Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Whatever happened to the simple life?


WHY DOES life have to be so complicated? And why do we have to have so much choice?

I was pondering this dilemma while having a shave the other morning in a bathroom where even the simple act of “backing out of the leadership contest” forces you to choose between little flush and big flush. And then there was my razor.

My old man used a Gillette safety razor with one disposable blade, yet I was whittling away with three-blade razor with a suitably macho name and a battery that made it vibrate. What next? A four-blade razor? A razor with a headlight? A razor that plays the Home Service?

Little did I know, but I had already been overtaken by events. Gillette has announced the launch of a new razor with FIVE blades on the front and an extra ONE on the back for trimming sideburns and shaving under your nose. It’s madness. It’s nuclear proliferation on the supermarket shelves.

Are the boffins at Wilkinson Sword already working on a seven-blade razor? With laser guidance and satellite navigation? Where will it all end?

It’s the same with paint. Once upon a time you popped down to the local hardware shop and a man in a brown overall gave you a tin of brilliant white Dulux. For those dangerous people with more sophisticated tastes a limited range of colours was available, mainly variations on Magnolia.

Then they started messing about with the colour white. Apple White, Cool White, Bicycle White – nonsense like that. After that came fancy National Trust colours, and even fancier prices. Then there was “traditional” paint, made out of lead, kippers and asbestos by a man in a lock-up garage in Chelsea.

Here at Beelzebub Mansions, we have just had the boot room re-built to accommodate an imminent lurcher. I was hoping that a tin of one-coat emulsion might suffice when it came to decorating. I should have known better.

Mrs B has decreed that Crown or Dulux simply won’t cut the mustard and we must instead avail ourselves of the services of one of those ultra-trendy paint companies called Mackeson and Barrymore or something. The silly names don’t stop there.

Once the colour chart has arrived, we find ourselves trying to choose between Donkey Phlegm or Wizard’s Sleeve for the walls. The doors? It has to be either Jazz Mag or Mouses’s Back (and I’m not making that last one up). All ordered over the internet, of course, and at the wholly-reasonable price of £40 a tin. I’ll say that again: FORTY POUNDS A TIN. They’re having a laugh, surely?

LIFE DOESN’T get any better in the supermarkets. Getting past checkout now involves an elaborate interrogation by a drooling teenage nincompoop before you’re even allowed to pay.

Do I have a clubcard? No, I don’t want Mr Tesco to know how much I drink. Do I want help with my packing? Look, it’s three bottles of Chardonnay and a Twix. I’m not a moron. I can cope.

And why when I’m buying booze in Waitrose do the kids on the checkout shout “Alcohol!” at the top of their voices? I don’t want the polo club members to know I’m serving them Uzbekistani gin the next time Mrs B has one of her little soirees.

And that’s another thing. “Basics” and “Value” brands. Why not just label the stuff “Cheap Crap for Dole Scum”? I mean, who in their right mind (and in gainful employment) is going to walk up to a cheese counter laden with the best that Europe can offer and pick up a generic, orange, plastic-wrapped lump of something called just “Cheese”? If they can’t be more specific than that, it has to make you wonder.

It’s like those curry houses that sell something called “meat curry”. Not enough information, pal. And how can a proper chicken possibly cost just a quid? And those packets of frozen fish that have been “formed from juicy cuts”. Why? Wasn’t the original fish fish-like enough? (And yes, Bernard Matthews, I’ve not forgotten about your “turkey ham”. Is it turkey or is it ham? You may as well come clean because I’m not going to give this up.)

I fear that we’re quietly heading towards the time when the lower orders are fed synthetic food by the State. A bloke called Harry Harrison even wrote a science fiction book about this scenario, set in 2022. It’s called Soylent Green, and trust me, you don’t want to know what goes into Soylent Green.

IF ANGER was a measurement of satisfaction, I’d have already had my money’s worth out of this year’s BBC licence fee. The cause of this rage is that programme about benefit cheats.

Now I’m not normally one to shout at the telly, but I now have to take the precaution of bringing a bottle of Buttercup Syrup and a packet of Tunes into the sitting room on Tuesday nights.

As well as turning over scrotes on the fiddle, the Beeb has bowed to political-correctness by inserting touchy-feely stories about the millions of wasters who are allegedly trying to get back into employment. This week’s episode featured a big Welsh lump of proletariat who hasn’t had a job for three years.

Of course it isn’t his fault. It’s that Mrs Thatcher who closed down all the mines who’s to blame (and all of 20 years ago). This bloke can’t even be bothered to go to the JobCentre (Mrs Thatcher has apparently also banished buses from the Valleys) so they come out to him. No, really.

And the single great achievement of the mobile dole office staff? They shifted him from claiming jobseeker’s allowance to claiming incapacity benefit (and an extra three quid a week) on the grounds that he’s got irritable bowel syndrome. Well let me tell you, I’m getting irritable sloth syndrome here.

The great tub of lard also got to go on a free course for night club bouncers, which he managed to pass. Did he then get a job as a night club bouncer? Are you mad? So he’s now doing a free computer course. And you wonder why more than half of your income now goes in taxes …

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 planning to take their kids to see that good, old-fashioned cowboy film that’s been nominated for an Oscar, of any BBC bosses who think the UK Theme is only listened to by “sentimental insomniacs”, or of anyone who doesn’t think that it might have been a bit more sensible to let the Jews have the Isle of Wight as a homeland, rather than a chunk of Palestine.

11 Comments:

Blogger The Weardale Militia said...

Lets not forget those old Tesco favourites, 2 for the price of 1 and three at half price. It may not have occurred to some of those people in the crowded aisles that this is in fact the same price. I have often walked out of Tesco with 6 toilet flush blocks and 3 bottles of organic shampoo and conditioner for normal hair thinking what a bargain. So much for the A level in pure and applied mathematics.
I have found that the check out staff are all called Tracey, Stacey, Fay or Mandy. However the one to keep an eye on is the check out gang boss who served her time with the Bader Meinhost gang. They are all called Ruth and they are feared by one and all. The gang boss walks the line like some ex Stasi policeman and God help you if you have 11 items in your basket whilst standing at the 10 items only queue.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Laughing Cavalier said...

I wish we did have some ex Stasi loutess checking the 10 item queue at my local Tescos. Invariably I get stuck behind some trollop with 14 items of clothing, all of which require de-tagging, de-hangering and a long debate on the prettinesss of the little top. But you can't say anything because the hulking great lout standing behind yuo with rotten BO and an even worse attitude is her boyfriend.

3:33 AM  
Blogger phatbobsmate said...

here´s hoping the lardarse isnt called Bob - cos hes no mate of mine.
Perhaps he would be better employed at Tesco, guarding the wine
As for Soylent Green sounds like an appropriate colour for the little demons room. Or perhaps it is a derivative of the ´green´percy invented (Blackadder any one)
Trust the weardale militia to support military tactics at the supermarket!!
As for shaving, stop this now, go on the dole leave the stubble to grow. Then either join the tesco queue with ya bird. Or becoma a muslim radical. Perhaps you could even blow yourself up and save on the price of razor blades and not get in the way of honest folk in the quick check out!!

6:36 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

Another brownie point for a turkey army minion then? Does moving someone from claiming jobseeker’s allowance to claiming incapacity benefit get him off the unemployment statistics? I reckon if they shift all the benefit claimants like this, and get all the C streamers onto tertiary education unemployment avoidance, Mr Blah will be able to hand over to his next door neighbour with a zero unemployment level! With an extra division of turkey army recruits just to collect taxes from the rest of us!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, humbug - you said "A bloke called Harry Harrison even wrote a science fiction book about this scenario, set in 2022. It’s called Soylent Green, and trust me, you don’t want to know what goes into Soylent Green."

S'not true - the book was named "Make room! Make room!" and was filmed as Soylent Green.

Just telling you because there should be SOME facts apart from the fact that life in the UK is becoming "interesting".

Richard

8:06 PM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

Interesting ? You mean since the CPS has decided to bung Griffin & Co. in front of the beak for another drubbing? Odd that a retrial was announced IMMEDIATELY after the verdict was delivered. Don't we have an A.G. that has to investigate first or did he do it prior to the first trial getting underway any more?
Double jeopardy anyone ? ;o)

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Wandring Soul said...

Ham is actually a cut - not necessarily a pork product... so you can legitimately have 'turkey ham'.

Ham is the thigh of the hind leg of certain animals, most often from a pig.

Or perhaps the turkey simply can't act very well.

9:33 AM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

Sod off, Bernard.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Doctor Mick said...

Turkey Ham's OK actually. It's a porker's "parson's nose" I dislike.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thought of a Stasi loutess really excites me - do you have any photos of her in full uniform?

11:41 PM  
Anonymous threadbare said...

Why is it that women can buy the same product, at the same place, several times a week, e.g. bus tickets, cigarettes, newspapers etc., and:-
a. Always have to ask the price
b. Wouldn't dream of opening their purse,having spent five minutes rummaging to find it, let alone having the money ready.
c.Can't even begin to wrap/bag their purchases, until the change is back in the purse, the purse is back in the handbag, and the whole lot is in the briefcase/satchel/shopping bag.
d.Continue to talk to the assistant, thereby preventing the already ranting next person in the queue from being served.

12:56 AM  

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