Union Street Blues: Plymouth’s Last ‘Run Ashore’?

According to the Daily Telegraph’s front page, it’s ‘Sunset’ for the Senior Service: ‘Navy to cut its fleet by half’. The Navy that once ruled the waves, the global maritime force on which the sun never set, and gave the world some of the most romantic not to mention fetishistically ingenious uniforms ever devised, seems destined to become ‘nothing more than a coastal defence force’. It’s also predicted that at least one of the remaining three UK naval ports – Plymouth, Portsmouth, Rosyth – is due to close forever. […]

Gagging For It: The Penis in History

If Viagra has turned the penis into a ‘puncture-proof balloon’, does that mean it’s not funny any more? asks Mark Simpson (First appeared in the Independent on Sunday, 2002) INVESTIGATING THE PENIS can be an eye-watering business. Examining the urethra of an impotent young man, using a long nickel-plated probe called a ‘No 25 Explorer’, a 19th-century American urologist appropriately named Dr Gross wrote: “As soon as the instrument entered the passage it occasioned tremor and retraction of the testes… the muscles of the lids, nose and mouth […]

Johnny Morris is voted ‘Britain’s Greatest Living Cultural Icon’

Johnny Morrissey was runner-up. Which is, along with ‘sixteen clumsy and shy’, the story of his life.  Always running-up, never quite arriving.  All things considered, it’s probably just as well no one took any notice of me and he didn’t win.  David Attenborough’s acceptance speech made me realise – after I woke up – how wrong it would have been for Morrissey to have been handed such a gong.  It would have meant it was all over – that he now belonged to everyone and no-one.  That […]

Catholijism: Rome’s Answer to Sporno?

Holy Mary, Mother of God!  Is nothing sacred? After the shameless, pagan idolatry of the Dieux Du Stade sporno calendars, some shameless Catholic idolatry in the form the Calendario Romano. Certainly, the images are inspiring.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to kneel before these divine young men and receive the body of Christ? Perhaps because of its classical antecedents, the Mother Church has always understood the power of beautiful things  – and beautiful young men – to arouse the faithful: whether or not the unmarried status […]

‘Living Icons’

Morrissey is one of the three finalists in BBC2’s ‘Living Icon’ middle-class popularity contest. He’s up against David hush-we-don’t-want-to-frighten-the-gorillas Attenborough and Sir Paul twist-and-shout McCartney. Now, all such contests are silly by definition, even and perhaps especially when they appear on BBC2.  But given the strategic use of the word ‘icon’ I think it needs to be pointed out that the competition is already over as only one of the finalists actually meets the competition’s stated criteria. David Attenborough is a lovely chap that has […]

Keane Fury Over Roasting Romp

I don’t blame Keane for being furious. I’m positively seething myself that no one invited me either. ‘Stars in sick orgy’ (strapline to the print version – doesn’t appear online) Another example of how sporno is fast becoming porno – or is porno becoming sporno? Tabloid newspapers in the UK can’t get enough of these faux-outraged ‘roasting’ stories about the ‘scandal’, ‘disgrace’ and ‘sickness’ of several fit young professional footballers sharing one consenting ‘busty female fan’, simultaneously. Illustrated, if possible – as in this case […]