Apocalypse Close: an Amusement. Chapter One

The scientists are in terror
and the European mind stops

Ezra Pound

All philosophers who find
Some favourite system to their mind,
In every point to make it fit,
Will force all nature to submit.

Jonathan Swift, quoted by Thomas Love Peacock

“Thomas love, Peacock Blue or Lime Green?” enquired Vanessa Huntingdon, leafing idly through a colour chart. The rays of the setting sun lit up the the vines creeping up the pergola of the Victorian mansion at the top of Apocalypse Close, making the choice of a colour scheme for the new conservatory seem ever more urgent.

“Peacock” replied Thomas absently. “Green makes me sick”. He was already fondling her thighs, and clearly wasn’t in the mood for a serious discussion about interior decoration.

“Better not say that tomorrow to Paxo” said his wife, sighing and laying aside the colour chart. If she wanted to impose her will in the matter of the colour scheme for the new conservatory, it might be well to cede to his equally pressing needs.

* * *

“It’s … not … sustainable …” He gasped, emitting CO2 in short hot pants.

With a final groan he rolled over, and stared blankly at the ceiling.

“Darling, must you wear those when we make love? A little cross dressing is one thing, but pink frills – it’s so kitsch”.

“They belonged to my mother. She taught me to recycle everything”.

“Well you’d better not wear them to the Television studio. And for Gaia’s sake don’t say anything bad about  Green”.

Thomas grunted. He’d wear what he bloody well like. Who would know, under his designer jeans?  No-one, except that cute little assistant personal assistant’s assistant of Paxo’s, if he got the chance, after the interview.

* * *

As the National Express coach bumped and ground its way along the narrow winding lanes of the M54, deftly avoiding potholes and traffic cones, George Moonbat cursed his decision to abjure the advantages of the petrol driven automobile. And to think there was a perfectly serviceable Porsche in one of the family garages somewhere!

He checked his carbon footprint counter. The battery was getting low. ‘Must remember to buy some more at the airp… I mean bus station’, he thought. Two hundred miles as the crow flies, or 350 by National Express. He’d have to go easy on the carbon for the next few weeks. Still, in London, he’d have the bike…

It was five o’clock in the morning when George had left his stone cottage nestling in the shadow of Cader Stroffig to take the coach for London. At first he had had the vehicle to himself, but luckily his personal carbon counter didn’t know that. Was he personally responsible for all the emissions of this lead-spitting, CO2-belching monster during that time? he wondered. Or could he share them with the driver? Poor bugger, his carbon count would surely condemn him to the ultimate circle in the hell we’re all heading for.

For the first four hours the bus had zigzagged through the black hills of Tryffidd, stopping at numerous villages to pick up passengers who, like George, had foresaken the motor car for public transport, in accordance with their oath to cease raping the planet which had nurtured them; a one-legged soldier, veteran of the Afghan wars; two nuns, and a girl with her head in a plaster cast. George wondered whether to hand out flyers for the upcoming March for Mother Gaia, but decided against it.

Now it was the last stop before Victoria Coach Station – the little Staffordshire village of Flytepath, recently transformed into the site of London’s fifth airport. Suddenly the coach was invaded by hordes of mindless oiks, heaving their thirty kilos of tourist trash into the coach’s hold and trooping up the aisle, bloated from booze-ups in Budapest, or suntanned from unnecessary planet-destroying sojourns in the Seychelles.

George shuddered as a bronzed couple installed themselves on the other side of the aisle and started browsing through their honeymoon photos on their iphone. Their harsh estuary vowels jangled in his ears. His fingers fell limp over the touch screen keyboard of his ipad. No question now of finishing the chapter of his new book. “Fear and Warming” was due at the publishers next month. Delay was unthinkable; the world could not wait.

He glanced over at the couple giggling at the photos flitting over the little screen. Essex Adam and Eve – sipping cocktails from coconut shells beside the pool; jet-skiing in a tropical lagoon; careering over the desert in a 4X4; paintballing in the nude on a coral reef…

George could stand it no longer. He rose and stood in the aisle looming over them, jabbing at the phone screen. “Don’t you realise” he barked “For every litre of kerosene burnt on your futile pleasure jaunts, a baby drowns in Bangladesh?”

The man rose slowly in his seat, stared impassively at George for a second, then expertly head-butted him, knocking his wireframed spectacles askew into a mangled hockeystick shape.

George groaned and slumped into the aisle, as the driver braked and swerved into the motorway service station. “Five minutes ladies and gentlemen” he announced. He rose and ambled down the aisle towards George, who was wiping the drops of blood from his ipad “And you foureyes, hop it. I’m not having troublemakers on this bus”.

Five minutes later, the driver completed his headcount and turned to the honeymoon couple. “I recognised him soon as he got on. Couldn’t think where from. He was on telly last week, dishing out orders, telling everyone what they could do and couldn’t do”.

“Tory minister, is ‘e?” said the honeymooner.

“Somefing like that”.

* * *

Night was falling when the minicab arrived at the motorway service station to pick him up. George flagged it down and got in without a word, still dabbing his nostril. He sank gratefully into the back seat, which appeared to be upholstered in the dappled hide of some vanishing tropical herbivore, and muttered “London”.

“That’ll be 250 pound sir. I’ll have to take payment in advance”.

“That’s alright” murmured George, shuffling the sheaf of cards in his wallet “The paper will pay”.

He stared at the never-ending parallel lines of headlights and tail lights stretching out before them. “When will we all wake up?” he muttered, as his eyes closed.

When he opened them again they were in the outskirts of London. “Who was it described London as the Great When?” he mused. He’d heard that at Hay-on-Wye, or was it Ware? Doctor someone, but Who? No, not Dr Who … Sutton? Dr Sutton? Sutton Hoo?  He fingered his ipad, googling distractedly. ‘ah, “Great Wen”. Dr Johnson, of course.

The taxi initiated the complex foreplay which would eventually lead to its inserting itself into the outer ring road. “Whereabouts sir? North or South?”

“North please. NW3. Apocalypse Close”.

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41 Responses to Apocalypse Close: an Amusement. Chapter One

  1. hro001 says:

    Welcome to this side of the blogosphere, Geoff! This was a delightful post and gave me several chuckles and smiles! Looking forward to more of the same :-)

    Hilary

  2. Jack Savage says:

    Ridicule, which George Moonboot certainly deserves, is a powerful weapon. See you in the trenches….

  3. geroonimo says:

    Great post Geoff.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The monoblot deserves your well directed shot.

  5. Bob Layson says:

    I left out my name from the above comment: Bob Layson

  6. dearieme says:

    “And you foureyes, hop it.” Them wuz the days.

  7. Alan Reed says:

    “He’d have to go easy on the carbon for the next few weeks. Still, in London, he’d have the bike…” Sparkling prose, Mr Chambers.

  8. Shevva says:

    Nice image of Moonbat in pink frilly knickers.

    Personally this moonbat character seems like a suspenders man to me.

    Moonbat stood in front of his forlorn wife. Dropping his dressing gown to the floor his NHS glasses and black lacy hemp suspenders…(Hope you don’t mid you inspired a poetic licence in me).

  9. Robin says:

    Yeah Geoff. An excellent sense of humor is the ultimate disarming weapon in dealing with these statist schemes. Much more effective than hyperventilating about the effects. Show them where this all leads while using satire.

    Claire Berlinsky did a bio of Margaret Thatcher a few years back. One of the points she makes was how Thatcher used humor to get concessions from committed ideological opponents.

    It is going to take a great deal of humor and creative writing and persuasive research to turn this leviathan around. Sounds like you are not willing to let the West go yet either.

  10. SOYLENT GREEN says:

    The Snark is strong with this one.
    Welcome to the Dark Side of the hyperverse.

  11. Pingback: Blogasm: Geoff Chambers « SOYLENT GREEN

  12. HaroldW says:

    Definitely chuckle-worthy, Geoff. But please, can you fix the “it’s” slips?

  13. Deadman says:

    Though Peacock uses the quatrain quoted above as an epigraph for his Headlong Hall, the original is from Jonathan Swift’s “Cadenus and Vanessa”.

  14. I don’t think I can ever erase the mental image of Thomas in pink frillies. Well done ;)

  15. Also, you have been added to the H&B blogroll. It was a moral imperative.

    http://www.hookersandbooze.com

  16. Kendra says:

    Delightful, Geoff.

  17. banjo says:

    Oh my! Seems i have a new place to lurk.
    ROTFLMFAO `effin hilarious! (a bit of wee came out).

  18. UK Dissenter says:

    Geoff, Wry, funny and spot-on! Keeps us all sane, and ‘them’ a little-lot discomforted. Excellent!

  19. Skiphil says:

    haaa I’m now trying to erase some of these frightening new images from my mind, well done Geoff!! Glad to see you put your own stake down in the blogosphere…. I always enjoy your thoughtful posts and comments.

  20. Paul Matthews says:

    Very good, and refreshingly different. I look forward to further stories of George. He’s quite difficult to parody after some of his recent articles.

    Adam corner has an article on middle-class climate hypocrites in today’s Guardian.

  21. Latimer Alder says:

    Pure filth!

    Lots more please :-)

  22. Gaston Mailhot says:

    Does He have a wife ? For what purpose ?

  23. Many thanks all for the kind words, and to HaroldW and Deadman for the corrections. I hang my head in shame. My only excuse for the apostrophes is that I’ve been out of the country for 30 years. Which is also my excuse for any out-of-date slang and ignorance of geography.

  24. Well done Geoff!
    Something a bit different in the climate blogwars – even if we horny-handed Elec Engg’s have to struggle a bit with the literary allusions.
    Am I being dense in not identifying the priapic Thomas Huntingdon? If so will somebody put me out of my misery?
    - or will all be revealed in the next installment ?
    Will George’s hockey stick leap even higher when he encounters the ravishing Vanessa, reclining against her Farrow & Ball woodwork?

    Can’t wait!

  25. TurningTide says:

    Great antidote to the po-faced Graun. But this entry should have started with a warning relating to cups of coffee and keyboards!

  26. catweazle666 says:

    Nice one Geoff, keep up the good work.

  27. Omniloxos says:

    The Week in review

    Neuroscientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für KognitionKlimatologie und Neurowissenschaften have traced Chambers cultural dyslexia to the brain’s medial geniculate body, and located his lack of metaselfconsciousness in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the frontopolar regions, and the precuneus.

    French researchers studying his readers find it is hopeless to attempt irony with them, as MRIs reveal abnormal activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and insula when those with hoarding disorder are threatened with the loss of their junk mail.

    Berlin somnologists have proposed implanting a tongue pacemaker to regulate the hypoglossal nerve in Tourette’s syndrome sufferers given to barking ‘climategate’ in response to too broad a range of stimuli.

    Doctors writing in Deutsches Alzheimat Ärzteblatt suggested measures for thwarting the nocebo effect. Industrial psychologists debuted the Workplace Arrogance Scale to help identify problem TV weathermen. A multinational survey with the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire found that traditional bullying was still much more popular than cyberbullying among climate blog censors.

  28. tomf0p says:

    Nicely done, Geoff. We have had Josh for some time now, covering the visual needs of counter-warmist satire, and ‘heretic’ has shown the way in drama – you now seem to be supplying its literary needs.

    Some of us remember the Beat/Hippy anthem, ‘Plastic Jesus’, which some say has been extended to over 300 stanzas. With this in mind, I offer the following as a beginning, in the hope that others will find it a worthy anvil on which to hammer the ecomentalists, and add their own.

    (To the tune of “Plastic Jesus”)

    Well, I don’t care if it fries or freezes,
    I’m quite sure I know the reason’s
    You, your kids, you wife and your damn car -
    Me and my kind can’t be to blame,
    ‘Cause we all agree and we think the same,
    It’s you, your wife, your kids and your damn car.

    Refrain:
    Global warming, Global warming,
    It’s the best fun we’ve all had since Y2K,
    It makes us feel important,
    To listen to Al Gore and chant,
    And hope to hell it never goes away!!

    best regards
    Tom Forrester-Paton

  29. John Whitman says:

    Geoff C.,

    I see you have answered the eternal question ‘To blog own or not to blog own?’ in the affirmative. Welcome to the club.

    John

  30. zbcustom says:

    Really enjoying your contribution. Page bookmarked and regular visits planned

  31. Alexander K says:

    Bloody brilliant!
    Just what the English-speaking world needs to leaven the interminable Green miseryguts!

  32. alexjc38 says:

    It might be that poor Mr Moonbat’s travel tribulations stem in part from something his real-life avatar George Monbiot once wrote. In his 2006 book “Heat”, Monbiot sets out his vision of a nation connected by a national coach network (based on a plan by economist Alan Storkey.) He writes:

    “It is important, too, that Storkey’s coach stations on the motorway junctions do not become new development hubs: it is easy to see how governments could use them as an excuse to grant planning permission for new superstores, service stations and housing, ‘integrated with public transport’.”

    Which leads me to suspect that if George’s vision of “no new development” transport hubs ever became a reality, we’d have a rather austere setup – no Starbucks, KFC, WH Smith or similar filthy capitalistic enterprises, perhaps? Sub-1970′s British Rail standards, vis-à-vis tea and sandwiches? If so, maybe no wonder the driver was a bit narked!

  33. Alex
    Poor George. It would be easier, less fun, but just as funny, to make a compilation of the best bits from George’s writings. I was inspired by an article he wrote on the pains of a public transport system which hadn’t been designed expressly (National Expressly) to cater for his own personal needs, in which he complained that the bus he was obliged to take from Oxford to Cambridge ran through all the dreariest towns in southern England – a remark to put in an anthology alongside Wilfred Thesiger’s comment on life in the trenches in WW1 – “My dear, the noise! and the people !”

  34. fjpickett says:

    “the bus he was obliged to take”

    Poor George. It is deliciously ironic that his principles have led him to eschew modes of transport that the rest of us enjoy, when he is sensitive enough to find the alternative even more irksome than we do.

    Somehow this doesn’t seem to apply to air travel, but I guess he excuses that on the grounds that his globe-hopping is for the ‘greater good’, or maybe the inside of an aeroplane sufficiently resembles a bus to him that he regards it as a penance…

  35. fjpickett:
    “Somehow this doesn’t seem to apply to air travel..”
    George did eschew air travel when he went to Copenhagen in March 2009 for the scientific conference which preceded the big political one. He took the train (60 hours) and paid the £600 fare out of his own pocket.
    On his return he wrote a Nervous Nellie article about “the whispers he’d heard in Copenhagen” (that it’s worse than we thought, etc.)
    I posted the following comment, which the Guardian moderators very decently let stand:
    On the night train which left Copenhagen
    George annnonced to the sleeping Schlafwagen
    (to tremendous applause)
    “I’ve just wet my drawers
    And beshat myself into the bargain.”

  36. TonyN says:

    Geoff

    Just back form holiday and delighted that you’ve taken the plunge, but don’t stop commenting elsewhere. Your contributions would be very much missed. I’ll put up a link of course, but things are very quiet at HS these days.

    Just to show that I’ve been paying attention, I think that if Tryffydd is intended to be a Welsh version of Trffid then the correct spelling would be Truffyd. Now there’s didactic for you boyo, and from someone who couldn’t spell in English to save his life.

    More about Moonbat please!

  37. vigilantfish says:

    More chapters to this story, please. I really enjoyed the imagery you employ.

  38. sunsettommy says:

    A nice start Geoff and please keep it coming as we readers need it.

  39. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I thought your having the fellow traveller (as it were) knock George’s spectacles off was unnecessarily vindictive. Still do, really, but you’re in good company. Here’s Rod Liddle’s Boxing Day message to the nation:

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/rod-liddle/2012/12/george-monbiot-joins-the-bourgeoisie/

    ‘Next time he chances to meet someone so low born I hope they smash his spectacles and spit on his shoes.’

  40. Thanks Vinny
    You’re right of course. I was being cruel, but to a fictional person, even if any resemblance to a living person was pretty obvious.
    I discovered global warming at the moment Monbiot was pursuing Bellamy and others, instituting the Booker Bullshit awards, etc. I was shocked, partly because I had no idea such hatred existed over what was, in effect, a banal disagreement about future temperatures.
    If I hadn’t been an admirer of Monbiot beforehand, I wouldn’t have been so cruel.
    (It gets worse. See next weeks episode)

  41. Pingback: Advocacy follies fuelling fossilized furies and fears | The View From Here

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