Thursday 1 May 2014

Piece of Cake!

All the world’s a stage, wrote Shakespeare, and the stage is set for conspiracy! I’m not going to write about Nigel Farage; plenty of others (in fact everybody else) are already doing that anyway. Suffice to say that whatever you thought about him on Tuesday you still think the same today, unless you were undecided in which case you’ll have probably seen the press and politicians laying into him, thought it all a bit un-British and gone out to buy yourself a membership and a nice new kipper tie. Far from harming the party’s reputation, the mud-slinging has been a rather effective recruitment drive.

No, Nigel doesn’t need my help, so today I’m writing about conspiracy theories and all the fanciful notions and secret meanings people see in events which have the simplest of real explanations. At least I was going to write about conspiracy but instead, as you never know who’s watching, I’m really going to write about cakes. Bear with me because it is a subject fraught with difficulty and danger, not least due to the proliferation of internet sites dealing with the subject. For a confection consisting variously of flour, sugar, fat, eggs and some odds and ends, they don’t half make a meal of it. What, to you or me is just a mash up of ingredients - follow the recipe and bung it in the oven - is an obsession for some.

People get seriously worked up about it all, discussing the subtleties of sequence and the hidden messages in the handling techniques. And the type of cake you bake has much to say about you and your personal values. To the uninitiated it might just be a chocolate cake, but did you ever stop to examine the subliminal racist message you are sending there? Then there’s the ‘Lemon Drizzle Cake’. It’s yellow - LDC - Liberal Democrat Conspirators? The clues are all there if you look hard enough and if you want to see them badly enough and once you have seen through the subterfuge, you will keep on looking. Take nothing at face value.

Safe with a Battenberg? You’d think so wouldn’t you, but did you stop for one second to consider what this innocent-looking, marzipan encased teatime treat is actually saying? It can’t decide on a single colour (multi-coloural, if you like) it is simultaneously both sweet and yet bland and it is deliberately designed to offend nobody; surely a cake to suit everybody and the perfect cipher for the European Union. But what about that German name? Doesn’t seem so harmless now, does it?

The world-wide-web is awash with these traps for the naïve; is it frosting or icing? Do you use butter or margarine, Demerara or Muscovado? And every time you view or post a recipe online you leave your sticky little fingerprints in the butter cream, from which it is possible to construct a detailed narrative of every aspect of your life. You think this isn’t happening? You haven’t been listening; once you get sucked into this murky world it becomes habit-forming and you keep coming back for more. It’s a honey trap.

A million misspelt, poorly punctuated and grammatically inept blogs out there daily disseminate and in turn collect the distilled hopes and dreams of a billion housewives. It’s a ploy; for every genuine, well-crafted dairy-based diary turned out with love and care there are a hundred cobbled-together sites monitored by the security agencies. And what a ploy it is. These sites apparently, consisting of nothing more than stream-of-consciousness, burnt fairy cake tales accompanied by blurry, badly composed photographs, are visited thousands of times a day by the addicted masses, willingly selling their souls for a few tips about the use of cherries and almonds.

Forget Agenda 21, the Bilderbergers, Common Purpose, New World Order, Elders of Zyklon, The Illuminati, Opus Dei, The Black Dragon Society, the Fabians or the Bullingdon Club. Put aside musings over chemtrails, predictive programming, water fluoridation, the moon landings, the grassy knoll and the looming great worldwide blackout. These are just diversions to divert you from the truth. While you are worrying about the rise of the Feminazis, your wives are obsessed with the perfect bake – what Shakespeare really wrote was “All the world’s a cake”. Or is that just a conspiracy theory?

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