Page 1





SONS OF ANARCHY Training to be Traffic Wardens

ANGELINA JOLIE In bubble bath bonanza

AROUND BALI ON A BICYCLE You are like….Neil Armstrong

BIRMINGHAM BOY, 9, SAVES SISTERS LIFE “I wouldn’t do it again. She’s been a pain this week.”

INSIDE 16 06























crazy but sometimes true


around bali on a bicycle

guaranteed to keep you regular

the alien, the robot, the reverend

who would have thought it

bubbles, bubbles, bubbles


part 1 – the early years

it’s a load of old croc

bewildered. you will be

the header


SQUEALER magazine

Editor Lorraine Clark Design and Web

editors drivel Many years ago, a bunch of weary cave dwellers were huddled around their campfire after a particularly hard day’s hunting and gathering, when one of them, a man known as Hublumff, did something unusual. With the aid of a half – gnawed bone, he sketched in the sand the likeness of an obese wild boar. Then with much jumping around and well timed grunting, he excitedly drew his companions’ attention to the striking similarity between the boar, and his fat half – brother Gunumff. After careful consideration, they too saw the likeness and promptly fell to the floor in prehistoric giggling. And that, I like to think, was humankind’s first joke. Nobody can be sure of the exact date it happened, but many historian’s believe it was definitely on a Friday night and probably just after the discovery of fermenting apples. Hublumff became the tribe’s regular source of after work entertainment, was excused hunting duties to ‘sketch’ more material and had his ration of fermenting apples trebled. Gunumff on the other hand became known as ‘the stupid fat bloke in the front row’ and experienced considerable trouble finding a mate.

Advertising Newsdesk

In honour of Hublumff’s great and noble contribution to our species, we have decided to run a competition to find Samui’s top (printable!) joke. There are some top prizes available for the best efforts. We all know you’ve all got a couple of top drawer jokes squirreled away for emergencies, and we want them now. And just to get the ball rolling, here is my personal, all time favourite jokes ever (which I wrote myself obviously): An elderly couple went to dinner at the home of some friends, also elderly. After dinner, the wives went into the kitchen and the two men were talking. One said, “We went out to dinner last night at a really good restaurant. I’d highly recommend it.” The second man said, “What’s the name of it?” The first man thought and thought, then said, “What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love, the one that is usually red that has thorns?”

“Oh, you mean a rose?” said the second man. “Yes, that’s it,” said the first man. Then he called to the kitchen, “Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night? There’s no accounting for taste. Please send your entries to info@squealermagazine .com - Go on make Hublumff’s day. Questions and Contact: Email: Web:

Lorraine Clark editor

PETER KAY -Have you heard about the Irishman who reversed into a car boot sale and sold the engine?

“When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that The Lord doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me “

-I’ve often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can’t get my wife to go swimming. -I was doing some decorating, so I got out my step-ladder. I don’t get on with my real ladder. -I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance. -A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston Pass. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals. -well I was bullied at school, called all kinds of different names. But one day I turned to my bullies and said - ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’, and it worked! From there on it was sticks and stones all the way. -My Dad used to say ‘always fight fire with fire’, which is probably why he got thrown out of the the fire brigade.


-Sex is like bridge: If you don’t have a good partner, you better have a good hand.


THESE ARE SOME QUESTIONSTHAT KEEP US UP ALL NIGHTTRYINGTO FINDTHE ANSWERS Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle? Can fat people go skinny-dipping? Can you be a closet claustrophobic? Why is the word abbreviation so long? Is it possible to be totally partial? What’s another word for thesaurus? If a book about failures doesn’t sell, is it a success? If the funeral procession is at night, do folks drive with their lights off? When companies ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in? If you’re cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right? If a stealth bomber crashes in a forest, will it make a sound? If the cops arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent? If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages? When it rains, why don’t sheep shrink? Should vegetarians eat animal crackers? Do cemetery workers prefer the graveyard shift? What do you do when you see an endangered animal that eats only endangered plants? Do hungry crows have ravenous appetites? Why is bra singular and panties plural? If a mute swears, does his mother wash his hands with soap? If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation? Instead of talking to your plants, if you yelled at them would they still grow? Is there another word for synonym? Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”? When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their signs? When you open a bag of cotton balls, is the top one meant to be thrown away? Where do forest rangers go to “get away from it all”? Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food? Why do they report power outages on TV?

For some time many of us have wondered just who is Jack Schitt? We find ourselves at a loss when someone says, “You don’t know Jack Schitt!” Well, thanks to my genealogy efforts, you can now respond in an intellectual way. Jack Schitt is the only son of Awe Schitt. Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married Miss O. Needeep They had one son, Jack. In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt. The deeply religious couple produced six children: Holie Schitt, Giva Schitt, Fulla Schitt, Bull Schitt, and the twins Deap Schitt and Dip Schitt. Against her parents’ objections, Deap Schitt married her cousin Dumb Schitt, a high school dropout. After being married 15 years, Jack and Noe Schitt divorced. Noe Schitt later married Ted Sherlock, and, because her kids were living with them, she wanted to keep her previous name. She was then known as Noe Schitt Sherlock. Meanwhile, Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt, and they produced a son with a rather nervous disposition named Chick N. Schitt. Two of the other six children, Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt, were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony. The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the Schitt-Happens nuptials. The Schitt-Happens children were Dawg, Byrd, and Hoarse. Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new Italian bride, Pisa Schitt. Now when someone says, “You don’t know Jack Schitt,” you can correct them.




When you rearrange the letters, see what you get!







SPORTY SQUEALER If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat. -Herschel Walker Be decisive. A wrong decision is generally less disastrous than indecision. - Bernhard Langer

Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you. -Arnold Palmer Even when I’m old and grey, I won’t be able to play it, but I’ll still love the game. -Michael Jordan

Mental toughness can take you to the top, and mental weakness straight to the bottom. -John Schiefer “There’s no such thing as coulda, shoulda, or woulda. If you shoulda and coulda, you woulda done it.” -Pat Riley

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” -Archie Griffin

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammed Ali

“A lifetime of training for just ten seconds. ” - Jesse Owens



SMART ARSE QUIPPERY – PART 1 A is for ‘accidents’ “Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, ‘What if I was as ant and she fell on me?’ Then it wouldn’t seem quite so funny” (Jack Handey) “A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston bypass. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.” (Ronnie Barker)

…and for ‘acting’… “I wanted to win an Oscar so I’d get more scripts without other actor’s coffee stains on them.” (Michael Caine) (Advising a new actor) “My dear boy, forget about the motivation. Just say the lines and don’t trip over the furniture.” (Noel Coward) “I phoned my mum and said I had the lead in ‘Will and Grace’. When she asked me who Will was, I answered that he was a lawyer and that he was gay. And my Mum said “Oh Eric, not a lawyer….” (Eric McCormack) (On his RAF ‘Top Gun’ pilot brother, Colin): “He flies at 500mph, 200ft above the ground, whereas I wear make-up for a living.” (Ewan McGregor) (On his ex-wife): “Debbie Reynolds was indeed the girl next door. But only if you lived next door to a selfcentred, totally driven, insecure, untruthful phoney.” (Eddie Fisher)

…and for ‘adultery’… “When you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy.” (James Goldsmith) “I discovered my wife in bed with another man, and I was crushed. So I said, Get off me, you two!” (Emo Phillips)

…and for ‘advertising’… “Sure I eat what I advertise. Sure I eat Wheaties for breakfast. A good bowl of Wheaties with Bourbon can’t be beat.” (Jay ‘Dizzy’ Dean) “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark: You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” (Edgar Watson Howe) “I’m tired of hearing about money, money, money. All I want to do is play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok.” (Shaquille O’Neal) “I once knew a subliminal advertising executive, but only for a second.” (Steven Wright)



DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 10 Teddy Bear Picnic Day


11 Population Day 12 Cow Appreciation Day 17 National Peach Ice Cream Day 18 Caviar Day 23 Hot Dog Day 24 Drive Thru Day 26 Talk In An Elevator Day 27 Milk Chocolate Day 31 Uncommon ...and finally the Instrument Aware- whole of September is ness Day National Baked Bean Month!


AROUND BALI ON A BiCYCLE The road is a river, awash with monsoonal rains. The midday sun has darkened to a candle of light and thunder resounds like cannon fire across the sullen Bali sky. “It is God’s music,” Wayan assures me from inside the shelter of his roadside stall, and for him the weather is indeed a divine blessing. I am the first traveller in months to stop at his store on the outskirts of the city of Gianyar, marooned here in my sodden clothes and with my mythically deep tourist pockets. I order a second drink and another stormy hour passes. Out in the bitumen stream, a prehistoric bicycle splashes past, its rider bared to the rain but for a pair of saturated trousers that cling to his grasshopper-thin legs. Such stoicism shames me, huddled as I am in the comfort of this temporary asylum. I make my farewell to a disappointed Wayan, who assures me I am both strong and crazy, and head back out into the rain and onto my own dripping bicycle. “You are like… Neil Armstrong,” Wayan proclaims, though he means Lance Armstrong since I’ve just told him of my intention to cycle around Bali. My journey had begun in Denpasar just a fewhours before. If there is safety in madness it is there, cycling in the turmoil of Bali’s largest city. Traffic spins as wildly as a centrifuge, trucks, cars, motorbikes, pushcarts, dogs, pedestrians and chickens doing as they please. It’s disorder that’s accustomed to disorder, Asia condensed to a small island, and my bicycle barely registered in its mind. I was just another pothole or chicken to be driven around. Horns sounded without end, but within an hour I’d learned to ignore them, their language more foreign to me even than Indonesian. They seemed to


say nothing and everything – hello, watch out, move aside, good luck or, simply, I have a horn. Trucks lumbered by but only one came near to hitting me, a truck named God Bless II that almost blessed me head-on. Denpasar sprawled east to blur into Gianyar, the roadside an unholy alliance of temples, urban rice fields and stores advertising Playstation rental and the machismo of cigarettes. Quickly it became apparent that the beaches, volcanoes and lush rice terraces that monopolise Bali’s tourist image would not be the cyclist’s reality, fading to secondary status behind the endless string of village life. Each time I stopped for a rest, motorbikes pulled in alongside, asking the question I’d answer dozens of times each day.

“Where you go?” Any reply would suffice. Sometimes I’d name the next village, city or tourist attraction. Other times I’d get bolder. “To the moon,” I told one motorcyclist in Gianyar, delighting in my new kinship with Neil Armstrong. “Very good, sir.” To the continued accompaniment of God’s thunderous tune, I turned inland at Gianyar, onto the fertile slopes of Bali’s highest and most sacred volcano, Gunung Agung. Settlement and the road snaked up the volcano and into the former royal city of Bangli. Billed

by one local book as the ‘Cinderella of Bali tourism’, Bangli is bookended by great temples: the lurid afterlife threats in the relief carvings on Pura Dalem Penunggekan; and Pura Kehen, the island’s second-largest temple, stepped into a hillside above the city. Kehen is tourist central for Bangli, yet almost every one of the souvenir stalls at its edge was shuttered. That night, I would be the only guest at either of Bangli’s two hotels. “Bali many problems,” a man at Pura Kehen’s entrance told me in broken English. “Bomb.” And so began another discussion that echoed through my days on the island: the Kuta bombing. Not once did I dig at Balinese memories of the blast but they lay scattered and exposed like rubble. That night, I heard music in the street below my hotel room – guitar, tambourine and wonderfully raucous, harmonising voices. Balinese songs broken by a recurring rendition of La Bamba. I wandered outside and sat on the kerb to listen. Within minutes I was invited over for a beer and a song. “Three years ago Bangli had many tourists, but now there are none,” one of the singers explained, his face hardening like stone. “F*ck Ambrosi. F*ck terrorist.” F*ck terrorist, the others sang. The same words followed me from conversation to conversation, village to village. English-speakers or not, it seemed that everybody knew this one fervent statement. In Bangli the night never stilled and I slept fitfully. Dogs fought in the street, roosters called impatiently and people rose to begin their long days. Finally, so did the sun, etching Gunung Agung black onto the dawn sky, its peak almost 3000 metres above the city. That day my punishment would be to

contour across the mountain’s ribbed slopes, riding a rollercoaster of lava flows towards the island’s east coast. My reward for this effort would be to disappear into the verdant folds that hold some of Bali’s most attractive rice terracing. Cattle ploughed the terraces and workers stood from their river baths, immodest about their nudity, to wave as I passed. “Where you go, sir?” they’d call, and I’d just point ahead. On through this terraced country seemed as good as anywhere. The road crested at around 600 metres above sea level, the rice fields suddenly behind and below me and a tropical cornucopia ahead. The forest thickened and filled with rambutan, papaya, banana and salak, the Balinese ‘snakeskin’ fruit that would virtually fuel my journey. My panniers became heavy with fruit, a decided anchor for what would become a difficult next day. My plan for that day was to reach the onceburgeoning eastcoast resort of Amed, only 14 kilometres from where I slept in Tirta Gangga. It could have been so easy. Instead, I doubled back and turned onto the little-used coastal road that rounded Bali’s eastern tip. Fifty kilometres later I’d be cursing the most trying day of my journey. I joined the coast at Ujung, site of an elaborate water palace, its pools now more popular with local anglers than tourists. From here the road pointed up, not following the coast at all but ascending onto the slopes of the volcano Gunung Seraya. Through Seraya village the road climbed 200 metres, sweat pouring from my body in the relentless humidity, making me wetter than I’d been in some downpours. The money in my pockets turned soft with moisture. So much for the luxury of the coast, which I sighted only through breaks in the forest, glimpses of gorgeous, faraway shores and tiny villages as remote as the Sea of Tranquility. Word spread along the road of my slow passage and children ran from their homes and schools to wave and call. I was cheered, jeered and even horsewhipped by one importunate boy, but always – as had become customary – I was called ‘sir’. On I climbed, the road narrowing to a pencil line, devoid of almost anything but foot traffic. The landscapes changed – cornfields replacing rice on these drier, steeper slopes – and so did my welcome. Young children suddenly ran from me, scrambling terrified into

the cornfields. Babies wailed and dogs scattered… what sort of strange place was this eastern tip of Bali that dogs ran from cyclists and not after them? It was as though I was a pioneering tourist on this far-flung nib of land, but I clearly wasn’t. In an instant my name changed from ‘sir’ to ‘pen’ and ‘cigarette’ as children and youths shouted their demands for handouts. On uphill stretches of road they ran alongside the bike, keeping pace, yelling, screaming, threatening at times. For two hours I shook my head at almost everybody I passed, my mood becoming as black as the beaches to which I was heading. At

I take his photo. “One thousand rupiah,” he demanded once I’d done so…a 20-cent modeling fee. He asked for my shirt and my watch also but didn’t even shrug when I refused. He waved me on with a smile. And in the spa town of Air Sanih, a new greeting: ‘You want girl?’ I pedaled on, though it had been my intention to stop the night here. My journey’s goal – my pilgrimage if you like – was only a few kilometres beyond Air Sanih, at the point where the still-unbroken string of villages bunched into the unheralded city of Kubutambahan and the temple regarded by some as the north coast’s most impressive, Pura

Amed’s edge I passed a final group of youths, my head down to avoid contact, but still they turned to stare. “Have a nice trip,” one called and waved me on. The words hit me like a cool wind, blowing off my sweat and anger. In Amed, fishing and tourism appeared to have struck an uneasy balance. Here, as yet, it had been impossible to replace island reality with the sterility of a resort strip. Fishermen’s hovels lined the beaches, little more than roofs without walls, their toilets cut into the sand, awaiting the flush of high tide. Fishing boats were stacked so thickly that the beaches beneath might not have existed and pigs, not touts, sniffed after strangers on the beach. My flirtation with hills over (for now), I woke to a day of blessed flatness across Bali’s north coast. The volcanoes became scenery rather than cruelties, and greetings seemed to ring from every home ‘Hello, sir’ – and from unseen workers in fields. Even the constant crowing of the fighting cocks caged at the road’s edge began to seem like salutations. People tested the few English phrases they knew – ‘Thank you, yes’; ‘I love you’; ‘How you going, bloke’ and one corn farmer ran from his field, insisting

Maduwe Karang. I came not to appreciate its aesthetics; instead I’d cycled around 300 kilometres to see a single temple carving. I wandered to the rear of the temple, to the wall on which I knew to be the carving of a cyclist, said to be Dutch artist WOJ Nieuwenkamp. The Balinese I’d spoken to along the north coast simply called him ‘Captain Nieu’, and he was believed to have been the first person to have cycled in Bali, exactly 100 years ago. Somehow he’d finished up immortalised on this temple, the rear wheel of his bike transformed into a frangipani flower. I sat quietly before the image of my predecessor, thinking not about Nieuwenkamp but about my return to Denpasar. On an island with a spine of volcanoes there was one way back, and that was up…U p and over a choice of caldera rims, but a climb either way of around 1600 metres. The lactic acid of the previous day still burned at my thighs, and now also at my mind. I’d almost determined to hire a driver to carry me and the bike to the top, but Captain Nieu’s stoniness seemed like disapproval. I would decide in the morning. I continued along the coast to Lovinna,

the north coast’s answer to Kuta, its off-season beaches all but buried beneath a patina of rubbish. Looking over this littoral tip from the hotel restaurant, I found unintended solace in the words of the resort owner, Gede. “I’ve had many cyclists stay here and those who have climbed the mountain have always stopped here an extra day to rest,” Gede had told me, hoping I’d stay longer than my intended night. Those who have…three words that filled me with cheer. Other cyclists had made this climb before me. The main road across the island leaves the north coast at Kubutambahan, looping over the eversteaming Batur volcano. I returned to Kubutambahan in the early morning, stopping again at Pura Maduwe Karang. Drizzled in holy water by a temple attendant, I sought blessing from Captain Nieu. In the midst of a Hindu full-moon ceremony, I placed the customary frangipani flower behind his ear and willed strength back into my failing legs for this climb into the clouds. For more than four hours I toiled uphill, the slope wearing but manageable. The road was quiet, with the ubiquitous motorcycles coasting downhill, their engines off to save petrol. The equally ubiquitous dogs watched me pass until, 600 metres up, I was finally attacked, a pair of mutts salivating over my legs. Why now, when I couldn’t outride them, when even the grass seemed to move faster than me? This one lot of barking and snarling drew another and suddenly there was a line of aggressive dogs awaiting me through the villages. I almost ran out of drinking water squirting it in their angry, mangy faces. At the top, smothered in the thickest of fogs, the beauty and the pain of the climb balanced evenly in my mind and legs. The road had been kind, even if its dogs hadn’t. In truth, I shouldn’t have been surprised by its steady gradient. This island crossing had been built by the colonial Dutch…rely on the Dutch to make even the biggest mountain flat(ter). The climbing was over, only a relaxed descent to Denpasar to complete my journey. I circuited the caldera rim, which


was topped by an unbroken sprawl of villages. Full-moon ceremonies were now in full swing, effigies of gods being carried along the highway, vehicles banking behind them, trapping me in the surreal – a traffic jam atop a volcano. Finally the road tipped off the rim, carrying me with it, the altitude, fog and rain creating a chill that was almost alpine. Motorcycles rolled carefully through the stream that again flowed over the road but I would not waste this one glorious descent. Freewheeling, I passed the motorcycles, signs flicking by, including the incongruous: ‘Antiques, Made to Order’. I shivered in the cold and did not care. No rain could stop me now.

Fishing boats were stacked so thickly that the beaches beneath might not have existed and pigs, not touts, sniffed after strangers on the beach.





Magazin in/ ISSUE 01


THONG IS DOG’S DINNER Looking for something nice to go with his hat, Mrs Walter’s dog, decided to try his owner knickers on for size. However, realizing they were actually more tasty than wearable, Arnie the dog decided to eat them instead. A trip to the vet verified that Arnie, who is now undergoing counseling for transvestitism, had indeed made a meal of the tasty thong. Mrs Walters, from Sussex, said she was “incredibly embarrassed” when surgery revealed the contents of his stomach. In the past Arnie had also tucked into socks and boxer shorts. Vet Greg Clark said that Arnie’s intestines were becoming blocked. “If it had been two or three days down the line, it would have been a very different situation.”


Hearing about a dinosaur alive in the rain forests of South America, a professor launches a scientific expedition. After several weeks he stumbles upon a little man wearing a loincloth, standing near a 300foot long dead dinosaur. The scientist can’t believe his eyes. “Did you kill this dinosaur?” he asks. “Yep,” replies the rain-forest native. “But it’s so big and you are so small! How did you kill it?” “With my club,” the primitive fellow answered. “How big is your club?” “Well there are about 100 of us…”

ONLY FOALS AND HORSES A foal that was raised with dogs thinks his parents are Labradors and even chases sticks with them. Rory was taken in by Essex Horse and Pony Sanctuary when he was just a day old after his mother rejected him. He was nursed back to health by staff at the sanctuary and mixed with the dogs, reports Metro. He has picked up some strange habits as a result, including chasing sticks and Frisbees and drinking from a dog bowl. Sue Allery, manager of the sanctuary said:” Because he was so small he got to know the dogs more than the horses. “They all ran round together. My husband bought a Frisbee and threw it across the yard – Rory went after it just like the dogs. He even started picking up twigs and sticks for us to throw. “He loves the dogs because they are the same size as him, he thought he was a dog. He’ll eventually go out with other horses and ponies.

Over 1000 revelers donned fancy dress to brave the icy waters of the Firth of Forth in this year’s Loony Dook swim. People dressed as everything from Penguins to Vikings entered the waters of the Forth in Edinburgh for the charity swim, reports the BBC. Suzanne Smith, from Edinburgh, who took part in the swim with friends, said:” You only live once and we decided we wanted to do something a bit different. But there were six of us who were originally going to do it – the other three chickened out when they saw the weather.” A crowd of several thousand watched the swimmers parade down Queensferry’s High Street and into the Forth.


WEB WONDERMENT THIEF STEALS FISH TANK FROM PET SHOP THEN RETURNS TO BUY GOLDFISH TO GO IN IT Suspicious shop workers asked him to fill in a form with his name and address and the hapless thief took the bait… Here’s a thief with a head as empty as the fish tank he stole…After dozy Nigel Ball nicked the £50 container he went back to the same pet shop to buy something to put in it.When staff asked the 52-yearold what sort of container he wanted he pointed to an identical one on the shelf sat next to an empty space left by the theft. Suspicious shop workers asked him to fill in a form with his name and address and the hapless thief took the bait, making it easy for police to nab him. He was arrested later that day at his home in Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Ball appeared before magistrates in the city where he admitted stealing the £50 tank from Pets at Home. Prosecutor Rory Byrne told the court: “As brazen as anything he lifted the fish tank off the shelf as big as it is and simply walked out of the store.“Some sight it must have been. It was his return which got him. “No pun intended, but the main prosecution witness is a Mr Severn, as in the river.” Ball’s defence lawyer Mike Devlin said the thief needed a new fish tank after smashing his daughter’s one while cleaning it. He went looking for a replacement but saw how much they cost so ended up stealing it.Mr Devlin said: “It’s a somewhat unusual case.“It began when Mr Ball was cleaning the tank that belonged to one of his daughters.” After he was arrested, the crook told police: “I went to buy goldfish but had to fill out a form with my details. That’s what got me.” Ball will be sentenced on July 8 for his pet-ty crime. Courtesy of the Daily MailUK.

LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS Three men committed home invasion of a Houston residence on May 14 and, although two escaped, one wound up in the hospital and under arrest. The three men kicked in a door and shut the resident in an upstairs closet while they ransacked the home, but they failed to inspect the closet first and thus did not realize that it was the resident’s handgun-storage closet. A few minutes later, the resident emerged, locked and loaded, and wounded one of the men in the shoulder and leg. Courtesy of Houston Chronicle.



A STUDENT ENDED UP WITH A CAT ON HER HEAD, INSTEAD OF A CAP, ON GRADUATION DAY AFTER AN EMBARRASSING BAKERY SHOP MIX-UP. When Laura Gambrel, 22, graduated from Indiana University last month, her proud mum Carol decided to order a celebratory cake. She instructed the baker to include a congratulatory message and degree scroll on the sugary treat, as well as a graduation cap. When she went to collect the cake, however, she was instead greeted by a cheerful-looking cat perched on top of her daughter’s head. ‘My mom ordered a graduation cake with a cap drawn on,’ said the graduate ‘I guess they misheard.’ She added: ‘When my mom got to the store and started laughing they tried to wipe off the cat and put on a plastic cap, but she told them to keep it.’ Her mother added: ‘It was one of those young kids behind the counter and he seemed a little distracted with someone else ordering a cake a foot away from us.’ The snap is proving incredibly popular on the user-aggregated website, racking up thousands of hits in just a matter of days. ‘I can only image them doing it and thinking I was going to vet school or something,’ Ms Gambrel added. Courtesy of Metro News.

SAYING “BOMB” A HUNDRED TIMES, BECAUSE OF TOURETTE SYNDROME In April of 2013, Michael Doyle brought paperwork documenting his illness in case he said anything to prompt a security concern. He has Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause uncontrolled speech. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened: he said “bomb” as many as 100 times during the check-in process. He said he had the Boston Marathon bombings on his mind, and as he became more nervous the problem worsened.

The Transportation Security Administration let him board, but a Jet Blue pilot kicked him off the plane before departure. The New York-based airline issued a statement saying the pilot initially had a security concern but later determined the situation was “innocuous” and offered Doyle a spot on the next flight.


THE TOP 5 MOST RIDICULOUS HEALTH CRAZES TAPEWORM DIET Let’s assume that you have no objections to walking around with a 30 foot parasite inside you, and then this is the diet for you. It’s been around since the 1900’s, but it has now been relegated to the Black Market…Can’t think why?

THE HAWAII CHAIR No time to go to the gym? With the Hawaii Chair, you can “take the work out of your workout,” “keeping fit while you sit at your desk”, so says the sales pitch of this Chair which “takes the work out of your work day”…..see for yourself…

DOGA Yoga for animals…Yep! You read that that right the first time! Especially designed for our animal friends, especially those who are a little more flexible and possess a steady karma… Brings a whole new meaning to popular pose ‘Downward Face Dog’!

HIGH HEEL WORKOUT And finally…Number 5 on our list ‘Heel Hop’, the very latest fitness trend in America…Feel the burn!!!


THE BIRD POOP FACIAL Also known as the Geisha Facial….no prizes for guessing where this diet originated from….Japan! Celebrities are flocking to get this odd treatment, which is provided by Nightingale dropping no less!



ROBIN WILLIAMS The Alien, The Robot, The Reverend

SQUEALER MAGAZINE / ISSUE 01 Few performers have successfully negotiated the crossover from live comedy to the big screen. Genuinely funny scripts are scarce and audiences are notoriously skeptical of comedians who try to go beyond the characters and routines they have become famous for. Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, are prime examples. Each scoring more than a handful of box office hits over the years, yet rarely playing roles that strayed far from their stage personas; and as such, doomed to eventually bore their audiences. Other comedians have taken it a step further by adopting specific on – screen personalities: Peter Sellers, Bill Murray, and Mike Myers. But few, very few, have been genuinely accepted as serious actors. It might have taken him over thirty years and necessitated muddying his shoes on some truly awful films along the way (‘Flubber’, ‘Bi – Centennial Man’ and ‘Jack’… what was he thinking?) but when Robin Williams turned in a sublimely chilling performance as a ruthless killer to Al Pacino’s sleep -deprived sleuth in ‘Insomnia’ in 2003, the film world at last welcomed him as a ‘proper’ actor. The hyperactive, gurning alien from ‘Mork and Mindy’ was surely an unlikely candidate for such a transition. As a live performer, Williams had made his name as a typhoon of improvised, lateral routines and for his irreverent, snappy one – liners. Surely a man like Williams would fail as a serious actor simply for his inability to stand still long enough. And whilst it is true that in his first real cinematic success, ‘Good Morning Vietnam’, like Murphy and Martin he was simply moving his stage act to the film set, contrary o the advice of the director and scriptwriters, he was also allowed to expose a softer, more serious aspect to his acting.


It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when Williams became better known as an accomplished serious actor than as one of live comedy’s most brilliant exponents. It’s probably an age thing. Younger cinemagoers will probably associate Williams with his more recent, serious films and perhaps not even recognise him as the manic voice behind the genie in Aladdin, or the hairy man dressed up as an old Scottish nanny in ‘Mrs Doubtfire’. Born Robin McLaurim Williams on the 21st July 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, his early childhood was secure but lonely. His father Robert, was an executive for the Ford Motor Company, whilst his mother Laurie, was a fashion model. He had two older step brothers but was effectively raised as an only child. As his father rose through the ranks at Ford, the family was constantly moving and Williams eventually ended up in a 40 room farm – house in Bloomfield Hills outside Chicago. He wasn’t a particularly confident child and later described himself as “short, shy, chubby and lonely”. He frequently fell victim to bullies and spent the majority of his time playing alone in the massive house with his 2000 – strong army of toy soldiers and his fast -growing imagination. His sense of loneliness was not eased by both his parents’ long absences from the house as they pursued their careers and Williams was pretty much raised by the family maid. He knew his parents loved him despite their inability to communicate their affection, and later confessed that many of his early forays into stand up comedy were spurred by a fundamental need to connect in some way with his mother. ‘If I can make Mommy laugh everything will be ok.” The experience left him with what he once described as a ‘Love Me Syndrome’ an emotional condition often present in the psyches of successful comedians.

It was round about this time that Williams discovered the comedy of his first professional idol, Jonathan Winters. He devoured his records and would often recite them verbatim in the school playground. He found that his previously untested, off –beat sense of humour was a source of great amusement to his peers and this, combined with his natural propensity for sport, finally threw the bullies off his scent. “Being in wrestling and track teams made people see me in a different light, but discovering that I could make them laugh was far more profound.” After his graduation in 1969, he went to Claremont Men’s College to study political science, but this soon gave way to his burgeoning interest in comedy. He began taking lessons in the relatively unknown comedic discipline of improvisation and quickly discovered that it was ideally suited to his quick – witted, tangential thought processes…”I realised then I was hooked.” He won a scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School of acting in New York where he studied under the legendry John Houseman. His fellow students included William Hurt,

Mandy Patinkin and Christopher Reeve. Williams and Reeve became very close friends and the pair made a pact that, should one of them succeed , they would always remember to help the other. A pact which was eventually invoked in circumstances neither man could have predicted. When Reeve was paralysed from the neck down in a horse riding accident, Williams promised to pay all hospital expenses not covered by the insurance. It is also said that on the day Reeve was informed that he would never walk again and was surrounded by solemn faces, Williams turned up dressed as a doctor and pretended to be his proctologist. It was the first time Reeve smiled after his accident. There was another important meeting at Juilliard, when Robin fell for beautiful dancer Valerie Velardi. The couple would marry in 1978 and produce one son, Zachery. To make ends meet at Juilliard, Williams tried his hand at street mime, often outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On a good day, he’d make $40. He also practised stand – up and his mentor, Houseman, eventually persuaded him that his future lay not in acting but in comedy. “I always believed there was rather more artifice to Robin’s comedy than

people know. He thinks very quickly, but his mind is tightly controlled.” On Houseman’s advice, Williams tried his luck on the growing West Coast comedy circuit. He was befriended by Jay Leno who helped him find gigs and his reputation for hi – octane humour began to grow. In 1977 he was won a spot on ‘The Richard Pryor Show’ and also on ‘Laugh – In’, a reprisal of Rowan and Martin’s late Sixties hit show (which had spawned Goldie Hawn). Though the show itself was not particularly successful, Williams stood out with his crazy voices, manic impersonations and his ability to switch accents at will. At one glorious point, he played a redneck shaking hands with Frank Sinatra shouting “Sell mah clothes, Melba, ah’ve gone to heaven!” His big break was just around the corner. Garry Marshall, creator of the massively successful ‘Happy Days’, was planning an outlandish episode in which the Fonz would be abducted by aliens. The story goes that when Williams arrived for an audition, Marshall asked him to sit down. Williams did so, but on his head. He was hired instantly. ‘He was the only real alien who applied,” said Marshall. As Mork from Ork, Robin was an instant sensation. The viewer’s response was so positive that a brand new show was devised just for William’s – ‘Mork and Mindy’. He was allowed virtually free comedic reign as he explored the ways of humans, learning about love, goodness and human relationships. Each episode would end with William’s sticking a finger in his ear and reporting his findings to Orson on his home planet. It was a massive hit. Mork’s greeting, ‘Nanu – nanu’ became an international catch phrase, and he also got to work alongside his idol, Winters, who occasionally appeared as a fellow alien.

Showbiz legend has it that even on hectic filming days; a close inspection of the script would reveal large sections left completely blank except for the words:” Mork can go off on one here.” Williams’ was fast becoming the hottest property in town. In 1979, he released a comedy LP titled ‘Reality, What A Concept’ and guested on stage in Andy Kaufman’s ‘Carnegie Hall Special’, playing Andy’s grandmother – a character which would later mutate into Mrs Doubt fire. It didn’t take long for Hollywood to come knocking, and William’s popularity as Mork gave him a good start. His first film however drew something of a mixed reaction. Taking his title role in Robert Altman’s ‘Popeye’, he turned in an exceptionally energetic performance, but unfortunately the script simply wasn’t very funny and the critics panned it. Williams escaped back to Mork, and stand – up and it was another 2 years before his next film ‘The World According To Garp’ was released. Based on the novel by John Irving and directed by George Ray Hill (of Butch and Cassidy fame) Williams played Garp, the bastard son of a stern nurse, portrayed by Glenn Close. The film included some delightful cameos by the likes of John Lithgow as a tortured cross – dresser and also allowed Williams to demonstrate his skills as a straight actor. Garp was released in 1982, the same year his friend (and partner in crime in many lost weekends of hedonistic excess) John Belushi, died of an overdose at the Chateau Marmont Hotel. This was perhaps the sorriest chapter in William’s life and he openly admits that he too had been dabbling a little too heavily in “thought provoking cocktails”. Rumour has it that he was with Belushi the day he died, though he left the hotel

several hours before Belushi’s death... Valerie had been trying for some time to get William’s to kerb his excesses, but to little avail. Their marriage began to feel the strain. Unlike Belushi though, despite his personal turmoil’s, Williams has always maintained a prolific level of professional output. In 1983 he played a chatty clown to Walter Matthau’s world weary cynic in ‘The Survivors’ and later the same year put in a solid semi – comic role in Paul Mazursky’s ‘Moscow On The Hudson’ as a defecting Russian circus musician. The Russian accent he adopted for this role reappeared in 2002, when, so the story goes, he once posed as John Travolta’s chauffeur. Feigning deafness he took numerous

wrong turns, chased red lights and swore out the window at all and sundry. His convincing performance completely fooled Travolta and when Williams turned round in the driving seat and offered him a slug from an open bottle of vodka the petrified ‘Pulp Fiction’ actor leapt from the cab at a busy junction. In Harold Ramis’s comedy ‘Club Paradise’ the following year Williams co – starred with Jimmy Cliff and Peter O’Toole and was once again allowed to play a straight man. Audiences were slowly beginning to accept William’s Jekyll and Hyde performing personality and when his next project, the darkly dramatic, ‘Seize The Day’ was released the following year, he drew considerable critical acclaim for

SQUEALER MAGAZINE / ISSUE 01 ‘Dead Poets Society’. The original choice for the lead role was Liam Neeson but when he had to pull out, Williams stepped in and excelled as the inspirational poetry professor, John Keating.

his performance. But however much Williams wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, he was equally keen to keep his hand in on the comedy circuit and 1986 saw him co – host the first American Comic Relief, raising money for the homeless. Later that year he won a Grammy for his ‘Live at the Met’ comedy LP. Williams drew on his comic talents once more in perhaps his most memorable role, as the ad – libbing military radio DJ Adrian Cronauer in Barry Levinson’s ‘Good Morning Vietnam’. His portrayal of the irreverent performer whose crazy banter and barbed truth – telling cheered the troops but annoyed the American authorities, became an instant cult. Williams ad – libbed broadcasts to the troops were electric and the film even drew praise from the real Cronauer who described it as “at least 40% true”. The film that earned Williams’ his first Oscar nomination but by stark contrast his personal life was a mess. In 1987 Valerie left him for another man and Williams in turn fell in love with a young lady painter by the name of Marsha Garces whom he and his wife had hired in


1984 to act as a nanny to their son Zachery. Marsha became his personal assistant, travelling with him all over the world and they eventually married in 1989. Two children would later follow Zelda and Cody and when Marsha took charge of William’s production company ‘Blue Wolf’, she became one of Hollywood’s most powerful women. After a bizarre cameo as the

‘King Of The Moo’ in Terry Gilliam’s outrageously original ‘Adventures of Baron Munchausen’ and a successful stint on stage with Steve Martin in ‘Waiting For Godot’, Williams scored another massive hit, both professionally and commercially with

In his next major role Williams went head – to –head with one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, Robert De Niro, in the thought provoking film ‘Awakenings’. Directed by Penny Marshall (sister of Gary Marshall and star of ‘Laverne and Shirley’, another ‘Happy Days’ spin off ). It told the true story of doctor Oliver Sacks, who contrary to strict regulations used experimental drugs to draw a ward of encephalitis sufferers out of their comas. To his credit Williams was far from over – shadowed by an inspirational performance by De Niro. One of the films chief advisors and a constant visitor to the set, the real Oliver Sacks, later described Williams as “a man who clearly suffers, or enjoys, a rare form of voluntary Tourette’s Syndrome”. The medical theme continued in 1991 when Williams played a demented psychiatrist in Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Dead Again’ (an association which would 5

years later lead to an invitation from Branagh to play Osric in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of Hamlet) and the lunatic twist also reappeared later the same year in Terry Gilliam’s ‘Fisher King’. The critics applauded both performanc-

es, the latter earning Williams his second Oscar nomination. He was beginning to look invincible and when he teamed up with the equally ‘in form’ director Steven Spielberg and Hollywood’s favourite method actor Dustin Hoffman, success seemed inevitable. What followed however was ‘Hook’ an over – sentimental, over – ambitious and over budget flop. The only real winner to emerge from the project turned out to be Kevin Kline, who was originally down to play William’s part as Peter Pan, but was forced to drop out when ‘Soap Dish’ over – ran. But the criticism didn’t seem to affect Williams, who when described as a ‘Teflon – coated’ actor, retorted by pointing out that unlike many actors, as a stand – by comedy performer he knew better than most what constituted real criticism. “A sea of blank, un – laughing faces …that’s criticism. What some jumped-up little arts journalist who never made it as a poet writes in a newspaper, that’s toilet paper.” William’s confidence proved to be well-placed and when he was cast as the Genie’s voice in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’, a performance which many people recognised as a thinly veiled return to his hugely popular ad-libbing ‘comic’ persona, the plaudits queued up to heap on the praise. It also signalled a move back towards casting recognised stars in ‘voice parts’ and was the forerunner to a spate of similar films. The next ten years saw Williams develop immensely as an actor and yet as often prone to success as to failure. The highs included ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997), with upcoming stars Ben Effleck and Matt Damon for which he at last won an Oscar for his role as a straighttalking psychiatrist to Damon’s troubled street kid genius; ‘The Bird Cage’

(1996), a remake of ‘Le Cage ay Follies’ in which he played a gay nightclub owner with hilarious aplomb; and ‘Patch Adama’ (1998). the true story of a doctor (once more) who defied the authorities (once more) by prescribing laughter as an alternative form of medicine. In the middle ground were efforts like 1993’s ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ – hugely successful commercially, but a real ‘no-no’ for many of his fans; ‘Jumanji’ (1995) an elaborate fantasy affair set inside a children’s board game; and ‘Jakob the Liar’ (1999) – a worthy film about a lonely widower in a Polish ghetto in 1944 who tries to raise the spirits of his countrymen by lying about Allied successes. Unfortunately

it was released just weeks after the critically acclaimed ‘Life is Beautiful’ and it seems there was only so much Holocaust humour the general public could take. ‘What Dreams May Come’ (1998), was a touching but ultimately inaccessible story set around a fantastical plot: man dies, goes to heaven, finds it’s made of paint, gets befriended by an angel and goes in search of his dead wife who has accidentally been sent to hell. Which was probably enough to simply confuse the critics into slating it. Which they did. No such confusion though could be blamed for a few of Williams’ other, less successful projects. Like ‘Jack’ in 1996. There had always been a childlike quality to Williams’ comedy; like the young boy who had tried so hard to be loved by his mother, he was emotionally

open, unashamedly silly and often stunningly imaginative. This appreciation of, and, maybe desire for, youthfulness, seemingly affected his decisions when it came to the roles he chose. He played a man-child in ‘Hook’, ‘Toys’ and ‘Jumanji’ and the character he played in Mork and Mindy was much the same. None of which adequately explains why he made ‘Jack’ (1996), a story about a child with an aging disorder that gives him a 40 year-old body at the age of 10. Despite thorough research, which included spending two weeks camping, cycling and playing basketball with the kids who’d be playing his classmates, it was a miserable premise for a film and in parts, toe-curlingly embarrassing to watch. ‘Toys’ (1995) was another dubious dalliance into the ‘man child’ genre, and almost as bad; ‘Flubber’ (1997) was shallow but at least popular with kids; but Bi-centennial Man’ (1999), an adaptation of an Issac Asimov story about an android who develops feelings, was simply awful. Perhaps as a reaction to criticism he drew for those films, in recent years Williams has made a noticeable shift away from both sentimentality and light comedy in his script choices. Mainly into the arena of murderous psychopaths. In ‘One Hour Photo’ (2002) he won rave reviews for his performance as a photo lab worker who becomes obsessed with a young local family and in Danny De Vito’s wickedly dark comedy ’Death to Smoochy’ released later the same year, he is brilliant as ‘Rainbow’ Smiley, a deposed kid’s show host out to reek revenge on his replacement, a cuddly purple rhino called ‘Smoochy’, played by Ed Norton. But it was with ‘In-

“QUOTE, UNQUOTE” Ah, yes, divorce.... from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet. Carpe per diem - seize the cheque. Comedy is acting out optimism. Cricket is basically baseball on valium. Do you think God gets stoned? I think so... look at the platypus. God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time. Having George W. Bush giving a lecture on business ethics is like having a leper give you a facial, it just doesn’t work! I like my wine like my women - ready to pass out. I’m sorry, if you were right, I’d agree with you. If women ran the world we wouldn’t have wars, just intense negotiations every 28 days.

RECENT MOVIES August Rush (2007) - Maxwell “Wizard” Wallace License to Wed (2007) - Reverend Frank Night at the Museum (2006) - Teddy Roosevelt Happy Feet (2006) - Ramon / Lovelace (Voice) Man of the Year (2006) - Tom Dobbs Everyone’s Hero (2006) - Napoleon Cross (Voice) RV (2006) - Bob Munro The Night Listener (2006) - Gabriel Noone somnia’ in 2003 that Williams eventually arrived as a serious actor, more than holding his own against co-star Al Pacino. From 2006 he starred in 5 movies, including the thriller The Night Listener, another serious role where he stars as a radio host who realizes he has developed a friendship with a child who may or may not exist. More recently Williams has appeared in a variety of TV shows, including appearing with Robert De Niro on Saturday Night Live and the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway. The CBS Network announced in February of this year (2013), that it has picked up a pilot epi-

sode for a comedy by the name of The Crazy Ones, starring Williams as a father works with his daughter in an advertising agency – The general release date is to be confirmed soon. Fortunately for his comedy fans, despite his acceptance into the ranks of Hollywood’s acting elite, Williams has never forgotten that it was stand up comedy that made him famous in the first place. And whilst these days he is increasingly less likely to make impromptu appearances at small unsuspecting venues as he used to in his early days in San Francisco, maybe , just maybe, that long-talked about world tour will one day actually become a reality.


SONS OF ANARCHY BREAKING NEWS!! Fans will be disappointed, recent budget cut backs affect Sons of Anarchy bike power… from this…

To this… Jax Teller was heard to say that, “He doesn’t mind, just so long as he gets to drive.” New season premiere September 11, 2013.


QUIZ GENIUSES The Weakest Link

ANNE ROBINSON: Of which hot drink is ‘eat’ an anagram? CONTESTANT: Hot chocolate?

GENUINE GCSE ANSWERS Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

Dog Eat Dog

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible,Guinessis, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked, “Am I my brother’s son?”

The Weakest Link

Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

ULRIKA JONSSON: Name the German national airline. CONTESTANT: The Luftwaffe. ANNE ROBINSON: Name a selection of small, highly coloured sweets known as Dolly . . ? CONTESTANT: Parton.

Steve Wright in The Afternoon

STEVE WRIGHT: In 1863, which American president gave the Gettysburg Address? CONTESTANT: I don’t know, it was before I was born.

Are You Smarter Than A 10 Year Old?

NOEL EDMONDS: Was the Tyrannosaurus Rex a carnivore or a herbivore? CONTESTANT: No, it was a dinosaur.

Steve Wright in The Afternoon

STEVE WRIGHT: What is the Italian word for ‘motorway’? CONTESTANT: Expresso.

Solomom had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn’t have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline. In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: “Tee hee, Brutus.”

THE OLDEST WOMAN Jean Louise Calment lived to be 122 years old, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, made hers the longest life in recorded history. By the time she stubbed out her last cigarette on 4th August 1997, she was nearly blind, nearly deaf and confined to a wheelchair. But her mind was as sharp as ever. On her 115th birthday she famously told the French press, “Je n’ai jamai eu qu’une seule ride et je suis assise dessus” which roughly translates to, “I’ve only got one wrinkle – and I’m sitting on it”. She gave up her 20-a-day Gauloise habit on her 100th birthday “just to see if she could” but added to her ‘enfant terrible’ reputation by taking it up again just two years later. When asked what single event in her life had pleased her most, she would recall the tale of a local real estate speculator by the name of Andre-Francois Raffray. In 1960, when Calment was just 85 years old, he purchased her apartment promising to pay her 500$ a month until the day she died. He ended up paying twice the market value for the apartment before passing away himself in 1995. Calment simply said, “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”




With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, It is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man that wrote ‘The Hokey Kokey’ died peacefully at the Age of 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

A zebra escaped from the zoo and wanted to understand what was happening in the countryside. She asked a cow what it did. “I make milk,” replied the cow. Further on she met a sheep, and asked what it did. “I make wool,” the sheep told her. Then she came across a stallion and asked it the same question. The stallion answered, “Take off your pyjamas and I’ll show you!”

FEAR AND LOAFING IN LOS ANGELES Two men are sitting in an airplane. One of them is in a bad way, pale, hands shaking, biting his nails and moaning in fear. “Hey pal, what’s the matter?” says his neighbour. “I’ve been transferred to Los Angeles,” the first man answers nervously. “They’ve got race riots,drugs, the highest crime rate in the country…” “Hold on,” says the other man. “I’ve lived in LA all my life and it’s not nearly as bad as the media makes it out to be . Find a nice home, go to work, mind your own business, enrol your kids in a good school and it’s as safe as anywhere in the world.” The first man stops shaking for a moment and says “Oh thank God, I was worried to death! But if you live there and say it’s ok, I’ll take your word for it. By the way, what do you do for a living?” “Me? I’m a tail gunner on a bread truck.”

GROAN After years of being blasted into the net, the human cannonball goes to the circus owner and tells him he’s going to retire. “But you can’t!” shouts the boss, “Where am I going to find someone of your calibre?”


DEAD CAT Mr Kelly walks anxiously to the door of the house and knocks. When a sweet old lady answers, he says nervously, “I am sorry madam, but I have some bad news. I am afraid I’ve run over your cat. I…I’d like to replace it.” The old lady looks him up and down and says, “I’m game, but how are you at catching mice?”

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ANGELINA JOLIE – IN BUBBLE BATH BONANZA By Joe Swain So there I am walking down this fantastic – looking beach with a jumbo-sized, frozen Margarita in one hand and a fat Cuban cigar in the other. The moon’s kissing the sun goodnight, the fish are waving to the luckless anglers and the wind is strumming the tune to ‘the girl from Ipanema’ in the fronds of a listless coconut tree... And then I spot Hollywood starlet Angelina Jolie and a young Felicity Kendall calling to me from a beachside Jacuzzi, “Joe, Joe, you must come quickly. There’s a phone call for you. Mr Hodgson, the football man, he wants you to play for England!” ‘Well this doesn’t happen every day,’ I think as I slip into the water and start telling Hodgson how I like my eggs cooked. And then, just as I am about to book myself a first class ticket to Brazil, I spot my old history teacher, Mr Smallwood, jogging towards me down the beach with my fourth year exam paper in his hand, shouting, “But what about the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire?” “Not now Smallwood” I say almost laughingly, “Can’t you see I’m busy? I’m playing for England now you know.” I turn to Jolie and Kendall for support. But instead of the reassuring vision of their finely sculpted limbs frolicking in a soapy froth, my eyes are assaulted by the sight of Mrs Jeffers, the school dinner lady, swimming towards me with a sharkish grin on her face. I wrestle myself free from the suffocating clutches of her upper-arm fat-pillows and flee back to the beach. Only the beach is not a beach anymore, it’s an ugly urban shopping precinct. The sun’s getting its head kicked in by a tattooed moon, the fish are lying in pieces on icy slabs in the fishmonger’s and a howling wind is playing thrash-metal blues on the trunk of a hollow elm. And the last thing I hear, before the persistent


shrieking of my bedside alarm eventually drags me to consciousness, is Smallwood shouting, “Play for England boy? In your dreams.” And of course he’s right. Barring a massive outbreak of foot rot, that is indeed the only way I’m ever going to get to pop a dramatic last minute winner into the back of a Brazilian net. But, and this is the thing I really like about dreams, there’s probably just as much chance I’ll end up rifling a long range back pass into my own goal and spending the rest of my football dream-life having my effigy burnt on the back pages of tabloids. Dreams are so wonderfully unpredictable. Almost dangerous. Like weird little movies playing inside our heads. And whilst I might be the equivalent of Sam Goldwyn in my private little celluloid world, I rarely feel like I’ve got much control over production. Admittedly I usually recognize most of the characters, albeit not always in roles or costumes I might have expected, and many of the locations and overall concepts are familiar, but as for plot development, forget it. I seem to have absolutely no control over that. Surely it should be broken feet that end football careers, not grumpy old history teachers. And why would I possibly want Angelina Jolie to turn into Mrs Jeffers? I may have been a huge fan of her jam roly-polies, but I certainly don’t recall any strange physical hankerings. But if we stick with the film analogy for a little longer, the sixty four thousand dollar question has got to be this. If the boffins who gave us satellite phones, microwave ovens and retractable car arials were to invent a machine that could actually record our dreams, who would be brave enough to get one? Just imagine, all your darkest and most uncon-

nected nocturnal thought played out in glorious Technicolor. For everyone to see. “So what’s the film about tonight then Joe?” Mrs Bumbleton would ask, “Will it be suitable for the children this time?” And I would probably reply, “Frankly Mrs Bumbleton, I haven’t got a clue. When I woke up this morning it all seems fairly clear, but then whoosh, five seconds later it was gone”. To be honest, when I ask people this question, most of them look at me as if I’ve just shown them my black belt in martial hari kari. But can we really be held responsible for what goes on in our dreams? What sort of person starts divorce proceedings over their spouse’s subconsciously imagined affair with a totally unattainable Hollywood superstar? Apart from mine of course, who once slapped me round the head the moment she woke up because I had apparently been really ‘horrid’ in one of her dreams. But until that day arrives I shall carry on improvising with the snooze button on my alarm clock. I find that if I keep hitting it, of a morning, for about two hours, my mind treats me to a veritable little feast of film noire shorts. And in those brief moments of consciousness, with a little bit of concentration, I find I can sometimes even change the plot of the dream. Which brings me to my cunning plan. Tomorrow morning, when that first alarm goes off, I’m going to use my fleeting moment of power to re-run the beach scene. Only this time I’m going to double bluff the goatee-bearded director of my subconscious by controversially re-casting Smallwood and Jeffers in the Jacuzzi roles. A risky policy I know, but that way I reckon it might just be Jolie who gets the ‘jogging-down-the-beach-with-history-exam-inhand’ part. And, if everything else goes according to plan, it certainly won’t be the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire she’ll be shouting about.



For some oddballs among us, it’s not enough to sit down, watch a film, laugh a bit, fart a bit, eat rubbish and go home. If you’re a bit like a policeman (i.e. irritating and inquisitive) you want to know when it all started, how it first happened and who’s to blame. In this, the first of a six-part series looking at comedy in film, we go back pre-30s to find out who was the first person to do something funny on film, and what happened afterwards. Believe it or not, it was a simple sneeze that first got audiences rolling in the aisles. Filmed on a Kinetoscope, a cabinet designed to show moving film to one person at a time, Thomas Edison, the inventor of the contraption in 1891, filmed one of his workers, Fred Ott, just as his nose was having a bit of a tickle. The outcome of the tickle turned out to be the greatest comedy moment of 1894 (obviously not a great year for comedy) and was soon followed by short films of vaudeville acts filmed by Edison’s assistant William Dickinson. That highly entertaining comedy institut ion, The Royal Variety Show or the rather better Saturday Night Live, is basically derived from vaudeville, which was a sequence of short variety acts on the stage that consisted of people doing turns, such as acrobatics, a song and dance routine, animal acts and comedy or clowning. Vaudeville remained popular for over 30 years, and with the advent of film, filmmakers became eager to be the first to screen the latest acts. While the Marx Brothers and Abbot & Costello honed their performances, and silent comedians Buster Keaton and Harry Langdon thrived, vaudeville continued its success alongside the movies for some time to come. By the 20s, however, audiences were becoming bored with watching these acts on screen and as soon as the talkies arrived, vaudeville began its slow demise. The essential element of silent comedy was, of course, in the physical aspects of what was happening on screen. Thus ‘slapstick’ was born, whereby two or more people would inflict pain on each other, fall over etc. The term slapstick comes from the Italian comme di a dell’arte a theatrical tradition where the central performer would beat others with an object made of two sticks, thus


making a slapping sound (you can try this out on a friend). Best known comedians of the slapstick genre included Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy, Buster Keaton & Harold Lloyd, who all, at some time or another, were directed by Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, the two biggest comedy producers of the time. While Charlie Chaplin and the abovementioned comedians reveled in the form, Mack Sennett built his career around it with the Keystone Kops, who riotously ruled the genre from 1913-16, causing chaos on the streets of LA and ultimately leaving behind an historical record of what the streets of America looked like before the turn of the century. Sennett, born in Canada to working class Irish immigrants in 1880, founded Keystone Pictures in 1912, where Charlie Chaplin invented his character the Little Tramp (1914). Indeed, the likes of Harry Langdon, Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton all began their careers under Sennett, whose business thrived throughout the 20s, right up until the advent of sound. The other big comedy producer of the period was Hal Roach, the man behind the pairing of Laurel & Hardy. Leaving NYC for Hollywood in 1912, Roach began his career acting in shorts, and on receiving $3000 in inheritance money, set up his own production company, working as a writer, producer and director and promoting Harold Lloyd as an up-andcoming comedy star. Quickly establishing himself as having an eye for talent and a skill at making comedy shorts, Roach was more than on a par with Sennett. However, once feature films overtook shorts, he lost most of his best talent and ended up moving over to television until his death in 1992.

Stars of early comedy

Charlie Chaplin (1889-1997) Born Charles Chaplin, to music hall entertainers Charles and Hannah Chaplin, Charlie first appeared on stage at age five in place of his mother who had fallen ill. He continued to tread the boards, appearing at London’s Hippodrome at age 11 and at age 21 he arrived in New York with Fred Karno’s vaudeville troupe. In November of 1913 he signed a contract with Mack Sennett’s Keystone Pictures and left for Hollywood the following month.

In 1914, Charlie Chaplin walked into the Sennett studios costume room, picked out a pair of trousers that previously belonged to Fatty Arbuckle, a bowler hat, a stick-on moustache and a cane, and his character the Little Tramp was born. Chaplin soon realized what he was worth and, deciding he wanted to have more control over his pictures, he left Sennett’s studio to set up his own studio, United Pictures, alongside Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and DW Griffith in 1919. Chaplin went on to become a comedy icon (he wrote and directed 35 films in 1914 alone) and he’s still recognized the world over. Father to eight children with his fourth wife, Oona (daughter of playwright Eugene O’Neill) tax problems drove him to Switzerland in 1952, yet he returned to Hollywood once, 20 years later, to claim a special Oscar honouring his lifetime contribution to film. In 1975 the title Knight Commander of the British Empire was bestowed upon him and he enjoyed the title until 1977 when he died in his sleep.

Buster Keaton (1895 – 1966) Legend has it that James Keaton acquired the nickname ’Buster’ when he took a tumble down the stairs of a boarding house and jumped up unhurt and all smiles. Harry Houdini, who was also staying there at the time, saw the fall and nicknamed him Buster - the name stuck. Buster joined the family act – The Three Keatons - at a young age and he became well known for his deadpan expression even while being thrown around the stage and sometimes into the audience. He was also known as The Human Mop, whereby his father would hold him upside down and mop the floor with his head. By 1917 his father’s alcoholism made the act too dangerous and they broke up, with Keaton going into the movies to play supporting roles for Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle comedies, beginning with The Butcher Boy in 1917. Keaton stayed with Fatty Arbuckle for 15 more two-reelers despite being offered big money to sign with Fox and Warner Brothers. After a 10-month stint in the army at the end of World War I, Keaton starred in his first fulllength feature The Saphead (1920). By mid ’21 he had set up his own production company, Buster Keaton Productions, and was writing, directing and starring in his own


films. His favourite, and the last over which he had complete control, was The General (‘27). In 1928 he signed with MGM and his fame began to dwindle. By ‘32 he was divorced, alcoholic and reduced to co-starring roles. After a stint in a mental hospital followed by a low-paid gag-writing job with MGM his career bounced back, and in ‘47 he made a live performance at Cirque Medrano in Paris. In 1952 James Mason, who was living in Keaton’s old mansion, found a secret stock of his films, which he turned over to Raymond Rohauer who began restoring them. In ’52 Keaton made his first appearance with his buddy Charlie Chaplin in the film Limelight. Luckily for Keaton he was alive to see his work properly recognized by the film industry and he received a special Oscar in 1959 for his life’s work in comedy while festivals around the world honoured his work. Buster Keaton died in 1966, at age 70.

Laurel (1890-1965) & Hardy (1892– 1957)

Born Arthur Stanley Jefferson in England in 1890, Stan Laurel began acting in vaudeville at age 16, following Fred Karno’s troupe to the US in 1910 and working as Chaplin’s understudy. Working on the American vaudeville circuit, he changed his name to Stan Laurel and, as one of the Three Comiques, he was picked up by the owner of the LA Hippodrome, Adolph Ramesh, who financed his first film Nuts In May (’17). Floating between stage and screen for the next 10 years, Laurel began writing and directing comedies for Hal Roach in 1926. Here he met and was persuaded toteam up Oliver Hardy on the other side of the camera. Hardy started his career in 1900 at age eight, singing in a minstrel show and later went on to open his own movie theatre. The Laurel and Hardy team went on to make over 100 films together. Their characters stayed the same throughout their career, with Ollie as the big guy in charge who would push Stan around, and Stan as the weedy one who would cry and blame Ollie for all the ensuing mishaps: “Well here’s another fine mess you’ve got us into.” After working at Roach studios for 13 years they broke away to try to gain a more autonomous role over


their films, however, their careers dwindled and, after a comeback where they toured Britain in the 40s and 50s, Hardy suffered a stroke and died soon after. Upon Hardy’s death in 1957, Laurel vowed never to work again and despite countless offers to make public appearances, he kept to his word and did not work for the eight years between Hardy’s death and his own, never fully recovering from his friend’s demise. In 1960 he received a special Academy Award for his contribution to cinema comedy.

Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) Harold Lloyd made his stage debut at age 12 as Little Abe in Tess of the D’Ubervilles. His acting career on screen began in 1913 when he met Hal Roach who would later become one of the most influential people in his life. After working with Sennett for a while, he moved back over to Roach, adapting a character with him called Lonesome Luke. Much like Charlie Chaplin’s Little Tramp, neither liked the character particularly, despite a warm audience reaction. Then in 1918, Roach came up with the character that would launch Lloyd’s career. Dressing him in a boater with horn-rimmed glasses – like a young man in Sunday best - Lloyd’s famously daring character was born. Despite an accident with a bomb prop in 1920 that left him without a thumb and forefinger on one hand, he continued to do his own dangerous stunts, the most famous of which found him hanging from the hands of a clock at the top of a New York skyscraper. Lloyd’s character on screen was as off-beat and experimental as his onscreen persona. He had little control over his own finances, and spent his money on such diverse hobbies as breeding Great Danes, collecting cars, bowling, photography and high-fidelity stereo systems. He had a huge libido and is said to have fathered numerous illegitimate children as well as fighting chronic bouts of VD. The advent of sound was problematic for the comedian and his writers who, up to that point, had excelled at visual gags. Although he remained popular and seemingly successful to the audience, the dollars weren’t adding up and his talkies had become dogged by failure. Lloyd’s career never really recovered, however he owned the rights to most of his movies, which helped support him in the future, and he fell back on his hobbies, traveling and speaking engagements. At the time of his death in 1971, he owned an LP collection that rivaled most record stores and an estate valued at US$12 million. Since his death his granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd has

been faithfully restoring his movies, many of which are still being shown on cable TV.

Mabel Normand (1894-1930) Normand was born into a vaudeville family that moved to New York when she was barely in her teens. By age 17 she was already appearing in one-reel comedies and is in fact credited with being one of screens first comediennes. While working at Biograph Studios she met Mack Sennett with whom she promptly fell in love. Under his direction, Normand blossomed to become one of Biograph’s biggest stars. In 1912 Sennett formed Keystone Pictures with Normand at his side, and, un-heard of for a woman in those days, Normand wrote, directed and starred in numerous movies. She also directed Charlie Chaplin in many of his earlier works (they starred together in Mabel At The Wheel and Caught In A Cabaret (both 1914)) and she made a number of movies with Fatty Arbuckle from 1915 onwards. Normand seemed to have a knack for knowing what her audience wanted and they were largely impressed with her daring stunt work, such as being tied to railway tracks and generally manhandled by her co-stars. In 1918 she moved to Goldwyn films and made some 20 movies, however, her drug and alcohol abuse and constant partying were becoming cause for concern. In 1922 Normand became embroiled in the murder of director William Desmond Taylor, one of her previous lovers, followed by her chauffeur allegedly using her gun to shoot a Hollywood millionaire. Normand’s career was thus ruined and in 1930, following periods of depression and ill-health, she died of tuberculosis and pneumonia. She was 36.

“Action is more generally understood than words. The lift of an eyebrow, however faint, may convey more than a hundred words. A truly capable actor must possess a thorough grounding in pantomime.” - Charlie Chaplin - Interview NY Times 1931 “A hotel set was built for Mabel Normand’s picture and I was hurriedly told to put on a funny costume. This time I went to the wardrobe and got a pair of baggy pants, a tight coat, a small derby hat and a large pair of shoes. I wanted the clothes to be a mass of contradictions, knowing pictorially the figure would be vividly outlined on the screen. To add a comic touch, I wore a small mustache which would not hide my expression. My appearance got an enthusiastic response from everyone, uncluding Mr.Sennet. The clothes seemed to imbue me with the spirit of the character . He actually became a man with a soul - a point of view. I defined to Mr Sennet the type of person he was. “He wears an air of romantic hunger, forever seeking romance, but his feet won’t let him.” - Charlie Chaplin, for a woman’s magazine, 1933 “Chaplin was undoubtedly the Beatles of silent comedy.” - Rowan Atkinson, Quoted in Sight and Sound, 2003 “No man can be a genius in slapshoes and a flat hat.” - Buster Keaton “If any of you cry at my funeral, I’ll never speak to you again!” - Stan Laurel “I don’t know much, but I know a little about a lot of things.” - Oliver Hardy “I do not believe the public will want spoken comedy. Motion pictures and the spoken arts are two distinct arts.” - Harold Lloyd


ANIMAL ANARCHY Kangaroos can’t walk they only jump and if you hold their tail, they can’t jump either! A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue, which is a helpful skill to have when there are no cotton buds handy! By the time you say 3,000 puppies, 3,000 puppies are born in the US…so whatever you do, don’t say 10,000. The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds….this fact could solve the riddle of why they cross the road. A pig’s orgasm lasts for 30 minutes. Some lions mate over 50 times a day…they should have a word with the pig and slow down a bit. The placement of a donkey’s eyes in its heads enables it to see all four feet at all times….always helpful on the dance floor! If a wolf gets its leg caught in a trap, it will chew it off…takes ’talking the hind leg off a donkey’ to a whole new level! A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out….proper polite those crocs!


A cockroach will live nine days without it’s head, before it starves to death….just plain

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the males head off….there’s probably a website somewhere… A cat has 32 muscles in each ear…wonder what would happen if they all went off at once? AND FINALLY….. Roosters can’t crow if they can’t fully extend their necks. Snails can sleep for 3 years without eating. Spotted skunks do handstands before they spray…. Penguins can convert salt water into fresh water. If it isn’t moving a frog can’t see it. If the frog can’t see it, he won’t eat it. If a Lobster loses an eye, it will grow another one.



EVEN MORE STUFF A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank. The bank Manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in The Times: Dear Sir, I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person. My mortgage and loan payments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope. Please find attached an Application Contact Status, which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof. In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required for me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows: 1 To make an appointment to see me. 2 To query a missing payment. 3 To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there. 4 To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping. 5 To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature. 6 To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home. 7 To leave a message on my computer (a password to access my computer is required. A password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contact.) 8 To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 through to 8. 9 To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call. Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year. Your Humble Client


Did you know

- the QE2 only does 6 inches to a gallon of fuel!


I rear ended a car this morning. Luckily though, no one was injured – especially me. The driver got out of the other car, and he was a dwarf. He was angry! He looked up at me and said, “I am NOT happy!” I asked, “Then which one are you?”


FASCINATING FASHION FACTS…… When Clark Gable removed his shirt onscreen to reveal that he wasn’t wearing a vest, sales of vests dropped by 40 per cent. At the end of the 15th century, men’s shoes had a square toe. The fashion was promoted by Charles VIII of France to hide the fact that one of his feet had six toes. In the 16th century Italy, it was fashion for women to colour their teeth. It was considered elegant for aristocratic ladies of the 16th century to grow their pubic hair long and tie bows and ribbons in it. Married men in France use more cosmetics than their wives. Philip, Prince of Calabria, the eldest son of Charles XIII of Spain, adored gloves so much that he often wore 16 pairs at a time. The first pair of Doc Martens were made from old tyres. False eyelashes were invented solely for Hollywood. Producer D.W. Griffth wanted to enhance actress Seena Owen’s eyes for the 1916 film Intolerance and had a wigmaker weave human hair through a fine gauze. 40 per cent of women have hurled footwear at men. Madonna’s famous “Bullet Bra”, worn during her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990, was based in an antique breastplate worn by Italian soldiers. Elizabeth I made the wearing of hats compulsory for anyone over the age of seven on Sundays and holidays. Failure to do so would result in a fine of 3s 4d.


Yul Brynner wore nothing but black for the last 45 years of his life. Men didn’t wear underwear until the 16th century. When zips in clothing were tentatively introduced to Britain in the 1920s, people were worried about their reliability. To allay these fears, a huge zip was put on show at the Wembley Empire Exhibition of 1924. By the end of the exhibition, it had been zipped and unzipped three million times without catching. Boy George was sacked from his job as a shelf-stacker at Tesco for wearing the store’s carrier bags. Tesco considered his appearance to be “disturbing”. In the 18th century, it was considered the height of fashion to wear false eyebrows made out of mouse skin.


Woody Allen once said, “Mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” And last week Joe Swain came close to understanding exactly what he meant by that.


the corner of your mouth. Nobody it seems had missed my arse-over-tit moment. Indeed, if Pamela Anderson had been running down the very same hill shouting, “Please help me, a snake’s bitten me on the chest”, I doubt the pitch’s 21 pairs of waiting eyes would have looked up with any greater synchronicity.

I was excited. My Friday night football match was just about to kick off and I was late. My team needed me (ok, the exact wording of the manager’s text was, “Joe, hope you can make it – we’re desperately short of players”) so I decided to take a risk. Rather than waiting till I reached the pitch to change into my ‘not-very-safe-forwearing-onslippery- downhill-paths’, football boots, to save time I put them on early. To make matters worse I loped down to the pitch in what I imagined would look like a Thierry Henry style tunnel run instead of walking. Consequently I managed about four steps before my legs went Riverdance on me, the left cheek of my arse introduced itself to the concrete path and my dignity hopped quietly onto a bus to Jurong. It was a bit like one of those moments at a noisy wedding reception when you’ve just shouted across the table the punch line to a particularly rude joke about the bride’s mother and at the exact same moment a cemetery hush falls over the room leaving your ‘in-therequired- volume-of-a-splitsecondago’ words, hanging in the air above your head like aeroplane vapour trails on a clear summer’s day. Complete with a tiny wisp of resonance trailing incriminatingly from

Now I’ve never been a particularly religious type, but I do believe in some of the lesser-known deities. Like the god of embarrassment. A small red-faced chap called Eric who appeared momentarily on my shoulder at that moment and whispered in my ear, “I’d go home if I were you Joe. Cut your losses mate. After an entrance like that you’re bound to play like a donkey.” Advice which, on reflection, I probably should have heeded. But like all has-

ball it has to be said. But I lollopped all the same. Which is where Eric came in. Blessed as all lesser gods are with the ability to slow time, he did something to the ball. It hung in the air like a suicide jumper having second thoughts and to my horror, for once in my footballing life, my speed, direction and timing all conspired to put me in exactly the right spot to get my head on the end of a cross. Potentially. All I had to do now, with the goalkeeper already beaten by Eric’s magic and the net just a yard from my forehead, was rise to the challenge. In fact if truth be told, so perfect was the cross that I didn’t even need to rise. Just stand there, face forward, brace my neck muscles, close my eyes and let the ball bounce off my head into the net. I could smell the glory. I could taste the victory champagne. I could feel the adoring hugs of my teammates. Unfortunately I could also hear Eric on my left shoulder shouting, “Eyore, Eyore”. And during that briefly suspended

“Like a tired old Labrador chasing an ice cream van I lollopped forward. More out of politeness to the winger than with any real expectation of getting to the ball it has to be said.” been, sporting dreamers with just enough talent to distinguish themselves from a goalpost, I didn’t. Which didn’t please Eric. Because after 90 minutes of failed passes, receiverless toe pokes and general running around between defenders like a Lilliputian on a basketball court, he appeared again. Only this time with a present. My very own Woody Allen moment. With the scores standing at 1-1 and the referee’s lips pursed around his whistle, we launched a final attack. Our speedy little winger skipped a lunging tackle and launched the ball hopefully into the box. Like a tired old Labrador chasing an ice cream van I lollopped forward after it. More out of politeness to the winger than with any real expectation of getting to the

moment of time, I realized that sport is all about defining moments like these. Take Elton Flatley’s two gamesaving kicks in the Rugby World Cup Final. Or better still Jonny Wilkinson’s glorious, last gasp winner. If either one of those players had lost their nerve at those pivotal moments, their lives would have been different forever. But then again they didn’t have Eric to deal with. As for me. Well you can probably guess the ending. Time unraveled in an instant, the ball rushed towards my head, the goal shrank like a crisp packet in the oven, my adrenaline gauges exploded, I braced myself for impact and ‘bang’, I scored a perfect goal! What were you expecting? Some sort of sad loser’s story? Which reminds me, did I ever tell you about the time I had a fight with Mike Tyson?


Back in the 1970s the word ‘Samui’ was known only to a few of the most adventurous backpackers eager to explore this little known and tricky to reach island. Then, a basic thatched bungalow with generator power and running water was considered luxury. Nowadays, 5-star resorts, that rival any world-class destination, occupy the prime beachfront and clifftop locations bringing the jetsetter crowd to this now well-known and easily accessible island in the Gulf of Thailand. Samui is Thailand’s third largest island, yet mea sures just 21 kilometres at its widest point and 25 at its longest. A ring-road runs around the island for approximately 50 kilometres and links the many beaches and bays, so hiring a car or scooter is recommended, as it’s the best way to explore. Don’t be afraid to venture down an unmarked palm-lined track – this is how you come across some of Samui’s best kept secret beaches. And it’s beaches after all that bring visitors to a tropical island, and those visitors will not be disappointed with Samui’s selection of bays and coves - from long stretches of white sand, to small coves, protected by giant boulders. Samui’s eastern and northern shores are the


most populated, and Chaweng is the busiest beach, with hardly a gap along the beachfront between restaurants, resorts and bars. At night, the beach takes off her sundress and glams up with her evening dress, completes with diamond earrings – metaphorically speaking that is. As the sun sets, sun-loungers are replaced with tables set out at the water’s edge. The aroma of sunscreen is replaced by the mouth-watering smells wafting from the open seafood barbecues on the beach. Sunglasses come off, first to view the brilliant sunsets, and later to gaze at the moon over the bay, or the fairy lights and lanterns lighting up the beach and palm trees. As developed as Samui has become in some areas, what’s good to know is that the island observes a quaint building regulation – no building may be higher than the closest coconut palm. Now while these palms can get quite tall, this is still a far cry from the skyscrapers that line Phuket’s (Thailand’s biggest island) shore, and most resorts are still of the villa or bungalow style. If you’re looking for a slower pace, head west and south and get a feel of what Samui must have been like a few decades ago. Another beach worth visiting is Choeng Mon at the north-eastern tip of the island. Frequented by expats, this is an ideal family beach, with just enough vendors to be convenient when you’re looking for a snack or drink, but not enough to bother you. South of Chaweng, before Samui’s second largest beach of Lamai, are two small coves, namely Crystal Bay and Coral Cove. Samui has more to offer visitors and residents than just glorious beaches. Golf enthusiasts will delight in the views on offer from the challenging Santiburi Golf Club, high up in the hills above Maenam. There’re other golfing options available on the island too, including mini golf, and believe it or not, football golf. There’s a fair selection of adrenalin sports, both on land and in water too.

accommodation-wise. From tiny beach bungalows, with not more than a hammock swinging between two trees, to luxury establishments offering the best of everything as well as all types of rooms in between, you’ll find it on Samui. There’s traditional to contemporary, family-friendly to hip and happening and allinclusive resorts to self-catering establishments too. One of the best parts of travelling is trying new food. Whether it’s Thai food you’re after or international cuisine, Samui’s chefs can prepare it for you. Be sure to try a walking street market during your stay too. Fancy a night out on the town? Well the busier areas such as Chaweng and Lamai are home to a vast selection of night clubs, bars and cabaret shows. But you don’t have to wait until evening to party, with venues such as Nikki Beach on the west coast, and Beach Republic on the east coast, hosting DJs from lunchtime as guests mingle, dine and laze by the beachfront pools. There’s plenty to see too during your stay, from viewpoints to temples and religious sites and butterfly gardens to Muay Thai boxing matches. There’s so much to see and do, that’s it’s best to make a list of your favourites so you don’t miss out. Shopaholics won’t be disappointed with the retail therapy on offer. From bargaining at market stands to buying local designer-wear or original souvenirs made on Samui , you’ll find just what you’re looking for. Samui may not have big shopping malls (yet), but that doesn’t mean shopping can’t be fun and rewarding as you wander along the shopping strips set back from the beaches. Of course, you can have a suit tailor-made too in just a day or two. Who would have thought? Whether you’re planning an action-packed holiday, or

Prefer something a little less energetic? Well Samui has become known as a spa, detox and pampering hub of Southeast Asia. Whether you’re after a full detox program or just a day of ‘me time’, you’ll find a vast array of spas to choose from. You can’t go wrong with a 300 baht massage on the beach too. a time to unwind with the family, you can find all the Whether you’re a backpacker, a flashpacker or a 5-star- information you require at It all-the-way kind of traveller, again, Samui will please will even tell you how to get here …



Squealer magazine issue 1  
Squealer magazine issue 1