Press Clippings From Hell No. 3


The sun is making a rare appearance. Covid deaths fell to zero yesterday. If you’re feeling a little happier, a bit more upbeat, this should drag you down. Another selection of gruesomely depressing news stories I gathered over the last 30 years…

As the credit crunch hit home, an article appeared in The Observer about hot new fashion scents; Wode, which sprays the wearer blue (sadly the effect quickly wears off), and ‘the very first internet perfume’, called ‘Violence’, a scent based on old photographs of skinheads hitting each other. The makers say it smells of ‘sweat, boot polish, Indian food and warm bricks’, although if it’s based on old photos it should surely smell of developing fluid. Harvey Nichols announced their own best-selling scent, ‘Molecule’, which according to their advertising smells vaguely of something, and then of nothing. I guess it makes a change from most scents, which smell of either roses or lemons.

Advertising got even more slippery. The film ‘Sex And The City’ had – unsurprisingly – 95 brands cunningly dotted through its running time. Shane Meadows’ neo-realist film ‘Somers Town’ went one better and had the entire film sponsored by Eurostar trains. But it was in black and white and he’s an auteur, so that’s all right. Meanwhile, the latest James Bond film has had to digitally update its product placement because the film’s release has been delayed so long.

The ‘Big Brother’ show finally faded to the faintest of radar blips and was binned, but not before its producers burrowed below the ground zero of bad taste. In a twist of Jacobean grotesquery, they informed reality TV star Jade Goody that she had cervical cancer in the Big Brother house, India, so that her tearful reaction could be captured by cameras she did not know were on. Goody undermined the media leeches feeding on her by inviting camera crews in to film her wedding to a convicted felon, then remained in the spotlight as the press gloatingly ticked down the days to her death. Goody, from a deprived, abusive working class background, attained grace by confounding the critics who harped on about her intelligence; she behaved intelligently. Goody launched a campaign to encourage women to get smear tests. Today, fewer women than ever before are coming forward to be tested.

As Channel 4 and other inept, failing TV networks scrabbled around for viewers, channel director Michael Grade announced that televised fiction was dead because we all prefer talent shows and documentaries about fat people.

Arnold Schwarzenegger championed gay marriage in California. This is largely the same legislation we have in the UK, undermined in the US by fears that appropriation of the word ‘marriage’ would somehow diminish its mythical strength. Mormon-backed Proposition 8 promptly banned it again, leaving the 18,000 couples who got hitched in the four and a half month period when it was legal stranded and exposed to the proposers’ next attempt – to retroactively annul the marriages. The California Supreme Court upheld the proposition but invoked a grandfather clause allowing the existing marriages to stand. NB for Europeans: Mormonism is an extremely silly provincial American religion that helps to fund ‘The Book of Mormon’, a musical which makes fun of Africans and HIV.

It transpired that Tanzanian albinos were living in fear of their lives because people were seeking their body parts for witchcraft. There are over 200,000 albinos in the country, and with over 30 murders in 10 months, many were frightened they would be skinned alive and partially dismembered. Meanwhile, Southern Australia held a ‘Sorry Ranga’ day to celebrate its ginger-haired population, Ranga being short for Orangutans.

Channel 4 aired a ‘child reality show’ in which 20 primary school children were left without adult supervision for a fortnight. Unsurprisingly, this led to cries of abuse and an outcry from psychologists, as the parents used their own children as leverage for fame. The show flopped.

As economists announced the financial end of the world and climatologists paced up their doomsday clocks, Twitter provided the world with the conversational equivalent of polystyrene when exchanges between singer Lily Allen and tagalong webfan Perez Hilton descended – not that it had anywhere to descend to – into hurled abuse, reminding us yet again how far the Hilton brand has fallen since the 1950s.

Finally, the Jade Goody (1981-2009) Official Tribute Issue of OK! Magazine appeared, featuring her final words and bearing the banner ‘In Loving Memory’. There was only one problem; Ms Goody was still technically alive at the time. Magazine lead-times were apparently to blame.


25 comments on “Press Clippings From Hell No. 3”

  1. Roger says:

    “Today, fewer women than ever before are coming forward to be tested.”
    Do they get the chance to be tested if they do?

    If I remember rightly – and I hope I do! – the ‘ ‘child reality show’ in which 20 primary school children were left without adult supervision for a fortnight’ flopped because the children didn’t do a ‘Lord of the Flies’ act but behaved more sensibly than their parents, so it’s actually a good sign.

  2. Cornelia Appleyard says:

    Perhaps not surprising that cervical screening rates went down during the pandemic.

    From the NHS website, November 2020:

    72.2% of eligible women aged 25 to 64 adequately screened. A 0.3 percentage point increase on the previous year, when coverage was 71.9%.
    4.63 million women aged 25 to 64 invited for screening. An increase of 5.0% on the previous year, when 4.41 million were invited.
    3.20 million women aged 25 to 64 tested.

    It’s gone down a bit since 2016 in the 50-64 age group ( 78% to 76%) and been fairly static at about 70% in younger women.

    Let’s hope that the HPV vaccine makes it unnecessary before too long.

  3. Stu-I-Am says:

    According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump has apparently been “telling a number of people he’s in contact with that he expects he will get reinstated [as president] by August.”

    The world is waiting with bated breath. The Second Coming of Donald J. Trump. /s

  4. Jan says:

    Thing is about that poor Jade although she got out of order during her reality tv “career” to kick off with she both was genuinely comical and you could relate to many of her reactions to that odd BB situation. Strangely enough she likely did save a good many lives, fair play to her. RIP Jade from where you started from you did ok lovely.

  5. PatPat says:

    So much for the good ol’ days! Maybe society has suffered an outbreak of good sense recently?

  6. Paul C says:

    On the other hand, there are lots of good news stories out there : see which includes this one from Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma

    What would you do if you found $42,000? Our new store associate Andrea was in that predicament two weeks ago when she stumbled upon a donation with $42,000 in cash wrapped inside of a sweater! She and other staff let their supervisor know, and turned it in. Also, bundled with the money were identifiable documents that helped us find the owners who mistakenly donated the money with their clothing donation. As a reward they gave Andrea $1,000.

    Whenever I go to the blood donors there are always queues of people waiting to go in. It’s not all bad news…….

  7. admin says:

    If you want recent horrible stories I have plenty of those too…

  8. Stu-I-Am says:

    On the matter of the mythical strength of marriage, CF put it — opposite-sex marriages in both the UK and the US have hit historic lows, and don’t appear likely to grow in the near future. At the same time, same-sex marriages (including conversions from civil partnerships) in both countries have increased dramatically. So, hats off to the LGBTQ+ community for saving the institution. But then, who wants to live in an institution. Ba-dum-bum! And anyway, 90% of being married is shouting ‘what?’ from other rooms. I think I’ll stop while I’m behind.

  9. David+Ronaldson says:

    The World is screwed while primitive tribal superstition called religion still holds sway and so-called civilised countries still have blasphemy laws. Believe what you like behind closed doors but don’t based National laws around your nonsense.

  10. Peter+T says:

    Marriage – yet another means for the state to control your life.

  11. Stu-I-Am says:

    This is one I hadn’t heard before. Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French education minister, recently oversaw a formal ban in schools of one aspect of what’s known as “inclusive writing” — the use of both feminine and masculine word endings, separated by a middle dot, when they refer to groups of people. Since this is apparently not widely taught, the pronouncement was seen as a political nod to the right on political correctness.

  12. Colin Quinton says:

    Other than his blogger name, which is a spin on Paris Hilton, Mario Armando Lavandeira Jnr aka Perez Hilton hasn’t got anything to do with the Hilton family/brand. Him and Lily Allen are welcome to each other

  13. Brooke says:

    The elephants are coming…see BBC footage on wild elephants, leaving forest home and marching steadily across southwest China toward Kunming.. what do they know that we don’t?

  14. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Brooke. Slightly changing the estate agent’s mantra: “Habitat. habitat. habitat.” Fortunately, population growth is slowing, but that may mean only that instead of faceless blocks of flats and cookie-cutter estates, there will be yet more Asada and Walmart Superstores. Like nature, developers hate a vacuum. Don’t be surprised one day to look out and see a polar bear in your kiddie pool.

  15. Keith says:

    One clipping from hell came in the form of Joe Biden drooling over a little girl whom he decribed as so good looking she could have been 19. ‘Oh man, just look at the way she crosses her legs’. My God! From sleepy Joe to creepy Joe. Imagine the uproar if this were Trump! You won’t find this footage on CNN or BBC. Only Aussie TV dare show this clip.

  16. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Keith Sorry to disappoint you but there was no “drooling.” Biden was complimenting the little girl’s military veteran mother and military spouse for serving and still being able to raise her properly. This is what he actually said: “I love those barrettes in your hair. Man I’ll tell you what, look at her she looks like she’s 19 years old sitting there like a little lady with her legs crossed.” A little different when there’s no agenda associated with it.

  17. Brooke says:

    Amen, Stu. To both comments.

  18. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Keith Couldn’t find Biden’s remarks on CNN, although I didn’t look too hard. But here they are on NBC (via YouTube)– same political leaning as CNN. And btw where you see “Creepy Joe,” I see “Grandpa Joe.”

  19. Keith says:

    Well, this is not the first time he’s been caught out fiddling…. Again, if this were Trump. Just saying….this man clearly has no boundaries and it seems very inappropriate to me.

  20. Keith says:

    I once found a Brooke Bond tea packet card at work. Probably something Mr Bryant would find in one of the pockets of his voluminous overcoat. This was no.25 The Japanese Macaque. I adapted it to fit us shift employees at the Rylands wire factory in Warrington quite nicely. This was where spent the first weeks after leaving school.

    “The Ryland is a hardy kind of monkey, that lives in the freezing wilds of Northern England. He is generally large, though there is the odd runt. Thick, he wears a protective coat which makes him look thicker. He can sleep in a warehouse and spends much of the time eating barely digestible food. With the onset of winter he is blasted by cold draughts and the effects of long hours on porcelain (bad bacon scraps). They sit near springs of molten metal during bad storms in order to keep warm and sometimes can be seen with bright red cold faces and snow on top of their heads.”

    To my utter enjoyment, one of the reporters from the local Warrington press- during the filming of a feature on ‘wire drawing dies’, found this pinned up on the door of the ‘laboratory / test house’ where I worked at my first job and somehow it found it’s way into the local paper. I still have the cutting ! Yeah, there were some ‘good ole days’.

  21. Stu-I-Am says:

    @Keith You’re obviously welcome to your own opinion — but what “fiddling” or “inappropriate” are when it comes to Joe Biden is clearly in the eyes of the beholder — and usually, “political” beholder. I’m not saying you are. But while Joe Biden can be a bit awkward and isn’t the most articulate of speakers sometimes — especially when ad libbing — there is no sexual innuendo or intent behind his words or actions. And please — considering his history of objectification and sexual misconduct, it would not be at all surprising for the media to attack Trump for the same kind of remarks — whether there was anything suggestive behind them or not.

  22. Brooke says:

    Off topic but…Mr. Fowler, please bring us up to date on well-being and doings of club members.. e.g. Maggie. And has your long-suffering spouse upgraded his feather duster and examined the cushions sufficiently?.

  23. Keith says:

    Mr Fowler: If you have blocked/cancelled me then could you please temove my posts?
    Thank you.

  24. admin says:

    Nothing blocked that I know of – We had an upgrade last week so if there’s anything in particular you see blocked please let me know or report so I can check with server.

  25. Bonnie Russo says:

    File under rough justice:
    In my state of Washington, during Pride week, boaters flying a gay pride flag were being harassed by another boat. The people on the attacking boat were shouting homophobic slurs, giving obscene gestures and circling the flag flying boat. Suddenly, the attacking boat caught on fire and was engulfed in flames, and the people on it had to be rescued by, yes, you guessed it, the victims of their harassment. The name of the lake they were on? Moses Lake. nuff said.

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