Home » 'Impossible things' » With the utmost gravity

With the utmost gravity

Huzzah for Big Science!

Yes, gravity… well, there it is. We knew apples fall from trees, and why. We just didn’t quite believe it. But now we know.

Experts have explained. It’s all got to do with a big rubber sheet.

You see, when you drop a heavy ball on a rubber sheet it rolls down and makes a dent in the middle. And that’s gravity!

Some of the weedier boys at my prep school had to sleep on rubber sheets, so I don’t find it hard to picture the space-time continuum as Einstein predicted it would look, sort of thin and stretchy and smelling of urine.

Apparently, after twenty years of staring at the cosmos through a special gravity telescope, last September to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the publication of Einstein’s Theory of Life, the Universe and Everything science experts detected a wave of actual gravity, a billion light-years away.

It was making a high-pitched squeaking noise.

It might be that Schroedinger’s Cat caught a mouse and is torturing it to death in my bathtub. It’s that sort of noise, a desperate plea for mercy. But it’s more likely to be the rubbery squeak of two black holes, eating one another up in a frenzied porno sort of way.

It doesn’t explain why we’ve had gravity for quite a long time, 400 years, and no-one could find it before. Was it a gravity wave passing by that caused the apple to fall on Isaac Newton’s well-filled head? Were there other waves that got here sooner, we just didn’t notice? Is a gravity wave like light, you never know where it’s going to turn up and when it’s not a wave it’s more like random bits of tiny stuff?

So, if gravity comes in waves, how come we don’t rock up and down and feel nauseous all the time? Why only now? And is finding gravity waves really going to change everything, like the experts are saying? Like, in future will we have gravity computers and gravity cars and gravity burgers and gravity action movies and gravity bombs?

Perhaps we should be told.

Still, there’s a few Nobel prizes gravitating towards those scientists, I feel.


An international bind

So it’s crunch week for Cameron. Can he get a deal in Europe that makes Britain a special case forever?

The question ought to be, why did he get himself on this hook in the first place? There is no evidence that EU ‘migrants’ come to Britain just to claim benefits. It’s bollocks. For a start, they’re not migrants. They have a perfect right to live and work anywhere in the EU. Just as we do. For now.

If he had just held a referendum on the basis of the status quo, but put a sufficiently persuasive case, without undermining the already fragile British faith in EU institutions, if he hadn’t allowed immigration to become an issue, but had negotiated on the basis of a Europe-wide agreement rather than making it an in-out ultimatum, he might very well have won.

As it is, the deal is so weak and unenforceable that he is likely to lose.

This poor Old Etonian booby should never have been elected Prime Minister.

He doesn’t have the intellect. He doesn’t have the judgement. He doesn’t have the depth.


Minding your Bs and Qs

Please understand, I worked for 15 years as a copywriter in ad agencies.

So I’m no stranger to the more dishonest literary confections with which companies desperately seek to dress-up unpopular decisions.

About four years ago, for instance, in an effort to clean up its image and attract institutional buyers for the shares we taxpayers paid billions for to rescue their incompetent, semi-criminal executives during the 2008 debacle, having failed to sell their sorry asses to the even more corrupt and insolvent Co-Operative Bank, my own bank decided in its panic to dump a few million of its less well-off customers into a new ‘plain wrapper’ subsidiary, TSB.

TSB had once upon a time been the Trustee Savings Bank, a mutual that got swallowed up in the 1980s by the slavering raptor that was Lloyds Banking Group – coincidentally, a client for whom I wrote a lot of advertising copy in the day.

Telling me by letter that I was too poor and indebted to make the cut, the copy-weasel advised me that my account was being moved to TSB ‘to increase my consumer choice’.

Of course, the choice on offer was, allow us to move your worthless account after 30 years man-and-business to the last-chance money saloon, or fuck off and die. In other words, no choice at all.

I was somewhat alarmed yesterday to see Everything Must Go! posters plastered all over my local branch of B&Q, the world’s fourth largest DIY shed chain owned by Kingfisher Group, former destroyers of the popular Woolworth high-street brand (they couldn’t compete with Everything £1 shops).

I could only assume they must be completely incompetent businessmen, because further investigation revealed what had escaped my radar last year, that they were closing half their B&Q stores nationwide.

This is especially inconvenient for me as I had their kitchen designer round to do an estimate a couple of months ago and was proposing shortly to have my kitchen refurbished, and do some other redecorating, and now the only places in town offering the potential to find the stuff I need are three tiny, understocked backstreet deco shops, basically ironmongers whose grasp on 21st-century fashion in interior design is tenuous to say the least.

Faced with a 35-mile drive to the next B&Q along, and with a 30-mile drive in a different direction if I want lumber, you can imagine the effect on my already ground-down, expensive porcelain dentures when I Googled to check-out the situation and picked up the following load of horse-shit from a last-autumn’s news archive:

“Over the coming years B&Q will be transforming its offer to customers as part of an ongoing initiative to enhance home improvement retailing.

“To respond to the changing needs of customers and how they live and shop, B&Q is changing the shape of its store network across the UK.”

You mean you’re closing our store, shitbrains, because you can’t make enough money in the modern world to keep it open. So going online is the last fling of your particular dice, right? Where you’ll be competing with Everything £1 again? Choking my road up with your delivery trucks?


Why not just admit to what a bunch of useless, incompetent, freeloading pricks you appointed to your board, Kingfucker? Or would that have screwed the share price, and your Xmas bonus?

Worse, the magnificent incentive we’re being offered to buy up all the bankrupt stock is “10% Off Everything!”

Maybe if you’d knocked 10% off your fancy prices in the first place you wouldn’t be in this situation now?

I think I’ll wait, thanks.


A lightbulb moment

So, gradually, gradually the weather starts to improve.

Hurricane Imogen passed on, leaving our seafront trashed again. One day they will open the new bandstand, but maybe not in my lifetime.

Since then, it’s been cold, but we’ve had two consecutive dry days, the first time that’s happened since October. Upside, it’s hazy but blue, and the sun is shining once again through my expensive UV-resistant double glazing on Avi, the light-starved avocado tree.

She’s still getting the enormous daylight bulb treatment every day. I’m not really sure if plants know what time of day or night it is. Do they just need 12 hours of full-spectrum irradiation in every 24, or does it have to be between the right times, like imaginary sunrise to sunset if they were living in Portugal? Is Portugal on GMT?

Because that’s asking too much of me, honestly. Dawn in the man-cave tends to arrive at about 10 a.m. when I get up, and sunset occurs at about 11.30 p.m. when I toddle off. I should perhaps put a note on the screen to remind me of the time. I see that science experts are hoping to trial various anti-Alzheimer’s drugs in the near future, but I think I’ll just stick to Post-Its.

No pun intended.

As you know, I cannot throw away a cardboard box, and yesterday I was sadly reading the upside-down text on the box Avi’s bulb came in, which is on top of a cupboard in the kitchen, and it says it has ‘intelligent technology’.

There’s convergence for you: a lightbulb with intellect.

Anyway, she seems a bit happier now.




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