How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.
I have recently finished reading Hag-seed, Margaret Atwood’s retelling of The Tempest. I’m only just getting around to experiencing Shakespeare’s plays (curtailed, unfortunately, by the current Covid crisis) but I’ve yet to see The Tempest performed. This didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the novel; Atwood writes a good story.
Our jug kettle succumbed to the rigours of builder’s tea-making during our kitchen renovation and this week it entirely gave up the ghost. Actually, it was more in line with taking on a daemon spectre; the thing would continue boiling well past its safe limit, ignoring its thermo-switch, and then began to emit a noticeable odour of burnt plastic. We feared for our new kitchen so set off to the nearest Argos Catalogue Showroom to click-and-collect a new one.
As it meant going into town, we stopped at the out-of-town butcher’s shop afterwards and bought some dog food. This is minced from the odds and offal which are deemed unsellable to humans, but the dog isn’t fussy. We also bought a shoulder of pork for us for Christmas Day.
As Covid is still out there, I stayed in the car listening to the radio. I didn’t know what to expect but there was some sort of magazine programme on Radio 4, presented by a woman’s voice; a patronising one, I thought. She was interviewing a young man who was selling make-up for men. It was agreed by both voices that this was nothing new; men had been wearing make-up at different times throughout history. I wondered if this made it okay.
Make-up is used to enhance and to hide. The man himself admitted to suffering from negative perceptions of self-image, beginning with acne in his teens which he covered up with his sister’s foundation. And so the idea formed: make-up products specifically designed with men in mind.
Next up was a scientist – clearly highly educated though still talked down to by the interviewer – who had taken part in some Extinction Rebellion protests. She had two dependent children yet still thought a spell in prison could be a good thing if it helped the cause. She sounded proud to have broken a window in the Dept. of the Environment building, justifying it by claiming unspecified crimes committed by our government against the environment. This may be so but you wonder how busting in a pane of glass helps. Someone will have to clear it up, hopefully with conscience take it to recycling where the fragments will at some cost be made into something useful – aggregate bedding for new roads, for example (ironic for an environmental cause?) – but not quite as good as a perfectly sound and otherwise long-lasting window.
Back home, I was asked via email to give my view on a Channel 4 advert for dog food, (coincidentally). This was an unusual product being made from “insects”. After I’d answered questions on the effectiveness of the advert, it showed a longer piece of infomercial about the food. The insects are actually fat larvae fed on an industrial scale on waste vegetation. These are then cooked up with potatoes,other vegetables, and added minerals, and formed into nutritional dry pellets to feed to cats and dogs.
Apparently, there are more dogs in the developed world than citizens of the United States and 20% of the west’s meat production goes to feed pets. Meat production, as a whole, always risks either being too intensive – bad for the animal, bad for the product – or using far too much land when considering “ethical” farming, such as free-range methods. Not to mention the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.
It starts with the dogs but I guess we’ll all be eating fat grubs ground up with potatoes, and fortified with vitamins and minerals, in time.