Jo Brand's week

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Thank Gawd all this new year stuff is over for another 12 months. Miserable old goat I may be, but I cannot stand all the forced, cheery, gang piss-up that is New Year's Eve. Why anyone wants to go to Trafalgar Square to be crushed by a beery mob of semi-comatose drongos who don't know each other, I cannot imagine. I didn't even want to do it when I was young, to those of you who are thinking that I'm just an ageing old trout who doesn't know how to enjoy herself. A friend of mine whose mate worked in a club on New Year's Eve said the whole night was just one long ruck, with fists flying in the testosterone-heavy air and regular police raids. Oh boys, you are such joy when you've had a few.

Many people assume, I think, that if you're on the telly, you are immune to the mouthfuls of abuse you get from time to time. Not so. Over Christmas, I was with some of my family on my way to see my grandma, when I was assailed with a mouthful of very unpleasant obscenities from some teenage boys at the wispy chin stage of development. And, yes, I was hurt by it, especially as I tend to think I'm immune when I'm with the family. I would like to thank my mum and my grandma, who both took off at separate times in the direction of the abuse like a glorious pair of raging Valkyries to sort the offenders out. I wish I had my own New Year's Honours List to reward them appropriately.

Who on earth would go and see a film about the life of Fred West and the terrible crimes he committed? The answer, probably, is millions, and that is why the production company who wanted to make this film suggested it - because it would have made them lots of money. Everyone would have pretended to be outraged, but loads of people would have trundled along to see it.We have to accept, I think, that a section of the population is absolutely riveted by the whole Fred West affair, or one would certainly think so from the way the tabloids were flooded with every possible angle. The film, though, has now been scrapped, so the mob that would have gone to see it will just have to put up with watching fictional violence and sexual crimes against those too vulnerable to defend themselves. Still, there are plenty of such films to choose from coming out of Hollywood.

John McCarthy would like to have a "one to one" with Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut with whom he obviously feels he has something in common, given the claustrophobic conditions they have both experienced. I can understand Mr McCarthy wants to share his suffering with an individual who might have been able to identify with him. However, this is all within the context of an advert for some cellular phone network, for which Mr McCarthy is no doubt being paid a fair old whack. I reserve judgement to some extent; for all we know he might be giving the money to charity. Or is he just another who has cheapened his experiences for the sake of some cash? I hear many good reasons for fellow comics doing ads, including one joker who reckoned if his ad was successful the product would sell more and thus provide more jobs(good one), to another comic who assured me he only does ads for products that poor people can afford (dear me). The whole truth and nothing but the truth is that people do ads for lots of money and no other excuse will do.

So, apparently, crime isn't linked to poverty after all, but to the freedom of men "to engage in sexual intercourse without being powerfully constrained", according to social scientist Norman Dennis. It seems that if blokes stopped putting it about quite so much and settled down to a monogamous relationship (like they did in the old days, ho ho ho), they would not have the time, or the inclination to do an off-licence or post office. Surely, if men were nomping as much as Norman says, they'd be too tired to hold anything other than their own sawn-offs. Mr Dennis also argues that single mothers and the unemployed should be held partly responsible for their own low incomes. It seems Norman is a Labour man so at least his results seem to fit in with current party ideology. I rather liked Claire Rayner's reaction to Mr Dennis's research. It was well thought out, intelligent and apposite ... and it was: "utter bollocks". Though if all these blokes are as rampant as we are led to believe, perhaps "empty bollocks" might have been more appropriate.

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