Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Showbiz’s leading grumps to retire

Albert and Ada Billingsworth are to finally hang up their wide range of scowls, frowns and grimaces and retire from the world of Television and Film after a career spanning four decades.

"We have been very lucky and stood in the background behind some apparently great young stars," said Ada. "Being in this business so long we have had a chance to play all of the truly great parts, from disapproving and unhappy to angry and confused. It's time to hand over and give someone just slightly younger than us a chance."

The Guinness Book of Records confirms the couple as having the most credited and scripted appearances in film and television, having appeared in every genre including comedies, sit-coms, comedy sketch-shows, and comedy variety shows.

"Our main pieces of business are to look on disapprovingly as the star does something novel or outgoing," said Ada whose most recent appearance was during the recent car test through the crowded streets of Liverpool on the comedy-magazine show TopGear.

"I have worked with all the greats: Robert De Niro, Dame Helen Mirren, Jade Goody. Well, I have seen most of them at any rate, since I am always in the background," said Albert. "If I am honest, I don't really like extroverted people, what with all that jumping about. What really gets my goat are dance routines with the stars prancing about all over the street furniture. I guess I am just a natural for my role."

The couple, who got their big break during a comedy TV news report about the mini-skirt, have not decided how they are to spend their retirement. Like many that retire from show business they are concerned about their future standard of living.

"We are used to getting paid five hundred grand for an afternoon's work," said Albert. "The state pension won't provide for nearly enough charlie for me to sniff off Ada's tits."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vodafone to announce new “Call Moaning” tariff

The world's largest mobile phone company today announced a new tariff in the white-hot competition for subscriber minutes.

"We have analysed the hundreds of millions of calls made through our network each day and we realise that what our customers really want is a tariff suited to their calling patterns," explained Darren Billingsworth, senior marketing executive at the mobile phone giant.

The new call plan, known as "Call Moaning" will allow unlimited downbeat conversations for a fixed monthly fee. Computers will analyse the tone of the conversation and the caller will only be charged if it is in anyway uplifting or light-hearted.

"Most mobile phone conversations are based around the bus being late, it being raining or a word by word account of what Chanelle told Sharon that Billy had said about her," said Billingsworth. "These are important facets of life that we in the communication biosphere feel need to shared."

Rival mobile phone firms said that whilst they were not in a position to offer sophisticated voice analysis they would be launching competing tariffs. Orange have said that callers can bundle a group of free calls into their talk-time which will be activated by detection of key phrases, such as "I am on the train." or "Oh my God, shut up."

"It is important that everyday detritus is allowed to fill the world of the commuter else they may feel cut off from the knowledge that most other people lead drab and boring lives too," said Billingsworth. "We want to encourage this shared morose as schadenfreude makes us all feel better."

Vodafone said this was just another example of how the connected world was enriching our lives by ensuring that none of the minutia of everyday life goes forgotten or unsaid.

"It is difficult to imagine how we used to live, but it wasn't that long ago that you used to get onto a train and worry only that someone next to you might fall asleep and loll onto your shoulder," said Darren. "Now with 'Call Moaning', you can listen in as someone angrily breaks up with her boyfriend over some triviality and rest assured that she will not run out of credit and can fill the entire journey with a series of tearful and repetitive phone calls to her girlfriends."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Secret to hit song “3 times a lady” revealed

Lionel Ritchie today surprised many by finally revealing the meaning of his hit song “3 times a lady” which topped the UK charts in 1978. The song is one of the most speculated about in history, with all sorts of theories about the cryptic lyrics – everything from an attack on then US President Jimmy Carter to the exposure of faked moon landings. However the ballad, says Mr Ritchie, is about the struggles of a trans-sexual friend.

“Charles Billingsworth had always felt more comfortable as Charlotte, but to us was always just Charlie,” said Ritchie. “However back in the 60s there wasn't as much acceptance of her condition as there is now.”

Ms Billingsworth underwent her first sex-change procedure in 1965. However she found it difficult to continue her job as a bricklayer during the construction boom of 60s Las Vegas, whilst also auditioning as a showgirl.

“Charlie had no other trade, apart from some very lowly paid work as a pole-dancer,” said the former member of The Commodores. “But her income dropped dramatically when a law compelling dancers to remain six feet from customers was abolished. She underwent re-constructive surgery, back to male. This was only partially successful as Charlie needed to sit down to pee, and looked less masculine than the female shot-putters that were taking part in the Munich Olympics,” explained Ritchie.

Charlie retrained as a ship's welder to pay her passage to Thailand and raise enough money to have what she thought would be her final gender re-assignment operation.

“She felt so much more accepted out there, with so many lady-boys,” said the singer-songwriter. “She was now twice a lady.”

However, despite acceptance as a trans-sexual by Thai society she was not able to return to either career as an exotic dancer, or as a welder.

“The steel game is a man's world, and although the surgery wasn't bad, Charlie never weighed less than 250 pounds. You know that fan dance? She couldn't afford that many ostrich feathers.”

Forced to have another cheap medical procedure, Charlie thought she would have to spend the rest of her life as a woman trapped in something resembling a man's body.

“There is a limit to how much the body can take and now she looked like she'd been in a truck crash with a cargo of ugly sticks.” explained Ritchie.

Charlie decided to write her life story which later became the hit movie “Flashdance” about a steel-working dancer. The income from the screenplay enabled her to get the life that she really wanted.

“To be honest, Charlie was never happy about the production of the movie, but in a way that mirrored her life,” explained Ritchie. “Both took years to finish and were hacked about from every angle!”

The proceeds from the film enabled her to get the finest surgery available and Charlie Billingsworth was able to finally, on the third attempt, become a lady.

“It is as simple as that, once, twice, three times a lady.” said Mr Ritchie. “Although you could never drop a bucket of water on her like in the movie, her tits would come off."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

'Leaning' Tower of Pisa is a fake

Officials in the historic Italian town of Pisa have shocked the world by admitting that their iconic tower is in fact not leaning at all. The revelation was made after queries following the 'Euro-Level 2007' exhibition at the town's convention centre.

“We had the finest spirit level manufacturers from all over the world with stands at the exhibition and many of them simply could not get their stands set-up squarely”, said Pierre Facturations-Valeer a member of a French delegation.

Delegates at the convention reported that those stands with a view of the famous 'leaning' tower were unable to be set level on the convention centre floor. This led to an impromptu survey of the town by delegates and a report to the then mayor of Pisa, Jarno Valore di Fatturazioni.

“We admit it,” said former Mayor Valore di Fatturazioni. “The game is up. We here in Pisa are, how you say, ‘not on the level’!”

The mayor has now admitted that it is the town of Pisa rather than the famous tower that is sloping.

“For centuries we have maintained this horrible secret, but in many ways it is a relief that the truth has come out.” said Signore Valore di Fatturazioni.

The former mayor revealed that a secret religious order, known as 'The Inclinati' have infiltrated the world’s scientific and construction communities to spread their inclinations and ensure that all building works within view of the famous tower are constructed at a 5.5 degree angle. This gives the impression to bystanders that it is in fact the tower that is leaning.

“The tower is absolutely vertical. All of the nearby museum furniture is built, how you say, 'lop-sided'. The museum curators all walk around wearing one platform shoe, so they appear to be standing up straight on its sloping floors.”

Signore Valore di Fatturazioni also revealed that the formerly secret Inclinati were launching a travel company for visitors who wish to “Tour the Leaning Town of Pisa”.

The town council has come under criticism regarding the large amounts of money that has been spent by both the Italian and European authorities to supposedly stabilising a monument that in fact is in no danger at all of falling.

“It is not true that the money has been wasted,” said Valore di Fatturazioni, speaking from the formerly secret headquarters of the Inclinati deep within the Vatican. “All over Pisa are areas of the town built on slopes that have cost huge amounts money. As does the fabulous collection of Ferraris that the Inclinati store beneath them.”

Monday, October 22, 2007

Royal mail adverts insists “it is business as usual”

The Royal Mail today took out a double page advert in the quality papers to help clear up any confusion that customers might have following the recent mail strike.

“Many people have become confused about the service we are offering,” said Sally Billingsworth, a service manager at Royal Mail's Old Street headquarters in London. “We wanted to ensure customers that the service is back to the standards they expect.”

The open letter, signed by the Chief Executive, Adam Crozier, is aimed at ensuring to customers that they can expect to receive the quality of service that has been available since he took charge in 2003, the text of which is reproduced below:

There may be some confusion now that our staff have returned to work following the recent strike:

  • Unlike the Victorians you will not be able to get your post before you leave for work

  • Unlike 30 years ago you will not be able to post a standard A4 envelope without queuing in a post office.

So, back to business as usual!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ripper loose in Westminster

Following the most recent high-profile knife attack on an elderly man out innocently running his party, the Metropolitan Police have revealed that they are now searching for a serial attacker after linking a series of recent knife attacks on men in London.

"There have been a series of high-profile knife crimes in recent months and we now feel we have found the evidence needed to link them together," explained Detective Inspector Patrick Billingsworth. "The recent attack on Sir Menzies Campbell is the fourth in a series of attacks on high-profile Scotsman in Westminster.

Friends and relatives of Sir Menzies say that his attacker came from nowhere and distracted him with talk of rallying behind him, it was at this point that Sir Menzies felt the plunge of the dagger into his back.

The manner of the attack is enabling investigators to pinpoint older unsolved woundings and murders that fit the same pattern. It seems the attacks focus on men born in Scotland and living in the London borough of Westminster.

The attacker is believed to have struck many times over the last several years but it was thought he had gone to ground following an attack on a fellow party go-er from Scotland. The victim, after a long lunch, was attempting to make his way unsteadily through a proposal on tax reform when the attacker struck.

"Fortunately I'd had a couple of drinks which enabled me to overcome the shock of having been stabbed in the back and I could seek recovery with a lucrative book deal." said Mr Kennedy.

Police say that a couple of his other victims have only been lightly wounded, such as a Scottish man from Downing Street who suffered a minor injury from the ‘Westminster Ripper’ which led to an embarrassing infirmity and re-assessment of priorities.

"It gave me quite a scare, and did make me consider the whole issue of inheritance," explained Mr Brown from his recuperation in Portugal.

People on the streets of Westminster are concerned not only that the Ripper might strike them but that they could fall victim from copycat crimes.

"The real worry is that all of the victims have been born in Scotland. Let us hope that the Police can catch him before he strikes again. Especially if he becomes confused over Englishmen who simply have Scottish surnames." said local man, David Cameron.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Threat to world vowel population

Today, literary climate experts published a report on the world's native vowel population. The report says that the common vowel is coming under pressure as their natural habitat is being steadily eroded.

“All over the world vowels are becoming harder and harder to find,” explained Professor J. Scott Billingsworth, one of the reports authors. “With the spread of modern communications the vowel is coming under increasing pressure. The vowel is quite a sensitive creature and depends on a sophisticated set of conditions for it to flourish, unfortunately these conditions are the victims of our faster paced lifestyles and commerce.”

Experts believe that if current trends are continued the vowel may well be extinct as early as 2020. Globalisation is said to be driving force pushing the vowel towards oblivion.

“As western culture becomes ubiquitous we are finding an increase in global warming towards English, Industrialised English has decimated the vowel population at home and abroad,” said Professor Billingsworth.

The US has come under fire as being the largest single contributor to the destruction of the vowel, with American spellings leading to widespread devastation of previously successful colonies. In addition the vowel is now believed to be on the brink of extinction in instant messaging and SMS text message environments.

“One of the key reasons the US would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol is the extended vowel usage and their belief that technology can produce image based communication. Enforcing vowel quotas is cumbersome and a drag on the US economy,” explained Billingsworth at a press conference at the Jeremy Kyle University.

Scientists say that the future of the vowel may be in captive breading programmes and the successful release of new groups back into the environment. Precipitous coastal escarpments are seeing a veritable vertiginous increase in proclivity towards the water vowel, for example.

“A lot of good work has been done in Wales,” explained Billingsworth. “In fact it has been so successful that there are far more vowels than necessary in any given sentence in Welsh.”

Monday, October 15, 2007

Al Gore to lead obesity campaign

Fresh from his victory at this year's Nobbies in Oslo, where he walked away with the Nobel Prize for Film making, Al Gore says he is now prepared to help the UK government in their battle against obesity that they have likened to the fight against global warming.

“Obesity is a challenge we all face and is something close to my heart,” said the big-boned former vice-president of the United States. “It is a big challenge, and one that is getting bigger all the time. Let's face it, what fatties don't want is an increase in global temperatures, which is another piece of the pie.”

Mr Gore said that he would embark on a lecture tour, sponsored by the new Haagen Dazs offsetting scheme, whereby, for every tub of posh ice cream that you buy, someone in India runs a lap of a forest. He is also planning a new movie on the perils of obesity, entitled 'A Big Fat Fact'. He also revealed that his work with the British government would be a new solo project.

“I feel I have gone as far as I can with my backing group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” he said. “You know how it is, artistic differences. The rest of the group has these pretensions at doing thoughtful work.”

The Peace Prize winner also brushed off criticism from the High Court of being alarmist and using misleading evidence.

“If it is alarmist and incorrect to say that we are all going to die when the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro melts on us, then I don't want to be right.” he said at the Vanity Fair after-ceremony party in Oslo.

The Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, said that Mr Gore's Nobel Prize winning talents of public relations, spectacular computer models and exaggerated claims were exactly the things needed to complement the government's action plan for combating obesity.

“Obesity is a problem that will have an impact on all areas of society, at home and at work,” said Mr Johnson. “We will need stronger sofas, and sturdier office chairs. Mr Gore's Oscar-winning talents will be able to connect with obese people right where it matters; sitting in the cinema, behind a jumbo bag of popcorn.”

Friday, October 12, 2007

Anti-Environmentalist 'Brown Life' campaign gathers strength

Anti-environmentalism is a new reactionary movement whose followers believe that the green lobby is distorting the current scientific evidence regarding Climate Change. The movement is gathering strength from those who feel angered by overt environmentalism.

"Frankly it all disgusts me," said Frank Billingsworth, a retired army Major from Surrey. "All these tree-huggers telling us what we can and cannot do. It's not right. It's a free country and I am free to be an anti-environmentalist."

Mr Billingsworth said that as a reaction to the green movement he is now actively taking steps to use more energy and increase his level of pollution.

"You know, it is the little things that count. Nowadays I don't leave my TV on standby when I am not watching it. Now I just leave it on. Especially overnight. I turn it up loud, turn the brightness right up and just stick ear plugs in."

Mr Billingsworth said that it was becoming increasingly difficult to lead a "brown" lifestyle as technology improves and our lives become naturally more energy efficient.

"When I hear friends talk about their carbon offsetting, it makes me pleased." said former Major Billingsworth. "It means that when I go home and put both the air-conditioning and the heating on I am undoing all their good work."

Perhaps surprisingly Frank's wife Elsie drives a Toyota Prius hybrid car, but is still keen to help her husband's cause.

"We co-ordinate our journeys in terms of their environmental impact," said Mrs Billingsworth. "Frank uses the Land Rover only to go to the supermarket to buy in-organic veg and veal cutlets that have been flown in overnight from New Zealand, whereas I only use the Prius for long motorway journeys. It takes longer to get to my sister's in Edinburgh, but I refuse to get out of second gear or take the handbrake off. Of course if I was going a shorter distance, say to visit my children who live near Gatwick I would just drive to Manchester and fly back down."

Whilst many people argue that even if you don't believe any of the Climate Change evidence it still makes common sense to be energy efficient and cut down on pollution, Frank disagrees.

"God gave us dominion over the Earth and all the beasts of His Kingdom," said the Major. "So it is no business of any do-gooder how much sulphur there is in the tyres that I use to barbecue my Tiger Steaks in winter. Sure it would be nice if the trees were still alive in my garden, but the palls of black smoke are a price worth paying for our principles."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Google's gPhone: in-conversation adverts in exchange for free calls.

Details are being released of the long expected move by Google into the consumer electronics market with the highly anticipated gPhone. Initial specifications reveal that the phone will be coupled with Google's industry leading technology in the provision of targeted advertising and placing context sensitive adverts directly into a conversation in the form of audible 'calls to action' in exchange for free voice calls.

“Having had a chance to play with a prototype I think it is clear what Google's intentions are but by using their web technology they risk transferring existing problems across to the new platform,” said technology pundit Mr Bloggy.

Below is a sample transcript from a test conversation on the gPhone prototype and the manner of Google's interactive advertising.

Mr Bloggy :- “Hi, Sally it's me!”

Sally : “Hi love, where are you?”

Mr Bloggy : “I am on the train, just going past Denmark Hill”

Automated Voice : “Ads by Google : Press 1 for cheap flights to Europe”

Sally : “You are on a plane, I thought we were going for an Indian tonight?”

Mr Bloggy : “No, that was the new phone. I am in South East London! Just a couple more stops then home, I am starving!”

Automated voice : “Public Service Ads by Google : Press 1 to help the millions of children who will go hungry today.”

Sally : “We don't have to go mad I suppose. I guess it is a bit of a luxury.”

Mr Bloggy : “Don't be silly! It's this phone I am testing, it's a right pain in the arse.”

Automated voice : “Ads by Google : Press 1 for cheap haemorrhoid cream”

Mr Bloggy : “Oh my God, I don't believe this!”

Automated voice : “Ads by Google : Did Jesus exist? Press 1 to find out!”

Sally : “That phone really does sound like a load of crap”

Automated Voice : “Ads by Google: Press 1 to press the fart button. You know you want to.”

The gPhone has experienced delays due to the complexity of performing contextual analysis of billions of text messages and free text messaging is a feature many analysts feel will be missing from the initial versions of the phone.

“Google has experience of search in over 150 languages including those that use non-Latin alphabets,” said Mr Bloggy. “But they have struggled to make any sense at all of text messages sent by teenagers.”

Three years later, and The Onion brings us the Video version of this technology story:-

New Google Phone Service Whispers Targeted Ads Directly Into Users' Ears

Saturday, October 06, 2007

ITV announce new “ITV1 – 1” channel

Following the success of channels such as 'Channel4+1', which show a conventional channel's programme stream delayed by one hour, ITV has planned an innovative service of its own.

“We realise that viewers want increased choice and flexibility from their broadcasters, so we plan to introduce a new service enabling our viewers to miss our programmes more easily,” explained Gerald Billingsworth, head of Light Entertainment at Granada. “Unlike Channel 4 which has provocative and innovative programmes, compared to our cheap derivative offerings. We will be introducing 'ITV1 -1' so that viewers can tune in at the scheduled time and have the wonderful surprise of having missed the programme that was broadcast an hour ago.”

ITV is working closely with its broadcast partners Virgin Media and Sky to integrate sophisticated programme skipping functionality into their respective V+ and Sky + personal video recorders.

“We have talked to the ITV viewer and they have spoken loudly and clearly, they want a 'Record nothing like this' option,” explained Billingsworth. “The boxes will also offer a 'calm' option whereby the user can choose to have inadvertent recordings of our schedule replaced by pictures of a waterfall and whale music.”

However it is the expanded channel range that is really exciting the mandarins at ITV. If 'minus one' proves to be a success then they are preparing for the launch of 'ITV1+8' as a real breakthrough in the '+1' channel format.

“This would give the people of Great Britain the chance to completely miss the latest prime-time vehicles for Ant & Dec,” said Mr Billingsworth. “On 'plus eight' programmes such as 'Britain's got talent','X Factor' and the like can safely be shown in the small hours of the morning meaning no one need suffer.”

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Daily Express news article template leaked

There are red faces in Lower Thames Street today after the template for Daily Express news articles was leaked onto the internet from an unknown source. An internal investigation is believed to be under way and focussing on any journalist who has shown any pride in their work or expressed any fondness for traditions of good journalism.

The template (front page shown - click for larger image) contains not only the format but also suggested text as well as placement of adverts. Directions to the editorial staff are shown in square brackets ([ ]) and include references to holidays, further content and legal considerations.

“The template is believed to have been in use for sometime and was last updated this summer,” explained Costa Billingsworth, 17, Chief Media Analyst at consultancy Tornado Snail. “Given that the Express has an editorial policy review every 50 years or so we can expect more stories using this template for some time to come.”

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bible available by Txt Msg

Today a new range of Biblical products can be downloaded to customer’s mobile phones. A British company is leading the way in providing services to Christians that they feel are under-represented in the market.

"It is a good move and about time too," commented Diane Billingsworth, professor of Social Theology at the Jeremy Kyle University. "The mobile phone market is currently used for all sorts of sinful activities, from gambling to pornography. So it is good that young Christians can get their hands on the Good News. They can now take Jesus into their hearts in the dark under the bedclothes."

The company has said that they have had to adjust the presentation of the Biblical teachings to match the capabilities of as many phones as possible and also to appeal to the teenage market. Hence these products also represent the latest incarnation of the Bible, this time into "text speak" a sample of which is included below from Genesis, or Gnsis: -

  1. n d beginN God creatD d heavNz & d erth.
  2. nw d erth wz formless & Mt, drknez wz Ovr d surfAc of d dEp, & d Spirit of God wz
    hovRN Ovr d H2Oz.
  3. & God sed, "lt ther b lite," & ther wz lite.
  4. God saw dat d lite wz gud, & He separated d lite frm d drknez.
  5. God caLd d lite "dA," & d drknez he caLd "nyt." & ther wz evNg, & ther wz
    morning—the 1st dA.
  6. & God sed, "lt ther b an expanse Btwen d H2Oz 2 separate H2O frm H2O."
  7. So God mAd d expanse & separated d H2O undR d expanse frm d H2O abof it. & it wz so.
  8. God caLd d expanse "sky." & ther wz evNg, & ther wz morning—the 2nd dA.
  9. & God sed, "lt d H2O undR d sky b gathRD 2 1 plAc, & lt dry ground apEr." & it wz so.
  10. God caLd d dry ground "land," & d gathRD H2Oz he caLd "seas." & God saw dat it wz gud
Purists would argue that the message of the Bible should not be trivialised into the modern vernacular of text messages and warn against misinterpretation and mistranslation into what is a notoriously cumbersome form of communication, However Mrs Billingsworth is not concerned.

"I think a text message Bible will be as understandable as any other kind," she said. "Yes text messages can be misinterpreted, but then the Good Book is being continuously re-interpreted all over the world to satisfy the needs of those reading it. You never know if there is mistranslation it might cancel out the ones already in the English version!"

Mrs Billingsworth said that whilst the likely market for such products was uncertain within the increasingly secular UK and whether or not teenagers would find Christian products cool, any company trading in such religious goods was uniquely placed to raise capital.

"As it says in Genesis 19:8," explains Mrs Billingsworth. "Should the business fail and the creditors come calling they can always offer sex with their daughters as payment."

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