Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hijab Halloween

Apparently the best-selling Halloween costume this year was the Islamic 'Full Hijab', featuring a face veil. It easily outsold traditional favourites like Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman and that old stand-by, the Abu Hamza mask and novelty hook-hand. "It shouldn't really come as surprise," opines Professor Bob Mincer of the Streatham Institute of Remedial Studies. "Those crazy Islamic bastards are the biggest bogeymen around these days! Hell, If I opened my door on Halloween to find a bunch of menacing-looking veiled figures clad from head to foot in black, I'd be shitting myself!" Industry insiders gleefully admit that the continuing 'War on Terror' and the consequent demonisation of Muslims has boosted sales. "Donald Rumsfield alone is better value than a multi-million dollar ad campaign", chortles one anonymous source. Inevitably, Muslim leaders have reacted angrily, offended by the association of Islam with both supernatural evil and a pagan festival. "As if it isn't bad enough the police and press scaring everybody into believing that we're out to blow them up, now they'll think we're out top drink their unclean infidel blood as well!" says an indignant Abdul Kakker Bousah, Imam of the Watford Gap Mosque.

Whilst the British tabloid press have dismissed Muslim protests at the costumes, claiming that they are simply "a bit of harmless fun", a darker side to the controversy has begun to emerge. "There have been reports that some Hijab-clad 'Trick or Treaters' have been taking the 'trick' part beyond just throwing eggs at houses," claims Dave Pokey, Assistant Editor of the Daily Tits. "Apparently, after some bloke in Hammersmith told a bunch of them to piss off, one of the little bastards blew himself up on the doorstep!" Pokey is vague as to the source of this story, saying that he thinks he heard from "some guy on the Circle Line", and concedes that the youth might only have stuck a lighted firework through his victim's letterbox. Nevertheless, he has already prepared a front page story for tomorrow's early edition of the paper condemning Islamic suicide 'trick or treaters'. "We've been saying for years that 'trick or treat' was simply a licence for anti-social behaviour and should be banned," he enthuses. "Not only will this give new impetus to our campaign, but it demonises young people, an evil pagan festival and Muslims, all in one story!"

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Voodoo? You Do...

Picking up where we left off a couple of posts ago, I'd like to return, briefly, to this whole business of spirits, the occult and so on. Now, having ridiculed the idea that my increasingly scuzzy local pub might be full of ghosts, (although, if it turned out that it was built over the entrance to Hell, that would at least explain some of the weirdoes, scumbags and twats who seem to make up most of the customers these days), I'm now beginning to doubt the wisdom of having taken the piss out of the local Spiritualist church so thoroughly. Shortly after writing that post, I discovered a dead pigeon on my doorstep. Now, once again, I do tend toward the rational explanation that it died of a broken neck after being blown into the front of my house by some high winds we'd experienced the night before. However, I can't discount the possibility that it has been left there as some kind of occult warning. Don't Voodoo priests do something similar to mark out their next sacrificial victim? OK, I know that usually they only send a single feather dipped in blood, not the whole bloody bird, but maybe this is a very stern warning.

At this point, I should perhaps admit that my entire knowledge of Voodoo comes from two sources: the film version of Live and Let Die and 1966 paperback pulp horror novel entitled Dark Ways to Death. Actually, this latter publication, with its naughty Voodoo priests holding ceremonies in disused London underground tunnels, is a mine of information. Not only did I learn about that business with the feathers, but I also discovered that the Voodoo God Dambalaweda sometimes manifests himself as a feathered serpent and that during the 1960s the entire Afro-Caribbean staff of the London Underground were apparently attending human sacrifices in a tunnel just off the Piccadilly line. It also features a highly Freudian climax involving a bizarre collision of mythologies. All-in-all, it's a very entertaining read, incredibly fast-paced, full of incident in the best pulp fashion and, for a piece of 1960s British pulp fiction dealing with non-white immigrants, not that racist. Check it out , copies are fairly easy to pick up on AbeBooks and eBay.

Getting back to the point, should I expect to hear the beat of those Voodoo drums? Perhaps that is what they do in the Spiritualist church. I'll have to check with my friend (the one who reckons the Spiritualist church's minister looks like a sex offender), if she isn't too busy spying on perverts in the local park. Anyway, there is another explanation for the dead pigeon - it could an offering left by a local cat. They sometimes do that when they're trying to ingratiate themselves. Having said that, most domestic cats wouldn't tackle anything as big as a pigeon. Then again, maybe it was a Voodoo cat. Perhaps it brought the pigeon down by sticking needles into a pigeon effigy (significantly, the body did appear unmarked - cats usually chew them up a bit). Could it be that I'm being stalked by a Voodoo cat cult? Could the pigeon be a warning? They'll start making an effigy of me and sticking pins in it if I don't start leaving sacrificial offerings in the form of tins of tuna fish or saucers of milk outside my back door? Come to think of it, I have had that persistent twinge of pain my shoulder since last week...


Sleaze Watch

I've often thought of instituting 'Sleaze Watch' as a regular feature either here or on the main site, chronicling where on the web The Sleaze has been mentioned, and what's being said. However, I just can't be arsed. Most of the time it would just consist of listings of dullsville message boards where some dolt has posted a link to a story (usually struggling under the misapprehension that it is true), and various other dolts spend several pages discussing it (and usually completely missing the point of the story), before either someone points out it isn't true, or they just get bored and move on to the next five minute wonder.

I've been moved to make this post simply because at least one post concerning one of my stories on one of these boards is, I feel, highly revealing of the mentality of the kind of people I spend so long taking the piss out of: conspiracy theorists. The story in question is I Buried Paul, my parody of the whole "Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced with a double" cobblers, from way back in August. Now, whilst this has been a pretty popular story, it has only now been picked up by the "Paul is Dead" parade, and I found it being discussed here. Now, most of the posters on this 'Nothing is Real' board seem to grasp that it is a parody, and don't seem too offended. Indeed, most them seem to enjoy it. Great. That's fine by me. Then we get to reply number 9 ("number nine", now could that be significant?). This fella clearly isn't amused:

"One of its biggest problems is simple lack of funniness/overload of boredom for the reader. Not well-written, and definitely "borrowing" information from the forums, unknown, of course to 99% of its readers."

Now, whether the piece is funny or well-written is a matter of opinion. (Mind you, in my opinion, someone who actually believes the whole "Paul is Dead" thesis is clearly devoid of any critical faculties). What fascinates me is the assumption that people outside of their little group simply wouldn't understand the story! This really does reinforce what I said in an earlier post about conspiracy theorists - they like to believe that they are somehow party to arcane knowledge, that they are the keepers of the flame. The great unwashed couldn't possibly understand this mystery! What arrogance! The fact is that "Paul is Dead" is one of the most widely known contemporary urban legends. Certainly every Beatles fan has heard at least one variation on it! I think the story's popularity bears this out. Of course, the poster's opinion might have been different had the piece been written by one of the cognoscenti (like themselves - just look at the number of posts they've made: a real hardcore 'Paul is Dead' nutter), rather than by some infidel like me.

As for the charge of 'borrowing' information from the forums - for what it is worth, I'd never even heard of the 'Nothing is Real' forum before I noticed the traffic originating from there amongst my stats. The story was mainly inspired, as I've acknowledged before in Sleaze Diary, by the barking mad '60 If' forum and its associated site and documentation. Most of the actual research for the story came from the excellent Turn Me On, Dead Man site. If you really want a thorough debunking of the whole 'Paul is Dead' madness, then this is the place to go!


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween at The Sleaze - An Update

So, what's new on The Sleaze? Well, another somewhat delayed story finally made its debut - The Monster Hunters, the last of this month's trilogy of vaguely supernatural/paranormal themed stories in celebration of Halloween. You know, after the problems this and Scared Stiff gave me, I'm giving serious thought to not continuing this seasonal tradition! Whilst knowing sometime in advance what I wanted their subject matters to be, in both cases I really struggled to find a suitable angle for these stories. Even when I'd found it, they both stubbornly refused to fit together in a satisfactory form! This is one of the most irritating problems a writer can have - all the material is present and correct, but the shape just isn't right! After much (savage) editing, both were finally knocked into shapes I found reasonably acceptable.

Anyway, the other development is that I've finally got a horror-themed version of the main page banner up in time for Halloween. I haven't decided yet how long it will run for - I might take it down on 1 November, or I could decide to be lazy and leave it until the end of next week (I've noticed that most of the main TV channels are running horror films in their late-night slots for the whole week). Well, that's the update over for now - I've got to start working on the next story!


Friday, October 27, 2006

High Spirits

Apparently the Spiritualists were in the lounge bar of my local pub the other night (this is the once great, now really crap local, not the pub I'm building in my front room). Unfortunately, I missed them, as, from what I was told of their visit, they were on good form, ripe for a piss-taking. According to these two Spiritualists, there was a ghost present which didn't like women standing at the bar (mind you, this could simply have been a subtle hint that they expected table service). Frankly, I'm surprised that we don't see more of this lot in the pub, as the local Spiritualist Church is only a few yards down the road. Now, there's a funny thing: have you ever noticed how Spiritualist Churches inevitably seem to be corrugated tin shacks? Every one I've ever seen has fallen into this category. Oh, and they're usually painted green.

I've often wondered if the manner of their construction is to help them attract the spirits - maybe all that corrugated tin acts as some kind of weird ectoplasmic receiver. I must confess that I haven't really got much idea as to what actually goes on in these 'churches', never having been inside one. Perhaps inside they're all gleaming chrome and modern technology, but I doubt it. Musty, draughty and cobwebbed is my guess. As for what passes for worship, well, I can only suppose they all sit round in a circle, with a medium asking "Is there anybody there?" and producing ectoplasm. Actually, I once had the chance to attend a 'service', 'seance' or whatever they call it there, but cried off. My friend who did go (she isn't a spiritualist, but she was going, with her mother, to support a friend who was going there, and after that it all becomes too complicated to explain), has always been somewhat vague as to what actually did go on (this might have something to do with the several pints she'd drunk earlier in the aforementioned pub). She did, however, tell me that the 'Minister' looked like a sex offender. Now, I know that now you're wondering "how the hell would his friend know what a sex offender looked like?", which is a fair question. But trust me on this, there are very good work-related reasons as to how she might be able to spot one. It really isn't because she hangs around dodgy public parks waiting to be propositioned by weird men. Honestly. Anyway, she did also say that her friend claimed to have been 'contacted' by the spirit of a recently deceased loved one. By text message, I think.

Before this post peters out, I think I should also point out that this friend isn't the same one as in the previous post. It's just that I seem to be a magnet for extremely strange women. In this case, completely certifiable women.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Today a friend told me that she was getting married this time next year. Apparently, she was telling me this now, so that I had sufficient time to find an excuse not to attend. You see, she's known me long enough to realise that I really do hate and loathe such social occasions with a vengeance. I can't really say why exactly I detest weddings so much - maybe it is all the fake bonhomie, perhaps it is the tedium of all the tired old rituals everyone has to go through, or it might simply be that I increasingly believe the institution of marriage to be utterly irrelevant. I have no doubt that the fact that I'm a happily single man has a lot to do with it - there's some underlying current at weddings that seems to be trying to tell the likes of me that I'm a sad lonely bastard because I'm not attached. Maybe that's it - the sheer smugness of the whole business. But in large part it all comes down to the fact that I hate all such large, organised, social gatherings.

At the end of the day, I tend to agree with my late father who once told me that he preferred funerals to weddings because "at least at funerals you don't have to pretend to be happy", (or buy presents, as my friend pointed out). Perhaps the only bit of wisdom he ever imparted to me that I truly took to heart. Family weddings are probably the worst - all those relatives you've been avoiding for decades, hoping that they'd die, not to mention all those new in-laws you'd ordinarily cross the street to avoid. I'm afraid that as I get older, I find that I have less and less interest in the majority of other people. Sadly, they increasingly seem to think that I should find their lives fascinating and consequently spend what seem like hours regaling me with details of them at this sort of occasion. That isn't to say that I haven't had some enjoyable experiences at weddings. A few years ago a friend of mine got married in Colchester (not a good start, I'll concede), and his father-in-law financed a genuinely free bar, which myself and another friend proceeded to drink dry. What astounded was that even as we sat at our table surrounded by pint glasses, people kept trying to get us to dance! "For God's sake woman, can't you see we're drinking?" became our refrain of the night.

Anyway, getting to the point, having been given this opportunity to come up with a good excuse, I wouldn't want to disappoint. So, gentle reader(s), I turn to you for inspiration - what are your suggestions for a truly innovative, yet cast iron, excuse for not attending a friend's wedding? Remember, we've got a year to come up with a good one! Frankly, though, I don't know why she simply doesn't do what most of my other friends do - just casually drop the fact she'd got married into conversation a few months after the event. Honestly, I really wouldn't be offended!

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Why is This Service So Shit?

How ironic, just as I'm attempting to post this comment questioning why Blogger is so shit, my connection to said service fails, leaving me unable to post! Of course, this outage is just due to 'routine maintenance' and was announced in advance. Problem was that the time Blogger gave for this 'scheduled outage' was formatted as 'PDT'. Guess what guys? Many of your users aren't on the West Coast of the USA. Personally, I'm still on BST, so I haven't a fucking clue what "2pm PDT" means in real time. Mind you, I would also question exactly why a scheduled outage is required today when the service was down for a large part of yesterday.? Haven't our blogs been inaccessible for long enough? As usual, yesterday's problems passed without, comment, explanation or apology from Blogger. I wasted a large proportion of my evening attempting to post .

Come on guys, this really isn't acceptable, now is it? Particularly in view of the fact that Blogger is currently owned by Google. What is the point of purchasing a popular service like Blogger, then running it into the ground through an apparent lack of resources and a complete indifference toward your customers? If the Google search engine was inaccessible to users for long periods, that would be considered completely unacceptable, wouldn't it? You guys wouldn't tolerate it, would you? Obviously not. So why the fuck do you persist in treating Blogger users in this way?

The situation is getting so bad that I'm actively looking into alternate ways of hosting and maintaining Sleaze Diary. Obviously, I don't want to lose the existing posts and archive if at all possible. But, if push comes to shove, I'll simply start afresh. In the meantime Blogger guys, I'm not going to be deterred from publishing this post. Trust me, I can wait out this latest little tantrum on your part! If necessary I'll simply copy this text and save it on my hard drive, and post it when you've decided to fulfill your obligations to your customers by actually functioning! Joking aside, this is a serious issue. I really don't think that it is unreasonable for users to expect to be able to maintain their blogs on a regular basis, and for those blogs to be accessible to visitors on demand - right now you are making both damn near impossible.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Last Samurai, Lost Perspective

I finally got around to watching The Last Samurai the other day. It left me feeling somewhat confused. Now, I'm not saying that it wasn't an entertaining and technically well-made film. Nor I am saying that Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, et al didn't give good performances. Indeed, I'm not even going to be critical of any historical inaccuracies or the fact that it fictionalizes real events so as to give a Westerner the central role in a significant phase of Japanese history. No, what confused me was the message I assumed that I was meant to be taking from the film: that the Samurai system with its codes of honour and loyalty, was somehow preferable to the subsequent industrialisation and modernisation of Japan. It seemed pretty clear to me that I was meant to mourn the passing of the Samurai and all they represented, whilst booing and hissing those nasty industrialists and politicians who had persuaded the Emperor to drag Japan into the modern age.

My problem with this is simple - the Samurai were ultimately oppressors of the lower classes in Japan. It was their martial skills which enforced and maintained a feudal system, where peasants were effectively indentured to their masters. Whilst I'm no great fan of unfettered capitalism, the fact is that at least the 'modernisation' of Japan in the late Nineteenth Century heralded an end to this system. The lower classes at last had the opportunity to sell their labour freely in exchange for wages - a huge step forward from serfdom. Now, I know I'm not an expert on Japanese culture and history and that I'm greatly simplifying all this, but the bottom line is that nowadays we have a highly romanticised view of the Samurai (much as we have of medieval knights), which obscures their true historical role . Indeed, just like those knights of old and their code of chivalry, the Samurai code of honour only applied to their own sort and the aristocracy. It was primarily designed to prevent too many of the ruling elite from being killed or disabled - there had to be enough of them to keep the peasants down! Let's not forget, one of those 'anti-Samurai' measures the Emperor introduced in the 1870s was revoking their right to cut off the head of any peasant who didn't show a Samurai sufficient respect!

Finally, let's not forget that those Japanese soldiers mowing down hordes of Samurai with cannon, rifles and Gatling guns during the film's climactic battle were themselves former peasants, finally given an alternative to lifelong servitude to a feudal lord by the new Japan. In reality, I doubt very much that any of them shed any tears for those dead Samurai. They'd finally got the better of their former oppressors. Like I said, nice film, but very confused politics!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Cruel and Unusual...

Sometimes the temptation is too great, and I just can't help myself from commenting on news stories that I know I shouldn't. Now normally I wouldn't stoop so low as to try and get a cheap laugh out of someone's marital distress, but the latest 'revelations' in the McCartney divorce are just begging for comment. I mean, when Heather McCartney allegedly accuses Sir Paul of subjecting her to cruelty and abuse, you can't help but add 'by forcing her to listen to his entire oevre as a solo artist'. That alone should be grounds for divorce, surely?

Then there's this story about the teenage girl bundled into a white van in Wrexham and subjected to a 'terrifying ordeal', before being released a hundred miles from her home. Well of course she endured a 'terrifying ordeal' - she was being subjected to the driving habits of White Van Man. Frankly I'd be crapping myself if I'd been forced to spend an entire weekend trapped in a white Transit van as its demented driver cut up other motorists, pulled onto roads without indicating, flaunted the speed limit and regularly jumped red lights whilst talking on his mobile phone. I should imagine that a teenage girl would be completely freaked out. The poor kid will probably have a fit every time she sees a van from now onwards, and will most likely never be able to get behind the wheel. I hope that when they catch this bastard they throw away the key. Just to be on the safe side, why not lock up every white van driver, just to be sure we've got the right man?

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Shop Your Students and Win a Mini...

So, the government doesn't really want lecturers to 'spy' on their students, just be alert to any signs that some might be drifting toward 'extremism'. Pretty much the same thing, if you ask me. But what does this remind you of? Where else were those with 'dissenting' views at risk of being reported to the authorities? Yes, indeed - it was in those old favourites Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, (it probably still goes on in schools and colleges in China and North Korea). Apart from the deleterious effect this sort of thing is likely to have in the classroom, (anybody who has ever taught teenagers, in particular, will know how bloody difficult it can be to get any of the little buggers to say anything in class - imagine what it would be like if they think that any 'unconventional' opinions they express are going to be reported back to 'the authorities'?), there remains the question of whether this would serve any purpose in security terms, at all. I seem to remember that when a student, I expressed some pretty extreme political opinions. Everybody does - it is part of being young. I'd hate to think that exercising my right to youthful protest had, in any way, 'blacklisted' me, or got me marked down as a 'security risk', 'undesirable' or 'terrorist'.

Still, I suppose we should be thankful that the 'moderates' are apparently back in control of the cabinet. Former Home Secretary David Blunkett's diaries are proving to be disturbing reading, revealing him to be even more reactionary, immoral and just plain crazy than I'd ever suspected. Amongst the most recent revelations is the fact that, during the last Gulf War, he'd actually urged Tony Blair to bomb the Al Jazeera transmitter in Baghdad, regardless of the fact that he knew it would have been just slightly illegal. (still, I suppose if you've already participated in an illegal invasion of a sovereign state, a little thing like attacking the independent press is a minor point). That, combined with the claims of the former Director General of the Prison Service that Blunkett had 'screamed at him' to machine gun rioting (but unarmed) prisoners, just reinforces my long-standing opinion that his blindness is clearly not just physical, but obviously moral, too.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Satire: A Many Splendoured Thing?

When is satire not satire? Or rather, can satire be broken down into subtypes according to subject? The reason I'm posing this question is that there seems to be some perception, both in the online satire world and the wider media, that 'celebrity satire' (I presume that by this is meant satire which focuses on celebrities, rather than satire by celebrities), is somehow different than 'political satire', and, according to no less a publication than the New York Times, is more difficult to write. Indeed, an article there recently stated that: "Addressing life-or-death stakes, political satire is often driven by anger and partisanship. Celebrity culture is more elusive. Its genuine appeal is that it offers the escapism of a demented fairy tale, playing to the public’s envy of wealth, beauty and fame, as well as to its schadenfreude about sham marriages, drug problems and other common blights of celebrity life."

Obviously, the first response to such assertions is that there is no such thing as 'celebrity satire'. Or 'poltical satire', for that matter. There is simply satire - the techniques remain the same, only the targets differ. Before enlarging on this argument, it would, perhaps, be instructive to restate what 'satire' actually is: "the act of attacking any wickedness, folly or abuse by mockery, sarcasm etc...that which reveals the faults, pretensions etc of a person as ridiculous." (Penguin English Dictionary). Now, I'd say that the latter part of that definition, in particular, pretty much sums up what so-called 'celebrity satire' does. What better target for 'mockery, sarcasm' is there than the "escapism of a demented fairy tale" which constitutes celebrity culture? Which individuals are more deserving of having their "faults, pretensions etc" revealed as ridiculous than celebrities, with their "sham marriages, drug problems and other blights"? And isn't the "public's envy of wealth, beauty and fame" equally deserving of being satirised? So, I'm really not sure why anyone should think that writing satire about celebrities is any more difficult than writing it about politicians.

In fact, I'd go further, and argue that there is actually no difference whatsoever in satirising celebrities and politicians, for the simple reason that celebrities are political. The fact that 'celebrities' appear to have replaced religious, artistic or even political figures as aspirational role models for modern society, is deeply political. The fact is that these 'celebrities' are used to sell, via the media, a whole (primarily consumerist) lifestyle to the masses. They are also conveniently used to distract attention from unsavoury political developments when the need arises. Let's face it, with the popular media (here in the UK, at least) currently obsessed with trivia in the form of celebrity gossip, discussion of the real issues, such as social deprivation, the war on terror, the erosion of our civil rights, for instance, are being increasingly marginalised. Consequently, outside of the highbrow broadsheets, proper debate of such issues is non-existent. If Marx was alive today, I'm sure he'd be telling us that celebrity gossip was the opiate of the masses.

But these celebrities are political in more overt ways: we seem to have reached a stage where no issue is taken seriously unless it has been endorsed by some has-been pop singer or fading actor. Hell, Africa didn't even exist until Bob Geldolf told us they have famines there! But seriously, this extends increasingly to political campaigns and even endorsement of political candidates (or in the case of Governor Schwarzenegger, the celebrity is the candidate). While I'm about it, let's not forget that most of these celebrities are effectively media constructs, their images manipulated not just to sell products, but to influence opinions. I don't know about the US, but here in the UK the media, particularly the print media, are often overtly political, owned by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, who shamelessly use their outlets to try and influence both politicians and public opinion, in order to create an environment more favourable to them.

So, and I can only speak for myself here, when I satirise celebrities and their whole sub-culture, I am satirising politics. The two are inextricably linked.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Whatever Happened to...Bird Flu?

It must have been six months since we last heard about bird flu. One minute it was going to kill us all horribly, the next it had vanished as completely as a TV talent show winner's career. I can't believe that there have been absolutely no cases of bird flu anywhere in the world for six months. I mean, the press had led me to believe that this was the most virulent disease since the Black Death and was rapidly spreading across Europe. Of course, that's probably the problem - it hasn't actually spread to Europe. Remember when every dead duck someone discovered was declared a biohazard and whisked off to secret government laboratories for analysis? Well, as I don't recall the press bothering to tell us what the results of these tests were, I can only assume they were negative. Once the immediate threat seems to have receded, the press just aren't interested.

Let's face it, for all we know people could be dying from bird flu in their thousands out in Asia, but the British press don't give a toss about them so are highly unlikely to report it. It's no coincidence that press interest in the story seemed to wane once it was established that the dead swan found in the UK actually hadn't died of the most deadly strain of bird flu. With no epidemic to hand, there was no panic to sell papers with, so they moved onto the next scare story. Right now the new threat is North Korea and its alleged nuclear test. Not only has this story got all the papers busy trying to work out how close to Buckingham Palace a North Korean missile could get a nuclear warhead, but it has even pushed the 'imminent' nuclear threat of Iran off of the front pages. Still, winter is coming on, so if a duck sneezes in the next couple of months, I daresay bird flu will make a comeback - perhaps in the shape of infected waterfowl delivered by No Dong missile...

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At Long Last...

Finally! I at last managed to get a new story written and posted to the main site (Scared Stiff). This is the one I mentioned a few posts back which was meant to be a satire of spiritualists and mediums. Well, it's almost about that! As usual,it went off at something of tangent. Indeed, it went through several transformations. For a long time it was going to be a parody of those Most Haunted type ghost-hunting TV programmes, focusing on a TV ghost-hunting team's investigations into a supposedly haunted house. However, I kept feeling that it was too much like Pornogeist from a couple of years ago. In the event, the TV series background remained, but with the focus shifting to one particular team member and his 'special powers'. Whilst a second character does get a look-in toward the end, a third - a defrocked Catholic priest who advocates beating the sin out of those possessed by evil (such as homosexuals), with a large wooden cross - was written out. These latter two - and maybe the haunted house - might well feature in a future story.

The reasons for this story taking so long to write and post are many and varied. Suffice to say that I've endured a pretty shitty fortnight both at work and at home, with a succession of minor disasters constantly interrupting my attempts to write. These included my bloody printer dying on me at the most inconvenient time, and the waste pipe becoming detatched from my kitchen sink. Still, these things are sent to try us. The main thing is that the story is finally complete and has been published. All I have to do now is start writing the next one...


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Monkey Business

Monkeys. Bastards. I know, I know, we're all meant to think that they're really cute, dressed in their little sailor suits collecting money in tin mugs for organ grinders. But the fact is, I find them bloody irritating. They come off as smug little smart-arsed bastards. Not only that, far from exhibiting higher intelligence, they seem to spend inordinate amounts of time masturbating, or urinating and/or crapping on people from great heights. They're just a bunch of pint-sized bullies who get away with it by deploying their cute "almost human" behaviour at key moments. Look at those monkeys in India that used to live in the trees next to a government building. Apparently they used regularly break into the building, wrecking offices and terrorising the occupants. Not only that, they also attacked people outside of the building. Eventually they had to train other monkeys to chase the first lot off. Probably the new lot wil now take up residence and start a reign of simian terror. Personally, I would have shot the little bastards. There they would have been, up in their trees looking smug, thinking they were safe and planning their next atrocity when BLAM!, they're picked off with a sniper rifle. Bastards.

Another reason I hate those simian bastards is that they'll steal anything that isn't nailed down. I mean, if, say, you were working on your car and there were monkeys living in a nearby tree, well, before youknew it the little bastards would have made off with your socket set. Elephants, on the other hand, have never been noted as a threat to toolkits. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind the great apes, Gorillas and Orang-Utangs, its those bastard monkeys I can't stand. Chimps - they're pretty suspect too, but I'm wiling to give them the benefit of the doubt. Baboons - now there's another bunch I don't trust - flaunting their big red (or blue) arses as if simply possessing colourful buttocks is, in itself, something clever - and stripping your car of various vital components when you drive through their enclosure in the Safari Park. Actually, I always wanted to somehow trap one of those blue-bummed bastards on the car and then drive into the Lions enclosure - see how clever they were then! Proboscis monkeys - who the hell do they think they are with those big conks, eh - Cyrano de bloody Bergerac? Big-nosed bastards


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Edge of Satire

You know, I'm frequently surprised at the number of other online satire editors or writers who express a desire to 'break out' of their web 'ghetto' and have their work published in more 'legitimate' forms of media such as TV or newspapers. It seems that our ranks are full of aspiring (or perhaps failed?) comedy script writers, columnists and stand ups. It is as if publishing online is somehow second best. Personally, I don't think it is. To be frank, this is the cutting edge - here on the web we really do publish without fear or favour! That's the beauty of the web. It is the only part of modern media where individuals can reach a mass audience unfettered by the corporate concerns and constraints which limit the output of the conventional media. Our start-up costs are negligible, by and large we don't have to worry about ratings, censorship or the risk of offending sponsors. We are still pretty much self-regulated, and -uniquely - we're working in a medium where (via search engines, links, word of mouth, etc) the audience tends to find us. Trust me, this is where it is at! I wouldn't want to be plying my trade anywhere else.

I can see you still doubt me! Well look, we're truly underground publishing. I really admire the counter-culture magazines of the late 1960s and 1970s (you know, Oz, IT, and all that), they really pushed back the boundaries of what it was acceptable to discuss and provided a forum for alternative viewpoints. That is precisely what we should be striving for here on the web. Of course, we have a huge advantage over those publications - we can reach a far, far wider audience. Consequently, I've strenuously avoided The Sleaze becoming too 'mainstream' (my main concession is membership of Humorfeed) - I don't carry advertising, I don't seek 'validation' by trying to get picked up by the 'legitimate' media and I don't enter competitions and the like. The day I become 'mainstream' is the day I start worrying about the opinions of media commentators, sponsors and the like - that's the day I'll lose my edge! I set out to create an underground site with a cult following. I'm happy to say I've succeeded!


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Save The Moustache

I've decided - it is time we straight guys reclaimed the moustache. For too long possession of fancy upper-lip adornment has become closely identified with homosexuality. With full beards becoming increasingly identified with crazy extremists, tramps and ZZ Top, this has led to the insidious rise of the goatee and its variations as the favoured facial hair fro straight men. I don't know about you, but I've always associated the goatee as being worn primarily by devilish villains in 1960s TV series and smooth-talking sex perverts in badly-dubbed erotic thrillers from the continent. It really is no fit thing for any self-respecting gentleman to be wearing on his face. Besides, the amount of time it must take to keep the bloody things neatly trimmed speaks volumes of the vanity, nay, narcissism, of the wearers. By contrast, a good honest 'tache is commendably low-maintenance, generally requiring only a weekly trim with a set of nail scissors to keep it in shape.

Now, before going any further, I'd like to make it clear that this campaign is in no way homophobic. So, the gay-bashers can stop reading here. Indeed, I have nothing against gay men sporting moustaches. My problem is the way in which, in certain circles, the moustache has simply become shorthand for 'gay'. You know what I mean - those closet homophobes in the pub who all nudge eachother and snigger 'Homo' as soon as a moustachioed man enters the bar. Clearly, these types are insecure in their own masculinity and feel intimidated by the presence of such proudly worn facial hair and the maturity and confidence it implies. In fact, rather than reclaim the 'tache for straight men, I simply want to return it to its proper place as a symbol of masculinity - whether worn by a straight man or a gay guy. I want to stamp out this unthinking sterotyping which says gay men always have droopy moustaches (along with the frilly shirts and black leather caps).

But just how did we arrive at this state of affairs where the moustache is associated not just with homosexuality, but with campness as well? I mean, just go back to the 1970s when Hollywood's most macho stars all sported moustaches. Only a few weeks ago I spent a highly pleasurable afternoon re-watching Smokey and the Bandit. Burt Reynolds in cowboy boots and Stetson, sporting a fine moustache and roaring around in a 1977 6.6 litre Trans Am, whilst being pursued by an overweight middle-aged man with a small moustache dressed as a sheriff - what could be more masculine than that? Clearly a man entirely secure in his sexuality. If we go back further, what do we find? The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, with Errol Flynn in tights and pencil moustache hanging out in Sherwood Forest with his band of Merry Men. Again, nothing in the slightest bit camp in any of that. Frankly, I blame Freddy Mercury - he spent most of the 1980s wearing a magnificent moustache, but flouncing around in dresses. Mark my words, that's where the rot set in!


Monday, October 09, 2006

Some TV Dude's Got Issues...

He's also got a researcher who can't tell fact from fiction. Just when I thought the message had got through to everyone in independent-TV production company land, along comes another e-mail requesting contact details for a fictional character in The Sleaze. This time the story concerned is Diary of a Stalker. As usual, the story is patently fiction, surely no reasonable person could mistake it for anything else? Once again, I present the text of said e-mail, both for your delectation and delight, and as a dire warning to other such correspondents:


I am working for Xxxxxx Xxxxxxx on 'Xxxxxxx Xxxxx'x Xxx Xxxxxx'. We are a new weekly show on XX and each week we discuss a different issue with a celebrity guest, specially invited guests and studio audience.Next week on October 11th we are discussing celebrity, and within that the good and bad things associated with being a celebrity - one of the elements we will be looking at is stalking and I read an article you had on your site where Cynthia Flitter was featured. I was hoping to get in contact with her and hoped you may be able to help? If you would like to come on the show and share your views on the topic too, you would also be welcome, We record at XXX xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx and you would need to be at the studios for 3.30pm. I will of course arrange for a car to and from the studios Please let me know if you require any further information,

Look forward to hearing from you,


As usual, the names of the author, programme and TV company have been omitted to save embarrassment (and avoid potential legal problems. However, this post's title gives a pretty big clue for UK readers as to the identity of the programme. It's probably the biggest TV show who've mistakenly contacted us yet. So, I suppose I should really be flattered. Needless to say, I'm not. I'm just depressed by the continued lack of critical faculties amongst TV researchers.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Was a Teenage Pope

"Thank you for seeing me, Mr Spielberg. I know you didn't really go for my last pitch - you remember: 'Highway of the Driving Dead', where Zombies are driving around London's M25 orbital motorway, picking up hitch hikers at motorway services and eating them. But I've got this really great new idea for a movie! Trust me it is a surefire winner : 'I Was a Teenage Pope'!"

"Teenage Dope? I don't know, that high school stoner stuff doesn't always go down well in middle America. Maybe Kevin Smith would be more interested..."

"No, not 'Dope', 'Pope'. As in Pontiff. You know - Vatican, funny hat, balcony, all that stuff."

"Pope? So you want to pitch a movie where a teenager is elected head of the Roman Catholic church? I suppose that might have potential. The whole ten rebellion thing in the context of a deeply conservative institution. Yeah, I can see it now - this kid scandalising the Cardinals by roller-skating around the Vatican, but eventually winning them around to usher in a whole new fresh-faced image for the church! I like it already!"

"Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of an average American teenager who, whenever he finds himself about to get to 'first base', embarrassingly transforms into a Pope, and finds himself forced to baptise babies, issue encyclicals and fight liberalism wherever he finds it. Neat, huh?"

"He turns into a Pope?"

"Sure, imagine the transformation scenes: mitre growing out of his head, t-shirt transforming into robes! A CGI field day!"

"Whoah there, let's just go back a bit - just why is he, er, blessed, with this 'gift'?"

"Well, I was thinking maybe he was dropped on his head by the Pope when, as a baby, his devout Catholic parents took him to Italy to be blessed by the Pontiff."

"You know, there are a lot of Catholics in the world - don't you think they might find this a little offensive? A horny teenager turning into the head of their religion every time his hormones start up and he gets a boner?"

"Why do you think I brought it to you, Mr Spielberg? Hell, as a Jewish guy you're perfectly placed to remain objective about this - besides, wouldn't it be payback for Mel Gibson?"

"I'm getting a very bad feeling about this - I really don't want to start some kind of religious war... Security!"

"OK, OK! Look, already I'm getting a whole new angle on this - the Teen Pope, his parents aren't Catholics, so he has to keep his powers hidden! The story could be one of religious reconciliation, as he and his family comes to terms with his bizarre condition! Hell, it ticks all the boxes: superhero with strange powers; religious blockbuster; heartwarming family drama! It can't lose!"

"Look, Mr, sorry Doc, Sleaze, like I said, this doesn't really sound like my kind of project. What the hell is keeping those security guys? Maybe Kevin Smith, or Adam Sandler and that crowd, it might just be moronic enough for them... Finally! Where the hell have you guys been! Well, it's been nice talking to you again Doc, but I really have to, these guys will escort you out..."

"You don't know what you are turning down here! You'll be sorry, just you wait! This is your last chance - I warn you, I'm taking it to Roger Corman! All I've got to do is write in a couple of car chases and giant alligator and he's guaranteed to greenlight it..."

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shoot the Dog

Dangerous dogs - is there any other kind? When they aren't mauling babies to death and maiming toddlers, they're shitting all over public pavements and parks. God only knows how many serious injuries are caused by people slipping up on dog shit. You know - digression time again - many, many years ago, I came across a guy taking close up photographs of dog shit. I kid you not - he looked pretty professional; had all the gear, telephoto lenses, the lot. I've always liked to think that every time some old lady slipped in some shit and broke her hip, he'd turn up at her hospital bedside with his photos and try to get her to identify the offending turd: "We just want the faeces, Ma'am". I'd like to think that he'd catalogued every lump of canine crap in the district and linked it to a specific dog, so as to be able to mete out suitable justice as soon as the miscreant had been identified. Maybe by going round and crapping in their kennel, or something.

Anyway, digression over. Where was I? Oh yes, the disgusting things dogs do. Well, apart from savaging people and shitting everywhere, they also piss and fart all the time. Let's not forget the way they slobber all over you - without invitation - and attempt to lick you with the same tongue they've just been licking their arse with. What amazes me is that some people actually seem to enjoy this, encouraging their dogs not only to lick their hands, but their faces as well. Jesus Christ! What's wrong with these people? Are they all perverts? Probably they are. They probably also strip naked and get their dogs to lick their genitals and stick their cold wet noses up their backsides.

So, having established that dogs are, when not being dangerous, downright disgusting and four-legged health hazards, what are we going to do about it? There's been much hand wringing lately on the subject of how best to control dangerous dogs, with the usual platitudes about blaming the owners, not the dogs. Well, I'd have thought the solution was obvious: bring back the dog licence (hah! You weren't expecting that, now were you?). This time, make it so bloody expensive that the type of moronic shaven headed and tattooed deadbeats who usually keep vicious dogs (as some kind of penis substitute, presumably), can't afford it. Once you've got a register of licensed dogs, solving the problem is easy - if anyone is seen out with a dog and can't produce a valid licence: shoot the dog. Yes, shoot it. Right there. On the spot. That's the kind of summary justice we want. If a dog, licensed or otherwise, attacks anyone - shoot it. Then shoot the owner. Simple. If a dog is seen in public, off a leash - shoot it. If a dog is seen fouling the pavement - shoot it. In fact, just shoot all the stinking, slavering hairy bastards.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blue Movies?

Apparently the Tory party chairman, Francis Maude, is also the non-executive chairman of a finance company which has been investing in porn flicks. When I read this I couldn't but wonder whether this was all part of the Conservative party's 'sexy' new image, and was left wondering exactly what I'd see if I logged on to David Cameron's webcam. Horrible images of a naked Cameron bending his wife across the kitchen table and giving her one from behind as he extols the virtues of Conservative environmental policies, direct to camera whilst his buttocks vibrate away. A ludicrous thought, I know - the Tories don't actually have any coherent policies on the environment. Or any other issue, for that matter. But maybe they're onto something here. With the electorate reportedly less and less interested in politics and election turn outs declining, perhaps making party political broadcasts into mini porn films is the way ahead. It would certainly get people's attention. Just imagine the impact of seeing Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett breathlessly explaining Britain's Middle East policy as she pleasures herself with a vibrator, throwing her head back shrieking out plans for a new peace settlement as she climaxes.

Whilst the sight of John Prescott and Harriet Harmon getting jiggy with it in the cabinet room might not convince floating voters to support the government, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown could have done worse than re-staging the butter scene from Last Tango in Paris in order to convince the voters of Labour unity. Obviously, Brown would have to have been Brando. Mind you, whilst many politicians might take some persuading that having a pound of butter shoved up their jacksie really is in the best interests of the party, there are others I can think of who'd need next to no excuse whatsoever to publicly perform lewd acts. Those awful Hamiltons, for instance. You can bet that they'd be doing it doggy-style on Newsnight if they thought there was the slightest chance it could get Neil Hamilton re-elected as an MP. Just imagine Paxman's look of revulsion. Speaking of revulsion, one thing I thank God for is the fact that John Major and Edwina Currie didn't record any of their assignations. Really, just the thought of him banging away saying 'Oh yes, oh yes' and 'That was most satisfactory' as he came, not only reminds me of why I could never vote Tory, but also makes me feel so dirty I have to go and have an immediate shower. Eeeech!


Monday, October 02, 2006


Did I ever mention that I was planning on opening my own bar, here in my front room (yes folks, both The Sleaze and Sleaze Diary are hammered out in the front room of my house - until I get that wireless network sorted out)? When I say 'open', I don't actually mean a public bar. There's no way I want the usual bunch of drunken deadbeats wandering freely into my home. No, I was thinking more along the lines of an invitation only private members club. And believe me, there won't be many invitations. The fact of the matter is that my local pub (where I've been a customer for fourteen years), is currently run by an arse who seems determined to run it into the ground. A combination of loud music, badly kept beer, rude staff, homophobia and racism have succeeded in driving out most of the established regulars. In fact, even most of the louts and pissheads he filled the place with instead have now moved on. Now, I know the obvious solution is simply to drink in another pub, but I'm afraid I just can't find a halfway decent one within reasonable walking distance of my house. I know, I'm lazy.

So, what else is a man to do other than set up his own bar? I've made start, salvaging a length of old kitchen worktop I was going to throw out to serve as a bar. To help create that real pub ambience however, I now need to paint the walls a dingy red colour and stain them with cigarette smoke. I'm already working on a suitable carpet - I found a threadbare brown one in a skip and I've spent the past few days alternately grinding cigarette ash into it and urinating on it. All I need to do now is get someone to throw up on it and it will be ready to lay. I've also noticed that a lot of pubs have quaint stuff like horse brasses, old jugs and the like hanging from the ceiling. In an attempt to replicate this I've suspended several kitchen utensils, including a jug kettle and a sandwich toaster from the ceiling of my front room. I must admit that it looks quite effective, although I did scald myself rather badly whilst making a cup of tea the other day and I'm still trying to get the melted cheese from that sandwich I was toasting out my hair...