I was going to post an old recycled blog from the other site about animals, but then I noticed it started with references to bonfire night, so I thought I would wait a couple of weeks. This one has references to some TV shows that are no longer available to watch and a literary festival that I didn’t in the end attend, but as the chances of all those things realigning again at some future point are infinitely small I thought what the hell…
Some literarararary friends from my writers’ group and I were swigging ale and wine at our fortnightly meet-up the other night when, in the midst of our interlektual discourse on books and writing and all that (hem hem), somebody floated the idea of us descending en masse on one of the many lit-fests that now blossom in the summer months across these Fair Isles. Considering some of the things that get floated at our meet-ups (you know who you are, Windy Miller) this made a nice change, as well as providing literary food for thought. I said I thought it sounded a lovely idea – a right Jolly, and all sorts of Boho fun for ageing hippies in search of inspiration – but I did have to make one very firm stipulation: NO TENTS.
Well, that said, I don’t rule them out entirely, but only as an ‘optional extra’ in the back garden of a rented cottage where a proper, private, bathroom and crapper and all other modern conveniences are available. While happy to break bread and drink wine beneath the stars I prefer to break wind and pass water behind locked doors into receptacles that haven’t been shared with a field full of crusties and undesirables, and to pursue those activities at leisure rather than to a timetable determined by the weather.
So, in a nutshell then, Withnail and I, yes, but with working en-suite facilities and comfy beds, sil vous plait. Or ‘glamping’ at the very least. Caravans will do at a pinch, just as long as they’re of the static variety with plenty of hot and cold running water and a four ring Gaz cooker with an oven big enough to take my famed Hunters’ Mess casserole (see below) and accompanying veg.
I was quite grateful, during this meeting, to have my services volunteered as Head Cook for the proposed venture, because that will free me from all other domestic chores of the cleaning variety – which bring me out in a rash – other than those that could quite reasonably be expected of me, like hammering out my own smalls. I immediately reciprocated by fingering the friend who had fingered me (oh shush!) for Sous Chef duties, which will entail her running round like a blue-arsed fly for the duration of the festival/Jolly with round-the-clock scrubbing and prepping duties, including the gutting of all the hares, wabbits, duk-duks, squirrels, badgers, rooks, ravens, ferrets and weasels etc that go into that previously mentioned ‘Hunters’ Mess’ casserole: a dish that – like the traditional non-ginsters Cornish pasty – artfully incorporates both dinner and dessert into one tasty recipe by combining the stew at one end of my massive le Creuset crockpot with the Eton Mess at the other. Oh, and she has to pick the raspberries too.
Having said all that, a quick glance at the rental options around Hay on Wye at festival time suggests that we may need to look further afield. Way on High as a destination seems to have plenty of accommodation available, but sadly lacks a festival for us to attend, while the ‘Rayon? Why?’ festival, being the annual international get-together of those working within the natural fibre clothing industry, lacks the literary credentials we’re really hoping for. The ‘High on Whey’ festival is, presumably, a gathering of body-builders enjoying a mild hallucinogenic thrill from the ingestion of dairy by-products, and sounds like it could be fun were it not for the potential roid rage incidents that so often mar these kinds of events.
So, if anyone out there happens to have a cottage available for rent (or preferably ‘lendsies’) in or around Hay between 31st May & 10th of June, please drop me a line. A shed will do, just as long as we can nip in to use ‘tut lavvy and bathing facilities, but to paraphrase Ricky Gervais (I think it was he?), ‘nothing where I’ve got to cope with the sound of one of my fellow campers shitting into a tin bucket.’
Oh – for anyone else, particularly laydeez, out there thinking of going, please be aware that Professor Brian Cox will NOT be appearing again this year. He has been declared a fire risk after last year’s debacle when his appearance on stage triggered the spontaneous combustion of 5000 female gussets and almost burnt Hay to the ground. (NB: More than a few pairs of male undercrackers are known to have gone up in flames too, but then that’s only to be expected at a literary festival, ennit?)
Talking of last night’s telly (WTF?), did anyone happen to catch that awful documentary on BBC 3 last night in which some bigheaded, shagnasty, supremely unfunny ‘comedian’ (note inverted commas) appears to have been paid for boasting about how many women he’s potentially given/contracted STD’s to and from? I was stunned, quite honestly, and it takes a lot to stun me these days, since I’ve become acclimatised to my ex-girlfriend’s taser. I very quickly turned over to watch a far more interesting documentary about alcohol abuse (picked up some good tips), but not before seeing a couple of foreshadowing shots where said shagnasty declared himself a ‘sex addict’ and displayed a computer database he keeps with the names of all the women he has made the beast with two backs with. What a ****! Ironic, I know, but what a ****!
What really annoyed me, though, was how chuffed he looked with his home diagnosis (an ‘online assessment’ – don’t even get me started on those) as he gleefully ticked each box that quite clearly could apply to pretty much anyone with a bit of creative accounting and selective logic. The ‘assessment’ could just have easily been titled ‘are you a selfish prick?’, ‘are you a self-absorbed wankspanner?’, ‘are you an over-indulged, arrogant little turd?’, or any other number of are yous, and he’d have still been able to achieve the same hit rate. Or as he so smugly (and seemingly without realising the irony, given what he was pretending to be saying about his intentions for making the documentary) put it himself, he could have still ‘nailed them’.
Anyhoo, here’s my version of a reliable test for sex addiction: put a man in a house with Cheryl Cole and Susan Boyle for forty-eight hours. If at the end of that forty-eight hours he has not shagged BOTH of them, he is NOT a sex addict. (NB: Please note that no Cheryl Coles or Susan Boyles were abused or harmed during this hypothetical experiment – they were both hypothetically well up for it and had signed hypothetical contracts to that effect). While totally accepting that there are psychiatric conditions like nymphomania and hypersexuality, these are not conditions that sufferers tend to gloat about in self-made TV documentaries, nor are they conditions that are noted for being particularly self-restrictive or selective. To apply the term ‘sex addict’ to someone who simply likes shagging lots of different physically attractive people on the side and doesn’t care enough about the feelings of his or her partner to abstain from doing so is an abuse of the term, pure and simple.
I was likewise annoyed by his assertion that his list of names wasn’t ‘crass’ because it didn’t include marks for performance. He seemed to think that the fact the list was nothing more than a paper equivalent to notches in the bedpost was a positive thing…
Is it just me, or does that seem like the very worst sort of list of all? I mean, technically, he’s saying that ALL of the women on that list have the same intrinsic ‘value’ to him (i.e. none); that even the one’s he claimed to have spent ‘a couple of years with’ were no more important to him than the drunken slags he tripped over on his way out of some night club and rutted by the bins with among the discarded chips and vodka-scented vomit. Nice bloke. I’m sure his exes will be well chuffed.
Still, boys will be boys, eh, and the sad thing is that for whatever strange reason this kind of shagnasty does seem to have a certain kind of appeal for the majority of laydeez. If he didn’t, of course, his list of conquests would be much shorter. Perhaps he’s going to publish it – he’d probably call it his ‘little listy wisty’ in deference to the marginally funnier comedian he probably likes to liken himself too.
To be honest, I’m not really sure who would be the bigger ****, actually; the bloke who made the film or the BBC3 commissioning editor who green lighted it and gave it air time. Please, Beeb, I know it’s not so hip with the fourteen year olds who make up a bigger tv watching demographic, but when the crunch does finally come keep BBC4 and shitcan 3, yeah?