Tuesday 26 February 2013


Latex Mask                                                    Berlusconi
Am I the only one to have noticed that former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks nothing at all like latex masks meant to look like him?

Considering he's the only person in the whole world who does actually look like a latex mask of himself, I'm surprised the latex mask barons haven't made a better fist of Berlusconi.

Actually, I think I've answered my own question here - these masks are normally a bit exaggerated to point out what a dick-head the person portrayed is. Except Berlusconi is such a colossal dick-head, the mask industry think that, if they exaggerated him, that would blow the windows out on the dick-head exaggeration Richter Scale. Hence they've actually toned him down a bit so the masks look just ordinarily risible.

Saturday 23 February 2013


It's an embarrassingly long time since I've written anything here but I'm breaking silence to report that we watched the Oscar Pistorius bail decision on the telly box today:-

It reminded me a lot of watching the Egyptian election result.

You're probably wondering why I made that connection. It's because SKY telly breathlessly announces that they'll be carrying it live at 11:30 GMT. At 11:29:47 GMT, you need a pee but think "I'll not go just now, don't want to miss the result". And at 12.29.47 GMT, with your bladder the size of a basketball (and television executives frantically rearranging their schedules), some beak is STILL droning on. The Pistorius judge managed to trace the history of bail back to 7th century England (not kidding) while the Egyptian election commission bloke dutifully narrated each recount demand ("in Thebes Central, there were there three spoilt papers ...").

Even worse, around 13.12 GMT, when you're at the point of serious genito-urinary damage, the beak says "Taking all of this into consideration, I have come to the conclusion that ..." and it's a damp squib like "there are no grounds for a recount in Sharm-el-Sheikh North" or "I am entitled to draw the inference that I may proceed to consider the accused's arguments on Schedule 6 which I will now express my views on ..."

As far as elections are concerned, I recommend the Egyptians follow Britain's lead in by-elections. Thus, you have a TV anchor-man, Mohammed el-Dimbleby, saying "I'm sorry Professor el-Pundit, I'm going to have to interrupt you there because we can go live now to the Tahrir Centre for the declaration ..." [takes off glasses and looks down at monitor]

[cuts live to the Tahrir Centre where some middle management official uncomfortable in the limelight stumbles through the following set-piece speech]

"... as the duly constituted returning officer for the Republic of Egypt, do hereby declare the number of votes cast for the candidates to be as follows:-

- Morsi, Mohammed (Muslim Brotherhood) - 20,000,001 votes
- bin Laden Moi?, Osama (Raving Muslim Loony Party) - 50 votes
- Hopeless, Gillian (Liberal Democrat) - 700 votes
- Beardy Bloke, Some (Egypt Out of Arab League Party) - 701 votes
- Bloke, Other (Backed by Army for Mubarak Era Business as Usual Party) - 20,000,000 votes ...

It then cuts back to the studio where Mohammed el-Dimbleby says "Quick reaction Professor el-Pundit?" which is "Lib-Dems beaten to fourth place by EGOALP - shocking!" Whereupon, el-Dimbleby smiles beatifically to camera and says "And that's about all we've got time for, next its Sue el Barker with Question of Sport. Good night!"

And as far as the South African justice system is concerned, I'd recommend they take a leaf out of 70s British TV series "Crown Court".

Is that the bloke that was in the series about an airline during the Berlin Airlift?

Remember that? It was on at lunchtime so I only ever got to see it at school holidays. The format was that the case was fictional but the jurors were members of the public. The trial ran for half an hour Monday to Friday and at the commercial break on the Friday, the stagey voice said "Join us after the break for the verdict - in the Crown Court!" That way, you had time to go for a slash and knew for certain that you'd get the result within about 13-14 minutes thereafter at most. British justice at its best!

Back to Pistorius, I'm not sure what he's guilty of but one thing I am certain about is that Warrant Officer Hilton Botha should have a TV series. You can't make him up - how could someone so royally screw up an investigation? And be under investigation himself? Makes Luther (Idris Elba - Stringer Bell in "the Wire") look like positively benign by comparison.

Still, Botha is positively magisterial compared to clown of the week, US Vice President John Biden. Did he really urge people to go out and buy a shotgun as part of a gun control campaign or was that some elaborate spoof?

The skin is white, the language is English but they're just not the same as us, the yanks, are they?