Burnley Borough Council Bans Happy Hours

Happy hour revellers in the Bull's Nut, Burnley yesterday.

Happy hour revellers in the Bull’s Nut, Burnley yesterday.

In a landmark ruling, Burnley Borough Council has banned happy hours in the town’s pubs and clubs based on the disputed claim that happy hour patrons tend to overindulge in cut price drinks and end up knocking seven bells out of each other.

“Happy hours are an honourable idea,” said Councillor Alf Roberts. “But here in Burnley they inevitably result in bouts of booze fuelled violence which results in a massive strain on local resources. The people just can’t be trusted once they’ve got a few beers under their belts. The sad reality is that Burnley folk are as mental as anything when they’re sober, in drink they’re even worse and it does nothing for the town’s reputation. It’s reached a point where innocent people are getting their heads kicked in just for being anywhere near a pub. It’s unacceptable – it’s a sin and a bloody shame that people can’t enjoy a relaxing drink without fear of getting battered from arsehole to breakfast time.”

“I think the ban is a great idea,” said A&E nurse Annie Wilkes. “I’m sick and tired of patching up drunken brawlers. I’m tempted to jack it all in and move somewhere in the world where I can get a bit of peace and quiet. Like Syria, or Afghanistan or something.”

Local Burnley hard man Jimmy Proctor was unavailable for comment as he was otherwise occupied repeatedly smashing a Blackburn man’s face into a fruit machine.

More as we get it.

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Bear Grylls shouldn’t be drinking his own p*ss – A Cafe Spike Campaign

Don't be tight! Buy the intrepid adventurer a pint!

Don’t be tight! Buy the intrepid adventurer a pint!

Yes, we’re on the scrounge again because we’re sick and tired of an iconic British legend having to sleep in animal carcasses, dive into freezing rivers, cross gorges on fallen trees hand over hand and having to drink his own piss.

So we’re having a whip round in order to raise some cash so that Bear Grylls, ex-SAS, spinal injury victim and Everest summiteer can have a decent pint of cold beer, and if we can raise enough cash perhaps fund the intrepid explorer for a ploughman’s lunch, or a burger or a Sunday roast or something.

We can’t have an iconic British explorer straining camel shit through a sock, eating bugs and snakes when there’s a simpler and more dignified alternative. Like a hearty gastro pub lunch.

You can help us to help Bear by sending us as much money as you can afford – preferably in used notes – so that we can give the poor bastard a decent dinner.

That’s if we can find his address to send donations to. If we can’t we’ll think of an alternative, although we aren’t currently accepting any liability.

Send your donation to the usual address because it makes no sense whatsoever for the epitome of British epirit de corps to be harvesting his own armpit sweat and eating raw cockroach heads.

It’s just wrong.

Ted Pemberton

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At Last – Cafe Spike Gets The Chance To Put The Boot In On Jeremy Corbyn

Keeping Schtum - Jeremy Corbyn - A Pic We Nicked Off The Internet.

Keeping Schtum – Jeremy Corbyn – A Pic We Nicked Off The Internet.

In the complicated world of international news media, poor old Café Spike comes way down in the pecking order when it comes to publishing articles of national importance. It’s been six weeks since we submitted our application to run an article slamming Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – and we finally got permission from the Ministry Of Disinformation this morning, personally signed off by Robert Danvers-Fotheringay, the Ministry’s Senior Minister.

Our brief was simple – dish the dirt on Corbyn and spread it liberally all over social media. Except…it wasn’t quite so simple. As any reporter worth his/her salt would do as a matter of course, we trawled through existing articles which purported to dish the dirt on Corbyn, and quite frankly they weren’t very impressive.

As usual the Express and the Mail led the pack with a zeal bordering on bloodlust, and the remarkable revelation surfaced that Corbyn has been married twice! Oh, the scandal! The impact of this hard hitting exclusive was somewhat dulled when his first wife revealed that they had separated amicably and remain on good terms. She also revealed that Jeremy was the stay at home type who liked to spend his evenings relaxing and eating cold baked beans from the tin. The late Keith Moon probably wouldn’t have been very impressed by that – Moon probably had more remarkable trips to the toilet in his heyday.

‘He talks to terrorists!’ the tabloids screamed. People like Hamas, the IRA, Hezbollah, and probably Hannibal Lecter, the Yorkshire Ripper and Satan himself. Corbyn supporters argue that the job of a politician is to tackle problems, and that problems can’t be tackled without dialogue. Bugger! That’s another angle flying out the window.

All that’s happened in the concerted media campaign to blacken Corbyn’s character is that it’s backfired spectacularly. Instead of smearing Corbyn – they’ve served only to enhance his reputation as a straight talking, thoughtful, honest politician. Until now.

In a shocking Café Spike exclusive, we can exclusively reveal in our exclusive that Mr Corbyn has an Achilles heel. When tasked with dishing the dirt, Café Spike never fails to come up with the goods, and it all happened right under the noses of hordes of press and TV reporters.

Following the announcement of Mr Corbyn’s landslide victory in the Labour leadership election, his first move was to go with crowds of supporters and the media to The Sanctuary, a pub and hotel situated on Tothill Street in the heart of Westminster, a short walk from Parliament and St James’s Park underground station.

One of our reporters has been in The Sanctuary – Martin Shuttlecock once visited the establishment to attend a meeting, and from what he says about it, it isn’t the sort of place where a potential Prime Minister should be hanging out.

“As soon as I walked in there the alarm bells started ringing,” Shuttlecock told us. “Somebody said that a rat had poked its head in the door – and this in broad daylight – but the barman put it down to construction work going on down the street. Then as I purchased a drink from the bar and took a seat I immediately noticed a crowd of men huddled around a TV set watching a West Ham game on the TV and cheering every time the Hammers did something useful with the ball. Suffice to say, they weren’t cheering much, but West Ham? I’ve seen ‘Green Street Hooligans’ so I know all about West Ham. For Jeremy Corbyn to go in that pub is a disgrace. He ought to be ashamed of himself. I know I was.”

Reporter – Paddy Berzinski

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Peregrine Tripp – Whitstable, Oysters, And All Things Fishy

Oysters...Why?

Oysters…Why?

Travel writer Peregrine Tripp visited Whitstable for the first time to sample the Native oysters and enjoy some Kentish ale. As usual with our globetrotting friend, he was rather taken with an unexpected display of art…

It is sad to relate that the weather prevented Mrs and I from venturing out much – we had believed the weather forecasts and therefore had not packed clothes for what turned out to be the near-arctic conditions we encountered on the north Kent coast. There are worse places to hunker down with a book and a few beers than the Marine Hotel at Tankerton, a short step east of Whitstable.

But, on the middle day of our stay before the weather completely closed in and with the promise of sun in the afternoon, we ventured out for a walk along the coast. So we headed west, in a cobweb-blasting north wind, to walk the two miles or so to Seasalter.

Of course, the famous colourful beach huts are a charming focal point – we decide, however, that we wouldn’t wish to part with the twenty grand or so it would set us back to buy one.

Dog owners exercising their pets are about the only other people daft enough to be out on a day like this – apart from one dejected soul at Seasalter who engages us in a short conversation, asking us the time. “I’m not waitin’ anymore,” he says. He is disappointed that the tide is still in so he can’t get on the mud flats to dig for bait. “I’ve got the day off tomorrow, so I’m off fishin’,” he tells us. “Good luck,” we offer as we turn to head back to Whitstable. “Guess I’ll just buy the bait,” he decides, looking despondently at the grey sea.

There are few more welcome sights on the return journey than the Old Neptune – a ramshackle old boozer set on the shingle beach.

Stepping inside, there is an air of “we’re not really ready, but happy to see you all the same” about the place as staff are busying themselves removing the bunting, balloons and flags from yesterday’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations – and gently quibbling about how much wood needs to go in the fire.

The single room has an uneven and sloping wooden floor, higgledy-piggledy furniture and walls packed with bric-a-brac and ancient advertisements, testament to Whitstable’s former glories in the shipping industry (the Whitstable, Dublin and New Orleans Steamer Line, anyone?)

The Old Neptune pictured in daylight.

The Old Neptune pictured in daylight.

We choose a cosy corner, where our only neighbour is a lone woman who has managed to spread her belongings over two tables – but she smiles and moves her coat for us. She stays, reading the paper, for about an hour – clandestinely refilling her drink from a bottle in her handbag.

Adorning the walls in this corner is a gallery of portraits of music stars by a local artist (whose name, I’m afraid, escapes me). I recognised David Bowie, Frank Zappa and Miles Davis but from where I was sitting, it was impossible to prevent my eyes constantly landing on a very striking image.

This particular piece was a rather explicit image of prone, naked woman apparently, given the attitude of her arms and legs, during coition – but with an invisible partner.

“Who do you suppose that’s a portrait of,” I finally mused aloud, after finishing my scampi and allowing myself a minor grammatical slip.

Mrs got up to have a look. Although the portraits were expertly done and quite recognisable, each had the subject’s name attached.

“It says it’s Mother Earth,” Mrs reported, returning to her seat, unimpressed.

Hm. I was reminded of Courbet’s “L’origine du monde” and wondered if the artist was essaying his own tribute to the great French Realist.

But I also pondered whether Mother Earth would sport pale bikini triangles on her otherwise sun-bronzed knockers and, er, tuppence.*

Reporter: Peregrine Tripp aka Ellis Ian Fields aka Stuart Mitchell

*Editor’s note – Peregrine did send us a pic of the Courbet painting but we couldn’t feature it because it’s a pic of a furry muff and our ISP T&Cs forbid us from publishing pornographic material. Even if it is art.

And at night...because we couldn't publish the submitted pic gor legal reasons. Or something.

And at night…because we couldn’t publish the submitted pic for legal reasons. Or something.

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We’re All Doomed! Planet Earth To Be Obliterated Within A Year

Worse than this...

Worse than this…

Lunchtime drinker Little Trevor Fountain made the announcement today after losing a game of pool at the Popinjay pub in Basingstoke, Hants. Having been left with six balls on the table in an eight-ball game, Little Trevor wobbled unsteadily to the bar, where he purchased a pint of lager and a double vodka. He made the announcement as he slumped at a table with his drinks.

When Little Trevor’s fellow customers asked him how he worked that one out, he announced that we’d probably collide with Jupiter and be torn apart by enormous gravitational forces exerted by the giant gas planet. Or perhaps get hit by an as yet uncharted asteroid or comet which would probably be about the size of Africa.

“It’s going to be one or the other,” Little Trevor said. “As true as I’m sitting here. Whatever way it goes, I don’t want people to suffer. I’m just hoping it’s going to be instantaneous. Like turning a light off or something.”

Little Trevor said he’d accepted his fate, given up his night shift job stacking shelves at a local supermarket, and that he wouldn’t be paying any bills ever again.

“What’s the point?” he said. “The world as we know it is coming to an end and quite frankly I’d rather spend what little time I have left here on Earth down the pub. The world will have ended before anyone takes me to court. Might as well enjoy the last few months of existence. And there’s no point hiding from it – wherever you go you’ll be killed. The whole planet is going to go BANG! and there’ll be no survivors. No more Earth even.”

Little Trevor’s best mate, Big Trevor told us in confidence not to worry too much, as Little Trevor often gets maudlin after a few drinks and a crushing defeat playing his favourite pub game.

“His missus will kill him when he gets home,” he said. “He was only supposed to go out for a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk at the shops. He’ll be as right as rain in the morning and he’ll probably blame me for getting him mullered. It’s all his own fault though – he should have laid off the vodka. And I’ll never know how he missed that easy yellow in the corner pocket. A blind man off his nut on absinthe could have sunk that one.”

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So, You Want Your Country Back? Welcome To 1965

When The Beatles Were New

When The Beatles Were New

Welcome aboard our time machine. Today we’ll be taking you back 50 years to 1965, to a long ago world which some people in 2015 appear to yearn to inhabit, a world free of those pesky immigrants, free of Political Correctness, a world where everybody knew their neighbours, a world free of benefit scroungers and crime, a friendlier place with a caring society.

Getting out of bed in 1965 was slightly more difficult than it is today. The vast majority of dwellings in 1965 didn’t have central heating, or duvets. You slept in a bed covered in blankets, and you didn’t hang your coat up – you put it on the bed for extra warmth. Having braved the cold, people washed in cold water – quickly. Then the man of the house would light a fire in the grate, using scrunched up balls of newspapers to light firewood, adding coal when the fire got hot enough. Sometimes the fire would sputter and die; in which case you’d have to start over again.

The man of the house would then make a pot of tea and have a rudimentary breakfast, usually toast and jam, or if pressed for time bread and jam. Then the man would set off for work. Notice that the man doesn’t have a car. Very few people did back then. The man goes out into the pre-dawn darkness and walks down the street to the corner shop, where he buys a daily newspaper, a packet of Woodbine cigarettes and a box of matches. Then he goes to the bus stop and waits. The bus conductor wears extra jumpers, a scarf and fingerless gloves because it’s winter and it’s freezing cold on the bus because the boarding/alighting point of the bus is at the back and open to the elements. Most people on the crowded bus are smoking, because in 1965 a lot of people smoked. The passengers shiver with the cold and it isn’t unusual to see steam rising from their clothing.

The man of the house gets off the bus and goes to a huge factory, where he punches his clock card as evidence that he’s arrived on time for work. Then he goes to a machine and gets cracking because it’s cold in the factory too. He runs exactly 2,500 component parts through the machine before passing them on to the next work station. He gets a tea break and a lunch break during the course of his working day – ten minutes and thirty minutes respectively. The man does the same 2,500 parts every day, week in, week out, year in, year out.

Back at the house the man’s wife is getting her two kids ready for school. She makes them a hearty breakfast of tea and porridge, followed by bread and jam. The kids will get a small bottle of milk at school, and a dinner which costs a shilling a day. The kids’ uniforms are looking a bit worn and the little boy’s shoes have holes in them. The mother puts newspaper in the boy’s shoes to try to keep the wet out. She’s saving up for new school clothes for the kids, but it’ll be a couple of weeks more before she’s saved enough.

The kids walk the mile to school, whatever the weather. Sometimes the mother walks with them, but they don’t really like her doing so because they don’t want to be seen as mollycoddled. When the kids go alone she instructs them to stick together, to take care crossing the roads and not to speak to strangers. They’re good kids but she worries about them – and she’s right to. 1965 was no safer for kids than 2015. Moors murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley were arrested in 1965 for abducting, torturing and murdering children before dumping their bodies on Saddleworth Moor.

The mother has her own breakfast; tea, egg and bacon on toast. She relaxes with a cigarette for a few minutes. Then she’ll do the laundry and clean the house. Having done that, she’ll walk to the local shops to buy something for the evening meal. There aren’t any supermarkets in 1965, so the mother has to walk to the shops daily in order to buy bread, milk, potatoes, vegetables and a small quantity of meat or fish. There are no credit or debit cards, and there aren’t any cashpoints so the mother has to balance her budget, ensuring she has enough cash for the family’s daily needs and a little to put in the bank for rainy day moments. Her husband’s payday is a weekly blessing. His wages are paid every Thursday, in cash, in an envelope with a pay slip. The mother worries that the company wages van will be robbed by thieves with guns and pick-axe handles, which happens frequently. If it happens to her husband’s employer his wages will be delayed by at least a day, and that can be a harsh blow to those on a tight budget. It hasn’t happened so far, but it’s a common occurrence in the area where the family live.

Meanwhile the husband is feeling uncomfortable at work. One of his workmates has been carpeted by the boss for failing to meet his work targets for two consecutive days, and the man has asked his union rep to speak on his behalf. The union rep explains to the boss that the man has been an employee for nine years at the firm with a previously flawless record regarding both his work output, timekeeping and attendance. He explains to the boss that the worker isn’t feeling well and assures the boss that the man will be back up to speed within a day or two. The boss relents, and says he’ll give the worker a week to improve or he’ll be shown the door. Everybody is relieved. Union policy dictates than any worker subjected to unfair treatment will receive full union backing. The worst possible scenario could be a strike, and that’s the last thing the men want. They can’t afford to strike.

As the man worries whilst operating his machine, his wife walks to the shops. She stops to chat with familiar faces, before getting essential supplies. For the evening meal she buys sausages from the butcher and a tin of baked beans from the corner shop. Sausage, mash and beans for tea. She also buys a tin of pilchards – pilchards on toast for supper.

It’s been a long day for the man, but he finally clocks out at five and takes the bus home. The Beatles are playing on the transistor radio. The sound quality is poor, but despite that the Beatles sound great. The kids are out playing in the street, the mother is preparing the tea, and the man eases back in his armchair and reads the newspaper. There are no computers in 1965, no iPhones, and only two TV channels. The man puts more coal on the fire and he chats with his wife, discussing what they’ve done that day.

After tea they bring up the possibility of a summer holiday, when the man has two weeks with pay off work. The children are excited by talk of a week’s stay in a Blackpool guest house, or a camping holiday in Great Yarmouth. In 1965 most people stayed in Britain for their holidays. Some adventurous souls ventured to exotic locations like Spain and France, flying to their destinations, but you had to be relatively well off to afford luxury jaunts like that.

Eventually the children go off to bed and the couple watch TV for an hour. The mother is exhausted and wants an early night. The father asks if it’ll be okay to go down the local pub for an hour to see his mates. The wife smiles and hands him some coins from her purse. Then she kisses him, tells him she loves him and goes off to bed.

The man walks to the pub. He says ‘good evening’ to Mr Hassan who runs a shop on the parade, and breathes deeply of the exotic aroma wafting from the Chinese chippy. All the other shops closed long ago. The man marvels at Mr Hassan’s work ethic – his shop is open from the early morning until late in the evening. The man then enters the public bar where he meets up with his mates.

He stays for an hour and drinks two pints of beer. They talk about football. This is 1965, Sky Sports and ticket allocations for modern stadiums are a long way off in the future. When the men watch their local team they are packed into standing terraces where men pissed where they stood. Next year the World Cup will be coming to England. There’s excitement about the brilliant Brazilian star Pele playing locally – although none of the men have seen him in any more than grainy short black and white clips on TV. The talk quickly turns to politics and Harold Wilson’s Labour government. Opinions are divided.

Eventually the man goes home and climbs wearily into his bed. The fire downstairs has long since spluttered and died. He huddles up close to his sleeping wife for extra warmth. When he breathes his exhalations form little clouds as the temperature plummets once more. As he closes his eyes he hears a dog bark, and the clanging of buffers as the night workers in the railway yards organise the freight trains for the morning. Eventually he falls asleep.

When tomorrow comes, the family will do it all again, and the day after.

This is 1965.

Do you still want your country back?

Reporter: Paddy Berzinski.

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Pub calls time on pies

Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? Portly person, portly person, YOU ate all the pies!

Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? Portly person, portly person, YOU ate all the pies!

Mad Albert, landlord of the Brickmakers Arms in the Lancashire mill town of Butterly announced today that with immediate effect he was withdrawing pies from the pub menu, citing a decline in demand as the primary reason for the removal of what has long been regarded as typical northern fare.

“It’s a business decision, you see,” Mad Albert told us. “People don’t want pies any more. Not even fancy chicken and mushroom or chicken tikka. They want posh food, fancy food, stuff like lobster and spinach with ricotta cheese with pasta. I blame these fancy Dan TV celebrity chefs myself – people were quite happy with meat and tater pie and peas until folk like that Gordon Oliver came along and started boiling rocket and pan frying halibut.”

Mad Albert’s bold move was met largely with total indifference, but not everybody is taking it lying down. Bernard Claypole, Managing Director of local pie-making firm Claypole’s Pies told us:

“We’ve been supplying the Brickmakers Arms with a range of delicious pies for over thirty year, and all of a sudden there’s no demand? How does that work then? If you ask me, Mad Albert’s lost the bloody plot. Either that or he’s been nobbled.”

Regular diner at the Brickmakers Arms, Holly Clacket, a bit of a portly lass by any standards told us:

“They’re taking pies off menu? Eeh, that’s a right shame. I likes a few pies with me pints o’ mild and bitter of a lunchtime. I’ll not be ordering any o’ that new bell cuisine and that’s a fact. Still, as long as they’re still doing chips and gravy I’m happy – with a few slices o’ bread and butter. Yum yum!”

Changing times indeed for the residents of Butterly.

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Lift The Smoking Ban In Pubs Or We’re All Doomed Says Bishop

 

Where Have All The Smokers Gone?

Where Have All The Smokers Gone?

The Bishop Of Ruislip today added his considerable weight to the argument supporting the right of smokers to light up in pubs again. Some analysts insist that the smoking ban has had a catastrophic effect on the licensing trade, and the Bishop agrees with them. [Read more…]

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