Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Poundland Indeed…

There was a disappointing story about the state of the Wiltshire juvenile criminal fraternity in the local paper this week.

Under cover of darkness, a gang of youths broke into the local Poundland, followed by Julian Graves a few doors down. I’m not sure how successful they anticipated their less-than-daring raids to be, but surely there’s only so many poorly-crafted ornaments and Bombay Mix you can cram in your pockets. The doors probably weren’t even locked.

If their intention was obtaining money rather than stock, again they were thwarted, making off with the safe from the latter establishment which contained the princely sum of around two pounds in loose change (they’d probably get more than that by flogging the safe on Ebay).

In these lean times, I can’t help but feel that these trainee criminals should consider their retail establishments more thoughtfully in order not to waste valuable time which could be spent terrorising elderly people or imitating black people (why is it that any be-hooded individual between the ages of 13 and 18 sounds like a Tim Westwood acolyte?), unless they’re black, whereupon maybe they could imitate white people.

Our young criminals were once the best in the world. What’s happened? Come on boys and girls of Britain! Shame on you – put some effort into it…

Friday, December 05, 2008

Beastly Criminals

So Shannon Matthews’ pikey mum and oddball unc have been banged to rights over her “kidnap”, and quite right too. The details of the case make for disturbing reading, though one of the things that I find most strange is that, Michael Donovan, the chap who held her in his flat while everyone looked for her outside, changed his name from Paul Drake to Michael Donovan in tribute to a character from reptilian alien telly sci-fi 80’s drama V. This brings back echoes of Barry George changing his name to Barry Bulsara (after Freddie Mercury’s real surname of Bulsara) of whom he was quite a fan, before popping a cap in poor Jill Dando. Although he didn’t.

Maybe all the authorities need to do to find future transgressors is to search for anyone who sounds like they were famous in the 80s (the incarceration of people like Paul Daniels, Rick Astley and other real celebrities sporting similar names is just a cross society will have to bear).

As I recall, the same actor who played the character of Mike Donovan – Marc Singer – also played the title character in a film around the same time called The Beastmaster which was a sub-Conan fantasy effort about a muscular, luxuriantly-coiffured nomad whose best friend was a ferret. I’m not mocking the severity of Shannon’s plight, but I can’t help but think how much more entertaining events would have been had Paul Drake changed his name to the eponymous hero’s name from this film instead.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Spore Of The Devil

Around the same time that the switch was finally flicked on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) buried underneath Switzerland in order to recreate the moments directly after the big bang (thereby allowing a hitherto impossible insight into the building blocks of matter and tantalising clues as to why the universe, which includes us, is here at all), so a Christian group has set up a website to rally the faithful against the release of computer game Spore.

Whereas a metre-long stream of protons travels the 11 mile super-cooled magnetic circuit at speeds approaching that of light, the synapses of the individuals who set up this site are more than a little sluggish.

The game allows the player (and I think the key word here good Christian folk) is “player” to create and nurture a species from single-celled organism, through to multi-celled organism capable of cognitive thought, fostering its biological and social development through generations in order to arrive, ultimately, at a state of civilisation. I dunno, maybe there’s even an opportunity to fart, invent cappuccino machines and crucify a deluded member claiming to be some kind of earthly deity.

Their beef is with that most dangerous of concepts (though for those who aren’t chunky-jumpered simpletons, read “dangerous” as “irrefutable” and “concepts” as “facts”), namely evolution. They claim the game promotes the ghastly notion that we aren’t all descended from two little people in a magical garden who cheerfully pootled around munching fruit until a talking snake convinced them to eat something untoward, thereby fucking it up for everyone.

I propose the building of a Large Christian Collider (or LCC) buried under rural Wiltshire in which fervent believers can be smashed together in order to try and knock some sense into them.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wired For Sound

Continuing the motoring theme from the last entry, tootling into work the past couple of days has been twenty minutes of comparative luxury due to the fact that I have a new car. At 9am I swished noiselessly into a parking space with a notable absence of the toots, parps and puffs of smoke which had hitherto announced my arrival (with doors which threatened to fall off in theatrical style and a nearby colleague on standby to empty a bucket of glittery paper over my head).

The new one is navy blue and shiny and sports such features as (it’s best if this is read in Generation Game “conveyor belt” style)…

- a radiator which doesn’t require filling up before the start of each journey
- a rear view mirror
- windows that go both up and down
- an engine which doesn’t sound like a plane coming in to land
- the ability to reverse
- a full set of windscreen wipers
- a heating system which doesn’t blast arctic air in your face, irrespective of the temperature dial

…all of which were lacking in its predecesor.

Perhaps the most noticeable thing though is the stereo which, in the car it replaced, wasn’t actually a stereo as only the left channel worked. Occasionally, it proved quite enlightening as the isolation of the various instruments and vocals which make up songs forced you to regard them in a whole new light, though for the most part it was lacking in substance. From now on, however, Simon will be accompanied by Garfunkel, Kool, will be able to boast a full complement of Gang members, and Bruce Horsnby (if I ever let him in my car via the medium of magical medium of muzak) will be backed up by his entire Range.

My only gripe is that there’s nowhere to position the wobbly-head Mr T who has been a perennial passenger on many a workward journey. Maybe he can live in the glove compartment from now on – even that’s cosy.

In the meantime, for anybody wishing to buy a clapped-out Fiat Punto, it’s on Ebay. Thirty quid and it’s yours (“T” not included).

Monday, December 01, 2008

Keep On Trucking

We recently moved house and, rather than pay a local removal company over £500 (five hundred squids!) to cart our stuff around the corner, we opted to hire a couple of Luton vans and shift it ourselves.

There’s a feeling of motoring superiority that comes with being eight foot up in the air at the helm of a “rig”. It wasn’t quite Convoy, (there were no bull horns on the front of the cab and we were pootling through a Wiltshire village rather than speeding across the Badlands, saluting fellow truckers with a celebratory parp) but a Yorkie bar did seem mandatory and I got more respect at roundabouts than I usually get in my Fiat Punto.

Fortunately, I didn’t feel the urge to eat three fried breakfasts or murder any hitchikers, but then we only rented the vans for the day which is probably just as well. God knows what would have happened by the end of the week.