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6/9/2003: I Am One Thousand And Thirty Seven

You may recall that back in the mists of time (three weeks ago,) I wrote an article documenting how I hacked into a government web server, and found the Labour Party's bug report facility. Well, that's not all I found. As well as the aforementioned copy of Mantis, I found a huge stack of incriminating emails and documents, which the bastards summarily released to the public to beat me to the press, under the thin guise of some inquiry or other. I was left with three emails that were still unreleased in my grubby hands, and red-faced technicians already fixing the holes in their security with some double-strength Polyfilla.

Email #1 simply reads "Dear sir, have run out of batteries for IDS. Can we please borrow some? Sincerely, Annie." I'm sure there's something worth knowing in there, but for the life of me I can't make head or tail of it.

Email #2 is written on a scan of government headed notepaper. "Dear Sir, the Right Hon. Anthony Blair, would you like the opportunity to enlarge than manhood which you posess? If so, I would like to kindly invite you to purchase our pharmaceutically verified product, for a mere four Groats. Privacy assured if requested." It would appear those bastards aren't good enough for regular spam.

The third email, however, turned out to be much more interesting - it contained a draft of a proposed Act of Parliament. Have a look.

ROAD TRAFFIC ACT, 2005 (Remember to amend as necessary -JP)

1. Wherein, should one sustain damage to one's vehicle from the carelessness of another road user, one may hurl loose change at their receding form, and, optionally, refer to them as "a right tosser," without fear of life or limb.

2. If the victim vehicle is worth 30,000 or more, the above right is null and void.

3. If the victim vehicle is worth 50,000 or more, not only is the above right waived, but the driver of the other vehicle is entitled to a second shot if he should so choose.

4. (Added 27/08. JP.) If the victim vehicle belongs to one JOHN PRESCOTT, the other driver may be summarily shipped to the Isle of Wight, where he shall be deposited possessing only a hamster named Joey, and three over-ripe onions.

5. The singing of "The Reefer Song" to the arresting officer as defence against traffic offences is now punishable by a right smack in the teeth.

6. The mounting of surface-to-surface missiles on your car is strictly forbidden. The only exception made is for drivers in Newquay. (Newquay? My holiday is booked in Newquay! Have a report into this on my desk by nine o'clock. -JP)

7. If drivers breaking the speed limit by less than 10 miles per hour bother you, it is recommended that you make a Citizen's Arrest at once. We recommend you facilitate this by lying down in front of the offending vehicle.

8. If, whilst driving any car produced in 2004 or later, all the dashboard lights suddenly start flashing at once, this means that you have won the Government's Super Fun Happy Prize. Report at once to DVLA Swansea. Bring a night bag. Dress sexy.

9. If you see an elderly driver coming towards you, it will from Jan 2004 be mandatory to indicate one way then the other repeatedly until the other driver has passed you, in the interest of the Darwinian elimination of senile drivers.

10. Those who boast of their cars having "go-faster stripes" are liable for summary execution.

11. The same goes for people with flashing lights on the bottom of the car, and those with huge fucking subwoofers where the boot should be.

5/9/2003: Oh So British

This week, by popular demand (well, a demand, at least), a little feature I like to call 'How To Be British'.

Your assignment for the weekend is to mail me and tell me I'm great.

4/9/2003: Waiting For Bob

If you're anything like me, then you run an obscure humour blog in the backwaters of the internet, watching your traffic statistics and becoming increasingly depressed with each sudden lapse.

We've been kind of irresponsible with the internet. It was a nice idea, but that ever-hateful factor 'human nature' has screwed it all up. A worldwide resource that absolutely anyone can upload to and download from, and what did we do? Fill it with porn and crap like this. It doesn't matter what it is, you can be sure that the proletariat will find a way to screw it up.

What is the proletariat? I think the proletariat is best defined as 'everyone who isn't you'. The proletariat are the people who fill the internet with porn and crappy personal webpages. They're the people who buy that godawful boy band crap to ensure it always gets to the top of the charts. They're the people who buy the Sun and riot to express how much they like football. They're the people who voted New Labour and pay horrific prices for tatty garments because fashion tells them to. They're the people who appear on Radio 1 answering quiz questions and screeching hysterically when they win the chance to see Robbie Williams in the middle distance from five hundred yards away.

Now, here is my problem.

The majority of the people I know do not have a webpage. They agree with me about pop music. They don't buy the Sun or watch football avidly. They distrust New Labour and don't follow fashion, and the less said about what they think of Radio 1 the better. And it's not like I only hang around snobby cunts like myself; these are plain old ordinary people with whom I work, or see every day in the street, and know only vaguely. So where IS the proletariat? Where are they all?

Statistics show me that 90% of the population is made up of these dickheads, but I look around myself and see barely 10%, tops. Where are they? Are they all living in some other town, hopefully with a tall barbed wire fence round it and guard towers? Do they all hide under a rock waiting for an opinion poll, election or festival, whereupon they immediately leap out and start hogging the TV remote?

Maybe I just move in the wrong circles. I did go to grammar school, after all, and I live in one of the more fanatically bourgeois areas of the country. But it still seems like I should meet more of them if there really are so many of them.

I have a theory, and it involves a conspiracy. So, a conspiracy theory, then.

My theory states that up to 50% of the population is made up of sophisticated automatons constructed from papier mache, Lego Dacta and hamsters in little wheels. These are absolutely identical to real humans but are programmed to only carry out a simple sequence of movements. They have no thoughts of their own and operate as a hive mind, but can be known individually as 'Bob'.

Have you ever wondered why it's impossible to be first in the queue at the post office? It's because they shove in a few Bobs at the front at the start of every day. Bobs are everywhere. They're jumping up and down and shouting at rock festivals. They're the reason why you have to queue up for an hour to get onto the rides at Alton Towers. They're the crowd who gather around car accidents, and most football matches are attended by nothing but Bobs.

But why? I hear you ask. Why would any sinister secret world government want to unleash hordes of non-people just to piss us off?

Well, I'd say you've hit the nail on the head, there.

They do it just to piss us off.

And that's all the reason they need.

3/9/2003: Catchy Theme Tunes Ahoy

Time for another o' those fancy career profiles! I never get tired of these!

Movie Archaeologist

What is a movie archaeologist?

A movie archaeologist is a scholar of history who goes on regular globe-trotting adventures to lost tombs stealing sacred items and escaping from ancient traps at the last second. It is not to be confused with reality archaeology, which involves kneeling down in dusty trenches for hours brushing dirt aside with a toothbrush. As a movie archaeologist you will be required to travel often, work well on your own, and liaise with love interest characters of the opposite sex who initially hate you.

What are the qualifications?

A good background in the study of archaeology is the best way to get started. Get a degree before you get out of university and you're well on your way. It's also a good idea to have some physical background, eg spending some time in the armed forces. If you've ever had a TV series made about your exploits when you were younger, that's a definite plus. The following are also useful:

- Unusual signature weapon

- Experience in firearms

- Rugged countenance (men)

- Huge tits (women)

- Ability to emerge from fights with shirt strategically torn to give a tantalising view of your rippling muscles

- Hat

- Ability to jump own height

- Designer stubble

- Sufficient knowledge of ancient languages to translate mysterious markings on tomb walls which warn of terrible impending doom

- Tendency to ignore said markings completely

- Ability to haul yourself up onto ledges despite your arms being as thin as celery sticks

- Ongoing feud with Nazis

- Several contacts all over the world who apparently owe you so many favours that they'll give you whatever help you need whenever you turn up

- GCSE/GNVQ/City + Guilds Social Studies

Hat, torn shirt, rugged countenance, staring into the middle distance; it's a movie archaeologist, alright!

How do I get into movie archaeology?

The best way to get started is to acquire a mentor. This will generally be some old guy in glasses and a safari suit, usually with some European accent, who lets you sit in while he breaks into ancient tombs and nicks some dead bloke's worldly goods. In some cases, your mentor may even be your own dad. Just remember to know your place; nothing irks a mentor archaeologist more than some spotty squit pointing out that the floor-plate in front of the treasure looks a bit dodgy. It's a good way to get bitch slapped.

Where could it lead?

Inevitably, at some point your mentor will let greed overcome caution and will reach for some treasure which is clearly labelled "do not take this treasure". When he does this, you are perfectly entitled to express misgivings, which he will ignore completely, usually while insulting you. When he takes the treasure and sets off the inevitable trap, you will either try to save him but fail or realise you don't have time to save him and run for your life. Either way, he'll no doubt turn up years later as your arch enemy or something. This is excepting if your mentor was your father, in which case you'll just end up rescuing him for whatever reason and going on an entertaining adventure together.

Once you're a movie archaeologist all on your own, the instinct to read warning notices that has served you so well in the past will suddenly be lost, so make sure you've got your dodging-huge-rolling-boulders skill down pat. And if you take any cursed artefacts that release hideous demons upon the world, it is considered good manners to put the cursed artefacts back.

What's the pay like?

Like with being a Jedi, the pay for being a movie archaeologist depends on whether you're a 'good' or 'evil' movie archaeologist. Good ones break into ancient temples and brave certain death in order to steal academically interesting artefacts and take them to museums, something they do for no pay whatsoever. They usually supplement their income with a teaching job, although one wonders how they hang onto it when they keep jet-setting off across the world at a moment's notice.

'Evil' movie archaeologists are only in it for the money. When they steal valuable items, it's finders keepers. They generally flog it off to some Eastern sheikh or a dodgy dealer or a fascist Central European government if it's got magical powers. They live lives of extreme luxury in massive country estates, and are generally killed by 'good' archaeologists when both parties find themselves on the trail of something mentioned in the Bible.

Of course, if an 'Evil' archaeologist is an extremely attractive women with a torso like a pencil and two grapefruits shrink-wrapped together, then she can get away with whatever she wants.

AND FINALLY: Remember, they built things to last in the olden days. Even if some tomb trap mechanism has been locked away or buried in sand for eleventy billion years, it'll work like a charm the minute your stupid self turns up.

2/9/2003: I Think Too Much

Have you ever had one of those days when it feels like everyone on the planet is in on something except you? When you walk down the street feeling that at any moment God himself may point his celestial finger and strike you down dead on the spot, while those people who have been eyeing you suspiciously for several minutes leap for joy and crack open a bottle of champagne?

Have you ever caught the gaze of someone in a crowded street or room and wondered, to your own perverse shame, what it would be like to stab them to death without reason or remorse, leaving their body lying in the gutter, oozing blood from every orifice like a colander full of rotten beetroot? Have you ever wondered if the same thoughts are passing through their head? Do you picture the two of you simultaneously pouncing for each other, desperately clawing and gouging for reasons neither of you could explain?

Have you ever imagined yourself to be invisible while walking through crowds, convinced that others could not see you and stepping rapidly out of the way of blundering pedestrians who would have otherwise walked right into you? Have you ever then realised how few people looked at you, and became terrified for a moment at the possibility that you actually had disappeared?

Have you ever looked up at the side of an office building on a summer's day and likened the hundreds of open windows to a horde of carrion flies, resting on the decaying corpse of an ancient, recently deceased bull elephant?

Have you ever felt a wanderlust so intense and unrelenting that you'd be prepared to stand up half-way through a task, start walking in one direction, and never stop until you fall off the edge of the world?

Have you ever wondered what it must be like to be suddenly and without warning transported to an entirely alien environment and left to survive? Have you ever suddenly wondered if perhaps this has already happened to you, and all your memories have simply been implanted by whatever bizarre intelligence engineered the situation?

Have you ever considered that, no matter what you do in life, how many places you go or how many experiences you have, you will never know what it would be like to live as any one of the thousands of people you see every day? Have you ever longed to switch minds with a random person just to know how another sees the world?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be mad, seeing things that aren't there, being spoken to by imaginary beings, and deluded into thinking that things are other than how they are? Have you ever considered that you may already be mad, and that what you think is a home and a family is in fact an empty post-apocalyptic wasteland, you being the only survivor and long ago driven to insanity by loneliness?

Have you ever been lying in bed, or walking on some lonely hillside, and had a sudden moment of absolute clarity, feeling the Earth turn beneath your feet and its elegant movement around the sun, sensing the presence of a billion undiscovered star systems that dance throughout the galaxy in an awesome cosmic ballet?

If so, then it's community service for possession and a statutory 5 years for dealing.

[This article has been paid for by the Scotland Yard narcotics division.]

1/9/2003: Well, Bugger Me If It Isn't Angular Mike

Soon you can look forward to Angular Mike actually being in the Angular Mike comic strip again; the thrilling Suspicious Jesus saga comes to a disappointing conclusion in the latest four episodes.

Touch me. Go on, feel me. Aren't I smooth?

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All material not otherwise credited by Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw
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