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CrushedEarth

BREAKING, EXCLUSIVE: South Asia and Australasia.

Part of the Earth was hit by a passing asteroid, crushed, pulverised and flung into space earlier today, we can exclusively reveal.

The event was tracked and photographed in real time by NASA satellites, which had unfortunately failed to spot the collision until the last minute.

Annihilation

The affected region is believed to have been totally annihilated. Images from the International Space Station confirm that Australia and Indonesia have disappeared, along with a major portion of the South American continent.

News outlets, including the BBC and Channel 4 News have not featured the news in bulletins yet, however … considering the news to be of secondary importance to the whereabouts and condition of the Duchess of Cambridge and the eagerly awaited but overdue Royal Baby.

Priorities

A BBC news editor confirmed that the corporation were aware of the collision and claimed that an article had been published in the South Asian section of the BBC News web site.

“We haven’t had any hits from that region”, he explained, “so we were concluding that the story was not even of local importance compared with the global event that a new heir to the British throne represents.”

Channel Four confirmed much the same view.

“It’s the other side of the world. Australia for God’s sake. Who’s going to be interested in that?”

No news

There continues meanwhile to be no news on the expected arrival of the Royal Baby.

News teams continue to analyse the importance which the birth will have, especially when there is any information on what Kate plans to wear for the trip to the hospital and return home.

Audition

BREAKING, LONDON: New rules which come into force today will limit the actors who can apply for roles in the theatre or on film and TV.

The new rules, by the actor’s union EQUITY, are being introduced as the result of pressure by minority groups, such as transsexuals.

In future transsexual parts can only be cast with real transsexual actors.

The move follows years of argument over whether cis-gendered actors (i.e. people who are not trans) should portray trans women or men in new productions.

Changing practices

Activists had cited historical precedent.

“Gone are the days when boys routinely played women’s roles”, explained Frank Furter of  the Trans Thespians Union.

“The policy excluded women from acting for decades”

“And it is considered bad taste these days for white men to black up on stage or screen”, he added.

Others argue that it is increasingly seen as inappropriate for able bodied actors to play disabled parts, especially as disabled actors don’t have the same flexibility to play non-disabled roles.

“If you’ve got a deformed spine then, chances are, you won’t even get auditioned for Richard III”, declaimed another actor.

Uniform policy

The new policy from EQUITY is seen as a fair way to address inequalities like these at a stroke, rather than on a case by case basis.

“If it is wrong for men or boys to play women, and for whites to play blacks then, yes, it’s unfair for cis-gender actors to play trans people”, said a spokeswoman.

“The same goes for other examples too”, she explained.

“The more we put these things rights, the more unfair the remaining anomalies become.”

“But it cuts both ways”, she added.

“No more gays playing straight parts.”

Redefining acting

The spokeswoman conceded, however, that the policy did also redefine acting.

“In the old days an actor was someone who dressed up and pretended to be someone they weren’t”

“Actors were judged on how well they pulled off the role … think Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep playing Queen Elizabeth or Margaret Thatcher”, she added.

All this will change now though.

“If the play is about a trans woman then only trans women can be considered for the part”, explained the spokeswoman.

“And if the script calls for a 48 year old lesbian with one leg then producers can only audition genuine lesbians of that age.”

“The actor needn’t have only one leg at the time of the audition”, she added helpfully.

“But the leg will need to be off before previews”.

Shortages

Critics argue that the policy will lead to shortages of suitable acting talent in some areas.

Others fear that scripts will be increasingly tailored to reflect the supply of actors.

And some say that science fiction, superhero and other fantasy genres will find it hard to audition.

“If you’re making a Superman movie then in future the part can only be played by an actor who really is faster than a speeding bullet”, a miserable Steven Spielberg told us by phone from Hollywood.

“If I was doing E.T. now then I’d have to audition real fucking aliens”, he added with evident bitterness.

Stephen Frears, Director of The Queen, also thinks that writers will shy away from producing scripts about living Royals or politicians, knowing how difficult it will be to bring them to the screen.

“From now on I’ll be shooting films in which Helen Mirren has to play herself”, he told us.

Knock on effects

The policy is also expected to have collateral effects for makeup, prosthetics and CGI specialists.

“If they are casting a real Klingon for a new Star Trek movie then they are not going to need us to put on those ridgy bits”, mourned a prosthetics specialist.

“And if we are bringing in real superheroes who can fly then green screen is dead”, added a CGI specialist.

Trans actors are meanwhile weighing up the implications for themselves too.

“The policy has led to Granada killing off Hayley Cropper as she’s played by a cis-gender actress”, explained a trans actress who had been inspired to enter the profession by seeing Julie Hesmondhalgh play the part.

“But Julie’s departure isn’t going to make any new work for me”, she added.

“Work’s going to be tough now unless people suddenly start writing stories about trans people”.

Woodbines

By staff reporter

CONSERVATIVE party spokesmen have continued to deny they have succumbed to pressure from the tobacco and alcohol industries this week.

They denied also that their new election strategist, Lynton Crosby (whose PR clients include tobacco companies), had been influencing the Prime Minister over recent policy decisions.

“The whole idea’s utter piffle”, spluttered Sir Toby Jugg, a friend of the Prime Minister, pouring me a single malt whisky and flicking his gold cigarette case open with practiced ease.

“Utter piffle”, he repeated, for further emphasis.

“And I can’t repeat that often enough”, he added, to ensure I had got the point.

“What you press chappies need to concentrate on is our new programme”, he added with a manly cough, pushing a sheaf of press releases my way.

“Look, our guys have even written it all out so you chaps can just copy and paste.”

And, after testing the malt and having my glass refilled, I have to say the policies are radical.

Free school cigarettes

In a plan that recalls the days when school children were given free milk every day, education secretary Michael Gove plans to distribute free cigarettes.

“Every child will get a Woodbine every morning”, explains the release,

“… Craven A’s for those staying on in the sixth form”.

The official release states that “the health benefits of cigarettes have been wildly underestimated in recent years”, dismissing medical evidence of lung diseases as “scare stories leading to red tape”.

Hospital bars

And the Health Act is to be amended so as to require all newly commissioned hospitals to include a mini bar next to each bed.

“Hospitals have used alcohol for years anyway”, offered Sir Toby.

“Everyone knows alcohol kills germs”.

“And we want to make sure there are no more cases of patients getting dehydrated.”

“Don’t drink the water the flowers came in … have a Chablis.”

Neighbourhood policing

Police officers are also being trained to offer advice and samples of leading cigarette brands to people caught carrying personal supplies of drugs.

“We know these drugs aren’t good for people, and worse still they’re not tax earning”.

“Instead of giving out cautions, which involve lots of paperwork, we’ll be giving out cigarettes and booze so people can become dependent in a fiscally approved fashion.”

Nanny state

“We expect the opposition to put up a fuss”, said Sir Toby, taking a long drag on his King Size.

“But we are determined to end all this ‘Nanny State’ rubbish”.

“And let’s hear an end to all this speculation that we’ve been lobbied.”

Nhs

Sources close to the Health Secretary have scoffed today at the news that the London 2012 Olympics ‘had boosted the UK economy by £9.9 Billion‘ … a sum remarkably close to the estimated hosting costs of £8.9 Billion.

“Small fry”, grunted the official, who would not be named.

“You just wait till we do the returns on the NHS Reorganisation”.

Reorganise to Capitalise

The NHS in England was radically reorganised earlier this year, following the passage of the Health Act 2012.

Estimates for the cost of closing ten Strategic Health Authorities and 151 Primary Care Trusts; setting up 212 Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS England, Public Health England, Health Education England; and making several thousand staff redundant; are put at around £3 Billion.

“In a year we’ll have made that back, and more”, argued our source.

“We’ve begun well and the law obliges CCGs to do the work for us … they’ve now got to put every service they recommission out to competitive tender”.

“Community services have already been snapped up by entrepreneurs”, he added.

“And we’ve just flogged off our supplier of the nation’s blood plasma products to a US private equity firm for 200 million folding ones”.

“You’ve no idea how much it’s all worth … all those taxes over the last 65 years have bought a lot of buildings and kit”.

“So spending £3 Billion to free it all up is a drop in the ocean really. We’ll get a hundred times that on the open market. You mark my words”

Weather

BREAKING, LONDON: The previous Labour administration is to blame for the current abnormally warm spell of hot weather.

The claim was made today by officials at Number Ten Downing Street, where the standing orders are to now blame everything untoward on 13 years of Labour administration between 1997 and 2010.

Nothing is to be attributed to three years of coalition government, unless it has passed a stringent battery of tests to ensure that it is good news.

Pilot tests

The approach has already been rolled out successfully at the Departments of Health, Education, Work and Pensions, Defence, and the Home Office.

Following a brief evaluation to ensure that the BBC and right leaning press were happy with this system for explaining everything, the procedure is now to be applied throughout the rest of government and public sector agencies.

Evidence

Officials were not sure whether an explanation had been agreed yet for why Labour, and in particular Gordon Brown and/or Andy Burnham, were to blame for the hot spell.

A press officer mumbled something about lack of adequate regulatory control on the photon market allied to devastating losses of cloud reserves.

Croston Lynby, a PR specialist drafted in to advise on election strategy told our reporters that evidence and explanation were ‘yesterdays concepts’ though.

“We believe in the power of confident assertion” he said, between puffs on his cigarette.

“We will continue repeating what we believe (and so will you if you’re wise) until it is so”.

MODhead

 

Rules of Engagement for Trident Submarine Commanders

Effective: Immediate

Recent media debate over the future of our Trident fleet and the emergence of new kinds of threats to the safety of the realm may have raised questions among your crews as to the times when nuclear force may or may not be deployed by your vessels.

For the avoidance of doubt your rules of engagement are reiterated here.

Any queries should be referred to the chain of command.

Attention to these details will ensure the defence of the realm and achieve best public value for the £100 Billion which the nuclear deterrent costs to maintain.

Patrols

Routine patrols will cease forthwith as we can’t afford enough submarines.

  • Do not put to sea.
  • Continue full maintenance of trident missiles
  • Ratings may bring board games to work

Hijack

In the event that an aircraft is hijacked and used as a weapon against United Kingdom buildings or infrastructure.

  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles.

Terrorism and the use of IEDs

In the event that a terrorist should threaten to detonate or proceed to detonate a conventional explosive device on United Kingdom soil.

  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles

Dirty bombs

In the event that a terrorist should threaten to detonate or proceed to detonate an explosive device with a radioactive payload on United Kingdom soil.

  • Close all hatches.
  • Follow guidelines for on-board radioactive leaks.
  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles

Chemical and biological weapons

In the event that a terrorist or foreign power should threaten to release or proceed to release weaponised chemical or biological agents on United Kingdom soil.

  • Close all hatches.
  • Break out hazardous environment suits.
  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles

Cyber warfare

In the event of a cyber attack on United Kingdom infrastructure.

  • Instruct crew to log out of Facebook.
  • Run antivirus software on command systems.
  • Revert to paper-based communications.
  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles.

Market attacks

In the event of a hostile attack on the United Kingdom’s fiscal base  via home or foreign currency, equity or bond markets.

  • Break out the rations.
  • Create a barter system on board.
  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles.

Mainland insurrection

In the event of insurrection on the mainland, with or without replacement of Her Majesty’s Government by violent means.

  • Await orders
  • Do not put to sea.
  • Do note fire trident missiles

Manually placed thermonuclear devices

In the event of any group threatening to detonate or detonating a non-ballistic nuclear device on United Kingdom Soil.

  • Put to sea.
  • Dive.
  • Do not fire trident missiles.

Airborne or Intercontinental Ballistic Nuclear Weapon Attack

In the event of a foreign power launching or threatening to launch a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom.

  • Put to sea.
  • Do not fire trident missiles (they will make no difference and will be one of the only things we have left to sell for rebuilding)

OFNOSE

NEW REGULATIONS, which come into force from today, will make it an offence to offer unsolicited opinions to strangers without a license.

The task of giving strangers on-the-spot advice about what they wear, where they live, what they do, and who they do it with will instead now be restricted to specially appointed official busybodies, appointed to perform this age-old social task.

Regulation

A new regulator, the Office for Necessarily Offensive Social Engineering (OFNOSE) will now be responsible for selecting, training and licensing a small team of official busybodies, and for prosecuting those who operate without a license.

The new rules come into force following a series of well-publicised incidents where many people, including gays, single mothers and women pursuing careers, were offered substandard and distressing advice from untrained practitioners online or on the streets.

Dangers

“People don’t realise the harm untrained busybodies can do”, said the newly appointed head of OFNOSE.

“It happens far too much”, explained Ivan O’Pinnion, adding that “the results can often be very distressing”.

“A woman could just be travelling on a bus, minding her own business, and be told her skirt is too short”.

“Or people could harangue two men for kissing or holding hands on the street because they believe it is wrong”.

“These rogue busybodies have not been trained to any official standard of competence though … you don’t know if they are giving good advice or bad”

“Our research indicates most of it is not only unnecessary, but bad”, he adds.

Challenge

O’Pinnion wants the public to help his staff stamp out these “rogue operators”.

“If you are offered unsolicited advice about your life from a stranger, of if you see such advice being given, please ask to see if the person concerned has been officially appointed”.

“Official busybodies carry photo identification and will always be pleased to show it on request.”

“There are lots of wannabes so the public need to help us to stamp out this curse by being vigilant.”

Professionals

“You can be sure that one of our official busybodies has been trained to the very highest standards”, says Mr O’Pinnion.

“They only intervene when absolutely necessary in order to prevent people harming themselves, such as foolishly wearing socks with sandals.”

“They are not interested in who people kiss or who they sleep with or the length of your hemline, since that is not a matter for anyone but the individual.”

“Our inspectors are trained to ignore bad hair, bad teeth, bad breath and bad dress … except the socks and sandals thing, which is just common kindness.”

Exemptions

The regulations only apply in public and with adult strangers.

Parents are exempt until their children reach 18 years of age. This means mothers can still advise or order their children “Not to go out in that”.

Controversially, Members of Parliament and Peers are also still permitted to offer opinions on people and behaviours  they know nothing about, provided the opinion is restricted to generalisations about whole groups (not individuals) and the view is in line with their party’s official policy.

“There is such a strong body of tradition in this area”, says O’Pinnion, “Parliament was reluctant to change that … especially in the Lords.”

O’Pinnion hopes that politicians will nevertheless take the optional training which OFNOSE plans to offer, so that their busybodying follows safe standards.

Asked what he thinks himself about the new provisions, the regulator declined to comment.

“That would be a proscribed act”.