Thursday 5 July 2018

Trump Trumpets Crumpets

The question of crumpet packaging once threatened the acceptance of Donald Trump as a worthy president. Now it looks like it will save him.

To explain. ‘Crumpet’ in British slangy parlance is another word for good-looking lady, as in ‘Whoar! She’s a bit of crumpet!’ The term was in common usage as late as the 1970s but is considered now rather antiquated and derogatory. After all ‘a bit’ of crumpet suggests that the lady in question is only partially a crumpet and not worthy enough to be the whole thing. Donald Trump was therefore considered to be a ‘crumpet-packager’ in this sense when he made the remark that, ‘You can do anything. Whatever you want. Grab them by the pu*sy.’

However, in a timely twist of fate, crumpet packaging is in dire straits. How come?

Thursday 28 June 2018

Thesis on Faeces

Wash your hands in a public toilet and you’re done, right? Basic hygiene restored… apart perhaps from the fine coating of sewage you’re now wearing. The fact is that when you flush a toilet, billions of miniscule microbe-laden water droplets micro-tsunami all over the cubicle walls, the floor, the toilet roll holder and the toilet seat to boot. What you end up with is a subtle blend of yours and previous squatters’ germs applied rather like a perfume atomiser, but with an altogether different take on ‘Eau de Toilette.’

To minimise exposure to pathogens, you need to distance yourself as far as possible from the flush. If you’re a shepherd caught short, you’re somewhat better prepared...

Saturday 2 December 2017

Go-to Places of Exile

We used to do go-to places of exile. Napoleon Bonaparte was despatched to St Helena, an island formed from a volcano. Good for your reasonably priced bottled mineral water. Ask anyone in the Volvic marketing department. And then ask them if ‘reasonably priced’ and ‘bottled water’ should sit in the same sentence.

Places of exile, ask any decent Kirstie Allsop, are all about location, location, location. St Helena is smack bang in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a place that deserves more than the average tourist spot one of those fanciful fingerposts. Pointing in the direction of Buenos Aires 1728 miles away; Paris, rather tantalisingly for Napoleon, 7423. Napoleon was going nowhere from there, never mind raising an army greater than several puffins assigned to ravaging the European continent. Rowing back to a mainland was a fear allayed when it was noted that Bonaparte had a habit of slipping his right hand inside his tunic, signalling that any boat-rowing would be in a circle. At best treating him to the circumnavigation of the island, stopping at a secluded and popular inlet for a buffet lunch and a swim and a spot of snorkelling before heading back before sunset for a sundowner.
Of course, St Helena is no longer a place of isolation now we are into the 73rd season of A Place in the Sun, in an era that is commonly referred to as the Post Judith Chalmers age of travel.
So where should we banish Robert Mugabe to? Where is left? Where in the world is remote enough for banishment when we read reviews of ‘a homely little northern Greenland bolthole’ in the Sunday supplements?
Fortunately, there exist locations that have that air of banishment about them. Exile Mugabe to Milton Keynes. In the modern era, it’s the closest experience we can get to sending dissidents to the Gulag. Milton Keynes was conceived by 1980s British town planners with Gulag-chic in mind. An entire housing estate city that ditched the tried-and-tested Mock-Tudor Barratt’s homebuilding schemes of the 1970s in favour of ‘Mock-Brutalist’. The kind of town Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn would have visited and said, ‘Hold on a minute. Hold your horses. I’m getting déjà vu!’
What better place to impose house arrest than MK? Or, if the punishment meted out to Mugabe should be more severe – maisonette arrest? How could we emulate for him the conditions of the Gulag? By serving up meals as close in nutritional value to the gruel and boiled hobnail boot perhaps with Chicken Tikka Masala Mini Pizza Bites. Breaking rocks between times could be substituted for enforced-watching box-sets of Homes under the Hammer.
True, Milton Keynes is a ready-made, off-the-rack place of exile, but it is not without transport links. Unlike the oceanically challenged island of St Helena, Milton Keynes is more accurately considered the ‘landlocked Robben Island of Buckinghamshire’. Perhaps then Robert Mugabe would be better accommodated somewhere with absolutely no links to the outside world. How about a stop on a Southern Railway line? Burgess Hill? – a  Gulag no-one will ever commute out of.

Saturday 26 July 2014

New Book from the Editor - The Investigations of the Para-Usual

Maverick academic, Professor O'Singh, believes he may bestow upon mankind the ultimate gift – the key to all knowledge. Haplessly, and not until it’s too late, does he realise that he’s precipitated the destruction of the planet.

Here is an excerpt, the first three chapters of The Investigations of the Para-Usual.

Candyman 1

‘Aerial burial!’ yelled the man, imagining the launching of his lifeless corpse into outer space.
His considerable bulk was being rocked, about to be hauled upwards inside what was the tight fit of an antiquated wooden lift car – the projectile coffin of his imaginings; his pine overcoat, his pine spacesuit, as it were.

Lift off.

‘Graveyard declutter!’ he bellowed, seizing on another thought. Might outer space be the answer to overcrowded cemeteries in the modern age? Much as as al fresco became ‘the rage’ when the sinking of the dead beneath church flagstones was stretched to saturation point?

Must be the most morbid instance of sweeping under the carpet, it occurred – the Medieval practice of burying people under paving slabs.

Even as the lift cables took up the slack and began to strain, that single notion – burials in space – catalysed thought connections that cracked and fizzed pyrotechnically inside the bulky man’s cranium.

‘Negative burial!’ he exclaimed. Burial in space must be considered negative burial, because the deceased is headed in the opposite direction – up instead of down. 60,000 feet above the ground, rather than 6 feet below. 

‘Pushing down the daisies!’ the bulky one shouted.

The big man squeezed his arms up the rattling walls of the lift and above his head the way an escapologist might, reassigning his limbs in the preliminary stages of escape. Thus, was he able to clasp his hands over his ears. He needed desperately to crowd out those thoughts. He needed extreme focus. Supreme concentration. He clamped his eyes firmly shut.

‘Come on, O’Singh!’ he muttered, in the manner somewhat of somebody speaking in tongues. ‘Take strength from Strathclyde!’

Professor Breville O’Singh was transported back in his mind to the University of Strathclyde, preaching there from the stage of the amphitheatre, rolling his hands one over the other to facilitate the order of his speech. Not rhythmically, but in the fashion rather of a father dancing at a disco, to Sister Sledge.

A bear-shaped man was O’Singh, or perhaps a man-shaped bear. A big man as imposing a figure as Cassius Clay, though always looking sorry for the imposition. Kind of limp, drawing in his bulk. Professor Breville O’Singh was apologetically large.

‘When asked a question to which there is any number of possible answers, we reply, “How long is a piece of string?”’ observed Professor Breville O’Singh, from the stage. ‘But equally we could ask, could we not, “How wide is a piece of string?”’

O’Singh stopped to survey the reactions of his audience, a gaggle of professors, sat in various attitudes of contemplation, in judgement, squinting into a blinding low-angled shaft of Spring sunlight.

O’Singh’s eyes popped open. The floor indicator light flickered on ‘4’.

‘Come on, man! Erm… Extract from Exeter!’ he urged himself. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW):