Saturday, 30 January 2010

Does My Bomb Look Big in This?

I’m sitting here, cosy and warm in my wife’s shop, surrounded by outer expressions of girlie beauty (and the odd book), and my mind is leaning towards the history of female emancipation, for some unaccountable reason. In my head, I travel back forty years or so, to a world of black and white, and to a Miss World competition. The announcer on the BBC, in the clipped tones of Mr Cholmondley-Warner, telling us “And naow, laive from Elexandra Pelace, it’s Miss Weld nineteen-sixty-ate.” Or whenever it was. I was about fourteen, trying to decide which one of them would feature in my night-time fantasies whilst I exercised my right forearm to Popeye dimensions. It got to the interval, the boring bit where all the girls run off to change out of their evening dress so they can let us see what they look like in swimsuits. Bob Hope was onstage, doing some tired old shtick that was supposed to be humorous. Then some lesbian militants with leg-stubble and armpit-minge started throwing bags of flour from the cheap seats. I can imagine Ethel Gumption’s thought-processes: “Oh, heavens! Was that plain or self-raising? Bertie loves a sponge-cake and he always beats me if it doesn’t rise. And I’ll deserve it, too, because it’ll all be my fault! Gosh, was that an egg? I could have made a nice omelette. And who’s going to clear up this mess?” Anyway, Bob Hope ran offstage like a frightened rabbit, proving that he was the biggest girl present that night, and the BBC commentator fulminated for a few minutes about the Women’s Liberation Movement. Order was restored, and some scared-looking girls eventually came on in swimsuits. Somebody won. I can’t remember who, nor can I remember what she did to me in my dreams that night. But I can remember that it wasn’t Bob Hope in either respect.

Feminism’s come a long way since then. All the way to the bad science of L’Oreal adverts. Let’s make up some words: Pro-retinol B! Nutra-ceramides! Lovely. “The seven signs of ageing? Oh, no! There were only six yesterday! Drugs? Terror? Can we declare a War Against the Signs of Ageing instead, because I need the drugs to combat the terror. Gosh, pro-retinol B! There must have been a pro-retinol A, and now they’ve made it even better! Where can I get this magic formula anti-wrinkle cream, enriched with nourishing marrow-bone jelly? Oh look! Famous film star Andie MacDowell says it’s lovely! It must be good for her to volunteer to say nice things about it. £49.99 for a little pot. Wonderful! I’ll take six!” And of course, it costs L’Oreal about 15p to make it, and then they laugh all the way to the bank. Their advertising section earns millions. Because they’re worth it.

So maybe I’m feeling bitter and twisted today. It makes a change from vinegary bordering on liverish, I suppose. I’m feeling bitter and twisted because it’s a rainy afternoon, and my shop is entirely unpopulated by middle-aged MILF looking to spend hundreds of pounds on hubby’s card. Bitches. I bet they’re getting weapons of wrinkle-destruction from the Iraqis instead. Maybe I should start selling burkas in retaliation. The Katie Price mini-burka - now available in bubblegum pink! Fitted mini-burkas, the new fashion must-have. Clings to the contours of the body. Makes it harder to for suicide bombers to conceal explosive devices too. Does my bomb look big in this? You wouldn’t be able to hide the equivalent of eighty-seven Trebor Sherbet Fountains gaffer-taped to your midriff under there, would you, girls? Do the soldiers out in Iraqiganistan a power of good, too, defusing tension and all that. “Phwoar, is that a nipple or a detonator cap?” “Wanna visit Allah, big boy? Come over here and press this and you’ll get there, one way or the other.”

I blame Millie Tant and her radical conscience. Zipless fucks, my arse. Ouch.

Advertising: a necessary evil. Discuss.

Simple. Go back to the days before ponytails, red braces and cocaine habits and have a look at the way products used to be advertised before all this psychological and subliminal messaging business came in. “Phillosan fortifies the over-forties!” “You wonder where that yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!” Right. It’s bollocks, isn’t it? Even back in nineteen-canteen, a woman would never go into a chemist and ask for stuff like that, because the chemist would think “Eww! She’s over forty and her teeth are yellow! God, to think I once wanted to shag her.” Go back even further, and consider the mistakes of the more distant past, a past where there was no such thing as television and we all had to watch liver sliding down the wall instead…
“I’ve invented a new beer. What shall we call it so that people will want to drink it?”
“How about ‘Bitter’?”
“Perfect! And I’ve invented a nice perfume to make ladies smell lovely. What shall we call it?”
“Toilet water.”
“And what shall I name this new town, to encourage tourists?”
“We should do something about this wall. What were you saying? Oh, Liverpool, I dunno.”
See what I mean? And look at Vimto. Would you want to drink anything that was an anagram of vomit? Thought not. It’s never going to be up there with Coca Cola, originally named after the precious Coca leaves that were once part of the ingredients and had the magical effect of keeping you alert and increasing your confidence whilst allowing you to talk utter bollocks for hours.

The answer is simple. Translate the words into French or Italian, because they’ll sound better and make you appear more sophisticated. Toilet water? No, eau de toilette. Sounds much more attractive in French. Same with anything in Italian. Guiseppe Verdi sounds better than Joe Green, and Giovanni Casanova sounds better than Johnny Newhouse. And if Mary Whitehouse had been born Maria Casablanca she’d have had her own internet site and adult magazine, and we’d have spent the last forty years banging each other senseless instead of being uptight and British and doing everything the Americans told us to. And that’s another thing about America. The Mafia. Fills you with dread, doesn’t it? Well, hey, somewhere back in the Reagan/Thatcher days, they won! The numbers game became the national lottery, the call girls and whores turned into the internet and loan-sharking turned into the international banking industry. But the Mafia came from Sicily, where everything is Italian. La Cosa Nostra. Sounds menacing, until you translate it. The Our Things. Not so scary now, eh? In England, they’d still be supervising hoodies knocking off packets of digestives from Mr Patel’s corner shop. Don Darren of Walthamstow, il capo di tutti capi.
“So, tell me, why do you come here, to me, on this day of all days? It is the day of my daughter’s wedding, and the saints themselves are bowing down in heaven at her feet. Give me a good reason, or tonight you sleep with the fishes.”
“Yeah, well, Don, my mate’s nicked this Ford Focus GTi and it’s got blackout windows and lowered suspension and an exhaust like a fuckin’ coal scuttle, and I thought she might want it as a wedding car.”

The War Against Rinkles

I’m running with the ball on the subject of the War Against Wrinkles today. If the Americans started it, they’d be powerful enough to control spelling, and they could take the “W” off “Wrinkles” to make the acronym snappier and easier for women to remember. But think about the good it would do, especially as far as America’s position on the international stage is concerned. The Bush administration was about as popular as a pork pie at a bar-mitzvah, but if that nice Mr Obama declared a war on rinkles, he’d have half the world’s population on his side immediately. And the men would be happy too, because all the girls would have something to get excited about, so we’d stop having to put up with all the usual nonsense about “Where have you been?” “Why are you late?” and “You never look after my emotional needs.” Even the cheese-eating surrender-monkeys of Europe would love America. President Sarkozy would let Barack have a go on his wife and everything!

And the stars of Hollywood could get involved, for the sake of some propaganda and a bit of free publicity. I’m sure Brad Pitt is fed up to the back teeth of waking up next to something that looks like ET sitting on the Elephant Man’s face before Angelina shovels the nutra-ceramides on and resumes her normal appearance with an audible pop. And over here, Girls Aloud would probably look like four Mother Teresas without the benefits of Clinique. So get involved, stars! Front a charity campaign for donations of Plenitude to third world countries and boob-jobs for the starving. We could send emergency mobile cosmetic surgery centres to the Sudan. For God’s sake, if they’re going to go around half naked, we could at least stop them having tits like spaniels’ ears, couldn’t we? I mean, come on, you never see Mariah Carey looking like Clement Freud’s bloodhound, do you? And she was once famous for saying “Gee, I’d love to be that thin. Except for all the flies and death and stuff.” If you’re going to be a size zero, you might as well try to look good. “Hey, and I’ve had eight children, too! Look, there’s one left over there!”

And we’d get terrorist videos from Germaine Greer’s hideout in Afghanistan every so often, just to keep the hate perking. And the Daily Mail could rage against the idea that taxpayers money was being spent re-educating feminists at Swiss finishing schools. And think about the television possibilities…

“That was the Jo Brand Fashion and Etiquette Hour. And now here is the news, with Kylie Minogue.”
“G’day. The headlines today: An eighth sign of ageing has been discovered in the region between the temple and the smiley eye-crinkles. A government spokesman describes it as a major setback in the War Against Rinkles, and the Americans want to bomb it. Meanwhile, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they are no further forward in the search for Pro-Retinol C, despite diverting funds from Cancer research and Alzheimer charities.
“Other news: A British political aide has been forced to resign after strong criticism from his American counterparts when he was overheard commenting on the potential international ramifications that might occur when they got to Pro-Retinol Z and the Americans tried to pronounce it ‘Zee’. ‘Zee is the noise Americans make when they’re trying to say Zed,’ was the offending comment. A spokesman for the US Military Intelligence [©2009, Oxymorons-R-Us], General Stormin’ Norman Scheisskopf, responded: ‘You limeys might think all this is funny, but we’ve spent zillions trajectorising projectiles at rinkle centres on the Asian subcontinent, and this is not a subject for humorously responsular reactionations.’ Over here, the Prime Minister has issued a personal apology for the incident, calling it a regrettable consequence of offstage microphones picking up a comment accidentally.
“Meanwhile, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are mounting a joint campaign to pour seventy million gallons of nutra-ceramides over the Alps and the Himalayas. A spokesgirlie for the campaign said: ‘Mountains are just the Earth’s problem rinkle-areas. Mother Earth is a gaia-resource which should be thought of as a living, breathing entity, and as such the planet has feelings too. If we can flatten Switzerland and Nepal, the possibilities for the Antarctic are optimistic and encouraging, once we can burn off the protective ice-cap. So if everyone out there bought a Range Rover and a Ferrari and caught the plane to work instead of walking, it would be a step in the right direction. We’re trying to encourage the government to subsidise multi-vehicle ownership, and we’re hoping for good results once sea-levels begin to rise, although we would encourage the inhabitants of Bangladesh and Venice to start running for high ground now.’”

What a wonderful world it would be; what a glorious time to be free, as Donald Fagen once said. Maybe if we calmed Mother Earth down a bit, she’d stop spitting out all these earthquakes and volcanoes and tsunamis and start acting like a rational woman (©2009, Oxymorons-R-Us).


Post a Comment