'My sofa's inexplicably caught fire': six ways to get off the phone from your mum

MUM refusing to get off the phone? Cut the call short and save yourself a load of earache with these excuses:

‘The cat’s brought a mouse in’

This is obviously a crisis situation which requires your immediate attention, so your mum’s fascinating story about the state of aunt Mary’s haemorrhoid replacement operation will have to wait. Double check you’ve got a cat first, or you’ll blow your cover.

‘My sofa’s inexplicably caught fire’

The threat of spontaneous immolation should force your mum to start wrapping up her rambling anecdote about her ingrowing toenail. Although she might take the opportunity to remind you about the importance of contents insurance. Her friend Pam could fix you up with a good rate if you’ve got a pen and paper ready to take her number?

‘The doctor’s about to call’

A risky strategy. Could drag out the conversation as you’re forced to invent an illness that’s serious enough for the surgery to ring you when they’re not in the least interested in your mum’s irritable bowel when she has a madras. But needs to be mild enough to prevent your mum from rushing over, keen to discuss ailments for hours.

‘My dinner’s burning’

Timing is key for this one. It can only be used within an hour of your 5pm mealtime, which is when you ate as a child and your mum naturally assumes hasn’t changed. Use this excuse in the mid-afternoon and she’ll diagnose you with a compulsive eating disorder, extending the chat for an hour as she recommends the therapist her friend Ange from Zumba has.

‘There’s somebody at the door’

Less successful as she’ll wait on the line while you answer it. So you’ll have to go through the motions of opening the door and having a pretend conversation with nobody like a lunatic, while your mum does the same down the discarded phone.

‘I love you but can’t actually stand talking to you, sorry’ 

Less an excuse than harsh, undeniable truth. Your mum will fall silent for a second, admit that she feels the same and that she’s disappointed in the adult you’ve become, then tell you about it being too hot in the room where she does flower-arranging classes as if the honesty never happened.

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'Shit music for violent dickheads': A reassessment of punk, 1976-1981

PUNK is recognised as one of the most seminal musical movements of all time by the wankers directly involved. Here’s why it was crap:

The music

It was revolutionary that none of the bands could play their instruments or gave a f**k about their lack of talent. Exciting on paper, excruciatingly awful when at an actual gig. No wonder the audience pogoed, spat on the band and sniffed glue.

The fans

Punks were violent, dirty and gratuitously offensive, and that attracts a certain type. The type for whom punching a dozen people in the face is a good night out and if it requires a green mohawk, fine. All fun and games until you’re thrown through a glass door at a Members gig.

The fashion

For a movement centred around a boyband put together by a London boutique, everyone looked f**king awful. Binbags and pissed jeans are unflattering on anybody. And Nazi armbands? In 1976? Grow up. There were topless punk models but they were arty and taboo-breaking. Though still topless.

The cultural impact

Nobody was into punk. Britain was bang into disco and prog rock and Barbra Streisand ballads from films. Punk was no bigger than UK garage, but a load of writers bigged it up endlessly. Even then Rod Stewart’s Sailing beat God Save The Queen to number one.

The legacy

The radical punk lifestyle was a searing critique of ’70s Britain, following which Thatcher was elected and held office for 11 years. There was barely a punk song in the charts after 1980. 15 years later Green Day’s wildly successful pop-punk about turds was representing the genre on the world stage. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?