London

False Widow. False Problem.

Recently, the British media has been in a frenzy (when are they ever not?), over the apparent surge in the UK population of the false widow spider. Several newspapers, particularly the Daily Star have been running stories about the spiders attacking and severely injuring unsuspecting citizens. Typically, people up and down the country are now petrified of this new frontier of deadly arachnids, because quite simply, they’re being sold a bunch of striking lies.

Here’s what the media has been saying about the false widow spider and with it, the truth;

  • “The false widow spiders can kill humans”

No one in the UK has ever died from a false widow bite, in fact, no spider of any sub-species has every killed a human being on these shores. Even so, the false widow spider isn’t even likely to attack unless provoked.

  • “The false widows have recently landed in the UK”

Incorrect. False widow spiders have actually inhabited Britain for over 100 years. Scientists suspect that climate change is the major contributor to their modestly swelling population.

  • “They are extremely venomous”

Again, a misconception. The false widow’s bite is usually only dangerous to those who are allergic to its venom. Otherwise, it would have a similar effect to that of a bee sting.

  • “They are engulfing the entire nation”

Now, it’s true that false widows are commonly spotted in the south of the country. There have been a fair few sightings in Essex, Hampshire and London for example, but north of Birmingham, sightings of the species are very much a rarity.

  • “Now the winter is here, the false widows are coming in to our houses”

This is partly true. Apparently, false widow spiders don’t like houses but prefer sheds, conservatories, garages and places of the like. So, while they are moving indoors now the temperatures are dropping, don’t expect to be sharing a bed with one any time soon.

2013-10-13-Falsewidow.jpg

In honesty, this pandemic really is nothing to worry about. It’s just the media’s way of selling papers, by preying on an already common fear in arachnophobia. Has anyone noticed that they never report that twelve people are actually killed by bees and wasps every year? That’s because people aren’t usually fearful of bees. Maybe, when the entire nation recovers from the swine flu we all contracted back in 2009, we can focus on this ‘killer’ spider problem, that’s assuming we’re all not wiped out by yet another ‘killer’ freeze this winter…

Richard III: Greedy York Eye Fortune

The body of the last king of England to die in battle, Richard III was discovered under a council car park in the Grey Friars area of the Leicester. The discovery was made in 2012 and proven to be him in early 2013 but now some several months after the excavation, the citizens of York have pound sterling signs wedged between their eye lids.

The citizens of the northern city claim that York is his ‘spiritual’ home and it would be ‘morally correct’ to bury him at York Minster. The petition to remove his remains from the East Midlands has drawn plenty of support in online petitions with even Dame Judi Dench joining the crusade. My question is, do they really have a claim to his remains? No. Richard III was not born in York, he was born in Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire. He did not even live in York, nor did he grow up there. He was the Duke of Gloucester and his wife was buried in London, if anything these are the places that should be contesting Leicester not York.

Resting place… Richard III was discovered in Leicester.

While, his links to the town are obvious through the war of the roses you must too question the timing of the people of York who are now adamant his remains should be moved. Nobody cared when the excavation was taking place and nobody cared when he was found. It was only when the mainstream media latched on to his discovery and tourists flocked to see him that York-dwellers paid any attention whatsoever. Now, you won’t find a more passionate hive of Richard III sympathisers.

The ludicrous nature of the campaign reaches new heights when you realise that the University of Leicester and Leicester City Council have spared no expense in their historic search. They’re the ones who put their hands in the pockets to find him and put in the time and effort to uncover his body in the first place and now York want to reap the rewards and pass it off as a compassionate act of humanitarianism? The Richard III society remain neutral on the subject, realising we have no concrete knowledge on where Richard wanted to be buried and there’s a huge chance, Leicester nor York were his preferred choice.

Greedy… York Minster initially backed Leicester’s burial plans.

In fact, the only people claiming to know of his wishes are a group of people claiming to be his family. The same ones who didn’t know they were his descendants until they were tracked down and are now acting as if they had a deep emotional bond. It’s even more ridiculous when you realise that Richard III’s number of descendants has been estimated as somewhere between one and fifteen million. The fact remains is that nobody alive has ever met Richard III – not even close. There is not one person who knew him well enough to make this decision or who know him well enough to even care. I’m talking about a social version of the Statute of Limitations. So how they have the audacity to proclaim his burial wishes is beyond me.

Those in the pro-York burial clan have certainly had no qualms in bashing the city of Leicester for its conduct in the matter by trying to pass organisers off as money-driven buffoons. Those same people quietly ignore the fact of Leicester’s great expenditure and effort in unearthing the fallen king not to mention the historical significance of Richard with the city. They also don’t seem to care that Leicester Cathedral has commemorated many of the major anniversaries of the Battle of Bosworth; York Minster has not.

Exhibition… The city of Leicester has already spent money honouring the king.

Keeping the King in Leicester is even within keeping of archaeological and religious practice. York Minster even backed plans for Richard III to be re-interred in Leicester cathedral in March of this year. Unsurprisingly, as soon as Leicester began the construction of their tourist attraction, including alterations to their historic cathedral, and the citizens of York saw the potential income involved they decided to play the role of moral guardians.  Leicester is even in the middle of the country and a bigger city in general, far more recognisable on the international stage and a much better place for people to pay their respects and visit the King. The worst thing of all is that the citizens of York have managed to convince much of the general public that their cause is an honourable one and not a factually invalid ploy to make money for their city. Please don’t be taken for a fool and allow this injustice to occur. Although, not initially, Leicester has honoured Richard III for decades. York only became involved when the money did. As Leicester’s mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby so plainly put it; “the case for Leicester is overwhelming.”

Please sign this petition and keep Richard III in Leicester. Thank you in advance; http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/39708

Culture Clash : Things Americans do that Brits hate

To start, let me say that Britain and America are bezzie mates, at least politically. We like you, we really do, I mean we don’t like you as much as your cooler Northern neighbours but that’s a different story. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that this post is purely for fun and nothing is really meant by it. Please still be our friends. 

1. Aggressive patriotism

Now, don’t misunderstand. Most Britons love their country. In fact, patriotism was at an all-time high during the Olympics and the Queen’s jubilee celebrations last year but Americans’ love for their country is a different kettle of fish. The average Brit won’t take kindly to you using phrases such as ‘greatest nation on earth’, ‘God bless, America’ or chanting ‘USA! USA! USA!’ repeatedly. In the States, you see the star-spangled banner hung from every other building. Here, you’ll only find a Union Jack on the beach front of Skegness. Maybe, we’re just jealous of how much pride you have for your country. Or maybe, we still feel a little awkward about the whole ‘Empire’ thing.

Proud… Your love for your country upstages ours.

2. Mispronunciation of UK place names

Get an American to look at these two place names; Leicester and Loughborough and then ask them to pronounce them. They probably will be unable too. While we know they’re pronounced as LES-STER and LUFF-BROH, some and I stress some Americans have been known to refer to them as LAY-SESS-TER and LOO-GUH-BUH-ROO-GUH. I suppose we can’t be too hard on you though, we do like to pronounce things completely differently to how they’re spelt. And in fairness, I’d imagine those from the north-eastern states are quite apt at interpreting the pronunciation of British place names, seeing as we creatively named every bleeding town up there after one of our own.

Sad… I wish everyone knew how to pronounce the name of my hometown

3. Therapy 

Americans love their therapy. They use it liberally and why not? It’s an effective way of raising issues with a mediator to allow all parties the chance to voice concerns. Us Brits don’t understand this, we’re more for repressing our issues and deep-seeded anger and letting it bubble up later in the form of sarcastic quipping.

Open… Even America’s favourite family uses therapy

4. The hatred of ‘Jaywalking’

This is more of a personal one. When I went to America last summer, there was nothing the average pedestrian was called up on more than ‘jaywalking’. For those of you that don’t know; ‘Jaywalking’ is walking to the other side of the street when the road is clear but traffic has not been halted by a red light. In the UK, it is called crossing the road.

Absurd… Americans like to make crossing the road a difficult experience

5. American Sports

People of all nations will be reading this bit and in their head shouting ‘YES!’. We hate your sports and everything about them. We hate the cheerleaders, the pop stars doing the half-time show, the silly commercialised names, I mean what is with the ‘New York Red Bulls’? The local derbies of the MLS are even sponsored by car manufacturers, for goodness sake! We hate the paegantry, sports in the UK are for getting merry and singing amusingly hurtful songs to the other team not for catching a sneak preview of Miley Cyrus’ latest single. We’re driven insane by the fact baseball’s prime competition is called the ‘World Series’ despite the fact all but two of the world’s nations don’t bother to compete. But, most of all we hate what you call ‘football’. You have tainted our favourite creation. This will always be a blip in American-British relationships, one for which we will probably NEVER forgive you.

Pageantry… Brits dislike the showbiz nature of US sports

6. How much you love our accent

At first, we have to admit, it’s very flattering when you compliment us on our accents. In Britain, we aren’t very complimentary to each other’s dulcet tones. But you lot seem to love it – if you head Stateside you’ll be greeted by people asking ‘where is that accent from?’ before they politely pretend to have heard of a small commuter village outside of Huddersfield. But it does go a bit far when you then reel off lists of phrases that you want us to say in ‘British’, which isn’t a language by the way, nor an accent. In fact, some of our accents are as audibly offensive as some of yours. Also, do we always have to be the bad guys in movies? We’re not all evil.

Diverse… For a small country, we have many accents.

7. Geographical ignorance

Again, I think this annoys me more than most Brits. I like to know about geography and I’m sure many of you are very knowledgeable too but a lot of Americans seem to think that London is the be all and end all of old Blighty. You don’t know the names of our counties but I can name all fifty of your states (I’ve done it many times). Maybe, we don’t like that you don’t reciprocate our appreciation of your country’s geography.  Then again, if I’m honest, I’d probably be as ignorant as many of you, if my country had the wonderfully varied landscape yours has. Just know this, at least. We don’t all live in London and whilst we’re on the subject, we’ve never met the Queen either.

Ignored… There are more places in the UK than London

8. Taking credit for others work

Americans and Brits have learnt to avoid certain topics of conversation over the years and at the top of that list are the events of World War II. A tip for all of you, never say to a Briton that you ‘saved our ass in World War II’ or that we’d ‘be speaking German now if it wasn’t for you’. We appreciate your help and over the years, we’ve been great allies to each other but Brits see these sorts of comments as a huge mark of disrespect to our armed forces. We also don’t really appreciate your tardiness in said events either but hey ho. Another thing that grinds our gears is when the American flag appears next to the ‘English’ option on a language selector – we would probably settle for the bisecting half-flags of the States and the UK but ignore our flag altogether and we are not amused.

Irritating… It was our language first

9. Your chocolate

I think you’ll agree with us – our chocolate is better than yours. In honesty, ours isn’t even that good but at least it’s not Hershey’s! I’m not being melodramatic here, I once tasted a Hershey’s kiss and it tasted like vomit. Chocolate stateside generally tastes burnt and bland, not velvety smooth and sweet like we’re used to over here. Many Brits were actually appalled when Kraft bought Cadbury’s a few years back, I was simply happy for you.

Vile… There’s a reason they’re shaped like turds.

10. Your spelling

No surprises here. We hate the way you spell words. Why do you hate the letter ‘U’ and why do you love Zs (Zeds) so much? If we’re honest, this is one of the few reasons we prefer Canada. Although, they’ve fallen victim to your movement for excessive usage of the alphabet’s 26th letter, they at least know how to spell ‘centre’ eh?

Different… Americans have mutated the English language.

11. Your interest in our dental hygiene

Our teeth are not that bad. Yes, some of us have some dental issues but we’re not that bothered. You seemed to be more concerned about the alignment of our gnashers than we are! We care more about bad breath. I’m not really sure where this stereotype started – I for one don’t know anyone with horrible teeth. Maybe you’ve been watching too much of the Jeremy Kyle show? In fact, speaking of trashy talk shows, we get the Jerry Springer show here, we know your teeth aren’t always perfect either!

False… I don’t mean the teeth

12. Your politeness

Okay, we don’t actually dislike this, it just baffles us. It genuinely confuses the average Briton when in the US, a stranger stops to say hello or help you take a picture or carry something. When Americans in restaurants or shops are polite and compliment us for being good customers, or if any American compliments us in general, we immediately think to scour your face for traces of sarcasm and when we find nothing, our brains nearly explode. Your politeness is so wonderfully genuine that our overly cynical mindset simply cannot cope.

Okay… Google thinks this is a picture of ‘friendly Americans’

That completes my list. I hope nobody was too offended and thus, I invite any American to do the same thing for us Britons – we love to put ourselves down.

Room 101…Two

I realised since my last Room 101 blog which is now a year or so ago that there are plenty more other things on this planet that I don’t like and wish to eradicate.

Mary Poppins

Pompous… Mary Poppins is a cow.

I know she’s meant to be lovable and I know she was played by a true screen legend in Julie Andrews but my God, how arrogant is that woman? She comes floating in with her morbidly black umbrella and decides she’s the fucking queen? I mean her only solution to anything is to pump children full of sugar and she still has the audacity to claim she’s ‘practically perfect in every way’. Urgh, bitch.

American Sports

Nonsensical… Logically, this game should be called football, right?

Americans are great. I mean that. I really do… for the most part. They’re a proud nation with much to be proud of. But at times it comes across as undeservedly arrogant, especially when it comes to their sports. Football (not soccer) is the most popular sport in the world but in the States, baseball and hand-egg are the big games. Now, if the ludicrous rules and thoroughly uninteresting game-play of both isn’t enough to make you dislike the US’ sports, then their delusion over how important and popular they are should be. How can they call baseball’s top competition, the WORLD series when only one country is allowed to take part? They even label the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as the ‘biggest in sport’. I’m pretty sure River Plater and Boca Juniors would tell our friends across the pond something quite different.

Gary Barlow

Dull…. Gary Barlow is…………………………………………………………….. Zzzzzzzz

Given how boring this man is, writing about him at 12:21am is dangerous to say the least. I actually can’t say much more than that. He’s dull and he’s not even redeemed by his songwriting, which he seems to be lauded over. He was once good but his latest stuff including ‘Shame’ and ‘Sing’ are two of the cheesiest songs in existence. He falls in to the ballad clichés very often. I find it hard to believe that a person so fucking one-dimensional can be so famous and popular.

Chavs

Anti-social… Some people collect stamps, Chavs collect ASBOs

I’m not going to lie; I can be a snob. I really don’t like chavs. I mean, I’m not going to go as far as to judge people based on what they wear but I mean I don’t like the sort that hangs around town centres in groups, drinking Strongbow, wearing tracksuits and heckling old ladies with obscure slang. You know the sort of ignorant souls that go on Jeremy Kyle, get pregnant at 7 years of age, claim benefits and spend the rest of their lives sitting on the sofa, munching on a 24 pack of Hula Hoops with their one remaining tooth. In other words, these people are scummy and grimy and yuck.

The London Underground

Scary… I’d rather walk…

This place is a dark, dank, sweaty death tramp! It’s so awful, it’s pitch black, noisy and screechy. You hear stories about ghosts being on the tube, you go under a fucking river and people regularly try to kill themselves. I think I would be absolutely chuffed if my oyster card got revoked.

Thunderstorms

Scary… FUCK YOU THUNDER! YOU CAN SUCK MY DICK

I hate thunder and lightning. It scares me shitless, I literally hide behind objects during thunderstorms and will not move until they’re over. Why? Because about a year ago, lightning struck the window of the room I was in, whilst I was peeing and it was without doubt the scariest moment of my life. Honestly, just fuck off ligntning, you hot, electric cunt.

“You was” / “I seen”

Strict… Say it right or don’t say anything.

How do people get this wrong? It’s the most fucking irritating grammatical error around, just pipping the ‘definitely/defiantly’ debacle to the top spot. I associate this mistake with idiocy so if you get this wrong regularly then I probably won’t like you.

The Big Bang Theory

Over-rated… An average programme for average people.

This programme is the 2nd most over-rated thing in existence. It is popular on both sides of the Atlantic and I just don’t know why, it’s Dexter’s Laboratory except not animated. There is only one notable character with the rest rendered practically useless serving only conform to social and racial stereotypes. Sheldon’s only popular for being able to complicate simple dialogue, hardly the feat of good comedic writing. Is it really that easy to please the public? Well actually, yes, it really is. That being said, I’m sure the producers of TBBT are laughing all the way to the bank. I mean, it really is fucking depressing when ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is searched on Google, that the show comes up before the actual theory itself. Maybe, Kaley Cuoco is attracting viewership as the show’s piece of eye candy? Personally I preferred her in 8 Simple Rules but when it comes to this show I have only one simple rule; after the theme song (the only good bit), turn this shower of shite off.

Oasis

‘Heroes’… LOLZ, its so funni 2 act lyk a petulant twt all da tym LOLZ ❤

No, I don’t mean the drink. I literally can’t stand this band and unlike many, I rejoiced when they broke up. They are persistently rimmed and labelled as one of ‘the best bands ever’. I can’t take away their commercial and critical success but to me, they’re painfully average. One of the greats? My tits are they! I can recall two memorable songs both of which are so similar they may as well merge in to one 7 minute piece of monotonous drivel. They’ve almost become a cult thing amongst teenage football fans on Twitter too, I doubt you’ll find a more common bio than “*Football club*, Oasis, away days ♥” as if their music is now the official soundtrack. If their overly stated music that is arselicked beyond recognition by the masses isn’t enough to turn you off them, then you only need to be reminded of the members of this band; the Gallaghers. Referring to the easily impressed public I mentioned in the last entrant to Room 101, people seem to love Noel Gallagher because he swears in interviews. Apparently, a 46 year old man still acting like a Year 6 student that needs a smack on the arse is something that the average Briton likes. Both brothers have inevitably bought in to their own misplaced hype, not that you could blame them for that. Noel even had the audacity to claim that ‘music was dead’ citing pop music as responsible. I didn’t hear him saying much back in the pop-dominated noughties when he was still able to sell music himself, did you?

UKIP / The BNP / The EDL

Supremacists… Closet racists the lot

I have no idea why people support these sham-organisations. They’re just xenophobic alliances, disguised under the common protestation that they want to ‘protect Britain’. Let’s face it, the average supporter is a braindead thug with a lower IQ than a Jacob’s cream cracker. Unfortunately, scare tactics work on many in Britain and few of those on the bandwagon seem to realise that nationalism, an ideology all three employ, was the founding principal of Adolf Hitler’s nazi party. Just a heads up, to the media slaves; nationalism and patriotism are very different things.

Lad Culture

#BanterLAD #RESPECT… #StupidCunt #FuckOffYouOdiousPricks

Another thing formed from moronic thinking is lad culture. Who is the fucking ignoramus that decided acting like a prat should be glorified and celebrated? I mean, I honestly think I could get ‘LAD points’ for mugging an old woman in the street. As long as I chose to define it as ‘banter’, another over-used term that muppets seem to crave, like some sort of verbal drug. If I’m being quite frank and I’m not often anything else, if you’re ever called a lad, the chances are you’re just a plain old cunt.