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I'm leaving. May never return.
Probably will, but there's an outside chance.
You know what? I should explain myself. I, along with a bunch of others whose outlooks on life involve copious amounts of transparent liquids that smell vaguely like Domestos, am to be banished to the East; specifically, Russia. I first signed up for this about half a year ago, at which point it sounded like an exciting journey into the recent history of our planet, coupled with readily available hard liquor, even to the ludicrously small such as myself. However, after our recent orientation, it seems Russia is more historical society, and more tourist killing machine. In short, I fear for my life.
Y'see, it would seem that back when the Russians finally got to admitting their social experiment had gone balls-up and so embraced capitalism, they forgot a few of the key ingredients to modern society. Let's review them.
Water supply that doesn't contain lethal bacteria
The rule of law
I would go on, but having just got in from work, I'm out of time. Tune in this time next fortnight for thrilling tales of my exploits in the cradle of civilisation. Or schoolboy humour revolving around how my friends got smashed and tried to make love to street furniture; whichever takes my fancy.
So, having grown tired of rejection and uncertain over its quality as literature, I've decided to give up searching for a publisher and just post up the whole of my first proper novel, Articulate Jim: A Search For Something. Click here if you'd be interested in that sort of thing.
Your assignment for the weekend is to find out if you or a close friend have associates in literary agencies or the publishing industry.
Oh, and last week Chris apparently had a problem sending stuff to my firstname.lastname@example.org address. I tried sending stuff to myself and it worked alright, but I'd like to know if anyone else has had mails sent back to them or something. I don't seem to be getting as many nice e-mails as I used to and I have very low self-esteem. I'd like to know if I'm losing any mails or if I'm just universally hated.
EDIT - It's just occurred to me that you should probably send e-mail about my e-mail not working to my other one. email@example.com
Allow me to pitch to you this idea for a movie I've had. I think this could be just the thing for Hollywood when the internet becomes trendy again.
It's set in a post-apocalyptic future, and centres around the exploits of... hold on while I run a random name generator... OK, around the exploits of Icarus McCarthy, a reclusive hacker who is the only survivor of the destruction of his home town of Great Yarmouth in the nuclear holocaust. At first, he sees this as a blessing. Now he can spend the rest of his life reading funny websites without interruptions, like his parents demanding he get a job. Soon, however, the true nightmare of his predicament comes to light.
He discovers that none of his favourite humour websites are being updated anymore, because the owners are all either dead or fighting for survival in the post-apocalyptic nightmare world. Disappointed, McCarthy takes it upon himself to hack into the FTP client of all his favourite humour websites and update them all himself. Soon he has become a legendary figure throughout the world, revered by those few who still have access to the internet.
But then disaster strikes! A band of mutated raiders from the nearby lawless settlement of Coventry beat him severely and steal his computer! Driven half-mad by his lust for revenge, McCarthy gathers a rag-tag army from the people all over the world who have been reading his updates, and teaches them how to create explosives and makeshift weapons with information from subversive websites. But when McCarthy announces his intention to lay siege to Coventry and bring vengeance down upon the raiders therein, his followers desert him, and he is forced to go in alone.
After he is captured by the raiders, McCarthy's love interest makes an impassioned plea to the nerd army, and finally the horde agree to break into Coventry, free McCarthy and kill the bad guys. The finale is a spectacular orgy of explosions and violence, possibly with full-frontal nudity if we can get away with it.
Here's a round-up of the characters it'll need:
Icarus McCarthy: The protagonist, a troubled nerdy hero with a heart of gold. Maybe the radiation from the holocaust has given him some amazing and relevant power, like the ability to speak in HTML. Maybe he could use it to confuse the bad guys long enough to escape. (Suggested casting: Tobey Maguire)
Titty Von Loveinterest: One of McCarthy's followers, a beautiful young freedom fighter who answers his call with great enthusiasm and falls gradually in love with his rugged, bespectacled countenance. (Suggested casting: What does it matter? Pick any old hot chick from the streets of Hollywood, there's no shortage)
Colin and Colon Comicrelief: McCarthy's second in command, a pair of twins who, thanks to radiation again, were born as one two-headed man. Get this: one of them loves Dairylea soft cheese, the other is lactose intolerant! Ho ho ho! And they're always nutting each other! Fucking kills me every time I think of it. (Suggested casting: Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie, Greg Proops & Ryan Stiles)
Professor Antagonist: The evil leader of the raiders who hates the internet, and attempts to force McCarthy into destroying it! He could be completely bald with an eyepatch or some scar on his forehead shaped like the Windows logo, and that's why he hates computers. (Suggested casting: Patrick Stewart, Billy Crystal)
If you think this sounds like the greatest movie ever, wait 'till you've heard the title I have in mind:
Also, check out this publicity poster I mocked up.
Can you remember a time when CDs were actually rather expensive? Around the time they were appearing on 'Tomorrow's World', having jam spread on them to demonstrate how difficult they were to damage? Well, it seems the novelty value of CDs has worn off. You can pick up half a dozen free courtesy of the AOL corporation in any computer shop. And the latest thing is for newspapers to give away free compilation albums.
We get the Daily Mail in this house and we've got a huge stack of free compilation albums rapidly growing by the stereo. Of these, I have discovered a couple entitled 'Freewheeling'; two albums consisting of twenty songs which are apparently really great to listen to while driving. That's the shtick. A lot of the songs on these albums are quite old (therefore 'good' in my eyes), presumably 'cos they were the only ones they could get hold of to give away for free, so I spent a diligent weekend copying MP3s from them entirely within the boundaries of law.
There're just a couple of titles on there that are slightly weird additions to an album you're supposed to listen to while driving. Allow me to list them. Thank you.
CD1, track 8: Cyndi Lauper, Girls Just Want To Have Fun
I guess I can't expect the CD makers to know exactly what gender is driving the car at the moment, but this one comes just one track before Kula Shaker's 'Hey Dude' and Meatloaf's 'Bat Out Of Hell'. It's a bit of a jarring change of pace, really. When I listen to this song I picture a pink convertible full of beautiful female recent university graduates, wearing 80's clothing and surrounded by shopping bags. They're all laughing and giggling. One of them has a bubble wand. Then the driver loses concentration when someone reads out a particularly extraordinary article from Heat magazine and the car crashes in an incredible blazing inferno, leaving no survivors. Only the CD player continues playing for a few seconds, before lapsing into silence with an ugly scratch.
CD1, track 19: Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Young Girl
Male singers in the 60's had this thing about jailbait, it seems. This isn't the only paedophile-friendly song I've heard from that period and it won't be the last. Not that it's any of my business. If you want to sing about how you're having disquieting thoughts about some 14-year-old, that's up to you and your own conscience. I just can't fathom why the song is appropriate for driving. Maybe for when a proud father is driving his teenage daughter to school or wherever, but that seems a somewhat terrifying prospect.
CD2, track 6: Simon & Garfunkel, Homeward Bound
Great song, and appropriate, but here's the thing: it's only appropriate if you actually are homeward bound. So if you're Tim Robbins at the end of the Shawshank Redemption listening to this song as he drives the hell away from prison, it may depress you a tad. Oh wait. Actually, I just listened to it again, and the lyrics are about a bloke who WISHES he was homeward bound. I guess they've covered all the bases, then. Damn those little munchkins!
CD2, track 13: Deacon Blue, Dignity
This does feel like a good song to listen to while driving. It has that certain rhythm that's perfect for when you're driving down a very long, straight road. Trouble is, if you listen to the lyrics, it's actually about a BOAT. A very pretty boat, but a boat nonetheless. So I guess you could play it if you have a stereo on the bridge of your dinghy, but the rhythm of the waves tossing your boat to and fro doesn't match the song. D'oh! Chuck the CD in the bin and break out the accordion for a more appropriate shanty, like the one about the drunken sailor or 'do your balls hang low'.
Brothers, Summer Breeze
Why are so many songs on this album about sunshine? What do you if it isn't sunny? Do they have a Mr. Overcast Sky? No! Look at this logically. If it's a nice day, you're more likely to have the windows open. And if you've got the windows open, you can't hear the bloody stereo over the bloody wind. Am I really the only smart man in the world?
CD1, track 13: Blue Oyster Cult, Don't Fear The Reaper
Now come on! In a world where death by car accident is still a leading cause, the inclusion of this song just seems irresponsible. It might be misconstrued as a dare. What if someone's driving home after a nasty break-up, tears pouring down upon the beaded seat cover, and he pops in this album to cheer him up? "Hey," he thinks. "The girl in this song who kills herself seems to be awfully happy about it! Gotta get me some o' dat!" Next morning, the sun rises upon the most horrific pile-up in living memory.
MORE SLIGHTLY BAFFLING ADDITIONS
Mac, Black Magic Woman
OUTWARDLY APPROPRIATE SONGS
Nash, I Can See Clearly Now
SONGS THAT WEREN'T ON THIS ALBUM AND SHOULD'VE BEEN
Beatles, Drive My Car
That last one may not seem relevant, but there is no other song like it for making me want to get in a car and drive the hell away.
Just for a change, I uploaded some more Angular Mikes on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. You just can't tell what I'm going to do next! Four more strips. And I added the Invisible Hentai Girl to the character list, 'cos it was asked of me, and that's as good a reason as any.
I overheard in the recent news that there's been a little argument over the treatment of prisoners in British jails. Apparently some of them aren't having a gay old time in there (or rather, they are, and that's the problem). Sometimes prisoners could spend their whole sentence without even having access to a Playstation. Sometimes a big prisoner might hit them and take their sweeties, and they'd have to run crying to the nearest guard, who would have a word with the big prisoner's parents.
Now, call me old-fashioned, call me politically incorrect, call me Commander Asshat if you think it'll help, but I always thought that prison was supposed to be, you know, a PUNISHMENT. Remember those, British Legal System? It's what you get when you've been naughty. Forgive me for being under the impression that prison was supposed to act as a deterrent for would-be criminals, when it seems instead that they are supposed to be happy holiday camps for people called 'Darren' who wear baseball caps and hooded jerseys.
Well, I say, fuck you all who think prisoner's aren't treated well. If they wanted to be treated well they shouldn't have broken some old lady's face. I mean to change all this. I will be the Jason Voorhees lurking in the bushes that surround Camp Happy Prison.
So, let's see what we can do with the current system. Firstly, chuck those stupid privileges in the bin. TVs, Playstations, conjugal visits, away with ye. If you want conjugal visits, there's your cellmate right there. Why not make some propositions and see how far you get. No cellmate? You've still got a right hand, haven't you? Wait for lights out and have a gay old time.
And no more nice cushy food properly cooked for them. Prisoners don't need anything more than the four food groups: Bread, Gruel, Slop and The Cook's Phlegm. And while we're at it, why do they need those cushy 'mattresses'? Stuff an old sack with flints and they can sleep on that. Yeah, now we're having some fun.
Guards should be totally unsympathetic and fond of brutal beatings. We'll have to clone that bloke in 'The Shawshank Redemption' who beats people to death for coughing too loudly and populate all our prisons with him. Those street punks will soon learn the letter of the law! It's a sort of wobbly letter 'D', embedded into their forehead from being kicked in the skull too often.
This is just for the minor offenders. Murderers and rapists and other fucks will get... THE GAUNTLET(TM).
The exercise yard will be converted into an enormous astroturf arena. If you need funding, install stadium seating and charge fifty quid entrance fee from visitors. All the serious offenders and condemned criminals will be lined up in starting positions, and when the starter's pistol fires the real fun starts.
Those cocky gits who refuse to run will be immediately gored by the selection of angry tigers immediately unleashed to encourage forward movement. First, the contenders will have to run through a series of swinging blades which move in a regular rhythm. Next they come to a swimming pool full of deadly boiling acid with a series of wooden planks going across it. The fun part is, one of the planks is actually polystyrene made to look like wood! Watch their faces as it snaps beneath their weight! If some git managed to get hold of some antacid from the prison 'fixer', they'll soon be put in their place by the piranhas in little acid-proof vests.
After a few more swinging blades, those prisoners who have survived so far must get past Bertha. Bertha is the fat wife of one of the Shawshank Redemption guards, dressed like a Bavarian opera singer and armed with a pump-action shotgun. She is under orders to sing along with Wagner, firing randomly at the end of each bar. This feature is just added to spice the event up and hopefully interest local television companies.
Lastly, the runners must crawl under a big black sheet to the finish. What we don't mention to the prisoners, of course, is the broken glass scattered around underneath, and the occasional deadly Bollock Spider of Mozambique, named after the body part it finds tastied in the whole wide world. For the women's event I suppose we'll have to make do with Mediterranean Nipple Crabs. Everyone who (somehow) gets to the finish line is taken away to a special room and shot, because nobody likes a smartarse.
Allow me to stress at this point that the Gauntlet will only be given to the really, REALLY serious offenders. Everyone else just gets a cell with a big window overlooking it, with a little notice in the corner reading "Watch carefully, fucker, come back to this prison one too many times and maybe it'll be you enjoying the company of acid burns and testicle-hungry arachnids".
Oh, come on, it would work.
material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw