At the End of the Day

It’s been a week of psychological trauma and serious analysis, and so tonight I am determined to say goodbye to it with the use of mordant and surreal humour.

Having spotted at last that onerous taxes and 0% interest rates have removed the purchasing power of everyone designated a consumer by the economics pointy-heads, the neoliberal compulsion to maintain growth has in recent months been largely focused on producing stuff that breaks, doesn’t work, or has such crap after-sales “service”, one caves in and buys another unit rather than spend thirty years in a chat-room with other equally baffled “customers”. Chat rooms should be renamed Chateau D’If, because down there in the virtual bowels of never-never land, one has less chance of getting justice than the Count of Monte Christo.

“Anyone know how to stop Windows 8 leaping onto the Apps page?” says one tragic chat-roomer, the long grey beard a clue as to how long she’s been in captivity.

“Search me girl,” says the old bloke as he scratches another day of imprisonment onto the cell wall, “I’m in here because I pressed F8”.

But the goal’s the thing. Not the game – oh no: that idea went out with the First World War. Gallant losers are wimps, whereas crooked winners are called Grant Shapps, Michael Fallon and Ezak Hunt. And the goal is to maintain growth.

The funny thing is, when one asks the Hannans and Osbornes and Lagardes and Bernankes why growth must be maintained, what a chap gets back is fortune cookie parallels involving sharks needing to move to survive, the Ascent of Man, we can’t go back up into the trees and so forth.

Well, I’m here to announce formally tonight my candidacy for the Back up in the Trees ticket. There now follows some prima facie evidence as to why this would be a very good idea.

My smaller fridge is the most recently bought of the two I possess (there’s a lot of fruit to preserve here) and like all things Korean it has the obligatory onboard computer. Sadly, it also has a door that tends to knock the temperature control mechanism northwards as you close it. This means I often come down the next morning to find a giant ice cube where my fridge was. Sometimes there’s a perfectly preserved mouse in the cube: smart enough to have avoided the traps, but done to death by Asian electronics. When defrosted, Hal the computer shows no awareness of what has happened.

I’ve had to dump the washing machine I bought a year and 21 days ago, because eight days after the guarantee ran out – spookily enough, it was a 1-year guarantee – the Chinese circuit board inside the French-made machine (22 programmes and five temperature settings) finally succumbed to the twice weekly task of doing what it was asked to do. As the cost of a new circuit board (old one small bowl of rice, new one £190) is not much short of buying a new machine, I have bought a new machine. From a small family business. The machine is made in Germany. With an unconditional 5 year guarantee. Nothing Chinese anywhere. Made in a factory swept to ensure no Chinese shit. Will not contain shit. May contain traces of very small Chinese persons.

My Italian Germania cooker unit was chosen specifically because it has minimal hitech in it: the alarm clock is mechanical, the fuel is gas, there’s no fan in the oven, and no programmes to set. This was a challenge for the Italian engineers, but they rose to it: the clock is non-functional in the alarm bell space, two gas tap automatic lights have failed, and if you divide the temperature reading by 5 and then multiple by 2.9, it’s roughly accurate. I think of it as the Fiat Strada of cooking equipment. Tap the outer casing, and the echo continues for twenty seconds. The sound is tuned to concert e on a guitar, so it does come in useful when the automatic tuning device on my guitar has its regular attacks of tone deafness. After I put in a roast Sunday lunch, the casing sings excerpts from The Barber of Seville. The pork comes out looking like scratchings, but you can’t have everything.

All the hip-hop recessed energy-saving lights are forecast to keep going for over a year. Eight months in, I’ve had to replace a third of them. The new landline phone I bought three months ago displays my messages with reasonable frequency, but little reliability. The spiral staircase up to my bedroom had to be completely disassembled and then reconfigured to both (a) fit the space for which is was ordered and (b) allow the passage of people with hips broader than eight centimetres. Of six Chinese ballpoint pens I bought a month or so back, three of the tops fell out, two stopped writing after a day, and the sixth one is stuck in ballpoint closed mode.

So as I’m sure you can all discern, the latest Friedmanite tactic is working rather well. There will be growth. Of hair, and beards, and derivative bets. But not hope.


Bloke walks into DWP benefits office. He’s looking stressed.

Helper: Can I help you sir?

Bloke: I hope so. I am most terribly upset…I’ve lost my death certificate.

Helper: Ah. Well, you don’t need one just yet.

Bloke: I don’t?

H: No. You see, you’re not dead as such – although we’re working on it.

B: Yes, but what about when I am dead?

H: What about it?

B: Well, I haven’t got the permission to die, have I?

H: You don’t need permission to die. It just sort of, you know – happens.

B: So what happens when I turn up at the entrance to Heavenly Peace? I mean, how am I going to claim my 77….

H: Heavenly Peace?

B: Yes – access to the benefits of the one true Heaven. They won’t let me in, because I do not have the required Death Certificate.

H: Look, you don’t need a birth certificate to get born do you?

B: No, that is correct. In fact to tell you the truth, I do not have a Birth Certificate.

H: Precisely. So when you turn up at the er…Gates of Heaven, they’ll give you a Death Certificate.

B: They will?

H: Course they will. I mean, you’re at the Gates, right? You’re dead, right? Stands to reason doesn’t it?

B: Well, now you put it like that….

H: Quite. Now then, was there anything else I can help you with today?

B: Yes, actually. I’d like a license to kill.

H: I’m sorry? To kill what?

B: Not what, who. I want a license to kill people. Like your James Bond.

H: Really? What sort of people?

B: You name them my friend, I’d like to kill them. Feminists. Satirists. Nationalists. Atheists. Zionists. Wrists. None of them deserve to live. So I need a license to kill the lot.

H: I……see. Well, you see, we don’t give licenses here. You need the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and Animal and Plant Health Agency. They’re experts in the licensing thing. Trust me, they’ll license you at least, and quite probably certify you.

B: Do they license public houses?

H: No, they don’t. At least, not as far as I know.

B: Only I need a license to kill people on licensed premises. People who drink the devil’s brew deserve to die, you see. That’s a very important dimension of the license I require. Without the ability to annihilate the drunken Infidel on licensed premises, the license isn’t worth the paper its printed upon.

H: Right, OK….I think I’m with you now. What you need is a license to kill lots of otherwise harmless people so you can get a Death Certificate that will admit you to Heaven with all the paperwork required to gain access to the VIP travellers’ 77 Virgin Upper Class Lounge?

B: Correct. If only more people in authority had your insight into the customer’s needs.

H: Well, you know…we try. Now, what you need to do is toddle on down to a really welcoming place called the Home Office. It’s run by lots of very confused people who don’t know which way is up, but they’d just love to make chaps like you famous in order to justify their existence. I can give you their contact details if you like…..

B: How very kind you are being.

H: No really – it’s the least I can do.


13 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. I came across this and thought I should share it:
    It’s called Deja Moo.
    It’s when you know you’ve experienced this voting bullshit before….Same old, same old….nothing changes..


  2. Growfth. Endless growfth. It has to break for growth. You haves to buy moar for growfth. Growfth going badly is called a tumor. Growfth out of control is cancer. Whats the difference?


  3. ‘Tis, The REVENGE of The Mice Gods, Monsieur. If you look closely at them, you will see they’re smiling! :0) Remove ALL traps and voila, your life will become easy again. If not, they will continue to piss on your electrical circuits as you sleep… ;0)


  4. Here in western America, we have a party that says things are clearer when our wherewithal in in the trees. So by twisting words we capitalized on and old political party that had something to do with conservation and bull mooses that died out when unprofitable after having the gall to tackle corruption. We are thus; “Twigs”. Our platform is available in any location where many trees are put together and you can’t see forest for the.. you know the rest.


  5. ‘Psychological trauma and serious analysis’. And then all that goes with being a bit short of cash, whilst we observe the future return of Viscount Clyde, and the 2 Eds ,and you know that June is going to be a market triumph over electoral indecision. There is no such thing as a free lunch. I have found that buying Antofagasta, then granting both a put and call at that price, 12 months forward, produces an extraordinary return. This a mining company, controlled by a Chilean family, which has been in business for 150 years.


  6. John, you hit the nail on the head “chosen specifically because it has minimal hitech in it”.

    I learnt my lesson some years back, and now only buy electrical gadgets with the most minimal tech. available. Got rid of our last electric toaster, must be 15 years back, and have been using a trusty gas-hob toaster which cost about €7 and it simply WORKS! OK, you have to stand and watch it, but so what? Only last month bought a new one @ €8.40 because the old one was becoming a little tatty. I guarantee, that over a period of 15yrs, I’d have had to buy 5 electric toasters at least. Don’t talk to me about washing machines…now using the cheapest, most low tech. machine on the market, no touch-screen, just knobs to turn, just a couple of programmes on it, and it WORKS, and has been for best part of 3yrs now (my saying that has probably b*ggered it now!).

    My wife drives a newish automatic car (nightmare), but I drive a 20yr old (this year) Audi, which I bought 18yrs ago second hand, naturally aspirated diesel, manual, no air-con, navigation, touch screens or any of that cr4p. The engine runs as sweet as a nut (reckoned to be the best diesel ever made, better than Merc’s.), you can still get parts for it easily (because it’s German of course), it drives just as sweetly with 392,000kms on the clock, I service it myself (no electronic analysis gizmos required).

    But it’s the control technique guy who sums it up every couple of years, after it’s flown through its test once again:

    “Now you look after this car” he says to me, “it’ll got years in it yet, that engine is only just run in” he goes on “you know why that is? It’s because it’s GOT NO COMPUTER CHIPS in it, see you again in a couple of years!”. How right he is.


  7. For most people, ultimately for everybody, the growth is malignant. Having discovered how to metastasise money, they now seek to persuade us that the symptoms are, in fact, the cure. Worse, they’d like us to believe that the doctors are to blame. Any good diagnostician knows that observation, sound reasoning and well developed instincts are the key – hence why these attributes are now outlawed and deemed to be politically incorrect.


  8. I have a Bosch steam iron , one of the big steam reservoir jobs , bought it to do my monthly 25 shirt iron. Small plastic trigger broke , the one that controlled the steam valve. New machine anything up to £250. Went to Bosch web site got replacement ordered and delivered in less than 8 days and cost a few pounds. Also bought some of their great oven cleaner, brilliant stuff.
    My wife broke the plastic lid of our 25 year old Braun food processor , managed to get lid off the internet for £11 in less than 9 days.


  9. Spoke to a bloke yesterday – some sort of management consultant I think – very into “optimising systems for communications in large organisations” who tried to convince me that continual growth is perfectly possible in a finite world. He argued that the earth is not finite, because we had the whole solar system theoretically at our disposal, and that “choice” is another form of growth. I have to say the both statements left me dumbfounded, particularly the latter. His premise was that because in the past we only had access to two brands of toothpaste and now we have ten and that this constitutes growth. I would have loved to have directed him to the comments on this thread to show him the true nature of the “growth” that we currently endure in the western world.


  10. Luxury. We count with a Babylonian abacus, stamp t’ ganzies clean with fuller’s earth, and have to keep warm in winter in Nick Clegg’s armpit.


  11. Pingback: John Ward – Ed Miliband : Hell Yes – He’s A Phony Tough Guy, Just As David Cameron Is A Fiat Currency – 26 April 2015 | Lucas 2012 Infos

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