Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Friday 16 October 2015

Trick or Treat?

No, it's not the reappearance in the media of Camila Batmanghelidjh - don't worry; we'll have more on her soon - but a Hallowe'en Special in the form of 2015 TB145.

Data released this morning show that this asteroid, estimated at between 290m and 650m in diameter will fly by around 450,000km away - a mere whisker in cosmic terms - at an 'unusually high' relative velocity of 35km/s.

For those of us near the Greenwich meridian, the closest approach will be around teatime on Saturday October 31st - too early, perhaps, for the Tavern's traditional fly-by carousing but about the right time for a celebratory slice of cake.

At such proximity, there is always an outside chance that some unforeseen perturbation in its orbit may nudge it Earthwards - the Express is doubtless even now preparing its 'DOOMSDAY!' headlines - to send some of us, at least, the way of the dinosaurs.

If that is the case, what better day for the fire and flood to strike than the annual festival of tat and pointless consumerism that has swollen in recent years to a monstrous, bloated retail extravaganza?

What makes it even better is that, should the alarm genuinely be raised that day, the public response might well be the reverse of that inspired by Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' - secure in their assumption that it must be a seasonal hoax, countless thousands would, instead of retreating to higher ground, spend their final hours on Earth clad in scratchy polyester costumes eating themselves sick on chocolate eyeballs.


  1. "the annual festival of tat and pointless consumerism"

    What depresses me is the ease with which it was foisted upon us.

  2. If last year is any indication, we'll stock up on cheap sweeties which I'll then have to take into the office, as no-one calls!

  3. AKH, Hollywood has much to answer for; the rise of the global phenomenon can pretty much be traced back to the release of 'ET', though it has to be said, British retailers grasped the opportunity with both hands.

    Julia, should the asteroid strike Earth and lead to food shortages, power cuts etc, I shall cherish the thought of you weathering the crisis thanks to a vast overload of sugar and e-numbers.


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