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Aporkalypse Now

I returned to the UK last week to find a country in the grip of swine flu.

 

Er… what?

 

Now I’m no doctor but surely, surely, what we need to be worried about is human flu? Isn’t that specifically designed by nature to f--- us up?

 

Anyway, over the weekend, the atmosphere was how I imagined the country would have descended in chaos in the film 28 Days Later. And that’s pretty bad.

 

I was worried. How could we cope with another pandemic so hard on the heels of SARS? Oh and Chinese bird flu?

 

(And what a cruel blow so soon after the death of darling Jade…)

 

The government was reassuring the population that all was well and that was what really rattled us. Nothing this bunch of --n-- tells us is credible anymore…

 

They were leaping into action with leaflet drops, vaccine stockpiling and a government swine flu helpline (a friend tried to ring it but all he got was crackling…)


Now that was what really frightened me. How could our government cope if there really was a major national crisis? They couldn’t pour p-ss out of a boot with the instructions printed on the heel.

 

Bricking it I was. Bricking it.

 

However, it looks like we may have been over egging the pudding a bit. It turns out it’s probably not as bad as we first thought.

Well knock me down with a feather.

Take that you damn trot!

Well the G-20 are meeting tomorrow and the anarchists are gathering.

 

They’ve planned a series of marches starting at four locations and converging pretty much on me (their literature says they are ‘plunging the sword into the heart of the fascist beast’. I’m trying not to take it personally)…

 

They’re protesting against 4 things it seems: capitalism, climate change, war and land enclosures.

 

(Er… I know. What the hell IS a land enclosure? I might even be a bit anti myself if I knew what they were...)

 

We’ll see the usual mix of downtrodden workers and decent hardworking folk (Lenin’s ‘useful fools’) who have suffered at the hands of the fat cats. There’ll be a small but vocal hard core of anarchists and socialist workers who will think that they are running the show and will have a provisional government hiding in some seedy pub in Camden ready to assume power when the revolution comes.

 

Then they’ll be the ‘water melons’ – so called because they are ‘green’ on the outside but ‘red’ on the inside - protesting against climate change (which used to be called global warming until the world started getting chillier…).

 

There will also be hordes of students hell bent on bringing down ‘the system’. Nobs. And why do they all have dreadlocks? Even the white ones? Weird.

 

Then there’s me (see photo).

 

I believe that at least half of all people attending will be there out of curiosity. And as an excuse to get out of work. I’ll be one of these.

 

Four separate marches aim to converge on the Bank of England at midday. If there’s any unruliness, I reckon the police will seal the main body of protestors in the open area in front of the Royal Exchange and let them out in dribs and drabs throughout the afternoon and evening. This is what they did on Oxford Street for the May Day protest about 8 years ago.

 

Any trouble will therefore occur in the surrounding streets (Cornhill, Bishopsgate, Moorgate, Princes Street and Threadneedle Street). This will happen at about 1600hrs – maybe a bit earlier.

 

You heard it here first.

 

Anyway, if you are heading down there to see what it’s like, here’s what to expect…

 

Near the main bulk of the protest, the street corners will have a couple of policemen in high visibility jackets. About 100-150yds further back, there will be more police gathered, maybe one or two with riot gear. Their job is to quickly form a road block if necessary and wait for the arrival of the hard core. Not far behind them will be the mounted police…

 

Now these boys are scary – I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a mounted police charge but I can’t recommend it.

 

From this point and further back there will be police vans full of coppers. I’m pleased to say that nothing hurts more than a bored copper who’s been sitting in a van for hours and is finally allowed to hit someone with a baton.

 

Further away still, are the hired vans. These are usually white and unmarked. They’ll be full of police who have been brought in from all over the country to keep order. They’re kept well away from the protestors as they have to be back with the dealers early in the morning or the cops’ll be charged for an extra day. That is true by the way. Sic transit Gloria mundi.

 

Then there’s the best bit. And if you don’t believe me, take a look for yourselves tomorrow. Behind the hired white vans, streets as far away as Old Street, Southwark and Blackfriars will be clogged with glaziers’ vans.

 

Double glaziers from all over Western Europe are descending on the capital tomorrow to make a fast buck. Any windows that need mending, and there’ll be a few, will need doing fast and the glaziers will be able to charge exorbitant rates.

 

Just think about all the people who are benefiting economically from the protest, the glaziers, the street sweepers, the decorators… – even the police are on time and a half…

 

Then there’s the support services that are necessary: the coppers, cleaners, and glaziers will all need a sandwich, a cup of coffee, a newspaper…

 

In short, for a lot of people, these protests are a financial bonanza!

 

Anti-capitalist protests? Bring down the system??? The irony. Small businessmen all over the country are rubbing their hands with glee and chuckling at the prospect of the biggest capitalist boom since the beginning of the downturn… In their own small way, the trots are helping us to emerge from the recession.

 

That’s my theory anyway and, providing the tattered fabric of decadent western society survives, I will report back on events tomorrow.

A balanced view

Now I slag of France a fair bit. And 99 times out of 100 they deserve it.


I was here for the election of Sarkozy in 2007. Picture the scene... I’d been sitting quietly in a bar with my local agent.

The locals were quietly watching a soccer match on the television, nursing small glasses of wine, emitting garlic and making an occasional lack lustre “honh honh”.

At half time, the news came on announcing that Sarkozy was in and had beaten the babe Royal.

The sons of Charlemagne greeted this news calmly and got back to the match.

After the match was over (God knows who won, but they didn’t seem too bothered either way – a bit like their attitude during world war two), they quietly filed out of the bar. It was getting late…


Within 5 minutes they’d started a riot and within 30 minutes the police were chucking out tear gas grenades like it was a Gallic Halabja.

My agent, who for reasons best left was dressed like General Patton, inhaled a good deal of the gas and couldn’t eat or drink for about 24 hours.


But I reckon they would have rioted even if Royal would have got in. It's just in their nature and the entire incident demonstrated to me that the country is just not ready for democracy yet.


However, there are some really great things about France


Let’s face it, the country is beautiful. Really beautiful (excepting Paris which really does smell of urine – if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been…).

As a stranger in a cafe in a country village, people entering will shake your hand and say ‘bonjour’ before joining their mates. They have a sense of courtesy that is very rare in England these days.

They’re not afraid to utterly knack any Third Worldsters who get too uppity which, when you look at our government’s reaction to the detention of British sailors and marines by Iran in 2007, makes you slightly envious.

(Incidentally, I note that the goggle-eyed freak’s reaction to Iran’s intransigence on the nuclear issue is to encourage them to produce more nuclear power - dressed up as 'talking tough'. You couldn’t make it up. But that’s by the by…)

And then of course there’s this...

On another note, to view an amusing account of France’s participation in the Crimean war, click here.

 

It's a series of animations which intersperse the excellent film ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. I really advise you to buy it now.

 

It's basically the best film about the Charge ever.

 

The first 40 seconds of this clip is the opening scene. I love the way it represents the French - very accurate. I advise you to play this in front of any Frenchies you know. PLUS its portrayal of England really appeals to my patriotic zeal.

 

Around 2 mins 58 seconds in, after the credits, rousing music and some great images of the good old days (Britannia, the Great Exhibition, women and kids down pits - aah…) it paints a good picture of how a reasonable society can descend into a state of war fever (and how they imagine the war will be a walkover) which rings pretty true these days…

 

The bit where the British Lion is beating up the Russian bear is funny because of the squawking French hen in the background...

 

Awesome...

The ancient enemy

Moving away from the cockeyed gimp Brown briefly - after all, we only have to put up with ‘him’ for another 14 months – let’s move on to our ancient enemy. The French.

 

‘Now come on,’ you’re thinking, ‘the Frogs are an easy target for ridicule and Obidiah is just being lazy here.

 

You’re thinking, ‘They’re so useless that even the Germans no longer invade them because it’s too like shooting fish in a barrel.’

 

You see? I know your minds better than you do yourselves…

 

But this entry is prompted by the news that France would like to rejoin the integrated NATO military structure. Following this announcement, I heard an interesting programme on the Home Service which I’ll summarise here.


The French, quite frankly, gave a shocking performance in the second world war. I don’t want to take anything away from their performance in the first 3 years of the Great War, but in WW2 they were diabolical. Ludicrous.

As every non-Frenchman recognises, they were bailed out and liberated by the British Commonwealth and the US.

The Home Service pointed out that they had long forgiven the Germans for their 4 years of occupation. For their deportation of the Jews, their looting of national treasures and for the destruction of towns such as Oradour sur Glanes. They had forgiven them and become their best buddies.

 

But what about the Brits and the Yanks? The guys who liberated them and threw out the German oppressors? Oh no, the French could never forgive us for that…

 

In 1966, in a fit of typically Gallic petulance, Charles de Gaulle (described by Churchill as having a face and poise like a pregnant llama startled in her bath… It’s true! Check him out.) ‘phoned US president Lyndon Johnson and informed him that France would be withdrawing from the NATO military command. All US troops, therefore, were to leave the country by the end of the year.

 

‘Does that include those buried in it?’ replied LBJ. Nice one Lyndon.

 

The French have got a great way of turning history on its head. They genuinely believe that they liberated themselves. My Grandad, who was chucking the Japs out of Burma at the time, was of the opinion that, once the Germans had been thrown out, every Frenchman was suddenly standing on a bridge waving a Tommy gun. Where the hell had they been for the previous 4 years?

 

Where indeed…

 

The programme gave some interesting figures: On D-Day 4,572 allied soldiers were killed during the landings that heralded the liberation. Of these 4,572, 19 were French.

 

19!

 

Liberated themselves??? The bloody Norwegians lost 37!!!


Look at the whole programme here.

The Bullseye guide to the credit crunch

A Yorkshire friend of mine has recently told me, in layman’s terms, about his opinion of the credit crunch.


By layman’s terms, I mean he’s translated it into the language of Bullseye, the semi-legendary northern game show hosted by gentleman Jim Bowen, Lancashire lad extraordinaire.


One of the cardinal rules of this darts-based show is that you must “stay out of the black and into the red (nought in this game for two in a bed…).”


Unfortunately, my friend tells me, the whole problem is that we have been staying out of the black and into the red for too long, and to the point of recklessness.


This has led us to the current situation, which mirrors the final round of Bullseye in which “Bully’s Special Prize” is up for grabs.


Unfortunately, our beloved prime minister is the one at the oche.


The only option left to the spaz-eyed, thistle-arsed miser is to gamble. And as all northerners know, if he gambles and LOSES…


…all WE get is BFH (bus fare home).


If you’re from south of Rotherham, none of that will mean anything to you. Fear not, normal service will resume shortly.

A controlled break

I broke early. I alighted (or alit?) from the wagon before it reached its destination. Needless to say, I didn’t tip the driver.

 

I didn’t really break though... It was a controlled break. I decided early on that it would be incredibly difficult to stay off the booze past the end of January.

 

The reasons were manifold:

 

-          At the end of January, I met my baby niece for the first time. She is the first child to be born to our family for 35 years (and the first girl since 1939…). That in itself is worth celebrating in the way the Brits do best. (Line em up squire...)

 

-          Her parents (my brother and his ex-model, now a brain-surgeon missus) live in Florida, so I flew there for a week. This was also a good reason to have a beer. (Another? Why, I don't mind if I do...)

 

-          My entire family was there to meet me. It was the first time we had all been together for years. (Champagne anyone?)

 

-          While in the States, we celebrated my brother’s birthday. (Make mine a large one…)

 

-          It was the Superbowl. Now, I’m not really bothered about sport but if you’ve ever watched The Simpsons you’ll appreciate that this is a big deal over the old Herring Pond. (Any chashers? Or crishpsh?)

 

Taken individually, these were each suitable reasons for celebration. Taken together, it was as though all of the hosts of Bacchus were arrayed against me.

 

The straw that really broke the camel’s back though,  was the fact that my brother, who misses his ale – as all true Anglo-Saxons do when they’re foolish enough to venture “abroad” – has decided to get round it in a novel way…

 

He went and bought his own brewery. Bought a brewery! Because he misses English beer.

 

Well, if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed… Bloody hell! The genius…

 

“Mine’s a pint of your finest “Old Bishop’s Bum Grumbler, Landlord!” says I.

 

I thought long and hard about this upon my return to our fair shores. Recent calculations have indicated that I pay that gotch-eyed bastard Brown a staggering 973 quid a year in beer tax. If the incompetent prick gets his way (as he will do, until next May), this bill will rise to £1,373!!! Lawks-a- Lordy…

 

Quite frankly, I have better things to spend that money on. My way around this is to start brewing my own beer. My budget won’t stretch to buying my own brewery but, through various means, I am now churning out 50 pints of ale per month at Snookmeister HQ at a negligible cost.

 

And as it’s duty-free, I have sealed off this staggering misuse of my hard-earned wages.


I can recommend it. For starters, get yourselves one of these bad boys.

On the wagon

On the wagon

I am currently on the wagon.

 

This is something I do every year for one month, ostensibly to “get in shape” but really to prove that I am not an alcoholic. Until the last two years, the month in question has always been February (it’s the shortest) but I’ve recently upped my game to January.

 

So… thirty-one days with no alcohol….

 

Sweet Jesus.

 

I haven’t done that since I was 16 years old. I now have a different perspective on weekends - they are now empty and without point. Absence of alcohol has revealed a huge yawning gap in my life. What do normal people do on the weekends?

 

Vague memories of my childhood suggest that they watch Leslie Crowther’s “The Price is Right” on television while eating a Chinese takeaway. Unfortunately, while I regularly eat Chinese takeaways, giving the lie to my “getting in shape” line, I do not have a working television (I did get the sodding thing working once and regretted it almost immediately …)

 

So I have decided to get a hobby. A hobby that doesn’t involved drinking booze. A hobby that will fill the 31 days of abstinence…

 

I have hit the perfect solution – home brew beer! Genius! I’ve got 50 pints on the go at the moment which will mature in early February. Each evening, I get home and just look at my home brew bubbling away.

 

It is tremendously heartening, not only because I will soon be putting myself around 25 quarts worth of premium ale, but because I am avoiding paying extortionate duty to the boss-eyed bastard in Number 10.

 

So, for the time being I am just going to be looking at booze. That is all I will be doing until the wagon drops me off on the 1st February. At the pub.

The grinning, drooling tw-t...

Warning: this posting has a political bent.

 

I have tried so hard to put this off but, after seeing his boss-eyed, gurning, face once again on the TV, I can hold back no longer…

 

Gordon ------g Brown.

 

The man who a month ago people were laughing at because of his shambolic reputation is portraying himself as the saviour of the world. Yet again, he is relying on PR to pull him out of it.

 

Does he think that we will forget that, as chancellor, he presided over the 10 year gestation of this financial crisis?

 

That, while there were stories in the broadsheets or on the wireless every week for 10 years warning against the monumental debt we were building up, he did bugger all?

 

That he was either unaware, or hoped that the problem would just go away?

 

Mind you, this is the guy who, on Labour’s election in 1997, told the whole world that he had put an end to the economic cycle of “boom and bust”. How naive can you get? Boom and bust is not up to him, us, or anyone else. If Wall Street sneezes, the world catches cold, no matter how you spin it.

 

And ID cards. ID CARDS??? Does anyone really think that the Government won’t abuse ID cards. Or 42 days imprisonment without charge legislation?

 

Of course they maintain that these will only be used within strict and clearly identified boundaries but you might note that Iceland (a NATO ally) had its assets seized by Britain under anti-terrorism laws (specifically part 2, article 4 of the Crime and Security Act 2001).


And don’t get me started on Peter @#*% Mandelson…

 

What a cock.

The Snookmeister craves your indulgence...

Please be patient - recent events in the capital markets have had terrible side affects.

One of which is that poor old Obidiah has been exceedingly busy (I mean, 'f--- me readers!' style busy). 

He promises to be back up and running in a few days.

Obidiah still loves you...

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