“Bombs good, guns fine, gas bad” declares government

Killing your own citizens using one method is fine, but another way is totally unacceptable, and killing more using British planes and guns would actually be a very good thing, the UK government has announced today.

As it became clear that David Cameron was ‘up to 40% certain’ that President Assad sanctioned a chemical attack on his own people, a claim seemingly based solely on the fact that opposition forces are deemed ‘a bit too shit’ to be toting poison gas, ministers began making exactly the kind of noises which will result in large areas of Damascus being flattened.

There are unconfirmed reports that when not writing impassioned Telegraph articles, William Hague has spent the last four days running around Westminster with a toy Eurofighter, making missile noises then screaming ‘BANG’ repeatedly.

The question absolutely nobody seems to be asking, however, is why poisoning people is considered a war crime, but shooting them casually for a good six months isn’t.

And one that at least some people are asking is why the appropriate response from the UK should be to carry out ‘surgical strikes’ on the country in question with the kind of stunning precision that normally turns important military targets like residential areas and schools into rubble and bodies.

Bunker-bustingly humane.

Bunker-bustingly humane.

Sadly, these questions cannot be answered by a hollow soundbite so they are likely to stay off the political agenda indefinitely.

David Cameron has been unequivocal in stressing that the Syria issue is “not like Iraq”, insisting that “What we are seeing in Syria is fundamentally different”, presumably because Iraq cost Tony Blair his job.

It is thought that the fundamental difference in the two situations is that Syria is slightly north-west of Iraq.

5 comedy shows to see at the Edinburgh Fringe

So I’ve just got back from the Fringe. I mean literally just. I’m writing this in the 15 mins I have before my frozen chicken pieces are ready for me to consume.

I love the Fringe. I’ve been there twice now so I’m a bona fide expert on it and as such my words should adorn posters and be stapled to flyers so that potential showgoers might learn from my large repository of objective wisdom.

Hitting the Fringe is a confusing experience. You head there, you’re looking for a show, you don’t really know what you want to see. Helpfully, on the Royal Mile and lurking down alleyways/in bins are thousands of students being paid a laughably low amount to explain why so and so is the best show ever whilst looking at you with their sad, dead eyes.

Top tip for the first-timer – Every show at the Fringe has a 4 star rating from somebody.

I could walk down the Mile and receive a 4 star rating from at least one press outlet or blog. So when people start shouting, “4 star show” at you that doesn’t mean you ought to be going there. It could very much still be shit.

So it’s best to have a little context. Here are my 5 faves from this year. Why is my opinion worthwhile? It isn’t.

1) Tim Key – Work in Slutgress (Progress)

Err, don’t be put off by the title. I’ve always quite liked Tim Key – he’s a mix of comedian, poet, actor, tramp, with a flair for finding fun in the most absurd places. His Eduburgh show is a very short run and isn’t listed in the brochure – I think he’s covering for somebody else who didn’t show up. The upshot is nobody knows it’s on so it will likely not sell out. Whatever the circumstances, the show he’s putting on is genuinely brilliant. Key surrounds his poetry with cheap gags, anecdotes, recurring jokes, physical theatre, clever staging and a complete comfort with the audience which results in a wonderful hour. He sort of swore us all to silence on the contents at the end – but take my word that it’s well worth a watch.

2) James Acaster

I first saw James Acaster at a 5 quid new material night in London before Christmas. He was on for about 5 minutes and I’ve only just stopped laughing. Tall, languid and dressed head-to-toe in M&S garb, his jokes are so well-crafted that I want to frame them. We saw him twice at Edinburgh in separate compilation shows (more on that later) and he delivered completely different sets each time, both tear-inducingly funny. He’s also brilliant off-the-cuff, breaking off into a long section on candle wax and blu-tack in one show which had the audience in stitches.

Acaster plays on his slightly awkward image, a bit of an anti-lad, and the result is hilarious. The group of meatheads at the front of the second show we saw him in, probably not his general demographic, were pissing themselves laughing throughout. It’s difficult to see how he can improve on what he’s dishing out right now, a definite must-see.

3) Marcel Lucont

My second favourite comedy character after Alan Partridge. Actually a bloke from Reading, but so convincingly stereotypically French that people don’t believe you when you tell the otherwise.

Outrageously funny to the point where I actually slapped my own knee with mirth. Hugely arrogant but endearing at the same time. Finished one hilariously ropey poem with the line “You are correct to applaud. That was…superb.” You’ll have to catch him at a compilation show or bid on an hour of his time, seriously, but if you can work out where he is go and see him. Haven’t yet met anybody who didn’t find him hilarious.

4) Piff the Magic Dragon

A man dresses as a dragon, comes on stage and performs card tricks with the aid of a chihuahua, also dressed as a dragon, and an assistant who hates him. And a goldfish. Good card-based magic is the foundation of the show but the whole combination is unforgettable and brilliant. Piff (no idea what his real name is) has worked out that as good as your magic show can be, you ned a bit more to engage the audience. The guy is actually a brilliant comedian – world-weary and with a proper flair for comic timing with a few really good gags. Something very different from straight stand-up, and very, very good.

5) Spank!

If you’re stuck for things to do at midnight at the weekend then head down to the Underbelly on Cowgate for Spank!, three hours of comedians, shouting and gratuitous nudity. On the plus side, you’ll get some incredible acts. The’ll list them on the day so see who’s on, but we got top-class, extended sets from James Acaster, Marcel Lucont, David Morgan and April Macie (who isn’t even at the Fringe but just happened to stop by).

On the down side, you might see the compere dip his penis into the mouth of one of the lads in the front row. This did actually happen. So it goes.

Honorable mentions

Daniel Simonsen – Awkward, awkward, AWKWARD Norwegian kid. Pain and pleasure in equal measure. I think he’s brilliant, so did the majority of our group, but if you don’t get him you won’t enjoy it.

Bo Burnham – American Youtube demi-God. Would probably have made the list except I didn’t see him. Friends who did rated him as the best show they saw.

PC, Mac and Me – One for the geeks, and FREE! Dan Willis is pretty accomplished, and some good computer-based funnies. Very good for no pounds.

Abandoman – Irish comedy improv hip-hop. Caught about 10 mins of this at a best of show and it was amazing.




Sewers ‘tooling up’ at alarming rate

Britain’s underground passages have launched a sinister war against humanity.

The Subterranean Effluent, Water and Everyday Rubbish Society, or sewers for short, have finally grown tired of centuries of mistreatment by the surface dwelling bipeds above who think it’s fine to pour cooking oil down the sink despite knowing full well that it’s a total dick maneuver.

It is also thought that, being sensitive souls, they are irked that people have stopped dropping rings and other shiny metals into drains like everybody did in the 20th Century, as the lustrous object provided a pleasing contrast to the earthy tones produced by the endless rivers of shite.

The sewers have two main weapons in the fight against us. The first is a good old-fashioned explosion. By leaking onto surrounding electric cabling it is possible to create a fairly significant blast, and guerilla elements in the sewer network have become increasingly adept over the past few years. In just a year they managed to increase their attacks by 150%.

A spokesman for the sewers, concealing his identity with a manhole cover, said: “We are bringing terror to the streets of Britain. Literally. Al-Qaeda haven’t got shit on us. Literally.”

Shit's about to get real.

Shit’s about to get real.

Today a new weapon emerged, or rather submerged, under the streets of Kingston. A ‘fatberg‘, a gruesome device cunningly assembled from baby wipes, butter and regurgitated Big Macs, was found lurking underneath a block of flats. Weighing 15 tonnes and around the size of a bus, it is clear that the ‘berg was almost ready for launch. Kingston County Council have rightly been praised for their swift counter-terrorism actions, which involved a bloke submerged in used condoms chucking chemicals at it for three weeks.

It is unclear what the exact purpose of the fatberg is, although experts suspect the sewers lack of satellite signal means they are some what out of touch with current events. Their latest news source is allegedly a copy of the Times from April 1912 and the group is certain that the surface world is still in a golden age of ocean liners with inept captains and insufficient lifeboat provision. It is believed they intend to launch a flotilla of fatbergs into the Atlantic and watch the carnage unfold.

The spokesman seemed to confirm this theory: “Soon all your boats will be sinking like chicken nuggets in a cesspool thanks to our mighty fatbergs.”

“Although thinking about it they are basically made of lubricants, so stuff might just glide off whilst receiving a free wax.”

“But fuck it, you’ll still pay. Just wait til we unleash the turdmines.”


World vents anger at lack of lab-grown chips

Scientists have today faced the wrath of the western world by announcing that they are yet to grow chips in a lab.

Attempting to mollify an outraged public with a burger grown from the stem cells of a dead cow backfired spectacularly when it was pointed out that there are live cows literally everywhere. There remain, however, a critically low number of live, wild chips in the world.

Food critics were visibly disappointed when they were presented with the chip-free pseudo-meat, with one heard to audibly remark: “Well this is fucking pointless”.

"What a rare sight! Oh wait no it's just a cow."

“What a rare sight! Oh wait no it’s just some cows.”

With an estimated 1.3 billion cows in the world, and stacks of vegetarians who don’t really want to eat them anyway, it seems unlikely that the globe will be running short of the beatific, flatulent, delicious meat-vessels any time soon. Which begs the question as to why on earth anybody thought it was a good idea to produce an inferior copy when the world is in such desperate need of real synthetic essentials like chips, cookie dough and gin.

Everybody loves gin.

The time, intellectual effort and money taken to produce the singular, uninspiring burger have lead prominent thinkers to question whether science ought to be concentrating on other areas instead of spunking £215,000 and many years of research up the wall to make a shit Big Mac.

Like a cure for cancer.

Or a working jet pack. That’d be ace.

Or, as previously stated, some delicious chips. Mmm, chips.