Saturday, December 16, 2006

man i gots problems

On account of incessant wife-like nagging from solitary commenter "Mr. Jerky", I am updating my shit. Speaking of shit, my lower digestive tract has blown a gasket. Each morning I am awoken by frightful upheaval therein. This has actually been An Issue for quite a while but only recently has it got bad enough that I’ve gone to A Doctor about it. I’ve seen two so far and between them they’ve disinterestedly poked at my stomach (through latex gloves, what are they trying to say about my hygeine?) and determined that, apparently, I have problems with my digestion. I could’ve bloody told them that, what am I paying the bastards for? Well yeah, I’m not paying them, but It’s The Principle Of The Thing. Anyway, I’m due to lose my droid-virginity in March when they poke a robot endoscope camera up my holiest of holes, to see whass goin’ on up in dis large intestine.

Until then, I’ve got to make do with the rubbish tablets they prescribed me, and they’re fucking useless. Picture a drunk chav assaulting an oncoming tank with a broken bottle and you’ve got some idea of how futile these things are at curtailing my intestinal fury. It just doesn’t feel like one of those problems you can solve with pills. I need some conclusively, invasively physical PROCEDURE done. I need something that’ll leave an impressive scar which I can later spuriously attribute to a swordfight with a Prussian baron on top of a burning Zeppelin. I need something yanked out, adjusted, and then put back in the right way round. And I demand it be performed by Doctor Cox from Scrubs, with attendant hurtful remarks.

Anyway, this coupled with the fact that I have a real, boring job has drained my creative juices. Mostly when I get home I just want to drink tea, work on one of my sad model plane kits and make the most of the moonlight hours before I have to crowbar myself out of bed again and traverse half the known world to spend all day in a gloomy, sunless warehouse/office building. I swear my skin’s starting to go a pale Gollum shade of white and my eyes are disappearing as they get "evolved out" in deference to webbed toes and giant Andrew Marr ears, the better to hunt prehistoric trilobites with.

Yesterday was my first company Christmas lunch. It was quite a surreal experience. Seeing co-workers outside of the work context and being People made it weird enough already, without the collection of extremely eccentric upper-class Tories grilling me on my life aspirations. One lady in her middle fifties - I will call her Mrs. Death to protect the guilty - kept telling me how attractive I am, in between mouthfulls of wine and ranting about society collapsing because of "alcohol and the Pill". Before I managed to escape, she’d asked me a number of quite personal questions about personal relationships, and had SLIPPED ME HER PHONE NUMBER. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww. On the plus side though, I met my boss’s father, an incredibly engaging and charismatic World War Two veteran and OBE, who served as an instructor in the same artillery regiment as my grandad. Who knows, he may have shouted abuse at my gramps! For a ninety-year-old, he’s extremely spry. He still does the accounts for the entire company, and is far more in touch with reality than my boss, who’s a bit... strange.

For instance, when I arrived for work the morning before, he said "I’ve left a copy of the Chinese Times on your desk, there’s an article on Chinese traditional medicine that you’ll find very interesting". I know nothing about Chinese medicine, have no interest in it, and have never mentioned it to the guy. My boss is one weird motherfucker.

Oh, and I finished my Chrimbo shopping yesterday. And no, I didn’t buy you anything.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm not dead yet.

Real genuine actual update is absolutely coming sometime between now and the time when human civilisation's only remaining footprint on the Earth is a thin layer of scattered plastic shards in the Burgess Shale, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here is a soothing picture.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Extracts From My War Memoirs

By the Right Honourable Benneth, MC, DSO, OBE, VC, QC, OMG (not pictured)


So there I was, one minute piloting my Spitfire on a solo daylight raid to knock out a strategically vital German sausage factory, and the next my crate's sticking tail-first out of terra firma. It was a nasty old prang to be sure, but not enough to make me review my policy of always flying whilst drunk. Fortunately I had survived the crash with my tobacco pipe intact, but the same could not be said of my femur bone, which was protruding several inches from the side of my leg. I don't mind telling you that it smarted something ghastly. Fortunately repairing myself was only a matter of smacking the offending bone back into its proper position using the butt of my service revolver and then welding shut the wound with a chunk of molten wreckage.

-

The land for hundreds of miles in every direction was teeming with bloodthirsty, vengeful Hun, and my heart was filled with dread - how many luncheons would I miss in the time it would take me to kill all of them? I did some quick maths as I absent-mindedly strangled the solitary German officer who had been attracted by the racket of my crash. Intelligence reported there were at least 100 divisions of Wehrmacht in the interceding 400 miles between me and Berlin, and doing some quick calculations, I figured I'd have to kill at least a hundred thousand of the buggers before I got to Hitler and could go home for biscuits. Even at an average of a hundred Nazis a day it'd still take me donkey's years on foot with my service revolver, and that was only good for six Jerries - after that I'd have to start throwing it at them. And I was loath to loot any German weapons, as I've always found them to be annoyingly quiet.
So I resolved instead to escape back to England to acquire another aircraft, which would speed the process up considerably and bring my next luncheon that much closer. I acquired the officer's uniform, which fit perfectly, and dressed the dearly departed Jerry in my own flight gear. I shoved the cadaver in the wreckage of my Spitfire and left the spreading fire to melt the bugger's chiselled features off so his pals wouldn't notice my canard.

-

Some two weeks later I had learned the German language by insinuating myself into one of their barrack houses and listening in on their inane conversations. To test my lingo I composed a quick series of war poems which, when I gave a recital, reduced my "fellow soldiers" to fits of weeping and got me compared to Siegfried Sassoon by Berliner Zeitung magazine. Now reasonably confident in my conversational German, and anxious to repay my hosts for so graciously accomodating me, I whipped up a crude pressure-activated gelignite bomb using some shaving cream, tallow and bootblack, which I wired to the latrine before scarpering - my reasoning being that the massive explosion would be the perfect distraction for my escape. Also I'd always thought that the idea of a chap being killed on the bog was ruddy hilarious.

-

I was now married to a strikingly beautiful woman named Herman and living in Dusseldorf, where I had set up a small charter flight business. It was on the night of our first wedding anniversary that I remembered I was supposed to be escaping to England. The old bit of shrapnel in my frontal lobe must have shifted again and temporarily done a number on the old memory banks. Last time that had happened was in `26, when I'd spent three years living in a tree in the Belgian Congo and responding only to the name Mawengwe. Anyway, telling Herman I had to take an emergency shipment of bratwurst to Rommel's headquarters, I set off in my cargo plane on a circuitous course towards old Blighty. I was just pottering up the Spanish coast when a night-fighter took me for a Stuka and sent me hurtling into the ocean in a hail of machinegun fire. Some fishermen attempted to dredge me out of the briney, but they were foreign, so I told them to bugger off and leave me drifting. And that's when I met the giant squid...

-

Fortunately the six months riding the squid that took me to the small island off Burma had left me with a considerable beard growth, in which I was able to conceal a bamboo sword I had constructed whilst Kenji and I were building the escape raft. All I needed was the right time to strike. "Raft finished, Mr. Benneth!" said Kenji, making me wish I'd paid closer attention to the English aspect of his ad-hoc reeducation. "We come to island as enemy but now we reave as friend! Now we go to Dear Old Brighty and I rearn how to be real Engrish gentrrman!". My fellow castaway turned to the raft, at which point I took a regretful sigh and thrust my impromptu saber briskly between his shoulder blades. It was a shame to put an end to him in such an ungentlemanly manner, I'd much rather have blown the back of his head off. Anyway, having finished the last of the squid a few days before, I'd need something to eat on the long voyage home. A few years later, when I was galloping the Japanese ambassador's secretary's sister, I humourously noted that that "Kenji" is Japanese for "lunch".

-

I floored the throttle of my Zero as I approached Pearl Harbour and steeled myself for the unpleasant task at hand. It felt a bit cloak-and-dagger to be bombing chaps who were essentially on our side, but if this didn't convince them to join in the fun then they ruddy well deserved a kicking anyway. And besides, they were only Americans. "BANZAI!" I cried fiercely, as I prepared to bring the 'Divine Wind' to the 'enemies of the Emperor', so to speak.

-

I had full confidence in the success of the D-Day invasion, since I had ghostwritten most of Eisenhower's strategy in hospital during the weeks following my return home. Flak bursts shook the C-47's fuselage along with my fellow commandos as we waited for the jump order. I had always found parachutes terribly uncivilised so I declined to wear one, reasoning that Normandy is mostly composed of runny cheeses and farmer's daughters, so I'd probably land safely on something soft. As luck would have it, when we jumped I made groundfall on an obese SS officer who happened to be carrying a map of troop positions throughout western France. I could have handed them over to the group of American paratroopers I came across but, bless them, the simple chaps would probably have just tried to eat or fornicate with anything I handed to them. With this in mind, I sharpened my letter opener and toddled off towards the nearest group of Wehrmacht.

-

"The joke's on you, Adolf," I said, as the bugger who'd started this whole affair brandished the pneumatic horse inseminator in old Benneth's general direction, "that thing's as empty as your lederhosen!" That hit a nerve. He dropped the weapon and lunged at me, intent on killing me with his bare hands, at which point I simply sidestepped as the head Kraut's forward momentum sent him straight into the propellor. The remaining cyborgs, no longer controlled by his powerful psychic aura, collapsed to the floor dead. I was halfway through my witty comment (something about liking my sausages sliced thin) when I heard Churchill cry from the cockpit; "hurry up for fuck's sake, the Enola Gay won't fly herself!". He was right of course, the Russians were converging right quick, and they'd be fairly embarrassed that I’d minced the Fuhrer before they could get their Bolshevik hands on him. I’d have loved to stay and chat, but we had a war to win.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I don't want any spoo.

Oh, hello. From now on I intend to do smaller updates more frequently, as my brain-sphincter is excreting "hilarious articles" with greatly reduced frequency these days.

Doctor Who, then. I'm not too sure about this series. The first had a couple of duff episodes in amongst the good stuff, but this one has been a thick sludge of duffness from the get-go, with only one or two nuggets of Good floating to the surface, surrounded by shite, like the "chav-tastic" opening episode. And the French costume drama. And the coronation episode and its interminably smug BBC wanking and self-contradictory subplot - "Your dad's a tiny-minded abusive cunt, kick him out! But oh, go after him, `ee's yer old man, the only one yer got!"

Yesterday's was the bastard creative offspring of Doom 3 and Alien, with some vagina-faced aliens thrown in for good measure. It was fun and good by this series' standards, but still pretty stupid. Hopefully though, the Satanic theme of the episode will generate a few enraged complaints from parents, thus continuing the proud tradition of hysterical Who-bashing established by Mary Whitehouse those many years ago. Oh, the episode with K-9 in it wasn't half bad either. My friend purchased a tiddly remote-controlled model of the little robomutt, and we had a funpacked afternoon running over my wee Gieger aliens with it. Simple pleasures.

I completed my terrible training course thing on Friday, which was a gigantic fucking relief. It was full of moody arseholes, including one whose "thing" was brashly going on about Muslims "taking over the country" and saying they've "never done anything for civilisation". I told him about thirteenth-century scientist Nasir al-Din Tusi's contributions to astronomy. Of course he was dismissive, but at least now he'll know who to blame if he gets killed by an asteroid. Cunt.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Alternative Weapons in the War on Terror

Ghost Suit
Terrorists are a cowardly, superstitious lot, and their fear of ghosts, ghouls and other vengeful spectres is well documented. Recognising this as a weakness apt for exploitation, the army has developed this ghost suit. The suit incorporates a multitude of hair-raising Fright Features, including sophisticated vocal modulation unit (Hasbro voice-changing Darth Vader© mask) which allows the trooper to make convincingly terrifying "wooooo!" noises, and a coating of glow in the dark paint, adding to the psychological impact during night ops, as the soldier runs towards the terrified enemy, who scream "Aaaaaaah! A g-g-ghost!" and run away. Unfortunately the ghost suit is of limited use in combat zones such as spooky castles, ghost trains, haunted mansions and other areas that are already haunted, as real ghosts are very territorial and will chase off any fake ghosts on sight.

Holo-Arnie
A remote controlled three-dimensional hologram facsimile of action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, which fools terrorists into believing they face Arnie himself in combat. Terrorists have witnessed the actor kill literally hundreds of their kind in Hollywood action movies, and are even more scared of him than they are of ghosts. If they are not frightened off by the sight, they will likely try to shoot him, at which point the real Arnie can use the distraction to sneak up behind them and machine-gun them to death. Alternatively, if the terrorists have realised the deception, Arnie can pretend to be the hologram and the terrorists, thinking they're oh so clever, don't waste their bullets on him, but then Arnie goes "hahahaaha! You think this is the real Arnie? IT IS." and turns round and machine-guns them to death. Its use in combat depends heavily on Mr. Schwarzenegger finding a space in his hectic schedule.

V-22 Osprey
This experimental variable-geometry VTOL aircraft, which has a proud twenty-year tradition of killing American flight crews, will not actually be used by coalition forces, on account of how ridiculously dangerous it is. Instead, they will be sold to terrorist organisations at an attractive price. Then, we just sit back and watch as the terrorists' ranks are annihilated by the ship's various electrical faults, terribly designed flight control systems, leaking fuel tanks, sudden explosions and general shoddy workmanship.

Satirical T-Shirts
All American troops are to be outfitted with t-shirts featuring cartoons of Osama bin Laden, the terrorists' equivalent of the Pope, being anally violated by the sharp end of a flagpole bearing those colours that never run, Ol' Glory, the Stars And Stripes©. When loudmouthed US troops drive through the terrorists' home towns wearing these shirts, randomly firing into vehicles and flashing their penises at the locals, the terrorists will know that America is an inherently superior, more civilised country, and will give up their terroristic ways in pursuit of the American Dream.

Scientology
One of the commonly held explanations for terrorists being so angry and frustrated all the time is that their zany heathen religion forbids them from "pullin` themselves orf" and demands that their women be covered head to toe in shapeless black robes, and that this - combined with the belief that if they die in the service of their god (Thor or Zeus or Cthulhu or something), they get their collective freak on in the afterlife - means that many terrorists simply kill themselves in order to lose their virginity. This, of course, is dead wrong. The real reason they're unhappy is because their bodies are inhabited by the ancient ghosts of alien Thetans murdered by the dark lord Xenu billions of years before mankind evolved. Terrorists will be taken into the church of Scientology and, over several years (for a paltry few hundred dollars per lesson), educated about this and other profound spiritual truths, such as why gays and psychologists are evil and why child labour is okay, all accompanied by regular screenings of smash hit sci-fi blockbuster Battlefield Earth. Terrorists will be fleeced of all their money, and those who refuse to renounce their Muslim faith will be subject to threats and costly lawsuits. Either way, the terrorists are made bankrupt and incapable of buying vital terrorist equipment like suicide belts, AK-47s and novelty "Lick Bu$h!" bumper stickers.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Some Things That Need To Disappear From Video Games

"Realistic" Gunnery
Counter Strike, Rainbow Six and their ilk have made it fashionable to have action game weapons behave like their real-life counterparts would. Or rather, behave like game developers’ faulty idea of how they would. That is, unnecessarily difficult to hit anything with and subject to completely over-the-top recoil physics. Take the Master Chief’s submachine-guns from Halo 2. In Halo the first he was capable of emptying a full-sized assault rifle into an alien’s nads without flinching, and all was well with the world. I mean, Chief is a seven foot tall genetically modified space soldier in powered armour from future, you can just imagine he has some sort of computer thingy that compensates for him. But by the time Halo 2 came out, faux-realistic gun behaviour had come into vogue, and it was no longer acceptable for Chiefypoo to get away with such physics-bending. So now, when you fire his machine pistols, your view immediately begins to drift upwards as the recoil from these tiny little weapons apparently pitches Chief’s entire torso backwards - keep firing for long enough and you’re putting holes in the ceiling. Call me a nitpicker but I think it sort of takes something away from his badass image. And the trend is spreading. Half-Life 2’s guns recoil terribly too, throwing off your aim even on the first shot. I don’t hold a doctorate in physics, but even I know that bullets fired rapidly from a gun are affected by the recoil from the previous shot - therefore it’s not at all realistic to have the first bullet fired from a gun affected by its own recoil, seeing as it travels at the speed of sound and is well on its way to your target’s noggin before the gun has a chance to jerk backwards. If you really want to do realism, try and make it, y’know, realistic. And before you consider going down that path at all, reflect on what kind of game you’re making. If it’s about a futuristic cyborg who fights space aliens, you don’t need to be concerning yourself with real-world physics.
I don’t think most people really care if guns behave unrealistically in computer games, if it means they can shoot something without having to worry about, say, a prevailing wind blowing their bullets away from the target and into a nearby branch of Lidl. Anyone who does care is likely to have a basement full of real guns and a list of all the people who have ever wronged them. And a trenchcoat.

PS: Quake 2 had recoil effects long before any other game, and they felt just right.

Escort Missions
Nobody but NOBODY enjoys escort missions. They invariably consist of shepherding a defenceless, stupid, totally exposed and slow-moving target through an enemy-rich environment, spending more time trying to save your ward from his or her own suicidal artificial intelligence than you do tackling their assailants. Which part of the above is meant to be fun? Games are entertainment, not work. By all means challenge us, but for God’s sake try not to be so lazy about it. I’m the guy’s escort, not his carer while he’s on release from the local day centre. And if we don’t do away with escort missions entirely, at least let me tell the bastard to stand still and hide for five bloody seconds so I can clear out the area ahead, instead of watching him inexorably walk straight into an obvious ambush and belly-flop down the barrel of a bad guy’s machine gun.


War Games Where You Have To Do All The Work
As you may have gathered from all the emotionally manipulative Army recruitment adverts that have been showing lately during the break in any TV programme that’s even remotely "yoof-oriented", soldiers work as a team to accomplish their objectives and try to prevent eachother from getting disgustingly shredded into horrible splattery giblets. Going it alone gets you dead very quickly, unless you’re John Rambo. And trust me, you’re not. I wish game developers would realise this because I have played too many games that bill themselves as ‘soldier simulations’ with realistic squad interaction and that, only to lump every dangerous task onto me when I actually play the game. You know the routine - "Hey, [Player]! Clear out that bunker complex! We’ll cover you!", or "[Player], you’re on point!", or "would you mind terribly if we ask you to defeat Hitler on your own? Only the entire army has thrown its back out putting up some shelves and it hurts like Billy-O".

I’m tired of my allies milling around in the distance, trying their damndest to look like they’re taking part in the fight by firing in the general direction of the enemy and only hitting their targets with one or two out of every thousand bullets they fire from their seemingly bottomless reservoir of ammunition. I’m glad that games like Full Spectrum Warrior and the Brothers In Arms series seem to be putting paid to all this lone-wolfery and offering more realistic squad-based hijinks for those who really want it. You can appreciate that developers want to give the player as much to do as possible, but there are better ways to give them that, a prime example being the original Call of Duty games, which put you in the shoes of a different person with a different area of expertise in every campaign, thus retaining variety whilst seeming more believable. However, they’ve slipped a bit with Call of Duty - The Big Red One, in which you play the same bog-standard infantry goon throughout, and yet manage to end up moonlighting as a gunner in a Flying Fortress at one point. Maybe you get two paycheques that way.

Artificial Moronity
As I mentioned in the escort mission bit, it’s no fun having to wrestle with dim allies. The quality of artificial intelligence in games has been subject to a curious reverse-development: It’s actually got more stupid as time has gone by. Characters in games released recently are way more idiotic than I remember them being just a few years ago. While programmers continue to build ever more convincing, immersive worlds, they hardly ever bother to populate them with characters who behave in an even remotely logical fashion.
Now, I hate to pick on Half-Life 2 again. It’s one of my favourite games, next to... well, the first Half-Life. But mentioning the first Half-Life, I’m reminded of the gasmasked government death squad soldiers who dogged you at every turn. They worked as a team. One would throw a grenade to flush you out, then his mate would machine gun your spectacles off when you broke cover. They’d take cover if injured, leg it if the odds were against them and cover eachother’s retreat. In short, they fought like real soldiers would, and they kicked my arse routinely. Then, of course, you had the black-clad ninja assassin ladies, who were far more lethal and cunning than any of the alien monsters.

When you beat them in combat, you felt that you’d actually outwitted them rather than simply shot them enough that they wouldn’t get back up again. Compare this with the AI in Half-Life 2 and it becomes clear something’s a bit wrong. The Combine soldiers are as thick as custard, but oh so much worse are the rebel citizens who fight alongside you. During the assault on the museum towards the end of the game, they pissed me off so much that I herded them into a small room, then used the gravity gun to stick some objects in front of the only exit, thereby barricading them inside and out of my way. Later I was munching up some Combine with my pulse rifle and the bastards reappeared and wandered straight into the firefight and got minced. Yes, they’d managed to figure out how to knock my obstacles out of the way and find me again, but they just couldn’t resist rushing into a hail of bullets. A little consistency is all I’m asking for, guys.

Unnecessary/Pretentious Storylines
I appreciate that there's a "convergence" thing going on between games and movies these days, with storylines becoming an integral part of many games, and I'm sure that they'll only get better as time goes on, but there are some games that DON'T NEED COMPLICATED PLOTS. For instance, if your game's called something like Super Violence Fistfight Extravaganza Ex Part 72, you don't need to hire a Hollywood screenwriter to pen an elaborate backstory to explain why two guys are beating the shit out of eachother. Big ol' muscular guys ain't need no artsy-fartsy narrative pretext to start some shit. Then you've got the games with huge weighty plots that try to DEAL with ISSUES, chief offender being the Metal Gear series - games that play like a very, very long and preachy film where occasionally the main character dies and you again have to sit through the preceeding forty-five fucking minutes of turgid dialogue so clunky the Pope could have written it. The dead Pope.

Bad Guys Who Hang Around Explosive Barrels

Int. - German Bunker Complex - Day

NAZI #1:
Scheisse! The Amerikaner is unstoppable!

NAZI #2:
He is coming this way! We’re doomed! What do we do?

NAZI #3:
Vell, ve could stop taking cover behind der barrels of flammable liquid, ja?

NAZI #1:
.......

NAZI #2:
.......

NAZI #3:
Never mind.

(Explosion)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ainsley Harriott Facts


"This business is fulla unrealistic motherfuckers."

Recently there has been an Internet trend for lists of facts about well-known badasses like Chuck Norris, Vin Diesel and Mr. T (most of them recycling the same facts and just changing the name, which is very lazy) But there’s one man who’s been so far overlooked, and yet is approximately 2000% harder-core than any of those fakers. I refer, of course, to the king of TV chefs - Ainsley Harriott. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Ainsley Harriott Facts.

-The smell of a meal well-cooked brings joy to Ainsley Harriott's heart, but so much greater is his love for that sickly-sweet scent that derives only from the burning flesh of his enemies.

-To achieve his trademark reflective "chrome-dome" look, Ainsley Harriott washes his head daily in the blood of Nazis he has killed with his own bare hands. Ready-killed Nazis’ blood is not sufficient.

-Futhermore, if the reflected sunlight from Ainsley’s head was projected into a solar panel, it would power India for a week.

-Ainsley Harriott never has to actually cook the food on his programmes. He just stares it out until it cooks itself out of terror.

-One day when he was making free meals for homeless orphans, Ainsley tripped over a dinosaur fossil and hurt his ankle. In revenge, he travelled back in time and killed all the dinosaurs one by one.

-Anthony Worral Thompson was once six feet tall, until one fateful day he questioned Ainsley Harriott’s authority. Enraged at this impudence, Ainsley used science to transform him into a dwarf.

-Ainsley Harriott is responsible for the world’s only soufle√© which is visible from space.

-He also created the world’s longest, strongest strand of spaghetti. He used it to bungee jump into an active volcano, and then ate it. The volcano, not the spaghetti.

-You know the scar on Gordon Ramsay’s face? That was Ainsley.

-Ainsley Harriott once had an argument with a pushy German gentleman. This event was later referred to as World War II.

-Ainsley spends every summer raiding and pillaging other cooking programmes in his longship.

-If Ainsley Harriott does it, it’s not a crime.

-Chuck Norris once dropkicked Ainsley in the balls. It took Chuck six months to recover.

-Flying Saucer sightings are due to Ainsley angrily throwing inferior cooks’ pies into the stratosphere.

-Ainsley Harriott once baked a novelty birthday cake in the shape of Osama Bin Laden for one of his friends. The likeness was so convincing that it was attacked by a group of MI6 agents. The cake killed them.

-Vin Diesel wishes he was as bald as Ainsley.

-Ever wonder why you don’t see Nigella Lawson on TV anymore? She is still recovering from a one-night stand with Ainsley three years ago.

-The set of Ready Steady Cook is actually Ainsley Harriott’s own kitchen. When the crew go home and the lights are turned off he’s still there, perched on top of the cooker in a state of cat-like alertness.

-If Ainsley says it’s a Red Pepper Day, then it’s a motherfucking Red Pepper Day. Bitch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Surviving A Nuclear War

"Nuclear War?" you say. "Pfah! Didn't we leave that in the eightiesalong with red braces, shoulderpads and all the TV action shows that I am too young to remember but pretend to anyway so I can appear all post-modern and ironic by making references to Mr. T?" It is a common misconception that since the end of the Cold War, the threat of nuclear war has considerably lessened, but do not be lulled into a false sense of security by this kind of misconceived, wooly thinking. Nuclear bombs are now so easy to buy or manufacture that vast quantities of them are now in the posession of rogue dictators, militant extremist groups, terrorists, and quite likely that funny-looking man with the thick glasses who lives down the street from you. As such, nuclear war is definitely something that you should be terrified of, planning for, and having recurring nightmares about - unless, that is, you want your family to die. Do you want them to die? Do you? Because they will, if you don't do exactly as this guide tells you to, and their blood would be on your hands, if it wasn't reduced to ash along with the rest of them. Murderer!

MODULE 1: PREPARATION

It is healthy to maintain a sense of vague worry and anxiety at all times, regardless of whether there is a specific threat or not. Afterall, we live in a dangerous world, especially since the dictators we sell arms to continue to insist on actually using them to kill people, instead of putting them to agricultural uses like they told us they would. This is why we keep having to go and make examples of these people by sending soldiers to blow up the weapons we sold them. That's a matter for the army, but you're on the home front, and what do YOU do when a hundred-megaton airburst comes knocking at your door? Invite it in for tea and biscuits? Of course not. You tell that shockwave to stick it where the sun don't shine - which is ironic, as the million-ton dust cloud disgorged into the troposphere by the blast will blot out the sun for several centuries to come!

Still, although the indomitable John Bull attitude that saw us through the Blitz is admirable, it will be of little use to you when the only remaining trace of your existence is a haunting ashen shadow of your evaporating body contorted into a sickening pose of ultimate horror. What you'll find altogether more useful in this situation is the Government-endorsed SinisTech Defence Corporation Portable Nuclear Refuge©. A spacious and affordable safeguard against the coming devastation, the Refuge© has space enough for your whole family and contains a ten-year supply of dehydrated caviar, champagne and prostitutes. A snip at £*, you quite literally can't afford not to buy one!
* We apologise for the error in the text, but it appears the price of the Refuge© is too high a number for your peasant brain to adequately comprehend. Nonetheless, if you live in London, add several more zeroes to it. For those people on a tighter budget and who generally are not referred to as "Your Majesty", read below.


If you're a low-income family or a black or a gay, you can apply online for a free portable nuclear shelter from the Government. This bunker is slightly less comfortable than the Refuge©, but don't worry, it works. We wouldn't be giving them away for free if we weren't 100% certain they would preserve your expendible lives. The shelter can be applied for during any Imminent Blast Alert and will be delivered within six to eight weeks. In the event of a nuclear explosion, follow these steps carefully to guarantee your survival:

1) Pull the shelter firmly over your head.

2) Poke some air holes in it if you have trouble breathing.

3) Stick your fingers in your ears and hum God Save The Queen.

4) Survive!

MODULE 2: ATTACK

There is not very much you can do during the actual nuclear attack apart from cowering in your shelter, quietly weeping, reading the Bible, frantically copulating or singing along to a few Max Bygraves numbers from the "Hits of the Blitz" CD enclosed with this guide book. Try to look on the bright side: Remember, due to the inefficient nature of the rudimentary chemical explosives used during World War II, your grandparents had to go through this humdrum routine every night as the Germans dropped bomb after bomb after bomb - but thanks to the modern wonder of weapons that can boil an entire city into vapour in seconds, you'll only have to do it once, leaving you with time to enjoy the important things in life.

MODULE 3: AFTERMATH

If you're safely ensconced within your SinisTech Defence Corporation Portable Nuclear Refuge©, there isn't really much point coming out for at least a decade after the blast, as the contents of your Refuge© are a thousand times more appealing than what will be going on outside. Just kick back, relax in front of the widescreen television and rehydrate a couple of hookers. Enjoy, and thanks for reading.
If you opted for the free shelter and are alive to be reading this, take the stupid bag off your head and thank your own dumb luck that your component molecules are, somehow, still in the same place they were before the explosion. You will probably have lost some or all of your body hair and skin in the blast. Look on it as less of a loss, and more of a free tan and full body wax. See, it's not all doom and gloom!


It is likely that during the attack, one or more of your family members may have passed away. Should this happen, deposit the corpse outside where your house used to be, in the special wheely-bin your local council will have provided you with. It's the one with the laughing death's head stencilled on the lid. Dismemberment may be necessary for the bin to accomodate taller or fatter relatives. Corpse collections will take place weekly on Thursday mornings, providing there are any bin men left. Should there be none available, you will have to dispose of the remains in whichever way seems most suitable to you. Remember that food will be a primary concern now. There's no shame in cannibalism, and in fact some people find it quite fashionable.


Life after the attack will be hellish. Palls of ashen grey cloud will loom over the totally lawless and chaotic concrete skeleton of civilisation, gangs of psychopaths will roam the land killing at will without fear of punishment, and travel will be incredibly hazardous. In short, things will mostly be back to normal if you live in the North. Some things, however, will have changed drastically. To prepare you for the challenges of your new lifestyle, this last section is given over to general information and advice on the post-nuclear world.

Fallout

Think of fallout as a pleasant wintry snowfall. Right now it may seem strange and disconcerting that tiny specks of radioactive material are falling from the sky and settling on the ground, but in a few months' time it'll feel quite normal to sit on a park bench and watch your adorable hairless children ride sleighs down steep banks of fallout and build cancer-inducing "snowmen".


Zombies/Mutants

One of the more enjoyable side-effects of the radioactive mutating effect of the nuclear aftermath is the humble undead zombie. Huge in numbers, slow-moving and extremely entertaining to run away from or kill with improvised weapons. Make a game out of it, and while away the Nuclear Winter competing with your friends to see how many zombies you can kill within a set time limit. Award bonus points for any cool one-liners uttered when killing a zombie. Mutants, on the other hand, are far more hazardous. While they have been horribly disfigured like the zombies, they have lost none of their cogniscent abilities, and will be understandably full of murderous anger, which they will be delighted to vent upon those humans lucky enough not to be growing an extra set of genitals out of their foreheads. Although if you were to ask me, I'd find that quite useful.

Cruelly Disfigured Landmarks

As we have learned from watching lots of post-apocalyptic science fiction films, most of the world's great iconic structures will be left at least partially standing after a nuclear blast, to illustrate just how irreversibly buggered civilisation is. Plan your next holiday accordingly to take in as many ruined landmarks as possible. We highly reccomend you check out the following: Statue of Liberty Submerged Waist-Deep In the Ocean, Eiffel Tower With the Top Blown Off, Big Ben With the Clock Face Shattered, Mount Rushmore With One Of the Presidents' Heads Knocked Off, and Taj Mahal With the Dome Cracked Open. Oh, and US Capitol Building Overgrown With Vines and Creepers seems to be quite popular too.

Fashion

Of course, one of your primary concerns after the war will be looking good. Important post-apocalypse social functions such as picking through the rubble for rats to eat, throttling someone over a bottle of uncontaminated water, or simply screaming at the horror of it all, demand that you look your best. For your fashion requirements, check out your local crashed airliner. There will be plenty of these available, because when civilisation collapses, it will cause all the airliners in the world to stop working for no actual reason and fall from the sky. Should you come across one such stricken aircraft (easy to spot because the tail fin will always be pointing directly upwards out of the ground), you should have no qualms about looting the dead passengers' wardrobes. Whilst they will no doubt have suffered some damage in the crash, clothing "borrowed" from aircrash victims will look fantastic compared to the roughly-hewn animal furs and thick coating of mud and faeces your peers will be sporting. You'll be the talk of where the town used to be!

Sex

Generally, you will be wanting to do as much of this as possible, even moreso than normal. Fortunately there should be a lot of it going around, partly because social inhibitions will no longer be relevant, and also because pretty much everyone will share your desire to "go out with a bang" as humanity faces the final curtain. Don't worry if you're horribly mutated - ordinary, attractive survivors will soon form fetishes for the "uglies". You may even get so much action that your friends will wish they'd been deformed too! Don't worry about unwanted pregnancies, as the massive levels of radiation will have rendered everyone sterile. Enjoy!