Nursery Rhymes for the modern audience

Many nursery rhymes have been passed down for generations, but in our modern, wired-up, interconnected age where youngsters are more savvy to trends and tech than ever,  perhaps many of them are losing their relevance to contemporary children, so we need to modernise them a little:

Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker man, bake me a low-fat, high fibre muffin, as fast as you can (and a skinny latte to go with it, please)

Little Jack Horner, sat in his corner, thinking when I grow up I will be a famous paleontologist

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, then called Injury Lawyers For You and sued someone to cover his own clumsiness

Mary had a little lamb, it used to send out her email spam

Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, then decided it was more convenient to order her grocery shopping online

There was an old lady, who lived in a shoe, because the mean bailed-out bankers wouldn’t give her a mortgage

Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie, his high-fat sedentary lifestyle made him die

Jack and Jill went up the hill, as part of their daily cardiovascular exercise programme (didn’t want to end up like Georgie)

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, which she had assembled herself from an Ikea flatpack using an Allen key

This isn’t just any half a pound of tuppenny rice and half a pound of treacle, this is M&S tuppenny rice and treacle

The Census

Yes, it has been ten years and so it is time for the UK-wide Census. Fortunately for those of us north of the border the Registrar for Scotland deals with our one, so at least we don’t get London-blinkered questions like “if you live in Scotland or the North of England, do you know what electricity is?” And it does include Gaelic and Scots as language options too, although annoyingly it didn’t include a box to tick for Elvish or Klingon. Pah. Some citizens have raised concerns over some of the questions being asked, wondering why the authorities really need to know some things – they say it is to plan for the future in terms of hospitals, schools and other resources that will be required, but even so I have to also add my voice to the growing concern over some of the questions posed on the 2011 Census. I mean some of these are invasive of my privacy and I question what strategic planning value they will give to authorities for arranging future national resources, with questions like:

How many yaks do you keep in your household attic? (I especially objected to this one as I live in a Victorian tenement flat so don’t have an attic, so this question left me feeling inadequate and jealous of those rich people with attics to keep yaks in)

How many DVDs do you have in your collection? Please arrange answer by alphabetical title order and BBFC rating. Indicate clearly which films are non English language and contain subtitles.

Do you keep your underwear and socks in the same drawer or individual compartments?

Please explain why you insist on drinking coffee when you know fine well that Her Brittanic Majesty prefers tea.

Preferred biscuit to dunks at elevenses – Digestive, Hobnob, shortbread, other (please indicate – be aware anything other than these three acceptable biscuits will be taken as a sign of subversive personality behaviour)

Have you now or have you ever been a member of the Communards fan club?

Who do you find more trustworthy, Nick Clegg or Cleggy from Last of the Summer Wine?

Are you satisfied with A) your high-speed broadband connection and B) the quality of online pornography?

Elucidate on the correct form of address for the Haggis (include the post code).

Red or White wine?

Cats or dogs?

Kiera Knightley or Carey Mulligan?

How many umbrellas do you own in your househould? Please indicate if they are full-sized or telescopic.

Explain, using graphics where necessary, the symbolism of the London Olympic logo and why it isn’t really a huge waste of money.

When you die do you plan to be interred in a cemetery, cremated, leave your body to science or have your corpse re-animated and return as a zombie? (please indicate if you intend to be evil, brain eating zombie or the more comedy friendly variety if the latter)

Explain why even in a pan-European, progressive, inclusive society it is still socially acceptable to make fun of A) red haired people (even in Scotland), B) fat people, C) mentally disturbed people who appear on reality and talent shows and D) the Belgians.

Britain’s love for curries proves that we’re really not racist at all and are actually a jolly nice multi-cultural society – discuss in no more than 500 words. Please indicate your favoured curry dish.

Explain why, using picures where required, Oor Wullie is an important medium for recording the microcosm of Scottish society.

Did you fill in this form yourself you lower class oik, or did you do it properly and have your butler do it?

Necrophiliacs, please be gentle…

And I like the idea of graveyards. I don’t want to be cremated, I want to be buried. Though it’s in my will that they’re not allowed to have an open coffin. But, I always say if you’re really famous someone steals your body and then you get two burials and more publicity. I always fear that in America, if you are a necrophiliac, where else are you gonna meet a body? In a funeral home! When you’re dead I think the word goes out: ‘You’ve got 36 hours, Anna Nicole’s here. The bidding starts at $150,000.’ I actually believe that does happen. I am afraid of that. If anyone bids for me, I hope they’re gentle. I hope I go for a high price if they bid on me and if my fear is true.”

The great John Waters, the ‘Pope of Trash’, speaking in the Scotsman today. I love John Waters, if he’s one of those counter culture figures in movies that if he hadn’t existed he’d have to have been invented. And he also starred in one of the best Simpsons episodes ever (back when the show was still great and not watered down like today), the Homer Phobia episode.

The ads I’d like to see

Adverts – some are funny, some are stupid, rarely do they make me want to buy something but boy, how often do some of them grate so much you dive for the remote to change channels? Except when you’re in the cinema and stuck with them. When I can’t get away from them in situations like that I stay sane by amusing myself with the version I’d like to see. Top of the annoying list has to be that little shouting twat Barry Arsehead who does the Cillit Bang ads. Cleaning product ads are often the lamest of all (especially since they often use the same footage across Europe and dub in appropriate language voice over which doesn’t match mouth movements), but the Cillit one is made even more annoying as this wee arse struts onto camera and bellows. It’s TV, you twonk, we can hear you perfectly alright without shouting. Quite why a short man shouting is supposed to make a product attractive to us is beyond me. I long to see a Cillit Bang ad where they strap that eejit down, force feed him five bottle of Cillit Bang, insert a fuse down his throat, light and run away – Bang! And the dirt is gone! Now there’s an ad I’d watch.

The mobile phone ‘flex’ adverts too bug me, especially the one that starts with the guy chattering away on his cell phone as he gets ready to go out, then gee, take the stairs or lift, no he goes out the balcony of his block and drops to the plaza below which becomes like a trampoline, flexing to allow him to land safely. I understand the ad is trying to say, look, we make our service flexible to suit you (which is bollocks, as we all know) but I can’t help but see it as a sign of the lazy and selfish attitude of many today: get everything out of my way, I want it my way, right now, sod off, me, me, me (the other phone ad where buildings and vehicles are all folded down flat to get out of the way of the hip young things illustrates this perfectly too – visually funny image, but if you think about it what happens to the people in those buildings???). The oh-so-cool guy doesn’t even look before he leaps; what if he landed on someone? Or even if he missed them what if someone was walking nearby when he makes the ground ripple, causing them to fall over and get hurt?

Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, Joe, don’t take is so seriously, its just an ad, which is true on one level but how often have you been bumped into by some twonk who is constantly talking on their phone and ignoring everything and everyone around them as they do, walking into them, knocking things over, not even pausing in their conversation even when dealing with someone like a sales assistant in a shop or the driver when boarding a bus (so bloody ignorant). A general symptom of the increasing selfishness and rudeness we see everyday in society. So I want to see this ad where the numpty jumps out of his window, plummets earthwards and suddenly he runs out of credit and hits the hard, stone plaza and does an impression of a giant pizza. Or he loses signal as he falls with a similar result. Or he lands safely again but the rippling, elastic flex of he ground as he lands caused someone to fall over and get hurt, then they sue him and the cell phone company for damages. And I have to admit there is a perverse part of me that almost wants to see some stupid idiot trying to replicate this ad in real life, be a great one for the Darwin Awards.

And while we’re at it, what the hell is with the constant use of faded-out colours and clothes styles which are used to try and create a 1970s film footage effect in so many ads? Cell phone ads are the worst for this. Once or twice is fine, but so many now do it I find I hate even the appearance of this stylistic.

Citroen, alive with technology as the French car suddenly becomes a Transformer robot and runs down the street. What happened to the driver when this happened? Don’t you just want to see this ad where the car transforms and there’s a wet scrunching sound as the driver find out what its like to become pate? Actually I don’t mind the Citroen ad too much, it looks quite cool, but what does annoy me is that lack of internal logic to the idea: I can suspend disbelief and go with a car which transforms into a robot for an ad, but really, what do the ad makers think happens to the occupants of the vehicle? If they ain’t horribly crushed they will at least be terrified and probably terrified of all motor vehicles for life after that.

And then there’s the ads that do what ads do best, try and pray on our fears of things not being quite right with our bodies. Don’t let diarrhoea ruin your day, take these pills. Then the other way round, don’t feel constipated, take this! Talk about being full of shit… Tell ya what, instead of popping an instant-fix pill as our modern, super-fast society demands and try actually eating right you stupid bastard! Got the runs? Eat decent, balanced foods and wash your hands before cooking rather than pop pills. Bound up? Again eat some decent food you numpty. Decent fibre or if all else fails a good curry and Guinness.