It Is Written


Predictions.

When crap journalists can think of nothing else to write about, and editors have nothing sexy with which to fill their pages, we are left with long and exhausting lists of predictions for the coming year. Here at The Sharp Single things are no different. So read this and you need not read another til, ooh, next week I should imagine.

2010 and all that.

In January David Tennant becomes Dir Gen of the BBC, narrowly edging out the twin-bid from Mathew Horne and James Corden. It’s believed that the board said they didn’t want too much hilarity during important meetings, and yet they still plump for Tennant. Peter Andre marries himself. Katie Price explodes. Her life has gone tits-up.

The recession ends in February. Then it starts again a week later for those of us under £150,000-a-year when the government raises income tax to pay for a Champagne and Crayfish bar at the 2012 Olympic Equestrian stadium.
Following another attempted rectum-launched terrorist attack on an airliner, all passengers are now asked to remove their underpants through customs. John Prescott and Amy Winehouse are exempt. In the third week of February, due to an administrative error there is no sale on at DFS. Early march sees Hazel Blears join the Tory Party, and Peter Mandelson join the Brownies. Boris will say nothing sensible or vaguely relevant all year.
I lose 20 lbs by the end of March, in preparation to put on 25 by late June. In an astonishing turn of events, Jude Law continues to receive offers of work. In April, a virulent strain of Gnu Flu sweeps through Fleet Street and Sky News studios. Some people are almost likely to very probably have a tickly throat. The epidemic is expected to last until a proper news story breaks.

A Briton wins the first seven races in the F1 Championship. Meanwhile, in sport, Chelsea win the Premiere League by one point from Arsenal when, in the Blues last game three late deflected off-side penalties are allowed by the ref, a Mr S.Wonder, apparently. (By the end of the year, each match will be officiated by 7 refs, 2 linesmen, a sheepdog and The Met Police.) Alex Ferguson is finally pickled and displayed in the Man Utd museum for all eternity. United appoint Victoria Beckham as their new coach.

Gordon Brown loses the election and takes his seat in the upper chamber as Lord Thankgoditsallover. Fox hunting is re-legalised by the new Tory Government, as is hanging, public masturbation and child chimney-sweeps. Charlton Athletic make the play-offs only to lose to Millwall, 3 fan deaths to 1 (Duckworth/Lewis method).
In late May, the newly-appointed Minister for War, Mr Liam Fox, announces the Government’s new big push in Afghanistan. Plans are made to enlist every first-born child from labour-voting households (that’ll teach ’em). June 16th, fifty-three women in Florida, California and St Andrews simultaneously give birth to babies of mixed-race and a smashing set of choppers. The women, all blonde, rather soiled-looking, hotel cloakroom attendants immediately sign contracts with The Mail on Sunday. Gillette sales plummet. Or soar. July 21st, a string bag full of lemons is seen being delivered to The Crown public house, Blackheath. But no ice.
By the beginning of August, after a summer of riots and general discontent, Police officers are allowed to carry machetes while on crowd-control duties. All fingerprints and DNA of police officers are removed from the system, to be replaced by those of mortgage-defaulters and lollipop ladies.
Brazil win the World Cup. By now, England have already been roasted by the West Germans, Capello is poached by Portugal and grilled by the press. Then he goes and gets smashed.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is seen urinating up against the Grace Gates at Lords after a particularly convivial lunch during the One Day International vrs Australia. The press dub it ‘Gategate’.
In late September after a ‘leaked’ press release it is widely reported that this year’s must-have toy for Christmas will be Mattel’s Stoat Family Fortunes (David Tennant Edition). A week later all stocks are sold out. Individual members of the Stoat family change hands on eBay for up to £300, except the very popular ‘Piper Stoat’ which you can’t get for love nor money.

In October I turn 40 years old for the seventh time running. Later that month armed police from the crack ‘Arrest Innocent People Squad’ raid a flat believed to be the HQ of a sleeper cell of Al Qaeda, responsible for the alleged underpants plot earlier in the year. Yet again, their information is found to be shoddy: Having forced their way into the premises, all they find is a derelict, uninhabited shit-hole, of no use or interest to man nor beast. And that’s not this years’ only connection with Wales: After a particularly wet autumn at Celtic Manor Golf Club, play is suspended during the foursomes on the opening day of The Ryder Cup when US player Stewart Cink’s caddy is tragically drowned while replacing a divot. Organisers pledge never to attempt to hold the event in Wales again, at any time of the year.
November 2nd and the Google Street View van finally visits my street, when it catches me stealing my next door neighbour’s wheelie bin, to replace mine which was stolen the week before
Thursday Nov 25th, Brisbane: Australia finish the first day of the first Ashes test on 431-1 (Ponting 230no, Katich 125no. Swann 1-250). Ian Botham arrested pending inquiries into an alleged incident in the bar afterwards which leaves 6 members of the Aussie press corps needing treatment. Four (empty) cases of Shiraz and a cricket stump are bagged and sent to forenics.

December: Keith Harris and Orville win Strictly Come Dancing, beating Clare Balding in the final, watched by 48 million catatonic viewers. On a visit by my children, mid-month, I resume the mantle of ‘Best Dad in the World’ – the first time I’ve held the title in 12 months. Their Christmas lists are then handed to me.
On Dec 23rd, a new supply of Piper Stoats arrive on the docks in Liverpool. Massive queues form and14 people are crushed in the ensuing riot when it’s announced sales are limited to one buyer each. Dec 29th: Mattel recall all sets of Stoat Family Fortunes due to a massive, dangerous design fault. Hundreds have been maimed by Piper’s sharp protruding teeth. Richard Branson makes an aggressive takeover bid for the company. Awaiting details of the photocall.

Happy 2011 to both of you

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Who’s Been Naughty, and Who’s Been Nice?


So, in the immortal words of my old Night News Editor, as we progress “out of one shitty year, into another shitty year”, what have we learned ?

Well, we know that a 3-iron is as good at getting you at out of the rough as it is at getting your old man out of his Mercedes. Being 106 years old doesn’t preclude you from competing in international sport- as Tom Watson, Ryan Giggs and Kevin Poole have taught us (look him up!). Google Street View hasn’t become the burglars favourite tool, and they STILL haven’t been down my road.

All MP’s are wankers. Most are theives and crooks. I will never make a 50 in a competitive game of cricket. Or an uncompetitive one for that matter. Newcastle Utd and Man City are still big clubs. Apparently. I don’t want to go to work any more. There is far too much conversation in men’s toilets. It’s nearly time for me to win the Lottery (I’ll see you alright, don’t worry). Fat unattractive women can sing rather well. Rage Against the Machine can’t.

Michael Jackson didn’t die a natural death. Remember to hold that front page. We still haven’t a clue where Bin Laden is, but they’ve found the rest of his family. In general, I don’t like people. Policemen don’t like being photographed when they’re hitting people, but they do like kettles.Obama has been a bit of a disappointment, to be honest, but my poster I bought of him on ebay is not coming down. Life is better with Malcolm Tucker and without Hazel Blears

. Jade Goody will soon be beatified. Clare Balding should be. I’m not as fit as I should be, but about as fit as I thought I was. Ricky Ponting can’t win the Ashes in England., but he’ll manage it in Australia. F1 is still an interesting sport all the way up to the start of the race. Renault drivers are naughty boys. Blackheath still doesn’t have a decent boozer, but I’d like to think I contributed to the recent glut of lemons. Gordon Brown is still the PM of Great Britain (I can always Tipex that out if something happens before I go to press).

I’ve had a cold for 8 weeks in the last 52, and no matter how many channels you have to watch, there’s never anything decent on between car insurance adverts. IPL will ruin cricket as we know it. Football is already a shambles. It’s not the Chinese or the Indians, the carbon footprints or the motor cars: It’s the bankers who have fucked up the world. We want our money back.

It doesn’t matter how loathesome the BNP are, how ridiculous Nick Griffen was made to look on TV, there will STILL be stupid and nasty people who will vote for him at the polls next year. Andy Murray is a miserable bastard, but one day he’s gonna win something big. Apparently. When entering a Nepalese restaurant, plump for the mismas.

And the war won’t be over by Christmas. Or even next Christmas. Turns out they lied to us. But we knew that already, didn’t we?

May all your Christmas’s be white, and all your doughnuts turn out like fannies.

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Camera Obscura


An organization calling itself Privacy International have complained to the Information Commissioner (very 1984) that the new Google Street View infringes people’s privacy because some are identifiable in the photos therein. And? What’s the problem? Every day, all over the world people are innocent bystanders caught a photographer’sviewfinder. Shots of people walking to work, waiting on train stations, shopping in the high street or sitting on beaches are published online ,in newspapers and in magazines to illustrate stories from the state of the economy, the state of the weather.

Now if I could ask you all to sign this form....

Now if I could ask you all to sign this form....

It’s common practice and perfectly legal. Those people captured on film are merely part of the landscape of the image. If the good people at PI have their way photo editors would spend more time pixilating or masking-out the faces of those in the frame. The alternative, I guess, would be to have every man jack of them sign a model-release form, allowing their face to be published. Well that’s not gonna happen. It’s not an intrusion of privacy. No-one’s poking their noses into your little lives or keeping track of you. It’s a photo illustrating a scene. Don’t flatter yourself—you AIN’T the subject.

Same goes for the Google bods: they’ve come up with a gadget that let’s you, me and anyone else see almost every street in London, letting us while-away many a dull afternoon in the office, and it gives iPhone owners another chance to bore us rigid with what their new machine can do. And YES there ARE people in some of the images. Of course there are: IT”S THE CAPITAL OF ENGLAND!!!! But that’s not the point of it. And even if it was, WHO CARES???? If you happen to be seen exiting a massage parlour, sitting outside a wine bar, plying your secretary with chardonnay or spewing up on the pavement that’s just tough. Not Google’s problem. If you wanna play-away with Miss Jones or fall over elephants that’s your look-out.

You can almost see the veins in her neck

You can almost see the veins in her neck

It’s perfectly acceptable and legal to take photos on a public street OF the public street and almost anything you damn well like. Ok, if you stand outside an army base, or an airport and start shnapping through the barbed wire at people or equipment, you’re liable (and probably deservedly) get your collar felt by Knacker of the Yard. For years Middle England have moaned about photographers and their long, intrusive lenses. Snappers for the redtops sit in bushes or in the back of blacked-out vans, training their lenses on some poor sod or celebrity who they deem to have been up to no good. Street View does nothing of the sort. Google used a 360 degree wide-angle. How much shorter do you want a lens to be????

My local. I must have been at the bar

My local. I must have been at the bar

So who are Privacy International and it’s supporters? It’s website states that they’re “a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations”. Surveillance? Google aren’t putting you under surveillance, they’re just photographing the street where you live, in the same manner tourists the world over photograph Pal Mall, Las Ramblas or that quaint little village near the resort you stayed in last year in Thailand. Does this mean Flickr will be shut down too? Is this the end of your neighbour’s boring holiday-snap evenings? Wait a minute: I’m sure a Japanese family took a photo of me outside The National Gallery the other day. I WANT THEIR NAMES, FILM AND SERIAL NUMBERS.

Five will get you ten that the people who subscribe to PI’s views are also Facebook addicts and Twitter junkies (“just had pony, can’t be arsed to wash hands and now walking around with knickers around ankles, talk later”).Something really odd is happening. One hand the world wants to tell me absolutely everything about themselves and what they’re doing IN REAL TIME, show me photos of their friends, what their dog looks like, who they’ve snogged and what they looked like the last seventeen times they went to a party or a club. But take a photo of them walking down Oxford Street, carrying a H&M bag and all hell breaks loose.

Smile, you're on t'internet

Smile, you're on t'internet

It’s not CCTV, it’s not stalking you (most of these snaps were last summer anyway) it’s a bit of fun which may be of some interest to a few, lonely people. Focus your protests on something else. There’s plenty to be scared of out there—it’s just that this isn’t it. So next time you’re out-and-about, make sure you’re not with someone you shouldn’t be, and PLEASE stop picking your nose.