Friday, October 31, 2008

Remember, Remember...

The other day someone in The Guardian was wittering on about how terrible it was that the US traditions of Halloween were now overshadowing our indigenous Autumn tradition of Guy Fawkes Night. Well, it’s hardly surprising that, after years of assaults on it by the Health and Safety obsessed, the Fifth of November has gradually lost ground to Halloween. All the fun has been leeched out of Bonfire Night by the continued harping on of killjoys that it is far too dangerous to allow children access to fireworks and that the only proper place to see fireworks is at those sterile and dreadfully dull municipal affairs held in public parks. Gone are the days when we’d gleefully run out into our back gardens clutching a handful of rockets, and proceed to fire them at our neighbours’ houses. Now, that was fun. OK, so a few garden sheds were blown up and some pensioners had heart attacks as rockets crashed through their windows and exploded, but it was all good harmless fun. I miss the simple joy of shoving lit fireworks through complete strangers’ letter boxes. A few house fires was a small price to pay for the opportunity to let off some adolescent steam – what would people rather youths do at this time of year, dress up as zombies and terrorise people by knocking on their doors and demanding chocolate with menaces?

With Halloween effectively sanitised from its pagan origins, and virtually any whiff of horror expunged from it – the kids don’t even dress as monsters any more, it’s all fairies, spacemen and Teletubbies – it appeals more to the killjoys. Clearly, we traditionalists have to fight back. We need to reclaim this part of the year for mindless pranks with legally sold explosives. The most obvious starting point is to use our fireworks to launch attacks on those bloody trick-or-treaters. If they come knocking on your door, just fire a rocket at them through the letterbox. That’ll show the little bastards what for. Instead of burning an effigy of Guy Fawkes – or even Jonathan Ross or Russell Brand, this month’s favoured hate figures – why not burn some trick-or-treater dressed as a witch? It works for me. A clear symbol of Bonfire Night’s cultural victory over Halloween. It would also be tremendous fun.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jumping on the Brand Wagon

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that the actions of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in leaving obscene messages on Andrew Sachs’ voice mail is utterly reprehensible and the content of said messages offensive. They both deserve everything that they get. However, why has this story come to dominate the headlines in this country for the past few days? It isn’t as if there isn’t anything else going on, what with the economic crisis, US Presidential elections, wars, earthquakes, murders, the ongoing inquest into the death of the innocent Brazilian gunned down by the police and the like. But no, apparently the one urgent issue which the Prime Minister and various rent-a-quote Tories feel the need to address is the earth-shattering matter of a couple of over-paid celebrities swearing down a phone line. Distressing though the incident must have been or their victim (the only person to have come out of this with any credibility – Mr Sachs seems a genuinely decent person, who simply wanted an apology, not a media circus), it really doesn’t warrant this level of fuss. The BBC has reportedly received over 30,000 complaints about the offensive broadcast – which sounds impressive until you realise that most of these complainants hadn’t actually heard it, merely heard about it from the press. In reality, the original broadcast received only two complaints.

Once again, a media frenzy has been whipped up by the right-wing, anti-BBC press, and people have, as ever, been stupid enough to go along with it and form any angry, ignorant, mob. There is nothing worse than the kind of moron who finds themselves retrospectively offended by something – how many of those people complaining to the BBC heard the broadcast, but didn’t complain at the time, I wonder? Probably a high proportion. They didn’t know they’d been offended until the papers told them they’d been. Even worse are those offended by proxy – they didn’t actually hear it, but if they had, they would have been offended, judging by what the papers said had been said on air. What I find offensive is the way these self-righteous bastards in the press have tried to conflate the whole sorry incident and claim that it is somehow indicative of a more general lowering of standards at the BBC and, by extension, in wider society. Even the PM has started describing Ross and Brand as role models – thereby implying that their poor behaviour is somehow responsible for a wider malaise in society. What utter bollocks! Quite apart from the fact that these two pillocks aren’t role models for anybody, let alone Britain’s youth, the idea that social breakdown is the result of people copying the behaviour of celebrities is ludicrous. The coarsening of our society has more to do with the concerted assaults made on our public services, education system and arts by Thatcher in the 1980s. The attitudes of selfishness, greed and materialism inculcated by her and championed by her lapdogs in the self same newspapers lambasting Ross and Brand, have done far more to undermine basic values of decency and respect than any egotistical celebrities.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From Shamrock to Swastika

Another incredible reinterpretation (some would say travesty) of history from independent British writer/director Sid Dukie, From Shamrock to Swastika depicts Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, as being a Nazi collaborator hell-bent on Britain’s defeat in World War Two. According to Dukie, Kennedy founded his family fortune on bootlegging during prohibition - with the aid of his Grandfather’s secret poteen recipe he becomes Al Capone’s biggest liquor supplier - and uses his profits to finance Irish leader Eamonn DeValera’s continuing terrorist campaign against Britain. He is also shown, whilst serving as US Ambassador to London prior to the outbreak of World War Two, arranging a secret meeting between DeValera and Hitler. During this meeting Kennedy attempts to broker a deal whereby DeValera will allow Hitler to set up bomber and U-Boat bases in Eire, in return for Hitler delivering the UK-controlled Six Counties to him once Britain has been defeated. A somewhat perfunctory explanation for Kennedy’s virulent Anglophobia is provided by a prologue set in 1916, which shows young County Wexford farm boy Joseph’s sweetheart and her family being brutally murdered by British soldiers as a reprisal for unwittingly selling eggs to the local IRA cell. A subsequent sequence shows him manning the barricades at Dublin’s central post office with Michael Collins and Eamonn DeValera during the Easter uprising.

The third part of Dukie’s unofficial trilogy - reputedly financed by Colonel Gadafi - debunking popular US icons, From Shamrock to Swastika lacks the fascinating sexual dynamics of either Patton: Lust for a Glory Hole or MacArthur: Decadence and Despotism, coming over as little more than a deranged rant. The Patton movie, with its portrayal of World war Two General as a cross dressing repressed homosexual in love with a former member of the German Olympic men’s pentathlon team, can at least be viewed as an exploration of homoerotic undertones of American militarism and patriotism. Likewise, the MacArthur biopic paints a fascinating picture of post-war Japan under the General’s governorship - likening it to the decadent Roman Empire, complete with nude gladiatorial contests between sumo wrestlers. By contrast, this movie offers little other than an insight into Dukie’s rampant anti-Americanism. Dukie has always claimed that he is simply trying to redress the balance in the face of Hollywood’s relentless rewriting of history in films such as U-571 and Braveheart. However, some have suggested that his anti-Americanism stems from the fact that his father was an American GI who abandoned Dukie’s British mother in order to return to his own wife and family in Ohio. Dukie has always maintained that his father’s identity remains a mystery that his mother took to her grave.

In common with the earlier films, From Shamrock to Swastika is hampered by the shoestring budget, woeful production values and the director’s refusal to cast American actors. However, this latter factor provides this movie with its only (unintentional) entertainment value. Whilst Bob Hoskins and Roger Moore, as Patton and MacArthur respectively, maintained some credibility in the earlier films, former footballer Vinnie Jones is woefully inadequate as a thuggish Joseph Kennedy. He stalks around the cardboard scenery looking as if he’d desperately like to hit someone - in the scene where he tries to persuade President Roosevelt to keep the US neutral, for example, one expects him at any moment to throw FDR out of his wheelchair and give him a good kicking. Worse still is comedian Russ Abbot’s performance as DeValera, playing him as some kind of leprechaun, clad in a green suit and forever shouting “Bejasus” and “Begorrah”. The final nail in the film’s coffin is Lee Evans’ portrayal of Hitler as a buffoon, engaged in endless sub-Norman Wisdom slapstick routines. Denied a release Stateside and sent straight to video bargain bins in the UK, this oddity may be worth a look on rental, but no-one should admit to owning it.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Definitely Not a Football Blog...

So maybe Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy does read this blog. Even though it most definitely isn't a football blog. Late on Saturday night he finally did what I (and thousands of other Spurs fans) have been imploring him to do for weeks now and sacked the entire first team coaching staff, including Juande Ramos, and the Sporting Director, Damien Comolli. To replace the four he sacked, he brought in just one man - Harry Redknapp. We needed a miracle and we got 'Arry. Close enough for me! The impact was instantaneous - we recorded our first Premiership win of the season! Better late than never. Let's just hope that it isn't too late and that we can salvage something from this season. Maybe we can avoid relegation now. Even if we don't, we've at least got a manager who could bring us straight back up to the Premiership. I'm sleeping safer in my bed now, content in the knowledge that we have a coach who is competent and, most importantly, speaks English.

Levy is clearly trying to come out of this smelling of roses - being seen as decisive in the face of a crisis, admitting he was wrong in his previous policy and issuing an apologetic open letter to fans. Now, whilst I'm obviously glad that Levy finally found some balls and not only did what needed to be done with the sackings, but also swiftly secured the services of one of the country's best managers, but it still needs to be asked why it took him so long. It was obvious to everyone after the first couple of matches this season that something was badly wrong. It wasn't just the bizarre team selections, the inexplicable substitutions and constant team rotations, Ramos' lack of activity on the touchline when things were going wrong should have rung alarm bells. A manager apparently without passion is hardly going to inspire the players. And inspiration is a big part of football management. Redknapp, by contrast, even though he officially didn't take over until today, was yesterday on the team bus, and then in the dug out - shouting instructions and clearly delighted when things were going well. That's what we need!

However, for me the agony isn't over - my regular pub is run by a rabid Pompey supporter and I'll shortly have to run the gauntlet of him and his mates when I go for a pint. They aren't going to be happy that we nicked their manager. I suppose I should also apologise to my neighbours - when I heard the news of the sackings just before midnight on Saturday, my immediate reaction was to shout "Fuck the fucking Pope" at the top of my voice. I hope they aren't Catholics. Anyway, with the Spurs crisis over (for now), I promise to stop posting about football (until I start calling for 'Arry to be sacked, of course).


Friday, October 24, 2008

Sex Education

Controversy surrounds the government's decision to make sex education compulsory for five year olds, with many feeling such a move inappropriate. "Is it really appropriate for children who are barely toilet trained to be bombarded with pictures of genitalia and the intimate details of copulation?" asks Brendan O'Fugh, Catholic Bishop of Skibbereen. "Isn't it bad enough that children are already being sexualised from an early age through watching scantily-clad kids' TV presenters and pop singers, revealing clothes and make-up, without them being taught this filth in the classroom?" However, Jim Knackers, the Education Minister behind the scheme, disagrees. "Look, with the world full of roving paedophiles and sex offenders lurking around every corner, it is essential that today's kids are equipped from an early age to deal with sexuality," he explains. "Children can't go o their local playground these days without being flashed - we want to make sure that they know exactly what's being flashed at them. Believe me, an exposed penis is far less intimidating when you know what it is."

O'Fugh remains unconvinced by such arguments, believing that the classroom is no fit place for sex. "I don't accept that it is right to be shattering the innocence of young children,just because the authorities can't keep these perverts locked up," he opines. "Next thing you know, they'll be giving the kiddies sexual deviance education lessons, teaching them how to be peeping Toms and the like from the age of five, just to be sure they do it right when they grow up!" Indeed, the clergyman suspects the motives of those behind the move, suspecting it to be a form of institutionalised grooming. "What other explanation can there be for grown men wanting to expose young children to sex?" he asks. "Besides, the classroom isn't the place even for normal sex education. Traditionally that's the preserve of the Church. Believe me, young boys can learn everything they need to know on the subject from the private lessons given by most Priests in the vestry after choir practice."

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween 2008 at The Sleaze

Well, Halloween is nearly upon us again and, once more, we're celebrating it at The Sleaze. Usually, of course, the month of October features three vaguely horror/weird themed stories. This year, due to the ongoing slump in traffic, I've been forced to abandon the planned slate of stories after the first (Blair Witch Finder Project), opting to try and get some more topical pieces in instead. Nevertheless, I've tried to keep the weird theme going with giant octopuses in The Beast That Ate Wall Street, and devil-worshipping bankers in Banking on Fear. Both also addressed the horrors of the current financial crisis, whilst the latter incorporated Sarah Palin, a true Halloween nightmare. Anyway, I'm planning to mark Halloween proper next week with a proper themed story, tentatively entitled The Monster Makers.

This means that, for the first time since God knows when, I'll have posted four stories in a month. However, the price of all this activity has been the absence of a new editorial, something else I'll try and address next week. Consequently, there'll only be two new stories in November. However, I'll also be posting some new material in the Reviews section. The relative lack of planned activity next month will hopefully give me some time to work on the much delayed overhaul of the site. The new page templates are pretty much complete (new stories have been using a version of them for a while now), and I'm putting the finishing touches to the navigation system, (after much experimentation with drop down menus and the like, I've opted for simplicity). So there you have it, another Halloween at The Sleaze.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Search for Cock

Another delve into my personal DVD collection reveals a saucy Turkish Star Trek knock-off:

An enterprising piece of science fiction smut - basically an unauthorised erotic remake of original Star Trek pilot episode The Cage - this amazing shoestring production (variously released as Sex Slaves of the Porn Planet, Space Assignment: Big Blast Off and Maximum Thrust), was filmed in Turkey, where such copyright infringing knock-offs were commonplace in the 1960s and 1970s. However, legal action by Trek creator Gene Roddenberry resulted in the destruction of all known prints in 1978. Or so it was believed for over twenty years, until a pirated copy surfaced in Latvia in 1999. Redubbed and re-edited, this has now been released on DVD under the title The Search For Cock, and is being marketed as sex comedy/Galaxy Quest - type Star Trek parody. Shot in 1969, but not released until 1973, the shoddy production follows the basic plot of The Cage surprisingly closely. Lured to an uncharted planet by a false distress call from a long-lost space ship, Captain Pikestaff of the Starship Zipperfish (yes, really), finds himself captured and imprisoned by a group of underground-dwelling alien pornographers. They want to film him breeding with their other human specimen - the pneumatic Mary-Ellen (Dolly Balongas), the sole survivor of the crashed space ship. The aliens (who, for some unexplained reason, have heads shaped like arses), are able to create powerful illusions based on the humans’ innermost sexual fears and fantasies. This is used an excuse for a series of tacky soft-focus erotic vignettes involving Pikestaff and Mary-Ellen ripping their clothes and engaging in much sweating and grunting against ‘exotic’ locales. Meanwhile, Pikestaff’s shipmates are prevented from rescuing him by the aliens’ invoking their deepest sexual desires - alien Science Officer Mr Pork (Fekhim Bazoombas, a top Turkish stand-up comic renowned for his hilarious bull-buggering routine), for instance, bends the young Russian navigator across his control panel and gives him a damn good ram-shackling, whilst shouting “Hold it steady Mr Jerkov”.

Despite being punished by illusions involving being chased around a castle by a man with a large chopper, and being spanked by a an elderly and obese schoolmistress, Pikestaff defies the aliens and succeeds in withholding his ejaculation in each scenario, thereby denying the aliens the ‘pop-shot’ vital for lucrative intergalactic sales of their film. In desperation the aliens kidnap two female crew-members - uptight First Officer ‘Number One’ and busty Yoeman Smiddy - in the hope that faced with a choice of breeding partners Pikestaff will finally do the deed. A further series of erotic fantasies follow involving the two new women - ‘Number One’ justifies her name by giving Pikestaff a golden shower in one particularly memorable sequence. However, the Captain continues to resist and his captors, finally convinced that he would prefer an eternity of hand relief to captive sex with three horny women, agree to release him and his crew. In a final revelation, we learn that the aliens had, in fact, been rendered impotent by a nuclear war aeons ago - their genitalia are shown as being horribly withered - and voyeurism via porn-movies is their only means of sexual stimulation. They also reveal that Mary-Ellen is in fact not the amazing 36DD she appears to be - this is an illusion they have created to boost her self-esteem - but is actually a 32A. She elects to stay on the planet and maintain the illusion.

The producers main coup was the casting of Jeffrey Hunter in the lead, recreating his role of Captain Pike (or Captain Pikestaff, as he is here). By 1969, his reputation tarnished by a Spanish paternity case and a three-in-a-bed scandal involving Zero Mostel in a gorilla suit and Lassie, Hunter’s career was in the doldrums and he was in no position to turn down work. Even in unbelievable filth such as this. Sadly, Hunter died within a few months of completing this film - choking to death on horse semen during a bizarre sex party in an Algerian brothel. Lurking behind the anglicised director’s credit of Berkeley Johnson was local director Ali Chabobs - most of whose previous film-making experience had been confined to the grainy three-minute animal buggery loops popular in Turkish bazaar peepshows. If you like wooden acting, cardboard sets and ‘special’ effects where you can see the string combined with heaving buttocks and erect nipples, this DVD is for you. But buy it quick - rumour has it that Paramount Pictures are currently trying to get it banned again.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Still Not a Football Blog...

I've been very restrained of late regarding the Tottenham situation. I didn't rush to post a despairing rant after yesterday's disaster at Stoke. I didn't panic after two of our players get sent off and another is stretchered off. No, I said to myself, now is the time to stay calm. Well, that feeling lasted until this morning, when I read that Juande Ramos was 'concerned' at Spurs' current plight. He's concerned? We're bottom of the league, with only two points, incapable of scoring a goal ourselves and heading for relegation, and he's concerned? For fuck's sake man, you're the bloody manager! You should be a bit more than just concerned! We are generally only 'concerned' over things which aren't yet a crisis, or even a problem, but might just cause a few difficulties at some point in the distant future. The situation at Spurs is already a crisis! Now is not the time to be concerned - now is the time to be bloody panicking!

This understatement of the situation by the manager just seems to sum up the air of complacency surrounding the upper echelons at the club. It's as if they don't really think we'll be relegated. Trust me we can - and at this rate will be. It's probably this attitude which alarms me most. Now is the time for urgent action. Leaving it until the next transfer window in January will simply seal our fate and condemn us to the Championship. As I've said before, the only thing we can easily change right now is the coach and his staff. But the problem is, who could we get to replace the 'master tactician' Ramos? Plenty of names have been bandied about - Rijkaard, Venables, Roy Keane, even 'Big Sam' Allardyce. The trouble is that none of these will agree to work with a 'Sporting Director' who has control over transfer activity. Neither will any other manager of any standing. So, unless Daniel Levy also sacks Comolli, I really don't see things improving, even if we do ditch Ramos. Sadly, I don't see him sacking Comolli - like Ramos, he's one of Levy's appointments, another man who was meant to usher in a brave new era at Spurs. Dropping him would be an even bigger admission of failure than sacking Ramos. So I just don't see it happening. Panic my friends! Panic!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumnal Musings

So, here we are in the middle of Autumn. Summer's but a memory and the leaves are tumbling from the trees. I love this time of year. I especially like it when its largely dry, as it has been around here, and the fallen leaves stay crisp, crackling underfoot as you walk. There's nothing quite as enjoyable as kicking your way through piles of leaves, hearing that wonderful 'swishing' noise as they scatter. Then there's the smell - I love the scent of Autumn leaves. Even better is that wonderful smell when they burn them on bonfires. Ah, the joys of Autumn. It's also, of course, the time of year when my central heating starts kicking in and, inevitably, malfunctioning. It's always the actuator which plays up. Take my advice, never use those bloody spring return types - the springs go after a few years and they won't switch the valve back to hot water only. This year I've acted swiftly and replaced the old actuator with a fully powered 'motor on/motor off' type. It works perfectly. Not bad for something I got off of Ebay for less than thirty quid.

Leaves and actuators aside, Autumn is also the time of year when we website owners can usually expect an upturn in traffic. However, this October, the slump which has gripped The Sleaze since the beginning of June continues. Every time there seems to be a recovery in traffic, it peters out after a few days and falls to seemingly even lower levels. I've given up trying to analyse what might be wrong with the site - my Google Page Rank (for what it's worth - I don't set much store by it), hasn't changed in over a year, I have more pages than ever correctly listed on Google, Yahoo and other leading search engines, and many of those pages (especially the index page) rank pretty highly for various relevant search terms. In theory, I should be doing a lot better. It could be that people are being distracted by things like the credit crunch and US elections - although that's never been a problem before - or maybe people just aren't interested in satire any more. It has occur ed to me that the collapse of Satire Search might have had an effect. Although I wasn't a member, I used o get a lot of referrals from sites which were on it. With the feed's demise, they've probably lost traffic, which has a knock on effect for me. Anyway, I'm going to press ahead with the site's redesign and relaunch it in the next couple of months, and see if things improve then. If not - God knows what I'll try next.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Empire Strikes Back?

Recent years have seen the release of a number of Hollywood blockbusters which have falsified history in order to glorify the US whilst patronising the rest of the world. U-571, for instance, attributed the capture of a German Navy enigma code machine in World War Two to the US Navy, when in fact the action was carried out by the British Royal Navy. The latest such movie to provoke outrage outside of the US is Pearl Harbour . There have been allegations that several anti-British sequences had to be cut from the film before its UK release. One of these apparently showed wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (played by Dennis Franz of NYPD Blue fame), concluding a secret deal with the Japanese to attack the US fleet in order to force the peace-loving US into the war. Churchill is seen personally authorising a shipment of gold bullion to Tokyo aboard a Royal Navy submarine as payment for the attack, and agreeing to provide British military assistance. Another deleted sequence is said to show British Spitfires being repainted in Japanese colours - their RAF roundels being painted over with the Japanese rising sun symbol - before flying from secret pacific bases to strafe the US fleet at Pearl Harbour. Whilst the film’s makers have angrily denied that any such sequences were ever filmed - claiming that it was just another internet hoax - there can be little doubt that much recent Hollywood output has shown a distinct anti-British bias. The Patriot showed British soldiers behaving like Nazi storm troopers during the US War of Independence, whilst Braveheart showed English troops doing much the same thing in Scotland during the 13th Century. Whilst some might argue that this is an apt response to theUK inflicting the likes of Phil Collins on the US, the beleaguered Brits are now set to strike back, courtesy of UK producer/director Sid Dukie.

Dukie is planning a series of TV dramas in which he plans to reveal the truth behind some of the US’s best-loved Presidents. He aims to start with George Washington, War of Independence General and first US President, long extolled by the US as an exemplar of truth, honesty and wholesome values. According to Dukie the truth was very different: “He was a broad-chasing booze hound! He lost his teeth in a bar-room brawl with a pimp over his refusal to pay the full rate for a prostitute he claimed had not given full satisfaction!” Washington replaced his lost teeth with a revolutionary set of painted wooden teeth. He quickly found that many women were sexually aroused by these teeth when he kept them in whilst performing oral sex. Consequently, he set up in business supplying wooden teeth as a sex-aid to American men - Benjamin Franklin was a particularly enthusiastic user - later branching out into carved wooden dildos and other sex toys. However, it was this trade which brought him into conflict with the British authorities. “The British Inland Revenue were after him for at least half a million pounds worth of unpaid sales taxes on these dildos”, Dukie claims. “No wonder he was so keen on starting a war - establishing an independent US government was the perfect way for Washington to evade his outstanding tax-bill!” Another target for Dukie’s series will be Thomas Jefferson, third President of the US. “When Jefferson wasn’t busy porking the slaves, he was obsessed with elephants”, reveals Dukie. This strange obsession started when the fossilised remains of prehistoric elephants such as mastodons and mammoths were discovered on the East Coast - Jefferson became convinced that living elephants roamed the hitherto unexplored interior of the continent. He consequently financed, at huge expense to the US tax-payer, several expeditions in search of these mythical beasts. Hundreds of men were lost in this vain quest. Nevertheless, Jefferson remained gripped by elephant-mania and took to performing elephant impressions at every opportunity. “At the drop of a hat he’d do his ‘white eared elephant’ impression by pulling out his trouser pocket linings, whipping out his plonker and trumpeting at the top of his voice - it caused quite a stir at official receptions and at state banquets”, the director claims. “By the end of his term of office he’d managed to train his schlepper to pick up buns, like an elephant’s trunk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long enough to reach his mouth with them.” Jefferson also insisted on importing several African elephants and allowing them to roam freely around the official Presidential residence. “Contemporary writers thought it was disgusting - elephants pissing and crapping everywhere. Apparently the smell was quite unbearable at the height of summer”, Dukie explained.

Abraham Lincoln, possibly the most revered of all US Presidents, is also exposed in the TV series. The stove-pipe hatted Republican with the silly beard apparently liked nothing better than to drink his own urine - claiming that it had many health-giving properties. In fact, so enamoured of these properties was Abe, that he actually bottled it and frequently presented samples to visiting dignitaries. “He was planning to market it commercially once his term as President ended”, Dukie believes. “Fortunately for the civilised world he was assassinated by a renegade urologist who was horrified by Lincoln’s plans. If Lincoln had lived the Americans might have been drinking urine to this day, instead of coffee!” Lincoln also enjoyed bathing in urine, and often held pool parties at which all of the guests would urinate into a communal bath, before leaping in and enjoying it while it was still warm. Dukie admits that finance and casting for the series has yet to be finalised, but if it goes ahead it will not be the first time that he has courted controversy with his anti-American sentiments. In 1996 his feature film Patton: Lust for a Glory Hole portrayed the celebrated Second World War US general (played by Bob Hoskins) as a closet homosexual and secret cross-dresser, whose rapid drive for Berlin 1944-45 was motivated by his love for a German pole-vaulter he had met at the 1928 Olympics. In the course of the movie Patton is seen bitch-slapping a GI under his command who criticises his shoes and lipstick during the 1943 Sicily campaign.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cod Wars - Round Two

Let's stick it to the Icelanders! Yeah, they're our new hate figures since the banking crisis resulted in lots of Brits finding that all that money they'd salted away in Icelandic owned banks wasn't guaranteed. Now, it wouldn't be so bad if it was only tax-evading rich bastards who were in danger of losing their shirts, but it turns out that various local authorities, police forces, fire brigades and health trusts have been putting their money into Icelandic accounts, attracted by the high interest rates. Oh, how the press have had a field day at the expense of the Icelanders! But don't worry - the government has waded in, freezing the UK assets of said Icelandic banks, using anti-terror legislation. Wonderful! Iceland is now the new al Qaeda in hate terms! But damn it, I say, the bastards deserve it! Some of us haven't forgotten the Cod Wars back in the 1970s, when those bastard Icelanders managed to claim victory, extended their territorial waters and proceeded to steal
our cod!

This is pay back time! At long last we've got them over a barrel! And let's face it, it isn't just the Cod Wars, there's also the matter of inflicting first Magnus Magnusson, then Bjork on us. They richly deserve everything that's coming to them! Now is the time for Gordon Brown to press home the advantage and force them to give us back our cod! If they want their assets unfrozen, they've got to let our trawlers fish in their waters! Oh, and how about paying compensation for all those trawlers and Royal Navy vessels they damaged by ramming them? And let's not forget getting some kind of undertaking from them that Bjork will never, ever be allowed to record or perform again. Only when we get these concessions can we truly claim victory!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Parallel Lives

I don't often get to see the local BBC lunchtime news. When I've caught it in the past it has always been presented by someone I've recognised as a reporter from the main evening programme, with the weather forecast provided by the regular evening weather forecaster. Imagine my surprise when I saw a lunchtime bulletin last week, to find it presented by people I didn't recognise - even the weather girl was different! I was quite nonplussed by this development and even began to suspect that I might have strayed through some hole in the space-time continuum and had landed up in a parallel universe. I began to wonder if, when Doctors came on, I'd find myself faced with an unfamiliar cast playing the familiar roles? Would I find that I'd landed in an alternate reality where Ralph Fiennes film career had never taken of, and he was playing Dr fenton in the popular daytime soap? Would cheery working class nurse Archie be portrayed by Jude Law? Dian Rigg as Vivian, the stern receptionist? Would I be treated to Ray Winstone as Dr West and Ioann Gruffudd as Dr Clay?

I was really beginning to look forward to this parallel universe version of Doctors, when the programme actually started. Sadly, it was the regular cast. It was the same with Diagnosis: Murder, Dick van Dyke was still plying Dr Sloane, rather than, say, Burt Reynolds. Switching channels, I found that Mel Gibson wasn't playing Alf Stewart in Home and Away. I can't deny that I was disappointed. I'd been getting pretty enthusiastic about this alternative universe I seemed to have fallen into: maybe John Lennon was still alive and presenting Songs of Praise; perhaps Martin Jol was still managing Spurs and we were topping the Premiership; maybe I didn't have such a shitty life? But sadly, it turned out that the local news had simply decided to have a dedicated lunchtime news team. Everything else was exactly as it had always been. Pity.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Burn, Bankers, Burn!

Wall Street was awash with blood yesterday after Christian fundamentalists descended on New York's financial district, frenziedly attacking anyone who looked like a banker. The bizarre scenes followed Republican Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin's claims that the failure of US financial institutions such as Lehmann Brothers was the result of their executives being in the service of Mammon. "Those bastards were sacrificing children to their heathen God in exchange for improved share dividends," declared one of the fundamentalists, as she bludgeoned a red braces wearing bank employee with a bible. "The liquidators found the blood-covered altar in the basement of Lehmann Brothers - there was a huge effigy of Mammon himself presiding over it, cast from solid gold!" The Palin camp moved quickly to try and disassociate their candidate from the carnage in the banking sector, claiming that she had merely been speaking figuratively, and hadn't meant to imply that bankers were literally devil-worshipping child murderers. "I simply meant to say that the unregulated pursuit of personal gain on the part of certain members of the financial sector was in danger of sucking the life blood from ordinary Americans," Palin explained in an official statement designed to clarify her position. However, within hours of this 'clarification', reports started flooding in from the mid-West that hundreds of small town banks had been besieged by angry mobs of citizens waving sharpened stakes and blazing torches, shouting "Kill the vampires!

Critics have claimed that Palin as a track record of, supposedly unwittingly, inspiring such atrocities, pointing to last year's Alaskan witch hunts which culminated in two sciene teachers being burned at the stake for teaching evolutionary theory. "Again, it was a case of people taking Governor Palin's words out of context," explained an exasperated aide. "Some misguided individuals confused her personal belief in creationism over evolution with her call for action to stop children's indoctrination with unChristian ideas and values through the media." Campaign organisers have argued that these continued faux pas aren't her fault. "Look, it hasn't nothing to do with the fact that she is incapable of expressing herself in unambiguous, straightforward terms, without reference to religious imagery," said spokesperson Zeke Dungee. "But this sort of thing is bound to happen when you are trying to appeal to a bunch of idiotic rednecks incapable of understanding anything in other than in literal terms. It isn't Sarah Palin's fault that eight years of George W Bush has so alienated educated voters that we're being forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel and court a lower class of supporter." Palin's running mate, Senator John McCain, has so far been unavailable for comment on these developments, but was seen sitting in his campaign bus, head in his hands mumbling, "Oh Jesus Christ, why did I pick her? What have I done?"

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Monster Markets

Millions of dollars were wiped off of the value of shares yesterday, after rumours that a giant octopus was attacking New Jersey swept Wall Street. Amazing scenes ensued as panic stricken brokers rushed to sell shares in East Coast insurance companies, property management firms and real estate firms. "When giant sea creatures start wrecking buildings on the Hudson, property is the last thing you want your money in," explained Whib Futter, a financial analyst at New York's Labium Brothers Bank. "Once that sort of thing has happened, people just don't want to live anwhere they see as vulnerable not only that, but just think of the insurance claims!" Futter believes that the shares crash would have been even worse if the monster involved had been amphibious. "Then far more people would have been threatened - potentially the whole of the US could have been under threat," he muses. "Just look at that scare back in the 1970s, when that story about the giant penguin coming ashore in California did the rounds - billions were lost in the ensuing panic. At least two banks went under as a result." Share prices experienced a modest recovery when it emerged that the rumours were completely unfounded - the result of a broker overhearing a colleague describing a vivid dream he's had after falling asleep whilst watching It Came From Beneath the Sea . "This latest farce just goes to show the need for greater regulation of the financial sector," opines Dr Rock Astershagg of the Harvard School of Catering. "It's utterly ludicrous that the fate of the economies of the western world could be dependent upon what old film is on the late show!" However, Sir John Poncey-Twyatt, of the London Stock Exchange, rejects such claims, believing that the octopus scare was simply an isolated incident. "With the current instability in the banking sector, the markets are unusually jumpy and susceptible to rumour. Under normal circumstances this sort of thing wouldn't happen," says the eminent merchant banker, who also believes that such scares are purely an American phenomena. "Here in the UK, we breed a different type of broker - far too level-headed to be worried by silly stories about monsters!" Nevertheless, only two weeks earlier, there had been a massive run on sterling and millions wiped off the value of bank shares, after stories that a mutated moth which fed on the paper used to make bank notes, had been released into the Bank of England vaults by al Qaeda terrorists. "Well, obviously that's completely different," he splutters. "Mutated money-eating moths are far more credible than giant octopuses! Besides, the source was impeccable - a friend of a chap who'd gone to Eton with the brother-in-law of a very senior Secret Intelligence Service fellow! Straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak!"

According to Astershagg, the financial markets have long been vulnerable to insane rumours. "The 1929 stock market crash was the result of mass hysteria triggered by stories that an evil race of winged troglodytes had emerged from a huge crack in the ground in Nebraska," he reveals. "It started when a young commodities broker called Nathan Bentwick ran onto the trading floor with his trousers around his ankles, bleeding profusely from the anus, screaming that he'd been taken roughly from behind by a flying ape whilst walking though Central Park." In the ensuing chaos rumours that the troglodytes had invaded Manhattan and were ravishing the male population spread like wild fire. "They thought it was the end of civilisation and just sold everything," Astershagg says. "People were so terrified by the prospect of being ass-raped by the creatures they were jumping of off skyscrapers to escape their imagined foe! Half the banking community started dressing as women in an attempt to avoid being sodomised by the flying apes." The madness only started to abate after the unfortunate Bentwick was committed to a lunatic asylum, following his arrest for forcing his way into City Hall and masturbating over the mayor's desk. In more recent times, oil prices rocketed after supposedly reliable reports that the Iranian government was using its nuclear energy programme to revive the Ayatollah Khomeini, and mutate him into a giant. "The CIA allegedly believed that they were going to use this giant Muslim cleric to attack Middle Eastern oil field," says the academic. "The whole thing turned out to be a hoax - the leaked CIA report had been faked by a couple of college kids as a prank." Despite such evidence of the irrationality of the markets, Poncey-Twyatt believes that the blame lies squarely with the authorities. "Look, if the government got its bloody finger out and brought in some proper measures to defend the country against monster attacks, then people wouldn't panic when they hear these rumours," he says. "Clearly, what we need isn't more regulation, but giant laser cannon mounted on the roof of Parliament. That'll calm the markets down. It stands to reason, doesn't it?"

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Room With a View

For the first time in several years the council have cut back the foliage in the parkland bordering my back garden, meaning that I now have an uninterrupted view of the main road. It also means that my kitchen window can clearly be seen from the flats above the shops opposite. Consequently, I am no longer able to urinate in the kitchen sink if I'm too lazy to go upstairs to the bathroom when I get back from the pub. A good alternative to the sink is an empty plastic milk bottle - I can use one of these unseen from the window. I find that, on average, two pints of beer initially produce half a pint of urine (if the markings on those bottles are accurate).

All of which reminds of that weirdo I used to work with who could sometimes be found stood at the urinals simultaneously peeing and drinking from a coffee mug. What the hell was he doing, measuring his through-put? At other times he could be found stood there eating various types of fruit, including bananas, oranges and apples. For all I know he might also have had kiwi fruit or a mango whilst he stood there, but such fruit were never observed. Still, it could have been worse - he could have been shoving them up his bum. Perhaps he was. We just never saw him.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Whatever Happened To...That Bloke Who Bashed Himself Over the Head With a Tray?

Do you remember that bloke whose entire act was to whack himself over the head with a tea tray? He used to be on TV all the time, on things like Crackerjack. Basically, he'd get a tin tea tray and smash it over his head in time to a backing tape - usually something like 'Mule Train'. And that was it. Nothing else. The tray ended up bent out of shape, and he always finished up with a huge livid bruise on his bonce, (needless to say, he was bald as a coot). For some reason, the other day I found myself wondering whatever happened to him? (Apart from suffering brain damage and ending up a drooling vegetable, perhaps). Did smacking yourself over the head simply go out of fashion as a form of entertainment? Or was it more sinister? Was pressure brought to bear by worried parents who thought he was setting a bad example - after all, seeing someone causing themselves massive cranial contusions might encourage kiddies to do the same thing? (Actually, to be fair here, I have to admit that as a child, I did once hit myself over the head with a tray after seeing him on TV, so maybe there's some truth in this. I know that my mother wasn't too pleased - I put quite a dent in the tray).

There's no doubt that his act would never be allowed these days on health and safety grounds alone. Quite apart from the risk of children harming themselves in copycat incidents, there's no way any TV station in the UK would be able to broadcast footage of someone self-harming in this way. Which, of course, raises the question of exactly why a grown man would choose to publicly smash himself over the head with a blunt instrument? Was he suffering from some kind of psychiatric disorder? Was he gripped by an overwhelming urge to try and render himself senseless? Did he whack himself over the head whilst masturbating, or making love to his wife, (or did he smack her around the buttocks with a tray during the act, or is this just one of my fantasies)? Or was he just a poor bastard utterly desperate for fame, yet devoid of any discernible talent? In which case it's a pity he isn't still around, as he'd probably go down a storm on dross like Britain's Got Talent.

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