Cult Viewing

May 16, 2007


Good manners may not be my forte, but I’m a paragon of politesse compared to the main players in Panorama’s investigation into the Church of Scientology, which aired on the BBC this evening.

Nobody involved covers themselves in glory. John Sweeney’s pyrotechnic outburst is undoubtedly hilarious, but hardly a model of objective journalism. The subject of his ire is the indomitable Tommy Davis, spokesman for the Scientologists. On balance, I’d rather do a spot of needlepoint with Ed Gein than entrust my spiritual development to that sociopathic crackpot.

I mean, I know those Body Thetans are a pain, but still.


What Is A Wedding But A Series Of Insipid Follies?

May 15, 2007


24-hours ago – after a purgatorial car journey – we arrived at a lavish country pile to celebrate the nuptials of two friends. Since then, I’ve taken a crash-course in wedding-etiquette, and now know the following.

Churches are neither dormitories, nor places of comedy.

It’s inadvisable to commence festivities by consuming a beverage called ‘Dark and Stormy’.

The father-of-the-bride appreciates being compared to Sean Connery, but not in a ridiculous cod-Connery drawl.

When the stranger sitting next to you at dinner complains about getting a stringy bit of celery stuck in her teeth, one shouldn’t make reference to her husband’s pubic hair.

Outlandish Misconceptions In The Daewoo

May 14, 2007


When you’re trying to combat addiction, a three-hour car journey is just the ticket. Deprived of coffee, I’m free to enjoy the English countryside, in much the same way that Renton enjoyed the dead baby on his bedroom ceiling in Trainspotting. I’m also free to enjoy a radio interview with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

‘Never heard of them,’ says my co-pilot.

‘Course you have,’ I respond, launching into a finger-pumping rendition of their hit, Sailing On The Seven Seas.

‘That’s not Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark,’ she interjects, witheringly. ‘That’s OMD.’

Wake Up And Smell The Enfeebling Liquor

May 10, 2007

Having woken with a bout of delirium tremens, I decide it’s time to reduce my caffeine intake. Were she alive, this would no doubt please the disgruntled wife behind the 1674 Women’s Petition Against Coffee.

Cover image from Folger Shakespeare Library

She wrote: ‘Coffee leads men to scald their chops and spend money – all for nasty, stinking, nauseous puddle-water. They come home with nothing stiff but joints, nor standing but ears. They pretend ‘twil keep them waking, but we find by scurvy experience they sleep quietly after it.’

In response, her husband published the 1674 Men’s Petition For Coffee. It read: ‘Put ye kettle on, love.’

All The Human Frame Requires

May 9, 2007

So, I’m thinking, en route to work, that if I ever ate porridge for breakfast, I’d have brown sugar with it too, by which I mean the sweet-stuff, not heroin, as heroin isn’t a condiment, or a perfect way to start the day, unless you’re Lou Reed, who sprinkled it on his cornflakes and still made it to the park, and the zoo, and the cinema, which is quite impressive, but neither here nor there, because I don’t do smack, or porridge, or breakfast for that matter, since food, of a morning, is no substitute for voluminous amounts of coffee.

How Come You Taste So Good?

May 8, 2007

The dietary habits of today’s youngsters are indeed strange. I’m visiting a friend who has a four-year-old daughter called Martha. It’s morning, and the three of us are having breakfast around the kitchen table.

‘It’s weird,’ says my friend. ‘For the past three days she’s demanded porridge, and then flatly refused to eat it.’

‘Why’s that then?’

‘Erm, dunno.’ He turns to his daughter, who’s inspecting the bowl in front of her as though it contains a freshly-laid cowpat. ‘Martha, why do you keep asking for porridge when you obviously hate it?’

‘Don’t like porridge, daddy. Like the brown sugar.’