How Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Bruno) has spoiled it for satirists

There’s the integrity and bravery of “SA-positive” satirical cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) and many others around the world… and then there’s the shamelessness and cowardice of Sacha Baron Cohen (Bruno).

Sacha Baron Cohen (as Bruno): coward

Sacha Baron Cohen (as Bruno): coward

Borat was mostly funny, Bruno amusing in places… but the Middle East is not one of those places. I’ll leave it to veteran Sky news journalist Tim Marshall to tell you why Sacha Baron Cohen has sunk to a new low.

Marshall is spot-on. And The New Yorker review of Bruno does hit it on the head: “.. you don’t see dumb humiliation. You see tough weathered types who have met many dunderheads in their time, and this fop is no different – he’s nothing to them, a speck, and they’ll brush him off the instant he leaves the room.”

Meanwhile, Cohen is guffawing all the way to the bank. Somebody, please hit this pathetic plonker on the head. Hard. And stick the vid on YouTube.

103 years old and tweeting loud and clear

Think you’re too old to be using Twitter, the uber-trending social networking site? I have only three words for you.

But I’ll shout them out (in case your hearing aid is not switched on): “MEET IVY BEAN.”

[pro-player width=’480′ height=’281′ type=’video’][/pro-player]

Isn’t that just the most beautiful thing you ever did see? Didn’t you love the bit where Mrs Bean titters about turning down a marriage proposal from an adoring fellow Twitterer. Didn’t get her 103-year-old heart all-a-twitter, did he?

No. that’s because Ivy loves me. And I love her. But not like that, silly. I just want to take her her tea and shortcake of an afternoon. And give her a big hug. And, if she’ll allow me, a little peck on the cheek.

Aaaah. There’s no sweeter tweeter than our Ivy. Bless!

Revealed! Why women are becoming more and more beautiful

I am sure that science is a subject close to your hearts, Hatpeople. So I make no apologies for putting you through this arduous test. For starters, may I trouble you to closely scrutinise the following photograph? OK. First, close your eyes. And no peeping. Are your eyes shut? Right. Now open them!

Does this picture taken of my neighbour staring at me lying next to my swimming pool suggest that the boffins have got it horribly wrong?

Does this picture taken of my neighbour staring at me lying next to my swimming pool suggest that the boffins have got it horribly wrong?

No, I didn’t think so. Good. We’re all on track. Oh, a big ta to SASI (that’s South African Sports Illustrated, not the South African Science Institute) for the pic they took of Genevieve Morton who, by the way, has been allowed to swim in my pool. On special occasions.

You will be ready by now for a scientific explanation of how honeys such as Genevieve have got to be so off-the-hook hot. I’ll do my best. Fred-Hot News has in its possession a scientific study which concludes that women, through the process of evolution, are becoming more beautiful. Why on earth would they want to do this? Well, to ensure the survival of the female gender, apparently.

Don’t worry. I was also, at first, a tad confused. But I have an excuse. I’m a man. So, for the other men out there, here’s the scenic route: beautiful women are more likely to find male partners and better-looking parents are more likely to produce daughters. Those daughters – are we beginning to detect the emergence of a pattern at this point? – will themselves, by dint of having aesthetically pleasing parents, become right little crackers. And so it goes on. Angels beget even more gorgeous angels. Check? The boffins’ research also threw up that men, on the hairier hand, have “remained as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors”. It’s all falling into place, isn’t it?

Before (ungratuitously) furnishing you with further proof of the burgeoning beauty (pardon my gratuitous alliteration) of womankind, I’ll allow the London Times to take up the the story.

There. Now you’ve got the picture. And do please allow me to give you another one…

Further proof... that the beach in front of my house in Umdloti is the place to be

Further proof... that the beach in front of my house in Umdloti is the place to be

Good. We’re done. Thank you for staying the course, Hatpeople, and helping to prove that the resident beauty boffin at the University of Helsinki is on to something. Only wish I had listened to my parents and taken Science at varsity. Instead of just drugs. Just porking you. My love goes out to all of you beautiful Hatpeople, Fred.

50 Reasons to be SA-positive

My friends at do a good job. Now they’ve drawn up a list of 50 amazing facts about why South Africa is great.

So great, in fact (pardon pun), that I’m thinking of asking Durban city manager and general busybody DOCTOR Mike Sutcliffe, who loves renaming streets and things, to kick off a campaign to get Great Britain to drop their “Great” (for obvious reasons) and rename South Africa “Great South Africa”. Do you like that vibe?

But I digress slightly. Feast your eyes on Fifty Fantastique Facts About Great South Africa…

SA 50 facts

Have a Great South Africa day!

fredflash #4: England awarded 2015 RWC

News just in. South Africa and Italy have lost out to England for the right to stage the Rugby World Cup in 2015. A fred-hot tip for travelling Bok fans: you have six years to practise on your vuvuzelas to drown out that abominable “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” ditty that the Poms have colonised from the Caribbean.

The Beeb online has all the bad news. Heavens to Betsy!

Sawubona iRiphabliki yaseNingizimu Afrika

Hello, South Africa. I thought I would greet my beloved country in the language of isiZulu. Because, here in the Zulu Kingdom of KwaZulu-Natal, it is yet another sublime winter’s day.

I’m off to walk Scrapster and The Dod on the beach and perhaps pick up a cowrie shell or two. And to clear my head in order to find for you an informative and entertaining post.

In the meantime, all of my fellow South Africans can brush up on the ELEVEN official names in which South Africa rejoices by clicking here.

Have fun, my beautiful Hatpeople. Be “SA-positive”. And memorise those eleven names. I’ll be asking questions when I get back. In isiZulu.

Your weekend sports wrap

Welcome to my view from Biltong National Park (BNP). BNP was immaculately conceived in a London basement flat in 1995 when a group of South African expats and a truckload of beer gathered for every minute of the Springboks’ inexorable march to Rugby World Cup glory. Yes, 1995. The year of Francois Pienaaar’s inclusion of 45 million South Africans in the history-making RWC victory, Nelson Mandela’s nation-unifying wearing of Pienaar’s No 6 jersey and Joel Stransky’s last-gasp drop-goal. Fourteen years on, the sporting madness which is Biltong National Park still draws diehard Sharks, Springbok, Proteas and Liverpool fans to my living-room.

That’s the intro bit. Now for your weekend sports review. Enough has been written and said about the Boks’ smashing of New Zealand, notwithstanding the wobbly first 20 minutes of the second half, so I’ll hand you over to Independent Newspapers’ star rugby commentator Mike Greenaway, whose match report got it spot-on (read it… er, I was going to link to Mike’s piece on here but Independent’s plodding and lacklustre apology of a website does not appear to have loaded it). Skande!

Allow me then to pass you on to Bob Skinstad whose post-match interview with a still-sweating Bryan Habana was perhaps the next most articulate and insightful commentary on the “Bashing in Bloem”. The sound isn’t the best so pump up the volume and enjoy Habana’s inside analysis on how the 2009 Tri-Nations might unfold…

The Bob & Bryan Show

Nice. You just have to love Bryan. Not only the fastest rugby player on earth but one of the funniest too.


I will ‘walk’ for Mayor of Umdloti

I know, I know. You can barely contain your excitement over the above headline. Understandable. But let me explain. I am thrilled that my good mate, Robert Burck (aka The Naked Cowboy) has relented and agreed to run for Mayor of New York City. He’ll be much warmer in The Mayoral Chambers. Don’t know if you’ve happened across Bob strumming his gee-tar in Times Square but he wears only Superman-like Y-fronts (in satin white)… even in sub-zero temperatures. “Aahm doin Snow Patrol today, dude,” he’d say to me on one of our trans-hemispherical phone calls.

Here’s Bob (on Snow Patrol)…

No lunchbox bulge in that weather

No lunchbox bulge in that weather

Check? I wasn’t porking you. He’s one tough guy, is our Naked Cowboy.

So why not? An almost buck-naked, tattooed, over-muscled busker run for New Yoik Mayor, I mean. Look at Durban. We’ve got Obed Mhlaba as Mayor (correctly prononunced as “mare” not “maya”). What does he do? Apart from occasionally kick a ball around with poor streetkids whenever a big soccer match hits town. He best exercise his kicking leg before the 2010 World Cup, don’t you think?

And perhaps we’d take him more seriously if he borrowed Doctor Mike’s banjo and strummed up some maskanda for us at Friday lunch-time. Naked. Hang on. An image just knocked loudly on head and I’ve slammed the door shut. No. Anyway, if you think I’m borrowing a line from Mercury columnist Greg “I want your job, Obed” Arde, it’s fine. He’s also a mate. And. like all of you, I want Greg installed as Mayor of Durban. Immediately.

Then there’s Boris Johnson. He’s Mayor of London. And a total nutter. As was Ken Livingstone before him (“Red” Ken’s sole passion was collecting newts. No pork. Google him.). Boris? Well, I worked with him at the Daily Telegraph and all I remember of the larger-than-life Dennis-the-Menace look-a-like is the time he went on holiday and left a large fish in his office fridge. Which would have been fine except he then switched the fridge off and naffed off to, erm, Lesbos for two weeks. It took the Torygraph staff nearly two weeks to pinpoint the source of the piscean stench. Not nice.

So there’s a long history of total prats running for mayoral office. And that’s why I’ll walk. Unlike Bob, Obed and Boris, I think even prats should maintain some dignity. So relax. No “The Naked Blogger” as Mayor of Umdloti.

Around the world in a Sling

While we sit behind our lappies, blogging and tweeting, it’s nice to know that there is real life out there. Not just real life but real adventure. Take Mike and James. Two South Africans. They’re flying around the world. So what? Not sitting back, slukking on a Chardonnay, in First Class in an Airbus, people. In a Sling. A “light sport aircraft”.

That means logging into turbulence, not Twitter. That means not being able to do a piddle whenever your bladder takes you (I hope). That means nibbling on an Ouma with one hand on the wheel (I imagine). Think about it. This is Howard Hughes behaviour. I love a tale of derring-do. I sometimes take a walk down to the beach. Fifty metres there. Fifty metres back. I know what it’s all about.

But Mike and James are on a whole new level here. Yes, literally. Over to SA Rocks for the whole story.

Yowzers. I like that. That’s SA-positive for you. And how cool that one of our daredevil pilots is the uncle of fellow blogger Jason Bagley?

Nice. Now, I know you want to keep track of the globe-circumnavigating (doesn’t that sound so dramatique?) progress of Mike and James as they dodge meteors, Airbuses and large flocks of albatrosses par avion to Wisconsin, US of A. While eating only Ouma rusks and not taking a swazz. You can do that right here.

Always at your service, Hatpeople.

fredhotnews: 6.30am – GI Woe for Siena

Apart from “Loud blast heard near Asia Conference in Phuket” (Reuters, breaking news), lots of quietness on world front. Near-top story on is, I kid you not, cinema darling Siena Miller getting drenched on a boat in London’s River Thames during a stunt to publicise new movie GI Joe. Ms Miller was reportedly not entirely amused by her new “wet-fish look” and had to be restrained from… from bursting into tears.

Not so GI Joe

Not so GI Joe

I simply cannot go on. Not Siena talking. Me. I’ll let a breathless Sky News tell all…