Thursday, September 27, 2007

Celebrity Tit Wank

"Obviously, with phone-in TV quizzes - which make up the bulk of our current overnight programming - completely discredited, we're looking to revamp our all night schedules with more credible and worthwhile programming," ITV Chairman Michael Grade, puffing on his trademark cigar, told a press conference. "Celebrity Tit Wank, in which several big-busted micro celebrities will attempt to wank off various Z-list personalities using only their breasts, is to be the mainstay of our new weekday schedules." With viewers able to bet by phone on which celeb will ejaculate over whose breasts first, ITV hopes to retain much of its current over night quiz audience. "Clearly, such a programme is going to appeal to a predominantly young heterosexual male audience," Grade conceded. "To satisfy older viewers and those of differing sexual orientations, we have Up the Chutney, in which a studio audience has to judge which celebrities take it up the chutney most by the expressions on their faces as they are anally penetrated by the show's host." The ITV supremo added that the show would also feature a light-hearted round where the celebrities would have to guess what the 'penetrator' had smothered their penis in - margarine, crunchy peanut butter, olive oil, even chutney.

Grade assured the gathered journalists that the new over night schedules wouldn't entirely consist of sexually-orientated gameshows. "We're developing a very exciting format for Keith Allen, in which he surprises unsuspecting public figures by farting at them through a long brass horn," he explained. "There's a very amusing sequence in the pilot in which Keith nearly gives former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher a heart attack when he slips his horn through the open window of her living room while she's asleep in an armchair. He gets the bell-end right next to her ear before letting rip! She's so startled by the amplified trump she falls out her chair clutching at her chest. Pure satirical genius, I think you'll agree." Grade also outlined plans for 'hidden camera' show, in which the presenters would risk life and limb baiting notoriously short-tempered and violent celebrities. "It's a bit like an urban version of the late Steve Irwin's programmes," he muses. "It's real edge of the seat stuff, as the likes of Russel Crowe charge the camera." Grade dismisses suggestions that the proposed new over night schedule is, if anything, even more down market than existing offerings. "Big breasts, masturbation, taking it up the bum, farting and drunken violence - our new programmes are perfectly tailored to the average post-pub post-midnight viewer," he claimed, casually flicking cigar ash over a Sun reporter. "Far form showing contempt for our audiences, I'd say we're actually in danger of over estimating their intelligence."

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hollywood Radicals

In a new Hollywood development, movie moguls have described as “totally false” allegations that a petition signed by over five hundred film stars, directors, writers and assorted hangers on had been sent to Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11, condemning his terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, as these had caused severe trauma to their egos by implying that Hollywood was utterly insignificant. Neither did this non-existent document call upon Al Qaeda to consider Los Angeles as a future target, due to its greater concentration of important public figures essential to the US' cultural existence. Indeed, the Hollywood Screen Actors Guild has moved quickly to scotch reports that many of its members had suffered breakdowns and had been forced back into therapy, their sense self-worth destroyed by the terrorists’ decision to ignore them.

The Guild also denied that several of its members had campaigned against Guantanamo Bay, demanding that they be incarcerated there for their anti-war stances. The agents of George Clooney, Barbara Streisand and Sean Penn, amongst others, have poured scorn on claims that their clients had written to the government, complaining that the authorities' failure to arrest them was an insult to their radical politics and part of a conspiracy to marginalise left of centre political activity in the US. According to highly placed sources in the film industry, Matt Damon did not claim that he deserved to be locked up in Camp X-Ray as making films like Syriana was every bit as subversive as blowing up buildings and hijacking airliners. He also, at no time, complained that the government was undermining his credibility by denying him the chance to become a martyr for his 'art'.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Fiendish Plot of the Ginger Tosser

The pressures of fame and fortune can send even the toughest of stars over the edge, especially when their celebrity seems to be in imminent danger of slipping away. In the dark days after the cancellation of his TFI Friday show by Channel Four and his sacking from Virgin Radio, former madcap ginger DJ Chris Evans allegedly took to fantasising that he was legendary stereotypical oriental villain Fu Manchu, growing a long droopy moustache and dressing in flowing oriental robes. "He even took to taping back the corners of his eyes so they looked slitty," claims Dave Tronker, who once bought cigarettes in the same corner shop as Evans. "He dyed his skin yellow too - either that or his liver was packing up with all that boozing he was doing." The one-time zany prankster also reportedly converted the cellar of his Surrey mansion into a laboratory cum torture chamber, from where he plotted bizarre revenges against the media executives who cancelled his shows.

His schemes allegedly included replacing top TV and radio executives with surgically created doubles who proceed to destroy their reputations by wrecking their stations’ ratings, whilst the originals were horribly tortured in the Evans’ cellar - their eyes pinned open whilst they were forced to watch endless reruns of Evans fawning over celebrity guests on his TV show. Several media pundits believe that this could explain Virgin Radio’s plummeting audience share. Perhaps the most fiendish weapon in Evans’ armoury was his child bride Billie Piper. Following an overdose of botox during a cosmetic procedure to enhance her lips, it is alleged that the former teen singing sensation’s kiss is became truly venomous. "Apparently he used to send her out to seduce and tantalise his enemies before giving them her kiss of death," says Arnie Ripwick, who worked as a clerk at the solicitors that represented Piper during her divorce, before he was sacked for selling confidential information about high profile clients to the tabloids. DJ Steve Penk - who replaced Evans at Virgin - was reportedly left gasping and semi-paralysed after a full-on snog from the sex siren of death. Although doctors were able to treat him with anti-venom in the nick of time, Penk never fully recovered and was been forced to step down from his Virgin show.

Top psychologist Eddie Hawick, who has been studying celebrity insanity for several years on behalf of several tabloid newspapers, believes that Evans' Fu Manchu delusion is the most extreme case of celebrity madness the media has exaggerated since 1980's pop sensation Adam Ant flipped his lid and terrorised London in the guise of an outlaw. He was finally apprehended when, wearing a tri-cornered hat, thigh-length riding boots, a mask and brandishing a flintlock pistol, he burst into a London pub and attempted to rob startled drinkers. Declaring that he was “a dandy highwayman”, he proceeded to tell astonished customers to “stand and deliver - your money or your life” before taking their valuables. Only two weeks earlier the former Adam and the Ants front man - dressed as a pirate - had terrorised a Thames pleasure cruiser full of sightseers - forcing two Japanese tourists to walk the plank at sword point. “There’s no doubt that the trigger for this sort of celebrity behaviour is usually the imminent ending of their fifteen minutes of fame as they see their fickle fans deserting them for the next passing media sensation," opines Hawick. "Their apparent spectacular headlong tumble into the abyss of insanity represents one final attention-seeking attempt to desperately cling to their shattered dreams. Frankly, I fear that their pantomime antics have set back the public’s perception of mental illness by decades.”

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Cooking Up Trouble

Has Jamie Oliver finally lost it, following the rejection of his healthy school dinners initiative by Britain's children? Acquaintances of the mockney tosser were apparently shocked by his bizarre behaviour at a dinner party he recently held. “He was still preparing the food when we arrived - I was amazed when he dropped his trousers and began to crack eggs between the cheeks of his arse,” says one guest. “There was raw egg yolk running between his cheeks and all down his legs, bits of cracked eggshell were matted into his pubes and arse hair - that can’t be hygienic, surely.” Incredibly, Oliver managed to collect some of the yolk in a bowl clutched between his knees and used it to whip up a soufflé - there were few takers for this dish. However, worse was to come when the dessert course was reached. “He whipped out his plonker, slapped it down on a plate and proceeded to pour red hot custard over it, shouting ‘Anyone for spotted dick?’,” another guest confided. “I was shocked - even by his low standards of wit that was a pretty crap joke.” Despite a severely scalded penis, the culinary host still wasn’t finished. “Over coffee he asked if anyone wanted any fruit, then proceeded to remove the seeds from several grapes by inserting them under his foreskin and squeezing, shouting ‘pukka’ as each pip flew out,” says a shocked guest.

TV chefs are notoriously highly strung and easily stung by criticism. It is alleged that Gordon Ramsey once responded to a diner's complaint that his steak was under cooked by dropping his pants, crouching over the offending meat and breaking wind, lighting the noxious anal eruption as it burst forth. It is claimed that he then slapped the still smouldering steak down in front of the customer, asking "Is that well done enough for you?" There have also been claims that Marco Pierre White once stirred an awkward customer's soup with his penis, whilst allegations that Anthony Worral Thompson once served up a chocolate mousse in the shape of a huge turd to a hostile restaurant critic are rife. Nevertheless, even by celebrity chef standards, Oliver's behaviour has been extremely bizarre. Following the dinner party incident, it is alleged that the self-styled 'Naked Chef' decided to live up to his nickname and spent the next day working the kitchen of his restaurant completely nude. "It wasn't conducive to good dining," says one customer who claims to have witnessed the whole incident. "People were picking his pubes out of their teeth all lunch time." Not surprisingly, the chef has vehemently denied all of the allegations. "Bleedin' hell missus, can't they give it a rest?" he told a reporter. "I dunno what I've ever done to upset anyone, but they're always makin' up all this kind of pallaver abaht me!"

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Rant Round-Up

I'm afraid I've been too tied up with writing a new story, working on a new set of page templates for The Sleaze (they'll look pretty much the same, but with better coding, to make them more suitable for a possible switch from static to dynamic pages), fretting over wild traffic fluctuations and trying to lay more laminate floors, to post here for a few days. Having temporarily abandoned the latter (the blade on my jigsaw snapped, I didn't have a spare and it was Sunday and everywhere had closed, so I decided to knock it on the head for a few days), I'm back. Being a Sunday, I thought I'd make like the Sunday papers and have a quick round up of things which have pissed me off over the past few days.

OK, let's start with the head of the Army whingeing on about how soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan aren't getting the respect from the public they think they should have. Apparently it is demoralising them. He thinks we should have parades in their honour. Jesus Christ! We aren't living in some kind of Nazi/Communist banana republic where the Army keeps the government in power yet, for God's sake! The bottom line is that they aren't fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan at my behest. Why should I fete and honour them? Why should the public legitimise the idea that the key to world peace lies in kicking the shit out of third world countries, destroying their infrastructure and bombing their populations back into the dark ages in the name of freedom?

Right, I'm foaming at the mouth now! What next? Oh yes, there was this local TV report about some bunch of self-appointed 'do gooders' who drive around the countryside looking for 'unnecessary' signs which 'blight' the appearance of villages and rural lanes. My blood started to boil when he was pictured in a local village bemoaning one of those chevron signs used to alert drivers to tight bends which had been placed in front of a war memorial (which was situated on a bend). He also got upset about the fact that there was a bus stop sign there (presumably to alert people to the bus stop situated there). He was later shown describing one of those speed limit signs with a fluorescent background as 'ugly' and 'unnecessary'. Actually, with drivers increasingly flaunting speed limits, I assume that the fluorescent background is there to draw their attention to the fact that there is a speed limit on most roads. This guy and his friends are clearly a bunch of middle class tossers. They want to create some kind of middle class rural idyll and to hell with public safety. Obviously, only 'outsiders' need all those signs in the country, 'locals' (by which they mean people like themselves, affluent blow-ins from urban areas who have helped push property prices in the country so high that real locals can't afford to live there any more), know the dangers. And that's their real agenda - trying to discourage those nasty working class types from venturing out into the country. Twats.

Right, I'm cooking on gas now. Something else I saw on TV that riled me - some wildlife 'expert' trying to tell us that domestic cats are evil and are destroying Britain's wildlife. Again, what a twat. Catching birds and mice is what cats do - they can't help it. They are predatory animals. As for the sweet little birds they kill - good! The more of the little bastards they kill, the better. I'm sick of birds shitting all over my car. In fact, that's all they seem to be - winged shitting machines. Cats don't crap on my car. Birds do. Cats kill birds. Cats are therefore superior. Then there are the mice. Again, the more the cats catch the happier I am. Far from being cute little things, mice are disease-ridden vermin who sneak into your house and piss and crap everywhere. Kill them all!

It's no good, I'm going to explode if I do any more of these! I'm going to wrap it up here and start preparing for next week's high quality posts (and some more laminate floor laying).

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Disappearing Up TV's Arse

I see television is disappearing up its own arse again. Once more the BBC is indulging in a bout of self-flagellation over 'breaches of trust'. This time it centres on the naming of the Blue Peter cat. No, I'm not joking. Apparently the production team ignored the viewers' choice of a name for said feline and called it 'Socks' instead. Really! Does anybody actually give a fuck? What's so terrible about deciding that it wouldn't be appropriate for an animal featured on a children's TV programme to be called 'Cock Sucker', or whatever the popular choice is, (it is certainly the kind of suggestion I would have made when I was a teenager). In addition to this non-scandal, the BBC is also beating itself up about phone-in competitions on Radio 6 Music which turned out to be fake, with members of the production team pretending to be contestants. Well, bearing in mind that everybody bloody knows that Six Music is entirely pre-recorded, not live, surely nobody was deceived into believing that these were real?

Television, and particularly the BBC, seems to be becoming obsessed with issues which the viewing public really don't give a toss about. Most of their angst seems to be founded on the false assumption that people 'trusted' TV in the first place. Trust me, viewers don't believe what they see on the box. The days when we all took what BBC News said as gospel truth have long since gone. Another issue which seems to have excited the 'chattering classes' of late is the question of whether the BBC is truly 'impartial' or whether it has a bias toward the 'liberal consensus'. Indeed, the 'liberal consensus' is talked about as if it were somehow a bad thing. What would the BBC's critics rather see - a 'Nazi consensus'? Surely the term 'consensus' is a clue here - it means that the BBC is reflecting the general view of the public at large. The bottom line is that most viewers, myself included, are more interested in the quality of the programming we receive, not just from the BBC but from commercial broadcasters too. I don't want lowest-common-denominator pap carefully tailored to offend nobody except those in possession of a brain - which is precisely what we'll end up with if TV executives continue their navel-gazing and keep listening to right-wing politicians, pressure groups and newspapers rather than their viewers.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cut and Paste Film Making

I allowed myself an indulgence on Saturday afternoon. I sat down and watched a crappy old movie on TV. It has been a long time since I've taken the time to do that. The film in question - Mosquito Squadron, a WWII RAF action potboiler from 1969 - was no masterpiece, but is of interest because it is cobbled together from sequences lifted from other, more expensive, war movies. The opening sequences of V1 flying bombs comes from 1965's Operation Crossbow, whilst most of the action sequences involving the Mosquito aircraft comes from 1964's 633 Squadron. I always enjoy spotting the bits where these sequences are spliced into the newly-shot footage. Most of the time the film stock, props and costumes are well-matched between the old and new sequences. The film does include some newly shot action scenes. However, because the budget was so low, none of this footage is 'live action' with real aircraft in flying sequences. Instead, all of them involving miniatures work just as unconvincing and shoddy as that in the earlier films. You can clearly see the guide wires on the model aircraft in most of these scenes. The cast of the new footage are strictly B-list, mainly TV performers like David McCallum, so all-in-all, the film must have been pretty cheap to produce. Indeed, it is important to remember that films like this were intended simply to be inexpensive supporting features, used to pad out the lower half of a programme. (Ah, for those good old days when you used to get a co-feature at the cinema, all you get with the main feature now are adverts and trailers).

It actually used to be quite common for films to produced like this. Back in the 1950s Republic studios frequently used to create 'new' serials by cannibalising the action sequences from a couple of older serials and matching the costumes of the actors in the new footage to those worn by the performers in the older material. Where necessary they'd even use action highlights lifted from more prestigious (and bigger budgeted) A features. The practice continued in US television well into the 1980s - I remember at least one episode of the Fall Guy built around footage from the movie Stunts. Irwin Allen was particularly adept at this sort of thing. At least two episodes of his TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea used footage from his 1960 version of The Lost World, whilst several episodes borrowed wholesale from the earlier film version of Voyage. It all became extremely incestuous in the early 1970s when Allen produced a TV pilot called City Beneath the Sea which extensively utilised special effects footage from the Voyage TV series. Don't misunderstand me, I have nothing against this method of film making. On the contrary, it inspired me to do the same thing in order to create 'new' stories for The Sleaze when I'm pushed for time or simply lacking in inspiration. I've a quite a few stories from the site's early days which I've never archived, usually because I don't think they did their central conceit full justice, or because I simply don't think that they are up to scratch. However, most of them contain some decent gags and ideas, and I'm not adverse to building a whole new story, on the same theme, around these. I often do something similar with posts from this blog. I make no apologies for doing this - the results are often top notch stories I'm very proud of. Sometimes I can even manufacture more than one new story from a single old one. I like to see the process as a form of recycling. Who says The Sleaze isn't in the forefront of the fight against global warming?


Monday, September 17, 2007

Offensive Viewing?

So, Chris Langham has been sent down for ten months for looking at internet child pornography. Obviously, this means that anything he has ever appeared in must now be 'contaminated'. Indeed, even before he went on trial the BBC withdrew a repeat of a programme about John Wyndham, in which Langham had played the late science fiction author, from BBC 4's schedules. This was necessary as if it had been shown, anybody watching it would end up thinking that the author of Day of the Triffids was a nonce. Even as we speak, DVDs of In The Thick of It are probably being removed from the shelves of Virgin Megastores up and down the country. I've already warned my brother that he'd better burn his copy of the DVD before he became infected with Langham's sickness and found himself downloading pictures of underage girls from the web, (although reading FHM magazine is apparently an easier alternative for viewing such images). I bet BAFTA are busy expunging Langham's name from their list of past recipients. You can guarantee that if anything Langham has ever appeared or been involved in ever airs on television again, there will be a tidal wave of complaints from 'offended viewers'.

Mind you, there's nothing new in this kind of knee-jerk self-censorship. Every time there's a natural disaster, any film or TV programme containing anything vaguely similar gets pulled from the schedules. The same goes for terror outrages, accidents and murders. I remember that post 9/11 the 1976 King Kong was taken out of the TV schedules because it features him climbing up the now non-existent Twin Trade towers. Then, if memory serves me correctly, the Bond film License to Kill was pulled after the Dunblane shootings (despite the fact that I don't remember there being a scene in it where Timothy Dalton massacres a school yard full of children). Similarly, the Mothman Prophecies was postponed by the BBC after that bridge collapsed in America (although I don't remember the involvement of giant moths being mentioned in any of the news reports). The TV companies seem terrified of causing affront to these 'offended viewers'. I wouldn't mind, but these idiots (for they must surely be idiots if they can get 'offended' by the coincidental scheduling of a programme or film with only a notional connection with the event in question), seem to be tiny in number. Who are they to dictate the viewing habits of the rest of us? I think the rest of us are more than capable of making our own minds up on whether something offends us or not. Not all of us feel it necessary to treat every disaster which occurs in the world as a personal tragedy to be mourned as if we'd been personally bereaved. So, to paraphrase Billy Connolly, if you are easily offended, just fuck off!

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Friday, September 14, 2007

I Buried Osama - Again

OK, I think I've got to the bottom of who is really lurking behind the false whiskers of 'Faux-sama' - Norman Wisdom. When you think about, it is obvious. He hasn't made any films lately, he's about the right age, he's popular in Muslim countries like Iran and Albania and he's a trained stuntman. Let's not forget that there's a history of comic actors being used as doubles - Don Knotts, as every 'Paul is Dead' conspiracist knows -successfully impersonated Beatles' manager Brian Epstein for several years. Of course, unlike Knotts, Wisdom didn't require any plastic surgery for his impersonation - that beard can hide a multitude of sins.

The clues to 'Faux-sama's' identity were all there, obviously. The most obvious was when, in his latest video rant, he performs several prat falls before shouting "Mr Grimsdale!" and collapsing into fits of hysterical laughter. The second big clue came when he burst into several bars of 'Don't Laugh at me Because I'm a Fool' during his most recent broadcast. So there you have it, the mystery of 'Faux-sama' solved. If only the enigma of 'Faul' McCartney was so easy to solve...

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Getting Reconnected

Woo-hoo! My new ADSL broadband connection is finally up and running. Not only does it seem smoother running than its predecessor, but the IP address I've been assigned isn't blocked by half the servers on the net. Not, of course, that such a thing could possibly happen, at least not according to what passed for technical support at my previous ISP. Best of all, I finally have a wireless network set up. Yes folks, I can now surf the net from anywhere in my house. In fact, I'm actually sat on the toilet as I type this - no, just joking! But it is a bloody site more convenient than being effectively chained to one room when working on line.

The thing intriguing me now is the identity of the other local wireless networks my networking utility can now detect. I'm guessing by the strength of the signal that the BT HomeHub is my next door neighbours' network. In some parts of the house a BT business hub can be detected - I'm guessing that's one of the small businesses across the road, or maybe the local health care facility. There's also a SKY network and a BT Fusion hub, both unidentified. However, most intriguing is the weakly signalled network called 'andrea'. Now, I have an erstwhile friend of this name, who I know has a wireless network, but she lives more than ten miles away. So it can't be her, unless she's hiding under my floor boards or in the attic. Come to think of it, I haven't heard from her in a while...

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monkey Business

You know, I've been thinking a lot about that post I made at the weekend - the one about the 1976 remake of King Kong. In particular, I've been giving a lot of thought to the idea I floated of dressing up as an ape and trashing a scale model of my home town - just for therapeutic value, you understand. Well, I decided that maybe I should give this therapy, or a version of it, at least, at try. So, here I am in my gorilla suit:

Pretty realistic, eh? OK, so probably less convincing than the one in King Kong (but not by much), but certainly far more effective than the ones in the likes of Konga or The Mighty Gorga. Now, I just don't have the time, money or patience to actually construct a large scale model of even part of the town where I live. So, after some thought (and a few pints) I had a brainwave. Through the medium of imaging software, I decided to try and combine myself as an ape with some pictures of buildings and places which have caused me a certain degree of frustration. First up is me attacking some of the grey office blocks in my town (I work in one of them, but I'm not saying which one).

I think you'll agree that the result is most impressive! You'll notice that I've even got that typical 1970s monster movie 'halo' around me (caused by the blue-screen process they used for travelling matte shots). From a personal point of view, the feeling of power that picture gives me is amazing! OK, I know it is only an image, but Hell, I'm threatening to destroy building housing hated accountants, solicitors and the like! I can just imagine them all looking out of their office windows and shitting themselves at the sight of a giant gorilla advancing toward them with only one thing on its mind - destruction!

Now, I asked myself, what could I create which could top that? Well, the answer was simple really - me as a giant ape menacing my former workplace, Old War Office Building in London! If there was one building I'd truly love to destroy, the OWOB, as it is known, would be it. The closest I've ever got in real life was when I spat on it after a bad experience inside. The number of traumas I suffered in that place! The organisation I worked for there was a heap of shit, managed by hypocritical egomaniacs and largely staffed by spineless yes-men. By and large (in my time at least) promotion seemed to be based on patronage rather than ability and the main motivating force behind senior management decision-making was self-aggrandisement and empire building. Again, that picture gave me such a rush when I completed it. Looking at it still gives me a thrill! The thought of those bastards all cowering under their desks as the windows shatter in response to my roaring is truly wonderful! How I love to imagine smashing down the walls and terrorising various old adversaries with my huge hairy ape hands!

Yes folks, this is therapy I can really recommend! In fact, I'm planning to take it a stage further, and I'm currently searching the web for pictures of my various past tormentors, in order to present a new series of pictures featuring them being crushed under the feet of giant ape me! Watch this space!

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Monday, September 10, 2007

I Buried Osama?

So, who is the fake Osama bin Laden? Or maybe we should call him 'Faux-sama', just like the 'Paul is Dead' crowd refer to the fake Paul McCartney as 'Faul'. There surely can't be any doubt by now that Osama has been replaced by a double. Just look at those recent photographs of him - that's clearly a fake beard he's wearing. Not only is it darker than the true Osama's beard, but it is a different shape and the hairline is all wrong. OK, the eyes look similar, but that could just be plastic surgery. Then there's the issue of his voice, just listen to his most recently released recordings - those most certainly aren't the mellifluous tones of the real Osama - this guy can barely speak in tune. The truth is that it could be anybody behind that face lace. But why has he been replaced? The answer they'd like you to believe is that the real Osama finally succumbed to his health problems, either that or one of those US bombs finally hit his mountain HQ. Obviously, Al Qaida wouldn't want to admit to his death, so to perpetuate the myth of invincibility around their figurehead, they simply employed a double.

However, there are already some far more convincing theories appearing. Some of them point to some kind of internal conflict in the terror organisation, with Osama threatening to break away and form his own group. Creative differences with right hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri have been cited, with the latter feeling that Osama's approach to terrorism has become too predictable and outmoded. Whilst Osama remained obsessed with big single events like 9/11, al-Zawahiri favoured a more innovative approach, with large numbers of terror 'happenings' involving performance artists. Could Osama have been 'offed' by his own group and replaced by a more compliant double? Another popular theory is that Osama was assassinated by neo-Nazis when they discovered that he was actually Jewish, a deep-cover Mossad agent out to discredit Islam by creating and funding a fundamentalist terror group which indiscriminately blows up innocent people. The simplest explanation offered has been that the real Osama was the victim of an accident, dying when the donkey he was travelling on went out of control and plunged off of a precipice in the Afghan mountains.

Of course, some of us aren't surprised by the emergence of 'Faux-sama'. Anybody who'd taken a good look at the cover of his Osama bin Laden's Crazy Fundamentalist Terrorist Club Band album (which contained some of his greatest anti-Western rants), would have spotted some obvious clues. 'Osama is the only one of the four leading Al Qaida figures posed in military uniform to be presented full-face, rather than in profile, and obvious reference to him being a corpse. Not only that, but one of the famous war criminals featured in the background, Pol Pot, is clearly wearing the same false beard sported by 'Faux-sama' - a clue indicating that he is actually Cambodian, perhaps? You see, it's all there. You just have to use your imagination a bit.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

The McClaren and The Ape

I'm afraid that illness and an attempt to update The Sleaze have kept me from posting for the past few days. But now I'm back. This afternoon I decided that I'd rather watch King Kong on Channel 4 than endure another agonising England football performance. Not only that, but it was the 1976 version I decided I'd rather watch - that just shows how depressing I find the prospect of watching any England team managed by Steve McClaren. Having said that, the 1976 King Kong is actually not that bad. OK, I know that Kong himself is pretty disappointing, being portrayed by a man in a tatty looking monkey suit wandering around some unconvincing miniatures (which are very poorly matched to some great location shots). As for that giant rubber snake - why? But the ape mask used for close ups is good, as are the giant mechanical hands that grope the heroine. And it has a great cast: Jeff Bridges proving academics could be heroic, not just geeky, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin, to name but a few. Best of all is the script, which wittily updates the whole thing the 1970s and uses the story as an allegory for multinational oil corporations' exploitation of the environment. Great stuff. But then there's that ape suit...

Amazingly though, despite the man in a monkey suit, the film succeeds in eliciting considerable sympathy for Kong. The difference in emphasis between this film and the original on this point is interesting. In the 1933 original Kong wasn't deliberately played for sympathy. In common with the most films of the period, he was just a monster, whose destruction audiences were expected to applaud. But, in common with many movie monsters, much of the audience identified with him - he was a misunderstood guy thrust against his will into a world he didn't understand, exploited and then crushed by the system. In the 1976 version they emphasised this aspect of Kong even more. He quite overtly loves the heroine, protects her and rescues her, but still loses out to some other guy. There really is no justice in this world. Actually, that's probably why I've always had a soft spot for this version of the story. I seem to spend large parts of my life in Kong's situation. There are days when I'd dearly love to climb to the top of a tall building, beat my chest and bellow my defiance at a world I increasingly feel out of sympathy with. Like him, I'd like to be left alone on my Skull Island, free to rampage around unchallenged. Perhaps I should construct a detailed scale model of the town I live in, then dress up in an ape suit and stamp all over it - I can imagine how satisfying that would feel. Mind you, I still wouldn't get the girl, but at least I'd be able to indulge in some wanton destruction and, just briefly, be the master of my own domain.

As an ironic coda to all that, I see that England won 3-0. Mind you, it was only against Israel. They've still got another opportunity to cock up next week against Russia.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hot Property?

You know, I'm highly suspicious of those recent fires in Greece which destroyed lots of property and killed several people. I know that it has already been claimed that they had been deliberately set by property developers wanting to clear land for lucrative building projects, but I think there could be more to it than that. If my theory is right, then everything will become clear when the insurance claims come it. Trust me, if there are claims for fire damage to the likes of the Acropolis and sundry ancient temples and theatres, then we'll know for sure that the fires were just a ruse to get the money to rebuild all those bloody ruins they have out there. It stands to reason - for years they've let them fall into a state of disrepair, the bill to fix them up would run to millions. Much better if you can get the insurance companies to foot the bill.

And why wouldn't they want them rebuilt? If millions of foreign tourists are willing to flock to Greece to look at derelict buildings, just think how many more would come to see nicely restored ones? Besides, if they were made safe and rebuilt, you could redevelop them as hotels, restaurants and activity centres. Who wouldn't want to say that they had stayed in the Temple of Zeus, especially if it had five stars and Vestal Virgins available as room service? Still, if the insurers won't pay up, then they could always try and get that Nick Knowles and his team from DIY SOS in to do the job instead. They could make the ruins safe for the TV makeover teams to move in. Not only would you get a cheap restoration job and some very lucrative hotels out of it, but there'd be a TV series to boot - think of the publicity.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

More Shoddy Service

Well, here I am composing a post on the Dutch-language version of Blogger. Why? You might well ask. It all has to do with my pathetic excuse for a cable provider. I really should have known better than to give them a second chance after that last outage earlier this year. But once the problem was fixed, it all seemed to work so well - until now. The service is still up, the problem is that they've assigned me an IP which is causing a DNS error with some sites. Now, this quite often happens with this ISP, but usually the sites blocked aren't that vital to me and I can work around it by going through a proxy. However, this time the sites blocked include The Sleaze and its back end, making site administration near impossible. OK, I can get some access to the back-end via a proxy (one based in the Netherlands, hence the Dutch Blogger), but I can't use a proxy for FTP, so updates are impossible. Under the system used by my cable supplier, a new IP won't be assigned until next week at the earliest, and when I've e-mailed them on the subject, they have been obtuse in the extreme, trying to deny any knowledge of such issues. As they now charge 25p a minute for their broadband 'helpline' (which, on past experience, anything but that), it looks like they have no intention of doing anything to sort the problem out.

The upshot of all this is that, with updating virtually impossible, there's little point in me writing new material for The Sleaze at present. As I had the good sense to change my phoneline back to BT (a traumatic experience chronicled in a series of earlier posts), I'm in the process of having an ADSL broadband connection set up by a different ISP. However, that won't be up and running for at least ten days. This is all very frustrating, as I was going to attempt to install some new software at the account which hosts The Sleaze, with a view to gradually automating the site with a content management-type system. But without a viable FTP link, I can't do this either. NTL/Virgin Media really are a bunch of incompetent bastards. Take my advice and avoid them like the plague. You know, reading all that back, with its talk of IP addresses, proxies and FTP, I realise that I'm beginning to sound like a geek. Jesus! It just gets worse!

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