Long, warm days where you can sit in your garden, amidst the flowers and the foliage, listening to the insects busy at work, sipping on a glass of Merlot - you feel that it really can't get much better…and then what happens? The ignorant git next door, like so many ignorant gits right across the country (and probably across the world) decides that because the sun is out and he is a 'modern man', custom dictates that he must have a barbecue.
So what exactly does that mean?
Well, it means that, because he doesn't have a proper barbecue at home, he has to nip to the local garage to buy one of those hideous disposable barbecues that suddenly appear en-masse on the forecourt when the sun comes out, in place of the screen wash and anti-freeze. He then spends God-knows-how-long trying to light the fucking thing when he gets back home, which results in their garden, and those of their helpless neighbours (and the washing they hung out a couple of hours ago), being smothered in a stinking, malodorous fog that sticks at the back of the throat and has all the seasonal aroma of a third-world chemical factory. They then place some sausages and some chicken legs and some steaks into the midst of the towering flames just long enough for the outer surface to be thoroughly incinerated and reduced to an unpleasant black mass, whilst the E.coli and salmonella within the raw meat that is now encased inside the charred exterior remains completely unaffected by the raging inferno around it.
In turn, those blackened lumps of what was once meat are placed onto a variety of buns, smothered in ketchup, and then eagerly consumed, only to explosively re-emerge a couple of hours later as either the raging shits or a particularly spectacular case of projectile vomiting. There may be a visit to A&E; there may be a couple of days off work or off school - but one thing's for certain; if the sun's out the following Sunday, then he'll be back down to the garage to buy a disposable barbecue so he can do it all again!
But what can we do about it? Anything?
Well, I'm not for one moment advocating a ban on barbecues. That would be a very curmudgeonly thing to do. And nor am I one for over-regulation and being all 'nanny-state' about such things. But for this I'm going to make an exception.
So here's what would happen in Andy's Universe:
1. Disposable barbecues would be banned. Full stop (or 'period' for readers across The Pond). End of discussion.
2. Anyone wanting to have a barbecue would need to be licensed - to be licensed, the individual would need to have attended a 'Barbecue Awareness' course in which they would have learned the following:
- how to properly light a barbecue without creating smog or using petrol
- how to cook food so it doesn't result in people puking all night or having the diarrhoea
- how to be considerate of your neighbours (like telling them when you're going to have a barbecue so they can close their windows!)
- what sort of music is acceptable accompaniment to a barbecue (gay 80s - fine; techno/garage - not fine), and until what time it should be played, and at what volume.
- how to instruct guests who may stay late that it is just not cool to sit out until four in the morning with a patio heater, getting pissed and laughing raucously about what a shame it is that some people have to get up for work the next day!
Licensed barbecuists could, at any time, have their license revoked if they are found to be ignoring good barbecue etiquette. Those who have a barbecue when unlicensed, or those who do so when disqualified will have their testicles removed with a rusty blade, cooked on a proper barbie (by a licensed barbecuist), smothered in ketchup and served to them on a white sesame bun.
A similar punishment for women is not required because, as we all know, barbecuing is a purely male preserve. However, just for completeness, the same sentence would be handed out to any unlicensed female barbecuist, only this would be applied to her breasts (cue puns about needing different sized bread rolls)!