Twitter Drama Bingo

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (@thus_spake_z if you’re interested) may have noticed me compiling a Twitter Drama Bingo card. I had too much fun doing it not to share it here.

EDIT: Following feedback from others, I’ve now expanded it to a 6×5 grid, which is bingo fans will note is slightly larger than the tradional 5×5 bingo card. I’ve also added a free space.




Gay Marriage Bill passes second reading, all straight people in UK instantly get divorced

With the news that the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has passed its second reading, a shockwave has passed across the UK with the surprise news that all heterosexual couples in Britain have instantly divorced.

The housing market has been thrown into chaos due to the sheer volume of couples putting their homes on the market. Schools have described mass abandonments of children, and maternity services nationwide are reporting that new referrals have dropped to zero.

John and Debbie Longley of Totnes experienced events that have been repeated all over the country. “We’d set up a joint account to pool our finances, got ourselves a foothold on the property ladder. In a year or so’s time we would be getting ready to have our first child,” explained Mr Longley. “Then the news came on the TV that gay marriage had passed. Suddenly, it all just seemed so….meaningless.”

Mr Longley then turned to his now ex-wife and sighed, “You’re nothing to me now.”

Mrs Longley concurred, “I suppose I just have to get used to these new realities and consider my future options. I’m contemplating bestiality.”

Social affairs experts admitted being stunned by the turn of events. “All the warnings by opponents of gay marriage just sounded so daft,” said one leading sociologist. “Heterosexual marriages being undermined…A breakdown of values and norms…Nigel Farage actually being right about something. It seemed totally implausible.”

The news has also resulted in severe traffic delays across Britain. The Highways Agency report that this is because it’s raining men.




Generic Condemnation of This Thing That Person Said on Twitter

Words cannot express the outrage I feel after reading this thing that person said yesterday on Twitter. Such comments are a clear betrayal of the principles of Insert Cause Here, as well as being deeply socially irresponsible.

I have already been sufficiently outraged that I’ve had to write a blog post. If I get any more angry I may have to set up a Tumblr.

I am also surprised by the silence of Insert Prominent Tweeter Here over this issue. Their failure to comment on this thing that person said may well be a sign that they secretly agree with them. I tweeted them 20 times repeating the same question in different wordings, and they promptly blocked me. I can’t imagine why. I’ve already posted several tweets expressing glee about having been blocked. Later, I will be engaging in one-upmanship discussions with other tweeters about who we’ve been previously blocked by.

I’m also shocked by the failure of the mainstream media to cover this issue. It’s as if they don’t care about this thing that person said.

I hope you’ll all join with me in getting off the fence and giving your unequivocal condemnations of this thing that person said. I think we can all agree, what they said was worse than the Nazis.





TV Review: Young, Bright and On the Right

Yesterday evening, I was sitting at home and browsing through Facebook. Suddenly, various online friends were howling in disbelief at something on BBC2. Out of curiosity, I flicked on the TV, and was greeted by an edifice clearly designed to make you lose all faith in party politics, and possibly also common humanity.

Young, Bright and on the Right follows Joe and Chris, two Conservative Party members at Oxford and Cambridge respectively. Chris is an engagingly geekish sort. An ex-comprehensive schoolboy with Lib Dem parents who seem pleasantly bemused by his zeal for conservatism. At one point they ask him what the appeal is, and he admits that he enjoys getting to “pretend to be a member of the upper classes”. He gets inordinately excited at the prospect of being allowed to make a comment in a student debate, or to serve on a committee that nobody else could be bothered to apply for.

Joe, on the other hand, is a self-confessed schemer who openly revels in the skullduggery and manouevring among the leadership of Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA). He has a Margaret Thatcher screen-saver, and meets with his fellow stuffed-shirts over a cream tea for pleasant afternoons plotting whose back to plunge a knife into.

What’s notably absent, apart from chins, is the sound of anyone in the show saying, “I’m interested in politics because I really want to help the people in my community”. This is basically a game to these little squirts. Sort of like LARPing, except with the possibility of starting a war or screwing up the NHS.

Halfway through the show, Joe gets in a bit of a tizzy with the leadership of OUCA (I forget why: too trivial to care) and decides to shaft the lot of them by leaking footage of their members getting drunk and singing anti-semitic songs. It makes the Daily Telegraph, and he gets to revel in his glee. Along the way, he breaks down and admits that behind his cultivated Bertie Wooster exterior, he’s the son of a convict and was entitled to free school meals as a kid. The whiff of self-loathing hangs in the air.

Meanwhile, Chris has taken a break from drinking “conservative cocktails” (which look suspiciously like Blue WKD) to get himself “elected” onto a committee, or more accurately appointed since nobody else has stood for election. Possibly because they realised that there are far more enjoyable and productive ways to spend your time at university. Chris takes the same glee from organising biscuits that Joe takes from shafting his rivals. “Biscuit sourcing is actually quite a responsible position”, he enthuses. There’s a likeable naivity to him, which make me rather relieved that he and Joe are at separate universities. Joe would probably put arsenic in his biscuits.

A while back I wrote an account of my time in the Labour Party, and made the following observations.

As I experienced the rather sad spectacle that the Labour Party had become, it quickly dawned on me how the Blairite careerists had come to prosper. There was no conspiracy to take over. It’s just that…well, who else would actually find this sort of thing a worthwhile use of their time and effort? You need to be an odd sort of a creature to find modern party politics enjoyable and rewarding…Political parties used to be mass movements with roots in local communities. Now they’re small cliques of PR types and policy wonks who real humans tend to find a bit strange.

This documentary shows exactly how these bizarre creatures emerge into the likes of George Osborne and William Hague. The student political associations do a thorough job of weeding out anybody who might actually have a soul.

As Chris cycles away, revelling in his committee non-job, he makes the first insightful comment I’ve heard anyone say during the show. “I don’t think any of us at the age of 19 is fitted to proper power”. What? Is there some self-awareness creeping in here? Sure enough, we learn at the end that, “Chris has decided to focus on his studies rather than university politics”. Another being is brought back to the light, and angels rejoice at his salvation.

What about Joe? Has he been redeemed too? For a simple answer, here’s his Twitter profile.

Ladies and gentlemen, the future architect of the collapse of Western civilization

Incidentally, while writing this review, I came across this puff-piece preview, written by an American friend of Joe’s.

I feel for Joe. It’s not fair that he’s judged on his background, or accent, or education prior to attending Oxford. He should be judged only on his character and his personal talents.

Yes, I rather think he will.

Nuke them from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Angle Management

In among the tributes for the centenary of the Titanic, there’s one little-known incident which didn’t get mentioned. I shall now remedy that:

On the deck of the Titanic, all the lifeboats had gone. A group of terrified children huddled together as the ship began to tilt and the stern slowly rose out of the water. Suddenly, the captain walked over to them.

The captain said, “I’ve been asked to have a word with you about your angle problem.”

“Our angle problem?” The children were confused. “Do you mean the fact the angle of the deck is starting to tilt?”

“Yes, that’s right, your angle problem. You have a problem with angle control. Your parents and teachers have gone to the lifeboats, but they feel you need some angle management.”

“Angle management? Isn’t there something wrong with the ship? We saw an iceberg earlier.”

“Never mind that. You need to understand and accept that you have an angle problem, and you need to engage with the angle management programme that your parents and teachers agree that you should undertake.”

“What are they doing in the lifeboats? Surely they can’t just leave us here!”

“Now, now, they don’t have an angle problem, but you do, and it’s your responsibility to sort it out not theirs. Anyway, let’s get to work on the angle management. We’re going to start with some preliminary sessions on how to use spirit levels, so that you can recognise when your angle is getting out of control. Then, we’ll work on some cognitive-behavioural strategies that you can use to regulate your angle.”

The children then complete the angle management work with the captain, who uses a morse lamp to signal the parents and teachers in the lifeboat, informing them that the kids have had their angle management as requested. The deck then finally floods and the children all drown.

A slightly silly tale, but is it any sillier than the constant requests I get from people who want an abused, traumatised child, often living in dysfunctional circumstances, to undergo anger management? Why do these otherwise-intelligent people believe that this will have the slightest benefit to the child or anyone else?

Andrew Lansley Definition Competition

A few days ago I jokingly ended a post about our beloved Health Secretary with the words, “What a complete and utter Lansley.” Bristol Michael commented on this,

Could there be a competition to define a ‘Lansley’? The usual packet of Jaffa Cakes on offer as a prize.

That sounds like a gauntlet being thrown down. Some of you may remember the American comedian Dan Savage previously held an online competition to define the word ‘Santorum’ in resonse to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s homophobia. If you choose to find out the winner by googling the word ‘Santorum’, I recommend you don’t do it from a work computer.

Leave your suggestions in the comments boxes, and vote on the suggestions you like by clicking on the thumbs-up icon. As this blog is used by professionals, please make your entries work-safe.

Happy Birthday Charles

Me and Charles

A Christmas Carol

It is exactly 200 years since the birth of Charles Dickens. I admit I had difficulty ‘getting on’ with Dickens at school. I encountered his work in more detail than I wished to through GCSEs and then  A level English Literature. I found the novels (I know I won’t win any fans here)  contrived. I didn’t feel they were genuine and I didn’t feel they spoke to me.

They didn’t speak to me until I was an adult. They didn’t speak to me until I had a greater understanding of the world and the inequalities that exist in our world. They didn’t speak to me until I understood them beyond the stories that they tell.

My appreciation and yes, love, for Dickens has developed over my adulthood and was not nurtured in my childhood because as I learnt more about society and the world I live in, I was able to relate his world to mine and I saw him more as holding a critical eye up to the world and society around him and remarking on it.
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