Thursday, 17 May 2012

Everything's Not Going Swimmingly

A third of children in England cannot swim by the time they leave primary school, according to research from the Amateur Swimming Association.  This news was greeted with an increased sense of worry from parents groups around the country, concerned that their children are going to be ill-equipped for the watery apocalyptic world that lays ahead of us once the ice caps melt.  A joint statement from the spokesmen for Parents And Nannies Do Everything Right (P.A.N.D.E.R.) said:

"This shocking revelation shows that the British education is yet again failing to equip our children adequately for the future.  Not only are our little angels unable to negotiate complex business deals in Mandarin or count to 100 without the help of an I-Phone app, but now they're going to be nothing more than fodder for killer whales."

An over-excited killer whale spokesmammal at SeaWorld Florida was also quoted as saying:

"eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiicckckckckckckckckckckceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaeeeeeeeeeeeeecccchhhhkkk"

Experts in the field of Orcan Linguistic Studies suggest that this translates as the following:

"My esteemed monochrome colleagues and I are counting down the days until the oceans swell to such a great extent that we will become the dominant species on this already watery sphere, and your flailing pups are nothing more than tasty hairless monkey nuggets for us to snack on inbetween our main course of seal tartare.  In the meantime, pass me that nice red ball to play with."

The governement is already workshopping solutions to this worrying problem.  A large reason for the young children's inability to perform a simple 25 metre crawl is the fact that primates are not a naturally water-dwelling collection of creatures.  Human beings are absolutely unique compared to our ape and monkey cousins in not freaking out like a cat in a tin bath when faced with having to go for a paddle.  Animal behaviourists in the 1970s looked closely into the possiblilties of teaching other primates to swim, but had little success, the only real findings being that you can fit 12 bonobos on a lilo before it sinks and mountain gorillas find styrofoam floats a useful digestive tool. 

Added to this evolutionary problem is the simple fact that young British humans are no longer as buoyant as they used to be - childhood obesity resulting in the fact 1/3 of our youth are beginning to resemble elephant seal pups except without the maneuverabilty or the cute whiskers.  After years of trying to teach these bulbous meat sacks how to stay afloat without coccooning them in water wings, the Department of Education has decided on a radical solution. 

So many overweight, out of shape, unathletic children are dispirited by their inability to swim that they often skip swimming lessons altogether thanks to a mewling excuse note from their parent or guardian.  In response to this, the Department of Education is looking into the possibility that schools can 'cure' their desire not to swim by injecting them with a mixture of swim bladder, sea lion genes and plastic milk bottles.  It is hoped that this genetic engineering will very quickly create a new caste of children who are confident and swift underwater, whilst also being able to carry a pint of red-top in their cheeks.

A spokeman for the Department of Education was quoted as saying:

"They called me mad, mad I tell you.  But I'll show them, oh yes, I'll show them how their tubby little offspring can be transformed into wave-lolloping creatures of grace. Mwahahahahaha!"

When asked about legacy investment in swimming lessons, facilities and top class coaches in this Olympic year of all years, the spokeman threw what looked like a candied starfish at reporters, bit the head off a cuttlefish he had been holding throughout the press conference and skipped back into his offices.



Tuesday, 15 May 2012

The Queen of Pop

Thousands of people have gathered in south London to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on the latest leg of their Diamond Jubilee tour, which brings to an end a stellar recording career.  Young women fainted at the sight of the dashing Prince Philip - his face now resembling a bloodhound's scrotum - whilst dandyish young men cried out requests to the sovereign to perform her greatest hits.  Although it was only a fleeting visit, Elizabeth duly obliged with a reggae version on "Annus Horriblis" and a stunning a capella performance of her country and western classic "My Husband and I".

When interviewed about their farewell Diamond Jubilee tour last month, the Queen revealed that she has taken to calling herself E-LIZ2 "in order to make one more street, although in my case I think I can only manage to be more boulevard." She confessed that it had been very difficult to keep up with current popular trends, but was trying her best to incorporate grime into her set and had been practising drum and bass with the Royal Horse Guards.  Sadly one of the horses had to be put down after the weight of the double bass broke it's ankle.  There was one brief foray into dubstep, but it had to be abandoned as it brought on the Duke of Edinburgh's angina. 

More exciting for fans are the collaborations that E-LIZ2 has been engaging in for the final date of this tour on June 4th.  E=LZSquared (a moniker she was also been performing under after three week's when she created relativity-based sound collages out of samples of Stephen Hawking's voice for the Royal Society), is rumoured to be involving JAY-Z in a re-mix of Rule Britannia, subtitled "I've Got 99 Problems But the Falklands Ain't One", whilst Dave Baddiel, Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds are to turn God Save the Queen into a rousing football anthem celebrating the life and times of English folk hero John Terry.  Rumours are that the finale will involve Damon Albarn being dressed up as a pearly king and then being slowly carved to pieces by members of the Chinese National Opera.

In what is certain to be an extravaganza that will unite the nation, our nation's leader is determined that she is going to go out with a bang.  "Frankly, this farewell concert is going to shit all over the Olympic opening ceremony and make it look like the Teddy Bear's picnic but without the adrenaline-filled excitement of stuffed toys making tea.  People need to remember who's fucking sceptered isle this is anyway.  The IOC have got a bloody cheek coming over here, in this of all years, and I'm going to blow their little sports day jamboree so far out the water they'll think they've just sucked off Neptune.  No one messes with HM Beth Windsor.  Testify."

Thursday, 10 May 2012

HM Work Experience

As Prince Charles took to the airwaves on BBC Scotland to deliver the weather news this afternoon, Clarence House released a press statement to confirm that this was start of a campaign by the Royal Family to help kickstart the economy, by participating in the job market themselves.

Charles, who got a D for his O-level Geography, lumbered his way through three minutes of perfunctory broadcasting whilst his consort, the Duchess of Cornwall, clopped out the correct temperatures with her hooves.  She was only accompanying the Prince of Wales for his first day of work at the BBC Meteorological Department, before she begins her own work placement at a pony school in Exeter and then later on in the year at a Prit Stick factory.

Meanwhile the Queen and Prince Philip are keen to be seen to be doing their bit for the economy as well.  After a brief stint manning the tills at the Buckingham Palace gift shop, the Duke of Edinburgh has decided to use his famed interpersonal skills and is to begin working in a call centre in Reading.  Now consumers who are desperate for some assistance getting their broadband back on line have the chance of being greeted with "Tallyho what-what!  Not to worry, you haven't got one of those little brown maharajas on the phone, it's me, your sovereign's bedwarmer.  Now how can I help you?...........Sorry, I'll have to get my nurs...supervisor.  Edward!! Edward...where is that bloody fool...."  HM Elizabeth II meanwhile has spoken of her desire to work as a checkout girl at Lidl, saying she has a great affinity for a German brand that has managed to surreptitiously conquer the British market.

According to a government paper leaked to the press, the pioneering scheme proposed by the Department of Work and Pensions hopes to see the first 250 members of the Royal Family in line for the throne working in bookies, building sites and bakeries all over the country by the end of 2012.  The statement said that "for too long we have put our most menial jobs in the hands of society's underclass and look where it has got us.  Clearly the answer is to stop our royals being such dreadful ceremonial layabouts and make them put their Swiss finishing school education to good use.  And who wouldn't want to accept a Greggs steak bake from Princess Eugenie?"

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rupert the Bare-Face Liar

A committee of MPs has declared Rupert Murdoch "not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a Hornby train set" and has recommended the confiscation of this, along with his favourite Lego Star Wars figurines and his David Cameron space hopper.

After months of deliberation in which the evidence that has stacked up against the octogenarian toddler has been overwhelming, the British public collectively thumped there forehead with open palms and declared "thank god they're not totally blind." Moving testimonies included a family of ants who were burnt by Murdoch with a magnifying glass and his original Elmo doll, now so scarred emotionally from Murdoch's abuse that he could only testify via video link-up and then broke down several times as he described the Australian lizard king's penchant for cruel and base torture. There are even rumours that Murdoch attempted to dissuade Elmo from testifying against him, as he threatened to release stories documenting rumours that he was involved in a gay tryst with Kermit the Frog, a move so damaging that in the often hostile, conservative American market it could have brought the recent Muppet Movie to its knees and destroyed the Henson dynasty.

But of course the biggest crime committed by Murdoch was the dispicable, immoral phone-hacking. The nation believed that News International could not possibly sink lower than the hacking of the mobile phone of murdered teenager Milly Dowler, but recent revelations have proved Murdoch to be even more intrusive. On the orders of the soulless husk of a man and liver-spot aficianado, every playground conversation that took place using tin cans and piece of string was put under surveillance. Children the country over were gripped in a culture of fear as news of their secret hideouts and the idenities of their imaginary friend were splashed all over the front page of the News of the World. The kingdom of fear created by Rupert the bare-face liar was so far-reaching that one child, Simon, who shall remain nameless for legal reasons, spoke at length about the fact that he no longer felt safe exchanging football stickers, as he was terrified that one of Murdoch's agents would try and slip a Ryan Giggs sparkly one into his deck and implicate him into that scandal.

Now that the parliamentary committee has reached its verdict it has recommended that a proprietor of a more fitting moral standard be elevated to the role of head of News International. Current front-runners include Bernie Ecclestone, Rose West and a knob of butter from a three-star hotel in Torquay. Murdoch, meanwhile, is to be incarcerated in a secure sandbox until the committee finds a matron imposing and strong enough to keep an eye on the slithering calculated bag of doddery self-interest.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

2112 - Some Bleak Predictions

Several newspapers are today carrying the story of John Watkins, a civil engineer who in 1900 made some startling predictions about the world one hundred years on. In these predictions Watkins manages to posit the existence of digital camera, mobile phone technology and television, whilst also bafflingly suggesting that the letters 'C', 'X' and 'Q' would be phased out, presumably becuase he was an awful Scrabble player. Inspired by this, I've made a few predicitions about what out world will be like in January 2112:

1. After the fallout from World War V New Zealand and the newly formed state of Patagonia emerge as world superpowers thanks to being so far from the shitstorm in the northern hemisphere, they are the only countries with any substantial surviving population. The 2112 Olympics will consist solely of 12 Patagonian and New Zealander sheep farmers playing Boggle.

2. Despite this, the Falkland Isles remain British, even in the face of an attempted Patagonian invasion in July 2108. The Patagonian invaders are repelled via a hail of radioactive crockery and a viscious death ray powered by the id of Maragret Thatcher, that was captured from her by pioneering scientists when she was finally burned as a witch in 2054.

3. In the northern hemisphere the predilection for texting rather than engaging in conversation means that human beings have evolved so that they have an amply sized, organic 'QWERTY' keyboard growing in their chest. Rather than converse (almost a physical impossibility since the larynx has withered away in most human beings and the tongue has been replaced with a fleshy tube for the quicker intake of food) people now just type their sentences into the person they are opposite. Other human upgrades include the replacement of snoring with a variety of ringtones, recahrgable lungs and defecating being converted into a game of faecal Tetris.

4. In conjunction with these developments, plastic surgery has advanced so that instead of a facelift or a quick tuck, the majority of the adult population just has a blank, digitized screen for a face that is capable of flashing up the sixteen emoticons necessary to function as a social being. In order to maintain a functioning performing arts sector actors have developed the software to use thirty-two different emoticons. However, Theodor Reeves (grandson of Keanu) can only access four of them.

5. In 2112 the Planet Earth is visited by aiens, but everyone is too busy texting into each others chests, so the aliens are ignored. The aliens linger around for a week, desperate for the attention, but the news that we are not alone in the universe cannot compete with a new update for the hair colour app, as 90% of the human race immediately turn their hairstyle to a fetching paisley. In a fit of pique the aliens obliterate the entire eastern seaboard of what was once America and carve glyphs reading 'fuck you, you anti-social monkeys' across the entire Ural mountain range. Homo Sapiens barely raises a shrug and downloads some new fingernails.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Milligood and Millibad

In his most recent statement, Ed Milliband has declared that the Labour Party is "for all times, not just the good times." Whilst fumbling with his cufflinks and looking awkwardly at his feet, the Labour leader and cheese-enthusiast spoke at length about how sorry he and the party were for all those drunken nights out where they'd inexplicably woken up in the bath, for missing that really important meal with your parents because Barry from university had popped up unannounced and for never, ever doing the hoovering before your friends pop round.

Gesticulating awkwardly as his limbs were painstakingly moved by his operator, Milliband admitted that the Labour party had become too obsessed with trying to relive its youth and had to accept that the days of the Hacienda were over. "In retrospect," he said, "beginning my conference speech with the phrase 'what's your name, where you from and what you on?' was not an appropriate way for the leader of a party now approaching middle age to behave."

Milliband set out a new mini-manifesto of pledges for the forthcoming year, including going to the ballet with you, not talking down to your mate Laura, no matter how much she sound like one of those harridans on 'Loose Women' and once, just once in a while, thinking about cleaning the toilet.

Tory MPs were quick to respond saying that this new outlook was entirely unrealistic blue-sky thinking by Milliband and they would continue to be the party for "making any and every situation worse by slapping waitresses' bottoms, skipping ahead of the disabled in taxi queues and reintroducing serfdom."

Lib-Dem spokesmen were available for comment, but journalists had listened to enough bullshit for one day without having to put up with them as well.

Empire of the Ferguson

Just 24 hours after Eric Cantona announced his intention to run for the French presidency, both Andrei Kanchelskis and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have entered the respective races for the premiership of Russia and Norway. Meanwhile, sources in Brussels suggest that Sir Bobby Charlton is attempting a brutal military coup to remove Herman van Rompuy as head of EU. In a statement released earlier this morning the hero of 1966 was quoted as saying:

"President van Rompuy has had his day, but it is time for the red flag to fly over Europe once again. He has 24 hours to vacate his office or I will detonate Roy Keane."

This sudden grasp for power all around Europe by Manchester United has been masterminded by their chief executive David Gill. In programme notes written for the occassion of Sir Alex Ferguson's 70th birthday, Gill alluded to Ferguson "moving upstairs" in three years time when he decided to finally vacate the manager's job. However, rather than referring to the orthodox Director of Football role, this euphemistic phrase now seems to suggest that Ferguson, who Gill has been encouraging fans to refer to as "Our Dear Leader", will in fact become Fuhrer of the Red Reich in 2014.

Over the past two years Manchester United have been unable to compete with the financial clout of the Caliphate of Manchester City and the Motherland of Chelsea and were beginning to fear that their ability to saunter along their ususal path to success was beginning to wain. Although Ferguson has managed to regenerate his team more times than Dr.Who, this time he has chosen to take the path of least resistence and appoint his most trusted commanders to the various positions of power around the continent. By 2020 it is expected that Nemanja Vidic and Peter Schmeichel will be cloned to form a ruthless new army to crush any dissent, Gary Neville will be in charge of all media and Dennis Irwin will be declared Pope.

This move by the Red Devils should cement their position at the top of the European game for the foreseeable future. Since they have been unable to win the financial battle and corner the international market for memorabilia, replica kits and TV rights, it is hoped by all United fans that their mastery of the political sphere will give them an unsurmountable advantage. In a draft of the Europe-wide Trafford Act, which was circulated around all the major broadsheets earlier today, all referees officiating at Old Trafford will have to wear red strips, Manchester United will be allowed to take a penalty ever 20 minutes and being Steven Gerrard in a built up area will become a capital offence. The Manchester United board hope to pass the Act into law by the start of the 2016 season, but in the meantime all linesmen at Old Trafford are to be replaced by MI5 enforcers, who will be required to taser any opposition wingers who perform a step-over and release sarin gas into the away dressing room in the event of a half-time lead.

In an unconfirmed quote from earlier today, Sir Alex Ferguson may have said: "Shankly always went on about creating a dynasty, but now I've got an Empire! Kneel before Alex ya wee cunt."

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Dignitastic

Another day and another government commission has offered up a seemingly unpalatable but progressive finding. This time a group of experts asked to report on the controversial issue of assisted dying have returned a verdict that there is a "strong case" for legalising assisted dying the UK. The chair of the committee, Lord Falconer, said that it was the civic duty of the government to assist many Britons to die for the good of society:

"Although it may be an unpleasant, and at times messy, task there is no doubt that assisting the likes of Piers Morgan, Jordan and the entire spawn of T4 presenters to die can only be conducive to a healthier social fabric. I for one am already tingling with excitement at the thought of holding a pillow down over Vanessa Feltz's face and watching life slowly ebb out of her like a gently deflating bouncy castle."

Falconer hopes to introduce the findings of the committee to the statute books by 2015, when the legalised euthanasia of unwanted public figures will occur on a bi-monthly basis, most probably as an addition to the phone voting on Strictly Come Dancing or X-Factor. A pilot version of the scheme is to be started in 2014, using mainly Channel 5 presenters, however the euthanasia will not be legal in Britain at this time and will either be outsourced to Switzerland, Norfolk or one of the Channel Islands, where many of the chief executives who have companies registered offshore are keen to blood their golf clubs on the temples of unwanted celebrities.

It is hoped that using the upper classes and rural communities to carry out the killings will provide an excellent alternative to fox-hunting, and should calm the bloodlust of a group of people who are never happier than urging a pack of hounds to use a wild animal as a stress toy. There is even talk of allowing those carrying out the euthanasia to prefix the assisted dying by parping on a small ceremonial horn, or possibly a kazoo.

The killing of public figures is to be just the start of the scheme if Falconer is to have his way:

"Whilst we will all be delighted to remove the various celebrity melanomas from the skin of society, we want this assisted dying scheme to be as democratic as possible and hope to extend its reach to the general public by 2020. The obvious application will be to get rid of tiresome and unwanted grandparents who are clogging up your schedule and withholding inheritance, embarrasing uncles at weddings and siblings with terrible body odour. If our projections of the population's lack of patience with family members is accurate, we estimate that by the middle of this century we should be able to reduce the number of people living in Britain by 25%. Excellently, this won't just mean a better standard of living due to less people, but also a better quality of person living in the UK."

When asked whether this personality-based euthanasia bared worrying comparisons to the mid-20th century predeliction for eugenics, Falconer simply replied: "Eugenics, schmeugenics. If you want to keep getting grandmas moustachioed kisses be my guest, but I'll look forward to putting my nice downy pillows and 'Fuck You Grandma' pillowcases to good use."

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Could You Step Out Of The Car Please Sir?

Today the government announced that it was commissioning a panel of experts to consider the scientific case for a new criminal offence of drug-driving, that is driving a car under the influence of a recently taken narcotic. Since it is not currently possible to find an equivalent for the breathaliser test, I think police officers should be encouraged to use the traditional 'touch your nose, say the alphabet backwards and walk in a straight line' test of old, and interpret them based on what drug they think the suspect may have taken. Here are some of my suggested guidelines below:

Cannabis: suspect rubs nose, then eyes, then coughs. Suspect begins alphabet but stops to giggle at how curly the letter 'J' is and then gets down on all fours to crawl along the straight line, saying he can feel that it is a leyline, established 1300 years ago by Merlin.

Cocaine: suspect rubs nose, suspect's septum falls out, as well as a bloodied £20 note and some loose change. Suspect then yammers through the first eight letters of the alphabet, only to get perpetually stuck on 'I'. Suspect attempts to snort the straight line.

Magic Mushrooms: Suspect asks which of his fifteen noses you'd like him to touch. Suspect then recites alphabet perfectly, but in Elvish. Suspect then refuses to walk along the straight line, citing as a reason: "I can't work in only three dimensions right now man."

Ketamine: Suspect aims for nose about three feet in front of where it actually is. Suspect then clops foot in perfect morse code version of the alphabet, then trots along the straight line. Revoke fine and suggest entering dressage classes.

Ecstacy: Suspect touches nose then keeps on rubbing it, describing in detail how amazing the feeling of their nose is, and how the officer should really have a go rubbing it himself. In fact, why doesn't the officer get nose to nose with the suspect and they can do a hyped up Eskimo kiss. Suspect recites alphabet rhythmically and starts to dance to his own recitation. Finally, suspect refuses to walk the line alone, insisting that he and the officer do it together, or possibly even take turns giving the each other piggy backs.

Heroin: Suspect attempts to sell you his own nose "just for one last hit man?" Suspect begins alphabet, but four hours later the blissed-out bunny is still only up to 'F'. Suspect mistakes thin line for another junkie and attempts to score a hit of it.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

God's Spirit Level

Pioneering scientists have revealed the results of a study in which they have measured the way Loch Ness tilts back and forth as the whole of Scotland bends with the passing of the tides. It is a tiny signal seen in the way the waters at the ends of the 35km-long lake rise and fall.

"I have described Loch Ness as the largest spirit level in the world," David Pugh, who is a visiting professor at the National Oceanography Centre (N.O.C.), told reporters.

However in disspiriting news for all mankind, Creationist thinkers have already taken this as definitive evidence for their arguments. 'Professor' Rufus.C.Facepalm, Head of Data Cherrypicking and Blinkered Logic at the Creationist Research Education and Teaching Institute of Nebraska (C.R.E.T.I.N.) was quoted as saying:

"This is yet more hard, empirical evidence that the universe as we know it has a creator or - as the Scottish spirit level shows - a builder. How else do you explain the top of Table Mountain? It's as sure as the hell all of you doubters will end up in NOT from glacial erosion or dinosaur removal men taking away the additional scree or whatever it is 'Science' says. I forget, fourth grade was hard and I had a pencil stuck up my nose for a semester. In the Seven Days of Creation God simply measured Table Mountain's flat top using Loch Ness. Same for the Nasca Plains; and the top of my ancestor's heads."

Facepalm is particularly pleased with this discovery as it fits in perfectly with his thesis: "God: A Workmanlike Effort" which suggests that evidence of God's heritage as a builder lies all around us. He even has the traditional portrait of the Lord of Creation framed on his office wall, but instead of a white robe, God is pictured is whitewashed jeans, with the celestial arsecrack showing and a beam of ethereal light glowing from between the heavenly cheeks, illuminating his holy mug of primordial tea. If one looks very closely, you can see a motto on the mug which reads "World's Best Dad".

"What my thesis purports," says the 'Professor' "is that God didn't just lay down the world, but laid down the blueprint for how things should be created and how builders should act. There are clues in scripture, but also in the physical world." Scriptural clues include the Holy Trinity ("God involved his son in a family business, just like all good builders"), the Sabbath Day ("the original tea break") and the promise of the return of the Messiah ("the ultimate builder's estimate.") But what is so key about the Loch Ness spirit level discovery is that it gives physical evidence to back-up Facepalm's idea. He hopes that future work will show geysers to be an unfinished attempt to centrally heat the entire world, the ozone layer as God's idea of lagging the attic for insulation and the rainforests as a gauche and tasteless conservatory.

The N.O.C.'s David Pugh is worried about Facepalm's arguments, since he says it is likely to deter scientists in a variety of fields from pioneering towards new research:

"Really, what is the fucking point - these people are incorrigable. My colleagues and I make some interesting niche discoveries about the nature of tidal mechanics which are of little interest to the layman, and these dribbling nutjobs decide to use it to justify their primitive view of the world, yet when we give them something like evolution which explains in almost every detail the origins of homo sapiens as a species they react like scientists are evil warlocks with pretensions on violating their dear old grey-haired mothers. I'm glad I made my disocvery in Scotland, I'm off for a whisky."

Monday, 2 January 2012

A Light(Sabre) Goes Out

The sport and political world was united in mourning today in memory to Bob Anderson, the British fencing instructor who taught Darth Vader to duel with his lightsabre, who sadly passed away aged 89. In this Olympic year I think we can all be extremely proud that the once second in command of an intergalactic empire was taught his fly moves not by some sort of shrivelled kermit with all the syntactical skills of a hip-swinging south London teenager on their second hit of crystal meth, but by a gentleman of the British Empire.

One can imagine Lord Vader practising in one of the Westminister galleries with Anderson in between sitting in the House alongside other life peers such as Lord Aslan of Longleat and Lord Tolkein of the Shire. In one of his final interviews before passing away, Anderson even shyly admitted that in return for teaching Lord Vader some of his more spectacular lightsabre moves, he in turn had been given some of the secrets of the force:

"You know that brilliant one that he does in A New Hope, where he strangles the air and one of his subordinates starts to have some serious larynx trouble? Well all I can say is that came in useful in Tokyo 1964. One of the local fencers tried to pull some mystic Eastern shenanigans on me...can't remember his name now...Miyagi or something...but I was able to counter with the air-choking manouvre and luckily he blacked out onto my epee. That was boss."

Reuters tried to get a quote from Vader about his much loved mentor, but sadly he was said to be too choked up to give a full statement, instead just falling to his knees and yelling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Anderson was respected on all sides of the intergalactic political spectrum and a tearful Admiral Akba paid tribute by saying:

"Anderson was a remarkable craftsman - light of foot and speedy of reflex. He did a great job working with so many of the young Jedis I knew in my youth - it's just such a shame he had all the loyalty of an Australian bowling coach and was happy to work on either side of the Rebel/Republic divide. He will be sadly missed."

Akba later added: "It's a trap!"

It is hoped that Anderson will be commeorated at the Opening Ceremony in July, where it is rumoured that the Olympic Flame will be lit by Sir Steve Redgrave brandishing a lightsabre, although knowing the British Olympic Association it'll probably just end up being Keith Chegwin toasting complimentary marshmallows over one.

Anderson is survived by two children and fifteen Ewoks.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

The Start of the End of the World

So here we are in 2012, the year that has been the biggest threat to the existence of the human race since the dawn of the millennium. Twelve years ago the entire world was all of a quiver with the idea that computer systems at every conceivable level of society would struggle to cope with a new digit at the head of the date. This time round a large variety of perfectly rational human beings are genuinely concerned by a prediction made by the Mayans that the world will end in September. Now the only reason I can see to be afraid of such a thing is that anything apocalyptic sounds spookier coming out of the mouths of a long-dead, jungle-dwelling, cannibalistic civilisation. We wouldn't be worried about the 2012 destruction if it was predicted by the Belgians. Oh no, wrap up the children, cover the cat in bubble wrap, for Henk has foretold a hideous waffle-based end of days! On the 15th of September in 2012 this once delicious Netherland snack will achieve sentience and begin to wreak its sweet revenge on human society for centuries of pain as we've ruthlessly snacked on its forebears.

I do also think that the Mayans picked what I can only describe as a 'photogenic' date. Somehow, saying that the world was going to end in 1997 or 2019 or 2053 doesn't seem hugely satisfying. It's almost as though they had a suspicion Roland Emmerich was going to exist. I also wonder whether this prediction was common knowledge in Mayan society? Did everyone live in fear of 2012? Did Mayan parents threaten their misbehaving children by saying "eat up your newly extracted human heart or I'll make it 2012 and then you'll be sorry." It is awfully convenient for the Mayans that they predicted the end of the world long after their civilisation died out, so they've managed to escape the world-ending carnage, the lucky so-and-sos. Frankly I wish they were here to share the untold destruction with the rest of us.

Happy New Year. The countdown begins...