Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Space Philology

Regular readers (a Mrs Television of North Wales) will be pleased to hear that I can no longer bring myself to watch that third rate tosh ‘Downbog Abbey’, and I have exhausted my ability to find new ways to describe how dire ‘Spooks’ is.  Instead I will compare and contrast two other recent offerings on the electric television.

I was expecting to be mildly entertained by Stephen Fry’s “Planet Word”, but held out little prospect of Jo Brand’s Big Splash being other than a schedule filler.

I was wrong.

There. I’ve said it. I was wrong.

I found Planet Word to be fairly dull, learned nothing interesting from it, and found myself becoming slightly irritated. (I know that most of you think that I spend my waking life in a state somewhere between ordinary grumpiness and blood-vessel bursting. It ain’t so.)  The programmer planners seem to think that we all want to see endless footage of recycled celebrities trekking round obscure corners of the globe (yes,  Dave, I know there are no corners on a globe, now shut up and write your blasted blog) making facile comments and expressing enthusiasm about subjects of no earthly nor celestial interest.

Thus we have Mr Fry sitting amongst some poor bastards in East Africa who had only just recovered from a visit by Gyles Brandreth making a documentary about trombone polishing. They could not understand what Stevie was saying, and he spoke not one word of their language.  I am not sure how many times my licence fee it cost the BBC to fly Fry to Eritrea to fail to communicate with some poor unsuspecting bugger who was looking forward to an evening of goat-tending, but it is too bloody many. Then we have him striding along a beach, pontificating. I do not know why he felt that he needed the Caspian Sea (no, I have no idea where it was) as a backdrop – possibly to distract from the tedium of his discourse.  

What I had overlooked about Jo Brand was that whatever she is in, she is brilliant, certainly when all she does is be herself.  I just like her, it is as simple as that. I’ve liked her ever since her early days of abrasive comedy (the “painter’s in” line was one of the greatest ever), and now, even when her humour is no longer cutting-edge, and would probably not be even remotely funny when done by someone else, whenever I see her, I get the feeling that there is room in my enormous circle of friends for her, and I would love to spend time with her. Just watch it and feel good.

Here is an example for those of you of a foreign persuasion, who may not be familiar with her stage act.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

PFC Wintergreen would say "Emil Steinberger"

You will be aware that nothing inflames my ire (have you ever had an inflamed ire, missus?) more than racial stereotyping. As my dear friend Donn has just written – and please do not dismiss his work just because he is as nutty as a very nutty thing indeed – we are all cousins, and descended from the same woman (what an old slut she must have been).  Consequently, we should dwell upon the vast majority of things which we have in common rather than the superficial differences.

It is therefore with a very heavy heart that I now speculate about the shortcomings of a nation. I need to say, before continuing, that some of my best friends are Swiss. Well, Daniel is from Switzerland, and I have never alluded to any differences there might be between our two friendly nations. It was in a spirit of fraternity that one year, for his birthday, we clubbed together and bought for him a bar of Cadbury’s finest Dairy Milk, a quarter pound of medium Cheddar and an alarm clock (sans cuckoo). I need hardly provide more evidence of my tolerant and open view of mon frère Suisse.

However, none of you will have failed to be orgasmatised by the news from Geneva this day that they have found a particle that is moving faster than the speed of light. The best way of describing what this discovery means would be to say that if this particle had written this little essay, then this sentence would have appeared two paragraphs earlier. And probably would not have had the word “this” in it so many times.

It is a well-known scientific phenomenon that the observation of an experiment affects the outcome. I have secretly been fearful of the choice of Cern as the venue for the collision of particles. Until now I have held my peace, and therefore cannot truthfully say “I told you so”, but “I thought you so” is certainly not an exaggeration. It comes as no surprise to me that if you conduct experiments in Switzerland then the results are likely to be suspect. You see, the Swiss are so fucking efficient. Of course their particles will arrive early. They will also be formally dressed, know automatically which side of the collider to drive on, and answer all questions fluently in at least five languages.

“Splendid!” you may say. “Piffle!” would be my riposte. These chaps are looking for the elusive “God particle”. Switzerland would not be my choice. 

Yes, I must confess that I would enjoy the universe much less if God were Swiss, or even had Swiss characteristics. Go on, name a famous Swiss comedian. If you fancy a damned good belly laugh, would you go to Basle? Guffaw in Geneva? Laugh in Lucerne? Titter in (find me a Swiss town beginning with ‘T’, Ed.)?

No! If you are looking for God in the Alps you are going to find a very boring God indeed. Efficient, disciplined but totally lacking in joy and spontaneity. When I was at school we learned about the Reformation. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that they attempted to teach me about it. There was a Swiss chap called Zwingli. He was so dull that I can remember nothing about him. What I do remember is that the arch-miseryguts Calvin – one of the most confirmed joy-suckers in the whole sorry history of religion – fled to Switzerland. He felt at home there, and was never troubled by concepts of happiness and fun.

They should have built the collider somewhere more redolent of the type of God that this world needs. Ireland, perhaps; they would give short shrift to precocious particles. Gaelic gluons would not be in such a damn hurry. They could at least have moved over the Alps to Italy. You may not be very impressed with Italian organisational skills, but there would be a damn sight more collisions than those over-polite Helveticans can produce.

There will, no doubt, be very many more discoveries from this overblown circus. None of them will be very interesting, and none of the news will be good. You mark my words.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is it safe?

Regular readers – (A Mrs Trotsky of North Wales) will have been monitoring updates to this site in order to keep up with news of the revolution.  Keen to be first to read of the overthrow of capitalism, and the establishment of the People’s Republic of the Earth, where men can live as brothers, women can live as sisters, (this may involve relaxation of strictures against incest), there will be a just distribution of the world’s resources so that no-one need die of malnutrition, there will be no shortage of things to laugh at, and marketing will be abolished.

(I had a telephone call from someone the other day who said that I need not worry (I wasn’t worried anyway, so they need not have worried to tell me that), they weren’t selling anything, but just wanted my opinion. This proved to be a lie. When I started to give them my opinion, they rang off.)

I hope that you have all realised by now that I am not a man of violence. I would prefer Mr Murdoch, for example, to realise his mistakes by my reasoned argument about why greed is not good for anyone or the planet on which we live. I would like to see Slimy Dave educated (unlikely, I know, while Wackford Gove is in charge) and work out for himself that constantly overproducing goods which no-one needs does not serve a useful purpose.

My position was further reinforced by my visit to the dentist this morning. It turns out that he did not take kindly to my lambasting the Tory government, I learned, while he was probing my pre-molars (or bashing my bicuspids, if you will), that, in his view, this government was not Tory – they had liberals in the government, that Tony Blair was a socialist, and that – well fill in the rest yourself. During this dental diatribe, I did not contribute much in the way of cogent counterpoint. (I did, at one stage, say “mgffllbt”). My position, I realised, was not so much that of a man of peace, but that of a committed coward. My militancy does not extend to confront armed opponents, whether they be wielding assegais, machine guns or extracting forceps. I left the dental surgery this morning, paid the £17 fee for having to listen to Norman Tebbitt while he ascertained that I didn’t need any treatment, and I didn’t even mention Nye Bevan.

So, here is the revised plan for the revolution:
  1. Tut a bit when you hear Vince Cable on the electric radio.
  2. Get quite cross when someone says “entrepreneur” and means it in a good way.
  3. Call Wackford Gove a pillock
  4. Er …
  5. That’s it.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Something for the weekend

The good news for stargazers this weekend is, according to all reliable news sources (oxymoron? Ed.), the explosion of a supernova in a nearby galaxy.

Supernovae are phenomena caused by inhabitants of planets causing their sun to explode after realising that they were surrounded by people who had actually voted for the current Tory government. Scientists have calculated that, given the billions of stars in the universe there is what amounts to a certainty of there being at least 44 other Wackford Goves in existence.

I am not quite at the point of despair. Not quite ready to nip down to Homebase to pick up their “Blow up the sun” kit – 2 for the price of one offer while stocks last. I am determined to persevere through the winter months, in the sure and certain knowledge of seeing the All Blacks win the world cup, Viru surpassing 400 runs in a test and finishing reading the pile of books currently at the side of my bed. I will do all this, and more, before I am so disheartened by the list of knuckle-draggers who are the potential candidates for next president of the USA that I consider halting the orbit of the planet.

Of course, the events visible in the UK this weekend actually happened 21 million years ago. I suppose most of us will prefer to stay warm and watch Saturday evening terrestrial television, which has only been the same for just over 13 million years.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Assholes of the week. (Same as last week)

Slimy Dave was on the electric radio this morning, being pressed (not literally, alas) about the parallels between the recent display of youthful exuberance on the streets of London, and the dreadful criminal activity of the terrorists in the Bullingdon Club during his youth. His first response was that the London rioters were organised. Let us all hope that he has learnt since those days. Wouldn’t it be awful if the first lord of the treasury was lacking in basic abilities such as organisation and planning. I am confident in his capability to inflict the light hearted antics of his school pals on the rest of us in an efficient and calculated manner.

Elsewhere, his pet moron, Wackford Gove, has hit upon the splendid notion of using ex-service personnel to bring some backbone to the teaching profession. He has the foresight to realise that these young people have had it far too easy for too long. His new education act, subtitled “Shoot the little fuckers” will pass through parliament next year. In the meantime, let’s welcome the first of the new qualified ex-military teachers to the profession.