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What's Eating Moby Dick?

by Phil Thornton

What's irking our in-house rageoholic this month?

Roadside Matrix Signs

Not content with being the most scrutinised population on the planet with every road, shopping mall, football stadium, public area, train, shop, bus and - who knows - workplace, home and toilet CCTVd up tfuck, to ensure that were not fighting, fucking, stealing, skiving or wanking, now we cant drive 200 yards down a fucking motorway, duel carriageway or A-Road without being gently admonished by our puritanical patriarchs.

Those ominous black matrix boxes light up with instructions such as Dont Drink & Drive! and Remember, always wear a seatbelt! Im not a fucking idiot! I dont need warnings on the side of ciggy packets to tell me that smoking can cause cancer. Try painting a fifty foot sign on the ICI chimney by our house saying Warning; heavy chemical industrial pollutants can cause a multitude of carcinogenic and respiratory diseases if youre that arsed about my wellbeing.

Ah bit thats a bit too troublesome for our big business appeasing New Labour lickspittles isnt it? No, they thrive on gesture politics, appearing to be tough and conscientious by taking a thousand and one seemingly trivial little steps along the long road to totalitarianism. Not for them the obvious brutality of the tyrant but the careful, incremental eradication of civil liberties disguised as anti-terror, anti-crime, anti-social behaviour programmes. For in Blair/Browns warped little world, hoodies dropping litter on the pavement and Islamist suicide bombers are part and parcel of the same problem; respect or a lack of it. Respect for them and their hideous middle-class values, that is.

The Tories were always harping on about a return to Victorian Values but this New Labour government has been far more reactionary and keen to return to the old industrial revolution social model than Thatcher and her gang of no-neck capitalists. Blair and Brown are the product of mutton chop workhouse industrialisation. The progeny of dour, rigid 19th century conformism for whom heavy toil was a religious and moral duty, as long as they didnt have to do it of course. They despise the speeding motorist or the dole sponger far more than corporate polluter or the tax exile. They believe in all that wealth creator/drip down bollocks which is why they never, ever go after the big players in global pollution and exploitation but prefer to pick on the roofer who claims DLA and the ASBO kid in breach of his curfew.

They plead that these are the things that matter to ordinary people and thats probably true; old folk being plagued by gangs of feral scallies is probably far more of an issue than some cunt who pays slave wages and hides his dough in offshore accounts, but to tackle the small-time stuff, we have to tackle the big stuff first. Thats the real drip down effect - the cynical but justified attitude that all this social responsibility propaganda is a one-way street and that the same rules dont apply to the rich and influential.

Just as foreign policy as always directed by economic interests, so social policy is always directed by short term headline grabbing. Lie detectors for benefit cheats! CCTV cameras that shout at you when you drop a ciggy stump on the pavement!! Matrix signs that berate you for going two miles over the speed limit; Slow Down! (how I wish I had one on the roof of my car that flashes up Get To Fuck! every time one of these things collared me).

Where will it end? Matrix Signs ordering us to :


Dont Pick Your Nose!

Dont Speak With Your Mouth Full!

Dont Bite Your Nails!

Dont Look Back In Anger!

Dont Believe The Hype!

Dont You Ever, Dont You Ever Stop Being Dandy, Showing Me Your Handsome?

Id love to fuck about with the messages on these things so that they flash up with messages such as;

Does Your Wife Know Where You Are?

Remember! An elephant never forgets!

What Do You Fancy For Tea Tonight?

Is It That Time Already?

Turn That Fucking Coldplay CD Off!

Im Watching You!

Big Brother is indeed watching us but dont worry, if youre not smoking, sneezing, snorting, stealing, speeding or shagging then what have you got to worry about?

Taxi Drivers

Dont Fix It, Its Not Broken! Say No To De-restriction! the stickers on the back of the taxi cabs state. Is this some kind of Zen Buddhist puzzle, a health warning or an abstract philosophical conundrum? Of course not, its just cabbies, those arch paragons of self-employment and the free market, whining about their cosy closed shop being threatened by the very kind of anti-collectivist red tape cutting that has decimated every other service industry over the past 30 years. I dont recall the taxi drivers ever supporting the dockers or the miners or indeed any other working class dispute but once it affects their little slice of the pie, its stickers all over the fucking yard, next to Free Michael Shields and LFC Instanbul 1879 stickers of course. Lets face it, taxi drivers are the last bastion of the prole Tory Taliban; a licence to cheat on the missus, fleece gullible tourists and fence jarg gear all over town. Not that all cabbies are bent, that is. Some of em even declare their earnings to the Inland Revenue, regularly use their indicators as a matter of highway courtesy and hold liberal opinions concerning the use of migrant workers in a de-centralised, competitive and flexible market economy. So, remember kids, Dont Fix It, It Isnt Broke! Just say no to de-restriction the next time you throw up a doner and Stella combo on the back seat.

Ruddy Hell, Its Harry & Paul!

Or as I call it, Fuck Me, Theyve Given Those Cunts Yet Another Series! This will sound like sour grapes because thats exactly what it is. A few years ago, a few of us Swineheads put together an idea for a sketch show that dealt with typically urban north-west issues; sinister backrooms in tanning parlours, fatnecks in black Range Rovers pissing on cemetery walls, bagheads in alehouses trying to flog Asda grab n go cheese selections, cosmic scally bands obsessed with the merchant navy, Djs who turn their nose up at Basement Jaxx and play Four Tet all night, that kinda thing. It wasnt particularly original (or indeed funny) but I tell you what, it was a million times better than Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouses latest wheeze.

We sent our draft script off to the BBC and the girl from the comedy department got in touch and met us and enthused about it and said shed have to run it past her boss and then……fuck all for about a year and then when I asked her what the score was, she replied that they werent going to develop it. Fair enough, that kind of thing happens all the time. We wouldnt be so arsed if it wasnt for the shite that these whoppers actually do commission. Even on the so-called experimental no budget BBC3 digital platform, its the same old faces and the same old ideas.

Imagine for a minute that you turned up with the script for episode one of Ruddy Hell, its Harry & Paul but you werent Harry Enfield or Paul Whitehouse. Do you think it wouldve got the green light? Would it fuck! Enfield has always been shite, ever since he appeared on The Tube pretending to be his dad 20 years ago. Luckily for him he surrounded himself with people like Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson who could camouflage his shortcomings as a performer and writer with their own material. Whitehouse is a talented comedian yet even he smugly assumes in interviews that his own vehicles are guaranteed a commission or TV or radio simply because of his previous rep.

Ruddy Hell feels like Paul doing a favour for a mate whos fell on hard times. If thats true, then its a decent enough thing to do but would he really want to put his name and reputation on the line for such puerile, predictable and pathetic material? These cunts have turned into the Tarbys and Bruceys and Ronnies of the Jonathan Ross comedy cartel era. They need a kick up the arse and so do the fuckwits who commission this drivel…..so, if youre listening contact Swine Comedy Ideas c/o Swine Magazine.



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