Google+ A Tangled Rope: 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Celebrity News


These days the name of Smorgasbord Impetigo - heiress to the Impetigo chain of burger bars and infamous girl about town - is on everyone's lips. It was revealed yesterday to an almost indifferent world that the once briefly-notorious 'stolen' homemade video of Smorgasbord and the two Swedish plumbers playing - at least, initially - strip-chess in a Macclesfield Hotel's penthouse suite has now become the most downloaded item on the internet over the last several years running, despite the number of videos available that show cats falling off things in slightly amusing ways that usually top such charts.

Although sexually-explicit enough to be a gynaecological instruction film, the Impetigo video is par for the course for the young Smorgasbord. Despite being only nineteen years old (albeit for several years now), Smorgasbord has been a fixture of the celebrity gossip magazines for many years. It seems that almost every issue of all the magazines routinely feature several photos of Smorgasbord falling out of her clothes at film premieres, club openings, fashion shops, 'A list' parties, Coventry chess club meetings and the Macclesfield ‘Tastea’ Biscuit Factory’s annual charabanc trip to Blackpool - in short, all the typical 'A-list' celebrity hot spots and events.

There are - of course - rumours that the 'stolen' video was anything but, and was deliberately released onto the internet with the full knowledge of Impetigo.

There are also rumours that the notorious incident with the traffic warden, the weasel and the custard, and all the other headline incidents, supposed thefts of 'confidential' material, wardrobe malfunctions and other 'accidents' Smorgasbord has been implicated in over the last few years are all similar put-up jobs, all designed to open the way for Impetigo to launch her high-profile media career. It has always been a successful strategy for others with no really discernable talent or ability - not even in the very limited amounts necessary to make it in the media - and there is no reason why it should not work yet again in the future too, for whoever becomes that year's model.

Monday Poem: The Beach


The Beach

The sea sighs like yet another lonely night.
These are dry dull days when even the sand
Seems dead and bare of flotsam,
Not even having the energy
For some wind-blown shapes
Or wave-formed sculpture.

Even the thronged gulls seem hushed,
Having no stomach for the fight
Over the last few tourist-dropped scraps
Left discarded and scattered like broken symbols
Around the edges of abandoned encampments
Like the faded promises of a failing religion.

Pop Star Warning Issued

With the news that Paul McCartney is now the latest in a seemingly endless line of pop stars - such as Geldof, String and Bonio - talking yet more bollocks to the public about something or other, the British public has decided that – at long last – it has simply had enough.


Consequently, today, the UK population issued a statement to those pop stars who insist upon imposing their latest non-music related musing on the world. The statement said:

This constant patronising pontificating must end now, as these utterances by pop – and film – stars are reaching dangerous levels of smug self-congratulation. So, we – the British people call upon any pop star that feels a need to display their - rather limited – understanding of complex issues to the public, to pause and reflect for a moment. Then to – quite simply – Just shut the fuck up! Just because you occasionally have –every now and then - made a tune that quite a few people thought was pretty nice, that doesn’t automatically make you an expert on anything. Just because you can afford to employ people to regard your every utterance as an epigrammatic pearl of wisdom from a combination of a renaissance man and a philosopher-king, it doesn’t mean that the rest of us will take it seriously. Rather the opposite in most cases.

A spokesman for the general public went on to say that if these pop stars do have something they urgently want to get off their chests then they should consider starting a blog, in that way the general public can then simply go and blithely ignore it, as they do with any other blog. The spokesman continued:

Quite simply we have enough trouble with politicians interfering in our lives instead of just trying to get on with running the country a little less incompetently than the previous lot. So what we do not need is a bunch of overpaid in-love-with-their-own-ego twats giving us the dubious benefit of their sixth-form mentality ideas on how to save the world. Frankly, pop stars, we just don’t care. So unless it involves telling us about your drink and drug-fuelled orgies with hordes of teenage groupies - possibly involving the satanic abuse of small domesticated animals – then just keep your mouths shut and keep out of our faces.

However, if you do have a dire need for the world to acknowledge the breadth of your wisdom, or your nobleness of purpose, then maybe you should post a link on Twitter to a nice photo of a little fluffy kitten being cute. That’s the only way anyone will ever really change the world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gordon Brown - Satellites To Monitor UK For Signs Of Political Climate Change Plan

At a meeting of the Commonwealth Nations, just before the weekend, the UK Prime Minister, Gormless Brown, announced plans to use satellites to monitor the UK for what he regards as increasing evidence that the British Isles are heading for a severe change in its political climate.
A government spokeswoman later translated the PM’s remarks into Engli clarified the PM’s statement:
Our pollsters have – over the last few years of the Our Glorious People’s Government – detected significant increases in the political temperature, especially in areas of high Evil Tory concentration. We are therefore – quite rightly – concerned that these outbreaks of Evil Toryism, and other forms of political dissent, could spread to the rest of the country and bring about what could be irreversible political change. This could eve lead to catastrophic – for us – governmental climate change too.
The satellites – to be launched as soon as the government find something they can sell of quickly to raise the money to fuel the rockets that will take the satellites into orbit – are designed to pick up the telltale heat-signals of political argument and disagreement. Scientists at the British Political Science Society claim that the satellites can easily detect the signs of people’s blood coming to the boil as they read the latest brain-dead inanities and complete perversions of reality masquerading as policies issued by Harriet Harperson or Ed ‘Total’ Balls in their morning newspaper.
The Spokeswoman added:
There has long been a great deal of concern in government circles about the increasing amounts of dangerous political thought in the atmosphere of the UK with some people seemingly unwilling or unable to fully appreciate the wonderful transformations made to the UK during the last glorious 12 years, and how everything has improved and – indeed – how things have only - and can only - get better.
Some experts have claimed that such is the amount of despair, outrage and incredulity caused by this current government that it could easily lead to the Labour Party being out of government for a generation or more, possibly even longer. Some experts have even gone so far as to predict that the political climate could change irrevocably, leading to the total extinction of the Labour Party as we know it. The spokeswoman said:
Obviously, this simply cannot be allowed to happen. Therefore, we in the government have pledged ourselves to introduce measures that will completely eradicate all opposing political thought wherever it is found. These satellites will allow us to pinpoint with extreme- well, more or less… probably – accuracy where the outbreaks of oppositional political thought are occurring and then we will send out our crack teams of Political Climate Adjusters to show these… these Politically-Correct Climate Deniers the error of their ways. We will then re-educate them, so that all possibility of political climate change is eradicated from this country for once and for all.
Many in the government, including Gordon Brown, believe the time is rapidly running out for them and that they must – therefore – act quickly to reverse this political climate change before it is too late for this government, and – indeed -the Labour Party to recover from it. Many, many others though believe, and – indeed - hope that it is already too late for them and that the catastrophic collapse of - what remains of - the UK’s Left is inevitable.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Space Exploration News


NASA announced yesterday that their latest unmanned lunar probe, Steve III, has discovered significant deposits of what appears to be warm toast near the Moon's South Pole.

A NASA spokesperson said, to an astonished press corps:

Adding this to last year's discovery of significant thick-cut marmalade deposits by the earlier lunar probe, Steve II, just slightly to the left of the Sea of Tranquillity, brings much closer the prospect of a manned Lunar base by the end of the decade.

The spokesperson later went on to say:

We have reason to believe that the quantities of both toast and marmalade are more than adequate enough to support a self-sustaining moonbase. However, if our initial estimates of the extent of these deposits are correct, then there could be enough of both toast and marmalade to support manned missions to Mars, or even further afield in the solar system. Especially if the early indications of there being a 24-hour supermarket orbiting in one of Saturn’s rings are confirmed by our latest probe Nigel VII when it does a fly-by survey early next year.

With the discovery, three years ago, by the Mars probe, Doris VI, of the massive milky tea lake near the Martian equator, the addition of these newly-discovered lunar deposits means that there are enough resources now available - without the prohibitively huge payload costs of uplifting them from Earth - for many manned missions to explore much more of the solar system. That is, of course, providing NASA can either find enough astronauts who like their tea quite milky, or - failing that - if NASA can get the necessary funding to finalise refinement of its currently very crude tea-demilkifying technology enough to provide a decent space-worthy nice cup of tea suitable for deep space exploration.

London Borough Introduces Naked High Street

In a bid to reduce traffic accidents by making the road safer and the pedestrian areas – possibly – more attractive the London Borough of Camden has announced plans to introduce the UK’s first ‘naked’ High Street.
Following experiments in Scandinavia (where else) that demonstrated that even partially nudity will cause motorists to slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings, therefore reducing accidents as well as reducing the need to litter the area with signs, bollards, road markings and all other such roadside detritus. The Camden council have therefore made plans to make sure that all pedestrians will only be allowed on a 380-metre stretch of its High street if they are completely naked; except for shoes, of course, and - the council hope - in the case of younger women, thigh-length black leather boots. Although a council official said, while the latter was not – unfortunately – compulsory many on the council would be keen to make it so in the future.
The council official went on to say that all pedestrian road crossings were to be removed as well, saying:
If someone wants to cross the street they will be able to do that anywhere along the road simply by making sure they catch the driver’s attention. For example a gentleman may have to slap his todger down on the front of car to make sure he has the driver’s attention, whereas a lady will only have to bend over a little it and smile as she passes in front of the - by now - stalled car.
Some critics have expressed concern that the amount of nudity on the street is bound to cause congestion as drivers stop to ogle the naked pedestrians. However, the council spokesman was quick to counter such suggestions, pointing out that as a London Borough, the area had more than its fair share of rather unsightly people, even when fully clothed.
In fact there could be more of a danger – thinking about some of the people who come to complain at our council offices and what they’d look like with their dangly bits hanging out – of people causing accidents by speeding away from the area as fast as they can. On the whole, however, we expect it to balance out in the end
After all there are some kinky sods out there who can get turned on by all manner of things that would have the rest of us puking over the cat. I’ve seen some of those websites – purely for research, of course – and I know. Dirty… dirty bastards.
There are other doubts being expressed about the wisdom of the scheme, for instance just how many pedestrians – even in London – would venture out naked and expose their interesting bits to the ever-present dangers of frostbite during, say, a typical British summer’s day. There is also the worry that many men will prefer to stay indoors during the winter months to avoid exposing themselves to ridicule, that is – of course – if passers-by can even see the joke.
As one person from outside London said:
They are – after all – Londoners, and we all know just how irritating bloody cockneys can be, whether they’re in the buff or not. After all, you don’t want some dodgy middle-aged slapper giving the bonnet of your brand-new Audi a Pearly Queen as she crosses the road in front of you, do you?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Isosceles Triangulation



Isosceles Triangulation is nowadays not often associated with the sport that made him famous. However, throughout most of the civilised world during the Victorian era he was regarded as one of the leading celebrities of the 19th Century, alongside Darwin, Tennyson, Wilde and ‘mad’ Nigel Widdershins – the infamous Victorian Badger-Electrolysis enthusiast.

Triangulation, though, was the All-England Poking An Elderly Relative With A Stick team captain for around twenty years. A feat inconceivable in this day and age where the professional Poking An Elderly Relative With A Stick player has – at best - a top-flight career of ten years, if he (or - increasingly these days – she) is very lucky.

Instead, Triangulation is, these days, associated with that unfortunate incident that even today is still known as The Triangulation Incident. The Victorians – as we know – lived by a strict moral code, and - despite a certain amount of hypocrisy that today would be untenable – still believed that certain standards were inviolable.

Despite the hectic activity that could take place on a Poking An Elderly Relative With A Stick playing field it was assumed that a gentleman – as all players were naturally presumed to be – would under no circumstances poke anyone on the pitch who was not his own elderly relative. Therefore, when Triangulation, with only 17 minutes of the last 16th of the final day’s play left, brushed the doddering Great Uncle of Numbert Unguent-Smythe with his poking stick the match dissolved into uproar and was hastily abandoned. The Times leader the following day condemned Triangulation outright as a cad and a bounder of the first water and questions were asked in both Houses of Parliament about the incident.

Consequently, shunned by polite society, Triangulation had no option but to see out the remainder of his days in the obscurity of one of the furthest corners of the British Empire… in a small coal-mining village just outside Manchester where he eked out a precarious living in the dangerously shady world of homing pigeon rustling.

Government Proposes New Anti-Hatred Legislation


Following a report which claims that the UK is top of the league for reports of so-called ‘Hate’ crimes, the British government promised that they would do all they could to make sure the UK stayed at the top of this particular league.

A government spokesman said:

It comes as a great relief, and - of course - a massive justification of the 12 glorious years of this – the People’s Government – when we come out on top of an international league table, especially one like this which gives such a nebulous and – ultimately – meaningless concept as ‘hate’ crime a veneer of respectability.

Far too many critics of this notion of so-called ‘hate crime’ have pointed out – often to the point of exasperation - that since such a crime depends on perception, that is, if either the ‘victim’, a witness or even an investigating police officer decides it is a ‘hate’ crime, then it becomes one. This is – obviously – illiberal, unjust, prejudicial and basically unworkable. Which are, claims a UK government spokesperson, the very reasons the government are so proud of introducing such laws, and just why they are so keen to introduce many more such ‘Anti-Hatred’ laws.

So, late last night a senior government spokesman firmly stated that ‘nearly all the UK population is – in fact – quite obviously wrong.’ The spokesman was responding to reports showing that the government’s popularity level continued to be the lowest ever recorded. ‘It is just simple class prejudice,’ the spokesman added, ‘Everyone in the country - except those that don’t actually know what they are – thinks politicians - especially those in government - are less than vermin.’

The government’s continued unpopularity does show no signs of decreasing, added to the many recent scandals such as: the expenses debacle, the email dirty tricks and so many more, it does seem that government, and politicians in general, have sunk to new lows. The government spokesman went on to say:

We in the political classes, feel that we can no longer stand idly by whilst politicians are routinely exposed to this prejudice, hatred and scorn. So we are looking at ways of ending this class prejudice once and for all by brining in new legislation that will make disparagement of politicians, and criticism of the government, illegal.

We see ourselves as a breed apart from the rest of society, therefore we can regard ourselves as a separate ethnic grouping, and being as there are so few of us, compared top the population as a whole we are therefore an ethnic minority.

So any prejudice against politicians is – quite simply – racism. So any future criticism of politicians, and – especially that persecuted minority the government – on TV, in the papers, in blogs and even in conversations in what few remaining pubs there are left, will all be counted as race-hate crimes and prosecuted by the police accordingly.

The government has also announced that being a politician will – in future – also be regarded as a religion, and therefore any disparagement or criticism of politicians – and, of course, the government will as be classed as Religious Hatred.

The government spokesman added:

It seems obvious that, for example, ‘the holy sacrament of claiming expenses, the necessity of taking fact-finding pilgrimages to exotic foreign beachfront locations, and – quite obviously – the infallibility of the Prime Minister and all other government ministers, demonstrate that government politics is – in fact – a religion and that MPs as members of that religion should be offered the same protection under the religious-hatred law as the adherents of any other religion.

Asked to comment on the proposals, a government minister said:

That is the great thing about making laws like this. We can get them to mean just what we want them to mean. So rather than having to go through the tedious business of arguing with people who don’t share our worldview, we simply make it illegal for them to say anything we don’t want to hear… at all. You have to admire the beautiful simplicity of it… especially now it is illegal not to.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Annual Rub Your Genitals In a Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day


This is – as you probably well know by now – Annual Rub Your Genitals In A Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day. In the past, we of this proud island race used to be quite keen on displaying our jelly-smeared genitalia to all and sundry as we disported ourselves down the streets in a jolly, slightly drunken, manner that was once so common where the British and alcohol managed to get themselves within the vicinity of each other.

However, of late, the Annual Rub Your Genitals In A Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day has fell into something of a lull, with many people shunning the day altogether, or turning their backs on the once communal nature of the event. Preferring, if they do get any jelly on their genitalia, doing so in the privacy of their own homes, possibly in the company of family, friends and – possibly – the neighbours.

Of course there are some relativity recent arrivals to these shores who regard any open display of their - or – indeed – anyone else’s genital as an offence to the eyes of their god*

Some have suggested that the recent lack of interest shown by some in Annual Rub Your Genitals In A Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day, is down to the rather prescriptive nature of the event itself. They suggest that maybe rather than just raspberry jelly, people should be offered a choice of dessert, such as: apple crumble, jam roly-poly, sponge pudding, or even just plain custard in which to rub their genitals, feeling this would breathe new life into an event they feel has grown too formulaic over the years.

Some of the more avant-garde practitioners of Annual Rub Your Genitals In A Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day have even wondered why it should be even restricted to desserts, with some suggesting the possibilities of the day being better spent rubbing one’s genitals into a plateful of mashed potato, stir-fried Chinese noodles or even a pancake or two.

However, traditionalist have been swift to pooh-pooh such ideas as being contrary to the whole spirit of Annual Rub Your Genitals In A Bowl Of Raspberry Jelly Day and the special place it still has – despite its current difficulties – in all our hearts, along with other such traditional special days.


*yes It seems everyone but them – like all other religions – can see the theological absurdity of this position. The only logical explanation is that this god – like all the others – is just as daft as those that purport to follow it.

More Government ‘Education’ Plans Outlined


The UK government has announced plans to teach children, in schools, that domestic violence against women and children is unacceptable, in what many believe is yet another initially fine-sounding government initiative meant to tackle a serious problem that ought to be addressed, but is – in reality – just another of those ‘policies’ they keep in a desk drawer somewhere to bring out whenever they need to divert attention away from whatever it is they’ve buggered up this time.

Consequently, critics of the government have been quick to respond, with one saying:

We are all, of course, regard domestic violence against women and children as abhorrent and totally unacceptable, and it is – quite rightly – something we should all be working hard to bring to an end. Unfortunately, however, this just looks like yet another of this government’s ‘Initiatives’ in a long, long line of such policies it produces, mainly – it seems – because they sound good and get the government some superficially positive-sounding headlines.

Unfortunately, after our long experience of such government announcements that seem to last only as long as the current news-cycle everyone expects this one to similarly disappear without trace, especially as we all confidently expect this government to be thrown out in the next election.

However, there may be more to this constant stream of government initiatives, especially in the field of education, than many suspect, as, speaking strictly off the record, a source close to the government stated:

Using the notion that we are working to protect vulnerable women and children is an almost perfect excuse for what we need in order to infiltrate government control deeper into what us to be called people’s ‘private’ lives. Over the last 12 glorious years of this – the People’s Government - we have used these genuine social concerns as a way of giving the government more and more control over what our people do, say and think.

In fact, our whole education strategy (yes, we do have one) is based on the idea of moving children away from what was once called education and more into an area where they are taught government-approved attitudes towards social issues which – in time – will render these children actually incapable of thinking for themselves and, especially, holding any opinion or thought that has not had official government sanction.

By the time these children leave school they will have fully accepted our plans to have two-way telescreens in every room of their houses in order to counter such scourges as domestic violence against women and children, to counter the threat of terrorist outrages that could be planned in the domestic arena and to make sure that paedophiles are not looking at child porn in their own homes.

In fact, by the time these children receive their guaranteed 32 A* A-Levels each, they should have no conception at all of what it means to have a private life, unless they join the Inner Party, of course, that is.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Exams


Well, here we are again then. So, how are you on this splendid day? Have you brought along your Water Vole Perplexation Kit?


Oh, dear.

I did, if you remember specifically remind you at the end of last week's lesson to bring it along, as you will need to have your perplexing rods fully calibrated in time for the end of the year exam, which is now only a few weeks away.

Calibration of Water Vole Perplexing rods is not an easy skill to master, so you will need all the practice you can get before the exam. The blindfolded field stripping, cleaning and re-calibration of your rods does - after all - carry the most marks in this - the Practical - exam. You can bone up as much as you like on the theoretical side of Water Vole Perplexing, or even Full-Frontal Weasel Beguilement, but unless you are adept at the practical side of Small Mammal Mollification then it will all be for nothing. This will be especially true for those of you wishing to acquire your certificate in advanced All-Nude Chicken-Intriguing, for no-one is allowed to enter any All-Nude Chicken-Intriguing training college course without gaining at least a pass level mark in a full-accredited Small Mammal Mollification examination.

Furthermore, the Robust Order Of Small Mammal Mollification Practitioners will not accept just anyone into the order. The pass rate for these exams rests at 20% and has done for centuries, ever since King Edwina the Confused granted the guild its first Royal Charter way back in 1249, when Master Sludge Dampstain became the first Royale Smalle Beastie Mollificatre with special responsibility for keeping the royal apartments free of 'Vexashus tynee devil-beast vermines'.

So, it is a high office you aspire to, and one that bestows great honour and privilege alongside its heavy responsibility. In order to keep this country free of unmollified and unperplexed small mammals you must constantly practice these noble arts until they come to you as easily as breathing or the consumption of chocolate biscuits. Because , above all, you must be fully prepared - should the call come, and at no matter at what time of day or night - to go forth boldly to perplex, or even mollify, any small mammal when called upon to do so.

Be Proud!

Be Noble!

Be Perplexing!

Iraq War Inquiry: God To Be Called As Witness


[God, pictured taking a stroll on the beach near his retirement bungalow in Bournemouth]

The inquiry into the Iraq war, led by Sir John Chilcot, begins later today. It was announced that, as suspected, the inquiry would be calling a being known as ‘God’ as a witness, following claims by former American President George Bush and former British PM, Tony Blair, that they had both consulted this being before embarking on the war.

However, the being calling himself God has strongly denied having anything whatsoever to do with the whole affair. He has repeatedly claimed that he retired from his temporary position as the divine creator of the universe and begetter of mankind well before Bush or Blair were even born, and that he refused to speak with either one of them. God has also claimed he was even forced to go so far as taking out a Restraining Order on George Bush preventing the then-American President from attempting to make any contact at all with the Being.

In an attempt to clarify the – very limited - role he played in the lead-up to the Iraq War, the being calling himself God granted an exclusive interview to The Rope from his retirement bungalow in Bournemouth.

Yes, Bush kept calling, leaving messages on the answering machine. At first, I tried to tell him I’d retired, but he has a problem with difficult concepts… well with any concepts at all really… and with words. Well, to be honest he has trouble with anything more complex than sitting still and grinning.

He just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I kept telling him that even back in the days when people took religion seriously it was all mostly just PR stuff and I was there mainly only as a sort of vague nebulous placeholder for all the concepts people hadn’t managed to work out properly yet. But I’m sure you can imagine how hard it was to get such concepts across to a man who seemed to believe that The Flintstones was a serious in-depth archeologically-accurate documentary. As for telling him that me and Moses made the whole of the Bible up in the pub one night when the darts match against the Norse gods had been cancelled…. Well… I didn’t even dare try to explain that one to him.

In the end, I just got so tired of him praying at me, it was even worse than a double-glazing salesman. Eventually I had no choice but to take out the Restraining Order. Last I heard he was praying to a pretzel, or something. As for Iraq, there may have been something about it in one of those messages he left on the answering machine, but I just stopped listening to them after a while and just erased them as soon as they came in without listening to any of them.

As for the other one, Well, Tony Blair’s problem is that he thinks he is me, back before I gave up the day job that is, of course. The number of times I’ve been sorely tempted to smite that grin off his face. But, as the wife keeps telling me, I’m not a jealous god.

I stopped listening to Blair’s prayers when he started begging me to make him Pope, back when he was a teenager. I thought he’d settled for being Labour Party leader instead; after all there is not that much difference between the Labour Party and the Catholic Church, especially in the way they deal with heretics and non-believers.

So, when Blair said he was praying to God, and that I’d given him the OK, he was probably just looking at himself in a mirror, or something.

So, in short, this Iraq War had nothing at all to do with me squire. I learnt my lesson a long time ago about wars; I just decided to have nothing at all to do with them, no matter who claimed I was on their side.

I’ll tell you this for nothing, as well. I’ve seen a fair few political leaders ion my time and I’ll tell you that no one in their right mind would ever want to do that kind of job, but those who do want to do it should be the very last people on the earth allowed anywhere near it.

Anyway, I must be off the wife wants me to drop a plague of frogs on that Mrs Simpkins from up the road, who she claims she saw cheating at Bingo the other night. Women, eh? See you around, OK? Bless.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Waiting for Summer


When the rain falls, we watch from the window, waiting for the day to emerge from under water. The grey skies fall across our world like heavy blankets, smothering the morning.

The cold wind blows and reminds us of winters where the world is narrowed into the smallest distances between here and there, and kept distant behind windows and walls and on the outside of thick clothing.

We need this summer to remind us of the feel of the sun on our faces and the gentle touch of a breeze on bare skin.

In summer, the world grows around us, green and plentiful, giving us places to go and the time to get there. The world is once more within touching distance, close enough for its scents and birdsong to be everywhere.

The Goat Tapes Vol. 1



Goat of the North Country - Bob Dylan

Valley Goat - Frank Zappa

Fat Bottomed Goats - Queen

Goat - The Beatles

Material Goat - Madonna

My Goat - Temptations

American Goat - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Factory Goat - Rolling Stones

Stupid Goat - Neil Young

California Goats - Beach Boys

The Goats Want To Be With The Goats - Talking Heads

Some Goats - Rolling Stones

Goats Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper.

Who's That Goat - Eurythmics

Cinnamon Goat - Neil Young

Jersey Goat - Tom Waits

Party Goat - U2

Who Are The Mystery Goats - New York Dolls

The Goat In The Other Room - Diana Krall

You're Going to Lose That Goat - The Beatles

Sunday Goat - Blondie

You're A Big Goat Now - Bob Dylan

Brown-Eyed Goat - Van Morrison

My Best Friend's Goat - The Cars

Also available:
The Llama Tapes Vol. 1
The Wombat Tapes Vol. 1

Monday Poem: Windows



I look from the outside
Through careless windows
Left uncurtained
And note that life goes on.

A different kind of life
Behind each window.
A new created world
Behind each clear pane.

Each reality contained
By the clear solidity of glass
Holding it back
Preventing any escape.

Each pane stopping
The inside from bursting out
Into the public space,
Into the public place.

Privacy is the all of it
And the glass holds it there
As it holds my fingerprints
Like contoured maps

Only on the outside
Of each place I tried
To reach, and I
Touched only glass.

PUBLISHED: STAND Volume 5(2) September 2003

Parents Not Being Made Paranoid Enough, Warns Charity


Another pressure group has announced that people are not being given enough contradictory advice about their lifestyles to cause sufficient amounts of unnecessary panic, or even the vital levels of doubt, worry and concern that leaves them cowed and bewildered, and therefore much easier to govern.

‘Parents are not being made paranoid enough by the amount of advice then are being given by pressure groups, charities, fake charities and even the government itself….’ the charity’s press release said.

For example today we are telling parents that their children need to take far more exercise because of the danger of obesity in later life. Whereas, sometime in the next few days one of our sister bodies will issue a severe warning about the dangers of letting children go outside because of the serious risk of them coming into contact with paedophiles, getting involved, even as an innocent bystander, in turf warfare between the various drug gangs, as well as the ever present danger of being shot, stabbed or beaten to death by any rival teenage gang they may meet.

As well as warning of the dangers of children playing too many computer games, these pressure groups have also warned of the dangers children face from social networks, warning that children shouldn’t socialise on the computer because of the dangers of paedophile grooming and so forth. Meanwhile, other groups warn parents not to let their children meet others on the street because of the problems caused by teenage gangs, where any grouping of more than two is a gang ready to cause mayhem, but two teenagers or less are muggers ready to stab you for drug money.

The government is, of course, also deeply involved in this area, making sure it too sends out as many contradictory messages to parents as possible. A spokeswoman for the education department said:

We believe we here in the education department are doing more than our fair share of driving parents towards a mental breakdown. We tell them that it is vital their children get a good education, and that little Gucci or Huddersfield won’t even get a job cleaning the toilets at MacDonald’s without a degree. Then we make it impossible for them to get their kids into a decent school, when they, eventually, do we make sure the school is filled with its quota of grunting knuckle-draggers who only ever wander into the school looking for the secret of fire and a nice tender teacher to gnaw on. Then we make sure they can’t get into university by giving every pupil A* A-Levels, insisting that 50% of school leavers get a degree and then make the universities only offer Mickey Mouse degrees in Swimming Pool studies and so forth, and then – just to twist the knife a bit – force the universities to cut the number of courses they offer, right at the last minute.

When asked why the government and its horde of minio quangos seem to deliberately go out of the way to screw people’s lives up, the Dark Lord of Foy replied:

Isn’t it obvious dear heart? It’s quite simply revenge. All of us in politics, and who populate these quangos and fake charities, we were the poor kids all these people used to bully and torment when we were young. That’s why we go into politics and public life – to get our own back. That’s all.


[A meeting of senior UK government Ministers (L-R: The Dark Lord of Foy, Jack Straw, Gordon Brown, David Miliband)]

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson Causes More Outrage

It was reported yesterday that TV personality and journalist Jeremy Clarkson, presenter of the BBC Programme Top Gear has once again caused outrage amongst certain members of the UK population.


A environmentalist, Naif Fairydustings, complained vociferously, saying:

It is an absolute outrage that Jeremy Clarkson has not said a single thing for several weeks that I can find deeply upsetting, and an insult to the environment and all of us who work tirelessly to find evidence that panders to our deeply-felt prejudices against the human race and its insidious effect on the planet. After all, it is a human race that this odious Clarkson is on record as being a member of, apparently without feeling even the slightest bit of guilt or liberal self-loathing. It is an utter outrage the way he blatantly disregards my right to be deeply offended by something he says or does, and I insist he issues an immediate apology for not being sufficiently offensive towards me and all I hold dear.

Several lorry drivers, left wing politicians, feminists and many others who were quietly confident that Jeremy Clarkson would say something they could find offensive also expressed their outrage that Mr Clarkson had not said anything to outrage their delicate sensibilities. ‘It’s just not fair,’ said one unnamed Labour Prime Minister. ‘The only time I ever get any good press is when someone like Clarkson makes mock of my disabilities. I wanted to time the next election for right after he said something inconsiderate about me, but so far he hasn’t sad anything I can pretend to be shocked by.’

A senior official at the BBC also expressed her concern:

It is a fundamental human right of those who take themselves far too seriously to find themselves often personally offended by the utterances of those in the public eye. Consequently, we set up a special Jeremy Clarkson compliance unit here at the BBC with twenty-seven senior managers all on some of our most generous managerial salaries (plus full expenses). They have been charged solely with examining every single utterance make by Mr Clarkson for any possible offence it could cause to anyone at all, whatever their sexuality, race, lorry driving orientation, political views or regional accent. This special compliance team are all ready – at a movement’s notice to work their hardest to distance the BBC from any involvement with Mr Clarkson, and denying the BBC has anything to do with whatever it was he said.

Meanwhile we have a special management team working overtime trying to discover what it is about a person with no liberal guilt, or no instinctive love of political correct self-censorship, or any desperate need to display his left-wing luvvy sensibilities to all and sundry, or who always seem to prefer honesty to posturing, that makes him so very popular with our viewers and listeners.

Mr Clarkson was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.

We Are Too Old For Gods


This is it. This is all there is. There is nothing beyond these words on this page. This is the only place that exists – for now. The universe is now bounded by the edges of this page you are reading. There is no other world but this one, here and now.

In the beginning there are only the words, they are all that is needed to bring this new world into being. Nevertheless, nothing comes from nothing, so some spark is needed, some first cause to set it in motion.

We do not need gods, though, we are too old for gods and if we are to move on towards wisdom, we need to leave them behind as stories from our childhood.

Friday Poem: Someone's Daughter


Someone's Daughter

She was someone's daughter.
And now, I have daughters too.

So, these days, I can understand
why he hated this world
and every man alive in it.

Because he knew, as I know.
Because he did as I did.
Because he knows as I knew.

We both did exactly the same,
and she was someone's daughter too.


Warning: Police Chiefs May Quit

The head of TCPODNM (The Chief Police Officers who are Definitely Not Masons) warned last night that Tory plans to force the police to do what they are supposed to do, and actually catch criminals, may force some senior officers to resign (if only for gross incompetence).


[Mind How You Go]

Sir Hugh G. Odour said:

We’ve spent several years and a huge amount of money turning the police into the paramilitary wing of the social services. Frankly, we have far too many diversity awareness courses to attend to spare the time to actually go out on the streets any more.

Nowadays, as well, we have an enormous amount of forms to fill in and a great many pretty coloured graphs to send out in press releases which keep us at our desks in the stations all day. Frankly we haven’t time to go out catching criminals, especially when it is easier to wait for them to come to us.

Modern policing has very little to do with merely catching the criminals anyway. We have to make sure that no member of the public has – in anyway – infringed the human rights of the alleged ‘criminal’, which is – in itself - the sort of outdated concept these Tory plans would have us return to, as if it were still the Dark Ages. Then there all the diversity guidelines we need to check up on, such as could giving chase to someone suspected of an offence be construed as racist, or sexist, or cause the outbreak of undue unsightly sweat patches on our officer’s uniforms. Then there all are the necessary guidelines that all serving police officers must consult before even thinking of filling in a handcuff usage from (in triplicate).

Quite simply, all these considerations are far too complex for mere civilian to understand and deal with, especially when they don’t have a nice uniform like mine.

A spokesman for the Conservative party said:

This country desperately needs the police forces of this country to be put under the control of some political-appointed placeman that the public can be conned into voting for. Otherwise, how else are we going to be able to prevent the police from investigating the possibility of MPs breaking the law - possibly over their expenses, for example - in the future?

The police of this country have to be made aware that we in public life are all riding the same gravy train and the police chiefs must be made to realise they mustn’t do anything to upset it, even if that does mean that in the future one or two of them may have to go outside and catch a criminal every now and then.

The Conservative party spokesman then went on to say that a delegation from the party would be meeting with all the UK’s senior police officers soon, in order to demonstrate that they do indeed know the secret handshake, and that – consequently – the senior officers will have nothing to fear in the new regime.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wildlife On The High Street


As the old Music Hall song has it, ‘Don’t put your okapi in the chemist shop, Mrs Cheesewire’, splendid advice, I’m sure we would all agree. For, if there is one place where such creatures of the wild should – ideally – not be, that is in any high street emporium selling items of a sometimes discreet nature, no matter what the reputation for quality of goods and services of the shop in question.

However, having said that, I’m sure that you would also agree upon the relative merits of the suitably-trained shopping tiger, as well as the use of a well-qualified parking leopard to assist in the acquisition of any disputed parking space, and/or subsequent negotiations with any traffic warden or car park employee.

Now, as for utilising a herd of Thompson’s Gazelles to walk your children to school, expert opinion is divided on the subject. Some say that the natural herding instinct of the school-age child makes such an arrangement ideal. However, others insist that children should not be encouraged to herd together as this leads to the unfortunate tendency during the teenage years of the child risking infection from fashion and other unfortunate herd-like manifestations of the teenage years.

As for the use of migratory wildebeests in the purchase of new shoes, you should always be aware that the necessity of displaying the varieties of stock available mean that quite often shoe shops can be quite cramped inside. Therefore one should always make sure that one’s herd of wildebeests is quite adept at manoeuvring in such confined spaces if one is to avoid cause a nuisance to other shoppers, especially if they have migratory herds of their own.



It goes slow, like a day that never really begins even after the evening has faded away into the night. The sort of day where nothing happens, nothing seems to start, and it seems endless and still.

I do not have any place to go today. I remain within these moments looking out on a world that is moving by my window, while I wait here.

The day goes on without me. It has not needed me for a long time. It has not noticed me waiting here, waiting for something to begin.

Government Defends Expenses Omission


The UK government last night defended its decision to omit legislation on reform of MPs expenses from yesterday’s Queen’s Speech.

A government spokesman said:

Well, we were hoping that if we kept quiet about it, everyone would have forgotten all about it and we could carry on as before. Frankly, some of our moats are in a right state now, and there has been talk of setting up a backbench committee to investigate the plight of homeless ducks. It is getting so bad that some MPs have had to resort to spending their own money on essential groceries in order to feed their mistre... Research Assistants.

Political commentators all agree that the government made a strategic mistake when they set up an inquiry into MPs expenses. Usually a government inquiry can carry on arsing about pretending to investigate its brief until everyone forgets all about it. Then when it issues its report no-one can remember what problem the report was supposed to resolve, or – in most cases – even why it was felt necessary to even set up an inquiry in the first place.

However, reform of MPs expenses will be a difficult problem for the government as it has been a long and honoured tradition amongst MPs to never pay for anything themselves, from classing their foreign holidays as ‘fact-finding missions, through employing members of their family as supposed office staff, despite those relatives not even knowing how to work a paper clip, through to sports, opera and theatre tickets received from ‘lobbyists’, it is a rare MP who has to put his hand in his own pocket, or even take it out of his ‘research assistant’s’ knickers, to pay for anything.

Speaking about the whole MPs expenses scandal, sources very, very close to The Dark Lord of Foy said (off the record):

Actually, sweetheart, we thought the public would have forgotten all about it by now. After all there has been a lot of Strictly Come Dancing on the telly since the whole expenses story started, now there is The X Factor too, and… well… with Christmas coming up and all that.

Usually the general public has the attention span of a lobotomised goldfish with learning difficulties. Therefore, we confidently expected the only ones to notice we’d ‘forgotten’ about MPs expenses reforms to be those political nerds everyone else finds it far too dull to listen to for more than a few seconds at a time.

So, if it wasn’t for those pesky kids in the opposition stirring it all up again, we would have got away with it. Drat, drat and double drat. And you can stop that sniggering, Milliband.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

That Endgame


Out here, the moments seem to hang suspended on the night air, as though each second has weight. We move the moments towards and around each other as if they are pieces on a board. Each move brings us closer to that moment we both know is going to happen, we are both waiting for. However, we move the moments around so that each move pushes that inevitable moment, that endgame, further away from us. Sometimes it seems we will move it too far out of our reach altogether.

Time out here, under the watching stars, seems suspended, not part of the real time we can hear murmuring from the house we have left behind, to escape those others. From the moment we saw each other, we knew we wanted to be alone together, dancing around the rituals of the party until we could conspire this escape. Still, we have hardly spoken; still, we do not know each other’s names; but we have looked at each other in a way that tells far more than mere names and labels ever can. We know each other already, from a mere handful of glances across those crowded rooms and, so, everything else can wait. We know it is all inevitable.

BBC Accused Of Making Dramas

BBC hospital dramas under attack:

A top NHS manager has hit out at what he sees as the unrealistic and unprofessional portrayal of NHS workers in BBC dramas Holby City and Casualty.


A BBC Spokesperson sighed, and then responded:

It is fiction – we make it up.

It is not real.

It needs action. It needs tension, it needs drama. Obviously, in programmes like Casualty and Holby City we try to make that drama as dull and predictable as possible, so that we do not accidentally wake any of our loyal viewers, or cause them to have any thoughts about why they bother watching such soporific mediocrity. However, it seems we need to make them a lot more soporific in future, so we can stupefy all these busybodies with too much time on their hands, who seem to only ever watch TV in order to be offended by something in one of the programmes.

Of course, the main purpose of these dramas, along with all the UK’s soap operas, is to take the majority of Britain’s TV actors out of the dole queues. After all, you never expected to see whatshisname…. you know him out of that film… with her who used to be married to the one out of that advert… y’know the one I mean… in a soap opera, did you?

A retired TV scriptwriter who last had a script accepted back in the days when TV drama was really worth watching, said:

These days everything has to be so politically correct I’m surprised there is any drama allowed at all. No-one is allowed to be a baddie these days in case they ‘negatively stereotype’ a whole section of society. I don’t know how we can make it any more obvious for people to understand it is all pretend. Just because a doctor, who makes mistakes, say, just happens to be – for dramatic purposes - Welsh, that doesn’t mean all Welsh people are incompetent, in-bred sheep-shaggers with a chip the size of Caernarvon castle on their shoulders, does it? Even though, in my experience, they all are.

A NHS nurse we managed to keep awake for long enough to comment, said:

In reality the NHS wants us all to be soulless mindless droids, automatons that have all human feelings and frailties programmed out of us during our training, which these days seems to consist little other than various politically-correct brainwashing courses we all have to pass in order to qualify to fill out the forms we have to complete, instead of actually giving medical care to patients. These TV programmes are so unrealistic, most of us are too busy going on diversity awareness courses and filing out forms to ever actually see a patient, as for ever getting off with a doctor you can forget that, because actually acknowledging anyone else in the hospital as a possible fellow human being is an immediate disciplinary case.

Queen’s Speech – Education Reforms


Despite the enormous emphasis put on education by the Labour government during its term of office, the government believes there are still some unresolved problems with the education system. As Ed ‘Total’ Balls the Education spokesmen said, outlining the education measures that will be in the Queen’s Speech:

Despite our best efforts over the last decade or so there are still too many children leaving school with enough a grasp of the English language to enable them to tell when we in the government are talking bollocks. This is not good enough, for unless we can get them to believe all the piffle we come out with; they are not going to reach our target of being compulsive and almost instinctive Labour voters.

There are even some – admittedly very few – who still have some vague knowledge of mathematics who often realise that the figures we use to justify our policies often don’t make any sense, and that – in many cases – they’ve been simply made up.

The Labour government has also announced its intention to emphasise what it likes to call ‘social skills’, instead of having children actually learn stuff, which it regards as ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘potentially elitist’. The government’s stated aim is to have all pupi ‘Educational Co-achievers’ all reach exactly the same level of total ignorance which will mean every child in Britain will get A* A-levels in every subject taken.

As ‘Total’ Balls said in an exclusive interview with The Rope:

By emphasising Social Skills we want to reprogram the way these children’s minds work. By forcing them to take account of Diversity, Equality; and social aware respect for all officially-recognised victim group minorities in every subject area from Global CooliGlobal Warmi… Climate Change right up to their Anti-bullying A-Level, they will learn that certain things, such as officially-recognised hate crimes, become almost inconceivable. So, if anyone, say, by way of example, an Evil Tory, says something that contravenes any officially sanctioned thought processes they’ve been inculcated with, then these children will simply not be able to make any sense of it whatsoever. It will be literally unthinkable, as shocking to them as if the Evil Tory had threatened to plop their dangly bits into a fish tank full of piranhas…. Actually, hang on. I’ll just make a note of that…. Fish tank… dangly bits… piranhas. Yes, I think my Dark Lord of Foy will be amused by that.

Anyway, where was I?

Oh, yes:

In this way we believe – a bit like the Jesuits used to – that once we have got them ‘Thinking Labour’ at an early enough age they will continue to ‘Think Labour’ – and, of course, vote Labour, for the rest of their lives, no matter how much reality contradicts everything they see and do. I mean it worked for Christianity, and all those other equally nice and cuddly religions too of course, for a few thousand years or so. So it ought to work for us… unless Gordon cocks it up, of course.

Just before leaving the interview, Ed Balls, added as an aside:

By the way, do your readers know that David Cameron has a big fluffy white cat he strokes as he sits in his secret Evil Tory base, hidden under a volcano on an island? It’s true – honest.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By The Patio Doors


She looked so calm, so natural, as she walked across the floor, like someone who lives easily in such a delicate world. I wanted to speak to her. To ask what she dreams and how she gets through lonely times.

Stupid questions, I know, but she looked the kind of woman who understands why men feel they must ask such foolish things.

She was standing easily, just by the patio doors, looking out over the garden. She held a glass of white wine delicately between fingertips, one hand on the base and one hand on the bowl; holding it as though she was preventing it floating off high into the dark night sky like a child's bright balloon.

The Birth Of The Prophet Nhigel (MHPDM)


Not surprisingly there are many similarities between the Uttabollux account of the birth of the Prophet Nhigel (May His Plums Dangle Mightily) and the birth of the god (or gods) of many other religions, especially those that were the Uttabollux religion’s immediate precursors. Whether this is down to a lack of imagination, some sense of theological economising, or merely a cynical attempt to procure existent rituals, ceremonies and calendar dates to enable the new religion to make a successful takeover bid is still a matter of some theological debate, especially when the bar is closed.

However, the story of how Stan the plumber and his heavily pregnant wife, the Virgin* Paula, rode into the city centre that midwinter night on a motor scooter is well known, as is their unsuccessful attempt to find a room for the night at any of the town’s many hotels and motels, as there was a European Cup (as it then was) semi-final fixture that very night at the City team’s home stadium.

The young couple were also refused entry to the city’s many late-night clubs as the doormen were suspicious of the pregnant Paula, believing that if she gave birth on the premises then the unborn child would have gained entry without paying, thus violating one of the doorkeeper’s most solemn oaths, to keep out those that do not pay, or commit the heinous heresy of not attiring themselves in the most Holy smart casual robes in readiness for the rites of ‘going on the pull’.

Eventually, though, Stan the plumber and the virgin Paula found a late night kebab shop that was still open, bathed in the orange glow of the only streetlight still working on the High Street.

When the staff of the kebab shop saw that Paula was about to give birth they cleared a space and – eventually – with much encouragement from Stan, the kebab shop staff and a few customers who hung around to film the event on their mobile phones, Nhigel was born on the counter of the kebab shop. This is why, theological scholars maintain, the late-night kebab has become the Holy ritual food of the Uttabolluxers, and is always consumed after a long night’s pilgrimage around the town’s pubs and clubs.

Not long after Nhigel was born some policemen, who had been shepherding the football fans away from City’s stadium, after the end of the European Cup match, were suddenly overcome with a mystic urge to visit the kebab shop, where they partook of the Holy kebabs before suddenly falling to their knees as one to praise the most Holy Nhigel (MHPDM).

A short while later the three wise men who made up the pub quiz team from the pub just up the road, followed the light from the one remaining working streetlight outside the kebab shop, bringing gifts for the newborn baby, one brought a pint of lager, another a bottle of vodka, but the other could only find a bottle of Baileys.

After thanking the three wise men for the gifts… and the Baileys, Nhigel’s Mother, Paula, feeling exhausted, wandered off to sleep in a cardboard box at the off to sleep in a discarded cardboard box at the back of the kebab shop. This is why many theological scholars now believe is the reason why Uttabollux women have to spend their whole lives in a cardboard box, in order to try to achieve a state of holiness as close as they can to the most Holy Prophet’s mother.


*Paula the Virgin. She was what was classed as a virgin in her home town because she was actually married to Stan when she gave birth to Nhigel (MHPDM).

Gordon Brown Apologises On Behalf Of The British People


Last night UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a full apology on behalf of the British People, saying:

I wish to apologise on behalf of the British people to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, for the British people’s utter lack of gratitude for, and acknowledgement of his towering genius. Not only, during his period as Chancellor, was the British economy made into a world leader in extravagant debt generation, he managed to tidy the place up by getting rid of all those untidy piles of gold some – no doubt incompetent Tory (spit) - had left lying around.

Furthermore, he is a literary giant - easily dwarfing other Prime Ministerial scribblers such as Churchill and Disraeli – famed throughout his own mind for his great epistolary works dispatched to many significant persons and even ordinary people. None of these noble gestures have – it seems – been truly appreciated by the electorate of the UK.

Never one to exploit his own significant disabilities for petty political advantage, he has managed to retain the captaincy of the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Nokia Hurling team despite stiff competition, and despite claims by some – frankly deluded - members of the party that banana-assisted gurning is the way forward in a modern parliamentary party if it is to retain the trust of the voters.

Brown continued, using an onion to wipe a tear from his glass eye:

Gordon Brown is far too modest and self-effacing to mention it very often, but he learnt from his father - a Church of Scotland minister - that if people are daft enough to believe in imaginary sky fairies, then they are daft enough to believe anything told to them in a serious sonorous voice no matter how half-baked or even plain loopy. Also, Gordon Brown has a moral compass , a gift from his father, and – despite his almost crippling shyness that has led him to seek out the most high-profile position in the country - he would like everyone to know that moral compass is still in pristine condition, mainly because it has never been taken out of its original display case.

To sum up, Gordon Brown then said:

So not only is Britain’s current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, a towering intellectual genius, a competent and decisive decision-maker who does no balk at making the vital decisions necessary for him to remain in position in order to save the world, he is also a sex god, economic whiz-kid and - as history will confirm – Britain’s greatest ever prime minister.

So, it must fall to me – as the representative of the British people to offer Gordon Brown our sincere and humble apologies for not realising what a great man, wonderful prime minister, superstud and economic genius he really is.

I think we – the British people – should now all prostrate ourselves in front of him and beg his forgiveness, begging him to continue his wise and benevolent leadership of this country as he takes it out of this terrible recession – caused by the Americans – into the Brave New World he envisions for its future.

Furthermore, I think I speak for all the British people when I beg Gordon Brown not to bother with the mere formality of holding an election when we all know deep down he is the only man in the country, if not the world, capable of running this great nation.

Thank you, and don’t bother pestering me with your idiotic and puerile questions.

Good night.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Greatest Conspiracy


For many people, quite possibly the most famous conspiracy in the world… ever, is the now infamous Stoat-Beguiling Incident that took place during the night of March 18th 1976 at Bridgnorth in the West Midlands, UK. Many conspiracy theorists are convinced that there was far more going on during that evening than has ever been revealed, either by the authorities, or by those (both amateur and professional) who investigated the matter.

Although there are several conspiracy theories that have many, many, more websites devoted to them, Stoat-Night (as it is known to the conspiracy cognoscenti) has only two (with one seemingly now defunct). However, both these sites more than make up for their relative paucity of numbers with a wealth of material and eyewitness accounts. On the Stoat Night - The Facts! Website there are even some - admittedly rather blurry - photographs purported to be of the incident itself. Although, the webmaster of the site refuses to be drawn on whether he himself believes in the authenticity of the photographs.

For those who now have only a hazy recall of the Stoat-Night event, this is - roughly and briefly - the established story of what - supposedly - happened that spring night in 1976.

It all began about twenty past eight on the night of March 18th, just a little way outside Bridgnorth on the A458 Shrewsbury road. A courting couple, Norbert Spudnuts and his fiancé Spindle Nobgobbler, were - they say - searching for a mislaid cruet set behind a hedge in a potato field. Though why this hunt for a cruet set should need the removal of so many of their clothes is one of the many questions from that night that still remain unanswered even to this day.

Norbert had just - he said - bent down to examine what he claimed seemed like the outlined impression of a salt cellar on Spindle's left inner thigh, when - as he said 'A bloody great wossname leapt out of the field and cleared the hedge in a single bound" he later added, somewhat superfluously: "I fair near shit myself!"

"A bit more than fair near," Spindle added rather mysteriously in a quiet voice while shuddering and hugging herself.

Moments later the couple were surprised to be surrounded by armed soldiers, who - after a rather thorough examination of Spindle, which involved taking several photographs - forced the couple to get dressed before escorting them from the field.

Suddenly, the whole area was lit-up "As bright as mid-day," Miss Nobgobbler later claimed. Although their army escort tried to prevent them, the courting couple did manage to get a few glimpses of what was being illuminated.

"I asked the captain in command of our escort what was going on," Norbert said. "At first he didn't want to admit anything, saying ' there's nothing going on at all'."

"He tried to claim it was just a UFO," Spindle added. "But Norbert and me, we've seen loads of aliens before, and this wasn't anything like their flying saucers at all."

"It was then we saw… the… stoats," Norbert said, struggling to keep the tremor from his voice.

"They… they… just looked… well, beguiled," Spindle added. "The soldiers didn't like us seeing them. They made us promise never to talk about it. They made us sign the Official Secret Act and everything," She smiled nervously. "But I had my fingers crossed when I signed it, so it doesn't count."

What happened next is shrouded in mystery, and still covered by the Thirty-Year Rule (Add A Bit Extra, Just In Case, You Never Know) Amendment of 2001, but that law doesn't prevent wild speculation and ill-informed guesswork, so here is what most self-proclaimed conspiracy experts now believe, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

At the time, the Cold War was at its height, and there were widely-believed rumours in the Western intelligence agencies that the Soviets were working on creating a squad of hypnotised crack suicide sabotage-weasels. The idea was to drop these weasels into NATO countries a few hours ahead of the main body of troops to cause disruption and chaos behind the Allied lines. So, in response to this the NATO armed forces began a crash programme to counter the threat, using beguiled stoats to respond to the threat from the hypnotised Soviet weasels.

However, with the defection of Cliché Suckemoff, there was a sudden cancellation of the project, despite the millions of dollars it had already cost, and the number of highly-trained counter-insurgency beguiled stoats at the various secret NATO camps throughout the West Midlands.

Many of the world's leading conspiracy theorists now feel that what Spudnuts and Nobgobbler stumbled upon that evening was a special American-led operation to remove all the beguiled stoats from the West Midlands and transport them to the now-infamous 'Area 12 and a bit' secret Air Force base in the New Jersey desert. This is the place where NATO - and the Americans in particular - hide all their most expensive mistakes and cock-ups until everyone forgets all about them.

But, alas, the truth about that night will probably never be known.



I was there and she was there too. It felt like the start of something, though neither of us knew what it would be. Time passed and our lives tangled slowly around each other, until one day I woke up to find her body tangled around mine. Then our two separate lives became one single life we lived together.

Later, though, somewhere down the line of that single life, it began to untangle until we were living separate lives together: together, and then, apart.

Monday Poem: The Lake


The Lake

I have seen it all
And the electric blue sparking
Of dragonflies over still water
As deep and as still
As an unanswerable question.

I saw you too,
Brown and naked confidence
Ready to dive into that question.
Pausing, prepared
On the very edge
Of one of those affirmative acts
I can only sit on the bank and admire.


[FIRST PUBLISHED: STAND Volume 5(2) September 2003]

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Words Hide Away


ome days there is only silence. It seems the words hide away, reluctant to step out into the light of the open page. They prefer to remain hidden, out of the glare. They do not like to be set down, exposed for all to see. The words would prefer to remain silent, hidden, back there, where no-one can see them.

There are too many words out there anyway, careless words tossed around here, there and everywhere as if words were easy, as if words were cheap.

There are angry words out there too, waiting in the shadows to grab you, mug your attention drag you down into the cold, wet, dark corners of hatred and fear, to beat you senseless with their hatred and leave you cowering bloodied and bruised while they lurch off in search of their next victim.

There are words out there that will sidle up to you, charm and beguile you with all their silken promises of how they can make your life a paradise on earth. They charm and cajole, flatter and… then suddenly you find yourself holding tight to what they claim is all their promises made real, and you know deep down that it was not what you wanted or needed after all. What you really want and need is something they can’t sell and you can’t buy.

The Vibrant World of Car Park Design


These days Furrymouse Protondesign is a name familiar to almost everyone with even a passing interest in the vibrantly thrilling world of modern car park design. Protondesign has - for several years - led the world in designing car parks where the spaces are only marginally larger than the cars they are intended for - sometimes by as little as one tenth of a millimetre. She also places the parking spaces at precise angles, which make the spaces awkward to enter without extensive manoeuvring and near-impossible to get out of using only the available dimensions of conventional space-time. She also pioneered the art of placing supporting pillars, walls, bits of garden, kerbs, bollards, waste bins, lampposts and suchlike in the most inconvenient places for the potential parker to navigate around.

Eschewing the wide-open plan of the more conventional car park, and the free-form design of the piece of wasteground, spare field, bombsite or other unused space that once traditional made use of as a car park in the early history of mass motoring, Furrymouse has attempted to move the rather staid concept of the car park in a more contemporary post-modern direction. She envisages car parks as a place where - she hopes - 'patrons will come to see parking as a metaphor for the dilemmas inherent in the modern world, where the car - representing the existential self - finds itself unable to fit with else into the contradictory complexities of our modern fractured society with anything approaching either ease or simplicity.'