Monday, 23 March 2009


Well, I'm back from my short jaunt to Spain and it has to be said, I coped surprisingly well without the internet.

I was too busy to miss it really. We went on a lot of long walks through the dry riverbeds around the mountains, and once we'd had our evening meal and a few drinks we would go to bed and sleep for about 13 hours a night.

When we were out walking one day - on our way down a dry river bed which ended up at a waterfall edge - we came across hundreds of goats being herded along by a single goat herd. The sound of all the different goat bells ringing at once was really lovely.

I managed to read almost an entire book in 2 days as well. Proof if it were needed that I could be more productive if I tried.

But now it's back to the real world. I'm back to work on Wednesday, am getting geared up to appear on the Big Questions on Sunday (a seperate blog about that will follow!) and need to get some articles written up for next month's Viz.

As for this month's Viz we didn't get anything in except these 2 letters:

Why don't lottery winners who don't want the money to change their lives enter something more low key like a raffle or tombola? Or would winning a tin of peaches still represent too much of a challenge to their shocking lack of imagination and ambition?

During the week of snow chaos that hit London’s transport systems, someone wrote a letter to the London Paper hypothesising that it was down to “the council spending all my tax on the Olympics instead of grit” If it really is the either / or situation they have it down as, I’d prefer them to spent the money on the Olympics. 12 billion pounds on just grit seems frivolous.

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

Bailiffs. Lighten up all these credit crunch induced home repossessions by bringing along that Geordie voiceover bloke from Big Brother. As you turf people out, he can stand there repeating to them, in his cheery voice, the phrase – “you have been evicted, please leave your house”

Someone should tell that Nell McAndrew that if you’re still feeling bloated from Christmas, it’s going to take more than Activia yoghurt to help you.

I’m not sure that a ‘probe’ is the most appropriate way for the news channels to keep describing the Stuart Lubbock/Michael Barrymore enquiry.

I can’t believe the Palestinian’s are kicking up a fuss about one of their neighbourhoods being demolished so that Israel can build a theme park based on the Bible. Come on guys, where’s your sense of fun?

I just deleted a photo of Jesus from my picture files. This prompted my PC to ask me “are you sure you want to send Jesus to the recycle bin?” Quite a philosophical question when you think about it.

That Glade air freshener advert has been peculiarly effective, but not I suspect, in the way they intended. Rather than making me want to buy Glade products, it has just made me want to do a poo at this Paul chap’s house.

Gary Rhodes is on a ‘Flora Buttery Mission’ apparently. I wonder what triggered that. Not monetary remuneration surely?

I would like to take issue with the letter writer above. I, Gary Rhodes, embarked on my Flora Buttery Mission because I love Flora Buttery. So much so, that I will sometimes eat a whole tub with a spoon. I merely wanted to prove to the world that it was significantly better than its leading market rival. Unfortunately my mission got forcibly shut down by the ASA because my findings were ‘misleading’. I’ll get you next time Lurpak, next time.

I’ve been watching a lot of the God channel lately. It’s the funniest thing on TV. A fact which reflects badly on both the God channel and most modern comedy.

I have to agree with the letter write above, it’s the best channel in the world. Where else could you happen across an evangelist called Dutch Sheets who talks to God through his clock radio?

I also enjoy the God channel, particularly their rock hour. Today they featured a song called 'They Don't Serve Breakfast in Hell’ Whilst I never doubted that the catering would be poor, I have to say, I didn't think that was the worst of it.

The lie detector results on today’s Jeremy Kyle proved that a husband had indeed had sexual contact with another female, but not full sex. It’s a measure of how jaded Jeremy has become that he congratulated the wife and then concluded the segment with the words, "there hasn't been any intercourse, I hope you're very happy together"

Phillip Schofield is number 7 in the ‘Most Respected Person in the World’ list, and Cheryl Cole came in at number 15. I am fairly convinced that if X Factor was on at the moment, instead of Dancing on Ice, the results would have been reversed. However that still doesn’t explain why Cheryl is more respected than the Queen and Jade Goody is just behind Barack Obama.

Further to the letter above I think I can explain. The results of these polls rarely relate to the subject in hand. Regardless of the question you ask, you will just end up with a list of people that the stupid British public last saw on TV

Need a self-esteem boost? Watch Paris Hilton's British Best Friend. Whatever your foibles, at least you're not competing to be her hanger on. If you can class being made to dress as a milkmaid and yodel for her amusement as competing.

In the spirit of customary overreaction to a single story, Sky News have given Jade Goody her own news category on their website. And they’ve compounded their ridiculous gesture by slotting the ‘Jade’ category in between arguably two of the most pressing issues of the day - ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Economic Crisis’. Something which, ironically, should lend the whole thing some perspective, but almost definitely won’t.

On last night's Quiz Call the question was 'name a film with a colour in the title'. Someone called in and said 'The Colour of Money'. I think they were being a bit too literal...

Because it’s now 20p, The Daily Star’s new advertising slogan is ‘Britain’s Cheapest newspaper’. How right they are, just not in the way they think.

I was surprised to see the London Paper put ‘Jade Goody is going blind - and is scared she will never see her boys again’ under the heading ‘Entertainment News’. She’s been annoying in the past but you’d have to be a bit weird to class that as entertaining.

Avoid getting out of bed on the wrong side by positioning your bed in such a way that the wrong side is against the wall.

You have to admire the ingenuity of the British gutter press. Having run out of stories to print about Jade Goody due to her being unconscious most of the time, they have started reporting on her what her afterlife might involve.

Further to the letter above, I saw one of those articles. Jade said she wants to be reincarnated, and would like to come back as an old woman. I realise it’s seen as extra pedantic to correct a terminally ill person but, you don’t tend to get born as an old woman.

And finally, here's an article that didn't make it in.

I'm quite fond of it so thought I'd post it on my blog rather than bin it altogether:

Which Paul Daniels Are You? Take our personality test and find out!

Question 1
What is your typical daily routine?

A) Preparing and practising new tricks for another filming of my popular TV vehicle ‘The Paul Daniels Show’

B)Meeting with my agent to try and get another series of ‘The Paul Daniels Show’ made. Without success.

C)Writing angry diatribes on my blog about how these modern so-called illusionists like David Blaine are rubbish and don’t even do proper tricks

Question 2
How would you describe yourself?

A) Everyone’s favourite magical megastar, and host of the really rather popular, ‘The Paul Daniels Show’

B) Former star of ‘The Paul Daniels Show’ but don’t write me off just yet, it will be back on our screens soon! My fans will demand it.

C) A neglected national treasure. Have they so quickly forgotten ‘you’ll like this, not a lot?’ Fickle bunch

Question 3
What has been the highlight of the past year for you?

A) Starring in my very own television magic show ‘The Paul Daniels Show’ and bagging myself a sexy magician’s assistant!

B) Presenting Every Second Counts. It doesn’t sound like much, but my agent assures me that it’s a stepping stone on the path back to the top. I’ll have my own magic show again soon, you wait!

C) Appearing on the Ant v Dec segment of Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. Even though I was eliminated by Dec for losing the Bobsleigh challenge, I still enjoyed myself. And it was good for the old profile too.

Question 4
Said anything stupid, weird or unnecessary lately?

A) "I was always trying to be the best, to get ahead of the other guy. And I can't say why, I just knew I could. I saw Peter Stringfellow on TV one time, and we both have a little, but not very much, sympathy for the homeless, because both of us came from very poor backgrounds, got off our arses, and grafted”

B)"The hereditary peers, the real Lords, have the genetic knowledge so they know what to pass and what not to let through. I believe the gene carries more than physical characteristics. It's like an animal instinct. The aristocracy may act foolish, but in times of war and riots they have the knowledge and a belief and strength of leadership and instinct that coal miners just haven't got..."

C) "Porn is fine when it's between consenting adults. The stuff with kids is wrong, but between consenting adults it's fine. There's a lot I like, although nothing weird”

So which Paul Daniels are you?

Mostly (a)’s: Hey presto! You are the 1980’s height of his fame Paul Daniels, full of pep and smug arrogance.

Mostly (b)’s: Abracadabra! You are the mid 1990’s declining in popularity Paul Daniels, still confident in your ability to claw your way back to the top but with a nagging sense of ennui that maybe you won’t.

Mostly (c)’s: Shazam! You are the present day, embittered Paul Daniels. You’ve too much time on your hands and you spend nearly all of it writing a weird blog and attempting to mock your more popular counterparts in Tesco Compare adverts.

That's all for now. Be back soon with a Big Questions blog...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

God Trumps II

After the success of the first set, God Trumps is back for a second time. You can check them out here.

As space is limited they have been edited slightly, so here's the original text if you're interested:


Age: Invented in the same year as the sewing machine and vulcanized rubber, not what you want from your religion 2/10

Wealth: There are 12,868,606 members worldwide and they give 10% of their income to the Church – you do the Maths 9/10

Follower dedication: Strong enough to suspend their disbelief over Joseph Smith’s wild claims – which were pronounced whilst he stared into a hat no less 8/10

Daffiest doctrine: Jesus knocking about in the USA before it was even discovered 7/10

Weapon of Choice: Mormon underwear, no really, Google it. And jelly. They eat so much that Utah has the highest per capita consumption of any state in America 4/10

Easily Offended: Prop 8 would seem to indicate so. How weird, them getting all offended by sexuality, considering they used to be polygamous and all 9/10


Age: Old. Like really, really old 10/10

Wealth: Do the Harry Potter book sales count? No? Ok, well there’s Pagan money spells for sale on Ebay …but they don’t work 5/10

Follower dedication: Have you heard of an extremist Pagan? Well, apart from Himmler. And he’s hardly your typical Wiccan 4/10

Daffiest doctrine: Magic, for starters. Oh and rivers, rocks and trees having spirits 7/10

Weapon of Choice: The life force baby! 5/10

Easily Offended: Threatened to perform rain magic on a Homer Simpson spoof of the Cerne Abbas giant 5/10


Age: Depends on the faction. First inception was 300 years ago, but disaffected racist Methodists broke away in 1940 to form the Southern Baptist Church and pursue their penchant for slavery. Nice 4/10

Wealth: Although Methodists are anti-gambling, the UK branch of the Church have applied for and received over £7 million in lottery grants. Hmm 7/10

Follower dedication: Plummeting. Although there are an estimated 75 million Methodists worldwide the numbers have started to go into steady decline 5/10

Daffiest doctrine: ‘People can only be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, not by any other acts of redemption such as good deeds’. So, no need to be a nice person then 6/10

Weapon of Choice: The most terrifying weapon of all – Missionaries 10/10

Easily Offended: Grape juice is used in almost all Methodist congregations because they find it distasteful to use wine. Even though it was Jesus’ idea! Now, if their own Messiah offends their sensibilities, well… 9/10


Age: Dreamt up in the fifteenth century by Guru Nanak because he didn’t fancy any of the other religious beliefs of his time. Not sure if this is a good basis for a religion or a very bad one… 4/10

Wealth: Never for long. The rich are duty bound to give to the poor 2/10

Follower dedication: The men have to maintain those very, very, very, long beards. Also slackers need not apply, every Sikh is required to aspire to Sainthood 9/10

Daffiest doctrine: When a child is born the Guru Granth Sāhib is opened at a random point and the child is named using the first letter on the top left-hand corner of the left page. Bit random 7/10

Weapon of Choice: The 5 K’s: Kesh (uncut hair) Kara (steel bracelet) Kanga (wooden comb) Kaccha (cotton underwear) and Kirpan (steel sword) 5/10

Easily Offended: The United Sikhs Organisation once took offence to a cartoon which appeared to mix up Sikhs with Muslims. But as their reaction had nothing on the Islamic response to cartoons about themselves we can only award them 3/10


Age: Ancient. We’re talking B.C. ancient 10/10

Wealth: Many Jains keep an image of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. And it seems to work as they are one of the wealthiest communities in India 8/10

Follower dedication: Jains remain very isolated from other communities, so we can only have a guess 5/10

Daffiest doctrine: At the appointed time, all wishes will be granted by wish-granting trees and people will be born in sets of twins with one boy and one girl who stay together all their lives. Uh-huh 10/10

Weapon of Choice: No weapons for these peace loving guys thanks. They even avoid professions such as farming because so many insects are killed when ploughing the fields 0/10

Easily Offended: Their holy symbol, the swastika, got hijacked by the Nazis – not sure how they took it though 5/10


Age: Cult status came when the film was first released in 1977. Official recognition as a religion was gained in 2001 0/10

Wealth: Minimal. There are only 2 registered Jedi Churches in the world. George Lucas is coining it in though 5/10

Follower dedication: High. Why else would you queue for a week to see those substandard prequels? 8/10

Daffiest doctrine: In their own words – “The Jedi Religion has a proud history stretching back for millennia” Um, not quite 9/10

Weapon of Choice: The trusty lightsaber and of course the Jedi Mind Trick 8/10

Easily Offended: Not fond of the dark side, but in general it’s a case of – May the force be with you 1/10


Age: Ever since Satan’s first mention in the Bible he’s had his fans 10/10

Wealth: Only if they sell their souls 3/10

Follower dedication: The blood covenants weed out the hobbyists fairly quickly 8/10

Daffiest doctrine: Of all the crazy sub sets - Theistic Satanists, Luciferianists, Atheistic Satanists, LaVeyan Satanists, Modern Satanists – we’d have to say hands down the Christian Satanists win this round 6/10

Weapon of Choice: Rock and Roll (if you believe Jerry Falwell) and the Goth look 4/10

Easily Offended: More likely to offend than be offended 2/10

Eastern Orthodox

Age: 2000 long, long years 9/10

Wealth: See ‘Age’. Then see ‘Follower Dedication’. We’re guessing from this combo that the answer is ‘vast amounts thereof’ 9/10

Follower dedication: Massive. Followers believe theirs is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church established by Christ and his Apostles. And with 200 million members worldwide, we dare you to challenge them 10/10

Daffiest doctrine: God assigned to every man an Angel to guide and help him. Hitler’s did a cracking job 6/10

Weapon of Choice: Fisticuffs. They are one of six groups always getting into high profile punch ups over who owns Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. And even who gets to hold the keys 7/10

Easily Offended: “The greater the suffering of innocent believers, the greater will be their reward after life” So they’d probably welcome a bit of offence 5/10


Age: A late starter. Founded in 1844 by a bloke called The Bab – great name 2/10

Wealth: They are anti poverty and anti wealth so 5/10

Follower dedication: Below average. Membership is open to anyone who believes that Bahá'u'lláh is the latest Manifestation of God. You are not required to renounce your previous faith 3/10

Daffiest doctrine: Gossiping is prohibited. How boring 6/10

Weapon of Choice: Excellent organisational skills. They launched a ‘ten year crusade’ in 1953 and in 2001 they lined up several five year plans, until 2021, to get us all converted 7/10

Easily Offended: In Iran they are considered heretics, and persecuted accordingly. This probably gets their backs up 5/10


Age: Founded in the 1930’s, as was Captain Birdseye incidentally 2/10

Wealth: …is a contentious issue. A key aim of the faith is to reinstate black people’s positions in society following slavery 4/10

Follower dedication: They adhere to Old Testament lore, so the only followers who need to go that extra mile are the females – what’s new? 6/10

Daffiest doctrine: A mixed bag. Haile Selassie was the incarnation of Christ. The chosen few will not die, but live forever in their current bodies (which is why Bob Marley refused to write a Will) And Women must not cook for their husbands when menstruating 8/10

Weapon of Choice: The ‘spiritual’ use of cannabis - yeah, right! Meanwhile, alcohol is considered bad for your health 4/10

Easily Offended: Only by the Western World in its entirety 8/10


Age: The dominant branch of Islam since ‘that schism’ in 661 9/10

Wealth: No time for that, too busy feuding 5/10

Follower dedication: Heartily demonstrated by all that feuding 9/10

Daffiest doctrine: That they’re right 10/10

Weapon of Choice: Calling Shias, ‘Rafidis’, meaning ‘Rejecter’. Ooh, get you! 5/10

Easily Offended: Mostly by Shias 7/10



Age: The less dominant branch of Islam since ‘that schism’ in 661 9/10

Wealth: No time for that, too busy feuding 5/10

Follower dedication: Heartily demonstrated by all that feuding 9/10

Daffiest doctrine: That they’re right 10/10

Weapon of Choice: Calling Sunnis ‘Wahabi’, which refers to a sectarian movement within Sunni Islam. Ooh, get you! 5/10

Easily Offended: Mostly by Sunnis 7/10


I'm being interviewed about God Trumps this Thursday (12th) on New York based podcast The Big Cigarette. It's going out at 6pm their time, so if you want to listen from the UK then choose the 'listen live' link at around 11:30pm.