Columns: Imagine there's ... nothing

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The Independent Culture
OK. OK, how about this one, Life With Billy, OK?, see, Billy's this lovable mutt, a terrier, and he lives with these, um, goofy people, right?, they think they're his owners, but Billy, see, Billy knows it's the other way round and ... No, hear me out, what we get is this sort of concept where Fliss - that's the woman character, a cross between the Breatharian one, come on, you know, looks like a twig in a hoar-frost, Ally McBeal, right, and the other one, the annoying one there's a new book out about. Bridget Thing. Exactly. Um. Yes. Yes! So Billy, see, offers this mordant commentary on Fliss and her chap. Billy, you see, he's the narrator of their...

OK. OK. No worries. So here's another: Out Of His League, it's about these guys who want to be big-league football players - no, hear me out - and it's all the stuff they, like, have to go through to get on, except the trouble is they're talentless and idle and no bloody good, a sort of cross between Men Behaving Badly and Fantasy Football League if that's what it was called. Sure-fire winner, wouldn't you say? No?

OK. Okayokayokay, no worries, right? How about ... um, how about ... Doctor? Doctor? That's the title, you see, the question-marks are because it's about this guy who's a bogus doctor, right?, and he gets this job in this enormous hospital, yeah?, and keeps fucking up, but it's a kind of like searing commentary on the idiocies of modern management and the political chicanery of New Labour in running down the NHS, I mean, come on, pretty soon they'll only be able to afford bogus doctors, so for example, Episode One, he has to do this life-saving brain surgery on the daughter of a prominent politician, and being bogus he can't do it, so he's really, really screwing it up when this cleaner comes in, well, it turns out the cleaner was at Eton and he's a Lord and he got a double first in medicine at Cambridge and he can't get a job because of positive discrimination, right, and so he helps out and the kid's OK and ... No? Give me a break. I mean, I need to come up with something, I need the work. Assailed from all sides, OK?

Everything's coming to an end, so I'm just going to have to change my ways, what with the Internet and Greg Dyke and little Tony Blair. I've seen the future, and the future's narcotic. Suits everyone. Keep the electorate quiet, oil its prejudices while fixing it in front of the television, jaws gently moving as it masticates its Atheroma Flavour Pot Noodles. Stop the buggers thinking, at all costs, then they won't ask annoying questions, just do their bit: shopping, voting for Selwyn Froggitt for Mayor, and dying young to relieve the burden.

Nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. It doesn't go far enough, I'd say. Skin the buggers for 45 years, then tell them their National Insurance money has been spent on handouts to Railtrack executives and wet-lipped gas men, and they'd better sell their grandchildren to buy firewood: good. Sneak in multi-tiered healthcare and tell them that, over 40, they're not eligible for artificial hips: better. Take their money by any means, fair or foul: better still. But why not go the whole hog? Why not, instead of banning cigarette adverts, make them compulsory? Encourage everyone to smoke, then ration lung-cancer treatment. We're already doing well - worst cancer results in the Western world - but it's not good enough. "Sorry, you're over 27. There's nothing we can do. If you can raise pounds 50,000 - sell your house, why not?, there are always plenty of foreign bankers and City wide-boys scrambling to shove the price up - then we can arrange to have you put down, but otherwise we suggest you go home and disintegrate in front of the telly." Apres la deluge it's all tooth and claw, and I for one am sick of subsisting on tiny crumbs. I want to be where the money is: in lies and pap and spin, in dumbing-down and sucking- up. I want to write American sitcoms, I want to churn out formulaic giggle- fodder for the terminally-shafted, I want to be like Mr Murdoch and the Lottery people, and find a way of extracting the last few pence from the pockets of the poor and stupid. I want, in short, to be part of the New Millennium, whose song, as we go to press, seems likely to be John Lennon's Imagine, which we may paraphrase as: (1) Imagine you're not a poor bastard at the bottom of the heap. (2) Now give me the money and piss off.

My sentiments exactly! That's the way forward! And you can all help! Turn your brains off. Smirk. Give me the money. Now piss off.

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