Some years ago, while undertaking missionary duties in far-flung Indonesia (a position I would warmly
advocate to my parishioners), I was told a local joke about then dictator Suharto:
“Why do Indonesian people travel to Singapore for dental treatment?”
“Because they’re afraid to open their mouths in this country!”
One would expect such innocent humour to travel through countries and cultures such as Zimbabwe or Burma in the 21st century, relying as it does on a shared understanding of suppression that manifests in an absence of free speech. Even in Europe, well the EU at least, the idea of censoring jokes and risqué humour would seem a relic of some previous dictatorship, like Mussolini’s Italy or Franco’s Spanish regime. But here there grows a lamentable whiff of discontent, controversy in modern Espana that has somehow evolved into a first class stinker.
HDUK prides itself on an ability to lampoon the few who seek to suppress the many. While avoiding court proceedings, the editorial team has never had occasion to drop an article or feature that directly offended one person in particular. For my own part, I try to offend everyone in equal measures. Therefore, it is with considerable consternation I read about the King of Spain and his lamentable efforts to tell the people what is acceptable as funny-ha-ha (not funny-mental) while appearing very funny-mental and not particularly Juan Carlos (left), through the Spanish judiciary, has allegedly taken offence at anyone who portrays him and the Monarchy he represents in a less than flattering light. What exactly is the problem with satirical comment concerning Juan’s former hobby of slaughtering drunken circus bears for fun? Surely he can see the funny side?
Cast your minds back to recent events concerning a Danish cartoon that showed a certain Muslim
prophet, one example of less-than-hilarious Scandinavian humour. The Danes might be good at brewing
beer and supplying the world’s pubescent teenagers with the idea of leggy blondes available for
imaginary casual sex, but good jokes? Ermmm…. no. At the time the press talked of censorship and
freedom of speech being undermined, missing the point completely. They were cartoons, it was a joke.
Even in our bastion of untethered opinion and restrictive libel laws, one can discuss pretty much anything. That is, unless you’re a member of Fathers-4-Justice uttering ‘Blair’, ‘baby’ and ‘kidnap’ in the same sentence while out drinking in a London pub, or you wish to recite some obscure poetry at the London Cenotaph, lines that would possibly be more appropriate on MySpace. You will then feel the full weight of censorship, not to mention the rough grip of Special Branch quelling a foolish belief in the right to say what you please within the confines of our scptred isle, even if that utterance is some
Now, who gives a monkeys what happens in Spain, Denmark, a metropolitan public house, or the inside of a flaming car tyre in Harare, when it doesn’t affect me? You may well ask this, and in a high-pitched, slightly feminine squeak too.
Time to wake up.
A little reported court case regarding Princess Caroline Von Hanover (right) has set an interesting precedent
regarding privacy. The ruling may well affect us all in the current climate, altering what we may say or do
in terms of freedom. Miss Von Hanover’s legal pundits won a landmark case in Germany, far removed from
her home-port of Monaco, regarding the publication of images depicting her good self, and said images being available to the plebs without her sanction. Juan’s success on his home patch could well extend to our shores as we are members of that same club; the Be very careful about the jokes you tell. If you don’t, seriously consider getting your teeth checked in a country with a sense of humour, far from the repressive likes of Suharto. The waiting lists for NHS treatment in Britain may turn out to not be the only reason for moving elsewhere. We live in a time where the concept of morality itself is at stake. A time of change, an era of turmoil when everyone seems to be restless or worried about the future. Our leaders lack direction, as do we. What respite can be found to bolster our confidence? Sweet Darling has declared that we are all going to suffer in the coming months, the worst for sixty years. This is, of course, the ‘Darling’ to Browns’ Melchett, as Cameron is Bob Mugabe to anyone with an ounce of political sense. Cynically, Darling may be setting the foundation for yet another loves labour’s lost idiot proof plan, helping Brown to bounce back into our collective political bosom. Then again, he might just be making early excuses, ready to trump us with “I told you so” when offering himself up as the Prime Minister’s Surely Darling’s party realises it is history unless they knife Caesar Brown in the gonads? Yet Alistair has probably come to understand, like the rest of us, that while we might have a DFS sofa to sit on, there is no longer a pot to piss in, whatever the leadership outcome. Hence this sudden cautionary offering, Darling choosing to admit Bla Bla Blair has left his party in the hands of a patsy, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous Fannie and Mack fortune. Then again, he may have a more sinister tone.
So Darling could be Brown’s Jack Ruby, but what if he has just chanced upon the need for change?
Altering how we live, conduct ourselves, everything that makes us English. Our reputation abroad,
currently akin to Mr Glitter’s, is now left wanting. Gone is the quaint imagery of cream teas, cricket in
the rain and waiting in queues for pisspoor customer service. This no longer bespeaks Englishness.
Our Olympians have brought home the bacon at an investment of a mere five million quid per medal, but
the English reputation abroad is still largely based on the antics of drunken fat birds fucking Johnny
Foreigner on the cobbled streets of Koss.
So, where am I going with this month’s sermon from the mount, and why have I gone all political?
It’s assumed that this nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, both fiscal and moral. Britain, not unlike a Thai hooker, is down on its knees, doing anything but facing up to the fact that it’s fucked. We’re up shit creek minus paddle and canoe. The heady days of careless hedonism, buy now pay later, have bounced back with stark reality, a reminder we have to tighten our belts to painful levels, do without, live a frugal life not unlike that of a trappist monk. If what Darling predicts comes true, we are to witness the worst financial meltdown in sixty years, the very fabric of our social life at risk. Cheap holidays in other people’s misery will be a thing of the past. Supermarkets will outsell the license trade in beer and cheap vodka with traditional English pubs closing by the hundreds as most stay at home, unable to afford a pint or preferring not to mingle with drunken ladettes eagerly displaying their arse cracks to all and sundry.
What constituted an English tradition, nay, a way of life, is very much under threat. We are crushed by debt, increasing mortgage costs and the spectre of astronomical fuel bills looming on the winters’ bleak horizon. We can’t even afford to go abroad, or to a ponce-bar for that matter. Instead we have to make our own entertainment, embracing alcoholism at home or enduring a rainy weekend break in some seaside backwater and hoping that will do for our annual holiday.
So what hope is there for traditional English social interaction if all we are left with is getting pissed up
in front of Jonathan Ross or a cash-strapped Polish waitress? I, for one, would willingly commit ritual
seppuku rather than spend an armchair evening sadly pissing myself while the lisping Ross character
assassinates yet another guest, let alone suffering Chairman Clarkson spouting his mantric agenda for a
brave new petrolhead world courtesy of Dave C. The future looks bleak indeed if we are turning our very
homes into mock Tudor eateries, fitting beer pumps and hanging brasses in the lounge as our forefathers
must have done.
And there is another shadowy spectre, lurking not far off. The Hutton report missed this darkness, but it’s there all the same.
You may recall my previous sermon on the plastic delights available to the Sarah Jessica Parker in every woman courtesy of Miss Summers. Ann’s vibrating demonic tools have, at some time, been in almost every woman, a prospect I previously heralded as the death knell for the male bell-end in society. But to my dismay, Miss Summers has come up trumps with a popular solution to our current social ills. I have rediscovered, via YouTube, the sad sanctuary available to all of us (well, okay, mostly women - men aren’t invited to this unusual format for floating the boat come the weekend). I refer, of course, to Miss Summers’ parties at home. If nothing else, said parties confirm the big difference between the sexes. Gone are the days of Tupperware forays into plastic. The New World order has a more sinister concept. When men get together they avoid touching, feeling, often even talking. For the fairer sex it’s a different kettle of fishwives.
Men watch footie, enjoy cars, even use Chairman Clarkson and his hamster for mutual entertainment, lying
about who they’ve slept with, how fast their vehicles go, whether Clarkson can anally insert his hamster and
so forth. They never ever, ever, don a strap on, inflate party balloons, cackle like hens and gyrate around a
Council Estate living room in Chelmsford gagging for Brad Pitt while discussing bean flicking as an Olympic
sport. It’s just not cricket.
A brief peruse of YouTube does more for gender difference than any paperback bible. Men are from Mars, but the Ann Summers’ party set are from a mental health secure unit for sex offenders. That’s with the exception of one video in particular; ‘Jenny’s Ann Summers’ party’. Jenny’s party, like Mike Leigh’s shindig at Abigail’s, is a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. The sight of a middle-aged man dressed in his wife’s underwear attempting drunken rape is not entertainment. The fact that he is egged on by the neighbours who are also present in the room makes one wonder whether Mr Glitter really has a case to answer. What at first seems comical soon turns nasty, revealing the terrible underbelly of everything Englishness has become.
This is what happens when the public houses are gone and all men find themselves left with is entertainment
at home. I, for one, am seriously considering moving to Vietnam. At least there they deport sex offenders.
Darling was right, we are facing the worst period this country has seen in sixty years. I’ve seen the future, it’s
a scary vision, and it’s happening in the house next door.