perhaps you wander further afield, to the realms of getting it off with famous showbiz totty (which of Girls Aloud is your masturbatory fantasy?). In the first of an occaisional series, Sleaze Diary investigates the world of celebrity wanking - just what do the rich and famous think of as they are "feeding the ducks"? Do they harbour the same sordid fantasies as we mere mortals, or do they reach a higher level of fulfilment? To kick off this feature, 'Off The Wrist' this time looks at the mastubatory fantasies of seventies glam-rock icon Marc Bolan.

Bolan was an acknowledged master of paddling the pink canoe - fellow glam-rocker Noddy Holder is reputed to have called him "the biggest wanker in the business". According to those who knew him at the time, the T-Rex singer dedicated much of his short life to perfecting his white water wristing techniques. "Every spare moment he had, he liked to practice", recollects Wizzard's Roy Wood. "He liked to jerk the gherkin in rhythm with whatever was playing on the radio - I once saw him keep it going all through Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Indeed, some have claimed that it was Bolan's devotion to Madam Palm and her five sisters that led to his demise, with unconfirmed reports that he was shifting the stick when he lost control of his Mini Cooper, resulting in a fatal crash.

Next to riding the baloney pony, Bolan's abiding interest was magic and the occult. Indeed, bisexual Bolan - who included the late "Carry On" star Kenneth Williams amongst his male lovers - once claimed to have shagged a wizard in a Paris hotel room, although it is not clear whether he meant that he had had sex with a black magician or the whole of Roy Wood's band. His one-time girlfriend, Trixie Tenpin, has claimed that Bolan confided to her that many of his masturbatory fantasies involved magic, a favourite being that he could control the weather with his penis. However, this paraticular masturbatory fantasy became an obsession for Bolan after a bizarre incident in 1973. Whilst having a sly hand solo in his hotel room between performances, lightning suddenly struck a tree outside the window. It was literally a bolt from the blue, as there was not a cloud in the sky. Bolan was badly shaken by the experience, and insisted that in future lightning conductors be erected wherever he was spanking the plank. "He became somewhat paranoid", Tenpin says. "He began to suspect that his cock was somehow attracting the elements. From that moment on he took to wearing rubber underwear and rubber soled shoes to insulate himself."

Bolan's ultimate monkey spanking experience came in 1975, when he decided to put the power of his ham shanking to the test. He determined to vigourously polish his rocket during a rare alignment of Neptune, Jupiter and Venus. He reasoned that if his hampton was as powerful as he suspected, then jacking off at the moment of alignment would cause catastrophic events such as tidal waves and earthquakes. Locking himself in the luxurious master bedroom of his Hampstead mansion, Bolan prepared himself for the great moment - carefully rubbing vaseline gel into his hands so as to avoid a dangerous build up of friction during his pork pounding. However, this was to prove his undoing. As he neared his climax, groaning in anticipation and violently shaking the bed, his hands slipped, causing him to miss a stroke, resulting in him icing his fingers a minute too late. Consequently, there were no earthquakes or tidal waves recorded that night, although Iggy Pop's toilet apparently collapsed as he was dropping a particularly large log at the exact moment Bolan climaxed his performance. "Marc was very dejected", Tenpin told us. "But he never gave up on his ideas and kept scanning the astrological charts, waiting for another major planetary conjunction." Alas, the grim reaper intervened before he was able to complete his experiments.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sherlock Holmes and The Whips of Fear

"Did you enjoy your wank, Watson?" enquired Sherlock Holmes as we sat down to breakfast one grey morning in November.

"Good God Holmes! However did you know that I'd just spent the last five minutes galloping the antelope?" I enquired, once again astonished by my colleague's apparently supernatural powers of deduction. "You surely couldn't have heard me? I went to great trouble to bite down on my bedpost so as to keep my erotic outcries down to acceptable levels!"

"My dear fellow, it is merely an elementary matter of observation," he explained, spearing his kipper. "You will recall that in that business of the Balham Buggerings last summer I was able to show that Cruddocks, the transvestite strangler, had used his feet to hold the rope whilst killing his victims by identifying the marks it left between his big and second toes. I observed similar marks between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, indicating that you had recently been firmly gripping a tubular object there. This, coupled with the fact that you bought the October edition of Gentleman's Relish yesterday evening, and the smear of jism on your cuff, led me to deduce that you had been milking the moose."

"How absurdly simple, now that you explain it," I concurred, buttering my hot toast. At that moment the doorbell rang. Crossing to the window, Holmes looked down into the street.

"Aha, Watson! It is Lestrade," he exclaimed. "What could have brought him to our door at such an early hour?"

"Undoubtedly another strange case he cannot solve himself," I ejaculated, wiping the table clean before continuing. "Evidently he requires your help again, just as he did last month during the Camden Town Cock Stranglings!"

"Indeed Watson," my companion replied. "An intiguing case if ever there was one. Who could ever forget those chilling words uttered by Hansen the Hermaphrodite upon his arrest: 'I only squeezed it gently, but it turned purple then went limp, guv'nor'?" So saying, Holmes walked to the door and called down to Mrs Hudson to show the Inspector up.

"So Lestrade," said Holmes, as soon as the policeman was seated. "What bizarre occurrence brings you to Baker Street today? Another outbreak of nude pick axe murders in Streatham, perhaps? Or even another sighting of the Brentford Beast - that sex attacker who dresses as an ape and exposes himself to women whilst swing from trees?"

Lestrade shifted uneasily in his seat before replying. "Well, Mr Holmes, it is a crime, a sex crime even, of a very curious nature. I must admit that I hesitated before bringing it to you, but I know how you and Dr Watson, as England's most famous sex crime investigators, relish the bizarre and unusual, like that business of the Copper Birchings last year."

"Very true, Lestrade," Holmes interjected. "You have brought me some of my most unusual cases. But what, exactly, is the nature of this new matter you are bringing to my attention? Murder with one of those new-fangled electrical sex stimulators? Attempted murder with one of those sex stimulators? Horse molesting? Buggery of a cabinet minister by a gang of chimney sweeps at the very least, surely?"

"Ah, Mr Holmes," said Lestrade, sinking back into his chair. "With your expectations so high, I fear I may disappoint you! Nevertheless, although the case has so far not involved murder, molestation or buggery, it does involve a sexual assault, for want of a better term, which has some points which I feel may intrigue you."

"Pray continue, Inspector," Holmes replied, raising his eyebrows and filling his pipe.

"Well, this is the third time in as many days that an assault of this nature has occurred! Each time in a house of ill-repute, each time between the hours of one and two in the morning, and each time witnesses have caught only a fleeting glimpse of the perpetrator!"

"But exactly what, Lestrade, actually happened?" I interjected, frustrated by the Scotland Yard man's obsfucation.

"Well, Doctor, the actual crime is, as I've indicated, rather unusual, to say the least," he responded. "Whilst it is an assault, it is not upon a person, but upon what might be described as a sculpture. A vulgar sculpture depicting an unnatural act! To put it bluntly, Dr Watson, in each case a penis was hacked off of an obscene sculpture and shattered with a hammer! This is clearly the work of a depraved sexual maniac!"


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Unsolved Mysteries...

Whilst painting my hallway the other day, my thoughts wandered (as they are prone to do whilst decorating) to contemplate some of the great unsolved mysteries of the ages, such as the Bermuda Triangle, Stone Henge and the wrecking of the Blue Peter garden. They've never really got to the bottom of that last one, have they? I know there were claims some years ago that former Tottenham striker Sir Les Ferdinand and some of his mate - when they were teenagers - were the culprits, but the goal-scoring maestro has since denied this, claiming his 'confession' was just a joke.

So, who, or what, was really responsible for this heinous crime, which left junior horticulturalists the length and breadth of Britain traumatised? There's been a persistent rumour that none other than former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves was the guilty party. According to this thesis (which, for legal reasons, I emphasise is merely a rumour with no basis whatsoever in fact), a disgruntled Purves, fuming at having been given the sack from the programme for being 'too old', went to the BBC bar, got pissed and then went and trashed the Blue Peter garden; tearing up shrubs, pissing in the pond and spray painting obscene allegations about former colleague Valerie Singleton's private life all over the crazy paving. Of course, the main flaws with this theory are that: a) Purves had left the programme several years before the attack; and b) he wasn't sacked. Apart from that, it is a great hypothesis. Sadly, it must be classified along with the story that Animal Magic presenter Johnny Morris was on the list of British sympathisers Rudolf Hess had when he parachuted into Scotland in 1941, as one of those fabulous tales you wish was true, but which you know sadly isn't.

All of which brings us back to the question of who did do it? Were the guilty parties followers of the jackal-headed Ancient Egyptian god Anubis, who mistook the cast bronze head of deceased Blue Peter dog Petra for an altar to their deity? Upon realising their mistake, did they attempt to destroy what they saw as a blasphemous parody of their deity? Another explanation, so bizarre it could just be true, is that the gardener Blue Peter got in to replace the late Percy Thrower when he died, turned out to be completely deranged and attempted tore-grow his predecessor from 'cuttings'. Upon finding Percy's fingers and toes planted in the garden's herbacious borders, BBC chiefs had no choice but to dig the who le thing up in case there were any more bits of him buried there. The whole vandalism story was concocted as a cover. A pretty neat explanation, eh? Certainly no more fantastic than any of the others I've heard.

So, there you have it - disgruntled ex-employee, teenage gangs or bizarre horticultural rites; which was really behind the vandalisation of the Blue Peter garden? The answer is - we just don't know. (Cue shot of me walking away down a beach whilst holding an umbrella as the cedits roll and that spooky music plays).


Monday, April 17, 2006

The Decline of Western Civilisation? (Part Two)

I've been thinking about that last post over this Easter weekend (a period of contemplation and over-indulgence in beer and chocolate for even those of us not of a religious bent). Whilst suffering from what appeared to be an allergic reaction to the tortilla chips I'd been eating with my beer (cheese flavoured - always a bad idea - normally I stick to plain salted), it occurred to me that the Guardian writer's nostalgia for the Radio One DJs of yestertear, whilst expressing contempt for the current line-up, might actually be another example of the class prejudice displayed by the press these days (as I mentioned in an earlier post).

There's no doubt that, to a man, the DJs of the 1070s and 80s were middle class through and through. Certainly, I doubt that any of them went to Secondary Modern school. At the very least they were Grammar School boys (probably prefects as well), with a significant number (including, let's not forget, the hallowed John Peel) products of that bastion of privilege, the private school system. Interestingly, when you did get anybody vaguely working class - Andy Kershaw, for example - they were labelled 'specialist music ' DJs and shunted off into the ghetto that was (in those days) 'world music'. Now, by contrast, the current Radio One line-up looks distinctly Comprehensive School - and that's no bad thing, in my opinion. They're far more representative of the core target audience for the station. Of course, not only are they nasty working class oiks, but they seem to be proud of it too! Whilst Chris Moyles, for instance, might be accused of misogyny, homophobia, laddishness and anything else the tabloids can spell, he could never be accused of being ashamed of his working class background. Again, I'm left wondering if a lot of the bile directed at him by the press is really down to that fact. Like Premiership footballers, he's earning a lot of money and, damn it, he's lower class! He should know his place!

Interestingly, the one Radio One DJ we know to be thoroughly middle class is Tim Westwood, a white middle-aged Bishop's son from Bristol, who tries to talk like some kind of black gangsta rapper from the ghettos of Detroit. Is he taking the piss? Another middle class ponce who thinks it is amusing to mimic the lower classes (albeit those of another country)? Or is he just a twat? Watch this space...

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Decline of Western Civilisation?

You can always tell when a writer/journalist/TV commentator is getting middle-aged and out of touch, when they start going on about some aspect of current popular culture signifiying the 'Decline of Western Civilisation'. Most recently, I encountered such a crie de couer in the pages of the Guardian's weekly listings guide a couple of weeks ago - one of their writers was decrying current standards of radio DJs, claiming that under Chris Moyles, the Radio One Breakfast Show was an example of said decline. He went on to lament the passing of the 'great days' of Radio One back in the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinion about Chris Moyles, it was when he expressed these latter sentiments that I knew the writer was sinking into sad middle age and had totally lost touch with popular culture.

As someone who well remembers the horrors of Radio One (and every other station playing youth-orientated popular music) in the 1970s and 1980s, I really must take issue with such bilge! Is this guy really asking us to believe that the likes of Tony Blackburn, Dave Lee Travis and Mike Read were inany way superior to the current crop of Radio One DJs? I remember cringing in embarrassment at listening to that bunch of middle-aged would be swingers and hep cats sycophantically billing and cooing over each new dreadful record released by their showbiz pals, (who included the likes of Phil Collins and Rick Wakeman). In particular, I vividly remember being trapped in a car travelling back from Telford, with the radio tuned to Simon Bates discussing - in hushed tones - with some toady, whether the U2 Joshua Tree film was 'the greatest rock and roll movie ever made'. Yes! Simon Bates actually asked, with no hint of irony; 'have we just seen the greatest rock film, ever?'! And that bunch of bumptious out-of-touch idiots was followed by an even worse bunch, including Nicky Campbell, Steve Wright and the unspeakable Gary Davies.

To be honest, the current line up on Radio One is, by and large, the least offensive I remember. The fact is that time moves on and tastes and fashions with it. There is no way the youth of today (at whom Radio One is primarily aimed) would tolerate for one moment the shower that presented on the station twenty or thirty years ago. Far from representing the 'decline' of civilisation, it merely represents the 'evolution' of civilisation. But that's what happens as you become older and feel that you can't keep up with the pace of change - you try desperately to cling to the old and familiar. Sadly, far from being reassuring, this just tend to make the people concerned increasingly dislocated from the real world, and increasingly unhappy. Like it or not, you've just got to move with the times.

Having said all that, whilst out shopping the other day, I encountered several 'people' (I'm loath to accredit them human status), who made me think that the Decline of Western Civilisation was imminent. In Sainsburys there was a group of youths in front of me at the checkout loudly discussing their imminent holiday in Spain in a combination of monsyllables and old-fashioned grunting - most of the 'discussion' seemed to centre on how drunk and how much venereal disease they weregoing to get. God help us all, I thought As this gormless looking bunch paid for their several litres of vodka, if this is what we're exporting these days! No wonder the rest of Europe has such a low opinion of us. A few minutes later, in Tesco, I had the misfortune to encounter this idiot who had his shaven head tattooed. I gathered from said cranial decorations that he was a football fan and followed both England and Charlton Athletic. Now, if I was of an earlier generation, this is the piint at which I'd start apoplectically sputtering 'I didn't fight a bloody war just so the the likes of them can paint their bloody heads like savages and go and throw up in someone else's country - and get your bloody hair cut while you're about it! You can't park there!' and so on.

Thankfully, I got a grip and reminded myself that I'm still down with the kids and on top of developments in this ever changing world in which we live in (as Paul McCartney and Wings so sagely observed). Hell, I thought. I remember Radio One DJs saying that punk rock was the harbringer of the apocalypse, but we're still here. Come to think of it, my father thought that Glam Rock heralded the end of the world as we knew it, and thanked God that his father hadn't lived long enough to hear the word 'fuck' uttered on the BBC. Now, that really did mark the Decline of Western Civilisation...

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cool For Cats?

With a bird flu epidemic widely expected in Britain, the one group likely to benefit from such an outbreak is threatening to withdraw its services, as part of a long-running industrial dispute.

"Look, we're sick and tired of playing second fiddle to bloody dogs," says the President of the Association of British Felines, codenamed 'Tiger', but widely suspected to be a ginger tom from Macclesfield. "How is it that that bunch of slobbering cretins gets to be man's best friend? Just because they're always so damn sycophantic - all that obedience and loyalty crap! It makes me sick! Don't we do as good a job when it comes to companionship? Isn't all that cute rolling on our backs, purring, wide eyed stares and pitiful mewling enough? And we cover our own shit up and don't expect people to run round after us picking it up!"

The Association is threatening to bring its membership - comprising over five million domestic cats in the UK, plus several thousand feral felines - out on an indefinite strike unless their grievances are met. With a bird flu epidemic threatening Britain's shores, experts are warning that without felines actively curbing their numbers, the quantity of infected birds could quickly spiral out of control.

"Amazing, isn't it? When it suits you bastards, you're urging us to go out there and kill all those sweet little birdies -ambush them on the bird tables, savage them at the feeders! But the rest of the time, the only thanks we get for bringing a mutilated bird home is a whack with a rolled up newspaper," says an aggrieved 'Tiger'. "The fact is, that the health risk to our members from chewing infected birds is unacceptably high, and we want recompense for this increased level of hazard!"

Until their demands for a bounty of one tin of tuna fish for every infected bird killed, recognition of their status as man's true best friend and a reduction of working hours from two to one and a half a day, the Association's members are proposing to stage a mass bed-in.

"Trust me, no cat will stir from a warm bed or sofa - save for meals and dirt-box breaks - until these demands are met," a confident 'Tiger' opines. "There'll be no purring, no cute chasing of pieces of string and no unprovoked savaging of hands!"

The Association's militant wing has threatened even more extreme action if the demands are not promptly met, with its acknowledged leader, a mackeral tabby called Tim from Henley, promising reprisals against cat owners.

"Either we get what we want, or we will start catching the infected birds," he says menacingly. "And we'll be dumping them in your beds while you sleep - just imagine all the bird flu germs you'll be breathing in before you wake! Believe me, we'll do it - you know we have no moral scruples!"

Talks with ACAS to avoid the dispute are still ongoing.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Trademark Terror

Thank God that bloody Da Vinci Code trial is over and that the court found against the authors of Holy Blood and The Holy Grail and their claims that Dan Brown had plaigairised them by having the audacity to use the same plot device that they had tried to pass off as fact, in a work of fiction. If they'd won, then I could have been in trouble, as they could presumably have come after The Sleaze for its publication of Holy Shit, Holy Grail, which also claimed that Jesus hadn't died on the cross - after escaping to France and fathering several children with Mary Magdelene, he finally expired of old age and was buried on the site of a contemporary public toilet. Very similar to the other book, I think you'll agree.

Mind you, the threat of being sued for plaigairism or copyright infringement can be a powerful deterrent. One of the biggest revelations in the recent trial of alleged 9/11 plotter Zacarias Moussaoui, was that Al Qaeida had abandoned plans to fly a hijacked airliner into the Capitol Building's dome in Washington under threat of a legal challenge from Tom Clancy. According to the certifiably insane - but clearly still highly dangerous - Moussaoui, Clancy got wind of the Al Qaeida plot through his contacts in the US intelligence community and, shocked by what he'd learned, immediately ordered his lawyers to issue a 'cease and desist' notice to Osama bin Laden, on the grounds that his 1996 novel Executive Orders had already used the same plot device. A spokesperson for the terror outfit later confirmed these claims in a posting on a geocities-hosted website: "Listen, this guy had powerful lawyers, there was no way we were going to get drawn into some legal battle with him. We could have been tied up in the courts for years - it would have meant posponing the attacks and that could have cost us thousands in the additional wages we would have had to pay the suicide pilots while we waited for a verdict! We just decided to go for the Pentagon, instead!"

The incident has had a knock-on effect for Al Qaeida, with every potential terror plot now being run past its lawyers for possible copyright infringements, before being put into action. "So many things are off the agenda now - we can't let off nuclear devices in sports stadiums, for instance! That damn Clancy again - he got there first with Sum of All Fears," explained the terrorists' spokesperson. "We also can't use giant mirrors to focus sunlight into a deadly death ray - Eon Productions have a restraining order against us ripping off Die Another Day - and anything involving blowing up the Houses of Parliament has been off the agenda since V For Vendetta! Mind you, we are thinking of suing Warner Brothers over that one for the use of tube trains as weapons of terror!"


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Against All Odds

President Bush is apparently plotting a nuclear strike on Iran, the Italian elections are on a knife edge and bird flu finally reaches Britain. But what is the British press worried about? The fact that Wayne Rooney allegedly owes a bookie friend of Michael Owen £700,000 and that tjis might affect their striking partnership for England at the World Cup finals! Jesus Christ! Is this what we've finally come to? A popular press so obsessed with celebrity and money it is blinded to everything else? Perhaps the press is just reflecting the British public - so absorbed in the domestic trivia that the world could end and we'd only notice when nobody else turned up for the World Cup, (in which case the tabloids would celebrate England's victory by default as we all slowly died of radiation sickness).

But getting back to Rooney and his debts (everyone else is, so why fight it?),I like the implication in much of the reporting that the Manchester United teen wonder is somehow facing financial ruin, having his house repossessed, etc., if he doesn't pay up. Entertaining though such a scenario might be to tabloid editors and their readers, it ignores the fact that gambling debts cannot be enforced through law in the UK. So instead, young Wayne is facing a visit from 'the boys', who will threaten to introduce him to 'Bessie the Baseball Bat', or some such other macho bullshit. Maybe the crocked Michael Owen can hobble round on his bookie mate's behalf swinging a piece of two by four? Or perhaps it could be a job for Owen's former Newcastle boss, Graham Souness? Let's face it, he's not doing anything else, he probably needs the money and he likes to think he's well hard. And he's Scottish and as anyone versed in tabloid stereotypes know, the Scots are always violent thugs.

What fascinates me most about the reporting of this Rooney business is the class element inherent in it all. Implicit in much of the reporting is the idea that basically, he's working class and therefore too stupid to know how to manage his own finances responsibly. If only he'd been a nice middle class boy, I'm sure he'd have invested it all in a Halifax savers account! I can guarantee that if it was some flash city broker, or some member of the aristocracy who had lost £700,00 at the roulette or bridge table, the press, if at all interested, would be sympathising with them for having had a 'spot of bad luck'. But of course, Rooney is working class, and was betting on sports (how vulgar 'betting' is - 'gambling' on the other hand, is the sport of Kings); he therefore must be stupid.

I really am growing tired of this patronising attitude toward the working classes currently being displayed on the part of the media, reinforcing crude stereotypes - feckless, drunk, stupid, irresponsible - and, by implication, asserting the smug superiority of the middle class. Wayne Rooney, in particular, is always portrayed as some kind of brainless neanderthal incapable of making any kind of sensible decision away from the football field. David Beckham has suffered similar treatment. Now, I don't hold a brief for either Rooney or Beckham, but the fact is that neither strike me as being especially bad, or stupid people. I can't help but feel that much of the disapproval heaped upon them has something to do with the fact that they're working class boys who have had the good sense to capitalise on their skills and make some money from them. Of course, in modern Britain, where money is King again, it just isn't seemly for the 'wrong types' to get their hands on it, now is it?

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Monday, April 10, 2006

Richard Madeley Going Down...

According to something I was reading in The Guardian on saturday, whilst being tried for sexually assualting the gardener, Elizabeth Taylor's butler claimed, in his defence, that he was merely trying to 'warm himself up' before attending to his other duties - namely servicing Ms Taylor (or 'jumping on the old trampoline' as he put it). This got me wondering as to what it is other celebrity partners have to do in order to 'psych' themselves up prior to 'doing the deed'? Just what does Richard Madeley, for instance, have to do to prepare himself for pouring the pork to Judy Finnigan? Perhaps he has to shag a drinks vending machine - shoving his genitalia into the dispenser whilst pressing the buttons for tomato soup, maybe, in the hope that the pain of scalding hot red liquid pouring over his knackers will distract him enough to be able to make love to Judy. Another possibility is that he dresses up as Ali G to get it on with his other half - pretending to be someone else makes it bearable. Perhaps Judy fantasises about being taken roughly by a black stud -or maybe she can't stand the sight of his face and demands that he blacks up. All of which implies that the time he appeared on This Morning dressed as Ali G, Richard was, in fact, indulding in sexual foreplay with his wife. Eeeeughhh!

I'm also left wondering how many innocent fruits and vegetables had to suffer before Katie Holmes could bring herself to let creepy scientologist Tom Cruise's 'full blown Stallone' get anywhere near her love harbour. Did she lie back, close her eyes and think of L Ron Hubbard? (Digressing somewhat, I have this dreadful fear that the progeny of Tom and Katie is going to be hailed as some kind of Scientological messiah. A new receptacle for Hubbard's Thetan, perhaps? (Come to think of it, maybe that was Tom's line during sexual foreplay: 'Open your receptacle to my Thetan and I'll clear you to the highest level of auditing' - trust me, it works on all the scientologist girls). Able to grow new teeth at will, he'll audit us all to the promised, trauma-free land).

Another celebrity odd couple which always puzzled me 'jig-a-jig' wise was Victoria Wood and the 'Great Soprendo'. Did he wave his magic wand every night and make her change into a beautiful assistant before sawing her in half, so to speak? And did Victoria Wood, as she gazed up at his sweaty pate bobbing up and down, ever ask herself if this was what she really thought fame would bring her - being porked by a short fat slap headed children's TV magician?

I could go on - the Krankies, for instance. I ask you, the mind just boggles as to what they had to do to get in the mood for bouncing the refirdgerators - but this lot has already made me feel queasy. Where's the bucket?


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Soft Soap

Don't worry if you've been too busy reading The Sleaze or searching the web for those hard-to-find nude pictures of Sacha Distel to keep up with your favourite soap operas - we've prepared this handy guide to what's going on in the UK's most popular soaps.

There's a terrible shock in store for Coronation Street's Vera Duckworth when the police come knocking at her door bearing bad news about her husband Jack. It appears that pigeon fancier Jack has also admitted to fancying ferrets, whippets and Shetland ponies - and has asked for thirteen similar offences involving unconsenting baboons to be taken into consideration. It seems that in these instances it went far beyond the fancying stage - a possible explanation for Jack and Vera's son Terry.

Over at the newsagents - that throbbing hub of commerce - Rita finally uncovers Norris' illicit trade in under - the-counter magazines with brown paper covers. It seems that Norris is the secret leader of a bizarre cult - The Sons of the Bicycle Saddle - who like nothing better than feeling the firm leather of a racing saddle against their bare bottoms. In a desperate attempt to keep his job, Norris claims that his illicit sales of nude cycling magazines have boosted the shop's finances fivefold. Sales are further boosted when silver-haired sex machine Ken Barlow attempts to order the entire print run of the Summer issue of Gentleman's Relish. It seems that peeping tom and former supermarket manager Reg Holdsworth, desperate for money after failing to secure a panto season at Cleethorpes for the second year running, has sold some snaps of one of Ken and Diedre's consensual spanking sessions that he secretly took with his notorious telephoto lens. Ken fears that the sight of Diedre - her thunder bags round her ankles - bent over his knee whilst he warms her wrinkly buttocks, might be just too much for elderly residents of the street.

Meanwhile, down under in Neighbours, Ramsay Street residents are disturbed to hear that Harold Bishop has become a naturist and has taken to striding around the house clad only in his socks, glasses and tie. His grand daughter is unconvinced of the virtues of naturism - "Now, don't lets be hasty Sky!" Harold cautions her. "The Salvation Army has a special Nude Brigade nowadays, whose mission is to preach to the naturist community. They even have their own brass band - the thought of playing my instrument in the buff is quite exhilarating!" However, Sky bans any further nude tuba playing in the house after an unfortunate incident involving Harold's 'Life Partner' Lou Carpenter, two nuns and the Erinsboro Women's Institute all in wrestling team. The Neighbours production team is to be congratulated on the ingenious way Harold's nude scenes are shot, with various household objects - matchboxes, for instance, - carefully placed so as to obscure his privates. In another exciting development, Max "Interesting" Hoyland finds an incredibly hairy piece of string in the store room of his bar. He is convinced that this will finally win him the coveted Western Australia Hairy String Trophy - until, that is, he discovers that Dr Karl Kennedy possesses an even hairier piece of string - with a knot in it! An hilarious feud ensues.

A brief trip to Eastenders sees the mystery of Who Stabbed Dennis? resolved - it was Charles Dickens assisted by William Thackery. The two noted Victorian novelists had tired of Dennis' mangling of the English language and the caricature of the London working classes he represented, and so determined to kill him. Using HG Wells' time machine they travelled to 21st Century London. Unbeknownst to them, Jack the Ripper has escaped the 19th Century police by stowing away on the time machine and now intends to resume his grisly trade in Walford! Who will be his first victim? Will any of Albert Square's women escape his depraved clutches? More to the point, will the Ripper be able to escape the attentions of a rampant and aroused Pat, who, having been rogered by Patrick Trueman and his trilby, is now scouring the streets in search of a real man? Will Saucy Jack be Pat's next victim? Will he keep his top hat on in bed?

Finally, back in Coronation Street questions are being asked about the ingredients of Betty's hotpots after Kevin Webster complains of finding a finger in his. An investigation by Environmental Health Inspectors reveals traces of human remains in the Rovers Return kitchens. Inevitably the question is asked - was Mike Baldwin really cremated after his untimely death, or is he still very much with his friends on the street?


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bird Flu Hits Britain!

Panic! Run for your lives! The media's greatest wish has come true and a dead swan infected with the deadliest form of bird flu has been discovered in Scotland! Prepare for waves of irresponsible scare-mongering as TV and newspapers vie with eachother to see who can induce the most fear in the general population! Amazingly, one of my local TV news programmes has already tried to give the story a local angle (despite being at the opposite end of the country from the current bird flu incident), by reporting that a dead swan had been found near a local river! Has another outbreak been discovered? No, just a dead swan. Now, I'm guessing that swans pop their clogs on a fairly regular basis from all sorts of things other than bird flu, including natural causes, but of course, that would mean that our intrepid local TV newshounds couldn't tell us that we're all going to die - horribly! So they convenientally ignore that fact until the very end of the report, when it is mumbled, very quickly, before cutting back to the studio.

No doubt the Daily Mail will be calling for all birds, especially those which have migrated here illegally, to be slaughtered, or repatriated, whichever appeals most to their readers' prejudices. Just for good measure, they'll probably also be running front page stories on how illegal immigrants are smuggling bird flu infected ducks into the country by stuffing them down their trousers. It will undoubtedly turn out to be part of a terrorist plot on the part of some foreign turban-wearing Islamic Johnnies. By the end of the week they'll be calling for the mobilisation of Britain's duck and pheasant hunters, to stand on the coastline and bring down any incoming birds with concentrated shotgun fire.

So, lest you think that I'm trivialising a potentially life-threatening situation, let's look at the best ways to try and deal with this nascent crisis. Clearly, identifying infected birds is the most obvious precaution you can take. It seems to me that this should be pretty easy - just look for any of feathered friends dribbling snot from their bills, coughing and sneezing and complaining of headaches. If you see any of them huddled in their nests, wrapped in blankets and watching daytime TV, don't hesitate - shoot the little bastards! Be especially vigilant around chemists shops - if you see any ducks or other fowl attempting to buy aspirins, lemsips (particularly if it is 'Flu Strength') or benylin, report them immediately to the authorities.

As for avoiding the spread of avian flu to humans - just don't shag any chickens (trust me, that's how it spread in Turkey). As far as I can see, the main groups at risk will be certain types of pervert and pigeon fanciers - eliminate them (and we really should do that regardless of bird flu), and we should be alright. Mind you, if bird flu does spread to humans, be very careful about taking days off from work sick. If you phone in saying you've got the sniffles or something similar, before you know it the police will be kicking in your door, shooting you in the head and burning your body. Probably better to suffer in silence, eh?

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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hell is Local TV...

Jean-Paul Sartre believed that hell was other people and visualised damnation as being trapped in a room with people who irritate you for all eternity. Personally, I think that if had lived in the UK, he might have revised his ideas and concluded that hell would be an eternity being forced to watch local television - that bastion of parochialism and insularity. At least, that's the way it often seems to me. It is the way they try and convince you that nothing more important is going on in the world than some local council increasing parking fines which always gets to me. Of course, they'd say that they were simply focusing on the issues that really matter to local people. Mind you, there are times when they can't pretend that eighty-seven year old Mrs Gladys Thing's terrible ordeal when her next door neighbour's savage domestic cat climbed through an open window and ate the frozen fish she had thawing in the kitchen is actually more significant than, say, suicide bombers attacking the London Underground system. In such cases, their contingency plan comes into operation: find a local angle! In practice, this means highlighting the fact that the bombers' rucksacks had been made in a factory just around the corner from the local TV studio, (cue interviews with manager of said factory saying how he'd been suspicious about the number of rucksacks being ordered from the Bradford area...).

The presenters are perhaps the worst thing about local TV news (I'm highlighting local TV news, as, since ITV's big reorganisation, it is about the only really 'local' programming you get outside of the main population areas in England). They tend to fall into two categories: the young and enthusiastic who just know that this is merely a stepping stone to greater things, and consequently find conspiracies and major 'scoops' everywhere; then there are the middle-aged anchors and senior correspondents - they just know that the call from the network is never going to come and that this is as good as it is ever going to get for them. This latter group spend their time trying to covinces themselves that they really want to be on local TV and that what they are doing is really important by overdramatising even the most trivial of stories. For instance, where I am, the local BBC news magazine is anchored by a middle-aged lady who shouts a lot and gets very aggressive with local politicians, utility managers and the like. Frankly, she scares the hell out of me - she's the only person I know who can make a village duckpond running dry sound like a terrorist outrage when she reports it!

Mind you, I've recently discovered a form of broadcasting that might well be even more mentally corrosive than local TV - my cable provider's own sales channel. Until a few days ago, if I alighted upon a cable channel I wasn't subscribed to, I simply got the cable provider's logo. Suddenley, as soon as I switch to cable in fact, I'm confronted by this looped video featuring three idiots trying to sell me various different telephone and broadband packages. Each segment lasts under five minutes and simply consists of some idiot stumbling through an inept sales pitch. I get the impression that they didn't really think that this was ever going to be broadcast. Indeed, I strongly suspect that these were simply audition tapes. However, irritating though they are, there is no doubt that these continously looped little sales vignettes hold a a certain perverse fascination. I find myself switching over to them every so often, just to see if they've added any new ones, or simply to marvel at how crap they are. I particularly like it when the girl trying to sell me broadband tells us how this great new technology just blows her mind! And let's not forget their frequent claims that this particular cable provider is 'simply the best' and that there is a call centre of really helpful agents just waiting to talk to us, (this latter part is clearly intended to reduce anyone who has ever tried to get through to their call centre to hysterics).

So, there you are, hell for the Twenty First Century - trapped in a room with only two TV channels; local news or cable sales pitches. The only thing worse might be getting put on hold by the cable provider's call centre and forced to listen to that bloody muzak - punctuated by a recorded voice telling you how much your custom is valued - for all eternity...


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Pope of Birmingham

The Pope of Birmingham! Now there's a colourful figure from my past! (Yes folks, we're about to go off on another trip down Sleazy Lane!) The Pope of Birmingham, or Pope Adrian XII to give him his official title (God alone knows who the previous eleven Adrians were, or what happened to them), was the head of the West Midlands Catholic Church, a breakaway from the official Roman Catholic Church founded in 1984 by myself and a group of fellow students. At its peak it could muster all of five ordained officials, including my good self! For several years the whole thing was run from the Birmingham Vatican, a terraced house in Stourbridge.

The Pope himself was a good friend of mine who, in order to subsidise his religious activities, has worked variously as a pharmaceuticals salesman, car salesman, bookie and bar man. In those heady days when we were first setting up our ministry, he was living with (and later married) the Mother Superior (illustrating one of our clear divisions with the official church - we not only believed in priests having sex, but actively encouraged them to have it before, during and after marriage. Whether the marriage be theirs or someone elses). Pope Adrian was also the West of England 'cunt' shouting champion. This sporting activity involved us standing under a motorway flyover in Bristol and all shouting the offending word - whoever could shout it longest and loudest won. Whilst the rest of us were inevitably left with raw throats after only a few minutes, His Holiness could apparently shout obscenities at the top of his voice all day (and frequently did).

As for the rest of us, well, there was the aforementioned Mother Superior, of course. Then there was me, a Cardinal and Papal Legate. There were alsoBishops of Worcester and Colwyn Bay - both of whom did sterling spiritual and alcoholic work in those towns. But what was the point of the West Midlands Catholic Church? At this distance in time, it is hard to recall the details, but I think we had ambitions of following in the footsteps (and bank balance) of L Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology (but without the Thetans and alleged brain washing). In retrospect, we were hamstrung by the fact that we never had anyhigh profile celebrity members of the calibre of Tom Cruise or John Travolta. The best we could muster was that we were mates with the bloke who played guitar in a very obscure band called 'Bradford' (I've still got one of their posters - apparently Morrisey liked them). Our main money-making idea was the sale of sainthoods to politicians (mention of which in the previous post reminded me of the Pope of Birmingham). But in the end, we just couldn't be arsed to get out of the pub and preach this idea to the masses.

But whatever became of the Pope of Birmingham and his ministry?, I hear you cry. Sadly, I've lost touch with the Pontiff himself - I know that he had an acrimonious divorce from the Mother Superior (another schism from the established church there), in which she got the Birmingham Vatican, the Popemobile, the full set of Bibles, a signed photograph of Cardinal Hume and all the little Popelets. I suspect that one day I'll find him behind a cabin somewhere, chopping wood for his breakfast... The last I heard of the Bishop of Colwyn Bay, he'd shacked up with a mail order bride from the Phillipines, whilst the Bishop of Worcester eventually went into academia and can sometimes be found performing with infamous 'Unpop' group 'Gay Division' (formerly 'The Last Drag'). He occaisionally pops up in The Sleaze in the guise of Professor Jerry Mire. As for me, well, as you know, after many adventures, I eventuallybecame Britain's foremost purveyor of low grade smut. Amen.

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Cash For Canonisation Scandal?

Apparently the late Pope John Paul II has been 'fast-tracked' for canonisation by his successor. After hearing that on the radio the other day I was left wondering how much cash had changed hands to enable the reactionary old git to jump the quue like that? I mean, if people are willing to give loans to political parties in this country in the hope that they'll get a knighthood or peerage for their trouble, what price sainthood? You aren't going to tell me that there aren't people far more deserving of sainthood than John Paul II, who have been on that waiting list for decades? It's so unfair - he had all the advantages; a direct line to the Almighty, for instance. If that couldn't have helped him produce a few miracles, then nothing could have!

Of course, that's the big question now - can the Catholic church come up with any bona fide miracles performed by the late Pontiff to qualify him as a saint? Call me cynical if you like, but I strongly suspect that they will. They'll undoubtedly be really crap miracles, probably along the lines of that generous cash donation for the Basilica roof repair fund which miraculously appeared in Cardinal Mingo's back pocket, but they'll be declared miracles! Just so long as they aren't as sordid as the one which clinched nineteenth century village priest John Thrumster a place in the Catholic pantheon. According to the testimony of one of his former parishioners, the Holy Father miraculously cured his impotence in the vestry one afternoon after choir practice. "I was ten years old and had never had an erection - then Father Thrumster bade me to drop my trousers, took my member in his hand and gently rubbed it, whilst cupping my testicles in his other hand. I could feel the warmth spreading through my scrotum as my penis stiffened and rose erect - thrusting heavenward to celebrate the glory of God! It was a miracle!" On the basis of this, Thrumster was canonised as Saint John Thomas the Priapic, patron saint of sex offenders.

Mind you, the problem with sainthood is that, under current rules, you have to be dead to enjoy. It has always seemed to me that it would make far more sense to award sainthoods to the living. The church could make some really big money then! Imagine what a boost it could be with the electorate for the likes of Blair or Cameron if they could claim to be a living saint? Arguably, it could actually encourage people to lead more Godly lives, in order to try and qualify for sainthood before they pop their clogs - everybody would suddenley be a Mother Theresa!

So, how about it Pope Benny (if I may be so familiar)? Come to think of it, do I qualify for an instant canonisation on the basis of coming up with this scheme, or am I just going to have to rely on the Queen's Birthday Honours for some recognition of my services to sleaze?


Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Fool Indeed...

So here we are - April Fool's Day again. You know, I dread the coming of April 1st every year. Not because I fear falling victim to an April Fool's prank (they're too easy to spot - I mean, you are expecting them on April 1st, if people carried them out on, say, 13th June, there's more chance you'd actually be fooled), but simply because the quality of so many of these so-called pranks are so poor they make me cringe.

This is particularly true of the 'joke' articles carried by newspapers on this day every year. Now, these are usually easy to spot (in the case of the Daily Sport, Sun or Daily Mail, they are the only articles which actually seem like real news stories), but woefully unfunny. The Times' offering was particularly lame this year - 'Chip and Sing' recognition foor credit card users. Laugh? I thought I'd never start. In fact, I didn't. The Guardian's attempt was so bloody obvious, it was insulting that they took an entire inside page to try and push it. The idea that Tory leader David Cameron (or anyone with any musical taste, for that matter) would engage Coldplay's Chris Martin to produce a theme song for them is so obviously a joke, I don't know why they bothered. OK, I can see what they're getting at - Cameron=bland and boring, Coldyplay=bland and boring, but it really wasn't worth the effort.

The other media were just as bad. Mind you, whilst I lay in bed listening to Radio Five Live's breakfast news programme, I was wondering which of their stories was the joke, they all seemed so bizarre. Was it someone from local government complaining about the government's audacity in expecting them to subsidise the new initiative for free bus travel for over 60s (well, duh! Pensioners pay council tax, too!)? Was it the nonsense about the government planning to fine people who have too many bright lights in their gardens for light pollution? Or was it a policeman complaining that the formation of a new elite crimefighting force would take seven hundred policemen away from from 'real' policing and strip them of their powers of arrest, (conveniently ignoring the fact that these officers wre already sat behind desks on secondment to the NCS and NCIS which the new organisation was absorbing)? Frankly, I wasn't interested enough to find out, and went back to sleep. Working on the maxim that 'he who cries 'April Fool' after midday is a fool indeed', I stayed in bed until after midday.

It never ceases to amaze me how stupid the media think the public are, the way they hope to fool them every year with this kind of shit. Having said that, it never ceases to amaze me what people will believe - the number of times I've found stories from The Sleaze being earnestly discussed on message boards on the assumption that they are true. I'm particularly fond of the time some right-wing extremist board tried to start a campaign condemning 'Happy Crapping' after one of their members came across Confessions of a Crap Artist. I ask you, if a story about the latest youth craze being public defecation isn't obviously fake, I don't know what is! Another right wing board took a page and a half of discussion to ascertain that Hollywood Sex Pests was fiction, then bad temperedly labelled The Sleaze 'crass'! Some idiot on another board accused me of being a 'slanderer' because of the same story's claims that Charlie Chaplin used to mime acts of gross sexual perversion to starlets during auditions. I didn't have the heart to tell the pillock that if it is in writing it is 'libel, not 'slander', and that you can't libel a dead person anyway - making him guilty of libelling me. And let's not forget the idiot who actually posted on the old Sleaze message board to complain that the Dr Who? story was fiction. No shit, Sherlock!

It seems that no matter how ludicrous I make these stories, no matter how obviously surreal they are, there is always someone out there credulous enough to believe them. Scariest of all, however, is the fact that not all of these idiots are simply ordinary members of the public. Oh no. For a while I had research assistants from a TV production company contacting me trying to secure an interview with Maurice Gink (does that sound like a ral name to you?), the man who made the Suburban Sex Machines. No matter how many times I told them it was fiction, they just kept on e-mailing me! I subsequently had a researcher from another TV production company (who claimed to be a regular reader) trying to contact Suzy Jamette, the groupie from Rock Babylon whose underpants Mick Jagger had allegedly shat in. I wrote back pointing out that the story was fiction, but offering to try and line up the octopus featured in it - which Jimmy Page had trained to wank off eight people simultaneously - for an interview. They never replied.

Perhaps I'm being over-optimistic in hoping that people who work in the media might actually have some kind of critical faculties. Then I watch SKY News or see the Daily Mail and realise that I most definitely am!

So there you are - despite the fact that I hate April Fools' Day (almost as much as I hate St Patrick's Day, in fact), it seems that every day is April Fools' Day where The Sleaze is concerned!


Six Glorious Years!

It's finally here - Issue 40 and the sixth anniversary of The Sleaze have finally arrived! Over on the main site you'll find a new editorial - My Life in Sleaze - and the first of the new issue's stories: The Great British Thrashing!

Frankly, I'm amazed that I've kept going for six years! It hasn't been easy, I can tell you! Indeed, I'm expecting some kind of recognition for my services to British sleaze in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Still, I feel that I've still got plenty more sleaze left in me and I'm confident of being here the same time next year to celebrate our seventh anniversary! Viva La Sleaze!

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