29 03 2009

Prayer for the Shiny:

Shiny, who art encased in metal or plastic,
Hallowed be thy circuitry.
Thy functionality amazes.
Thy reassuring weight soothes,
In pocket as it is in the hand.
Give us this day our free firmware patches.
And forgive us our hacks,
As we occasionally forgive those who leave bugs.
And lead us not into Microsoft,
But deliver us from DRM.
For thine is the shiny,
and the power-charger, and the eyestrain,
for ever and ever.
Ah, where’s my credit card?

Columbo Villain of The Week: Gordon Brown

28 01 2009

This one’s going out for regular commentator Laura – took me a while but I got here in the end.


Gordon Brown was born and raised in Scotland, his father was a church minister and his mother was called Bunty (NB – I haven’t started making things up yet: she really was Bunty Brown, wikipedia is never wrong). He has a PHD in history, worked in television (still not making this up) prior to entering parliament and famously came off worse in the whole Blair/Brown deal but rather better in the whole Alastair Darling Columbo Villain of the Week.

Over the years Gordon has spent time building his reputation on the idea that, as Chancellor, he presided over the longest period of sustained growth in British history and that he is ideally placed to steer us through this crisis. Oddly though he seems to have no idea as to what has caused this problem, no idea where the credit has gone or how to get it back. Now, I ask you: does this seem likely?

Let me refer you back to his PHD in History (something that should have led him to examine and analyse trends). Or perhaps drop in that he was fast tracked into university two years early and successfully muscled the slippery Tony Blair out of office, allowing him the office of Prime Minister unelected. No, ladies and gents, Gordon is not stupid.

He does, however, have a secret.

Yes, we can now reveal the truth: Gordon Brown is a troll.


Gordon got used to doing deals from a young age when wandering far from his bridge he came across the infamous Pictish Fae and struck an agreement where upon he would be able to pass for human in return for service for the Fae. They are his secret backers, they are his skeleton in the closet and they are the creatures who actually run the banking industry. Yes, all the time you were giving them money they were in fact hiving it off to their own lands and leaving you with a bunch of dried leaves and chipping away at the economy one note at a time.

In return, Gordon gets to be Prime Minister, he gets to be human and he more importantly: he gets to tell the English what to do. All would be well except, unfortunately, companies have started to realise their dried leaves are not as valuable as they thought and so they’ve had to let people go and they in turn have discovered their own leaves are not worth as much as the money they put into the bank. The Fae’s masterplan is revealed as they are left owning swathes of the country allowing them to expand the borders of their own realm…but there’s a problem.

The TUC is suspicious, as are the Tories, and so they call in Kenneth Clarke to help work out what has happened. Ken, suspects foul play but knows he needs to get to work on his tax return and so he applies classic overseas outsourcing. Through his affectation for cigars and this new fangled Interwebs thingy, he has met a US detective who shares his obsession for Cubans (I mean cigars – before the lawyers call), the perfect man for the job.

Gordon’s not worried though. He’s got the Fae backing him and, whilst he hasn’t seen them for a while and his glamour seems to be cracking a bit and now he comes to think of it his money also seems to have been replaced with leaves, he knows they won’t turn their backs on him. Sure, there was this funny note about them owning Number Ten now and him having ten days to move out but he’s pretty confident that’s one of their bizarre pranks. It will all be fine if he could just get rid of that annoying Amercian that keeps dropping ash all over his deskside statue of Harold Wilson – look there he is again and what’s that in his hand? Looks like a mirror…

By way of raising a smile

27 01 2009

The really rather enjoyable Mock The Week crew on Gordon Brown:

Don’t play poker with me

26 01 2009

gyygbde2Long time readers of this here blog will know that I have a long history of making a fool of myself in front of celebrities and people of note (the latter category frequently including writers). Today is no exception.

I didn’t set out to spot him. I am not a paparazzi, nor do I feel it necessary to accost people on the street for the autograph and to be honest all I really wanted was a sandwich, possibly a banana. What I got was an awkward pavement shuffle with Anthony Stewart Head as I tried to return to the office. Now, I thought I did a pretty good job of masking the whole OMG-it’s-him-that-played-Giles-on-Buffy-why-do-I-suddenly-want-to-drink-coffee-from-a-red-mug moment and adopted a Vulcan like exterior as I sidestepped him. Especially considering the long flowing coat he was wearing could have been straight out of the Giles costume cupboard. But judging from the look I got he must have caught my momentary lapse of recognition.

That’s right: he gave me the Uther Pendragon patented glower.

*sighs* At least I didn’t nearly kill him (Noel Fielding, bicycle, Oxford street, you get the idea).

Dear Southeastern

4 01 2009

Dear Southeastern,

Thank you so much for the notification on train fares rising.

It means so much to me that you think I, along with thousands of my fellow residents, can afford yet another above inflation rise in the price of my ticket that takes my travel costs to nearly a hundred pounds a month. Clearly you have a much higher opinion of me than either my bank or employer.

The gift of assumed economic status is nothing compared to your unparallelled generosity in consistently keeping me on the train in the mornings well past my expected time of arrival (pretty much every week in November) and thus preventing me from wasting my valuable time attending meetings that would only distract me from important matters of the day. You know: like whether I have a towel in my bag to wipe of the sweat from your lavish heating levels.

And it’s touching how concerned you are for my health. You’re quite right of course: being able to sit down on my way into work would be foolish and bad for my heart. Much better to stand and build up my immunity by breathing in my fellow commuter’s germs. Ah Southeastern: you are the line that just keeps giving.

In fact, so impressive is your service that sometimes you’re able to take the entire day off. Sometimes two or three times in a row. Naturally, during your sabbaticals,  I don’t expect you to make alternative arrangements for us mere mortals simply in order that we can go to work. As for safety – well who doesn’t enjoy a good punch up after a hard day’s work?

Personally, I think you do a fine job and that the South East of London is clearly a bastion of wealth, suffering in no way from crushing poverty, unemployent and under investment. Our glorious towers of classic 1950s architecture clearly show the flow of money through the hills of Woolwich, Thamesmead and the like. It is clearly nonsense to talk of the importance of the rising number of commuters being able to get into the city easily as having any impact on the economy of the region. Dear me, that would be like saying public transport has an impact on the economy as well as the environment.

Utter poppycock of course. Personally I can’t stand travelling by train in say France or Hong Kong. I mean what is someone supposed to do with all that space and clean air and if you arrive everywhere on time what do you do with all that extra time you have? Sell it?

So thank you Southeastern – I will give up my hundred pounds a month willingly. What’s that? A funny smell on the notes? Oh pay no attention to that, we’re simply in the process of improving your sensory experience of cash.


PS – Please find this chocolate log that I baked especially as a token of my appreciation.

Fantasy Christmas Shopping

22 12 2008

Everything I learned about Christmas shopping I learned from reading fantasy:

1. You can only succeed at the end of a long journey.

2. Witches come in all shapes and sizes, even wearing tracksuits. Broom optional.

3. Not everyone who starts the quest will make it to the end. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

4. On your return from the magic lands of light you will find your coin has turned to paper.

5. Your wit will come in handy but is no substitute for a good broadsword.

6. A good packhorse is worth its weight in gold.

7. Maps will lie and the roads will shift when you’re not looking.

8. If you wander into an Oubliette Marks and Spencer you’re lost, you must pray for help from afar.

9. The small ones are the most fearsome, avoid if you can.

10. Only when you have stopped looking will you find the object of your quest.

Rhod Gilbert

3 12 2008

I’ve now come down with a rather bad cold and so am still not really doing much other than work. In place of actual fresh content here’s another slice of Rhod Gilbert’s stand-up: