Chips. Cheese. Things. Words

We’re a little bit worried about Fat Roland, our resident columnist. This month, despite promising he wouldn’t keep taking the tablets, he’s talking about his BRIAN ENO HOT PANTS again

illustration: sean coen

The cheesy chips I just wolfed down are the blandest thing I’ve ever tasted. I’d have been better off licking a cardboard cut-out of Michael Bublé. They’re sitting at the top of my stomach like a wet armchair. A carbohydrate paperweight. 

Cheesy chips never used to be this lumpen. Maybe my taste buds have finally died. Or maybe this is a sign of the times. Everything’s congealing into a pallid paste. We’re so damp from a constant drizzle of terrible news and trolls and Trump, we dry ourselves with comfort blankets: Saturday night television, Facebook memes, songs by Pharrell Williams.

No-one is immune to this. History’s littered with bands that went from awesome to yawnsome: U2, REM, the Manics, my Uncle Tony’s hardcore rave skiffle troupe. Moby was once a hot little political potato, yet he became commercial mash when he licensed his songs to every advertising agency everywhere. Mega DJ Calvin Harris started out sharper than the needles that dropped on his records, but even he’s in a feedback loop of soundalike singles. Dubstep used to sound like music rising from forest graves, a glorious and wild energy, but now it’s Jive Bunny-ed itself with CDs of popular hits set to dubstep beats. Yeesh, I just shuddered.

Take washing machines. When I want to wash my Fat Roland bloomers, I stick them in the basket with my One Direction onesie and my Brian Eno hot pants, then I shove the whole lot into my washing machine. Simple. On the front of the machine is a dial. There are endless symbols on the dial, some of which I presume are messages from the Egyptian Illuminati. Which symbol is the setting I choose? Four. Always the one that says “four”. 

I don’t know what it does, but four is the only number my old brain can cope with. The younger Fat Roland would have pressed so many symbols, he’d have unlocked a room in ‘The Crystal Maze’. The younger Fats would have rewired the washing machine into the noisiest homemade Moog in the world. But no. Four. The dullest number.

As I write this, my brain’s full of ‘Downton Abbey’ and caravan holidays and Br*xit and stuff and other stuff and more other stuff. See, even my imagination has lost interest in this column. There was a time when this page was good, but now it’s just clumps of dreary words. Even that sentence is comprised of single syllable words. Words. Words. Four. Stuff. Things. Words. Words. Chips. Cheese. Things. Words. Words. Words.

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