News Will Eat Itself

I’ve just read an article in a paper (well, an online paper) about another paper doing an advert that slandered the journalist from yet another paper. The advert in question was unnecessarily vicious, and exceedingly bigoted, slandering a journalist for being pro-gay and stating such incredible untruths as there being ‘no such word for homophobic.’ Which there is. I’ve just typed it. Look. But I couldn’t help feel as I read the whole piece about the piece slandering a person who writes pieces, ‘but why?’. Why on Earth has the Telegraph so run out of things to comment on that it has to be petty about a Times journalist. Why has the Guardian exhausted the world’s supply of news to the extent that it has to report on a Telegraph advert?

There are various phrases that have entered my regular diatribe lately on a day to day basis. The most important of these is ‘What are we having for dinner?’. Me and L ask each other this normally about 5 minutes after we wake up knowing that every event of the next 12 hours will fall apart unless there is some sort of exciting eating to be happing at the end of it all. I have, of course, asked this question before in my life. However, it’s now such a daily regularity on account of our mutual enjoyment of food that if we don’t say it one day, distrust will clearly start to surface. We have both agreed several times that if either of us didn’t enjoy eating or Radiohead we’d probably just have to agree to go separate ways. Another very common phrase that I find myself saying is ‘There’s not a lot going on in the world today.’ This is usually said after checking the 24 hours news, Twitter and various online websites. It is also, always, not true.

There is always something going on in the world. There are a variety of things happening right now, some horrible, some brilliant, some, no doubt, very very odd. On the most shallow end of my mind pool though, some of these aren’t relevant for me to write a joke about and so automatically become less important. Some are the same story from days before. Even if it is an ongoing awful conflict or suffering that really must end and be dealt with, then in my head I’ve read about it and so can’t focus on it much. Then some are just boring news stories that are used to fill the endless void of 24 hour news. We have news all day every day and so sometimes, when it feels like the world might be having a quick breather – even if that’s just because no one is reporting on the bits of endless destruction – then there is a need to fill it with something. Just anything.

I can see why. If we didn’t fill it with something there would be channel after channel of newsreaders just, well, sitting there. Staring. Probably looking a bit uneasy. There are only so many GIFs, Vines or whatever you can make of that. Roving reporters would start wandering around aimlessly. Kay Burley, driven by her ceaseless lack of understanding of emotion or tact,  would walk up to unsuspecting members of the public and just ask them why they aren’t dead yet. Worst of all, all those viewers who are bombarded with images of war, illness, corruption, unrest, fashion faux pas or completely useless points of view will suddenly have some time to think for themselves. How dangerous would that be? A few hours a day to contemplate what they are doing, how they really feel about their lives, what the universe is all about, or perhaps why they aren’t dead yet.

But no one would be foolish to let this lack of news happen. So instead we live in a world where sometimes there is news when there should be no news, and journalists are forced to write about journalists writing about journalists. Pop has eaten itself. Seems news is next on the cannibalistic circle. Which I suppose, all in all, comes back down to the important question of everyone just wondering what they’ll have for dinner.


I’m doing my first ever UK tour in less than a week! All dates and most ticket links are up at my website: Please spread the word and come along as if you’re not there, it’ll be rubbish. It’ll just be me in a room and if I can’t get 3G I’ll be really bored. The very funny Chris Coltrane is supporting me on some dates and the brilliant Keith Farnan is doing a double header with me on others.