A personal absurdist obituary

THE WRITER’S LIFE

This one goes out to my brother by another mothership, who set sail today when he reached his expiry date of best before 56. What’s quite disquieting is how my life has suddenly become normal.

In fond memory of Sundays spent tearing up News of the World colour supplements and ripping gender-specific glossies apart, when the grown-ups were inside with the kids and we were out the back, smoking, drinking, and talking at ease, observing the obscure and often floating on a tangent into absurdism, like Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman on Pointless, like Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse on a fishing trip, people like us being people like we were…

Claudia Winkleman Banner‘Swimming saved my sanity’: Gym-phobic Claudia Winkleman reveals why she’ll be swimming a mile for Sport Relief (2016). Photo: Jay Brooks (Daily Mail)

SHOWBIZ

Claudia Winkleman has confirmed what many have suspected for years: That she’s part-dolphin. In an article not appearing in this month’s National Enquirer, the Head and Shoulders advert and minor national treasure reveals how researching her family tree helped her understand a rare genetic mutation.

I’ve known all my life,” Winkleman says, “but my fringe covers by blowhole, so only my close friends and family knew until now.” I decided to come out after my trip in the TARDIS, she adds, referring to her previous appearance on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing as a dolphin.

Claudia TARDISAnne’s TV Blog

Claudia uncovered the origin of her quirk while filming for a cancelled edition of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? “I got hooked on genealogy,” Winkleman says, “and I just kept going back further and further through time. My ancestors were winklers, who harvested molluscs from the sea. I traced my family line back to the first humans, then even further.

Eventually I arrived at a common ancestor we all share, about 60 million years back. My 3 million times great grandmother was a flatworm, and her species followed many evolutionary paths, creating such diverse creatures as dolphins, octopuses, and humans.

We still share 90% of our DNA with that common ancient ancestor, and even though the Human Genome Project unlocked our genetic code, we’re only just on the threshold of understanding.

At a sub-atomic level, a single strand of DNA can store more information than is held in all the world’s libraries. We only just understand which bits do what general things. Deeper within the code though, beyond the 10% which is pure-human, ancient history lies dormant, in all the DNA programming which went on to evolve separate from us into things like the octopus and the dolphin.

So what I have is a genetic blip. For some reason, that part of my family’s DNA which has slept for millions of years has stirred. I haven’t spoken about it before now, because I feared the reaction. Perhaps a part of me was worried I’d be used for experiments. But I believe in being me, and I think everyone should be free to be themselves and to express that. We are all part-dolphin.

And I think it’s a gift. If it’s a trait I pass on further down the line, then perhaps I’ve helped kick start a tiny revolution in human evolution. Because the more I thought about the blowhole under my fringe, the greater I became aware of other people’s thoughts. And many scientists agree dolphins might be telepathic.

I’ve learned how to manipulate the blowhole like a mouth, and it’s operated by a different part of my brain to the one which controls the mouth below my nose. With my upper mouth, I can speak another language without really thinking about it.” Claudia blew her fringe from her face. “Mais non, je ne vais pas me couper la frange. Merci.”

Magners

Safe journey Si, a kindred inner spirit floating in a tin can, out there where surrealism is part of normal life x

Cigarette ends

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Imagine an age of enlightenment

VIDEO

If only it were real. But it’s by Canny AI, an upstart company in Israel (of all places). My point in posting is that we’re living in an age where the lines between truth and fiction are almost indistinguishable, and where Artificial Intelligence could make it impossible to tell fake news from reality.

It doesn’t have to be like this. If only this divided world’s future leaders could forget their nations’ differences and personal agendas, and unite in a common cause to save our only home, this fantasy might be a lesser stretch of the imagination.

If only it were that simple. All we need to do is keep talking.

Teeth-whitening* by Rothschild

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Rothschild quote2*Social cleansing (Teeth sharpening campaign, The Unfinished Advertising Agency)

The Tory plan for new housing: a social tax on climate change

POLITICS | COMMENT | SATIRE

It’s satirical, but it’s not particularly funny. As a science fiction writer, I look at many Utopian and near future dystopia scenarios, some dependent only upon a butterfly effect which could already be gathering motion, unknown to us. Sometimes I have to take a short break from fiction, so that none of my stories cross over unwittingly (even though crossovers are one of my trademarks).

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In a radical plan to tackle the housing crisis in London, the Conservatives are quietly pushing through new legislation, which wasn’t announced at the recent party conference in Brighton. Theresa May insists she did announce it, but it was when she’d lost her voice, and the whole Tory vision was collapsing around her on stage.

The changes are two fold: New housing built underground, paid for with a new social tax on climate change. Whether or not the announcements were heard at conference, this journalist was given a copy of the PM’s speech:

I have seen Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour manifesto on housing and a social tax on personal data, and I wonder what the leader of the opposition has been smoking (smile, then look to audience for approval). London has a housing crisis, and with so many people in one place, tensions are bound to develop. It is unacceptable that the wealthy people of the capital, should have to witness, daily, what the poor have done to themselves (sad face). Their unsightly housing is a blemish on the otherwise rich tapestry of London boroughs like Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster. We tried to make the pauper housing more aesthetically pleasing, by cladding high rise towers. We did so in a cost-efficient way, saving money, so that the wealthy weren’t squeezed too hard. And look what happened (sadder face).

So we plan to build housing for the poor underground, out of sight. There is not much of London which we can build up from, so the only way now, is down. This will solve the problem of homelessness, and ensure that wealthy tax payers aren’t troubled by those people. Out of sight, out of mind (look rad, and down with the people).

Of course, big ideas need big finance, and it is unfair to tax the top-rate taxpayers any more than they are squeezed almost beyond their means already. So another way to keep the poor underground, is with a climate tax. Quite simply, they will pay a new dynamic tax, depending on the weather. If it’s a nice, sunny day out, those people should pay to enjoy what the rich have to earn, so that they can build their mansions above ground. We might give them a rebate on really miserable days, when no-one really wants to go out anyway (check audience reaction). We could let them see a sunset or sunrise for free on bank holidays (smile sincerely).

They’ll be completely self-sufficient underground, and we’ll give them all the facilities they need: We’ve already partnered with Coral and Wetherspoons, and someone’s bound to open a Londis down there (good for the economy and ethical companies). They’ll have no problems with employment, as the wealthy residents of London will ignore planning laws on digging down, to make luxury basements in their houses. If they hit an underground poor area while they’re constructing, they can hire slaves (check audience again, then decide whether or not to mention further benefit cuts). As the owners of the land, we will give them title to all which is below their property. It’s joined-up government, with all departments working together (air punch).

We caught up with Theresa May later, to ask her about the rumours of a disagreement between her and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson. “The foreign secretary,” she said, “is behind me, just like the rest of my cabinet.”

Johnson contacted this blog to ask, “What the fuck were you talking to the mad witch about?” Told of her comment that she valued him as a cabinet colleague, Johnson replied: “I’m just waiting for the right moment to shaft her. It’ll be like fisting the old turkey at the Bullingdon Club. Is this thing on?” We pointed out that the foreign secretary had called us, then he hung up.

Later, we caught up with some Green Party members huddled around a fire exit. “We’ll tax and regulate this stuff, and it’ll be legal, first for medicinal use, then probably for recreation. You won’t believe how much we get through in Brighton.” Asked about other policies, and whether they might be ambitious: “Yes, big ideas need big money, and we’ve found a way to make a load of new money just appear. We’re proposing a new social tax to be levied on personal data. It’s a return of power to the people, where the internet giants fund a universal basic income, solving poverty in a stroke. Between us and the Tories, the British public just need to look at these new policies and decide which works best in the long term. Do you grow this yourself?”

None of the above is true, probably.

Ryanair: “We will never eject passengers”

NEWS | SATIRE

Overcrowded Plane

Budget airline Ryanair has announced it will never eject passengers from over-booked flights, following the recent United Airlines controversy. The US carrier caused outrage when a passenger was forcefully removed from an aircraft so that a crew member could sit down.

It is common practice for airlines to over-book flights, on the assumption that a number of passengers will forget they’re going on holiday and simply not turn up at the airport. Ever keen to capitalise on anything and jump on a bandwagon, Ryanair’s boss Michael O’Leary has announced that he will abolish the need to ever eject anyone from an over-booked flight, by “finding room for everyone, somewhere.”

O’Leary, 56, went on to say: “Planes are big, except when they’re far away; and people are small, so it’s really not that difficult is it? For starters, Ryanair will never ask paying passengers to vacate a plane for our staff. We’re often short of staff, so we might ask passengers to be flight crew instead. The result? Never another cancelled flight because of staff shortages. How many people have ever dreamed of being a pilot and flying a real life plane? At Ryanair, we make dreams come true.”

Asked what the airline’s policy was on over-booking, O’Leary said: “Our passengers pay fuck all for their flights, before we add all the stealth charges on. We’ve not even announced our latest: A door policy, where customers pay an extra charge to actually get on the plane. But we will make them pay, and get them on our flights. Our customers don’t expect much. We’re pushing the CAA to licence our standing-only cabins, where passengers just hang onto a strap, like when they’re on the Tube. While we still have to waste a load of space with seats, people can sit on laps. There’s plenty of room in the aisles: We have no on-board services to speak of, so our cabin crew don’t need the aisles. Result? More room for passengers. We’re reducing the hand baggage allowance, so people with children can stuff them in the overhead compartments. And we’ve got the cargo hold. You can always fold granny up and put her in a suitcase, just so long as you buy her a ticket.”

Gordon Ramsay to replace Mary Berry on Bake Off

NEWS | SATIRE

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Chef Gordon Ramsay, pictured in 1970

Gordon Ramsay is to replace Mary Berry on The Great British Bake Off, it has been announced. Ramsay joins Paul Hollywood at the show’s new home on Channel 4.

The show’s new broadcaster said they thought Ramsay would add some spice to the format. At 81, Ramsay is the same age as Berry.

Asked to comment, Ramsay said: “Given that this is Channel 4, I think I can take the fucking format further. Mary can keep her soggy bottoms. Now we’re going to have fucking wank stains and shit. I won’t be sympathetic to failure, I’ll just intimidate the contestants by shouting in their pathetic, simpering little faces.”

Channel 4 are said to be considering a number of people for the roles vacated by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, but no-one was available to confirm this. Tim Loganberry, a runner with a university degree, smoking a joint outside, would only say, “Jo Brand would be fucking awesome.”

Over drinks with his new partner, Hollywood said, “I’m only in it for the fucking money anyway. Now, fuck off.”

Original article.

“Lewinski role” for Kellyanne Conway

NEWS | SATIRE

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Kellyanne Conway and her mouth (Getty Images)

Following Kellyanne Conway’s recent defence of Donald Trump in the disabled journalist row, the president-elect has offered her a job as a White House intern, saying, “It’ll be just like Monica and Bill.”

Conway, 49, is a key adviser to Trump who ran his 2016 campaign. She defended the president-elect’s behaviour when he apparently mocked a disabled New York Times reporter during a 2015 rally. But Conway insisted that’s not what he was doing.

“That is not what he did and he has said that 1,000 times,” she exaggerated on Monday morning. “Why can’t you give him the benefit of the doubt?”

Although it’s clear to anyone with a pair of eyes that the stuffed orange carrier bag was using his position of power and superiority in his pram to ridicule the disabled man, Conway maintains that he “Didn’t mean it that way. People need to look at what’s in his heart and not what comes out of his mouth. I only have to stare at his navel to feel the warmth that comes from him. And people will need to listen to what I say and not look at what’s coming out of my mouth.”

Trump believes that Conway’s mouth will be very useful during his presidency: “Kellyanne defended me. She tells the truth. That’s a good mouth”, he said. “In fact, I might even call her ‘The Mouth’. I’ll probably grab her by the pussy, because I’m the president.”

Asked to comment on her new post, Conway said, “I can’t wait to get my teeth into it. Now if you’ll excuse me, Donald has asked me to go out to buy some cigars.”

Original Huffington Post article.