29 December, 2005

He'll never sell any ice creams going at that speed

Papers from 1975, de-classified today, reveal plans for a "Brighten up Ulster" campaign designed in the wake of a disastrous 1974, during which the government collapsed after a general strike, the IRA bombed Birmingham pubs, and more than 300 people were killed.

One suggestion for raising spirits from government's Information Policy Coordinating Committee was to see Morecambe and Wise perform their trademark Bring Me Sunshine dance routine on the lawns of Stormont.

In a letter to committee members on March 18 1975, just over a month after the IRA declared an indefinite ceasefire, Michael Cudlipp stressed the need to "think really big" in organising a campaign of "morale-boosting" events.

Thirty years on it's easy to sneer at this seemingly naive approach. Public-schooled Whitehall types thinking that a dash of music hall fun would cheer the proles, then the Foreign Office's annual Gilbert and Sullivan for the chaps.

But dammit isn't it worth a try? We owe it not to ourselves but the beleaguered people of Iraq to give them the chance to see James Blunt doing a tap-dance routine in a minefield.

Is there an entertainer more likely to raise spirits in Kabul, Aceh or Beslan? Please let us know your top line-ups. Perhaps Joss Stone and Dido duetting in a Turkmenistan nuclear reactor core, Jim Davidson entertaining our boys in South Georgia (please!) or who could resist David Blaine doing some of his trademark street magic in Fallujah?

26 December, 2005

King stupid

The Prince of Wales has reportedly considered using the name George when he becomes King. He has discussed ditching the title Charles III because of associations with some of the bloodiest periods in the monarchy's history, the Times says.

Yes, that'll convince everybody that you're family is no longer an anachronistic blot on the country that hoovers up money and should be decommissioned as soon as humanley possible. The pointless oxygen thief was also considering being renamed King Sellafield.

22 December, 2005

It's madness gone politically correct

You work your fingers to the bone ridiculing the news and then reality, that old bitch, slaps you right in the kisser with a story so bizzare - that in the words of the patron saint of rambling idocy Richard Littlejohn "You couldn't make it up"

SANTA FE, New Mexico (AP) -- Lawyers for David Letterman want a judge to quash a restraining order granted to a Santa Fe woman who contends the CBS late-night host used code words to show he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host.

A state judge granted a temporary restraining order to Colleen Nestler, who alleged in a request filed last Thursday that Letterman has forced her to go bankrupt and caused her "mental cruelty" and "sleep deprivation" since May 1994.

Nestler requested that Letterman, who tapes his show in New York, stay at least 3 yards away and not "think of me, and release me from his mental harassment and hammering."

Brrr gibber gibber... it may be time to relax over the festive period, get some rest, then ingest what Terence McKenna would describe as a "heroic dose" of psilocybin mushrooms and really get down to some gonzo reportage.

21 December, 2005

The going is good

The gallant sport of Kings has reacted to the unprecedented rash of suicides amongst lowly staff at racing stables today. Henceforth, these workers will not be known as stable lads, but as unstable lads.

In April, Eric Clamp, a stable lad from Newmarkethad garrotted himself using the bed railings. He was 33. Last month, Paul Matthews, a 41-year-old from Liverpool, was found hanged in the stairway at La Grange by his fiancee, who also works there. It was the sixth suicide among stable lads and ex-stable lads from Newmarket in under three years and, after the death of 40-year-old Jeff Brown, who worked in David Loder's yard, the third this year. The deaths make the suicide rate among Newmarket's 1,000 or so male lads (there are a similar number of female grooms) more than 17 times that of the national average for all men.

It's a trend that is confounding. What could possibly be upsetting these working class lads. Surely they're born to get up at three in the morning whatever the weather and be abused by trainers who are often ex-army and always old-money. It's every peasants dream to work for way less than minimum wage to run a super-rich owners idle plaything.

"When you've spent a career waiting upon and cleaning after one of these beasts it gets into your blood" said stable lad Derwin Oiin. "They're inbred to the point of madness, extremely fragile mentally and physically. You can see it in their eyes, the foaming mouth and flaring nostril. And they're no use in any other place."

For many stable lads the only alternative is working with royalty. Small wonder they choose the sweet embrace of death.

17 December, 2005

GreenDesk with Rosie May

A road ramp that uses passing cars to generate power has been developed.

Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates.

Around 300 jobs are due to be created in Somerset for a production run of 2,000 ramps next year. Plates in the ramp move up and down as vehicles pass over them, driving a generator. It's believed that having ten sets of the ramps on a town's high street could generate enough electricity to power the inspection lamps at "Kwik-Shox Suspension Rebuilder, Tracking & Alignment" at the end of the road. In your face big oil!

More worryingly depending on the weight of the vehicle passing overhead, between five and 50kW can be generated, which may lead to a misplaced sense of smugness from 4x4 owners. Television viewers should brace themselves for the prospect of Clarkson chortling in a Hummer about his new found green credentials.

16 December, 2005

Junk prude

A religious message on a McDonald's roadside sign is causing friction in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The sign at McDonald's on the corner of Falls of Neuse and Spring Forest Road reads: "Merry Christmas, Jesus is the Reason for the Season." It is a holiday message that Amanda Alpert thinks comes on a little too strongly. "It offends me because it specifically talks about Jesus, Merry Christmas. It doesn't give credit to anyone else," Alpert said.

Credit? Who the fuck does she want to credit for the season?

Alpert called the McDonald's corporate office in Atlanta and requested that the sign be changed to Happy Holidays. The response was the owner has the right to do what she wants with the sign. "I care because I'm Jewish, and the reason for the season is upsetting to me," Alpert said.

In the spirit of goodwill to all men driverchris proposes we extend the sign and give Ms Alpert and her Tijuana Brass the choice between the following messages;

Jesus was tacked onto what is esentially a Pagan midwinter festival rooted in ancient North European pre-history is the reason for the season.

Happy Birthday Jesus! You did some cool shit before you were tortured and killed by Jews.


14 December, 2005

Bellend Sebastian

Sebastian Coe confounded critics who believe he has no more grasp on the true nature of sport in this country than a badly stunned pig skittering about on an abbatoir floor, critics who believe Coe is better spending his time in the upper chamber twining his well-used togue around Thatcher's withered ringpiece. Yesterday.

Demonstrating his innate understanding of how the beautiful game works nationally Lord Coe still hopeful Wales and Scotland will take part in a combined Great Britain football team for the 2012 Olympics in London.

The Football Association suggested reforming the British Olympic team in July and England and Northern Ireland have said their players will be made available. We look forward to seeing gifted amateur gentleman-players like Mr Keane, Ulster and Mr Rooney, t'north embracing the sportsmanship ideals of the Olympic dream.

Sky One are currently commissioning "Olympic Village Uncovered - SpitRoast PakiSlap Party"

13 December, 2005

Bonnie Langford's hellspawn

Is there anything more annoying than a precocious child? Of course there is, one that gets indulged instead of a clip round the ear.

A 10-year-old schoolgirl who wrote a self-help guide to help her deal with her parents' divorce is to have her book published, it emerged yesterday. When her mother and father separated three and a half years ago Libby Rees wrote a list of the things that helped her make sense of what was going on. The result was a 60-page book called Help, Hope and Happiness, containing gems like the following:

Positive thinking Try looking in the mirror, first thing in the morning and say out loud to yourself "I am better and better every day!" five times.

You might think it's a little cruel to have a pop at a 10 year old, even if it now becomes clear who's been authoring all those motivational posters. You'd be wrong. Libby's stepped into the limelight to share her prepubescent wisdom with anyone willing to pay. Different rules apply now poppet.

Where the fuck were the parents, whose duty it is to raise our junior scribbler, and protect her? Protect her from stupid ideas for trite empty photo-op stories where everybody ends up used?

Probably in a bidding war with Richard & Judy whilst considering sexually abusing their youngest to get a lucrative two book deal.

11 December, 2005



Dear Norman,
I enjoy your column in The Guardian on Saturdays 'Free Radical' indeed - sometimes when I feel that political principles are for sale to the highest bidder it's reassuring to read a bit of an angry screed from the last principled man, railing under the stars.

So there was quite a danger of my mouthful of PG going all over the paper yesterday when turned to your piece and found a phrase so provocative I felt I must enquire after it.

"Now that their allergies have, sadly, forced us to go fee-paying..."

I must confess Norman to confusion mixed equally with curiosity. Unlike our esteemed leader Mr Anthony Blair who just decided to pay up for the best education he could buy, your hand was forced by health issues.

Unfortunately after dangling such a tasty teaser you didn't elaborate with any details. Leaving me wondering two things. You've been "sadly forced" down this expensive route, I do hope you wont resent your child undermining your political principles, what a pity if it were to drive a resentful wedge into the happy home?

And secondly, what is the allergy that is irritated so badly at comprehensives but not at the fee-paying schools? Hoodies? Dropped aithches?

Please please drop me a line and let me know, it's driving me mad trying to guess.

All the best, and good health to you and yours

08 December, 2005

"Art is the elimination of the unecessary"*

In a calculated snub to the Turner Prize, radical art collective 'The Swords of Truth' have released video art of their latest installation 'Norman plus three' just days after the prize was awarded.

Critics have hailed it's daring conceit. "Counter to an increasingly stagnant British art scene relying on tired cliches 'The Swords of Truth' are creating genuinely engaging sometimes frightening work." applauded Brian Sewell yesterday.

As well as drawing on the work of contemporary video artists like Scott Pagano and Chris Cunningham the work also cheekily references Bacon's reworking of Velazquez' Pope portraits.

"It's a rather clever nod to the viewer that it references Pope Innocent, all part of the rich cultural background of this work".

When asked if he was planning to journey to Bagdhad to meet the controversial art group Sewell replied "I might sound like one, but I'm not a complete cunt you know."

* Pablo Picasso

07 December, 2005

Divven ya knar wor Harry is that ginger one's bairn?

Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly - also known by enthusiasts of the council arts as 'Ant & Dec', are to follow in the footsteps of Jonathan Dimbleby and interview the Prince of Wales for ITV - only this time he will be accompanied by his sons William and Harry.

Sweet child o' mine, we'll not get an opportunity like this ever again comrades. Imagine, five of the biggest oxygen-thieves on the planet, in the same room. It's too good to be true. An audacious plan is already being planned for one selfless cultural warrior to sacrifice themselves in a glorious martyr mission. The corrupt decadent regime will tremble when our glorious soldier starts to spread our message of talent and ability. Useless cunts from all social backgrounds will be hunted down to create a new meritocratic paradise.

We'll smuggle the operative in as a translator.

06 December, 2005

Hearts and minds

Pakistan's government is to remove a poem from a school textbook after it emerged the first letters of each line spelt out "President George W Bush". The anonymous poem, called The Leader, appeared in a recent English-language course book for 16 year-olds. We're not going to reproduce the poem here, because quite frankly, it blows. But if you think The Da Vinci Code is good prose you can enjoy it here.

Its rhyming couplets describe someone "solid as steel, strong in his faith".

Officials cannot explain how the poem entered the curriculum. Pupils are being told to ignore it.

The BBC's Zaffar Abbas in Islamabad says it is a bizarre episode which has left education officials short of explanations.

At first they put the poem's appearance in the grade 11 textbook down to a coincidence. Hmmm that's a helluva coincidence. Probability experts please write in and let us know what the odds are. It appears that if you put a finite number of monkeys in a room in the White House with a typewriter, they eventually produce self-agrandising pap.

White House spokesman Bud Tackett said: "We're not sure how this bomb Al Jazeera happened, but we'll be looking into it. There are no subliminAl Gore rapist messages in our briefings." He then shuffled his papers looked sternly at the camera and repeated five times "I slam evil acts"

Joseph Goebbels is 108

05 December, 2005

Shock findings

If you want a survey that is both utterly pointless and so teeth grindingly obvious that it makes you smash your head into a wall to stop the tide of idiocy filling any more precious brain cells... you'll need to employ an accountancy firm.

Some 200 London and Manchester cab drivers were polled by accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward to coincide with Gordon Brown's pre-budget report on Monday, they were asked what policies they would pursue if they were chancellor for a day. Wait for it...

Black cab drivers would cut fuel tax.

Fuck a doodle doo! I can imagine your astonishment dear reader. Who'da thunkit, professional full-time vehicle operators would like to spend less on fuel. If only John Maynard Keynes were alive to interpret this nugget of economic wisdom.

Another popular measure was financially penalising school run motorists. Really? Well I never.

Most popular policies though with black cab drivers were the systematic dismantling of all GPS technologies, and sending all the wogs back to Calais nar worramean guv?