SO, we’re all doomed. Again. And the end will come not by nuke, plague or alien invasion – but by octopus. Hollywood certainly didn’t see this one coming, but we should expect Batman and Thor Vs The Tentacles Of Doom in theatres soon.

News of countless cephalopods descending upon the sleepy Welsh village of Ceredigion broke the internet last week – and the footage certainly didn’t require any dodgy CGI. Some of these strikingly odd creatures even rose up on the tips of their legs to toddle along the coast, casting long shadows eerily evocative of the Martian invaders from War Of The Worlds.

So what sparked off this surreal offensive? I personally blame Vladimir Putin. No, it wasn’t fake news. This really did happen. What I’m suggesting is that the Russian strongman, famed for wrestling bears with his tap aff, perhaps hurled a grizzly to the ground with such force that the entire planet was thrown off its axis. Maybe – just maybe – this seismic impact has woken the tentacle-faced guardian of Earth’s oceans – Cthulhu – from his million-year slumber. And this King Of The Deep was never a morning person.

A leviathan dominating the work of American author HP Lovecraft, it may be the case Cthulhu is actually real and the end is nigh. Scientists themselves admitted this cephalopod invasion was very unusual, but dismissed it as the result of adverse weather conditions. Clearly hiding the truth from the public to avoid panic. The media, complicit in the conspiracy, also avoided asking the big question – why did Cthulhu send wee octopuses to destroy us all? You just don’t see this being debated on Scotland Tonight with John MacKay.

What I would say to John is that Cthulhu’s choice of soldier is an obvious one. The octopus is a chameleon, ninja, sharpshooter, shapeshifter and Neo from The Matrix – all bound up in the one limitless body. These are truly “alien” life forms – and their methods of attack, defence and sensory perception are truly mindboggling. They can not only emulate any colour or pattern instantly – but their skin can also see, taste and smell. They can mimic the form of many other creatures, squirt ink with Jocky Wilson accuracy and squeeze themselves through holes the size of Shane MacGowan’s pupils. Nothing else existing on Earth today is quite so “other” in nature – not even Daniel O’Donnell.

Scientists studying these incredible creatures admit that they are perhaps ultimately unknowable – an evolutionary curveball wildly foreign to every other organism on the planet. Long-held beliefs that octopuses possess creative intelligence comparable to a human child gained credibility just a few months ago, when researchers in Australia discovered a sprawling underwater “city” – now branded Octlantis – which was entirely constructed by cephalopods.

This doesn’t mean there were skyscrapers, nightclubs and aquatic neds asking for 8p towards their fare home. Octlantis consists of cute wee walls and dens made from clam and scallop shells – recycled waste from their dinner plates. Humans just don’t put this sort of effort in. Could CALA build a house of chicken beaks? Octlantis wasn’t unique, however. Another site, named – wait for it – Octopolis was first thought to be an anomaly, so unusual were the shell structures that formed a circle around a large, human-made metal object. With a squint, suggestive of pews around an effigy for worship.

Was this proof that octopuses pray to something other than the mighty Cthulhu? Well, we know for a fact they are conscious thinkers – they learn, solve problems and often escape from laboratories – using tools and cunning to do so. They also show an astonishing aptitude for mimicry, deception and – some believe – humour. They are perhaps the closest we can come to encountering intelligent extra-terrestrial life without a warp drive.

The braininess of octopuses is really an evolutionary absurdity. These beings haven’t evolved much at all since reaching a state of relative perfection a few hundred million years ago. The last common ancestor between octopuses and humans is thought to be a blind, worm-like bottom-feeding oddity that haunted the oceans six hundred million years ago. It’s a pretty sobering thought.

The early evolution of the octopus also saw it sacrifice its protective shell to embrace a life of unboundaried potential. But the cost was an increased vulnerability – and with just a two-year lifespan, it is an existence that may be experientially rich but tragically brief. The Nobel Prize-winning biologist Sydney Brenner simply concluded that cephalopods are the “first intelligent beings on Earth”.

With the bold Cthulhu currently rallying the troops in preparation for more Normandy-esque invasions across the globe, they might soon be the only ones left. No longer will they be served alive in a Japanese risotto. I for one welcome our new cephalopod overlords. Maybe Cthulhu’s reign will be a benign dictatorship and we’ll carry on much as before. Unless he is a senstive fella and takes exception to Asda’s new Rice Crispy-encrusted calamari range.


‘Exercise pill’ is a pizza nonsense

WHEN I’m enjoying a 10-inch Istanbulian – behave, it’s a chicken balti pizza layered with kebab meat – I use breathing exercises to retune the internal alarm of guilt into traditional Middle Eastern sitar scales. It takes a lot of energy to do this, and it’s perhaps why I’m not hugely obese. Yet.

Metabolism and an active lifestyle help, but as Lance Armstrong knows, sometimes exercise is not enough. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fitness pill that would allow us to eat whatever we wanted yet stay as lithe as Ziggy Stardust?

Then get down to your nearest gym – not for a workout, Heaven forbid – but to score some GW501516. Best write that down, I wouldn’t possibly know if it has a cool street name.

Although GW501516 has not yet been approved officially, plenty of folk are taking it. Once the structure of a new compound has been published, labs – official or otherwise – are free to synthesise it. In this case, the compound is easy and relatively cheap to make. It is readily available online and also at venues where people congregate to compare muscle tone. So I hear.

Based on a formula brewed up by big pharma behemoth GlaxoSmithKline some years ago, scientists at the famous Salk Institute in California are now looking to release the chemical compound commercially – promising a wonder drug that will change the world and make exercise unnecessary.

In trials with mice, weight was shed, hearts were strengthened and stamina levels saw the cage playwheels tear holes in spacetime. You might not need exercise with GW501516, but when you do both it seems it can turn you into a sort of superhuman.

The drug works by mimicking the effect of endurance exercise on one particular gene: PPAR-delta. The problem is, cellular changes caused by intense bodily activity are still not really understood.

We know exercise works – but the fact is scientists are still incapable of explaining how it can turn a Cumberbatch into an Arnie.

However, like most wonder pills, it seems too good to be true. In Glaxo’s original trials, tumours began to appear all over the test animals’ bodies. Cancerous ones. A surefire way of losing weight, aye, but imminent death isn’t something you can really market.

It seems artificially accelerating the metabolic process in cells makes nature frown. We must also consider the fact that if everyone is fit, then no-one is fit – and such a blandly homogenised society would ultimately leave no-one to play the fat kid in Stephen King movie adaptations. And James Corden without a career.