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RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE feature: the day Tarzan was desperate for a pee but ended up sitting on a toilet on the centre court in Wimbledon

They certainly don’t show it on TV but sometimes marathon runners have to stop for the call of nature. Harry Mottram was taken short in one

I was once last in the marathon. It was held in Taunton in Somerset and to the sounds of the theme music to The Chariots of Fire we set off in a mass start outside the local technical college. I quickly found myself near the back as most competitors were very keen and apart from a man dressed as a parrot I appeared to be the only person in fancy dress. Dressed as Tarzan I had covered myself in brown make-up, slicked back my hair and sported a makeshift loincloth. Unfortunately I couldn’t do much to pump up my biceps, rustle up a vine, recruit a troop of apes or speed date a Jane in time for the race.
It was a hot day and soon my make-up began to run down my legs turning my socks and trainers a dark brown colour. I jogged along watching the other runners disappear into the distance although I was still ahead of the parrot. After a few miles I was bursting to go to the loo. With no toilets in sight desperate action was required. I stopped by a house where a family were cheering the runners on from the garden gate.
“Excuse me but could I use your toilet,” I said to a middle-aged man who I judged to be the owner.
“Of course,” he replied, “follow me.”
Along with the rest of the family I followed him up the garden path to his 1930s semi, and in through the front door. He stopped with me close behind him in the hallway and the various family members forming a semi-circle behind me. Brown make-up was oozing down my legs, through my socks and down my trainers onto the carpet.
“Now this isn’t ours,” he said gesturing at the wallpaper in the hall. “We’ve started on the upstairs – you can see if you look up the stairs, but we’ve only been here a few weeks and the wood chip will go.”
“Oh,” I said, now feeling that agony that happens when you really are bursting.
“We’ve done the downstairs loo,” he continued, seemingly oblivious to my I’m-about-to-piss-myself expression, “so you can see that. White and green, very calming.”
“We’ve still got the skirting boards to do,” chipped in one of the children behind me, “Dad, you’ve still not finished the…”
He was cut off. “Yes, yes,” said Dad, “but just look at the downstairs loo.”  And to illustrate, he opened the door.
“Lovely,” I gasped and entered.
The family stood and watched me as though expecting me to drop my loincloth and have a pee in front of them whilst continuing to admire the décor. It was like a scene from one of those toilet dreams where you want to go but you are sitting on a toilet – but it’s in the middle of Wimbledon’s Centre Court – and you can’t go.
My mind became blocked. The marathon, the Tarzan costume, the brown make-up, the family and proud DIY dad. The door closed, and I looked at the newly decorated loo. Outside I could hear the family seemingly waiting in triumph to hear the sound of pee splashing into the toilet bowl. But, they didn’t. I couldn’t go. I flushed the toilet, made my excuses and sprinted down the garden to join the rest of the runners in a steady squishing of brown make-up in my trainers. Except they’d all gone. I ran on for several hundred yards but there was no one in sight – even the parrot had disappeared. I slowed and realised I was still bursting to go for a pee but saw in the distance a group of friends outside the World’s End pub. Phew. A visit to the gents and relief. Then a double whisky and onto the finish and… last place with a time of five hours and fifty five seconds. I can account for the five hours. But the fifty five seconds must have been the excruciating time spent in the newly decorated toilet.

Harry Mottram
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Tilting at the political system: Don Corbyn Quixote of Islington North is laughed at by his rivals and opponents, but could he have the last laugh in 2020?

He’s put on his ancient suit of armour and has ventured out into the harsh world of Medieval Spain in search of the leader of the British Labour Party. Harry Mottram is in search of our very own Don Quixote

In a constituency of Islington North, whose name I do not wish to remember, there lived a little while ago one of those gentlemen who are wont to keep a copy of Fo’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist or The Communist Manifesto beside him.
His stew more lentil than meat, his talk more 1970s than 21st century, and  his shirt more Help the Aged than Ben Sherman. Our gentleman of some 60 summers or more is of a sturdy constitution, but wizened and gaunt featured, an early riser and devotee of Diane Abbott.
Jeremy Corbyn has something of Don Quixote about him as he tilts at the tormenting windmills of Owen Smith, Hilary Benn and Angela Eagle. Behind him are all the other characters from Cervantes’ novel: his faithful shadow chancellor John McDonnell, his housekeeper Diane Abbott, ancient retainer Dennis Skinner and unreliable stable boy Tom Watson.
Armed with a mandate from members of the Labour Party the leader of the movement has mounted his sturdy steed Rocinante and with his lance Momentum has set out to vanquish the Conservatives. This mixture of the dangerous, reactionary and wicked Tory inn keepers, Toledo traders, Galician pony dealers and muleteers may laugh at him during Prime Minister’s Question Time each Wednesday lunchtime and criticise his archaic view of Britain, but privately are frightened of what he represents and mercilessly attack him because they know that if the economy dips he could become the master of Seville.
David Cameron and Teresa May, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, had ridiculed his ideas but somehow the barbs don’t deter him. In fact armed with his lance, his buckler and home-made visor he is more determined than ever to sally forth and seize the Castile Number 10 Downing Street.
As with Don Quixote it is not so much the Conservatives, the Scottish Nationalists and even the Liberal Democrats who stand in his way but members of his own party (or in Don Quixote’s way those members of his household) who feel he will never win even the most minor battle in his bid for glory.
Those within the Labour Party who wish he would hang up his buckler see him as a misguided and out of date old fool – just like Cervantes’ hero. Mr Corbyn however constantly points to his fans, and to the vast new membership of the Labour Party who joined up to support his two leadership bids. But they are surely the same as those readers who bought Cervantes’ novel when it was published. They supported him from their bedrooms and living rooms as they read of his exploits. Queued up for his book signings (if they had them in Spain’s Golden Age) and if was alive today would hang his every word like someone else with a beard and the look of a Biblical prophet.
His only true fans in Parliament are his faithful servant Diane Sancho Abbott who follows him where he treads. Like Sancho Panza she is often left to clear up the misunderstandings and chaos that Don Quixote leaves in the Inns of Catalonia or the dusty highways of the high Sierra as he comes to blows with herders, traders and members of the clergy.
The duo cross the verdant plains of Middle England in search of electoral victory, tilting at windbags and dreaming of rescuing Princess Maritones or Rebecca Long-Bailey from the back benches. Mistaken as a mystic, a fantasist and a hopeless and ineffectual leader by a large group of goat herders, nevertheless he believes he can heal the wounds of muleteers with his balm of Fierarbras and return them to health in 2020.
Jeremy Corbyn looks like Don Quixote – well like Jean Rochefort in Lost in La Mancha. And he has a passing resemblance to David Threlfall who played the self-proclaimed knight in the RSC production. And there is something attractive about someone who sticks to his principles (or fantasies if you are a cynic) despite all the evidence presented by his critics.
Corbyn it is said rejects the modern world and wishes to turn back the clock to a long lost never was time when the trains were nationalised and ran on time, when the National Health service was fully financed.
It is generally agreed by pundits in America that the equivalent politician Bernie Sanders could have beaten Donald Trump in the presidential election had he won the Democratic nomination. Clearly millions were prepared to give him the chance to run the world’s most powerful economy because of the disappointment felt over the last few administrations. If Teresa May and the Brexit hardliners in UKIP and the conservative party fail to make a success of leaving the EU and the country falls into a recession or worse, then in 2020 Don Corbyn de Islington may not seem such a fantasy.


World War III set to start in 2017

It’s day 100 and already Donald Trump has achieved more in that time than any president before him in the history of the USA. That’s if you consider building the Great Wall of Mexico, consigning women to subservience, banning Moslem Americans and starting World War III as achievements. Hold tight as we hurtle into oblivion with dangerous Donald in the Oval Office.

Day 1: Reds on top of the bed
Not part of the election promise but Trump moves to arrest those dreaded Communists that include Bernie Saunders and er… Hilary Clinton, along with those rabid reds like Jed Bush and… well anyone who he doesn’t like such as much of the judiciary. Bernie Saunders is granted political asylum in the British Embassy after Jeremy Corbyn’s surprise autumn election victory in the UK.
Day 5: Racial segregation reintroduced
Mexicans and Hispanic Americans are not allowed to enter Trump Towers or stay in his hotel or shop in his stores for which they are extremely grateful considering the tasteless interior of the buildings. Riots break out in California as the the first Trump vans arrive to transport the now-illegal citizens (all of whom obviously wear ponchos and sombreros) south across the border. Those rioting are not the Mexicans but Trump supporting millionaires who no longer have drivers, bodyguards, cleaners, valets and most important of all bar tenders who know how to make a proper tequiler sunrise.
Day 10: The Great Wall of Mexico
Trump declares war on Mexico when they refuse to pay for the proposed wall but the Mexican army invades the United States and seizes New Mexico, Texas and California. Result: the wall doesn’t need to be built as almost Mexicans now live in Mexico.
Day 20: Let’s invade Syria, Iraq and… kick out the Moslems
Stung into action by the failure of the Mexican war Trump commands the USA to invade Syria and destroy ISIS. Except the so-called Islamic State has been defeated by the Kurdish Army, the Russians and John Simpson who walks into ISIS’s final redoubt to find the remnants of the army watching repeats of Friends on their laptops. Thwarted again Trump orders his troops home to arrest anyone wearing the hijab and put them on a plane bound for Saudia Arabia. However the headscarf is back in fashion and half the population of Long Island find themselves arriving in the Saudi capital.
Day 30: Cuba becomes 51s state
Trump had planned a new invasion of Cuba to kick out those commie reds – except of course Cuba is now happy to embrace the American dollar, so much so the nation applies to become the USA’s 51st state – but still embarrassingly remaining as a one party Communist State.
Day 75: Abortion legal only in Canada
It’s all going wrong at home as Trump attempts to ban abortions and put any woman who has ever undergone one in prison. Around 30 million Americans move to Canada and renounce their citizenship.
Day 80: To Russia with love
Donald Trump thought he would find a friend in Putin but the Russian plays hardball with him at their first meeting and wins Alaska off the new president in a game of poker. He also tricks Trump into allowing Russia to join NATO enabling the Red Army to place missiles in New York’s Central Park as part of a defense exercise.
Day 90: Those man made islands
Someone has to stop China laying claim to the South China Sea and half the Pacific by building man made islands on coral reefs. Donald Trump is the man to do it – by invading Australia because he thought it was near China. His next move is to start building coral reef islands thousands of miles long off Guam. We’ll call it work in progress.
Day 95: Damn global warming
Stepping up shail gas production and oil exploration is all about being self-sufficient and making America great again. Global warming is simply weather declares Trump on day 90 but New York is promptly evacuated after the sea level rises and the US Navy relocate to Ohio.
Day 100: World War III
He thought he could do business with Kim Yong in North Korea – you know – sell him a Macdonald’s franchise or two but no, the fat dictator insisted on firing one of his missiles three feet into the air triggering a nuclear alert in the WhiteHouse and Trump presses the nuclear button accidently when he confuses it with the oval office’s intercom to order fresh coffee. The bombs however don’t land in North Korea but in Russia and China both of who accuse each other of starting a war and within 29 seconds the entire planet enters world War III.
Day 101: Epilogue
With 100 million dead, and large parts of the planet a smoldering ruin caused by the two minute nuclear war America’s senate and congress agree to impeach Trump (who is hiding in the basement of Trump Towers) with immediate effect. Bernie Saunders finds himself thrust into the Oval Office and ordered to remove the tasteless decorations from the Whitehouse installed by Trump and then set to work to rebuild America – his first action is the abolition of nuclear weapons – although they’ve all been used up in the war and no longer exist.

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