Thursday, 25 November 2010

Technically, this is probably treason

Prior to her 1952 coronation, Queen Elizabeth (then merely Princess Elizabeth Windsor, Lizzie to her friends) found herself with a good deal of time on her hands, and she was inspired by her husband, Philip, whom she was dating at the time, to partake in the electoral process and try to do some good. As such, she fought hard for the candidacy of the Conservative party in Buckingham, but was ultimately turned down and went on to compete in the election as an independent, famously touring the streets of her people in a horse-and-cart driven by Philip, who went on to win the world horse-and-cart championships for Great Britain. Elizabeth, of course, was beaten to the seat by the Labour MP, Aidan Crawley, who went on to support Clement Attlee's 1945 government in creating the NHS (1948, fact fans), something Elizabeth always campaigned against. She went on to attempt to compete in the following, 1951 election, but after a comprehensive smear campaign against Frank Markham (accusing him of cowardice in the 1944 D-Day landings, an activity which the future Queen shone admirably, saving the lives of over 40 British servicemen, as well as meeting Admiral and future-husband Philip) she was promptly dropped from the electoral register and from that point on all royal family members were considered ineligible to stand as an MP in any seat. Many of her supporters went on to accept her as a beloved monarch after a contrite speech in June, a year before her eventual ascension to the throne.

Thin Lizzy were originally called "Queen Lizzie", after the now-beloved monarch but were forced to change their name after the success of 1970s icons, Queen, because their manager feared confusion between the two bands (And, of course, Thin Lizzy went on to release their most successful single, The Boys are Back in Town in 1976, just as Queen were really breaking through). They originally considered several other alternative names, including "Queen Vicky" (too similar to TV tavern The Queen Vic) and "Mean Lizzie" was considered by their manager to be a personal affront against the regal figure (Thin Lizzy, as an Irish band, weren't overly fond of British Royalty). "Lean Lizzie" was eventually settled upon, but recording studios were trending away from alliterative names, and, under pressure to release their debut album, they quickly settled on Thin Lizzy outside the recording studio. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Some of this may be factually inaccurate. I cannot guarantee factual accuracy or verify that this is not all largely fictional, but hey, neither can the Bible, and that's caught on like wildfire.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Twitter Joke Trial

Good news! Robin Hood Airport has been declared safe from the threat of jokes. They're cracking down very hard on this, just last month I was flying through there and was found to be in possession of a squirty flower and an exploding golf ball (According to the packet, the funniest joke in the world) with the express purpose of eliciting humour. I was appropriately detained for forty-two days on no charges, whilst police investigated me on the assumption I was secretly funny. Fortunately, after six weeks they had found no evidence of humour and therefore released me with no apology, and ironically, a strong anti-British sentiment I didn't have before, motivating me to be the comic genius I clearly am today to spite them. Nyah.

I am, of course, talking about the so-called "Twitter Joke Trial", where a joke, for some bizarre reason, was taken as a serious threat. Because, I'm sure I don't need to inform you, terrorists are well known for [a] publically announcing their plans on twitter, and [b] attacking largely unused airports of the North. Not a day goes by when I don't get a tweet from Osama saying "Look out Preston!". That said, I also get his other tweets "Fail Whale?! Typical decadent West!" and "Soz about the terrorism. Not! Lol."

The whole thing is pretty disturbing, but alas, such is the state of the world we live in. The police are pretty schizophrenic about what is and isn't inciting violence. Students riot at the Conservative headquarters, crazy Muslims Against Crusades group burn poppies on Remembrance Day, but let's go after the guy who made a joke on Twitter. Bah.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Coach Journeys

Because of the governments comprehensive spending review and decision to increase student tuition fees, I decided I had to economise or risk crippling student loans, so I took the coach to London where a lesser man would have taken the train or flown. "No no" thought I, "I shall take the coach. It is a mere £15." (This isn't strictly accurate, since my tuition fees are paid by the SAAS, but I wanted to briefly seem topical).

As I headed to the bus station, my heart was light and my spirits jolly. Anyone walking past me would have instantly surmised from my jaunty demeanour and hastily constructed and therefore musically weak whistled tune (A future number one, doubtless. Perhaps I shall licence it to Lady GaGa and eagerly reap the rewards) that I was in an almost unparalleled good mood.

Except one little girl (She looked about eight) who challenged me to a fight for no particular reason , which I declined graciously. Good to the statistics though a win is, I would have felt mildly like I was deliberately rigging improbably easy street fights to artificially boost my street cred, so I carried on, notable by my lack of fighting 8 year old girls.

Anyways, I arrived at the station in good time and settled onto the coach, an overnight double decker to London (Instantly, of course, my first thought was that as it was a double decker, and intending to travel on the motorway (Specifically the M6, fact fans, although the M1 down the east coast would have clearly been the better option) we were going to fall over and be killed. I could see the headlines in my head. "15 killed in bus accident, 12 page pull out on sport" although a mere fifteen deaths would have been pushed off the front page by Wayne Rooney breathing heavily or something).

Interestingly, Sian Lloyd, Welsh weather presenter (And on How 2, one of the most under-rated shows of my youth. Bring back How 2 I say) was on the coach. I would have felt she could have afforded more luxurious travel, but in these troubled times, how is a weather girl to get to and from the nations of the UK? (Disappointingly she is only the second most famous weather presenter I've ever seen, having seen Michael Fish competing in a 1997 village fete charity "It's a Knockout" competition, with actual host Frank Bruno refereeing, assisted by John Anderson in the peak of his Gladiators refereeing days. I recall them all being hit in the face with custard pies for donations, although I could be making this up/dreaming it in one of my many Bruno-Anderson-Fish trio of dreams (Particular gem, Michael Fish is the contestant on the final segment of Gladiators (The event was called "The Eliminator", named after ZZ Top's famous car, of course, although some claim it was named after their studio album. No one argument has won conclusively, but as an aside, I like to think it's the car that John Fashanu, legendary host and long-time fan of ZZ top named it after.) against Frank Bruno, refereed by John Anderson, obviously. Fish wins by the merest of whiskers after an unexplained hurricane knocks Bruno to the floor just yards from the zipline) so I was largely unimpressed.)

Anyways, for the Dundee to Perth segment (A gem of a journey down the M90 for fact fans eagerly digging our road maps to accurately understand the trip) I had a double seat to myself, but as the hour was still fairly early (8:40 pm, for those of you who are curious. Don't let it be said that I don't pander to the every whim of a fact fan), I made no effort to sleep, a move I later regretted because, at Perth bus station, a man so vast and gargantuan he had his own gravitational pull got on the bus and, as per usual, opted to sit next to me.

Now, I don't want to seem like I'm moaning, but Perth to London is a longish way, particularly when you go the crazy route of the M6 southbound and then off at Birmingham (To explain this, we also stopped off at Preston (Initially, I thought it was Manchester) so briefly, I felt I was on the wrong bus and was actually doing some sort of night tour of crap towns of the North of England) , so to be pinned to the window (I briefly considered having that faintly erotically charged fling over the armrest that two strangers occasionally have, but sadly he swelled well past the armrest, and that segment of the journey was written off, a shame as I had been slightly looking forward to it. There's nothing I enjoy more than gentle challenge for the armrest. It's one of the few thrills between two strangers.) for literally 9 and a bit hours was a tad dispiriting.

There was the briefest of relief when he flitted off to the toilet, but sadly, he came back after no more than 15 minutes, and with his disgraceful size had brought with him a new facet to his hateful personality: A smell. I shan't be vulgar about this smell, but to put it politely, it was not a smell you want to be pinned up against for several hours.

Also, on his return, he appeared to insist on ditching the vaguely meek legs together and went for the all-out legs spread apart. Frankly, I was becoming so miffed I very nearly told him that if he had to adjust his seating position to compensate for his grossly enlarged plums, there was very little chance he would be a balding 40 something on a coach from Perth to London. But I didn't, because [a] he was asleep, a quality I found triply annoying in him since it was his actual presence that was stopping me sleeping, and [b] I'm too polite and mild-mannered.

Sleeping! Most men put their efforts into sleeping as a single-task, but this man found time to fidget and snore loudly too (So loudly that at one stage he woke himself up, causing me to laugh. He glared at me, and I told him I had seen the face of Ron Atkinson in a pork pie, and it amused me) thus doubly keeping me from sleeping. The man was and always will be a one-man-anti-sleep-band.

Thankfully, on the journey back up, I had the double seat to myself, and thus, thankfully, had a lovely sleep on the way home,, despite waking up in a storm of wind and rain and thunder during which my driver thought it judicious to overtake on the motorway (M6 northbound, fact fans) whilst I merely opted for pinning myself to my seat in terror and gently moaning, considering sending texts to loved ones.

Fortunately though, we made it. So Coach Trip accurately reflects coach journeys. You'll be next to someone you don't like for an extended period of time, but it's cheaper than flying and makes good TV. If I get the chance, I'll implore the driver to let me vote off the guy sitting next to me.

As a caveat, some or all of this may not be true, and I reserve the right to completely make stuff up.