All 15 entries tagged Boar Column

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June 25, 2007

Uses For The Pasty

A declaration of pale skinned power, from another Boar column.

What is the sound of summer? Is it sunny pop music wafting over the gentle buzzing of wasps as they attack picnics up and down the land, the screams of the stung mixing with the chirpy melodies? Is it a different sort of melody, the promise filled but sinister warblings of icecream vans, the kind which the mother of one of my friends told her children meant the icecream van was empty and on its way back to base to get more supplies? My friend was in her teens when she realised the lie. On campus one must factor in the seemingly constant sound of duck sex which begins as soon as the sun rises and is more effective at waking students than a cleaner with a hoover. Mind you, duck sex makes up for it by resulting ducklings, the number one distraction around with their cute little ducky faces, and cute little ducky feet and ducky ducky ducky, come here ducky… sorry, I was writing a column or something?

For me the sound of summer has a distinct flavour. It’s the age old cry of “Are you ok?”. Yes, yes I am, I just happen to commit summer’s cardinal sin of being pale. Just because I look like I’ve be trapped in a dark room for a billion years does not mean I am unhealthy. Nor does it mean I have not been out in the sun. Summer’s distinct smell is Factor 40 suncream.

The national obsession with getting tanned means those of us who cannot tan spend the entire summer justifying our DNA. It’s hardly my fault my ancestors settled in the cold, dark, cloudy regions where it was more useful to reduce energy expenditure on melanin in favour of being able to run that little bit faster when woolly mammoths attack. Unfortunately we then used our energy to kill all the mammoths thus rendering our justification for pastiness obsolete. Now all that’s left of these hard-as-nails-although-nails-hadn’t-been-invented-yet cavemen and women is a mass market for Factor 40 stuck with an undeserved reputation for being unhealthy and soft. Our case really isn’t helped by the cultural prominence of gothic teenagers who cake their faces in white paint and spend all day indoors writing poetry and not doing sport. They’d be shit in the face of a pissed off hairy elephant but it is them who people see as the representatives of pale.

We pales have our uses. The mocking doesn’t last long after we point out that if our friends stand next to us they look considerably more tanned than they actually are. Suddenly having an ashen friend is the way to instantly looking better. We are even more effective if we stand quite close as the sun rays will reflect off our skin onto yours thus ensuring an all round tan.

It’s not like I’m trying to be pale on purpose. I just don’t tan. At all. I got really badly sunburned once, proper full on sunburn with almost all the skin on my back peeling off, painfully, over the course of three or four days. That was the least pale I have ever been and I was redder than the Kop during a Liverpool – Chelsea match. And the best bit? All this happened not on the rolling beaches of the Costa del Sol, nor the exposed sunny mountains of Italy, but in Wexford. That’s Wexford in Ireland. Ireland the emerald isle, where the emerald grass grows greener than green on a diet of rain, rain and rain. If I didn’t wear suncream and eighteen layers I could potentially combust! And if you think eighteen layers is excessive then please remember that your pathetic modern fibres just don’t have the sunblocking power of mammoth pelt!

Filming The Writers

For your comfort and enjoyment, this Boar column is so much funnier if you can imagine Anne Hathaway with an uzi.

To be honest it’s Charles Dickins I feel sorry for. His biggest mistake was, like JRR Tolkein, to be around when cameras were active, photographing and documenting the world. We know he was essentially the owner of the second most iconic beard of the nineteenth century (Darwin pips him, methinks) and that apart from that he was rather average looking. He’d fit right in with the English department, right down to looking ever so slightly too eccentric and not corporate business type enough for the currently university administration (don’t you just love their tidy up the lecturers campaign?). But he’ll never get his own 12 rated Hollywood biopic. Jane Austen has. It’s out now and stars that girl with the big brown eyes who does that rabbit in headlights routine in most of her films. We have about two sketches of Jane Austen’s likeness and the real Jane doesn’t look like she was caught in any headlights. Nor did Shakespeare look like Joseph Fiennes. But we know that Brad Pitt does not resemble Mr Dickins, so there is little chance of some unnecessarily rain drenched hunk Dickins running through the dirty streets of London to his potential love interest’s house in an attempt to woo her with his new manuscript. “What’s that Charles darling? A tragedy about workhouses, robbery and murder? Oh, you sure know the words to get to a girl’s heart”.

Truth is it will be hard for future generations to cast sexy actors as dowdy authors; these days authors get recognised more than ever. Obviously some cheat, like Jeffery Archer. Actually no one else cheats like Jeffery Archer, his cheating (and lying and perjuring) is in a league of its own, but a lot of big selling authors are getting us used to their face in other media first but pouncing with their literary side. Take all those frustrated Chaucers on the pitch during your average England friendly. How can they be expected to put in demonstration of something so coarse and transitory as a mere football match when they’d much rather be at home penning great odes to the titanic forces which shape and captivate the world? It’s fortunate for them that humanity’s obsession with football means that they are themselves often those titanic forces, although you’d think this would have resulted in some better odes to beating Ecuador then crashing out to Portugal in a feeble penalty shootout than the crop of whingy books which came out last summer. Imagine if they could do it in iambic pentameter – “I played quite bad, we missed our chance, the shame/And now we wave our coach goodbye, again”. I can think of a minimum of five players in the last England world cup squad who seemed completely distracted by the sonnets they were composing in their heads. At least, I’m assuming that’s why they were fannying around on the grass rather than playing well.

You’d never see Andy McNab on the pitch. Actually, you’d never see him anywhere because he likes to keep up his SAS cred by hiding a lot, and doing interviews in shadows. It means it takes slightly longer than your average Google search to find a picture of him on the internet. In the interests of research I was going to try and find one to tell you how long it would take, but I got bored and decided to check the football scores instead. But McNab is a candidate for the treatment Austen and Shakespeare are currently getting because we’re not bored of his face. Casting directors won’t be too bothered about who gets to play him. Hell, Anne ‘rabbit in headlights’ Hathaway could play him in an attempt to get a story of SAS missions and Iraqi torture down to a 12 rating. I reckon she could do it. I’d probably watch then for the pure incongruity.

Pole Vaulting And Other Fun And Games

A confession of my intellectual inferiority in the form of a Boar column about sports.

Not long back, in the grip of essay fever, I fled from my spreadsheet of Georgian murder trials in search of some relief. It was in short supply being a Sunday night, and so I was drawn by powerful forces (my American coursemate) to watch Superbowl with said coursemate promising to explain the many and varied rules of the sport. To be honest I’m still not entirely sure what the rules to American football are, although it seems to involve most of the rules of rugby combined with most of the rules of chess, only I couldn’t see any horses on the pitch and no one turned into a queen when they reached the end of the board. It was complex, and when it’s 1.30am and you’ve spent the day wrestling with homicidal Cockney animosity in 1718, grasping difficult and new concepts is rather more than a mind can cope with. Well, more than my mind can cope with anyway.

Essentially I’m a moron. Ok, may not a moron, but certainly intellectually rather lazy. I like my sport simple. Even (proper) football, my beloved preferred way of acquiring more bruises and sprains, has one too many rules, and this is taking into account that one of the laws of football can be summed up by nine words – “tuck your shirt in and pull your socks up”. Whilst I can explain the offside rule I cannot remember if you are allowed to score direct from a throw in. And I’m not entirely sure what constitutes a professional, instant red card foul, except for the nagging feeling in my stomach that I’ve probably committed a few in my time and that it’s a miracle I’ve not been sent off. Maybe the refs know I’m a bit of a moron (there’s certainly a consensus amongst some that to be a goalkeeper, like I am, you’d have to be) and are going easy on the girl in the neon goalie shirt who was once charmingly described by some opposition substitutes as “mental, actually fucking mental”. I would have taken it as a compliment but I’d been kicked in the head by one of their forwards and wasn’t really mentally all there.

In theory athletics is the easiest sport to understand. Whoever runs fastest or jumps furthest wins. But that’s a little too simple. See, as much as I like things to not be complicated, I also demand at least a modicum of excitement. The 100m is exciting once. Watch anymore than one race in a day and you just end up thinking “So what? They’re running in a straight line. Where’s the adventure?”. The answer is probably mere metres away at the pole vault. I love watching pole vault. I really could watch it all day. It’s so strange. You can understand the human desire to see who can run the fastest, or jump the highest, but at what evolutionary stage did we acquire an innate desire to see how far a human can fling themselves using only a very breakable pole? It’s the constant risk that the pole will break and send the poor human flying arse over tit which makes it so exciting.

And yet for years women weren’t allowed to pole vault! It took 80 years from the first official men’s pole vault world record before there was a women’s official pole vault record. The 2000 Olympics were the first to allow female pole vaulters. It’s odd to think that even as late as the 1990s there were people in this world who wanted to deny women the chance to land on their heads clutching nothing more than a broken fibreglass stick and the shreds of their dignity. I suppose we’ll never achieve equality in this world until we are willing to allow all members of society to make complete tits of themselves in front of their peers. Now I must go as I have to deliver some fibreglass sticks to George W Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. If ever there were two people who I want to see land on their heads it’s them…


Another Boar column. I’ve got behind in putting these things up!

It’s a good thing no one gives a stuff about plants. We all care, or claim to, about animals, but no one actually cares what happens to plants; whether they have enough light, how many we cut down to make student newspapers, or how many we water using cider and vomit. We just don’t give a rat’s ass (although to do so would be rather mean to rats, don’t you think?). Why else does no one stop those plant sales in the piazza in the first term? You know over 75% of the people buying those plants are freshers who will almost certainly kill the damn things. Broken in kitchen parties, neglected over Christmas in Tocil flats, and showered with cider and vomit, they will never grow to achieve their chlorophyll-tastic destiny. Before the age of 21 the only plant I couldn’t kill through neglect and incompetence was my cactus which made its feelings towards me well known by drawing blood every time I needed to move it. I swear it went for me. I think it blamed me for knocking it over and breaking it’s pot even though that heinous act was carried out by my housemate. Guess us humans all look alike to plants.

Plants are nice. Plants can make a room look like more than just a temple to the god of paper/socks/vodka bottles, which is why so many deluded freshers think buying a plant is a good idea. Good to see they are starting their university lives with good intentions of raising a rainforest of intense lushness. Naturally though, they overlook the more mundane and negative side of things. For a start about half the rooms on campus get no direct sunlight. Most plants won’t get watered properly, especially as the tap water on Coventry doesn’t look safe for student consumption, never mind consumption by a delicate organism. Hell, my venus flytrap needs to be given either rainwater or mineral water. I spend more on water for my plant than I do on water for myself (I like fluoride and cloudiness in my water). Some plants require pruning or grow very very quickly, taking over desks and flopping over keyboards when you’re trying to work. Don’t be fooled, they do it deliberately.

But it cannot be denied that a nice plant makes a room look great. Many of us seem to have internalised this curious human habit of bringing indoors the outdoors our ancestors did so much to get away from. A nice splash of green next to the unwashed plates of curry diminishes the impact of the half finished mush. And if you make that splash of green a venus flytrap it will eat the various insects which have been attracted by the crushing communal inability to clean anything plate shaped.

Plants often make perfect companions for students with their multifunctional superpowers and ability to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen, invaluable in stuffy student rooms where air circulation is minimal. A nice tree will always provide something for the more inebriated student to support themselves with. Those flowers you bought your tutor to apologise for missing seventeen seminars in a row will no doubt remove much of the tutor’s anger at your complete indifference to the topic they have devoted their lives to. The plant world’s uses for students have yet to be fully tapped, hence why every year dozens of freshers line up in the piazza ready to begin the quest to find new uses for a geranium. If only we could train them to take lecture notes.

February 12, 2007

Work Hours

A serious Boar column, in that I was really genuinely concerned about what I was writing about. I was reliably informed by someone earlier that they don’t read my serious ones because the funny ones are better. However this does have a funny comment in it. You’ve just got to find it. Nyer.

I don’t really know at what point I started doing it, but recently I’ve started branching out in my conversations about employment. As a postgrad, I find a lot if my friends are now in jobs, or at the very least applying for as many as they can. I’ve never taken much interest in the whole thing, to the extent that whenever it came up in conversation I would activate autopilot and ask the right questions whilst my brain occupied itself with more important things like whether Didier Drogba’s recent dip in form was a good enough reason to offload him from my fantasy football team. Invariably the right questions were “Where is it based?” and “What’s the starting salary?”. But now, possibly because the day of getting a job looms closer and closer, I’ve started to pay attention and care. And I know because I’ve started asking a new question – “What are the working hours?”

We don’t get the work/life balance concept in this country. When we hear Europeans get shorter working weeks or more bank holidays we grumble, our reflexive reaction to any hint that Europeans might get a better deal. But we don’t seem to take it all in. We don’t consider that we might genuinely be working too hard. The Japanese have recognised that they do. They even have a word – karoshi – to describe death from overwork, the heart attacks and strokes suffered by people decades younger than the normal heart attack or stroke sufferer. It’s not encouraging to ask a load of recent graduates what their typical working day is only to hear “It’s meant to be 9 to 6 but it’s usually more like 8.30 to 6.30, 7”. And then there’s those City jobs which can take you late into the night in search of bonuses. Is it any wonder a phd is looking more and more attractive?

The problem is I work ten hour days during the holidays, have done for several years, and don’t really want that fulltime. It’s perfectly fine to do minimum 50 hours weeks for the four weeks of a university holiday, but every week for years on end? What for? Extra money? What you gonna spend it on? You’re in work all the bloody time, and when you’re not, you’re probably physically and emotionally drained. It would be nice if the graduate recruiters were a bit more upfront about working hours, but they’re selling themselves and the news that you’ll be wallowing in five hours sleep five nights a week isn’t really a big seller to a section of the population renowned for its ability to sleep up to 14 hours or through a fullscale fire alarm, probably with actual flames and burning buildings.

This is not to advocate some idealistic hippy land where we all live on a commune and grow our own food. Hell, I grew up next to the countryside and if there’s one group who work long hours it’s farmers. No, I just want a job which doesn’t eat up my entire life, one hour at a time. I know you’re probably feeling cheated that this column isn’t as amusing as it sometimes is, but this time I don’t think what I’m writing about is funny (unlike government scandal or nuclear war, which I’ve already proved I find hilarious). You know when your mates can’t even come over for dinner because they’ve worn themselves out from leaving too much work to do that day? Imagine that happening every day. Capitalism should be here to serve the people, not the other way around. And people wonder why I don’t want to get a job – I do want to have a job, I just want to have a life at the same time.

February 10, 2007

Tesco Has Come For Your Soul

Un column de la Boar. Even I felt educated after reading this (I forgot I wrote it).

Are you ready for your Amazingly Dull Fact of the week™? No? Tough. The Amazingly Dull Fact of the Week™ is that there are only four postcodes in Britain which do not have a Tesco. Three make sense if you adopt a sort of “let’s leave out those weird people who paint themselves blue and charge around led by Mel Gibson” attitude which only those too enraptured by London to notice the rest of the nation has moved into the twenty first century can really achieve. These people probably think the Outer Hebrides, the Shetlands, and Orkney are firms of City lawyers or accountants. Go to their stall at the Careers Fair. In fact, judging by the size of modern Tescos the chances are that these small clumps of island are just too small to fit one on, especially as each Tesco must come with a carpark the size of Epping Forest and no signage to indicate which area you have parked your car in. Yes, everyone loves a good game of Find My Car whilst carrying eighteen tonnes of shopping. It’s good for the shoulder muscles.

The fourth postcode was a little more surprising. From the mountainous regions of Wales, to the snootiest plains of Buckinghamshire, to Devon where the locals seem to get most of their goods from shipwrecks, all postcodes were endowed with a way to acquire starchy mush (or Tesco value rice as it claims to be). The exception is Harrogate. For those of you who don’t know, Harrogate is in Yorkshire. It was Britain in Bloom champion in 2003 and hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982 from which we can conclude that they clearly like bright colours and lots of them. It’s a spa town but unlike Leamington does not seem to feel the need to show off about it, although unlike Leamington, it’s not Royal which probably irks it somewhat considering how well it fits the idea of quaint olde Englande. Charles Dickens called it “the queerest place, with the strangest people leading the oddest lives”. When you think about it, this was a remarkably astute prediction of the coming of the Eurovision Song Contest from someone born during the Napoleonic War when the possibility that Europe might settle its seething tensions through the medium of voting on camp costumes and terrible songs seemed remote to say the least. Although Eurovision would be funny if it featured more nineteenth century cannon fire.

What would Napoleon make of Tesco’s amazing progress in taking over the entirety of the country he so wished to pummel into submission with cannon and bayonet? It has managed to become the bogeyman to a lot of people who see it steamrollering local shops and businesses and bullying farmers into dropping their prices. But still we shop there. For campus denizens it has the advantage of a captive audience whose main alternative is Costcutter, a shop whose name lies and whose food products range in quality from “Meh” to “Argh! My tastebuds! My stomach!”. So students trudge their way over to Tesco’s then come back to play an amusing game of Find My Hall Of Residence whilst carrying eighteen tonnes of booze and getting their weekly exercise in the form of a shoulder workout. Every penny spent at that Tesco is going into a giant pot which will one day be used to buy campus itself and turn it into a carpark.

February 09, 2007

So–so–so–so Scandalous

Yes, a Boar column, and yes I have used a line from a Misteeq song as the title. What you gonna do about that?

I’ve got to say, once more New Labour are letting me down. They’ve done it before, turning out all sorts of lame brained right wing policies dressed in left wing clothing (like a student in a Che teeshirt at an internship talk by an accountancy firm) or generally reacting hysterically to a newspaper article about EU immigration, forgetting that by this time tomorrow said headline will be subsumed in people’s minds by the latest gigantic diplomatic incident with a fellow nuclear power over a reality TV show. But today’s topic for disappointment is the cash for honours affair a.k.a. the least interesting massive scandal of all time.

The latest development roared onto our 24 hour news screens this week. And by “roared” I mean “weakly mewed like a tiny kitten trapped under a newspaper”. Some woman was arrested and released. This woman, Ruth Turner, is apparently some major part of the government’s apparatus of power and control and manipulation. Or at least she was if you read the papers, most of which had her pegged down as the sort of bad guy symbol of all that is a little wrong with the political world. Naturally I was hoping she would be some sort of power suited political dominatrix, pure evil incarnate but a feminist, equal opportunities pure evil of the sort which would at least leave me feeling that New Labour still had some semblance of leftist attempts to include previously excluded groups. She might well be, but the pictures the media used made her look more like that really sweet natured girl in your seminar group who never says very much about the topic but is determined to get you to come out for drinks with the rest of your coursemates because it’s nice to bond. Possibly she wants to do this so she can get you drunk and steal your ideas to use in the next New Labour manifesto, so beware.

It’s just the latest anti-climax. This scandal has rolled on for so long that I need to be reminded what it’s actually about every time something happens. Calling it the cash for honours affair helps, but too many of the details escape me, too many are tedious, petty and boring. One of the 24 hour news channels (ok, it was BBC News 24; Sky News makes me want to bash my TV in with a rock) compared it to the Watergate scandal of Richard Nixon. No chance. That one was interesting. It had opposition offices being broken into and bugged, journalists engaged in indepth investigations with secret sources, and Nixon resigning with his back to the wall. Cash for honours has none of these amazingly cool plot twists. No spies were involved which is an instant bucket of cold water for most people, especially after the awesome new Bond film. No decent investigative journalism has been done, just a lot of correspondents standing around in those ridiculously high winds outside Downing Street trying to look like they were reporting on history. Theoretically what we have here could force Tony Blair to resign but such is the slowness of the police investigation that even Blair’s most determined efforts to hang onto power and piss off Gordon Brown (and everyone else in the country) will have come to an end by the time anything vaguely juicy happens. Going after ex-prime ministers isn’t as exciting. Ask the Irish. Or the French.

You may find it churlish of me to complain about the quality of scandals. Maybe you’re one of those people who would rather have a boring but effective government. I bet you’d also like Bolton to win the Premiership. Or Snow Patrol to win best album at the Brit Awards. Well it’s not going to happen (apart from the Snow Patrol one which remains a high possibility) and if we must have scandals they should at least be fast moving, diverting and contain news reports about events which inspire mental images you just don’t want to think about, probably involving the idea of John Major having sex. It sure beats sitting in a corner, in your Che teeshirt, wondering when the Indians are going to exercise their right to nuke the Big Brother house.

February 08, 2007

Tax My Book

More Boar columns you say? Why yes, I did write some more, forcing them from my brain in such a way as to cleanse it of good ideas. This is why there’s been so few good blog entries recently. I’m as distressed as you are I’m sure. This column is a bad one in this context as I’ve already blogged about part of it before. Sorry. Consider yourselves to have been privileged to see the earlier (better and expanded) version.

There’s a rather dubious definition of culture in this country. Not all that surprisingly, it’s a legal one, stemming from the same tax system which caused a court case to decide whether jaffa cakes are cakes or biscuits (legally they are cakes). But in this country you pay VAT on CDs but not books and reading material. The latter is an item of cultural value and thus exempt. By this logic a CD of Beethoven isn’t an item of cultural value, but FHM is, although how that counts as an item of reading material is something which a reader will have to inform me about.

The message is loud and clear – books make you cultural. A book turns you into something above the rest of the plebeian hordes, snuffling around in their CD collections for the latest slice of shite from whoever dredged their corpse successfully through X Factor. A book was written with a pen and a pen is mightier than the sword which is why you should go around chasing members of LARPS with biros. A book makes you clever and intriguing to the opposite sex. Or the same sex if you are reading ‘Brokeback Mountain’/’The Well Of Loneliness’. This is why I am considered to be pure, unadulterated scum. I am not a major book person. Ok, I am, but they’re not the right sort of book.

See, not all books are equal. Reading Jane Austen is considered more classy than reading Bridget Jones even though they are just the same apart from one being a couple of centuries older and the other having more wine shared between only half the number of characters. Reading something which has been made into a major film does not give as many culture points. And at the bottom of the heap are history books, possibly due to a snobbishness stemming from the fact that people assume writing history takes less imagination because you’re not making it up. Combine my historical tendencies with my massive collection of VAT-tastic CDs (the government is running a small NHS trust off what they get from my music habit) and you have the least cultured masters student on campus despite not a single of mine CD having even a trace of an X Factor winner on it (Girls Aloud didn’t win X Factor, ok?!).

I did read one book recently. I read Orlando by Virginia Woolf. There’s a lot of people who should read it. In part this is because it is a good book, albeit one where the main character doesn’t really age and changes gender halfway through for no other reason than Woolf was clearly a bit stuck for plot twists and, having already made the character virtually immortal, it was clear than the only option was to be even more surreal. Woolf was, after all, a good writer and thus this is art and challenging, not a blatant cop out. Anyway, Orlando, when not having to buy a new wardrobe to accommodate unexpected gender swaps, obsesses for most of the novel about writing a poem which will be remembered for all time and bring fame. He/she repeatedly fails until she gives up on eternal fame, at which point she writes a poem which makes her famous and important. Moral being that people should stop trying to get their place in history and just do something honest. It makes sense today. If we all read Orlando we’d have fewer CDs from fame hungry X Factor wannabes to avoid. And Tony Blair would be less obsessed with getting into the history books by invading every country he can find which looks a tiny bit dodgy. Why he wants this is a mystery, didn’t anyone tell him history books don’t get you culture points?

January 12, 2007

Fictional Beast Sausages

Hahahaha, I’m pro-EU at heart and this Warwick Boar column shows it… sort of. Also sorry about linking to the website so much when it’s not been updated in a while. Apparently it will be at some stage. It’s award winning, y’know!

I have to lay my cards on the table, both now and for future reference. Due to an excess of Irish DNA sloshing around in my genes I am intrinsically inclined to view the idea of the European Union as a good idea. Now I also, inexplicably, think that eating sponges is a brilliant idea but I’ve not done that since I was a small child (when mum replaced the half eaten sponge with a much less enticing flannel) whereas I still think Europe is a good idea. The only problem with it is continuing and unabated existence those assorted nutjobs elected to and working at the EU itself. Living in Eurosceptic Britain means a constant diet of exaggerated EU nonsense, like the fictional straight bananas which were rumoured to be forced upon us in the 1990s, but quite often reports of the EU’s bouts of madness are fairly close to the truth.

The latest disconnection from common sense comes from a fairly logical system which has been in place and beneficial for a while. The EU has strict rules on naming of products. Parma ham must be from Parma, Cornish pasties from Cornwall. Some have objected to this, but remember that the grape growers of the Champagne region will fight, almost to the death, the stop others using their sacred, and expensive, name. It’s not unreasonable when it’s a traditional dish, and one whose reputation is worth protecting. I know people from Cornwall who find the idea of a Cornish pasty being made here in the Midlands as sacrilege. Most Irish will tell you that Guinness tastes better in Dublin than in Britain, travel and/or production abroad can negatively affect stuff.

So far so good. But what happened when the EU noticed the existence of Welsh Dragon sausages last week? A total collapse of any reason. The poor makers got told off and forced to alter their name to Welsh Dragon Pork Sausages because their product doesn’t contain any dragon. Let’s review that. The sausages did not contain the meat of a fictional animal which everyone knows to be fictional, but clarification was needed anyway. At this stage the Europhile is banging their head against the desk screaming “Why must you make us laughing stocks?”. Even if there are morons who might think the sausages actually contained dragon what’s the worst that could happen? They get a little disappointed that it taste of pork? Personally I’d be inclined to slap them and tell that to be grateful it doesn’t taste of chicken like snails, frogs and humans.

Overly literal bureaucrats with a poor view of the average Joe/Jose/Llywelyn’s intelligence are the bane of any system. It makes me wonder what happens when they notice me – how much trouble am I going to get in for not being a spiky evergreen plant? What sanctions will be imposed on my existence for the lack of a few red berries protruding from my scrawny frame? God knows what damage they could wreak on account of my surname, fill me with old people and shove me into the sea?

You don’t win people round by making out that you consider them to be morons, even morons object to being blatantly tagged in such a way, once they’ve worked out the meaning of all those big polysyllabic words you’ve used. So come on EU, let’s stop treating people like idiots and then I’ll stop looking like an idiot for not cursing you with all my being. And for heavens sake, don’t throw me into the sea! The sponges out there aren’t the same as the ones at home.

January 11, 2007

"Hello, Guinness Book Of Records…

The Careers Service never did get to grips with me. A warwick Boar column which says more about me than them.

Sometimes, at very irregular intervals, I am gripped by a sudden and overpowering sense of destiny. In these moments, which fade all to soon, I see a bright shiny light emanating from the future calling to me in dulcet tones, “This is the job which you will be happy doing in the future…”. Invariably this fades as soon I realise things are a little more complicated than they seem. Practicalities, the most effective destroyer of dreams, emerge blinking into the sunlight and piss royally on the ticker tape parade in my head. Questions flood forth – is the volume of paperwork and risk of being stabbed compensated for by how cool the police riot uniform is? Does the lack of decent pay and necessity of marking essays overshadow being a lecturer who gets to talk loudly about stuff they’re interested in? Does having no discernible musical talent, or drug habit, really preclude me from being a rock star?

So I was a little surprised to have inspiration strike me once more earlier today, and I remain surprised at how little my enthusiasm has waned. And it’s all because of you, dear readers. I know there is a general scepticism in some areas about the Boar and its approach to to facts (insofar as facts can exist in one’s mind after you have had to endure a seminar on post-modernism) but quite often the facts in this newspaper are checked with sources and people who might know the answer, or are authoritative enough to quote, and not find ourselves getting sued for the resulting article. This is mostly done because printing outright lies is apparently illegal and not allowed. We would appreciate if someone could tell the News Of The World this.

In the minutes before my flash of inspiration I was witness to several members of the editorial team trying to make contact with the Guinness Book of Records to check some facts for us. And then it struck me. I want the job on the other end of the phone. I want to answer calls with “Hello, Guinness Book of Records, which astounding feat or event can I amaze your tiny mind with today?”. Imagine putting someone on hold whilst you check who holds the record for the most toe nail clippings collected, or the longest river of marshmallow ever created. Considering some of the stuff that makes it into the Guinness Book of Records, it couldn’t be too boring a job, could it? I guess you’d need the emergency services on the other line, if only for when someone rings up and tries to break a record down the phone to you and only end up breaking limbs.

Alas, a setback soon reared its ugly, and not record breaking, head. There is no such Guinness Book of Records phone line, only email. Now this is not to say there couldn’t be a phone line. Hardly anyone knows there isn’t one. And this could be another fun job – setting up a rogue phoneline to distribute complete bollocks in lieu of real records. The downside that there appears to be no way of making any money from such a scheme is currently the only thing stopping me. So here’s your record for the day – Most pigeons stuffed up one nostril: 11, by Dame Judi Dench on the set of The Shipping News in 2001.

Oh come on, you’d stick pigeons up your nose too if you found yourself cast in that film.

October 2023

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