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“I really hope no-one uses this as a profound, introductory quote on their website one-day, because it means pretty much fuck all. I don’t solve ALL your problems.”

Jesus “The” Christ

 

 

Wise words from Jesus there, I think you’ll agree.

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Welcome to my website: part vanity project, part unwarranted self-promotion, part stops me drifting towards my natural inclination for murder. I hope you’ll find something in these pages that makes you laugh, or leak some description of bodily fluids. If not, jog on. No hard feelings. There’s a plentiful supply of porn and pictures of ‘funny’ cats out there just for you.

A Celebration of Public Breastfeeding

breast1

It’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Week, so I thought I’d pitch in with a rebuttal of some of the most common arguments levelled against women who wish to feed their babies in public, and should be able to without stigma.

Number 1: The ‘how would you like it if I just took a shit wherever I liked?’ argument

poop

Oh, that’s interesting,” comes the familiar sarcastic cry from the army of mammary-phobic morons inexplicably allowed to walk our streets unsupervised, “Breastfeeding is a biological function, and so is defecating, so why is one okay in public, and the other isn’t? In fact, since pooing is an almost inescapable daily necessity, shouldn’t we be more supportive of street-shitting than we are of breastfeeding?” They say it with a self-satisfied smirk, believing themselves to have constructed an argument worthy of Plato. ‘Defend your gross act of nipple-sucking now that I’ve lumped it in with jobbies, you Guardian-reading heathen’, their eyes seem to say.

This is a bullshit argument brought to you by the same people who brought you: ‘Letting gays marry? Well why don’t we just allow people to marry their pets?’ If you can’t see the distinction between the process that allows us to eliminate waste from our bodies and the mechanism that enables mothers to provide their offspring with life-boosting nutrients then your high-school biology teacher has failed you, and they should be redeployed to the McDonalds’ serving hatch immediately. Also, you’re a fucking moron.

We are compelled to poo in private, in dedicated, enclosed areas, for the sake of good hygiene and for the good of public health. If the streets were awash with excrement, as once they were, the NHS would implode as it scrambled to find enough cash to treat a hundred million cases of pinkeye a year. We’d all have diarrhoea, all of the time, and our children would go blind from munching on an unknowable number of poisonous people-pats left dotted up our streets like cats’ eyes. Breastfeeding, on the other hand, doesn’t pose any risk to human health or safety. No-one’s going to get their eye taken out by a sling-shot of titty milk, or catch some horrible contagion from a mother’s briefly exposed breast. Also, and this is crucial, nobody – save the most despicable or inebriated of us – wants to remove the stigma and consequences associated with shitting in public. There’s no pro-jobby lobby about to stage a million-strong march on Westminster waving placards bedecked with slogans like “WE’RE DESPERATE FOR EQUAL TREATMENT”, “SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS” or “WE WILL SHITE THEM ON THE BEACHES.”

Which brings us to argument…

Number 2: The ‘Fair enough, you’re breast-feeding your kid, but I don’t see why I, or my kids, should be forced to see that’ argument.

breast2

This argument is seen by its proponents as a corollary to the street-shitting argument. The implication here is that there is something inherently gross, shameful or dirty about the act of breastfeeding, and that children should be protected from this highly-damaging sight. After all, it’s a scientifically proven fact that kids who spend even a few seconds near a woman who’s nurturing her infant child can go so maniacally ape-shit for tits that they have to be brought down with tranquiliser darts and treated with ritalin and morphine cocktails for the rest of their lives, lest they become warped and broken-minded sex offenders living in syringe-littered bedsits.

I know that some babies have trouble latching, or can’t, and I’ve witnessed how gruelling it can be for new mothers – sore, sweating and exhausted – to pick up the knack of breast-feeding. I don’t seek to denigrate mothers who bottle-feed. I was mainly bottle-fed, as was my partner. In fact, I can’t think of a single person I know who was breast-fed, at least beyond the first few days or weeks of their lives. Bottle-feeding is as pervasive as it is persuasive, a torch handed down from generation to generation without much debate or forethought. It’s the method by which more and more mothers are choosing to feed their newborns, in the UK and around the world, to the point where breast-feeding is beginning to be seen as some bonkers new-age fad, the boob equivalent of reiki or homeopathy.

Maybe if more children could see breast-feeding in action, and have its function and benefits rationally and gently extolled to them by their parents or guardians, there would be a much needed sea-change in our attitude and culture. A good thing, too, because the benefits of breast-feeding are legion. For the baby, breastfeeding means increased protection against a host of bugs, afflictions and diseases; an improved ability to homeostatically self-regulate; a higher likelihood of developing good communication and language skills; and a lower likelihood of developing things like diabetes and heart disease in later life. For the mother, breastfeeding means a decreased likelihood of brittle bones and post-birth anaemia; a decreased likelihood of developing ovarian and breast cancer; a closer bond with their child, and, of course, a financial saving of approximately £600 a year.

For the father, breastfeeding means a decreased likelihood of having to fuck around with bottles and sterilising kits for six to eighteen months, but an increased likelihood that his precious breasts, those vaunted fun-bags he thought were his exclusive domain, will be off-limits for a very, very long time.

And with that tongue-in-cheek, cheeky tit-shot we arrive very aptly at the next argument…

Number 3: The ‘bare boobs are indecent and sexual’ argument.

breast3

This argument is of course connected to the previous argument in the minds of those who would cling to it: breasts are sexual, and so having them out in public is inappropriate. It’s all about context, really. Breasts can be sexual, but let’s not forget that men find them arousing – deep in their primal core – precisely because of their ability to support their theoretical offspring. Breasts don’t exist in a vacuum; divorced from their primary function, they’d be about as alluring as a knuckle or a liver. Breasts exist to sustain life, and ultimately men’s fetishisation of them is both a regrettable by-product and a corruption of this purpose.

Before I morph into Germaine Greer, let me state for the record that I’m certainly not immune to my biological impulses, and find myself rather a big fan of breasts. But, let me repeat the word again: context. There is nothing sexy or sexual about a woman breast-feeding, and if you think that there is then you belong on a special edition of The Jerry Springer Show, togged up in nappies and sucking a dummy. Do you think male gynaecologists go home and masturbate over the thought of all the vaginas they probed that day? Hunched and sweating, muttering to themselves: “I knew you wanted me to… take that glove off, girl.” Context!

If my partner suddenly whipped her top off in a busy nightclub and started jiggling provocatively I’d feel rather aggrieved, and ready to fight any man who ogled her. But when we’re in public and she pulls a bit of boob out to feed my son, hell, even a full boob, it elicits no stronger a reaction from me than were she to scratch her arm. It’s normal and natural, and if I feel anything it’s pride, and a sense of security that my little boy is getting all of the natural, life-giving nutrients he needs.

Remember, those of you who agree with or actively employ the arguments dealt with in this piece: women don’t feed their babies just to piss you off. They feed them because they’re hungry, Einstein. A breast-fed baby – up to a certain age – pretty much only cries when it needs fed, and it is cruel – and detrimental to their development – to leave them wailing without immediate resolution. Because of this, mothers don’t always have the time to dash off to a darkened room, or cover their head with a towel like a budgie at night-time, just to appease your fuckwitted, Cro-Magnon thinking. Why should they in any case? And, no, breast-feeding mothers can’t just stay at home to save you the sight, because being a full-time, 24/7 carer for a tiny human being can be arduous and isolating (as well as incomparably beautiful and enriching) and mother and baby deserve a break, and the chance to get out and about wheresoever they please.

There’s no justification for adopting a negative stance towards public breast-feeding. The fabric of the country won’t unravel. The world won’t end. But more babies in the future might just get the chance to reap its benefits. We owe it to them.

But if you really feel you can’t be supportive, then at the very least be neutral, and keep your nose out of other people’s breasts.

http://www.breastfeeding.see.nhs.uk/

Happy Father’s Day to Me?

father2I was discussing Father’s Day a few weeks ago and my brain completely failed to make the connection between me, the occasion and the smiling little entity who shares fifty per cent of my DNA. Even after ten months, it still hasn’t properly sunk in. Obviously I feel being a father every day, in a thousand different ways, but I still occasionally have to stop and pause as the thought taps me on the inside of the skull: ‘Hey, mate. You’re a Dad. You’re his Dad.’

Existing parents tend to talk up the stressful elements of parenthood: the shitty nappies, the lack of sleep, the subordination of social life to the needs of the child. And, yes, these elements form a large part of the process, but surely nobody enters into the parenthood pact believing otherwise (unless they’ve got a fleet of nannies or happen to be the sort of old-school father who congratulates the mother of his child and then says, ‘Cool, good luck with it all, gimme a shout when he’s ten.’). Parents won’t usually tell you how absolutely amazing it is to have a baby, and if they do you’ll be left thinking either that they’re dull blowhards who’ve lost all perspective on life and should be eliminated forthwith or else you’ll only appreciate their words in an unemotional, abstract way, like you would if someone told you how great it was to be the world fencing champion. I hate to fall back on the favoured cliché of parents everywhere, but I’m going to: unless you’re a parent, you can’t possibly understand how it feels.

Christ, I hated people who said that to me before I was a parent, especially those who thought they could use it as a Top Trumps card to win any argument.

I think you’re wrong, actually, it’s faster taking the B-road to the back end of the town, and then turning left at the quarry and following the bypass all the way to the promenade.”

Well, maybe you’ll think differently once you’ve got kids of your own.”

Beware all new parents hoping to use that specious reasoning to defeat their childless friends: parents of multiple children can use it on you just as easily, making you feel like you’re in Monty Python’s Yorkshiremen sketch. “One child? Luxury!” If you really want to win every argument on earth, best get pumping, Genghis Khan style.

Being a Dad is wonderful. One little smile from my son can melt my curmudgeonly heart. I could watch him sleeping on my chest – the rise and fall of his own little chest, the puffing of his cheeks – for hours on end. His laughter is the most intoxicating drug ever devised or discovered. Watching him grow and change and learn over the past ten months has been the most gratifying, enriching experience of my life. I can’t wait to meet the person he’s going to become. (I’ll revisit this web-page once he’s turned sixteen and I want to knock his jaw out)  

Being a Dad is also terrifying. Every day welcomes a new cycle of nightmarish scenarios into my thoughts, perils I have to protect him from, everything from skint knees to terrorist insurrections. Seemingly benign everyday objects that were previously absorbed into the background of my perceptions have now been given starring roles as villains in the most terrifying real-life movie ever produced. Things like Blu-tac and cushions are now potential sources of death and injury, making each day feel a little like the first five minutes of an episode of Casualty. I can’t stand on a balcony without imagining him tumbling to his death. I can’t take a trip in the car without shivering at the thought of an eight-car pile-up. Everything is terrifying. “Oh great, a bouncy castle! Or, as I like to call it, THE INFLATABLE THEATRE OF DEATH! You’re giving him a plastic spoon, ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY, HE’LL USE IT TO RIP OUT HIS OWN EYES!!!”

father1

I understand completely why people want to show off their kids: why there are so many people on Facebook with their children’s smiling faces set as their profile pictures; why there are so many parents who feel compelled to chronicle their kids’ every fart, burp and blurble on-line. That love, that pride, that fierce and overwhelming dragon of emotions, is born in you the moment your child arrives naked and screaming into the world. A child is a boundless miracle, a perfect and perfected distillation of mother and father; the link between the ancient past and the infinite reaches of our human future made flesh. In the hospital, looking down at the helpless, innocent creature swaddled in your arms, you can’t help but imagine that all of the answers to the great mysteries of existence – of your life, of all life – lie somewhere in those tiny eyes.

For the first few weeks of my son’s life I had to restrain the impulse to lift him up into strangers’ faces and yell: ‘LOOK AT MY SON AND STAND PROSTRATE IN THE PRESENCE OF HIS FUCKING PERFECTION, YOU NOTHING!’ I’d walk past a line of other people’s babies and mentally judge them, one by one: “Shite, shite, shite, shite, shite.” I wanted to pay for his immaculate face to be put on a billboard in every country of the world, and force every radio station to suspend their worthless chatter and music in favour of an unbroken soundtrack of him sleeping and breathing. On a planet where millions of species are birthing infants by the metric tonne every fraction of a second, my child is the only one who matters.

I’m not a religious person, or a believer in God, but I now think I understand something of the impulses behind religion. My partner and I have brought our son into the world to die. That’s a certainty. Perhaps that guilt is what propels thoughts of the afterlife. I’m a good person. I wouldn’t knowingly bring down a death sentence upon my son, the person I love most in the world. There must be something else. Some after-earth paradise to which he holds the admission ticket. And if this is really all that there is, then what is the point of this endless cycle of birth and death, where the only aim is to stay alive long enough to perpetuate your genes?

This is the hand we’ve been dealt, creatures on a rock spinning in space, defined and enriched by our mortality. Better to experience existence and its many joys even with the promise of extinction than never to have the chance to exist at all. If we’ve only got one world and one life, then I want my son to have a happier, better, richer life than I did, in a vastly upgraded world (Microsoft World 15), and I will move heaven and earth to make that happen. That’s the point of existence for me, and if it’s the only point, then it’s a bloody good one. If God exists at all, in whatever form, then he doesn’t make you: you make God. Because God isn’t in your children. He is your children.

angry-god

Yeah, that was blasphemous, and corny as hell, but in my defence, I’d just like to say fuck you, fuck you all in the face.

Thankfully, I became a Dad at just the right time. For most of my life I’ve been a bumbling, feckless, rudderless arsehole, perpetually dragging myself full-circle through the wake of my latest calamity: an emotional suicide-bomber; a clueless, selfish mess of a man. I was content to drift between places, people and ambitions in the vain hope that the jigsaw of my existence would one day solve itself. But I changed, evolved. I overcame my arrested development. My brain was at last able to outpace my adrenal gland. I finally realised who I wanted to be, what I needed to do and where I wanted to go. It helps that I met the perfect person at the perfect time. I wish I could take back all of the many mistakes I’ve made, and undo all of the hurt I’ve caused, but then if everything in my life hadn’t happened exactly as it did then my son – my beautiful, precious little boy – would never have been born. In a macrocosmic sense, the same goes for the wars and genocides that have been characteristic of our species since we first teetered on two legs. I’m thankful for them, and wouldn’t travel back in time to kill Hitler or save a billion people if it meant losing my son in the future. So, I guess what I’m saying is, to use urban gang parlance, fuck all y’all, and PS: cheers for dying, guys.

These days, I’m settled, driven and focused (still a grumpy fucker, and prone to the odd brain-fart, but otherwise a new man) in a way I never would’ve thought was possible ten years ago, and ready to keep being the thing I never thought I’d be, never ever ever: a good Dad. Of course, I only get to be a good dad because my partner is such an amazing mother, the most nurturing, kind, patient, loving, self-sacrificing person I’ve ever met. I’m perpetually humbled by the way in which she makes the life-enhancing but often gruelling responsibility of bringing up our son 24/7 look so easy, when – despite what clueless sexists will tell you – I know it’s the hardest, and most important, job in the world.

Plus, she got me lounge pants for Fathers’ Day. That alone wins her the gold medal. Now I just need a flat cap.

It’s My Funeral

Clown-funeralWhat song would you like to have played at your funeral? It’s got to be something uplifting, right? Something that’s going to keep the tears from falling from your mourners’ eyes by reminding them of the good times. And if tears do come then at least, thanks to you, they’ll be happiness flavoured tears. OK, the mourners won’t be doing Dick Van Dyke-style up-in-the-air heel clicks or cartwheeling over pews (unless you’re Thatcher); after all, there’s only so much happiness that can be wrung from a cold room where people have gathered to wear black and contemplate the bleak inevitability of death. But with a few simple pre-expiration choices you can help them come to terms with your passing, and that’s an incredibly noble thing to do. We, the dead, owe it to the living to keep their spirits up in their time of grief, right?

Wrong.

Fuck that. If you’re coming to my funeral, you’re a convulsing, snottering wreck, or you can get your dry face the fuck out of my swansong. I’m literally going to have doormen punting people out for not being upset enough. “Sorry, missus, today’s funeral is a two-wail minimum, and you’ve barely scrounged up a sob. You can leave quietly, or big Davie over there will really give you something to cry about.” I want ‘Everybody Hurts’ by REM played on a constant loop, and I want people to complain because it’s not sad enough, and then to suit the mood somebody has to put on a tape of dogs being murdered instead. I want people banging on the coffin lid pleading to be buried or burned along with me, because a world without me is simply too nightmarish to contemplate. I want a queue of people lining up to grief-fuck my dead body. I want people openly killing themselves in the aisles. I want my funeral to look like a peasant revolt and sound like a field full of raped cats in a hurricane.

I’m really looking forward to my funeral, actually. I’ve got a few ideas of things I’d like to put in place for it, if I can get a few volunteers to help.

  • About half-way through the service, an actor pretending to be a detective bursts in and says, “Jamie was murdered. And someone in this room is the murderer. And we’re not leaving until we find out who.”
  • Pass around song-sheets and make everyone sing organ-accompanied versions of ‘Killing in the Name’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’.
  • I want a big, fancy funeral, worthy of a president or a pope, so I’m going to secure an obscene amount of funding by allowing Coca Cola to sponsor it. This means that all of the speakers will have to endorse the product, but that’s a small price to pay for a platinum gravestone. “I think… the only thing that’s going to… (sniff) get me through this difficult time is the… (sob) sweet, sweet, full-sugar taste of delicious Coca Cola.” My coffin’s going to be shaped like a vending machine. No, scrap that, my gravestone will be a vending machine, so people can enjoy a nice Fanta when they come to cry over my rotting corpse. Plus, everyone’s going to have to wear red and white at the funeral or they’ll be in breach of contract and Coca Cola will sue them. As a consequence of this legally-binding colour scheme, my funeral’s going to look like a Santa-themed funeral.
  • My face is beamed on to a large screen at the front of the congregation. I put on by most mental, mad-eyed glare and yell down at them: “I’M GOING TO HELL. AND YOU’RE ALL FUCKING COMING WITH ME!” At this point, my paid henchmen will lock all the exits, and a smoke machine will start pumping smoke into the room. You’ll just be able to hear my maniacal laughter over the screams.
  • If I’m being cremated, just as the coffin slides out of sight along the conveyor belt and the curtain drops, a stunt-man will run out screaming and covered in flames.
  • Either that or I’ll have speakers in my coffin blasting out the panicked yelps of a trapped cat.
  • I’m going to hire a stand-up comedian for the wake, but they won’t know it’s a wake. They’ll be told it’s a seminar for morticians, and thus will be encouraged to use their sickest material, especially jokes about dead bodies and funerals. I won’t be the only one dead that day.

Please help me accomplish all this. It’s what I will have wanted.

Baby Talk: Baby’s First Workplace Visit

"Hello Dave? You ma baby naaaow."

“Hello Dave? You ma baby naaaow.”

There’s nothing more terrifying than a cabal of older women suddenly having their maternal instincts re-activated by a baby. You’ll see this happening most often when parents take their newly-spat spawn into their workplaces to show them off.

At first, all is calm. Just another day at the office. Normal. Innocuous. Unremarkable. Near-arthritic fingers rat-a-tap-tap, tatter and clink on keyboards. Phones trill, machines whirr and beep. A discussion about shoes is underway. And then it happens… One of the old women snaps her head back on her neck and takes a long, deep sniff of the air. The other women turn to look at her. The sniffer nods slowly and sagely. There can be no doubt: the seer has saw, preparations must be made. Excitement swells in the air, a Mexican wave of agitation rolls and rushes through the office. The women begin to chitter and hyperventilate like spooked monkeys.

The door to the main entrance, two floors below, creaks open, and they can hear it. They can smell it, taste it, feel it…

“It’s here…” comes a whisper from the old seer, “…it… is… among us.”

A woman starts to beat on the floor with the handle of an umbrella, and all of the others clap in time. The beating and clapping gets louder and louder, angrier and angrier; as it builds to a crescendo the women accompany the percussive rhythm with a malevolent hum, the droning of a thousand wasps, a sound that gets deeper and deeper, louder and louder, before finally exploding into a roar, then a shriek, then a howl. THUD THUD THUD! RAAAR RAAAAR RAAAAR! The oldest woman in the office leaps onto her desk in a single bound, defying both reason and medical science. “Chillldddreeennn,” she moans, her body convulsing violently. “CHILLLLLLLLLDDDRRRRREEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!” she screams, throwing her veiny arms into the air and shaking her fists at the heavens.

stamp

“You didn’t tell everyone in the office we were bringing the baby in today, did you?” “Erm… no?”

All of the women lope and scurry away from their chairs like something out of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. A fist fight breaks out at the head of the line as the women vie for pole position and the first crack at the baby. Three of them are killed, but still the horde advances, fingers outstretched, eyes red, bulging and demonic. The parents reach the top of the stairs and are assailed by a terror that detonates in their stomach and makes mince-meat of their bowels. They see it but can scarcely believe it: the  mass of elder zombies staggering towards them, moaning and gnashing. The parents stand frozen with fright, the car seat clutched tightly in the father’s grip, their poor baby swinging inside it like bait.

“COME TO YER AUNTY JEAN!” shriek twelve of the women, even though none of them are called Jean. Within seconds they’re upon the baby, a hellish scrum of old ladies, hands grabbing and clutching and clenching and tearing, like a grizzly death scene from The Walking Dead.

zomb

The baby is gone, taken, passed among the old ladies like crack. The parents can no longer see their child, just a mess of grey limbs and hair-dos. They only know their child is still alive because they can hear the old ladies talking and cooing away at it.

“OH,YOU LOVE YOUR AUNTY JEAN, DON’T YOU? YES, YES YOU DO, YOU LOVE YOUR AUNTY JEAN! OH, I COULD JUST KEEP YOU. I’M GOING TO KEEP YOU, YES I AM, I’M GOING TO TAKE YOU HOME AND KEEP YOU AND THE POLICE WILL HAVE TO SHOOT ME TO GET YOU BACK! OOOH, HE’S GOT MY EYES, DON’T YOU THINK? WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING HIM? BREAST? OOOH, FORGET THAT, YOU NEED TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF. GET HIM THE BOTTLE. GET HIM A BOTTLE AND PUT HIM IN HIS OWN ROOM AFTER THE FIRST WEEK, HE’S GOT TO LEARN, HASN’T HE? IT’S NOT FOR ME TO SAY, BUT THAT’S NOT THE WAY I’D DO IT, COURSE IT’S YOUR BABY, SO MANY PEOPLE WILL GIVE YOU ADVICE, BUT DON’T LISTEN TO IT, JUST IGNORE THEM ALL, YOU’VE GOT TO DO YOUR OWN THING, EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO MY ADVICE, IN WHICH CASE FOLLOW IT TO THE LETTER. OH, HE’S SMILING AT ME, HE WANTS ME TO TAKE HIM HOME, DON’T YOU WANT ME TO TAKE YOU HOME? COME LIVE WITH YOUR AUNTY JEAN, YOU LOVE ME DON’T YOU, LOVE ME BETTER THAN YOUR OWN MUM, DON’T YOU??!!! YOUR MUM’S GOING TO HAVE TO PRISE YOU OUT OF MY COLD DEAD HANDS, ISN’T SHE, HMMM???!!”

I think we can all agree that taking your infant to work can be a savage and unsettling experience. Old women in offices make David Bowie’s character in Labyrinth look like a registered child minder.

"Gimme the baby and no-one gets hurt."

“Gimme the baby and no-one gets hurt.”

You’ll notice that no men were mentioned in this little office-based reconstruction. That’s because they were all sitting at their desks muttering ‘it’s just a fucking baby’ and ‘you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.’ Sure, some  of them looked up from their monitors for three seconds and aimed a half-hearted wave and an awkward ‘hiya’ in the general direction of the baby, but most of them just continued typing, wishing with all their hearts for the baby to fuck off.

Next time on Baby Talk, we deal with the age old question: “Oooh, what weight is he?”

Derek Acorah is Great

ac1Yes, he really is great. Great at being a money-spinning mental-case.

The following isn’t really a book review. It’s a reproduction of selected text from ‘Derek Acorah’s Amazing Psychic Stories’ along with reproductions of some of the things I scribbled in the margins of the book after reading the populist, hocus pocus pish-fest for the first (and – unless there really is a hell – unquestionably the last) time.

The format is easy to follow. Derek ‘says’ something, and then my defacements follow in bold. I wonder if you can tell which emotion dominated my thoughts as I read Acorah’s delightful little book? Let’s do this:


‘However we think of these beings, we all have guiding influences in the heavenly realms who have been allocated to us from birth and who will remain with us for as long as we live on this Earth plane. We may not be aware of their presence, and indeed, some would say there is no such thing, but I can promise you that there is.’

very empirical, asshole


‘You may not be able to see them or hear them, but I doubt that there is anybody alive in this world today who has not at some time or other been inspired by spirit to make a decision which has altered their life quite radically in some way.’

vodka, certainly


‘Guardian angels, spirit guides and family members in spirit do not of course reserve the right to make their presence felt in our lives only when we are in mortal danger or when we need reassurance. Our guides and guardians are designated to us at birth to ensure that we conduct our lives in the manner chosen by us prior to our incarnation into this physical life. Because we have free will, our God-given right, we may put ourselves in danger of choosing the wrong pathway and veering away from our chosen life’s experience, and it is the job of our guardians and guides to make sure that we do not stray.’

so it’s their job to ensure that we can only exercise free-will insofar as we follow a pre-arranged pattern? sounds more like fucking Quantum Leap to me


 ‘I was allowed a certain amount of success as a footballer, but did not achieve the standard that I wished.’

i.e. you were shite!!!


‘I was feeling depressed. Life was not being kind to me. Nothing was going right. I had deep financial problems and my emotional life was in a catastrophic state. I felt that I had nothing left to live for. Ending it all and taking myself over to the spirit world seemed a very appealing option.’

(I’d underlined deep financial problems and simply wrote) BINGO


‘As I walked towards the murky waters I thought how easy it would be just to keep on walking and to disappear completely from this earthly plane. ‘What do I have left to live for?’ I asked myself.’

Good question


‘Physical circles are meetings of a number of mediums, usually between six and eight, who sit with the sole purpose of assisting one of their numbers to attain physical mediumship. Physical mediumship is the point where a medium goes beyond the gifts of clair-audience, clairvoyance and clairsentience and develops the ability to produce ectoplasm in substantial enough quantities to enable a spirit to be viewed by those who do not have the ability to see clairvoyantly.’

aka a bukkake wanking circle (I also underlined the name of one of the mediums in this circle – Ray Pugh. Classic.)


‘It is true to say… (continues for a long paragraph)’

no it isn’t


‘Although it may sound terribly appealing, I am afraid that there are no banks of winged angels heralding our arrival into the spirit world with celestial tunes played on long golden bugles. There is no heavily bearded Saint Peter, guardian of the pearly gates, waiting with a large book in hand to hold us accountable for all our earthly deeds.’

yeah, cause that’d just be fucking stupid, wouldn’t it, Derek?


‘As the spirit form gently rises, a silver cord linking them to their body becomes taut and then breaks, leaving the spirit free to float upwards and on to the realms beyond from whence it came.’

like a balloon. Neat. You horse fucker


‘Astral travel is where the spirit self leaves the physical body to travel through the astral planes. This is achieved through deep meditation and should not be attempted by everyone.’

OK, thanks for the fucking warning.


‘When we have experienced everything, both good and bad, then we remain in the world of spirit, dwelling in the higher realms forever.’

EVERYTHING? Like being stabbed to death by a man dressed as a clown? Obliterated by shoving a high-pressure tire pump up your bum? Being flattened by a steamroller while having a distracted wank at some roadworks?


Note to self: How does Acorah filter out hoaxes or separate genuine paranormal events from instances of stress and psychological disturbance. Or is his criteria: if people write to me, it’s ghosts.


‘Some people may undergo a number of serious accidents or dangerous incidents and will survive to carry on with their physical lives. The results of those incidents may impair their physical ability to live their lives as before, but that is what they have chosen to undergo on their life’s pathway in order to achieve soul growth in the next life. Other people may experience just one accident and will pass to spirit as a result. It is all down to our own personal choice, but at the end of the day we pass on to the spirit world when the time is right and no sooner.’

(flicks through catalogue) Mmm, I think I’ll have four minor accidents and a fatality this time, please. What do you have in the way of chromosomal deformities? I want to treat myself for my 80th incarnation.


‘Remote viewing is travelling astrally to a place with the sole purpose of viewing that place, be it an office, a home, etc. People may claim to practise it, but great care should be exercised when listening to such claims. I have heard of many where the remote viewing is basically a combination of guesswork and cold reading.’

Oh, NOW he’s a sceptic! Priceless. This is like when Scientology pisses all over psychiatry. Destroy the competition.


‘I am often asked why innocent babies and young people have to go through horrendous events in their short lifetimes here on earth, why some young lives are cut short by either accidents or acts of malice or cruelty by another person, why some children succumb to illnesses which take them back to the spirit world at an early age, why hundreds of thousands of young lives are cut short due to famine, disease or natural disaster. The answer is simple: those young souls chose to undergo those experiences before they incarnated here on Earth. And why? To take their spirit selves further up the spiritual ladder, and closer to the ultimate heavenly state.’

So, dead babies are really just angels about to get their wings? Fuck you, Acorah.


‘In subsequent incarnations they may choose an easier lifetime here on Earth. They may choose to be born into a loving family, wanting for nothing and with a relatively trouble-free and long lifespan. After such a life they will still become closer to the Godhead when their time comes to pass back to the spirit world, but they will only have climbed one rung as opposed to the many rungs they climbed in their harsher existence.’

How many rungs are there, you scientific bastard?


(on the death of a child) ‘It is, however, true that the spirit of their child chose to experience that particular method of passing. They chose it for their soul growth, just as the spirit selves of the parents chose to experience the loss of a child in a violent way.’

Match.com’s got nothing on Heaven’s sick-ass soul matching service. “Ah, little Timmy, I see you’ve put down on the form that you want to be matched with a set of nice, affluent parents, and you’ve stressed that they must have a good sense of humour, and also be keen to see their child brutally murdered before their very eyes. As luck would have it…”


‘I’m sure that everybody has at some point heard the statement “Oh, they’re an old soul” or “They’ve been here before!” being made about a small child or baby. And it is true.’

Hmmm, people use these largely meaningless non-literal expressions, so this must be empirical proof of the existence of the afterlife. WATCH OUT DAWKINS, ACORAH’S FUCKING COMING AND HE’S GOT SCIENCE!


CHAPTER 11 – A Joint Message

So THAT’S how he does it!


‘The people in the spirit world are no different. When they see a loved one in the depths of despair or worrying over a situation, they will draw close and give as much physical comfort as they possibly can.’

Is a hand-job from a dead ex-girlfriend out of the question??


‘”Was it my guardian angel, Derek?”

I was able to tell her that it was most definitely a loved one from the world of spirit placing a hand of reassurance on her shoulder.’

You fucking Scouse scumbag.


‘Sean breathed a sigh of relief. “So I’m not about to pop my clogs then?”

“No,” I told him with a smile.’

Is that ethical? Sean, mate, get on to NHS 24. Never take medical advice from a failed footballer whose best mate is a ghost.


‘Sean’s experience is unusual but not unknown. I have heard reports of people who can give such detailed information of events in a previous lifetime that it has been possible to check and confirm what they have said is correct.’

Then why not put these examples in your fucking book?


‘Sometimes when children are ill and have a high temperature they may start to hallucinate, as the medical profession calls it, and see beings who frighten them. They are not hallucinating at all. What they are seeing is spirit beings who are unfamiliar to them and so they are frightened, just as I was frightened as a six-year-old boy when I saw the spirit form of my grandfather in my grandmother’s house.’

Every doctor in the world on line 1! I hallucinated bees as a child, Derek. What were they? Ghost bees? 


ac2So there you have it. Like I said, not really a review. If you would like to see a review, here’s a five-star recommendation for the same book courtesy of Amazon…

This review is from: Derek Acorah’s Amazing Psychic Stories (Paperback)

GREAT READING FROM THE MAN WHO SOUNDS LIKE LILY SAVAGE , I LOVE DEREK ON MOST HAUNTED ,AND THOUGH SOMETIMES I HAVE DOUBTS ,DEREK IS ALWAYS THERE WITH A QUIP OR A OOEERR , GREAT BOOK ESPECIALLY THE LAST CHAPTERS ABOUT PETS !!, DEFINATLY HAPPENING IN MY HOUSE,

So there you have it.
If you want to read some more about how much I love Derek Acorah, have a click and a flick at the links below.

Jesus Comes to Stirling

stirling-blc

It would appear that the art of proselytising has gone corporate.

I was shopping in Stirling with my family yesterday. By which I mean they were shopping, and I was wandering the streets like a refugee displaced by war, desperately wishing I could return home. As I walked past Debenhams for the 857th time, I realised how thoroughly, head-thrashingly bored I was of the Thistle Shopping Centre and its Hannah Barbera-esque monotony. In a bid to shake things up, and stave off the desire to hurl myself under a bus, I decided to weave a different route through the white-walled labyrinth. I was also hungry. Ultimately, I didn’t care where the detour took me, as long as it took me to Greggs the bakers. Keeping to a semi-religious theme, you could say that I was on the road to Ham-ascus. Well, you could say that. But you probably shouldn’t. And I wish I hadn’t. Even the Christmas Cracker people would’ve rejected that piece of shit. I’m very Syria did that joke.

Anyway, let’s get on with this. I don’t want to be responsible for you being seized by the desire to rush outside and offer your skull to the nearest steamroller. My new route took me past a place I never expected to see in a mall in Stirling. To be honest, our Calvinist history not withstanding, I was shocked to see it in Scotland. It was the ‘Bible Learning Centre’, a neat, glossy, corporate, well-lit and slick shop filled with book shelves, biblical figurines, and blackboards. It looks for all the world like a cross between a classroom and a showroom, which I suppose it is.

“Hello there, I’d like to test-read a Bible.”

“I can tell by just looking at you that you’re a classic model man. We’ve just got an exclusive range of Bibles through the door, all kitted out in the original Hebrew. Bit pricey, but your neighbours will covet the hell out of them.”

“I was thinking maybe something a little more modern and conventional. Something reliable, affordable, with room for the kids.”

“Hmmm, I can do you a second-hand King James. Mint condition, apart from some kid’s drawn a spurting cock over the story of Lot’s wife.”

mormoons

The centre is a base for God-botherers, which means that preachers now have a permanent, six-day-a-week presence on Stirling’s streets. Except the people from the centre, who were loitering with intent outside the mall, neither bothered nor preached. Instead, they stood quietly in a row, holding posters and pamphlets perfectly still in their hands like mime artists, approaching and cajoling precisely no-one. I half expected them to be wearing little badges that said: ASK ME ABOUT MY JESUS.

What a wasted opportunity. I say if you’re going to go God, go full God, or not at all. Yes, Jesus was part of a touchy-feely, New-Labour-esque shift away from the lightning-and-locusts focus of the rather brutal Old Testament, but even in his softer, less-murdery, sandal-wearing incarnation, God/Jesus was still hard as fuck. He came down to earth and took more lashes than Anastasia Steele and an Iranian blogger combined, and didn’t even flinch when the Romans nailed him to a piece of wood. The guy’s a dangerous, kinky mental case, who could wink out the world with a twitch of his nose; he doesn’t want a line of meek, sharp-suited morons representing him, some ball-and-bowtie-less Muslim Brotherhood. He wants nutcases. Hectoring, full-blown nutcases.

He wants people like the guy I used to see standing outside one of the shopping centres off Union Street in Aberdeen, who would turn up every day with an amplifier and a microphone and let everyone know – through the medium of angry shouting – that they were all evil bastards who were going to hell. No exceptions. Even the babies were bad’uns.

I miss that guy.

Angry preacher

Perhaps if the Stirling missionaries injected a bit more vim and pep and honest-to-goodness fire and brimstone into proceedings, more people would visit the Bible Learning Centre. I know I would. “WELCOME YOU HORRIBLE FORNICATORS, SECRET MASTURBATORS AND SINNERS! COME SEE OUR DIORAMA OF HELL, WHERE ELTON JOHN IS FUCKING A DINOSAUR AND RICHARD DAWKINS IS BEING WHIPPED BY STALIN.”

Yesterday, the centre was deserted but for one lonely volunteer sitting up the back of the shop padding away at his mobile phone. No doubt he was taking to Twitter to enthuse about how great Jesus is. Tweets like:

@drippyhippy If you think about it, isn’t the Bible just a great big Tweet from God?140 characters, and Jesus is the star! #teamGod

 

@JesusTheFirstRockstar WOO! Jesus, your guitar solo of love flew through the amp and blew the devil from my stage! The crowd surfed him to Hell. YOU RULE JESUS!

 

@PiousPaul My cat licked its own chuff, so I burned her in the name of Jesus. #saynotopussy #mercifulJesus

If Jesus came back today, WWHD? I’ll tell you what he’d do. He’d lose the heid, Bible-style.  “ANN SUMMERS IS HEAVING WITH CUSTOMERS AND MY SHOP’S EMPTY?!” he’d bellow. “DILDOS?!! THE ONLY THING HOUSEWIVES SHOULD BE PUTTING INSIDE THEM IS MY LOVE!” Then he’d go on a major ‘taps aff’ rampage, smashing the shit out of every shop in sight, making his funny turn in the temple look like a sulky pre-schooler’s huff. Then it would be back to basics: floods, earthquakes, pillars of salt, the lot. “I’m never taking 2000 years off again,” he’d say, loading up another lightning bolt.

But thankfully you don’t need to worry about that, because Jesus is about as real as the doodle I just did on my notepad of a half-frog, half-beaver with George Galloway’s face.

Anyway, we’ve all learned something today. We’ve learned that the people of Stirling are more interested in nipple clamps and edible knickers than the Bible. And I’ve learned something, too: I actually quite like you, Stirling.

Thanks, Bible Learning Centre.

PS: Good people of the BLC: I’d rather my son spent a whole day wandering around a museum exhibition entitled ‘Pictures of Murdered Prostitutes Throughout the Ages’ than spend thirty seconds in your dead-eyed play-pen of lies. Happy Easter!

The Walking Dead Review: Season 5 Episode 9

rick

So, the Walking Dead is back from its mid-season break, and with it our appetite for gorging on the harrowing exploits of the only group of people in the world with less chance of happiness than the characters in Eastenders. It’s fair to say that The Walking Dead is a show low on hope, and high on showing what little hope there is being dashed. An average episode can often make you long for a more uplifting way to spend your recreational time, like reviewing CCTV footage of fatal road traffic accidents. 

The cancer of hope is the theme hammered home more explicitly than usual in the latest episode, What’s Happened and What’s Going On. Rick, Michonne, Glen, Tyreese and the group’s newest member Noah travel to Virginia to the gated community Noah and his family called home before the outbreak; a community that poor, naïve Noah believes will both still be intact, and safe enough to act as the group’s new home and fortress. It isn’t. And it isn’t. A combination of bad people and zombies has converted the once-safe haven into the kind of dangerous, dilapidated ghost town we’ve come to know, love and expect from the show. 

The episode’s pre-credits montage offers a haunting array of images chronicling the futility of hope in the new post-civilisation world: we see Woodbury, the Prison, a painting of a cottage – with blood seeping over it – that bears an eerie resemblance to the one in which Carol mercy-killed a kid. These are all places where hope slowly established itself only to be quickly, cruelly and brutally deposed. And yet it’s clear from the expressions on Rick’s and Glenn’s faces during their conversation early on in the episode that they allowed themselves to hope that Noah was right about his former home – that it was safe, that things would get better – despite all evidence to the contrary based on the unending disappointment and suffering they’ve endured across four and a half seasons of The Walking Dead. We’ll return to that feeling later. 

The images in the montage are interspersed with a eulogy that Father Gabriel is delivering, which we have no reason to suspect is for anyone but the recently departed Beth, especially when we see the grief-stricken reactions of Maggie and Noah. While some of the images – the prison, Woodbury – are there to contextualise the theme and set the tone of the episode, others, like the service itself, are actually flash-forwards, something that doesn’t become apparent until the episode starts moving towards its heart-breaking conclusion. The whole of the opening montage is a clever – and very artfully directed – piece of misdirection which pretty much buries the death of one major character in the grave of another. We don’t realise it at the time but what we’re watching, in essence, is a trailer for the death of Tyreese. 

ty

Inside the gated community Rick, Glenn and Michonne move off to reconnoitre, leaving Tyreese baby-sitting a distraught Noah, who has just realised that everything and everyone he had ever known, loved or taken for granted is gone. Gripped by grief and rage, Noah runs off to his family home to see with his own eyes what has become of his mother and brothers. Tyreese follows him into the house and there, in the room once occupied by Noah’s twin brothers, he stands staring slack-jawed at photos of happier times that are stuck on the wall. While he is lost in this fugue of empathy and horror one of the reanimated brothers staggers up and sinks his teeth into the big man’s arm. 

In the scenes leading up to Tyreese’s death there are many references and allusions to childhood, both direct and indirect: Tyreese’s recollection of his father’s words about the price to be paid for becoming a citizen of the world; the very site of the attack itself, a little boy’s room; how Tyreese wedges himself under a desk like a frightened child (it reminded me of the scene in Eternal Sunshine where Jim Carrey relives his experience of being an infant).

The bulk of the episode concerns Tyreese’s battle against the infection which manifests itself through hallucinations of people from his past, both the good and the bad: the Termite he lied about killing; the two little girls who met a grizzly end in the cottage he shared with Carol; his sister’s boyfriend Bob; Beth herself, and even the Governor, who returns in the only way possible without causing a fan revolt. His dialogue with these people, his dialogue with himself, revolves around his actions and decisions since the outbreak, his commitment to forgiveness, pacifism and being a good man, and the deaths that may have followed these commitments. Ultimately, Tyreese decides that the price that must be paid to be a citizen of the world is too high – in this world at least – and allows himself to slip away towards death and some form of peace. 

gov

Before that happens – and before the full meaning of the pre-credits sequence becomes horribly clear – there is a thrilling sequence in which Rick and co attempt to save Tyreese by employing ‘the Hershel method’ and cutting off his infected arm. They manage to get Tyreese to the safety of the car, and speed him away, but they’re too late. During this sequence the audience is put in the same position as Rick and Glenn were in at the start of the episode: of allowing hope to seep into their hearts. I must confess that despite acknowledging the scarcity of happy endings (middles and beginnings, too) in The Walking Dead I thought, just for a moment, just for a second, that Tyreese was going to make it, and found myself doubly crushed when he didn’t. 

A sad end, then, to Tyreese, a larger-than-life, loveable character. He was an overgrown child with a heart full of huffs, tantrums, love and absolutes; a man – despite his gentle nature and pacifism – that you’d always feel safe around. It’s a shame to see him go, and even more of a shame that he never got the chance to come into his own, or fulfil the promise of the character we first met in season 3 (or indeed match the original version of Tyreese that exists in the comic books). 

Overall, What’s Happened and What’s Going On was a robust, affecting and effective 42 minutes of television. Unfortunately, the many great things about this episode – its strong and ambitious narrative structure, its haunting air of melancholy, the stand-out acting chops of Chad Coleman – are rather marred by The Walking Dead’s time-honoured over-reliance on shoddy dialogue and silly, contrived plotting that stretches credibility. Here’s a selection of the most mystifying happenings in the episode: a limping Noah being easily able to outrun Tyreese; Tyreese letting his guard down and not sweeping the whole house for threats after all he’d seen of the zombie apocalypse thus far; and Noah being rather too conveniently incapacitated on his way to fetch help from Rick. And most of Noah’s actions in this episode were either jarring or too narratively convenient, which makes me suspect either that a) the writing was a little bit shit, or b) he’s one to keep an eye on, potential-baddy-wise. 

RATING 4/5

PS: Given the way our use of IMDB usually complements our viewing, I wonder if show-makers are deliberately bringing actors back for flashbacks and dream sequences after their deaths in a bid to throw future viewers off the scent. “Oh, so The Governor makes it to season 5? Ah, Bob’s in that episode, so he obviously doesn’t die from that bite. Maybe he’s immune…”

Thoughts on ‘Love’

love1I recently participated in a charity event called ‘Scrapbooks and Rapbooks’, where I read from the diary of my 16-year-old self. The event inspired me to dig out these two complementary yet contrasting pieces on the subject of love. I say ‘pieces’. More like pieces of shit. Especially the first one, the poem. It’s basically a few nifty lines surrounded by a sea of overly sentimental faux-profound pretentious fuckery. Instead of going to all the effort of penning a poem I could just as easily have written ‘I KNOW A COUPLE OF BIG WORDS, NOW WILL YOU PLEASE FUCK ME???!!!’ on a piece of A3 paper, photocopied it and stapled it to trees and lamp-posts throughout the local area. As a strategy, it wouldn’t have worked, but at least it would’ve been honest. I wrote the poem when I was 17, and it makes me want to vomit up my heart and squish it underfoot like a dying fish.

The second piece, which is more of a rambling essay-of-sorts, I wrote when I was 25, and was inspired by an episode of Ross Kemp on Gangs. I wonder if you can also tell that I wrote it not long after a break-up, another in a long-line of healthy relationships my younger-self was addicted to machine-gunning to death in fits of faithless, fickle, sexually feckless behaviour.

I don’t know if ‘enjoy’ is the correct word in this context, but I certainly bid you to tolerate the following musings. First up, the piss-ass poem. Bits of it really are reminiscent of a song written by David Brent.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Science Vs Religion

A paradox, a fraud amongst feelings,

A laboured lie cursed upon souls:

Of all the bonds that bind a man,

None can be so false as ‘love’.

Our minds control our destiny, not our hearts,

And what we feel can run no deeper than the

River of blood that runs through us all –

A deformity, a bastard born of man,

A twisted, deceptive purity! Inconceivable! –

it grows from our ignorance, not our instinct;

what lunacy a force as such could join the

feelings fortified in man.

To grieve a child can not be love.

Can it not be seen that creator weeps when creation fails?

What we grieve in loss is not empathy for the lost

But for an emptiness in ourselves –

Pity for a hole in us, not in earth.

To take a woman can not be love.

Nothing more can couplings be than means to lust and procreate,

A web of neurones, nerves and volts, making mortal drives seem great!

Another held above one’s self –

That’s tantamount to suicide!

Then dead am I.

For this that shudders down my veins,

From pounding heart, through all my brains:

but bubbling broth of DNA?

Have faith, my friend, join hands, let’s pray:

Once fingers fondly skirt the flesh,

All limbs entwined and hearts enmeshed;

Once the cliché’s been embraced

the ugly beast in each soul faced;

Then once you’ve watched the whole world die

Deep down dark, in mans mind’s eye,

And asked yourself (but please don’t lie),

Tell me, friend, but did you cry?

No?

My friend, once you’ve experienced that…

Atheism, as your doubts, will crumble to dust.

To ask how love can be is futile.

To simply know that it does must suffice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excruciating, eh? Anyway, on to the next one.

Love

mongIn a television documentary series entitled ‘Ross Kemp on Gangs’, British actor Ross Kemp travelled the world to spend time with various gangs renowned for their brutality. The episode I watched featured the town of Auckland, New Zealand, where Kemp chronicled a native gang called ‘The Mongrel Mob’.

The Mongrel Mob’s members all feel shunned or abused by society in some way. Thus they have formed a clan of like-minded sociopaths hell-bent on visiting violent retribution upon society for these perceived slights and wrongs. Some of the group rage against society with a twisted sense of propriety and righteousness ; others gravitate to the group simply because they enjoy raging for destruction’s sake.

In this particular episode Kemp spoke with an elderly member of the Mongrel Mob about the role of women in the gang dynamic. It became clear that the gang members valued not subservience in their women – as a master would a pet – but instead didn’t value women at all. Those women who were permitted entry to a Mongrel Mob clubhouse entered on the proviso that they left their human rights at the door. They were expected to surrender themselves into the Mongrels’ fold as nothing more than shrieking, sucking, walking, fucking vaginas.

tampOne of the old charmers recalled to Kemp a distant time when, in one of these very clubhouses somewhere in the dilapidated suburbs of Auckland, he ripped off a woman’s pants with his teeth, and then used them to pull out her tampon. The tampon, as you might expect, was soaked in blood – as, very quickly, was the chap’s face. Naturally – as you do in these situations – he then asked a male friend to lick the blood from his face, and then invited his acquiescent comrade to share with him the tampon feast. Maybe this recital will have more impact if I present it in plainer English: they ate her fucking tampon.

Kemp asked the romantic so-and-so why he thought the woman had tolerated being treated in this manner. “She was in love with me in those days,” he replied.

Kemp, stony-faced, asked what happened next. I got the feeling Kemp wasn’t holding out hope for a sanguine ending to the tale. Neither was I. “I made love to her on the bar in front of me mates,” said the Mongrel, somewhat softly.

Did I really hear that? Did you just really read it? Love? A guest appearance from such a word in this old man’s lexicon seemed as incongruous as Kemp himself appearing in an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. [VOICE OF PRESENT-DAY JAMIE – I WROTE THIS PIECE IN A PRE-EXTRAS WORLD. YEARS LATER, RICKY GERVAIS WOULD INDEED CAST KEMP IN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. VERY FUNNY IT WAS, TOO.]

kemp2

If this act was performed in and, if we assume, received in the spirit of love, then what can the rest of us mean when we lay claim to the same concept? What price a declaration of love when its currency has been devalued so by wretched creatures such as these?

But then words are nothing more than representations of concepts; arbitrary symbols that refer to a framework we have erected to make sense of the things and ideas around us. They aren’t the actual thing that they represent, merely esoteric representations presented in a form tangible to certain human groups of representations of things filtered through our fallible, objective senses; and isn’t pinning down the nature of love a million, billion times more baffling than trying to unravel the middle section of this nonsensical and heavy sentence? [VOICE OF PRESENT-DAY JAMIE – MAYBE IF YOUR SENTENCES WERE BETTER AND MORE COHERENT IT WOULDN’T BE SO MUCH OF A PROBLEM, JAMIE]

We must remember, however, that The Mongrel Mob has chosen the Nazi interpretation of the swastika as the symbol of their ‘struggle’ against society. The irony that the Nazis were a mob of mongrels who would gladly have purified this assortment of mainly ethnic, dim-witted alcoholics with extreme prejudice is sadly lost on them. So, perhaps their definition of love should not be unquestionably accepted as definitive.

Man marries cushion

But isn’t that the point? I could profess love to a calculator, and no man on Earth would have any right to question my commitment or feelings towards the object. I could love that calculator more than a man loves his wife. I could love a sunset, or a painting, or a dung beetle. I could love with an unmatched burning intensity a woman who steals my house, or love a woman I’ve just brutally raped. I could love fifteen women at once. What do I, do we, mean when we say that? How is my love for a woman the same as or different from the way that any number of men love women; or that women love men, women women, and men men?

I’m sure we all have our own sense of truth in this matter. The English language may be standardised, but the emotion of love (if it can be called an emotion) varies in its form from person to person, culture to culture. I have read many interpretations of and theories about love in books on religion, psychology, sociology, philosophy, biology, anthropology and history. [STILL DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THE FRENCH I TOOK, THOUGH] I’ve read comprehensive studies and reports (even Cosmo-fucking-politan), asked many friends and acquaintances, searched my own thoughts and feelings, and still I’m not sure whether or not love even exists.

sad_cupid

We all agree what it means and feels to be angry, sad or afraid. But ask us of love and each will offer a different and ‘definitive’ translation: the woman married for 60 faithful years to a loving husband will cite the trials and tribulations of holding together a union over six decades as the epitome of love; the woman who holds her newborn child in her arms may know no greater case for the manifestation of love than the feelings stirred in her by the tiny pissing puke-bag under her care [I’VE GOT A SON NOW. HE IS INDEED A TINY, PISSING PUKE-BAG, BUT THE BEST TINY, PISSING PUKE-BAG IN THE UNIVERSE, AND I WOULD CRAWL NAKED OVER IRRADIATED BROKEN GLASS TO KEEP HIM SAFE]; the teenager who stands at a girl’s house in the early hours of the morning with a bunch of flowers and a fluttering heart believes that no-one has felt such strength and purity of love as he has at that moment, believes that love itself wasn’t born until his eyes fell on the object of his affections; the men at the altar, both the priest and the groom, have different ideas about, but perhaps equal intensity in their feelings, of love, for God and woman respectively (some may say the two aren’t mutually exclusive); the man who cheats on his wife but still loves her; the Muslim man who loves his daughter but kills her to restore family honour; the woman who takes an overdose of pills through an overdose of love; the stalker who waits unseen outside of his idol’s home with a wedding ring in one hand and a knife in the other; the woman lying at the bottom of the stairs in a broken, bruised heap, her husband towering over her triumphantly on the landing above: all love.

And the man who makes love to a brutalised woman on a bar in the presence of his mates.

All love.

charles11

But, again, that’s the point; if indeed there is a point. None of us can do more than see the world through our own eyes. My analysis of love, however more elaborate, is no more or less useful than any analysis that may be offered by a member of the Mongrel Mob. Whether you believe in love at first sight; or that love is forged through hardship over time, or whether you believe that love itself is a questionable concept doesn’t matter so much as the thought that all of this belief is just personal conjecture.

Yes, it’s interesting to discover how highly people revere love and the idea of love, or what in regards to it they believe to be true, but it can never be anything more than merely interesting. Revealing about the person doing the soul searching, yes; but not conclusive: never definitive.

In this respect belief in love – perhaps specifically romantic love – requires a similar leap of faith to belief in God.

I could state that we are all animals and no more capable of romantic love than starfish or kangaroos. To attempt to convince you of this I could fashion an intricate argument that harnessed power from the fields of zoology, anthropology, biology and every episode of Trisha; tell you that survival and reproduction is our over-riding goal, and even our love for our offspring is essentially love for the continuation of our own genetic and ancestral line. Which would tie in very nicely with what I might claim next: namely that all love emanates, at root, from the self, to the self. I could even rattle out a witty little aphorism that runs a little like this: ‘You can’t make people fall in love with you; you can only help them to fall in love with themselves’. Pretty trite and catchy, yeah? I could tell you that you’ve all watched too many bloody movies and that real life is more like The Sopranos than Ghost.

wedding

I could even, if you so wish, quote a study which found that the brain of someone supposedly in love exhibits the same waves and patterns as the brain of a bona fide lunatic. Is there a man or woman alive who wouldn’t agree with that? I could even, in final desperation, disavow love as a Frankenstein emotion, or expose it as nothing more than other emotions like guilt, anger, pride, fear and vanity wearing a clever disguise.

Would it matter? If love is indeed the new religion, then its associated supporters and fundamentalists will care not for any of my opinions. And why should they? Faith is their bulwark. Maybe it’s yours too.

It’s nice to hear and say sometimes, isn’t it? To love and to be loved. What would we in the West do without it? Besides, what’s the alternative? To remove ‘love’ from the dictionary, to wipe it from our hearts and minds would be as successful an endeavour as one faced by your average grumpy, secular British father should he wish one year to ban Christmas from his house. Sure, it’s a load of overly-sentimental tacky shite that has significantly decreased in impact and worth over the millennia, but just try explaining that to your kids or your wife.

Which of these likely lads do the odds favour to sustain a meaningful union long enough to have children?:

Man A: “I love you, darling. Will you marry me?”
Man B: “You see, sweetheart, love is an artificial construct born of our own narcissism and naivety. Something foisted on us and indoctrinated into our fragile minds from birth. Often one of the first words we’ll ever hear. It’s perpetuated in the classrooms, the churches, the cinemas. And, interestingly, the Marxists believe that love ultimately leads us to marriage, which in turn ensures that the working man is sufficiently pacified and preoccupied to almost guarantee that he will never wish to or be able to revolt; he’ll be nothing more than an efficient cog in the machine, thus preserving the balance of power in society and protecting those in its higher echelons. Anyway, since everybody else seems to be doing it, and since I don’t want other men to be able to sleep with you too easily, do you want to put this ring on?”

marky

You’d die alone, wouldn’t you?

So maybe you agree with me; and maybe you don’t. Maybe you think that love is one of the constant forces of the universe, and I’m just a cynical, selfish, failed-romantic motherfucker. Your opinion, then, is as irrelevant to me as mine is to you. It doesn’t mean you still can’t be right.

In conclusion, then: it seems to me that if love can mean so many different – and often contradictory – things to so many millions of different people, then the word and the idea begins to be stretched to the point where they are rendered almost completely meaningless… but then what do I know? I don’t believe in God either.

Maybe He loves me anyway.

Christmas Canine 2: The Wag-a Continues

Imagine my astonishment when I logged into this site’s email account to find that some plucky little reader out there had come up with a Brody-related image that’s as insane as it is festive. Well done, mysterious artist, whoever you are.

card (1)

There’s still time to submit your own to theotherjamie@hotmail.co.uk

Here’s a link to the original picture and mission statement:

http://www.jamieandrew-withhands.com/2014/12/23/the-tail-of-the-christmas-canine/

Merrg Brodymas!

The Tail of the Christmas Canine

A very lovely lady at work gave me a her-dog-themed Christmas card, which was sweet and thoughtful. Here it is:

merryxmas

Isn’t it nice? Isn’t the wee dog really cute?

This is how I repaid her:

dog

If any of you out there with too much time on your hands are up for creating pictures that whisk this adorable little quadruped into other places in time and space, then whip them up and drop me an email with the blighters attached. Let’s make Brody the most famous dog in the universe after Lassie, the Littlest Hobo and Hitler’s dog.

I’ll collate the pictures and we’ll give them their own hashtag on Twitter or something, because that’s modern as fuck and I’ve very much got my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist, whatever that is.

(I already know I won’t receive a single picture of this fucking dog, not even a shit one where he’s at the pyramids, but please let me have my little deluded Yule-fuelled moment. I’m crying now. But my tears are for the dog. He could’ve been somebody. He could’ve been a contender. Goodbye.)

theotherjamie@hotmail.co.uk

Sit on my face and tell me that you love me…

faces

Face-sitting has been banned by government decree and banished from British-made porn. About time. For too long this flagrant breach of health and safety regulations has put thousands of plucky pro-fuckers at risk of suffocation in their work place. Not to mention the pressure that the existence of this exotic sex act puts on the male population, who already find it challenging enough to operate a vagina under normal conditions. Yes, thank you, David Cameron, for striking this hellish oral atrocity from the pages of the minge manifesto. We gave women the vote, and seemingly that wasn’t enough: how many different types of orgasms do these greedy bastards need?

Face-sitting isn’t right, fair or safe. It’s like playing the bagpipes without the mouthpiece, directly into the bag, with the added danger that the bag could crush your neck and swallow your head at any moment (not to mention contending with the vague smell of unwashed bum).  Perhaps now our over-stretched emergency rooms will be safe from the hordes of naked women who waddle into our hospitals, swishing the corpses of their asphyxiated partners behind them like a tail. Farewell to the era of the Human Centipede.

But wait, men. And let’s think about this for a minute. And think hard. This all seems like a good thing on the surface. But is it really? This ban strikes at the heart of something that we all hold dear, something that no cabal of men in suits has the right with which to tamper: girl on girl porn. This is the thin end of the wedge. Let them ban face-sitting and female ejaculation from our favourite films, and we could face a cold future in which all lesbian porn is reduced to two women chastely greeting each other with a peck on the cheek, and then sitting down to enjoy a Dirty Dancing/Footloose marathon. Is this what you want? Could you wank to that? I, for one, won’t stand for it.

Now, I’m not the rebellious type. But fortunately I am a pragmatist, and a cracking inventor. So here’s my solution, something so powerful that it would have Duncan Bannatyne leaping out of his Dragon’s seat and hollering ‘I’m bloody in! Here’s £50million ya dobber, sign me up!’

Imagine a frame, much like a mini-zimmer or a tiny erection of scaffolding perhaps constructed by the Dozers in Fraggle Rock, that can sit over a man’s or a woman’s face. This frame will take the weight of a vagina, and allow the mouth underneath full – and safe – access to the juicy goodness above without fear of accident or death. I call it…

Wait for it…

Scoffolding.

(This idea is trademarked, so don’t even fucking think about nicking it.)

Fisting's been banned, too. Good news for The Avengers.

Fisting’s been banned, too. Good news for The Avengers.

More Stuff is Banned

I don’t know what I can do to save fisting, except maybe appeal to UKIP on the grounds that the Europeans will still be able to lead the industry in their export of bunched-finger fucking, while we sexually-manacled Brits are forced to offer a sorry, single digit to the world. Come on, Farage. Get to Brussels, pronto. Churchill will be punching in his grave!

As for the directive that all aggression be expunged from UK-porn, I can only extend my full support.   Long have I awaited pornography that’s more in the spirit of Sgt. Wilson from Dad’s Army: “I wonder if you wouldn’t mind awfully… if I put my willy in here.” And who among us hasn’t secretly wished to hear these words whispered in a sweaty, slippery, screaming skin-flick: “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

I’m not going to attempt to fight the corner of simulated violence, pissing or pooing in porn, though. Probably best not to masturbate to that, on balance. Besides, if you are so inclined, there’s always Germany.

If any people from the UK porn industry are reading this I’m now taking pre-orders for Scoffolding™. As it currently only exists in my head, I’m going to have to ask for £100,000 per unit. I’m also doing some R&D on pairs of fake balls which at the moment I’m calling scroto-types. Thank you.

Sons of Anarchy Finale Prediction

OK, here’s how the finale’s going to go down, trust me. (WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE SOPRANOS FINAL SCENE – ERM… SORT OF) 

soa

Jax enters Holsteins diner, and takes a seat near the back. He puts ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ on the jukebox. It’s not by Journey though. It’s a cover by a little-known songstress by the name of Katy Sagal, who’s certainly never been heard on Sons of Anarchy before…

Each time the bell at the front door rings, Jax looks up. Wendy and Chibs enter. So do lots of suspicious looking characters: black guys with riding leathers, an Irishman with a massive green top-hat, Robocop, some miscellaneous prostitutes. Wendy and Chibs take a seat at the booth alongside Jax. We notice Hellboy sitting at the main bar, looking back over his shoulder and aiming decidedly shifty looks in Jax’s direction. Jax ignores him.

“Where’s Abel?” he asks.

“He’s just parking the car he stole earlier,” says Wendy, “I sure hope he doesn’t stab anyone to death on the way in here.”

Jax nods. And then stands up and takes a piss right into Chibs’ eyes. “We love you Jackie Boy,” says Chibs, wiping the fresh urine from his face. Hellboy gets up from his seat at the bar and heads to the bathroom. It’s tense. Real tense. The doorbell rings again. Jax looks up…

and then the One Niners, the Los Mags, the Mayans, the IRA, the Armenians, the Byz Lats, The Grim Bastards, The Devil’s Tribe, The Hells’ Angels, a platoon of marines, the Bolivian military, a legion of Roman soldiers, the hordes of Hades itself and Vic Mackey all storm into Holstein’s with their guns raised, and shouting angrily. There’s a massive gun fight, and one-hundred-and-eighty-five people die writhing in their own torn flesh, blood and guts. Who cares? Nobody can remember who’s who, what’s what, who did what to who and why. There’s some discernible rape amid the carnage, which is displayed to the audience through the medium of a tastefully scored montage. Wendy gets her head blown off, Chibs gets his rib-cage exploded by a shot-gun blast, and Jax goes down in a slow-mo hail of bullets. Hellboy exits the toilets, and surveys the scene with a shake of his giant head. He squats down for a shit on Jax’s dead face.

“Hmmm,” he says, “Everyone’s dead, all right. No ambiguity or subtext here. No siree. Just this crap.”

Then the doorbell chimes again, and Abel walks in with Hamlet. Abel throws back his head and laughs. “Who’s a boy got to gang-rape around here to get some onion rings?” Then he stabs Hamlet in the eye. The scene ends with a close-up of Jax’s bare ass, a trickle of blood running down the crack towards his impossibly white trainers. Fade out.

Then we fade in, and see a hairy-faced Dexter peeking his head into the diner. “Thank you, Kurt Sutter,” he says, dropping to his knees in the blood, a tear running down his cheek. “Thank you so fucking much.”

Scotland Decides… What to Watch on TV

Let’s take a look at what’s happened to TV in Scotland – and Britain beyond – in the wake of the referendum result. Welcome to a Scotland where every TV programme has something to do with independence, a lack thereof, or the wankiness of government. 

To contribute to a future edition of this TV Guide, please email your submissions to theotherjamie@hotmail.co.uk, including your name and location, and if enough people get involved I’ll do another one.

scott

Fawlty Powers

Cameron Fawlty is desperately trying to keep the guests in his run-down hotel happy so that his business doesn’t collapse around him. He does appear to be trying rather harder to please the rich guests, especially the ones with Home Counties’ accents, but let’s not get cynical, that’s probably just coincidence. Cameron is helped along by his luckless servant Man-No-Very-Well, of whom Cameron remarks to other guests: “I’m terribly sorry, he’s from Caledonia.” Get ready to shriek with laughter as Man-No-Very-Well is repeatedly struck over the head and threatened with a loss of earnings and a reduction of his liberty.

Tonight’s episode is everyone’s favourite, ‘The Scottish’, where we get to hear the immortal line: “Don’t mention the Barnett Formula! I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it alright. So, that’s two Scotch eggs, a dismantled NHS, a billion barrels of oil, a West Lothian question, and four deep fried Mars Bars.”

Not to mention: “Well you started it.” “No, we didn’t.” “Yes you did, you elected Salmond.”

Miliband of Brothers

Ep 6. A Scottish battalion – low on weapons and ammo – is coming under heavy fire from Westminster forces at the Battle of Referendum. General Miliband sends them a telegraph from HQ 800 miles away ordering them to stand down and allow their bollocks to be shot off by the enemy, who aren’t really their enemy, even though it might seem that way because they’re in the process of being attacked by them. Miliband vows that after the battle he’ll definitely send more weapons and ammo. Definitely. One hundred per cent. Possibly. Well, maybe. Put it this way, he’ll seriously think about thinking about talking about thinking about it. “Thufferin’ thuccotash, chaps,” signs off Miliband. “We’re all in this together! Thee you on the other thide!”

Lamonty Python’s Lying Circus

Johann Lamont and the Scottish Labour Party are back, and just as side-splittingly hilarious as you remember them. Includes the all-time classic ‘Dead Party’ sketch:

Johann Cleese: “Look, matey, I know a dead party when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.”

Michael Failin: “No, no, it’s not dead, it’s, it’s restin’! Remarkable party, the Glaswegian Red, int’it, ay? Beautiful plumage.”

Johann Cleese: “The plumage don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead. This party has ceased to be. This is an ex-party!”

Get ready to guffaw your head off at more of your old favourites, like the Argument Clinic sketch (“Hello. I hear Scottish Labour is going to be a strong, credible force in the next election.”  “No it isn’t.” “But Labour stands for the working man against people like the Tories.” “No it doesn’t.”), The Four Scotsmen sketch (“I used to get out of my bed and go down the mines to work for twelve hours a day, and when I got home, I’d always go to the polling booth to vote for Labour. But you try and tell the young people today that… they won’t believe you.”) and, of course, the funniest sketch of all, The Ministry of Silly Cunts.

The Far Right Stuff

Join your host Nigel Farage for his mirth-filled mid-morning magazine show. Joining him today are Nick Griffin and Paul Golding. Why not call in and share your views on immigration with the guys? (Unless you’re an immigrant, in which case don’t waste our fucking taxes on a phone call.). The Far Right Stuff hopes to relocate its studios to Westminster in 2015, and go on to ensure even better coverage for viewers in Scotland.

smash

BBC News

A new series of the hilarious comedy.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

The exciting tale of an ordinary faction of loyalist Rangers Supporters who use their super-powers to stamp out the twin evils of Republicanism and Nationalism. In today’s episode, the gang is threatened by a wee 9-year-old girl waving a saltire in George Square. Donning their trademark Union Jack body-suits and balaclavas, and with a cry of ‘WE ARE THE PEOPLE’, they bond together and crack out their mightiest super-powers of all: the powers of “kicking fuck oot ay cunts an’ that” and “settin’ fire tay some cunt’s bin coz he’s prolly a bleck or a Tim.”

Mighty Corstorphine Flower Arrangers

In this spin-off show, a group of rich old Tory women from Edinburgh form a guild, which they use as a cover to fight the forces of fairness, justice and progressiveness. Watch out for their special power of saying ‘NO THANKS’ really loudly, and their devastating super-attack of ‘not wanting to risk the value of their husband Gerald’s stock portfolio’.

Lamont and Eck’s Friday Morning Take-away

Johann Lamont and Alex Salmond are back for a special post-referendum edition of the popular studio-based game-show in which Alex Salmond desperately tries to give autonomy, prestige and democracy to the Scottish people, and Johann Lamont tries to take it all away again.

Look out for the hilarious round where Lamont has only five minutes to terrify as many old people as possible by phoning them up and telling them that they’re going to lose their savings. Tonight’s first special guest is the woman from that advert who thinks the best time of the day is when they’re all out and it’s nice and quiet. Tonight’s other special guest is Tommy Sheridan, who’ll probably try to fuck her.

Cameron-nation Street

Just to recap the story so far: The Cabin was forced to close due to the opening of the town’s ninth Tesco Megastore just two streets away. Ken Barlow hung himself once he realised that his state pension was only six pence a month. Twelve residents have died since it now costs £6000 for a tub of paracetamol. All of the street’s houses have been repossessed. Actually, nobody lives on Cameron-nation Street anymore. Tonight’s episode is just a 30-minute static shot of the street, accompanied by the sound of an unseen man screaming himself to death. Last in the series.

Or if you’re in the mood for a movie instead, how about Danny Alexander Champion of Fuck All or No Country Because of Old Men.

Circus Vegas: Europe Meets the USA

circusvegas

My home-town of Falkirk often feels like an urban version of The League of Gentlemen, only without the laughs. And thrice the horror.

But Falkirk tries, dammit. After all, it brings us Circus Vegas every year, treating us to the kind of dazzling display of Yankee razzmatazz that only a group of touring Albanians can provide. Actually, I don’t know if the Circus Vegas team are Albanians, but I went last year and heard the ringmaster talk, and it’s fair to say that his accent was ever so slightly to the east of Las Vegas. By about 6000 miles.

Location, location, location is the old maxim and, boy, what a location Circus Vegas had in store for us in 2013. I know what you’re thinking. Did they hold the circus in the grounds of Callendar Park estate? Inside the football stadium? Em, close. It was in the bingo hall car park. Didn’t you see the glitzy flyers? Well, cash in my chips, and whisk me off to the Grand Canyon in a red, white and blue jet, Uncle Sam. Yee haw! Call me old fashioned, but the only thing that should be taking place in a bingo hall car park is a fight between two old drunks, taps aff and teeth oot. (Falkirk Fun Fact: the Grand Canyon is actually the nickname of a big girl called Sharon McMaster who lives in The Boag. Many have spelunked in the Grand Canyon: few have lived to tell the tale).

I suppose the paucity of decent venues in Falkirk isn’t the fault of the good people of Circus Vegas. The important thing is how they pulled off their extravaganza. After all, Jesus was born into an unglamourous stable-themed environment, and look how well that turned out for the world…

circus2

The ringmaster – the man employed to gel it all together with vim and authority – had the winning demeanour of a heavily depressed geography teacher who’d just been through a rough divorce. You could hear the suicidal ideation in every quiver of his dulcet Albanian tones. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, now that my wife has taken everything, I will… NEVER be able to stop doing this shit! OK, for your amazement, the wonderful human cannonball. Will he survive, ladies and gentlemen? I genuinely…. DON’T care anymore!”

The first act was a guy who stacked a bunch of chairs into a tower, pulled his top off and attempted to climb it. A half-naked man desperately trying to balance on a chair? Show us something we don’t already see in Falkirk town centre on a typical Saturday night, Circus Vegas. What’s the second act? A guy trying to act sober enough to flag down a taxi?

Not long into proceedings there was an X-Factor style skit involving Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck, wherein the charismatic ringmaster bade the unlicensed characters dance, and then pronounced upon their shittiness. The kids laughed; I doubt Circus Vegas’s Armenian lawyers did. I’m tempted to send a letter to Simon Cowell and Disney, just for a laugh, so that in order to avoid future prosecutions Circus Vegas will have to change their skit to ‘The Sing Quotient with Muckey Rat and Ronald Goose’.

Still, they’re smart, those circusoids. The kids in the audience would probably have cheered and laughed if every act was a man maniacally waving a jobby on a stick, but the real trick is to keep the dads, brothers, grandpas and uncles engaged. That’s where the scantily-clad 20-something dancing girls came in. At every point at which I was ready to gouge out my own eyes and plug the gaps in my blood-soaked sockets with popcorn in the hope of an agonising yet comparatively interesting death, out they came: juddering, jiggering and gyrating, kicking their long bare legs in the air, and  a-jiggling and a-wiggling their snake-hipped asses off. Across the auditorium, you could actually hear the sound of 300 awkward hard-ons tightening into life.

Circus-Vegas-Shoot-0084

Imagine an evening being tortured by the Iranian security services that’s occasionally interrupted by a salvo of saliva-enhanced hand-jobs from a series of beautiful Persian prostitutes – an XHamster version of those pleasure/pain adverts that Muller used to do, if you like. Well, it was nothing like that. Good, though. I must say that something funny happened to my girlfriend each time the dancers appeared. She did this thing where she flailed her arms about and hit me in the ribs with her elbow. I think it must’ve been an Albanian folk dance or something.

During the interval, there was a chance for parents to pay for their children to go on a supervised donkey trek around the ring. What a magical sight that would’ve been had the donkey-ensconced kids not been led around by a bunch of guys who would’ve looked more at home providing security for the Bulgarian Mafia than enacting scenes of wonder for wide-eyed children. The donkey trek appeared to contain all the warmth of a funeral procession on a merry-go-round.

The men in charge of the donkeys were all without exception grey, old, fat and scowling: all of the qualities you would expect to see in top-class children’s entertainers. To be fair these men weren’t theatrical acts, but considering that the donkeys were used only at the interval and not even glimpsed during the main event, it would’ve been nice to see their entertainment potential being maximised. With maybe something, like, oh I don’t know, just off the top of my head – a fucking smile?

Some good snaps for the album, though. “Ah, little Johnny, remember that time at the circus when we entrusted you into the care of a deeply uninterested Bulgarian murderer?” Why were the donkeys even there? Probably to ensure the crew had a steady supply of chorizo while they were in Falkirk so they didn’t have to venture into the town and eat seagull-roadkill-kebabs from Kings’.

A large positive though: their clown was awesome. Yes, they had a clown. OK, he may have been just a schizophrenic guy in a wig, but you can’t have everything. I especially loved the bit where he killed time between acts by throwing popcorn into the air and catching it in his mouth. I shit you not. Never mind your WWE wrestling, kids. THIS is LIVE entertainment of the highest calibre: watching an ill man chucking food about as a couple of fat men drag a trampoline into the periphery.

I have to admit that the motor-bikey-cagey-stunty thing they did was pretty cool, although I’m so used to seeing these kinds of spectacles by now – undeniably impressive though they are – that nothing short of an accidental death will provide me with entertainment value.

My advice to anyone thinking of taking their kids to Circus Vegas: go; do it. The wee cunts will laugh at anything. Thinking of going without kids? (And why would you? I only went so I’d have something funny to write about.) Don’t do it. Go to a burlesque show or the strippers instead. Or if you’re loathe to venture out, just get a big tub of Muller yoghurt and check out ‘Circus Vagus’ on XHamster.

No means No? Yes… For now.

dead_unicornWe live in a peaceful democracy, which is why the will of the majority will be accepted – however reluctantly – without calls for people’s heads on sticks, fights or riots. Emotionally, we on the YES side will take stock and move on; we will continue to battle for a better future for our children, and to participate fully in whatever comes next.

But the suggestion from some quarters that YES voters should ‘get over it’, ‘stop spitting out the dummy’ or ‘get back in their box’ is as insulting as it is disgusting. I voted YES because I believe in the tenets of free healthcare, free education and free childcare – among many other things – which was and is within the power of an independent Scotland to be delivered, protected and guaranteed. I voted against nuclear missiles, the callous indifference of Westminster, policies that widen the wage gap and create and prolong poverty, the resurgence of the Tories and their ideological opposition to the things I believe are crucial to a fair and decent society, and the rise of UKIP and the far right in the south. I believe Scotland possesses the will and the resources for full autonomy over its own affairs, for a better and richer society – both materially and spiritually – for its people.

Today, what has not been taken from me, is under threat of being taken. I cannot help but feel disappointed and angry.

Remember how often those heading the Better Together campaign told us that Independence was a one-way street; that there would be no going back from it? Well, I hope a lot of people wake up today and realise that the same might prove equally true of deciding to remain in the union. Let’s see what happens next.

For all of our sakes, let’s hope that the faith of the NO voters is rewarded, and something good comes out of this result; that the extra powers promised don’t turn out to be as substantial as mist and ghosts. Let’s hope that we don’t find ourselves forgotten or sidelined in the call for more powers for other parts of the UK; that we don’t find ourselves bent over the oil barrel and fucked into submission.

The coarse, gleeful laughter from the NO campaign headquarters last night is still ringing in my ears. I can’t shake the feeling that many in this country cast their vote in a spirit of ‘I’m alright, Jack.’

Well, my infant son’s called Jack. He’s going to remember you said that.

This isn’t over.

Space lizards and dead goats: A Q&A with the No Campaign

Better Together

I spent a little time in Westminster and asked a representative of the government what he thought about independence, the Better Together campaign, Scotland’s chances of going it alone, and why he thought Scotland would be better off voting ‘No’ this Thursday…

Which celebrities or influential people have joined the No campaign?

There are literally some people who have thrown their weight behind the No campaign. There’s George from Rainbow; the smaller of the two Chuckle Brothers; a walk-on extra who appeared in Take the High Road in 1987; David Beckham’s left testicle; Where’s Wally AND Where’s Waldo (a real transatlantic alliance there); Screech from Saved by the Bell, and the late Fred Gwynne. Fred Gwynne once warned us in his hit movie Pet Sematary that “there’s a lot of animals died on that road”, and I know you’ll join me in reaching the foregone conclusion that he was talking about the hard consequences we would face in the aftermath of an independent Scotland.

Tell me about the UK’s, and by extension a future independent Scotland’s, relationship with the EU…

If you don’t want to be pushed around by the EU, vote No. It’s as simple as that. The UK government will not stand idly by and let a small state become subservient to the whims of a larger one. Except in the case of Scotland, of course, because you band of breakfast-time booze-hounds need our help to stop you from drinking yourselves to death. It’s a known fact that if you were to be left alone for two minutes you’d be smashing up your granny’s house, injecting heroin into your eyeballs and shoving things up your bums.

Anyway, even if you go independent and leave our union, and decide that you want to cosy up to the EU, I’ll tell you now: they won’t have you. They think you smell. Belgium doesn’t like your haircut. And France says your mum buys all your clothes.

But what about Norway, you might ask? Yes, they’ve certainly made some sickening overtures to woo you into their evil orbit should you vote for independence. Are you crazy? Is that what you want?  To team up with the baddies from World War II? Well, if you love snow and elk-fucking all that much, then please be our guest.  (Apologies for the harsh tone. Of course we don’t want you to be our guest. You live here with us. We want to keep you just as you are: a permanent resident that’s chained up in the basement for your own good).

I’m not saying that forming an alliance with Norway would make every single pet in Scotland spontaneously combust, but if I were you tomorrow I’d start digging thousands of tiny graves.

What do you think about Alex Salmond?

I’m not saying that Alex Salmond is a depraved serial sex killer, but it’s hard not to imagine him donning a black balaclava and latex gloves and speeding up and down the A90 trawling for victims whilst vigorously masturbating himself beneath the steering wheel. Once found, his victims doubtless would be treated to the sort of terrifying and excruciating death we think only happens to characters in horror movies. Now I’m not saying that he would ‘do it’ with their corpses afterwards, but I think it’s pretty clear that he’d ‘do it’ with their corpses afterwards. And this is the man you want running your country?  This monster must be stopped before he kills again – and let’s be under no illusions whatsoever: Salmond WILL kill again.

But the vote’s to decide whether people want Scotland to remain in the Union or become independent. It’s not a vote for or against Salmond, is it? …

That’s a common misconception. Of course it is. What most people don’t realise is that Salmond is an all-powerful shape-shifting reptilian power beast from the Yarglanokan nebula on the far side of the galaxy. Once installed in his role as Supreme and Terrible Leader of Scotland, Salmond swiftly will reveal his true reptilian form, and unleash his fearsome gaping jaws which are capable of crushing and devouring an entire disabled person, wheelchair and everything, with room left over for a small malnourished Glasweigen child.

Salmond plans to rule for at least twelve-thousand years, after which he’ll nuke not just Scotland, but the entire solar system. After all, he’s done it before. (Source: Armit, M., (2012) The One Show, BBC) Once he’s finished his reign of terror he’ll travel to other galaxies, visiting his sadistic serial sex murders on an unsuspecting alien populace, turning the universe into his very own intergalactic A90. I wonder when the people of Scotland will wake up and smell the space-lizard excrement.

What about the NHS? Are the Scots right to fear privatisation or dismantlement of their beloved institution?

Hark back to a time when you’ve been to see shows at the Edinburgh Festival (which incidentally is nothing more than a month-long lesbian communist plot). What did you think of those free shows? They were terrible, weren’t they? And why? Because you didn’t have to pay for them. How good can something be if it’s free? Now, look at how our friends in America do things with their health-care system. If you want a new lung you jolly well have to cough up for it, and just think how much more American citizens appreciate their smashing new lungs as a consequence. And look at child-birth. If you’re going to fork out £6000 to give birth to a child, you’d better bloody well mean it. If birth was as expensive a business in this country there’d be less poor people on our streets, and those poor people who did manage to ‘make it through to the next round’, as it were, would be in an awful fucking state. A wonderfully, gloriously awful fucking state. Dried blood instead of shoes, coats made from used nappies, and thirty-eight deadly diseases in their genitalia alone. And with poor people like that, maybe we in Britain could finally start producing world-class TV dramas like ‘The Wire’. What I’m saying is, if you want more dreary piss like ‘New Tricks’ on your telly, then by all means vote ‘Yes’.

What about the currency debate? What monetary unit would the people of Scotland use in the event of independence? 

I don’t want to cause a panic, but in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote, all currency will be abolished in Scotland until the end of time. The Scots simply won’t be allowed to have money of any kind. Now, I’m not saying that the English will invade Scotland, but when English shock troops have reduced Scotland to a smouldering husk, and the people are trying to barter dead goats for sexual favours, or in most cases just deciding to fuck the dead goats instead, just remember that Alistair Darling’s eyebrows once gazed at you benevolently from beneath a beautiful sliver of silver hair, and you decided to shave them off to spite your face.

And let’s not forget that the Bank of England has threatened to relocate its HQ to England in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.

But what about the oil?

There is no oil. Tommy Sheridan made it up.

But what about the oil platforms in the North Sea?

Those have nothing to do with drilling. Well, in a way they do. Sheridan had them built so that he could host swingers’ parties in the ocean.

Does The Bible tell us anything about independence?

I’m glad you asked. If you take the Bible and cut out every individual letter from every page of Genesis, and then re-arrange a pile of those letters to form the phrase ‘Scotland is Better Together’, then you’ll discover an amazing thing: you’ll be able to decipher the phrase ‘Scotland is Better Together’. Spooky. Also, few people realise this but the Book of Revelations is actually a treatise against Alex Salmond’s fiscal policies.

Any closing words for those still on the fence for the referendum?

Yes. ‘Better Together’ sounds a bit like ‘Butter Toga Thor’, and those are three things that you’d be hard pressed to feel sad about. After all, who among us hasn’t fantasised about dressing up like a Roman senator and smothering our huge hammers in dairy products?  The word ‘Yes’, however, sounds like ‘abscess’. And I hope the Scottish people think about that on Thursday.

Independence: are we sick of it already?

eowin

A common complaint I heard from undecided voters in the early days of the independence debate was that nobody from either side was engaging with them. “Well,” they’d say haughtily, “Nobody’s sat down and told me why I should vote for them.”

What did they expect? Alex Salmond coming round their house with a change of clothes and a bottle of whisky? “I’m supposed to be at a rally tonight, missus, but screw that, me and you all the way. Right, I’ll do the first bit, and then Sean Connery’s coming round about half-ten to finish off. (clears throat) Now, we begin in 1270, on the day Mel Gibson was born…”

That’s if Salmond doesn’t get thrown off his stride by Clegg and Cameron rolling up outside the house in a tank, trailed by hordes of Labour voters, UKIPers and holidaying Ulster Unionists, while Alistair Darling hollers into a megaphone: “Step away from the voter, Salmond, you podgy porridge-eating separatist, she belongs to us now!”

Heaven forfend we should actually have to seek out, read, research, listen, watch, discuss, think or evaluate. In no other sphere of our lives do we expect answers to fall into our laps, or be spoon-fed the motivation to participate in a process. When you’re booking a holiday you readily accept that you’ll have to work and research to get the best deal. You don’t expect a phone call like this:

“Hello, Mrs McGlinchy, this is Turkey. I just wondered if we could count on your support this holiday season? I’ve also got some statistics here which prove unequivocally that Sunny Beach is a fucking shithole.”

“Huh. I’m surprised you’ve got the cheek to phone. Last time I holidayed with you I couldn’t concentrate on my Jackie Collins for all that prayer racket five times a day. Do you think you could ask them to give it a rest – at least for the first two weeks in July? Oh, hang on, got to go… that’s Spain on Call Waiting…”

I know, I know, political campaigners regularly carry out door-to-door and telephone canvassing so that analogy isn’t perfect, but you take my point, right? You wouldn’t rely solely on canvassing to help make up your mind on an issue, would you? You wouldn’t refuse to find the facts for yourself and instead sit in a vegetative stupor on the off-chance that somebody was going to hand you a piece of paper with THE ANSWERS on it. (“I’m no’ deciding anything till there’s a chap on that door. And if it’s a Halloween guiser, then I guess I’ll be votin’ Dracula this year, eh?”) I certainly hope not. In any case, I’ve always believed that canvassing’s more about having a greater number of troops on the ground to gain a psychological advantage over the enemy, rather than a genuine attempt to sway the undecided or win converts through talk.

A genius comedy character invented by the Better Together campaign.

A genius comedy character invented by the Better Together campaign.

The debate is now thundering towards its climax, and you can’t lift a newspaper, switch on the TV, or round a corner without encountering a YES or a NO. Whatever the result on Thursday, what’s happening now is a bona fide democratic miracle. Scottish people are talking and organising and debating and enthusing in a way I haven’t witnessed in my lifetime. And what do we hear from the people who before had complained of a lack of engagement? That they’re bored of it all. Now that they possess all of the information they could possibly need or want… they don’t want it. Let’s start the chant:

“What do we want?”

“INFORMATION!”

“When do we want it?”

“ACTUALLY WE’VE CHANGED OUR MINDS.”

In our modern age of 24-hour rolling news and social-media saturation we’ve become too used to news stories having a three-day care-by-date. I dare say that even if a nuke were to wipe out 9/10 of civilisation on a Monday, everyone would be sick of hearing about it by the Wednesday. I find it desperately sad that although Thursday’s referendum is the most important political event in our country’s modern history, already a large number of people are wishing they could just be left in peace to watch Big Brother. (While Big Brother watches us.)

It’s a good job we didn’t have such short attention spans, or indeed Facebook, in days gone by, else we might have seen a few social-media status updates like these ones:

“OMG Patty Hurst or sumthin has thrown herself under a horse. Am I da only one that’s soooo over it? Neeiiiiiggghhhh thanks, lov e!!! Lol!”

“So yoove got to give up yer seat on the bus? BFD. Getting bored of this now… shurrupaboutit! Yoove got speshal buses for YOORSELVES anyway, so get on dem!! Or walk, it’s betta 4 u anyway, lazy!!”

“So da Nazis have aressted yoor family and karted them off in da train?… YAWN CITY! Cheeseus, does evryfing have to be about politicks these days?”

Please don’t weary of one of the most important discussions, debates and decisions in modern Scottish history. This is a great thing. It’s not a fad: it’s a movement, and one that will have an influence upon every single facet of your life wherever it takes us. There’s no such thing as talking about it too much.

If it helps, just think of the independence movement as a giant picture of your own dinner.

Ice Bucket Challenge: Worthy or Worthless?

iceAnd so, as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge speedily recedes from relevance, what legacy does it leave behind? When a 74-year-old Joey Essex resurrects its memory in a far-future edition of I Love 2014, what will he say about it? (After he’s said ‘I fot they growed ice on them special trees on Christmas Island,’ of course) Was the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ the clever and timely application of viral-marketing techniques to a worthy but overlooked charitable cause, or was it merely a case of our collective narcissism running amok on social media?

The roots of the challenge lie in the #Nomakeupselfie and Necknomination crazes that swept the internet earlier this year. #Nomakeupselfie convinced millions of women to post pictures of themselves on Facebook and Twitter along with the caption, ‘OMG, I look awfool without ma make-up’, quickly followed by a million comments saying, ‘don b silly huni, yoo luke gorgious’, even though they didn’t. Whatever you thought of the campaign, £8 million was raised for Cancer Research UK in six days.

Necknomination involved necking/downing/inhaling large pints, yards and buckets of booze, and posting a video of it on Facebook. You then nominated another would-be guzzler, and the process repeated itself ad infinitum. Or at least ad untileveryonegotsickofit-itum. The Necknomination craze wasn’t for anything: it was just a laugh (for ‘a laugh’ read ‘execrable’). It proved that people were willing to do anything as long as they were told to do it by a video on Facebook. (Ahmadinejad take note: the time is right for the ‘Inform on Your Neighbours Challenge’.)

The Ice Bucket Challenge stood on the shoulders of these two viral phenomena, learning how to make money from one, and how to excite the masses from the other. Yes, the challenge played to our vanity – and perhaps not everyone who participated gave a second thought to ALS – but it resulted in ALS receiving around 36 times its normal rate of donations. (Not to mention the boon to Macmillan and a whole host of other charities, including Water Aid. And let’s not forget that not a single pound or penny had to be spent on advertising.)

I can see why a viral campaign that entreats people to chuck litres of life-giving water over themselves might seem like a slap in the face to our African brethren, which is why it’s almost inexcusable that for my Ice Bucket challenge I nominated an entire village of Saharan Bedouins. In my defence, I’m Scottish and the concept of ‘not enough water’ is alien to me.

We certainly shouldn’t be encouraged to believe that throwing buckets of water over ourselves makes us heroes. In an ideal world we and our governments would work together to eradicate all social, political and somatic ills, and usher in a new utopia. But let’s get real: by and large we’re a horrible species: self-important parakeets preening in a mirror; indifferent to suffering – other people’s at any rate. If, occasionally, we can be tricked through a mass event into doing something nice, then I guess that’s okay.

New TV Shows This Autumn 2014

bbc

25 Years to Life on Mars

In 2013, BBC producer Sam Tyler is the victim of a vicious didgeridoo attack, and wakes up on the ground outside the BBC studios in 1973, with Jonathan King’s cock in his mouth. Walking into the BBC Studios is like walking into a different world. Is camel-coat wearing, cigar-puffing Director General Geney Savile all he seems? And if his new guv’s on the level, then why does he keep patting his arse, winking at him and calling him a nonce? And why does Savile have a yew tree potted up in his office? The only man Sam feels he can trust is Bruce Forsyth… but for how long?

savileIs Sam insane, back in time, or in a coma? Is he even a BBC producer? Every time Sam passes a TV set he sees an image of his younger self lying unconscious on a hospital gurney, with Cliff Richard singing songs at his bedside. Allegedly.

Features a cracking soundtrack by Gary Glitter.

Brew Peter

An informative lifestyle magazine show for young adults on the dole. Ever wondered how to draft that perfect letter to an employer that will guarantee you’ll never get hired? Also, Richard Bacon reveals the secret of how you can use a strip of sticky-back plastic to secure your bags of blow to the underside of hard-to-reach places. Perfect for evading the filth! And discover a brilliant use for all of those empty Kit Kat wrappers you don’t need any more. Each week, viewers send in their crayon-drawn portraits of Margaret Thatcher, which are set on fire by an angry man dressed as a miner.

Crystal Meth Maze

methA group of toothless, stinking tramps in vests run around the many zones of the Crystal Meth Maze – Up the Graveyard, The Underpass, Big Tam’s Hoose, The Swingpark and Down the Docks – taking part in timed challenges to get their hands on those coveted Crystals. Watch with glee as they compete in games like forced prostitution without protection, bare-knuckle fighting with their best friends for the amusement of strangers, stealing from their families, and selling their own internal organs to the Chinese. What a laughriot. With Richard O’Dien.

Ice Bucket Challenge: The Movie (sort of)

Hello folks

In the spirit of shameless self-promotion, here is my attempt at the Ice Bucket Challenge. With a plot and everything. Big thanks go to my mate for his directorial expertise. Donation made to Cancer Research. It’s all about the charity… no really, it is. I really mean that.

jamebo