We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
Arsenal wil make a bid of £18m for Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, says the Mirror. The paper’s scoop contains not a single fact, other than nerws that an Arsenal scout watched the German (and everyone other player on the pitch) in Bayer’s Champion’s League qualifier against Lazio.
Arsenal fans should realise that Bender to Arsenal is a annual favourite on the rumour mill.
November 2012, The Sun
MANCHESTER UNITED and Arsenal face a struggle to sign German star Lars Bender.
September 2013, Daily Star
May 2014, Daily Mirror
July 2014, Daily Mail
November 2014, Daily Express
So Bender to Arsenal it is…
Archie Lloyd, 18, was punched in Malia Crete, where he had been holidaying. His head hit the ground. Having refused help, he managed to get up and take a taxi to his hotel. He died in his hotel room. Archie Lloyd went to sleep and never woke up.
It is horrible story of young life ripped apart in moment of brutal stupidity.
But in the hands of the Press it becomes a story of money and privilege. This is how the Telegraph begins its report:
An 18-year-old Harrow-educated schoolboy has died….
Jewish American singer Matisyahu did appear at Spain’s Rototom SunSplash music festival on Saturday. He sang his hit Jerusalem. Pro-Palestinian groups had called for him to be boycotted.
Monoculists with the local Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement accused the 36-year-old of being a “Zionist” (filthy, filthy word) who supports the practice of “apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.
What craven and cowardly balls.
The show’s organisors t first conceded to the bigots. Then they saw the light.
The Hastings and St. Leonards Observer hails Mark Benton’s role as ambassador for St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex.
Honey the dog is away.
How thin is your skin? The Telegraph reports on “the Charity race for children’s hospice where runners dress in drag is ‘a hate crime’.
If dressing up a woman is hate crime will Dame Edna be summoned before the Beak?
A charity fun run that invited men to dress up as women is being investigated by police after a transgender charity claimed the dress code constituted a hate crime.
We’re offended that transgender is being confused with transvestite.
Officers were asked to look into the ‘Dames on the Run’ race – where men run dressed as women to raise funds for a children’s hospice – by a transsexual support group.
Chrysalis Transsexual Support Groups say the five kilometre run, organised by Derian House Children’s Hospice, in Chorley, Lancashire, is “dehumanising”.
Anorak has long wondered why some men seize the chance to dress as women – always tarty ones, too. If asked to dress as awoman to save a child’s life, I’d pull on Comfi-Slax and a smart tank top over a crisp white shirt in tribute to the BBC’s ubiquitous Clare Balding.
They are now attempting to stop the run, due to take place in October, which raises money to support the hospice that looks after sick and terminally ill children. Steph Holmes, of Chrysalis, said: “We get enough confusion with the word transgender, which mixes us up with transvestites.”
Yeah. That was our point, too.
“Transvestites certainly don’t dress for comic purposes and I don’t get up in the morning and think ‘what can I put on today to give people a laugh?'”
What about if it’s for charity? What then, Steph?
“This race pokes fun at cross-dressing and, by association, us, reducing us to objects to be laughed at.”
We’re laughing now, Steph. You’re a witty one, alright. Your parody is a bit to knowing to rival the aforesaid Dame for belly laughs, but the intelligensia and the student Unionists should get it.
“Dehumanising us this way gives carte blanche to those that would do us physical harm, much like the gay bashers of old.”
Raising money for sick children is dehumanising. Steph’s a bit edgy for mainstream tastes, but we’ll go with it.
“It’s a small step from ridicule to persecution. The current stats suggest a 34 per cent chance of beaten up, raped or killed for being trans. We do not need to give the bigots any more ammunition.”
If you want to rape the charity runners, you’ll have to catch them first.
“I am sure that Derian House didn’t intend to give offence. The very fact that its a children’s hospice should make them sensitive to potential bad publicity and the effect that this has on young trans people.”
At which point we’d take this as a cue for young trans person who also happens to be desperately ill to say how offended they are. If Jerry Sadowitz is looking for a new gag, this might be it. The desperately ill transgender person could go into a long riff on how they’d like to murder everyone on the Derien House money raising committee but lack the strength to do so. Sadowitz would rattle a tin and invite anyone who cares to give money and thereby hire an assassin to help out the poorly young transgender victim.
That for later. For now a spokesman for Derian House says: “Oh, just F*** off.”
No. They don’t. They say:
“As a children’s hospice, we deal with highly sensitive and emotive issues all the time and would never have considered organising a fundraising event that might cause upset or offence. Dames on the Run was conceived as a fun event, drawing on the much-loved Pantomime Dame character that is part of our theatrical heritage and supported by hundreds of thousands of people in every year.
“It was intended appeal to the fathers of desperately sick children, who do so much to hold their family together in the face of their child’s devastating illness and who ask for very little support in return.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to participate in a fun-packed event and encourage other men to show their support and raise vitally needed funds for the hospice.
“We were shocked to receive a complaint, and our chief executive wrote immediately to apologise for any offence caused and assure her that none was intended.
“She has accepted an invitation to visit the hospice on Monday.”
We then her from Lancashire Police, who say:
“We are aware of and investigating an incident that was reported to us as a hate crime on Thursday.”
And that’s the biggest joke of the lot.
Shoreham Airshow disaster: a look at reporting on the horrific accident that left seven dead in West Sussex.
The Sun: “Like a warzone”
The plane, a 1950s Hawker Hunter, was coming out of a loop the loop when it hit the road. Pilot Andy “Hilz” Hill was dragged from the carnage alive.
The plane had been attempting a loop- the-loop manoeuvre when it nosedived at 300mph into traffic queuing at a red light on the A27. A group of cyclists standing by the road were engulfed by a wall of flames.
Witness Tony Wallace, 48, tells what he saw:
“It looked like a warzone. The Hunter flew over us and did a loop to head back towards the airfield. But at the bottom it almost seemed to lose power and crashed into the A27 by the traffic lights. There were around 200 people watching on a hill and there was a gasp of horror and an enormous ball of flames.”
Motorist David Bell, 37, was close to the horror:
“There were four or five cyclists standing by the side of the road and they were all wiped out.”
— Ian Fowler (@ian_wfc) August 22, 2015
The Sun takes its bearings:
It headed in the direction of Lancing College public school, which is one and a half miles to the north of the airfield…
Were the pupils in danger on a Saturday afternoon during the summer holidays?
The school has a policy of ensuring it is empty during Shoreham air shows.
Why mention the school when there are so many homes in the area? Why would the Sun imply that school children were in danger? Are we supposed to imagine how much worse it could have been? Is a child’s life so much more sacred than those of the adult cyclists? The Sun’s angle is ghoulish.
Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, looks at the positives:
“Given the thousands of people attending the air show, we thank God that the aircraft did not hit a larger crowd.”
Sunday Times: “It looped the loop, but just carried on into the ground.”
After statements from many witnesses we hear of a victim:
One vehicle destroyed in the crash, a Daimler DS420 State Landaulette limousine, was on its way to a wedding. The chauffeur, in his seventies, is believed to have been killed. Jay Sherwin, owner of Chariots chauffeur hire, said: “We don’t know, we can’t find him. I don’t want to upset the bride and groom’s wedding day. They just know the car didn’t show up. They don’t know why.”
Who owned the plane?
The Hawker Hunter is believed to have belonged to Graham Peacock, the part owner of Malthurst, one of Britain’s biggest independent fuel retailers. Peacock, a former Texaco executive, started Malthurst in 1997 with £1,000 and 25 petrol sites leased from Texaco. He owns other vintage aircraft, including a Second World War Hawker Sea Fury.
Daily Mail: We learn that Andy Hill flies for British Airways. And we learn more of the impact.
The aircraft, which first entered service with the RAF in 1955, crushed a Vauxhall Corsa which was heading along the A27 passed the airport. The jet lost control after striking the car and soon broke up, engulfing a vintage Daimler DS420 in a fireball as the disintegrating jet sprayed burning aviation fuel over the carriageway. The Daimler was on the opposite side of the road, heading from Brighton towards Worthing when it was destroyed.
This is a story told by eyewitnesses who must be shaken by what they saw. Cue a crass request from the Mail for some of those “GREAT” photos of people dying on a day out in the summer:
— Chris Roberts (@1066Chris) August 22, 2015
The pictures tell the story:
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) August 22, 2015
— Carl (@AirForce_Carl) August 22, 2015
Chris Norman, 62, was on the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris when a man began shooting. Three Americans were also onboard. What happened next is a story about bona fide heroes. We hear a lot about the enemy, the nihilistic, death-loving jihadis – the shooter, 26-year-old Ayoub el-Qahzzani, has been linked to Islamist groups. But their enemy is fierce.
The Americans heard a noise. It sounded like a gun being loaded. The noise came from a locked toilet cubicle. The two military trained men – Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos, Air Force serviceman and member of the US National Guard, from Oregon, not long back from a tour of Afghanistan, respectively – jumped el-Qahzzani. They seized control of his automatic weapon. Now a third American, one Anthony Sadler, and the aforesaid Mr Norman joined in.
Mr Norman spoke to French media:
“I saw a guy carrying an AK-47, or at least I assumed it was some kind of machine gun, anyway. I ducked down in my seat, Alek looked at what was happening, Spencer looked at what was happening, and Alek said to Spencer, ‘Go get him’. Spencer jumped up and tackled him and actually started getting the terrorist under control. Alek jumped up and helped Spencer, followed immediately by Anthony, and I came in at the end of it all and I guess just helped get the guy under control at the end of it all.
“We ended up by tying him up, then during the process the guy actually pulled out a cutter and starting cutting Spencer.
“He cut Spencer behind the neck, he nearly cut his thumb off too. Spencer held him and we eventually got him under control. He went unconscious, I think.”
Mr Skarlatos added:
“Spencer ran a good 10 metres to get to the guy and we didn’t know that his gun wasn’t working or anything like that. Spencer just ran anyway and if anybody would have gotten shot it would have been Spencer for sure and we are very lucky that nobody got killed, especially Spencer…
Skarlatos disarmed the gunman’s cache of qeapons. He noticed that the loaded AK47 had jammed.
“If that guy’s weapon had been functioning properly I don’t even want to think about how it would have went. Spencer would have been dead for sure, because he was the first one up. We were incredibly lucky.”
These men are heroes. The word is overused. But you know one when you see the real deal. And it’s Spencer Stone.
Mr Sadler, a US student, says:
“I’m just a college student, it’s my last year in college, I came to see my friends on my first trip in Europe and we stopped a terrorist, it’s kind of crazy…. In the aftermath, we saw that a man’s throat had been split and he was bleeding profusely. Spencer, who has some paramedics training, just clogged up his neck so he wouldn’t die. This is all in the midst of Spencer bleeding profusely himself. It was just really heroic of him to do something like that…. If Alek didn’t yell ‘Go!’ and Spencer didn’t get up straight away who knows how many people he would have shot.”
Spencer Stone is in hospital. He’s on the mend.
Northern Stars Wars directed by Ken Loach.
How football reproting works. The Daily Star has ben writing about Arsenal’s annual move for Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema. Compare and contrast the Star’s scoops:
Benzema to join Arsenal on Tuesday
Arsenal set to unveil Karim Benzema before Liverpool game after he passes medical – ARSENAL will unveil the signing of Karim Benzema before kick-off of their game against Liverpool at the Emirates on Monday.
Monday it is, then.
But hold on a moment. Benzema has not had any medical. In fact, he’s not yet on sale.
Man United prepare to hijack Arsenal move for Real Madrid star Karim Benzema – MANCHESTER UNITED are monitoring Karim Benzema and are ready to move for him should he become available.
The Daily Star is not alone. In today’s Daily Telegraph – once upon a time the paper was a source of hard news – readers learn that Benzema is on his way:
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gunners charter private jet to fly Karim Benzema to London for medical
Fact! Or not. Because the story is based on a single tweet.
These claims are being made by Italian journalist Emanuele Giulianelli, who has become a familiar figure to Arsenal fans for his regular updates on the Benzema saga.
And what he says is:
Arsenal are believed to have rented a Gulfstream private jet to accommodate Benzema on Sunday evening.
What a man “believed” on twitter is news?
If you say it enough times, eventually it might happen.
Transfer Balls: Manchester United Want Neymar
Hold the phone! Manchester United are in “secret talks” to buy 23-year-old Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar, says the Sun. In a trice the secret talks are no longer secret.
Shaun Curtis writes: “a top Barcelona source has told SunSport the Red Devils have made a discreet approach to the La Liga champions.”
Not that discreet was it. After all, the approach only made it into the country’s largest-selling tabloid. A cynic might see it as a load of PR balls, a story rooted not in a bid for Neymar, rather in a desire to assure Manchester United fans that the team are thinking big.
Aree there any fact to support the anonymous source who says Man United have have made a secret approach to buy one of world footballer’s star names. Any facts?
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been to Barca three times in the last two months with all the talk being about United’s chase for Pedro. But, under the radar, Woodward has made an audacious bid for Neymar.
Man United never did buy Pedro, losing out to Chelsea for the winger’s signature, although the official Old Trafford line is that Van Gaal dropped his interest in the Spaniard at the 11th hour. Van Gaal has ben splitting hairs, telling media:
“When you ask me does Pedro fit into the profile, I cannot lie, then I say yes. I cannot deny that but I did not say I was interested — that’s the difference.”
Back to Neymar, of whom Curtis adds: “...the Brazilian superstar is well aware that if he moved to Old Trafford he would become the undisputed main man and a challenger for the title of World Player of the Year.”
Hispanic players dream of playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona. They do not dream of playing for Manchester United. But the Sun’s anonymous source has something to add: “United are one of the biggest clubs in the world so it is right they should be chasing a player who has the potential to be the best player on the planet.”
Chase away. You won’t catch him. But maybe the club’s shares will rise on the stock market and the fans will dream anew…
Transfer Balls: Kevin De Bruyne, who “cried every day” when he was at Stamford Bridge, has agreed personal terms with Manchester City, says the Guardian.
The 24-year-old winger will earn – get this – £200,000-a-week at City. For that money he might even kiss the badge.
The Belgian is scheduled to become City’s fifth new major signing of the summer. City need just to agree a fee with Wolfsburg. The paper says City will have to go as high as £55m.
The Daily Mirror says the deal has been done for £50m.
Is he really that good?
More news on Manchester United’s David De Gea, who is surely heading to Real Madrid. But having dropped the wantaway Spaniard, Man United manager Louis Van Gaal says he’s going to block any sale. The Dutchman told media:
“I think when Manchester United wants a player he shall come, besides when a club isn’t selling. It is the same with us. We are not selling De Gea.”
Van Gaal is pretty much the only Dutchman in top-flight football who speaks English worse than the English. But the end part of his tatement is clear: De Gea stays at Old Trafford.
Is all graffiti wrong? The Plymouth Herald says “RUDE graffiti” has been scrawled on a Devon road.
The message went:
‘Gingers smel of piss”
The misspelled statement was daubed on the B3227 between the village of Chittlehampton and Holsworthy.
Who did it? And why didn’t they alter the sign to Chittlehampton to say Shittlehampton?
It’s a mystery.
Quote of the week was supplied by Heather Mills, the fomer wife of Beatle Paul McCartney. Speaking to the Guardian, Mills spoke about she and Paul’s daughter, Beatrice:
Beatrice says she’s 99% me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I think she’s got the best of both of us, we’re both very musical. I taught her the saxophone, because her father can’t read music so I do all the music teaching, and I’m good with languages. She’s a brilliant poet so obviously gets that from him, but I think she’s got the best of both of us.
Mind tun to what Paul said of writing the not-all-that-unpopular song Yesterday:
“I just fell out of bed and it was there. I have a piano by the side of my bed and just got up and played the chords. I thought I must have heard it the night before or something, and spent about three weeks asking all the music people I knew, ‘What is this song?’ I couldn’t believe I’d written it.”
Had he heard it before? Did Heather Mills write Yestarday and all the Beatles hits? You know, in another life..?
Police in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, are looking for the parents of a baby found locked inside a safe at the Howard Johnson Hotel.
The family had approached the hotel’s cleaning staff in a panicked state at approximately 10am, saying their child was trapped in a safe in one of the three rooms. It took maintenance workers approximately 20 minutes to free the baby. Police say the baby was alert and crying at the time. It’s believed the family had difficulty communicating with hotel staff. “They did have a language barrier,” Det. Const. Amanda Sanders said. “And there was an incident that happened inside with one of the safes… the incident may have been nothing more than a preventable accident.”
Sources say they were from Brooklyn, New York. So much for the language barrier. That’s understandable, eh. But the mind reels as to how a baby accidentally gets locked inside a hotel room safe.
We might never know – the family left before the police arrived.
IKEA is a low circle of Hell. You do what you can to survive it. A 31-year old man from Aalborg, Denmark, used one of the store’s wooden pencils to draw small penises on the walls and pieces of furniture on display as he marked life’s ebb. “He drew up to 30 penises on walls and shelves around the warehouse,” says Rikke Poulsen from the North Jutland police.
“The man has admitted to being behind these drawings, but not as many as 30. He has no prior convictions and he has explained that he did it because he had seen similar drawings in IKEA. He has regretted his actions, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has still committed vandalism.”
The man received a suspended sentence of 20 days.
IKEA has yet to license his range of patterned homeware.
In 1987, Maggie Thatcher was well into her second term as British Prime Minister. With an election looming – which she won – Thatcher thought it a good idea to appear on the BBC’s Saturday morning show Saturday Superstore.
Dressed in uniform ‘hearing-aide beige’, Maggie would seduce the mums and dads to her cause and turn the kids on to politics. She tooks calls. One caller, an Alison Standfast, asked her, “Where will you be if nuclear war breaks out?” Maggie said she’d be in London, possibly stood amidst the ruins in a blackened concrete hellscape. It’d be awful but at least she could finally empathise with the miners.
Incidentally, Maggie wasn’t the most right-wing personality on show. That honour goes to presenter Mike Read, the BBC Radio DJ who released this record in praise of UKIP (remember them?). For resons unclear, Read sang his tune in a West Indian accent, like Max Bygraves.
Blair Ondria’s Etsy shop Chaos Costume gives you the chance to dress like an extra from the Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe.
“The construction of these hooves will be of high strength resin fused to a heelless 4 inch shoes. The arch is rigid plastic, and does not bend, so it keeps that beautiful silhouette, effortlessly.”
Are they comfortable?
Q: How hard are these to walk in?
A: Not very – if you’ve walked in stiletto heels, it’s about like that. They are very easy to move in, and do not roll-back easily.
Tails are optional.
Arsenal target Karim Benzema spends a fortune on a diamond ball
If Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema makes his much-speculated move to English Premier League giants Arsenal, he could bring with him his new prized possession, a $340,000 soccer ball. The 27-year-old French goal-scorer, who has been on the Gunners’ hit-list for months, reportedly purchased the 1,250 carat ball encrusted with 72,000 diamonds from a celebrity jeweller.
In a story grim enough to satisfy our lust to find a daily hate figure we read of “millionaire” Kim Davies, who created a patio from headstones stolen from children’s graves at a neglected chapel in Llechryd, South Wales.
The Daily Mail:
Kim Davies, 60, took tombstones from a derelict chapel and cemented them to the walls of Llanwenarth House in Abergavenny, South Wales, where Cecil Frances Alexander penned the famous hymn.
Newport Crown Court heard how planners were horrified when they saw the ‘decorative stone plaques’ had been used as part of a gaudy £1m makeover to the Grade II-listed home, turning it into a ‘palace for an Iron Curtain dictator’.
One of the 150-year-old gravestones was even engraved with the names of three brothers and a sister who all died while under the age of four.
The wealthy businessman also used some of the graves as flagstones for a patio which he built at the £2.2m country mansion. It means children are now lying in unmarked graves at the disused Soar-y-Graig Non Conformist chapel in the village of Llechryd.
All pretty disgusting. But, you could argue – but we won’t – that he at least put the dead’s post-life chattles to some use. In London, property prices are so dear that even the dead can’t afford the rent.
The Spectator reported in 2015:
Two marble graves are side by side. One is grey and encrusted, with moss growing over the top. The other is smooth and shiny white. It looks new but, in fact, like the grave next to it, it’s more than 100 years old. It’s not just been cleaned — its top layer has been shaved off completely. On its front are potted plants, hydrangeas and a can of Guinness. These are tributes to its new resident.
Its old resident, Robert John, died in 1894. His inscription is still there, on the back of the headstone. His remains are there, too, if they haven’t disappeared into the soil.
John’s grave is among 700 or so that have been re-used, or ‘shared’, in the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium in east London. They are all at least 75 years old. Any remains that are found are put in a hessian sack and reburied. A chatty porter admits it’s ‘a bit controversial’. ‘Not everyone is happy with it,’ he says.
The City of London explains how
studio flats graves work:
If you have visited the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium recently, you may have seen that we have some beautiful older and more traditional grave areas. These graves are often located in primary areas and have stunning memorials, and many of the graves within them have leases that are now extinguished.
The City of London Cemetery and Crematorium have a Heritage Programme that conserves the traditional heritage of these grave areas, but allows new families to lease existing graves and re-use the monuments already on them.
This gives you the option of perhaps obtaining a more substantial grave whilst preserving the history of our site.
As you can see from the pictures, the memorials are completely renovated and brought back to their former beauty. If a family decides to lease a grave in one of these areas, the memorial will be turned around leaving the original inscription on the reverse. This reveals a blank surface for the new lease holders to have there own inscription engraved on the headstone.
Some of the graves in this area have no memorial in place, allowing the new lease holders to purchase one of their own choice.
Now that you’re dead and you hurry up and decompose a little faster?
On Flashbak, the story of British road signs.
You might not know the name Margaret Calvert, but the British know her work. In 1964 Calvert and Jock Kinneir (1917-1974), her former tutor at Chelsea College of Art, finished creating the country’s road signs, like the one for Men At Work (above). (On 1 January 1965 the new road signage system became law)
Calvert says of the man digging: “Man having difficulty with a large umbrella… Of course, once you see that, it just looks like a large umbrella, but I don’t mind that.”
She told Frieze: “I now regret that I didn’t put a corner of a spade on the ‘men at work’ sign, it would have stopped all the jokes about a man struggling to put up an umbrella!”
Many of these pictograms…
“….were inspired by aspects of her own life. The cow featured in the triangular sign warning drivers to watch out for farm animals on the road was based on Patience, a cow on her relatives’ Warwickshire farm. Eager to make the school children crossing sign more accessible, she replaced the image of a boy in a school cap leading a little girl, with one of a girl – modelled on a photograph of herself as a child – with a younger boy.
Calvert described the old sign as being: “quite archaic, almost like an illustration from Enid Blyton… I wanted to make it more inclusive because comprehensives were starting up.”
The Sun is shocked. It has heard that Manchester United fans have been singing nasty things about wantaway goalkeeper David De Gea. Presented as an “exclusive“, the paper writes:
De Gea, 24, had arrived close to kick-off, hoping to sneak in unnoticed. But he was spotted by a handful of fans and greeted with a chorus of “f*** off you penny-pinching b*****d” as security went to let him in.
A handful of fans shouted abuse at a footballer. That’s an exclusive news story. It would have been a world exclusive had fans shouted abuse at a tree in a wood and made it fall down.
Onlookers said De Gea, who has yet to feature for United this season, looked visibly shaken.
The Sun continues to hammer the spat between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and club Doctor Eva Cerneiro. And today it gets deadly:
Muamba: Player could die Ex-Bolton star warns Jose over pitch docs
To recap: Eden Hazard, the player Dr Carneiro and Chelsea physio John Fearn dashed on to treat, had not passed out. He was not in his death throes. He was not in a dire state, as Muamba was when the then Bolton player’s heart stopped beating on the Tottenham pitch. The former England Under-21s midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest in March 2012. His heart stopped for 78 minutes.
Hazard was, to quote Mourinho, “tired”.
FABRICE MUAMBA has warned Jose Mourinho one of his players could die if he tries to stop a doctor going on the pitch.