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Do androids dream of electric sheep?


Is an obituary for a ventriloquist an ‘ogituary’? Exactly who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong? Boris Johnson – why? So many questions yet, as per the dulcet tones of Johnny Nash in 1972, not enough answers. Aside from the Johnson one the answer to which is Boris Johnson himself. It’s his raison d’etre, his magnum opus, his 99 Flake with sprinkles all in one.  

However, enough of the ‘B’ word, if you haven’t yet worked out that the answer to the mop-headed lie machine is either: the public stocks, savaging by feral otters or permanent exile to the tundra of Saturn (in that order) then you haven’t been paying attention.

As I write this, there’s chat about MPs being blackmailed with withdrawal of public funds if they don’t come out cheering for this rotten leftover blancmange of a man. Will he answer for any of it? Not likely. As the scorpion said to the frog. “It’s in my nature.”

That leads us to knock off one question from the exhaustive list, how low can you go? In the case of the Mother of Parliaments or specifically the Tories way, way low. And then some. This squalid lot are rewriting Jules Verne daily, drilling down to the basements of debasement. Places so low even the mega rich of London’s converted mansions - “the fashion is to extend downwards daahhling” – didn’t know they existed.

But sewer-scraping lowlifes aside, the thinking is; in times of great unrest – morally, psychically, politically, or, in our collective experience of late, epidemiologically. We tend to question the structures, the fabric, the nuts and bolts as it were. Or at least I do. Maybe that makes me a middle-class Herbert with too much time on his hands. Then again, as Socrates would have it, ‘a life unexamined is not worth living’.

Hmmm you say, was that Socrates the doctor with the cool beard, who liked the odd cheroot and played for Brazil in the 1982 World Cup? No. The answer to that particular question is definitive: our man is the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, who actually did play football, for Monty Python’s Philosophers XI.

It’s a lifetimes work answering the great unknown questions not just of our times, but ALL times. Sure, it may be a questionable ambition, a fool’s errand if you will, but we all need a hobby. And while I can’t offer truthful answers, I can, like an ailing energy company gasping its last, have a go at providing meagre illumination.

Question: in the event of being unable to pay your energy bills this coming year, what would you burn first, your secret stash of porn or your secret stash of People’s Friend?  

In attempting to address this you would of course reveal yourself to be a grubby consumer of perverted and corrosive material. Namely, People’s Friend… That’s answering a question with a question.

Time to take the plunge, Montgomery. Time to address the most troublesome questions of our times. Let the honeyed winds of truth blow sweet cleansing gusts through the dark corners of this earth. To start with, an easy one… 

What time is love? 
The most loving time ever during any given day is either 12:59am or 12.50pm. Take your pick. Why? It’s that special 1 on 1 time. Badoom tish! I stole that clunker from the Fringe. 
Is there life on Mars? 
Of course there is. Admittedly an obese one plagued by Type 2 diabetes, but if you insist on existing exclusively on an icon of confectionery bars, that outcome is inevitable.

Is it safe? 
Larry Olivier put dentists out of work for years with his turn asking this very question of Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. In more general terms life can never be entirely safe. Sure, it’s a given we ought to care for all. However, in light of events lately, folks have been fetishizing safety. Even getting out of bed in the morning entails a risk. Best leave this one there though… 

Why does sorry seem to be the hardest word? 
Good question. I’ve always thought that ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ was harder than that. When it comes to spelling alone I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve lost my rhythm to my ryhthm. So I think we can definitively attest that, contrary to popular belief, sorry is not even remotely the hardest word. So stick that in Bernie Taupin’s pipe and smoke it, Mr Reg Dwight.  

And, the big one. What would JC do? 
In the US Bible Belt, where the sound of holy tomes being bashed, is drowned out by the sound of waterfalls of drool from the slack-jawed. JC is taken to mean the holy man with the beard and cross.

I see it differently. I think it refers to legendary director Mr John Carpenter. In which case the answer is singular: whatever the situation, our JC would turn it into a gritty dystopian/supernatural/bloody masterpiece.

He wouldn’t have to do much in the way of exposition and actual direction. Just point the camera at the action and press record. Thus perfectly mirroring our (current) hyper reality. ■

The author appears somewhat ‘exercised’


While I can’t offer answers, I can, like an ailing energy company gasping its last, have a go at providing meagre illumination


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