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This new-fangled thing called the “Worldwide Web”

It’s Wednesday. If you’re a bespectacled Kiwi, this means that ‘tonight is the night that we make love’. But I’m not in New Zealand. In fact, I’ve never even been, despite it effectively being a giant country-shaped rugby stadium in the middle of the sea. Instead, I’m sitting in my bedroom in Oxford. Well, when I say “sitting” I actually mean “crouching in the corner of a dark room wearing a coat hanger covered in tinfoil for a hat, gibbering poppycock about the Wars of the Roses to the wall”. Why, you ask? Why is this otherwise entirely sane gentleman of repute acting in such a way that might have him mistaken for a rabid Justin Bieber fan?

The length of....time you'll have to wait to see Justin Bieber

I’ll tell you, but ONLY you. You see, the Internet did it.

Cast your minds back, if you will, to the dim and distant past. The internet was in its infancy. Facebook, Twitter and the seminal Roundabout Appreciation Society hadn’t even been roughly conceived in the back of a Ford Transit yet. And, across the world, perplexed parents are speaking to their mothers on their landline telephones, when suddenly “BRRRRRRRRRRR…EEEEEEEEEEEEE….B-DN B-DN B-DN” – a noise that could only be described as similar to what happens when Q*BERT flushes the toilet after a long day lighting up cubes drowns out their fawning agreements and tiresome eye-rolling. It’s happened. Their children are connecting to “The World Wide Web”, futuristic land of pixellated paedophiles and pornography involving wallpaper and horses. “Say it ain’t so!” they cry. But so it was. And is. And forever shall darn well be. Thankfully, they just sigh, apologise, reach for the plug and…..”click”. Silence. Disconnected.

Qbert

So there was a time, you see, when the www’s and the http’s could be rationed. It was considered a routine request that the internet be “disconnected” so that homework could be completed, chores done or pets fed. However, let’s fast-forward a few years to the present day and try and conceptualise the same request, as presented to today’s snarling, square-eyed picture of youth. I believe it would go something like this:

Father: “Mike, it’s time for tea! Come downstairs and… OH MY GOD… I…er…I…”

Son: “Dad! Oh my God, what are you doing! You can’t just come… I was, er… I was just looking at this…er…”

Father: “OK OK OK, enough, I’ll be, er…. just… tea’s ready, come downstairs please”

Son: “OK just… SHUT THE DOOR! I’ll, yeah, OK…”

Not a pretty picture.

Cup

I digress. The point is that the internet is omnipresent, omnipotent, omnivorous; it literally devours everything it touches – meat or vegetable. Everything that was once perfectly happy living a 3-dimensional, oxygen-breathing life has now been absorbed into “the all-powerful internet”, a place so backward that it contains sites where “following” people is encouraged rather than illegal. Books are online, jobs are online, I even overheard my family talking about taking my Grandmother offline the other day. I was incensed. How dare they upload members of my own family without even informing me?! Is she available on USB? Can I “share” her with my friends? So many questions…

Nan

All this madness brings about the question: what happens if, amongst this, you suddenly find yourself deprived of the internet for a length of time?

And so I bring you back to my current reality, chewing on nails and spiders’ legs while shivering under a blanket made of my own toenail clippings. Ladies and Gentlemen, I HAVE NO INTERNET. If I say this in public, I imagine I will be stared at while mothers  usher their children away from me and preachers flick stagnant water over my face. I am impure! Unclean! Disconnected from the internet; disconnected from life. It isn’t fair. Imagine what would have happened if Jack Bauer had said “Chloe! I need satellite coverage of the hostile’s vehicle NOW!” and he had got the reply: “Sorry Jack, Internet’s down. Apparently someone from Virgin Media will be round in two Monday’s time, between 1 and 6 and can she have the first line of your address and postcode, please?”

What

I need help.

Missing: One “Internet”.

Size: Both minuscule and unfathomably huge.

Answers to: “BRRRRRRRRRRR…EEEEEEEEEEEEE….B-DN B-DN B-DN”

REWARD: MY ETERNAL GRATITUDE AND (WHAT IS LEFT OF) MY FRAGILE SANITY

You know where to find me.

Simon

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“Mum… MUM! I think the planet’s dead!”

I hope that you all appreciate this. I’m hunched over, bottom lip firmly clamped over nose, taking valuable time out from the last day on earth to write about the last day on… yes. Well. My nonetheless valid point is that I deserve recognition for this selfless act. Of course, the painful agony of this is that the earth is about to be eaten by Godzilla, meaning that my long overdue Nobel prize will remain undelivered. Damn you, Gorilla-Whale. Anyway, while rocketing through my bucket list at a speed that would give Morgan Freeman an epileptic fit, I have had time to pause and reflect on the cold hard facts that form the undeniable truth that is the forthcoming apocalypse.

Marlon Harewood's Bad Hair Day 20.12.12

The Mayans

I feel compelled to begin by stating that I have never in fact met a Mayan. However, I have been told that the 21st of December represents the end of a 5125-year cycle in their calendar. This is terrifying news, but it DOES allow me to draw the following highly educated conclusions about their ancient society with some degree of confidence and authority:

  1. Their calendars were ludicrously expensive.
  2. They used rhinoceros horns embedded in to their walls to hang said calendars, which made a mess of their kitchen wallpaper.
  3. They are responsible for most species of rhinoceros being endangered today.
  4. Mayan Teenagers’ calendars contained an eye-watering amount of airbrushed soft pornography.
  5. This resulted in Mayan males having abnormal asymmetries in their wrist sizes.
  6. Mayan females liked to plan things an awfully long way ahead.
  7. Except for counting numbers after 20.12.2012

Hot Mayan Nurses

ARE YOU SCARED YET????? I start trembling and have to hide behind a pillow whilst sobbing quietly in to a bucket of my own sick EVERY NEW YEAR (although I have been told that this is actually affected by alcohol consumption rather than doomsday-phobia). All the same, imagine the state the Mayans must be in right this second, after stacking up 5125 New Years in to one night. I can’t even begin to imagine how one would go about dressing in 5125 different fancy dress costumes at once, let alone sing Auld Lang Syne 5125 times. The mind boggles.

The Music

Whilst there is no denying the quality of both The Beatles and Nirvana separately, the combining of two powerful forces such as these has no doubt confirmed that Armageddon is upon us. It doesn’t matter that 50% of them are dead, or that Paul McCartney has been melted by his own smuggery leaving only a magic singing toupee behind, the facts CAN NOT BE IGNORED. Strongly backing up this argument are musical collaborations such as Madonna and Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Chris Brown and Iggy Pop and that staggering mountain of wildebeest turd with a dollar sign in her name. The mysterious release of a single called “Scream to high buggery” by Ban$hee on this very date has almost certainly swayed it for me.

Ke$ha is Swamped by Fans

The Guys with the Signs

I mean, they seem so sure this time, right? Undeterred by the previous 74 occasions on which they have been proven to merely be the kind of people who twitch on buses, stare intently at geese and sniff bridges, the placard-wearing brigade have once again taken to the streets in force, sporting everyone’s favourite judgement day slogans:

  1. “The End is Nigher”
  2. “Get your tissues for the second coming”
  3. “It’s not the end of the… OH WAIT”
  4. “I’ll NOT be back”

I’m pretty sure I also spotted a group of students near the back too, but their signs said “NOW will you legalise it??”

A-DOH-CALYPSE

They Killed Sir Patrick Moore

I don’t know who “they” is, but television has recently told me that Sir Patrick Moore was the only man in the entire world to have owned a telescope. Now nobody can see Godzilla coming. We are all surely doomed.

Conclusion

So it’s almost time for me to bid you adieu. The final curtain, the last hoorah. As Edith Piaf, a woman who could be transformed from a midget in to the tallest woman in the world through careful ironing, once warbled: “Je ne regrette rien…”

BUT WAIT!! An epiphany! Maybe all is not in fact lost! Remove the knife from your mother in-law’s throat, put your pants back on and return that Bugatti to its owner very, very quietly. And, for those of you just about to seal the airlock on your cryogenic chambers, first ponder over these three crucial, life-changing facts:

  • It’s already 21.12.2012 in Australia, so even if the end of the world is coming, at least they died first.
  • One of the four horsemen of the apocalypse recently received a six-month ban for the presence of a “prohibited substance” in his blood and is therefore unavailable for selection.
  • Kim Jong-Un’s fingers are too fat to press the big shiny red button on his massive mahogany desk.

FRANKIE DETTORI - DEFINITELY NOT A COKEHEAD

Simon

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‘Tis the Season

Hurrah! Huzzah! Brobdignag! We should all be sickeningly congratulatory, stand around in large circles and laugh heartily in rounds (until the laughter awkwardly fades away like that bit in Austin Powers).

Why, you ask?

“Well, it’s Christmas! You see that?! WE did that!!” Except….

It will come as no surprise to those of you unfortunate to know me that I dislike Christmas intensely. I wake up every December 25th with what psychiatrists specialising in providing an entirely unwanted supportive ear to hormonal teenagers will come to refer to as “an utterly stonking grump on”. Do you remember that time when Fred Durst nonchalantly flung strands of his pubic hair, 15 stone of lard and a dead clown in to a Play-Doh pasta machine and then furiously turned the handle, grinding away until, eventually, the band Staind popped out? Yes? Well, even more miserable than them.

StaindPlay-Doh

I have reasons which conveniently divide themselves in to two kinds:

  1. Poignant and Genuine
  2. Strange

I won’t ruin the surprise by telling you which of these will form the focus of the remainder of this post. Call it my Christmas gift to you all. Don’t thank me.

Drum Roll……………

1) Snow

On Christmas Day, 1941, Bing Crosby, via radio, released a version of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” so covered in treacle that a morbidly obese man, unable to beat hunger away with his giant back-scratcher until Turkey o’clock promptly devoured it. No known copy of the original broadcast exists. Undeterred, Crosby, who was later scientifically proven to have the most punchable face in human history, re-released it via the eye-wateringly terrible film, Holiday Inn. The following SUMMER. Such was the power of his dream of a white Christmas, that a terrified God invented snow almost immediately after, and that was that. Boy, did HE have egg on his face when he realised that Crosby had being singing about class ‘A’ narcotics all along.

The obsession with snow in this country is ludicrous. I have actually witnessed real adults flapping their wings with joy and utter disbelief when they discover that THERE IS ICE FALLING FROM THE SKY. All well and good, don’t get me wrong. But then, almost inevitably with us Brits, the complaining starts.

“It’s COOOOOOOOOOLD!” “It’s really sliiiiiippyyyyyy!” “My snowman looks like a fat Grand Imperial Wizard and it’s scaring the nice Nigerian family next door!”

KKK Snowman

Chaos ensues. The country literally goes in to meltdown (no pun intended).  People are unable to leave their houses and go to work for fear of the annual plague of Yetis, drivers reduce their speeds to 10mph (whilst still driving three inches from the rear of the car in front) and pensioners all across the UK start dropping dead in protest.

So my message about snow to you all, as you shield yourself from a barrage of suspiciously yellow-coloured snowballs hurled by the children across the way, is this:

It’s all Bing Crosby’s fault.

Bing

2) The “family meal”

Q: What’s the blandest, dullest, most depressing kind of meat in the world?

The answer of course is Andy Murray. But we can’t all eat him. Oh no. So, we use an unbelievably complex mathematical principle to calculate the optimum number of drunk, hat-wearing lunatics that comfortably fit around a dinner table, add seventeen, then sit in anticipation of the world’s second blandest, second dullest, second most depressing kind of meat, Turkey.

Turkeys were introduced to Britain by William Strickland upon his return from America in 1542. This was during the reign of King Henry VIII, an exceptionally fat man, who was pant-wettingly excited about the fact that turkeys were bigger than geese. He started eating them and, being as he was in no way an enormous pain in the posterior, he never once threatened death upon those who did not support and facilitate the breeding of these animals. ALTERNATIVELY…

Henry VIII

So here we are, picking disdainfully at our turkey while frantically clock-watching, beads of anticipatory sweat dripping from our brows as if our very juices are trying to make a break for it and save themselves, when things take a dramatic turn for the worse. How wrong D:Ream were with their 1993 prediction, because, that’s right, it’s time for Christmas crackers. I can’t adequately describe a cracker in a way that fully portrays its unbearable crapness. Fortunately, Wikipedia can. I would like you to read the following while imagining it being narrated by the blandest, dullest, most depressing kind of meat in the world:

‘A cracker consists of a cardboard tube wrapped in a brightly decorated twist of paper, making it resemble an oversized sweet-wrapper. The cracker is pulled by two people, and, much in the manner of a wishbone, the cracker splits unevenly. The split is accompanied by a small bang or snapping sound produced by the effect of friction on a chemically impregnated card strip (similar to that used in a cap gun). One chemical used for the friction strip is silver fulminate, which is highly unstable.’

Brilliant.

But wait? What’s that inside the cracker? Is it…. a joke??? Could things be looking up???

HILARIOUS joke

What follows this is laughter so forced that it can only be replicated on any other day by attending a Russell Howard stand-up routine. Not to mention the fact that I was absolutely positive that the answer to that joke was “Chuck Norris”.

Fortunately, I have a solution to this part of “The Christmas Problem”, the instructions to which are below:

  1. Unfurl “joke”.
  2. Pretend to read it, concentrate very hard on Russell Howard, and then make laughy noises.
  3. Instead of reading it, pretend to read it while instead telling a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT JOKE that is ACTUALLY FUNNY.
  4. Apologise to your grandparents.

Works every time. I call it “How not to be invited to your own house on Christmas Day”.

3) Jesus

Let me get this straight. I’m eating turkey, wearing a stupid hat and sitting twelve centimetres away from my Grandmother’s cleavage because there was once a story of a wizard baby who grew up, drank too much and enjoyed a “bit of a dabble” with a prostitute? Who does he think he is? Angus Deayton?

Angus Deayton

Two Weeks Later…..

Margaret, mother of two, has given up. The strain of Christmas has ripped her soul in to tiny, tinsel-covered shreds. She’s had more visitors than she could shake a stick at, and they have harassed, demanded, niggled, gibed, annoyed, baited, bothered, badgered, hassled, heckled and hounded her in to submission. Not only that, but she’s had turkey sandwiches, turkey risotto, turkey stir fry, turkey stew and turkey curry. Turkey is actually coming out of her eyeballs. She even called the President of Turkey to see if he could assist. He could not. Defeated and a shell of a woman, she wearily trudges across the new lino that was given to her as a present by her dreadful Mother-in-Law, opens the bin and…

“What about the starving children in Africa, Mummy?”

Spanking

The moral of the story is that Christmas also directly causes child abuse. I rest my case.

Simon