Saturday 21 March 2015


Well, to hear the collected snippets of reportage from ‘the eclipse’ 2015 you would think that the population of Britain was no more evolved than the cave men who may have cowered before the awesome power of the god eating their daylight. Of course no such accounts exist and just as with religion such mythology is a back telling of imagined impressions of the world we need to believe were held by more primitive proto-humans. The prosaic truth is likely to be that, just as with every other animal, ancient man almost certainly didn’t even notice. It gets dark every night, for fuck’s sake and during an eclipse it doesn’t even get darker than under any thunderstorm. I saw the one in 1999 and I’ll never get that wasted time back again. It was utterly underwhelming, so stop gawping and fabricating emotions which you just feel under pressure to experience.

Floods, volcanoes, landslips, tsunami, golf-ball hail, lightning – no matter how sheet it is – are all just examples of stuff that, while it may be extraordinary is just that… a bit outside the ordinary. It is neither apocalyptic nor all that unusual – until you add ‘Climate Scientists’ who are, by definition, not real, useful scientists who invent or discover stuff to make the world a better or more interesting place, but ‘People-whose-livelihood-depends-on-predicting-the-end-of-the-world’. Or witch-doctors as we used to call them.

You lot, primitive humans, keep on doing this; cheese, for all the inventive superlatives you bring to bear in describing it is, at the end of the day, just cheese. When those twenty-first century gods and wizards – the TV chefs - spend hours and dollars doing stuff with chicken you’d at least expect it to taste of, say, gold, or paradise, but no… it still tastes of chicken. Yes, there are grades of chicken-ness, I dare say. A bit of barbecue sauce, or a marinade before cooking, fair enough, or some dainty garnish, but ever greater faffing about with it just brings diminishing returns… and a late dinner.

Now, either I am incredibly de-sensitised to sensation, or maybe I just have a better imagination than most of you. When I went to see the Grand Canyon, I didn’t gasp and cling to rocks in the face of a yawning chasm, I thought “Yep, I thought it would look like this.” When I jumped repeatedly from a perfectly serviceable aircraft from some 16,000 feet I got bored after ten solo jumps because I thought “Yep. Same feeling… done that.” The million-retweet internet meme that everybody labels “The funniest thing you will ever see” always, but always, turns out to be worth a wry grin at best.

I figure it is lowest common denominator stuff at work here. It’s why the very best talents starve while dancing fucking dogs get to live in gold kennels, or a barely competent child will best an expert adult every time, if the public get a vote on it. The most sublime writers sell a small fraction of the volumes shifted by the prurient and sordid and the greatest movies are seen by art-house audiences while unimaginative and poorly acted Hollywood ‘blockbusters' enthral millions while they gorge on mass-produced poisons.

See? It's back... told you!

And it’s not just curmudgeonly to say this; it’s simply a matter of having some perspective. The floods will subside, quality will endure, it always tastes like chicken and the sun will shine again. So excuse me if I don’t get at all excited by stuff that has some of you wetting your pants. Not that I don't thoroughly enjoy a good meal or a night at the theatre, a brilliant book or a densely plotted telly thriller, but for the more mundane stuff I regard my measured insouciance at seeing the world turn out to be exactly as I expected it to as an antidote to your incontinent and childlike glee. Now, off you fuck and have an amazing Saturday!

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