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Journal of Distraction - by Michael Kelly

Week 3 - Sunday

What foul thing have you been doing today? Something feeble and self-indulgent, I'm sure. You know what I've been doing today? Making bread.

Making bloody bread. Out of all kinds of surprising stuff that doesn't remotely resemble bread. I feel... I feel like Jesus. My sister gave me a bread-making machine, the Mellerware 84300, and it is the greatest invention of the age. Mr. Mellerware or whoever invented this should have a Nobel prize.
Forget the iPod, fuck the internet, most especially fuck the bloody evil can't-pick-it-up-because-the-nozzle-comes-out, thing-for-wrapping-electrical-cord-round-always-break-off, but ooh! look, you can see-all-the-dust-inside-so-sod-the-user-let's-give-it-design-awards Dyson vacuum cleaner - this is a machine.

It's bloody magic. It is, it's like a magic trick. You put in all sorts of seemingly random ingredients from the kitchen - sugar, salt, flour, powdered milk, sawdust, Christ knows - yeast is the only thing you might be unlikely to have - and you press a button.

And then, and this is the really cool bit, you fuck off. You go and watch the telly for three hours or sit in the garden with a book. And all the time your bread is gestating, like a baby. (I bet that machine could make babies if it wanted to. If it could make babies women would be pretty much redundant, because it can make cakes too.) It does all the mixing and kneading and baking all by itself, and you just bugger off and leave it to it. You can go and shoot up with heroin if you like - it doesn't matter, whatever lazy and hedonistic thing you do, you feel all smug and virtuous because you're simultaneously making bread like someone who's really in touch with simple earthy things. You feel like bloody Tolstoy or someone. All day I've been stroking an imaginary beard and sneering at my neighbours. 'To make bread - that is the measure of a man.' If society broke down, I would survive, as long as the eleccy kept going and I could still buy yeast. I would rule like a King with my bread-making machine. No, a high priest, I would keep it in a temple behind a veil and make people bow down before it. I would have comely hand-maidens worshipping it and singing songs about it, and me.

I feel simultaneously in touch with my feminine side and very, very manly. Honestly, I feel all full of testosterone. I could sire about twenty children right now, because I know I could feed them with my bread-making machine.

It's fun and it fills your house with ravishing bread-making smells and the bloody bread tastes bloody great. And you're saving the planet. I imagine. Fuck knows what from. Bakers. Those bastards. No, obviously if you live next door to a proper bloody bakery there's no point in it, but I can guarantee it tastes eight billion times better than some bland preservative-filled supermarket bread. I suppose it's not quite as virtuous and rebellious and fun as making your own bread from scratch and kneading it yourself and stuff, but it's the best next thing. You can make bread with nuts in and bits of chocolate, anything, you just follow the recipe, and I can personally vouch it is completely idiot-proof.

This machine reassures me. It reassures me that all along it has been the world, not I, that is mad. Because it turns out I'm not a fogey and a Luddite after all, but, as I suspected, the world has been bombarding me with useless and annoying and unnecessary and malfunctioning shit. Because I love my little bread machine. I have several times had to fight the urge to lick it. I did sort of give it a little kiss once, but not with tongues.

It'll probably never win any poncey bloody design awards, because it looks like it's supposed to look and you can't see its insides. It has a valid purpose. It's not a pointless fuck-around with something that already worked perfectly well. It's something genuinely new. It can do something that couldn't be done before, i.e. enable a buffoon like me to make his own bread. It isn't portable. It's not compatible or multi-platform or synergistic. It doesn't smoke crack or sleep with whores or deliver race hate literature door to door, unlike the Dyson vacuum cleaner. You can't annoy people with it on trains. You don't have to upgrade it every two minutes.

Best of all is that it's invisible. I've never seen it advertised. Its launch didn't appear on the TV news, you won't see footage of people queueing round the block to buy the latest model. You won't, apart from this one, see any articles about 'Why I love my bread machine' or 'What I put in my bread machine' or why it heralds an epoch-making liberation for mankind. It just does what it's meant to do without any fuss. This is what the modern world could have been like, if we'd won the war.


The inventor of the Mellerware Bread-Making Machine, Godwin Mellerware

'I have done it!' cried Professor Robert Langdon excitedly. 'I have cracked the Da Vinci code!'

'Oh la la!' said the bird out of Amelie.

'See here - if we find that landscape behind the Mona Lisa, and proceed from there along the compass bearing indicated by the left bollock of that nude bloke doing jumping-jacks, we will locate the Holy Blood - the descendants of Jesus!'

(And then I had a big thing where they find the last descendant of Jesus, named Godwin Mellerware, and he's really saintly, but he has a cracking pair of legs he inherited off Mary Magdalene, and he's also descended from Winston Churchill and Einstein a bit, and he shows them his wondrous bread-making machine and they weep. And the bird out of Amelie has brought along a bag of wheat to dip her hand into and he miraculously turns it into bread in three hours. But I decided I was getting a bit carried away.)

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