Sunday, January 4, 2015

Seven days and one week

A round-up of the week's major news stories as seen through the eyes of an inattentive, misinformed moron.

Throw away the key

If, during any point in Ched Evans' nascent football career, you'd told him that he would become one of the most talked about footballers in the land he would have been, quite naturally, thrilled. If however you quantified that statement by telling him that his career would all but be over by the age of 26 he would have been less pleased. But that is precisely the situation he finds himself in at this moment in time. Evans was convicted of rape in April 2012, and served half of his five-year sentence before being released in October of last year. He has maintained his innocence throughout and a review of his case is scheduled for the near future. He is now a free man, but he is unlikely to ever play professional football again. A handful of English clubs have expressed an interest in acquiring the services of the Welsh international, but all have subsequently backed down and denied ever making him an offer. The latest club rumoured to be interested are Oldham Athletic, but the news has divided fans, with some vowing to never set foot inside the club's stadium again if Evans signs.

Before I go any further I must state that I believe rape to be the most abhorrent of crimes, and one that should carry a far greater sentence than it currently does. Most rapists are out within five years, a laughable amount of time given the sickening crime they have committed. But I'm not here to talk about legal reform; what I want to know is why can't Ched Evans return to the workplace? He has served his time, why release him from prison if he is going to continue to be penalised for his crime? He may as well serve another ten years or so, thus effectively ending his football career. Why is his case any different to that of Lee Hughes, the former Premier League striker who served three years of a six-year conviction for 'causing death by dangerous driving'? Hughes received six years for his crime, Evans just five for his. Which by my logic makes Hughes' offence the worse of the two. And yet Hughes was allowed to resume his career without too much fanfare, going on to play league football for the next seven years.

What's needed here is some clarification. Whether it be the FA or the British Government someone needs to impose restrictions, or lift sanctions, on Evans. Can he play in England? Can he play abroad? What exactly can he do? Until the FA says otherwise Evans should be free to join any club he wants. He should be able to train with them and play for them. He should be allowed to earn a wage and support his family. But we all know this won't happen, Evans will be hounded out of the game, he'll never play again. Where football is concerned he received a life sentence, with no chance of parole.

It's an outrage

I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I've been outraged in my life. Whether this is down to indifference or cold-heartedness is up for debate, but what I do know is that life is a lot easier when you don't get so worked up over everything. Take this newly-commissioned Channel 4 show about the Irish Famine for example. When details of the programme were first announced one word stuck out like a sore thumb: sitcom, a situation-comedy. Now on the face of it this appears strange, millions of people dying from starvation is not a particularly humorous situation. However when you read more about the forthcoming show, entitled Hungry, you realise that it's not going to be a crass, distasteful look at one of the biggest tragedies in Irish history. Instead it will be something made in the finest of Irish traditions; a dark, brooding, blackly-comic documentation of an event which defined a nation.

But why let the facts get in the way eh? Why wait until the programme comes out before sticking the boot in? Let's all just go mad now, let's take to social media, let's start an online petition, LET'S GET FUCKING OUTRAGED!! The reaction to Hungry was as predictable as it was tiresome, thousands of knee-jerk reactions from people who had seen the words “Irish Famine” and “comedy” in the same sentence and lost the plot. I can't speak for all of these people, or indeed any of them, but I wonder how many of them actually took the time to read Channel 4's missive? How many of them read the quotes attributed to Hungry's creator, Hugh Traver? Not that many I would say. Instead they just saw the headline, mused upon it for a moment or two, and then said; “fuck it, I think I'll get outraged.”

Luck of the draw

Barely a day goes by without someone – usually a wild-haired scientist – telling us what will and won't prevent us from getting cancer. Foodstuffs like dark chocolate, red wine and beetroot have been afforded elixir-like status by those in the know; and us poor fools have gratefully scoffed them all down, leaving us with red-stained teeth and cirrhosis of the liver. But now, after years of being told otherwise, a new report states that there is not a single thing we can do to stave off the world's deadliest disease. This study into the causes of cancer suggests that contracting the illness is, in a lot of cases, merely down to bad luck. The report showed that in as many as two-thirds of cases the disease takes hold due to “a random mutation in tissue cells during the ordinary process of stem cell division.”

So does this mean we're all wasting our time? Does it mean we should forget about the healthy lifestyles and live on fags and Monster Munch? Sadly not. Because while things like diet and exercise cannot be directly attributed to some forms of cancer, others such as lung cancer have been proven to be triggered by that forty-a-day habit. However there are 22 types of cancer which, according to Dr Cristian Tomesetti, are unpreventable regardless of what we do. These are the ones that hit the clean-living, never smoked a fag in his life, rarely drank more than a couple of pints, fella down the road. These are the unfair cancers. These are the ones that will get you no matter what you do. You can look at this in one of two ways; either curse the Gods for being so capricious while waving your fist towards the skies, or alternatively, just say fuck it, if it gets me it gets me. Me? I think I'll go with the latter.

Should old acquaintance be forgot

I've never liked New Year's Eve, all that shoving and pushing and huffing and puffing; followed by an orchestrated countdown and lengthy bouts of hugging and kissing. Fuck that. It's too much for me. If I want to hug or kiss you I won't wait until a five-minute window appears at the end of the year, I'll just do it, so watch out. But not everyone is as cynical/miserable as me. Some people enjoy celebrating one number turning into another, they enjoy gathering around a giant clock and chanting in unison like the rapt audience of a children's television show. And because of this New Year's Eve is generally a very busy night for the emergency services of every major city in the world.

Try telling that to those zany Romans though. Clearly infused with the spirit of Caligula himself a whopping 83% of Roman police called in sick on New Year's Eve. These weren't restaurant workers or bar-staff, they weren't even taxi-drivers or pizza-delivery men, they were the fucking police, the ones supposed to ensure the whole thing doesn't descend into chaos. And where were they? Right in the middle of it all, pissed out of their heads, stood beneath the clock chiming it down like everyone else. Thankfully the city still stands at the time of writing and this dereliction of duty didn't result in the fall of the Italian capital. But for all fans of looting, or for anyone who's ever fancied a bit of looting (me, me!) you know exactly where to go for the New Year's celebrations come December.

The fear

There's nothing worse than exiting a nightclub and discovering that there's not a party to be had. You were only getting started, the pills are just kicking in, it's only half-two, you're not ready to call it a night. But tough shit. You can either stand around in the cold, sipping from the half-empty bottle of beer you smuggled out of the club, or you can fuck off home. Or, you could break into the local college and hide in a cupboard for two days. That's why John Arwood and Amber Campbell did when they couldn't find anywhere to smoke their crack and meth. The Florida couple entered Daytona State College on Sunday last, and liked it so much they didn't leave until Tuesday.

However the drug-taking miscreants didn't decide to enrol in class during their stay, no, the silly fiends managed to lock themselves inside a cupboard. Or did they? After two days spent inside the janitors storage space Arwood was left with no choice but to call the police and ask to be rescued. When Daytona Beach troopers arrived on the scene they found an unlocked cupboard containing two bumbling criminals, various drug paraphenalia and (wait for it) a substantial amount of human excrement. The two were charged with trespassing, with Campbell facing a further charge of violating her probation for a crime committed in 2013. Expect this case to feature in an episode of “When Sessions Go Bad” in the coming months. 


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