Sunday, December 31, 2006

Celebrity house open for new season

As the New Year hangovers clear Britain once again braces itself for the events that will transpire in a stylised house in London filled with D-list celebrities.

The nation's newspaper editors are gearing up for their re-hashing of the events we saw the night before on TV. Their journalists are digging into the background of each of those that appear in the house and speculation as to what each phrase said and each exclamation really means.

There will be arguments and accusations. Groups and cliques will form. Some of those in the house will deliberately attempt to gain favour, whilst others attempt to climb to the very top along a ladder formed by the knives they have stuck into the backs of fellow members of the house.

Throughout, the public will themselves speculate about those they previously thought of as upstanding citizens as a stream of press revelations about their private lives sheds light on dark underbellies they previously had attempted to keep secret. Come the end of this particular series of broadcasts there is likely to be a re-shuffle in the hierarchy based on the popularity gained or lost over the last few weeks.

Recently, Michael Martin MP, the speaker of the House of Commons denied it was to move to Celebrity Big Brother style text voting, a new series of which coincidentally overlaps with this next session of Parliament.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Desperation at UK airports

Most UK airports were filled with desperate news reporters tryng to turn the recent bout of fog into screaming and tearful human interest stories.

"I have tried everything," said Katrina Billingsworth, in between live reports from Heathrow for 24 hour news channels. "The truth is it looks like the airlines have handled it well and people are being quite sensible. Its a disgrace."

"The airports need to give each plane more space on the ground," explained Ms Billingsworth. "Cancelling domestic flights gives them the space for the international flights and only effects those people who could get a train or bus or something else".

"I tried in one report to make this sound like 'So those on their expensive luxury holidays are looked after, but people just trying to visit relatives for Christmas aren't being allowed to do that', but it just came across as ridiculous on air as it sounds here."

An emotional Ms Billingsworth fought back the tears "Damn Britain for being a bloody island and having various means of transport. I mean it all makes sense and is so unfair. The bloody fog has come a few days too early to really impact Christmas. And if it does carry on well no one will be interested. Does no one care about my Christmas?"

"One family had a connecting flight cancelled, and they were going on about their Christmas presents being in the luggage, that sounded promising - I was sure I could get the kids to cry, but it turned out that their suitcases were just waiting at a different terminal in the same airport. They just don't care about us ordinary reporters. They don't care about my news reports being delayed or lost, or my promotion being cancelled."

Ms Billingsworth's mood cheered when it became apparent that BA's website was struggling to cope with the load of enquiries and there were also delays in answering the emergency helpline.
"Shame it was only the website that crashed, but this could still be great. I just need to get someone to burst into tears at the Internet cafe, hopefully who has an ill grand mother, and it might be a good Christmas after all. "

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sky announce new year "HD" special

Today, BSkyB announced its new "Hanging Direct" extravangaza. The 3 hour show will take place live from Baghdad and feature a variety performance from some of showbiz's most famous stars who have been unable to get Panto work. The culmination of the variety show will be the hanging of Saddam Hussein, thought likely to gain the highest pay-per-view ratings in history.

The Deputy Prime Minister - John Prescott denied any impropriety on the part of the government in awarding the execution contracts and insisted selling the TV rights was not a desperate attempt to help pay for the cost of the War in Iraq.

A further controversy broke when it was revealed that a refreshment caravan for the venue was to be run by the Foreign Secretary - Margaret Beckett.

John Prescott was adamant. "Instead of anything untoward, this should be seen as furthering the spread of democracy and freedom and showing that the west is indeed serious about such matters" he said. BSkyB would not comment on rumours that the government was using the execution of the "Butcher of Baghdad" as a test for future democratisation of Iraq on the western model, although the country's infrastructure is being readied for mass text voting.

Whilst stories that the judges for any future trials will be selected via a new interactive programme "How do you solve a problem like Sharia?" are thought to be wide of the mark, it is believed that the Fox Network in the USA has secured the exclusive rights to the trial and execution of Osama Bin Laden, should he ever be captured.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kicking causes serious injury - research finds

A study into the effects of physical violence has revealed that kicking can cause serious injury. Sharp objects, such as knives, were also found to cause serious wounds.

These surprise findings came after a year of research into the effects of various methods of assault. "It has been the hardest year of medical investigations I have been involved with," said Darren Wirlsthob, one of five members of the study group.

"Medical research is difficult, but is most difficult when you are dealing with the randomness of physical violence, often influenced by alcohol consumption, " explained Mr Wirlsthob "In fact that was one of the most difficult aspects to deal with, it seemed it was always after a few beers that the Professor wanted to test his steel-toecapped boots."

Mr Wirlsthob, speaking today from his bed in Cardiff Royal Infirmary after the end of the trial, gave an insight into the complexities of normalising the data. "We had to allow for the variance not only in alcohol consumption but how much the Professor had lost at the dogs."

The trial was brought to an end when Professor J. Scott Billingsworth failed to gain extra funding for his research into the physical effects of violence.

"That was a particularly difficult day, " whinced Darren, pointing to the cast on his left leg. "Losing our funding brought my involvement in such important research to an end. Well that and the second broken leg that I sustained shortly after the funding decision was announced."

It was revealed that the research group had held its final meeting waiting for the ambulances to arrive to take the group to hospital. Two of the team have yet to regain consciousness whilst a third refused to talk to anyone "In case that bloody mad man is with them" possibly referring to Professor J. Scott Billingsworth.

The Professor himself, a controversial figure in the study of the anatomy of violence, is unrepentant about his methods that have led to not only the complete hospitalisation of his second research team, but also being banned from keeping livestock and must remain more than 100 yards from any carol singers.

"What else are undergraduates for? You know everyone complains that A-Levels are too easy, well I can tell you the students find my university courses hard. The puffs." bellowed Professor Billingsworth through his cell door. "I shall carry on. I can't use livestock, no more free researchers, but i can get the results I need from the next time Millwall play Cardiff."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

easyBus to expand into long haul with easyCoach

Today, the airport shuttle service arm of the easy Group of companies announced its long awaited plans to expand into the national “long haul” bus market by adding two newer, larger vehicles to its fleet and the launch of its new easyCoach brand.

“Several years ago we vowed to take on Megabus in the low-cost, no-frills inter-city coach business, however the major issue was finding the right vehicles to compete,” explained Fiona Billingsworth, CEO of easyCoach. “Our current Mercedes Sprinter minibuses are not suitable for the London to Glasgow run, however we have now done a landmark deal in coach leasing to bring easyCoach to the market.”

The new fleet of vehicles has been leased from the House of Windsor and the Lord Mayor of London. Whilst easyCoach admits the vehicles are old, nearly 250 years old in fact, they have been regularly serviced and are in ‘showroom quality‘ as they have only been used once a year.
“Our customers come to us for value for money and so they will welcome the new coaches. We think our customers will love them, even though they are a bit brighter and more gaudy than the easy Group’s normal and more reserved orange styling.

“Since we have two coaches in the fleet we can give customers used to easyJet the reassurance that we have a backup in the event a service has to be cancelled.”

Ticket pricing has yet to be finalised, however easyCoach said that they would be competitive in the market. “Yes, we won’t be beaten on price. However book early because there are only four seats in each coach but we are sure we can cram quite a few passengers in!” said Mrs Billingsworth. “Journey times too will be competitive depending on how often we stop to give the horses a rest - we currently plan for a monthly service, with each journey taking approximately a fortnight in either direction from London to Glasgow. Which competes favourably with how long a journey on Virgin Trains feels.”

Monday, December 11, 2006

Young Sport personality of the year “fitting”

Many were surprised at the winners of the BBC Sports Personality of the year awards with the individual awards going to the less mainstream sports men and women. Football and cricket, predictably, given .the lack of successful British teams , failed to get their names on the familiar trophy. However one award that seemed fitting was that of the Young Sports Personality of the year, going to Theo Walcott.

“We felt that the this award perfectly matched the aspirations of teenagers everywhere and should act as an inspiration to those young sports people that if they keep plugging away it will get recognised,” said Steve Billingsworth of the BBC’s judging panel. “Theo has spent the best part of the year being driven around Europe and sitting listening to his Ipod whilst his playing family has been getting involved in activities. This is the behaviour of many teenagers in Britain and so makes his award of the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year so much more relevant.”

Walcott spent most of the year watching from the sidelines as his club Arsenal were runners-up in both the Premiership and the Champions League. However his fortune changed dramatically in the summer when he was able to watch England crash out the world cup on penalties - although of course he never got to kick a ball.
Theo, was unable to be there in person to accept the award, because he was of course keeping the Arsenal bench warm at Stamford Bridge as they drew with Chelsea. Fortunately the news was broken to him by a text message and he was able to record a brief speech on his mobile phone.

His agent said that in private Theo thought the award was “OK, suppose” and “not too lame, I didn’t like have to wear a Dinner Jacket or nothing.”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Electronics firm sets launch date for new "Mythical" console

Billenz, the German electronics manufacturer today announced the launch date for its “Mythical” games console. The console has been the subject of rumour, leaks and discussion within the games playing community for over a year. Although the company has refused to comment many games magazines and technology blogs have detailed the new machine, citing anonymous sources claiming to be former employees of Billenz. The feverish speculation has led the blogging community to declare the console as the most powerful yet conceived and predicted to knock Sony from the top step of the games console podium.

Heinz Billing, CEO and founder of Billenz today broke his silence on the project. “I have refused comment for the last of two years on details for this Mythical console. We repeatedly have denied its existence and refused to discuss its specifications, which we will continue. Again let me say, so I can be clear. This console is mythical, its performance is unimaginable. Nothing like this will be played in the world.”

When pressed as to the availability he replied, “Release date? How about April 1st?” Mr Billenz’s words met with a cheer from gaming journalists and bloggers present.

“That is just what we wanted to hear, “ said Kallum Smythe aka, ‘Mr Bloggy‘. “As April gets closer more and more gamers will be camped out on the streets waiting to get hold of not only the new console, but also the spectacular new games that we will be writing about over the next few months. We in the technology community needed this now that the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii have all hit the shops.”

A hushed awe fell over those assembled when a question was asked about the controllers for the new machine, and whether they would be as innovative as the Wii-Mote motion sensitive device used on the Wii. “There is no controller, “ said Mr Billenz. This has already led to some industry pundits speculating about optical motion capture technology as used in military helicopters.

Mr Billenz was true to his word when he refused to reveal any specifications of the graphics capability of the Mythical machine, only that “You will not be able to tell the images generated by this mythical console.” leading to rife speculation of true photo realistic technology.

“It is very difficult, “ said Mr Billenz after the conference, “I try to tell them. We only make washing machines.”

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Vandals call for greater regulation of Graffiti

A growing number of Britain’s youths are calling for greater regulation and protection of intellectual property in the increasingly competitive Graffiti media. A new pressure group has been formed and had its first open meeting today, under a flyover for the A2 in Falconwood.

“It’s bad now. N’ I don’t mean bad good, like, it’s butters to get your tags down.” explained T-Bone, leader of the T-Block gang. “I spent 5 minutes scratching my, like, tag into a window on one of, like, those new 89 buses. Like later all the windows was done - you couldn‘t, like, see mine or nothin‘.”

The problem, they say, is that their vandalism is overwritten and damaged and that there is so much graffiti it is not novel any more.

“No one looks,” said another child from T Block, dressed in what appeared to be his pyjamas. “I mean like, every inch is scratched like, people don’t even notice no more. The police should do sumfink to, like, protect our work.”

“It is not like it’s RA or even the Cherry Boys, like.” said T-Bone. “They got the same probs. None of us got any, like, talent, so it all just looks like a child done it. So other kids just scratch stuff in and ruin our work. We ain‘t got nothing’ witty to say so nothin‘ makes our stuff stand out.”

T-Bone’s father said that it was time that there was more done to protect the efforts of vandals. Jeff Billingsworth is a part time street huckster on behalf of a national Accident Claim compensation firm. “My boy has the right, like, not to have his work scratched over by someone else. It’s, like, defacement. Cos it is simple it’s, like, being copied. There is laws against copyin’ stuff. I know ’cos I was done for selling dodgy DVDs last month.”

“We need to get together, like, T-Block, RA and even the Cherry Boys with their gay name,” said Mr Billingsworth who plans to take his case up with Bexley council and is asking for help from other concerned parents in the area, especially as the council insists on a written query.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Devastation following ALF attack on small village

It is a scene of devastation and despair. Some residents of the once sleepy little village sit on the roadside in the torn clothing, others stagger amongst the rubble of their once picturesque houses searching for loved ones or what is left of their belongings. An injured driver sits on the curb next to the burnt out remains of his upturned Hackney Carriage.

“I had just got a new electric motor for it.” sighed Mr Snuggles the taxi’s owner.
The gated community lies in tatters. The once impregnable walls have crude holes cut in them, roofs lie upturned or smashed next to the once pristine buildings they covered.

The Animal Liberation Front today claimed responsibility for the attack on the Guinea Pig village featured in the Egg Money TV commercials. A statement on their website reads:-
“Today we took a bold move to liberate three dozen rodents from their inhumane torture and set them free into the countryside surrounding the warehouse in which their prison camp had been created. These animals can now run free, foraging and living as nature intended.”

Professor J. Scott Billingsworth, one of the lead testers at the Egg Research Lab where the Guinea Pig village was located, spoke to the press today. “The Guinea Pigs were happy. They had jobs, nicely heated homes and a plentiful supply of food. They had their choice of clothing and we rarely intervened in how they used our financial products. Some of them had some bad taste in interior d├ęcor and their computers really needed updating, but it all seemed so peaceful. Then last night a dozen masked intruders armed with cricket bats broke in through the warehouse windows and started to smash the models. Obviously some of the guinea pigs have escaped. We worry for them as they have never had to catch their own food or dig their own burrows. Also, their Egg cards won’t work in full sized cash machines.”

A masked member of the ALF, armed with a cricket bat, sent a video message to BBC News 24.
“They don’t tell you about the Guinea Pigs injured by dropped pencils do they? Egg don’t tell you about the two gay guinea pigs forced into a life of debt by the mounting credit card payments do they? What about those who buy nice big hats instead of making sure the baby guinea pigs get enough seed? Mr Snuggles will at least be able to claim on the insurance of his taxi and use that to stave off Egg’s repossession as he has fallen behind with his mortgage payments. Or at least he would if I hadn’t trodden on his house last night.”

Thursday, December 07, 2006

4x4 vehicles “demonstrate penis envy”

Published today are the findings into a study on the motivations of 4x4 drivers. The surge in the numbers of these urbanised off road vehicles has prompted many theories into the merits or otherwise of these behemoths of private transportation. The report details a direct link between the 4x4 and sexuality.

“The motor car is a representation of our public image and a projection of our ego,” explained Professor J. Scott Billingsworth, leader of the research team. “It has long been accepted that the car represents the silent projection of our ego to strangers. Feminists for years have pointed to the psychological projection of the big powerful sports car as compensation for men who may feel threatened about the prowess of their manhood. Our new study shows that indeed this trend continues with 4x4 vehicles.”

“The 4x4 represents a bullying, macho presence on the road. It intimidates other road users and is territorial in its selfish use of resources. Clearly attributes associated with Testosterone driven masculine behaviour,” alleged Professor Billingsworth. “However, the demographic of the 4x4 driver shows normal occupancy to be by a mother on the school run and then heading off to the shops. Without a doubt these drivers are suffering from penis envy.”

Charlie Billingsworth of the Merged Union of Feminist Fellowships responded. “What rubbish, sports cars being penis extensions is scientific fact. The idea that women drivers of off-road vehicles are somehow in need of extra strength and assertiveness, needing to penetrate the traffic with impunity by a powerful, imposing, presence that is wider and longer than anything else on the road ….. Oh.” blushed Ms Billingsworth. “I see. Well he would say that wouldn’t he? He drives a Ford Probe.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Brand aims to be ultimate TV brand

The race to be this year’s “face of everything” has heated up with the announcement that Russell Brand is to host Channel 4‘s “Top 100 cheap clips“ to be shown on Boxing Day. Brand who is currently found on TV, Radio, stage, DVD, boxer shorts and a new range of Pooper-Scoopers is said to be gearing up to challenge the long time holders of over exposure, Ant & Dec, head on.
However it is a challenge fraught with risk. Previous champions of TV ubiquity, such as Jimmy Carr, warn that is not an easy road. “We can’t all aspire to the longevity of Sir Terry Wogan, the master of being on everything,” commented Jimmy during a break in hosting the Buckinghamshire Best Mortgage Sales Advisor Awards 2006. “One moment you are on game shows or “Top 50 Cheese Night” , the next you are handing out the award for ‘Best FSA compliant sub-prime Equity Release‘ whatever that is.” warned Mr Carr. “Still there is always an opportunity for a joke about gypsies.”

Indeed Mr Carr’s words were echoed by previous champions. Julian Clary advised Mr Brand “A chance like this only comes once, so he had best make a good fist of it”. A spokesman for Graham Norton commented today, from a chat-room on “If u av a career based on just ur personality then it can gr8 on the public v quickly L . De public goes off n dat can take u by surprise. From behind“.

All hope may not be lost should Brand‘s career follow those of Carr, Norton or Clary. Aside from the stalwarts of yesteryear, such as Wogan, Edmonds, and O’Conner, past holders of the crown of ubiquity have managed a come back from the panto circuit and into the mainstream media - as Tony Slattery’s well received sitcom on Radio Four has shown.

Brand could do well to listen to those whose high heeled boots have trodden the path before him. “It’ll take more than just a distinctive hairdo to take on Ant & Dec and survive.” commented Chris Evans.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It is Christmas 1982 - still

Conventional wisdom says that Christmas comes earlier every year. Shop shelves start to fill with festive food as soon as Halloween is over and the decorations start appearing before the smoke has cleared from Bonfire Night. However research from the University of Liverpool to the East of the University of West Liverpool have discovered that Christmas has actually come no earlier this year than in the last quarter of a century - we are still in the 1982 Christmas season!
“The going in assumption for our research had been that Christmas is getting earlier, as sure as policeman are getting younger but the more we looked the more we realised that we could not see where one Christmas season ended and another began, “ explained Professor J. Scott Billingsworth upon the publication of his team’s findings. “We traced this all the way back to 1982, it is surprising but it is true”.

The report shows that in the Christmas of 1982: the news was filled with stories about Princess Diana, the aftermath of a mysterious assassination in London and a violation of privacy of the Royal household; the country was ruled by an unpopular government and was at war with a far off country; a Beatles hits album was riding high in the charts; the top toy was a puzzle that amused adults and children alike; there was conflict in the Lebanon and Noel Edmonds was a TV favourite; there was also an affectionate relationship between an older US President and the British Prime Minister.

“Christmas 1982 is much like Christmas 2006 in cultural terms,” continued Professor Billingsworth, “Indeed if you look at the trend over the intervening years you’ll see that those themes run right through.”

However whilst it appears as though we are all living in some bleak “Ground Hog Day” simply warming up the same cultural meal like Boxing Day left-overs the researchers revealed bright new hope for 2007.

“2007 is the year that this trend will be broken. Music will finally enter the electro-techno pop envisaged by 1980s Sci-Fi, nuclear fusion power will be come a reality; breakthroughs will be made in treatment of cancer. Princess Diana will have been conclusively and finally laid to rest and Noel Edmonds will leave our TV screens following the inevitable beard trimmer incident. These coupled with the realisation of cheap trips into Space will see a happier and more prosperous Christmas 2007 for all, “ announced Billingsworth during drinks at the post launch party.
“No, I am kidding. It will be the same old stuff until the cultural shock that accompanies the Alien landings of 2009.”

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Feminists demand more objectification

In a surprise move a leading feminist group announced that it would be launching a campaign in supporting the increased objectification of women by the media.

The Merged Union of Feminist Fellowships will be holding rallies outside branches of WH Smiths and other prominent newsagents to complain about the portrayal of women in periodicals such as Heat, More, Closer, Now and all tabloid newspapers.

“Many people now think enough is enough, “said Union representative Charlie Billingsworth from her office in Watford. “For years we have campaigned for women to be considered as more than pretty adornments. We have urged society to want to get to know the person within the feminine body. It has gone too far now as we are swamped with a deluge of endless minutia about the daily lives of people who are famous for wearing a hat, for being thick or for sleeping with a footballer. Please, lets treat WAGs and It-girls as objects and put them away. Lets not learn anything more about their meaningless existences or the fact that on occasion they drink coffee.”

Ms Billingsworth denied there will be any mass burnings of tabloid magazines or newspapers or any coordinated attempt to remove them from shop’s shelves. However she did confirm that there would be organised protests at live events of future reality shows such as the next series of Big Brother. “For heaven’s sake people, please get over Nikki Grahame. Apart from anything else she is quite ugly.” she added.

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