Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve at Sleaze Towers

I couldn't end the year with a ranting post like the previous one, so I thought I'd give you an insight into the New Year's celebrations here at Sleaze Towers. Basically, they consist of me, a large plate of freshly cooked sausage rolls, a bottle of Bushmills and several cans of beer. I'm afraid that I've grown weary of New Year's celebrations. I hate parties and I really can't face spending the next few hours in a crowded pub full of people who don't usually drink there (that's if you can find a pub that is open or not charging admittance). So, I've decided to stay in. Actually, the fact that I'm recovering from both a cold and a very bad bout of sinus problems has made the decision even easier. Frankly, I'm knackered and the thought of a quiet night in the warmth of my living room fills my middle-aged soul with joy! To be honest, I've never really understood some people's mania for going out and getting bladdered on New Year's Eve - you can binge drink any day of the year (and most of Britain apparently does).

All that remains, of course, is for me to make a few New Year's resolutions. Once again, however, I really don't see the point: if you are going to do something, just bloody do it, don't wait until 31st December! Indeed, the only resolution I'm making is to give up 2006 for good. I have sometimes thought of making resolutions to take up smoking, as I feel I don't have enough vices. (Actually, New Year used to be the only time of year when I did smoke - for some unknown reason I developed a personal tradition of smoking a couple of fags and a cigar every New Year's Eve. Thankfully, that tradition petered out after the millenium celebrations). Maybe I need a less harmful vice. Fish pornography, perhaps? Ah, to hell with it all - I'm going to check on my sausage rolls! A Happy New Year to you all!

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Best Of, The Worst Of

There's another sign that the year is drawing to a close - all those bloody tedious 'Best/Worst of 2006' programmes beloved of TV are dominating our screens, providing lazy schedulers with hours of cheap New Year's broadcasting, courtesy of their archives. Does anybody really care what some bunch of rent-a-quote talking heads think about anything, let alone the events of the past year? I wouldn't mind, but they always dredge up the same idiots to comment on the subject in hand. Stand up Stuart Maconie, Paul Morley, Andrew Collins and just about every gossip/showbiz/music/media commentator in Fleet Street - people so desperate to get themselves on TV they'll even demean themselves by appearing on this type of vacuous crud spouting what they obviously think are side-splittingly funny witticisms.

The other night I had the misfortune to stumble into possibly the worst of these piss poor excuses for entertainment that I've ever seen, namely BBC3's Most Irritating People of 2006. Whilst I wouldn't necessarily disagree with their selections of Russell Brand and Pete Docherty as their top two, I really don't need to have a parade of wannabe Z-listers telling me that these people are very irritating. Trust me, their observations really aren't that profound. Lily Allen, for instance, was deemed irritating simply because she tries to project a 'streetwise' image whilst, in reality, being very middle class. Wow! Pop stars trying to gain credibility by obscuring their middle class origins! Like that's never happened before!

Likewise, the fact that Russell Brand splashes his alleged sexploits across the tabloids whilst Pete Docherty uses his drug arrests rather than any artistic endeavours to stay in the headlines, aren't the primary reasons I find them both intensely irritating. Or, indeed, that they are also both middle class boys playing at being down and dirty 'men of the people' to get credibility. No, it is the fact that they epitomise the current breed of celebrity, building their careers on a carefully constructed image, rather than on their limited talents, (in the case of Russell Brand, no talent whatsoever). Most irritating of all, the media actively colludes with them in this, as they provide valuable column inches with their - carefully planned out - 'outrageous' behaviour. Yes indeed, the very seem media whose representatives happily appear on these accursed 'Best of' programmes, gleefully slagging off the self same celebs who keep them in work. So, although I find the likes of Brand and Docherty incredibly irritating, I'd have to say that I think the most irritating people of 2006 (or any other year, for that matter), are those media twats who incestuously on these bloody programmes, pontificating about the behaviour of others. Fuck off, you sanctimonious whores!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

No Laughing Matter

So here we are in the dying days of December. The fag end of another year. I actually quite like these dead days between Christmas and New Year. I'm usually off work, pottering around, catching up with my reading and DVD watching in between drinking endless cups of tea. These days also afford me the opportunity to reflect on the passing year. Consequently, I'd like to take this opportunity to finally get something off of my chest. Earlier this year there occurred an incident which, I feel, did no credit to those of us who style ourselves 'online satirists'. To cut to the chase, a new UK site appeared on the scene; a site backed by an established print satirist; a site which managed to get itself a lot of publicity, being featured on the BBC website and in The Guardian's review section. Now, instead of simply welcoming them aboard, a very large section of the UK online satire 'community' turned on this site, subjecting it to all manner of pretty vicious criticism and attempting to organise campaigns against it on various message boards and blogs. The main 'crime' committed by this site was, apparently, to have the temerity to claim that it aimed to a British equivalent to The Onion, and to fail to mention the names of any other British satire sites in any of its publicity.

Now, personally I would never adopt The Onion as a role model - it has become far too mainstream and predictable in its 'satire' - but each to their own, it's hardly a capital offence. Moreover why should any new site publicise potential rivals? The 'justification' given for the furore by its organisers was that the new site's publicity implied that there were no other British satire sites of note. Well, again, that's a matter of opinion. Ill informed, perhaps, and maybe worth an e-mail to the site owner, but it hardly justifies the campaign of hate which was waged. After writing to the BBC, etc., the instigators claimed some kind of moral victory when, on some obscure part of their vast site, the BBC acknowledged the existence of, and named, a handful of other British 'satire' sites. At the end of the day, was it really worth all the fuss and moral indignation summoned up by some parties over a supposed snub? Personally, I stayed out of the whole thing. I really don't give a toss if someone sets up a new site - they're allowed to. However, the impression I got was that many 'satire' editors on the web seem to see it as a 'closed shop', that new sites can only be set up with the 'community's ' permission and that they have to 'pay their dues'. What arrogant bollocks. Clearly, this new site's main crime was to secure such wide publicity for its launch, via its owner's press contacts. Rather than being jealous (which seemed to be the main motivating force behind the organisers of the hate campaign), my reaction was simply to say 'good luck to them'. Hell, if I had the contacts, I'd be getting publicity for The Sleaze the same way!

Of course, I'd be lying if I was claim that the fact that the campaign's organisers snubbing of my site hadn't also pissed me off. In all their letters and e-mails to the BBC and the like, never once was The Sleaze mentioned amongst the 'outstanding' British satire sites snubbed in the new site's publicity. Gee, thanks guys! The fact that I've been around a bloody sight longer than most of you and that I actually strive for some degree of originality in my stories, doesn't count for anything then, eh? Arseholes! But should I be surprised? After all, they all seem to be a bunch of middle class twats whose real ambition is to write gags for 'Have I Got News For You'. At the end of the day why should I care about any of it? The bottom line is that, unlike some others in the world of 'online satire', I don't feel threatened by the appearance of a new site which obviously has some media backing. I've built up my own readership and I doubt very much that the kind of people who read Onion knock-offs are likely to read my brand of satire. The web's a big place - there's room enough for all of us out there. All that shameful campaigns of the kind I've described achieve is to reveal the insecurities of their instigators.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve at Sleaze Towers

Christmas Eve and still no offers of panto! I guess I'll just have to think of another excuse for wearing women's clothes... I just thought I'd drop by Sleaze Diary and wish everyone a Happy Winterval (stick that up your cassocks, God botherers!). Joking aside, as far as I'm concerned, everyone is free to celebrate this festive season as they see fit. If you are religious and are going to church - good for you! If not, that's fine too! Personally, I don't observe the religious side of Christmas, to me it is simply a very welcome mid-winter break when I can catch up with friends. Sadly, I can't help but notice that one of our great Christmas traditions has been killed stone dead this year: the race for the Christmas No 1 in the singles chart. Thanks to bloody X-Factor, this year it was such a forgone conclusion that whichever one hit wonder triumphed in that talent(less) contest would get the No 1 spot, nobody seems to have bothered releasing any proper Christmas singles this year. I never thought I'd say it, but I've actually missed being irritated by those bloody stupid novelty songs which escape this time of year. Shame on you Simon Cowell, you smug, arrogant bastard, for bringing us to this sad state of affairs. I suppose every Christmas needs a Scrooge and, this year, you've certainly fitted the bill, draining all the joy from the charts!

I've also been shocked by the lack of festive news stories on TV. All I've heard all day is that crime rates could soar if there's an economic downturn. Yeah, that's exactly what I want to hear today, of all days. For fuck's sake, it's bloody Christmas! Can't you find some stories about fluffy bunny rabbits getting to No 1, or orphans being saved from starvation by benevolent millionaires? We want to be reassured at this time of year, not told that we're all going to be buggered in our beds! The only other story which seems to have been reported today is Admiral Sir Alan West banging on about the dangers of cutting defence spending. Now, I could tell you a thing or two about Westie, from my days of working in the whacky world of intelligence analysis. Sadly, they're all covered by the Official Secrets Act, I can't even tell you why we called the twat 'Captain Towpath'...

In my attempts to avoid this barrage of downbeat headlines, I discovered a new form of torture - watching the music and quiz channels on Freeview, (I finally got my digibox working with the aid of a thirty foot length of screened coaxial cable. The aerial is now up in the spare room and interference from the boiler controls is minimal. I didn't fall off of any ladders this time. Though a ladder nearly fell on me, but that's another story). Of course on Christmas Eve you get served up a non-stop diet of former Christmas No 1's on the music channels. I'd forgotten how the video for Paul McCartney's 'Having a Wonderful Christmas Time' was just as horrendous as the song itself. It features him and Wings going into a pub and terrorising drinkers with their singing. Jesus, if he appeared like that in my boozer, he'd probably get his lights punched out! I had a real shock watching one of the quiz channels - one of those bloody girls who used to appear on my cable supplier's sales channel was presenting on it! I guess it's true what they say - everyone eventually finds their level. Other great seasonal viewing included UKTV History showing the whole of the World at War. Peace and goodwill, eh? Whatever happened to the good old days when Christmas Eve TV was full of people singing carols and Val Doonican and his sweater strumming a guitar as he sat in his rocking chair? I never thought I'd get nostalgic for that sort of thing, but strangely I am! Sadly, these days TV producers seem to think that just sticking a Christmas tree in the back of the studio is sufficient to get that seasonal feeling.

But enough of this seasonal nostalgia! Sleaze's greetings to you all! I'm off to the pub!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Another TV Show They Should Make...

TV crimebusters - they need a new twist. We've had cooking detectives, singing detectives, detectives with OCD, blind detectives, even gardening detectives. Here's my take: an internet porn addicted detective. He's been kicked off the force, thrown out by his wife and banned from seeing his kids as a result of his insatiable appetite for online sex pics. Living in a dingy bedsit, with only his frustratingly slow dial-up connection for company, we follow his daily battle to restrict his porno downloads, whilst working as a rock-bottom private eye. Here's the twist - he's forced to investigate the murders of several of the models who featured on his favourite skin sites, and he naturally, becomes a suspect! This could be the most depressing slice of TV crime investigation ever, as our hero explores the dark and seamy underbelly of amateur bondage sites, finding the sessions being shot in dingy council flats on grimy sink estates, using underage crack-addicted local single mothers. Hell, it's got the lot! There's even the possibility of a spin-off series featuring his sidekick, another ex-copper who was falsely convicted of peadophilia after having kiddie porn pictures planted on his PC by a bent colleague. Cleared and released from prison, he's decided to dedicate his life to helping children at risk, by becoming a lollipop man. When he isn't helping under-nines cross busy roads, he's using his 'lollipop' to beat up local drug dealers and pimps preying on his young charges. Trust me, it's another winner!

Of course, it won't be easy getting TV executives to bite with such a downbeat scenario, but I've got a plan to get over that problem: Ray Winstone. Everybody knows that Britain's hardest luvvie is the key to getting any piece of crap commissioned at ITV. Just say that he's interested in playing the lead and they'll immediately be saying: "Ray Winstone? Perfect - it's dark, it's edgy. Cutting edge drama for the Twenty First Century - just what we need!" As a back up, I'd suggest Ken Stott for the sidekick, he's another dead cert if you want to get anything featuring troubled detectives with anger management problems into production. I'm preparing my pitch already...


Seasonal Greetings From the Inbox of Doc Sleaze

I thought I'd share with you all a recent seasonal missive I received from one of our regular readers over at The Sleaze:

Dear Sir

I must commend you on your stance on Christmas over the years. Why must year-after-year must we be have to contend with crowds of people in the streets who's spending is only dwarfed by their rudeness. Then finally you get to the shop only to find what you wanted to buy is not being stocked anymore just so they can fit in more of this shite seasonal lines. This happened to me only the other day and led to me being pushed over the edge and ultimately punching out the conductor of the Salvation Army band. May that be a warning to anybody wishing me an unprovoked Merry Christmas, and she went down like she had a glass jaw, where was her God at that moment? Has he jetted off to warmer climes for the holidays?

I'm afraid Christmas was ruined back in the 1980's by Thatcher and her government. I remember when the union of shop Santa's came out in support of the miners and were chased down by police on horses and beaten with sticks during and attempt to stop black-leg Santa's entering Selfridges' in Oxford Street. Can we not be let off one Christmas for good behaviour? And carol singers, why? They don't even have the good grace to be able to sing in tune anymore which surely should be a problem if you want to be paid. But then again have you seen the level of talent on the X Factor. Simon Cowell how can you live with yourself, if you had an ounce of decency you would, live on TV, nail your own bollocks onto a wooden table and say sorry for peddling such total wank as entertainment for so many years.

Still there is still fun to be had. I have been furiously masturbating into bottles of rum and sneaking it back into shops labeled as eggnog. I have been doing something like this with my own excrement, cooking chocolate, and some sponge pastry to create a true Yule log. Plum Duff, more like bum fluff now.


Arthur Ardon

Clearly a man after my own heart. To address one of Mr Ardon's questions - I doubt very much that God had jetted off to warmer climes. With luck that bout of freezing fog we've had to endure over the past few days kept the sanctimonious old bastard at home. Or even better, forced him to sleep on an airport floor for a couple of nights waiting for his cancelled flight to be reinstated. I also think that we should all be indebted to Mr Ardon for reminding us of the existence of the Salvation Army - another great target for 'Keep Christianity out of Christmas ' campaigners, especially as they're committed to non-violence. You can beat them all you like and they can't retaliate! Magic!


Friday, December 22, 2006

Digital is Dangerous

What the government hasn't bothered to tell anyone in its push to get us all to switch over to digital TV, is that installing it can be bloody dangerous. Having recently decided to experiment with digital, in the hope that I might finally be able to ditch my cable provider, I purchased a digital freeview receiver. Now, knowing that my existing TV aerial is useless (that's why I got cable in the first place), I decided to use an indoor aerial as a temporary measure, just to see if I could get a signal. Now, much to my surprise, I did manage to get a signal - although reception can be badly affected by weather conditions - by positioning said aerial on the highest book shelf in my living room. Adjusting it requires the use of steps. Whilst adjusting it the other evening, in the vain hope of getting Film Four, I lost my footing and fell off of the steps. Luckily, the coffee table broke my fall. Unfortunately, my fall broke the coffee table. That's the second coffee table that's died on me in a year (I didn't fall on the old one, it collapsed of its own accord after fourteen years service). Somewhat miraculously, I escaped with bruising.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this incident has been the lack of sympathy I've received. My best friend' merely commented that it sounded like a less dramatic version of the incident which had killed Rod Hull. Less dramatic? From where I was lying - amongst the wreckage of my coffee table (£9.95 from Argos - I'd always recommend cheap tat if you intend falling on your furniture, it collapses on cue, thereby avoiding serious injury to you) - it seemed pretty bloody dramatic. Still, at least my fall wasn't the result of being attacked by a large flightless bird. Now, I don't remember seeing any mention of this kind of thing when I bought the bloody freeview receiver - I just thank God I wasn't installing a new aerial on the roof. Mind you, there are a lot of things they don't warn you about with regard to digital - it's susceptibility to interference from central heating thermostats, for instance. Or the relative weakness of its signal compared to analog. In fact, it's so bloody unreliable, I wonder why we're all being forced to switch to it - trust me, the extra channels really aren't worth it: wall to wall repeats and low grade crap.

Apparently, all my problems could be solved with the installation of a new outside aerial, according to the websites I've sought advice from. Loft and indoor aerials are most certainly not recommended and you have to point your aerial precisely at the nearest transmitter. In which case, I'm witnessing a technological miracle. By pointing my puny indoor aerial in a direction in which there are no digital transmitters (according to said expert websites), I'm able to receive most of the digital channels. I'm guessing that a slightly bigger aerial, mounted a bit higher, will get them all with no problems. Indeed, all the external aerials on the street here feeding freeview boxes point in the same direction as my indoor one. Obviously, the fact that these websites all seem to have been advised by (and link to) the Confederation of Aerial Installers (CAI) - whose members will probably charge you around £200 to rig a new aerial - is purely coincidental. As usual, I'm preparing to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and try installing a loft aerial for my digibox. I'm already getting in the new plaster board for the ceiling repairs...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Phony War on Xmas

It just won't go away, will it? I'm referring, of course, to that hoary old conspiracy theory about the so-called 'War on Christmas' trotted out every December. This year there's been a worrying development, namely that the God Squad have decided to get involved and are clearly trying to use this nonsense as some kind of anti-secularist rallying call. I had the misfortune, last night, to listen to part of a 'debate' on Radio Five Live which was so unbalanced (one secularist and a whole lynch mob of ignorant bigots) it was probably in breach of the BBC's charter. Once again, all the old, completely unsubstantiated, stories about local authorities 'banning' Christmas and replacing it with 'Winterval', 'Winterfest', 'Luminos', etc, on grounds of 'political correctness' were trotted out as 'proof' of an anti-Christmas conspiracy by someone (presumably wicked secularists, although, when pressed, none of the bigots could actual name any individual or body which was actually decreeing that Christmas couldn't be celebrated) .

Undeterred by his inability to produce any evidence to back up his demented rantings, the chief bigot, some pillock representing those Sons of Fun the Methodists, then proceeded to go off on a tirade about the 'true meaning' of Christmas as a Christian festival. Apparently it is this aspect which frightens us non-religious types and makes us insecure, jealous, or something. Anyway, he basically called upon all the pro-Christmas types, all religions, to strike back at the evil unbelievers who are trying to undermine Christmas. In other words, he and his ilk see this phony 'War on Christmas' as an opportunity to try and recruit for their increasingly unpopular religions. Not surprisingly, the lone secularist, who had nothing against Christmas, was shouted down and abused as he tried to point out that none of the 'political correctness' claims had any foundation in fact. The lowest point came when some, clearly demented, caller to the programme demanded to know whether said secularist was going to be behind his desk on Christmas Day as he clearly hated the festival. "Oh no, you want the benefits, when they suit you, don't you?" ranted the old git, who sounded like the sort who thinks that it is 'political correctness gone mad' that he isn't allowed to call black people 'darkies' any more. Sadly, the secularist didn't counter by asking whether this dick head was a trade unionist, and if not, was he going to work as normal on May Day?

Before going any further, let's just get some things straight. No council in Britain has ever banned Christmas, or re-branded it. The infamous 'Winterval' was simply a marketing exercise used in the West Midlands to try and make Birmingham seem more attractive during the bleak Winter months. They still had Christmas, along with all of its lights, trees, carol concerts, etc. 'Luminos' was something similar in another local authority. One of the more ludicrous claims made to try and 'prove' that Christmas is being secularised is the supposedly increased use of the term 'Season's Greetings' in Christmas cards. Now, as long as I can remember, this phrase has been used - and rightly so. The festive season (another allegedly secular term) encompasses not just Christmas itself, but also New Year, which, to the best of my knowledge, is not, and has never been, a Christian religious festival. Most interestingly, the Methodist idiot on the radio was forced to admit that the Christians had actually co-opted a pagan festival (he claimed it was Roman, but it goes back much further than that), to create what they call Christmas, and that there is no proof that Jesus was born in December. Now, as they were the ones who originally 're-branded' someone else's festival, I really don't see where the God Squad get off in complaining about other people supposedly doing the same thing.

The truth is that what we call 'Christmas' is simply a set of traditions, some Christian, but mostly pagan (Father Christmas, far from being St Nicholas, is an ancient pagan figure. Christmas trees, mistletoe, even Christmas lights - to ward off the dark of midwinter - are of similar origin), and people tend to pick and choose which ones to observe. The sad fact for the God Squad is that as their religions seem increasingly irrelevant to people today, so that part of the celebration is pushed further into the background. Tough titty, boys. What really gets my goat about this whole business, is the way that the religious freaks try to make the secularists out to be some kind of anti-Christmas Taliban, issuing decrees to people prescribing how they should celebrate Christmas. The reality is that it is the God Squad who are the fundamentalists, busily demanding that we only celebrate this stolen festival according to their rules. The fact is that, contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually anti-Christmas as such. I just get pissed off with the excesses it involves and the way it gets shoved in my face every year. However, after hearing that 'debate' last night, I'm going to declare war on Christmas myself! I'm going out now to burn down a few Christmas trees, wreck the lights in my town centre and piss on the nativity scene in my local church. Oh, and I'll probably beat up a few vicars - but then I often do that anyway. Bastards!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We Are the Cheeky Gutter Press

So, the world shaking news in the world of British politics is that Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik has ditched his fiance in favour of one half of the 'Cheeky Girls', a self-styled pop duo consisting of two Romanian sisters. I'm not sure what shocked me most; his infidelity or his lack of taste, to quote Man to Man's Dean Lerner. I like the way that the press has belatedly found some 'justification' for their overblown coverage of the story (several days after it initially broke), by reporting that Mr Opik had 'intervened' to stop his new squeeze and her sister from being deported by the Home Office (actually, he just wrote to their MP). Of course, the question this whole business raises in my mind is exactly why this story is getting so much coverage, whilst the matter of that Tory MP who is swinging between Arthur and Martha I mentioned a few posts ago, still hasn't hit the headlines (not even locally), despite it being just as much common knowledge amongst insiders as Opik's affair.

OK, I know that the Tory MP is only a back bencher (although he once was a junior minister), whilst Lembit Opik is something of a TV personality and apparently Lib Dem spokesperson for something or other, and therefore more 'notable'. (Actually, I saw Opik speak a couple of weeks ago and still can't remember what he's spokesperson for, or what he actually said. He is very personable and a first-rate self-publicist). Obviously, it can't have anything to do with the fact that much of the press in this country is rabidly pro-Tory. God forbid. Of course, the fact that Opik's dalliance is with someone semi-famous helps. Maybe if the Tory MP was shagging somebody from a boy band on the side, his story might finally hit the headlines. Still, if nothing else, I suppose Lembit Opik running off with a Romanian 'singer' half his age at least gives his party a more exciting image than it has had of late under Menzies Campbell. Maybe Mr Campbell could have an affair with Dame Vera Lynn...

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Getting the Horn at Christmas

You know, I'm beginning to have second thoughts about that title. It could be taken to imply that it is Christmas which is the cause of my sexual excitement. I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. If there's one thing normally guaranteed to turn me off, it is the thought of the festive season. Having digressed before the post proper has even started (remarkable even by my standards), I'll try and steer things back to my intended point. It is a fact that, as I've got older, I've noticed that somewhen around late November, my libido generally goes AWOL, only beginning to stir again in February, and not really flourishing again until the Spring. No matter how many gigabytes of porn I download, for those three Winter months, nothing stirs below the waist. Believe me, nubile cheerleaders could parade naked through my front room with no risk whatsoever of sexual molestation - not even a leer.

However, I've noticed an unseasonal bout of horniness on my part over the past couple of weeks. Quite what has set this off, I really don't know. Maybe it's got something to do with Spurs' recent run of good form. Perhaps they're putting something in thet water. I just don't know. All I know is that I'm getting the horn even more than Derek and Clive. Not that it serves much purpose, though. The only women I seem to encounter these days I wouldn't touch with my next door neighbour's, even if I did find them attractive, or they're students and definitely out of bounds. OK, there was that drunken woman who accosted me in a pub the other day, but drunken women, particularly ones who drink in that pub. Actually, that's not entirely true, I have a friend who frequently seems to be drunk, yet always remains attractive and witty. I'm afraid I suffer from the curse that just about every woman I know who gives me the horn prefers to see me as a friend or surrogate big brother. Very frustrating. The trouble is, I'm getting to the age where acquaintances try and set me up with their single friends. Now there's a recipe for disaster and social embarrassment. In a recent episode I had someone trying to get me to meet their friend who was a deputy headmistress. For God's sake, just because I'm a part-qualified FE teacher, that doesn't make me compatible or even remotely interested in any random woman who works in education!

Anyway, getting back to the point, it looks like I'll have to be downloading several thousand more gigabytes of porn to help work this Christmas horn off...


Monday, December 18, 2006

Revisionist Bondage

After my excursion into anti-East Anglian bigotry in the last post, I've decided to tread less controversial ground this time, and instead look at the world of film criticism. (Although I will first pause, briefly, to point out that the suspect they've arrested for those murders in Suffolk is a local man, and the photos they've shown of him tell their own story). I've been struck by the outbreak of cinematic revisionism which has been going on since the release of the latest Bond film Casino Royale (which I still haven't seen). Just about every review of it I've read, whilst praising the new film to the rafters, completely trashes its predecessor Die Another Day, dismissing it as 'a mistake', 'juvenile' or 'overblown'. Now, I seem to recall that when Die Another Day was released, these self same critics were saying how wonderful it was, and forgiving some of its excesses because it was, after all, the fortieth anniversary Bond movie, and therefore had to encapsulate the spirit of the series as a whole. The way they're going on about it now, you'd think it was Moonraker they were writing about!

Perhaps most surprisingly, some critics now seem to be dismissing the whole of the Pierce Brosnan era of Bond. Once again, these same guys were hailing him as the saviour of the series when Goldeneye came out. Indeed, I remember the critical rush to extol the virtues of his films as 'back to basics' Bond movies, returning to the spirit of the early, Connery, entries. My favourite review in this vein was one in my local rag, which proclaimed Casino Royale as the best Bond movie since Live and Let Die! Trashing Die Another Day is one thing, but this is revisionism on a grand scale, ignoring thirty three years of Bondage in favour of the one where in which Roger proves that sometimes Moore means less... Granted, Live and Let Die is better than, say, Man With the Golden Gun, but so is They Saved Hitler's Brain. The fact that anyone could possibly rate one of the most derivative movies in the series (it's a fairly feeble attempt to cash in on the 'Blaxploitation' boom of the early 1970s) above any of the Dalton or Brosnan films speaks volumes as to the average film reviewer's lack of critical faculties.

The bottom line is that whilst Casino Royale might well be a superior entry in the series, critics would be doing it far more justice by judging it on its own merits, rather than by trying to talk it up by trashing Die Another Day (which, although not my favourite Bond by a long way, was still the biggest grossing picture of the series, which must count for something). But then that's something which has always bedeviled the Bond franchise: both critics and fans alike tend to judge the movies in terms of the leading man, rather than trying to asses each entry as an individual entity. Hence the way in which On Her Majesty's Secret Service is often dismissed, simply because it didn't star Connery, instead featuring George Lazenby. OK, Lazenby can't match Connery for charisma and screen presence, but he's more than adequate in the lead, and the film itself is easily one of the best in the series. By contrast, the sluggish Thunderball and ludicrous You Only Live Twice are frequently exalted simply because they do feature Connery! Anyway, I'm going to try and see Casino Royale this week and, hopefully, simply enjoy it as a film, regardless of who is playing Bond!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Normal For Norfolk?

I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised that Britain's latest serial killings are in East Anglia. I'm afraid one of my enduring prejudices is that I suspect that all residents of this region are inbred weirdoes. I'd characterise them as a bunch of banjo-plucking hillbillies, except that they don't have any hills out that way. Now, I'm quite happy to admit that this bigotry has no basis in personal experience - I've never been to either Norfolk or Suffolk in my life. I nearly went to East Anglia on holiday once, but changed my mind and went to Scotland instead. Subsequently, everybody I know who has been to East Anglia has told me what a lucky escape I'd had. To tell the truth, most of my knowledge of Suffolk come from watching Witchfinder General - my abiding image of the area is of Vincent Price in a Puritan hat pointing at women and shouting "She is a witch!" before burning them at the stake. I'm sure that's still their main form of entertainment on these long winter evenings.

Actually, I've often thought of late that, with personal debt on the increase in the UK, perhaps we should have a 'Debt Collector General'. He could ride into poverty stricken areas, pointing at random women shouting "She is a debtor". Trust me, it would only take a few burnings at the stake in the courtyards of those grotty municipal flats they put the poor into to get the repayments flowing from our sink estates. As a point of fact, we've never actually burnt witches in England - that's reserved for heretics. Witches are just hanged. Now, in Scotland, they regularly burned them. You understand that though; it's bloody cold up there. Getting back to the original point of this rambling, bigoted post, I'm only surprised that they don't have more bizarre murders in East Anglia, what with their violent history and inbreeding. Indeed, we should all be thankful that they're so insular they don't travel much, otherwise none of us would be safe in our beds!

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Arthur and Martha

I was recently told that a certain Tory MP, in whose constituency I once lived, swings between Arthur and Martha. That is to say that whilst his wife and family live in a big house out in a village, he keeps another house in the constituency's largest town, which he allegedly shares with a young man. Now, apart from the fact that this MP represents a party which is forever banging on about family values (and whose former leader has just published a study telling us we'd all be much happier if we were married - although he doesn't mention whether a same sex lover on the side is permissible), one might ask, why would anyone think this information was of any value? Well, it would be if I was a political blogger, it seems. Partly for professional reasons, partly out of boredom, I've looked at a few of these lately. Now, just to make things clear: I'm not talking about the 'official' political blogs kept by parties, politicians or journalists. No, I'm focusing on the 'independent' ones put out by all those would-be political correspondents who couldn't make the grade in proper news organisations.

Many of these have been vaunted in the press as being cutting edge, and the places where the hottest political news is broken. Perhaps I've just been looking at them during a fallow period, because they all seem to be dominated by the kind of tittle-tattle I discussed above. They also seem to be written by people with a political axe to grind, often from the right (the fact that they're resorting to blogging underlining, I suppose, their sheer impotence in terms of pushing their disinformation out through conventional news channels). What this means, obviously, is that the MP I mentioned earlier would, being a Tory, be fairly same from exposure on any of these sites (unless he was to take a clear public position either supporting or opposing David Cameron, depending upon the sympathies of individual political bloggers). If he was a Labour or Lib Dem MP, they'd consider him fair game. I'm sure they'd argue that as long he isn't actually running for, or holding actual political office, his private predilections aren't relevant (and anyway, he isn't paying for gay sex like that nasty Mark Oaten, this is love, apparently).

I guess the point I'm groping toward is that one should beware of giving too much credence to these political bloggers. From what I've seen, they've got just about as much of a finger on Britain's political pulse as Sleaze Diary. Damn it all - even I've managed to scoop them on the Arthur and Martha Tory MP!

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Blair Witch Finder

The Prime Minister Tony Blair has taken firm action to combat the growing threat posed to British society by witchcraft. In a speech to the House of Commons he outlined a series of emergency measures to be included in a new Witchcraft Act. "The unregulated use of witchcraft is becoming a far graver threat to our society than drug abuse or football hooliganism", he told a packed House. Blair's shock move is thought to have been prompted by revelations in The Sleaze that senior Tory grandees were using voodoo to create a legion of undead conservative voters (see True Blue Voodoo). There have since been reports that Tory leader David Cameron is now in thrall to a powerful coven of witches rumoured to include David Davis, Ian Duncan Smith and David Willets. Whilst Conservative Party spokesmen have strongly denied these claims, it is clear that Mr Blair blames the opposition for an alarming increase in teenage sorcery use.

Outbreaks of teenage witchcraft have been reported up and down the country, with one survey showing that one in five children under the age of sixteen had practiced witchcraft and that the average age of initiation into covens was only fourteen. Many teenage witches have invoked the dark powers to gain revenge on their parents or teachers. In one particularly serious incident a Middlesborough school had to be closed after a plague of demons devastated the chemistry labs and a PE teacher was chased across the playground by a swarm of plimsolls and football boots, all intent upon smacking or kicking his arse. Other parts of the country have seen dangerous magic battles break out between rival teenage covens. Hospitals in Wolverhampton have reported a significant increase in the number of cases of running pustules, blaming coven warfare for the phenomenon.

John Reid has made clear that the Government takes the issue of the unregulated practice of witchcraft very seriously. Amongst the measures he has announced are provisions to stop the benefit of any job seekers caught using black magic. However, this has brought an angry reaction from groups representing the unemployed and low paid. They have pointed out that witchcraft is predominantly practiced by middle-class professionals in secure and respectable jobs, rather than by the unemployed - who are, more often tan not, the victims of sorcery. These claims are backed up by the recent case of a defence barrister who attempted to influence the outcome a murder trial by sticking pins into wax effigies of the jury.

Other measures announced by Mr Reid include the establishment of a special freephone hotline for members of the public who believe that friends, neighbours or even relatives might be witches, to voice their suspicions whilst retaining their anonymity. A set oguidelineses is also to be issued by the Home Office to enable the public to clearly identify witches. "We must remember that it is not just obvious physical traits such as warts that can identify a witch", Mr Reid told a press conference. "They can also be identified by their arcane and archaic belief system. Beware of people espousing outmoded ideas such as social justice, freedom of information or civil liberties. Such ideas are irrelevant to the modern world". In extreme cases magistrates will be able to exercise their new powers under the Witchcraft Act and set up inquisitorial tribunals to test suspects by ducking and torture. Where guilt is established the police will be authorised to carry out public burnings at the stake

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

More TV Shows They Should Make...

I've got the perfect idea for a new medical drama for the BBC: Holby City After Dark. Imagine it - a spin off from the popular hospital series in which the various medics battle supernatural forces during the night shifts. A sort of Torchwood on the NHS. Or Baywatch Nights with scalpels. Each week a different medical team faces a different menace. One week Ric Griffin could be battling evil Voodoo priests who keep resurrecting his surgical failures as zombies. Just imagine the pathos as he finds himself face-to-face with the vengeful victim of a simple operation he botched whilst under the influence of the wacky baccy. His whole background in volunteer medicine in Africa could be brought in as he brings his knowledge of local customs in Ghana to bear to defeat the Voodoo cult. The next week cardiac consultant Elliot Hope could be taking on vampires who are attempting to raid the hospital's blood bank. Oh, such irony as, instead of transplanting hearts to save lives, he's forced to hammer wooden stakes through them. That twitchy registrar of his, the one with OCD, could assist him - he'd spend the next few episodes trying to wash the blood off of his hands! As an added twist, Elliot's dead wife could come back as a vampire, forcing him to find blood to keep her alive!

The possibilities are endless - perhaps one of those illegal animal organs into humans transplants Ric's sidekick Abra keeps doing goes horribly wrong, resulting in a were-pig, or something. Maybe one of the plastic surgeons could go crazy and start stitching together bits of bodies to create a perfect woman, which turns out to be a monster. Or, that bloke who used to be in Coronation Street could find himself fighting mutated viruses down in the path lab! Actually, if we're going to shamelessly rip off Darkplaces, why not go the whole hog and have Dr Rick Dagless transferred to Holby to take over as head surgeon, bringing Thornton Reed and his shotgun with him as the new hospital Chief Executive. Let's face it, it couldn't be any more bizarre than most of the current storylines on Holby City...


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Cancelled?

Apparently bosses are scared of allowing Xmas decorations to be put up in the workplace for fear of offending people of other faiths. "It's political correctness gone mad!" say the usual rent-a-quote sources. What utter bollocks! This has cock all to do with 'political correctness' and everything to do with employers wanting to cut costs. After all, isn't it bad enough that during this holiday season most workers have the audacity to take time off in addition to the two bank holidays they get, thereby reducing output and hitting profits? This latest crap is no more true than all the other shite we've heard about Xmas office parties being cancelled because of bosses fears of being sued for sexual harassment, personal injury, etc. Once again, it's just a convenient excuse for avoiding the expense and sheer inconvenience of office parties. What employer really wants a bunch of drunken arseholes lurching around their office, photocopying and faxing their gonads in between puking up on the accounts manager and groping the shredder?

Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm quite happy to see Xmas decorations banished from the workplace and office parties banned, (the latter are a bore whilst the former completely inappropriate - work is meant to be dreary and soul destroying). No, I just object to the way everything is blamed on 'political correctness' these days. I wouldn't mind if those who bandied the term about could actually tell the rest of us exactly what it means. But, of course, they can't. It has just become a catch-all term to describe any initiative that right wing reactionary jerks don't like and which they either flies in the face of common sense or infringes their right to free expression. Like, for instance not being able to call black people 'niggers' or 'wogs', just because a few people of ethnic origin might get upset. Ridiculous, eh? After all, they're just traditional slang terms, often used in an affectionate sense, like calling someone wearing glasses 'four eyes' or dwarves 'short arses'.

But of course, any restrictions Xmas celebrations are presented as a direct assault on Britain's Christian traditions. Which is absolute bollocks. Xmas isn't even a Christian festival, as celebrated in this country, anyway. It's a straight Christian hijacking of the pagan midwinter festival - which I find offensive. Take it back to basics I say - all this Christian iconography to try and keep the God squad happy is just political correctness gone mad!


Monday, December 04, 2006

Still Cool to be a Conservative?

I see that Satire Searchseems to have dropped its support for the 'Coolservative' cause. There's part of me which would like to think that it was my polemics about Satire Search's unhealthy identification with a specific party political cause (along with my satirising of Cameron's Coolservatives over on The Sleaze) which resulted in this divorce. However, the site has now shacked up with the even more unspeakable UK Independence Party (UKIP). The latter are a bunch of xenophobic Little Englanders only a couple of steps away from the BNP (except that they like to think of themselves as more respectable, as they hate European foreigners regardless of race, rather than non-whites, like the BNP).

Whilst it seems that the current owners of Satire Search are incapable of grasping the fact that satire is inevitably neutered by being shackled in the service of a particular political party, it is quite entertaining, from a non-conservative point of view, to see the way the site has now turned on its former pin-up boy David Cameron. Instead of links to the 'Coolservative' site, you can now find a link to 'Tory Tosser' instead. Saddened though I am to see a satire headline aggregator effectively turned into a propaganda tool, at least it seems to be an indication that Cameron's honeymoon period might now be over, and the reactionaries are now reverting to form. As far as I'm concerned, the more time these bastards spend fighting amongst themselves, the better. The last time it happened, quite a few Tories lost their seats as a result of the right wing vote being split between them and UKIP. Let's hope that's repeated at the next election!

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Sleaze in December

I've finally got a new story posted over on The Sleaze: Queer in the Head? The title is something of a steal. It was used for a research paper on the treatment of homosexuals in Britain's mental health system by a friend of mine. It was so good, I just had to use it. It's only taken me three years, or so, to come up with a story to go with it! Unfortunately, I have rather lost touch with said friend. So, you old git, if you are out there and recognise your title, get in touch! Of course, I'm risking accusations of homophobia from those morons who always read stories at face value (despite the fact that The Sleaze is clearly a satire publication). However, I have no intention of explaining my stories to such cretins. They can just fuck off. Anyway, getting back to the story itself, it does manage to include the homosexual exorcising defrocked priest who was cut out Scared Stiff for reasons of length.

The publication of this story has knock on effects for the rest of this issue. In order to avoid the appearance of a gay-themed issue, and also to avoid flogging the same theme to death over a short period, I've decided not to proceed with 'Jingle All the Gay' as a Xmas story this year. I'm instead replacing it with a story based on the 'Invasion of the Christmas Snatchers' post below. It's an idea which has gripped me and I should be able to work it up into a full story fairly easily. Indeed, speed of production is of the essence, as I also have to post a new editorial before the next story. This is currently half-written and should appear over the next couple of days. One more administrative detail to note is that we've reverted back to the old strap line of 'Incredible Lies Today - Still Bollocks Tomorrow' on The Sleaze home page.

Before I go, I mustn't forget to wish my local non-league team all the best in their match against league opposition today in the FA Cup Second Round. Fingers crossed for a result!