Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Resolutions

As I write this I have Bid TV on in the background (Peter Simon is seeing us through to 1am) and I'm using my non-typing hand to alternately eat a curly wurly and swig from a bottle of alcholic ginger beer. It can only be....New Year's Eve.

What better time for me to write a blog about ideas for New Year's Resolutions?

Not resolutions for me of course. These are all things I do/have done. I don't need to change. YOU CAN'T IMPROVE ON PERFECTION! (I shouldn't write blogs when tipsy)

Ok, let's get down to it. First things first, if you haven't already - and you should have, I suggested it a year ago, CHOP CHOP! - sign up as an organ donor.

I know it's morbid to think about your own demise, but death is coming for you whether you put it to the back of your mind or not.

That sounded like a threat. It wasn't...

I'm just stopping to eat this curly wurly, they are so messy...

Secondly, apply for a free first aid booklet from St John's Ambulances.

Up to 150,000 people a year die in situations where first aid could have helped. You could be the difference between someone living and dying. Like Batman.

Next, sign up for Easyfundrasing and Everyclick. These sites allow you to raise money for charity - for free - with your online shopping and web searches respectively.

I already wrote about them in last year's blog and I am finding it a challenge to type tonight so read that.

And finally, here are some *free* charity clicks that you can do daily:

Care2 (various causes) http://www.care2.com/
Click to Give (various causes) http://www.clicktogive.com/
Ecology Fund (save forests and offset carbon) http://www.ecologyfund.com/ecology/_ecology.html
Fiat (help Japan tsunami victims) http://www.fiat-auto.co.jp/clickdonation/
The Hunger Site (various causes) http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1
Improving Your World (cause changes monthly) http://www.improvingyourworld.org/
Land Care Niagra (plant a tree) http://www.landcareniagara.com/
Red Jellyfish (save forests and monkeys) http://www.redjellyfish.com/wildlifeconservation.html
Ripple (various causes) http://ripple.org/
Solve Poverty (donate to projects in Asia) http://solvepoverty.com/
Unilever (help Japan tsunami victims) http://www.unilever-sabd.jp/click/?lang=en

Well, there's only twenty minutes of 2011 left. I have to get going. I am drunk and a man called Jonathan Hamilton has bought every single thing Peter Simon has sold tonight on Bid TV. I have converted a fair few people on Twitter to Bid TV tonight, we are all following the Jonathan saga.

I don't know if he's off his face, an eccentric millionaire or the victim of a malicious ex but I want to see if his 100% run continues with this pearl bracelet.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

PS: Jonathan just bought the bracelet and Peter's sidekick shrieked "JONATHAN AGAIN!?!?!?!"

Addendum. This video was taken at a quarter to one in the morning. Jonathan was still buying, after nearly three hours. As I head up to bed, he is still buying. I think he may be in some sort of Brewster's Millions type situation:
video

Friday, 2 December 2011

Frankie Boyle Joke Generator

Frankie Boyle has a new book out and according to the reviews, it’s offensive.

I know, who’d have thought?

He writes about the Queen being gang raped, Kate Middleton dying, makes fun of Cameron and Brown’s disabled kids and describes two comedians he doesn’t like, being fucked to death and being raped by Nazi monkeys respectively.

I don’t know about you, but I am not offended by any of that.

Not because I’m amoral or a heartless bastard, but because it’s all so ‘by numbers’.

Soft target + offensive buzzword = edgy joke. Apparently.

Unfortunately for Frankie Boyle, the law of diminishing returns dictates that his joke formula is starting to equal a big fat yawn fest. As someone sick to death of him mocking disabled children, this makes me happy.

Anyway, around the time of the book coming out James wrote an article for Viz about Frankie Boyle bravely setting up a TV appearance in South Africa where he was planning on calling Nelson Mandela a cunt, live in front of the nation, and hail it as a new departure in his no holds barred comedy approach.

The article didn’t get printed in the end, most probably due to the fact that there was a full-page advert for Frankie Boyle’s tour in the issue it was pitched for.

You can’t really slag someone off who has paid for advertising space in the same pages.

I won’t recreate the article here as James might want to use it again elsewhere, but the joke generator he put at the end of the piece needs to see the light of day, as it is the perfect satire of Boyle’s writing style. Enjoy:

Do you long to be as hilariously daring as the original bad boy of British comedy, Frankie Boyle? Well now you can, thanks to our special patented Automatic Frankie Boyle Edgy Joke Writer. Simply pick one phrase from each of the four columns below and say them in order in a slightly angry sounding Scottish voice:

Column A
Wouldn't it be great if

Column B
Stephen Hawking
Desmond Tutu
Her Majesty the Queen
Jordan's wee kiddy
Amy Winehouse's Corpse
Dame Tanni-Grey Thompson
Sir David Attenborough
Rolf Harris

Column C
Got raped in the arse
Got injected in the arse with AIDS
Got brutally murdered. In the arse

Column D
By Peter Sutcliffe
By Colonel Gaddaffi's Corpse
In New York on September 11th
By Hitler
By a lesbian paedophile
By Al Qaeda
In Aushwitz
By Ian Huntley's cock

Now go forth and get your very own Channel 4 shows!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The 30th November Strikes & Schadenfreude

My other half was off work ill for just over a month recently (not a trifling illness – properly bed ridden and in agony)

He’s public sector, so accordingly he was humanely accommodated, permitted to work from home, and was ultimately seen by occupational health to make sure he was ok to come back.

Around this time a friend of mine who works in the financial sector said to me “Huh, if I was off ill for that long, I’d just get sacked”

But they didn’t say it as a lament or a complaint; no, they said it with real pride.

That same weird, misplaced pride I’ve been witnessing all day in conversations and on Twitter whenever the topic of the 30th November strikes comes up.

I find it very odd that some private sector workers seem to almost revel in how apparently shit their pay and pension is.

“I work in a slurry pit, for no money, 23 hours a day, without a lunch break, my boss hits me with a mallet, whilst Agadoo plays on a constant loop, and I have to do it in just my pants...but do I complain? NO!”

Well...you fucking should!

That kind of attitude is exactly what allows Cameron and Co to keep you in your box and continue to lower the bar for all of us, on what is starting to feel like a daily basis.

Whilst the strikes today are primarily about public sector pensions and pay, they are also about fair pensions for all.


This should not be a race to the bottom.

Cheerleading for someone else to lose the possibility of a comfortable old age, just because you have too, that makes no sense, and won’t change your situation.

Aspire to better things for yourself.

The taxpayer has already paid once to bail out the banks who caused this financial crisis. Now public sector workers are being made to pay twice, with their pay and their pensions (which are completely sustainable http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/public-sector-strike)

Cracking down on corporate tax evasion and taxing the super rich seems a much better way of getting the economy on track.

Employing an economist as Chancellor rather than an Eton boy without a Maths A-Level would also help.

I’m not public sector by the way, I work in the third sector and have also worked in both the private and the public sectors.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Peter Simon Says

James has already given me one of my Christmas presents.

Now, before you all rush to judgement, consider this. Could you sit on a gift this good for a whole month?...

We're talking Peter Simon's book, 'Peter Simon Says':


It's signed:


...You get an insight into his life:


...You get a style guide (remember when people used to say 'crucial'?):


...You get...whatever this is:


...And finally, my favourite - Peter's Poll. Wherein we learn that racism is only slightly worse than going in lifts:


A mischievous friend of mine photo shopped my picture and put Peter Sutcliffe's face over Peter Simon's:


It puts a new spin on reading the list, eh?

So that's one Christmas wish come true. Care to help me with another one?

If you do one web search through this charity search page, it will raise money for the disability charity which supports my brother: www.everyclick.com/canterburyoasttrust

I'd love to get them up to £2000 by Christmas.

It's free and takes seconds. Pretty please!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Richard Herring's Objective



For those of you who missed it, Richard Herring covered disability in this week's edition of Objective.

The subject was brilliantly handled, the tone was non-patronising and it was really sweet in places.

Most of all it was funny.

Like I've been saying for, well, forever; disability and comedy can mix. But the jokes should be about attitudes to disability, and not be mere pot shots at disabled people.

The show will be available on Listen Again for a few more days. Give it a go. You'll even get to hear my freakish Dr Girlfriend voice:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0174gl1/Richard_Herrings_Objective_Series_2_The_Wheelchair/

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Derek Acorah has not been drinking. Honestly.

I was on Twitter the other night when a post appeared in my feed from psychic medium Derek Acorah.

It was clearly a direct message which he had accidentally tweeted.

He deleted it two minutes later, but not before I screen grabbed it.


He had so been drinking. *Insert pun about spirits here*

Speaking of ghosts, here is a terrifying moment from Most Haunted that I filmed this Halloween:


Don't have nightmares.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Addendum

As promised in my last blog, here is that scan of Christinamartinbocks from this month’s issue.



Correction alert. I actually got the star letter twice.

I tweeted the lads jokingly about this, and inadvertently kicked off a third round:



Uh-oh...

In other news, the Bullseye Tumblr continues to get tweeted and mentioned, with Holy Moly giving it a plug this week.

I’ve also been in contact with Anorak.co.uk and have agreed to start writing for them about bad, obscure TV. Watch this space.

And Ben Goldacre tweeted one of the videos from my YouTube channel last night. It got 300 views within a few minutes of being posted.

A high profile person tweeting your stuff would usually be a wonderful thing but as Ben’s followers are typically sceptics it was being pitched at slightly the wrong crowd.

The video was of Jade Goody’s mum explaining ghosts and the afterlife.


It ended up getting four thumbs down, the most thumbs down I have ever had for anything. Not because my clips are amazingly awesome, but because they are just plain silly and therefore hard to actively dislike.

Those people were obviously rating the veracity of what was being said, rather than just appreciating how weird the clip was.

Sometimes sceptics can be a tad humourless (not all of you, before you write in – I've done many stand-up gigs to exclusively humanist and sceptic audiences – lovely bunch in general) but some of them ironically make scepticism their religion and can just end up constantly concerning themselves with things not being factual or scientific, over and above things just being delightfully ridiculous.

And finally, my friend sent me a video in the week which I thought was absolutely wonderful and I wanted to share.

Please watch it to the end. It has a really simple and beautiful message:

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Long time, no blog

Well hello, and how are we all?

I haven't blogged for over a month so I thought I should check in. I know, I know, the arrogance. As though people are standing by with bated breath, waiting for little old me to say something.

At least I know my unsolicited ramblings are just that, so I guess that makes me as wise as Socrates, and more self aware than 99% of internet dwellers. Huzzah.

As I write this, I'm sitting in a hotel room eating a Wispa and a packet of bacon crisps for dinner - I don't know if Socrates ever did that - I offer this bit of, apparently pointless information purely by way of giving context.

Nowadays I am busy. Really busy. Like all the time. I've had a headache for about two months. I take tablets, go to bed, and wake up with a headache. I'm always tired. Tired enough to sleep tired. All the time. Stupid recession. Everyone who hasn't been laid off is left behind to do quadruple the work. Hence no blog action until I do an overnighter in Leeds, where I'm alone and eating a scurvy inducing diet.

Say it with me now, the mantra of the moment: "At least you've got a job"

Yes. However overworked and stressed we all are, we can at least whimper that before we collapse in an exhausted heap at night eh? While the axe still looms over us, threatening to take even that away...

Cheery aren't I? Bet you wish I hadn't resumed blogging. Ok, I'll change the subject to something more upbeat: BULLSEYE!



James and I have had a weird couple of weeks watching our Bullseye Tumblr go viral.

It started out as a little pet project. Us taking photos of Bullseye contestants who captured the spirit of the age, and also the spirit of the show (that of awkward misery) and sharing them with friends. We had about 3 proper followers.

Then it got picked up by Sabotage Times, Anorak, Popbitch, B3ta, even The Independent tweeted it. Our followers went up to over 500 in a week.

Sabotage Times then asked me to write a piece for them about it, which you can read here. And Anorak offered me a job writing TV and showbiz articles!

The moment I knew it had gone truly viral though was when the link got forwarded around my office and I got a bemused email from a colleague saying "erm...is this you?"

In other news, James and I have 7 pieces featured in the Viz annual and their Anus Horribilis book.

If you want to check out our articles they are as follows:

Viz annual
Page 9 - Where Are They Now?
Page 23 - I'm Too Sexy For My Lease
Anus Horribilis
Page 153 - Fanny Batter's Hollywood Jigsaw Gossip
Page 190 - Snack Attack!
Pages 202-203 - Who's The Best Hawk/s?
Page 260 - Pear Postbag
Page 375 - Ghost Box

Speaking of Viz, the past couple of issues they've taken to giving over a quarter of the letters page to me, which feels peculiar but is very flattering of course.

This is from last month's issue:


I haven't seen this month's yet, but James informs me that the letters in this issue are about me rather than from me. Intriguing, and not a little worrying!

I'll blog a scan of that page when I get home.

And finally! I did an interview with Richard Herring last week for his show 'Richard Herring's Objective' where he takes something contentious or taboo and tries to be objective about it.

In episode two of his new series he's covering disability and wanted to pre-record an interview with me because in addition to having a disabled brother, having worked and volunteered for Mencap and having written about disablism, I also used to be a stand-up comic and so have a view on the disabled jokes I've seen on the circuit.

I really enjoyed the interview, we covered a lot of issues - which I won't go into here as I've blogged about this subject a 1000 times - and when I went along to the live record, quite a bit of my interview had been used, which was great (although it obviously won't all make the final cut)

I tell you, it's not until you sit in a theatre and hear your own voice booming around you, that you realise what you really sound like.

Turns out I sound like Dr Girlfriend from Venture Brothers...Google it.

The show content and our interview couldn't have been more timely, as they took place in the week when Ricky Gervais started going to town on using the word 'mong' on Twitter.

When challenged Gervais said that it didn't have an association with disability anymore and he was reclaiming it.

(I eagerly await his brave attempts to reclaim the word 'wog' and 'paki')

He didn't make clear what it was he imagined 'mong' now meant, and undermined his position ever so slightly by posting photos of himself doing a 'mong' face.

The same face that was pulled in my direction all through school by people who seemed to think it hilarious that my brother was born brain damaged.

I remember coming to class once, and everyone was waiting for me. The floor had been cleared to make way for two girls, one sitting in the teacher's swivel chair, the other pushing her along, like she was in a wheelchair. As she was pushed along the girl in the chair did the whole 'spaz' act; stuck her tongue out, twisted her limbs up, made noises, drooled. All in my honour. Then everyone laughed at me. Like I was the one worthy of being mocked in that scenario!

When I would go shopping with my family, kids my own age would follow me and my brother around laughing at him, pointing and saying 'spastic' 'mong' 'retard'.

I dunno, maybe I just don't have the winning sense of humour that Gervais does. Maybe they too were masters of irony.

Even if he is being ironic, his followers are not, and are tweeting 'mong' left and right with childish glee. One person tweeted to Gervais "I love it when you say mong" Huh? What, just the word, in and of itself? Easily entertained much?

Richard Herring, bless him, stuck his neck out and suggested that these kind of words are hurtful and that the climate being as it is - 9 out 10 learning disabled children being bullied, a 20% rise in disability hate crime this year including murder, the list goes on - that it was no joke and not something to be taken lightly.

Because of this interjection, Richard's been suffering a barrage of foul mouthed abuse from Gervais' fans over Twitter ever since.

I think that tells you all you need to know about the kind of people who are following Gervais and how reckless he is being to encourage their casual use of hateful words. Reclaiming? My arse. These people are using that word at face value.

As usual there are cries of 'freedom of speech!' merely because people are suggesting it's not the best thing in the world to be saying.

Give me a break. Your freedom of speech is not being threatened in the real sense. Unless the secret police are coming for you in the night, you are merely being engaged in a debate, not oppressed.

Questioning people's right to question you, and labelling it a freedom of speech matter is supremely ironic. But as we've established, these people don't do irony.

Yes, you are technically free to say whatever you so wish, however there's this little thing called civilization which requires people to put a filter on what they say out loud, lest we go all 'Lord of the Flies' on each other asses. Without that filter, there would be no society, we would all be walking down the street pointing at everyone we passed saying "Fat...Ugly...Punching above your weight there mate...Cunt"

Wouldn't work would it? The only people who operate on that flawed basis are those annoying types you get on Big Brother, you know the ones, who say "what you see is what you get with me, I tell it like it is, if I don't like you, I'll tell you"

They will then openly insult people all day long and expect to be hailed as a hero for it.

Who wants to be that person? Defiant in their pig ignorance and their abject rudeness; aspiring to nothing.

I'll finish on a little anecdote.

I've been struggling with my feelings towards Gervais for a long time now. I loved the XFM years and The Office. I thought he dealt with reactions to disability really well in the latter. Brent's behaviour towards the employee in the wheelchair was so well observed.

He did sail quite close to the wind in his stand-up sometimes and that made me recoil a bit, but I thought he was smarter than that and concluded it must have been done with irony.

Then I met him. Or rather didn't. And had to conclude that, yes, he is just a jackass. Here comes that anecdote. I've been sitting on it out of respect. It's not classy to bad mouth other comics. But I am no longer a comic and he no longer deserves my respect.

So, I did some stand-up at the Bloomsbury Theatre a few Christmases ago. I was really excited about it as I was on the same bill as Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Mark Thomas, Josie Long, Chris Addison, loads of really good people. Gervais was also on the bill.

We had a massive green room, full of food and stuff that we were autographing for auction. As it was Christmas there was a lovely festive feel and everyone was having fun backstage.

I was waiting for Gervais to turn up but he never did. After a while it was explained to us by the organiser that he refused to share a green room with anyone, in case we bothered him. Can you imagine Stewart Lee going all fan boy over Ricky Gervais? Please!

They'd had to make him up an impromptu dressing room out of one of the spare rooms backstage. Food and drink was removed from our room for him, and the stuff to be autographed was collected and taken to him when we were all done signing it.

When the show started we all stood in the wings, cheering each other on and watching each others' sets. Then the organiser informed us that Gervais didn't want anyone standing in the wings when he was on, and that we were all to go back to the basement dressing rooms before and during his performance. Twenty performers, many of them top names, being bossed about by this diva-ish man.

I thought 'screw that - you don't tell me where to stand' so I hid behind a giant beanstalk (panto season!) and waited for him to go on.

He emerged from the dressing room area, with a miserable face on him, and did a quick check of the wings to make sure no oiks were hanging around. He didn't find me. Don't know what he'd have done if he had.

Oh and he had a man following him, carrying his bottled water. All he was missing was a chiuaua in a bag.

What a jackass. What a shame.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Good deed for the day

A couple of years ago my dad had a heart attack whilst on holiday. Luckily he was rushed to hospital in time and survived.

I had a bit of a realisation as a result of this incident; had I been there, I would have been totally unable to help.

So I’ve since bought a book on first aid and life saving skills, and also taken a starter course, which I hope to follow up with something more advanced soon.

Up to 150,000 people die every year, in situations where basic first aid could have saved them.

The British Heart Foundation are running a campaign to get every child lessons in first aid and life saving skills at school.

Could you please sign their petition:
http://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/emergency-life-saving-skills.aspx

And also email your MP:
http://campaigning.bhf.org.uk/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=57&ea.campaign.id=9450&ea.tracking.id=37096cc7

It would be much appreciated, thank you.

To reward you for your efforts, here is a creepy picture of some kittens.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Bullseye (again)

Yes, another Bullseye blog. I'd like to promise you that it will be my last but we both know I would be lying. Ok, here goes...

A giant and a leprechaun team up:


That beard deserves a closer look:


A lovely waistcoat:


Almost as nice as this shirt:


Poshest Bullseye couple ever?:


A moustache and a half:


Unclassifiable:


But none of them are as bad as the audience:

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Untitled due to apathy



A perfect example of the perils of deregulation (dullest opening line to one of my blogs ever? Probably) is demonstrated by what happened to Iceland.

The country, not the frozen food chain - do not do that joke, even in your own heads.

...By the way, I realise this is much more sober than my usual blogs (Bullseye hairdos, Peter Simon demonstrating a massage machine) but stay with me.

Or don't. It's not like I'll actually know. I already have you on my hit count anyway, sucker!...

So, Iceland was a thriving country, with a GDP of 13 billion. But then they privatised and deregulated their three main banks. The auditors who were meant to be keeping an eye on things didn't do their jobs - due to their close relationships with said banks - and this new found financial freedom concluded with the country having borrowed 120 billion within 5 years.

Compare that with their GDP and you don't have to be an economist to see the problem.

The upshot to all this was that a few people got stinking rich and everyone else lost their jobs and savings. And that little microcosm of an example folks, tells you why our economy, and pretty much everyone else's economy, is in the toilet right now.

And to think Cameron has everyone believing it's because of disability benefit claimants and civil servants' pay!

Why am I talking about this? Well, I'm pissed off is why. And I feel the need to have a little vent. Read it, don't read it. I don't mind. I just need to get it out of my head as it is all swirling around up there and making me crazy angry.

My dad, who was my age in the early 1980's - oh our parallel lives! - always warned me off being as angry as he was during the Thatcher years. He's a wise man (who saw all of this coming back then) so I'm following his advice. Consider this a mini exorcism.

I think we're all kind of down on life at the moment. It's been a shocking few days. The Government, in an homage to Auntie Maggie, and perhaps due to a love of 80s retro chic, seem to have landed us back in 1981 - why couldn't they resurrect something more harmless like parachute pants or Bros? - and it feels, to put it in the most eloquent terms, like things are all effed up.

There are a lot of people saying that anyone looking for a reason behind the riots (i.e those who don't believe that things can just happen in a vacuum) are 'excusing' what happened. Not so. The things that happened were awful and unacceptable. However looking for reasons is not the same as offering up a justification.

If we don't understand we don't learn. If we don't learn we don't change. And I think we can all agree that a change from whatever this is would be a good thing. Or we could just keep 16,000 police officers on the streets of London with 2 hour breaks between 17 hour shifts, forever?

Yes there were well-off opportunists in there - that teacher from Stockwell for example; unless he was doing a field trip with the kids to teach them about the failings of the Big Society, it's clear he was just a dick who jumped into the fray when he saw an opening for a free Iphone - but the people who were out there first, they are the ones we need to focus our minds on.

They were seriously enraged, and like it or not that needs to be dealt with, because people who are that angry are scary enough, but people who are that angry and have nothing to lose; they're unbeatable.

Which is why this petition to take away their benefits and homes is so excrutiatingly misled. Making the have-nots into have-nothings? Yeah that'll get them on the fast track to being productive citizens. Not to mention that if that principle gets enshrined in law, it sets a dangerous precedent for all of us.

It follows the same dumbass logic that the Sun and Daily Mail apply to prisoners. Every time there's an initiative to engage convicts they erupt in rage about our tax money being used on such frivolous things, and demand that these 'animals' be made to live in their own filth. They're in there to be punished, punish them. But then they get equally angry at reoffending rates. If you want people to emerge rehabilitated and ready to get a job with a briefcase you need to have used carrot on them as well as stick. Same thing applies here.

Whilst I understand the perfectly normal human impulse for retribution, we need to be thinking forwards, not retreating backwards and entrenching these problems even deeper.

Look around. There are currently a queue of graduates who can't get work. A lot of these kids rioting won't have degrees and given the fee rise, will never have access to one, so they are at the very, very back of a seemingly endless job queue. At the same time, unemployment is rising so the queue just keeps getting longer. Consumer confidence has dropped so shops are closing and service jobs are going. The EMA has been withdrawn, so staying on at sixth form or college is no longer possible for some. Education is losing funding - I should know, I work in the sector and have been lucky to keep my job - and this despite the fact that an unacceptable proportion of children are leaving primary school with a worrying lack of basic literacy. Local youth projects are having funding withdrawn and are closing. Owning your own home is an almost impossible dream nowadays. The welfare state is being slowly dismantled. Hope just drip, drip, drips away. For us all. But for some more than others.

Someone texted into LBC yesterday and said "if these riots were about poverty, they would be looting vegetables"

First of all, it's not 1602. Secondly, you don't loot according to your income, you tend to steal expensive shit that you can't afford, and would never usually be able to afford. Oh and imagine how many vegetables you could buy with the proceeds of a stolen plasma.

Anyway, my point I suppose is that yes, it's awful, and wrong and heartbreaking. But I think it is equally awful, wrong and heartbreaking that anyone should feel so little connection to their society and community that they could even contemplate doing those things.

Our society facilitated this. Japan, which has a far more co-operative social structure and a smaller gap between rich and poor, didn't experience any looting during the aftermath of a tsunami that wiped out entire cities! This is not a coincidence.

People keep saying it wasn't political. Well, maybe these people weren't consciously politically motivated, but that doesn't mean they weren't a by-product of our political system. Everything's political.

And anyway, a fair few rioters who were intereviewed did mention hopelessness and anger at their lack of chances in the world, so to dismiss them all as mindless is reductionist.

I'm currently reading a book about Henry Morgan (of the rum fame) and his band of pirates. On the third day of the riots I was reading this book on the train home, and a line jumped out at me: "By hoarding the riches and preventing these men from finding a place in the world, Spain (who kept all the trade routes to themselves) built its own perfect enemy"

Some truths are universal. Give people a stake in the world and retain social control.

...Can you believe this rant started with the sentence 'A perfect example of the perils of deregulation...' We're a long way from there now aren't we? Let's try and get back.

(If anyone is still reading at this point it will be a bloody miracle. I will give you a prize if you are. Leave a comment. The password is 'looted carrots')

So as I was saying earlier, this global, repeat global, financial crisis has somehow been blamed on excessive Government spending on the public sector and the welfare state.

The Tories - and be in no doubt this is a Tory Government, if not in name then certainly in spirit and deed - have an idealogical hatred of the public sector and the welfare state.

They are the party of business, of money, of competition. They allow their backers and rich friends to evade enough tax to clear the deficit whilst withdrawing support from the weakest members of society.

One of the first acts of this Government was to withdraw the statutory duty on local authorities to provide care for the disabled, so that they were no longer duty bound to ensure the disabled were fed, dressed and washed.

That should tell you all you need to know about who we have at the helm.

Lies like this are being spread:


And as a result there has been a marked increase in hate crimes against the disabled.

ATOS, the company carrying out the incapacity benefit tests are using a flawed system which ends up declaring dying people fit for work. Huge amounts of the 75% mentioned above win their cases on appeal.

People have been killing themselves because of the test process and because their benefits were withdrawn leaving them destitute:

http://www.thisishampshire.net/news/9095159.Jobseeker_took_own_life/

http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/north-east-news/evening-chronicle-news/2010/08/05/body-found-in-river-wear-is-leanne-chambers-72703-27003699/

http://news.scotsman.com/arts/Author39s-suicide-39due-to-slash.6438473.jp

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/07/mother-suicide-welfare-state

http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Woman-drowned-drain-upset-health-check/story-12927176-detail/story.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/05/22/stress-of-tory-benefits-tests-killed-our-dad-family-claims-115875-23147158/

And banks, the architects of the financial crisis, continue as before.

Incredibly Standard and Poor's, the credit reference agency that participated in the fraud which contributed to the crash (they were paid by investment banks to give AAA ratings to bad loans) are not only still in existence, but they are the ones who downgraded America recently. An act that shook the already frail markets so badly, that 4 TRILLION DOLLARS has been wiped off the value of global shares .

The world has been turned on its head.

If you're in any doubt about how all of this really happened, please watch Inside Job, a stunningly insightful docu-film which breaks it down perfectly.


If you don't have time to watch the film, read the Wikipedia entry. An impeccable summation.

For as long as this lie about excessive public spending is perpetuated nothing can change. George Osborne can keep defending idealogical cuts which harm the recovery and cause undeserving people to suffer.

George Osborne doesn't even have an Economics A-Level by the way.

I'm so glad I'm not a comedian anymore. I'd feel duty bound to tackle all this if I was, but it's not something I can see the funny in.

Luckily we have Josie Long. She has managed to write a fervent and searing but still extremely funny and warm show about the state we're in. It's called The Future is Another Place. If you're in Edinburgh at the moment, go and see it! If you're not, I'm sure she'll tour it at some point so keep a look out.

Anyway that's my rant over. I don't feel any better. Sorry dad, I'm trying!

For those of you who made it to the end, I salute you! As a reward for your tenacity and to cheer you up, here is a picture from yesterday's Daily Mail. Look into the dog's eyes. They tell quite a story:

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Another Bullseye Blog

Yes, it's another Bullseye blog. Sorry. But the endless repeats on Challenge TV have thrown up a couple more beauties.

Matching hair, clashing blouses:


The man who just got through to Bully's prize board, but appears to be having suicidal thoughts.


And the nice man who brought a serial killer on the show with him:


Chilling:

Thursday, 30 June 2011

It's a Bullseye!

I've been watching a lot of Bullsye repeats lately and have become obsessed with getting photos of the weirdest looking contestants.

It would be selfish not to share, so here you go (you're welcome):

The man who looks like his own mugshot:


The man whose quiff is trying to escape from his head:


The biggest glasses in recorded history:


The fun twins:


A frizzy mullet. A ginger frizzy mullet at that:


The official ambassador to the 1970s:


Very tall hair:


A huge man and a tiny man mesmerise Jim Bowen:


A striking beard / shirt combo:


And finally...I don't know how to describe this gentleman:


The End

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Obnoxious blog

Check it out:

Click on the picture to maximise

Numero uno baby! Number one. Top of the tree. 206,000 hits and climbing. Gaze upon me in wonder, you oiks.

...What? You were warned in the blog title.

Ok, enough of that (sort of) faux obnoxiousness. Speaking of New Humanist, please have a read of this: http://newhumanist.org.uk/promotion

They are currently spending out more than they are making and they need subscribers.

If you subscribe you get a set of God Trumps - for free! Pass it on, ok?

Cheers.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Hardest Hit

Today I went along to the Hardest Hit march in central London. So called because the disabled are bearing the brunt of these erratic, slapdash cuts.

Although not according to someone on Twitter who, when I mentioned Hardest Hit this morning replied, 'I presume the cuts will be spread across society and the disabled & handicapped won't be especially singled out.'

I replied 'That would be nice but... http://www.daa.org.uk/index.php?mact=Blogs,cntnt01,showentry,0&cntnt01entryid=282&cntnt01returnid=98'

To which they replied 'They would say that wouldn't they'

Why so desperate to talk down disability advocates and prove (with no basis beyond assumption and vague opinion) that everything is fine?

Even if it was the case that all the cuts were being made fairly and equally across all social groups, it doesn't take much brain power to conclude that if you take from people at the bottom of the pile at the same rate that you take from people at the top of the pile, the former group will suffer more because they had less in the first place.

Of course that's a very simplistic way of putting it - the Jamiroquai Tax System analysis, for you First of Fun fans - but that's the essential principle.

Ultimately the disabled are a group who rely heavily on services and benefits which are rapidly disappearing. Whereas your average Joe, who doesn't need help with things like getting around, personal care, or any of the other myriad things that non-disabled and non-learning disabled people take for granted, will be squeezed yes, but can generally carry merrily on with his business.

Times might be tight, but for most of us, life is still very much live-able.

The DLA cut for example is not shared, is not fair, and is devastating.

If you require any further convincing just read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/11/hardest-hit-march-disability-cuts

Right, I'll stop ranting now.

It was a really good march, with a great turnout from lots of different charities and local groups. I went down with some colleagues from Mencap.

Here are my favourite three banners. The first one I love for its wit and the other two for their randomness.





Oh and thanks to everyone who retweeted this.

Thanks to you we did get HardestHit# trending, and I was trending in London this morning too!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

You Bet!

Yes, this is a blog about the 90's game show 'You Bet'.

I know there's not much call for that type of thing these days, but I saw the worst 'bet' attempt in the history of the show on Challenge the other day and it had to be recorded for posterity.

A strange old man set himself the (very easy, considering he set it himself) challenge of identifying accents, and then failed about 25 seconds in. Observe:

The blindfold goes on, the challenge begins:


The representative for Italy returns to the line-up after he passes on the Italian accent:


He correctly identifies the American accent. Arguably the most recognisable of all the accents:


But alas, he uses up his second and final fail by identifying the Dutch accent as....Indian:


He can't believe it:


And is slightly embarrassed, as he should be:


Matthew Kelly doesn't really know what to say:


And so the challenge ends, 25 seconds after beginning, with a whimper:


And poor old Andrew O'Connor of Chain Letters fame ended up having to do the forfeit on next week's show for betting that the old man would be successful.


Yes, I'd forgotten about Andrew O'Connor too.

The end.