Friday, 16 May 2008

The Skies, The Limit

Despite what analysts are calling a “turbulent” year – in which fuel costs soared and Heathrow’s new Terminal 5 caused widespread travel chaos - British Airways has announced annual pre-tax profits of £883m – an increase of 44.5%.

However, although BA staff will be sharing bonuses totalling £35m, chief executive Willie Walsh has said he will not be taking his personal bonus entitlement of £700,000, claiming “it would be inappropriate in the context of the very disappointing opening of Terminal 5 in March.”

Long-suffering BA passengers, who are wearily waiting for the inevitable announcement of fare increases for all the usual reasons, united in their praise of Mr Walsh’s selfless act of personal sacrifice.

“Thanks to the efforts of Willie Walsh and his staff, I got three holidays in one,” said one traveller. “First I had a unscheduled extra day enjoying the thrillingly ultra-modern facilities of 21st-century, Richard Rogers-designed architectural masterpiece, then my luggage got a free tour of Europe, from which it’s only just returned - and I still had the holiday I’d originally booked! Marvellous.”

“Some people called for Willie Walsh’s head on a plate after the Terminal 5 shambles,” said another, “But that’s not fair. He should have his head on a spike for milking passengers dry and cynically claiming fuel costs as a handy excuse.”

Britain Remembers Wasteful, But Superficially Impressive Military Escapade

A flypast and remembrance service will be held today to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the legendary Dambusters raid in 1943.

The ceremony will be held at Derwent reservoir, and will feature a flypast by a Lancaster – the type of bomber used in the raid – a Tornado from 617 Squadron and, for no readily apparent reason, a Spitfire which had nothing to do with it whatsoever, but looks pretty.

The Derwent reservoir and dam were used for training by the original 617 Sqn aircrews. The Mohne and Eder dams actually breached during the raid - which was supposed to knock six months off the war – were not being used for the ceremony of remembrance because Britain prefers to focus on the shocking but heroic sacrifice of 40% of the brave crews, while Germans tend to be more aware that the majority of deaths caused on the ground were actually Russian women slave-workers drowned in their dormitories by the unleashed wall of water.

“Still, at least British Airways didn’t organise the mission,” said one aviation historian. “They’d have kept the planes sitting on the runway and posted the bombs to Rome, asking Mussolini to tell them where they should be delivered.”

Amy Winehouse - An Apology

Finally, an apology. Following an impassioned telephone plea from somebody who might or might not be something to do with Amy Winehouse, the Nev Filter would like to make it totally clear that the Troubled Singer is setting no example whatsoever to anybody at all, and is just an ordinary icon who wants to be left alone to pursue her drinking and substance-abusing career. We recognise that there are thousands of families who go through the tragic situation of coping with the devastating effects of singing and songwriting, and yet are allowed by the media to get through it quietly.

From now on, no mention will be made in the Nev Filter of Ms Winehouse’s unfortunate songwriting habit, and we apologise to readers for giving the impression that she might be in any way addicted to singing songs.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Armed and Extremely Rangerous

The Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police says she is “disappointed” after Rangers fans ran riot in the city.

Trouble flared when the giant screen in Piccadilly Gardens failed at 7.30pm. Angry supporters threw bottles at the screen, then at riot police. After five hours of running battles with the drunken fans, police managed to restore order to the streets, which were left strewn with broken glass and rubbish.

“I’m really sickened and disappointed,” said the Deputy Chief Constable, Justine Curran. “We don’t know much about football in quiet, sleepy Manchester, where friendly bobbies tip their caps politely to the peaceable, law-abiding citizenry when asked for the time. But if these idiots are willing to spend a small fortune travelling all this way just to watch football on a big telly when they could just have gone to their local or sat in their own front rooms, then I suppose they’re capable of any act of stupidity.”

US Recognises Climate Change Threatens Polar Bears, Shrugs

U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, acting on the advice of leading climatologists, has announced the listing of the polar bear as a threatened species.

Environmental campaigners’ celebrations were, however, halted three seconds later when he added, “I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting."

The listing, which complies with an order from a federal judge ordering the US government to make a decision by today, will not have any effect on American environmental policy, such as George Bush’s granting of even more oil and gas drilling rights in Alaskan polar bear territory back in February.

“What the administration is saying,” explained Mr Kempthorne, “Is that polar bears are fluffy and cute, and we recognise that. But you can’t run an SUV on them.”

Robotic Music 'Some Years Away', Says Expert

The world of music expressed mixed feelings after Honda’s robot made history by conducting an orchestra.

The 1.3 metre Asimo led the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a performance of The Impossible Dream, having been pre-programmed with the movements of a human conductor.

Music technology experts say that if, one day, some electro-mechanical means of sound reproduction were to be devised, machines might even make music all by themselves. “I envisage some kind of rudimentary engine – let’s call it a gramophone, or maybe a radio – which might, with God’s grace, have some slight ability to ape the sweet, uplifting cadences of musical instruments,” said leading 217-year-old technologist Sir Michael Faraday. “However, some poor deluded fools have lost their reason entirely, going so far as to foretell that some fiendish kind of ‘synthesizer’ contraption may one day be conjured up by evil scientists in their darkened laboratories - which could, entirely through the misapplication of electrical currents, contrive horrible noises all of its own and usher in entirely new kinds of so-called ‘music’. Let me state with authority that such an infernal machine - if it can even exist in the sight of the Lord - would only be capable of belching forth a staccato series of soulless, repetitive rhythms which would inevitably drive its unfortunate listeners into a mindless, animalistic frenzy. Heaven help us all.”

Honda, meanwhile, are said to be looking into the possibility of attaching Asimo to the front of a farmyard wagon in place of the familiar, trusty ox, with the ultimate goal of producing some form of self-propelled conveyance.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

MoD Releases Frisbee and Hubcap Sighting Reports

There have been more than 200 UFO sightings in the UK in the last year, according to freshly-declassified government documents.

Not only have some barmy, wide-eyed members of the British public seen UFOs, but some claim to have done so more than once or even on a regular basis.

“It’s probably got something to do with increased satellite technology,” said a ministry spokesman in a sharp black suit. “Although Freeview is mixed up in it, too. Although most people laugh at UFO and its wildly-inaccurate depiction of 1980, nevertheless - thanks to ITV4’s policy of sticking any old rubbish into its schedules - a new generation of square-eyed telly addicts is discovering Ed Bishop’s dodgy blond wig and Steven Berkoff’s acclaimed breakthrough role as Moonbase Interceptor Pilot #2. And at least it’s not as ropey as season two of Space:1999, with the woman with sideburns who can change into animals.”

Tales of the Unexpected are now widespread in homes across the UK - thanks to ITV2 relentlessly churning out two episodes of the 70s Roald Dahl series twice a day for months on end.

“Keep watching the Skies,” said the man in the dark glasses. “Also the ITVs, the UKTVs and BBC4 whenever they pretend some creaky old 60s twaddle like Adam Adamant is now a cultural landmark.”

Tory Frontbencher in 'Shameless' Appeal for Credibility

The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Chris Grayling has warned that many parents in the UK do not know how to bring up children. In a speech to the Reform think tank, the Conservative frontbencher claimed that parenting of the type seen in the Channel 4 series ‘Shameless’ has become the norm in many places.

“The problem is that these grotesque proles don’t have any Tory role models in their hideously blighted lives,” said Mr Grayling. “With no Conservative folk heroes to look up to, how do they stand a chance of bringing their godawful chav spawn up to vote Tory? That’s why I’m reducing a serious political debate to the level of name-dropping a popular TV show - in the vain hope that the scum who watch it may think that I have something in common with them.”

Less and Lessing

Veteran author Doris Lessing says that receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature last year has turned out to be a “bloody disaster”. The 88-year-old writer claims that increased media pressure means she will probably have to give up writing for good.

“It has stopped,” she explained sadly. “I don’t have any energy any more.”

“All I do is give interviews and spend time being photographed,” she added.

However, famous-for-being-famous celebrities Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty were quick to offer their support.

“Welcome to our world, wossyername, Doris yeah?” said occasional singer-songwriter Winehouse. “Our agents worked out a deal for us where we just bum around filling the papers wivout actually doing no hard work no more, apart from rememberin’ to stay upright, well mostly, while the cameras are rollin’. ‘Seasy innit? Fancy a night out wiv us at Annabel’s? Come on, get yer togs on, we’ll just ring the tabloids an’ let ‘em know we’re comin’.”

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Inhuman Interest Story

The devastating earthquake that flattened the Wenchuan region of China yesterday, killing at least 10,000 Chinese people, stayed in the news for an extra day when it was discovered that 15 British tourists are missing.

Newsdesk veterans across Britain recalled the heady days of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, in which over 6,000 Japanese deaths were instantly brushed aside in favour of blanket coverage of the story of the missing British nurse, who later turned up virtually unscathed.

“Look, there’s billions of Chinese, and let’s face it, they all look alike to us,” said one yawning tabloid hack. “But fifteen missing Brits – that’s fifteen desperate families to be relentlessly doorstepped by packs of feral young work-placement graduates, all clutching their shiny new journalism degrees and repeating the time-honoured phrase: ‘Your son or daughter is probably squashed under a collapsed building or lying at the bottom of a yawning chasm – tell me, how do you feel?’ It brings tears to the eyes of jaded journos, I tell you, when you find out there’s at least one Brit casualty. It means you can forget all about all the bad things in life - such as how one distraught, wailing foreigner looks pretty much like another - and reduce an unimaginable catastrophe to a simple human interest story.”

“What would be the icing on the cake,” added the anonymous reporter, “Would be if they can pull a cute little kitten out of the rubble. We’d put that on the front page for sure. We could probably even start up a rescue fund to bring it to Britain and campaign for Madonna to adopt it.”

The massive rescue effort continues.

Women Want Gordon in A Sack, Dave in The Sack

Tory leader David Cameron is sexier than Gordon Brown, according to a women’s magazine poll.

In the survey of 2,000 women, almost two thirds thought the Old Etonian Conservative would be good in bed and said they would marry him, saying he should be Prime Minister because they liked his wife and found him attractive. The news for Gordon Brown, however, was less appealing; 62% said they would like to throw him off a cliff. A dissenting 34% said they would do the same with David Cameron, although it was not clear whether any of them had gone to bed with him.

The results also showed that women look for the same qualities in a prime minister as in a partner – strong morals and a sense of humour. Moral, humorous yet unaccountably single men across the nation bit their lips at the return of this old chestnut.

The magazine hailed women aged between 25 and 45 as the largest group of floating voters in the UK, and claimed they were becoming more politicised.

“Men should take a leaf from our book and stop worrying about which party can solve rising street crime, unaffordable housing, spiralling costs of living, the recession, job insecurity, the state of the health service and the continuing conflict in the Middle East,” said the editor, Marie-Claire Cosmo. “It’s now clear that the real burning issues of the day are: Does Your PM Drive You Wild Again And Again In The Sack? and Get Your MP Down The Aisle With Our Ten Top Fashion and Beauty Tips!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Puppet Government

In a move completely unconnected with boosting sales of her forthcoming memoirs, Cherie Blair has revealed that her husband, the former Prime Minister, has been giving advice to Gordon Brown on how to run the country.

She also claimed that Tony Blair has been telling Mr Brown how to win the next election.

“Tony got the idea from his good friend Vladimir Putin,” Mrs Blair told the Times, which is serialising extracts from her book, In My Own Words. “Basically, it’s a great system of looking like a great statesman for stepping down, but staying in power behind the scenes. You take a dull, lifeless stump of dead wood, carve it into a comical travesty of a human being, take it with you everywhere you go for several years so people get used to its inanimate features - then at the appropriate moment you say your farewells, insert your hand in the appropriate orifice and pull the strings.”

Cherie admitted there were some problems, however, saying that the puppet appeared to have taken on a diabolical life of its own. “The strings have become completely twisted, leading to a series of hideous grimaces and policy disasters. My husband was lucky to extract his arm in one piece. Now this grim-faced homunculus Gordon Brown is lumbering around out of control, wrecking the Labour Party’s chances of winning a fourth term.”

Mrs Blair denied that she had stolen the entire idea of Tony advising Gordon from ITV’s computer-generated satire series Headcases. The Nev Filter likewise denied that it had stolen the Putin puppet idea from the same source.

I Shall Call You Boris, Says Saviour of Mankind

London’s new Mayor, Boris Johnson, yesterday joined thousands of Christians at Millwall Stadium to pray for an end to crime and violence in the capital.

The event, part of the Global Day of Prayer, heard Mayor Boris sharing his vision for London and, in a moving speech, asking churches to join him in his mission to cut gun and knife crime.

In a surprise development, Mr Johnson returned to City Hall to find Jesus waiting for him in his office. Later, at a hastily-called press conference, London’s elected leader announced the recruitment of the Son of God to his team.

“Er, cripes, um, umm yes, quite, umm, big news,” declared Mr Johnson. “I was joining the God Squad - no offence - as part of you know, big crackdown on bashi-bazoukery on the streets er sort of thing totally unacceptable state of affairs altogether shocking beyond belief and er err I might have said ‘God help us all’ in the heat of the moment, carried away by the you know um anyway, anyway, get a grip Boris, get a grip, well er… and here He is! Crikey rather sudden still carpe diem Boris and all that, so great pleasure and joy unbounded etc. etc. Yes. Jesus - this fine chap here - is my Personal Saviour and Special Advisor on Crime Reduction. Ok, right, now sit down Boris.”

Stepping humbly up to the microphones of the world’s press, the Son of God announced measures were in hand to reduce binge-drinking by turning vodka mixers into water, bend knives into tiny ploughshares and drive the demon-possessed Dagenham Massive into the sea.