28.9.11

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BERLUSCONI... NOW ACT YOUR AGE.

In my last post I derided the rise of the Swaggering Cock in the business world.... people with no social graces or business acumen, just smarm, charm, posh suits, pots of cash and endless self-belief over ability.

Well, today I'd like you to come and meet their God.

Silvio Berlusconi - aka The Italian Knob.


On Thursday 29th September the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi (aka,  Il Cavaliere, "The Knight"), will be 75 years old.

It begs the question, just what do you get the longest-serving post war Prime Minister of Italy (a country I've never been to, but which he himself has described as "shitty"), the third longest-serving since the creation of Italy (after Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti), the longest-serving current leader of a G8 country, a man who owns 95% of Italy's television stations/ newspapers/ radio stations, the owner of AC Milan football club, famed "bunga-bunga" party-host and 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of £9 billion?

Just what do you get him?

Silvio?

SILVIO!!
NO!!

Stop. Bad Silvio.

I said NO!

That's quite enough of that...


The thing is, Silvio's one of those men that knows exactly what he wants.

Usually it is something a quarter his own age, privately jetted in by one of his good friends/favourite pimps and dressed only in a red silk cobweb.



He is a man of simple pleasures.
(Or is that he is a man of simply pleasure)

Berlusconi's libido is insane. It would be insane for a hormonal teenage billionaire that owned a football club to behave like Berlusconi, let alone this corrupt, sun-kissed pensioner. He makes Pepe Le Pew look like Ann Widdicombe.



Silvio is in a permanent state of arrested development. Whereas most young boys want to be spies or superheroes when they grow up, Silvio probably thinks that Superman and James Bond would desperately like to be Silvio when they grow up.

For instance, he recently claimed that there were ELEVEN women queueing outside his bedroom to experience his extraordinary 'charisma' but that he could only "do eight of them.."

Well, he is getting on a bit. 

I'm half his age and I'm not all that sure of how many I could actually go ahead and "do" (btw, isn't Italian a romantic language?)

Unlike our politicians, Silvio doesn't seem to give a shit about the accusations of infidelity - he seems to embrace them, like some kind of horny cub scout eagerly collecting all his karma sutra badges.

Silvio is quite the silver-tongued charmer, though. Let's not forget that during the 2009 earthquakes, Italy's worst for over thirty years, he endeared himself to his 17,000 homeless & devastated countrymen by telling them to cheer up (ignoring the 150+ left dead by the disaster) and treat their makeshift homes like a camping holiday!

"Wassamadda you? Hey? Turna that frown upside-a down!?"

Having cheered-up the crowd he then made a bee-line for the hard-working emergency disaster workers to make sure that they were OK... well, to make sure some of them were OK.

OK, just her.

"Hmmm-mmmm-mmmmm..."

DOWN, SILVIO!!
STOP THAT...

Sweet Jesus.

He's also quite at home with other dignitaries and heads of State, refreshing in his lack of troublesome etiquette or manners, as evidenced by the time he shouted over the Queen's shoulder to get President Obama's attention.

And let us not forget what an admirer Berlusconi is of Barack Obama, a man he simply referred to as "the suntanned one" during the American President's first few historic days in office.

God knows what he calls the Queen, then....

Oh and as we're talking about his charm offensive, let us not ignore his offensive charm as displayed expertly the time he decided to ignore the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, choosing instead to chat on his mobile - AS SHE WAS WELCOMING HIM TO AN URGENT NATO SUMMIT!!

IN GERMANY!!

"Yeah, I don' evena have a phone! I justa hate Merkel!"

Trust me, you don't want to know where his other hand is...

On the peerless Bugle Podcast the hosts, Andy Zaltzman and John Oliver, pointed out that despite an ongoing trial for fraud, charges of perjury, allegations of corruption dating back decades and his alleged involvement in an under-age vice-girl racket in which he is accused of not only paying for sex but then paying the guy he was getting the girls from an extra 850,000 euros to 'misdirect the investigation' - despite ALL that, Silvio Berlusiconi still has an approval rating of 24%!!

That means that twenty four percent of Italians still think Silvio is a good ambassador for the country.

Twenty four percent of Italians would return him for another term.

Twenty four percent of Italians APPROVE of Silvio Berlusconi.

Or as I like to think of it... a whole QUARTER of the population of Italy just want to see what the fuck he is going to do next!

I mean, look at his campaign videos.... who would have thought that that 24% of Italians that love Mr Berlusconi would be busty women?

Not sure about the song, though...
I'd have gone with the slogan "He's Lusty, Crusty - He's Never One To Trusty... SILVIO!!"


But back to my dilemma, what to get The Knight for his Big Day? 

What does he like.... well, what does he like apart from that.

Well, we know he is an avid art lover.... 

We know this because despite cutting the National Arts budgets by 40%, he has spent $100,000 on restoring the penises on two ancient statues that he has had moved to the courtyard of his official residence.

"It's alright, love. It's not uncommon.."


Don't worry though. 

They are detachable penises. 

Just in case a lady is present, one can presume. 

It would be simply awful if, say, a young inexperienced young and bewildered young lady should find herself in the Prime Minister's official residence and, for some reason, found herself lost & confused in the grounds, having possibly been chased, and now in his private courtyard she is suddenly confronted by a rock solid penis.

Perish the thought.

Nope, best to detach the penis. 

Put it somewhere safe.

NO! SILVIO!!

NOT THERE...

Aaargh!! It's so difficult to know what to get him.

As I said, he's a man who knows exactly what he wants and exactly how to get it. 

More importantly, he knows exactly what he doesn't want... which, given his recent comments to a newspaper editor, means I'll have to send back that life-size, inflatable model of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

He won't be wanting that, I'm guessing.

Anyway, we can't just simply judge Berlusconi on his words and deeds. The best judge of a man's character is the company that he kee....




Ah, for f....

OK, back to his words and deeds.


It's impossible to compile a detailed and comprehensive list of the many, many, many indiscretions, faux-pas and blatant screamingly inappropriate outbursts that have come from the direction of Il Cavialiere over the years.

As Grandmaster Flash would say, he's something of a phenomenon. Baby.

It will be years before we understand the full details of this modern day Caligula's reign, the palm's he's greased, the people he's bent to his will, the girls he's greased and bent to his willy... and he can't have too many years left.

Despite his healthy head of hair (itself celebrating it's 20th birthday) he must realise that at seventy five it is time to grow up and take some responsibility. He can't blame anyone else.

According to the most recent news;
"In the space of one week, ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Italy's sovereign debt, 14 leading Italian banks, and 11 Italian cities, citing political instability as a contributing factor in each case."


IN THE SPACE OF ONE FUCKING WEEK!!

Silvio. You can't pretend to be Ferris Bueller indefinitely.  

You can't spend all your time with your eighteen year old 'friends'.... and you can't just bribe Tessa Jowell's husband to make all the bad publicity go away (if that is indeed what you did...)

Maybe it's time, on your 75th birthday, for a little quiet reflection?

Look back on a life that has had a lot of highs - but at what cost?

Maybe it's time to put your country's future, Europe's financial future, at the forefront of your mind?

Not whether or not working with the German Chancellor is boring because she is - as you say, in your delicate turn of phrase - an "unfuckable lardarse".

She's trying to help you, Silvio. Despite wanting to boot you really, really, fucking hard in the plums, she's trying to help you.

So, maybe it's time, Silvio, and I know this will hurt, but maybe it's time you stopped thinking through your fucking trousers??

Have some dignity, stop acting like a twat, stop bragging about your cock and GROW THE FUCK UP.



Or you could, and let's face it you probably WILL, go out with a bang.. loads of booze, birds and a big boat .... like every other chuffing day of your life.

I mean, seriously, WE all know it's Silvio's seventy-fifth birthday on Thursday - but how the hell would HE know the fucking difference??


I've got it!
I know what to buy him... and no, it's not the cast of The Only Was Is Essex wrapped only in candy-floss pants and baby oil.

No.

It's waaaay better than that.

Now, where can I get a tiny ceramic replica of Milan Cathedral...?


Perfect!

Let's all get him one.

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24.9.11

SWAGGERING COCKS

Like every other normal human being on the planet, I do not understand the world of finance.

If I have enough in my pocket for a pie and a pint then I am happy. 

To me it is that bit of the News, just before the skateboarding hamster or water-skiing squirrel that was in an odd coded language, like a set of instructions for robot viewers to power-down for the night. "The FTSE took a hint from the Dow Jones index, which saw a dip of .3% today despite warnings from Tokyo..." 

Time to put the fucking kettle on.

It was always, and IS always such utter banal bullshit.

It didn't apply to me as a child and has rarely applied to me as an adult. They may as well have used that couple of minutes on the News At Ten to read out a Recipe Of The Day or some horoscopes - "..and now we go live to Merchant House for Russell Grant & Delia Smith' for details of a souffle for Sagittarians.."

The brilliant satirical news show The Day Today absolutely nailed the nature of financial reporting with their invention of the automaton presenter Collaterly Sisters and her predictions of the "currency cat" or the "finance arse".



No-one ever listened to the business news because it is codswallop.

International finance is absolute horseradish.

But despite my confusion around a calculator and awkwardness around an abacus, it would appear that this lack of fiscal understanding wouldn't have proved a barrier to my getting a job as an international trader for one of the big financial powerhouses.

I mean, in the week that saw a lad from Ackworth lose a billion and a half fucking pounds you can't jump to any other conclusion.

WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU TRUST ANYONE FROM ACKWORTH WITH A BILLION POUNDS??

I wouldn't trust anyone from Ackworth to give me the right change from a fucking fiver!!

For years the boastful, arrogant, smug, swaggering, deluded and prickish amongst us have been carefully selected to go to special arsehole factories in Canary Wharf  to learn how to swing their dicks about on the world stage.

Like a massive conference of those useless wankers that appear on The Apprentice, the world's stock exchanges have been populated by arrogant self promoters with absolutely no moral compass nor social graces.

One of the great things about watching these fucktards on programmes like The Apprentice is seeing them fail at simple tasks like buying bread from a shop or sitting the right way round on a toilet. They are so confident in their own abilities that they inevitable fail the simplest of instructions every single fucking week, and while it is fun to watch confident people look like pricks we shouldn't forget that people like this do go on to control our lives.


They 'talk a good game'. If they tell enough people that they are motiviational speakers then they get a job as a motivational speaker. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I once worked in sales, at a magazine for the pharmaceutical industry.

On  my first day I was met by the company's best salesman. Arthur Johnson. I will remember that name forever. At first it seemes such an inocuous name. So normal. A bit bland.

The kind of name you'd see on the side of a plumber's van.

But it's what he did with it that will stick with me forever.

"Hi, I'm Arthur Johnson," said Arthur Johnson in a mid-Atlantic drawl, "Arthur as in KING and Johnson as in MAGIC..."

Great.
What did I have?

Mork from Ork and Dr Tinkle.


I was out of my depth.
Out of my comfort zone.

I was a rubbish salesman. I couldn't even sell my own name.

Every day I had to walk in and lie to people about what their rivals were doing. I had to create unrest in the minds of businessmen in order to shift product.

It was hell.

One day my boss took me to one side and told me I lacked the 'killer instinct' to do this job which Arthur Johnson excelled at.

"What you should do is what I did when I started. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself "I'm a winner. I'm a winner". It might feel a bit strange at first...."

AT FIRST??



I walked out of his office, down the High Street, onto the tube, back to my flat, put the telly on and made a brew. Fuck sales.


Fuck 'talking a good game'.

I don't know why, but managers, especially ones who actively recruit their staff, love people who 'talk a good game'.

It's one of the reasons that despite failing massively on national television, in front of millions of people EVERY FUCKING WEEK, the people from The Apprentice still get high-profile jobs, which in a way is quite charitable as they wouldn't be able to function in the real world.

They'd starve to death attempting to oversee a merger between the kettle and a fucking Pot Noodle.

I'm no expert, but I'd like people who could 'PLAY a good game' not just talk it.

Unless you're the recruitment manager for Match Of The Day or 5Live I can't see the point in having someone who can only comment on something they can no longer, or never could, do.

Like so many of the world's evils, the rise of these swaggering cocks started in the 1980's under the guiding claw of the then Prime Minister, and deputy manager of Hades, Mrs Margaret Hilda Cunting Thatcher.

Former Prime Minister, The Rt Hon. Mrs Margaret Hilda Cunting Thatcher
 "There is no such thing as society" she famously decreed, and then set about dismantling the production base of the country and flogging off anything of value that belonged to the public to prove her point.

That's what it was like in the 80's.

In the 80's it was decreed that you no longer had to be able to prove that you were good at something, it was simply better to be able to tell people that you were good at something.

Films like Cocktail and Wall Street pushed unlovable-but-confident role-models into our faces, like fresh turds to a confused puppy, until we accepted that this was normal and a good thing.

"Be the best - forget the rest" was the mantra.

Buy expensive clothes, get designer labels, despise the community that nurtured you, take their money and run. You were nobody in the 1980's unless you had a wad of cash and clothes that advertised that you had a wad of cash.

Social consciences were for losers.


And so it went for almost thirty years.

Even now we are told that being in business is something to be envious of. Almost every episode of Eastenders for the past 26 years has had the same plot - people fucking one another over in the name of either family, business or the family business.

We're told to watch Dragon's Den, a weird hybrid of a business development meeting and lapdancing club, and cheer on the soulless, dead-eyed joy-holes as they sit behind their turrets of fifty quid notes spitting pre-prepared 'witticism' at the hapless goons in front of them who are monkey-dancing for their money.



We're told that Simon Cowell is someone to be admired because he is such a good businessman, not reviled because he peddles shite to the mentally ill.

Greed is good, as Gandhi never once said.

The business of being in business has been good business - until they did their business all over the Banking Business.




Unchecked and unregulated these self-anointed Cleverest Guys In The Room, these Master Of The Universe, passed on their legacy of bullshit to a new generation of moronic, useless, Sloaney twats.

Like premiership footballers but without the physical ability, mental agility or moral rectitude, these dopey spunkmunchers bought, sold, traded, stole, swapped and shared businesses like they were football stickers in a playground.

Which is essentially how I understand international finance to work.

As these people don't create or manufacture or physically hold on to what they are selling, all they have is their ability to bullshit. If they say a business is in trouble, it is suddenly in trouble. If they say "people are taking their cash out of Northern Rock.." people then queue to take their money out of Northern Rock.


It's a scam. The very definition of a confidence trick.

They are children in a playground trying to get more friends by spreading rumours and lies about other children. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the CEO of Lloyds hitting back at some criticism of his handling of the current economic year with the line "Yeah, well... HSBC wets the bed."

If you don't believe me that the stock markets are run by juvenile idiots then just have a think back to when the stock markets took a massive dip.

Remind me, who rang the bell to start trading on Wall Street on July 29th?


Oh yes. The Chancellor of fucking Smurfland, Papa fucking Smurf.

Sweet Jesus!

And that's not all, a few days ago they even let Prince Harry do some trading in London!!



WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE ON???

THE SMURFS??
PRINCE HARRY??

ARE YOU ACTUALLY SURPRISED THERE'S A FINANCIAL FUCKING MELTDOWN HAPPENING??

WHO'S NEXT? 
THE FUCKING CHEEKY GIRLS??


ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS???

JESUS WEPT, FINANCIERS!!!
DO YOUR FUCKING JOBS!!!


OK. Calm down, Mr W.

Let's fight fire with fire then. If they're going to be children, let's explain this whole mess like you would explain it to a child...

In the final moment's of  David Tennant's first outing as Doctor Who he brilliantly undermines the fierce Thatcherite Prime Minister with the words "Don't you think she looks tired?"

It's an outstandingly subtle piece of drama which undercuts the authority of a seemingly impervious character, and that's essentially all that finance is.

Someone, somewhere, with the ear of the Prime Minister or favoured by the President just has to say "Don't you think they look tired?" and all of a sudden millions of pounds, billions of euros, innumerable imaginary points, flashing numbers and glimmering statistics of what other people reckon those businesses are worth are wiped off the screens and then all the swaggering cocks can jump up, wave their arms and shout in big rooms and pretend that they are fucking doing something.



That's all they do.

They take what someone else has said is worth something, wrap it in bullshit, say it is worth more, keep on saying it until someone with a louder voice says "I'm not paying that. It's not worth that" and then they all start from fucking scratch.

And while these braggarts, bullshitters and oxygen-thieves carry on lying and swaggering through their days we pick up the tab, lose our homes, watch businesses fail, watch our High Streets empty.

I don't know what we can do about it. I don't have a plan. As I said, I'm no finance expert. I reference Doctor Who, for fuck's sake.

What I do know is that if I were recruiting an expert to guide us out of this, or casting a film where we needed a charismatic hero to warn us that we only had six weeks to sort this all out and save the world, I wouldn't cast George fucking Osborne in a billion years.

"Call me Gideon..."


Also, it has occurred to me that I cannot remember who was the Business Editor on the BBC before Robert Peston arrived.

He's never off the telly.

He's on TV more often than his more charismatic brother David Tennant.

Maybe Peston's orchestrating all of this just to keep himself in a job?

Just a thought.

See you down the soup kitchens.



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22.9.11

BEING HUMAN

For my birthday, the other week, one of my many Aunts sent me a cheque for £30, which was very sweet of her. She's done this for years and years, and quite often I have simply frittered it away in the pub or bought something pointless to treat myself.

This year I decided to put the money to good use and spent it on an annual subsription to Amnesty International.



Almost everyone has their favourite charity, whether it's the RSPCA or MENCAP, the British Heart Foundation or Cancer UK, and as great as they all are Amnesty is mine.

When I started work there was a kind of recruitment fair for charities in the canteen. They asked us to sign up a direct debit for a tenner a week for the charity of our choice. I chose Amnesty and duly paid my tenner for a number of years until my freelance work became so sparse that I needed that tenner myself.

I often regretted it, and so last week I decided to rectify the problem, and this time I would get more involved.

Back in the old days, before the internet and social networking sites, campaigning was a long, arduous endeavour. Leaflets were handed out, marches attended, banners to be painted, posters to wear on sandwich boards and petitions to sign and deliver.

People still do all that, of course, as well as filling binbags with old clothes or collecting tinned food for the homeless. They also do all kinds of incredbly dangerous things in the name of charity.


Comedians swim the infested Thames or run dozens and dozens of marathons across the country, ordinary people do Race for Life or the Great North Run, TV Newsreaders sing the hits of Duran Duran, bank managers sit in a bathfull of baked beans, schoolchildren put their teachers in the stocks and pelt them with wet sponges, people with vertigo do parachute jumps, pensioners walk the Himalayas, paraplegics paraglide to Australia... it makes you proud to belong to the human race when they achieve so much.

And it is so much easier to campaign these days. Most of the time it's the case of clicking a mouse or 'liking' a page on Facebook

When I first joined Amnesty in the late 80's, it was all letter writing campaigns about Chinese comedians who had been given life sentences for mocking the state. As a sarcastic wannabe thesp this appealed to me and I wanted to help.

Cruel and barbaric punishments, and the perpetrators of those cruel and barbaric punishments, need to be kept in check - and this week has see one of the most cruel and barbaric punishments handed out to a man for whom there was serious doubt about his guilt.

You may have read about Troy Davis online, or seen something about him on the 24hr rolling news stations if you stayed up until 4am last night.

You won't have read much, if anything, in the papers or seen much on the regular news bulletins.

I don't know why, it just didnt register with them that a potentially innocent man was to be executed on the flimsiest of suspicions and with no physical evidence to link him to the crime of killing a police officer in 1989.


It just didn't.

The fact that a man spent 22 years waiting to die, that no-one was prepared to re-open the case against him, that seven of the nine eyewitnesses had changed their testimonies STILL didn't make it newsworthy.

You'd think a few high profile supporters might have garered some interest? But even the support of Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter, as well as US conservative figures like representative Bob Barr and former FBI director William Sessions did nothing to make an impact in our papers.

They are the wrong kind of celebrities. It may have made Page 8 of the Daily Star if Kerry Katona had said she thought he was 'fit' or Jessie J had a drawing of him on her pot, but by and large it went unnoticed.

Even at 4am this morning, as the vigil in Monroe Park were misled into thinking he had a stay of execution so they would disperse and go home, as he sat there with an intravenous drip in his arm for FOUR HOURS (according to BBC) as delay after delay came and went, even THEN this story still didn't garner as much attention as Nick Clegg announcing that being in Government was 'quite tough'.

Boo-fucking-hoo, Nick.
Fuck off and make way for the real News.

Even on facebook and Twitter there were more people concerned that the fucking layout of their favourite waste of time had changed than this case.



For fuck's sake!!!

Why didn't this story make the headlines until he was dead?

This week the Mail & the Express have run full-page stories on a ginger seal and a bald penguin being shunned by their parents and peer groups, but have reported virtually fuck all about a potential miscarriage of justice that would result in the death of a human being.


Even now I'll bet you look at these pictures and are going "Awwww! Poor things.." and are totally forgetting about Troy Davis.

Every day there are pictures of sick kittens, poorly puppies, hand reared calves, homeless squirrels, Cnut the fucking polar bear and all the other bloody animals that take up the "..and finally.." section of the news, but the preservation of human life against fascist, dictatorial regimes - ones that BOAST about being the land of the free, the home of truth and justice!! - is all lost in a soup of mawkish granny-pandering.

That's why old ladies leave their money to the the Cats Protection League or the local Donkey Sanctuary instead of preserving the lives of endangered humans.

Call me old fashioned but I think a human life is worth more than a penguins. It's one of the reasons why I joined Amnesty.

You may not agree with me, you may be one of the thousands of utter fucking dickheads who believe the death penalty is a good thing and should be reintroduced in Britain, in which case you have my permission to go and fuck yourself. Go on, fuck off now. You're a fucking idiot and I don't want you reading this.

The death penalty is wrong. 

It is counterproductive and makes the State, and everyone it represents, complicit in murder. Capital punishment has no place in a civilised world.

"Ah," say the knuckle-dragging mungfuckers who always pop up at this point in the debate "But it's a deterrent. It'll make criminals think twice. They won't do it again. Hur-hur.."

Oh yes.
I hadn't reckoned on that.

Because when we had capital punishment, in all its gory guises, from the times of Celtic tribes until the late 1960's we had absolutely no violent crimes at all.



No murders. No rapes. No religious persecution. No hate crimes.
Everything was fucking peachy-keen, wasn't it?

Of course it isn't a fucking deterrent, you moron.

Because as amazing and wonderful as most human beings are there are still some who will commit horrific crimes and do terrible things to one another. It's why we should rise above, lead by example and not stoop to their level.


On the same day Troy Davis was executed a white supremicist called Lawrence Russell Brewer was also executed for kidnapping, drugging and dragging a black man, James Bird Jr, for several miles behind his car until he died. This is unquestionably a wicked and despicable thing to do.


Executing him was also wrong, but alas not that unusual. Brewer was the 11th person executed in Texas and the 34th in the United States in 2011.

Yet, despite horrific nature of crimes, his execution was still opposed by some of Byrd's family.

"Life in prison would have been fine," Ross Byrd, 32, told Reuters. "I know he can't hurt my daddy anymore. I wish the state would take in mind that this isn't what we want."

This is what makes me proud to be a part of the human race. 
Compassionate, forgiving, loving, tolerant and charitable people.
People like Ross Byrd.


As George Orwell once said -  
"Most people approve of capital punishment, 
but most people wouldn't do the hangman's job." 
(The Road To Wigan Pier)


So, while idiots vent on call-ins about the need to bring back hanging, the electric chair, lethal injections or gas chambers (oh, we humans are so inventive when it comes to disposing of one another) or, poisonous and vile public figures like the American author & commentator Ann Coulter live-tweet disgusting, tubthumping, hateful messages to her followers such as 


"ONE TROY DAVIS FLAME-BROILED, PLEASE"
and
"HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE. 
FRYING KILLERS WON'T UPSET US."

 

.... DURING that vigil for Troy Davis, while all this is going on we need to remind ourselves - we are human beings, we are better than this.

I never understand why the religious right are for the death penalty. I'm not a religious man, but I think I would have remembered the bit where Jesus said "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone... Just me then? Fucking have that!" and then taunted the dead's supporters as they wept.

Yeah, I think I would have remembered that bit.

Quite often the Christian Right in America are plainly unchristian - and plainly wrong.

I'm sorry if you were expecting more jokes, I'm sure normal service will be resumed soon. But sometimes, having spent all of my anger and fury over relatively little for comedic purposes, I wake up to the News and it saddens me.

I just hope that people don't forget and that it encourages them try to do something about these injustices.
Just because it only takes a click or a 'like' doesn't mean it's easy.


These cases are not fads.
They're not 'trending-topics'.
They're people's lives.


As the comedian Mitch Benn said on Twitter this morning - "The only thing - the ONLY thing - I can salvage from this is that maybe the US just had its Derek Bentley moment."

Let's hope so.

However, because organisations like Amnesty International still exist, I doubt it.


"To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice." 
-Desmond Tutu





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20.9.11

BOOM-BOOM SHAKKA-LAKKA-LAKKA-BOOM...

On Sunday evening I settled in with a hyperactive 6 year old Murnkey (aka my beautiful tiny girlfriend's beautiful tiny daughter) to see the much-trumpeted BBC1 dream-sequence-as-natural-history programme Planet Dinosaur.

It's a hugely impressive spectacle that speculates on the hunting and fighting habits of the creatures that the Bible-belt region of the United States of America refuse to believe in, with the aid of 3D animation, as well as some impressive facts as supplied by archaeologists and geologists and other things that the Bible-belt region of the United States of America refuse to believe in.

While we watched the spinosaurus and the carcharodontosaurus having a right old ruck we placed our customary bets on the outcome (two euros) and yelled on our support for our respective dinosaurs.

"COME ON, SPINOSAURUS!!"


"HAVE HIM, CARCHARADONTOSAURUS!!"

I find that encouraging children to bet on things is not only hugely irresponsible of me (and, therefore, much more attractive a proposition to the mischievous kids) but it also ensures that they do what you want them to do with a minimum of fuss.

For example - "Will you please tidy these toys up?" will elicit no response whatsoever... however

 "I bet you two euros that you can't get these toys back into that hamper in under 20 seconds...GO!"

Job done.
In fifteen seconds.
(Euros to be paid next time we go on holiday....)

But something is wrong with Planet Dinosaur.

Something it took me a good 10 minutes to work out...

It's not the excellent narration by Lord John Hurt.

Good golly, no. That is superb, as you would expect.

Not only has Lord John Hurt got the kind of exquisite voice that you could happily listen reading out any old bilge (as evidenced by his annual turn on C4's The Big Fat Quiz of the Year where he narrates excruciating extracts from such 'authors' as Katie Price & Alan Titchmarsh) - but he was also the voice of that big dragon in Merlin



It is a well-know fact within the voice-over industry that if you want someone to do the voice for a massive CGI lizard, then John Hurt's your man. He's got form.

So it's not that.

It's not the fact that the BBC are clearly making-up dinosaurs just to pad out the series, either.

What??

Well, they are!!

When I was a kid there were five, maybe six dinosaurs...

The Six Dinosaurs - and their toys.

T-Rex, Tricerotops, Diplodocus, Pterydactyl, Stegasaurus and that one that looked like the Loch Ness Monster... That was it.

But ever since Steven Speilberg invented the velociraptor (which everyone knows was the working title for the automotive perambulator) they seem to be finding new and scarier dinosaurs, but ones with really shit names.

The 1887 Mercedes Benz Velociraptor


I mean, in this series they have "Predator X" and "Argentinosaurus"...

Argentinosaurus??

Do me a fucking favour.

You watch, by episode 5 they'll have slipped in the "elusive and shy Doyathinkhesaurus..."

Don't lie to me, Argentinosaurus... and Predator X is probably just the straight-to-DVD movie of the increasingly poor Arnold Schwarzanegger franchise.

But no, it's not the new invented, poorly-named dinosaurus that they've got Sir David Attenborough's older brother knocking out in a shed on his island.

It's this....

Why are the dinosaurs in Planet Dinosaur really rubbish-looking dinosaurs compared to the really good dinosaurs in Walking With Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs.

The Julianclarysaurus... probably.

They've forgotten how to make dinosaurs look awesome.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE, BBC??

I DON'T PAY MY LICENCE FEE FOR YOU TO MAKE DINOSAURS LOOK SHIT!!

GET IT SORTED!!

Nearly 13 years ago the BBC combined superb special effects, model-making, puppetry, paleantology, geology and animatronics to produce Walking With Dinosaurs. It was one of the greatest shows on earth, to coin a phrase. The Guinness Book of World Records reported that the series was the most expensive documentary series per minute ever made, and every penny was up there on the screen.

Planet Dinosaur, by comparison, looks like the shitty CGI renderings of crazy Taiwanese news clips or the pisspoor Striker comic strip from The Sun.

It seems ironic that a TV how that is concerned with evolution (look it up, Bible-belt Americans) should have devolved so badly.

The reason for this, as with so many things these days, is CGI.
Computer Genreated Imagery.

Film & programme-makers think that CGI is a kind of Holy Grail. They love it, they think that it is the greatest tool available to them, but it isn't. It's just an effect. It's supposed to be invisible. If you notice the special effect then the overall effect is ruined.

The greatest effect available to the film-maker is the story. Without a story you can throw as many fireworks as you like at the screen and it will still be shit - just brightly coloured shit.

That's why everything George Lucas has done since 1988 is utter arsegravy.

Btw, did you know that Lucasfilm hasn't paid Darth Vader any residuals on the original Star Wars films? According to this report they still haven't made a profit. 

The Star Wars films.
Unprofitable.
Never made money.

That'll be why they keep releasing the films in new formats.
And made all them toys...

Yet another reason, if reason were needed, to hate George Lucas. 

That and "Crystal Skull". 
And "Phantom Menace". 
And Jar-Jar.

"Don't leave until you've crushed their childhoods...."
 The grasping fat twat.


But I digress...

On Planet Dinosaur the traditional effects (animatronic, puppetry, etc) have disappeared and so you're left with unconvincing dinosaurs stood in animated lakes trying to catch made-up fish.

"Claw - fish. Fish-claw. Aha-haha! Juss like that!"
Although we knew that the dinosaurs in Walking With Dinosaurs weren't real they did cast real shadows. Steam came out of their nostrils. Sweat dripped off them. Blood trickled out of their wounds.

They looked real.

The dinosaurs in Planet Dinosaur look like mid-level baddies in a Halo offshoot.

They should rename it Playstation Dinosaurs.. featuring Predator Xbox.

If they keep on deteriorating in quality like this the next series will look like the Family Ness.


My theory is that after the incredibly successful arena tour of Walking With Dinosaurs someone from ITV waited for all the French acrobats that operated them to bugger off and then stole all the best ones in a really, really massive van.

They then put a variety of latex hats on them and made them work on the adventure series Primeval.



All was going well until the third series, which was such an embarrassment to all concerned that the dinosaurs then retired from showbusiness, leaving the BBC with a brand new dinosaur series that they had to cobble together with the help of the Cbeebies artist, Mister Maker.

"In all honesty, we should have quit when dear Dougie Henshall left... C'est la vie!"

That's my theory.
How do you explain how the dinosaurs suddenly got so shit??

And, as my mate Luke said at work, what's all this utter balls about finding new dinosaurs that are bigger and more terrifying than the T-Rex?

Every second bloody dinosaur discovered these days is swaggering around like Johnny-Three-Bollocks saying that it is twice the size, faster, could eat more, had bigger teeth, a nicer car, a supermodel girlfriend and earned more per hour than the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Bullshit.

T-Rex is king.

Always was.
Always will be.

You won't fool the children of the revolution...


Anyway, we got bored of watching the evidently cartoonish battles between the clearly made-up dinosaurs and decided to have our own prehistoric battle - between the terrifying Bowlerhattadon (me in a bowler hat) against the fearsome Headscarfasaurus (Murnkey in a pink headscarf).

After an epic battle (of about 5 minutes) the Headscarfasaurus declared it was the superior species due to it's excellent nipping-then-running-off-giggling technique, and besides it wanted a fish finger sandwich for its tea.

(If the ratings drop on BBC1 I just want them to know that we ARE available to step in. You might want to ring up Captain Bird's-Eye and strike a deal though. Headscarfasauruses get through a lot of fish fingers...)

That reminds me - what did dinosaurs use to make their hot dogs?

Jurassic pork!

Heh-heh.



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EPILOGUE:

If you didn't 'get' the title of this blog - THIS should make it all clear... Enjoy!


Dinosaurs.