Grand Theft Auto V: A clear and present danger to society

What did you do this weekend?

Here are some of the things I did:

I drove a superbike up a mountain, snaking along the arete with dexterity and skill, just to get a selfie at the top overlooking the surrounding countryside. After a surprisingly non-fatal accident which involved falling off said mountain on said superbike, I strolled out of hospital and headed for the airport.

After cunningly evading security by smashing my newly-acquired 4X4 through a fence, I merrily dodged police cars before commandeering a passing Learjet. I took the plane for a quick spin out over the ocean, returning to attempt an admittedly risky landing on a mountain road, decimating a herd of deer and a hiker in the process.

I quickly descended the mountain in a clapped out camper van, stopping occasionally in the path of downhill mountain bikers with hilarious consequences. Upon arrival back in the city I took up honest work as a tow truck driver, helping out a friend who had succumbed once again to his crack addiction. Oh JB, when will you learn!

My coup de grace was to steal a yacht from a pair of yuppies, sail it gently up an inlet, get out, punch the man who took a picture of the yacht directly in the face, steal $19 from the man, lead the chasing police up a mountain in a sports car, then lose them by careering down a ravine before shooting over the highway like a steel comet, jumping out in mid-air and obtaining only minor injuries as I ploughed, salmon-like, into the sea.

Admit it, that's a nice yacht.

Admit it, that’s a nice yacht.

I should point out that in the nine hours all of these activities took, I did none of the following:

– eat

– drink appropriate levels of fluid

– leave the sofa

– press pause

– make any human contact outside of grunts

– start the actual story bit of the game

GTA is obviously a very violent game, and it’s getting a lot of stick from a lot of people whose last games console was clearly an Amiga 500, who argue that it will lead to violent copycat behaviour and that videogames are inherently evil and must be outlawed. This is clearly bollocks.

What is more concerning is that Rockstar have made something so vast, detailed, immersive and downright fun that I could conceivably spend the rest of my natural life in a fictional city buying strip clubs or hunting coyotes in a desert with a sniper rifle. I could seal myself off from the world with just this game and be happy for a good long time. I’d never go outside and start picking people off from a clocktower – that would be silly, I live nowhere near any clocktowers – but I could happily become one of those people who has a groove in the sofa which tessellates perfectly their own arse.

Getting it up there without using roads was a completely worthwhile use of an hour.

Getting it up there without using roads was a completely worthwhile use of an hour.

I’m not the only one. Twitter is abuzz with exploits from players or worried messages from their significant others who haven’t seen them for a week. I felt genuine pain for a man who was mauled by a mountain lion whilst trying to take a picture of an elk he’d set on fire.

I mean, who doesn’t want to give that a go? That, my friends, is a story you can tell down the pub when or if you start leaving the house again.

If there is one positive to the situation, it’s that the skydiving practice I’m getting on GTA sets me up nicely for my big charity skydive in the real world in two week; which you can find out about here (seamless Mark, just seamless).

Maybe from now on, instead of labels warning of sex, violence, drug use and the rest, there should be more honest descriptions:

“Warning: this is brilliant. May result in significant loss of free time and/or interpersonal relationships.”

Anyways, off to start the story. See you in about a year. Maybe.


Stupid decision #732: Skydiving

As at least some of you will know, I’m not good with heights.

I’m really not good with heights. In fact I’m so poor with heights that I decided to stop growing at 5′ 10″ in case the ground got too far away. True story.

In any case, when asked if I wanted to take part in a charity skydive in October, the only legitimate answer I could have possibly given was “No”.

Instead, being the type of simpering fool who is only happy if he can raise a mild smile or at least avoid outright contempt from others, I uttered something along the lines of “Yeah, that sounds good.” Except in the voice of a meek 8 year old boy which made it clear to all concerned that it wasn’t in any way good. It was an awkward situation.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’ve now signed up to jump out of a small aeroplane, strapped to another human being, on October 5th.

It's going to go super well

It’s going to go super well

The jump is in aid of the Brain Tumour Charity, who do great work in supporting research into brain tumours, raising awareness and providing support to those affected by brain tumours. A lot of people I know, my own family included, have been affected by brain tumours, and put simply they’re fucking horrible, so supporting these guys is definitely a worthy cause.

So basically, I’m asking for some of your hard-earned cash.

In exchange for your money, you can expect:

– A sense of satisfaction from helping people whose lives are affected, in many cases destroyed, by a horrendous illness

– To laugh maniacally as I weep like a tiny child in a metal tube, then possibly soil myself on a complete stranger before being hurled from a moving plane, screaming all the way to Earth, in all likelihood vomiting on the same stranger, then hanging limply like a dead goose, sobbing, on camera, as I float towards the ground.

– Public recognition on these pages for your generosity, including a made up fact that you never knew about yourself.

– A Twirl or Wispa*

I’m aiming to raise over £250 in a little under 4 weeks. If you can spare some cash towards this I’ll be eternally grateful. You can donate at my page here:

If I get to £1,000 I’ll let you dream up some kind of hilarious forfeit.


And thankyou…

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.”


‘Decision was easy because they’re paying me a boatload of cash’, declares Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has finally completed his triumphant, lucrative return to Chelsea.

The Special One, which is apparently an acceptable nickname for an adult but not a child, claimed that the main reasons for his return to Stamford Bridge were his love for the club and the massive cheque, quarry full of golden dubloons and limitless supply of caviar he has been presented with upon arrival.

Jose indicates how many thousands of pounds he has earned while you read this caption.

Jose indicates how many thousands of pounds he has earned while you read this caption.

Speaking to the press in a golden suit, surrounded by exotic animals and juggling Faberge eggs, the Portuguese tactician waxed lyrical about his love for the soulless west London outfit.

“There are many things I love about Chelsea. I refuse to elaborate any more on what those things are because I have not had time to make up an acceptable lie yet. Suffice to say I am home, and here to help. And wealthy. Fabulously wealthy.

“There must be some positives about the actual club though. Who’s captain these days? At least that adulterous potential racist and all round buffoon Terry is gone.

“Wait, he’s still here? Oh shit, I want more cash. Well, at least none of my players have ever shot a trainee with an airgun on club property. Wait, what?”

Chelsea fans have reacted with delight at finding out that their new manager is not Rafa Benitez, and have completely forgotten all of the shit that went on last time Mourinho was here as it happened more than 8 minutes ago.

“I remember the last time Mourinho was here”, lied fan Jeff Staines, “It was a magical time of happiness, delight and world peace. And arguments. And childishness. And only moderate success, which given the outlay on players was really the bare minimum expected. And Adrian Mutu.”

Mourinho then left Stamford Bridge this afternoon to relax on his new luxury island, which he purchased with his first hour’s pay.

Meanwhile, industry professionals and rational human beings have agreed that if a mad Russian offered them £10million a year to do a job, they’d probably score their job satisfaction quite highly as well.

Exercise update: Alive and mostly intact

I survived! Worship me, I am a Colossus!

Obviously I’m not, but since I got over the line I’m going to at least pretend that I’m a physical god for the next 24 hours or so. Don’t worry, it’ll wear off.

I’ll be honest, it didn’t start well. Tall flatmate and broad flatmate were in charge of buying food for a big carb-loading dinner, and bought beef burritos instead, which was a ridiculous choice really and I’m going to call them out on it. They also decided to make a pasta salad, a la Nigella, to act as pre and post race fuel. I refused to touch it given that it was based on tuna and sweetcorn, two of the most inherently evil foods on the planet, but by all accounts it was almost inedible. We also had no proper means of transporting the 1kg of it we made, so broad flatmate had to lug it round the event site in a large mixing bowl, prompting odd looks and arm cramps. Poor form.

We met up with some workmates at the start line and it was heartening to find that they were bricking it as much as we were. Tall flatmate almost pulled out at the last minute due to a complete lack of training compounded by contracting what might actually be AIDS in the buildup to the race and spending all of Friday night vomiting. In his own words, “If my head goes below my heart it will fall off.”

As with the last event I did the warmup almost killed me, so 13 miles wasn’t entirely appealing in truth.

I think the course could be summed up in the following three words: Sadism, pain, distance. All three were to be found in abundance, but there was a good smattering of fun involved too.

Overall we ploughed through 15 zones. After a mile jog down to the opening one, our first instruction from the marshals was: “Pick a car. Now climb through it.” This rather set the tone for what was to come.

Didn't even steal it.

Didn’t even steal it.

In the next zone, we had to climb through a half inflated bouncy structure and then found a rugby team waiting the other side with pads to batter us. Light comic relief was provided by one rugby person who was too fat to chase us and had to politely ask for us to run at him. We then encountered a straight 10ft wall to navigate, which I effectively ran straight into and bounced off. One of the marshals had to give me a leg up. In my high heart rate delirium I told her I loved her, and meant it.

Tall flatmate was starting to struggle, understandably, by mile 3, and was being shepherded by broad flatmte. So I gallantly ditched them both and pushed on with a quicker group of friends. This really sums me up as a person.

The water zones were ridiculous. The first one was fine, through a reservoir about waist deep. The aptly named ‘Wipeout’ zone was a bit more of a slog. We had to wade through about half a mile of lake which was neck deep at the shallowest, through 2 or 3 feet of silt and other gunk, which was properly draining. Thankfully some of the big inflatables had blown over so we didn’t have to do them, otherwise I would have added my own hot tears to the lake’s plentiful water supply. Then we had to jump off a big platform about 15ft above the water – I executed this rather too well and almost didn’t surface. The final water zone about 11.5 miles in was a real struggle – by this point my body was no longer my friend so I had to rely on the kindness of strangers to grab me by the arse and chuck me over some of the higher obstacles to save me from flopping like a dying salmon.

By mile 10 broad flatmate had also gallantly ditched tall flatmate, caught us and overtaken us. He’s not human.

By mile 11 my legs were fucked. I’ve not run more than 10k ever, so it felt like running through treacle after so much punishment and I guess I was jogging at walking pace.

The last mile was dreamt up by somebody who should be in prison. They put the three toughest zones right next to each other at the finish. I stacked it on one of the sprint ramps (think that thing from Gladiators they have to do at the end) and received encouraging jeers from the watching crowd. Then there was the world records zone.

This included 110m of monkey bars – I managed 2 before slipping off, I blame wet hands as opposed to a chronic lack of strength. The forfeit was to climb over about 150 interlocked barriers shaped in a zig-zag, the kind they have at gigs and events where they close roads, each about 4ft high. After 12.5 miles that was a real killer. Then there was the world’s largest wall of hay bales, which was actually quite fun because I climbed it next to a man dressed as Thor, complete with hammer.

The last obstacle was monster – a big structure of half pipes and 6ft walls that you had to scale before hitting the finish line. A random Welsh bloke gave me a helping hand on those so I’m eternally grateful to him.

And that was that! Over the finish line, pouring with rain, legs no longer working.

13 miles, 150 obstacles, all done.

Overall time was officially 3:46 but we probably lost about half hour to bottlenecking and queuing for obstacles.

This morning, after 14 hours sleep and a steak, I feel moderately ok, but haven’t got out of bed yet. I tested one leg a few minutes ago and it wasn’t pretty. I do get the feeling ingesting so much lake water might not have been good for me.

Never thought I’d say this but it was brilliant fun. I encourage everyone to get involved in this kind of thing because it’s just such a unique experience.

I’ll try and get some photos up in due course so you can laugh at me falling over things.

Going for another nap now…

P.S. I hope literally everybody else in the world had fun at the Rugby Sevens yesterday, you luck, luck bastards.


Exercise Update: Pray for me

Right then. Crunch time.

It has dawned on me that the Rat Race, aka the point of my life where I die, is nearly upon us. And by nearly upon us I mean it’s on Saturday. And there’s now a complete synopsis of all the stuff we have to do here.

You might think that I’ve been using the previous couple of weeks to hone my now finely-crafted physique, lifting things, running around, punching the air, doing sweating, and generally making sure I’m ready to face Soviet killing machine Ivan Drago, much as in this inspirational Rocky montage. I like the bit where he goes mental on the skipping rope.

Sadly, however, I haven’t. What I have been doing is eating cheese and drinking heavily.

In fairness, it wasn’t my fault. I had to go to Spain.

Now I love Spain; it’s an excellent country. 360 days of sunshine, a casual approach to public nudity, a strong focus on daytime drinking and a 3 hour lunchbreak wrapped in 4 hours of work are all huge plus points, and some of the foundations of the nation’s prospering economy.

I went with the best intentions, I really did. I even packed my running gear. The only problem is I never unpacked my running gear. What I did unpack was a hearty appetite which was well-served by Andalucia’s love of fat-free, healthy foods.

A modest range of training cheeses.

A modest range of training cheeses.

Oh wait no. It was all fat. And pork. And cheese. And variations on them. One of the most popular snacks, I shit you not, is chorizo fried until the fat runs out with mozzarella added to the pan until just melting. You then serve it with fresh basil and bung it into a french loaf, occasionally basting the mozzarella with the chorizo fat. In truth, it’s god’s own snack. Few tastier things have been in my mouth.

It’s also a heart attack on a plate and among the healthier of the options available in all good tapas bars. Then you just have to wash it down with beer, because it’s cheaper than water and we’re in a recession. Some of the beer bellies you see should have their own postcodes. But by god are those people happy.

That’s before you even hit dessert – one day we sauntered down to the village to watch a lady carry a porcelain saint with no arms (apparently perfectly normal) and then a middle-aged lady tried to force feed us all churros and chocolate.

There’s no escape!

Obviously it was a quality week.

Unfortunately I am now fully unprepared for Saturday, but I am now confident that my heart will give out before I have to run 13 miles. If I were a betting man I’d wager it’ll be somewhere in the first mile. I’d also wager that in the autopsy the doctors will find that my heart is deep-fried.

I have one small comfort: tall flatmate will be dying with me, as he has completely misunderstood what’s in store. An actual conversation from today:

Harry: “I figure it’s just run a mile, do an obstacle. By 10 obstacles it’ll be nearly over.”

Me: “No Harry, it’s not 10 obstacles, it’s 150.”

Harry: “Haha, funny. I went for a 2 mile run the other day so I’ll be fine.”

Me: “I’m serious.”

Harry: “<Confused look/whimpering sound>”.

Oh and broad flatmate still can’t swim. At all. And there’s a swimming part. A long one.

I’d like to say it’s been enjoyable writing for you all over the last couple of years, and I would urge you not to throw away your lives by blind stupidity as I am about to do.

We would all like fancy funerals please – I would like mine to be curated by vowel-hating producer SBTRKT to ensure I go into the flames to a cool, thumping beat.