Thursday, August 03, 2006

Column, August 1, 2006

WELL, having served my time in the trenches of show reporting I have to say I feel a little cheated.
I’ve done my bit for British agriculture – interviewed show judges who swear they can tell one sheep from another; talked to rosy-cheeked men who actually know what suckler premium means and picked my way between the cowpats in a search for elusive winning breeders.
Back in the day I developed the thousand-yard stare as the editor cast about the office for someone to send out in the agricultural hinterlands.
“Banks, you’ve got a pair of wellies haven’t you? I’ve got just the job for you.” And off I’d go into the fields to dutifully file my reports from the showground.
Now, I’m not making any claims to have been a hot-shot reporter, but I believe that if any pole-dancing had been going on, I might just have twigged it was a bit of a story. And anyway, even if I didn’t, I was usually paired with a photographer about as libidinous as a goat on heat and if any stripping had been going on he would have been in there snapping away for posterity and the darkroom wall.
So, now my show days are long behind me, trust the Royal Welsh to stage a show more akin to Vegas than the Valleys.
And trust the Royal Welsh to respond in a manner as po-faced too.
Investigations have been launched, action is being considered and a mountain is being constructed where once resided a molehill.
Gentlemen of a nervous disposition may wish to look away now as I am about to talk about thongs, and not the sort of thong you find on sandals.
After a celebration to mark Enzo Sauro’s winning of a contract to supply beef to M&S a young lady performed a striptease, on a table.
It gets worse.
She was then hosed down with water, shock, horror, with water used to clean the cattle.
Security staff who rushed to the scene – well, yes, they would wouldn’t they, I dare say I might have managed a brisk trot if I’d got wind of what was happening – struggled to grab hold of her slippery body.
Her thong, of which she had divested herself during the impromptu striptease (although there doesn’t seem to have been much teasing about it) was returned to he on the end of a pitchfork.
Past chairman of the Welsh Black Cattle Society OG Thomas was incensed, saying it ‘lowers the standards of the Royal Welsh.’
Mr Sauro has denied any connection with the strip, saying that what the young lady does in her social hours is up to her.
Anyway, witnesses were upset, the ‘incident’ was reported and now the WBCS is writing to all its 1,000 members about it.
Hopefully the change in the weather will allow those so quick to complain to cool down a bit.
This young woman might have hit upon the very answer to Wales’s ailing farming industry.
All the time we hear tales of young people leaving farming and the countryside for better-paid jobs in cities.
You don’t get pole-dancing in cattle-sheds when you do an office job now do you?
And let’s not be sexist about this, I’m sure there are plenty of buffed-up farm hands out there who could have entertained the ladies atop a table should they have been so minded on that hot night at the Royal Welsh.
They already had record crowds at the show this year. Wait until news of the extra entertainment gets out and watch them flocking in.
Alright, they might be seedy little men in dirty raincoats, but hey, paying visitors are paying visitors. And perhaps they can take up the baton in the WI tent – after all, they’ve got form for stripping off haven’t they?
This is an idea that’s got legs…and arms…and, well, you get the picture.
Why can’t the sheepdog trials join in too? Every time the dog makes a mistake, the shepherd loses an item of clothing. That would make them take care with their whistling wouldn’t it?
The Royal Welsh Show – Now With Added Nudity – I think we’re onto a winner.

NOT five months ago I wrote about the national media’s obsession with weather and its inability to distinguish between a wintry spell and a natural disaster that was going to freeze us all in our beds
I predicted that as summer approached the reverse would be true and a few consecutive days of sun would see the ‘Phew, what a scorcher’ headlines dusted off and lo and behold that’s what we’ve got.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with reporting that it’s hot, or that we’ve broken a few records, as happened on Anglesey a couple of weeks ago.
But where it gets slightly silly is when papers portray one hot summer as proof of global warming.
One irony of global warming is that, in all likelihood, Wales and the UK will actually get colder, because the Gulf Stream that warms our shores will stop flowing.
And can we please come up with some better advice to those wishing to cool down than ‘Drink plenty of water. Sit in the shade’ Millions of years of evolution have made us do that instinctively and anyone who doesn’t ought perhaps to lose their place in the gene pool anyway.
Britain is a temperate country and the hot weather will be followed by relentless wind, rain and grey cloud as autumn sets in.
Buy some ice cream and enjoy the weather while it lasts.

LAST week’s column about the paedophile protests in Plas Madoc brought a stream of complaints from those who took part.
Let’s be clear about a few thing shall we?
The people of that area have a right to protest, as I have a right to criticise them.
But as I said to those who complained to me in person – to simple say ‘Paedos Out’ doesn’t really come up with an answer to the problem. Nor does it show the protesters in the best light either.
No-one wants paedophile living in their midst. But unless they are jailed for life – and we can have a whole other debate about how many of them that should happen to – they are always going to be let out into some community somewhere.
If we sited special hostels for them away from all civilisation, they would simply abscond and then where would we be? What we as a society do with this sort of offender is a complex question and placard-waving doesn’t really get us anywhere near an answer.

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