Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pope, the rainforest and the gays

Something that caught my attention just before Christmas was the message from His Holiness, the Pope, and his rather headline-grabbing comment that, as paraphrased when reported by the BBC, that 'saving humanity from homosexuality was just as important as saving the rainforest'.

My immediate and obvious gut-reaction to this, probably in line with the reaction of any other rational and open-minded person on this earth (not to mention the gay community) was: 'so how important is saving the rainforest?'

It's all too easy to assume the Pope is having a go at homosexuality, but has anybody paused to think that maybe he just got an irrational dislike of trees, particularly those in Brazil? Maybe he believes the tree roots point down towards the devil and might lead the local indians towards Satanism. Maybe that's why so many missionaries went to South America (and whilst they were down there they could pulp more wood from those pesky trees to print even more bibles).

So there you go, maybe he really loves gay people (but not in that way of course). He just really really hates trees and has a secret cunning plan to make ever christian household cut one down and plant them in their living rooms every year. Oh hang on.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Panda Pops over t'neighbours

The Chinese-made JZ-3600D Missile, nicknamed "The Panda" by journalists.

Taken from the Daily Laim, London.

China is at it again, and its latest victim as the RED DRAGON strives to become TOP DOG of Asia is poor old Taiwan.

In an attempt to BAMBOOzle the Taiwanese, China have sent two PANDAS to Taipei Zoo as a unashamedly political bribe for unification. Well you can't accuse China of PANDERing to the wishes of independence-minded Taiwanese, as they unleash a PANDEmic of cuddly propaganda symbols on the world that will surely result in ecological PANDEmonium for the species.

But one consolation is at least they won't be stealing work for lower wages from the local native species of bear.


Translated from the Workers' and Doctors' and Nurses' and Farmers' and Workers' Daily, Beijing

Today heralds a great new chapter in the history of cross-straits relations. With the arrival of Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, the cute and lovable symbols of Chinese hope and conciliation, at Taipei zoo, personally received by the President Ma, peoples on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have but one more thing in common.

The historic arrival of these rare and endangered species is but only one sign of thawing relations between both parties, what with the resumption of direct air and postal traffic between the two entities.

We hope this signifies one more tiny step toward a resolution of the historic and painful issues separating the peoples of Taiwan and mainland China. It is an unstoppable fact of history that there will be a re-union, as predicted by Lennonism when a Free Marx economy is controlled through rigorous application of Communist/Consumerist dogma in its purest form.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Xmas (War is over)

Well, Christmas time is here again, it comes but once a year.... that sounds like the first line of a naff Christmassy song doesn't it? It probably exists if I wanted to spend enough time to dig it out. Talking about Christmas songs (the non-naff variety, this time) I just want to write about what I consider to be undoubtedly the best Christmas song. Ever. It is of course John and Yoko's Merry Xmas (War is Over)

And these are the reasons why this is the song I reach for every Yuletime ahead of any other Christmas tune anyone may care to record.

1. It's another classic John Lennon song.

Yes, it's got a great and instantly recognisable guitar chord progression and the first line of John Lennon's distinct vocals launches you straight into 3 and a half minutes of pure unadulterated joy.

2. It's produced by Phil Spector.

The legendary producer of so many classic songs including the 1963 Christmas Gift For You album took the helm as producer and he's done a splendid job once again, despite Yoko Ono barging in and applying her own, erm, unique vocals to the master tape. Imagine the honour, joy and prestige to be told that none other than John Lennon wants YOU to produce his next single. Now imagine being told Yoko wants to sing on it too. Imagine no Yoko singing (it's easy if you try). Without being too unkind on her, all I can say is that at least Linda McCartney (rest in peace) was able to vaguely sing in tune on his ex-Beatle husband's songs. So what does ol' Phil decide to do? Bring in a load of schoolchildren to sing the chorus behind Ms Ono so that it almost drowns out Mrs Lennon's warbling AND also adds a superb new angle to the anti-war message of the song. Ge-ni-us.

3. The lyrics

Rather than having twee lyrics about chestnuts roasting by the fireside and people dressed up like snowmen, and other idealised images of a non-realistic mid-winter paradise that only exists in Richard Curtis' mind, this song injects a political message that blends exceedingly well with the classic Christmas message of peace on earth and goodwill to all men. It's a message that was very apt in 1971 against the backdrop of Vietnam. It's still very apt now.

4. It's not yet another piece of manufactured rubbish from the bl**dy X Factor.

Need I explain any more? Thanks to Simon Cowell and his stooges, the music charts have now become even more predicatable and boring than the English Football Premiership.

And on that note I'd like to wish everybody on this Earth a fantastic Christmas and a very peaceful 2009. Except for Simon Cowell that is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Naff t-shirts

I've just had a road-to-Damascus experience (well actually it wasn't on an actual road and I definitely wasn't going anywhere near Damascus, but I couldn't just call it a "standing in my wet and cold bathroom" experience).

The vision and the truth that came to me in a blinding flash of, erm, water is this great pearl of wisdom: humanity is built upon that solid bedrock of civilisation, the naff t-shirt.

Don't you feel sorry for the poor downtrodden runt of the fashion family? Whenever family and friends go on holiday anywhere vaguely interesting (or Frankfurt) they always buy you a t-shirt with the name of the city or country blazened in glorious PVC with, if you're lucky, a naff picture of the symbol of that place alongside. Like a red bus. Or a pie. Or something. When you receive said gifts, you think "what a nice thought, but am I actually ever going to wear it in the company of any other member of the human race?"

Well... actually... I actually do, do I. No-one ever SEES me wearing them, but the reality is that I actually wear naff t-shirts all the time! (I actually wear them more than I use the word "actually", actually.) I wear them in bed every night, I wear them hidden under other clothing every day in winter, and I even wear them under work shirts if said work shirts are thick and dark enough to mask the crime against taste and tourism that lurks beneath. I have a mammoth stock of the stuff breeding away and perpetually in the cycle of wash, dry, wear, wash, dry, wear, wash, dry, wear, until they start getting a bit stale and tatty, and then I cheerfully continue to wash, dry, wear them until they begin to really fall apart and beg me to put the proverbial gun against its proverbial temple (if it had one) to put it out of its sartorial misery.

That's when phase 2 begins and they begin a whole new life as rags in the kitchen, rags in the bathroom, and rags everywhere in the home, to be used to mop up dirt and mop up water and just generaly be very useful in keeping the place clean. Why buy cleaning cloths from the supermarket when you have a wardrobe full of them, which, as long as Ryanair are in business will continue to be stocked with naff t-shirts from all over the world!

Maybe it's just a Chinese thing in that saving money through squeezing value out of the naffest of your possesions is the only true path to happiness. But it's better than actually wearing them in public view, shurely?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shannon's Mum

Shannon Matthews' mum. A recent radio program recently asked the public: 'is she evil or stupid'? Well, I think a certain A. Hitler of Austria might have pipped her to post in the 'evil' stakes, but I can't think of anyone who can beat her for sheer stupidity. And poor old Shannon herself. Some souls are lucky and born to loving and decent parents. Others are, to put it briefly, not.

When I first heard about the abduction of Shannon Matthews a while ago I was immediately struck by the image and sound of her mother on television. No matter how sorry I felt for their predicament, especially after Madelaine McCann, a little part of my brain could not help but think about what kind of family Shannon was from. To the best of my abilities I tried to repress my middle-class judgements on the way her mother looked, spoke, and came across and tried to concentrate on just feeling very sad and sorry and wishing and praying that the world avoids yet another unsolved child abduction tragedy.

Now with hindsight that her mother had orchestrated her own daughter's kipnap, drugging and imprisonment in an idiotic and fumbled attempt to grab some reward money, I actually feel quite free to throw caution to the wind and tell the world what I think of her. Is it too unkind to call her a cross between Waynetta Slobb and a character from Viz magazine? Yes it probably is: she's just Waynetta Slobb. And where on earth are her braincells? Did she plan on using any of them?? If you were planning a wicked scheme to obtain £50,000 through immoral deceit, wouldn't you at least sit down, think about it first and try to get your "story" straight? Not Shannon Matthews's mum, it seems, who spun out 5 different versions of her side of the story. To the police. And what was her story(ies) going to be when wanted to finally claim the reward money? Oh yes I was just walking on my way to Iceland when I found her chained to a lamp-post on the high-street? She just got a little lost on her home from school and took a months-long detour? She had been stuck in the toilet at her step-dad's house all this time and everybody was too busy looking for her to hear her shouts and complaints?? It must have been aliens???

And presuming Shannon Matthews a) has the ability to speak, b) feels a little more than slightly annoyed at being kidnapped, sedated and locked up by her own "step-dad" what were the odds of her deciding to stick to her mother's version of how she was abducted? (When she finally decides which one to stick to)

So has there been any Good eminating from Shannon Matthews's mum's existence on this very planet that we all share together? Putting on my thinking-cap of hope and enlightenment here's my attempt at a list.

1. She makes you thankful for the parents you've got.

My parents may not be perfect, and by god parents of British Born Chinese certainly know how to be aggressive and pushy and to liberally sprinkle you with cultural and moral dilemmas, but at least they never drugged me up, tied me up and then forced me underneath a bed, to only bungle the whole enterprise. (My parents would have been much more competent.)

2. She makes you glad you studied hard at school.

At school if you were mischevious, badly-behaved and rebellious, you were cool and popular. If you studied hard and did well in exams, you were spoddy, square and Nobby No-Mates. Those who decided not to succomb to the Dark Side should be glad of the path they chose, otherwise they could have ended up like Shannon Matthew's mum. Or even worse, one of her boyfriends.

3. Erm, I can't think of a third positive thing about Shannon's Matthew's Mum. Damn you thinking-cap of hope and enlightenment.