All 3 entries tagged Bile
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July 04, 2006
Sometimes things pass us by unnoticed. We miss good films, not having seen the ads and reviews, we didn't hear that a band was playing locally, no-one told me there was a theatre festival, damn it, and so on. We miss other things to. We tend not to identify certain traits in people who are our friends, even close ones. We can be blind to their being depressed, or physically unwell, or morally reprehensible. This blog covers two meanings of salient matters failing to come to my attention.
It starts with lemmings. I was in Walmart-lackey store ASDA recently, and my girlfriend saw a copy of old the PC game Lemmings. She was a fan of it, and bought it. Sure, 'twas only a couple of pounds. In my youth's heyday I had missed the Lemmings phenomenon, not having had access to a PC, so it was a pleasant surprise to have the opportunity at last. But - and this is the important part - when I was young, one of my friends did have the game.
We installed it, opened it, started playing it. My girlfiend knew how, I didn't. Out came the lemmings through an opening in the top of the screen, streaming onto a two-dimensional landscape and marching to their doom like mindless automata. So far so good. Until my girlfriend started explaining what the on-screen icons were for. 'This one makes them dig holes,' she pointed, 'And this one builds bridges, and this one makes them climb.' I furrowed my brow. 'Hang on,' I mused, puzzled now but slowly moving towards an understanding of the truth, 'You mean the point of the game isn't to kill the lemmings?' For so I had been led to believe.
His name was Richard. He had Lemmings. He loved Lemmings. He spoke of it frequently, how he enjoyed condemning them, how he fed off the lemming genocide. He might be puffing on a cigarette, and would take a drag and exhale slowly before finishing. 'Little fuckers.' Other times I'd call him and he'd be playing it, cackling hysterically as he reported burning lemmings, crushed lemmings, drowing lemmings. Naturally, I assumed the purpose of the game was to commit these atrocities, that it was some kind of black comedy, whereas in fact the cuddlesome little game was being perverted by a monster whose madness took me a decade to detect. Where is he now? In charge of an army, giggling as he sends his troops over the edge of a precipice? A traffic warden, chuckling as he encourages small children to skip out in front of buses? The editor of the Daily Mail? He must be stopped.
April 28, 2006
What galls me most about the idea of aliens invading earth is that we'll all have to stop what we're doing in order to defend our planet. It will be a considerable inconvenience. The flying saucers will land – presumably with liquid fire raining down on our pathetic civilisation – and we'll have to leave aside our commitments and grab our pitchforks. Some people will be eating, some on the toilet, some in our offices and courts, some writing revolutionary philosophical treatises, and all will have to cease and turn their attention to inter–planetary warfare. Frankly, a little notice wouldn't go amiss, but I suppose the aliens would be justified in explaining that this would not accord to their plan for a brutal surprise–attack.
For some I guess it's not all bad. I think of those lacking strong inter–personal skills. They might enjoy the sense of camaraderie – everyone mucking in together to save humanity, etc. – and presumably other people will also overcome their social inhibitions in the bloody onslaught. It may seem unusual at times that someone you called a 'fat cow' only yesterday will be assisting you in constructing a biochemical weapon to induce asphyxiation in our alien attackers, or that the death of the neighbour who stole your pliers will seem a little sad, tragic even, as you watch the translucently–fleshed beings drain the grey matter from his skull through the straw–like apparatuses that emerge from their mouths. But the lesson remains: if we're going to defend this planet, we're going to have to work as a team. There is no room for selfishness in perilous planetary defence, so none of your I want to be the one to shoot the laser nonsense, buddy.
It will be a hopeless battle, I admit. Our penknives, saucepans and catapults will prove useless in the face of the enemy's mind–rubbers. While sci–fi buffs may feel that this is their chance to shine, that this is what they've been waiting for all these years, they will prove too squishy and weak to be of much use. The military will waste its efforts under the misapprehension that we are being assailed not by the creatures in the mysterious ships that land on our lawns, but by extremist, middle–eastern grocers. Our opponents will look on in amusement as we squabble amongst ourselves, making their routine task of Land and Enslime simpler still. But we may as well turn up, show our faces, make up the numbers, is it not so?
The death of civilisation will be a grief. Our bridges and shopping centres will sink into the earth. Supermarket coupons, and high scores in video games, will be lost for eternity. The Sun will have no human breasts to adorn its Sunday Review supplement. Chat–show hosts will be digested in their conquerors' external stomachs. KFC will close early.
Should we survive, I suppose there is a chance that humans too will turn intergalactic oppressors in time, particularly the Americans, whose aim in space exploration is to discover extra–terrestrial beings of lesser intelligence, and sell them Coca–Cola. But it seems unlikely that we'll last more than a couple of weeks, and even that's assuming that our pets chip in and do their bit.
I will flick rubber bands in my enemies' faces to my last breath.
January 13, 2006
Remember to sell your 'art' shamelessly for use on a range of stationery and gift products, from cards to keyrings and mugs. With this in mind, you'd best keep your subjects irrelevant to anything as specific as birthdays etc.
First off, your Humorous Caption is vital. Don't be intimidated: this really doesn't require any wit. Just follow one of these examples:
i) 'The X of Y'
ii) 'The X that Ys'
iii) The Scenario of X combined with Y and Hilarity Ensuing
iv) The Sagely Maxim involving Xs that Y
X and Y, you understand, must be utterly incongruous. The reader will quake with mirth on seeing them, X and Y, of all things, together in the same sentence! What a Novel and Amusing thought, worthy of monetary expenditure!
The celery of penitence.
The earlobe that would be Viceroy.
Do Not Vote for the Bearded Potato.
As little creativity is required, the well of cynically concocted drivel posing as absurdist humour will never dry up.
Illustration is also important. Again. little ability or vision is necessary; just stick to your crude, black-and white imitations of Quentin Blake's loveable simplicity, removing the 'loveable' part.
Now you're ready for mass production, and all will be happy. You will be rich, and the consumer will be delighted with his/her endless purchases. 'Ho ho!' he says, 'I'm glad I possess a wry, alternative sense of humour. Truly, I am both Interesting and Quirky.'