Tuesday, 29 December 2009

You sinner



At lunch today I went to the bank to pay a cheque in.

It does get more interesting than that.

Anyway, I looked out of the window and saw a man on the opposite side of the road holding a sign which said ‘you sinner’

This, naturally, held my gaze.

After a while he saw me looking, and we made eye contact. At which point he started to cross the road.

The thought that he might be making a beeline for me entered my head, but I dismissed it.

Surely he wouldn’t come into a crowded bank, walk into the middle of a bank queue and evangelise to me.

Surely.

Well, I learned something today. You should never underestimate someone who carries a sign saying ‘you sinner’ around with them. They don’t stick to the received social mores.

So in he came.

He walked up to the front of the queue and asked me, – really sheepishly I might add – “Did you...did you erm, know, you’re a sinner?”

I said, “You don’t sound so sure yourself”

He laughed nervously and then went away.

This is where it gets good.

As I was being served I heard a bit of confused conversation coming from the front end of the branch.

Turns out, after finishing his very brief chat with me, he’d sat himself down at an empty desk, where the mortgage advisers usually sit – none of the staff had noticed – and people were coming in and going to him for mortgage and financial advice.

As I was leaving I saw a couple come in and say to him “Excuse me can you tell me about the interest rates on your savings accounts”

He replied “No, but I can tell you about our Lord Jesus Christ”

Beautiful!

If that happened in a sitcom it would be deemed implausible. My life is an implausible sitcom. Official.

One more thing that I must share with you.

We were watching Bid TV last night (yes, again) and there was a lady standing in for Paul Ross, hosting his DVD evening for him.

She was trying to sell this:



But couldn’t stop laughing at it.

At one point she was muttering, through the tears of laughter, “I can’t do this...I can’t do this”

After a while she started fiddling with her ear piece and pulled herself together.

I think she was getting a telling off.

Just goes to show, it takes a real pro like Paul, to peddle really bad box sets and not laugh at them.

She could also learn a thing or two from Peter Simon, who managed to sell a toilet seat with a picture of a dog’s face on it without so much as a snigger.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Coming soon to DVD...me!



This time last year I performed at a couple of Robin Ince’s Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People shows.

Look, there I am now. Under some stage lights that are conspiring to make me look ginger.



Well, the second night was filmed for posterity – which is bloody typical as I had a much better gig on the first night. I know, I know, excuses schmexcuses – and is now available as a DVD from gofasterstripe.com

So, you know, buy it and that.

Not because I’m on it (unless you’re my mum) but because properly good people like Stewart Lee and Richard Herring are on there. And the money goes to charidee.

I won’t be performing during this year’s run. I couldn’t make the dates I was offered.

I saw Robin last night at the launch party of the Atheist’s Guide to Christmas and he kindly asked if I could do any of the other dates, but I’m pretty much back to back between now and Christmas and even if I weren’t, it’s a bit late for Robin to have to mess around with his running orders.

I also got to thank him for all his help during the Face of Kinder competition.

The massive spike in my blog hits that you can see here:

That was down to Robin Ince and Peter Serafinowicz circulating the link one evening over on Twitter.

And of course as we all know, it paid off!

Anyway, one last quick thing before I sign off.

I am apparently going to be on Radio 5 on Friday talking about my Amazon reviews.

I’m not sure of the details yet, but will post them here when I have them.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen...Paul Ross

Warning. This blog is very Paul Ross heavy.

So, that's the health and safety out the way. On with the blog.

Last week I spent 32 hours watching Most Haunted Live.

And it wasn't the huge waste of time that it might initially appear to be. For you see, this 32 hours of bogus ghost hunting was presented by none other than Paul Ross.



I always watch it for that very reason. He never disappoints.

Last year for example, he got called upon to do a lone vigil.

Here is the moment that his photo was selected by the 'ghost' (or production team to be precise) during a seance.



He then had to go to a morgue and lie in one of the drawers.

Now he was ok at first...



But after a while he started to panic...



In the end he ran out in a fright. Yvette asked him what had happened. His response? - "My hand was warm and I'm not wearing a glove"

Spooky.

Anyway, this year he outdid himself.

He got called to do a seance.



It started off fine.



But, oh dear, what's this. Is something coming through?





Paul turns to the team and announces that he is 'feeling sad'...



And he just keeps getting sadder...



And sadder...



And sadder...



And sadder still...



The emotion!



But wait, what's this now?



Apparently the audience have sensed a breeze, there's a ghost in the room!



This is terrifying.



Look into those eyes. Now you know fear.



I'll leave you with my favourite photo of the night. His scary look to camera.



He knows how to create an atmosphere.

Bet you wished you'd watched it now eh?

Right that's enough about Paul Ross. What I need you to do now, is go to my previous blog and vote for Isla, a little girl with Down's Syndrome, to be the Face of Kinder.

Please do this. It would be a great stride torwards more positive perceptions of disability.

Thanks in advance.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Last ever Viz Blog



After three years, this will my last Viz blog.

We've decided to call it a day and focus on our other writing work.

It's been really fun and James and I are very proud to have Viz on our CV, but it's time to move on.

As we've all but stopped writing for Viz, we only got one letter in this month:

Ladies. Save a fortune on expensive fashion magazines by flicking through the frock section of the Littlewoods catalogue and imagining your own facile, pointless editorial.

And here are some that I sent in over the past couple of weeks. They may crop up in the next issue:

According to adverts for the Iphone, “if you want to tell it who to call, just say Dave Taylor”. The thinking behind that function seems rather flawed...

Further to the letter above, yes, it bloody well is flawed. I’m getting calls day and night from Iphone users and it’s starting to get annoying now. From Mr David Taylor

Kerry Katona has been axed as the face of Iceland, because of her drug habit. Judging from the people I see shopping in there, I would have thought this would make her the perfect candidate.

Alan Sugar was criticising the Government recently, calling their record on apprenticeships 'scandalous'. He can hardly talk, they've offered 225,000 placements in the past 10 years; he's given out about 4.

Is it me or are people moaning about Christmas coming earlier and earlier each year, earlier and earlier each year?...

The Catholic church is now offering a service where worshippers can light candles online. How dangerous – they could burn the internet down!

It’s funny how people see things differently. For instance, I think the quiet carriage is an area set aside for relative silence. But the man opposite me thinks it’s a place where you alternate between humming and reading your paper aloud to unwilling strangers.

Today's Jeremy Kyle show topic was 'My ex won't accept I'm sleeping with her mum’. Oh dear, how terribly unreasonable some people are.

People in my office. When trying to ditch someone who is right behind you at the lifts, pretend to suddenly not have any peripheral vision, that way they will think that, rather than you being a twat, you just didn’t see them. Note that this will only work if you don’t get caught pressing the buttons furiously as they prise the doors open.

I went to Comet today and they were selling 'undercover dishwashers'. I wonder what kind of espionage requires one of those?

Today I discovered that the plural of 'text messages' is 'texes'. The things you learn watching The Jeremy Kyle Show...

Amazon.co.uk. If someone purchases an exercise bike from your website, you should probably recommend them nothing but exercise bikes thereafter. It’s something you buy on a regular basis after all.

Apparently this summer iPhones were exploding in the heat. Oh dear, do they not have an app for that? (said in smug Iphone advert voice)

Bid TV were selling a watch recently “that will cheer you up just from looking at it”. I snapped it up and found that it did in fact bring a smile to my face whenever I looked at it. However it does make me look insensitive when I am doing my job – “Time of death...chuckle, chuckle”

I did laundry for the first time recently and was shocked at having to separate the whites from the colours. How are we ever going to have peace in this world if even our laundry can’t get on?

Homeowners. Don’t let Paul Young put his hat down in your house. If his songs are to be believed, further to doing this, he’ll then claim the property as his.

'Paris Hilton’s Best Friend Forever’, a show where she searches for a best friend forever, is back for a second series. Which is ironic...

I saw a sign outside the local Church which said ‘Would you like to sing in a voluntary choir?’ Is there any other kind?

Our time with Viz was rounded off nicely when, this week, we received this year's annual in the post, which has some of our stuff from 2008-09 in.



And that, as they say, is that.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Sudoku

What is it about Sudoku and hyperbole?

Observe.

Killer Sudoku



Fiendish Sudoku



Extreme Sudoku



Dangerous Sudoku



No other type of puzzle is this overhyped.

Why?

And how?

Whatever way you look at it, this is as exciting as it’s going to get:



Actually I tell a lie. There’s ‘Sudoku for Sailors’



Yes really.

And I quote: “This is the second in our new range of Sudoku gift books. Others in the line include Sudoku for Bird Lovers, Sudoku for Horse Lovers, Sudoku for Dancers, with many more planned. Send us a request!”

Right, I’m off to pitch all kinds of inappropriate Sudoku spin off books to them. Well, they did ask.

Ta ta!

Friday, 11 September 2009

The Not So Quiet Zone



I travelled to work today in the quiet carriage, or the ‘Quiet Zone’ as South West Trains calls it, a la The Crystal Maze.

For all you non-commuters, the Quiet Zone...

(I am about to insult your intelligence – it’s obvious what the Quiet Zone is, but anyway)

...is the one carriage in the train where you can (in theory) escape grown adults who are incapable of sitting quietly for 20 minutes. You know, like a small child or a dog.

Sadly sitting in the Quiet Zone does not always work. Because in addition to being annoying, these people are also extremely stupid, and will often wander mindlessly into the Quiet Zone whereupon they will proceed to be anything but quiet.

So, have you guessed what happened today yet?

I think I’ve dropped enough hints.

I was sitting in the Quiet Zone, using one of the only periods of peace and quiet I get during my day, to read.

Two men got on at the stop after mine. They sat down opposite me, talking loudly. About nothing. At length.

The usual thing then started to happen.

I’d start to read a sentence, realise I hadn’t taken it in as I couldn’t concentrate, and then have to go back to the beginning of the sentence and begin again.

And repeat, ad infinitum.

I’d been whizzing through my book until then. But when they got on, I stalled.

After a few minutes I had worked up the courage to ask them to move, but at this point one of them got a paper out.

This came as a great relief.

I’ve seen this a number of times. Men who are forced to take the same train to work usually have a bit of a perfunctory chat before sticking their head in the paper so as to politely ignore each other for the rest of the journey.

It didn’t pan out.

One of the men decided to read the paper to the other man, offering a commentary after each story.

The paper in question was The Daily Star.

Imagine the stories.

And then imagine the commentary.

At this point I felt I had to say something. But then the train stopped and one of them got off.

This came as a great relief.

Without his friend to talk to, this man would surely shut up.

It didn’t pan out.

The man didn’t seem to need anyone specific to talk to, and carried on reading the paper out loud and offering commentary.

The person who sat down opposite him at the next stop was furnished, apropos of nothing, with the useless information that Paul Daniels had made a statement about Derren Brown’s lottery trick.

Thankfully the man stopped reading the paper out loud after a while.

And chose to hum to himself instead.

Splendid.

I wouldn’t usually blog about something as mundane as my commute, but I felt this freakish behaviour needed to be documented for posterity.

Moving on. My last blog on the subject of writer’s block (do you see what I did there?) which absurdly garnered more comments than other blogs where I actually wrote something, did actually have some pertinence.

I am currently trying to work out my set for the Godless shows in December.

I used up all my (half decent) Christmas material last year, and am currently coming up blank on what to say this time.

That’s not strictly true actually.

An idea keeps popping into my head, and I keep dismissing it.

The idea is, to do a deliberately bad ventriloquist act - with the Baby Jesus as my puppet.

We shall see.

Whilst we’re on the subject, I recently stumbled across this link to my Little Atoms interview at the Godless Shows in 2008. I’m 19 or so minutes in.

Oh and I’ve done some more Amazon reviews.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

And I'm back

Just a quick blog to say – I’m back!

Yes, the move went very well, thanks for asking.

We’re still without sofas though. They take 6-8 weeks to arrive, so we probably won’t have those until October.

A tedious detail there, which had no business appearing in a blog, sorry.

So, moving on. What to tell you?...

Well, although a lot has technically happened - and I have been so busy that I am still in physical pain - not much of it would qualify as interesting or entertaining.

The only things of note that I can think to blog about are:

1. I popped into Harper Collins recently to record my chapter from the Atheist’s Guide to Christmas for Itunes. Amazing how you can forget how to speak when you are required to do so on command. Got there in the end though and I’ll post the link here when I have it.

2. I did a gig the other night which a friend of mine came along to, during the course of which I did my Quiz Call material. My friend then proceeded to watch Quiz Call on the following Friday and won £150. He got to speak to Chris Hopkins too! That’s better than the money in my opinion.

3. And finally the September issue of New Humanist is out shortly, with part 2 of God Trumps thrown in as a free gift. Here’s a sneak peek of the front cover.



Ok, that’ll do for now.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Now Show & Viz





It's been quite a week.

On Tuesday we went to the BBC for a writing meeting with The Now Show team.

The meeting lasted two hours and afterwards we headed home - via our solicitors where we exchanged contracts on our new house, yay - but couldn't focus on that for long as we had two hours in which to write all of our material.

Phew.

We managed to put together five pages - surprised ourselves there - and I am reliably informed by my dad that our stuff made it into the show as our names were mentioned at the end.

You can listen again here. I'm just about to myself...

Meanwhile, when it came to Viz we got nothing in again, except letters.

This is probably the last month we'll submit features.

We'll still do letters and tips, but we can't afford to spend so much time on work that only gets used on occasion.

The end of an era *sigh*...

Anyway, here are the letters that got in:

I saw a sign recently that read 'Church may just surprise you'. They were right. I went along and it was far more tedious than I had imagined.

At the end of this year's Big Brother launch show, someone elected to get their eyebrows shaved off and have glasses and a moustache drawn on their face in permanent marker pen every day until further notice, just to earn a place on the show. At which point the credits rolled and they put up the slogan 'In loving memory of Jade Goody'. How very moving.

Everyone keeps saying that Madonna is using her fame to steal children from developing countries. That’s not true. She uses a cage on wheels disguised as a travelling sweetshop like every other self respecting child catcher.

I saw an advert today which said that if I buy the Daily Star this week I'll get the Daily Express thrown in. To my mind, that's more of a threat than a special offer.

Pizza Hut are advertising a Terminator themed pizza. I realise they may have some sort of promotional deal going with the film-makers, but unless this pizza comes back from the future to kill you it's a very tenuous link indeed.

I was watching God TV recently and they were having an 'understanding male homosexuality conference'. 'Understanding' in this context seemed to mean 'judging harshly'.

And as ever, here are the ones that didn't make it:

I saw in the news this week that some people in Ireland have been going a bit mad over a tree stump because it looks like the Virgin Mary. The local priest was quite skeptical about it though, saying "It's just a tree. You don't worship a tree." That’s a bit rich coming from someone who worships an invisible super being.

I saw that holy tree stump story. The local dioceses issued a statement saying that they were wary of it because they wanted to avoid anything which might lead to superstition. What, like religion?

Whilst flicking through the channels recently I stumbled across a conversation taking place between two Big Brother contestants. One of them said, “I’m Church of England, does that make me a Christian?” If you have to ask then no you’re probably not.

Today I got an email from a market research company saying “We would like to know your opinions about pens” I have to say I’ve never really thought about it before. And even now that I’m thinking about it, I still don’t know. It’s quite hard to have one.

I walked past a Church yesterday and they had a sign up outside which said; "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever." They say that like it’s a good thing. He should really update his image every few years. Then he’d be as popular as people like Kylie.

Facebook today suggested that I 'become a fan' of Michael Jackson. Bit late for that isn’t it?

God TV showed a curing homosexuality conference recently. The speaker, a reformed homosexual, said he was married to a woman, still fancied men but was trying to ignore that, and resisted temptation by having a porn filter on his computer. What a success story!

On this week’s Big Question’s there was a woman being interviewed whilst wearing a full burkha. Nicky Campbell said: “So you’re wearing this because you’re afraid I’ll be attracted to you?” She said: “Yes, exactly”. Someone has a high opinion of themselves!

Further to the letter above, rather than her sounding generally vain, her choice of words seemed to infer that she was actually specifically worried about Campbell. Can’t say I blame her.

Bid TV were selling an item called ‘Beverly Hills Socks’ last night. Unfortunately this brand name was just a way of making people think they were buying posh socks, and they weren’t, as I had hoped, a pair of crime fighting socks who went about their jobs in very different ways, but ultimately came to understand each other and worked together to win. A shame.

I saw a poster on the train recently which said ‘There’s never been a better time to discover Kent’. I disagree. I think the best time to have discovered Kent was 2.5 million years ago during the Paleolithic Era when it was first occupied.

Apparently Muslims are refusing, on religious grounds, to use alcohol based hand gels to stop the spread of swine flu. I seriously doubt that when he banned booze, Allah had Carex gel in mind.

When they travelled forward in time to the year 3000, boy-band Busted brought back the news that in the future their song of the same name had gone multiplatinum, and that everyone had bought their seventh album. So far their song, which has been out of the charts for 6 years, has only shifted 165,000 units. And they split up with only two albums to their name. I know they have 991 years to remedy this, but it still looks doubtful if you ask me.

Ladies. Save money on expensive fashion magazines, by flicking through the frock section of the Littlewoods catalogue and imagining your own facile, pointless editorial.

Interflora call themselves ‘the flower experts’ so I popped into one of their shops and asked the assistant what pollination method an Alstroemeria uses – entomophilous or anemophilous. They didn’t know what I was talking about. Experts my arse.

With their new website - www.bootscare.com - Boots have managed to make it look less like they care, and more like they’re stirring up some sort of footwear panic. I haven’t visited it yet so who knows, they might well be.

There was a headline in the paper recently which said “Dad Who Chose Prayer Over Doctors ‘Shocked' by Daughters Death”. Indeed. Weren’t we all?...

I saw a headline this week which said, “Iraqi bishop says church bomb explosion came after prayers for peace at Mass” Now, either God doesn’t exist or he has superb comic timing.

There was a woman on Jeremy Kyle this week who stood accused of being a prostitute behind her husband’s back, something that she strongly denied and had a perfectly good explanation for. You see the reason she got arrested for prostitution was because she was standing in the red light district. Next to a prostitute. She didn’t say why.

Peter Simon was trying to sell a crucifix pendant on Bid TV last night. When he started to run out of things to say, he blurted out: “It doesn’t matter who your God is - it’s gorgeous” Strangely philosophical.

I saw a headline this week which said ‘Las Vegas woman sees Jesus on toilet seat’. You’d think he’s have the sense to shut the door when he’s doing his business wouldn’t you?

The Pope has said that his guardian angel was “clearly acting on superior orders" when he let him fall and break his wrist last month. Wow. Even God doesn’t like him.

Given that ‘Compare the Market’ have been around for some years now, I think it is quite rich of that meerkat to complain about people visiting his similarly named website by accident. If anyone has been plagiarised it is them. He should have bought a more distinctive domain name.

Further to the letter above, I completely agree. He claims to be irritated by people mixing up his website with that comparison website, but he has practically the same web address and his jingle utilises exactly the same tune and structure as that of his rival. He alone is responsible for all this confusion, nobody else.

Further to the letters above, you shouldn’t knock that meerkat. I’m quite a dull and tedious person, now thanks to him I can now just say 'simples' in lieu of a sense of humour.

There’s a self storage company in our town which has the first ‘S’ from its sign missing. It’s been like that for ages, and they haven’t attempted to rectify it. Accordingly I’m starting to think that this was not the act of humorous vandalism I had first thought, but rather that they’re actually storing elves in there.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Peter Simon

A few months ago Bid TV started following me on Twitter and we got into a conversation about my love for late night Bid TV presenter Peter Simon.

I chanced my arm and asked them for a signed photo which, I am pleased to announce, arrived yesterday.

You should have seen me. I was overjoyed.

The picture speaks for itself, so I’ll just leave you to drink it in:

Friday, 17 July 2009

God and the Hoff



A blasphemous blog title I know.

After all, most people would argue that the Hoff is God, and that implying otherwise by referring to the existence of other deities, particularly on David’s birthday – Hoffmas Day – is heretical.

But don’t fret, because where this blog is concerned, for ‘God’ you can read ‘God related stuff’.

There is no God besides Hasselhoff.

More of him later...

Now, in the spirit of being slightly less vague and rambling, I’ll actually tell you what that ‘God related stuff’ is.

The editor of New Humanist – Caspar Melville – and I, are going to be recording an interview tomorrow evening about God Trumps.

The interview will be airing on the Sunday programme, on Radio 4 at 7:10am this Sunday (funnily enough, given the programme title).

If, like me, you can’t contemplate getting up that early on a weekend, then you will be able to listen again here.

Since they were made into a playable pack recently, feedback on the God Trumps from media types has been good.

Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow said: “God trumps are marvellous, an absolute coup. They are positively iconic."

And Alok Jha, The Guardian science correspondent, said "They're the best things I've EVER seen!"

Hurrah! Now back to Hasselhoff.

My friend Layla has a friend who knows him.

This in itself is pretty good.

But better still, Layla has two tickets for Hoff’s birthday bash in London tonight, and one of them had my name on it.

I say had because unfortunately I have two gigs tonight and I didn’t feel right blowing them out.

Not even for the Hoff. What a sacrifice.

I am undoubtedly the Jesus to his God.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Dogs in Hats



It’s been an expensive week.

I’ve paid out a £799 mortgage arrangement fee, a £192 valuation fee and £330 to a mechanic to replace my starter motor.

It blew on Friday night and left us standing around for over an hour, just yards from the curry house we were on our way over to.

We managed to have our curry in the end though, by push starting the car up the road.

Hunger; it can move mountains.

Anyway, with all these thoughts of money (and how I am haemorrhaging it) it occurred to me that I should share my credit crunch busting top tip with you.

I do this whenever I need an extra 25-30 quid here and there. Accordingly, I will be doing it like mad over the next few days.

Simply send an email to the letters pages of Take a Break, Chat, Woman's Own, Pick Me Up, all of those kind of magazines, attaching a picture of a dog with a hat on, accompanied by a short sentence along the lines of "Look at my dog – he's wearing a hat"

If they print it – which they will; they love that sh*t – then they will send you £25-£30.

You can find a limitless supply of dogs in hats at dogswearinghats.com

This method of raising extra cash also works with pictures of people drunk on holiday, out on a hen night, or wearing fancy dress.

I’ve done this at least 12 times. If I do it a million more times, I could retire off the back of it.

Oh, and finally, the third instalment of my MENCAP blog has been uploaded to the families section of the website.

Over and out...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Madeleine McCann?



Paul at New Humanist twittered (it’s young person terminology – keep up!) something recently that made me laugh:

@NewHumanist: Just doing a web stats check. Pleased to see 3 people visited our blog yesterday after Googling "nun porn"

(For other such musings, follow New Humanist on Twitter by visiting this link)

Anyway, it got me thinking. I have an analytics tool set up for my blog as well. So I went and saw just what kind of Google searches had led people to my blog.

It seems I have had a lot of accidental visitors!

"american guy talking about the meat van” – Intriguing

“comedian stress in squirrels” – Confusing

“christina martin i want to die” – Morbid

“scary lady comedian faces” – Charming

“goose costume sale” – No idea

“morrisons advert potatoes” – Even less idea

"popular television show was the woman from the morrisons advert about the potatoes in?" – And again!

“what comedians own dogs?” – I don’t own a dog, or know any comedians who do

“madeleine mccann” – No comment

“bibleopoly instructions” – Someone genuinely owns Bibleopoly?!

“christina martin paul ross” – We are one at last!

“how to meet chris de burgh” – I wish I knew...

“humunga tits” – I don’t want to know

“indians are idiots”I can explain!

“mario online nudity games”
“nude tiger woods pga tour 08”
“tiger woods golf characters nude”
“princess peach and daisey having sex together”

I think the flurry of pervy computer game references came from here.

“sexy magic assistant pic”I blame Paul Daniels

“mong jokes” – Hopefully the idiot who searched this found my blog about how repugnant jokes like that are

In other news, the second in my series of MENCAP blogs is up. You can follow them here.

And finally I got the following letters in the month’s Viz:

My DVD rental service recently recommended me 'Most Haunted Series 3' based on the fact that I liked 'Monty Python Series 3'. I think they’re focussing on the wrong aspect. I’m not going to automatically like the third series of any given show.

You never see one of those pirate DVD warnings on pirated DVDs do you? They're targeting the wrong people if you ask me.

I once received a birthday card from my aunt after my uncles had died. My aunt instead of not sending it, had chosen to scrawl over my deceased uncle’s signature in red pen, which incidentally, made it look like she had perhaps killed him. Anyway, has anyone received a more sinister birthday greeting?

Here are the ones that didn’t make it (not as many this month as I have been stupidly busy – and there won’t be many next month either as James and I are in the process of buying our first house!)

Our local Sainsbury's have rebranded the moving walkway between the store and the car park, 'The Travelator'. And what do you know, despite its new pro-wrestler name, it's no more exciting to use than it was before.

During a recent eviction episode, Davina McCall advised Big Brother viewers to 'use their vote wisely'. I can't think how one would use a Big Brother vote wisely, other than not casting one.

I saw an advert today which said that if I buy the Daily Star this week I'll get the Daily Express thrown in. To my mind, that's more of a threat than a special offer.

Pizza Hut are advertising a Terminator themed pizza. I realise they may have some sort of promotional deal going with the film-makers, but unless this pizza comes back from the future to kill you it's a very tenuous link indeed.

I was listening to a radio phone in on the topic of 'greatest disappointments' recently. A man called in and nominated Stone Henge, because it was 'just a load of stones', the Pyramids because they were 'just a bunch of pyramids' and the Mona Lisa because it was 'just a painting'. He must spend his life in a perpetual state of disappointment, if things just being what they are is irksome to him.

I was watching God TV recently and they were having an 'understanding male homosexuality conference'. 'Understanding' in this context seemed to mean 'judging harshly'.

At the end of this year's Big Brother launch show, someone elected to get their eyebrows shaved off and have glasses and a moustache drawn on their face in permanent marker pen every day until further notice, just to earn a place on the show. At which point the credits rolled and they put up the slogan 'In loving memory of Jade Goody'. How very moving.

Jeremy Kyle Show guests. Save yourself the trouble of going on national television to establish the paternity of your children, by keeping the amount of people you sleep with at once to at least single figures.

Office workers. Listening to Eye of the Tiger on your Ipod whilst doing a data entry task instantly transforms the experience from mundane chore to upbeat 1980's movie montage.

I recently signed up to become an organ donor. The way I see it, I won’t be playing on it anymore once I’m gone, and even though it’s just a second hand Hammond, someone might want it.

Further to the letter above. You want to be careful with those organ donation people. I kindly offered my Wurlitzer to them, and they rather ungraciously sent me a letter asking which bits of me they could cut out when I’m dead. They’re sick!

I think the comedian Steve Punt should front a TV show called ‘It’s Worth a Punt – with Steve Punt’. I don’t know what format it would follow, or what it would be about but it’s a good start.

I saw a sign recently which said 'Church may just surprise you'. They were right. I went along and it was far more tedious than I had even dared to imagine.

Monday, 6 July 2009

'Blog' blog

I now have a blog over on the families section of the MENCAP website.



It’s all about growing up with a disabled sibling.

The first instalment went up today and there are 6 more entries to follow that will be added over the course of the month.

Do check out all the other blogs in the section. They give a real insight into living with disability, something that isn’t often documented.

And while we’re on the subject of disability, I need a favour.

Mencap is holding an event in Parliament with Phil Hope MP, the Government Minister for Care Services, to talk about the future of support for people with a learning disability.

Government funding of vital services is failing to keep up with rapidly increasing demand and the most basic help (for people to get dressed or washed) is being taken away.

It is crucial that as many MPs as possible come to speak up for people with a learning disability so please invite your MP by following this link.

The email is already drafted for you; you just need to hit send.

It will only take you a couple of seconds but could make a massive difference. Thanks!

And finally, here is a sneak preview of the front cover of the coming month’s New Humanist:



The issue will include the first set of God Trumps.

If you want to get your hands on your own pack of God Trumps, you’ll need to subscribe by following this link.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A Night of 400 Billion Stars



Couple of things.

First of all, An Atheist Guide to Christmas is available for pre-order.



I’ve written a contribution, as have many other, better, and more well-known people like Richard Herring, Charlie Brooker, Richard Dawkins and Ben Goldacre.

And secondly, last night I performed at a Night of 400 Billion Stars at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London.

It was a really fun gig in aid of the Rationalist Association, the organisation which publishes New Humanist.

They were giving out free issues as the audience left, and were encouraging people to subscribe by telling them they’d get a free pack of my God Trumps.

Robin Ince played a few rounds of God Trumps with the audience between acts to promote them, which I watched from backstage. Very surreal!

Anyway, if you couldn’t make it down, here’s a transcript of my set. Remember, it’s how I tell them:

(I had considered opening with “Is this still a physics night or has it been commuted to a Michael Jackson special” but thought better of it)

Hello! Do you like my tights?

(In honour of the theme of the night I wore sparkly silver tights)

I wore them because they looked like the kind of tights people might wear in outer space, or the future.

So anyway, yes, comedy, comedy about physics...

Ok, I’ve got one;

What do you get when you cross observed frequency and actual frequency?

...and the speed of sound, the velocity of the observer and the velocity of the source?

The apparent (observed) frequency of an object in motion.

Yeah. Physics jokes. Hard to write.

Although if you’re familiar with the principles of the Doppler Effect you’ll probably be chuckling away to yourself, because you’ll know I should have added that if the distance between the source and observer is decreasing, then you’ll need to adjust your equation, forward slash, joke.

Just a bit of fun.

Just a bit of fun. With physics. Of a Monday. Hmm.

I actually Googled physics jokes before the gig – to see what one would look like – and found a website which uses physics jokes to teach physics.

What they do is they have the joke, like this:

Question: What did one quantum physicist say when he wanted to fight the other quantum physicist?

Answer: Let me atom

Right, and then underneath it says ‘click here for an explanation’ – as well you might.

You click through and it says “atom should be read here as ‘at him’ as in ‘let me at him’” – just explaining the pun there – and then it goes on to explain what an atom is.

Hilarious and educational.

There was also “What was the name of the famous electricity detective?” “Sherlock Ohms”

Ohms. Ohms. You know, like an Ohm.

You then click through, there’s a laborious explanation of the pun and you learn what an Ohm is.

Not a method of teaching you see often. I wonder why.

So you all like physics yeah? All of you? Wow there’s loads of you. That’s...wow. You all like it?...

I hate physics.

It's rubbish.

I realise this might sound odd coming from someone standing on stage at an event which is ostensibly a celebration thereof but, we’re in a credit crunch. A gig’s a gig.

So, yes, I hate physics and my reasons are threefold, as all good reasoning systems should be.

Firstly, before physics came along, everything was really good.

The Universe was Earth centric which was lovely. Made me feel really important. And God was up there in His Heavens, which I think was the clouds or outer space or something.

But thanks to physics we now know that the Earth goes round the Sun and that there’s nothing up there except condensation and vast nothingness.

Thanks for that!

You happy?

Although I’m not convinced about Heaven not being real. Because Nicky Campbell, and he’s off Watchdog so he should know, said that Heaven is real on last week’s Big Questions.

And better than that, animals join us in Heaven.

I suppose you’ll want to spoil that with your physics now won’t you?

He had a vicar on the panel who took animal prayer groups. Yes really. And she confirmed that animals do go to Heaven. Then Nicky asked “what’s the species cut off point? Do wasps get in?” And she said “Yes. Wasps do get in. Although I don’t claim to understand the logistics of it”

That’s good. She’s reserving judgment there. Not just saying any old thing.

Secondly, I don’t like physics because the Bible clearly states that the Earth is flat, fixed and at the centre of the Universe. And other such things that have since been disproved by science such as women being made out of left over ribs.

And it’s very embarrassing for religious leaders like the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope. No wonder the Pope always looks so stressed. He has to defend his, increasingly spurious corner, against all your ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ with a book wherein a man has an argument with a donkey. A talking donkey. Where if a woman intercepts in a fight situation and grabs testicles she should get her hands chopped off. And where God pops down – you know, like he used to – and advises people on how to bake bread.

It’s in Ezekiel; “Prepare and eat this food as you would barley cakes...bake it over a fire using human dung”

At which point the Israelites go “oh no way, yuck!” But in biblical speak of course.

And then God says “All right” – I love that! The idea of God saying “all right (calm down)” – “All right, you may use cow dung instead of human dung”

God there, popping down to tell people how best to cook bread and with what kind of excrement.

This is the same God who didn’t ‘pop down’ when there was a holocaust going on. Weird.

And my third and final reason for not liking physics is Mr Potts, my GCSE physics teacher. But I won’t go into that here. You really had to be there.

The one thing I do like about physics is the possibility of time travel. And I was reading in the Metro recently, yes, the Metro. They are a good newspaper. I was reading that time travel is possible!

“Scientists have discovered that time travel is possible, but, quantum theory does not allow for paradoxical situations, what this means in lay terms is that you would not be able to go back and change your future”.

A shame.

Then the journalist felt it necessary to add:

“This theory makes a nonsense of the adventures of Michael J Fox in the Back to the Future movies"

Do you see? Do you see what your physics has done? It’s made Michael J Fox look a right twat.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Take a letter Miss Jones



I carry a writing pad with me wherever I go, and from time to time I'll note down funny or strange letters that I've seen in tabloid newspapers.

I've compiled quite a few recently, and thought I'd share some of my favourites here:

If children think themselves old enough to get pregnant, they are old enough to be made to give birth, with the fathers made to watch and the babies given up for adoption. Perhaps then they won't be doing it again. (An evil solution to the problem of teen pregnancy there)

Were those two actors dressed as toast filming a remake of 'It's a Wonderloaf Life'?" (Wonderful Loaf would have at least worked)

Why do sportscasters refer to our competitors as Team GB ? Has the PC brigade banned the words Great Britain in case they offend viewers? (Someone offended by the notion of abbreviation there)

Brits are not overweight or fat. They just look it because they are all wearing stab-proof vests. (My favourite type of Sun letter – a strange combo of a joke and genuine outrage)

Lindsay Lohan may have accidentally showed her bottom but what a lovely bottom she's got. It makes a change from some of the heartbreakingly sad pictures we've been seeing lately. (My second favourite type of Sun letter - total nonsense apropos of nothing)

Do not believe Rose West's dead guinea pig was murdered. I really think it was suicide. It must have lived in terror of the time Rose got bored and did what she did with her daughter and the other victims. (I can't work out the intent behind this one - it doesn't succeed as either a joke or a serious comment)

Reading about all the mistakes the Portuguese police force have made - and are still making - in the search for little Madeleine McCann makes me glad to be British because we have such an efficient police force. (If that's a joke it's quite good, but it almost certainly isn't, given the fact it was written by someone who reads the Mail and therefore has no concept of irony)

After getting robbed by 4 hoodies and beaten at the weekend, I hope they choke on the chicken or drugs they bought with the money. (Chicken or drugs?)

The police should not be allowed to do all these stop and searches. They're taking the law into their own hands. (No comment necessary, not even this one)

Friday, 19 June 2009

God Trumps



Just a quick blog to say that my God Trumps are now available.

To get a pack you'll need to follow this link and subscribe to New Humanist.

Told you it was a quick blog!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Viz

Not much in Viz this month, just a couple of letters:

I’ll tell you something those Sheila's Wheels women don't sing about in their advert – the £25 administration fee for merely phoning up to change your address.

When Susan Boyle came out on stage looking slightly shambolic and odd, people booed her. But when it turned out she could sing they showed her some respect, because of course they had learned a valuable lesson – don’t judge Susan Boyle before you have heard her sing. Only Susan Boyle mind. This is not a lesson they have been intelligent enough to apply as a general rule, and they continue to boo people each week, apropos of nothing, before they have even opened their mouths.

Church leaders were complaining about a football match scheduled on Easter Sunday, saying it was disrespectful. What hypocrites! Whenever I walk past a church on a Sunday they’re always open. They should practice what they preach.

And as usual here are the ones that didn't make it:

A German Bishop has said that Atheism was responsible for the Nazis. That Hitler bloke took a lot of the heat for them didn’t he? How unfair.

Last night I saw Paul Ross selling Carry On DVDs on Bid TV. Have any of your readers had a tackier televisual experience? I very much doubt it.

I read in the news that the Vatican has installed a Latin cash machine for Catholic priests. I wonder if the advice slips will tell them to stop abusing children.

During a recent episode of Jeremy Kyle one guest, asked another guest “Are you thick or are you just stupid?” What a masterful trick question! Ostensibly trapping the other person into admitting idiocy whatever their response. You’d have to get up very early in the morning to outfox him.

In response to the letter above, I think that rather than being evidential of great wit, that question actually came about as a result of that person not having many adjectives in their repertoire.

I got recommended a ‘good book’ recently by a Christian friend of mine. I have to say I was disappointed. In my view a ‘good book’ should have a decent, realistic plot, be well written and far less homophobic. Although I did like the bit where they killed off that annoying preachy character. He had it coming.

Ant and Dec. Stand behind Stephen Mulhern gurning and making sarcastic comments whilst he tries, ineptly to present the Britain's Got Talent spin off show on ITV2. It’s what he does to all the acts he interviews, so he should find it hilarious.

I saw in the news this week that more than 50 firemen were called out to tackle a blaze at a firemen’s college. Irony doesn’t begin to cover it.

They say you shouldn’t believe everything you read, but having just seen that written down I don’t know what to think.

It’s funny how different people have different reaction times. For instance, the parents of the newborn baby and young toddler who turned up at York Dungeon last weekend. Everyone in the queue immediately noted their wildly inappropriate choice of family day out. However it took them 35 minutes of their children crying and showing obvious distress, for this revelation to finally permeate both of their pea brains.

Am I alone in finding it slightly sinister when the bloke in the new Morrison’s advert says, "I like bakers better...when they're trained"?

I cooked potatoes for the first time ever today. I'm nearly 30. Should I be proud or ashamed?

The question on this week’s Quiz Call was 'things you would find at a crime scene'. As if this on its own didn’t do enough to encourage sick enough answers, the presenter kept saying "There's been a murder...what can you see?"

Andy Abraham, who failed to win the X Factor, has said that the music industry “is not interested in supporting contestants who fail to win The X Factor" Imagine that.

"Where would Hollywood musicals be without sound?" A good question there from Paul Ross as he tried to shift a surround sound DVD player during his slot on Bid TV last week.

On Nicky Campbell's Big Questions this week, they were asking 'Do animals go to Heaven?' One of the panel was a Vicar who runs animal prayer groups. Nicky asked her where the species cut off point was, 'do wasps get in for example?' It was at this point that I had to leave the room.

Further to the letter above, it wasn't as stupid a debate as you make out. Whilst the Vicar did go on to say 'yes, wasps do get in' they did temper this silliness with the more sensible '...although I don't claim to understand the logistics of it all'

I once received a birthday card from my Aunt and Uncle after my Uncle had died. My Aunt, instead of not sending it, had chosen instead to scrawl over my deceased Uncle's signature in red pen, which incidentally made it look like she had perhaps killed him. Anyway, has anyone received a more sinister birthday greeting?

There's a snack food shop near my work called Coffea - wordplay on the fact they sell both coffee and tea. And wordplay that only really works when seen written down. When they answer their phones it just sounds like they're offering you a coffee.

Today's Jeremy Kyle show was called 'I'll prove to you I only cheated 3 times'. Not only is that a set of lie detector results you couldn't be 100% smug about at the best of times, but what's more, the person in question failed the test.

I saw that episode. The best bit was when one of the guests accidentally called Jeremy Kyle 'Graham'. He didn't like that at all. "Do I look like a Graham?" he shouted. Shame his guests are all slow witted chavs as I would have been straight in there with "No, but I'll tell you what you do look like..."

In her latest slating of a fellow celebrity, Lily Allen has called Susan Boyle ‘overrated’. Funny, she doesn’t seem to mind when being overrated works in her favour.

In response to the letter above I’ll have you know that Lily Allen is most certainly not overrated. It is a universally acknowledged fact that she’s rubbish.

Russell Grant has produced a list of the top ten signs that your house is haunted. Number 7 is “you see someone in your house who shouldn’t be there, probably dressed in old fashioned clothing”. Accordingly I plan to burgle him in period costume.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Fun with Popes



Just a quick blog to tell you about my new 'Which Pope are You?' quiz over at New Humanist.

It's like my 'Which Paul Daniels are You?' quiz (buried somewhere at the bottom of this blog entry), but less geared towards one magician and more geared towards, well Popes.

That's all for now. I'll do a proper blog when I have the time.

I am currently sitting on some great snaps of Peter Simon hosting Bid TV which rival the ones I took of Paul Ross last week. Hard to believe I know.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Paul Ross' DVD Evening

I love Paul Ross.

I have him to thank for my recent mention on Radio 2.

It was this item that got me back into amazon reviewing.

I also love Bid TV.

So you can imagine my glee at the prospect of Paul Ross presenting on Bid TV - that there is a scenario that ticks all the boxes!

His slot is called Paul Ross' DVD Evening. And here it is in pictures:

The titles





The hard sell





The moment of clarity



And finally, the best bit - the Paul Ross DVD Evening advert wherein Paul's face is superimposed onto footage of various films and TV





Class!