It never reins …

Shopping on Christmas ante-eve is, frankly, a heart-breakingly stupid thing to attempt. There are several problems with it (though, note well Ms Williams, no-one to my knowledge dispensed with all pretense of civilisation …), all of which are accentuated by the plain simple fact that at such times these shops operate well above capacity. The aisles are designed for about half the number walking round hoovering up goods like the apocalypse was coming. This in itself is a right royal pain, but the constant hoovering means constant re-stocking, which turns the normally free-flowing aisles into a microcosmic M25 in the snow.

But this is not very exciting, or even interesting. I buy lots of stuff, and have a discussion regarding the pronunciation of paprika. Is it papp – reeka, or is it papree-ka? This is hardly high-end stuff.

So. A trolley stuffed full of stuff, I park and carefully load it onto the conveyor belt, keen to make my packing as efficient as possible, and to take up as little space as possible. On doing this, I notice the couple to my right … late 50s/early 60s, and note in him the faintest tremor. As I may have mentioned before, I want to reach out (metaphorically speaking) … but I don’t. One reason is that just after I notice, and I start processing, my careful packing encounters a design flaw on the check-out. Where the ‘next person’ shopping dividers are kept all slidily convenient, they encroach upon the belt. The belt advances, the dividers remain aloof. The shopping accommodates.

It does rather more than accommodate, however, as one of the bottles of wine simply makes way, leaping suicidally onto the floor, where it bursts spectacularly at my fellow-shopper’s feet.

I’m sure Ms Williams would have assaulted me with her celery, or something, for daring to invade her tiny, super-important, ever-so-amazing world … luckily, the real world is populated with people who have real problems, and for whom life truly is too short to worry about such things. I think Sainsbury’s paid to have his jeans dry-cleaned. And that was that.

I hit my head on the bottom corner of a kitchen cabinet door while loading the fridge. That’s how thrilling a day I had. But I take perverse pleasure in these interactions. As Lear would have said while waiting for the Gloucesters to visit for dinner: let me clean the kitchen. It smells of … mortality.

Money for old rope

Now is the season for bad journalists to be commissioned to write pointless, cretinous pieces of crap simply so that they can buy some more christmas presents for little Jehosaphat, or whatever moniker their poor, abused progeny will spend its life labouring to escape. The mee-jah (note the self-regarding nature of the spelling) is simply awash with them.

I heard one this morning, on Radio Four, by a journalist who shall remain nameless to protect her identity and er, ‘reputation’. But let’s face it, Zoe Williams was rubbish back when she ‘wrote’ for the E’nin Stannit (sorry). This morning, on You and Yours, she contributed about five hours of solipsistic shite on how she gets a bit rude around christmas because it’s so stressful even though she knows it’s wrong and is neither big nor clever. This piece differed little from your average chav bus rant other than the fact that said CBR is usually punctuated with spots of wit and is delivered with passion, rather than wages-by-numbers smugness.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I actually think it’s a good thing that Ms Williams, with her casual sexism and oh-aren’t-I-clever-and-funny prose which, like her, is neither clever nor funny, is kept out of the way of any real job. I do, however, wonder why this means that we have to listen to her drivel.

There is, naturally, a pretty good reason. Like much of the mee-jah, Radio 4 is increasingly becoming a gentleperson’s club, populated with utter crap that just happens to be written by the producer’s friend/lover/husband/dog … a recent book of the week was a case in point. Utter shit. Badly written, smugly read by the author (more cash, see …), and so mind-crushingly cliched that I wanted to reach into the radio and put the poor book out of its misery.

At this point, you may be thinking that this is all one big bunch of sour grapes. Damn straight! It incenses me that these idiots get paid to write such turgid shit simply because they’re ‘in the club.’ Look. I can write turgid shit, too, and I’ll undercut the fuckers to boot.

Money for old rope it is, but if you think that giving them enough rope will lead them to hang themselves (metaphorically, naturally … its only shit journalism, not really life and death stuff), then you’re going to be sadly disappointed. It’ll happen every Christmas, when the agents and their clients make sure the cheques come in at the same time as the bills. Dammit, I used to do it myself, but … but …

Here’s my solution. Let’s have a dedicated Radio channel which plays all this crap, and these pitiful, odious fuckwits can listen to themselves all day. Maybe in a special home. They can listen to themselves all day (that was the repeat). So that we don’t have to.

Then they truly will be providing a service to mankind.