Published by: Dolly on 6th Nov 2017 | View all blogs by Dolly

Sometimes I jot things down as they happen, and this was the case a few years ago when I was in the kitchen making a cup of tea, with the early evening new on the telly. It started with the usual grimness, then developed into something bizarre and absurd. I subsequently used it in a short story I wrote about something that happened to me one mad night. Apart from some invented bits, the whole thing was true. The following is a short extract from the story and proves nothing changes, and politics and politicians can quite often be stupid.


It was this exact situation which happened to me, as I waited for the kettle to boil, and listening to the early evening news from the TV in the other room. It would seem that human beings have a liking for bad news. For instance, the news never starts off with, ‘Bill Smith fell about laughing today, when someone told him a stupid joke.’ The news I was hearing was no exception.

There was a devastating earthquake that killed thousands. Then war, famine, hurricanes, floods, suffering, disease, relief agencies and the plight of refugees. This was followed by job losses, unemployment figures, (nothing to do with us said the government, its market forces.) The problem of the homeless, (nothing to with us said the government, it’s the councils. There’s plenty of empty houses about, go and talk to them.) Just to brighten things up a bit, before people started jumping off high buildings, or hanging themselves from trees and rafters, they threw in a bit of good news. A Japanese manufacturer was building a new factory, which would initially create nearly a thousand jobs, and if all went well, this figure could double or even treble in three or four years. (Look at all the work we’re creating for the unemployed said the Government.)

Then there was the ludicrous situation where a bunch of politicians somewhere, were having talks about having talks, then having more talks, to discuss what they were going to talk about when they had the talks. While I was trying to unravel the mystery of all this gobble-de-gook, news came in of another lot, just in front of the last lot, who, having gone through the preliminary stages of having talks about having talks, and what they were going to talk about when they had the talks, were entering the next phase. This consisted of having talks about having talks to decide on where they were going to have the talks before they had the talks. This would be decided in another round of talks, where they would have talks to set a date and time for the talks. At the end of all this hoo-ha, there was another lot who had gone through all the hoop jumping and had actually had the talks, only to find they couldn't agree with each other, and the whole thing would have to be gone through again with different personnel from both sides. All very stupid, confusing, and totally useless as far as I could see.

I spooned some sugar and coffee into a cup, added water and milk, and decided to watch the evening rain slide down the kitchen window, which was more interesting than politicians having talks.


The Bank of England was to decide the following day, whether to raise interest or not. Financial pundits were of the opinion that they would stay where they were, as house prices had steadied. The pound had fallen against the dollar, but was up on the Euro. The dollar was up on the pound and the Euro but hadn’t moved against the yen. The Dow was on the up after being down, and the Hang Seng was about to open. The FOOTSIE, (what does it all mean?), had been on a roller-coaster ride for the best part of the day, finishing two points up from the day before, which was better than the corresponding time last year when it was three points down. There were banks buying up banks, and other banks buying up building societies, who were giving away money for the privilege.



  • mike
    by mike 7 months ago
    Didn't Voltaire come to the same conclusion and suggest cultivating one's his own garden? Talks about talks sound a bit Pythonesque. Someone mentioned on the radio that his favourite sketch had been one about arguments - do you want a two minute argument, or a three minute argument?
    The extract you have written does not come across as a story? argument about talks could be fun. If you could find the right talk to have talks about?
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 7 months ago
    Hi Mike. It was a segment of a short story I wrote some years ago, about something that happened to me, in one of those nights that come out of nowhere, and turn into something bizarre and unexpected. The news bit and the talks about having talks were also true, as I was jotting it down as it happened. The short story contains 5,000 words, and is therefore too long to post here. How's that for a bit of irony?
  • Hilly
    by Hilly 7 months ago
    Bad news sells. Michael Moore, in his film 'Bowling for Columbine', showed that the American public would always prefer to see bad news and feel vindicated about all their fears, than to see a heart-warming piece. I remember when the news used to finish on a high note - cat saved from tree, dog saves pensioner, baby call the ambulance etc.
    The talks about the talks about the talks...How much money gets wasted with all these politicians having their 'talks about the up-coming talks'. It's criminal and most of us would never get away with it. Their job always seem to be about not really doing their job but trying to look and sound like they are doing 'their job'.
    As to the financial thing, with all the Dow's and FOOTSIE's and all, it's a bit like lawyer-speak, intended to keep us mere plebs where we belong. That's probably why I live on a mountainside in rural Spain.
    I'd like the three minute argument, please.
  • Hilly
    by Hilly 7 months ago
    I've missed off a few 's's. Sorry, or should that read 'orry'.
    Perhaps a bit too Andaluz now, as they miss off the s's, eat the middle of their words and mumble like you wouldn't believe.
    No, really, you wouldn't.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 7 months ago
    Hi Hilly. I remember that little snippet at the end of the news. It always started with, 'and finally'...and usually ended with a wry smile. They don't do it anymore, miserable twats! As for politicians, well....they never tell you anything but the part line. I think utility firms who supply our gas and electric are in league with the financiers, as I can't work out my gas bill either! I always likeg the Python sketch where John Cleese played a character who always contradicts everything that was said to him. It started with, 'I believe you contradict everything.' To Which Cleese replies, 'no I don't!'
  • RichardB
    by RichardB 7 months ago
    I haven't managed to get quite as far from the shite as you have, Hilly, but halfway up a mountain in Wales ain't too bad (and for the same reason).

    I rather liked the beginning of the Argument Sketch:
    Palin: Is this the right room for an argument?
    Cleese: I've told you once.
    Palin: No you have... Aaah!
  • Yo
    by Yo 7 months ago
    David Brent (Ricky Gervais) in The Office on calling a team meeting to discuss potential redundancies

    "There is good news and bad news regarding the redundancy situation. The bad news is that unfortunately there are going to be redundancies.... but the good news is that I've been promoted!"

    I took plenty from this. I remember thinking:
    a/ What a knob he is
    b/ I know plenty of managers just like him
    c/ Some people come up 'smelling of roses' no matter what
    d/ News affects people in different ways

    When my friend was sadly knocked over and killed it was obviously a massive shock and to us thirty-somethings (at the time) as it was the first time we'd experienced 'friendship grief'. I remember walking into the chapel feeling numb, but then his younger brother gave a speech about who is brother was and what he thought of life. Tears rolled down my eyes of his tales of his brother and how he liked to be naked at every opportunity. It was so true. I can remember knocking on his door once and there he was stark naked without a care in the world about who saw him. What we didn't know was this was a trait that'd been with him since he was a kid and it was quite common for his family (and visitors) to see him in the all-together. I can't say the vicar approved in the traditional sense (!) but the vicar to his credit told us all we should take it away with us that even in the most difficult of times we can still find something to make us smile.

    RIP my old friend, thanks for the smiles, and thanks to the vicar for leaving me with wise words that I've remembered for nearly 20 years.
  • Dolly
    by Dolly 7 months ago
    Hi RichardB. Due to my age, I can only manage hills going down them, so I live on the flat, and about twelve miles, (as the crow flies) from the sea. So, my way of keeping away from the shite is to turn the telly off, although a friend of mine's dad once told him, 'you're always in the shit son, it's just a matter of depth!'
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