Apocalypse Watch: Interdimensional Wormhole Spotted In U.K.

According to The Argus, a resident of Brighton, England, has discovered “a vortex to another dimension, complete with a giant snake.” This could be something to worry about.

The strange anomaly was reported using a website called Fix My Street, “which is more typically used to report potholes” and the like. This time, however, a far more serious hole had appeared, just above Montreal Road: a wormhole. The citizen expressed concerns about such a vortex and questioned whether it was part of the Brighton Festival, an annual art event. The next day, they noted the wormhole had gotten worse, “emitting an unsettling yellow light” as a large snake from some other universe poked its head through into ours.

Oh sure, this probably sounds like a big practical joke to you, but this is the kind of warning we ignore at our peril. And the city council has said they will not be following up the claim! This is how horror movies start – with skepticism. Even more pressing is the question of who found the vortex, because Brighton is full of celebrities and it’s definitely one of them, right? Could be the work of Sir Paul McCartney or Steve Coogan. But this type of quiet heroism is a little bit more Cate Blanchett’s style. 

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Malmaison Oxford Hotel Gives New Meaning To The Term “Prison Films”

There’s a brilliant scene in The Simpsons episode "The Trouble with Trillions," where a noir-ish IRS agent growls at a tax-delinquent Homer, "You won’t be seeing any prison films where you’re going: PRISON!" And visitors to Malmaison Oxford’s Cult Screens celluloid series this summer won’t be seeing any prison films either. The scholarly city’s hippest hotel (opened in 2005) is, in fact, a former house of incarceration, in a wing of the majestic ruins of the 11th Century Norman fortress that is Oxford Castle. A careful collaboration between ADP Architects, Sir Jeremy Dixon Architects, and interior designers Jestico & Whiles managed to maintain the fascinatingly ominous "lock down" atmosphere while, of course, stylistically bringing it up to the luxurious standards of contemporary boutique hotels.

And this being the 21st Century, the series (every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening for six weeks, commencing on June 6th) will be taking place at Malmaison’s sexy, open-air rooftop bar, on a hi-def big screen, with wireless headphones, accompanied by BBQ munchies and an epicure’s selection of cocktails and bubbles. The impeccably-assembled program runs the gamut from camp faves The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Labyrinth, to cult stalwarts Stand By Me and The Big Lebowski, to beloved classics Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to modern hits Argo and Life of Pi. (Sorry boys, no Caged Heat.) The original Italian Job with Michael Caine, actually partly filmed at the castle, will be a particular endemic highlight. The hotel’s eponymous Brasserie will also be whipping up pre-cinema dinner menus tied to each film’s theme; for maximum immersion, pretend it’s "your last meal."

Still, much as we love the intellectual buzz of traversing the hallowed halls of Trinity College, after a weekend visit to Oxford it’s surely back to the grueling business of gallery and bar crawling in East London–for which you can book into chic sister hotel Malmaison London, picturesquely located right on Charterhouse Square…but just a quick nip over to Shoreditch. 

Will the BBC Play ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ in Honor of Margaret Thatcher?

First of all, the pop music charts in England are fucking nuts. Do you remember the crazy frog ringtone? That was, like, a number-one single in England. I don’t understand it, but you do whatever you need to do, U.K. Anyway, even though there are a handful of anti-Margaret Thatcher songs out there, those who are especially pleased about her death this week have turned to an old, universal favorite to express their glee: "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz. Yes, the song from the 1939 movie has hit the top of the charts, and now the BBC may have to awkwardly play the song on the network’s Official Chart Show.

Of course, this is creating some controversy over there.

John Whittingdale, a lawmaker from Thatcher’s Conservative party, told the Daily Mail tabloid that many would find the ditty "deeply insensitive."

"This is an attempt to manipulate the charts by people trying to make a political point," he said.

In a statement, the BBC said it had not yet decided on whether it would feature the song on its show — which normally plays all the week’s best-selling hits.

"The Official Chart Show on Sunday is a historical and factual account of what the British public has been buying and we will make a decision about playing it when the final chart positions are clear," the taxpayer-funded BBC said.

Not all Tories agreed that the song should be yanked.

"No song should be banned by the BBC unless its lyrics are pre-watershed," said former Conservative lawmaker Louise Mensch, referring to British restrictions on adult content.

Mensch, a prominent Conservative voice on Twitter, said in a message posted to the site that Thatcher, famously known as "the Iron Lady," would not have wanted it any other way.

"Thatcher stood for freedom," she wrote.

Yes, she sure did love freedom almost as much as bombing Argentinians. But did she love Ella Fitzgerald? This is a tough one. 

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Stonehenge: Britain’s Most Exclusive Night Club

Hey, this makes sense: you know how the English are, like, a little too into the club scene? And like to drink so hard from noon onward that you can find them passed out in big piles around bus stop benches around 9 AM? Well it turns out there is some tradition to that—archaeologists are now saying Stonehenge was the only thing that ever united prehistoric Britain. For giant parties.

According to Discovery News, these parties (feasts? keggers? raves?) “would have been attended by up to one tenth of the British population at one time,” which sounds indistinguishable from the Ministry of Sound on a night when university freshers get in free. Even people from Scotland came down, probably just to start fist fights.

There are also some allegedly “elite” families buried under Stonehenge, so there’s a great dancing-on-graves aspect to this as well. All in all, it looks less and less like the mysterious monument is some kind of observatory, or calendar, or alien beacon. Or the aliens are just waiting for another good party. “That place got too touristy,” you can practically hear them scoff.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

It’s Really A Slow News Day When The Biggest Story Is That A Famous Lady Is Pregnant

How does one classify the news of Kate Middleton’s recently announced pregnancy? Well, it’s not really "politics," as she has very little to do with that. And it’s not really "health and beauty," either, because putting the news of a famous lady’s fetus seems, I dunno, kinda weird next to stories about having a nervous breakdown in public and how 5 Hour Energy will probably cause a "spontaneous abortion." (The latter would certainly be in bad taste next to Princess Kate’s pregnancy news.) Of course, Google News, the aggregate of all breaking news alerts that I tend to look at, has it figured out. It’s entertainment.

Sure, what else is royalty good for these days? As one brilliant Twitter user pointed out, Princess Kate has fulfilled her duty of getting knocked up so that we can all watch eagerly as photographers follow her around, taking shots of her ever-growing belly, all in the name of the patriarchal system of the monarchy that only serves as a reason for people to flock to London to look at the place where the queen lives. So, good job, Google News, for at least being honest about how worthless this news really is:

google news

I mean, really, people. Two famous people had sex and made another soon-to-be famous person. We should all be so proud. 

Also, I think it’s obvious that I’m tagging this one as "Fashion."

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Skeleton Found Under British Parking Lot May Belong To Richard III

A car, a car, my kingdom for a car!

The skeleton in question is a bit dinged up, to put it lightly, which is consistent with accounts of the 15th-century king being the last English monarch to die in battle: the skull had been “cleaved” by a “bladed implement,” while a “barbed metal arrowhead” was found lodged in the vertebrae. And here I thought the War of the Roses sounded like a perfectly civil bloodbath.

What’s more, there’s a distinctly familiar shape to the bones.

[T]he spinal abnormalities suggest the individual had severe scoliosis, though was not a hunchback, as he was portrayed by Shakespeare in the play of the king’s name.

Even so, the scoliosis seen in the skeleton would’ve made the man’s right shoulder appear visibly higher than the left one.

Nonetheless, it should take another twelve weeks to confirm that—wait a minute, did I read that correctly? Shakespeare was exaggerating the physical appearance of a historical personality in his bio-drama? FABRICATING FACTS? Next you’ll tell me that he didn’t base The Tempest on an actual wizard he knew. My god, he’s no better than Jonah Lehrer.  

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Man Shows French Not All Americans Obese, Some Able to Fly with Balloons

Earlier this morning, an American man flew across the English Channel on a chair lifted by dozens of helium balloons, a means of transport typically relegated to animated films (see: Up) and little-known indie flicks (see: Danny Deckchair). Jonathan Trappe, 36, launched at 5am this morning from the South East of England—less than five hours later, he landed in a French cabbage field before winds blew him into Belgium. He was the first person ever to cross the channel in a free-floating balloon rig.

This wasn’t Trappe’s first flight of fancy. Last month, he set a record for the longest helium balloon flight in history, soaring over North Carolina for almost 14 hours at a distance of 109 miles.

“It was just an exceptional, quiet, peaceful experience,” Trappe told reporters of his latest venture. As if the feat weren’t already cinematic enough, Trappe controlled his descent by cutting free balloons. However, upon landing, Trappe was questioned by French authorities and apparently arrested by the gendarmes. Details are still forthcoming on his current status.

Investigating Why Kids Do Coke

The number of rascally teens, 18 and under, seeking cocaine addiction treatment in the UK has increased by 65% in the last five years according to Britain’s National Health Service. 18 to 24-year-olds are in on the game too–their numbers have doubled. There are only a few plausible explanations for this rise in youth drug use/rehabilitation. Please see the Venn Diagram after the jump.

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The Caffeinated, Alcoholic Beverage Spiking British Crime

It turns out aggressive, caffeinated alcohol products like Mad Dog and Sparks Red have an older, scarier cousin. Her name is Buckfast Tonic Wine, and she’s been laying low in the British Isles for the last century, stirring up knife crime, keeping kids from walking home for dinner in a straight line and generally hanging out. Drinking a bottle of Buckie, according to The Guardian, is like drinking a bottle of wine and three to four cans of Red Bull. No wonder the Buckie bottle has been used as a weapon in 114 recent crimes in Scotland and usually makes it into three crime reports everyday.

If you study Buckie’s heritage, say, on YouTube where British teens enjoy posting videos of themselves “necking” Buckie as fast as they can ( ”>Buckie challenge happens to be Brit slang for quick six) you’ll notice that Buckie tends to hang out next to some train tracks or maybe even in a forest, and she’s especially fond of keeping company with teen boys in soccer jerseys, usually decorated with another alcohol’s logo. But Buckie never gets jealous and, in fact, she loves sharing her friends with benzo, according to The Guardian.

On this mixture, people can have no awareness of what they are doing – feeling “invisible” – no thought for the consequences and no memory the morning after, so they cannot learn from their mistakes. Sometimes the only knowledge the offender or the victim has of an extreme assault against a friend is the [closed-circuit television] footage.

The best part about Buckie, however, has to be that her friends really do love her and they’re not about to let some paternalistic martini-sipping Washington-types take her away from them. Monks have been making Buckie for over a century with the slogan “Three small glasses a day, for good health and lively blood.” What’s wrong with mixing a little caffeine and booze anyway? Actually the write-up in The Guardian is aimed entirely at defending her from allegations that her mere presence leads to violent crime: “People enjoy coffee at the end of a hospitable dinner party too.” If only we could have saved Sparks with the made-by-monks, classy-dinner-party defense.