Archive for April, 2005

Loony Tunes

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

“Things can only get better” © P. Mandelson 1997.
“Heartlands” © W.Hague 2001. [ Composer M. Batt – him off the wombles ].
“The Loony Hat Of Friendship” © The Official Monster Raving Loony Party 2005 [ Composer Colonel Cocoa-Bean ]

For me, the election finally came alive yesterday with the arrival of a pink photcopied leaflet through my door. Far from being another bleedin takeaway flyer as suspected, this was an official election communciation with a difference. A few headlines:
Income Tax will be abolished and will be replaced by lending the government a bob or two when we are skint and putting any left over on a horse running in the 3.30 at Haydock Park.
We will issue a 99p coin to save on change.
Tax credits will be paid to nice people only.
All future Deputy Prime Ministers must be fluent in at least one language.
Pensioners will get £2000 a week if they don’t bore people with talking about the past.
Caravans will pay the same amount of road tax as cars.
All weapons of mass destruction will be highly visible so that we know where they are.
Any other policies you want us to implement will be seriously considered.

This is the most interesting and entertaining election leaflet I’ve ever read. Having read these policies I was drawn to learn more. Nothing short term about this lot as a glance at their website reveals:
“Not wishing to be caught out by allegations that we don’t think our policies through in terms of what future impact they might have, our resident clairvoyant, Lady Florence Flederkuch has gazed into her crystal top hat and helped The Flying Pasty set Loony policy for 550 years’ time. Now that’s forward planning.”

Another bright idea is to rename number 10 Downing St to 10 and 6 Downing Street.

The founder of the OMRLP, Lord Sutch, lost more elections than anyone else in the UK’s political history, and to this day remains the longest-serving party leader ever – even though he died in 1999.

My own candidate once worked for the Muppet Show. Jim Henson once told him that he could be trusted to produce illustrations to his high standards because he “thought like a muppet”. What more could you want from your MP?

The economy is safe in their hands too. “A Loony Government will introduce a new system of currency to run alongside Sterling. It will involve a process based on bartering, using chickens. Internet shopping will become slightly more difficult if using chickens, but the problem is not insurmountable. We propose a system that will involve using squadrons of carrier pigeons, strapped together in a harness, to fly coops full of the required number of chickens, to the supplier of the goods you have purchased. However, the slight problem there is that several pigeons harnessed together might argue about the best direction to take. Therefore we propose to train pigs to fly to lead the squadrons of carrier pigeons. This will improve unemployment as many pig trainers will be required as getting pigs to fly isn’t at all easy. Pigs will be fitted with spoilers and go-faster stripes in order to make them more streamlined (if they can be bred like this, then that makes everything more efficient). The go-faster stripes will have the added advantage of making all bacon streaky.”

Not sure how this will go down with vegetarian voters but it makes a refreshing change from endless arguments about the Euro. I’m very tempted to vote Loony – which probably says a lot about me.

Worth a butcher's

Friday, April 29th, 2005

Did you know that Smurf is a politically correct word used to describe a despondent Communist?
Can you guess what thighbrows are?
If I asked you to ‘keep toot while I twock this gadgy`s hand bag’ – would you know what I wanted?
Would you want to be a yam-yam?

I saw a review a while back for The Dictionary of Playground Slang. [ Amazon: 9 used from £2.73 ] Liking to keep myself under the illusion that I know what’s going on in the world I thought it would be worth a look. However, I’ve a room full of books I bought because I thought they’d be worth a look. [ ‘Teach yourself nuclear physics’ anyone? Or maybe Delia Smith’s One is Fun! – it isn’t. ] I therefore resisted the temptation to oneclick purchase and being mingey [as I am], I thought I’d hunt around online to see if I could gank some of it for nada. I was over the moon harry to find the Online Dictionary of Playground Slang – the website on which the book is based. This is packed with over three thousand gems of [reasonably] contemporary slang. Some of which I recognised, a lot of which I didn’t. It’s an interesting snapshot of the obsessions of youth – at least the youth that can be bothered to submit entries to an online dictionary. [ mainly male I suspect ] Predictably it’s packed with euphemistic eructations of sexual and excretory goings-on and an unhealthy obsession with homosexuality. [Public schools eh?] Most interestingly it conjures up a half remembered world of when inventive infringements of rules brought unbridled delight. For example, singing the hymn, “The land is yours oh God, You nourish it with rain.” is subversively transexcremented. It’s a glimpse into an off pat world of instant judgements, insults, cruelty and sharp wit that, probably even moreso today, constitutes the world of the young. It’s fresh, it’s naughty, it’s the badger.

Favourite entry: purple nurple – don’t try this at home – well if you insist..

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005
They’re back on Saturday – well, just the one so it seems but what a one. Get a load of this. Can’t wait. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep awake this week. I’m informed by a reliable source that the present issue of Radio Times includes some souvenir Dalek bling too.

9 more days
…until we can stay up to the small hours to watch Jeremy Paxman get even more tetchy than usual, David Dimbleby ooze all over the shop and Peter Snow exploding 2 millon quids worth of special effects. Meanwhile over on ITV that whiny bloke with the stupid glasses will be acting hard whilst Trevor McDonald does Authoritative. See, no need for you to watch it now – go down the pub and enjoy yourself safe in the knowledge that all will be well in New Labour Britain on May 6th.

We in the UK should be compelled to vote.

Light red touch paper
Tony Blair f****d up over Iraq and people want someone to blame so consider voting against their otherwise Labour instincts. Mental I call that – what say you dear reader?

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Say what you like about the Soviet Union – they certainly knew how to do metro stations. Bee Flowers’ website has some seriously stunning images of the Moscow metro. They are so detailed. Makes me want to go and see the real thing. Give yourself plenty of time to see them all – superb.

Routemasters the name of a series of short Radio 4 programmes.
The first one is about the design of British roadsigns and features interviews with Jock Kinnear and Margaret Calvert, the designers of the majority of signs in use today together with the classic ‘transport’ typface – which geeks can download from here.

Monday, April 25th, 2005

Forward not back

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

What a slogan. Our political philosophy: The Bleedin Obvious.
How about, ‘Up not down’ or ‘Left not right’; see – anyone can do it. All you need to do is imagine yourself giving directions to P. Mandelson as you navigate him away from your house [ perhaps not ].
Lets face it, the election campaign is as dull as a papal orgy staffed by the handmaidens of Ann Widdecombe.
[ ‘Mineral water for me Sister, I’m meditating on the sacred mysteries of the ringbinder’ ]
The Labour campaign, especially, has aspired to previously unseen levels of tedium:
Endless footage of TB surrounded by ‘hardworking British families’ [ ie paid rejects from Eastenders central casting and what about all us slackers – don’t we get a look in? ]
Tony n Gordie in their floodlit flat at breakfast not drinking their identical orangejuice or eating their Allbran – Tony seated at left [ the power position ] reminding Gordy of how far they’ve come together – puhleese.
Realplayer footage
Prunella Scales reminding us that the NHS used to be great – never mind that her name sounds like a nasty skin complaint, never mind that we’d all be looking like this if the NHS had not been destroyed modernised by Thatch in the 80’s.
Realplayer footage
Everyone ‘not taking the British electorate for granted’ whilst simultaneously ignoring most of it whilst they desperately target the few thousand marginal voters that will swing it for them.
Yes – we need something new, fresh and different.
That’s why I recommend a radical haircut for all – I’ve already had mine.

“Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.
Long hair consumes a great deal of nutrition and could thus rob the brain of energy.
Tidy attire is important in repelling the enemies’ manoeuvres to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle and establishing the socialist lifestyle of the military-first era.”

I’m already feeling the effects. Yesterday I was so energised I fell asleep over my keyboard and ended up missing the second part of the Dr Who story I’d been waiting all week to see. Long live the revolution.

Been a bit busy

Friday, April 22nd, 2005

Tuesday 3.30am:
Awoke after 4 hours sleep and had to get out of bed. Why do airports open so early? – can’t they sleep? Must be all that loud engine noise in the back garden. Why do you have to check in about 2 days before your flight? Why do they insist on asking you if you’ve packed any or all of the 52 prohibited items pictured on the flashcard that you can barely focus on – such is the disorientation of your body clock – let alone understand? [How many methane breathing scuba divers do you know? NB No cutlery allowed in the cabin – teaspoons must be checked in as part of your hold luggage.] Why do they herd you into a departure ‘lounge’ which is no bigger than a hamster’s gusset and then tell you the flight is delayed because they are ‘cleaning the plane’? Can’t they get up a bit earlier to do the shake n vac? All this and an in-flight cup of freshly brewed tea-style chemobeverage [£1.60 – sorry no change to give you, we don’t take credit cards]. Low cost airlines – they’re so cheap orange.

Tuesday 1pm:
Picnicking and drinking champagne beside the Seine overlooking Notre Dame. [Damn I forgot to pack the cutlery.] Engage in weird conversation with mad wandering Frenchman who, I think, is trying to explain that the French Finance Minister is driving past in a speedboat dressed in full Scuba gear. [No methane canisters can be seen]. I offer him some peanuts – he declines and stares into the middle distance.

Tuesday 8pm:
Deposit decomposing camembert into waste bin adjacent to Eiffel Tower. Watch from a distance as security staff cordon off and evacuate the area. French Finance Minister arrives in Scuba gear to supervise the operation.

Sleep late. Have haircut.

Thursday 1pm:
4 hour meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeting.
We discuss fascist imagery amongst other things.

Thursday 7.30pm:
Had to see a man about a blog. I think I may have scared him with my haircut.

Friday 10am:
Sit in a cold airless room with a retired psychiatrist who talks endlessly about railway stations in Albania for nearly two hours. Lose will to live and go home to update blog.

See – I told you
‘New Pope condemns gay bill’. “The credit card statement shows a mysterious entry from” – time for an inquisition.

The Poor Judgement

Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Lock a load of old blokes in a Church with some scary pictures and expect them to get radical? Why is anyone surprised they elected a conservative 78 year old German with rottweiler tendencies? I’ve sort of given up on radical transformation in Catholicland. It’s clear it’s going to take more than death, alienation and apathy to shake it up, bring it to it’s senses and make it meaningful to the Disaffected Ones. The reaction to the death of JPII has left lasting images in many minds. I’m not getting good vatican vibes from the new man.

The Last Judgement

Monday, April 18th, 2005

I decided to get up early as, by all accounts, the queues worsen towards lunchtime. Sure enough as I made my way through ancient streets towards the entrance there was a queue to join the queue which was comprised of people of all ages, colours and sizes. Snippets of conversations in various languages floated past and every now and again a sad little figure would jostle through the queue begging money. One woman exposed her revolting head wound to the tourists, hoping to provoke pity. In such confined quarters they, instead, mainly backed away in horror. The queue moved slowly. After about an hour we turned the corner to catch site of the entrance and an audible gasp of excitement rippled through the mass. My neighbours, all German, had been conducting periodic roll-calls every so often as we waited and one by one they had all contrived to push ahead of me with their incremental jostling. I cared not because I knew what lay ahead. Any small advantage gained by them outside would quickly be lost once inside. I knew where I was going and they, I had learned whilst eavesdropping on them for an hour, did not.

Finally I was in. Money paid, through the barrier, Germans left floundering with their group ticket shenanigans. I was off. Opening time had been 15 minutes previous. I calculated I had another 15 before my destination would be full to bursting and any hope of a meaningful experience would be lost in the swirling hordes now streaming through the ticket barriers behind me.
A brisk trot was called for. Thousands upon thousands of yards of corridors formed my route. Past ancient treasures that stretched away into the distance in adjoining rooms. Past enticing windows framing stunning vistas on to lush gardens. Through beautiful courtyards graced by classical statues and charming fountains that caught the glancing light from the full sun. Disapproving looks from bored attendants as I hurried past on my way. I entered the final labyrinth. The signs directed me through a door onto a metal gantry which ran high up along the outside of the building and then in through another door, through a dark, cramped anti-chamber, down some stairs to a small door on the left. I could hear a buzz of echoing conversation as I neared the door. I reached the bottom of the stairs stepped through the doorway, turned to face the wall through which I had just passed and looked up.
The most famous wall painting in the world was ten feet away.

Something to muse upon as one sits and ponders who to elect as the ‘nearest thing to God on earth’.

In other news

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

“There were articles about how to treat lip sores with ear wax. How to cure yourself of the flu by rubbing cottage cheese and onion into your feet. And how to stop smoking, by mixing tobacco with powdered crab and taking a quick puff.” There’s no NHS in Russia.
“A 1969 tapestry of the Royal family was thrown overboard in mid-Atlantic and portrait of the Queen badly damaged.” The taste police go cruising.
Victorian zombies go large in Cardiff. [ No it’s not a new Tory campaign ]
California – home to living plastic and motorised Mona Lisas.
Summer’s coming and it’s time to get with the cool threads.