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Article, Comedy

7 Completely Mental Reasons Why 2016 Will Almost Certainly Kill You

Author: Steve Head

Illustration: Chris Hollis

Hot on the heels of Genghis Khan and Mosquitoes, 2016 is staking its claim as one of the most prolific killers in human history. Having already felled lovable Potions Master Severus Snape and dapper space-hobo Ziggy Stardust, the murderous four-month old recently claimed another high profile victim, the Former Symbol Otherwise Known as The Artist Previously Referred to Once As Prince. Unable to mourn their idol fully due to the fact that all but two of his funky videos have been removed from Youtube due to ‘money’, fans of the diminutive song-doer turned to the Snapchats and the Twitterblogsphere to vent their frustration with a government that, they feel, isn’t doing enough to counter this new threat.

“I pay my taxes. Why should my children have to live in a world where 2016 could nob ’em off at any minute?” warbled one.

“I knew this would happen, ever since those shart biscuits in Westminster opened the borders and let 2016 sneak in undetected. This is why we’re better off isolated and utterly, profoundly alone. Vote Brexit!” splurted another, licking a crudely drawn finger painting of the Union Jack.

“I’m literally petrified,” shrieked a third, innaccurately, “I was immunised against Tetanus 32 years ago and now this happens?? The evidence is indisputable. Also, Roswell and Chemtrails.”

“I just ate a pair of scissors” chuckled a fourth, casually, before being immediately hospitalised.

The government deny any wrongdoing, citing the fact that 2016 is ‘just a time period comprised of 365 days in which things will probably happen.’ When pushed for further information a Whitehall spokesperson soiled himself and slapped a homeless man, before running headlong into a wall.

For its part, 2016 released a statement in which it explained that it was ‘only doing its job’ and that despite its awful, shitty, frankly homicidal behaviour it had ‘never been more popular on social media.’ Boasting that it had inspired more hashtags and Facepage statuses than ‘people eating food’, ‘slightly unusual weather’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ combined, 2016 insisted that it was also ‘way less cunty’ than 1521 in which 240,000 people were reportedly killed during the fall of the Aztec Empire.

Asked what the future held for it, 2016 tapped its nose and smiled coyly, saying that it preferred to play its cards close to its chest but that it had spent a lot of time lately hanging out with Keith Richards and ‘that prune-faced, daughter-chirpsing hatehole with a dusty merkin on its head that thinks it’ll be boss of America.’

Article, Comedy

John Barnes’ head used for drawing perfect circles in schools

Author: The Real Noose ( AKA Ciara Ginty )

Illustration: Mark Smith

In a strange turn of events, independent schools across the south of England have started using ex football player John Barnes’ head instead of a compass.

“It’s just a far more reliable way of drawing a circle” stated headmistress Claypool-Watfullford-Harringsmall of Barlingstone-Headlingwingle Academy for Boys “plus, it stops the boys from stabbing each other in the dorms. This way, only a sports man gets used, which is the way it should be.”

Other celebrities have been used for similar purposes, Robert Pattinson’s head was famously used to draw a perfect triangle from 2010-2014 and Reese Witherspoon was used for drawing straight lines, with pupils using the actress’ impressive jawline. Also, rather more shockingly, in 2007 Colin Farrell’s penis was used in universities to show how long 10 inches actually is.

“I’m getting paid well and it’s a great way to connect with kids and get them playing sports” Barnes told us, whilst lying his head on a year 8’s desk.

We want to hear from you, did your school ever use an appendage from celebrity? Do you think it’s just a good idea, or a great idea?


Waiting for “Making a Murderer 2”? Try The Lottery

Author: Rosie Allen

Illustration: Mark Smith

A second series of hit crime show Making a Murderer has been slated, meaning another round of amateur sleuthing on Twitter and several more hours of Steven and Ma Avery literally just saying the word ‘Yuh’ to each other on the phone.

But as we await the outcome of an investigation into alleged police corruption in the Steven Avery case, MAMs theme of small-town paranoia continues to reverberate in real-life. And it’s a well-used trope that has been morbidly entertaining us for centuries.

For many it isn’t just the alleged miscarriages of official justice systems that makes the Avery story so disturbing. Making a Murderer reveals the complex layers of life and society in a small community, and the Chinese Whisper effect that can turn friends and neighbours into pitchfork-toting vigilantes. It’s a primal fear and one that writers and film-makers have manipulated for decades to send shivers down even the most cynical of horror-buff’s spine, posing a nightmarish question: if society turns against you – maybe the neighbours you’ve known since you were a child; the law enforcement agencies who are charged to protect you; even your own family – can any reason or rationale truly save your skin?

Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Other Stories may have been published over 60 years ago, but her critique of small town paranoia, mob justice and ritual sacrifice could not be more prescient.  Both Making A Murderer and another recent Netflix rural-crime-and-justice doc, Brother’s Keeper, echo the time old fear of cold-blooded conformity and its devastating effect on communities. It’s what makes The Wicker Man so compelling, 1984 so terrifying and The Crucible so claustrophobic. Can you use fear to manipulate humans into behaving like, well, not-quite-humans?

Jackson’s motives for writing the suspenseful story echo these sentiments. She told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1948: ‘I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village, to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.’

While the sacrifice in the Lottery is horribly palpable, the symbolic ‘ritual’ murder of many by one is well-documented. Take just one of the many recent UK murder stories in recent years where a suspect deemed ‘strange’ because they reject social norms can be turned out into the cold by society and left as carrion for a gleeful press.

Jackson’s story has inspired popular culture immeasurably from The Simpsons ‘Dog of Death’ episode to the music of the high-priest of dark pop Marilyn Manson. The writer also counts record-smashing novelists Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt as fans.

The short story itself stoked the fires of controversy on publication, with readers calling it alternately ‘perverse’ and ‘pointless’ and Jackson receiving hate mail to her home, in an ironic twist that saw Jackson hounded by an outraged mob, many of whom had simply heard of its notoriety rather than having read it.

Allegedly even her parents hated it, with her father writing ‘[I]t does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don’t you write something to cheer people up?”’. Luckily Shirley knew her dad was being a basic bro and wrote the rest of the stories that make up the collection. Each story presents a vignette of dark suburban Americana featuring housewives on the border of a nervous breakdown, racism, kids considering cutting dogs heads off (yeah you read right) and small town paranoia. Each story ratchets up the tension to The Lottery’s gruesome climax.

So if your eyes are aching from your true-crime-based Netflix binge fest, but you still want to indulge your morbid side, try The Lottery. Who would have guessed that a retro horror writer could be so 2016?

Article, Think Piece

Fat for life

Author: Lydia Smith

Illustration: Chris Hollis


How is it that we can live in a society where a processed food giant (naming no names but rhymes with Hestlé) can be part of our solution to diet and lifestyle issues? Where they can have direct links with the Change For Life project that is at the forefront of the government’s approach to tackling obesity and encouraging healthy diet, exercise and not to mention (the forerunner for child and adult health) infant nutrition. So this company that makes its profit from marketing chocolate bars and infant formula is now part of the solution to our countries unhealthy lifestyles. Really…..

That is never ever ever ever ever ever ever going to work; it is like Benson & Hedges being part of the solution for smoking, or Smirnoff arranging the solution for alcoholism, or a Columbian drug baron having direct access to influence recovering cocaine addicts. Yes it is the same!

How did anyone ever think that this could work? Of course no one actually thought that it could work, I dispute the argument that people at those levels of power can be so fundamentally stupid. Stupid they are not, but open to bribery and an easy life, oh yes they definitely are. It is a shoe in, a quick fix, a price for their soul which the whole nation will pay for.

Of course these social solutions don’t work for the general population at all; they do however work for the big businesses that get unprecedented, direct and personal access to people who are in real need of genuine support.

But then this seems to be the current function of our governments; to facilitate big businesses to make even more money, with little or no regard for the individuals of this country, depending on how much they think they can get away with. And do not be fooled, if they think they can get away with it then they absolutely will.

We see it time and time and time again, they are exposed for the unmitigated corruption that they have been involved with, but then we have 20 enquiries and forget about the whole thing, leaving people open to the same abuses that they ever were.

There must be a solution – but the only way it can be tackled is by us, the consumer. Can we, together, take on these people and make the world a better place?

Article, Comedy, Think Piece

What is the internet?

Author: Danny Robertson

Illustration: Chris Hollis

What is the internet?

Some time ago, in a galaxy far far awa…. wait sorry, let me start again.

Some time ago, a friend (I believe it was Mr Plews) jokingly asked “What is the Internet?” I, perhaps only half-jokingly (or maybe quarterly, I lose track of the maths) suggested that “The Internet is kinda like being in a doctor’s crowded waiting room, where everyone has a loud speaker and Tourettes.” To this day, I’ve held on to that view.

I find myself sitting in this same waiting room quite often, perhaps too often to be considered healthy (but then, would I be sat here if I was healthy??), often sat g(l)azing over with a cocktail in hand (they have lax rules in there), perusing the crowd, many armed with photos of their cat, eating bacon. On one side, the well-meaning but ill-advised comedian, a Fozzy Bear-like character whom I don’t know whether to laugh with or throw tomatoes at. Or both. Didn’t I tell him that joke? One the other side, there’s a bizarre cabaret act, singing this odd little ditty:

“My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they’re like wait, are these vegan gluten-free cheeky Nandos zombie shakes? Were these made by immigrants? You’ve spelt my name wrong. Look at my beard though.”

Rang a few bells. I congratulated her on addressing the elephant in the room. She thanked me whilst escorting her bell-laden elephant out. I then wondered if I’d let the metaphors run away from me somewhat.

A young lad bursts in, yelling something which sounds like “Classic bants!”, whatever that means. Could’ve been “Classic pants”? We could see his pants. It’s tragic that our younger folk can use a phone but not fasten a belt.

One hungover-looking guy keeps showing me identical-looking photos of a pizza he ordered, but seems bemused by the concoction in my hand. Not wanting to cause a scene, or indeed a god damn arms race, I let him continue on his way, whilst he throws fruit at someone inexplicably stuck in a pout-faced pose. Cheeky mangos.

There’s an older looking couple in one corner, judging everything whilst reading a battered old manual from the 70s. Cheeky nans though.

Then there’s one person who keeps shouting bittersweet slogans and misquoting famous people in an almost Forrest Gump-style. Cheeky ‘nam flashbacks?

It’s odd how we keep finding ourselves back here, in some instances in the exact same Groundhog Day-style loop. I’m not quite ready for the padded room which I believe is only down the corridor, but please excuse me whilst I go for a shout.

Article, Comedy, satire


Author: The Real Noose ( AKA Ciara Ginty )

Illustration: Christopher Harrisson

In a study by the University of Massempalering, students found 78% of the 1,246 subjects shouted variants of “I’m still watching that” at Netflix when the “are you still watching” comment flashed on the screen.

Other frequently shouted terms (FST’s) were “no, no, quit it before it starts playing that!!”, “fucking Adam Sandler” and “why in the holy cock have they added Big Bang Theory?!”

“It was an inspired experiment” Dr Terrence Hatcher explained “but my ears hurt and I’ve seen Sons of Anarchy one thousand times now. Goodnight”.

After a quick poll, we found our office exclaims “skip the fly episode!!” the most whilst re-watching Breaking Bad.

We’d like to hear from our readers, what do you regularly shout at your tv? Also, is it indeed called ‘Netflix and chill’ because the selection is so poor that people just shag out of boredom? And number D, why did Chelsea Handler get her own series? Respond. Now.