Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Love is the law

Scarborough-The human mind is a fragile thing, a complex web of interwoven neural pathways designed to unconsciously regulate our bodies and store the critical information any animal needs to ensure its own survival.

But surely there is more to the brain, than it being a just a glorified gelatin based supercomputer?
The ancient Egyptians believed that all thought came from the heart and that the brain was merely used to fill up the head cavity and stop people from feeling light headed, a spongy sort of ballast if you will.

We here at News direct being of a curious, almost scientific, nature decided to travel to the once beautiful seaside resort of Scarborough to meet a man who has devoted his whole life to unlocking the eternal secrets of the human mind.
Dr Shirlington P Lovebody, was at one time the most respected neurosurgeon ever to work in the UK, his international reputation as the world's foremost expert on brain injury and rehabilitation, ensured his speaking tours and teaching seminars were a must for any self respecting surgeon to attend.
That was until five years ago when Dr Lovebody suddenly announced to a stunned world that he had been told by god to go to Scarborough and teach people that 'Love is the law'
Since his unexpected revelation the doctor has become a semi mystical guru, using his knowledge of the human brain to teach what he has called 'The new religion of love science, man'

On the train up to Scarborough I decided to ask a few fellow passengers what they thought of Dr lovebody, to see if I could get some overall angle on the perceptions now current, the answers mainly ranged from a chortled 'Is that that mad doctor bloke?' to a slightly paranoid 'If you don't leave me alone this instant, I will call the guard'
All of this ridicule and paranoia intrigued me and confirmed to me that my meeting with the mysterious Dr Shirlington P lovebody would definitely be a day to remember.

Dr Lovebody's Mystical retreat sits lonely and windswept atop the ragged and dramatic cliffs overlooking the quietly tarnished and almost deserted streets of old Scarborough town.
By time I had managed to clamber through the driving rain and up the steep non existent path to the door of the retreat, the howling North sea wind had blown me off the knee length 'path' twice, I had fallen into nettles once and I had trodden in at least two piles of what I assumed to be either fishy smelling dog shit or sea gull's vomit.
Bracing myself against the hurricane strength wind I knocked loudly on the brightly painted orange, purple and red door.
The door opened to reveal a middle aged woman flabbily dressed in absolutely nothing at all. She shouted into the raging hurricane "Can I help you?"
I dragged my eyes from the huge swollen nipples, that were no doubt irritating her hidden knees and shouted against the screaming wind "I'm here to see Dr Lovebody!!"
"You love what dear?"
"No I'm here to see Dr Lovebody!!, Dr Shirlington P Lovebody!!!"
"You love somebody called Shirley? That's nice dear, after all love is the law."
She then slammed the door shut.
The wind whisked away my obscenities, no doubt delivering the stolen words to someone sat somewhere far below the cliff top enjoying a soon to be interrupted quiet moment.
I knocked again.
"Oh hello! Back again? How's Shirley?"
I gestured for her to let me in, she shrugged and heaved her huge frame to one side to allow me entrance. I stepped into the warmth of the retreat, and tried in vain to remove my haystack hair from my stinging eyes, as she slammed the door shut behind me.
She swung her voluminous frame back before me and with a nose wrinkled in disgust she said "Well dear?"
Realising I had offended her olfactory senses with my sudden shit/vomit encrusted appearance
I stammered through blue lips "Fe...fe...fell off......path...maybe vomit...shit...I...sorry...I don't know."
She gave me a kind look that all at once said 'You poor unfortunate creature' and 'Jesus!! that's definitely shit'
She put a wary but comforting hand onto my cold wet shoulder "Are you the chappy from that Story news directly to you thingy?"
I nodded, unable but desperately wanting to correct her.
"You come through here love and sit by the fire and I'll tell the doctor you are here."
She guided me slowly into a huge armchair before the roaring fire in what I guessed was the doctor's study.
"You sit yourself down and warm up and I'll get you something dry to wear."
She disappeared.
The fire had started to inject some feeling back into my body now, and as I gazed around the tidy but haphazard room the woman reappeared holding some type of purple kaftan arrangement.
"Get out of those wet clothes, this should fit you."
I stared in horror at the offered garment "No honestly, I'll be fine now, I just needed to warm up."
"Nonsense, Come on Mr!! clothes off."
"No honestly, I'll be alright."
"Don't be a naughty little soldier, clothes off."
Before I could protest further she had stood me up and was busy removing my jacket, by the time my next protestations had left my mouth I was semi naked and holding tightly onto the top of my trousers.
"Well you are a shy one aren't you! I've never seen so much fuss about changing clothes!"
I fought her for control of my trouser zip "I'm okay honestly!!"
"Don't be a silly boy, you don't have to be shy with me I can assure you I have seen plenty of what you are hiding down there!"
"I don't want to take my trousers off!!"
"Nonsense!" And with that I was stood naked before her self satisfied smile.
She ran her homely eyes over my shivering pale white body "I can see why you were a little shy, he's a tiny little fellow isn't he!"
I looked behind me, figuring she was referring to some newly arrived dwarf, seeing none I followed her pitying glance down to my shriveled manhood "It's not always like that!! I'm cold!!"
She removed her eyes from its cowering ineptitude and gave me a reassuring smile "Course you are dear."
"I am!! It's bloody freezing out there!!"
"Yes it is quite cold dear."
"Well yeah, so that's why it looks like that."
"Like an emaciated Eskimo?"
"Well I wouldn't have put it quite like that, but yeah."
"I believe you."
"It's normally much bigger."
"I'm sure it is dear."
"It is!!"
She handed me the kaftan and I became the first person in the history of clothing to be grateful for a purple kaftan.
"I'll put your clothes through the washer and drier, sit yourself down the doctor will be with you shortly."
"Why you calling me shortly??"
"I'm not, I'm just saying the doctor will be with you in a short while."
"Oh, okay."
She left me to luxuriate in my new found kaftan happiness before the crackling bliss of the open fire.

Twenty minutes later, a soft poke in the side of my head returned me from the slack embrace of Morpheus and instantly into the cluttered, but comfortable study. I looked sideways at the finger that was poking me into the world and before it could poke again, I flinched and glared at its owner.
The man prodding me back into the world of solids was none other than Dr Shirlington P Lovebody, purple kafataned mystic and heavily qualified visionary.
The doctor stroked his long Grey beard "I'm sorry son, did I startle you?"
I rubbed the stray sleep from my eyes "No, not at all, I was just preparing my interview notes."
The doctor fell for my cunning ruse and seated himself cross legged on the floor by my chair.
I looked down onto his bald pate "You want this chair?"
He beamed a subtle almost transcendental smile "No I'm fine here, chairs are part of my old life now. I prefer to be connected to mother earth and let her send her vibrant love energy up through my anal portal and into my cerebral cortex."
"Oh, errr...right, sorry that has thrown me a bit...errrr.....so tell me about your Saint Paul moment."
The doctor fluidly spun his fingers into some kind of ancient mediative position "Well it all began five years ago, I was doing brilliant, almost revolutionary work in the field of Neuro science and had, as I'm sure you can imagine, achieved a very comfortable lifestyle. I had all a man could wish for..."
"You had champagne fountains, sexual pandas and a monkey butler??? Wow!!!"
He cocked his head to one side "Errr..No."
"Well with all due respect doctor, you might have been doing well but you certainly didn't have it all."
He gave me a look I had seen many times before and continued on "Well as I was saying, I had....nearly everything a man could wish for, but deep inside I still felt a great unhappiness it would sometimes surge up and engulf me with the realisation that life was a just pointless series of futile moments punctuated by tiny diamonds of happiness. One day after one of these nihilistic episodes I heard a voice calling out to me...Shirlingtonnnnn.....Shirlingtonnnnnn......Shirlingtonnnnnnnn."
I interrupted his echoing flow "You'd left the phone off the hook?"
"No, It was God."
"On the phone?"
"No you idiot, this was inside my head."
"So you're the one hearing voices and you have the cheek to call me an idiot."
"I'm sorry I didn't mean to call you an idiot."
"Just for your information, I'm not an idiot actually."
"No I didn't mean it honestly."
"I got three, count them THREE!!" I held up four fingers to further illustrate my point "Three GCSE'S"
"Well yes, you're obviously a cultured and educated man and I honestly meant no offence to you."
"Well that's alright then."
He straightened his back, brushed back his long Grey beard and continued "Where was I?"
"You were on the phone to someone claiming to be god."
"You really have three GCSE'S?"
"What are they in?"
"Woodwork, P.E and interpretive dance."
"Oh right...... anyway I was on the phone to God and told me in no uncertain terms that I was to immediately leave London, travel up here, build my commune and await further instructions, regarding the true nature of the universe. Of course I immediately obeyed and have been here for the last five years awaiting his next revelation."
"Why Scarborough?"
"I don't know, that puzzled me too."
"You would think this God character would choose somewhere more spiritually uplifting."
"Yeah, you would think so wouldn't you."
"Are you sure you didn't mishear him? Maybe he said go to Skegness."
"God doesn't stutter."
"No I suppose not, so what's all this love is the law business about?"
"Well that was his initial revelation to me."
"This was in the first phone call?"
"So what's he say?"
"He said 'Let this truth be known, there is only one law and the law of the universe is love'"
"Quite vague then."
"Well not really, if you think about it its a very profound statement that reaches into the very heart of mans quest for the ultimate knowledge of himself and the universe surrounding him."
I thought about it for a moment "Nah."
"What you mean nah?"
"Well if someone told me to give up my sex pandas, champagne fountains and monkey butler and go all the way to Scarborough, I'd want a better reason than that."
"You don't question the divine essence of the universe."
"I would."
"Well I'm obviously not as smart as you, am I."
"Obviously not."
"Do you have everything you need now? It's time for my mid day meditation session now."
I stood up and smoothed down my regal kaftan "Can I keep this? I'm getting quite into it now."
He stood and placed his hand into mine "Course you can, do you want me to get Audrey to put your other clothes into a carrier bag for you?"
"Nah, just burn them I'm gonna start wearing these all the time now. You get a lot of refreshing air round your bits don't you."
"You do indeed, can cool the little fellow right down."
"What you mean by that???"
"She said something didn't she?"
"Bloody Audrey!! I was cold and wet, you know about shrinkage don't you?"
"Of course, but I can promise you she didn't say anything I was just making small talk."
"Whats that supposed to mean???"
"Nothing! your being a little paranoid now, which leads me to believe that you do actually have a small penis and there was very little, if any, shrinkage at all."
"Thats a god damn lie take it back!!!!"
"I'm sorry, I was only kidding around with you, Audrey actually said she could tell that it would be a monster given the right conditions and a favourable wind."
"Did she?"
"Yeah, she made it abundantly clear how impressed she thought she might be if she were ever to see it under more advantageous conditions."
The doctor graciously opened the front door for me and gently prodded me out into the howling North sea gale.
"That's right!!! It is more than average in the right conditions!!"
The doctor nodded, waved and shouted "Watch that stone behind you!!!" before slamming shut the door to his deity appointed commune.
"What stone?"

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The beautiful game

North Ferriby- Far from the feverish madding crowds, the hundred grand salaries, comically sad yellow Lamborghinis and the obligatory pneumatic model blondes, the real beautiful game continues quietly on, unadorned and shod of its glitzy trappings deep within its Northern pie stained heartland.

News direct wanted to find out just what is it, that will make a working man crawl hungover from his warm bed early of a Sunday morning to battle eleven other Saturday night casualties for the possession and, usually mistimed, distribution of a leather bag full of air.
To find out the answer to this question and to maybe discover if the game has, as some say, really lost its heart to foreign owners, satellite television and players with boot deals, we traveled up to the steeply terraced village of North Ferriby, just outside the vast cosmopolitan metropolis of Kingston upon Hull.

The road that winds through the village has been unkindly called the road that the road to nowhere leads to. The one hundred or so tiny stone houses of North Ferriby are neatly bookended by the village's two pubs, the Red lion that sits besides the village green and at the far end, the smaller White lion.

After arriving in the quiet, windy solitude of North Ferriby's Sunday morning, I parked my car and walked bravely against the scything wind towards the nearby Red lion pub, where I had arranged to meet Derek Vadar the sixty two year old greengrocer and longtime manager of the Red lion's all conquering Sunday league side, Real Red lion FC.
Pushing open the heavy door of the Red lion was at once a relief and a surprise, for where I expected an empty bar and a roaring fire, there was instead fifteen or so quiet men sat around a large white tactics board listening intently to the man before the board.

I quietly let go of the door and stood listening intently to the man before the squiggle covered board.
"You hear me Terry?"
A bleary eyed player looked up from his medicinal pint and said "Yeah Boss, try not to be sick during the game, got it Boss."
The Boss nodded "The groundsman says if you do it again, he will not bother to pick up the dog shit in the penalty area."
A murmur of disgust rippled through the crowd.
The Boss looked round his players "Right today's the big one boys, we are two points clear at the top but those bastards over at the White lion are all sat in there now, with their feet up, calling you lot a bunch of hairy arsed puffters!"
Another Mexican wave of disgust rippled through the now riled players. The Boss pointed a finger "Dave!"
"Yes Boss?"
"They said you are a cross dresser, possibly a pedophile and your final ball is laughable."
Dave flooded his pale face with blood "THERES FUCK ALL WRONG WITH MY FINAL BALL!!"
The boss shook his head and walked slowly round the assembled players "That's what they are saying boys, you Gazza, you know what they said about you?"
An anxious Gazza looked away from Dave's smoldering anger "They said your wife looks like the Elephant man's ugly sister."
Gazza visibly relaxed "Well they do have a point Boss."
The Boss nodded "Yeah I agree with that, obviously, but they also said the only way you can get any sexual satisfaction is by accosting strangers in public toilets and that all that kneeling has ruined your knees and thats why you tackle like a Victorian orphan with rickets."

Gazza looked around the faces of his disbelieving team mates "I'm not standing for this boys I'll show them what tackling is!! The cheeky bastards!!"
The boss walked back to the board and looked each of his men in the eyes before clearing his throat "Well that's what they have been saying about you boys and I said to myself this can't be true, it just can't! I know Dave has the best final ball in the league, I know Gazza tackles like a proud viking warrior, I know everyone of you will do your utmost because you are the best Sunday league side this country has ever seen! I would go into battle beside anyone of you! Except you Simmo, everything they said about you is true, that's why you not even on the subs bench finish your drink and get out!"
Simmo, head down, picked up his glass.
"In fact don't even finish your drink, get out! Now!"
Simmo stood and carefully made his way through the maze of tables and out of the door into the cold wind of exile.
The Boss scrubbed his white board clean "Right, kick off in an hour boys, I don't want anyone drinking more than five pints between now and then, If you must drink, drink spirits. I don't want you all running around bloated and lethargic."

The Boss finished wiping the board and made his way over to the table I had discovered during his pre match talk.
"You that fella from Gazzetta del la sport?"
"Yeah thats me."
The Boss wiped back a strand from his failing comb over and through narrowed eyes said "You don't sound very Italian."
"I'm their English correspondent."
"Well you sound..."
"Don't say it!"
The Boss shrugged "So what can I do for you Signor Chianti?"
"It's De Chianti actually, I'm doing a piece on the great managers of the modern era and you are the most successful Sunday league manager in history, so I'd just like to ask you a few questions and maybe learn something of the philosophy that has led you to greatness."
The boss relaxed back into his seat "My philosophy is very simple my spaghetti eating friend, it's all based on the three M's."
"The three M's?"
"Yep, thats all there is to it."
"What are the three M's?"
"Motivation, motivation, and..."
"Nope, Moderation."
The Boss leaned forward conspiratorially "See these boys here?"
He threw a glance back towards his Heavy drinking squad "These boys aren't great players, most of them have trouble passing water, never mind a football. My job is to make sure they are motivated and moderate in their drinking habits."
"So basically, your job is to wind them up and keep them off the beer?"
"Yep, thats the long and short of it. Now here's a case in point, take Wilko, our keeper, he was awful last season couldn't catch a cold! So what I did was have a couple of the boys sleep with his wife and then I said to him 'I know who it was son, and if you keep me dozen clean sheets this season I'll tell you' after that he was world class, after we won the league I told him it was Simmo and he put him in hospital for three months. It was actually Dave and Gazza, but Simmo is a waste of space and I cant have two of my first team out of action for three months."

The Boss continued to struggle with his failing attempt at a hairstyle "I'm a great student of history, I have studied all the great leaders, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and of course Jimmy Carter, But you know who I have modeled myself on the most?"
Perplexed, I shook my head "No, who?"
"Dick Cheney!"
"Dick Cheney, the evil Neo-con genius?"
"Yep, ohh what a guy he is, a real man manager."
"But he is a psychotic butcher."
"No, he understands man management, look at how he operates, you do as he says and everything is hunky dory but cross him and he will destroy you. I like his style."
"But isn't that fascism?"
"Noooo it's much better than fascism, it's Neo-fascism."
"And that's the only way to lead?"
"Of course it is, men are weak and feeble creatures and if left to their own devices they will stagnate and happily live out their miserable existences, being sons,husbands and fathers. But what men like me and Dick do is take those useless shells and mould them in to devastating extensions of our own unimaginable ambitions."
"Riiight........I think I have probably.....Got enough now."
"You sure?"
"Yeah I think I have had a good enough insight into what it takes to be a successful leader of men."
"You not staying for the game? We are having a BBQ and a good piss up after."
"No I can't, My wife is expecting me home."
"Your married???"
"Yeah, why?"
"Nowt, just thought you would be the kind of man who liked to dress up as a cowboy of a weekend and dance to disco music."
"I'm not from Texas."
"No I meant..nevermind."
I stood and stuck out my hand towards the boss, he stood and grasping the hand firmly he looked into my eyes and said "Always remember son, Fussball uber alles."

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Great figures in history- Nelson

As part our our continuing mission to educate and inform, News direct today begins its brilliant new feature.
Great figures in history will shine a spotlight onto some of history's most famous names and hopefully right some historical inaccuracies. Our debut historical figure is to be England's greatest hero, Vice admiral Horatio Nelson.
Who was this great man? Why is he now a target for pigeons?
And just why did he hate dwarfs so much?
These are just some of the questions we will be attempting to answer.

Horatio Elizabeth Nelson was born of modest parentage in September 1758, one of greatest mistakes made by his many biographers is the naming of Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk as his birth place.
A cursory look through the records show that he was actually born just outside the small French town of Calais, which at that time was a protectorate of the great Scottish empire which stretched from Iceland in the north down through mainland Europe to Cairo in the south.
His father, Jacques Nelson, was an itinerant onion seller roaming the French countryside in a stripey shirt and beret, supplying the local peasantry with what the French still call crying apples.
Little is known of his mother except that she was a massively powerful woman and would earn the family much needed extra income by performing feats of strength in the town squares of the Calais area.
One story, perhaps apocryphal, recounts how madame Nelson challenged an entire town to a tug of war. The villagers obviously aware of Madame Nelson's great strength agreed on the condition that she used just her weaker left arm and hopped on one leg during the entire contest.
Madame Nelson accepted their conditions and in a titanic contest lasting four days she eventually managed to defeat the six hundred strong village team.

Not much more is known of Horatio's early life and if he did receive any formal schooling it would surely have been after the family moved from Calais to Hull, which at that time was the capital of England and known through out the civilised world as a great centre of learning and culture.
Lost records from this time would surely reveal, that the young Nelson was a brilliant scholar who excelled in not only English,maths,art,Latin, geography,music and needlepoint, but also in juggling, firework making and monkey training.

What is known, is that it was in a Hull pub while out celebrating his eighth birthday that the young Horatio was first press ganged into the Royal Navy.
This being at a time before the discovery of wind, the Navy had a constant need for vast amounts of man power, to row their huge ships into battle. Recent research has shown that around this time the Navy press ganged over two million men a week, so young Nelson's press ganging was in no way unusual for the times.
Nelson's first ship was the HMS Bernard, a nine hundred gun tug based in the Japanese port of Okinawa and used mainly to police the North sea tulip routes.
It was on the Bernard that Nelson got his first taste of naval combat in a fierce engagement with welsh pirates off the coast of Peru. Nelson performed so heroically during the two year battle that he was immediately promoted from ship's cook to Vice admiral.

Upon his return to England Nelson was to meet the great love of his life, Emma Hamilton.
Miss Hamilton was at this time working as a Blacksmith in London's crowded east end, it was said that Nelson would go around London removing horse shoes so he would have a valid reason to visit Miss Hamilton's thriving Blacksmithing business.
After two years of taking horse shoes to her shop and asking if these were hers, Nelson had finally plucked up the courage and asked Hamilton to marry him, she immediately agreed and they were married that same day in St Paul's cathedral before an estimated TV audience of over forty million.

It was two months after his marriage to Emma Hamilton that fate was to deal Nelson its cruelest blow. While out on an all day drinking spree with his pet monkey Dave, the admiral got into a fight with an unnamed dwarf and tragically lost his favourite left eye and his powerful right arm.
This episode was to be crucial in Nelson's life, as it resulted in him having to give up his burgeoning career in professional darts and concentrate fully upon his lackluster naval career.
Nelson was never fully able to forgive people of restricted height for robbing him of his dream and for the rest of his life he took every opportunity available to hunt down and kill every dwarf he could find within the greater London area.

Nelson's idyllic London life with Emma was to be short lived, for just twenty short miles away another cunning dwarf was plotting the demise of England and the death of Nelson.
The dwarf in question, the evil French tyrant Napoleon Bonaparte, hated the English so much that he would prowl along the sea wall of the recaptured Calais with a telescope and obsessively watch the happy English across the channel, telling anyone who would listen what Nelson was doing and how much he hated the saintly admiral and those foul Ros bifs.

By 1815 Napoleon could no longer contain himself and set out with a fleet of twenty thousand warships to conquer the happiest land in the whole of the world.
But the French being the poor seamen that they are, got lost crossing the channel and ended up sailing in circles just off the Portuguese coast, pathetically asking passing fishing boats which way England was.

Upon hearing that the French fleet were at Trafalgar, Nelson was said to have declared 'They are already in the middle of London?'
Then after being told Trafalgar was not just a square in London but also a piece of Portuguese sea, he rushed down to his waiting ship and sailed her out towards his fateful date with history.
The French were said to have laughed when they saw Nelson's solitary ship sailing valiantly out to destroy their huge armada.
But Gallic laughter was soon to be replaced by panic as Nelson's ship the Victory, started to send cannon ball after cannon ball into the shocked French fleet.
In just under twenty minutes Nelson had sunk all but one of the twenty thousand French ships and as the Victory closed in for the final kill Napoleon was heard to cry 'Mon dieu, they'll kill us all!! Every homme for himself!!" before jumping over the side and swimming back towards France.

Nelson's heroic victory over the shambolic French fleet was to be a short lived joy for it was on the way back to a heroes welcome that Nelson decided to kill himself.
Many historians have speculated as to why Nelson would choose the moment of his greatest triumph to end his life, some say that now having saved England his work was done, some that he was so seasick he knew he would never reach England without vomiting. But sadly we can never know the true reason this great man decided to end it all at the peak of his greatest victory.
On hearing of the Admiral's suicide a heartbroken Queen Elizabeth the first, immediately ordered that the empty column in Trafalgar square be capped by a life size statue of England's greatest hero.
And to this very day The admiral looks out from his perch high above London and keeps a watchful eye on the French coast in case they ever try to resurrect their foul and dastardly plans.