Every morning I wake to the radio. ‘Breakfast TV’ is not for me. Stories of fruit shaped like Keith Chegwin and how many tiny Union Jacks John Redwood has stapled to his member this morning are insufficient to rouse me towards the rage on which my existence relies.
I wake to the BBC World Service, because believe it or not I’m capable of having my own thoughts for the day without some holy fool calling out my sins on the Today programme. Some days, though, I long for the murder of an alpaca to be the most important item on the agenda. Today, in what’s still theoretically the silly season while all the important people are off ‘not holidaying’ in the west of England, I awoke to a stunning parade of grim news stories that seemed to herald the end of the world.
Is news all bad all the time now? Is there any good news, or are we fucked? I’m here to tell you that there’s plenty of good news if you look hard enough for it.
Obviously the farce of the Afghan withdrawal has powered us through August and into September, and it’s a horrible business all right. People across the political spectrum, which increasingly appears painted by a bipolar man allowed to let his imagination run wild in a Dulux Decorator Centre, are rushing to lie that they were against this fruitless 20-year shambles from the off. Addictive revisionism aside, sometimes it pays to withdraw before something is fully fucked, as generations of Catholics have learned to their cost, and this pull-out really will need some tissues.
But search hard for a silver lining and you’ll find one in the form of Dominic Raab facing a select committee. At some point, the first of the Tory townhouse of cards must fall, and this dolphin-headed twat might just be the man to crash his gaping nut into the supporting wall. We can’t allow ourselves to hope his invulnerable blond boss might himself be dragged into it, but could Raab at least bring down the lovely Priti with him? Don’t tell me that’s not worth a quarter of a million dead.
Another victim seems to be the increasingly bewildered Joe Biden, previously the world’s most pleasing uncle and now the uncle we all want sent to a home just too far away for the drive to be worth it. Biden turning out to be potentially worse than Trump – he’s fucking up Covid too, don’t forget – is the 2021 story none of us saw coming.
But the good news: if Biden hadn’t whipped out his troops like an infant magician destroying a table of crockery with an ill-judged flick of cloth, we’d never have heard of Pen Farthing. If we as a species can’t save an alpaca who probably wanted to die because it had TB, which doesn’t seem likely to be pleasant, at least let us help one man and his dogs. Rename the dogs Ahmad and Bibi as a tribute to those left behind and everyone’s a winner.
For once there was some variation in the morning’s medical news: ‘Life-saving cholesterol jab recommended on NHS’. Unlimited beer and kebabs for everyone, with no arterial drawbacks! Ah but you can’t put anything in your mouth, because you’re coughing your last breath out of it thanks to Covid’s bumper new ‘Mu variant’, which could be resistant to…I can’t be arsed to write the consequences of that, which we all know, any more than you can face reading them.
More medicine, this time smeared with religion: Texas have basically banned abortion. Bad news for any woman who’d like a modicum of control over their own body. I assume they’re asking all these literally brainless unborn sacks of cells whether they actually want to be born into 21st century America, just like we all asked that bloody alpaca about whether it was keen to live with TB. But let’s nuzzle up to the clear positive here: as I’m so often saying, what the world needs is more people, and especially more Texans.
Meanwhile in Britain, the weather’s also making the headlines, because it’s Britain. Global weather-related disasters have increased five-fold over the past 50 years. The British variant of that is that every single day is the same: cloudy, windy, the odd shower, boring. The upside is that we can now go back over the last century of American media and all those jokes about British weather will make sense. And how we’ll laugh.
What causes a dodgy climate? Petrol. But not leaded petrol, which the news reports has been ‘eradicated’. The good news here is unequivocal…apart from the equivocal bit that points out leaded fuel’s best replacement is something called E10 that nobody’s heard of or knows how to use. Hey, let’s find a way to make drivers even more livid as a species than they already are, especially around flammable liquids. Perhaps the good news here is actually a fresh spate of Ronnie Pickering sightings in and around Hull.
And finally, the sports news. My football team are unspeakably shit. Hardly news, but Ronaldo’s back, and that is. Words cannot describe how happy I am to have yet another reason to delete each week’s episode of Match of the Day unwatched, to free up space on the Virgin box for more 70-year-old films starring Sid James as a chippy barman on the make, Esma Cannon as ‘Scrubwoman with ladder’ and Alastair Sim as absolutely everybody else.
And as a man bellows ‘WELCOME TO HARD TALK WITH ME STEPHEN SACKUR’ into my shuddering skull, the headlines are over. The news is inevitably framed in a certain way to get people’s blood up, but every story has its positives; some can be tricky to spot, but if you consider that you’ll probably never again have to hear a hypocritical nation bleating “Save Geronimo!” as they tuck into their bacon sandwiches, I think I’ve proven my point.
Is there any good news, or are we fucked? The good news is we’re fucked.