“Cult Of Apple” Leader Slammed For “iPhone7 Is Proof Of God” Claim.

By Will Pates

appster

Charles Stevejobs

Controversial technology fundamentalists “Cult Of Apple” have yet again upset millions around the world after their leader, Charles Stevejobs, told a gathering of cultists in Croydon town centre that the recently announced iPhone 7 is “too good to be the work of humans” and required a level of “intelligent design that only God could’ve achieved”. Speaking to a partizan crowd outside the town’s Carphone Warehouse store, Mr. Stevejobs is quoted as saying “If you don’t think God is behind this, the most perfect creation in the history of our world, there is something wrong with you. The iPhone 7 is literally dripping with the touch of God and it has two cameras as well.” While the crowd couldn’t get enough of the Apple proselytising Mr. Stevejobs was offering, the Twitter explosion that followed thanks to the #iphone7isgod hashtag caused a spike that brought the microblogging website to the point of collapse, with one source telling me “it was like a DDOS attack for a while there, we just couldn’t cope.”

While Apple cultists are well-known for their outrageous partisan claims, this most recent statement from their spiritual (and actual) leader has caused even greater condemnation than last year’s “The pencil has always belonged to Apple and the pencil has always been Apple’s” speech, which infuriated the manufacturers of non-battery powered pencils the world over. Indeed, the CEO of HB responded “That guy doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about, or maybe he was home-schooled and never used a real goddamned pencil in his life.” While most people working in technology regard Apple cultists as an occupational hazard that should be politely smiled at and then competely ignored, Charles Stevejobs has made it his business, indeed his life’s work, to preach about the products Apple make in the hope consumers believe they’re buying a product that has an almost supernatural powers, out of the box. While he has his critics, he’s regarded as once of the few people outside Apple’s Cupertino Headquarters with a direct line to the CEO, such is his influence.

Born and raised in Croydon (South London) as Charles Thompson, he was first introduced to Apple in the mid-1990s and has been an outspoken advocate for the brand ever since. He came to fame and notoriety after he was filmed by TV cameras hurling frozen apples at former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer while on holiday in America in 2004. He immediately became a darling of the (Apple-funded) Technology media and received the ultimate accolade (for his unwavering support for the first iPhone) from none other than Steve Jobs who, in 2010, said of Charles “with more people like him on our side I have no doubt we will crush the Android platform completely“. Within weeks Charles had changed his surname to Stevejobs. His ‘CultOfApple’ website has hundreds of thousands of visitors a week and his weekly video series “Reasons to hate Microsoft to death” recently passed the 200 episode mark. There is no more influential or powerful fan of Apple in the world, not bad for a once-humble boy from Croydon.

Since early 2014, however, Charles has become increasingly aggressive in his support of Apple products, particularly because there has been a startling lack of real innovation coming from the technology giant and their rivals have products that not only compete with those Apple sells but in many instances supersede them completely. While openly supportive of products such as the Apple Pencil and Apple Watch, it has been rumoured that even Charles has been underwhelmed with the company’s more recent offerings and suffered ridicule on social media after a spate of memes hit Twitter, supposedly showing Charles carrying or using a Microsoft Surface Pro instead of an iPad Pro with the text “I only use the best tech”.  It was just another in a long line of attempts to unsettle Charles and while he rarely commented publicly, friends and colleagues believe the constant ridiculing was having a detrimental effect on him. Just recently a former aide who was very close to Charles told BBC News “ever since he was humiliated in 2013 when he tried to claim that iPhones take the best photos but an independent review didn’t even put it in the top ten, he’s had a steely resolve and focus that is frightening, one you only ever find in Apple cultists. It doesn’t matter what Apple does, he’ll talk them up and work himself into a frenzy over the slightest little thing. He was unbearable for weeks after the Apple Watch came out, even though it’s pretty meh, to be honest. It didn’t matter to him or the cultists though, they’ll buy anything Apple make. If they (Apple) bought a billion pairs of cheap boxer shorts, put their logo on them and sold them as iPants, he and the cultists would tell you they were the most innovative pants ever made, without even trying a pair on. They’re like that and he’s about the worst of them.”

Apple announced their latest iPhone last week and public opinion certainly seemed mixed in the hours and days that followed, based on the number of satirical videos and tweets that reached the internet after the device was shown to the public for the first time. Most of the videos focus on the “missing” headphone socket, the new Airpod headphones that are just begging owners to misplace them and the, frankly, shocking price of both the headphone adapter and replacement Airpods. While the phone boasts a number of incremental changes and not one but two cameras, consumers are rightfully asking whether or not the new iPhone is actually worth upgrading to, especially if you have good quality headphones. Apple cultists led by Charles, however, are already taking out personal loans to ensure they’ll be the first in line to get their hands on one but Charles Stevejobs took his enthusiasm perhaps a step too far with his “intelligent design” remarks and even long-time fans of the iPhone have distanced themselves from both him and what he said. Croydon resident Mark Bunsen, who bought himself an iPhone 6S just minutes before Charles’s speech, told me “I was going to wait a few weeks for the 7, but after watching the product launch video online and all the joke videos that followed it, I didn’t want to be known as just another twat who wasted money on the newest iPhone.” More worryingly for Charles, perhaps, in America a number of influential Christians have slammed his remarks and many of the Republican Party’s most right-wing Christian bigots have warned Charles to take back what he said or face an eternity in hell. Ken Ham, the young earth Creationist and boss of “Answers in Genesis”, who recently “rebuilt” Noah’s Ark in Kentucky (the “Ark Encounter“), took to Twitter himself to make his feelings known:

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It wasn’t only influential Christians getting in on the act though with leading Muslim cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, who once claimed that women who dress immodestly are the cause of seismic disturbances in Iran, quick to scold Charles:

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While Twitter was alive with comments slamming or mocking Charles, he himself remained silent until the world’s most famous Atheist, Professor Richard Dawkins, jumped on the bandwagon to hit him from the other side of the religious and political spectrum:

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There was still no response from Charles until one final quip from the apparently irrepressible Professor Dawkins:

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Charles clearly couldn’t keep quiet a moment longer and posted the following regrettable tweet that he deleted a few hours later:

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While he issued an apology directly to Professor Dawkins and expressed his regret at using a homophobic slur, presumably because Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is openly gay, pressure was mounting on Charles to either prove his claim was valid or retract his remarks publicly. Never ones to pass up an opportunity to stick the knife in to a competitor, technology giant Google weighed in with a tweet of their own:

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With his humiliation complete, and with Apple cultists around the world forced to admit that perhaps they’d got just a little bit too excited about the latest iPhone’s most notable new features, Charles was forced to issue a statement, shortly after deleting his Twitter account.

“Dear World,

I feel it’s only appropriate at this time to publicly retract a statement I made about Apple’s latest mobile device, the iPhone 7, being the work of God. While it’s now obvious that my remarks upset millions of religious people around the world and especially those who believe in intelligent design, it is apparent to me now that the new iPhone is, at best, a slight improvement on previous models and not perhaps the work of divine creation I suggested it was. While I believe it is a wonderful device, one I will certainly buy myself, I must concede that the lack of a proper headphone socket is not perhaps to everyone’s liking and many people will lose their Airpods, forcing them to either buy another (expensive) set or a headphone adapter (also expensive) that, when used, will prevent owners from charging their phone while listening to music. Had Apple done what Nokia did in 2012 and built wireless charging into the new iPhone then perhaps I’d still have cause to laud the latest model with the praise I did, but they did not. I am certain there’s a very good reason for having two rear 12 megapixel cameras, a wide angle and a telephoto, instead of one 20 megapixel camera like other premium phones have, too. On reflection, I’ve come to realise the iPhone 7 is merely an incremental update rather than a work of God-like genius and I therefore take back the remarks I made and apologise to anyone I may have offended. To my fellow Apple cultists, know that I still fully endorse the iPhone 7, even if it’s not the huge leap we’ve all been expecting to see since 2011. Here’s to at least 8 hours of use without the need to re-charge it.

Thank you,

Charles Stevejobs.”

While this controversy is unlikely to deter thousands upon thousands of Apple cultists from queuing outside their nearest Apple store for several days before the new iPhone is released, there can be no doubting that Apple have not really demonstrated their customary innovation with regard to the new device and their cultist fans (as well as ordinary consumers) are still hoping, desperately, that Apple will one day release a new product that isn’t a re-hash of an older product or a re-invention of a different product, like their Pencil. Which is really a digital pen. So who knows why they called it a ‘Pencil’. Was it just because everyone else had pens and they wanted to appear to be different? Who the hell knows. Airpods, though, I mean what the hell are they all about? They look like miniaturised hotel hairdryers and so if and when you drop your iPhone there’s no chance of catching it with the headphone cable to prevent the inevitable cracking of the screen that happens when you so much as breathe on it the wrong way. God-like intelligent design?

As for Charles, it’s likely he’ll be licking his wounds for a while, or at least until he gets his hands on the iPhone 7, but we’ve probably not heard the last of him and we’ve definitely not heard the last of the Apple cultists.

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I did reach out to Microsoft to see if they had any comment to make on either the iPhone 7 or the remarks made by Charles Stevejobs, but all I received was the standard “We are not presently active in the consumer smartphone market although ‘mobile’ remains a focus for us going forward and therefore do not wish to comment on products we don’t presently offer a marketable alternative to” Microsoft response. Oh, and three months of Office 365 for free, which was pretty good of them.

 

 

Posted in Fan Clubs, God, Politics, Religion, Social Media, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Inside Exeter’s Eighth Day Inventionist Church

By Phillipha Mangirl

They’re wrong. God made the world in seven days. The problem is the others are not counting right. They say God made the Earth in six days but that’s because they start on “1” but that’s a whole 24 hours gone before he did anything, according to them. Look, do it yourself; like God you start with nothing, so 0,1,2,3,4,5,6 – that’s seven days. That’s why the Eighth Day Inventionists are the only people who know what they, we, are talking about.” (Carlton Jones – Pastor of the Eighth Day Inventionist Church)

Inventionism is a relatively new denomination of Christianity, started by Carlton Jones and his sister, Carltonella Jesus-Jones. Both were previously Creationists but after a frank discussion one evening at Bella Pasta they realised their faith had been misplaced and that Christians around the world had been mislead. The name “Inventionism” came about when they realised that God started everything with the planet Earth so he didn’t ‘create’ it, he ‘invented’ it. Carlton explained “There were no other planets at the time so he didn’t just make one, he had to come up with the idea and that, as anyone will tell you, is an invention. The first car wasn’t created until after it had been invented. So obvious when you think about it.” On Monday 23rd December 2012 they opened the first Inventionist Church of Great Britain in their home town of Exeter, at the local cub Scout hall, and hit the streets during the pre-Christmas shopping rush to attract followers. Some 47 people signed up that very day, and a further 8 on Christmas Eve. They held their first service on Christmas morning.

“We believe that God’s word inspired the Bible directly and we believe in a literal, corrected, interpretation of it”, Carlton told me when I went to meet him and his sister, who share a bedsit in Exwick which is where I met them. According to Inventionism the Earth is not 6000 years old, but 6876 years, to account for the extra day in the week God originally intended, the Eighth day that other Christians have failed to account for, which brings us up to the year 2016 AD. “When you consider all those extra days we’ve lost that could’ve been spent speaking to God, it makes me want to cry, loudly”, Carltonella revealed to me while we drank tea in their cosy shared kitchen.

With Christianity losing followers rapidly in an increasingly multi-cultural Britain, the challenges facing a “new” interpretation of the Bible, one in which all the mistakes have been corrected, is a considerable one but both Carlton and Carltonella have made a vow to dedicate their lives to the teachings of Jesus Christ, our saviour, having carefully studied what was written about him in the Bible and ensure the mistakes in the translations we know of today are put right in the Inventionist Bible. While this is serious work the siblings can and do laugh at some of the more glaring errors in, for example, the King James Bible.

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“Most people would agree that if a man rapes a woman he should marry her if he’s caught, especially if she falls pregnant because child birth out of wedlock is definitely a sin, except for Jesus, obviously. However, the Bible also says that if on her wedding day a woman is found not to be a virgin, she should be stoned to death. Obviously if the reason she’s not a virgin is because the man who’s marrying her raped her, it would be pretty silly of him to stone her to death! So, the Inventionist interpretation is that if the man rapes the woman and gets caught he has to marry her but he should not stone her to death unless she’d already lost her virginity before he raped her and she didn’t tell him. I think we can all agree that’s a much fairer and more accurate interpretation of God’s intended word.” Carlton’s logic is surely undeniable and is doubtless one of the reasons that after just four years in existence the Church of Inventionism has over 350 followers worldwide, including one or two very famous people who requested I not name them.

While its followers are in no doubt they have chosen the right path, Inventionism and its natural spin-off, Inventionist Science, have endured considerable scrutiny from many parts of the Christian world and the Science Community, most of which focuses on the all-important Seventh day of Genesis that’s not specifically mentioned in the original Bible. Unsurprisingly, Carltonella has an answer that is not only scientifically sound, but debunks the theory of Evolution completely, something she is not only proud of but visibly delights in. “Dinosaurs, obviously. On the extra day God made the Dinosaurs. Look, nobody’s trying to say they didn’t exist any more, but the Bible doesn’t mention them because God didn’t tell the goat-herders he’d asked to write it (the Bible) when he visited them. It was an oversight on his part; he’d had a busy few days and when he was re-telling the story of Genesis he just skipped a bit by accident. We know that Noah had Dinosaurs on the Ark so that’s the gap filled, referencing the Bible itself. I don’t understand why people like The Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury are so upset at the idea. The Bible is true because it’s God’s word and God cannot lie, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a bit forgetful. He has a lot to think about.”

A number of Scientists in Britain have attempted to de-bunk the truth of Inventionism, claiming it makes the same mistakes with regard to Evolution that Creationism does, but Carlton is in no doubt that where Creationism fails, Inventionism succeeds and can cite one example off the top of his head: “The most obvious criticism of Evolution is that it cannot explain how life started on Earth, but where it really falls down is when making sense of what we see in the world today. Apparently we are all descendants of apes, according to Science and the Religion of Evolution, and yet there are apes in zoos everywhere but there are no half-man/half-apes or half dog/half apes. A better example is to ask if children descend from adults, why are there still adults? The thing is, adults die of old age while children die of horrible diseases or at the hands of abusive parents. They can’t explain that contradiction, now can they? Evolution simply doesn’t have the answers and until it does there’s no good reason not to believe in our invisible inventor,friend and protector, God.” Obviously It would’ve been remiss of me not to ask them both what they thought of Darwin’s theory of natural selection; Carltonella had a quick-fire response to that too. “Darwin got caught up in circular reasoning, so basically he’s saying the fittest are those who survive, therefore those who survive are the fittest, but you only have to look at all the fat American, Mexican and Saudi Arabian adults who live long enough to retire, without needing a heart transplant, to realise fitness has nothing to do with it. God decides who is born, who lives and who dies. Who the hell did Darwin think he was, trying to change knowledge that was nearly 2000 years old when he had his silly little monkey ideas? Whose opinion on Evolution would you take: a 2 year-old’s (Darwin) or an 80 year-old’s (the Bible)? What does the 2 year-old know? Nothing, not a thing.” Take that, Darwin!

Inventionism has also been targeted by Secularists and Atheists who claim that despite the many “corrections” contained within the Inventionist Bible, much of the alleged “bigotry” (which Carlton dismisses simply as “stone-age thinking from apparently modern people”) of the original text remains. Both Carlton and Carltonella were chomping at the bit to respond to this godless claim:

Carlton: “We found a few things in the Bible that used to happen back then but don’t anymore. Given God is all-powerful he should probably have updated the Bible himself by now, without us even realising, but if he did then then we wouldn’t have free will, would we? No, he wanted us to learn from our mistakes and correct them, which is what we’ve done. So, for example, Timothy 2:11-12 says a woman should not teach a man anything or assume authority over him, and should basically not talk. Well, God obviously hadn’t accounted for the Spice Girls coming along with their “girl power” because, while he would’ve known it was coming, it would’ve been out of place in the Bible. So, Inventionism simply adds the words “You can agree to disagree about this and come to some sort of arrangement if it helps” and that’s probably what God would say now if he was one of us.”

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Carltonella: “The Bible mentions the gays a bit, and God obviously wanted a man to have sexual relations with a woman only; clearly he made humans with a bumhole to poo out of, not to have stuff put in; that’s what the vagina is for, you put stuff in the vagina. Or the mouth. However, as with the women-related issues Carlton spoke about, God would’ve known that man-on-man stuff was always going to happen and left it up to us to learn and correct our mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s disgusting you’d want to make your dick all covered in poo and there’s AIDS too, but as long as they stick to their own pubs and nightclubs and don’t put it in my face, then it’s no worse than fisting in my book. So, in Leviticus 18:22 it says “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” but we know God wanted us to learn through free will so we just added a bit so now it says “It is an abomination, right, but as long as nobody sees or hears you doing it you can get away with it” which is much closer to what God would’ve said if he’d written the Bible in 2016. None of this means God doesn’t think bottom sex is a bad thing, that men shouldn’t have sex with each other or that homosexuals aren’t sexual predators, but given what the Catholic Church have been doing to young boys with a frequency and ferocity that only the ancient Greeks could’ve matched, I think God wants us to say as little about gays and paedophiles as possible as things can get pretty awkward pretty quickly.”

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Inventionism is literally re-inventing the Bible for the modern world, correcting the obvious mistakes God left for us to find and put right, as was always his intention. While Fundamentalist Christians, especially right-wing Christians, believe we should live according to the precise terms laid out in the Bible 2000 years ago, Inventionism teaches us that free will to learn, make mistakes and correct them, is in the truest spirit of invention itself. Of course, this could leave the Inventionist Bible open to abuse and interpretation, allowing people to cherry-pick the parts that serve them best in any given circumstance, something Christians and indeed all religious people, even the Muslims, would never, ever, do. Not in a month of Sundays. With this in mind I asked the siblings what they thought about the afterlife and what is required of a human being to find their way to Inventionist heaven. Carlton was very clear that in order to get to heaven one must dedicate their life, from the moment they become a born-again Inventionist, to doing good and spreading the word of Inventionism at all costs, as any good Christian would. “The Catholics seem to think that you can do whatever you want in life and still go to heaven as long as you confess your sins and beg for forgiveness before you die. That’s obviously flawed because heaven would end up full of criminals who’d asked to be forgiven for all their sins. Our uncle Freddie used to touch our bums whenever we went to theirs for the weekend, and he put his hands down my trunks once when he took us swimming. If he begged for forgiveness before he died and ended up in heaven I would be pretty unhappy about seeing him once I got up there, especially as he’s the sort of person who says anything to get himself out of trouble. God sees everything, he’s the inventor of the universe and he takes the time out to speak to each and every one of us whenever we need a chat. Would something that powerful fall for a cheap trick by our uncle Freddie? I think not.”

I felt truly inspired by my conversation with Carlton and Caroltonella, so much so I pledged myself to Inventionism right there and then. I am both happy and proud to reveal that I am now a born-again Inventionist, ready to spread the word of invention to anyone who’ll listen. After a brief ceremony in which Carlton dipped my head in his sink, I heard God speaking to me in inventive new ways I had never known before. It’s one thing to be able to hear, it’s a different thing to truly listen. After the ceremony we had another cup of tea and I asked them what the next big thing they were going to do, in order to spread the word of God’s Inventionism, was. Unsurprisingly, given my experience in their bedsit, they both said, at exactly the same time, “Education”. Carltonella explained what that meant:

“We are about to approach a number of local Comprehensive Schools about introducing Inventionist Thinking into the curriculum. Right now children are taught, if anything, that God ‘created’ the Earth, which is important for children as they’re learning that God is all-powerful and he knows everything and can invent anything. However, we want the word ‘created’ replaced with ‘invented’ as it is a far more accurate word to use in the context of Genesis. Also, we want schools to stop teaching Evolution as ‘accepted science’ because it is not, not by us, and make room instead for Inventionist Science, and other subjects too. Children should be taught about the magic of electricity, a gift God has given to us because, despite what traditional Science has brainwashed people into believing, nobody knows where electricity comes from, we only know how to harness it. Students could enjoy cross-curricular projects such as producing an illustrated guide to modern inventions and how they have copied God’s own inventions, such as aeroplanes modelled on eagles or tanks modelled on Rhinos and Elephants. In Geography, students could enhance their map-making skills by plotting the route from the Mountains of Ararat in Turkey where Noah’s Ark came to rest, back to Australia so the Kangaroos and Koalas could get home after the great flood. Or how about in Performing Arts, where students could get really creative and make a big song and dance about God’s perfection in his invention and design of all the aspects of our lives? And for disabled children, who God has forsaken, they can play with boiled eggs or paint them if they’re actually able to hold a brush without trying to eat it. Inventionist Education supports the truth we all know of, that God invented the Earth and everything on it, and he is all seeing, all knowing and all powerful. Schools who do not teach the word of God are committing child abuse, presenting a Secular worldview that is hopeless and purposeless; what a harmful thing for children to learn. The story of Jesus should be as important to children as the story of Santa Claus and the similarities, the miracles, the magic should be encouraged in children, not denied them. Atheist Education teaches logic, reason, encourages children to seek out truth and evidence, none of which are mentioned or referred to in the Bible. We need to work around the intellect of Atheists and Secularists in order to teach the Bible, and not only to children but to adults as well.”

It was with a heavy heart that I said my goodbyes to Carlton and Carltonella but my train journey back to Manchester passed by in what felt like just a few minutes as I thought about what I’d learned and my new life as an Inventionist. I have always believed in God, and that belief has always been strong, mainly because an Atheist will tell you they don’t believe in God and simply saying to them “you can’t prove God doesn’t exist, therefore he does” is enough to leave them open-mouthed and scratching their heads. I had never considered God to be anything more than a creator; it had never occurred to me to think of him as an inventor! Even now as I put the finishing touches to this article I can see how critics and sceptics might not have been able to accept God as the creator of all things, but when you say it to yourself, “God is the inventor of everything” it makes so much more sense to me. To all Christians out there, and indeed people from the other (incorrect) religions, I implore you, I beg you to seek out the truth of Inventionism before it’s too late.

Posted in God, Human Origins, Inventionism, Politics, Religion, Sexism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Author of “The Ladyboy & The Tramp” Unhappy With Amazon Reviews.

By Cliff Joanna

There was a time not so long ago when book reviews were found mostly in the broadsheets, the Sunday supplements, BBC Arts shows and Literary Review. The success or failure of a newly-released book was often left to critics and journalists and their opinions often influenced public opinion directly – a bad review would almost inevitably lead to poor sales while a good review could mean money, respect and even awards. However, in the same way that iTunes changed the way many people bought and listened to music, so Amazon’s Kindle changed the way people bought and read books. While many authors bemoaned the move from paper to digital, the service allowed practically anyone to self-publish and meant that aspiring writers could get their work into the public domain without having to rely on publishers or book deals, thus blowing the market for readers wide open and leaving traditional book shops fighting to stay afloat.

While the High Street retailers noticed a dramatic decline in sales, digital book providers found themselves enjoying a sharp upturn in sales, resulting in many books being converted to a digital format and even audio books. For authors, especially those who were previously unpublished, the Kindle was an opportunity not to be missed. Suddenly the opinions of critics in newspapers mattered far less as social media provided free advertising and word-of-mouth meant far less than a series of good reviews online. For 45 year old Graham Wilson this meant a lifelong ambition became a reality; he published his first book, “Jesus of Peckham” via Amazon in 2011 some 13 years after he wrote it, having tried in vain to get a publisher interested in it. Backed by favourable reviews on Amazon the book sold 45,000 copies in six months, eventually reaching 75,000 by the end of 2012. Graham’s life was changed forever and he gave up his day job, teaching pottery, to become a full-time author. In 2013 he released his second book, “Married To The Allotment” which didn’t sell quite as well as his debut but was reviewed favourably by The Telegraph. It also led to him selling the rights to turn the book into a TV movie, which Channel Five did at the end of 2014. The Amazon Marketplace was proving to be the making of Graham Wilson the author and when he tweeted in March 2016 that he had a brand new book coming out in June, fans couldn’t tweet their responses quickly enough, resulting in thousands of new followers and a sharp upturn in reviews on Amazon of his previous two digital books. “I felt like I was becoming a real author, and people were saying the nicest things about my books. I was so happy I’d taken the Kindle route and not spent months trying to secure a publishing deal” Graham explained to me when I spoke to him. The internet had spoken, and Graham was dreaming of reaching the bestsellers list and maybe even topping the download chart for the first time.

bookOn Monday June 6th Graham released “The Ladyboy and the Tramp”, a semi-autobiographical story set in Earls Court, London, an area Graham regularly visited after his marriage collapsed in 2006. Where “Jesus of Peckham” and “Married To The Allotment” were both urban fairytales, “The Ladyboy and the Tramp” was an unconventional love story with science-fiction elements; the story’s protagonist was Clive Warderton, a poor and lonely forty-something who had an unexpected change of fortune when he won a competition to have a month’s free trial of an artificially intelligent sex robot. Due to a mix-up at the factory he received a prototype Ladyboy robot instead of the female robot he’d requested but after initially contacting the company to complain he decided to keep “Veronica” after their first night together. They quickly fall in love after a lust-filled first week together and they decide to elope just hours before he was due to return Veronica for memory-wiping and cleansing. The story mirrors an experience Graham had with an escort after his now ex-wife asked him to move out of their flat and he found himself living in a bedsit next door to a Malaysian Ladyboy who was working as an escort to pay her rent. He told me “I was living in this horrible little room with just a couple of hobs to cook on. Next door I heard sex noises for most of the day and eventually I went round to complain, which is when I met Sapphire. She explained that she was escorting to pay her rent so she could study at University here. Hers was a sad story of rejection and disenfranchisement, disowned by her family because she was born into the wrong body. We became friends eventually I fell in love with her, but it was not to be“. Graham was certain that his futuristic love story would be a huge hit at a time when LGBT people were enjoying greater recognition and acceptance in society but sales were slow, most likely due to the subject matter Graham thought. However, after two weeks of poor sales he decided to see if the book had been reviewed on Amazon…

Graham was shocked to see that there had been over 300 reviews in the first couple of days after the book’s release, and some 800 at the time he checked. While usually that would’ve been encouraging he saw that there was just one 3-star review, a few dozen 2-star reviews but the rest were 1-star reviews. “I was absolutely stunned by the reaction, quite beside myself, really depressed” he told me. Graham read each and every one of them and was, to quote the man himself, “crestfallen, absolutely gutted“. It seemed that the world was not ready for a love story between a poor man and an intelligent Ladyboy robot and the reviews were scathing at best, the vast majority being filled with homophobic and transphobic insults, not to mention death threats. By the time Graham contacted Amazon requesting them to remove the book and all reviews of it, it was too late – they’d found their way onto Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram, among others. To date only 1302 copies have been sold and there are almost as many bad reviews for it…

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If you thought that was bad, take a look at these…

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After reading a few of the reviews Graham wrote a post on his blog, explaining how disappointed he was with the reaction of fans to a book that he believed was about how love can creep up on you in the most unexpected of ways and can transcend all commonly-accepted rules. He also explained how disgusted he was at the level of homophobia and prejudice among his readers, something he feels very strongly about as an advocate of both gay marriage and equal rights for all. Sadly, his words only encouraged more bad reviews…

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Graham resisted the urge to comment directly, especially to those who attacked the book from a theistic point of view, but was aware that by allowing the book to remain available to purchase he was also allowing the bad reviews to harm any potential future sales which is why he requested the book be removed. Unfortunately for Graham, his request to Amazon was only partially successful – the book was marked as “Unavailable at this time” but remained in the store which meant the bad reviews kept coming…

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The only comment Graham felt worthy of listening to came from a reviewer called Leroy who, like him, had spent time with a Ladyboy.

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When I spoke to Graham he was particularly upset about this review, specifically the suggestion that a fetish was behind the story. “I wrote a response to Leroy’s comments on my blog and put the link in my comment to his review. I had hoped he’d get back to me but he didn’t. Instead I started receiving some fairly unkind comments on my blog and was forced to prevent readers from commenting on it” Graham explained. He felt thoroughly let-down by his readers, people who’d helped him become a bona-fide author but were now turning on him. “The people who’d bought my previous books on Amazon had helped me reach a place I never thought I’d be able to and then suddenly they were destroying my career. This is the problem with the internet; they can make you and then break you just as quickly and they are relentless when they do. I had to leave Twitter because I was getting hundreds of offensive comments, death threats, other threats like burning my house down or injecting me with dog poison, whatever that is. I think people should have a voice but if all they’re going to do is use the internet to destroy peoples’ careers then I think we’ve reached the limit of freedom of speech – nobody should be allowed to say something negative for the sake of it, especially where a person’s financial future might depend on it. If you having nothing good to say you shouldn’t be allowed to say anything.”

For Graham the only good thing to have come out of the experience is a sense of urgency to address the issue directly and he’s already begun work on his fourth book, tentatively titled “To Kill A Troll” which will deal with the issue of freedom of speech online, something Graham now firmly believes should be taken away from people who, in his words, “…cannot be trusted to behave responsibly online and need regulating…”

Personally, I think that as a writer you live and die by the quality of your work, not the reviews you get for it. The suggestion that negative comments should be banned is not healthy and you need to be able to take criticism in order to improve as a writer. I have read the book and in my honest opinion what starts out as a curious exploration of the possibilities AI could bring to the world quickly descends into little more than a series of graphic accounts about sex with a machine, an artificial intelligence that is given little or no opportunity to grow. “Veronica” becomes an efficient sex machine but little more, and the notion of love that leads the two to run away together before he had to return her for the sci-fi cliché of having her memory wiped, is flawed at best. The book fails to explore anything other than sex with a robot that learns how to please her lover and nothing more. It’s not erotic, it’s not sensual and it’s not love as we know it. Graham insists that it’s a futuristic love story, one that perhaps the world was not ready for. If you’ve not read his book, and there’s a very good chance you haven’t, perhaps the following extract might help you decide for yourself whether or not Graham succeeded and, more aptly, whether or not negative reviews should be banned online.

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Posted in Books & Authors, Gender Roles, Ladyboys, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dungeness woman hailed “The Saviour” of Social Media’s friendless nobodies.

By Sally Beanery

“Are you two friends on Facebook?” he asks you and you stand perfectly still, in a shocked silence; he knows you’re not friends with his friend because you paused and so the game is up. How many of your mutual friends in the world are actually your real friends on Facebook? He knows the answer to that too: “not many of them”. You know what you have to do next of course, you have to pull out your smartphone and post something on Facebook about it in the hope that someone, anyone will acknowledge your plight and offer you the real comfort you need; validation via Facebook is the way real friends help others.

It’s a familiar story, one that affects literally millions of people who have so-called friends at work or in your social circle who, for whatever reason, don’t want to be known as a real friend to you on Facebook. Every day we have those awkward conversations that start “I’m pretty sure I added you as a friend” and end with “Oh right, well I’ll check the next time I’m on” which you know is right now, because everyone’s on Facebook right now. Sure, they’ll say good morning when they see you at work, ask how you’re doing and maybe even show feigned interest in your social life, but they don’t want to take that most important of steps; they don’t want people to see you in their friends list. You mean nothing to them, you’re little more than a piece of dog poop on their shoe but you can never, ever, say so because someone might share your post and they’ll find out you disrespected them.

But what if you had real friends, other friends those work colleagues and social friends don’t know, friends who are not mutual friends with those people? That’s right, if you really want to show these people you don’t need their fake social friendship because you have other, better, friends in the real world on Facebook? They’ll be sorry then, right? Damn right. Well, chin up, hun, you do have real friends, as many real friends as you want. All you have to do is sign up on realfriendsonfacebook.org.uk and you too can have all the real friends you will ever need.

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Anjna Mistry

Anjna Mistry created the ‘Real Friends On Facebook’ (RFOF) website after a close friend of hers, Nicola Banklurd, posted that eleven people had unfriended her thanks to an ill-advised drunken post in which she wrote “Just watched final episode of Game Of Thrones, season four – not as good as I’d hoped”. For the first time in months her total number of real friends dropped below 100 and Nicola was broken. “I saw what she’d written and I just did what anyone on Facebook would do, I said “chin up, hun” and gave her three kisses”, Anjna explained. It turned out to be a masterstroke; within minutes Nicola had replied “Thanks babe, that means a lot, mwah” and the crisis was over. “I thought to myself that I could do that for loads of people, if they needed it to make them feel better. Back then I had no idea it was going to change my life and that of so many others too.”

 

While Anjna was coming up with a plan she decided to look through all the posts her real friends were making, to see if anyone was having any problems or issues that a few soothing words of support might help. Sure enough, within just a few minutes she realised that most of her friends would write about all their problems, no matter how big or small but when other friends tried to help them with suggestions and ideas that might actually work, the reaction was usually bad. However, with just the words “Chin up, hun xxx” Anjna found that most people responded positively, even vowing to change their lives that very instant. “People just need friends, real friends, to support them when their social friends simply cannot. I knew I could do that for them, no problem, and make a little bit of spending money in the process.

Anjna’s plan was simple: she hired a professional photographer to take photos of her in a variety of outfits, with different hairstyles and make-up, in different locations, in various states of undress, with her budget smartphone camera “to give it a realistic look”. She gave each of these ‘people’ a name and a personality, age, job etc. etc. Within a few days she had created over 400 new friends, just waiting for people to add them. “It was a bit of a pain, creating all these new email addresses and Facebook profiles, but I knew that once people started signing up it would be worth it”. She enlisted some help setting up her website and decided to keep things in the family. “I got my cousin’s sister’s brother to do that for me and gave him a few quid”.

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Anita Verma

Anjna knew that the service had to be accessible, financially, to as many people as possible and she created a very simple tariff. “If you sign up to my website I become your friend for free, so you always have another friend, but I don’t reply to messages. For £1 you get a reply to a post and, if you reply, a reply to that, usually some more kisses. For £5 I’ll reply to two posts a day for a week and for £10 I’ll reply to all your posts for a week.” She put her gallery of friends/identities people could choose from on her website and to get around the problem of people realising that different people had very similar photos, users would have to create multiple accounts if they wanted multiple friends. So far only one person, a young man called “David Grainger” (not his real name, obviously) has signed up for more than one. “He’s got about 20 of my identities now, I think” Anjna told me and later added “I think he’s only got about 30 real Facebook friends in total so he’s probably very happy I do this, and that makes me happy.”

 

 

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Rakhi Patel

 

It took a little while to get it going but within three months of launching the website Anjna had over 50 customers and had made almost £200. “I couldn’t believe it!” she told me. “I was worried I’d have to get more photos done and make some more people up but luckily most of the men who joined chose “Rakhi Patel” as their new friend, with a few choosing “Anita Verma” too. I think it’s pretty obvious why; boys will be boys. For the women who signed up they were much more random although a few people have chosen “Sangita Joshi” I think.” All told, after six months, Anjna had 75 customers all spending an average of £1 every fortnight and business was very much booming. “The best thing about it was that I had enough money coming in that I could give up my part-time job at the local care home to do something that was really important and made me some money too. I didn’t have to do a lot of promotion work as I was getting new business from word-of mouth alone. Best of all I didn’t have to do much, really, so I had time to work on different messages I could leave depending on the types of problems people were having. I think it’s being versatile that has made the service so popular.” Anjna is being quite modest when she uses the word “popular” given some of the reviews she’s been getting on various online forums and indeed on her own website. “Interweb Today” magazine described Anjna’s website as “A different idea from a brand new website – one to watch” while “Disappointed iPad Pro Owners Monthly” were even more glowing in their praise, saying “Whether you’re a depressed, crying mess, an attention-seeking gay or you just want someone to love you, there’s something here for you.”

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2011-08-04-09-06As the website approaches its one-year anniversary Anjna has promised some special birthday treats for existing customers and two brand new comments to choose from. “We all know that “Chin up, hun” and “Lots of love xx” are the go-to responses people really want but I’m introducing memes for £1.50 now as well. I have two to get the ball rolling but I hope to eventually push that up to as many as five. I don’t want to veer too far away from the formula that’s working and, more importantly, is what people expect. I did try “Don’t let the buggers grind you down, babe xxx” in March but nobody wanted it, which was a surprise given the amount of people who write about having a bad day at work. Mainly, though, people just want to be told to keep their chin up, be called ‘hun’ and given a few kisses. It’s pretty sad that nice people, people who wear their hearts on their sleeves, people who perhaps have hearts that are too big, can’t find a little love from their real friends on Facebook. Of course, if they could they would have no need for me so in a way I’m glad they’re a bit desperate otherwise I’d still be a volunteer care worker changing soiled sheets and wiping up mess for 5 hours a day, twice a week.”

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2011-08-03-07-03While it’s been pretty much plain-sailing on Anjna’s social media cruise, she does admit there have been a few unusual requests that’s she’s either had to decline or think seriously about. “One guy, I think his name was Martin Butler (not his real name, obviously), wanted me to leave a comment his wife would see after she said he couldn’t go to the football- he wanted me to say that he could come round to mine any time he liked to watch it, but I didn’t think that was a very good idea at all. Another guy, who called himself Paul Bachelor (not his real name, obviously) wanted me to say I really enjoyed peeing on him the night before and that he was my bitch-slut and not to forget it. I had to write back and explain my business was very much about friendships and that sort of thing doesn’t happen between friends”. I did ask Anjna if she’d agreed to any unusual requests and she told me “Just the one, but it was a weird, ironic one and I won’t use that identity again; I had to retire her (Jaymini) from active friendship because of it! I’ll send you a screenshot of it. It was a one-off and I wouldn’t do it again but it was quite funny and he did pay double for me to do it.” Anjna was as  good as her word; she did email a screenshot to me and I’ve put it at the end of this article for you all to enjoy.

Anjna’s story is one that really casts a little sunshine on what can be a cold and lonely place; Facebook. For many it’s a reminder that the people we meet, the people we work with and socialise with are often not the friends we think they are, while we can always rely on our true friends, our real friends on Facebook, even if it costs us just a little bit of money. For Anjna’s loyal and ever-expanding customer base her service is just as good as having those real online friends we all want, and in many ways so much better as they never say anything to us or about us that we don’t want them to. Anjna’s friends/identities are the best friends/identities money can buy!

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Posted in Facebook, Friendships, Relationships, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shit Car Gumball Rally

By Simon Pennycross

In 2011, painter/decorator Colin Blagthorpe had an idea that came to him while he was replacing the radiator on his 1983 Lada Riva for what seemed like the hundredth time. What had long been a cause of frustration and annoyance to him, the constant repairs required to keep his “old bird” on the road, might actually be a cause for celebration for every man out there who dedicated their evenings and weekends to keeping their vehicles road-worthy by picking up spare parts from scrapyards and consulting the pages of their well-worn Haynes manuals. For the best part of 18 months Pete reached out to fellow repair-enthusiasts through the pages of magazines like Auto Trader and his once-vague plan, “to do something for people like me” quickly attracted not only interested followers but a community of like-minded people who all wanted something done for people like themselves.

Colin had never heard of the Gumball Rally until he met Dan Cropston, an FSO owner/enthusiast who was the first person to respond to the advert he placed in the classifieds section of the great northern newspaper, The Lancashire Advertiser. They met for a pint or six just before Christmas 2011 and by the end of that boozy evening they formed the SCGR movement (although it was known as OCGR back then). “Dan knew his stuff when it came to FSOs, in fact I’ve never met anyone who knew as much about Polish cars. What he doesn’t know about the Polonez isn’t worth knowing.” Dan is equally complimentary about Colin, who he describes  as “the only man who can not only find but use a piece of scrap from a merchant and give your motor another 10,000 miles, with his eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back.” High praise indeed.

Dan introduced Colin to the Gumball Rally via his extensive and carefully organised collection of VHS recordings (dating back to 1982)  which he keeps in his shed to this very day. Colin was immediately converted and the two of them set about plans for staging their very own Rally right here in Britain. An inaugural meeting at the famous old “Slung all-old-men-in-the-pub-kilkeeHook” Pub in Runcorn brought fellow “old” car enthusiasts from all over the north of England into the fold and the turnout, no less than 18 people, was not only enough to get the ball rolling, it started a movement that was to change the lives of everyone involved forever. Colin still finds his eyes become dewy when he reminisces about that first meeting and the enthusiasm of the people, their stories and their experiences. “I must admit I shed a tear or two when Tony from Stocksbridge told us about his Hillman Imp, a car that had been passed down from his grandfather, to his father, to him and, just that very day, to his son. There was almost no part of that car that hadn’t been replaced at some point and it would still run 30-50 miles before overheating. That’s some achievement, one Tony is rightfully proud of.”

The group agreed that they needed to show people who did not repair their own cars what could be achieved with a little time, love and effort. “Everyone just throws stuff away these days, nobody repairs anything. £5000 home computer machine not working? Bin it. That’s what they do now. Not us though, we’re made of sterner stuff and we’ll keep our cars on the road until they die of death and not a moment sooner…” said Billy, the youngest member of the group at 38. Dan and Colin both knew that they didn’t just need to tell people what they did, but show them. After several weeks of brainstorming, with the group regularly sending each other letters full of ideas Colin decided there was no need to be fancy; the best ideas are the simple ideas and so at 3am one day in April 2012 he walked down to his nearest phonebox and called Dan. “I’ve got it” he said “The Old Car Gumball Rally! We’ll drive our motors from John O’Groats to Land’s End!”

“People thought it were right funny that I called him at that time in the morning” Colin told me, “but frankly that’s a trailer-load of old fuck in my opinion. When you have a good idea you don’t hang around to wait for someone else to think it up, you do something about it.” For the next ten months the gang of 18 worked tirelessly on their cars as well as planning the route they’d take in order to gain as much exposure as they could for their inaugural rally. Rather than simply stick to the motorways Dan felt the convoy should cruise through towns too, where people would see them and point. Arthur Davis, a retired mechanic known well to scrapyard owners up and down the land, contacted the group and offered to give the cars a once-over before they set off while Neville Frankson, the landlord of the “Slung Hook” contacted his brewery to see what he could rustle up by way of sponsorship. After some considerable negotiation on Neville’s part a cheque for £125 was gratefully received by the gang and that was not the only large donation that came their way.

By Christmas the route was planned and the three-day long Old Car Gumball Rally was ready to go. “We had t-shirts done and everything, hats too. We sent letters to all the newspapers we could and told them what was happening. I’d come home from work and the Mrs would tell me the new phone had been ringing off the hook; sometimes I had as many as five messages a week. People would stop me in the street and ask me how I was and I’d tell them all about it. I knew we were making history, I just didn’t know how.”

With a week to go Arthur made good on his promise and the 18 vehicles were carefully inspected. A local journalist had come along out of curiosity after being asked to follow-up on Colin’s many letters. Everything had been going so well it was inevitable there would be a hiccup or two along the way but it was unfortunate there was a member of the press on the scene when it happened. Arthur called everyone together and gave them the news, Colin recalls. “I’m sorry you lot, but most of these wrecks won’t last 3 minutes on the open road, let alone 3 days unless you’re going downhill all the way. I’ve seen some shit in my time but this lot takes the biscuit. I wouldn’t drive one of these to the local shops.” It was a body-blow for all, but rather than be discouraged the gang were motivated to prove Arthur wrong. The Local Newspaper didn’t see it that way, however, and after a particularly unkind article the “Old Car Gumball Rally” was quickly mocked and became known as the “Shit Car Gumball Rally”. Luckily, everyone saw the funny side of it. “It just stuck in the end, we all had a bit of a laugh about it” Dan remembers.

In order to give the gang the best chance of completing the race, the planned route was shortened slightly on Arthur’s advice and so the first ever Shit Car Gumball Rally eventually took place on a crisp February morning, beginning in Blackpool and ending in Hull, a cross-country jaunt the like of which Britain had never seen. Now, on the eve of the third Shit Car Gumball Rally, I’ll let Colin and Dan take up the story. This interview was conducted just a week ago with Dan, Colin, Bryan Hamper and Tony Harpherp in attendance.

Me: “So, we’re just a couple of weeks away from your third Shit Car Gumball Rally. Looking back, how different does this one seem compared to the first?”

Colin: “Well we’re a lot more professional now, for starters, but I’m not nervous about this one. We’ve taken big strides in the last couple of years.”

Dan: “That first one were a nightmare, a good nightmare like, but still. We were taking this massive step out into a much bigger world and there were responsibilities on us. If we’d got it wrong then self-taught mechanics like us would’ve been laughing stocks and it would’ve put people off doing their own repairs for life. I remember thinking that back then, what it would do if we didn’t finish the race.”

Colin: “Dan’s right, mind. We had the weight of every do-it-yourself car mechanic on us shoulders and that’s a hell of a responsibility.”

Bryan: “I was really looking forward to driving. I’d bought two tins of fruit crumbles f’journey and I had excuse to wear me driving gloves.”

Me: “Of course, yes. Did you know what you were trying to achieve the first time around, what statement you were trying to make?”

Dan: “Well it were all about raising awareness, really.”

Me: “Awareness of what exactly though?”

Colin: “What we were doing, you know.”

Dan: “We was making people aware of what we were doing, raising awareness of it.”

Me: “Yes, I understand, but was there a particular message you were trying to convey?”

Dan: “Yes, I suppose there was. We were doing it because we thought we needed to raise awareness about what we were all doing.”

Me: “On the day, you mean?”

Colin: “Partly but just generally in the main. We just wanted people to be aware that we were doing what we were doing.”

Tony: “I think the main thing was that people didn’t know what we did before the Rally so we had to do the Rally so people were aware of what we were doing and the Rally, in simple terms.”

Me: “Did you want people to join you, more people than the infamous “gang”?”

Colin: “Well awareness was the key, really, cause once we’d done that we had people talking to us about it after, asking us what it was all about and why we were doing it and they were really interested in what we had to say.”

Me: “And what did you tell your new audience?”

Colin: “Well, for people who didn’t know what we were doing we’d made them aware of it, and for those who already knew we’d just have a chat about stuff, anything really. Cricket, I had a chat about cricket with one fella, don’t even play myself, soft lad game that, but it were interesting hearing what he had to say.”

Me: “And have you raised enough awareness of what you do or is there more work to be done?”

Dan: “Well, this year we’ve got 27 cars, so that’s 9 more than first year and 8 more than last year so that shows people are more aware now than they were but we can’t stop now, we’re only just beginning to taste the rainbow, so to speak.”

Tony: “Take me, for example, I didn’t know what the fuck was going on until Dan told me about the first race. It took that to make me aware of it, so there must be hundreds of people in the country who don’t know what we do or why we do it.”

Me: “And why do you do it, Tony?”

Tony: “I do it to raise awareness of what we do for people who don’t know.”

Colin: “If I had my way nobody would be allowed to take a car to a mechanic until they’d looked at it themselves, or asked a mate to look at it, and see if they can fix it. If they can fix it, they save themselves money and they learn something. If they can’t, or they bodge it up, then yeah, take it to a professional, but not everyone has a garage on their doorstep. Imagine if everyone went straight to the supermarket every time they snapped their toothbrush and just bought a new one. It would be crazy with all the broken toothbrushes all around. No, have a fucking go on it yourself for fuck’s sake.”

Me: “And is that the message? That people should get themselves a manual and actually try to repair something themselves, to get back to a time when people made do with what they had? A Simpler time perhaps?”

Dan: “Yeah, what you just said there, that’s it, that and raising awareness about what we’re doing too.”

Me: “So this year’s going to be the biggest so far. There’s no reason to think it won’t get even more coverage through traffic reports on the radio and even on TV. Let’s suppose you make the evening news on BBC. You have one chance to tell the people of Britain what you do and why you do it – what would you say?”

Dan: “I reckon I’d give them Colin’s mobile phone number and say to ’em that if they’ve repaired a car, or they’ve got an old car and they want to drive it with us next year they can. We’re probably doing Lake District to Great Yarmouth and then Yarmouth to Portishead next year, so if they want to do that they can, or they can just follow it on the Facebook page our lad set up for us. 300 followers now, and you can comment on it and find out what we’re doing when we’re not doing the Rally. You know, make people aware of what we’re doing and letting people know they can join in with us.”

Colin: “I’d tell them to buy a Haynes manual for their car, study it, learn about their car and how to fix it, so they don’t need a professional to do it. I think that would be the message I would say to them.”

Tony: “I’d tell them it’s a laugh. I take comedy tapes with me for the journey so I’m always laughing. I’d probably tell them to buy an extra flask too as we don’t stop except at traffic lights. Peter Kay’s great on long straight roads when you’re feeling sleepy.”

Me: “Do you think people might be put off by the name? The Old Car Gumball Rally sounded quite friendly and inclusive, almost?”

Colin: “Oh no, we don’t take us selves seriously or nothing. If there were a Crufts for cars, my old banger wouldn’t win it, but it’s a classic British Car, the Rover 3500 and mine’s that dirty yellow colour that nobody makes cars in any more. Last year when we started off there were people lining our street cheering us off. You wouldn’t get that if you had a poncy fucking Mondeo even if it were same colour as ours. I’m basically fine with anyone who can do an oil change, but if you can seal a leaky radiator too, that’s a bonus.”

Me: “So this is really about showing off your cars, classic cars, to people from a generation of drivers who have never seen them, let alone driven them, or even know they exist?”

Dan: “Back in the 80’s I had a Triumph Acclaim, four years old when I got it and rusty as fuck. No matter what I did it wouldn’t stop rusting. You don’t see that anymore.”

Me: “Isn’t that a good thing?”

Dan: “Depends, not if you’re living on next to nowt and need a car to get you about, then it’s a constant battle, sanding down, filling, painting, hoping it’ll last. People don’t bother with that nowadays, it’s a throwaway world.”

Tony: “My Austin Montego, beautiful car, all mod-cons and everything. I wouldn’t have taken three Vauxhall Cavaliers for one of these. You trying telling that to a kid who has mobile porn sex on his phone at bus stops – they’ll look at you like you’re an alien. We lived it though, we knew what it meant to be a part of it, and I don’t think people are aware of that, what we were and are a part of. I’m proud to say I own a Montego. I have a Lada Riva estate too, great family car for driving in moderate temperatures.”

Bryan: “I’ve got a Nissan Bluebird. You won’t find boy racers in one of those. It’s not my only car though, and the Mrs uses it more than I do.”

Tony: “Skoda Estelle. People laughed at them but they were cheap although it was hard getting parts for ’em. Bit loud, couldn’t hear medium wave radio if you went above 40 miles per hour.”

Bryan: “Yugo 45. It’s in the garden, kids use it to play in. You don’t see that much nowadays, except in Kent.”

Me: “Amazing. So, what are your plans moving forward? Thought about taking the race international?”

Dan: “We did have a discussion about going down to London, maybe even Brighton, but frankly I wouldn’t piss on either of those places if they were on fire. Cornwall’s alright, might go there but I really don’t like driving down south; if it’s not the M25 and all the traffic jams it costs £50 to park for 10 minutes in some places; that’s Fish’n’Chips ten times at the café round the corner. Fuck that for a game of skittles.”

Colin: “I don’t really want to mess with a winning formula. This year we’re expecting people to be cheering us on more than ever. Chris Evans did a thing about us on his Radio show last year, which now looks like he was using us to get the Top Gear job and how did that work out for him, eh? Can’t say I’m bothered, although I never liked Clarkson either, stuck-up twat. And the little one, Richard Hammer or whatever, he’s like what having piles in your eyes and ears would be like if he’s on the telly. No, we’re happy to keep it away from London, far away if we can.”

Me: “But you can’t just keep doing the same thing forever? You need to spice it up a bit, maybe bring some fresh blood in, someone who can find a different angle, or a different story to tell.”

Dan: “Funny you should say that, eh Tony? Tell him, about your book.”

Me: “You’re writing a book about the Rally? That’s fantastic!”

Tony: “Well, its not so much about the race as about the people, and it’s more about their everyday lives than the cars, to be honest. I think I only mention the race once or twice. Mostly it’s about what happens behind closed doors. It’s an erotic novel about a postman and a milkman who deliver more than just letters and milk, if you get my meaning. Alan, who’s got an Austin Maestro, the one that talks, he was telling me that last year while he was racing his missus had two fellas over for a bit of a threesome. They’re getting divorced now. One of them was black, apparently. Anyways, so I did some research and I’m writing a book about what goes on round our way and one of the stories is on Gumball weekend. I’m hoping ITV might make it into a programme.”

Me: “Well, I suppose a spin-off isn’t such a crazy idea. Finally, Dan, I know you’ve been trying to convince Sky Sports and Eurosport to cover the race. Have you had any luck?”

Dan: “Problem is it’s a race in name only. We draw lots before we start and we have a strict no-overtaking rule as we don’t want to knacker us engines out. We stick to the speed limit, we don’t push it. Eurosport said they would look at perhaps covering it but only if there were teams involved, maybe some celebrity drivers, but we don’t want some reality TV twat or some poof Shakespeare actor with us. They don’t know the first thing about looking after a motor, they have servants to do that. No thank you, this is a northern, working class man’s race and we don’t take too kindly to outsiders who are used to getting driven around in luxury cars all day and night.”

Bryan: “I heard Sting used to have a Ford Granada when he was in The Police. He’s from Newcastle, right? We could ask him?”

Colin: “If he wants to join in he knows how to find us, but he can ask us, we’re not asking him.”

Me: “Well gentlemen, all the best with this year’s Rally, hopefully we can catch up again next year and see what you guys have been up to. Godspeed to you all!”

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Brexit: the Rise & Fall of “The Man On The Street”.

By Paul Duboise

There’s no doubt that the Referendum on Europe stirred a hornets’ nest in England and Wales; it became a referendum about the disenfranchised working class and their fading national pride, a last hoorah perhaps for the ordinary man or woman just trying to survive in a country that didn’t want anything to do with them. The “Vote Leave” campaign saw this long before the “Vote Remain” campaign did and played to their fears and insecurity, not to mention their bigotry and hatred. Where UKIP had failed in the last General Election they succeeded here and they managed to achieve what they’d always wanted to – to split the nation, to destroy communities and to mislead us. While Nigel Farage took the plaudits, the truth is that for the ordinary folk of Britain there was another man who was really sticking it to the “Vote Remain” campaign, a man like you; The Man On The Street.

Man On The Street

The “The Man On The Street” Homepage on March 19th 2016

At a time when people didn’t know who to trust they needed someone just like them, someone with not only the will but the balls to speak up, to tell the truth and to show the politicians that there were millions of voices not being heard. In the four months leading up to the Referendum the most-viewed website in England did not belong to either of the two big campaign groups, but that of “Chris Bloke” a.k.a “The Man On The Street”.

Chris, from East London, was experiencing the cultural melting pot first hand and was of the belief that “the soup of multiculturalism and immigration tastes like shit when you’re forced to eat it every single day”. He tweeted that along with a link to his blog on January 15th 2016. Within hours he’d been re-tweeted 4000 times and his blog achieved a record number of visitors, some 11,000. By the end of that week he had 840,000 followers on Twitter and his blog had been visited nearly 3,000,000 times – Chris suddenly had a voice and he was not going to waste the opportunity to use it. With web advertisers falling over themselves to get in on the action Chris was able to work full-time on his blog and he was posting at least an article a day, not to mention tweeting every 30 minutes. By March there was no busier website than “The Man On The Street” and Chris was becoming ‘the’ working class hero. Having tried to ignore him for weeks, News editors started using Chris’s blog as the number one source of “Vote Leave” insight thanks to the incredibly busy comments sections below each of his posts; Chris had truly become THE man on the street, the only one that mattered and his voice spoke louder than anyone’s. Chris was famous; locally, nationally and eventually internationally and yet the “Vote Remain” campaign ignored him, to their great cost.

Chris had stumbled upon a very simple format and it was working. The title of each post started “Fuck XXXXXXXX” where XXXXXXXX was the issue he would be discussing, with the summary being “It’s/They’re shit”, “it’s/they’re XXXXXXXX” where XXXXXXXX was his opinion summarised in one word and finally “and I hate it/them”. While critics claimed that a one-word summary of an issue lacks any kind of journalistic flare or rigour, it appealed to the many Britons who have short attention spans and don’t want to have to read or understand important or complex arguments. While some considered Chris was dumbing-down for the tabloid-reading masses they also had to concede that it was the most effective way of drawing people in and he became, probably, the key influencer of public opinion with many people admitting they believed “if Chris says it, it’s probably true”.

By April the world was desperate to meet Chris, and News Channels were working around the clock trying to find out who and where Chris was, in the hope of getting him on their shows to interrogate him, but he remained aloof. There were a few close shaves though, he would later reveal, and after a Daily Mail reporter managed to get his phone number and his parents’ address in Surrey, Chris was forced to go underground. In his one and only press release he wrote:

“I am a wanted man, not for any crime but for my knowledge and my beliefs. If I reveal my face to the world I would be painting a target on it and putting a price on my head (and my integrity) and I am not prepared to do either of those things. Oh, and my name’s not really Chris, so fuck you all if you’re trying to find me by using my name.”

By May 2016 those who were hunting him believed they were getting close; there had been countless attempts to hack his blog and he had stopped using a mobile phone completely, he would eventually tell the media. He’d spent hundreds of pounds on the best PC security he could find in order to hide his online presence and location so he could continue to post daily. His Twitter account was compromised a number of times and he kept his followers up-to-date on these attempts by those he claimed wished to silence him and/or kill him, which added to the vociferous support he received online. As time passed so his posts reflected his apparent paranoia but even the most implausible claims he made (and there were many) were regarded as truth by those who followed “The Man On The Street”, a man who would not be bullied into silence.

Just when it seemed that he was going to make it to the end of the campaign, he madePizza his first, his only and last mistake on the morning of Wednesday June 22nd, one day before the vote. He ordered a pizza for breakfast, which by anyone’s standards is odd. The delivery driver posted a selfie of him with the pizza and the message “Pizza at 10am? I must be delivering to Chris Bloke! #themanonthestreet”. The precise details of what happened in the next 45 minutes are confused at best but after being inundated with phone calls the Pizza Shop eventually let slip the address the delivery driver was going to and the rest is, as we all know, history. Hundreds of journalists and thousands of supporters and protesters flocked to a suburban house in Weybridge, Surrey. Police from three forces spent 8 hours trying to clear the street of protesters while journalists set themselves up for a first look at the man who’d single-handedly driven the UK to the point of leaving the European Union. Eventually, on the morning of the 23rd, a retired husband and wife edged nervously out of their front door with the world looking on and gave the following statement to the press, one you have probably found it very difficult to forget:

“Hello, we’re Simon’s Mum and Dad. Simon can’t come out right now as he’s not feeling very well but he wanted us to tell you that he’s very sorry for all the trouble he’s caused and he’s deleting his blog right now. He never meant to cause anyone any problems but what started out as a bit of fun has got way out of hand and he’s very, very, very sorry. It was all a joke, but he promises that he’s learned his lesson and will never do anything like it again. Now, if you don’t mind we just want to get past you to our car so we can go and vote. Thank you.”

The world was stunned, I know I was. Was it really all a joke? Is Simon his real name? Was he really on the run, moving from place-to-place to avoid being caught? Was any of it true? Obviously the answer to some of those questions is yes and for the others it’s no, which is unhelpful at best. What we do know is that “Chris Bloke” is actually “Simon Farquharson”, who has spent almost his adult life enjoying living off a very generous trust fund and has only had one job since he turned 18, which was working as a glass collector in his Students Union Bar which he did for just one semester back in 1993. More importantly, however, Simon was anything but “The Man On The Street” and when the truth about him was revealed, both supporters and protesters burst through the Police barricade and attacked his home. Simon had hidden in the panic room he’d had installed and it was several hours before the Police managed to get control of the situation, not before his parents’ home had been completely ransacked though.

The media, meanwhile, were trying to make sense of the body-blow Simon had delivered; they had all been completely duped for months and they were quick to leave the scene. While some news agencies reported the revelation most did everything they could to sweep it under the carpet and get back to reporting on the voting that was taking place around the country. “The Man On The Street” was no more and the press wanted nothing to do with him, which is why on the morning it was announced to the world that Britain would be leaving the European Union you will not have seen a single news item about Chris Bloke/Simon Farquharson.  Social Media, however, was an entirely different matter with angry comments and death threats aimed at Chris/Simon from a nation that had shown itself to be “simple-minded, ignorant, naïve, easily-led and incredibly stupid” as Chris told people in a rare tweet a couple of days after the vote. We have all blamed the “Vote Leave” Campaign for misleading us, and I was sure that Simon would be delighted that the vast majority of people still do but before I passed judgement I needed to hear it from him.

I contacted Simon’s parents a week ago; they were forced to sell their home of 38 years due to the constant crowds of people that would gather outside their home. The damage caused to their property exceeded £80,000 and they felt it was better to sell up and leave. Simon, who we now know has never left the family home, went with them and after much persuasion agreed to speak to me on Skype about everything that has happened so far in 2016 and what motivated him to not only start the blog but to keep the joke going long after it had ceased to be funny. I should warn you that his responses to my questions might upset and offend many of you, as they did me.

Me: “I think I should probably start by asking you which way you voted in the Referendum?”

Simon: “Remain, of course!”

Me: “Can I ask you why, given everything you’ve said and done this year?”

Simon: “Look, I thought it was so funny  how the so-called “little people” were getting their knickers in a twist about immigrants and jobs when the truth is many of them are too lazy to get a job and are happy to not be doing some of the menial jobs immigrants do. Many people have to accept they’re just not going to be millionaires and get on with it. If we hadn’t been in Europe all this time many of them would’ve had their benefits cut completely or would be working a 48-55 hour week as standard, no overtime. Europe helps workers, end of. I’m all for a global community and we’re this tiny little Island that would be meaningless on the world stage if we didn’t have the language. To not be in Europe, for all its flaws, is a mistake and you have to be in it to change it. We just voted to have no say in how the rest of the world treats us. We’ve been stupid.”

Me: “But you must’ve realised back in February that you’d started something that was escalating rapidly and that people were looking to you for their information. Why didn’t you use the opportunity to support the Remain campaign?”

Simon: “I honestly thought people would realise I was being sarcastic. I wrote a post about how Muslim migrants from Syria were setting themselves up in London as professional dog-walkers so they could steal the dogs and cook them and eat them in their state-funded 5 bedroom asylum-seeker homes. People actually believed that! They believed anything I said! It was absolutely hilarious! I was testing the public to see how stupid they were and they just kept on proving me right. Before I started I couldn’t understand how people could be so stupid and I was curious to see how far I could go before they realised they were being fooled. Did people really think that Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were men of the people, supporters of the working class? I’m as disappointed as anyone that it took so long to get rumbled and by a pizza of all things.”

Me: “But you appealed to people and their empathy by making outlandish claims that you were being hunted down for speaking the truth as if you were one of them, one of the working class? You encouraged them to like you enough to follow you and believe you? You have treated the general public terribly, in my opinion.”

Simon: “Well maybe, but in a ridiculous scenario it doesn’t hurt to throw in a little peril if you want people to keep reading, but I honestly thought the penny would drop. I did little but lie to people for six months and they loved it, they couldn’t get enough of it. Is that my fault? I’m one man, the “Vote Leave” and “Vote Remain” campaigns had hundreds of people working for them. Why didn’t either side ever take me on, call me out, prove I was lying? I wrote that if we chose to remain in Europe, immigrants from the poorest countries would be given Caravans along the east coast as part of a time-share arrangement so they could have holidays just like poor Britons do, in order to help them integrate into society. I called it “Project Skegness” and not one journalist, reporter, critic or opinion-maker called me out on it, like they didn’t call out Farage and co. on their claims about money to Europe that could go into the NHS. They lied, people believed them. I lied, people believed me, only at least I had the decency to make my lies utterly implausible; it’s really not my fault that people believe everything they read and do no research.”

Me: “So you have no remorse about what you’ve done?”

Simon: “Of course not. I made almost 5 million pounds from web advertising alone. I’ve been offered a book deal worth a couple of million and there isn’t a chat-show airing today that wouldn’t meet my asking price if I said I was available and you know what, if and when I do I will say to them and the audience what I’m saying to you; people are fucking stupid and if they’re not prepared to fact-check they deserve whatever’s coming to them.”

Me: “But you must’ve realised at some point how powerful you were, how people were looking to you for information? Why didn’t you let the joke run for a while and then tell people, millions of people, that they were being mislead, and that they needed to stop believing everything they read online and start looking for the truth? Why didn’t you give them what they needed to make an informed decision?”

Simon: “You’re not the first person to blame me for Brexit and you won’t be the last, but I had one vote and I used it just like everyone else did. I did my fact-checking, I took my vote seriously and I didn’t let outrageously nationalist and borderline racist and xenophobic claims made by the “Vote Leave” campaign influence my decision. Do you think people will make the same mistake again? Some will, but far less of them. I’ve taught people a lesson they fucking needed. I’m only sorry that so many people allowed themselves to be led astray by idiots like Chris Bloke. Chris Bloke! I used the surname “Bloke”! Fucking idiots, all of them.”

Me: “It sounds to me like you have contempt for working class people, which is what successive Governments for the last four terms have had which is why “Vote Leave” won; it was a protest vote about the way people are treated, the referendum on Europe was hijacked to serve as a referendum on the leadership of the country and you have to take a sizeable portion of the blame for that.”

Simon: “I don’t have contempt for working class people, I have contempt for stupid people. At least now you know how many of them there are out there; about 70% of England is stupid. Do you think I don’t know how shit life is in Middlesbrough, or Hull, or Grimsby, or Doncaster? Do you know how they know it too? They didn’t vote for Labour, the party that’s supposed to have their backs, at the last election after five years of austerity. You want to blame me for Brexit? I stoked the fire, sure, but I didn’t let the people down before or after the credit crunch and I will be paying my taxes on what I’ve earned, unlike a lot of very wealthy people our Government gives tax breaks to. I’m not happy we voted leave, but at least now we have a decent idea of how people really feel about politicians and what they say, not to mention how Britons feel when the wrong people are prioritised for housing and benefits, especially if they weren’t even born here. I’m not anti-immigration, but if you were born here and you’ve been made redundant because of the austerity measures companies have used as an excuse to bolster their profit margins, and someone who barely speaks the language gets help before you do, don’t tell me you’re not going to be pissed off about that. If, however, you’re pissed off because you’re too stupid to know when someone’s bullshitting you, well, you’re beyond help anyway and you deserve to rot.”

Me: “This all started because you made a comment about multiculturalism in which you likened it to a bad-tasting soup. I get it, it got it then and I get it now, but you must’ve realised a lot of people didn’t. You had an opportunity to steer people the right way and you chose not to.”

Simon: “If the “Vote Remain” campaign had got in touch, any of them, things might’ve been different, but they ignored me like they ignored the working class. Not my fault, not my problem, not my burden.”

Me: “You talk about people as though you’re one of them, that you understand, but you’ve lived at home all your life and lived off a trust fund. Do you not see how the people you have mocked might feel betrayed by you?”

Simon: “Ah, a personal attack. You know you’ve lost the argument when you make it personal, right?”

Me: “But you’re judging people, you have judged people, mocked them, fooled them and now you’re turning it around on them and their difficult lives while you enjoy a very easy life. You have essentially decided that it’s okay to tease the little people, the poorest of people, you’ve made them feel even worse about their lives than they already did and you’ve done it from your ivory tower, looking down on them.”

Simon: “I told you, I went after stupid people. If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I under-estimated how stupid people actually are, how gullible they are and how many of them there are. On April 22nd I wrote a post about how Europe is secretly implementing Sharia Law and that if we vote to remain in Europe we will have to implement stoning and lashing as a form of punishment for people who commit traffic offences and that multiple offenders will have their hands cut off, which will result in money that could should be used for health care and education being ploughed into cars for people with no hands. Nobody, not one person, questioned the validity of my claim or asked me to prove it. Instead people got themselves worked up into a frenzy about what was obviously, clearly, bullshit. Have you ever read News Thump or The Onion? Does anyone really believe their articles are true? Okay, a few people who don’t get sarcasm but 70% of the country? No, of course not.”

Me: “But when you started telling people you were a “wanted man” you blurred the line between sarcasm or satire and reality. People believed you were being hunted. You played on their fears and mocked them at the same time.”

Simon: “Stupid people, I mocked stupid people.”

Me: “Well, let’s be clear here, you mocked many people and insulted many more.”

Simon: “It’s only an insult if there’s intent to insult. Syrians eating dogs? Come on…and do you know who didn’t get upset, which is surprising given their track record? Muslims. I made fun of Islam and the supposed threat it posed to our laws if we voted to remain in Europe. Europe! The most secular body of countries in the world! Look at France now, do you think they’re going to let Islamic law make its way under the radar there? They’ve already banned the burka and the niqab! Germany? Well, if they can do it to the Jews they can do it to the Muslims too, right?”

Me: “For most people it’s not European migrants they’re worried about though.”

Simons: “Right, it’s non-Europeans they’re worried about and that situation doesn’t change whether we’re in Europe or not! Look, I get why people were upset with me but really they were upset with themselves; they realised they’d been fucking gullible idiots and they got themselves worked-up into a frenzy looking for someone to blame for being stupid other than themselves. Do you know what I am? I am what happens when a nation that is too lazy to do the work it needs to starts to point the finger of blame at anything and everything but themselves. There are millions of hard-working Brits who will take any job going if it means there’s food in the fridge and the bills get paid. It’s not perhaps a great life but it is a life. These are the people who don’t just accept what they’re told. Then there are those who might once have had reason to feel aggrieved but have done little or nothing about their predicament and are the first to point the finger at a Polish woman who gets a cleaning job, a job that they think should go to a British person, someone born here, but they wouldn’t do it themselves, oh no. Why? Because they were born here and they deserve better than a cleaning job. Fuck them, fuck them all because there are people who queue outside the Job Centre every morning, and they apply for jobs every day even when they know they don’t have the skills required or that a hundred other people will apply too, but they keep trying. Those people, they’re the ones who deserve to be put first and it’s a travesty that more often than not they are given no help at all. But for those who just turn up to sign-on for another fortnight, who fuck around all day moaning about how shit their life is but don’t even try to improve it and then have the nerve to have a pop at someone, anyone, who works a job they think is beneath them, fuck them all. To then make that self-created malaise the reason they vote to leave Europe? Arseholes, they’re arseholes and so is anyone who sympathises with them or, worse, agrees with them.”

Me: “You had the opportunity, though, to tell hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people that they were listening to lies, including yours, but instead you chose to keep the joke going for your own amusement, profit from it and then mock these people further after the event. You spurned the opportunity to reach millions of people who didn’t share your real take on everything that was going on and hid behind a character, one who seemed to understand them. You got in where the “Vote Remain” campaign couldn’t, and as a remain voter yourself, but you just made matters worse. You have exploited the masses, made huge personal gains from it and after all is said and done shown no remorse for it. You lost! Britain voted to leave Europe! Whatever you say your intentions were, you lost! To not show even a little humility or regret shows you are simply an attention-seeking narcissist, no better than Boris or Nigel.”

Simon: “If you’re falling down a hole you can’t even begin to think about how you’re going to climb out of it until you’ve hit the bottom. You can’t. The Brexit vote is a reset button, it’s us hitting the bottom. Now we have to climb out and in order to do that we have to face up to what’s around us, the reality of the situation, and start to change the way we approach things. We’re at the bottom of the hole looking up now. If we’re going to even contemplate being able to climb out of it we need a plan, one that will stop us from falling down into the hole again, or falling again before we even get out. That means change, and it starts only when we face up to who and what we have become and resolve to be better. That means we have to be honest, for the first time in generations, about what’s really going on in this country. The last general election and the Scottish referendum should’ve been the wake-up calls we needed but they were not. There’s no turning back now, though.”

Me: “Okay then, prove to me you’re not just an agitator. What needs to change? Do you have any suggestions or even answers or are you just a hypocrite, someone happy to point the finger at someone else but offer nothing by way of a solution, like the people you claim to hate so much, the stupid people?

Simon: “Where does one begin? Brexit? Well, multiculturalism as we thought we knew it has come to an end. We are a nation of people divided, partly through misinformation and partly through obvious favouritism and at the very top. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and that’s how it’s been for as long as I’ve been alive. Now we have endured a sickening swell of angry nationalist pride from people who voted to leave Europe and who now mistakenly believe they have won something. We have no idea how this is going to pan out, none whatsoever, because it’s never been done before; we’ve won nothing, not even independence at this point in time. Brexit has exposed a range of social and political issues that have been ignored for too long. Socialism, which I’m not opposed to, has made way for extreme liberalism and that has cost people jobs and a voice. I don’t have a problem with better border controls but I do have a problem with people who think it’s okay to bomb another country and then not provide shelter for the innocent people caught up in the humanitarian disaster we’ve had a part in creating. There should probably be a cap on economic migrants, but when it comes to granting asylum, when it comes to lending a hand to people, we need to change our ways because you can bet your life that if the shoe was on the other foot we’d be the first to complain if the rest of the world didn’t help us out. We live in a country where you can get a criminal record and even a prison sentence for non-payment of a parking ticket, but greedy people who cause businesses to collapse, and thousands of people to be made redundant, through lining their own pockets, get a day in court to promise they’ll sort it out and they walk away from it with a ticking-off. That’s what really hurts people and that’s why we all have to change. All I have done is point a spotlight on the people who need to change the most. Do you still think I’m the problem, or even a catalyst? If you do you’re out of your tiny mind.”

Me: “What about those people, then, who feel that all you have done is pour petrol on the fire when you could’ve poured water on it? The people who, rightly or wrongly, believed in you and what you had to say?”

Simon: “Well, I don’t have any sympathy for them at all. I do, however, have something that might help them realise where they went wrong. The blog is obviously down for good, but I have backups. I have spent the last month or so organising them by category and It’s my intention to release it as an e-book for £1. I’m calling it “How Chris Bloke showed you how stupid and ignorant you are” and every last penny of profit the book makes will go to organisations in the north of England who help support people trying to get back to work. For people like you, however, I should probably have called it “Get off your soapboxes you patronising and sanctimonious pricks”.

Me: “And I think that’s probably as good a place as any to bring this interview to an end.”

Simon: “That’s the first thing you’ve said I actually agree with.”

Posted in Blogging, Boris Johnson, Brexit, Broken Britain, Europe, Nigel Farage, Politics, Social Media, Vote Leave, Vote Remain | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Bolton Man Publishes “Best 20 Women To Have One Off The Wrist To” Book.

By Kenneth Pant

Mark Oldwich is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, according to his mum and dad, his two sisters, his boss, his dentist and the local custom of Bolton’s “The Highwayman’s Cart” pub, to name but a few. Mark has actually won an award for being nice; in 2007 he was named “Harwood Man Of The Year” and would doubtless have won the award again but for competition rules stating that former winners are not allowed to enter again. Mark runs a Nisa Supermarket just minutes from his Grandmother’s retirement home and he visits her every single day with a treat. Every Sunday, after stock-taking, he takes snacks and sandwiches that are close to their sell-by date and gives them to the local homeless shelter and has even donated a microwave oven to them so that the tasty snacks can be heated up first. As if all that wasn’t enough he also runs 10 marathons a year for various local charities and is widely expected to feature in the Queen’s honours list very soon, helped by a campaign started by the local Radio station. I spent two days in Harwood asking around about Mark and to those who knew him they had only good things to say, which makes Mark’s decision to write and self-publish a book, about the women he most enjoys masturbating to while looking at their pictures, a shock that the local community is unlikely to forgive him for.

We all have skeletons in our closet, secrets we’d rather nobody found out about and Mark is, sadly, no different. Since the age of 14 Mark has kept a diary of every single time he’s masturbated and who it was to and decided in 2014 to write a book about his experiences in the hope that it will make people feel more comfortable about admitting they play with themselves, an issue Mark obviously feels strongly about. “Our local Vicar spent a decade working in Huntsville, Alabama and is very outspoken about celibacy and not touching yourself in a sexual way or anyone else for that matter, outside of wedlock and even then only if you’re trying to have a baby. He’s a nice guy but he’s a bit too Old Testament for my liking. We all touch ourselves, and we all like to do it but there’s such a stigma attached to talking about it. I hope to change that.”

As yet nobody but this writer knows that Mark’s book has already been printed, an initial run of 5000, and Mark is hoping that when people realise that he intends to give 50% of the profit made on the book to sexual health charities working in the area, people will feel a lot better about buying it. He admits, however, he’s not sure what the reaction from locals will be and so wanted to get ahead of the story by giving me an honest interview and I have promised not to pull any punches, at his request.

Me: “Mark, you’re a well regarded member of your local community. Why have you decided to write a book about masturbation and the women you most like to masturbate to?”

Mark: “Well we all have one book in us, so they say, and I was thinking about it on my birthday, when I turned 43. I was wondering what I could possibly write a book about but then it came to me – I have years of evidence and experience in one field in particular and so It was obvious really as it was the 30th anniversary of me starting my wank diary.”

Me: “But it’s such a personal and private thing, a taboo subject when it comes to the public ear. Aren’t you worried about the reaction it’s likely to get, especially from people close to you?”

Mark: “Look, it’s perfectly natural and we all learn to do it without anyone showing us how which, when you think about it, is a pretty good job as most of us are still kids when we start. I love women, right, all kinds of women but when I started out I found all women exciting, pretty much, especially if they were wearing black or white tights or stockings – that was the hottest thing imaginable, and I just did what came naturally and that’s how it starts for most boys; one minute they’re not there (women) and then suddenly it’s like an explosion in your gut. We all do it and gives us pleasure so if anyone has a problem with that then they’re just being uptight.”

Me: “To the book then, I understand you have some facts and figures you’d like to share?”

Mark: “Well yes. There hasn’t been a day go by since my 14th birthday that I haven’t had a wank, so that’s almost 11,000 days straight, which must surely be some kind of record, so I’ll have to check that. Up until I was 25 it was about 3 a day, even when I had a girlfriend, and it’s been at least 1 a day since I turned 30. By my reckoning that’s well over 15,000 wanks. I’d say that was pretty impressive.”

Me: “I’d say it was pretty exhausting!” (we both laughed for several minutes)

Me: “Your book isn’t about the act of masturbating so much as the women that inspired you to do it so often, right?”

Mark: “Yes, very much so. I spent a lot of time writing to my top 20 or to their agents in order to secure photos I could use in the book but there were a few, such as Meagan Good, who were not happy for me to include their photo in my book, or even mention their name. It’s a shame about Meagan as she’s ridiculously hot but she’s married to a Pastor or something and deeply religious, so I can understand why she didn’t go for it. I was also going to include Whitney Houston but with her being dead I decided people might think it was weird even though the last time I had a wank over her was in 1999 and she was still very much alive then, although I would probably not have included her anyway on account of her drug habit messing her face up.

Me: “It’s a top 20, over 30 years of wanking – when you think about it that’s not a very big number (20) so you must’ve had to take out a lot of women you’ve bossed the beast over?”

Mark: “Oh definitely, especially from the 80’s and 90’s. I mean back in the 80’s you had Dana Delaney looking well hot, I mean she was stunning. You probably still would now but back then she was a perfect 10 and no mistake, but time hasn’t been kind and while you can still see it when she’s on TV, she hasn’t been wank-worthy for nearly 15 years if I’m honest. Neneh Cherry too, I mean for 18 months there she was my number one, even more than Samantha Fox or Maria Whittaker. It was harder to find sexy pictures of Neneh so I mostly just used my vinyl copy of “Raw Like Sushi”; the sleeve, not the record itself as there weren’t any pictures on that anyway.”

80s

Incredibly, not one of these women makes Mark’s Top 20 although they would all make it into a 1980’s Top 20. Lisa Bonet was closest to making the book – she ended up 27th.

Me: “I understand you don’t want to reveal your Top 20 before the book comes out. Is there any reason for this?”

Mark: “I thought it would be fun to talk about all those who didn’t make the Top 20, before the book comes out. I mean, you remember the lead singer from The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs? Two, three times a day between 1986 and 1987 and she was so cute, but even she didn’t make the cut.”

Me: “Presumably there will be some controversial omissions from the Top 20?”

Mark: “Well yes, especially when you consider some of the women who have been regarded as the most beautiful in the world in FHM and magazines like that. There’s no Cindy Crawford, for example, or Sunny Leone who I have teased my trouser snake over 100’s of times. No Madonna either, but then I haven’t wanked over her once; she’s a bit of a wretch I think. Only one porn star makes it into the Top 20 but she’s a stunner and it’s not Jenna Jameson. Even women like Halle Berry and Emilia Clarke aren’t in the book but there’s a good reason why everyone who’s in the Top 20 is there – there’s usually a story or a really good reason why they make it and some of the really hot, if obvious, ones don’t make it.”

Me: “When you say there’s a story, do you mean you actually met some of them?”

Mark: “Oh no, but there’s one, I won’t say her name but she’s been in a really famous sci-fi trilogy. I was in an internet café and I was looking for someone else with the same first name and a picture popped up of her washing her tits, so I just put my rucksack on my groin and cranked one out right there and then. I had to, it was just a sexy photo. She’s been a regular since 2003 for me and she was in another very famous movie series just recently, older but still so hot.”

Me: “I have to ask, was there anyone else in the café at the time?”

Mark: “A few people but nobody noticed? She’s special though; there’s not many women in the world I’d just pop my cock out for on the spur of the moment. I mean, even during the 90’s when I was prolific, with women like Natalie Imbruglia, three out of the four in En Vogue and even Shania Twain, I’d wait until I got home before doing anything.”

Me: “What other stories are there?”

Mark: “Well I don’t want to say too much or give away any clues about what’s in the book, but my number 8 is actually the woman I’ve wanked over in the most countries. I’ve had a wank over her in South Africa, Holland, Ireland, Canada and Spain. She’s my international wank material although oddly enough she’s English.”

90s

It’s hard to imagine not having any of these pop star beauties in your Top 20 list of favourites when it comes to good wanking material. Her off 2 Unlimited especially.

Me: “So your Top 20 are doubtless the most beautiful or sexy women in the world when it comes to masturbatory stimulus. Obviously that list will tell people what kind of women you find attractive enough to spill your seed over. However, as your intention is to get people talking about masturbation in a relaxed fashion, presumably there are some rules you’ve applied in order to arrive at a Top 20?”

Mark: “Oh definitely. Firstly, to make the Top 20 they have to be timeless and look good no matter what era they’re in. For example, for a brief time both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were hot, really hot, and well worth a quick fumble, but both of them have gone through periods where they really lost it and you wouldn’t go near them. I actually prefer chubby Christina but compare her to, say, Shakira (who just missed out) – she’s always been hot and she always looks amazing, even just weeks after she’s had a baby. At the opposite end of the scale you have people like Pamela Anderson and Meg Ryan who were both pretty hot at one point in time, and were a good fall-back wank if I didn’t have someone better to hand, but they’re both a mess nowadays.”

Me: “I see. What other criteria did you use to eliminate women from your final Top 20?”

Mark: “Well, I’m not a fan of fake tits or lips, and I really hate women who have their arses blown up. Don’t get me wrong, I like a bit of ass and if I’m looking at a series of photos of a woman then I always finish off with an ass pic. The thing is, if the ass is obviously not real – take Iggy Azalea or Kim Kardashian, it’s a real turn-off. Only one in my Top 20 has fake boobs but they’re not huge and they look real, plus she rarely gets them out. They all have shapely thighs though, the Top 20. There are no skinny legs in there, none at all, otherwise the two Zoë Saldana would be in there, but she’s worryingly slim for me. You know in Star Trek, the remake, there’s that green alien who’s her room-mate? She, on the other hand, has a cracking figure – definitely the hottest alien I’ve wanked over.”

Me: “I’m guessing the book isn’t just a series of pictures and you describing the best wanks you had over them, though?”

Mark: “Well, actually it’s pretty much just that.”

Me: “Really?”

Mark: “Well, obviously once you’ve read it you’ll realise that it’s about having fun with yourself and famous women without anyone getting hurt. I do mention a few tips and tricks I use to make the wank better if things aren’t quite going as planned, and also I list some of the best sofas, chairs and beds I’ve wanked on, rating them for comfort and that, but really it’s me telling the world my wanking history and hoping to make people realise It’s fine to do it as long as you don’t waste it.”

Me: “Waste it?”

Mark: “Well, I’ve never been one for a boredom wank – If I’m not in the mood I don’t do it. That’s a waste and probably ruins the next one because when you are horny it’ll be so much harder to get off, and maybe a bit sore too if you’ve had to try really hard the last time because you weren’t really in the mood. It’s like the first time you try to get off to a picture of a ladyboy – there’s something sexy about them but it’s just not quite right, no matter how pretty they look.”

Me: “You’ve not mentioned videos at all – am I to presume you don’t watch pornography?”

Mark: “I do sometimes, usually between girlfriends or just after a break-up, but I don’t like looking at cocks. I don’t mind a bit of lesbian porn and that’s what got me into Sunny Leone but even she never really looks like she’s into it, probably because she prefers guys, so with photos or pictures, you just get the best ones together and rub one off, just the way you want it.”

Me: “You mentioned that you wrote to the agents or managers of the women who have made your Top 20. Did you tell them why you wanted permission to use their photos?”

Mark: “Oh yeah, I wouldn’t want to get taken to court! I’m trying to make money for charity, after all.”

Me: “And what were the responses like?”

Mark: “Most of them didn’t seem all that bothered to be honest and they sent me a fairly ordinary signed photo along with a contract to return. Some of the women aren’t nearly as famous now as they used to be so they’re probably happy about the exposure. There was one, however, number 17, who wanted to read a copy of the chapter before giving me permission. I got an email off her! She said that although she wasn’t completely happy with me using her image and didn’t intend to grant me permission, the story about her really turned her on, so she decided to let me use it after all.”

Me: “Are you allowed to reveal those who said no?”

Mark: “Well, they said no so it doesn’t matter if they’re not in the book, right? Eva Longoria and Shaznay Lewis were not happy, which is a shame as I loved to Shaz over three quarters of All Saints back in the day, so to speak. Mariah Carey threatened all sorts but as I got closer to deciding the Top 20 she wasn’t anywhere close in the end. I did wonder if Shaznay had the same manager as Tulisa Contostavlos because I got a random letter from a guy claiming to represent Tulisa and that she would love to be in the book. I didn’t reply though; the only Top 20 she’d get into was a Top 20 I’m least likely to wank over or would only do it because there were literally no other pictures of women left in the whole world. I’d rather wank over the women modelling hoodies in a Sports Direct catalogue than her, seriously, although I don’t suppose it would be much different, thinking about it.”

Me: “One final question then; I’m guessing Waterstones won’t be stocking your book as they’d probably consider it to be inappropriate, so where can people buy the book from once it’s out?”

Mark: “Funny you should say that, because Waterstones are doing so badly right now the Bolton town centre branch has agreed to stock it. I expect most people will buy it from my eBay account or my Amazon account, although I am planning a book launch in the front garden, if the weather forecast is okay and I’ll probably take some to work to sell over the counter. It’s all for a great cause, after all, and once I’ve covered my costs I’ll pretty much be giving the rest to charity.”

Me: “Well, I hope it goes well for you and that people aren’t too shocked by it. You wouldn’t want to ruin your nice guy image!”

Mark: “Well look, if it’s not to your liking, don’t buy it and if you do buy it and don’t like it then at least you’ve donated money to charity, but if there are people who don’t buy it who moan about it I have no time for them. This is about me trying to break down barriers and make money for charity at the same time. You can buy books on serial killers and paedophiles and that’s okay, so surely you can buy a book about a guy who enjoys wanking over hot women and isn’t afraid to say so. I’m not breaking any laws.”

“The Best 20 Women To Have One Off The Wrist To – My Story” will be available to purchase online and at Waterstones, Bolton, from November 8th 2016.

Posted in Adult Movies, Celebrities, Chauvinism, Fan Clubs, Ladyboys, Misogyny, Models, Movie Stars, Porn Stars, Sexism, Social Media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Basingstoke Man, Given Life In Prison For Illegal DNA Splicing Experiments, To Publish Children’s Books.

By Charlie Parlour-Hoode

creepy-guy-2

Alan Bamford

In 2012 one of the most shocking and disturbing court cases of recent times made the headlines. Alan Bamford, a genetic scientist of some considerable repute, was found guilty of conducting illegal experiments with stolen human embryos and a range of different animal embryos. After a Police raid at his farm just outside Basingstoke Police found what was described as “A video nasty turned reality” in his home laboratory, including a number of “living” human/animal hybrids in incubator’s he’d stolen from his former employers. One of the hybrids, nicknamed “Colin”, was a seven month-old half human half piglet that was being fed intravenously and was, to all intents and purposes, alive. Alan had quite literally taken his work home with him but had taken matters into his own hands, way beyond what was expected of him at work. While the story of human/animal hybrids did made the news, Alan’s court case was held behind closed doors after the Judge ruled a complete media ban was absolutely necessary given the shocking details of the case that were “not fit for public consumption”. While we know what was found at Alan’s farm, we have never seen anything that the prosecution or defence teams produced for the case. Alan was given a lifetime gagging order to add to his life sentence in prison. However, in a remarkable twist I have learned that Alan may well be trying to tell his side of the story through a series of Children’s books that publisher HarperCollins have agreed to release. Alan was denied an appeal three times and has taken this drastic and sickening step in order to fund one final appeal attempt, while an anonymous source at HarperCollins has suggested that interest in his books prior to their release could well make him a millionaire if pre-sales are any indicator. It’s likely that this shocking story might yet have another sickening twist.

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The Mail Online article that led directly to Alan’s arrest in 2012. (click here)

While the full breakdown of what was found in Alan’s home laboratory has never been made public, we do know that Alan had attempted well over 100 different “splicing” experiments between human embryos and animal embryos. While this had been thought impossible a generation ago and had been considered the stuff of horror movies, the Daily Mail broke their story after a tip-off and a huge investigation took place, one that eventually arrived at Alan’s remote country home. Over 30 frozen “spliced” embryos were found in Alan’s lab freezer along with at least half a dozen growing experiments that were considered “alive”. A Police leak, which was never found, led to a single picture of “Colin”, the half human/half pig being leaked to the press. The decision was made at Government level to destroy “Colin” humanely which led to an outcry from pro-life campaigners and religious fundamentalists demanding that the death sentence be brought back as Alan’s sin was considered above even God’s law by some. Pro-life campaigners believed it was far too late in the pig-child’s development to abort it but Government officials believed that to allow it to live would set a dangerous precedent and maybe encourage more people to try their own experiments. Online marketplace eBay was forced to remove a number of items that were being sold to assist with “home cloning” experiments and Amazon pledged to report anyone selling similar items to the Police. Alan has never been granted permission to make any form of statement to the public, which has angered free-speech activists around the world. It’s no understatement to say that Alan’s actions stirred a worldwide hornet’s nest so it’s hardly a surprise his movements, his current location and details of the case have never been made public.

It would seem that Alan has been busy while in prison and has produced six Children’s books as part of a series he’s called “The Super-Animals of Lord Whittington’s Zoo”, each of which features a story told from the point of view of one of a hybrid creature. Book One tells the story of “Nigel”, who is a half horse/half seagull hybrid, who saves the farm from an impending ecological disaster. Book Two tells the story of “Anna”, the half cow/half giraffe, who adopts a litter of puppies much to the anger of her cow and giraffe families. while at first these might seem like heart-warming and moralistic stories, the authorities are concerned that Alan might be making an attempt to tell the world what he was doing in his home laboratory for years. In order to find out the truth I contacted Alan’s family and they communicated with him on my behalf and after some considerable effort and risk I managed to secure a visit along with his solicitor, who hid a small recording device into his briefcase for me. Since I started covering this story it has been my belief that whatever you think of Alan’s work, he has a right to tell his story and I am delighted that he agreed to tell it to me. I have been asked to make it crystal clear that the interview you’re about to read is published entirely at my own risk and I am aware of the potential legal ramifications for myself and for Alan but I feel his is a story that we should hear, as a cautionary tale if nothing else. I trust that the law-makers and law-enforcers of our great country will appreciate this, especially as Alan is serving 25 years in prison and couldn’t continue his experiments even if he wanted to.

Me: “There are hundreds of questions I could start with, but I think the obvious one is to ask you if you regret carrying out the experiments at your home laboratory that have, ultimately, led to your incarceration?”

Alan: “Well firstly can I begin by thanking you for coming. I’m sure many people have questions for me and I’m happy to answer them. Do I have regrets? I only regret that I am in prison and cannot continue my valuable work in attempting to find cures for diseases that affect millions of people the world over.”

Me: “And what about the experiments you did at your farm, Colin in particular. You were obviously trying to create life but why? What sort of life did you think a half human/half pig could possibly have in our world? What about the moral questions about what you were doing?”

Alan: “Well I didn’t call her Colin; it was a she, not a he. I didn’t give her a name, but she had a number which was #31. My hopes for #31 were that she would eventually be able to think and talk like a human, but resemble a pig. My hope was to create a kind of scientific theme park where my creations could live and roam freely, talk to the public and be a living demonstration of directed evolution. I hoped to educate them as I would a human while allowing them to spend time with their animal relatives too, to create an articulate message for the benefit of vegans such as myself. You probably think nothing of having a bacon sandwich, but what if you could go somewhere that a pig could tell you what it feels like to spend a life on death row, being fattened up for slaughter so they can end up on your plate? Animals have no rights in our world and yet they have just as much right to be here as we do. Like us they have evolved perfectly and have survived all the tests nature has thrown at them, but for as long as we know we have farmed and butchered animals. The slaughter must come to an end.”

Me: “So your experiments were done for a genuine cause? No wonder you were gagged. Is that why you have created the “Super Animals” in your children’s books?”

Alan: “Absolutely. If a child can actually become friends with animals, and communicate with them, they’re going to grow up respecting all animals. That was all I wanted and that is the sole purpose of my books – to make children think before they eat an animal they know and respect.”

Me: “I completely understand, but you stole human embryos, human sperm and unfertilized human eggs. That’s illegal, no matter how you look at it. How did you justify that to yourself?”

Alan: “I did it for the greater good. I don’t expect people to understand, but desperate times call for desperate measures. We are happy to use science to make bigger chickens to eat, but we’re not happy to use science to protect animals from us? I have a big problem with that. I took very few samples from very large sources; nobody was going to miss them and nobody noticed anyway. When you look at what I was trying to accomplish, for the greater good of life on the planet, not to mention the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle, I don’t think anyone can say I did anything other than perhaps skim a little off the top here and there. #31 was living and breathing, she was alive and she was almost ready to start taking nourishment orally and she was killed, like all the other animals are, needlessly. If you want to take about wrongdoing you should start there, not with what I did.”

Me: “You upset a great many people though, from religious groups to human and animal rights activists who have accused you of “playing God”. Some people consider what you were doing as the work of the devil, which may be a little extreme but you have to see that there were always going to be moral objections to what you were doing, not to mention matters of legality you had clearly decided to ignore.”

Alan: “Initially there would’ve been issues with regard to the moral and legal status of my creations, but that would just have forced us to look at how we regard humans and animals. We are a barbaric species; we kill our own for a variety of nonsensical reasons, such as money, power, gender, religion and in some cultures we kill our own daughters if we believe they are not virgins when they marry. What if someone came along and did something that changed the way we look at life, all life, forever? I’d say that was a good thing. All the boundaries we currently know and understand about human life, animal life, would’ve been changed forever. We’d have to start taking dignity seriously again. That’s why I wrote the books for children; all my creations are inspirational figures and their status as hybrid creatures is secondary to their personalities, their morals, the causes they believe in. The hybrids are animal heroes and they do more to unite animals and humans than anyone has ever done.”

Me: “Aren’t you assuming, though, that your hybrids will have a human-like intellect? surely that would not be the case, even with #31?”

Alan: “Well yes, there’s no way of knowing that and had #31 not been killed we’d have been able to find out the answer that. At worst they would surely have the intellect of a child and there was no reason to think motor function would’ve been impaired, it might even have been enhanced. We’ll never know, at least not in the case of #31. As for my animal super heroes, obviously in order to appeal to children they had to behave like humans, talk like humans and reason like humans. Hopefully the books will do some good even if my experiments have not been able to. I understand there are ethical standards to maintain, but I also understand we ignore them when it suits us. I chose to ignore them for a greater good.”

Me: “Onto your books then, the reaction from the public has been considerable and there are many factions, from parents who don’t want their children’s development linked to someone who was playing with the laws of nature, in their opinion, to those who feel that you are simply attempting to show you have learned from your mistakes and that the books, which are not violent and convey many positive messages about cooperation, friendship and morality, should not be regarded any differently despite you authoring them. Your publisher believes that they are going to be a tremendous success which the Church of England has repeatedly slammed the publisher and is looking at legal options to stop them reaching bookshelves in the UK. What are your thoughts?”

Alan: “If the Church of England has a problem with the content of my books then they’re hypocrites, given that the story of Noah and human genocide is one of many bloody stories from the Bible. You won’t find genocide in any of my books, and none of my human characters will ever sacrifice a son to their God. I can’t promise there won’t be talking snakes, admittedly. If their argument is a moralistic one, they’re hypocrites in my opinion. As for parents, do they really think their children will have any idea who I am? They won’t have my name on them, after all, I’m using the pseudonym “Michelle Banks” which is about as benign a name as I could think of. I’m not stupid, you know.”

Me: “I didn’t know you were using an assumed identity, that’s incredibly useful to know. I should ask, however, if your reason for making the books was genuinely just to continue you animal rights activism or as a way of generating money for your appeal?”

Alan: “I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t want to get out of here. The courts essentially created a new crime for me to be guilty of and treated me as if I had murdered someone in cold blood, which could not be further from the truth. If I raise enough money for an appeal then great, and if I get out, even better. If not, there’s something for me to live off if I make it out before I die. I had the idea years ago but I didn’t have the time to do anything about it. Now I have the time, it’s better I make use of it.”

Me: “So your intention was never to reveal to the public the truth behind what you were doing in your laboratory, though a different medium?”

Alan: “Of course not and most people wouldn’t care about the science, they’d just be interested in the experiments that went wrong, or if I’d had to deal with some malevolent zombie-like beast. The truth is, these things either work or they don’t. Most didn’t, a few did, but those that did were killed by the same people who judged me guilty of crimes against humanity. The irony of that is not lost on me.”

Me: “Finally, it’s possible that after I publish this article you may find your gag order lifted, and I really hope that’s the case. Is there anything you’d like me to share with my readers that you would rather get out in front of, anything that you’d probably rather didn’t get out but if it was to you’d like to be one step ahead of the headline writers?”

Alan: “Only one thing. Humans in most parts of the world have a special relationship with dogs. My first thought was to create a half human/half dog hybrid. It didn’t work. Then I thought to myself, what if the first step was not such a drastic creation, but something more subtle. So, I was working on the possibility of growing a dog’s tail that could be grafted onto a baby and then look at ways to alter the dna of a fertilised human egg so that a baby could grow a tail of its own. I will admit I did use certain channels that were open to me in the developing world to look into the possibility of adopting a baby for that purpose. I’m sure a few people would be shocked by that but I must stress I never actually got that far as #31 had proven to be far more resilient than I’d expected and became the sole focus of my attention for several months before my arrest. Other than that, no, I stand by everything I did and my reasons for doing everything I did.”

*****

Three weeks after my interview with Alan the first three of his books went on general sale with little or no publicity. HarperCollins printed an initial run of 100,000 for each book and made digital versions available too. After two weeks less than 300 books/ebooks had been sold in the UK and only 14 in the USA. The books were removed from shelves six weeks after release with less than 350 copies sold in all formats combined. There has been no official comment from HarperCollins on what their future plans are for Alan’s series but it seems likely that he’ll need to raise money for an appeal elsewhere.

A spokesperson for the Church of England has described the boycotting of Alan’s books as “a victory for good old fashioned Christian values” but has warned that any further attempts to publish his works will be met with “considerable opposition”.

Posted in Cloning, Conspiracy Theories, Genetic Engineering, Human Origins, Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Jedi Knights of Liskeard.

By Roberta Robson-Canoe

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…so the story goes, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca fought the evil Galactic Empire and brought freedom to the galaxy. However what you probably didn’t know is that the Jedi are alive and well and living in Liskeard. That’s right, a new breed of galaxy protectors and peace-makers have spring up in the most unlikely of places – The Jedi Order of Liskeard has been keeping a watchful eye on the town for several years.

Jedi1The founder of this new Jedi Order is 25 year-old Breca-Wan Calis (real name Karen Brest) from nearby Trevecca, a former nurse and huge fan of the Star Wars films, who has chosen to dedicate her life to the ways of ‘The Force’ for the betterment of all local people. She discovered she was strong with ‘The Force’ after fighting off two muggers at a bus-stop in Plymouth. “I don’t know what happened, they grabbed me and tried to get my handbag but I pushed my hands towards each of them to try to make them let go and they both fell over. I don’t remember even touching them. I started to scream and they ran off. I could feel power coursing through me and I knew right then I had become a Jedi.” After a period of days spent meditating in isolation she told her boyfriend about what had happened. While initially understanding, the burden of having a Jedi girlfriend became too much and their relationship came to an end a few weeks later. “I knew it was a sign as Jedi aren’t supposed to have boyfriends or girlfriends. The Force was calling me and I knew I had to follow it.”

She created the Jedi Order of Liskeard shortly afterwards and began to use onlineJedi2 Star Wars forums and Craigslist to seek out fellow Jedi in the area. While many of the responses to her advert were obviously insincere she eventually received a message from Elili Folis-Plu (real name Linvoy Eli Jones) who told her he’d had a vision several years ago that matched the account she gave of the mugging she’d endured and quoted wisely from the Star Wars expanded Universe, explaining that he believed he was the reincarnation of famous Jedi Kyle Katarn. Karen knew immediately that his knowledge was proof of his sincerity and they met up a few days later. “I told him I’d started a new Jedi Order and he was excited about what we could do together. He’s like a big brother to me now, a mentor, very wise. I would not have come as far as I have without him. He’s taught me how to meditate and truly become at one with ‘The Force’ as its student.” Linvoy believes ‘The Force’ brought them together and while he admits he’s often found himself intoxicated by Karen’s power and aura, the Jedi way must come first. “If we weren’t Jedi I would obviously be very interested in Karen as a person, even a lover or wife or mother of my children but these things are not the Jedi way. Like I said though, if we were not Jedi I would want things to be very different but I revealed myself to her as a Jedi before I saw a picture of her. The Force can be a curse and I fear the Dark Side, although I would definitely explore the Dark Side with Karen if she wanted to, I would be well up for that. If things were different, If I’d not told her I was a Jedi, who knows what might have happened? Look, all I’m saying is that if she told me she wanted to go down a dark path with me I would do it, no question. I mean, I wouldn’t ever follow the quick and easy route unless she wanted me to. I can tell she has a great aura and I’d love to feel it myself, in a Jedi way though. Don’t tell her I said anything.”

As Karen and Linvoy learned more about their powers and increased their knowledge of ‘The Force’ by meeting regularly at her flat, people started to notice their presence. “We would walk around town, keeping an eye out for anyone who might be tempted by the Dark Side, usually in our Jedi robes although I did some alterations to mine to make them shorter and opted for thigh-high boots. It’s a modern look but authentic. Anyway, one day we were walking past the Supermarket car park when we saw two younglings looking suspicious. Using our powers we got close to them before leaping out to stop them from doing whatever it was they were planning to do.” The two Jedi4younglings were Wan-Ma Cllis (left, real name Maggie WaJedi3ng) and Blade Du-Lis (right, real name Deborah Blackson). The two ‘Padawan’ were planning to drink a bottle of cider between them despite both being under-age. After using “‘The Force” to persuade them not to do it in public for fear of turning down a path they could never return from, the two younglings (as they were then) reluctantly agreed, phone numbers were swapped and eventually they agreed to join the Jedi Order of Liskeard as protectors of the town, a decision they both agree was probably for the best. “Linvoy kept texting me” Maggie told me, “and wouldn’t let it drop. He kept saying he thought I had potential and if I spent more time with him he could show me things he had never shown the others. He’s a bit older than me but he works at the animal rescue place so I figured he wasn’t such a bad guy. He takes a lot of pictures of me when I’m in my Jedi costume.” Deborah, who is actually the most committed Star Wars fan in the group, loved the idea of being a Jedi and makes packed lunches for everyone based on the cuisine of the Star Wars universe. “My ‘Force Awakens’ smoothies are really good. You’re supposed to use Fringi Spices but I use raspberries instead. I also make Wroonian Fly-Catcher sandwiches using turkey slices so they taste pretty much the same. It’s fun, I like doing it.”

While they are a small group and always looking for members, Linvoy is particularly keen to ensure they get the right people, people who are genuinely blessed with ‘The Force’ and not just guys who think they might be in with a chance with Karen or Maggie although he’s not as concerned about Deborah. “Sure, we’ve had blokes approach us, Karen in particular, but they’re not serious enough about committing to the ways of the Jedi. As the oldest and the only man I make sure the girls are protected from Dark Side influences that might cause them to leave the Jedi Order. Young men aren’t always what they say they are when it comes to their relationships with young women and with Maggie being the only Asian girl in town she gets a lot of all the wrong kinds of attention. I’m not afraid to put my arm around her if I think she’s in danger, or get between her and someone who is giving her an uncomfortable amount of his time. After Karen she’s definitely the most attractive and alluring Jedi around but she’s facing a dangerous time in her training where she may be tempted by dark forces. I tell her that if she’s feeling temptation she should come to me, I can help her control those urges or bring them out in a safe, Jedi-like way, in private so the other two would never know. I would definitely do that for her if she needed me to, no question. That’s why I’m not sure we need any more guys in the Order, not unless perhaps they were gay as they’re much less likely to tempt Maggie or Karen with the Dark Side. Deborah’s fine though, she’s strong, butch, bigger-boned, so guys don’t really try anything with her. I haven’t and I wouldn’t, unless I suffered a momentary weakness and even then I would insist we didn’t tell anyone. I’m happy to leave Karen to take care of her if anything’s going on.”

The group now spend their weekends patrolling the town or visiting the local comic shop which is a potentially rich recruitment ground for them. In the main, however, Karen sees the role of the group in the town as that of protectors and she places a far greater emphasis on that than recruitment to the group. “The Force will guide us; if there are people we need to train or people we need to save it will tell us. Occasionally some of the rougher, more immature youths approach us but I have learned to master Jedi mind tricks on the weaker-willed and just talking to them for a few seconds about who we are and what we do is enough to make them run away, or walk away quickly.” The group have intervened with minor public order offences on countless occasions, with Karen, Maggie and Deborah often leading the “Aggressive Negotiations” while Linvoy watches the perimeter to prevent surprise attacks. “I’m the strongest out of all of us, but I do feel anger and rage at times and I don’t want people getting hurt, so I let the girls deal with it and just supervise. I could really hurt someone so, you know, I stay out of the front line action unless they’re obviously not going to be a threat. There’s no need for me to get directly involved though, I need to be able to see the wood for the trees. Yoda didn’t get his hands dirty, he had Jedi to do the messy stuff, he just dealt with the bigger issues. I very much see myself like Yoda, offering wisdom, guidance and comfort to the Jedi. I’m very big on comforting them, making sure they feel safe, protected, loved even. I mean, I kinda Jedi-love Karen in a way that ordinary people might not get, they might think it was weird but it’s not. I also have a lot of love for Maggie although that’s slightly different. Deborah, well that’s more of a father-daughter thing really. But yeah, usually I just hold back, keep my powers in check and observe when the girls break up a squabble outside a newsagent or something. Best for all involved really if I keep my considerable powers in check. Things could get messy as I know how to handle myself, oh yeah, don’t you worry about that. I just don’t want to lose it in the heat of battle but I’m telling you, if someone came for me they would be sorry, very sorry indeed, that they messed with me. I’ve seen all of Jet-Li’s English-speaking films so I know a thing or two, and people need to know that. You don’t mess with me, I’ll fucking kill you, with my bare hands, in combat. Mano-a-mano. I’m bloody lethal and dangerous…in defence, never for attack.”

The locals have warmed to their new Jedi protectors too, with one resident telling me “I think it’s lovely that young people can dress up and play out. It shows Britain isn’t broken after all.” A town council spokesperson added “While we don’t believe in vigilante action around the town these young Jedi people are more like the Girl Guides or Scouts, or a nice Christian Youth group or Duke of Edinburgh participants, than vigilantes. Lots of people are much happier having them around at weekends so as long as they don’t break any laws when they’re around we’re fine with having them around. We like having people in and around the town and when the Jedi are around everyone around town is glad they’re around.”

Recently, Karen promoted Linvoy to the rank of Jedi Master, with Maggie and Deborah now Jedi Knights. “With their new roles and confidence Liskeard will be better protected from evil influences than it ever has been before. I am very excited to see what they can all do, especially Linvoy who has always been so attentive, so keen to listen to what I tell him and take on board everything I say to him. On the days where we don’t see each other he remains in regular contact by text message and he always phones late at night to wish me sweet, safe, dreams. It’s cute, he’s such a softie, like the big brother I always wanted but never had, he’s Luke to my Leia. I think he’s going to make a smashing Jedi Master.”

Whatever you might think about them there’s no doubt that if an evil Galactic Empire wishes to conquer our planet anytime soon they’d better not start in Liskeard; the Jedi are trained, ready and more than capable of holding their own. For Linvoy it’s just about doing the right thing for the town he grew up in. “If I’d been brought up in a big city like Plymouth or Exeter I might never have found my true calling. If things had been different I might’ve been Karen’s boyfriend, or Maggie’s, though probably not Deborah’s. I could’ve been going out every night drinking with Karen, or going on nice dates to restaurants, walks in the park, day trips to Torquay, you name it. It could all have been so different if I’d not told Karen I was a Jedi, or if Maggie was just a little bit older than she is. I mean, age is nothing but a number for a Jedi but can you imagine if two Jedi got together, that would be amazing, especially if you kept all the Jedi clothes on when you did it. I mean, I’m sure girl Jedi’s have nice underwear but take Maggie, she’s got this black outfit and as Jedi go it’s pretty sexy, there’s cleavage on show most of the time. I’m just saying, if. It’s not the way of the Jedi way though, as I told Karen right at the beginning, before I’d even met her. I mean who’d have thought a girl Jedi posting on a Star Wars forum would look like Karen? They usually look like Deborah or worse. The last one I met before I actually became a Jedi was a right dog although she didn’t mind exploring my dark side a lot and that was surprisingly okay. It can be very frustrating being a Jedi at times, but like Yoda said, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. I’m a Jedi Master now, whether I like it or not. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t, but there you go, no getting out of it now. Don’t tell her I said any of that though, not now I’m a Jedi Master, she’d go mental.”

Posted in Broken Britain, Chavs, Jedi, Jedi Knights, Relationships, Religion, Star Wars, Superheroes, The Universe | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ten Awful Things About Britain – #1: John Bishop.

By Sam Gardenwrack

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John Bishop being absolutely hilarious, live.

It would be fair to say that John Bishop’s comedy routines are not for everyone. A quick search online reveals that while many people find his brand of observational comedy “funny” there are plenty of people who do not and It’s difficult to see him as anything other than a mediocre family entertainer. Sure, he sometimes swears but that does nothing to disguise the fact that he’s a poor man’s Michael Barrymore at best and neither his material nor his delivery stand up to scrutiny when compared to the heavyweights. In this writer’s opinion even Michael “watered-down Jerry Seinfeld” McIntyre is funnier, and that’s saying something. My Room 101 would doubtless contain everything Russ Abbot has ever done on a permanent loop but he at least has the excuse of being a very 1980’s “funnyman” (i.e. they were perfectly at home on Des O’Connor Tonight) while John Bishop’s faux-scouse drivel didn’t come to our collective attention until the mid-00’s. His material, which can be summed up as “I’m a scouser, my kids do silly things, I’m getting older, I don’t understand stuff, I’m unable to go off-script, I’m a scouser” is perfectly suited to the kind of audiences who think Take Me Out is risqué and Ant’n’Dec are the funniest men alive. I had the dubious honour of being taken to a comedy show in Covent Garden (on a date) where the line-up was a secret; as it happens the three comedians on the night were trying out new material before their tours began. Scott Capurro was up first and he was as hilarious as he was cruel, Jo Caulfield took a little time to get going but had the crowd in stitches by the end of her set and then came John Bishop, who wasn’t just a disappointment compared to the comics who’d come before him, he was a fucking shambles, embarrassingly unfunny and actually resorted to pulling faces and telling fart jokes; he completely ruined the date and she didn’t want to see me again after that, so thanks a bunch, John, you hopelessly unfunny twat; she was hot.

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John Bishop being absolutely hilarious again.

In a review of his show “John Bishop’s Britain”,  on the newsrants.co.uk website, writer “Aran” asks “What is it about this programme – on the BBC no less – that offends the senses so utterly?  I’d say, besides it being a vehicle for the terminally unfunny Scouse twat that is John Bishop, the concept behind it all deeply unsettles me” and adds “The very idea that we’re all one big happy nation, tied strongly by the bonds of shameless, lowest-common denominator comedy sickens me”. Those were just about the kindest words he had to offer. A quick look at the comments below Aran’s review show that he’s certainly not alone and the question remains: “How did John Bishop become popular?” It’s possible that his bewildering positivity about life, about how great Britain is (in his opinion) and just how fucking wonderful we all are has struck a chord with an audience that’s spent years being shafted, by three successive governments, and just wants to get away from it all by listening to a mock-scouser ask questions of his audience such as “What is it with plastic bags getting everywhere?” While I’m sure that question would be hilarious in a world where everyone’s a fuckwit, it doesn’t really work too well here. Sure, his DVDs sell well and his tours do good business, but all that really proves is that stupid people will laugh at anything and pay for anything the tabloids say is good. “Frankly Hilarious” said The Telegraph; they must surely have been talking about someone else. Not everyone is fooled though, as this post on  is-a-cunt.com demonstrates:

bishopNothing hurts quite as much as being likened to Steve Penk, whose TV career was thankfully cut short by him being painfully unfunny to watch or listen to. If somebody compared me to Steve Penk I’d probably kill myself.

Of course, simply disliking John Bishop is too easy; the man talks like someone who believes he’s hilarious, a bit like the office twat. Nobody likes the office twat, that’s why he’s the office twat, and nobody likes a smartarse either, and John Bishop always looks smug, like a man who once knew how fucking lucky he was to have a career but now believes he deserved it all along. The problem is, the sort of people who find John Bishop funny are people like him, people who are smug. John Bishop is, definitely, a smug twat but that’s not a good enough reason to dislike him or to find him unfunny. No, what we need is evidence, so here’s some of his “comedy” material from the opening of “The John Bishop Show”, season one, episode one.

I think when you and your missus have kids, you should measure each other and then you should have a height bar in your house.
And as soon as your kids are bigger than you, they can piss off.
It’s even worse! My youngest son is now 17, so I’ve got one who’s 20, one who’s 19, one who’s 17.
They’re all men.
When they’re all in our house having tea, I’ve never had that many men in our house since we had the loft done.
And you find yourself in this situation like, I’m like a lot of men now, my age, middle-aged, trying to stay fit and one of my mates said to me, “What is it with you? “You’re going to the gym three or four times a week. What’s this obsession with staying fit?” And I said to him, I said, “I’ve got to be fit.”
“Have you seen my sons? One day I’m going to have to fight them for food.”

The problem with this material is, no matter who you are or how good your delivery is, there’s nothing funny to work with here. John Bishop’s brand of observational comedy is simply not funny. He’s making observations, sure, but if Frankie Boyle was making the same observations he’d give himself a slap, say to himself “none of this is even remotely funny” and write about something else. John Bishop, however, is happy to stick to the staples of 80’s TV comics, playing it safe with observations about family life, parenthood, not understanding modern music, how things were different when he was younger and everything else that made your heart sink when a “promising new comedian” made their way onto your TV screen but turned out to be no different to all that came before them. John Bishop is derivative, his act and material are tired and even if they weren’t his material is simply not funny. You may be thinking that I’ve just taken a small section, possibly out of context, and effectively cherry-picked the crap bits to make my point. I can understand how you might think that, so here’s what he said next.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t tell you how much pleasure it brings me to bring on the first act.
My brother brought home a record made by this man when I was a teenager.
He’s the only person who was ever on the wall in my bedroom who wasn’t a topless woman or a Liverpool player.

This is the “teenage boys like football and tits” routine, one I’m sure you’ve never heard before, except for the hundreds of times you’ve heard it before. If it was funny, that would be one thing, but it’s not. It’s not close to funny, it’s just shit, lazy shit at that if there is such a thing. However, his “banter” is even worse. I am presuming the following is not ad-libbed but even if it was that would be no excuse:

I tell you, if I’d have ever spoke to my dad about buying oven gloves, he’d just look at me and go, “What do you need gloves to pick an oven up for?”

Here we have the “misunderstanding” routine and the “generation gap” routine, mixed together and turned into one completely unfunny joke. It’s material beyond cliché and it suggests a total lack of ideas and imagination. If he was able to create new material from old subjects, a different take on a well-established theme, something original, I’d find his work less insulting and offensive, but John Bishop is a pub comedian with good hair and somehow he’s now famous and, worse, successful.

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John Bishop thinking about  his next hilarious joke.

So what’s his secret? Easy; he’s a kiss-ass. He bounds onto a stage, big smile, beaming with optimism and happiness and says everything is great. The audience is great, the things he talks about are all great, laughter is great, his guests are great and isn’t it all just fucking great. How can you not like someone who tells you you’re great? Out of a sense of duty, perhaps, the audience is obliged to find him funnier than he is because, well, he said they’re all great. Everything is just fucking great in the world of John Bishop, even the bad stuff. He also behaves as if he’s not famous and sucks up to his idols too. I for one cannot stand this false modesty and firmly believe if you’re going to reference your own success on stage you need to do it like Ricky Gervais or Frankie Boyle do, with their tongues planted firmly inside their cheeks. John Bishop is not self-deprecating when he talks about other famous people; he’s saying “look at all the famous people I know” (I refer you back to my “smug twat” suggestion) and even on those rare occasions he does try to mock himself, his jokes just don’t hit the mark:

I have been privileged to get to know Kenny Dalglish and I would call him a friend – though his lawyer would call me a stalker (I don’t know why – just because I was in his garden!).

Pathetic, not funny and what a horrible turn of phrase too. Sadly his entire set is made up of “jokes” like that.

I could dig deeper, offer you more examples but they will be more of the same. Years after hitting the big time he still talks about how different his life is now he’s famous, how everything is great, how old people don’t get him and how he doesn’t get young people, and it’s all twee, trite and ultimately just annoying. You can be all of those and funny at the same time but John Bishop is not. He wants to be an everyman, but he’s a nobody who was marketable because he was so bland. As comedians go, and especially famous comedians, he’s just about the worst Britain has to offer. I’ll leave you with one final quote from the man himself, a would-be zinger about Courtney Love:

“I was only in her company two hours, but I can’t blame that Kurt Cobain fella.”

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