A rational adjustment to an insane world


Posted by in February's Magazine

Many years ago, I developed a penchant for buying highbrow texts from charity bookshops. It was the sort of studied cosmopolitanism that in a few years from now, when the Brexit revolution is complete, will see me locked into a cage made from sticks of Blackpool rock, forced to fellate a statue of Enoch Powell and subjected to a 34/7 – yes, 34/7 for we shall recalibrate time too – aural assault of Chas & Dave.

Or maybe I’ll escape with a light cock-punching performed by ex-SAS men – who can recite Rule Britannia backwards – as the Good Ship Blighty slips its moribund moorings and sets sail for a glorious new beginning east of Java.

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But for now, let’s return to the books. I recall one day chancing upon a copy of famous/infamous Scottish psychiatrist RD Laing’s seminal 1960s text, The Divided Self. Billed as ‘an existential study in sanity and madness’, the book appealed to my appalling intellectual snobbery at that time (I was fresh out of college and at war with everything ‘ordinary’, I purchased a copy of Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell pretending to read it over a lunchtime pint in The Jolly Judge…what a little tosser I was). Anyway, I never really got a handle on The Divided Self apart from glimpsing some of the more challenging aspects of RD’s revolutionary practices.

By challenging, I mean one of his charges was encouraged to strip butt naked in a room and live in her own shit as some twisted attempt to reconnect with her inner self. Some may quibble on the details, but the excrement part is correct and it provides the symbolism I need to give this tirade some shape. I say shape but really it’s more of an amorphous attack on the increasingly bleak downward spiral that was 2017. Smothering yourself in your own dung and howling at the moon in a locked room sums it up.

So can we expect similarly perfumed delights in 2018? Well, I’m no Nostradamus, but as an old friend of mine used to say every Hogmanay, contrary to the Panglossian hymn to progress so beloved of Yazz and her ‘Plastic Population’, “the only way is usually down.” Or perhaps even more frustratingly, the only way is sideways. We spriff and spraff and mumble and grumble but actual, epochal progress is never really a violent earthquake (if you discount two global conflagrations in the 20th century).

Any real meaningful and lasting human progress takes time – so imperceptible that it’s barely noticeable until one day you wake up and realise that neo-fascist orcs like Trump (the political wing of Richard Spencer), blithering nationalist blimps like Farage and all those theocratic Islamo-fascists are like mere chaff in the wind. Trouble is, we are nowhere near chaff-stage yet, there’s a whole wheat field of this shit and unlike our brittle piñata of a Prime Minister, I have no desire to run through it.

Sideways manoeuvres then…a suitably clunky segue to a ‘sideways’ look at the year ahead. ‘Sideways looks’ here references those crap montages at the end of the World Snooker Championship purporting to, “laugh at the lighter side of the baize” whilst actually being a series of snapshots of snooker players gurning, rubbing dust off their waistcoats, or scratching their arse etc. Oh how I wish they would intersplice it with footage of Ronnie O’Sullivan smashing fuck out of his dressing room, high on life.

So here are my ‘sideways’ predictions for the fledgling year that is 2018. Coz, you gotta laugh, eh?

Trump will launch furious Twitter attack on his own hair
In a surprise move, accidental President, Donald Trump shall launch a stinging social media attack on his own unruly hair. Describing it as a ‘fake do’ and ‘possibly terrorist in nature’, he will proceed to excommunicate it from his own fevered bonce, then order a marine expedition to reconquer it, strand by strand. This may result in collateral damage; hopefully his own demise.

Brexit will be downgraded to become a theme park near Lincoln
As even the most ardent of British nationalists realises that Brexit has gone from ‘moment of glorious national rebirth’ to being hosed down repeatedly with liquid clown shit whilst naked in a cage, there will be a recalibration of our Brexit ambitions. It will be confined to a theme park experience near Lincoln featuring attractions such as turnip throwing, monkey hanging and latte-hating.

Scotland will attend Russia 2018 as an understudy for England
After the England squad call off with broken egos, the plucky Scots will take football’s global stage in their stead. We’ll still crash out at the group stage, but at least we’ll give English fans a true lesson in false hope – none of this “getting to the quarters finals and losing to Croatia” stuff. We’ll smash the Belgians, draw with Tunisia and lose horribly to Panama (with Darien, we have form in that area). ν

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