Friday, February 22, 2002

When Hell Freezes Over

As I luxuriate in the hot tub at “Casa del eugenio” awaiting the arrival of the latest hot consignment of Playboy bunnies thoughtfully winging their way towards me in my good buddy Hugh “Playcadaver” Hefner’s private jet the mind wanders from the bewitching smorgasbord of interactive curling opportunities provided by BBC Digital and the unspeakable horror of the Cram/Balding interface.

Cram/Balding: if I wanted to watch bogus mating rituals involving uncharismatic goons in comfortable sweaters feigning interest in obscure winter sports I’m sure there’s a dodgy internet site somewhere offering perverts the opportunity to download this sort of thing after mrs.ionesco has gone to bed. Cram/Balding’s clumsy attempts to use dreary ice dance routines as a precursor to stilted foreplay make the McCoist/Yorath combo look as compatible as toast and cheese, surf ‘n’ turf or, my own personal favourite, big breasted babes and AK 47 assault rifles. But I digress...

The Winter Olympics: several weeks of unmitigated tedium watching Baltic biatheletes, Canadian curlers and and Siberian skiers compete in a series of ever more baffling winter pursuits masquerading as sport. Who can doubt that right now in the depths of Camp X-Ray Al Qa’ida prisoners are being subjected to the psychological torture of watching endless reruns of Torvill & Dean’s ice dance routines set to the infernal soundtrack of Ravel’s Bolero?

Still it was nice to see Rhona and the girls sweep their brooms to a gold medal. At the Winter Olympics this harmless activity is called a sport. At Casa del ionesco, as my well-trained Phillipino “home help” will happily attest, it’s called housework.

What about the skeleton though? How we cheered as plucky Brit Alex Coomber propelled us into the medal table by sliding down some ice head first on a tea tray. And an unexpected bronze In the skiing! A trio of medals is apparently our greatest haul since the Jurassic era. Good job we sent a squad of 350!

Looks like lottery funding is finally producing the goods. Another 50 million a year over the next 4 and a quartet of medals surely beckons in 2006. What I want to know is who’s the guy who decides how much cash gets allocated to each sport? Decisions, decisions. Which minority sport will I subsidise today? Dwarf tossing or worm charming? I can bet you it wasn’t like that back in King Arthur’s day. Camelot had loftier aspirations back then. The pursuit of the Holy Grail for one. Well, I guess they gave up the chase for that worthless vessel after they won the licence to perpetrate the lottery scam. Robin Hood in reverse: steal from the poor and give to the rich with a skim off the top for good causes as a PR exercise. I can imagine the descendants of that noble lineage of knights gathered at the round table dividing the spoils. I’m sure it’s like a card game at Sam Giancana’s joint. The house always wins.

Now don't get me wrong. I couldn’t do that job. I’d blow it all on that holy trinity of minority sports: booze, broads and blackjack. They say, “let he who I without sin cast the first stone”. They never tell you the rest: “Once Cliff Richard has had a go let he who is without virtue cast the rest”. So I reckon I’m qualified to comment. Maybe my homey B Surreal could get a job in the profit split department. Granted when the four man bob comes looking for their money he’ll have spazzed it on Bud, mary jane and 1000 dollar hos. My guess is the medal table in 2006 is going to look much the same anyway. On the plus side the poolside party at B’s cabana will have rocked most righteously.

I’d kick minority “sports” into touch and plough all our resources into the proper sport of 22 grown men kicking an inflated sheep’s bladder around a field. Who can doubt some superannuated ice dancing nonentities from Swindon are to blame for our footballing buccaneers plundering their way through Europe with swashbuckling 0-0 draws in Lithuania and pillaging 1-1 draws in the Faroes?

On the subject of authenticity it was good to hear rock dinosaur Elton John berate the spawn of Simon Cowell recently. The interchangeable telegenic foetuses Cowell and his infernal cartel of pop impressarios promote as popstars should be drowned at birth.

How many of them can hold a candle in the wind to the divine Miss Minogue? Not too many I’ll warrant. Ignore the curmudgeons who say she’s just an anodyne automaton. A robobabe with a perfectly sculpted rear passing off bland, formulaic Cathy Dennis penned ditties as post-modern pop confections. Admittedly her ass is so goddamn perfect she undoubtedly delegates her bowel movements to some underpaid lackey / sphincter surrogate. Body swerve those grumblers who say she’s a vacuous pin up girl for the Now Generation whose career has been sponsored by the same fawning feminists, proselytising post-modernists and gay glitterati who elevated Madge from wannabe pop slut with the class of a Coney Island hooker to multi media-corporate ubervixen with the class of a Coney Island hooker. From naive young soap star showcasing the pre-packaged pop pap of pistol packin’ Pete Waterman to superannuated,slinky sex goddess crooning the camp crap of Cowell croney Cathy, Kylie has traversed the broad spectrum of popular music from A to B.

But back to the balding piano player carping from the sidelines: Hey gramps get hip to the trip! Get with the programme why dontcha! I remember back in the day when Ludwig Van won Classical Idol they’d wheel on some old timer who claimed music had been rubbish since the halcyon days of the Gregorian chant and how it’s been downhill all the way since the 11th century.

Before anyone puts forward the misguided notion that Aussie with attitude Natalie Imbruglia is the “thinking man’s Kylie” and that pop music is an infinitely rich and subtly variegated medium which can embrace the “dog ate my giro” earnestness of the Manic Street Preachers AND the frothy pop confections of the divine Miss Minogue let me just say this:

I don’t need my pop idols to consider the implications of the human genome project for Mankind in the 21st century. We’ve got boffins aplenty for that. If in doubt apply the simple but effective “jacuzzi test”. Who would you rather hang out with in the hot tub? Kylie or Bamber Gascoigne? Maybe your idea of fun is to lure Stephen Hawking between the sheets but I’d settle for some perky pop princess’s anodyne aerobicized ass any day.

Keep it surreal

eugene ionesco