I went to church yesterday. Getting churched-up isn’t part of my regular routine, I’ll be the first to admit, but it was a lovely sunny morning, and Scary Jr was on church parade with his scout group. It was, all told, a rather pleasant experience, with songs (apparantly they’re called “Hymns”, and they’ve got a WHOLE book of them), near-the-knuckle jokes from the bloke at the front who dresses like Eddie Izzard, and a nice lady at the back who does tea and biscuits.
Enthused by the spirit of the occasion, I bowed my head, thanked Him upstairs for my family and in return promised not to swear quite so much. Arses. Whoops.
Now, I’m not a total ingoramus with churchy things. The whole idea of spirituality is the result of a complex set of belief systems deriving from folk superstitions,and evolving into a vast organised religion with disparate value systems which pervade the lives of many, whether they realise it or not. See? I’ve got a certificate from the Open University that qualifies me to write this kind of bollocks.
Take the act of Communion for example. Communion is representative of Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples, which was closely followed by The Last Argument Over The Bill. “I thought Judas was paying - he’s come into some money.” The bread is representative of Christ’s body, and the wine is his blood. We protestant types know this is purely symbolic. The bread is bread, the wine is a quid a gallon from Threshers. Catholics, on the other hand, take this as gospel. As soon as the sacrament touches the lips, it truly becomes the body and blood of Our Lord and Saviour.
Now here’s the nub. What happens if you’re a veggie? It’s OK telling yourself it’s just a biscuit and a sip of free booze, but then you’re denying that you’ve got your gnashers round a big chunk of meat. And then, it’s terribly non-specific. Which bit are you getting? For all you know, you might be munching on a bit of His arse, or far, far worse. Have the health inspectors been informed? There are clear food preparation guidelines to this, and they don’t involve a nice tablecloth and two chunky candles. I think we should be told - it makes the whole issue of gay bishops pale into insignificance.
So everybody queued up, got their bread and wine - which I politely refused as I was scared of making an arse of myself - and returned to their pews. With all-comers perfectly happy with their lot, one slight detail became all-too-clear to the vicar. He’d blessed-up far too much bread and wine, and the altar was swimming in the stuff like a kitchen table after a barbecue.
It turned out to be no real problem for the vic. He scooped up a huge handful of wafers and forced them into his mouth, cheeks bulging like a chipmunk, and followed it down with a quaff of wine, hoping nobody had noticed. I was mortified. One tiny wafer - fine. You could easily get away with that. But a whole pile of the things? That’s just greedy. It is, in fact, rather a large part of Our Lord which He might have wanted to use later. And let’s not forget all that wine as well. In the words of the great prophet Tony Hancock: “A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!”
I decided to have the issue his unashamed gluttony out with him after the service, as I’m well aware that it is one of the seven deadly sins. Not just run-of-the-mill sins. Deadly ones. As the faithful streamed out, blinking, into the sunlight, I caught him in a half-nelson and forced a confession from his quivering lips.
“Sirrah!” I raged, aiming a punch at his kidneys, ”You are nothing but a gluttonous, hypocritical murderer and the lizard-spawn representation of the Illuminati that crushes the human spirit underfoot in a global conspiracy to control our minds and bodies! What say you to that, eh?”
Or I could have just shaken his hand meekly and say “See you again soon.” After all, I’m overdrawn at the Bank of Eternal Damnation as it is.
And did I say he was a vicar? As a matter of fact, I found out he’s a canon. Tell him he’s fired.
Mel Brooks. Where do you start with Mel? There’s no two ways about it- the man is a comedic genius. When he hits the spot, he can produce some of the funniest moments you’ve ever seen. There’s people who’ve never seen The Producers that know about Springtime for Hitler. The words “Walk this way”, always have me acting like Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein, and Blazing Saddles, the whole film is a cult. On his day, Brooks is simply unstoppable. So, how did we end up with the dog’s dinner that is Spaceballs?
Spoof movies are not funny. Never. Ever. If you’re lucky, the one joke may be stretched out over ninety minutes and you might just get away with it. Unfortunately, when Brooks tried to spoof Star Wars in 1987, the joke lasted for about ten minutes, and it wasn’t a particularly funny Jewish gag to start with.
Let’s put it this way. I went to see this film in the cinema. I sat down with three other people, and having paid my money I decided to see it through to the end. As the end credits rolled, there were two of us left. I thanked the usherette and left. I think I laughed once, and the rest wasone groan after the other as yet another gag missed the target and crawled into a corner to die.
There’s people out there who think this is one of the funniest films ever made. What’s wrong with you? Were you dropped on your head like a child, or have you simply spent too long sniffing felt tip pens? Spaceballs is not funny. Go out an buy Blazing Saddles and forgive Mel Brooks for the evil he has wrought on your life.
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