Eco-wittering is the new rock and roll (or “Toxic sludge is good for you”)

I see there is a biodiversity column in today’s local paper. The first article is devoted to beekeeping.

Oh joy. More eco-wittering: different excuse. Why do they bother? In fact, why do most of them even continue breathing?

I blame Felicity Kendal. It was The Good Life in the 1970’s that really kicked off self-sufficiency in the UK, not FOE – and definitely not ex-public schoolies living somewhere remote in Wales in a bender to break a smack habit. I should know, because…. (hangs head in shame)… I was a teenage FOE group member in 1975.

None of us got beyond earnest discussions in a college classroom presided over by a kindly lecturer. We never did turn up to the local canning factory and demand they took the cans back, as we kept threatening. In fact most of us were too weedy to step outdoors without getting a cold.

No, what really happened was that until then gardening was pipe-smoking bank managers in cardigans and their worn-out suit trousers tending roses. Not an image to attract the babes in those hedonistic days. But Felicity Kendal gave shy blokes false hope that if you took up this nonsense posh totty with Rank Starlet accents, who worried about butterflies and stuff, would fall at your feet.

As it happens, there were a few hippyish teenage Felicity Kendals studying floristry at the FE college where I was (nominally) on a music foundation course. So as well as the FOE group I duly affected an interest in flora and fauna, but to no avail. In fact, even for all my cool (motorcycle, writing about music, hanging out with name musicians of the day) they were out of reach for more than any London gig where I could blag them in as a “plus one”. Because, below the hippy veneer, in those days all any attractive woman was really after was the boss’s son in his MGB and a Tudorbethan house in the suburbs. Twas ever thus, well before Thatcherism, yuppies and unashamed materialism, and ever will be.

Though ever since the eighties there has been a steady stream of burnt-out financial high-fliers with substance dependencies to recover from. Where would any green group be without them, and where would evangelical churches find new clergy? Praise the Lord. Bless their livers and coke-scorched nasal septums, every one of them.

It’s no coincidence that when finance sector management pass their sell-by date former clients are euphemistically informed that they are on “gardening leave”, not sacked. For in their large gardens, along with other chemically damaged vegetables, is where you will inevitably find them.

Though, as it happens, there are bee-keepers on the staff of our company in various low tax locations around the world. Just another of those weird hobbies middle class nonentities take up to justify continuing to waste oxygen, I suppose. Well, beats climbing Everest, scuba-diving, marathon-running and all the other pathetic stunts other middle managers pull in their hols to get one up on each other and sound interesting.

Which they are so not, by the way. I must have slept through entire weeks of “inspirational” lectures from these buffoons in the last few years. Not one word they have uttered has made the slightest difference to my opinion of them or the company, which has always been that they are cretins, but being here pays the bills.

Anyway, I shall carry on saving the earth in my own idle way. By doing as little as possible, and not preaching to anyone about anything.


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