Saturday, 2 July 2016

FORECAST / BROADCAST



It's been quiet around here lately. Why? Because BIKINI STATE BULLETIN has been going backwards, regressing from a 21st century medium to good old fashioned paper. Bikini State Bulletin One is now available via SPIRIT DUPLICATOR. Apart from 500 tins of beans and a sharp stick, it's all you need for The Crisis.

It costs £1.50. Yes, it is absolutely ridiculous. But there's other stuff you can buy to make it worth the postman's while, so please take a look, my partially sandpapered fingerprints are all over it. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Thursday, 24 March 2016

IN PRAISE OF THE BILLHOOK


The billhook is a tool with a long history and an important future. It’s been around since the Bronze Age, so, In Britain, that means over 4,500 years of continuous use. A billhook has a wooden handle (preferably ash) and a wide blade that curves out, ending in a sickle shaped hook. The top of the tool is usually dull and heavy, but is sometimes supplemented by a straight, shorter, projecting secondary blade. The tool is usually no longer than 16” long (including the handle), but can vary in length – and weight. In Britain, there are a number of regional variations that add or subtract to the basic design, and this is repeated across Europe. The billhook is both a general and specialist tool, and these area-specific refinements reflect this.

The billhook is traditionally used for cutting and hacking shrubs, branches and vines. When The Crisis comes, as come it must, finding secluded places to live and farm will become important, and the billhook will come into its own in clearing a path. But it is also a weapon of some note.  As we say in Essex: ‘no-one ever fucks about with a bloke holding a billhook’ (I can’t remember the original Latin), as it lends its owner a sense of unfuckwithability, which isn’t a word but perfectly encapsulates the sense of invincibility and confidence this wooden handled wonder can inspire.

Like the much later smatchet, the billhook is both a blunt instrument and a sharp blade, and can be very useful in hand to hand combat. In the middle ages, with much longer handles, billhooks were often used against attacking cavalry. Its use requires a little technique, but it can be effectively employed in a hurry without training, as long as you have brute strength and a will to win. It is a fearsome looking weapon, and brandishing it with feeling may be enough to defer conflict: it looks like it can do immediate damage, and few would relish the thought of being struck with either side of it. It is a great off-putter, or a putter-off-er, if you prefer. There is no stabbing point, of course, so be prepared for things to get messy if things escalate to an actual scrap.


Unlike the specialist (and expensive) smatchet, billhooks are readily available, especially if you can find an agricultural market. A well-worn, well-used second hand billhook is a thing of great beauty, an ergonomic wonder that will make you feel like you were born with it in your hand. Keep the blade sharp and clean, and the handle oiled. You might want to add a wrist strap to minimise the chance of it being used on you. When The Crisis comes, as come it must, your billhook will be your best friend, replacing the dog that you had to eat when times first got tough. Treat it carefully, deploy it decisively, it’s a tool and weapon of proud lineage and infinite usefulness.  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

A SPECIES OF DOOLITTLES


I read recently that Japanese scientists studying the Great Tit had discovered that it used compositional syntax in its calls, i.e. it combined different noises to create new meaning and convey more complex ideas. This was previously thought to be something only humans do. It was an interesting study but the headline, however, was ‘bird talk just like humans’, which is hardly the point. It got me thinking about how mankind behaves like a solipsistic brat, utterly incapable of processing anything without reference to ourselves. Great Tits don’t talk like human beings, they use compositional syntax. Yes, this is something that humans also use, but it’s not something that we own.

Mankind has always been hard of hearing when it comes to nature. If we were to walk into a jungle, for example, we would be deafened by an array of animal calls. They all mean something, usually very specific. In this example, they may be warning each other about us. Yet, because we don’t understand it, we don’t value the sounds they make as communication, so we simply ignore it as noise. If, however, we can get a parrot to say ‘fuck off’ or a dog to say ‘sausages’ then we laugh and shake each other’s hands like we’ve just discovered fire. We’re idiots. A dog isn’t delighted if a human makes a barking noise, it just wonders what on earth they are trying to do and what they are trying to say. They probably get annoyed at themselves for not understanding, but then dogs are less intelligent than us, aren’t they?

Humans are obsessed with remaking the animal world in our own image. Look at social media: depressed cats, dogs in trousers, penguins on motorbikes, donkeys laughing, otters that look like Dominic Bumbercuntch. Even when people try and 'talk' to animals, like Johnny Morris, or Dr. Doolittle, it's a ventriloquist act, not a dialogue. The animals are given a human voice, and a silly accent. Is there any reason meerkats are Russian? Oh yes, because it's funny*. And all this is presented to reinforce the idea that mankind is where it’s at,  and nothing else matters unless it is serving, amusing or copying us. And where has this got us? The world, once a genuine paradise, now resembles a well-used football: denuded, disfigured, slowly losing shape and air.

Think about the Earth and how it was only a few hundred years ago. Think about the Earth as it is now. Think about how the Earth will be in a few hundred years. Yeah, I know, miserable isn’t it?

Now dry your eyes, because there is potentially good news around the corner. When The Crisis comes, as come it must, it may only destroy our way of life, not the world we live in. That seems fair: let human beings pay the bill they have run up. We are the only thing the world needs less of, and everything else will benefit from our misfortune: animal numbers will thrive, plants and trees will grow, the planet will compose itself itself, cool and clear its lungs. It will take a while, but it will happen. Most importantly, it will happen without any help from us, our input is simply not required; we’ve done more than enough. We measure everything in terms of lifetimes, as if a seventy or eighty year period has any cosmic relevance. Even a thousand years of human history seems like an impossibly long period of time. It’s pathetic. Our planet is used to the long game, and it has seen off nuisances before in its four and a half billion year history.

Post-Crisis, post-industrialisation, post-mechanisation, post-capitalism, post everything we know, perhaps those of the species that are left will be assimilated to the extent that they will have time and sensitivity and silence enough to finally listen to the world and the noises it makes, to actually hear what everything else is trying to say. That’s my hope. Evolution is an ongoing process, after all.

* It's worth pointing out that these 'silly' meerkats are the brains behind the UK's most successful price comparison website, so they're actually laughing all the way to the bank.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

THINGS I WILL NOT MISS


When The Crisis comes, as come it must, it will signal a number of seismic changes to the way we live, especially the fundamental tenets of modern society that we currently take for granted. Paper money will only be worthwhile as kindling, for example, or, if you really want to know bitter irony, as toilet paper. Conversely, actual toilet paper will be so rare that it will become a type of currency. There won’t be any sandwiches either. I’ll repeat that: there will be no sandwiches. 

In my lifetime, the sandwich has evolved from something curly and white and slightly smeared with meat paste to a multi-layered, multi-coloured baroque masterpiece, a vulgar but wonderfully rendered piece of rainbow food art with up to sixty ingredients, some of which actually taste of something, others which you would be advised to wash your hands thoroughly after handling. 

Take a look at your store bought sandwich this lunchtime, and simultaneously marvel and recoil at the impossibly long list of sinister components, I speak, of course, about such life-affirming nuggets and unguents as niacin, thiamin, sodium nitrate, ascorbic acid, beryllium, sapphire, silver, steel and watercresss.

Actually, these ingredients may have been in sandwiches before, I don’t know. Perhaps ascorbic acid is in every slice of bread, part of the process. It may even be the tastiest bit. But my point is that, previously, no-one cared. They ate it, or they didn’t, they had no interest in what its constituent elements were. Also, very few people had allergies, and even fewer people cared about those that did. It was a strange and savage world in many ways, but you knew where you were. 

Being made aware of the composition of every molecule of every morsel you put in your mouth has not in any way been an advance. It has caused confusion and fear, and added another wrinkle to the worried and weary face of the 21st century, a period already much older than its time.      

In any event, your worries will soon be over as most of this lengthy list of bromides, anti-coagulants and laxatives will not be available post Crisis or, rather, will be hoarded like rubies and used in bombs or added to stews as a means of removing unsuitable chieftains from power, so that's literally and figuratively one less thing on your plate.

Overall, however, I think that this is most definitely a good thing. As an office worker, I am so very sick of sandwiches. There’s something quite shameful about the average shop bought triple decker on artisanal halfmeal with pumpkin seeds and beetroot slaw – or, indeed, a good old fashioned cheese and pickle pile on cardboard bread in a sweaty cling film coat. A sandwich seems to rams home the corporeality of mankind, its grossness, its self-disgust. Only a KFC is more humiliating. The sandwich is designed to be devoured, shoved in, gulped down, quickly, easily, unthinkingly, in a hurry. Who amongst us hasn’t hastily gobbled a sandwich on a train, on the street, in a corner, in a corridor, like a rat in a bin, or a fox in a skip? Who hasn’t understood with every hasty bite that we’re nothing special, just  large, ambulatory lumps of meat that need to pump prawn and avocado into their guts lest they seize up? 

The sandwich, which always looks so attractive in the hand, goes down like excrement on the palate, because you are never more aware than with the first bite that, in purchasing this gilded turd, you have failed as a human being*.

So, yep, for once, The Crisis will actually facilitate a positive change: no more sandwiches, and no more sandwich shame. Don’t worry, though, you will have a million other things to be mortally disgusted with.



Finally, there is nothing wrong with the sandwich at the top of the post, despite its appearance. It's actually been put into pre-marked anti-theft bag. I don't know what's worse, a world where people steal your sandwiches, or a world where you can buy something to desperately try and stop them. Thank fuck for The Crisis, which will put an end to such dilemmas once and for all.

* This is especially true of awful outlet Subway where, despite being able to customise your bread roll with hundreds of different ingredients, the end result can only ever be one of two combinations: cold shit, or hot shit.