The violent Ward

In the bad old days, between visiting the bear-baiting and the ratting pit, a gentleman might while away the idle hour by tripping down to Bedlam and laughing at the lunatics.

Today, we live in more enlightened times: we have to make do, mainly, by mocking the afflicted in the form of the babblings of the benighted Boris. This week:

‘Boris Island’ airport may replace Heathrow

The London mayor plans to shut down the city’s main airport and build a new four-runway hub in the Thames estuary

This, of course, is yet another retread of a notion first floated back in February. It re-emerges everytime the acting (in every sense) Mayor feels short of recent publicity (as in June and again in August). Notice the cyclical element: Malcolm wonders if it coincides with phases of the Moon.

Then again, in the search for a no-longer cheap laugh, we buy the Sunday Times each week, and enter a parallel world of frothing mouths, bilious viciousness and unmitigated nonsense.

Inside each issue comes the Ingear — sorry, proper use of capitals is forbidden in this zone: so ingear — section: “cars⎮gadgets⎮adventure” (again, there’s this adventurous use of non-punctuation). This is the ninth circle of journalistic Hell, where we are admitted by the modern Antaeus: a.k.a. Jeremy Clarkson. It is a region exclusively populated by petrol-heads, technology-chasers and similar lost souls.

Malcolm rarely visits this madhouse without coming away totally baffled. Where do they find these people?

Today’s issue outstrips all credence:

  • Some idiot, obviously seeking his second childhood, intends to strap himself onto a self-designed, jet-propelled wing, leaping out of a light plane over Calais, lighting the blue touch-paper, and spending a dozen bowel-clenched minutes hoping he can make Dover.
  • The Dodge Viper “loaded with extra venom” can do everything a Porsche or Lamborghini can, and for less than £55,000! Wow! Just what we need to bring home the bacon from the Supermarket. And so environmentally-friendly, too.
  • And look here, page 15: a British company is machining bits of a worn-out Spitfire (vintage 1942) into 120 wrist-watches. Only £6,450 each. Recommendation: Wearing an authentic piece of British history on your wrist is a back story you don’t get with a Rolex.

But for the ultimate obscenity, that’s on page 3 (natch!). It’s headed “Viz Top Tip”, so by an imaginative stretch it might just be an irony. Or so Malcolm hopes:

First snowball of the year

Hammer six-inch nails through a cricket ball and roll it around in fallen leaves. Hey, presto! An autumn snowball. Cheap, and great fun for the kids.

There’ll likely be a couple in every school playground by Monday morning.

The statutory article about knife-crime is on page 12 of the main news section.

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Filed under crime, Times

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