Sh*tshow – Credit: Katie Hopkins

Sh*tshow. That’s the word Katie Hopkins used to describe the World Athletics Championships. This was followed up by “sh*tstorm”, the word Katie Hopkins used to describe the outbreak of norovirus at the World Athletics Championships. That last one’s quite good actually.

Ironic, however, finding the ‘I’ in shitshow and shitstorm too distasteful to use in an article in the Mail Online. This is an article that managed to praise the World Athletics Championships for the fact that ‘chubsters’ were only allowed to compete when throwing heavy objects. It lamented in the fact that ‘fat Sarah’ was not made to feel ashamed of her size in school.

Reading the article, I was impressed by how many of her hackneyed politically incorrect opinions she managed to crowbar into the opening 10 lines. She could have been paid by the politically incorrect point of view. It’s almost as if they were manufactured. Almost as if they weren’t real.

A sketch on That Mitchell and Webb Sound portrays Katie as a tired woman, spooling through her show reel and discussing her career in bigotry with her husband. She’s worried she doesn’t come across as very nice. Her husband explains, she’s not supposed to come across as nice. He makes the point that she’s all posh and dislikeable and they’re never going to book her to appear in the media and say reasonable things. It’s too competitive a market. It’s only because she is willing to say such terrible things that she is there at all.

Katie’s carved out a spot in the public eye that very few are able, or would want to fill. It’s the lack of competition that provides her with a living. It’s impressive, she’s found a market that few thought existed. By churning out a brand of trendy intolerance for a mass audience, she enlivened a stale market much in the same way James Dyson did when he made vacuum cleaners in vogue and cool. Like the views of Richard Littlejohn, the Henry Hoover looks so last millennium next to the Dyson Ball.

Back to that Athletics article. Katie goes on to mention her support for Katrina Johnson-Thompson, now that she is sick of seeing the sight of Jessica Ennis-Hill after her string Santander adverts. Interesting, how Katie becomes so upset over someone earning a living by selling a talent to paying employer. She sells her talents to a paying employer in a very similar manner.

Jessica Ennis is a lady who is making money by selling her athletic ability by acting as a mouthpiece of a banking firm. Katie, herself, is a lady who is making money by selling her manufactured prejudices by acting as a mouthpiece of a trendy new form of intolerance called the alt right.

They’ve both worked hard on their brands. Ennis, for her part, put blood, sweat and tears into that Olympic gold she won. Katie must have put herself through the same painstaking approach whilst trying to come up with her next formulated opinion to meet a deadline in The Sun. The cockroach metaphor must have taken ages. She had to look all the way back to Rwandan Genocide to lift that one from a violent world conflict and attach it to another group of people fleeing a violent world conflict. She has since left The Sun. She now writes for The Mail.


Fire and Fury

Fire and fury. Fire and fury like the world has never seen. Ironic, to hear that from Trump on behalf of America. Because you could so easily imagine Kim Jong-il’s puppet from Team America coming out with such a bogus aggressive rhetoric.


To give an idea of the general public’s response, here is an illustration of the online community’s response. It’s not a very impartial one. It’s all lazily lifted from one site, and probably, one type of person.

“Ding Dong Loon is at it again I see. The Donald will decimate him.”

“There are two Kims that give me nightmares. Kim Jong-un and Kim Kardashian.”

“Fat boy and his regime have got to go. The liberals won’t understand until a DPRK missile lands on Los Angeles and takes out a coffee house.”

“I say let everybody else annihilate each other, then we pick up the pieces, perfect. Britannia rules the waves again.”

This last one is my favourite. Nuclear war could take Britain back to its glory days.


“You couldn’t write this stuff” is a phrase that has been levied towards Trump’s antics so many times over the past couple of years. John Cleese disagrees. Recounting a story of someone asking him if Monty Python could have written all this Trump malarkey, he quipped that they could have. No one would have bought it though, he went on to say, it was too ridiculous. It is too ridiculous. Two years ago, when he announced he would run, it was funny. Later on, when he announced he would build a wall, it was funny.

It got progressively less funny. As Trump edged ever so closer to becoming the Republican candidate, the reality that a major political party in America could select a gobshite reality TV star as their man began to dawn. But it was still funny. Trump was still a caricature. Similar to the way Kim Jong-il in Team America is a caricature. As a marionette he poses no threat.

As it became apparent the election would not be a clear victory for the Clinton camp, the levity of the situation began to fade. The realisation that a huge amount of people in America would prefer the live tweeting, egotistical Trump to the admittedly controversial, but reasonably competent Clinton was a mindfuck. Although, many people said a similar thing about Teresa May, and that election campaign suggested she is anything but.

But still, Clinton was always going to win it. And then she didn’t. It wasn’t very funny after that. The travel ban wasn’t very funny. Nor was his continuing insistence that he would build the wall, and Mexico would pay for it. His request that the president of Mexico cease saying his country wouldn’t fund Trump’s wall was quite funny. It sounded like a spoilt kid in a playground demanding a toy from another child, and throwing a massive tantrum when he didn’t get it. Then, still snivelling and with tears still streaming down his cheeks he changes tact and asks nicely. However, the kid with the toy isn’t listening by this point. Finally, banning transgender people from the military because they caused “disruption” wasn’t very funny at all.

The last entry concerned itself with the Duke of Edinburgh’s lack of social awareness. However, an argument could be made that the Prince’s public outbursts are in some respects fun and amusing, and crucially, pretty inconsequential. The Prince is a caricature of the royal family and the upper echelons of British society. He might call children fat, and occasionally come out with a brand of family racism your grandparents might utter at a Christmas meal. Prince Philip, however, has no access to nuclear warheads. Or twitter.


Prince Philip’s Blunders – Rated – The Late Twentieth Century or Glory Days

For decades now, the Duke of Edinburgh has been offending, stereotyping and provoking the politically correct with impunity. On 2nd August Prince Philip attended his last official public engagement. After 22,220 solo engagements, the often ignorant and derogatory wise cracks that have coloured his time as Britain’s most famous racially insensitive Grandad will now come to an end.

Here’s a run-down of the Prince’s public gaffes prior to the millennium. With ratings of course.


1966: “British women can’t cook.”  2/10

I’m not sure about this one Phil. I’ve eaten food cooked by British women before. I would go as far as saying the majority of food I’ve eaten was cooked by British women. In fairness to the Prince, I suppose the only women he comes into contact with are the Queen, who probably doesn’t cook, and high end prostitutes, who probably don’t cook in front of him.


1969: “What do you gargle with, pebbles?” (To Tom Jones.) 7/10

Refreshingly inoffensive towards entire groups of people. This one borders on the witty.


1981: “Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaining they are unemployed.” (During the 1981 recession.) 1/10

This one probably did very well in one of the old boys clubs that Prince Philip is a member of. It would probably do less well in one of working men’s clubs in the North East that Prince Philip isn’t a member of.


1984: “You are a women, aren’t you?” (In Kenya after accepting a small gift from a local women.) 1/10

Maybe this was a classic royal family in joke. Maybe every time the Prince receives a present he recites the line. The Queen loves the quip when he comes out with it at Christmas time.

It probably isn’t though.


1986: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed.” (To a group of British students during a royal visit to China.) 1/10

Unbeknownst to the Prince at the time, living with other races can’t morph you into other races. Science has come along since Phil was a boy, sometime during late Georgian era.


1993: “You can’t have been here that long, you haven’t got a pot belly.” (To a Briton he met in Hungary.) 2/10.

This is some racial stereotyping that I’m not aware of. Although I’m not aware of that much about Hungary. However, I don’t think Attila the Hun had a pot belly, and I got a 2:1 in history from a university, so I would know.


1994: “Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?” (To a wealthy Islander in the Cayman Islands.) 1/10

To which the islander replied, “Aren’t most of you descended from inbreeding?”


1995: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to pass the test?” (To a Scottish driving instructor.) 4/10

Reasonably amusing. Going down the avenue of the stereotyped Scottish drinking problem, however, the Prince missed the opportunity to mock the Scotch with other hackneyed cultural perceptions. For instance, their perceived aversion to vegetables, resultant obesity and low life expectancy. 4/10 for the line, 1/10 for effort.


1999: “Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf.” (Speaking to a group of young deaf people in Cardiff who were standing near a steel band.) 2/10

It’s a pretty insensitive thing to say. The deaf obviously couldn’t hear him say it, and the Prince had to be led away by his handlers after accusing the group of sedition when none of them acknowledged he had spoken.


1999: “It looks as if it was put in by an Indian.” (Referring to an old-fashioned fuse box in a factory near Edinburgh.) 1/10

This is quite a racist thing to say. Years on from the ‘slitty-eyed’ incident, royal protocol still hadn’t developed a sophisticated method of stopping Phil’s casual racism manifest itself in the public eye. It could, of course, just be a stock comment the Prince remarks when he sees something he doesn’t recognise. I can’t imagine he’s had much experience with fuse boxes. He’ll have a guy for that.


Throughout the late twentieth century, a series of memorable blunders came out of the Prince’s antipathy to the social norms of modern society. It could have been that with the millennium came forth a new, more empathetic and tolerant Philip. This was not the case. The early twenty-first century gave the Prince a chance to call a child fat, imply a sea cadet worked in a strip club, and continue the stereotyping that has characterised his reign as husband to the Queen. More to follow.


The Go Compare Man, a Banana’d Lenovo and a Mac

The Go Compare man stands atop a biplane. It’s flying, and has just passed through London Bridge. He is accompanied by an assortment of scantily clad dancers, and I’m left wondering just how far that man will go to market a price comparison website. I seem to remember him taking a direct hit from a Sue Barker operated rocket launcher a few years ago. If risking his own life is no concern to him, how much is he paying the dancers to follow suit?


I have just been waiting 20 to 30 minutes for my laptop to fire up, I’m not sure exactly, I stopped counting when the anger turned into the realisation that this is not a new phenomenon. As I begin typing, letters splutter onto the screen, freezing for moments, before spewing out a few words in a pitiful attempt to keep up. I’m using a Lenovo ThinkPad. I’m sure, when it was released all those years ago, it was all the rage. It no longer is. I don’t know when it was, I don’t remember it, so I was probably either not born, or too young to understand the concept of time. The bits of old banana that lodged themselves in the mousepad and webcam in an unfortunate bag packing error only highlight that this Lenovo has seen better days.

It wasn’t always like this. I had a Mac once. A hand-me-down from Dad, it was all of 7 years old when it passed onto Laptop Elysium. That’s older than your average gerbil’s expiration age. Sure, towards then end it wasn’t a fast machine. Nor was its battery life anything to be desired. But, it did survive a series of nasty spills that would have led your run of the mill laptop to a liquidy grave. I’m not talking pedestrian banana pulp here. I’m talking half a glass of water, a failed attempt to cure next morning’s hangover, or a bit of lager, a failed attempt to prolong that night’s merriment.

The Lenovo does triumph over the MacBook in one area, though. Edge. Sitting in a seminar, surrounded by pristine Macs, the Banana varnished Lenovo gives off some serious edge. As I turn the crankshaft to power the bad boy up, heads turn.

Not really. That’s not really what happens. I imagine what really goes through their heads is something like “that looks like my dad’s first laptop.” The laptop’s about as edgy as Theresa May’s chunky chain necklace.

However, unlike the MacBook with its uncomplicated, easy to master, but essentially boring keyboard, the Lenovo has a selection of exciting additions to the standard buttoning of most keyboards. There is not one, but two right and left click buttons. A red bit (pressure pad), located centre keyboard, if you get bored of using the easy to control mousepad, and fancy something more challenging. Most exciting of all, a thin horizontal blue button, with the word ‘ThinkVantage’ to its right. I don’t know what this does. I press it. It does nothing.

I miss the Mac.


A Short Aux Cable, Optic Fibres, Sean Connery and Richard Gere

I sit on the floor, against a wall, in a reasonably bare living room, between 1 and 1 and a half metres away from an amplifier and speakers. Staring at me from some sort of a study area, a glorified walkway between the kitchen and the living room, is a desk complete with desk chair. A better work environment, you might suggest. But desk ambitions were snuffed as soon as I opened Spotify to blare out the latest alternative sounds that will help my musical tastes stand out from the crowd. In a cruel twist of fate, the auxiliary cable reaches less than a third of the distance to the desk.


So here I am, a history graduate from Newcastle University. On leave from the real world, I’m staying in the county that time forgot, Shropshire. Yet this is only temporary, and come September I will be heading back up to Newcastle. Whilst clinging onto the last vestiges of student lifestyle, I will begin life as some sort of professional.


Planning for this world of professionalism has already begun. Over the last few weeks I have split my time between bar tending at a local pub, and applying and enquiring about various marketing and branding positions. By day, a jobbing prospective marketeer (or currently unsuccessful marketeer, whichever you prefer), by night a pint puller. Or something like that.


But, this well-rehearsed modus operandi has not been without its trials. My Dad has recently moved into a new house. However, jetting off to a job somewhere not in Shropshire, I was tasked with setting up the internet at the new house. Which means waiting for weeks while BT weave us some Optic Fibres so we have superfast broadband. Therefore, I had been not staying at my Dads, which did not have internet, and had been staying at my Mums, which did.


Eventually, I was given the green light by BT, the fibres had all been Optically woven to the correct bandwidth. The new internet was supposed to be accompanied by a new home hub, and although this hadn’t turned up, I was told the old one would work just fine. It didn’t. I turned it off. And then on again. Then procrastinated on my phone (rinsing my valuable and finite data package.) After repeating the process, I resigned myself to the entertainment of that archaic platform that is TV.


Pickings, however, are slim at 4 in the afternoon, and I found myself watching movie mix, the last refuge of the bored or unemployed. First Knight was showing. Featuring the first James Bond (Sean Connery) and that Hamster guy (Richard Gere), it is not a good watch. I think Connery was playing King Arthur, and Gere Lancelot. There was a love interest. Betrothed to Arthur, but constantly saved from peril by Lancelot. I didn’t finish the film, and I sometimes lie awake at night wondering which one of these heroes she ended up choosing.


In the end boredom turned into true grit and determination. I imagine this is a lot like SAS soldiers finding that resolve to carry on through a seemingly hopeless and desolate training or combat exercise. Whilst dialling in the number for BT’s customer service, I found myself wondering why I was only doing this now. I was answered. I spoke. The lady on the other end spoke. I plugged in the correct wire to the correct socket. It worked. I stopped watching movie mix, I’m sure Connery and Gere would have understood, and fell out of that vicious cycle of boredom that had led to daytime television.


The next job is sorting out the lack of hot water. Lifting the kettle above my head to act as a rudimentary shower is the best I’ve got so far.