Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Man With Two Names or Simon Peter

So we say adieu to 2009. Thank Christ for that. The first Pope, rendered beautifully by Rubens above, looks down at us, rattling the keys to Heaven. Will he allow the current Captain of Jesus, Cardinal Ratzinger to enter, I wonder, what with all the paedo baggage and the ongoing craziness of the condom edicts?

Will the holy Blair (intriguing and infuriating in equal measure that the man is still so relevant. Thanks in part to the no-doubt useless Chilcot Inquiry) make it in - confessing as he did to the Messianic strain - who saw the mission to remove Saddam as over-riding all concerns of international law or morals, as well as being further exposed as a loony God-botherer who refused to take any calls while 'worshipping'? Will there be a place for Barry from D.C., clutching his Peace Prize to his chest and nipping out the back of God's Kingdom for a quick drag? Another one, he, convinced of the 'rightness' of his cause, and prepared to sacrifice whatever it takes to achieve his aims.

Is that, after all, the sign of good leadership? Continuing blindly on despite the consternation and wailing of the nay-sayers? Do we, as Christian nations, still believe that we are leading the Heathen hordes to the path of righteousness? I have heard rhetoric this year to freeze my blood. People are actually harking back to the days of the Crusades in defence of the ridiculous venture in Afghanistan. I have been accused on Facebook of conflating issues when saying that the war over there is somehow linked to oil and drugs and guns. Be that as it may be. On and on we go. Squaddies in their inferior gear getting picked off one by one in Helmand Province, car bombs exploding in Baghdad and Karachi - although at least the latter is still considered newsworthy - and yet more pointless security enhancements at airports following attempted 'terrorist' acts involving trousers, yet no end in sight to the insanity of it all.

Old St. Pete would surely think twice about opening the gates to Fred the Shred and others of his ilk who have contributed so much to human endeavour over the past year or more. The fall of Lehman Brothers back in 08 precipitated the fall of FW Woolworth (until they re-started as a net business in a hut in Hull) and the quake's aftershocks are still rumbling, so that there is now not a proper bookshop for miles from here. Maybe there will be a sign on the Euston Road, just past the British Library, saying 'Last Book Shop for 400 Miles'.

It would hardly have been thought possible, but Oswestry has sunk even further into dereliction and despair, despite featuring on Bargain Hunt (though it must be noted that this was not the Rolls Royce, David Dickinson affair, but the new, cheaper version) especially as Wollies was comfortably its biggest non-food retailing outlet. It now sells home & garden items, a la Wilko's.

I somehow doubt that Khaldoon Al-Mubarak will be granted a seat among the hosts, pre-occupied as he will no doubt be by the houris in his fragrant garden beyond this earthly toil, and I am convinced that Garry Cook will also not be ascending after he (doubtless) pops his clogs on the 14th hole. The soul of football will be down there with him, suffering the eternal torment it so richly deserves, while Sparky will I'm sure be smiling his beatific grin downwards, enjoying the last laugh. There has to be universal agreement, however, that the lovely Bobby is definitely already there in the celestial dugout.
Is the legendary Jacko also already there, his alleged dalliances with infants forgiven or forgotten? Compare and contrast reactions to Jackson's death with those to 'Steo' Gately's demise if you will, for a snapshot of the modern world.

But enough of this celebrity obsession. I try to pride myself on not being a victim of all this meeja hype bullshit, but am of course snared by it all too often.

Personally speaking, it has been an interesting year. Like a millennial rocket, I spurted high into the sky (this is all relative, you understand. It's not as if I won the Nobel Peace Prize or anything) and then sputtered out, only able to watch my own vapour trail as it fizzled out of my rectum. In all honesty, I feel as if I have let myself and others down in the way that I dealt with the (admittedly difficult) situation I found myself in. But there's no point in crying over spilt milk. I must listen to those around me - and the voices in my head - and strike out for 2010.

Hell, there's always the internet!!!1! A slow but sure increase in my online presence this year has still not seen 10,000 hits on this blog, although joining the MCFC pool on Flickr did wondrous things for my stats on there.

A Happy New Year (and decade) to everyone who reads this. See you in the Arthur C Clarke sequel.

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