Damaged Spanish fresco now early favourite for Turner Prize.

A highly-regarded Spanish fresco that was damaged by an 80 year-old woman is of such quality, officials for the British Turner prize have made it an early front runner for next year's award.

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez has held pride of place in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years, but now resembles something the parents of a toddler would pin to their fridge.

A spokesperson for the Turner Prize explained, "Sure, the artist might be a Spanish octogenarian, and this is a prize for British artists, but just look at it - it is truly breathtaking."

"Anyone who has seen our previous winners will know that we value the incomprehensible, and where others see a child-like attempt to draw a human face, we see a tortured soul desperately seeking redemption."

"Or something."

Art fans around the country have acknowledged the hidden genius in the revised painting, with some already dubbing it "Balaclava Jesus doing Stephen Hawking".

Fan of the arts Simon Williams told us, "If I look at a piece of art and find myself asking, 'what the fuck is this all about then', it tends to do well in the Turner prize. So I'm expecting big things of this piece."

"If she wants a guaranteed win maybe she should think about stapling some dirty knickers to it, or submerging it in a tank of formaldehyde?"

All five remaining hotmail users to get new Outlook email system.

The five remaining users of Microsoft's free email system Hotmail will see their accounts upgraded to the new Outlook platform in the coming days, according to reports.

Microsoft announced the change after admitting one their software engineers had remembered something about them owning a free email service in May this year.

A spokesperson for the software giant told us, "This is an ambitious programme designed to bring back those customers who left us once they realised email didn't need to be nasty-looking, difficult to use and riddled with spam. If you could just close your eyes for minutes, and imagine it's 1998 - do you see it? Yes, well now remember that Hotmail is where it's at.

"We have an extensive marketing programme underway and fully expect our active user base to be back over a dozen by September this year, slightly above 2005 levels."

Users of the free service have welcomed the news, but expressed concerns that the new service could see the platform go 'mainstream'. Account holder Simon Williams told us, "I've been using a Hotmail email address ironically for five years now. It's hilarious to put it on CVs and stuff."

"Fortunately everything about me reeks of hipster, so when people meet me in person they immediately 'get it'."

Barbara Matthews, 57, has been a loyal Hotmail customer since 1997 and told us, "I don't like change. People laugh when I tell them my email address, but that's just fine. Plus all the spam makes me feel really popular."

newsthump.com