It was the wonderfully surreal name of a dog in a Laurel and Hardy film (of the same name, I believe). I think the most engaging thing about Stan Laurel was his ability to make the utterly absurd appear perfectly normal. He once formed his hand into the shape of a pipe, stuffed tobacco into it, flicked the thumb of his other hand until it lit and then smoked the hand/pipe. Ollie watched amazed, flicked his own thumb and flew into a panic when it ignited. That was in the out-West film they did, the one that had the song ‘Lonesome Pine’ in it. I have a copy somewhere. I think he did it again in the film where they were in the Navy.
Anyway, I’m babbling about things nobody under the age of fifty has a clue about, and am likely to start sounding like Grandpa from the Simpsons (There sure are some ugly people in your neighbourhood. Ooo, look at that one).
There are things happening now that would make even Stan Laurel’s eyes widen. Things so insane and absurd that no director would have allowed them in a Laurel and Hardy, nor even a Marx brothers’ film. And some of the things Harpo did…
Supermarkets demand that all fruit and veg is perfect. No more carrots shaped like two legs and a willie for Esther to chuckle at. No apples with offset stalks. Everything must conform. This means that a lot of perfectly good food just gets thrown away. This makes no sense at all because all supermarkets sell diced, sliced and mashed carrots and other vegetables so it makes absolutely no difference what shape they were when whole. Why insist on perfectly shaped veg only to peel them with their metal knives then smash them all to bits? (If you now hear the sound of laughing alien robots, you’re as old as me). The UN apparently have to get involved to find ‘alternative uses’ for all this wasted food. How about eating it? How about selling it as cheap substandard veg? The snooty and the pompous won’t buy it but those of us who realise it’s exactly the same will save a lot of money.
Then there is the whole plain packaging debacle which has brought Government into even more disrepute than anyone thought possible and which will achieve nothing at all. I’ve been on plain packaging for a very long time, in fact I upgraded my plain packaging last September. It hasn’t affected my smoking.
Putting it all in plain packs will only have one outcome. Certain People will amuse themselves by asking for a whole list of non-existent brands so that the poor hapless cigarette-counter-monkey will have to open all the doors and peer at all the packets searching for them. They won’t be able to cast a glance over the display and say ‘No, we don’t have it’ as they could before. All they’ll have is doors hiding identical packs with tiny writing revealing what brand is inside. They won’t know if they have Venezuelan Beaver Cheese flavoured Marlboro (not the Benson and Hedges one, it’s not as good) or not until they check every single pack.
It’s going to be fun – ahem, for Certain People, I mean. Certain People can be cruel but then the likes of ASH created us – I mean them.
It also allows for the setting up of a tobacconist that has no tobacco at all. Yes, once again the absurdities of the past turn out to be prophecies after all.
Now the Bank of England is considering negative interest rates which will mean that if you leave money in the bank, the bank will eat it but if you live entirely on borrowed money, the bank you borrowed it from will pay you interest.
Would they do that? Oh yes indeed they would.
When we are all up to our necks in debt and laughing about it because being in debt is profitable, they will put interest rates back into the positive.
At a stroke of a keyboard, they will own everything.
Best learn to stuff leaves into your hand and light them with your thumb. It’ll be all any of us can afford if this plan goes ahead.
I reckon you could do it too, using an Electrofag device and a torch to simulate a lighter. You’d just need a tube running under your thumb…