The Daily Dust delivering the best bric a brac, daily news and events with a British flavour » Andy Checkley Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:05:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sculpture flips off Milan’s high and mighty Sat, 25 Sep 2010 14:02:41 +0000 Andy Checkley Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s has captured public feeling across Europe with a 30 foot middle finger extended towards bankers.

The surly statue stretches a finger in Milan’s Piazza Affari, on a pedastal raising it to 11 metres – directly in front of Milan’s stock exchange. It is to be unveiled around some of Italy’s richest men and women next week and will be displayed for only ten days, right through Milan’s fashion week.

The artist commented on the solid marble digit, called L.O.V.E, saying that “It stands for love – but everyone can read between the lines and take away the message they see for themselves.”

An official statement from Milanese administrators read, “We want to be confirmed as the capital of contemporary art and we have to not only mediate but also accept what we do not like.”

It is hardly a new theme for Cattelan, who’s controversial previous works include La Nona Ora (“The Ninth Hour”), a statue of Pope John Paul II being hit by a meteor and “Him”, a miniature Hitler in prayer. The artist has also created a seven metre, 11-a-side table football table.

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Limbless amputee swims English Channel Mon, 20 Sep 2010 21:51:26 +0000 Andy Checkley 42 year old Philippe Croizon left Folkestone in Kent at 6:45am on Saturday, hoping to reach France within 24 hours – he arrived at Griz de Nez in France at 8:13pm after swimming 21 miles through the English Channel.

16 years previously, all four of the Frenchman’s limbs had been amputated following a massive electric shock while removing a television aerial from a roof.

Mr Croizon trained for two years before the feat and after it’s completion told the BBC that at no point did he feel he was not going to make it, despite pains and aches all over his body.

According to Philippe Croizon’s father, his son enjoyed favourable wind conditions and at one point even had three dolphins swimming alongside him, a “sign of good luck”.

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Historic Files Show Churchill UFO Cover-Up Thu, 05 Aug 2010 11:28:08 +0000 Andy Checkley Newly released Ministry of Defense files have shed light on Churchill’s concerns over extraterrestrials.

A wartime file records Prime Minister Winston Churchill attending a meeting and ordering the hushing up of an RAF sighting for at least 50 years, to protect religious beliefs and prevent “mass panic”.

The government took the possibility of alien contact so seriously that in the 1950s, intelligence chiefs held meetings concerning alien contact and commissioned weekly reports on UFO sightings. Released documents show the involvement of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who typically report to the cabinet on matters of defence, security and foreign affairs.

The documents include information on unexplained radar contacts, “aerial phenomena” and public reports. UFO sightings seemingly reached their peak in 1996 with more than 600 reports – coinciding with the popularity of sci-fi TV drama the X-Files.

The files can be freely downloaded for a month from the National Archives website.

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Cornish Wallaby Colony Thriving Mon, 14 Jun 2010 13:50:27 +0000 Andy Checkley wallaby

Though native to the sun-blasted Australian outback, a family of wallabies seem to be doing well in Cornwall.

Following sightings of wallabies around the countryside last year, a motorist has photographed a male seen near St. Breward. He seems to have found an escaped female, who is reportedly carrying a baby in her pouch.

After they were sighted last year, it was worried they may not survive a chilly British winter. Yet this new photograph proves the hardy marsupials have adapted to the British climate.

The RSPCA comment that while they are often called to capture escaped wallabies, it is unusual for them to be found living in wild colonies in the UK. A runaway pet wallaby brought traffic to a standstill in Blackpool in January.

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MBE Milkman Dresses as Cow Wed, 09 Jun 2010 17:43:36 +0000 Andy Checkley float

Milkman Tony Fowler received an MBE from the Queen somberly dressed as a Friesian cow.

The MBE madman wore a dark suit sewn with white patches to receive the award, with a fetching cow-patterned tie.

On the award, he told Metro: “It’s very humbling to be here and a privilege and I regard this MBE as something for all milkmen. Normally they are quiet people – if they do something they don’t want to be recognised – so this is for all of them.”

He was awarded the Member of the British Empire honour for services in his hometown of Melton Mowbray, where he helps Police and vulnerable residents, as well as delivering milk.

We imagine the Queen dressed normally.

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Bouncy Castle Cockneys Conquer Lake Garda Fri, 14 May 2010 11:53:43 +0000 Andy Checkley bcastle

Three Londoners have sailed five miles across Italy’s Lake Garda on a bouncy castle.

Engineers Chris Hayes and David Sibley, along with solicitor-in-training Jack Watkins, paddled the eight kilometre trip in a casual two hours aboard their red-and-yellow vessel.

The intrepid trio even succeeded in gatecrashing an international sailing regatta, which we’re quite sure they didn’t blend into.

“Great Britain has such a great tradition as a seafaring nation and we really feel we have played no role at all in adding to this,” stated Mr. Hayes.

The trip was part of car manufacturer Honda’s Live Every Litre project, filming people’s attempts to carry out dream trips for a documentary, travelling in a new hybrid coupe. This dream trip may well have resulted a cheese overdose at bedtime.

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Snoopy Impersonator in Jailbreak Mon, 10 May 2010 17:16:09 +0000 Andy Checkley snoop

An apparently firearm-wielding man has tried to break an inmate out of an Isle of Wight prison – while wearing a Snoopy costume.

Accompanied by a non-costumed sidekick, the bungling pair broke into Her Majesty’s Prison Albany in an attempt to release a family member – who, unfortunately, was located on another site.

After failing to break through a locked door, the two resorted to throwing concrete at staff cars.

When police arrested the two on charges of criminal damage, it became apparent that Snoopy’s gun was in fact a water pistol. Both have been detained under the Mental Health Act.

“It’s not every day you see a giant cartoon dog go on the rampage after trying to break into prison,” an insider told The Sun.

“This has got to rank as one of the worst attempted jail breaks ever.”

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Peel’s Son For Radio 6 Show Tue, 04 May 2010 12:56:28 +0000 Andy Checkley peelraven

The son of long-serving Radio 1 DJ John Peel has landed a job at BBC Radio 6, following in the footsteps of his legendary father.

Tom Ravenscroft, 30, is to host a three hour Friday night show from June 4th. His brief is similar to that of his late Dad – play records by emerging talent rather than following the charts. Fellow Radio 6 DJ Jarvis Cocker found his own success after Peel played Pulp on his Radio 1 show.

“It’s great to be offered a home on a station with such amazing DJs, who open your ears to lots of exciting music, both new and old,” said the 30-year-old DJ, who has hosted the Slashmusic podcast and on Channel 4 Radio, as well as standing in for Tom Robinson on Radio 6 last July.

Radio 6 is threatened with closure following a BBC strategic review facing considerable complaint. Artists including The Cure, Elbow and the Kaiser Chiefs posted pleas to a British Phonographic Industry website protesting the change.

BBC figures released last week show online listening figures rose by 50% last year.

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King’s Cross 2010 Toast Closures Fri, 23 Apr 2010 10:31:32 +0000 Andy Checkley CrossKing

One of London’s busiest train stations has been evacuated twice this year after staff forgot burning toast, a Transport for London spokeswoman revealed on Thursday.

“London Underground has extensive heat and smoke detection systems, fire alarms and sprinkler systems and both alerts were dealt with quickly,” she said.

“Staff have been reminded to take care when using the cooking facilities and we would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused.”

The 20-minute evacuations, as firemen searched the station for the source of smoke, disrupted passengers throughout the capital, including those travelling to the Eurostar service to France.

A London Underground source told the London Evening Standard, “The two closures…caused severe embarrassment to top brass…LU is very fond of repeating how ‘safety is paramount’ and then their own staff cause fire alerts by, of all things, burning the toast.”

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Top Ten International Hangover Cures Fri, 09 Apr 2010 13:56:19 +0000 Andy Checkley So you’ve woken up with a throbbing head and a mouth that tastes like the bottom of a chicken coop?

Daylight has become the enemy, you can’t motivate yourself to do anything, gentle birdsong grates on your ears and memories of what led up to this point are hazy. Then, the dreaded meat sweats and the shakes.

The medical definition is Veisalgia, from the Norwegian kveis (“uneasiness following debauchery”) and the Greek, Algia (pain) – you’re hungover. While the best cure is not to drink so bloody much, it’s probably too late for that by now.

Fear not, however, for the Daily Dust is on hand to do all the research you’re too unwell to attempt.

10. Savoy Corpse Reviver


1 oz. brandy

1 oz. Fernet Branca

1 oz. White Creme de Menthe

Created by Joe Gilmore, one of the longest-serving Head Barmen at the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel. I’ll be clear – this really isn’t a cure and is designed more to get you back on the horse, awake and drinking again. Shake with ice, strain into glass, take whenever steam is needed.

One will revive a corpse, three may create one.

9. Bacon Sandwich


Last year, scientists finally proved what we always knew – bacon butties help to cure hangovers. The bread in your sandwich is full of carbohydrates to restore lost energy and protein-filled bacon breaks down into amino acids, which your drinking has depleted. These help to clear your head.

A bacon butty can even help before you start drinking, as fat lines the stomach and slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream – giving you more time to cope with the effects.

8. Prairie Oyster


1 oz. Dry Gin

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 Dashes Tabasco Sauce

Salt and Pepper

America’s answer to the Bloody Mary, the Prairie Oyster’s raw, unbroken egg is rich in cysteine, which helps to clean up free radicals building up in your liver, destructive chemicals typically cleaned up by the glutathiome enzyme your binge has depleted.

Unfortunately, the Daily Dust cannot condone the consumption of raw eggs – salmonella honestly won’t help you get over alcoholics’ retribution. Try frying an egg and whipping it on top of your bacon butty instead.

7. Katerfrühstück


Literally translating from German as “Tomcat’s Breakfast”, dishes like this are popular throughout northern Europe for combating a hangover. Such breakfasts typically contain pickled, salty food such as rollmops - pickled herring fillets rolled around slivers of onion and pickle – served with bread.

While it sounds horrendous to the hungover stomach, this shouldn’t be written off – the briny nature of these snacks replenishes electrolytes and minerals while its saltiness will at least encourage you to drink more water. Drinking pickle juice is said to be a traditional Polish hangover cure.

Munich, host of Oktoberfest, is also home to the Viktualienmarkt, a great collection of food and fish stalls and shops which hold an impressive array of Teutonic hangover food.

6. Tripe Soup


Putting a cow’s stomach into your own may sound like I’m winding you up, but trust me – spicy tripe soup is a favourite fog-cutter all over the world. Variations on simmered tripes, garlic, vinegar, sour cream, peppers and spices can be found as Ciorba de Burta in Romania, Iskembe çorbasi in Turkey, Menudo in Mexico and Hae Jang Gook in Korea.

While the tripe is full of protein, the spices work in a similar way to those of the Prairie Oyster and Bloody Mary – their introduction gives the digestion an issue to concentrate on other than the alcohol still washing around inside you (its unhealthy, but at least you will feel better).

5. Bloody Mary


1 to 2 oz. vodka

Tomato juice

Worcester sauce,

Tabasco sauce

Salt and pepper

Pure horseradish

Dash of lemon or lime juice.

Garnish with a stick of celery, olives, carrots, asparagus spears or other vegetables (or even some meats).

Created by Parisian barman Pete Petiot in 1921 as an “eye-opener” to combat hangovers, this legendary cocktail is filled with all kinds of strange ingredients.

Yet a properly mixed Bloody Mary is a delicious and strong-flavoured cocktail – the hair-of-the-dog (a term stemming from a Medieval English belief that drinking a tonic containing part of what harmed you would cure it) two ounces of vodka calm hangover jitters, while the lemon, spices and tomato quell the queasiness alcohol typically inspires in the hung-over (and restore lost vitamin C). Pepper aids the digestive process.

Variations include the Bloody Maureen (replace vodka with Guinness), Virgin Mary (no vodka), Bloody Geisha (replace vodka with sake, horseradish with wasabi sauce) and Red Fairy (replace vodka with absynthe), among many other international interpretations.

4. Fresh Fruit and Juice


A greasy fry-up will give you plenty of amino acids and carbohydrates, but alcohol is a diuretic – it’s making you go to the toilet all the time so you’re dehydrated. Unfortunately, this has washed most of your carefully accumulated vitamins and minerals down the pan and you’re going to need more.

If you’re feeling wobbly, you’re suffering from hypoglycemia. Fruit contains fructose, natural sugar, which will fix this as well as burning off alcohol and giving you more energy.

A glass of fresh orange juice is a good start, to restore that lost vitamin C. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants and beta-carotene.

Bananas are also an excellent idea – they contain fructose , potassium (which will fight the diuretic urge of the ale) and magnesium, which soothes the pounding blood vessels causing your headache. They’re even a natural antacid that will fight the nausea.

3. Umeboshi Pickled Plums


After a hard night on the sake, the Japanese refer to a hangover as futsukayoi – “two-days drunk”. Fortunately, Umeboshi are on hand – a medicinal fruit used throughout history to aid digestion and cure colds with Okayu rice porridge. The fruit was common in soldier’s rations throughout the Middle Ages, to flavour food and relieve battle fatigue.

While the sharp, salty taste can be very offputting, bear with it – it contains a great deal of pyric acid, normalising your digestive system, strengthening your traumatised liver and drawing toxins from the blood. Bite off half a plum to combat a regular hangover – if you’re facing a monster, herbalists recommend a full plum (though be careful – their taste is very, very strong). Boil or eat with rice to mitigate the flavour and enjoy with plenty of good, antioxidant-filled green chai to rehydrate and detoxify.

2. Take a bath (or even a Banya)


Having a bath while hungover is a good idea. If you’re sweating more than usual, your body is just worried about the amount of poisonous chemicals you forced into it (it also doesn’t help that you’ve more than likely been around a lot of cigarette smoke).

A bath will clean the skin’s pores and its heat will not only help it to flush unwelcome substances but will relax tensed muscles and calm your headache.

The Russians take this one step further, with the Banya – essentially a sauna and bathing ritual. Though often small log cabins, one of the grandest and oldest Banya is Moscow’s palatial Sandunóvskie Baths, built in 1896.

Bathers sit in a sauna, typically heated above 110 degrees and often wearing felt hats called shapka to protect the head, while veniki (water-soaked birch leaves) are used to strike the back to speed up circulation.

If this is a strange mental image, the benefits are unquestionable – the intense heat helps to purge your skin and blood of unhealthy substances, making life easier for your kidneys. It also dilates your blood vessels, improving blood flow to your tired muscles and brain. Not only that, few bacteria can survive at a sauna’s temperature – and if your heart is hammering from the heat, you can enjoy the greater release of endorphins (natural painkillers) this causes.

1. Full English Breakfast


The Great British Breakfast forms one pillar of the triumvirate of British food, alongside Fish and Chips and the Sunday Roast. One of these has pretty much everything you need to get over your hangover and get on with the day.

No one in their right mind could call the Full English healthy, but enjoyed occasionally it’s a lesser evil. It’s a collection of pretty much everything above – tomatoes for vitamins and fructose, eggs for cysteine, fibre-filled beans to aid digestion and bacon, sausages and black pudding for amino acids, fat and grease. Mushrooms, properly done, give a nice variety of flavour to what otherwise is basically a pile of fried meat. This is the ballast that’ll get you through.

It’s even versatile – if you can’t eat pork, a beefburger works surprisingly well (though purists will be up in arms). Haggis also blends right in for a Full Scottish Breakfast, or White Pudding for a Full Irish.

Serve with tomato ketchup and brown sauce and a cup of orange juice or tea – if Britain built an empire on tea, you can beat a hangover with it.

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Internet Destroys Tory Web-Campaign Fri, 26 Mar 2010 18:03:15 +0000 Andy Checkley cashgordon

A seemingly-slick Conservative Party attempt at being web-savvy backfired hilariously this week, when the internet discovered that “Cash Gordon” contained several weaknesses for online mischief.

While the social-networking based website, attacking the Prime Minister’s links to trade union Unite, initially seemed quite sophisticated the site quickly garnered criticism – when web users noticed it used a template designed by an American anti-healthcare lobbyist (part of the group trying to sink President Obama’s healthcare reforms).

Political Scrapbook also pointed out the design’s $15,000 price tag, as well as its use by Americans For the Military (petitioning against homosexuals in the armed forces) and Heritage Foundation (attacking carbon emission legislature).

As if this wasn’t bad enough,users soon discovered that Cash Gordon’s front page featured a direct, unmoderated Twitter feed. In the words of user Ollybeat, “All tweets with #cashgordon appear on Tory campaign website. The sh*t door is open and the nutters are pouring in. See you there…”

Before long, the site was overrun with negative tweets. Then, it was discovered that tweets could contain markup (“David Cameron is a c***” in bold, 48 point red font) and that the site would run javascript in tweets, leading to error boxes reading “Knickers” and “Oops!”, redirects to OAP porn and as well as the inevitable goatse and rickrolls.

The internet ran rampant for 120 minutes before the site was taken down, later returning with the loopholes closed and accusations against “labour stooges” and bored web-nerds. So much for “one of the most innovative uses of the [Facebook Connect] tool yet seen in the UK.”

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The Bill – Off the Beat Fri, 26 Mar 2010 15:55:45 +0000 Andy Checkley bill

Broadcaster ITV has decided to cull the cops after 27 years of policing drama.

It was hoped that last years darker and edgier revamp and post-watershed timeslot might raise falling ratings, having fallen to around 3.5 million from 7 million in 2002.

ITV claims the decision was based on a review of its drama schedule, which found short-run shows such as Above Suspicion and Collision to be more popular, rather than as a cost-cutting exercise. The broadcaster hopes to use the saved money to fund more such short dramas, such as plans for a new series by writer Anthony Horowitz.

Talkback Thames, The Bill’s producer, now warns of a “significant number of redundancies” among The Bill’s 90-strong production team. The BAFTA award-winning programme grew from a pilot episode, Woodentop, in 1983.

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Tom Jones’ Pessimistic Jobcentre Records Rediscovered Mon, 08 Mar 2010 17:20:34 +0000 Andy Checkley jones

Recovered unemployment records show jibes by civil servants concerning the early career of a man who would sell millions of albums.

“He has been talking about “going professional” since April but he is still signing the UR [unemployment register] and not autograph books,” commented an employee in a South Wales job centre in 1963, concerning the singer.

The six tan cards, discovered in a skip after records were digitised, are to be auctioned Shropshire on April 15th.

One report describes Thomas Jones Woodward as well dressed, saying, ”From the way he is able to dress, it would seem that Mr Woodward’s little hobby is highly lucrative and this would also account for his non-enthusiasm in securing employment.” Another reveals a surprising history of tuberculosis considering his famously powerful voice.

A comment mentions that, “He does not want shiftwork but I believe the reason for his not liking shifts is because he is a member of a vocal group which is supposedly an amateur affair.”

The last entry, dated 3rd July 1964, mentions the “claimant” showing a letter from Decca Studios, confirming a recording session.

Sir Tom turns 70 on May 28th, having been knighted and amassed a fortune the BBC estimated at £175 million in 2005.

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Afghan Mountain Tourism Plan Thu, 25 Feb 2010 14:19:21 +0000 Andy Checkley afghan

Dundee-based social enterprise Mountain Unity International hopes to bring tourism to Afghanistan.

Mountain Unity Director David James, who completed two tours in Afghanistan with the British Army, is providing information to mountaineers and tourists with an eye to developing the Wakhan Corridor in the country’s northeast, once part of the ancient Silk Road and a habitat for the endangered snow leopard.

James describes the Wakhan Corridor in the country’s northeast as peaceful during each of the country’s last two conflicts. Afghan mountains had been a popular climbing destination until the Soviet invasion of 1979.

He said, “I wouldn’t suggest anyone goes with a holiday mentality. This is for serious trekking and mountaineering expeditions – people that know about working in a real wilderness environment.”

However, he is realistic about possible danger. “We’re not blasé. There is the chance that something might change and if it does we’ll just tell people it’s not safe any more.”

Yet climbers in the region have described a warm welcome from residents, some of whom mentioned the tourism their parents remembered from the 1960s.

The Wakhan Corridor suffers from low literacy rates and is one of the poorest districts of a poverty-stricken country. Mountain Unity are currently collecting toys for a planned children’s centre in their compound.

Though they hoped to buy locally, Kabul lacks quality items. Anyone wishing to help can visit the MUI Amazon Wishlist.

Editor’s Note: The original article on Mountain Unity, by Christopher Sleight, can be found online at BBC Scotland News Website. We apologise to Mr Sleight for any offence caused by the missing attribution.

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Ambassador Shocked by Bearded Bride Thu, 11 Feb 2010 17:20:32 +0000 Andy Checkley beard

An unnamed Arabic ambassador has called off his wedding – after discovering his previously veiled fiancée’s beard and crossed eyes.

The Gulf News reported that the consul had not seen her often – and that she had always worn a face-covering niqab. It was only after a marriage contract was signed, when the diplomat hoped to kiss his wife-to-be, that he had a clear look at her face.

The anonymous emissary has since sued for the contract to be annulled and for 500,000 dirhams (£85,000) for clothing, jewellery and other gifts, telling a Shariah court in the United Arab Emirates that his betrothed’s mother had shown his own pictures of the woman’s sister.

The court annulled the contract, but rejected the demand for re-compensation.

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Prototype Pints Prevent Piercing Thu, 04 Feb 2010 17:27:12 +0000 Andy Checkley pint

It’s a sad fact that in England and Wales, nearly 87,000 injuries are caused every year by glass attacks. Could new pint glasses cut figures rather than flesh?

These figures have seen demands for change from police, surgeons, pubs and breweries. In response, a Home Office project to revitalize the pint glass and reduce the 2.7 billion pound a year burden alcohol-related crime places on the NHS.

The first design, “Glass Plus”, is a clear plastic coating (a “bio-resin”). It prevents the glass smashing into dangerous shards and can be added to existing glasses.

The second design, “Twin Wall”, is inspired by car windscreens. Two thin glasses, one inside the other, are held together by resin – which again stops them smashing into pieces. Though much thicker than traditional pints, designers insist that as a prototype it has room for improvement (on the upside, it makes beer easier to pour).

A demonstration saw Glass Plus break without shattering, while a Twin Wall pint pot took four attempts to break – and not shatter.

However, with fifty-two pubs closing every week, can landlords afford new space-age glasses? Glass Plus will hopefully not cost much more than those already used and may appear within 12 months.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson described the new pints as, “An important step forward which could also provide retailers and drinkers with a preferable alternative to plastic glasses.”

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The Top 10 UK World Cup Songs Tue, 26 Jan 2010 15:46:15 +0000 Andy Checkley 2010

Last week the FA confirmed that as the England management intend to focus entirely on the game, there will be no official song for this year’s South Africa World Cup.

The competition is open for whoever wants to have a chance, with a £1,000 prize for the entry with the most Youtube views when the final kicks off- so lets look back for inspiration with our top ten world cup warblers.

10. 2006 – Embrace, World At Your Feet


“With the world at your feet/There’s no heart you can’t reach”

Clean-cut Yorkshire band Embrace may not have been the best choice for a football song, featuring Coldplay-esque high-pitched male vocals and gentle rhythms, but considering their competition included the Crazy Frog we should probably be grateful.

First broadcast by Christopher Moyles on Radio 1, A BBC reporter in a Bristol pub had several people listen to and review the track. They described the track as “Too slow”, to which Moyles and a friend of the band replied live on air, “It’s not too slow, it’s perfect. Shut up and enjoy it.”

So perhaps a good song, but not a good football song, reaching #3 in the charts and well received by music critics if not by football fans.

Listen on Youtube.

9. 1982 – England Football Team, This Time (We’ll Get It Right)

“This time, more than any other time, this time/We’re going to find a way”

A promising England squad failed to deliver, returning after getting it wrong in a 0-0 draw with Spain in the second round. The single charted at #2.

Listen on Youtube.

8. 1978 – Andy Cameron, Ally’s Tartan Army


“‘Cos England cannae do it/’Cos they couldnae qualify”

Scottish comedian Andy Cameron had already found stand-up comedy success with a football hooligan act. He wrote and performed Ally’s Tartan Army when Scotland qualified for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.

Reaching #6 in the UK charts and gaining him two appearances on Top of the Pops, Cameron put all the profits from the single into an album – which flopped while Scotland went out of the competition. Sales of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina may have risen in England after their dismal display.

Listen on Youtube.

7. 1970 – England Football Team, Back Home


“In every game we play/They’ll share every goal we are scoring”

Back Home was the first official world cup song (though by no means the first), beginning the trend of England’s World Cup team recording a celebratory single. It ticks all the boxes for a football song – rousing theme, simple tune, understandable for fans of any age and easy to sing along to.

As defending champions, 1970′s track was less about winning and more about doing your best (which was probably sensible, as it would be twelve years before England would qualify again).

The song stayed at #1 for three weeks and was used 24 years later in Baddiel & Skinner’s BBC football/comedy TV show Fantasy Football League.

Listen on Youtube.

6. 2002 – Ant & Dec, We’re On The Ball


“Sven’s our man, he’s got a plan, we’ve found a super Swede”

While they’ve recorded before (as Byker Grove characters “PJ & Duncan”), Ant and Dec have never had a single reach the UK number one, despite international promotion tours (Eternal Love reached #1 in Japan).

Recycled Arsenal chant We’re On The Ball reached #3, losing out to Pop Idol contestant Will Young (ironically, a programme which the duo presented).

Listen on Youtube.

5. 1966 – Lonnie Donegan, World Cup Willie


“He’s tough as a lion and never will give up/That’s why Willie is fav’rite for the Cup”

Every World Cup since 1966 has had a mascot, this years being Zakumi, a green haired leopard…thing. The tradition began with English lion World Cup Willie and a song of the same name by “King of Skiffle” Lonnie Donegan.

Willie made a surprise reappearance in 2007 when a marketing company’s attempt to release a series of merchandise bearing the mascot saw a legal face-off. A Deputy Judge ruled that the original drawing, and therefore copyright, belonged to the FA.

Listen on Youtube.

4. 2006 – Sham69 and the Special Assembly, Hurry Up England


“It’s been forty years since Wembley/So let’s go and win it in Germany”

A re-working of Sham69′s earlier hit Hurry Up Harry, this pop-punk tune was among the unofficial competition to World At Your Feet and released as “The People’s Anthem” after winning a vote among listeners of Virgin Radio DJ Christian O’Connell’s morning show.

In the end, the track only reached #10th in the charts, two places below Embrace’s official track. It fell quickly, despite proceeds supporting the charity Teenage Cancer Trust.

Listen on Youtube.

3. 1990 -New Order, World In Motion


“We ain’t no hooligans, this ain’t a football song/Three lions on my chest, I know we can’t go wrong”

The only New Order track to reach number one in the UK top 40, the track features several members of the England football squad including the infamous rapping John Barnes. Co-written by Keith Allen, it was originally titled E For England which was vetoed by the FA, nervous about a possible reference to the drug ecstasy.  Commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme’s re-recorded his legendary “They think it’s all over” quote for use at the beginning and end of the track.

Despite the numerous best football song polls it has topped, a remix in 1996 was cancelled by a late decision. Sadly, when re-released in 2002 the track failed to even enter the top 40 – interestingly, there had been plans for David Beckham to fill John Barnes’ boots for the rap (which, tragically, was also vetoed by the FA).

2. 1998 – Fat Les, Vindaloo


“Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah Bonjour”

Originally written as a parody of football songs for the 1998 France World Cup, it’s simple lyrics were written and spoken by, again, Keith Allen. Some drew darker comparisons with hooliganism that had become prominent news with high media coverage of football riots before the impending international competition.

Yet the BBC (who commission the Official UK Music Chart) believe that the track deliberately invoked the memory of Keith Allen’s 1989 appearance on The Late Show, in which he stormed out of an argument about political correctness damaging comedy, accusing an Asian member of the panel, “It’s not a chip you’ve got on your shoulder, it’s a vindaloo!” He later told reporters that vindaloo (“Goan” cooking that actually originates in Portugal) is faux-ethnic – as are self-appointed spokesmen for minority communities who censor culture to suit their own prejudices.

The video, parodying The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony (which was inspired in turn by Unfinished Sympathy by Massive Attack), featured Paul Kaye, Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Edward Tudor-Pole and a young Lily Allen. When Fat Les played Vindaloo on Top of the Pops, Collin Pillinger CBE (Principal Investigator for the Beagle 2 Mars Lander Project) appeared on drums.

Listen on Youtube.

1. 1996/1998 – Baddiel & Skinner and The Lightning Seeds, Three Lions


“Three Lions on a shirt, Jules Rimet still gleaming/30 years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming”

So at number one, one of the most successful football songs ever written, a nostalgic yet hopeful homage to 30 years of dashed optimism that perfectly captured the popular mood.

By 1996 Britpop had reached its peak, with the Lightning Seeds among its best loved sons, giving Three Lions broad appeal. It went straight to #1 in the top 40 and was even popular among foreign teams. Jurgen Klinsmann mentioned German fans singing the track on their way to their match against England in the semi-final (they sung it again when parading the trophy on the Romer balcony in Frankfurt).

The track’s staying power was such that when re-released in 2006, it still reached #9. Official World Cup ’98 song (How Does It Feel To Be) On Top of the World didn’t stand a chance against the combined might of Three Lions and Vindaloo and disappeared quickly after limping into the top ten.

Dutch group Hermes House Band released their own version, Eagles on the Shirt while German group Die Original Deutschmacher released a cover titled Das W auf dem Trikot (The W on the Shirt). Notts County even have their own version, Two Pies on the Shirt.

However, there was some controversy – rumours at the time suggested that as with the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen in 1977, Vindaloo was deliberately kept from #1 in favour of Three Lions. The video for Baddiel and Skinner’s track featured a kickabout between England supporters (including the comedy duo and Lightning Seeds singer Ian Broudie) and German fans, each of whose shirt reads Kuntz (with one Klinsmann). Though the striker had been vital in defeating England in the 1996 semi-final, the clear innuendo meant the section was cut by many broadcasters.

Still, in the words of John Motson – “As football songs go, Three Lions certainly is the best.”

Listen on Youtube.

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The Most Irritating Adverts of 2009 Tue, 19 Jan 2010 16:41:34 +0000 Andy Checkley gocompare

While 2009 was a hard time to sell anything, an online poll by Marketing Magazine has confirmed which adverts stuck in the minds of the British public for all the wrong reasons.

Standing in the lead with 56% of the vote are the hair-ripping Go Compare adverts, where actors are somehow snook up on by a stereotypical fat, moustachioed opera singer they should easily have seen coming.

Cash4Gold cashed in on the recession by encouraging people to part with their jewellery for money and arrived in second, with Glade’s cringeworthy “I want to do a poo!” air freshener ads in third.

Sadly, the companies responsible for these adverts likely appreciate their high placements – after all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Though 2009 was a stand-out year for terrible advertising, we can at least be grateful that Kerry Katona’s contract with supermarket Iceland came to a close.


1. Go Compare and their wretched operatics.

2. Cash 4 Gold

3. Glade Air Freshener

4. Swiftcover – Iggy Pop representing a company that won’t insure musicians.


6. 118 247 – Does this really rhyme with “directory heaven”?

7. Churchill – Jowly nodding dog sells insurance, repeats two words endlessly.

8. – Irritating, neverending jingle.

9. Nintendo – Ant and Dec meet the public, talk about computer games.

10. Country Life – Johnny Rotten wants you to buy butter.

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FA Confirms: “No World Cup Song” Fri, 15 Jan 2010 19:01:17 +0000 Andy Checkley threelions

A Football Association spokesman has confirmed that this year, for the first time since 1966, there will be no official World Cup song. So there’ll be no rapping John Barnes in 2010.

The spokesman continued that England’s management, “want to be fully focused on the football”. Unofficial anthems are already appearing, including rumours of a reworking of New Order’s 1980 track World In Motion.

The last World Cup in 2002 saw “We’re On The Ball”, a single recorded by Ant and Dec, reach number three in the charts.

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The Billion Dollar Game Thu, 14 Jan 2010 16:53:10 +0000 Andy Checkley mw2

Infinity Ward shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has become one of the few computer games to make more than $1 billion (£625 million) in revenue.

The game, focussing on the battles of a day-after-tomorrow military task force, smashed the pre-order record previously held by Grand Theft Auto IV and took $550 million in its first five days. Now, it has sold around 15 million copies, outstripping predecessor Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s 14.4 million and is the best selling game of 2009.

Michael Rawlinson, Director General of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, said, “The phenomenal success of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was undoubtedly one of the leading entertainment stories of the year and firmly established videogames as one of the leading forms of entertainment in the UK.”

Other billion dollar games include Guitar Hero III and World of Warcraft. The figures put it alongside other entertainment big-hitters such as 3D science-fiction blockbuster Avatar (only the fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide), Titanic ($1.8 billion, £1.1 billion) and The Return of the King ($1.12 billion).

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Porsche Launch Designer Sledge Wed, 30 Dec 2009 15:30:28 +0000 Andy Checkley sledge

Junior Jensens and half-pint Hamiltons craving speedy sledding this year may be interested in Porsche Design Studio’s £328 supersledge.

The sled, made in Germany and available from the Porsche Design Studio internet shop, boasts a sleek aluminium frame with an imitation leather seat. A Porsche spokesman said, “A practical folding mechanism ensures that the sledge is ready to hit the snow in seconds, so nothing stands in the way of winter sledging fun.”

While the sledge may not rival cars for speed, it may be perfect for anyone wanting a Porsche for Christmas but unable to afford a car.

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McGregor “Most Overpaid Brit” in Hollywood Fri, 20 Nov 2009 15:00:39 +0000 Andy Checkley ewan

Trainspotting actor Ewan McGregor has been named one of Hollywood’s most overpaid stars in a list by

The 38 year old Scot earns back less in box office returns for his salary than any other actor except Will Ferrell, the star of this years catastrophic failure Land of the Lost.

Films starring McGregor earn on average £2.25 for every pound he is paid. Ferrell’s typically return a paltry £1.97. Transformers lead Shia Labeouf proved the best value, returning £96 for every quid. commented that, “His low pay couldn’t protect him from landing second on our list, because his recent movies have performed so badly.” His latest film, The Men Who Stare at Goats, has not bucked this trend and has so far made only £15 million at the box office.

Most Overpaid Stars:

1. Will Ferrel,

2. Ewan McGregor

3. Billy Bob Thornton

4. Eddie Murphy

5. Ice Cube

6. Tom Cruise

7. Drew Barrymore

8. Leonardo DiCaprio

9. Samuel L. Jackson

10. Jim Carrey

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Iraq: Dream Holiday Destination? Tue, 10 Nov 2009 12:22:06 +0000 Andy Checkley iraq

Shining sun, beautiful seas and major improvements on 2005′s “70 to 80 per cent chance you will be okay” according to the Chairman of Iraq’s tourist board Hammoud al-Yaqoubi, who is this week promoting his country at the World Travel Market in London.

“We have the infrastructure for tourism in Iraq,” said Mr al-Yaqoubi. “We are optimistic about turning the tourism industry into a success.” Unfortunately, the Chairman could not make the first day of the World Travel Market after becoming stranded in Amman, the capital of Jordan, while waiting for a British visa.

The board hopes to find travel agents from all over the world willing to take tourists into Iraq at the London show, which is attended by nearly 50,000 travel industry professionals. While security is described only as “a minor problem”, independent travellers are still barred from entry.

Other industry members seem sceptical. Tim Moore, managing director of online travel magazine Toursmart, suggests that Iraq would need at least two or three years without “people still being blown up” before it could be sold as a place to visit. Nasser Aref Zaatarah, head of Zaatarah & Co, which offers tours across the Middle East, has organised trade delegations to Baghdad and commented on its suitability for tourism.

“There’s no direct flights. It’s hard to get insurance. When you get there you can’t move around. You can’t go shopping or sightseeing. I don’t think this is the correct time to promote it as a tourist destination.”

However, one tour operator at yesterday’s fair is ready to bring British holidaymakers to one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Geoffrey Hann, head of Hinterland Travel, has led tours of Iraq for 30 years and was in charge of a group of eight who visited in March. He has already received bookings for next year.

“It’s mostly old people,” he said. “They just want to see a country they have not been allowed to get to.”

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KFC’s Colonel Sanders Infiltrates UN Wed, 28 Oct 2009 15:29:50 +0000 Andy Checkley sanders

Dressed in the fast food founder’s iconic white suit and black bow tie, a Colonel Sanders impersonator has duped his way into the UN’s headquarters in New York.

As part of a KFC marketing stunt the actor, named as Robert Thompson, evaded security to enter restricted areas and even posed for photographs under the General Assembly hall’s UN logo and with President of the UN General Assembly, Dr. Ali Treki. The alarm was later raised and he was ejected, and now a spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has announced an investigation into the security breach.

“It should not have happened – that I will stress and very strongly,” Michele Montas told Canadian news agency.

As part of a campaign advertising a new menu, KFC is “lobbying” for the UN to accept the fictional Grilled nation to be accepted as a member state. The company has written to Mr. Ki-Moon personally, requesting that grilled chicken lovers be represented in the assembly in a letter dismissed by Mrs. Montas as “absolutely void.”

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Scottish Brewery Launches “Equity for Punks” Fri, 23 Oct 2009 16:35:02 +0000 Andy Checkley brewdog_dd_17032009_p1

Brewdog, one of the UK’s largest independent breweries, this week announced the “Equity for Punks” scheme – putting 10,000 shares for sale on its website for £230 each.

Investors will receive a 20% lifetime discount on Brewdog ales, as well as a stake in the company. The move comes with the appearance of Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two new American investors well known in the alcohol industry.

“Coming out of the recession so many investors are disenchanted with their past institutional strategies, but Equity for Punks is so different, refreshing and tangible that for anyone remotely interested in good beer this will be their most fun investment in 2009.” Said Mr. Greggor.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the success and future of BrewDog.”

Since it’s opening in 2007, the Brewdog has become Scotland’s largest independent brewery, growing 250% last year. It produces both the UK’s strongest beer, Tokyo* (18.2% ABV) and the weakest, Nanny State (1.1%).

26 year old founder James Watt, who started the company with business partner Martin Dickie, said “Our marketing strategy has always involved giving up control and shortening the distance as much as possible between ourselves and the people who drink our beers: Equity for Punks is the ultimate incarnation of this philosophy.”

Equity for Punks will hopefully raise £2.3 million, which will go to the construction of the world’s first carbon-neutral, eco-friendly brewery for the company in Aberdeen.

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