There’s Just No Shaking Jimmy!

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Never trust a man in a shell suit”, is what my mum used to say…unless they’re stuck in some sort of parallel universe where Ali G is King and the music of Salt-N-Pepa is put on loop. Needless to say, this mantra should be universally recognised. From the public sphere to the media, everybody needs to know that – “if his suit’s made of polyester, he’s most probably a molester”.

So how can people be so surprised by the recent allegations against Jimmy Savile? I mean, yes his private life was forever shrouded in mystery but don’t tell me that the guy didn’t look like a sex offender in the making. For starters his hair looked like a combo of flattened down candyfloss and tensile cotton wool (apparently his barnet was so stretchy that Savage Garden were able to take it “to the moon and back”. No joke…). And as for those eyes? Come on, they were nothing short of a horny hawk’s gawk! Believe me, I am not shocked in the slightest. In fact, what surprises me most is how long the story has dragged on for; as if we need any more evidence to incriminate the man. Indeed, he once said, “I don’t own a computer because I don’t want anyone to think I’m downloading child pornography”…or something like that.  If that’s not damning enough for you then what on earth is?! But, just to show how long the case has gone on for, since the 1st allegation of this series of ‘Jim’s Abused It’ came out the world has changed dramatically:

14th October – Man breaks speed of sound

 16th October – Cats feud at Downing Street

 20th October – Liverpool win league game at Anfield

The whole saga has gone on far too long now. So much so, I expect that the ‘awe-inspiring’ Ed Sheeran will write yet another subtly titled track – ‘Paedophilia’. A track where he’ll tepidly parody the lives of Gary Glitter and Freddie Starr before realising that’s where his lukewarm sardonicism is destined to take him. Although I’m not entirely sure if I believe the stories I’m reading anymore. In fact, I’m starting to dream up conspiracies whereby the Daily Mail has fabricated stories in a feeble attempt to try and humiliate the thing they love to hate the most. No, not Northern-Labour-voting-teachers… but the BBC.

Yet, it is not a dream, for the BBC must face the consequences of having let such savages slip through the net. However, whereas Fleet Street got the steely-eyed Lord Leveson, the ‘Beeb’ have to deal with the wrath of someone from the National Trust!

So don’t expect an end to this mess anytime soon but do make sure to look out for the likes of Jonathan King, or indeed a John Peel-shaped poltergeist lurking about Stourhead. Alternatively, if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse on Lundy, so how’s about that then?!

 

The Sin of Socks & Sandals

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every 6 months – Oscar Wilde

Never have I ever seen a more horrendous sight than the ankles of a man sporting socks with sandals. Crime against fashion I

Sinful socks & sandals!

hear you cry? Yes, but surely it’s a crime against social decorum! I mean, who on earth ever believed that such a bizarre concoction should have the right to create amazing results? The sort of results that have women swooning at the mere sight of a man’s bottom half stepping off a bus; or have them rushing over to an escalator to see their hideous combination slowly being unveiled like some sordid prize on a quiz show… No, no, NO! No one, surely no one believed this could ever be possible, so why even try it?!

Only a small minority would think this, to spend that extra amount of time rummaging through their drawers looking for the most repulsive pair of white socks – as if drawing attention to yourself is a good idea! What is more, they agonise over trying to achieve that perfect S&S look – sock colour? Check. Sandals colour? Check. Sock height? Check. The latter is the one that really gets me. I assume that, if the measurements aren’t perfect and you’re sock doesn’t grip your shin about half-way up, you’re not allowed to gain Saint of the Socks and Sandals status (or, as we like to call them here at wordpress.com – St. S&S). Indeed one must earn the right to join such a clique through hard work and dedication… but most importantly – terrible fashion sense.

Admittedly, wearing socks with shoes does have its benefits (albeit only 3):

  1. Socks help keep your feet clean, protecting them from dust and moisture (although toe-fluff isn’t exactly the nicest thing… unless you’re throwing it at your enemies)
  2. Socks stop your shoes from rotting like old apples (no one likes rotting fruit)
  3. Socks make nice puppets (everyone loves a good ol’ sock bunny)
Nevertheless, surely this doesn’t justify wearing them with sandals. I mean, can we not make an exception to the law here; break the shoe-shaped mould; sacrifice our feet for the benefit of the bigger picture? When I meet people on the street they’ll agree with me that the few remaining renegades need ousting – people hate them (the S&S not necessarily the wearers)!
So, I guess it’s no surprise that such an abhorred practice, performed only by anti-social dorks and 1990’s Dads alike, is slowly starting to die out…

… or is it?! Duhn, duhn, DUHHNN!

Unsent Letters: The Weatherman

Dear Weatherman,

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of clichés so it will come as a bit of a surprise that I’m blaming you for the supposed ‘spring’ we’re having. Are you taking the piss or do you wish to create a nation of drowned rats? Therefore, in protest, I have decided to boycott summer since I believe it will amount to nothing but heavy showers, gale force winds and the re-releasing of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ – so off into hibernation I go!

Yours truly (pissed off),

Albert Winestain.

Unsent Letters: Sir Alex Ferguson

Shock result.

Dear Sir Alex Ferguson,

We have just got the DNA results back – Howard Webb is your son.

Thought as much,

Albert Winestain.

Alcohol: Winning The Battle Against Small Talk Since 4000 B.C.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

It’s tough meeting new people. I mean, let’s be honest, we all dread it to some extent don’t we? That inevitable awkward silence waits around the corner, as the small talk starts to slowly deteriorate into digressing eyes and twitching feet. Take being at gatherings for example. I bet many of you have had conversations similar to this:

  • Hey.
  • Hi.
  • You alright?
  • Yeah, not bad thanks… you?
  • Yeah I’m good thanks.
  • Good…
  • Yeah…
  • ………………………………….
  • Nice house isn’t it?
  • (walks off in search of the family dog)
Yet, when there’s alcohol involved, conversations seem to flow with much more ease – they are certainly a lot more enjoyable! Our inhibitions are thrown out the window and we open up to other ideas, completely ignoring the conventions of small talk. For example:
  • Hey!
  • Yo!
  • You seen this guy’s bannister?!
  • Bloody hell! How much would you love to slide down there?!
  • Hmm I’m not so sure to be honest, my piles are pretty bad at the moment…
  • Ah come on! We’ll put some cream down it, you’ll be reet!
  • Oh go on then!… It’s Matthew by the way.
  • Tim.

Well ok, I know most of you probably haven’t had an exchange exactly like this, but you get my point. Alcohol causes the brain to shut down and we begin not to give a monkeys about what the people around us think. Slipping into an inebriated state the most personal of topics can suddenly appear, popping out of nowhere like some sordid jack-in-a-box… arms wide open to embrace the truth and reveal your darkest secrets!

I wonder if those Mesopotamians who discovered Beer had similar experiences. Just imagine them sat down with dead-pan faces as they contemplate their recent invention of the wheel, until Dave comes along with a pint of Mesopotamia’s finest brew:

Fox’s Mesopotamian Wheel

  • What you chumps up to?
  • Just thinking about this thing here.
  • Huh? It’s a bloody great big chocolate biscuit! What’s to think about?
  • What?
  • Boil the kettle, we’ve got some serious dunkin’ to do!

Nevertheless, although it may seem like a polar bear at first (an ice-breaker… geddit? Oh never mind!) it does have its disadvantages. To some extent, alcohol merely covers up the fact that someone is incredibly boring in real life (i.e. sober since being drunk is like living in a parallel universe) – you take away the beer, you take away the personality. So before I leave I must warn you:

1. Drink responsibly

2. If they’re no fun sober, then ditch ’em.

‘Man v. Food’? More like ‘Man v. lifetime of hardened stools and breathless arteries’

72oz steaks, 11lb pizzas, 10 layers of dead cow…

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching countless episodes of ’Man v. Food’ on Dave it’s that Americans certainly adhere to stereotype. As the loveable Adam Richman (in a cute, teddy-bear kinda way) guides us on a whistle-stop tour of America’s most outrageous restaurants and cafes, there’s not a glimpse of leafy greens in sight. Living in Britain, Americans have undoubtedly become synonymous with obesity (in fact, many blame them for the sudden influx of our ‘fast food culture’), since we’re forever being inundated with images of grease-ridden portions being manhandled by sausage roll-like arms.

Now, admittedly, I am your archetypal Brit in as much as I’m a serial tea drinker but I don’t worship the Queen nor do I speak with Received Pronunciation (or indeed Dick van Dyke’s ‘Cockney-cum-Australian’ accent). Sadly however, or so I have witnessed, Americans can’t seem to fit their bellies through that window of escape in a desperate attempt to flee from the portly pigeonholing, instead opting for the comfort of their armchair and a bag of ‘chips’. Don’t get me wrong, I realise that this is not representative of the whole population (to be honest, I source most of my information purely from the show itself) but what I have witnessed certainly has been an education… in how to guarantee blood in your shit the following day.

Crime number one:

So let us begin! Right, now we all know how delicious cheese is… boy is it one sexy dairy product…  but its tasty qualities don’t justifying it being plastered onto every food possible! Don’t get me wrong here guys, I don’t mind seeing cheese on maybe burgers or chicken (hell, even some pork with gorgonzola’s nice!) but with battered fish?! NO! Dial 999/911 please! I need the food police to come and stop this monstrosity! As Diana Ross beautifully put it “stop in the name of food!” (well, something along those lines at least…). Joking aside, the fish/cheese combo is wrong in every way. 

It’s like having a romantic kiss… with your own sister; brushing your teeth… with a tramp’s toenails; Dick van Dyke talking… with a cockney accent…

Crime number two:

Ok, so now to the second crime – portions. Unnecessarily gargantuan would be an understatement. I realise that the whole premise of this show is to find the ridiculously portioned plates and, I agree, that it is fun to watch countless meat sweats being induced by said meals however I don’t understand why they have to be so blooming big! “Ok, so we start with a slice of bread for the base (seems fair enough). Next we add the fried chicken… a layer of cheese (sure…), the 4-inch thick hamburger… another layer of cheese (why not, it is, after all, the key ingredient to EVERY meal), then the 10lb brisket, two more fried chicken breasts, the second hamburger, mustard sauce… deep-fried cheese cubes (well this is just getting ridiculous) and finally the top half of the bun.” Phewwy, it’s over… but, oh no, what’s this on the top? Impaled by a spike sits a gurken. Lying in a comatose state thinking, “why the bloody hell am I here?” And it does beg the question… what does it add to the meal?

It’s like jumping the Grand Canyon wearing a sweater instead of a t-shirt… Wearing a belt with jeans that fit perfectly anyway… Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins wearing glasses…

Crime number three:

Now, finally, this is the last problem – IT IS NOT FINE CUISINE! No matter how much you try to hoodwink us, there is no way one can class this as cordon bleu. The problem is that everything looks so bloody cheap and nasty, like the cheese for example, it doesn’t even look real! For me I’d much rather have some fine Italian cuisine rather than these 45-thick pizzas with grated arse on them. It’s worse than DICK VAN DYKE’S ACCENT IN MARY POPPINS!

Let’s be honest though… despite the abominations such as the one shown above, I do love this show and I love you America!
 

Learning French… the fun way!

Learning French with Eddie Izz(n’t)ard

French: It’s the sort of language that makes you want to say ‘quoi?’ One bewildered utterance, a monosyllabic sound to accompany the baffled expression that uncontrollably falls on the faces of us Brits. It all sounds a bit double-Dutch, doesn’t it? Yet, despite our supposed insularity, how come well-known comedian Eddie Izzard is able to seamlessly merge two languages in a way that makes us laugh?

Eddie Izzard ignores the stereotypical use of French within comedies such as ‘Allo Allo!’ and ‘Only Fools and Horses’, adding a refreshing sophistication to the use of language within comedy. Izzard uses eye-catching body language, majestically pacing the stage in order to deliver lines such as…

‘Je dois partir maintenant parce que ma grand-mère est flambèe’

The comedy comes from the combination of accurate schoolboy French illustrated by arm waving, richly made up open eyes and pure swagger. We are now entering the comedy of the slightly absurd but as an audience are being seduced by Izzard’s deft use of language and delivery.

Well, there are many theories of humour that help to explain how our funny bones are tickled but two in particular stand out. First up is the Superiority Theory. Tracing back to Plato and Aristotle, this theory centres itself around the idea of schadenfreude: taking pleasure from others misfortunes or their inferiority. We’ve all been guilty of laughing at cartoon characters slipping on that unfortunately placed banana skin or that idiot’s audacity on ‘You’ve Been Framed’ but, rather unconventionally, Eddie Izzard inverts the theory onto himself. His reversal of the idea comes from a desire to create a shared experience between the narrator and the listener. Rather than mocking somebody inferior, he tends to turn the joke onto himself…

‘Tu es un travesti?’… ‘Oui je suis un travesti mais pas un travesti typical!’

… using his own transvestism as the butt of his jokes. Having said this, you could argue that the very reason he uses French in his comedy is to feel superior and, as he admits himself, to stick ‘two v’s’ up at his foreign friends.

Secondly we have the Incongruity Theory. This revolves around the assumption that we laugh at things that surprise us because they seem out of place: like clowns wearing outrageously large shoes or politicians telling the truth… The absurd nature of Eddie’s stand-up follows this particular theory perfectly as his bizarre story of holidaying with a mouse, a cat and a monkey show how the weirder the concept is, the more wonderfully funny the joke becomes.  This will explain…

‘Ah le singe… Maintenant regarde: il est sur une bicyclette… il joue au banjo et… il fume une pipe!’

Not only can this fictitious monkey of Eddie’s ride a bike, play a banjo and smoke a pipe but also he later goes on to drive a bus with Sandra Bullock! This, in turn, shows Eddie using French creatively in order to make even the most outré of situations appear even balmier!

Now, as you’ve probably already noticed, the French above doesn’t appear too hard to decipher, does it? The fact that the comedian uses a lot of French that looks and sounds similar to its counterpart in English means that the audience is able to understand it with minimum fuss. Words such as:

‘table; positions; bombe; autobus; hôtel’

…all back this up and, strangely, as a result of these similarities it gives the audience a sense of satisfaction for being able to grasp the French. Furthermore, Eddie doesn’t feel the need to explain many words since the added use of paralinguistic features, like mimicking the licking of a spoon, helps aid the audience’s comprehension of his phrases.

All in all, what really makes us laugh is the content of his stand-up rather than its French exterior. At times we don’t even notice that Mr. Izzard is speaking fluent French for we are captivated by the unorthodox nature of his anecdote (Incongruity Theory, remember?); removing the awareness that a foreign language is being used. So if you wish to learn the beautiful language that is French (particularly how to say that there’s a monkey on the branch) then ‘Learning French’ is your perfect starting point because with Eddie, it really Izzn’t hard. Actually, you might even find it quite fun!