Car Crash Radio

There was a story in the newspapers that suggested listening to Radio 4 could make you a worse driver. Don’t dismiss this out of hand. I know Radio 4 is only a brand but so is BWM and there’s definitely a link with being a worse driver there.

The research found that drivers who tune in to speech-based radio rather than music may be more likely to crash. One theory is that it’s the made dash to change the channel as soon as you hear The Archers theme tune.

Researchers found volunteers drove too fast, drifted out of their lane and frequently forgot to indicate when they were distracted by radio chatter. It seems hard to believe as not much of the chatter on Radio 4 is that gripping. If listening to someone moan about the returns policy on their new blender on You And Yours gets you distracted you were not really paying attention to the road in the first place.

Although tuning into musical stations also increased the error rate, it was to a much lesser extent. That is worrying. As someone who presents a music-based radio show every weekday I am concerned about my death toll.

It was experts at the National Institute of Technology in India who recruited 64 young men and got them to repeatedly complete a seven-mile journey in a built-up area using a driving simulator.

Hang on. They were in India. If they were listening to Radio 4 the size of the aerial will be part of why they drove so badly.

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"Kids Prefer This Utter S***-Tip Mess," - Gillian Keegan

The Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said that children actually prefer being taught in portacabins.

It’s like she’s trying to make her career collapse faster that a RAAC school.

Thanks to some of our schools being made out of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete some schools are at risk of collapse. Why was this type on concrete used? Apparently one of the reasons is that it’s lighter than standard concrete. Yeah, that’s the big problem we’d been having with schools. They were just too heavy. Thank god they fixed that.

Some classes have been moved into temporary spaces, and instead of being contrite about the mess, Gillian has claimed that pupils actually prefer it. She said, “In the first school I went to the children were all petitioning me to stay in the portacabin because they actually preferred it to the classroom.”

Now, she may be right. Let’s remember, the choice the kids are facing here is a portacabin or a building that might collapse on you. Out of those two, yeah, you’d prefer the portacabin.

It’s actually quite easy to get people to say they prefer option A when the other option is having a building collapse on them.

When you see those adverts that say 8 out of 10 cats prefer Whiskers, in the small print it explains, “...to having a building on them.” Cats are smart like that.

Also, these are kids. They’d prefer most things to being in a classroom. “Another day in school learning about trigonometry, or a day sat in a sweaty box like you’re a construction gang working on some new builds?”

Downing Street defended Ms Keegan. The PM’s official spokesman said she was simply “reflecting a conversation”. The Education Secretary was relaying the chat she had with a child. Thanks for the useful information.

What were we meant to do with that news? Are we to think, “What’s that, children like portacabins? Well, in that case, I’m actually glad the situation was handled so badly it was left till days before the term started that some children found out if they’d be getting an education.”

The spokesperson also said that PM Rishi Sunak still had full confidence in her, which is an omen on a par with saying you can’t wait to get home to your pregnant wife in a war film.

It’s not like Gillian Keegan has been know for responding with contrition before. She was recently in the news when she was caught on mic after an ITV interview saying, “Does anyone ever say: ‘You know what, you’ve done a f***ing good job, because everyone else has sat on their a*se and done nothing?’ No signs of that, no?"

Yes, Gillian. People do say that. But they say that to people who have done a f***ing good job. I wonder why you haven’t heard it.

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Body Part Art

In art news: An artist has created an exhibition using her own fingernails, blood and saliva. Look, we’ve all been struck by that mood where we can’t be arsed to go to Hobbycraft, but Christ!

It’s Pamela Schilderman who spent two years working on Ecology Now, which is the exhibit that she really put herself into. It’s a comment of the concept of humans being the height of evolution. Although you could also spin it as a comment on the cost of living crisis and a top tip on how to save money on pencils and paint.

We’re all lucky she’s not going through her brown period.

Of all of the works I feel that the one with her fingernails is the most impressive. We can all churn out a pint of blood (the equivalent to an armful in old measures, you’ll remember) and if you want to produce a lot of saliva you can train yourself with a bell (which is an even more dated cultural reference).

Getting a lot of fingernails takes dedication. Sure, you can take a multivitamin to help but it’s still a long-term project.

Give it a few weeks and this will turn into one of those stories when a cleaner saw some muck, cleared it up, and accidentally threw away a work of art.

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So... It's An Inkjet?

Scientists have done it again. They have achieved a breakthrough that no one asked for but that didn’t stop them. We now have the technology to 3D-print vegan squid rings.

I suppose it is impressive that we can eat things we have printed. You were always able to do this if you really wanted to but it would have tasted a bit like paper.

While this is good news for a few nerds and probably great news for some real squid who will be happy to be replaced by the printed variety, this probably won’t affect many of us.

It’s actually a protein concoction that’s made from algae and beans or something that’s very Holland and Barrett, but they claim it tastes like squid.

The problem with this claim is that squid doesn’t really taste of anything, so it’s easy to copy. In a blind taste test it’s hard to tell squid rings from the little beige elastic bands that postmen leave everywhere. It’s basically the salt that saves them.

I’m still wary of trying 3D-printed food. I’m no Luddite but I know what it’s like try to print with my normal 2D laserjet. I’m worried that I’ll die of hunger while still trying to get the WiFi to connect.

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Whoop! Whoop! It’s Suella On The Police

The Home Secretary Suella Braverman has written about her plans for the police and that’ll make some people worried. She had a personal dream of seeing people on flights to Rwanda, and when she lost the job as Home Secretary we all thought she’d only realise her dream by working for easyJet.

She got the gig back and now she has spoken of her policing plans. If we look at the individual things she said most of it won’t be triggering.

She said police should concentrate on “getting the basics right” in tackling crime and keeping people safe. Who could disagree with that? People may argue about the method of doing it but that goal is surely universal.

She wrote, “I will give the police all the powers and resources they need to combat anti-social behaviour and crime.” She probably won’t because that would cost a lot of money, and one of the resources they probably need is more police, but again, the goal is good.

She spoke of the commitments made by all forces to attend every house burglary. The only people who don’t like that are the burglars.

The problem is these easy to like aims will probably turn out to by lip-servicing catchy soundbites. She is known for those. She gave us the soundbite, “Guardian reading, tofu-eating wokerati,” which is odd because if the Home Secretary actually had an issue with your source of protein it seems a bit “nanny state” of her. But she said it to appeal to the kind of people who think they don’t like the Guardian reading tofu types.

The mask slipped slightly when Suella said police should not be posing for selfies with protesters but arrest them. They’re different types of protesters. It wasn’t the ones glued to the M25 that the police had a photo with and if it was it must have been the police taking it. The protesters’ hands were a bit busy.

Much of what is being said may be less about actual plans and actually be trying to impress the readers of certain right-leaning newspapers. So let’s look further into the article. Suella also said she is scrapping the need for new recruits to have degrees because, “Someone without one might have excellent technological skills or high emotional intelligence.”

Emotional intelligence? Oooh, feelings. How’s the tofu today, Suella?

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Prince Harry’s Frostbitten Bits Remedy

Prince Harry’s book Spare has been in the news almost non-stop. I was upset when I found out it wasn’t about his time ten-pin bowling.

One particular passage that has received a lot of attention covers the time Harry damaged his penis. He couldn’t call it his Willy as he used that as a term for his brother, and future king, all the way through the book.

In the section in question he talks about getting a frostbitten penis. That sets up a joke about his wife but only Jeremy Clarkson would do that these days.

Thankfully a frostbitten peen isn’t a common ailment in the UK and he suffered this problem when he was going to the North Pole. That’s the actual place and not the strip club in Manchester.

It’s so cold at the North Pole that is can damage your old fella, which gives you a whole new appreciation for when Santa has to go through.

In the book the Duke of Sussex says his penis was "borderline traumatised" by the injury. How do you know that your penis is traumatised? I guess it was weeping, but that can happened after a visit to the North Pole, and in this case I mean the Manchester club.

Harry then went into detail about putting Elizabeth Arden cream on his "todger". I can understand why he tried it. It doesn’t take too much of a mispronunciation of Arden before you think it’s a good penis cream indeed.

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Too Many children?

If you think you had your fill of family over the Christmas period spare a thought for this guy. A polygamous dad with 102 children has told 12 of his wives to go on pill because he can’t cope.

With 102 children around it’s amazing that he gets enough alone time with any of his wives to actually make the 103rd.

With 102 children and 568 grandchildren birthday gifts must bankrupt him. He can’t go and get extra work to cover it because all of his spare time will be spent wrapping. Wrapping the gifts, not anything else. If he would have popped something in a wrapper he might not be having this many kids.

He has now ordered his wives of "child-bearing age" to take the contraceptive pill. Just when the other wives were thinking their luck was in. It’s great that he didn’t think of this before he got to 102 kids.

Musa says he struggles to tell his grandchildren apart and doesn't know some of them by name. That part is understandable. With so many children I’m shocked they all have names. It must be tempting to start adding numbers into the naming system like astronomers do with new planets.

His advice is to not marry more than four women. Obvious advice for most of us but really mean news for his wife number 5. After saying that about her, don’t worry, you won’t need her to take the Pill.


Man with 9 wives... made a rota

♬ original sound - Steve N Allen
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Are You A Netflix Criminal?

You might be a criminal and you don’t even know it. I would call you scum but I don’t want to upset you because you know what you criminal types are like.

It is now officially a crime to share your Netflix password. Thankfully it doesn’t effect me as I would never be so low as to share my password, but it is very bad news for the person whose password I use.

According to the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) password sharing for streaming accounts may amount to ‘secondary copyright infringement’. Avoid any risk of that by getting your TV from bit torrent websites via the Tor browser because you wouldn’t want to do any secondary copyright infringement, would you?

It’s still one of those crimes that people struggle to take seriously probably because we can’t imagine being in prison, having the, “So what are you in for?” moment and having to say, “Watching that Harry and Meghan documentary.”

If you did end up in the slammer for it they would probably make a TV show about you, which would be on Netflix, not that you’d get to see it.

Netflix has started to clamp down on customers sharing their accounts with people they do not live with. To be fair they dropped their cheapest offering to £4.99 a month so it’s still better to pay that than move in with someone just to get their free Netflix.

Disney+ does not allow users to share their password with other households. Amazon Prime customers can share their account with one other person.

That one seems like a risk. With the others the biggest risk is that the viewing habits of the person with your password might impact the suggestions you get from the algorithm, but with Amazon Prime they can order all kinds of items to be sent to your house.

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Liz Truss's Money For Nothing

A petition has been started to stop Liz Truss claiming her ex-PM benefits. And you’d imagine the average Liz Truss fan wouldn’t like people on benefits.

As it stands she will be entitled to claim up to £115,000 from the taxpayer per year. It would make her 50-ish days in the job some of the best paid work ever. When she promised she’d make the UK a high wage economy we didn’t realise she meant just for her.

It’s the Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA), which was introduced to assist former prime ministers still in piblic eye. That raises an important question, will we still have Liz Truss in the public sphere? Will she be called up to use her valuable experience? Unless someone needs advice on how to tank the economy and tank it fast, she might not be the go-to girl.

Will she write a book, like David Cameron? It would be a pamphlet.

Surely her best bet would to be on I’m A Celebrity and therefore she can earn her own money.

It seems unfair that someone can claim all of that money when they resigned after 44 days. If it were a normal job, she’d still be on the probationary part of the contract. She wouldn’t even get paid holidays yet.

To do this when the rest of the nation has to deal with a cost of living crisis seems perverse. The only hope is at that at this rate pretty soon everyone will have had a stint at being PM. If we all get £115,000 a year we have a basic income by the backdoor. Imagine if that was the legacy of Liz.

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Suella Braverman's Classy Deportment

It’s hard to know if this Government is in crisis or if they just enjoy leaving do cake. Another minister has gone. Hot on the heels of Kwasi Kwarteng, who was fired for his mini-budget, we see Home Secretary Suella Braverman leave her post.

Over the past few (what feels like weeks but is) days we have heard of the Hone Secretary disagreeing with the PM on policy. Well make up your mind. Kwasi was sacked for agreeing with Liz Truss, Suella for disagreeing.

Suella was home secretary for only 43 days but by the standards of this administration that’s actually quite a long time. At 43 days at least she got to turn over the page on her wall calendar.

Suella said she was asked to resign after ‘sending an official document from her personal email to a trusted parliamentary colleague as part of policy engagement’. The details are set out in the letter she sent to the PM that Suella tweeted. We’re not sure she was meant to tweet that. With her security record maybe she thought that was how you send it to print.

In the letter she says that she ‘reported her mistake as soon as she realised’, but that stepping down was ‘the right thing to do’. Oooh, nasty. That’s dropping some serious hintage to anyone else who might have recently said sorry for making a mistake. *coughs while saying Liz Truss*

To add context, Suella’s mistake didn’t cause the pound to crash and for mortgages to cost more just at the time when everything else is already flipping expensive.

Ex-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been announced as the UK’s new home secretary. So, that’ll be a fun week for him.

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Another One Bites The Truss

Previously on Liz Truss. The UK PM said that she wouldn’t perform a U-turn on her Chancellor’s plan to abolish the 45p tax rate in the mini-budget. That plan was then scrapped but Liz Truss said she wouldn’t change direction on scrapping the increase to corporation tax. Oh, and Kwasi Kwarteng insisted, “I’m not going anywhere,” when questioned in the news. I think that sets it all up nicely.

And now the conclusion.

Liz Truss has sacked Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor. As Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has been saying, Liz Truss fired Kwasi for carrying out the policies of Liz Truss. It seems strange to blame him. We all remember her setting out her plans in the run up to the Conservative leadership selection.

It’s like when you have a builder come round, look at your extension and say, “I don’t know which cowboy you had doing this,” and you point out it was them!

But, Liz Truss decided Kwasi was not to be trusted with the UK economy. If he was willing to listen to people like Liz Truss, she couldn’t rely on him.

Then came the U-turn on corporation tax (which won’t make us worse than the rest of Europe,
here are some figures on that). The rate of U-turning is so impressive if you could hook a generator up to her we wouldn’t need to develop more wind farms, which she would be happy about.

The new Chancellor is Jeremy Hunt, which is bad news for radio broadcasters everywhere. He has the name that you get wrong once and never work again. The only way it could be worse for radio presenters is if the new Heath Secretary was someone called Vassive Magina.

In a tweeted letter to Truss, Kwarteng began: “You have asked me to stand aside as chancellor. I have accepted.” Some people are saying Liz Truss threw Kwasi under the bus but thanks to decades of cutbacks there was never a risk of a bus turning up. He’ll be fine.

Is Kwasi carrying the can? Why doesn’t he use that suitcase they have in Number 10? You can carry bottles in that.

This reshuffle came before Liz Truss held an emergency Downing Street press conference. It was nice to see one of those that didn’t result in us having to avoid the pub and wear a mask for two years.

Did this settle the markets? It’s too early to tell. The markets surely were aware that Kwasi wasn’t the only brain behind the plan and the other author is still in the top job. Plus, once the markets get spooked it’s harder to settle them. If you were upset by someone slapping you on the head with a dead fish and then they U-turned on that policy, you’d still remember that they were willing to trout you up in the first place. Or first plaice. It’s my fault for starting the fish puns.

As everyone takes their side in the Twitter shouting match it is worth remembering that part of the problem here is the way the mini-budget was done. Even if you like the ideas you have to admit the lack of mathematical rigour caused much of this mess. If they had shown their workings we might not be paying through the nose for our variable mortgages.

Now we have a situation where everyone who hated the mini-budget is upset that they tried it and everyone who liked it is upset that they folded.

Labour and the SNP have called for Liz Truss to resign. That’s what people said about Boris Johnson presuming it couldn’t get any worse. Imagine what the next one could be like. It's the same mindset as a Doctor Who troll.

To be continued... probably.

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Your Essential Guide to (The Odd Bits) of the Coronation

The details of King Charles' coronation are being released and like most traditions in the UK there’s a fair amount of oddness that we would judge if it was another country doing it.

Remember, we’re the country that burns an effigy of someone every year in November. If you saw that happening in the Middle East you’d condemn it as savage but when we do it it’s seen as entertainment for the kids.

During the coronation there will be moments of pageantry. Here are the stages it will go through.

The first stage is “Recognition”. This rite dates back to ancient procedures of the Witan – the supreme council of England in Anglo-Saxon times. I would have assumed that’s where Charles turns up and people say, “Oh, hey, Charles” And that way we know the right person is being made king.

What actually happens is the sovereign turns to show himself "unto the people". He’ll turn east, south, west and north. Despite frantic Googling it has not been confirmed if he must do this with the royal dong out.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will proclaim Charles the "undoubted King". Or he might say something about vaccines or gender just to wind people up, which is what he does a lot these days.

Then we move onto the “Coronation oath”. In this oath the King will promise to reign according to law and exercise justice with mercy. It’s OK though because even if he doesn’t promise that there’s not much he can do. It’s mainly prop work.

The King then kisses a Bible, as inspired by someone who’s away on business and had too many miniatures from the little fridge in the hotel room.

Then get ready for “The anointing”. The sovereign is "anointed, blessed and consecrated" by the Archbishop of Canterbury. That means you can’t install double-glazing on him or change exterior walls. Or maybe that’s when he’s Listed.

The anointing is done with holy oil. If he pays extra it might have a holy happy ended, or am I thinking of the wrong royal?

The archbishop will use a golden eagle-shaped ampulla to pour the oil. That bit sounds like it’s made up but it honestly isn’t. The whole event would fit into an Indiana Jones film.

Traditionally the choir sings the anthem Zadok The Priest as the anointing is carried out but seeing as the theme to this coronation is “Cost of Living Crisis” maybe it will be a short advert for Castrol GTX to bring in some sponsor money.

Under the chair is expected to be the Stone of Destiny. That can happen when you’re nervous sometimes.

Then we move to the “Investiture”. The King will put on a sleeveless white garment called the Colobium Sindonis and then go and try to kiss Hermione Granger. He then puts on the Supertunica, a robe of cloth of gold from Claire’s Accessories.

The King then gets a jewelled sword, golden spurs, armills, the Robe Royal gold cloth, an orb, the coronation ring, the sceptre and the rod and the last one to put something on him before he bucks wins.

Then the crown goes on and the congregation shouts "God Save the King". Save him?! You’d be lucky to find him in there.

For the “Enthroning” he is lifted by the bishops who will be regretting putting that many heavy mental objects on him.

A lot of this seems silly and outdated but if it gives us an extra Bank Holiday it’s all fine with us.

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Podcast - What’s In A Storm Name

The list of names that will be used for this year’s storms has been published. The practice of naming storms has been copied from America but is it something we should be doing?

Giving a storm a nice friendly name, like we do to our pets, might make us less afraid of the destructive force of these natural events.

It’s also really unlucky for anyone who shares their name with a storm. If your namesake storm is a bad one it will change the way people respond to you. You introduce yourself at a party with a simple, “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m Steve.”

The person you’re talking to could then run off and someone will say, “Don’t mind her. She lost her family in Steve three years ago.”

If you live in America and you are called Katrina there must have been a stage when you opted to go by cat.

This topic and much more (including the breakdown of the HMS Prince of Wales and the Queen changing the venue for swearing in the new UK PM) is covered in this episode of the Mr Steve N Allen On The Radio podcast.

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