Game Bird Of The Week



If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, so they say and it seems that this is the policy that 21-year-old Brazilian model, Catarina Migliorini, is adopting.

Last year she auctioned her virginity via an internet auction and the winning bid of $780,000 sealed the deal for a Japanese millionaire. Unfortunately for Catarina, the winner didn’t come up with the goods – the moolah, you understand – and so the unfortunate lass still remains in a state of grace.

Undaunted, she has decided to try again and aspiring suitors can place their bids on her new website.

Here in some parts of Blighty, I’m told, a couple of glasses of lukewarm Blue Nun usually does the trick!


Virtual Patronage



Having a brain wave can often be the start of your problems, not least because you normally need access to moolah to bring your idea to fruition. But where do you get it from?

Throughout history artists and musicians were reliant upon patronage. Some, such as the Medicis, were not entirely altruistic, seeing the patronage of art as a good way of cleansing the money they had made from usury. Nonetheless, even until recently arts groups were able to find sponsorship fairly easily or banks willing to lend money to support a business idea. Alas, not any more as someone who is associated with a longstanding arts festival well knows. Sponsorship money is not as readily available as it once was.

Although the internet has a lot to answer for, it has provided the platform for many an innovative idea. One such is Kickstarter which enables people with ideas to access funding from individuals. It uses what is known as crowdfunding techniques, allowing people to pitch their ideas and for individuals to pledge money to help bring them to fruition.

Like many a good idea, the concept is pretty simple. Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum funding goal. Visitors to the site review the project specs and decide whether to invest or not. A bit like Dragon’s Den, if the project doesn’t raise its minimum funding goal by the deadline, the project creator gets nothing.

Projects eligible for investment are in the following major categories: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film and Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and Theatre. Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised. The scheme operates on an investor beware basis because there is no guarantee that the people who use Kickstarter to raise funds will actually deliver the project or that the project will ultimately meet the backers’ expectations.

Notwithstanding that, Kickstarter, which launched in the UK on 31st October 2012, has announced that £22.5m has been pledged, of which £17.1m has gone to 1,550 projects which have met their capital requirement. Apparently, some 323,282 have pledged money via the website. 25% of the successful fundraisers were associated with film and video, 13% associated with publishing ventures, a further 13% with games and 11% with music. The scheme, which originated in the US (natch) is migrating to Canada and Australia in the near future.

Perhaps this is what Cameron’s Big Society (remember that?) is all about. It is good to know that the internet is not all bad and a new source of artistic patronage has opened up. I will watch its progress with interest.


Bore Of The Week


More tales from the countryside.

Residents in the small Channel Island of Alderney which is seven miles off the coast of France have been bothered since late September by sightings of what they have come to call the ghost pig.

The wild boar, for that is what it is, has earned its soubriquet because it is generally only spotted at dusk.

The wild boar, not native to the Channel island and showing economic prudence not normally associated with the species, is thought to have swum from the Euro-disaster zone of France to the tax haven of Alderney.

As you can imagine for a sleepy community stuck in the 1950s this news is as exciting as it gets!

Story Of The Week (2)



More news about the perils of the countryside this week.

Eighty year old Russian shepherd, Yusuf Alchagirov, was standing in a raspberry field minding his own business (and his flocks, presumably) in the Kabardino-Balkaria region when he was attacked by a bear. The feisty octogenarian responded to the attack by kicking and head butting his assailant and managed to knock it off-balance. The bear recovered sufficiently to toss poor Yusuf off a nearby cliff and sauntered off.

The pensioner survived his ordeal sustaining bruises, bite wounds and four broken ribs. It is not known what, if any, injuries the bear sustained.

Locals believe the bear was just trying to be playful so that is all right then!


Story Of The Week

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If you take a walk through your local graveyard (we have just got through another Hallowe’en after all) you won’t fail to notice how it is littered with discarded floral tributes and the like.

An enterprising couple from Liverpool, Marion Hill and Lyndsey Millett, for it was they, decided to take matters into their own hands by setting up a business which recycled for profit wreaths and other forms of funerary tributes left by the gravesides by grieving families.

These modern-day green Resurrectionists were caught on camera removing two wreaths which formed the words MUM and NAN. When the old bill attended their homes in Speke they found a further seven wreaths together with a stockpile of blank condolence cards, wreath stands and what was described as wreath-making paraphernalia. The duo incurred the wrath of the courts and were sentenced this week to a suspended jail sentence and were ordered to pay £250 compensation.

Seemingly, there is entrepreneurism and entrepreneurism and this form was beyond the pale. At least we now know.


Bog Blast



There is something about going to the toilet. I suppose it is an act of nature where we feel at our most vulnerable what with our trousers half-mast and the by-product of our internal organs on proud display. The prospect of me being caught without toilet paper is enough to give me heebie-jeebies. Anything worse than that is likely to send me off the Richter scale.

I’m not sure how I would react if I experienced the fate that befell a 58-year-old New Yorker called Michel Pierre. The water supply had been turned off at the 16 storey, 275 flat complex in which Pierre lived. In an attempt to check that the water supply was back on and what the water pressure now was, he flushed the toilet. Imagine his surprise when it exploded, showering him with shards of porcelain which hit his head, arms and legs and knocking him unconscious. Michel was hospitalised and received 30 stitches to his injured head.

There were three other cases of exploding toilets in the block although this is the only one that caused injury. It seems as though the act of turning off the water supply caused a build-up of air pressure in the pipes and when the supply was turned on, the air was pushed through the pipes causing the toilet to explode.

As is the way with Americans, Pierre has filed a claim for compensation against the landlord of the fifty year old building. According to his lawyer who wins a nomination for the most fatuous statement of the year award, “Clearly toilets are supposed to flush, not to explode”. Well, thank heavens for this.

As well as the physical injuries he sustained, Pierre is clearly suffering some psychological trauma which, I am sure, will last until that magic panacea for all evils, the arrival of the compo cheque. He is so shell-shocked by the whole experience that after conducting his business. he is forced to hide behind the bathroom door and in Heath Robinson fashion flush the toilet using a rope which is attached to the flushing mechanism. I should feel sorry for him but the mental image this description conjures up is too funny for words.

The whole saga puts me in mind of the passage in Evelyn Waugh’s Men At Arms (the first part of his Sword of Honour trilogy) when Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook wages a war of terror against Apthorpe and his thunder-box (a portable toilet). Inevitably, in a scene of high farce, the thunder-box is booby trapped and explodes with the unfortunate Apthorpe astride.

Moral of the story – be careful where you squat and be extra vigilant in flushing when the water supply has been turned off!