Categories
Judge Mental

The Nissan Micra

The Accused

The Nissan Motor Company Limited

The charge

That the accused did wilfully and with malice aforethought manufacture very small low-powered cars and flagrantly market the same to immensely fat people with poor spatial awareness thereby preventing commuters from going about their rightful daily business.

The case for the prosecution

Ladies and Gentlemen, when Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama introduced the compact pickup to America in 1959, he espoused a philosophy that was part Zen and part car aficionado: “Love cars, love people, love life.” When I was driving to this very court today I saw, and not for the first time, a hugely obese woman “driving” a Nissan Micra in the middle lane of the motorway at 40mph and I espoused a somewhat different philosophy. As there are likely to be children and people of finer sensibilities listening to this case, I will not repeat that particular philosophy here.

Suffice to say that the ghastly sight of some vast and lardy middle-aged female squeezed unceremoniously into a small tin and plastic wheeled box is not one that the eye welcomes so early in the day. Apart from the obvious visual enormity of the event, there is an altogether more sinister and indeed dangerous aspect to be considered. The viewer’s brain. Bereft of mental stimulation, the daily commuter will fall on the slightest curious incident like a pack of ravenous hyena on a wounded wildebeest. And this one is no exception. How did she get into that car in the first place? Given her relative bulk and the comparative tininess of the target space, the exercise was evidently not conducted by self alone.

So what fiendish accomplice, oiled and gloved, was responsible for squeezing and coaxing the behemoth into the Micra? How long did it take? Were wheels and pullies employed? Or large sticks and shoe-horns? Did a crowd of jeering small boys assemble to encourage the ingress? Which parts of respective anatomies came into contact to effect an entry? Hand on posterior? Like some appalling pastiche of Sartre, did it disappear right up to the elbow? What forces must have been at play!

And how would she be able to handle basic driving skills like steering when she clearly could not get her hands anywhere near the steering wheel, jammed against her voluminous folds of gut like it so clearly was. Had she perfected by way of necessity some kind of Tantric lower-abdominal muscle-control? And what of braking? The momentum of such a hideously disproportionate human frame encased in such a flimsy automobile careering along the Queen’s highway would surely not be halted by the mere application of rubber on metal. Presumably this goes a long way towards explaining precisely why a slow driving pace is required.

I think you will agree, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, that such thoughts are not the correct thoughts to be thinking when public road safety is of such obvious paramount importance.

In all the years that I have been kneeling at the feet of Genesius, I can safely say that I have never encountered such a depraved example of corporate barbarism as that displayed by the accused. The purveying of cancerous tobacco products, improperly-tested genetically-modified foodstuffs and even clackers pale into insignificance beside the considerable shadow of the Nissan Micra and its archetypal driver.

The case for the defence

Customer satisfaction levels are high.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

Rarely have I had to listen to a case that so chills the marrow. Having considered punitive financial, custodial and indeed even mortal sentences, I am drawn inexorably to the most severe punishment that the law allows. I hereby sentence every senior executive within Nissan to drive a Nissan Micra until that day that he dies.

Categories
Librarian Liberation Front

Olympics Not Ideal

You’d think they’d get the message, but it seems that no matter how few people turn up to the festival of contrived sports that is the modern Olympic Games, they still persist in holding them.

The games have cost billions of Euro to stage and as I watched the beach volleyball last night I could not help but be disgusted at the rows and rows of empty seats on view. Have you any idea, brothers and sisters, how many books, videos and date stamps that kind of money can buy? The libraries of the world are crumbling to the ground, great works of literature, as well as some Jeffrey Archer remainders, are being lost forever in dingy, damp stores and we see fit to spend all this cash on half-empty stadia, swimming pools without any flumes, easily-detected pharmaceuticals and endless, endless commemorative tat that, apparently, no-one is really bothered about.

Of course, one reason for the rows of unfilled seats could be the ridiculous sports that are now part of the games – synchronised diving, beach volleyball, dressage and that crazy 20km walk. It can only be a matter of time before date-stamping and close harmony shelving are, at the very least, demonstration sports, hell’s bells, that could get a bit Sheridan. Also, since when were highly paid professionals allowed to compete – tennis players and football players paid millions in sponsorship and yet still able to compete in this amateur festival. It’s nonsense. And while I’m on the subject, LLF do not feel that keeping our “top” athletes in energy bars and Deep Heat is a suitable way to spend lottery money. The lottery is a scandal anyway, drawing money from the proletariat and giving it to over-privileged kids in pipe bands so they can make that trip to Florida is just plain wrong in a civilised society, but to spend it on allowing athletes to train full time isn’t much better. What happened to the Olympic tradition of post-persons from Norwich finishing their round on a Monday and heading off to the Olympic 100m final by Tuesday afternoon? How we would marvel at the proud workers as they took unpaid leave from the shipyards, the fields and, yes, even the libraries to compete at the games. Now thanks to the greed and stupidity of lottery ticket holders, our Olympic hopefuls get to “train” full time. Where’s the romance in that? Nowhere – and it seems to be having the opposite effect in terms of medals anyway. No, we say this has to stop, the glorification of the hoi polloi for the amusement of the rich and privileged by way of meaningless metal gongs must be ended, for the good of personkind.

I wouldn’t mind if the games were the festival of international brother(or sister)hood that we would all like to see, but they are not. We bring the youth of the world’s nations together and force them to engage in competition, thinly veiled humiliation if you ask me. The LLF are not happy with this competitive edge. Faster, higher, stronger? What about Nicer, Neater, Kinder?

We would rather see some element of cooperation and harmony – perhaps a combined US/Iraqi/Afghan hospital and school building team. Or a British team dedicated to the learning of languages other than English? We propose a tournament aimed at furthering understanding between nations.

To this end, we call upon the youth of the world to come together to help clear the planet’s cataloguing backlog. We would be promoting libraries, making the world’s literature more easily accessible and getting rid of a really nasty wee job from Cautious Col’s “to-do” list. No fancy stadia will be required and no corruption-ridden voting process for the right to host the games, people would just be given a copy of AACR2 (between two) and a pencil. The opening ceremony would simply be a training day dedicated to the rule changes since the last tournament. What a wonderful, well ordered world this could be.

Categories
Librarian Liberation Front

Free Jeremy Clarkson!

It’s just not fair, that poor man.

I speak, of course, of Jeremy Clarkson. We live in an age where intolerance will simply not be tolerated and yet poor Jeremy still feels unable to declare his true sexuality. Well, the LLF is here to help. He must be liberated from the petrol-driven shackles that bind him and come out of the closet. Jeremy, it’s OK to have the Communards on your stereo.

Such a shame that we live in a society that forces a man who so obviously prefers the intimate company of other men to hide behind such an unpleasant facade in order to hide his true feelings. Well, Jeremy. We can help.

No more the nasty, butch jeans-and-sports-jacket combo that simply isn’t fooling anyone. Step out in something more fetching, pastel shades, swirls of colour. Someone with legs as long as yours could wear leather; I think you know what we mean.

We’ve seen the way you look at Richard Hammond with a twinkle in your eye. He’s a good-looking boy, no denying, but there must be a reason that someone that annoying gets a job on telly. Cautious and I reckon that there must have been some horrible misunderstanding there. Did you suggest that the show needs a little Dick in a moment of weakness? It’s OK, Jeremy, the LLF understands and supports you.

We’ve both been working on the stockcheck and chatting (only time THAT’S allowed outside the fairtrade coffee bar, let me tell you) and we’ve hatched a plan.

We are here to liberate you from intolerance and fear, we will throw caution to the wind and leave no-one in any doubt of your true self but mixing with all those testosterone charged petrol-heads must be driving you mad, you mustn’t torture yourself in this way. Hell’s Bells, it must get a bit Sheridan at rehearsals.

A career in libraries, that’s the one for you, Jezza. You can help us weed the Nissan Micra manuals from the car maintenance section and we’ll give you your own bike rack. We know you’d rather be in the saddle. Also, working in a profession dominated by women will let you truly find yourself in a non-threatening environment. And the more persons-who-prefer-the-intimate-company-of-persons-of-a-similar-gender-type that we have on the staff, the more tattle-tape totty there is for real men like Cautious and I to enjoy.

Categories
Judge Mental

Pining for the fjords

The Accused

Ingvar Kamprad

The charge

That he deliberately and wittingly lures feeble-brained victims to his lair and there wrongfully imprisons them for a very long time, robbing them of their money and throwing them back out onto the street clutching unwanted low-quality items of furniture.

The case for the prosecution

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, the crimes committed by this evil monster defy belief and rightly deserve our vituperation, condemnation and disgust. Had he killed a small child, raped a puppy or defrauded an elderly lady out of her life savings, I might be standing here before you today pleading some mitigating circumstances. Perhaps an unhappy childhood or a traumatic early moment. Perhaps a doomed love affair that had left him sad and bitter. But no. This man, this Ingvar Kamprad, has stepped beyond the pale. Beyond anything that is good and true and decent. Beyond the very boundaries of all we hold dear, of the things that form the very glue and fabric of our society. He is the founder of IKEA.

Let us consider, for a moment, this Ingvar Kamprad.

This is a man who has systematically relieved his victims of not only their hard-earned money but also their taste, their hard-earned leisure time and, most significantly of all, their self-respect. And the pickings have been rich ones. Such has been the extent of this execrable crime that Kamprad was recently announced as the richest person in the world. Just contemplate that for a moment. Feel your very sinews and tendons being wrenched and wrest asunder like an uncooperative little black bolt by the Allen key of Swedish deception. The richest person in the world.

This is a man who traps his victims, countless thousands of them every day, with promises of domestic respect, enhanced storage capabilities and quality workmanship only to herd them around a giant blue and yellow cowshed full of tat with no visible means of escape and sell them things they don’t want and which their house cannot accommodate. The only way out is to go on. And on. And on and on and on. Until the very life essence is sucked out of them by inane babbling about how good that lamp would look on that table we got the last time or how clever that way of storing all of those little things inside that big plastic and canvas cupboard thing is! Subliminal advertising compounds the felony. Half a dozen wine goblets made by a Slovakian lesbian kibbutz from unattractively nasty recycled glass that you know will last two washes in your dishwasher, if you are lucky, suddenly seem like a must-have item. A circular blue rug with less build quality than the brown one that adorns Andrew Neil’s head looks ideal to complement the new wooden floor and outlandish colour scheme in your teenage daughter’s bedroom.

This is a man who is not content simply to rob his victims of their cash. Oh no. He must toy with them, torture them and play tricks with their minds until they succumb to his evil wiles. Announcement. “Customers please note that the average wait at our checkouts is now 40 minutes”. Oh, that’s not too bad, you think. I’ve been here for six hours already and although I’m only buying a bag of twenty tea lights that cost half this in Woolies, well, I’m here now so what’s another 40 minutes.

This is a man who, for every male over the age of forty, has spoiled the very essence of the idea of Sweden. Now I’ve never been to Sweden. And I freely admit that three years ago if I had undertaken a small ad hoc word association experiment involving that country then the words tall, blonde, water, fjords, naked, sex, free, and snow would probably be the first to spring to mind. But oh no. Undertaking that same ad hoc word association experiment in the present day elicits the altogether less attractive epithets of tedious, painful, meatballs, wasted, Sunday and afternoon.

This is a man who flagrantly, and with scant regard for his fellow man, sells cheap and nasty furniture to the lowest common denominator letting her believe that it will gain the respect of her fellow denominators. What is the point? Does any right-minded person really, really think in their heart of hearts that anyone outside of Dennyloanhead is in any way going to be even remotely impressed by a TV and video corner unit that looks like it was made as part of an evening-class woodwork project by Jeremy Beadle or by an art-deco mirror that has all the look and feel of a piece of shiny foil fashioned by an orang-utan with motor-neurone disease? Particularly when, following assembly instructions that were clearly written by a half-wit who was having a bad day, the item in question bears little or no resemblance to the one displayed in IKEA-hell twelve hours previously. Does a burberry cap say “class” anywhere but Coatbridge?

Anyone who has had the misfortune of having to endure the unutterably dull and tedious blue and yellow hell that is IKEA must surely be ruing every stomach-churningly noxious mouthful of plastic Swedish meatball and every buttock-clenchingly agonising pine splinter that have helped line the considerable pockets of this domestic war criminal. Let us mete out to him the justice he so clearly deserves.

The case for the defence

Students could furnish a flat at a reasonable cost.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

That he be taken from this court to a place of execution, commonly known as the IKEA restaurant, and force fed Swedish meatballs in gravy with jam till dead. And may God rest his soul.

Categories
Judge Mental

School’s A Scandal

The Accused

Messrs. Peter Peacock and Charles Clarke

The Charge

That they wantonly and negligently stand by and do nothing while our Education system lurches from crisis to crisis, leading to a dumbing-down of academic and social standards.

Case for the Prosecution

I have some questions. What has happened to our Education system? Why have examinations become so easy? Why are so many people being admitted to our universities to partake in courses that are unspeakably crass and ill-considered? Why do I increasingly see our educational institutions brimful of thick, badly-behaved little toads brandishing a clutch of unutterably useless, paper qualifications? Standard Grade Foundation Level? Have you ever witnessed this? The foundation level paper for French asks candidates to

– write their name (that’s worth 30%)

– choose the capital city of France from a list including Paris, New York and London (that’s worth 50%)

– and to ask what you would normally do with a baguette (that’s obviously worth the remaining 20%, a fact I mention for the benefit of anyone reading this who is practising for their Higher Mathematics examination and in need of a bit of arithmetical revision)

I know what I would do with it. It would involve the action of insertion, the nether parts of both Charles Clarke and Peter Peacock and swift movement. Clearly the baguette would need to be halved prior to insertion to meet its twin target, roasting notwithstanding, a feat best achieved by slicing the aforementioned baguette into two equal pieces; a fact I mention for the benefit of anyone reading this who is practising for their Higher Mathematics examination and in need of a bit of problem-solving revision with a geometrical slant.

A foundation or general pass standard grade says only one word to me. And that word is ‘loser’. But, I hear you opine, does it not say to you ‘This kid has worked d____d hard and while he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed at least he shows willingness and some kind of dedication so why not give him a chance, your honour?’

No. It does not.

If you are unfortunate enough to have received one of these pieces of paper as reward for your academic efforts and are reading this then I have two things to say to you. Firstly, it is not going to get you a job or prove your worth or persuade anyone that you will ever amount to anything worthwhile. Secondly, do you understand a single word of what I am saying? No. I didn’t think so. I make no apologies for saying it again because it most certainly bears repetition. Loser.

I have completely had this to the back teeth. Life is not easy. A lot of it is about achievement and reaching milestones. It’s about competition. It’s about proving your abilities to yourself and to other people who then make some key decisions about what is going to happen to you. It may be an employer giving you your first job or a bank manager giving you a loan to start a small business. If you are not good enough then you fail. Simple as that.

So why do we so readily shirk from failing these delinquents at school? Failure is as failure does. There would seem to me to be little point in deluding these perpetually under-achieving little ticks by falsely raising their hopes and engendering in their midst any illusion of adequacy by awarding them a meaningless, low-value qualification. Why, there are even awards for turning up! Excuse me? But is it not a legal requirement for a child to attend school? Yet, we feel a need to reward them with a certificate for doing what is required of them by the law! Why not go the whole hog and present them with a certificate for tying their own shoelaces, keeping themselves clean or remembering to breathe out after they have breathed in?

Let us now do what needs to be done. Consign them to the dustbin of academic natural selection at the first opportunity and stop them wasting the time of their fellow students and those poor saps who have taken it upon themselves to try and teach them something. Teach them something! Don’t make me laugh! The majority of our schools are no longer the seat of learning or groves of academe that we may remember from our youth. No more the chewed pencil and the furrowed brow! Our schools have become a haven for vicious little thugs who are given free rein to wield their particular brand of malice against staff and pupils alike, safe in the knowledge that any attempt to properly counter this behaviour will invoke castigation, under the banner of social inclusion, from shrewish, withered, badly-dressed, lentil-eating women who wouldn’t know the touch of a man from a washing machine and would have less chance of bearing a child of their own than Sister Wendy Beckett. At Lent.

Let them leave school unqualified and enter the world of the criminal, the layabout or the tradesperson. Better still, remove them now to a place where they can follow their own muse. An establishment like Guantanamo Bay, perhaps, far removed from the strictures of the Social Worker, the Curriculum Enhancement Officer or the Child Psychologist, has some obvious attractions. Let us allow the more academically-able to flourish and remove from a hard-pressed professional teaching staff the spectre of bullying, aggression and malevolence that invariably accompanies the low-life academic loser throughout his school ‘career’.

It’s not like the country is short of qualified graduates. It is bursting to the gunwhales with 21-year old media studies graduates all trying to get a job with the BBC on the strength of a 3000-word essay on “Alfie Moon: urban zeitgeist”. Yet you try and get hold of a reliable plumber.

There is little point in trying to run a country with only scientists. History shows that the humble hunchback also has his place.

The prosecution rests.

Case for the Defence

Record numbers of students are now applying for university places.

Verdict

Guilty as charged.

Sentence

I hereby decree that Mr Peter Peacock and Mr Charles Clarke should be taken from this court to a place of execution, otherwise known as an inner-city secondary school, and there be subjected to ritual abuse, verbal and physical assault, disrespect, bullying and teachers’ whining until they see some sense. I would also warn them that I would not expect to see them up before me a second time.

Categories
Librarian Liberation Front

Tesco the Oppressor

Brothers and sisters, a great wrong has been done. I discovered today that my local “Big Issue” seller has been repeatedly moved on from his preferred patch outside Tesco by the management of the store.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this sort of harassment in unacceptable. The man is responsible for selling the only reasonably priced periodical left in the country and he is shamelessly abused by the capitalist corporate demon. Is there any harm in asking me politely if I would care to enjoy some popular literature at an affordable price as I leave the store with my lentils and nut cutlets in a reusable bag? Are we to be refused access to this enlightening collection of urban street poetry and world music reviews? I don’t think so either, my friends.

As a company that makes £1.65 billion a day, it is despicable that Tesco should target those who have made “alternative lifestyle choices”. If those include roll-ups and cans of Super Lager, then let him be free to make them.

With this in mind, sisters and brothers, Cautious and I advocate the establishment of a new movement – the Coalition Aimed at Undermining Tesco In Our Neighbourhoods (CAUTION). The time has come to rid our towns of reasonably priced produce for the masses and smash the evil, welcomingly lit, empire.

I know enough people in the collective to borrow some recycled placards and march on Tesco and demand equal rights for this man (or woman, of course). The new group lends itself to some really groovy sloganeering – “Proceed with CAUTION!” and “Down with Tesco – we urge CAUTION!”. We must also take direct action – shop at the cooperative and refuse your “Computers for Schools” vouchers – yet another tactic of the corporate oppressor.

The march will have to wait until I finish my shift on the reference desk, but smiling at idiots for that length of time should put me in a suitably bad mood for the demo. I might even leave the filing until later and leave early. Hell’s Bells! It’s all getting a bit Sheridan here, but rest assured that anyone joining us will be given organic, gluten-free, fair-trade, low-fat, vegetarian friendly snack, I’ve saved enough Clubcard points to get sufficient for both, oops, I mean all of us.

Categories
Librarian Liberation Front

Nescafe No More

Fair trade fortnight is finally here! It’s taken seven years to get off the ground but we’ll finally be able to sink the boot into Nescafe. Gold Blend? That couple would be the first against the wall if I had my way. Evil promoters of third world poverty and they obviously get sex quite often. My trigger finger’s itchy already. Or maybe it’s RSI from the bookstamping.

FFF has the full support of the Library, I can tell you. Dangerous Dave is already talking about turning a blind eye if anybody comes into the library with a coffee as long as it’s Café Direct! ( Sorry I didn’t mean blind, I meant “disabled due to inaccessible library systems resulting in visual impairment“ – sometimes forget the most basic of PC stuff when there’s a campaign on!)

There’s a whisper in the Library that Tesco’s student shelf-stackers are on board too so Gold Blend will be a bit less prominently displayed for the fortnight, shall we say. Or maybe it was that Tesco’s student shelf stackers are all bored, that’s the problem with whispers in the Library they can be hard to make out. Not that we tolerate many whispers in here right enough. Dangerous has started saying “eridan” under his breath after every time he says “Shhh” so things are kept pretty quiet here now I can tell you.

Of course we’ll both be on the Café Direct at tea breaks, and I don’t care how shaky our hands get – I’m having a second cup. Not such good news on the home front I’m afraid. Dangerous’ Mum is refusing to play ball and buy the proper stuff so he’ll have to go back to the Nescafe in the house. And I’ve got nearly a full jar of the stuff so I doubt I’ll run out in the fortnight.

We were going to distribute tons of the leaflets as well, but once we’d done a proper risk assessment we realised that it was quite likely the main entrance would get blocked as people stood to read them. And all that paper’s got to increase the risk of fire. Hell’s bells though, it’s all getting a bit Sheridan in here!