Saturday, 31 December 2011

Celebrity Science

Now cheer up darlings, I have a message for you. Don't go listening to those silly scientists. After all, what can they know? Most of them have never even undergone a proper detox, let alone had a decent pedicure. Well, I, Felicity Farrago, Queen of Daytime Playtime am here to let you in on some proper celebrity secrets.

Of course it isn't whale sperm that makes the oceans salty, silly! It's mermaids' tears, which is obvious when you think about it; you'd cry too trying to take care of all those scales without a decent waterproof polish. But we have bigger fish to fry. (What? Of course it's a fish, silly!) Here comes the science bit.

Have you ever thought how birds of paradise came by their name? Why, because they're beautiful and you can be too. All you need is a fifty-minute facial in a balm made from nightingale faeces. It worked for Japanese geishas, so it should work for you. Just because a couple of hundred years have gone by it doesn't make the scientific basis any less valid, does it?

How do I keep my tits so perky? I rub them in bread yeast for ten minutes every morning - not too vigorously, mind. And then I place them in greased bap tins for around half an hour until they're lovely. Of course, not everybody has a set of perfectly formed bap tins; I got mine from my mother.

Onto legs and here's a handy tip. Collagen. Yes, that's right, collagen; every lady's best friend in the battle for smooth skin. And there's plenty of collagen in pig's trotters, which is why I breakfast every day on delicious fried pig. Think of it - have you ever seen a pig with cellulite? (Rhetorical question)

And finally, a new twist on the fish pedicure. Tiny fish chew off your calluses. But wait, didn't my body use some of its karmic energy to develop those same calluses? So, it's obvious when you think about it, that having a piscine pedicure removes some of the vital essence of you. But fish is brain food, right? And they are the same size as whitebait, right? Right. So, fry 'em up afterwards and treat your brain as well as your bunions.

And if proof were needed about scientists and their silly theories, if scientists were so 'right' all the time, how come they never get invited to the big movie premiers? As the Latins said, post hocto ergo propter hoc, which roughly translates as if you're worth it, it must be true.

Have a glamorous new year filled with loveliness. Mwaaah!

Friday, 30 December 2011

The year that time forgot

Well, what a damp squib 2011 turned out to be, eh? The year when absolutely nothing newsworthy happened. Nothing at all. Nada, sweet FA… zip.  Oh yes, there was plenty of promise and I’ve been going through the all the newspapers but it’s all a con because, in the end, nothing changed. You’re still alive, the sky is still in the ‘up’ position and the earth continues to orbit around Strictly-cum-X-Freaks.

Let’s first explore the ‘natural’ events - I hesitate to use the epithet ‘disaster’ because nothing out of the ordinary actually happened.

Earlier in the year the Japanese tsunami failed, for the umpteenth time to obliterate a nation built on volcanic islands on the Pacific Rim, also know as the ring-of-fire because it’s where volcanoes erupt, earthquakes happen and tsunami are created. Then tornadoes struck the southern USA across – you’ve guessed it – The Tornado Belt, during the – yes, you guessed again – The Tornado Season. Quelle Surprise! Elsewhere, bad weather, floods, fire, landslip, brimstone, yada-yada-yada…

Global warming, sorry, climate change [finger quotes] the coming terror of the epoch, appears to have come to a halt while we all decide whether we can afford to believe in it or not. Meanwhile governments desperately work out how to claw back some of the ill-thought-out green subsidies that have resulted in enormous gains for cynical and exploitative enterprises. Here in Britain the forecast big freeze – so eagerly awaited by the beleaguered Millipede to bring good news in the form of pensioners dying from ‘vicious Tory cuts’ has simply failed to materialise – like it usually does. No climate change here then.

In world news, the Arab spring seems to have blundered through summer, autumn and winter, etc. Maybe they meant the Arab next Spring? So the Arab world remains fucked up by Arabs, as usual. There is no truce as yet between any combinations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. There hasn’t even been a scaling back of Christian-on-Christian violence, for that matter – the Bethlehem monk fight was a blast but nothing new, they’ve been squabbling over whose version of the same imaginary friend is bigger for yonks.

Osama Bin Laden is still at large somewhere (there being absolutely no evidence to the contrary) Afghanistan is still a still a shithole and Iran still has designs on nuclear Armageddon. So what? I’d have been much more impressed if Bin Lid-on, Gadaffy Duck, Hamid Khazi[sic] and Ahmadinnerjacket had formed a gay boy band and released a cover version of 'I Will Survive' to take the coveted UK Christmas number one slot.

While we’re on leaders, top comedy clown Rowan Atkinson is still the Archbishop of Canterbury, the supreme being of North Korea is still called Kim and Miliband remains leader (last I looked) of the Liebour Party. David Cameron is still a toff, Clegg is still fagging for him but doesn’t like it and Boris continues to spank the arse out of Red Ken’s prospects of regaining the mayorship of London.

In yet more bad news for Labour, the economy has yet to collapse and the only outcome of the big strike is that we all hate public service employees just a little bit more now. Nobody even remembers the strike day and there hasn't been a public outcry - despite what the BBC wants you to think - about government cuts, in fact the public generally accepts that we can’t afford to pay for things we don’t need. Like any job with the word ‘outreach’ in the title.

The Euro has also resolutely failed to collapse yet, despite all the squawking. By the way, I forget, just how many days/weeks/months do we have to save the Euro now? I seem to remember it was ten days back in June yet the asthmatic currency of the Fourth Reich still lives to wheeze another day. The Germans and French hate us and don’t really want us in Europe at all – fuck me, I must have missed that antipathy during, let’s see now, the whole of my frigging lifetime. Nul point; nuff said.

But who cares? If you don’t drink yourself into a coma on New Year’s Eve, you’ll awake the next morning and as long as you don’t pretend to yourself that there’s something magical about just another a day – ask the Samoans – all will carry on regardless.

Oh, and we've had pandas before as well. Meet the new year, same as the old year...

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Cheese by any Other Name

An apology for my recent outburst. I am truly sorry I called the block of cheese a useless lump of fucking Cheddar this morning. Okay, I wanted Wensleydale (nothing else goes properly with rich fruit cake) and I had to make do with Cheddar. They're both cheeses, but they're different types of cheese and rather than recognise this I went off on one and in a moment of hot-headedness I called the Cheddar a "fucking Cheddar"!

I have to make a confession. I'm not a massive cheese lover. I rarely have any in the house. Abroad, in the various cheeselands of the continent, I am happy to immerse myself in the caseuculture of the region but I rarely eulogise about curdled milk protein to the extent that, say, Americans do - even though they have never actually tasted real cheese!

While I'm in the confessional, I don't like fat people, thick people, arrogant people - I really have a negative vibe for Beemerwankers - and I refuse to have a dishwasher in the house; what's the point? I'm anti kids, religion, waste, bad science and anything that starts with the word 'alternative'. Does that all make me a bad person? Well it might, but let's leave that aside for a moment.

I have my opinions but I don't set out to hurt anybody, neither am I quick to take offence. The world isn't perfect and people don't necessarily rub along as well as they might, especially when in serious competition. One of the reasons we have sport is to limit the bloodshed which would otherwise occur. All of which is why I'm a little perplexed at the current big issue in football.

I really dislike Anton Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Stan Collymore - because they are footballers. In the heat of battle a bit of taunting must surely come with the territory? Is it racism? Really? Or is it just an easy way to get a rise; to rattle an opponent. If this was a heavyweight boxing bout the advantage would already be with the taunter - Yo' mama, she so faaat!

But boy was offence taken and once taken and made public isn't it hard to put it back in the box? We're talking about thick footballers here. The so-called beautiful game is played by thuggish louts of all hues who would otherwise be in factories or in the trenches. Or in jail. Few of them have the intellectual prowess to negotiate the complex and ever-so-delicate machinations of the race-relations industry. As soon as you get the lawyers involved you've lost the war.

That's why football matches have referees. Break it up lads, play on and play nice.

Friday, 23 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot less like Titmas

'Twas the Friday before Christmas and all round the house the telly and radio were off to avoid the relentless onslaught of forced jollity preceding the inevitable seasonal anti-climax we call Christmas! So I thought I'd do a round up of the week's news. Then I realised there's only been one story of universal international interest this week and it's this one:

Yup the French chicken fillet scandal variously reported as carcinogenic, explosive and downright ridiculous by the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, etc, etc, etc, you get the picture - it even made it to the BBC six o'clock news just now, so I guess it must be important.

I considered for a while about how to sensitively handle this issue, which must be of grave concern to all those affected. Then I thought, fuck it, they brought it on themselves, so they deserve all the opprobrium I can muster for their stupidity. Here goes...

Breasts! Hur, hur, hur... Forget the notion of humans beings having descended from ape-like ancestors; those ancestors still walk among the population in the form of infantile, mentally under-developed 'men' with barely descended testicles, gurning at the news stands and staring determinedly left-handedly into computer screens at increasingly unnatural and frankly shuddersome norks shouldered (and I use the term advisedly - the sheer weight of those things) by equally under-evolved females of the species.

Well, just as dangling ball-sacks and their attendant plumbing are fine evidence for progressive evolution rather than any creationist intervention, the ugly, over-bearing, over-inflated mammalian gland is hardly proof of intelligent design either. It is said there are 'tit men' and 'arse men' and then again there are 'leg men'. Of the three, it is hardly surprising that the tit men stand out like a dick on a stick. From a line up of all three, would it be an unreasonable assumption that those in the former group can be identified as having never read a book? No, it wouldn't.

A man obsessed by oompas will turn out to be an unreservedly dull and ignorant lummox, from which you will only be able to breed slack-jawed, under-achieving, poorly-focussed spawn incapable of advancing the frontiers of mankind. So the type of woman who would throw herself at such a growling throwback can hardly be said to be from the first rank of our genetic march towards human perfection.

Which begs an unfortunate question for all of us; if so many women are compelled to modify their bodies in order to attract the least intellectually capable ball bags around, what does this say about the likely future of the human race?

So, put 'em away ladies, eh? Think of the real freedom you'll achieve when you cast aside the twin, dangling symbols of subjugation to animal urges that you wear on your chest. Think about releasing yourselves from the cupidity of popular culture. Encourage your slavering mambo-men to set aside their juvenile urges, awake from their lurching enslavement to pink-nosed-puppy peer pressure and emerge into enlightenment.

In short, for the very future of mankind, fling the fillets, chuck the chestnuts and get rid of the grapefruit. Oh and have a happy Christmas. J

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Apoplectic about Apostrophes

Stuck for a last-minute stocking-filler for your young 'uns? Exhausted with the effort of explaining austerity to a generation who have never known want? Why not bestow upon your children a real gift? From a long forgotten tradition you can present them with a present they will remember forever... or else.

Yes, this Yule, you'll be able to give them your gift of yore - the gift of grammar - a tenacious talent for pithy pedantry. Why? you may well ask. Because yesterday the oft-derided Twitter threw up this frustrated appeal:

 Helen Thomas 

I realise people find the whole its/it's thing difficult to grasp but why would it ever be its' ??? 

Twitter? You ask, incredulously. The very international breeding ground for grammatical work-rounds? The one place you expect punctuation to be sacrificed on the altar of brevity? Why would Twitter users be incensed by an errant apostrophe? For the same reason any sane literate person should be offended.

Okay, so my grammar ain't, you know, perfect, like. In fact it's a rare person indeed who knows it all and even Stephen Fry can't claim to be an absolute authority because there isn't one; English grammar is well known for its irregularities. But, I mean, I do at least know how to write what I mean, see what I mean? I can usually get my point across with a minimum of retractions, corrections and/or apologies.

In a world where an ill-educated footballer is being pilloried for his use of words, where his ignorance is being exhibited as a hate crime, shouldn't we care more, not less* about language? If he'd had the words, John Terry might have been able to express himself more eloquently and display his erudition with a flowery phrase of elegant abuse instead of his tawdry taunt.

As Britain's real standing in the world of education slips further and further behind, while the apologists for 'liberal' teaching methods bleat on about fostering individuality even as employers tear their hair out in frustration at the sheer intellectual ineptitude of their recruits, isn't it time to sort this out?

Those trainee teachers who famously failed multiple attempts to pass literacy tests that wouldn't have tasked a ten-year old in the nineteen sixties should be the first to be enrolled in the United Dingdom's new grammar schools. They'll be sitting in rows until their there's and they'res are sorted. You and yours can learn that a house is never 'brought' and that an apostrophe is never used to indicate a plural, no matter how many carrots you need to sell.

So, put away the iPads, turn off the telly and get out the slates for Christmas. And no pudding until you've learned your lesson.

(*Don't get me started on the ridiculous and incorrect American saying, "I could care less"!)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Little Donkeys

So, the nativity players for the Sure Start toddler group in York have had their horoscope read and been advised that their star sign is in fact the sign of the crotch? I laughed my cock off. Whatever next?

Well, let it never be said that the United Dingdom has a killjoy mentality. This year  in the spirit of diversity, inclusivity and egalitarianism, our Nativity story sets out to offend everybody in equal measure.

A long, long time ago in the town of Nottingham an under-aged girl called Mazza was up the duff by her dyslexic, learning-impaired boyfriend's dad, Doug. Doug told her to keep it quiet because "you know what people are like" but, soon enough her condition started to show and the nosey social worker, Harold King, started to ask awkward questions.

So Doug told his lad, Jezzer - who, was supposed to be on a joinery apprenticeship but was getting laid off for being an idle sod - to nick some wheels, hoof it down to Birmingham, where they didn't ask these sort of questions and get themselves on the housing list. "Tell her to wear a teatowel on her head," he advised, "they'll let you jump the queue. Blue would look nice." He winked at Mazza and made the sign of, "don't you dare tell a  fucking soul, right?"

So Jezzer twocced a random Beemer off some bloke who, "could prolly afford it, right?" and they legged it out of the reach of Harold King, down to Birmingham where nobody in social services knew them from Adam. At 'The Housing', Jezzer left Mazza to get herself on the list while he went off to nick a few cans of Stella - it was nearly Christmas after all and what's the point of celebrating Santa's birthday if you can't get lagered up and start a fight, eh? Besides, Mazza had let herself go lately, putting on a bit of weight and Jezzer needed a few inside him before he fancied it, you kno wot I mean, right?

A few hours later and getting well bevvied, Jezza met up with Mazza round the back of Aldi and they had a bit of a  party with the Irish Travellers who had rocked up and taken over the car park. By the light of the nicked electricity, they partied until dawn, when Mazza suddenly felt sick. "I feel sick" she opined and went in search of a place to chuck.

"You got a toilet in there, mate?" she said to one of the caravan owners. But he wasn't happy to let her use it because the trailer was full of seventeen members of his own family. It was the same story at 'van after 'van and now Mazza and Jezzer were getting a bit desperate. "There's a skip over there," pointed out one traveller, "now eff off out of it!"

So Mazza and Jezzer made their way to the skip and Jezzer helped her onto the old mattress where she lay, bits of straw in her hair, panting ten-to-the-dozen. "Well go on, Mazz" said Jezzer, "get it over with." The travellers gathered, some bearing stolen goods, to watch as Mazza strained under the glare of the only carpark light left unvandalised. She bent over and pushed and pushed and then, suddenly, a bab popped out.

"Fuck me!" said a traveller and offered her a can of Special Brew
"Blimey, you don't see that every day!" said another, "have a toke on this."
A third said, wisely, "Here's a few quid, you'll want to get some breakfast after that."

Jezzer had fallen silent. Like his father - although Doug wasn't his real dad - he was bit on the simple side and struggled to form sentences. He gazed down at the scene; Mazza with her blue teatowel on her head, necking Special Brew, sucking on a joint and cradling a baby. "Jesus!" he said.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Family Matters

Today, the coalition government's one-man opposition, The dipstick Clegg, has spoken out against Conservative plans for married couple tax breaks. He believes it is wrong for the state to encourage a "particular family form" and berates the nasty old Tories for believing in such a thing.

Setting aside for a moment my belief that we should never pay people for breeding, if we want to encourage any particular family form it should surely be one that works. Otherwise, look what happens; humans being essentially a herd animal, the females will gather in grazing groups, circled by a pack of sex-crazed males competing to impregnate as many as they can. Under recent social reforms isn't this just what has happened on the sink estates where most of the unplanned sprogging-up is perpetrated?

A concerned voter, yesterday

The trouble with people like Clegg is that, although intelligent, he has an ideology. Ideology, like religion is lunacy and the left has way more than its fair share of that. What is it about the left wing that they cannot see the evidence in front of their eyes? Oh, sorry, I believe already made that point - faith. Like fanatical believers they assume that any dissent is a problem for the naysayers and set about trying to convert them.

Even people like David Mitchell and Charlie Brooker, whose arts I greatly admire, cannot help themselves being so rabidly debauched by their beliefs that anybody with an alternative view is a subject of scorn and contempt. They speak with conviction, yet display gross ignorance of the real drives of ordinary people; people they never get to meet because, humans being herd animals, etc...

The last government, as all socialist governments will, social-engineered with money. Lots of our money, plus a lot of borrowed money, whether we agreed with them or not. Governments who dole out the dosh in such causes point to their increase in popularity after they've done so . Duh-er! Who's not going to vote themselves more money? It doesn't make it right. While I wouldn't want to close the doors on people choosing whatever lifestyle they like, so long as it doesn't harm others, I think we all have to pay for our choices.

And insofar as the only reliable child-rearing model we have any evidence for - and a lot of it at that - is the nuclear family, why should the government pay for people to conduct their own social experiments on their innocent and often unplanned progeny? So, here's the deal: Scrap all forms of what used to be called 'child allowance' - nobody gets paid to proliferate - and apply tax credits to the married-with-children. There. Done.

You still have a free choice, but you just don't benefit from doing it your own way. I think that's fair; now go forth and multiply.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Under the Covers

Browsing the papers last night I came across this article in the Guardian.

"Former lovers of undercover officers sue police over deceit" 

It reveals, "Eight women who say they were duped into forming long-term loving relationships with undercover policemen have started legal action against police chiefs, alleging that they have suffered intense emotional trauma and pain."

You may remember the case of 'rogue' undercover cop Mark Kennedy earlier this year when all sorts of people got their collective knickers in a twist about the rights and wrongs of telling lies. "Ooh," they said, "you big fibber!" Them lefties, eh? What are they like? Next you know they'll be making out phone hacking is wrong!

Anyway, these women went on to say the undercover coppers, "deliberately and knowingly deceived" them into forming intimate relationships of up to nine years by concealing their real identities. As a result they suffered from psychiatric and psychological 'injuries' including depression, trauma, anxiety, anger and a difficulty to trust people again. This because they had believed "they had met a true friend with whom they might share a long-term future."

Bloody hell, they're just describing courtship and marriage aren't they? I bet a lot of divorced women would give an arm to have got nine year's-worth from their hugely expensive, depressingly optimistic, most expensive day of their lives. Nine years is practically a life sentence in today's terms!

But their big complaint is that lies were told to them! Somebody should tell them that men lie. It's in our nature. We can't help it and if the prospect of a shag is in the offing the lies can become downright outrageous. If the special forces had half the number of personnel that night-club Romeos claimed we could take over Europe in a bloody coup without breaking into a sweat. If the country had as many successful businessmen as the pages of Dateline suggest we could solve the financial crisis with a couple of cheques. And no Premier League club would ever have to look abroad for star quality, given that half the blokes in every pub in the land have been up for professional football trials.

What woman has not yearned to believe the lie, "I could tell you, but I'd have to kill you!"

Weirdly, the lies here were the opposite of the ones men usually tell, down-playing their real action-man roles and quietly fitting in - something that most women in relationships spend half their lives plotting to achieve for their men. As for the trauma, the weeping and wailing the loss of trust, isn't that just the plot of every soap opera, every single week? And every other article in every other chick's mag? Men!

But listen love, stop your weeping and I'll tell you a secret. Now, nobody is supposed to know this, but you look like a woman I can trust with my life... ;o)

Trolley Fever

So there I am in a queue at the local Tesco, minding my own business. The enormous geezer in front is on the phone, talking loudly, allowing his purchases to go through unbagged and pushing ahead of him a trolley containing several items he's discarded. He turns and pushes this trolley backwards, into the person queuing beside me. The aisle behind is clogged with people, trolleys and baskets, so it's not going any further back. In any case it would only then end up in the way of even more people.

The big fella looks at me, orders me to push it backwards (where it can't go) to which I suggest he discard it ahead of him, where there is clear space (and a couple of other, similarly laden trolleys). He is still on his phone, talking into nowhere and has yet to pay for or pack his purchases, but now he is consumed with disposing of the trolley. Everybody looks away.

"Just push it back there!" he now commands, getting a bit shirty at my lack of servility. I take the trolley, walk it ahead into the empty space (it really was getting in everybody's way) and assume my place at the conveyor. Sorted, job done, no problem.

Oh, except it seems there is a problem.

"What you do that for, man?"
"It's out of the way now," I explain - It feels like I have to explain.
"It wasn't even mine, yeah?"
It was his, but I fail to see how this explains or excuses anything. I shrug; not in a confrontational way, merely in a 'No worries, hey, don't mention it' sort of way.

"What's your fucking problem?" Now his equally huge mate chips in and suddenly it's turned nasty. I am being called a white cunt and everybody is looking the other way even more intently than before. Nothing physical happens, no contact, but the two of them approach me and launch into a short series of insults based on me somehow 'dissing' them. And in their view it clearly has something to do with me not being black. Then they leave, threatening to wait for me in the car park.

It felt like the sort of pointless exchange you see between drunks late at night, but I think we were all sober. I certainly was and am satisfied that I did nothing to inflame the situation, yet these two seemed to be looking to find offence and ready to escalate to potentially dangerous proportions an incident so trivial as to barely register on any logistical scale. The trolley can't go this way, so why not go that way? What's to argue about?

Except, except... there's still the race issue. Their insults were all of a racial nature, predicated on an assumption - I hope not manifest- of what they believed I thought of them. I believe I may be the victim of a hate crime. It's because I'm white, innit?

Friday, 16 December 2011

Problem Families?

David Cameron has announced a few quid to be allocated to the thorny subject of social reform in the guise of trouble-shooters for problem families. Even the phrase 'problem families' gives them an air of fragility; poor, vulnerable things, let down by a materialistic and uncaring society. The Guardianistas, predictably, talk about 'reaching out' and 'turning lives around'. Well, they would, they have their own non-jobs to protect. But in the areas these ugly, malevolent scumbags live (not the Guardianistas, although it's an easy mistake to make) there will be little such sympathy, even from the current army of involved caseworkers and certainly not from any neighbours who dare speak out.

DC's plan involves, mostly, coordination of effort and he talks about a social worker somehow, miraculously, going into these homes and sorting out their issues. What they have, Dave, is not, 'issues'. What they have is an inability to give a flying fuck about anybody else's needs, operating as erratic crime cells and foetid swamps of breeding human detritus. As always, though, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. The £448million-worth of grease the government is supplying will not make one jot of difference to any of this and an unaccompanied worker will end up broken and abused, demoralised and unemployable. What these so-called 'troubled' families have is a disease.

The cure, apparently is to have somebody with balls of steel turn up on the doorstep and somehow get in to 'manage' the family - sort out the bills, get the kids up and out to school, discuss with them how they might commit less crime. What's the betting the duties of these so-called trouble-shooters will soon extend to picking up the shopping, dropping off the kids, doing the washing up, tidying the garden, etc? We already have plenty of people to do this in Social Services. Under the guise of highly qualified intervention specialists, they have a common-law title of skivvy.

Much as I enjoy the (fictional) antics of Shameless's Frank Gallagher, I wouldn't want to live next to him or his family. I fear Paul Abbot's brilliant show is seen by some as licence to carry on.

So, if the government is open to advice I have a few suggestions which would prove hugely popular. Instead of single-handed trouble shooters, how about a dawn raid by a fully armed team of special forces. The door is battered down, the whole family rounded up and sluiced down with water cannon. Then, after their shower, the kids are taken - under police escort - to a high-security borstal school, where pain is inflicted for every infringement of the rules. Meanwhile the parents, now dressed in orange boiler suits are chain-ganged into manual labour in support of the local community who line the route and pelt them with rotten fruit, chicken carcasses and half-bricks. While the family are out a team moves in to 'redecorate' their house. Out come all the plasma screens and the spoils of their life of crime, in go new seating arrangements, or stocks, as we used to call them.

Oh, but wait up a minute. Who the hell's going to pay for all that? What am I thinking? The answer is right in front of my eyes - there in the job description. Problem Families Trouble-Shooter. Belay my last, here is my revised, much cheaper and bound-to-be more popular answer. If the family is trouble, why can't we just shoot them?

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Twelve Steps

I look at myself in the mirror, at what I have become. A bitter and broken old man stares accusingly out at me, recriminating, but also pleading for a second, another, chance. I have lied to my friends and betrayed my family, but worse than that I have become powerless against a foe I once thought I could control.

I have tried hard to fight the demons that torment me, but last night I fell so hard and now the cruel daylight hurts my eyes; punishes me for my weakness. My hands tremble as I hold them before me. These hands that once held so much promise now quiver and shake and can hold nought. And what of my promise to live my life only for good? I need not be a Christian to do that, surely? I can be true to my own beliefs and still be good.

Dear God, can't I?

Apparently not. Not without support. As I ran, naked, through the streets last night, babbling deliriously at any passing stranger, I did not feel as I feel now. As the evil energy surged through my soul I was high and hysterical, seeking only further exhilaration. I could not see how low this disease has brought me. I felt not the shame that now courses through my broken body. I had no heed for the coming morn and recklessly disregarded those who tried to help me. Help me? I am beyond help.

All I can do now is atone for my sins and beg forgiveness from those I have wronged. I have to face my torments, recognise that I am of my own making and in my weakness have fallen prey to this dreadful malaise. That is the first step. The first of the twelve. I am ready to face my monsters now and pray I may yet be strong.

As I stand on the doorstep and wait to be admitted I consult the pamphlet in my tremorous hand. I know what I must do and nervously await my turn to whisper to the assembled throng, "My name is Nick Clegg. And I am a Liberal Democrat."

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In search of common sense

The press is still banging on about Clarkson? Are you all out of your minds? What, did you not understand black humour? It's how we cope with the shitty world we live in. Wait, oh, of course it's a Labour MP, it had to be that or a LibDemic, missing the point again. Yet they don't seem to lack a sense of irony; tax and spend, freedom of speech (but not yours), calling the Tories 'nasty' while  stealing your money to support state enslavement.

But it's not confined to the (ahem) ruling classes; in other idiocy news:

A former copper draws attention to himself while driving, then tries to evade capture by emulating Bo Hazzard. I have an inkling that had he not been driving with his kit off nobody would have been in the least bit bothered. I'd like to think my coppers will be better mentally-equipped than this; after all I do intend to arm them and let them shoot on suspicion.

In the groaning Grauniad George Monbiot's column yesterday was full of bitterness towards the empowered classes, who after all are entirely responsible for the massive increase in the standard of living of all people in the UK today. Take a look at these pictures:

Now, do you long for the world on the left, the 'good old days' attendant with cholera, rickets and deaths from starvation, or did you actually grow up in the cosy world on the right with unlimited access to things undreamed of fifty years ago, you ungrateful peasants? If the left had exclusively had their way we'd all be nineteen eighty-fouring it to an early, monochrome grave. Balance, Monbiot, balance.

Wherever you look you'll find a dearth of straight thinking. If you feed the feckless for nothing they will stay feckless. If you don't punish criminals then crime will (does) pay. If you wean the young-uns on techno-wizardry, they will be incapable of learning, of thinking, without its support. I noticed physicists on the telly yesterday, communicating the principles of all matter via the medium of a blackboard. A blackboard. Listen to me; A. Black. Board. And chalk. Of course, they had the advantage of being able to write - selfish privileged bastards!

Meanwhile, polar bear gate is still being fervently discussed while the world economy staggers and gasps. Maybe Monbiot's right in a way - the press tell you what you want to hear, whether or not it's what you should be hearing.

We live in a world where the very idea of a direct relationship between work and reward is anathema to a generation; where the notion of toil is derided in favour of nebulous 'talent'; where, somehow, it is everybody's right to live high on their dreams. But it's a fantasy; nobody deserves anything they haven't earned. I'd rather live in a world where the possibility exists for those with the means to capitalise on what they bring to the table, rather than exist on the meagre scraps that 'equality' would bring.

Common sense. As rare as rocking-horse shit.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Get her!

I watched the House of Commons on telly yesterday afternoon, just for a laugh. (Yes, I had work to do, but you know how these gripping soap operas work; you think "just one episode" and before you know it the whole of western civilisation has elapsed. Gawd 'elp me when the omnibus edition comes out.)

So, dashing Davey Cameron, the public hero of the hour delivered his measured account while the smirking goons of the opposition benches frothed at the mouth in their eagerness to reply. Ed Millicent Millipede had absolutely nothing in his armoury except a regurgitation of the lines Ed did-my-face-really-get-fatter-over-the-weekend? Balls had made him rehearse and thereafter a succession of variously-hued reds, with a few exceptions, simply spouted dogmatic claptrap straight out of their Marxist primers.

None of this prevented the moron, Prescott from later tweeting, "Thought Ed Miliband really hammered Cameron." Neither did it stop Balls' idiotic interview on Panorama later in the evening, when not only did he repeat the same dogged mantra about borrowing to pay off the debts, he also managed to excoriate the present government for not acting years ago to build up exporting relationships with China.

Cameron, I thought, had a pretty good day of it, with nobody really landing a killer blow. He's still got a long way to go to win the country over properly though, because what the majority really wants is an in/out referendum. That's where the real fun starts.

Yet all of this dwindles to insignificance - we knew the whole story on Saturday - in the face of the glaring absence of the wet-wet-wet poster boy, wee Nicky Clegg. The adorable scamp huffed and puffed over the weekend, upset because Big Dave had stuck to the agreed negotiating schedule. Then he jumped up on his little chubby legs, stuck out his lower lip and flounced out. "I've had enough," he declared, "I'm leaving home!" I only hope he's packed enough jam sandwiches to last him until he returns, with his tail between his legs at teatime.
The scamp, Clegg, pictured yesterday

Of course, none of this is really how it happened. The events were broadcast by the BBC and following the howls of indignation at Polar Bear Gate it is only a matter of time before the camera-trickery is revealed. Cameron gave his address against a green screen on which has later been superimposed the other participants. How do I know? Well, amongst the throng were variously, Austin Mitchell, Dennis Skinner and Menzies Campbell... and we know for a fact that they are all extinct.

Monday, 12 December 2011

My eyes, my eyes!

Those readers with an eagle-eye may have spotted clues in my previous posts, but for the less well-attuned I should point out the huge amount of disdain in which I hold the majority of my fellow humans. The seething morass of helpless human malcontent drives our supposedly highly evolved species to ever more frivolous uses of our planet's resources and fritters away any morsels of true individual potential. (Not you, of course; if you're still reading then you are one of the world's happy exceptions, so do please carry on.)

Why do I say such horrible things? Mostly because they are true. Last night, lazily accepting Charlie Brooker's suggestion that it would be a good idea, I tried to watch a bit of X Factor. I saw a gay bloke doing karaoke and some mostly overweight teenage girls each trying to be bouncy. Sorry, I meant Beyoncé, for whom I have little enough regard in the first place. First place? I don't know, I couldn't bear to sit and find out, so I watched something else before Black Mirror, which said much of what I expected it to say. Result: evening salvaged, plus revulsion at humankind satisfyingly undiminished

If I ever for a moment thought my views were unfair, living as I have for most of my life among the educated and positively seeking out opportunities to sneer at the ugly, ignorant masses; if I ever wondered whether my views were tainted by an innate, superior self-belief; if I ever held for a moment the dim possibility that I might be unjust in my condemnations, what happened today confirmed it forever and ever.

And once again it's Charlie Brooker's fault because when I sat down to a late breakfast I turned on my TV to find that, instead of the safe BBC it was still tuned to somewhere else. And just starting was the Jeremy Kyle Show. Aaargh, put out my eyes! I darted for the remote but then thought, "what harm can it do?" Fuck me, was I in for a shock. It is all so much worse than I thought. Here's a picture of today's participants.

Sweet Jesus, is this what the nation has become? Yes, apparently so. And we give these people the vote? We allow them to shop and run up debts. We let them drive cars? We let them travel overseas for foreigners to gawp at and judge us by? They are allowed to roam the streets free? Surely they should be penned-in or staked-out for their own protection. What is their purpose? They make truly rubbish pets.

That they are not prevented from breeding is bad enough, but - and I feel I have to ask again - we actually let them vote? Give them a political voice? Voting? Really? No wonder the UK is so thoroughly screwed.

If I ever doubted my mission - as the next king my reign will begin with a cull - I have to thank Jeremy Kyle (though my souls shivers at the notion) for stiffening my resolve. People of Britain (not that lot, you lot, the good ones... my favourites) fear not; Mr Kyle will be among the first to go.

Instead we will turn to culture, so in my capacity as patron for the arts I introduce a dear friend of mine, one Mr John Luce Lockett. If you're ever in Northampton - or on the Internet - do yourself a massive favour and buy something of beauty. Because, if you don't watch Kyle, you're worth it.

"New to the game" by John Luce Lockett

Saturday, 10 December 2011

If Men Ran Christmas?

I read an extremely short article by Jenny McCartney in the Telegraph yesterday. Go on, have a quick read; it won't take long. See? There's little or no point to it, really. Maybe, in her haste to file copy she hit 'Send' before she'd finished it. Or maybe they only gave her 230 words? We'll never know, but I thought it needed finishing, so here goes.

"Why can't a woman be more like a man?" Jenny concluded. Well dear, for a start, how would that help? If men ran Christmas, A & E would be overwhelmed. Carnage. Far better to just scrap it all together. I speak for all the men who do not have a voice here - that is all men in relationships where Christmas is an important anniversary. You poor guys can't escape it and you have to put up a show of forced jollity, but don't pretend your teeth don't grind through the night as you tick off the days to the blessed release of going back to work.

Work, you see? That's what men live for. Hate it or love it your work defines you and a man is nothing without toil. You might long for retirement, to spend more time at home, but the cold reality is that home is a place your family made, where they let you sleep so long as you don't get in the way. That's why married men need sheds; a place of work away from work. (Yes, I know 'she' doesn't think it's proper work, but 'she' really doesn't understand.)

Try as we might, we fellas just don't have the welcoming, home-making, holly-and-the-ivy*  gene. Even when a man's true nature is temporarily hobbled in the humbling presence of his offspring, he still manages to view his family as a project, as a thing to be judged by. Men are nothing if they don't have something to fight. The Christmas tree offers not an opportunity for familial harmony but an individual, masculine challenge; bigger, better, more baubles. Although that whole fairy-on-the-top business has us a tad wrong-footed at times. Sexy fairy? Funny fairy? Teddy fairy? No? Me neither.

If men ran Christmas it would be a competitive, work-centric event. Witness the almost exclusively male-dominated arena of lights. Lacking any form of taste when in the presence of the far-higher power of electricity, we big-fingered buffoons blunder about on rooftops erecting enormous challenges for all to see. Christmas lighting displays don't say 'welcome' they say, "Look on my works ye mighty and despair"

So, Jenny, do you see? If men ran Christmas it would no longer be an annual trial by family, but it would become a year-long trial by combat and much blood would be spilled. Better all round that we leave it to the ladies. And while you're up, any chance of a top-up for this sherry? There's a love.

(*As it's come up, why is that bloody song called the Holly AND the Ivy when the ivy never gets a mention beyond the first line of a couple of verses? )

Friday, 9 December 2011

You say Veto, I say Potato

Well, the hastily penned opinions are in. Depending on who you believe, last night's pretend veto is variously:

"The day PM put Britain first" Daily Mail.
"...casting Britain adrift in Europe" Guardian.
"... a feat close to genius..." Peter Oborne in the Telegraph.
"Cameron isolated..." Independent.

In other words, nobody knows what the outcome will be. The BBC will almost certainly continue to report it as a disaster and adenoidal Ed Millipede will splutter utter bollocks about stuff he knows nothing about in a bid to appease his own puppet-master, Ed he's-only-got-one Balls.

In an attempt to find out what it really means I hit the streets today to ask the electorate and I discovered the following amazing facts. (I say 'facts'. but I obviously mean 'made-up statistics'.)

63% of those questioned said it was a great day for Britain in Europe. When it was explained that this might be the start of Britain out of Europe, 54% said, "whatever", while 79% asked for the question to be repeated. Asked whether they thought this would make it easier or harder for Britain to compete in the world of commerce, 50% said yes, 50% said no and most of them glazed over with the effort.

A survey of personal feelings revealed that those with jobs were happy, those without were not and those who couldn't care less, didn't care very much one way or the other.

Whatever happens (and this is merely a step in the right direction) you can be sure that your opinion of whether or not it's good, bad or indifferent will depend entirely on a) the rigid position you already hold, b) the company you keep and c) the media you choose to consume. I approached one Sun-reading bystander to test this theory:

Batsby: "So, what do you think about last night's Euro conference?"
Prole:  "Do what, mate?"
Batsby: "Do you think the Prime Minister was right to veto the proposals?"
Prole: "Er, yeah. No. Maybe. What did he do then?"
Batsby: "Have you seen today's newspaper?"
Prole: "Got it here, in' I?"
Batsby: "Any thoughts?"
Prole: "Yeah, phwoar... you seen the tits on that?"

So. There you have it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Told you!

I've been saying this for years: Exam Cheats. The evidence has been there for all who wished to see it.

So now, can we get back to desks and blackboards and discipline and teaching, please?

That is all. Now, beat your kids and have a nice day.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Oh what a gleefully shitty day for the spine-free zone known as David Cameron. There he stood, with his chubby, insincere, shiny-arse-face in the commons and tried to brazen it out against his detractors. Prime Minister's Trouble has rarely been so intense for him and the opposition were baying for his blood, only this time the opposition was sitting on the government's own back benches.

Ed Moribund got in a couple of whiny broadsides, while Ed Ballsack smirked away like a goon, but his sallies were as peashooter rounds compared to those delivered by the suddenly full-voiced Euro-sceptic conservative MPs. Or, as I like to call them, the moderates. Despite the BBC's best efforts to deny democracy, Nigel Farage also managed a useful haymaker from Brussels on live TV.

Farage just doesn't believe Cameron, neither do I and neither should anybody who can hear and understand English... or as call-me-Dave would like to call it, Germançais.
Let's be clear, here. There is nothing Sarkozy would like more than to fuck Britain up the arse - or the Bristol Channel, as we call it. It would take away the nasty taste of having to fellate Germany for all eternity and it would offer a brief respite from the buggery of Brussels if Brittania could just grip her ankles and take it for a spell. Merkel's strap-on is frankly enormous and despite her petite stature (still more of a man than Sarky) Frau Deutsche reckons she can handle at least seventeen, the more the merrier, in the Euro daisy chain.

A bit of honesty might go a long way towards convincing the electorate that the UK is not going to be delivered trussed up like a turkey to the European carving table. But we're not going to get any. I like a conservative government; I think it's the best kind, but Cameron isn't a conservative Prone Minister, he's simply a soft-bellied traitor with an urge to commit surrender - I wonder what lucrative job he's been offered when he's handed over the purse strings?

So daft Dave says he is going equipped to the negotiating table. That might ring a bit more true if we didn't know he's already packed his gimp mask and handcuffs. Brussels Bukkake here we come.

Intelligent Design?

What a shitty piece of work in progress the human race is.
We're helpless from birth to upwards of twenty years (twenty-five or more if you're a bloke) and from about sixty it's all downhill for most of us.
We stand upright, so we get bad backs.
We have big, heavy brains, so we get sore necks.
Our bodies are made to store fat, but when we do what comes naturally we slowly kill ourselves by strangling our organs and crippling our skeletons..
We're always ill. Not me, incidentally, but you lot, you're always poorly, with your sniffly handkerchiefs and your croaky, "I can't come into work today." voices.
To take away the misery of actually being human we take drugs that do us harm.
To take away the misery of addiction, rejection, failure, being short, being fat, being white, being black, being spotty, being a teenager, being an adult, having kids, not having kids... [insert personal misery here] we turn to therapy, which only makes it all worse.
Because we can't believe it's all our own fault we invented religion and blame it on a higher power, even though we secretly know the truth. And then we started taking it all too seriously and set to fighting each other.
All our bits wear out long before we snuff it, so we need spare parts: teeth, hair, eyes, hips, knees, hearts, livers, kidneys, you name it, we need an upgrade. All in all the human design committee is a bit of a disaster, really.

And yet, and yet. We never do sod-all about it, do we? Clinging to the last scraps of breath when dignity says we should give up the unequal struggle and clear a space for the next lot. So thank heaven for the sensible Dutch. The Clogmeisters have taken a leaf out of my manifesto and come up with euthanasia on wheels, demise on demand. Put me down for next Tuesday, would you? There's a love

Have a nice day. J

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


First, let me apologise. No, sorry, let me apologise. Forsooth, my apologies, you first. And so on...

Oh, happy days, when the first instinct of an English gentleman was to seek a pardon even before an offence, to atone before action, to beg forgiveness for a crime yet to be committed. Where did it all go wrong? Today the first recourse seems to be to take offence where no wrong has been perpetrated, if necessary on behalf of others who may not even know they are being thus abused. Indeed an entire industry (god knows we need some, but surely not this?) has sprung up out of a very un-British, some would say entirely foreign, tendency to seek blames and hence claims.

So, how very refreshing to hear about a resurgence in manners. I was watching the delectable yummy-mummy Sophie Raworth this evening. (yes, I know, I'm sooo predictable but a BOACA* like me is helpless against the charms of almost the entire cast of BBC news ladies. Sorry!) No, nothing sinister, she was on the telly; I wasn't, like, outside her house or anything. (Been nowhere near since the injunction, your honour.)

As I say, she was presenting a Panorama docu-ette about supermarket pricing, while I was eating my dinner and she revealed some not-surprising but surprisingly ubiquitous price fiddles. So what? I thought, serves thick shoppers right for not being numerate, but I was missing the point. Confronted with their shenanigans the supermarkets' PR machines simply said, "Whoops, sorry-oh!" and all was well. No prosecutions, honest mistake old chaps, won't happen again.

Except it not only did happen again... and again, but it will keep on happening. Because while the general population may have forsaken ready remorse, have you noticed how quickly the visible elements of government and commerce have taken to a public rending of garments, wringing of caps and uttering of reparations? While all the time crossing all available fingers, naturally.

Yes, we know we fucked your economy. Sorry. Yes I know we spent all your money. Sorry about that. Yes I know you don't want to expatriate any more powers to Brussells but, you know, it's already happened, what can we say? [Bambi eyes] Soooorrry!

The good old British apology was once a beautiful thing. Designed to pour oil on troubled waters and set the scene for a rational discussion and a settlement of disputes without resort to fisticuffs. When wee Ronnie Corbett said sorry he did it without an inch of malice in his little Caledonian heart. Somehow, when the word is uttered by the likes of Tesco, a little bit of my England dies.

The further up the greasy pole of social order the word is bandied about the less it really means and when the likes of Blair, Brown, Balls, Mandelson, Cameron, Clegg et al get around to using that word you'll know that hell has indeed frozen over and all hope has been abandoned.

My sincere apologies.

(*BOACA = Bloke of a certain age)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Windmills out of your mind

I watched Chris Huhne on The Politics Show yesterday. I wish I hadn't. He was talking about building another fourteen billion wind turbines, this time on Dogger Bank.

As it stands, many of our offshore wind farms are German owned and the subsidies for the eleven kilowatt-hours they generate each year also go offshore, that is off our shores. At least the ones on the West of the UK generate some income for British companies - local services to cater to the needs of the East Europeans drafted in to build and maintain the evil robots. But, Dogger Bank?

Let me consider this for a moment. German-owned structures placed in the North Sea between Germany and Britain. The same strategic sea area that Fisher, Beatty and Jellicoe fought so bitterly to keep out of the Kaiser's control. This time, however, there need be no British involvement in the placement of these political and economic forward command posts other than to pay for and keep on paying for the mistakes. This time there will be no Battle of Jutland. We're already sunk.

The enormous white elephant that is the British green power policy will bankrupt us if it carries on like this. In the meantime, forget your country; it isn't yours any more. But you can all of you, individually, do your bit to help yourselves. I offer a list:

Insulate your house properly.
Don't run the heating where and when it's not being used.
Turn down your thermostat and wear more clothes.
Lights! Turn the bloody lights off.
Have shorter showers.
Walk, don't drive.
Don't buy food you're going to waste.
Don't buy any other shit you're not going to use
Watch re-runs of The Good Life, if only for Felicity Kendal's sake.
Sell a couple of your kids.
Put the rest of them to work, tatting - those nimble little fingers should not stay idle.

You can also pro-actively engage those who won't play the game. Boo and hiss those be-tattooed chavs who pitch up in taxis at the supermarket wearing shorts - you know they have just stepped out of a council vivarium to squander your money on the legal drugs of booze, fags and fat. Go through their bins and post any uneaten food back through their letter boxes - that chicken carcass would make a nice stock.

At school, make the fat kids huddle into an insulating cordon round your, normal, kids to keep 'em warm. Re-introduce the winter cross-country; if you make an effort you warm up naturally, if you don't you at least appreciate the meagre warmth of your unheated classrooms.

In fact, the solution to the energy crisis is quite simple; turn the clocks back. All the way back. To the nineteen-fifties, if needs be.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Round Legion Carollers

So, there I was, having my afternoon nap, as is my monarchical right - see top of page - and how should I be disturbed at six pm on the 3rd December? Yes, you got it. Sodding carol singers? I say 'singers'. They were driving round in a campaigning van with a crap PA system playing selected fragments of vaguely Christmas-style tunes. And - this makes my blood boil - knocking on doors, asking for money. With buckets!

What? Bollocking-what?

The sign said (probably, I didn't look) they were collecting for the Round Table or British Legion or some other such worthy band of genuine do-gooding souls. These travelling troupes come a-wassailing every year, but never until within spitting distance of the loathsome day itself. So, I'm pretty sure this gang was not the genuine article and I fully expect to see more of this odious sort of thing - thugs preying on your charitable urges - unless you all get a grip and give them the bums' rush until the proper time.

There is only one proper time for singing carols door to door and that is from St Thomas's Day, 21st December, until Christmas Day itself. That's it. That's the law.

Anyway, just to show I can be charitable too, I wrote some new lyrics:

Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Scrounging all the way,
Oh, what fun it is to thieve,
From a one horse open sleigh.
Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Scrounging all the way,
Oh, how pikeys love to ride
Over all your rules today

Stealing as they go
How that pikey smells
Laughing ho, ho, ho.
Bells on Transits ring
Drinking spirits bright
Driving through your streets tonight
They just don't give a shite!

No, go away and let me get back to sleep!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Christmas Present (A short story)

He laboured on the wheel. A treadmill built to fit, he walked it day in and day out. He walked because humans can and because the wheel turned a turbine, which generated electricity and all the while he walked he had light. Sometimes, if he worked a bit harder, he also had television. It had taken him two days to create the light and another week to discover the screen, which flickered just out of his reach. He couldn't reach it because the harness restrained him. It stopped him falling and it stopped him from stopping.

Kyle was wide awake and bouncing, bouncing, shouting... shrieking. Kyle was really annoying; all his life had been an entreaty for this, a demand for that. Demands that were satisfied because to enter into a battle of wills with Kyle was, as his parents had soon discovered, to enter a conflict they could not hope to win. Winning the war not an option, to win the peace they made a meek show of protest then obeyed Kyle’s whims. Parents everywhere daily lost this battle.

As long as he walked he was rewarded with a world of light and sound and vision and he had done this for so long now it was his life. He'd been here... how long? The television never showed him the now world, only an older world of learning and occasionally, irregularly, entertainment. And he was entertained enough to keep on walking. Anything was better than the dark.

Kyle's pleas were nearing the crescendo both he and his parents recognised. The climax to their daily congress came when he had made just the right amount of the right kind of noise and they had tolerated it for just long enough. The peak was a capitulation which made them feel they'd made a stand and let Kyle know just how much in charge he really was. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve, the last important day of Kyle’s year; another day to shop.

Nearly a year he'd been walking, going nowhere, but growing and learning. A display on the wall counted the days. 363. At first he'd resisted. He’d woken up in the harness and screamed. In fear and in anger he'd kicked out and yelled. And then he’d huddled-up and alternately sulked and shouted until he was hoarse and cold and hungry. Eventually he learned that if he was quiet he would be fed and that if he worked life became more bearable.

The cold, shiny plane of the shopping mall floor stretched out beneath their feet and Kyle’s staccato curses bounced back at them from the hard surface. “Bastard! Bastard!” he experimented, “Bastards!” He liked the way the Bs reverberated a little longer as the sibilants whispered away to nothing. His grim-faced parents stared straight ahead, clung to either hand and steered him down the aisle. It was Christmas Eve and everybody deserved a present at Christmas. “Twats!” shouted Kyle.

After a while he accepted his fate and longed to wake up in the mornings. He looked forward to the day and he woke up to walk; to work and to learn. All the while he was growing stronger and although he couldn't find the words, he was feeling more at ease, more content than ever before. He felt as if he was finally ready for something. The television screen suddenly blazed, but today it was different. He recognised the people on the screen. He knew them. They called his name; it was so long since he’d heard his name. The counter said 364 and the call of his name coincided with a soft sigh as the number became 365 and the wall slid away. “Mum!” he said, “Dad!” His heart swelled with recognition and love as the harness fastenings clicked open and he returned to the world. Corrected, mended... fixed.

Kyle groggily opened his eyes on Christmas morning, his mind full of greedy thoughts. But when he tried to move he found himself restrained. The room was in darkness, but soon a dim light revealed the truth. Strapped into the harness, Kyle began to scream.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Top Geezer!

Wow! What an overblown, out-of-proportion reaction to good old professional Yorkshire-bloke, Jezzer.

All Jeremy Clarkson said, when asked, was that he thought the strikers should be taken out and shot. It's exactly the same sort of thing that is said by thousands of all sorts of people about all sorts of other people every single day of the year. It doesn't even actually matter whether or not he meant it. I'd rather prefer that he did; better, I think, to have an opinion instead of worrying about what opinion one should have, don't you think?

What the ensuing farrago of opinion revealed, however, was truly ugly. It even ended up being discussed on BBC's Question Time last night and what a measly, niggardly, cowardly country it revealed we've become.

As Dave Gorman said so eloquently in his blog, you have no right not to be offended. But if you've decided you are going to be offended for goodness' sake try to be offended in a worthwhile cause. JC is an entertainer. He was entertaining. That's what he does. Because, in case you didn't get that last bit, he's an entertainer. And he made me laugh, because unlike so many po-faced respondents I have a sense of proportion. What happened to the Great British sense of humour? What happened to tolerance and our ability to rub along together?

Maybe you have become more European than surveys reveal; forever looking to somebody else to tell you what to think , to feel, to get worked up about? Me? I find left wing politics - that is to say ALL British and European politics - offensive. But I don't write to the fucking newspapers to ask them to stop offending me. Those newspapers you all complained to, you know, the ones on which you showered such opprobrium for the phone hacking? Make up your feeble minds, why don't you?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Making your own entertainment.

I've received a few snipes about my last few entries here in the interwide-blogosphere. That's fine, I enjoy healthy debate... and I know where you live! I don't know, though, why you think I'm the doom-monger here;  I generally live as I write. Have you looked at yourself lately UK?

Let's take poverty and how it seems to be defined these days. Now I know there may be some genuine cases of hardship and the suicide couple in Bedworth were certainly food for thought, but on the other hand they were known mentals. And this was an isolated incident; it's not as if unemployed people are routinely jumping off multi-storey car parks. (That's wrong on so many levels.)

I keep hearing about 'child-poverty' and I am genuinely mystified. Was that expression coined merely for the promulgation of anti-government sentiment? It's been knocking about for a good few years now without challenge, so I'm going to challenge it. And along with it, the notion of 'relative poverty'.

How the Third World would deplore us if they saw what many of you believe to be poverty. The only really Big Issues we have here in Britain are for shelter and food. So long as you can stay warm and dry and fed your basic needs are being met. Did none of you watch Frozen Planet last night? All the rest is fake and frippery. Tobacco, alcohol, other drugs, music, entertainment, personal transport, fast food... self-esteem; all of it manufactured, none of it essential and much of it potentially harmful.

I don't yearn for a wholesale turning-back of the clocks to the nineteen-fifties, that would be ridiculous. And I don't regret one bit the fundamentally awesome advances in mass-media technology. I even applaud the way in which everybody has far higher aspirations than a generation or so ago. I wouldn't even deny that our current way of living is immeasurably better than it used to be. We really don't realise how lucky we are.

What - as some of you may have started to grasp by now - really irks me is that human nature is a perverse and flawed thing. Having dealt with basic survival, our instincts for possession have turned to the acquisition of ever more baubles and trinkets to line the nest. Our magpie minds have tricked us into mistaking want for need and just look what you've done. I mean, just look!

The $75,000 car standing outside a council house, the 72" flat screen inside and children of five with an accumulated spend of thousands of pounds on fast-obsolete parental fads in fashion, toys, games and (FFS) phones and computers. Handbags costing hundreds of pounds. Portable coffee. Glossy magazines on every subject under the sun. You don't need any of that stuff, you just want it really badly. Maybe it's time to break the habit.

You may not have noticed this, but the world is not dependent on friendless adolescent youths writing buggy games software from their fetid crash-pads. That's Hollywood you're thinking of there. No, the world is largely kept busy by the endeavours of the entrepreneurial, many of whom trumpet their utter lack of tech-savvy and higher education. All this scholastic immersion in technology is not breeding future leaders of industry, just lots of tech-drones for exploitation by future leaders of industry.

So, save a bundle this Christmas and beat the credit crunch. Cross off everything with a power supply from the shopping list and buy books instead (I'll allow Kindles). Get in some good old-fashioned board games, turn off the crap telly and this winter make your own entertainment.

(Yes, I know, the kids will moan, it will be miserable, the grandparents will talk of bringing back the birch, but you'll have had a good old-fashioned Yuletide to talk about for years to come.)