Smile And The World Wants To Hit You
Anyone who has had a dog will know that they will greet most other dogs on the street with a friendly wag of the tail. But some dogs provoke uncontrollable snarling and barking for no apparent reason.
Although we don't like to admit it, humans are much the same. We take irrational dislikes to some people on sight. This doesn't usually matter too much unless you're meeting them after replying to a lonely hearts ad. It must be a bit of a bummer to find that the person you thought was your soulmate induces homicidal rage just because of the way they wrinkle their nose or pronounce certain words or because their pheromones cause a short-circuit in your brain.
This came to mind because Griff Rhys Jones has just returned to our television screens. I'm sure he's a very nice chap who loves his mother and is kind to animals but I have this inexplicable urge to rip his head off.
You can multiply these feelings by 100 when it comes to Alan Davies. But in this I am not alone. It seems that half the men in the country would like to beat him to a pulp while half the women would like to go to bed with him. Not so long ago he was in a bar in London when a man came up and punched him in the face, for no other reason than for being Alan Davies. A lot of us felt we'd like to buy that man a drink. I used to think it was because of his hair. Perhaps he did too because he had it cut short and still we hate him.
This is a terrible burden to carry through life, worse than belonging to a recognised, stigmatised minority. There are no Alan Davies support groups or helplines. You can't 'come out' to your family as Alan Davies with lots of hugs and kissing and them saying "we can't pretend we're happy that you're Alan Davies but you're still our son and we still love you." On the other hand, he's had a successful career despite this and smiled in the face of adversity. Ah, maybe that's it. That smile. It shouts 'hit me' at every alpha male, and quite a few beta and zeta ones too.
Ditto Marty Pellow of Wet, Wet, Wet. And don't get me started on Jools Holland. As someone once said, he has the sickly smile of a man who has knocked on your door to tell you he's just run over your dog.
Which is almost where we began. Woof, woof.
Note: there are no accompanying pictures to this piece because the Art Editor tore them up and stamped on them.
In all the articles about the imminent demise of the video cassette recorder, I haven't yet seen anyone mention that its development 25 years ago owed much to the porn industry. The VCR provided a way for people to watch pornographic films in the privacy of their own homes and led to a huge surge in profits for the porn industry. Many other technological innovations have been driven by the porn industry, such as streaming video on the internet.
So this raises an interesting moral question for anyone who disapproves of pornography. It's an old question in moral philosophy. Can evil deeds produce good outcomes?
This was the subject of Dennis Potter's play 'Brimstone and Treacle' (originally banned) in which a brain-damaged girl regains her faculties after being raped. And if good can come from evil, does this undermine a simplistic Manichean view of morality?
When I returned from my sister's, I found Carlo sitting in the kitchen sobbing, surrounded by the detritus of uneaten and congealing Kare-kare. The garage boy had not been complimentary about Carlo's native cuisine. His exact words, when I could get them out of Carlo, had been: "Are you trying to poison me, you fucking wanker? Why didn't you order a pizza?"
For once, I had some slight sympathy with Lee, if not his manners, since this dish includes tripe and a peanut sauce. In an attempt to calm him, I told Carlo that Lee might have a nut allergy but he didn't understand.
"Nuts!" he screamed, "he said you're fucking nuts."
"He said what?" I shouted.
"He said you're a batty man."
"I'm not batty, just mildly eccentric", I replied.
The reggae music was still thumping from the West Turret but with any luck we've seen the last of Swarfega Boy.