Saturday, 23 August 2014

Movers & Shakers


As summer evaporates into an autumn mist, the days become shorter and the nights become colder, it's time to see just how the final part of 2014 is going to evolve, and how the world of politics, sport and entertainment will throw up some surprises.

In international affairs, Francois Hollande, the unpopular and ugly French president, will resign from his post, citing personal reasons. No-one will shed tears when this turd calls it a day, and to celebrate his departure, the good people of France decide to make the entire month of November a bank holiday.

Getting pissed on red wine, eating cheese and talking bollocks may be a great way to fill the eleventh month of the year, but when the French economy finally falls to pieces on the 15th of November, people start to drift back to work, to try and revive their country's fortunes.

But it's all too late. France is sold to a bidder on e-bay for thirty-five euros, and when the identity of the myseterious buyer is revealed - it's none other than Angela Merkel - France turns to its most hated enemy, England, in its hour of need.

"Sorry, we're busy this weekend," comes the reply from the head of the British armed forces, when the newly-elected French president, Johnny Hallyday, asks for a British taskforce to be sent to save his country. Hallyday calls it a day after only three hours in charge, and France becomes a dumping ground for millions of sausage-stuffing germans.

In the world of music, Chas and Dave, the much-loved cockney duo, decide to buy Manchester United from the highly unpopular Glazer family.

The billion pound bid is financed from royalties the two artists have stashed away at the bottom of their gardens.

The Glazer boys take the money and run, leaving the most popular football club in the world in the hands of two fading singers, whose best years are behind  them.

Chas and Dave waste no time in making radical changes at Old Trafford, which include making Rolf Harris - the disgraced TV celebrity - manager of the under sixteen side. When questioned about their decision, the new owners reply that "Harris has got a beard, just like us, so he's got to be the right man for the job."

The town of Swindon, in Wiltshire, is officially declared the worst place to live in Britain. Bradford finishes second in the list of the shittiest shite-holes, with Great Yarmouth finishing third.

With its awful housing estates, rowdy nightclubs and stinking town centre, Swindon appears to be in need of a major make-over.

Enter Francois Hollande - the former French president, with time on his hands.

In a bold move, he presents himself as the "French One" at the general election, claiming that with his flare, wit and charm, he can bring the glory days back to Swindon.

Voted in with a massive majority, Hollande wastes no time in transforming what is essentially a cesspit of a town into England's answer to San Tropez.

"The Boy Done Well!" boasts the tabloid press, when Swindon is named as one of the most seven beautiful places on the planet.

"Ooh la la!" declares Hollande, basking in the glory of the hour, before declaring that Hastings is the next town which will benefit from a thorough overhaul.

Watch this space for more predictions, holiday destinations for the mentally insane and ideas on how to make this autumn really special.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

In search of bread

We're closed!

Here in the town where I live, in Normandy - on the tenth day of the eighth month of the year - I've just enjoyed another game of spot the resident. This amusing game is a bit like spot the ball, but instead of working out where the football is located, spot the resident involves finding a resident - anyone will do - on the streets, in a bar, in a park or dead, in a gutter.

Now, you may think that there could be nothing in simpler in life, but you have clearly overlooked the fact that (a) Normandy is VERY rural and rustic and (b) we are in the month of August. Therefore, ghost towns are all you can expect to find here, in this very irritating time of the year.

It is irritating not for the French, for it is at this time of the year that the shutters go down, doors are bolted and the whole world heads south, for the annual three-week holiday. Of course, some people will stay behind, but where they stay remains to be seen - because it's getting bloody hard to spot a resident around here.

Okay, the boulangerie was open this morning, but when the shop assistant served me my baguette, she told me that the shop would now be closed for three weeks. I took my bread and smiled. Happy Holidays! On driving back to my house I passed two youths and a stray dog. All of the bars and hotels seemed to be empty and the high street - a tragedy at the best of times - was dead.

In the week, you will of course spot more people than at the weekend, but these bodies seem to be just passing through, like interlopers, in search of something better than this.

But ghost towns in August can have certain advantages. The supermarkets - which certainly don't close for three weeks - are virtually empty. Oh what joy it is to do one's shopping at this time of the year. The aisles are free of old people and children - all of whom are somewhere else - but where, I cannot say.

But where am I heading with all of this?

Well, as France slides gently towards third-world nation status, no-one around here seems to care. Just don't ask me to work more than thirty-five hours a week, give me five weeks holiday a year and don't think that my high street will take on an English accent, and actually bulge at the seams, even in the month of August.

The English complain about shops being open on Sunday, but to those people I say one thing: come over here, right now, and you'll soon see things differently. Long live England's out-of-town shopping centres and long live Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys, for on a Sunday, in the hour of need, one of these three beasts will be open to sell us bread, cheese and wine.

I'm now off to play another game - an amusing variation of spot the resident, which is called spot the English tourist wandering around in circles looking for a shop which sells bread, cheese and wine.

Tune in next week for a list of last-minute holiday destinations in England, for the mentally insane.

Until then, Happy Holidays!