Thursday, November 19, 2015 

That police advice on what to do if caught up in a terrorist gun attack in full.

Developing dynamic lockdown procedures

What is dynamic lockdown?

Dynamic lockdown is the ability to quickly restrict access and egress to a site or building in response to a threat, either external or internal.  Of course, if the terrorist has got inside, then locking it down so either they can't get out or the police can't get in might not be the best idea.  Some sites due to their nature may also not be able to achieve lockdown.  In which cause you're pretty much screwed and you can probably disregard most of the rest of this note.

Why develop dynamic lockdown?

You've heard of the illusion of safety, right?

How to achieve dynamic lockdown
  • Identify all access and egress points
  • Identify how to quickly and physically secure these points.  Because your staff obviously won't be panicking and running for cover when dozens of AK-47 bullets are whizzing at them
  • Staff must be trained to act effectively and made aware of their responsibilities.  Anyone who does something stupid like play dead in the event of an attack should be fired immediately, even if they died as a result
 How to let people know what's happening
  • Public address system.  The operator should try to remain calm and not alert staff to the fact they may all be about to die
  • Dedicated "Lockdown" alarm tone.  Preferably similar to the "all clear" and "fallout" tones that would have sounded after a nuclear attack, and were practically identical.  
Training your staff
  • Train all staff using principles of "Stay Safe" (see below)
  • Resist the temptation to test staff by asking Muslim employees to grow their beards and raid the premises using toy rifles one wet day in January
How to Stay Safe

  • Seriously, fucking run.  Use some common sense though; don't run towards the men with guns
  • Insist others leave with you.  If they're gibbering at the prospect of potentially dying, try and slap them out of it.  Drag them if you have to.  You can always use them as a shield if you get spotted
  • Leave belongings behind.  That means your iPhone, your man bag and your skinny latte.  Smashing the phone of any halfwit attempting to film the proceedings is not only highly advised, it should be considered mandatory
  • If you can't RUN, as you're morbidly obese or pissing yourself at what's happening, then HIDE
  • Outside of the line of sight of the gunmen, obviously.  If you can see them, they can probably see your worthless hide
  • Be aware of your exits.  As if you and everyone around you wasn't already
  • Try not to get trapped
  • Lock / barricade yourself in.  Yes, this contradicts the above if the gunmen shoot out the lock or break down the barricade, but at least you tried, eh?
  • Everyone on social media what's happening.  Then the BBC, ITV, the press, etc
  • Phone 999.  Just to be on the safe side
Armed Police Response
  • Remain calm.  Don't worry that all your friends and colleagues may be bleeding to death, you're safe now
  • Avoid sudden movements.  The police will be just as jittery as you, only they'll be as heavily armed as the actual attackers
Officers May
  • Point guns at you
  • Grab hold of you
  • Shoot you multiple times in the head without warning.  If you're wearing a light denim jacket or are a wookie
  • Then ask you questions
You must STAY SAFE
  • What are your plans if there were an incident?  Don't think you're safe just because you live somewhere like Cockermouth, either.  Forewarned is forearmed
  • What are the local plans in the event of a tactical nuclear weapon strike?  Are you aware of the location of the local mass grave?
  • Finally, if all else fails
  • DUCK and COVER

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Friday, November 06, 2015 

Meanwhile, in bizarro world...

It is "morally indefensible" for Britain not to be blasting fuck out of the latest threat to British streets, the defence secretary has said.

"My colleague in the other place, Lord Farmer, informs me that anal sex among teenage girls in the Home Counties has become so common and frequent that many are reporting to their local GP with incontinence," commented Michael Fallon.  "There is clearly only one solution to this problem, and that is to send our Tornados to the San Fernando Valley to deal with the evil of pornography at source."

"For anyone concerned about the potential for collateral damage, I would like to reassure them by saying that not a single civilian has been harmed in our bombing of Iraq in the past year.  Not one.  Admittedly, there was the unfortunate business of that other British citizen being killed alongside the one who was literally going to bomb us any second, but that was in Syria and was a drone strike, and anyway he was a jihadi too so deserved it."

Asked whether President Obama might object to this attack on American soil, Fallon was nonplussed.  "It would complicate matters, certainly, but that's no excuse for inaction.  The French don't agonise about these things.  They saw the potential danger of the young imitating what went on in that 2 girls 1 cup video, and immediately made it illegal for anyone or anything, whether man, animal or vegetable to defecate.  Their streets are safe, why can't ours be?"

In other news:
Pope says procreation "morally indefensible", demands that abortion be made compulsory
Bear declares shitting outside of woods "morally indefensible", demands safe areas and no fly zone in forest to defend right to shite

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Monday, September 28, 2015 

If you go down to the Fuck Parade...

Cereal Killer cafe is not the cause of gentrification, nor can it instigate the solution.  Seriously, we just sell breakfast cereal.  Not your Aldi own brand rip-offs of Frosties or Shreddies either, we're talking the real deal, imported from all over the world.  Pure 100% grade A Strawberry Smiggles, Reese's Type 2 Diabetes Puffs, Hello Kitty Bukkake from Japan, Chairman Mao's Wheat Strips from China, you name it, we can get it.  Then we'll lovingly pour it in a porcelain dish with your choice from one of over 20 different varieties of liquid, dozens of toppings, and all at the low, low price of double a whole box of the stuff.

We can't then understand why anyone could possibly object to our little cafe.  Cereal selling boutique outlet we may be, but we are also far more than that.  We offer an experience you simply can't get anywhere else: breakfast in our eyes is not just the first meal of the day, it's a way of life.  Come down to Brick Lane and be transported back to your childhood, where a bowl of heavily processed sugar and chemicals was the be all and end all of existence.  The cafe is decorated with cereal memorabilia; what others might call the detritus of marketing past we view as a social history, the story of us, as experienced through the eyes of the Honey Monster.  We are extremely serious about breakfast cereal, and we know that many of our customers are as well.  We take much influence from the grandfather of breakfast cereals, John Harvey Kellogg, who believed that Corn Flakes could help the fight against masturbation.  We credit his thinking for my brother and I's beards, as without the distraction provided by our mission to serve only the finest of the world's maize offerings we would have realised how stupid we look long ago.

Our business is in essence a love letter to the commodifcation of childhood as being a halcyon period of wonder and happiness, as well as our failure to adjust to adulthood beyond the embracing of capitalism at its most decadent.  When then a protest terms itself the "Fuck Parade", and yet we did not see any sort of love on display, let alone the promised fucking, only sneering, visceral hate and bullying, we ourselves must object.  Those on the protests may have some valid points to make, not that we heard any or would recognise them as such if put to us, but frightening our customers and vandalising our cafe is not the way to go about doing so.  Frankly, they're 10 years late in any case: the gentrification boat in Shoreditch has long since sailed.  Why don't the organisers move just a little further north and smash the glass of businesses in Hackney itself?

I mean, why us?  What is it about two hirsute blokes selling infantile food to other similarly inclined middle class individuals and urban ironists that some middle class people find so terrible?  We don't take business from anyone else, as no one before us had quite such a horrific idea, and we in fact bring tourists and rubberneckers into Brick Lane who wouldn't have come otherwise.  £4 for a bowl of cereal isn't that bad compared to the price you'll pay for a pint, and we have the same overheads as everyone else.  We can't charge someone who doesn't look like our usual clientèle less purely on that basis, on the off chance they might ordinarily get their cereal from a food bank.  Why sneer at us when plenty of our critics think nothing of paying £10.00 for a falafel sandwich from Pret a Manger swilled down with the bottled tears of a Syrian child, or £500.00 for a pair of Versace Y-fronts?  Why didn't Class War target those conglomerates rather than a small business like ours?  It's snobbery, that's what it is.

My brother and I know poverty, having been brought up in Belfast.  Our parents scrimped and scraped to buy us Lucky Charms, instilling in us the virtues of hard work and sacrifice.  That's what Cereal Killers is about: working hard, playing hard, making life better for everyone.  It saddens us that others are too immature, too selfish, too blinded by an ideology motivated by theft and envy to see us for what we really are.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015 

Long may she reign.

Tributes were paid today to a woman who has spent the past 63 years on the toilet.

The lady, Bessie Warhammer the IIIrd, 96, from Cleethorpes, was diagnosed with Hopkins' dysentery, an especially virulent and incurable form of the infection in 1952.  Although it is not known at precisely what time Warhammer took to the brick shithouse in her back garden, it is believed her lengthy reign on the porcelain telephone has now broken the record previously set by Lady Victoria Price, who famously suffered so badly from incontinence that she walked around with a convenience strapped to her at all times.

Leading the messages of encouragement was prime minister David Cameron.  Speaking in the Commons, he described Warhammer's long battle with the sewage system as "truly humbling".  "Bessie has such a sense of selfless service that she thought today should just be an ordinary day.  When so much else has changed, that one woman could have made the sacrifices she has, not seeing her children grow up, witnessing her house burn down and being unable to do anything about it as she was indisposed, refusing to lower the Warhammer standard when Princess Diana died, things we can hardly begin to imagine, on today of all days her honour must be recognised.  Truly, her smallest room struggle has been the brown thread running through three post-war generations."

In one of her final acts as interim Labour leader, Harriet Harman added that it was "no exaggeration" to say Warhammer was "admired by dozens around the world".  "Many of those people are still having to poo in a hole in the ground, and Bessie's story reminds them that they too can aspire to live in a toilet of their very own.  The Labour party will do everything it can to help them achieve those dreams."

Speaking from the specially constructed bathroom in the nursing home where she now lives, Warhammer maintained the understated air she has become known for.  "This was not a title to which I have ever aspired, but I thank everyone for their touching messages of great kindness.  Now will someone please put me out of my fucking misery?"

In other news:

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Monday, August 31, 2015 

Jeremy Corbyn threat to economic security, says George Osborne.

Labour under the “far left” anti-nuclear leadership of Jeremy Corbyn will be a threat to Britain’s national and economic security, George Osborne has declared.

"The man is frankly a lunatic," the chancellor said.  "Not only does he want to get rid of our insanely expensive doomsday devices, the ones we can't use without the permission of the Americans and have to be built with their help in any case, making them independent in the same way as my arsehole is from the rest of my body, and which are practically useless anyway when the main threat remains not an opposing state but international terrorism, he wants to let mass-murdering jihadist nutjobs off the hook as well!  How can the rest of the world possibly take us seriously if we don't just slaughter our foes like they do?  Put Bin Laden on trial?  You're having a bubble mate."

George Osborne is likely to be our next prime minister.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015 

New victim of Labour purge identified.

There was consternation today after it emerged Ed Miliband's incipient beard has been denied a vote in the Labour leadership election.  The new facial appendage was informed via email, in what has been dubbed the "great Labour purge", that it does not support the "aims and values" of the party.

"It's an outrageous decision," said Keith Flett, chief executive of the Beard Liberation Front.  "The idea that beards are anything but rooted in Labour values is absurd.  From Marx and Engels to Keir Hardie, from Ramsay MacDonald to that apology for a moustache that once took up space below Ken Livingstone's nose, from Peter Mandelson to Robin Cook, facial hair and the Labour party have always gone together.  To deny this is to deny history.  The Milibeard must have its vote restored forthwith."

A spokesman for the Labour party, who refused to comment on whether he too had decided to forgo using a razor for a couple of weeks, denied that the decision had been made in error.  "We have reason to believe that the Milibeard is an unconscious attempt on the part of Ed to indicate support for Jeremy Corbyn.  As all former leaders are required to either keep shtum or endorse Yvette Cooper, we had no option but to remove his vote."

It as yet unclear whether Ed plans to add to his new hipster image by getting a sleeve tattoo and opening a breakfast cereal pop-up eatery in Shoreditch.

In other news:

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015 

"One girl was clearly upset by what was going on."

The singer Paloma Faith has been found guilty of a public order offence following an impromptu gig at a private function in Hyde Park.

"I was shocked," said Andrew Shandy, giving evidence for the prosecution.  "There I was, just about to shoot my bolt, and suddenly this excruciating noise started up.  It startled everyone.  At first I thought someone had got a little bit too enthusiastic with the noshing, but then I realised the screeching was vaguely in tune and made out the words truth and beautiful.  The last thing you want at an event like that is Paloma's brand of nasal bird scaring."

The court heard that the singer had mistakenly turned up at the Blowjobs in the Park (incorporating Cunnilingus in the City) cheese, wine and fellatio picnic bonanza believing it to be the adjacent Radio 2 Party in the Park concert.  Rather than make a swift exit, and despite the entreaties of the organisers, Faith saw fit to serenade the exhibitionists with songs such as Slightly Tipsy and Only Teeth Hurt Like This.

Passing judgement, Mr Justice Cocklecarrot commented: "This was particularly revolting behaviour.  Generally we turn a blind eye to such indiscretions so long as they take place in full view of CCTV or in dimly lit rural car parks.  The sheer number of people that filmed your performance when there was so much other action going on stands as testament to that."

Ms Faith, 48, of Shoreditch, was fined £10 and pleaded with to pack it in.


Labour MP for Rochdale Simon Danzcuk has called for an immediate halt to the party's leadership contest, saying that survivors of child abuse have no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's ability to hold the establishment to account.

"Survivors tell me that they could never put their trust in a man with a beard, not least one who has represented Islington for over 30 years, the other dark heart of the country, apart from all the others.  Should Corbyn win the leadership nonetheless, I pledge to lead an immediate coup and install Our Liz, the sensible candidate for sensible times as leader for life, or at least until we inevitably lose again."

In other news:

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015 

Turkey PM: Syria no-Kurd zone needed.

The Turkish prime minister has told the BBC that Turkey will continue pushing for a no-Kurd zone in northern Syria, as the Turkish government is quite frankly that evil.

"It's fairly remarkable what you can get away with so long as you claim to be against Islamic State," Ahmet Davutoglu told yet another bloke called Jeremy.  "We've bombed almost precisely two supposed Islamic State targets since Islamic State killed a bunch of socialist teenagers that frankly we're better off without.  Once that was out of the way we've targeted the Kurds exclusively.  Yes, those are the same Kurds that have been the only truly effective ground force against Islamic State other than the Syrian army.  Confused?  You shouldn't be."

"You see, we're so utterly myopic that we fear the Kurds far more than we do Islamic State.  The Kurds are represented mainly by liberals, leftists, secularists, people that we in the AKP utterly loathe and detest.  Islamic State we can do business with, at least until they decide to extend their caliphate to Istanbul and Ankara, whereas the Kurds merely want their own state, not to go on expanding and subjugating everyone in their path.  You can see our way of thinking, right?"

"Not that it's surprising so many are still so utterly ignorant about all this.  Natalie Nougayrède (crazy name, crazy gal?!) in the Guardian is still pushing the line that if only Barack Obama had let Hillary Clinton arm the moderate Syrian rebels then Assad might just have been forced into peace negotiations.  This of course ignores the fact that Western governments from the outset said Assad had to go, that Saudis, Qataris and Kuwaitis were quickly funnelling money and weapons to jihadists and that still the thinking remains that a stalemate is preferable to either Assad or Islamic State winning outright, hence why nothing has changed on that score, but it's the kind of argument you've come to expect.  No wonder hardly anyone minds when we start killing the only people involved who aren't fanatical sectarians."

In other news:

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Friday, August 07, 2015 

Britain, August 2015 part 2.








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Thursday, August 06, 2015 

Britain, August 2015.




In other news: 
Did Cilla Black fall over and have a stroke to distract attention from Westminster paedophile scandal?
Total nutjob Noel Edmonds warns of the dangers of "electro smog", what a loon, eh?
Blogger goes totally off the deep end into victim blaming, concern trolling and general prat-arsing in futile attempt to prove something

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Thursday, July 30, 2015 

Send in the clowns.

Amid the continuing delays at the Channel Tunnel, MPs and media alike today demanded that the military be deployed to help stem the crisis.

"The army must be sent to Dover," said MP Davide Davies.  "Every year this problem gets worse.  Swarms of disgusting British tourists force their way into France, disrespecting our culture, our women and our language.  They sing songs asking where were we during WW2, get drunk, urinate in the streets and dare each other to have sex with goats.  Any benefit from the money they spend is outweighed by the carnage that follows in their wake, which we then have to pay to put right.  It's a completely false economy."

The extreme right-wing newspaper Le Courrier meanwhile had its own take on the factors behind the tourist surge.  "It's the benefits, stupid.  The British government pays so much to feckless layabouts that they feel entitled to come over here with all their friends.  Not that it is just the evil poor.  The problem is exactly the same at the other end of the scale: villages in the south have been bought wholesale by the dreaded "champagne socialists", leaving nowhere for our children to live.  When exactly will we start looking after our own?"

More sanguine voices have been at pains to point out France in fact plays host to relatively few British tourists, and that they mainly head through the country to other destinations.  "Spain is by far the worst affected, with Marbella, Benidorm and Ibiza swamped by a mixture of social classes," commented TV host Antoine de Caunes.  "We get off lightly compared to places like San Antonio, where braying trustafarians party alongside your common garden permissives, who are more than willing to give dozens of blowjobs in exchange for a single shot of Sambuca.  Back in the old days we would have made a highly amusing little short film about that, complete with silly accents."

The reaction in Britain has so far been muted.  Premier David Cameron declined to comment, while the Sun refused to be drawn into a slanging match. "It's the silly season, so the French media is just indulging in its only sure sellers: bigotry, xenophobia and casual racism," commented a spokesman.  "We're above that sort of thing."

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015 

Membership of Conservative party 'may be sign of extremism'

Education secretary Nicky Morgan has defended the government ahead of tomorrow's introduction of a legal requirement on schools to prevent extremism.

Morgan, who still looks visibly surprised to be in a position of any authority whatsoever, was combative.  "What our critics have to understand is this puts us under the same level of scrutiny as everyone else.  And let's be honest here, the Conservative party could until recently have fallen foul of our definition of what extremism is.  The mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs? I should coco."

"Individual liberty is all well and good, but if it leads to someone saying things we now declare to be extremism of the non-violent variety then obviously we have to step in," Morgan continued.  "As for the rule of law, the law is whatever we declare it to be, and if we don't like the interpretation of one judge, well, we can always get that of another.  Nor are we safe when it comes to democracy, as we have no problem whatsoever with palling up with some of the most unpleasant governments on the face of the planet, like our good friends the Saudis, who respond to demands for freedom of thought with the sword and the whip.  Did you see there was another attack today in Yemen claimed by Isil on the Houthis?  We're hoping no one notices that we are on the same side as IS there, not to forget allied with al-Qaida's affiliate the Nusra front in Syria."

Asked whether it was the height of hypocrisy for Morgan to claim that homophobia might be a sign of extremism when she and many other Conservatives opposed gay marriage, Morgan gave a remarkably straight answer.  "Well, obviously.  But we either can't or won't do anything real that might help tackle extremism, so we decided making life even more miserable for some of the people least likely to vote for us was as good a way of any of showing we're doing something."

In other news:
Fifteen-year-old threatened with TPIM for describing teacher as "well gay"
Parents of latest IS runaway blame teachers, police, government, social media, Basil Brush, Charlotte Church, and Buzz Aldrin for her disappearance
Counter-terrorism exercise held in London, officers trained to shoot for head of nearest Brazilian
Labour party abandons policy of social democracy, as "issue is gone"

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Saturday, June 27, 2015 


A plot by the Sun newspaper to bomb an Armed Forces Day parade in Britain has been foiled by the Islamic State, the Raqqa Guardian can reveal.

The plot, intended to target the unit of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, was disrupted after Islamic State informed the British police and security services of how the newspaper's journalists had made contact with them.

"They told us they were willing to do the work for Allah," said Abu Oo Ee Oo Ah Ah Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang al-Farqu, "which tipped us off immediately.  None of our recruits talk like that, as they aren't complete imbeciles.  We realised from the start they were either a journalist, or an especially stupid spy, and so played them at their own game.  We first asked if they had access to firearms, then gave them a bunch of fake ingredients and instructions on how to make a pressure cooker bomb.  We even told them to film a martyrdom video, just to make it seem authentic.  They even believed the crap we told them about spraying the shrapnel with rat poison, for goodness sake."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "It is always helpful when journalists invent terrorist plots, as the Sun did in this case, as we clearly don't have enough to do already.  It also makes the public more likely to jump at their own shadow and pick on brown people with backpacks, which is exactly the kind of behaviour we think should be encouraged."

Abu Rupert al-Murdoch could not be reached for comment.

Page 3 - Today's martyrdom lovely
Page 94 - Actual Brits killed in real terrorist attack

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Tuesday, June 02, 2015 

The Charles Kennedy I didn't know.

In common with most of my fellow journalists commissioned to write about him following his untimely death, I never actually met Charles "Charlie" Kennedy, as he was universally known to all us political commentators.  A fearsomely tall man, muscularly built and with a booming voice, you most certainly would have seen him coming.

And yet from such low beginnings did this titan of Liberal politics rise to lead his merry band into the coveted third party position it wishes it still retained.  Born on the banks of Loch Lochbaer to parents from parts unknown, he fought against the twin barriers of being ginger and Scottish from the start.  Known as "Charlie" at school, he disdained the local custom of hanging around the local newsagents swigging from a bottle of Buckfast, and instead preferred to attend debates at the local corn exchange, where he first gained his liking for a wee dram or 13.  It was also here that he became known as something of a bruiser, objecting to a particular point of view from the local son of the manse, a certain Alex Ferguson, by giving him a firm punch on the bottom.  It was an incident that led to Ferguson never speaking to Chaz again, and a lifetime ban from Old Trafford.

Like so many young people, Chalkie had to leave school on finishing exams.  Despite an indifferent academic career up until that point, he was accepted by Glasgow University to read ancient Aramaic, a choice that seemed strange to everyone who knew him at that point as "Bluff" Charlie.  He nonetheless excelled, not only at his studies but also at anything he seemingly turned his hand to: Chattanooga swiftly became president of the student union, war correspondent for the Scotsman and also won the Watney's Red Barrel Have I Gone Blind Yet? championship 1981.  He likewise gained notoriety for his ability to seduce both male and female contemporaries, such was the raw animal magnetism he radiated at this stage in his life.  Later described as the Scottish Lynn Barber, it is estimated he slept with over 6,000 people in his first term alone.

Although offered the then vacant role of James Bond by MGM, Chaffinch knew his future lay in politics.  Unexpectedly winning the seat of Morose, Skye and Balamory at the first attempt for the nascent Dr Death Nuclear Doom party in 1983, he joined fellow future household names such as Geoffrey Dickens, Robert Kilroy-Silk and Gyles Brandreth at Westminster.  Such associations understandably led to the much too young Chappaquiddick taking solace in the bottle, to which he invariably returned throughout his parliamentary career.  As however by the standards of the time his drinking was considered to be social, only requiring medical intervention 4 times over the space of 5 years, it was little remarked upon.

Kennedy was by this point rising in the estimation of the Liberal Democrat party leadership, as the David Owen-led Doom party had dissolved into.  Charlie further built public recognition by appearing on a number of popular television shows, including That's My Dog, Supermarket Sweep, Bullseye and most notably, Have I Got News for You?, where he sat alongside Paul Merton trying to get a word in edgeways.  Such performances made him a natural frontrunner for the Lib Dem leadership after the sudden death of Paddy Ashdown in a tragic hat-swallowing stunt, winning the contest by a landslide, receiving 29 votes out of 30 in the membership ballot.

The great turning point in Charlie's political journey occurred with his decision to oppose the Iraq war.  Advised against rocking the boat from both within and outside his party, as well as warned by friend Alastair Campbell to avoid walking alone in woodland or up mountains, he ignored all such entreaties, going as far as to attend the 25 million strong 15th Feb 2003 protest in London.  He electrified the crowd with his "I don't think this war thing's a good idea, on the whole" oratory, and for a moment "Chaz-mania" swept the country.  Two years later he led his party to its best ever result in a general election, winning 62 seats in the Commons.

His success was also to be his downfall.  Impatient, ambitious colleagues within the party, concerned that his drinking would eventually cause it incalculable damage briefed extensively against him.  A last ditch effort by Kennedy to flush out his opponents in a leadership contest lasted all of a day before he resigned and accepted he would not stand again.  His successor, the 154-year-old Methuselah Campbell, himself only lasted 18 months in the role before he was smothered by Nicholas "Nick" Clegg.

Chaz returned to the wilderness, an embittered if still witty and well-loved figure, and was one of only three others in the party with the foresight to abstain on the vote on whether to go into government with the Conservatives in 2010.  His refusal to endorse the coalition did not save him from the great Sturgeon surge of 2015, losing not only his seat but also we must speculate in the most tasteless way possible much else besides.  In detail we journalists and his now talkative "confidantes" must discuss his demons and flaws, rather than wonder precisely how it was such a thoroughly decent man could be treated so shoddily and with such little respect by those around him who claimed to be his friends.  A party leader who was human enough to admit to a drink problem despite never being caught in public the worse for wear and yet was still punished for it?  Certainly, we shall not see his like again.

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Thursday, April 02, 2015 

An alternative leaders' debate live blog.

Not Kay Burley: Good evening and welcome to the ITV leaders' debate.  I'm Not Kay Burley, and you're no doubt ecstatic about that.  Tonight we are joined by David Cameron, prime minister and leader of the Stupid party, Edward Miliband, leader of the opposition and the Less Stupid party, Nicholas Clegg, deputy prime minister and leader of the Middle of the Road party, Natalie Gordon-Bennett, leader of the Green Crap party, Nigel Faragista, leader of the Stick Up Your Arse party, Nicola Caviar, leader of the Moon on a Stick party, and finally, Leanne Who, leader of the Party of Wails. 

All: Good evening, Not.

Not Kay Burley: Shall we get the preliminaries out of the way now?

Everyone, except Clegg: We don't agree with Nick.

Not: Excellent. The leaders drew lots beforehand and Natalie gets to start us off with her opening statement.

Gordon-Bennett: The Green party is not an inevitability.  Other parties trade on fear of immigrants: we don't trade on anything.

Faragista: There are six other leaders on this platform this evening that don't monomanically focus on one issue.  I will never ever sink to their level.

Clegg: I won't pretend things are perfect, or that I haven't made mistakes.  I have.

Caviar: This is your opportunity to affect change at Westminster.  Do this by voting for a party that wants to leave it.

Cameron: 5 years ago Britain was on the brink.  I've done my level best to push it over.

Who: I'm from Wales.

Miliband: We can do better than this.  My party could have done better than me.

Not: Our first question is from a politics student.

Cunt: I'm 17 years old.  This is incredibly important.  How can I possibly believe anything you say about anything?

Clegg: You can't.  But rest assured we'll cut the deficit the Liberal Democrat way: by pretending to have not actually done anything at all.

Cameron: It's all Labour's fault.

Who: I'm Welsh.

Faragista: You're right, you can't trust anything I say.  Now watch me try to troll Caviar.

Miliband: We'll do it fairly, just like the other parties.  Who you can't trust to say they will.

Clegg: Balance.

Cameron: Balance.

Miliband: Balance.

Farage: BALANCE.

Cameron: I have here on this piece of paper...

Miliband: The past.  Not the future.

Who: I'm from the valleys.

Farage: There needs to be a rebalancing.  The Scots have to be tipped over.

Gordon-Bennett: Let's talk about employment.  How did I get this job?

Clegg: You have to make the necessary cuts because you have to.  Here, have my neck, I don't need it.

Cameron: A lot more debt and more taxes.  A lot more debt and more taxes.

Faragist: Let's stop spending money on Bongo Bongo land.  And then put our relations with Europe on the same level.

Not: Time for our next question.

Kelly: I worked in the NHS.  How are we going to keep funding it?

Faragista: The NHS is great, and I don't bear any grudges over the loss of my left bollock, that was entirely down to an Indian doctor.

Caviar: The way to save the NHS is to end austerity.  We can do this by simply willing it enough.

Gordon-Bennett: The NHS wasn't important in 2010.  It still isn't for me, I've got private insurance.

Clegg: The NHS doesn't need warm words, it needs warm blood.  I'm doing my bit.

Who: We invented the NHS.

Miliband: Here's a ream of the new doctors we'll hire that I hope won't completely wash over you.

Cameron: There's only one group of politicians who cut the NHS over the past 5 years, and that was my party as funding didn't keep pace with inflation.

Farage: Let's discuss something entirely irrelevant.  Romanian vampires are drinking our blood banks dry.

Gordon-Bennett: I think you'll find Romanian vampires are the very backbone of the NHS.

Clegg: No, let's talk about mental health.  Everyone watching this must be suffering very severely.

Caviar: I have set out an entirely sensible plan whereby we can raise funding on the NHS by 100% while not cutting welfare at all.

Faragista: No one is listening to me, so from now on I'm going to keep on talking about irrelevant things that would shame fascists.

Who: You are a despicable human being.

Audience: *Applause*

Cameron: If Labour get back in, their target culture will kill your elderly relatives.

Miliband: You broke your promises.  You failed the country.

Cameron: You bankrupted the country.

Miliband: The people will decide.

Everyone watching at home: We've decided to turn this ghastly spectacle off.

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Monday, February 09, 2015 

Let's hope there's more happening tomorrow, eh?

In a completely expected outburst, the Prince of Wales has voiced his concern at how despite getting the benefits of a British education, some young people are still drawn towards extremism.

"It baffles one really.  I think it could have a certain amount to do with the way children are brought up these days to believe they can do absolutely anything, when in fact their life choices are nearly always defined by the circumstances of their birth.  They are led to believe they will become all powerful once they reach adulthood, and then reality hits.  Some will adjust to this by writing letters to all and sundry and generally being annoying, while others will grasp a black flag and start chopping off heads.

"It's all quite appalling, which is exactly what I told my dear friends in Saudi Arabia when I visited recently to commiserate on the death of their ruling monarch, which as an aside is something others could take inspiration from.  They nodded sagely, then asked if there was anything they could do to speed things along here.  I turned down their suggestion, but it was a nice thought regardless."

In other news:

World renowned marketing bell-end Martin Sorrell has intervened in the continuing all-in mud wrestling showdown between Labour, the Conservatives and the business community, in what he modestly described as a Sorrell's choice.

"It's a conundrum for business.  On the one hand, you have the Conservatives, promising a referendum on EU membership, with all the uncertainty that entails.  On the other, you have the Labour party, which is saying people like me should pay our fair share of tax, and expect to get criticised if we say they would be a catastrophe via interviews with right-wing hacks from our mansions in Monaco.

"My solution, a Sorrell's choice if you will, is to fuck off to wherever will take me and then move back as soon as possible afterwards hoping no one will remember I did so for tax reasons.  Otherwise everyone might think I'm just the latest tax avoiding prick to say vote Conservative, only if not in so many words."

In brief:
Tony Blair promises to "do what it takes" to help Labour win the election - "I'm going to Mars for the duration," says the slowly melting frotteur of dictators
The rich in once again failing to pass through eye of a needle shock
Awards ceremonies give prizes to dull and predictable films and music - dull and predictable dullard Kanye West demands further recognition for dull and predictable music over other dull and predictable music
President Obama suggests arming Ukraine - "Nothing can possibly go wrong," insists veteran of Libyan and Syrian mass death fests
Monday in February in unbelievably slow news day drama

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 

What the Dickens?

The death of former home secretary Leon Brittan has been met with dismay by campaigners for a full inquiry into historic allegations of child sexual abuse.

"Firstly, I’d like to offer my condolences to Sir Leon’s family for their personal loss," said Simon Danczuk, MP for North Salem and Lower Pendle.  "I do however believe his death is just the latest example of the horrifying lengths to which the establishment is going to cover-up its role in the sickening abuse of children.  It's no coincidence so many of those allegedly involved in the depravity and murders at Elm Guest House are now dead, as they would rather be in their graves than face justice or questions on what they knew and when they knew it.  Brittan's death from "cancer" needs to be confirmed by post-mortem if abuse survivors are to be convinced this isn't just another convenient get-out by someone with a case to answer."

Asked if Brittan might have been able to give evidence prior to his death if the first two appointees to head the overarching inquiry hadn't been forced to step down over their own establishment status and links to the former home secretary, Danczuk was indignant.  "The only person responsible for the hold up is Theresa May.  Her complete incompetence, not to mention arrogance in failing to put forward a truly independent chair, someone such as myself for instance, as well as refusing to give the inquiry statutory powers demonstrates how only survivors' groups can be relied upon to get at the truth."

Any sceptics who find it strange no one saw fit to file a copy of Geoffrey Dickens' dossier on establishment paedophiles, whether it be Dickens himself, his allies or the newspapers that reported on the allegations are clearly in league with those involved in the cover-up, and will probably die of "cancer" like Brittan before they can be held accountable.

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Thursday, January 01, 2015 

That David Cameron new year message in full.

It's a new year, and there's a lot that's new in our country today.

Not for me though, as once again I'm standing in a nondescript factory somewhere to underline how, despite not having worked with my hands for a single day in my entire life, there's nothing I'm more in favour of than a hard day's toil.

The world is looking at Britain in a new way too.  They're wondering exactly what kind of hocus pocus we're using to make it look as though the economy's booming.

It's quite simple.  We have a long term economic plan with common sense values at its heart.  If you put it in, you get it out, like you'll have the chance to with our EU referendum.  If you want to work, and let's face it, you have to, as we've made it impossible for those who genuinely can't find a job to not get sanctioned, there are a whole myriad of zero-hours contracts or self-employed part-time placements for you to choose from.  And if you're willing to save, with the mountain of cash you'll have left over at the end of the month thanks to our raising of the income tax threshold, you can buy a rabbit hutch of your very own.  Finally, when you feel it's time to consider dying, you'll have the dignity and security a NHS coming apart at the seams offers us all.

Our long term plan is working.  George, remind me, what is our long term plan?  Blame Labour for everything and leave all the difficult stuff until after the election, that's the one.

Britain this year has a choice.  Between the competence that has gotten us this far, or the chaos of giving it up, going backwards and taking huge risks.  The competence that led us to stall the economic recovery for two years before we realised it was time to loosen the austerity we imposed.  The competence of a top-down reorganisation of the NHS we expressly said wasn't necessary, and we already recognise as our biggest mistake.  The competence of chasing after UKIP, becoming ever more hardline on immigration and seeing UKIP's support keep increasing as a result.  Or the setting of an immigration target in the first place, that was also outstandingly competent.  And if it's chaos you're after, you can't do much better than the countrywide riots we saw and we desperately hope everyone's forgotten about, what with the police facing some of the most eye-watering spending cuts of all.

This should be our resolution.  There is such a thing as society, but if you vote for us in May we intend to ensure there's no such thing as the state.

Finally, look at my bulbous face and be reassured that Thomas the Tank Engine is your prime minister.  Oh, and happy new year to you and yours.

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Monday, December 08, 2014 

Satire: it's a little too ironic.

Is it ironic those who complain about the lack of satire often give the impression they've never told a joke in their lives? Perhaps, perhaps not.  It's difficult to know when irony smothers everything with such a thick layer of, err, irony, which is a bit like goldy and bronzey.  Or is it?

Owen Jones does it must be said have something resembling a point, almost obscured as per by sanctimony.  Few people like being laughed at, opposed to with.  When Nigel Farage took up Andrew Lawrence's complaint about UKIP having become an easy target for the pound shop comics and "ethnics" of Mock the Week, he transmogrified himself with the party's voters, as though laughing at him was to belittle Mr and Mrs Average UKIPer also.  Since then it's become apparent you can't poke fun at the affectations of someone who might be working class, although you can laugh and gawp all you like at the stupidly wealthy, so long as they've invited the cameras in first.  Does this disprove Jones's first book, or confirm his second, in that the establishment (and capitalism) always succeeds in co-opting what at first was radical?

If we accept Owen's point that we need satire more than ever, it could well be one of the reasons why TV has such a dearth at present is a result of the social media he praises for picking up the slack.  Taking the piss has never been easier, and as this blog has demonstrated time and again, that goes hand in hand with doing it extremely badly.  With the exception of the Daily Mash there isn't really anything or anyone consistently succeeding in finding that sweet spot where truth, humour and offence cohabit in an unholy menage a trois.  When you add in how a gag that once might still have been funny weeks after someone first came up with it can now be dead within a matter of hours thanks to constant retweeting and Facebook pasting, it leaves those who at best have to come up with jokes that are still relevant a week later and at worst months in advance in a quandary.

The other key factor is that quality, or the lack of it.  It's not for want of trying we haven't seen a true successor to Spitting Image, although those who eulogise it seem to forget that its final years were an extremely pale shadow of its 80s heyday.  There's been 10 O'Clock Live, which contrived to waste the considerable talents of Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell while somehow managing to make Lauren Laverne look even more out of her depth than usual (the less said about Jimmy Carr the better).  It proved you can put together half of a comedy dream team and still fail if the writing simply isn't good enough.  Also forgotten is 2DTV, ITV's sort of attempt to do Spitting Image again, only in animated form, and without the humour.  Nor should the TV version of Dead Ringers go without a mention, if only because its Kirsty Wark quoting song lyrics of the time Newsnight rip was amusing.  The rest of it, not so much.  About the best attempt of real note of late has been The Revolution Will Be Televised, and yet while funny, it still comes across as that little bit too consciously left-wing for comfort.

Dare it also be said that if the BBC was prepared or forced to ditch its trilogy of dead on their arse comedy panel shows, HIGNFY, Buzzcocks and Be Rather Smug About the Week all, it might just provide the space where a new format or talents could be properly nurtured.  HIGNFY was last satirical when presented by Angus Deayton, now a very long time ago indeed.  There's also the question of whether it's possible to be populist and truly satirical both - does the Margaret Thatcher puppet, along with her cabinet of vegetables really seem all that funny or cutting in retrospect, or rather just an exaggeration of the truth which fed in to her myth?  Nearer the mark was the grey John Major, although it could just as much be said that was simply following what the public had already decided.  Worth asking too is whether something like the Brass Eye paedophile special would be commissioned today, when social media opprobrium would deliver immediate outrage at satirists daring to suggest there might be just a hint of hysteria in media coverage of the subject.

It could in fact be politicians are completely the wrong targets for satire at the moment.  Politics has gone beyond parody - the leader of the fourth, possibly third biggest party urges women not to breastfeed in public "ostentatiously" lest they offend older people, some mothers presumably having taken to squirting milk into the mouth of their child while sitting on the other side of the table.  The same man blames immigrants overcrowding the M4 for his failure to reach a meeting on time, rather than it being a busy time of year.  Instead of his line in semi-offensive bullshit turning people off, it seems to only make them more determined to vote for him.  Meanwhile, the chancellor of the exchequer all but says "Britain can take it" when it comes to his proposed cuts, as the Liberal Democrats yet again confect to be outraged at what their partner in government is doing.  And Labour is just one big joke, exemplified still by the Emily Thornberry sacking.

No, if satire is to stay relevant it perhaps has to go after those newly powerful in 21st century Britain.  Let's see the mocking of the Twitter mob, whether it be those out for Emily Thornberry's head, or by contrast Julien Blanc's, or Matt Taylor's.  About the closest we get at the moment is Private Eye's From the Message Boards or the odd Craig Brown rip on a specific tweeter.  There could be a line drawn between the modern day censors who've succeeded in preventing children from seeing the hint of breasts on newspaper front pages or inside them and those who then rush for blankets to cover up feeding mothers.  Let's have all social classes and none ruthlessly mocked, whether it be the bell-ends who still have England flags up six months after the World Cup and who are so insular in their outlook they fail to notice there's a by-election on (and whom are ribbed by the rest of the working class more than anyone), the (upper) middle class prats obsessed with house prices and private schooling, and the 1% without the slightest idea as to how the rest live.  Most of all, let's see the leeches on society who make out they're above everyone brought to book, their weblogs laughed at, their own petty yearnings shown up for what they are (cont. p94)

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014 

Is it possible to parody something so clearly beyond parody?

The woman in the Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up video is the woman we've been waiting for: a woman who does everything the very worst men do and then ends it all with a hearty "fuck you".

The video for Smack My Bitch Up looks on the surface to be a dystopian feminist nightmare: shot entirely from a first person perspective, we see what look to be a man's arms as he prepares for a night out, using shaving cream, going to the toilet (notice that he sits down; is he merely dropping the kids off at the pool or perhaps sitting down for another reason?), snorting cocaine.

Nothing especially wrong with any of that.  It's once he reaches the first bar things start to go awry.  He tries to force a woman to kiss him; he gropes the women he passes on his way down to the stairs into a club; he attacks various people once on the dancefloor, before setting upon the DJ, who seems to be playing a fairly generic 90s piece of electronica which doesn't seem to know whether it wants to be straight up drum and bass or something far more tame, and is enlivened only by the vocal informing us of how the singer is "change[ing] my pitch up" then "smack[ing] my bitch up".  When all else fails, head into obviously controversial territory and then respond in the most obtuse way imaginable.  Just ask Nicki Minaj.

With the track's breakdown swirling in our ears, the ethereal female vocal that accompanies it corresponding with our protagonist injecting something into his arm, the video takes an even darker turn.  He heads for a strip club, again groping a woman on the stairs down into this new hell.  Here we see him getting too close to one dancer for her comfort, raising the question of where the bouncers are, before he somehow manages to seduce one dancer through apparent sheer force of personality.  They steal a car, and retire back to the flat we started out in.  After the requisite amount of gratuitous fumbling around, the dancer leaves as soon as the sex is over.  It's only then our view switches from the door to a mirror where it's revealed that... the person we've been seeing the world through was a woman the entire time!

This bait and switch technique, drawing in those who came for the T and A only then for the video to shove their narrow and sexist motivations back into their faces might seem like having your cake and eating it, but this doesn't matter when the joke's on them.  The video acts out these caricatures for our amusement, while also challenging our prejudices: why couldn't it have been a woman acting in such a way?  Real equality will be here when women have the right to be as stupid and irresponsible as men, and aren't judged differently for it.  This is a band in full creative control of their image, unafraid to troll people if they can also force them into thinking.  How's that for paradigm smashing?

[In answer to the title, no, you really can't.]

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