Dear Friends

DF 31 - Frankly bananas

July 2003

Dear Friends,

The handsome fellow on the front page is our dear editor Steve Campbell in his party outfit. It is my fault that the photograph is out of focus; my idiot-proof digital camera was mistakenly set for macro... but then isn't everything now, DF # 26. (it may not have been idiot proof but neither was it drink proof and that goes for both the photographer and his subject - Ed)

I have worked and travelled throughout Europe since I was a sprog in this business. Early days had me performing with Roger Glover and Episode Six in Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich seven days a week, five shows a night, except Saturdays and Sundays when we did eight shows including a couple of matinees... sublime. Later with Deep Purple and other bands I have been to very many significant towns on this continent; and every other inhabited continent for that matter; as well as some delightful out-of-the-way places.

I have made friends in every European country. We have discussed beer, spanking, music, politics and sport. We have philosophised over goodness knows what until the Swiss cows come home. I lived en Paris for a year Rue de la Bienfaisance, arondissement huit and during that period developed a workable but mostly embarrassing Franglais.

I have chewed combs in Denmark I think, shared a dressing room with a large black bull in Spain. I've sung with Lucy in Modena and Chrissie in Rome. I partied with Lemmy in, er, can't remember. I have gone from Lisbon to Faro (via Seoul), where I had a holiday. I conducted a successful dawn raid in Arbonne. We had a moose go through the windscreen on the way from Stockholm to Narvik and... you get the picture.

The point I'm leading to is really about this lovely and richly diverse Europe.

Not long ago or was it recently? our dear manager was bitten on his ankle by the tour manager aka Spider, who unintentionally arrived from Australia in Italy by banana boat, thereby travelling without the necessary documents required to accompany certifiably acceptable fruit into the EU; so what went wrong?

Now, everything in this Idiotic Confederation oh yes it is! has become subject to its own wispy-moustachioed directive, and each directive is enforced by its own Wispy-Moustachioed Bureaucrat from hereon in collectively known as WMBs and whilst doing our unbidding they misplace, i.e. lose, as in 'can't account for', or as we used to say in Hounslow... throw down the toilet around a conservative estimate of two billion that's right 2,000,000,000 pounds per year in the administration section alone, Allegedly.

The aggressor-superpower that would be me feels that the stockpiling of WMBs in Brussels and in provincial depots such as London, Berlin, Rome, Madrid etc., is an imminent threat to my intellectual, moral and physical wellbeing, and let's not forget my freedom.

I have received top secret and vitally supportive intelligence from a high ranking press officer that these WMBs can strike willy nilly, anywhere within the current and projected EU, just 45 minutes after any diktat being dictated... but normally sooner.

In our Idiocracy, WMBs are bananas; that's right, Wispy Moustachioed Bureaucrats and Bananas are in fact the same thing; being paradoxically both lethal weapons and legal nuts.

Just imagine thousands of them falling out of the sky on your head and then rendering you immobile by tying you up in red tape... bad enough you might say, but afterwards to discover they were grey and rubbery, seedless, infertile and almost flavourless that would be the WMBs... and... the bananas... It would add humiliation to capitulation. No use going to The Hague, it is compromised and a part of the whole stitch-up.

Resistance is troublesome. Utter a word of reason and the Cavendish support group will swing into action; you shall soon be aware of Chinese whispers leading to accusations of Europhobia, Xenophobia, Sigatokaphilia, Fruitophobia and whisperingly Bureauphobia. Then inevitably you'll be charged with the hideous crime of Stereotypecasting, for which further legislation is afoot... strange really, when you stop to consider that they (sic) are trying to make us all the same and yet we can no longer criticise, or even worse joke about, any groupings of sameness without breaking the law.

After these accusations with their attendant hissing and finger pointing as a matter of course will come a thorough savaging, metaphorically in the media sub-judiciously of course, and literally round the ankles, spelling doom before you get anywhere near a court of real justice.

So, WMBs are both lethal and legal, as well as being a protected species... beyond criticism. But let's be fair, are they being misused by society? How many get thrown away uneaten... overripe or dried and shrivelled?

Knowing them well I suspect that WMBs are guarding against this by writing a new directive which forces their good selves to be consumed at the point of purchase. A quotient will be carefully introduced, ostensibly as a health measure to fight obesity. Thereinafter our potassium consumption will be mandated and subsequently monitored through local health centres and town halls. Offenders will be sent for a course of re-education at the International Network for the Improvement of Banana And Plantain (INIBAP), really it exists.

Here's an extract from some E.U. Idiocratic, and frighteningly enforceable legislation re: bananas...

III. SIZING
Sizing is determined by:

- the length of the edible pulp of the fruit, expressed in centimetres and measured along the convex face from the blossom end to the base of the peduncle,

- the grade, i.e. the measurement, in millimetres, of the thickness of a transverse section of the fruit between the lateral faces and the middle, perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis.

The reference fruit for measurement of the length and grade is:

- the median finger on the outer row of the hand,

- the finger next to the cut sectioning the hand, on the outer row of the cluster.

The minimum length permitted is 14 cm and the minimum grade permitted is 27 mm.

That is just a tiny section of the indigestible rubbish forced upon us at an ever increasing rate, oh did I forget the bendy bit?... Silly me... there's a regulation covering the curve in a banana; in all classes of banana, subject to special provisions and tolerances of course... all carefully detailed. Don't you feel insulted that the Idiocracy is spending your money on what fruiterers can do perfectly well without their help? Answer me... or I'll have you regulated!

In any event I doubt a single one of the bananas you will see on the new DP album artwork ever found its way into the EU. So what is ametre?

We are already eating GM foods; there are no information labels on bananas are there? All we get is a sticker bearing the brand of the producer, and that's worth checking out... Chiquita... hmm... sounds yummy!

We are told that the GM powers want to help countries like Africa; but we already have a world food surplus and the extra costs of spray and barren seeds will put these poor people further into debt, and ultimately more beholden to the enemy. Yes it is time to start using that word.

Look at Zimbabwe; through shameful inattention it has been allowed to be reduced unlike others who have been saved from themselves, or liberated from its proud soubriquet of being the 'Bread Basket of Africa' to a bankrupt and hungry nation; this is fertile ground for infertile crops and a permanent debt. All of the organic and conventional produce will disappear and the choice will be gone forever look what's happening in Canada. However, for the consideration of a small royalty we shall all be saved...

Is it true I wonder? The examination of four hundred 400 GM farms in America showed no increased yields, no improved nutrition and no reduction of spray use. If that is so then we must conclude that profit nothing wrong with profit in the scheme of things is the only reason for the promotion of a dangerously experimental program that is foreseeably both irreversible and disastrous. These people must be stopped. I will vote for a politician of any hue, who will fight this cause.

Stewart Wells, President of the National Farmers' Union of Canada, says the promises of higher yields and lower costs have not materialised. In fact '...this much heralded scientific revolution has brought only more expense, worries about contamination the birds and bees pay no attention to boundaries and, grimmest of all, a return to the use of highly toxic chemicals which should have no part in our modern food supply...'

In England our GM Science Review Panel was loaded with scientists employed by biotech monsters such as Monsanto and Syngenta. One of the few independents, Dr. Carlo Leifert professor of ecological agriculture at Newcastle University felt it necessary to resign when unbelievably Dr. Andrew Cockburn of Monsanto was asked to write the first draft of the report. It is no surprise... that report leaves the door open for GM production in England.

Stewart Wells, whose country spearheaded Frankenstein Crops, says we must be going mad.

Political pressure will build up as this becomes an issue and eventually the spin applied to the attrition and obfuscation will leave people bewildered as usual. Threats of embargoes and sanctions from those with a vested interest will eventually force these unpalatable ingredients down our throats for vast profits to you-know-who.

But...back to Europe…

...and those hideous…answerable-to-nobody... social engineers (Oh yes they are!).

Italy and Germany have been swinging handbags at each other over the great issues of beer and beach towels I love it, whilst the WMBs become visibly aroused handlebars even, bristling at the prospect of regulating these anomalies for the good of us all... But it will have to wait until they've sorted out the fine details of the sausage problem, the wine dichotomy can't wait for that one and the CDD's (Cheese Definition Department) difficulties with Cheddar a place and Feta a style... No, I'm wrong, it won't have to wait, it is rumoured hmmm that the Department of Information for Cultural Kitchen Habits that are Eating Away at our Demographic Stability I made that one up will immediately take up the cause, and we won't have to worry about it as we shall all be normalised very soon.

A sense of belonging and a sense of purpose is what we need to keep us happy, not regulation... and certainly not prohibition... that never worked. Have a little respect guys. Vive la difference as they say in France.

In 1971 when we decimalised in the U.K. all the traders rounded up their prices, thereby introducing the newly recovering non-Marshall-Plan public to a fresh word... inflation... Wow! You've never had it so good... oops!

Post-Euro prices have followed the same pattern haven't they... things are much more expensive... predictably.

You can't make any sense out of a common currency unless you are politically and culturally entwined like the U.S.A. and there's the problem. Vive la farging difference! As they say in Hounslow.

Ah well...

Cheers,
Ian Gillan

Copyright © Ian Gillan 2003

Bananas footnote:

English Health and Safety officers are the only enforcers in Europe to require a touring high-wire troupe of acrobats from Russia to wear... hard hats.

Something like this happens every day in England mad dogs that we are.

A recent questionnaire determined that English people are the most dishonest in Europe... in all but one respect and that is when filling out questionnaires; at which time they are most scrupulous... They say.
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