Botty love and The Big Issue
IT WAS one of those conversations around the Christmas dinner table. You know, the kind where one wayward comment brings proceedings to an embarrassed halt.
At least this time it wasn’t me who brought on the festive silence, but an ancient matriarch of the family. It was between the excellent Duchy Originals pudding and the ceremonial arrival of the Christmas Stilton that we somehow strayed onto the subject of civil partnerships, dangerous ground at any time but more so when debate has been lubricated by a few bottles of a jolly spiffing Beaujolais.
“Of course,” the grand dame ventured, “Elton John doesn’t have a sexual relationship with David Furnish. I mean, how would that work?”
Dear reader, at this point I had two choices. I could either explain to an 80-year-old woman the technical and physical aspects of botty love, or I could quickly change the subject. I chose the latter option, and pointed out to her my man Whittaker’s newly-acquired baby penguin which was creating havoc in the goldfish pond outside the window.
Were have all these gay people come from anyway? You can’t even flick through the pages of the Daily Telegraph these days without coming across a picture of Wing Commander Norman “Nobby” Bullsocket-Peevers holding hands with a male hairdresser from Penge 30 years his junior. It’s most odd.
I blame Bullseye. Yes, Bullseye, the darts-based quiz show hosted by Jim Bowen for what seemed like decades. I arrived at this conclusion after giving up on mainstream Christmas television by Tuesday afternoon and resorting to searching the 598 satellite channels for something vaguely entertaining. And that happened to be Bullseye.
You see, here you have two blokes from the same pub darts team competing for derisory amounts of cash and the occasional star prize. Now when they failed, jovial Jim would say “Let’s see what you would have won,” the screens rolled back and there was a nice speedboat. (Quite what use a speedboat would be to two jobless blokes from Derby is neither here nor there.)
Yet when the contestants did manage to fluke a win, they never got a speedboat, oh no. They got a single berth caravan. So these two blokes have to go off on holiday together for the foreseeable future … well a man has needs, doesn’t he? I shall go no further. Bullseye, the cause of the collapse of civilisation as we know it.
ONCE THE invading family hordes had been dispersed back to their own refrigerators, I came across a copy of The Big Issue left behind in one of the guest suites. I never buy it myself, being a fervent believer that all beggars own homes and cars and merely sit around on street corners looking forlorn because they’re too lazy to work for a living.
Idly flicking through it, past the pictures of Malcolm “Cashpoint” McTavish holding hands with a male outreach worker from King’s Lynn 30 years his junior, I saw an advert for an intriguing organisation called The Violence Initiative. “Violent?” the ad read. “Telephone 020 8365 8220.”
What a splendid idea, especially at Christmas. You know what it’s like when the tensions of hosting a family gathering build up to boiling point. Well now instead of causing a ruckus by punching an errant nephew, you can ring these people up and they’ll send someone round to have a fight with you on your doorstep. Marvellous stuff.
However, I’m not too sure about some of the other ads in there. If we set aside my aforementioned premise that all beggars are property owners, and accept that some of the bundles of rags littering our town centres are actually in real need, why would they want to download ringtones, connect friends’ mobiles to prank calls, adopt an endangered animal or join the Socialist Party?
If I was a tramp down to my last fiver you could be sure that given the choice between buying a gallon of White Lightning or signing up for Scargill’s Barmy Army, the cheap cider would win every time.
And what about this one? “Can you help us? We are a couple who have been through several failed IVF attempts … our doctors have told us that the only chance of conceiving will be by using donor eggs. If you are a woman aged between 18 and 35 … please contact Desperate Diane.”
Now I can assure you that I share Diane’s pain and sympathise with her. However, were I in the same boat (metaphorically, of course) the last place I would be egg-hunting is amongst the dishevelled ranks of Britain’s junkies and alcofrolics. Good God, who would want the parent of their offspring to be some mad bag lady who hasn’t changed her underwear for three years?
I SEE that the Animal Rights nutters were out and about menacing innocent fox-hunters on Boxing Day. Well if they really want a cause to fight, can I suggest that they look into the plight of Emu?
As far as I can tell, the poor bird hasn’t been seen in public since that fateful night in May, 1999, when Rod Hull fell off his roof while trying adjust his television aerial so he could watch a football match. That’s over six long years – what if he’s stuck in the loft or locked in a suitcase somewhere? It beggars belief that the bunny-huggers should be agitating about a law their own Lefty government passed while a deserving case like this goes uninvestigated.
SO WHAT did you get for Christmas? We played a new game at Beelzebub Mansions – find the present that wasn’t made in China. My good wife thought she’d triumphed with a packet of Scottish Shortbread, but the fine detail on the box revealed its source as Shanghai.
And another thing. Since when were children’s toys – in this case a simple train set – nailed to their boxes with all manner of staples, plastic ties and even metal screws? It’s madness. Have you tried keeping a E-number crazed two-year-old shouting “Choo choo” at bay for 35 minutes while you find the oxy-acetylene torch to free their bloody present from its packaging? No wonder I ended up phoning The Violence Initiative.
O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone queuing at the Pound Shop to return an unwanted present, of anyone who found themselves idly wondering on Christmas afternoon just how long you’d get in jail for murdering a visiting pensioner, or of anyone who’s got a fridge full of mouldering exotic food but can’t actually find anything they want to eat. Oh, and Happy New Year.