Friday, 16 December 2016

INTO THE MOUTHS OF BABES




So. (Interactional agenda conjunction)

Last week we covered the Nativity.
We’re not going to examine the role of the shepherds or the donkey at this point.
It could be argued that they are benign plot devices shoe-horned in, in order to drive the narrative in favour of multiple junior acting roles.
But we disagree.
This week we’re going to look at drugs;  and more importantly, states of inebriation.

SPOILER ALERT:
The following piece does question the very existence of Father Christmas.
(It’s a free country though).

Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, Old Nick, Kris Kringle, or ‘out-of-work pantomime actor in false beard’.
We all know that the benevolent house-breaker was another fantastical fable-hijack from the Christian church.
Krampus had been putting naughty children to the sword way before the dark ages, and it was only really sclerotic adherence to catholic dogma, coupled with an obsessive desire to imbibe ergot-ridden body bread and hooch strength blood wine, that really paved the way for Saint Nicholas.
Beatification, canonisation and intercessional prayers were the mainstay of medieval Christianity.
Add all of this to the hysteria caused by the presence of relics, and your Average Joseph could reach serotonal heights that crack, meth and even Fentanyl would struggle to replicate.
Every one of the holiest of holies had a feast day, and good old Sant a la Nicklaus had THREE!
All in December – All slap bang in the middle of the pagan feast of Yuletide.
God, Baby Jesus & their extended celestial family had the Winter Solstice at gunpoint, way before explosive weapons were invented.

And despite the Reformation, and good old Oliver Cromwell’s attempts at banning Xmas, this is pretty much how it remained until the industrial revolution, when socio-economics, class, philanthropy and a century of opiate-addiction, changed the festive mural from one of religious fervour, to one of festive celebration.

And we all know what happened next!
Imperialism, enlightenment, state schooling, mass-production, the King of Norway, Quality Street & the quaker/slave dichotomy, Prince Albert, Weihnachten , Christkindl, Hitler, Bayer, Big Pharma, barbiturates, Eden, Suez and Morecambe & Wise.
All washed down with several bottles of sugar & cocaine………….

Our new god was Consumption.
Our ventromedial pre-frontal cortexes were ripe for exploitation.
And money would be the drug that opened our wallets with ease.

This new idol was a long way from the legend of Krampus.
But with enough inebriation we could easily equate the Amazonian Clarkson with a kidnapper.

But why the red & white livery you ask?
Why the invasion of the home for nefarious purposes?
Why always a man?
The answer pre-dates all of the above
Our traditions have their roots some thousands of years before Baby Jesus was even invented.

In the frozen lands of Northern Europe, the only things that grew in the perpetual darkness of an Ice Age Winter were hardy root crops and fungi.
Lack of vitamins C & D ensured a poor quality of health.
Any sustenance brought into the ubiquitous yurt (think Latitude or Glasters) was revered and given celebratory status.
The delivery man was the much-lauded shaman, and he would enter the abode via the only aperture, that also served as a chimney.
The best gift he could procure at these darkest of times was the hallucinatory toadstool, or fly agaric.
Its vermillion red cap dotted with white spots was a sign that health would be restored, celebrations would occur and the season would be merrier than anticipated.
Fly agaric contains the toxic ibotenic acid.
If steeped over several hours, the process produces the psychoactive drug Muscimol.
Shamen would eat the toadstools, then offer their urine for drinking!
Yep! Totes!
And a jolly good Yuletide would be had by all.
(This form of traditional celebration lasted for over 4000 years, relegating Coca Cola, Krampus, Saint Nick & Baby Jesus very much to the footnotes).


So. (Grammatically acceptable, but rather weak usage)
In summary:
When your children open their Hermes/Yodel/Amazon delivered gadgets, toys and unrecyclable tut, you’re actually just reviving the centuries-old ancient  tradition of pissing down their throats.

Happy Christmas!
Holidays are coming – Make sure it’s the Real Thing!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

MIKE



In the interests of balance & equality,  I’d just like to say that my recent journey back from the West Country was faultless.
I am a curmudgeon when it comes to rail travel.

My tickets were valid, and accepted by both machine & man.
The trains arrived (almost) on time, and they were half-term busy, but not overcrowded.
South West Trains free wi-fi was again ‘excellent’, and Abellio managed to get me to my destination without too much hassle.

I would also like to re-iterate that I adore London Underground.
It’s a completely different kettle of fish when compared to the fractured, self-interested, privatised rail operators, and I am always amazed at how they manage to keep millions of us on the move;
efficiently, democratically (no First Class elitism here!) and daily, regardless of whether it is a weekend or a windy, leafy, rainy, hot day.

I saw the power of a smile today.
A Bakerloo train full of tourists and people of all shapes & sizes.
A little boy fascinated by his own reflection.
An infectious giggle, followed by a series of smiles, passed willingly around the carriage;
first with him, then all of us with each other.
I could’ve wept it was so sweet.
Let's be honest, there is far too much hate and resentment in this world; and even though I know I am a perpetrator of ill-feeling towards my ‘enemies’ and The Establishment and The Man, I would like it to be known that my anger is contained, and reserved entirely for social-media (and the odd demo).

But loving shit, as I'm learning albeit slowly, is so much easier than hating stuff.

I spent the latter half of my journey chatting to a fella of a similar age, also from south of the Thames, also on his way to visit an ailing father in hospital.
He was struggling with modern public transport and needed a wee, so asked me to watch his bags.
When he returned we both discussed our inabilities to find a WC at Stratford.
I let him know about the one deep inside Westfield Shopping Centre, and we laughed about how it was never an issue back in the old days, when every station had a toilet, but we were young enough to hold on.
It then transpired that his father had been a Warrant Officer in the forces for many years, similar to my father. They had both been stationed in Aden & Cyprus, and were both of the same age.
They were also both in the throes of fighting their final battle, and we couldn’t help thinking that the Sergeants’ Mess  on ‘the other side’ was gearing up for an onslaught of Douglas Dakota aficionados.
Mike had recently been trying to arrange a series of football games between his two loves, Crystal Palace and Panionios in Southern Athens. They were amateur level games between supporters.
He had also seen a large influx of Syrian & Yemeni refugees to the area, and was hoping to develop tournaments that helped with the integration of the new population.
Panionios were famous for embracing migrants from Izmir in the early part of the last century.
And despite having no financial backing nor any assistance, Mike saw this as his raison d’etre.
I told him to contact the Eagles' biggest corporate sponsor Nestle’, and demand that they support his cause.
I insisted.
It was all I had.
I then shook his hand, wished him well and disembarked the train at Ipswich.

When Mike dumped his bag in front of me "busting for a piss",  I felt the same sort of affront that anyone does when they’ve claimed a table-seat all to themselves, only to have it snatched in a last minute coup, by an outsider or foreigner that insists on sharing.
I outlined my space with demarcation gadgets, coffee flasks and rail tickets, and made it clear that he wasn’t to sit opposite me at the window, by stretching out my dungaree’d leg barriers.
I immersed myself in the details of my phone’s message inbox, whilst peering surreptitiously from behind the safety of my paperback fence.

He wasn’t familiar to me.
Not a friend.
Not an acquaintance, nor even an eye-catching pretty girl.
A stranger who seemingly had nothing in common with me.
A public transport ‘refugee’,  from another place entirely.
None of my business.

That was until we established the fact that, at some point in our journeys, we both needed a wee.
A normal bodily function.
Just like everyone else.

I hope Mike got to see his dad before it was too late.
I hope no-one is denied access to their parents at times of crisis.

And I thank him for reminding me that despite our perceived differences, we are all essentially the same.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE.





Ok.
So you wake-up on June 24th and you haven’t won.
You’ve put your money and your ballot paper on the losers.
The complete opposite of what you wanted to happen has happened.
What do you do?

Do you accept graciously that the other team won fair & square?
It was a referendum.
Everyone that was eligible to vote was offered the vote.
There was a choice, and it was quite a simple one.
It wasn’t a complicated question like ‘Which one of these five candidates do you want to win?’.
It wasn’t complicated like asking you to put five candidates in order of preference.
It wasn’t asking you to decide which government you’d like to run the UK?
(It’s June 24th 2016 – The Tory ‘majority’ is still very much in charge).
And it wasn’t asking you to ‘presidentially’ decide on the bad guy or the less bad woman.

It was a two-horse race, and more people put their money on the other horse.
Fair.
And square.

Or…….

Do you cry helplessly?  
Then move-on, as you did the week before, when England’s football team brexited early from the European Finals?

“There’s more to life than politics.
They're all pretty much the same anyway, and Wimbledon’s on the telly now.
C’mon Tim!
(And can we record Big Brother please?)”


Or……

Do you get angry?
Really fuckin’ angry!
You clearly live in a country populated by _________ (insert winner) idiots, that have no idea what they’ve voted for!

“And now we’re stuck with this decision/government/Tory party leader, and I’m going to change everyone’s way of thinking to mine, if it’s the last thing I do!
Grrrrrr!
This is criminal!
Where were the real choices anyway?
That was a referendum run on fear, not policy!
(And can we record Versailles please?)”


There was of course a ‘Third Option’.
It wasn’t ideal.
If anything, it said more about our so-called ‘democracy’ than it did our stance in or out of Europe.
But it was the only way we had of telling those that pledged this referendum that we as a people, required more information, more choices and properly elected politicians to make these complex decisions for us.

“Get the electoral system right – make it fairer, and more proportionally representative, and we’ll feel happier about you making those decisions on our behalf.
In the meantime, all we can do is register our disappointment at the way you have conducted this exercise.
But please don’t tell us your grandfather fought & died for our right to take part in this.
He fought & died for democracy.
For us to have viable choices.

Some of us were there in 2011 – Where were you?
(And can we turn the telly off now please?)"

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

WHEN ABSTENTION IS THE ONLY REAL CHOICE.


Dear Liberal Lefty Friends,

I will not be voting in the forthcoming Leave/Remain UK Referendum.
I have thought long & hard about this.
I am pro-choice (in politics and beyond), and I do not see any preferable option in this 'election'.

It would seem we are being offered the shit end of the stick, or an even shittier end of the stick.
I understand that many of you have already decided to Remain, and I respect your decision.
I worry that the way we lead our lives these days, you may've got caught up in a bubble of confirmation-bias, but I fully understand that you see this as a good guy/bad guy skirmish, played out on a battleground of misinformation, xenophobia and latent racism.

If there had been any more choices, I would've considered them all equally.
But may I remind you that regardless of what happens on June 23rd, we will still be governed by a Tory administration thereafter.
It may be Tory Right, under a new leader full of gusto & jingoism.
It may continue to be Tory Lite under a grinning Dave and his Macbeth-in-waiting 'Lord' Chancellor Gidiot.
We, the people of the UK, will have done their marketing for them.
A new, new-ish or newer direction will follow.
Despite being democratically elected, they have washed their hands of decision-making in this instance, and gone to the people over which direction their party should take.
They had to.
They rather carelessly said they would, in a disingenuous attempt to stop party-faithfuls defecting to Mr.Farage.
And when it became clear that all Dave wanted from the EU was a continuation of UK sovereignty, personal passport & border controls and exemption from the Schengen Agreement, our PM came back from Brussels clutching a meaningless piece of paper, victorious like Chamberlain, and just as stupid.

On June 24th, regardless of outcome, we will still be;

Outside of an open-door policy for refugees & political migrants.
Outside of the Free Movement Schengen Agreement.
Inside an agreed TTIP agreement that will see the end of the NHS, and infinitely more adverts from Aetan, Molina, Cigna, Anthem and inevitably their paymasters, Gladstone Brookes.
Beholden to a government-ruling on expulsion of non-EU workers earning under £35k.

You see, we're damned if we do; and we're damned if we don't.

By voting Leave we side with the xenophobes and the fearful landed gentry.
We also side with the pub-bores who put all of our problems down to 'foreigners'.
But by voting Remain we condone the actions of this current Tory Administration, and the whole bandwagon continues to roll, ignoring the millions who voted in opposition to them, and inadvertently supporting a system that is antiquated and unfair.

I have always voted.
I value my vote in what remains of our neo-liberal democracy.
But I will not stand by and listen to the aforesaid pub-bores tell me that their grandparents fought & died for my right to vote badly.

Nothing changed after the poorly recognised referendum of 2011.
Because no-one really knew about it, and nearly everyone was either misinformed or confused, the assumption was 'Keep Calm & Carry On'.

It is now our duty to do the very same thing, even though this time we are being bombarded with opinion.
We should tell this government that when we are only given two shit choices, we have nothing else left to do but to create a choice of our own.
That choice is to abstain.
And I say this with a very heavy heart, but with hope for the future, and in the knowledge that it's ok to change your mind, whether as a European, or as a resident of the UK.

Yours Sincerely
Yanny Mac.


Saturday, 7 November 2015

40 SHOPPING DAYS & 40 SHOPPING NIGHTS (A little ditty for artificial inseminators everywhere)





The turkeys are too fat to shag
The turkeys are too fat to shag
The pimp with the pipette has stifled his gag


The children are halting, half pelican crossing
panting and texting and short term of breath
The vermin are fleeing, cubs stranded and bleeding
the chubbiest hounds full of wheezing and death



The turkeys are too fat to shag
The turkeys are too fat to shag
The zero hours worker is waving his flag



The car-parking bay widths can’t cope with the axles
the shoppers are bag-less and laden with crap
The bins overflow with roundworm and foxes
unnecessary boxes and unwanted wrap



The turkeys are too fat to shag
The turkeys are too fat to shag
A quick squeeze of semen should soften the scrag



The verges are drowning in ‘one for the roads’  as
the butchers scrape marble with bloodied old knives
the jingles from adverts turn whistles to screeches
as hungry plump husbands tell brow-beaten wives



The turkeys are too fat to shag
The turkeys are too fat to shag
Job done. Shelves stocked. Money in the bag.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

THE ALLOTMENT






After their rather lengthy meeting in the pub, lifelong friends Thomas, Richard and Henry decided that it was a no-brainer.
Their collective shopping bills were astronomical, they were all in the rudest of health, and the allotment fees were less than forty pounds a year.
Tom signed the agreement on behalf of them all, and a plan was made to visit 'the rods' the following Thursday.

It was Tom that piped-up first.
"Harry. We agreed that we would share the cost and share the bounty.
I don't have a car. Bio-fuel is of no benefit to me".

Henry countered.
"And I don't very much care for parsnips! Despite your good wife saying they're her favourites!
Dick? Can you arbitrate on this one?"

Richard remained silent.
He pursed his lips, raised one eyebrow, and then exhaled an exasperated plume of frosty breath.

"You still want wildflowers don't you Dick?"

Richard nodded.

"We won't reduce our bills by growing wildflowers!" Henry cried.

"And neither will I by growing rapeseed Hazza!" Spluttered Thomas.

Richard shrugged his shoulders and slowly walked back to the lean-to shed.

It was here that he devised the plan to kill both Henry and Thomas, and bury them under a sea of poppies, cornflowers and dog violets.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

CECILE




Cecile didn't understand social-media.
And why should she?
If any of the other birds had anything to say, they didn't tweet; they gobbled.
All day.
They all knew that one day, if the sky didn't fall in, they would all be taken to 'The Wild'.
And there they would cluck, putt, purr and yelp.
But until then, they would just gobble.
All day.

Cecile couldn't understand why her mother was so famous?
She didn't know her very well, but her photo had reached the far corners of the earth!
Headless, footless and with a Wild tan to-die-for, the image of her and her big game hunter became an internet sensation.
The people from the Wild asked the hunter where she came across my mother?
They asked the hunter if she'd had to put her hand up her mother's bottom?
And if her inside bits were edible?
They asked her what they should bathe her mother in? (Fame has its luxuries after all).
They Liked the photo, they Shared the photo, they Favourited the photo and they Tweeted incessantly.

A little bit like Cecile & the other birds did, the last time they saw their mothers.

Cecile knew they would be taken to The Wild soon.
The sounds from the box on the wall had changed; the grain they were fed was plump and forthcoming.
The weapon that the hunter in the photo brandished with a smile, began to appear everywhere, especially near the door that led to The Wild.
The people with the phones that shared the photo wore hats.
Red ones, with bobbles.
All day.

As Cecile followed her chubby little friends, to the door that would make her 'Queen of the Jungle', she remembered the last thing her mother had told her
"Do not try to fight a lion, if you are not one yourself".
(African Proverb)