Key Posts | Anorak - Part 20

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The Ronnie Biggs Story: Money, Arsenal And Going Punk In Rio

FAREWELL then, Ronnie Biggs.



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Posted: 4th, January 2014 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Watch The Day The Clown Cried: Jerry Lewis’s Holocaust Horror Show

THE Day The Clown Cried is an unreleased 1972 Jerry Lewis film. It’s the story of a clown who finds himself in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.

Like the Aryan Papers, Stanley Kubrick’s Holocaust drama, Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and David O Russell’s Nailed (a small town waitress gets a nail accidentally lodged in her head causing unpredictable behavior that leads her to Washington, DC) you won’t have seen it.


jerry clown cried


The film ends in a gas chamber, with the clown going in to face his death with a group of terrified children, trying to make them laugh in order take away their fear. It ends with them all locked in, the kids laughing as the clown juggles stale bread.


American comedian Jerry Lewis performs as a clown at the 38th Gala de L'Union des Artistes at the Cirque d'Hiver in Paris, France, April 24, 1971. Watching in the background are, from left, Italian film director and producer Vittorio de Sicca, opera singer Maria Callas, unidentified woman, Italian actress Gigliola Cinmetti and French singer Hughes Aufray.

American comedian Jerry Lewis performs as a clown at the 38th Gala de L’Union des Artistes at the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, France, April 24, 1971. Watching in the background are, from left, Italian film director and producer Vittorio de Sicca, opera singer Maria Callas, unidentified woman, Italian actress Gigliola Cinmetti and French singer Hughes Aufray.


Why did he make it? has more:

In 1971, producer Nate Waschberger asked Jerry to direct and star in “The Day the Clown Cried”, based on Joan O’Brien’s book by the same name, about a German clown who was arrested by the Gestapo, interred in a concentration camp, and used to march Jewish children into the ovens. Jerry lost close to 40 pounds to play the role. The shooting began in Stockholm, but Waschberger not only ran out of money to complete the film, but he failed to pay Joan O’Brien the money she was owed for the rights to the story. Jerry was forced to finish the picture with his own money. The film has been tied up in litigation ever since, and all of the parties involved have never been able to reach an agreeable settlement. Jerry hopes to someday complete the film, which remains to this day, a significant expression of cinematic art, suspended in the abyss of international litigation.


clown cried


Why was it never released? In 2009, Lewis spoke with Entertainment Weekly:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When I asked you about The Day the Clown Cried, you shut me down pretty quickly.
JERRY LEWIS: Why do I want to go there? If you want to play 10 Questions with me, you can ask me any 10 questions you want about it and you’ll get a pretty good amount of answers. And it will only be to satisfy you that it’s not so shut-down because you’re a nice man and I’m comfortable with you. I’ll give you 10 questions.

You’re serious?

Okay, I better weigh them…
I’ve never done this before, I’d like to see what I come up with. Don’t f— this up, Chris!

Do they have to be yes/no questions?
No, I didn’t say that. That’s kind of limiting.

Will I ever see The Day the Clown Cried?
He writes on a piece of white paper in green ink: NO.

Is there more than one copy of the film?
He writes: NO.

Is the film in a safe somewhere?
Yes, yeah.

Okay, number four: is the reason the film has not been released because you are unhappy with it?
He writes: Yes/No.
Which doesn’t mean that Yes, I’m unhappy with the work that I did. But who am I preserving it for? No one’s ever gonna see it. But the preservation that I believe is that, when I die, I’m in total control of the material now. Nobody can touch it. After I’m gone, who knows what’s going to happen? I think I have the legalese necessary to keep it where it is. So I’m pretty sure that it won’t be seen. The only thing that I do feel, that I always get a giggle out of, some smart young guy like Chris is going to come up with an idea and he’s going to run the f—ing thing. I would love that. Because he’s going to see a hell of a movie!

I was going to ask you, it’s only creating more interest and tougher criticism if and when it is ever shown.
Of course, of course. What the f— is he saving?!


I’m honestly surprised as hell.I am too. I’m very surprised. There’s a gurgling inside that I get when I think about, would this make certain that the Holocaust would never happen again? It’s too small a piece. It isn’t large enough to make a dynamic impact.

Do you think Jewish audiences would like it?
Jews? Oh, they would love it. I traveled for 18 months from Stuttgart to Belsen to Auschwitz. I was putting together my crew and they brought me a man named Rolf, who was the guy who pulled the f—ing lever on the gas chamber. And I said the only way I ever allow him near me, no less interview him, would be if he understood that I am concerned about the accuracy of the film and it would be because I need some information. But I said to my production manager, “I’m not sure I can handle it.” After about six weeks of pretty good meditation, I talked to the guy. The question nobody could answer, that the victims couldn’t answer, was: Where were they [when they] were waiting for the ones ahead of them in the gas chambers? How long were they waiting? Where were they standing? Was there an adjacent room? Did they sit? What kind of time was involved? The torture here was waiting! And they couldn’t dull the sound effects, the screaming. Could I get that information from this man? I wanted to wear a mask so he wouldn’t know it was me. When he came into the office and sat down, I thought, This poor human being. I’m sitting there and it was five after nine at night by the time we were done talking and I was…undone. But he gave me the bottom of his f—ing soul! He wanted penance. I kept looking at his right hand. I was going to ask him which hand did you do it with? I couldn’t do it.


Jerry Lewis, center, shot first sequence of his film The Day the Clown cried and seen here left with French actor Pierre Etaiy, right, March 20, 1972, Paris, France.

Jerry Lewis, center, shot first sequence of his film The Day the Clown cried and seen here left with French actor Pierre Etaiy, right, March 20, 1972, Paris, France.


You can read the film’s script in full here.


Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 13.19.40

Harry Shearer told Spy Magazine:

With most of these kinds of things, you find that the anticipation, or the concept, is better than the thing itself. But seeing this film was really awe-inspiring, in that you are rarely in the presence of a perfect object. This was a perfect object. This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is. “Oh My God!” — that’s all you can say.

Screen shot 2014-01-03 at 13.18.28



The footage:

Posted: 3rd, January 2014 | In: Film, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Strange and Terrible Fitness Products from the 1970s

THE NEW YEAR has arrived.  Time to once again pledge to stop eating like a starved cow and get going on a weight loss program.   Catalogs and magazines in decades past were full of wonderfully terrible options to start you on the Grand New Year’s Tradition of Fitness Plans Doomed to Failure.  Let’s have a look at a few.


rowing machine

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Posted: 3rd, January 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Which Newspaper Hates Migrants The Most? A Look At Those 2013 Front Pages



THE ROGARIANS are among us. On January 1 2014, the Romanian and Bulgarians united to invade the British Isles. Armed with a EU Directive, these villains are right now stealing your kids, using your cashcards, moving into your bedroom (quick, go check) and doing nothing – NOTHING – to help the England cricket team.

Liz Gerard investigates the horror:

Scene 1: A group of Romanians runs a car wash franchise in the car park of a DIY store. It’s a cold, drizzly day and there are few customers. A woman drives up and the entire dozen-strong workforce emerge from their warm hut and get to work on her car. No one sits back to watch others work, and with everyone pitching in, the job is done in five minutes.

Scene 2: A gang of Romanians cases a London antiques fair and follows one of the jewellery dealers home. They set up camp in woodland at the bottom of her garden and watch her movements for a few days. They see her coming home with new stock. At 3am they remove the bolts and padlocks on her doors and break in to steal everything. Her life’s work gone in minutes.

Which would is the better news story?

No contest. One is an everyday occurrence, the other a cruel assault on a woman’s home and life. And we know that an essential element of news is that it should be out of the ordinary.

So why does SubScribe suspect that the raid would be reported by many of our newspapers not as something unusual, but as an indication of the sort of behaviour to be expected of eastern European immigrants?

And why, given our endless fascination with the subject and the reams of newsprint devoted to it, is so little written about work ethic and immigrants’ contribution to the economy?

As Big Ben chimed midnight yesterday, thousands – even millions – of Romanians and Bulgarians were supposed to swarm into Britain to steal our jobs, our benefits and our wallets.

The mass migration did not materialise on cue, but that doesn’t mean we’re safe. You never know with sneaky foreigners; they might be biding their time, waiting for us to be preoccupied with the storms, before invading.

And there’s plenty to fear, as the Daily Star warned us yesterday:

“Fears grew of a crimewave last night as hordes of Romanians and Bulgarians bought every seat on planes and buses to the UK…

Police experts predicted a fresh wave of crime as the country already struggles with an influx of foreign crooks.

Shock figures revealed that the eastern Europeans already topped the crime league tables before Britain opened its borders to millions from the two countries today.

Almost 1,000 Romanians were detained by police in just one county alone over the past three years…”

As SubScribe wrote on Tuesday, the new rules on immigration change little. Seasonal workers, those in other specific trades and the self-employed were already able to come to Britain to work. They also had the same right as other EU nationals to enter the country for up to three months as a visitor – and to be deported if they engaged in criminal activity. Romanians and Bulgarians may now come to seek work in any field and stay for any length of time. But they still won’t be allowed to stay if they start begging or stealing.

The newspapers most terrified of this foreign invasion have been reluctant to make this clear. They don’t seem to have grasped the notion that if someone’s intention is to come to Britain to break the law, they didn’t need to wait for the law to change to do so. Wouldn’t it make sense for them to pop over, make hay for as long as they could without getting caught, and then go home with their ill-gotten gains? They could have been doing this for seven years.

Twitter has been a joy the past couple of days, mocking the tabs that predicted floods of evil migrants. Buzzfeed, as ever, put together a good compendium – and just going on to Twitter and searching ‘Romanians and Bulgarians’ brings a rich harvest.

SubScribe would like to make a two-part contribution to the conversation. The first was published on Tuesday. The second, below, are British front page splashes from the past 12 months that have focused on the subject of them darn foreigners. So here goes:


jan 2 jan 1 jan





Daily_Express_27_2_2013 Daily_Express_26_2_2013 Daily_Express_25_2_2013 Daily_Mail_11_2_2013 Daily_Express_Weekend_10_2_2013 Daily_Mail_4_2_2013

The_Independent_14_2_2013 The_Times_15_2_2013




Daily_Express_27_3_2013 Daily_Express_26_3_2013 I_Newspaper_25_3_2013 The_Times_25_3_2013 Daily_Mail_25_3_2013 Daily_Express_13_3_2013 Daily_Express_5_3_2013





Daily_Express_Weekend_27_4_2013 Daily_Mail_4_4_2013 The_Sunday_Telegraph_7_4_2013




Daily_Express_2_5_2013 (1)

Daily_Express_22_5_2013  The_Independent_on_Sunday_12_5_2013



Daily_Express_Weekend_15_6_2013 Daily_Express_6_6_2013

Daily_Express_3_6_2013 Daily_Express_12_6_2013










The_Times_16_8_2013 Daily_Express_9_8_2013 The_Independent_3_8_2013





The_Times_14_9_2013 Daily_Mail_7_9_2013

The_Sunday_Telegraph_29_9_2013 The_Observer_15_9_2013




Daily_Mail_22_10_2013 (1)


The_Daily_Telegraph_29_10_2013 The_Independent_25_10_2013 The_Sunday_Telegraph_20_10_2013 Daily_Mail_14_10_2013





I_Newspaper_28_11_2013 Daily_Mail_28_11_2013 Daily_Mail_27_11_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_26_11_2013 Daily_Mail_22_11_2013 Daily_Mail_13_11_2013 Daily_Express_1_11_2013


The_Daily_Telegraph_1_11_2013 Daily_Mail_2_11_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_4_11_2013 Daily_Express_5_11_2013 Daily_Mail_5_11_2013 Daily_Mail_7_11_2013 Daily_Express_Weekend_10_11_2013 Daily_Star_13_11_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_19_11_2013 Daily_Express_21_11_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_23_11_2013 The_Times_23_11_2013 The_Sunday_Times_24_11_2013 Daily_Express_28_11_2013



The_Independent_30_12_2013 Daily_Express_27_12_2013 The_Guardian_26_12_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_23_12_2013 The_Sunday_Times_22_12_2013 The_Observer_22_12_2013 The_Sun_18_12_2013 The_Guardian_18_12_2013 The_Sunday_Times_15_12_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_13_12_2013 Daily_Express_11_12_2013 The_Times_9_12_2013

The_Sun_31_12_2013 Daily_Star_30_12_2013 The_Daily_Telegraph_30_12_2013 The_Times_30_12_2013 I_Newspaper_30_12_2013 Daily_Mail_30_12_2013 The_Mail_on_Sunday_29_12_2013 Daily_Mail_27_12_2013 The_Guardian_23_12_2013 Daily_Mail_23_12_2013 I_Newspaper_23_12_2013 Daily_Express_Weekend_14_12_2013 I_Newspaper_13_12_2013 The_Times_4_12_2013

And the winner is…

Well, it was neck-and-neck into the final strait. The Express  made the early running and built up a good lead over the Mail. But then it got distracted by the scorching summer and, possibly suffering from a touch of arthritis, started to flag. It rallied in the autumn, but the Mail had  kept enough in reserve for one last push to come home the winner by a single edition. The iwas the dark horse and ran in third, but well adrift of the leaders.

The Times and Telegraph did their best, but didn’t really grasp the rules. This wasn’t about referendums on staying within the EU or the ascent of Ukip; it was about nasty foreigners. The Guardian suffered from the same failing and barely left the starting gate.

The  Sun and the Star understood the nature of the race, but woke up only at the very last moment, so had no chance. They must have had other things on their minds.

The Result

Mail 18; Express 17; i 5; Times 4; Telegraph 3; Guardian 1; Sun 1; Star 1

And the losers are…

Our national reputation and anyone who looks to the popular Press for a fair and balanced view of the value – or cost – of immigrants to society.


Posted: 2nd, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Awkward Band Publicity Photos

awkward band photo 1

TO MAKE IT in the music biz and get some publicity, it used to be a requirement to take some “professional” photographs for local newspapers, magazines, and venue posters.    Trouble is, thirty to forty years later someone like me is going to share them with the world.  Chances are, your press photos are a tad on the awkward side, and I’ll have a snarky comment or two.  Shake it off.  It’s all in good fun. Maybe you can even point and laugh at the other bands.

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Posted: 2nd, January 2014 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Pace Yourself Nigel: Michael “Mighty Mike” Van Gerwen Wins PDC World Championship (Photos)


PETER “Snakebite” Wright and his ensemble of brightly tinted mohawk created by his wife, Timmy Mallet’s cast-offs and an open-mouthed snake painted on the side of his head were not enough to win the PDC World Championship. Having upstaged Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock beard and plait kit, the 43-year-old Wright went down to the less extravagantly attired Michael “Mighty Mike” Van Gerwen, who in his moment of victory upstaged Wright’s effort by wearing the gigantic trophy as a top knot.

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Posted: 2nd, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Checking The Daily Mail For Lies, Half-Truths And Propaganda Balls

Mic Wright’s Checking The Mail

I’M not saying the Daily Mail is written by liars and hypocrites, I’m just saying that if you had a visual dictionary of the British Media the face staring out from the definition of Arsehole would be Paul Dacre. Dacre who crows on constantly about family values is a sweary bully whose morning meetings have been called The Vagina Monologues thanks to the number of c-words that fly out of his expensively dentured mouth. This column exists to check the lies, half-truths and propaganda balls spouted by The Daily Mail but will happily turn its attention to other repeat offenders too including The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Express, The Guardian, The Independent and my old home, The Daily Telegraph.

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Posted: 1st, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Best Readers’ Letters Of 2013

THE  Best Readers’ Letters of 2013:



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Posted: 1st, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

DJ Derek Sweet Memory Sounds: A Tribute To The UK’s Original White Reggae Star

DJ derek

DJ Derek is Derek Serpell-Morris. He’s 72. Last night the Bristolian played his last ever show at London’s Notting Hill Arts Club. Derek is the Cadbury accountant who became a much-loved dance hall DJ.

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Posted: 1st, January 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Worse Than Dog Poo: The Real Stink Should Be Over On-The-Spot Fines

DO we sympathise with Peter Taylor, styled as “Community-spirited” by the Stoke Sentinel? Or we do we think he made a problem worse?

The local council is very much of the opinion that Mr Taylor is a nuisance. It handed him an £80 fine for picking up a pump of dog poo left on a pathway in Central Forest Park, Hanley, Staffordshire, and relocating it into long grass.

After complaining at the absurdly high charge, Stoke-on-Trent City Council relented. The charge was cancelled. But Mr Peter was told off for not putting the turd in a bin. And that upsets him. As he says: “I clear the paths nearly every day. I go out and see where the mess is then I go out with a shovel and throw it in the long grass, but apparently I’m not supposed to do that. They told me to leave it where it is and they will come out and remove it.”


Carrying out a Clochemerle-type engagement with becoming dignity (he refused to complete the performance) is Digby, a three year old Pyrenean mountain rescue dog owned by Mrs J. Hull of Cheam, Surrey. He is seen officially opening a dog’s toilet at Roper’s Gardens, one of two set up on Chelsea Embankment by Kensington and Chelsea Council. Holding Digby’s lead is broadcaster Robert Robinson, who was described as guest of honour. Uninvited guest at the ceremony were demonstrators demanding free school milk for children instead of loos for dogs. Date: 15/03/1972



Dog poo is disgusting. Along with listening to other people’s loud phone calls on crowed trains, dog poo not cleared by the animal’s owner is something that annoys most of us. Mr Tay;or adds: “They said, ‘once you have touched something it is your responsibility, which sounds ridiculous to me. I couldn’t believe it. They weren’t going to cancel it straight away. I had to argue about it over three or four phone calls.  They were trying to penalise someone who picks up litter all the time. The dog mess up that end of the park is terrible. I told them I won’t bother doing it anymore. You can’t blame me for that. I’ve lived here for 25 years but the mess has only started to get bad when they did the paths up about six years ago.”

Did the dogs refuse to go on the old, less well-maintained paths? Are dogs choosy?

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Posted: 31st, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Most Offensive And Amusing Pitch Gestures

NICOLAS Anelka’s controversial celebration after scoring for West Brom at Upton Park – the notorious quenelle salute, made famous by his comedian friend Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala – will be debated for weeks to come.

Britain Soccer Premier League


But he is by no means the first footballer to find himself in hot water following an impetuous or ill-judged gesture…


Fascist salutes


During his time at Lazio, Paolo Di Canio is alleged to have said he was a fascist, and he certainly did nothing to dispel this impression with his salutes. When appointed manager of Sunderland he apologised for any offence caused by the gesture and said that comments about his political beliefs had been taken out of context.

And just to even things up, here once again is the England team in Berlin….



Flicking the Vs

Now sadly dying out, the ‘V-sign’ (meaning ‘fu*k off’) was once the most offensive gesture available to native Britons.



In 1971 it briefly became known as ‘doing a Harvey Smith’ after the pugnacious Yorkshire show jumper greeted the judges with said sign after winning the British Show Jumping Derby. He was fined his entire winnings (two grand) for his troubles.




Footballers were partial to it too. That is to say, bad boys like boozing, smoking, womanising, drug-taking lower-league legend Robin Friday…



As was Charlie George, whose 1972 effort at Derby was dismissed by Arsenal team-mate Alan Ball as ‘a bit of devilment’, which is ‘part and parcel of the game’. Ball said Charlie had learned his lesson, but he was up to his old tricks at his next club (Derby County, ironically) in 1975…




In more recent times, Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were banned from playing for Scotland on account of this gesture at team officials, committed while relegated to the bench for turning up drunk at a training session…

PA-308434 (1) PA-7080480





Another good old British tradition, kept alive by a Frenchman. David Ginola, who did the ‘wanker’ gesture at BT Sport host Jake Humphrey, who was oblivious to the insult, but later apologised on air.

Unfortunately German football journalist Raphael Honigstein repeated the gesture on another BT Sport show shortly afterwards. He claimed afterwards that he didn’t realise they were on air…


The Finger



Jack Wilshere found himself in trouble recently after giving the finger to Manchester city fans, whom he accused of insulting his children. ‘Shouldn’t of [sic] reacted the way I did but I know all you dads out there love your kids the way I do…’ he tweeted later.

Here’s Becks doing the same to England fans at the Euro 2000…





The dark side of the moon



Robbie Fowler’s baiting of Graham Le Saux was widely assumed to be anti-gay in intent, as he repeatedly bent over and proffered his backside to the Chelsea defender.


And the light side…


Where else to turn but to ARSEnal’s Sammy Nelson? The popular defender famously dropped his shorts at Highbury having netted for both sides during the Gunners’ game against Coventry in 1979.


Not to be sniffed at



Robbie Fowler had a few run-ins with authority, but the only other time he got into trouble for a shirt-lifting-related incident, it was for lifting his team jersey to reveal a t-shirt supporting the striking Liverpool dockers, who had been sold out and abandoned by their union.

On a less serious note, his ‘coke’ celebration, in which he snorted the goal line, remains a classic.

PA-308434 (1)


The Handcuffs

Tim Cahill ‘did the handcuffs’ for his goal brother Sean, who was in jail for GBH at the time.

… while Ipswich’s Norris did the same for former team-mate Luke McCormick, who was doing time for killing people in a car crash.

And finally, the most incendiary of the lot…

The Flute

Paul Gascoigne’s 1998 celebration in front of Celtic fans earned him a £20,000 fine and a series of death threats. He claimed not to have realized the symbolic significance of his antics – an excuse that would be preposterous coming from anyone else, but which is just about plausible in Gazza’s case…


Posted: 31st, December 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Victoria’s Secret: What A Difference 30 Years Makes

CAN YOU GUESS which Victoria’s Secret models come from 1984 and which are from recent catalogs?  I’ll give you a hint:  the ones from 1984 resemble actual human females.



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Posted: 31st, December 2013 | In: Fashion, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Anelka And Dieudonné: Bigots, But For The Left

anelka bigot

WHEN West Bromwich Albion footballer Nicholas Anelka scored in Saturday’s draw with West Ham he preformed a “reverse Nazi salute”. Oddly, the reverse Nazi is not an anti-racism statement. It’s one steeped in anti-Semitism. After thousands of years of persecution, Anelka’s friend, Dieudonne M’balla M’balla, created a new way to insult Jews. It might even be trademarked.

The gesture is called the “quenelle”. It’s big in France. French media have published a photo of a man performing it outside the Toulouse school where four Jews were murdered.

France’s Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron has condemned Anelka son Twitter calling it a “shocking provocation”. And it is to those it’s meant to hurt.

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Posted: 30th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News, Sports | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

When Computers Were Giant

vintage comp


IT BOGGLES the mind to think that computers which literally filled rooms a few decades ago couldn’t come close to the computers that easily fit in the palm of our hand today.  That phone in your pocket can do much more than the giant whirring behemoths brought in on a wench in 1973… It’s an amazing advancement when you stop and think about it.

Old science fiction movies and television shows which attempted to depict the computers of tomorrow never predicted anything coming close the compactness of an iPad.  They definitely overshot the artificial intelligence aspect [HAL from 2001:A Space Odyssey (1968), Colossus  from Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970), Proteus from The Demon Seed (1977), etc.] but seemingly overlooked the possibility that these things might get small.  In other words, we knew they’d get smarter, but we always assumed they’d stay big.

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Posted: 30th, December 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, Technology | Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Hanging Dolls Of Mexico’s Dead Girl Island

DOLLS die in Xochimilco, Mexico.



They’re in the trees and on the ground, bunched together on wooden fence posts and hanging from clotheslines like laundry left to dry. Their dead eyes stare at you from half empty sockets, their dirty hair hangs like cobwebs. Their skin is scabbed and peeling away, and their plump limbs are scattered everywhere—arms and legs strewn about haphazardly, decapitated heads impaled on stakes.

This is not a nightmare. It’s La Isla de las Muñecas, a real place located in a southern borough of Mexico City, on a man-made island, which for decades has been home to hundreds of dilapidated dolls.

The island was once the property of Don Julián Santana, a local farmer. Legend has it that in 1950, he saw a little girl drown in the canal and her spirit began haunting the place.

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Posted: 30th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, Strange But True, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Extreme Dieting: Keith Moon Versus Hunter S Thompson

Keith Moon, the eccentric drummer of The Who, at Heathrow Airport with his girlfriend Annette Walker-Lax, on return from the United States. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Keith Moon, the eccentric drummer of The Who, at Heathrow Airport with his girlfriend Annette Walker-Lax, on return from the United States. 

THE late Keith Moon was once asked whether he thought he was the greatest drummer in the world, he replied: “I’m the greatest Keith Moon-style drummer in the world”, and no one can argue with that. However Moon is just as famous, even today, for packing in far more than his fair share of convivial nights during his short eventful life. He died in September 1978 just two weeks after his 32nd birthday when he fell unconscious, never to wake up, in the Mayfair flat of his close-friend Harry Nilsson. Coincidentally, it was the very same bed where Mama Cass Elliot had died four years earlier.

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Posted: 27th, December 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Key Posts, Music | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Mic Wright’s Remotely Festively Furious: Doctor Who Raised By Moffat, Caitlin Moran Raised By Wolves

raised by wolves


WRITING a convincing family unit for television is a tricky one. There are only a few series that manage it over a significant time period. Sgt Wilson, Private Pike and his mother in Dad’s Army are perfectly dysfunctional, the Gallagher family in Shameless was brilliant for at least three series and the Trotters are the gold-standard for sitcom families. Go back further and you get the delicious cocktail of hate and love embodied by the Steptoes and the constructed screwed-up family of the Hancock’s Half Hour.

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Posted: 27th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Celebrity Party Tricks Hall of Fame

IN Huddersfield in 1977, the Sex Pistols held a Christmas party for the children of striking firefighters.



A documentary about this party and the extraordinary times in which it occurred, when the band were hounded from pillar to post and banned in most towns, will be shown on BBC 4 at 10pm on Boxing Day (and subsequently on the iPlayer).

By rock’n’roll standards the party was tame, but Johnny Rotten’s antics – including diving face first into the cake – deserve a modest place in the Celebrity Party Tricks Hall of Fame.

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Posted: 27th, December 2013 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The Tao of David Coleman

The Tao of David Coleman


He was born at Alderley Edge, the place now famous as the luxury location of choice for the gated homes of multi-millionaire footballers. But Coleman is a man synonymous with the blurred black-and-white ‘soccer’ of a more simple, if not innocent era.

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Posted: 25th, December 2013 | In: Celebrities, Flashback, Key Posts, Sports, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Nigella Lawson Trial: How Courtroom Artists Show Her Inner And Outer Turmoil



NIGELLA Lawson v her now former personal assistants Francesca and Elisabetta Grillo was pretty entertaining for anyone not directly involved in the matter. Nigella did enjoy being pulled apart in court with no right of reply; and the sisters look too stressed to morph their new-found fame into a stint in the celebrity jungle.

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Posted: 24th, December 2013 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

5 Small Ways Christmas Has Improved

IT’S inarguable that Christmas has snowballed into a giant hulking materialistic bezerker over the past few decades.  However, it wasn’t all poinsettias and candy canes back in the day either.  I’d like to highlight just a few things that are perhaps better nowadays…


1.  No More Christmas Tree Flocking


If you have a vacuum cleaner attachment specifically for purposes of flocking, there’s a very good chance you’ve taken holiday tackiness to new heights.

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Posted: 23rd, December 2013 | In: Flashback, Key Posts, The Consumer | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Nathan Rao’s Killer Christmas: Daily Express Weather Man Predicts 100 Days of Death

ON October 12 2013, the Daily Express told us to expect the “WORST WINTER FOR DECADES“:



Worst winter for decades: Record-breaking snow predicted for November

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Posted: 22nd, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

The War On Boys: Essex School Uses Golf To Stop Boys Behaving Like Defective Girls

chase school esses


CHASE High School in Westcliff, Essex, is offering students ‘man days’. An Ofsted inspection found achievement among male students was “inadequate”. Victoria Overy, head teacher, says this is down to male students lacking a “positive male role model at home”.  This lack of manliness has created a “barrier” to the boys’ learning. So. There are to be “man days”. These will teach the feckless lads how to be manly. They will taught things like – get this – “asking girls out and fine dining etiquette“. It’s the kind of useful stuff that will help them get cracking scores in their GCSEs and impress the female teachers.

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Posted: 20th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (6) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0

London School of Economics Apologises For Banning Free Speech

jesus and mo

FREEDOM of Speech is under attack on your student campuses. The London School of Economics (LSE) banned Chris Moos and Abhishek Phandis, of the student Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society (LSEASH), from wearing Jesus and Mo cartooons at the SU Freshers’ Fair on 3 October.

It’s not the Islamofascists and funny, dangerous foreigners eroding our free speech; it’s us.

But it’s all about equality, isn’t it? Only, if everyone gets to be equal, who gets to be free?

The University of Birmingham’s code of practice on freedom of speech on campus is long. A nine-page list of codes for being free and saying what you want in public. Because free speech needs a lot of explaining when it’s not free.

The University of Bolton actually wants students to debate what can be talked about before any event:


Anyone involved in organising a meeting or other activity, or processing a room booking should consider whether there is a possibility that the speaker may not be able to enter or leave the building safely and/or have the freedom within the law to deliver their speech; or that a breach of the civil or criminal law may be committed. The following is an indicative list of circumstances which might give rise to a reasonable apprehension that disruption or disorder may occur.

You know, the kind of things students might want to talk about are only allowed to be talked about with official approval lest the sensitive be upset. This is great:

(a) where the subject-matter of the meeting or activity includes in whole or in part  Animal experimentation  Immigration and nationality policy  The supposed superiority or otherwise of racial/ethnic/religious groupings  Blood sports  Genocide  A current or recent war (or revolution)  Sexual abuse of children and paedophilia  Abortion  Drugs policy  Terrorism  Other local or national controversial matters

(b) when the guest or visiting speaker includes  Any current Member of the House of Commons or Lords  A present or former representative of any political party which has put forward candidates at a British or Irish Parliament election in the last 20 years  Any member of the British or an overseas Royal family  Any diplomat or the representative of a foreign power  Any person who has previously been prevented from delivering a speech or whose presence has threatened a breach of the peace at the University or any other Higher Education Institution

(c) where the subject matter might be considered to be of a blasphemous (3) nature (not just in respect of Christianity), obscene or defamatory. This list is provided for guidance and is not intended to be exhaustive. If there is any doubt whether the Code applies, the guidance of the University Secretary and Clerk to the Governors should be sought.

Bolton then explains: “‘Blasphemy’ is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘irreverent talk about God or sacred things’.”

And get this caveat to free speech from Exeter University:

The University expects students, staff, governors, the Students’ Guild and visitors to ensure freedom of speech within the law is assured. Whilst there is no legal prohibition on offending others, the University nevertheless believes that discussion that is open and honest can take place only if offensive or provocative action and language is avoided.

Talk about anything you like. But you must not offend anyone.

The LSE Code of Free Speech includes the gem: “The Conference and Events Office will normally screen bookings from within and outside of the School.”

Students, Give up now. Ideas are set in stone. Forget that speech is how we communicate ideas – both good and bad; how we shape lives; and just stick to the talking about the things the officials approve of. What ideas can be discussed has been decided upon. Free speech means freedom not only for the thoughts you approve of but those you despise. Don’t ban it. It just makes you look weak.

Last year, we noted that the LSEASH wanted to feature a picture of Muslim Prophet Mohammed and Jesus Christ “sitting in a pub having a pint” on its group Facebook page. The LSE Student Union was upset enough to call an “emergency meeting”.

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Posted: 19th, December 2013 | In: Key Posts, News | Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0