Archive for the 'politics' Category

26
Jul
10

How I am single-handedly saving the planet with my (vast) collection of Bags for Life

According to Friends of the Earth, every household has around 80 plastic bags – including Bags For Life – in their possession.

By ‘in their possession’, I assume they mean ‘stuffed in a drawer’ or ‘rapidly filling the car boot’ rather than suggesting that people carry 80 plastic bags on their person at all times.

That would be ridiculous. I can only fit about 22 in my coat without looking like a terrorist.

Asking for a single-use plastic bag at a shop counter is now only marginally more socially acceptable than lighting up a fag in a pre-school and asking an asthmatic toddler to hold the packet while you open another can of lager.

This man has never, ever used a plastic bag. Or a bar of soap.

If you do forget to scale the Bag For Life mountain before you go shopping, you are duty bound to buy yet another BFL lest you are singled out as the kind of person that chokes birds on the seashore or fly-tips in beauty spots for larks.

Generally, the reason I forget to bring my shopping bags into shops is because I ‘only pop in for a loaf of bread’, only to be utterly hoodwinked by absolutely any offer being advertised in-store. One loaf of bread swiftly becomes a basket full of Buy One Get One Free offers that truly could feed the 5,000 and definitely couldn’t be carried to the car without a bag.

The new bag joins its plastic siblings until the mountain grows so high that even I can’t ignore it any longer. At that point, I take a bag full of bags to a charity shop so they can offer them to customers.

Yes: I use my own profligate bag buying to make me look good. I truly am the scum of the Earth.

The answer, of course, is to carry those jute bags, aka Bags That Smell For Life. I have about 50 of them, too, and the charity shop won’t take them on the grounds that since Mary Portas (ruthless reality TV show retail doyenne), they’ve moved away from selling unpleasant things that whiff and started charging £3.50 for Peter Andre’s autobiography even though you can get it on eBay for 99p.

But that’s another story, and one that makes me look miserly as opposed to selfish, so we’ll save it for another day.

NB: Britons believe that all Americans carry their shopping home in brown paper bags. Is this true? I’d like to see you try that trick with my weekly shopping.

24
Feb
09

Pale Face woman she need Medicine Man

I have an underlying blood condition that makes me, on occasion, a pale shadow of my former self. Quite literally.

If I don’t mainline spinach and yeast extract on an hourly basis and ensure that I pump myself full of bowel-clogging iron supplements (too much information, but proof if ever you needed it that I truly am full of shit) I tend to fall over. Often in public places, although notably once head first into my mother’s compost bin – when I came round, she was picking coffee grounds and carrot peel off my face like an ape removes fleas from its mate.

Anyway, having forgone the usual iron rations, suffered a bout of Scarlet Fever and continually worked the kind of hours that would have made Aleksei Stakhanovite claim for constructive dismissal, I have welcomed back my old friend, anaemia. Frankly, Scarlet Fever was far more flattering to the complexion – presently, I look as if I have recently crawled out from beneath a dank rock, having first doused myself in Dulux’ green-tinged ‘apple white’ paint.

The best case scenario is that I spend several months downing spinach, yeast extract and Guinness smoothies, the worst case scenario involves a blood transfusion.While I am inordinately grateful to those who have donated an armful of claret to the national blood bank and saved my life on at least two occasions, I can’t say that a transfusion is something anyone in their right mind looks forward to. Even vampires prefer the warm stuff, and I can’t help but wish that there was somewhat more of a selection process with blood, like there is with sperm donations. I’d like my blood to be from someone who likes pina coladas and making love in the rain but doesn’t like yoga (and has half a brain), if possible, please.

**Topical reference!! Rupert Holmes who wrote Escape (The Pina Colada Song) is 62 today! Yes, he likes Pina Colada, and getting caught in the rain (etc) **

**Topical reference!! Rupert Holmes who wrote 'Escape (The Pina Colada Song)' is 62 today! Yes, he likes Pina Colada, and getting caught in the rain (etc) **

Having been ordered to ‘take it easy’ (hollow laugh, shaking of head, deep sigh) I find myself working from home with only trips to the doctor’s surgery to entertain me. They have become somewhat of a highlight, with their never-ending supply of ill people just dying (sometimes quite literally) to tell you their symptoms. I include myself within their number.

I have gone from a miserable misanthrope likely to spray tear gas in your eyes if you so much as greeted me in the street to one of those people who, when you ask them how they are feeling, tells you. For half an hour. Minimum. I now purposely try and catch the eye of other patients (not literally, I’m not a gory juggler) so I can tell them in painful detail just how ill I am feeling.

If I’m really lucky, the whole eye-catching-thing will lead to a really gratifying round of martyr’s poker in which I can see the old man next to me’s ulcerated leg and glaucoma and raise him a “funny turn” in the Co-op near my house and an inexplicable and disfiguring rash.

At the very least, the surgery is a place where I can sneeze without benefit of a handkerchief and spread a little of the love in the full knowledge that most people will be grateful for some new symptoms to bore other people to death with.

On the plus side, I will shortly be accompanying Derek ‘Ghost Hunter’ Acorah (apologies to my Stateside friends, I believe Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are your equivalent) on a paranormal investigation in a ‘haunted’ house and will, I would imagine, provide all the ghostly presence such a venture could ever require. By night vision camera, I would imagine I will be almost luminous. On the minus side, I’m not sure I’ll count as a bonafide ghost – for a start, I actually exist.

11
Feb
09

a sneak peek inside bono’s diary (or ‘how to save the world in seven days’)

If world hunger could be solved by relentless self-publicity and rampant egotism, Bono could have single-handedly fed the world and left Africa facing an obesity epidemic years ago.

Admit it, U2 are loathesome. They’re a Nu Labour Dire Straits for people who smoked joss sticks at university because they were too scared to try cannabis. Bono wears stupid glasses. His trousers are too tight.  His anti-drugs stand makes me glad that most rock stars snort coke off hookers’ inner thighs because it means they’re too wasted to start lecturing us about global warming/Aids/third world debt/the donkey sanctuary at Sidmouth.

Talking about debt, have you seen how much it costs to see U2 live? Go and see them more than once in a lifetime and you’ll need Bono to negotiate with your building society to prevent your house being repossessed.

U2 have a new album out. Bono is going to be everywhere, all over again. Banging on. Singing. Both are equally irritating.

Lets make Bono history. And The Edge. And the other two.

Let's make Bono history. And The Edge. And the other two.

A typical week for Bono:

Monday: Summit meetings with Afghan warlords. Lunch/colonic irrigation at Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s house. Use Apple Martin’s puppet theatre to recreate historical scenes of abuse from the Abu Ghraib prison to raise her awareness of humanitarian issues.

Tuesday: Crisis talks with Israeli defence ministers over arms sales to India. During coffee break, draft plan on napkin to end all famine before Sunday teatime. Lunch in leprosy colony. E-conference with Beckhams to solve marital problems. Create scale model of Taj Mahal from Lego for son’s pre-school ‘build a house’ project. Send it home on Lear jet.

Wednesday: Meet with Palestinian Authority President at gym. Agree to 15-minute acoustic set at his birthday party if he imposes an immediate moratorium on prisoner executions. Meet The Edge at tapas bar. Write new platinum-selling album: ‘Unchallenging Pop Songs for Morons’.

Thursday: Turn back the tides. Feed the 5,000 with one KFC bargain bucket and a ‘go large’ milkshake.

Friday: Breakfast with authorities in Guatemala to persaude them to incorporate a wider ranging gender perspective into their policy making. Photo call at UN headquarters. Swear (“crikey!”) during live TV interview about the ivory trade. Muffins and cocktails with Elton John.

Saturday: Grant Pope an audience and put forward 30-year plan for Catholic church. Personally intervene when hotel runs out of Champagne with stock from private vineyard. Video conference with family. Note there appears to be a new child, apparently born in 2002.

Sunday: Smoke joss sticks and listen to Dire Straits.

Another reason I hate U2: my first ‘proper’ boyfriend decided, unilaterally, to choose ‘our song’ It was ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’. He claimed not to see the irony. Three years later, he found what he was looking for: my best friend. Five years after that, she found what SHE was looking for: Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosh (does that mean ANYTHING to you out there in the US? I doubt it. Sorry). Them’s tricks.

08
Feb
09

Why women love bastards – and how you can be one

Another of my friends has become enamoured with an arsehole – and science has provided her with the perfect excuse to keep putting up with his bastardry.

It’s been a confusing few months for women – on the one hand we have new research that women are hard-wired to find ruthless, unpleasant bastards attractive, on the other Harriet Harman announced a new Equality Bill that will force firms to reveal the salary gap between their male and female staff.

On the plus side, this means that some of the callous, self-obsessed and deceitful men that have been underpaying us for years will get their come-uppance, on the minus side we’ll probably end up sleeping with them for their troubles.

According to scientist Peter Jonason, women’s attraction to bad boys is the work of ‘the dark triad’ which is, before you get even more excited, a set of three unpleasant personality traits and not a really awesome kung-fu gang that operate at night.

Hold on to your petticoats, ladies, its the Dark Triad!

Hold on to your petticoats, ladies, it's the Dark Triad!

Apparently, it’s self-obsession, callousness and deceitfulness that really get women’s pulses racing because we equate men behaving like arses with masculinity and the ability to father healthy children.

The key for men who want to knock up as many women as possible before doing an early runner is to have the right amount of dark triad traits – too many and you’re a social outcast, just enough and you’re every lady’s favourite swordsman. Frankly, I’m not sure who comes out of this looking worse – the men who worship both Satan and the mirror or the gullible women who put up with them.

Jonason went on to give James Bond as the ultimate example of the kind of man that women find irresistible, telling New Scientist: “He’s clearly disagreeable, very extroverted and likes trying new things – killing people, new women…” Well, everyone’s got to have a hobby or two.

A bed-hopping psychopath with commitment issues - dreamy!

James Bond: A bed-hopping, crotch grabbing psychopath with commitment issues - dreamy!

Now I’ve met plenty of self-obsessed, callous, deceitful men (and, in the spirit of Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill, lots of self-obsessed, callous and deceitful women, too) but not one of them could have been compared to James Bond. For a start, not many international playboys are in the habit of living with their parents, driving a Mini Metro or being sick in my lap after one too many lagers.

James Bond may employ the dark triad in order to get women into bed, but in fairness, there are several mitigating factors that would probably make a one-night stand with him seem slightly less regrettable than normal the next morning. For example:

(a) James Bond is eye-wateringly attractive.

(b) James Bond is exceptionally, ridiculously rich.

(c) James Bond has a single digit sonic agitator unit on his ring finger. Imagine how that could liven up a dull evening.

(d) James Bond drives an Aston Martin that’s worth more than your house.

(e) James Bond may sleep with lots of women, but at least he’s choosy: all his bedfellows are required by law to have a name like Christmas Jones, Holly Goodhead, Harlot Bignips or Vixen Lovepocket.

(f) James Bond is unlikely to say: “If you’re looking for somewhere to sit, love, you can always try my face.”

(g) James Bond’s stories about his day at work are genuinely interesting.

(h) James Bond does not wear a t-shirt that says ‘Let’s Play Hide the Sausage’ or ‘If Found, Return to The Pub’.

(i) James Bond does not get involved in tawdry street fights, rather he harpoons his enemies to trees, or cuts them in half with a laser or a hovering killer tea tray.

(j) James Bond never pretends he’s going to call you. He’s James Bond. Simply being alive the next morning is bonus enough.

In a nutshell, being seduced by James Bond – even if he is partial to other women and killing people – is probably more fulfilling than spending the night with a more run-of-the-mill womaniser who can’t bring any spy gadgets, helicopters or speedboats to the party.

Jonason also believes that the dark triad traits may be genetic, meaning that some men are literally unable to stop behaving badly because they’re following an obscure evolutionary strategy developed specifically to impregnate/annoy women. If this is evolution, I think I may have to start believing in God.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however (for women, at least), because the seduction techniques of the dark triads are only a short-term strategy for making babies. Women tend to settle down with nice men rather than one-man population explosions who pretend they’ve been in the SAS, continually rabbit on about their muscles and then make you sleep in the wet patch.

This leaves nice men picking up the pieces from their partner’s last relationship with a womanising cad who they will always suspect their girlfriend fancied more than them and a host of ancient dark triad merchants propping up bars across the land muttering about how they used to be ‘a player’ and trying to seduce your Nan.

Interestingly, the same research discovered that women aren’t considered irresistible if they’re callous, self-obsessed and deceitful, although if we get Harriet Harman on the case, we might be able to make it law on the grounds of equal rights before the next election.

PS J, if you’re reading, A is a twat.




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