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Sunday, 31 October 2010


The story so far...

It's August 1939 and Calliperso, Wally, Palter and Soiliver are visiting their Aunt Rowenta and Uncle Hichard Bertcutherson, and their 10-year-old cousin Oophy who has been taken in by Rowenta and Uncle Hichard to live with them at Howardsendaway. They are often visited by the twin sons of the local rector and Monny and Maxika, a Jewish refugee couple from Austria who have been taken in by the rector to use as insulation for his somewhat drafty Rectory. Their only son, Polio, is in a concentration camp, somewhere in the darkest depths of Neasdon.

Young Oophy is delighted with the arrival of her cousins, especially Soiliver, who has a tongue as long and agile as a common grass snake. She is determined to run 'The Terror Run', a coastal path that the cousins race along at full moon with only the songs of glamorous American crooner Riff Clichard and a king-size jar of brylcreem for company. However, during a daylight practice run she is flashed by the local coastguard - although whether the lighthouse was involved is still a matter of some debate - many feeling that a simple hand held torch or Davey lamp may have been sufficient to get Oophy 'in the family way', as her disconcerting propensity to walk about the grounds of Howardsendaway with a pillow stuffed up inside her cardigan is affectionately referred to by the other family members.

Returning during a tea-break from fighting in the Spanish Civil War, a depressed and disenchanted Soiliver has a changed outlook on life although he is still wearing the same underwear he had on when the Treaty of Locarno was signed and retains his crush on Calliperso. Calliperso, knowing that she isn't what Soiliver is truly seeking - namely a prostitute who will have sex with him at every conceivable moment *and* give him large amounts of money into the bargain - is determined to make the most of her beauty and marry a rich man with a large collection of crustaceans and/or an electronic egg timer.

Sensible, intelligent, practical Wally is observant and, noticing that there is a war on and having been bequeathed the old family clipboard and a variety of coloured pencils, eventually joins the War Office as a clipboard/coloured pencils monitor, bravely dispensing precious office stationery to a roomful of blindfolded recruits who have been deemed too sexually deviant even for the armed forces proper but who have to be perceived to be fulfilling *some* sort of useful activity because don't you know there's a bally war on etcetera etcetera. It is implied - although by whom, we are left none the wiser - that she is working on War Intelligence, although in reality, she is an icecream salesperson at the Worth Matravers Rialto, occasionally doubling as a stand-in projectionist whilst the regualar incumbent, a war-wounded and mercurial Cypriot known locally as Mr. Spanniploppita is sanding down his piles. Her brother Palter joins the Navy - which, if you've ever seen the way he holds a cigarette holder is about par for the course.

But then disaster strikes. With the war all but won, Uncle Hichard is made redundant from his job as an aircraft designer after twenty years and is unwilling to re-enter the rat race again - he just can't stand rats, you see, especially not in a competitive sporting environment. A sailing enthusiast and amateur whelk fondler, Uncle Hichard decides to pursue his dream of designing and building boats made solely from marzipan and balsa wood, putting his redundancy pay-out into the ailing Marmite boatyard, run by Rack Jolfe, a gruff traditionalist with a fully independent hernia, and his daughter Bovril. Uncle Hichard immediately finds himself in conflict with Rack, whose reliance on the bottle - he uses it to keep his hernia in when not wearing it - and resentment of Tom's new design ideas - "you'll never keep a boat made from marzipan and balsa wood afloat on the high seas, you stupid gay rectum of a man!" he never ties of telling Uncle Hichard - lead to no end of rows and recrimination until Bovril can stand it no more and takes up a correspondence course in raffia work run by the local polythechnic.

All of these tensions threaten to ruin the business, but not quite so much as the fact that they aren't making any money. Suave and ever-so slightly handsome in a Boris-Johnson-with-a-hump-sort-of-way as he is, Hichard has an unlikely ally in Bovril, who turns out to be the real driving force behind the yard with her cool, businesslike brain and ability to whistle the Marseillais with a mouthgag on and her ankles behind her ears. Rowenta, who has spent the last twenty years raising the children and building the family home, is less than impressed with her husband's risky new venture - although she has a soft spot for his hump, so long as he keeps it neatly shaved and moisurised. Putting down her hod and spirit level in protest, Rowenta finds herself pursuing her own life outside the family through establishing a new marine boutique whilst working for flash "medallion man" Men Kasterson.

Next week on Howardsendaway...

Will Calliperso find the man of her dreams and, having found him, be able to resist the temptation to post him up on eBay? Will Men Kasterson make good on his threat to hide his medallion somewhere that hasn't seen the light of day since assasination of Franz Ferdinand? And can Mr. Panniploppita get back from his urgent internal examination at the hands of Jistopher Cartin-Menkins, the sinister, wheelchair-bound locum doctor, in time for the second reel of "I Was a Male War Bride"?

Now read on...


Saturday, 30 October 2010

Harem Scarem...

Many of you will already be aware of the speculation mounting on the Strictly Come Dancing chatrooms and other scurrilous corners of cyberspace concerning my private life. Obviously as a celebrity with such a prominent position in the public eye, I realise that a large part of my life is considered to be held in common ownership and I have learned over time to accept most of such incursions into my privacy as being to some extent an occupational hazard. There are though some areas of the individual's existence that I had always thought to be exempt from such intrusion and general scrutiny, so it is with great regret that, in order to end the prurient interest, I now find myself forced to make public matters of my own personal spirituality and private faith.

In order to put an end to the rumour-mongering, I can officially reveal that, yes it's true, I have adopted Islam as the one true faith. That's right; I have become a Muslim. Obviously, this is not a decision I have taken lightly. I've spent long hours wrestling with my inner demons and, quite literally, searching my soul about this. After all, on entering into a faith which allows men to take multiple wives, you can't just leap in and grab the first bird you see by the headscarf like a bull in a china shop, can you? No. So I've given the make up of my harem a lot of thought.

Where better to start than Lauren Booth?

OK, Laur's not exactly a looker, but her old man's a diamond geezer and she's ideologically sound to the point of boycotting P&O ferries because they missed the 'L' out. What's more, she's probably pissed the Blairs off more than any other single individual - apart from David Kelly, obviously...but he didn't bother 'em for long.

Then there's Linda Bellingham:

Great jugs and the filthiest laugh in Christendom - sorry, the Caliphate. She'll be joined in the master bedroom by none other than the perennial year of the rear....Felicity Kendall:

She may be 77, but she brings a whole new level of depravity to the terms lithe and lissom. And who better to guide me in the mysterious ways of the Islamic sisterhood than our own lovely Michal Hussein?:

Al-Jazeera's loss is my gain, I should cocoa. But it's not just preaching to the converted. I'd like to give those who are sceptical of the faith a thorough introduction into the joys of polygamous contentment (if you get my drift...) Who better to argue the toss over the demeaning aspects of the harem whilst having her loofah those hard to reach parts while she's bathing you in ass's milk than the unbelievably saucy Jane Moore?

And before you all start getting on your high horses. Look, it's *not* all about sex. Women *do* have a lot more to offer a man than being opinionless sexual playthings. Besides, with all this little lot to feed, there'll be one hell of a lot of work needing to be done in the kitchen. So who better than to augment my bevvy of bedroom beauties than the ravishingly lovely Nigella Lawson?

What's that Nige? Oh, anything you like love, so long as it's Halal...

Right, I can't sit around here all day gassing about religion, I've got a wife and seventeen others to support...


Friday, 29 October 2010

Bobcast #2 (remastered)...

Listen to or download Bobcast #2 (remastered) here...

Production notes:

Originally posted on 25th July 2006, this is the first Bobcast proper. On 22nd July, a trial broadcast - a very poor quality, barely audible spoken word effort - was put into the public domain, but the story of the Robert Swipe Show podcasts really starts here. Initially recorded onto a portable mini-disc player through a £10.00 microphone bought specifically for the task from Dixons, the tracks and Bob's links were then edited to form some semblance of a show on Bob's full size mini-disc player. The sequence was then recorded in real time onto Bob's CD recorder and the resulting CD imported into iTunes to enable Bob to post up an Apple encoded MP4 to SwitchPod. Even by contemporary standards, this was all quite a pallaver! Taking the original MP4 file, through painstaking audio restoration work using the most up-to-date technology at our disposal, we've managed to make Bob not only audible, but actually at times as close to sounding as if he's actually in the same room as the listener as contemporary recording technology allows. As Bob's original editing options were pretty minimal, we've taken the liberty of adding a few tighther edits between the links and tracks and the occasional cross fade between voice and music as we imagine Bob would do were he making the shows today. But otherwise, no audio or spoken content has been altered and we will be maintaining this policy for all future re-masters. We trust the listener will agree with us that the show sounds as if it were recorded yesterday and yet retains the get-up-and-go, try-and-stop-me-you-A-holes spirit of Bob's original broadcast.

L.U.V. on ya,


(Morton Shadow, archivist and executive producer of the Robert Swipe Show re-release project)

Bob's original post:

That's right! Packed with over 40 minutes of fun, frolics and excessive background noise, the latest episode of our podcast is now available. It may take a devil of a long time to download, but watching that envelope flap has to beat Celebrity Love Island, hasn't it??

The Robert Swipe Show - bringing people together to argue over a laptop since 2004....

Track list:

Really that bad - The Pipettes

The lighter side of dating - The Monochrome Set

Life is short - Billy Nicholls

I'd much rather be with the girls - Donna Lynn

My arms stay open late - Tammy Wynette

Lost someone - James Brown

Everything about it is a love song - Paul Simon

The right stuff - Bryan Ferry

Baby that's me - Cake

Outro - The young ones - Vivian Stanshall


Through the cast darkly...

Forgive me a brief lapse into the poetic, but it's ever so hard being avant garde. Imagine the scenario: you spend most of your time being pilloried for your outrageous behaviour and then, when everybody else finally catches up with you, you have to suffer the indignity of watching them pat one another on the back for doing all the things they used to pillory you for. Doing. No wonder Yoko 'Bloody' Ono was always screeching like a crazed, pre-menstrual ban-shee on a hot plate.

Bogarde: "I'm not avant garde"

And such has been the predicament of your humble scribe. So many of the daring innovations pioneered on these pages - the one post blog, posts made up entirely of other people's comments, shifting personae, extensive real-time narrative structures, self-referential subject matter, wigs made from synthetic blue rope (to name but a few) - are now so widespread as to be bordering on the cliched. It's hard to recall the time when these creative strategies were not just novel but, to some, highly outrageous. How quickly the shock of the new becomes just another old titfer.

Still, I suppose that one has to accept one's lot. I've always been of the view that the only real significance of having an audience in the first place is that it enables you to make every effort to lose that audience. In that, if nothing else, I have been singularly successful. It may be personally distressing to be, as I have become, all-but universally despised, but it's probably a healthier place to be creatively than being lauded to the rooftops for one's every bowel movement. I'm sure Duchamp wouldn't have won many popularity contests down at the salon (although he does look particularly fetching in a soap-sculpted D.A.) but the work endures.

"Bom-ba-ba-ba-bom-ba-danga-danga-dang-dinga-dinga-dong-dong...bluuuueeeee moooooooooon"

But it was not always thus. There was a brief time - long passed, for better or worse - when this site managed to marry the twin imperatives of popularity and staggering creative originality. And probably the single most important contribution to that happy state of affairs was made by the original Bobcasts. Poorly recorded and - unbelievably, it seems to me now - solely available in the i-Tunes only AAC format, these embryonic efforts probably best capture the charm and lo-fi/indie approach that characterised the best of the Robert Swipe Show in its pomp.

Now, long overdue, they've been spruced up and overhauled in MP3 format so that the world and his wife can finally enjoy these seminal forays into the realm of digital broadcasting. That's right, I've decided to re-post all of the Bobcasts originally hosted on Switchpod* in gleaming, 128kbps remastered audio so that the full family of casts will finally be available in one place in their entirety. Listening back to them as we painstakingly tidied up the often barely audible and muddy-sounding tapes, I was struck by what a genuine community of listeners I seemed to be delivering them to. There's a lovely listening-under-the-duvet quality to the best of them that, notwithstanding the slightly clique-ey name-checking of members of my long-vanished audience, will I hope remain fresh to any new ears discovering them. We've been able to vastly improve the sound quality without, hopefully, losing the lo-fi, broadcast-and-be-damned spontaneity of the original shows. It's nice for me personally to be reminded of a time when all of this effort wasn't completely unrewarded.

I'll be posting Bobcast #2 up some time over the weekend, and then one a week after that. I hope you enjoy hearing the newly presented shows as much as I have rediscovering them.


* With the exception of the original, spoken-word only Bobcast #1 which is not only exceptionally boring but barely audible.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Osborne defends increase in gender inequality under Coalition...

Chancellor George Osborne today insisted that the Coalition government will not be swayed from an ecomomic programme which some commentators have claimed lays more of the burden of debt repayment on the shoulders of women.

Women: can't live wiv 'em...

Speaking to a group of business leaders in the midlands, the Chancellor hit back at critics who say that women are being unfairly taxed and especially targeted by cuts to the welfare budget. "True, in my great-grandmother's day, a woman was more than happy to stay at home, raise a large family and act as unpaid skivvy to her poorly paid and often aggressively misogynistic husband. But times have moved on and I like to believe that we live in slightly more civilized times. Nowadays, there are a lot more amusements around the home for the genteel lady of leisure - the internet has opened up whole new areas of entertainment for those who choose not to go to work - online gambling, Mum'snet, soft core pornography - these are all luxuries that would be the envy of our ancestors."

Warming to his theme, the Chancellor upbraided those who accused him of a regressive attack on the economic advancement of women over the past century. "Come on, let's face it, work isn't all it's cracked up to be, is it? You'd think that these ladies would be pleased as punch to have the opportunity to lounge around all day watching re-runs of the Jeremy Kyle show in saucy lingerie and a fetching little faux fox fur stole with a sobranie cocktail in one hand and a marguerita in the other; every so often raiding the Terry's All Gold and engaging in a little harmless flirtation with the DHL delivery man. I know I would. And the shoes - couldn't you just *die* for the opportunity to spend all day trying on your vast collection of preposterously high heeled shoes, perhaps even staging an imaginary gymkhana with all those L.K. Bennet boxes and then having a 'private moment' with Jilly Cooper's Riders. I know plenty of chaps in the cabinet who'd give their eye's teeth for the opportunity to sashay around all day in a skin-tight leopard skin number trying out sling-backs instead of putting in long hours in trying to take Britain's public services back into the 19th Century. You know, some of these women don't know they're born!"

Simon Hughes: Rexless Eric

The Chancellor's line was echoed by Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes. Addressing a Gay Pride rally in Nuneaton, to rousing cheers, Hughes asked the assembled crowd,

Why can't a woman be more like a man?
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historically fair.
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Why can't a woman be like that?

Why does every one do what the others do?
Can't a woman learn to use her head?
Why do they do everything their mothers do?
Why don't they grow up, well, like their father instead?

Why can't a woman take after a man?
Men are so pleasant, so easy to please.
Whenever you're with them, you're always at ease.

Would you be slighted if I didn't speak for hours?

The case continues...


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Clegg refuses to withdraw "noncepan" slur...

Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister, has astonished colleagues and the Westminster media scrum as footage released on YouTube has revealed him launching a frenzied verbal attack on the Labour Leadership. Among an incredible list of freshly minted terms of abuse, the 5 minute litany of hate-filled biled contained the choice insults such as 'noncebag', 'clit-face', 'spatula-cock' and 'rim-tongue breath, as Clegg pulled no punches in welcoming the new leader of the shadow cabinet to the fray.

Coalition will draft in badgers to break strikes...

Prime minister David Cameron today announced shock new plans to use teams of badgers to cover vital public services in the event of predicted industrial action in the wake of last week's spending review. Speaking on BBC Breakfast News, Mr. Cameron said, "obviously, in normal times, I'd just have them culled and fed to the local hunt as an example to the rest of you - fouling up our lovely rolling lawns as they do and keeping the kids awake with their hideous wails and mating calls. But these aren't normal times - as, indeed, a cursory glance at the make of the cabinet should tell you. Badgers are cheap, reliable and, from certain angles and in a darkened room, tolerably attractive; certainly an improvement on Danny Alexander, that's fo' sho! I know I'd rather have one driving me to hospital, fetching an errant kitten down from a tree or inadvertently turning off my life support machine than some east European gypsy or Pole - anyday! And let's be quite clear about this: blib-blubblib-blub-blib-blooobb-blloobb-bloooobbbb..."

But the move has attracted wipespread criticism, most notably from animal welfare groups. "Mr. Cameron's move is clearly a slickly presented attempt to disguise wholesale changes to the rural demographic which add up to little less than a programme of ethnic cleansing in the shires. They tried it before in the 80s and 90s with the fox population and look what happened there; millions of foxes migrating down south desperately trying to find work that wasn't there and ending up living a life of vagrancy and scavenging for scraps with only the occasional opportunity to nip off the ears of unattended youngsters to redeem the misery. Mr. Cameron says he has the interests of the public at heart, but how would *he* like it if a bunch of masked thugs were to come round to his gaffe, bellow abuse in his ear through a loud hailer for 45 minutes before daubing the legend "Badger baiting wanker paedophile" on the windshield of his mini metro??" said a spokesperson.

But sources close to the government insist the coalition will remain firm on this issue. "We won't be budging on the badgers", said some Liberal Democrat or other. Some of these badgers are on a whole raft of handouts that would, quite frankly, astound the average hard-working taxpayer. Job seekers allowance, housing benefit, disability, winter fuel allowance - you know, some of them think they're entitled to the whole sett."


Monday, 25 October 2010

Fara's Way (Part 313)...

The story so far...

Fara has retreated from the unsightl;y denouement of her doomed courtship with Demetrius Drabbe to her family's rural retreat where her step-mother, Lady Dithering is preparing a grand ball to lift her beloved step-daughter's spirits. Among the fabulous array of guests are Force Brusythe (the nonagenrian light entertainer and bowel expert), Salerie Vingleton (the former children's broadcasting personality and consumer advice expert), Riff Clichard (the world renowned minstrel and balladeer), B'arsy Dussell (the ballet dancer and frog handler), Caniel Dorbett (the somewhat effeminate but ultimately lovable Meteorologist), Prosemary Roops (the celebrated agony aunt and spleen fixer), Brayfriars Dobby (the fictional dog who famously - and somewhat mawkishly - pined for his deceased owner for 17 years)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Fara's Way (Part 312)...

The story so far...

Dappled, demur and ever so slightly ditzy, our heroine Fara Titzgerald has washed up back at Ditherer's Rest, the old family seat secreted safe among the emerald folds, deep in the heart of England's rural shires. Awash with the vapors and still experiencing several daily bouts of her 'nerves', Fara whiles away the days and weeks in the timeless serenity of the old Conservatory, half shrouded in ancient ivy fronds, numbed in equal measure by Lord Ditherer's exotic tales of his part in the Great Poor Law reforms of 1832 and his plentiful topping up of her tumbler of 12 year-old Bugati Brake Fluid. Can Tara ever escape the traumatic memories of the Brocaded Kipper Tea Rooms that so scandalised the sleepy hamlet of Orbison Rippling? Will Demetrius Drabbe return, as promised, to reveal her terrible, terrible secret? What exactly *did* Lord Ditherer do during the Great Poor Law Reforms of 1832? And is there any of that 12 year-old Bugati Brake Fluid going? I'm *quate* *parched* Ay am...

Now, read on...

Floating in and out of a pleasurable haze of mechanical oil fumes and the nostalgic minutiae of an ancient class war, the terrible scene at the old Brocaded Kipper Tea Rooms when, you'll recall, she gave short shrift to the ambivalently tendered hand of her erstwhile suitor Demetrius Drabbe, the minor poet and underwater ventriloquist, couldn't be further from this peaceful idyll. There, he'd behaved in such a beastly fashion that she'd had no alternative but to hotfot it immediately back to the bosom of her family, barely giving Demetrius time to towel himself down and remove an unwieldy ruddy-cheeked, redheaded puppet from his fist before giving chase. Oh what an awful sight it must have been! - her fleeing sobbing and distraught, pursued the length and breadth of the normally tranquil main thoroughfare of the sleepy hamlet of Orbison Rippling by a sodden bard waving a snorkled ginger mannequin-clad fist at anyone who cared to listen and telling them he'd only tried to do the decent thing and what were they staring at, had they never seen a cuckolded underwater ventriloquist in sodden pursuit of a scandalous flibberty-gibbet, eh?

But then Fara's quiet repose was interupted by the gentle coughing of Grindly, the butler. Shaking off several fronds of ivy, Fara reached out a palsied hand toward the proferred silver salvour and felt the familiar nap of ancient Drabbe family stationery. "I do wish he'd stop writing on baize", thought Fara as she absent mindedly clawed open the felty green envelope and removed a similar patch of cloth into which a series of characters had been elegantly gouged in ornate copperplate script. "So dashed hard to read and, what's more, that snooker table will soon be all but unplayable if he keeps inundating me with correspondence like this...cue ball's all but impossible to keep straight as it is without any further deterioration of the playing surface..." "Brthhfdggkknng mnkjjjjdnhhshbbsb likoijjjjj..." jabbered Lord D., having fallen asleep with a mouthful of 12 year-old Bugati Brake Fluid. "That perishing poet still giving you the heeby-jeebies is he?" He spluttered, raining a spray of highly flammable liquid across the room. "Damn and blast his eyes, I don't know about you, but I'd tell him where to stick his patiently parlayed rhymes - and that goes for that monstrous ginger dwarf he insists on ramming his fist into in a paddling pool at the drop of a hat. Come on, let's hear it - what tripe and utter codswallop is he bombarding you with this time??"

Lord D. may have been an unspeakable brute with a level of evenly applied misanthropy not seen since the days of Genghis Khan, thought Fara, but he's a canny old egg when it comes to affairs of the human heart. Lord D. was right on the money - Demetrius had indeed sent more verse; another lengthy scrawl of an eponymous epic love poem he had dedicated to her. In a reedy, quavering voice, she read out aloud from the flapping green parchment:

Should you care to make your way up to the Ritz,
There a tender hearted lover sits,
Dreaming of the day he'll get his mitts
On the secret, shaded under-bits
Of the lovely, lovely Fara Titz...

The poem went on at some length in this vein and Lord D. was soon snoring in his habitual bisonic fashion. Oh well, thought Fara, all the more Bugati for me, I suppose, and she was soon floating high above her troubles on a cloud of joyous exhaust fumes dreaming of greased up stevedores with lashings of Yoplait. Yes, she thought - everything's going to be alright....!!

Next week on Fara's Way:

Will Fara escape the clutches of Landy Silage and Randy Lairweather-Foe, the visiting American professors of trends in Pro-Am golfing wear? Can Lord Ditherer remember where he left the family hair looms. What will the future hold for Curbly Allanish, the local Jack the Lad when a detailed account of his indiscretions with Tara in the hayloft are read out loud during the annual Harvest festival service? And will Fara's remarkable resemblance to the celebrity socialite and anorexic Tara Farrar-Pompidou prove costlier than anyone could possibly have imagined? Find out next week on Fara's Way...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Truth & Beauty...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

Get it out with Optrex.

(Spike Milligan)


Friday, 22 October 2010

From Alan Bennett's 'Writing Home'...

Bennett recounts a story told to him by George Melly. Melly was coming back to London from a gig up north and got lost somewhere in Yorkshire. Anxious to get back on his chosen route, he flags down a passing car.

"Excuse me sir," he asks the motorist who's pulled over for him, "do you know the Bradford turn-off?"

"Know her? I bloody *married* her..."


Wednesday, 20 October 2010