• 21 Oct

    What offends you?

    There’s currently a lot of hubbub in the media about comedians offending people. BBC Four reminded us with a patchy drama about the outrage back in 79 surrounding the release of Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, while Ricky Gervais has caused a Twitter storm over use of the word ‘mong’.

    But does anyone ever take a moment to think about what it actually means to be offended? Really, it just means someone says or does something you don’t like.

    I hate to break it to you but that’s not going to go away, no matter how much you protest, scream and shout. And I guarantee something you hold dear and true will offend someone else and vice versa.

    It’s just how the world works. You can’t police this, because different people are offended by different things. If you want to be really offensive in the Middle East, throw a shoe. If you want to be really shocking in Japan, blow your nose in public.

    In the past we Brits were offended by a woman showing her ankle. Ridiculous. Bottom line, being offended is the price we pay for freedom of speech.

    People can be cruel, vicious and downright nasty, but that same licence to say what you want has allowed some of the greatest acts of creativity, innovation and discovery.

    Besides, if someone offends you, you have the right to be offensive back. If someone insults your god, insult their wife. Someone pokes fun at your ethnicity, give them a bunch of fives. Someone sexually harasses you, express your gratitude. And if you find that offensive, that’s the point.


    In other news, there’s a new coffee machine in the kitchen where I work. It really is a marvel of the modern world. It has three settings, none of which result in any coffee.

    Setting one offers a feeble dribble of dark brown mud into the cup, followed by an equally pathetic splash of cold water. Setting two is very similar to setting one, except without the water. But the real triumph is setting three. Whoever factored this one in should be awarded the Nobel Prize.

    It begins with the machine vibrating and thrashing like a blackbird trapped in a shoebox. This is followed by a sound akin to pig being aggressively guided through a rusty mincer.

    Then, once this whole production has died down, comes the grand finale. Molten coffee cascades all over the table while a pyroclastic cloud of scalding steam is jettisoned into the unsuspecting face of anyone within a ten-foot radius.

    Three members of the accounts department perished at the mechanised hands of this infernal contraption in one week and while this may not be a bad thing in itself, morale is beginning to wane.

  • 15 Aug

    The aliens are coming, bring a packed lunch!

    The Ministry of Defence has finally released its archive of files into reported UFO sightings. For years we can see the work of a clandestine Government department many believe, according to the papers, act as “a defender of the British Isles against the alien menace”.

    Which alien menace would this be then? Blurry photos of small, cloud-shaped objects drifting aimlessly over the M1, much like a cloud would do? Because if we’re honest (and I do try to be wherever appropriate) that’s all these sightings ever are.

    Think about it. Would extraterrestrial beings of higher intelligence who have mastered intergalactic travel really fly light years across the universe just to fleetingly hover over a beech tree in Norfolk?

    And if so, would they really impart news of their impending attack on planet Earth to some ex-hippy with a mind so riddled with acid flashbacks and loneliness their testimony is as trustworthy as a hoodie loitering outside a burning Foot Locker.

    And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to state, for the record, I’d welcome an alien invasion right now. There are some parts of the UK that already look as though they’ve been destroyed by invading martian marauders so their actual presence can only improve things.

    Moreover, if an alien beastie did approach me demanding “take me to your leader”, I’d try and persuade it to meet someone with a smidgen more credibility, like H from Steps .

    So if anything is unearthed from these files (which it won’t be) I say let’s make the alien menace feel welcome. Who knows, maybe if we’re lucky they’ll take some of us back with them.

  • 05 Aug

    Just how small IS Jamie Cullum?

    I’ve been wondering this a lot lately. He’s been around for some time now but the media keep referring to him as the ‘pint-sized piano player’. Is this accurate? Is he really the size of a pint? That’s about six inches high. I know, I just measured it with a pint glass and a ruler in the kitchen.

    If this is true, then that’s truly incredible. He’s a miracle of evolution and biology. We should have top scientists perform experiments on him day and night. There are so many questions we need answering.

    Where does he get his clothes? Hamleys? How does he reach the piano? Does he have a special one made? When he appears on telly, do they just stick him very close to the camera?

    Most importantly, should he be worried? Because we are. One moment he’s making his way to Abbey Road studios to lay down a happening freeform piano track, the next moment and he’s snatched by a kestrel. It doesn’t bear thinking about.


    The Edinburgh Fringe Festival kicked off this week. It may appear on the surface to be a glorious, light-hearted tribute to the timeless art of comedy, but scratch the surface and you’ll uncover a seething bear pit of paranoia, fear and unconscionable behaviour.

    Thirty days of night descend on the Scottish capital as thousands of comedians dance like anxious monkeys in an over-heated portacabin every night for a whole month, vying for your attention and approbation, risking mental and physical breakdown just to entertain you.

    Many of them haven’t even finished writing their show by the time they arrive, convincing themselves that they thrive on the panic. They get their head down, hold their breath and hope their ill-prepared toil and trouble will take their career to the next level. Then the reviews come in.

    Each flippant remark holding the terrible power to generate unbridled happiness or induce self doubt, self loathing and despair. And at the end of the Fringe, when booze-laden veil is lifted from the Royal Mile, many comedians emerge blinking in the September sun thousands of pounds in debt. Because you see, there’s no business like showbusiness.


    Before I go, here’s a tip. Whatever you’re up to this week, never, ever go into pubs with flat roofs. They are always terrifying. You know the ones. Often located near rundown train stations or at the base of crumbling tower blocks, these pubs glare angrily at the rest of the world, vast St George cross flags waving aggressively in the breeze. And that’s just outside.

    Inside you’ll find a seething gaggle of tough, sinewy men armed to the teeth with tattoos. And not the “I got this done when I went travelling” tattoos middle class people get to be interesting. No, these are the blue, smudged, ‘I got this done when I went to prison for doing over that post office” tattoos.In a way I should respect them more; at least they’re being true to themselves. But I don’t.

    Anyway, if you are a normal person, it is inadvisable to go inside. If you do the music will stop. The stares will start. Guns would be produced and you would be chased out of this hive of scum and villainy just because you had the temerity to enter with your opposable thumbs. No, there’s probably a much nicer pub down the road. One with a proper roof. Have a nice weekend.

  • 25 Jul

    Russians, snacks and china tat

    More proof emerged this week that we are evolving as a species: Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that officially classifies beer as alcohol. Well thank God for that. After all, if we’re honest none of us were sure.

    Yeah we’d all heard the rumours. But that’s all they were. No concrete facts. To some the very notion of alcohol in beer has been consigned to myth and legend – a spook story used by parents to frighten the children. Well not any more.

    It must be a great comfort for the hundred and forty million odd Russians that they’ve got this genius running the show. And he’s clearly on a roll. Early reports have come in that President Medvedev will address the Russian people next week to tell them trees are made of wood and the sea is wet.


    I have come to the conclusion that the vending machine where I am currently working is not my friend. It is a spiteful monster that wears me down in a mean-spirited process of attrition.

    Every day it’s the same. I come into the office each morning with the best intentions. I make myself a tea, glance at the vending machine and scoff at its audacity. How dare this arrogant contraption think it can break me with its sugar-filled trinkets of deceit. I don’t need to rely on it for a snack fix. I’ve brought in an apple.

    But come four in the afternoon, several hours after I failed to enjoy my pathetic apple, it’s a different story. I’m wandering around the office like a crack-riddled homeless person, asking people if they can spare any change so I can gorge myself on chocolate and crisps. I’ve snapped. And it knows. The vending machine is laughing at me. Every single day.


    Who buys those hideous china figurines advertised on the back of magazines? Will somebody please own up. Clearly these foul baubles are being bought because they keep on selling them.

    For only fifty pounds you too can be the proud owner of a delightful porcelain cat dressed as a Victorian scullery maid. Or a timeless ceramic gravy boat emblazoned with a horse standing next to a duck. And if you buy two or more you’ll receive a pair of tiny china shoes and a miniature English country cottage absolutely free.

    Who looks at an inaccurate image of a member of the Royal Family badly painted onto a dish and thinks, yes, that gaudy piece of tat will really tie the room together?

    Commemorative plates are the worst. Is it company policy to hire artists who can’t paint? Saw an advert the other week for a plate claiming to have Lady Diana’s face on it, but it looked like Rod Hull.

    Thing is, if there actually was a Rod Hull commemorative plate on the market, people would buy it. Which is probably what he would have wanted.

  • 18 Jul

    Personal trainers, idiots and cyclists

    There have been a lot of photos of Rupert Murdoch out in the park with his personal trainer. Makes sense. If most of society is on your case you need to be ready to run at any time.

    Then again, is now really the best time to go for a jog? His empire his crumbling, Rome burns and there he is, sauntering around Kensington in an ill-fitting cap and crumpled shellsuit.

    But, in times of crisis, these billionaire businessmen need their personal trainers more than ever. In this case Murdoch’s trainer is hired just to work on a very specific set of muscles: the ones on his face. That’s why he keeps being photographed grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

    Think about it. Shut down a successful newspaper after a hundred and sixty eight years? Keep smiling. Shares plummet while share holders threaten to sue? Keep smiling. Hemorrhaging billions of pounds? Keep smiling. Those muscles need to stay in shape.


    There was someone outside my office this week speaking into their mobile phone like they do on The Apprentice. You know, holding it out in front of their mouths instead of pressed against the side of their head. But not this moron. Oh no.

    He’s assessed the situation, then decided to turn the whole phone conversation thing into a laborious two stage procedure. He holds it out in front of him to speak then moves it to his ear to listen.

    Essentially he’s doubling the workload. Ironic given his brain is obviously functioning so poorly that he needs all the help he can get. Why make things twice as hard for yourself if you’re an idiot?

    It would almost be a shame to point out to him that for decades phones have been designed specifically so you don’t need to do that. Then again he probably wouldn’t listen anyway. After all, this guy’s obviously a trailblazer, a maverick, a lone wolf. That’s just how he rolls.


    While on the subject of idiots, this is a special message for all you cyclists. And I know it may come as a surprise since all the evidence suggests you are unaware of what I am about to reveal. Here it comes. Ready? A red light means stop.

    You cyclists may need to sit down at this point to process this information. To help you, here it comes again. A red light. Means stop. Hate to break it to you but everyone else knows. People in cars see the red light, they stop. Pedestrians see the little red man, they stop. Yet you cyclists do not.

    Are you all colour blind? Do you think that just because you combine your daily commute with regular exercise and environmentally friendly travel you are above the law? No, it makes you a git. Oh and another thing. No one looks good in lycra. Just putting it out there.

    But hey, you don’t have to listen to me. Carry on ignoring that red light, ringing that little bell as you slice through people like a particularly smug scythe through downtrodden wheat. But know this. Keep carrying on like that and you cyclists just inspire the rest of us to invest in a Hummer and run you down.

  • 11 Jul

    Scum, hacks and earthworms

    Imagine how insulting, degrading and isolating it must be to wake up one morning and discover that your phone has not been hacked by the tabloid press. After all, if your private life has not been tapped into and exploited by some fetid scumbag, you’ve clearly done something wrong.

    Not to be included in this craze currently sweeping the nation is the kind of cultural bullying that we need to stamp out. What crime must you have committed if your life is not deemed worthy of public scrutiny by all those noble, honest and ethical tabloid newspapers? It’s just so very sad to see this minority excluded and segregated from the rest of society.

    Yes this whole phone hacking saga is shocking, amoral and those responsible should be nailed to the wall, but it’s also shocking how shocked everyone is.

    Corruption in newspapers, business, the police, politics and governments. Has it ever been any other way? It’s as old as some particularly old hills. And you know why? People can be corrupted. It’s just what happens. Next they’ll be telling us criminals are corrupt.

    Does this excuse what’s been happening? Course not. But until we eradicate people from the equation, it’s never going away. That’s the key. This world needs an enema. Flush us all away and let another species have a crack at running the show.

    What about earthworms? Got to love the earthworm. They just do what they do, fertilize the soil, recycle waste, keep things ticking over. They don’t watch the Apprentice. They’ve probably never even heard of Jeremy Kyle. And they’re both male and female at the same time, how cool is that? so, I think I’ll leave you with the wonderful words of Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man:

    “I think I could turn and live with animals. They are so placid and self-contained. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins. They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God. Not one of them kneels to another or to his own kind that lived thousands of years ago. Not one of them is respectable or unhappy, all over the earth.”

  • 05 Jul

    Boozy pensioners, vigilantism and the Pope’s Tweets.

    The Royal College of Psychiatrists has just released a report saying people over 65 should drink less booze. Is this really a serious problem? Is Britain filled with hammered pensioners kicking off during a football match when denied their tenth pint of noxious, continental lager?

    Last time we checked, it’s not grannies falling out of night clubs in tiny skirts, their faces smeared in a tear-stained fright mask of mascara and shame. It’s not members of the British Legion passing out in the gutter clutching a bottle of Bulmers. Police cells aren’t overflowing on a Friday night with the cast of Dad’s Army, having been caught brawling over which is the best Vera Lynn record.

    Anyway, if you’ve managed to reach retirement age without a hitch, the least you deserve is a drink. Let them have their booze, they’ve earned it.


    Apparently if burglars try to rob your house it will soon be legal to attack them. That’s what the Government has said. Well there’s a comfort. This could be our way of stamping out crime altogether.

    We could all entice thieves into our homes with a breadcrumb trail of valuables leading up to our open doors, behind which we lie in wait, brandishing a machete.Why stop there? We could display ‘everything must go’ posters in our front windows advertising all our laptops, phones and jewellery, then mount a machine gun at the top of the stairs.

    We could even take the fight to them. Let’s all dress up as costumed vigilantes, speak in an unconvincing gravelly voice and deal out rough justice while driving around in a totally impractical but undeniably cool car. Actually best not. None of us are superheroes. You are not Batman. He is not real. In fact, do not under any circumstances try any of the things above. You will go to prison.


    In an effort to reach out to the next generation the Pope has joined Twitter. Presumably this pontiff is confident he can truly convey the weighty message of avoiding eternal damnation through the salvific ministry of Jesus Christ in 140 characters or less.

    Don’t know if he’s looked through it lately, but that Bible’s a weighty old tome. He should be better off keeping his tweets simple. ‘pls cum 2 church’ is an option. ‘God is gr8’ is another. ‘Vatican not Vatican’t’ could be a third.

    According to the news, the Pope’s Twitter account got 33,000 followers in its first day. Not bad going. When Jesus was alive, he only had twelve.

  • 22 Jun

    What’s going on then?

    Hello world. Been a while since I checked in. Not for any particular reason, and so it seems fitting I post this update, not for any particular reason.

    This year I have been carrying on my duties as the sole and first ever full-time Staff Writer for Comedy Central here in the UK, a strange TV channel full of contradictions and oddities. Guess that’s what makes it unique.

    Aside from the usual script editing/continuity writing, recently I’ve been charged with writing ‘subliminal’ messages that pop up momentarily on the TV screen in between the programmes. They’re fun to do as i have complete free rein to write about whatever I want.

    They’ve caused a bit of a stir, with people posting these ‘hidden’ messages on YouTube and subsequent debate as to whether or not the Government is using secret mind control devices on the unsuspecting public. Here’s the deal. They’re not. Still, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not after you….

    I’m also set to produce a further series of podcasts with comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long. “Robin and Josie’s Utter Shambles” has proves to be a lot of fun to make, allowing me to meet some truly inspirational people. The latest series topped the iTunes podcast chart and has currently had one and a half million downloads and counting. Can’t wait to see who we get for the next batch.

    As for my own projects, I’m set to film and appear a series of online shorts I’ve co written with two other talented men, one an excellent writer the other a rather nifty producer/director. Both very funny people and we’ve pretty much nailed down a shooting script and most of the pre-recorded rushes so hopefully we can clear out schedules to actually get in front of the camera before the summer is over.

    Work also continues on an original comedy pilot script I’ve been commissioned to write for independent production company TellyJuice, which i am enjoying immensely. This is the first time I’m working with an already established world and characters, so it’s been fun slotting all the pieces together with my own plot. There’s also a part in it for me (pure coincidence, I assure you) so watch this space.

    In other news, I was recently blown away by Jerry Seinfeld’s O2 show (a masterclass in delivery, timing and structure), I have developed what I hope to be a lifelong and mutually caring relationship with Hendricks gin and tonic (plus cucumber of course, not lime) and am looking forward to reliving my teenage metal years with some of my oldest friends when the ‘Big Four’ come to play at the Sonisphere Festival in July.

    My aim from now on is to make more regular blog posts but for more immediate updates, follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/adrianmackinder

    By admin General News