Monday, July 31, 2006

All Very Confusing, Really ...

I've been left confused, nay, bewildered even, by recent developments in the world of sport. It appears that professional cyclists are all eunuchs - they all have to have their nads surgically removed before they can participate in events such as the Tour de France. I know it sounds incredible, and I'm not sure why this rule applies (perhaps it has something to do with reducing wind resistance or lessening the threat of cross-bar accidents), but apparently this is the case. How else can one explain the fact that the winner of this year's Tour de France faces an investigation after he tested positive for testosterone? I mean, if it had been a woman rider in one of these events who had tested positive for testosterone, then I think there would be cause for concern (although I suspect the urine test would be superfluous; the stubble and deep voice would surely be a more obvious give away). However, I'd be bloody worried if a bloke didn't test positive for a naturally occurring male hormone.

OK, so I've since learned that what they meant to say in those news reports was that he'd tested positive for an excess of testosterone. Apparently athletes sometimes take doses of it to improve their stamina. And probably counteract the effects of all those steroids they take by deepening their voices, improving their sex drive and giving them a rock-hard erection. Maybe that's why athletes have taken to shaving their heads in recent years - it has nothing to do with lowering wind resistance, it is to cover up the drastic hair loss that excessive testosterone levels can cause. Of course, in the case of the cyclist, he might just be one of those incredibly masculine guys who naturally produces too much testosterone - if he didn't go in for gruelling long-distance cycle racing, he'd probably have to whack off over porn magazines at least six times a day to expend all that excess sex drive.

Having cleared up one area of confusion in my life, I find myself with a confused response to other new developments. The Sleaze has been enjoying a very high level of traffic today as a result of the Bill Clinton pornbot story being picked up by Fark. Whilst, obviously, I'm always happy to see any of my stories getting wider exposure, and being 'Farked' is considered (in some quarters) to be a big deal, I still think that the majority of Fark members are total tossers. There, I've said it! What an ungrateful bastard I am, eh? Actually, no. I didn't ask to be linked to and, unlike some internet satire editors, I've never actively tried to get farked . The bottom line is, that despite the traffic this has generated, I can't help but feel that there are some types of people I don't want to read or enjoy my stories! A paradox, I know - if I don't write and publish the things with the hope that people will read them, what's the point? - but there you have it! Sadly, in this business you can't choose your audience; the bastards choose you!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Good Neighbours?

I ask you, do I look liked the kind of person who throws sausage rolls at their neighbours? OK, so I know that none of you actually do know what I look like (except my friend Andrea, who is deluded enough to read this stuff on a regular basis - I fear there is no hope for her), but I can assure you all, that I most definitely don't look like that sort of person. I don't look in the mirror every morning and think: Ha! Sausage roll thrower! Getting back to the sausage rolls, the reason I ask this question is because, approximately a week ago, just as I was finally getting to grips with the story which was to become Pornucopia, my creative flow was rudely interrupted by a knock on the door. Now, this pissed me off for several reasons. Not only did it disrupt my writing, but I've also recently installed a new doorbell, which, unlike its predecessor, actually works - but nobody ever uses the bloody thing! Anyway, upon opening my front door - after a series of expletives which doubtless could clearly be heard through the open front window - I was confronted by some bloke in a t-shirt and smoking a fag. He proceeded to tell me that he lived across the back from me (apparently he's on the other side of the high wall running along the back of the terrace of houses I live in), and that rubbish was being thrown into his garden. When I didn't comment and simply gave him a stony stare, he added that he'd just been subjected to a fusillade of sausage rolls. At this point I think my expression must have been shouting "weirdo", "looney" and "crackpot", as he began to stammer and back away. I just shut the door on him, shaking my head.

I've no idea if he repeated his performance at other houses on the terrace, or whether, indeed, he really does live in the house which backs onto my back garden. But I do think that it is a bloody cheek to go around implying to complete strangers that you suspect them of throwing party snacks at them (actually, I didn't think to ask if they were cocktail-style sausage rolls, full size, or even giant ones. I mean, if it was the giant ones, then the incident might have been serious - one of those could be quite painful if it hit you in the eye). Perhaps I would have taken him more seriously if he'd said that the sausage rolls had been accompanied by either those bits of cheese or cocktail sausages on sticks - those sharpened cocktail sticks can be bloody dangerous. Anyway, my concentration was completely broken by this loon and I was forced to abandon writing the story until the next day, and went to the pub instead. Why can't I have normal neighbours like everyone else? Meanwhile, I must assume that the phantom sausage roll flinger is still out there somewhere. God knows who his or her next victim will be - just so long as they don't come knocking on my door.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Artistic Bollocks

Now I know that people died and others were seriously injured, so it isn't really any fit subject for humour, but - that business on Sunday when that giant inflatable sculpture took off with visitors on board, before crashing back to earth, definitely has potential. Of course, the whole thing would most definitely have been funnier if the sculpture, instead of being an abstract, had been of a huge pair of breasts, or a giant set of cock and balls. Imagine that - a huge pair of double D cups rolling over the rooftops, people clinging to the nipples for dear life, their ordeal only ended when one of the big knockers is punctured by a church steeple. Even their demise would be exciting - people on the ground running to safety as the billowing breasts slowly collapse onto a school...

Mind you, it has to be said that the idea of a giant inflatable penis full of visitors flying off is even funnier, especially if the bollocks in question were modeled on those of someone famous. You can just imagine the news reports:

'Two people died and scores more were injured this afternoon when a giant inflatable sculpture of Robbie Williams' genitals broke loose from its moorings in a Scunthorpe park and rose sixty feet into the air. It was full of visitors - who are encouraged to enter and explore the whole structure - at the time. Eyewitnesses described how some victims could be seen dangling from the scrotum as the sculpture soared into the air, whilst at least two people were witnessed falling from the penis' urethra. "They were like tears dropping from a Jap's Eye," commented local poet Armstrong Whitworth. "It was as if, having enjoyed the artistic pleasures of Robbie's giant genitals, they were ejaculated forth to fertilise the imaginations of others."

It is thought that the abnormally high temperatures experienced during the current heatwave raised the temperature of the air in the sculpture enough to make it behave like a crude hot air balloon. "Its shape, particularly the scrotum with its two huge testicles, was conducive to producing a high degree of lift," explained a spokesperson for the local Fire Brigade. The situation was made worse when a sudden gust of wind caught the sculpture when it was already in the air, and blew it toward a local housing estate, where it damaged several houses. "I heard all this commotion and looked out of the bedroom window to see what it was all about, only to be confronted by this huge penis swooping towards me," says still shaken pensioner Elsie Clutters. "It came crashing through the window and pinned me against the wall, before vanishing out of the window again!" The penis also brought down several chimney pots and crashed through three roofs before being punctured by a television aerial. However, its occupants ordeal was far from over as the giant genitalia plummeted to earth, directly on top of a children's playground. "There were terrified children screaming and running for their lives as it went down on the swings and slide," says local woman Janet Probe. "I'm sure my six year old daughter will be traumatised for life after nearly being smothered to death by an outsize set of male genitals. If she grows up to be a lesbian I'll be suing the artist!"

Once the sculpture was back on the ground, rescuers moved quickly to free the visitors still trapped inside it. "Most of them were gathered in the scrotal sack," explains firefighter Sandy Beeches. "We had to literally tear open Robbie Williams' nads to get at them - there's a story for the grandchildren: I ripped holes in Robbie's bollocks!" Despite the number of casualties, local police have expressed relief that the outcome hadn't been worse. "I just thank God that Robbie's penis hadn't been modeled in an erect state," said Chief Inspector Andy Dipster. "There's only a limited amount of damage a flaccid thirty foot long penis can do. Had it been erect, not only would it have been longer, but it would inevitably have caused far more damage to property, knocking down houses, telegraph poles and perhaps even bringing down power lines." The sculptor, seventy two year old Ronald Spheris, who specialises in giant inflatable erotica, has vowed never to make such a sculpture again. "I should have known that Robbie's three-piece set were too much for any mere mortals to handle," a distraught Spheris told the press.'

Ah well, a man can but dream!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tough on Kids, Tough on the Causes of Kids...

Yet more macho posturing from the government, as Blair et al try to prove that they have bigger balls than Cameron and his 'Coolservative' clowns when it comes to issues of law and order and social provision - this time it is over the Child Support Agency (CSA). OK, now nobody in their right mind is going to defend the CSA's lamentable record in attempting (usually with little success) to get absentee fathers to pay for the upbringing of their offspring. However, many of its problems stem from the fact that, from the outset, it has been under resourced and staffed by workers on some of the lowest pay rates in the entire public sector (and that's saying something). So, what's the government's solution to this - reform the CSA, giving it the tools and staff it needs to fulfill its mandate? No, they abolish it, tell people to make their own arrangements for child maintenance, but then add that if absentee parents still don't pay then a new organisation will apparently electronically tag them, take their passports away and generally stigmatise them as criminals, despite the fact that they haven't actually been convicted of any crime. Yeah, let's get tough on these bastards! In fact, why don't we go the whole nine yards and castrate them with bolt cutters the first time they miss a payment - that way they at least won't be able breed any more kids they can't or won't pay for!

I seem to remember that before they came to power, the Labour Party said that it would be 'tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime'. Fine sentiments, and if carried through might actually lead to lasting reductions in both the crime rate and, consequently, the prison population. However, identifying the true root causes of crime is difficult, and doing something about them would be expensive, take time and would seem too much like socialism for Blair's buddies in the right wing press. Not surprisingly, they've instead just opted to 'get tough' and lock more people up - that always plays well to the Daily Mail. As for the causes of crime - it is all down to 'soft' judges, bleeding heart liberals and the permissive society. Sadly, the same thing now seems to be happening with regard to social issues. Instead of trying to find out just why so many fathers seem to think that they don't have to actually support their children financially, they simply resort to criminalising the repeat-offenders. Of course, trying to look at the underlying causes of this anti-social behaviour might involve having to take a long hard look at this entirely self-centered, materialistic society we live in and the 'values' it promotes. Not only would that make people feel uncomfortable, but it might mean admitting that the market-led capitalistic model promoted by both Thatcher and Blair is fundamentally wrong. It might mean admitting that the needs and wants of the individual don't necessarily stand at the centre of the universe - he or she might also have a responsibility to the wider community and recognise that their actions could be harmful to that community. But hell, that sounds dangerously like socialism, and we can't have that coming from a Labour government, now can we?


Monday, July 24, 2006

Five Knuckle Shuffle

There is just so much going on at the moment that I want to get my teeth into, but before I look at things like the abolition of the Child Support Agency, runaway giant inflatable sculptures and my strange experiences with neighbours, I feel that I really must tackle the issue of reality catching up with The Sleaze. Now, it was bad enough a few years ago when I discovered the existence of the Australian duo who bill themselves as 'Puppetry of the Penis' - I was left asking myself how I was expected to keep up in the fictional weirdness stakes when there were guys out there willing to do that sort of thing with their genitalia in the name of entertainment. I mean, it really is beyond satire, isn't it? But, somehow, I reached deep inside myself and found my inner reserves of sleaziness. Nevertheless, no matter how bizarre I make the stories, reality always seems to want to catch up with The Sleaze (if not actually overtake it). For instance, at the height of the 'War on Terror' last Summer, there were reports that police had arrested several men in Tooting under Anti-Terror legislation. Apparently they worked in a kebab shop. For God's sake, were the police using that old archive story Mad Mullah's Barbecue - in which terrorists hijack kebab vans in Tooting to mount suicide attacks on fast food outlets - as an intelligence source?

Now I find that Channel Four is to carry live TV coverage of a charity 'Wankathon'. I really think this is going too far! I'm sorry, but such things do not exist - I made them up for the story The Loneliest Art back in 2003, where I proposed a celebrity Wankathon as part of the BBC's annual 'Children in Need' telethon. The likes of Jonathan Ross, Darren Day and Jamie Oliver were to have vied for the title of 'Britain's Top Tosser'. Actually, this celebrity event was, as I recall, simply a sideshow to 'Mass-Turbation 2003' in which over ten thousand wankers were to relay live footage of themselves whacking off to a charity website via their webcams - it was to be the largest ever simultaneous masturbation event. Anyway, Channel Four is now claiming that they are to televise the first British 'Wankathon', and assert that similar events have been held in the US for several years. Oh yeah? How many years exactly? Three, perhaps? I should bloody well sue the bastards! I really think I deserve some credit for the concept of the charity wankathon (which someone has clearly ripped off). Particularly if they actually make money - I want my share of the royalties! Pay up you bastards!


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Factory Farming the Poor

So, according to some alleged new scientific research - published in the Daily Express, that well-known scientific journal - people in lower social classes age faster and die younger than those above them socially. Well, fuck my hat, I never knew that! The main question this leaves me asking is just how the report defined 'class'? As we keep getting told that we live in a 'classless' society these days, surely such distinctions are meaningless. Assuming they defined class in occupational terms, then the conclusions really are unsurprising - traditionally 'working class' occupations tended to be manual labour, which inevitably exposes the worker to far higher levels of physical risk than white collar work. Quite apart from the risk of accidental death in the workplace, exposure to hazardous materials and environments over the course of the average working life are bound to reduce your life expectancy.

Of course, if you look at 'class' in terms of income, then the situation is slightly different. Those at the bottom of the social heap tend to be unskilled, have erratic patterns of (mainly) casual, very low paid, work, supplemented by welfare benefits (traditional manual labour is often relatively well-paid). They generally live in social housing in the oldest and least well-maintained estates, they probably smoke, drink and use drugs more than than their social 'betters' - primarily to dull the monotony of their lives. Their low income, combined with their poor access to education, healthcare and other social provisions, often results in poor nutrition and ill health. Not surprisingly, this all contributes to reduced life expectancy and people often looking sixty when they're only mid-thirties.

With all the privileges that higher incomes can buy in today's Britain, it really should come as no surprise that the 'higher' social classes live longer and more healthily than the 'lower orders'. Mind you, I think that it is even simpler, and frankly more sinister, than that. It is clear to me that the middle and upper classes are literally sucking the life from the working classes. Its a form of psychic vampirism. As, in the developed world, unskilled labour becomes less and less important (so we're told by economists), clearly the only purpose for the working class to serve is as 'cattle' (conveniently corralled on farms, sorry, estates) for those 'above' them socially. That's where Wells got it wrong in The Time Machine - it won't be the troglodyte workers eating the effete rich; instead it will be the white collar workers, so-called professionals, property developers, industrialists and land owners sucking the poor dry. It all makes sense, and is a perfect metaphor for capitalism!


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Banners and Bollocks

Continuing thte theme of bringing this blog back to its original purpose, I seem to recall that way back in the first post, I said that announcements concerning The Sleaze would be made here. Well, I've suddenly realised that I've been somewhat remiss in failing to note here that The Sleaze has undergone a minor facelift recently. Whilst this has been confined mainly to the index page - which now sports a very fine banner and a new version of the logo - all pages now feature the new logo. There has also been a change to the strap-line on the index page, with the old slogan of "Incredible Lies Today - Still Bollocks Tomorrow" having given way to a fairly bland series of key words describing the site's content. This latter move was mainly for the benefit of search engines. However, so far it doesn't seem to have made much difference to our page rankings, so I'm minded to revert to the old slogan sometime soon.

A brief word on the banner - the background images are derived from old 'sleaze' paperback covers from the 1950s and 1960s. Whilst I'm greatly enamoured of this style of artwork and feel that they capture the true spirit of 'sleaze', I'm still troubled by the fact that they do tend to portray women as essentially submissive sex objects. Again, the background images might be tinkered with in future to try and incorporate some more positive portrayals of women. Indeed, I've been toying with the idea of having a series of randomly rotating background images for the banner.

There are more changes planned for the next few months, but these will mainly be 'under the hood' tweakings of the site's code and won't be so obvious to the casual reader. Overall, the aim is to make The Sleaze seem fresher and more accessible.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Writer's Blog?

You know, I can't help but feel that this blog has strayed somewhat from its original intent of late. Not that there's anything wrong with that, necessarily. Evolution is all part of the creative process, but it is that 'creative' bit which I feel I've been neglecting recently. I'd always hoped that I could give some insight into the creative processes behind the stories published over at The Sleaze, so I'm going to witter on for a bit about how difficult writing them can be! I'm currently struggling with the task of coming up with the sixth and last story for 'Issue 41'. Don't misunderstand me, I've got plenty of ideas, but most of them just don't feel right for this story - some aren't sufficiently developed, some rely on topicality and won't really be relevant until later in the year and some simply don't want to be written yet. However, I've been harbouring a vague story idea for this slot for some time now, based around the conspiracy theory that Clinton is actually a very sophisticated robot. The trouble is, that in itself is a bit thin, it is difficult to see where it can go in satirical terms, beyond a few tried and tested knob jokes.

The secret of a halfway decent story, I always find, lies in finding the right angle of approach. Here, the obvious question would be just why anyone would build a robot that became Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, my inspiration failed me again and I quickly realised this approach was a dead end. However, when thinking of Clinton, one's thoughts tend to quickly move to the subject of pornography (well, mine do) and his fabled White House porn stash, with which he whiled away many an afternoon (allegedly). Now, this turned out to be a more fruitful angle, immediately throwing up the question: why would a robot be so interested in pornography? The answer was obvious - this was a robot fuelled by porn! He had to plug his penis into the internet to download new supplies at regular intervals. At last, the story seemed to be getting somewhere. Nevertheless, another question now posed itself - where would such porn-fuelling technology be derived from? There could be only one answer - aliens. But again, the big WHY raised its ugly head: why would anyone (alien or human) build a porn-powered robot and have it elected President of the United States?

The solution to this conundrum came from an unexpected source. For a while I'd been toying with the idea of a story inspired by that British geek who is being prosecuted in the US for hacking into their military's and NASA's IT systems. One of the defences he's tried making is that he was seeking proof of US knowledge of alien contact. Recently, he's even claimed that he did come across some images of alien spaceships (but somehow neglected to either download or print them). I had some vague idea of a similar hacker discovering something like the secret homemade porno films of the Presidents stored on the White House IT system. A bit thin, but it had possibilities. Anyway, I recently came across this guy's latest version of why he was hacking into these systems: he was looking for evidence of the US developing alternative energy systems using alien technology. It all fell into place! The new energy source was porn power! This explained the rapid growth of the porn industry in a supposedly God fearing and moral country as the US - it was all part of the plan for cheap energy derived from sexual arousal! The Clinton-bot was developed both to prove the viability of the technology and to promote it via the White House. It was all a conspiracy on the part of the Military-Industrial complex, who'd cut a deal with aliens! One last question arose - what did they exchange for the porn power technology? The answer lay with an old story I'd never bothered archiving because I wasn't entirely happy with the way it had turned out: the aliens are intergalactic sex-perverts and the US government has agreed to let them abduct a certain number of humans every year for their bizarre sex games!

Finally, it all made sense (to me, at least). By combining two vague story ideas, I had eventually come up withe something concrete. So, having worked it all out here, I can at last get on with writing this bloody story. Hopefully it'll be finished and posted within the next week, or so. Hopefully this will also have given another (scary) insight into the tortured creative processes behind The Sleaze!

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Put 'Em Away!

Apart from bloody barbecues, you know what else it is that I really hate about Summer? It is those bloody bastards who suddenly decide to walk around without their shirts on. I ask you, what is it about this country which induces men, at the slightest glimmering of sunlight, to put their grotesque beer-bellies on public display? Don't you flabby gits understand - we don't want to see them! I am sure that women do not find the sight of some horrible wobbling white rolls of fat attractive. And trust me, we guys are not envious of your 'manly' physique! I really don't understand it - I have a physique which I know is best left under wraps - I wouldn't dream of unleashing it upon an unsuspecting world. Yet every year, thousands, possibly millions, of British men in far worse shape than me happily wander around with either their shirt unbuttoned to the waist, or, even worse, no shirt at all. OK, I suppose it could be argued that it is a good thing as it indicates that men are increasingly happy and at ease with their imperfect bodies. Unfortunately, I am not at ease with them!

Perhaps even worse than the pillocks who walk around shirtless, are the ones who drive in such a condition. Do they really want to cause accidents? Do they perhaps think that it is somehow 'macho' to drive around in their Peugeot 205 Special Edition Tosspot semi-naked? The only positive aspect to these clowns driving rather than walking in this state of undress is that at least their grotesque wobbly bellies, spilling out over the tops of their trousers (or even worse: shorts), aren't visible to the rest of us. As someone who vividly remembers the vinyl covered car seats of the 1970s, the very idea of pressing your naked flesh to a car seat on a hot day fills me full of horror. I still have painful memories of the skin nearly peeling off of my thighs when getting out of my father's MK 1 Ford Escort (I was still at junior school, where shorts were part of the required uniform) on Summer days.

But really, the government should impose some kind of Summer 'dress code' which requires shirts to be worn at all times whilst in public. I'm not sure how many fat, balding, gold chain bedecked, chain smoking semi-nudists I can stand seeing this Summer. For God's sake, put 'em away!


Friday, July 14, 2006

The State We're In...

Britain 2006 - what kind of country are we living in? In the past week I've read about a woman being taken to court for allegedly putting the 'wrong type of rubbish' in her recycling bin (she was found not guilty) and police deciding not to pursue allegations of racism against Tony Blair (according to a book written by an ex-aide he shouted disparaging comments about the Welsh at a television as the results of the Welsh Assembly elections came in). Don't people have anything better to do with their time? Have we really grown so petty that we think such things are actually worth invoking the full force of the law to deal with such trivial matters? Does anyone really think that it is right to try and prosecute someone for alleged comments, apparently made in private and reported second hand in a book? Is it really racist to shout "Stupid Welsh twats", say, not at actual Welsh twats. but at a television? Surely it is just an expression of opinion (A pretty widely held one, at that)?

It wouldn't be so bad if these were isolated incidents, but they aren't. If it isn't people having draconian ASBOs made against them for, basically, annoying their neighbours, rather than actually committing a criminal act, it is some busybody or other reporting public figures to the police for supposed racism (usually against the Welsh) or abuse of office. Take that recent business of John Prescott allegedly bonking his secretary in his Whitehall office - no sooner had the story broken then we had some retired police officer trying to get the police to prosecute him for misuse of government property! "It isn't politically or personally motivated, I just think the law has to be upheld", claimed the individual in question. Fuck off you pompous little cunt. You miss the power you probably used to abuse as a police officer and you just saw this as another chance to puff yourself up and feel important. Not surprisingly, the police didn't pursue the complaint.

Most recently, of course, we've had the sight of Lord Levy being arrested by the police as part of their investigations into the so-called 'honours for cash' scandal. A quick digression here, when I first saw the headline 'Levy Arrested', for a moment I thought that they meant Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. Obviously, once the term 'Lord' was mentioned, I realised my mistake. Daniel Levy, of course, has not, so far, been ennobled. Although, frankly, he deserves a peerage for finally managing to stir Tottenham out of mid-table mediocrity... Getting back to the issue at hand, am I alone in not giving a toss as to whether honours have been 'sold'? It is hardly news that individuals who make generous donations to political parties tend to end up with peerages. If the House of Lords actually had any real legislative power, this might matter. However, the Upper House is largely toothless, so it is all a moot point. With all of these things, I really can't help but feel that the police surely have better things to do with their time. Mind you, for conspiracy theorists, it does suggest that, if they do have the resources to devote to investigating this sort of thing, then the terrorist threat Tony keeps banging on about can't really be that serious...


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Heaven is Local TV Totty?

Still with local TV, just why is it that there are so many attractive young women working as local TV reporters (apologies for sounding so sexist here, but I tend not to notice the probably very hot guys employed as reporters) ? My local BBC news, for instance, seems to have an endless supply. Hardly an edition of the nightly news magazine passes without a location report from yet another blonde twenty-something I've never seen before. Even on the ten minute lunchtime bulletin they seem to try and pack at least two new ones in every day. According to my friend with digital (this a real friend, not a euphemism for me - I'm still resolutely analogue), the situation is much the same in other BBC regions. I'm sure that they are all properly qualified and they all seem very competent, but I find it hard to believe that there aren't any plain, middle-aged or even down right ugly female TV reporters out there just as competent and well qualified. I suppose that it is just further confirmation of the fundamental shallowness of television - looks matter. Mind you, we've only ourselves to blame - there's no doubt that we (I can only speak for men here) would all rather see the attractive young female reporters - I can guarantee that it is only their presence which keeps many of us watching local TV news (let's face it, we aren't watching it for the content). Mind you, there's no doubt that when one you don't fancy comes on screen, you suddenly find yourself paying far more attention to a Story about dangerous foreign furniture being sold door-to-door locally than you would usually.

Sadly, there is no denying that I'm just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to watching the local TV totty. I too have my particular favourite - a girl who often does the lunchtime bulletin. Indeed, I'm beginning to get worried that this interest is in danger of turning into an obsession. Does it constitute borderline stalking when you find yourself going to your local BBC website and looking up a presenter's details? Actually, to digress slightly, stalking has always fascinated me as it is the one form of obsessional sexually deviant behaviour which we can all fall into surprisingly easily. At what point does a harmless 'crush' on a neighbour, friend, colleague or even complete stranger become something sinister? Do you become a stalker the moment you contrive to 'accidentally' bump into them in the street or corridor in a vain attempt to get their attention and strike up a conversation? Or do you have to carry out all night surveillances of their house using night vision goggles and infrared cameras before you officially become a stalker? Getting back to local TV presenters, I suppose that it where part of their attraction comes from - their potential accessibility. As they are local presenters, it is reasonable to assume that they live locally and that you might actually encounter them. The possibility of contriving to bump into them is no longer a remote possibility but, for the potential stalker, a concrete probability...


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hell is Still Local TV

I really have got to stop watching local television news programmes - they really do drive me to distraction! The other day I found myself watching a report on my local BBC news magazine about an unfortunate woman who - only hours after the national knife amnesty had ended - had been attacked in the street by a lunatic with a meat cleaver. Luckily, she wasn't badly hurt, but what got me was the way the reporter ended the report with the puzzled-sounding observation that the victim was still in hospital and "she is thought to be traumatised". Well, no shit Sherlock! I mean, why would a little thing like having a meat cleaver swung at your head perturb anyone, eh? The hospital should just have given a cup of sweet tea for the shock, stuck an elastoplast on her wound and sent her home. Of course, there was the implied criticism of the police that if only their knife amnesty had been properly run, then this sort of thing wouldn't have happened. Well, that's the thing about amnesties; they're purely voluntary. Mind you, I'd argue that technically the weapon wasn't really a knife, was it? Whilst a bladed implement, a cleaver is somewhat different from a regular knife - it has a broad, squared off blade and is designed for hacking, rather than stabbing. For all we know, the attacker might have tried to hand it in, but was told he'd have to wait for the cleaver and axe amnesty. I can just see some copper on the front desk consulting his chart of knife silhouettes (which is probably positioned next to the German bomber silhouettes and fish silhouettes (see Battered over on The Sleaze for an explanation of the latter...)), before declining to accept it. Maybe that's why the attacker went on the rampage: frustration at the way his attempts to go straight had been rebuffed.

Getting back to the horrors of local TV, I thought perhaps the ITV local programme would be an improvement. Against my better judgment I watched an item there about the marvels of a new estate in my town which hadn't had a burglary in five years, whilst the neighbouring estate was still 'crime-ridden' with burglaries apparently occurring on an hourly basis. Apparently, it is all down to the much better design of the new estate, which affords would-be burglars far fewer opportunities to strike. Now, aside from the fact that both of these 'estates' are actually parts of the same estate, my first problem with the report was that the new 'estate' hasn't actually existed for five years. Sure, they started building it five years ago, but they didn't start moving people in until three years ago, whilst the bulk of the houses there are probably no more than two years old. Moreover, the Housing association responsible for most of the housing were highly selective in who they relocated there from the older blocks of maisonettes they knocked down to accommodate the new houses and flats. They've concentrated on populating the 'new build' properties with tenants who have a good rent history and no complaints of ant-social behaviour against them. All the 'problem' families (dysfunctional families and individuals with drink, drug and behavioural problems and a poor record for rent arrears) have been reassigned to that older bit of the estate where crime is now rife...

Now, I'm not saying that the design of the new part of the estate hasn't had an effect on the drop in crime rates, but the TV reports complete failure to actually look into the facts of the situation severely weakened their arguments. But what the hell, it gave a great little 'feel good' story for the local news! Perhaps I'm being unfair to local TV. A friend of mine who has digital tells me that he can access all of the BBC's regional programmes. He assures me that the news from Bristol is far more interesting and (purely coincidentally) presented by far more attractive female news readers...


Monday, July 10, 2006

Flushed Away

You know how they always talk about that electricity surge after things like the World Cup Final? You know - all those people going to put the kettle on simultaneously blows the National Grid. Well, what I want to know is this: is there a similar water surge as everybody takes a leak or a dump after such events? After all, if you are transfixed by some major sporting event, you do tend to 'hold it all in' until either the half-time or full-time whistle. Last night's World Cup Final would have been even worse - what with the extra time and the penalty shoot-out. The latter is just the sort of thing to have true football fans clenching their buttocks and hoping to dear God that they don't touch cloth until the tenth kick has been made. Anyway, getting back to the point, a mass flush of this type would surely put a massive strain on our antiquated sewage system - I'm very surprised that the authorities don't issue warnings.

It can only be a matter of time before some live televised event proves such a stomach churner that the consequent effluent surge results in the whole sewage network becoming chocked, resulting in toilets backing up and shit pouring down people's walls. Even worse, it could cause the pipes to rupture, with tides of liquid shit consequently flooding our streets. Perhaps the worst case scenario would be enough pressure building up in the blocked pipes to cause a huge explosion - a sort of brown Vesuvius throwing excrement up into the sky. Future generations of archeologists would undoubtedly excavate perfectly preserved shit-encrusted bodies from the site...

I'm doubly amazed that no warnings have been issued bearing in mind all the warnings of water shortages there have been recently. A massive surge of flushing could severely deplete Britain's supply of drinking water. Can you imagine the consequences? Not just water rationing for drinking purposes, but for toilet flushing too. You'd only be allowed two flushes a day (one in the most severely affected areas), and would have to keep beating down the build-up of crap in the toilet with a shovel. Anyone exceeding this limit would have their toilet sealed off - with that hazard tape they use at accidents crossed over the bowl - and told to dig a hole in the garden, instead. Perhaps they could approach the problem from the other side - ration the number of dumps anyone can have over a given period. Coupons or ration cards could be issued for each week - you hand in a coupon every time you take crap. Maybe they could come up with alternatives to the traditional dump - powdered shit, for instance. Its just a matter of time before it happens. Just remember; you heard it here first!


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bloody Environmentalists

For no reason other than I've just re-read it and felt it deserved another outing, here's an old editorial from The Sleaze which, for various reasons, I never got around to archiving:

We now turn our attention to another group of dangerous subversives - the environmental lobby. Oh yes, I know that they come on about wanting to protect the environment for future generations, but it is quite clear that they have a far more sinister secret agenda. Particularly disturbing are their constant calls for the curbing of the use of personal vehicles, despite the fact that public transport remains totally inadequate. Could it be that what they are really trying to do is restrict the free movement (and by extension the personal liberty) of the ordinary working man? After all, it is the average worker who has no choice but to use his car to get to and from work, who will suffer most from increased fuel charges, road pricing and restrictions on car use in town centres. The fact is that the advent of affordable cars in the post-war period allowed the working classes of this country an unprecedented degree of personal freedom. No longer subject to the vagaries of public transport, workers could travel further afield in order to sell their labour for a reasonable wage, they were no longer forced to live within reasonable distance of their workplace in some damp-ridden inner-city council house or tied cottage. They were even - horror of horrors - able to get out of the towns and cities and enjoy the countryside, the traditional preserve of the landed classes. And this brings us to the biggest flaw in the environmentalist argument; they want to save the environment and countryside so that it can continue to be enjoyed by everyone - but how do most people access the countryside? By car, of course. So if personal car use is restricted in the way they are calling for, who will be able to access this natural environment they've saved for us? Answer: the only people who can still afford to own and run their own cars - the BMW and Range Rover driving middle and upper classes.

Clearly, the environmental lobby's prime objective is to force the working classes back into the cities and preserve the countryside as a playground for the privileged. Who has been one of Britain's most prominent environmentalists in recent years? Lord Jonathan Porrit. The environmentalists are just another front for the deadly countryside alliance/landowners lobby - lackeys and lickspittles of the establishment. But if the green lobby was to succeed in restricting private car use, what would the result be? More working people attempting to use so-called public transport, which is, in reality, now mainly in the hands of private capitalist asset strippers, who will charge extortionate fares and still demand exorbitant public subsidies when their under-invested infrastructure proves inadequate to meet the increased demand. Once again, the tree-huggers are simply helping to line the pockets of their bloodsucking capitalist compatriots.

But should we be surprised by any of this? After all, those sons of fun the Nazis were renowned for their love of forests and were highly enthusiastic about the concept of preserving the natural environment. Its not that I'm against the concept of preserving the environment by lowering emissions, etc., but the fact is that cars are getting cleaner by the day, manufacturers have responded to the challenge. The fact is that alternatives to the use of fossil fuels for vehicle propulsion are being actively pursued. However, not only is the car a convenient scapegoat for the ills of the world, but, as we have seen, conservation is not the environmentalists true goal. So, I say we should tell these damned vegan, wispy bearded, tree huggers to take their addled visions of a nice middle-class pastoral paradise free of smelly industry and those nasty working classes, and shove it up their jacksies. What we want is a new, socialist, environmentalism which seeks to properly balance the needs of all social classes and the environment.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Morning Has Broken...

I nearly committed murder this morning. I was woken before six o'clock, not by the thunderstorm sweeping across my part of the world, but by this bastard bird which kept cheeping out a monotonous - and very irritating - single note. There was no variation, no song, just a single note, repeated at two second intervals for three-quarters of an hour. Clearly, every other bird hated him as much as me, because none of them replied. But that didn't deter him. Oh no. The little bastard just kept right on doing it!

To say that I was annoyed would be an understatement. Normally, if I wake up before six in the morning, I just look at the clock, think to myself that there's at least another hour to go before I'm even going to think about getting up, turn over and go back to sleep. But this morning, I couldn't. That bloody cheeping got under my skin and inside my skull - like a car alarm going off, you can't concentrate on anything other than the noise until it stops. And how I longed for it to stop - I lay there in bed imagining the feathery little bastard being torn asunder by a cat, or having its scrawny neck rung by me. It still wouldn't stop. By just after six, I was on the verge of madness. Deciding that drastic action was needed, I loaded my air rifle and wandered out into the back garden to see if I could get the airborne shitting machine in my sights. Now, I should make clear here that when I say air rifle, what I'm actually talking about is a Daisy BB rifle shaped like a Winchester, of many years vintage. The chances of hitting anything smaller than a tin can at a range greater than the length of my (very small) garden, are minimal - which gives you some idea of my desperation.

So there I was, just after six, during a break in the rain, standing, pyjama-clad, in my back garden, brandishing what, to any casual observer, would appear to be a cowboy rifle. Failing to actually see my feathered tormenter anywhere, I desperately loosed off a couple of shots in the general direction of his 'singing'. Whilst I don't think that I actually hit anything (certainly there haven't been any local press reports of mad sniper attacks in my area today), the noise must have scared him off as the cheeping abruptly stopped. With a feeling of relief, I was able to hang up my gun and return to bed! However, the whole incident has had a knock on effect - thanks to the sleep I lost, I've been irritable all day and now feel exhausted. It is all that bloody bird's fault! I really don't know why anybody encourages the damn things. From now on, its war. If I see any bird tables round here, I'm going to burn them down under cover of darkness. It is also clear that the local cats need to start doing their jobs properly - I want to see more half-dismembered bird corpses littering the gardens on my street! Deterrent - that is the only thing which the little bastards will understand!


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Diet, Fat Bastards, Diet!

I'm sorry, I just can't leave this fat business alone. I've been thinking some more about it, and it occurs to me that if the government is really serious about tackling the obesity problem, it should start by stigmatising fatness. I mean, they seem to think that it works with smoking - lighting up in public these days seems to be considered a capital offence. Indeed, it appears that it is now considered more socially acceptable to fart audibly and ferociously in a crowded lift, than it is to light a cigarette there. So successful has the stigmatisation of smoking been, they've also tried the same trick with car users (ownership of anything with an engine in excess of 1.4 litres gets you stoned in the street for destroying the ozone layer these days) and public drunkenness (although they seem happy to continue to allow the sale of alcohol through pubs, off licences, supermarkets and even garages). And then there's so-called 'anti-social behaviour' (which covers anything middle-England sees the working classes doing and decides it doesn't like), and the rise of the Anti-Social Behaviour Order, which made it illegal for some people to knock on doors or feed pigeons, for instance.

Getting back to the fatties - as trying to identify and address the root causes of social problems now seems to be out of fashion, we really should be making these bastards feel ashamed of being grossly overweight. It should become legal to shout "fatty, fatty, fatty" and make pig noises at any overweight people seen on the street. Moreover, I think it should be made an offence to to be seen unwrapping a chocolate bar in a public place, let alone eating it. Sales of confectionery should be restricted to those under ten stone, with every shop selling sweets equipped with sets of scales which shopkeepers are legally required to weigh customers on. Potatoes should be become Class A drugs, available only to addicts on prescription from a doctor. Sugar sales should likewise be restricted, with the overweight prescribed sweeteners instead and/or rationed to one bag of sugar a month. The main risk, of course, is that some activities we now accept as normal could become criminalised. Potato pushers would start lurking outside schools. 'Speakeasys' illegally selling chips would spring up in every big city and sugar snorting would undoubtedly become the new trendy social activity for the middle classes.

In fact, I think the government should start this process within its own ranks. That John Prescott - he should be kicked out of office, forced to run, naked, a gauntlet of female civil servants, all armed with wet towels to flick at his gargantuan arse. Come to think of it, that Gordon Brown, he's a bit on the podgy side - send him to a health farm, the fat git.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Fat Chance!

Apparently the latest strategy to be deployed by the government in the war against childhood obesity is to offer morbidly obese children fat-removing operations on the NHS. Several thoughts sprang into my mind when I heard about this. Foremost amongst them was: isn't this just a licence for kids to stuff themselves full of every fatty food imaginable? I mean, if you thought that, up to the age of sixteen, you'd have all your excess fat cut away free of charge, would you have bothered eating healthily or exercising? Of course not - every time you got morbidly obese again, it would simpy be a quick trip to your GP to say "hey Doc, I need some blubber sucked away, book me in for next week. Oh, and make out sure I'm on a full-sugar Coke drip when I come round." The strain this would place on the Health Service would undoubtedly prove catastrophic! The other thought which struck me was: what will they do with all that excess fat they remove - will we end up with blubber mountains, like those EU butter mountains and wine lakes we always used to hear about (but, disappointingly, never see)? Perhaps they could ship it to the Third World for starving Africans to clog up their arteries - let's face it, fat choked arteries and high levels of heart disease have to be the ultimate symbol of a successful consumer society.

Of course, this plan also raises the question of whether it is morally right to go around stealing these fat kids blubber. They might enjoy being fat - after all, we're always being told how unhealthy it is to be as thin Victoria Beckham. Perhaps they're just gluttons. Besides, I like obese people. They make me feel thin and healthy. Trust me, there's no greater boost to a man slipping into middle-aged spread than standing at the bar between two gross wobble-bottoms. Suddenly you're convinced that you'll be beating ther birds off with a stick, your physique is so manly... Apart from that, the grossly overweight are hugely entertaining. I just love it when I come round a corner to find one crossing the road. I always put my foot down and make them run the last few yards! It is great watching them huff, puff and wobble their way to safety! It is a toss up as to whether your car or a heart attack will kill them first! The only thing which worries me is how much damage one of them might do if I actually hit them. I remember that a young deer which ran in front of my car once did a couple of thousand quids worth of damage. The average obese wobbler is far bulkier than a deer. Hell, I'm insured!

OK, Iknow, I'm a cruel bastard! But a man has to entertain himself some way!