With growing calls for so-called ‘suicide chat rooms’ – where the depressed, despairing and Goths go to discuss the best methods of killing themselves and form ‘suicide pacts’ – to be closed down, one internet entrepreneur is proposing to instead replace them with ‘suicide networks’. “Just committing suicide is so negative and selfish,” opines Dartford-based web entrepreneur Terry Trapwitt. “I mean, it’s all about you – apart from ending your own life and making a few close relatives and friends upset for a while, what does it achieve? Who is going to remember even a few days after the event, let alone a few years?” Trapwitt is proposing a scheme which will allow the suicidal to ensure that their demise has further reaching consequences than simply delaying the 8.15 Woking to Waterloo train they throw themselves in front of, and making several hundred commuters late for work. “You can only commit suicide once – so make it count,” he told the press as he unveiled the ‘Suicide Network’. “We guarantee to put the suicidal in touch with some of the world’s top terrorist organisations. Don’t just take an overdose, when you could instead be strapping on several pounds of explosives and blowing up a bus in Jerusalem.”

Defending his scheme against allegations of bad taste, Trapwitt insists that he is providing a genuine service for the suicidal. “Suicide is such a sad, lonely event, we’re just trying to ensure that these poor souls don’t die alone,” he explains. “Not only that, but they won’t be forgotten for a very long time. What greater statement could you possibly make with your own death?” He also argues that the ‘Suicide Network’ will provide the suicidal with a last chance to travel and make new friends. “These people are generally sad bastards, at least this way they get a final few months of relative happiness,” he says. “All of our clients will inevitably insist that the would be suicide bombers attend training camps in Afghanistan or the Middle East, where they’ll get to mix with like-minded fanatics. Some of the friendships they make there will be lifelong.” Trapwitt also believes that the ‘Suicide Network’ will help the relatives of the suicides with their grieving process. “Hell, all these suicide bombers record video messages where they explain themselves,” he declares. “Surely that’s better than some hastily scribbled suicide note?”

In spite of widespread condemnation for the concept, the ‘Suicide Network’ already has a rival in the ‘Ideal Suicide’ site, which has recently gone public after an extensive period of private beta-testing. The site – devised and backed by top internet guru Gerald Jubbly – aims to allow individuals to arrange their dream suicide. Boasting that no method of self-extinction is too bizarre for them to engineer, the site promises to take care of all aspects of a suicide for a flat fee and exclusive rights to the film its workers will take of the event. The site already features several video endorsements by satisfied beta-testers. “There’s no doubt that I would never have been able arrange the suicide of my dreams without the help of Gerald and his website,” opines fifty eight year old Leonard Preck, as he prepares to jump from a helicopter hovering above a Russian folk music festival, having already doused himself in petrol, in his promotional film. “This just wouldn’t be allowed back home in England – those bloody health and safety rules! Not to mention the fact it would have been impossible to organise the helicopter. Here, it just takes a few well-placed bribes to the right people by Gerald’s Russian connections!” With that, Preck is seen to set fire to himself as he leaps from the helicopter’s landing skid, plunging straight down into the middle of the festival stage, taking out the heavily bearded folk group performing there.

“Leonard was one of our first testers – he really set the standard,” chuckles Jubbly, interviewed after the site’s press launch. “He just hated folk music. Apparently his wife had run off with a fiddle player in a folk rock ensemble, sending him into the spiralling depression which resulted in him deciding to take his own life. At least he died happy!” Jubbly has revealed how his own experiences had motivated him to create the ‘Ideal Suicide’ site. “I was inspired by my father’s example – ground down by a life of low paid drudgery, he decided that he wanted to take his own life by strapping himself to a missile and firing himself at his employer’s offices,” he explains, barely suppressing a tear. “But there was no way he could have done that on his own – where would he get a missile, for a start? In the end, he was forced to improvise with a bundle of firework rockets. Obviously, it was a disaster – he was badly burned and forced to spend the rest of his miserable life with half a penis and no scrotum. It was tragic! Although I wasn’t able to help my father – he died in agony after his burns became infected – I vowed that no other suicidal manic depressive should ever again have to endure such an ordeal!”

Jubbly is scornful of his rival’s site, believing it to be too commercial. “We actually make a loss on arranging the suicides,” he confides. “The videos are where the real money lies – they’re big business. It’s amazing what people are willing to pay for to masturbate to.” Jubbly also casts doubt on Trapwitt’s claims that his ‘Suicide Network’ is providing a social service. “It’s purely exploitative – all the participants pay a fee with no guarantee that their suicide dreams will be fulfilled,” he says. “We, on the other hand, are guaranteeing that our members will be able to fully achieve their artistic vision, without having to involve their friends and family in assisting them, thereby exposing their loved ones to the risk of prosecution for assisted suicide. We make out sure that all our suicide activities take place in jurisdictions where no questions are asked.”

Jubbly is firmly of the opinion that current laws on assisted suicide are seriously constraining the artistic freedom of would be suicides. “There are just so many restrictions on suicide in most countries,” he laments. “Because of all those silly laws prohibiting assisted suicide, you’ve got no choice but to do it yourself, using some really dull and unoriginal technique, like an overdose, or slashing your wrists in the bath. Suicide should be an artistic statement!” Critics of both ventures have questioned the need for them, suggesting that the suicidal would be better served with counselling and psychiatric care. “That’s exactly the sort of old-fashioned attitude we’re up against,” sighs an exasperated Jubbly. “This outmoded idea that suicide is simply some kind of cry for help, and that the suicidal want to be dissuaded from carrying it out. That’s all very well for the nutters, but what about the people who want to kill themselves? Oh, I know you can go to Switzerland and have someone legally assist you shuffle off this mortal coil, but you have to be terminally ill for them to let you do that. And even then, they’ll only let you drink poison, nothing more flamboyant.”