Things I hate about columnists (not to mention Fascism)

You could have events such as Crack-Smoking, Heroin-Injecting and a Mugging Marathon
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The Independent Online

Last week, when I was writing about my being mayor of London, I forgot to mention that one of the measures I am very keen to introduce is a law to ban all haulage companies from using the word "logistics" in their name. There seems to be a sudden rash of this. Using the word "logistics" in this context is totally meaningless, and meaninglessness is utterly annoying and rumtunculous in my book.

Last week, when I was writing about my being mayor of London, I forgot to mention that one of the measures I am very keen to introduce is a law to ban all haulage companies from using the word "logistics" in their name. There seems to be a sudden rash of this. Using the word "logistics" in this context is totally meaningless, and meaninglessness is utterly annoying and rumtunculous in my book.

Another thing I hate is those irritating newspaper columnists who, instead of developing a consistent train of thought on one subject, fill their 800 words with lots of little snippets of stuff, often with no point to them.

Another thing I hate is the Olympics, which are going on in Australia at this very moment, except of course it's night over there, which is why I'm drunk and still in my pyjamas.

I hate the bloated nationalism of the Olympics; I hate the trivial pastimes that they try to pass off as sport, such as synchronised swimming and ballroom dancing: sport should be majestic, titanic contests between individuals or against the clock, not these mere hobbies.

I hate the twee perviness of some of it, too - for instance, why do some gymnastic events feature only emaciated little girls, with no corresponding male event? And, of course, the widespread and undetected use of drugs makes the whole thing pointless.

It would be a better idea, given the present state of things, to have a Drugs Olympics, where the point is actually to take drugs. You could have such events as Coke-Snorting, with subdivisions for rubbish-talking, teeth-grinding, bad-comedy-programme-commissioning and heavy sweating. You could have Crack-Smoking, Heroin-Injecting and a Burglary-and-Mugging Marathon. Of course, such is human nature, that there would soon be a scandal when a competitor was found to have not taken drugs.

Another thing I hate is Chinese takeaways that use that extruded substitute chicken stuff in their dishes. I don't pay £1.27 for chicken in black bean sauce to eat stuff that tastes like the polystyrene nuggets your stereo comes packed in. (I'm not doing that twice.)

Another thing I hate is Fascism. I'm sorry, but I do.

Another thing I hate is the Olympics... oh, I've done that one... It's a funny place, though, Australia is. Over the years, I've spent a lot of time out there working on movies or doing stand-up comedy tours. Now most visitors to that country see only the sunny surface, the scenery, the beaches, the superficially easy-going nature of the inhabitants, but, as a bestselling author and columnist, I'm perceptive enough to look below the official picture that Australia presents of itself, and I definitely think that it's a funny place.

One bizarre phenomenon that I've noticed through working there is that when you meet an Australian married couple who are the same age, and you observe them over a period of time, say several years, there is this weird thing that goes on whereby the man seems to become more and more youthful in appearance as time progresses, while the woman gets correspondingly and increasingly haggard.

I've noticed this time and time again in Australian couples (for example, did you know that Germaine Greer is married to Jason Donovan?), though I have no real explanation for it except to say that there, the men often have an immature quality to them, while the women work in uranium mines.

One of those haggard/adolescent couples were involved in organising my last stand-up tour of Australia, in 1996, a husband-and-wife team. Now, through some mix-up, these two still owe me something like £5,000, and my agent has never been able to get in touch with them to sort it out.

I had resolved to forgo the money, when I happened to be watching the funeral of Michael Hutchence, which was shown live on Sky News from the cathedral in Sydney, Australia. The camera panned over all those present, and there, sitting in the congregation, was the man who still owed me all that money.

What was I to do? I picked up the phone, but who could I call? I wondered, did they have that thing at funerals that they have at weddings? Where the vicar says, "Is there anybody here present who knows any reason why this person should not be buried?"

Could I find out the vicar's mobile-phone number before the service ended, or was there some kind of telephone hotline I could use, like the one connected to the state governor's office right up to the time of an execution in America, just in case the highly unlikely situation occurs in which the person being executed is actually guilty of the crime they're being judicially killed for?

But of course there wasn't, so I didn't bother.

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