07/10/2020

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.


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05/10/2020

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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04/10/2020

[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.


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28/09/2020

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.

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28/08/2020

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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20/08/2020

[Columns] Eat Out To Help Out

Each week I write newspaper columns for a variety of titles across the UK. You can find then in London, Essex, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire and Hertfordshire.

With the UK struggling to get to grips with the corona crisis, I have been using more of the columns to find the uplifting angles to the main news.

In this one, from a newspaper in London, I take a look at the scheme to get us to eat out more to save the UK.

Click to have a read.






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From Comics Solving Problems

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14/08/2020

Hmm, Schools or Pubs? Hmm.

Many parents will be thinking, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to get these children back to school.” Now we are faced with actually answering that question.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that reopening schools is a “national priority”, which means other things may have to close.

The first time we heard of this ultimatum was when Prof Graham Medley from the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine spoke about it as an option. I always thought the name of that academic establishment really takes a leap half way through. “School of Hygiene,” sounds like wiping work surfaces down. “And Tropical Medicine,” is that Parrot fever?

Many people think that school children should be back to learning for the good of society but don’t make us pick between that and having a pint.

At first, I wasn’t sure why we’d have to shut pubs to let schools open. Is there a shortage of bouncers that are needed for both? The UK brought in a restrictions on opening hours for pubs during the First World War to stop workers in munitions factories drinking too much. Is that the problem with Year 7s now?

While open schools would help parents cope, some of them may need the pub too. Don’t make us choose.

Surely there are other types of shops that we close up again to open the schools. Tattoo parlours are open. If we shut those could we still have pubs open. In fact there’s an argument to be made that you shouldn’t have pubs and tattoos open at the same time anyway. It’ll stop people having the name of the person they’ve been dating for a week put on their back.

Shutting shops to open pubs would be a better solution. A lot of shops are shutting on their own. If we tally up WH Smiths, Debenhams, Pizza Express and Victoria’s Secret does it buy us a few classrooms?

I’d also nominate candle shops. Do we need so many? I haven’t had a power cut in years. I dated someone a while back who bought many candles but never lit them. She sad she bought them for the fragrance. If you can relate to that, try air fresheners. They’ll blow your mind.

Card shops could go too. In age of email we don’t need to send cards and during a pandemic we shouldn’t sell anything you lick and put in the post.

I think we could close some shops before the pubs, but knowing my luck the Government will agree with me and then they’ll pick the off licenses.
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30/07/2020

[Podcast] Comics Aren't Essential Ep32 - A Best Of Show

The Comics Aren't Essential podcast, the companion podcast to the web-streaming show Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems is up and running. Here you can get the audio from the live streaming shows and some podcast-only extras too.

In this episode we look back at the last 15 weeks of shows. It all started because of lockdown and now we pause to see what we have been through.

You can watch the videos of Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems here but meanwhile, get the podcast going.





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UK Government To Make Us All Look Fit

I am fat. I know this because I calculated my body mass index. I then tried to work out ways that I could prove BMI to be an unreliable measure. The classic case to mention is rugby players. Their BMIs are often in the overweight range but they’re athletes.

I, however, am not an athlete. And if the only sports person I can compare myself to are the ones known for downing pints, it’s a pretty weak argument. Deep down I know it’s right.

It’s something we might be hearing more as part of the Government’s new plan to get us fitter is to tell GPs to be frank. Our doctors should tell us, “You’re fat.”

I know what I’m like, I am oversensitive and I don’t take criticism well. When my doctor tells me I am fat I will probably retort with, “Well, playing golf isn’t exactly keeping you in shape either!”

Some people make the case that fat shaming, as it is known, isn’t going to help people. If something makes you feel bad you might turn to food to make you feel better.

I am not sure that your doctor would be fat shaming you in this instance. I presume your GP will only tell you the news and doctor-patient confidentiality prevents them from shouting, “Give way for fatso,” as you leave their office. They won’t post it on social media.

The only person who will know that you’ve been called out on your unhealthy size is you, so you could tell everyone in your life that you got a clean bill of health. If the doc every tells me I’m too large I’ll report back that he said I was in great shape for a rugby player.

While I don’t agree that these actions are fat shaming, I am not convinced that it will help. As a large chap I can tell you that we fat people are fully aware that we are fat.

You may think you’re bringing some new information to our attention but please remember, we see ourselves fresh out of the shower. We know what it’s like when we bend down to tie a shoelace and feel our stomach push one of our lungs into our neck. We were there when we had to undo our belt after winning at an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch. They are a competition, right?

However, I'm sure the Government's scheme will work and make us all thin. That's as long as they're not also telling us to “Eat Out To Help Out” at the same time.



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26/07/2020

[Podcast] Comics Aren't Essential Ep31 - Trump’s Memory, Mask Rules & Spies

The Comics Aren't Essential podcast, the companion podcast to the web-streaming show Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems is up and running. Here you can get the audio from the live streaming shows and some podcast-only extras too.

In this episode we look at how good Donald Trump is at remembering things, other than ‘to pay people’, the new rules in the UK about when we should wear masks, and after the Russia Report there’s a solution involving spies.

You can watch the videos of Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems here but meanwhile, get the podcast going.





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22/07/2020

Guess Who Just Got Richer (Hint: The Rich)

Are you tired of reading about how bad the economy is going to get? Sick of hearing about V-shaped recessions or U-shaped recessions, or a W-shaped one if there’s a second wave of infection? Maybe this will cheer you up.

There is news of someone doing well out of the pandemic. It’s Jeff Bezos. He’s the man behind the Amazon website and he’s the richest man in the world.

It’s actually an impressive achievement to be the richest man in the world when you remember that he has been through a divorce. He could easily have ended up with the title of “ex-husband to the richest woman in the world”.

In the space of one day recently Jeff got over £10billion richer. That should keep Jeff going for a while. He’s a long way off not knowing where the next meal is coming from. I’m sure he has Amazon Prime, so he could get one delivered within a day.

The reason he is richer is thanks to us. During the pandemic we have been staying away from shops and buying things online. I can understand why. If you shop online you don’t have to stand in a queue and you don’t have to wear a mask. Heck, you don’t have to wear trousers.

Many experts have been saying that this way of shopping will hit our economy. Well, now we know where all that extra money ended up. Jeff has it.

Mr Bezos is now estimated to be worth £148billion, which means his worth is only £11billion less than the GDP of Greece. To be fair, Greece isn’t that well off. Have you seen their tourist attractions? They’re in ruins.

I’m sure the news that Jeff Bezos is now even richer will make us all feel happier as we worry about our jobs.
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[Podcast] Comics Aren't Essential Ep30 - #RussiaReport, Vaccines & Trump’s Brawn v Brain

The Comics Aren't Essential podcast, the companion podcast to the web-streaming show Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems is up and running. Here you can get the audio from the live streaming shows and some podcast-only extras too.

In this episode we look at who Donald Trump could beat in a fight or in an IQ test, there’s a Covid vaccine and the Russia report told us something but does anyone know what?

You can watch the videos of Comics In Quarantine Solving Problems here but meanwhile, get the podcast going.





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