Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve 2009 at The Sleaze

We're nearly there - only a few more hours until we sprint across the finishing line for 2009 and dash into 2010. In my case, it will be more like limping into the New Year. I've felt bloody awful for the past few days, having difficulty in summoning the energy to get out of bed, let alone function normally. I'd like to be able to blame it on excessive alcohol consumption, but sadly that just wasn't the case. However, in a state of desperation last night, I searched my medicine cabinet and came up with some past their use by date Beecham's powders. Deciding to risk the possible side effects, I took one before I went to bed. Incredibly, I didn't fall to the floor clutching at my throat, only to rise a few moments later looking bestial before going out on a midnight rampage of depravity. Nor did I suffer any outbreaks of lycanthropy or invisibility. In fact, I woke up this morning feeling full of energy and enthusiasm for the day ahead. Not that I've actually done anything exciting today - unless you can classify making a start on clearing up my spare room 'exciting'. I know that New Year's Eve is meant to be a day of wild partying, but I'm afraid that I'm not willing to risk my new found good health by going out into the freezing night and jostling with idiots at the bar whilst too loud music blasts out the speakers at some pub or other. So its just me and the sausage rolls seeing in the New Year whilst watching Dario Argento's Profondo Rosso.

To be truthful, it's some years now since I bothered going out on a New Year's Eve. As I've mentioned before, most places have either private parties, charge on the door or are packed to the rafters with dick heads. Simply going out for a few pints with friends at New Year's Eve seems impossible in this neck of the woods. Indeed, at this time of year drinking generally is disrupted by the appearance of seasonal drinkers. You know the ones - they don't go out to the pub at any other time of year, but come Christmas and New Year, usually after they've already got pissed at an office party, they feel the need to invade local pubs, talking loudly, screaming with laughter at the slightest thing and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I'm looking forward to next week - even though I go back to work, I'll at last be able to have a pint in peace at my local. It'll be the first time since Christmas Eve. A combination of illness and roving bands of seasonal drinkers have put me off going out since then. Anyway, enough of my moaning. What about the coming year? Well, as usual, I'm not making any resolutions - nobody ever seems to keep them, and why resolve to change now? If you really want to change your life, you can do it any time - you don't have to wait until the New Year. As for what 2010 might have in store - who knows? It probably won't be much different from 2009. Years are like that, the bastards. So, it only remains to wish you all a Happy New Year. See you in 2010.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dog Days of December

We're at that time of year again when the media - starved of real news stories and with most of their staff on holiday, anyway - turn to that irritating practice of 'reviewing the year', serving up bits and pieces of coverage which are supposedly representative of the previous twelve months. Damn it, even Piers Morgan, the closest thing to a slug in human form I've ever seen, has got his own 'Review of the Year' on ITV tonight. No doubt it will feature him fawning in front of various 'celebrities and making snide and condescending comments about everyone he feels is less talented and intelligent than him. Just about everybody, in fact. To digress slightly here, do you know the thing I most dislike about Piers Morgan? Not the fact that he is a slimy twat. Not the fact that he used to happily take Murdoch's money when he worked for The Sun. Not even the fact that he has now ditched Murdoch to become a a vassal of that odious creep Simon Cowell. Oh no! It's the fact that he's a bloody Gooner! Worse than that, he supports the Arsenal even though his father is a lifelong Spurs supporter. If that isn't the most despicable way in which anyone can show their utter contempt for their parents, I don't know what is. But then, Morgan just about epitomises the utterly unacceptable face of Arsenal supporters - smug, utterly lacking in humility and completely deluded.

But getting back to the original point, personally, I've never really seen the point of these 'review of the year' exercises. Why does anybody need to be told what the previous year's highlights were? We were there, for God's sake. Besides, it is all just a matter of opinion. You can guarantee that the Daily Mail, for instance, isn't going to include anything Gordon Brown might have done in the last twelve months as a highlight. Of course, this year it is much worse, as we're at the end of a decade, so we're having retrospectives f the last ten years rammed down our throats. As if trends, historical developments and events generally fall into neat ten year cycles. This obsession with breaking events down into these arbitrary ten year chunks is another thing which has always puzzled me. The calender is a purely human creation. History isn't obliged to conform to its constraints. But perhaps I'm intellectualising this all a bit too much. It's only natural that at the end of a year,or decade, people might want to take stock of things: their lives, their finances, or the state of the world, for instance. Personally, I look back and see ten years of struggling to survive financially, whilst seemingly treading water in other areas of my life. A wholly false impression, probably. But that's the trouble with looking back - memory is highly selective. From the outside it probably looks like I've been doing OK - ten years of continuous paid employment, gaining additional professional qualifications, establishing the website and putting myself in what is currently a pretty secure position financially. But from where I sit, there still seems to be too many things missing. But maybe that's my problem - I'm never bloody satisfied!


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Great Christmas News Shortage

When Christmas straddles a weekend, (as it did this year with that displaced bank holiday today as a result of Boxing Day falling on a Saturday), I find myself losing track of what day of he week it actually is. Yesterday, for instance, I surfaced briefly from my seasonal debauchery to try and get some exercise and go in search of a newspaper, convinced that it was a week day. I was mildly surprised - and highly disorientated - to discover that it was a Sunday and that, consequently, The Guardian wasn't available. I had to buy The Observer, instead. Reading the latter newspaper just intensified my sense of disorientation - it was like reading a parallel world version of The Guardian. It had basically the same format and layouts, and was obviously printed on the same presses. Even some of the writers were the same. But there were all these differences - different typeface, differently named sections, a slightly different tone to the articles. Very disconcerting. The most amazing thing, though, was that there was enough news about to fill an entire newspaper at this time of year. Today's Guardian was very thin, (as were all of last week's editions) and the G2 section composed entirely of 'highlights' of the last year's articles, as chosen by readers. Similarly, yesterday's Observer seemed to consist largely of retrospectives of 2009 and lots of highly speculative pieces looking forward to 2010.

In the face of this general lack of news, something like the attempted bombing of a US airliner by a Nigerian student must seem like a godsend to news editors. Indeed, they've really gone to town on this story, with it dominating every news bulletin and newspaper headline since it happened. The fact that there really is little to report so far beyond the known facts doesn't deter them, of course. There's no shortage of speculation as to the long term security effects of this incident. No facts, obviously. Just speculation. It doesn't help that the whole thing seems more than slightly farcical - 'man attempts to blow up airliner by setting fire to underpants'. It reminded me of a story I wrote for The Sleaze years ago called Winds of War, in which a terror suspect is alleged to have tried to blow up a bus by igniting his own farts. Unfortunately for him, he 'follows through' and shits himself instead. Perhaps al Qaeda terror chiefs read that story. Perhaps I'm about to be closed down for encouraging terrorists. Will The Sleaze be classified as a 'terrorist text' by the authorities? Stranger things have happened. If nothing else, it might provide the media with a much needed story between now and the new year...

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Almost a White Christmas

Rather belatedly, I thought I'd share the usable footage I got of the great blizzard which came through here last week. The snow has finally gone, although the bulk of it lingered until Christmas Day. However, as it didn't actually fall on Christmas Day, this doesn't officially count as a white Christmas. Even though it quite obviously was. Anyway, all of the footage above was taken quite early on in the smow storm - it kept falling for several more hours, then started again around 11pm and carried on into the night. So, as you can imagine, it got much, much worse. But I wasn't daft enough to go out in that with my camera...

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve 2009 at The Sleaze

It's OK, I'm not going to trot out that same old line about it being Christmas Eve and 'still no offers of panto'. It's been a relatively uneventful Christmas Eve here at Sleaze Towers, mainly on account of my having taken refuge in the local cinema for several hours, watching a 3D movie. Unlike last year, my sausage rolls have turned out perfectly and I've managed to avoid last year's home made egg nog fiasco. Indeed, Little Miss Strange (perpetrator of last year's advocaat horrors), has been rather restricted on account of this wintry weather we've been suffering. Living, as we both do, at what the TV news would have us believe is the epicentre of snow-induced traffic chaos, she has found herself snowed in. Well, I say snowed in, the reality was that she refused to leave her local pub on account of the snow, demanding an all night lock-in until the mountain rescue teams arrived. When it was pointed out that the pub wasn't in a mountainous area, she proceeded to start breaking up the furniture and throwing on the fire - for warmth during the cold night ahead with now no prospect of rescue, she claimed. Not surprisingly, she found herself ejected onto the street, where she punched out two snowmen she claimed were looking at her funny. She was last seen building an igloo on the local common.

But enough about how friends and associates are doing, back to my Christmas Eve! I'm currently contemplating whether to venture back out into the rapidly melting snow for a couple of pints at my current local. On the one hand, I haven't missed a Christmas Eve out at the pub in several years. On the other, it is pretty miserable out there and I'm not sure if any other bastards will be daft enough to go out. The thought of putting my feet up in my nice warm living room and drinking some beer here whilst watching a non-festive DVD is very tempting. Whatever. There's still time to make my mind up. If nothing else, it is definitely getting warmer out there. Maybe that will sway me. Getting back to the present, I'm taking a well earned break from posting for a few days. I've got another story for The Sleaze all but ready for publication next week and I'm not back at work until the fourth of January, so I can relax on all fronts. So there you go - Winterval is officially open! Let the debauchery begin!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stalking Santa

One person unlikely to get a visit from Santa this year is Madge Howlett, after it emerged that Father Christmas had taken an injunction out against the thirty four year old Droitwich shop assistant, preventing her from coming within thirty feet of him, or communicating with him in any way. Although St Nicholas himself was unavailable for comment, solicitors representing him confirmed that Miss Howlett had been stalking the festive icon for several years now. "Every year her letters to Santa got progressively more explicit," explains Winston Wanger of law firm Wanger, Wanger and Koch. "He's used to getting the odd saucy letter from ladies asking for sexy underwear, but, over time, her missives went far beyond this, not just in the kind of things she was asking for, but the suggestions as to what she could do to Santa." In addition to the expected innuendos about Father Christmas coming down her chimney and allusions to emptying his sack, the letters apparently also included extended sexual fantasies involving Miss Howlett, Santa and his reindeer. "Our client is an old man - he finds this sort of thing very upsetting," explains Wanger. "Quite apart from the embarrassment caused to his elves when they had to produce and then wrap some of the things Miss Howlett was asking for!"

According to the solicitor, Father Christmas was finally forced to take action when Miss Howlett's activities began to interfere with his work. "Obviously, visiting her house every Christmas became a highly traumatic experience, he'd frequently leave it until last and take at least one of the reindeer with him for protection," says Wanger. "As if this wasn't bad enough,Miss Howlett took to following his sleigh, hiding behind chimney pots and surreptitiously photographing him as he went about his business. Then last year she hid in someone else's wardrobe and leaped out at our client as he delivered their presents. He was so shocked he nearly had a heart attack! He was hyper-ventilating so badly that the householders - woken up by the commotion - called an ambulance." Following this incident Howlett was arrested and cautioned by police for breaking and entering. However, whilst Santa might have resolved one stalking issue, he now finds himself facing stalking allegations himself. "It's been going on for years," storms forty six year old ambulance driver Stanley Cupper. "Every bloody Christmas that dirty old bastard comes sneaking around my wife's bedroom while I'm on the festive shift! Don't think that I don't know who's been giving her all that sexy lingerie year after year! It certainly wasn't me!" Mr Cupper has previously failed to secure injunctions against newsreader Trevor McDonald - who he claimed was always eyeing his wife up whilst presenting News at Ten - and Radio One DJ Scott Mills, who he accused of making lewd propositions to his wife during his drive time show.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rage Against the Seasonal Number One

I finally remembered what else I was going to write about yesterday before I went off on one about the snow. The race for the Christmas number one. Whilst, as a matter of principle, I'm glad that Simon Cowell's latest puppet, with their bland and soulless single, didn't win the race, I can't say that I much like the Rage Against the Machine single, either. It just doesn't sound like a Christmas single. There's no mention of Christmas in it, for instance. Not that mentioning the festive season is essential, of course. When Cowell tried to argue that he was doing us all a favour by serving up a plastic turkey to head up the charts every Christmas, he condemned previous Christmas number ones, such as Mr Blobby, Bob the Builder and Cliff Richard as being awful. I think he rather misses the point of festive chart-toppers. They're not about quality, they're about novelty.

Christmas is meant to be about warmth, joy and surprises. People like their chart-toppers over the season to reflect this. It's that feel good factor they're after. (Although there are exceptions, like 'Mad World' a few years ago, which shouldered The Darkness aside to steal the number one spot). Hence the popularity of novelty songs by TV characters, sentimental cobblers from Sir Cliff and/or children's choirs, or glam rock anthems from Slade and Wizard. That's perhaps why Cowell's had a good run with his X-Factor winners for the past few Christmases - it was the feel good factor of some unknown finally fulfilling their dreams. But it is clear that the record buying public have finally had enough. There's just so many times this corporate bastard can annex Christmas for his sales campaigns. Clearly, we need to build on this year's victory, and start planning for next year. We need a good traditional really crap novelty song lined up to take on Cowell next Christmas. Maybe it could finally be the turn of that sad bastard 'Mr Christmas' to have a seasonal hit. He's been trying long enough. You never know, if he achieved it, perhaps he'd finally give up celebrating Christmas every day and seek therapy instead. If that isn't incentive enough to buy a single - irritating Simon Cowell and solving someone's long-standing mental health issues - I don't know what is!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

A Seasonal Sleaze Update

You know, I had no intention of ranting on about the bloody snow and the apparent inability of most people to cope with it. I'm afraid that the chaos I'd witnessed today had really pissed me off! What I had originally intended to do in the previous post was to provide an update on The Sleaze. As you may have noticed, with the publication of Fight Christmas, (which has so far been read by only one visitor - for fuck's sake, it's a decent story, give it a chance, why don't you?), we've completed our programme of pre-Christmas stories. The only other thing I intend posting over on the main site between now and Christmas is an editorial. You might also have noticed that my promised Christmas ghost story hasn't materialised. After the lukewarm reception last year's offering (undeservedly) got, I really couldn't be bothered wasting my time casting yet more pearls before swine, so to speak. I know that sounds arrogant, but sometimes I really do get pissed off with the great surfing public's apparent unwillingness to try anything even slightly different from the norm. Having said that, as I indicated earlier, Fight Christmas, a far more conventional seasonal satire has also been largely ignored. There really is no pleasing some people...


More Bloody Snow

When I titled the previous post 'Let it Snow', that wasn't meant to be taken as an invitation. I've had to endure bloody blizzards again today. As I've mentioned before, I really don't like snow. However, as usual, it isn't really the snow which is the problem, but people's reaction o it. Or rather, overreaction. As soon it started falling early this afternoon, people panicked, decided they just had to get home early, (presumably because they'd otherwise fall prey to gangs of wandering penguins and polar bears), jumped in their cars and promptly gridlocked every main road. Now, as I'm not at work this week, this wasn't really that much of a problem for me, although it did mean that I couldn't go and pick up some beer I wanted for the festive period. Of course, as usual, nobody wants to admit that all this chaos is avoidable. Oh no. Apparently it is impossible to drive in snow. Cars won't go up hills or drive in a straight line when snow is on the ground. This is quite patently bullshit. The cars we drive here are no different to the ones they have in countries which have far more snow than us. Yet they seem to be able to drive them in these sort of conditions.

The difference, of course, lies with the drivers. Egged on by the media, every time it snows here, motorists panic. They seem to forget the most basic rules of driving in slippery road conditions. As I trudged through the snow today, I was amazed by the number of drivers who seemed to think that the way to get their vehicles up a hill in the snow was simply to hammer the accelerator pedal, then wonder why all that happened was that their wheels span furiously whilst they remained stationary. Just keep the bloody thing in a low gear and creep forward and you'll usually be OK. Now, I'm not saying that heavy snow can't make driving impossible. Clearly, if it is three feet deep and drifting, it's going to make roads imapassable. But that isn't the case around here. If people just approached the situation sensibly, then we wouldn't have had so many bloody problems today. But obviously, that isn't the modern British way - we just love to turn everything into a bloody crisis.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Let it Snow...

Well, I'm suffering my second bout of snow this year. In general, I'd say that once is more than enough. Thankfully, I finished work today for a couple of weeks, so if the bloody stuff lingers, I won't have to try and work in it. Anyway, I've cobbled together some video 'highlights' of snow falling yesterday and the few fragments of footage I snatched of local external Christmas decorations. Enjoy.

You know, every year we get to this point in December when (with, or without, snow) it feels bloody freezing, and I vow that I'll never spend another Christmas in this cold, miserable and damp country. I promise myself that I'll decamp somewhere warm for the duration. Yet, once more, here I am freezing my arse of in good old Blighty. Why? It might be something to do with my reluctance to fly. (It's not that I'm afraid of flying as such, but some years ago I had a job which involved a fair amount of transatlantic travel and, toward the end, I found that spending hours on a plane was causing me a lot of anxiety. Consequently, I haven't been on a plane in years). Or maybe I secretly enjoy this awful weather. Let's face it, December wouldn't feel like December if it wasn't this shitty. It just wouldn't feel right if I was sitting in the sun, perfectly warm, at Christmas.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

When Will People Ever Learn...

...that I don't send Christmas cards. Every year I hope that the message will get through, and that I won't receive any of the bloody things. Indeed, as far as the post is concerned, last year I got it down to a trickle and this year, so far at least, there haven't been any. (Although there is still another week to go, I suppose - the bastards could just be luring me into a false sense of security). However, it's work that is the problem. Completely ignoring the fact that I have never given a card to anybody at work in ten years there, and despite the fact that every year I reiterate the fact that I'd really rather not receive any cards, they just keep on coming. I have drawers full of unopened cards. Really. I have. Whilst this may all seem trivial, the problem is that it can cause real friction, when you have colleagues who take it as some kind of personal affront if you don't reciprocate. Which is why, every bloody year, I try to make my position absolutely clear. But they don't bloody listen!

I can't say that my aversion to Christmas cards is based on any point of principle. There was a time that I did send them. Over the years I started to question just why I was bothering to send them. Half the people I was sending them to were, at best, acquaintances I rarely, if ever, saw in the flesh, whilst the people I did give a damn about, I was likely to see over the festive period and could, therefore, give my greetings to personally. A friend recently tried to argue that this isn't the same thing at all. I agree. I think that giving one's greetings personally is better. Unless you make your own, hand crafted cards, then what you send is a mass produced, de-personalised commercial item. I genuinely believe that any seasonal greetings one gives should be heartfelt and sincere. Which is why I confine them to people I really care about and always make them personally.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ginger Tossers

So now we can't even make fun of ginger people, eh? Tesco has apparently made one of those grovelling apologies over a Christmas card it was selling - which showed a red-haired child sat on Santa's knee with the tag line 'Santa loves all kids - even the ginger ones' - and withdrew the 'offending' item. Why? Well, because one woman (yes, just the one), complained about it, as it allegedly upset her daughter, who has ginger hair. Or, to be more accurate, her mother probably told her she should be upset. For fuck's sake - what's the world coming to when you can't take the piss out of ginger tossers? Of course, it's tantamount to racism, isn't it? Well actually, no, it isn't. Quite apart from the fact that having red hair doesn't constitute a distinct racial group or ethnicity, nobody has ever been discriminated against as a result of being ginger. I would challenge any of these militant gingers to cite a single verifiable instance of someone being denied an employment opportunity, say, as a result of their hair colour.

In reality, jokes (and that's all the Tesco card was ) about having red hair are no different to gags about being bald, having curly hair, or being fat. Mind you, in the case of the latter, fat bastards, there does seem to be a concerted campaign, spearheaded by the government and health professionals, to stigmatise them. But it is for their own good, apparently. However, I digress. It really is about time we started treating these humourless gits (be they ginger, fat or bald), who take 'offence' at the most trivial joke where to get off. The bloody woman in this case should have been told to fuck off and get a sense of proportion. The problem with pandering to this kind of thing is that, by seemingly equating jokes about ginger people with racial bigotry, it risks trivialising real racial, religious or cultural discrimination. It's precisely this sort of thing that the Daily Mail brigade jumps on to 'prove' that 'political correctness' has 'gone mad', and, by extension, that all equal opportunities legislation is unfair and unnecessary. So, let's draw a line and tell the ginger tossers to bugger off!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Deck the Halls...

There's no doubt that we've gone somewhat Christmas-crazy around here over the past couple of weeks. Despite my usual ambivalence to the festive season, this year it has proven to be a powerful creative spur for me. Having, in an earlier post, moaned that I'd run out of ideas for Santa-themed stories, my subconscious clearly decided to prove me wrong and I've subsequently come up with several new angles. And there's more to come! Still, our over-the-top seasonal celebrations might act as a counter-balance to the lack of Christmas cheer I'm seeing in the 'real' world. I was hoping to compile a film of some of the worst and most extravagant of the displays of external Christmas lights we see blighting houses around these parts. However, so far this year there just haven't been that many in evidence. Perhaps it's the recession and soaring electricity prices, or maybe there's just been a mass outbreak of good taste, but this Christmas it's looking pretty tame. The other thing holding this project back is the lack of a suitable camera-mount for my car. (You have to keep moving whilst filming stuff these days, or risk being arrested for terror-related activities).

So piss poor have the light displays been, that I'm even considering putting up my own. Besides, I like to be contrary, so if external Christmas lights are no longer fashionable, then I definitely want some of my own! Not only that, but I want to avoid the Christmas decoration fiasco of last year, when Big Sleazy got me involved in stealing that Christmas tree. Mind you, I've already run into some difficulties. Apparently there have been some complaints about the fact that my external lights form the words 'Merry Fuckmas', and the council is threatening t take out an ASBO against me. I'm hoping that my recreation of the nativity scenes using blow up sex dolls, featuring the 'Three Queens' bearing gifts of a dildo, vibrator and cock ring, which I'm planning to mount on my roof, will prove more acceptable. If not, I'll just have to resort to that giant Santa who drops his trousers and farts out artificial snow - how could anybody object to that?

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Lily Allen's Guide to Christmas Swearing

In the latest of our occasional series, the ever lovely Lily - who has recently announced that she is taking a year off from music to pursue her dream of becoming Britain's sweariest celebrity - gives us a traditionally sweary seasonal greeting. "Merry Fuckmas is obvious and to the point," she tells us. "The 'Merry' part retains the essential goodwill of the season, whilst the substitution of 'Fuck' for 'Christ' sufficiently subverts the message, implying a degree of mild offensiveness. Besides, trying to be witty at this time of year is counter-productive as everyone is too pissed to appreciate it. So keep it simple!" Indeed, alternative sweary seasonal greetings are fraught with dangers. 'Merry Puffmas and a happy New Queer', for instance, (as uttered by Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It), might be considered offensive to homosexuals. It's also best to play safe and avoid anything which might inflame religious sensibilities in this festive season. The last thing anyone wants is to invoke the Christian equivalent of a fatwah over Christmas dinner. Moreover, as you yourself are likely to be inebriated, it probably is best not to try anything too complex, so follow Lily's advice and stick to 'Merry Fuckmas'.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cock

If, like me, you read The Guardian, then you can't help but have noticed that it has been running its annual series of celebrity wrapping paper. Each day a sheet of seasonal paper designed by the likes of Lily Allen, Helen Mirren and Vivienne Westwood has been included with the newspaper. For some strange reason, they haven't asked me to contribute a design. So, I've decided to spread some seasonal cheer by including my personally designed wrapping paper here at Sleaze Diary. I think you'll all agree that it is a striking design which fully encompasses both the spirit of the season and that of The Sleaze:
Tentatively entitled 'Cock Sleaze', wrapping you loved one's gifts in this design is guaranteed to make them feel special. To obtain it, all you have to do is download the image by right clicking on it, and saving it in the image handling utility of your choice. You could either print it out 'full size' on a single large sheet or, my preference, tile the image before printing it out. Either way, it will elicit gasps of delight when seen under the Christmas tree!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

What Colour is Your Urine?

As we enter the season of excessive alcohol consumption, we decided that it was high time we published a handy health guide to help you all gauge your bodies’ fitness for further alcohol abuse. We decided to eschew all of the usual paraphernalia of this sort of thing - calculating your body fat mass, lung capacity, etc.) and instead go for a simpler approach. So, after consulting with top health expert Dr Hans Bonefone, we opted for a colour guide to your urine. Dr Bonefone - a leading authority on diseases of the genito-urinary tract - firmly believes that examination of your urine can provide one of the best guides to the state of your health. “Generally speaking”, he told us. “ A healthy body should produce urine of a light green colour.

However, ailments and other factors can dramatically alter the colour - excessive water consumption can lead to crystal clear urine.” As a rule of thumb, the darker the colour, the more worried you should be. Odour is another important factor. “If it smells rancid when you urinate - contact your doctor immediately”, Bonefone warns. Moreover, regardless of its colour, urine should be clear, any cloudiness should be met with concern - although, for men, it can sometimes simply be the result of not properly discharging the old lamb cannon after a Hand Solo or horizontal jogging session. We present a handy colour chart below. Remember, this should be applied to urine when it is still fresh - not that sample in the beer-bottle you used last night because you were too bladdered to go upstairs for a piss. Also, whilst for men judging the colour during the initial flow is easy, women should bear in mind that when they check in the toilet bowl, the urine will have been diluted by the water, and should make appropriate compensation when consulting the chart.

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Rogue Santas

With the festive shopping season in full swing, parents are being warned of the threat posed by rogue Santas. "One of these jokers could easily ruin a child's Christmas," warns Derek Trilby, of Staines Trading Standards. "Any kiddie visiting the makeshift grottoes set up by these bastards is bound to be disappointed - fobbed off with some crappy piece of shit from a pound store in lieu of a proper present and a grainy out of focus photo with Santa taken on a mobile phone." Whilst most rogue Santas set up their grottoes in the most unfashionable corners of shopping centres and retail parks, fleeing at the first sign of security guards, at least one recently succeeded in infiltrating a department store, deceiving staff into believing that he had official status. "He strolled in one morning with his elf and Rudolf the reindeer and set up his grotto under the main staircase and started charging five quid for each kiddie," recalls Mandy Croggler, assistant manager of the popular Bracknell department store. "We just assumed that he'd been sent down by head office!" Problems soon began to emerge. “We quickly noticed a damp patch on the trousers of his costume”, Croggler says. “At first we assumed that one of the children had wet themselves whilst sitting on his lap - however, it turned out that he had pissed himself. We later had a complaint from a parent that, after her daughter had sat on Santa’s lap, she couldn’t get the pungent stench of urine out of her child’s clothes.”

On another occasion parents complained when they walked into the grotto to find Father Christmas taking a pee behind an artificial Christmas tree. There were also complaints that Santa kept trying to persuade kiddies’ mothers and older sisters to sit on his lap and make a wish. It was also alleged that Santa attempted to beg money to buy alcohol from parents coming through his grotto. He apparently flew into a rage with one couple who refused to pay him and chased them out of the grotto shouting “Bastards!” whilst throwing Christmas presents and decorations after them. In another incident, the grotto had to be closed all afternoon after Santa broke wind violently after a three-hour lunchtime drinking session. “The stench was so noxious the polystyrene snow melted and the needles fell off of three Christmas trees - all of them artificial”, Croggler claims. “It took four industrial fans on full power for six hours to clear the smell.” When the grotto reopened the next day, parents were shocked to find Santa naked apart from his red hat and some wrapping paper around his nether regions. “Don’t worry, its business as usual,” he told them. “I’ve just had a bit an accident and the costume is in the wash.”

Curiously, parents were reluctant to let their children sit on his knee. There were also accusations that he had stolen some of the presents he was meant to be handing out and had sold them for beer money. “One parent complained that his seven year old son was highly upset when he opened his gift, only to find that it contained an empty vodka bottle”, recalls Croggler. “Another claimed that her child had had a violent asthma attack after finding that her present contained an unspeakably soiled pair of underpants.” Santas behaviour at the staff Christmas party proved to be his undoing. He became so drunk that he attempted to shag Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer in the grotto, shouting “It’ll be more than your nose that’s red after this you horny bastard!”, before throwing up into his beard and collapsing. "It took paramedics called by worried store staff three hours to remove the vomit from his beard," says Croggler. "Unfortunately for him, the area manager was at the party - he started tearing a strip off of the store manager for employing a derelict as Santa. Of course, the store manager denied employing him, saying he'd been sent by head office. It was then that they realised he was an unofficial rogue Santa!" Consequently, Santa found himself out on the street three days before Christmas.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Investing in Democracy?

With their opinion poll lead slipping, there are claims that the Conservative party is secretly examining alternative poll strategies. "It's quite clear that actually laying out policies isn't going down too well with the electorate - particularly as they are really crap policies," opines top political journalist Arthur Tipdock. "The best that David Cameron has come up with recently are yet more attacks on single parents and a phoney war on completely made up stories about health and safety gone mad." Consequently, the Tories are now rumoured o be looking into Afghan President Karzai's successful strategy in the recent elections in Afghanistan. "This whole idea of 'buying' the entire votes of villages and families plays well to core Conservative values of community and family," says Tipdock. "The slogans write themselves - 'The family that votes together stays together', for instance!" Tory think tanks are also believed to have been enthused by the idea of applying the concept of the market to voting. "Why should people give up one of their most precious commodities on the basis of mere promises?" asks Professor Dick Stroker of the Institute of Furtive Studies. "Why shouldn't they be able to put a real hard value on their vote, selling it to the highest bidder? After all, it doesn't go against democratic principles - surely the party able to stump up the most cash is the one most serious about taking power. They'd be quite literally investing in the democratic process."

However, it is believed that, despite its impressive array of wealthy foreign donors, the many senior Conservatives doubt that the party has the financial resources to be sure of actually buying an entire general election. "Let's not forget that there's also the risk of electoral fraud," notes Tipdock. "Thanks to the secret ballot, people could take the Tories' money and still vote for someone else! It is quite shocking the way the government have rigged the whole electoral process against the opposition in this way!" Various alternative funding schemes have apparently been considered, but once again, these look to be thwarted by unfair government legislation. "It seems quite clear that these new restrictions on MPs expenses has been designed to hobble our chances at the next election," declares Professor Stroker. "Apparently, under the new rules, you can't claim for buying votes! It's quite outrageous - what else are those expenses meant for? Paying your gardener? Buying hookers? Quite ridiculous!" It isn't just the new election strategy which the new rules on expenses have derailed. According to some sources, shadow chancellor George Osbourne has been forced to shelve a policy announcement in which he was due to describe how he would finance an economic recovery by claiming it on his expenses.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fight Christmas

Police in London have described how they have broken up a vicious Santa-fighting ring. "This was a highly organised group of criminals who were arranging big-money fights between Santas," explains Chief Inspector Jim Bobbler of Scotland Yard's Seasonal Crimes Squad. "Tens of thousands of pounds a time were riding on the outcome of these cruel battles to the death." According to the Metropolitan Police, the gang would recruit itinerant Santas from the street, keeping them caged up for several days, systematically poking them with Christmas trees, whipping them with holly and burning them with Christmas lights so as to work them up into a fighting frenzy. The fights themselves - publicised via social networking sites and word of mouth - were held in empty warehouses and derelict factories, often with hundreds of baying spectators egging on their favoured Santa to kill his opponent. "The bare knuckle fights were bad enough, but the ones where they were allowed to use Christmas-themed weapons were the most disturbing," observes Bobbler, who sat through hundreds of hours of illicitly-filmed footage of fights during the course of the investigation. "Trust me, you don't want to see one white-bearded old man trying to strangle another with a string of tinsel. Or trying to stuff his opponent like a turkey. Truly shocking!"

Bobbler warns that, although this gang has been taken down, the problem of illegal Santa fighting persists. "It's a seasonal thing. From mid-November onwards the Santas start to appear, selling mangy Christmas trees on street corners, collecting for dubious charities and making personal appearances in shopping centres," he says. "The gangs usually lure them into their web of violence with the offer of a glass of milk and a couple of mince pies. If that doesn't work, the a handful of small change usually does the trick. The fights tend to reach a climax just before Christmas, when the Santas are still in plentiful supply. It lingers into early January, when there are still a few stray Santas about, desperate for work. But after that they're gearing up for the Easter season." Indeed, earlier this year Bobbler's squad were instrumental in breaking up an illegal Easter Bunny shoot in Kent. "This sort of thing really has to be stamped out," says the Chief Inspector. "There can be no place in a civilised society for this sort of cruel bloodsport which pits poor dumb seasonal characters against each other. Frankly, I blame things like the X-Factor for making people think that the exploitation for entertainment of the desperate and untalented is acceptable." The policeman warns that it isn't just seasonal characters that these gangs force into illegal fights. "Outside of the usual religious festivals, they've been known to organise contests between football mascots, and even fast-food icons," he claims. "Only last year we raided a big-money fight between Ronald MacDonald and Burger King - whilst the Ronald MacDonald was later successfully returned to the wild, the Burger King had to be put down as a result of his injuries." However, he doubts that the gangs were behind the recent spate of Boris Johnson-baiting in London. "We think that was simply down to gangs of disaffected youths," he says, rejecting press allegations that former London Mayor Ken Livingstone was masterminding these events.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas at the OK Corral?

I've undoubtedly mentioned before my antipathy towards office Christmas parties - I attended one in 1988 and that put me off for life. It was my first and only such occasion. I've avoided the bloody things ever since. A friend of mine was recently trying to convince me that they were great for casual sex, as everyone is so pissed their inhibitions melt away. Which is all very well, but he's never met the people I work with. Anyway, regardless of the fact that I've never been to an office Christmas party in all my time with my current employer, every bloody year I get a sodding e-mail (usually in July), canvassing me as to what sort of 'do' we should have this year. It seems to be impossible to get removed from that distribution list. Getting back to the point, it appears that simply having a seasonal get-together is no longer enough - the e-mails always outline various alternative 'themes' offered by the favoured venue. You know the sort of thing: 1920s gangsters, circus freaks or S&M dungeons. For God's sake, whatever happened to having a Christmas theme for your festive party?

But, getting to the point, the past couple of weeks when I've been driving down to see my mother on a Sunday, I've noticed some of those temporary AA road signs on the road out of time, directing people to 'Christmas at the OK Corral'. The mind boggles! It is hard to think of a less fitting theme for a Christmas party, corporate or otherwise, than the most famous gunfight in the history of the west. For a start, if memory serves me correctly, the actual gunfight took place in October, not at bloody Christmas! Pedantry aside, how exactly can men with handle bar moustaches shooting up a bunch of cattle rustlers be considered in any way festive? It hardly encompasses the spirit of goodwill to all men, now does it? I'm also somewhat confused as to how it works - do the party goers enjoy their Christmas meal whilst watching the bloody shoot-out being re-enacted by the staff? I must say that I wouldn't fancy having a waiter in the guise of Doc Holliday - the man was riddled with TB and forever coughing up blood. That's hardly hygienic, is it? Perhaps the re-enactment is conducted in a family-friendly festive way - Billy Clanton is felled with a mince pie to the gut, but not before he wings Morgan Earp with some spray-on cream. Doubtless, Wyatt Earp will bring down Tom and Frank McClowery with an expertly thrown fully basted turkey, whilst Doc gets Ike Clanton with a blast of sawn-off sausage rolls. If it's a success then next year they could do the Battle of Little Big Horn, with enthralled party goers witnessing General Custer and his troops massacred by Crazy Horse and his braves hurling flaming Christmas puddings...

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