1. The Toilet Zone: This one's for the creative writers out there. Ever read a book that's so bad you've said you wouldn't even use it as toilet paper? Well the Japanese are a wipe ahead of you. Japanese author Koji Suzuki (author of film-fodder story Ring) is having his nine chapter horror story Drop printed on rolls of toilet paper. The tale is about an evil spirit that lives in the toilet bowl of a public convenience and scares patrons and I promise you I'm not making this up. It takes up 90cm of toilet paper and is billed as a 'horror experience in the toilet' (although I'm sure we've all had those before).
Thing is, I can't help but feel that this idea is genius. It's always nice to have something to read on the can. The Sherlock Holmes short stories or Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected are the perfect length to be put on toilet roll and read while you're performing your duty. Obviously longer reads such as Dickens or Tolstoy would be a problem - you'd have to buy a multi-pack of toilet roll just to get one book, with several chapters on each roll (I recommend Roll 4 of Bleak House - it's beautifully written, soft and absorbent).
Right, so I'm setting you a question and a challenge. Firstly, what book/story would you like to see on a roll of Andrex (creative writers out there, would you want your own work put on it if you were offered the chance?), and secondly, can you think of any titles that might lend themselves well to such a print medium. The Rear-der, perhaps? (I also came up with Darwin's On the Origin of Faeces but decided that was a bit too graphic). Ready, set, get punning!
2. Come Fly With Me: If you've never flown with Ryanair I can only liken it to sitting in a particularly cramped orange crate packed with junk mail adverts and people you don't like. It was my first time flying with Ryanair last week and I hated every second of it, from the extensive queuing to the bombadrment of adverts and scratchcards during the flight. The worst thing was when I wanted a glass of scotch to ease my flying nerves and found they sell their spirits in sachets. Sachets. Like you get ketchup in. My god. I realise I sound a bit Frasier Crane-esque here but what next, in-flight wine in little juice cartons with straws? (Yeah I know they already exist, but so do nuclear weapons and cosmetics tested on animals - it doesn't mean we should use them). To be fair, the nightmare of flying isn't all their fault. Airports as a whole seem to be trying to put you off actually getting on a plane. The whole experience made me long for the days when flight and the airport rituals surrounding it weren't tainted by the atrocities of 9/11 and after - a time when you and your dad could go up to the cockpit and meet the Captain and learn all about the controls, when you could use actual metal cutlery to cut through your Boot Sole Bourguignon in your airline 'meal', when drinks came in bottles, when you could take half a bottle of Fanta through security, and when you didn't have to remove half of your clothes and put them in the x-ray machine before being asked to remove your Converse by an all too burly security woman so she can scan them for Semtex. I'm not saying those were the halcyon days of flight. They weren't. But becasue the world hadn't been scared and forced to take more drastic measures those days were just a little bit better, a little bit more friendly than they are now. And sachets of Gin were mercifully nowhere to be seen.
3. Lady Gaga: Put a damn pair of jeans on woman. No one wants to see you walking around in just your knickers.
4. Batman & Robin: Yes I know I bemoaned Robin's existence a couple of week's ago, but DC Comics' new monthly Batman and Robin series, which started yesterday and is written by writer supreme Grant Morrison, may change all that. It features the new Batman and Robin (you mean you didn't know Bruce Wayne was dead?!?!): former Robin/Nightwing Dick Grayson is Batman and Bruce Wayne psychotic son Damian Wayne is the new Robin, meaning we get a Robin who is a lot darker, complex and actually more than willing to kill. No joke. This is a Robin I can get my head around - one's who's even more brooding and mean than the Batman we all know and love: a Robin who's more likely to say 'Holy F**k, Batman!' than 'Holy Venezuela!'. Morrison's Robin is the closest thing to Robin done like he should be - feral, rebellious and able to punch your head clean off your shoulders. Plus, on a non-sidekick sidenote, the series features a flying Batmobile. I'm sold.
If you're looking to get into comics, or just fancy a casual read without knowing anything at all about the world of Batman, this series is perfect for you. And old Bat-fans will be more than pleased with it. I certainly loved the first issue. You can take a look at the first seven pages of it here.
5. Riddle Me This...: I'm currently addicted to www.sporcle.com, a site that features thousands of free quizzes on a multitude of different subjects, from literature to TV, science to The Simpsons to sports, and all the random, miscellaneous things in between. Think you can name all the Presidents of the U.S? Or maybe every Bond film? Or every element on the Periodic Table? (That last one's a real bastard. Yttrium? What the hell is that?). Then get over there now and you can test yourself against the clock. Of particular highlight are the quizzes: 'Can you name all the countries in the world?' 'Can you identify the company or brand from their logo?' and 'Can you name all of Dickens' major works?'. It's a great way of passing a few minutes/hours/days and gives your brain a good work-out.
Until next week, take care, and remember: a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush, but is only worth about 3 Euros on the currency exchange at the minute.