Monday, January 31, 2011

Revolt Like an Egyptian

Looks like a good time to book a holiday in Egypt. With all that unrest and tanks on the streets, travel firms will be practically giving away holiday packages in Egypt. OK, you might have a few problems getting into or out of Cairo airport, but that's just a minor consideration. Once you've got there, you can lie back, enjoy the sunshine and gloat about how much money you've saved. After all, the Foreign Office keep telling us that the unrest is all concentrated in a few cities, with the main Red Sea holiday resorts still operating as normal. In fact, you don't even need to risk travelling now, the civil unrest won't last forever, either it will be crushed by the government, or Mubarak will be forced out, either way things will quieten down, so if you book now for a holiday in a month's time, you'll probably still get a huge discount, and avoid any risk. Mind you, despite claims that the main tourist destinations in Egypt remain untouched by the unrest, it is notable that the Army have sealed off the pyramids. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Is this the real source of the current unrest? Have mummified Pharaohs been reanimated and are now stirring up discontent? Perhaps that's the real threat - rampaging mummys.

One of the most interesting things about the current situation in Egypt has been the UK government's reaction to it. Over the past few days we've had Foreign Secretary William 'Most Certainly Not Gay' Hague urging the Egyptian authorities not to overreact and to allow peaceful protests. Fascinating that this Tory government appears to want other governments to respect their citizens' right to protest, yet domestically they are quick to have the police harass student protesters when they try to exercise the same right, and are now threatening to curb Trade Unions' right to strike. Indeed, it is notable that - so far - the unelected Egyptian authorities have shown far more restraint in dealing with demonstrators than our own, supposedly democratically elected, government. It's a sad state of affairs when having tanks parked on street corners seems more acceptable than the Metropolitan Police's tactics of 'kettling' teenaged protesters. Mind you, the only reason we haven't had tanks on the street here is because they've all been scrapped under the government's defence cuts...

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Dark Forces

You know, I don't even subscribe to Sky Sports, but I've still always hated Richard Keys and Andy Gray with a vengeance. So, witnessing their downfall this week has been very satisfying. Best of all is watching them floundering around, trying to justify their sexism, clearly not grasping that they are the ones out of step, not the rest of the world. Keys, in particular, seems shocked to learn that the rest of the male population don't share his views on women. But of course, it's all a conspiracy, probably involving politically correct feminist lesbian communists. It's another step toward that horrible tyranny where our very thought processes are censored. At least, that's what intellectual power house Jeremy Clarkson thinks. When asked his opinion on the Sky Sports sexism scandal, the Top Gear guru opined that we were in danger of creating a situation where people would no longer even be able to think thoughts that differed from 'the norm'. Perceptive as ever, Jeremy. Surely the point was that Keys and Gray didn't just think sexist thoughts - they spoke them out loud. That was the problem. If they'd just kept their loathsome opinions to themselves, nobody would have cared.

Mind you, sections of the tabloid press kept up the sexism in their reporting of the case - printing pictures of the female football official at the centre of the duo's comments in various states of undress. Quite why it is considered relevant that she might wear a swimsuit whilst on holiday is beyond me. Would these same newspapers think it equally relevant to their reporting of the case to print candid shots of Andy Gray at the beach clad only in a thong? (Actually, if such pictures do exist, please don't print them. Ever.) But hell, it was serious enough for Rupert Murdoch himself to break off his secret meeting with Davros to come scuttling to London to sort it out. Sorry, what's that? He was in an economic meeting at Davos, not meeting Davros. Really? I actually think it far more likely that he was trying to cut a deal with Davros, evil creator of the Daleks, to secure a monopoly for Sky News in the reporting of the next Dalek invasion of Earth. Oh, and he wasn't here primarily to sort out Keys and Gray, you say? He was actually in London to try and force through News International's acquisition of the bits of Sky it doesn't already own. Presumably by blackmailing David Cameron with the threat that he'd release that porn movie Cameron unwisely starred in when he was at Oxford. Not that such a film actually exists, of course...

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Missing a Beat

I've been experiencing some car trouble lately. The idle has been uneven, acceleration poor and uneven and fuel consumption up. Clearly, it wasn't firing on all cylinders. It was, quite literally, missing a beat. Which is a pretty good analogy of how I've been feeling lately. This has been a difficult month, one way and another, for me, and I know that it has shown here in my online activities: updates to The Sleaze have been slow, whilst I'm well aware that I haven't been exactly full of sparkling wit and inventiveness in my posts here. I'm afraid that continuing issues at work have loomed large over my life in recent weeks, with my dissatisfaction with my current situation growing. Unfortunately, I'm just not in a position to change anything right now. Believe me, I came close to walking out last week, but the finances just wouldn't allow it right now. Ultimately, all this angst takes its toll, draining my energy and leaving me feeling tired and distracted. Certainly in no mood to write. Add to this the continuing lack of traffic to The Sleaze - despite a significant improvement over Christmas, the last week or so has seen another calamitous collapse in visitor numbers, today is the worst yet - and you'll appreciate that, right now, it really doesn't seem worth my while to expend any of my precious energy on web projects nobody is reading.

Luckily, my car's problems were more easily diagnosed - the coil pack needed replacing. Consequently, after spending this morning at the garage, my car is back to its usual sparkling and smooth-running self. However, whilst my car may have rediscovered its joi de vivre, (if it was Renault, I might say that it had got its 'va-va-voom' back, but it isn't, it's a Ford), I'm still limping along. A bit like The Sleaze, which really is struggling at the moment. Despite my mood of quiet despair, I do have a new story written and hope to post it shortly. My proposed revamp of the site - another casualty of my bad month - is turning out to be more radical than I first envisaged. Under my current plans, the logo is about the only part of the current design I'll be carrying over. The key for me was the discovery of a JQuery plugin called Masonry. This makes fluid page width layouts easier by automatically arranging page elements, like front page post synopses, into an evenly-spaced grid which best fills the available page width. Now, if I can get this to work within the new layout I have in mind, then all systems are go. It would certainly give the site a striking new look. Ultimately, of course, all this is dependent upon me finding time to develop the new page templates. I'm still mulling over the idea of suspending updates to The Sleaze for the whole of February to enable me to make some progress on this. With traffic at its current poor levels, skipping a month of stories wouldn't make much difference. We'll see. If nothing else, revamping the site might give me a welcome distraction from my other problems.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red Snow

According to the Chancellor, 'Gorgeous' George Osborne, the weather was responsible for the sharp economic downturn in the last quarter. The bastard! If it isn't Gordon Brown and the last Labour government wrecking the economy, it's the bloody snow! Maybe they're in league? Yes, that must be it - Labour and the bad weather struck a deal during that bout of Arctic weather back in January of last year, that in the event of a Tory victory at the forthcoming General Election, the blizzards would come sweeping back in to destroy the Christmas shopping season. No doubt Brown agreed that, when Labour returned to power, the snow would be allowed to run riot every January, and that no gritting measures would be taken against it. It all makes sense - that freezing weather did originate in Russia, didn't it? Bloody Bolsheviks!

Whatever next will this shambles of a government use as an excuse? A meteorite storm wrecked our education policy? And damn that irregular sun spot activity for undermining our law and order initiatives. I eagerly await Andrew Lansley telling us that his NHS 'reforms' are foundering because of an inauspicious conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in the fifth house of Aries. Let's face it, any of those excuses is about as credible as Osborne's economic policy. Or Gove's education policy. Or Lansley's health policy. Or any of this government's benighted policies. You know we're in trouble when, only a few months in, the government is blaming heavier than expected snowfall for the economic downturn. God help us all!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Pervert Alert

Once again I found myself disappointed by a news story which promised much, but that ultimately failed to deliver. Any headline promising a story about a new iPhone app which can spot paedophiles - a sort of 'Pervert Alert' - is going to pique my interest. On the basis of the headline, I had visions of an application which allows the user to surreptitiously take a photo of anyone they think might be a nonce, and check this picture against some dodgy internet database of alleged paedos. Or, even better, compares their facial features against a set of attributes which have been 'scientifically proven' to be those most commonly found in child molesters - eyebrows meet in the middle, low slung ears, big nose - in order to 'prove' that they are a kiddie fiddler. If it makes a match, then a 'paedo alert' siren is emitted by the phone - which also flashes - and the alleged paedo's photo is flashed across all forms of social media in order to alert parents to the potential danger they pose.

Sadly, it turned out that all the app does is supposedly analyse language on message boards and social networking sites, in order to identify adults posing as children. Rather than a paedo-spotting app, it is actually an anti-grooming app. I think I liked my idea better. Actually, I've had some other ideas for smart phone applications. For instance, how about one that allows any parliamentary lobbyist in Westminster to immediately find the location of the nearest corrupt MP? Even better, what about an app which lets you find the nearest prostitute, massage parlour or spanking bar? Getting back to the paedo alert app, a disturbing thought has occurred to me - what if the nonces set up their own app? It's amazing how sinister smart phones suddenly become when you suspect that the user might be a kiddie fiddler using an app to find the nearest paedophile ring. Perhaps that's how you can identify the paedos?

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Watching the Amateur Detectives (Part Three)

"He's a foreigner - he must have done it!" That seems to be the sub-text in the reporting of the latest development in that murder case in Bristol, as the police arrest another suspect. Having already tried - and apparently failed - to pin it on the landlord, on the basis that he was a weirdo, sorry, eccentric, the police have now defaulted to that other stand-by when it comes to suspected killers: Johnny Foreigner. I mean, just read any Agatha Christie novel and you'll find that there's a pretty good chance that the murderer will turn out to be the chap with the funny accent, (unless he's Hercule Poirot, of course - except in Curtain, where he is the killer). It's the same with James Bond novels - all those sexual sadists plotting world domination are invariably foreign. Even Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker, apparently a true blue Brit, turns out to be a Commie, ex-Nazi Hun in disguise,(in the book, obviously, not the film, where he's French from the outset). The giveaway is that he cheats at cards - no Englishman would do that.

Anyway, the police in Bristol seem to arresting suspects on the basis that they fulfil a particular set of criteria - mainly that they live in the same block of flats as the victim. If I was a tenant there, and they don't charge the current suspect, I'd be getting bloody worried. It also seems that they have to conform to the tabloid image of a slavering sex murderer - in the first instance, a former public school teacher, lifelong bachelor with weird hair, and in the second instance, a bloody foreigner. Not just any foreigner, of course, but a Dutchman. After all, we all know what they're like, don't we? Perpetually high on drugs, obsessed with pornography and sex mad. The bloody Dutch! They're just homicidal sex deviants waiting to happen! Of course, if they can't pin it on him, they'll have to look for some other type of stereotype living in that same building. Someone with what the press thinks is a weird hobby, like bird watching, or building model railways. Quite what they'll do when they run out of residents to arrest, I don't know. Widen they're investigation to take in a slightly broader focus than just one building, perhaps?

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

In Defence of January

So, how was so-called 'Blue Monday' for you? Did you find last Monday the most depressing day of the year? I can't say that I did. Which isn't really surprising, as the whole 'Blue Monday' thing is a load of bollocks. Indeed, according to Micheal White in The Guardian the other day, the whole thing was an advertising stunt devised a few years ago by a firm trying to sell holidays in the traditionally slow month of January. Like many such things, it has since taken on a life of its own and is now presented by various media outlets as 'scientific fact'. Mind you, January gets a bad press in general. Only yesterday I read an article in the paper describing it as 'bleak' and the 'worst month of the year'. All this because it has the misfortune to follow December, which gets to be all decked out in tinsel and have glamourous celebrations like Christmas and New Year's Eve. For a while I fell for this image of January, and would spend the entire month feeling miserable. Then I remembered that, previously, I'd never had any problem with the month. Let's face it, if December didn't have Christmas and New Year's Eve, we'd think of it as being a truly dreadful month - invariably cold, damp and dark. It is only the promise of those celebrations toward the end of the month that makes us think of December with a rosy, warm glow. The truth is that, weather wise, January isn't that much different to December. In fact, it is, more often than not, slightly milder, not to mention lighter.

That's not to say that I don't sometimes get down and depressed in January. Last year, for instance, the snow really got to me. But that was just the weather - the fact that it was January, was purely coincidental. You can get snow in any Winter month. Just look at last December. The truth is that January really isn't that bad. In fact, in many ways, I think I prefer it to December. For all the glitz and glamour of the twelfth month, the fact is that it represents the year drawing to a close. It's all about endings. January, on the other hand, is the beginning of the year. Whilst some might find the prospect of another twelve months stretching ahead of them, I find the prospect invigorating. Who knows what might happen in those months? January, to me, represents hope and possibility, the opportunity to make new beginnings. And that's the bottom line for me: I've always preferred beginnings to endings. Beginnings are where you have all the joys still exploring a new situation, still learning. They're full of expectation. Which is wonderful. In my opinion, at least. So here's to January - unloved by many, but not me.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eating Shit

Another gem from my personal DVD collection. Actually, this one - Eating Shit - isn't really that much fun, but an interesting curiosity, nonetheless:

Total turd might be a good way to describe this terrible exploration of the lives of people who are crap fetishists. The bottom line, (so to speak), is that writer/director/producer Tom Turner's delve into the world of coprophiles, is simply not entertaining on any level.

If this were a serious examination of the world of these strange and sick people then it would be interesting but this is little more than a celebration of the film maker's own sick obsession. Nevertheless, the film starts off as if it is a true documentary looking at the background and history of the fetish - did you know, for instance, that Swift the writer was a coprophile, (although anyone who has read the full text of Gulliver's Travels will hardly be surprised. Indeed the first 30 minutes are quite good taking a light tongue-in-cheek look at this strange obsession. Famous historical figures are exposed, from Alistair Crowley's obsession with collecting all of his waste products to prevent them being used in magic spells against him, to such strange stuff as the Manson Family making a life size model of Charlie Manson out of their crap.

Hitler's insistence on regular bowel movements for the SS is a revelation but the whole effort begins to falter when the subject of differing dog crap turns up. A certain John Paller claims to be able to tell different breeds by the taste and texture of stool. Not only do we have to witness this, but we also have to endure his repository of crap stored in a fridge, where he shows what he believes to be the only existing example of the once common white chalky dog turd.

Turner's journeys to Europe and America see him become far too involved in his subject, a fatal mistake for a film maker. Sadly, we're forced to see him indulge in coprophile orgies, rolling around and smearing himself and others in excrement. Do we want to see him being tied down and stooled over? Is this just a holiday film that grew with a pseudo- documentary beginning? I think so.

A strange mix of historical fact and fossilised crap, descends into a frenzy of excrement eating and wearing. A low point is the Scottish chip shop owner who craps in the deep fat fryer and sells it as battered Mars bars to drunk Glaswegians. Yuk! Not recommended.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Back in Action

Well, I've finally shaken off my New Year torpor and finally posted a new story over at The Sleaze. I've a nasty feeling that The Tabloid Detective is going to fare as poorly as the last story I published with the word 'tabloid' in the title - quite literally nobody read Fiend With the Tabloid Brain on its first publication, and they still haven't. Which is a pity, as I still think that t is a pretty good story. Almost as good as The Tabloid Detective. However, early signs are that traffic to the story isn't great. That said, some stories turn out to be slow-burners, generating steady traffic over a long period, rather than making a spectacular debut then falling away. Anyway, it's undoubtedly my fault for writing stories that are too complicated and which don't conform to expectations. But the bottom line is that I can only write the stories which I'm inspired to write. Sure, I could churn out those quasi-satirical snippets which many web satirists seem to think are popular, in response to every political development in the news, or sexual innuendo-laden semi-pornographic celebrity stories, but my heart wouldn't be in it.

Getting back to the point, sort of, I'm hoping that the next story won't take as long to publish. As I've mentioned before, it isn't just the writing which can take an inordinate amount of time, it's also the time it takes to actually post a new story on the site's static pages. Clearly, I'm going to have to get off of my arse and actually do something about making the site dynamic. Indeed, I've recently been toying with the idea of taking a month off from updating The Sleaze in order to move this project further forward. The jury's still out on that one, though. Mind you, during the many hours I've spent searching, (in vain), for a halfway decent Wordpress theme that might be suitable as the basis for a revamped Sleaze, I have found a template that might be suitable for another long-term web project I've been planning for years now. So my time wasn't entirely wasted.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Randall and Boulton (Demented)

Well, I see that Adam Boulton has finally resurfaced - I had the misfortune to see him on Celebrity Mastermind the other week. Obviously, he could have been appearing on Sky News on a daily basis for all I know, as I don't watch Sky News. However, as far as I'm concerned, this is the first time that I've seen him on screen since his post-election mauling by Malcolm Tucker, sorry, Alastair Campbell. I was rather hoping that the Campbell debacle might spell the end of this particular political pundit's TV career. No such luck, apparently. Boulton is one of those insufferably smug and shouty 'journalists' that Sky News is fond of employing. They stride around offering their opinions as fact and telling us what the government should really be doing. Jeff Randall, their business correspondent is another one - if only the Treasury had just listened to him, then we could have avoided the recession. Apparently he'd been warning about the perils of easy credit for years. Rather surprisingly, as he shouts all the time, nobody seems ever to have heard these warnings.

Personally, I think that Sky should give those two their own show: Randall and Boulton (Demented). Modelled on the old Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) show from the early 1970s, this would feature our two intrepid investigative reporters trying to solve some political or economic crisis every week. The twist would be that white suited Adam Boulton would quickly find that nobody can see or hear him. Except his partner Jeff. Every time Boulton tries to interview a politician, or harangue some expert who holds a contrary opinion, he finds his questions falling o deaf ears, as they completely ignore him. No matter how loudly he shouts and jabs his finger at them, it is in vain. An increasingly frustrated and belligerent Boulton is forced to funnel all his questions via Jeff Randall. Of course, Randall's habit of apparently talking, and even arguing, with himself as the invisible Boulton communicates his increasingly barmy questions, results in all the interviewees thinking that he's mad. Which, in turn, just makes Randall ever more shouty and rabid. Much hilarity ensues. Another winner, I think - I'd certainly tune in, as would Alastair Campbell, I suspect.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Italian Job

I've been getting into Italian films lately. Not the arthouse-type stuff directed by the likes of Fellini and watched by pretentious bores. If that was the case, I would have said that I'd been getting into Italian cinema. No, I've instead been getting into the 1970s exploitation stuff. The sort of films that the distributor Shameless puts out on DVD - horror flicks, giallo films and so-called erotica. I've already mentioned Strip Nude For Your Killer, which I received as a Christmas present, an erotic giallo, and probably the sleaziest film I've ever seen. I also watched Torso: Carnal Violence, another, more conventional giallo-style movie, over the same period. However, this proved a little disappointing - poorly structured and slowly paced, it had no real sense of urgency, let alone clear narrative drive. Nevertheless, like most of this type of film, it had many compensations - beautiful locations, excellent cinematography and, naturally, lots of gratuitous nudity. Most recently, I watched the highly intriguing Footprints on The Moon. Interestingly, although marketed by Shameless as a giallo, this is actually more of a psychological thriller, chronicling the heroine's mental breakdown and subsequent descent into insanity. For most of its running time it successfully manages to deceive the viewer into believing that she might not be paranoid, that she might actually have stumbled upon some conspiracy related to a sinister moon mission.

But what is it that draws me to this underbelly of Italian film making? In large part it is the look of the films. They might be low-budget exploitation flicks but, like all Italian films, they have terrific production design and cinematography, with a superb use of colour, not to mention great locations, which they use to great effect. They also employ some striking imagery. Torso, for instance, juxtaposes its murders with the mutilation of a child's doll. Footprints on The Moon opens with an arresting sequence involving an astronaut being abandoned on the moon's surface by his crewmate. Even the film's weakest point - narratives which are often nebulous to the point of non-existence - can actually be a strength, as they give the plots the 'logic' of a dream, forcing the viewer into continually shifting their interpretation of the events unfolding on screen. Indeed, it is probably this dream-like aura which the strange narratives, odd imagery and elliptical direction imbue the best of these films with, which is my favourite aspect of them. That, along with the fact that, unlike contemporaneous exploitation flicks in the UK and US, (most of these films date from the 1970s and early 1980s), they seem to be continually pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, whether it be in terms of the depiction of violence, sex or even mental health. Damn it, they're edgy in a way other films aren't. Anyway, I've got a couple more lined up for this weekend: Venus in Furs and Oasis of Fear. I'll keep you posted on my reactions to them.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Castaway Holocaust (Part Two)

As promised, here's the concluding part of the original version of what eventually became Castaway Apocalypse. The main difference between the two versions is one of structure. This early version presents the narrative in a more or less linear form, whereas the final version presents pretty much the same story from within a new character's framing narrative. This latter method allows the linear story to be broken down into a series of 'vignettes', which can be rearranged to as to bring the most 'vivid' episodes to the beginning of the story, to provide a 'hook' for readers. Enough analysis, on with the show:

However, the film-crew themselves eventually fell victim to the cult they had encouraged. At the Midsummer ceremony the cameras and sound equipment were dramatically seized by the priesthood and the crew taken captive. As Dabney shakily wields the camera, Chisolm is seen being stripped and bathed by the islanders. “They are washing me like a media whore!”, she is heard crying to the other crew members. Eventually she is tied naked to the wicker penis and burned alive, a sacrifice, Summerisle is heard to declare, to the god “Ratens”. The other crew members were then also thrown into the fire. There after the camera and sound equipment were placed on the cult’s high altar and became powerful objects of worship.

It was at first thought that the ritual penis burning was behind the reports of strange lights seen near the island by local fishermen. However, it later transpired that the islanders had been setting fires on the beach in order to lure passing ships onto the rocks. At least three vessels - including a freighter carrying an arms shipment to Iceland - are believed to have been wrecked and looted by the islanders, their surviving crew members taken prisoner and sacrificed and/or eaten. After the rescue party was met with armed resistance, the BBC was forced to call in the military, and the island was shelled by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Lincoln, reducing the buildings to smoking ruins and causing many casualties. The survivors are currently being held in prison in Arbroath, awaiting trial on charges of piracy.

Nevertheless, the fate of Summerisle and his high priests remains a mystery. They are neither among the captives, nor were their bodies found on the island. The authorities in Scotland have warned the public to immediately report any sightings of heavily bearded, paint daubed men wearing false wooden penises and stinking of sheep shit, to the Police. If encountered these men should not, under any circumstances, be approached. Some doubt has been cast upon the veracity of the footage from Site Two - a tribe of cannibals from New Guinea who have seen the video tapes have claimed that it looks faked. Nevertheless, the BBC plans to screen the Castaway Apocalypse series in the Autumn.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Castaway Holocaust (Part One)

For no ther reason than I was short of something to post (I'm working on various stuff for both here and The Sleaze, which is proving more than a little time consuming), I decided to present the original version of a story which eventualy became Castaway Apocalypse in two parts. On the whole, I think the later version is a vast improvement, but this earlier draft isn't without merit. If nothing else, it provides an insight into the creative process behind the stuff I publish over at The Sleaze, which, after all, was originally one of the purposes of this blog. Anyway, without further ado, here's the first part of the original draft of Castaway Apocalypse:

It has come to light that a reality TV project became so out of hand that the BBC was eventually forced to resort to military intervention in order to resolve a major crisis. Whilst the main Castaway project proceeded fairly smoothly, BBC insiders have admitted to the existence of a Castaway Site Two, situated on another remote Scottish island, which ended in disaster. This project, designed as a fallback in case the main Taransay project proved abortive, concluded with an armed stand-off as the participants opened fire on the boat sent to rescue them and refused to leave.

Bad weather conditions had resulted in contact being lost with the group very early on and, faced with failing crops and sick livestock, the thirty-five islanders - under the leadership of charismatic university lecturer Frank Summerisle - had formed a bizarre fertility cult. Documentary footage eventually recovered from the island revealed some of the strange rites performed by this cult. These included mass male masturbations over the cultivated areas to try and make them fertile, and the ritual buggering of pigs in an attempt to make them more fecund. At the centre of the cult was the worship of a huge wicker penis, which was ritually burned every equinox, whilst the naked islanders, daubed with paint derived from sheep dung, danced around it. The whole ceremony was presided over by the heavily bearded Summerisle, also naked, except for a hand-painted giant phallus fashioned from drift-wood, and his high priests. These included stereotypical retired Birmingham builder Bill Capper and bisexual flight attendant Roger Dabney. The ceremonies would culminate in a sexual frenzy, with the islanders roaring drunk on a local alcoholic brew derived from fermented seaweed and fortified with human urine.

Sociologists who have studied the footage have noted that the cult quickly developed a clear hierarchical structure, presided over by the male elders who formed the priesthood. The younger members of the group found themselves at the bottom of the totem pole, forced to gain favour by granting sexual favours to the elders. Indeed, token upper-class pretty-boy Tim Beagle and irritating professional Irishman and self-styled talented musician Seamus O’Bollochs, became virtual rent-boys in their attempts to remain near the centre of the group.

In the aftermath of the Site Two fiasco, BBC chiefs have questioned the role played by the resident documentary film crew in the development of this cult. It has been suggested that, on several occasions, the islanders are clearly 'acting up' and performing for the benefit of the camera. It has even been alleged that in some of the recovered footage official documentary maker Tamara Chisolm can be seen urging Summerisle, Capper, Dabney and the other cult elders to perform ever more bizarre ceremonies, and actively encouraging the inclusion of more sex and violence in them. According to sources who claim to have seen the footage, Chisolm can be seen encouraging former civil servant Hugh Baldry and accountant Helen Smith to denounce the group’s whingeing doctor, Alan Hubbard MD, and his family as witches. This they did, complaining to Summerisle that far from healing them, Hubbard had actually worsened their verukas and piles as a revenge for their urinating in his sleeping area as a joke. Hubbard and his family were subsequently stoned to death by the islanders, and their bodies cooked and eaten, the food preparation being carried out by crazed ex-dinner lady Marjorie Halsted. The footage apparently shows her cackling maniacally as she dismembers the bodies, before boiling the meat until it is virtually inedible.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Absent Friends

OK, I've more or less remembered what I was going to post about on Wednesday. I suppose the overall theme has to do with reacquainting oneself with long-absent friends. Sort of. Over Christmas I caught a few episodes of The Goodies which were being repeated on BBC2. Like many people of my generation, I have fond childhood memories of The Goodies, fuelled, no doubt, by the fact none of their BBC series have been repeated in decades, leaving us only with hazy recollections of the trio's comic antics. Sadly, on the basis of the episodes I saw, the show hasn't aged well. It all seemed so laboured and, far from being radical, the humour sometimes seemed a bit reactionary - particularly with regard to its depiction of ethnic minorities and youth culture. I'm not denying that some of it still made me laugh, but it just didn't seem as funny as I remembered it. Perhaps they're right, the past is a foreign country. Maybe we shouldn't try to go back, it can only disappoint us.

That said, over Christmas I also decided to see if I could track down an old friend I haven't seen in a few years and have rather lost touch with. Trust me, keeping track of the academic misadventures of sometime expert advisor to The Sleaze Professor Jerry Mire, for it was he I was looking for, as he has to keep moving to avoid the authorities. Nonetheless, it was with relative ease that I came across the Prof's latest musical venture. Now, I can't deny that I approached Asbo Derek, which this latest endeavour is called, having previously been exposed to the notorious Salient Points, Professor Mire's previous group. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Asbo Derek are actually pretty good! Unlike The Goodies, Professor Mire seems to have improved with age! Perhaps revisiting the past doesn't always have to be a depressing experience. Anyway, I enjoyed the musical stylings of Asbo Derek so much that I want to share them - so here's the link to their Myspace page. Enjoy.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Watching the Amateur Detectives (Part Two)

I spoke too soon about that Bristol murder case - with the police having released what appears to be their main suspect on bail, the press have reopened their own investigations. Not that the police are helping themselves much. I mean, what were they thinking of when they revealed that one of the victim's socks was missing? They even told everyone the colour: grey. For God's sake, don't they realise that sort of detail will only encourage the media? Damn it, 'The Mystery of the Grey Sock', (or perhaps the 'Case of the Missing Sock'), even sounds like a bloody Agatha Christie story. Come to think of it, I'm sure I saw either Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot investigating it over Christmas. Then there was the speculation that there might be more than one killer - all because at a press conference the police referred to the 'killer or killers'. Again, don't they realise that sort of chance remark will set the press of on a whole new course of private investigations. Interestingly, reporting of the case got so bad that, for the better part of twenty four hours, ITV News found themselves barred from official press conferences.

Apparently, Avon and Somerset Police had objected to an ITV News report which had criticised their handling of the investigation. Well, obviously no official police investigation could be as good as the unofficial ones conducted by the media with their crack teams of crime reporters. Clearly, they've all seen too many of those 1930s Hollywood B-pictures where intrepid journalists succeed in solving the cases the police can't crack, either through stupidity or corruption. Cases which often seem to involve body snatching, ghouls, apes and assorted mad scientists (usually played by Bela Lugosi). Sadly, today's tabloid journalists would have trouble finding their own farts in a bath tub, let alone uncovering a murderer. Perhaps they should employ their own private detectives, (actually, the News of the World did, but not for solving murders), who could solve newsworthy crimes with the aid of their cheque books, mobile phone taps and hidden surveillance cameras. Assisted, of course, by their big-busted, frequently topless, female sidekick. In fact, that sounds like it could make a good TV series, probably starring Ray Winstone. Actually, I like it so much, it could become a story over at The Sleaze...

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Twelfth Night

Here we are, Twelfth Night already. Christmas is officially over. Unless you count the 6th January as Twelfth Night, of course. Personally, I usually celebrate Twelfth Night on the 4th, but this year I decided to go with the 5th, mainly because I started Christmas late this year - I didn't finish work until 23rd December. Anyway, the decorations are packed away for another year, and we're left pondering what the New Year might have in store for us all. Not being a fan of New Year's resolutions, I've settled on just the one for 2011: to suffer fools even less gladly than I did in 2010. I've also decided to stop putting up with those one-sided 'friendships', where I seem to have to do all the work. I don't expect much from my friends, just a bit of consideration, but I'm not even getting that in some cases. I'm tired of having my friendship and goodwill taken for granted. But enough of my moaning. Whereas last year I hit the ground running, I'm trying to ease myself into this year slowly.

I'm finding it very difficult to get into any rhythm so far this year - I hate being back at work more than usual, I'm finding it difficult to write anything and, after looking like traffic to the site was recovering modestly, it seems to have slumped back to its miserable post-'Mayday' norm. Still, let's look at the bright side - at least we aren't suffering in arctic conditions, as we were this time last year. That's the strange thing, despite the freezing cold and atrocious driving conditions, I actually found the beginning of last year a much easier start. Maybe that's what I need - some adversity. By now, you should have realised that I've completely forgotten what I actually had planned to write about today, and that instead I'm just busking it. I'm sure I had something utterly brilliant lined up, but as soon as I started typing, my mind went blank. Hopefully, I might remember what it was by the end of the week.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Buggery On The Buses

ITV were at it again last week - trying to ruin Christmas and New Year by continuously showing those three bloody On The Buses films back-to-back on ITV3. Sadly, they didn't screen the lesser known fourth film: Buggery On The Buses. You know the one - Inspector Blake gets sacked and is replaced by a new, disciplinarian ex-Sergeant Major who takes Stan roughly from behind every time he runs his bus late. "I'm going to have you Butler!" he roars, and he does. Right up the chutney. Stan's appeals to the Union for help fall on deaf ears, after his conductor Jack consults his rulebook and declares that stopping the new Inspector from bumming drivers would be contrary to the Union's policy on sexual discrimination. Consequently, Stan and Jack are forced to come up with a scheme to get Blakey his job back. Much hilarity, and buggery, ensues. Sadly, after receiving an X-certificate, this entry in the series was barely distributed, and has only turned up on TV once, in a late night slot on ITV in March 1979.

Not surprisingly, it nearly did for the franchise. Nevertheless, Hammer managed to knock out one more - Cannibalism On The Buses. Considered too dark for general release - the plot features Stan and Jack's bus, with Inspector Blake and twelve passengers on board, crashing and ending up marooned on a traffic island in a busy junction; unable to reach safety, they're forced into desperate measures in order to survive - this one went out on a double bill with gay vampire flick Bite Me While I'm Naked. Not surprisingly, it has never been shown on TV or released on video or DVD. A sad end for a once great TV spin off film series. I say 'great', but what I mean is 'profitable' - in quality terms they were crap with no artistic merit. However, the first movie was the most successful British film of its year, even beating Diamonds Are Forever at the UK box office. By contrast, the fifth one had total receipts of thirty seven pounds and twenty six pence during its two week engagement at Soho's Golden Shower cinema.

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Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year, New Sleaze

Well, I did eventually go out on New Year's Eve for a drink, and didn't get to bed until four in the morning. I really am getting far too old for this shit. Anyway, now that I've finally recovered, it's time to look to my plans for The Sleaze in 2011. Clearly, the first priority is to get some new material posted, and I'm currently working on this - there should be a new story posted in the next few days. In the longer term, I'm still looking to shift the site from static to dynamic pages, with Wordpress still the preferred platform. However, after spending a great deal of time over the past few days looking at various Wordpress themes, I've come to the conclusion that the overwhelming majority of existing themes are just too dull for words - they all seem to have been designed by people who have no idea as to what a web site might actually be used for. Of course, I could simply try to adapt one of these themes, but, to be frank, creating my own theme from scratch would be quicker. Consequently, my current plan is to try and adapt my current templates into a Wordpress theme.

Obviously, this could be somewhat time consuming so, in the interim, I'll probably be tweaking the static pages somewhat, to tidy up the layouts, improve the fonts and create a better banner. The ultimate aim of switching to dynamic pages is, of course, to make The Sleaze easier to maintain which, in turn, will give me more time to work on new stories. What these new stories will actually be, remains to be seen. Whilst I already have plenty of ideas, I have no doubt that, as happened last year, various events in the real world will take me off in completely unexpected directions. In addition to continuing to implement improvements to The Sleaze, I also have other ambitions for 2011. I still intend to unmask the 'West Country Stalker', for instance. This individual still hasn't come forward voluntarily, and hasn't been as active over the festive period. But they'll be back, I'm sure of that. And I'll be waiting for them...

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