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If you don’t know them, I’m not telling you.
On the train the other day I was opposite a creature in thick glasses, who was talking to one of his friends in advertising about accounts he hadn’t landed. And how those accounts were ‘twats’.
When he got off, he left this behind him.
If you’re feeling like this year’s John Lewis ad could have done more to tug your heart strings, here you go:
INT. A DINING ROOM. AFTERNOON
Tinsel. Glitter. Wads of wrapping paper.
Sticky tape tuck to little fingers. Popcorn being strung. Glue spilled across a dining room table.
On the soundtrack: a slow, piano, 6/8 adaptation of a popular song. Perhaps “I Like To Move It Move It”, sung by a breathy contralto with a waver in her voice.
A dining room decorated with lots of pictures of family and pets.
Two children (4 and 6) sit at the table, making things. They are gluing, getting things stuck to their fingers, putting sticky stars on their eyelids, drawing, writing, arguing over the glitter pens. Both are deeply engrossed in construction.
From the kitchen a mother gazes on, smiling. Think Sarah Lund crossed with Linda Bellingham.
She looks out of the kitchen window, where:-
EXT. THE GARDEN. CONTINUOUS
A light frost has fallen. At the far end of the garden stand a little row of crosses. In front of each is a dilapidated tinsel ornament, obviously made by children.
Along the row, the names have been scrawled on the ornaments: Fluffy, Spike, Hammy, Peter The Fish.
INT. THE DINING ROOM CONTINUOUS
The mother looks back at the children, who are now finishing up. She looks across at a picture of the family: father, mother, children. In the corner is a cat.
She wipes a tear from her eye.
IN. FRONT HALL. LATER
The children are pulling on duffel coats, and getting into their wellies. The boy, younger, falls over, as he tries to get his foot in.
The children place their new ornament on some freshly dug earth.
We pull back to reveal that we are in a:
And they are standing in front of a gravestone.
The little girl pulls at her brother’s hand, and they all walk away with the mother.
On the ornament is a sign saying: “Daddy”
CAPTION: Merry Christmas from John Lewis
Now, who wants to help me make this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
The spice jars rattled when he slammed the door. Marjorie kept her head down. He hated it when she waited for him. She heard him dump his briefcase on the table. She shouldn’t turn around.
She turned around.
He just stared at her. He stared a decade of disappointment at her before sniffing loudly.
“What’s for dinner?”
She smiled. She should definitely smile. Pretend she didn’t know what was wrong.
“I thought we could go out.”
He yanked open the fridge door.
“I’m not going anywhere.” He took out a beer. “I’ve had a long day. I’m working the weekends inspecting booty. Is it too much to ask to have dinner ready when I get home?” He took out another three beers, shoving them under his arms, and he made for the den. “Call me when it’s ready.”
The spice jars rattled as he slammed the fridge door.
He’d been lying, of course. He hadn’t done any actual booty inspection in years. He had loved inspecting booty, but now he was lucky if he saw any booty in a month. It was mainly paperwork. And what was worse, he was a little behind.
He cracked a beer, and flipped the television on. Red carpet. Look at those fuckers. He balanced his beer on the arm of the chair, as he got out his latest booty assessments.
He didn’t regret it. He didn’t regret a single thing.
Yes, it had been hard splitting up the Funky Bunch, but the promotion was something he just couldn’t turn down. Most people had to wait years before they got made a Booty Administrator, Hector had been just 27. Most of the Bunch had understood. Marky had taken it the hardest.
“What the fuck, Hector? That doesn’t even rhyme!” Those were the last words Marky had said to him.
Not that he had cared. Those had been good years, fat years. Hector and Marjorie had lived high on the hog. Booty assessment had been a growing field in the 90s, and they had ridden the crest of the wave. But somewhere along the line, he had fallen down the crack.
He was still Funky.
“Shit!” Hector flapped at his trousers, as the beer glugged lazily into a pool on his lap. He rescued the papers and stood, dripping, brushing himself down.
Still red carpet. Who was wearing what. Or whom. Or some shit. Same every year.
The chair was only a little damp. He’d live.
He shouldn’t have shouted at Marjorie. It wasn’t her fault. The Booty Inspectors had never unionised. It had never seemed like they had to.
So when Hector had had that accident…
He was bumped upstairs to a desk job. Booty Supervisor. A room full of dead-eyed men who had once been something. Lords of all the surveyed. M-ass-ters of the Universe. Now all they did was shuffle booty between different filing cabinets. And not in a good way.
He looked up.
It was starting. He wouldn’t get too drunk this year. It wasn’t Marjorie’s fault.
The 84th Annual Academy Awards. There he was, grinning away in the fifth row. Marky fucking Mark. It was going to be a long night.
Sighing, he flipped his bifocals down off his forehead and opened the folder. Booty didn’t supervise itself, you know.
This whole article is a parody of this. If you haven’t read the horrible Rod Liddle piece, you probably won’t get this.
My New Year’s resolution for 2012 was to become a bigot.
Nothing too bigotty: a light moment of racism posing as ‘political incorrectness’ on national TV; working myself into a really frothing high dudgeon at the idea of the poor once a week; or that newly-invented bigotry: hatred of the disabled.
There’s lots of money to be made from being a bigot. If you can reliably work the readers of a tabloid into a lather with a mixture of baseless opinion and made-up statistics, the editors will literally chuck money at you until you can afford to go and live in Florida like Littlejohn.
And it is far easier to be a bigot than it ever was. It used to be thought of as bad form to cultivate outright hatred of the disabled. It was felt that you had an unfair advantage because they were, well, disabled. Nowadays, however, with the imprimatur of the government you no longer have to be ashamed about kicking people’s crutches away. After all, what are their crutches but a crutch? Thanks, Lib Dems!
And being a bigot is incredibly fashionable: from Clarkson to Littlejohn, from Jeremies Kyle through Vine, the airwaves are dominated by men in middle age who are desperate to find someone to blame for their thinning hair and thickening waistlines. Impotent? That will the fault of the gyppoes at Dale Farm! Sense of malaise at having done nothing with your life? It’s probably the fault of the spendthrift Labour government. With every follicle that closes our moral certainty increases.
The world is shit. And it’s everyone else’s fault.
And who can blame us? Not you lot. Every time we find a new scapegoat, you all get to put the boot in, too. As long as we cultivate an air of national nastiness, in which there’s no problem that can’t be solved by puking hot bile at it, you can all vent your frustrations, too. Just realised that the mortgage payment will bounce? That’s the fault of a feral youth.
The latest figures about bigotry came out this week. They suggest that 50% of those writing deliberately provocative, ill-informed, poorly-constructed opinion pieces in the tabloids are actually fit for proper work. Some of us don’t believe a word of what we’ve been paid to say, and yet we churn it out, day after tedious day. Some have been doing it for more than a decade.
But when you suggest that these people are nothing more than loathsome pondslime you get accused of victimising the mentally infirm.
Well, I’m not. I’m victimising the morally infirm.
Or at least, I’m trying to. But it will probably go in one ear and out of the other. Like the imaginary bullets Melanie Phillips dreams of firing into the heads of gay Islamicists from the BBC.
The Right-wingers will say, hey you fat old fag-enabler, more money is spent on Jobseekers’ Allowance than is spent on maintaining out eight or nine top bigoted columnists. To which I say: not by much.
But that doesn’t make being an awful, twisted bigot; a festering, crapulent, pustule of a person, who has a picture in the attic of someone who gave up long ago and hanged themselves in despair; a monstrous toad who fell into a bucket full of wet lips okay, does it?
That’s like saying we shouldn’t get worked up about people being cautioned by the police for the common assault of a pregnant woman because murder is much worse.
It’s a silly argument.
More than anything, though, those posing as bigots just to get their tabloid-assured moment in the sun, and the odd appearance on Celebrity Come Dine With Me are doing a disservice to those who really need our help: the actual bigots. Rather than directing our expressions of concern, and warmth, and facts to those who could really use them, we end up shouting at Rod Liddle. So nobody wins. Except Rod Liddle.
It has been easier to pose as a bigot ever since tabloids started espousing positions through their own self-interest that would previously only have been held by unspeakable turds: in favour of torture, against human rights, in favour of turning our backs on refugees, the idea that disabled people are disabled through some fault of their own, demonisation of the poor.
I think we should all pretend to be bigots for a month, and… No, hang on. That’s a horrible idea. A stupid idea.
Let’s not, eh? Let’s really not. Instead, let’s not be bigots at all for a while. The next time you hear the news, or the government, or a neighbour saying something that is clearly intended just to get you blaming someone else for your problems, why don’t we all have a cup of tea? Or a sit down? Or a ponder of the ways in which we’re culpable for making other people’s lives miserable.
Tell you what, let’s all pretend not to be bigots for a month. Or a year? Who knows, we might discover we’re not actually bigots after all…
As the awful images and news stories began to trickle out of Oslo yesterday afternoon, very soon one thing became abundantly clear: one of us had done it again. We in the white, blonde-haired male community have worked incredibly hard to rebuild our reputation since the days of Timothy McVeigh, but appears that the cause will be set back years by this.
I am a white, blonde-haired male, but I was lucky. I was raised in a well-integrated, liberal household and I never wanted for the necessities of life: minoxidil, Top Gear DVDs, and royal wedding memorabilia. Others were not so lucky. It doesn’t take much for members of our community to fall under the influence of its more radical members: Michael Heseltine, Boris Johnson, and Matthew McConaughey.
It behooves us to recognise that there is something deeply wrong with the way we bring up blonde, white boys, and, until we have worked out what it is, we will be rightly regarded with mistrust and suspicion. I welcome the extra checks we will have to go through at airports just because it will be an opportunity to show whoever is working that the airport that we’re not all bad. I won’t be carrying any liquids, not even a nicely-chilled Pouilly-Fumee. We must all make sacrifices.
There is a temptation, of course, to try to duck the blame, to suggest that the Unabomber was more a mousey brown than a blonde, but his yearbook pictures clearly put the lie to this. It is tempting to suggest that Jared Lee Loughner only looks blonde because he is photographed under a yellowy light. Tempting, but deeply morally wrong. Who knows what colour Andrew Stack was before he went grey. Of course we know. We know in our hearts.
And it’s not fair. It’s not fair to suggest that maybe this problem is endemic in the white male community, whatever their hair colour. To try and implicate innocents like Martin Amis or Richard Littlejohn in this is unconscionable. There is clearly one factor that links all modern terrorism: blondeness.
I remember my relief when I saw Gerry Adams’ big, bushy, black beard. “It’s not just us,” I thought. To this day, I contend that Martin McGuinness’ hair is a reddish-brown.
It’s time to end the lies, though. Ever since the high-point of the Blonde Terror with the Baader-Meinhof gang, society has been rightly suspicious of those of us whose golden heads concealed dark hearts.
On behalf of all of us, I would like to apologise to the world, and suggest that we be a little stricter, a little more vigilant when we see a blonde, white man just ‘sitting’ in a park, or cafe , or other public place. It is not racist to ask him what he thinks he’s doing, or to report him to a police officer, or to search his house in the middle of the night.
We should crack down on this blonde, white, male menace.
After all, I’ll be bald soon…
Everything you are about to read is true. And when I say ‘true’ I mean ‘intellectually true’ rather than the ordinary, mundane, factual sort of ‘true’.
Until this morning I had not met Johann Hari*. When I encounter him** he seems subdued***.
This, clearly, is a chastened man. A contrite man. A man who has felt the rage of the Twitterati. “I can never quite forget,” he coughs, “That there are vicious hordes of prepubescent girls across Britain who would gladly jolt me aside with an electric cattle-prod and trample over my smoking corpse just to be standing here.”****
I feel the urge to reach out and touch him, to grasp his clammy hand to mine. The coffee shop we are sitting in***** is garish and strident in the claims it makes for its beverages. I’m sure the irony of this won’t be lost on him.
“It’s almost over. I can’t take any more of this.”****** The scourge of Kenneth Tong, and the Boswell to Busted’s Johnson has had enough.
Had there been any way of doing it, I would have offered him some comfort. Still, I restrained myself. To take his head into my lap and stroke his hair would be of no help now. Even if it were physically possible.
As I get up from my chair******* his words hang behind me in the air. “Every word I have quoted has been said by my interviewee, and accurately represents their view. I hope people continue to hear their words.”********
And that’s as true now as it ever was.
* I still have not met Johann Hari.
** ‘When’ can refer to the future as well, you know. I’m only using the present tense to heighten the immediacy and intellectual truth of the scene.
*** In my mind.
*****An archetypal coffee shop.
******* The chair I am in now, writing this.
(Warning: Many of these videos contain adult language and situations, varying picture quality, and frequent uses of ‘the c-word’. Usually in reference to Nick Clegg.)
The Coalition may be a disaster for old people, young people, poor people, disabled people, students, aircraft carriers, unemployed people, people who buy things, people with children, ill people, people who like sports, people who hate sports, and women. But for some of us things have never been better. Those of us in the musical comedy or protest singing games are experiencing a boom time. Us and the people who make riot shields.
Ever since the election there has been a profusion of online video activity: songs, raps, and poems all pouring out at an incredible rate. This is partially due to the availability of smartphones, and the fact that people can watch videos almost anywhere, at almost any time. It’s also, however, because of a palpable sense of anger, directed particularly at the Lib Dems, and, even more particularly, at Nick Clegg. Which serves him right for making this video: Liberal Democrats – Say Goodbye To Broken Promises
The videos range from the furious to the funny, from the wry and disappointed to the barely coherent rant. Perhaps the most obscene of them all is actually in danger of charting this weekend. Yes, on Sunday afternoon we’re in danger tuning into the chart countdown only to hear Kunt And The Gang’s “Use My Arsehole As C*nt (The Nick Clegg Story). More on that at the end.
I’ve trawled through the cuts-related songs, and have come up with a Top Ten. Sort of. There are ten of them anyway. So get your rioting shoes on, and boogie on down to the following inappropriate sounds…
10) Dan Bull – Another Prick In Whitehall
Even-tempered monotone rapper Dan Bull hoists Nick Clegg by his own petard, in a wonderfully bleak reworking of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. A delight.
9) Mitch Benn – I’m Proud Of The BBC
One of the earlier examples of the form, and although specifically relating to the BBC, this set much of the template for a lot of the songs that were to follow. The rest of the template is of people trying to rhyme the word ‘Clegg’ with the word ‘cock’. Sometimes with a surprising amount of success.
8 Sir Ian Bowler – Dear Students
This is one of mine. Some people like it. I am saying no more about it.
7) SUARTS – Can’t Cut This
Some impressive dancing in this MC Hammer parody from the students at SU Arts. But when, oh when, will someone tackle Sir Mixalot’s “I Like Big Cuts (And I Cannot Lie)”
6) Grace Petrie – Emily Davison Blues
This one’s not a comedy song, but a heartfelt protest song in the great British tradition. If they achieve nothing else, the Coalition can retire to their country estates knowing that they’ve led to a revival in earnest songs written in the first person plural that overuse the words “this land”. Beautiful and angry.
5) Dan Bull – Millbank Wankers
Lyrical reasonablist Dan Bull has another go this time in the sole example of the pro-police protest song on this list. Or, I should imagine, any other list…
4) Lee Kern – MERRY CHRISTMAS (X-FACTOR’S OVER)
Lee Kern gives a blast of pure, visceral fury here. It’s not actually to do with the cuts at all, it’s about X-Factor, but I was getting really tired of listening to songs about Nick Clegg (I get it. He’s rubbish).
3) Captain SKA – Liar Liar
Old-school reggae. About Nick Clegg. We’re living in a world turned upside down.
2) Samuel Gaus & Unnamed Accomplice – Universities’ Lament
Samuel and his unnamed friend here come up with some entertaining harmonies, but shouldn’t they be in lessons? If they’ve got time to write songs, they’ve got time to work in a call centre to fund their degree…
1) Kunt And The Gang – Use My Arsehole As A C*nt (The Nick Clegg Story)
This is a glorious masterpiece of obscenity. A dazzling example of filth, and it’s currently at Number 78 in the charts. If they can sell 3,000 more copies by Sunday (iTunes link) then we all get to eat our Christmas dinner knowing that a song with title is currently nestled in our nation’s Top 40. And they’ll have to play it on the radio…
So that’s it. A breathtaking rundown of the exuberant creativity that’s been provoked by the Comprehensive Spending Review. Again, not a sentence you often hear. Right. I’m off to rhyme Cameron with something…