Saturday, 4 April 2009

Saturday 04/04/09

I think I have someone in the readership who is terminally depressed and simply ticks the Unfunny box as a reflex action. Must be from Bridgend.

Hay left for China yesterday afternoon. For the next week I can indulge myself with a huge variety of smelly cheeses and vast quantities of inebriating liquids. Will probably play havoc with my bum, but we artists must suffer for our art. She reports 13 degrees and acrid smog in Nanjing. All very depressing and not at all what she expected.

Remember the Nationwide story from yesterday about house prices rising 0.9% in March? The Halifax has announced that UK house prices have fallen by 1.9% compared with the previous month. The words Quod Erat Demonstrandum come to mind (that’s Latin for ‘I told you so’ – although the Latins weren’t exactly renowned for their maths, and it’s actually a Latin translation of the Greek ‘hoper edei deixai’, which means ‘I’ll regret drinking ouzo on top of this feta’).

Prompted by a comment yesterday from Kapgaf, I thought of a simple and elegant solution to a number of the world’s most pressing problems. The answer is to get half the world’s poor to eat the other half.

That simultaneously tackles:

• Over-population,
• World hunger,
• Obesity (if we get the Asian poor to eat the Western poor),
• Joblessness,
• The spiraling welfare bill,
• Climate change (less cars will be driven),
• The pension deficit, and
• Madonna adopting half of Africa.

Last night I finished reading God’s Debris by Scott Adams, the author of the Dilbert cartoons. It’s a fascinating book which Adams calls a thought experiment. I commend it to you – it may alter the way you view life. The prime premise is one I have expounded myself in the past, so it came as a surprise to see it in a book by Scott Adams. You can obtain it as a free e-book download here. It contains no humour, just a deeply interesting perspective on reality. It’s only 132 pages long and you can finish it in an afternoon.

Police were called to Broughton, near Milton Keynes, after residents staged the protest accusing a passing Google Street View camera car of invading their privacy and facilitating crime. You could imagine it as a scene from the film Deliverance, can’t you? One person on the radio last night said: “We don’t want this sort of technology here.” No-one interviewed seemed able to articulate why they saw it as a problem, except that they didn’t want it. One is reminded of The League Of Gentlemen’s Royston Vasey and the local shop, run by Tubbs and Edward Tattsyrup (below) who will protect their localness by any means (you’ll not understand this reference unless you’ve watched the darkly humorous programme). Villagers with pitchforks and rush torches spring to mind, all marching through the village toward Castle Frankenstein.

Perhaps I should call the blog ‘Thoughts From Royston Vasey’ and use the strapline ‘You’ll Never Leave’.

Was inspecting some of the Google searches that brought readers to Chairman Bill’s pontifications. One was, “birds that are attracted to ploughed fields”. The answer is obvious – farmers’ wives.

The favourite search string is, “That erudite, funny and charming gent, Chairman Bill”. However, I suspect that’s something to do with a search for Bill Gates. I wonder if he ever looks himself up and alights here. Do you ever do that - look yourself up on Google? Come on- admit it.

There’s an amusing story from Perranporth, Cornwall. An 87 year-old woman on a mobility scooter lost control of it while out with her husband and was later found some 5 miles away heading along the A3075 towards Newquay. Read the story in full, rather than my prĂ©cis, as it’s very funny.

I’ve just been made aware of a verb I never knew existed – to recreate, as in to refresh by means of relaxation and enjoyment. I’m almost certain this is an Americanism, but would appreciate confirmation. I ran across it in the sentence, “I saw how they recreated themselves,” in reference to recreational activities.


  1. It’s understandable really – nothing prepares you for technology – there you are living in a quiet village surrounded by fields; the biggest noise is that of the rooks in the vicarage elms – and suddenly the elms have gone, the fields are housing estates and there’s traffic roaring through the village. You long for the days – which probably never existed – of bumble bees, and water meadows, and milk maids and dogs sleeping in the sun in the middle of the road. And you are helpless in front of the tsunami of technology that’s tearing it all away. Then comes a van photographing what can be seen from the road – and you attack it because at last there is something to vent your anger on – because you truly can say “We don’t want that sort of technology here”

    Richard x x x

  2. I was just about in tears reading your blog and Richard's comment today.

    Thank you for dealing with the world's problems with such a simple and economic solution. You are now the superheroes' superhero.

    Hope Hay doesn't ring the wong number while she's away.

  3. She just sent me a snap of a beautiful temple. How that survived the Cultural Revolution will remain a mystery, unless it's a replica.

  4. Wasn't there a Science Fiction book about feeding the peoples of the world by serving man? Perhaps "Make Room, Make Room" by Harry Harrison?

    Regardless, we may well be able to feed an expanding population by factory farming, algae harvesting etc. But if we are talking about quality of life better to reduce the population to Elizabethan levels.

    Richard x x x

  5. There was also the film, Soylent Green, with Charlton Heston and Edward G Robinson. Old people were rendered into the eponymous food.

  6. That was the film of the book - I think

    Richard x x x

  7. Not only a guffaw, but you've left me giggling...

  8. Charlton Heston making a socially conscious movie, whatever next ? A movie star as Governor of the State of California ? A B-movie actor in the White House ? Just kidding.

  9. Socially conscious? No - it was purely entertainment.

  10. No - you called me a name so I called you a name.

  11. Don't make me get really nasty ......

  12. I'm going to check out that book.

    And we do say recreate over here...but we're always making up words to suit our goofiness here...

    It's the American way...

    Have a nice day Bill!

  13. I think I might have been the cause of those google searches - For only I would have called you a witty and erudite gent, TC...

    On the other hand, my OH's favourite film is Soylent Green, and I recall fondly paying for tix to see Charlton Heston in A Man for All Seasons in the UK in the eighties - My parents loved it, and he was such a Hollywood legend, up until his pronunciation of Italy as Iddly... Couldn't quite get away with that one! Hope Hay can enjoy China, and escape safely...

  14. Snap - I too saw him in A Man For All Seasons in London.

  15. What did you think of it, Sir? I always liked him and thought him such a decent chap - He was there in the fold when Martin Luther King spoke, and so on, and then there was all the 'right to bear arms and to arm bears' rubbish he spouted - I agree with your post today - It's like the Wild West - How does having guns protect you from crime, when that should really be the Police's job - It's just so unlawful as a result, with everyone carrying weapons...

    After one of the most recent gun murder sprees, that in Alabama, I felt I had to reflect in my comments on a friend's blog, that if the murderer had tried to single handedly strangle that same number of people in his anger, he would never have been able to do it, but because he was armed with an automatic weapon there were many senseless, needless deaths, and a number of families destroyed...