Monday 12 April 2010

Newsfalsh! - April 2010

Welcome once again to Newsfalsh!, E14's pick of the weird and wonderful goings-on of the planet we call 'home'.

Apologies for my absence last week, I was regrettably unwell. I have a note from my mum and everything.

To the news!

French railway SNCF in train 'explosion' blunder

You know it's going to be a good instalment of Newsfalsh when this is the opening paragraph of the opening article.
"The French railway operator, SNCF, has mistakenly put a dramatic statement on its website saying more than 100 people had died in a train explosion."

Now, as faux-pas go, that's got to be up there with telling Mike Tyson that he talks funny. The story goes that while some people were performing an in-house training exercise, asking them to respond to a fictional disaster, someone actually posted it on the real SNCF website.

I've got a few issues with this. First of all, I've been to France and spent quite a bit of time there, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that a company like the SNCF, the National Rail of France, can do an in-house training exercise without having access to some sort of dummy website. I mean, it doesn't even have to be conntected to the Internet, for fuck's sake. I'll happily set up a Geocities page for the SNCF, at least that way someone would be using Geocities again. BURN! Oh ho ho, ho ho ho...That felt good.

Secondly, I've also been by Macon, and I can't help but feel like the residents would actually welcome a cataclysmic explosion in their town. At least then there'd be something going on. Put it this way: I put "places to visit" into Google for the town of Macon, and all the good places to visit in Macon are actually other towns nearby.

Fun fact: When I was a kid, I used to judge the quality of a town on whether or not it had a Woolworths in its town centre. I've been told that when I was younger, I got all excited about a trip to Margate on the grounds that it had a Woolworths, only to be disappointed when I got there because it was "a bit small". Bearing in mind that I lived in Chatham, which had a Woolworths, I'm still not sure to this day why I got excited about it in the first place.

But I digress. One of the things I find funniest about this article is the fact that clearly they had no idea that this could ever conceivably happen. How do I know this to be true, you ask? Simple. They made the person update that 102 people had been killed in a high-speed train crash, when if they'd had the possible notion that it could ever actually be posted on the actual website by mistake, they'd have made it a lower number. One would hope that the journalists who called in were enquiring about the fact that people died, not just to get confirmation on the quantity.

It'd never happen in England. I don't mean that in a national pride way or any of that bollocks, I just mean that people would spot that something was wrong immediately when an update implied that a train was actually running.

Gloucestershire cheese-rolling off due to safety fears

I hate this country sometimes. Now, I know what you're thinking: 'Rob Wade hates the Health & Safety quagmire that this country has become. All the red tape and triple-checking we have to do now has tarnished what made this country great.' Well yeah, there's an element of that to it, but what I'm more annoyed about is the fact that such a fucking stupid event was allowed to exist in the first place, for hundreds of years, no less!

The laughable part of this whole fiasco is that they had public liability insurance for the event, for up to five thousand people. I wouldn't want to be the person on the end of that phone:

"Hello, Lloyds of London Insurers. How can I help you?"
"Hi there, I'd like to purchase public liability insurance."
"Ok, no problem. How many people would you like the policy to protect for?"
"Up to 5,000, please."
"No problem, and may I ask the nature of your business?"
"We're getting people to roll pieces of cheese down a hill."

I struggled to find the point of this event, particularly when I heard the prize involved. Apparently, "the winner of each race wins the cheese." Well done! Apparently you need a cheese-rolling committee to decide on that prize for a cheese-rolling contest. And what a prize! Cheese that's been rolled down a hill, covered in moss and grass and tramp piss.

Spare me incidentally, before you start, the argument of 'oh, but it's tradition!' You know what else was a tradition for quite a while? Apartheid. Not that I'm saying the two are comparable, but traditions don't necessarily have to stay traditions. All you have to do is break away, which should have been done hundreds of years ago and saved us the trouble of having a cheese-rolling committee, yet more public servants to fiddle expenses. I bet they claimed for the crackers as well.

Boy gets arm wedged in cup holder at Medway Valley Park Cineworld

This one's actually quite dear to my heart, as this is a cinema I used to work for. (Much love to the Cineworld Rochester staff, holler if you hear me!) Sadly, more than anything else, this actually just struck me as one of the tamer stupid requests staff would have to deal with. My favourite one was one that I dealt with personally, where I gave someone back their tickets and directed them to their screen. The girl of the couple took a long, searching look at the concessions stand and asked simply: 'Can you buy things there?'

Probably not wise, being as you're obviously not smart enough to eat them.

Anyway, the story goes that a kid went to see Astro Boy at the cinema, and managed to get his arm caught in the drinks cup holder. What's terrifying about this, first of all, is that the drinks cup holder on a cinema seat is a good foot from the back of the seat, meaning that he would have had to be sitting pretty far forwards in order to get stuck. More damningly, the kid's arm must have been massive in order to get stuck, which should have tipped the authorities off to an obvious case of steroid abuse.

What I like is that this kid is obviously not a bad kid, as he decided the polite thing to do would be not to scream his lungs out (which automatically endears him to me, having been a cinema patron many times - often, kids don't even need an excuse not to shut the fuck up for five minutes), and decided instead to mention it at the end of the film instead. How thrilled his companions must have been to see that sight. 'Oh fantastic, not only have I had to sit through Astro Boy, but one of my companions has engaged in a grand act of fucktardery, as well as making it obvious that he's juicing.'

Want further proof? The fireman noted, after clarifying that it was "an unusual job" (thanks for that), that "his arm was stuck right in the holder up to his bicep".

I can see the headlines now, if I'd written the paper.


The second biggest case of steroid-induced rage? I think so...

Based on best-selling horror author Stephen King’s short story Nightmares and Dreamscapes comes Dolan’s Cadillac, a dark revenge tale starring Hollywood legend Christian Slater (Interview With A Vampire, True Romance), which is out on DVD and Blu-ray on today, courtesy of Momentum Pictures.

Middle-school teacher Robinson (Wes Bentley, American Beauty) shares an idyllic life with his beloved wife Elizabeth, but things take a sinister twist when Elizabeth witnesses an execution in the Nevada desert carried out by notorious crime lord Jimmy Dolan (Slater).

When his wife is then suddenly murdered, and accused Dolan walks free, Robinson is forced to find strength from within and wreak a terrible revenge on those he holds responsible.

While the untouchable Dolan basks in his freedom amidst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Robinson devises an ingenious downfall for the man who destroyed his life.

Directed by Jeff Beesley, Dolan’s Cadillac is a psychological revenge thriller with an unforgettable, terrifying climax.

Thanks to our friends at Momentum Pictures, we've got three copies of Dolan's Cadillac to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Monday 19th April (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!

1 comment:

  1. Great article Rob, really made me laugh!

    Kids and fucktardry seem to go together nowadays. Is it me or are kids in general getting dumber? I cant remember once as a kid wanting to jam my hand anywhere where it doest fit... if that WAS indeed the case, why on earth didnt i end up wearing the cat as a glove puppet more often?