Sunday, June 20, 2010


Hi there readers

First up, I feel I need to proffer up my all too usual apologies for a severe lack of regular posting recently. You wouldn't believe the last two weeks I've had. Although, if you're a long termer you might. I just don't ever seem to get the rub of the green. So far 2010 has been one of the worst yet. Which, if anyone takes the trouble to read 2009's postings, is saying something!

My misadventures with Dippy in Australia were followed by returning home jobless to find the Tories in charge. I was then unceremoniously kicked out of my own home. And if that wasn't bad enough, just when I managed to get myself back up and online, I was burglarized!

I've feel violated :-(

I thought South London was bad enough with its dog and bike thievery, not to mention its legally and positively encouraged by the powers that be Day Light Bloody Fucking Robbery. But I'd not been out in the sticks five minutes before my own domicile had been breached and evacuated of its contents.

On the night of my last post, I signed off the pages of Newsdesk and proceeded in a southerly direction to the local pub. To be totally honest I fancied a crack at the barmaid. Sadly, I didn't really make much progress. I sparked up a conversation fair enough saying that I was new to the area and wouldn't mind finding someone with local knowledge to show me around. I name-checked a few famous people I'd met as a successful writer down in London, names like Pete Andre, Bruno Brooks and Barry McGuigan, but I could tell she didn't really 'get it'.

That's the thing with these country girls, they lack sophistication, imagination and ambition. They end up working behind the bar of their local village pub, getting up the duff with the centre forward of the pub football team and then settling down to a life of domestic abuse, misery and dreams of what might have been.

In many ways that barmaid reminded me of my own poor mother. I still can't believe she's been blinded by Roger Leache. You would have thought she would have learnt her lesson when dad ran off with the lollipop lady. Some people are just born victims.

I can't really remember leaving the pub that night or indeed the long and dark stagger home. I woke up with a splitting headache and dragged myself out of bed only to discover that the front door of Greta's place was wide open and some git had been in and made it away with half my stuff. My laptop (and dongle), mobile phone, wallet, my TV (still boxed from the move), microwave which was brand spanking new - and while not technically mine, per se, was still something I was looking forward to using - my passport and the box set of The Wire!! Still at least they hadn't discovered the six pack of Cobra in the fridge. I had to have one just to settle my nerves.

Once I'd had the police around and spent about two hours going over the previous night's events and the details of the stolen contents, I had to walk all the way to Lincoln because the tealeaf had also nicked the keys to Roger's Ford Focus that he let me borrow for the move. Honestly, judging my his reaction when I got there you'd think cared more about his missing motor than the fact that I could have been murdered in my sleep.

I had to sleep on the sofa that night. IN MY OWN HOME! The indignity of it all!!!!

I did a lot of thinking that night on the sofa. I was going to have to sort my life out. I was going to have to get home. But, well, I was also pretty bloody excited about the World Cup. The thieves had at least not stolen Greta's ancient, but fully functioning telly.

Mum came up to me the following morning when Roger wasn't around and gave me a few quid. Not 'gave', as such though, because I will pay her back, natch. She's a great old girl really my Mum. Although, I think she's lost touch with reality a bit, I doubt she even knows how much a Frey Bentos pie is these days. Fortunately, I know where she keeps her spare credit card. I thought, if England get past the group stages I could be holed up in that cottage until July.

When I got back to the cottage the next day I was in for yet another unpleasant surprise. Roger's son Gary was on the sofa watching TV in his boxer shorts. He barely even diverted his eyes from the set to acknowledge my entrance. "All right Barry mate," he said, "have you got any booze?"

'Cheeky twat,' I thought as walked into the kitchen, 'there's no way I'm letting him get his hands on my Cobra.' "...only I've finished off that flat shit in the fridge and I thought you might have something decent on you.." bellowed Leache.

Even above the din of my internal rage I think I heard him scratching his balls. I went straight to my room, and I'm not afraid to admit it readers, I had myself a little cry.

Later that night Gary shouted up asking me if I wanted to go to the pub, I didn't bother answering, I thought I'd just pretend to be asleep. I heard the door slam a little later and I went down and polished off the contents of Greta's liquor cabinet while watching a documentary about sex tourists in Vietnam. Makes you sick really, hopeless, socially inept, middle aged men picking up girls young enough to be their daughters.

I woke in the night to the sound of rhythmic banging. Leache had clearly been more successful than I had down at the village boozer. Stands to reason really, he's exactly the sort of uneducated Philistine that impresses teenage barmaids. When I got downstairs the following morning both Leache and his companion were nowhere to be seen.

Gary has kept himself to himself since that first night. He turned up the day after England v USA with an XBox and a copy of FIFA 10, and he even bought me a case of Heineken to replace my Cobras. We played a few games and thanks to my management training with Zach Abrahams I didn't disappoint on the virtual pitch.

It turns out that Gary keeps quite odd hours and is sometimes away for days on end, but he seems to be amazingly successful with the ladies. I had to buy some ear plugs from the chemist just to get a full night's sleep when he's around!

Anyway, he turned up last Friday night and we sat down together to watch England/Algeria. I hate to admit it, but we had quite an entertaining night, despite the fact that he kept calling the Algerians "rag 'eds". Still, he's not really a man of the world like me, I think he's pretty much never moved away from the East Midlands and he certainly didn't go to university.

This morning he turned up at the cottage driving a black Peugeot 206. He was giving me a lift over to Mum's place for Roger's Father's Day meal.

I took a calculated risk, remembering comments that Gary had made to be about his father when we first met, and revealed to him that I knew about Roger being a nazi. It was as risky gambit as I had suspected during the England game that Gary might also being a member of the BNP. But it turns out he hates Roger even more than me. He didn't really have a decent word to say for the man. Gary's racism, it turns out, is not politically motivated, he's just a bit provincial.

Anyway, they're all downstairs as I write this post - I'm using Roger's computer which is set up in Mum's room. That's one in the eye for fascism!

I can hear the laughter and clink of glasses. I know for a fact that Gary has only really turned up to brown nose Greta. He reckons she'll be dead by Christmas and he'll have a third share in the cottage.

I'd best get myself back down there before the pigs in blankets have all gone.

Yours in News


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bachelor pad

Wotcha gang. Soz for being away for a while. I've been pretty busy lately.

As readers of my last post will have gathered, I have been thrown out of my own home in favour for some crippled, nonogenarian, bathing-halfwit, nazi.

It really does beggar belief that mother has the wool pulled over her eyes so easily. I wonder sometimes whether I wasn't adopted. My mind is like a steel trap, silently poised, awaiting whatever news comes stumbling by. Mum's mind is like a pair of heavy duty incontinent knickers at an old people's home.

Still, blood is thicker than water, or so the saying goes. I have decided, for the time being at least, that I shall humour her folly. Roger's mother Greta is to stay tucked up underneath my John Robertson poster, while I'll be sleeping in what appears to be a lavender and pink frilled mausoleum.

Roger is selfishly unwilling to sell his mother's house to fund her retirement home needs, since she wants to leave it to her grandchildren. As a consequence I have taken the noble step of moving out of my family home and into Greta's room in her tiny two-bed cottage in the north Nottinghamshire countryside.

I went for a walk earlier, I felt a little bit like Robin Hood. In many ways I sometimes think of myself as a Robin Hood Citizen Journalist of the Blogosphere. Taking stories from the rich and giving them to the poor. Mind, I saw that one with Russel Crowe in the other day, I've got to say I prefer the Costner version. At least Costner had the good grace not to adopt some faux Irish accent. You knew where you were with Costner.

Needless to say, Greta's place is a little behind the times. She has a stair-lift all right and one of those baths with a side door, what she doesn't have is broadband. Welcome to the 21st Century Grandma!! WTF?

I've been trying to get hooked up to the Super Information Highway all week. There's no cable out here in the stick, so I've got one of those dongles.

lol :-))

Dongle? Ha! Genius.

Greta's place isn't so bad really. There's a nice local pub in the village and the offie even sells Cobra. The only down side to living here is the news that Roger's youngest son Gary is due to move in any time soon. The last time I met Gary, or indeed any of Roger's offspring, was almost a year ago now.

He didn't strike me as being particularly trustworthy. Still, hopefully I shouldn't be here too long. I'm looking to get myself a job back down in London at some point.

Anyhoo, apparently there's karaoke in the local and I spotted quite a fit barmaid down there the other night. People have told me I do a good croon. I might treat her to one of my Humperdincks.


Baz of the woods

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Something terrible has happened readers.

Last night, it seems, Roger's ageing mother Greta had a bit of fall getting into her bath and broke her pelvis. Apparently, she lay in the water for over three hours unable to get out. She had to keep letting water out down the plughole and refilling it from the hot tap to stave off hypothermia. Ingenious really. Mind, she looked like an old prune when she was on dry land, so (your) God only knows what she would have looked like after being submerged for that long!! lol ;-)

Get this though, once she's out of hospital, Roger wants to move her into Mum's place, my house, my bloody room! I'm being kicked out of my bloody inheritance thanks to the incompetent bathing habits of a sour-faced Nazi. Nice one.

I pointed out to Mum that Roger should sell his mother's house and use the funds to put her into a retirement home. She threw a complete eppy. WFT? It makes sense, she's had her crack of the whip, I don't see why I should suffer thanks to that Teutonic tit-willow.

I thought I was a prisoner in my home, turns out I was just the unwanted squatter.

I just stormed off into MY ROOM when I found out about Roger's plans. I've been watching the box set of The Wire this week. God it is brilliant!

After about half an hour or so, Mum came trudging sheepishly in carrying a plate of Spag Bol and a can of Cobra. She was clearly feeling guilty, and rightly so. I took the Cobra and told her I wasn't hungry. I was bloody starving too.

Then she started up: "I would have thought you'd understand Barry. You're a grown man. You should be living your own life, like you were before Christmas. You left behind a perfectly steady job and let that lovely Gill slip through your fingers. You chased off to the other side of the world after some Australian. I thought I'd lost you for good. I've moved on with my life after first your father and then you moved out, and I think you should move on too. You know Roger loves his mother dearly and only wants the best for her. He knows that his mother wants more than anything to leave the house to her grandchildren. I like to think that perhaps when I get a bit unsteady in later years that you'd look after me if anything happened," she said, talking right over a bit when Omar is finally getting his revenge over Stringer Bell.

She knows I hate it when people talk over the top of my dramas. I just picked up the remote and rewound to the beginning of the scene. "You don't need me to look after you," I pointed out, "You've got bloody Roger!"

I whacked up the volume and took a deep pull on my Cobra before pressing play. Sometimes the bitches need to learn the hard way, you feel me?


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Who’s to blame for Volcanic Ash?

Hey readers – I was watching the news this morning and saw some fat cat chief executive from an airline moaning on about how the government over-reacted to the threat of Volcanic Ash. The airlines, he said, have lost millions and it was the government’s fault!

Well, I hate The Man as much as the next man. But I have to question the validity of the CEO’s points. Joe Public, as well as the airlines, has also found himself out of pocket thanks to the Volcanic Ash since some insurance companies declared that they would not pay out on claims made as the Volcanic Ash cloud was an ‘act of God’.

I thought it was particularly rich of the said CEO since the comments were made on the same day that the World’s Favourite [sic] Airline, British Airways, was grounded due to the industrial action of disgruntled cabin staff! Maybe if the airlines treated their staff better and they weren’t so reliant on jet engines then we wouldn’t have had so many delays?

I know that there is something of a blame culture prevalent in Cameron’s Britain and maybe that is a bad thing. But if someone does have to take the fall, who is to blame for Volcanic Ash? God, the government, the airlines? You decide. Here’s the evidence:

God - He sometimes gets fingered for massive natural catastrophes. Although, in fairness to the omnipotent creator, it is almost always one of His earthbound flunkies that points the finger of blame. Men of the cloth are usually quick to point out that a natural disaster has come about due to God being angered by homosexuals. Maybe this time, God was angry with Stelios et al. Or based on the fact that Northern Ireland seems to have been affected worse than the rest of the UK, He’s got the hump with the peace protest. While the Catholics and Protestants were at each other’s throats we didn’t have ash clouds did we? And, as the old saying goes, there’s no smoke without fire.

The thing is, the volcano is located in Iceland – so maybe it’s not the Abrahamic God kicking up the ash. Maybe it’s a Norse god like Thor or Odin. Those Norse Gods were a bit more involved on a day-to-day basis with their believers. Volcanoes, fires, storms – its all meat and drink to the Norse Gods. If we’re going to blame the Volcanic Ash on a God, then I say we Look North. I reckon the Old Testament God is probably kicking back and considering the Middle East and the rise of arabs.

The government – like a football manager must take ultimate responsibility for his team’s performance, so too must David Cameron and his sidekick Nick Clegg take the blame for ANYTHING that goes wrong. I saw chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne on the telly yesterday slagging off Alistair Darling’s budgeting skills. It’s a classic move, natch, it’s called getting your excuses in early doors Osbourne. Tough shit though, it’s your mess now and unless you turn things around quickly you’ll be the schmuck carrying the can. That said, the government cannot really stop volcanoes exploding and if they had let the planes carryon flying and one of them had crashed, then they most definitely would have ended up looking silly.

The airlines – well, granted they were told by the government that they shouldn’t fly their aircraft and they almost certainly didn’t cause the volcanic eruptions. Unless, that is, the Gods were displeased with the working conditions of the cabin crew. Joking aside, maybe that might have something to do with it. It strikes me that a good number of people are quite scared of flying and so they probably do quite a lot of praying that their flights are safe and successful. There’s probably a damn sight more praying that happens in airports than in churches these days, it all adds up doesn’t it?

Newsdesk out

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Education, education, education

'Ask and ye shall receive' Matthew 7:7

First up I'd like to say a Big Newsdesk 'THANK YOU' to Mr C.

He's what I like to call a Newsdesk Long termer. I'm not quite sure exactly when he became a captive of my posts, and I don't have time to check back to see when he first joined since I'm a bit pushed for time - I need to steal moments on Roger's laptop while he's out. Honestly, Mum (whom my love for has been rekindled and remains undiminished, despite her attachment to one of Lincoln's leading fascists) has got me locked up like Paul Sheldon in Misery.

I love Stephen King readers. I'd love to write a horror story. But I think that there's probably too much horror in the world - I suppose that's why I try to keep my posting upbeat.

I was going to write a post about serial killers today. Only I was going to call it Cereal Killers. I was inspired to write the post when I poured out my Snap, Crackle and Pop and, having reached the end of the pack prematurely thanks to Roger helping himself to my breakfast, the Rice Krispies became drenched in dust readers. I fucking hate cereal dust. It ruins things. I felt like murdering the old goat.

Then I started wondering what Josef Fritzl used to have for breakfast. I know that when we get Cheerios there's a lot less dust at the end of the pack and consequently I'm always calmer when I run out of Cheerios than when I run out of SC&P.

Then I thought maybe if Fritzl had the option of Cheerios maybe he wouldn't have been so damn moody.

Dave the roofer once told me that Cheerios were classified as a drug in America due to the various health claims made my the manufacturer's marketing department. It wouldn't surprise me one bit, Americans can't half be a bit dim.

Anyway, I logged on and Mr C had asked me what my "slant" on education might be, and to be fair and totally honest, I thought that would make a far more compelling post subject that my musing on breakfast and homicide.

They say that everyone remembers their first teacher.

Of course, they also say that those that can't do, teach.

Mind, loads of people have said stuff about teachers. They used to say that Mr Salt was a kiddy fiddler. I don't think he was, still that's the price you pay for being unnecessarily tactile. Paedophillia wasn't as popular when I was growing up as it is today. These days, if you believe everything you read in the Daily Mail, no one is beyond suspicion.

Well, not no one in my view, because there is no fucking way Mr C is a paedo and if anyone out there says he is, I'll come down on their ass with some judo shit. Man, that sort of thing drives me nutso.

If there was one teacher I wouldn't have minded being a paedo it was my maths teacher Miss Cuff. We called her Kiss Muff.

Thinking back now, it's hardly a surprise that I failed my O'level, I was a young man, full of raging hormones and sexual awakening. She was a woman of the world with an excellent head for figures. Turns out she was knocking off the the art teacher, which was amazing to me back then, since everyone assumed he was a gay thanks to his purple and pink shoes. Just goes to show, you can't just a book by its cover.

Which is exactly what my old English teacher used to say, and she had MASSIVE tits. Really, really big they were - well, they probably still are, I doubt she's dead she was pretty young. Unless she was murdered or killed in an accident. Or maybe contracted a terminal illness. Still, humongous bazookas. Good God, how I would have loved a piece of that action.

You can't judge a book by its cover, unless its got a pair of massive tits on it, then it's probably going to be a bit saucy. Or indeed, unless the cover has the words 'the bible' on, then it's probably going to be quite religious.

American Psycho is also a book that you can judge by its cover. Not the artwork, natch, just the words, they kinda give it away a bit. lol

I failed English O'level too. Amazing really, when you consider the quality of my writing nowadays. Still, if I knew then what I know now, things would have turned out a bit bloody different.

Perhaps if I'd worked a bit harder at school I wouldn't have ended up at Trent Poly. I might have made it to a proper university, I might have made it as a proper journalist!

Still I can't do, so maybe I should go into teaching. It can't be bad being a teacher. Knocking off at 3:30 and having all those holidays to boot. Lovely jubbly.

o-oh, I think I can hear some keys rattling in the door, I'd best be off before Mum comes in and hobbles me.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fairweather friends

It might surprise my new readers and followers to discover that I was not the most popular child in the playground.

I know, it’s quite staggering really. I wish they could see me now! An international jet-setting, eco-warrior, Citizen Journalist, blogospheric sensation.

I remember the day Steve joined our school. His family had moved up from London and his dad was a policeman. To say that he was not instantly popular with the other kids would be an understatement. He was bullied readers, bullied remorselessly. Steve Pigson the Cockney Copper Cock they called him.

For a while, much to my eternal shame, I relished the fact that the spotlight of juvenile torment had swivelled away from yours truly. However, even at that early age, I was a boy of compassion and high moral standing. I knew that I could not leave Steve to the face the taunts and tribulations alone. I stepped in and offered the hand of friendship, eventually.

For a time we were close. We even formed a special Crime Investigation Club. We had a Code of Practice, secret handshakes and special rules that we did not tell non-members. No one else wanted to join, in fact if the truth be told, the bullies used to take the piss out of our club. But it didn’t matter to us. We had each other and we had the club. We stuck together through thick and thin that term. It didn’t really stop the bullying. In fact I think if anything it might well have helped redouble the efforts of our tormentors.

Still, we made it to the summer holidays and hung out every day until Steve and his family came went to Ibiza to visit Steve’s dad’s sister and her Balearic husband. It was a long fortnight. When it was over, Steve came around to see me and he had the stupidest look on his face. He was practically bursting with excitement it seems. I thought that maybe he'd managed to get lucky with a girl or something.

Steve waited until Mum had left the house to go to her book club and then he went rummaging in his bag and pulled out a video tape. Steve had stolen the tape from his uncle’s den. He didn't say what it was, he just drew the curtains and popped it in the player. A grainy image appeared and so Steve twiddled with the tracking. Then in full focus was a large backside moving jerkily back and forth. The sound was low, but it sounded like someone was in trouble. Lots of shouting and grunting. Then I realised what it was!

It was hardcore German porn readers! I had never seen anything quite like it. Massive they were. Really, really massive cocks. I'd never seen a circumsized penis. I didn't think they were real! Sure, like any young boy I had seen a few interesting magazines in my time, but nothing like this. This was high grade filth. The kind of high grade smut that people would pay good money to see. And when I say ‘people’ what I really mean is ‘school boys’.

The Crime Investigation Club quickly morphed into The Jazz Film Club. A plan was hatched. We knew that Jeremy Clarke’s mum and dad had two video recorders because he’d recently tried to hawk pirated copies of Porkies from the Patel’s corner shop video hire. We knew this because he’d been under the close surveillance of the Crime Investigation Club! We knew this because we’d tried to buy a copy and he said that we “weren’t the right type of clientele”. Clarke was using his pirated Porkies to win friends and influence people, just not us... We decided to use the porn video to befriend Clarke, with the aim of using his copying facilities, meanwhile Steve and I would market and sell the German porn at a premium rate.

The plan ran surprisingly smoothly at first. Both Steve and I had wracked up a significant number of prospects in the new business pipeline and we soon become quite amazingly popular. All of a sudden the taunts had turned to jovial banter – our playground streetcred had gone through the roof. As each day passed by our stock rose.

Clarke’s recording services, however, were proving a sticking point. He insisted that he needed to borrow the movie and could only record the film over night while his parents were asleep. Steve and I might well have been stupid, but we weren’t idiots! We insisted that we needed to be present for all the recordings in case Clarke decided to cut us out of the loop and make his own sub-master tape. We hit an impasse. A seemingly impassable impasse, or so it seemed, until I came up with the brainwave of jumping on a bus to Nottingham to pick up some copying cables and blank cassettes. I would travel down at the weekend. Mum was due to be away visiting friends at the weekend, so Steve would sneak his parents’ video recorder around to my house and we’d stay up all night making copies of the porn.

Early on Saturday morning I jumped on the bus to Nottingham. In those days a trip to Nottingham from Lincoln was a major bloody deal for me. I’d been there before to see Notts Forest of course, but that was on specially organised coach trips. This time I was travelling solo to the big city. I’ll cut to the chase. After a day of hunting around the Broadmarsh and Victoria Centres, I finally found a specialist video outlet hidden away in the Lace Market that had the cables I needed.

I finally made it back home for early evening and called Steve. Steve didn’t answer the phone. I gave it a while, then called again. Again no answer. I sat in the front room surrounded by empty video cassettes and cables. I’d even got in a bottle of cider from a shop in Nottingham where they didn’t need ID. I called Steve again, although now it was getting late. There was no answer. By now, I’d had ¾ of a bottle of Olde English and I was feeling a little bit miffed, our plans were looking shaky. I got on my bike and I went around to Steve’s place to see where he was and what was happening.

The curtains were drawn as I approached, but I could see the flickering light from the television set. I knock on the door, I knocked again. I knock a third time with all my might and eventually a flustered Jeremy Clarke came to the door. I barged past him and into Steve’s front room, and there he was surrounded by video tapes with a guilty look on his face.

Unbeknownst to me Steve had done a deal with Jeremy. Jeremy had the video recording facilities, but more than that, thanks to his trade in Porkies videos, he could offer Steve new business channels into the local Scouts and the school just up the road. And with it, not just financial wealth but also the adulation that Steve craved so much. I had been cut out of the loop by greed.

And that readers, is pretty much how I felt when Nick Clegg sided with David fucking Cameron.

It was almost as sickening as watching Blackpool beat Notts Forest at the City Ground.

Still, Steve and Jeremy’s video empire came crashing down almost as soon as it started. Somehow Steve’s father found out about the taping business. Someone told him. I have no idea who it was. ;-)

Steve’s fair-weather fanclub slipped away faster than it had grown since Steve had taken some payments in advance for the video in order to buy the blank cassettes and the bullies wanted their money back plus interest!

Eventually, I offered the hand of friendship back to Steve. Even though he had the cheek to call me a snitch! I suspect Nick Clegg’s wounded liberals might one day forgive him. But not before the whole sorry mess comes crashing down.

Yours in politics


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Electile dysfunction

Hello readers. I do hope you’ve all been OK while I was away?

It’s funny really, but you know when you go on holiday and come back and you’re expecting everything to be different. Then it turns out that actually not much has happened?

Well, walk a mile in my shoes readers and you’ll appreciate that practically my entire world has turn upside down in my absence.

While I was away, it seems as though the country was gripped tight by the televised three-way mass debates of Clegg, Brown and Cameron. Now we find ourselves staring into the barrels of a well hung parliament. It's not the sort of return I was expecting to life back in the blogosphere.

I've been saving the duck-billed platypuses in Wollumbin Park. Literally a million miles from the corridors of power in Whitehall. Well, I was for a few weeks anyway, then if the truth be told, it all started going a bit mental on my ass!!!

Things between Dippy and myself took a bit of nosedive not long after my last post in late February. I always knew she was a free spirit, I suppose that was always part of the attraction. I’ve never been one to tie myself down and be content with humdrum existence.

Unfortunately, Dippy attracts the wrong type of person. Some people are only really out for themselves and she’s such a giving carer that she can easily get carried away. She got carried away behind my back several times at the camp with the self-appointed chief of our tribe – Shane Taylor.

I’m afraid I lost it a bit readers, I went a little bit mad.

I went into the jungle alone. Have you ever been at one with Mother Nature? I have.

I remember getting a stiffy after seeing Melanie Tate’s erect nipples through her swimsuit while we were on the beach on a school trip to Skegness. I needed to hide the evidence before Steve or anyone else noticed – I suppose in retrospect it might have stopped all the taunts about Brian Jacks, but I was too young to know any better. I hit the deck hard. I could still see Melanie of course, I couldn’t really stop myself. I dry-humped the beach readers. I felt like Mother Nature’s rapist. It was animal instinct.

But out in the jungles of Australia things were far more serious. I’d rather not dwell too long on events. Like everyone else in the camp I was taking massive amounts of psychotropic hallucinogens. It was like the Blair Witch Project meets Predator meets First Blood.

Apparently, they found me lying unconscious, dehydrated and half-starved on the outskirts of Lismore. I had fashioned what appeared to be a crude attempt at what my rescuers described as ‘a platypus superhero outfit’.

I was carted off to a hospital at after my rescue/discovery and stayed put for another week or two before finally Dippy and Shane came to visit. They identified me to the authorities and fingered me for what they claimed were some severe and frightening terror attacks on the camp.

No one could prove anything though and I genuinely didn’t really know what happened back in the jungle. In the end, the British embassy stepped in and I was given a one way ticket back to blighty. The irony of an Englishman being deported from Australia! lol ;-)

I’ve been convalescing up at Mum’s in Lincoln for the past week. So I suppose that even though things didn’t quite work out with Dippy, at least I have managed to patch things up with Mum.

Sadly, I didn’t get to vote in the elections since I’d been out of the country and missed registering. Still, the vote that I would have given to the Lib Dem’s Reg Shore would have been a complete waste of time, since the bloody Tories snagged the seat back off Labour by well over 1000 votes anyway.

At least Roger was in a pretty foul mood since his BNP candidate only managed just over 1,300 votes – a laughable sum that even Reg Shore managed to beat by a country mile. Still 1,300 fascists in Lincoln is still 1,300 too many!

Not sure quite how long I’ll be in Lincoln readers. I called Dan up and he said that unfortunately he’d not been able to keep my job open. So I guess I’m back on the old rock ‘n’ roll for a while.

It hasn’t been all bad news though. Dan’s partner has moved in and so my mortgage is being covered. Which is great. Apparently, Dan's falla is a former Muslim. It’s like that pair of gay guys on Eastenders isn’t it? Living in my flat! You should have seen the look on Roger’s face when I told him. Hilarious.

Also, upon my return to reality and life online I discovered a rather exciting email from Eddie Bluelights offering yours truly the opportunity of being given a good roasting on his blog. I want to send out a special shout of thanks to Mr London Street for bigging me up. Cheers MLS, you're a star.

Gotta go now, I'm using Roger's laptop to send this post. Ha! Another one in the eye for nazi goat. But he'll be back soon enough from visiting him own mother at the rest home so I'd best get back in front of the gogglebox. Dad's Army is on later - and I know for a fact that Mum loves that show, much to Roger's chargrin.

L8ers brethren!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A postcard from Australia

G'day readers and fair dinkum to you all. First up, I need to apologise for my lack of posting over the previous week. The thing is, I'm outback and upcountry helping Dippy save the duck-billed platypusses of the Oxley River north of Wollumbin Park.

It's kind of ironical that in my last post I complained that if my broadband access went down, I would't suddenly find an army of do-gooder platypusses campaigning for better living conditions for the Newsdesk. And now here I am under a baking southern sun, saving the the little freaks of nature without even the most basic of internet connections. I guess the platypus just doesn't really care about the web.

I've found myself in a fairly isolated part of the world. I feel a bit like Leonardo di Caprio in the Beach. Dippy and myself made the long drive to Lismore yesterday to pick up some much needed reserves. I've parked myself in an Internet cafe while she's off seeing a man about some mushrooms.

I checked out some of the news from back home and was tickled to see that Dave the roofer was absolutely spot on with his inside knowledge of Cheryl Cole upping and leaving her love rat footballer husband Ashley.

Speaking of Dave. I got an email from my Edmonton-based roofing friend that Gill finally gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. I wasn't really sure how I'd feel about the day when it finally arrived.

For those of you not familiar with the backstory, this time last year Gill Nelson and I were a serious long-term item. But things didn't really work out, for one reason or another. Then Gill found herself preggers after we'd spent a steamy weekend at Centre Parcs, but then Gill revealed that actually the baby was a result of a sordid one nighter with my friend and friend of the stars Dave the roofer.

The thing is, as anyone who reads this blog will testify, I am a forgiving man. Like George Harrison to Dave the roofer's Eric Clapton, I handed over my Pattie Boyd without so much as a fight. Which considering my mastery of Judo is bloody good news for Dave. I don't think Harrison had the advantage of being martially arted. I think he was probably just scared of Clapton, who was quite tasty with his fists after a night on the sauce.

Anyway, Gill gave birth last week. It was on Valentine's Day as a matter of fact, while I was making my reacquaintances with Dippy. I didn't know about this sweetness of ironic fate, as the email would sit unread for a week until I got to Lismore.

It's swings and roundabouts in the playground of l'amour. And no doubt it's sometimes slides. And climbing frames. Well, it was this once at Butlins in Skegness, I met a girl called Jane from Doncaster, she was as big as a house. I'd always been told that the fat ones are more appreciative. Jane wasn't though, she just laughed at my old feller. How was I supposed to perform in the face of ridicule. It wasn't my finest hour (it wasn't even my finest five minutes).

But when I read Dave's email and saw the picture, my heart melted. Childbirth is a grizzly business, I should imagine, but once they clean the little blighter up it probably seems a lot nicer. Apparently, women release some sort of hormone during birth that blocks their memory from the pain enabling them to go through the ordeal time after time. It must be the same hormone that makes them forget the times you've carried the shopping home after day-long marathon session down Oxford Street, yet remember the time (and always bring it up at dinner parties when you reach for the second bottle), that you once peed in the wardrobe after a session of different kind! lol ;-) only kidding ladies!!

Naturally, Dave wanted to name the boy after his own father, Dave, but Gill put her foot down and insisted that they name him after her father Richard. As a compromise Dave insisted that the boy's middle moniker be that of his long-standing, long-lost friend. That's right, yours truly.

Richard Barry, Dave the roofer's son, weighed in at 7llb 8oz and is fighting fit. I think I'm going to cry readers. Oh no, here comes Dippy with the drugs, I'd best be off. I'll try and log on again soon, but you might have to wait a few weeks....



ps. love you all

Friday, February 12, 2010

Going down (under)

I've been cast adrift for a while readers, well ever since just before Xmas anyway when my gorgeous Aussie princess Dippy left these shores to help save a colony of duck-billed platypusses.

She was due back to blighty around mid-Feb, but this morning I got an SMS from her explaining that thinks are bleak for the endangered marsupials.

Now, I'm all for animal welfare, but seriously, what about Newsdesk Welfare? I love animals as much as the next man. Apart from wasps, natch. But really, it is a bit confusing when people start putting animals ahead of their fellow man.

What's the point of being at the top of the food chain? I mean, do you seriously think that if the duck-billed platypus was in our position that they'd give a flying fuck about our homes. I lost broadband the other week, my life's been hell, I didn't see hordes of duck-billed platypusses camped outside the front door petitioning for my rights.

Thing is though, Dippy said she wasn't sure when exactly she would be coming back, if at all. She thinks that the animals of Australia are worth fighting for, even though most of them are highly venomous. And that includes the bloody duck-billed platypus.

Trouble is my heart often rules my head, I've bought a ticket to Oz readers. Call me reckless, call me what you will. I'm flying out tomorrow and I'm not sure when I'll be back. I've told Dan that he can have a month rent free in the flat if he covers for me at work.

Wish me well


ps. Thanks to all the amazing comments I've had lately, I love you all

Thursday, February 11, 2010

They think it’s all over

After my brief (and very successful) foray into the world of tabloid journalism. I was really looking forward to Zach Abrahams’ management training today. In fact, of all the classes in the programme, today’s was the one I was looking forward to most. The subject was Leadership and Building a Successful Team. Regular readers will know that I am a born leader, although a maverick one not unlike Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan, so I knew from the outset that I would excel in the class.

Also, Zach had given me the heads-up during our private tutorial coaching class this weekend. This weekend’s class was a very specific case study and involved watching and dissecting in real-time the Chelsea/Arsenal game from a management perspective.

I’d arrived at Zach’s and he was looking very casual, almost as though he wasn’t even expecting me. But that’s just his style. He’s a trained psychoanalyst and sometimes he likes to play mind games with his students.

At £300 per hour Zach’s classes represent great value. It was almost as though we were just watching and chatting about John Terry, Vanessa Paroncell, Cheryl Cole dumping Ashley Cole and football, but that’s the genius of the man. He utilizes his in-depth knowledge of the mind to take everyday scenarios and expand on deeply theoretical and seemingly intangible management philosophies.

As a life-long Notts Forest supporter I was schooled in the finer points of one Brian Clough. I think Zach was really impressed with my football management know-how. So much so that he tagged on a few games of Fifa 10 on his PS3 at only 50 per cent extra on his hourly rate.

Clough’s genius lay in his ability to take a group of players that other managers had pretty much written off as mediocre and turn them into world beaters. How did he do this? Well, first up he had a great number two in Peter Taylor. For many, Taylor was the talent spotter, while Clough was the motivator. Cough was never as successful without Taylor and on his own he made some shocking acquisitions. But in fairness Clough was the leader even back in the early days, he surrounded himself with a core group of loyal hard-working players, to this team he mixed in a couple of real gems. Peter Shilton was one of Clough’s first signings at Forest and broke the British transfer record for a goalkeeper, while Trevor Francis (whose autograph I still have!!) was football’s first £1 million pound player. I only wish the autograph I get at ASDA was worth a million quid lol ;-)) !!!!

The other part of Clough’s genius was that he achieved what he did over a 20 year period in an alcoholic haze. I’m not condoning an over-reliance on booze, but I’m quite partial to the odd Cobra myself and, well, my Pro Evo track record speaks for itself.

Though he never disgraced himself like John Terry did by Shagging husband of Cheryl Cole , Ashley Cole's cast-off Vanessa Paroncell, Clough’s world eventually came tumbling down of course, his last season at the helm of the Reds saw them get relegated and he resigned a broken and severely damaged man. I suppose that’s the thing with great leaders, they can’t lead forever and then people only really ever remember what they were like at the end. Adolf Hitler was a pretty popular chap when he was elected, things headed south after a while of course. He over-stepped the mark, so fair enough.

It’s funny really, when you think about leaders throughout history, the immediate ones that spring to mind all seem to have ended their stint at the top with an almighty fall, or at least to have gone down in the pages of the history books with certain aspects of their personality called into question.

Genghis Khan, Napoleon Bonaparte, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, they’re all names that just roll off the tongue aren’t they? They’re iconic leaders one and all, but you probably wouldn’t want them in charge of your local Cub Scout Pack. That said, the Akela of our local Pack, Terry Street, had certain qualities that you would not associate with the ideal shaping of small minds. I didn’t last long in the Cub Scouts, it was far too military for me, all that marching up and down pledging allegiance to the Queen.

Baden Powell was famously a little right of centre in his views. I doubt whether someone taking it upon themselves today to organise a nationwide network of little boys dressed in uniform would go down too well.

The thing with heroic leaders, of course, is that the history books are written by the victors, so here in the UK we’ve got Wellington, Churchill and Thatcher all lined up on the righteous side of the fence and they weren’t exactly covered in glory were they? One of them is famous for inventing the rubber boot, one an alcoholic whose most famous incarnation is a wobbly-headed dog that promotes cheap insurance and the other one is, well, the least said about her the better.

Making judgement calls on whether leaders are heroes or villains is a fairly subjective business. It got me thinking, I wonder who would win in an international football match between the heroic British hero first 11 and an all star line up of foreign villains?

Well, before we can consider who would win, there is the selection headache to consider. I mean initially I thought I couldn’t include Maggie Thatcher in the British heroes team since under FIFA regulations she wouldn’t be able to compete against men. Although, people have often called into question the issue of Thatcher’s gender. But I think that’s largely a sexistism standpoint. Chelsea Berlin, for instance, is not a fancy restaurant in the German capital, (s)he is the great hope of British women’s international football at the moment, and she used to me a man!!! So why not the other way around?

I’ve seen Gregory’s Girl, there’s no real reason why women should not be allowed to compete against men. If that were the case Team GB would almost certainly have Queens Boudica and Victoria in the starting eleven, not to mention Elizabeths I and II – I imagine they’d form a Charltonsesque pairing. I’d keep Florence Nightingale in the dugout armed with a magic sponge, because once the cheating foreigners got stuck into the Brits, there’d almost be some unsavoury off-the-ball antics.

Churchill would be my team captain, I’d have Wellington in attack along with Horatio Nelson. I’d probably have Oliver Cromwell marshalling events from the centre of the park, and I’d put Henry VIII in goal to keep him away from the women.

My opposite number would be spoilt for choice in terms of foreign villains, but that’s always going to be the case, they’re got real strength in depth. Here are the first eleven names that spring to mind – maybe you’ve got some other suggestions?

1. 1.Khan,

2. 2.Bonaparte

3. 3. Zedong

4. 4.Stalin

5. 5. Mussolini

6. 6. Hitler

7. 7.Bin Laden

8. 8.Khomeini

9. 9Jong-il

10. Franco

11. Milosevic

They look like a pretty tasty outfit, but I’m pretty confident that Team GB would come out on top. I know that might sound like the usual patriotic nonsense, after all the foreigner have got some real fire power. The thing is they’d probably all want to play in attack and that’d leave some gaping holes at the back. With the possible exception of Bin Laden, who having been selected for some exhibition stuff away from home early in his career, would probably go missing for large periods of the actual game, making the occasional showy move and then disappearing once again. Granted he’d be quite a distraction for the defence, but ultimately he’s probably not even worth marking.

Rule Britannia?

Barry Clough

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are Cheryl Cole and Victoria Beckham lesbians?

Is this really is just a shameless attempt to get my hit rate up or is it a cutting satire on the state of the British tabloid press? No. It really is just an attempt to get people to look at the blog having taken the time to type in the above pointless question.

They will too. Never mind my previous, previous, previous post about the problems with society. I think I've just located some far more unpleasant problems with society.

I've got a Blogpatrol widget that keeps tabs on who logs on to the pages of Newsdesk, and you should see some of the Google searches that bring people makes the mind boggle, it truly does.

During the last week, Google had the good grace to bring 99 people to the pages of Newsdesk. According to Blogpatrol, here are the last 20 Google searches (Blogpatrol only shows the last 20):
  1. where is vanessa paroncel from? (Google)
  2. vanessa paroncell (Google)
  3. cheryl cole dumps (Google)
  4. vanessa paroncel (Google)
  5. modelling the way (Google)
  6. vanessa paroncel (Google)
  7. cheryl and ashley 2010 (Google)
  8. (Google)
  9. ashley cole vanessa perroncel (Google)
  10. john terry and vanessa Parancell (Google)
  11. john terry vanessa paroncelle (Google)
  12. ashley and cheryl 2010 (Google)
  13. vannessa paroncel (Google)
  14. cheryl cole dumps ashley cole (Google)
  15. "mathroom snooker" (Google)
  16. cheryl cole and ashley cole 2010 (Google)
  17. cheryl cole dumps ashley (Google)
  18. cheryl cole dumps ahsley (Google)
  19. who said "nice to meet you to meet you nice" (Google)
  20. cheryl cole
It makes for quite depressing reading really. Maybe it's satire after all....yeah Baz, it's satire. There, y'see I feel better already.

Yours in Cheryl Cole


Monday, February 8, 2010

Eidur down after Paroncell push

After last Friday's shock revelations, here on the pages of Newsdesk of the World, that stunning Cheryl Cole will dump her love-rat diminutive full-back parter Ashley Cole due to an indiscretion with the girl at the centre of Terrygate - none other than Vanessa Paroncell - it has come to light that John Terry wasn't the only Blue that she bumped uglies with during the course of a glitteringly seedy career.

I got a call from my source who now lives in Canada, let's call him Dave, that Paroncell (although Dave called her Duracell "cos she keeps going all night!" Lol!!!!) worked her way through half the squad.

Anyone who's familiar with the ins and outs of Vanessa Paroncell, knows about her fling with Eidur Gudjohnson. But few know the real secret behind the reason why Eidur was forced to leave Chelsea for the far flung fields of Catalonia.

Avram Grant.

That's right, once again, Barry NewsoftheworldDesk can reveal a footballing scoop that will shake Stamford Bridge to its very foundations. Paroncell's passion for all things Blue (and that includes Lee Ryan by the way) extended all the way up the manager's office.

Roman Abromavich was allegedly besotted with Paroncell, Dave reckons, and he would do anything for her. Including, sacking Jose Mourino and instating the object of Paroncell's desires: Avram Grant.

So when Paroncell put her own personal management order into Roman, Jose was on his bike. Of course, knowing that Avram was about to take over was the real reason Gudjohnson was forced to leave. Avram, though, as we all now know, cannot keep his cock in his pants and, GET THIS, news on the street of shame, according to Dave, is that Avram made a move on Cheryl Cole at the Christmas party after her and Ashley had an argument over, you guessed it, Vanessa Parancell.

Later that same night, Avram was spotted taking Cole up a back passage. A Cole hole. As it were......

Ashley told Roman and Grant was booted out in favour of the sexually repulsive Luiz Filipe 'just call me Gene Hackman' Scolari. That's when Paroncell decided to move back into the players lounge and get jiggly with Bridge and Terry.

There are some dirty things afoot in SW10.

Yours in sleaze


Friday, February 5, 2010

Cheryl Cole dumps Ashley

It was a matter of time really wasn't it readers? We all know that Cheryl's very public decision to stand by her man, the first time he played away from home, was probably more Hilary Clinton and Posh Spice than Tammy Wynette. That's to say, her public profile stood to benefit more from playing the part of the wronged yet understanding spouse of a famously good looking, yet notorious swordsman.

You know how the saying goes though, once bitten, twice shy. Everyone's fav X-Factor judge, the ludicrously lush Cheryl Cole has been wronged again, and this time it was a (former Miss) Bridge too far!! lol

That's right readers. You read it here first on the pages of Barry NewsoftheworldDesk.

Cheryl Cole is walking out on her treacherous beau Ashley after it emerged that it wasn't just disgraced FORMER England captain John Terry that was knocking off former team mate Wayne Bridge's former squeeze Vanessa Perroncel.

Like all good journalists, I will protect my source. Let's just say he bumped into Perroncel himself one late night at Crazy Larry's. The pair got talking, she needed some work doing to her roof, and he was up to the task.

It's news that will almost certainly hearten the spirits of my long lost French friend Mess. Where art thou? Or rather ou est tu?

The news itself will soon be splashed across the pages of the Sun. But you've read it here first!

Newsdesk out

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Order in the courtroom

After my last post regarding the problems with society, I thought I would expand upon the time I did jury service.

Jury service, readers, is one of the great civic responsibilities that we have in this country. More than a responsibility, it’s actually a privilege. Because not in every country are the citizens actively encouraged to sit in judgement on their fellow man and condemn him to punishment. Not everyone’s so lucky.

Obviously in some countries the citizenry are given more operational freedom than us Brits, and they stone transgressors to death in public arenas. Personally I prefer the gravitas and civility of a courtroom, but far be it from me to naysay the cultural quirks of people from other lands. After all, it’s these little differences that make the world such a fascinating place, isn’t it?

In most areas of our life, of course, we are taught that it is wrong to judge others. That’s one of the problems I’ve got with the Police. I often wonder how many police officers have exceeded the 70mph speed limit on motorways while in their private vehicles. I would argue there isn’t a one who hasn’t done it. And from a purely philosophical point of view any that had done so ought not be able to arrest anyone else. If something’s a crime, it’s a crime. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s the sort of petty shoplifting that gives Richard Madeley his kicks, or the sustained and invasive sexual molestation of a nun. You’re either guilty or innocent. At least, this is a point of view espoused by Dave the Roofer, one he formed while living in the North West where he founded the region’s leading philosophical group, the Bolton Wonderers.

So I just don’t understand people who try and wriggle out of Jury Service. I mean, who wouldn’t want two weeks off work sitting in a courtroom, effectively in control of the life of somebody they’ve never met and will probably never meet again (especially if they go to prison and, let’s face it, they wouldn’t be there in the first place if they hadn’t done something wrong somewhere along the line)? It’s a bit like playing Sims, but for real. What a thrill!

But when I did jury service, at London’s wonderful Old Bailey, there were actually some people who were trying to get out of it. One Rasta bloke said to the judge that he couldn’t do it because he had to sign on for his benefits every few days, so he was turned loose. And two of the women on my jury whinged constantly about having to be there instead of sat at home with their feet up watching bloody Trisha!

Me? I actually let out a whoop when the letter came through. A fortnight’s holiday, effectively, with something interesting to do while you’re off work. What’s more, the boss has to swallow it – it’s the law. So I counted myself lucky.

I counted myself even luckier when I saw that the case was a gruesome attempted murder! An absolute corker! I mean obviously it would have been better if it was an actual murder, rather than just an attempted one, because then we’d have been dealing with a killer. But attempted murder has to be the next best thing. I guess in this day and age you might think child abuse would be more exciting for the juror (obviously it would be absolutely sickening as well, that goes without saying. An absolute disgrace and something that no right thinking person could ever truly understand. But the more grievous the crime, the more exciting the judging process; I think that’s pretty much a given), but I wasn’t about to complain. Just think, it could have been some pikey who’d swiped a pair of knock-off Evisu from a market stall in Deptford.

I can tell you this now, readers, although I wouldn’t have told you at the time: I knew as soon as I saw the guy that I was going with a guilty verdict. There was just something about him. I’ve always had great instincts with people and, as the trial wore on over the next two weeks (they let us out at 3pm most days, and that was a glorious summer), these instincts were vindicated by everything that we learned about him.

So here’s the low-down: The accused was a man in his late 50s, his victim a former girlfriend twenty years his junior. A keen athlete – a competitor at (senior) national level – she returned home one evening and was shot in cold blood, from behind, while she unlocked her front door.

She lay on the path of her front garden, her cheek bone hard against the rain-slick tiles. Her ears were ringing, but she made out the sound of footsteps moving at pace away up the street. After a pause she heard a car door slam, an engine cough into life, and a vehicle speed away. All was quiet. Had there been a bomb, she thought? She watched the raindrops come down at her, blinking them out of her eyes, and wondered if she was going to die – if she was going to die here, on a winter’s evening, alone, as the hard rain nailed the cold night to the city.

Neighbours appeared, having heard the shotgun thunder take her legs from under her. “Don’t worry, love,” said a kindly voice. “There’s an ambulance on its way.” The last thing she heard before she lost consciousness was the sound of the siren. Then, all was black.”

Now, obviously she didn’t say all this during the trial and I’ve used a certain amount of licence in the description. It’s a new thing; I’m thinking of becoming a writer of hard-boiled, chilling fiction. People love thrillers and I reckon I’ve got the kind of imagination that could give them the thrill they’re seeking. I’ll be honest, though, I did steal that line about the hard rain from genre master Dean Koontz. There’s nothing wrong with standing on the shoulders of giants, though. I’m the Noel Gallagher to Dean’s John Lennon.

There was a real cast of characters in the courtroom, readers, and it felt like I was in a TV drama, or a film. The thing is, I’ve never watched any British courtroom dramas, so I couldn’t be one hundred per cent sure.

The clerk of the court was a nervous, shaky little man whom we on the jury nicknamed Mr Actually. This is because he said the word ’actually’ once for every other five or six words that he spoke. Roger Hargreaves could probably have written a book about him. Here’s an example:

“Ok ladies and gentlemen of the Jury, I’m actually the clerk of the court and that actually means that I explain how everything actually works. Actually what will happen is that in a minute I’ll actually ask you to stand up, actually, and I’ll say ‘all rise’ and the Judge will actually come in. Actually.”

Poor Mr Actually, he was to become a figure of fun for us over the next couple of weeks as we’d keep tallies of his ‘actuallies’ on the pads where we were supposed to be taking notes pertinent to the case. As I’ve said, though, the bloke was clearly guilty, so there wasn’t actually any need.

My killer instincts for people were proven once again as it became clear that the accused could offer no alibi for the time of the shooting, a car seen speeding from the scene was the same make and colour as one he owned and he had a shotgun. They actually dry fired it in the courtroom. The hairs on my arms stood up. Furthermore, he’d beaten her during their relationship, stalked her after she ended it, smashed up her bicycle, emptied her bins over her front garden and earned himself a restraining order forbidding him from coming within 100 yards of her (something that was quite clearly overlooked during the trial, although I didn’t say anything).

When we retired to reach our verdict one of my fellow jurors pointed out that the evidence was all circumstantial. But I was having none of that old nonsense and I soon got everyone else on my side (including the girls, who just wanted to go home and therefore favoured a nice quick wrap-up). So there he was, guilty as charged. He got seven years, because the judge said we couldn’t prove intent to kill. So he actually went down for GBH and possession of a firearm with intent to commit harm. Personally I figured that if you’re going to point a shotgun at someone and pull the trigger – and a shotgun is a spread weapon, don’t forget – then you stand a fairly good chance of killing them. Still, the judge was the man in charge and we did as we were told. He was probably pleased to get a nice swift resolution so he could go and get spanked by some dominatrix. That’s what they like, judges. It’s a transfer of power thing, it helps them unwind.



Monday, February 1, 2010

The problems with society

I received a letter at the weekend from the Criminal Justice System and it made me cry readers. I’m not afraid to admit it.

The name of the organisation looks like some sort of Orwellian doublespeak doesn’t it? ‘Criminal justice’. Surely criminals should be ‘punished’ not given ‘justice’. I dunno, maybe I’m missing the point or something.

When I was a kid in Lincoln, the worst that would happen was that you’d get caught scrumping apples and Steve’s dad would give you a clip around the ear and that’d be that. Well, actually, worse things than that could happen and frequently did. Especially where the glue sniffers were involved. But by and large we had respect. Fast forward 30 years and things have scaled up somewhat!

As regular readers will know, I’m a liberally minded chap, although I’m not going to go all politically correct (yet another poignant oxymoron lol!). But despite my views I’m starting to feel that law and order have gone soft. Mum always used to say that we should bring back hanging and I’d always dismiss her as a reactionary. “Times have changed,” I’d say; “we’re not barbarians any more”.

But time has also opened my eyes to the reality of the world readers. I've wrestled with the issue of capital punishment before of course, some people are just scum and, in many cases, hanging literally is too good for them. People talk about chemical castration for rapists; what’s wrong with a couple of bricks and a game of cymbals?

Anyway, going back to the letter that lies before me on the dining room table. It is with regards to a certain piece of Newsdesk-based sleuth work that I undertook last year. I’m not talking about the case of Raffles the missing dog, oh no. What I’m talking about is a stone cold eye witness account of theft, assault, menacing behaviour and knife crime.

I didn’t write about it at the time, in case things went to the Old Bailey. I’ve done jury service before readers, so I know how the law courts work. If you go blabbing to the papers about the case, you can jeopardise the outcome.

The incident that I witnessed was quite literally daylight robbery. I was walking back from the station in downtown South London and suddenly I saw someone come darting out of an alleyway beside a house. He was pushing a bike readers. But there was something odd about proceedings. The back wheel of the bike was rubbing against the floor rather than rolling.

I could sense almost instinctively that I was seeing Crime. The bike’s back wheel was rubbing because it was locked to the frame! Then from nowhere, well from the house next to the alleyway actually, a middle-aged white male, of medium build, came running. He shouted “Oi” at the hoodie-wearing youth who was making good his escape up the road. I tell you what, readers, he was going at quite a pace, even though he was pushing a locked mountain bike up a hill.

I shouted over to the middle-aged white male of medium build “Is that your bike?” “Yes,” he shouted. It was at this point that I remembered the words of my old Judo master, ‘don’t go looking for trouble, trouble always finds you’.

I took up pursuit, but thought it wise that I should not be first to the scene. I’m a trained killer and sadly vigilantes can get into all sorts of trouble. I mean, look at that chap in High Wycombe who interrupted a burglar in his own home (not the burglar’s home, obviously. Burglar’s shouldn’t be allowed homes, anyway.) and then meted out some baseball bat retribution. He’s only just been let out of clink and his brother’s still there.

I reckon if someone breaks into your home, the rulebook goes out of the window (especially if they steal it. Lol.). Personally, I’d advocate capturing them and tying them up and then having a think about it. Revenge is a dish best served cold, as they say. The great thing about holding the burglar prisoner is that nobody will know that you’ve got him. After all, burglars probably don’t tell anyone that they’re off to do some burglarising and they’ll be back later. And if they do, they probably don’t say: “And if you need me, love, I’ll be turning over 124 Scanlon Gardens. I’ll probably have me mobile on silent, though, so I might not hear it if you ring. Alright then, take care. I’ll be home around half five in the morning.”

So you’ve got the bloke bound and gagged and now it’s time to start giving him a taste of fear. I reckon the best thing you could do would be to get all of your tools and line them up on the work surface. Chummy’s lashed to a kitchen chair; maybe you’ve sellotaped his eyes open so he has to look at what you’re doing. Once you’ve laid out the tools – and, if you’ve got one, one of those fancy posh corkscrews with the big levers – why not make a pretend phone call along the following lines (make sure he can hear you):

“Hello Dave, yeah, it’s me. Listen, have you got anything on tonight? No? Good, I’m calling in that favour. Yeah, that’s right. No, no. Nothing like that. I’m not in the Brotherhood any more. You wouldn’t believe it mate. I’ve only caught some twat trying to rob me gaff…. (long pause). Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what I was thinking. No, nobody’ll know. You still got the van? Nice one, son. See you around ten tonight then. Oh, Dave… Yeah, I nearly forgot. Bring that new Stanley Jetcut and a couple of dust sheets, will ya? Ta.” You’re gambling here that the burglar knows how sharp a Stanley Jetcut is. Especially when its new.

Then you might want to go back to your selection of tools and idly drag your finger along the work surface, looking like you’re trying to choose between them. Perhaps you linger over a G clamp and a caulk gun (he might think you’re going to break his thumbs and pipe some caulk up his nose). Or maybe you pick up a big claw hammer (obvious, but it’s a classic) and heft its weight in your palm. You run a thumb over your lower lip, as if in contemplation of impending deeds of violence.

Of course, you might have a couple of power tools, the kind that come in their own case. You get out the sander. But you find to your frustration that it’s got the fluffy buffing disc on it from when you were polishing up that wardrobe. You hide this with your body while you put on the coarsest sandpaper disc that you have in the box before turning around and giving it a couple of revs. It would be better if you had a chainsaw but a) most people don’t have chainsaws in the house and b) they make a lot more noise than an electric sander. Then I suppose there’s c) which is that you might not have an electric sander in the first place, especially if you’re of the old school that suggests there’s no better way of preparing woodwork for painting than a couple of sheets of wet and dry and a cork sanding block. I guess the point is, just go with what you’ve got.

Maybe you’ve got an electric drill; one of the ones that doubles as a screwdriver. If you’ve got one of the cordless ones and you haven’t used it for a while then the battery pack will be flat. But don’t be put off by this, turn it to your advantage. Plug it in where the burglar can see it. Then say to him:

“See this battery pack, my fine tethered friend? That little red light will go green in about…” pause and look at your watch “…oh, I’d say four and a half hours. And then we’re going to do see what goes on inside the heads of people like you…” It’s one of the most frustrating things about cordless drills that the battery pack is always flat when you get it out and want to use it, meaning that you can’t do the little bit of DIY you’ve mustered the enthusiasm for. By the time it’s charged you can’t be arsed and then it sits in the living room for a couple of weeks until you can be bothered to put it away again. In this instance, however, it’s nothing short of a bonus.

Alternatively you pull out the little wooden thing with the spike on it. You say to the burglar: “Do you know what this is my old son? No? Well, apparently it’s called a bradawl. My old granddad said I’d find a use for it one day, and it looks like he was right.”

You might have some pliers; they’re associated with the removal of fingernails and teeth, of course. Needlenosed pliers aren’t so intimidating, though, so bear that in mind. If you’ve got tinsnips, well that’s brilliant. Anything that can cut through metal is bound to unnerve the burglar. Stanley knives and chisels; there’s no need for me to go into detail there. If, like me, you’ve got a small garden, then you may well have a pair of secateurs. They are bloody terrifying.

With all the sharp stuff, it goes without saying, be careful not to cut yourself. Not only will it hurt, but it will detract from the sense of menace that you are trying to create. If you do cut yourself, don’t hop up and down, suck the cut finger or squeeze your eyes shut. Instead, smile and lick the blood off yourself as if it’s a delicious gravy. Then he’ll think you’re a proper psycho.

Finally, instead of picking a tool, select the corkscrew. Hold the point right up to his eyeball as if you’re going to use it to pop the thing out. But instead, open a nice bottle of wine. Tell him you like to have a glass while you’re working, like the late, great Keith Floyd. But really you’re just buying time because, one way or another, you’ve going to have to let this bloke go at some stage and probably, like me, you’ve never really thought about this kind of thing very much.

Anyway, back to my story…With two people on his tail, the youth soon decided that pushing a locked mountain bike up a hill was going to be a bit of a drag on his pace, so he dropped his booty and continued running. The middle-aged white male of medium build was in very hot pursuit, though, and by the time I’d caught up he had already gotten hold of the thief.

Now I could finally see the thief’s face, he was gaunt and spotty and, despite being extremely white, was speaking in that faux Yardie South London patois. “I dint fink it was yours bruv, izzit” he said. But the bike’s owner wasn’t having any of this, and grappled with the youth. The pair then span around and went head first over a privet hedge and down into a garden below.

The owner landed on his head and in the kerfuffle the hoodie escaped, running up the garden path and down the street. By this point a crowd had gathered. I’m a born leader, though, and I took the initiative. I instructed a nearby teenager sitting on a bike to follow the thief, while maintaining a safe distance. Meanwhile, I made sure the old chap was OK.

After a while the teenager on the bike came back and pointed to a nearby road saying that the thief had cottoned on to the fact he was being followed and had come after him with a knife!!!

It was like I was living in an episode of The Bill. I was like PC Tony Stamp, and the teenager on the bike was like my informant, who may have been in Grange Hill, and would go on to have a role in Eastenders. I called 999 for back-up and, while waiting for the cavalry to arrive, decided to investigate the road where my CI had told me the thief was hiding.

I proceeded with caution in a northerly direction up the road and then I saw the thief. He was hanging about by a tree, keeping an eye on the road. He was checking to see if he was being tailed. I quickly ducked behind a tree of my own. As a martial arts expert I understand how to make use of my environment. I kept a visual. I know that visuals are vital in cases like this, if you lose track of the suspect, your status as a witness can be called into question by the slag’s brief.

After a while the thief came to the erroneous conclusion that he was in the clear and made his way towards a nearby park. I maintained a visual from some two hundred yards. To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure what to do really. I was pretty sure, judging by the direction he was walking, that he was heading to the tower blocks on the other side of the park. I quickened the pace a touch and then he stopped and stood stock still in the centre of a football pitch in the park and whistled.

Then from over by the other side of the park, quite near the tower blocks, one of those nasty little fighting dogs appeared and ran at great speed towards him. Except they’re not really aggressive dogs at all, Staffies. They’ve got a lovely temperament and they’re good with children. They just look ferocious, which is why the street youths have taken to dragging them around everywhere. It’s a sad fact that there are more Staffies in Battersea dogs home than any other breed, especially the labradoodle, which is exclusively owned by the posh.

Right behind the dog another be-hooded youth appeared and the two made their way towards one another, meeting, greeting and eventually sitting down over by the touchline of the pitch!

A good half hour had now passed since I’d first spotted the thief. He was chatting with his mate now, the Staffie bouncing back and forth between them both. Here’s my chance, I thought, calling directory enquiries to get put through to the local police station for more back up. A patrol car was on its way they said and so I waited. And waited. And waited.

It was now starting to get dark, and I spotted a white IC-one female citizen making her way across the park pushing a bike. Quick as a flash, the thief got to his feet. Bikes were clearly this man’s thing. The park was deserted, and the thief was now walking with intent towards the girl.

I started to walk out into the clearing of the park from my secluded spot. The thief had stopped the girl now and he was asking for something, she had stopped and was now rooting around in her handbag.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a patrol car at the perimeter of the park. I changed directions and waved it over. As the car approached me, the thief disengaged from the girl and started walking in the opposite direction; his pal and the dog having disappeared. I introduced myself to the policeman and pointed out the suspect, saying I had been the one to call in the bike theft and had now witnessed what I presumed was an attempted mugging.

The police told me to stay put while they went over to the thief. They chatted for a while and he was made to empty his pockets. After a while a meat wagon appeared and he was unceremoniously bundled into the back. The police came back and I gave a full account. It took ages too, but I didn’t mind. I’d done my civic duty, I went home and cracked into a few Cobras.

Fast forward to this weekend and I get a letter form the CJS telling me that thanks to my evidence and sleuth work, the criminal had been charged in court last December and had pleaded guilty. The sentence passed was: A community order to take part in the Think First Programme.

Think First! Fuck me, it sounds like something Johnny Ball would have presented on the telly when I was a nipper. Presumably Think First is a class led by some social worker type who tells criminals that they are naughty and that nicking bikes, threatening people with knives and mugging (or at least trying to) girls in parks is a ‘bad thing’.

I tell you what readers, it’s not very PC of me, but I think public flogging might be the sort of thing that might help people like this ‘think first’. The next time I see someone running off down the road with someone else’s bike I’m going to have to put my Judo into action. The streets of London are mean readers, dirty and mean, there’s only one language these people understand! We’ve got to stand up and be counted, we’ve got to fight fire with fire!!!!

Makes me sick readers, sick to pit of my stomach. I’m still owed over £400 from the clamping company that towed my car because I hadn’t displayed the updated permit that they hadn’t sent me. I get fined a small fortune, and people like that bike thief get to wander the streets with little more than an instruction to attend a Think First class.

It is dia-fucking-bolical, that’s what it is.

Yours in distress at the state of society