Monday, March 30, 2009

Celebrity Autopsy

It has been confirmed that recently deceased reality TV star Jade Goody will be the first subject of new Channel 4 series Celebrity Autopsy. "This is the perfect way to keep her in the public eye, even after death," said a spokesperson for the production company making the series. "Being addicted to fame, this is exactly what she would have wanted!" The series, in which, every week, a recently dead celebrity's body will be given a post-mortem, live on screen, by a team of pathologists, has already been condemned as tasteless by TV watchdogs, even before it has aired. "Look, all the people we'll be cutting up are volunteers - it isn't as if we're just going to dig them up without permission. And we'll wait until they die of disease, violence or natural causes - we won't be killing them specially for the series," explains the programme's spokesperson. "I really don't know what the fuss is about - this is no different to reality TV where participants are happy to have every aspect of their lives laid bare, whilst viewers enthusiastically spy on them! It's just that in our version the participants are dead and it's their vital organs being laid bare." The programme makers also believe that Celebrity Autopsy has an educational value. "This represents a priceless opportunity for viewers to find out what really makes celebrities tick. Or ticked, rather," says the spokesperson. "People will soon appreciate the perils of the celebrity lifestyle - all those years of drink and drug abuse - when they see those diseased livers, inflamed kidneys and tar-filled lungs!"

Jade Goody's post-mortem adventures won't end with her appearance on Celebrity Autopsy, however. It has also been revealed that, following her live TV autopsy, her body will be taken to a top London taxidermist, where it will be stuffed and mounted. "This will be a perfect way for her to stay in touch with her public," a publicist claimed. "After all, why should death be a barrier to photo opportunities? The taxidermist we've engaged has promised us that he'll ensure that she'll always look her best for her public - no green tinges or bits falling off." The publicist denied a tabloid report that Goody's PR firm were considering engaging the services of a professional puppeteer, with a view to attaching strings to the embalmed corpse in order to animate it during public appearances. "For God's sake - that would just be sick," the publicist stated, looking repulsed by the notion. He also denied that the stuffed Goody had been sold to OK magazine, for use in the publication's advertising campaigns. "There will be no exclusive deals with any media outlet," he confirmed. "Jade was always accessible to her public in life, and that won't change now she's dead."

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Getting an Opinion

Is it just me? Am I the only person outraged by the ongoing allegations that our government has been complicit in the torture of 'terror suspects' held in Guantanamo Bay? Surely I can't be the only citizen of this country deeply disturbed by claims that British intelligence officers were not only happy to use 'intelligence' obtained via torture, but were also quite happy to come up with the questions for the torturers to ask? I only ask because of the apparent lack of reaction to these revelations. Personally, I would have expected some kind of massive public backlash, with demonstrations demanding an end to the erosion of our civil rights. But no, not a thing. What does seem to elicit a passionate reaction from the great British public is the death of a minor celebrity famous only for having appeared on reality TV programmes. Don't get me wrong - I think that Jade Goody's untimely death from cancer was a tragedy, but unless you knew her personally, or were related to her, then this level of public grief is wholly inappropriate.

Perhaps the problem is that the public haven't yet been told what to think about the torture allegations by the media. Call me cynical if you like, but it does seem to me that most people are increasingly reliant upon the media for their opinions. After all, it was the tabloids who decided that Jade Goody's plight was a tragedy of national significance and that we should all be in mourning for her, (never mind that it was these self-same tabloids which had labelled her a 'pig', 'racist scum' and far worse in the past - they'd changed their minds, so we had to as well). Of course, part of the problem with the torture business is that the alleged victim is clearly a 'foreigner', despite being a UK resident, and a Muslim, leading to an implication in some coverage that he somehow 'deserved it'. Coupled to this an implication that under certain circumstances - specifically, to prevent terror attacks - torture is permissible. Frankly, I'm profoundly depressed by the fact that we are living in a society where such notions can even be entertained. No civilised society should even consider torture to be legitimate means of gaining intelligence. Nobody, regardless of race, creed or colour, should be subjected to such treatment. But again, as long as it was happening in some faraway place, that somehow absolves our rulers of any moral responsibility, let alone legal liability. At least, that's the way the media would seem to like you to see it.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Social Terror Networks

So, the government wants to monitor our social networking activities as part of its fight against terrorism. Now, quite apart from the civil rights issues raised by such a move, the main thing which requires challenging here is the government's apparent belief that we are under constant threat from an all pervasive terror organisation hell-bent on destroying the UK. Such a world view smacks of paranoia, or, at the very least, of having seen too many James Bond films. What concrete evidence is there for the existence of such a threat? OK, I know all about the World Trade Centre, the Bali bombings and the London bombings over the past few years, but the reality is that - despite the loss of life involved in them - these were pretty much isolated incidents, rather than being part of a co-ordinated campaign. But none of this deters the government from pursuing its campaign of alarmism. Only the other day we had the Home Secretary telling us that the risk of a 'Dirty Bomb' attack on the UK was now higher than ever, indeed the situation was 'pink and beige striped critical' (or whatever system of alarmist alerts they use now). The 'evidence' for this assessment? The 'fact' that countries like Iran pursuing nuclear power programmes made it much more likely that 'terror groups' could obtain the materials needed to build such a device. So, no concrete intelligence on planned attacks at all, just more speculation.

It seems that the government is intent upon recreating the mind-set of the 1950s, with its 'Reds Under the Beds' scares and the promotion of an amorphous 'communist threat'. The trouble is, with all those terror 'show trials' (in which people are accused of plotting to blow things up on the basis of idle comments made in private conversations), and the detention without charge or trial of alleged terror suspects, it all seems more like the Soviet Union in the 1950s. Getting back to the original point - the surveillance of social networking activity - this just underlines how woolly the government's thinking is on terrorism. Bearing in mind that terrorist organisations work in small cells, known only to each other, is it really likely that they're going to discuss their plans on what are essentially public networks like Facebook? Moreover, the whole strategy is dependent upon knowing who the terrorists are in the first place. Unless they're all members of the 'Facebook Crazy Fundamentalists Group', or they're all 'friends' of Osama bin Laden's MySpace (where you can hear his latest rantings and read his terror atrocity blog), the Security Services are going to have to trawl through vast amounts of absolute drivel posted by regular users of such sites. But of course, this is like many of the 'initiatives' announced by the government - ill thought out and designed to grab headlines rather than actually be effective.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Search Terms of Endearment

I've mentioned before that most visitors to The Sleaze seem to arrive there as a result of badly phrased search terms - usually for pornography. Whilst many of these terms are completely moronic - 'my wife naked', for instance - some are merely mystifying. Just lately the term 'sleaze groin' has been bringing a fair amount of traffic my way. I have to concede that I haven't a bloody clue what a 'sleaze groin' is, or why anybody would be searching for it. To be frank, it sounds like a personal hygiene problem to me. Soap, water and the judicious application of a shower head might be the solution. Brian White over at Glossy News reckons that it sounds like 'broken crotch' in broken English. That's such a bizarre phrase in itself I think I'm going to have to find a way of incorporating it into a future story. I'm not sure how, although it does sound like a sporting injury - you could imagine hearing that David Beckham had been ruled out of the England squad after suffering a 'broken crotch' in training - so maybe I'll have to write another sport-themed story.

Another off-kilter search term which has recently caught my eye is 'Olive Oyl masturbation'. Now, it might be that this is a mis-typing of 'olive oil masturbation'. In which case I'd know that it was simply someone looking for advice on the best type of lubrication to avoid a dangerous build-up of friction whilst self-pleasuring. Indeed, I would probably say 'Good for them for going for an environmentally-friendly form of organic lubrication rather than a petroleum-based alternative, which would only increase their carbon footprint'. However, knowing the kind of sad perverts who surf the web, I'm pretty sure that the spelling is correct and that it was some sicko looking for pictures of Popeye's girlfriend wanking. Using his pipe, perhaps. I must apologise for the horrendous image that last remark must have conjured up. Once imagined, it is difficult to forget. Every time you close your eyes you are going to see that skinny cartoon lady shoving a corn cob pipe up her nether regions - which is more than the perv putting that search term into Google found when he visited The Sleaze.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Right, Wrong and All Points In Between

You know, I always thought that as I got older, everything would become clearer. I naively believed that as I became more experienced and worldly wise, all those grey areas would recede and difficult moral dilemmas would become easier to deal with as I developed a clearer-cut sense of right and wrong. Of course, it hasn't turned out that way at all. If anything, everything seems far less clear to me than it did ten years ago. Things I used to think I was certain about I now have severe doubts over. As for my moral compass - it's obviously spent too long sitting next to a magnet. I haven't a clue which way is true North any more. Take the most recently posted story over at The Sleaze - Celebrity Death Watch - for instance. Now, you might think that I could feel smug about the fact that I'd written a satire inspired by Jade Goody's terminal illness which took the moral high ground, in that it avoided mocking her, instead focusing upon the exploitation for profit and circulation by the media of her plight. But then I got to thinking - wasn't I just as guilty of exploiting her death as the mass media? After all, I was reaping the benefit of lots of extra traffic thanks to her demise, which had made my story instantly topical?

My obvious defence would be that as The Sleaze is a non-commercial site and carries no advertising, I'm not actually gaining any financial benefit from this. But doesn't that make it worse, in a way? Doesn't that make me guilty of using another human being's death merely as a means of stroking my ego? What a bastard! But at least I had the decency to wait until she was dead before I published my Jade Goody-related story (unlike certain other self-styled 'satire' sites), some might point out. At least that shows some degree of respect and sensitivity, doesn't it? Not really, no. The fact is that the story was going to be published yesterday regardless. It was pure coincidence that she died on the Sunday morning and I was only able to complete and post the story by the evening. During the intervening period the story was edited, but nothing was altered as a result of Jade Goody's death. Once again, nothing is quite as clear cut as it might appear at first glance.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Peeping Google

"It's bloody outrageous - I feel as if I've been cyber-raped!" declares Freda Glinthern, a thirty-two year old Londoner who was shocked to find herself featured in a compromising position on Google's new Street View application. "People should be able to pleasure themselves with any type of fruit or vegetable they like in the privacy of their own bedrooms, without being snapped by bloody perverts and having the pictures spread all over the internet!" Miss Glinthern's street - Felcher's Way - quickly became the most clicked-on location once word of her 'display' spread across the web, registering more than two million hits in an hour. "I can almost feel their eyes crawling over my body," she exclaims. "Just the thought of millions of grubby little nerds whacking off over that picture makes me feel physically sick!"

Whilst Google quickly removed the offending picture, following a complaint from Glinthern, critics of the new application still believe that it is little more than a peeping Tom's charter. "Every voyeur with a web connection will be going over Street View with a fine tooth comb, looking through people's bedroom windows in the hope of catching a flash of breast or buttocks," says Tory backbencher Harry Chopper. "Nobody will be able to feel safe in their own homes anymore - thanks to this application the threat of cyber-peeping will be ever-present!" Chopper also points out that it isn't just people naked in their own homes who are at risk. "This thing makes it absolutely impossible to do anything in public, like scratching your arse on the street, or taking a piss in telephone booth, without the risk of being caught on camera," he says. "They've already had to remove a picture of some poor bugger throwing up over a vicar. The trouble is that by the time you realise they've got your picture, it's too late - millions of people could already have seen you taking a dump on your ex-wife's doorstep!" Chopper has categorically denied being the man pictured leaving a Hoxton sex shop on Street View.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extreme Love Machines (Part Three)

John Lennon’s use of transcendental masturbation techniques - taught to him by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi - to exert a powerful conscious control over his groovy gravy-giver, is also featured in the controversial Extreme Love Machines DVD. “He could get it to wriggle like a snake, moving its head from side to side, it was quite amazing. He was fond of performing his ‘snake charming act’, where it rose up from his open fly as he played a recorder,” reminisces former groupie Ginny Plowter, who also witnessed Lennon perform even more astounding acts with his old man. “He once stuck a light bulb on the end of his erection, and it lit up! It was incredible! Ringo stuck a lampshade on it and John stood in the corner of the studio pretending to be a standard lamp for over an hour!” Lennon’s penis was apparently also a master of disguise, previously unseen footage shows him using a a false moustache and his granny glasses to transform his knob into Groucho Marx, before quiffing his pubes with brylcreem to impersonate Elvis. It is also said that Lennon could perform an excellent impression of fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, although he used his arse rather than his knob for this.

The video also features the lighter side of talented celebrity todgers, including scenes of Errol Flynn demonstrating his magnificent member’s sporting prowess. He is shown using his knob as a five iron (scoring a hole in one whilst playing golf with the Queen Mother in the early 1950s), a pool cue (roundly beating David Niven at bar billiards), and a cricket bat (scoring four consecutive sixes from googlies bowled by Boris Karloff in 1938). There is also film of him playing the piano with it, including a spirited performance of ‘Roll Out The Barrel’ at a Hollywood party hosted by Cary Grant in 1949., and a duet performed with Jayne Mansfield at a 1951 celebrity charity concert - the combination of her breasts and his penis managing a very credible rendition of ‘You Are My Sunshine’. Nevertheless, Extreme Love Machines does conclude on a controversial, and macabre, note, with its claims that former Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain actually used his lamb cannon, rather than a shotgun, to take his own life - sticking the end in his mouth and pumping. “I’ve seen the real crime scene photos,” says rock journalist Rick Wedge. “He had an incredibly powerful cannon - it nearly blew his head off, there was semen pouring out of his ears.” Police and family deny such rumours, describing them as “vile”.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Calling the Cops

Channel Four's adaptation of David Peace's 'Red Riding' quartet has been getting a fair amount of flak from some quarters lately for its portrayal of the police in 1970s and 1980s West Yorkshire as being corrupt and brutal. The main criticisms seem to be that there is actually no history of corruption on the part of West Yorkshire police during the period portrayed, nor was there any evidence that they routinely coerced confessions from suspects, fitted up innocent people or resorted to murder in order to cover up their misdemeanours. Now obviously, Peace's novels are clearly works of fiction which present an alternative version of 1970s and 1980s West Yorkshire which acts as a microcosm of the political sleaze and corruption which was going on elsewhere in the UK. It distills a multitude of events into a single, fictionalised narrative. Whilst corruption, brutality and perversion of the course of justice may not have occurred in the real West Yorkshire on the scale depicted in the 'Red Riding' novels, the fact is that during the period they cover, corruption was endemic in some police forces (the Metropolitan police launched a whole operation - 'Countryman' - to try and root it out), and the investigative methods used by some forces was highly questionable. Let's not forget that the West Midlands Serious Crimes Squad was disbanded after its history of falsifying evidence and fitting up of suspects was exposed.

Of direct relevance to 'Red Riding' was the wrongful conviction of Stefan Kizko, a man with learning difficulties, for the murder of a young girl in Rochdale in 1975. This is paralleled in Peace's narrative by the wrongful conviction of Micheal Myshkin, a young man with learning difficulties, for the murder of three young girls in West Yorkshire. Significantly, in the real life Kizko case, which involved the police withholding evidence and pressuring Kizko into making a confession in order to secure a conviction, one of the detectives involved was later also to be part of the Yorkshire Ripper investigation, a fictionalized version of which is featured in the novels. Indeed, one of the criticisms of the novels and TV adaptation is that it implies the Ripper investigation was hampered by corruption, whereas the police were simply incompetent. The Kizko case and its links to the Ripper investigation seem to imply that it went beyond mere incompetence. But of course, this sort of stuff is all a thing of the past, isn't it? Sadly, the recent conviction of a London taxi driver for drugging and sexually assaulting female passengers revealed the police's complete mishandling of the investigation, which allowed the sex offender to continue his activities unchecked for several years.

All of which, rather labouriously, brings me to my own recent experiences of the police. Now, from the off, let me make it clear that I have no axe to grind with the police - I have enough relatives who are police officers - and my previous experiences with my local force have been quite good. However, in the course of my proper job I recently came across a cannabis farm in a property I had to attend. Now, I have no intention of elaborating upon the nature of my job, but suffice to say that I was at the property in an official capacity. Anyway, what I found there wasn't just a couple of plants and a bong. Oh no, it was a full fledged farm - the whole house had been converted to the cultivation of the plants. There were several hundred thousand pounds worth of the stuff there. Naturally, I called the police, in the full expectation that he entire county drugs squad would descend on the place, sirens blaring and lights flashing. An hour later, nobody had turned up. So, I called again, emphasising the extent of the cannabis farm. I was promised that officers would attend promptly. Half an hour later a single police woman turned up. To be fair to her, once she saw the farm, she got straight on to her control room in the expectation of the drugs squad being called out. After another three-quarters of an hour we got a single Detective Sergeant. Half an hour after that a forensics guy put in an appearance. Now, I know that I wasn't being attacked and that I hadn't stumbled upon a serial killer's den, I don't think it right that I should be left for an hour and a half guarding a cannabis factory! Particularly as it was less than a mile from my local police station.

I might have been willing to pass this off as an isolated incident if it wasn't for the fact that, a couple of weeks later, a colleague had a similar experience when he reported a suspected firearm at a property. After an hour two very scruffy officers - who looked like hey might have escaped from 'Red Riding' - turned up and made a cursory search of the premises, which lasted less than five minutes, declaring that they couldn't find anything and departing. Several knives, an axe and a slingshot were subsequently discovered on site. If this is the way the police respond to legitimate requests for assistance, then is it any wonder that people seem increasingly reluctant to report crimes, and would rather take the law into their own hands? No wonder many people seem to have no respect for the police - they know they won't do anything, even when a crime is pointed out to them. I found it especially galling that, the week after the cannabis farm incident, I had to endure the BBC running a series of radio reports about ow the police were cracking down on such farms, and even accompanied them on a raid! Incredibly, the farm I discovered has never been mentioned in the local press and nobody has ever thanked me for my part in a major drugs bust! Ultimately, I suppose I should think myself lucky, I suppose. After all, the police could have been like those in 'Red Riding', in which case they would have turned up quickly and beaten me up for having the audacity to report a crime, before making off with the drugs, selling them and framing me for the whole thing. Mind you, judging by their performance, I doubt very much that my local police could even be bothered to be corrupt - that might involve them actually having to go out and collect the back handers. Far too much trouble, I'm sure.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Extreme Love Machines (Part Two)

Critics of Extreme Love Machines also fear that scenes taken during the making of Dirty Dozen featuring Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin engaging in a contest to establish who had the toughest todger, will encourage young males to emulate the tough-guy stars by attempting to lift ten pound weights with their penises - resulting in a spate of snapped shooting irons. They are particularly disturbed by shots of a triumphant Bronson winning the competition by sticking his knob into a pile of red hot coals, claiming that it has already resulted in several cases of singed pubic hair and blistered bell ends as impressionable teenagers try to use their penises as pokers. “If this video isn’t stopped now, I shudder to think what might happen during the Summer barbecue season,” said a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents . However, the video’s producer, Rod Walloper, has defended Extreme Love Machines, pointing out that it also shows the penis being used for artistic purposes. In an amazing piece of home movie recorded by his one-time girlfriend Trixie Tenpin, T-Rex’s Marc Bolan is shown using his knob, quite literally, as a skin flute.

He achieved this by piercing his penis with a knitting needle to create a column of finger holes, and then blowing down it with the aid of a specially made brass mouthpiece (designed to reach from his lips to the head of his erect penis). Through a careful manipulation of his fingers over the holes, he was, incredibly, able to play tunes on his trouser trumpet, usually working up to a crescendo which climaxed with him ejaculating. “He had to be careful to cover up all the holes when he came, otherwise jism would spray out of them, drenching everyone in a four-foot radius,” says Tenpin. “Also, if the holes got blocked as he was blowing, his scrotum would inflate - which was highly dangerous, as there was always a chance it could burst.” Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull was so impressed by Bolan’s skin-flute playing that he had his own penis similarly pierced for a time. “He never mastered the technique,” Tenpin reveals. “Anderson could never maintain an erection long enough - as his clothes-prop began to sag, so the note he was playing would go flat. He tried everything to try and keep it up longer - porn, naked women, wooden spoons strapped to his knob - but in the end he was forced to give it up and let the holes heal up.”

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Extreme Love Machines

Politicians, church leaders and moral campaigners are calling for a new novelty video - Extreme Love Machines - to be banned, fearing that it could cause serious injuries amongst young children if they attempt to emulate the bizarre acts it portrays. This supposed documentary, released to cash in on the lucrative Christmas market, features hitherto unseen footage of male celebrities performing strange acts with their penises. Campaigners are most worried about the sequences showing male genitalia being used as deadly weapons, particularly a segment featuring the late Bruce Lee. Footage allegedly recorded during the making of Enter The Dragon shows him apparently breaking planks and bricks with his staff of life. According to the video, Lee’s mastery of Zen Masturbation techniques allowed the diminutive action star to make his penis as hard as steel, or limp but highly agile: further footage shows him twirling it above his head like a martial arts weapon, before felling several opponents with it.

“The male member is a potentially lethal weapon in untrained hands,” commented Liberal Democrat MP Daniel Alresford, a long-term campaigner against ‘video nasties’. “An inexpertly handled erect penis in the playground could easily result in some poor child having their eye poked out!” Campaigners are equally unhappy with behind-the-scenes footage filmed during the making of the Magnificent Seven, showing Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner holding quick draw contests with their porridge guns, before holding a target shooting contest. One scene depicts MCQueen shooting a cigar from Brynner’s mouth from twenty yards without splashing the celebrity slaphead’s face. Elsewhere, the film claims that renowned 1920s bank robber John Dillinger once used his famously large todger to hold up a bank. Alresford claims that these sequences have already led to several copycat crimes in Liverpool, with young children threatening shopkeepers with erect penises - if they refuse to hand over the contents of their tills, the children ejaculate all over their confectionery displays before fleeing.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Domesticating Violence

The government's new initiatives on domestic violence have been broadly welcomed by men's groups. "Keeping a register of men involved in domestic violence is exactly what's needed," says Ned Weddernid, of the National Alliance for Male Empowerment. "Registered wife beaters are clearly the way ahead - for too long violence against women has been conducted in an entirely amateur fashion. Perhaps now we'll see some proper professional standards applied." Weddernid's organisation believes that domestic violence against women has gained a poor image due to a lack of finesse on the part of its practitioners. "It's usually perpetrated by some drunken oaf with absolutely no training or subtlety, with the result that he victim ends up looking like they've gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson and totally incapable of performing any useful function for weeks," he declares. "What's needed is a more scientific application of violence by a highly trained individual, which will achieve the objective of teaching the victim a lesson without incapacitating them."

He believes that the new system will also be beneficial to women. "What self-respecting woman would want to be beaten senseless by an amateur, when she can be chastised and dominated by a professional?" Weddernid asks. "If wife beaters are all licenced, then all women have to do is check with the national register to ensure that they're being slapped by a safe pair of hands." Weddernid points out that other registration schemes have been highly successful in regulating specialist fields of offending. "Just look at sex offenders - everyone wants to get on the register, it's considered a real badge of honour," he claims. "Before the advent of registered sex offenders just any grubby little pervert could set themselves up as a deviant. Nowadays a real degree of professionalism is required if you want to make the grade. Ask any woman and they'll tell you how much better it is to be felt up by a pro, rather than flashed at by some rank amateur who can't even get his member out of his pants without fumbling it!"


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nazi Business

I think I might have upset some neo-Nazis. That is to say I hope I've upset some neo-Nazis. To elaborate, my story Gay Nazis Must Die was linked to by a white-supremacist site. Now, I'm not going to give these people any publicity by naming or linking to them, but I have to admit that the site scared me. It really is hard to believe that such things actually exist. Billing itself as 'The Voice of Progressive Racism' (!), it poses such burning questions as 'Why do people fear "racism"?' (because it is stupid and irrational, and admitting to being a racist will surely mark you out as an ignorant bastard, perhaps?), and refers to President Obama as President Obongo, claiming that he's a gay drug addict. All pretty sane and balanced stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Taking all this into account, I'm left wondering exactly what these nutters make of my story (and a lot of them have clicked on it). I can only assume that it was the word 'Nazi' in the title which led to it being picked up from the RSS feed. Sadly, whilst I hope the bastards are offended by it, I suspect that the morons will think that it is somehow endorsing their 'values', despite the fact that I make it as obvious as possible exactly what I think of them. One thing I've learned about the web is that a lot of the people who use it have no critical faculties whatsoever and take everything they read at face value. Add to that the fact that extreme right-wingers have no sense of humour (at least, not in the sense that any normal person would understand humour), means that the people linking to the story from this source will ever recognise it as satire, or themselves as it's target.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

The Joker is Still Wild

The recently departed Josiah Jacobs’ career as a practical joker stretched back to his schooldays. His earliest prank was when he scraped a dog turd off of the street, sprinkled it with multi-coloured hundreds and thousands, and put it on a paper plate in the desserts section of the school cafeteria. There, it was purchased and eaten by the games master. “He was off sick for a week”, chortled Jacobs, as he described the incident to a newspaper reporter. A friend from his university days recalls Jacobs undergraduate pranks. “Whilst rugby club types thought urinating in beer glasses in the union bar was the height of humour, Josiah went a stage further. Drinkers would often come back from the toilets to find a huge floater in their pint mug. There was trouble one night when the Head of the Physics department swallowed one down without looking - he had to have his stomach pumped at the local hospital!”

Whilst politicians have figured large in Jacobs’ pranks, he also targeted celebrities from the world of entertainment. He once knocked on the door of “comedian” Syd Little, dressed as a policeman, and told him that his comedy partner Eddie Large had just been killed in a car accident. Syd immediately suffered a near-fatal heart attack. According to official sources, had “Supersonic” Syd died, Jacobs could have been in line for an OBE. In another celebrated incident, Jacobs sent love letters, purportedly from Carry On star Kenneth Williams, to popular wrestler 'King Kong' Kirk. As a result of this, Kirk stormed into Williams’ dressing room at a West End theatre one night and gave him a good hard rogering. Williams could barely walk for two weeks afterwards and told friends that it rated as a highlight in his career - better even than the 1965 blow job received from playwright Joe Orton in the gents toilets at Kings Cross. More recently, Jacobs succeeded in connecting the shower in comic Jim Davidson’s dressing room to an effluent pipe, resulting in Davidson being showered in raw sewage minutes before a Royal Command Performance. He had no choice but to perform in front of The Queen covered in reeking raw sewage, vainly swatting at the flies buzzing around him. Davidson reputedly had to have his ears syringed six times to dislodge all of the crap from them.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Crisis of Capitalism?

You know what always puzzles me about capitalism? The fact that so many people who profess to be in favour of it start squealing very loudly when they actually see it in operation. Take this recession, for instance. The more companies which go to the wall, the more the Tories shout about how terrible it is and blame the government for not doing anything. Now, as I understand it, this is surely just the normal operation f the market - firms which can no longer compete, whether that's due to poor management, lack of flexibility or poor financing, will inevitably fail or be swallowed up by competitors. If they want to survive they need to diversify, secure better financing or cut costs. According to classical economic theory, which underpins the concept of capitalism, the state has no business intervening in this process. Market forces must be allowed to operate freely.

It's the same with all those Little Englanders and members of the Blue Rinse Brigade who bemoan the passing of the village shop and wring their hands in despair at the advent of those evil supermarkets and their out-of-town developments which have killed local commerce. The fact is that this is simply capitalism in action. Those tinpot village shops with their crappy selection of goods and over-inflated prices, just couldn't complete with the low prices, huge range of goods and sheer convenience of the superstores. Once again, it is the market in operation. Those horrible supermarkets are able to satisfy the needs of consumers far more effectively than those little shps ever could. They are more competitive. Now, surely that's what these true blue Britons want, isn't it? After all, they inevitably vote Tory, the party of free-market capitalism. But of course, when it comes to the crunch, they don't like the operation of the market anymore than us socialists do - particularly when it operates against their most cherished institutions.

Then there are all those company directors who want unregulated markets, less legal protection for employees and a smaller public sector, so as to maximise their profits. As soon as the market turns against them, they're queueing up for hand outs of public money and crying for government intervention to save them. Tough. This is capitalism guys. This is what you wanted. Hell, you know what they say - if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Capitalism means that there always has to be a 'loser' - it's not much fun when it turns out to be you! So there you have it - it isn't so much a crisis of capitalism we're experiencing, as a crisis of confidence in capitalism on the part of its practitioners and supporters. What they can't seem to grasp is that this recession is simply a normal part of the system. If you can't accept that, then stop whingeing and break out the red flag!

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Going Underground

Unfortunately, my posting has been a bit erratic over the past week or so, for a variety of reasons. Getting a new story for The Sleaze written and posted was one, the fact that I'm, quite frankly, tiring of the pace of my regular posting ans beginning to resent the amount of time it takes, is another. The ongoing traffic situation at The Sleaze hasn't helped either. For a while things seemed to be on an upward trend. Sadly, as ever, this turned out to be another false dawn and traffic subsequently plumbed new depths or several days. Trying to deal with this situation has also taken an inordinate amount of time. The long and the short of it is that I've come to some pretty momentous decisions regarding both The Sleaze and this blog. With regard to the former, the next three stories are pretty much sketched out and should appear on schedule. After that, I'm abandoning the existing schedule of three stories a month and instead simply writing and posting stuff on an ad hoc basis, as and when I have the inspiration, ideas and inclination to write it. Consequently, from April, sometimes there might only be one story a month, other months there could be four or five, depending upon my circumstances. I also intend easing up on my rate of posting here. I've been averaging four posts a week for quite a while now and, to be honest, I just don't have sufficient inspiration to keep this up!

I'm afraid I've become more than a little disillusioned with the net of late. Back when I started The Sleaze, the web seemed the perfect platform for outsiders like me to find an audience for their material. As time as gone on, a combination of more professional publishers muscling in on the action and changes in the way search engine s produce their results, have meant that, to an extent, the old order has been restored, with us amateurs squeezed out. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain any reasonable level of traffic to a site like The Sleaze when, as I am, one is largely dependent upon organic traffic generated by search engines. In practice this means that the site is very much at the mercy of Google's algorithms. Changes in the way Google produces its search results can have major consequences for small sites like mine - an increased targeting of 'local' sites in Google's regional versions has deprived me of a lot of traffic from Asia, for instance. However, over the past couple of weeks I've found that it can be shockingly simple to manipulate traffic levels if I can be arsed to put the effort in (today, for instance, levels are back up). Most of the time, I can't! That said, I have secured an alternative source of traffic which, by and large, avoids this regional bias, and, over the next couple of months, I'll be taking action which should maximize The Sleaze's potential there. I'm sorry to sound so vague and cagey about this new source, but I really don't wan't to tempt fate by discussing it in too great a detail.

The question is - what am I going to do with all the free time these changes to my writing schedule will create? Well, apart from that old perennial of completing that model railway I'm always saying I'm going to finish one day, there's a growing stack of DVDs I haven't been able to get around to watching, not to mention a backlog of stuff I've recorded on my DVR and not yet watched. I've also recently reawakened an interest in old hobby - board wargames. I've recently dusted off some of my old games with a view to playing them again. Right now I'm grappling with the rule book for 'Carrier', a solitaire game of WWII naval action in the Pacific. I've owned that game for over twenty years and I've never yet actually played it, the bloody rules are so complex! But this time I'm determined to master them! I'm also bidding on a couple of second hand games on ebay. Whilst I have no intention of this becoming a wargaming blog, I'll keep you updated on developments.

So there you have it, I'm not abandoning The Sleaze or Sleaze Diary, just scaling down my commitments. If nothing else, this will give me time to consider the direction I want to take them in. The other day I found myself worrying that a planned story might be considered insensitive and tasteless. This made me realise how far I've allowed The Sleaze to drift from its origins - it was always meant to be an 'underground' site, flying in the face of convention and tackling subjects no other humour or satire publication would touch. I didn't care about traffic, just so long as somebody read it and was shocked and/or offended! A long period of high traffic levels turned my head and I've spent too long writing the stories I thought would get the hits. I think it is time I went back underground and aimed to shock again!

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Liar, Liar (Part Two)

Charlie Ronce, dubbed 'Britain's Biggest Liar', is an accomplished fantasist, frequently adopting fake identities in order to gain access to the rich and famous. In 1989 the former bus driver successfully posed as a gynaecologist for three months at an exclusive London clinic and obtained photographs of Princess Diana’s fallopian tubes, which he tried to sell to the Daily Star. One of his earliest successes came in 1981, when a Dutch magazine paid him £250 for a story that Elvis Presley was alive and well and working in a transvestite bar in Brussels. The story was accompanied by several pictures purporting to show an overweight Elvis wearing a slinky red dress, black fishnet stockings and high heels. These later turned out to be photos of Ronce’s Uncle Walter, a former Elvis impersonator who was undergoing a sex change. Flushed with this success, Ronce set about concocting another elaborate showbiz lie, this time involving claims that Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison had been assassinated by the CIA. Posing as an ex-CIA agent living in exile in London, he succeeded in selling the story to an American scriptwriter. It later formed the basis of low-budget movie meister Larry Buchanan’s 1984 film Down on Us (described as “absolute shite” in the 1987 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Films on TV Guide).

Ronce followed up this success by selling a story to John Craven’s Newsround, which alleged that much-loved presenter of kiddies wildlife programmes Johnny Morris was actually a practising vivisectionist in his spare time. Elaborately faked film footage apparently showed Morris carving up furry animals for kicks. Posing as an undercover RSPCA investigator, Ronce told a Newsround reporter that Morris was using his position as a presenter to steal animals from zoos and wildlife parks for use in his distasteful hobby. Sensing a major exclusive which could rocket him into serious news-reporting, John Craven sanctioned the story. However, just before broadcast the hoax was uncovered and the story replaced by an item about a skateboarding mackerel. Ronce then proceeded to sell a similar story to Le Monde in Paris; this time claiming that actress and animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot was actually a keen amateur taxidermist - often “rescuing” animals from sanctuaries simply so she could mount and stuff them. Ronce alleged that she was about to buy a failing zoo in Lyons not, as she claimed, to save the animals and return them to the wild, but rather to gas them all before stuffing them. Again, the hoax was uncovered at the last minute and the story pulled, but not before Ronce had walked away with £2,000.

Although forced to flee overseas in the wake of the 1993 Cliff Richard scandal, Ronce returned to Britain in 1998, using a false passport and papers. Claiming to be one Ray “Big Boy” Skaggs, a former Able Seaman, he succeeded in convincing reporters from a broadsheet daily newspaper that he had been Prince Andrew’s gay lover during the Falklands war. When the paper presented Buckingham Palace with Skaggs’ lurid tales of sharing a hammock with Prince Andrew, and of being tossed off on the ocean wave, a major constitutional crisis ensued. However, suspicions were aroused when it was found that the Royal Navy had no trace of an Able Seaman Skaggs. Ronce once again vanished before the authorities could question him, several thousand pounds better off thanks to the newspaper. Whilst Ronce has yet to resurface, it can only be a matter of time before one his lies once again graces the front-page of a national newspaper.

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