This week, Sour Times sees that the grass is not greener and that people are just as dumb on the other side of the world.
A rare occurrence took place at Sour Towers last week, with the arrival of an actual letter amongst the cheap pizza menus and religious pamphlets promoting insanity, and it was with unreserved joy that I received birthday greetings from my great-uncle Griffiths, currently resident in Australia. The old-timer’s scrawlings seemed to report a sun-drenched land of bliss and contentment, where alongside streets free of puddles, tramps and dog shit, one had the perfect environment for the enrichment of the soul. So Neighbours was real all along…?
Sadly it would appear not if the major story of the week to come from our antipodal cousins was anything to go by. This was of course the week that we heard the harrowing tale of a leisurely horse ride gone haywire for the hapless Nicole Graham in Geelong, Victoria. The Mail Online took the lead in bringing the UK the full story of Nicole’s ordeal, as she stayed by her horse’s side for three ‘desperate’ hours as rescuers ‘battled’ to pull Astro from mud ‘like quicksand’ (which they did, and both owner and horse were fine). The Mail even managed to squeeze in an incredible 14, large colour pictures of the non-event, resplendent with captions such as ‘Tidal Terror’ ‘To the Rescue’, and the simple, yet moving, ‘Emotional’.
Now, I’m not here to cheer on the death of dumb animals that are ridden into the mud by their even dumber owners, but what I take exception to is the way this contrived drivel has exactly the desired effect on its audience. Hollie from Scotland comments at the end of the Mail’s piece: ‘It’s not often I read something on this website as inspiring as this. Truly heartwarming, what a courageous woman.’ What exactly does this inspire you to do Hollie? Surely anyone would have stayed by the horse if it was their fault the bloody thing was up to its eyes in mud in the first place for f**k’s sake? Get a grip woman. This is a story of stupidity, not courage.
The reaction in Australia followed in the same vein as those in the Mail, with Kew’s musings summing up the mood on news.com.au by calling Nicole a ‘wonderful owner’ and claiming this to be ‘the best news story I’ve read in ages.’ Really? Had she shoved her daughter into the gloop, would she now be up for the title of Corio Bay Mother of the Year just for remaining at the scene of her idiocy?
Why can’t we see stories like this presented in an appropriate manner, and, as dragonflyuk states in the comments section of the article on the Sky News website, this kind of news should act as ‘light relief’ from reports ‘about wars, death and misery etc.‘ Fair enough, I completely agree. So from now on we can drop the gasping headlines and dramatic language, and instead give this kind of news the treatment it deserves. How about ‘Muddy Hell Mate!’, ‘I’ve had a Muddy Mare!’ or some such headline, a true reflection of the buffoonery behind the non-story, then we can all have a laugh at the unimportant details and be grateful it’s not us at the heart of so embarrassing a yarn?
So I’m afraid to report that its conclusive; the land down under isn’t some sunny haven offering shelter from all that makes us sour over here, and in a country where News International completely dominate the media – Murdoch’s mob publish an incredible 22 different newspapers in Australasia – their public appetite for pointless news appears just as voracious as our own.
I’ll leave you with a heroic anecdote of my own, not unlike Miss Graham’s in fact, whereby I got a van stuck in thick mud in the car park of Whipsnade Zoo a few years ago, and even stayed bravely by the vehicle’s side throughout the ordeal, before a bloke in a tractor pulled it out. Through sheer embarrassment I would have likely gone to my grave without ever telling another soul the events of that monumental day, but it seems I had it wrong; my story would have been an inspiration to people the world over. It’s just a shame Astro has stolen my thunder now…