One of the highlights of Beeston Carnival was the darkly satirical performance art on offer, as a team of burly fire-fighters dragged their engine through town with the aid of rope, highlighting the cuts that slash through services. Their message was ‘this is the future, when belt-tightening forces us to ration diesel and employ muscle power instead. Beware! Beware!’. I pointed this out to the old lady standing next to me, explaining what a visceral piece this was, how chilling, how powerful….but she seemed to think it was actually a charity thing, and done on an annual basis, raising money for kids while also giving ladies a chance to perv at strained biceps. How sweetly naive!
Owls, I’m sure you agree, rule. They can turn their weird starey heads 360 degrees, in a manner similar to the little girl out of The Exorcist, who could also pull of that trick and therefore was also rather wonderful. Owls, sadly, don’t expel gallons of pea-green vomit in violent bursts, but they do cough up the bits of rodent they don’t digest; fur, bones, the stuff Iceland stick in own-brand sausages; in the form of little grotesque balls.
My love of owls is not a solitary one, as proved at the Carnival. By far the busiest stall was the owl sanctuary, where for only a pound you could hold an owl FOR AS LONG AS YOU RUDDY WELL LIKED. That’s value, though some people seemed to feel the novelty wore off after five minutes. I could spend all day getting them to focus on my thumb, then moving it right round there heads. Who needs an X box?
Meerkats also have this effect on the public, and once you tell people that you can see REAL, LIVE meerkats in Beeston, their eyes widen and they beg you to tell them where, I reply Beeston’s (well,possibly Chilwells) New World Exotics: http://www.newworldexotics.com/, otherwise known as Beeston Free Zoo ,where they also have a range of incongruous mammals, which means its technically legal to buy skunk in Chilwell now. I always feel a little guilty when I go in there, so buy some locusts for my pet toads as a sort of voluntary entrance fee.
This all has a point, and its this: Beestonian retailers, life is only going to get harder. The recession is still nipping, disposable incomes shrinking , and you’re going to need a gimmick. Get an owl, a meerkat or other intriguing animal. Crowds will flock in, I guarantee. It’s a fact that Ethel Austin wouldn’t have closed down if they’d invested in a pair of prairie dogs to cavort in the front window. McDonalds would still be dispensing clown-meat to the populace if they’d only invested in a proboscis monkey dressed as a butler dancing on the counter.
My consultancy fees can be paid in cash, please
I forgot to post this when it had any relevance, but here it is anyway to act as some filler for you to enjoy: A mole at the Department of Work and Pensions down in Westminster recently told me that as the Treasury were slashing budgets, raising VAT and jumping on the 80’s nostalgia bandwagon and resurrecting unemployment, cuts and Boys From the Blackstuff fun, while they were doing all of this and telling us the importance of belt-tightening, they purchased several HD, wide-screen televisions to watch the football on. This only got leaked through disgruntlement, the mole is a die-hard tory and only told me as they had to watch England spoonfoot their way out of the tournament on crappy CRT tv.
Back to the carnival. Labour had a stall, and Cllr. Barber was in a mischievous mood, making a few changes to a life-size nurse cardboard cut-out proclaiming that she was voting Labour as she believed in fairness, into this mildly disturbing image:
There was also a petition to save Beeston Resource Centre on Middle Street, a cause I heartily condone, though I can’t find a link to an online petition to lay your John Hancock on right now.
There was also a ‘Name the Teddy’ competition, and I had a go (unsuccessfully). However, I was rather amused and maybe mildly disturbed when I saw that Nick Palmer had chose ‘Anna’ as his guess. Read what you want into that….
Ah yes, Anna. Haven’t forgot. Still no word from our MP, or her anti-abolitionist friend. It is common practice in politics, and other institutions, to keep a low profile when confronted with a potential embarrassment, in the hope that people will forget it if they keep quiet long enough. I can’t let that happen, so if any other bloggers fancy posting up the story, feel free. Or contact Anna yourselves: email@example.com , or ask her directly at Kimberley Pram race this weekend. I was hoping to ask her myself at BeestonCarnival, but despite accepting an invitation to attend, didn’t show. Or maybe she did, and I was too wrapped up in owls to notice.
Someone did respond to my challenge to Anna, from a ‘poltergeist vier’ who wrote ‘what a load of horseshit’ . I initially assumed this was my that funster Mr Craig Cox, but it was probably my mum after a few gins. I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait….
A non-political comment…anyone who’s thinking of getting something unusual like a meerkat should read up on keeping them on the internet first, as it’s really non-trivial and most advice is against it – see e.g.
I think it’s a pity that shops cash in on TV crazes like this – I think meerkats are incredibly cute, but the chance are that (a) most who get bought for private homes will be very unhappy and (b) it’ll encourage the trade to bring in or breed more…
Further to Nick’s point, I would recommend the same with any pet. I very much doubt the meerkats in Chilwell will ever be sold, as they won’t allow any of the animals to leave the shop unless you can prove that you will be able to look after them properly. I am not sure if this includes feeding the locusts to toads.
Yeah, I’ve had bad experiences with a pet elephant too.
Finally, someone has had the courage to refer to the elephant in the room.
I’d never have a meerkat in the house: all that rushing around saying everything’s “simples” and trying to sell you insurance. No thanks.
It’s bad enough being married without another difficult-to-maintain mammal around.
They make good lookouts if you live in an active Neighbourhood Watch area.
There is now an on-line petition to fight the proposed closure of the Middle St Resource Centre at http://broxtowelabour.org/
I too have emailed Anna Soubry re Craig Cox, no response as yet.
I have found a further petition to save the Middle Street Resource Centre at http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/save-the-middle-street-resource-centre.html – I hope you will publicise this too. Some readers may be happier with this than the Labour Party link – and the centre is a valuable resource deserving support and encouragement.
Regarding the fire brigade pictures… you got a shot of my dad! Funny what you come across when you Google ‘Beeston Fire Station’. Great blog, by the way…