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Saturday 27 March 2010

Chuggers (Charity Muggers)

For those of you who weren't aware of the term "Chuggers" as meaning anything other than those who chug beer, which I have no issue with whatsoever, I provided the handy parenthesised title there so you know that I am talking about those scruffy bastards in the vests with the clipboards who try and guilt you up when you're going about your business on one of our (now largely boarded up) British high streets.

The act of giving money to charity is a deeply personal one. Maybe you give to a cancer charity because you lost somebody close to you to the big C. Maybe you give to an animal charity because they can't speak for themselves. Maybe you give to Sport Relief because you thought it was kind of cool that Eddie Izzard did all that running and that Smithy sketch was possibly the only remotely funny thing James Corden will ever do again. Maybe, like me, you give to a bunch of quite random charities because you were really drunk one New Year's Day and thought it might sort your karma out because you'd done some pretty questionable things the year before and My Name is Earl was on. It's a choice, and usually a proactive one.

Obviously to make you aware of the work the charities are doing so you can make the choice to give to them, some sort of fundraising tactics need to be employed. This used to be a man coming round your house and sticking a little sticker of a lifeboat on you if you put your loose change in his lifeboat shaped collecting tin. It was all quite nice. But not now. Now it has taken a far darker turn.

When someone with a clipboard approaches you on the street you know it's not going to be a good time. You will either have to be quite uncharacteristically rude (I am assuming all my readers are lovely and charming here), or you will have to have an awkward conversation where you have to get yourself out of giving some money to something. Very occasionally it will be someone trying to recruit you to the Church of Scientology. If this happens to you I suggest calling them a freak, they hate that and the resulting outburst which will always, always include the phrase "We're not the freaks! You are the freaks!" will brighten the day of any passers by or local market traders who happen to be watching. Bonus points if you can continue the argument without using the words "Katie Holmes".

Usually it's just a chugger, though.

The chugger will approach you, usually using some form of flattery to appeal to your ego. You might fleetingly think they are hitting on you. They're not, but that's OK, you don't want to go out with a chugger, they make fuck all and have to live with their mum, and they are probably also perverted in a way you wouldn't enjoy. Nobody normal would do that job, face it.

They will then fact you up a bit about the charity. It will be boring, this bit. You're just trying to get to Greggs (it is a recession, so eating like a northerner is the new rock 'n' roll. Fuck you, little M&S sushi selection!). It will give you the arse. You can see Greggs. You can almost taste that cheese and onion pasty. Yet you have to listen to this scruffy little codpiece tell you about water first.

Once that bit is over the chugger will attempt what sales people call "closing". The difference of course is that sales people are selling something. All that you actually get out of the deal here is that the chugger will go away, and while that is certainly an appealing idea, you reckon you can get that for free so you're not ready to give in and give yet.

There are several techniques you can employ here. Obviously the most fun is to punch them square in the jaw and watch them go down like a sack of aid parcels dropped from a helicopter. But that's illegal so it's better to keep that as your fantasy response. Same applies to shooting or raping them or any kind of hostage scenario involving their families. It's better to try and just blag your way through it so you don't come away in cuffs.

One approach is to say you already give to that charity, and say how good you think they are. Obviously you don't, because chuggers tend to only chug for the charities that sort of suck a bit - you never get chuggers for the ones with the good public image like Guide Dogs (cute dogs doing clever shit - it's cool) or Breast Cancer (pink fluffy pens and ribbons and crazy bra related antics - it's cool). This, you would think, if the chugger truly cared about the cause as they have just been impressing on you that they really, really do, would please them. It doesn't though, These fuckers come from an agency, they will chug for anybody. They didn't honestly go, oh, I do hate dirty water. Think I'll give up this lucrative job in the City and go and collect for those people who sort out all the dirty water. Of course they fucking didn't. They are working on commission so they only care about signing you up. That's why this is a good tactic. It pisses them off, because they think hey, this person gives to charity, if only I had got them sooner, or on a day when I'm chugging it up for a different one! And they can't show their disappointment either because it makes them look like a grasping cunt. I enjoy this approach.

Another option, if you are feeling like being a bit of a bastard and having a row, is to say you don't agree with the work the charity does. This is easier, but less fun, if it is a charity some people don't agree with the work of, such as Greenpeace, but you can do it for just about anything if you commit and are prepared to come out with some outlandish, horrible shit. "No, I think those people should die of the shits from all that dirty water. Too many people on the planet anyway and they haven't got anything to live for, have they, it's just the AIDs and witch craft over there, really, isn't it." or "I think leukaemia is sort of Darwinian really - weeds out some of the iffy genes." or just "nah, I fucking hate seals.".

I tried this approach once with a chugger for World Vision. World Vision do good things involving Africa as far as I can remember, but years ago they were a client of a company I worked for, and one of our guys had been to their head office. This place was fucking legendary. As a Christian organisation they would only hire Christians, and only the psychotic kind. I'm not even sure how that isn't discrimination and therefore a bit on the, well, illegal side, but somehow they managed to enforce this, and who gives a fuck anyway - would you want to work there? No, the answer is no, you would not. At lunch time, they would hang out in the canteen, singing Jesus tunes with an acoustic guitar. I had to inform the chugger that I couldn't bring myself to fund this. Not on my watch, soldier. Not acoustic guitars. Not tambourines and clapping. I will not finance these atrocities. What do you think I am, America?

Obviously the other thing you can do is sign up and give, then call your bank and cancel the direct debit once you've had your pasty, but that takes effort and you know you can't be fucked to actually call and cancel it, and that you'd feel a bit sleazy telling the person in the call centre you want to stop your donation to the NSPCC. Yeah, that's right, Shona (she's Scottish, I bank with Santander, remember) I don't care as much about the abundance of paedos as I may have made out to a total stranger on the street earlier. Please don't give me fees.

Sadly, once you have used your chosen method to extract yourself from the chugging scenario, you have to run the gauntlet of all of their mates, wearing the same vests. Chuggers hunt in packs. And so you have to keep going - do not ever, ever break your stride - shouting "I just spoke to one of you! I've already been done!". On the way back from Greggs, pasty grease burning your hand, the same chugger you already had quite a lengthy exchange with will stop you again, with the same line.


Thursday 25 March 2010


This started getting annoying long before the actual smoking ban came into effect.

First, there were the trains. I used to commute in and out of London back in the early noughties on South West Trains. The trains were those mangy old ones with the slam-shut doors that always provided a kind of cool sense of slight danger to the trip. You could stick your head out of the window and have it taken clean off by a train coming in the other direction, so you had to make sure you didn't do that, and you could open the door at any point in the journey and throw people out of it if you wanted. Another thing that was great about them, was these were among the last trains to still feature a smoking carriage.

It was lovely in there. Well, it wasn't, it was really, really fucking filthy, but that didn't matter because you always had a nice civilised journey. It was a 12 coach train, but only one carriage of one coach was for the smokers, and so being a commuter train you always saw the same people in there. This meant people would actually speak to each other, so you could enjoy a bit of banter along with your fags.

You'd arrive at work suitably nicotined up and ready to go, and on the way home you could kick back with a can of beer (from Threshers at Waterloo, obviously you didn't want to pay the extortionate amount for the ones off the stupid little trolley on the train) and chain smoke the stresses of your day away.

These halcyon days soon came to an end when South west Trains announced there had been a survey, and the survey had said that their customers (as if anyone is a customer of South West Trains out of choice because of the wonderful service they provide as opposed to, them being the operator of the train that goes from where they live to where they work) wanted the trains to be 100% smoke free.

I have my suspicions about this survey. Suspicions along the lines of: it never fucking happened and they made it up. Or perhaps: it did fucking happen but they only surveyed the people in the non smoking carriages, and there was no option on the survey for "I don't care. I don't smoke but hey, I don't have to go in the smoking carriage, do I? It's all sealed off. Live and let live, I say, I'm not going to be a cunt about it.". Nobody asked me, or any of my smoking carriage posse, anyhow.

Some people said South West Trains did it to save costs on cleaning the smoking carriages, because they got dirtier than the regular carriages. This was usually met with convulsions of hysterical laughter by anyone who had been in the smoking carriages, for whilst dirtier they did indeed get, clean them South West Trains did not. There was graffiti in biro on the backs of the seats saying "Trev woz ere '77" for a fucking start. I didn't even know they had biros in 1977. The chewing gum in those little metal ash trays had actually fossilised.

I suspect it was more a case of the charmless fuckwits in the anti-smoking lobby interfering where they have no business and spoiling it for people. This is my beef with these bastards. Fine, you don't like smoking. You don't like how it smells and whatnot. But if it is taking place in an area you never, ever have to go to, why the fuck do you have such a problem with it? I hate the smell of Lynx body spray, so I just don't go in teenage boys' bedrooms, it's quite simple. There were always the other 23 or so carriages you could sit in with all the twats reading Harry Potter in the "adult covers", as was the fashion of the day, if you didn't want to go in the one that was smoky. Dickwads.

These are the kind of people who, if you're having a cigarette outside somewhere, will walk past you and have some histrionic coughing fit. When this happens I like to say "hey, relax - obviously you thought this was a vial of anthrax I was holding, but don't worry, it's just a Marlboro Light! Panic over!". When these people look at you like you're killing them, you should look back like you really wish that were the case.

These people put as much energy into hating smoking as Nick Griffin does into hating, well, black people. But unlike Nick Griffin, who most people just think is mental, these people somehow get their borderline fascist views listened to.

So, a couple of years ago we got ourselves a little old smoking ban. This mostly affected pubs, which began closing at an alarming rate (this was pre-recession as well, so there was no other obvious cause). And whilst when other things close they sometimes turn in to pubs (remember that old biddy on the old NatWest ads, "my bank is now a trendy wine bar!"), for some reason when pubs close they just turn into boarded up pubs, still with the sad banner advertising Sky Sports (Premiership '07-'08! Live here!) dangling off of the guttering.

Before the ban the government had promised that the pubs would thrive more than ever as all the people who never used to go to the pub because they didn't like the smoke would now be lashing it up in droves. This was never going to happen. Did they really think all these people, not just non smokers but people who really, really hated smoking, were sitting at home watching Eastenders going "Gosh, it looks like so much fun in the Queen Vic. I would dearly love to have a local pub of my very own, where I might participate in quizzes and meat raffles, but alas that is where there is all of the smoking, which I am very much opposed to.". Of course they fucking weren't. Plenty of pubs had non smoking areas (admittedly it was more your shitty chain pubs, but if you're going to be an arsehole about it you take what you are given), so anyone of that persuasion would have just been going to them, but aside from that your fervent anti smoker just isn't your down-the-boozer-chucking-arrows-of-a-night kind of guy.

So there were none of these new faces in your local pub, just less of the old ones as they either jumped ship to another pub that had a beer garden so at least they didn't have to huddle on the street like something from Soviet Russia, or they just stayed at home with some tinnies instead, wanking over internet porn (probably).

A lot of the pubs with the beer gardens or other outdoor seating realised that here was an opportunity to make themselves more appealing and therefore not go completely under because of a law they had no say in, and invested in some patio heaters. This was pretty nice. You could be warm, you could sit outside all evening and smoke as much as you wanted, any time of year. It was a pretty good solution, the old covered, heated beer garden. The anti smoking bastards had won the battle, but with our patio heaters we would not be defeated and, you know, just fucking give up smoking, that easily... It was still tough titties for the pubs with no outside space of course, but at least some landlords still had a fighting chance.

The trouble is, it turns out, that whilst the anti smoking nutters don't want you smoking in the pubs, the eco global warming carbon fucking footprint nutters really hate the patio heaters. Oh, Jesus. Nutters around every corner. Honestly, will people stop creating problems every time we find a solution here? Currently, nobody gives substantial enough of a fuck about this so we're alright for now, but it's only a matter of time before those get banned too going on past form for getting things-that-aren't-really-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things-worth-getting-all-upset-with (I hear carrier bags are next) banned under Labour is anything to go by.

The smoking ban was not of course, just for pubs, but for all workplaces and "enclosed public places". This means that long distance lorry drivers can't smoke in their cabs anymore, and if you and your partner both occasionally work from home, you could be done for smoking in your own house (even if you both smoke) as this too is a workplace, though I don't really think they can police that, not without putting cameras in your house, and we're not quite that far into 1984 territory just yet. It would suck, once the initial kinkiness wore off anyway.

Other countries have the ban too of course, but in France they pretty much just ignore it and do what they want anyway, in Italy publicans can just bribe the police to leave them alone, and in Spain they have a slightly more liberal version of the ban where certain places can still have smoking areas. They have it better than us, and come on, are we really going to let those crazy European bastards be better than us? Fucking looks like it. And the fags are cheaper there too, so they not only have it better than us, they are paying less tax for the privilege.

The latest change made to pander to the anti smoking lobby, is those grim pictures on your packet of snouts. Not content with the big massive "You are going to DIE" messages, now you get to look at a delightful image of some throat cancer or a corpse. Now come on, we've all seen a dead body before (right?), and that cancer is clearly Photoshopped. What kind of pussies do you think we are that that is going to put us off? There's even a bizarre one with a baby breathing out smoke (again, Photoshopped, or at least you'd hope so). What does that even fucking mean? Don't give a baby blowbacks? Smoking only looks cool once you get into your teens? It's kind of stupid. I mean, you don't buy a bottle of Bollinger and there's big fuck off picture of a cirrhosis liver on it. Postcards from beach resorts almost never have a little melanoma in the corner to remind you of the dangers of sun bathing. What next, will whores have to have little tattoos of a penis with herpes on it, just to make you aware of the risks? We know the risks, attempting to portray them in a slightly more "shocking" way makes no difference, and if we decide we've had enough we'll just buy cigarette cases. They look kind of cool, anyway. So balls to you, balls I say!


Wednesday 24 March 2010

Old People

Today I asked for suggestions of things other people thought were pony because I was basically feeling too lazy to come up with an idea myself. One of the best suggestions was this. Old people aggravate the crap out of everyone, probably even each other.

I'm talking about proper old people here, the ones with the cat food and the bus passes and the incontinence, not the people going through some sort of existential crisis and wondering if they are old because they don't understand why some people wear baseball caps backwards and their trousers round their arses. As a reassurance, if this is you, no, you're not old, you just hate tossers, and this is still definitely the blog for you.

Some things that are annoying about old people comprise:

The Post Office

The fucking Post Office. Old people love it. It's hard to know what they are doing in there, aside from making it smell of piss, because there are very few reasons left to actually go in one of these dismal places. Want to post a letter? No, of course you don't, they take for-fucking-ever. In any case, if it was one of those few occasions annually where you have to post something, you can get stamps in the supermarket where you go all the time anyway and where you don't have to wait in one of those fucking roped off zig-zag queuing systems like they have at Disneyland (only at the end it's a fat woman behind some bullet proof glass instead of Space Mountain). Need to send a parcel? Fed-Ex, mate. They never go on strike and they will actually deliver it to the recipient rather than to a depot on an industrial estate seven miles away. Also, if the guy taking your parcel somehow gets marooned on a remote island, he can make friends with the thing inside the parcel, like in Castaway. Have you seen Castaway? It was boring and it was boring for a long time. Seriously, I just paid money to watch Tom Hanks' podgy face get all hairy while he talks to a fucking volleyball? That's what people who paid to watch it were saying. I didn't, I just saw it on telly once, but it was still a couple of hours of my life I'm never getting back.

Some people use the Post Office to conduct some weird financial transactions. I think if you are too much of a pikey to get an actual bank account then you can open an account there, but seeing as how they even like to pay benefits into a bank account these days just how scabby would you have to be to need to do that? Is there a league system for this sort of thing? If so I'd like to see it visually represented in the style of the Top Gear "Cool Wall", you could have say, Jodie Marsh, scabbier than Frank Gallagher off of Shameless but still not as scabby as Kerry Katona. It could be a fun game.

They also do currency exchange, but so do all banks, travel agents and those kiosks at airports and stations, and in any case these days your bank card works abroad (in theory, if you remember to tell the bank you are leaving the country as if they're your fucking mum) so you don't really have to bother with it at all. How many old people are fucking off to Vegas to spunk their pension money anyway? Or is it a fag run to Calais? Old people do drink and smoke a surprising amount, which makes me wonder if it really is as effective a method of suicide as the government make out.

Because of the fact that most services the Post Office offer became redundant at least 15 years ago, it is not surprising that a lot of them are closing down. This leads to cuts for the workforce, which leads to strikes, which leads to an even worse service. The whole enterprise is pretty much fucked. This is on the news a whole lot, some Post Office in some small, shitty little town is closing and some people are irate about it. These are always, always the old people. Nobody else has been in there since they were 17 and needed the driver's license form so they could get the hell out of the shitty little town in question. But as I said at the start, what in the name of Beckham's Achilles are they actually doing in there? They can't need to buy string, en masse, every single fucking day.

I reckon there's some sordid septuagenarian swingers club in the basement of every Post Office. That's what the randy fuckers are really up to. "Oooooh, they took away my driver's license because I can't see for shit anymore and my reaction times are about as fast as continental drift, so that put an end to the dogging. But then Elsie told me about this place. The password is 'Steradent'."... They all dress up like it's the war and go at it in a replica bomb shelter under the Post Office. Viagra pills sit in little bowls like those packs of lube and extra strong condoms in gay bars. Someone from St John's Ambulance gets to watch - not because they enjoy it, mind, but because they know CPR. This is my horrible theory. Don't have nightmares, kids.


Old people get to ride the bus for free, which is good because as I implied in the previous paragraph, they can't drive for shit. Buses are already basically mobile asylums, so adding some dementia into the mix doesn't really make much difference. But unlike the other general nutters, students, immigrants and smug eco-twats that make a bus such a fabulously diverse place to spot annoying people if for some reason you have to get one, the old people will interfere with your journey somehow.

First of all, they get up really fucking early. This is one of the reasons I think humans are badly designed and therefore God doesn't exist. When you are of working age, you're busy all the time, and yet you still need 8 hours sleep a day. Getting out of bed is horrible and most people have to be whizzing their tits off on coffee, to the point where they basically piss and bleed espresso, just to get started. As soon as old age rocks around though, suddenly you have fuck all to do as you have no job and all your friends are dead, and yet you now only need around four hours of sleep a day. Because daytime TV is so appalling it won't even occupy your ancient mind, you have to get out and somehow make the task of buying a tin of cat food last you the entire day. As soon as that bus pass becomes valid, you're down the bus stop, ready for your rich full day.

Unfortunately, this is the exact same bus that the schoolkids and the commuters have to take, because they actually have to be somewhere at a given time or they get a bollocking. The old people will shuffle on, and then they will have to talk to the bus driver like he is their mate, rather than just waving the ticket at him and trying to make the whole exchange as quick as possible like everyone else. They don't like him, of course, they hate everyone, but it's one of the only conversations they will be having today so they stretch it out. They then need to find somewhere to put the weird little tartan shopping thing with wheels, which is a bit excessive seeing as how they're only going to be buying the one tin of cat food, but still, it needs to come with because it has all the important shit in it like a clear plastic umbrella and some boiled sweets. In the future, when the chavs of today grow old, the weird little shopping things will probably come in Burberry and Louis Vuitton designs. And double up as jetpacks. Actually that's worth sticking around for, maybe I should give up smoking after all.

It is customary to stand up if you, a young person (and bear in mind that anything under 65 is young to these people), has a seat on the bus and an old person doesn't. This is fine, and good manners, but there are occasions when I believe you are well within your rights to keep the seat, and they fucking hate that.

Once, I had to get a bus to work. It was a dark and evil time. I was about 20. I had sustained a serious leg injury, I was on crutches, and my leg was quite visibly bandaged up. After limping on to the bus with even less ease than the old people, I sat down. I even sat in one of the seats at the front reserved for disabled people and preggos, figuring a mangled leg was pretty much a pass for that, and there weren't any disableds or preggos there. But no. In the game of bus seat Top Trumps, mangled 20 year old leg does not beat able bodied 70 year old legs, and because I sort of just sat in my seat and didn't make eye contact as the old people got on, I then had to spend the whole bus ride listening to them bitch to each other about how awful the youth of today were because I was young and didn't give up my seat, which basically made me a worse version of Hitler - and they really don't like him. Maybe they suspected, quite correctly, that I had done said injury whilst doing some sort of young person thing they don't like like binge drinking or snowboarding or fight club.

This whole situation could be avoided for everyone if they just got up half an hour later and got on any of the other virtually empty buses, of course, but noooo. Old people business is important business and their pile ridden arses need to be plonked on your seat no matter what condition you are in. Broken legs do not, I repeat not, trump bunions, whatever the fuck those actually are. Some form of gross foot rot as I understand it. Which brings me on to the next thing...

The Ravages of Time

Now this bit is a little bit unfair, but if you haven't got that Pony and Trap is a bit like that and it's all just supposed to be a bit tongue in cheek then, well, feel free to leave comments about how horrible it all is, I do love a good argument with the kind of person that gets all riled up by this sort of stupid shit!

OK, so it's not their fault, but they look really gross, don't they? The men have hair growing out of their ears and noses. It draws your eye, you just can't help looking at that fucking nose and ear hair, even though it makes you a bit nauseous. Actually this bit is kind of their fault, there are those little machines you can get for trimming the curly greys out of the facial orifices, and getting the eyebrows a bit less mad professor-esque. These are advertised in those shitty little Innovations catalogues that fall out of the Sunday newspaper, targeted specifically at the old and the sick and the lame (the Post Office is shut on Sunday so they may as well read that shit while they wait for Songs of Praise), so it's not like they didn't try and sort you out on that front, old men...

The women, who generally have a physique akin to that of Gollum, that crazy bastard out of Lord of the Rings, unaccountably usually have weird ankles like an elephant's ankles. Maybe the men have that too, but you can't see it because they don't wear those weird flowery skirts (where do they come from? Have you ever seen them in a shop? Have you ever seen a shop that even looks like it might sell them? It's a mystery, like those shoes with the see through plastic platform heels all girls in pornos are wearing. Where do you buy those? I want some damn porno shoes!) and American Tan tights. The tights don't make you look like you have a tan, but I reckon they're called that to remind the old bags of the war days when they had to slag it up for American soldiers in return for chocolate and nylons. That's why they all loved the war, nothing to do with the community spirit and the rationing (which they always seem to make out was somehow a good thing), it was all the dick they got. As a consequence I bet more of us than we think have a bit of yank in us to this very day.

I'm no doctor (which is why I don't know what bunions are or how nipples work as I mentioned in my last post), but I would assume the gross ankles are caused by fluid retention, which can be relieved by just sticking your legs in the air for a while. Maybe try a different position next time you're at the "Post Office".

The thin wispy white hair, you know, where you can see the scalp through it. The wrinkly skin. The weird spots. All those things you hear talk of but don't want to ask too much about, like colostomy bags and erectile dysfunction and Tena Lady (again, I'm no doctor, but they don't sound like good things). Looking at old people reminds us of our mortality, and that is horrible. It unsettles us on a deep level to confront what inevitably becomes of us all, if death doesn't come first, and those are both pretty horrible concepts to be forced to face when you're young.

Also there's something really unpleasant about the way they eat soup, all slurping and stuff. Gives me the heebeejeebees. As an old person might say.

The Ravages of Age is probably the worst thing about old people. Not all of them are cantankerous assholes who are rude and hate the young. Some of them are sweet, grandparent types who give you a sweet and a tenner every time they see you even though you're nearly thirty now. Some of them are hilarious nutjobs with loads of cats that all the kids think are witches, and they're pretty fun, too. But even the ones who aren't terrible people or who are kind of a laugh to have on your street still have a touch of the Gollums when you look at them. And unless botox style technology really does improve a lot in the next 30-40 years, so will we.


Saturday 20 March 2010

Twitter for Dogs and Foetuses

As if preggos and dog people weren't already annoying, now they can irritate you on Twitter too.

Now, the sensible thing to do when a friend gets up the duff is obviously to cut them out of your life completely. They're just not going to be any fun any more. For nine months, they won't be smoking or drinking, for a start. They might come out, but you don't want them to because having someone who isn't drinking and will therefore remember everything you say there makes you paranoid. Also they will talk about The Pregnancy, and that is at best boring, and at worst fucking disgusting.

It doesn't get any better once they pop out the sprog, either. You will, first of all, have to hear how much it weighs, even though you don't care. Why is it so important to know the weight of a baby that has been born? What is even a good weight for a baby? Studies show that a high birth weight usually correlates to a high IQ but there must be limits, I mean, if it comes out at like, 14 and a half stone that isn't a good thing, surely, no matter how fun it is to tell everyone how many stitches you had?

You will then have to pretend you don't think the name they have given the poor bastard is stupid. Oh, called her Heaven, have you? That's good. She won't have to come up with a stripper name when she's older now because she already has one. Well thought out, you've saved her some time there.

Then there's all the gross stuff. They might try and breast feed in front of you. This is one of those horrible facts of nature that takes place, I'm afraid. Yes, I know it's not what they're for, but some women happily flop them out and attach children to them, even though you don't actually have to because you can buy stuff in shops to feed them apparently. I don't even really know how it works, nipples don't have obvious holes in them, so where does it even come out? God nature disgusts me. They will also talk about The Childbirth. This is weird, because before The Pregnancy this woman wouldn't actually admit to ever having done a fart, and yet now, here she is describing in terrifying detail all the gruesome stuff that has now, she says, left her vagina looking like some kind of axe wound. Nice.

Like I said, the most sensible thing to do is cut them out and avoid all of this. But if you don't, if you decide to face it out, or you have to because the preggo is your wife or your sister or your mother (double gross - mum tits!), then just pray that she doesn't coerce you into following the kicks on Twitter.

The "Kickbee" is the abomination that makes this shit possible. The details of how it works are pretty nerdy, but to summarise, the future subject of yo' momma jokes and MILF porn dons a hi-tech vest which has sensors that pick up movement and transmit a signal to a computer (it'll be a Mac, only the kind of people who use Macs would want to do this). This then uses some software to verify if the movement was a kick as opposed to, I don't know, an alien waiting to bust out of her chest, and if so, to fucking put it on the Twitter. Christ, people should at least wait to learn how to form words or at least be fucking born before they start yabbering tedious shit on the fucking Twitter. People think this is cute, do they? Yeah, well they're assholes.

More annoying than this is the product from Mattel (they make Barbie, fact fans) called Puppy Tweets. This is a device freaks can attach to the collars of their dogs, that senses canine activity and posts one of a bank of 500 pre-written updates to Twitter. Posts your dog can invoke by barking, licking his balls, humping people's legs etc. include "I bark because I miss you. There, I said it. Now hurry home." (that's a real one), "I finally caught that tail I've been chasing, and ... OOUUUCHH!" (that's a real one) and "Please stop making me lick peanut butter off of your genitalia." (that one I made up). If you weren't already planning to kick your dog when you get home from work, odds are after a day of reading the crap he's posting you will be.

I wonder what the next crap innovations for hurling pointless shit into the Twitter void will be. I have a few ideas, feel free to steal them only on the grounds that you take them on Dragon's Den, the look on that cock Peter Jones's face will amuse me.

1) A device you attach to your penis, that tweets when you get an inappropriate erection. Could also link to TwitPics and post a picture of the thing that got you hard.
2) A device that can be attached to people who sell the Big Issue, which uses GPS technology to tweet their whereabouts, so people can avoid them. Nobody wants the Big Issue, it has poetry in it by homeless people. Nobody wants that.
3) A device that can be attached to your arse, sending an electric shock up it every time you annoy the world with your inane, banal fucking tweets.

Twitter for dogs and foetuses. Not big, not clever, and definitely, definitely pony.


Thursday 18 March 2010


No, not the place, but the Spanish bank that has taken over Abbey and Bradford and Bingley among others. The one with the adverts with Lewis Hamilton, who almost definitely doesn't bank with the skanking bastards. What is the deal with Lewis Hamilton? Everyone liked him and now they don't. He was shagging that one from the Pussycat Dolls, the one who seems to have had a fair bit of the old surgery. You know, the one who sings. Speaking of which, that show they put on sometimes on T4 (for when you have a hangover) where all these girls audition to be in the Pussycat Dolls? What's the fucking point in that? There are already like 60 of them and only one sings. Why does there need to be more? I know they called their tour "Doll Domination" but are they actually trying to form an army here? Will all girls who can sort of dance a bit eventually be conscripted? Anyway, I digress...

Even the name is a bit annoying. It looks like you would pronounce it so it would rhyme with "salamander". Or "back hander". But being Spanish, you have to say "San tan dair", and this makes you feel a bit pretentious for some reason. Like those smug bastards who roll the "r" when they tell you they're going on holiday to the Côtes du Rhône. Of course, say it the way it looks like a British person would say and you may as well say "Bonnet de douche, Rodney. Bonnet de douche". Either way you feel like a twat.

Because Santander raped and pillaged in the wreckage of the UK banking crisis, looting all the shitty little building societies, there are now around seven branches on every UK high street. Obviously this isn't viable long term and a bunch of people are going to get fired, but for now the employees of the former shitty building societies are making hay while the sun shines with their shiny new red Santander livery and uniforms. Yes, the uniforms are shiny too, like one of those suits that you can get for 17 quid in George at Asda. Only red. Now red looks great if you're an olive skin Spaniard, but over here we have ginger people. You've seen Paul Scholes, come on, it makes them look way worse!

Raping, pillaging, and the humiliation of some gingers aside, Santander want you to know that they are a caring bank. That is why they are giving away lots of money to charities local to your local Santander. However, to make sure you know about this, when you go into the branch they want you to take a little card and put it in a box to vote for which of three local charities should have a share of this tax dodge, er, I mean gift. It's like the X Factor meets Sophie's Choice. For fuck's sake. In one branch I was given the choice of cancer nurses, guide dogs or a hospice for the terminally ill. I could picture Harry Hill in my head - "Now, we all know nurses are good, and guide dogs are good, but which is better? There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!". Just divvy out the money between them and leave me alone, I don't want that kind of responsibility. I'm also concerned it will invoke some kind of ironic justice, like if I vote for the nurses or the hospice I'll go blind and if I vote for the dogs I'll get cancer. All because I went in to take out some money because the bastards cocked up and somehow irreparably fucked my card.

Santander's customer service comprises an onshore/offshore model. So it's a lottery really, when you call in, whether you will speak to someone in India or the UK. When I call, which I often do because they seem to somehow screw me over on pretty much a weekly basis, I sit there listening to the terrible hold music, praying to get someone in Bangalore. The hold music is just one bad corporate theme, the kind that sounds a bit like Viva La Vida by Coldplay without the singing, looped, but even if you liked that sort of thing you wouldn't get to enjoy it because every few seconds it cuts to a recorded message telling you some bollocks about "prudent banking". It's one of the few experiences that makes me feel violent without drinking, and as you may have gathered I'm kind of an angry person.

The reason I am hoping to get through to India, is their UK call centre seems to be housed in a very strongly dialected region of Scotland. A lot of people complain about the Indian call centres, because of the strong accents of the operators, which can be difficult for the caller to understand. There's been enough material written on this subject, and it's never going to change so I'm not going to bother going into it here. A lot of companies and banks accept this and also boast UK call centres, which is a strong selling point to people who feel strongly about that kind of thing. So why, why the fuck, put your UK call centre, the thing that is meant to make us feel at ease when we contact you, in a part of the Isles famed for having a really difficult accent for people to understand? I've spoken to many Indian people in my life, but I have never met (or indeed watched) Rab C. Nesbitt, so sorry, I'm just more at home with talking to the people on the subcontinent. Also, in India, to work in a call centre you need to have like, a degree. Over here it's what you do once you've earned your five stars and feel like there's nothing left for you to achieve at McDonalds. This is because they pay absolutely fuck all, and you know what you get if you pay peanuts? That's right, imbeciles. Imbeciles who seem to be abnormally offended by being sworn at for people whose job it is to inform other people that the computer, in fact, says no.

Yes, they do all the regular stuff all the banks do that gets on your nerves/ruins your life. You know the stuff. The charges, the stopping your card if you dare to try and use it abroad and then only being open during UK business hours for you to call up at great expense and get it activated again, the turning up the heating far too high in the branches so you sweat like you're nervously waiting to rob the place rather than pay in a cheque. That sort of stuff. But they all do that, and Abbey did all that shit before it became Santander (or as I call them, Banco Bastardos). I just feel like it has all gotten just a little bit more pony since then.

Still, at least they didn't go bust.


Wednesday 17 March 2010


OK, so as broadcasting networks go it isn't the worst. ITV is. People knock Five for only showing stuff about the Nazis and cosmetic surgery all the time, but I'd take Goebbels and Lesley Ash's botched face over Peter Andre and Kerry fucking Katona any day. And as for Jeremy Kyle, well, I do kind of feel sorry for him, being surrounded by the dregs of society every day trying to do his good work of promoting family values and... No, not really, obviously I think he's a cunt, same as you do. But ITV is too easy a target, and as literally everything they do is shit we'd be here all day, so let's look at the BBC instead.

The BBC is world renowned for making quality programmes. And it does. A lot of their shows are great, even with the most mainstream stuff they often manage not to insult you too horrifically. This is abundantly clear if you compare Doctor Who with its complex interlinked storylines and, for the most part, decent acting (OK yes, it does sometimes make you go, no, seriously, you're ending it like that? With the fucking mobile phone network? After I've waited like a week, you're ending it like that? Bastards.) to ITV's response, Primeval, which was shit and had one of bloody S Club 7 in it. Yes, I know Billie Piper was in Doctor Who, and yes, I know she was if anything even worse at the old pop music, but we'll gloss over that.

Even with the soaps, Eastenders manages to be sort of good, at least it has usually got some hardmen in it and a plot involving a "shooter", whereas Coronation Street is full of these weird scenarios where people work in a factory. This is confusing to me because it is set in Greater Manchester, not China. Also, the women drink bitter, and there are all these kind of stupid Northern storylines about pigeon lofts and butcher's shops and whatnot. OK, I admit I haven't watched it for about 14 years but I bet it's still like that. As an aside, I did get accused of being "regionist" after I said all Northerners were casual racists in my post about Cheryl Cole, but it's only casual regionism so don't worry.

But alas these shows that are top notch in their respective genres, and also the BBC shows that nobody has ever managed to successfully imitate like Top Gear (have you seen Fifth Gear? It's boring, they actually review cars, regular boring cars like the ones in the car park at work. And Vroom Vroom on Sky is just objectionable on every level - I'm not kidding, they have bit with a car with cat ears and a car with mouse ears and the cat one chases the mouse one while someone out of Blue or something drives it... It is really bad. Really fucking bad.) and that one everyone loves with the animals and the sea and David Attenborough, are not the whole story by any means. So I present to you, a by no means conclusive list of stuff that is pony about the BBC:

1) Kids shows that aren't any fun

You know the shit I mean, the shit that's urging kids to have a social conscience from the age of like five, and go to bed worrying about Rwanda and polar bears. Blue Peter. Newsround, that sort of crap. And really, who wants to watch a piece about some kids in Columbia that have to work down a mine followed by some light entertainment from the Cirque du bastarding Soleil or those cunts from Stomp when the other channels have SpongeBob SquarePants? It's patronising, it's no fun, and the kids watching it are the sort of goody two shoes little douchebags who want to be sponsored for shit every fucking week and quite deservedly get bullied.

Even the programmes that aren't preachy have some sort of depressing edge to them, Tracy Beaker there, getting into all those scrapes with her mates, but wait, she's in care? Nobody wants to foster her? Hell's teeth!

2) Sunday Nights

The Sunday evening schedule on the BBC has not changed since television was invented. First off, you get some repeats of a very bad, very old sitcom - usually Keeping Up Appearances or 'Allo 'Allo. Nobody knows why. In the what, 20 years since these shows were originally aired a lot of other shows have been made which they could put on instead, but they still believe this slot needs to be filled with that fucking woman that lives next door to Hyacinth breaking a bloody coffee cup, or that bloke who used to be Terry in Eastenders being an Italian. If "comedy" from the 80's is compulsory at this time, why not show one people actually liked like Only Fools and Horses or Blackadder? What's fucking wrong with you?

Then you get the Eastenders omnibus. Which is kind of redundant now everyone just watches it on iPlayer or Sky+ anyway if their life got in the way, but what the hell. This is followed by Points of View, where someone has written in to say they noticed a continuity error in Holby City, and someone else thought the background music on Masterchef ruined the show for them. These people are freaks, and this is their time.

Once that is over, a sense of numbing inevitability overwhelms you as the announcer announces (as is his wont) that it's time for Songs of Praise. Jesus Christ. No, really, it's his time now. I'm not being flippant (well, I am, obviously) but in modern Britain 99.9% of people are more interested in Jedward than in Jesus, and we're not all that interested in them. With that being the case, with this show being publicly funded by the most secular public in the world, the BBC aren't doing Christianity any favours with this laborious shit. That bloke who used to be the little boy in the Snowman, having a look around a cathedral, then some jowelly white haired old women singing? With the words on the bottom of the screen, like some kind of nightmarish game of Sing Star being played by people in nursing homes? Do people sing along at home? If so can I see this on YouTube?

Then of course, the Antiques Roadshow. This is the old school format of antiques show, which, if possible, is even more shit than the modern ones where at least everything gets auctioned off at the end, raising enough money for the old couple to go and visit their new grandchild in Australia (always, that is literally always what they want the money for. Honestly, watch one, I promise you. OK, sometimes it's Canada, but it's always that basic story), and you get some kind of closure. On the Antiques Roadshow, some people talk about the lovely veneer on the piece of furniture, tell some old bag her hideous plate is worthless because there's a fucking chunk missing out of it, and everyone just goes "mmmm" and nods. 45 minutes of that, just that. Even the music sounds like a portent of mindblowing boredom.

At least they don't put Last of the Summer Wine on anymore.

3) BBC Three

Again, not all terrible, but mostly this is the kind of stuff even ITV don't bother to try and rip off, it's that lame.

A typical night on BBC Three will contain at least one really piss poor sitcom aimed at the yoof. It will be painfully unfunny, but you will catch yourself laughing at a knob gag or an amusing way of referring to periods at some point and you will feel dirty for dignifying this pap with one of your usually far more discerning "lolz". I think they are aiming for something along the lines of The Inbetweeners on 4, but instead they end up with something along the lines of total shit. Examples of this include Lunch Monkeys, Coming of Age, Grown Ups, and that one I can't remember the name of where they're at university. The daddy of all this was of course Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, which refuses to die. It's the crap that just keeps on giving.

There will also be some hardcore investigative journalism carried out by, er, Clare from Steps, Sonia out of Eastenders, or the girl that used to be the fat ginger one in Hollyoaks. Anyone who has lost a whole lot of weight basically. How this qualifies them, I don't know, but hey, at least they aren't making us look at fat people. This will usually be about binge drinking or some other topic close to the hearts of the yoof. In fact, everything about BBC Three has this air of that teacher at school who wore Converse trainers and had an earring. I AM DOWN WITH THE KIDS! HONEST!

And there's Snog, Marry, Avoid, but secretly I quite like that. Trampy looking girls being told they are a right mess and everyone hates them? What's not to like. I don't care about the makeover bit, I just like the bit when they get told they look like disgusting slags. It amuses me.

4) International BBC Channels

OK, so it's only fair that these channels, such as BBC World and BBC America, shouldn't be too good, given that it's us in the UK paying to make all the damn shows, but then we should probably at least make some effort to represent ourselves to the rest of civilisation as not being totally weird and retarded. And think of the ex pats! Will nobody think of the ex pats?

In Europe, often the only channels in English are CNN, which is just rolling news so you're pretty much done with it after 15 minutes, and BBC World. You think, great, BBC World. This will have some BBC shows on it. OK, it'll probably just be My Family, but still, I'm in fucking Italy, I'll take anything that isn't a topless version of Wheel of Fortune that goes on for four hours straight.

But no. All that is shown on BBC World is endless documentaries about climate change, interspersed with adverts for Singapore Airlines. What the holy fuck is that all about?

BBC America is less weird in that it does actually have some programmes on it that people might like to watch, but it is still notably odd for the fact that half the shows on it are in fact Channel 4 and ITV shows. Why? Why do that? How does that even work? Do they buy the rights for say, Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares off of Channel 4 but only to show in America? With the Channel 4 shows you can kind of see why they might want to put them on their channel, but the ITV ones, really? You want people in the States to think you made Primeval, even though, as we have already established, it is really fucking dire? They also bill stuff as being new when it blatantly isn't. All New Top Gear? No it's not, it's that one where they get the supercars stuck getting out of that garage in Paris. Hilarious, yes, new, no. My dad pointed out that you can work out how old an episode of Top Gear is by the plates on the cars. I tend to go by Richard Hammond's hair. Both are good systems.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, I haven't bothered talking about the daytime dross, the fucking One Show, Strictly Come Dancing or the fact they have no decent live sport whatsoever, and I'll cover off their radio stations in a future post, but hopefully you'll agree that this argues the case for the BBC being pretty pony after all.



There's a lot of bollocks that the government puts on adverts on TV that assumes we all agree that we are a nation of lazy, fat bums who should be drinking less, driving less, not drinking and driving at all, and eating a whole lot of vegetables (five portions a day... I don't think I even eat five portions of food a day going by what they reckon a portion is, either - the L and the T in your BLT apparently don't even count).

Most people just ignore all this bullshit. Some even say, hey, stop worrying about my potassium levels and sort out the economy, you fuckpigs. Other people buy it. And these people love to use their fervent adherence to these pony and trap principles as another reason to be smug to a level previously only achieved by people looking for a second home on bastarding Escape to the bastarding Country.

These people are better than you. They actually like the taste of smoothies (and not even as a mixer) and genuinely prefer wholemeal bread (the bread that tastes stale even when you first buy it and sucks all the moisture out of your mouth as you chew). They don't leave their appliances in standby mode. They do that insane thing you're supposed to do of washing the rubbish before you put it in the recycling thing. They care.

And how do these hateful bastards get to work? That's right, they cycle.

Cycling is great when you're a kid, you can go wherever you want, or at least you could when I was a kid before that massive influx of paedophiles that took place at some point in the nineties. It was great because it gave you some freedom, it gave you a taste of what it was going to be like in another 8 years or so when you could get a car.

So now you're an adult. You can have all the cars you want, big, bastard cars with big fuck off engines that sound awesome, and you could sit there in air conditioned comfort playing some tunes, drinking some coffee. You could arrive at work looking basically the same as you did when you set off, and you could crack straight on.

But rather than do that, instead you are going to don a ridiculous luminous outfit that is so tight it allows people to see what religion you are, a special needs "I might hurt myself" looking helmet, and in London, quite often, a fucking gas mask. You are then going to physically exert youself in whatever conditions British weather has thrown at you (usually drizzle), arriving at the office with your hair plastered to your face is a sweaty, helmety mess. You have to have a shower and get ready for work actually at the office? That's weird. Trouble at home, is there, mate? She kicked you out again? Oh no, my mistake, you're just doing that asshole cycling to work thing.

She fucking should kick you out.

Yes, I can see that it's a good way to get your government recommended amount of daily exercise, but you can do that in a gym without annoying everyone on the road and at your work, and you can watch Eastenders there while you're doing it and you never have to wear a gas mask or a special needs helmet. Plus everyone else there is dressed like that so nobody is laughing at you. It's a lot more fucking civilised. And when you get bored of cycling, because it is really bloody boring, there's other shit you can do there too! Plus, being a gym goer, well, there's loads of potential for smugness there. You'd enjoy that.

There is a lot of this tedious shit going on in the UK, but Jesus wept, have you seen Holland? They have taken it to whole new psychotic levels over there. I guess because it's flat it is a) easier to cycle and b) more scary for them if global warming kicks off to the levels described in the Daily Mail.

Remember that god awful song by Katie Melua about "9 Million Bicycles in Beijing"? You know the one, not that other one with the equally weird lyrics that went "If you were a piece of wood I'd nail you" and all that shit, though it did basically have the same tune as that one. Yeah, well there are 9 million bicycles chained together outside every single station in Holland. How anyone finds the bike of their very own I have no idea, but unlike over here all the bikes look really, really shit, like they were dug up on fucking Time Team, so maybe you just take any old one.

Cyclists rule the roads over there, and for some reason I am more worried about being hit by a cyclist than by a car (I reckon it'd be nasty, getting all tangled up its spokes and all those poky metal bits going at your ribs), so this freaks the granny out of me, especially if I'm already feeling a bit freaked out which seems to happen in Holland a fair bit.

You might think it would be cool if this country was a bit more like Holland, but if the trade off for legalised drugs and hilarious red light districts was having to live off of ham sandwiches (honestly, that's all there is) and ride a rusty penny farthing everywhere then fuck it, let's stay as we are.


Tuesday 16 March 2010

The England Squad

Bill Bailey once said that the English enjoy disappointment. He said this is why we buy Kinder Eggs. I believe this is also why we bother supporting our national football team. Supporting England is, to someone with a disappointment fetish, like a threeway with Beth Ditto and Susan Boyle is to a chubby chaser who also likes terrible music. It's the ultimate.

The key to what makes them so disappointing is that they should be really, terrifyingly good. Week in, week out we watch these players in the Premier League, easily, and without bias on my part, the best league in the world. UEFA know it, that's why they had to rape Chelsea to avoid another all England Champions League final last year (you know it's true). They're great. Gerrard almost single handedly carries his team (it's easier for him since they got Spain's number one Britney Spears lookalike up front, but even before that he did a sterling job). John Terry sustains kicks to the head that would kill most people but still makes it to the party afterwards. Crouch gambols around like a happy baby giraffe that hasn't quite mastered walking yet, but still hoofs the goals in. And Rooney decimates the opposition like a big, thundering potato. They almost never suck.

But come a year that ends in an even number, it all goes the way of the pear. Obviously there will be injuries to key players. Beckham has done his Achilles, and unlike the fun we had in 2006 waiting for daily updates about the state of Rooney's metatarsal this time, we know for sure that he's out. No fourth World Cup for you, Beckham, although apparently he has been offered a job on England's "backroom staff". This being Beckham, the mind boggles as to what that job could be. Michael Owen has had so many x-rays in his career that his children will be born with ears on their foreheads and telekinetic powers, and those x-rays have revealed that his bones are made, not of glass as previously thought, but of bamboo. And Joe Cole, who is a great player and looks like a lovable gypsy urchin boy from Dickens, also seems to fuck himself up more than most. It's a rough sport, whatever those weirdos who prefer rugby might say. This shit is inevitable.

But then there's The Really Stupid Stuff That Happens Off The Pitch And Shouldn't Affect The Game But Somehow Does. Fabio Capello is not tolerant of The Really Stupid Stuff That Happens Off The Pitch And Shouldn't Affect The Game But Somehow Does. That's why he has banned the crazy, marauding band of slappers we call the WAGs from the World Cup. What a shame we won't be enjoying the pictures of their nights out, which resemble exactly the kind of cackling hen party everybody loves to see rock into Yates's... And also, what a shame they aren't all going to get to visit South Africa. Given it has a LOT of gun crime.

Capello's distaste for The Really Stupid Stuff That Happens Off The Pitch And Shouldn't Affect The Game But Somehow Does is also the reason why Rio bloody Ferdinand is going to be England captain. John Terry, who was going to be captain, given he's rather good at it at Chelsea and hasn't done a bad job for England either, fucked the wrong slag. As I understand it, it is OK, in fact pretty much compulsory for them to fuck slags, but this slag was already Wayne Bridge's slag so alas, the union was forbidden.

So Terry has had the coveted armband taken off him, and they couldn't really give it to Gerrard because he was being done for assault or something (something that happened in Liverpool anyway, I hear a drink was involved), but I suspect the real reason Rio Ferdinand was made captain was to psyche out the USA, who are also in our group. How do you put the fear of God into a team that has Landon Donovan (who I keep getting mixed up with Lando Calrissian out of Star Wars)? Give the captaincy to the player with the maddest name. John Terry isn't a very mad name at all.

Another side effect of Terry's little indiscretion is that Wayne Bridge is now refusing to play in the World Cup at all (as if he wouldn't have spent the whole time on the bench anyway while Ashley minced around in left back taking his fey throw ins). I wonder how many of the other English left backs kicking around the minor leagues have said to a mate in the pub in the last week "I'd let John Terry have a go on the missus if I could be in the World Cup. He can fucking destroy her for all I care."... That's unprofessional if you ask me. It does sort of paint a picture of John Terry as Jeff out of Peep Show, sending Wayne out to buy the condoms, which I enjoy though.

Another example of The Really Stupid Stuff That Happens Off The Pitch And Shouldn't Affect The Game But Somehow Does is of course all the stuff about Ashley and Cheryl Cole, but you know what I think about that shower of shit.

We all know what will happen. Last year we were all looking forward to it, trying to work out how many years it was since 1966 so we could make up a new version of "Three Lions on a Shirt", the only good football record ever made (what was that fucking thing by Embrace about last time? It didn't even mention England or football or any of the players and it was as dreary as fuck, Jesus, might as well have got fucking Dido to do it. Really, they want hanging for that song), but now, as usual, there's a sense that yeah, we'll go out on penalties in the quarter or semi finals as per usual.

You would think they would spend a bit more time practicing the penalty shoot outs. At club level, teams don't get into many penalty shoot outs, they only happen in the last rounds and finals of knock out tournaments, and only then if there's a draw after extra time. Chelsea have only been in about 11 in over 100 years. Liverpool practice them every single training session, but that's because they operate under the delusion that they have a god given right to be in the final of everything. But an international squad, who pretty much only play in knockout tournaments, especially one with a strong tradition of going out on penalties, well, it might be a better use of time than say, all this high school who's shagging who shit.


Monday 15 March 2010


In many ways, Facebook is great. You can keep in touch with people, share amusing clips like that guy with "titties like a woman", see who out of your class at school has the ugliest children, and get into arguments about whether or not Didier Drogba cheats. It's a right laugh. If you're a rapist, it's also great for networking. But we're not here to talk about things that are good. We're here to talk about things that are pony, and there's a lot that is pony about the Facebook too.

1) Rubbish status updates

As with Twitter posts (I can't bear to call them "tweets", it just sounds like something only a tosser would say), Facebook status updates vary wildly from being amusing or interesting, to being as banal as an episode of the One Show (you know, that shit that's on before Eastenders where they talk about arbitrary boring subjects like say, the history of chips, in a patronising way and for some reason Donny Osmond is nearly always the guest).

You know the kind of thing, someone's just had a nice sandwich, someone really loves their kids, someone has a hangover but they've had a nice sandwich and now they feel better. Some people are cold. In itself, these things aren't so bad, so not everyone is out there narcissistically composing their status updates to impress their friends, some people just want their friends to know they love their kids, which to be honest we all kind of knew anyway seeing as how you never fucking shut up about them, but still. What makes these, the Facebook equivalent of drizzle, truly annoying is this. Compare the two examples below:

So cold today! But it's OK because I have some nice warm soup.

So cold today!! lolz! But it's OK because I have some nice warm soup! Woop woop! :) xxxxxxxxxxx

If you see the first one, you think, well, that's dull, but yes, it is pretty cold, and yes, soup is nice, especially on a cold day. I'm glad my friend has soup.

If you see the second one, you think, exactly what kind of idiot am I dealing with here? When I see you in the pub you don't behave like this, whooping like you've just been made fucking mayor over soup, and laughing, actually laughing out loud, because it's cold. And fucking kissing everyone. Only Tom Cruise behaves like that and I'm certainly not friends with that freak. What the hell passed through your mind there? Oh, I'd better write something, not written anything in a while, but all I can think of is the coldness and the soup. Guess I'll jazz it up with a "lol" and a "woop woop!". A few extra exclamation marks. A smiley, always good to have one of them, so people know soup makes me happy, and of course some kisses, because that's cute. Done, now it looks exciting! No, now you look like a cunt.

If you want to build the amount of secret resentment your friends harbour for you even further, and create what could be likened to the Mount Everest of terrible status updates, then you will also need to adopt the following strategy:

2) People who can spell writing like people who can't spell

This irritates the b'jaysus out of me, and sure I'm not alone. I'm talking smart people, people in their twenties and thirties with jobs and shit, who unaccountably, and only on Facebook, write like fuckwitted halfwit fucks. Is it like in the olden days of texting when people wrote like twats to save time and characters? No, not really, because half the time the collection of letters substituted for one of the queen's own words is actually just as long as the correct spelling. It's just stupider. Taking the previous example, an enthusiast of spazzy writing would enhance it thus:

sooooo cold 2day!!! lolz!!!! but is ok cuz I has sum nyce warm soop!!! woop woop!!! :) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Now what is the fucking reasoning behind that kind of behaviour? I'm a rebel, I don't play by society's rules (or rulez. Or roolz.). I spell lots of words with a "y" where there should be an "i". It's AWESUM!

It's bloody not though.

3) Groups. Not all groups, just the annoying groups.

Sometimes the groups are used for good, like to stop that terrible X Factor song getting to number one at Christmas and putting an end to that predictable bullshit. Or to take the piss out of Ashley Cole. But sometimes they are used for evil. Well, maybe not evil, I am struggling to think of a group I've seen that actually seemed to be evil (there's probably some lurking on there for people who like Sarah Palin, that would be the closest I reckon), but there are a lot of annoying ones out there.

Lately, I've seen a lot of instances of one of my friends having joined a group called something along the lines of "I pissed myself laughing at this picture of Miley Cyrus". And I think, yeah, my day could be brightened by laughing at Miley Cyrus, so I have a little click on the link. But no, no funny Miley Cyrus picture for you, unless you join the group. And I don't really want to, I just want to laugh at her and then get on with my life. If I join it, all my friends will see that and maybe they would like to see a funny picture of Miley Cyrus too and then they'll have a little click on the link and the whole miserable cycle will continue. Damn you, Miley Cyrus group creators.

Another scenario that annoys me with the groups is this: whenever the elders of Facebook (who the hell actually runs Facebook, does anyone know?) make some change to the layout or settings everybody always inevitably hates it, so you get all these groups like "CAN WE FIND 1,000,000,000 PEOPLE WHO WANT THE OLD LAYOUT BACK?", "BRING BACK THE OLD FACEBOOK!" etc, etc, but they never do bring back the old Facebook so if you joined you look stupid and futile. And you know it.

The whole thing with social networking is the delicate balance between allowing people to interact and share stuff and forcing them to to the point where it is annoying and the user begins to feel, quite correctly, that they are pissing off their friends. This is where the groups can fall down and - most annoyingly of all... Any guesses where this is going next?

4) Apps

That's right. You knew I was going to come onto it eventually. No article about Facebook being pony would be complete without some discussion of the bastarding apps.

I'll start with the games. Farmville. Yoville (sounds like Yeovil. Imagine a game based around running Yeovil?). Pretend Shit Cafe. That one with the fish tank that you unaccountably seem to be able to keep a humpback whale in.

Some people get addicted to these things like they were heroin laced Pringles. I don't see the appeal, I wouldn't want to work on a real farm, that would be shit, but at least I'd get paid for my efforts. An imaginary one? Fuck off. Who is that bored of life? This is the weirdest thing, how the most popular ones generally seem to be largely based around things that you wouldn't want to do in real life. I saw an advert the other day for an app that said "Step in as mayor of your very own city on Facebook! Manage energy, control crime and decrease pollution!". That sounds like quite a lot of responsibility. I don't want that. Managing energy doesn't sound entertaining at all. It sounds tedious. If it had said "Step in as mayor of your very own city on Facebook! Manage the red light district! Organise crime! Get bribed for stuff!" maybe I would have thought it wasn't quite so shit, but, make no mistake, it would still be shit.

It's not the general lameness of the games that makes them so annoying, though. A lot of things that are annoying wouldn't be annoying if people just got on with them quietly and didn't make you look at it all. Strictly Come Dancing wouldn't be annoying if it wasn't on television and just took place in a Butlins somewhere. It's all that crap you see on Facebook. Somebody has found a lost and lonely manta ray, will you adopt it? Firstly, what the fuck? How is the manta ray crying? It's a manta ray. Well, it's not, it's a cartoon drawing of a manta ray, but it's a fucking inaccurate one because it's fucking crying. And has eyelashes and a bow on its fucking head. I don't want your fucking manta ray, it's a fucking sissy.

You can hide these notifications about the nerdy shit people you know have been doing, but there are so many of the bloody things a few always sneak in. Thought you'd hidden Fishville? Ahhhhh, but this isn't Fishville, it's Fishtown. You didn't hide Fishtown. They're different.

It's not just the games, people also like to use other apps to piss you off. Do you care what some bird from the office's horoscope says for today? I'd wager that no, you do not care, unless it says she is going to go on a killing spree. Sometimes people also send you inane pictures of hearts and puppies and crap and post them on your wall so you can look really gay. They send them to everyone so it doesn't even make you feel loved. Sob.

I would cover off poking here too, but as far as I can tell nobody does that anymore. Unless it's just me that isn't getting poked. Because I'm not.


Sunday 14 March 2010

Cheryl and Ashley Cole

I am so bloody sick of seeing how Cheryl Cole is giving Ashley another chance after he's banged some slag and everyone feeling all sorry for her/saying "leave him Chezza, he ain't worth it!". So brace yourselves, here is some truth that will blow your fucking mind:


Cheryl and Ashley share something very special, for sure - the same PR company. These masters of the dark art of manipulating the media to further the careers of total fucking arseholes are geniuses. Honestly I can't say a bad word about them. They also always, always have access to cocaine and so are great to have at parties.

The whole grand enterprise was dreamed up to conceal two facts, which I will present to you here:

Fact 1 - Cheryl is a bit racist

There are two bits of evidence to support this. First of all, she is from The North. It is de rigeur in The North to be a bit racist. I spoke to a guy from The North who had been on holiday to Goa (that's in India, I should mention that because it's kind of important to the irony of this story and, yeah, you probably knew it was in India but I am trying to "break America" so I have to cater for people who don't know about the world). I asked him what it was like, and his first response was just surreal. He said it was "a bit like Ashton-under-Lyne but with less bins". I didn't really understand that so I pressed on, and he said "it would have been alright if it weren't for all the Pakis". Obviously he didn't actually use the word "the', he was from The North, it was more a kind of implied "the", but I don't know how to represent that in text form.

Now obviously there were very few, if any, Pakistanis there in Goa. With India and Pakistan you just can't get them mixed up. That's the kind of faux pas that makes the shit kick off. It's not like if you mistake a Canadian for a septic or a Kiwi for an Australian where, when they point out your mistake you can just go "well, it's all the fucking same, isn't it" and they don't mind... So yeah, evidence 1 - she's from The North.

The second piece of evidence that Cheryl is a bit racist is actually, now I think about it, probably the more salient one. I'm not a fucking lawyer, I don't think this shit through. Evidence 2 - she got done for racially aggravated assault.

The incident occurred in the brilliantly named The Drink nightclub in Guildford. Which is half an hour away from London so no, I have no idea what the fuck Girls Aloud were doing there either, I just wish they'd gone to early noughties Guildford's other hot nightspot, Bojangles. Bojangles was really shit, you'd stick to the floor and they only served Hooch, and someone was always giving someone else a blowjob on the dancefloor, that was kind of an in joke for, well, people who've been to Bojangles in Guildford... The newly formed Girls Aloud were out on the razz, and somehow (I forget the details and can't be arsed to look it up - but if you want to you can, this is all in the public domain) the then Cheryl Tweedy (who if you remember, back then, wasn't even regarded as the fit one, more the gobby one) decided to beat up the black woman selling the lollipops and squirts of perfume and single cigarettes in the toilets. One fact I do remember, is that she called her a "jigaboo". Which, however you look at it, is a bit racist. No, I'm not sure what it means, but it sounds racist, doesn't it? Why has everyone forgotten about this? Well, everyone except Kevin Bishop, he did a sketch about it, and it was hilarious.

So, obviously it doesn't look very good to be all racist and shit. Not if you want to be fucking everywhere, all of the fucking time, and "break America" (it's The Objective) like our Cheryl. If only there were some way to prove once and for all she wasn't a bit racist at all...

Which brings us neatly to Ashley and Fact 2.

Fact 2 - Ashley is really, seriously, tremendously gay

Again, I have two reasons to believe this is the case. First of all, there were all those stories about him being at gay orgies and inserting mobile phones into his anus. That's what Ashley does with phones. He doesn't text pictures of his cock to women at all, because his phone is up his arse, with Sol Campbell ringing it so it vibrates and... God that's so grim I can't write any more about it. What kind of phone do you reckon it was? Not a bloody iPhone, surely? All flat and oblong, up your arse? Nasty. Nasty, nasty Ashley Cole.

The second reason is, I am a Chelsea supporter. I sit in the Lower West Stand when I go to Stamford Bridge, fairly near the pitch, close enough to see the whites of their eyes, and to see just how camp Ashley looks taking a throw in. Honestly, it is the most limp wristed, mincey little piece of action you will ever see on the pitch. Whether he actually shrieks "I'm free!" to John Terry when he's, well, free, I am not sure, but it'd be great if he does, right?

Now, I'm not saying it is in any way wrong for a Premiership footballer to be gay, but there hasn't been an out gay man in the prem yet. I know that Welsh rugby player came out but nobody gave a fuck because rugby is about as homoerotic as sport gets so it came as no real surprise. I know Christiano Ronaldo looks like a lesbian, but he's not, so that doesn't count. Football will become accepting of these things eventually, like how now we just accept that a lot of players are foreign, and like how Liverpool supporters have accepted a woman as their best striker. But a pussy like Ashley was never going to be the first, was he? That would take bravery. So, if only there was a way to make it look like Ashley liked skirt...

Of course, the strategy of just marrying the pair of them off wasn't quite enough. That would have done the job of effecting the dual cover up, but would not have kept Cheryl fucking everywhere, all of the fucking time. So Cheryl must continue to be seen doing non racist things (flirting with any black contestants on the X Factor, collaborating with black musicians, particularly if they are American, because The Objective is to "break America". It won't work because 3 Words was an awful, awful song, and nobody over there can understand a word she fucking says, but still, it is very important to try and "break America"), and Ashley must be seen to be a bit of a bastard who cheats on Cheryl with lots of slags, so we can feel sorry for her and love her even more for being so brave and standing by him whilst also thinking, hey, that Ashley, he's a right fucking lad, him.

Cheryl was groomed for all this by Victoria Beckham. They were hanging out at the last World Cup, you know, because they are the elite of footballers wives, having been famous in their own right rather than marrying some footballer and releasing a fragrance you can only buy in Asda. Christ, how retarded is it that a group exists where the elite is Victoria fucking Beckham and Cheryl fucking Cole? Anyhow, Victoria is really, really good at teaching people how to make the best of themselves. She's awesome at it. Because when she isn't off wearing dresses, she has a part time job being Gok Wan. Seriously, have you ever seen them in the same room? Noooo, and you never will, they are the same person. I'm all about revelations today.

I have no real issue with the whole fake marriage thing, it is a means to an end and good luck to them both. Yes, I wish Cheryl wasn't fucking everywhere all of the fucking time, yes, I wish Ashley wasn't such a fucking wanker, but what really pisses me off is the fact that people lap this shit up even though the evidence is all there that it is weapons grade bollocks. She's from the north. He does fey throw ins. Wake up, you daft bastards.


Wednesday 10 March 2010


Sweet pikey Jesus in a plastic pram I hate Argos. If most high street stores are concerned with the shopper's experience, then Argos are aiming for an experience akin to being put in the fucking stocks and having the village peasants pelt you with their rickets afflicted, scurvy ridden children's snotty tissues.

You enter the Argos store, and are confronted with all the noise and chaos of one of those Moroccan markets Melinda Messenger or someone was always wandering around on "Wish You Were Here?" back in the day. Only those places never appeared to sell footspas, body jewellery endorsed by Katie Price, beanbags with Bob the Builder on, and, well, you get the gist, that sort of utter, utter Argos tat.

To purchase any of the Argos tat, one must follow a weirdly complicated procedure, which all the Bianca off Eastenders types chasing their offspring around the store seem completely at home with but I find quite the faff, compared with say, picking something from a shelf and paying for it at a checkout.

First, you must peruse The Catalogue, at one of its many stations around the store. The pages are laminated. And sticky. I think that's because children touch them, rather than a more sinister reason, however you never know with chavs, someone could be wanking over the girl modelling the scary facial hair remover machine, we just can't say.

When you have selected the tat of your desire, you must find the code associated with it in The Catalogue, and punch it into a little device. I guess this bit is fun for the chavs, it is a bit like having a job in a shop, and so novel. The device tells you if it's your lucky day, and they have any units of that particular tat in stock.

Then you write the code for your tat on a piece of paper (this bit is fun too, it's like being at the bookies, they even have those rubbish little blue bookies pens where you have to try nine before you get one that works) and take it to a counter where someone who breathes through their mouth relieves you of some of that incapacity benefit and gives you a little ticket with a number on like they have in delis.

The next stage in the epic quest to lay your hands on your tat is to wait patiently while another mouth breather goes out the back where all the tat lives to retrieve your coveted item. Can you imagine it, I bet it's a veritable Aladdin's cave of shit out there - I almost want to work there just to see what secrets dwell out the back of an Argos. Must be the size of a fucking aircraft hangar as well to hold all the shit in The Catalogue.

If you like, if this whole rigmarole has worn you out a bit, Argos thoughtfully provide some of those nasty red plastic chairs that make your arse go numb, you know, the ones from school, and you can sit on one of these while you wait. Be warned though, there will, again, be stickiness. Why are chav children so much stickier than other children? Does the diet of nuggets make them secrete some sort of ooze?

Eventually, the mouth breather will return from tat-Narnia with your item and you'll be free to go. You'll be back tomorrow to return it, because it will have something wrong with it - come on, if you had quality products would you prevent people from seeing them until after they'd paid?

In fact, the only product range proudly displayed in the Argos store is the jewellery. It's worth going in just to have a poke at that, because in the future this shit will be in museums and you'll have to pay to go in and mock it. For the younger pleb about town, there is an abundance of body jewellery, all with some spangly charms in the shape of bags and shoes and Jordan's tits. If you prefer the more classic pikey look to modern chav, they can also furnish you with one (or more - you can never have too many) of those frightening huge gold pendants that is a clown with rubies for eyes, and those big old hoopy earrings with the sparkly balls at the bottom. Incidentally, I've heard that in some cultures, the size of a lady's hoop earrings correlates to the number of squaddies she's fucked and therefore her social standing. Obviously there are also loads of sovs - that goes without saying. And those rings that say "MUM" or, even better "DAD" in "diamonds". Which are always the perfect gift. They also do wedding rings starting at seven quid.

Fuck, what am I saying - Argos is amazing!


Book Trends

I'm not going to call them literary trends. That would add too much credibility to the lowest common denominator wank I am talking about here. I am talking about the shit you see in those Pumpkin places at train stations (who are alright by me, they sell lager and sometimes fags), and the very small WH Smiths (always fags, never lager in those). It goes in waves, almost as though (exactly as though) someone has had a hit book and the publishers have scrabbled around like, well, grasping cunts, to find stuff sort of like it but not to the point where lawyers get deployed. It's a bit like (exactly like) when the BBC have a popular idea and ITV try and rip it off, but being ITV they always forget to get anyone good involved and have it sponsored by an online bingo company. Bless 'em, the fucking simpletons.

Trends I have noticed in the last couple of years:

1) Books by whores. About whoring.

These were ubiquitous for a while. And you could see the appeal. I'm at an airport, I can buy this book that is going to contain all manner of filth and it looks normal in its WH Smith bag with just its drawing of a woman in a bra on the front. Excellent. It'll be like smuggling Razzle under a copy of the Guardian only without the embarrassment of buying the fucking Guardian.

But no. The original was Belle du Jour. She managed to get two of these out before people realised that actually there was minimal filth and most of it was her banging on about how fucking clever she is. I'm Belle du Jour! I have a degree and speak French! But people pay lots of money to fuck me instead so I do that! It's not like I couldn't get a proper job! I'm just so very sexy! I think this is where the appropriate line for most people would be "that's nice, now suck it, bitch.".

Belle du Jour cocked up in her mission to make us all believe she was a beautiful, intelligent whore cum goddess (no pun intended) of our age by firstly allowing ITV to make the TV series. ITV scrapped all that "I READ CAMUS IN FRENCH" nonsense and just made it about Billie Piper getting naked. It was what the public, especially their public, wanted. Plus they had to put Billie, freaky black Alistair Darling eyebrows and all, into something as the BBC had done it first.

Then, she revealed herself. And she has skin like Bryan Adams. Seriously, if you paid 500 of Her Majesty's pounds to fuck that she had your pants down in more ways than one. And she blogged about your weird penis. Are you proud?

Still, Belle du Jour (do we have to keep calling her that, it's a fucking stupid name, even for a whore name - I know because you know, I speak French and shit), successfully spawned a trend for books written by whores, about whoring. There was one about a New York call girl, she was a bit less annoying because although there was equally little sex in it, she did get addicted to crack halfway through which was fun. Then there was a more low rent one about a ginger student who worked in a massage parlour. Yeah, I did keep buying the fucking things...

Additionally, for those tired of the books by whores about whoring, there was the sub genre - books by total slags about being total slags. One of these was Girl With a One Track Mind by some slag. Catherine something. I'm sure I'm not the only person struggling to remember her name. Not a whore, but someone who in their own insane mind is the real life version of her with the moles out of Sex and the City. She's not though, she has just had an awful lot of dick and believes this makes her interesting enough to inflict her Rizla-thin (and I mean the blue ones) personality on us all. Like Tracy Emmin in that sense but probably more of a laugh. I imagine a conversation like this took place:
"Hey mum! I got my book published!"
"Congratulations dear."
"Trouble is, all the research I had to do, I now have a twat like a witch's cave and chlamydia."
"That's it sweetheart - you chase your dreams!"...

2) Books about really horrible things happening to children

Now this shit I have never understood. There's a picture of a crying child on the front. It's called something like "Please Mummy, No!". You can tell that it's not going to be a good time for that crying kid on the front. It's not going to be a hilarious sex comedy like Precious, which I hear is the new American Pie 4 (Band Camp). And if there's any drugs in it, it's going to be someone dying of a heroin overdose with a needle rammed in their foot and blood spewing out of their ears while the crying child, well, cries.

People these days, we are lead to understand, are very busy, and are struggling to find time for all the stuff they have to do (the amount of people I know who tell me what they're doing on fucking Farmville suggests otherwise, but hey). Plus, times are hard. Bastard hard. There's crisis and misery all around you. So who the fuck decides to spend any of their recreation time immersing themselves in even deeper misery reading this stuff? And buying it at airports? Oh, I might have too nice a time on my holiday, better buy this book about some kid getting his skull fractured by his alcoholic crack whore mother on an hourly basis to take with. Freaks.

Still, if the mother cleaned up her act and went on an adult literacy course, she could write a best seller, by a crack whore, about crack whoring...

3) Stuff about peoples' dogs or cats. Who die in the end. Always.

This one is pretty current. And like with the whore books, I can see the appeal. With all the recession/global crisis mess running its course I can see why people would just like to read a story about how an adorable kitten helped its owner love again and whatnot. This animal shit always comes out when there's a general feelbad vibe in the world, which is why last summer every single movie trailer you saw was for something about a dog (think about it, Bolt, that Jennifer Aniston thing, that other one that was in 3D). It's the kind of thing people like my mum like. But why does the animal always fucking die in the end? Why are these people intentionally upsetting my mum?

I would enjoy a convergence of the trends. It pretty much writes itself, just hash together bits of any choice example of the above genres. A whore gets addicted to crack and abuses her kid, until a tiny kitten teaches her to love again and whatnot. Then the kitten dies. Obviously.

If you know any publishers who are grasping cunts, feel free to steal this idea.


Saturday 6 March 2010

St George's Day

Now, we all know that nobody bothers with St George's Day. People say this is because of political correctness gone mad (I love saying "political correctness gone mad", it makes it sound like a right laugh. It isn't though.) but I don't think that's the case. Nobody bothered with it back in the seventies either, and as we all know from Channel 4 list/nostalgia shows, you know, the ones with Goldie Looking Chain and that really stupid bird out of Big Brother from about three years ago, back then casual racism was absolutely hilarious.

I reckon the reason is, St George is shit. I'll tell you for why. Firstly, he's not just the patron saint of England. He's the patron saint of loads of countries. The massive tart. One of those countries is Germany. You can see why we kept that shit quiet.

Secondly, what did he do exactly? They say he slayed a dragon, but I think my old friend "Shitty the Bull" might have a few words to say about that, words that go a bit like "er, dragons don't exist. They're made up, like Avatar and Happy Days". So we can establish that he didn't actually do that. Did he slay something a bit like a dragon? Maybe some sort of big lizard or, I don't know, flesh hungry alligator? Probably not. In England the nearest thing we have to a dragonlike creature is basically a newt. And you wouldn't get canonised for slaying a newt. They are small and basically defenceless.

So, he didn't slay any kind of beast, did he, come on, how gullible do you think we are, this isn't the damn Alpha Course.

I did some research. As I have found Wikipedia somewhat unreliable in the past, rather than do that I just asked a man in a pub what St George actually did. If you see a man in a pub who is drinking real ale, the kind that looks like it has twigs and beetles in it, that's the guy to ask about these matters. If he has a beard as well, all the better, that guy is the oracle of wisdom on all manner of shit, from vintage motorcycles to, er, vintage motorcycles. And history! So, I asked one of these prophets of our time, who I shall just refer to as The Authority, what St George did.

The Authority told me. St George rid a village of pagans. By, you know, killing them. Now, primarily, that's not really a good thing, is it, killing people? Because of their beliefs? Or ethnicity? Is that not rather like, well, genocide? Patron saint of Germany people - that's all I'm saying... But above and beyond that, pagans are fucking hippies. How hard can it be to kill a bunch of hippies. What did he do, poison their fucking supply of arnica? Good for bruises - I'll say. He's bloody rubbish. So fuck him and get the Guinness down your neck on March 17th instead, even though it makes you fat and turns your shit black.