It’s the not knowing

It’s the not knowing

I’ve never really had many hobbies. As a young boy in the early 80s, I tended to adopt pastimes that had the potential to permanently enshrine my virginity. For instance, I collected matchbox covers for a short while, which I arranged in a scrapbook according to their country of origin. I also collected beer mats, which my grandad used to pick up for me. One week, a pristine Babycham mat, the next, a slightly damp and dog-eared one featuring Hofmeister’s George the Bear, scooped off a pub table through a puddle of spilled bitter and Cinzano. By the time my interest in beer mats waned, I probably had enough for an exhibition at the V&A.

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A tweed-cloaked vampire

A tweed-cloaked vampire

A couple of months ago, Campaign magazine decided to feature frog-faced demagogue Nigel Farage on the front cover of their ‘Love & Hate’ issue. They used Charlie Clift’s portrait of the Brexit Party dictator, which shows the smirking scourge of ‘the elite’ in a pinstripe suit, sporting £200 cufflinks, drawing on a £20 Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure Especial Cigar. That Farage has managed portray himself as a non-elite, fighting for “good, ordinary, decent folk”, is a unique ‘brand’ of deception in itself.

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From Bing to the Black Death

From Bing to the Black Death

I have various recollections of being genuinely scared by things when I was a child. After seeing Jaws on TV in 1981, I remember leaping from the bedroom door to the safety of my bed – pronking like a springbok – because in my seven-year-old mind, the blue carpet was ‘the sea’. (And Quint’s gruesome death has always stayed with me.)

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My milkshake brings all the radicalised Remoaners to the yard

My milkshake brings all the radicalised Remoaners to the yard

At 7am on the morning of the European Elections, 81-year-old Don MacNaughton, a retired army veteran and Brexit Party supporter, was setting up as an election teller outside a local polling station in the Garrison town of Aldershot. Half an hour later, “some yob…mid-20s” apparently took exception to his Brexit-blue rosette, proceeded to verbally abuse him, gave him the finger, then, after a ten minute trip to the Co-Op down the road, returned to hurl a milkshake over him. The assailant then scarpered, leaving Don with his shirt and regimental tie covered in strawberry goop.

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Is this who we really are?

Is this who we really are?

I recently saw a video of a threadbare crowd gathering in Swindon town centre, awaiting the arrival of UKIP’s MEP candidate for the south-west of England: Carl Benjamin.

The Swindon Advertiser (circulation: 8,191) described Benjamin as “Rape tweet UKIP hopeful” (a wonderful ‘current position’ update for his LinkedIn profile) who made a “rock star-style entrance” to launch his campaign. In spite of the scene being eerily reminiscent of the time Robert Plant strutted into town carrying a folding patio chair, ahead of an electrifying performance in front of the Swindon branch of Vodafone, Benjamin’s “cheers of support” consisted of approximately 10-20 people chanting “Sargon! Sargon! Sargon!”, which was no louder than a group of imbeciles in a pub beer garden egging on a friend to gulp down a pint of his own piss.

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From Pickle to No Deal Brexit

From Pickle to No Deal Brexit

In January 2011, as a lone security guard sat idly watching television in a small portakabin, a group of urban explorers known as the ‘London Consolidation Crew’ quietly slipped, undetected, into what was generally considered to be one of the most secure sites in the capital: The Shard.

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Let men be damn men!

Let men be damn men!

When I saw that Piers Morgan had been angered by Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be campaign, tweeting: “Let boys be damn boys; let men be damn men,” I immediately thought of that photo of him asleep on a sunbed, laid out like a disappointing and deeply unappetising hog roast at a summer fete.

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