A Brief History of the End of the World by Simon Pearson

end of the world

A Brief History of the End of the World by Simon Pearson

A sort of companion piece to Kurt Anderson’s ‘FantasyLand’. A book about Apocalypse Culture throughout the ages, from the first recorded gibbering fool from Zoroastrianism times up until 2006, when the book was published. Like Anderson, Pearson points out how people will believe any old shit if they’re desperate enough, but does it in a more historical concept.

It’s a ruddy fascinating pieces of work, and it’s interesting to read how Pearson charts the fact that, for a start, every bloody religion and culture on the earth has been fascinated with the end of the world throughout history, and how the number of apocalyptic doomsayers has spiralled since the dissemination of ideas has become more prolific with the Interweb. He also points out that there’s a better chance of the world actually ending due to the idiots in power, and since the nuke was developed all it would take was a madman to launch it. He then goes on to point out that there were madmen who believed in the ‘end prophecy’ times, like Reagan. I expect to see an updated version of this book for the Trump era, which is just a load of text going, “AAAAGH!! NOOOOOO!! SHIIIIIIIT!!!” and a picture of the author on the cover, screaming into the lens.

There’s a great section on the horrors of the first and Second World War, and how the sheer amount of people who were killed gave the idea that the apocalypse was nigh more credence, and how the post-war period led to the Cuban missile crises and even MORE apocalyptic cultures.

You would think a book like this would be depressing as hell, but you would be wrong. Because the subject is so weighty and depressing, Pearson manages to scatter a whole bundle of wry asides and jocular anecdotes across the text to keep the subject as light as he possibly can without denigrating the severity of what he’s writing about.

The reality is, if you take the fuckwits with their fingers on the buttons out of the equation, most of the end of the world prophets are a bunch of witless numpties. The ones who start out being the most successful are the ones who predict that next week the world will end and you’d better join up and hand over all your money and save yourself before the End Times. Inevitably they’re the ones who end up in the crapper because, obviously, when the world fails to end they have to change their message. A lot of them just keep pushing back the dates. I used to think this was purely a trick of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but apparently there’s been a shit load of apocalyptic cults down the years which have pulled the same trick.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that King of the End of the World Wankers is the US, who seem to have made a cottage industry out of telling everyone they’re all going to die. It’s not reported in the book, but there’s even a survivalist strand out there who actually believe that the government are going to launch a zombie attack on the world, so they’d best tool up for the apocalypse before they get their nuts munched. Fucking mental.

Definitely worth reading, and very highly recommended.

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The Corner – 20/07/2018 – Stay Indoors, Everyone!

Only a couple this morning, and we start off with a tabloid favourite – shitting yourself because it’s like Mad Max out on the streets!

express

The Express have gone with ‘Lawless Britain’ because crime is going up, and I’m completely and utterly convinced that the paper will report that this is because of Tory cuts to the police force, cuts to public services, the farming out of the probation service to private contractors, cuts to youth schemes, cuts to programs to help ex-offenders, and cuts to just about anything else which could aid society as a sop to their grand austerity plan. And I’m completely and utterly sure they won’t blame it on feral youth, the poor, and immigrants, like they always fucking do, the feckless, gleaming helmets.

Speaking of dickheads:

mail

For once it’s not the main headline we’re looking at here, but rather the insert line about ‘the drink sodden EU boss sneering at Britain’. If they replaced that with a picture of Nigel Facking Farage I’m sure the byline would read ‘the good honest criticism of our bulldog breed’ or some other jingoistic shite. Basically, it’s a piece about how the EU Commission President likes to sip the turps, but in their world he’s a maniacal pisshead who’s tearing the heads off nuns and eating the St. George to show his hatred for England.

The Express and The Mail – what happens when you give journalism too many blows to the head.

Juggernaut by Adam Baker

juggernaut

Juggernaut by Adam Baker

This is what would happen if screenwriters wrote novels. Everything is flash cuts, dripping leaks, bursts of steam, hard-boiled arse-kickers and plot point structures. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining, mind, but you can more or less guess every story beat along the way.

I’ve only recently found out this is part of Adam Baker’s series of post-apocalyptic books set in a world where mutant zombies infected by a space pathogen turn the living and the dead into sort-of-flesh-munchers, but ones riven with a disease which makes them go a bit bio-mechanical, but not too much.

A group of tough-nut mercs get roped into a plot to recover the a pathogen from somewhere deep in Iraq, and etc. All the characters are from casting central and the dialogue from the James Cameron playbook, and it chunters along in the expected style with no surprises, which is fair enough as Baker has a short, sharp way with description which boots you straight into the scene and then let’s the story get on with it.

Main problem with that kind of writing is there’s no time for atmosphere. Or gore, come to think of it. When the mercs start lopping heads off with machetes and putting bullets in noggins it’s all a bit ‘then he blew his head off. There was gore. Anyway, I’m bored with this – on with the next bit’. Which is fine for a film, but sometimes I crave for a good old James Herbert-ism which gets right into the nitty gritty, or maybe the odd slice of Shaun Hutson, where he’d describe every muscle and bone being broken and munched on. As a result, the brevity leaves the whole enterprise a bit bloodless, despite the action.

There’s a lot of zombie books out there, from the tween-bullshit of the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant (about the most emetic horror series I’ve ever read) to the David Moody Herbert-wannabe of the Hater series (all but zombies in name, and some convoluted fucking logical hoops get jumped through explaining why the haters don’t attack each other) to the readable if flawed Zombie Apocalypse series edited by Stephen Jones. Some of them are good, some of them bad, but so far none of them that I’ve read have managed to get across the sheer visceral thrill of something like Dawn of the Dead, and that’s probably because of the law of diminishing returns. Plus, zombies – like vampires – are a bit old hat these days. World War Z tried ripping off the ‘Carrie’ format of reportage and was partially successful (although for me it lost steam towards the end) but overall there’s a dearth of originality, or at least some interesting twists on the old format.

Maybe I need to up my horror reading again, as there could be something worthwhile out there which I’ve yet to discover. I remember when Live Girls and Sunglasses After Dark and Light at the End came out and shat all over the traditional vampire book. What we need now is the zombie book equivalent. One with a splatterpunk sensibility, but whatever Splatterpunk would be nowadays. Something to just rip the living shit out of the genre and not offer up warmed-over variations on the theme. Basically, it needs a book to give it some bollocks, which the genre is sorely lacking.

Despite my whinging, recommended if you want to read a mash up of action and zombie film in book form.

The Corner – 19/07/2018 – Two Sides Of The Same Coin

It’s interesting to see how the tabs are handling the judgement in the case of Cliff Richard. The police raided his mansion in case he had a dungeon full of kids, and tipped off the Beeb, who shoved a helicopter out and broadcast the raid live. In the end the police found naff all and obviously Cliff got a bit shirty with the police and the Beeb and sued them for a big pile of zlotys, which he won.

The Sun, who usually can’t wait to have a pop at the Beeb, suddenly seem to be on their side:

sun

I wonder if this has anything to do with the whole ‘hacking’ scandal they were involved in, and the possibility that this could step down on the rights of the press to tap phones, search through rubbish and bribe coppers. I don’t believe the Sun give a monkey’s testicle about free speech, especially when it comes to Muslims or the poor, but if it threatens the right of journos to falsely accuse celebs then they’re up in arms.

The Mail go for calling for the heads of the Beeb, as they always do, because they fucking hate the BBC, seeing it as a lefty pit of Corbynistas, despite most of the place being made of up ex-Tories:

mail

They castigate the Beeb for ‘publicly humiliating’ Cliff, which is a bit tricky since his back catalogue of songs points to the idea that he’s already humiliated himself countless times. You seen him dancing? It’s like an animatronic where the gears aren’t working properly.

But for all those touched by insanity out there, you always have The Express to back up your Brexit dreams:

express

Another full page stroke-fest for Boris. These aren’t dreams, Boris, you mop-headed gobshite – they’re nightmares, and since an entire cabinet full of privileged dick bags can’t even rustle up a decent Brexit plan then I think the UK is right up the shitter. Take my advice and drop the whole thing and have a nice cup of tea instead.

What I Meant to Say Was “I Didn’t Rub Poo in My Hair” – Dispatches From Donald Trump’s Arse

stupid trump
I have run out of expletives for this man

As Donald Trump’s arse, I can honestly say that this is the best reverse-ferret the old git has done yet. It’s not even one of those cases where he sticks up for the invasion of Iraq a few years ago and then says “I woz dead against it, me old China” and then the press do a bit of research and found out he was on record saying the bombing of Iraq gave him a stiffy and they should go and bomb somewhere else just so he could get tumescent again. No, this was far better than that.

You just know if no one had said anything he’d have kept schtum and carried on giving Putin some of that sweet lovin’ he loves so much. (Fun Fact: Donald Trump’s hairpiece is actually his merkin that’s crawled up from his groin of its own accord to keep away from whatever diseased insanity that festers in his pants). But, since the Republicans finally found a voice and spoke out against the orange bastard, he’s suddenly realised that maybe flicking the V’s at the FBI and sucking up to a despotic regime was not the best call of his career. Then again, by the time you read this he’ll have probably reversed on the reverse-ferret and said Putin smells of flowers and the FBI are full of evil gnomes. You never quite know what the loopy bastard is going to say next.

On a side note, Channel Four news in the United Kingdom of Great Britain last night had a round table interview with some Trump supporters in Michigan, where – hold on to your boots here, folks, because you’re never going to believe this’un – they all said they didn’t care what Trump said because he was ace and they loved him and wanted his babies, which was hardly a fucking surprise considering their political leanings. First of all, the phrase that kept getting repeated was ‘the swamp’. This was in response to a number of questions about Trump being a numpty twat. It was all about how ‘the swamp’ just won’t accept a racist sex offender as their rightful President and how ‘the swamp’ doesn’t appreciate his mighty Knob of Truth. Second of all, why the fuck were Channel Four even bothering to hold the round-table in the first ruddy place, since it was obvious what the fuckers were going to say. “Yes, actually, I think Trump is a big bag of shite and I hate the bastard.” I don’t ruddy well think so!

What we have to take from this is that Trump is basically going crazy apeshit bonkers nutty madcap mental. He’s now regressed to the age of a small boy trying to lie his way out of the fact that he’s eaten all the choccies, despite chocolate being smeared all over his face. “What I meant to say was, ‘Putin is a bad man and I love the USA and despite me saying in categorical terms the EXACT OPPOSITE I’m going to hope all the critics take my bullshit as fact and don’t be nasty to me for being such a bad President that even Bush Junior looks like a fucking saint in comparison, and that cunt started a war! Quick, look over there! A cat playing a piano!”

The best bit about this is, in the future we’ll look back on this as the LEAST amount of lies in one day he’s said, because there’s plenty more to come. Aren’t we lucky.

The Corner – 18/07/2018 – Back to the Usual Bullshit

Now that Theresa May has finally got her lackeys in order with the backing of a few turncoat Labour MPs, it’s business as usual with the British tabloids, as they pile on the bullshit once more.

The Mail have decided it’s time to wave the Bollocks Banner, stating that Britain has its lowest unemployment since the dawn of time:

Mail

Those with longer memories (basically, old fuckers) will remember a time during the Thatcher regime where all kinds of statistical hoops were jumped through to get the idea across that there weren’t millions unemployed. However, in this case they may be right, as the employment figures may represent all those poor fuckers on zero-hour contracts and pulling in two or three jobs to make ends meet, and yet are still living in poverty. But sod the reality, eh, because ‘Yay! Britain IS working!’

The Express have gone for the other extreme, where the coppers are too lazy to arrest anyone:

express

The story has it that a bloke had his credit card stolen on a night out and CCTV showed clearly who the culprit was. The coppers then failed to arrest the man. However, the coppers say they carried out a full enquiry, and… well, that’s it. Whatever the truth of the matter (and if it’s The Express reporting there’s bound to be all kinds of layers of truth and obfuscation), The Express want you to know that it’s a scary world out there and the filth won’t lift a finger, SO STAY INDOORS AND BE AFRAID!

The Sun have gone for a full-on ‘Ew, trans people are evil and disgusting’ cover today:

Sun

In their world prisons are probably like ‘Porridge’, with lots of slightly dodgy but decent comedy lags getting into merry japes to fight back against the warders. They could have reported about the crowded living conditions and the de-humanisation of the lags or the overstretched screws suffering breakdowns due to the pressure, but no – they’ve gone for the transphobic angle because The Sun is a big pile of wank.

And just to think, they could have been reporting on Trump’s comedy ‘what I meant to say was’ bollocks. Talk about opportunities missed…

The Brexiteers Have Finally Got Their Way

beach with old fogies
Who’d could possibly leave all this?

The Office of National Statistics have recorded a record number of EU citizens leaving the UK, whilst also reporting that the number of EU nationals coming to the UK has gone down. What does this say about the mood in the UK? Have the Brexiteers finally got what they want? Is Nigel Farage a cockend (Hint: yes).

We sent out roving reporters, Dick Splash and Banny Fatter, into the streets to collect the views of the Great British Public.

Tom Rottweiler – Clinical Depressive: Well, I fink it’s fackin’ great that we’ve fackin’ got rid of all them wankers who are not British. I dids one of thems geneolo-fackin’-gy studies the uvver day and when I sent my DN-fackin’-A sample off to the BNP labs to see HOW BRITISH I was it came back with the results that said I was DIRECTLY RELATED to Richard the Lionheart, which was a bit troubling as he was half French for a start, so I immediately stopped being a racist cant, joined the Lib Dems, and have now started campaigning for transgender rights. Funny how things turn out.

Shitty Ballsack – Queen Stalker: As a true, honest Englishman who loves – WAIT, IS THAT THE QUEEN OVER THERE?! No, sorry, my mistake – it’s a lamp post. Anyway, as a true, honest Englishman I regret that we have denigrated this great country by calling it The ‘United’ Kingdom. I’m afraid voting to leave the EU wasn’t good enough and we should have also split from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Cornwall. In fact, I have declared my front garden the only true England and – LOOK! OVER THERE! THE QUEEN! No, sorry again, it’s a wheelie bin with a tramp in it. Anyway, from now on, Ballsack Manors is the only proper piece of English land, and if the postman wants to deliver anything HE’D BETTER WELL NOT! He’s a foreign, y’know. Actually, come to think of it, he went back home overseas after the vote just because someone scrawled racist epithets all over his house. Funny what sets the foreigns off, isn’t it. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I must go back to slamming my nuts in this fridge door – THERE SHE IS! THE QUEEN! FOR DEFINATE – Nope, sorry, it’s just a marmoset riding a tricycle.

Dan Hippy – Jeremy Corbyn’s Codpiece Tester: I think it’s a bloody disgrace what’s happening to the country. It’s almost like a bloody advertisement for racists. By leaving the EU not only have we opened the door to Donald Trump and his racist brood of gutter shites to actually think we’re a great country because we’re horrible to immigrants, but we’ve more or less said to the whole world that we like a nice pair of jackboots and like to walk in line in a disciplined and military fashion whilst wearing small moustaches and pointing at the sun with all our fingers locked together in what is definitely not a Nazi salute. Hmmm, jackboots. Nice, clean, shiny jackboots. Anyway, we must stamp on the face of fascism forever, or risk turning into a country full of right-wing wankers who might vote for something stupid like leaving the European Union. Agh! Dammit! We already have! Bollocks! Time to go a flush my head down the toilet!

Donald Trump – Wanker: Wah! I shat my pants! Wah! The EU is the enemy of trade! Wah! I can’t believe I gave Merkel my last two sweets! Wah! I rub poo in my hair!

An exhaustive study. But what does it tell us about The Great British Public, other than a certain amount of them are mental? To quote Shakespeare, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, because WE’RE A BUNCH OF FACKING KNOBENDS!”

Wise words indeed.