COLUMN: June 22, 2017

airplane_robert_hays_ted_striker_sweating_profusely
A picture from the film Airplane. I am too hot to think of an amusing caption

OCCASIONALLY it is good that you get to see behind the curtain. These columns do not just write themselves, you know? First, I have to get myself into a ridiculous situation, or become enraged by something petty. And then they write themselves.

But this week I have become angry about too many things. The lack of Cheshire cheese in smaller supermarkets, for instance, is getting my dander up. Smaller supermarkets used to have a decent selection of cheese, but now they have 14 different types of cheddar and a wedge of Parmesan.

I have also become angry about light blue shirts. I bought a light blue shirt this week, and there were five different pieces of plastic keeping it folded flat, along with the plastic wrapping, and four different pieces of cardboard.

Additionally, they do not work when the weather is warm. I wore it and within minutes it looked as if I had been lifted off a playground swing by a giant with wet hands.

I have also become annoyed by people who are unaccountably smug after not winning an election. Yes, I thought Jeremy Corbyn would lose seats for Labour, based on every single piece of evidence before the launch of the Tories’ “we’re going to take your house off you and cut your pension” manifesto, while your belief that the sainted Jezza would sweep to victory was based on blind faith.

But guess what? We were both wrong. Nevertheless, I was like a meteorologist who said it would rain all day based on weather patterns, while you were like somebody who said it would be sunny all day because you’d done a sun dance so it wouldn’t rain at the garden fete. And in the end it started raining at half past six in the evening.

The point is, you don’t get to be smug about being less comprehensively defeated than you thought you would be. A 6-5 loss is not a victory.

Out of all of these three, I am most angry about the supermarket cheese debacle. But I am not going to write about any of them, because it’s too damn hot and getting properly angry about anything requires far too much effort and will make me perspire like a Brexit campaigner taking a polygraph test.

Part of the trouble of writing columns for newspapers is that they have to be written a little in advance. And while it is hot as Hades as I write, there is a risk that by the time you read this we will all be talking about the Freak June Blizzards of 2017, especially if my Corbyn predictions are anything to go by.

But life is about taking risks. If it weren’t for risks, we would still be living in caves, which are cool in the summer, and warm in the winter, and I appreciate I am in danger of losing my own argument.

And so I am going to give you a number of tips on how to keep cool during a heatwave. The first tip is to live somewhere other than the United Kingdom. Countries which are used to the heat have developed coping mechanisms. Homes are built to keep out the worst of the heat, shutters are placed outside windows, air conditioning is installed, nets are hung around beds to stop mosquitoes.

British homes, however, are not built for days of deep blue skies and sun so hot it makes the air shimmer. British homes are built for drizzle. British homes say, “Come on in! There’s loads to eat in here,” to insects.

The second tip is to remember to buy a fan six months ago, when fans were available, rather than now, when the shelves are bare. Some people might think that a fan is worse than useless when the air is as stiflingly hot as it is now, and that it just moves warm air from one place to another, and that you might as well use a hairdryer, and I am not sure they are wrong.

The third tip is to try not to be annoyed with people who are surprised it is warm in June. These are the same people who draw attention to the drawing in of the nights in the autumn as if it is some sort of sign of The Great Darkness instead of something that happens every year.

Other than that, I have no advice. All I have is unfocused rage and three-shower days. Please send rain. And keep that curtain closed.
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