Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Workers' rights

I hear that the snake charmers have been campaigning for fair wages and decent working hours. Good for them. A dangerous job like that deserves a high rate of pay, even though any jungle dweller can see that it’s a colossal waste of time. It is not in the nature of a snake to be charmed by anyone, expect perhaps its mother or its paramour. Snakes have no concept of good manners and no interest in social intercourse with any non-reptilian creature. Better to leave them writhing in their juices rather than tooting them out of wicker baskets.

Being a rare talking gorilla, I could virtually set my own terms in my performing career. Yet when negotiating my salary with Mr McDougall, the proprietor of the circus, I insisted on a salary of no more than five times that of the next highest paid artiste.

“If we pay you that little, GB, I’m worried you might be poached by one of our rivals,” said the hard-headed Scotsman.

“Rest assured that I will not be tempted, Sir,” I replied, “for there are more important things to a gorilla than hard cash.”

My moderation and restraint earned me the respect of my fellow performers. They made me the big cheese in their staff association and a trustee of their pension fund – a bit like that American chap Jimmy Hoffmeister. Mr Becks, currently
gorging himself in the swill bucket of Los Angeles, would do well to take note.

I probably acquired my progressive outlook from the example of my human mentor, Dr Whipsnade. In spite of being a self-made millionaire, he always stood up for the rights of the little people. I once saw him refusing to cross a picket line outside Foyle’s Bookshop in London during an industrial dispute. “It’s my way of showing solidarity with the workers,” he explained, “instead of voting Labour which costs me money.”

There are limits to all this plebeian militancy though. Ever since my failed attempt to join the Communist Party, I have drawn the line at Bolshevism. Support the workers by all means, but there’s no need to skulk around with a sour face, treating everyone who’s got on in life as a class enemy, to be strung up – come the Revolution – from the nearest lamp post. As the late Tony Randall once said, millionaires are also a minority group. They know their rights and they’ve got the money to fight for them. Instead of antagonising them unnecessarily, how much better to co-opt them in worthy causes.

My favourite story about a philanthropic millionaire concerns Roy Attwater, the pot-noodle tycoon. He hired an Indian gardener to tend to the grounds of his holiday mansion in Florida, and the man kept the lawn and shrubs in prime condition. The most unpleasant aspect of his job was picking up turds deposited by the dog of an inconsiderate neighbour, who allowed it to run off the leash. Tiring of this annoyance, he set a trap involving raw meat suspended from a string attached to a carton of Madras curry power. The pooch took the bait and snorted a fair dose of the powder, causing it to scamper back home to Mummy, whimpering and sneezing in a state of some distress.

The dog's owner was a middle-aged woman called Mrs Silverman, who took the agitated animal to the vet, where it was sedated before getting its nasal tract purged. She then stormed to the Attwater residence to berate the gardener.

“Whaddya do to my Mookie?” she screamed. “We got laws protecting animals here! You’re not in Mexico!”

"Madam," replied the gardener, "during past month your dog is doing shittings all over this grass. Where are laws for this?"

Mrs Silverman was not won over by this explanation. She pressed charges against the gardener for cruelty, and when Mr Attwater heard of this he flew to Florida to negotiate with her in person.

"Mrs Silverman," he said, "I will reimburse you for your veterinary bills provided that you drop all charges against my employee and keep your pet off my property. If you persist in your complaint, I will ensure that my man has the finest legal defence that money can buy. I will also initiate a lawsuit against you for harassing him in his workplace.”

Mrs Silverman relented and accepted his terms.

A few months later, the gardener had to return to India for his sister’s wedding. Mr Attwater arranged for a thousand pots of
Bombay Bad Boy to be delivered on the day of her nuptials. It’s little gestures like this that separate men of quality from the riff-raff.

Labels: , , ,

Fascinating, I don't really understand snake charmers, apparently its the movements of the finger on the musical instrument which hypnotises them - which is rubbish because in the film "Jungle Book" the snake Ka (I think) used to hypnotise his prey before crushing them and eating them! Perhaps you can shed some light on this?

When you were in the circus did you jump throught burning hoops? ride a tiny bicycle? have a tea party?

excellent post by the way
I like the cut of Attwater's jib.

Though I do fear for Mr Beckham. He is something of an embarassment in his greed quest. I cannot help wondering whether or not the whole debacle was his wifes idea.

Hopefully, a large portion of his colossal paycheck will go to charity. If not, he may suffer a Hoffmeister-esque disappearance at the hands of some dangerous faction.
I had no idea snake charmers were employed. I thought it was a franchise affair.
I am just wondering how you put "snake charmer" on your cv...thanks for always providing us with unusual topics for discussion!
Phew...I don't think I'll be risking that Bombay Bad Boy....not at my age.
Hmmmm...shall have to ensure that my dog doesn't do any shittings on anyone's lawn in the future. Or I will have to be dealing with the curry powder, tumeric and God knows what else.
Beckham is called "Golden Balls"?
I saw snake charmers in Marrakech. At first I was all sorts of freaked out until it was discovered that the cobras had their mouths sewn shut with black thread. For reals. It was fucked up. And not in a good way.
It's nice to know that people have become rich catering to the culinary expertise of single, college aged males.

Once when I was in college, I made the American Pot-Noodle equivilent "Cup O' Rahmen" with beer. Quite tasty.

Frobisher : a snake has no ear for a tune but it can pick up vibrations. My main activity in the circus was slapstick comedy with the clowns. Glad you enjoyed the post. Tea Party! Ha!

Mosha: my fear is that Becks will bankrupt his new club when he fails to bring in the crowds. That's when he'll need eyes in the back of his head, possibly when taking a shower.

Baron: I think they want to be paid by the government for providing a public service.

Miss Chick: It would be a splendid thing to have on your cv and would surely impress your future employer.

DH: It might be worth a try when you're constipated.

Saleeha: Have you ever wondered why dogs can't dig a hole in the earth like cats?

Laverne: I believe that Goldenballs was also the name of a charity appeal in the UK to defend a satirical magazine against a libel suit.

Kara: I don't like snakes, but that's nasty. You've got quite a few animal phobias, Missy. Have you ever thought how scared most animals are of you? And humans too.

Randall: I esteem you greatly for admitting that you once found a pot noodle tasty.
I want to know how you learn to snake charm? Is it a skill passed down from father to son or do you one day just pick up the flute and hope you knock the snake out before it bites you. . .

Am I sitting right now without knowing my full potential in snake charming skills?
Though it must be said I HAVE charmed a few in my time. . .
Nonono. The snakes' fascination with the snake charmer has nothing to do with vibrations or movement or even pure artistic appreciation for a tune divinely tootled.

If you look at the picture, it seems obvious that they are mesmerized by the two gerbils the charmer is storing in his cheeks. The twitchy roiling of his cheek flesh must be driving the snakes mad with predatory desire and anticipation. They are poised to strike whenever a gerbil breaks free of its pinkish prison.

Gerbils are the snakes' equivalent of pot noodles; not terribly good for a reptile but warm and salty and satisfying for the busy snake-on-the-go. And there's no fiddling about with hot water.

Its sickening to hear that snakes have their mouths sewn closed. Is there any way I can unknow that now, do you think?
Yup, those charmed snakes really do get the raw deal. Having their mouths sewn shut, though, isn't very common, because the charmers like them hissing. Adds some attraction, you see. Apparently, a snake without hiss is like... well, a snake without hiss.

But they do like to tie up the venom glads, or even completely remove the venom glands. Once the snake grows weak, or doesn't look so shiny anymore, they just throw the snake out into the wild, where it's sure to die a painful death, since it can't hunt without its venom, and moreover, it's also completely defenseless.

It's em snakes that are sure to join a Bolshevik revolution.
I'd write inflammatory pamplets for snakes such as these, witnwisdumb.
I'd like to know what are the more important things to a gorilla than hard cash. Do gorillas use credit cards or even carry wallets?

As for the snakes without venom, I humbly suggest they benefit from the new job opportunities as Eartquake detectors...brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "did the earth move for you?"
goddammit janet - EARTHQUAKE I meant
GB, you should keep your socialist conscience, unlike Mr Ben Elton who used to do socialist stand up in the eighties and now smarms up to the royals like a total toady.
GB: it strikes me you have such a welcome balanced outloo - have you ever donsidered a political life?
Queenie: you're so charming you'd make a snake self abuse if it knew you were going to charm it.

Sam: Don't rodents themselves have cheeks like that when their mouths are full?

Witnwis: I expect that's why it's banned in India.

Goth: More important to a gorilla than hard cash is the ability to shake one's booty to the rhythm of the jungle. I never carry money - I run a tab at most places.

Asym: Was he the cockney comedian who spoke very quickly? I never knew he was even in a position to toady to the British royalty.

Pat: I don't really care enough about human affairs to be a politician. My interest is detached, like a historian studying the Roman republic.
GB - yes, he is a (former) cockney comedian who now writes books, plays, musicals and large cheques to saville row tailors to pay for his bespoke suits.
It's my own view that the snakes themselves should have been asking for a raise - or a few thousand pots of Bombay Bad Boy.
I myself worked as a snake charmer for some years - I can confirm that the snakes only humour the human flute players, they are not charmed at all. Pot Noodle is one of my stock diet items, I make them with milk for breakfast!
What DO you do if a dog is relieving himself on your lawn? I mean, it's not the dog's fault ...if ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

Owners need to take more responsibility. Like they say, if aliens ever landed, they would think dogs were the dominant species because humans were picking up their poo.

What do gorillas do? Do you live in a zoo Gorilla Bananas? Do you have humans pick up after you?
Miss Italian Chick, was that a intentional double entendre? I image that the mention of snake charming skills would certainly get you ahead in business however it may not be worth the pot-noodle.
Too many snake charmers in India...
I wouldn't be too jealous of Becks, it is a little known fact that he was born without a brain, which, luckily, does not mean he cannot perform football, or oral sex on Posh.
I don't have a phobia of snakes. But that doesn't mean I don't hesitate when there's 3 or 4 of them swaying ten feet away from me. Black thread or no black thread...I've seen The Jungle Book...I know what's up.
Don't gorillas through their crap at other gorillas??
Gee, that sounds like parliament.

- Shirley
Oops...I spelled Throw wrong...I am an idiot.
Asym42: You are well informed about the man. I hope his suits are tasteful.

Atyllah: I must say I feel a lot more sympathy for snakes after Witnwisdumb's comment.

Mutley: Are you trying to make us sick? What would Mu Tai think of noodles and hot milk?

Laverne: The owners are to blame for not training them to dig holes in the earth and poop into them. If dogs are so intelligent, why can't they do what cats do? I have long since retired to the Congo and live near a safari camp.

Baron: I'm sure it wasn't intentional. Miss Chick is as pure-hearted as a Dickens heroine.

Gautami: Isn't it illegal in India?

Emma: I've got nothing against Becks and I'm sure he knows how to please Posh. Incidently, thank you for mentioning oral sex in my blog. Others have said it before, but it means so much more from your lips.

Kara: What did you think of Ka's song, Trust in me? I thought it was great. Actually, I'd love to hear you sing it wearing spiderwoman costume. You must get into show business.

Shirley: Why would we do that? Coconuts are far more lethal than crap, but we don't often throw them because we're pacifists.
I love pot noodles..... I was going to write a witty riposte , but sadly I am now going to spend the time thinking about Noodles instead.
Chicken and mushroom pot noodle is food of the gods
I've just seen that apparently they're also planning to get rid of the snakes altogether...

Snake Charming with no snakes. Interesting.
On workers rights I neither want to be the oppressor or the oppressed.
My old friend Al Murray makes noodles with beer - not a bad idea really.
Beast, man, you gotta get some cooking lessons. Aren't you embarrassed that Mu Tai might read your comment?

Welcome, "b", but your link doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Charlie, I think you've expressed the moral of the post.

Mutley, were you at Oxford with Al?
Whilst it may be antisocial and bereft of social graces, I do pity the snake.
Any creature that can't wipe it's own arse and has to drag its body through its own fecal expulsions deserves to be pitied.
That kind of humiliation by design can only breed resentment towards creatures that can raise their bodies enough to avoid sporting odeur de merde, let alone having the ability to remove any klingons with the aid of a suitably large leaf or TP.
A boa constrictor is a valuable asset to any trade union when it's time to put the squeeze on the bosses.
I have to say, I'm rather confused... however I must admit I would still love to see some more snake charmers out on the streets despite my phobia of snakes.
Pot Noodle class war?

Yessss - at last.

Let's watch my GBH boxset to get in the mood.
Nice blog. Thanks
Thanks Paulo. I'm confused as well, Paddy. Is "Klingon" a new word for "shit"? If so, wouldn't that be racist?
GB allow me to enlighten.
Klingon, also spelled as cling on.
Bits and pieces that 'cling on', but Klingons may well take offence to that.
As far as I'm concerned they can take 5 miles of fence.
Wouldn't want be around when they do though.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Follow my blog with Bloglovin