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I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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Sharks Versus Hippies

More dead sharks in the Metro today. I'm not sure what the story was though as I didn't actually see the paper, instead I just arrived at my desk this morning to find the picture taped to my monitor. One suspects this was a foolhardy attempt to rile the Shoreditch Antipath (TM all rights reserved, formerly the Brixton Bastard TM all rights still reserved under pain of a kick in the nuts) on behalf of the Chamber crew.

Only time will tell how this affects the average life expectancy of hyperbaric technicians in the area.

In any case, it seems to me to be the right time to set the record straight with regard to sharks and shark attacks.

The one key concept here is mistaken identity which almost all attacks are a result of:

Sharks, much like the rest of us, have a natural hatred of hippies. During the course of their good work of removing surfers from this mortal coil, they will inevitably make a mistake every once in a while and an innocent, unsuspecting seal is bound to suffer. Tragic as this is, it is unfair to judge sharks harshly as they are doing a difficult job under poor conditions in low visibility. Incomprehensible, monosyllabic pseudo-mystical talk of "Green rooms" and similar new-age nonsense in an unlikely Californian drawl must be kept to acceptable levels. In order to ensure this, we have to be reasonable and understand that this is bound to come at the cost of the odd likeable mammal. Also, there are those that would point out that if seals are to insist on congregating in salt-water aquatic environments, they must accept that they will become vulnerable to the odd predator.

On a slightly tangential note, there was a giant, metal shark on display at Glastonbury this year. Evidence of this was texted to me by Fat Dan. Fear not, Fat Dan is not a hippie. I know this because upon his return I tipped the police off and he underwent the standard three week incarceration. Fortunately, all the correct medical tests were done and came back negative.

Anyway, I feel it is a phenomenal act of cruelty to subject a shark to these conditions. Being in metallic form it is forced to obey convention and not move of its own accord. Paralysed thus, it must therefore look on, starving, as thousands of specimens of its natural food wander by with their dogs on strings, waving their dreadlocks around and attempting to connect with nature via a mystical substance known as "Carlsberg Special Brew".

One can only hope that next year the natural balance will be restored and Glastonbury will relocate to Seal Island, South Africa. With free entry to all journalists.

SA (formerly BB)
LDC Training

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Techie Terror

For all you techies out there...

Big Brother has arrived and you are being watched...

"Some dive schools in the USA and Europe are beginning to keep accurate records of all technical diving equipment purchased to reduce the likelyhood of them being used by terrorists.

Underwater attacks have often been very succesful in times of war and it is feared that various terrorist groups are trying to develop underwater stealth attack capabilities. It would be a relatively simple task for a rebreather diver to place limpet mines on an ususpecting ship, either in port or out at sea. The result could be a catastrophic loss of life.

Within the last few hours it has been revealed that an ETA terrorist had attempted to board a UK/Spanish passenger ferry with the intention of blowing it up. So it is not surprising that that there is serious concern that well trained scuba divers could lauch successful attacks upon marine targets.

Generally military docks and commercial ports have some form of underwater detection and anti-terrorism operations in place but there are numerous weak links that could easily be exploited."


For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

Unfinished senten


in the words of bouffant 80s Thatcha-dontcha-hater comedian Ben Elton... lets get a bit political here...

Here in dull grey England we're always banging on about how lily-livered our courts are, tiny sentences for grand crimes. Yoofs stabbing away with only the fear of a wrist slapping for their misdemeanours.

But hey, it could be worse, we could be in Spain.

Sentencing of the Madrid bombers started today and...

"Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, 35: An Egyptian national described as one of the masterminds. Also known as Mohammed the Egyptian [thats gotta be the crappest nickname for an Egyptian - Ed], he was arrested in Milan in June 2004, and convicted of subversive association aimed at international terrorism.

Prosecutors claimed he came to the Spanish capital in January 2004 to meet the Madrid cell and help prepare the attacks.

They sought a sentence of 38,962 years in prison, although Spanish law means he can serve no more than 40 years. The prosecution figure includes 30 years for each of the 191 people killed, plus 18 years for each of the up to 1,800 wounded. This applies to the top eight defendants."

So... 40 thousand years down to 40. Serving 0.001% of a sentence.

Where's me semtex, Juan?

LDC Training

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People are Strange

I know you lot out there are a charitable lot,

so heres a plea from the sun kissed Isle of Roatan.

Medical Help Needed in Roatan : Between dives at Sueno del Mar, Undercurrent reader and dentist Bill Edell (Lake Oswego, OR) volunteered his services at La Clinica Esperanza, a new hospital run by nurse and missionary Peggy Strange that gives low-cost and free healthcare to Roatan residents. "I recommend dentists, hygienists, doctors and nurses who enjoy great diving and want a rewarding experience consider volunteering. Take your dive gear, favorite instruments and perhaps some supplies to donate, you will have a truly rewarding vacation." More info at: www.missionroatan.org

OK, thats simple then, cut and paste the link if you want to...

But as dogs look like their owners, so do some people match their surname.

Peggy Strange... oh yessssssiirreeee.

As much as I love helping others, can't say I want to look at that every day.

Dive Worldwide PNG

For an even better blog than this... Read the Battersea Blog

M. Bob Denard RIP

Hes French

Hes dead, but oh what a life.

Even though I wrote the book, i am sad.

So a rousing Gallic cheer and send off to bathroom appliance salesman, mercenary and all round Comoros hell raiser "Colonel" Bob Denard.

In the words of the Telegraph:

"Bob Denard, the French mercenary who has died aged 78, was one of the soldiers of fortune to profit from the upheavals of Africa of the 1960s.

He came to prominence during the early conflicts in the Congo, when he led a raid on Stanleyville (now Kisangani) to rescue white civilians besieged by rebel forces. The ruthless efficiency with which his group of mercenaries carved through the rebel army earned them the soubriquet "Les Affreux" (the fearful ones).

Denard, who always insisted that he was "a soldier, not an assassin", trained the secessionist force of Moise Tshombe in the breakaway Katanga province, fighting there until the regime collapsed in January 1963.

In 1968 he was back in the Congo, attempting to invade Katanga with 100 men on bicycles. This farcical episode ended in failure, and Denard left the Congo for the last time.

For 10 years he was employed as a "military adviser" to the government of Gabon in West Africa. This job is believed to have had the backing of the French government, which was known to promote its widespread interests in its former African colonies by occasional unorthodox methods and operatives.

Denard, describing himself as "the pirate of the republic", took part in an attack on Guinea in 1970 and was involved in a failed coup attempt in Benin in 1977. Again both ventures were believed to have had the blessing, if not the connivance, of the French government.

In later years Denard became obsessed with the Comoros Islands, an impoverished but idyllic group of islands in the Indian Ocean which had been part of the French Empire. He overthrew the government of the Comoros on no fewer than four occasions.

He first helped to depose Ahmed Abdullah in 1975, after which a young maniac called Ali Soilih seized power, and a group of teenage tearaways ran amok for two years: the chief of police was 15.

In May 1978 Denard was involved in a counter-coup, in which Soilih was shot, though it is not clear whether Denard himself killed him. He certainly delivered his corpse the next day to Soilih's sister, and remained on the Comoros after Abdallah resumed power.

Denard had considerable business interests, and influence, in the Comoros, converting to Islam and eventually becoming a Comoran citizen. When Abdallah was deposed in 1989 Denard hotly denied having anything to do with it.

He then launched a coup against Haribon Chebani, who had automatically succeeded Abdallah, in favour of Said Mohammed Djohar, who became the third president within five days. France had, by this point, had enough, and Denard was flown to South Africa and placed under house arrest.

But in 1995 he was back on the islands, and Djohar was overthrown. Three thousand French troops were sent in to tackle Denard and his 30 soldiers. Denard conceded defeat.

He returned to France to face trial for his involvement in the coup attempts in Benin and the Comoros. Although he was convicted, his jail sentences were suspended after evidence was given that the now ageing mercenary was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

He also received outspoken support from the former chief of staff of the army, who declared that Denard had always operated in France's interests.

Robert-Pierre Denard was born near Bordeaux on April 7 1929, the son of a retired Army officer who later worked in the French colonial service, and grew up in the small village of Grayan.

He enrolled in a marine school and joined the French Navy, eventually serving in Indo-China as a corporal aboard a ship that was involved in patrol work in the Mekong Delta.

But Denard resented the injustices of the French class system; he left the navy and joined the colonial police in Morocco. He began to adopt aliases, beginning with André Maurin and then Gilbert Bourgeaud.

In Casablanca he fell in with Right-wing groups and was allegedly involved in a plot to assassinate Pierre Mendès-France, the Left-wing French prime minister. He served 14 months in prison on remand before being acquitted.

Denard returned to France, where he worked as a bathroom appliance salesman, complaining that he was "bored s***less". Then a friend showed him a newspaper advertisement for security men needed to guard mining companies in Katanga, and within weeks he had emerged in Tshombe's Katanga province in the Congo dressed in a commando's uniform and using the self-bestowed rank of "colonel".

He soon found himself leading the motley group of European and South African soldiers of fortune fighting what was in essence a guerrilla war in the African bush. He soon established a reputation as a flamboyant and fearless leader of men in battle.

When the Katangese secession collapsed, Denard reappeared among a group of French officer-mercenaries training Royalist soldiers in the Yemen. He was summoned back to the Congo, succeeding the British mercenary Colonel "Mad Mike" Hoare in 1965 under the presidency of Mobuto Sese-Seko.

Mobuto soon became suspicious of the mercenaries he had hired, suspecting them of plotting against him. He ordered their disbandment, but Denard — along with the Belgian mercenary "Black Jacques" Schramme — attempted to overthrow the regime.

In the subsequent chaos Denard was wounded in an abortive attempt to relieve the beleaguered Schramme and fled to Angola, his reputation badly tarnished.

Denard was married officially twice, though he had a further five polygamous unions, and fathered eight children. He died at his home in south-western France on Saturday."

Denney Diving

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Metroid Grime

The fact that I've actually gone to the trouble of writing the following email and sending it to the Metro, has made me realise that, in the words of the band James, "I've become the kind of man I've always hated."

It was in response to a photo they published of some sort of Alaskan simpleton proudly displaying the bloodsoaked corpse of a salmon shark though, so, you know, that's alright then. Rabidly rant away, why don't I? I'm just off to buy the Daily Mail and vote BNP.

Here's the email:

Just wanted to congratulate the Metro on its pioneering journalism with regard to the piece in today's issue regarding Alaskan fisherman and salmon sharks. How refreshing it is to see the Metro venturing where other papers fear to tread and gleefully publishing photographs of butchered animals. What a pity the salmon shark is not one of the many species of sharks that are on the endangered list. Perhaps the Metro could endeavour to rectify this in the future, maybe with some shots of a blood-soaked tiger corpse being paraded by a gormless hillbilly or even better, the decapitated head of a white rhino.

It's good to see that, in the face of competition, the Metro is making an effort to produce articles of a similar substandard quality to that of the other free papers, rather than just letting the challenge pass it by. And how thankful we all are that the Metro has followed suit in other ways as well. Instead of being able to pick up a copy of the Metro at will in the morning, we are now able to run the gauntlet of underpaid employees aggressively thrusting the paper into our faces, ensuring that the tired fug with which we have awoken is shaken from us and replaced with the urge to punch someone in the face. The main objective of such distribution being, of course, to see how quickly the world's trees can be placed in enormous plastic London Underground rubbish bags, and in what volume.

In fact, instead of paper, why don't you start publishing the Metro on whale skin?

Lots of love etc.

Dive Worldwide PNG

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We Thought You Were Wrong, We Were Right, We Were Right

OK, I admit, it was a great white. Probably. Possibly. But if it was, it didn't have a Cornish accent. Maybe it was the last Yangtze river dolphin, on the run having had enough of watching friends and family get eaten.

Either way, I'd like to point my index fingers at the British tabloids and propose a toast to them in my best Eric Cartman voice: "Ha ha ha ha haaaa haaaaa, ha ha ha ha haaaa haaaaa..."

Reef Jewellery

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Gay Tabloid Attack

With any luck, I won't be the only one that fears for the sharks at the moment. Not just generally, what with the majority of shark species being on the brink of extinction, but specifically with the arrival of August, the traditional month of no news, and the appalling "coverage" afforded to these, the bestest of all sea creatures, by the tabloid press.

It all started with the Sun getting its ink-stained hands on film of what was most probably a basking shark off the coast of Cornwall, and then screaming at the top of its filthy lungs about "killers of the deep".

Amongst all the egregiousness (there's a good chance I just made that word up, but I'm sure you'll agree it fits nicely), there were two things that particularly stuck out for me in that "story". Firstly, a Sun "reporter" was sent down to the site for a dive. I wish this had been in order to have him killed, but the chances were sadly too remote for this to be a likely motive. He went out with two instructors, apparently, armed with a spear gun. Shame on the instructors, obviously, but since the great white is somewhat thick skinned (it has to be with all that bad PR) and also listed as an endangered species, this action is akin to going white rhino hunting with a sharpened pencil.

Secondly though, and what would be hilarious if it wasn't so depressing, there was an insert in the "story" about the world's "most dangerous sharks". These were: the great white, the tiger, the bullshark, the sandtiger and the grey nurse shark. Yes, the sandtiger and the grey nurse shark. As far as I'm aware, the grey nurse is the Australian name for the sandtiger, but even if they were different species, there's never been a recorded attack on a human being by one, so the question is begged: most dangerous sharks for what? If they meant fish, I fear the story may have misled its readership a tad.

After that, and defying all celestial probability, the Star predictably stumbled into the shadow of the Sun. "Killer Shark Seen in Med" it pathetically lisped. Twice. I couldn't get past the first page on either occasion as it would have entailed actually touching the paper and risking catching gay, but it appears they sent their own journalist down there. Not to go into the water though. This particular "intrepid" explorer observed the creature from a boat. Very brave. As if there was any chance of a nation's dreams coming true and the thing then leaping out of the water and biting his head off. In any case, I doubt that was a great white either.

The worrying thing, of course, is that tw*ts (if you've never heard of Vic Hislop, count yourself lucky) will now feel obliged to go out and massacre anything with a dorsal fin. And on a more obscure note, bear in mind that the summer of 2001 was, as Peter Benchley pointed out, known in America as the "Summer of the Shark" by virtue of there being considerably the same amount of shark attacks as any other year combined with a record dearth of news coverage. Something happened in September of that year, though, which proved itself newsworthy enough to take the nation's mind off sharks. I forget what it was now.

Alright, I'm not suggesting here for a moment that sharks are about to start flying planes into buildings, they hardly ever do that, but I am suggesting that if they could be taught to eat tabloid journalists we would be killing two birds with one stone. Well, one tw*t at least.

Diving Chamber Treatment Trust

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Tour de Fags (Cigarettes, not Homosexuals)

Had a quick look at the start of the Tour de France on Saturday. Fantastic turnout from all involved, but I must say they did fail to reproduce the true London cycling experience. Where were all the buses and taxis doing their best to ram the cyclists off the road? And why did none of them stop at traffic lights (OK, maybe that is accurate, then)?

I also wonder how they would fare breathing in the 25 cigarettes worth of pollution that is obligatory for any bike journey across the city. If I sound bitter it's because I've just quit smoking 25 real cigarettes a day and am so tightly wound, I wonder whether I'm actually an experiment in US military technology.

Denney Diving

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Glastonbury Versus Ibiza

Looks like everyone's thoughts will once more turn to Glastonbury this weekend, asking the perennial question: will it be a mudfest? Of course, it's impossible to care, particularly when the real question is: Glastonbury or Ibiza?

But remember, you've only got one nuclear missile.

I know, I know: it's too tough a call to make. But it does shed light on Mr Blair's own decision to invest millions of pounds on Trident.

Dive Worldwide PNG

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I know me t'interweb two point nowt and I want me chuffin' Big Fat Feed of RSS fed to me.
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