LIFE is too short to ice a cupcake.
Such, simply, is my take on The Great British Bake Off. I confess I have arrived late at this crumb of mid-evening viewing where contestants must transform humble dollops of flour and butter into something yummy.
In the episode I saw four women in various states of distress attempted to make finger food. One dame was close to tears as things fell horribly apart. I kept screaming at the screen: "Calm down, dear, it's only a vol au vent!"
To no avail. What I found impossible to get my head around, however, was the absence of either mutton pies or sausage rolls, both of which, if we're not careful, may soon become extinct delicacies.
Were I not so preoccupied with the affairs of the Anent Preservation Society I would gladly lend my name to their cause against the evil forces of fancies and light bites. And don't get me started on the plight of the scone. It named after a palace, too.
I once saw Noel Gallagher walking along George Street in Embra. At least I think it was Noel. Could have been Liam, I suppose.
What's the difference? Whatever it is, I can't tell. At which point I can almost hear older and more refined readers chant: "What in the name o' the wee man are you banging on about?" And who can blame them? Mr Noel and Mr Liam are otherwise known as Oasis, a pop combo which many moons ago had a hit with a song called Wonderball, a paean, I believe, to the National Lottery draw.
The Gallaghers are to rock music what Wayne Rooney is to hair implants. More than that I have nothing to say.
However, I very much enjoyed an interview Mr Noel gave to GQ, in which he opined intelligently and eloquently on the subject of books, of which the following is as long an extract I can reprint without incurring the wrath of the copyright gods:
"My missus will come in with a book and it will be titled - and there's a lot of these, you can substitute any word, it's like a Rubik Cube of s*** titles - it'll be entitled The Incontinence Of Elephants. I'll say 'What's that about then?' And she'll say, 'Oh, it's about a girl and this load of f***ing nutters ...' Right ... so it's not about elephants, then? Why the f*** is it called The Incontinence Of Elephants? Another one: The Tales Of The Clumsy Beekeeper. What's that about? 'Oh it's about the French Revolution.' Right, f*** off. If you're writing a book about a child who's been locked in a f***ing cupboard during the f***ing Second World War ... he's never seen an elephant. Never mind a f***ing giraffe."
WHAT a pity my new dear friend Noel was not a Man Booker judge. He would certainly have livened things up.
The chairman of the judges this year was a bloke called Macfarlane who writes about wild places, ie where there are no numpties, junkies and alkies. How this qualifies him to judge novels I know not.
The winner was a New Zealander called Eleanor Catton. She is 28, which makes her the youngest to achieve the feat. So what! Rabbie B had written many of his greatest poems long before then.
Much has also been made of the fact that her novel, The Luminaries, is the longest in Booker history, as if that's worth crowing about.
Mr Macfarlane gushed that while it runs to more than 800 pages it is not "one of Henry James's big, baggy monster novels".
I'm sure I do not need to remind readers of this throbbing organ that what Mr James actually wrote was "large loose baggy monsters", none of which - by the by - was written by him. Ach weel.
Ms Catton seems a nice quine whom one broadsheet hackette described as "a chick". Thus stands the art of literary criticism at this benighted hour.
SHARES in the Post Office have begun to fall. Good.
Doctors should be careful about how they talk to fat folk. Such is the gist of new NHS guidelines. I am reminded of a song by my old chum Randy Newman called Davy The Fat Boy, which ends with the refrain: "Isn't he round?"
Perhaps it should be played in surgeries to gee up those who have crossed the weight Rubicon. I recall no great outrage from porkies when I heard Mr Newman perform it at the Festival Hall in London.
The same, however, cannot be said when he struck up Short People, which goes: "They got little hands/Little eyes/They walk around/Tellin' great big lies/They got little noses." Vertically challenged people thought Mr Newman had it in for them and responded venomously, unmoved as they were by his protests that he was being ironic, humourless wee beasties that they are.
LEFT alone during the day, she howls, paces up and down constantly, chews electrical wiring and scratches furniture.
About whom am I talking? No, not - and I emphasise NOT - the Home Secretary. The grief I'll get for this! I am, of course, referring to a dog. According to a vet, 85% of dogs left alone during the day are stressed out of their tiny minds with boredom and lack of exercise. That's some eight million dogs.
The solution to the problem, says the vet, is telly. Give dogs something to watch and they're as happy as Lassie.
Now researchers at Bristol University are planning to study what programmes dogs would prefer. "Would labradors," says one boffin, "like to watch cookery programmes because they are obsessed with food?" It's a good question and one to which he and his colleagues have yet to find a satisfactory answer.
Meanwhile, the Yanks are ahead of us as ever. Over yonder, there's a 24/7 subscription channel called DogTV whose content is designed specifically for dogs.
If only I were making all this up. Having said which, can it be any worse than Channel 5?
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