Wednesday, September 28, 2005

La dolce extremely vita

TO ITALY, for a brief break away from Shelley and Charlie’s impending marriage. (Yes, I’ve now caught up, thank you.)

And what a strange place it was. The “luxury” villa Mrs B and myself had rented turned out to be half a mile from the nearest road and down 200 steps. There was no such thing as “popping out to the shops”. Every excursion had to be treated with military planning. Trust me, even Chris Bonington wouldn’t want to trek to the car only to find out that he’d left the keys on the dining table.

And it also had one of those strange toilets where a sort of shelf collected faecal matter (I am trying to be discreet) and, given its location, a complete absence of binmen. I tell you, if I’d wanted to spend my days cleaning toilets or lugging rubbish about I’d have been born in Wales.

And the drivers … I’ve never seen such naked aggression since Mrs B’s last hormonal imbalance. I had a moan at the car hire people for fobbing me off with a Vauxhall-sized saloon instead of the Alfa Romeo I’d asked for. Well, when you’re halfway round a mountain top hairpin bend and a tourist coach is coming the other way, you’ll wish you’d got a Mini.

Add all that to a society equipped with the organisational skills of a colour-blind wino playing with a Rubik’s Cube and it’s amazing that we enjoyed ourselves as much as we did. Thank God for the food and wine.

I RETURN to find the newspapers getting agitated about the jailing of a 73-year-old woman for failing to pay part of her poll tax bill. A retired vicar is already in chokey for a similar offence.

Why the outrage? These people are old enough to understand the laws of this country. Why shouldn’t they pay their way? And as for the cost of keeping them in the nick, while they’re banged up at least they’re not getting their meals delivered on wheels, so we’re saving petrol and doing our bit for global warming at the same time.

They’re also not mithering GPs with their eccentric bowel movements, bringing the police force to a halt because they’ve given all their life savings to that nice man from the electric board who came to check the water pressure in the gas meter, or clogging up supermarket checkouts while trying to pay for their tin of cat food with some pre-decimal coinage lurking at the bottom of their purses.

Incidentally, why don’t we have set times for pensioners and dole scum to do their shopping? Say between 10am and 3pm? Then they wouldn’t be getting in the way of normal, hard-working folk who just want to pop in for a ready meal and a bottle of wine.

I suppose you’d have to change the time the supermarkets mark down the sell-by-date food, but that’s a small hardship for them to bear.

THE MOTHER of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, shot seven times for not running for a tube train while not wearing a padded jacket, arrives in London looking for “justice” (aka a large compo cheque).

I do not doubt her loss. However, I might have more sympathy with her mission if she’d not been photographed walking through Heathrow carrying a large bag of Duty Free booze. There’s nothing like getting your priorities right.

MORE THAN a third of young women claim they have been sexually assaulted after getting drunk. Well excuse me, but how would they know?

If the respondents to this survey were representative of some of the addled specimens on view in any market town High Street on a Friday night, it’s remarkable that they can remember their names, never mind being mauled by a fellow inebriate.

And where do they draw the line between sexual assault and drunken fumbling? If they’re willing to engage in a spot of back-alley rutting with some anonymous bloke as long as the act isn’t vigorous enough to make them drop their chips, is that assault?

What these girls are really reporting is not assault but regret. Just because they can’t control themselves after half a dozen Bacardi Breezers, that’s no reason to put the blame firmly on the male of the species.

Anyway, I’ve seen the way they dress. Most of them are just asking for it.

A WOMAN called Debbie Lawson, a lance corporal in Mr Blah’s Turkey Army, has decreed that the adoring familes of newborn babies are no longer allowed to “fawn and coo” over them.

Her contention is that babies are not babies at all but are “little people with the same rights as you and me” and consequently should be accorded the same privacy as any other NHS patient. The mind truly boggles.

Ms Lawson, who looks from her picture to be a hard line, lentil-eating Guardianista (complete with sensible shoes, if you know what I mean) holds the grandious title of neo-natal manager at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax. I think that means she’s a senior nurse.

We now wait the first prosecution and subsequent jailing of someone who’s committed the heinous crime of “looking at a baby”. That’s if the cells aren’t already full of tax-dodging pensioners, of course.

we poor men are the victims of ridicule on national TV as This Morning with Philip and Fearn (size 16 my arse) televises the first live public vasectomy.

I ask only this: when will they be televising the first live hysterectomy?

ONE SADLY becomes accustomed to one’s childhood heroes being exposed as mere charlatans, unworthy of hero worship. But today I witnessed a sight so shocking that I nearly spilt my morning mug of Buckfast and Vimto.

There, displayed shamelessly across the 48-inch plasma screen, was Trumpton’s famous Windy Miller, selling his soul in a Quaker Oats advert. Whatever happened to integrity?

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who voted Liverpool’s Champions League victory as a greater TV moment than the fall of the Berlin Wall, of anyone who didn’t know that Ed was the father of Emma’s baby, or of anyone who can’t contain their excitement at the news that Carole Vorderman is going to host a Sudoku television programme. It’s just a crossword without clues, you numbskulls. A child could do it. Albeit not one educated in this country.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sorry for the interruption of service

The Bazza site has now been rebuilt and, barring a repeat of the casual ineptitude of the Californian geeks who run this service, it's now business as usual.

Pip pip!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A tragic tribute to the Thought Police

IT IS entirely appropriate that in the year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson’s thrashing of those damned Frenchies and their mates the Spanish donkey-chuckers, the spare plinth his statue looks down on in Trafalgar Square should finally be filled.

It is also entirely appropriate that in these days of the Nanny State and the Thought Police, said plinth should be filled with a quite horrible likeness of a pregnant disabled woman, sculpted by an artist who once made of model of his own head by freezing nine pints of his own blood.

(I’m not making any of this up, honestly.)

So now, joining the bronze statues of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir Charles James Napier; busts of Admirals Beatty, Jellicoe and Cunningham; and a statue of George IV on horseback, we now have a model of a lady called Alison Lapper, who was born without arms and with stumpy legs. Marvellous. (And not the only national icon who was legless in Trafalgar Square last week, eh Freddie?)

Now I have nothing against a monument to the disabled, but if anyone had bothered to glance up, they might have noticed that the one-eyed, one-armed Nelson was already fulfilling that role. And I have nothing against a monument to women, except that the only woman fit to stand in that company is Margaret Thatcher and the leather-elbowed, lentil-eating Lefties were never going to swallow that.

Actually, hang on. I do have something against a monument to the disabled. Now I’m sure they’re all very nice chaps, but why are they treated as heroes or heroines the minute they manage to do something, well, pretty ordinary?

Every one of us has to make do with what we’ve got. We get on and make the best of our lives because that’s what people do. Now just because some wheelchair jockey can cook her own fish fingers for tea and isn’t sitting in a puddle in the corner, it doesn’t mean that she deserves to rank alongside the nation’s war heroes.

I was born with bad hair genes, hayfever and a drink problem, but I’ve managed to shrug off these afflictions and get on with a relatively normal life. Yet I don’t see anyone rushing to stick up a monument to bald, white, middle class male drinkers with a bit of a sniffle. Do you? Anyway, I digress.

We are told, hand on heart, that this statue was chosen by virtue of a public vote. Really? We’re the public. Did any of us bother to put an X in the right box? I don’t think so. The voting form must have been published in the Turkey Army section of The Guardian or in that new publication, Stumpy No-Armed Pregnant Woman’s Weekly.

But let’s look on the bright side. This "modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood" will only besmirch Trafalgar Square for 18 months, at which point it will be replaced with another sculpture. One can only dread what they’ll come up with to top this one.

A SAD SYMPTOM of the Dianafication of our society is the apparent need to mark the site of any tragedy/accident/slight mishap with bunches of flowers.

They’re everywhere: the spot where someone took the rash decision to cross a dual carriageway while pissed, the street where a passing Yardie took a bullet in a drugs war, the gutter where Grandad fell over while on the way back from the pub. It’s embarrassing.

The worst offenders, of course, are the Merseyside grief junkies. Go up there on the day of a minor bus crash and there’s not a carnation to be had from Croxteth to Crosby.

But I saw a new twist last week. The morning after three teenagers had died in a horrific car crash on the way home from the pub, a group of their friends turned up at the spot to pour ceremonial cans of Stella over the existing flowers. What class.

I realise that they were probably still a bit giddy after celebrating their A-level results (two Es and an ASBO) but didn’t they think it was a bit inappropriate? You may as well invite Dennis Nielsen on Masterchef.

WHY OH WHY are they messing with our coinage again? Not content with sticking stupid designs on the back of those flimsy 50 pence pieces that seem to be made out of Bacofoil - have you ever tried decking a goalkeeper with one? – it seems that there are now plans to redesign the lot.

Why bother? In fact, why not do away with the smaller denominations altogether? Tell me, what do you do with your one pence and two pence pieces? Yes, you stick them in a jar in the kitchen, always meaning to cash them in at the bank but never actually getting around to it. And then that nice man from the water board calls to check the gas pressure in the electric meter and whoosh … they’re gone.

Those silly little five pence pieces look like the play money you used to get in one of those play shops. (My sister had one until I re-enacted one of the “insurance job” arson attacks that used to happen down our street with monotonous regularity. It was a bugger getting the tiny petrol-soaked rag through the letterbox.)

Even 10s and 20s are hardly worth bothering about. I only throw them to beggars as a deliberate insult. Of course, what we do need is a new coin – a 99 pence piece. Imagine how much easier life would be with a few of those in your pocket? No more loose change, no more daft jars of coins littering the place.

It’s so obvious that I can only think that someone high up at Poundstretcher is keeping this revolution at bay with some judicious bribery. You don’t know whether or not their Chief Exec owns a villa in Barbados, do you?

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who doesn’t think that the new cartoon Muffin the Mule lacks the pathos and raw emotion of the original, of anyone who doesn’t feel like ripping the clipboard out of the hands of one of those annoying saleswomen at motorway service stations and beating her about the head with it, or of anyone not marvelling at how good Twiggy looks in those M&S ads, even though she’s at least 70.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The curse of the shiny-arsed sales reps

THERE IS one small garage within eight miles of Beelzebub Mansions. It is used almost exclusively by locals who, to all intents and purposes, keep the business going.

It sells newspapers, free-range eggs from the next-door farm, bacon from the piggery opposite, and just about any other item one might need in an emergency. It may soon even get a licence to sell chilled Chardonnay to alcoholic hacks.

Oh, and it also sells fuel, mainly to drivers of horse-boxes, tractors, pick-up trucks and four-wheel drive vehicles. And me.

Now the garage doesn’t have a regular delivery of petrol. It’s too small. So when supplies run low, they pick up the phone and a tanker drops by a few days later. Everybody’s happy.

Except that now our little local filling station is under siege from prats in Ford Mondeos and shiny-arsed cheap suits from the big city who are desperately trying to squeeze another pint of unleaded into their overflowing tanks. They were even at it at 7am this morning, queuing up and down the country lane like unleaded lemmings. It’s madness.

Who are these people anyway? Legions of sad sales reps condemned to a life of sweaty bum cracks and extra-large Ginster’s pasties while they parlay their pitiful wares to uninterested shopkeepers and bored supermarket buyers. I tell you, if you could bottle eau de sales rep, it would smell of failure, Travelodges and three-day-old socks.

Why do we even need door-to-door salesmen anymore? We have telephones and the internet now. And how many businessmen indulge in an impulse buy of a box of musical Freddie Flintoff egg-timers just because some desperate, pallid-faced mortgage slave has turned up on their doorstep?

Sack them all now and you’d solve the fuel crisis at a stroke. Alternatively, ship some in from Northern Ireland. The daft sods have got so much over there that they’re throwing it at each other.

Anyway, don’t mind me. I’m off to bulk-buy bread and spray-paint “You Loot, I Shoot” on the walls of the West Wing.

MANY OF YOU have written to me recently enquiring as to the whereabouts and mental state of Whittaker, my gofer and general factotum. I am happy to tell you that he is in fine spirits.

I’ve avoided mentioning him for some weeks on the advice of his psychiatrist, but now his recovery seems to be well underway, I’ll update you on his progress. As you may recall, Whittaker, driven beyond reason by the abject unfairness of the ban of hunting with dogs, had taken to living in a bush in the Lower Meadow, naked apart from a bandana and some camouflage paint.

You may also recall that his long trek back to a kind of normality began with the launch of EasyCat, his whizzo scheme to paint cats orange, fit them with a name tag carrying an 0898 number, dump them 20 miles from home, and then sit back to wait for mad old ladies to phone up and report the strays at £5 a minute.

Such was the success of this venture that he was able to buy a Rover 45 with a ten-year warranty and some trousers. With a zip. Apart from a minor setback when he was sent home from the first drag-hunting meeting for turning up in lipstick and a frock, he’s now back in the swing of things. In fact, I wandered down to the old stables last week only to find that he’s filled the building with immigrant Chinese ladies knocking out Marks and Sparks bras at tuppence a tit.

Tomorrow is his big day. The cubbing season starts and, now he’s realised that the ban on hunting with dogs is so badly-drawn and ineffectual that he’ll be able to continue murdering wildlife with impunity, he’s been ironing his strangling gloves and starching his pinks in eager anticipation. I’ll pass on your best wishes.

HE’S GONE again. Yes folks, our Prime Minister popped in briefly on his way back from China and India, picked up a new set of skiddies, cleared the milk bottles and free newspapers off the doorstep, fed the goldfish and then set off for a really important meeting in New York that took up the rest of his week.

Meanwhile our education system has disintegrated to the point where you can get an A-level pass with just 16 per cent of marks (and an A grade with 47 per cent), the nation is just about to grind to a halt because 61 pence in every pound we pay for fuel goes to the profligate government, and while we’re giving ASBOs to known crack dealers, we’re sending to prison people who smack their children and a 71-year-old retired vicar who refuses be held to ransom over his spiralling Council Tax bill.

Now I know that he’s said that he won’t fight the next election, and conventional wisdom has it that he won’t even stand as an MP, but we could still have another three years of Mr Blah before he reluctantly hands the controls of the train set to Prudence Brown. So why do I feel that in his head, he’s already jacked the job in?

Our problems are no longer his problems. He’s far more concerned with how he’s going to pay off those big mortgages once he’s free to legally and morally benefit from his position. Cherie, no doubt, will continue to con star-struck foreign jewellers into giving her big discounts and then conveniently forget to pay VAT on the imported goods.

So who’s in charge? Who’s handling Iraq, the NHS, our Third World public transport system and the imminent 24-hour orgy of binge drinking, rape and murder that the Daily Mail assures us is on the way? (Oh yes they did.)

Please God, don’t say John Prescott.

AT LAST, the European Union has introduced a law that actually benefits the British people – although perhaps not in the way that they expected.

I can announce that thanks to the burghers of Brussels, the number of burglaries in this country will decrease in the next year. And how have they accomplished this significant achievement? Simple. They’re getting rid of traditional window cleaners.

Now we all know that just about every scrote (George Formby excepted) who takes up the chamois and bucket is only interested in carrying out burglary reccies under cover of smearing dirty water over the double-glazing and then charging you £20 for the privilege. He then returns in the dead of night with a mate, a jemmy and a bag labelled “swag”.

But no more. The “Working At Height Directive”, which became law in April, virtually outlaws the use of ladders when it comes to window cleaning. In future, they’ll have to invest £2,000 in that fancy “watery stick on a pole” type thing you usually see being used on offices.

It’s sad, but inevitable. Goodbye Stan Ogden and Robin Askwith. Hello, lower insurance premiums.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who wasn’t crying with laughter when George Bush talked about “de-watering” New Orleans, of anyone not shedding a tear at the departure from our airwaves of Richie Benaud, or of anyone who hasn’t already got 20 cans of red diesel stocked up in their garden shed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Sad, deluded Scouse liars

SO WHAT HAVE we learned from the dreadful events in New Orleans?

Firstly, we now know that there are such things as Ronald McDonald old people’s homes. It’s a worrying thought. What do they feed them on? A constant diet of Big Macs and Vanilla Milkshakes?

Haven’t these people suffered enough? Haven’t they earned the right to drive the wrong way down a motorway in a Honda Civic without having endless fast food inflicted upon them?

Secondly (and as if we didn’t know it already), when it comes to recreational grief, no-one can hold a candle to dem dere Scousers.

Barely had the floodwaters lapped over the doorsteps than Liverpool’s Lord Mayor and council leaders had broken out the emergency boxes of Kleenex and were weeping copiously for what was, according to reports, their “twin city”.

Except that it isn’t. Not even slightly. Some rudimentary research on the city council’s own web site reveals that Liverpool is officially twinned with Cologne (1952), Dublin (1997), Shanghai (1999) and Odessa (1956). No mention of New Orleans because, as usual, the grief junkies are making it up just to get their fix of second-hand angst. The sad, sad liars. They’ll be claiming Chernobyl and Hiroshima next.

The BBC, which should really know better, reports that “the two port cities first created close ties based on a shared love of music”, but somehow manages to neglect the far more significant commercial relationship of slavery.

Stand by for the first mercy flights out of John Lennon Airport, carrying all that spare water the unwashed scrotes can’t find a use for. Plus plane loads of volunteers to help with the … err … looting. (And incidentally, was it really wise for George Dubya to promise the stranded citizens of New Orleans that “millions of gallons of water are on their way”?)

Meanwhile, still in the goodoleUSofA, an anti-gay activist group based in Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love) says that the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina reflects God's judgment on New Orleans for hosting the annual gay Southern Decadence party.

An organisation called Repent America has complained previously about “homosexuals engaging in sex acts in the public streets” at the event, which was due to take place this weekend when over 125,000 poofters were due to turn up.

Showing remarkable magnanimity, Repent America director Michael Marcavage says: “Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city. May it never be the same.”

Good to see you’re all rallying around, folks.

We also have the comic spectacle of Venezuela, Afghanistan and Cuba offering to send aid to help the Katrina survivors. Just goes to show that sarcasm isn’t dead, even if George Dubya’s political career is.

REMEMBER THAT bloke called Tony Blah? Prime Minister or something? Well he returned from his lengthy summer holidays this week, paused briefly to deliver a sermon threatening to hang the parents of naughty children, and then promptly buggered off again on a week-long tour of China and India.

Now I know that we’re not neck deep in murky floodwater, but surely there are issues worthy of his attention in this country? The disgraceful fact that five million Brits can’t read and write for instance. Or the fact that it’s easier to get a table at The Ivy than it is to see your GP. And can anyone explain to me why the zipper-gobbed Cherie is also on this freebie? Since when has she been a government employee?

Incidentally, given the high profile cricket is enjoying in this country at the moment, did I miss Mr Blah’s wistful reminiscences of how, as a child, he used to crouch by the boundary ropes in front of the pavilion watching the great W.G.Grace play? If not, he’s missed a trick there.

the nation is currently glued to their television sets watching England trying to win the Ashes for the first time in 18 years by avoiding defeat against Australia at The Oval.

Yet the man who has played a major role in this resurgence of English cricket, coach Duncan Fletcher, still waits to be granted British citizenship after 15 years of trying.

His credentials – cricket aside - are impeccable: all his grandparents were British, his father fought for us in the war, his two younger brothers and his sister have been granted citizenship, but Mr Fletcher falls short of the Home Office criteria for a passport because he hasn’t lived permanently in this country for five years.

So where has he been? Leading the England team around the world on cricket tours, of course. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

Mr Fletcher does not help himself – he is a white, middle class, Zimbabwean, heterosexual male. Not exactly flavour of the month with the Leftie thought police. No doubt if he’d been a barmy suicide bomber or a gay Brazilian student, like Peter Mandelson’s boyfriend Reinaldo, he’d have been sorted by now. (And has anyone ever got to the bottom of the speed with which that application was nodded through?)

When Alf Ramsey won the World Cup in 1966, he was immediately knighted. It will be more than a little embarrassing for the Powers That Be if they can’t hand out the same honour to the man behind a famous victory just because of a monstrous web of NuLabour red tape.

TO THE races in York, and what a splendid day it was.

As usual, I’d run out of money by the fourth race and was reduced to rummaging in Mrs Bentley’s hat for the white fiver she keeps there in case of emergencies. It mattered not. The winner of that race was a horse called Typhoon Ginger, which romped home at 33/1.

Of course no-one in their right mind backed it – apart from every ginger, carrot top or strawberry blonde on the course. I tell you, you should have seen the freaks of nature who shambled up to claim their winnings. Limps, hunches, dribbling – it was like chucking out time at the Asylum Arms.

Still, I suppose it made up for all those days when they were bullied at school.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone stocking up on the Beecham’s Powders in case they catch a nasty dose of Bird Flu, of anyone who can work out how those baths with doors work (surely the water runs out when you leave), or of anyone not celebrating the demise of the Wonderbra, the biggest con-trick since dyslexia was invented by lazy teachers.