Last Thursday (3rd September) was the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, a conflict that killed 60 million men, women and children, ravaged the face of much of the world, precipitated the downfall of Europe as the centre of world gravity, and which was, to a large extent, caused by the explosion of competing nationalist fervour throughout the world. To commemorate, I bought myself a jumper in Union Jack colours. (more…)

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…at least if you’re a binge drinker, which, let’s face it, we all are. According to scientists at the University of California cannabis protects cells that are damaged by alcohol. In support of this someone called Paul Armentano said:

Alcohol and cannabis appear to have contrasting effects on the body…ethanol is clearly toxic to healthy and developing cells whereas cannabinoids appear to be relatively non-toxic and possibly even neuro-protective.

That’s good enough for me.

So Gordon Brown won’t interrupt his holiday to say something about the release of a convicted mass-murderer from prison. But he will respond to pressure to congratulate a sports team from a different country for winning a trophy smaller than a midget’s left bollock.

What a douche.

BandWagonesque

Why is it that, like the proverbial London buses, films seem to come in twos?

There are a whole series of films that came out within a matter of months or even weeks of each other which share oddly similar themes, for example: Dante’s Peak and Volcano [which, incidentally, is graced with the brilliant tag line “The Coast is Toast”]; Deep Impact and Armageddon; Antz and A Bug’s Life; Mission to Mars and Red Planet; The Illusionist and The Prestige; Tombstone and Wyatt Earp; and, one from the old school, Turner & Hooch and K9.

This has to be more than a co-incidence. Whether it is because there is a hot script going round all the studios which gets made by one studio and the others make a similar (but invariably worse) movie, not wanting to miss out, or because they get wind of a rival’s big project, I can’t believe that all these films with similar plots and/or premises just happen to come out in the same year.

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My mother tells a funny story about a linguistic mix-up.

A couple she knows were going skiing with some friends and taking their daughter along with her boyfriend. The day before they left, the daughter broke up with the unfortunate chap, but since the holiday had been paid for in its entirety, he came along anyway. Having never skied before, and being on holiday with his now-ex-girlfriend and her parents, he was understandably looking glum while nursing a pint in the bar one evening when one of the family friends came over and commiserated, saying how miserable it must be for him. “Oh well,” he replied, “déjà vu…” (more…)

Bryony Gordon is awesome. Not just because she has big boobs, but also because she writes about them a lot. Her latest column is charming as ever, with the following terrific pun:

Cast your minds back a few months, and you will remember the storm in a double D cup that was created when it was discovered that Marks & Spencer was charging women with larger breasts a couple of quid extra for bras. It was all over the papers. [My emphasis]

Doctor Cranium’s friend at the Evening Standard claims that she broke that story. Another friend who used to work at the Daily Telegraph told Dr C that La Gordon likes to dress in such a way as to highlight her decolletage. I say more power to them her.

… and he will not stop until you are dead. People say that the double hit of local and European elections this weekend will finish off his ill-starred premiership. But expectations are already so low it’s likely that even Labour can attain them. Wise people tell me that Labour can lose up to 200 local councillors without it being disastrously bad and they only need a 20% share of the vote to match the 2004 European election results.

Plus the spin cycle for these elections is extensive. The local results will come in through Friday. They’ll be bad but, given the calibre of Gordon’s rivals (Alan Johnson, it seems, heads the succession for doing little more than not holding a banana in an incriminating fashion), not bad enough. The Sunday newspapers are invariably grisly for Brown but then on Sunday night the European election results are announced. Brown might even do better than Blair did in ’04, one of Labour’s worst ever election results. Then we’ll have to endure the triumphalism of low self esteem as we’re told the economy and humanity have been saved, the pound is strengthening, stock market is rising, hope springs eternal.

In fact the pressure is all on Cameron. The expenses saga, which I have not been following (it was all downhill for me after duck-house-gate), has hurt Labour. But then so has, and I list this in no particular order, everything that’s happened since September 2007. But the never ending sequence of bizarre expense claims has somehow morphed into a boon for Brown. Because now any election results that go awry can be blamed on petty-crime-gate rather than being, say, some kind of judgment on the government’s governance. Labour may take a greater hit as the incumbent but it turns out that Tory politicians are more amusing than their opponents. Taxpayers may not appreciate paying for their political masters property empires or for their Chancellor to game his own tax system (shouldn’t he already know how to do this?) but cleaning this guy’s moat is taking the piss.

The pressure is all on Cameron, and hence the more ruthless purge of his own benches, because he needs to style himself as a government in waiting. And after what will probably be underwhelming results for all major parties at the European election, you won’t need to be Alastair Campbell to point out that Cameron’s Tories aren’t doing as well as Blair’s Labour were at a comparable stage in opposition.

The never-ending story will go on and on. Everyone will say Brown is rubbish, Brown will say wait till the Cabinet reshuffle/the election of a new Speaker/insert next event coming up on the horizon and no one will dare replace him and on and on this weird cycle will go, repeating itself without apparent end. In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.