Friday, 29 May 2009
Camping as a grown-up is very much like camping with your family when you were a nipper, except that there’s no-one to make tea for you. It rocks – all you need is the following: tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, kettle, frying pan, tea bags, milk, bacon, bread, lager, wine, lager. A pitch for your tent will only cost about £20, and you can lie in the grass and watch the stars, drinking steadily until you realise you can’t stand up and you’ve soiled yourself. Brilliant.
Once when I was camping I saw a Sierra crash into a tree, but this doesn’t always happen.
This is much the same as normal-people camping, except that everyone will hate you. Caravanning is ideal if you want to irritate as many people as possible. The cheapest way to do it is to borrow a caravan from a neighbour – try adding in an element of surprise by not telling them that you’re borrowing it. It’ll inject a little drama into their lives. It’d probably help to borrow their tow car as well.
Once you’re out on the road, you’re duty bound (as are all caravanners) to drive as slowly as possible, whilst constantly wandering out of your lane so that nobody can get past. Seen a decent place to pull over and let people pass? Ignore it.
On arriving at your destination, be sure to park the caravan very, very close to somebody’s tent so that they can hear you playing Connect 4, cooking pasta and shitting in a cupboard.
Going to places other people don’t want to go to
Swine flu is the best possible thing to happen to the impoverished but aspirational traveller. Cancun, Tijuana, Ixtapa, Puebla… Mexico is your oyster. It’ll be dirt cheap to go there and be honest, what’s the likelihood that you’ll catch flu while you’re there? Pretty small, probably. And how many Brits have died of it? You’ll almost certainly be fine. Plus no-one else will be there, so you won’t have to queue for anything.
Canada’s looking a bit risky tourism-wise as well – why not take a stroll through Winnipeg or Saskatoon while the locals are cowering in their beds with little blue masks on?
This has got to be the cheapest holiday there is. It’s just walking, isn’t it?
This is the sort of thing that’s really cool to do when you’re a sixth former and you’ve just learnt to drive, but you lose enthusiasm for. Rekindle that flame! No matter how small your holiday budget may be, you can be sure to have a great time if you do it the booze cruise way. Here’s how: Book a week off work. On your first day, go on a day trip to Calais. (This is only about £25 from Dover on P&O, if you don’t mind getting up a bit early.) Spend all your holiday money on as much booze as you can physically get in the car. Go home. Spend the rest of the week drinking it all.
If you want to go back to work with what looks like a tan, try to focus on mainly drinking beverages that are brown or yellow in colour – Kahlua or dark rum should sort you out.
Do what you used to do when you were a teenager
It’s all too easy to fall into a pseudo-sensible routine as you march relentlessly towards the grave, but all you really want to do is return to those halcyon days of youth, right? So do it. Think back to when you were seventeen. What would you have been doing in your summer holidays? I don’t know about you, but I was sitting on the beach at Whitstable, barbecuing at the front of a beach hut we thought belonged to a friend (although he was telling fibs and we were actually just regularly breaking into some random’s beach hut, oops), sending the oldest-looking of my friends to Alldays to buy Strongbow and trying to figure out how to steal beer barrels from The Tank (R.I.P.). Good times.
There you go – 100% fun guaranteed with any of those.
(For information purposes only – no guarantee expressed or implied.)
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
A TAIWANESE carpenter bought a porn DVD only to find secretly taped motel footage of his wife having sex with his friend, whom the husband later stabbed, a newspaper has reported.The husband, identified only by his surname Lee, discovered the illicit sex on the DVD in 2002.
The sexual acts apparently had been recorded using a hidden camera and were on a pornographic DVD, titled Affairs with Others' Wives, which the husband bought from a vendor to watch at home.
Lee, who lives in Taoyuan County near Taipei, divorced his wife after viewing the DVD.
His friend, a butcher, fled their village.
In August 2008, Lee spotted the butcher in Chungli City, returned with a knife and stabbed his former friend in the thigh.
The butcher sued Lee for causing bodily harm. Lee sought but was unable to countersue the butcher for adultery, because of a five-year statute of limitations.
Prosecutors urged the men to settle the case out of court, but they refused.
With the failure to resolve the case, Lee was indicted on Tuesday on a charge of causing bodily harm to another person, the Liberty Times reported.
Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of less than six months in prison, which can be converted into a fine.
The brilliant thing about living in London is that you have a huge number of different permutations between any two given destinations. It’s too easy to get stuck in a routine and do the same thing every day, so why not mix it up a bit?
Here are a number of ways I’ve travelled to work recently – why not see which you can incorporate into your own commute?
Buses are great, but only if there aren’t many people on them when you get on. The best seat, obviously, is on the ground floor, at the back, by the window. Only idiots go upstairs – there’s no legroom unless you sit right at the front, and there’s no point going up there on the off-chance that the only four good seats will be free. They won’t.
The only down-side to the bus is that the drivers are quite often bonkers in their coconuts. They sometimes think it’s acceptable just to throw on the hazards and press the button that says ‘this bus terminates here’ for no apparent reason. This happened to me on Monday. It’s bloody annoying. You can’t get any sort of logic out of a bus driver – they take a simple question like ‘why have we stopped?’ as a threat and get really defensive and shouty. No warning, no apology, no refund, long walk to work in the rain, bastards.
But usually it’s fine.
Overland trains are an interesting choice for an early morning London commute, because everyone else seems to think they’re a brilliant idea. Londoners love trains. For this reason, getting on one between 7:00-9:30 is pretty much guaranteed to ensure that a) you’ll have to stand, b) you’ll be physically unable to move due to all the other people standing near/on you, c) you’ll have some sweaty fucker in a high-vis and a backwards hard hat burping eggily at you and d) you’ll have to wait for three or four trains to go past before you can actually get on one. But on the plus side, there tend to be fewer kids playing shite tinny r‘n’b from their mobiles than you’ll find on buses.
This will give you a fascinating insight into what it’s like to be an outlaw. Cyclists, you see, play by their own rules. When you’re riding a bike in London you’re allowed to ignore red lights (don’t worry about the fact that it’s fucking inconsiderate, dangerous and annoying, just do whatever the hell you like), you can ride on pavements and get all mardy with pedestrians who get in your way, and you’re entitled to act as if you own the road even though you don’t pay a penny to be there. Why not try it for a day? It’s like being an immortal superhero (except that rather than doing good and philanthropic deeds, you’re actually irritating and inconveniencing quite a lot of people). And you get to wear lycra and pretend it’s acceptable.
The scooter rider is the polar opposite to the cyclist. If you get a chance to borrow a scooter for your commute, take it up – you’ll have fresh respect for them. They have to play by the rules, otherwise they get pulped by artics. They also have the fun of wet manhole covers and oil spills on corners. It’s a miracle they make it in at all, given the poor awareness of the average London motorist. If you see someone arrive at the office on a scooter, pat them on the back and offer them a cup of tea. They could probably do with having their nerves calmed a bit.
Cars are much better than public transport, obviously. They go right from your front door whenever you decide that they should. You can relax in your seat, put your favourite tunes on the stereo and just sit there watching the gristly remains of scooter riders flying by. You won’t get anywhere quickly, because you’ve decided to drive in the most densely populated part of the country when everyone else is trying to drive there too, but traffic jams aren’t as stressful as people make them out to be. It’s just sitting, isn’t it? Sitting’s easy. And you don’t have to be near dirty strangers like you do on public transport.
This can be quite pleasant or really annoying, it depends where you’re going from and to. Waterloo’s quite cool because it’s like a little street market. Victoria, on the other hand, is horrible if you’re trying to get on the Victoria Line – it’s a ridiculous bottleneck. It’s fun to get on the tube with some bulky luggage at somewhere like Stratford or Plaistow and feel the seething rage of your fellow commuters as you get more and more central – there are few situations more conducive to intense unfettered malice than a sealed metal tube with no escape route. Wait until you inexplicably stop in a tunnel for a few minutes (which always bloody happens) and ‘accidentally’ knock your suitcase over to see if anyone tumbles to the ground. It will give them an interesting story to tell their colleagues when they get to work.
It’s nice to walk in London (unless you live somewhere crap like King’s Cross or Streatham, where it’s a bit third world-ish). A stroll through Kensington will show you the sort of massive houses that you’d be living in if you’d paid a bit more attention at school; a wander down the South Bank gives you the sense of superiority that Spaniards feel along La Rambla – the unimpressed aloofness that projects a vibe of ‘this is my town, so none of this needs to interest me’; a mosey through Covent Garden gives you the olde worlde feel of cobbles beneath your feet whilst providing endless opportunities to ruin tourists’ photographs. Walking is good. But, of course, the further you walk, the more likely you are to get stabbed up. That’s just the reality of living in a city. So please – walk sparingly.
I don’t really get on well with black cabs. I know that as a Londoner I should be leaping in and out of taxis at any possible opportunity and be adept at doing that weird whistling-with-your-fingers-in-your-mouth thing, but I just don’t. Taxis are really bloody expensive. I never get them anywhere. Also, I know sod all about football, and this is the one thing that cabbies always try to talk to me about.
I’ll tell you what’s a much better alternative: unlicensed minicabs. People diss them, say they’re a bit rapey, but I find them to be a strong option - they’re always grateful for the business and they’re pretty cheap. I’m not much to look at so I know I won’t be driven into a warehouse and tampered with, my shabby clothes suggest that I have nothing on me worth stealing, so I’m pretty secure. I know that any unlicensed Rover 800 or Nissan Primera that I get into won’t have an MOT and the driver won’t have a license, but that’s all part of the drama and excitement of it. Best thing of all: no driver-controlled door locks – just jump out when you get to your destination and leg it without paying. What’s he going to do, call the filth?
Thursday, 21 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Monday, 18 May 2009
Friday, 15 May 2009
Click here to have a go.
But it’s not infallible. Oh no. The controllers of search are not superintelligent cyborgs from the future – they’re just people. Ordinary people.
And, as we all know, the general public are pretty stupid.
So here’s a fun game to play – I call it Search Engine Sabotage.
As I’m sure you know, there’s a JuicyPips blog. (And if you don’t, then screw you.) If you’re reading this in the weekly email, click here to see the blog. If you’re reading this on the blog, er… well done, you’ve already found it. Carry on.
Now, I use some clever little internet robots to monitor who’s looking at JuicyPips, where they’re from, how long they spend looking at each post, how many posts they click on per visit, et cetera. Interestingly, I also know which search terms people type into Google to arrive at JuicyPips – I have a daily list of the keywords that lead the public Pipward. The most frequent one, oddly, is ‘rad to the power of sick’, referring to an Australian eBay listing I linked to here once. People type that in every day. What’s really interesting, though, is seeing the names that get Googled…
Everyone’s Googled themselves at some point. It’s only natural to want to see yourself through the eyes of the digital world. Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing whether these names that populate my list are people Googling themselves or people Googling other people. It doesn’t really matter – what’s intriguing is that ‘Harry Dromey’ appears every single day. A number of other people have popped up more than once as well, so let’s get them all involved in an exciting game of Search Engine Sabotage!
The premise is simple – I make up a series of lies about people from the office who are already being Googled and showing up in my stats, and we see what gets the most clicks. Here goes…
Harry Dromey will only wear tweed. He despises anyone who attended what he calls ‘free schools’.
He once made a badger eat loads of sherbet until it burst.
Rav Bharij has four arses.
Christen Brestrup died in 1996. He haunts Kensington as an endearingly-accented spectral vapour.
Harman Randhawa invented the Spinning Jenny, the Water Frame, the Flying Shuttle and many of the other pivotal innovations of the Industrial Revolution.
Chloe Belskaia is a pixie. She lives on a moonbeam and farts candy-canes. She also runs a Melrose Place chatroom, but doesn’t like to talk about it.
Helen Doughty owns a donut drive-thru in Minneapolis. Her hobbies include trampolining, cinematic miscegenation and worming dogs.
(OK, she doesn’t work here any more, but she gets a lot of hits.)
Russell Duffett is a worthless shite. (This isn’t actually a lie, but he doesn’t work in the office either. He never has. I went to primary school with him, he threw a rock at my head on my 10th birthday and I had to have stitches. Twat.)
There we go. Let’s see how much of that makes it into the press.
Thursday, 14 May 2009
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Friday, 8 May 2009
A mum of three is dis-custard after a hunt for the dessert sauce in the town proved fruitless.
Keen baker Jules Serkin, 43, of West Cliff, Whitstable, needed a tin of custard powder to top off her apple and blackcurrant crumble.
But she was left with a sour taste in her mouth after getting no joy in either Co-ops at Oxford Street and Canterbury Road, and in Somerfield, in the High Street.
Even a trek to Tankerton's Tesco Express - a corner shop version of its superstores - was wasted.
"I try to support my local businesses, but in the end I had to resort to going to one of the big supermarkets to get what I needed," said Jules, a holiday rental company director.
"I feel very sad that I can't seem to get basic stuff from my high street, and am driven to go online.
"Custard is a staple product on my shopping list and I cannot understand why it should be so hard to find.
"An assistant in Somerfield said they'd had other shoppers asking for tins of custard, but it hadn't been in stock since the shop was refurbished.
"And in the Co-ops I was just greeted with an empty shelf where it should be, and no idea when they might be getting it in.
"I am upset because it seems these shops cannot order a product that customers are demanding as it doesn't seem to fit in with what they are selling.
"I had to resort to buying sachets which cost only a few pence less than a tin, and don't go very far at all. If I buy a tin, it goes in my pantry and will last me quite a few crumbles.
"I'm making an apple and blackcurrant crumble and, as I am trying to eat healthily can control what I put into the custard, like skimmed milk.
"With the sachets, there are all sorts of ingredients and additives - and you just add water to make it.
"It's very convenient, but not as good as the real thing. Custard should be a lovely comfort, nice and thick."
It goes on like this. Click here to read the comments on this shocking and important story - it is, I promise, comedy gold.
Now, it’s more important to some people than others how they may be remembered after they’re wormfood. For the hordes of the great unwashed you find spending their dole money in Lidl on cheap vodka, swearing at strangers in pubs and generally keeping the sportswear industry afloat, there seems to be little concern over the impact their meaningless existences make on the earth. The annals of history will inevitably forget those who spend their lives watching daytime TV and hating each other, but that’s fair enough. That’s how the system works. They don’t care that they’re wasting the greatest opportunity that the cosmos has to offer, so sod ‘em.
At the other end of the scale we find the relentlessly overambitious. Not so much the types you see on The Apprentice (annoyingly ambitious, yes, but with goals of being the best salesman or owning the biggest Cheshire mansion rather than actually changing anything significant), but those who achieve so much that memories of them have to be streamlined and compartmentalised. Look at Thomas Edison – what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of him? Probably the light bulb, right? Here’s a man who held over a thousand patents, developed an early motion picture camera, invented the stock ticker and the X-ray machine, the carbon microphone and the phonograph and countless other things, yet you dismiss him as ‘the light bulb guy’. He was too prolific, that was his problem.
Ditto Einstein – 450 works published, and he’s remembered as the guy with the wild hair who liked to stick his tongue out.
Obviously it’s much better to be in the latter camp than the former – brilliant people are, well, brilliant. We don’t all have to do world-changing things (for one thing, your children’s children will hate you and your generation for making their history lessons so complicated), but it’s nice to have ambition.
Of course, I’m a massive hypocrite. I’ve never really achieved anything of any real significance and I have no idea how to fix that. What will people say about me after I’m dead? ‘He wrote JuicyPips, which a handful of people read and instantly forgot.’ ‘He created a lot of paperwork for the DVLA.’ ‘He worked in a very minor advertising role, indirectly making children fat.’ ‘He had quite a big telly.’
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about this. Do you?
I’ll tell you what I want to leave to posterity: I want to emulate the eccentric actions of a personal hero of mine, William Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, 5th Duke of Portland.
William lived in the estate of Welbeck Abbey, which he spent a fortune developing, employing thousands of local labourers from the area: they knew him as ‘the workmen’s friend’. His projects were ambitious, slightly baffling, and served purposes known only to him. The house itself was enormous but William commissioned a second mansion to be built underneath it, including a vast great hall, an observatory, a billiard room big enough for a dozen billiard tables and a spectacular ballroom with a ceiling painted to look like a sunset, with a hydraulic elevator to take guests up to ground level. He never entertained guests at his house, and the ballroom was never used. He just wanted it there. A network of tunnels ran underneath the grounds (fifteen miles of them in all) to link the various above- and below-ground buildings, including a tunnel of nearly a kilometre linking the house to the riding-house, wide enough for six men to walk abreast. Another tunnel, large enough to accommodate a carriage, ran to Worksop station to allow him to travel to London in secret. Not that he did very often. Much of the house (which was all painted pink) was unused, stripped of furniture and paintings and left empty, with the Duke living in a 5-room suite in the west wing with no carpets and no furniture aside from a commode in the corner. He insisted that a chicken must be roasting in the kitchen at all times, so that there would always be hot fresh meat available.
A notorious recluse, he prized solitude and privacy above all else, and his staff were given strict instructions to freeze silently on the spot if he was nearby. Indeed, nobody aside from his valet was allowed to acknowledge him in any manner.
Interestingly, he was very keen on non-personal human interaction and was a prolific letter-writer, and his quarters had two letterboxes - one for ‘in’ and one for ‘out’.
When he ventured out, it was almost always by night; if it was necessary to come out in the daylight hours, he’d wear two overcoats and carry an umbrella that he would hide in if anyone addressed him. His quirks and peccadilloes are innumerable and fascinating, but the most important point is that he wasn’t trying to be notable for his eccentricities – he just knew what he wanted and had the means to do it.
This is a man worth remembering.
(Google ‘Druce case’ and the story becomes even more fascinating.)
I don’t know how that helps with the quest for achievement and glory in posterity – maybe we shouldn’t try too hard to chase it? Perhaps the point of life is just to do what the hell you want and hang the consequences. If that’s the case, the chavs have got it right after all. Who am I to judge? I don’t know the answer, and I’m not really sure what the question is…
Thursday, 7 May 2009
I don't know what's more hilarious - the people that are getting so annoyed about not getting any chicken or the network that decided to make such a big deal of it. 'I just wanna feed my family...' Go somewhere else then, you fat fuck.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
Friday, 1 May 2009
So, today we’re thinking about the afterlife.
By definition, each individual interpretation of what constitutes ‘afterlife’ has to sit within the structure of one organised religion or another. Now, I have a problem with organised religion. I think that a) life’s interesting enough without having to create some weird back-story to explain it, b) religious people are always nutters and c) we surely have enough to worry about with flu pandemics, disintegrating ice-caps, ‘Boris for PM’ (seriously?!), kids with knives, AIDS, poverty, tsunamis, Al Qaeda, Al Gore, potholes and stupid fat dolescum chavs, without living in the constant fear of an eternity of scaldings because you might have accidentally coveted an ox or eaten pork on a Tuesday or whatever. Can’t we just enjoy ourselves without constantly being judged for the sinners we apparently are? If I want to massage foie gras into the thighs of a crack-whore on the fast lane of the M3, then use her grandpa’s WWII service revolver to shoot a swan and take its blood to daub a swastika onto a sloth (which is a deadly sin as well as a South American mammal, I checked), surely that’s a series of moral and legal issues rather than being any of Christ’s business?
Whatever religion you may find yourself affiliated with by association, force, blind faith or a misguided sense of ‘reason’, you can be sure that they all share one constant: that all the others are wrong. And you know what? They’re all right in that respect. It’s just a fundamental lack of self-awareness that stops people realising that they’re basing their lives on one system or another that has its roots in oppression, violence, slavery, profiteering, hypocrisy, arrogance and greed. The only ones that are remotely cheery are Buddhism and Sikhism, and that’s largely down, respectively, to the emphasis on being nice to each other and the bright colours. Perhaps I’m being over-simplistic? I don’t know, I haven’t bothered to do any research.
The most troubling element of any religion for me is that of the afterlife – I mean, is that really fair? ‘Live your life by these incredibly strict guidelines or you’ll have a crap time forever’? Come on, that’s just mean. If logic had any part in it, Jesus would be roasting over open coals for that one.
Given that I grew up in a predominantly Christian country and only vaguely know what I’m talking about in that respect (I couldn’t go into any detail about Hindus, Shintos, Rastafarians, Jews or Taoists, and I certainly don’t want to say anything incendiary about Islam), let’s focus on the bog-standard heaven and hell.
Basically, as is my understanding, any minor infraction in the eyes of the Lord will see you banished into Satan’s fiery pit for all eternity. (Interesting how they apply the concept of infinity to time but not space. Bloody hypocrites.) So if you were to, say, accidentally smack your thumb with a hammer and yell ‘Jesus Christ!’, you’d be forced to spend the next billion-to-the-power-of-infinity years in a dark oven with a colossal crimson demon pushing a red-hot spear up your bottom. That’s hardly fair, is it?
Fairness issues aside, the entire concept is full of holes. Infinity is bloody ages – surely after the first couple of millennia you’d grow accustomed to the pain and it wouldn’t be an issue any more? So what happens then – Satan spends his downtime while you’re asleep (well, not asleep… I dunno, nailed upside-down to Vanessa Feltz or something) devising ever-more ingenious ways of making you all hurty? What an enormous waste of his time! What a dick. What if he pushes the torture too far, like Jack Bauer, and accidentally kills you? Are you born again for some fresh pain tomorrow? If so, then pain and death really hold no fear, and if not, where the fuck do you go after that? It makes no sense. You must be able to die in hell – otherwise you’d be a zombie, which is only going to make God angrier – so there’s not a lot to worry about.
Hell is basically like getting into a hot bath, then: it stings for a bit but then it’s kind of mundane.
Realistically, hell would be a much more attractive proposition than heaven anyway. The heaven that we see in the works of Botticelli, Caravaggio and the Philadelphia adverts looks really dull. It’d be pretty unrewarding to sit on a cloud doing nothing for the next forty-five minutes, let alone for the rest of time and beyond. Besides, all the people that go to heaven are the sort of goody-goody religious zealots you spend your entire earthly existence trying to avoid. All the interesting people are in hell – Jimi Hendrix, JFK, James Dean, Janis Joplin, and that’s just a handful of the ‘J’s – while all you’d get in heaven is a squillion years of piety with Ned Flanders.
Here’s a controversial concept for you: when you die, you just die. You’re not reunited with your old pets, you don’t get to watch Big Brother-style highlights of your life on a huge screen, you don’t get to meet your heroes or smite your enemies or float about on a cloud throwing thunderbolts at heathens. You just rot in the ground.
Now stop worrying and enjoy yourself, for Christ’s sake.