The sudden death of Saddam Hussein in the early hours of this morning in a secure facility in Northern Baghdad will have come as a surprise only to those who presumed that the "highly trained" Iraqi officers who were given custody of him yesterday were bound to be either (a) so incompetent or (b) so corrupt that they expected the former dictator to have escaped and secured his own Al Jazeera chatshow by tonight.
Born in 1937, Saddam enjoyed the kind of brutal upbringing that fitted him only for the role of dictator or multi-million-selling author of childhood memoirs suitable as reading matter only for voyeuristic weirdos. Sadly for the world, but not for literature, Saddam was to choose the former path.
Always a happy-go-lucky evil bastard, the young Saddam spent much of his youth hanging around with his best friend. It is a mark of the society in which he was living at the time that the fact that his best friend was an iron bar with which he used to beat people and torture small animals was not seen as particularly odd. It is even more a mark of that society that Saddam was to prove his manhood to his elders by killing four people - a requirement usually unheard of outside James Bond novels and the upper echelons of city solicitors firms.
Ambitious to escape his home town of Tikrit and ever-eager to find new opportunities to do unto others before they could even think of doing unto him, Saddam was to join the Ba'ath party in the mid-1950s. By 1959 he was already playing a prominent role in national politics, being the man responsible for bungling an attempt to kill Iraq's recently self-installed revolutionary leader, general Abdul Qarim Qassim, when - like many a young man before and after him - his powerful weapon went off in his hand prematurely.
Having fled to Cairo after the failed assassination attempt, Saddam was to return to Iraq in 1963 following the fall of the Qassim regime. Taking control of his Party's civilian apparatus in a way unseen since Stalin and not seen again until the rise of Peter Mandelson, Saddam found himself the power behind the throne of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr following the Ba'athists "glorious July 1968 revolution".
In the following years Saddam was to preside over many Ba'athist reigns of terror and was responsible for the sudden disappearance of vast numbers, along with beatings, torture, murder and other practices which the whole world, except Dick Cheney, condemns.
By 1979, after overseeing a series of bloody purges both within and without the party, Saddam was ready to assume power. Ousting his former friend President Bakr with a cold-blooded ruthlessness unseen outside the vicinity of the struggle for the last Roland Mouret dress in the Harvey Nichols sale, the new President Saddam was quick to celebrate his ascent to power by holding a massive show trial, in which he persuaded half his party to condemn the other half (a feat which he achieved through terror, rather than the method favoured at British wedding celebrations where a simple mumbled reference to "what your Sheila said about Dawn's wedding dress" will usually achieve the same result).
With Western governments and Middle-Eastern hereditary rulers always eager to find an evil dictator to favour for their own geo-political ends, Saddam soon found himself courted by all, sundry and Donald Rumsfeld. He increased his popularity with these regimes even further when in 1980 he launched his eight-year war against the Iranian theocracy, thus securing himself supplies of cash from the Gulf states and arms and technology from the West, not to mention a virtual guarantee that every Western state would be tying its shoelaces or looking the other way when he decided to "solve the Kurdish problem" by gassing thousands at Halabja and in "operation Anfal".
As convinced of his genius as any deluded X-Factor wannabe or, indeed, British Prime Minister, Saddam was to follow up his humiliating score draw with Ayatollah Khomeini in the Iran-Iraq war with the even more unsuccessful assault on Kuwait in 1990, resulting in a crushing defeat mere months later. Despite this, thanks to his own ruthlessness and the failure of the West to support those they had told to rise up against him, Saddam was able to remain in power for another 12 years, keeping enemies at bay with fantasies of stores of weapons of mass destruction and friends onside with the fear of Iran.
Sadly for Saddam his invented arsenal, along with the fantasies of the neocons, a President apparently lacking the necessary brainpower to watch TV and eat pretzels at the same time and a media willing to associate his regime with the World Trade Centre attack of 11 September 2001 despite there being less evidence to link the two than there is to link Bono with humility, was to prove the ruthless leader's, and Iraq's, undoing. Within weeks of America's invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam was to find himself, like many of his "liberated" fellow countrymen, living in a hole with no access to regular water or electricity and in constant fear of being shot or blown up. With his discovery by US forces in December 2003 and subsequent trial, his end became inevitable.
Saddam Hussein is survived by chaos in Iraq, a nuclear-capable North Korea, an ever-more-powerful hardline regime in Iran led by a man who believes himself to be the Mahdi and the Bush presidency.
30 December 2006
The sudden death of Saddam Hussein in the early hours of this morning in a secure facility in Northern Baghdad will have come as a surprise only to those who presumed that the "highly trained" Iraqi officers who were given custody of him yesterday were bound to be either (a) so incompetent or (b) so corrupt that they expected the former dictator to have escaped and secured his own Al Jazeera chatshow by tonight.
26 December 2006
In another of our Yuletide features, today As A Dodo gives a brief guide to some of the less glorious departures down the ages ...
- Chrysippus of Soli (c.280-c.207 BC) – the stoic philosopher died of laughter after getting his donkey drunk and watching it attempt to eat figs
- Attila the Hun (405-453 AD) – suffered a nosebleed but, too drunk to notice, drowned in his own blood.
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – died of pneumonia after trying to preserve a chicken by filling it with snow.
- King Bela I of Hungary (??-1063) - having defeated his own brother to claim the throne, Bela was crushed when the canopy of that very same throne collapsed on him.
- Pedro de Valdivia (c1500-1543) – the gold-obsessed conquistador breathed his last when South American Indians poured molten gold down his throat.
- Francois Vatel (1631-1671) – the great French chef committed suicide due to distress over the lateness of the fish course at a great banquet.
- Elisha Mitchell (1793-1857) – died after falling into the
, named after their discoverer … Elisha Mitchell. Mitchell Falls
- Jim Fixx (1932-1984) – the greatest ever jogging guru keeled over while, er, jogging.
- Dr Robert Atkins (1930-2003) – the man behind the Atkins diet died weighing 258 pounds and suffering a long-term heart condition.
- Steve Irwin (1962-2006) – the TV conservationist once satirised on
as the guy who sticks his finger up the ass of assorted wildlife was killed after … er … pointing at a stingray South Park
22 December 2006
The As A Dodo team apologise for the following piece which may not, on reflection, be as full of the spirit of Yuletide merriment as we had hoped when it was commissioned. The author was last seen staggering from the As A Dodo building threatening to strangle some department store elves with their own tinsel before battering the out-of-work actor playing Santa to death with a crutch wrenched from under the arm of our new office boy, Tiny Tim "God bless us, every one" Cratchit.
Your Family Christmas reached the end of its tether at the peak of the Yuletide season when a massive alcohol and turkey binge precipitated a row of even greater proportions, culminating in a cranberry-sauced fatal festive familial frenzy.
Your Family Christmas began its short and tragic life on Christmas Eve when, despite having sworn blind “Never again!” after last Christmas, it yielded to the myth of the season of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (and relatives) and decided “what the hell, it’s Christmas” and returned to the bosom of its family.
Laden with presents bought in a feverish state of Crimble euphoria brought on by misty-eyed nostalgia induced by hearing Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody in the pub, Your Family Christmas fortified itself with two pints and a double whisky, before braving the train / bus / roads packed tighter than a shed full of turkeys to reach “home” in the early hours of the evening.
Pausing long enough to have a cup of tea and a mince pie and grow uncomfortable in the presence of teary-eyed parents celebrating the prodigal’s return, it quickly made its excuses and escaped to the pub to imbibe as much Christmas spirit as possible with old school friends that, on any other day of the year, it wouldn’t think twice about.
Waking bleary-eyed on Christmas morning, Your Family Christmas enjoyed a perfunctory and self-cancelling exchange of gift vouchers, cheques, used notes and socks before the first sly dig from swivel-eyed siblings still nursing a grudge because of a perceived imbalance in the amount spent on presents at Christmas, 1987.
Driven to drink by 10 AM in order to blank out the hideous mauve and orange design of the hand-knitted Christmas jumper from Great Aunt Beryl, Your Family Christmas sat head in hands while Gran espoused a political philosophy somewhat in opposition to the spirit of Christmas and considerably to the right of the Daily Mail, Rush Limbaugh and even Tony Blair.
Following the delight of being forced to watch the Queen’s Speech, Your Family Christmas sat down to a lovingly prepared meal. The first barbed comment was served with the over-boiled brussels sprouts and quickly escalated into a full-blown row with the delivery of the burnt turkey. By the time the second bottle of undrinkable wine had been opened, the insults were flowing considerably faster than the gravy and the United Nations had been put on standby. As the plates were cleared by the novel method of hurling them across the table, George Bush had declared Your Family Christmas part of the Axis of Evil, and by the time the Christmas pudding was served – “in your face” – the US Marines were at the door claiming Your Family Christmas had opened fire on them while they were escorting Santa to visit some orphans.
Your Family Christmas uttered it’s last, pathetic words, "Oh God! I'm too drunk to drive, I'm stuck with you" just before it was asphyxiated by a relative high on sweet sherry and a dangerous level of roast parsnips. Your Family Christmas will be left in the fridge for three days until people can no longer bear the sight of its battered carcass at which point it will be tossed, without ceremony, into the bin.
21 December 2006
With the approach of the festive season, the As A Dodo team will be taking a hardly deserved holiday. Happily, in the tradition of all good news sources, we have a plentiful supply of seasonal filler items, all ready to make their way to our loyal readers' screens over the next two weeks without requiring any great effort on our own part.
The first of these items is The As A Dodo Annual webpoll, which readers will find to the right of their screens. In a tradition favoured by nascent democracies, many Italian elections and Florida Republicans, those taking part in the poll may cast up to 3 votes. Voting closes with the last bong from Big Ben on New Year's Morn.
More end-of-year satirical goodies to come - do keep checking in.
We wish our readers a very merry Christmas!
20 December 2006
All at As A Dodo are delighted to inform readers that the following piece was penned bysomeone who was not only a close friend of the late Joseph Barbera but also an undoubted Hollywood legend, Mr Thomas Cat. We would also like to make clear that the fact that the reporter we sent to Sunset Boulevard to conduct the interview with Mr Cat (on which this piece is based) was last seen lying face down in Mr Cat's pool with a bullet through him should in no way detract from the great star's words ... which have in any event been taken down and may be used in evidence.
Joe Barbera?! Now there was a director! Of course, I had no doubt about his talent from the moment I met him ... and he certainly had no doubts about mine! He spotted me in 1940 working in an off-Broadway production of The Cat and The Canary and he knew right from the moment I fell off stage into the orchestra pit and had my head repeatedly smashed flat between the percussionist's cymbals, before being sliced into a hundred pieces by the wires of the piano that I had that certain je ne sais quoi that those without my command of French might term "star quality".
Soon Joe and that truly marvellous man Bill Hannah were whisking me off to Hollywood for my first starring role in Puss Gets the Boot. Oh Joe and Bill were great on that movie and so was I. We deserved that Academy Award nomination ... in fact we should have got the whole damned Oscar. I still can't believe those little, little men at the Academy could give it to that nauseating The Milky Way. I remember Bugs, Elmer and I commiserating in a bar afterwards. Of course Jer was there already.
Jer, Jer, Jer ... what to say about Jerry Mouse? Joe and Bill insisted we work together and, I have to admit, his rough charm did somehow work up there on the silver screen. But then there were the constant attempts to upstage the leading man (whom I am to humble to name), not to mention the offstage rows, the revolving door through which his wives processed and, most of all, the drinking. I know Joe in particular often despaired of my on-screen sidekick's behaviour. Lucky for Jer, Joe had the patience of a saint. I remember once he had Jer drop an anvil on me nearly a thousand times just to get the right effect (he'd obviously been impressed by my own perfectionism after I corrected his use of the word "whom" for the third time that day).
Yes, thanks to Joe and Bill (not to mention a certain feline gentleman) "Tom and Jerry" (note the order of the billing) were to dominate those silver screens for decades - 7 Academy Awards, 6 Nominations! How many of today's so-called stars can match that? And the dedication! Over 150 movies! Not that the powers-that-be were grateful. Of course it all got too much for Joe and Bill. The constant pressure to produce yet another work of genius always takes its toll. At least neither of them went Jer's way, hanging around in bars, trying to impress ever-younger women with his "mouse in a martini glass" routine. In fact, I always thought it was the anxiety over that incident with Jerry and that young girl (did he really think she looked seventeen?) that sent them off to that sad little world they call TV. What they did there I have no idea ... although I do remember being forced to stand next to a boorish "gentleman" in a ludicrously bourgeois smilodon-fur outfit at one of their parties - honestly! An hour and half of listening to some delusional talking about his "alien friend" The Great Gazoo(!). Sad that a man like Joe should be forced to work with such people.
Still, Joe was one of the Hollywood greats, back when they truly were greats. I'm more than happy to raise a glass to his memory, or perhaps even drop a 10-ton weight on Jer's grave in memory of old times. Adieu mon cher Joe, adieu!
As A Dodo has received as yet unconfirmed reports of the Death of Tony Blair's Sanity. Following a series of health scares over the past nine years (many occurring shortly after meetings with President George W Bush), it is being reported that Mr Blair's Sanity has finally passed away in Dubai whilst calling for the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan to defend democracy. Claims are coming in that the death of the Prime Minister's Sanity was masked by the huge peals of uncontrollable laughter coming from his audience of unelected rulers-by-birth whose word is law and whose money is kept in Swiss bank accounts.
More on this if and when our freedom-loving government grants us permission to release this or any other information.
News alert ends
18 December 2006
Open University Broadcasting made its last broadcast in the early hours of Saturday morning surrounded by friends and family including nightshift workers, insomniacs and party-goers on a come-down too addled to change the channel.
Conceived at the height of the Summer of Love by Harold Wilson as a “university of the air”, Open University Broadcasting was born on January 3rd 1971. It was a precocious and preternaturally gifted child – within seconds of its birth it uttered its first words: “Welcome to Maths M001: Problems in Practical Calculus.” Almost literally overnight, OU Broadcasting became a firm favourite of a new breed of students and lank-haired, kipper-tied, polyester-shirted hippies who were “totally blown away by the theme tune, man”.
Throughout the 70s, Open University Broadcasting gave thousands of sartorially-challenged misfits the opportunity to partake in higher education without suffering the embarrassment of actually leaving their homes. In a time when only three channels were available on UK televisions, and before the great cultural leap forward of 24-hour broadcasting, Open University Broadcasting provided square-eyed viewers with the chance to stay up past the national anthem and enjoy thrilling night-time programmes such as History H233: Italian Renaissance Cheesecloth Manufacturing, Biology B176: Asexual Reproduction in Milton Keynes and Polyesterology P034: The Semiology of the Tie in Post-Capitalist Society.
In the mid 70s OU Broadcasting became embroiled in controversy following its decision to broadcast in colour, partly due to the expense of the move but mainly due to the fact so many viewers were stricken blind by the combination of paisley shirts and kipper ties so hideous that no man could view them without risking insanity.
By the 1990s the advent of the internet and DVDs led socially-inept night owls to rely less on OU Broadcasting. Desperate attempts to sustain its academic career with scraps of work for Coast and Lenny’s Britain plunged OU Broadcasting into a deep depression. And it was this, in conjunction with 35 years of late-nights and early mornings, which caused producers to take the decision to pull the plug at 5.30 am on Saturday morning.
OU Broadcasting was buried in the early morning schedules of BBC2. It was predeceased by Intelligent Science Programming on British Television and is survived by ITV Play, The Hits, BBC News 24 and the Big Brother Live Feed.
15 December 2006
A grieving nation was this morning waking to the knowledge that the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales - which has exercised bloggers, newspaper columnists and other members of the personality- disordered classes for the last nine years - has died. According to police accounts Diana's Death was being driven at speed by an Egyptian man drunk on money when it ran completely out of control and crashed into Lord Stevens' inquiry into the circumstances of the late ex-royal's death.
The Death of Princess Diana first came to prominence in 1997 when the ex-wife of heir-to-the-throne and pontificator-in-chief Prince Charles was transformed overnight from a good-looking, rather dim, mother of two and the subject of salacious tabloid gossip and innuendo-laden jokes into a saintly figure of surpassing goodness and victim of an uncaring world by the combination of a tragic accident and a mawkish media. It reached its apotheosis only weeks later when the late Princess was buried in a sea of hypocrisy and appalling Elton John singles by millions of people, all of whom claimed to have some deep personal connection with Diana, despite never having come within a paparazzo's focal-length of her.
Only days after the funeral, members of the police were called to the burial site where they discovered that the Death of Diana had been removed from its grave by a group of men described by witnesses as a "bunch of internet nutters, desperate tabloid editors and Mohamed Al Fayed". The men are understood to have taken the corpse to a laboratory at The Daily Express where they strove desperately to resurrect Diana's death by injecting it with front page headlines and a series of incredible conspiracy theories involving the British security services and the Duke of Edinburgh, including the extraordinary suggestion that (a) the Duke of Edinburgh and (b) the staff of MI6 are capable of performing anything beyond basic bodily functions with sufficient competence to deceive the world's media.
Despite their best efforts the Death of Diana was simply unable to survive in a world where the French police, the British police, a British coroner, Lord Stevens and anyone with a more than passing acquaintance with reality could find no evidence to support a conspiracy theory. It is believed that it was this realisation that drove one of those behind the resurrection attempts to flee with the Death's remains through the busy streets of fantasy land, where a sudden collision with the banal tragedy of reality was to lead to the death of the Death of Diana.
The Death of Diana was buried on Thursday morning. In a moving state ceremony, buried alongside it were several pieces of bad news for the British government, including the decision to drop the SFO inquiry into the Al Yamama arms deal , the axing of thousands of rural post offices and the questioning of Tony Blair by police in relation to the cash for peerages affair.
The Death of Diana was mourned by Mohamed Al Fayed, the Daily Express, Elton John and millions of people who should really find more important things to fill their lives. The Death of Diana is survived by the Death of JFK, the Death of Elvis and the Death of Sanity.
13 December 2006
The Office Xmas Party was found dead this morning in a bus shelter with a half-eaten kebab in its hand. It is believed to have died last night after over 2000 years of drinking cheap wine and brightly-coloured cocktails, making multiple copies of its hairy hindparts on the office photocopier and trying to get off with that middle manager in Human Resources finally took its toll.
The Office Xmas Party started its long and hedonistic life in Bethlehem when shepherds and wise men first got together to discuss office politics, have a likeness of their posterior fashioned in clay tablet and then tell that new angel that they’re “really lovely, no really…”
In its youth, the Office Xmas Party was extremely popular with under-serfs, and junior scribes across the land. Much mead was consumed and illustrated manuscripts of apprentice monks’ rear ends are now displayed in the finest museums across the globe.
But it was with the dawn of the industrial age in the 19th century that saw the Office Xmas Party reach the zenith of its popularity. The Guild of Urchins, The Honourable Brethren of Chimney Sweeps and the Associated Pick-Pockets, amongst many corporations, looked forward to their annual works do when they would drunkenly spread scurrilous rumours about their fellow urchins, chimney sweeps and pick-pockets and claim that Master Fotherington in the Clerks office had offered them a sight of his sweetmeats.
In its senior years, however, the Office Xmas Party became tiresome: drunkenly insisting staff exchange presents with people they managed to ignore for the rest of the year, clink glasses with the boss who promised them promotion then gave the job to that talentless idiot from accounts and play pin the tail on the sales chart, spin the stapler and post room knock.
Towards the end of its last night, the Office Xmas Party finally plucked up the courage to tell its new, 21-year-old manager exactly what he thought of him and his new plans for the department, and was immediately fired. Thinking it was just a joke the Office Xmas Party continued to drink, finally staggering away from the building just before midnight, repeatedly muttering “the bastards” under its breath.
The Office Xmas Party had asked to be cremated, but due to its massive intake of alcohol, senior management rejected this request on health and safety grounds. The Office Xmas Party will instead be buried on the third floor of the Marketing Department, in a broom cupboard.
The Office Xmas Party is survived by the New Year’s Eve Party, the Birthday Party and the Wake for the Office Xmas Party which starts at lunchtime in the Secretarial Department where it is expected that staff will drink cheap wine, brightly-coloured cocktails, photocopy their arses and try to get off with that middle manager in Human Resources.
11 December 2006
The following piece was commissioned from an old friend of the late General Pinochet, who knew the former Chilean dictator from shortly before his rise to power in 1973. Sadly the author wishes to remain anonymous. We shall refer to him simply as "Mr X". Those wishing to write to Mr X are advised to contact him via "The Agency", Langley, Virginia.
People say a lot of things about Augusto Pinochet these days. Most of the things they say are bad. All I can tell you is that people have forgotten what Chile was like back in the day. Before the General came to power, Chile was going to heck in a jet-powered handbasket - rampant inflation, class warfare. And strikes?! There were strikes every goshdarn day! And I should know, me and the boys organised at least a half of 'em. Yep, back in '73 Chile was more than ripe for a strong leader to pluck. And that strong leader was Augusto Pinochet.
Sure, people say it was wrong to bring down the Allende government, but he was a Marxist for darn's sake! Now sure, sure, he was democratically elected but, you know, there's democracies and there's democracies. I mean, these days, we like all democracies, no matter what evil-eyed, West-hating freak is in charge. Back in the day, though, we knew what sort of democracies we wanted and they sure as shinola weren't run by commies. No, what America, north and south, needed was a guy in a spiffy uniform who didn't mind offing a few thousand mother-loving socialists in order to make sure the trains ran on time.
Augusto Pinochet was a strong man who knew his mind. He believed in freedom: freedom for people to support him, freedom for people not to be tortured as long as they supported him, freedom for people to remain breathing as long as they didn't speak out against him. And he had a good heart too, in fact so good a heart that it could be guaranteed to fail him just about every time he faced a serious inquiry from those pinko "democratically-elected" leaders that replaced him or those no-good Euro-types. That's what I call a pro!
How to sum up a man like that? People say you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. All I can tell you is that General Augusto Pinochet was one heck of an omelette maker. He didn't just break those eggs, he disappeared 'em off the face of the Earth and had you locked up if you even dared to ask where they'd gotten to. Heck of a guy.
08 December 2006
The Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan panel commissioned to suggest policy recommendation on the Iraqi conflict, was gunned down in cold blood in Washington DC on Thursday.
Headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, the ISG was first appointed in March of this year to analyse and investigate the surprising lack of success in bringing peace, democracy and freedom to Iraq following the US-led decision to bomb the crap out of it in the name of peace, democracy and freedom.
In September, Baker claimed there was no “magic bullet” to resolve the Iraqi conflict, displaying a sensitive command of the English language and a wholesome lack of irony that confirmed he was the right man to head the commission.
After nine months of extensive investigation and vigorous political debate, the ISG revealed its 79 recommendations for resolving the conflict in Iraq including: cut and run, run away, give up, blame it on someone else, and start a war with another country to distract attention from the godawful mess we're in.
Just minutes after releasing its ground-breaking formula for peace, an assailant known only as “The President” calmly strolled up to the presidential podium in full view of the world’s media assembled at the White House and began pumping bullets into the body of the ISG - shouting that Iran and Syria could only sit down at the table if they made some decisions which lead to “peace, not conflict”.
He then blasted the ISG in the phased withdrawal of US troops before claiming that he would seriously consider the report as he fired the fatal shot, snarling, “Seriously consider this, asshole!”
To add to the tragedy, caught up in the crossfire was a small British poodle - "Tony Blair of 10 Downing Street" according to the tag on its collar - which had run to join the ISG members.
President Bush addressed the nation last night, condemning the brutal assassination of the ISG, which he blamed on al-Qaida insurgents, and calling for the immediate invasion of their headquarters in Antarctica, but definitely not North Korea or Iran or anywhere else with nuclear weapons.
The Iraq Study Group will be buried beneath the Joint Chiefs of Staff military report into the situation in Iraq. It is survived by civil war and the George W Bush Bible Study Group.
06 December 2006
This morning middle-class mums across West London eager to drop their youngest off at prep school before making the dash to Harvey Nicks for coffee and a natter - not to mention the vast majority of automobile-owning North Americans and Jeremy Clarkson - were united in mourning the untimely death of the Chelsea Tractor, "4x4", "SUV" or "4WD", the powerful beasts that once roamed roads across the globe and which, for many, came to epitomise strength, versatility and total disregard for the environment.
First sighted in the wild in the early 1940s and known at the time as "Jeeps", Chelsea Tractors were initially seen by the vast majority as untameable creatures, always given to scrambling up hillsides and along twisting jungle paths and frequently involved in scenes of battle, whether they be in Central Europe in the dying days of the Second World War or outside Loretta Switt's trailer in M*A*S*H that time Alan Alda accidentally drove over her foot.
Some of the first attempts to tame the Jeep were made in Britain. A careful programme of cross-breeding resulted in the production of the "Land Rover", a sturdy (if usually slow) creature which spent its time skittering up mountainsides and down into valleys from the Scottish Highlands to the Cornish Coast, usually with a sheep or two in the back and often a lonely shepherd in a mounting state of excitement in the front.
By the late 1960s and early 70s, the rugged 4x4s had become a familiar sight across the countryside, with some of the braver individuals even being sighted on the outskirts of towns and cities. A confident furture for the species seemed certain. But then came the oil crisis of 1973. With their favourite food stuff (top grade petroleum) growing scarce, many predicted the powerful, if sometimes ungainly, animals could go the way of the Dodo. However, thanks to careful nurturing, they were able to survive in isolated rural pockets, living off a diet of red diesel and the odd drop of four-star.
With the species' very survival under threat, top scientists at car manufacturers in America, Europe and Japan began selective breeding programmes. By the mid 1980's these programmes had borne fruit and the first Chelsea Tractors were able to be released into a new, safe environment - the city. Soon Chelsea Tractors were swarming over smog-filled traffic routes in urban centres the world over, braving hazards from speed bumps up to 5 centimetres high all the way to potholes up to 2 centimetres deep in their quest to carry little Julian from the front drive to soccer practice.
With the explosion of the species it could not be long before predators began to gather. Soon groups of environmental activists, teenagers eager for a cause and politicians eager to sweep up the green vote were seen gathering near the Chelsea Tractors' watering holes (or, as the locals know them "petrol" or "gas" "stations") and sniffing the air, before passing out due to all the fumes. Before long they took to setting up traps for the turbo-powered behemoths in the form of congestion charges and poisoning their food supply with green taxes.
By the mid-noughties, the Chelsea Tractor began to vanish from our streets. By the end there were only a few, unreliable sightings of the creatures - sometimes outside the palatial crib of an LA rapper, sometimes making the weary journey to Knightsbridge for the sales.
The Chelsea Tractor will be buried under a mountain of high petrol prices and increased environmental awareness. It is survived by an increasing number of erratic cyclists, scooters, bendy buses, the Smart car and trees.
04 December 2006
40 of Britain’s Trident Missile Warheads were found dead this morning at Faslane naval base in Scotland. Police believe they took their own lives before receiving a death sentence this afternoon from Prime Minister Tony Blair as he announces the white paper on replacing Britain’s nuclear deterrent.
The Trident Missile Warheads were born in 1990. Despite massive public interest in the infant warheads, they were kept from the public gaze by their reclusive parents, British Nuclear Fuels and the Ministry of Defence in a PR coup said to have inspired Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
Acutely aware of the threat the warheads posed to peace, the British government spent billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a secure underground silo near Loch Lomond for the warheads. They were allowed out on educational trips across the Atlantic, but only under armed guard aboard Vanguard class submarines.
Ever under the vigilant gaze of their attendants, the young warheads quickly became frustrated at not being allowed to roam unhindered or to achieve their optimum speed of 12,000 mph ... despite repeated requests to the Royal Navy from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, not to mention some of the tabloids' more bellicose feature writers. Eventually the Warhead's frustration turned to anger and they began to spend much of their time with the Vanguards muttering “what you looking at?” to Russian subs, Argentinean fishing smacks and amorous whales.
With the collapse of the Soviet threat in the 90s, many started to feel that Britain no longer needed an expensive nuclear deterrent, and anyway, that job was done far more cheaply by allowing Sellafield to keep leaking radioactive isotopes into the Irish Sea. With calls for decommissioning growing, the Trident Missile Warheads became increasingly withdrawn. Depression sank in as they realised that, despite their ability to make the sky light up brighter than a thousand suns, they would spend the rest of their lives in darkness.
The warheads will be buried in a lead-lined casket at a top secret service attended by close friends and family including George Bush, Tony Blair and Dr Strangelove.
They are survived by Russian, American, North Korean, Israeli, Indian, Pakistani and Iranian warheads, and hundreds of little warheads back at Faslane asking "When's Daddy coming home?"
01 December 2006
The members of the As A Dodo team are delighted to announce further success at The Best Satire Awards, after scooping November's awards for Best New Site, Best Headline (Bono's Integrity 1960-2006) and Best Political Satire (The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution 1789-2006).
We are even happier to announce that As A Dodo is up for Best New Site of 2006, Best Headline of 2006 and Best Celebrity Satire of 2006. As ever we would humbly beseech our readers to vote for us, vote for us early and vote for us often by clicking on the appropriate links. Many thanks for all your ballot stuffing work.
We at www.asadodo.com wish to apologise for the tardiness of this tribute to Nobel-winning economist, Milton Friedman, who died last week. Unfortunately Geraint Swann, the economist we contacted with a view to producing an obituary, was engaged in a series of television appearances and unable to deliver his comments until today.
"Why was Milton Friedman famous?", you may ask. It's a very good question. After all, he didn't appear on television very often. He certainly didn't host any top-rated, vaguely business-related programmes on BBC2. And he didn't look good in a school-marmish way on Newsnight. So what was the point of him? Well, he was deeply involved in the development of two of the most vital items in the economic toolkit today. The first, the spanner or monkey wrench in the toolkit, if you will - the item with which governments were to grab their economies by the nuts and twist - was monetarism. The second - the screwdriver with which the layperson can probe deep into the economic toaster in the hope of loosening some crumbs of knowledge - was the oversimplistic analogy.
So what is monetarism? Well, let me make an oversimplistic analogy. Imagine the economy is like a balloon and the money supply is like the air inside it. Monetary theory says that if you keep blowing into the balloon then it will keep inflating and ultimately burst. Now you may be thinking, "But surely the economy is nothing at all like a balloon, surely its like lots of people exchanging goods and services both here and abroad", and you'd be right. But that has never stopped an economist. Milton's great genius was to flog his balloon theory to political leaders and right-wing dictators across the globe. The fact that the price was massive unemployment and the destruction of industry didn't matter at all. For economists it's the theory that matters, not the practice, and Milton was one of the greatest economists of all.
These days, of course, monetarism - like Milton - is seen as a bit old-fashioned. Instead of Professor Friedman's strict prescriptions, most economists reckon that to run things properly you need a bit of monetary control and a bit of Keynesian pump-priming but most of all the ability to be on your horse and out of town before anyone realises just how badly you've cocked everything up.
The As A Dodo team add: Milton Friedman died on 16 November 2006. It is understood that his brain decided that the blood supply (B0)to his body was resulting in undesirable and necessary economic effects such as walking around and breathing. Accordingly steps were taken to reduce B0. The success of this programme was obvious, the incidental failure of several vital organs and total loss of life being simply the proper effects of the invisible hand of the market and a sacrifice necessary for the proper functioning of the bodily system as a whole.
A memorial service for Milton Friedman will be held by the society of British TV economists in the Dragon's Den Studios on Tuesday. In memory of the great man, lunch will not be free.
29 November 2006
Labour Party Finances expired today after creditors decided to call in loans of £23.4 million. LPF had been poorly for some time with doctors saying it had had a “difficult financial year”.
Labour Party Finances was born on February 27, 1900 following the marriage of the Trades Union Congress and the Fabian Society. It earned its keep by winning numerous beautiful baby contests – mostly in the industrial districts of North England, the Midlands, Scotland and Wales – and, at the tender age of 23, it hit the jackpot when it won its first national popularity contest.
Following Labour’s landslide election victory in 1945 LPF became so cash-rich that it was able to give vast sums of its money back to ordinary voters by nationalising coal, electricity, gas, the railways and iron and steel. In 1948 millions of Britons benefited from a massive dividend on their taxes with the introduction of the welfare state.
Labour Party Finances went from strength to strength in the 60s with the nationalisation of the Beatles, which allowed every teenage girl in the country the chance to own a piece of a Moptop – normally a lock of hair or a piece of a collarless suit torn off Paul McCartney. But despite this boost to LPF, Harold Wilson lost millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on Tony Benn’s disastrous concept album, Lucy in the Sky with Keynesian Economics, and had to devalue the pound.
However, it was James Callaghan’s refusal to pay the binmen’s Christmas box in 1978 which led to the infamous Winter of Discontent and financial ruin as LPF lost its job in 1979 and was forced to sign on at the DHSS.
For the next 18 years, LPF failed to find gainful employment. Reduced to watching daytime television and fulminating against the Conservatives as they financed the nation by selling off coal, electricity, gas, the railways, iron and steel, Labour Party Finances only managed to claw its way out of debt in 1997 by promising to sell off anything else that wasn’t nailed down as well.
Sadly, the long spell on the dole had done severe damage and LPF was forced into selling first its principles, then offering Private Finance Initiatives, NHS hospitals, Foundation schools and peerages at knock-down prices. In the end the decision to consolidate all LPF's debts into “one, easy-to-manage debt” sounded its death-knell as, in April 2006, the Fraud Squad launched an investigation. Choked by an extensive paper trail and a number of irate men who had been refused a peerage, Labour Party Finances finally gave up the ghost and passed away surrounded by close friends and family including Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch and Steptoe and Son.
Labour Party Finances will be buried in a pauper’s grave at St Vorderman’s Church of the Receivers and is survived by Conservative Party Debts of £35.3 million. Well-wishers and anyone who likes the smooth feel of ermine against their skin are requested to send cash in used notes.
28 November 2006
Another in our occasional series of tributes to the recently deceased from those who knew them best. We commissioned this tribute to the late, great Alan Freeman from his former Radio 1 colleague Davey "The Giant Raspberry" Lovely ... having read the piece, we can only apologise to Mr Freeman and his relatives.
Alan "Fluff" Freeman, "The Fluffmeister", plain old "Fluff" ... so many nicknames for the man in the jumper who was the greatest pop-picker of them all! Truly it's almost impossible to know what to say about a guy who bestrode the disc-jockeying world like a giant man speaking into a mic from behind a big desk.
After centuries of sending them our convicts, villains 'n' general nasty types, those cork-hat-wearing Aussies repaid us by sending us one of the finest fellers on this lovely planet. Fluff was a truly beautiful guy, not to mention the top man from Tasman...ia who defined DJing for a whole generation. Kids today will never understand it, but it took him five years and literally five billion memos to the apparatchiks at the "good ole" BBC to be allowed to read out the Top 10 in the reverse order! It was that kind of spirit that would one day inspire me, Davey "The Giant Raspberry" Lovely - arrooga, my radiophonic chums! - in my year-long campaign to be allowed to play the great Sir Paulus de McCartney and them there Wings's supergreat single "Jet" on a loop for a whole twenty-four hours. Where Alan led, others followed. Where did DLT get the courage to wear that beard, where did Noel Edmonds get the courage to wear those jumpers, where did David "Kid" Jensen get the courage to call himself "Kid" until into his forties? The Fluff, that's where.
For those of us who were once part of the merry band of funsters that was Radio 1 in the 70's and 80's, Fluff was a kind of god. A god made, not of marble or bronze, but of vinyl LP's, woolly cardies and a kindly smile. Now, it has been suggested that some of us might have resented the fact that he was allowed to continue a-broadcasting for "kindly Aunty Beeb " well into his jolly old 70's, while the rest of us were left to display our enormous talent (know what I mean, mum? I bet you do) elsewhere, but nothing could be further from the truth. I for one still welcomed the Chriggy cards good old Al would send me every Xmas here at "Good Buyo " the nation's 171st favourite satellite-only shopping channel - and any suggestion that I ripped them into shreds while screaming "It should be me up there" is an outrageous lie of porkietacious dimensions.
Alan, I know you're up there in the sky, a-looking down on me and I just want to say that, just because I never rang, never visited, never even sent you a postcard in all those years since we last met, doesn't mean I didn't love you, mate. And I certainly didn't resent the fact that you got all the charm, wit, talent and easy rapport with generations of listeners ... while I got to describe in loving detail the advantages of buying a life-sized replica of Elvis carved from pure, machine-made Krubonite, for only £99.99 spread over three easy payments. Not arf!
Ta-ra, Fluff, old mate ... they're playing your tune.
27 November 2006
England's Hopes of Retaining "The Ashes" suffered an ignominous death in Brisbane today, passing away during those "wee small hours of the morning" which are so notoriously the time for the weak and infirm to shuffle off this mortal coil, a reputation they doubtless gained due to the fact they are also the hours when any English cricketers who happen to be in Australia at the time will be beginning the day's play.
The manner of England's Ashes Hopes' death - going down amid the boos and jeers of a hard-bitten audience of 40,000 Australians after a half-hearted display of comical batting and inept bowling - will have come as a shock to all those who remember the Hopes' in their prime, just one year ago. Back then England's Ashes Hopes were the country's favourite entertainment, a travelling show that journeyed from cricket ground to cricket ground mounting an extraordinary display of pyrotechnic batting and laser-guided bowling, culminating in spectacular victory over the Aussies. Such was its popularity that Britons who had never previously shown any interest in cricket before - including millions of football fans, thousands of console-addicted teens and vast numbers of senior politicians eager to jump on any passing bandwagon - began to profess an undying love for the thwack of leather on willow or, even better, leather on Australian body part.
England's Ashes Hopes were to reach their apotheosis on 13 September 2005, when the members of the troupe - arriving in high spirits (thought to be largely gin and vodka) in Trafalgar Square after a night out on the town (and in several bars) - were feted by a massed crowd in Trafalgar Square, before being taken to Number 10 Downing Street for a reception with the Prime Minister himself. It was at this point that the first chink in England's Hopes' armour began to show, after Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff failed - despite having imbibed sufficient alcohol to stun several large elephants or a whole American tourist - to be sick over the PM when Mr Blair asserted how happy he had been to witness Donald Bradman scoring the winning goal for the England XV at the end of the fifth chukka.
From such heights the fall is inevitably far and fast. Within months, the ravages of time were showing upon the bodies of the cast: limbs (particularly those belonging to Michael Vaughan, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff) began to fail and the old passion suddenly seemed to be lacking (particularly in the vicinity of Marcus Trescothick). With new members drafted in to the troupe in haste and a packed tour schedule to fulfil, performances inevitably began to suffer. What was once the greatest show in England grew ever more reliant on extraordinary displays of strength from its new leader, Andrew Flintoff. When even these began to fail to bring in the crowds, England's Hopes started to become a sad parody of their former selves, with some even whispering that what simple spectacles they could achieve were aided by performance-enhancing umpiring.
With a certain grim inevitability, the cast of England's Ashes Hopes - like Ernie Wise - found themselves heading to Australia to try and recapture a portion of former glory. No longer Michael Vaughan's Conquering Heroes, they had reinvented themselves as Fred Flinto's Army: a comedy troupe - featuring such luminaries as Steve "Mind Yer Winders" Harmison, Kevin "The Mad Badger" Pietersen and Geraint "Butterfingers" Jones - who would emerge from their clown bus at each new venue before collapsing spectacularly in a display of comedy batting. Sadly, British acts of this sort had been regulars upon the Australian cricket stage for nearly two decades, leading to an inevitable death in Brisbane this morning.
The funeral for England's Hopes of Retaining the Ashes will be held a week on Tuesday following the close of the second Test. The sermon will be delivered by Steve Harmison ... probably in the direction of Ulan Bator. England's Ashes Hopes will be buried alongside England's Association Football World Cup Hopes, England's Rugby Football World Cup hopes and Tim Henman. Well-wishers are asked not to send flowers ... but if they could rustle up some competent cricketers that would be hugely appreciated.
24 November 2006
The Turkey, the bird that has - since the collapse of the bald eagle population and the ascendancy of the Bush dynasty - come to symbolise the United States in so many ways, was assassinated yesterday (the last Thursday in November) on a vast array of dining tables across the North American continent. Police say they were powerless to prevent the turkeycide, despite having prior knowledge of the plot.
The Turkey was born into the family Meleagris gallopavo ten million years ago and quickly established itself throughout considerable parts of North America. But it wasn’t until the latter part of its long life that The Turkey first made its mark upon American society, when it established a trading relationship with Native Americans. They provided The Turkey with somewhere extremely warm to roost and The Turkey returned the favour by providing them with food, flights for arrows and feathers for headdresses.
It was with the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620 that The Turkey began its meteoric rise to stardom. A year later, the surviving pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest with their new friend The Turkey and gave thanks that they were no longer living in England – a tradition which millions of grateful Americans continue to this day.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln honoured The Turkey’s popularity with its own annual public holiday called Thanksgiving, where families gathered together to offer thanks to The Turkey for being such a great pal and going so well with candied yams. This was far from the last Presidential honour the bird was to receive.
In 1947 Harry S Truman instituted the practice of giving The Turkey a presidential pardon, a tradition for which Richard Nixon was later to be extremely grateful.
In 1969, The Turkey became the first bird on the Moon, sharing a meal with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. However, Aldrin has never forgiven NASA for selecting Armstrong to open his foil food first, while Armstrong has never lived down his famous slip of the tongue, “Houston, The Turkey has landed.”
In 2000 The Turkey had its finest hour when it was elected 43rd President of the United States. But the once popular bird soon began to lose its loyal following when it stopped talking turkey and became mired in a series of political scandals which many believe led to yesterday's brutal slaying of The Turkey by a lone assailant and 300 million accomplices.
The Turkey was cremated in a slow and moving ceremony, spoilt only by a large family row about who knocked over the gravy boat. In attendance were its close friends stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, succotash and pumpkin pie.
The Turkey is survived by the music of Paris Hilton and the movies of Rob Schneider.
21 November 2006
A wave of shock and revulsion has swept over America following the Fox Television Network's decision to screen an interview with the infamous Rupert Murdoch, in which the man whom many still believe to be responsible for notorious crimes such as the Fox Television Network appeared to confess to the brutal killing of OJ Simpson's If I Did It
In an interview condemned by those on both the left and the right - the latter including Fox's self-decorated Gulf War hero Geraldo Rivera and well-informed, highly unbiased, non-sexual-harasser Bill O'Reilly - Mr Murdoch gave a blow-by-blow account of what would have happened had he been the man responsible for the blood all over the floors of Fox TV and HarperCollins, following his decision to cut down their young ratings-grabber before their very eyes.
In the face of Fox's lengthy publicity campaign for the Murdoch interview, friends of OJ Simpson's If I Did It were quick to point out the distress it would cause to the relatives of Mr Murdoch's victim, including publisher Judith Regan who gave birth to If I Did It after conceiving it in a brief moment of passion and unbelievable cynicism with a Mr Rupert Murdoch.
From the moment it emerged into the world, OJ Simpson's If I Did It was the apple of its mother's eyes. Lavished with praise and attention, not to mention multi-page spreads in every News Corporation- owned publication, in the weeks up to its tragic death OJ Simpson's If I Did It was regularly shown off to friends, neighbours and anyone with access to Fox TV - all of whom showed their pleasure at its antics by reaching for sick buckets and bewailing the depths to which portions of the American media had sunk. Despite this, all was not happy in the young If I Did It's life. Before the babe had even had a chance to talk, it became clear that relations with its father were far from good. Rumours began to circulate of Rupert returning home, drunk on power, and attacking the child for its failure to provide. Soon OJ Simpson's If I Did It was being hawked around major advertisers, required to make ever more demeaning confessions in a desperate attempt to bring in a few million cents for Daddy. When even the most hard-bitten of advertisers turned away, If I Did It's days were clearly numbered. On Monday night it was slain in a frenzied press release by a balding Australian media tycoon whom we now know to be Mr Murdoch.
OJ Simpson's If I Did It will be buried alongside grisly reconstructions of the Jack The Ripper Murders, several lengthy interviews with serial killers and a large number of police documentaries which look suspiciously staged. It is survived by Rupert Murdoch, who is expected to undergo a lengthy trial by media, after which he will be let off thanks to possessing a clear conscience, a noble demeanour and a legion of very expensive lawyers.
20 November 2006
We at As A Dodo are grateful to our Russian Correspondent (appointed only this weekend, after entering our offices bearing a sinister smile, and a large tin of thallium) for the following obituary, which we typed at sushi-point this morning.
Following the tragic and wholly accidental thallium poisoning of former KGB colonel and present critic of President Putin, Alexander Litvinenko, Enemies of the Russian State are advised that they have now been officially reclassified by the Federal'naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti Rossiyskoi Federatsii (FSB) as dead, and are requested to make the necessary arrangements for their funerals, which will be held on dates to be specified by the shadowy figures they may have noticed loitering near their houses or observing them from behind copies of Pravda over the past few weeks.
Born on various dates, Enemies of the Russian State have a long and ignoble history. In their time they have committed innumerable crimes, among them criticising the Russian state, hinting that bribery and corruption may be a way of life in modern Russia, failing to pay the proper bribes to corrupt Russian officials, being journalists, inquiring too deeply into the actions of the glorious Russian government after being gently advised at Kalashnikov-point that such actions were unwise and looking at President Putin without the officially approved expression of deep love and awe upon their faces.
Since carrying out these heinous acts Enemies of the Russian State have been declared dead, despite carrying out such life-associated activities as breathing, walking about, talking to their friends and such like. FSB doctors advise that, should these people fail to take vital remedial action - such as acknowledging that President Putin is the surpassing genius of his age whose word is as that of God and whose followers can do no wrong - it is highly likely that their deaths will be confirmed in the following months by accidentally falling off high buildings, throwing themselves in front of speeding vehicles, stabbing themselves with ricin-tipped umbrellas or chopping their own heads off after beating themselves to a pulp.
Enemies of the Russian State will be buried secretly deep in the woods after having their teeth and hands removed to avoid identification. They will not be mourned by anyone living who wishes to remain in that state.
Tony Blair Pretending died last Friday during an interview with Al-Jazeera when the Prime Minister agreed with Sir David Frost that the Iraq war had “so far been pretty much of a disaster”.
Tony Blair Pretending was born in Edinburgh in 1953 and quickly established itself, watching from the seats behind the goal at St James' Park as Jackie Milburn played for Newcastle United - despite being only four-years-old, never having gone to a football match at the time and there being no seats in the stand in the late 50's. Just ten years later, Tony Blair Pretending was stowing away on a flight from Newcastle to the Bahamas – completely unhindered by the fact that no such flight ever existed between those two airports and the fact Tony Blair himself was being educated in Scotland at the time. After Fettes College, Tony Blair Pretending went up to Oxford where it studied law and became the new Mick Jagger, God’s gift to women and the greatest rock musician ever to have lived.
It was with its involvement in politics that Tony Blair Pretending (and its friends Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson) began to come into its own as it first convinced the Labour Party that Mr Blair was a CND-loving, Europe-hating, card-carrying socialist. Later it was to convince the whole country that it was a "pretty straight kind of guy" who would right all Britain's wrongs by a complete break with Thatcherism, having already led Gordon Brown to believe he would become the next leader of the Labour Party after Tony Blair, before persuading the future Chancellor that yes it was his turn to pay for lunch and no that wasn’t a silver fork sticking in his back.
Given its enormous talents (scoring the winning goal in '66, discovering the structure of DNA and making love to the young Clara Bow in the 1920's among them), it came as no surprise when Tony Blair Pretending assumed its rightful position on the world stage. By 1997 it had formed a “special relationship”with America's President Clinton, repeatedly assuring him of Tony Blair's true and unwavering love, before going on to say exactly the same to President Bush after the year 2000. By the early noughties Tony Blair Pretending achieved its greatest ever flight of fantasy, persuading the British people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and thereby justifying its support for the invasion of Iraq. When later challenged on this point, Tony Blair Pretending was able to point out that, in any event, it had consulted God on the matter during one of its regular briefings with God at Number Ten, and that God had given His full backing.
Tony Blair Pretending succumbed to a massive and fatal truth attack on Friday and was buried at the Church of St Billy the Liar. The service was conducted by Monsignor Jeffrey Archer and was attended by friends and colleagues from around the world, including Jesus, Elvis, Harvey the six-foot rabbit, Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
Miraculously, on the third day, Tony Blair Pretending rose from the grave and appeared to its disciples on the road to electing Gordon Brown, where it proved it was very much alive by insisting it had never met Sir David Frost in its life, let alone been interviewed by him.
18 November 2006
Oversized, sweet-fixated children and lovers of 1970's advertising are today united in mourning the Milky Bar Kid, who passed away on Friday.
The Kid, perhaps the only 10-year-old, bespectacled albino ever to make a living in America's Wild West, burst into a nation's consciousness in 1961: a rough, tough, specky cowboy, who would lasso young children and force feed them with his sugary treats - thus providing the inpiration for both Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang's Childcatcher and innumerable paedophiles. Despite such questionable behaviour, the Kid and his stunningly banal catchphrase "All the Milky Bars are on me" became an instant hit with the youth of Britain, inspiring millions of boys to spice up their games of "cowboys and injuns" with fantastically incompetent demonstrations of lasso technique and fragile-family-heirloom-damaging skills.
Times were changing, however, and the Kid was slow to change with them. As a new generation of children began to swap their cap-guns for lightsabres (thus affording even greater opportunity for damaging fragile heirlooms) the Kid's spinning-circle-of-rope-based antics began to look increasingly passé. When he did finally make the leap into space his efforts were - as even his closest friends were later to admit - somewhat embarrassing. Deserted by his public, the Kid followed many other one-time stars into obscurity. No longer under pressure to preserve his image, he gave in to his sickly-sweet-chocolate-style-substance obsession, sitting alone at home and mainlining bar after bar. In the following years he fell completely from the media's gaze, save for a brief - balding and bloated - appearance in the tabloids during the early noughties "paedo" scares, when he was forced to deny ever having asked his old pal the Cadbury's Lad to show him his finger of fudge.
Earlier this year the Kid was admitted to St Ofcom's Hospital where, along with other hawkers of fattening foodstuffs, he underwent a series of investigations. It soon became apparent that he was unfit for the modern age and did not have much longer to live. It came as little surprise when, on Friday, Ofcom doctors announced the Kid's death, which they attributed to a massive overdose of a powdery white substance believed to be sugar.
The Milky Bar Kid will be buried in an oversized coffin on Monday. The service will be televised although, under new advertising regulations children will only be able to watch it after the watershed ... if their chubby fingers aren't too large to mash the buttons on the remote control.
16 November 2006
A fun-loving child of the swinging one-hundred- thousand-BCies, Freedom was always known for her liberating, devil-may-care attitude and easygoing views on everything from drugs to sexual morality. Often caricatured as something of a hippie by her opponents, beneath her happy-go-lucky persona there lay a resolute fighter for liberty and a believer in the inalienable rights of each and every being. From her time hanging around with the notorious hairy hominid group "Homo Sapiens" to today, Freedom always campaigned for the downtrodden, beginning in her youth with such simple campaigns as for the right to pick fleas off one's mate (a right still enjoyed today by many Glastonbury Festival-goers).
Far bigger things were ahead. By the second millennium BC, Freedom was encouraging the Israelites to say goodbye to "the Man" ("the Man" being, in fact, "the Pharaoh") and "find themselves" by going on a walkabout amid the dunes and deserts of the Middle East. Only two millennia later she was staging her next major "happening", persuading young Goths and Vandals from all over Europe to come to Rome to hold a sit-in and "express themselves" ... something that they succeeded in doing with great gusto and pretty much all over the place.
In the centuries that followed, Freedom wandered across the globe, "fighting the power" wherever it could be found. By the latter part of the eighteenth century she was to be found dancing the night away with the likes of Thomas Paine and the heroes of the American War of Independence. During this time she also fell in with a group of French exchange students, going off with them to Paris to hold a mindblowing (or, more precisely, head chopping) Revolution. Not long after she was wigging out with newly-freed slaves before going on to explore her womanhood with the aid of suffragettes (and later Mars bars) before ignoring her advancing years to don a pink cowboy hat and chaps (and very little else) to march for gay rights.
Such a controversial lifestyle could not help but to attract enemies. Over the years Freedom found herself assailed from both left and right and by powers temporal and spiritual ... all of whom wanted to have as much freedom as possible for themselves (often including the freedoms to amass vast luxury for themselves, to oppress anyone they didn't like at all and, strangely enough, to sleep with any member of the animal kingdom they chose) while denying it to everybody else. Despite their attacks, Freedom carried on untroubled.
While Freedom managed to come through her wild life unscathed, not all of her friends were so lucky. Many of her oldest friends began to show increasing signs of paranoia, perhaps due to the bitter experiences of centuries fighting oppression, perhaps due to a massive intake of alcohol and cocaine in their youth. Several developed an obsession with ensuring Freedom's safety. Fearful that she might be attacked by "evildoers", and despite the protests of Freedom herself, they insisted that she leave her home on fewer and fewer occasions and then only with an armed escort. Eventually, those who claimed to be her closest companions confined her to her room, where they kept her under constant surveillance by CCTV. Deprived of the liberty she always craved, Freedom began to drift away.
Freedom will be buried this weekend. She is survived by her complete biometric data, surveillance files and CCTV footage, which will remain on a centralised database for all eternity.
15 November 2006
Trust fund managers, brokers and merchant bankers across Britain momentarily turned their heads from their screens / clients / vast piles of money this morning, following the news of the death of the London Stock Exchange, which drowned in the Thames last night after dining with a group of well-connected Major Investment Banks.
The LSE was born in 1698 when one John Castaing, fired up by vast amounts of java, first pinned up a list of stock and commodity prices on the walls of Jonathan's Coffee House in London's Change Alley, with the aim of parting as many suckers as possible from their cash.
With its twin mottoes "My word is my bond" and "Your money is my money... and currently invested in an offshore intermediate revolving FOREX facility" the LSE was soon bestriding the financial world like the proverbial colossus, with those beneath it compelled to lift their gazes and contemplate the vast size and extreme goldenness of its twin fiscal spheres.
In the following years the LSE, red in tooth and braces, would become one of the world's most powerful financial forces, leading investors through South Sea Bubbles and Railway Mania to penury, while leading itself to vaster and vaster piles of money. By the early part of this century, those vast piles of money began to attract an increasing number of suitors. Gossip columnists noted that the ageing LSE was seen out with a different partner each night, showing its commodities off to Deutsche Boerse one evening, then flashing its sparkling derivatives at NASDAQ the next.
Such behaviour could not go unnoticed. Major Investment Banks which had long been associates of the LSE began to feel that their old friend, for whom they had done so much, was spending too much time gadding about and building up money piles and not enough showing them the respect they deserved. Attempts at reconciliation - including gifts of horses' heads - were made, the last of them occurring only on Tuesday night, when the Banks invited the LSE to dine with them. It appears that, clearly fearful of the current inclement weather, the LSE made the tragic mistake of wearing a concrete overcoat for its walk back from the restaurant along the Embankment, leading to inevitable tragedy when a pat on the back from several of its Bank pals caused it to fall into the river, where it drowned. The Banks made repeated attempts to rescue the LSE by dropping heavy metal chains on it and shooting it but all to no avail.
The London Stock Exchange will be buried at St Mammon's Church this weekend. Well-wishers are asked to send cash. The LSE is survived by the Major Investment Banks, their brand new European share market and vast piles of money.
13 November 2006
The Christmas Club was found dead this weekend at its home in Farepak. Police believe it had disturbed burglars who may have made off with a Xmas hamper worth up to £40 million . They have warned members of the public not to approach the thieves or their associates, who may be posing as bankers, city gents and incompetent regulators.
The Christmas Club was conceived in the year 0 when a young, impoverished woman from Judea began saving the Almighty's seed in the nine months before December 25th. Fortunately, her husband’s ire at being betrayed by his wife and having to spend the festive season in a barn, was somewhat mollified by the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The Christmas Club quickly bloomed, enabling peasants throughout the ages to put aside a groat a week and enjoy a magical Yuletide – unless their family had been killed by the plague, killed by invading Anglo-Saxon or Viking or Norman hordes, killed by the King’s Men for gathering winter fu-el in the forest, killed for looking at the King’s deer funny, or their family had been sold into slavery in order to make the weekly payments on the Christmas Club.
But it was with the introduction of the modern Christmas as we know it by Prince Albert (famous for stapling his Christmas cracker to his baubles) that the Christmas Club became popular throughout the great Victorian slums, workhouses, and poorhouses that made Great Britain the best country in the world.
Fattened by the increasing aspirational pressure applied by Our Lord Santa in the glittery advertisements shown from as early as late October on 72” flat screen tellies (Available from all good electrical outlets), the Christmas Club became as bloated as one of its turkey-style Christmas roasts. In this state it inevitably attracted the interest of the murkier elements of the corporate world, an interest which was to lead to The Club's demise.
The Christmas Club was buried in an over-priced hamper this weekend at St Scrooge’s Church. The congregation sang Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. The service was attended by friends and family including the National Lottery, National Insurance and Pension Scemes. The Christmas Club is survived by the Halifax Bank of Scotland Bank, numerous other High Street banks and a vast mountain of Christmas debt.
10 November 2006
Across Britain today, almost no-one is mourning the death of Education Secretary Alan Johnson's Bid for the Labour Party Leadership, which passed away largely unnoticed at 9am.
The child of a desperate desire to prevent Gordon Brown becoming Prime Minister, Alan Johnson's Leadership Bid was born in the summer of 2006 in the region of the Number Ten Policy Unit in Downing Street. Its birth was greeted by a wave of complete indifference in newspapers, magazines, television and across the nation as a whole.
Over the following months, backers of the Leadership Bid whipped themselves into a frenzy of tedium as campaign HQ pulsed to the sound of no phones ringing and no calls being made. By the beginning of this month, those behind the Leadership Bid were at fever pitch as Mr Johnson's recognition factor leapt to an astonishing 2 people in 100, though sadly both those people recognised Mr Johnson as "the bloke who used to hand out the shopping baskets at the entrance to Asda".
Facing inevitable ignominy The Leadership Bid was buried this morning when Mr Johnson told a packed hall of empty seats that he would not be standing for the leadership as there was a far more able man for the job ... though sadly he had been unable to dissuade Mr Blair from standing down.
Alan Johnson's Labour Leadership Bid is survived by Alan Johnson's Deputy Leadership Bid, and, tragically, John Reid.