Friends often ask me, “How did you emerge from the spiky cocoon of your youth so well-balanced, so grounded, so deliriously normal?” Well they don’t, but they would if they didn’t think I was unhinged. Ironically I had a very ordinary and sober upbringing, largely based around the commandment “TRUST NO-ONE, EVERYONE IS AWFUL”.  Read the rest of this entry »

john cleese tash copy
November has gradually become synonymous with hundreds of thousands of patchy moustaches sprouting across the UK at a bristling pace. If you’re anything like me you’ll find your booze budget seriously endangered this Movember as you struggle to shell out to your various furry-lipped friends, but it’s worth it for a million moustache progress selfies a day, free reign to pass comment on all shapes and sizes, oh, and the potentially life-saving research it enables.
tash tash copy

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Not content to let Sinead O’Connor and Annie Lennox have all the fun, Charlotte Church has waded into the Miley Cyrus sex-storm, slamming child stars and ‘Disney Tweens’ for overtly sexualised performances, and expressing regret for her own past heavily sexualised appearance in music videos as a teenager. Read the rest of this entry »

Killer heels are always in fashion, because having two raw bloodied steaks instead of feet is fun and attractive. These sadist heels come in a variety of colours and styles but only one height: vertiginous and nosebleed-inducing. All killer shoes come with pain factor 1000 guaranteed, for your own good, because if you are not cross-eyed with pain then they’re not sexy enough. Whilst hobbling around the dancefloor in a London nightclub this weekend in a classic pair of killer heels, in order to distract myself from the raging red mist obscuring my vision, I came up with a list of alternative uses for my killer heels in order that I never have to wear them ever again.

Could be put to much better use as ballistic missiles

Could be put to much better use as ballistic missiles

1. Weapons. I am constantly short of deadly weapons, despite the fact that our country is continually churning them out and sending them overseas to various rich dictators who probably have fewer enemies than me. I feel that my killer heels could be put to much better use being launched at my enemies, either flung into the air as lone diamante missiles, or bundled up with several other pairs into killer-heel-boulders, set on fire and rolled down distant hills in the vague direction of people I don’t like. Read the rest of this entry »

JK Rowling is penning a screenplay for a new film series of her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which featured in the Harry Potter series.

The book is a fictional encyclopedia of 75 magical creatures, ‘written’ by fictional magizoologist Newt Salamander (the grandfather of Luna Lovegood’s husband, Rolf), with advice on where they can be found.

This is all very well, but we all know that dragons can be found in caves and monsters under our beds – what about the mediocre beasts, the ones we could really do with avoiding?

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are dangerously stupid and generally inclined to getting eaten, stepped on or buried by the dog. The only reason they have managed to survive the evolution process thus far is because they’re fluffy, hopeless and permanently surprised-looking, and humans take pity on them. Pretty easy to avoid – just leave the cage door open, wait 24 hours for them to notice, then watch as they waddle around the garden in a slow, blind panic until they get eaten, stepped on or buried by the dog.

Cute but essentially useless

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wardrobe 1

What’s worse than building a wardrobe and two chest of drawers with no prior DIY experience? Building a wardrobe and two chest of drawers with a rolling pin and a mini screwdriver, during a heatwave. As a wise friend pointed out, purchasing flatpack furniture is symptomatic of extreme masochism, and my stifling hot bedroom made a fine stand in for a whips n’ chains torture parlour as I wrestled my furniture into being last week. Read the rest of this entry »

Kate Middleton Polka Dress Pregnant

Kate and Wills have been very generous with the global media, always smiling graciously for the cameras at a multitude of formal and informal events, and only launching a single lawsuit despite multiple invasions of privacy. We’ve seen a lot more of them than we expected over the past year or so. However, I doubt that this leniency will extend into the events in the delivery room this July, which is why I’ve outlined my personal expectations for the royal birth.

6pm. Kate arrives at the St Mary’s hospital’s maternity ward with sister Pippa and mother Carole, walking unaided and citing “mild tummy pains – please don’t make a fuss.” The nurses whisk her out of her nude LK Bennet Sledge heels and into a bespoke Alexander McQueen hospital gown, her personal hairdressers tease her mane into a ‘birthing chic’ bun, and she is guided ceremoniously into the royal birthing suite, complete with warm fluffy towels, a selection of post-birth outfits and a new set of hair brushes.

7pm. As the royal contractions begin to gather momentum, Prince Philip arrives on scene, hands Kate a small white glove embroidered with the letter ‘Q’, and apologises that the Queen cannot make the birth as one of the corgis has had an incident involving its tail and a careless footman. While the footman is being tortured and executed the Queen will be thinking of Kate and “can’t wait to meet the new heir. God speed”. Sweating slightly, her uterus contracting rather inconveniently every few minutes, Kate keeps up a bright patter of polite enquiries after Prince Philip’s health, until he gradually becomes bored and wanders off to find a nurse to sexually harass.

8pm. The contractions have reached full-swing now, and Kate is managing splendidly, only snapping once at Pippa to “Close your bloody Macbook and stop blogging about my contractions. Waitrose readers aren’t wild about your recipes, they’re not going to want to hear about my chuffing cervix.” She is wrong – the attention of the entire UK is fixed on her cervix right now – but no-one in the room corrects her as they don’t wish to receive a royal duffing up.

9pm. Kate is starting to look rather pink and is frequently asking the nurses for more drugs. Mother Carole is at her side, knitting a gender-neutral yellow baby-gro with a crown and a question mark on it. Charles and Camilla make an appearance and tell Kate that Wills is on his way in the helicopter; could Kate possibly hold the heir in for a while? Kate lets out a stream of unladylike expletives and Charles and Camilla wander off to find a new hospital ward to open.

10pm. Harry saunters into the suite with his jeans on back to front and a blonde Sloane on his arm. He grabs two plastic chairs, slides down next to the bed with his giggling companion, and says, “Sorry I’m late, I did try to call but the nurse thought I was a radio DJ and put the phone down on me. How’s it going old sport?” Kate responds with a polite snarl, and through gritted teeth forces the question: “Where. Is. Your. Sodding. Brother?” Harry gives a sudden start then looks almost thoughtful for a second but it soon becomes apparent that his blonde girlfriend is feeling him up under the bed. Kate resumes her contractions and tries to ignore the blatant foreplay now occurring by her bedside.

11pm. Wills’ helicopter lands on the roof of the hospital where a group of savvy photographers has gathered in anticipation. Wills strides politely through their flashing lightbulbs, privately wishing immediate painful death on them and all their families, and makes his way towards the Royal maternity ward. En route he encounters Prince Philip flirting with a pretty Thai nurse he has cornered. Wills rescues the nurse and steers his grandfather towards the suspiciously quiet royal birthing suite.

11:10pm. The baby is breech, Kate has passed out from trying not to make a fuss, and the doctors are urgently performing a royal Caesarian. Wills strides over to the bed, glares at Harry who is now noisily fornicating behind the curtains, and takes his wife’s hand. Carole has put down her knitting. Pippa has closed her Macbook. The room waits with bated breath, and the occasional giggle from behind the curtains.

12am. On the stroke of midnight the third-in-line to the throne is born. Kate is awake, pink and gazing down at her little bundle of joy. She decides to call her baby girl ‘Mary’, after one of her biggest fans. The Queen Skypes from the palace to send her well-wishes, amidst agonised screams and vague grinding noises in the background. Kate inquires politely after the corgi’s health. Carole attempts to curtsey via webcam. Harry has been chucked out of the hospital, but calls to say congratulations; the nurse hangs up on him again.

 

Accepting sweets from strangersNone of the above has ever happened to me, apart from the first, and I rather enjoyed the novelty and optionality of it (“Show us your tits?” “No thanks I’m fine.”) so it doesn’t really count as a harrowing experience. The other three I live in terror of happening, because my Mum used to be a social worker and she has passed down her alarming tales in the graphic oral tradition. From the age of seven she would sit me down and ask, “What do you do if a stranger offers you sweets?” And I would answer automatically, “Scream until you come and get me,” while my little brother bobbed in the background going “Get the sweets! Get the sweets!”

“And what do you do if a stranger asks you to get into his car?” Mum would ask, and I would say solemnly “Run away and find a nice lady” while my brother shouted “Drive it away and crash it!”

“And if anyone ever hurts you, you come and tell me immediately, and you won’t get in trouble, but they will go to jail,” she would say. “Yes Mum,” I’d say with relief, our weekly test finished, as my brother said “I’m going to go to jail when I grow up then I don’t need to go to work like Dad.” Read the rest of this entry »

Every time I find myself obliged to go to London I wish I’d stayed in Reading, mincing down the high street past our traditional afternoon brawls and clockwork-regular floods of chav vomit instead. Why does London fill me with such foreboding?

1. People don’t look at you. They look at the space around you to see if they can squeeze past without having to touch you, but they don’t look at your face, or watch where you’re stepping, or wonder where you’re going, or wonder why your hair is sticking in all directions so exotically; you’re about as significant as a bit of prehistoric dog turd on the pavement, blindly stamped down underfoot in the foot-pummelled city streets. There are so many people in London that they’ve all seen far more of humanity than they ever wanted to and so they’ve simply stopped acknowledging each other. Going on the – correct – assumption that most people are sinister bastards with death in their hearts, I normally wouldn’t mind this lack of acknowledgement, but it makes it impossible to ask for directions every time I get lost. Read the rest of this entry »

My friend Kyle is walking a tightrope, leading a double life. He is at once a copy-writer and a prospective serial-killer-you’d-least-expect to murder-you. His greatest earthly desire is to slaughter indiscriminately (he hasn’t settled on a ‘pattern’ yet) like his sinister hero Emperor Nero.

His motivation is clear – “I crave the media attention” – and his ambition loud and concrete, but like anyone considering a new career, he has had his doubts and sometimes questions his suitability for the role – he is partially human after all. He has done his research, and found, irritatingly, that he doesn’t fit the psychiatric mould for serial killerdom. There are three key childhood traits which most serial killers have and Kyle lacks all of them: bed-wetting, murdering small animals and pyromania. I tried to reassure him that this needn’t hold him back; that it would help his cause if things ever came to court and he needed a psychiatric assessment, but Kyle is an anxious soul and a perfectionist and is convinced he doesn’t have what it takes.

“What about the mess,” he worried, “and the clean-up? Dexter makes it look so quick and hygienic but it will take them hours to clean up between shots. I think to myself, could I be doing something else with this time?” I suggested strangulation, poisoning and suffocation as three non-messy options, but (a true artist) he is reluctant to limit his craft, and is also starting to worry about where to dispose of the bodies. I suggested throwing them into the River Kennet and he laughed scornfully. Cowed by his expertise, I stopped making suggestions and started making notes to document his reign of doubt-ridden savagery. “It will just be so time-consuming. The maiming and the torture – OK I can enjoy these things. But finding and stalking my victims in the first place, the arduous process of mopping up their blood afterwards (it goes everywhere), taunting the police during their laughingly unsuccessful manhunt – people don’t realise how much time this takes. I’d need to give up my day job which would then limit me to seeking out richer victims who might carry cash.”

Furthermore, he hasn’t decided on his target market. As a marketing consultant I stressed the importance of knowing your demographic but he just isn’t fussy, and my non-marketing side commends that; old, young, male, female – the world is full of bastards of all shapes and sizes so why discriminate?

Kyle’s inherent doubtfulness may hold him back for some time, but rest assured, one day we will be seeing this man on the news, and it will not be regarding his copy-writing proficiency. He has already decided on his ‘calling card’: a single playing card placed whole in the mouth of each victim (“No folding. I’ll remove the tongue if necessary.”) I said “Oh, like the Joker?” and he gave me a withering look and said “No. He only left a joker playing card. I have 52 lives to play with.”

If you’d like access into Kyle’s pre-serial-killer thought-stream, see his Twitter here.

People often say to me, ‘Now that I’ve met your family, I understand you a lot better,’ which is an odd thing to say because I’m pretty straight-forward on the whole, two arms, two legs, at the most one head, good at counting etc. Nothing untoward, morally questionable, mentally dangerous or erotically charged going on in this hash-brown-and-diet-coked-up temple of a body. I’ve summarised each family member to try and clear up any remaining confusion for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting them. I haven’t lived with them for seven years but they’re all still as mad as biscuits and just as moreish. Read the rest of this entry »

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