Nothing to see here. Carry on.

It’s been, somehow, 8 months since my last post on these pages.

8 months.

I’ve been thinking about the reasons for such an extended absence. The obvious suspects are ‘the twins’: namely endemic laziness and a permanent sense that everything you write is shite of the highest order and your entire readership is just your mum visiting from an exotic range of browsers. These, however, are neither new nor unique, so let’s discount them.

After deep thought and intensive study of current affairs, I have concluded that, startlingly, absolutely nothing of note has occurred in the world since last September. Nothing at all. No material to work with.

I know, I was shocked too. However, I feel as though it is my duty to offer a quick recap on some events that have happened – simply so as to bring the reader up to speed on global affairs. Be warned – I expect this to be a particularly dry and uninteresting list, which should be considered educational in nature. If you are a teacher or other authority figure to the youth, these facts could make a reasonable pop quiz for toddlers, or potentially form part of a three hour exam for the under-5s.

In the UK

Overall, a few trifling issues to report.

On Europe – There has been a small kerfuffle in the Conservative party. As far as I can tell, the Tories have had enough of their current leader and would like another small-minded, braying wanker to replace him. Instead of doing this through the normal channels, they’re embracing democracy and asking the whole country to vote on their favourite. Oh and also whether or not we should be leave the EU.

But mainly the ‘who leads the Tories’ thing. On one side are Cameron and Osborne and a cadre of assorted cronies. Opposing them are Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, who coincidentally also make up the answers to the popular game ‘Name the absolute worst three people you can think of’.

As mentioned, this seems to be about leadership of a political party as opposed to the EU. Of the 137 Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs supporting Vote Leave, 130 of them are Conservative. Overall, however, there is very little information on the actual EU referendum to be had aside from lies, lies and more lies.

Thankfully there is only one sensible option to vote for so this almost definitely won’t have major, life-altering implications for any of us. And as if to help us pick the right option, Johnson and friends have surrounded themselves with a motley collection of odious bastards, and Nigel Farage. They’re even considering flying in nasty horrible racists like Marine Le Pen from around Europe to really hammer home their ‘you really shouldn’t support us’ credentials, as well as demonstrate a pleasingly poor grasp of irony.

In Health, doctors have had a bit of a disagreement with Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary. Quite why they, the experts, think they know better than Hunt, a man with exactly, exactly the same facial expressions as Dougal from Father Ted, is beyond me. Noted simpleton Hunt has concluded, after perhaps seconds of deep thought, that doctors don’t seem to work very hard and maybe they should work more, maybe also for less cash and maybe also at earlier, later and more weekend-y times than they currently do.

When doctors pointed out that they work at these times, get paid fuck all and literally cannot do any more hours without physically killing people, Hunt decided to put his fingers in his ears and sing loudly to drown out the sound, then carry on with his plan to impose an unworkable contract on an exhausted and underfunded workforce. Should the doctors’ unprecedented industrial action fail, they will just have to hope that a contract written in crayon is not legally binding.

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

In Education, see above, except Jeremy Hunt has longer hair and is called Nicky Morgan, and doctors are called teachers, but pretty much the same dynamic is playing out.

In world news

Some French and Belgian guys have attacked bits of their own countries. Therefore, immigrants and refugees should be banned. Look, it doesn’t have to make sense ok?

In the US, there’s a presidential nomination campaign going on and for the Republicans the frontrunner is a man who looks like every picture I ever drew at nursery and speaks like a Microsoft chatbot. His policies comprise: shouting, shouting words, shouting other words. He is the least extreme Republican candidate, and whilst scary, is scary in the same way as a monkey wielding a potato masher.

Potential for some damage, but the poor thing doesn’t actually know what it’s doing. Professionals will handle it.

In Environment news, the world is heating at an unprecedented rate, but look on this as an opportunity to get a crazy good tan on your next trip to Glamorgan.

Finally, in Celebrity, everyone your parents adored is dead. This is also hard for you, as you’ve had to quickly brush up on Bowie songs and learn that Prince was from Minnesota so as not to miss out on the mandatory outpouring of grief. Who cares if you only know them principally from cameos in Zoolander, the world has lost a genius and Twitter needs to hear your pain.

So, as you can see, not much to report. All pretty normal, cheerful stuff. Definitely no impending apocalypse. I’ll keep tabs on anything else that crops up so you don’t have to, and we’ll aim for an update in another 8 months or so.

In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be stocking up on provisions, building a needlessly cramped concrete bunker, weeping inconsolably and learning to scavenge for local London sustenance like wild herbs and fried chicken.

Those survivalists might look mental, but perhaps, grudgingly, they had a point.

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Seven a day ‘is not an April Fool’s joke’, say scientists

The clearly laughable call from health professionals for Britons to eat at least seven portions of fruit and veg a day is not a hilarious April Fool’s joke, it has been revealed.

The new advice, building on the optimistic ‘five a day’ guidelines which have been widely circulated and widely ignored for a number of years, comes after scientists discovered a link between good health and the consumption of things that grow in the ground and aren’t necessarily fried in sugar.

“No, we are serious”, stressed a scientist at the Centre for Research into Well-Timed Press Releases, “It has to be seven. We found that people who ate seven bits of fruit or veg in a day lived longer, and they probably had very similar lifestyles to our hard-drinking, sedentary, pizza-loving control group. It can only be the fruit and veg. So we’re rolling this advice out nationwide.

“No, I don’t think this is a strange day to release this report.”

"All you have to do is eat all of this. Every day."

“All you have to do is eat all of this. Every day.”

The response from the public has alternated between chortling and confusion:

Chortling – “Good joke”

Confusion – “What do you mean it isn’t a joke, it’ April Fool’s Day and this is ridiculous”

Chortling – “I average three vegetables a week, three of which are potato-based”

Confusion – “Can I even name seven?”

Chortling – “Fuck it, I’ll just drink wine instead”

Confusion – “Does wine count? Surely it does? It’s grapes no?”

Chortling – “Seven wines! Ace”

Quite how well people will respond to these new guidelines is yet to be seen, although given that roughly 100% of us get nowhere near five a day it seems unlikely that the push to seven will unleash a tidal wave of vegetable consumption in which rabid shoppers attack market stalls, gorging themselves on marrows and various legumes, the fleshy pulp dripping from their gaping maws.

It might, obviously, but it does seem unlikely.

What’s more likely is that maybe, occasionally, a very small slice of the population might allow an extra carrot to invade their dinner.

What’s even more likely, so likely in fact that it is probably already happening, is that everyone will laugh, actively pretend it was all an April Fool’s joke, and continue refusing to eat healthily until the government relent and allows crisps, chocolate and cheese to count towards the total.

Then we’ll smash seven a day.

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.

Adios.