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13/9/2002: Literary Stuff

It's Friday, and you know what that means! Erotic thriller night on Channel 5! It also means that it's article day, and this week it's the seventh instalment of my award-winning novel - the term 'award-winning' is used in this context to mean 'not award-winning' - the Search for Something. In today's episode Jim and his pals meet a curious old man who may hold the information they seek on the Lost City of Eldorado. Go read the damn thing!

This week, your assignment for the weekend is to get hold of a copy of 'The Encyclopaedia of Twentieth Century Murder', or something of a similar theme. Read it in a public place, occasionally bursting into manic laughter. If you're sitting next to someone, give them a friendly nudge, point at the page you're reading, and collapse into further hysterics. See how many people you can alienate!

12/9/2002: Rule Britannia

As many of you readers will know, I am British. Totally. My father was English, my mother was half-Scottish, and I was born and have lived in England my entire life. There is absolutely no non-British blood in my entire body. And while I think the country is going to the dogs, that the prime minister is about as effective as a stick of celery in a lion cage, and while I harshly oppose the existence of the Royal Family and wish the Queen would just get over herself, I am still proud to be a member of this plucky little nation.

There it is!

But it's becoming increasingly difficult to be proud, for the reasons listed above, but also because our sense of national identity is being threatened. Yes friends, Britain was once the invasion capital of the world, being in command of a quarter of the globe. Now, the process is working in reverse. Britain is being assimilated.

The biggest culprit is America. We've got Starbucks cafes everywhere, our television channels have bitter fights to the death over who gets to show American imported dramas, and American dialect is starting to sneak into the everyday language of our youth. Prime Minister Blair has become President Bush's lap-dog, blithely agreeing with everything he says and going along with the plan to invade Iraq, even though a huge majority of Parliament is against it. This I take particular issue with; Parliament is made up of representatives elected by the people and they reflect the opinion of the nation. If Blair is just going to ignore them then that renders the whole democratic process completely meaningless. It really steams my puddings and no mistake.

But we're being assimilated on all sides by other nations, too. Indian food is eternally popular, and now Indian culture is catching up. Half the videos in the local library are those bizarre Indian films which feature endless singing and dancing and dodgy acting. Immigrants and asylum seekers from all over the world are flooding in. And, of course, we're being constantly badgered by Europe to join their little club, which we won't, because they hate our guts. France still won't import our beef, even though it was revealed that French cows are fed on shit.

I hope he's fed his hat today.
Spot the Brit!

Well, I say enough's enough. Lord knows I've got nothing against embracing other cultures, but not at the cost of our own national identity. All we have left now are the Royal Family, fish and chip shops and those guards with the big black furry hats who aren't allowed to breathe. Here are a few of my suggestions to sort this whole thing out.

1. All road signs will be painted with Union Jacks, so motorists will be always reminded of what country they're in. Also, if there's time, we should paint the roads in the same way, and maybe the cars' windscreens, too.

2. Ditch the American dramas. Yes, I say this with a heavy heart as I have been enjoying Six Feet Under, but we have to make sacrifices for what we believe in. And ditch the American sit-coms as well, 'cos they're all shit. The resulting gaps in the TV schedules should be filled with repeats of Dr Who and Monty Python.

3. Did I mention how much I hate American sit-coms? Why have they all got to be so bittersweet, anyway? Why do they all have to portray family values and the importance of friendship? Is that in the Constitution or something? All the American sit-coms I've seen are just family dramas with forced jokes. It's quite nauseating. You had to come to us to get stuff like Red Dwarf, or Blackadder, or the Young Ones. I shudder to think what an American re-make of the Young Ones would be like.

4. Sorry, I just start running off at the mouth on some subjects. Where was I?

5. Ah yes. A new lesson will be introduced to the nationwide school syllabus to teach children how to stay English. They will be taught how to speak in thick Cockney accents and will be made to sing selected hits by bands like Blur and Oasis. Anthony Hopkins, who has abandoned his British roots and taken full American citizenship, will be depicted as the Antichrist.

That's just the start of my little scheme. With a little help, comrades, I know we can make this nation great again!


No, I'm not a Nazi.

Why do people keep asking me that?

11/9/2002: Commercial Break

You know what confuses me? Adverts that are directed at small children. The ones with nauseatingly twee cartoon characters and jolly songs. Surely advertisers know that small children are unlikely to be the chief breadwinner of the household? I mean, outside of those Vietnamese villages where they start making wallets from the age of five. Adverts for products aimed at small children should be directed at the parents, who can decide for themselves if they want their offspring getting their oily little paws on the product in question.

Here are two examples of adverts. One of them is the current trend. The other is how it would be if I had my way. See if you can tell which is which.

1. "Oh boy, Findus deep-fried chocolate ice-cream sandwiches! Mr. Doodle The Talking Yak thinks they're super! Kids love it!"

2. "Please buy Findus deep-fried chocolate ice-cream sandwiches for your children. There is no conclusive evidence that it causes hyperactivity yet."

Boy, you sure pour ketchup well! Ha ha ha!
I don't know precisely what, but there's something terribly
fucked-up about this picture.

When I finally get round to writing the 'Yahtzee's Perfect World' manifesto, advertising is going to get a whole chapter. I mean, there was a time when billboards and TV adverts were considered quite sufficient for advertising purposes. Now you can buy advertising space on buses, football fields, bald men's heads, streakers, the backs of people's eyelids ... it's so obnoxious. And don't even get me started on popups and those popups that open more popups when they're closed. Here's an analogy.

(advertising circa 1950)

ADVERTISER: Please buy our shit. It's quite good.

CONSUMER: Thank you for letting me know about your product. I shall consider it if I ever require such a thing.

ADVERTISER: Much obliged.

CONSUMER: Not at all.

(advertising circa 2000)

ADVERTISER: Buy this! Buy this! You'll love it!

CONSUMER: Thank you for letting me kno -

ADVERTISER: BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY! Your kids will love and worship you if you buy this! It will make your hair grow back and your wife return!

CONSUMER: Thank you f-


CONSUMER: Thank y-




CONSUMER: (flees)

You can see how one objects to such a thing. It's all getting completely out of hand and someone's going to have to pass a law on it at some point, or at least get the Secret World Government to engineer a disease that kills people who advertise too much (hey, it worked for Free Love), so just to get the ball rolling, here are my suggestions for legislation.

1. Billboards can only be three feet across by four feet high, and must be concealed behind big wooden flaps. If passers-by wish to look at your advertisement they can then lift the flap. Any passers-by who lift the flap and leave it open will be fined lots of money or put in an Advert Dungeon for a week. An Advert Dungeon is a small room with TV screens covering all the walls, ceiling and floor, each one showing a different TV advertisement from the past with the volume turned right up. They are turned off only between midnight and four in the morning. A fitting punishment for the crime, I feel.

2. Television advertisements can only be in the form of still images, held on screen for ten seconds. There can be no more than five in a single commercial break, and only one commercial break for each half-hour of programme. The advert cannot have any sound, just whatever muzak the programme controller has chosen for the commercial break (we suggest the pan-pipe version of Bridge Over Troubled Waters). We are aware that television companies need to run lots of advertisements for their funding, so the cost of putting up these adverts will skyrocket. Oh, and a product can only have one advert for it per break, so don't even think about trying that one. Anyone who breaks these laws gets a flat sentence of ten weeks in the Advert Dungeon, plus more depending on the severity of the crime.

3. Any claim an advertisement makes will be rigorously investigated by government researchers. For instance, if a product purports to be the best of its field, there will be market research and lengthy tests. If the advert's claim turns out to be false, then all those involved will find themselves in an Advert Dungeon for four months. If it was REALLY inaccurate then one of their number will be chosen randomly and shot. Otherwise a brutal beating will be sufficient.

4. Sponsorship is going right out the window. The advertising boards that surround football fields will instead be decorated with various historical works of art. The players' kits, rather than be slathered with logos, can either go bare or have a pro-government slogan. Anyone who breaks any of these laws gets six months in the Advert Dungeon, then gets strung up in Trafalgar Square naked with the name of their product branded on their chests.

Looks very smart!

5. Internet advertising can only take the form of a 100 x 100 graphic, which can only be placed on a specially designated page. That way readers can decide for themselves whether they wish to look at them. Sending spam mail or using pop-up ads are punishable by a year in the Advert Dungeon, during which time the culprits are also regularly showered with junk mail from the ceiling. They must then read all the junk mail, and be tested on it when they get out. If they fail, they get another three months.

So that's my idea for advertising legislation. Anyone have any other ideas? Send 'em in and, if I get enough, I could spend an update putting up all your efforts! Isn't this fun?

10/9/2002: Soapbox Day Mk 2

Last Monday I ranted on about the fact that since I am uninjured, mentally normal, 18-35, non-denominational, heterosexual, caucasian and a male, that I was a member of the most abused minority in the world. Well, I forgot to add one additional item to that list. I'm also thin.

Yes, thin people are eternally demonized by fat people, and this is one of the things that irks me most of all. I once saw an episode of Inspector Morse where this company that made slimming products turned out to be evil, and some fat girl got her revenge on them. This was obvious and blatant discrimination of thin people, and no-one seemed to mind at all. We see all these articles and TV shows about chubby people going on about 'We don't need to slim down! You should accept us for how we are!', stepping onto the moral high ground and watching it collapse beneath their weight.

Now, before I go on, I know there are people with eating disorders and diseases that cause them to be fat who can't help it. I am not directing the large quantities of spite in this article towards you people. Nor to people who are merely a bit chubby. It's the other fatties I wish to address. The ones who have been stuffing themselves with crisps since they were three, now resemble lard mountains, and get all frustated because no-one wants to sleep with them.

All the other things in my list I can live with. Black people discriminating against us, women doing the same, religious people calling us evil ... all of those are OK by me up to a point, because there's nothing wrong about being black, or female, or religious. The first two you can't help and, well, some people just need religion to help them get through the day. But being fat ... I'm sorry, but being fat isn't right. It isn't natural.

Fat just isn't attractive. And no amount of propaganda, appeals for more fat models and fat people wearing lacey, revealing garments (shudder) is going to change that. I'm not being a nazi, I'm just stating the facts; most people find fat distinctly off-putting.

See what I'm up against?
This is just PROPAGANDA, dammit!
What's more, fat just isn't PRACTICAL. You can't move fast with it, it takes up space unnecessarily, and what's more, it's hazardous to your health. It can do your heart in good and proper. Why don't you see people who smoke trying to set up the National Association to Advance Smoking Acceptance? Because it'll eventually kill you, that's why. Why isn't there a Society for People Who Like Wearing Chainsaws As Earrings? Same reason.

Lard mountains who say 'it's what's inside that counts' are missing the point. Sure you can be fat and have the ability to write a worldwide best-selling novel, but in your current state you're going to have difficulty reaching the typewriter. The ones who say 'you should accept us for who we are' I suspect are just too idle to diet, or simply can't bear to go without delicious chocolate and butter.

There's a reason why there aren't any fat models. It's because the clothing manufacturers don't want their products associated with disgusting sweaty blobs of flesh. You want to be a swimsuit model? How're you going to model it if it's disappearing between your rolls of flab?

There's also a reason why there aren't any fat action heroes. Here it is, in script form.

BAD GUY: OK, here's ten million dollars.

BAD GUY 2: And here's the case full of heroin. Nice doing business with you.

HERO: Stop right there, evil doers!

BAD GUYS: Oh no! It's Jack McFat, special drug squad! Run for it!

HERO: Hey! Come back! (pant, pant) I can't keep up, I'm too fat!

HERO'S BOSS: You let two sure-fire arrests get away because you're too fat? You're off the case, McFat! Now get out of my office. Your enormous layers of blubber are knocking all the ornaments off my desk.

So, in conclusion, if you're fat as a pig and consume one every day for breakfast, just diet. You'll live longer and more people will want to sleep with you. Standing on a soapbox and shouting about how people should want to sleep with you anyway isn't going to get the same results. You disgusting pile of whale meat.

9/9/2002: An Appeal

[Before I begin, let me just say first that due to popular demand I have shoved all the old title pictures for my articles onto their new pages, so now you can go look at them and feel all nostalgic and shit]

I'd like to take a moment of your time to make an appeal on behalf of a minority of people who have been cruelly cast out by an uncaring society, left to wander the streets with all hope stolen from them.

I'm talking, of course, about adventure game characters.

Back in the day, these unfortunates were the wasp's pyjamas. People just couldn't get enough of them, and more and more of them were created and released upon a happy public. Adventure games were an investor's dream, the characters national figures. But then, the bubble burst. First person shooters and other less intellectual games became popular. Sales of adventure games began to decrease. Adventure game characters, so confident that they 'had it made', were shocked to find their contracts unrenewed.

Many of these jobless adventure game protagonists try to switch to a new line of work, but soon find they cannot hold them down for long due to crippling kleptomania that causes them to steal everything that isn't nailed down in the hopes of getting their inventory 'fix'. Most now live on the streets begging for small change and seemingly useless objects.

Fifteen minutes of fame, fifteen years of comebacks...

Here are the signs to look for if you suspect someone you know is an adventure game character.

1. Most notably, they will usually not be able to die. Driven to desperate measures, some will stab themselves with knives and jump off buildings endlessly, always coming through completely unharmed. Others can be killed, and will do so by running into traffic, teasing wild animals, or (if they used to be Sierra adventure game characters) by walking quite slowly into a wall or stepping in a puddle, before rematerialising a few yards away, again completely unharmed.

2. As mentioned above, they will obsessively fill their pockets with random objects which they imagine they could 'use' later on. In some cases they will look at the item for a moment, then say "I can't take that!" loudly, before moving on. This leads us onto the next symptom.

3. Adventure game characters will speak every slightest thought that crosses their mind. Sometimes in a normal voice, sometimes in a voice while the words appear in enormous letters above their heads, and sometimes silently with just the words. This has led to many embarrassing situations for the adventure game characters, which often lead to fights.

4. They will blindly and incessantly follow flies, wasps and other flying insects in the hope that they are 'pointers' there to tell them what to do again. Some cruel kids like to use laser pens to create mock pointers and watch the adventure game characters follow them around for hours. They think this is amusing.

Now that you've established if someone is an adventure game character, here is what to do.

1. Nail down all your possessions.

2. Use a laser pointer to lead the poor unfortunate into your vehicle.

3. Drive them immediately to the nearest National Adventure Game Character Re-Education Centre.

Yes, after an extensive sixteen-week course at any of our re-education centres, even the most hardened of adventure game characters can be taught to be an ordinary member of society. Here's an example of some of our lessons.

TEACHER: Now then, class, what should I do if I want to buy an apple?

STUDENT: Go into a fruit shop, and pick up one, and pay for it at the counter?

TEACHER: Very good. Now, what if I want to buy something, but I don't have enough money?

STUDENT: You'd distract the shop keeper by covering up his chimney with a blanket you stole from a hotel bedroom, then when the shop is full of smoke - OW! Stop hitting me!

TEACHER: Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Bad! Bad! Bad!

STUDENT (in tears): That doesn't seem to work!!

Of course, these are the advanced lessons. We start all our new students with the beginner's class.

TEACHER: Do you want to be an adventure game character?


We have found that our courses have a spectacular 97% success rate when it comes to converting adventure game characters into ordinary, decent members of society. Then, after the course, we even help them find a day job. Don't take our word for it! Listen to some of these satisfied customers.

This is one of the lucky ones.

"Before the course, I was living on the streets, walking very slowly and being a general nuisance. Now I'm a professional hairdresser working in a shop in Kent, and every time I even think about stealing everything I can find I get a twinge right down my leg."
- King Graham

"The re-education centre changed my life. Can I have my money now?"
- The bloke from Zork

Yes, with our help any adventure game character can be brainwashed almost totally through encouragement and painful discipline. We take a pride in our work, and gosh darn if it isn't really fun, too.

This has been an appeal on behalf of adventure game characters.

Updates Archive

All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
Copyright 2002 All Rights Reserved and other legal bollock language