“Anger is anenergy” sang butter salesman John Lydon and he’s right.
Anger is an infectious energy like when someone yawns and then you automatically yawn too or a baby makes a funny little noise and you repeat it back to them just to show the baby you’re learning from it instead of the other way round. It’s exactly like that but with more swearing and red faces and pointing. Sometimes you can see people being angry and you get swept up in the same feeling whether you believe in what they’re furious about or not. Last week’s anger on Twitter and beyond (but not very far beyond) over the Funny Women competition charging £15 to play their gigs was a good example of fury without that much thought.
I mean, yeah, it’s bad that they now charge £15. Performers should never have to pay to play. Plus the response by Funny Women to the anger was patronising and insulting and rightly caused more anger but amongst all the fury no one ever just said “Well, it is a competition and judging art in this way might be a completely reprehensible thing to do anyway so why are we only getting angry with Funny Women now? What lack of faith in yourself do you have by entering a talent contest instead of working on your act? I know that a lot of people say ‘Well, it’s good exposure’ but if it’s PR you’re after then fucking pay for it like everyone else does. £15 is nothing, you egotistical prick. Not that you should ever pay to play. Not ever. And I mean surely there are better ways to raise money for cancer charities than using segregation to fight sexism. Anyway, when it comes to fighting sexism why the fuck are we beginning with the UK comedy circuit? Is raising awareness of the amount of forced labour or forced prostitution that goes on globally not quite as important as Pippa Evans not getting booked at Highlight but bloody KevOrkian does and that’s not even fair because she’s been on Fast and Loose and everything? Mind you, Funny Women are dealing with sex issues outside the comedy circuit and they’re important. Breast cancer, ovarian cancer and challenging sex-object culture are all important issues so maybe it’s good thing, eh? No. Someone just said 15 quid again. I’m furious”.
But it’s a healthy thing to see people being angry and standing up for a cause and, of course, I’m the King of getting angry over the trivial without seeing the bigger picture. But I vow to improve on this. No more leaping in with all fists flying until I’ve thought everything through. No more shouting until I’ve heard it from all sides. No more hissy-fitting until I know the facts.
Last week, on a train, I overheard a man who was angry. He was angry but he had all the facts and therefore was a pleasure and an education to listen to. It was like listening to Mark Thomas or Carl Sagan. He knew things that we didn’t, because we just don’t care to look, but if we only knew we’d be amazed. The truth is out there.
“They can do what they want because they’re the ones in charge”, said the loud, overweight, knackered looking truth-teller to his bored friend. His friend might well have been bored but there was something about the way this Guardian of Facts screamed that made me take notice of him. “They can do what they fucking want and no one will do anything about it. It’s criminal”.
Wow! This man may be cunningly disguised as a massive oaf but he’s got the inside scoop. He knows about the government or the media or the mafia or the internet or…I don’t know, but he does. He knows about THEY and THEY can do whatever THEY want. THEY are criminal and this Angel of Light has shone his beacon and exposed the whole damn dirty lot.
“Do you know how much it costs to make one of these? 7p. How can you charge 80p for something that costs 7?”
My God! He’s right. He went on to say that the 7p included everything. “The packaging, the chocolate, the coconut”, he said while pointing to his half eaten Bounty and my eyes opened for the very first time in my life. I’ve been asleep but now I’m awake and I’m out of the dream and, unlike the rest of you, I’m living in reality. BOUNTY IS A FUCKING RIP-OFF. It’s a rip-off and I too have willingly funded this evil (before I was vegan, obviously) but we’re through the looking glass, people. FUCK YOU, BOUNTY! You’ve STOLEN 73p off us for the last time. Not only has this Sweet Prince of Honesty shown us the truth, he’s also given us the recipe: chocolate, coconut and a wrapper. We need never bow down to our paradise-based slave drivers ever again. This Gentleman of Purity shouted at great length about the same thing over and over and over again for ages and bloody ages and soon Bounty just didn’t exist for me anymore. I vowed then and there to follow my new principled Knight of Integrity to the very end.
And then he opened his second Bounty bar.
I gave up that second. What chance do any of us really have when even this one sacred, honest, loud, pretty much disgusting, jewel of a man can be swayed from his beliefs? I have never felt so alone.
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