Carnage: Swallowing the Past- a review

Bloomin’ marvellous

Yes, I’m already a massive fan of Simon Amstell and all of his work.

Yes, I’m already a committed vegan.

But this comedy/drama/documentary/mockumentary, or whatever heading you put it under, is a masterpiece. And I want everyone to watch it.

Simon Amstell’s comedy has always been funny because it’s so honest. Even back to his Popworld and then Buzzcocks days, he made us laugh by taking the piss out of popstars with lines containing nothing but the truth.

When he annoyed Preston from Ordinary Boys (they had that one hit that no one remembers) so much he walked off the show, and left the audience in stitches, all he did was read from Preston’s then-wife’s book. The jokes literally wrote themselves.

His stand-up material is made up of self-deprecating stories of loneliness, and his sitcom Grandma’s House is pretty much autobiographical; so you get the point, Amstell doesn’t tend to beat around the bush.

And Carnage is no different; except it isn’t about his own disastrous dating stories or stupid things popstars have said – it’s on the slightly more serious topic of veganism. It is backed up by real-life events and scientific fact; but it’s still hilarious?! That is the genius of it.

Everything he says – in his documentary-narrator voice – from the raping of cows, to chicken periods, to food rationing during the Second World War – is true. Yes there’s some fictitious characters thrown in (obviously, it’s set 50 years in our future), but for the most part the people and the shocking facts are real.

 

It all sounds so ludicrous that it is funny – but it’s all true! Down to the woman dressed as a cow singing on stage about how her babies have been taken away – it’s funny and moving (mooving, if you will) all at the same time. I think we all thought that that was impossible but somehow the people behind Carnage have managed it.

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The star of an anti-dairy musical

I even got emotional towards the end thinking about a world, or at least a Britain, where eating meat and dairy was unthinkable. I teared up at a goat jumping for joy on an old mattress for crying out loud! The fact that we know the images from the past – i.e. 1944 up until 2017 – are real, make it seem like the fictional events that come after could actually happen, which leaves a kind of sense of hope as well as entertainment lingering after the film is over.

It’s so good that I don’t think I’m doing it any justice in this review; so all that’s left to say is please go and watch it on BBC iplayer now!

 

 

 

 

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‘Canned Lion Hunting’ in South Africa

A couple of days ago, I saw this piece on BBC News about lions being bred specifically to be hunted and killed, mostly by foreigners, who pay thousands of dollars for the privilege; and of course to take home a ‘trophy’ in the form of the beautiful animal’s head.

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Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on this subject, I’ve read a few articles and web pages such as the CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting) website and this article on Nature World News.

From the research I have done, I am, of course, appalled and disgusted that these majestic animals are being used in this way. It sickens me that anyone would want to pay money to shoot such a beautiful creature.

I bet you can feel the ‘but’ coming… here it is:

But, I can’t help feeling uncomfortable hearing the similarity in the language used to describe this horrible act, and that used to describe practices of breeding animals within the meat industry.

For example, “these lions are bred in captivity with the sole purpose of being taken out onto hunting lodges, and shot by hunters.”

This is obviously a sentence in the BBC News report meant to shock and disgust the viewer.

I would argue however that just by changing a few words, it would have a totally different impact. Let’s say, “these pigs are bred in captivity for the sole purpose of being taken out into slaughterhouses, and killed for their meat.” This is just what happens, right? Because it’s a pig and not a lion, we aren’t shocked or disgusted, we just accept that that is true.

Now I know many people will say it’s different because the pig meat is going to be eaten and therefore not wasted. But the lions’ fur and bones are all used and sold to make a profit for the breeders (sold in Asia to make medicine, wine and even cakes?): it’s not just the head that gets ‘used’.

So is it really any different? Is it right that outrage and disgust is directed towards one and not the other? Particularly when the one we ignore/accept is happening in our country.

Is this controversial? I don’t know, probably. I hope I’ve put my thoughts across in a way that makes sense, I wanted to keep it brief, especially as it is an opinion piece from someone that has pretty limited knowledge on the subject.

Let me know your thoughts! My next post will be less upsetting, I promise. 🙂