Bloody Hell! Gender-swapped Harry Potter reboot announced

Rumours have been swirling around what JK Rowling would do next to garner attention. In a Lampoon exclusive interview with Rowling herself (since credible journalists will not touch her with a six foot pole, regardless of COVID restrictions), she revealed her latest plans for a gender-swapped reboot of the Harry Potter series.

“I haven’t interfered with the Harry Potter canon in a while so I thought it was time to revisit it with fresh eyes,” Rowling told us while reading letters of protest and throwing them on the fire.

Here are a few of the new and old faces rumoured to join this project.

David Tennant is apparently eyeing up the part of Umbridge, the Ministry Official who increasingly takes over Hogwarts. “David has found a niche for himself in immoral and evil characters,” his agent told us over the phone, “first Marvel’s Kilgrave, then Des, it makes sense that he wants to play as the most evil of them all.”

The role of Dumbledore has yet to be cast, but if rumours are to be believed then JK Rowling has Whoopi Goldberg in mind for the part.

There is an ongoing feud between Millie Bobby Brown and Mckenna Grace as to who will play the titular character, Harriet Potter. Both are recognisable young actresses in Hollywood and each have the potential to inspire yet another reboot after their portrayal. We’ll keep you updated, readers.

What of the original Harriet (wait I mean Harry) Potter, Daniel Radcliffe? He has expressed an interest in the role of Benedict Lestrange which is appropriate since his more recent films are nearly as weird as Lestrange.

Rupert Grint is the only actor who has a confirmed part in this reboot as Gerald Weasley, the brother of Regina Weasley (best friend of Harriet Potter). His role makes sense, as his career has now become as irrelevant as Gerald’s character is in the series.

In spite of all the opposition to this reboot, mainly by the original actors who weren’t recast, everyone will still go see the films and give JK Rowling another few billion pounds. No doubt this money will later go towards another set of 5 films based on another unassuming textbook or book like Beedle the Bard.

Coma patient from 2014 wakes up, thinks Obama is dead

Our US correspondent, when in hospital for injuries sustained after fighting a rabid squirrel, came across the story of a coma patient who had woken up only today. Instead of respecting doctor-patient privileges, they listened in to the whole exchange and decided to report for you, our dear readers.

The coma patient was supposedly woken up by the partying of nurses, still celebrating Biden’s ascension as President of the United States. The patient, mildly confused, asked what the fuss was all about. The patient then saw the cake which in this instance was not a lie: HAPPY JOE BIDEN INAUGURATION DAY!

“OH MY GOD IS OBAMA DEAD?!” the coma patient asked.

This confused the nurses, who had seen Obama alive on the TV mere moments ago.

“Why would Obama be dead?”

“It says Biden, the Vice President, is being inaugurated as President! But Obama is President! Unless he was impeached over that whole Benghazi or IRS or Fast and Furious gun scheme stuff, he must be dead if Biden is President!”

The coma patient’s mistake was soon cleared up as the nurses informed them it was now 2021, 7 years had passed since they fell into a coma and there was a brief (thank god it wasn’t any longer) interlude of Trump as President. The patient seemed amused at the prospect of the ex-host-of-the-apprentice-USA becoming President, which is pretty heartless considering Trump as President was not amusing whatsoever except when it came to his grammatic gaffes (our finest codebreakers are still trying to decode ‘covfefe’). The patient then remarked:

“So Obama basically has a third term as President through Biden right? Pretty smart that.”

Our reporter was unable to discover what happened next but rumour has it that one of the nurses bitch-slapped the coma patient so hard that they are back in their coma. The same nurse has since been recruited to work in the same sex shop we here at The Toon Lampoon work in as a trainee dominatrix. It truly is a new dawn for everyone.

Queen’s Gambit fans shocked to learn they aren’t the first to sensationalise chess

The Queen’s Gambit (QG) has become the latest in a long list of TV series that have become hits amongst people bored out of their mind during lockdown. It has become popular for the same reason that dark academia has become popular: if you can’t be clever, you may as well look clever. What better way than to watch a show about a board game with a long history, google the strategies and then proclaim yourself to have been a fan way before everyone else was?

I hate to break it to you, but it’s not a niche as you think, and you certainly aren’t the first.

Way back in 1984, Benny and Bjorn from ABBA, alongside lyricist Tim Rice (who helped write the lyrics for other West End musicals like Evita), released the concept album for their newest musical ‘Chess’. It followed two chess champions – the American and the Russian – during the Cold War, where political and personal rivalries come to the forefront of the competitions.

Does that not interest you, QG fans? I thought you were fans of chess!

Despite runs on the West End, Broadway and across the world, Chess has never reached the height of popularity that the QG has achieved. As such, Chess is an even more niche and ‘alternative’ way to express your love for the game.

How did QG fans react when I told them they weren’t actually that unique?

“I wasn’t watching it for the chess, it’s a shite game,” one man told us as he was coming back from the cornershop with a crate of alcohol. “I was watching it for the chick.”

When asked which TV series he would next binge was, he replied “Countdown. I couldn’t give a toss about the maths or letters, I just heard there’s an attractive bird on.”

Yes, we too at The Lampoon have a crush on Susie Dent, but don’t tell anyone!

We came across one girl leaving the library looking like she’d just walked out of a dark academia lookbook, complete with the glasses and Austen book. When asked about the QG, she excitedly replied “oh it’s my favourite TV show ever! I mean, I already knew about chess before the show blew up and it’s kinda sad to see all these fake fans but at least chess is more popular than ever!”

When asked about Chess (the musical), she looked at me confused.

“Wait, someone did that? What a dull idea for a musical.”

She then processed what she had said and quickly left pretending to go to an ‘alternative’ coffee shop (when we could clearly see she was headed towards Starbucks).

Someone passed by wearing every single piece of musical merch known to mankind, so we asked them on their thoughts on Chess.

“I’m sorry what’s that?” they asked after they took off their headphones. “Don’t you mean The Queen’s Gambit?”

It’s official: Chess is more niche and alternative than The Queen’s Gambit. Stand aside edgy QG fans, and let the OG chess fans pass through.

Welcome to the Cozy Crime Corner!

We Toon Lampoon journalists endure a lot during our quest to find the truth and bring it to you, our beloved readers. We consort with the lowest of the low as well as with world leaders (the two are more often than not the same) to bring you up-to-date news and valuable insights into society. The real test of endurance for us, however, is not by doing our job (which we pride on doing mediocrely); it is to survive the Toon Lampoon Office.

Do not be fooled by its innocuous name, for it instils fear in everyone that has had the misfortune to pass through its doors. Few leave with their sanity intact (although few people had any sanity when they first entered). Hearts have been broken, plates have been smashed, the odd intern has been sent flying through the window; it has all happened here. I am here to recount a few of those grizzly tales to you (anonymously of course, or else the editors would feed me to the carnivorous geese in the basement) as part of a regular column here at the Toon Lampoon.

This column is for anyone with an interest in the behind-the-scenes of your least favourite journalists or for those armchair detectives looking for an easy case to solve (such as the Search for the Secret Rah, which will be the first story told as part of this column). Intrigued? Then come closer my dear readers, and I shall set the scene by describing the office to you.

I shan’t disclose the location of TTL’s office, in case any agitated readers want to pelt it with toilet paper or eggs (we seem to have that effect on people). All I will say is that it down the deepest, darkest alley that can be found in all of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (and no, we don’t mean the Victoria Tunnels).

Minifig Characters #5: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
How we Toon Lampoon journalists perceive ourselves (the reality is much different). Image from Creative Commons.

The office is mostly bare, except for a few rickety tables that were stolen from Northumbria University on a night out (it seemed like a good idea at the time). Editors have a table each, with the rest of the tables having been allocated to the best writers; this was a trap as these writers were subsequently chained to their desk and now cannot leave. Have you lost a friend on a night out and wonder where they are now? Chances are we have them chained up.

Décor like personal photos is frowned upon in the office as we don’t want the editors to know the writers who aren’t chained up have a life outside the Toon Lampoon; they still believe us when we say it takes 20 hours to read three Wikipedia pages and write 400 words. The only non-essential items we have in the office are the heater (which is barely on to taunt us) and the water cooler (to give the impression the editors care about our needs – they do not).

Now I have set the scene, it is time to discuss our lead characters. I shall only discuss the interns who tried and failed to fit in here at The Toon Lampoon, the names of which I shall change so they don’t remember the trauma they endured here if they somehow find this article (amnesia is surprisingly common amongst those who leave – the editors really don’t want to be reported to HR). I shall also refer to the editors themselves by pseudonyms as they don’t want it to be public knowledge they help to run the most morally dubious newspaper the North of England has to offer (a badge we cretins wear with pride).

The scene has been set, the actors are waiting in the wings: all that remains is for the audience to arrive. Tune into the next article for revelations, anger and Pret a Manger wrappers in The Search for the Secret Rah!

Featured image: Odissey1976 via Wikimedia Commons

Chris(mas) Day’s Christmas Day: the inside scoop

Christmas is a season of joy, exchanging presents, feigning joy over said presents, and stalking.

You read that correctly: stalking. One of the most popular and influential Christmas songs to date does include the lyric “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake,” after all. So when the opportunity came up to sneak into the household of Chris Day for the investigative scoop of the century, our dubious moral code meant we couldn’t say no.

How did this come about? Well, settle down and I shall reveal the full story.

It came to our attention that the Day household was seeking to employ staff to cook and serve the Christmas Dinner on the 25th. After all, COVID-19 was taking the day off, as confirmed by Johnson, so it was okay to not wear a mask. Obviously that did not mean Day was going to interact with or associate with the staff. That simply is not done. We selected our least controversial Toon Lampoon journalist (most of our reporters are instantly recognisable from the warrants out for their arrests), clothed them in one of the many maid costumes from the editor’s office (we don’t want to know what’s going on there after-hours) and sent them on their way. Our reporter gave us the full story as to what happened next.

The staff turned up at the crack of dawn to begin preparations for the Christmas breakfast and lunch (unlike the preparations for semester two from the university, which still seem to be as clear as mud). Our reporter was surprised to see elite foodstuffs like caviar, porridge seasoned with gold dust and avocado toast – but this makes sense, considering how Day earns £373,600 a year. Breakfast was served in the third dining room with solid gold cutlery and portraits of previous Day patriarchs staring down at us from their gilded frames. Our reporter swears one of the portraits blinked so there is the possibility that Chris Day is also a wizard, but we cannot be certain.

Then there would have been the exchanging of the presents, but this occurred via Zoom. Our reporter was able to keenly observe this morning ritual whilst topping up everyone’s drinks of festive mulled blue trebs (the recipe for which was created by a student and left on the university cloud before the data hack, meaning it could have been an inside job – see, we can do proper investigative journalism!). Not only did only half of the family members turn up to this Zoom meeting, entitled “Forced Family Meeting”, but the half that did turn up did not even have their cameras on! The call ended up with the Days opening presents in silence and family members mysteriously losing their WiFi connection so they couldn’t rejoin…

If the breakfast was an elaborate affair, then the lunch was practically a royal banquet! No vouchers for the NUSU Co-op vouchers in sight. Our reporter, who hadn’t been given any solid food for the past three months, was salivating at the sight. Before they could begin eating, a prayer was read out: not a Christian one, but a weird untranslatable language. Definitely a family of wizards.

Whilst the family was outside undertaking a walk of their property (namely Newcastle University) and the rest of the staff started to clean the plates, our fearless reporter took this opportunity to investigate the rest of the house. Notable discoveries include the the star on the Christmas tree in the foyer being a striking resemblance to Chris Day, and some sort of noise from the basement. Before these could be investigated further, the Days returned in time to watch the TV. If you are expecting them to have watched the Queen’s Speech, you would be sorely mistaken as they instead watched his virtual speeches like this one on repeat. No wonder the family soon found themselves in a drunken stupor, ended up in bed by 5pm and left the staff to finish the mulled trebs and 173-year old-whiskey. Coincidentally, that is where our reporter’s account finishes and which cannot account for why the reporter was found half naked at the top of Grey’s Monument this morning by police officers.

What have we learnt from this piece of investigative journalism then (we promise we won’t make a habit of it)? The Days lead an elite lifestyle and are potentially a group of wizards with people trapped in their basement. More importantly, we now cannot use this reporter for future undercover work since they have now got a warrant out for their arrest (for public indecency and other related crimes). You just can’t get the staff these days…

Featured image: Pxhere

Excerpts from The Toon Lampoon letters to Santa

We Toon Lampoon journalists, either due to an inherent childish disposition or due to a need for hope after working here so long, have all been writing letters to Santa. One would expect them to be sent off, but our heartless editors normally burn them on the fire instead. To be fair, we don’t exactly have the budget for fuel.

This year, however, they have not been in the office to burn them, so they have been sent off to the North Pole. Our editors found out about this, and to make up for it, we have to publish excerpts from these letters to publicly humiliate ourselves. So much for it being the season for kindness.

One writer, in a glittery purple pen, wrote asking for world peace and an end to global hunger. Clearly, we have an imposter in our midst. No genuine Lampoon writer would ever be thoughtful enough to ask for that. We pride ourselves on being villainous and corrupt enough to not even deserve coal for Christmas. Time for a purge, pitchforks and all.

Another letter seemed to have been written in a hurry and has tear stains on the side. It is less a letter and more a cry for help. It includes lines such as “please may I have chain cutters to help me escape this place” and “naps for more than 30 minutes every other day”. They make the Lampoon office seem like a hellish place to work, but it definitely is not! I promise!

We must also add that this journalist mentioned something about freeing the Northumbria students from our basement. In response, we direct you to our already-issued public statement absolutely refusing to do so. In true Lampoon style, it consists mostly of typos and swear words.

The last letter is almost normal in its requests, which is certainly bizarre considering how normal people don’t last a day in the office. There’s the usual mentions of money, clothes, games and the like. Also “a new brother”.

Wait. That’s my letter.

If my long-suffering brother is reading this, it should come as no surprise to you since I’ve been trying to wish you away to the Goblin King for years. It just hasn’t worked out. Sorry bro.

We hope you have enjoyed this brief insight into the depraved and twisted minds of The Toon Lampoon journalists, your ever-loyal servants. We can only hope our wishes have been heard. Knowing our luck, it’ll be Krampus, not Santa, paying us a visit.

Britons shocked to discover Christmas lunch isn’t that British after all

We’ve all heard that terrible cracker joke over the past few years: “How will Christmas lunch be different after Brexit? No Brussels!” It usually merits a few groans and speeches from grandparents on how we made a mistake entering the EU back in ’73. They then tend to proclaim how proud they are to be British, and end up passing out half-drunk on the sofa before the Strictly Christmas Special even begins.

It may shock them to learn that Christmas lunches, a staple just like the Queen’s Speech, aren’t that British after all.

Let us begin with the humble potato, which also happens to be the sole source of food here at The Lampoon. Originally domesticated in Peru, they did not arrive in the UK until the Golden Age of Exploration when travellers like Walter Raleigh thought a weird beige object would be the best holiday souvenir to bring home. I’m sure their families were delighted. Whilst they might now be closely linked with British cuisine in the form of fish and chips, they still aren’t British in origin.

At least we still have the star of the show: turkey. Actually, we don’t. December Fools! That’s a thing, right?

Turkey is once again an import from the Americas, arriving in Britain in the 15th century. Even then, it did not become a Christmas lunch must-have until the 17th century amongst the working class, who couldn’t afford geese.

What did we have before turkey? One individual from 1773 recorded having cod and oyster sauce, amongst other things, at New College, Oxford University. We might see the dish return if the fishing quotas all work out.

We can’t even claim ownership over the vegetables or herbs that play a minor role in our lunches. This includes onions, garlic and thyme (thank you Romans), as well as brussels sprouts (despite the name, they likely originate in the Mediterranean).

What can we take credit for? Yorkshire puddings, if you add them to your Christmas lunch, you weirdo. That’s it really.

Whatever will the Brexit-loving Britons do when they discover most of their favourite Christmas foods aren’t British in origin? Will they see their mistake and beg Brussels for forgiveness? Will they beg Santa for a People’s Vote? Or will they follow in the footsteps of everyone’s favourite hypocrite Nigel Farage and ignore any evidence to the contrary of their opinions being wrong? Methinks the latter.

Whether you are a Brexiteer or a Remainer, we hope you have an enjoyable holiday period. Maybe you can spare a thought for us Lampoon journalists, who have been left locked in the office by the editors with only rotten Christingle oranges – which also aren’t British! – to keep us going. Maybe one day, Band Aid will come together to sing a song about us.

Note: the featured image is of The Lampoon editors’ Christmas lunch. The writers were not invited.

Owls, skulls, and U-235: inside the world of Newcastle University practicals

It is universally agreed that semester 1 has taken some getting used to. For one thing, there’s pre-recorded lectures that are suddenly an acceptable form of learning (what happened to “rely on Recap and your grades will slip!”?). We also suddenly have to keep our rooms tidy whenever lecturers insist on switching cameras on during Zoom seminars. The audacity.

One feature of uni life that has been less well-documented is the practical side. For those humanities students confused by the term “practicals” (or indeed practical), it refers to having more than nine contact hours a week with two hour sessions minimum. Shocking, I know. Anyway, they too have been going on at home, with mixed results. Time to delve into the infamous and less well-known experiments that could have been going on in your very own student home.

Let’s start with the Archaeology students. A weird bunch already (they dig up bones for a living, which is not a normal career aspiration), they have been undertaking questionable practical exercises for one module in particular. I shall not name it, for it may cause any Archaeology student unfortunate enough to stumble upon this article to spontaneously combust out of shame. But it involved dissecting owl pellets. Several students were horrified at the prospect, but it was also the best attended practical of that semester. Read into that what you will.

It doesn’t stop there, dear reader.

Rumour has it that the Medical School were mailing out skulls and organs to first year students to give them an introduction to the course. That, or act as a freshers initiation (they may have taken a leaf out of a certain hockey team’s book). Some are even suggesting the Pharmacy students have been creating their own medicines to tackle various ailments like freshers flu and procrastination (although I have heard they have yet to tackle the latter: they have other stuff to do). Both coming soon, to a NUSU Co-op near you.

The last example that springs to mind is a Physics practical, which truly is the stuff of nightmares. This I did not hear directly. It was from the friend of a friend of a roommate of a Northumbria student whose cousin is an English student at Newcastle that had a one-night stand with this guy, but like any Lampoon journalist, I trust all sources implicitly. The English student recollected that the guy in question had uranium underneath his bed! We are still unsure as to why (things got lost in translation, it was something to do with the desert or some dessert).

Let that be a lesson to you, dear readers. If you ever have a one-night stand with a Physics student, check to see what is under their bed. You may not like what you see.