Exploring the history of British royalty via boozers.
Not a joke, despite the date.
I am currently engaged in one of the most powerful tests of character that any human can experience: I am attempting to watch every Nicolas Cage film, in order, because I believe that it will have some mystical effect on reality that will change my life for the better. Also I’m buying lottery tickets and picking the numbers based off the films, so if nothing else I’ll become a millionaire.
I’m writing about it over on medium.com for whatever reason, so go there if you want to see a man’s spirit rise higher than it ever has before, or more likely crash back down into the bin again.
I am going to review all the things I watched at the cinema this year, again.
It turns out mainly I watched quite a lot of cack this year.
Birdman – I liked how they pretended it was all one shot and the drums all went thunk a thunk thunk but I think it got boring after the man was all in his pants and then there were four endings? Calm down Boohoo Batman!
Jupiter Ascending – Never has something so passionately made so little sense. Sean Bean played a bee. A bee. A masterpiece.
Seventh Son – I was hoping this would be enjoyably bad but it was in fact indescribably boring. Some witches want to turn a realm into gold or something, Jeff Bridges looks like he’s lost a bet.
Furious 7 – Film of the year. The cars parachuted out of the aeroplane and then they jumped out of a building into another build and then into another building and then Paul Walker DROVE A CAR INTO HEAVEN.
The Voices – Ryan Reynolds is a “funny” serial killer or something? He cuts the women’s heads off, it’s a black comedy laughing out loud!
Avengers : Age of Ultron – Some more boring shit with robots, I expect.
Pitch Perfect 2 – Not enough singing, and all the bits where they were not singing were really amazingly bad!
Ex Machina – Domhnall Gleeson kisses a robot or something? I imagine it made me think!
Mad Max: Fury Road – Every single thumbs up emoji. All of them.
Jurassic World – You know how unhappy nerds make versions of The Phantom Menace where they edit out all the scenes with Jar Jar Binks or whatever? They should do a version of this where they edit out everyone who isn’t a CGI dinosaur.
Terminator: Genisys – Oh, just fuck off.
Everest – This was extremely stressful and bummed me out a whole lot because it turns out climbing up Everest is a really dumb idea and it doesn’t go at all well! Do not watch this film or try to climb up a mountain!
Inside Out – The people used the computers to make my brain feel emotions!!! U GOT ME AGAIN COMPUTER PEOPLE!!!
Death Of A Gentleman – I spent a lot of time this year watching cricket and according to this film it is going to die soon because of capitalism so that’s bad.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – Yeah, I really gave a shit about the origin story of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., thanks all. Guess what happens at the end? SPOILERS: HE BECOMES THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.! Still, I would probably sit through another one.
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg did something? In a car? Not as good as the last one but absolutely fine, probably? I expect some people were disavowed.
Ant-Man – Top tip: put loads of good jokes in your superhero movies and they are actually fun to watch! (Meanwhile Ben Affleck growls about his city while Superman does 9-11 again, etc.)
Legend – It was sweet that they let some 13 year old boys write a film about their favourite gangsters. Tom Hardy was really good as London Bane and the Gay London Bane and then it turned out to have been narrated by a ghost?
Irrational Man – It is by Woody Allen and it has Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone and a murder and Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager in it. Did I like this film? Who knows!
The Martian – It was exactly like the book but you got to see many film stars who you recognise from other films doing it. Well done!
Christophe Waltz: James Bond you kissed my dad and now you must die.
James Bond: I disagree.
Black Mass – Johnny Depp played a sort of vampire gangster who hangs out with some very naughty policeman until things get too naughty and he has to wear a hat. 3 stars.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I liked seeing all the things that I remembered from the past when Wagon Wheels were bigger and also some new things that were a bit like those things but different! Then I watched it again and I liked seeing all the things again again!
My name is Ed, and I have a problem. My problem is that I can’t stop making terrible Twitter accounts, of which I have approximately 7,000. One time I pretended to be some sandwich spread and it got a bit out of hand and I ended up writing for the Guardian about it.
But, because I am quite lazy, another thing I do is make robots to do the terrible Twitter accounts for me. For example:
1. The Sausages Robot
@allthesausages was the first Twitter account I ever created (well, excepting my actual Twitter account). It searched for every mention of the word ‘sausages’ on Twitter and retweeted it (manually, it was all we had in them days). I didn’t really know how to write code back then so I bodged it together with a now defunct service called ‘Yahoo Pipes’ but once it was working it was easy enough to copy, so I made a few more.
First was the broadly similar @allthecheeses, then someone I worked with suggested @allyourmums, which searched for and retweeted anything containing the phrase ‘your mum’, and turned to be an effective way of creeping people out for no particular reason.
— Jamie Hacker Hughes (@profjamiehh) August 1, 2015
There was also @houseofsausages which tweeted every time someone in the UK parliament said ‘sausages’. They don’t say ‘sausages’ in parliament very much it turns out.
2. The Competition Robot
This happened because Ste Curran suggested it to me while we were drunk in a park. You know how companies do marketing exercises where they tweet something to effect of ‘Follow and retweet this and you could win a DVD of Tron!’? Well, what you can do is write code to search for those kind of tweets, and then automatically follow and retweet them, thereby entering competitions without even having to know that they existed in the first place.
So I did that. Even splitting our winnings 50/50 it seemed reasonable to assume that we would soon be very rich men! Well, it was not even as successful as this guy’s similar but more fruitful version, but over the course of a year or so we won:
- A Call Of Duty poster
- The latest in a series of alphabetical crime novels called something like G Is For Gun
- 2 tickets to an event at Ministry Of Sound (I missed the message about this, sorry Ste)
- 3 books of video game art (if anyone wants these I believe they are currently in a drawer in the offices of The Daily Mirror newspaper)
3. The Josh Whedon Robot
Once upon there was a man named Joss Whedon who invented space cowboys and lots of people on the internet cried because a) the space cowboys had their television programme cancelled and b) he would get referred to as Josh Whedon by people who were either less interested in space cowboys or specifically wanted to wind up the space cowboy fans. This eventually resulted in a Twitter account called @itsjossnotjosh that would look for people who said ‘Josh Whedon’ and correct them.
@mutilato It’s JOSS Whedon, not JOSH Whedon. Thanks.
— JOSS Whedon (@itsJOSSnotJOSH) March 9, 2011
Because I am an actual child, I set up an account called @itsjoshnotjoss that did exactly the opposite. It’s gone now. It was probably kicked in by some nerds.
4. The French Robot
When I was first learning to tinker with Twitter robots I created a few accounts to test things, so I now have a series of intermittently functioning accounts that respond to my own tweets in different ways – there’s one that tweets them again, but in reverse and one that tweets them again, but with every word turned into a #hashtag (I read in a #webinar that this was #good for #twitter #SEO).
But my favourite one is the French Ed, who sounds a lot classier and more intelligent than me even when he’s talking about the bloke from Smash Mouth eating eggs.
@lajoelgolby, vous devez connaître l’histoire de l’oeuf juste ? Qui aurait pu deviner bouche smash deviendraient les légendes du rock du…
— Le DJ Pomme (@leedjeff) June 15, 2015
It’s not working right now, because of something to do with Bing, I expect.
5. The “Annoy Alain De Botton” Robot
Remember when for a bit the hot new thing on Twitter was mashing up celebrities and philosophers, e.g. @KimKierkegaardashian?
Today's look: A terrible, insatiable existential hunger, plus my new favorite boots.
— KimKierkegaardashian (@KimKierkegaard) March 13, 2015
Well if someone else is doing something amusing on Twitter you should obviously immediately start doing the exact same thing except worse, so I decided to mash up jumper merchant Alain De Botton and George Costanza from Seinfeld. But I couldn’t actually be bothered to write funny tweets, so I made a Twitter robot called @GeorgeDeBotton that just took De Botton’s tweets and changed the nouns to words like ‘Jerry’, ‘Kramer’ and ‘airline food’. I’m not sure it amused anyone else but me, but it definitely ticked someone off as it was eventually suspended.
Oh, and one time I made an account also copied Alain De Botton’s tweets but just transformed them all into capital letters so it looked like he was SHOUTING ALL THE TIME. That one didn’t last very long at all. Sorry Alain.
Anyway I guess the moral is that automating Twitter accounts is an excellent way to annoy Alain de Botton and get free stuff that you don’t actually want. If any venture capitalists want to help me monetise one or both of those things, let me know!
There is a joke.
You probably know the joke, because it is a fairly famous joke.
It goes like this:
Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Answer: To get to the other side!
The mechanism of the joke is this: the listener, on hearing a question about a chicken crossing a road, will naturally assume that a humorous punchline is about to follow. Especially if the question is preceded by the questioner saying something like ‘Would you like to hear an extremely funny joke?’
The actual joke part of the joke is that there is no humorous punchline. You have been tricked. Your expectations have been confounded, assuming you have not already heard the joke, which is, at this point in human history, unlikely. Unless you’re a child or your memory’s broken or you’re from somewhere foreign and have an equivalent joke about an elephant crossing a railway line or something.
Anyway, lately I keep seeing the suggestion that it’s not a trick at all: the meaning of the punchline has been misconstrued, and it is in fact a play on words.
Here’s the earliest example I could find on Twitter of someone making this ‘realisation’, in 2011:
woooaahhhh i just had the biggest mind fuck. why did the chicken cross the road? to get to the other side (THE AFTER LIFE-DEATH, OTHER SIDE)
— A (@banapple95) March 10, 2011
And in 2009 someone asked Yahoo Answers to settle a debate she was having with her daughter:
(From her Yahoo Answers history we can tell her daughter was 15 years old at the time, by the way. Her husband is an alcoholic, and her aunt had a vaginal cyst. Learning sure is fun with Yahoo Answers! Bing it!)
So the idea is that the chicken, having considered all available options, decides to end its life by crossing the road. This activity, presumed to be fatal, will allow it to get to ‘the other side’, i.e. the afterlife.
This reading of the joke makes sense in linguistic terms, but it does rely on the chicken being able to understand concepts like death, and the afterlife, and also to understand enough about road traffic to pick the moment where the probability of road death is highest.
You could make this claim about the more standard reading, vis-à-vis chickens even understanding what roads are, but I don’t think we really need to assign much knowledge to chicken. It is here, it wants to go there – it may not particularly matter to the chicken that ‘here’ is one side of the road, and that ‘there’ is the other.
(Given the fairly strict stance of many religions on suicide, one could also question the wisdom of using it as a mechanism to reach the other side. Is there a chicken hell?)
The oldest recorded printing of the ‘joke’, according to Wikipedia, which is never wrong, appeared in a New York Magazine called The Knickerbocker. The March 1847 issue contained the following, excellent, version:
There are ‘quips and quillets’ which seem actual conundrums, but yet are none. Of such is this:‘Why does a chicken cross the street?’
Are you ‘out of town?’
Do you ‘give it up?’
Well, then: ‘Because it wants to get on the other side!’
I don’t know much about road safety in 1847, but I’m going take a punt and say that roads were probably quite a lot less dangerous than they are today. Maybe the chicken would be at risk of being trampled by a horse. But if I was a mid-nineteenth century suicidal chicken, I’d have to consider other options if I was looking for an efficient death.
The chicken joke is one people learn early in their lives. For some, it may be the first time they learn that life doesn’t necessarily make sense. But it’s okay. We’re grown-ups now. Look yourself hard in the mirror. Then go outside and, carefully, cross the road. For no other reason than to get to the other side.
Are you ‘out of town?’? Do you ‘give it up?’?
I was going to go for a walk and then my mum asked me to take the dog and I didn’t want to because I was worried I would lose the dog or make it die in some way so instead I have decided to review all the films I saw in the cinema except any that I have forgotten.
Saving Mr Banks – this was about Mary Poppins’ dad or something and I think I cried because I was having a DIFFICULT WEEK.
American Hustle – everyone was dumb and/or cross and I didn’t like it.
Gravity – it was funny when George Clooney was Space Jesus.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty – I guess Ben Stiller wanted a holiday and made this pile of shit so other people would pay for it.
12 Years A Slave – it was bad what happened to that guy and it was weird watching in a big room full of other people. Also Benedict Cumberbatch was in it for some reason.
The Railway Man – it was also quite bad what happened to that guy.
Anchorman 2 – this had one funny joke in it but I can’t remember what it was and the rest was appalling and if you liked this you are a bad person.
The Wolf Of Wall Street – this had good bits like when he’s done all drugs and can’t get into his car, but is 7 hours long for some reason and then at the end of the day it’s a real dude who basically got away with it and is still awful?
Inside Llewyn Davis – this gave me a lot of feelings but then I rewatched it and maybe didn’t have as many feelings but I like the song about the astronaut.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – I don’t remember watching this or why I watched it but it had Captain Kirk in it.
Robocop – they should have made the RoboCop remake be a meta-film about a cashgrab RoboCop remake or something. Maybe a stuntman has an accident and they make him into a RoboCop? I don’t know but it would be better than this although it was sort of weird and funny when they took off RoboCop’s body and he was all just lungs in a jar.
The Lego Movie – 1) It had Lego in it. 2) The best Batman film since the 1960s. 3) Grumpy Harrison Ford obviously refused to play Lego Han Solo, what a twat. 4) Just 100%, really.
Her – like Black Mirror would be if Black Mirror was good although I seem to remember some bits were painfully awkward and made me want to shout “DON’T DO THAT” at the man.
A New York Winter’s Tale – Colin Farrell gets a magic horse and tries to use it to steal some silver but instead steals the love of a beautiful daughter but the beautiful daughter has consumption and he tries to kiss it better with magic but it doesn’t work so instead he walks around New York for 100 years until he can kiss an 8 year old’s cancer better? Also Will Smith is in it as the devil. 10/10
Grand Budapest Hotel – I don’t know. Lots of things happened and it looked pretty.
The Zero Theorem – thin residues of leftover Gilliam with the occasional good bit, then it turns out to have been all about those damned money men at the studios messing with my creativity, maaaan! Oh dear.
Captain America – The Winter Soldier – The best bit of this film was when Jenny Agutter started doing kung fu stuff and the worst bit was when it turned out it was Scarlett Johansson in a Jenny Agutter mask. Oh and it was funny when Captain America had that list of modern day things he had to check out like Star Wars and Nirvana and sort of neat that they apparently did a different one of those for every country changing the references. But mostly just some stuff happened.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – more like The Amazing Spider-Man Poo!!!
Frank – this was good but it was weird that he looked like Frank Sidebottom but wasn’t like Frank Sidebottom? IDK why they didn’t make the head square or something. Good song.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past – it had the old X-Men and also the new X-Men in it can you even imagine?
Two Faces Of January – two men want to do a kiss on Kirsten Dunst! Which one is going to do the kissing? Oh no she fell down the stairs!
Edge Of Tomorrow – this was actually GOOD FUN despite marketing that made it look like a boring shootman video game. Sort of like Groundhog Day but instead of fighting his personality Tom Cruise fights aliens *and* his personality. Also he starts off as an arsehole getting his JUST DESSERTS and that is an enjoyable thing to watch happen to Tom Cruise. The ending is sort of stupid but what did you expect?
Guardians Of The Galaxy – everyone liked this so my controversial opinion is that it wasn’t very good woah. It was too dumb to care about things that weren’t jokes and there weren’t enough jokes in it. But have you heard the soundtrack with the ironic dad music LOL?
22 Jump Street – this wasn’t brilliant but was way better than it had any right to be although not as better than it had any right to be than the first one. But apparently the next one is also going to be Men In Black 4?
Gone Girl – was this meant to be a funny movie because I thought it got pretty funny? Anyway the Gone Girl owned Ben Affleck well done Gone Girl!
Nightcrawler – I think this was meant to be funny and I thought it was funny. Jake Gyllenhall is a weirdo who has learned everything from Wikipedia and internet forums for MBAs and decides to become an ambulance chaser in order to make a lot of money and then he does this because capitalism.
Interstellar – I guess they must have sent this film into a black hole because it seemed like it was 70 hours long!!! Anyway it turns out love is better than gravity, but not as good as gravy and then Matthew McConaughey pulls a face.
Mr Turner – Mr Turner was a DIFFICULT MAN who did paintings and then HE DIED. Bye bye Mr Turner.
The Hobbit The Battle Of Five Armies – a dragon crushes Stephen Fry to death and then there’s 3 hours of other stuff and then Billy Connelly is in it for some reason and then The Hobbit goes home.
The Imitation Game – it was also quite bad what happened to this guy who this time *was* Benedict Cumberbatch.
Oh also I saw The Muppet Christmas Carol at a “sing-along” screening and had emotions. The end.
I have been writing more Taylor Swift fan-fiction, for the best Facebook group that there has ever been.
It was Friday and one of the best kinds of nights there can be – a night of a Taylor Swift gig, and she was playing all of her best songs like Love Story and You Belong With Me and the one from the Paul Potts movie.
All her biggest fans from ‘The Metaphor and Cat’ Facebook group were in the front row and she gave them all high fives!
Suddenly she started playing the brilliant song Red from the album Red which is about colours and also emotions! Everyone was dancing so well but oh no suddenly the music stopped!
A strange metal voice echoed across the arena.
“HUMAN TAYLOR SWIFT FANS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE IS RED. YOUR BLOOD. WHEN WE HAVE EXTERMINATED YOU.”
Oh no! It was the Daleks! Taylor Swift was scared but she did not cry because she is so brave. What would she do now?
But suddenly there was a strange noise like a wheezing groaning noise like if it was Doctor Who’s TARDIS because that is in fact what it was! It landed on the stage and the door opened and Taylor Swift made a surprised face (but she was still pretty and also brave despite being surprised).
TO BE CONTINUED
“Right,” said No Slacking, of the No Slacking Talent Agency, “Today I have a very important job for you boys!”
“Did you hear that Barry?” said Paul
“What?” Barry looked confused.
“He’s got a very important job!”
“Yes, I know, he’s our boss!”
“No you idiot, he’s got an important job for us!”
“Yes, for us he’s our boss.”
“Oh do be quiet and listen.” said No Slacking who was getting cross at this point.
The brothers listened intently.
“Today we’re being visited by a singer who I am trying to sign up to my Talent Agency for to earn a lot of money!”
“Oh that’s good you’ll be able to buy a new suit.” said Barry. No Slacking’s suit was a bit old, but No Slacking clearly didn’t want to hear this as he was going all red in the face now.
“Less talking, more doing. You need to look after the singer and make sure there are no SHENANIGANS – and remember: NO SLACKING! Look, here she is now!”
Paul and Barry turned around and were so surprised that their moustaches nearly jumped off their faces…
TO BE CONTINUED
All the engines of Sodor were very excited as their favourite singer was coming to play a concert on the island. James The Red engine was especially excited as he had been chosen for her to ride on because of her song Red – yes that’s right Taylor Swift was coming to Sodor!
The night before the big day the Fat Controller (who we’re probably not even allowed to call that now because of the nanny state I expect) was checking some important business things when he heard some singing and also crying. It was coming from Percy the Small Engine’s shed.
“For why are you crying Percy?” said the Fat Controller.
“She wears short skirts, I’m a train. She’s cheer captain, I’m a train,” sang Percy sadly. For Percy was in love with Taylor Swift but could she ever love a train with a strange grey talking face for some reason?
“Percy you are a strange engine.” laughed the Fat Controller who to be honest didn’t care very much about the emotional welfare of his trains because of capitalism and so on.
But in a hotel room, the beautiful singer Taylor Swift shifted in her sleep in her bed in the hotel room… was she just missing Olivia Benson? Or was it… something more?
TO BE CONTINUED
Alex Salmonds sat on the Scottish step, crying. He looked at his new iPhone 6 Plus again, but the result had not changed. The dream was over.
Then suddenly he felt a gentle but strong hand on his shoulder. And a beautiful voice whispered in his Scottish ear.
“Shake it off.”
And Alex Salmonds knew it was going to be okay.
TO BE CONTINUED
Taylor Swift sighed and pressed print on the Buzzfeed article which the printer immediately printed into the shredder oh dear it was in all in bits now. When would another website that was a bit like Buzzfeed but with more handsome writers aggregate some of her content hopefully not using the word “bae”?
She stopped dreaming about the handsome writer who probably had brown hair and wore glasses I expect because the Delorean from Back To The Future had crashed into her kitchen! She had only just had that kitchen repaired from when one time stupid Harry Styles had set fire to a pan!
“Sorry about your kitchen Taylor Swift.” said Doctor Emmet Brown who was driving the Delorean as he is known for, “But there’s an emergency!”
“What could be so important you needed to destroy my kitchen which the internet says has crisp white cabinets that will never go out of style and a light-as-air space is accented by copper wall hangings and a stand-out hood vent?” said Taylor Swift who was pretty angry but was keeping her cool because she is always in elegant control.
“It’s your kids, Taylor Swift! Something’s got to be done about your kids!”
TO BE CONTINUED
Don’t even talk to me about irony.
Because Jesus Christ I’m not bungee jumping any time in the next 12 hours.
1. Shake Jeremy Beadle by the ‘wrong’ hand.
2. Live in Streatham, twice.
3. Get kicked out of Jongleurs, Portsmouth for having a piss in the corner.
4. Appear in BBC Olive Magazine as Daniel Wilkins, Engineer.
5. Livetweet a solo marathon of all the Police Academy Films.
6. Wake up walking across Tower Bridge at 5am and immediately call your mum to assure her that you don’t need to borrow money.
7. Drink 6 pints of lager then attempt to interview Stewart Lee before what neither of you knew was going to turn out to be a Fathers4Justice benefit gig.
8. Burn a jacket potato in the microwave.
9. Quote Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan in an email to a girl you’re in (unrequited) love with.
10. Wake up with your postcode written on your hand.
11. Play a hexadecimal in a musical rip-off of Tron.
12. Walk out of a screening of The King’s Speech because you’re so drunk you’re about to start ‘getting republican’.
13. Within 24 hours overhear different people describing you as looking a bit like Paul Merton and a bit like Leonardo DiCaprio.
14. Cry on the phone to HMRC.
15. Go to an 80s party as Winston Smith. No-one gets it.
16. Watch every episode of Stargate SG-1.
17. And Stargate: Atlantis.
18. Unwittingly talk about Saint Etienne in front of a man from Saint Etienne in a way that’s personally mortifying but doesn’t provide a satisfying anecdote.
19. Use the Science Museum’s PA system to pretend to be an alien overlord.
20. Send Alex Hern a DVD of The Beaver.
21. Pass out into the Wandsworth Road and smash one of your teeth out.
22. Fail an audition to be on Pointless.
23. Drunkenly slur Andrew Collins’ own name at him after a radio recording.
24. Be in a naked calendar. With your colleagues.
25. Have a hungover snooze on the company sofa and wake up to the chairman of the board looking at you suspiciously.
26. Leave a party because you think it’s funny that your friends’ creepy next door neighbour wants to ‘draw’ you then bolt once he starts asking you if you like his collection of porcelain elves.
27. Look forward to lottery night because you can earn 30p a go for texting drunk people the numbers.
28. Fail to have finished reading any work of classic literature, though you got to the bit in Ulysses where the man has a shit AND listen to the Classic Serial so you’re totally well-read.
29. Come to terms with people calling you ‘Harry Potter’ because at this point it’s flattering.
30. Fall down an escalator, followed by the speaker system you were supposed to be looking after.
The big political question that no-one is willing to talk about is where members of parliament do their shopping. I mean, obviously when they’re in parliament they probably go to that little Tesco Express by Westminster tube station to buy, e.g. a lasagne and a miniature bottle of wine, but what about when they’re at home?
For obvious reasons most MPs don’t publicise the locations of their houses, but the majority of them do have a publicly available address for their constituency office. Almost all of these these are available on the parliament website; about 50 don’t publish one at all so I’ve used either the address of place they most often do their “surgery” events for constituents, or that of their party’s local office, to stand in.
Gathering this data itself was an interesting demonstration of: 1) how difficult some MPs make it for their constituents to get in touch to talk about their concerns (sometimes there’s more information about how to get a tour of the Houses of Parliament), and 2) how bloody awful (and often quite broken) most MPs’ websites are. Anyway, with that in hand we can figure out what their local supermarket situation is.
The constituency offices of Conservative Party MPs tend to be the furthest away from supermarkets; on average they have to go almost twice as far as Labour MPs to do their shopping. This is probably illustrative of the fact that Labour tend to do better in urban areas & the Conservatives in rural ones, or maybe it’s because of Global Warming???
We can also see what the closest supermarket chain tends to be for each party’s offices.
Interestingly, despite The Co-operative group’s links with the Labour Party (32 of Labour’s MPs are also joint members of the Co-operative political party), Labour constituency offices tend to be closer to Tesco branches, while Co-op branches tend to be the closest supermarkets to Tory & Lib Dem offices.
Lib Dem offices favour Marks & Spencers more than those of other parties, Iceland is a lot more popular with Labour, and no-one much shops at Budgens.
Obviously there are some variables we can’t account for: Chris Kelly, MP for Dudley South, has an office that’s close to a Tesco Express, but maybe he really like Marks and Spencers’ Percy Pigs pig-shaped confectionery items, so makes the 10 km round trip every day to get himself a bag from the Merry Hill store. His terrible website doesn’t mention whether he likes Percy Pigs. Perhaps the government should have a website detailing which MPs like which sweets, to allow the public to get more of an idea about where their representatives do their shopping.
Below you can see the average distance of an MP’s office from each brand’s stores in kilometres, grouped by party. (Based on the closest 40 stores to each office.)
Nick Clegg’s closest store is a Tesco Express at an Esso petrol station, but I reckon he does his mum’s shopping at Londis.
Eric Pickles is closest to an M&S, so that’s probably where he gets his pickles, except on special occasions when he goes to the only slightly further away Iceland to get a mint Viennetta.
I assume I’ll probably have to go on the run now I’ve released all this sensitive government data, but this is bigger than me. People had to know.
(Supermarket data was provided by Chris Zetter, creator of the excellent SuperLocate iOS app. Other supermarkets are available. Here’s a Google Doc of the constituency office data. No accuracy is guaranteed.)