ISIS Form Boy Band

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The terror group now have their own band. They are called Semtext and are going down a storm every night they play.

The band were auditioned and selected by the reclusive leader, pop fanatic and secret Madness fan Abu Bakr al-Bagitrouzas.

“Alice Cooper had a snake, Kiss had make-up and Semtext sing their explosive closing number ‘Jihad a Good Time’ and blow themselves up every night. I love what they did with the branding by adding a ‘t’ to make it semtext, like a phone, its yoof culture innit. We are literally blown away with their performance. Musically they are like Take That but more inclined to pay their taxes.”

Despite the short term nature of their fame due to the climatic nature of the closing song, fans just can’t get enough. The band are managed by Caliphate Productions. Their management would like to take them on a World Tour but accept the logistics make it close to impossible.

“Touring proved difficult and travel near impossible. The Semtext concept is brilliant. Each day the new band rehearse, dance and perform and on the closing number, blow up. It’s incredible. We embrace both the Boy Band and Jihadist concept in one day. It’s a conveyor belt of perfectly crafted vocal pop with an explosive out.”

Pop Svengali and boy band king, Louis Walsh has seen the band and was interested but one element of the performance annoyed him. “They look great, sound amazing, and boy can they dance. My only concern on the evening was they broke one of the biggest showbiz rules. They didn’t do an encore. So it was a no from me.”

 

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Jacob Rees-Mogg Now Has Irish Accent

Jacob Hitler

Jacob Rees-Mogg shocked hard-liners at a Brexit rally when he started speaking with a strong Irish accent. The Eurosceptic MP left supporters confused and perplexed when he began a speech and sounded like a mix of Bob Geldof and Mrs Brown.

“How we’ all doin’? Sure the craic is grand, now, about this move of me feckin business to Ireland. It’s all due to this bollocks of a hard Brexit malarkey. What about ye?”

The accent change occurred after Rees-Mogg thought he’d kissed the Blarney Stone. In fact he kissed Barney Stone, a one-balled builder, 54, from Dundalk. Barney,  ‘a local character’ admitted he was shocked but used to being kissed, for a small price.

“Sure I thought I know that man from somewhere, is he in the Beano? Is it Walter the Softy? Anyway, it’s just a quick kiss on me nut for 20 euro, then people start, speaking like WB Yeats, you know.”

Jack Taylor, a cockney who found it hard to speak normally himself and refrain from Cockney rhyming slang confirmed “there we was right, present at the Brexit meeting. We was waiting on the clipped, nice, posh, rallying cry for some good old Rule Britannia rhetoric. It was devastating, in walks Jacob all Paddy Waddy Wogan Bono Jimmy Cricket. He was like a giant geeky leprechaun. I’m gutted”

DUP Use £1bn Tory Windfall to Produce Hamilton Style ‘King Billy: The Musical’.

 

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Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

The DUP have used this day, the 12th of July, to announce their showbiz intentions. They are to invest their £1billion windfall for propping up Theresa May’s government in a theatre production with a historical Hamilton twist called King Billy: The Musical.

The epic begins in the Boyne Valley around 1690. It tells the tale of the charismatic William of Orange, through a magical sash handed down through generations, to modern day descendants, a campaigning MP, trying to change the name of 17:30 in the afternoon to 1690.

There’s no business like show business for DUP leader, Arlene Foster. “Sure I’ve always fancied this impresario craic”, confirmed Foster, wearing glasses that made her look like the joke thief, Joe Pasquale.

“There’s a lot of strange, ‘theatrical men’, the type who wear cravats and the like. One wanted to change the lead to a transgender hero called Wilma of Orange we wouldn’t budge. We remained steadfast, loyal and true to the story. As you know, the DUP know how to drive a hard deal.”

When asked if the show, like Hamilton would feature R&B and hip hop or maybe, because of the hats and horses, some country and western? Foster was candid: “Will it f**k. Ulster Folk music only. No surrender.”

Pricing was cleverly branded and structured, starting at £16.90 for juveniles.

Michael Portillo hates trains, gets travel sick & cursed with piles the size of Wimbledon strawberries.

Britain’s most famous and lovable train eccentric Michael Portillo, absolutely hates travelling on trains, suffers from acute travel sickness and is cursed with massive piles the size of Wimbledon strawberries.

Former BBC producer, recently retired Dave Astell, came out with all guns blazing. He claims in a new book that the colourful former Tory MP, 65, has never read Bradshaws in his life and that his little book is actually a small nude book with dirty pictures.

Astell confirmed; “It was one of the worst kept secrets at the BBC but yes, Michael hates trains. We just used him because of his unusual shape. He has the head of a big man and the body of a small man so fits into shot perfectly.”

The BBC team employ a number of doppelgangers to play him on his travels. He is seldom out on location and if he does, takes a flight and taxis everywhere. He rarely visits the destinations but leaves the skilled technicians to place him in with CGI trickery.

Astell continued, “Portillo was a nightmare. But to be fair to him there may be mitigating circumstances. We originally thought that pained snobbish Tory look of discontent was genuinely down to thinking he was better than everyone else but it appears he does suffer really badly from piles.”

 

Gareth Southgate actually a talented horse

 

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

England coach Gareth Southgate has revealed he’s actually not human but a very talented horse.

Speaking to the flirtatious tabloid hack, Sophie Kaplan, the coach let his guard slip.

“I’m actually a horse. There was a time when I could chose between two careers, the football thing or panto. I’m usually OK but sometimes if I’m having a coffee and see sugar lumps I can go a bit mental and it gets a bit crazy horses. These aren’t sunglasses, these are blinkers.”

The media and fans were wondering why he was able to create such a lovely vibe around the England camp, and its because he’s a big friendly horse. He gives off a serene, happy, vibe.

Other members of the press pack were less charitable. One, who asked to remain anonymous, Steve Evans, revealed;

“Yeah we’ve suspected there’s something weird about him for a while, his big horsey face, and the strange handshake with the hooves. He does look good in a waistcoat though.”

In recent contract negotiations with the FA, the small print has a detailed bonus structure which includes farrier fees for his feet, livery, feed and stable fees.

Sophie Kaplan concluded, “He was great with me until he heard my ring-tone of Black Beauty and galloped off in slow- mo to the nearest meadow.”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Creative Evolution of an Idea

 

Evolution of an idea: From Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, to The Art of Tackling: A Modern Football Treatise to a Scottish football parody called A History of Scottish Football in 100 Objects: The Alternative Football Museum.

I’m always intrigued to hear others speak about the creative process. How a songwriter, artist, writer or filmmaker develop an idea from inception to execution. Sometimes every part in the process falls into place and runs smoothly. Alternatively, there can be countless twists and turns, a slow creative evolution as you meander and stumble toward the completion of a project.

Initially, in my case, this idea started as a book called The Art of Tackling: A Modern Football Treatise. The concept was a football parody of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War the ancient Chinese military and strategic treatise. It was full of tactical similarities and axioms which mirrored our beautiful game. The ideas appeared transferable, the rules applied universally, the game crossed continents and the same ancient strategies could be applied and satirised for football. The more I read Sun Tzu, I recognised comedic angles which could be applied.

All I had to do was connect football with The Art of War while also lamenting the passing of the seventies with it’s bad hair, poor pitches and shocking diet. Most importantly it focused on the lost art of tackling, using the crunching tackle as a metaphor, perhaps an allegory of the end of the game as we knew it, comparing the text to both past glories and the modern era.

I began by taking the key points from the two thousand year-old treatise and trying to give it a modern football twist. Strategies like Laying Plans became players’ high jinks. Waging War (derby game), Attack by Strategem, (our hatchet man slaughters their flair player), Tactical Dispositions (4-4-2), Energy, Weak Points and Strength (see Laying Plans plus effective win bonus), Manoeuvring, (evading the side-burned centre half). Variation in Tactics (pyramid system or Christmas Tree or Parking the Bus), The Army on the March, (Tricky Away Games in Europe), Terrain (frozen, muddy or waterlogged pitches), The Nine Situations, (Varieties of ground, aluminium or rubber studs) The Attack by Fire (Players high jinks), The Use of Spies (scouts). The topics were all there, all I had to do was shape the angle and make it funny.

I made initial and tentative approaches to some publishers who considered it too high brow and advised it wasn’t aimed at the prospective customer, the man on the street, or the terracing, the average football fan, not my words, theirs. Then my project had the inciting incident, I visited the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden. Then it came together. The parody of The Art of War, the lost art of tackling, football in the 1970s. I could create a museum full of the bad or at least naughty exhibits that football fans, the man on the street, or the terracing, the average football fan, (those are my words), would genuinely love.

Over the last few years in a notebook and on a post-it in front of me, I have underlined parody Neil MacGregor’s Radio 4 A History of the World in 100 Objects. The tone, style, felt a bit heavy on aggrandisement, dripping with self-importance and overplayed, ripe for parody. Then all the ideas seemed to collide and I knew I had it. A History of Scottish Football in 100 Objects. This would allow me to take aim at many of the infamous moments and topics Scottish football has thrown up such as Barry’s Bar Bill, Parking the Bus, Aggie’s Tea Trolley, Jimmy Johnstone’s Oar, Frank McAvennie’s Diving Suit, Tattoos, Hair Weaves, After-Dinner Speakers, Football Cards, Panini Sticker Books, Argentina Chews, The Magic Sponge, Gardening Leave, Cliche, The Pundit, The Pie, Wagon Wheels, Macaroon Bars & 10 pence Chewing Gum, Alex Cameron  v Adjutant the Horse and Think Tanks.

AJ Bollen author:  A History of Scottish Football in 100 Objects: The Alternative Football Museum.

Comedy: Off the Ball, Only an Excuse? Breaking the News

Books: Nirvana a Tour Diary

Satire: Sandy Trout The Memoir

 

Theresa May: The Glue Sniffing Years.

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The PM is putting the finishing touches to a revealing heartfelt tome in which she openly admits she’s been on the glue for years.

An insider claimed that the now infamous walk she and her fiendishly bespectacled millionaire husband, Philip, was the turning point. ‘Most people think that’s when they decided to have a general election when in fact they were out in the woods ferociously hunting for their glue stash and discarded nude books. They were on the hunt for glue.’

The Prime Minister and her husband Philip will use an appearance on BBC 1’s tediously cumbersome and awkward One Show to reveal their adhesive abuse. They will reveal the glue makes them feel invincible, power crazed and slightly unhinged. The insider continued: ‘when they are on the glue you can see them transform. They start listening to hardcore punk from Black Flag, Dead Kennedys and Bad Brains. Then, they want to bring back slavery, public executions of the poor and Alf Garnet’.

tMay angry

 

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron, France’s youngest leader since Napoleon, has vowed to use his massive landslide victory to underline the tide of change in France by adding more cowbell to the French national anthem La Marseilles.

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La Marseillaise is a patriotic call to arms. The song was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle and hasn’t had a remix since then. Macron claims the song needs a breath of fresh air. An insider said ‘the rugby and football team have hijacked the song and we believe it just needs a little cowbell overdub. Everybody loves cowbell.’

Mr Macron was elected on a pro-EU platform and has got it right up the far right by meddling with their anthem. The former banker and centrist outsider claims the anthem needs some cowbell and will add more syncopation to an already rousing, if dusty anthem which will signal the end of the old guard.

more cowbell

Not everyone wants more cowbell though and some fear Macron’s overzealous use of cowbell could trigger anti-cowbell riots.

 

Leicester City Make Audacious Approach For Alan Partridge

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Leicester City Make Audacious Approach For Alan Partridge

Leicester City confirmed they have made an audacious approach to install Alan Partridge as new head coach of the struggling club because his name sounds like a football manager.

A club insider confirmed the Norwich radio morning presenter was, despite being fictional and out of work for some time, just the tonic the club required.

‘We need someone who represents everything the club’s about. Incompetence, confusion and someone painfully out of their depth. Plus I love that 1970s early 1980s comb-over; it’s just what the club needs.’

‘He knows the media. We need someone who can navigate their way around the English game, especially the roads that will lead this club to our destination; Stoke, Hull or Burnley. He’ll be able to take us the quickest way via B-roads and avoid traffic hot spots.

Despite Partridge not being a football fan or understanding the basic rules of the game, his suitors don’t think this will necessarily hold him back. Fans at first speechless have started to get behind a manager with a name that sounds like an English football manager.

Dave Rushton, Foxes fan chairman said ‘The players were all too spoiled. Winning the EPL title was the worst thing that could’ve happened. What we required was mid-table mediocrity. It’s completely gone to their heads. Partridge will have the players in Travelodges instead of the Hilton. Motorway service stations instead of Claridges. We’re right behind this back to basics approach. We need someone English, with a name that sounds like an English football manager, out of touch, someone who represents the absurdity of the modern game and will appear gormless each week on Match of the Day.’

 

Kurt Cobain at 50

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Kurt Cobain would be 50 today, (February 20, 2017) if he had lived. The age I am today. What would I say if I bumped into him?

‘Alright mate? Remember me? Fancy a pint?’

‘Kinda…Do you have a bad back?’

‘Yeah my back’s fucked…You’re worse than me. It’s an age thing. It was the way you stooped all the time, bad posture. Didn’t you write about that? ‘Penny Royaltea? That’s what I was paid for the book I wrote.’

‘Yeah I remember you. Always in the dressing room writing shit, looking for every opportunity to get a plug, cool, I like it.’

‘Yes that was me, the gormless guy trying to write the diary. You kept annoying me? Remember? In the cold, dank, scuzzy dressing rooms across the UK? Nevermind Tour? Pretending to sleep to get out of interviews or speak to people?’

‘Fuck yeah…that Andy?’

‘What are you doing in Glasgow?’

‘I’m on my way to St Andrews’ to play golf with fucking Iggy Pop man.’

It’s late 1991. I’m in bed listening to a cassette. There’s a song that sounds like the Pixies, it’s different, melodic, dramatic, powerful, quiet.  Killer chorus. The next song is better, the next brilliant. This band were on Sub Pop and had signed to Geffen. You couldn’t get the album anywhere so I was listening to a copy of an album on a TDK tape with The Kinks scribbled across it in biro. I listened constantly until the batteries run out of the Walkman.

A few days later, I would meet the band who’d recorded the album, Nirvana, in London. I was the drummer in a band called Captain America and we were supporting them on the Nevermind Tour, in 1991.

I played a very small part in Kurt Cobain’s short and explosive life. I spent a brief amount of time with him. As moments go, the time I did spend with him proved intense, especially for him and Nirvana’s career. Action-packed, exciting and unforgettable. It’s scary to think we would’ve been the same age today.

What would he be doing if he were alive? ‘What-if’ accounts always intrigue me. Angry at Trump? I’d hope he’d be clean and creative. That he’d at least have five or six Nirvana albums out. There would be collaborations too. Projects with Michael Stipe or Neil Young or Thurston Moore. He may have started his own record label. You’d hope he’d be living in rural Connecticut, like Keith Richards, but he’d need the city. He loved Europe too, possibly the creativity of Berlin? The South of France? Living in seclusion and enjoying the beautiful light much loved by artists.

With Kurt it could also get cinematic. There’s a huge chance he’d become something of a reclusive figure, dropping out of the mainstream, spotted by the tabloids barely recognisable out walking his dogs. Hopefully, he’d avoid mental illness. I’m sure he’d be into writing. He was interested in the approach. Mine were still raw, detailed, what had happened that day, in essay form. His were sporadic, like shopping lists. BBC Session. Song title idea. Album title. Doodle. He wrote loads of letters too. His journals are all out there which he’d have hated, especially those random, incomplete thought processes.

I’ve deliberately tried to move on from being the guy who wrote the book about Nirvana. I’m fearful of being accused of cashing in. But today he has been on my mind all day. I don’t like obsessing over the dead. I carry the people who have passed on with me and sometimes I get the feeling they are never far from me but that’s about it. Every special anniversary, connected to the band I’m asked and refuse to chip in. Trust me, that was never why I wrote Nirvana A Tour Diary (I wrote about my experiences of being a drummer who wanted to be a comedy writer and found myself touring with one of the hottest bands on the planet at the time, at the precise moment they had a hit single).

I want to share a secret. I don’t even know the name of my book. Seriously, it was called In Bloom: Nirvana, Comedy & Me when I was working on it. Nice photo on the front, one Kurt made me take of him smiling as he burns a Scottish pound note. I wanted that on the cover. Then the book came out with this ludicrous title by then I was so sick of arguing, I moved on to the next project. Kurt knew I was doing the diary and the last night I saw him at Kilburn he made me get my camera. I knew what he was doing. So they never used that picture either because ‘he looked too happy’. They wanted tragic iconic Kurt- and chose a photo from another tour, so now the title and the cover made it look like an official Nirvana book. It was supposed to be a book about my experience with them.

There were two main driving forces behind the book. Firstly, to let people know that Kurt wasn’t some tragic put upon figure, anything but. Secondly, there’s a very high-profile famous ’benchmark’ Nirvana book that completely dismissed the UK tour’s importance and was erroneous with simple facts over information and TV shows and dates, so I felt an in-depth, less sanctimonious book around the UK dates was merited.

Personally, there were so many unforgettable memories. In Sheffield, watching the band’s faces as we watched Nirvana watch themselves on Top of the Pops. Trying to play drums along with Dave Grohl in front of a bouncing Kilburn National crowd while drunk. Then the acid-trip-dream-opiate effect of playing a gig in Newcastle after about six cans of Tennents Super Lager and thinking I was Orson Welles in Moby Dick.

My regrets? That more people didn’t get to see the band live. Three brilliant musicians at their peak, propelling this supersonic sound while unleashing this guttural, powerful raw emotion. I’ve yet to see or hear a performance which captured the same intensity as being in the room.

On that tour people were shit scared of Kurt. I only spoke to him because I wanted privacy to collect my thoughts and update my diary. He found this hilarious. I wanted to write while he ‘rested’ but in fact, he was faking it to get rid of everyone else and get out of doing any work. He was fond of our touring party as none of us gave a fuck about his reputation.

The past few years have thrown up many documentaries about Kurt. So much so that many involved in 1991 would think they don’t really know Kurt of 1994. Journalistically you should always go to the source, ask the obvious question. Buzz Osborne from The Melvins was one of Kurt’s heroes and close friends when they were young. When he’s asked ‘what was Kurt like?’ He tells you. He knew his nature and that mischievous side before fame came his way. Buzz claims that the truth about Kurt’s life has always been false and utter fabrication. When he got bored, the more famous he’d become, he would make things up. Buzz’s thoughts don’t fit in too readily with the lucrative Kurt the tragic iconic figure narrative so he’s seldom asked. To those interested, I also say follow Krist and Dave’s instinct with these films and documentaries. If they get behind a project then it’s fair to assume there will be depth and substance behind them. All the while, remember that Buzz said he liked to make up stuff. Golfing with Iggy, who would’ve thought it?

In one of his Letters From America, I remember Alistair Cooke paraphrasing someone on the death of Duke Ellington. He said ‘Duke Ellington died last week. I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.’ I still feel the same about Kurt.

Bands may come and bands may go but Nirvana will live forever.

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How Muirfield’s female golfers could learn from Greece’s 411BC Woody Allen, Aristophanes

How female golfers could learn from Greece’s 411BC Woody Allen; Aristophanes.

 

 

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As we approach The 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon, the focus will be on the world’s greatest golfers doing battle for the claret jug. My focus though will be on the archaic mindset of the members at golf clubs like Muirfield and Troon.

This week, with shades of an EU/ Brexit vote, and with the golfing world’s spotlight aimed firmly at Royal Troon, Muirfield announced last week it wanted to hold a fresh ballot, in the hope it would overturn the vote in May and the ban on women. The R&A told Muirfield  it would not stage another Open Championship as a result. Clearly common sense has prevailed, the club officials have sobered up or the club treasurer has looked at the balance sheet without The Open and the millions they’ll miss out on. The club needed a two thirds majority when it held its initial ballot in May. 64% voted in favour of allowing women members, meaning changes couldn’t be implemented.

At the time (in May) there was a sudden rush of righteous indignation. The First Minister was quick to tweet ‘Scotland has women leaders in every walk of life. It is 2016. This is simply indefensible.’

George Kerevan, SNP MP for East Lothian, said: ‘I’m outraged by the decision of minority at Muirfield Golf Club to block admitting female members. Sad for golf, equality, democracy.’

BBC Five Live were aghast, many observations pointed to the usual cliché regarding which century they were living in. Others spoke in a haughty nature about male chauvinism. Radio 4 were traumatised, this meant they wouldn’t be able to host The Open? It was sporting suicide!

There was a tone of indignation as if their behaviour was despicable, contemptuous and unusual. I say to all who jumped aboard the PC bandwagon that you are the ones with your head in the sand.

It may be 2016 but throughout most golf clubs in Scotland they will sit down and mock those taking the moral high ground. This kind of behaviour may seem beyond reproach but sadly it’s a fair reflection of where Scotland really is compared to where it thinks it is.

This isn’t a shock to me. Despite Scotland thinking it’s a diverse, open and a right on nation it isn’t. For many, this vote represents and reflects the reality. The true face of the bowling club, the golf club, the allotment society. Any club with half wits in charge, this type of situation always arises. They seem to assume to adopt some farcical far right KKK neo Nazi persona once they receive a car park space.

Membership to the ‘club’ is about keeping people in their place. It’s about exclusion. Some posh, bored old Tories and No voters on the wind up. They are clearly still hurting at Alex Salmond’s high profile no-show at Muirfield’s 2013 Open in protest at their refusal to admitting female members. (Of course this would have nothing to do with a strategic move by the then FM to gain some kudos and respect from the female demographic who could never take to him).

We’re all familiar with the headline news that Scotland as a nation is getting its equality right and we applaud any attempts to drag ourselves into the 21st century.  In the real world, away from spin and PR where it’s more harsh, try being Polish, Syrian or from Somalia and wonder where that kind, friendly, caring and compassionate society had gone from the brochure? From those belligerent bus drivers and train ticket inspectors at High Street who act like The Sweeney and whose idea of customer service is to challenge and antagonise. The reality is the same from bottom to the top. This is a small, petty, bigoted nation determined for centuries to keep people in their place.

Of course the vote means Muirfield would lose out on The Open. These guys don’t care about the Open. Forget the millions it would bring into the area and the golf club, they are so elitist they’d rather not have the world’s eyes upon them. Perish the thought that it may interrupt their monthly medal or worse still, bring in their worst enemy, Joe or Josephine Bloggs rambling through their fairways.  They’d say they aren’t elitist, they are traditionalists.

The R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers: ‘We have consistently said it is a matter for the Honourable Company to conduct a review of its membership policy and that we would await their decision. The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members. Given the schedule for staging The Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change, we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue in future.’

The Honourable company of Edinburgh Golfers reputation maybe besmirched, but this type of person (50- 75, white, racist, bigot, misogynist company director, small penis) loves that. Power and control. Know your place.

OK, I hear you ask, what’s the solution? How do we solve the problem? We laugh in the face of it, that’s what we do. We parody them.

Here’s one that immediately springs to mind. That really original (sarcasm) scene from Downfall when the Fuhrer, as that’s never been used before has it? The scene as he is losing it in the bunker? See what I did there, the Fuhrer is actually losing the plot in the bunker- as in sand trap? The subtitles explain that Adolf is the club captain and going mental at his underlings because he doesn’t want women members. That’s hilarious isn’t it? No. I agree. Another parody of Downfall deserves a life time ban.

 

Which brings us, with a literary quantum leap, to the point and to Aristophanes. He was basically the Greek Woody Allen. A comedy playwright. The forefather of comedy, even older than Ken Dodd. For years I’ve been trying to adopt many of his comedic devices and plots and transplant them into a modern milieu.

In one of his surviving plays, Lysistrata, a bawdy anti-war comedy dated around 411BC, well before Up Pompeii and Frankie Howerd and all the Carry On Movies; one of his clever plots may come in useful.

Lysistrata, is a cool Athenian woman who is sick of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. She calls a meeting with women from all the towns and cities across Greece. Then she tells them her idea. They will all withhold sexual privileges, no matter how carnal their urges from their men folk, to force them to bring an end to the war. Lysistrata’s idea worked, withholding nookie forces them to negotiate peace. It’s genius. Now if the women of East Lothian who dream of joining their men in the clubhouse are reading, try it. Tell them straight, there’ll be no nookie until we’re allowed in.