Less Lockdown = More Rude Stuff

This week the Mirror newspaper ran a headline saying it won’t be long till we are hugging grannies again. I don’t actually have any grannies left, so this could be the strangest giveaway a national newspaper has ever done.

Meanwhile the Sunday Times reported that "Lovers liberated after lockdown spark sexplosion". Given that sexplosion isn’t really a word it’s hard to know exactly what they mean by this. Is it something that will show up on the seismographs or simply leave a mess?

Whatever it is we know its cause. The end of lockdown has brought about an increased demand for condoms and morning after pills. It’s an interesting effect of getting our freedoms back and also makes you realise that over the last year a higher proportion of people buying condoms were doing it to smuggle things in.

At the moment the rules state that you can go on a date with someone and have a drink outside but you are not allowed to take things into the bedroom. It’s like much of the dating I did in my twenties but with slightly more handwashing.

The increased sales figures tell us that either more people are breaking the rules and nipping to the bedroom with their new friend or there are some very dodgy things happening in pub car parks. Or both.

It’s difficult to complain about people’s actions. If there is one lesson the Great Doing Nothing of 2020 taught us is that we should embrace life whenever we can. You don’t know when the next plague will come along and take life from some of us, so if you can have a moment of pleasure with someone you should get stuck in, which I am told is not the way to phrase it just before the act.

Yes, I know that any rule-breaking could lead to an increased spread of COVID that could lead to older and more vulnerable people catching it but if you’re spending more time in bed you’re spending less time visiting older people, so the effects might cancel.

Whatever you do, do it safely and wear protection. And I don’t mean a mask. But I also don’t not mean a mask, if that’s what you’re into. Get stuck in.



[VIDEO] A Look At The Vaccines

There has been a lot in the news lately about problems with vaccines. Not just the usual tinfoil hat types who think vaccines are evil and anyone who doesn't follow what they see on the Internet is a sheep - oh the irony - but supply lines, health worries and almost a smear campaign from the EU.

In this video we take a look at some of the issues.

Boris Johnson Has Affair, Shocker?

The world was rocked recently by the news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had an affair. In the same way that you feel rocked when a BMW driver doesn’t indicate or a toddler falls down, we are talking about that level of surprise.

A while back a scandal broke about BJ’s closeness to business-person Jennifer Arcuri, although most of the newspapers focussed on the fact that she owned a pole-dancing pole, which is why I’m changing my official bio from writer to “Pelaton owner”.

There were innuendoes about the likelihood of those two getting jiggy-with-it and a more serious question about the processes that were used to get Jennifer Arcuri access to business grants.

At the time I remember Jennifer saying she gave Boris some tech lessons, which now we are hearing might have been learning where the batteries go.

Now that the story had simmered down and we had bigger pandemic fish to fry, Ms Arcuri spoke to a newspaper confirming the dirty deed, or rather four years worth of deeds from 2012. At the time we were all feeling a little more athletic because the Olympics were coming to town. I’m sure that added to it.

In the interview we learn that Jennifer sent him “arty topless pictures” (are there any other kind, from the point of view of the sender) and said they had a mutual “physical and intellectual attraction” (I can spot the division of labour there).

We hear about the time they were intimate before he headed off to the opening of the 2012 London Paralympics and how, before he left, she had to hunt for a sock he lost in the throes of passion. Ah yes, that moment where you turn a lady on by whipping your sock off and lobbing it across the room.

All of these “erotic” details are all very well but it’s worth remembering that the affair isn’t the story. It may be immoral but it’s not illegal to have a fling with another grown adult but the dodgy part here is whether the taxpayer-funded trade missions and grants were made available to Jennifer Arcuri because Boris Johnson was doing to the Nolan Principles of Public Life what he was doing to her after he’d launched his socks.

But there’s no pole dancing in that bit of the story, so nevermind.



It’s Time To Lose The Edinburgh Pandas

It’s finally become clear. This wasn’t about 5G or Bill Gates secretly creating coronavirus so he could get us Googling for things on Bing. This was always about the pandas.

The giant pandas that we have in the UK may have to go back to China because of Edinburgh Zoo’s ‘financial pressure'. China was playing the long-game to get them back. It’s the only possible explanation for COVID if you disregard all the ones that make sense.

Sure, whoever wanted the pandas back could have mounted a rescue operation with helicopters and SWAT-style teams but that wouldn’t have been their area of expertise. They were animal experts so they used what they knew and they created a pangolin and bat that exchanged bodily fluids. They next thing we knew, bang, the virus is out there making zoos fail.

With hindsight it is obvious that zoos were going to struggle during a pandemic. If I wanted to see a smelly animal that’s trapped in a small space I’d watch myself in lockdown. The zoo animals have someone who brings their food round so they have a better way of life than those of us who queued for the local Asda.

Edinburgh Zoo’s two giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang, have been in Scotland for a few years now. Their lease at Edinburgh Zoo is due to expire at the end of the year and it's unclear if the zoo can afford to keep them. I think this might be time to do a sour grapes pivot and reframe these pandas as a bad thing.

They sit around all day living off our money, and we have enough of that already. So get Priti Patel to send them back. That’ll cheer some people up in this Brexit era.

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Here's Why You Won't Do A New Year's Resolution

As the New Year gets started most of us are probably thinking about resolutions. We’ll be wanting to be healthier, thinner, less of a piss-head and more successful. Those urges will, on average, last for about three days but maybe it’s better that way.

If you were to try to improve yourself and it actually took you might become a right old twat.

A new piece of research has found that people who meditate or work to achieve a higher level of inner peace are more likely to be a right piece of work. They were found to have “spiritual superiority”. It’s ironic because all of that meditation and self-work is supposed to make you less judgemental. Imagine how big of a git the Dalai Lama must be.

We have all seen the type, someone who loves to mention how much they love yoga, alternative medicines and kelp. They seem like they are up their own arses and thanks to the yoga they can reach.

You can see where the trap lies. One of the goals of meditation is to let go of your ego, and if you get good at doing that you will feel a sense a pride, which will fuel the ego.

The logical conclusion is obvious. If you want to be a good person do very little. Self-improvement is a path to failure. Enlightenment will make you smug. The best thing you can do to be a force for good in this world is to stay flawed with your ass planted firmly on your sofa. It keeps you grounded.

In fact, if you are a poor excuse for an individual not only will you avoid hubris you’ll also make everyone else feel good about themselves by comparison.

So that’s my New Year’s Resolutions sorted and this year I might be able to stick to them.

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[Video] Topical Comedy Steve - Bits of CSP S02E16 - Tiers and Bum Smuggling

Catch up with some of the news of the week with this topical comedy show. It's from the Comics Solving Problems web series.

In this episode it's the three-tier system of the UK that gets unpicked a news on how to smuggle gold.



6 in 10 Want a Circuit-Breaker

Six in ten people want us to have a circuit-breaker lockdown. This is according to a new survey in the UK, which might not be that accurate. There must be people who totally love to stay at home, so they’d be up for another lockdown and they’re unlikely to have been stopped in the street by someone with a clipboard. So it could be even higher than six in ten.

The survey says people with rather have a short, sharp shock than the current situation where England has split into areas in three different tiers of COVID lockdown.

Those against a circuit-breaker claim that it would simply delay the inevitable. That’s a good move if we are close to a vaccine, but an extra 28 days isn’t enough to get us the cure. If that were the case we could talk the scientists into pulling some double shifts and not taking any holidays.

If we hold back the winter spike by a month we could see more problems happen around Christmas. Already some people are saying Christmas will be cancelled this year. That’s only bad if you like your in-laws. There could be many people who would be grateful of a Yuletide lockdown. Six in ten, maybe.

It’ hard to know if we are in a worse situation than before the main lockdown. We have far more detected cases but back then we were only testing people who presented with symptoms. We’re now testing more people so you’d expect to see more official cases.

The steep increase in cases since we started wider testing is the worrying stat. Would the circuit-breaker be good? We could wait to see what happens in Wales.

In Wales they are currently doing a firebreak. I am not sure if there’s a difference between a circuit-breaker and a firebreak. Maybe the got a focus group and found that a firebreak sounds sexy but a circuit-breaker sounds like the kind of thing that annoys you when you’re trying to mow the lawn.

If it helps Wales maybe we should do the same. But if it brings the infection rate down in Wales, what is more likely is that the restrictions will be eased and loads of people from England will go there and cough a lot.

While six in ten might be thinking of what’s best for everyone, that’s means four in ten are all about themselves.



Is It Time To Panic Buy Yet?

 Have you done your panic buying yet? I do most of mine online, and spread it out over a few weeks.

Last week some shops asked people not to panic buy. That was probably the worst thing they could do. As soon as you hear that you think, “Does that mean other people are panic buying? I don’t want to be left behind, I’d better pop to the shops for a quick panic buy.”

The cynical part of me wonders if some shops are hoping for a little run on some products to boost their sales figures. If they’re struggling to shift a certain item, issue a press release asking people to not panic buy it all, and they’ll sell more. It’s the only reason I have so many tins of sardines in. I don’t even like sardines.

I thought we learned from last time. When the original lockdown came in a lot of us bought more than we needed. The most highly sought-after product in March was the humble loo roll.

We all saw the news reports of some corner shops charging exorbitant prices for a roll. With the price of toilet roll going up and the pound going down, put it this way, it’s a good job they got rid of the one-pound note.

I didn’t think I was a panic buyer but even I felt the urge to pick up some spares if I was near the shops. You don’t need too many details here but I haven’t had to buy any more toilet rolls since then.

Given that we have so recently been through a panic buying pandemic I expected better from us. The fact that we still have items from the first surge tells us we don’t need to do it. We saw images of people working long shifts for the NHS, saving people’s lives, going to the shops on the way home and not being able to buy the bare essentials.

No one wants to see that again and we can surely remember that we don’t have to be selfish in the shops. It doesn’t stop some. I saw a picture of a woman leaving a supermarket with bags of pasta and around 128 rolls. That looks like the picture of someone who doesn’t know they’re gluten intolerant.

If I can’t say not to panic buy without causing it, and I can’t tell you to panic buy, all I can say is this. I have loads of loo roll left if you need to buy some.

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[Video] Comics Solving Problems - S02E16 - Trump's Immune Response & BoJo's Mojo

When lockdown stated the Comics Solving Problems show began. Lockdown restrictions came and went and are currently coming back to say hi again. The new version of the show is still out there keeping up with the news for you. It's Comics Solving Problems.

Through the week you can send in the lockdown-related questions you have and during the show we will answer them to the best of the abilities two home-working stand-ups can.

In this episode they look at Donald Trump's dose of COVID, how to fight coronavirus like Trump and in UK news, what is Boris Johnson going on about?

Here's S02E16.



How To Mock Trump Now

What is a satirist to do with Trump?

The news that the President of the United States of America has contracted the coronavirus has left some of us in a difficult position.

Even though we have had to see some pretty shocking news in recent years, most of the topical comedians are still human. You know, deep down. When you hear the news of a man in his seventies contracting a virus that can be fatal to people in that age bracket, you have empathy.

Science tells us that the virus is really tough for those who are overweight. Now, some say Donald Trump lies about his height to bring his BMI down but viruses don’t check paperwork. It’s another reason show concern for someone who is ill.

If we were only listening to the angel that pops up on our shoulder that would be the end of it. But the devil on the other shoulder loves to point out the hypocrisy. When a man who has belligerently said the coronavirus would be gone by the summer catches it in autumn, it’s worth a mention.

When someone who has recently said publicly that COVID-19 affects “almost no one” gets affected by it, how can we not sarcastically say, “So you’re calling yourself a no one?”

He held rallies where his supporters defiantly refused to wear a mask. That’s because the wearing of a bit of fabric over your breathing parts as a small effort to help everyone else has become a political issue.

It was surprising as Donald has been known as a germaphobe for quite some time. Most germaphobes would like people to wear masks even when there’s no pandemic but the political capital to be gained by making the “do-gooders” seem bad was too tempting. And look where it’s got him.

Even the most sympathetic commentator must find irony in the man who said to use bleach as a cure is now in a hospital using proper drugs suggested by proper doctors. He suggested putting UV light in the body. Did he try putting a sunbed lamp up his botty before trying real drugs?

Just as the poetic irony of the situation starts to entertain there will be a ping on my phone from a news app telling me that doctors say the next 48 hours will be critical for him. That jolts me back to thinking that no matter what point of view someone has held, you shouldn’t make light of something that could cost them their lives.

Show sympathy. That can’t be wrong. And just as soon as I start to think that social media shows me the conspiracy theories that he doesn’t have COVID and he’s only doing this to get out of the future debates. His current narrative is that his opponent Joe Biden is old and frail. If Trump can claim to have had a case of the tough COVID but walked it off in a few days he can look fit by comparison.

Now I don’t want to fall into the trap of giving sympathy if it’s not due but I don’t want to accuse someone of pretending to be ill in case they go on to die.

There was another conspiracy theory that claimed the President was hiding a secret oxygen tank about his person and using a mask to cover the nose attachment. Several mainstream media outlets have claimed that’s nonsense but I remember someone saying those outlets peddled “fake news”. I wonder who could have said that?

What about all of those Trump supporters who claimed that coronavirus was a hoax? Do they see the contradiction of their position or do they think this proves that people can catch made up illnesses. Be careful when you pretend is real, some people could catch that. I’m terrified that I might come down with a case of The Phage from Star Trek Voyager.

I haven’t noticed many Trump supporters saying sorry for thinking this virus that killed over one million people was a hoax. They are too busy saying that Trump critics shouldn’t mock him. They ask how the left would like it if it was one of their figureheads who got ill. Maybe people replied with the clip of Trump mocking Hilary Clinton after we heard she had pneumonia. Even more hypocrisy.

Donald has been rude about people with illnesses and dismissive of the disease he now has. His actions may well have led to more people catching this potential killer. And yet, I still don’t want to mock him. He’s an old man who is ill.

Donald, get will soon, so we can get back to pointing out what a hypocrite you are.

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[Video] Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems - S02E15 - Unpresidential Debates & Celebrity Lockdown Breakers

When lockdown stated the Comics Solving Problems show began. Lockdown restrictions came and went and are currently coming back to say hi again. The new version of the show is still out there keeping up with the news for you. It's Comics Solving Problems.

Through the week you can send in the lockdown-related questions you have and during the show we will answer them to the best of the abilities two home-working stand-ups can.

In this episode we look at the messy scrap that was the US presidential debate and in the UK some big names have been breaking lockdown.

Here's S02E15.



Back To The Home Office

Here we go again. It seems like only last week we were being told to get back to work. That’s because we were being told that last week. This week we’re being told to work from home.

Michael Gove was interviewed on the TV and he called it a, “Slight shift in emphasis.” It wasn’t that long we were told that if we didn’t get back into the office we might be easier to sack. Now they’re telling us to work from home again. It’s less of a slight shift of emphasis and more like a 180-degree turn.

I’d love t see Michael Gove commentating on rally driving. He would excitedly tell us about the moment the driver pulled up the handbrake as he went round the corner, performing a stunning slight shift in emphasis.

Even if this coronavirus hadn’t happened working from home should be allowed anyway. We don’t have to be facing a global pandemic to find a way to spend less of our lives in traffic.

The real problem is that home-workers don’t pop into a coffee shop for spend a tenner on a drink and sandwich. Those purchases keep the economy going.

I’ll meet the economy halfway. If I am working from home I will recreate a coffee shop experience. I can make my own coffee, I can try to force myself to have a muffin too and then throw seven-quid away.

I know it’s a shame for the towns. Whenever I go into the centre of Sutton it’s sad to see so many shops closed. It looks like Outram Street did a few years ago. I try to remember that if we head back to a full lockdown the situation will be worse and some of those shops will stay closed permanently.

If you went back to work, I am not saying it is your fault. You were putting the effort in and following the advice we were given. Don’t lose heart because at some point in the future will we need to have that attitude again.

It feels like a moment where the people who tried to get us back into the office should admit their were wrong but that never happens these days. Politicians insist they were right before and they’re right now they’re saying the total opposite.

If they get things wrong they deny it. If we get things wrong we risk a £10,000 fine.

I don’t know why I’m so angry about working from home. I don’t have any work at the moment anyway.



The New Baby Name List Is Out - Big Whoop

The list of popular baby names has been released again. Oliver and Olivia have remained at the top, which shows how uncreative we are. I am more impressed that we have the list at all.

At the start of the lockdown many people predicted another baby boom. If we were all stuck at home, unable to leave and only so many episodes of Tiger King available, the assumption was we’d get up to all kinds of naughty fun. An increase in the birthrate was expected to be nine months down the line.

It looks like we were wrong. There hasn’t been a noticeable increase in pregnancies but I saw one news story saying the number of couples applying for a divorce was double what you’d expect.

Having more time together doesn’t lead to more romance, it makes us notice what we can’t stand about someone.

People thought it would be like the baby boom of the mid-twentieth century but that was fuelled by men coming home from a war. Their wives hadn’t seen them in ages and couldn’t keep their hands off them. If they had seen their hubbies sitting around the house all day, with their unshaven faces sticking out of their food stained t-shirts, history may have been different.

It's also worth remembering that the post-war baby boom was in a time before the pill was invented. Even if couples passed their lockdown getting friendly it wouldn't always make babies.

Congratulations to you if you are having a post-lockdown baby. I hope you'll have a very happy family life, but when you get to the school gates in a few years time listen out to how many parents call their children things like, “Miracle,” “Longshot” or “Jesus,” because it must have been an immaculate conception.

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