Tuesday, 16 June 2009

No Contest!

An article I wrote

The above link connects to an article I wrote for Chortle.co.uk, the UK's premier comedy website, regarding the flawed concept of comedy contests. It's been edited as usual. I don't mind that, but I think the edits make me sound more patronising than I intended. Here's the original in all it's anal-retentive glory. See if you can spot the differences.


Can a comedy contest ever be completely fair?

The recent English comedian of the year contest is the latest edition to an ever increasing number of comedy contests that occur across the UK every year. I, like many other aspiring acts, went through a phase of entering as many new-act contests as I could. Nowadays, I have no interest in them. Admittedly, had I ever won a contest, I may feel differently. But if a true comedy contest is simply one where the best comedian wins, can any of contest honestly claim to be such a thing?

There are many variations on the comedy contest formula. The most basic, and perhaps most honest, are gong shows. Several new acts all have a chance to keep an audience entertained, whoever manages it for the longest time wins. Not so much about ‘the best comedian’ but ‘the act which is best at performing in the current situation’. Many gong-shows are notoriously rowdy, so is the audience ever completely impartial? Would a young posh female act be given the same amount of tolerance as a burly working class guy talking about wanking if the audience was primarily drunken blokes, even if she had better material? But gong shows, at least, seldom claim to be more than what they are, and many have at least 2 minutes gratis for the performers to get started. Many acts need longer to hit their stride, but then they chose to enter a gong show.

Many contests are more local, regional affairs. These don’t really claim to be prestigious or worthwhile career advancements, and most pay only lip service to the seemingly arbitrary rules. A cynical person may see them as a way of getting audience and more acts to do a gig for no money whilst negating the headliner, but most seem good natured and well meant. These contests are likely to have a strong regional bias, as they are set up, managed and usually judged by local acts/promoters. A fellow new act and I once drove 5 hours to attend a contest in the North of England. The first act completely screwed up his set, probably because he was hammered. He still won though, because, as the judge said, “he’s usually really good”. Well, that’s ok then, as I’m usually terrible. Not sure how he knew that though.

A lot of these contests are ‘new act’ contests, which can mean “recent” additions to the circuit, recent additions to the “local” circuit, or simply acts who aren’t well recognised yet, despite years on the circuit, although the latter are often recognisable enough to elicit complaints from other entrants/observers. ‘So You Think Your Funny?’, arguably the most prestigious new act award, describes a new act as someone who has been performing less than a year, although the fact that the 2007 winner was the marvellous Richard Sandling, who was at the time performing his second solo Edinburgh show, indicates that it’s not a hard and fast rule. Is that fair on genuine newcomers? Does anyone really care? I imagine some newcomers would.

Many of the contests with regional heats rely on audience voting. As many a forum poster has observed, this is sometimes not a case of ‘who’s the funniest?’ but ‘who brought the most friends?’ Sometimes a judge will decide a winner based on who gets the biggest audience response. Again, who brought the most supportive friends?

Judges seem like a good idea, but how judges are selected is tremendously variable. The person who runs the gig? The contest organiser? The venue manager? A local celebrity? A recognised comedy act? A well informed comedy industry person would seem to be preferable, but this can have its own pitfalls. Is it fair to judge a newcomer by accepted industry standards? Some say yes, some say no.

Some contests are very high profile, in a media sense. In this age of demographics, this could introduce more bias. A hilarious but controversial act could be the best comedian, but how will that look on screen? Will that reflect poorly on the channel/publication? Much better to go for a safe option, surely? This depends on how much influence the media bods have on the selection. The worst are Televised contests (believe me, I know), where the contest has to fit a pre-determined narrative. That isn’t how comedy works. That isn’t how life works, but it has to look that way.

There are also a growing number of online contests, where people post their comedy videos and people vote for the winner. This is obviously skewed in favour of younger types with knowledge of computers and social networking, rather than decent comedians, it’s ‘who can bring most friends’ in a virtual sense.

Most people who enjoy stand-up would agree that any decent comedy contest has to be live. But the structure of the live contest has its own inherent flaws, as most people have noticed. Some slots are better than others; first on after the interval is good, first or last overall is bad as you have to deal with a reluctant or pissed crowd respectively.

I’m not saying all these things I’ve described happen all the time, but they generally are difficult to rule out. In practical terms, a truly fair contest may be impossible. It would require some absolute quantifiable measure of comedy ability (see recent debate on elitism for why this probably won’t happen), probably with software and recording equipment to analyze it accurately. The structure of a contest would need to change too, perhaps with each heat happening 3 times to a different audience of complete strangers, with the order or acts randomised each time, but without any act filling the same slot twice. Those who score the highest on average win

In summary, a genuinely fair contest would require an incredible amount of hard work and technological advancement. This is unlikely to happen anytime soon. It’s only comedy after all, don’t take it so seriously, and at the end of the day it’s all stage time isn’t it.


Monday, 1 June 2009

Poor Susan!

Clinic tends to Boyle

Unless you've been living under an especially big rock for the past few months (or working in a Vodaphone call centre, apparently), you probably know about Susan Boyle. A Britain's got Talent contestant who was launched into World Wide Superstardom because she's not as attractive as most crap singers. Not that she is a crap singer, but apparently, she should be crap. Because she's ugly, and only pretty people can sing. There's some mythical equation in the music and entertainment industry, where attractiveness is directly proportional to performing talent. Also, as with most British Reality talent contests these days, there's a category of contestants which doesn't exist officially but blatantly does. Not sure what they're called, but to understand what I'm talking about, remember that in the 18/19th centuries, wealthy folks used to visit mental asylums, where the patients were prodded and stared at, purely as entertainment.
Britain's Got Talent, X-factor and other shite like that, they offer do the same thing, only you don't have to leave your home and the inmates haven't been diagnosed yet. Susan Boyle looks like she should have been one of these, but she wasn't you see, she could actually do a bit of singing. Thing is, she could still have been mad and recent evidence suggests she still is, but she doesn't look nice in the traditional sense.
The first wave of publicity was about how inspirational she was. She was an ugly woman who showed that you didn't have to be attractive to be talented. Nobody actually ever thought that, I've never heard anyone ever say that, but it's nice to be told what we are thinking by the media groups who decide what we are thinking on our behalf when they make things we watch or buy.
I always found it ironic that they kept mentioning how she defied our appearance obsessed culture by being so ugly. That this ugly, hideous, shambling, hairy, grotesque woman, and God she's rancid, should be able to sing, despite looking like the Rancor's mother, well that shows how appearance obsessed everyone except the media is. Hmm...
But yeah. She didn't win, apparently. She came second. But the pressures she's experienced, which must admittedly been insane, has driven her to the Priory. People seemed surprised that a 50+ spinster who seems mentally unsound and has never left her village in Scotland would be badly affected by the most intense media scrutiny anyone's ever experienced. Nobody saw it coming, apparently. Except anyone with any know how.
That's why the BBC did the article linked above. What the experts say about the way she was treated. There's some suspicion that reality TV may be exploiting people. In other news, Earth goes round the Sun. But the article itself seems to be very media-biased to me, even the Government funded BBC. Note how all the TV pundits and pop psychologists get big sections with photos, and the true experts get seven or eight lines and no pics at all. Interestingly, the pop psychologists seem far more supportive of Britain's Got Talent producers etc., (you don't bite the hand that feeds you I suppose), whereas the real experts are more scathing, or as much as you can be with seven short lines to get your point across.
It could be argued that the pop psychologists have TV experience and a media profile, whereas the others do not, so they are less able to make a punchy, concise argument for mass consumption. Why, then, does Charlie Brooker, by far the most famous person in the article, get a seriously reduced section? And no pic? He's also the most critical of the media involvement in her breakdown too, weird that.

On a finishing note, I find it very appropriate that Britain's Got Talent, a show supposedly displaying the best of all that is British, is sponsored by Domino's Pizza; An American Business selling Italian Cuisine staffed largely by middle-eastern or East European immigrants. If that doesn't symbolise the multi-cultural Britain I know, nothing does.


Mystic Ted, the latest edtions

Some of you may know that I write the Horoscopes for free Cardiff satirical publication 'The Cheek'. I write as Mystic Ted, who cuts all the vague crap from horoscopes and is unflinchingly honest in his predictions, just to make a mockery of the whole thing. Here's the latest ones for those of you who don't live in North or Central Cardiff (where it's distributed). And if you have read it, these are the unedited versions, so there may be something in there you didn't get to see.


“So accurate that it’s quite unsettling” (Camarthen Bugle)

  • ARIES: It’s 11.56pm, I just got home from the pub and I’ve got to have this done by tomorrow morning. I’m tired. But that job you want? You won’t get it. No real reason, but you do sweat a lot in interviews, it’s quite rank to be honest. Everyone in your current job calls you ‘Lord of the sweat-rings’, so no wonder you want to leave.

  • TAURUS: Look, right, just because your mother says she left her coat on the bus, doesn’t mean she did. She probably sold it to buy fags, it wouldn’t be the first time. Yeah, I’m saying she’s a liar. That’s right, and what you gonna do about it? Want to take this outside? Yeah? Yeah! YEAH? YEAH! C’MON THEN!

  • PISCES: Stay away from anyone who’s a Taurus, you can’t trust them. Say one thing and they come at you, swinging bottles and all that and all I said was his mother’s a liar, honestly officer, he started it… what? Oh, right, yeah, horororoscopes, them things. Umm.. Gemini… oh, God I just had it.. oh yeah, your new baby isn’t yours.

  • CANCER: Alright? Yeah, me too. No actually, had a bit to drink, feel a bit worse for wear now, but I’m fine, I’m fine to drive, or what is it? Predict stuff, yeah I can do that. Hey, you know that one night stand you had all those months ago? Well, she was married, and she’s just had a baby. And it’s ginger. Bad luck man, but don’t shoot the messenger.

  • LEO: Oh for the love of… what is with that sodding paper-clip? No, I don’t want to write a letter, exit… c’mon, I pressed the little cross bit, why are you still here… did it just wink at me? Why does a stupid office tool thing fancy me? How does that happen? Oh sh – Leo’s! Horrosoaps, yes, them… Um… you need stamps!

  • VIRGO: Iss weird in it! Virgo, like, that means virgin, and your not one! So, like it’s all a big con or something! Like, I’ve never met a Leo who was actually a Lion, or a Libra who was a weighing scales or anything, so what’s that all about? Y’know? Iss like… iss like… when your mother tells you there’s a tooth fairy, but it doesn’t matter anyway because your dad just takes your tooth money to buy white cider… you have a rash, change your washing powder, get something that doesn’t have a blue stripe on it for once, cheap sod.

  • LIBRA: Libras, like, you’re the good guys. Bloody good boys, and girls, all my best mates are Libras, except the ones who are Virgos, or something else. Not Taurus’s though, can’t stand that lot. So because you’re so much my best mates, here’s a tip. The 2.20 at Chepstow, bet all your money on ‘Saucy Phil’, at 55 to 1. You won’t win, but you’ll learn not to gamble.

  • SCORPIO: Wow, your life is great. Really, like, cool. If you go to the corner shop tomorrow, and buy a scratch card, right (the blue ones with pirates on, third lot down from the top), you’ll win £200,000. That’s loads of money, and you should give half of it to a destitute horoscope writer who’s going through a painful divorce because his wife’s a filthy Pisces who got knocked up by a rotten Cancer.

  • SAGITTARIUS: Oh God alive, your so dull. If your life ever flashed before your eyes it would be, like, half as exciting as your average screensaver. Just read one of the above horoscopes and pretend it’s yours, I can’t be bothered.

  • CAPRICORN: I don’t care, you selfish git, my wife left me, did I mention that? Actually I threw her out, it isn’t my baby, it’s some guy who’s a Cancer and I don’t care. She can have the house, I don’t want it, I’ll find my own place. Actually, when your washing machine breaks down next week and you buy a new one, can I have the old one? I can fix it, I know a guy.

  • AQUARIUS: I love that old song, yeah… “And we were SINGING! Hymns and ARRias.. Land OF mY FatheRS, ah DO BE DOOOOO! Yeah!” WOOOOO! I don’t need her, all I need is an 8 pack and I’m happy! Who needs em eh? Not me! And clean out your hamster’s cage, it’s not hibernating, it’s dead!

  • GEMINI: …She’ll take me back, she needs me. Although I threw her out, so I’ll take her back if she wants me, I mean, y’know, it’s all good, every marriage has it’s rocky patch, and she’s not even pregnant, just fat, and I didn’t have the guts to tell her. She’s got guts, loads, she’s well fat. Maybe I should stop saying stuff like that? You’re wife’s fat too, she hides scotch eggs in her hand bag. But don’t worry, she’ll get food poisoning in a fortnight, that’ll straighten her out…… G’night…..


“Show’s blatant disregard for the laws of causality” (Prof. Hymen Brown)

(NOTE FROM TED: I did these when I was hung over so I had my crystal ball facing the wrong way. This means I’ve predicted the past. I know this makes no sense, but I’m not writing them again, so deal with it)

  • VIRGO: When you and Grog and Mog leave the cave to go hunting tomorrow, don’t follow the first trail you find. It is a big deer, but it’s also being stalked by a Sabre-tooth tiger, and if you cross paths only you will make it back to the cave alive, and even that will be difficult what with you having no legs left.

  • TAURUS: I seriously advise you not to go on that parade in Dallas tomorrow. Or if you do, at least use a car with a roof. Or wear a helmet or something. Well, remember to bend over and re-tie your shoe whenever you pass a grassy knoll or book store. Fine! Do what you like! Last time I try and do a Yank a favour.

  • PISCES: I know it contradicts the maps, compass, star charts etc., but when you pass the coast of South Africa, stay with the wind and turn to Port. No, you won’t make it to India any quicker, or at all in fact, but you’ll be more famous for it. And those red people you meet when you eventually hit land, they’re NOT Indians. Try and remember that, although I know you won’t.

  • CANCER: I know it’s been going well for you and your army, and it is impressive to have a million soldiers in your day and age, but those 300 Spartans you’ll come across tomorrow, blocking off the pass through the mountains, you might want to leave them alone. Seriously, they’re more trouble than they’re worth, and there’ll be movies about it in 3000 years time if you don’t. What’s a movie? Ah forget it…

  • LEO: Look, I know it goes against everything your mother taught you, and it’s probably why you don’t have a girlfriend and I know it’s your new-years resolution to be more tidy, but listen to me when I say this; DO NOT WASH THOSE PLATES MR FLEMING! Millions of people will be very grateful.

  • ARIES: Listen mate, forget what all your teachers say, and forget about your own doubts, your paintings are well good and you really should stick with art school, it’s your true calling in life. Seriously, you’ll be a big success, get all the fame and buy yourself a nice little place in the Austrian countryside. No, I’m not lying, why would I do that? Seriously, I’m not! Fine, nuts to you, why don’t you just grow a stupid ‘tache and join the Germany army! … … Hello? …Hello? ... Oops…

  • LIBRA: Yay, verily, and forsooth in the name of thine own merry nuncle, but for when thy portly magistrate doth attend the royal banquet on the coming midsummers eve, remain on thy toes for fear of incurring the wrath of the courts when a humble jester is found cavorting with the chamber-maid of the magistrates comely daughter and finds himself whisked to the tower to await punishment most foul (and you guys talk like this all the time? Barking mad, all of you)

  • SCORPIO: You know that bomb shelter you had built underneath your garden? And you know how you equipped it with a water purifier, hi-tech generators, heating etc? And you know how you’ve stocked it with enough food and resources to last a decade? And you know how you did all this to prepare for the Y2K virus, or ‘millennium bug’ as you call it? You’ve really wasted your money.

  • SAGGITARIUS: As hard as it may seem to do, I’d strongly advise you to cancel your trip. Although you’ve saved up for years to go, believe me when I say it’s best if you don’t. Granted you’ll lose the deposit, but at least that’s all you’ll lose. It won’t go well, trust me. All I’ll say is, I know they say it’s ‘unsinkable’, but do you really think they’ve bothered testing that claim?

  • CAPRICORN: What day is it? Really? Damn, two days too late. You know that band you turned down for your record company on Monday? The Liverpool boys with floppy hair, you said they were like a quartet of particularly talentless mops? It turns out you’re an idiot.

  • AQUARIUS: Your new play will be widely regarded as your finest work, and possibly the greatest theatre piece of all time, so well done there. Just one thing though; the title. You might want to re-think it, name it something short, maybe after the main character, rather than ‘Super-slaughter in Demented Denmark Death Drama’, or your other idea ‘everyone dies and nobody wins because life is cruel in Denmark’, neither will work. And lay off the Absinthe!

  • GEMINI: I know it’s hard work avoiding that T-rex day after day, but believe me, it’s not worth the effort. Best let him eat you, be over quicker. That big fireball in the sky that keeps getting bigger? Yeah, it’s not going away anytime soon. What do you mean you can’t read? Well sorry, I don’t speak shrew-like proto-mammal.


“CCTV has nothing on this guy” (Abergarw Recorder)

CREDIT CRUNCH SPECIAL! (Ted tells your financial future)

  • ARIES: You’ve got three months left in your job. There’s a big round of layoffs coming and, although you’ve been there longest, the fact that you do nothing all day every day hasn’t gone unnoticed. You’ll get a new job in 3 months, but it won’t pay as well. Swipe as many office supplies in the meantime to tide you over, selling pens and staplers at car boot sales will pay for your smoking habit, at least.

  • TAURUS: That money you made betting on that outside chance at the dogs? Save that, your wife will announce she’s pregnant on Tuesday, so you’ll have to start buying baby stuff. What? You lost it all on the Cheltenham races? Oooh, you in trouble now!!

  • PISCES: Don’t cancel your plans to meet the guys Friday to save money, you do work hard and need a break. You can afford it if you collect all the loose change from the following places; The back of the couch (£5.68), your old jacket pockets (£4.23), the sink waste pipe (£2.25, but wear gloves), the car seat pockets (£6.34), inside the cat (£1.45, don’t ask) and the last book you read (‘Life of Pi’, £60.00, you used that cheque as a bookmark but gave up reading it half way through).

  • CANCER: Al tha jobs U R applying 4? U wont get N E of them. This is coz u always rite in TXT speak wen u rite ur application letters, U berk! Wot U expect them to fink? U wudnt lik tha wud u? So u aint got no job. Soz. :(

  • LEO: Your new business is not going to go well for the next few months, but it will turn around if you do as I say. What you do is buy a big advert in a local free satirical newspaper, and you’ll see a massive improvement in custom. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. And tell all your friends and other business contacts, if they all buy ad space then maybe the guy who runs the paper will eventually pay the guy who writes the bloody horoscopes!!!

  • VIRGO: Your new car, you are thinking about selling it and getting a cheaper one, but don’t bother. The car market isn’t good at the moment, and anyway it isn’t as thirsty as you think, your neighbour is siphoning off your petrol at night. And you’d save even more if you walked places now and again, which would save buying new clothes too as you might lose some weight.

  • LIBRA: You know how you never have enough money to go out at night, but you can’t figure out where it’s going? Here’s a tip, you know how you go to Starbucks 5 times day and order a double-mocha-frappu-wappu-godknowswhataccino? That adds up to a hell of a lot! Have instant for once, or maybe a glass of water? That’s why nobody talks to you anymore, they don’t dislike you but when you speak people can only hear a high pitched buzzing noise.

  • SCORPIO: Yeah, it’s been a while since you had a job, but hang on in there, it’ll come. I know you’re depressed, but it’ll be fine. You could always write to ‘Pat answers’ I suppose. I notice she gets paid for her crappy column but the ever popular horoscope guy gets squat. And she’ll do ‘anything’ for a can of Special Brew. Something suspicious there, me thinks? Hmm? Oh yes, it’s all becoming clear now.

  • SAGITTARIUS: I’ll be honest mate, I know it’s all come crashing down around you in the last few months, I know you were worth millions and you’ve lost it all, I know you were used to the flash cars, loose women and champagne lifestyle, I know you used to feel repulsed by the working class folk and felt really smug when you screwed another bunch of trusting foke out of their hard earned cash, I know you could have had your pick of any of the trophy wives about, I know all that and as a result I’m not even going to try to help you. Ha ha! LOOOOOOSEEEERRRRRRR!

  • CAPRICORN: Your mate Terry, he seems to be the only guy around with a ready supply of cash in these troubled times? What’s his secret? Well, he’s a drug dealer. Not a big one, but bad enough. How envious I mean disgusted by him are you? He’s not really a friend anyway is he, more of a friend of a friend, and if you turn him in you might get a reward! (You won’t)

  • AQUARIUS: Seriously mate, I know times are hard, and you really are strapped, but just don’t go suing the local pub because you slipped in the bathroom and bruised a hip. Several reasons. 1. You weren’t working anyway, so no loss of earnings. 2. The floor was wet because you were too hammered to work the taps properly. 3. The pub would be forced to close for good if you win the case, and “Harry the Slasher” and the other regulars will know why, and then a bruised hip will be the least of your worries.

  • GEMINI: Seriously mate, pay back what you owe to ‘Teds Loan Company’, or Ted will be forced to send his boys (Harry the Slasher and co., coincidentally) to extract it from you in kind. Yes, I am the same Ted. Why so shocked? A guy needs to make money somehow, and like I said, it’s not like I get paid anything for writing this guff.


“Hang on, who’s this?” (Editor, The Cheek)

NOTE FROM CEDRIC: Coo-Eee! ‘Ello everyone, Edward is away in Tenby for his holidays at the moment, bless him. I’m his brother Cedric, I’m not quite as ‘Hot to Trot’ on the old Horoscopes as my big bruva, tee hee, but he’s left me in charge so I’m sure we’ll muddle through. So put your feet up, sit back, and enjoy. Kisses! (Ced x x)

  • VIRGO: Aw, bless your little cotton socks. He’s gone and left you again, hasn’t he! No? Well, he will. But don’t worry, he’s not doing the dirty or anything, he just likes to get out from under your feet for a bit. And you do go on, luv, let’s be fair, no man could up with that level of agro and not go mad. I know you mean well, but you have a voice like Janet Street Porter eating a Parakeet.

  • TAURUS: Well, look here mister clever - ‘I don’t need to worry because it will never happen to me’ – clogs, it will happen, it’s going to happen, and from what I can see here, it already has happened. Although that’s in the crystal ball, obviously. What? What am I on about? Well, I don’t see why I should tell you, it’s all your fault… what? … well, I suppose I could. Thing is, luv, you’re going to d- whoops, out of room!

  • PISCES: Oooh, look now. Yes, luv, it looks lovely on you, and it will be lovely for Bernice’s wedding, but if you wait for a few weeks it’ll be half price in the summer sale. Just be there early, that cow Lauren has her eye on it too. Not that it would fit her, would be like throwing a tablecloth over a broken boiler.

  • CANCER: Ha ha ha, oh bless. You know how Mr Haybright has been carrying on with Dyllis from behind the counter in the post office, well next week she’s going to find him in the sorting room with Julie the new sorting lady. Ooh, there’ll be hell to pay. Honestly, don’t know how Ted can stay away from this thing, better than my Soaps. Also luv, your Fridge is about to pack in… 3… 2… 1... There it goes.

  • LEO: The reason, right, luv, that your eldest has been having such trouble at school… well, haven’t you wondered about him? Always in his room, never looks at women, loves strictly come dancing, is always dressed so immaculately, owns all of Elton John’s albums, you know what he is, right? That’s right, he’s a stereotype!

  • ARIES: Listen, your mother, bless her heart, she’s not too well. I know she’s had turns in the past and always bounced back, but she’s nearly 80 now, and she can’t go on forever. You’ll have to accept it any time now, I know it’s hard, but you’re a grown man luv. Yes, it’s very difficult to come to terms with, but some time next week, the inevitable will happen. You’ll have to move out. And learn to do your own damn laundry!

  • LIBRA: Now, here’s an interesting one. You’ve written a book, yes, well done luv, but you will get fifteen rejection letters next week. One letter, though, will be an acceptance letter, and they’ll offer to publish it, but say no as it’s just a scam. Don’t be surprised if it never gets published, bless you for trying but nobody wants to read a book about one man’s struggle against the Inland Revenue lost property department. You need more sleazy scenes and chisel jawed heroes for a start.

  • SCORPIO: How many times do you need to be told! He’s gone over it a dozen times in the last two weeks! It’s not step-pivot-step-twirl-step-pivot-pivot, it’s step-twirl-pivot-dip-spin-dip-step-step-crouch-slide-turn-step-pivot-bow-jazz hands! You’ll need to have that learned by opening night, or the 6 people in the audience will be really upset.

  • SAGITTARIUS: Ooh, I know this one. What you do is, right, you don’t use cooked rice, you use cold rice and heat it up, doesn’t stick so much. That way, he’ll be really impressed by your cooking and stay the night. You lucky thing you. But don’t get too smug, the food poisoning will mean nothing saucy gets to happen. And luv, seriously, I know money’s tight at the minute, but never buy raw chicken at a car-boot sale.

  • CAPRICORN: Ooh, that accident you’re about to have looks nasty. Aw, is that a boo boo? Poor ickle thing, want uncle Cedric to kiss it better? You never know, it might help. Well it just might, ok? Fine, suit yourself. Ooh, look at me, so cocky, Mr “I’m a qualified Doctor” too good for me is he?

  • AQUARIUS: Aw, poor luv. Looks like your holiday is ruined. You’ll only be there a day, but then you’ll find out that a younger sibling you left in charge of your work is ruining it, being all gossipy and unprofessional, it’s sad I know. And thing is… oh, hang on, there’s someone at the door… [click] Hello?… Ted! Why you back so early?... Oh, … oh God…. Help! Help!! HELP!!!!! Aaaaaaargh…. [Thud] OUCH! [Thud] [Thud]

  • GEMINI: Oh for the love of God, what the hell has he done here? Don’t ever call your readers ‘Luv’, I told him a hundred times! I knew he would do this, I’m a sodding clairvoyant! Why’d I let him do it?! Well here’s a prediction for you. Pat, of ‘Pat Answers’? You’re a Gemini, I predict that tomorrow you’ll get a letter saying “I ruined my brother’s column and now he’s trying to kill me with a cricket bat; what do I do?” Believe me, I’ll make it happen!


Ah ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!

People! Hello! I've not written a blog for about 4 months, an in that time I've gained 25% more followers! It's gone up from 4 to 5!*
Been really hammering the write-up, so not felt justified about wasting time on here. And let's be honest, a waste of time is what it is. But given the weather (hot), my current state of mind (apathetic), my current career prospects (wavering between hopelessly futility and optimism borne of ignorance), my comedy career (like one of those flies trapped in Amber; potentially could be resuscitated, but for all intents and purposes, dead) and my creative output (analogous to the seepage emanating from a mouldy tomato), I thought I'd catch up on the old science digestive, starting off with a few alarming similes. So here's a few blogs for you all to enjoy, have fun (although given the way most of these are streamed or listed, you'll probably read this last, in which case I hope you enjoyed).

In Space, size isn't everything...

So they found a planet around a star that is surprisingly small. And I remember a time when finding any planet anywhere was an incredible thing. Now it looks like they've given up looking for basic planets around basic stars. Every time the discovery of a planet is reported now it has to have some extra detail, like an apparent closeness to Earth norm, or potential signs of life, or be really big (on a planetary scale of things), or really close (on a galactic scale, 20 light years will never seem close), or have rings, or be made of processed cheese, or whatever. Finding a planet isn't enough anymore, now it has to be an interesting planet. Planet searching seem to be going the way of the TV show Big Brother. At first, the concept alone was fascinating, the act of doing it was of interest in itself. Now, we need the freaks, the sensationalists, the utter barking maniacs, the attention seekers in other words, in order to keep people interested.
Still, I like the news that this tiny star (1/12th the size of our star, a.k.a The Sun) has a planet 6 times bigger than our suns biggest planet. The smaller the body, the bigger the appendage in other words. How true to life that is.
Also, if we do eventually discover life around another star, will we have to rename our sun? From 'the Sun' to 'A Sun', or 'Sol', 'Sun #1 (assuming it's older)', 'Shinyball alpha' or maybe 'Derek', give it some character.

(* = I know people might work tha out as a 20% increase, but 1 from 4, the original number, is 25%, so my math is accurate)


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