Sunday, 22 February 2009

Bold claims

The best value computer repair shop?

In the whole of Oxford??

In quotation marks???

Man, these guys must be goooood.

On point of fact, they are not good. They are cack. No, really, they are. I know you're surprised. You're thinking, 'What, surely not!? Not with a name like Budget Internet Cafe!'

But it's true. The lazy goodfornothings – contrary to a scrawled note saying 'open at 11.30 today' – were still shut at 12.30.

I suppose that's 'good value' in the same way that starvation is effective dieting.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Are you SICK?

More specifically, are you SICK of directing your web browser to The Intellectual Hooligan every hour; of wearing your mouse-clicking finger to the bone as you feverishly hit refresh – in vain?

Are you like a heroin junkie in withdrawal – desperately craving your next hit, in the form of the next part of the Ongoing Saga of Duncan and Gabrielle? (Fear not – it's in the works, dear junkie.)

I make it sound so appealing, don't I?

Come on, you crazies: save yourself some browsing. Studies have shown that people who sign up to RSS feeds are 52% more likely to be rated 'Spicy' or above by members of the opposite sex. And look at Obama. I bet he subscribes to blogs. Be more like him, why don't you?

(Obviously, if you're reading this post as a current subscriber, you may rest warm in the knowledge that you are already both spicy and Obamaesque. Reeeeezult. You fuckin' rule. Get fundraising for 2012.)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Labyrinthine terrors! Elemental trials!

I thought it was funny when you missed the train
When I rang you at home they said you left yesterday
I thought it was strange when your car was found
by the tree in Ennis where we used to hang around
Dear Isobel
I hope you're well and what you've done is right
Oh it's been such hell
I wish you well and hope your [sic] safe tonight

– Dido, 'Isobel'

At the end of last week's pulse-quickening episode, we left our heroes, Duncan and Gabrielle, stranded in the eerily resonant hallways of Birmingham International Station.

Their train long departed, the pair found themselves faced with but one escape route. And so, armed with a guttering torch and a handy pitchfork that they'd discovered stowed away in the disabled loos, they steeled their nerves and plunged through the cobweb-fringed portal to the deserted arcades of the NEC. Brave hearts indeed!

Long were the hours spent by these doughty travelers as they vaulted over marauding soft drinks trolleys, battered away the pestilential incursions of swarming Christina Aguilera flyers that swooped and fluttered around their heads, and negotiated bewildering mazes of those queue-separating rope thingies.

Yet now, at last, they emerge, Theseus-like, from the labyrinthine depths. And as they do, their (fluttering) eyes are transfixed. For there – glimmering like sunlight on the waters of a distant oasis – stands solace, comfort and refuge. O glorious sight! O beacon of hope amidst the menacing glooms of Hatchford Brook Golf Club! O grand monument to the compassion of Man!

The Crowne Plaza hotel.

But it would not be easy, our heroes' journey toward this, the greatest of Crowne jewels (<–– I'm heartrendingly, achingly sorry for inflicting that pun upon you. But it was too sweet, my pretties, too too sweet...). For just as Odysseus' voyage was assailed by storms, supernatural temptresses and mythical beasts – just so was the path of proud Duncan, of fairest Gabrielle, strewn with obstacles and hazards. Trials of numerous manifestations, of profoundly unsettling magnitude. Dire elemental perils without compare...

Namely: goose crap. Lots and lots of goose crap. A truly unbelievable amount of goose crap.

So close were they to despair at that time! So belaboured their troubled minds by the tribulations that lay ahead! But – in the depths of their desolation – a voice seemed to whisper through the wind:

And yes I know you're nervous
Never seen you so unsure
You haven't touched your food tonight
And you're drinking more and more

And there's no need to hurry
Take your time I'll still be here
And I've been meaning to tell you

The closer you get, the better I feel

And – their spirits galvanised anew – the stout-hearted adventurers set forth. Boldness overcame trepidation; the promise of a warm hearth overcame the risk of a warm turd.

Would they triumph in their pursuit of their distant goal? Or would their footfalls become o'erheavy, clagged with accumulated avine refuse? Would they sink – eyelids fluttering, now, in terror – clutching in vain at the banks of the Pendigo Lake? Or would the overwatching spirit of benevolent Dido guide them safe along this perilous path?

Find out – next time.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Stranded eyelid-flutterers

Drank too much last night, got bills to pay
My head just feels in pain
Missed the bus again, and there'll be hell today
Late for work, again.
Even if I'm there, they'll all imply that I might not last today,
But then you called me then it's not so bad, not so bad...

– Dido, 'Best Day of My Life'

Today, the Intellectual Hooligan tells you a story. As is the case with all such tales, you should bear in mind the fact that the events recounted herein are obviously entirely fictitious and the characters entirely hypothetical. Any resemblance with real-life individuals is, may I emphasise, quite coincidental.

The above established, I ask you to picture a pair of seasoned travellers. Let us call them Duncan and (for continuity's sake) Gabrielle.

Such beautiful names.

Duncan and Gabrielle – eyelid-fluttering romantics that they are – are executing an airport rendezvous at, let's say (to choose at random) Birmingham International Airport.

('No better place' I hear you murmur, '... for a rendezvous of eyelid-fluttering romantics.' Quite, quite.)

Our heroes, travel-weary, aircon-dried and heavy-lidded (from all that fluttering), decide to lift their flagging spirits with a hot beverage or two, before stylishly monorailing their way towards the adjoined train station – wherein they propose to catch (expectation-defyingly) a train.

That Costa fake leather, howsoever, is so comfortable – the coffee so soothingly aromatic -- the conversation so scintillating, so witty – that time capers and dances its beguiling, um, gavotte. And the minutes gambol by unheeded.


[The Guillotine of Fate, correspondingly, swishes down.]

Arriving at the station, poor Duncan and Gabrielle discover – to their horror, dismay and mild embarrassment – that they have missed their train. Their fluttering eyes spraying teardrops hither and (mark ye!) thither – like four sprinklers on a hosepipe-ban-defyingly middle-class nouveau-riche front garden – the unfortunate pair cast about desperately for solace – like mice, casting about desperately for solace (and/or cheese).

But – alack! – the train that they have missed was the last train.

Ay. There's the rub.

Indeed, the only solace with which they are confronted is that of sweet-voiced pop songstress Dido, whose sultry over-the-shoulder gaze – whilst undeniably stirring – nevertheless fails to reassure their aching hearts:

'Oh aaaah-eeee want to thank you / For giving me the best day-eeeeh o-of my lie-eeef', she seemed to whisper.

Oh what shall become of our perplexed heroes? Tune in [fly, my pretty-yet-outmoded metaphor; fly!] tomorrow to find out.

The Intellectual Hooligan would like to take this opportunity to remind his devoted readership that, as stated in the prelude to this post, the events abovechronicled are without basis or parallel in real life. The fact that photographic illustration is provided should be discounted as anomalous.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Great Global Warming Hoax!!!

In case anyone failed to notice, it snowed a fair bit, this week. I submit as proof (for you unbelievers) the photograph above.

Cue some wretched, mucus-bespattering imbecile:

'So much for global warming, eh?!'

LOL! ROFL! LMAO! M8 that is classic.

[If this were a podcast (yes, I know, perish the sodding thought), there'd be that suddenly-stopping-a-record noise at this point. As it is, you have to make do with a clumsily self-conscious bit of square-parenthesis. Sozamonia.]

So. I have enough of an issue with any gurgling prat who offers up a laughably specious 'argument' simple-minded enough to be condensable into a Sun headline. No expert, this hooligan. But if we're seeing an intellectual locking of horns between a broad global consensus of climate scientists, geological observers and research institutes on one side and, on the other, Jeremy Clarkson and a bunch of blokes called things like Howard (Canterbury) and Paul (Tumbridge-Wells) who post the same comment three or four times at the bottom of online newspaper articles, so spasmodically eager are they to share their sheep's pellets of insight with the word – well, I'm not killing myself with indecision, let's say, when it comes to taking my side.

But it goes further than this. As well as the intellectual outrage of so witless a comment as 'So much for global warming, eh?!', there is a corresponding, woundingly intense aesthetic outrage.


If remarks such as this are your idea of comic innovation and satiric wit, allow me tentatively to propose the following action on your part:


If you are saying this kind of thing, you probably think you are a wag. You style yourself as something of a joker, right? Just as Obama was the lens through which the ennui of a world sprang into focus, you are the lightning rod that channels the wild, crackling energies of the Zeitgeist, converting them into the warm glow of popular comedy? Your mates probably bellow and snort with laughter at your humorous wordplay. Maybe your girlfriend, or wife, or mother (forgive me: I'm assuming you're male. I'm right, aren't I?) even tells you 'You're a one!'

Allow the Intellectual Hooligan to break some important news.

Your girlfriend, or wife, or mother is wrong. Not only is 'So much for global warming!' ludicrously fallacious; it is also the single most predictable 'quip'. It is the kind of thing that Gareth in The Office would find entertaining. It has about it not the faintest whiff of originality, or daring. It is leaden, dull-minded and utterly, utterly pedestrian. Comically, your failure is of an epic scale to dwarf the efforts of Virgil and Homer combined. You make man-slips-on-banana-skin look fresh.

So stop it.

Right fucking now.

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