Wednesday, 30 June 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Transcript of Russian Spy Conversation

(We are at the house of Dimitry, codename Dwayne, a member of the Russian spy ring. The transcript is evidence of the lengths to which members of the ring have gone in order to conceal their true identities. They have been living ordinary suburban lives and interracting effortlessly with local people and tradesmen. In this section, the delivery man Michael knocks at the front door.)

Michael:  Hi Dwayne, how are you? Couldn't remember... was it one pint of milk or two you ordered?

Dwayne:  The milk in Volgograd is always warm at this time of year.

Michael:  Yeah, sure, Dwayne. Whatever you say. So is it one pint or two? Half fat or skimmed?

Dwayne:  The skim operation is confirmed. The codes will be sent to the house of Madame Bartok in Bucharest before sunset.

Michael:  So, I take it you want skimmed. Right?

(A plumber turns up and tries to squeeze past Michael.)

Plumber:  Hi, someone called out a plumber? Problem with a hot water tank?

Dwayne:  The tanks will roll into Gdansk when the last swallow sings Chopin Mazurka in B minor.

Plumber:  Sorry, Buddy? Must have been your wife called us. Hot water tank sprung a leak?

Michael:  (Impatient) Listen Dwayne, i'll just leave you with one pint of each... half and half... and skimmed? Okay?

Dwayne:  The representative, codename Chester, will be sitting on the white bench by the bandstand in Arlington Park. You will ask him whether the milk will turn to cheese in St Petersberg after the lark return in November. He will pass you the instructions for the rendez-vous and the money

Michael:  Yeah, whatever Dwayne. Same old routine. (Leaves milk and departs).

Plumber:  Hello??? Can you take me to the tank, the hot water tank? Time is money, remember?

Dwayne:  No, Vladimir will show you the tanks when you will arrive and he will explain the plans for the Warsaw Three. But please now to leave the microfiche with my wife.

Plumber:  (Ignoring him) Fine. I'll ask your wife where to go.

(Dwayne's wife Lilly appears at the door and invites the plumber in.)

Dwayne:  Lilly, the 'plumbing man', he will leave you the microfiche. Please to take good care of him. See he come to no harm.

Lilly:  Yeah, whatever you say, Dwayne. (To plumber) Don't mind him, he's always like this.

(A travelling salesman appears at the door. He opens his case and takes out a bundle of insurance documents.)

Salesman:  Hi, have you ever considered what you would do in the event you were taken ill or had an accident? How would you pay your bills? What exactly would you do for income?

Dwayne:  Please ask the man from Tashkent who is serving at the hotdog stand on Virginia Road about 'the income'. He will pass you the identity papers which you will carry to the candy store in shopping centre and ask for Anna. Please to make sure that it is only Anna you talk to.

Salesman:  Sorry, I don't follow. If I've caught you at a bad time I can always come back later.

Dwayne:  No, you please to leave these documents with me. I will photograph and you will return at Midday precisely. Lilly, my wife, will open door and you will ask her whether the weather in Kamchatka is pleasant at this time of year. Then she will say it depend on the prevailing wind. Then I will come to the door and return the documents to you. You then take them to pretzel vendor outside Ukraine Embassy and he will dispose of them.

Salesman: Yeah, Bud. Whatever you say. (He eyes Dwayne quizzically then hands him one of the forms. He leaves and mutters to himself) Jesus, guy's a fruitcake.

(A man and a woman, both in smart suits walk up the path. They are holding out what appear to be books. They address Dwayne).

Suits:  Hello, have you five minutes, Sir?

Dwayne: (Suspicious) Er... yes. Please to tell me. What is it precisely?

Suits: We would like to ask you a question.

Dwayne: (Looks worried) What kind of question?

Suits: We'll get straight to the point.

Dwayne:  (Looks really worried) Okay, what do you want to know?

Suits:  Have you ever asked yourself whether Jesus loves you?

Dwayne:  Oh, no!

Suits:  Have you ever asked yourself what you need to do to let Jesus into your heart?

Dwayne:  Oh my God. (Calls into the house) Lilly! Lilly!

Suits:  Will you pray with us and let Jesus save you?

Dwayne:  Lilly. It is undercover FBI. Quick! Hurry! Out of the house, no time to delay. The undercover FBI they come to arrest us. Run! Fast as you can.

(Dwayne bolts down the path. He is seen vanishing into the distance glancing back a couple of times and shouting.)

             Please. There is no evidence. I pass no secrets yet. I am innocent man. We haven't done nothing wrong.

Suits:  (Eyeing each other. Then in unison) It's happened again.

First suit:  Would you believe it? Every time... Why do they always do that?

Second Suit:  Lord knows... Suspicious, I suppose. For some reason they just cannot seem to believe that we're for real.

First Suit:  Makes no sense. No sense at all. We're for real alright.

Second Suit:  Too right we're for real!

Monday, 28 June 2010

All the World's a Pulpit

(The Archbishop of Canterbury and The Pope discuss Globalisation)

Pope:  Firstly, Archbishop Williams, may I offer you my condolences regarding your football team's losses in the World Cup games in South Africa. It was most exhilarating, I mean, upsetting.

Canterbury:  (Confused) That is very kind, Your Holiness. Not that I...

Pope:  Follow the game closely?

Canterbury:  Well...

Pope:  I do understand. Neither do I.

Canterbury:  But may I also offer you mine, my condolences to your team... well to the Italian team at least... even if... the Vatican and, and... Italy are not exactly one and the same thing.

Pope:  Indeed, they are not exactly one and the same. But thank you for your consideration. I will pass it on to Signor Berlusconi when I next meet with him.

Canterbury:  I do feel that it's rather sad when men who are considered giants in their own countries - and with salaries to boot - lose some of their, shall we say, status when it comes to the world stage.

Pope:  Indeed it is. And it appears that your footballers are among the highest paid in the whole world. There is clearly no correlation between the money your managers pay them and their performance against other nations.

Canterbury:  It would appear not. This is perhaps one of the unforeseen consequences of globalisation, I fear. A man's value changes according to the context in which he appears, in which he acts, in which he transacts... It is the same, I suppose, for the Asian factory worker, who appears to have a different value to the worker in my country... or indeed in Italy, for that matter.

Pope:  Yes... unforeseen consquences indeed... this is a possible downside of globalisation... And something that gives many amongst us some cause for concern.

Canterbury:  (Nervous, hesitant) Of course... in a sense... you could say that we - our churches - led the way in this field.

Pope:  How do you mean, Archbishop Williams?

Canterbury:  Well... In globalisation, I mean. In a very real sense, we - our churches, yours and mine - invented globalisation. We can indeed acknowledge that our missionaries, our pilgrims were visiting far flung places and trying to 'globalise' the faith, if you like, long before Sir Walter Raleigh or General Clive or The East India Company were attempting to diversify their interests, their specific business interests... if I can put it that way.

Pope:  You can put it any way you like, Archbishop Williams. I always do. However, you are right. We did diversify, as you correctly say, long before the businessmen were spreading their own little 'Gospel'.

Canterbury:  And of course, if you don't mind my saying, your particular 'Gospel' was not always totally devoid of commercial endeavour. Would you agree?

Pope:  What can you mean, commercial endeavour?

Canterbury:  (Looks awkward, keen not to offend) What I mean is that the spreading of the early faith was, I would say, to some extent accompanied by the spreading of certain commercially lucrative practices.

Pope:  Commercially lucrative practices? What in the good name of the Lord are you talking about? There were no commercially lucrative practices.

Canterbury:  (Hesitant) Well, without wanting to er... cause offence, you could say that the spreading, the selling of indulgences had certain commercial ramifications... in that it paid for the building of St.Peters in Rome.

Pope:  How dare you, insolent Anglican. St. Peters was a dedication to the faith. Those who helped build it were doing God's work, not the work of Mammon.

Canterbury:  (Uncomfortable) Oh, er... No, I didn't mean it quite like that, your Holiness. And I am most sorry if I have caused offence.

Pope:  As so you should. There is no comparison between St. Peters and your East India company or your Lloyds of London or your Standard Chartered Bank.

Canterbury:  No, of course not. Nor would I venture to suggest that there were. I was really referring more to the selling of indulgences per se... as an issue. I am sure you would agree, none of us would like to see a return to that particularly global practice, would we?

Pope:  Can you Protestants stop busting my balls. Indulgence of all sorts are acceptable within the Catholica Church. As a matter of fact, one thing that a lot of us in the Church could do with right now is indulgence... if not indulgences.

Canterbury:  (Summoning up the courage) Well, if I may be so bold... Your, Your Holiness... Maybe - I would venture to suggest - a little less indulgence, or indulgences, on a global scale is, are what is needed right now.

Pope:  How do you mean, Bish?

Canterbury:  (Hesitant) Er, Archbishop, if you wouldn't mind.

Pope:  Bish, Archbish. Whatever. Anglican is what Anglican does.

Canterbury:  (Mildly hurt) Oh, I see... well... erm, what I was about to say was that, that... now that Catholic Priests the world over are being roundly condemned for the way in which they have been indulging themselves when they are, erm 'treating their flock', as it were...

Pope:  (Aggressively) Yes...?

Canterbury:  Well, maybe you'll be so kind as to keep your hands off... off my priests, if that is, well, acceptable to you.

Pope:  Do not understand. Please explain.

Canterbury:  Your Holiness... Would it be asking too much, if I, if I suggested, if I requested that you cease, as it were, grooming the somewhat higher Anglicans within my Church... with a view to turning them to Rome. That particular approach to globalisation is one that does not sit easily with a lot of people in my country right now, I have to say.

Pope:  Listen, Buster. If things carry on as they are for the Catholica Church, I am going to need to cast my net as far and as wide as I can. I'm gonna need to get a whole lot of new priests on board - wherever on the globe they might happen to be.

Canterbury:  (Calmly, Resigned) Hmm... I see. Yes... I suppose that you do have a point. I do not wish to appear uncharitable, of course, not at a time like this... Your church is indeed in a spot of bother, is it not?

Pope:  Not kidding, Buster.

Canterbury:  Archbishop. I'm an Archbishop.

Pope:  Yeah, whatever, Archbishop.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Consider the Utilities

An address by the the Archbishop of Cant

Everywhere, the train companies are going off the rails, the water companies are dry and arid, the energy companies see their power ebbing away.

But spare a thought for the poor, downtrodden shareholders. For years they have seen the money pouring in to their bank accounts. They have been secure in the knowledge that their investments will go up and up and up. And even in the proverbial 'bear market' there is one thing of which they have always been certain - and that is the Holy Dividend.

These humble shareholder have a right to receive such dividends. It is clearly stated in the Book of Profits that "no state Utility, once it is privatised, shall exist purely for the benefit of the consumers." Indeed the consumers exists "purely for the benefit of the shareholders, who shall readily fleece the consumers, through good times and bad - yea, even when the waters do run dry and even when the power does black out."

But what is it we see before us now? The persecuted Utility companies are being harried on all sides by the rabble who do champion the rights of the needy consumers. The companies are told to lower their tariffs, they are told to improve the quality of their services, they are indeed even commanded to invest heavily in the infrastructure of their operations. And to what end? So that the whingeing consumers can whinge some more about the poor quality of the services that the Utilities do provide.

Think upon this: Whence shall that money for investment originate? Will it be the government that does provide? I fear not. The government says that it must cut the deficit and that investment in public utilities must henceforth be scaled back. Will it be the consumer who will pay more? Again, it is most unlikely as the turbulent watchdogs do announce that the consumer is already fleeced enough.

So whence shall it come, this capital? Yes, it shall come from the much maligned shareholders, who were from the outset led to believe that their investments would offer up never ending flows of cash, flows indeed that would vanquish for eternity that great terror of the investors through the ages - that investments could go down as well as up.

Are we therefore to ignore the plight of these poor shareholders? Will we leave them high and dry? I sincerely hope not. No, we must not abandon these good men and women in their hour of need. We shall not cut off that guaranteed flow of capital. For it is a God given right, as set out in the Book of Investors.

And so it is that I ask you now, you, the consumer, to help out those who have stood close by you when you did need your water and did demand your power. I ask you now to look out for these poor hard-done-by souls. I ask you to look within your selves and to dig deep within your pockets. I ask you to help out thus:-

- One pound excess charge donated by every rail user will add millions to the overall dividend of any rail company.

- Ten pounds overpay on your water bill will ensure healthy profits next year and beyond, irrespective of the capital investment made by the water company.

- One hundred thousand pounds paid to the Tony Hayward Give Me My Life Back Fund will do bugger all for the Gulf, for the fishermen, nay even for shareholders. But, yea verily, it will indeed put a big and happy smile back on that ass-hole's face.

Please give generously!


Friday, 25 June 2010

Yes Goddess, no Goddess, three bags full, Goddess

On BBC's Today programme, a sycophantic presenter quizzes a blond ex-model on her business dealings with Arabia.

Dramatis Personae:

- Sycophantic Man (Hereafter known as SM)
- Blond Chick (Hereafter known as BC)

SM:  (Obsequious) What may I call you, your Ladyship, your Greatness?

BC:  Call me Goddess, you little creep

SM:  Yes Goddess. I will indeed call you by that - if I may say so - most appropriate form of address. Now can I ask you first of all, can I get inside your knickers, Goddess?

BC:  Not in the sense you mean, you horrid man. But if you beg and lick my boots clean I will literally sell you my knickers at the end of the programme. That is, if one of my wealthy clients doesn't bid for them first.

SM: Thank you Goddess. I will lick your boots until you can see your beautiful reflection in them.

BC:  Good. That's what I want to hear, you snivelling little twerp.

SM: Now, can I ask you, are you patriotic?

BC:  You'll regret asking that question you ghastly little man. Of course I'm patriotic. I have flogged some of the UK's biggest companies to the Arabs.

SM:  Yes and in a sense that is what I am getting at. Is it patriotic to do such a thing?

BC:  What kind of a question is that, you loathsome creature? If I hadn't sold these companies, they would have been bailed out by the British government. How patriotic is that?

SM:  Well, smarm smarm, I suppose that they would have remained more British, your Goddess-ship, would they not?

BC:  And why should British taxpayers pay to bailout lame British companies, slime-ball?

SM:  Oh, I see what you are getting at, your Goddess-ship. You managed to get your friends in Qatar to waste their money on our crumbling institutions. Therefore, you were doing your patriotic duty. Is that it?

BC:  Well, hello, creepo? That's exactly what I am saying.I offloaded them. A very patriotic thing to do in my opinion.

SM:  And is that the way in which your friends in the Emirates see it? They were taking degenerate British companies off our hands?

BC:  Of course not you pathetic little man. They simply wanted to buy a bit of British arse. Which is precisely what they did.

SM:  Yes, they sure did. And congratulations to you, venerable Goddess for achieving such a win-win situation.

BC:  What would you know about win-win situations, you miserable loser?

SM:  Nothing, Ma'am, I mean, Goddess. I was just desperate to pay you more compliments. But I admit, I am indeed a loser.

BC:  You can say that again. Now have you any other moronic questions, little man.

SM:  No, your Goddess-ship. I'm done.

BC:  No you're not. These boots aren't nearly shiny enough. Get licking, you worm.

SM: Yes, Goddess, I apologise for my lowliness.

BC: Yuk. I think I'm going to be sick. Can you get a move on?

SM:  (Licking her boots and then coming up for air) Yes... Yes, delectable Goddess... and thank you very much for coming onto the Today programme.

BC: Oh, piss off!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

BP's Tony Hayward gets serious with the Gulf of Mexico robot

(The disgraced CEO has decided personally to sack the robot that caused the latest oil leak in the gulf. Here's a transcript of the exit interview, as published in Rolling Stoned Magazine.)

Hayward: You understand I had to do this personally, don't you robot?

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: I had to be seen to be acting decisively.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: Exactly. Affirmative. Got it in one... People in the US have to know I'm capable of affirmative action.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: And when you sack a robot, you can be sure, it's nothing personal. My actions... they're nothing personal.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: But it shows I'm getting tough. Just as Obama got tough with Stanley McChrystal, that is what I am doing now. Getting tough with you, robot.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: I want the Yanks to know what a tough man I really am.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: (Frowns) By the way... do you say anything other than affirmative?

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: So what's that, then? What else do you say?

Robot: Negative

Hayward: (Chuckles nervously) Oh right... Yeah... Gotcha. (Scratches his head) So let me ask you. When you collided with the oil cap the other day, did you view that as an affirmative or a negative action?

Robot: (Tries to respond but freezes. Sparks start flying out of its head) Aff...aff... aff... neg... neg... neg... aff...

Hayward: (Worried) Oh dear, you don't know how to answer that one do you, robot? You are really, really confused.

Robot: (More sparks) Aff... aff... aff... neg... neg... aff...

Hayward: You're not going to short circuit on me, robot? I wouldn't want to be responsible for more tragedy. After all that's gone on in the gulf.

Robot: (Unfreezes) Negative

Hayward: (Visibly relieved) Phew. You had me worried for a moment just then, robot. Thought you might flip on me. You know, thought you might go loco as they say in the Gulf of Mexico.

Robot: Negative

Hayward: (Smiles) But hey... You know what? That's got me thinking, robot. You seem like a robot after my own heart. I like the way you didn't give a meaningful response to my difficult and confusing question. I like the way you weren't sure whether your actions were negative or affirmative. I like the way you went into a kind of meltdown just then, but you didn't actually... go into a meltdown.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: (Chuckles) Yeah... affirmative... I like all this affirmative / negative buzz as well

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: Yeah, so like, I was thinking... maybe I shouldn't sack you. Maybe it's you who should take over day to day running of BP... especially focusing on the clean up operation in the gulf.

Robot: Affirmative

Hayward: Well that's just brilliant! That's ace! Affirmative!!! Welcome to the club, robot... Now I am goin' to teach you to say one more thing. Very important this... especially for a robot... Now, repeat after me: I just want to get my life back.

Robot: (Effortlessly) I just want to get my life back

Hayward: That's really brilliant, robot. I'm really impressed.

Robot: Affirmative.

Hayward: Boy, Congress won't stand a chance... next time they want to interview the guy running the clean up operation in the gulf. Not a chance!

Robot: Affirmative.

Hayward: Robot... I can tell you one thing... You'll go far in BP. You really will... GO FAR...

Robot: (Pauses, appears to turn this comment over in its micro-processor head. After a few moments, it resumes) Affirmative.

Hayward: Yes, robot... affirmative, robot. You really will... you will go far.

Robot: Affirmative

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

News in Brief

Large Hadron Collider: scientists create the racket of the ‘God particle’

Scientists hoping to make the £6bn Hadron experiment more accessible claim to have simulated the sounds that will be made by sub-atomic particles such as the Higgs boson when they are produced at the Collider. Their goal is to "listen to the data" and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.

Said one scientist: "Now you can listen to the baloney as it emerges from the collider, rather than just read about it in the newspapers."

When asked for his take on the Higgs Bozo particle, artist and comedian Rolf Harris added: "Can you hear what it is yet?"

Budget draws ideological battle lines (allegedly)

The BBC has denied any ideological bias in its reporting of the budget. In an interview with George Osborne on the flagship Today programme Evan Davis suggested that many of The Chancellor's budget measures were ideological. There is no word yet as to whether Davis's line of questioning was itself ideological. But The Old Meerkat will no doubt enlighten listeners at some point.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Budget: Long Faces at Disney

It's not just the Mickey Mouse jobs, the Donald Duck sinecures. Councils throughout Britain fear its the final curtain for thousands of useless posts created during New Labour's time in office. Who will now pay for what the deprived and destitute really need: Totem Pole Artists, Putting People First Programme Managers, City Events and International Links Officers?

The cruel old Chancellor has decided to slice and dice the public sector and throughout the land people in jobs serving no useful purpose whatsoever will find themselves on the scrapheap - as if they weren't effectively already.

Said one Wellbeing and Looking Outwards Analyst: "My job which used to pay a mere 35K a year was a lifeline for the many useless and boring people who lurk around the corridors of Britain's council offices. I used to go round making sure that people took tea breaks and went for walks in the park just as they're supposed to do and just as it says in their contracts. Do you not see? People who are in dead-end jobs need people like me to tell them to get a life. These cuts are an absolute tragedy. Now it's me who's going to have to get a life. And there's no one out there who's going to tell me to do it. Well, apart from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that is. The bastard."

Monday, 21 June 2010

BP and the Bermuda Triangle

Could it be true? The oil spill was not the fault of BP, but was really the latest ghostly manifestation of the Bermuda Triangle? Word going round the higher echelons of the troubled company is that it is as much a victim of the ecological disaster as the struggling Gulf of Mexico fishermen.

"We are all yachting men and we know troubled waters when we see them. For example, we will never sail through an oil slick. No way! It makes our lovely white hulls all black and slimy. And if that happens you have to get out your big boat brush and spend all weekend a-scrubbing and a-whitewashing. It'll be bloody ages before you get your life back, be in no doubt.

"And another thing we boating fellows know is that you NEVER, I repeat NEVER sail into or within close proximity of the Bermuda triangle. It's a hell-hole. It has taken down many a boat and many a skipper with much bigger balls than any of us might hope to possess. And we are now working on the theory that this Triangle might be the root cause of the catastrophic spill.

A spokeman for BP was pressed on this point. He was asked first: Was the well-head really that close to the legendary Triangle? Second, did this spooky manifestation have much form when it came to screwing with deep water drilling, especially of the oil variety?

He responded: Who knows? There has to be a first time for every triangle. Maybe that well-head was more than this ghostly entity could resist. And anyway, if it ain't the Bermuda Triangle, we're also looking into suggestions that it might be the Bahamas Triangle, the Cayman Triangle, The Monte Carlo Triangle... Who knows, even the Tripoli Triangle?"

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Aimless Amis

Amis stalks the streets, walks tall again. Grown men sweat when they see him coming.  And boy does he come. Everywhere. That's what Marty kinda knows best: He just comes and comes and comes. Everywhere. Fucking everywhere.

Marty, he's a bully. But he's no funker - not like the other guys who bully. He's incredibly brave. He goes straight through the door and shows them all who's boss. When he fights, he's reckless. But he's also just. He hits the hitters. The big hitters. The really, really big fucking hitters.

But politics ain't where it's at these days, says Marty. Britain's become a global irrelevance. It's dominated by bad guys - "touchy vain power-hungry politicians obsessed by maintaining face." Even Cameron. Has. No. Impact.

And when these guys, these political guys have no impact, then Marty kinda cannot get a handle on politics.

Shame. Real shame. No one told Marty about meltdown - that's the financial meltdown to you and me, brothers and sisters. Looks like he also forgot BP and the Gulf of Mexico spill. That's a Brit issue. And did he care to ask: What happened to the previous guy? You know, the previous guy? The last occupant of No.10?

Maybe Marty doesn't really care.

Or doesn't know.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Sheffield Steal

The people of Sheffield are quite literally up in arms because spending committments made by a bunch of dodgy geezers will not be honoured by the coalition government. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced that promises made by the outgoing Labour government were totally unfunded and therefore cannot be honoured. Local people are angry that this will mean a loss of jobs in the area (even though no jobs have yet been created.)

Said one local businessman: "I am utterly gutted. These very pleasant Arthur Daley characters visited us before the general election and generously offered us a huge wad of cash, no questions asked mind, if we promised to vote Labour. Well, we kept our part of the bargain and supported Gordon Brown and yet now we are not getting our new factory or our shiny new hospital. It's not right."

Another Sheffield man said: "What's the world coming to when this coalition government won't make good the promises given by a bunch of crooks and charlatans. I mean, even BBC's Newsnight thinks that the coalition government is out of order. And it should know what "out of order" means.

On other pages: Television has-been Lord Sugar ("you're tired") thinks President Obama and Congress actually give a toss about his views on BP

BP investors are outraged, disgusted and screaming blue murder

Shareholders in BP are appalled by the news that the company is to suspend this year's dividend payout.The move by the oil giant has been described as a crippling blow for investors, an appalling betrayal of the rich and needy.

BP is responsible for £1 in every £7 of dividends paid by FTSE 100 companies and the company on average doles out around £1.8billion in dividends every three months. But after a meeting with President Obama on Wednesday, it was announced that the days of easy money are over. Waves of filthy lucre will not be gushing into the pockets of investors - for this year at least.

One enraged fund manager said: "We all know you gotta speculate to accumulate, but with BP it was always supposed to be different. We thought you could just accumulate to accumulate... and then you accumulate some more and you just keep on accumuating and accumulating for ever and ever and ever, Amen. But this? Well, this is plain disgusting!

A leading shareholder began frothing at the mouth, tore all his hair out and screamed: "They always say that the value of investments can go down as well as up. But them guys in the know, they always kinda said that BP was a dead cert. So, does it really take one teensy-weensy little oil spill in a far off place to stop the flow of lovely, lovely lolly? Let's face it, the oil keeps on going up and up (into the Gulf of Mexico). And if that's the case, then surely so should the value of the dividend. You know what I say, Pal? I love my money to be slimy, grubby and permanently on tap... rather like BP's oil, when you think about it."

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Big Tent is Dead. Long Live the Teepee

It's official. That dirty great marquee, smeared with brash corporate logos, sponsored by peddlers, pimps, booze cruisers and bling merchants is being taken down piece by piece, crooked tent pole by crooked tent pole. The naff, the vulgar, the vacuous, the money-obsessed are slowly being sent on their sleazy way while ordinary people wander back to their teepees and to lives less shallow, less ephemeral.

The illusion of prosperity, generated by grubby casino capitalism, by life high-on-the-hog is crumbling before our very eyes and reality is dawning. God-willing, the veneration of celebrity, of success borne out of cheap and easy money and empty fame is becoming a thing of the past. It is time for the ordinary citizen to re-engage with what really matters in life: Family, friendship, love and learning... At least, that is the hope...

The unexamined life is not worth living, said Socrates. And let us pray, now that the ghastly confidence trick is over, now that spin is viewed with mistrust even contempt, that people will start examining their lives - not through the prism of political or corporate or commercial narrative nor 'correctness', but through their own eyes, taking into account their own concerns and the issues that really matter to them and those all around them.

And is celebrity dead? No. It never was and never will be. These shallow individuals will be with us for some time yet. But at long last their fetid, stinking legacy is under scrutiny. And people might in time look upon the society they created - along with all of its ugly accoutrements - with suspicion and disbelief, perhaps even with, who knows, unrestrained loathing. We can only dream...

But whoever said that cynicism was a bad thing? It sure beats bling - hands down.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Madness doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it madness

The exams watchdog Ofqual has ordered examination boards to redraft certain GCSE papers because they are not rigorous enough.

Throughout New Labour’s time in office there were concerns that exams were becoming too easy. In particular, it is claimed that papers contained too many multiple choice questions that simply did not challenge the brightest pupils. We decided to see for ourselves what Labour did for pupils in England and Wales during its thirteen years in office.

Talent Show Paper

Who had to solve a problem like Maria? Was it:

A. Andrew Lloyd Webber?

B. Mary Portas?

C. Simon Cowell?

Football Paper

Which Football team do most Labour MPs like the most? Is it:

A. Everton?

B. Liverpool?

C. Dynamo Dresden (Trick question)?

Shopping Paper

Which is your favourite shop? Is it:

A. Top Shop?

B. Primark?

C. Waitrose (Yuk)?

Science Paper

What is the first sign of madness? Is it:

A. Talking to yourself?

B. Not talking to yourself?

C. Treason?

History Paper

Why doth treason never prosper? Is it:

A. Because you don’t know what the word means?

B. Because you cannot spell treason?

C. You what?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bloc Aid

Two weeks ago a flotilla of ships attempting to break a blockade ran into difficulties when activists on board fought a pitched battle with Israeli commandos resulting in twelve deaths.

Now, fresh from their efforts to bring humanitarian relief to Gaza the organisers of the Turkish flotilla are thinking about extending their generosity to other war zones and troubled borders.

These organisers have become aware that their mission is in danger of turning into a one trick pony and have been considering other trouble spots on the planet where humanitarian concerns are being overlooked. Among them: Burma, Armenia, China/Tibet, China/Korea, Russia/Chechnya, Sudan, Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Syria… to name but a few.

One of the flotilla organisers is reputed to have said: “We have big balls and a lot of ideas. We realise that we should be extending our good work to other humanitarian hotspots where the major powers are doing little to intervene.

He added: “But failing that… it might simply be easier to carry on bashing Israel.”

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Power of Imagination

Millions of Footie fans watching the England v. US match last night on ITV1 missed the high point of the game as ITV screened a car advert followed by nothing at all on its HD screens.

Viewers screamed and tore their hair out, as they were left to imagine what was happening at that precise moment. Perchance... some dreamt that Captain Steve Gerrard was triumphantly placing the ball at the back of the net, putting the England team 1-0 ahead. A wild hope by anyone’s reckoning.

And if that is in fact what they dreamt, then, once the gremlins had vanished, once normal service had resumed, the fans were surely forced to acknowledge that truth can sometimes be stranger than, or at least as strange as, um... imagination.

On other pages: 'Objective' Andrew Marr invites two Labour luvvies onto his show for an unbiased review of the Sunday papers

Friday, 11 June 2010

It ain’t rocket science

The government is to appoint a Black Hole Tsar to find out what happened to all of those missing billions. This comes at the end of a week when it was revealed that the interest payment alone on Britain’s debt mountain will top 70BN within five years.

For a while now people have been asking whether Black Holes defy the laws of physics. Most of us know that market activity is supposed to be a zero sum gain. We also know that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. And if that is the case, where did all that lovely lolly go?

There is one obvious answer: speculative investments made in depreciating assets such as sub-prime housing equals money lost (pretty well) forever. But what of the commissions, dividends etc paid out to MDs, VPs, CEOs, shareholders resulting from those deals before they went sour? That is clearly money that is not lost forever. Or is it? It is all a question of attitude, of principle, it seems.

There is a well-known phenomenon that scientists label “Mind over Matter”. What happens is that large amounts of wonga mysteriously travel from one part of the globe to a region called the off-shore bank account. This loot then becomes “ring-fenced” – that is to say, it cannot be touched.

It appears that in recent years a number of speculators / managers etc have “ring-fenced” the money they’ve made on somewhat questionable deals in such off-shore vehicles. The deals then go bad and in certain cases end up destroying or almost destroying the banks or other investment vehicles that originally serviced them

What happens next is one of the most fascinating phenomena known to man. We have all heard the phrase “nature abhors a vacuum.” Well, in this case “the taxpayer abhors a vacuum.” Quite literally, huge wads of cash belonging to the taxpayer flood in to fill the vacuum, in a manoeuvre known by the government of the day as “too big to fail.”

The clever part is that even after the taxpayer has filled the vacuum, the originator of the deal gets to keep his or her “ring-fenced” money. Here are a couple of examples:

- The head of a large American bank that tanked who got to keep around 100 million USD

- The boss of a multinational firm who shifted a billion to the bank account of a relative. The bank that serviced his company subsequently had to be bailed out. His cash was last seen hanging out in Monte Carlo

There are many other such examples where yields / dividends / bonuses paid out to speculators / deal originators have stayed firmly in their bank accounts long after the deals turned sour. In certain "investment" banks it is known to happen on a yearly basis, in a ritual known as "bonus time".

Finally, there is only one known scientific method that stands a hope in hell of redressing this unholy balance. It is called claw back. But it is as yet untried and untested, so no one knows whether it could actually work in practice. And what does the future hold? Will any of the world's governments give this claw back a try? Perhaps that should be the role – and the goal – of a Black Hole Tsar.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

EXCLUSIVE: BP Chief Executive is NOT British

The Chief Executive of British Petroleum, Tony Hayward, has apparently stated that he is not British. His announcement comes at a time when anti-British sentiment is running high in the United States as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

CEO Hayward is believed to have said: “I am not British – at least not in my heart I’m not. And had I any say in the matter, BP would not be a British company. It would be Chinese or Russian or Iranian or Libyan or Venezuelan... anything but British... or American, for that matter.

Commenting on Mr Hayward’s claim, London Mayor Boris Johnson said today: “Don't bash British Petroleum. I’m not British either. I’m a Turk.”

Other News

Lardy Lord Prescott has put his money where his mouth is – which is, everywhere these days. He will allow a small suburban housing development to be built in his back garden. On Radio 4’s Today programme, he defended ‘garden grabbing’ - which allows gardens to be classified as brown-field sites. True to character, he repeated the class war mantra about wealthy fat-cat bankers - an unusual line of attack, coming as it does from a man who’s about to be ennobled, is wealthy, a fat-cat, and something that rhymes with banker.

Burn your shoes – A survey has revealed feminists have larger shoe collections than at any time in recent history. Feminists possess on average twenty pairs of shoes, at least half of which are of the Manolo or Jimmy Choo variety.

The conclusion? Whilst the bra was an encumbrance that had to be burned, the ankle-crushing stiletto is a sign of female emancipation.

Cut the Defence Budget – A leading journalist has claimed that the defence budget should be slashed immediately. He said: “There is absolutely no need to throw 45BN a year at defence. It is evident we are safer than at any time since the Norman Conquest. We have no obvious enemies at the moment, unless you count Russia and China.

BP Asset Sale – The immensely altruistic Standard Chartered bank has suggested selling BP assets to China Petroleum

On other pages - What does Libya's Gaddafi think of BP right now?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hadron Collider to be sold to developers

There'll be no deliverance for those scientists who've 'prayed to the God particle’ - The Hadron Collider is to be sold to developers.

Since the start of the economic downturn, many have asked why European governments continue to waste money on this scientific white elephant. Scientists were allegedly “hoping for a miracle”. They thought the successful production of a 'Higgs Boson' particle might win them credibility with a sceptical public.

After a number of initial setbacks European physicists claimed this year that they had actually produced one of these elusive “God particles”. But then came the news that the particle was of no moral or spiritual worth, in fact of no worth to humanity whatsoever. Scientists were seen getting down on their hands and knees and chanting “Please, Dear God Particle, don’t let European taxpayers realise what a waste of money this project is.”

But the European Parliament has come up with a novel solution: Sell the collider. A consortium of Chinese and Arab developers has said it is willing to convert the folly into a ‘living, leisure and education complex’, with accommodation for a thousand people.

The plans also include a Hadron theme park, which will roll out the new Super-Collider Fun Ride, plus an educational facility that will show people how to make their own Higgs-Bozo particle. Later this year, some of Europe’s leading designers will launch a range of "Collision" Clothing as well as scaled up models of the Higgs-Bozo particle - which it is hoped will provide hours of fun for children.

A scientist called Ron who had worked at the Collider for a number of years commented: “Well, we might as well put this bundle of wires to some use. Anyway, I was sick of all my mates saying to me whenever they saw me: You know what? We’ve been had Ron.”

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Big Conversation

(Interview Transcript: David Frost and Melvyn Bragg discuss the role of the television interviewer in society. There’s uncertainty as to who’s supposed to be interviewing whom however.)

Frost: Hello and good evening.

Bragg: (Coughs) David?

Frost: (Mildly irritated) Yes?

Bragg: That’s my line.

Frost: (Frowns then smiles) I think you'll find it's actually my line, Melvyn.

Bragg: No, no... it’s my line.

Frost: No, Melvyn. Interviewer does the intro, does he not?

Bragg: David, it’s my interview.

Frost: Not according to my contract, Melvyn.

Bragg: I’m supposed to be interviewing you.

Frost: Well then somebody is having a laugh at your, at our expense. That or they’ve screwed up the contracts.

(They carry on like this for a couple of hours consulting agents, lawyers etc etc., until they finally agree to take it in turns to ask questions.)

Frost: Well this is a television first, Melvyn, is it not?

Bragg: It certainly is, David. You never know, we might be able to turn this to our advantage.

Frost: We might, might we not? (Glances at his papers). So shall I kick off?

Bragg: Is that an interview question?

Frost: Very drole, Melvyn. Very drole.

Bragg: Ok, you kick off.

Frost: So, Melvyn. I sold my shares in LWT. You held on to yours. As a result, you’re much wealthier than I am. But, and this is a big but, with the money from my LWT shares I could afford to interview Richard Milhouse Nixon. So who do you think has achieved more as an interviewer? In all honesty?

Bragg: I think you’ll find I’ve also hob-nobbed with the rich and powerful, David. Money is no obstacle to that. In fact, it’s the other way round. It gets you a seat at all the best tables, as well you know.

Frost: But how many times have you actually asked your interviewees difficult or searching questions? If I may be so bold?

Bragg: Hold on a moment David. It’s my turn to ask a question.

Frost: (Hesitates. Glances at producer, then reluctantly) Ok, over to you, Melvyn.

Bragg: Is that all you wanted to talk about? LWT shares?

Frost: Is that an interview question... might I ask?

Bragg: (Hesitant) Er, yes. Yes that is an interview question.

Frost: Well then the answer is no. I didn’t just want to discuss LWT. I wanted to examine us, you Melvyn Bragg and myself David Frost and our interview techniques. I wanted to determine: Which of us has achieved most during our careers as interviewers?

Bragg: Is that second bit your question..? The bit about who achieved most?

Frost: No, that’s my answer to your question.

Bragg: This is ridiculous and it’s getting very confusing. Let’s just call this a discussion, a conversation for now shall we? Then we won’t have to keep on asking which question is an official question and which just a question question.

Frost: But if we do that, Melvyn, then we won’t be able to put eachother on the spot. Am I not right?

Bragg: I see. You just want it to be combative, then? That’s what this is all about –combative interview styles, right?

Frost: You were combative just now, were you not? You wanted it to be your interview and your introduction.

Bragg: I was told that I was interviewing you, that’s why. And no wonder I wanted to be the interviewer... after your questions about LWT shares. Blimey...That was years ago.

(They eye eachother quizically, searching for something to say, or to ask).

Frost: Oh well, we might as well just go down to the pub and finish this off down there. You’re right you know, this has just descended into a conversation.

Bragg: You can say that again, Melvyn. Damn conversations. I hate ‘em

Frost: (Laughs) Who needs them?

(They grab their jackets and head off. As they do so, Bragg turns to Frost.)

Bragg: Next week, they’re recording Andrew Neil and Jeremy Paxman, I hear. Don’t see them having much of a conversation, do you?

Frost: (Nods) I very much doubt it Melvyn. Very much doubt it.

Monday, 7 June 2010

The polluter must not only pay but must be seen to have paid

With all eyes on BP and its valiant effort to make the eco-system of the Gulf of Mexico more fragrant, perhaps it is now time to turn the spotlight on one or two other ‘polluters’. These are the ones that by and large go under the radar because they've become part of the fabric of everyday life. They cut across a range of categories – culture, media, law and sport... to name but a few:-

Legislative Pollution – No prizes for guessing the guilty party here: A bunch of politicians and apparatchiks that swamped the political and legislative process with thousands of new laws that were unenforceable – and that were in many cases never really intended to be. Their key purpose? To create a climate of fear and submissiveness

Information Pollution – Global internet companies, online marketers etc... Organisations that can now go where they hadn't previously gone - at least before the days of the World Wide Web: Peoples' homes, their privacy, their inner space.

Events Pollution (cf. Information pollution) – The World Cup, the Olympics are big events and therefore worthy of extended coverage no doubt. But do we really need to be burdened with the particulars of the football captain’s groin strain? Or even his groin, for that matter?

‘Reality’ Television – No single group of men and women has done more to lower the tone than UK broadcasters and producers. Programmes like Ready Steady Crap, Pollution, Pollution Pollution, I’m a Soulless Cretin Get Me out of Here, and ZZZZZZ-Factor have left even the 'chattering classes' vacant, listless and lost for anything interesting to say (beyond their work). Only question is: Should these wretched programmes actually be labelled pollution, or are they more the new opiate of the people?

Product Placement Pollution – The BBC should be taken to task for contaminating those Reithian values with massive plugs for millionaire Impresarios, fashion designers, shop keepers, who are given entire series to show how wonderful they are. If only Reith knew what had become of his organisation he would be turning in his grave... But then Alan Yentob would probably come along and turn the whole event into something crass called I’m a deceased Director-General, get me out of here.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Prawn cocktail offensive

Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham has attacked John Smith’s prawn cocktail offensive – the party’s successful initiative to win over the financial sector while the party was in opposition.

He claimed prawn cocktails were already passe by 1980 and Smith should have plumped for Nouvelle Cuisine instead. When asked how he would woo the fat cats, he laughed and responded “I should say cat food, but that would be offensive. No, I would probably offer these bankers something simple like pilchards on a stick, washed down with a pint of best - naturally.

Other leadship contenders were asked what they would serve...

David Miliband – I would go for something dreadfully ironic. Say like Turkey Twizzlers?

Ed Miliband – Easy peasy lemon squeezy! As someone who's gonna move the Labour party into the twenty first century, it would have to be those mini burger canapes that you get at all the best parties... That or the mini fish and chips option. Cool!

Diane Abbott – I agree with Ed. But I would go for the full size fish and chip and full size burger canapes. That or a full English breakfast. There are a lot of bankers out there who like their food, let’s remember.

Ed Balls – My friend Heston has told me in total confidence that he will do his 50 course mini taster menu. And if that doesn’t win over the doubting Thomases then my name’s Balls.

John McDonnell – Sod the lot of them!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Papal Haze.

(The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is asked for his opinion on the forthcoming Papal visit to Britain.)

Interviewer: Your Grace, are you looking forward to the pontiff’s visit?

Williams: Very much so.

Interviewer: And why is that, may I ask?

Williams: I believe it could provide an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen ties between the UK and the Holy See.

Interviewer: How so, Your Grace?

Williams: How so? Well, through concerted action to tackle poverty and climate change, as well as the important role of faith groups in creating strong communities.

Interviewer: Are those your words, if you don’t mind my asking, Your Grace?

Williams: Well, no. Those are the words of the Foreign Office in actual fact.

Interviewer: The Foreign Office?

Williams: Yes...

Interviewer: So, let me get this straight. You are the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. But you are quoting the Foreign Office?

Williams: Well, yes. However, it is fair to say that, by and large, I endorse those words. The aspirations of the visit, as expressed by the Foreign Office are generally ones that I would go along with.

Interviewer: With all respect, Your Grace... As head of the Church of England, do you not think that your role is not simply to endorse the words of bureaucrats and politicians, but to provide leadership and guidance... especially when it comes to your Anglican flock?

Williams: (Hesitant) Oh... I see. Yes. Well, I never thought about it quite like that. I do believe that I was originally appointed by a politician. By a Prime Minister in fact. But, now come to think of it... I suppose that there’s some merit in what you have just said.

Interviewer: Some merit?

Williams: (Uneasy) Yes.

Interviewer: And so, Your Grace, can I ask you... what you are going to do next? What are you going to do now?

Williams: (Flustered) Well... I suppose I really ought to consult someone. Some body.

Interviewer: And who would that be, if I may be so bold? Another politician or bureaucrat?

Williams: No. No, I suppose not. Not this time round.

Interviewer: And have you anything to add to that, Your Grace?

Williams: No... No. Probably not at this time.

Interviewer: Well then all that's left to say is... thank you for your time.

Williams: Thank you too.

British Pollution: An announcement

Oil giant British Pariah is confident it can stem the flow of unctuous, self-serving drivel that has recently been spewing from the mouth of its dismal Chief Executive.

It issued the following statement: “This Company now accepts that it has lost the goodwill of the American people as well as the respect of investors worldwide. We now realise that this is a two bit outfit born out of a series of poor political compromises and has been run by a bunch of hopeless incompetents for many, many years.”

That being said we hope no one will mind if we still pay out an obscene 10BN dividend to our poor and needy investors.”

Questions still remain over the whereabouts of the company’s elusive Chairman. There are reports that he was last seen heading into the deep blue yonder upon his private yacht, Caveat Emptor. Word is that he is avoiding the Gulf of Mexico.

If there is one lesson that we can learn from this whole sorry affair: Oil should be on tap not on top

Friday, 4 June 2010

Buzz from first line of cocaine “all in the mind”

How often have you felt like singing “I can see a rainbow” after your first ‘line of the day? No doubt very often. Well, researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that the buzz you get from that first toot of the day might not actually be down to the ‘feel-good’ chemical dopamine. It might actually be a reversal of the fatiguing effects of overnight cocaine withdrawal.

In an extensive and exhaustive study conducted over one helluva weekend, 300 cocaine users alternatively abstained then tucked into delicious mountains of lovely white powder. The staggering findings were then published in that gospel of Neuropharmacology, The Daily Mail. They make fascinating reading not least because they could undermine what is thought to be a multi-billion dollar global industry.

Professor Escobar from Bristol’s department of experimental psychology who ran the study said: “It is clearly all in the mind. And a lot of it is currently in my mind, yum yum. One thing I can say for sure is that I love the world and a want to teach everyone, every man woman and child, about this magical, magnificent substance that some call Bolivian marching powder... Though I fear none will ever understand the truly shamanistic odyssey that I have undertaken.

The Daily Mail researcher asked Professor Escobar to get back to the point. Whereupon he said: “The point? Well, what is the point? That is my point, if you catch my drift. Maybe there is no point. What is wrong with this wonder drug being all in the mind anyway, I ask you? There’s a lot of other crap up there in my friggin’ grey matter if you’ll pardon my French. And no, don’t ask whether I am actually French. My mother told me I’m not.”

“All I know is that the sun is shining, the birds are buzzing, or whatever it is they do... and my pharmacology students think I’m the bees fucking knees. You know, like I’m the coolest friggin’ Prof in Bristol, Lord knows, maybe even in the world. Ha! Call that withdrawal? Yeah, right... withdrawal. Cracks me up. Like, hello? Do you see this Professor withdrawing like any time soon. Don’t think so. Call me Ischmael. Coz you’re worth it. Screw withdrawal, I say.”

The Professor was subsequently dragged away from the department of pharmacology by a number of security guards whom he kept referring to as “my disciples”. He was diagnosed as having experienced an acute case of cocaine psychosis. There are now fears that the study will be shelved or worse still, abandoned altogether... At least, that is until the Daily Mail next decides to take it out of mothballs, dust it down and republish it.

Next Week: Professor Hoffman tells readers: “Why I'll be ditching the San Pedro cactus, the opium pipe, the laudanum... and buying myself a dirty great hypodermic needle instead.”

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Post... Office

(Customer calls the complaints hotline of a major telecoms company)

Customer: Hello I wish to register a complaint about the speaking clock.

Voice: Please press one for sales, two for billings enquiries, three for negative, cynical rants about the quality of our service.

(Customer sighs then presses three)

Customer: Hello, i’d like to register a complaint. It’s about the speaking clock

Voice: Thank you. Please press one for rants about an existing order, two for rants about one of our many excellent services, three for some other matter that is totally pointless and irrelevant and, by the way, have you ever thought about getting a life?

(Customer shakes his head, thinks for a moment, then presses two)

Customer: Hello, I’d like to register a complaint.

Voice: Please press one to rant about one of our excellent services that nine out of ten customers prefer, or two one of our excellent services that one out of ten does not appreciate but continues to use anyway hypocritical little shits that they are.

(Customer ponders this one, then decides to be smart and to press one – he hopes he might get a more receptive customer services representative)

Customer: Hello, I’d like to register a complaint.

Voice: Now please press one for complaints about the speaking clock or two to go back to the main menu.

(Customer scratches his head. He is totally confused. But he presses one)

Customer: Hello, I’d like to register a complaint. It’s about your speaking clock service.

(A slightly different digital voice comes on the line)

New Voice: Thank you for using this hotline. I am sorry, but due to the unprecedented volume of traffic, you have been timed out. Please call back later. We hope that you have enjoyed using this service and we look forward to helping you in future.

Customer: (Sighs then mutters) Pah! Telecommunications..? It’s all one way traffic these days...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Monty Einstein’s Flying Circus

The Dead Time Sketch

(The scene is a watch shop in West London)

Customer: I wish to register a complaint

Owner: Won’t be a mo… just finishing with this customer.

Customer: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this watch what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Owner: Oh yes, the, uh, the Roadrunner Blue...What's, uh...What's wrong with it?

(Other Customer walks off in a huff)

Customer: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It don’t tell the time, that's what's wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, it’s uh,’s just resting.

Customer: Look, matey, I know a dud watch when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No no it’s not dud, it's, it's restin'! Remarkable watch, the Roadrunner Blue, inn'it, ay? Beautiful carriage!

Customer: The carriage don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

Owner: Nononono, no, no! 'It's resting!

Customer: All right then, if it's restin', I'll wind it up!

(shaking the watch)

'Ello, Mister Time Piece! I'm going to wind you up with a good shake if you tell us the...(owner hits the watch)

Owner: There, the second hand moved!

Customer: No, it didn't, that was you hitting the watch

Owner: I never!!

Customer: Yes, you did!

Owner: I never, never did anything...

Customer: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) 'ELLO CARRIE CLOCK!!!!!

Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!

(Shaking the watch to wind it up, then banging it on the counter. Shoves it in the face of the owner.)

Customer: Now that's what I call a dud watch

Owner: No, no.....No, you overwound it

Customer: Overwound it?

Owner: Yeah! You overwound it, just as it was starting to tic! Roadrunner Blues overwind easily, major.

Customer: I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That watch is definitely a dud.

Owner: Well it depends on which way you look at it, Guv’nor.

Customer: Which way you look at it? What the ‘ell is that supposed to mean?

Owner: Yeah, well, Isn’t that what that Einstein geyser once used to say. Time is relative?

Customer: Time is relative??!! Time is relative??!! What kind of a feeble excuse is that?

Owner: Well, it’s like this: That Einstein bloke, that Albert Einstein, that man who is thought of as one of the greatest scientists ever, he said that the time on your watch all depended on something called the space time continuum. It all depended on whereabouts exactly in the universe you was when you was observing the watch, Guv’nor.

Customer: Really? You serious? Did he? Einstein actually said that?

Owner: Honest to God Guv’nor. Long as the day is short… I’d even swear it on my dear Grandma’s life.

Customer: Oh. I see. Gosh, I really had no idea Einstein said that.

Owner: Lot of things Einstein said what people don’t know about, Guv’nor. Lots of things.

Customer: Well then, I suppose I really have to owe you an apology… I’m most terribly sorry.

Owner: That’s all right, Guv’nor. It happens all the time… you know, what with ours being a watch shop.

Customer: Yes, I suppose it must do really.

Owner: Sadly, it does… Now, Squire, is there anything else I can help you with? Would you like a couple of batteries for that watch?

Customer: Batteries?

Owner: Yes, sorry, Squire… I forget to tell you earlier when you came in, batteries ain’t included with that particular model.