MEDIA HEAVEN

When it finally became clear that God had decided he'd had enough of the world and the Second Coming was on the way, millions flocked to church to hurriedly repent their sins while others, convinced they would be damned, indulged in much weeping and gnashing of teeth. But there was one group of people who kept their heads and simply did what they had always done. They had done it for very many years and they weren't going to stop now.

As soon as it was apparent the almighty had gone for a snap Last Judgement BBC and ITV hurriedly revised that week's schedule. There followed countless special programmes, in which panels of experts demonstrated with the aid of computer simulations what the environmental effects of the great millstone falling into the sea would be, and when hail and fire fell upon the third part of the earth Kate Aidie was off to all her old haunts in Africa and the Middle East covering the relief efforts. Veteran stargazer Patrick Moore provided a running commentary as Jesus descended from the heavens, to be whisked off by angel minders to his hotel room to prepare the reports he would submit to God on the state of each soul. The papers gave their reaction. "THE END IS HERE: GLORIOUS NEW AGE OR MASS DAMNATION?" said the Times. "MILLIONS AWAIT JUDGEMENT AS MANKIND FINALLY FACES ITS DESTINY," said the Independent. "FEAR AND TREPIDATION AS LAST DAY DAWNS," said the Telegraph. "UNDERAGE BLONDE CALL GIRL IN BUDGIE MICROWAVE HORROR," screamed the Sun.

While all this was going on "Judgement 2004" had started on BBC1. All the usual pundits were wheeled on to give their views as, gradually, the results began to come in. Whenever it was known that someone had been damned or saved a message flashed onto the screen, in the form of a line with their name on it, e.g. God loses Rasputin, Devil holds Idi Amin. If the person had gone to Heaven, the line was a radiant white with angels around its borders; if they had gone to Hell it was red. Diagrams showed how heaven and hell were filling up, and the precise number of souls predicted to be in each at the end of the day. Peter Snow was heard to declare, "If we divide these figures by 8 million point 735641928 recurring, we can see God with no souls at all!" The punters had a field Day of Judgement as they debated what each result meant and how it could be explained. "Well, this soul has always been marginal. However she did come from a broken home and it's likely that that counted in her favour. "I don't think the Devil has any cause to be optimistic. So far all of the Satanic gains we've seen have been in safe souls - Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Judas Iscariot, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Bjork... "While in his prison cell this chap has had plenty of time to reflect on his sins and it's likely that an uneasy conscience and fear of eternal suffering resulted in a last-minute swing to God in this soul..."

I tried to buttonhole God for an interview but he was busy on the phone. "I keep telling you, Enoch, there's nothing wrong with all these people coming here. Heaven is a multicultural society." God slammed down the phone but almost immediately it rang again. Not everyone, it seemed, was happy in His heaven. The Israelis and the Palestinians had already started fighting, and the Reverend Ian Paisley was complaining that the Catholics shouldn't be there and there must be some mistake, and alleging malpractice. "Oh, God," said God. "Don't worry I'm here," said Tony Blair.

The next call was from Hell itself - on the hot line. Of course. "Oh, hello Nick. So she's shut down three furnaces in the last few minutes, has she? You want me to take her back? Oh, all right then, anything for a quiet life." I left God to sort out His affairs, passing Mr Spielberg and his film crew on the way out. I decided to try and speak to some of those who had been damned and find out how they were adjusting to life in hell. Interviewing mass murderer Josef Stalin being roasted on a spit over a slow-burning fire, I asked what he disliked most about being there. "Well the worst bit is having to listen to endless recordings of Kylie Minogue songs," he told me. "Mind you it's a bit of a blessing really, because compared to that all the other things don't seem so bad." Suddenly the gates of Hell burst wide open, everyone scattering in alarm, and scores of soldiers came flooding in, backed up by dozens of tanks, Stealth bombers and helicopter gunships with heat-seeking missiles, all followed by George W Bush shouting "Come on out, Osama, we know you're in there!"

The late Lord Longford returned from a visit to Hell calling for all the damned to be released, saying he had spoken to each of them and was convinced they had learned their lesson. "Being damned has been a considerable shock to them and I am sure there is no prospect of them reoffending," he said. "The time has come for them to resume their place within Heavenly society." One young lady was already making millions writing about "my hell in Hades", having signed an exclusive deal with a certain newspaper to sell her story. God was making no comment, as by now he was sick of being hounded by reporters asking for his views on the way things were going, why he had damned some people and saved others. Then there were the compensation claims and threats of legal action from the people who had been damned. He was last heard making another urgent phone call. "No, I'm sorry, this Thatcher woman will have to go. She keeps saying I'm sitting in her seat." "It's my seat actually," smiled Tony. "No, it's mine," said Brian Clough.

There was no doubt humanity were a pretty sinful lot, but in a society where even to mention Christianity was a heinous offence, there were lots of people who couldn't really be blamed for not believing. So in the end, it was a close-run thing. Each side claimed it was a victory for them. In fact no party had an overall majority, and for days the situation hung in the balance until some breaking news arrived. "I see...right...thankyou. We're just getting reports that scores of people have been seen leaving Hell and that the devil has been shaking hands with...Yes, here are the first pictures. Well, this appears to confirm what we've suspected for a long time now - Robert Maxwell went on ahead to fix it. Oh and by the way, he's suing over that joke. It's also emerged that he was in fact the millstone in the sea {looks up at sky} Oh, and I understand he's suing for that one as well. So as I don't want to collect any more writs I'm going to sign off now. A Reporter, News at Ten, on the Last Day. 'Bye." Literally, it was media Heaven.

ERAISM

Since the 1950s there has been a growing ethnic minority population in Britain, most of it originating from the Commonwealth countries, its former colonies. Relations between it and the majority have not always been harmonious; minorities complain about discrimination and whites about what they see as political correctness being rammed down their throats.

However this was nothing to the situation that developed when the secret of time travel was discovered. People from past eras of history travelled to the C21 believing they would find greater prosperity there, what with all the technological advances that had taken place. Meanwhile people from the C21 journeyed to the past hoping to find a simpler, less hectic way of life free of overcrowding and pollution. The Foreign Office now had the additional responsibility of advising people whether it was safe to take a holiday in a particular time zone. Realising that the C21 was a kinder, more liberal and democratic age than their own, or so it appeared, people began to apply for political asylum from bad King John or Genghis Khan. There were enormous legal problems, with historians being called in by the courts to help decide whether an applicant really was fleeing from tyranny and persecution or was actually an economic migrant. The most lengthy and expensive case was A vs B, which was finally won by Professor A of Cambridge after a bitter debate with his arch rival Dr B of Oxford over whether or not Ivan the Terrible essentially favoured an inclusive policy towards the peasantry.

Gradually large communities of Elizabethans, Romans and Victorians began to grow up in all Britain?s major cities. Most of them of course were hard-working law-abiding citizens who did their best to integrate into the host culture. Nonetheless there was friction, such as when it was discovered following a police raid that the Romans were holding secret gladiatorial contests. It was claimed this went against civilized values and the British way of life, while the Romans in return insisted it was a part of their culture which in a free society, and in the interests of diversity, no-one had any right to interfere with. There was undoubtedly prejudice. A Roman member of a football team was subjected to verbal abuse from the crowd the moment he appeared on the pitch in his toga and sandals. Eventually the sense of alienation among the new minorities exploded into violence and a public enquiry had to be held into the factors behind the disturbances. Admittedly the immigrants could sometimes be a pain in the butt, continually taking issue with historians on the lines of "it wasn?t really like that" and complaining at the interpretation of ancient monuments and archaeological sites. There were also areas where their customs conflicted with the law of the land; for example should Georgians be allowed to wear their powdered wigs on the buses or when serving with the police force? A new word could now be added to the vocabulary of political correctness: eraism, viz. prejudice against a person on grounds of the historical period from which they came. Liberals started talking about the need to create "positive images" of Romans and about how if you were a police officer conducting an interview and you folded your arms in front of an Elizabethan it was intimidation. Notices in doctors' surgeries and on all kinds of products now had to be in Old English, Latin, and Norman French as well as a host of other languages, and for those who wouldn?t learn modern English (there were always a few) a historian had to be produced to act as interpreter.

In time, progress was made with the advancement of these new minorities, and there were riotous celebrations as Britain's first Tudor Prime Minister took up residence in Downing Street. It should be noted that discrimination worked both ways. Victorians burnt "The Female Eunuch" because it attacked their view that a woman's place should be in the home, and declared a fatwah on the author. A group of seventeenth century Puritans demanded a ban on the wearing of bikinis on the beach, as well as in other places of course - and when they didn't get their way these religious fundamentalists, who were also annoyed by the letters they received from the folks back home telling them how the character of the C17 was being changed by the influx of settlers and entrepreneurs from the C21, started letting off bombs on the underground. A C21 couple who emigrated to the Middle Ages spoke of their experiences: "I think mediaeval society is highly prejudiced. Any sort of technology, they think it?s a sign of something devilish. The other day our daughter went out wearing an I-Pod and got burnt as a witch." Back home, fears were meanwhile being raised that the "Ootzies" as they were known (OOTZ standing for "Out Of Time Zone") would one day come to outnumber the indigenous population. One notorious right-wing politician talked of being made ?strangers in our own era? and predicted that civil war would result. Eventually sensible restrictions were introduced. You could come from another time zone but not another country, to minimize the complexity of cultural adjustment. But there was one thing which completely offset any beneficial effects arising from this. Although nobody wanted to emigrate to the future, because bearing in mind what the world was like now, it would probably be a load of ****, by the same token lots of people wanted to emigrate from the future to the present, and were constantly stowing away on board time machines. Special refugee camps had to be set up to receive them, at the taxpayer's expense. Eventually the whole business caused so many problems that someone had to go back in time to prevent the first contact with another time zone from being made, so that the whole palaver never started in the first place. One thought it might all serve as a lesson on the need to have a sensible immigration policy, but of course people never learned.

 

MOSSAD The Israeli secret service War criminals liquidated etc Tel: Aviv 103034

Billy Bunter's e-mail address: wgbunter@yaroo.com

If we are what we eat, then a Third World peasant might say "I yam what I yam."

A: You've got Tourette's Syndrome. B (violently): NO I HAVEN?T! A: You've got Attention Deficit Disorder. B: Sorry, what did you say?

Question: It is said that 70% of statistics are wrong. But that's a statistic, so could it be that 70% of statistics are actually right?

REASONS WHY CHOCOLATE IS BETTER THAN SEX

1. You can GET chocolate.

2. You can have chocolate even in front of your mother.

3. Two people of the same sex can have chocolate without being called nasty names.

4. The word commitment doesn't scare off chocolate.

5. You can have chocolate at any time of the month.

6. When you have chocolate it does not keep your neighbours awake.

7. You can have chocolate with the wrapper off and not catch nasty diseases. Yes, but on the other hand...

 REASONS WHY SEX IS BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE

(1) You can go without chocolate for long periods and not suffer serious psychological damage.

 (2) The current scientific view is that lots of sex makes you healthy, whereas lots of chocolate does the opposite.

(3) Which looks better in a bikini, a bar of chocolate or a woman?

(4) If you want children to carry on the family name, it's worth remembering that no-one ever produced them by ****ing an Aero.

(5) People heading off to the Costa del Sol for "sun, sand, sea and chocolate" would face serious problems, as chocolate melts easily in hot climates.

 (6) The reason why newsagents have to sell sweets, soft drinks, newspapers, magazines and stationery as well as Galaxies and Mars Bars is that unless you're the Managing Director of Nestles you won't make lots of money just by selling chocolate.

(7) If you happen to be in the Kings Cross area of London after all the shops have closed, you won't get any chocolate but you will be able to get sex.

 

What if society was based on the observance of time-honoured proverbs and adages? (e.g. Smith vs Fixit Engineering Ltd. The plaintiff claimed that the company?s negligence in failing to maintain its tools in a proper condition had resulted in his partly severing his thumb and needing to undergo emergency surgery. However in line with the principle that a bad workman blames his tools, it was decided that Mr Smith?s injury was due to his own negligence and that the case should be dismissed.)