101 Uses for Michael Portillo
Now that El Portaloo is no longer a democratic representative of the people of Enfield Southgate, some have speculated that he may be at a loose end. In this increasingly unpopular section we postulate some potential things he might be good for, with the aim of sending him the list when it is complete.
- Michael's curiously cylindrical head makes an ideal mould for making clay jugs and pots. Carefully shape some wet clay around his nose to form a handy spout.
- Sitting Michael on a 1.75m iron rod will enable you to keep him rigid while you attach him, figurehead-like, to the front of your racing yacht.
- Michael can even be used to help out everyone's favourite driving nincompoop Maureen, from TV's 'Driving School'. Simply prop him up against the wall and allow Maureen to repeatedly crash into him.
- Sitting Michael Portillo up at the end of the garden you can prop his mouth open with a stick and pull his lips back. This gives you a perfect target for long-bore rifle shooting at his teeth.
- Kept frozen he's great to bring out at parties and put in a large bucket of water to keep the beer cold.
- After thawing, he can be hollowed out and used as a kiddies' canoe. The arms will make wonderful paddles.
- Children's party? No need to hire expensive entertainers. Folded carefully, Michael Portillo can be placed inside a tiny cardboard box. Then, at the appropriate dramatic moment, you can open the box and chuckle as he springs out to astonish the children. Watch their bright laughing faces turn to masks of horror.
- Fluffy draught excluders fashioned in the shape of photogenic animals are expensive and a waste of money when Michael Portillo lying just inside your front door would do as well.
- Why pay for pizza delivery? Properly trained and given step-by-step instructions, Michael Portillo could go to the shop for you. But be careful not to give him too much money to carry, or he may go wild and spend it all on a new American ballistic missile guidance system.
- Ladies. Don't buy overpriced plastic heads to store your wigs on. Michael Portillo can do the same job, and his mouth doubles as a false teeth holder.
- Scientists at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have been working for some years on helping motor manufacturers to design safer cars. In particular, RoSPA has been investigating injuries suffered by pedestrians who are hit by cars at various speeds. Could the design of cars be changed to make these injuries less severe, or even reduce them to the point where an absent-minded old lady hit by a truck would feel only a tickling sensation in the lower arm?
No. Not really. Cars are great big fuck-off heavy lumps of metal, after all. If you get hit by one, you're pretty much toast. But the scientists feel they ought to be researching this type of thing anyway, since they have to do something or other if they're not going to walk the streets and hang around in amusement arcades all day.
Anyway, the computers needed to simulate car accidents in 3-D virtual reality are expensive and difficult to use. So the scientists hit on the clever idea of using Michael Portillo as an impact tester. After all, he hasn't got a lot on at the moment, except for the occasional bit of gardening.
So now, every afternoon at the RoSPA Motor Vehicles division research facility in Chester, the scientists drive different types of cars and trucks as fast as possible into Michael Portillo, and then examine the results. Pretty smart, I reckon. And it saves money too!
- If you dip Michael Portillo into a bath of liquid nitrogen, being careful to use gloves, and then drop him from the roof, he will shatter into seven thousand pieces all over the pavement in a most amusing fashion. This isn't strictly speaking useful, but it's a hell of a way to spend a wet afternoon.
- To develop a really attractive handwriting style, you need an attractive and modern writing instrument. First, gently sharpen Michael Portillo's head with a pocket knife. Then fill his guts with ink, using your father's hosepipe and a bicycle pump. Hold Michael upside down above the paper and gently shake until a few blobs of ink appear at the tip of his nib-like head. Write smoothly and evenly, being sure to decorate your capitals with small cursive flourishes, or 'serifs'. And there you have a ridiculous, crude six-foot pen made out of a former Conservative Secretary of State for Defence.
- Using pioneering 'Dolly'-style sheep DNA technology, you could produce several physically identical clones of Michael Portillo. Any comedian wishing to make it big in the USA could record themselves being chased by a flock of Portillos, thus providing the American ideal of British comedy - Benny Hill with a touch of Pythonesque surrealism. With a bit of luck, said comedian would then sod off to America, never to return. It may be worth suggesting this to Joe Pasquale. (sent in by David Thornber)
- Do you wear yourself out screwing all day long? I'll start again. If you've got a lot of screws in your house that need continual removal and replacement, that's a recipe for wrist pain. Why not consider using Michael Portillo instead of your conventional screwdriver? Michael has a handy changeable bit on the top of his head which copes with both normal slot-head screws and Philips/Pozidrive. In addition, his neck contains an ingenious ratchet mechanism which saves you time and effort. To switch the ratchet direction, just squeeze his genitals. Now DIY can be a real pleasure, when you're screwing with Michael Portillo!
...Actually, I was thinking of a ratchet screwdriver. Sorry.
- As any amateur DIY fiend will know, driving screws into a plaster or chipboard wall is a Bad Idea. Your shelves tend to collapse as soon as you put that heavy jade Buddha on them. However, if you drill a small hole first, push Michael Portillo into it, then drive the screw in, results improve dramatically. The screw finds more purchase on Michael's flesh than on the friable plaster, giving lasting hold and support.
Or is that rawlplugs?
- Do you find your feather duster just doesn't get into those tiny crevices? Using Michael Portillo as a dust-removal device has many advantages. Not only does his quiffed hair penetrate even the most awkward of cracks and clean right through to the shine, but he can keep you entertained while you're dusting with a series of speeches about how the single currency will be responsible for massive unemployment in bureaux de change all round the country.
- Michael is surprisingly intelligent and could be trained, with some effort, to do simple tasks like yard sweeping and even basic lavatory cleaning.
- You can use Michael as the subject of a scientific experiment. Gather some friends in your living room and put on the election video. Specifically, that bit where Michael's result is read out by the returning officer. Look at how Michael gives a little grin when his absurd middle name (Xavier) is read out. Watch the Labour bloke's face when he realises he's won - his little face goes all scrumpled up with excitement.
The experiment is simply to see how many times you and your friends can watch this video and still enjoy it every time. My own experiment has reached the 19,000 mark now and I am still guffawing heartily every time I see it, a little bit like Brian Blessed would.
Every so often, give yourself a break by watching David Mellor's curmudgeonly face shrieking abuse at Sir James Goldsmith and telling him to get back to Mexico, while Goldsmith chants 'Out! Out! Out!'. It's better than 'Ice Warriors', honestly. Mind you, that wouldn't take much.
- Chopped, mixed with cereal and shaped, Michael makes an attractive and tasty alternative to beefburgers. Unfortunately the Portilloburger is not certified vegetarian, although he is a certified vegetable.
- Dobo writes:
Due to the startling angle of his completely ridiculous hairstyle, I feel that young Michael would make quite a good toilet brush. After all, his quiff would get right round that difficult U-Bend, ensuring a sparkling toilet bowl. He could regurgitate any crap that he managed to scrape off in one of his fine speeches.
Also, he would be really useful in a show such as Aunties TV Bloomers. The film of his election defeat would make the sole funny moment on this dire illustration of why 'It'll Be Alright On The Night' was not a good programme for the Beeb to copy.
- Human beings conduct electricity tolerably well, so next time your radio reception's playing up, plug a piece of wire into the aerial socket, push the other end of the wire into Michael's mouth and sling him out the window. The best reception can be obtained by hanging him upside down from the bathroom window with his head dangling about eight feet above the lobelias. But it only works for FM.
- Michael's top lip is perfect for rubbing out mistakes in pencil or charcoal drawings. His lower lip, however, is heavier and more abrasive, and should be used only for erasing India ink.
- Place Michael on your roof and let his permanently upturned conk serve as a handy and cost-efficient lightning conductor. While he's up there, try rubbing his nylon suit with a piece of perspex to charge him up, and use him to pick up Channel 5. (Thanks Dave O'Malley)
- Stretched tightly between two posts and tuned to 440Hz, Mr Portillo makes an ideal improvised guitar for camp-fire sing-songs.
- With his ears and nose sewn up, and his body inflated to 100psi with a foot-pump, Michael makes an ideal emergency life-raft for cross-Channel ferries keen to economise on safety equipment.
- Use him to remove stubborn rusty nails by getting him to bite down on the nail head, then attaching him with a steel cable to a tractor, and... oh, you know the rest.
- Roasted, with an apple stuffed in his mouth, Mr Portillo makes a delicious and attractive snack for unexpected winter visitors. Garnish with several copies of his right-wing speeches and a portrait of 'Lady' Thatcher.
If you liked those, why not consult the Totally Unofficial Michael Portillo Fan Page?