Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mad, Bad and Undercover

Britain's intelligence community has been rocked by a new scandal, after an inside source - known only as Deep Stomach - revealed that at least two senior members of the Ministry of Defence's Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS) were certifiably insane, their bizarre antics threatening the nation's security. White bearded Adam Shaw joined the DIS after an illustrious career in the Royal Navy, during which he was accredited with sinking more ships than any other living officer - unfortunately all were sunk in peacetime and all belonged to the British Navy. In the DIS he quickly found himself in charge of analysing foreign defence. He soon became famous in the international intelligence community for his drinking exploits. However, he always maintained that his drinking never affected his work. Nonetheless, his projectile vomiting soon became a regular feature of departmental meetings and he once urinated out of a conference room window overlooking Whitehall during a bilateral intelligence meeting with the CIA. A drunken bar-room brawl with Boris Yeltsin during a 1999 visit to Russia proved the final straw, and Shaw found himself being pensioned off.

Toby Clagg, a one time drinking partner of Shaw, was promoted from the scientific intelligence division of the DIS to be the organisation's Deputy Director. A research chemist by training, Clagg quickly became noted for rarely leaving his office. Eyebrows were raised when deliveries of scientific equipment and chemicals were made to the office, and the Fire Brigade was once called after a minor explosion. Finally, after several months our source, Deep Stomach, was summoned to Clagg’s office. Sitting in the midst of a plethora of scientific paraphernalia, Clagg revealed the amazing results of his research. “He told me that he had perfected an invisibility serum”, Deep Stomach confided to us. “As we spoke he injected himself with a clear liquid. ‘As you can see, I’m turning invisible. Once I remove my clothes no-one will be able to see me’, he said. With that he stripped off his clothes and ran out of the room, stark naked and totally visible.”

The ‘invisible’ Clagg’s reign of terror was short-lived. He ran into the neighbouring office of DIS Director Admiral West - who was in conference with the Director of the CIA - and poured a decanter of water over West, shouting “Hah, see how amazed he is! He has no idea who did that - I’m invisible!”. He then proceeded to stand on one leg and break wind in the CIA Director’s face before fleeing the office. After molesting several female staff members with the cry, “The invisible groper strikes - you can’t catch me for sexual harassment!”, he headed for the main entrance, where he encountered the Defence Secretary arriving for a meeting. The naked Clagg ran up to him waving his knob and shouting “Tosspot!”. The Defence Secretary punched him in the face and security guards dragged him away as he screamed “You can’t do this, I’m invisible!”. According to Deep stomach, Clagg has not been seen since. “That’s real invisibility”, he commented.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Child's Play

A group of young children have been left traumatised following an extraordinary incident at a birthday party. When the mother of nine year old Jimmy Cole engaged thirty one year old Bobby Wexler as a children’s entertainer, little could she have imagined that the “entertainment” would involve a sexually explicit version of 'Punch and Judy'. Instead of simply beating his wife, in Wexler’s version Mr Punch indulged in a lengthy bondage session which involved the unfortunate Judy being chained up and whipped. “What he did with his truncheon was unspeakable”, Mrs Cole told us. She still cannot bring herself to describe the scenes involving Mr Punch’s dog and a crocodile. Had Mrs Cole been aware of Wexler’s sordid past, she would undoubtedly have hesitated before engaging his services. It transpires that Londoner Wexler has a history of sexual fixations involving popular children’s characters and has twice been dismissed by the BBC because of his unsavoury antics.

Friends recall that Wexler’s unhealthy sexual fantasies dated back to childhood, when he boasted in the playground of regularly getting erections whilst watching Hector’s House. Indeed, he was once suspended from school after producing a comic strip featuring Hector the dog licking a naked Kiki the frog whilst Zsa Zsa the cat performed fellatio on him. After attending drama school Wexler secured a his first acting job with Thames Television. To his delight he was hired to portray Bungle the Bear in Rainbow for two weeks whilst the regular actor was on holiday. Whilst his on screen performance remained restrained, his contract was terminated after his extracurricular activities came to light. One evening, after filming had been wrapped up for the day, Wexler took two prostitutes back to the studio, insisting that they dress as Zippy and George. He than donned his Bungle costume and proceeded to indulge in a series of sex romps with them on the Rainbow set. Unfortunately they were disturbed by a security guard, who was shocked to find pink hippo George being taken from behind by Bungle the Bear, whilst Zippy performed a 'golden shower' over them both.

Despite this setback to his career, Wexler succeeded in landing a new job - this time he was to don the famous Mr Blobby outfit on Noel’s House Party. Once again, he could not resist using the costume to indulge his depraved sexual fantasies, although this time he kept them out of the studio. His girlfriend of the time, Suzy Merkin, has told of how Wexler would wear the pink and yellow costume in the bedroom, regularly chasing her around the bed shouting “Blobby, blobby blobby!”, before jumping on her. “He couldn’t seem to get an erection unless he was pretending to be some kid’s TV character”, she recalls. “It was bizarre. Personally, I found it very difficult to perform properly with a man wearing a pink and yellow spotted rubber suit, but he just wouldn’t take it off. I’m amazed the BBC costume department never found the hole he cut in the crotch for his knob to stick through!” Disaster struck for Wexler when, after an argument with Merkin, he went on a drinking spree before a live broadcast of the House Party. Whilst his drunken gait and constant falling over during the programme could be mistaken as a normal performance for Mr Blobby, he overstepped the mark when he groped guest star Carol Vordeman’s breasts during the closing credits. In response Vorderman kneed him in the groin and the programme ended with the sight of Mr Blobby rolling around on the studio floor clutching his testicles and screaming “Oooh my bollocks - you’ve knackered them you bitch!” Needless to say, he was sacked.

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You've Not Got Mail

My apologies for not bringing you yesterday's planned post. Or any post for that matter. This was due to circumstances beyond my control. Take my advice, no matter how crappy you think your broadband provider is, don't try switching to another one. It really is far too much hassle. This new provider uses a dedicated modem/router and, despite promising that it would be dispatched days before my switchover date, they didn't send it out until the day before the activation date they'd given me. All well and good, except that the carrier they used didn't deliver it. Oh, they claimed that their driver had made two visits, got nobody in so left a card. Except that they didn't. No cards and I was actually in at one of the times they'd claimed to have called. To make things worse, my old ISP cut me off yesterday evening, leaving me with no internet connection and no way to connect once the new ISP came on line.

Consequently, I've already spent a large part of the day on the phone trying to get the router delivered. As you can tell, I finally succeeded. To be fair, the new router connected very quickly and required next to no set up, not even for the wireless network. What really got me about this whole fiasco was the fact that the carrier which so spectacularly failed to deliver the router on time is one of the private mail firms very keen to muscle in on the Post Office's monopoly. Indeed, they are doing their best to take full advantage of the current mail dispute to drum up business. Frankly, if this is the kind of service they provide, then God help us all! Whilst I've had my issues with the Post Office and their sometimes erratic deliveries to me, at least with them I know that I'll receive my mail more or less on time. Moreover, if I'm not in to receive a parcel, they do leave a card and I know that I can collect it within twenty four hours from the local sorting office, not face the prospect of travelling thirty odd miles to the nearest depot (as with the mail operator in question). A terrible warning for all those who believe that the private sector does it 'better'. Not in this case!

Anyway, my late lunch break is drawing to a close. Normal posting will be resumed this evening!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Bigots That go Bump in the Night

Well, the dust has settled on Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time, leaving most of us wondering what the point of it all was. What did we learn, other than what we already knew, that Griffin is a bigot who can't put together a coherent argument and tries instead to crudely play the patriotism card, invoking images of Spitfires, plucky British Tommys fighting for freedom against those nasty foreigners and good old white working class communities being over run by (non-white) immigrants. Whilst I don't dispute the fact that as the BNP has elected representatives in the European Parliament (something the UK's electorate should be thoroughly ashamed of), the BBC has no choice but to allow them air time along with other political parties, I can't help but feel that a confrontational format like Question Time wasn't the best forum to feature them on. With just about everybody - the host, audience and other panel members - clearly hostile to Griffin, it simply allowed him to present himself as the victim, harassed by bullies.

So what can we do to ensure the bigoted bastard is demonized by the public? Maybe someone could launch a Nick Griffin Halloween mask. Let's face it, if the sight of his evil face leering at you when you open the door to trick-or-treaters doesn't put the fear of God into you, then nothing will. You could carve pumpkins into the image of his head (the resemblance is already there), and stick them outside your house with candles in to try and frighten children. After all, fair's fair - for years now people have been dressing up as Abu Hamza and Osama bin Laden at Halloween, and Nick Griffin and his poisonous policies is surely as big a threat to civil society as either of those two? We need to turn Griffin into a bogey man to scare small children with - "Be good or the BNP man will come and throw you into a detention centre for illegal immigrants". Of course, there's always the danger that you'll get some idiots donning their Nick Griffin Halloween masks to try and terrorise their Muslim neighbours, knocking on the door and asking "Lynching or deportation?". But frankly, I think it is well worth the risk if we can restore Griffin and the BNP to their rightful place as unspeakable horrors that no sane person would want visited upon them.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Abbott and Costello Meet Sherlock Holmes

Another gem from my DVD collection - this time it's Abbott and Costello's little seen 1956 movie in which they meet the world's greatest detective:

Having finally laid to rest their classic horror monsters by pitching them against Abbott and Costello in a series of cheap B-movies between 1948 and 1955, Universal Pictures, desperate to prop up the dire duo’s film career, turned their attention to another of their best loved franchises - Sherlock Holmes. The studio had been ready to drop the pair after Bud Abbott was arrested by vice cops patrolling Sunset Strip. Abbott was dressed in a red evening gown and was offering himself to passing male motorists for $15 a time. Nonetheless, it was decided to give them one last chance. Despite assembling an interesting cast, the result is as desultory as every other Abbott and Costello vehicle. Basil Rathbone, by this time desperate for a lead in just about anything, once again dons the deerstalker as Holmes. However, his usual partner in crime, Nigel Bruce, is absent, having sensibly died in 1953, so as to avoid the ignominy of ending his career in a farrago like this. The role of Dr Watson is instead played by veteran character actor Alan Mowbray (who, somewhat confusingly, had played the villainous Colonel Moran in the 1946 Holmes film Terror By Night), who portrays him as a typically pompous Hollywood Englishman. Still, this interpretation is more bearable than Bruce’s interpretation of the character as an arsehead.

The saddest sight in the movie is poor old Bela Lugosi, clearly on his last legs, as Professor Moriarty - looking as if he’d rather be on the rickety set of an Ed Wood Jr film than sharing the screen with Abbot and Costello (at least Wood’s films were funny). Lugosi had only recently come out of rehab following his celebrated formaldahyde-drinking exploits, and was so weak that he was unable to deliver his lines. Consequently, the script claims that Moriarty has lost the power of speech after seeing Inspector Lestrade in the bath, and can now communicate only in mime. Cue lots of wildly flailing arms and stumbling about on Lugosi’s part. Sadly, Lugosi relapsed during the shooting of the picture and drank the brake fluid from Costello’s car. Whilst the car subsequently crashed, Costello, unfortunately, was not seriously hurt.

Filming was further disrupted when nude photographs of Lou Costello enjoying a bedroom romp with Francis the Talking Mule were published in Confidential magazine. However, the offending edition of the magazine was pulled from the shelves and all existing copies pulped after Lou Costello’s mobster brother Frank paid a visit to the editor. The film once again includes Abbott and Costello’s famous 'Who’s on first?' routine. Quite frankly, who cares? They performed this routine (admittedly mildly amusing the first time) in virtually every one of their films and every bloody episode of their TV series. In fact, the only thing Abbott and Costello Meet Sherlock Holmes is notable for is proving, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Abbott and Costello were undoubtedly the least talented and most irritating US comedy duo of the 1940s and 1950s - and there was some damn stiff competition!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Halloween 2009 at The Sleaze

As you might have noticed, The Sleaze's Halloween tradition of running vaguely supernatural/horror related stories throughout October is well underway this year. We kicked the month off with Ban the Mind Reader, of course, and most recently The Monster Makers made its long delayed appearance. I originally announced this latter story last Halloween, but it was replaced at the last minute by The Frighteners. Of course, last year's Halloween theme was disrupted by the need to publish several topical stories during October in an attempt to shore up traffic. This year, things are moving more smoothly and a third and final Halloween story is planned for this month. At the moment it has the tentative title of Frankenstein Meets the Pikeys, and should appear some when next week. After that, we're into November, for which I've got a plethora of story ideas. Doubtless, events in the 'real' world will throw up yet more ideas. So watch this space!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies and Internet Satire

Much has been made lately of the fact that a group of film makers were able to persuade several British tabloids to publish a number of fake stories about celebrities. Over a two week period The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Star and Daily Express had all run completely fabricated stories about the likes of Avril Lavigne, Russell Brand and Amy Winehouse, pitched to them by the makers of the film Starsuckers, posing as members of the public. Some of the stories were subsequently picked up by other media outlets and reproduced, as fact, around the world. For those of us who have spent the last few years writing satire on the web, the only reaction to the news that much of the world's media is happy to print patently fake news stories without ever checking their origin, ran along the lines of 'No shit, Sherlock'. There's hardly a satire website out there that hasn't had at least one of its stories picked up by a 'legitimate' news source and reported as if it were factual. Speaking personally, I've had numerous TV researchers contact me trying to arrange interviews with various fictional characters from stories I've run in The Sleaze. I've twice been invited onto TV discussion programmes, once with stalker-to-the-stars Cynthia Flitter from Diary of a Stalker, and once with Maurice Gink, the purveyor of home-made sex machines from Suburban Sex Machines. Lest anyone think that such requests only come from low-rent independent production companies turning out low-budget tabloid-type 'documentaries' for cable and satellite channels, I was also invited onto a BBC local radio station to discuss the 'Canonisation for Cash' scandal related in Saints Alive.

But should we be pleased that we've succeeded in taking in the supposed professionals? Whilst I should probably feel flattered that my writing skills are apparently such that they can convince apparently intelligent media industry insiders that even the most ludicrous stories are true, I don't. Indeed, all of those invitations onto TV and radio shows simply make me feel depressed. Have journalistic standards really fallen so far that simply carrying out a Google search for a couple of key words vaguely related to the subject matter of the story you are working on, is what now passes for research? Are the critical faculties of researchers and journalists so poor that the fact that a story appears on a website entitled The Sleaze doesn't start alarm bells ringing? In truth, is our 'success' actually down to laziness and incompetence on the part of journalists, rather than our skills as writers? I suppose that one's reaction to this issue is dictated, in large part, by how you perceive the role of satire. If you believe that part of our mission as satirists is to expose the shortcomings and stupidity of mainstream news media, (which is a perfectly legitimate stance to take), then fooling them into regurgitating our lies as fact can be seen as a victory. My problem with this is that most of the time these recycled untruths remain unchallenged. The outlets which carry them rarely acknowledge their inaccuracy and leave them to be accepted as fact by their readers - and this is where the real problem lies. One thing that writing satire on the web has taught me is that a frighteningly large number of readers accept what they read at face value, just so long as it appears in a vaguely professional looking format. They rely upon those presenting it to them - journalists, researchers and editors - to ensure its veracity before publication. Sadly, it seems that these supposed guardians of truth are themselves, just as credulous as their readerships. So, you'll excuse me if I don't celebrate if I see one of my stories carried by a newspaper - it will simply be more proof that we are living in a world where the 'facts' and 'truth' are no longer synonymous.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

The Nation's Sweethearts?

More proof, as if it was needed, that I'm completely out of touch, is the fact that Britain's most loved celebrities are apparently Cheryl Cole and Nick Knowles. Personally, I can't stand either of them. Indeed, I've made my feelings about Nick Knowles clear in these pages before. If I could have been certain it was him I saw walking down my street a couple of years ago, I would have lumped him one. If you see him walking down your street, please feel free to smack him in the face for me. The source of my animosity towards Knowles is pretty straightforward - he represents epitome of modern micro-celebrity, in that it is impossible to pin down exactly what he's famous for. To be sure, he thinks that he's a very talented bloke, but there's little objective evidence to back this up. I remember him when he was a reporter on my local ITV news programme. He was pretty mediocre. I've seen nothing to indicate that his presenting skills have improved. Not that this lack of talent prevents TV producers from continually putting him on our screens. Just lately, he's been elevated to the status of a saint after helping a woman in a car accidents. Not that he actually risked life and limb rescuing anyone, despite the impression the press tried to give. No, he was driving by and simply stopped to offer assistance, but what the Hell, he'll still probably get a medal for it and is now beyond criticism.

Cheryl Cole's elevation to sainthood is even more difficult to account for - she hasn't even slowed down at an accident scene, let alone actually helped anyone, as far as I know. Now, I won't deny that she's more talented than Nick Knowles (so does a garden rake, though) - her entire fame is based around being part of a girl group who perform various catchy three minute pop tunes in skimpy costumes. To be fair, the numbers written for Girls Aloud are very catchy, but none of that makes you a saint. Then, of course, she's been a judge on the X-Factor, where she cries a lot, but Sharon Osbourne was never feted the way Cole has been. Oh, I almost forgot, her husband cheated on her and she's written an autobiography telling us what a tough life she's had. But these are hardly unique experiences. Indeed, the things I remember Cheryl Cole for most certainly wouldn't attain her a sainthood. Despite the media's concerted attempt to airbrush anything about her past which doesn't put Cole in a favourable light, some of us remember very clearly her conviction for assaulting a low paid toilet attendant in a night club. Some of us also remember that it was her that started that very public slanging match with Lily Allen, despite the attempts of Cole and her bandmates to make themselves out to be the injured parties - the classic tactics of a bully. But hey, what the heck do I know? Like I said before, I'm obviously completely out of touch. Cheryl Cole and Nick Knowles are obviously saints and therefore beyond reproach!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Jesus Saves - With Our Two for One Deals...

So the Church of England is worried that it won't be able to afford to maintain many of its magnificent cathedrals. You'd think the Almighty would provide for them, wouldn't you? But no, they instead have to resort to those bloody collections for the church roof fund and organise endless bring and buy sales. Now, it seems, they are looking for handouts of public money - who do they think they are, eh? Banks? But really, they just aren't being imaginative enough when it comes to fund-raising. They should be looking as to how they could maximise the income generated by their primes assets - their churches and cathedrals. For a start, a lot of those cathedrals are situated in their own extensive grounds - how about turning them into pay and display car parks? Most of them are in prime city centre locations where parking is at a premium. Or how about letting out commercial franchises in the cathedrals? They could have Tie Rack and Dunkin' Donuts in the choir stalls, perhaps. Or maybe Starbucks in the cloisters. If they didn't want to go that far, they could just settle for commercial endorsements, selling 'naming rights' to places of worship - The E-Sure Canterbury Cathedral, or Katie Price's Church of the Virgin Mary.

Of course, the most obvious thing they could be doing is hiring out their cathedrals as event venues. After all, they aren't being used all the time for religious purposes, are they? I mean, they only have two or three actual services day, at most. The rest of the time they could lease them out for conferences - paranormal societies spring to mind as obvious customers - and art exhibitions - a few nudes tastefully displayed between the flying buttresses, perhaps. Live performances of dramas or modern dance are other obvious uses. Maybe they could even hold a 'rave in the nave' - vicars could hand out ecstasy at the door ("This'll take you to paradise"), and supply bottles of Holy water to stop the ravers from getting dehydrated. Ultimately, if these old Gothic piles are proving too expensive to keep going, they should think about selling them off as building land. Pull down the ramshackle old monstrosities and flog the land off to a supermarket chain to put up a superstore (with lots of parking). They'd have to include a proviso that each store included facilities for worship. Think of the slogans they could use - 'Jesus Saves - But Not As Much As If He'd Shopped at Tesco' or 'Buy Six Loaves and Get Five Fishes Free'. Now, I know the objections people will bring up - that business of Jesus throwing the money lenders out of the temple. But the way I see it, as long as the new supermarkets don't display any of those offers for low-interest loans, it'll be perfectly alright.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Upstanding Member for Cockshire...

According to the latest Westminster rumours, Tory leader David Cameron is seeking to cement his lead in the opinion polls by further enhancing his public image. "He's already succeeded in convincing people that he's caring and pro-environment, now he wants to be seen as virile, as well," claims top political columnist Sean Cockall. "With Prime Minister Brown looking ever more weary and politically impotent, Cameron wants voters to perceive him as a rampantly thrusting leader, the kind of bloke they'd secretly like to take them roughly from behind!" Consequently, Cameron is alleged to have turned to certain ancient oriental arts in an attempt to improve his 'performance' and desirability, secretly practicing the ancient Tibetan sexual art of Yang Wombito. This Eastern discipline - which dates back to the eleventh century - entails a strict training regime designed to attune the mind and body for maximum sexual performance and fecundity. According to top sex-guru Raz Zubrick - the world’s leading expert in the discipline - the art of Yang Wombito emphasises the role of spontaneity in successful love-making. “Often sex within marriage becomes stale and unproductive due to its repetitious and predictable nature”, the former TV repair man told us. “You know the scenario - once a week after the old man’s come back from the pub - always in the missionary position because he doesn’t have the energy to do anything else. The only element of surprise occurs if he farts during intercourse”. Whilst Yang Wombito does not advocate swinging from chandeliers or dressing in rubber, it does encourage the use of unusual sexual positions and the element of surprise - taking your partner by surprise by leaping naked out of wardrobes or dropping unexpectedly on them from the ceiling, for instance.

Zubrick, who operates from above a laundrette in Walsall, claims that many of the sexual positions prescribed by Yang Wombito were - like those in the better-known Kama Sutra - based on animal behaviour. “Whilst the Kama Sutra is pretty basic - the congress of the cow, dog, goat etc., or the mounting of the horse or ass - Yang Wombito goes for more complex positions such as The Crane, which involves standing on one leg during copulation”, he explained. “Another popular technique is The Baboon which entails painting your arse blue and leaping wildly upon your partner”. Like many of the Chinese martial arts it also involves the use of some physical aids. “We don’t go in for anything kinky or bizarre like the Kama Sutra”, Zubrick emphasises. “We don’t advocate sticking lighted joss-sticks up your arse or balancing an incense candle on your knob in order to increase its length.” The principal aid used is the Erotic Wig of Wang Huj-Dong. Prematurely bald Huj-Dong was one of the earliest masters of Yang Wombito, and had a wig woven from monkey hair. He found that wearing the wig not only made him more sexually attractive but also increased his sexual prowess and stamina - he attributed this to the fact that monkeys are amongst the most sexually active of all primates, often masturbating for hours on end. Genghis Khan later put the erotic wig to more sinister use - wearing it whilst he raped entire towns single-handed, hence his description in many contemporary accounts as the 'Devil in a Wig'. It is believed that his use of the wig lies behind his extraordinary fecundity - he sired over two hundred children, twelve of them by goats.

Pensioner Harry Mitts, who claims to live in the flat below Cameron's London residence, reckons that the Conservative leader has been vigourously practicing Yang Wombito. “I can hardly sleep at night with all the noise of squeaking bedsprings and the bed-head banging against the wall!”, the retired chicken sexer told The Daily Tits. “They are at so much that the plaster is falling off of my ceiling in huge lumps! I’m combing huge white clumps of it out of my hair every morning. I’m thinking of claiming for compensation!” Mitts also claims to have had first hand experience of Cameron's proficiency in the ancient love-making art. “I was walking up the stairs to my flat one evening when this screaming naked figure leaped out of the broom closet at me”, the pensioner recalls. “It wrapped its legs around my head and tried to tear my clothes off! It was terrifying! I finally managed to beat it off with my walking stick and it ran off into the darkness!” At first Mitts did not associate the mystery figure with his upstairs neighbour as it had appeared to sport shoulder-length hair. “It was only when I went up to his flat to borrow some sugar, a couple of days later, that it all made sense”, the 72 year old told us. “He answered the door wearing this wig! I immediately realised that it must be one of those erotic wigs as I could feel its power. I became so aroused that I got a half-erection - that's the first time since 1981!” Mitts believes that Hague had mistaken him for his wife, Samantha, who was late home the night of the attack.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Comedy From Hell

Another item from my personal DVD collection for your delectation. This time we look at a favourite box set from 2002:

Yes it had to happen; the comedy programmes that looked good on paper, but were actually ill advised or, in some cases, in such poor taste that they were either never shown in the first place, or never repeated due to popular demand. The first part of this compilation tape looks at comedy disasters from overseas, such as the German version of Alf Garnett ( Willi Whakker, an unintended joke for the British sense of humour), who looks and acts not unlike Hitler. Also included is the Israeli alternative comedian Uri Cohen's sick pilot for his concentration camp set comedy My Mother's a Lampshade, in which Cohen is the Jewish wide boy always putting one over on the camp commandant. This is reminiscent of the BBC’s abortive concentration camp comedy, Heil-de-Heil. Also of note is the US sitcom Sparks about three death row inmates.

Special mention must go to the poor-taste sitcoms that actually made a series in this country, but which are not represented by complete episodes on the latter part of the tape. A personal favourite is the wonderful Idi and Me, in which Idi Amin finds asylum in South London but is forced to share a council flat with a Ugandan Asian refugee. There are also excerpts from the vulgar but funny Vinegar Strokes, about a cocky painter and decorator who claims to have bedded the attractive women he works for in each episode, but actually secretly masturbates over their pictures whilst at work.

While only clips of these gems can be found, fear not, as the actual main material on the tape is of the notorious 1977 Happy Ever After episode, where Terry and June get a new Asian neighbour - with hilarious (in 1977) consequences. Terry fears he might be perceived as a racist, after his daughters Susan and Debbie criticise his penchant for Pakistani jokes, Aunt Lucy has a funny turn and mistakes Mr Patel as the domestic. Even the myna bird keeps dropping Terry in it by repeated racial slurs. Things come to a head as Terry dresses up as Gandhi and talks with an Indian accent to learn what it is to be Asian with supposedly hysterical results. When everything ends with the whole mess sorted out, Terry's new boss visits - who they have no idea will turn out to be black, and so it ends with the cycle beginning again. This is the only chance many will have to see this episode, which was condemned in 1977 and buried, and is believed by many to be behind the decline of the series and its relaunch in 1979 as Terry and June.

The rest is made up of pilots that bombed, such as a twist on Last of the Summer Wine, with three paraplegics wheeling themselves over the Cotswolds and getting into many lunatic escapades in Only From the Waist Up. Also, there is the woefully politically incorrect Filth a comedy about police brutality. A must for any Sleaze reader’s Christmas stocking.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Prince Philip's Sexy TV

I was confused by one of those poorly-worded headlines again over the weekend. This time it was along the lines of 'Prince criticises complicated TV sets'. Naturally, I assumed that it was about Prince Charles, who had finally flipped completely and had extended his criticism of modern architecture to the sets used in TV dramas. Doubtless, I thought, he's complaining that they are all hideous carbuncles on our screens, their design having been influenced by modernist designs rather than classical architecture. Maybe he's demanding the BBC return the Tardis console room in Doctor Who to its 'classic' early 1970s design, and asking for more Doric columns in Holby City. But no, I was wrong. The sory turned out to be about his father. Apparently Prince Philip has been having trouble with his new widescreen HD-ready plasma TV.

According to His Highness, modern televisions are so complex that you 'virtually have to make love to them to get them to work'. Now, I'd dearly love to know exactly what make and model the Duke of Edinburgh has in the Royal living room, as my old Bush widescreen has never asked for sexual favours in return for changing channels. Perhaps he's been getting the wrong idea whilst watching those Babestaion-type channels - you are meant to phone the girls, not try and shag them through the scart socket, Phil. Then again, maybe he's lost the remote and has such a large knob that he changes channels with that instead. Without having to get up from the sofa, presumably. But really, bearing in mind that the Royal household undoubtedly has a whole phalanx of flunkies whose job it is to tune the bloody set in, change channels and adjust the brightness, I don't really know what his problem is in dealing with TVs. As my late father (who used to repair TV sets for Radio Rentals), if in doubt, just kick the bloody thing!

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Ban the Mind Reader Revisited

A popular mind reader and stage magician who was recently attacked by a mob in Rugby (see Ban the Mind Reader!), has finally spoken out regarding his ordeal. Rejecting police allegations that he had triggered the riot by using his 'powers' to sexually harrassg female members of his audience, The Mysterious Ned claims that the attack ws completely unprovoked. “I was bloody terrified! I was barely halfway through my act – I was just up to the bit where I successfully used my powers of suggestion to make this bird take her clothes off – when this bunch of lunatics burst in through the fire doors at the back and stormed the stage,” explained The Mysterious Ned, who admits that he hadn’t seen the attack coming, to the East Midlands Mentalists’ and Conjurers’ Gazette. “They were screaming and shouting, calling me a bastard and a pervert! One of them punched me in the face, then they all fell on me, kicking and pummelling me!”

The Mysterious Ned somehow managed to escape his attackers and fled through the stage door to the streets, still pursued by the mob. “They finally cornered me behind the railway station – I tried to use my amazing mental powers to befuddle them, but one of them just kneed me in the groin and put this noose around my neck,” he claims. “Luckily, just as they were about to string me up, the police arrived!” However, the mob quickly reformed outside the local police station, and was eventually dispersed by riot police using batons and tear gas. The Mysterious Ned remains mystified as to what sparked the attempt on his life and subsequent riot. “I’ve never had that reaction to my act before,” he muses. “Although there was that woman in Rhyl who slapped me when I told her I sensed that she was wearing crotchless panties. But most people just ask for a refund when they don’t like it.” The Mysterious Ned remains available for children's parties and hen nights.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Royal Doping Scandal (Part Three)

Top Royal-watcher Hugh Ropley Tossington has sensationally claimed in his latest book that various members of the Royal family have been drugged to avoid them causing embarrassment at official functions with their outrageous behaviour:

Despite the flamboyant antics of Princess Margaret and the Duke of Edinburgh, it is the Queen Mother who emerges from Ropley-Tossington’s unfounded speculations as the chief joker in the Royal pack. Her genteel grandmotherly image belies her true nature as a party-loving bon-vivant and hell-raiser. Following the death of her husband, the Queen Mother was seen with a string of celebrities, including Errol Flynn, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Moon, all of whom subsequently died in mysterious circumstances. All were captivated by her natural charm, with Hendrix (who, in 1970, allegedly choked to death in his hotel room after drinking his own urine), famously describing her in a “Melody Maker” interview as being “a sex goddess in surgical stockings”. Errol Flynn, who met the Queen Mother at one of Princess Margaret’s poker sessions, was particularly taken with her. The hugely endowed movie star (who could make love to a woman whilst standing in the next room - and once used this ability to get Robert Mitchum slapped by an unsuspecting Marilyn Monroe), was famously involved in a drunken game of golf with her at Windsor Castle, during which he used his member as a five iron - scoring a hole in one.

Indeed, it was the Queen Mother’s love of high jinks and practical jokes that eventually led to the doping decision. The final straws were the 1987 state banquet where she goosed the Brazilian Foreign Minister with her false teeth and performed her party trick of blowing smoke-rings from her arse, and the 1989 Remembrance Day incident when she broke the two minutes silence by farting the Last Post. Despite the doping decision, Ropley-Tossington believes that a new generation of Royals are set to continue the madcap traditions of the House of Windsor, claiming that the Windsor Castle fire was the result of a fart-lighting contest between Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. Official reaction to the new book has been hostile, with official spokesmen describing it as “ludicrous”, “baseless speculation” and “lies”. Ropley-Tossington has made no reply to these claims or other allegations that he has simply made it all up.

Muck House: Inside the Fun Palace will be published by LittleDick Books in June, price £14.95.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Royal Doping Scandal (Part Two)

Top Royal-watcher Hugh Ropley-Tossington's new book, Muck House: Inside the Fun Palace, continues to cause consternation in the upper echelons of British society, with its outlandish claims that various members of the Royal Family have had to be doped in order to curb their bizarre antics:

The Duke of Edinburgh is also fond of a wager, according to Ropley-Tossington’s new book, and relates an incredible Christmas 1966 incident in which he bet Prime Minister Harold Wilson that he could ride a mount of Wilson’s choice around the perimeter of the Balmoral estate in under fifteen minutes. Apparently the PM was amazed when the Duke responded to his joking suggestion that he ride the Archbishop of Canterbury by saddling up the elderly cleric, digging his spurred heels into his flanks, and forcing him to race around the castle grounds.

Although left foaming at the mouth and steaming profusely from his cassock area, the Archbishop succeeded in completing the course (which included jumping two five-bar gates) in twelve minutes. However, he later complained of excessive use of the whip by the Duke, claiming that his arse was red raw for a week afterwards. As a forfeit for losing the bet the Duke originally demanded that Wilson introduce legislation legalising the shooting of peasants, but later settled for the Prime Minister setting fire to his Japanese counterpart’s trousers during a Downing Street press conference. The consequent overseas loss of confidence in the sanity of the British government forced Wilson to devalue the pound in 1968.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Royal Doping Scandal

I recently recovered this - the very first story I ever wrote for the online incarnation of The Sleaze (it was the lead story in Issue 1 back in April 2000) - from my ancient and highly irascible old PC. I've decided to run it here, unedited, over the next few days, before, maybe, archiving it over at The Sleaze. So, without further ado, here's part one of Royal Doping Scandal:

Veteran Royal-watcher Hugh Ropley-Tossington is set to create controversy with his latest expose of the Royal Family - Muck House: Inside the Fun Palace. In it, he makes the sensational claim that in recent years several members of the Royal Family have regularly been doped at high-profile public functions in order to curb their potentially embarrassing madcap antics. The decision to use pharmaceutical constraints was allegedly taken in secret by senior government figures in the early 1980s, following a series of incidents involving, amongst others, Princess Margaret, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen Mother, which stretched back to the 1950s.

Ropley-Tossington chronicles Princess Margaret’s notorious late-night poker sessions held at Kensington Palace during the early 1950s. These alcohol-fuelled card-fests regularly involved both top celebrities and leading political figures of the day and culminated in the infamous strip-poker session which left Sir Winston Churchill in a state of extreme undress. A drunken Princess Margaret wagered the septuagenarian premier that he wouldn’t have the nerve to walk back to Downing Street naked. Sir Winston made it as far as Parliament Square before he was arrested by the police for waving his large cigar at a passing woman. He was bailed from Charing Cross Police station by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, and the charges against him were eventually dropped when the woman involved admitted her mistake, saying “I should have known something that big in the hands of an old man was only a cigar - especially in that cold weather.”

Whilst Sir Winston escaped jail, he was forced to resign and new Prime Minister Anthony Eden quickly put paid to the card games. Bereft of her poker, Princess Margaret turned increasingly to drink, with her behaviour becoming ever more bizarre. In 1973, for instance, Ropley-Tossington claims that the Princess refused to lead an inspection of the Royal Wessex Fusiliers Regiment (of which she was Colonel-in-Chief) unless all the men were naked from the waist down. “I was promised that there would be privates on parade”, she remarked at the time.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Cameron's Follies of 2009

Tory leader David Cameron has been accused of premature triumphalism after plans for the staging of the forthcoming Conservative Party conference were leaked to the press. According to top tabloid The Shite, Cameron will arrive at the conference venue on a chariot accompanied by standard bearers, having travelled down streets lined with party workers dressed as Roman legionaries, whilst searchlights sweep the sky. Following his chariot will be a procession of his vanquished enemies in chains, including several of the Tory MPs disgraced in the recent expenses scandal, and exotic beasts -rumoured to include Kenneth Clarke - captured in his campaigns. Upon arrival at the conference centre, the entire Parliamentary Conservative Party will engage in a huge Busby Berkeley-style dance routine, involving massed tap-dancing peers forming into various traditional conservative symbols, including the swastika.

The newspaper understands that the conference will culminate with the leader's speech, after which Cameron will ascend heavenward in a hot air balloon, leaving the party faithful prostrate before him. Whilst sources claim that senior Labour Party figures are apoplectic - with former Deputy Leader John Prescott threatening to 'punch that bloody ponce Cameron's lights out' - at what they see as the Conservative leader's arrogance and presumption, Conservative Central Office have denied the paper's claims. "This story is quite obviously ridiculous," said a spokesperson. "All we have planned for the conference is an amazing aquatic swimming routine performed by the MPs wives in the sea just off Blackpool beach. We're saving the procession and dance routines for when we actually win the election next year." The spokesperson also confirmed that during the election victory procession, defeated former Labour MPs will be paraded in chains before being sold into slavery.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ban the Mind Reader

Sometimes you come across a website which has a premise just so off-kilter and bizarre that reading it makes you suspect that you have fallen through the space-time continuum into some strange parallel universe. Ban the Mind Reader is one such site. I was first introduced to it when its webmaster requested a link exchange. Now, I get many such requests, which are often turned down because when I visit the requesting site I find it to be dull, poorly put together or just plain crap. Imagine my delight when I visited Ban the Mind Reader and found that, behind its conventional appearance, lurked a true repository of lunacy. Taking as its starting point some enigmatic graffiti which has been appearing various Kent towns since the 1960s, it weaves an intricate web of insanity, taking in mind control experiments, smoking ban conspiracies, Boncey Ballbag the Medway comic and his trans-universal adventures, the Secret Judo Club and some weird and wonderful Kentish superheroes.

Whilst I can't even begin to describe the site, I can tell you that it inspired me to write Ban the Mind Reader, a new story over at The Sleaze. As I say, this story is only inspired by the site of the same name, and goes off on its own tangents, and provides its own, highly plausible (I think) explanation for that graffiti. But getting back to the site itself, it is really refreshing, in an age when sites are increasingly identikit and geared solely to being props for advertisements, to find a website as gleefully original and idiosyncratic as Ban the Mind Reader. It truly is uncategorisable - it certainly isn't a conventional satire site, for instance, but hugely enjoyable. For all I know, the whole thing could be an elaborate hoax - did the graffiti which supposedly inspired the site ever exist? I don't know and, frankly, don't care! I really do urge any of you who like be beguiled to visit it!

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