I hate pandas

This report reminded me why I hate pandas.

I mean, why is an animal without the sense to eat anything more nutritionally valuable than bamboo shoots and won’t even screw to save its species so uncritically loved by 99% of the world’s humans? Pandas are ABSOLUTELY USELESS CREATURES.

Pandas are TOO FUSSY. Only a small number of bamboo species are acceptable dinner to them, and they change their minds all the time. No species with such food faddisms deserves to be exempted from Darwinism.

Pandas are STUPID. Just sitting around expecting the food to come to them? Pandas have a ridiculous sense of entitlement: if they were human, they’d be stars of CCTV and reality shows, and we’d be deriding them as lazy trailer trash. They’re the chavs of the animal world.

Pandas DON’T REPRODUCE. You’d think that when breeding seasons are few and far between, they’d at least be able to make the effort for a night or two. But apparently romance is dead in panda country. Few pandas show any interest in sex, and it can’t be just because they all look the same. Or are they just too selfish to bring fresh pandas into the world?

And lastly, saving useless pandas TAKES RESOURCES AWAY from creatures who’d be more grateful. Many termite species are in trouble, but – because termites don’t look out at you from a fat furry face with big soulful black eyes, nobody cares about termites. And yet termites are AMAZING creatures. Just a few thousand neurons each, yet together they build architecture whose equivalent human scale would be buildings the size of Everest. Termites are incredible. And yet some species are in terminal decline. All because of those bastard pandas.

I hate pandas.

Farmer’s Markets: they’re treating us like bumpkins

Ha! Caught! I’ve often suspected that London’s ‘Farmers’ Markets’ aren’t quite what they seem, and the truth’s now out: it’s accepted practice for stallholders to ‘top up’ their stocks with produce bought from the same industrial producers that supply supermarkets.

I enjoy wandering around the Borough market as much as anybody – which, to be fair, seems pretty legit: you don’t see those beefsteak tomatoes or whole pigs in Tesco. But I’m aware that what you’re buying here, apart from great food, is the experience. Meeting Farmer Giles, chatting about cuts of meat or the provenance of vegetables, saying hello to the dismembered boar’s head on the way in. (The ‘Bluffer’s Guide’ at the foot of the article is brilliant.) Is that experience worth…. double or triple the prices in supermarkets? Maybe. But I’ll just stick to Farmer’s Markets for the luxury stuff, and get the basics from the supermarket.

Farm bluffer’s guide

– Roll your vegetables around in the mud to give them an authentic farmers’ market look and you mark up your prices accordingly. Islington folk also like to see a couple of bruises

– Tear off any labels saying Spanish or Grown in Argentina or ‘gassed and stored for the best part of a year by Tesco’. Replace sticker giving the name of a quaint sounding farm or Locally Grown

– Never overestimate city folk. If you say the figs, avocados and pomegranates you are selling have been grown at your farm in Aberdeen they’ll almost certainly believe you

– Learn the lingo: ‘heifers’ are female cows, not overweight people. Also give yourself and your (Polish) stallholders names like Tess and Gabriel — anything out of a Thomas Hardy novel works a treat

– Remember to arrive early at your local wholesale market to ‘top up’ your stall. As one farmer said last week: ‘You’ve watched those vegetables grow up as if they were your own kids . . . so is [adding a few extra] breaking the rules or just bending them?’

– Ditch your normal weekend clothes and get wellies, a smock and a cap or scarf on your head. If someone starts asking too many questions, chew some straw

– Don’t worry too much about getting a real farmer to work on your stalls. Polish workers will do the trick, but it’s better if they speak a bit of English and look a bit rustic

– Get a CD of farmyard noises and make sure it plays in the background for added credibility. Most city folk will find the presence of cows on an arable farm reassuring, however unlikely

– Don’t get confused with the seasons: remember, you grew the vegetables during the summer and harvested them in the early autumn. Don’t slip up in the winter months by saying you need to slip out and pick a few more spuds when supplies on the trestle tables are low

– Drink a bottle of cider before opening for business so that your breath has ‘authenticity’. Sprinkle your conversation with the word ‘scrumpy’. It doesn’t matter that you live in Hull

– Have a rant about modern pesticides. Make it clear to customers that you only use the countryside’s natural fertilisers. You will win their undying loyalty