Tuesday, 25 November 2014

James at Brixton Academy - 21/11/14

For the second time in a row I view the gods of James from the gods of the theatre, rather than within the sea of swaying souls. Last time out I was in the back row of the Royal Albert Hall, and despite having had some great times in back rows over the years, in this instance I’d rather be closer to the action than getting some.

The support is the likeable Starsailor, who return ashore after their five year expedition into the abyss. Their bags are packed and their sails are tacked and their course is marked by stars…

James enter via conventional means as Brixton Academy doesn’t lend itself to a sneaky emergence. Tim Booth is sporting a resplendent tartan suit signifying a man with a chequered past; he wore this in Liverpool last week. Apparently, much of the Scouse audience were also bedecked in suits (of the track variety). Liverpool is a magical place though; stuff goes missing all the time.

The warmth of ‘Sound’ radiates through an exuberant Brixton Academy and invigorates our other senses as Tim bellows through a megaphone. As he dances, his rasta hat swirls around like an East End gangster menacingly swinging a cue ball in a sock. The cue ball is soon exposed as he sheds another skin, stripping away all his protection.

Walk Like You’ chaperones us through the journey of life, avoiding the well-trodden footsteps of our parents. Man hands on misery to man. Tim goes out into the audience and gets his magic 8-ball rubbed for good luck. ‘The outlook is good’.

The ground rules are established pre-dive; asking the crowd to prop him up rather than jamming their phones in his face (for a pic rather than an interview I assume). Meanwhile Saul, Jim and Larry form a triumvirate and jam it out.

The enrapturing single ‘Couscous’ is organic and orgasmic, coming at you like a creamy load in your face. Tim breaks into dance with his scurvied legs threatening to give way beneath him, but the support is superb (in more ways than one).

B-side ‘All Good Boys’ has been resuscitated for this tour, and with new life breathed into it, is now a man. The Bad Boys in the crowd take the opportunity to take a breather to visit the little boy’s/men’s room. ‘All I’m Saying’ is an attempted follow-up but demands a library-like hush that a Friday night London crowd is unable to give and the performance is cancelled. No more words - all’s been said and done. Instead, we are asked for our sympathy for Johnny Yen, who has had so much over the years I am convinced he must be a Scouser.

This becomes the start of a nostalgic expedition through ‘Johnny Yen’, ‘Hymn From A Village’ and ‘What’s The World’. The latter holds a distinctive place in James Folklore, being the first song they ever wrote. Bizarrely enough, it was only recorded for their first EP (included on this compilation of first two EPs) as they wanted to protect their better songs from the recording studio at that time, and the band believed it to be one of their worst songs. The Smiths didn’t agree and covered it in the 80s. The fans don’t agree either and it is always well-received on the set list. I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I love it!

The ethereal ‘Vervaceous’ has seen a reawakening after 15 years drifting through the atmosphere. Due to come back down, due to come back down… The sound is so relaxed it feels like a sound check. The essence is so much fresher than the recorded version, especially with amazing ad-libbed guitar from Larry Axeman.

Vervaceous’ was originally recorded with Sinead O’Connor wisping at the end. She has other fish to fry these days though, what with her kids, Band Aid 30 contribution, and her Friday night job in the chippy.

Tim dismisses the sign ‘Stage Divers Will Be Ejected’ and goes for a dive, surf, swim and probably some heavy petting within the viscous crowd. He’s out in deep water; I hope he’s a good swimmer. He controls the current and ‘Gets Away With It’, manoeuvring himself around adeptly.

Moving On’ was the enduring video of the year, a song about the beautiful death of Tim’s mother, which he relives as a birth. When God closes a door, he opens a window. I do the same when I am having a dump. “Leave a little light on” he sings shrilly. The light in my case controls the extractor fan so everyone’s a winner.

Gone Baby Gone’ completes the set with its ominous bass line, thumping heartbeat and contagious chorus. Fans join the band on stage as they are invited up to mum/dad-dance before the Gonecore.

James return to belt out the relentless, sinister epic that is ‘Interrogation’. The intensity in this track is overwhelming. Is this James at their most dramatic? Of courts it is.

By the time ‘Born Of Frustration' is whooped out, everyone on the balcony is on their feet, much to the consternation of the security who yell “sit down” without any trace of irony. ‘Sit Down’ has been rested for this tour and we are ignoring security anyway so we Stand, Stand, Stand and inevitably finish with SingalongaSometimes.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Olympics Closing Ceremony – London 2012

Amazingly it is 16 days to the minute since the Games of the XXX Olympiad surprised an expectant world. We started slowly, both in the Opening Ceremony and medal acquisition, but since then everything has whizzed by like Wiggo on a bike.

It has been a much better couple of weeks than everyone expected and most do not want the games to end, not least because no one wants to risk more Paul McCartney at the Closing Ceremony.

The Olympics has certainly inspired the youth of this country, although ironically it has turned many into couch potatoes, glued to the TV.

Without any trace of sarcasm, Sue Barker says, “If you would like to watch the ceremony without commentary, press the red button. Here's Trevor Nelson...”

Somehow Trev has qualified for the final. The mute button is gonna be working overtime tonight with him, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé etc.

The Hirst thing we see is an abstract Union Jack sprawled out across the stadium like a patriotic paintball pummelling. London's skyline is dotted around the park, including Saint Paul's, Gherkin, Battersea Power Station, and Big Ben, which accompanies the disjointed countdown to the beginning of the end.

Emeli Sandé starts the section entitled Rush Hour, but I can't see a black or Chinese detective anywhere. I am in no rush to listen to her again as she still sounds amateurish. It's not great, it's just karaokey.

Stomp clatter the London Eye and their staple bins, miming their way through their slot. It would have been an ideal moment for the grouch to pop their head out of a bin but alas the Queen is not providing another hilarious spectacular. Bin there, done that.

Lapping the track are vehicles from skateboards to wedding cars. Timothy Spall pops up as Churchill with some more Tempest and tells everyone to shut it. He hasn't quite got the authority of Ray Winstone, and is more Churchill the dog than prime minister.

Prince Harry has been sent along to represent the royal family. What were they thinking? The joke buzzing around is they are keeping the Queen away from Harry Styles. No doubt she was at home thinking “I did my stint at the Opening Ceremony.”

More iconic imagery for the Street Party with Michael Caine counting us down to an exploding Robin Reliant (“You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”). Del and Rodders get out in their Batman and Robin costume. We initially think they have pulled off a triffic coup and reunited David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst, but only fools rush in - they are just impersonators.

Many of the foreigners who don't understand English culture are saying “This is madness”, and lo and behold Camden's sons appear like genies from a lamp with 'Our House'.

Blur aren't here so 'Parklife' is performed by the Queen's Guard Band. Blur are playing the closing concert at Hyde Park and aren't quite rock star enough to commandeer a helicopter over. All we need now is for Phil Daniels to appear to convince the world that we really do talk like that.

Here come the Pet Shop Boys with 'West End Girls', although their preference is surely East End Boys. They are being cycled in on rickety chariots by drivers wearing orange, anti-aerodynamic helmets. I think they're mad and the keyboard's unstable.

One Direction come along early in the proceedings and stimulate the teen girls with their fresh, youthful tones. It saves the kids sitting through subsequent ageing rockers and means they can get off to bed to do what follows naturally after watching their teen idols.

Stomp march us from Street Party to Waterloo Sunset - the hustle and bustle of the working day that we have forgotten about due to slacking off work the last fortnight.

Spelbound provide an underwhelming acrobatic display. Perhaps their pedestrian performance is an antithesis to Rush Hour?

Ray Davies of The Kinks exits a cab without even paying the driver. He probably wouldn't mind the scenic route as he has a well-known affinity to London, hence his love-letter 'Waterloo Sunset'.

The tease is on. A camera creeps up on a mysterious individual from behind. Has the reclusive David Bowie been persuaded out? It's been a while since we have seen him. Not so with imposter Emeli Sandé of whom we have seen far too much. She reprises her way through 'Read All About It'. Unfortunately we have to listen all about it too. I want to strangle her slowly although I imagine she would still sound the same.

Elbow give Emeli the elbow. The athletes are welcomed with 'Open Arms' and led into their mosh-pit surrounding the stage.

There is a reprise of all of the songs already played as the athletes are slowly kettled. Surely we have a few more songs on our nation's jukebox? I could easily have done them a mixtape had they asked. Instead we have to suffer 'Now That's What I Call Repetitive 12'.

The athletes are having a rare old time of it. Their dedication in not letting themselves go for the last couple of years is being rapidly bypassed tonight, like a crap runner in the 10000m. There are some tipsy athletes already and it will be interesting to see how many future Olympic superheroes are conceived tonight.

303 blocks, representing the Olympic events are piled up on the stage, but I urge you to avoid them as it appears to be some sort of pyramid scheme. There were rumours Kate Bush was going to appear, but they always faced an uphill battle getting her and we have to settle for a recording of 'Running Up That Hill' while Tetris is completed.

The next segment, Here Comes The Sun, includes the Marathon medal ceremony so the runners get the perfect stage to lap up the glory (or 105 laps to put it into perspective). In fact they could run a marathon and a half in the time this ceremony takes. It is somewhat surprising that Emeli Sandé doesn’t turn up to sing Uganda's national anthem.

There is a huge cheer as 'Bohemian Rhapsody' starts to play. Might just be coincidence that Emeli Sandé is led out of the Olympic Stadium in shackles at the same time.

A deaf scouse kiddie choir sing and sign 'Imagine' by John Lennon. It is heartwarming to see them using their hands for signing rather than stealing. They turn Lennon into a crackhead by forming an image of his face from 101 fragments (presumably just after his head was shot into smithereens).

George Michael, looking less chubby than Merv Hughes, but similarly hairy, returns to plays his ode to acne 'Freederm', which is spot on, then a new song about his survival, 'White Light', which is quite shite. He gets caught lip-synching but at least it wasn't in the bogs again.

Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs appears on a scooter with a load of other mods and goes at it full tilt, plunging straight into 'Pinball Wizard'. Ching ching ching!

Russell Brand becomes Willy Wanka and “sings” his way through 'Pure Imagination' on top of a psychedelic bus. He virtually gives up on the miming through a second song, 'I Am The Walrus'. Tusk tusk.

Fatboy Slim mixes up his mischief from inside a zorby octopus. He usually needs lots of arms to work his magic but miming along to mixing is considerably easier.

The lively atmosphere continues with Jessie J in Madonna hand-me-downs belting out 'Price Tag', Tinie Tempah singing about God knows what, and Taio Cruz serving a party platter tune in 'Dynamite'. They all combine for an abysmal version of the Bee Gees 'You Should Be Dancing'.

Uh-oh a mass of taxi drivers are gathering - bad time for a blockade. The highway code goes right out the window with their manoeuvres. First they slam it to the left, then they shake it to the right. Taxi for the Spice Girls!

Twig Spice gets no air time and barely a look-in on camera. You can just imagine David Beckham fielding that one with the kids. “Daddy, why doesn't mummy get any lines? Why is everyone ignoring her?”. “No talent and face like a monkey's arse, but sshh, don't tell mummy!”

The elaborately-adorned taxis zoom around with a Spice Girl on each. Victoria is clinging on for dear life, as there's a real risk of the airhead blowing off.

Boris is dad-dancing along to Spice Girls. David Cameron is a bit more conservative. Derren Brown tweets, "If anyone wants me to eradicate their memories of Cameron or Boris dancing just say."

Beady Eye, an Oasis tribute band, perform a great new song called 'Wonderwall'. It has all the hallmarks of classic Oasis and should do very well. Liam really should invest in a new roadie as his current one never sets his mic at the right height.

It's a Who's Who of illicit substances tonight. Let's hope none of the performers are taken aside for a random drug test.

Eric Idle appears from the ground after a failed cannon ejection and recites 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life', the newly adopted British national anthem. We got sick of 'God Save The Queen' what with all that winning we did.

Morris dancers are clacking around him. Nuns with patriotic pants are whizzing by on roller blades. Soldiers are enforcing the discipline. Bagpipers are making their usual drone. A heavenly host of dreamy angels are looking deliciously divine. Then out of nowhere a load of Indians appear for some daft dancing. Eric gets distracted as they choke him before he quips “Life's a piece of shit when you look at it”, 'Life' being code for the Closing Ceremony.

Muse sing 'Survival', the song of the Olympic Games. Meanwhile the backing group seem to be signing along to 'Agadoo'. Come and dance every night to the Musey melody.

Freddie Mercury is resurrected from the ground as a screen rises with the “deyo deyo” footage from 1986, followed by the screeching guitars of Brian May. He has a grey witch-like thatch. If it was green he would be Grotbags.

Jessie J has had the barnacles picked off her costume and has half a leg added. She joins the alive members of Queen for some regicide during 'We Will Rock (and irritate the shit out of) You'. Sing up Jessie, I can't hear you over the sound of Freddy turning in his grave.

Boris has the flag and he's waving it precariously close to the Olympic flame. Quit the formalities and leg it Boris! They can't have the games if they haven't got the flag.

Boris reluctantly hands the flag over to the head of IOC, Rogge the Bodge, then onto a visibly-excited Mayor of Rio. Predictably Pele pops up but he's not visibly-excited as he hasn't popped one (blue pill not boner).

Renato Smile, a real life road-sweeper who became a YouTube sensation after dancing in the street, sweeps away the turd of a ceremony. He breaks into a Samba and it is time for carnival as he is joined by other dancers.

The closing ceremony starts to fade away when Take That give us yet another anthem in 'Rule The World'. Britain did just that for a couple of weeks, but we can safely return to being cynical, miserable and self-hating once again.

The flame that burned so brightly in London is no more as it is extinguished to some wistful music. It's not quite the closing sequence of the Incredible Hulk TV series but it does the job.

Proving that we are mostly a nation of ageing and dead rockers, The Who finish us off with some dad-rock classics. Thankfully the organisers decided against letting bitch Elton John lend a hand. I could easily see him doing “Goodbye London's Games”.

The Games are officially over and we have corrected some misconceptions about our country. The rest of the world used to think we were shit at sport and great at music. Consider yourselves shown, world.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympics Opening Ceremony - London 2012

It has taken 7 years, 2 regime changes and 6 bad summers in England, but finally the waiting and wondering is over, and the whetting and wonderment can begin. The Olympic Park is a mesmerising 'Green and Pleasant Land' with thousands of actors engrossed in their roles. It feels like someone has built a diorama then watered it with some Olympic-strength fertiliser.

Artificial clouds lap the Farmsvillesque village like not-so-subtle spy satellites. When it rains just before the off, the audience trace the raindrops skywards to see if it's special effects or if God really is pissing on our parade.

Bradley Wiggins, one of the most unlikely-looking sports stars ever, bongs the world's largest harmonically-charged bell to say y'ello to the 2012 London Olympics. Fresh(ish) from his tour de force Tour de France, he competes again in the Time Trial in the Olympics. It's heartening to see recycling rewarded.

There is so much to look at that we take on the persona of ADD kids, unable to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. Scouting around quickly there are Morris dancers (folk right off), an orchestra playing Elgar's 'Nimrod', 2 maids-a-tossing (apples), a water wheel and a village cricket match. A medieval Malinga has an LBW appeal turned down but the DRS system hasn't been invented yet so it can't be referred. Where's Billy Bowden when you need a questionable decision?

The British Isles are unified with children's choirs singing 'Jerusalem', 'Oh Danny Boyle', 'Flower of Scotland' and 'Bread of Heaven', all now sporting anthems. We are all cheering the same side this time though (except Scotland who will still cheer anyone but England).

The hypnotic Shipping Forecast highlights the British love of all things weather, and for a change doesn't interrupt the cricket. It doesn't exactly go down a storm with the tourists as it is Met with a cold front. You can already hear the Americans thinking “huh?” like they have just been told a joke. Lucky their Twitter feed can explain everything clearly, like Newsround does for children.

You say you want a revolution? Yeahhhhh I know. Although technically I don’t know much about the Industrial Revolution as I always dozed in history. Kids would be so much more interested in learning about history if they had this ceremony as an educational tool.

The industriousness of the peasants (complete with Bradley Wiggins-style sideburns) is reminiscent of a colony of worker ants and a bygone ethos. I am quite similar to an ant really as I often pull women several times my weight.

Pandemonium (the capital of hell in John Milton's 'Paradise Lost') is the next theme. Pandemonium is what happens when you put Jingjing, one of the mascots from the Beijing Olympics, in a test tube full of ammonia.

The main focus is a toriffic Glastonbury mound which is part Teletubbies, part Lord Of The Olympic Rings. There are chimneys popping out of the ground like doggy lipsticks.

A poignant moment remembers the fallen. A profound sense of sorrow is felt at this time. The actors who have ruined their 15 seconds of fame by tripping over the turf stand with heads bowed in shame. Where there's a games, there's a claim.

We move onto the Social and Cultural Change in England as West Indians are integrated into the community courtesy of The Empire Windrush. Yeah mon! No such tribute to B&I / Sealink / Irish Ferries which brought the Irish over though.

A Tempestuous Kenneth Branagh, portraying Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is looking very pleased with himself, although no one is sure if he is acting.

The five Olympic rings have been forged by the workers. Its a proud moment, but is there nothing these counterfeiters wont tackle?

The Olympic rings are coming together. That hardly ever happens! As they merge above our heads, fireworks explode downwards making them seem like rocket thrusters beneath a UFOOOOO. Any of us could be beamed up and experimented on. As it is, we have all been sucked into an engaging spectacle tonight.

James Bond strides purposefully down the corridors of Buckingham Palace, past the chubby dogs to meet the corgi-registered Queen. He is introduced but she doesn't react as her hearing is knackered from listening to the National Anthem too loud, so he has to cough to get her attention We all suspect it's an actress, but no, it's the actual bona fide Queen for Bond to have a crack at.

They board a helicopter and take the scenic route to the Olympic Park, showcasing our wonderful tourist landmarks. An animated black Churchill statue (we don’t do white Winstons any more) waves at us. Oh yesssss!

The helicopter door opens, as do our mouths, when the queen parachutes out of the plane in perhaps the most surreal moment of her monarchy. It is as exhilarating as jumping from a plane, commando. Wham bam thank you maam.

They arrive at the Olympic Park and are seated safely. The Queen is looking peachy and the Duke of Edinburgh is in the pink too, first time in years he has had any.

The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf And Hearing Children (all bases covered then!) get to sign the national anthem. There truly is something for everyone - even the paedos get to enjoy kids in jimjams.

'Second To The Right And Straight On Till Morning' is the next section, named after the directions Peter gave to Wendy to find Neverland. This part of the show honours children's literature and the NHS. They overlap well as the author JM Barrie gave the royalties from 'Peter Pan' to the NHS. Could be a big mistake promoting our free health service to a world that already comes from all over to bleed us dry.

Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' comes on. Excitement reaches near orgasmic levels when I contemplate the possibility that Danny Boyle has somehow persuaded the Queen to honour 'The Exorcist' by getting on the bed and screaming “Your mother sucks cocks in hell”. But no, she shook her head to that one.

The hyperactive kids are jumping around on their beds like a scene from 'Annie'. Lights go out as they are subsequently sent to sleep, but you know how kids like dicking around instead of sleeping.

It's the perfect time for JK Rowling to read a passage from Peter Pan. Literary wrong 'uns appear in the form of the Child Catcher (modelled on Noel Fielding), Cruela De Vil, Queen of Hearts and Voldemort, who is on the end of a fierce shit-kicking from a miasma of Mary Poppinses who have swooped down from the roof like harpies.

Sir Simon Rattle charms the London Symphony Choir through 'Chariots Of Fire'. For many this is the cue to make a cuppa, but the audience are quickly fired up by a classic and genius revelation – a deadpan Mr. Bean who has somehow got the job of maintaining the monotonous synth beat. Key moment! There's a few seconds of disbelief before it registers with the crowd and rapture crackles around the Olympic Park like a Mexican wave.

Rowan Atkinson's deadpannery in front of the keyboard is simplistic and synthlistic brilliance. Playing the one note repeatedly quickly bores him into a daydream where he is running down the beach with a group of fitter types, in the opening scene from 'Chariots of Fire'. He quickly runs out of puff and disappears from shot only to re-emerge being chauffeured down the beach in a classic British automobile, rejoining the group at the head of the pack just before the winning line. There's still time for him to rub his rival's face in the sand as he trips him and strips him of a deserved victory. He awakes from his daydream to a glare from Rattle and finishes with a final flourish to plaudits.

'Frankie and June Say...Thanks Tim!' showcases our rich musical, televisual and film history. It starts optimistically with the infamous footage of Michael Fish telling us not to worry as there isn't a hurricane on the way. It turns out to be a metaphor as this section of the show fails to blow me away.

We get 'Pretty Vacant' from Sex Pistols rather than 'God Save The Queen' and her fascist regime. You can just imagine the sourpuss turning to Phil and saying “Thank God they aren't playing that awful one about me”.

Dizzee Rascal gets to “reprazent” (shittest word ever) his manor with 'Bonkers'. I spent the entire song holding onto my mum's leg, crying. Some people think I'm bonkers, but I just think I'm three.

The face of God is revealed in a major coup for London 2012. The Tim in the title of this segment is Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Godlike genius who invented the world wide web. His hub is a house with iconic images being been projected onto and it rises to reveal him sitting in front of a blank screen. Everyone knows when you walk in on someone with a blank screen, they have been watching porn. What a tangled web he weaves.

He uses his NeXT computer, which became the world's first web server, to type “THIS IS FOR EVERYONE”, the words he used in 1995 about the web. It flashes up around the stadium, doubling up as an inspirational message about the games.

Berners-Lee has an impressive CV. He doesn’t need to bother with fancy fonts or formatting or the Saturday job he had in McDonald's (Paid advertisement). A simple “I invented the fucking web!” under his name gets him any job he likes.

We see a smooth-looking David Beckham whizzing down the Thames in a speedboat with the Olympic torch. There is no sign of the omnipresent Sue Barker atop Tower Bridge with her rocket launcher. Probably busy with the day job.

'Abide With Me' is woefully sung by Emeli Sande. Her breathing is erratic and she sounds like a deaf person at times. It accompanies a puzzling embarrassingly-bad expressive dance display that adds nothing to the occasion. It is easily the worst part of the ceremony and so dreary that NBC decide to cut it entirely from their delayed coverage.

The 10000 athletes from the 204 nations who are competing in 302 events in 26 sports then launch their parade. We could do with a faster pace-setter as it's a 90-minute plod. It's not helped by the fact that half the competitors are more interested in recording extra footage for their personal archive.

Luckily, Arctic Monkeys follow the snoozefest with a couple of songs, 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor' and a cover of 'Come Together'. It's a relief that the Queen can finally declare the 30th Olympiad open cos she wants to get home to bed. That parachute dive has taken it right out of her.

Mohammed Ali makes an appearance, a ghost of his former self. The poor man looks dead and gets carried around by a beefy carer in a scene not too dissimilar to 'Weekend At Bernie's'.

Becks passes the Olympic Flame from the boat over to Sir Steve Redgrave, who transports it into the park and onto the next generation - seven up-and-coming athletes sponsored by seven great British heroes. 'Caliban's Dream' by Underworld provides a soothing and uplifting soundtrack for the transition.

The bright prospects light 204 petals around the Olympic cauldron, one for each country competing. They merge majestically at the top, bringing each country together for a warm embrace, or possibly even some hot love. It has echoes of Wicker Man but our ending is more serene and satisfying as our natives aren't blazing mad. Couldn't remember the name of that film, had to look it up on Wickerpedia.

London has reason to feel triumphant and optimistic. Almost a year to the day that feral youths were running around the capital setting fire to people's livelihoods, the disorder has been superseded by hope of the highest order as the kids with illuminating futures ignite the passion in all of us.

Truly, a generation is inspired.

Friday, 27 April 2012

How Not To Wind Up Dead When Internet Dating

More people are using the net to improve their lovelife than ever before. A combination of busy work lives and living in an area full of munters beckons many into the mysterious world of internet dating...

Nowadays it is convenient rather than desperate or stigmatic to find romance on the web. Indeed 9m out of 15m UK singletons have flirted with the idea and the seeds for 1 in 6 marriages were sown via online dating. It's a fantastic way to meet other socially awkward people. I recently met a lovely girl from the net who shared my interest in sport. She turned up wearing a football jersey with her name printed on the reverse along with a huge number 1. I will definitely meet her again. She's a keeper.

Online dating is now so popular in the UK (£100m+ annual turnover) that it is used as one of the 650 measurements towards inflation. The industry is hugely lucrative and is now worth over £3 billion worldwide. That's a lot of money that could be going into stripper's suspenders.

My first online dating tip is never to show any desperation on your profile. Save that for the first date. Chances are they will be desperate too. All of the women on the 64 dating websites I have joined are desperate.

Online dating is hugely diverse and caters for any individual no matter how weird their fetish or religion. There are websites for Undateables, Uniform fetishists (fuck the police!), Pets, Punks, Inmates, Pot Smokers, Midgets, Married, Friends With Benefits (Scouser Dating I think), Mentally Ill, Sugar Daddies and Mummies, Trekkies, Sexually Infecteds, Farmers, Nappy Lovers, Ugly, Celibate and some other ones I haven't yet joined. Can't find any Amish ones though for some reason.

Never pay for dating services; there are many free versions out there. You will only be discovering people not smart enough to have cottoned on to the fact you can get the same for free without all the bells and whistles.

The internet is probably the best place for someone to cheat on their spouse as the paper trail is minimal. It is a quick and easy way to start a new relationship but an even quicker and easier way to end a relationship if you forget to delete your internet history.

Avoid judging your date too swiftly. Genuine personality won't be uncovered until their inhibitions have been tasered with the contents of a hotel mini bar. With a bit of luck you won't have taken home a tranny manny with a fanny.

If looking for love on the net, avoid those with closely-cropped pictures unless chubby-chasing. The closer the crop, the bigger the blob. Chances are they will have butchered their pic to trim the excess fat. Everyone's lovelife would be so much better if there was a real life version of Photoshop where you could tidy up a fatty by cropping bingo wings, thunder thighs, jelly bellies and other wobbly bits. A physical version of beer goggles perhaps.

Much like with estate agents describing a home, familiarise yourself with the lingo used in dating adverts and the underlying meaning. GSOH means 'Good Sense of Humour'. It is so commonly used that those without GSOH on their profile are often mistaken as miserable fuckers.

'Cuddly' is frequently used by chubbas as a way of marketing themselves as more amenable. 'Athletic' means no jugs. 'Adventurous' means slag. 'Fun' means irritating. 'Open Minded' means unfussy. 'Outgoing' means alcoholic. 'Happy-go-lucky' means manic depressive. 'Loyal' means stalker. 'Homely' means mad cat lady.

Everyone exaggerates on the internet, in fact 1 in 3 openly admit to lying in online profiles. The other 2 in 3 just don't tell the whole truth. Lies seem an accepted part of online dating; so take each profile with a pinch of salt. They are on a par with CVs and UCAS forms.

Statistically, males exaggerate their salaries, height and the length of their babymaker by 20% whilst age, weight and number of partners are understated by females by at least a similar amount. Marital status is conveniently forgotten and many females use their heyday pictures to promote themselves. However, with a few more years under their belt and a few more stone over the belt, you have to take your shoes off before you can have a go on them.

Not everyone you talk to online is who they say they are. The internet is awash with fake accounts from attention-seeking fantasists. I once met an amazing busty 21-year-old woman off the internet - fine you may think, but I was expecting the 13-year old speccy boy I had patiently groomed over several months. You just can't trust anyone these days.

Chances are your relationship will not be exclusive so you may as well don your wellies too and wade in and take a dip with others. There is so much competition that the 3-day cool-rule no longer applies. Faint heart never won cheap woman. You gotta be quick or you may have to settle for sloppy sevenths.

Your first meeting should be a short date in a public place. That way you have a chance to make a break for freedom via the toilet window when they turn out to be ten years older than their pic and looking like a photofit from Crimewatch. It's not a bad idea to have a second date lined up for a bit later, just in case. Some line a date up every hour in a mellower version of speed dating. Don't forget the wet wipes, ladies.

1 in 3 women who meet up with a guy off the internet will have sex on their first encounter (not sure how many by choice; knives, drink and Rohypnol are all leg-openers). Astonishingly 4 in 5 do not use protection. No wonder Chlamydia is growing so rapidly. The STI that is, not my black neighbour's kid.

Dating and profile websites are estimated to be 10% full of scammers, 10% other assorted fakes and 10% convicted sex offenders, so at the very least 1 in 3 guys are creeps waiting to take advantage.

Scammers don't mind playing the long game and utterly buttering up a desperate widow for her cash (margarine can also be used to grease the pan). I Can't Believe It's Not Better reported. Middle-aged widows are particularly easily spread (and very full of fat).

There are a growing number of women just after a free feed in these challenging economic times, and of course no shortage of guys willing to feed the pony too. If you are a decent looking woman and don't mind spending the night with a crushing bore, the guy is usually prepared to put his hand in his pocket, hoping to park himself in the lady pocket later on as recompense. They say there is no such thing as a free lunch, dinner etc but there is if you are a slag.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Ends With Benefits?

The government is implementing a benefit cap of £26000 per household per year, the equivalent of an average worker earning £35000 before tax. It is possibly the most popular Tory policy ever, so much so that even those who oppose absolutely everything the Tories do are agreeing. Oh, apart from Labour, who are opposing for the sake of it again.

Labour had been keeping a slightly low profile on this issue but seem to be finding their voice a little more in recent days. They don’t want to be seen to be agreeing with the Tories but they know the country can't afford to subsidise the feckless any longer. Why is it taking a Tory policy to finally get some ideas out of Labour?

Rightly or wrongly, according to focus groups the stereotypical Labour voter is seen as a benefit scrounger loafing in front of daytime TV. This makes it difficult for Labour to be seen to be tough as they will alienate their core voters. They don’t like being seen as a party of cuts, just a party to spend, spend, spend and make everyone happy regardless of cost. They are like Monty Brewster in Brewster's Millions, although they have had to spend £1trillion with nothing to show for it rather than $30million. Once you've gone black, there's no coming back. Once you've voted red, the country is dead.

This generous allowance of £26000 is part of the austerity programme of spending cuts and tax increases promised by the Coalition at the end of 2010. This policy is as much about changing a morally bankrupt culture as changing a virtually bankrupt country. It is admirable that the Tories did not leave this change until the lead-up to the next general election as it is a sure-fire vote-winner (apart from with the underclass). That said, being beaten by Ed Miliband would be as embarrassing as being knocked out by a bitch-slap from the school spanner.

It makes no sense that a normal working family earning up to £35000 should end up with the same amount of money as a family who do nothing to earn their living. The majority of the 67000 affected by the cap are people who don't want to work as they are comfortable having their rent paid with some extra spending money on top. Pensioners are far more deserving. They have worked hard throughout their lives, contributed into the system and receive a pittance compared to some of the people who come here to settle down. The allowance should be significantly less than the take-home pay of the average worker who goes out and grafts. We have to give these claimants some incentive to work. Loss of Sky or fags should do it.

It will surprise many that Labour have always left the country in a worse state than they inherited. They have always left office with higher unemployment. Deficit and debt levels have also increased significantly through exorbitant expenditure. Most astonishing of all, they have somehow managed to double the net debt in just 6 years. To put things in perspective, the deficit was 6% of GDP in 1976 when the country went bust under the previous Labour government. This time around they managed 11%. Labour usually leave office at an opportune time, when difficult decisions need to be made and the grown-ups have to clear up their mess.

Liam Byrne, the ex-Treasury Secretary, who when leaving his post in 2010, left a gloating note for his successor saying “there's no money left”, has made a surprisingly sensible suggestion that the benefit cap should be regionalised. Although surely this would mean the cap being even lower in less affluent areas. It's not going to be a popular move for the party that claims to represent the poor in society. He got rather evasive when asked if the benefit cap could be higher than £26000 in some places. Dunce cap seems to fit him better.

The provision by bishops to exempt child benefits is missing the point that many young girls are having children with their 'friends with benefits' to reap the benefits. It's ironic that the bishops are making a plea for child welfare considering some of the stuff that happens to altar boys! No wonder the bishops have taken such a bashing this week.

Perhaps the bishops would not be so outspoken on child benefits if they allowed people free rein on contraception? Under Catholic teachings, for example, the permitted methods of contraception are: calendar method, sexual intercourse during 'safe' times (when the kids are out?) or the withdrawal method, an Episcopal endorsement for jizzing over your wife's whimwhams if ever there was one.

Hardworking taxpayers are enraged to see migrants, who have put nothing into the system, getting to live in multi-million plush pads in central London with their vast families. It surely is only a matter of time until we introduce a policy similar to Australia where migrants must sign a waiver preventing them claiming benefits for at least their first two years here. That would certainly slow the rate of immigration down. Similarly, it infuriates everyone seeing blinged-up benefit claimants with HD TVs, high end phones, satellite dishes and decent cars. Enraged Britons want the benefit cap to strip the sports cap scroungers of these luxuries.

It is hoped the benefit cap will save £1.2bn by the end of the first term of the Coalition. Sounds like a big saving, but it is only nine days interest payments caused by an irresponsible Scot's determination to finish England off. We now pay out more through the welfare system than we receive in taxes; so clearly some strict measures are long overdue. Why Labour never tackled this is beyond comprehension.

To illustrate how people began taking advantage of a weak government, incapacity for stress increased by nearly 1000% in the 13 years Labour were in charge. We spend £11.5bn annually on 2.6 million claiming disability allowance, more than the entire budget of the home office and nearly three times as much as similar countries. It will be 'hard work' to strip these spongers of their benefits as the loony left and Blair's Human Rights Act will scupper that, costing the country even more money. On the plus side though we have so many disableds, we are gonna be the daddies at the Paralympics this year.

Of course the most vulnerable people in our society must be protected. I would hate to see anyone genuinely in need suffering from these caps - they are worlds apart. I feel really sorry for the genuinely needy who get lumped in with the lazy spongers and the fraudulent fakers. Luckily families claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) are exempt from the cap. Large families are those most likely to get caught in the cap and some might say that is the price you pay for over-breeding, however the government will be assisting these families by providing a transitional funding while they go cap in hand up north.

This is the biggest overhaul since the introduction of the welfare state in 1945 and part of a grander plan to save £18bn from the welfare bill by 2015. This makes up a large part of the £81bn austerity programme that was announced at the end of 2010. The benefits system was originally intended as a back-up for people who would temporarily struggle. It has now grown into a huge cash cow for the work-shy. In the modern world, depression and back pain and other ailments are like a platinum credit card. William Beveridge warned in 1945 against benefits becoming more than a safety net. Claimants who want the easy life now will be teetering on that tightrope.

In the last few years, there has been a huge surge in those who believe the world owes them a living. Working Tax Credits for example meant that it was against people's interests to work longer than 16 hours a week. This just further encouraged the dependency culture.

Work is not paying well currently due to pay freezes and the increased cost of living. Those who have not provisioned for rainy days are now suffering a financial drought. Far too many have been living beyond their means, mirroring the actions of our last government.

Many young women breed to avoid working, knowing that the state will provide for them. It is vital that people don’t come to depend on benefits forever. It is right that single mothers are subsidised for a short time but they should have to work for it beyond that. There are hundreds of strip clubs desperately in need of their services, who will go out of business if they do not return to work.

Two million children are growing up in workless households believing it is the norm. The next generation could easily slip into the freeloader lifestyle too in 15-20 years time (or 12 or 13 in the case of many of the council estate slags now). Many young mothers know how to milk the system, in fact they are gleefully guzzling away on governmental glands. A few sleepless nights, some stretch marks and lopsided lils are worth having to not work for a living - “The money might be shit but the hours are great”.

No one wants to see children raised in genuine poverty. It is not their fault that their parents cannot adequately provide for them. Potential parents need to think about whether they can afford to raise a child without any help. If the answer is no, then their hand should be used to sort themselves out - they should not take a handout!

I would like to see child benefit limited to just the first child. This country needs no further incentive to breed. We need policies to discourage further population growth because future generations will be paying for it (except the bludgers). Hopefully vouchers for children's clothes, food, travel etc. will imminently replace money. The government should minimise the money intended for the genuinely needy being spent by the wasters on Cigarettes and Alcohol. They gotta make it haaaaaaappen.

If you can't survive on £26k, move to a cheaper house or get a job. If you can't feed, don’t breed! If you can't afford to live in London, find a cheaper place. Many thousands of honest working folk have to commute into London every day as they cannot afford London prices. The likely implications of these plans are that many families will be forced to relocate. In the short term this plan may actually end up costing up to a third of the predicted savings as people are forced into temporary housing but in the long run it is a sensible policy. It will remove undesirables from respectable areas too.

The bill is being forced through using 'financial privilege' after some minor amendments, with a transitional fund to ease the affected families into more productive ways of life. It will be introduced by April 2013. We have until then to stop wasting money on luxuries and start living in the real world, for their benefit and that of the country.