Reading in the toilet…

The only time reading on the toilet is acceptable

… is an overrated practice. Disgusting people celebrate ‘reading while sitting on the bog’ when, let’s face it, it’s wholly repugnant.

Right, let’s nail this down. You need to go to the toilet. Once in, your task is to release your waste into the bowl, flush, then leave, closing the door behind you.

If you have any self-respect you’ll pray that no-one will visit your toilet within the next ten minutes because if they do, they’ll know full well that the quite horrific odour has been generated by your unfeasibly large turd.

We live in a civilised society where someone who was not Thomas Crapper blessed us with an invention – the flushing toilet. Prior to this, folk would sit on a bowl, release and then dispense… out of the window. They didn’t stay there and pick of a copy of the Times travel supplement while enjoying the aroma of their own shit.

This modern-day phenomenon should stop and if you are reading this on your iPhone, iPad or other purported time-saving device while sitting on your WC, then shame on you. Pull up your garments, flush the toilet and read this carefully crafted, Wordsworthian-style prose in a comfortable chair in a room that smells of roses, preferably with an accompanying soundtrack of harps, not parps.

See what I’ve done there.

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Lies Lies Lies diary

Friday, November 19

Daytime running lights

Last week I was on the radio in my capacity as a motoring journalist giving my version of wisdom concerning daytime running lights on cars. Now this is not some sort of Alan Partridge-style low-grade celebrity boast – it was Radio Nottingham after all, which is like opening the back door while you are having a row with your wife.

No, it got me thinking about the pointlessness of daytime running lights. For those absolutely disinterested in all things motoring I do apologise, but for those who have got this far in this dangerously-heading-for-soporific piece all new cars manufactured from February 2011 must be fitted with daytime running lights.

It is, of course, an utterly pointless exercise. Daytime running lights, for those not in the know, do as they say on the tin. In short, it means new cars will have their lights on whether you like it or not, in the daytime.

I think God did a pretty good job with the sun and any attempt at gilding the Earth’s light lily certainly isn’t going to help. No, this is merely another nanny-state policy designed to please people in cardigans. If this policy really is in the interests of road safety then I’m Elvis. If you can’t see a half-tonne Audi bearing down on you as you cross the road, you need a guide dog.

McKeith: 'Think'll just have a lie down'

Sunday, November 21

Gillian McKeith

On the latest instalment of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Gillian McKeith fainted at the prospect of another bushtucker trial. I find this scarcely believable. This is a woman who spends of a lot of her time prodding other people’s shit.

Monday, November 22

Overtaking lorries

Plodding up the A1 from London to Peterborough, my swift passage was baulked by two lorries taking up both carriageways with one attempting an overtaking manoeuvre. This is much like watching glaciers in a drag race or waiting for something credible to come from Nick Clegg’s mouth. At some point one vehicle will eventually pass the other, but not actually in this century.

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Spinach – iron content myth

Popeye: a poor communicator

I blame Popeye and the Germans. If you are looking a bit peaky, maybe a bit anaemic, perhaps headachey and generally mardy, your gran might pipe up: ‘Iron deficiency’, hotfoot to the pantry and start rustling up a platefull of mushy green stuff for you to consume but the reality is spinach contains little more iron than any other green-leafed vegetable.

There’s a reason why this has gathered pace. In 1870 a scientist called Dr E Von Woolf concluded that spinach contained so much iron that you would be able to construct the German equivalent of the Forth Bridge with it. People started building cars made of spinach and spinach crowbars could be had for 2 shillings sixpence at the local hardware merchants. People started recycling spinach so that we could make gates and railings.

Then when the cars started wilting during rainfall somebody smelt a rat. A spinach investigation was launched in 1937 and after a quick scan down Woolf’s Excel spreadsheet some bright spark noticed something small, yet rather illuminating: when Woolf was measuring the amount of iron in spinach he got it right but, sadly, when he was writing that number down he put the decimal point in the wrong place.

It was a typo.

As such modern society learned in an instant that the amount of iron in spinach was ten times less than originally thought. The British government immediately cancelled the order for spinach-based Lancaster bombers and instructed all people who had spinach fillings to check their decaying molars with a toothpick. All the frustratingly ineffectual crowbars were taken off the shelves.

But the job wasn’t quite done. People were still consuming spinach by the bucketload, convinced that their health would be the beneficiary. Popeye didn’t help. While it was clear he was found wanting as a communicator, there was no denying his abilities in the arena of violence and self-defence and that alone proved attractive.

Spinach was living on borrowed time. In the early 1990s further studies were undertaken to get to the bottom of its claimed nutritional values. The results were damning. Popeye was forced into exile and he is not available for interviews. It is said he has grown a beard.

According to one study, spinach does contain a relatively high amount of iron compared to other foodstuffs like kebabs, but only 2-5% of its iron content is actually available for absorption. In that respect it’s ordinary, and if you want to increase your iron content you’d be better off tucking into some liver or downing a pint of Guinness.

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The unmistakable sound of…

A Newton Faulkner concert: good time to purchase a noose

This expression is used to promote acts as unique, but is the sound of Michael Bublé unmistakable? Not really, he’s just another ruddy modern-day jazz act with an array of underwhelming tunes that sound nice when Toby and Vanessa come round for fajitas.

Then there’s the ‘unmistakable’ sound of Paulo Nutini, who sounds pretty much like James Morrison, James Blunt and anyone else called James who plays guitar.

What about Newton Faulkner then? Well, he’s just hairier version of Damien Rice with tunes of such outstanding mediocrity and blandness that only a contract with Schindler’s lifts can fully understand.

What is true is that Pinky and Perky are unmistakable as is Timmy Mallet but Nutini, Morrison, Faulkner and Rice are simply adding more asphalt to an already grey and unending road of inordinately dull bed-wetter’s music.

If all this lot are smart they will all decide on career-change, forget all this unmistakable nonsense and start up a very nice pizza restaurant at the end of my road.

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Kate Nash: modern-day poetry… really?

Nash - nice frock

There’s a limit to how much irony one can take, but if you apply this idea to Kate Nash’s lyrical talents then you are seriously fooling yourself. Perhaps I have misunderstood Nash, who seems like a nice person, but after a play of her debut album House of Bricks last night I do think it high time she stepped well away from the piano and got a job in a biscuit factory.

Why? I hear you ask.

Well, Kate has mastered the very fine art of writing down the first thing that comes into her head, ergo: ‘I’ve got a family and I drink cups of tea’ … and then leaving it.

So, apeing this technique I thought I’d have a go, just to see how much lyrical gangsta I have in me.

See what you think:

‘I’ve got a bee, and I drink cups of pee’.

Admittedly, it’s slightly plagiarising Nash but clearly on the right track.

Then there’s…

‘There’s hairs on my head, that lie flat when I go to bed.’

I’m on a roll. What about…?

‘There’s a spider in my pants, it makes me think of lants.’

Ok, so the last one might need a bit of work since lants is not actually a word but for a first-timer in the art of writing down whatever old shite comes into your head, I think it’s pretty good.

Art is, of course, how you view it and there is a wafer-thin argument suggesting Nash is merely a reflection of modern society but for the love of God, let’s try a bit harder.

If you believe that Kate’s Shit Song is in the realms of irony then it’s time to stop music in its entirety. The clue’s in the title.

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Guy Fawkes

Brian Smith

Tomorrow, in the UK, we will ‘celebrate’ Guy Fawkes’ night and I have no problem with that: there is nothing to suggest that Guy Fawkes did not exist – that is not the issue – the issue is the name. Imagine if the man, who conceived an idea to bring down the British democracy with cartload of gunpowder, was called Brian Smith.

Stick with me.

Now all those years ago when Brian thought it might be a nice idea to blow a few MPs up, I reckon he decided to share the idea with a few of his mates. On the whole I suspect their reaction was positive but I think they did take the trouble to point out a potential pitfall to Brian: ‘Look dude, we like your idea. It’s radical, it’s new, it’s now – it’ll be the start of a whole new craze called terrorism and you’ll get a day named after you. It’ll be wicked. But mate, you’ve got to change your name.’

Brian’s cronies foresaw the problem, and that is to their credit. Imagine the horror of calling November 5 ‘Brian Smith night’. Kids would’ve asked for their money back.

I don’t think terrorism was Brian’s day job. I suspect he was a gardener, and realising his actions might have an impact on the whole of British culture as he deturfed his mate’s lawn for a vegetable patch, thought: ‘Well, I’m a guy… with a pitchfork.’

So, two weeks before his evil plan, he came down the stairs and barked to his mum: ‘Mother, I want to be known as Guy Fawkes, and no mistake.’

It was a bold, yet savvy move.

Fast forward to November 5. Brian is in the Parliament cellar trying to get a spark and he hears what can only be described as security men coming down the stairs.

They burst in.

‘Blimey, Brian what the hell do you think you’re doing?’

‘I’m blowing everyone up,’ he responds. ‘And I’m not bloody Brian any more. If I told you once, I have told you a thousand times – “It’s Guy Bloody Fawkes!

Brian was then taken to the police station, asked to fill out a form and given a crime reference number. In the box marked ‘name’ on the P10235 Blowing Up Parliament crimesheet he scribed the moniker ‘Guy Fawkes’.

The legend was born.

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