They walk among us

A face mask sign on a shop window

On Sunday, I endured possibly my most miserable day on Twitter in 12 years. Why? Because I foolishly responded to a Twitter poll about face masks (“How will you feel about going into shops and on public transport after 19 July if the requirement to wear masks is removed?”). Using my son’s nursery as a microcosmic example – where parents were informed several weeks ago that masks are no longer required during drop-off and pick-up – I replied to the tweet, saying that I have continued to wear my mask regardless. For my trouble, I got pilloried for the best part of a day.

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Stop talking Britain down? Seriously, how do we talk this place UP right now?

Boris Johnson waving two union flags while stuck on a zip line

There’s an old YouTube video of a festival-goer wandering out of a portaloo while a Dutch TV crew are filming the facilities, who then proceeds to wash his hands in a fetid urinal. As if hallucinating a crystal clear babbling brook and snow-white bar of Dove, he picks up a urinal cake from one end of the trough then shuffles down to the other end where the piss is more plentiful, swishing his hands around in the frothy, citrine shallows, before rubbing the deoderising block between his palms. Eventually, he catches on. “This isn’t a urinal, is it?” he asks the Haarlem105 TV presenter. “I think it is, man,” she regretfully informs him.

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Beware: spoilers

Vilos Cohaagen in the original Total Recall, with a bloated, bloody face and bulging eyes, as he experiences decompression.

The first time I watched The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington, it took me much longer than the 132 minute runtime to get through it. The reason was that I kept rewatching the bit where Denzel’s character, Robert McCall, effortlessly takes down a room full of Russian Mafiosi in just 28 seconds, leaving a trail of broken, bloodied bodies in his wake.

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WAR IS OVER! If You Want It

In the 1994 ‘Itchy & Scratchy Land’ episode of The Simpsons, Homer and Marge visit T.G.I. McScratchy’s Goodtime Fooddrinkery, where it’s constantly New Year’s Eve. “It must be wonderful to ring in the New Year over and over, and over,” Marge says to a glum looking waiter, as a live band plays Auld Lang Syne for the umpteenth time. “Please, kill me,” he replies.

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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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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

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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The idiot machine

Until he’d filmed a suicide victim hanging lifelessly from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, I’d never heard of Logan Paul. If someone had mentioned his name to me, I would’ve assumed they were talking about a budget hair salon located on a traffic-choked high street between a 99p shop and a Dixy Chicken. I never would have guessed they were talking about a YouTube ‘mega-vlogger’ with more than 15 million subscribers and a hairstyle that sits somewhere between Farrah Fawcett and Flock of Seagulls’ Mike Score. But then, life’s a learning process.

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