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the ISSUE NO: 170



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Getting ready for the CHRISTMAS PARTY HAIR season? Or at least you would have done if you’d been in Chelmsford Town Centre on Saturday 30th October (and if you weren’t, pray readers, where on earth were you?) for this years Essex StreetDiversions. As ever, it was truly excellent fun and, along with the incredible Fling festival of 10th July, it is seriously one of the first dates you should be putting into your diaries for 2011 - IF you are proud to call yourself a ‘Chelmsfordian’ that is. (Yes, The Edge appreciates there’s also the little matter of the ‘V’ festival to consider....but in all honestly, when you come to think about it, save for its location, just how ‘local’ an event is ‘V’?). Whereas StreetDiversions is truly something else; rehearsed, most definitely, though its improvisation is geared, to a fairly large extent, on the part our town’s good sporting public plays in the proceedings. Many thanks once again to our council’s Leisure & Cultural Events team for laying it on.

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The Edge Editor’s Column BAD SANTA

Seemingly, I can’t help it. I have a predilection towards those who are less than perfect, probably because I am far less than perfect myself. Fact is, I don’t even believe in the state of ‘being perfect’. There’s a saying: ‘If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.’ Don’t get me wrong, inside, inside I am as soppy as a wet weekend in Bognor Regis in February. Sit me down between now and Christmas Day with a DVD of Sir Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street and I assure you, I will bawl my bleedin’ eyes out. Trouble is, it’s fantasy. I know it’s fantasy and therefore I indulge myself and allow myself to revel in such wonderful fantasy. It’s in the real world where I’m far more cynical. If I see a Santa Claus in a department store bouncing a giggling ickle kiddy up and down on his lap, do I think: ‘Ahhhhh. Bless. How lovely.’ No, I do not. I think: paedophile. That’s how my mind works, but hey, don’t arrest me for ‘thought crime’ cos it ain’t illegal (yet), so

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far as I know. I look at the picture (left) and what do I see? I see both tragedy and reality. There but for the grace of God.... How many peoples lives are an absolute charade? ‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you.’ Do you honestly realise and fully understand just how marginal the dividing line sometimes is between....between what? Success and failure? Between something working and something not. Between sickness and health. Between life and death. We’re born, we grow up (well, some of us do) and it’s somehow ‘our duty’ to make something of ourselves; of our lives. Well go on then. Imagine life’s a cake. There’s your mixing bowl. There’s your wooden spoon. There’s your grater (by chance you’d like to add a few shards of carrot or some zest of lemon peel). Now bake me a cake that symbolises your life. Sometimes, in the middle of the night (like I did the other night), I wake up and think about something that isn’t quite right, but is connected with my life, and I think: ‘Hey, I’m going to do something about that in the morning’. Only then, when it’s daylight and it’s time to get up, I’ll (probably) think: ‘Oh fuck it.’ Black (darkness) and white (daylight). It’s strange just how different you can feel during each. I believe, deep down, that I am a decent person, although I know that there are parts of me that are (quite clearly) all bloody wrong. So what would you say about yourselves, readers? Are you happy with the way you are; how you feel, the way in which you each conduct your lives and interact with others? Rutger Hauer once famously (or not so famous-

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ly; your choice) said, during a Guinness commercial, “It’s not easy being a dolphin.” Well life’s not (always) so easy either because decisions always have to be made and we’ve each got this thing firmly planted inside our heads called ‘a mind’, only is it ‘a mind’, or is it a ‘timebomb’? And what’s with all this euphoria and sorrow and anguish and regret? Yeah, “It’s not easy being a dolphin” alright! So Christmas is upon us, yet again (why did it always seem to take ages to come around when we were kids, yet it literally seems like just last month when you’re an adult?) and it’s the time of year for taking stock and reflecting (unless you simply want to get pissed). It’s also a time for families to get together and.....and suffer one another, far more often than not, in total silence, save for whatever’s on the gogglebox from breakfast ’til suppertime. Maybe it’d be a good idea to do away with the presents this year, for perhaps they merely paper over the cracks? Instead, what you could do is make someone a promise. After all, it’s free. It doesn’t cost you a damn thing. But my God, if you stick to it, what a monumental gift to bestow on someone. Only you’d better mean it, whilst the recipient had better be worth it. The Santa Claus you see on this page is my Santa Claus. He ain’t perfect. Oh no, no, no, no, he ain’t perfect alright. But inside, he is an abundance of all those ingredients I was talking about putting into your bowls and mixing up... and if you cut him, he will most definitely bleed. How does your own cake taste, readers? Is it lacking in anything? THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 01245 348256

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London Marathon’11

This man/gaylord needs your support running next years London Marathon on 17th April, readers, so please give generously. He is ‘dad of 2’ James Perry (44), former owner of The Hot House and now catering manager at KEGS, and he’s running the gruelling 26-mile course in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. “Just log on, go to fundraising, then go to Jim Perry,” says James. “It’s a fantastic cause, so please help me out.”

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“This was when The Coneheads spotted The Edge Editor’s bonce!” So far as this publication is concerned, The Coneheads are equally as important as Christmas Day is once every year to our humble little town, so it was indeed an honour and a privilege that they adjudged my bald bonce to be worthy of such a reaction (see above) on Saturday 30th October. Yes folks, this years ESSEXstreetdiversions was yet another huge, huge success and The Edge doesn’t think you can honestly put a price on this type of entertainment, all intermingled with Saturday shoppers in our very own High Street. This years was our eighth ‘internationally flavoured’ ESSEXstreetdiversions festival and, as ever, it certainly did not disappoint. What’s more, the weather was kind to us too, which was a real blessing. When The Edge first entered town via the stone bridge that separates our High Street from Moulsham Street, the first creations/creatures to be seen were four giant spiders on stilts.....and when they suddenly strode quickly to tower over innocent bystanders and onlookers, b’Jesus, it was, most definitely, really rather creepy. Sure, as one mum said to me, giant spiders aren’t necessarily that which appeals to young children; but then so far as this publication is Shopping inside H&M. concerned, young children should always be seen and not heard....and who says ESSEXstreetdiversions is exclusively for kids anyway? Whatever. The Edge would like to take this opportunity, without being disrespectful to the wonderful Coneheads, to pay tribute to this years undoubted ‘star turn’. Yes folks, I hope you will all agree with the mag when it says The Doormen/Minders totally stole the show with their hilarious and unique antics and mannerisms (see pages 14 & 15 for further details). I literally followed them about for the better part of an hour to see what they would get up to next, whether it be protecting people who were using cash machines, or cordoning off the access to Springfield Road from the High Street between Next and Starbucks with red and white plastic tape and orange and white cones. Many thanks also to sharp-eyed shooter Crispin Coulson who spotted some folk who honestly appeared to have been shat upon from a very great a whole squadron of pigeons. Yes, that’s right, readers, their heads and shoulders appeared to be covered in an abundance of bird doo (see pages 14 & 15 once again). All in all, marvellous, marvellous stuff!


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Surrounding your editor...

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Bird’s Eye View AN IDIOT AT HOME The curmudgeonly Karl Pilkington is my new ‘man of the month’. He's even a candidate for a soulmate now I've sat through ‘An Idiot Abroad’, courtesy of Sky TV and the Gervais/Merchant think-tank. Karl shows how travel can broaden the mind and exhaust the senses, but being away from home and all its creature comforts can also bring on an unnerving emotional experience; namely homesickness. This malady can hit without warning and its effects can be disorienting, debilitating and downright depressing. But what the hell do you do if homesickness strikes like a heavyweight punch when you're still actually at home? Herein lays the conundrum of Christmas for me. I'm not sure why, but during the festive period my home and my world begins to feel both alien and uncomfortable when I'm the hostess without the most-est! Before the first rap on the door, I'm already grumpy and misplaced from rearranging furniture and digging through the loft for airbeds, duvets and musty board games. Even as I'm kissing people hello, I know I've



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forgotten to hide the Anusol, to hang the bog roll the posh way round and to squirrel away the overdrawn bank statements. The distinctive whiff of burning logs, pine needles and warming mince pies is cold comfort for me as my 'to do list' stretches towards January and my home and sanctuary morphs into a sort of Christmas Shelter. It might have been invaded by people I love, and I know it's only for a few days here and there, but their presence disrupts my equilibrium. I love having people over that mean something to me; I just prefer it if they bugger off the very same day. Strange shoes, slippers, coats and bags scattered around my hall feels wrong if they're still in situ after 24 hours. When the foreign dressing gowns and wash-bags find their way into my bathroom and bedroom, I'm usually hyperventilating over the hob. The Iceland/M&S et al adverts try to sell us a Christmas utopia that rarely exists unless you've got a house the size of the Shetland Isles and a bank balance to match. Apparently women, on average, spend a grand total of 38 days preparing for Christmas! That's a whopping 912 hours! A palatable solution is probably to sod off abroad if you can wing it, or opt to be a Christmas guest rather than a host. I'd honestly give it a go, but I get homesick for my own tree, fire, fridge and farts after a few hours. Looks like I'll forever be ‘An Idiot at Home’.

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RING RING Women do love a man's ring on their finger, don't they? The shrewd and sober girl will lead her man towards a decent jeweller with excited, shallow breaths and bright eyes glistening with unspoken promise. The screwed girl will drag any man into a pub car park with Bacardi breath and eyes that roll like marbles. Say no more. A sparkler on the finger is a woman's equivalent of tinsel on a tree. No matter how stumpy, spindly, distorted or downright abused the digits appear, the glint of a polished gem can turn a sow's trotter into a silk purse. But what do you do if the ring your man wants on your finger belongs to his deceased mother? You accept it with dignity, that's what. So hats off to Kate Middleton. Waity-Katie has taken a mauling in our press over the years, but I can't see why wearing a ring that belonged to a dead woman who loved her son should cause so much chatter when it's going to a future wife and Queen who obviously feels the same about the same man, even if it's a different sort of love. The only way to move on is to let go. There comes a time when it's far better to look to the future, rather than to keep raking over the past. IT'S A WRAP Wishing all Edge readers a very Merry Christmas! However you do it, and whoever you do it with, enjoy, indulge and remember: Christmas is a race to see which gives out first, your money or your feet! xxx

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One Sexy Alarm Clock We all have to get up in the morning, but those ultra creative souls at Bang & Olufsen like to make damn sure that even the most unpleasant of human rituals turns out to be a truly extraordinary experience. Quite simply, they have transformed the humble alarm clock into a remarkable and unobtrusive object d’art with some surprisingly practical features, such as a built-in motion sensor plus subtle automatic backlight. Meanwhile, the sleep-timer lets you doze off to music or a late night programme without having to worry about switching it off. You can also choose to wake up to BeoTime's discreet chime and add the sound of your favourite TV programme, radio station, or piece of music. “Whatever it takes”, say B&O, “this remarkable little piece of ‘man kit’ (oh come on, ladies, it is so totally the ultimate gentleman’s gadget) is sure to make every morning a pleasant one.” Hmmmm, not so sure about that! But just look at it. Isn’t it beautiful? (To The Edge, it looks like the sexiest flute ever made.) “Inspired by the conflict between night and day in Mozart's The Magic Flute (told you!), BeoTime is visually unlike any alarm clock you will ever have seen. Every innovation is grounded in clever functionality. The horizontal line and square panels relax the eye to suit a bedroom setting, whether you place BeoTime on a side table or hang it on a (supplied) magnetic wall fixture. The tube shape is also incredibly easy to hold when setting wake-up or shut-down times.” But what’s best about it from The Edge’s point-of-view is that it requires barely any instructions. Thanks to its motion sensor, the display information and buttons always orient themselves correctly in your hand, or on your night table. What’s more, you can easily set timer functions or program any other B&O unit in the room (such as a TV set) to wake you up together with the unique chime of this ingeniously super sexy alarm clock. And once aroused, all you have to do is tap, or gently shake, BeoTime lightly if you need to have a relaxing snooze for ten more minutes, before strolling off to work without having to switch anything off. Why not buy one for your fella this Christmas, ladies? Price: an extraordinarily cool £325.....and worth every penny!









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Ramblers Association Celebrates 75 Years


helmer and Blackwater Ramblers are a local walking group who offer rambles every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday covering distances of between 10-12 miles usually with a pub stop. Saturdays are normally shorter distances (over just 5-6 miles). They pride themselves in being very friendly and welcoming to newcomers of all ages. Social events include coach trips to surrounding counties, walking weekend holidays and various other functions. Membership includes all types such as retired, those who have lost partners, and those who simply like to remain active. New members soon feel welcome and quickly relax into the lovely pastime of rambling. The benefits of walking are to both your health and mind. Share the changing countryside as seasons come and go with good company and enjoy pretty villages, coastal and river walks, and nature in its own habitat. Also enjoy trips to neighbouring counties such as sleepy Suffolk, the garden of England (Kent) and the tranquil beauty of Norfolk. If you are looking for a new hobby, pastime or some form of exercise that is not too strenuous, why not give rambling a go? You honestly won’t regret it. Simply contact Maureen on 01245 344636 for further details, readers.


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David Sherman’s


BEVERAGE REPORT The Red Fox Brewery is situated on a farm outside Coggeshall, a picturesque village nestling between Braintree and Colchester. Established by ex-Crouch Vale brewer Russell Barnes in 2008 (“Because they wouldn't let me make the beers I wanted to make”), its reputation and sales have gone from strength to strength ever since - and rightly so! Never having been averse to half-a-day spent watching a brewer at work, I paid Russell a visit to get the facts about his operation.

Chris calls time at Original Plough

Red Fox is pretty much unique among British breweries in that the brewing premises was actually built from scratch by the people who now produce the beer. Despite being hard work (and somewhat time-consuming), this does of course mean that Russell now has exactly the design of premises he requires, rather than having to work around the pre-existing floorplans, walls and low beams encountered by many of his profession. Russell did, however, keep a chair that was found in the barn that previously occupied the site. Also useful is the fact that the farm has a readily accessible wellwater, rather than a standard mains supply, and a reed bed to recycle waste water. This is obviously safe, clean and environmentally friendly - if you don't believe me, just ask the ducks and fishes!

O’CONNORS Original Irish Pub

Red Fox Bitter is the more sessionable counterpart and certainly proved to be highly palatable when Russell, myself and his brewing assistant John Naunton repaired to The Queens Head just near the brewery later in the day. This pub sells Red Fox beers permanently and also does a good line in quality food. You'll find it on the main road just after you pass the turning for the village. Also available at the time of our visit was Coggeshall Gold, a deeply orangey beer lacking the excessive sharpness of many Golden Ales (don't get me started....). Arctic Fox and the somewhat overwhelming Surrex Gold have been recent seasonal ales in a similar vein, the former being very popular at Colchester Beer Festival and therefore being revived for another outing.

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Russell produces eight permanent beers and a variety of seasonals; his current specials being a spiced stout flavoured with sloes and Ruby Red Mild at 6.9% - sadly not ready for tasting at the time of my visit, but destined for pubs and beer festivals in time for Christmas. Of the permanent beers, Wily Old Fox was in production as I wandered around. This strong bitter was Russell's first beer in his own right and has proved so popular that it has not been altered since its first appearance.

At the opposite end of the colour spectrum, Russell produces the truly superb Black Fox Porter, a rich, roasty ale with a dry, malty finish which has deservedly been awarded Champion Beer of Essex by CAMRA. A dark mild is also occasionally produced. Equinox has the added attraction of being made with wild hops that grow in hedgerows local to the brewery (and at John's house), though if you want a description you'll have to provide your own, having had more luck than me in tracking it down. Demand has increased to the extent that Russell is adding a fourth fermenting vessel, whilst five of the regular beers are now available in bottles. Are Crouch Vale, with their own pub and a twotime Champion Beer of Britain, envious of their former colleague? Probably not. But they should be.

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what the hell are foil booties all about?

eat, drink and be merry christmas parties - live music nights set and a la carte menus christmas day - new years eve


I know I wrote in the September Edge that I was thinking about taking a leaf out of Edge ‘colonist’ Steve Ward’s book by cooking a paella on Christmas Day and bollocks to institutionalised T&T (turkey and trimmings) ...which me and the good lady wife might still well do...but you’ve simply got to have turkey at some point over the festive period, haven’t you...or Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it, queries The Edge Editor.

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Or would it? Wasn’t it a goose that was traditionally always cooked on Christmas Day, followed by rubbing yourself down with goose fat all over ones naked body before attempting to swim the English Channel? The Edge might have got that bit wrong, but honestly, why do we feel as though we have to eat turkey? For centuries it was traditional for UK families to pig-out on the aforementioned goose and...wait for it...the head of a boar (“Half-a-pound of sausages, a dozen rashers of bacon and, oooooh, go on then, a boar’s head, please, Mr. Butcher bloke!”)...but that all apparently changed in the sixteenth century when the turkey was introduced to our shores.

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BFB (big fat bastard) Henry VIII was the first English king to enjoy turkey, although it was that ickle trend-setter Edward VII who made eating its white meat fashionable over the festive period. But hey, definitely covered in lashings of thick, piping hot gravy, yeah, readers? (Don’t you just hate it when restaurants don’t give you enough of anything, such as gravy, apple sauce, cranberry sauce...even the meat itself. And oh aren’t they precious when it comes to their grated parmesan when one is having spaghetti? I don’t want some noncy waiter sprinkling it over my grub when it arrives. “Leave the bloody pot, man!” I like to add spoonfuls of the stuff throughout my meal...and, if truth be told, pretty much after every couple of mouthfuls). And what about nuts in their shells? Not to mention huge, bloody great drums of Quality Street? After Eight mints? “Stilton and crackers, anyone?” Ooooh, and I just love a warm bag of hot roasted chestnuts off a street-seller, only I get ever so disgruntled if the shells don’t peel off easily. Personally, I always like to get stuck into a few bottles of port at Crimbo, kicking off around mid-November, despite the fact it generally ends up making me heave whenever I add a good splosh of the stuff to take the edge (no pun intended) off me Guinness, whilst Mrs Edge comes over all partial to Croft Original (yes, bloody sherry). It’s all totally crazy, when you really come to think about it, isn’t it? The father-in-law generally bakes a Christmas Cake in November too, only I have to keep on reminding him to continually douse it with alcohol pretty much every day so that when you eventually cut a piece, it kind of lurches onto your plate and won’t even stand up straight cos it’s so pissed. Ooooh, and Sherry Trifle...with lashings of cream and custard. Yum-yum. Really, Christmas is all about making a complete and utter pig out of yourself. Forget about whether you’re hungry or not. In fact, simply accept that you’re not and force it down anyway. After all, there’s plenty of folk starving in this world, so let’s just be thankful it’s not us, is what The Edge says.

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There’s just something about this geezer covered in pigeon shit that really, really appeals to The Edge. I mean what....had he been tied to a lamppost against his will, or something?!

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Next month, The Edge investigates the sheer & utter filth that is 2011 calenders!

This fella and his incredible hydro-horse were really ‘something else’ too.

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Shocked & Offended


Hot Wax


comes from animals ranging free as nature intended and so is an ideal local and ethical source of food. If like many people you are beginning to consider the origins of the meat on your plate, then why not try Game. Our meat is British, locally sourced, in season, and very tasty. Bretts Farm Shop, Established 1975. Game Night every Friday at Bretts Restaurant Bar (Bookings only)


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Just as blokes like to give their car a good waxing from time to time, it’s also good to have any unsightly hair removed from a fella’s bodywork every now and again. That’s why Chelmsford chaps should book an appointment with Francesca at Another Level. Bless her cotton socks, this lovely lassie waxed your editors shoulders and ‘gills’ (work it out) and did an absolutely cracking job, not making me shriek once. Edge columnist Kingpin is also a regular client of Francesca’s, cos he is one hairy hombre, is that lad. Another Level Medispa has just moved to Can Bridge Way. Chelmsford 260 600 / 50 52 50

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It’s our duty to protect children and lame animals and wotnot. But sometimes, just sometimes, I can get both shocked and offended whilst carrying out the simplest of tasks and it can really detrimentally affect the remainder of my day. Take this yellow pepper, for instance. Last time I bought one in a supermarket, I never noticed an ‘X’ certificate stuck to its skin. But just look what happens after you take a sharp knife to one? That’s right, readers....they turn into the Elephant Man with a hard-on. Now OK, there weren’t any minors present in The Edge kitchen when it happened, but what if there had been, eh? Perhaps 12 of them at a 7th birthday party celebration, or something, and they all witnessed that which you see below? Tut, doesn’t bear thinking about.

Yet another O.F.S. (out-of-focus special)!

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What’re the chances of this happening?


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If this story doesn’t touch your heart, readers.....then quite simply, you haven’t got one. Unemployed Chelmsford bachelor Richard ‘Guy’ Fawkes, who has been living alone for the past five years since his mother died, has recently experienced a double-whammy of disproportionate measurements. Served a ‘notice of eviction’ on the Friday, ‘Tricky Dicky’ won £1.35million on the National Lottery on the Saturday, and then, somewhat amazingly, found the ‘love of his life’ but 24 hours later in nail technician Maria Stott. “They say things happen in threes, don’t they?” asked a bemused Richard to reporters camped outside his small terraced house in Broomfield. “But when Maria walked into the KFC last Sunday afternoon and strode straight up to me and kissed me passionately on the lips, it was such a wonderful, wonderful moment where two people just know they’ve found their soulmates.” Asked where they would be spending Christmas this year, Richard beamed, “It’s usually ’round me Nan’s in Galleywood, but Maria and I are flying out to the Caymen Islands to get hitched.” Ahhhhh, bless. Don’t stories like this simply restore your faith in the goodness and wholesomeness of life, readers? Tch, your editor could honestly weep tears of joy for ‘Guy’. It’s just beautiful. So, soooooo beautiful.

‘THE MAN TEST’ THINGY... 1. If you are over 40 and you have a washboard stomach, you must be a queer. It means you haven't supped back enough pints with your mates and have spent the rest of your free time doing sit-ups, aerobics, and adhering to that Oprah faggot. 2. If you have a cat, you are a raving homo. A cat is like a dog, only queer. It grooms itself constantly (but never scratches itself), has a delicate touch (except when it lashes out with its claws) and meeows to be fed. Think about how you might say to a dog: “Killer, come here, boy. I said get your ass over here!” Only now think about how you might call a cat: “Bun-Bun, poppet, come to daddikins!” Jesus, how gay is that? 3. If you suck on lollipops, Ring-Pops, or any such nonsense, rest assured, you are a Raving Gaylord. A straight man only ever sucks on BBQ ribs, crab claws, raw oysters, lobster backs, pickled pigs feet, or tits. Anything else and you are a homo in training and undeniably a fag. 4. If you refuse to take a dump in a public bathroom or piss in a parking lot, you are clearly craving a deep homosexual relationship. A man's world is his toilet; he both defecates and urinates wherever he damn well pleases.

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467680 and ask for a confidential chat with Neil Lawrence

5. If you drink anything other than regular coffee, you're as fairy as Tinkerbelle. A straight man will never be heard ordering a 'Decaf Soya Latte'. If you've ever put a ‘Decaf Soya Latte’ to your lips, you've had a man there too. 6. If you know more than six names of non-standard colours or four different types of dessert other than ice-cream and custard, you might as well be handing out free ass passes. A real man doesn't have the memory-space in his brain to remember all that crap. If you can pick out chartreuse, you're gay. And if you can name any type of textile other than cotton or denim, you are a 100% pufta. 7. If you drive with both hands on the steering-wheel, forget it, you're dying to tune a meat-whistle. A man only ever puts both hands on the wheel to honk at a slowassed driver or to cut a prick up. The rest of the time he needs that hand free to change the radio station, eat a sarnie, or scratch his nuts. The Edge 077 646 797 44

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Mmmm, despite the fact the voices were dubbed, I liked this movie a lot, writes The Edge Editor.

Based on a faithful adaption of a Swedish crime novel written by Stieg Larsson, this is the story of a journalist (Mikael Blomkvist) who is sentenced to a short prison term after being framed for libel. Free for a limited period before having to serve his sentence, he accepts a job offer from Henrik Vanger, an aged former chairman of the Vanger Corporation and patriarch of the extremely powerful, yet dysfunctional, Vanger family. Old Henrik wants Blomkvist to investigate the disappearance and, he believes, murder, of his beloved niece, Harriet, some 40 years prior when she was just 16.

Played with ferocious intensity by Noomi Rapace, Salander has an extremely cold exterior which masks her fragile interior the result of a life filled with terrible sexual abuse and victimisation. This movie starts as a slow burner but draws you in and holds you intently until its ultimate conclusion. It also provides some seriously good atmosphere and mood without the need for an orchestra going overboard in the background.


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Blonkvist moves into a small cottage in the grounds of the Vanger estate, but is making little headway in the case until he receives a mysterious email from this movie’s title character. Lisabeth Salander is a brilliant, but acutely antisocial, computer hacker who has been busy hacking Blomkvist, initially for an assignment, but later out of curiosity and admiration for the famed journalist. Realising her genius, Blomkvist calls her bluff and the two join forces as a classic detective team to solve the mystery of the absent Harriet Vanger.

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YOUR letters



to theedge! ***


Hi Shaun Not sure where in Kerela you were thinking of staying as it’s a big state. Personally, I have mainly stayed in the Kovalam area at Light House Beach. I have been 4 times and much prefer it to Goa. In fact, out of all the places I have visited in the world, it’s still my favourite destination (also known as God’s Own Country). I would highly recommend taking in an Elephant Festival while you’re there. I have been to several and the most amazing one was where some Indian guys were drugged and had their bodies pierced and hung from trucks like living meat!


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I would also recommend a trip to Backwaters, Cochin, the temple at Trivandrum, a visit to a children's home and a day spent with elephants, where you will be able to feed and wash them in a river. The food over there is truly superb as you are close to the spice capital Cochin - known as the Venice of the East. There are many good restaurants in Kovalam also, but be careful what you eat in Kerela. I always stuck to fresh fish cooked in banana leaves with Indian spices, rice, vegetable curry, onion pekora etc., but I wouldn't recommend eating any salads or ice-creams. The only beer you can get is bottled Kingfisher and it’s not so bad at just under £1 for a large bottle. Sometimes you’ll have to drink it out of a tea mug in restaurants though, or hide your bottle under the table as the Kereala State government does not allow you to drink alcohol in public. During the four times myself and my ladyfriend have been, we’ve never once been ill. However, we have seen many who have been very sick with ‘Delhi Belly’, so do be careful out there. The beaches are very good in Kovalam and in Varkala, where I have also been, and you can help the local fishermen pull in their nets. The waves can be massive and are ideal for surfing (you can hire surfboards and bodyboards at Kovalam). Be careful in the sea though as there are strong currents and rip tides, often on a daily basis. We actually witnessed a guy being rescued who’d got caught in one and it was a hair-raising experience. (Little tip: if you do get caught in a current, swim sideways out and you should be OK, but do not swim towards the shore until you’re sure you’re well out of it.) Finally, local kids always ask for pens, so if you have any items you can take with you to give away, they will greatly appreciate it. I actually always take a few deflated footballs out with me and pump them up there to give away, which always seems to go down well! Hope this helps. Maurice Hyde. Many thanks, sir.

Guard Dog

Furthermore, some of the guys in the festival had spears right through there cheeks - in one side and straight out the other! If you happen to visit Kovalam, go to Cosmic Travel (down a side alley next to the Thushara Guest House, were I stayed) and they’ll be able to tell you where and when all the festivals are taking place as there are so very many right across the State of Kerela. Page 20

Dear Edge, This looks a good way to scare any would be thieves off your premises .....but honestly, would you do this to your dog? Jools Morris Chelmsford.

Why not just teach dogs to shoot, seeing as they’re supposedly so very loyal and devoted and what have you?

Tram Crash

Dear Edge, Wondered whether or not you’d seen the photographic evidence of a recent Dublin city centre tram crash? Here you go:-

side the other day, I happened to spot this amusing sign on the back of a waste removal vehicle and simply had to snap it and send it to you. Well, I guess if you’re working with turds all day long, you need a sense of humour! Michelle. Lovely of you to think of The Edge whilst pootling along behind something that is clearly FULL OF SHIT, Michelle.

Marky Mark

Hi Shaun, I'm very disappointed. After singing your praises to you when I met your good self at Mike and Tina's 1st anniversary party at The Brewers last month, you didn't put the photo of me and you in your glorious mag. Oh well! Any road up, as promised, I have spoken to the management at the Chieftains and they do hereby cordially invite you and ‘The Lengthy Boy’ to attend a game of ice hockey at Riverside on a Sunday night. (We have several Saturday night games, but due to time restrictions, Sunday's are better.) I look forward to seeing you both at Riverside soon. Keep up the good work. Mark Spearman (aka MC Marky Mark) Many apologies, Marky-bloke.

Marathon Plodder

Regards, Lengthy Boy’s Dad It’s alright you having a cheap laugh at the Irish, sir, but do you realise that innocent passengers could have been injured?

Waste Removal

Dear Edge, Whilst driving through the country-

Hi, On 17th April 2011 I shall be running the London Marathon to raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. As many of you know, I lost my lovely Mum, Beryl, to this terrible disease 10 years ago. Since then, my lovely Dad, Sonny, lost his fight with bowel cancer 3 years ago and my beautiful sister, Sharon, contracted breast cancer at the same time. Sharon has had a period of remission, but unfortunately the cancer has returned and she is once again going through a series of horrific treatments. I've always been rubbish at running, but feel that with a bit of effort I can succeed in finishing the race and hopefully raise a pile of cash to help this wonderful charity. If you could, I would really appreciate your sponsorship, however much or little, to help me hit my target of a minimum £5,000. The link to make your contributions on is below and if you choose to, then thank you so very much. Page.action?userUrl=JIMPERRY&f aId=56756&isTeam=false or (Click on fundraisers and type in Jim Perry) Thanks for your time and much love to you all. Jim. The Edge 01245 348256

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t's the Christmas season. Decorations will light up our homes, turkeys will 'fly' off the supermarket shelves, and presents are bought for our family and friends. At this magical time of year, it is estimated that Chelmsford will produce an extra 5,000 tonnes of rubbish this Christmas, which in weight roughly equates to 50,000 reindeers! So whilst we will no doubt all enjoy the festive occasion, how can we save a few pennies and reduce the amount of waste we throw away? Let's begin with looking at the way we shop. You can save on plastic carrier bags by choosing to shop with re-useable bags. Re-useable bags are much stronger, so the chances of our turkeys breaking free and ‘galloping off’ down the High Street will be greatly reduced as well. Of course, if you have internet access, shopping online may eliminate the need for bags and allow for a wider range of access to shops boasting fantastic eco-friendly gifts. There are some very unusual products available which could be ideal for that 'hard to buy for' friend or family member. Also, where possible, avoid buying presents which rely on disposable parts. Look for alternatives, such as a coffee maker that uses a washable filter rather than throwaway paper ones, or refillable printer cartridges. Our children and all techno enthusiasts amongst us will no doubt be eagerly awaiting this year's top toys and electronic gadgets. Most of these will require batteries. On average, we use 21 disposable batteries per household every year in Chelmsford and instead of throwing your dead batteries away, why not take them to a battery recycling facility. Shops and online retailers must now offer facilities to recycle batteries if they sell more than 1 pack of 4 batteries every day, so there are plenty of places to get rid of them.Or simply buy rechargeable batteries to save even more money. A whopping 17,000 turkeys will be cooked in Chelmsford on Christmas Day and that's the equivalent to nearly 750 plump Santa's falling down your chimney! We then have the potatoes and vegetables and all of the other trimmings on our plates too. This festive period contributes to £450 of food waste being thrown away, per household, every year! So what can we do with all of the leftover food? Well, for starters, you can find some delicious recipes and cooking ideas at

We can also continue to home compost all of our vegetable peelings this winter and by next Christmas, you will have free, nutritional compost to help your garden bloom. Discounted compost bins can be purchased from or call 0845 130 6090. Christmas just wouldn't be the same without a decorated tree and many of us choose to buy 'real trees’ as part of the fun. As well as the wonderful pine smell pervading the house, the big benefit of a real tree is that it can be used again next year. If the tree has been potted with its roots intact, simply transfer it to a bigger pot so the roots have room to grow and plant it in your garden. Real trees can also be easily recycled. Chelmsford Borough Council's Parks Team are accepting Christmas trees on Sunday 2nd January 2011 at Hylands Park between the hours of 10am - 3pm. (Please refer to in case of any changes.) Alternatively, you can take them to your local Recycling Centre for Household Waste. In the lead up to Christmas, the Chelmsford Recycling Team will be available for festive recycling advice, new paper and cardboard sacks, top tips and fantastic giveaways. You can visit us at the following locations: High Chelmer Shopping Centre, Thursday 2nd December, 5.00pm - 8.00pm. Chelmsford Market, Tuesday 7th December, 10.00am - 4.00pm. ASDA (South Woodham Ferrers), Tuesday 14th December, 10.00am - 4.00pm. Chelmsford High Street, Saturday 18th December, 9.00am - 5.00pm Chelmsford Market, Tuesday 21st December, 10.00am - 4.00pm. If you miss us, you can visit, call 01245 615800 or email for the answers to all of your reduce, reuse and recycling related enquiries. Finally, the Recycling Team would like to say a big well done for all of your recycling efforts this year, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Page 21

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An elderly man goes to the chemist to buy some Viagra. “Please can you cut the tablets into quarters,” he says to the pharmacist. “Quarters?” queries the pharmy. “A quarter tablet won’t give you a full erection, you know?” The old man said, “Sonny, I’m 96 years old and all I want it to do is stick out far enough so’s I don’t piss on my slippers.”

Just Checked In

My missus has just checked into the hospital with two black eyes and a broken jaw. Seems I misunderstood her when she said she wanted decking on the patio.

Only in Bangkok

I visited a doctor's surgery whilst on holiday in Bangkok recently, in order to get my testicles checked out. Whilst the nurse was cupping my dangly bits, she said, "Don't worry, it's normal to get an erection during this kind of examination." I replied, "But I haven't got an erection?" She said, "No, but I have."

Camping Trip

Four blokes had spent weeks planning the perfect camping and fishing trip, but two days before they were set to leave, Frank's wife put her foot down and told him he wasn't going. Well, both Frank and his mates were extremely upset, but what could they do? Forty-eight later, the remaining three guys turned up at the camp site, only to find Frank sitting there with a beer in hand, his tent up, and four freshly caught fish cooking on the fire. "Damn man,” said the guys, “how long have you


Page 22

been here? And how the hell did you talk your wife into letting you come?" "Well,” said Frank with a satisfied grin spread right the way across his face, “I've been here since yesterday. Y’see, last night, I was sitting in my chair when my missus came up to me wearing a brand new see-through nightie she’d just bought. "She took me by the hand and led me to the bedroom where a dozen candles were glowing and told me to do whatever I wanted to her. “So I tied her to the bed, packed my gear and h’heyyyy boys, here the devil I am!”

Porn Channel

A vicar, checking himself into a hotel, asks the receptionist, "Is the porn channel in my room disabled?" "No," she says with a look of pure disgust spreading right the way across her face, "it’s just regular porn, you filthy sick bastard."


Paddy and his wife were discussing their sex life. Paddy says, "I fancy trying that wheelbarrow position tonight." His wife says, "What’s that then?" Paddy tells her, "You bend over and put your hands on the floor, then I pick your legs up and take you from behind." His wife says, "Hmmm. OK then. Sounds different. I'll do it. But on two conditions. First, if it hurts, you must stop immediately.” Paddy nods his agreement. “And second,” says his wife, “we don't go past my mother's house."


Went to a casino last night. Stood next to a guy playing Blackjack who kept having win after win after win. I couldn't believe his luck. Then I saw he was stood on what looked like a bit of bread. I asked him, "What's under your foot?" He said, "Shhhh! I'm on a roll."

Crushed Pills

I hate crushing up pills and putting them into my Aunt's dinner, Bobby thought to himself. But if I ever get her pregnant, I simply wouldn't be able to live with myself....

Three Hillbillies

Three hillbillies are sitting on a porch shootin' the breeze.

was goin’ through her purse the other day, lookin' for some change, when I found six condoms.” 1st and 2nd Hillbillies say: “What's so dumb about that?” 3rd Hillbilly says: “She ain't got no dick.”

Sick Hamster

A man takes his sick hamster to the vet who says he has to put it down. But on the bright side, he informs the man that his dead pet can be made into jam if boiled with a pound of sugar. The man finds this a bit odd, but decides to give it a try anyway. So he makes the jam and samples it, but it tastes so bad he throws it out of his kitchen window into his garden. Next morning, he truly cannot believe his eyes when he sees a bed of roses in full bloom, growing right out of the very spot where he'd thrown the jam. So he phoned the vet to tell him what had happened. The vet agrees that it is all very strange, because, he says “You usually get tulips from Hamster Jam.”

New Movie

Steven Spielberg is discussing his new film which is about famous composers. Sly Stallone, Steven Segal, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all present. To encourage them to appear in the movie, Spielberg lets them choose the composer they each want to play. "Well," says Sly, "I've always admired Mozart, so I'd like to play him." "Chopin’s always been my favourite,” says Bruce, “so I'd like to play him.” "I've always been partial to Strauss and his waltzes," said Segal, "so I'd like to play him.” "Great," says Spielberg. "And how about you, Arnie?" Schwarzenegger says, "I'll be Bach."

Yorkshire Headstone

After his wife died, a Yorkshireman decided on 'Lord, she was thine' for her headstone. But when he visited her grave, he noticed the stonemason had mistakenly engraved 'Lord she was thin.' So he ’phoned the mason in disgust and said, "You've left an 'E' off, you idiot!” Next time he visited his wife’s grave, the headstone read: 'E, Lord she was thin'.

Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher was well ahead of the field in his comeback Grand Prix when he was hit on the head by a turkey and a string of sausages. But he managed to keep control of his car and maintain his lead until the very last lap when he was struck by a box of Christmas crackers and a dozen mince pies. Finally, he was passed by his rival Mikka Hakkinen and, after finishing second, immediately went to the stewards to complain that he had been seriously hampered.

Quick Trip To The Quacks

1st Hillbilly says: “My wife sure is stupid. She just bought an air conditioner.” 2nd Hillbilly says: “Why’s that stupid?” 1st Hillbilly says: “We ain't got no 'lectricity!” 2nd Hillbilly says: “That's nottin'. My wife’s so stupid she bought one of them new fangled washin’ machines.” 1st Hillbilly says: “Why’s that stupid?” 2nd Hillbilly says: “’Cause we ain't got no plumbin'!” 3rd Hillbilly says: “That ain't nottin'. My wife’s dumber than both o’yer wives put together. I

A man walks into a doctors surgery with a stick of celery protruding out of one ear, a tin of Fray Bentos sticking out the other, and a sausage sticking out of his nose. He says to the doctor, "What's wrong with me?" The doctor replies: “I honestly don't think you're eating properly."

Packet of Crisps

A man orders a pint of beer in a pub and asks the barmaid for a packet of helicopter flavoured crisps. "I'm terribly sorry, sir," says the barmaid, "but we've only got ’plane."

All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to

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Seasons Greetings...

Santa Fun Run in Central Park

Farleigh Hospice's third annual sponsored Santa Fun Run takes place in Central Park on Sunday 5th December. Last year 1,416 people took part and between them raised almost £55,000. That money went a long way in funding the free care and support Farleigh provide to local people affected by life limiting illnesses over the past 12 months. The Chelmsford Santa Fun Run is a 4km route around Chelmsford's Central Park and is ideal for all ages. With adults all dressed in full Santa regalia and children with their Santa hats (or own seasonal outfit if they prefer), these fun-runs are absolutely guaranteed to get everyone in the festive spirit, whilst onlookers can also ‘do their bit’ by supporting their local hospice with a very much needed donation on the day. David Overall, Operations Director from Amlin UK, explains why they are supporting Farleigh Hospice's Chelmsford Santa Fun Run: “We have worked closely with Farleigh Hospice as our partner charity since late 2008, raising in excess of £60,000 so far. The charity does an amazing job, but needs an exceptional amount of money in order to continue their great work in providing an outstanding service to the community. Consequently we are absolutely delighted to be the sponsor of this year's Chelmsford Santa Fun Run." At any one time, Farleigh Hospice provides vital care and support to around 1,100 local people, totally free of charge. To fund this essential work they rely on the generosity of the local community they serve to help, and that means generating £7,750 every single day. Much of this money is raised via fundraising events, generous people making regular donations, donations left in Wills, money raised via Farleigh Charity Shops and via their own Hospice Lottery. As the need for Farleigh’s services continues to grow year-on-year, so ever greater support and donations are required. So please, readers, do what you can to support this most worthy of causes.

... from The Edge

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City Slicker Required for Writtle Road flat/duplex The Home Partnership in Chelmsford are proud to offer a uniquely converted former chapel for rent for the very first time since it's conversion. Inside there is an open-plan lounge/diner with fully integrated kitchen inc. oven, hob, extractor, washing machine/spin dryer, fridge/freezer....all brand new and never before used. There is also a very useful ground floor cloakroom. On the first floor, the double bedroom galleries down into the lounge and has a beautiful circular stained glass window to the side of the bed with stone arch surround, fitted wardrobe and en suite bathroom with chrome fittings. Outside the apartment is set behind a private gated entrance along with just eight other properties on a plot which has a history dating back to 1886. This converted apartment is being offered for rent at ÂŁ750pcm, whilst this distinguished development will soon be featured on BBC1s Homes Under The Hammer. Non-smoker/no pets tenant required. For further details contact Scott Mason on 01245 250222.

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For example, the public's response to a recent survey as to which home improvements were most likely to add value were at odds with the view of a panel of property valuation experts and Chartered Surveyors. The public's view was that a new kitchen would add more value than either a loft conversion or an extension. Certainly, whilst a new kitchen might be the most impressive of the three and

have the greatest initial impact, we would agree with the expert view that an extension, closely followed by a loft conversion, would generally contribute more to a property's value than a kitchen. This is because, unlike a kitchen, an extension of some description actually increases the size and hence usability of a property. This means that it is likely to appeal to more buyers and therefore generate a higher price for the home. This is especially true where the additional space means that a property falls into the category of buyer above that in which it stood before it was extended. For example, a two-bedroom cottage suddenly appeals to the family market once a third bedroom and second bathroom have been added. There are numerous factors to consider when deciding how to enhance your property's value and saleability. Please feel free to call us if you would like to discuss your own plans with an expert. 11 Duke Street, Chelmsford CM1 1HL Telephone: 01245 250222 Page 24

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“See you, budgie.” ‘GOLD! Always believe in your soul, you’ve got the power to know, you’re indestructible....’ And this month, readers, it’s Budgie (or The Loser as it was originally going to be called), and oh, I’ve got such fond memories of this programme from way back in 1971-72. Adam Faith played the part of Ronald ‘Budgie’ Bird, a chirpy cockney petty criminal fresh out of the slammer, with each episode pretty much centring on some harebrained idea he’d have to make money, usually illegally. Poor Budgie was continually the victim of circumstance, or perhaps of the sharper, more experienced operators he tried to emulate. One of these characters was suave, Machiavellian Glaswegian gangster (though based in London) Charlie Endell, played superbly by Iain Cuthbertson. Charlie was a respectable club owner on the surface, but an underworld villain beneath it, and he would often employ Budgie’s services whenever he was in need of a fall guy. Now that I come to think of it, Budgie was very much the Minder of the early seventies, even though Budgie’s role differed greatly from that of Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman).

In all, there were two series of thirteen episodes each, whilst a third was commissioned for 1973, but never materialised after lead star Faith suffered a serious car crash and, as a result, announced his retirement from acting. Some of the plots bordered on the ridiculous, including one where Budge ‘accidentally’ stole a van load of pornographic magazines from the police before realising he’d have to destroy the evidence. So he made a bonfire and set light to the stash, only the wind ended up blowing many of the pages over onto a field where there was a Prison Warders v Prisoners rugby match about to take place. Then there was another where Budgie tried to unload thousands of stolen ballpoint pens he’d unwisely procured from a fence, paying way over the odds for them in the process, only to discover that they were all stamped with a ‘Her Majesty’s Government’ logo and were totally unsellable... unless he could find another sucker to move them on to. So series one ended with Budgie going back behind bars, whilst series two began with him being newly released from an ‘open nick’... As a fairly easily impressed 10-year-old, I was simply blown away by (don’t laugh) Faith’s hair and the clobber he wore as the character Budgie. In fact, I particularly remember a R.T.J. (right trendy jacket) and a pair of leather wet-look Chelsea boots with a zip going up the inside and ‘fake’ laces up the front which I just thought was the height of sexiness. Budgie was a vulnerable though and your heart simply went out to him. Yes, he was a chancer and a scoundrel, but that only made you want to put your arm around him and ‘mother’ him. Yep, they don’t make ’em like Budgie any more.

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The Heart Attack Grill Being a culinary connoisseur (or fat bastard if you want to be pedantic), I'm always on the lookout for new restaurants. One of my favourite ways to while away an evening is to sit with some friends over a good dinner (obviously steak based), drink a few bottles of wine and talk complete and utter bollocks. Imagine my joy when a friend sent me a link to what's possibly one of the greatest restaurants in the world: The Heart Attack Grill. Based (of course) in America, the heart attack grill is a restaurant after any real man's heart, and an unrepentant two fingered salute at all you health Nazis out there.

I can't decide which one I’d like to eat first… The menu consists of burgers, fries, cola and unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarettes....and that's it. Like all works of true genius, it's almost breathtaking in its simplicity, and anywhere that offers a pack of fags on the menu obviously gets a thumbs up from me. At the Heart Attack Grill, you're not a customer, you're a ‘patient’, and you order your ‘prescription’ from the menu of double, triple or quadruple bypass burgers, with a side order of ‘flatliner fries’, all delivered to your table by a girl in a Nurses outfit. The fries are gaining fame (or notoriety) all on their own, as they're deep fried in lard, and the grill apparently goes through over 450 pounds of the artery-clogging stuff in a single week. The grill was started by Jon Basso, an ex-nutritionist of all things, who now goes by the name of ‘Dr. Jon’ and can be found flipping burgers in a white lab coat with a stethoscope wrapped around his neck. In another stroke of (evil) genius, Dr. Jon markets his restaurant as offering the ‘Heart Attack Diet’ whilst the website shows him extolling its virtues, complete with a somewhat hasty voiceover that warns prospective patients of the possible side effects, such as the loss of sexual partners, an inability to see your own penis, and a case of ‘mild death’. I just love the idea of this place, not only because they sell gigantic Page 26


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THIS MONTH I HAVE MAINLY BEEN... burgers and fags with scantily clad nurses pushing you about in wheelchairs, but because it's a jab at both sides of the debate on obesity and good living. If you're over 350 pounds in weight and you take up the grill's offer of eating for free, you're a complete idiot. However, if you're writes one of these dust eating vegan types who get themselves all up in arms about the whole Heart Attack Grill's ethos, then you're just as big an idiot for missing the obvious joke. The very weekend after I’d read about the Heart Attack Grill, I decided to craft my very own ‘Quadruple Bypass Burger’, both to see if I could make it, and to see if I could stomach it. It was, if I say so myself, an outstanding triumph. Standing almost foot high, my burger consisted of: 4 quarter pounders, 2 chicken fillets, 8 rashers of bacon, 8 mushrooms, 2 beef tomatoes, 1 onion, 8 slices of cheese. Scooby-Doo would honestly have shit himself if he'd seen it, it was that big. Vegetarians started dropping down dead, just from walking past my house, and such was the aura of manliness exuded by its lardy glory, my already huge balls increased an extra couple of inches in diameter whilst I was cooking it. What’s more, I did manage to finish the whole portion after about 4 hours (which included numerous fag breaks and a quick walk around Central Park to stop my arteries clogging up) and I have to admit that I was quite proud of such an achievement. I can't honestly say I'd eat one every day, but if someone opens up a Heart Attack Grill in the UK, you can bet I'll be one of the first through their (probably very wide) doors.

Shopaholics Well, it's the December issue and I'm sure a lot of you will be spending the next few weekends scurrying around the shops, spending your hard earned money on stuff that people don't really want anyway, and then wondering why you bothered when you're flat broke and miserable in January. Seeing as you'll be pissing your cash away, arguing with your other halves, shouting at unruly children and kicking dithering pensioners

out of your way in the shops, I thought I'd show a bit of true Christmas spirit and try and add to some of the stress by telling you about a few tricks the shops use to make you part with even more of your cash. If you're like me, you might often wonder why things are priced at, say, £4.99 rather Kingpin than plain old £5. I've always thought that adding that extra 1p would work out at the shop in question making a larger profit over the course of the year, and, like an idiot, I used to chuckle to myself at their foolishness. As it turns out, there's a very good reason for them doing it, and that's because human beings suck at maths. From an evolutionary standpoint, this isn't surprising. Complex mathematical systems have only really been around for 4,000 years or so, and as such, our little monkey brains aren't even equipped to deal with them yet. Quick, how much would 8 cans of beer at £2 a can be? That was easy enough, right? Now how much would 8 cans of beer at £1.99 be? I'll bet a fair number of you had to stop and think about that, if not break out a pen and paper to work it out! By taking that 1p away from the total cost, the shops make it much harder for you to keep track of just how much you're spending.

Police trying to control unruly Chelmsford Christmas shoppers Studies have shown that budget conscious shoppers who try and keep a running tally of how much they're spending on a trip to the shops almost invariably get it wrong, with an average 20% mark up in the shops favour. Strangely, the people who just got on with it tended to end up spending less than their more budget conscious brethren. There's also a psychological aspect to it too. If your brain sees £299, it automatically puts that product in the £200 range, rather than its real price of £300. Some studies suggest that it's down to us reading things from left to right, so our brains assign the most importance to that first number, regardless of

what comes after it. Have you ever paid attention to the path you take walking around a shop? If you haven't, the stores certainly have. They've spent years studying our movement patterns and discovered that we're as easy to predict as animal migration patterns.

You, the consumer... Stores are carefully laid out to allow us to plod along around these subconscious pathways, so that the stuff you actually need is behind shelves of all the shit that ends up in your basket before you get to it. The store being brightly lit and with music playing is also a carefully selected plan of attack on your wallet. It's been proven that the bright lights and music hinder our ability to think clearly, making it that little bit harder to make a rational decision when faced with the opportunity of buying something shiny and useless for £200. Even things being shiny is another spoke in the nefarious wheel of commerce. Human beings like shiny things, it's as simple as that. In our minds: shiny = better. We're little different from Jackdaws and Magpies in that respect. Studies have shown that people subconsciously believe their cars run better when they're freshly waxed and gleaming, such is the power of ‘the shine’, and it's also been proven that pedestrians automatically slow down when they pass a gleaming, shiny shop front. We can't help it, we just do it, and discovering and tapping into these autonomic responses is basically a license to print money. Of course, when Christmas is over, it'll be the January Sales, and I'm sure some of you bovine idiots will be queuing up at the crack of dawn outside the shops in the freezing cold. Just ask yourself what you're actually buying? Is it something rare and valuable that the shop is selling for that one day only? Or is it just the exact same shit you could have bought there yesterday, but at a slightly lower cost? Ask yourself, if the hours of queuing in the dark and the cold, not to mention the inevitable undignified stampede through the shop doors, is really worth it? And if you answer "yes", then please ask yourself: "Am I an idiot?" Merry Christmas to one and all.


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Jan Attrell of Zagger takes daughter Maisy to visit... Date: 25/10/10 (half-term)

Venue: Legoland

Mission: To get on as many rides as possible without bricking it!!! Picture the scene: it's a Sunday morning (a fortnight prior to half-term) and your daughter is making you feel hellishly guilty for going off to watch the footie. So, as any rational dad would do in a moment of sheer and utter panic, you immediately say something to put a smile on their dear little face, just so that you don't feel so bad. I chose, "Maisy, if you stop sulking, during half-term week we’ll take you to Legoland." Bang! You’re immediately the best dad in the world again! So, after the fortnight was up, it was: "Mum? Dad? When are we going to Legoland? Is it tomorrow?" Eventually the big day arrived. First obstacle: to get through the car journey without hearing ‘are we there yet?’ too many times over (would have been easier if a certain ‘Butt Head’ hadn't forgotten to charge up the portable DVD player so said daughter could watch Barbie Saves The World.......for the 1,000th time). After Mrs Pieckielon-Attrell had been driving (for those of you who either don’t know or don’t remember, 10 tests sat, yet still I haven't passed) for two hours with only the one wee-wee break (well done, Maisy), we arrived, only to be confronted by the first big queue of the day....the queue to get in! So was our Lego adventure over before it had begun? No! Why? Because Mrs P-A had already purchased season tickets by trading in some Tesco vouchers, that’s why (well, every little helps). So now it was Maisy's turn to be in charge and choose where we headed first. Would it be the Pirate Ship, the Log Flume, or a Train Ride? Answer: none of them. Instead, Maisy wanted to go on things that you had to pay extra for. Wow! Why do kids do that? After five minutes of trying to explain to our 4 year old that we were there to do things that we had already paid for, and not pay an extra fiver to throw soft balls at tin cans to win a big meerkat, things fortunately got a little simpler. First up was the Pirate Ship. Now I'm not a great one for fast or high rides, so this is where the good lady wife stepped in, thank goodness. Next up was The Temple of Doom (a laser-gun-type-thing ride) which was definitely more my cup of tea because it's slow, it stays on the ground, and you get to fire lasers at targets as you go round. Six months ago, on our last visit, the wife managed to beat my score, so I was really looking forward to avenging that ultra-strange outcome, and you know what? I bloody well beat her, and that was after listening to her for an hour in the queue boasting about how she was gonna turn me over yet again. Then it was Chilli Doritos time before going over to the Speed Boats where me and me daughter had got drenched last time around, so this time it was the wife’s turn to get soaked, quickly followed by the Log Flume, which was always my favourite ride as a kid. I just loved the slow build up and huge splash finish....or was it the chance to pose for the camera that flashes just at the moment you get soaked? With time swiftly ticking by, we just had chance to visit Miniature City and Driving School - could I at last pass my test? No. Thwarted yet again as you had to be aged 6-12 to take part. Bugger! And that was it - until our next visit. Only next time we’ll do what we did the first time we went there and stay at a hotel so’s we can get a good few days in and test out all of the rides (well, apart from the high and the fast ones, that is).

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Have you ever been to Sweden? It's not one of those countries on any of the usual tourist trails, so it's probable that the majority of answers will be in the negative. But there's more to it than the fact that you've never been there. It's a sort of second division Belgium in that you won't be able to recall much that the Swedes are famous for. Ikea. Bjorn Borg. Saab. Socialism that almost works. Pickled herrings. And that's about it, really. Oh, except for Ingmar Bergmann films, but who wants to remember those.

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That's not to say we ought to decry Sweden - it's probably a fine place and no doubt its citizens are good upstanding members of the world community. It's just that the image is a tad dull. This extends to the world famous awards they hand out each year - the Nobel prizes. All very worthy, of course (apart from the Blair/Bush peace prize nomination someone must have been on some seriously polluted herrings to conceive of that one), but as we noted before, just not much to get excited about. The winners, by and large, are highly deserving of their awards, but they are not usually household names. Well, an organisation exists that offers an alternative to the Nobel prizes. And it's not there to take the piss, like the Razzies do as an antidote to the Oscars. No, it's genuine and serious, and does try to honour people that do scientific research and the like. It's just that the aim is slightly lower, and very definitely focused on those that study the unusual, if not downright bizarre. The organisation takes great pride in handing out the Ig Nobel awards. A cleverly named and deliberately mis-spelt pun on the Nobel prizes. They happen every year in Massachusetts and the stated aim is to honour research that first of all makes you laugh, but then forces you to think. To illustrate the sort of people that can take home an Ig Nobel to put in pride of place on the mantelpiece, or toilet come to that, let's take a look at some of those that have been honoured in recent times. And just to make it absolutely clear, all the research quoted here is 100% genuine - Google it yourself, if you like.

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Firstly, the 2010 Ig Nobel Award for Engineering goes to an Anglo/Mexican team that has perfected a way to capture whale snot with a remote controlled helicopter. Why? Is the most obvious response to such a citation, and the answer lies in the snappily titled scientific paper the team published - ‘A novel noninvasive tool for disease surveillance of free ranging whales and its relevance to conservation programmes’. Phew. You can't say it's not deserving of a prize, just for the idea, let alone being able to execute it. The Physics prize went to a group of students at the University of Otago in New Zealand who spent a whole year proving beyond reasonable doubt that people slip less on icy paths if they wear socks outside their shoes instead of inside. Again, it's the very thought that amazes. The Ig Nobel gong for Management went to a bunch of clever Italians who did a proper study, and proved, mathematically no less, that organisations perform better if people are promoted randomly instead of on any supposed merit. The Biology prize went to someone who observed and documented fellatio among fruit bats. We'll say no more on that one. Here's an absolute belter. The Ig Nobel Peace prize went to some Swiss people in Bern who finally resolved that problem you've been losing sleep over for the last few years. Is it better to be hit over the head with a full bottle of beer or an empty one? The answer is 'full' because it takes less of an impact to smash a full bottle, apparently. But that seems almost irrelevant as empty bottles hurt too. The published paper was called ‘Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture threshold suffice to break the human skull?’ If you read the paper, you'll find that the answer was obtained by experimentation. It's probable, although it doesn't state so in black and white, that the guinea pigs in that little trial had been paid rather more than usual. In the previous year the Physics prize had gone to a dream team of scientists pulled together from no less than three American universities. Their task was to study why pregnant women don't tip over. And yes, of course, a scientific paper was produced explaining it all. We'll stop there - you get the drift. You can have hours of fun for all the family looking at the detail of all this (depending on your idea of fun, of course), but it's hard not to be struck with admiration for the people who diligently pursue these investigations on our behalf, with little chance of financial reward for their efforts. The best they can hope for is recognition from their peers for the excellence of the work they've done.

And maybe a bucket of whale snot.

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Owner of ‘Bubble Car’ snapped in September Editions gets in touch with The Edge!

Hi Shaun, Well, there's really no hiding from you chaps at the Edge, is there? I pop out for a quiet pint and the next thing I know, my lovely Iris has her photograph taken and appears in your publication! Want to know a little bit about her? Well, she is without doubt the smallest car BMW will ever make and is generally known as a ‘Bubble Car’. Over the years there have been many different types, but Iris is a BMW Isetta 300. She has three wheels and was fitted with reverse from the factory. Built in Brighton, she was sold by Shrubbery Garages in Weston-Super-Mare on 8th June 1961 to Mr E. J. Stilling for £369 and 15 shillings. Mr Stilling lived on Guildford Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, and after one year of ownership, he sold her to Mrs Iris Cannon, who at the time was my soon to be ex-wife’s godmother. Iris used the car in and around Ash, then Liphook in Surrey, as her daily runabout until 2nd October 1993, when I was lucky enough to buy her for £1000. Sadly, Mrs Cannon passed away, hence I now refer to my car as Iris (bless). I have all the receipts and a lot of relevant information regarding her (the car), but nothing can compare with actually driving her. As you can see, even Casper enjoys a ride in her too (down boy). Eagle-eyed Edge readers may have seen us in and around Chelmsford, normally parked up at either The Two Brewers, The Fox and Raven, or sometimes outside The Crown in Sandon. However, Iris’s latest ‘official duty’ was at the grand opening of my lovely lady’s new shop Memory Lane in Shires Passage (down by the side of Jessops, just off the High Street). Regards, Stephen Beal. Well, that was a most un-Jeremy Clarkson like motoring review, sir. Pray, what about top speed (The Edge is guessing 50mph, at a push, downhill)? Fuel economy (surely 100mpg)? Cornering ability (or lack of it)? And why have you not considered having wider tyres fitted and some ‘go faster stripes’? Mind you, the number plate alone must be worth more than what you paid for ‘her’? (Why are cars ‘she’ as opposed to ‘he’? Surely with an EXHAUST PIPE they should be a ‘he’?) No road tax to pay either, eh, Steve. Yet I still have to pay for the privilege of you holding me up, so really, what’s all that about? Have you never thought of upgrading to, say, a Smart Car, or something more modern? (The Edge is assuming you have to fire ‘Iris’ up with a starting-handle during these cold winter months, yes?) Do any other Edge readers out there own cars that they have clearly ‘fallen in love’ with? If so, let’s be hearing from you.

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stocking up on balloons and table decorations for ages in anticipation. Meanwhile, the happy couple have mentioned they want a down-to-earth doo in keeping with Katie's commoner roots. Well, I for one can't wait to see the Queen doing the Hokey Cokey and Camilla the Birdie song. Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross have also volunteered to do the speeches and read out the telegrams.

Totally Tracie WHAT A CHEAPS-KATE The Royal Family are like Marmite - you either love them or hate them. I have to say I like them. I'd rather have our Queen than President Blair and the First Lady Cherie any day. But it would be nice if our Queen smiled a bit every now and then. Don't you just wish she’d do something stupid to show us she’s human every once in a while? I mean, what has she got to be miserable about? She's the richest woman in the world, has more palaces than she knows what to do with, and has a lady-inwaiting to hand-wash her undies the moment she steps out of them. Next time you start moaning about your job, spare a thought for that poor soul! I have to confess I am rather excited by the Royal wedding of Katie and William. I spent all day in front of the TV watching Sky News when it was announced, for the most part with a camera trained on a single conifer tree outside Miss Middleton's mother's front drive, waiting for something to happen. Never in the history of television have 12 million viewers sat mesmerised by a conifer tree before, I’ll bet. You’ve got to hand it to Wills for his gall though. I mean, how many men could pull off such a cunning stunt as to give their future wife their dead mother's ‘controversial’ engagement ring? (Remember, this was the ring Camilla helped Charles choose for Diana.) I know there is a recession going on, but the ring, lovely as it may be, didn't bring the last wearer much luck, did it? I have been reliably informed by a ‘History expert’ aka Royal memorabilia collector Doris the barmaid in my local pub, if you must know, that Diana's ring is actually based on the ring that Henry VIII gave Anne Boleyn. Well, we all know how that one ended, don’t we? And isn’t bad luck always supposed to run in threes? I’m not saying Katie is going to come a cropper, but come on, give the poor girl a chance. Surely it’s hard enough having the Queen for an in-law without a cursed ring on her finger? But hey-ho, every cloud has a silver lining. The MD of QVC was seen out later that day drinking champagne and saying, “S’trewth, I thought we'd never sell those Dimonique (French for ‘shite’) copies left over from last time. What a result!” Staying with the theme of penny pinching, the wedding is apparently going to be a cut price affair and Katie's mother, who runs an on-line party shop, is said to have been Page 30

But it was Simon Cowell who was first on the scene to congratulate the lucky pair. David Cameron was put on hold whilst Katie and Wills squealed down the blower to Simon - such is the power he now holds. Entertainment, he told the lucky pair, needn’t cost a packet. So he’s offered them some X-Factor contestants free of charge. Simon said Elton did a wonderful job at Diana's funeral, so why shouldn't Wagner and Mary do the same for Katie and Wills. No-one liked to point out that Elton was a proper pop star. Wagner has, however, offered to do a rendition of Elton's song ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ to keep in touch with the current mood of the British people today. There has even been talk of getting the Queen's old wedding dress out of the archives and having it remade for Katie to wear under the guise of Vintage. However, Prince Phillip came a proper cropper and had to own up to yet another major gaffe. It is reckoned he saw an advert for ‘Cash For Gold’ on TV a few weeks back, so nipped down to the vaults of Buck Palace and gathered up all of the sovereigns he could find before posting them off and putting the proceeds on a 9/1 outsider that fell at the first hurdle. Apparently Phil took the view that Katie and Wills had been so on-andoff over the past 9 years that he'd probably be dead by the time the empty vaults were discovered. So now there isn’t even enough Welsh gold left to make the traditional Royal Wedding rings. However Katie, eager not to get on the wrong side of PP, and on account that she's sick to death of being called ‘Waitey Katie’, offered to nip down to Argos and purchase a couple of ‘gold coloured rings’ instead. Personally, I have already decided that I like Katie. She has a mischievous look about her and I can't wait for her to be Queen. I have a sneaky suspicion that once that ring is on her finger, she's going to be a right little minx and run rings around the Royal family and liven things up! HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?

Apparently, the latest trend is not keeping up with Jones’, but keeping down with them. A recent poll in Essex showed surprising results. Rather than competing with friends and neighbours to have the most lavish lifestyle, families are said to be climbing the social ladder by boasting about how poor they are with hot topics of conversation centring around ways to save money with each family trying to outdo the other. Apparently more people in Essex have given up their Sky TV dishes and switched to Freeview than anywhere else in the country. Happy Christmas everyone. Have a jolly good one. Oh yeah, and have a ridiculously prosperous New Year too!

The Edge 170:The Edge 170.qxd



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The Edge Magazine December 2010  

The Edge Magazine December 2010 - news, fun and current affairs.

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