Satire pointless

One of the unexpected downsides of the world going collectively insane is that it affords very little opportunity for comedy.

You’d have thought that the rise of the far right and the various knuckle-dragging goons who represent them would have offered ample scope for a bit of satirical blogging. Apparently not.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few decent gags to be had – you can make about eight solid jokes out of Nigel Farage’s grinning ascent into Trump’s golden tower alone – it’s just that no parody is any weirder than the actual reality.

trump

He’s very happy in the Donald’s shaft

Real events have spun out of control so quickly that lines like “May offers human sacrifices in exchange for Peru trade deal” don’t sound out there enough. “Brexit means cabbage” is probably one of our actual negotiating positions, while “Farage blasts EU gravy train whilst holding two other jobs, one of them in America” is actually true, so there’s no mileage in that.

Not only that, but the characters now ambling around centre stage are so thoroughly dislikeable that they’re almost piss-take-proof. They’re the sort of people you invite to a party but really hope don’t come. Imagine asking who’s coming for dinner and hearing “Theresa May, David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson”. You’d have to burn your house down on the spot, wouldn’t you?

That said, these miserable, boring, joyless bastards have a respectably tight line on discipline and sticking to the party line, so we can expect them to be sticking around for the foreseeable. The right have been peddling some impressive linguistic conjuring tricks of late – none better than the ‘liberal metropolitan elite’ line. Forget alternative facts and fake news, that one is an absolute belter, and it’s well ingrained. In reality the elite are as far from liberal as I am from winning World’s Strongest Man. Ditto with ‘liberal media’ – utter, demonstrable tosh, but effective tosh nonetheless. Hats off to the gits.

All the while the left are doing what we always do – tweeting furiously and fracturing like Ryvita. Labour are involved in an infight to the death, the Lib Dems continue to be the Lib Dems, the Guardian is mainly worried that the polenta you’re eating could be misogynist. None of the above seem to have cottoned on to the fact that there might be bigger issues to worry about right now, and that perhaps a spot of joiny joiny forcey forcey might not be a terrible idea.

All in all it’s been a rather depressing few months, and will probably continue in that fashion for some time.

On the plus side, Netflix is putting out some great shows right now. So we’ve always got that until Trump blows up the internet.

Advertisements

Nothing to see here. Carry on.

It’s been, somehow, 8 months since my last post on these pages.

8 months.

I’ve been thinking about the reasons for such an extended absence. The obvious suspects are ‘the twins’: namely endemic laziness and a permanent sense that everything you write is shite of the highest order and your entire readership is just your mum visiting from an exotic range of browsers. These, however, are neither new nor unique, so let’s discount them.

After deep thought and intensive study of current affairs, I have concluded that, startlingly, absolutely nothing of note has occurred in the world since last September. Nothing at all. No material to work with.

I know, I was shocked too. However, I feel as though it is my duty to offer a quick recap on some events that have happened – simply so as to bring the reader up to speed on global affairs. Be warned – I expect this to be a particularly dry and uninteresting list, which should be considered educational in nature. If you are a teacher or other authority figure to the youth, these facts could make a reasonable pop quiz for toddlers, or potentially form part of a three hour exam for the under-5s.

In the UK

Overall, a few trifling issues to report.

On Europe – There has been a small kerfuffle in the Conservative party. As far as I can tell, the Tories have had enough of their current leader and would like another small-minded, braying wanker to replace him. Instead of doing this through the normal channels, they’re embracing democracy and asking the whole country to vote on their favourite. Oh and also whether or not we should be leave the EU.

But mainly the ‘who leads the Tories’ thing. On one side are Cameron and Osborne and a cadre of assorted cronies. Opposing them are Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, who coincidentally also make up the answers to the popular game ‘Name the absolute worst three people you can think of’.

As mentioned, this seems to be about leadership of a political party as opposed to the EU. Of the 137 Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs supporting Vote Leave, 130 of them are Conservative. Overall, however, there is very little information on the actual EU referendum to be had aside from lies, lies and more lies.

Thankfully there is only one sensible option to vote for so this almost definitely won’t have major, life-altering implications for any of us. And as if to help us pick the right option, Johnson and friends have surrounded themselves with a motley collection of odious bastards, and Nigel Farage. They’re even considering flying in nasty horrible racists like Marine Le Pen from around Europe to really hammer home their ‘you really shouldn’t support us’ credentials, as well as demonstrate a pleasingly poor grasp of irony.

In Health, doctors have had a bit of a disagreement with Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary. Quite why they, the experts, think they know better than Hunt, a man with exactly, exactly the same facial expressions as Dougal from Father Ted, is beyond me. Noted simpleton Hunt has concluded, after perhaps seconds of deep thought, that doctors don’t seem to work very hard and maybe they should work more, maybe also for less cash and maybe also at earlier, later and more weekend-y times than they currently do.

When doctors pointed out that they work at these times, get paid fuck all and literally cannot do any more hours without physically killing people, Hunt decided to put his fingers in his ears and sing loudly to drown out the sound, then carry on with his plan to impose an unworkable contract on an exhausted and underfunded workforce. Should the doctors’ unprecedented industrial action fail, they will just have to hope that a contract written in crayon is not legally binding.

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

In Education, see above, except Jeremy Hunt has longer hair and is called Nicky Morgan, and doctors are called teachers, but pretty much the same dynamic is playing out.

In world news

Some French and Belgian guys have attacked bits of their own countries. Therefore, immigrants and refugees should be banned. Look, it doesn’t have to make sense ok?

In the US, there’s a presidential nomination campaign going on and for the Republicans the frontrunner is a man who looks like every picture I ever drew at nursery and speaks like a Microsoft chatbot. His policies comprise: shouting, shouting words, shouting other words. He is the least extreme Republican candidate, and whilst scary, is scary in the same way as a monkey wielding a potato masher.

Potential for some damage, but the poor thing doesn’t actually know what it’s doing. Professionals will handle it.

In Environment news, the world is heating at an unprecedented rate, but look on this as an opportunity to get a crazy good tan on your next trip to Glamorgan.

Finally, in Celebrity, everyone your parents adored is dead. This is also hard for you, as you’ve had to quickly brush up on Bowie songs and learn that Prince was from Minnesota so as not to miss out on the mandatory outpouring of grief. Who cares if you only know them principally from cameos in Zoolander, the world has lost a genius and Twitter needs to hear your pain.

So, as you can see, not much to report. All pretty normal, cheerful stuff. Definitely no impending apocalypse. I’ll keep tabs on anything else that crops up so you don’t have to, and we’ll aim for an update in another 8 months or so.

In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be stocking up on provisions, building a needlessly cramped concrete bunker, weeping inconsolably and learning to scavenge for local London sustenance like wild herbs and fried chicken.

Those survivalists might look mental, but perhaps, grudgingly, they had a point.

Labour confusing words again

The Labour Party – Britain’s premier right of centre left wing political party – has started mixing up its words and phrases again.

As the Labour leadership election contest heats up, many prominent bigwigs have become somewhat lost in the moment and completely lost track of their vocabulary.

The most obvious and oft-repeated mistake of recent days has been the use of the word ‘credible’, where in fact the phrase ‘an utter bastard’ ought to have been deployed.

Key examples include:

labour

 

As well as a fairly widespread attempt to label frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn as “not credible”. In a lightly more complex misunderstanding, many big beasts within the party have apparently, somehow, been using the word ‘electable’ in place of the common phrase, “exactly like the Tories, except wearing a red tie”. Journalists recently recorded a conversation between Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson which shows how commonplace this mis-speech has become:

Blair: This Corbyn fellow – do we think he’d make a good leader?

Mandelson: Well, let’s see. He’s had about 60% of the vote in his constituency for the last 32 years so he must be doing something right.

Blair: That’s good – is he credible though?

Mandelson: No. He’s not a fan of having a large and costly arsenal of those vital nuclear weapons we so desperately need, he’s against selling off literally everything we have, and for some reason he doesn’t think migrants are the cause of all of our problems.

Blair: This sounds bad. I dread to ask, but which countries does he want to bomb?

Mandelson: None of them Tony. None at all. Not even the really oily ones.

Blair: Sweet lord. Please tell me he’s at least electable Peter?

Mandelson: That’s just the thing Tony – I’ve never even seen him in a tie.

Blair: Well this could be a total disaster, we’ll never attract the UKIP vote with that kind of attitude. Tell you what, let’s use our overwhelming publicly popularity to speak out and bury this rabble rouser.

Mandelson: Great idea. And if for some unthinkable reason that doesn’t work, let’s suggest we cancel the election altogether until Corbyn dies and we get a leader who is credible. That would send a great message and not make us look even remotely stupid.

Blair: You’ve still got it Peter. Now, which one of these orphans should we kick next?

Labour does have form in this area – most notably during the reign of Blair when they started using the term ‘has millions of massive nuclear weapons pointed at us RIGHT NOW’ in place of ‘is totally unarmed’ – so this latest episode is not altogether surprising.

Perhaps Corbyn’s radical ideas are just too scary for many to contemplate – a more equal society, a move away from the pursuit of naked profit at all costs, pointing out that perhaps all the money doesn’t need to be shared between about 4 people, spending more cash on schools than on massive tanks – these are all things that surely no ordinary voter could ever align to.

We don’t need a genuine alternative to right wing politics in the UK. What this country surely needs is a Labour party headed by an identikit politician that works hard for the rich and the middle classes, shows a bit of flirtatious ankle to our hard-working billionaires, and installs a death ray that sweeps over Calais roughly every fifteen minutes.

If they don’t fight for these necessities, who will?

Every Scot to get luxury jet to stay in UK

The Better Together campaign has denied descending into panic while simultaneously promising the whole Scots population lavish gifts.

As the Scottish referendum draws near and exactly one poll shows the Yes campaign in a marginal lead, the Better Together campaign have promptly cacked themselves and promised every man, woman and child their choice of a boat, a jet or the pricier option of a lifetime’s supply of Irn-Bru.

Other plans include sending legions of politicians north of the border in order to charm wavering voters. This will likely involve senior Tories, such popular figures in Scotland, telling people what they should think. If this stroke of genius fails to produce the expected 50 point swing to the No campaign, David Cameron will personally stand atop Edinburgh castle and defecate on a Saltire. It is thought that the Scots will be thrilled by such a feral, masculine display of authority and immediately attack Alex Salmond en masse.

Export strength

Export strength

Only if this should also fail will Better Together officially enter panic mode, presumably triggering some kind of small scale nuclear war.

Quite how much to read into one opinion poll – especially one commissioned by a Murdoch paper and then leaked by the man himself, is questionable, but given that the No campaign has been run under the slogan of ‘It’s in the bag!’ since day one it is not really surprising that the Yes campaign have started to gain ground.

Alistair Darling and his eyebrows will point toward the less-than-sporting approach adopted by the Yes campaign: a refusal to answer any major question, a commitment to the truth that would make Fox News proud, and a fundamental misunderstanding of what independence means that is genuinely alarming – but it’s tough to have much sympathy when his campaign has had all the substance of a quite, damp fart.

Television out of ideas

All viable ideas for television programmes have been used, broadcasters fear.

The hour-long, recurring, behind-the-scenes documentary about how teams are selected for University Challenge, a show whose high points include discussing the ‘bite point’ of a buzzer, has confirmed  that television has finally reached the end of the creative line.

The writing has been on the wall for some time for the medium. Punters have begun to notice that shows have lacked a certain level of originality, falling into one of three categories:

  1. celebrities performing active task in glittery or skimpy outfits
  2. amateurs perform whimsical craft, to be judged mercilessly by tossers or the elderly
  3. one hour show about thirty minute show

While the first is perhaps not a new phenomenon, the formats are becoming increasingly obscure. Production meetings now consist of bored executives etching words onto dog biscuits and letting the office terrier go mental – the last remaining biscuit-idea is then made into a primetime show. This method has been responsible for classics like Tumble and Splash – and rumoured to be in the pipeline are Animal Husbandry and Chess, although producers are still struggling with the idea that is simply titled ‘Goats’.

"No idea is a bad idea"

“No idea is a bad idea”

The second group of shows, a more recent but still well-worn format, effectively involves taking a middle-class pastime, gathering ‘talented amateurs’ and then making them fight each other to produce ludicrous gifts for maniacal overlords. Great British Bake Off is of course the best-known example. The shows rely on taking something that makes inherently dull viewing, like baking, sewing or one-pot slow cookery, and tarting them up with outlandish challenges. It is not enough to simply make a nicely-baked bun – contestants must stack and glue the buns into an exact, life-sized replica of Paul Hollywood’s naked form or risk a physical beating from a riled-up octagenarian. Future series include Loft of the Year and the Great British Ironing Some Shirts Contest.

Finally, the new class of dross – the show about a show. As well as the aformentioned crime that is ‘Watching socially awkward children try and apply for a quiz show, then talk about quizzes, then practice quizzes’, the Bake Off makes another appearance with ‘An Extra Slice’, which can only be awful. Their origins can probably be traced back to Big Brother’s Little Brother, which speaks volumes. Their main features are that they are longer than the actual shows they are about, and almost compellingly boring.

The current lineup is just the tip of the iceberg; as schedules become more and more devoid of things to go in them and people start noticing they’re watching a re-run of a re-run, expect to see new delights such as ‘Getting Ready for Work’: An in-depth look at people getting ready for work, before leaving for menial office jobs. This will accompany the major new series ‘Work’, documenting people doing their jobs and occasionally weeping into their tea.

By 2016 it is predicted that television will just comprise a live feed of whoever is watching it, sitting on their sofa, watching themselves, with information on how to tweet along displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Which is still better than Eastenders.

Tossers replaced by arseholes in political earthquake

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has declared a glorious new era in British politics after his shower of arseholes narrowly defeated several bunches of tossers in the European elections.

The European and council elections, which are so important that a) they’re buy one get one free and b) the only people who bothered to vote were the people who have a lot of spare time on their hands on a Thursday and/or are easily led by questionable claims on immigration, were an apparently seismic shift in the British political landscape. Farage promised a political earthquake, which itself was an odd thing to promise given that earthquakes are often, and indeed always, associated with destruction, ruin and death rather than positive change. He duly delivered a tremor which is surely on a par with the legendary Folkestone earthquake of 2007, which caused mild damage to chimney pots and shook a lady’s wardrobe handles.

Seismic.

Seismic.

The charismatic, compared to Cameron, Miliband or a tree, UKIP leader has spent the past two days braying like an aroused donkey, and has now swanned off to Brussels to stare distrustingly at the Polish delegation and complain loudly about how EU is law strangling Britain whilst staying within arm’s reach of the buffet at all times. He is then planning an assault on Westminster – it is unclear whether this will be a political, physical or sexual assault, but Westminster has been advised to start carrying pepper spray and avoid dark alleys.

In other exciting news, voter turnout has been confirmed at a shade over 34%, which is much like one person voting for a threesome while the other two are in the toilet, then them having to go through with it when they get back, and that being absolutely fine.

The other major political parties, and the Lib Dems, have responded in typically sterling fashion to this latest setback by promising to get more in touch with the electorate – even though the electorate have shown that they probably shouldn’t even be touched with a ten foot barge pole. David Cameron has done his best puppy dog eyes before claiming that UKIP was pretty much his idea, and Ed Miliband has tried hard to give the impression that he is human, while Nick Clegg has seemingly taken to permanent weeping and visiting all nine of his voters personally, which has been on the cards for some time now.

So what can we expect in this brave new world? Perhaps the biggest difference to daily life will be that the man who used to use phrases like ‘Johnny Foreigner’ and ‘dirty, untrustworthy, thieving bastard types’ in the pub is now your elected representative, with all the wonderful benefits that will bring. Expect heightened levels of general incompetence coupled with occasional bouts of homophobia.

In Europe, the EU will move from talking about shared values and doing very little, to talking about self interests and doing very little and not letting the Romanian delegate out of sight.

As for the general election next year, who knows. If we believe UKIP, we’ll probably have been overrun by a tidal wave of immigrants and choked to death by bureaucracy this time next year, so it probably won’t matter anyway.

Seven a day ‘is not an April Fool’s joke’, say scientists

The clearly laughable call from health professionals for Britons to eat at least seven portions of fruit and veg a day is not a hilarious April Fool’s joke, it has been revealed.

The new advice, building on the optimistic ‘five a day’ guidelines which have been widely circulated and widely ignored for a number of years, comes after scientists discovered a link between good health and the consumption of things that grow in the ground and aren’t necessarily fried in sugar.

“No, we are serious”, stressed a scientist at the Centre for Research into Well-Timed Press Releases, “It has to be seven. We found that people who ate seven bits of fruit or veg in a day lived longer, and they probably had very similar lifestyles to our hard-drinking, sedentary, pizza-loving control group. It can only be the fruit and veg. So we’re rolling this advice out nationwide.

“No, I don’t think this is a strange day to release this report.”

"All you have to do is eat all of this. Every day."

“All you have to do is eat all of this. Every day.”

The response from the public has alternated between chortling and confusion:

Chortling – “Good joke”

Confusion – “What do you mean it isn’t a joke, it’ April Fool’s Day and this is ridiculous”

Chortling – “I average three vegetables a week, three of which are potato-based”

Confusion – “Can I even name seven?”

Chortling – “Fuck it, I’ll just drink wine instead”

Confusion – “Does wine count? Surely it does? It’s grapes no?”

Chortling – “Seven wines! Ace”

Quite how well people will respond to these new guidelines is yet to be seen, although given that roughly 100% of us get nowhere near five a day it seems unlikely that the push to seven will unleash a tidal wave of vegetable consumption in which rabid shoppers attack market stalls, gorging themselves on marrows and various legumes, the fleshy pulp dripping from their gaping maws.

It might, obviously, but it does seem unlikely.

What’s more likely is that maybe, occasionally, a very small slice of the population might allow an extra carrot to invade their dinner.

What’s even more likely, so likely in fact that it is probably already happening, is that everyone will laugh, actively pretend it was all an April Fool’s joke, and continue refusing to eat healthily until the government relent and allows crisps, chocolate and cheese to count towards the total.

Then we’ll smash seven a day.