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Usenet is like a herd of performing elephants with diarrhea - massive, difficult to redirect, awe-inspiring, entertaining, and a source of mind - boggling amounts of excrement when you least expect it. - Gene Spafford,1992

Pick of the Best

Past Poll

So who do you think won the war?

  • Bush
  • Saddam

Peter Gabriel - Ovo: The Millennium Show

Written by: Sean the Irish Bastard Published on: 01 Dec 2000

Peter Gabriel has been very busy. Or so he says - his last studio album, “Us” was released back in 1992, and since then much has changed. Gabriel was approached a couple of years ago and commissioned to write the musical backdrop for the ambitious Millennium Dome show.

Yes, the Millennium Dome - that much maligned so-called attraction. Basically it’s a big tent full of stuff, but that is irrelevant for the moment. The idea behind the music on this CD is basically a story of evolution, charting the progress of a primitive tribe through various stages of existence from pastoral through industrial and out the other side with all sorts of odd things happening. The story centres around the birth of a child from two different cultures, the name Ovo coming from the child’s face (eg - the one-eyebrow look - although less demonic than baby Gerald from the Simpsons). Well, exactly…

Anyway, the music itself is beautifully crafted, with an often cavernous sound. Since he scored the soundtrack for Martin Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ, Peter Gabriel has championed the use of global music styles and ethnic instruments. This album excels in this respect, and includes parts here and there on things as varied as didgeridoos, hurdy gurdys, dulcimers and tampura to name but four. Likewise there are haunting vocal turns from Gabriel himself as well as Richie Havens, Elizabeth Fraser, Paul Buchanan and others.

The feel throughout is both tribal and forward thinking, and much in a consistent mood despite varied themes. There are a couple of exceptions to the general feel, notably the heartfelt “Father, Son” which Gabriel takes the lead vocal on at the piano (with brass band accompaniment) and the imaginative and catchy “Downside Up” which were both showcased on Later with Jools Holland a few months back. However the ‘story of Ovo’ rap on the bonus CD is a bit… weird.

There are some neat chord progressions, and there really isn’t much to compare it to - but then Peter Gabriel’s music never could be compared directly to anybody else (I believe only Ozzy Osbourne was recently brave enough to cover “Shock the Monkey” from his fourth solo album). New age could perhaps describe it, but then there is much to be heard here which would break that mould. Maybe this is why Gabriel set up his RealWorld record label…

Included with the CD (at least with the version I have seen - there seem to be at least two available) is a story book which is part fairy tale, part anime, and while a bit strange (Gabriel co-wrote the story with Bob Baker, who wrote for Wallace & Gromit), it is useful in setting the tracks on the CD into context.

I haven’t seen the actual Millennium show, but with this as a backdrop it could be a bit of a jaw dropper. However, taken out of context, some of the impact is doubtless lost. What we are left with then is an ultimately rather odd but pleasant collection of sounds from inside the head of Mr Gabriel. If you like him, you’ll probably love this. For the more casual listener it may not be quite the cup of tea (hence the mark I have given it), but it’s still worth a look (or listen). It all bodes well for his long awaited ‘proper’ solo album, but as for when that appears, who knows?

American Election Over?

Written by: ChilliBear Published on: 28 Nov 2000

Well even with the latest news that Bush has decided that he has won (on 537 votes for those of you curious) the election fiasco is not over with the UK of all countries becoming involved in the debate over the next presidency.

The UK Queen today announced that “she has had enough of this bungling politics”. The Queens statement was later revealed to be the forerunner of a startling statement from the UK to America.

“The UK feels that if the United States of America can not resolve this farce of an election to the satisfaction of the UK Government and Ruling Family then the UK will officially ignore it’s acknowledgement of the USA’s declaration of Independence, which were not quite sure when we acknowledged anyway.”

Shocking stuff hey. Well after quite a few years of Independence from British control they seem finally about to come back into the fold. What potential impact will this have on American citizens apart from finally enforcing the correct spellings of such popular words as; centre and colour, well that’s what DFTFC are here to tell you!

After speaking with several of our contacts deep within Buckingham palace we managed to get Spunk monkey into the palace disguised as one of the Queen’s Corgis. More worrying than the secrets he discovered seems to be his desire to now permanently wear the Corgis costume… But onto the juicy facts.

Spunk Monkey (disguised) talking with the Queen
Spunk Monkey (disguised) talking with the Queen

The Queen has apparently ordered the Royal Navy deployed in strategic positions both in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, in order to secure trade routes into and out of America. They have orders to attack and sink any vessel trying to leave New Britain. We can only assume that New Britain is going to be what the UK is to rename America, this follows in our original inventive names for new American (and Australian, likewise) cities. Such novel names as “New York”, “Richmond”, “St. Paul” come to mind.

A more surprising decision seems to be the abandoning of the US dollar in favour of UK pounds, which obviously are vastly better, after all the pictures on the notes are more colourful. nice

Quite what sort of impact this will have on world economics will have to remain to be seen. However it has been revealed that the UK intends to send some of it’s top politicians over the pond to sort out the economic issues, rumours have it that UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair will use this opportunity to ‘rid himself’ of some ofhis more troublesome politicians…

Finally the most interesting piece of information gathered by Spunk Monkey seems to be that the Queen’s plans do not stop with America… That’s right this taste of the old Empire could see the Queen requiring much of the old Empire, well all the bits that we didn’t completely bleed dry and destroy last time at least. :)

One feels its about time one had her Empire back after all one thinks that America might have some spare cash.

DFTFC as ever will remain alert (apart from on Wednesday evening…and Friday when we will be out drinking, maybe Thursday to…) and brink you up to the minute reports on the UK - USA situation.

Millionaire Scandal: Latest developments (2)

Written by: Sean the Irish Bastard Published on: 24 Nov 2000

Updates on the alleged Who Wants to be a Millionaire sham: 24-11-2000

It has come to our notice (thanks BBC!) that Ms Kreppel’s “phone a friend” friend was in fact something like head of drama at ITV… We cannot confirm the man’s name nor position at the time of writing, but hope to do soon in the next day or so. Saturday’s papers are running the story of how Ms Kreppel’s phone friend is “not getting a penny” of the money.

Obviously, as a (rather high up) employee of ITV he cannot be seen to receive any ITV prize money, even indirectly. Of course this implies that there is any money to share, and we at DFTFC believe that there is no real winner’s cheque.


ITV Teletext now say that Ms Kreppel divorced Neil Shand in 1987. The marriage may now be over but the connection stands. They may very easily still be amicable (very much so, if any money really did change hands one would assume! Of course a set-up would gain credibility if a bank statement showing the 1M paid to Ms Kreppel was leaked).

One Foot in the Grave star Richard Wilson is quoted in today’s edition of the Sun to the effect that he supports the view of the BBC spokesman who yesterday accused ITV of a fix.

ITV chief David Liddement has denied the accusations as has host Chris Tarrant, however an official spokesperson for Celador has yet to make a formal comment, so perhaps the conspiracy was kept from both the big boys at ITV and Mr Tarrant himself.

Exciting innit?

Sean the Irish Bastard.

UK Millionaire Winner was a Set-up?

Written by: Sean the Irish Bastard Published on: 21 Nov 2000

On British TV yesterday millions of viewers saw 58 year old Judith Kreppel become the first ever Jackpot winner on the original UK version of the popular world-wide quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

But DFTFC has in our vigilance noticed that which the programme makers assumed we would miss: The contestant was a plant made by the production company (allegedly).

Having just secured our legal position with the above bracketed word, and the question mark in the headline, we now present the following, facts as evidence of this claim:

  • The programme is made by production company Celador, which is a dodgy name at the best of times anyway.

  • The programme was originally devised by Steve Knight and Mike Whitehill, whose other credits include collaboration with Jasper Carrott on most (if not all) of his television output since at least 1990 ( Canned Carrott). All of the Carrott shows were Celador productions.

  • Carrott’s previous show, Carrot’s Confidential (1987-89) included contributions from Rob Grant, Doug Naylor, Ian Hislop and Neil Shand.

  • According to ITV Teletext (a most reliable and factual source of information), ‘Millionaire winner Judith Kreppel is married to “television writer Neil Shand”.

  • The episode of ‘Millionaire concerned was shown in direct competition to the final ever episode of the BBC’s flagship sitcom,

One foot in the grave.

Conclusions are not difficult to draw, even for Hoffin Bigman. Most competition rules state that employees of the organisers or their relatives are not eligible to enter. What we may have here is a scenario where a relative of a former employee of Celador wins the jackpot. At the very least, Mr Shand is an associate of former employees, but it may be more direct if he did indeed work for Celador. Still dodgy in the extreme…

Only one thing is key: that is for Ms Kreppel’s husband Neil Shand and the Carrott contributor Neil Shand to be one and the same (but we are going to make that wild assumption). Our sources do not tell us whether or not Mr Shand ever worked on the same show as the Knight/Whitehill partnership, nor if any of the productions Mr Shand worked on were Celador productions. However, even without these factors the evidence looks pretty damning and makes for good scandalous reading anyway.

The logical conclusion is that Ms Kreppel has been drafted ‘from the inside’ by Celador to boost interest in the show and upset the BBC’s final outing of Victor Meldrew.

I don't belieeeve it!
I don't belieeeve it!

Of course this means that Ms Kreppel will not have won any money at all. Oh well, ho hum, she didn’t look like she needed any more anyway. Any further developments will be subsequently revealed…

Read more in our follow up

Mayor Ken's secret plans for London!

Written by: Niloc Published on: 14 Nov 2000

Over the past few weeks Britain has been plagued by railway crisis and storms of terrifying intensity. However, DFTFC can now reveal the incredible plot that this chaos is being used to cover up. The separation of London form the rest of the United Kingdom! We have uncovered important documentation that shows the entire plan.

Since the new mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, came to power he has been constantly driving new policies that have separated London further from the outside world. This began with congestion charges on the roads - a subtle encouragement to ensure people stayed out.

Ken Livingstone and his proposed zone of control
Ken Livingstone and his proposed zone of control

However this did not do enough so Ken secretly organised lorry drivers to block the road entrances to London hidden under the banner of so called “fuel protests”.

These events were only the beginning stages of his master plan, as we discovered he has now moved to phase 2. By employing a crack team of saboteurs known simply by the mysterious codename Railtrack Ken has managed to cripple every rail-link into London! Then using his influence as London mayor to ensure that these same saboteurs have been given the job of fixing the broken tracks. The masterminded brilliance is clear to see.

Finally the true scale of his plans only became clear last week. With excessive flooding reported all over the nation we saw parts of the M25 ring road closed due to flooding. However,

this flooding was not from rain but secret reservoirs built under the motorway. The claim of flooding due to rain was a cunning lie to fool the public so the truth remains hidden. DFTFC have discovered that last weeks flood was only a test to ensure the system works. Ken has been planting massive reservoirs under the entire M25 and when the time comes he will be able to release all of that water and flood the entire road turning it into a giant moat! With this extra line of defence he will be able to keep out the rest of Britain and rule London independently as a new country!

Solution found to Election results publishing problem

Written by: Hungry Caterpillar Published on: 08 Nov 2000

With another election just finished in America an old problem has reoccurred. Due to the publishing deadline of the morning papers coming before the final results were announced, they were unable to publish detailed analysis of the results. This undoubtedly causes disappointment to many people who like to read the paper in the morning and discover who is now president, accompanied by many nicely coloured graphs.

As this clearly illustrates...
As this clearly illustrates...

However it is possible that a British MP has come up with a solution.

The Right Honourable Winston Smith MP announced his plan this morning that will revolutionise firstly the British electoral system and then every democratic country in the world and America. He proposes that in future the results of elections will be decided before hand to ensure the newspapers have the proper statistics in plenty of time. This will allow them to spend longer making more elaborate graphs with interesting colours rather than the rather shabbily things they use now.

A month before any election everyone in the country will receive a letter informing them how they will be voting. This will allow them to spend time campaigning for there chosen candidate, participating in various polls and all the other pre election shenanigans. None of the candidates will know who will win and poll results will be made up to maintain the air of excitementduring the elections.

On the day of the election nobody will actually have to vote as that will be done automatically. When the polling booth close (not that they’ll actually open, or in many cases exist) the result will be announced immediately with out any of that counting nonsense. This will give everyone plenty of time to design some really spectacular graphs for the next day’s papers.

We spoke to Michael Parsons head of the BBC’s Graph Making department. “This is a glorious day for democracy”, Parsons told us. ‘We’ve just got some new Graph making equipment here at the BBC and I think you can look forward to something quite spectacular come the next election.

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