The Last Cruise – A Fairy Tale for New Year’s Eve

TIT011DJ_0-345b632It is the final hours of 2019 and aboard the bad ship Neoliberalism, things are not going so well. Listing heavily to starboard, the ship is taking in water. There are multiple fires burning throughout the vessel. Storms rage and vast chunks of ice slam into her. The gift shop is overrun by rats.

In first class, most passengers are partying like it’s 1999. Some are setting fire to huge bundles of cash, just for the hell of it. Others shoot at stranded polar bears with high-powered rifles. A small contingent of the super-rich are preparing to leave the ship via a rocket. On the bridge, the captain and officers, corrupt and incompetent psychopaths to a man, are attempting to hit as many icebergs as possible, keen to see if the ship really is unsinkable.

In the chapel, the passengers believe there is no cause for concern and wish the youngsters would just shut up and stop making a fuss. Some feel that the ship cannot be in danger of sinking, although if it does sink, it will be God’s will and therefore not a problem.

The passengers in the port-side cabins believe it is time for a dramatic change, if only they can agree on who should lead them. They vote to organise a series of debates to narrow the field down to a round two-dozen.

Passengers from the starboard cabins believe the danger to the ship is over-stated, or simply a conspiracy, invented by the other side. One contingent suggest that any actual problems that exist are down to the presence of passengers of colour, and vote to make ships white again.

In a quickly organised referendum, a motion to abandon the union of cruise liners and ditch all safety protocols is passed, but only after major interference by Russian interests and Oligarchs from first class.

A small group of scientists and engineers hatch a plan to save the ship, but realise they will need to somehow gain control of the bridge and throw most of the first-class passengers overboard. The plan is popular but lacks full majority support. They agree to hold a series of feasibility studies and then look at the data again soon.

A lone young woman stands at the Prow, seeing the Mother of all icebergs looming. She frantically alerts the passengers and crew, but is dismissed as an alarmist, selfish brat by the starboard-side passengers. A young contingent rally behind her, and attempt to gain access to the upper decks. As they hammer on the doors, the wealthy create barricades from piles of cash, jewellery and consumer goods. Many are taking a nap.

Back on the bridge, the captain has topped up his tan and just returned from a round of mini-golf. He claims the best score ever recorded. A motion to have him removed has failed and, more insane than before, he fires all the officers and puts his family in charge. A dead albatross is appointed as safety officer.

As the young and port-side passengers demand an immediate change of course, the captain finally sees the giant iceberg just metres ahead. He gathers his family around him to pray for holy intervention. A sudden bolt of lightning strikes the bridge and they are all fried.

Will the passengers reach the bridge in time to stop the ship or change course? Find out next year…

© Copyright Jason Lennick 2019

Pic via historyextra.com Artist unknown.

All hands on deck!

iceberg-2170383_640

Reduce your carbon footprint! Eat less meat! Recycle!

I’m sure you will have encountered similar messages in the media. And you may have been struck by the sense, as I was recently, that while our individual choices are important, we are essentially rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, if the world’s biggest climate culprits don’t get involved. And not with green-washing and PR exercises, but with real action to end the obsession with profits and growth at any cost.

Stan Lee, beloved creator of the Marvel universe, passed away this week. In his amazing career he dreamed up scores of memorable superheroes and villains. Sadly we cannot rely on any colourfully-costumed crusaders to rescue us from our current predicament. In fact it all gets rather complicated when we realise that the menace we are facing is… us. You, me, the guys who run the corporations, banks, the politicians, (especially the politicians) all of us are the bad guys in this storyline. And, perhaps, the good guys too. Continue reading

Absurdians assemble!

absurd rockThe world is quite an absurd place, mostly run by criminals, thugs and at least one ridiculous but very dangerous sociopath with a fake tan.

As remotely-piloted drones blow up civilians thousands of miles away, we obsess over the best yoga positions for pets and finding the right brand of organic, gluten-free toothpaste. Each day, a dozen more species disappear as we gorge on ‘reality’ TV shows featuring Z-list celebrities being eaten by giant mutant crabs.*

It’s no wonder that comic book adaptations have become so popular on the big screen, when real life often seems like a plot from some dark dystopian tale, where super-villains vie for world domination as the very fabric of society threatens to unravel. Who then can resist a team of troubled heroes with perfect teeth, super-human powers and snappy one-liners, saving us from the devils of our worst nature, and the worst perils of Mother Nature. Of course in most comic books, it’s easier to tell the heroes from the villains. Continue reading

It’s not the end of the world

 

apocalypse ahead

The latest in a long line of supposedly doom-filled dates passed without incident last weekend. I’m a little concerned that I’ll end up oversleeping and miss the event, if and when it finally does come to pass. I’d hate waking up late to discover half the planet on fire before I’d had my morning coffee and croissant.

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day”

I guess eventually one of these silly end of the world predictions might actually get it right, purely by chance. Of course those who share this nonsense won’t have much time to enjoy their brief moment of triumph. They’ll be too busy running from all the giant tsunamis, earthquakes or general planetary disintegration to do much gloating. It’s hard to feel smug when you’re up to your arse in a lake of molten lava.

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Author! Author!

Them2Something I read recently set the creaking gears in my mind to whirring and grinding: it was a reminder that each of us was the author of our own lives. Not an Earth-shatteringly new idea perhaps, but it had me pondering both the degree to which it is true, and also the implications of such a role.

There are numerous factors that make us the person we are: our genes, gender, sexuality, race, upbringing, social position, wealth, education, and the chance circumstances of one’s early life must all play a part.

Clearly an orphan, growing up in poverty in some war-ravaged corner of the globe, will have a very different experience of life and very different opportunities to the privileged offspring of comfortable upper-middle class professionals in a sleepy Surrey village. So we are certainly not all starting from the same place and with the same degree of literary freedom, when it comes to the authorship of our own tales.

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Creatures of habit

gorillaOur lives tend to be ruled by habits. I’m not just talking about a fondness for junk-food, booze, or cigarettes et al, I mean the tendency to repeat any rewarding (or at least not-too-painful) behaviours, over and over again, ad nauseum.

It often seems to be our lot to follow the path most travelled and to boldly go where we have been many times before.

Of course one can try consciously to break free from the habit of being habitual, perhaps by cultivating the more impulsive and adventurous aspects of one’s nature. Although this in itself could become a habit.. You just cannot win.

Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”

Mark Twain

I heard about this guy called Gary, who grew bored with the same old routine every day. So he started trying to shake things up by breaking old habits and diligently trying new approaches. Two months in and he was spotted leaving his office job in the city by abseiling down the outside of the building, dressed in a gorilla costume (no mean feat when you work on the twenty-third floor).

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Multi-verse

disco daleks

Don’t eat cheese (or LSD) before bedtime

Beneath the spinning dishes, we watched the aardvarks dance,

and twenty shouting fishes, were sent into a trance.

A tailor and a vicar, fell down and writhed around,

while geese with eyes a-glitter, stood cheering on a mound.

Elephants started singing, badgers joined the throng,

a bell-pepper began ringing, and a haddock struck a gong.

Cyclists all rode nude, the skies became quite dark,

a crab with an attitude, said “Ooh, ain’t it a lark!”

I laughed so much my ribs hurt, my eyes were out on stalks,

as bats came from the woodwork, and the rats were made of chalk.

I heard a sudden buzzing, the phantoms did recede,

and wide awake but fuzzy, I got out of bed and peed.
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