Instead of stopping passers-by and asking ‘excuse me, do you know what time it is?’ my brother thought it was hilarious to stop passers-by and ask ‘excuse me, do you know what time is?’ ‘All I have to do is remove the word ‘it’ from the sentence’, he laughingly used to point out. It was half a joke, half an experiment. He kept a record of the replies he got in a journal. His favourite answer to receive was also the most common. This answer was: ‘I’m not sure’. With this answer, the passer-by had set themselves up for my brother’s killer blow. ‘I’m not sure’, a passer-by would say and my brother would roar at them ‘why do you wear a watch then, you big eejit?’
There was one occasion when an elderly gentleman entertained my brother’s question and attempted to answer it. ‘Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future, regarded as a whole’, said the man. My brother stared at him and said nothing for a moment. Then he spoke. ‘Don’t be so fucking naïve’, he told the old man before going on to explain that ‘time is a trap’. The old man departed, perturbed. ‘What did you mean by time is a trap?’ I asked my brother. ‘Ah, it’s just something Dickie Davies said on the telly’, he replied before going indoors to catch that day’s sports results.
Passers-by rarely took issue with my brother accosting them. I think it was because he was such an intense looking kid. It wasn’t that you’d be in fear of physical violence from the guy. It was more a feeling that he could cast a spell on you, a hex or something. There was something in his eyes that hinted at incomprehensible knowing, even though he was only eleven years old at the time. Whatever time is.
No more need for costly medals, uniforms, and specialist training. Warfare is now considered unskilled labour and is fought for minimum wage. Our operatives are no longer in the field. They are in something that resembles a call-centre, staring at consoles, operating drones. The dot reaches the centre of the graph. They press the button. Ka-Boom! It’s a piece of piss.
From the ‘About Us’ section of the Ground Control Solutions website: ‘Vibrant. Dynamic. Supportive. G.C.S. (Ground Control Solutions) takes pride in meeting your defence or foreign intervention needs in a professional and accommodating manner. Our friendly and conscientious staff members guide the latest unmanned aerial hardware to desired locations with speed, efficiency, and an agreeable degree of accuracy. G.C.S. is a combat system control industry leader and two time winner of the Sir Arthur Harris Memorial Award for Remote Pilot Precision. Why not take advantage of our current two for one package? Offer must end soon.’
My brother worked for G.C.S. when he was just eighteen. It was summer work. He didn’t like it much. The shifts were long and the wages shitty but it was the only thing going and he was saving for a drum kit.
He used come home exhausted and slump in front of the TV. The news would be showing some North African kip being turned to ashes. ‘I wonder if that’s our crowd’, he’d say. He wouldn’t know and asking was a sacking offence. It was said that G.C.S. often worked for both sides in a conflict. Business is business. Things got a bit hairy after our own country got mixed up in a bit of international tomfoolery and G.C.S. was reportedly bombing the very cities in which it operated but, like I said, business is business.
A moral argument for this form of warfare is that it cuts down on casualties, for one side at least. Unfortunately that argument didn’t hold true when G.C.S. was contracted to take out its own centres. To refuse to do so would have resulted in legal action. A survivor said it was my brother that actually operated the drone that blew him and his workplace to bits. He was looking at the graph and commented on how the topography seemed familiar. He pressed the button. We never found his body. I’ll say it one more time, business is business.
Hmm. All that complicated banking tomfoolery has made The Market seem a tad unappealing hasn’t it? But worry not. You can still play The Market and keep it simple and straightforward. I, Fugger, the people’s blogger, am here to show you how. You too can be a winner!
‘But Mister Fugger, The Market is callous and evil’, I hear you bleat. Well yeah, so what? Life is not about being nice and neither is The Market. Life is about getting as much as you possibly can and so is The Market. The Market is an inclusive game that anyone can play so quit occupying Wall Street and start making a living there. All other forms of revenue generation are obsolete. Buying is the new working. Selling is the new earning. You can’t beat The Market but you can play The Market.
What you want to do is invest in companies that produce things that are going to be in demand. Take a look at the world around you and speculate on its future, a bit like a science fiction writer would. What’s coming down the line? Right, well, for starters, the world is fast becoming an environmentally degraded shit house. What would people want in an environmentally degraded shit house? That’s right! Breathable air. Buy shares in fresh air. The more polluted the environment becomes the more demand there will be for fresh air. It’ll come in spray cans with names like Mountain Valley Gust and Odeur du Vie. Check and see what corporation is making moves re: fresh air, keep an eye on their shares and BUY BUY BUY!
Right, we’re off to a good start. What else happens in an environmentally degraded shit pile? What do people do? They choke yes, very good, but what else do they do? That’s right! They protest! They riot! (If they aren't doing so already over the bailouts, guffaw!) So, how can we profit there? I’ll tell you how. Invest in batons, water cannons, tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, tasers, cattle prods and plastic zip tie handcuffs. Find out who makes these things, keep an eye on their shares and BUY BUY BUY!
If riots are coming wars are probably coming. Diminishing reserves of natural resources are going to make nations desperate. There’ll be land grabs all over the place. The towel heads and sand nig nogs (not being racist, just using the terminology of The Market) will be going crazy and they’ll need weapons and all the things associated with weapons. Missiles, guns, armoured trucks, tanks, electrodes, body bags, coffins. The French and the Russians profited greatly during the Iran v Iraq war of yesteryear. Over one million died. Many more millions were made. Remember that! Keep an eye on arms manufacturer shares and BUY BUY BUY!
Once you’ve made enough money on The Market you can start sponsoring election campaigns and that means what you say goes. You’re making policy! You’re king of the world! So, look at what’s around and see what money can be made. Keep those wars coming (there’s no money in diplomacy) and keep those fumes pumping (there’s no money in the oxygen this silly planet provides gratis). Take stuff from people and sell it back to them. Remember, you can only do this if you have bought a politician so find out who’s for sale and BUY BUY BUY!
Finally, buy the media. Seriously, just buy the lot of it. Tell everyone the story of the world and give it any ending you want. Don’t worry about the journalists. They’ll do whatever you say. You don’t even have to pay them that much. They are happy enough with just the attention. So, don’t just go down the shops and buy the paper, no, enter the market and BUY BUY BUY the paper.
Once you own the media you’ll own people’s minds. Just think, you’ll be the majority shareholder in human consciousness. You’ll own the world and the minds of the people who live upon that world. You’ll be a God! Maybe you can be THE God. Let’s face it, that other guy’s stock has fallen. God’s stock has fallen so it might be just the time to BUY BUY BUY!
Praise be to The Market! Hallowed be your name! See? I told you that you too could be a winner. Now get out there and BUY BUY BUY!
My legs are depressed today. The rest of me is grand but the legs are fed up. They won’t bring me anywhere. ‘What’s the point?’ they seem to say, ‘we move you around but you never seem to go anywhere’. It’s a funny attitude to take. I don’t know what they expect. I could try forcing the issue. I could make them stand up and walk about by sheer force of will but I’m reluctant to try it. The last time I gave it a go the legs attempted to run me under a bus. So I’m at their mercy. I’m stuck here by the computer all day. I’m as bad as you.
Unless!!! There is one thing I can try. One thing that never fails to boost leg morale. I just show the legs the motivational film. Have you seen the motivational film? You haven’t? Oh, it works wonders when you get a spell of leg depression. Here it is:
Ah, I feel a twitch already. My feet are tapping. The legs are cheering up. This is it. I’m standing. I’m moving around. I’m off down the shops. Milk, butter, eggs. A look around Oxfam. See if I can pick up a James Herbert paperback for a euro. This is the life! This is why we were given legs! This is why we crawled from the sea and learned how to boot other creatures in the hole.
Did you know that humans are the only creatures that are able to boot other living things in the hole? It’s true. It’s a scientific fact. Sure, angry donkeys and deer and so on can do it but the human being is the only organism that is able to boot something in the hole in a premeditated way. You know, as in singling out the hole especially and taking aim. Maybe that tells you something about our species. Maybe we're not all that nice. God, that's a depressing thought. I better think positive. I don't want the legs buckling under me. Hmm. Maybe the hole booting fact indicates that we’re born hole booters, as in born to boot life in the hole. Yeah, that’s probably it. That makes me feel pretty good actually. That makes me feel empowered. Right, I’m off! I'm going to walk these legs down the mainstreet, search for some second hand Herbert and boot life in the hole. RIGHT IN THE HOLE!
(pictured above: say goodbye to this sort of thing)
I love those new plastic handcuffs the cops use in America. They make people look like some of the products you see in the shops, you know with the little plastic bands attached to seal things up with the barcode on them. You also see them binding cables together at the backs of computers and tellies and so on. I reckon plastic handcuffs hint at the future of law enforcement going forward. Just think, we’ll be able to arrest upstarts and criminals and put them up on shelves in a kind of supermarket jail. Then people can come along with bail money and take the arrested people down off the shelves and scan them on a kind of self service counter and bring them home. The jails won’t even need to be staffed. Well, there’ll be a couple of people there to help out if the scanner goes wonky. It’ll be a bit like the 24 hour Tescos near me at three in the morning. It’ll be a grand set up.
Cutting down on jail staff will save a bit of cash and the cuffs themselves will be cheap which means we can make more of them and therefore make more arrests. In fact, we could hand the whole jail thing over to some company and not have to worry about having to pay tax for it anymore. The company could profit by keeping the bail money. We’d all be quids in!
Come to think of it, we could sell off the whole law enforcement gig to private interests too. No more exchequer cash would have to be spent on cops. The cops could pay for themselves by having adverts on their uniforms, like logos and that, the same way soccer players do.
Yeah, I’m on a roll now. I’ve just thought of a way we could also save money on surveillance, gathering intelligence and all that sort of thing. To pre-emptively ensure there’s no funny business, everyone (all of us, me, you, the mother, the lot) could be electronically tagged and monitored by a private company. The company could also use the data they gather for personalised targeted advertising purposes. That way the nation is not only kept safe but also kept informed about new products that might be of interest to them. Everyone wins.
Not everyone would be happy though. The usual crowd (hippies, students, the gays, the blacks) would be whingeing about conflicts of interest and all that. I suppose kinky types wouldn’t like the new cuffs either. They’d probably miss the whole shackles element. If the plastic handcuffs were furry the kinky lobby would probably be queuing up to be arrested. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of police time is wasted arresting kinky sorts who just want be put in the old style metal cuffs. Plastic handcuffs will put a stop to that I suppose. That’d be another bonus. No one wants to be bound in a pair of plastic handcuffs. It’s kind of insulting. Fucking undignified really.
Oil and water deplete as the global financial system flails in its death throes. It’s looking a bit grim isn’t it? What we need at this juncture is a war. A big old war. A massive war. War is good. War is necessary. War shakes things up. War sorts stuff out. War wipes slates clean. War generates revenue. War is coming.
It’s a bit like Etch A Sketch. Did you have Etch A Sketch when you were a kid? You’d do a picture and it would be looking OK but then you’d keep adding to it and being all fancy and after a while the whole thing would be an over complicated mess. Do you remember that? Your mam would say ‘that’s a nice elephant dear’ when it was actually a tractor you were drawing so you’d let out a wail of anguish (whhhaaaaaa!) pick up the Etch A Sketch and shake the fuck out of the thing until the tractorphant was utterly annihilated. Then you’d start all over again.
Well, imagine the world is an Etch A Sketch and the world leaders are you when you were a kid, bawling with a load of snot pouring out your nose, quite out of your mind and shaking the bejaysus out of the poor Etch A Sketch. Instead of the picture being wiped out, cities and streets and buildings and furniture and humans and dogs and cats and budgies and all that sort of thing are wiped out. Once the old mess is out of the way you can set about creating a new one. Going forward.
(pictured: What does she see? You’ll have to wait and see!)
Something is creeping into our world or maybe we’ve encroached upon something else’s territory? Twilight emissaries dart about the corners of our streets and gardens, taunting and beckoning, beguiling and bewildering. Causing us to wander away from this existence and never be seen again. Leaving no trace but for tattered missing posters and empty housing estates filled with shrieking foxes.
A film based on a spooky post found on this blog will be debuting at the Cork Film Festival this Saturday. It’s a creepy little film. A slow burner. There isn’t much of a LOL factor. Amy Huberman isn’t in it. They didn’t get Hugh Jackman either. He was busy making Scaletrix the Movie. Ah well, you can’t have everything.
I’ll keep you posted on future screenings should you fancy a trip to the pictures.
The French are great aren’t they? They really are. Take Christine Lagarde. I really like Christine Lagarde. She’s so sophisticated. She always looks like she’s on her way to the Cannes Film Festival. I bet she’s always having lunch with Bernard Henri Lévy. They’d be discussing the world over croissants but you’d never see them eating the things. Biting and chewing would be a bit beneath them. The crumbs and all that wouldn’t do at all. No, the croissants would just kind of evaporate as Christine and Bernard sit there looking superb and talking about fancy books and not books they pretend they’ve read either, ones they’ve actually read. Dead long books about mad complicated stuff. Nicholas Sarkozy might drop by too. He’s a grand fella. His wife is a chanteuse. Imagine having a chanteuse for a wife. That’d be great. Lévy would compliment Sarkozy on his handling of Libya (they’ll all be eating croissants in Libya come Christmas). He’d pat him on the shoulder and say ‘formidable’ and offer him one of the croissants for evaporation.
Christine would get her share of compliments too. She’d be told she’s looking well and that the new IMF job really suits her. She’s well worth the $467,940 a year. As far as I’m concerned, she can do what she likes in the new post. As long as she does it with style. Any cuts you want Christine. Any assets. Work away. She loves us Irish. She says we’re a great lot, paying up and not moaning like the Greeks and Portuguese. The Greeks and Portuguese are bold. But we’re good. Ms. Lagarde said so and she looks like someone who is off to the Cannes Film Festival. Have you ever been to the Cannes Film Festival yourself? No. No you haven’t. You’ve never been to the Cannes Film Festival. You pitiful little Irish bollix.
You can trust Christine. She’s beyond reproach and even if she isn’t, she looks like she is and that’s the main thing. So forget about that dodgy business with Crédit Lyonnais and just sit back and sigh at the sophistication.
Ah yeah, you can imagine the three of them there. Christine, Bernard and Nicholas at the outdoor café, folding their legs, stroking their chins, lighting Gitanes, je ne sais quoing all over the place. Fantastique. The only thing that could put a dampener on proceedings would be if Merkel showed up. That wouldn’t be good. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she’s OK and it was dead decent of her not to use tanks when she took over Ireland, but, . . .well, . . .she’s a bit dumpy isn’t she? I mean, you can imagine it. She’d come along and plop herself down and kind of ruin the picture. Christine, Bernard and Nicholas would look at her. Not enjoying the sight. Reminded of the strict teutonic governesses their parents used employ. Merkel would pick up a croissant. She’d take a bite out of it. Chomp. The pastry would flake and fall and land on her ill fitting blouse. The others would avert their gaze. Their conversation would continue. Merkel’s interjections would be acknowledged with polite nods but never directly addressed. It’d go unsaid but there’d be a mutual hope that the old bag might just go away after a while.
Here, just for Christine and Nicholas, is a song by a good friend of theirs. A friend who they perhaps shouldn’t be seen with for a while to be honest. He’s a former jailbird and we don’t want any scandal. It’s bad enough with Christine’s predecessor jumping out on chambermaids but I’m sure no one knows anything about any of that and find talk of it distasteful. Ah the French. Such a classy bunch of fuckers. Anyway, here’s the song: