Monday, 31 March 2008


When I was a young Bandage, I lived in a lovely Victorian end-terrace house. There was a park at the end of the road and that, which I frequently visited. This was, of course, in the days before paedophiles were invented.

In the early days, although we had an inside toilet (it being the mid-1970s), we also had an outside toilet, which was rank but occasionally handy. All good things must come to an end, as, indeed, must all bad things, and my parents had the toilet removed.

Unfortunately, we did not use a qualified toilet remover, we employed some bloke with a lump hammer who knocked it down and naffed off, crucially neglecting to stop up the pipe properly.

Flash forward a few years, and the chickens came home to roost. The flagstones in the adjoining alley collapsed into the mulchy horribleness caused by the unblocked pipe. The water board repaired the path, but the damage underground was already done.

Flash forward a couple more years and teenage Bandage went into the utility room just off the kitchen. They say that in the city you're no more than 10 feet away from a rat. On this occasion, I was no more than two feet away from one. It looked me in the eye, I looked back. Then we both ran away squeaking like mice. Girly mice. The rat's underground pad had been washed away by the toilet demolition, and since then he and his extended family had been living under our floorboards.

We called the exterminator, who dropped little red bowls of poison here and there about the house. "Don't let the dog eat it," he warned us. We'd guessed that. "What happens now," we asked. "The poison makes them drowsy, so you can kill them," he replied. We hadn't guessed that. We thought he was the exterminator.

For the next week, the men of the house, aided by our trusty Jack Russell ratter, Patch, went on a killing spree. Slightly drunk rats would stagger out, to be clubbed by the end of a walking stick, or their necks would be broken by the jaws of our runty dog.

Finally there were no more rats left. I felt like George Clooney at the end of From Dusk Till Dawn (which hadn't yet been made, just going to show that Jung was right). Rats are horrible, by the way. Not one redeeming feature.

It was two weeks later that the smell started. A sickly sweet smell whose origin could not be determined. Eventually we traced it to behind the television. We looked, our hearts in our mouths.

There was nothing there. Then I suggested that we check under the floorboards. We lifted the boards and there it was. A rat. A dead rat. A dead rat decomposing with its stomach cavity fizzing with a white substance.

"I'm not picking THAT up," I said.
"I'm not picking THAT up," said my uncle.
"Woof!" said the dog.

Then I remembered THIS. The robot hand toy I had been given years before. At last, a proper use for it. I gripped it and slowly manoeuvered it into position. I squeezed the trigger and CONGRATULATION! I SUCCESS! I lifted the rat by its head. I gently lifted it, ready to drop it into the Kwik Save bag being held open by my uncle, when . . .

SPLUP! The rat broke in two around the stomach and its hind quarters fell back into the hole. I was a bit sick in my mouth, but concentrated on the matter at robot hand. I dropped the head end into the bag, quickly went back for the other end, then emptied a bottle of bleach over the rat's next-to-last resting place. Then I ran upstairs to be sick like a big vomity sicko.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. It was this: never attempt to pick up a decomposing rat with a robot hand toy without the assistance and/or advice of a qualified structural engineer.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Well, really!

The little swines are at it again. I thought it was all sorted out after the last time, but apparently I was wrong.

Damn you, HSBC.


There's a special section of hell reserved for the people who design the treads on children's trainers. It's right next to the section for the people who let their dogs do little poos in the park.

I'm just saying, that's all.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Which Is Funnier? The Name Ratan Tata Or The Name Roderick?

Here is the cartoon again, as promised, but this time with the name Ratan Tata replacing the name Roderick.

Please click on the vote panel and put the whole Ratan Tata/Roderick question to bed, once and for all.

Thank you.

Sheep: An Explanation

I have had a number of comments about what I billed as the funniest cartoon in the world (which appears below, unless you're reading this a week or two from now, in which case you'll have to click on "Older Posts").

A few, but by all means not all, of you said they disagreed with my assertion vis a vis the fact they didn't get the joke.

So today's blog entry will explain the joke in such a way that everybody will be able to enjoy the cartoon.

Right, the first thing you have to take into account is that, to human eyes, all sheep look the same. White sheep, that is. Obviously even humans can tell the difference between a white sheep and a black sheep.

So the joke rests on the fact that, to us, the idea that a sheep could tell the difference between two identical other sheep to the extent of fancying one for mating purposes and not fancying the other is ludicrous.

In a way, though, the joke's on us. Of course, real sheep can tell each other apart, just as we can tell each other apart. Yet if an alien landed on earth, they would find it just as difficult to distinguish between, say, George Clooney and my colleague Fat Brian as we find it to distinguish between two white sheep.

There are other funny elements as well, chiefly the suggestion that sheep can talk, let alone speak colloquial English, and the name Roderick, which is inherently amusing, but these are very much the joke icing on the cartoon cake.

Now, have another look at the cartoon. I think you'll now agree it IS the funniest cartoon ever.

On an entirely different subject, there's an amusing amount of comment about the Indians taking over Jaguar, most of it based on A) their funny names, and B) fear of cars smelling a bit of curry. I don't remember similar jokes when the Americans took it over, but I'm 100% confident that there's no racism involved as it is now 2008.

That said, Ratan Tata is quite a funny name, though possibly not as funny as Roderick. Perhaps I'll republish the cartoon, substituting the name Ratan Tata for Roderick, and see if it is any funnier.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008


I've drawn a picture. I think it might be the funniest cartoon ever.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Under The Counter

That's a rum one, isn't it?

The government is planning to ban cigarette displays in shops. If you want to buy cigarettes you'll have to buy them from under the counter.

Now, in principle, I'm all for it. I don't like the smell of cigarettes and I've read, on more than one occasion, that they're bad for you. So any little obstacles the government can put in place to slightly put people off buying cigarettes is okay in my book.

In fact, why don't they change the name of cigarettes to something difficult to pronounce, like Zxcghrwiralzsczx, and only allow the sale to people who pronounce it correctly? They could even change the name every day, but not tell customers what it is. A bit like Rumpelstiltskin, but with cigarettes.

The only difficulty I can see with the government's proposal is the sheer size of the counters that will be required. There's a vast display of tobacco products behind the counter in most newsagents or supermarkets. If that's got to go under the counter, the counter will be huge. This surely discriminates against the small in stature (not necessarily midgets, or dwarfs, primordial or otherwise) who will no longer be able to see the newsagent's face when they're buying the People's Friend or a lottery ticket. So if the newsagent is making a rude expression, or putting up two fingers, they won't know. He could be making fun of their lack of height AND THEY WOULDN'T KNOW. How dare he, in fact? How bloody dare he?

Anyway I read about this on the BBC website, which directed me to other stories about smoking. Including this one. Have a read and then pop back.

Good to have you back again. Did you read it? I couldn't quite make it out, but apparently they've worked out that people who have smoked are twice as likely to become smokers as those people who never smoke.

So, what they are saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that people who have never smoked have never smoked. You can't, apparently, class yourself as a smoker if you have never smoked. It would be an ontological error, in point of fact.

Staggering, I think you'll agree. If it wasn't for this research, paid for by the charity Cancer Research UK, I would be stumbling through life thinking that lifelong non-smokers were smokers and that youngsters who had, in the first place, despite all the medical evidence, succumbed to peer pressure and tried cigarettes, were just as likely to take up smoking as those clean-living kids who wouldn't dream of picking up a cigarette.

With insightful research like this, I think it's a matter of days before we sort out that cancer cure once and for all.

And that's good news for everyone.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Ah . . .


10 Famous People You Imagine Are Dead But Are In Fact Still Alive

1 John Forsythe (Blake Carrington off Dynasty)
2 Alexander Solzhenitsyn
3 Doris Lessing
4 Pete Seeger (not yet in a Little Box)
5 Norman Wisdom
6 Ray Harryhausen
7 Ray Bradbury
8 Mickey Rooney
9 Cyd Charisse
10 Arthur C Clarke

Monday, 17 March 2008

Down The Dip

I saw a Double Dip behind the counter of the newsagent's shop today. Do you remember Double Dips from your childhood? I do - and from today, obviously.

If you don't remember them, or do and are happy to revisit the concept, I shall explain. They are two sachets of fruit-flavour sherbet, packaged with a hard sweet swizzle stick.

The idea is that the consumer, usually a child, sucks on the swizzle stick, then plunges it into the sherbet, which then adheres to the stick. The consumer then sucks or licks the sherbet off the swizzle stick. When the sherbet is finished, the consumer eats the swizzle stick.

I imagine that was quite a difficult one to sell to the chaps at product development. And here I am, imagining it . . .

Chap at Product Development: "Brian, Brian, Brian, mmm, right, okayyyyyy. Could you just take us through the Double Dip concept one more time?"
Brian: "Certainly. The consumer, usually a child, sucks on the the swizzle stick, then plunges it into the sherbet, which then adheres to the stick. The consumer then sucks or licks the sherbet off the swizzle stick. When the sherbet is finished, the consumer eats the swizzle stick."
CPD: "So, the consumer - let's call him Johnny - licks the swizzle stick . . ."
Brian: "That's right, Chap at Product Development . . ."
CPD: ". . . covering it with his own sputum-streaked saliva. Johnny then uses his sputum-streaked saliva-slicked swizzle stick to pick up the sherbet, leaving, presumably, some of that saliva behind inside the bag to soak into the sherbet."
Brian: "I think that's the tenor of my argument, yes."
CPD: "Can I just say, Brian, that that is the single most unpleasant confectionery idea ever presented to the Chaps at Product Development? It knocks that soft fudge Dog Poo bar proposal you came up with into a cocked hat."
Brian: "Did I mention that the sherbet makes children bounce off the walls for three straight hours?"

Incidentally, I made an off-the-cuff reference to Chantelle Houghton off Big Brother the other day and got a single hit from Birmingham, although I'm not sure he found what he was looking for.

I don't know what Charlotte Church would make of it, especially if she was in the nip, but I'm not impressed.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

The Friday List: Seven Statements Made In Popular Culture Which Are Literally Untrue

Diamonds Are Forever
No they're not. Although admittedly durable, they are not indestructible.

You Only Live Twice
With apologies to my many Hindu/Buddhist readers - and even in their theology reincarnation is very unlikely only to occur once.

You'll Never Walk Alone
Yes you will.

Only Fools And Horses Work (from the theme tune to the TV series Only Fools And Horses)
Two words: Stephen Hawking. Demonstrably not a fool, but still works tirelessly despite being a nailed-on candidate for Incapacity Benefit. Also not a horse.

The World Is Just A Great Big Onion (from the Motown classic The Onion Song)
I'm sorry, the late Marvin Gaye and the late Tammi Terrell, but it is very much not, as any geologist could have told you before your sad demises (cf the late David Niven's memoir The Moon's A Balloon)

Never Can Say Goodbye
You've just said it, Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson Five. You said it in the title of the song (cf Elton John's Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word).

All You Need Is Love
"What's that you say, Mr Bank Manager? I'm overdrawn to the tune of 68 squillion quids? Let me give you a hug, and I'll be on my way." I don't think so. I'm not knocking love. In fact, I think it's very good. But as the Beatles stated earlier in their careers "Your love gives me such a thrill/But your love don't pay my bills". Also, you need food and water.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A Typical Day

Let me tell you about my day. It was all going much as expected until lunchtime. I was on my way to buy a sandwich when I bumped into Alistair Darling. He was distracted, probably thinking about the budget, which, by the way, must not fudge the gap in public finances. Urgent action is needed, but it will be difficult to get it past the PM.

He apologised and went on his way. It was then I saw her - a Sony Vaio VGN-AR61ZU High power Full HD laptop with Blu-ray Disc™ drive (reader/writer) and TV tuner.

"What's a nice Sony Vaio VGN-AR61ZU like you doing in a place like this? She didn't answer as she was waiting for a new Vista driver for her sound card.

I scooped her up in my arms and whisked her back to my place. Stuff work, I thought. I placed her carefully on my bed as I had been warned Sony Vaio VGN-AR61ZUs are not particularly shock-resistant. And then we did sex. Four times.

When we had finished, I saw her to the door. And in the corridor, I spotted TV's Max Beesley borrowing a cup of sugar from my neighbour, Chantelle Houghton off Big Brother.

Close To Tears

I am disturbed, and more than a little disappointed, to discover that this blog is not among The Observer's 50 Most Influential Blogs.

All right, so I've only been writing this for a month or so, but really? I mean, how dare they? How bloody dare they? I've got thousands* of readers hanging on my every word. If I told you all to jump off a cliff, you would, wouldn't you? Yes you would, because I said so.

But, okay, it's their game. So be it. I've got to play by their rules. Now, I've been through the list and the most influential blogs appear to be about politics, technology, showbiz gossip or sex.

Watch this space** . . .

* Admittedly a lot of them are passive readers, in the sense that they are in the same building/city as somebody ACTIVELY reading this blog. But I'm happy to count them. I mean, there's nothing stopping them walking past a screen displaying this blog. That's just as good as reading it.

** Well, not that space. Nothing's going to change there, is it? I suppose I should have said "Watch the space above this blog entry". But then that will only work when I've published a new blog entry. And if I've done that, you'll have already read it.
I wish I hadn't said anything now.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Spare A Copper For A Poor Guerilla Artist?

There's been a terrible kerfuffle in Liverpool over the last few months.

As many of you will be aware, Liverpool is the 2008 European Capital of Culture and, at the same time is a bit of a building site.

So we've all been tidying up before all the visitors come, shoving the newspapers under the cushions and hiding that dirty cup with the mould in that we've been meaning to wash for ages (but to be honest the longer we've left it the worse it's become and maybe we should just throw it away) behind the sofa. We haven't really been doing that. It's a clever metaphor for the way the city has been covering up rank old crumbling buildings with lovely orange and purple billboards advertising Capital of Culture.

And that, I'm afraid, is the cause of the terrible kerfuffle to which I referred right at the top of this post.

You see, the Culture Company decided to cover up the derelict White Horse pub on Berry Street in Chinatown (Liverpool has a Chinatown, but no proper Little Italy) with lovely billboards saying how great art is. But the White Horse is already covered with art created by the guerilla artist Banksy. That's irony, I think. I'm never quite sure what irony is. Anyway, there's obviously been some sort of cock-up.

Why am I writing about this? Well, I'm glad you asked. It seems to me that Banksy has brought a lot of this on himself.

Here's some Banksy work. See how it works. He paints pictures ON THE WALL. The wall! I ask you. And he's a master of metaphor too, just like me (see that bit above about the dirty cup). See it's like children pledging allegiance to a supermarket carrier bag.* I think what he's trying to say is that supermarkets are becoming more and more important and having more and more influence on our lives. It's genius, and I doubt most strongly it's ever been noted before.

Now Banksy's work fetches thousands and thousands of pounds. But as he's an anarchic superhero, I'm 100 per cent confident he gives all his money away.

I think that if Banksy did his painting on canvases, in the conventional 'bourgeois' manner, rather than on walls, he'd be able to A) sell them more easily (it's not like you can buy a wall and take it home with you) and B) move them if ever somebody comes along with big colourful hoardings. Everyone would be happy.

So I propose to set up a small fund - Canvas For Banksy (or CFB for short) - raising money to buy Banksy canvases, just to get him on his feet. Once he's making proper money, I'm sure he'll pay us back, maybe by drawing a picture of George W Bush as Ronald McDonald, or Adolf Hitler, or something, on a pretend dollar bill/five pound note. We could then sell them for literally thousands of pounds.

* It's a bit like a Tesco bag. But it's no Tesco bag I've ever seen, because all the ones I've ever seen have the name Tesco at the bottom and the stripes at the top, whereas this is the other way round. Perhaps he's saying that there's something topsy-turvy about Tesco and/or the world. See! Layers upon layers! I told you he was brilliant.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

More Sandwiches Than Anyone Would Need, Frankly

This is getting ridiculous. Regular Bandage readers will be aware of the Subway franchise which opened in my back garden a month or two ago.

I quote from the estimable Liverpool Confidential website

I was frankly astonished to discover this morning that Subway has opened another shop in my back garden. I drew back the curtains this morning and there it was, open for business and selling big breakfast specials. What worries me, however, even more than the sheer numbers of people trampling my lawn in their haste to buy a foot-long Meatball Marinara, is the effect on my kitchen. I don't think it will be sustainable to run my own gaff if Subway undercuts my toast budget. And even as I type this, a man in Subway green overalls is measuring up the space of the desk next to me in my office, which is currently unoccupied. The buggers are taking over. Soon all of Liverpool's Tesco, Subway and Costa outlets will have to exist in the same space but on different vibrational planes. You mark my words.

Anyway, this morning I popped in for a Philly Cheese-steak and was perturbed (yes, perturbed. I don't think that's too strong a word) to see that a smaller Subway franchise had opened up INSIDE the restaurant.

And through its window, I could see three small men, about the size of Gurkhas, beavering away, with hammers and saws and that, building an even smaller Subway INSIDE that.

The Lord knows what will happen when that's finished, but I'll wager it will involve primordial dwarfs building another Subway INSIDE that in some insane Russian doll-style arrangement, only with sandwich bars.

It's wrong, isn't it? Damn them. And then beat them. And then damn them again.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Not Nina Persson's band

Look here! Look! Look! Then come back here.

Cardigans have made a comeback (not the Swedish band, the garment).

And apparently, it's all thanks to David Beckham.

No balaclava yet, but we can only live in hope.

Keep the faith for the the sake of lovely toasty ears.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Star Man

I was vaguely interested in the news that the British government hired an astrologer because they thought Hitler was getting advice from the stars.

That's a lovely image, isn't it? All the Nazis sitting around in their Evil Nazi HQ office, bored. Then Goebbels picks up his copy of Heat and starts flicking through . . .

Goebbels: "Ooh, I didn't know Marlene Dietrich was a lesbian. Didn't we ban those?"
Himmler: "I hope not. I think it was just the butch ones."
Hitler: "I knew that. I knew she was a lesbian. Leni Riefenstahl told me. I wouldn't leave her alone with my Eva. Or maybe I would, hur, hur. Ooh, let's see. Is that Greta Garbo? Blimey, she looks rough. Huh, mashed Swede."
Goebbels: "Oi, give that back. That's mine."
Hitler: "Who died and made you Fuhrer? Watch it, Herm, or it's the death camps for you."
(laughter, then silence)
Goebbels: "According to this I'm going to meet a dark stranger . . ."
Himmler: ". . . Then kill him. Death to all non-Aryans . . . apart from you, boss."
Hitler: "Cheeky! I am Aryan. Actually, I'm Taurean. What does it say for me?"
Goebbels: "A situation in your personal life is beginning to spiral out of control. In fact, if you are not careful it's going to affect your work soon, Taurus. Decide on a path and take it but don't allow others to dictate to you. Invade Poland."

I bet that's exactly how it happened.