‘A Domestic’ In The UK Household

England, Scotland and Wales were all chilling in the living room. England and Scotland we were watching the news whilst Wales was quietly reading in the corner. England makes a throwaway comment about house prices and Scotland disagrees. The two then exchange a heated debate that eventually spurs out of control…

England: I don’t understand where all this is coming from?!

Scotland: Well that’s your own fault. You’re just a self-absorbed, jumped-up pompous prick!

England: But there’s no basis to what you’re saying? You just keep shouting insults at me?

Scotland: Look at you on your high horse! You’re more than happy to lay into us! You barely even apologised when you threw up on my bed!

England: I did apologise though. You were fine with it at the time!

Scotland: Yeah well it still smells in there!

England: I’m still trying to sort it out!

Scotland: Well get on with it, what are you still doing faffing about over at Ukraine’s place?

England: Look man, their lot has a right fall out the other night. Ukraine had a bit of a breakdown and started smashing up his room and then Russia went in and stole his DVD’s claiming that they were his to start with, it’s a right mess.

Scotland: Sounds familiar…

England: What’s that supposed to mean?!

Scotland: Well lets face it, you’ve done a fair bit of light lifting yourself haven’t you!

England: Well that was ages ago.

Scotland: Look what you did to Ireland and Northern Ireland! They were so happy together!

England: That’s neither here nor there, and it’s ancient history now!

Scotland: It’s not, everyone thinks it’s a bit odd that you let Northern Ireland stay over all the time. You and Ireland used to be mates, its not cool man.

England: We’re just good friends, its nothing weird. – And, I’m still mates with Ireland, he’s cool with it.  Their break up wasn’t because of me and Ireland falling out .It had nothing to do with me.

Scotland: IT HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU! You were a right dick to Ireland and then when you tried to calm things down, Northern Ireland just took your side!

England: She can make her own choices! My argument made sense!

Scotland: You played a similar trick to me as I remember…

England: Come on mate that really was ages ago, I thought we were well past all that. You know I’ve changed a lot since then. You said you were over it?

Scotland: Yeah well, you know what, maybe I’m not. Maybe I don’t even want to be. You just take me for granted all the time, I bail you out loads and now I’m even paying more rent than you!

England: Look man, it wasn’t always like this. If we’re going to dig up history, it wasn’t so long ago that the shoe was on the other foot!

Scotland: Yeah well, maybe its time for a change.

England: What do you mean?

Scotland: I mean, I dunno, maybe I might move out.

England: You can’t be serious, we’d never make up the rent?! I mean, I know we’ve had our differences but –

Scotland: I am serious! I’ve even been looking around for a new place.

England: Oh yeah, with who?

Scotland: Well… I’ve been hanging out with Norway and Sweden lately…

England: OH MATE – you’d never be able to afford that place! You’d have to start up on your own. Plus, you think I’m bad, they’ve definitely said some stuff behind your back before too.

Scotland: YEAH WELL! I’ve got a nice little earner with this whole North Sea job I’ve got over the weekend. I’d be alright, especially if I can get cheaper rent not living with you. As for Sweden and Norway, at least they’re not as bad as your best-buddy-pal America! That guy is such an ass.

England: He can be sometimes, but he’s alright really.

Scotland: No he’s not! Every time he comes here, he just wants something from us. You get on with him – that’s fine – but haven’t you noticed that he just comes over to ask for sugar, or tea bags?

England: Well you’re always so nice to his face, why don’t you say something?!

Scotland: Well I guess he’s not THAT bad, but that’s beside the point. Point is you’re always getting me involved with everyone else’s shit. Have you ever stopped to wonder that maybe I don’t want to, or maybe I need my things for my own reasons?

England: Come on mate, we live together? I mean, we’re mates right? I just don’t know where this has come from?! Completely blindsided mate. I mean, we go out together, get into fights, and I’m always there by your side.

Scotland: You mean I’M always there by YOUR side! You’re the one that goes marching in pretending to be Mr. Do Gooder and then you just expect me to sort it all out.

England: That’s not true, and every time we’ve gone in you’ve said to me before it all kicks off that we’re in it for the long haul. I remember you were even whispering in my ear when it all kicked off last time in Russia’s place.

Scotland: Yeah well, that Kosovo lad had it coming.

England: What do you think Wales?

Wales had been quietly reading about advanced economics and articles about international politics.

Wales: Huh? Me? Don’t get me involved!

England: Well where are you gonna go if Scotland moves out?

Wales: I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it.

Scotland: Don’t you think I’m right though? I mean, England has been a massive dick to us all lately. Not just with leaving his crap all over the place, it’s the way he expects us to pick up the mess for him!

Wales: …

England: Well?

Wales: To be fair mate, you don’t half take the piss sometimes. I don’t half get a bit tired of the sheep jokes.

England: Come off it, you’re just as bad! Its just a bit of banter! We’re all mates, right?

Scotland and Wales look at each solemnly…

England: Fine. Do what you want. I’m going over to Ukraine’s place. At least someone might be happy to see me there.

England storms out. Silence holds for a moment…

Wales: You really moving out mate?

Scotland: I think so. You know, you could come with me?

Wales: I’ll think about it. Do you think we’ve been too harsh on him?

Scotland: I don’t know. Maybe a bit. Cocky little shit has had it coming for a while though.

Wales: Yeah well, he did bring us all together. I mean, I’d be the first in line for a chance to drop him a few pegs, but really I mean, he has sort of sorted us all out with universal language, administration, health services, education and all that.

Scotland: Yeah but we don’t need him for anything that, we could easily sort all that out ourselves, its just all the paper work.

Wales: Well I suppose but still… I’d feel bad leaving him. Wouldn’t you?

Scotland: I don’t know. I just don’t know.

England returns in a huff.

Wales: Oh, calmed it all down already have you? Is Ukraine staying over tonight too then?

England: Fuck off. Its raining, I just came back to get my umbrella.

Scotland: That’s mine.

England: Look mate, does it matter? I’ll get it back to you, we all live in the same place. You can help yourself to any of my stuff anytime you want it!

Scotland: Your stuff is shit.

England: Oh so now you’ve got loads of money and new mates you just want better things for yourself, is that it?!

Scotland: That’s not –

England: – You know what, we’ll talk about this when I get back. Right now, I’m pissed off. For what its worth, I don’t want you to move out, not just because we need to you to cover your part of the rent but because…

Scotland: Because what?

England: Because we’re mates, Scotland. I thought we were mates.

Silence ensues. England leaves and slams the door.

Wales: If you find a better deal, do you reckon we could all just come and live with you?

Scotland: Hadn’t thought of that, but that means sharing it with England.

Wales: Well yeah, but – Jeez man, I didn’t think you were selfish.

Scotland: I’m not! Why should I have to share anything with him! What’s he ever done for me?!

Scotland shoots a look at Wales for approval. Wales stares fixatedly into his journal of culture and modern literature.

Wales: I dunno mate, just think about it properly first alright? If you’re gonna leave then I don’t want us all falling out about it.

Scotland: Fine. I’m gonna go sort out my stuff my room. The place is a mess, since we all played 6 Nations in there last night.

Wales: Heard you got pasted.

Scotland: As if you could do better!

Wales: Right that’s it!

Wales tackles Scotland to the floor and they roll around gaily. They stop for a moment because they realise this would look weird if someone walked in.

Wales: We should probably make sure England doesn’t do something stupid.

Scotland: Yeah I suppose.

Scotland runs up to grab the hockey sticks from his room. Although they belong to England, the whole house knows how to use them properly in a fight…

Wales: Off to Russia’s place then?

Scotland: Looks like it.

News Desk Numbers

A comprehensive list of phone numbers for the news desks of all the major newspaper publications in the UK.

Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that you – YOU discover extraterrestrial life in your garden. Perhaps you witness the very first octuple rainbow, or even luckier, you get to the be the one to finally murder Justin Beiber. You’re going to need, among other things like a camera or a lawyer, the numbers to all the major news desks in the UK. A good journalist will be able to see the blockbuster story in just about anything so it would be wise to have these numbers plugged into your phone, just on the off chance you wake up finding an MP collapsed in your wheely-bin.

The Daily Mirror – 020 7293 3000

The Daily Express – 020 8612 7000

The Guardian/ Observer – 020 3333 2000

The Independent – 020 7005 2000

The Times – 020 7782 5000

The Daily Mail (If you really must) – 020 7938 6000

The Telegraph – 020 7938 6000

Metro/ Evening Standard – 020 7938 6000

City A.M – 020 7015 1210

The Daily Record – 0144 309 3000

The Scotsman – 0131 620 8020

The Sun – 020 7782 4000

Press Association – 020 7963 7000

I Built A Website

One Man & His Dog Photography

I built a website the other day. I can’t even pretend that it was difficult. There are so many templates available and yet there are still hundreds of people who shun the idea of ‘internet stuff’ as too complicated, leaving it up to someone else. They pay too!

Here’s my first commission. Looks pretty good… for a template build…

HMS Decadence

On the morning after the Oha Beach party in Romania, we built a raft much to the disapproval of the locals. In true Mongol Rally spirit, it was all captured lovingly on one of our very kindly donated JVC Adixxion prototypes. I made this little edit whilst being held up at a Ukrainian boarder control office.

Tiger Aspect Application – Best and Worst Comedies

Closing on October 13th, Tiger Aspect, one of Britain’s leading production companies and strong-arm of Endomol, has advertised a vacancy for a runner in their comedy department. On top of the usual cover letter and CV, the application requires 500 words on “the best and worst comedy programming, and if appropriate, make suggestions for how the productions could be improved.”

Of course, I’m unwilling to give them all my billion dollar ideas at this point, so they’ll have to make-do with this instead. This is not unusual of companies to ask this kind of task from potential applicants, however it would be nice if this kind of stuff received some sort of feedback. I have received plenty of copy and paste emails saying ‘we are sorry but due to the large volume and high quality of applications for this position, we regret to inform you (that you suck – sic). One might prelude to the idea that they’re probably sitting on a shed load of original material from a single job posting.

In any case, see below my interpretation of this particular task.

The best comedies aren’t necessarily funny all the time. They can even  be morbidly depressing. But they need to make you do more than just exhale slightly harder through your nostrils. From a production perspective, the best TV comedies are those that you can sell on in years to come to repeat channels like Dave, Comedy Central or Gold. Some examples of these could be The Vicar of Dibley, Dad’s Army, Blackadder, or even the most internationally world famous Mr. Bean. These are productions with shelf life that are often miniature reflections upon respective points of history and society. Ideally they carry a well scripted, non-linear narrative leaning more on the dynamics of characters rather than the actual storyline. This means viewers don’t have to catch up countless hours if they miss the start of the season and can be easily viewed multiple times especially after hours of pointless channel flicking and finally picking a safe classic.

Comedic conventions allow a certain licence to pry at gender, racial stereotypes, age, sexuality and even disabilities. Normally this can be achieved tastefully and usually at the expense of the provocateur although in some, mostly retrospective cases this hasn’t always been the case. Love Thy Neighbour is a classic example of a comedy that should never have been so readily embraced yet at the time people found it hilarious. Technically, in the same vein, this convention might include the occasional lurid humour from Family Guy or South Park, although perhaps one should not be too hasty. Even without hindsight, contemporary comedies like Two and a Half Men could be criticised through lack of any substance and through a lack of understanding its audience. Without any real target audience, some companies appear to blindly leap into production for the sake of being funny, only to be vigorously impaled on poor reviews, social media and even meta humour. The worst of these are convoluted productions that try too hard such as Norbit, Big Moma’s House, or American Pie 17. Thankfully truly bad comedies tend to be axed organically with their failure resulting in dismal production returns, disgracing the respective company that produced it.

Rowan Atkinson personified a particular brand of iconic British comedy that he has grown and developed over time yet they still remain relevant. A more conceited effort should be focused on developing programs around the actors who have the potential to embody contemporary social dynamics. Regarding Mr. Bean in even higher regard, the program can be spotted airing in run-down diners en route to Kazakhstan or in hotel foyers in Ulaanbataar. This is because it is entirely universal, playing on physical comedy much more visually than leaning on a dialog-centric script. In this sense, it is perhaps the most successful comedy of all time, bridging all manners of national, economical, linguistic and sociological gaps all over the world.