Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Five TV Shows They Should Update in Some Way

The X-Files is about to make a return, but there are plenty other shows that deserve another chance too.

Beverley Hills 90210 - The retirement years.
Let's follow the class that eventually got so old that they ended up getting plastic surgery and moving to an old people's residential complex. All the drama - none of the facial expressions.

Facebook Friends
The cast of Friends have now moved to different neighbourhoods so they sit in six different coffee shops and have a group conversation on Facebook Messenger to discuss how no one told them life was going to be this way in their late 40s.

Paddington Takes The City
Paddington Bear, the cute young bear who was adopted after being left at Paddington Station, London, has now grown up. As a fully grown bear he feeds out of waste bins and terrorises huge sections of the population. There's a fully grown bear on the loose guys. Drama!

Middle Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles
Donatello is worried that his pension plan won't pay out enough and he accidentally put the crucial bit of paperwork connected with it into the shredder. Michelangelo is morbidly obese due to excess pizza consumption.

He-Man's Gay Cruise
He-Man no longer needs to protect the secrets of Castle Greyskull since he uploaded them into the cloud so he's gone on a gay cruise. Now He-Man can walk on deck with his super-short shorts and hook up with guys that look absolutely nothing like Skeletor.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Five Book Reading Positions To Drive Your Librarian Wild

New Year, new book. If you want to stand out from the crowd amongst the musty hardbacks, here are five book reading positions guaranteed to get you a page turn!


Reading the bible is especially rewarding when reading it to others in a developing country.


Reading is a pleasure in and of itself but when one has a canine companion nestled in one's lap, it feels like your companion is right there in the heart of the action, even if you're reading the latest catalogue from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Scissor Sisters:

Old books can make a splendid excuse for a craft project. Get those scissors and see what you can make of that old paperback copy of Mein Kampf.


Reading, contrary to popular belief, burns calories so grab the ice cream (or FroYo if you've got a beard and thick rimmed specs) and dip in your spoon. You get intellectual stimulation AND oral stimulation. There are literally no other types of stimulation I can think of.

Reverse Cowboy:

Get on a horse backwards and read that book. Read it real good. Read it until you're saddle sore and in need of a lie-down and a stiff gin.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Predictions for 2016

2015 was a year where, at very least, some things happened. Now that it's nearly over, we naturally turn to the year ahead. What will happen in 2016? Who knows, but my record at predicting events is utterly untested so I've kept it simple and predictable. I feel these are events that are sure to happen so brace yourself for a year that is almost certain to contain the following:

Privatisation of the Royal Family

With 2015 giving rise to the first majority Conservative Government in the UK since 1997, and with so little left for them to privatise, the Royals seem the most natural public commodity to sell off. Whilst regulation will have to be provided (by OfMonarch), it will mean the public will be able to own shares in the undoubted profits of the UK's first family. It is also the ideal opportunity for inward investment from the Americans and Chinese. The Royals being part-owned by President Trump would provide previously unheard-of benefits for trans-Atlantic relations.  

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris launch their own range of his and hers value meats

Love is a many splendoured thing. Tay Tay and Calvin have provided us with a fairytale romance in 2015. Nothing says "celebrity relationship" like a merchandising deal and with thrift shopping being the new Waitrose, value meats are where it's at. I predict branded prawn rings and beef burgers by spring. 

Hollyoaks will tackle the difficult and controversial subject of inaccurate fabric swatches

Tony orders a new sofa based on a simple burgundy striped fabric swatch. Despite John-Paul's insistence that swatches can be unreliable, Tony spends £840 plus delivery on a sofa that looks like it belongs on the set of a municipal theatre's pantomime. There will be a helpline number at the end of the episode to help people order their own sofas. Possible DFS sponsorship opportunity. 

Al Gore finally becomes US president 

With no credible candidates from either the Democratic or Republican parties, the American public decides to go for the only president elected in the last 100 years but not given the opportunity to take office. Al will prove to be an exceptionally effective President when it comes to policy but no one will notice because, hey, it's Al Gore. 

Prosecco finally declared by United Nations as an item "essential to life"

The basic right to Prosecco will be enshrined into international law by the UN at a special session of the General Assembly when it comes to light that many in the world aren't middle class enough to even know what it is. This will end international conflict because people will finally be fabulous enough not to be drawn towards armed struggle. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

My Christmas Letter 2016

Well, it’s certainly been a year.

2011 was the last time I wrote a letter to enclose with the Christmas cards I don’t send out. I figured it was time to share the joy of my life with those of you less willing to talk about yourselves.

So many people fail to send out these little letters in their Christmas cards due to things like communicating with others during the year, lack of narcissism or writer’s cramp. Such a pity.

2015 started with an avalanche of disappointment when I discovered Star Wars spoilers in my Alphabetti Spaghetti. I’ve carried this burden all year and it’s only since The Force Awakens has opened that I’ve been able to throw away the offending plate of pasta. This also explains the pest control issue in my apartment.

This year I’ve thrown myself into my work which is probably a wonderful strategy if you’re an acrobat, but I’m a writer and improviser with a lower back problem so it’s meant more visits to the osteopath than I bargained for. There’s really nothing like a firm handed health professional cracking your back while asking you if you’ve ever been on holiday to The Lake District. It focuses the mind on other things. The exit, mainly.

I’ve had some real success with the pretend family that I’ve imagined live in my spare room. Caitlin is just about to start big school, Adam is learning the Hornucopian dronepipe (much to the disgust of the neighbours I shouldn't wonder) and the imaginary dog is still teaching English to refugee animals.

I do hope your year has been full of similar news. If you’ve sent me a Christmas letter you’ll be delighted to know that the local waste collection team enjoy reading all of them as they go on their rounds so if I want to find out about your life I’ll ask them about you.

Here’s to 2016 and my aim to retain my crown of “Sassiest Man” at the Nottingham District Sarcasm Society. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

What your Christmas decorations say about you

The Christmas season is upon us, with people donning their trees with decorations and making their homes and workplaces look bright and festive. However, did you know that your Christmas decorations say a lot about you, your character and your attitude towards life?

I’ve spoken to some of the UK’s top pseudo-psychologists and put together these revelations about what your favourite decoration says about you.

Angel – If you are a big fan of the angel you probably like things to be in good order and enjoy the process side of life. You probably work in a repetitive job and enjoy the ordering procedure at Subway.

Tinsel – So you like the shiny tinsel, huh? You like to think you are the life and soul of the party but sadly you are a boring drunk. You might also want to question some of the memes you post on Facebook. "Outrageous meme" does not necessarily equal “fun” person.

Star – If you prefer this to the angel then you are clearly associated with the performing arts. You would probably push a friend under a passing vehicle in order to get a promotion. You enjoy watching House of Cards and you buy L’Oreal products.

Fake tree – Your smile is highly likely to be "deep and crisp and even" if you prefer a fake tree to a real tree. You mean it when you smile but no one really trusts you because you don’t use deodorant.

Real tree – If you love real trees you should question most of your other choices in life. You probably can’t make good choices at all. Who decides to put an outside plant indoors and have it shed all its needles everywhere? A moron. You are a moron.

Holly – You are a danger to others. Decorations shouldn’t hurt people. You were probably the kid at school who stabbed people with a compass.

In summary:

At Christmas, remember the real reason for the season - judging one another's taste.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Halloween isn't scary - it's sucky

I've never been keen on Halloween.  Some Brits say it's a dreadful imported American festival and get very snooty about it; that's not my thinking.  Some people don't like the prevalence of figures from beyond the grave and believe it to be against their religion; I've never had that issue.

For me it's a simple reason - I hate all the costumes.  Brits call it "fancy dress", our American cousins call it a "costume party" and yet whichever way you refer to it, it strikes way more fear into my heart than the thought of a night in with David Cameron (even though Dave can afford expensive wine).

As soon as one drops this bombshell there are plenty of people who accuse you of being no fun or not wanting to make an effort.  Well, I was at a wonderful Halloween party at the weekend where I did my very best to be a lot of fun.   I wasn't in costume, but the absence of a mask didn't stop me from having a great time with some incredibly pleasant people.  Yes, I had actual fun without the need for a superhero character or blood soaked shirt.

I would argue that costumes make you and your experience less fun.  For a start, almost any costume is going to be less comfortable than your regular clothes.  Given parties are meant to be pleasant occasions, it baffles me that some people would want to trap their undercarriage in spandex while restricting their breathing in a latex Justin Beiber mask.  It seems like a rather specialist, fetishistic way of having fun.

Secondly, there's the process of getting to the party in your outfit.  Unless you are hosting, it often involves public transport, a cab or walking.  Some of us don't want the whole world seeing us dressed up as the 1980s version of Pam Ayres (which to be completely fair to Pam, isn't that different from the current version).

Finally, there's the expense.  Don't tell me you've ever re-used a Halloween costume.  You use it once, put it in the back of a cupboard and then forget where it is when you next "need" it.  That Dalek costume is never going to see the light of day again - not even if you had a Tardis to go back in time to retrieve it.

I have no wish to be a party pooper.  I just want to make parties more fun.  The amount of gin I've seen spilled because someone can't drink through the slit hole in their mask is too scary for words.  Let's put an end to it.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

John Prescott set to return to front-line boxing

John Prescott is returning to his front-line boxing career as an unpaid adviser to Carl "the cobra" Froch, with responsibility for upper cuts. 

The former street fighter and deputy PM will focus on trying to help knock heads together, even though that's still an illegal move in British boxing. 

Former colleague and Prime Minister, Tony Blair said: "My old mate John is a formidable fighter. His fists are weapons of mass destruction and I fully believe they can be deployed within 15 minutes. He will be a great addition to Froch's team". 

Prescott isn't the only politician to be returning to fighting. Lord Paddy Ashdown only killed two members of his shadow cabinet with his bare hands and was appointed as a new WWE wrestler in January. 

In other news:

Man survives after 200 ft fall from grace

Europe will bail out Grease but says Grease 2 is "beyond help"

Sleeve tattoos causing a dip in the market for sleeve manufacturers 

Weather: Continuing weasel words until a high pressure situation leads to tautology. Outlooks for the next week - jargon.