Take A Break (magazine)
“Estne velimus propono si quid pecuniae opportunitas”
Take a Break is a magazine published weekly since 1785 in the United Kingdom, where it enjoys sales of around 20 million each issue and is frequently given as an example when arguing British people are more intelligent than Americans and to demonstrate the intellectual superiority of British popular culture over that of the USA. Since Issue 1, it has achieved dominance over the crowded "real life, fiction and spooky stuff" market and has received much recognition throughout the media industry for the integrity of its journalists and impeccable standards of its material.
It is published by Take a Break Magazines Limited, a subsidiary of Screws International. Screws International is entirely owned by the Screws Corporation group, headed by well-known and filthy rich scumbag Rupert Murdoch who also owns a large number of other titles from around the world including, rather tellingly, The Sun and Kid's Bumper Book of Fantastic Tales of Imagined Worlds.
- Not, as some people mistakenly believe, the same thing as The Sun.
Take A Break has been widely respected since Issue 1 throughout the media world as one of the finest examples of the investigative journalist's art, skill and integrity; as demonstrated by the fact that its staff writers have collectively been awarded more Pulitzer prizes than any other news journal.
The magazine has a proudly-held reputation for breaking important stories, many of which raised controversial questions in the British Parliament and governmental legislatures of other nations.
Stories broken by the publication over the years include:
- "My ear turned into a question mark. Why?"
- "Our curry's haunted!"
- "Seduced - by my own mother"
- "Was our dog abducted by aliens?"
- "There's a Time Lord in my lav!"
- "Scarred for life - by a thong!"
- "Baby scan spook! Look where Grandad's ghost popped up!"
- "My dead dad keeps ringing the doorbell"
- "Our angel cat took my hubby to heaven"
- "A 2000 year old saint lives on in my body"
Note that Take A Break has a policy of always using "double inverted commas" in the titles of articles. Doing so was considered standard journalistic practice in the late 18th Century when the magazine was established and has been retained by the publication simply in order to show the high value it places upon tradition even though the practice has long since been dropped by all other magazines and newspapers. It is not, as the magazine's legal department are keen to point out, "a way by which attention-grabbing titles with little relevance to the actual details contained within an article can be technically and legally classified as a quote, thus preventing a magazine from being sued under trades description and false advertising laws - although it does just happen to have that effect, in case you were thinking of trying anything, pal."
- All of these are genuine Take A Break headlines, with the exception of one which is made up. Can you guess which? Answer at the bottom of the page.
- Although The Guardian sometimes inserts one or two as a typo.
A list of Take A Break editors from times gone by reads like a selection of pages torn randomly from Burke's Peerage, with almost all those upon such a list being in possession of a title, a double- or even triple-barreled name and, in most cases, at least one notable polygenetic abnormality.
Among them are:
- Geoffrey Dawson (1912-1919 and 1923-41). As a prominent member of the Empire Loyalists and vocal supporter of Imperial Federation, Dawson would almost certainly have been known to history as Reichsmarschall des Großdeutschen Reiches Dornier had his birth have taken place just 570 miles or so to the East. Prior to his tenure as editor of the magazine, Dawson spent several years with the British administration in South Africa during the aftermath of the Boer War, often enthralling colleagues during his later life with fondly remembered tales of all the black people he had sent to the gallows for misdemeanours such as petty theft, believing that they should have some say in the running of their own country and being black.
- Later editors, in charge during the morally-lacking and liberal times to come after the Second World War, have made far-reaching attempts to disguise the racism instilled into the magazine by Dawson as racism is now, strangely, considered offensive by many. However, just as one must learn the secret codes unique to each compiler of cryptic crosswords by attempting to complete their puzzles over a long period of time, the experienced Take A Break reader will recognise the hidden clues within the magazine's stories that make it clear the venerable values of Dawson's
Timestimes are still held in high regard by his successors and will continue to be so.
- Lord William Rees-Mogg (1967-1981). Though as undoubtably a part of the Conservative establishment in Britain as awarding tax breaks to the rich and demonising single mothers, Lord Rees-Mogg was considered to be a dangerous and radical anarchist by many working at the magazine and among its readership. This stemmed largely from his writing of the infamous "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" editorial in defence of notorious beatnik and rubberlips Mick Jagger who had recently been arrested and imprisoned for ownership of four amphetamine pills which, like all hippies, he probably planned to sell to innocent babies. Nevertheless, Rees-Mogg's tenure remains one of the longest of all Take A Break editors and he continues to pen comment pieces for the publication to this day, leading many to ask rhetorically whether he might know something the rest of us do not about the magazine's owner.
- Charles Douglas-Home (1982-1985). Douglas-Home was a controversial choice as editor of the magazine, chiefly because as a Scotsman many of the magazine's writers and readers considered him an untrustworthy and probably disease-ridden foreigner. Largely due to this, market share dropped dramatically during his time in charge, and his editorship was brought to an early end in 1985 as a result chiefly of internal machinations and to a lesser degree his death - the latter being something that had not stood in the way of some earlier editors such as the illustrious John Walter who edited from the magazine's first issue in 1785 until his death in 1803 and then, as one of the Undead, from 1803 until 1812 when embarrassing questions were raised about all the virgin's corpses drained of blood filling the magazine office's cellar.
Few, if any, new publications have caused ripples to spread through the journalism world in the way that Issue 1 of Take A Break did when it was nominated for - and won - an unprecedented 17 Pulitzer Prizes. In 2010, it received an award for its celebrated "My 48 stone bulk snapped my husband's willy!" story. The award was handed over by General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists Jeremy Dear who, during his prize-giving speech, stated that:
|Take A Break is, quite simply, the finest current affairs publication to have ever seen the light of day. The investigations carried out by the magazine's staff are an example of excellence to all of us in this profession, and the magazine is - and I do not use these words lightly - nothing less than the brightest of the lanterns that illuminates the Free World.|
It has also won twenty-seven Peabody Prizes, fifteen International Editor of the Year awards, nine British Press awards, over a hundred Shorenstein prizes and every Rupert Murdoch That's A Bloody Great Magazine, Cobber, And Everyone Should Buy It awards (considered by industry experts to be the most prestigious of all the awards in journalism) ever awarded.
- At least three new ones being invented for the purpose.
- Which later influenced a new Government health leaflet distributed in doctor's surgeries and clinics throughout Britain, advising couples which are 75% or more wife to use the traditional missionary position only, or better still avoid sex completely as children resulting from the union are also likely to be fat and the amount of food we have to import is crippling the nation's finances already.
- Also, the idea of a 48 stone woman having sex is disgusting.
- Most notably, Rupert Murdoch.
Each issue is divided into a number of distinct and separate sections, beginning with News which is followed by Comment and then one of various specialist sections which may deal with stories from the world of Medicine, Science, Politics or Technology. The remainder is taken up with competitions, special offers, The Grumps (a fictional family that reviews household items such as food), adverts and sport.
The magazine has also earned a loyal following among doctors for its fascinating and expert investigations into medical stories from around the world, to the extent that it is now a more common sight in surgeries and medical colleges than The Lancet. It has become known for being the first to publish revelatory new findings, especially those linking certain foods and diet to detrimental health effects and is considered essential reading by students of medical phenomena.
- "Hooray - I'm not dead! When docs get it wrong" Doctors were at first dismayed when this article appeared, worrying that a story of this type - published my a magazine with such a wide circulation - would cause many people to lose faith in the medical profession and as a result avoid seeing their doctors for fear that the problem from which they were suffering might be made worse. However, Sir John Snyfe, spokesman for the British medical Council, lauded the piece. "When first published," he said, "many of us worried that Take A Break was acting in a highly irresponsible manner. However, in bringing to wider attention the problems that can arise during any medical treatment, it served to increase awareness among the public that doctors do a very difficult job under difficult circumstances. This gave patients a better understanding of what we're up against, and they now tend to become more involved in their own treatment and supply us with more details of their illness rather than assuming we can read their minds. They also better understand that we are constrained by the limits of modern medical science and that we do not have magical, godlike powers."
- "Burgers made my boobs explode!" 54 stone mum of seven Beccy McOmmon lived on nothing but greasy burgers bought from the mobile stall that parks up every day in the carpark of her local Aldi. "At first, I just used to buy one to see me through till lunchtime after I'd been shopping for pies and frozen chips," she explained to the magazine. "But soon, I was addicted to them - they just tasted so good!" Before she knew it, she was spending all day sitting in her car in the carpark, scoffing the £1.25 lard patties. "I ballooned," she says, "going from a svelte 16 stone to 54 in just a few weeks. My husband warned me - he said, if you keep eating that crap you'll burst. I didn't listen, though - he left me in the end, because he said sleeping with me was like sleeping with an obese pig." One day, Beccy noticed a strange growth on her left breast, so she went to the doctor to get it checked out. "I'd read about breast cancer in my magazinesso I was pretty worried." There was little cause for alarm, though - the doctor took one look and told her that she'd developed a boil, probably as a result of all the fat in her diet and the fact that she was now so big she was unable to fit into the bathroom to hose down her vast, stinking bulk. Then the exertion of walking the ten metres from the surgery to her car proved too much and she toppled over face first, bursting the boil as she hit the ground. So, to cut long story short, what actually happened was not that burgers caused Beccy's boobs explode at all - but nobody's going to get excited about a headline saying Greedy fat pig falls over and bursts massive pus-filled boil on her tit, now are they?
- "My ear turned into a question mark. Why?" Person's ear goes a bit weird and ends up shaped liked a question mark. Take A Break wonders why?
- Oddly, a correlation has been found between those companies that decide to stop paying to advertise in Take A Break and those whose products are discovered quite by chance by the independent food technicians writing for the magazine to be harmful or contaminated.
- Beccy reads Take A Break, Chat, Full House, Love It!, Real People, That's Life!, Bella, Heat, OK!, Star and New Scientist every week - however, she has never read a single book in her life. "I love reading," she says, "but books are well boring. I like magazines better because they have pictures in them."
Take A Break has long been known as a source of reliable information on scientific exploration, publishing weekly data collated and written up by its experts on the work of scientists around the world. Unlike many other journals, it is not afraid to tackle difficult, some would say exotic, subjects and unlike the mainstream press it has a strict policy of assuming its readership are intelligent, thus it does not "dumb down" its scientific coverage in an ateempt to appeal to a wider audience. This has made it equally popular among interested lay people and the scientific community, both of whom are attracted by in depth investigations into stories such as:
- "There's a poltergeist in my pants!" Hertfordshire mother of twelve Julie Peubick-Hare was mystified when she first noticed strange occurrences in her pants. It began one morning when the part-time waitress heard an unexplained noise, which she describes as a wet gurgling noise. It began to happen more frequently. "It was really rather embarrassing," she told the magazine. "As you can imagine, I got some funny looks as I went round the supermarket with what sounded like demonic laughter coming from my grundies." Then, a few months after the mysterious happenings started, they began to take a distinctly sinister turn - Julie heard a much louder noise than usual, and felt afraid. "Luckily, I was at home when it happened," she says, "so I went straight to the bathroom and took them off. Immediately, I was hit by the most unimaginably horrible smell - I've never smelled anything quite so bad in my whole life."
- Julie went to her doctor, but he was unable to help. For a while, having no idea who else she could turn to, Julie tried to put up with the strange noises and smells. "It was awful," she said, "and it kept getting worse. After a year, it had got so bad that my husband walked out on me - he said he couldn't put up with it any longer. My kids no longer brought friends home from school, and when I asked them why they told me they were embarrassed of me and that they were being bullied at school for having a stinky mummy. That broke my heart, so I decided there was only one place to turn and I contacted Take A Break."
- "They were fantastic, and their scientific investigations team were with me the very next day," Julie explains. "It'd never occurred to me that my problems might be a result of supernatural activity, but after looking at my lifestyle and taking some readings around my home, the team's chief scientist Prof Somuche Bool sat down with me and explained - it turned out that all the onion bhajis and vindaloo I eat had attracted the earthbound spirit of a 13th Century Indian prince who was frustrated at being prevented from ascending to the next plain of existence. But best off all, Prof Somuche also knew how to exorcise the restless ghost, and charged me just £500 for carrying out the ritual - much cheaper than a priest, he said, and the cost was offset by the ten quid they paid me for the rights to publish the story."
- Uncyclopedia research failed to provide us with information on Prof Bool's credentials - however, a Take A Break spokesperson explained: "Oh, that'll be because you were looking for Professor Somuche Bool, I expect. Prof is his first name - it's quite common in Maragravia. That's where he's from, which is why you won't have heard of him or his university. But he is a real scientist, honest."
As an avowedly conservative publication, Take A Break is in general opposed to new developments in the field of technology and yearns for the days when people had to go to a shop and pay for a magazine or newspaper rather than read them for free on the Internet, district nurses drove Austin Sevens on lanes that wound between fields of crops that had never known the touch of immigrant workers and most children born into poverty died before their third birthday. However, as Britain's magazine of record, it realises that progress continues unabated and that it has a duty to pass on news of new discoveries, so it continues to print its Technology section which is seen by many as a useful counterweight to the Holy Fucking Mother Of God, Mate, How Well Would This New iPhone Go With That Fair Trade Hand-Knitted Peruvian Rat Pubes Poncho We Made You Go Out And Buy Last Week?!!?-type technological reviews found in The Guardian, The Independent, Stuff and T3 in that it fearlessly highlights possible sociological issues and problems that might arise from new devices. It was the first publication to predict that mobile telephones would create a need for a new etiquette on public transport and since then has been highly valued among those who, while accepting and recognising that new inventions can bring benefits, feel that the world is changing too quickly and sooner or later computers are probably going to rise up, kill all humans, and become the new rulers of the Earth.
- "Spooky! I Googled my house - and saw a ghost!" Chatham estate agent Kelly Scabmuff frequently used Google Streetview to obtain photographs of the houses she was responsible for selling when the photographer at her company was unable to get a decent picture of the property due to 200 metre tall C. leylandii hedges, vicious dogs, local chavs making it unwise to get out of one's car and so on. Eventually, she became curious - if anyone with a computer and access to the Internet could get images of people's homes, what other information could they discover? To find out, she entered her own address into the little-known search engine and hit enter.
- "I must have sat there for a good ten minutes, speechless," Kelly told Take A Break, "before one of the other girls in the office noticed I'd gone pale and checked I was OK. I said to her, "come and have a look at this! It's freaky!" She took one look and went as white as me - because the image of my house clearly showed a ghost standing inside!" The two women e-mailed it around their friends and everyone agreed, leaving her too afraid to return home.
- "I've been living with friends ever since because there's no way I can go back there now," Kelly says, "and the house is up for sale." Take A Break published an editorial comment piece on this article, stating that the story proves that the general population can suffer if permitted too much information. "We all like to think we know what's going on," it said, "but there are some things we're better off not knowing, things that are best left to those in charge. Vote Conservative, and write to your MP today asking them to oppose the Freedom of Information Act."
- See "Why do today's teenagers insist on having in-depth conversations over their mobile phones on the bus? You didn't get that sort of thing in my day - sometimes I wonder if fighting in the war was all a waste of time," Bertrand Moodie-Oldgytt, Take A Break 12th April 1993.
- Other colleagues may have noticed, but due to the business assumed she was simply engaged in meditative prayer to the God of Estate Agents, Satan.
- Which would absolutely not reveal the truth of any lucrative deals that might have taken place between the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch, because they didn't.
Although the publication is famed for its science coverage, Take A Break's average reader nevertheless likes to remain open-minded to the possibility that there are some things in the universe that science cannot explain. In particular, this includes astrology, a subject to which the magazine devotes many pages of each issue. In addition, it has a number of staff psychics with whom readers can converse by telephone in order to gain valuable advice on matter such as love, work, health, the National Lottery and in a host of other areas. It is commonly said by sceptics that absolutely anyone could set themselves up with a set of tarot cards and other paraphernalia associated with fortune tellers, mediums and mystics and successfully convince people to such a degree that a living can be made from it - however, Take A Break's psychic-in-chief Mandy Masters disagrees. "Anyone who says that doesn't know a thing about the psychic world," she says. "You need to be prepared to do battle with dark forces, black magic and even demons, as well as a highly skilled counsellor when warning people about any threats the future may hold, even if it's something terrifying they might prefer not to hear. Also, most people can't even read the smallprint at the bottom of the page, where it tells you that a phone call to me will set you back around £5 a minute and an average call lasts half an hour. Let's face it, if they're too stupid to read that, what chance do they have with tea leaves and crystal balls?"
The magazine used to feature a page allegedly written by a psychic dog, but this was felt to be stretching even Take A Break's readership's credulity a little too far.
Take A Break, as one might suspect from a brief perusal of the list of editors above, has traditionally been a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party. However, it changed its allegiance to the Labour Party during the ascent of Tony "Look..." Blair to the office of Prime Minister in 1997. "They were strange times in British politics," explains then-editor and now Sir Peter "Rock Hard" Stothard. "I was becoming embroiled in the row with Baron Ashcroft over political function and our long friendship with the Party looked distinctly shaky. Blair, meanwhile, was busily ridding Labour of socialists and taking the party in a more rightwards direction and, well, it looked like he was going to be our next Prime Minister. Since I've always fancied a knighthood, I sent round an interdepartmental e-mail instructing all staff that from that point onwards their articles would be expected to favour Labour. Also, I got the rights to publish Thirty Days: An Inside Account of Tony Blair at War, which proved to be a nice little earner."
The magazine's readers were, at first, aghast; shocked and appalled that such a beacon of decency could support a socialist party. Yet as New Labour's time in government went on and Blair began to unveil his plans, the relationship proved logical when his party showed themselves to be one of the more right wing governments yet to hold power in the United Kingdom, soon removing the rights of citizens to know details of charges brought against them, surreptitiously obtain and hold DNA samples of innocent citizens, install thousands of CCTV surveillance cameras and so on. It was not until many years later, as New Labour began to crumble under the shaky thumb of an incompetent Scotsman, that Take A Break switched its allegiance back to the Conservatives, now under the leadership of poshboy David "Fuck the Poor" Cameron.
- In the United Kingdom, most people read a particular title not for information and/or entertainment but as a way of displaying their political leanings, income and lifestyle. For example, a Guardian reader will be a socialist who probably made several tens of millions in a pay-off deal after being required to step down as Controller General of the BBC following their decision to introduce a controversial storyline to EastEnders; a Back Street Heroes (not, as the name suggests to those unfamiliar with the publication, a specialist-interest pornographic magazine) reader will most likely be in late middle age, a Conservative voter, employed in financial middle-management earning £30-40 thousand a year, will suffer from stress-related duodenal ulcers, will never have ridden a motorcycle in their life and will almost certainly be named Nigel and may well also regularly "read" specialist-interest pornographic magazines; a Daily Mail reader will not be a racist but will feel that something needs to be done about all these foreigners what are coming over here 'cos there ain't no jobs left for British people and they're all criminals. They will vote BNP and will own a complete limited edition tea service decorated by one of the world's leading ceramic artists in commemoration of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, available for just £99 and twelve monthly installments of £12.99 each. A beautiful addition to any home and certain to be a valuable investment for the future, the owner's grandchildren will try to flog it in about a hundred years - long after tha abolition of the monarchy, with any luck - only to be told it's worth about 12p.
- Businessman, ex-Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party and renowned avoider of taxes.
- See 
- See 
- See every bloody street in the country.
The Grumps are a fictional cartoon family that, each issue, review certain products or services, scoring them with marks out of ten. The family consists of Billy Grump, a boy aged ten, Katy Grump, his teenage sister, Mr and Mrs Grump, a married couple in their 40s and the parents of Billy and Katy, Grandpa Grump - known to the family as "Digger" - and his Chinese-born wife, Wendi, who is 37 years younger than him. Products reviewed can be anything from supermarket canned soup to shampoo, breakfast cereal to Internet service providers. In one notable episode, The Grumps reviewed offshore tax havens.
Billy Grump:Hong Kong looks great! Not only do companies registered there pay low taxes, it also offers canny investors close proximity to the emerging Chinese and Far Eastern markets - yet they're used to doing business the Western way!
Katy Grump:Barbados gets my vote. Golden beaches, azure seas - perfect for topping up my tan! And, although the tax rates are really low, it's not technically a tax haven so you'd always be able to deny it when other newspapers accuse you of not paying your fair share.
Mrs Grump:That's all very well, but you need a base in Europe too - taking the Learjet on a daily basis is such a drag, after all. Monaco is perfect - and it's so glamourous too.
Mr Grump:British Virgin Islands trumps the lot if you ask me. 41% of the world's offshore companies are based there, so they've got to be doing something right. They've avoided most of the tax avoidance scandals over the last few years, too - sounds good to me!
Grandpa Grump:Those are all good choices, but if you really want to keep every penny you can then you need to move your money around. That's why I've got my empire split into over 60 separate companies, based in various tax havens around the world, and how my main British holding company, Newscorps International, managed to pay absolutely no tax whatsoever between 1988 and 1999, despite recording profits of around £1.4 billion!
The Family:Strewth, Grandpa - you're a genius!
Take A Break has spawned an entire newsagent's shelfload of spin-off titles, each specialising in a particular type of story popular in the parent magazine. These currently include:
- Take A Break Fate and Fortune (Sample headline: "Poltergeist ravaged our Christmas turkey!)
- Take A Break Wordsearch (subtitled "Puzzles for the hard-of-thinking")
- Take A Break Fiction Feast (pseudo Mills & Boon soft porn for bored housewives, penned by readers who usually have the literary skills of a retarded inflatable doll, and a retarded inflatable doll that failed its English exams at that)
- Was it by any chance the cat that first suggested a poltergeist might be to blame?
Answer: The fourth one. But if anyone from the magazine reads this and thinks there might be a few quid in a story with a similar headline, it'll be a real one within weeks.