Announcing the Losers in Reverse Order


WARNING: NO SPOILER ALERT

For the first time in a while I seem to have seen a few of the movies which all the fuss is about. As you know, I have never been one to fully embrace the full movie “experience” (see And The Winner Isn’t (Original Screenplay)) so it’s usually been the case of waiting til it comes out on DVD or Virgin (and no, I don’t have NETFLIX) before I get to see what everyone else has seen before me (which usually means I know the storyline. I haven’t yet seen Skyfall , for example, but thanks to those around me, I already know the surprises and twists and unexpected deaths).

This year,however, things are a little different. I have managed to see American Hustle, Gravity, and 12 Years a Slave. I will be seeing very soon Wolf of Wall Street, and there is this bloke who knows a bloke who knows a bloke who can get me a copy of Texas Buyers Club, Nabraska and Captain Phillips, should I fancy them and don’t mind breaking the law (heaven forfend). All this means that I will have the opportunity to see the bulk of the Oscar-nominated movies before the ceremony actually begins (not that I’m ever likely to see the ceremony, unless I pay Messrs Branson & Murdoch a lot of money. Which I won’t ever again).

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So without giving away the plot to anyone who hasn’t see any of the above, I shall give you my considered and informed opinion and verdict on Hustle, Gravity and Slave.

They’re ok.

Gravity is a bit of fun and effects — but I hate 3D movies: all that playing with the glasses,  lifting them up & down while you’re sitting in the cinema puts me off the plot. Fortunately there’s not much of one to be put off. Clooney is charming, Bullock acts well again and er…that’s it.

Hustle is a masterclass of period detail. Well done the wardrobe dept. The girls play their parts well. erm….

Slave is 2 hrs 14 minutes of wanting something rather good to stop. (a bit like watching Charlton Athletic, without the ‘rather good’ bit). The 3 main, nominated actors are very good indeed. But…

You see…maybe I’m getting old and stuck in my ways (“No! NO! surely not!” I don’t hear you cry) but Gravity doesn’t have the feeling of epicness which 2001, Apollo 13, Moon, Silent Running or even Star Wars had/has. Hustle is a great study of the 70s, but no better than Boogie Nights, and certainly no Carlito’s Way. And Slave is a very worthy and sad movie, with a tale that needs to be told, and watched. But Schindler’ List it ain’t.

There is a movie called Prisoners, which is a rather under-stated thriller(nominated for Roger Deakins‘ photography) that is worth a look, but it’s not making many headlines, sadly.

So there you have it: Some good films indeed, just not great films. Nothing with the impact of watching the first 28 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, seeing The Godfather for the first time (or the tenth time), no The Right Stuff or even a Milk.

So by way of a trip down memory lane, when the movies really did seem to live with you long after you left the cinema (I’ve already forgotten the plot to American Hustle) and as an excuse to show some pretty cool snaps from behind the scenes (decent movie or not), have a little browse thru this lot.

They’ll have you screaming for the return of Blockbuster Video.

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The Birds. “What’s my motivation for this ?”

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The Godfather.”I reckon this is gonna be worth one sequel, at the very most”

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Apocalypse Now. “I Hate the taste of Pepsi in the Morning”

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Planet of the Apes “Put your stinking cigarette out, you damn dirty ape! Want to buy a gun?”

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Frankenstein. “I’ve created a breakfast”

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Jaws. “We’re Gonna Need some Bigger Shorts”

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The Shining. Heeeere’s Stanley

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Psycho. “Don’t worry, my boy. After this role, the job offers will just fly in”

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2001: A Space Odyssey. “Well I don’t get the oberlisk. Do you get the oberlisk? I don’t get the oberlisk”

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Is that Pounds or Guineas ?


They tell me that, at one stage yesterday, all British national newspapers were interested in buying those photos of the Prince Harry starkers. Then ever so slowly, and one after another they dropped out. A few still published them on their websites, then gradually one-by-one they pulled them from their site. They were, apparently going for 10K a set. I don’t know if that was 10k Exclusive, English Language rights only, or as a share. Seems a lot of money to spend on a set of snaps, knowing that your rivals up the street had exactly the same set of pics.

The Sun mocks-up its own           version of those photos

Maybe it was this high price which made them pull out of the deal. Maybe it was the risk of upsetting Lord Leveson. Perhaps they didn’t want to upset The Palace or the NPA, or whoever nowadays hands out press passes to national events. We will have a couple of funerals in town coming up in the not-too-distant future, I guess, then a coronation and probably a christening or eight ? That’s a lot of monkey positions in the press pen to be giving away for the sake of a muzzy pic of some ginger pubes. Or maybe they didn’t buy the photos because they stopped and thought “Hang-on! Why don’t we respect this guy’s right to party on down. Public don’t need to see these. Stuff the pics ” ?  No, I don’t think that happened either. I do know one journal which did exactly that, but they are not in Fleet St. Anymore.

So you’re looking down the wrong end of a £10,000 deal for a set of not-very-exclusive snaps of a nude ginger bloke. Hmmm… I guess in the world of the internet, it’s rather difficult to keep anything at all exclusive. Back in the day of hard prints, analogue wires and when BBC Ceefax was the source of information 24 hours a day, it was a lot easier to find a set of exclusives.

In around 1985 I was a young freelancer selling photos generated by a very small agency to national newspapers in Fleet St. I was enjoying a beer (no, really, I was) one evening after work with a colleague when a young photographer we’d sent out a few hours earlier “to see what you can find” came and found us at the bar. He had on him a developed roll of colour transparency film which had on it various dancers/strippers, C-listers and Christopher Bigginses which a night photographing London usually threw up. Then as I got down to the end of the of the roll of film, there were two blurry frames of a bloke, who looked uncannily like Prince Andrew, walking next to a fat redhead.

A bun is awarded for anyone who can                       tell me what he was thinking of.

“Who’s that ?” I asked the snapper

“Oh that Prince Andrew and some fat redhead” (I told you it was) “I saw a royal motor outside Les Mis so I hung around to see who was in there”

These were the first photos of Prince Andrew and his latest squeeze Sarah Ferguson. They were with a Royal Bodyguard getting into a Royal Jaguar. This meant she was official. She was Andy’s “One” (if only we knew…), confirming what Buckingham Palace had been denying for weeks – that Fergie was gonna be part of the firm real soon. As odd as it must sound now, this was really big news at the time.

Being a Royalist, I immediately cut off the two frames and got a cab down to The Daily Mirror. For reasons which don’t escape me, I refused to go to Wapping and to Rupert Murdoch’s strike-bound News International (what does escape me is why I lifted that self-imposed ban to go work for those wankers later on in my career), and The Mirror was my weapon of choice.

Up to a point.

I arrived at The Mirror‘s picture desk only to find it deserted. Normally I wouldn’t care less that everyone was in “The Stab” down below (The White Hart pub, known by Mirror hacks as The Stab in the Back” – for obvious reasons), and on any other evening may have gone to join them (it was, after all, one of the reasons I wanted to be a journo in the first place) and sell them the odd snap. But this was different. I had a pic which I knew everyone would want, and I had to get it into a paper NOW. On THIS edition. I couldn’t take the risk of other photographers having captured the young couple together and selling it before I could. I certainly couldn’t wait for the Mirror Picture Desk to sober up. So I took a decision. I went off to The Daily Star.  Ooh Aah.

It wasn’t what I wanted, but I was in luck . Perhaps the Popinjay (Express Newspaper’s version of The Stab) had burnt down that night as both numbers 1&2 on the picture desk had returned from the pub, unaided, and were just about awake. I think one of them could have been mistaken for being sober. At a distance. The other, his boss (a legendary scotchman and a scotch man) could not.

“What ye got, young fella?” the boss asked.

Carefully avoiding the hot, sweet airstream of scotch & best bitter coming from his mouth, I showed him the two frames.

“It’s Andy and Sarah Ferguson at Les Miserables tonight. Our man…..”

But I could have saved my breath, for he was off. Off an a lap of honour of the newsroom. Past the news desk (yes they had one) and the foreign…erm…reporter, past the back bench, the subs and the assorted ‘tired’ journalists and cleaning staff. He skipped, he whistled, he paused to show and tell his colleagues “Look what I got, ye bastard ye”.

Once the Scot and the scotch had settled, he agreed to pay ten thousand pounds for the photo. (What Sarah Ferguson would do nowadays for £10,000 is a story for another time). It appeared on the front page the very next day. The Mirror’s Picture editor, nicknamed “Grumpy” called me, sparrows fart. ‘Why didn’t I sell the pic to him ?’ he wanted to know. ‘Because he was in the pub’, I replied. ‘Why didn’t I call him out ?’ he demanded. ‘Because he was already well and truly out‘ I said. He didn’t speak to me for months and months after that.

As far as I know, that little photo agency of ours never did get the £10k promised to it by the pissed old fart that night at The Star. He sobered up and swore blind that he’d said FIVE not ten grand. The photographer never believed me, I don’t think. It’s all true, believe me. Over the next few weeks we did get some decent money for the pic from American, Aussie and, oddly, German rags, but nothing on the scale of what The Star (should have) paid us.

I wonder if Harry’s “mate” who took the pics of his arse will ever get paid ? It’s out there now. Everyone has it, or at least has seen it. And once everyone has seen it, who will want to buy it ? If the photos had landed in my lap today, would I have flogged them ? Probably not. When I was 21 who-was-doing-what-and-how-to-whom-and-how-often seemed really interesting to me. I’d passed my “smash the state, bring down the Monarchy” phase, but was still walking around with a press ticket metaphorically stuck in the band of my trilby”.

Not now. Now I care little for that shite. Pop and celebs interest me not.  Sod The One Show, give me the World at One. I’m into Big Gussets not Big Brother. Less X-Factor, more Ex-Lax. I’d still like the money, though.

Being Screwed in ‘C’ Wing (Read All About It)


It’s probably worth reminding ourselves that the reason there are eight News of The World employees facing charges over phone hacking is that they were shopped, grassed-up or exposed by other journalists. Proper journalists. Not coppers (bent or otherwise) nor Politicians (ditto), or members of the general public, but journalists. This bunch of whistle-blowers happen to have come from The Gaurdian, but they could have come from any number of sources. Because, just as everyone at The Screws wasn’t a crook, then not every newspaper journalist is on the take (whatever the BBC may have you thinking). Not every Grauniad hack will be as white as the driven snow, and there may have been other reasons for exposing the Wapping scandal other than good, honest investigative journalism, but let us not forget that the industry shopped itself, Westminster please note.

You can extend this thought to the fact that it wasn’t only Wapping hacks that were up to no good – just that they are the first to get pinched for it. The reader might like to note that this week PC Plod revealed that two Prison officers had received payments totalling over £50,000 from The Daily Mirror and Daily Star. As mentioned here before, the shredding machines all over Fleet St have been doing overtime whilst the Inspector’s time is taken up with Murdoch titles. Only time will tell if, by the time Sue Akers and her Mukkers get to “M for Mail” or “P for People” in Glenn Mulcaire‘s address book, the evidence has somehow vanished (like an old oak table).

The conversations may well get interesting as the assorted journos in HMP-issue uniforms are locked up for the night by the very people they were throwing cash at for info about their celebrity/muslim/titillating inmates. Retribution may ensue. The News of the Screws has never been a more appropriate nickname for their paper, in so many ways.

I can’t help thinking public would never have given a toss if the enquiry had merely  revealed that the papers had been listening into the phone messages of Elton John or George Michael, going through Hugh Grant’s bins or Jordan’s drawers. That is, after all, why the average knuckle-dragger buys The Sun and The N.O.W- for the gossip stuff that they always seem to get. Fuck actors and sportsmen and singers and the like. They’re not real people. They forfeited their right to privacy the minute they…er…became good at their job (something, thankfully of which I have never been accused).

But to hack into the phone of a little blonde girl who is a possible murder victim ???? Disgusting ! It is a mark of the country’s appetite, class and taste that had the victim not been a little girl, then not only would this intrusion not have registered with the moral code of Joe Public, but the original story would never have made the front pages of the tabloids in the first place. But sadly for Milly Dowler, and latterly Andy Coulson this was not the case. The girl was just the sort of target which his papers and readers salivate about, and the whole sorry saga was somewhat inevitable.

I’ve never bought into the Kelvin McKenzie argument that “papers only print this stuff because that’s what the readers want” but I’m prepared to make an exception in this case. It’d be nice to think that the avid Screws reader realises his own part in this sorry and sordid affair. Nice to think he would, but unlikely to be true, as The Sun on Sunday‘s figures still show. More tits, more bums, more shite, more readers.
Thank god Madeleine McCann wasn’t a 6 ft tall hod carrier from Bridgend – you’d have never heard of the case. News International likes promoting these cases on its covers, and  Maddie’s plight has been thoroughly reported over the years, none more so than by The Screws. The family felt this would do their cause some good, giving them some hope and support to find their little girl. Right up until the paper published mum’s personal diaries for the Editors and the average Wayne and Waynetta to dribble over.

So do I feel and pity for these eight (on the understanding, of course, that they are all completely innocent until proven guilty) and the torrid time the police and prosecution will put them through ? No, not much. Maybe sorry that they’ve been singled out, when there are many, many others around that need their collars felt. But the overwhelming feeling is of relief that the industry ratted-out itself and showed others how it should be done. Just don’t talk to me about a self-regulating Press Complaints Commission. It clearly doesn’t work.

Total Recall


For those who missed it, we bring you exclusive and unadulterated transcript from David Cameron‘s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry today:

Mr Robert Jay QC (the Inquiry’s lead counsel). “Good morning, Mr Cameron, we thank you for taking the time to appear here this morning, and for submitting your evidence beforehand. It must have taken you some considerable time to put together”

Mr Cameron (Prime Minister of Great Britain & NI and [referendum pending] The Falkland Islands) “I’m sorry I don’t recall how long it took me”

RJ: “No matter, Mr Cameron, it is not important, but thank you anyway.”

DC: “Can I just point out that I have also been thanked by the editors of the Telegraph, Mail, Mirror and the Independent, not just the Sun and News of the World”

RJ: “And now me…”

DC: “Yes, I just wanted to make that point”

RJ: “But not the Guardian”

DC:”I don’t recall the exact details, but no. They never thanked me. Bolshie bastards.”

RJ:. “…… Quite.  Now before we start, Mr Cameron would you like a glass of water ?”

DC: “I can’t recall. I do know, that if I did ever want a glass of water Rebekah Brooks would always offer me a glass of water, as she would any thirsty person. There’s nothing sinister in that

RJ: “Did she ever off you a glass of water ?”

DC: “I don’t recall. But I do recall perfectly her telling me that she had once offered Gordon Brown a glass of water. And Tony Blair. And Lloyd George. ”

RJ: “……………………….!!”

RJ: “Do you remember on the 18th of the 9th, at the Stupid Arse’s Club, Piccadilly, taking water, and indeed lunch with Mrs Brooks, Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Andy Colson, Joeseph Goebbels, Jeremy Hunt, General Pinochet, Matthew Freud and Frederick West where, over seven-and-a-half-hours you discussed the BBC licence fee, phone hacking, the planned assassination of Tony Blair, global domination, the BSkyB bid and pasty tax ? You dined on goat curry, ackee and jerk truffles, served by young black men and women dressed in Tongan Marines Outfits”

DC: “hmmmm…..  that’s all a bit vague, I’d have to check my notes in my diary…”

RJ: “ok, Mr Cam…”

DC: “…but I do clearly remember Gordon Brown saying that he had enjoyed many cosy suppers at the Ginger Jock’s Shellfish Bar on the Penge bypass, with John Prescott and all of the above mentioned people, except, of course, Jeremy Hunt. Who was away at that time. With me. Honest.”

RJ: “Now, Mr Cameron you are, are you not, friends and neighbours  with Mr and Mrs Brooks?”

DC: “I can’t recall”

RJ: “You don’t remember going round to their nearby house on several occasions for breakfast, dinner and supper ?”

DC: “No”

RJ:”No ? You’ve never gone round to their nearby house on several occasions for breakfast, dinner and supper ??”

DC: “No, I mean I don’t recall if I don’t remember if I ever went to their nearby house on several occasions for breakfast, dinner and supper ? There’s nothing sinister in that. I do know that Gordon Brown went round. I specifically remember that. And that Blair bloke. I remember saying to my wife at the time (her name escapes me) that that was very sinister. Very sinister indeed

RJ: “So just to sum up before the break, Mr Cameron, you don’t recall any of the 723 dinner engagements you took with the Brooks’ and the Murdochs? or the 19 occasions when Mr Hunt walked around the Cabinet Office handing out Sky Subscription vouchers and News of the World-emblazoned Flags of St George ? Or the 17 week holiday in 2010 which you and your wife, who’s name escapes you, spent on board Rupert Murdoch’s Yacht the Wendi Boat Comes In, moored off the Turks and Caicos Islands ? Even though in his evidence, Mr Hunt states that he acted as cabin boy for you and whassername for that vacation ? You do, however, remember catching a glimpse or Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in 1998 passing brown envelopes, full of cash, to Rupert Murdoch and his son, round the back of the drive-in MacDonald’s, Wapping Highway ?”

DC: “Correct. Especially the last bit.”

Lord Justice Leveson: ” I think it’s time for a short break now, Mr Jay.  Thank you Mr Cameron, we shall resume at 1 o’clock, if that is ok with you ?”

DC: “I can’t recall, sir.”

RJ: “Oh just fuck off”.

A British All-Conners Record


The Daily Telegraph writes:

Olympic beer to cost £7.23 a pint


Bars at the official Games venues will charge £4.80 for a small serving of London 2012 red wine. For visitors with an appetite for traditional British fare, a portion of cod and chips will set them back at least £8.

The London 2012 organisers, who published sample menus yesterday, claimed the prices were “more than comparable” to catering costs at other sporting events. An estimated 14 million meals will be served to spectators across 40 locations during the Games.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, said the organisers had “gone to great lengths” to find “high quality, tasty food that celebrates the best of Britain”.

A 330ml bottle of Heineken lager at the Games will cost £4.20, making the equivalent price of a pint £7.23. This is more than double the national average price of £3.17 for a pint of beer.

Spectators will pay £2.10 for a toasted teacake, £2.30 for a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola and £2 for a cup of tea. A family of four should be able to buy food and drinks for under £40, according to London 2012. “

They say this last bit without a hint of irony. That’ll be 40 quid on top of the four £450 tickets to watch 20 minutes of the 1m synchronized ping pong. But who the fuck cares any more? We let these robbers get away with it, as we string up our flags and bunting, wave our Union Jacks and remark “ooh hasn’t that nice Mr Coe got old since he took over the games ?”. Of course he looks old. So would you if you had to lug great wads of cash home every night, under the cover of darkness.

Let’s not worry about it. Let’s light up the barbies, sing God Save the Queen for the Jubilee and give thanks that in these harsh times of mass unemployment, crime and poverty, when more and more are driven to stealing to feed themselves and their families, when the southern half of continental Europe is about to go under, we still have a time and the tact to celebrate and wave at a woman who drives around in a solid gold coach.

Let’s shout “C’mon Ingerlund” as the Ukrainian and Polish Nazi Parties beat the shite out of football fans from ethnic backgrounds (well, anyone who isn’t Ukrainian or Polish really), and all this because Michel Platini and his Uefa mafia turn a blind eye to racism and violence within football culture, just as long as he gets his big bucks (or small Euros at the time of going to press). I do not have the data on the price of Heineken beer in Kiev.

Then when a football match breaks out on the pitch and our team loses we can slaughter Roy Hodgson for picking completely wrong 11 idiots, as there were 11 other idiots waiting at home in bed with their friend’s wives, trying to take their minds off of not being selected.

Lets sit back and enjoy the liars of the world: Blair, Cameron, Murdoch (+1), Hunt, Wade, Coulson and the rest of them squirm their way around the questions which would and should bring down the lot of them. But they won’t. You know they won’t. Come the end of Leveson, and save for a couple of minor-ish victims and sacrifices like Brooks and Coulson, the Murdoch Empire, the Fleet St rags and the British Government will still be in place and will still operate in exactly the same way.

Some people moan about it and sites like the one you are reading make a fuss about all this shit now and then, but it doesn’t really do anything or matter in any way shape or form, does it? If it mattered, more than 32% of the country would get out and vote these crooks, thieves and tramps out of office. If it mattered there would be a day of action against arseholes like Andrew Lansley, Michael Gove and Nick Clegg EVERY WEEK, not just once every winter equinox.

So enjoy the next few months. Don’t trip over the maypole or the bunting this weekend; when the football arrives, cheer and clap and the local police, the UEFA officials and the TV cameras ignore the Zeig Heil chants and the Nazi Salutes; smirk and laugh as one-by-one cabinet minister after cabinet minister lies his way out of court; stand and salute and sympathize with the judge trying to get to the bottom of this really sordid scandal, only to be left with the head of the odd PM spin doctor, or Eton old boy to show for it;

Wash that MacDonald’s Olympic burger down with your pint of Heineken. That’ll be well worth fifteen quid of anyone’s money. But not mine. I shall be spending the odd £2.60 on a pint in The Shovel then nip across the road to the chip shop, or maybe the kebab house where I can pick up a large meal for the price of a 330ml bottle of imported Olympic lager. Then I’ll nip home to see if there’s any cricket on to watch. There’s no telly in The Shovel, so it’ll be cans of Guinness on the sofa, in front of the box for me. So keep your over-priced games, your over-hyped jubilee, and your über-alles Championship.
I’ll keep my kebab and a pint. You have your Red-White-and-Blue season. I’ll be happy with my Doner Summer.

 

Polls Apart


Don’t you hate it when you’re told what to think ? Tune into the 6 o’clock or 10 o’clock news and get bombarded with stories stoking up the ‘excitement’ in anticipation of the Olympic Games and the patriotic revelry over HMQs 60th Jubilee. Everyone’s excited, everyone’s throwing a street party/volunteering to help/ buying a ticket/wearing a funny hat cos THE WHOLE OF THE COUNTRY LOVES IT !!!!!. Really ? Come down my street, mate and test the waters. You could cut the atmosphere with a block of  lard. But there is no doubt that all of us are behind both Brenda and Seb when it comes to this year’s celebrations – well, not according to the force-fed stories the Beeb are putting out. There’s nothing like objective journalism, and this is nothing like it.

If you’ve been watching the BBC’s coverage of the London Mayoral election, you could be forgiven for thinking there were only two candidates – Bonkers Boris Johnson and Honest Ken Livingstone (and by the way, Manchester, Brimingham, Glasgow et all, you ARE interested in all this:cos the BBC TELLS you that you are, that’s why). Admittedly, between them they do make a riveting contest, albeit in the way that watching two grandmothers argue over who’s gonna look after the grandkids is riveting. Mind you, I’ve yet to hear any nan in my family call the other a “fucking liar” as Boris did to Ken after their LBC bust up this week.

With a month or so still to go, I’m sure someone will dig something up on the other one which will tip the balance at the polls, but my bet is both will distance themselves from their party leaders over in Westminster – two of the most loathed men in the kingdom. Ken and Boris are bright enough to employ that bargepole when Dave and Milibean come to town, and who can blame them ?

But there are others involved in this contest. The other coalition candidate is Pc McGarry Number 452. Brian Paddick is gay, a former policeman and Liberal Democrat. (yes I know, Monty Python’s sketch when a quiz contestants hobbies are “golf, masturbation and strangling animals” springs to mind). Paddick came out and admitted his sexuality as a way to divert attention that he was a Liberal Democrat.

As a copper, Brian was and is one of the very few not to currently be under investigation for racial abuse, or arrested for his dealings with News International. So a Copper and a LibDem. The rush of the electorate scrambling to vote for him will be deafening. Nice bum, though.

The BNP triumphantly announced that their candidate was to be  their press officer Carlos Cortiglia. The more alert of you will notice a less than British ring to his name. Carlos was born in Uruguay to parents of Italian and Spanish ancestry then moved to England in 1989, presumably on his never-ending quest to find a someone who doesn’t feel the urge to slap that face. The Nazis see his appointment as proof that the BNP are no racists. As their website puts it “So much for ‘xenophobic’!” British National Party chooses Italian for London mayor“. It certainly has already proved to be a little taxing for the knuckle-draggers in my local pub l as the regulars debate on the merits of choosing between “a bender, a wop and a commie” (I am unsure which one of these descriptions was aimed at Boris ).

UKIP seem like they’ve finally decided to call it a day and not put up a candidate for the post. At least it looks like that when you see the list of candidates. But on further investigation into Lawrence Webb reveals that, although he is standing on the ticket of “Fresh Choice for London”, he is in fact he UKIP candidate. Perhaps they thought having UKIP, BNP and LibDem on the polling card would split the Complete Cvnt vote ? (there’s also a bit of a visual clue to who he represents in some of the photos of him they’re touting about.

Then there’s the token genuinely independent candidate, Siobhan Benita, who is the daughter of an Anglo-Indian mum and Cornish dad (more issues which I’m sure Carlos and Lawrence would dearly love to chat to her about as she’s deported).

Benita has several obvious advantages over her rivals: 1) she’s a woman; 2) she’s not Ken; 3) or Boris; 4) she doesn’t look like a complete bonkeroonee crook (note I said she doesn’t look like one – I stand to be corrected) . She has been accused of playing the ‘babe’ card, but let’s be honest if you look like she does and stand next to any of the above, how can the fact that you don’t make people feel physically ill not be worth promoting.

Which brings me nicely to our final contestant, Jenny Jones, representing the Hosepipe Ban party. Somewhere in East Sussex, there’s a room full of hessian-wearing 70s throwbacks who thought picking a bona fide loony would be a good idea. Jenny wants us all to return to wearing Wode and get our water from droplets left on rose petals. It’s difficult to vote for a political party who’s policies to bring us out of recession start and end at forcing the army to wear British-made organically-grown wicker helmets. She also looks like an explosion in a Scary Spice factory, but that would be too cruel to point out.

Don’t forget to register to vote.  Oooh! me minge.

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Jobs for the Boys and Girls.


I’ve had a few decent jobs. I’ve had a couple of bloody awful ones too. I spent a good deal of my working life at The Telegraph; then a decent amount of time in London at TIME Magazine. I spent only a few months in the employ of Rupert Murdoch, but I don’t think he misses me. He’s probably got plenty on his plate to worry about at the moment anyway. Mr Dacre doesn’t lay awake at night wondering why I only did a couple of weeks freelancing on his Daily Mail. At least I assume he doesn’t. How much time Alexander Lebedev spends wishing I was still at The Independent, only he knows. When he gets too depressed about it, he goes off and punches someone, I hear. Robert Maxwell fell off his boat before I got the chance of working for him. Pity.

So you’d think that the constant moaning and whingeing from her father might have put a young Bealing off of journalism, wouldn’t you ? Well apparently not.

If you click on the picture above you’ll see an interview with former Tory politician Ann Widdecombe, the first raft of questions being asked by my eldest daughter Lucy (bottom right hand corner of this photo) . The more observant of you will notice Lucy keeps here questions to Ann’s role in Strictly Come Dancing rather than tackle her on political issues. It’s probably for the best: Her dad, whereas he would have struggled to come up with anything coherent or relevant to ask about Strictly, would have ended up on an assault charge should he ever have had to ask Widdecombe about her “struggle against Socialism”. Probably why her dad ended up as a picture editor, rather than an interviewer. You’ll also note that Lu speaks the Queen’s English unlike her father. Another advantage she has over me.

So that’s my eldest sorted out for the future, but the job market is a precarious one. My current job of “Watching Columbo and Printing T-Shirts” is one of my favourite jobs I’ve had, it just doesn’t pay anything like I thought it might. Almost the opposite in fact. On the other hand, I’m working at a place I like (home) with people I like (my mate Rob) and the hours are pretty good.

It could be worse, I could be Andrew Strauss who’s looking particularly precarious in his job as England cricket captain, his team having lost its fourth test match in a row. There’s no disgrace losing in Sri Lanka. The conditions are brutally hot and the pitches are so different from those in England that you’d need to be a particular talent to pull off a win, especially in Galle which has the reputation of being a graveyard for English players, and in particular English bowlers.

Bealing leads off The Fleet St Exiles having taken 6-22, taking them to a
3 wickets victory against the Sri Lankan Airways XI, Galle, Sri Lanka 2005

Then again some people are luckier than others. My good mate Dave has finally ended his long wait for a permanent job by landing a plumb one on a magazine. It’s been a long wait for him and I was thrilled when he called to tell me he’s landed it. Well done, Wavey ! Then there’s rugby’s Stuart Lancaster who has just been given the job which everyone in the country (57 Old Farts aside) thought he should have been given weeks ago. The new English Rugby Coach has fought off seemingly nearly every other coach in the world for the job before the old Twats of Twickenham finally run out of South Africans to turn them down. The RFU were forced to give the job to Lancaster, something they should have done when it was clear he a) knew how to coach a rugby team and b) had no time for show ponies. Celebrity coach he ain’t. And thank fuck for that.

Andy Robinson keeps his job. Yes, really. The Scotland coach had presided over a team which last won a match in black&white but somehow managed to convice the SRFU that he’s the one for the post. Can there be another man in the country (and yes, we can still count Scotland in that) who’s luckier to be still employed ? No, not if you don’t count Francis Maude there isn’t.

The Idiot Saville Row Tory Cabinet Office Minister Maude emplored drivers to fill up their Jerrycans with petrol and prepare for fuel shortages due to the tanker driver’s strike and that “there are lives at stake”. Once people had Googled what a Jerrycan was (apparently not everyone’s obsessed by WWII like me), checked that there is no strike (and won’t be one for at least a fortnight, and even then, probably not) and that the tanker drivers weren’t using Mad Max II technology to threaten people’s lives and protect the remaining gasoline, everyone assumed Maude would be taken round the back by Dave and Gideon and pummeled to death with his own Jerrycan. Sadly not.

“Half a tank of unleaded and 3 lucky dips for tonight’s lottery, please mate.” – a scene from Mad Maude II: The Road Warrior

For starters, Dave was too busy telling us how much he loved Pasties, and about the hilarious incident when he recently bought a pasty on Leeds railway station from the West Cornwall Pasty Company. MMMMmmmmmmm….Yum Yum. Trouble is all the poor sods at the Leeds station branch of the West London Pasty Company lost their jobs in 2007. So all that justification by Dave, all that gettin dahn wiv da prols an da kidz was, ow u say,  a load of old bollocks.

Still, Dave’ll soon have some proper opposition in Parliament to point out all his mistakes, scandals, lies and wrong-doings. George Galloway is back in a job. Sadly, it’s true. The Big Brother Cat Impersonator is back in his job as an MP, this time by winning a by-election in Bradford West, a once Labour stronghold. George won by a landslide by campaigning on one issue: An anti-Afghan War campaign in the predominantly-muslim neighbourhoods of Bradford West. He even intimated earlier in the campaign he actually was a musilm (he isn’t really).

Just fancy that: A tv celebrity, however micro and annoying to you and me, campaigns in a Muslim area against a war seen by many to be anti-muslim, securing a 10,000 majority and WINNING a by-election in a previously Labour heartland. Now who could have predicted that ? Should anyone in Labour be brought to account for this humliation? Should Mr Millipede still be in his job ?

The Fight Starts Now, Right After Mummy’s Made My Supper


You’re reading a blog written by a bloke who seems to be one of the few who has yet to watch the Kony video. I was forwarded it by The Incumbent, who had in turn been sent it by her son. I didn’t watch it. My daughter asked if I’d seen it ‘yet’ (presuming some sort of inevitability about me watching it).  I hadn’t, and I haven’t. She should know me better than that by now.

I dunno if my complete lack of bovveredness about this latest in a long line of bandwagons rolling by is due merely to my growing awareness of my position standing on the wrong side of the age-gap, my long-held and well-founded deep suspicion and mistrust of social networks and their ensuing campaigns, or whether it’s the fact that this really does seem like a very old story indeed to me. Don’t get me wrong – it is a horrific-sounding story, and one which has been covered endlessly by the quality press over the years. You know the quality press ? They’re the lot who’ve been labelled as useless and corrupt thanks to Levenson Inquiry. For those reading this from the Twittersphere, you’ll find the quality press on the shelf in the newsagent ( that’s the shop next to the laundromat) below Heat Magazine and the Glee fanzines.

Maybe it’s because ever since I witnessed those middle class teenage wankers ruin a perfectly enjoyable and effective student demo last year, including throwing fire extinguishers off buildings at the coppers below, I’ve been less than impressed with the present crop of activist. Pater must have been jolly miffed with them when they returned home for evensong.

Then again, it could be my opinion that citizen journalism is a dangerous, un-policeable threat to well-researched, fact-checked and verified copy (this blog aside, of course), or maybe it’s because there are a million other things happening in the world to worry about, starting with Syria, the invasion of Iran, missiles from Israel, Banker’s corruption, and the disbandment of the NHS. Working my way down the list from there, past Scottish Devolution, which colour hat the Queen will wear at Ascot, the Downton Abbey plot and who’s going to win Masterchef until we arrive at the fate of Joseph Kony.

These views won’t of course be universally popular, but there’s something grating to me about the Teeny Tots of the Twittersphere presuming they can change the world cos they know how to shorten an email link and can use the letters OMFG with impunity. Labeling someone a “Douchebag” or calling each others efforts “Awesome” does not a New Model Army make (by the way, that’s the last time you’ll read either word here).

And there my thin and badly thought-out argument rested. After all, I haven’t actually seen the film and you wouldn’t expect one so level-headed as I to attack something I haven’t seen, would you ? Then I watched Charlie Brooker last night, and he has saved me from ever watching the sodding video. I never knew the film-maker was, in fact, an evangelical, bible-bashing, doucheb… there, you nearly got me at it. Turns out there is more to these videos than just saving little children.

Thanks Charlie.  Not further questions, your witness. Oh, sorry, did I disturb your Facebook session ? Oh never mind, let me know what you think if and when you manage to get out of bed. And do hurry up, your mum’s made lunch.

Droogs and Cleverdicks


Oh I’m far too tired to write anything, really. I’m quite knackered having spent 3 hours driving through London. I could have gone around the M25 (as indeed I had on the outward journey) but “that takes ages” and there’s “always queues this time of day” quoth I. So it’s my own fault, really, that I’ve been staring at a Renault’s exhaust pipe for most of the afternoon. But it doesn’t make me any less knackered. Ok, so drop it, will you?

The reason for my drive was to visit one of the few hospitals in the South East I hadn’t been to in the past  6 months. This one was in High Wycombe in …er…Oxfordshire, I guess and the Incumbent and I drove there this morning with all speed. To cut a long story short we ended up in a car park of the ironically entitled Eden shopping centre which was near to the hospital, but closer to a coffee bar which, after 90 minutes on the M25 at Warp Factor 7, you need the services of. I’m no theologian (no, I’m not, honestly) but I suspect when Adam and Eve were in their Eden it didn’t resemble the half-finished set of the Blade Runner remake, nor were they sat on a bench, sipping on their lattes watching the local hooker sort out her diary appointments in between flicking lumps of yet-to-be indentified remnants from her “mink” (probably cat) coat.

As an aside, on the drive up we were surprised to hear an advert in the radio for the Radio 2 Young Brass Award 2012. I didn’t realise they held competition for Brasses nowadays, especially on Her Majesty’s BBC. How things have progressed ! Our girl in the coffee bar was not in the final line-up, but with hard work I’m sure …etc…etc

Not seen in High Wycombe today. Not by us, anyway.

But that’s by-the-by. As we gingerly made our way through the Droogs of Wycombe to the hospital, we wondered if we’d ever see our car again. At least in one piece, complete with glass surround and the traditional tyre in each corner. I really didn’t fancy leaving it all alone for very long here, in this homage d’Homs. I wouldn’t do it in downtown Dartford, and I didn’t wanna do it here. I wouldn’t send my ex wife in there.

For better or worse, the appointment with the doc lasted 1 minute, 17 secs. If I knew then what I know now – that I’d spend over 5 hours on the road for less than two minutes consultation, I might have lost my typically jolly demeanour.

So, as they say in all great holiday itineraries, we had the rest of the day to ourselves. Well, to ourselves along with the multitude of motor vehicles running the gauntlet of the M40, the Marylebone Road and all routes South East. There were only about a million of us. None of us managed a speed about 5 mph. Talk about Falling Down.

The radio was our only escape from this misery. Or so I had hoped. You can probably and rightly surmise that I don’t listen to what da kids are calling popular jazz combos, daddy-o very often, but I am not as out of touch, nor tune, as you might think. That big lass from Tottenham certainly can knock out a tune, no mistake – I just wish she’d keep her embarrassing North London quips to herself (I still shudder when I think of her outburst at The Grammys). But that aside, I had no hesitation to believe she was well worth all the gongs she’s been picking up recently. I just hadn’t understood what a shoe-in she really was.

Hour upon hours of music was played , and a lot of it was sung by Adele, but every so often there was another announced “Brit Nominee” or “Grammy runner up” and what a load of old tosh it was. That young ginger bloke with the guitar (it’ll come to me in a minute) is ok, but that’s my point: he’s OK, nothing memorable.  (yes yes yes, I do sound like my dad). Then there’s Rihanna, a warbless who is perfectly fine, even if she does sound like any other artist of her gender from wither side of the pond for the last 25 years. It puts it into perspective how good, strong, special Adele really is. In-the-land-of-the-blind-the-one-eyed-man-is-king sorta thing.

Ed Sheeran. There ! I knew I’d get there in the end. Ed Sheeran’s the ginger bloke !

A lot of this was lost on me last week in the noise surrounding the death of Whitney Houston. I’m not in the habit of speaking ill of the dead for the sake of speaking ill of the dead. No I’m not. However, as sad as I’m sure here demise is and was, I was never a big fan. I’d go so far to say that her brutal treatment of George Benson’s The Greatest Love of All and Dolly’s I will Always Love You needed some serious scrutinizing by someone in the Hague, but that’s just my opinion. I suspect she was as popular as she was because she was a one off (no argument with me there) which is more than you can say about some of the woeful talent picking up the silverware this and last week.

Maybe I shouldn’t be listening to this Radio show ? Maybe I should stick to talk radio where there’s always a good argument taking place. But I hate phone-ins. I hate the public, you see. I always end up veering off the road as I sink my teeth into the steering wheel while listening to Jon Gaunt or Vanessa Feltz opine about some subject close to their hearts (it’s normally ‘chuck the immigrants out’ or ‘scrounging single mums’). How do these people get a job? Vanessa Feltz as a Radio Host ?? Ludicrous.

Why stop there ? We could have former pro boxer , current amateur pugilist and now fugitive from police David Haye presenting Antiques Roadshow; Toby Young as the Political Editor of the Sunday Sun (it would need to be a Murdoch paper, of course); or former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe given her own quiz show on some Murdoch tv station?

Too late, I’m afraid. The last two suggestions are now a reality. Honest. Only Haye is not working somewhere he shouldn’t be, waiting as he is for Fiona Bruce to throw a 7 and let him in. Toby Young is indeed going to be the News of The Sunday Sun Political guru and Widdecombe hosts “Cleverdicks” on Sky . You couldn’t make it up.

Well I couldn’t : I’m far too tired. Good Night.