Factual Healing: The Solar Eclipse

Tomorrow morning sees the first solar eclipse to hit the UK since 1999. But what IS a solar eclipse and why should we even give a toss about any of it? Here – have some factual healing…

The eclipse and the moon’s arse

Total solar eclipse from Cape Tribulation, Queensland

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon needs to revitalise itself by standing directly in front of the sun and drawing energy from it. It does this by extending a long tube made from a combination of rock and flesh out of its anus, then inserting it into the heart of the sun and ingesting liquid fire up into its large intestine.
Without this, the moon would begin to shrivel up, eventually shrinking to the size of a cannon ball before falling from the sky and completely destroying Earth upon impact.

Time to invest in a facial sieve


Humans should not attempt to look directly at the solar eclipse with the naked eye, but there are many safe ways to see this miracle of nature without blinding yourself. Try rubbing natural yoghurt into your eyeballs immediately before looking at the eclipse, or view it through a facial sieve. Alternatively, if you blink repeatedly or squint a bit you should probably be alright.

All hail the Fonguran babies!


For its short duration, the solar eclipse will unlock a hidden 13th star sign, called Fongura. Any child born during the eclipse will become a lifelong secret Fonguran and display characteristics such as extreme lethargy, immunity from close-up evil and the ability to strip a motorbike engine in under three minutes.

Mmmm… tasty eclipse…


Due to its extreme power, the eclipse will leave Earth covered in a fine coating of moon dust. This is harmless and can be swept up and added to boiling water to make a delicious lunar gravy.

Watch out for hoax eclipses


You should beware of fake eclipses that could appear in the sky shortly before and after the official one. These are staged by criminal gangs who take advantage of the brief periods of darkness and confusion to carry out robberies.
Always confirm the official time of your local eclipse by ringing your mayor.


My new eBook – Factual Healing – only 99p

Factual Healing is my new eBook – a collection of some of the most incredible facts about a wide range of subjects, from hospitals to prisons to babies to booze. You can read an excerpt from it here.

Please note that factuality of facts contained within the book cannot be verified. Do not attempt to use any of them in a life or death situation.

But the good news is that you can have it nestling in your phone or e-reading device in just a few seconds time for only 99p (or for £1.02 in the Kindle Store – not sure why it costs more there to be honest)


To buy it in .mobi format (for Kindle), click this button.

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To buy it in .epub format (iBooks and other e-readers), click this button.

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To buy it in a slightly crappy-looking PDF format, click this button

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 You can also get the best-selling (ahem) Dead Princess Diaries by @DianaInHeaven on the same formats here.

Factual Healing: Those Euro 2012 teams…

We’re all familiar with England and the Republic of Ireland, but ahead of this evening’s tournament draw, what do we REALLY know about the rest of the nations that will competing in Euro 2012 next summer? Here’s your chance to bone up on them with some little-known facts about the ‘other teams’…

CROATIA: The Croatian national anthem includes the line “Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ”, which was stolen by The Smiths for their 1986 hit single, Panic.

RUSSIA: Russian midfielder Igor Semshov has the world’s largest collection of grey pubic hairs, which have been posted to him by ageing Dynamo Moscow supporters following a plea in the club’s matchday programme.

DENMARK: The entire Danish nation is hoping to repeat their success of Euro 92 by refusing to acknowledge that they are even in the tournament until a month before it begins.

FRANCE: The French squad are planning to eschew the traditional recording of a pre-tournament pop single. Instead, Nicolas Sarkozy has commissioned them to engrave the names of their mothers on to a solid gold banana, which the French President plans to keep for himself.

POLAND: Due to a loophole in UEFA law, Poland believe that, as they are hosts, they can field as many ‘players’ as they can fit on to the pitch. Secret plans are afoot for them to flood the pitch with hundreds of men, women and children during every match in a desperate bid to win the tournament.

ITALY: Due to a complicated administrative error, Italian midfielder Thiago Motta recently celebrated his 108th birthday.

PORTUGAL: The Portugal squad are planning to bond ahead of Euro 2012 by touring the country with their self-produced musical adaptation of ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’.

GREECE: Owing to the ongoing economic meltdown in their country, the Greek squad have been told that if they progress beyond the group stages of Euro 2012, they can have ‘all the minerals’.

SWEDEN: Veteran Swedish midfielder Anders Svensson says that his longevity at football’s top level is down to the four hours a day he spends leaning against his washing machine. ‘Full spin,’ he says, ‘full fucking spin’.

UKRAINE: The tournament co-hosts are keen to take part with no discernible home advantage over the other teams. Before every match, sports hypnotists will convince their players that they are in fact competing in an impromptu kickabout in a San Francisco park in 1968.

NETHERLANDS: Dutch commentator Gregor Van Der Straaten says that whenever he isn’t commentating on the action during a match, he’ll be repeatedly mumbling “Euro Euro Euro Euro Euro” into his microphone, in the same style as a Kabaddi player.

GERMANY: Coach Joachim Löw eats 500 jelly crocodiles every day.

CZECH REPUBLIC: The Czech government have promised that if the team make it to the final, every child in the country will be given a free ping pong ball filled with heroin.

SPAIN: Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets is awaiting a decision from UEFA confirming that he will be allowed to play while wearing any of his seven removable noses during the tournament.

Factual Healing: Doner kebabs


Important scientific research has recently shown that doner meat has remarkable healing powers, and it is now routinely used to replace damaged knee ligaments following sporting injuries. Strips of doner meat can also be laid across the skin of burns victims – within hours the meat will have fused with the charred flesh and made a brand new, lipsmackingly delicious layer of skin.

Although it has a reputation as being food for the ‘lower classes’, doner kebabs are extremely popular among the rich elite. Boris Johnson rubs pieces of kebab meat into his hair to help give it its unique look, while quiz show host Anne Robinson keeps pieces of doner meat in her tights when she’s presenting The Weakest Link, craftily pulling some out for a quick munch when the losing contestants are walking away after being voted off the show.

More than 300,000 people were convicted of driving while eating a kebab last year and over 500 people die each year as a result of careless motorists licking chilli sauce off their fingers. Hands-free and bluetooth kebabs have become more popular in recent years, but these will also be banned in 2012. Special stopping points will be added to motorways after every 100 metres so that the great British tradition of eating a kebab while controlling a giant, fast-moving metallic object of death will never die.

Although they rarely speak of it, lots of professional footballers have a serious kebab habit, with some munching away on them only minutes before the kick off of a match. Former Holland captain Johann Cruyff was a chain-eater, and used to go through 20 kebabs a day. He once said that he was glad that Holland never won the World Cup as, “my fingers were always too greasy to be able to lift the trophy”.

There are TWO doner kebab watchdogs in Britain, which strive to keep standards high and aim to rid the doner kebab of its tag as “the food made out of dead sex offenders”. The National Kebab Federation split away from the extreme right wing UK Doner Council in 2005 following a row over whether a chicken kebab really counts or not. The UK Doner Council said it didn’t and called the NKF a “pack of gay cunts”.

If you live in Scotland, you’ve probably already tried a cartoon kebab – they’re far more nutritious, but without sacrificing any of the flavour. You can buy one anywhere where you’ll see a revolving caricaturist in the place where the revolving spit of meat would normally be. Be warned though, they can take longer to prepare, especially if you want your salad to be coloured in.



The word ‘kebab’ is short for ‘Knackers, Ears, Brains And Balls,’ the typical components in a standard kebab.

Doctors have pioneered the ‘kebab-cam.’ Fed to patients with stomach disorders, it films the journey a kebab normally takes once swallowed and teaches us why they’re bad for us.

Rumour has it that the final ever episode of Eastenders will reveal that the whole thing existed only in the mind of a fly sitting on a lump of meat in a kebab shop.

A kebab doesn’t need to come in a pitta bread, and can be enjoyed in a handbag, a flap of loose denim or a child’s sandshoe. Instead of salad and sauce it can be enjoyed with a spoonful of warm glue and some moss.

A ton of kebab meat is worth less than a speck of gold.


HEATER:  What cooks your kebab. Made from chicken wire, some firelighters and a massive unseen Bunsen burner.

MEAT: Post-pub food laws state that 14% of your kebab must be real animal meat. If you stick a key in it and it doesn’t hiss, it’s not real meat.

FRUIT MACHINE:  Usually outdated and based on an old TV show such as Last Of The Summer Wine, The Krypton Factor or Metal Mickey. Maximum payout is normally no more than five guineas.

BLOW JOB MACHINE:  Invaluable for those people who haven’t pulled by kebab time. Stick in a quid and it’ll nosh you off for eleven seconds.

KEBAB SHOP OWNER:  Failed in his previous job as a diplomat. Will occasionally try and engage you in conversation about espionage if there’s only you and him there.

KEBAB SHOP OTTER: Sits on the owner’s shoulders and collects loose change that has been dropped on the floor.