Japanese Cheesecake

There’s three of them, all masked up in the doctor’s waiting room. Flu jab.

The Bloke is watching something with a violin soundtrack on his phone, and tells the others (because how often do you meet actual new people during a pandemic):

‘It’s a YouTube video on Japanese cheesecake. Looks lovely’.

Which leads to discussion about a really good chicken dish involving ginger, soy sauce and rice wine.

Lady 1 is called in for her jab.

The Bloke says to Lady 2:

‘Should have been a chef, not an accountant. Wanted to switch when I was 34, but they said it was too late’.

‘It’s never too late’, says Lady 2 encouragingly.

‘It is too late,’ he says. ‘Won’t ever have my own restaurant now.’

There’s a bit of a silence, then the Bloke gets called in for his jab.

‘Look up the Japanese cheesecake video, right?’

Lady 2 says she definitely will.


Daylight Robbery

Judge: ….we therefore sentence you to 30 days imprisonment for the crime of…

Robber: This is an outrage! I’m completely innocent!

Judge: My good man, you’ve just been found guilty by the court.

Robber: It’s a matter of interpretation, your Honour. I was simply being helpful by testing the security of the house in question.

Judge: You took half a million pounds worth of jewellery!

Robber: But I also fed the cat while I was there, which makes everything alright.

Judge: The verdict stands.

Robber: I don’t think so. If you won’t play ball, my Powerful Mate will have a special committee review your position and the structure of the courts.

Judge: So he’d sacrifice the rule of law just to overturn a 30-day sentence?

Robber: You’d better believe it – he’s not exactly squeaky clean himself, if you know what I mean. It’s a cracker of a plan. What could possibly go wrong?

‘Ex-PM John Major: Government handling of Paterson case shameful’: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59188972

‘Boris Johnson sleaze crisis deepens amid pressure on Covid deals’: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/06/johnson-sleaze-crisis-deepens-amid-pressure-on-covid-deals

‘Boris suffers brutal poll blow with his ratings plunging to worst EVER in wake of sleaze shambles’: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10174163/Boris-suffers-sleaze-row-poll-blow-ratings-plunging-worst-EVER.html

Polski Blues

For only the second time, my mum has a European carer. Her name is Lena, she’s Polish and she’s lovely.

On Day 2, I show her our food stockpile. It’s because of Brexit and Covid, I say. Don’t want to run short.

Brexit? she says.

The UK leaving the EU, I say.

Is it something you like? she asks.

No, no, no, I say – a complete disaster.

Because, she says, some in Poland are not so happy in EU. We are a proud country with tradition, we are Catholic, so maybe better not?

Oh no, no, nooooo, I think.

I say: Lena, please learn from our mistake. Keep your freedom of movement; stay in the Single Market.

She looks blank.

Final shot: I show her a Daily Mail poll in which just 36% said they’d vote out now.

Why have so many changed their minds?

For the first time she looks thoughtful.

That, she says, is a good question.

You Free?

Forget it, Nick, you won’t change my mind – I’ll never regret voting Leave. Our freedom from EU tyranny is priceless!

Nuff said, Gary. You free tonight? Fancy a game of darts down the Badger’s Arse?

Well, I’ve got a few things to sort out, like getting petrol cos FOR SOME REASON our usual petrol station’s run out, so I need to drive over to Lichfield to tank up… And then Trish wants to go to Morrison’s in Birmingham cos FOR SOME REASON the Weetabix, fish cakes, pizza, toothpaste and baby wipes didn’t come with the online shop. And get this, she wants to see if she can get a turkey now – in September! – cos FOR SOME REASON she thinks there’ll be a shortage at Christmas. Women, eh?

Soooooo, I take it you’re not free?


And you don’t think any of this is down to Brex—


Lost in Translation

Phone transcript: Foreign Office Flunky to the Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab, Amirandes Hotel, Crete – Friday 13 August 2021.

Foreign Office Flunky: Sir, we reckon Kabul’s about to fall.

Raab: You’re telling me why?

FOF: Erm… You’re head of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, sir. We need you to request top-level assistance from the Afghan foreign minister so we can get our interpreters out.

Raab: I thought everyone used Google Translate these days.

FOF: No, sir. Our interpreters do far more than translate, sir. Their cultural knowledge and diplomacy are vital to the work and safety of our troops. That’s why the risk of Taliban reprisals is sky-high and we need you to…

Raab: …yes, yes. Look, just delegate it, OK? Try Zac – they love a Lord.

FOF: But sir, time’s of the absolute essence.

Raab: It most certainly is. Happy Hour’s ticking away here!

Be there in a sec, darling. Make mine a Bloody Mary!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9906319/Dominic-Raab-busy-holiday-help-brave-translators.html, 18 August 2021

Clive Lewis, ‘I saw Afghan interpreters translate so much more than words’, The Guardian, 6 August 2021

Write to your MP: https://www.safepassage.org.uk/write-to-your-mp


pingdemic, noun; see also pandemic

This term surfaced in the UK media during the third wave of the COVID pandemic, and referred to the wildly increased number of NHS COVID app notifications—or ‘pings’—instructing individuals to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person. The term featured extensively in newspaper headlines such as ‘Fears over shortages as stores hit by pingdemic’ (The Times, 22 July 2021), and implied that ‘pings’ were responsible for retail staffing crises rather than the 40,000 daily new cases following Prime Minister Johnson’s wholesale lifting of COVID restrictions. This was much like suggesting a smoke alarm be blamed for a house burning down, as opposed to the actual fire or the fire brigade failing to show up. The origin of the term is unclear. Most likely a pun-loving journo after a very boozy lunch.

From Covidiot to Zoombombing: Lexicon of a Pandemic (Oxford 2027), p. 182.

Plague Island

2042 GCSE History Exam

Question 6. Why did Prime Minister Boris Johnson decide to proceed with so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on 19 July 2021 — despite a COVID-19 daily infection rate of 54,000, a population that was 48% unvaccinated, the heightened risk of Long COVID and vaccine-resistant mutations, and his Health Minister contracting the virus two days earlier?

a.  utterly incapable of learning from past mistakes

b.  reliant on swivel-eyed libertarian Tories to stay in power

c.  chance to implement the Social Darwinist herd immunity strategy called ‘Let the Bodies Pile High’

d.  privatising the NHS was easier once it was on its knees

e.  rampant case of Old Etonian God complex

f.  tanking the economy with a Hard Brexit somehow wasn’t enough

g.  bored, decided on a whim to ‘let it rip’

h.  what do the ‘experts’ know, anyhow?

i.  completely insane

j.  all of the above

10 bonus marks if you can name the landmark criminal negligence case brought against Boris Johnson in 2025: ________________________________________.

Graph from https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/, 18 July 2021. 

The Ketchup of Catch-up

JOHNSON: …our economy is slowly and cautiously picking itself up off the floor…there is every prospect that this country is poised to recover like a coiled spring…East Germany, a place of strange little cars with two-stroke engines and fake coffee…the ability of places to regenerate without discovering gold or oil under their streets…we don’t want to decapitate the tall poppies…to use a football metaphor the approach has always been to hang around the goal mouth rather than being the playmaker, or to borrow from the Bible, for biblical comparison, governments have created a sort of Matthew effect, to him that hath shall be given…levelling up is not a jam-spreading operation, it’s not robbing Peter to pay Paul…there is one final ingredient, the most important factor in levelling up, the yeast that lifts the whole mattress of dough, the magic sauce, the ketchup of catch-up and that is leadership.*

Everybody else: ?????

* Text taken directly from the PM’s speech on ‘levelling up’, given 15 July 2021:  https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/the-prime-ministers-levelling-up-speech-15-july-2021

Freedom Day

Talk Show Host: Please put your hands together for our special guest – THE DELTA VARIANT!

*wild applause as Delta waves & takes a seat*

TSH: Such a meteoric rise! Did that surprise you?

Delta: Well, I’m contagious and deadly, so I knew the odds were on my side. But it was really my mates who took me to the next level. Boris ‘Superspreader’ Johnson, I’m looking at you!

TSH: A good pal?

Delta: Oh yes. He let 28,000 potential carriers flood into the UK last April, and now 99% of cases are mine. 30,000 a day and rising! And the best thing? My very own ‘Freedom Day’ on 19 July — the masks are coming off and then it’s paaaarty time!

TSH: So how does that make you feel?

Delta: Incredibly grateful. I’d heard the Tories hated immigrants: Windrush, hostile environment, blah-blah-blah. But I’ve gotta say, I couldn’t feel more welcome on Plague Island.

*turns to camera and winks*

You know what? I think I’ll stay a while.

Stats from https://inews.co.uk/news/indian-variant-42000-passengers-travelled-between-uk-india-april-red-list-covid-variant-1025027 and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57755733 and https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases on 10 July 2021


when is a snog not just a snog?

the snogger is health secretary
during a pandemic
and tells
to abide by strict rules
that he himself

right around the country
people can’t hug or kiss
their loved ones
or be with them
as they die
while the snogger

the snogger appoints
the woman he is snogging
to a paid advisory role
then takes her
to the G7
on the
taxpayer’s dime

the brother
of the woman the snogger is snogging
runs a private health company
that’s received

the snogger’s
failure to protect
the elderly or care workers
leads to

the UK’s
Covid death toll is
while in other countries
like South Korea
pop. 50 million
it’s 2,008

the Prime Minister
won’t sack the snogger
he himself is
of all this
and more

The image we’ll never be able to unsee.