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Friday, 3 December 2010


As one who believes that a good picture of snow is vastly improved by the inclusion of a pink cat I am, naturally, an apostle for these pictures. Nothing, I feel, illustrates a good snowfall than a blurred picture of a twenty pound cat that has just pounced, adorably of course, on a snowball.

Which information should lead you to conclude that some, or other, entity has been fabricating said snowballs in order for the aforementioned pouncing to occur. This is on account of how cats paws are eminently unsuited to the task. If a reader has any intelligence this string of logic should provide a clue as to who, or whom, the snowball maker is. And given that it is I who writes this blog,and posts photographs and has no friends, and am currently at home writing because the University is closed, and have an unusually (but not suspect) relationship with said cat, I should remove you from your misery and confess: I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the last week making snowballs in the back yard and throwing them. Toshack, responds with loud "MIAOW" then chases off into the snow covered moraine of our rear garden before plouging face first into drifts, frantically clawing at the snow. It is a behaviour more akin to that of a dog

During a short lull earlier this week, his sister Callisandra, who hates the cold, possibly on account of the amount of titanium in her feet (with resultant increased conduction) briefly joined him. She shot across the yard after a smallish ball of ice. Unfortunately, as mentioned, the only reason she was outside was the slight warming. This warming had softened the layer of ice on top of the pond, although it was still masked by snow. Calli charged, intent on her snowball, the ice gave way, she fell in the pond, leapt out looking like a sodden calico pretend toy and carooned into the house up the stairs. I felt a bit guilty, and slightly concerned in case she had been frozen solid, so I went to find her, and she was lying on the bed grooming as cats do, as if nothing had happened. Which in her world, it hasnt.

In the grown-up human world though, the weather has been, for England, unusual. Hull has laboured under a 12" blanket of snow. Food has begun to run out in stores (this in NOT exaggeration) as pensioners have bought up every loaf of bread available (this is both an exagerration and unfair as I have no idea who exactly has been buying all the bread. But there is none). Even the liquor stores have not been restocked. In the media the extent to which this country is unprepared for most of the weather it receives has been the subject of screaming headlines - Every year there are a seasonal round of stories about people dying of the cold. Motorists get stranded for days in 'mountain' passes that are no more than 1500 feet high. Droughts and water shortages follow winter and springs of unprecedented rainfall. People die of heatstroke in temperature approaching the mid thirties (centigrade). The weather in the Uk is nowhere near as varied as most of the countries on the planet - its one of the reasons our climate is called temperate - yet the country seems prepared for none of its seasons.

This however, is not the complete picture. In our street, for the last week, kids have been having snowball fights with adults, the elderly folk have had their drives dug out by slightly less elderly folk, birds have been fed and the overall mood has been one of joy and celebration. THere has been a party atmosphere because practically everyone has been off work.

So who is complaining? Actually, I am. But not about the weather - it is what it is and snow is particularly beautiful. BUt also, I am not complaining too much about the lack of prepardness this country consistently demonstrates. It means more days off work, and in truth, English people are not the Protestant work fanatics they pretend to be. My complaint is the English media - possibly one of the lowest forms of life on the planet. There is one modus operandi in the English media and that is partisan point scoring. From the mighty Times to the lefty Guardian to the Tory Telegraph and the scumbag tabloids, point scoring may operate at various intellectual levels, but it is all the UK press have, apart from lifestyle pullouts. Journalism has a number of capacities which various individual have done very well - change (a lot of Vietnam war photography), observation (Alistair Cooke's letter from AMerica) comment (Charlie Brooker in the Guardian still does this). But the majority of contemporary UK journalism is not these capacitieis, it is whining, niggling and inconsequentialism. ANd although this can temporarily appear to be analogues of good writing - sharp, witty, hip, modern, referenced - they are not good journalism, they're just bad novelisation. So cliched themes,the stock in trade of bad airport novels, are what we get for the majorty of our news. And the recent snow has definitely resulted in the wheeling out of all the 'old ones'. Personally, I would rather play snowballs with a cat than read the British press.

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