Episode 16

Max talks to infectious disease doctor and presenter of CBBC’s ‘Operation Ouch’, Dr Chris Van Tulleken, about the Coronavirus pandemic.

This episode contains no strong language, and is suitable for younger listeners.

Episode 15

Max talks about the General Election with special guest, actor, director and writer, Mark Gatiss. Contains frequent strong language.

If you enjoy listening to Twenty Minutes Max, please consider subscribing to Spiller Of Tea Premium, where you may support my future work whilst gaining access to loads of exclusive articles, videos, music and bonus podcast material.

Jo Swinson ‘well up for a bit of mass murder’

Liberal Democrats leader, Jo Swinson, confirmed last night that she is totally fucking down with the idea of indiscriminately murdering millions of defenceless civilians in a colossal fucking fireball.

In addition to the instant vaporisation of millions of men, women and children, Ms Swinson was also quick to state that she’d be totally chilled about the slow deaths of hundreds of thousands of others from the resulting full-body burns and nuclear fallout.

“We’ve positioned ourselves as the natural home of One Nation Tories,” Swinson explained, “and if there’s one thing Tories like more than anything, it’s lighting Johnny Foreigner right the fuck up.”

People with a sense of basic decency were quick to decry the comments of the ‘candidate for Prime Minister’, with many worrying that she might be some kind of dead-eyed sociopath.

“Who in the name of all shit just answers ‘yes’ when they’re asked if they’d deploy a nuclear weapon?” asked Jeff, a bookstore owner with an aversion to the gleeful slaughter of innocent people.

“I mean, obviously a flat ‘no’ would have been ideal, but there are a million, highly nuanced shades of grey between that and ‘of course I’ll lay waste to whole cities and their entire populations in a few seconds’, any of which would have been less likely to make me view her as a treacherously irresponsible shithead.

Sharon, a primary school teacher from Orpington, agreed:

“I dunno if I was more enraged by Swinson’s glib callousness or the interviewer’s characterisation of her response as a ‘brilliant, short reply’. Is this where we are now? That a one word, affirmative answer to the question of whether you’d commit untold atrocities is considered ‘brilliant’? Why the fuck are people like this?”

When asked to clarify her comments, the Lib Dem leader remained steadfast in her resolve:

“Did I stutter, motherfucker?” she spat, as she lowered her crossbow.

“What part of ‘yes’ are you struggling to understand? I will absolutely nuke the shit out of people who don’t deserve it if it makes me more popular with the type of unthinking tosser who believes that being tough is more important than not being an open fucking sewer of disgusting and problematic ideas. Now, if you’ll excuse me, these squirrels won’t kill themselves.”

Outrage as Jeremy Corbyn suspected of not having ‘LEST WE FORGET’ tattooed along the top of his cock

Jeremy Corbyn sparked fury today as it emerged that he was vanishingly unlikely to have any kind of statement supporting Our Brave Lads And Lasses indelibly marked into the north-facing portion of his old chap. 

According to an exclusive report by the Daily Express, the words ‘lest we forget’ do not appear anywhere along the leader of the opposition’s sexmeat, and he almost certainly hasn’t scratched all three verses of ‘In Flanders Fields’ into his liver-spotted torso with a kitchen knife.

Following yesterday’s Remembrance Sunday service, at which Mr Corbyn was dressed appropriately, fully poppied up and not apparently nursing a massive fucking hangover, attention turned to any other way he might conceivably have been betraying his naked contempt for our Courageous Troops.

Initial anger was directed at the flagrantly disrespectful angle of the soldier-hating commie’s head during the two minutes’ silence that traditionally follows the Prime Minister’s laying of the upside down wreath. Enraged onlookers reported seeing a disgusting two inches of available space between Mr Corbyn’s chin and chest, clearly indicating an obvious desire to back out an allotment veg-rich turd directly onto the steps of the cenotaph.

Wayne Pratt, an enthusiastic devourer of right wing diarrhoea from Ipswich, said,

“I’m fucking sick of this. It’s every year. First he wore a coat like he was some kind of 70-year-old man who needs to keep warm, then he wasn’t wearing the poppy he was definitely wearing, and now he shows up bowing his head at a perfectly normal angle like he’s thinking about defiling the corpses of servicemen. I’m definitely voting for the Brexit Party now.”

Sheila Sweals, who buys the Express for the TV guide and not the frequent outbursts of unconcealed racism, concurred,

“The cock thing was the final straw for me, to be honest,” she lied. “If he’s got nothing to hide, why doesn’t he just show us? The very fucking least the marrow-scoffing twat needs to do now is have a six-inch wide poppy leaf branded onto each arsecheek, and even then, I’d still find a way to hate him for it.”

We approached Mr Corbyn’s office for comment, but his spokesperson said they did not wish to ‘dignify the allegations with a response’.

Which is almost certainly some kind of Marxist code for, “He’s in Normandy pissing on graves.”

In defence of the true victims of Me Too: I will not desert you

The news that women have finally achieved true equality could hardly be more welcome. Who could fail to be uplifted by the realisation that fifty percent of the world’s population are now, without exception, paid what they are worth, able to express ideas without being shouted down by the other fifty percent, and free to go about their business without the threat of being leered at, groped or physically assaulted by some grubby, entitled piece of shit who devotes an unfathomable proportion of his depressingly limited brainpower to remaining stubbornly unaware of the very basic concept of sexual consent?

The exhilarating joy women must now experience as a result of their new-found freedom to safely go for a run in the park at dusk is matched only by the liberation conferred by the knowledge that they may decide for themselves whether or not they wish to bear children, without interference from people whose business it is fucking none of.

But has anyone actually stopped to think about the devastating human costs incurred as a result of this most gratifying of developments? Sure, it’s great that you’re now able to wear whatever clothes you feel comfortable in without being told you should show more cleavage, or less cleavage, or that you are now entitled to be a normal, regular face-owner without hearing that you should smile more, or smile less, but have any of you paused, even for a minute, to consider the victims in this selfish insistence that your abilities, your character and your right to make it through one fucking day without fending off the unwelcome advances of some pocket-wanking creep should be given greater consideration than the prominence of your tits?

The fact is, the collateral damage of the Me Too movement now lies scattered across the world like so many fractured and inutile penises. Men, who were previously able to enjoy a guilt-free squeeze of their secretary’s arse without such disproportionate interventions as ‘industrial tribunals’ and ‘the sack’, are now being forced to adhere to arbitrary and, frankly, unreasonable standards of behaviour, all so you can make it through to bedtime without the familiar exhaustion that inevitably arises as a result of perpetual fear for your own personal wellbeing.

The plaintive cries of these poor, broken beasts echo across the internet like the post-midnight reverberations of a haunted orphanage. 

“We can’t compliment women.” 

“We can’t flirt with women.”

“We can’t even SPEAK to women.”

Yes, you’ve finally done it, ladies. The entire male population will henceforth reside cowering in damp, badly-lit corners lest the glare of your torch of intolerance illuminates their inability to behave like reasonable human beings.

It was surprising, then, to hear that only last week, prolific and unrepentant sex offender, Harvey Weinstein, was seen enjoying cocktails at an exclusive members’ club, while fellow patrons complimented him on his professional achievements and clapped him on the back.

Equally surprising was the news this week that the Welsh Secretary was having to step down following the revelation that he was aware of the actions of an aide in sabotaging a rape trial in 2018 by making lurid claims about the victim’s previous sexual conduct.

And it was utterly fucking astonishing that a man who had previously suggested that women should ‘keep their knickers on’ to avoid rape, and that they were at least partially responsible for sexual violence perpetrated against them, was to be parachuted into one of the Conservative Party’s safest seats for the forthcoming election.

The surprises kept coming, though, as we were regaled with the charming tale of US rapper, TI, taking his daughter to visit a gynaecologist once a year that he may check her hymen is still intact. This quite nauseating level of coercive bullying was compounded by the knowledge that he forces her to sign a waiver allowing the doctor to discuss the results of the totally unnecessary and ultimately useless examination with him. And we did not learn that this fucking subhuman shitstain of a man violates his daughter’s body and her privacy in this most egregious way as the result of some elaborate sting operation, or by the woman in question speaking out, but by way of him openly and proudly bragging about it on a podcast recording.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. These men are all in positions of power. They’re rich or famous or influential, and as such are not cowed or emasculated in the same way as normal men, who live in terror that their perfectly innocent comments and actions will be taken out of context and twisted by rabid feminists intent on grinding them into the dirt just so they can enjoy an evening out with their friends without being drugged and raped by some abject bastard who should be de-cocked and fired into the fucking chromosphere. And you’re perfectly right, of course.

Which is why it came as a complete shock this morning that BBC Breakfast presenter, Naga Munchetty, should face a barrage of inappropriate sexual comments about her appearance during an interview with a World War Two veteran, and that such comments should have come from these perfectly normal and not at all famous men. Even the one who stated that he would ‘pay a fortune to see her slam dunked into that coffee table’ did not, to the best of my knowledge, have a recording contract, movie deal or television show of any description.

I’m at a loss to explain how any of these completely unexpected and entirely unusual developments might have occurred at all in this febrile and punitive post-Me-Too environment, much less how they could all have occurred within a single fucking week.

I suppose one possible explanation is that women are still not widely regarded as anything more than objects, placed upon this Earth by the gods of toxic masculinity for men to use as they see fit, before being cast aside like an empty Pot Noodle carton on the DNA-rich carpet of an incel’s bedsit. We might deduce that men still act largely with impunity when it comes to violating a woman’s right to simply fucking exist without being harassed, intimidated or belittled, and that such abstract concepts as ‘consequences’ and ‘accountability’ are only applicable in a dispiritingly low percentage of cases. I guess it’s even feasible that the Me Too movement was a tiny and important baby step forward, but that gigantic fucking olympic-triple-jump-sized steps have yet to be made before we can say that anything like true equality has been achieved.

It’s probably not that, though. Maybe it was just a bad week.

Privilege, self-satisfaction and the befriending of bastards

Privilege is a weird thing. Most of us have a certain level of privilege, and some of us even recognise it and try to use it to effect change. Some of us deny it exists at all, labouring under the self-imposed misapprehension that everything we’ve achieved has occurred as a direct result of our own unfiltered brilliance, and not because we live in a society in which more or less everything is heavily skewed in favour of straight, rich, white dudes. Others, of course, are so blinded by their own privilege that they see fit to stand up on national television and lecture those who are considerably less privileged about how they ought to respond to people who are, by any reasonable interpretation, objectively fucking awful.

“When I say be kind to one another, I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

This was a statement made by US comedian and chat show host, Ellen DeGeneres, earlier this week, which, on the face of it, you might think seems quite laudable. Who could reasonably object to a world where people were kinder to one another, right? This video was widely shared on social media, with lots of other quite privileged people responding with comments like, “Well said, Ellen! What a great message!”

It’s only when you realise that Ms DeGeneres made this somewhat smug, self-satisfied statement to justify her friendship with a guy who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and who predicated his entire political career on denying rights to LGBTQ people, that you begin to see how fundamentally repugnant it is.

In terms of moral cowardice, this argument ranks alongside, “I know that Bundy guy was a little bit murdery, but he did make a lovely lamb casserole, and I just think you have to look for the good in people. We can’t only be kind to those who don’t think it’s acceptable to slaughter dozens of people in cold blood.”

There are, give or take, 7.7 billion people on Earth. Accordingly, there are 7.7 billion differing sets of opinions. It goes without saying that, if we were only ever friends with people whose opinions were aligned completely with our own, we’d exist in the same tragic state of isolation that Toby Young experienced on the night of his stag do.

I have a friend who thinks Star Wars is superior to Star Trek. I have a friend who fancies Chris Pratt more than Chris Hemsworth. I have another friend who thinks putting peanut butter directly onto unbuttered, barely toasted bread (like, it hasn’t even changed colour) is acceptable behaviour. They’re all disgusting people who should be shot at fucking dawn and I love them dearly.

I don’t, I’m proud to say, have a single friend who has overseen the destruction of a Middle Eastern country for their own political ends, or who has sought to deny people like me the right to marry, the right to access goods and services, the right to be housed, or the right to not be fired from my job because of who I’m attracted to. I don’t have friends like that because people like that are fucking abhorrent.

I’m just a little bit really fucking tired of hearing how it’s somehow ‘childish’ or ‘shallow’ to refuse to befriend a person with different political opinions, as though it’s some minor, inconsequential thing like a disgusting peanut butter/toast habit or the mistaken belief that C3PO is in any way more impressive than Commander Data. The fact is, our politics are a fundamental part of who we are. They define us. They are us.

For example, I could never form any kind of meaningful relationship, platonic or otherwise, with a Conservative voter. It’s not just that I disagree with them, it’s that I think they’re intrinsically unpleasant.

People are dying on the streets. Foodbank use is at an all-time high. Welfare spending has been slashed again and again. Mental health funding has been cut to the bone. People seeking to make this country their home are subjected to an environment that the government proudly describes as ‘hostile’. Queer asylum seekers are deported to countries in which they may be imprisoned, tortured or killed for being who they are and told to ‘act less gay’. On top of all that, we’re on the verge of the biggest self-imposed catastrophe ever to befall us, and the Tories are 100% committed to delivering something that will disproportionately affect the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the country.

If you voted for any of that, you’re an appalling cunt, and there is no place in my life for you.

Similarly, I don’t care how well-received your sitcom was in the 1990s if you now spend every day of your life mocking, misgendering and directing hate at vulnerable and marginalised people. If I tolerated that kind of behaviour, I’d be as much of an arsehole as you are.

It’s so easy (and a bit fucking selfish) to say, “We should respect everyone’s beliefs,” if their beliefs will never impact you in any meaningful way. But if you’re a rich, white lesbian working in the arts, you don’t get to pontificate to black trans women on low incomes about who they should be nice to. They might just consider that the fact that they’re dying and being killed on an almost industrial scale matters quite a bit, and that offering kindness to those who would eradicate them completely is, in itself, an act of violence.

Views matter. Opinions matter. They are the essence of who we are. Of course it’s up to the individual to decide how much a particular belief matters to them and whether it’s a deal-breaker in any prospective relationship, but let’s not pretend that being nice to everyone makes you a good person. It doesn’t. All it makes you is complicit.