Years ago my Mum was having trouble remembering one of my friend's names, this wasn't all that unusual as she quite often forgot her own son's names and simply said all three of us very fast with the addendum "anyway, one of you".

She started to describe my friend, more to kick-start her own memory than to aid me: "Long black hair, wears a lot of black, long raincoat... y'know... John Lennon glasses... there's one in every town."

I knew exactly who she meant.

And I knew exactly what she meant.

It was Thom, but she was quite right - there is a Thom in every town (although not as good as ours).

So that got me thinking, what else and who else could you say there is in every town?

As it's coming up to half-term you can turn this into a game.

What, or who, can you spot in your town that is the same in every other town?



SUPER SCOOTERS - Large people in mobility scooters putting their pedal to the metal and going faster than they ever could when they were bi-peds.

THE BENEFITS BOOZER - A place for people to rest between signing on and placing a bet. Usually has a ramp for mobility scooters and is PRECISELY equidistant to the benefits office and a bookies.

FAT GIRL & CAMP BOY - Usually walking around arm in arm with him talking and gesticulating, and her smiling and listening. Sometimes Goths (BONUS POINT)

GOTHS - The greatest, sweetest sub-culture known to man. Just don't tell them. It makes them depressed.

SKATE-TWATS - Young men who see every park bench and low wall as a ramp or slide. Can also be seen on a BMX bike despite being nearly fucking thirty, and not twelve, years old.

CHUBBY HEN NIGHT - Dragging tiny suitcases on wheels on their way to the Travelodge from the train station, wearing devil horns/deely-boppers/red veils, matching denim mini skirts and black t-shirts that were printed in Snappy Snaps. Pissed by 11.30am and shouting down their phones as they have already lost Sharon.

SAXONDALES - Bearded, leather-clad, Pub-Quiz frequenting Real-Ale drinkers who hint at some former role within the music business "before it got all corporate..". Claims to have worked with big name bands but probably just sold t-shirts for The Longpigs. (Named after the spot-on character as beautifully observed by Steve Coogan.)

THE SILENT COUPLE - Bearded skinny man and silent thin woman. Their voices barely register and they share a close proximity without looking comfortable with one another. Usually in Berghaus jackets. Look like they recycle everything, eat FairTrade and like Roots music. One or both will be wearing glasses and a Yasser Arafat scarf.

THE HAPPY TRAMP - Cheerful Big Issue Seller.

THE UNFORTUNATE TRAMP - Doesn't initially strike you as a tramp, but is one. Starts a conversation by claiming he isn't a tramp then goes on to describe a tale of woe that usually ends with the line "...so I have to go see my girlfriend/sister in hospital in Doncaster - but I need £1.67 for the train fare..."

THE GNOMES OF ZION - middle aged white men in army combats, Pete Tosh t-shirts with facial piercings and ratty dreadlock. Stink of Jamaican Woodbines. Impoverished trustafarians.

TANK GIRL - As above, but young, attractive and female.

SHITE RIDERS - Young Asian lads with patterns or lines shaved into their heads and a zirconia stud in one ear. Drives a metallic cobalt blue Nissan with a stereo and underfloor light show that cost more than the car. Can sometimes be Caucasian lads who desperately pretend they aren't.  

OLD CASUALS - Former football terrace thugs who are getting on a bit. Don't get to games much these days but do like to meet up with the lads for a laugh and a fight.

TWIRLIES - Pensioners huddled at a bus-stop who can't use their free passes until 9.30am. Name comes from having to tell the hapless driver who stops for them that he is "too early..."

BENCHWARMERS - Twirlies inside shopping centres. Using Meadowhall's heating & lighting rather than their own.

ROBBING HOODIES - Young people on the back seat of the top deck of a bus sharing ringtones and calling each other 'Gay!' quite-loudly. You would ask them to modify their behaviour but they've probably got knives.

TATTOO JACKS - Serious-looking man who strides with purpose. Covered in facial, scalpal and body tattoos as well as massive looped ear-piercings, eyebrow, lip and possibly genital studs too. Never wears a coat and looks like he could fuck you up in a blink, but is probably called Neville and has a kitten.

GOD'S BOTHERERS - Stands in the middle of town with a placard and yells about Jesus.

LANCE ARMSTRONGS - The cyclist who has taken riding into work a bit too seriously. Dresses like Spiderman on laundry day.

LADY SOVEREIGN - Skinny, pale feral girl who looks like she's on heroin but talks like she's on cocaine. Lots of bad jewellery (including sovereign rings) and a baby buggy piled high with 'shopping'.

PARK BENCHWARMERS - The Unfortunate Tramp who has successfully collected his £1.67 to see his sister/girlfriend in hospital but has struggled to pass an Off Licence on the way to the train station.

CARRIE BAGS - Ladies of a certain age who like a mojito or three and then get lairy with younger chaps under the delusion that their antics mirror exactly those of the cast of Sex & The City, rather than boiler from Birds Of A Feather (as played by Alice Cooper).

SKINS - Loud, braying, twattish students screeching about their courses on public transport. Think they have to behave like this because they watch a lot of T4.

TOM JONES 2.0 - Fake tanned, muscular, groomed HETEROSEXUAL men with a liking for t-shirts that gape to the sternum. DEFINITELY straight but just like to look good and use a lot of 'product'. Dress almost exactly like Louis Spence BUT ARE NOT GAY.

MAMMA DRAMA - Middle aged ladies who wear lots of floaty scarves in sustainable ethnic patterns. Once went to Bangalore and was touched by the plight of the urchins.

COSTA-MONGERS - Impossibly cool looking young men and women who frequent coffee houses. Usually wearing the same clothes you remember your grandfather wearing when you were little and solid black NHS specs - but still looking unfeasibly stylish.

ROCK LOBSTERS - Big broad men with big red faces, look like they would've kicked your fucking face off back in their heyday but are now grandparents. Always look like they've just come back from Benidorm but have probably just got too much salt in their diet.

BEST FRIENDS - Mother and daughter who dress far too similarly for the daughter's taste.

DISINTERESTED SHOPGIRLS - Walks like she is carrying a pail in each hand and absolutely hates her job. Whatever you want is going to be a lot of fucking effort. Her working life is soundtracked by the tuts from her supervisor.

DROP DEAD TEDS - Men of pensionable age who still sport remnants of their Teddy Boy past (side burns, brothel creepers, bootlace-ties, Brylcreem, flick-knives, etc.). See also MIDLIFE COWBOYS.

Click HERE for more details

PRIME SUSPECTS - Early morning dog-walker who you supsect has probably discovered a dismembered body part on a canal path. Dresses like Norris from Coronation Street.

SPONSORED RUNTS - A teenager who spends all their cash on designer clothing and wants people to see those labels. Completely covered in brand-names they resemble the bonnet of a Formula One racing car.

MIDLIFE COWBOYS - Karaoke-haunting ballardeers with a penchant for steel tipped cowboy boots and stetsons. Often speak with an inflection that they think makes them sound a bit like Johnny Cash but simply highlights that they are from Cudworth.

AMY SHITEHOUSE - Paraletic women in six inch heels and four sets of fake eyelashes. Like to dress from Vintage shops and chain-smoke Marlboro reds.

OLD SOLDIERS - Admirable pensioner who collects money for various charities, but primrialy children's hospices and the Poppy appeal. Out in all weather's, every day, wearing his service medals.

TIM COCKS - Young men with long hair, John Lennon-granny specs and long black woollen coat. named after my mate, Thom Cook, who inspired this game.

How many did you spot?

Have you seen any others?

There are many, many more, I am sure, so please feel free to add your own....

Have fun, you crazy kids!

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There are an awful lot of things to be angry about at the moment.

Dr Liam Fox taking his best mate to work in Defence meetings.

The announcement of the BBC's ridiculously sweeping cuts.

Ricky Gervais defending his use of 'mong face' photos on Twitter.

Any other week I would gladly spend an hour or so writing a blog entry that addressed one of these ridiculous fucking scenarios, and pepper said blog entry with charming expletives and accompanying imagery, however this week I cannot be arsed.

Not that the BBC Trust, Ricky Gervais or Dr Liam Fox give a shit either way - "Ooh, did you see that blog from Mister Williams? Scathing it were. I reckon about two dozen people skimmed though it looking for cock-jokes. We'd better change our ways..." - no, they'll probably carry on merrily fucking things up without any hindrance from me.

The reason I cannot be arsed with them, quite apart from it making absolutely no fucking difference, is because at the end of this week I shall be going on holiday with my beautiful tiny girlfriend and her beautiful tiny daughter.

For an entire week I shall be away from England and it's pathetic politicians, cringe-worthy comedians and bumbling broadcasters. I'll also be laying off the social media and relying on books and the actual, physical things I see in front of me to keep me entertained.

Mind you, I say books.
More like book.

That's because we are travelling with a well-known budget airline with a reputation for being, let's say 'strict' about what they allow you to take with you on the holiday you've paid them to fucking take you to.

I don't want to name names, mainly because of their shitty reputation for vindictiveness and because I want to actually get to my holiday destination, but I have never been so tense about setting off on holiday as I have been while obliging the whims of this particular budget airline.

For a start I've had to buy a tiny suitcase.

It's the size of a fucking stamp. If it was any smaller it would be a charm on a fucking bracelet. For some reason this particular budget airline operates aeroplanes that cannot cope with normal-sized suitcases.

Every other fucking aeroplane can, but not the ones operated by this airline, who for ease of typing I shall simply refer to as O'BrienAir....

NOT that this patently made-up name should give you any clues to the name or origin of this particular budget airline.

Bejaysus no!

OK. They are Irish, I'll give you that.

As O'BrienAir's picky planes cannot cope with things like normal fucking luggage I have had to pack a week's worth of clothing into something with the storage capacity of a wasp's arse. At one point I was deliberating whether I had room for two pairs of socks - the idea being that I would wear one pair then wash them at night so I could wear them the day after next...


"Mine smell of Lenor Summer Breeze..."

I also have to think about how may clothes I need to wear on the way out and way back in to Britain to save  on packing space...

I'll look like Joey from fucking Friends.

But even that hasn't put my mind at ease.

That's because I got my suitcase from Argos and not from O'BrienAir's official website where it would cost me FOUR TIMES AS MUCH. In fact it would cost TWICE as much to buy O'BrienAir's tiny useless compact suitcase as it cost me to buy my normal sized suitcase that let's me take as many fucking socks as I want to Spain. And because I haven't got an officially extortionately-priced O'BrienAir suitcase I'm convinced they're going to charge me extra or not let me on the plane... it's so fucking stressful!

A colleague of mine said - "You're going to Spain? You won't need socks."

Of course I will need socks, for two simple reasons

a) I will never wear sandals  
(not with my Hobbitty-feet. I'd spend most of the holiday hacking them free)


b) I am English.

Our Empire was built on men wearing socks abroad.

Not my actual socks

Anyway, enough about socks. You're becoming obsessed with hearing about my socks. The socks aren't the issue.

There IS the issue of popping to Boots to buy tiny fucking toiletries to go in my tiny fucking suitcase, however, because even though I am an adult I have to travel like a fucking Ken-doll in case anyone mistakes my Original Source Mint & Tea Tree gel as a fucking explosive liquid or thinks I might try and use my Wilkinson Sword disposable razor to get the fucking pilot to fly into an open plan office.

Just because I have a beard doesn't make me a terrorist, y'know...  

In fact, the only reason I've got a fucking beard in the first place is because you twats won't let me fucking shave on holiday!! 

I am not the fucking Taliban, I'm just itchy!!

Fucking Taliban.

If it weren't for those cunts I could use the sun lotion I got in July instead of having to buy more when I get to Spain. They just don't fucking think about other people.

The fact is, I'm going a relatively short distance for a relatively short time and I'm more stressed about this than when I went to Thailand for a month and slept in a cattle shed with a bunch of machine-gun toting children from the karen tribe, and all because of a greedy, grasping, budget airline that wants to fleece it's customers and has even proposed to take the chairs out of it's planes just so it can ram more people into them like a fucking veal truck.

And now my iPhone weather app is telling me that it's going to piss it down in Spain next week, with a temperature of just 20 degrees. Well, thank you Steve Jobs.

So the rain in Spain falls mainly when I'm away?





oh yes... I nearly forgot...

The re-scheduled Rapture's supposed to be happening this Friday.

Just my fucking luck.

Yup. This weekend the world will spin out of orbit, the Heavens will burn and 'the dead in Christ shall rise... Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds'. 

Those dead in bloody Christ. They're gonna play havoc with air traffic control.

I'll put money on the flight being delayed.

And while the World Ends around my ears I'll be arguing with a stroppy camp steward about having three pairs of socks in my unofficial tiny fucking suitcase.

I'm going to need a holiday to get over the stress of going on holiday.

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Hello you, you big fat fuck!

Yes you.

You there.

The massive fucker.

Don't look around, I mean you.

Not someone behind you.

As if I could see who's behind you anyway!

You're a right chunky fucker!

I mean YOU.

Yes. You.

You big fat, lardy, chubby, bloated, water-retaining, tubby, blubby, flubbery fucking chunknut wobble-bottom.

Have a sprout.

This is a direct quote taken from the rejected opening paragraph from the Department of Health as they have concluded, after a lengthy consultation process, that Britain is now a "Nation of Chubby Cunts".... (working title).

It seems that under the previous Labour administration we have retained a lot of lard-arses, something that this government is determined to do something about. Mainly by plunging us into a phenomenal financial depression whereby food becomes such a valuable commodity we end up fighting for takeaway scraps with rats and tramps - thereby getting exercise and valuing food more highly than gold, oil or Boardwalk Empire boxsets.

In a week that we found out that former human being and Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher simultaneously invented Mr Whippy ice-cream, took away primary school children's milk and sold their school playing fields, we were lectured about the dangers of obesity by her oily spawn.

"Do you want a flake in that?"
So what's the plan?

Besides employing scowling crop-haired dishmop Mary "Queen Of Strops" Portas to be a special advisor on something entirely different, but still take time out to rip the piss out of the female members of the Cabinet for being unattractive, they've published their recommendations to tackle Britain's obesity epidemic.

Or chip-pandemic, as it will soon be known.

Apparently, we spend too much time eating shit and not exercising, and short of Jamie Oliver coming around and feeding us broccoli through a fence, there's not much chance of us changing our habits.

This took a DEPARTMENT to tell us.


If I could be arsed getting out of bed I would slap the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley with a giant Toblerone.

Of course people like cake more than fucking carrots, you Westminster wonks!!

For one thing, everybody knows that all the stuff that is bad for you tastes nicer than all the stuff that doesn't. Otherwise Special K would make chocolate eclairs. If your five-a-day came in a Big Mac (which my brother absolutely insists it does - "Lettuce, gherkin, onion, tomato sauce, onion.... cheese?") then we'd have no problem.

We all love fatty foods and sugary treats. That is no surprise. We don't need a whole government department to tell us we like sweets and chips more than apples and bran.

It's why Roald Dahl never wrote Charlie & The Wholefood Co-operative where children ran to the vegan aisle of Waitrose to desperately find a Golden Ticket in the Gluten Free bread.

It's why advent calendars don't have a mung bean behind every window.

It's why people in Tesco's went mental when they priced Terry's Chocolate Orange's at 29p instead of £2.75.


Fucking mental.

When was the last time you bought a Terry's Chocolate Orange? I'm willing to bet a kidney you're saying "Christmas".

That's because no-one fucking buys them any other time of the year.

You never go on holiday thinking "Book, sunglasses, lotion.... Terry's Chocolate Orange" do you?
Of course you don't.

Because you are not fucking insane.

Terry's Chocolate Orange profit forecasts are the only things that flatline throughout January to the end of November then shoot through the fucking roof for just one month allowing them to stay in business for the other eleven months of the year.

Terry's Chocolate Orange and Noddy Holder's bank balance.

Just those two.


"Put the heating on, Susan!"

But apparently, when they are just 29p we go fucking mental for bitter tasting spherical chocolate that has the aftertaste of a Glade Plug In.

According to the Daily Mail, who do make a lot of shit up to sell their rabbit cage-lining:
"There were reports of people rushing between up to FIVE stores to clear them out and make more of the deal"

See that, Lansley? Exercise!

People are running across town to get more fucking chocolate orange! Do you see? There's your answer.

Pork pies for a penny? See Grandad make the most of that new hip.

Tuppenny trifles?  Move out of the way!

Make kebabs 5p apiece and just watch those Midnight marathons.

The Mail goes on to say:
"One bargain hunter snapped up 192 chocolate oranges for just £56 - a saving of £472..."

A saving??

If you are spending £57 pounds on chocolate fucking oranges - let alone your usual FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY NINE POUNDS - then you want sectioning.

You need to be put away for your own good.

Either that or you're Dawn French.

The story was also covered in the equally risible hamster toilet The Express, only you may not have seen it as their front pages were obscured by Strictly Cunts Dancing and the offer a daily free pasty from Greggs.

But the message went unheeded by chocolate orange fanatics, despite support from the likes of The Sun's Page 3 girl Hollie, 20, from Manchester who 'said' she was "glad the nation has been told to cut out the equivalent of 17 million cheeseburgers from its daily diet." She said "As the proverb goes - don't dig your grave with a knife and fork." 

Wise words, Hollie, 20, from Manchester.

Although I'm not sure how I should take the health advice of a woman whose name makes her sound like a Pleasurebot from the future and who can't seem to wear clothes in October.

Maybe she was so against obesity she just forgot to put her top on?
That's probably it.
You do silly things when you've got your mind on ther things

But what about other famous tits?

Fat tongued celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has called the report "worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish."

In your face Lansley! Coming from a man who likes Toploader that is a fucking SLAM!

He said "The country's bill of health is shocking and it's not going to get any better over the next 30 years if a clearly defined plan of action isn't put into place soon..."

Then reminding us he once did something on telly about school dinners he said:

"Any one of us could go into any primary school and find eight year olds that have more creative solutions to these problems.."

I'm not sure about any one of us. That bloke off Coronation Street will have trouble for a start...

He then sang "Dancing In The Moonlight" and pointed out that Sainsbury's were doing a Buy One Get One Free on Cox's Pippins.... but, yes, their chocolate oranges were still nearly three quid.

Cheers Jamie.

This image honestly came from a website called Bell Percussion..!!

 Now fuck off back to your saucepan drumkit.

We all know that taking regular exercise, eating less and drinking more water than fizzy pop has its benefits.

Well, most of us do.... not this fucking idiot though.

You can read her depressing moronic, witless fucking tale here.. if you want.

The trouble is, the truth is fucking boring.
Like Jamie Oliver.
And his band.

We don't need money wasted on telling us this shit.

Booze - bad. Yes.
Sweets - bad. Yes.
Chips - bad. Yes.
Fags - bad. We fucking get it.

Stop telling us this like we are retarded goldfish. Have a plan of action that doesn't involve crisp salesman Gary Linekar asking us to collect tokens to buy a crashmat or having the Olympics sponsored by (and housing the World's Largest branch of) McDonalds.

Spend the money wisely, Government, tackle the big problem.

Tax McDonalds properly, keep a chocolate Orange ridiculously expensive, implement healthy food in schools and hospitals.

Go a step further, have fucking muesli vending machines if you like - just fucking do something useful like rather than waste all our fucking time and effort while you're sat around having roast swan at Mansion House with the bastards that make us want to comfort-eat in the first place.

Instead of cosying up to these pricks you could try and save the NHS?

Just some food for thought.

You fat cat twats.

Chins up!

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Have you noticed how humble everyone is right now?

So humble.

They all want your forgiveness for the wrong that you have perceived them to have done.

I'm not talking about those nauseating HSBC commericals where they use an Asian man's innovation of neon-zapping fireflies that he then goes on to make into fried, sugar-coated street-meats for children to enjoy (that's a metaphor you can work out for yourselves....).

No. I mean the real, heartfelt, humblingly-grovelly new techniques that may, or may not, be a result of the powers-that-be fucking up with no solution as to how to fix.

HSBC have been peddling that "we are all one world" shit for the better part of a decade, it's not fair to pick on them. Poor little HSBC. No, I'm talking about the other humble organisations.

Or at least the ones who still use language that is supposed to make us feel sorry for them rather than us.

British Airways, for example. Bless.

You remember British Airways?

They were aces. They pioneered bi-plane flight, They took in all those disparate, random, weirdy airlines and made them all really good and efficient. They had a Concorde once...

What? They fly to Blackpool now??

Forget the lawsuits, the union issues, the strikes, the people spending days upon days sleeping in their soulless Departure Lounges waiting for flights...

Look! Their Captains have new headbands on their hats!

It's all been sorted.

They are there to Serve.
How lovely.

They've told us they are the World's Favourite Airline.
It must be true.
They're so nice about it.

One of the main tools to hand for the New Humblers is the use of patriotic imagery, it evokes that mythological Dunkirk Spirit, that ethos of Make Do & Mend.

Or, as it has become these days, Make Do & Shut The Fuck Up.

It's all about having PRIDE in HEROES and COMMUNITY and BRITAIN.

It's why ITV has a gameshow all about nominating squaddies and firemen.

It's why Cheryl Cole detracts from her failed bid to crack the American entertainment market with a well-publicised trip to visit Our Brave Boys.

It's why everyone on the Halifax ad is in a communtiy choir.

It's why pornographer Richard Desmond has launched his Health Lottery.

They are giving something back. To the Country. To make us all feel proud and grateful again. Huzzah!

Or rather, they are keen to be seen to be giving something back.

All this despite the sacking of thousands of servicemen, the lack of after-care for wounded servicemen and their families, the dismantling of the NHS, the riots in our impoverished communities, a lack of investment in society and a government, media and establishment that seems to get more and more distant and corrupt day by day.

It's an age-old tactic to appeal to the nation's sense of civic and national pride while distracting from the reality of not actually giving a shit.

But Shush.
The Big People are pretending to be humble.

The Godfather of the New-Humble has to be the multibillionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Aw. He's humble alright.

How do we know?

Well, he told us he was. You can't get much more humble than somene telling you just how humble they are...

In fact he couldn't wait to tell us just how fucking humble he was.

 Well, he'd already planned the speech. He wasn't going to let the small fact that he was denied permission to say it stop him from saying it.

He even interrupted his own son - James, the swivelled-eyed chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, Europe, and Asia - during his stammering, amnesiac testimony into what a disgusting vicious, callous, privacy-intruding, exploitative organisation they run, to let us know JUST how humble he is about the accusations of hacking into the the phone messages of murder victims.

Truly humble.

He even put up a couple of million quid of his own money (IE, money made from the sales of material obtained through phone-hacking, the paparazzi, private investigators, pictures of tits, paying off call-girls' and rifling through people's dustbins), NOT THROUGH GUILT, but because he felt it was right.


According to Private Eye, he gave almost as much to Milly Dowler's family and their favourite charity as he gave in a pay-off to Rebekah Brooks, the editor in charge when all these supposed practices were allegedly going on.

Well, not him personally.
But someone at News International.
Not sure who.
I don't know who deals with the money-side of things.

I can't be expected to know that.... as poor old befuddled, custard-pie-attracting Rupert would probably stammer in his humblest voice.

There should be a statue of the cunt.

" I am truly hum.. hum.. Wendi! How do you say this word? Is it French?"

Recently, there was the sad news that the Big Kahuna of Apple had died.

Now, Steve Jobs did an awful lot to connect people around the globe, more than anyone ever, and it truly was a sad day that he passed away.

A visionary who gifted the world with handheld communications, portable music players.... all built in Chinese factories with no unionisation.

But he wore a polo neck, so he wasn't the face of corporate evil. He was like the Ben & Jerry's of computers.

Lose the suit. Get some Lennon specs. Jobs done!
 Try & forget the stranglehold Apple has on the communications market and the way they destroyed/revolutionised the music industry, think of all the shiny toys they gave us.

And the way they sold the same shiny toys year on year with just a different coloured casing - manufactured in China. By kids.

I'll probably get it in the neck including Steve Jobs as A) he died young and b) his corporation professed to unite mankind. But the fact is that they used a hippy ethos to sell mass-produced electronics, cobbled together by poorly paid children in factories with scant regard to worker's rights.

They're no different to Nike. They just pretend to like you a bit more and use folksy music in their ads.

Then there's the BBC, that once proud and great organisation which has been cowed by idiots in the past decade through a myriad of training schemes and public consultations and has recently released the recommendations of its own internal cost-cutting initiatives under the misnomer Delivering Quality First.

What an heroic ambition that appears to be.

To deliver quality, first.

Despite the fact that it means absolutely nothing on the surface, once you scratch that surface and put it through an Orwellian Language Manipulator you see that Delivering Quality First means "charging you the same licence fee, putting more repeats on the telly, cutting your local services to nothing and firing two thousand people from their jobs".

But not the ones who came up with the nonsensical phrase Delivering Quality First.

Nor the consultancy companies who would inspire such a phrase.

Nor the managers who implemented it.

No, the other ones. The fuckers that work for the company rather than let the company work for them.
You can disagree with what this man has allowed to be done to the BBC by going HERE
How the hell you're going to make anything of quality once you've cut resources by 20%, let alone deliver that quality before anyone else, is anybody's guess.

But if you disagree you are disloyal, unpatriotic and out for yourself.
You're rocking the boat.
You're spoiling everything for everyone else.
Don't you see that?
Shut up and eat your gruel.

Everyone else is.

This is the future.

(FUN FACT - did you know that George Orwell wrote his nightmarish vision of totalitarianism and doublethink just five years after working for the BBC propaganda unit? That is sadly fucking true.)

Even the goverment are getting in on the act, in these weirdly embaraassed-to-be-patriotic advertisements that are simultaneously PROUD but ashamed to be British.

What the hell do these posters even mean?
Are they really trying to take credit for history and nature??

And the word Britain couldn't be smaller if it was in a fucking microdot.

Hey ho! At least they made a good fist of it.

So long as you have a stab at Giving A Shit, so long as your logo harks at a more caring era of history (be it 1960's hippiedom for Apple or 1940's stoicism for the government and BA), so long as your language conceals your true purpose, so long as you look like a cross between a Cath Kidston tea-party and a wartime Keep Calm & Carry On poster, so long as you can hide your true purpose amidst a sea of caring, sharing, flag-waving, "We're-all-in-this-together" bullshit, then you too can give the illusion of being humble.

And what is more, my son, you can fleece the fuckers - and they'll thank you for it.

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Last weekend, as the unusual solar burst of Autumn sunshine started to cool, I decided to treat my beautiful tiny girlfriend and her beautiful tiny daughter to an afternoon at the circus.

I haven't been to the circus in about 30 years and can only grasp at glimmers of memories of what it was like. I remember the clowns, and I think there were some monkeys, but that's about it. I dimly remember the circus camping out at the playing fields across the main road from my house when I was about five years old, I think I went to see the caged animals with my older second-cousin Shaun, but I'm not sure if that happened or if it was a dream.

I certainly loved the circus. We all do. Even if we've never actually seen one in real life there's something about the whole spectacle of a circus that is hardwired into our DNA. We only have to hear the "March Of The Gladiators" (surely the most inappropriately and misleadingly titled piece of music since Michael Jackson sang "The Girl Is Mine"?) and we're ready to strap in for an afternoon of derring-do and theatrical acrobatics.

There were no animals at this particular circus which, on the one hand, I can understand but on the other leaves me feeling a little bit short-changed.

I completely understand the arguments against caging wild sub-Saharan and East Asian animals and taking them on a road trip around provincial English towns, but a small, vicious and selfish part of me wants to see an elephant being made to tiptoe on a coffee cup in a spangly headscarf.

Or a lion made to fear a chair.

Don't judge me!
You do too.

You don't want to think of the reality of Nelly The Elephant being whipped into submission and the resulting bruises being hastily covered with grey emulsion paint but deep, deep down you really want to see one of Nature's Giants do this....

Just me then....

Suit yerself.

So off we went with a trumpetty trump.
Trump. Trump. Trump.

(Sorry about that. I get nervous around clowns...)

Anyway, we got down to the circus which seemed so much smaller than I thought it would be. The Big Top taking up about as much room as a mid-level conference hall, and as it had no dancing ponies, chair-phobic lions or pirouetting pachyderms to house the rest of the camp was pretty much small scale too.

There would be a reason for this.... multi-tasking.

Inside the Big Top we were greeted by the sight of a large spherical steel cage, sitting ominously like the remnant of a sci-fi movie about prisons for the obese.

Once settled in our seats and, after successfully avoiding the eye of the barkers selling whizzing, flashing, whirling handheld neon crap and lengths of fur on a stick for a fiver a pop, we await the start of The Greatest Show On Earth!!

The ringmaster enters. A small, camp-looking Stuart Maconie lookalike in too much fake tan, eyeliner and hair gel welcomes us all with an unenthusisastic mid Atlantic drawl that denotes that this is the very final fucking performance in this particular location and belies the fact that he's done this job a million fucking times before.

He informs us that the steel cage is for the first act of the afternoon THE BULGARIAN MOTORCYCLE DISPLAY TEAM... a name that manages to simultaneously undercut the exotic origins of the team and reduce them to the status of a Lidl's own-brand version of the Red Devils.

That said, they were excellent.

Despite looking like the kind of chavvy scrambler-bike twats who pop a wheelie at the lights in most busy towns, they managed to pelt 360 degrees around that spherical prison at an impressive rate without so much as scraping their helmets on one another (no smut please, this was a children's show..).

After choking down a year's worth of heavy diesel fumes it was time for the next act, a rake-thin woman in a swimsuit and her gay disco-loving boytoy and their juggly clubs!

How do you kill a circus? Go for the juggler.

Jugglers are always a bit rubbish, but they did their tricks very well and distracted the audiences as the stagehands cleared away the big steel ball - which, I suppose is their only function.

Well, not their only function.... later the couple would turn up on a massive cantilevered balancing act and be introduced as a completely separate act.

And the woman sold burgers in the interval from a van in the tent.

See? Multi-tasking.

After the jugglers it was the time for the clowns. Or clown. Singular.

What can you say about clowns that hasn't been said a thousand times before?

"They are lovely, cuddly, sweet and funny."

That's not been said a thousand times before. Probably not even once. Clowns, as we all know, are to be feared and avoided. If terrible Stephen King film adaptations have taught us one thing it is this - avoid clowns.

Is it any wonder that one of the most unhinged, murderous, psychotic villains of 20th Century pop-culture is a clown?

As an aside, did you know that clowns have to register their unique look?

Each clown's theatrical make up is completely unique and has to be copyrighted.

On an egg.

You read that correctly, on an egg.

Clowns International, the oldest clown society in the world, houses hundreds of eggs that are decorated with the desired appearance of wannabe clowns.

Imagine working there. Imagine being in a room full of clown eggs. Imagine that. Now.

Or better still, imagine it when you're trying to sleep tonight.

A room. Full of eggs. With clown faces on them.

The braver ones among you may want to check if this is true, in which case I direct you here.

Don't say you weren't warned.

Clown Eggs.

So, yes, the clown comes on and he immediately starts picking on all the bald blokes in the audience. Hilariously polishing their heads, kissing them with his big clown lips on the forehead and the usual kind of thing that would normally get a grown man curled up at a kerbside dribbling his loose teeth free and clutching his fucking plums.

After some jolly tricks and encouraging us all to clap like mentalists to a tinny recording of some chart hit he does his plate spinning & potato juggling and the like and doesn't really outstay his welcome.

Before we know it, it's the interval, this is signalled by the Parade of Characters, a lacklustre affair in which most of the performers we have already seen are hidden away in Mickey Mouse, Hello Kitty & Kung Fu Panda outfits. We are told by Stuart Maconie's gay twin that the children can have their pictures taken with the Bulgarian Motorcyclists dressed as Minnie Mouse for just five pounds a pop.

Absolutely nobody takes them up on this offer and they stand in the ring for what seems like eternity.

Burgers sold, the acrobats return to the ring and continue in the same vein as before. Jumping, balancing, juggling, trampolining as masked Mexican wrestlers... y'know, the usual.

A geriatric Mexican man does a tightrope walk and manages to look more stable with shopping baskets on his feet, a blindfold over his head and balancing on a chair 40 foot in the air than when he comes down and has to take a bow.

Then the clown returns.

That's when things got uncomfortable. For me.

He starts his usual schtick and starts grabbing at some big, muscular, tattooed Dads in the audience, barking at them in a mixture of Spanish and Clown. He eventually gets three big rugby-looking dads out of the audience and parades them by, skipping, holding hands and looking embarrassed...

Then he stops.

Right in front of me.

My beautiful tiny girlfriend recoils.

My beautiful tiny girlfriend's beautiful tiny daughter squeals with delight.

He's not?

He wouldn't?

My new arch-nemesis - Chico Rico
He does.

El bastardo.

In the next ten minutes I am forced to dance around the Big Top, flapping my arms like a fairy, do a specatcularly unimpressive cartwheel and take part in an elaborate trick where I balance the weight of three big lads from Pontefract on my knees whilst having my ears pulled out like Dopey the dwarf and being kissed by an overweight garrulous Spaniard in full face paint.

The Murnkey loves this. She can't wait to tell everyone from school the next day. And she doesn't have to. At the end of the show (the last bits being an impressive illusion show by Gay Stuart and the girls that were selling the popcorn to a very heavy-handed mix of James Bond themes and another routine by Bastardo The Clown) the Murnkey's best friend turns up and they giggle about my star turn. They're going to have to tell Louise about this. And Isaac. And Logan. And Roshna. And their teacher.
And... ah, you get the gist.

After the circus we walk home, the Murnkey is now a high-wire act and balances on the tops of walls. I ask her what the best bit of the show was and she plumps for the appearance of Hello Kitty, which I find insulting given my bravaro performance, but prrobably not as galling if I'd been the blindfolded acrobat who fell thirty feet of the spinning Pendulum of Death and nearly got his head taken off.

I ask my beautiful tiny girlfriend if I'd made a fool of myself and if my cartwheel was any good.

"It was probably the second-worst out of the four" she replies.


Meaning it was the worst. Balls.

The next day my beautiful tiny girlfriend is on a training course so I go to school to pick up the Murnkey. As I sit there on the small wall in the playground I wonder how many people will have seen me make an absolute cock of myself. How many times will I walk through Pontefract and have people think "There's the bloke who pranced like a fairy and couldn't cartwheel" or "He's the one who collapsed cos he couldn'nt even hold the other blokes up.."

Ah, don't be stupid. Hardly anyone was there. They were taking the bloody tent down as we were queueing to exit! No-one saw you. Relax.

The doors of the clasroom open. The children gather to see their parents. The teacher lets them out a couple at a time. The sun shines.

Two little lads skip past me with their arms out-stretched, flapping them up & down like fairies.

They make eye contact, run away and giggle.



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