Idle Eye 39 : The Lon*** 2**2 Ol**pi*s™

Alright now, that’s enough. ENOUGH! The sinister orgy of branding masquerading as the Lon*** 2**2 Ol**pi*s™ has slapped me in the face one too many times and I have just hit my Michael Douglas in Falling Down moment. I tried to be good, I really did. Over the past few months I have learned to shore up my chakras when it came to vile mascots We**ock™ and Ma***ville™, to shrug off the utter chaos on the roads, to smile encouragingly at hapless joggers bouncing their way towards an early grave, even casting an inquisitive glance at the bizarre structures rising up around the Mall and St James’ Park which I pass every day. The risible logo no longer reminds me of Lisa Simpson giving head and I drew some not inconsiderable mirth from the G4S fiasco. All in all I have been coping pretty well. Thanks for asking.

However, (and here’s the rub), I draw a line at ‘restricted words’. Actually, screw it, I draw a line at the insane paranoia the big four ****ors™ have created, protecting their already saturated global coverage from small butchers shops in Dorset that presumed to arrange a string of sausages in the shape of the Ol**pi*c™ ri*gs™. And when it comes to the biggest of the lot, M*Dona**s™, you have to ask yourselves what exactly they so badly need protection from. It sure ain’t the public, because around every corner you turn, there invariably lurks a statistically obese brand fan squelching down on yet another B*g™ Ma*™ in flagrant denial of their forthcoming trip to the nearest NHS ticker unit. Perhaps, just perhaps, the brutal truth lies somewhere in the exclusion of competition:

If we just get rid of all the other players, maybe the gullible public will actually think our burgers are halfway decent. Because, God forbid, if they cottoned onto the fact that there are thousands of less corporate ways of enjoying wholesome food, (Mondays at the Idle Hour, for instance) they might, actually, stop buying ours. And we can’t have that.

The Lon*** 2**2 Ol**pi*cs™ will be ring-fenced alright, but not to keep out the suicide bombers, the ‘quiet loners’, the snipers, the deranged clerics or Black September. Not this time. Neither will it give much credence to the athletes who will have waited all their lives for those glorious few seconds of competition. Oh no. These gam*s™ are all about keeping the suits happy at the not inconsiderable expense of the general public. And no amount of monocular furry mascots can detract from that. Yes, it would be wonderful to have a level playing field where we could all choose what we ate and drank as we cheered on our respective nations. But dream on, my friends, dream on. And welcome to Britain, 2**2™…

Idle Eye 31 : The Third Best of All Possible Burgers

I know what you’re thinking: He’s slipped a day, either Bank Holiday excess or Morris dancing. Well, this time it’s neither, and I refer the discerning reader to last weeks entry for clues. Yes, my good ole ISP surpassed itself this weekend, giving me speeds of 0.01mb/s which rendered the internet unusable for the duration. So, let’s waste no more time & get on with the naming & shaming. It’s Virgin Media. That’s VIRGIN MEDIA. Please, if you’re out there & can help yet another screwed-over punter, pop your advice in the comments section (including ultra-violent stuff, don’t spare the rod) and I will buy you a beer. I mean it. Rant over.

Deep breath…

Now, as some of you may already know, Nibs’s award-winning burgers won another award last week. EBLEX, or, to the acronym-phobic the English Beef and Lamb Executive, dole out annual gongs to anyone with the balls to compete against the mighty purveyors of sport-inducing fast food. It is a fiercely contested event with several thousand entries but once again the IH (sorry, Idle Hour) knocked them all into a cocked hat. All but two, that is. So that’s a big bronze for SW13 (South West Thirteen) and diddly squit for the rest of London. Telling, seeing as we are swamped with sleb chefs and the like, and all the more weird for you to have this news delivered by a vegetarian. Them’s the breaks.

I did have visions of being invited (in a reportage capacity, natch) to an opulent, velvet-lined ceremony, a sort of low-rent Oscars perhaps, somewhere in Piccadilly where penguin men and their peacock other halves would chat sotto voce about the state of farming in the UK and the latest must-have ingredient that’s simply divine. I saw Nibs shaking hands with Wossy and, after a short, heartfelt speech during which he fought unsuccessfully to choke back tears, he clasped a 3x actual-size engraved bronze hamburger to his chest with one hand and punched the sky with the other. All to rapturous applause and a 1970’s sound library string section. And as he made his way through the crowd to the bosom of his loved ones, Terry Wogan took the mic from Jonathan and made a shit joke about cows, methane and the third best of all possible burgers. Like he would.

Sadly, this star-spangled fantasy was exactly that. I never got to wear the suit, to weep in the aisles, to shoulder up vicariously to the movers and shakers in the world of burgers. However, as I shimmied into IH Barnes on Sunday with a group of friends clearly impressed by the Bloody Marys, I did feel the need to point out a certain certificate, resplendent in its faux-mahogany frame, and bask in an element of reflected glory. Life is a cabaret, old chum. And I love a cabaret.

Idle Eye 13 : The Resolutions

I’d like to start off 2012 with an apology and then we’ll get down to business. It seems that one or two of you were deeply affronted by the insinuation made on the Cast & Crew page that Nibs’ and my own dear mother is somehow affiliated with the Nazi party. On reflection, I have come to the conclusion that this may not be the case (despite some damning evidence to the contrary I am legally bound not to disclose) and I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. So much so that I spent the week after Christmas tracking down the only surviving member of the Waffen-SS, one Herr Josef Ümlaut, to make the apology in person. I am, and have always been, a gentleman.

So where were we? Ah yes, 2012. Well, we all enjoyed the fireworks (thanks, Boris) and we’ll all be working just that little bit harder to pay them off, right? But never mind that, it’s the Olympics, innit! THE OLYMPICS!!! Sponsored by health and efficiency magnates Coke and MacDonalds and mascotted by cuddly cyclopses Wenlock and Mandeville. Brilliant! I don’t know about you but I am going to be glued to my set for weeks, swilling official fizzy pop and burgers until I am fit enough to hound down one of those monocular LOCOG lackeys and lance it with a javelin. There, I said it. Now, who else can I offend this week? C’mon Seb, have a pop.

I also promised Nibs that I would make this blog more Idle Hour-centric in one of my less rational, claret-sodden moments of weakness. Well, it was New Year and I was welled up with the mucus of human kindness. So we discussed characters we could slowly introduce that, in time, you will all become familiar with, based on your favourite pubs’ staff, locals and such. It was a drawn-out process but we got there in the end. So, without any further ado, I would like to introduce you all to Timmy:

You:  Hello Timmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

You:  TimmyTimmyTimmyTimmy!

Timmy:  Meow.

Obviously, over time, Timmy’s inherent qualities will manifest themselves on the page and her (sic) antics will become increasingly unlikely and hilarious, but first I have to get to know the little gal and this far in it’s all she’s given me. However, I think you can already tell she’s got the X-factor and I’ll be exploiting this ruthlessly as you might imagine.

Lastly, but by no means leastly, I’d like to thank you all for reading this nonsense over the past few months. Perhaps if you stick with it, you will notice a maturity of style and keen wit develop as the weeks go on, and perhaps, in an ideal world, you will meet Giles Coren in a fancy restaurant he is being paid to eat in and beg him to review Nibs’ tiny but perfectly formed establishment. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

Oh, and Happy New Year.