Two fat ladies and a holy roller

•May 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So no Rapture. You can take the colander off your head and put down the cricket bat. No stairway; no heavenly aeroplane.

But why the Chariots of Fire did anyone think there would be?

As so often the fault lies with St Paul, always the first port of call for numbskulls, evangelicals, fundamentalists, and nitwits of every stripe.

Paul reckoned: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Careful Paul, the Calvinists will hear you. You know how one careless remark in a letter to some Thessalonians can lead to millennia of sectarian gibbering.

Anyway, he cooked up the idea and then just turned it loose on the loonies. “Huzzah” they all whooped, during a break in their witch trials. “We’ll leave nothing behind but our THERE IS A DAY T-shirts.”

Why did they think it would happen on Saturday? Because of a bit in the Bible that says “We won’t tell you when it’ll happen, but we’ll give you a clue.” And then an anecdote about a fig:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

So some time in Spring then. There were a few other criteria. For perfect Rapture condition there has to be a war, a famine, a plague, and an earthquake all in different places.

Anyway, so that we might be better informed when it’s coming close, I’ve done a picture of a Rapture Bingo Card. Put a cross in the box, and shout “House!” when you’re ready to ascend.

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On not winning the FA Cup

•May 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So on Saturday, Stoke City didn’t achieve something most serious people expected them not to achieve but thought they might just.

I went to Wembley, which was full of brass bands, red and white flags, parachutes, and people with clipboards. I took sandwiches.

Manchester City’s fleet of deluxe go-faster humanoids came marching out alongside our brave boys, some of them hobbling rather, one or two creaking a touch; no one, as far as I could tell, missing a limb, or with old teddy-bear stuffing showing through the parts where the elbows had worn away.

The humanoids needed it more than the unstuffed teddies. Not so much personally: they’d still have gone home rich enough to take two aircraft carriers each for a water ski holiday if they’d lost. But their master was starting to look like a man who had a terminal knack for not achieving things that all reason and resource said he should manage with his underpants wedgied into his rib cage.

In this, the humanoids were quite the opposite of Stoke.

And they deserved to win. They were better.

But we were there too. In my 27th year of being a Stoke fan, I watched them play in an FA Cup final, something which, even in March this year, I never dreamed I’d ever do. I wish dearly that we’d won it, but we didn’t.

I went to my first match in 1984, aged 5, and watched Stoke beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 in the old First Division. England winger Mark Chamberlain was playing for us; I recognised him from his guest appearance with Matthew Corbett on the Sooty Show. That season we only won one other game and were relegated with (then) the lowest points total in league history. I didn’t get see Stoke play another top flight match for 24 years.

But supporting Stoke runs in the family (my father is a Stoke fan, and his father was too), and it has endured humiliating Wednesday-night defeats by five goals to Walsall, being knocked out of cup competitions by Hartlepool, brawls against Telford, repeated (apparently constant) playoff failures, managerial defections, delusional boards of directors, and the ground being bulldozed and rebuilt (in Steven Foster’s phrase) on a ‘wind-blasted hill by an incinerator’.

And there’s the reputation: the hooliganism tag which has been hard to shake off, and the ‘rugby’ one, probably a lot more adhesive. An acquaintance of mine described the FA Cup finals as being “the enemies of football against the enemies of football.”

But here we are, runners up to the FA Cup and on an aeroplane to play in Europe. I’ll be going along too.

In the words of a humanoid, “Why is there water coming from my eyes?”

When hedgerows had hooves

•May 10, 2011 • 2 Comments

I have been set a challenge: write a poem about this.

So I’m going to do it. I’ll tell you all about it if it works, and if it fails I’ll just carry blithely on gibbering about Pokemon, punk rock and penis envy, and we’ll pretend it never happened.

So, this: it’s a Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. A sheep plant, if you’d rather. ” A legendary zoophyte of central Asia, believed to grow sheep as its fruit.”

It’s a bit like the triffids are here, but they’ve only half mastered the element of surprise.

Here’s how you grow one:

1. Take a new-born lamb.
2. Don’t snip the umbilical cord.
3. Fix it instead to the opened stem of a plant.
4. Watch them both die.
5. A new lamb will rise up in its place. Like this one →.

Apparently the legend has a grain in truth to in, in so far as a fern once looked like a sheep. But that’s it.

A veritable pantheon of splendid loonies has attested to its existence though.

Like him ↓.

 And him

→.

And him ↓.

Although ← he’s clearly part sheep anyway, and not to be trusted on matters in which he has so clear and present a conflict of interests.And for those that care, Sigismund von Herberstien is responsible for the fact that we don’t know how to spell tsar tsar or czar.

He’s also the only one using concealed stilts and a crinoline.

Anyway, to sum up, you all know what’s going to be going on in my little brain for the next week or so. Trees that blossom forth with sheep, and things that rhyme with rhizome.

The great scissors murder referendum

•May 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Last night I dreamt I was being murdered by someone stabbing me through the heart with a pair of scissors. I was writhing on a yellow carpet with my chest cavity punctured and my lungs spilling out through my ribs, trying to wrestle off whoever the scissor-wrangling looney was, but I wasn’t strong enough. I could tell for ages I wasn’t going to be strong enough, so I just lay there limply and watched the scissors come plunging down again like a pneumatic drill about to decore a pavement. Crunch. Splat.

Then I woke up with a newly-hatched phobia about my internal organs being turned into kebabs while I’m trying to sleep. And sewing kits.

Unless that wasn’t a dream and I’m actually dead now. In which case, the afterlife is remarkably similar to regular life. And that, to be frank, is a terrific disappointment. Although it would mean I could conduct my own murder investigation. Everyone who’d like to murder me with scissors, one step forward.

Now, given that I’m no longer here, you might think of me as being roughly analogous to the candidate who comes last in an election. The Land is Power fruitloop or Monster Raving Looney in the great campaign of life. I have been eliminated.

But it would be a shame if the minority people that didn’t want to murder me with scissors – perhaps even felt strongly that I deserved not to be murdered with scissors – were unable to voice this opinion without being eliminated too. Especially, if they ended up being part of a broader majority of people who couldn’t agree on whether or not I should be murdered with scissors, but found common ground in their wider disapproval of the winning-with-a-minority candidate.

In spite of construing a majority, those people would all become electoral zombies, voters disembodied from their candidate, squirrelled away into a pen marked “also-rans”, and subject to five years of beatings around the face by the zombie-bashing frying pans and cricket bats of their “elected” representative’s views, which they all voted against.

Now the only thing we’ve established to any satisfactory degree of certainty is that I did deserve to be murdered with scissors. But the broader consensus of people who thought their individual candidates didn’t deserve to be murdered with scissors surely deserves a chance to be represented by the most suitable No To Scissor Murdering candidate. Especially if the largest minority of the votes (but a minority all the same) went to the Scissor Murderer himself.

Stop the scissor murders. Give the zombies their lives back. Put down the coal shovel. Vote Yes to AV.

The final solution

•May 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So Bin Laden’s dead. At least they let him watch the royal wedding first.

And what a lot of whooping we’ve had over the bank holiday weekend.

Meanwhile he was quietly tossed over the back of a row boat dressed in lead dungarees and a pair of concrete wellies.

Or so they tell us…

Tin hats on everyone, it’s conspiracy theory time. Riddles wrapped in mysteries playing Pooh sticks in a duck pond full of dubiety geese.

To my mind there’s only one way the US government can convince the world they’ve actually buried him at sea, and haven’t harvested his blood serum to try and synthesise Bad People to be booed at by studio audiences.

The Bin Laden Memorial Aquarium.

Dead easy. Open an aquarium, and prove to the world that the Citizen Cane of facial hair and home videos actually is sleeping with the fishes.

All bases covered. The skeptics would be satisfied. A terrorist would be made an example of, like old pirates swinging from a South London quayside. And, meanwhile, US patriots could jeer and trumpet as moronically as they liked while his bloated body was ravaged in the shark tunnel. Halfwits could stamp their feet from the safety of their (reinforced) glass-bottomed boats, while sting rays and swordfish set about him like a lion skewering a Christian.

Now that’s what I call transparency.

Typecasting

•March 30, 2011 • Leave a Comment

James “Darth Vader” Earl “Mufasa” Jones reading from Othello. He must hate it being said, but there are moments of pure Darth Vader in the speech to the Venetian Senate.

It doesn’t help that the second line goes, “my very noble and approved good masters.” He might as well have come to my house, cracked open some Twiglets, put on the Return of the Jedi DVD, and skipped through to the all the bits when Vader says “Yes, my Master,” or “What is thy bidding my Master?” or “I have felt him my Master.” Crikey. Let’s just cross our fingers and hope he doesn’t say “Father”.

Her father loved me; oft invited me;
Still question’d me the story of my life,
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.

And I said, “Luke, Chewy and Han blew up my mobile home, so I cut one of their hands off, sold the other one to a slug who kept him in a fridge, and for some reason left the hairy one with Carrie Fisher.”

But if that seems jarring. Here’s Darth Vader reading the end of the Bible. Beasts, angels, plagues, wrath-filled vials. Yikes.

Surfin like the Wolf

•March 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The other week Duran Duran played a gig and David Lynch directed a video of one of the songs. Here it is, surprisingly conventional, and quite free of the Lynchian dwarves, sex fiends, clowns, maniacs, perverts, psychopaths, and psychotics that you might expect.

But it’s David Lynch and Duran Duran, so why quibble?

Also it gives us the excuse to watch something significantly more fucked-up. Here’s the video from Duran Duran’s always-popular Hungry Like the Wolf. Or, as it might as well be titled, “Indiana Jones Goes Native with a Cat Woman.” Cue music.

I enjoy the way they set the scene in the first few bars. South Asian city. Impoverished child. Snake charmer. Women in veils. Quasi-military policemen. New Romantics crossing the road with their shirts unbuttoned.

Quick change, and Simon Le Bon’s got a pith helmet. Is he really? He can’t be? But he is. He’s going out to hunt a woman that looks like Grace Jones and lives in the jungle.

Come hell or high water, in canoes and over rope bridges, sometimes breaking into a jog, he going chase her down, smear on some zig-zaggy make up, and lunge at her teeth first.

Then, after a bit of rough and tumble in a leafy glade, he’s going to head back to town and tell his friends about it in a cafe.

All this was directed, in case anyone’s wondering, by Russel Mulchay, who was responsible for the Highlander films, and — in a delightful piece of circularity — is taking charge of a new TV series based on Teenwolf. It’s going to be on US screens in June. Hopefully we can expect a 14-year-old Michael J Fox chasing a Ladywolf through a high-school, then ravaging her teeth-first while Surfin USA plays.

Which brings me to (for-some-reason-dubbed-into-Spanish):