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Thursday, 20 October 2016

RT Farty...

Director Ken Loach has taken aim at Soviet Russian news channel RT, describing its news coverage as “manipulative and deeply political”. "The USSR Russia is a “rotten place for a director - rampant environmental degradation, it's run like a mafia state and its people are dying off. And Syria is not much better, the way they're bombing the shit out of it fair breaks me poor old 'eart, 'Arold”, said the director of British classics such as Cathy Come Home and that one about the Spanish Civil War with Ian Hart in it.

Prominent leftwinger Loach, who is currently promoting his Palme d’Or-winning film about a man’s struggle with the UK film awards system, I, Daniel Radcliffe, in between embarking upon completely unprovoked Albert Steptoe impersonations, said there was a need to “democratise” the organisation many people believe to be little more than a de facto propaganda arm of the Russian leader Vladimir....sorry, I can't even type his name. He brings me out in hives. Or is it chives? Well, something unpleasant and rashy anyway...
“Diversify it," said Loach, "so that different regions can make their own dramas - Ukraine, Chechnya, various parts of the middle east and the bits of Norwegian water they plough through so they can command another few raids on the poor bleedin' children of would'n leave me like this would yer'Arold? Not with me scurvy and me lumbago and me severely compromisin' 'alitosis, would yer narer?? And its notion of news has got to be challenged,” he told Pravda.

“Russia Today is very aware of its role in shaping people’s consciousness; this is the story you should hear about, these are the people worth listening to - i.e., it's making me retch too, just visualising him gallivanting around in the nip, carrying a surface to air missile launcher. It’s manipulative and deeply political. Narer, boil us a pan o' water so's I can soak me bunnions, there's a good lad....”

In response to the comments, an RT spokeswoman said: “Russia Today is independent and adheres to clear published editorial guidelines including on impartiality that have all been agreed by Mr..P...P..., no, sorry, I can't say it either. Just trying to shape the words in my mouth is making me feel nauseous, as if the foul vapors of corruption were trying to strangle my soul and turn me into a witless harpy vocalising the deranged newspeak of a man who'd happily butcher his own children and sell off his people for a few re-runs of The Man From U.N.C.L.E and a Downton Abbey boxed set... Right, that's it, I'm jacking all this in to become a weather girl on Look East. The money and the audience are lousy, but at least I get to choose my own frocks and I'll have at least a shred of self-respect when I go to bed at night..."

Mr. Loach is 80.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Euro 2016 semi final - France 2 - Germany 0...

Nohing has changed, everything has changed...

Is it just me or did something cosmically wierd happen at midnight on 1st January 2016? Within a few days we'd lost Lemmy, Bowie, Rickman... Terry Wogan...George Martin... Ronnie Corbett... Victoria Wood....Prince....just a few days ago, poor Caroline Aherne. A pretty shit year for deaths of the great and good, by any standard. Simultaneously, we in the UK have spent the first half of the year bracing ourselves for a possible exit from the European Union and will no doubt spend the rest of the year and beyond, regretting the reality of actually leaving. Isis, NATO troops massing in Poland, Sophie leaving Love Island...can it seriously get any worse? And now, to top it all, the reigning world champions and, in my view, the most entertaining German football side in a long time have been knocked out of Euro 2016 by a French side who barely seemed to get a kick of the ball in the whole 90 minutes. You could forgive any visiting Martians for wondering what kind of a wierd-arsed planet they'd landed on. Something in the water does not compute.

There was something plain wrong right from the start, the BBC for some reason honing in on the seemingly ubiquitous theme of sausages in common German football related epithets in their preview clip. Wierd. That alongside the always disconcerting apparition of Rio Ferdinand's mouth suggested that already things were not all they seemed to be. Stranger still, the panel all fancied France to win. [Gallic shrug] ??? Did they know something we didn't? Off to the anthems, hard not to recall that famous scene in Rick's Bar from Casablanca; the calm majesty of 'Deutcshland uber alles', stately and slightly chilling as ever, followed by 'The Marseillaise' pumped out here on home town soil with almost as much frenzied and slightly hysterical passion as in the film.

The game kicked off and it immediately looked as if we were in for exactly the kind of classic that both teams' form in the rest of the tournament had promised. The game seemed open and end to end, Griezmann carrying on the sort of form that he'd been showing from precisely 2 minutes after my observation during the game against the Republic of Ireland that he was a vastly over-rated and useless waste of space, scoring twice almost no sooner than the words had left my mouth. With further slackness completely in line with my journalistic standing, to-ing and fro-ing about the kitchen to dish up supper (Trompetti pasta with a plain tomato sauce and garlic bread) as I am, I miss the one genuine moment of quality the French produce in the whole 90, only catching the second half of a blazing Griezmann inspired move that involves an entire repertoire of feints, wriggles and gives and goes before the new French talisman shoots low, forcing the first (and only) real save he has to make in open play from Manuel Neuer (James Corden). It's an exciting opening passage and bodes well for the game ahead.

And then the Germans take complete control of the game. For the next 35 minutes, they pass and probe until someone, usually Mesut Ozil (Peter Lorre as Ugate in Casablanca - "aw, Meestah Reeek") slides in an impossibly cleverly angled pass for someone to either cross to no one in particular, scuff a shot in the general direction of a French defender or force a corner. On and on it goes, wave after wave... Ozil ("You're hoiting my oirm") to Draxler (Joey Essex) to Muller (Frank Ifield) to Schweinsteiger (Brendan from Strictly) to Boateng (Duke Ellington)...on and on they pass and move, pass and move, pass and move. The camera cuts to the watching German coach, a progressively drained looking Joachim Low (any male member of Blondie) as yet another exquisite move ends in yet another fumble by Muller or an equally exquisite, well-intentioned and algebraically implausible pass from Ozil ("You despise me, don't you...?")

The half seems destined to peter out ahead of what promises to be a rip-roaring second half of further sustained German domination leading to an equally inevitable German goal, probably in the 77 minute leaving far too little time for a tired and demoralised France to even think about equalising, let alone another 30 minutes of being played off the park in extra time and the sheer formality of losing on penalties, should the need arise. Then, having offered nothing else in the way of attack except for a plodding jog and equally unconvicing punt goalwards from Olivier Giroud (A Young and Dashing Captain Haddock), France somehow contrive to win a corner. It's floated over and seems to have come to nothing. The cannier French supporters at the opposite side of the ground have already begun to make their way towards the bar so as to beat the queues for a casually squirted 3/4 full plastic mug of tepid Stella Artois. But what's this? The referee marches towards Schweinsteiger and is brandishing a yellow card - was it something he said? Dissent? Another of those illegal lifts in the American Smooth? No, he's only gone and given away a penalty. It seems barely credible, but then the Germans have form already in the tournament, Boateng doing his jazz hands in the box had similarly gifted Italy an equaliser from the spot in the quarter final.

Griezmann (who else?) steps up and sends his penalty high and true in the opposite direction to the flailing Neuer. The camera surveys the German support (evidently none of them Arsenal fans) who, having seen their team completely dominate possession with an adventurous and stylish display somehow still go in trailing the French who've mustered barely two attacks. They stare blank and uncomprehending into the crazy chasm of chaos and uncertainty that's casually blown a gaping hole in their 21st century worldview. First Brexit, and now this. How, we telepathically intuit from their shocked and broken collective countenace, could we have been so much in control and now stand to lose everything? Half time: France 1 - Germany 0.

Back to the studio for some reassuring 'don't worry, the Germans always win, usually on penalties'-type banter from Lineker and co. In case that's not enough to soothe our frayed nerves, they re-run the highlights of the 1982 world cup semi final - the terrible beauty of Harold Schaumaker's wrecking ball challenge that left Patrick Battiston a crumpled wreck on the eighteen yard line; a subtle marker of German indomitability. The subtext: don't worry, the Germans always find a way.

The second half opens with a close up on a tragic Mesut Ozil. He's been yellow carded even before the game's had a chance to restart - possibly for carrying transit papers obtained by murdering German couriers in the Free French zone? There will be no way back now, you can see it in Mesut's face and the indignation rising up and visible in his cheeks. We're all sat back expecting Germany to once more click through the gears and regain the astonishingly fluent rhythm they'd established in the first half. But nothing's doing. The French, emboldened now, start to come out of their shells and when they're not giving the Germans stuff to think about themselves, they're good enough at disrupting the teutonic rhythm to introduce a degree of fraughtness to the German side that seemed inconceivable during their dominant period in the first forty minutes.

The Peronis start to kick in now and the horrible prospect of France reaching a tournament without having fired a shot in real anger brings the cumulative Brexit-inspired xenophobia and Little Englander mentality sharply to the surface. The English fans are right - they'd be speaking German if it wasn't for us. It's all a conspiracy, a last ditch effort to keep the fraying fabric of the coalition at the heart of the doomed European project together...Once more unto the breach, dear daschunds in the slips....straining upon the start...the game's afoot... follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry 'God for Merkel, Deutschland, and Saint Gerd!'

As if in reproach for this Ukip-y display, France start to take the upper hand looking dangerous now everytime they break into the German half. Then it all goes Fawlty Towers in the German box. Sybil's on the blower to Audrey asking if she's staunched it yet and thus completely oblivious to the oncoming Pogba. Polly trips over the Major and hands the ball straight back to Pogba who dinks in a harmless looking cross, but Manuel collides with Basil while he's trying to fix a moose head to the cross bar and can only palm the ball right onto the boot of (who else?) Griezmann and before you can say "You started it, no vee didn't, yes you did you invaded Poland" it's 2-0 France. There's still time enough for Germany to make a game of it, but they don't really. They decide to go the whole Arsenal hog and spend far too much time trying to create a perfect opening when they'd be much better advised to lump it in the box and at least get one goal back quickly. Too late, they start creating half chances with the latter approach. But the game was lost just before half time, in another of those wierd and explicable moment of madness that seem to be defining this year.

France versus Portugal in a final on Sunday that surely won't be anything like as fitting a finale as this game promised to be. But then, going on current form it will Portugal 17- France 58 and President Hollande will do a striptease at half time.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Scott Walker's Indispensable Guide to the Tory Leadership Election!!!...

Nice to have a little light relief yesterday from all the Brexit hoo-ha, however brief, with the long-awaited unveiling of the Chilcot Inquiry report completely dominating the day's news coverage. Didn't it feel great for once to be talking about a country needlessly plunged into chaos and civil war, left without civilised leadership and ultimately taken over by psychopathic lunatics that *wasn't* the UK? Sadly, today throws us straight back into the tumult of the post-Brexit fallout as that wonderful old British institution the Conservative and Unionist party seeks to find a new leader, one whose future role will no doubt be to oversee the gradual break up of the UK and the dismantling of whatever of the nation's institutions they were supposedly set up to conserve that they haven't destroyed already. And, this being the cradle of democracy and the a beacon for all those around the globe who see societies best governed not by a small all-powerful elite, the same 330 MPs and several thousand Conservative members who choose the party leader will also be responsible for deciding who becomes Prime Minister at this critical time in the nation's history.  Love Island, it is not.

Fortunately though, those few thousand people aren't *all* swivel-eyed neo-Nazi xenophobes who would gladly force the repatriation of everyone born outside the home counties to flea-ridden shanty town just outside Calais, so I'm sure they'll make a very wise choice. Even more fortunately, the infinitely wise Parliamentarians on the government benches will very kindly weed out all but the most fantastically inept and completely ill-equipped to serve in a series of voting rounds. Anyone who doubts the wisdom of this process need only look at the two candidates who've already been given the heave ho. Stephen Crabbs - a man who obviously doesn't look in the mirror whilst shaving and who fervently believes in the principle of same sex marriages, but presumably only so that those thus joined in matrimony can then be cured of their homosexuality as couples - is evidently not yet ready to become PM. He would be no slouch in a Boy Band though, I'm sure. Dr. Liam Fox on the other hand, is not yet ready to be allowed out in public without an accompanying adult and yet this has not prevented him from being able to practice medicine with sufficient competence to, as far as we know, have avoided disbarment (or dismemberment, even) - well, so far. Furthermore, he also managed to hold a cabinet office until his complete dependency upon "a special friend" made his attendance at the already somewhat overcrowded meetings unsustainable.

So who are we left with? Well, the second round of voting will see three candidates - Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove - whittled down to just two whose names that will be put before the Tory party membership for the final vote. Obviously as many of those members are avid Swipe Show readers, I felt it incumbent to provide the most detailed and insightful analysis of all the runners and riders. And who better to give us the ultimate low down on who is best suited to take the nation's helm at this perilous juncture, than Sixties crooning heart-throb and avant garde noise-making legend.....Mr. Scott Walker!!

OK, so here's the form...

Theresa May

The Swipe Show analysis:

Odds on favourite to become the country's second female Prime Minister (the first if you don't count Ted Heath), May has proved an astonishingly liberal and forward looking Home Secretary, contributing massively to the cosmopolitan aspect of the nation by vastly increasing the number of immigrants entering during her stewardship to the hundreds of thousands - and all this in the face of an explicit manifesto commitment to reduce immigration levels to below the tens of thousands! If you want a Home Secretary who will leave the country's small airfields completely unattended and secure our coastline with three small tugs and a flotilla of rubber ducks daubed with the legend 'Keep off the shingle', Theresa's your man! Competent, stylish, and wholeheartedly commited to a vibrantly multicultural and permissive Britain, May is none of these things so should be an absolute shoe-in with the rancourous closet racists who will have the final say.

Scott says: 

"The ribald cataclysm of my jurisdiction conjugates the mad and smooth banana whimsies of my porcupine desire.

Andrea Leadsom

The Swipe Show analysis:

The dark horse who emerged from nowhere to become the Brexiters best hope of leading the country's protracted negotiations to leave the EU. Critics have poured scorn on her attempts to over state her experience in the financial sector, but this is mainly sour grapes. As well as being able to count to 38 mainly unassisted, Leadsom also set up her very own internet banking account with the Halifax and is a steely and redoubtable presence around the Monopoly board. She may yet be outflanked by tactical voting from members of the May camp who have already received communications from Gove's campaign team attempting to sway them, but don't bet against her in the Cheltenham Gold Cup - especially if the going is good to firm.

Scott says:

"The gibbons of nomenclature are rattling soda streams upon the violent stoneage prism ullulating strange propensities of haddock on my shins".

Michael Gove

 The Swipe Show analysis:

What can be said about the Justice Secretary that hasn't been said already? Very little that doesn't involve language so obscene that even we at Swipe Towers blanche at using it. Compassionate, sincere, a committed internationalsit who wants to create a new, kinder form of political discourse, why can't Jeremy Corbyn be Prime Minister instead?? OK, so he'd spend half his time worrying about the soil sustainability of a small indigenous tribe in the Gambia while the whole European economy collapsed around his ears, but at least if we were ever stupid enough to lie our way into another ridiculous and counter productive invasion, plunging the entire  middle east into anarchy and chaos just so the US president's best pals could all make a killing from the reconstruction process, at least he'd have the good grace to apologise on behalf of his party......and he's an Arsenal fan. .......Nice beard?

Scott says:

"Maudlin eyed the clams of grief are dormant with vertiginous delusions of a cardboard cutout hell."

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tangled up in blue...

23rd June 2016: An Undisclosed Greek Island Hideaway....

Negrita and I rise early and decide to take a walk around the Harbour. It's a stunning morning; cloudless, azure. Gentle wafts of warmth ripple above and around us as a swirl of heat-haze wraps itself around the base of the far off boobs of Ithica. Dogfighting swallows swit and swoop down over the road ahead of us and a brilliant diamante lightshow flickers playfully over the calm blue-green waters. From somewhere deep within the shade of a sun-bleached holiday apartment an English drone rises above the chorus of cicadas: "....mmmm, I see David Cameron's resigned dear..."

Hey-ho. Another day in paradise.

As Negrita pauses to re-do the laces of her steel toecapped DMs, I feel a gentle stirring in my pocket and the muffled accompaniment of the theme from Emmerdale. Who's ringing at this ungodly time of the day? I wonder. Eventually I manage to fish the wriggling mobile out from inside a heavily velcroed patch pocket and look at the screen of the vibrating rectangle. It's SamCam:

"Hello, is that you Boris?"

"Sorry love, scroll down a line or two in your address book for the former London Mayor. You've got through to me, Bob..."

"Oh Bob, I'm like so sorry to ring so early, it's just such a blimmin' terrible mess that my stupid, fat-faced hubby's gone and got us all into. If I told him like once he was a fool not to confront his stupid blimmin' party instead of making himself a hostage to fortune with that stupid refer-ruddy-rendum, I told him a flippin' hundred times....Argggghh!!! Men! (Soz! Not you obvs.) Anyway, so soz to witter on. Enough of me and my petty domestics, how's like everything with you? BTW, did I ever tell you that I suggested they use 'Tangled up in blue' for his lordship's walk on music at the last party conference? Too long, appar. Not to mention too depressing. But yeah. Oh and Dave and the kids just *l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-v-e* the Christmas Album. Was it hard to do? You know, you like being Jewish and all that?...."

"....erm, Bob *Swipe*...

"Oh darling Bob! How *are* you?? So soz! Honestly, I'm like all ruddy over the shop this a.m. as you can probably tell. Don't know whether I'm coming or going - well, *you* know what I mean. So, how's Negrita?"

 "Still incredibly erm...*gothic*..."

"Serious? LOL. Yeah, but like *w-o-w* what a lucky accident. Actually, you might be just the very man - sorry, *person* - to help out at this time of our like greatest national need and everything...well, since 2008 anyway...mmm. What say ye The Great Robert Swipe? Will you mount the silver charger and be the knight who rides to rescue the nation in its time of peril???"

"Why, what's happened?  We don't play Iceland til Monday's! They *didn't*.....????? *O-h*....*M-y-y-y-y-y-y*....*G-o-d*.....please, tell me it isn't true...Camantha....please.....?"

"Soz Bob....the votes have been counted and the UK has chosen to leave the European Union...."

"Phew, thank Christ for that! For one horrible moment I thought you were going to say they'd voted out the one on Love Island who swings both ways....Is she still in there? And has she 'hooked up' with another lassie yet? Answer the second question first..."

"No, it's true Bobsters. We're leaving the EU, Dave's resigned and we need *you* to come back and lift the nation's spirits with your edgy, politically incorrect, gender non-specific satirical glamorousness.....-ness....."

"Listen Camantha, I'm very flattered and everything, but for one thing...I'm *retired* and for another thing....I'M ON BLADDY HOLIDAY!!!!"

"Oh no, Bobsters - we *n-e-e-e-e-d you!! P-l-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e!! It's like the old hubby is always saying - at times like this we need all our beloved national instituions to put aside all their many differences and come together for the sake of the party. *Country*, I meant country. *C-o-m-e* *o-n*.....*p-u-r-l-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e*! Who else could swan into a room looking like a baggy-eyed Librarian on Prozac after a marathon scrabble orgy, wearing a ridiculously patterened pair of kitten heels, a poorly-conditioned grey bob and an ill-fitting tartan man-suit and still give off the impression of being an imperious fashion icon always at least two steps ahead of the general zeitgeist with his/her finger firmly on the pulse of the nation's movers and shakers? Besides, you're like the only national treasure left alive who isn't on the sex offenders register..."

"...Lummy....I hadn't thought of it like that. I suppose you're right - Bowie, Prince, Wogan, Daniels, DLT, Savile and Cliff...."

"You *s-e-e-e-e-e*?"

"....and just for the record, the thirty three crates of junior-sized bottles of Vimto and all the boiled sweets genuinely *were* for a charity wheelchair marathon I was do know that..."

"*P-r-e-e-e-e-e-e-t-y* *p-l-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e*???

".....Oh alright then.....I'M IN!!!! ( know what I mean)..."

                                                          *            *            *

5th July 2016: Sky Studios, Osterley, Middlesex...

"...and that facking useless tosser Crabbs? Facking great that's going to sound around the facking negotiating table: "We've got Merkel, Hollande, Junker about you?" "Erm, we've got Crabbs." Ezackly - and another thing. May? May? MAY????? I wish she *facking* would. I'm sorry, no disrespect or anyfing, but even your bladdy Negrita does a better impersonation of a woman than that. Lord, give me strength. I mean come on, Leopardskin patterened kitten heel never did a fackin' parsnip butter, non? And as for Gove...Gove?? Gove??? GOVE????? CUNT! more like. I'll give him fackin' experts....Ere, Mikey! Whaddaya fink of experts narer you speccy little nerdicunt? Come in fackin' handy helping you to extricate your fackin head from yer shitting fackin A-R-S-E...after I've fackin' *RAMMED* it up there, wouldn't they!! You divvy little SHITRAG....."

It had seemed such a good idea at the time. Get a few Tory grandees and informed members of the commentariat together over a hot toddy or two to discuss the runners and riders on a prime time cable television news show... Unfortunately, and like many people, I'd never seen Sir John Major as pissed as a fart on Oranjeboom and 12 year old Irish whiskey depth chargers. Lord preserve us. And Norman Tebbit hasn't even started yet.

Everything was so straightforward in the run up to the referendum campaign, wasn't it? Well, it was for me at any rate. I hadn't given it a single thought aside from wondering whether to do a three way accumulator on us voting to stay in, Scott and Cady being kicked out of Love Island and Bournemouth winning the Premier League. That aside, little had perturbed the old Swipe noodle beyond whether or not to ask Negrita to revert to using the daywear nail extensions whilst observing the traditional fin de jour after-sun rubbing ritual and how many slices of lime with which to jack up the first calming, post-swim 'buie breezer of the day. Greece being Greece, a day by the pool wouldn't be fit for the name without the occasional heated debate about the politics of the moment. Nicholas, our kindly white-haired, olive-skinned concierge would gaily appraise me of the national mood as he and his fellow countrymen grappled with the rigours of Troika-imposed austerity.

"You know who I like?" he says on the night of the referendum vote, glaring at me as if he wants to rip my bladder out, inflate it with his own breathe, tie it to the end of a long stick and fire several thousand rounds of machine gun ammunition at it in front of a baying crowd of equally angry Greeks. "Terrorists!! I like, yes! See my house....mmm??? (pointing to the next building down the hillside from our villa)... there...*three* *guns*....yes! (a trident of angry Greek fingers waved under my nose for emphasis)...YES!!! Politicians, mmm? (Nicholas mimes taking his part in the summary execution of the line of politicians arranged in front of him in his mind's eye, presumably using one of the three guns he keeps in the house.) I'd only asked him about the football.

"Mmm? Is good?" he asks, pointing at the beautiful sugary pink wedges of water melon he's very kindly brought for us on a paper plate to eat by the swimming pool. But Nicholas has a point. His pension was EU2,400 per month before the last Greek election. He voted against austerity and the troika and got the government he wanted. His pension is now EU1,200 per month. Negrita and I wave from the taxi that will take us through thunder, rain and lightning, all the way down the length of the island to the airport. Nicholas and his wife stand by the gates to the villa, waving back, mouthing the same two words over and over: "Thank you..."