How many times have you wished that you could publicly flog rail company bosses after spending three hours on a motionless train which is virtually within sight of your destination? What horrendous tortures would you inflict upon them in a desperate attempt to force them to, in some small way, to comprehend the daily misery they put you through? Well, in the case of one of Britain’s top rail tycoons such action would be totally unnecessary, as it has recently emerged that he ritually tortures himself in a bizarre form of penance whenever his trains fail to perform. Lord Dickie Branscum, one time favourite of Maggie Thatcher and now the darling of New Labour, Chairman of Cherry Trains, currently operators of rail franchises throughout the UK, is reported to have tried to dip his genitals into liquid nitrogen, with the intention of smashing them with a hammer once they were frozen, in the wake of the recent breakdown in national rail services which followed the Hatfield rail disaster. This proved the final straw for his aide Mick Toffler, who, sickened by Branscum’s deviant behaviour, walked out.

According to Toffler, the liquid nitrogen incident is only the tip of the iceberg – multi-media tycoon Branscum’s sunny public demeanour (characterised by his toothy smile and cheeky “suck my cock” beard), masks a deeply troubled psyche. “He takes criticism very personally”, says Toffler. “I remember once when the rail regulators criticised the buffet services on some of his trains, Branscum pierced his buttocks with red hot needles. His arse looked like a porcupine and the smell of burning flesh was almost unbearable. After the needles were removed it must still have been agony for him to sit down, but he nonetheless chaired a four hour board meeting directly afterwards!” In another incident, upon hearing that staff in his airline – Cherry Air – wanted to form a trade union, Branscum attempted to barbecue his own genitals at the annual company picnic. “He just got his cobblers out and plonked them down on the red hot grill of the barbecue”, recalls Toffler, wincing at the memory. “He poured tobasco sauce all over them and started prodding his sizzling testicles with a toasting fork! At one point he tried to stick his knob between two bits of bread with mustard and serve it as a hot dog!” The tycoon was eventually pulled away from the barbecue whilst his meat and veg were still only medium rare. In spite of severe burns, he was back in his office the next day.

Toffler is not surprised that Branscum’s masochistic frenzies seem mainly to focus on mutilating his genitalia. “I believe that it all goes back to a childhood trauma”, he explains. “Apparently his mother once told him that if he was naughty the ducks would come and peck off his todger! This fixation was reinforced when, as a teenager, he was having a surreptitious wank in a riverside copse, a duck shot by a hunter plummeted to earth in his lap – its beak nearly severed his John Thomas!” Branscum allegedly revealed to Toffler that he had once built a torture device shaped like a duck’s bill, which he clamped onto his penis every time he thought of sex. He apparently also revealed that he wore a set of specially constructed steel underpants fitted with a vice-like device with which he could crush his own testicles in secret.

Toffler first began to consider leaving the company when the Cherry Group’s bid for the National Lottery was turned down. “I was expecting to find that he’d connected himself to the mains”, Toffler recalls. “Nevertheless, when I went into his office he was sat behind his desk, apparently as normal. It was only when he tried to get up to greet me and the chair came with him on its castors, that I realised he’d nailed his cobblers to it! It was horrendous, he’d used a four inch masonry nail. We had to use a claw hammer to get it out of the chair seat. He needed several stitches – how he avoided permanent damage is beyond me!” Finally, after the liquid nitrogen incident, Toffler decided to leave for a post at rivals Virgin. “It was all getting a bit too extreme at Cherry Group”, comments Toffler. “I mean, here at Virgin the worst thing that happens when Richard Branson doesn’t get his own way is that he bawls his eyes out.”

This type of masochistic behaviour is far more widespread than is generally realised, with politicians particularly susceptible to its attractions. Former US President Richard M Nixon – who always secretly believed that he was not truly worthy of the office – was said to be particularly fond of being chained up and beaten with rubber batons. At the height of the Watergate scandal he arranged for a group of masked men to burst into the Oval Office whilst he was working alone one night, force him to dress in black rubber gimp gear and chain him up. They then thrashed him within an inch of his life. Secret FBI surveillance tapes are said to reveal him groaning “I am a worthless, lying wretch!” as cigarettes were stubbed out on his scrotum. Several political commentators have speculated that the masked men were actually Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger and Spiro Agnew. This has never been confirmed.

Another leading politician who allegedly enjoyed masochistic games was Britain’s wartime Premier Winston Churchill. Some sources have claimed that he liked nothing better than dressing up as a baby and having his nappy changed – a procedure which always involved being given a good spanking. Another wartime leader who indulged in such games was Soviet Supremo Josef Stalin. Whilst the Germans advanced on Moscow, a despairing Uncle Joe was being given ice cold enemas by a group of hand-picked peasant women from the Urals. However, perhaps the greatest of all celebrity masochists hailed from the world of cinema. Heavyweight film director Alfred Hitchcock frequently used dress as a cow and get nubile young starlets to assault him with electric cattle-prods – his agonised “mooing” could be heard all over Hollywood. He also liked to have his gargantuan buttocks regularly spanked, but their size made this difficult. At one time he paid actor James Stewart to thrash him with an oar, but this proved unsatisfactory as Stewart couldn’t muster enough power behind the ungainly instrument to inflict sufficient pain. Hitchcock resolved the problem by purchasing an industrial mechanical carpet beater and converting it into a spanking machine. Once he had this installed in his garage, the Hollywood hills regularly vibrated in rhythm with his glowing arse cheeks. After his death the machine was rescued by the British Film Institute and is currently displayed in London’s Museum of the Moving Image.