Terror in Libya & Bahrain
Unrest in Egypt & Tunisia
Devastation in New Zealand
An ongoing and seemingly unending war in Afghanistan & Iraq

Around the globe people scramble from literal, metaphorical, political and financial ruin while above them sails the last voyage of the Discovery, a 27 year old space shuttle carrying the most sophisticated humanoid robot ever built to help operate the orbiting International Space Station.

- and in Britain the best-selling newspaper, The Sun, goes with the story 'fox up a stick'.

Fox up a fucking stick.

Just so they can run this headline.

The big news of the day is that a fucking fox has managed to get to the top of a building site.

Isn't it nice to know that while the world spins, burns and collapses there is a bunch of serious journalists huddled around thinking up puns for a fucking Quirky?

I've said it before, but seriously...






HD or not HD? That is the question....

Yesterday, I was wandering around town - avoiding the FOUR TEAMS of chuffing Chuggers who had decided to occupy most of the city centre with increasingly made-up-sounding charity boxes ('Give To Morrocco?' Yeah, if  I'm on fucking holiday there, I might...) - when I saw a large Jamaican woman yank a small Jamaican child from her comfy little pushchair in order to use it to transport the most enormous HDTV.

The look on that child's face summed up exactly my feelings toward HDTV.

1) "What the fuck is this?"
2) "Why should I care?"
3) "Where's the fucking Kinder Egg you went off for ten minutes ago?"

Oddly, it would appear that that small child and I are alone in this sentiment as the world goes HD-mental. Everyday I seem to see more and more people rushing from electrical shops, hauling massive boxes over to expectant taxi-drivers holding their boots open, like a scene from The Sopranos but directed by the marketing department of Currys.

 But it's not just fat plebs in tracksuits and Elizabeth Duke jewellery that are trying to get us to appreciate the wonders of HDTV. Getting home late of an evening, as I do, I go to my TV on-demand services to be told that Doctor Who, Attenborough's Madagascar and various superior dramas & documentaries are now available in glorious, shiny, perfect HD - BUT NOT UNTIL YOU GET A NEW FUCKING TELLY!!!

I've got a telly. It's massive. I bought it off a friend of a friend about 5 years ago as they were moving to London and couldn't get it in the van. He only wanted £50 for it and threw in the reinforced table for free just to have rid of it. It's as deep as it is wide and takes up a large part of the room like that monolith those monkeys are suspicious of in Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'.

"Has it got Sky Atlantic?"

Now I have to forsake my lovely, perfectly fine, functioning Idiot Lantern in favour of some credit-card thin plasma bastard that wants to hang on my wall like a work of fucking art, searing my eyes with colours I've always thought I'd seen before but actually hadn't. Apparently, I may as well have been watching TV through a piece of tracing paper for the past 40 years for all the good my succession of rubbish tellies have been.

So what should I get?

HDTV seems to be the big one at the moment, as I've mentioned, but there's also 3D TV. Oh yes. Now you don't have to go to the cinema to get a migraine, you can get one watching Bargain Hunt on your sofa. Imagine that goofy twat coming out at you. Yes?!

There's also holographic TV which is apparently in development. Remember that bit in Star Wars where Princess Leia appears from R2D2's eye hole (I think it's his eye hole?) and says "Help us Obi-Wan... You're our only hope!"?

"Yeah, yeah... What time's the darts on?"

Remember that?

Well now they're developing the same futuristic technology so that you can watch Paddy McGuinness parade a bunch of witless bints with low self-esteem around your shagpile - as I think he would most likely call your living room.

(...oh, by the way, if you'd like the WHOLE Star wars experience you should get the R2D2 DVD projector! Seriously, it exists. Look! The Milennium Falcon is the remote!)

Apple have their own TV now, an' all. That I-Pad thing can be probably be hung on the wall, or you can get wait 'til they make a bigger one and then use the middle one as a portable TV while downloading an app for the little phone-one which then turns it into a fucking remote control...

"Ah," you say, "Ah, Mister Williams, but you don't have to buy  a new telly. you can get a set-top box. you can get HD through a set-top box." and I say to you I DON'T WANT ANOTHER FUCKING SET-TOP BOX!!

What was wrong with a fucking aerial? Then there was the satellite-dish. The short-lived 'squaerial'. Then the roads were dug up for cable. Then the cable needed a set-top box. Then TiVo. Then Sky+.

Fuck's sake.

With all the DVD player, Playstation and the video player leads as well, the back of my telly looks like this....

So, the question that's bugging me is this - why are they spending so much money on TV technology but cutting the budget on the content?

What's going to be ON these miraculous new televisions?

There's very little original programming on. 

Have a look - Masterchef & The Gadget Show are turning into Top Gear, the new satirical show 10 O'Clock Live is TW3 for skateboarding Mumford & Sons fans, everything on ITV looks like the fucking X-Factory mixed with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

After 11pm it's either shopping channels or people in hoodies and dark glasses playing poker, during the day it's property evaluations, DNA tests and where-there's-a-blame-there's-a-claim adverts.

TV can't even schedule the good programmes it already has. Look at the appalling way it has treated Arrested Development, The Wire, The Daily Show, 15 Stories High, Treme, The Larry Sanders Show, The Simpsons, Breaking Bad, Battlestar Galactica, Grass, Family Guy, The Sopranos, Deadwood and Lost. They've been either stuck in the middle of the night, put on subsidiary channels or halted halfway through their run.

For every David Attenborough nature documentary there's OK!TV.

For every Doctor Who there's Doctors.

You want me to fork out the best part of a grand to watch a whole channel of Come Dine With Me?
Jog on.
Fuck Off, Al..

And as for films, how many times can I watch Shaun of The Dead, Die Hard 4 or Air Force One?? You already made me buy the fuckers on DVD when I threw out my VHS tapes! Then made me get them on Blu Ray!!
Get some more bloody films, telly channels!

Every broadcaster is having to make cutbacks in their programming budget yet we're expected to fork out for a better screen to watch worse programmes. We'll now be able to see IN HIGH DEFINITION all the cracks, blu-tack, sellotape and string that holds these feeble shows together.

The very expensive ads on the BBC seem to think I want to see that miserable hop-scotching old skeleton Bruce Forsyth in HD.

Are they mental? 

I may as well go and take a magnifying glass and have a look at some tree-bark while some illiterate with a stammer shouts jokes at me that he grabs from a shit-smeared pile of old Christmas crackers.

Or there's always EastEnders?
Yeah. Great. Now I can watch dysfunctional screeching cockneys in greater detail.

I can understand the need to improve and develop the technology, but if the best they can put on the damned thing is a Riverdancing Crypt-Keeper and the only reason The Samaritans never get Christmas Day off then they can shove their massive flatscreens up their massive fat arses.

At the moment, HD TV is like going to Wembley Stadium to watch thumb-wrestling.

I don't much care for HD. In fact, come to think of it I'd rather have LDTV - just a full screen of basic amorphous shapes and a bit of muffled ambient music. Like a massive lava lamp in the corner that tells me the News once in a while.

When the switchover comes I may just give up TV altogether. I'll just sign-up to an online DVD box set library. If they exist.

Hmm. Maybe I'll start one?

Hey, I might pitch that to the Dragons....

They are DEFINITELY an argument for LD-TV.






Hello Kiddies!

Come on... settle down... you should all have a carton of juice and a McNugget box with your names on.
Did you have a lovely weekend?
Now come and sit down while I explain to you all about my new idea....

Now, what is the Big Society, I hear you ask all-the-bally-time...? Well, if you would just shut your apple-sauce-smeared faces and stop wriggling in your dirty pants for just a second, I shall tell you.

Big Society is a chance for EVERYONE to get involved in running the country.

Including nurses, doctors, soldiers, shopkeepers, librarians, taxi-drivers, bin-men, lumberjacks, office-workers...

Everyone except the people who actually stood for Parliament asking you to let them run the country.

We'd rather not.

As it turns out, running the country is a little bit depressing. It's actually quite boring too, and far more difficult than I had initially thought. Far more difficult than, say, drinking port.
Or riding horses.
Or skiing.

It's actually even more difficult than drinking your port on a horse on a pair of bally-old skis, doncha know!

I know this because I asked my friends, Spiffy & Bobo Hamilton-Parkes... sorry, I mean I contacted a specialist think-tank-whatjummy that specialises in these scenario-speciality-hummdoodles, and after much debate (and many, many practical examples over in St Moritz) they concluded that running the country is not only beastly difficult, but it actually kills more horses per year than a blinkin' Newbury race meet.

It also leaves you with a heck of a bar-tab.
(Apparently, horses need an awful LOT of port before they'll even consider getting onto a pair of skis... who knew?)

Yes, it's jolly difficult.

Anyhootenanney, what I'm saying is that you don't have to be a blithering drunkard screaming down a Swiss mountain on a terrified horse to know that this country needs change.

Lots of change.

Actually, have you got any change?

Have a look in your pockets, old chap.
Or down the sofa.
Perhaps some rolled under the fridge?

Anyhoy, we need change and I promised change,. Remember? Back in the Summer (before I hadn't been elected to be your Dear Leader) when that awful, awful, plebby little man with the shifty eye and the bad suit had his dirty Celtic hands all over our piggy banks?

Well, now I have my hands on it and let me tell you, I won't be letting anyone who looks like The Hired Help near it again. No fear!

(Although, I might let 'Strangley' Clegg hold it while I'm on holiday or some such. Could be a terrific wheeze!! I'll ask Porgey what he thinks when he gets back from his Jollies.)

But I digress, under Jock McSpendy's last tenure we seem to have wracked up an appalling debt, but one which I think we can surpass.

I look around and it seems we're not alone. Everyone's in cracking hock! Sometimes, we dear leaders have to get away from all our little debt riddled countries to have a nice meal and some fruity vino just to take our minds off it all.

I was abroad just recently, having a chat with that nice Mrs Merkel (do excuse me... her name makes me giggle. It's almost exactly the same as the one that means Fanny Beard! 
And I used to know a Fanny Beard. 
She was a friend of my mothers...). 

I said to Mrs Merkel (snort!) "You know, this multiculture-doodah just isn't working. I mean, if it did, why didn't I see any brown chappies at school or at my office?"

"In fact, the only ones you see on the polo fields are the ones mucking out."

Actually, the only ones I see at the office are the ones that muck out poor Boris. He does get so flighty and flustered, cooped up in that suit all day. He's just not used to it.

Well, something has to change. Not with Boris. A bit late for all that!
(By the way, speaking of change, are you sure you've looked everywhere..?)

And that's where YOU come in.
I want your help.
In fact, everyone wants your help.

When I was in Ninky-nonkyland, or wherever it was, I heard one of them say that we have one of the worst literacy rates in Europe. Well I say we can do better.

That's why I'm not having forests anymore. That way we won't have to make books, which means there'll be no books to read, which means we won't need libraries, and we can all stop worrying about how illiterate we are.

And if you're one of those people who do like boring trees and lazy old books, then why not pack yourself a yoghurt and go and run a forest or a library then!?

Everybody's happy.

Nurses - tired of complaining about your long hours?
Then why not take as much time off as you need and we'll get some foreign-chappies to do your jobs?
Hey presto! Less hours.

Soliders - don't want to be on the frontline anymore, dodging bullets and landmines?
Bingo! We'll send you a text to say you don't have to!

Now you nurses and soldiers can spend ALL your time in those Wetherspoons and Yates's Wine Lodges that you all like so much, rather than in hospitals helping to put each others' legs on.

That's it.
That's Big Society.

I'm Big and you're Society.

You just do what I say.

Here's another one..
Want more Police on the streets?
By, Jingo! Then I'll make a quarter of them redundant! Now they'll have to go on the streets because they won't be allowed into the Stations.
Couldn't be simpler, really?

You see, I have lots of Big Friends, like bankers and business-chaps, newspaper-Johnnies and that nice Mr Murdoch and his telly company, and I've decided that we will look after the Nation's piggy banks... and you and all your little friends and whatnot will have plenty of time on your hands very, VERY soon so you might as well hang about in libraries or the woods or whatever it is you people do.

And as you're running your little shops, power stations and ambulances you won't be needing US to meddle in your affairs, so we'll just take the piggy bank and pop to the Maldives. Where it's nice.

Leave you to it.

I mean, what is the blessed point of my Big Friends earning all that money if they have to be stuck in offices answering questions and going to meetings all the time, when there's people like you just sat around in your sweaty pants and Pringle-dust, drinking tins of cheap lager while faffing around trying to send your Sovereign rings to Dale Winton?

I mean, if it was you with all that money you'd want to go somewhere sunny and nice where things worked and people could read, and there weren't public toilets overflowing and bins going uncollected all the time?
Wouldn't you?

You wouldn't want to stay here. And neither do we.

So that's the plan, we get lots of Johnny Foreigners to do the jobs we don't want to do (funding the NHS, running ITV, generating electricity, etc) and that you don't want to do (stacking shelves, emptying bins, running call centres) - and with all that lovely free-time you have you can pop down to the Library, or other such Decrepitorium, and help eject the drunkard wanking tramps!

Huzzah! We all save a bit of moolah and you lot can watch Mr Murdoch & Mr Desmond's lovely idiot-lanterns.

You can even feel like you are taking part in our Big Society by texting Ant & Dec about which particular dancing dog you want to perform in front of HM The Queen.

And we all know you don't have to be able to read to be able to text - look inside Mr Desmond's Daily Star one day if you don't believe me!

But, as I have said before, we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER...
I myself have had to make some changes to my lifestyle.

No more costly, shiny, outward displays of wealth.
No more hot-air...

See? From now on I'll be as one-dimensional as my plans to restore this country's class divide to pre-1893 levels, which is, of course, what everyone wants.

We all know how popular Downton Abbey and Lark Rise To Candleford are - well now, as you can't afford electricity, food, gas, children, medicine, books, houses, roads or clothes you can simply pretend that you are actually living in a period drama!! Hoorah!

So stop moaning, close your mouths, buckle down, go back to your tenements and eat your pot-noodle sandwiches. Remember your place.

That's how democracy works these days.
Well, it does here.

This isn't fucking Egypt, you know.







Yes. That is this week's headline.

I didn't want to, but I've waited fifteen days into the protests at Cairo and not one of our bloody useless headline-writers at any of our bloody useless tabloid newspapers has even attempted a pun as good as that- and I know practically Fuck All about what's going on.


I don't have the breadth of knowledge, political or historical, to give an informed rant about what is happening in Egypt. Or a nice balcony with spectacularly commanding views overlooking the riots.

All I know is it has gone mental, it's not safe for tourists, it's not even safe for proper journalists. Some of them are getting punched in the face just for being journalists. By the police.On the one hand I think, 'Hey! That's police brutality, a clear case of oppressing Freedom Of Speech through intimidation, violence and fear..' Then, on the other hand, I think, 'Fair play. I work with journalists and it's all I can do to keep my clenched fists in my pockets most days'.

See, I'm conflicted and completely out of my depth.

But now I've gone and done a punny-headline like The Sun would have done, and that's not going to go down well in Downtown Cairo is it? God knows what they'd do to some ignorant prick tapping out punny-headlines in his PJs. I dread to Sphinx.
I might need my Mummy.


I mean, did you see what they did to Michael Jackson?

They kicked him to death.

Seriously, they beat and kicked Michael Jackson to death.

I am not making this up.

Frustrated by his countrymen's cries for democracy and fuelled by his need to flog jumped-up donkey-rides to non-existent tourists, local man Mohammed Presht rode straight at the protestors who wish to remove the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from power.
He rode in on 'Michael Jackson' - his seven year old camel.

In the ensuing scuffles of hooves, sticks and knives the protestors claimed the life of a poor camel.
It's a sad tale and no-one comes out of it well.

Not the pro-democracy/anti-Mubarak camel murderers.
Not the naive and gung-ho Mohammed.
But especially not Michael Jackson. The camel.

(I'm no expert, Mohammed, but it may also have been naive of you to name your camel after someone who quite openly bragged about being "Bad" and then urged you to "Beat It"?)

Well, at least the camel Michael Jackson had a much more dignified life and death than the semi-human Michael Jackson, who died from a cocktail of chemicals and a promise to dance off all the debts he'd accummulated from flying around the world and/or defending himself from accusations of drugging and fiddling with children. 

'The last I saw of him he was on the ground being terribly beaten. There was nothing I could do - I had to leave him for dead.'  said Dr Conrad Murr... er... Mohammed Pesht.

Anyway, it could have been worse. Let's just thank goodness Mohammed decided to ride Michael Jackson into the crowd rather than his other camel - 'Barack Obama'.

I gather, from watching the News with the sound off, that Egyptians love a namesake or a lookalike.
Which would explain why the country's No1 Steve Jobs-A-Gram is being heavily hinted at taking over the smouldering remains of a once-proud Nation once it has cooled.

Steve Jobs at the launch of the new I-rate

What I DO know for certain about Egypt is that I won't be going there anytime soon, which is probably bad news for Jet2 seeing as they still have posters up all around town offering me cheap trips for £39.


You could probably just buy what's left of Egypt for £39.
Take it on as hand-luggage.

I do think that it is nice and considerate of the International Community (as we must call the Rest Of The World these days) to make their homelands as inhospitable and unappealling as possible to the average British holidaymaker, knowing as they do that we have little or next-to-fuck-all money spare to be able to afford foreign trips.

A quick look at popular holiday destinations is like looking at a power-point presentation of human misery.
  • Tunisia - Rioting. Looting. Uprising
  • Greece - Bankrupt. (They've started using paper plates at weddings now)
  • Thailand - smiling but violent military coups.
  • Australia - Bush Fires. Floods. Tornadoes. (Unfortunately, not in that order).
  • United States - deluded debt-riddled egotists with guns and a National Anthem that even their finest stripper/singers cannot even remember despite singing it every day. 
  • Ibiza - increased likelihood of seeing Judge Jules.

Judge Jules, wildly overestimating his talent and value. 

If they ever do bring back The Holiday Programme it will either be hosted by Orla Guerin or Judith Chalmers in a flak jacket.

So this year I have decided that my next trip won't be in a hellish playground of lawlessness, looters and rioters, won't be subject to terrible extremes of unpredictable weather, and it certainly won't be a place where an unpopular and uncharismatic leader carries on helping his cronies get rich while the rest of his countrymen try and survive in a society broken by poor services and low wages.


I'm going to LONDON...

ah shit.....




(The Camel)