Face it, folks, people in Britain today are getting a bit on the porky side, myself included. The availability of low-cost, high-calorie foodstuffs and motorised transport in every direction, along with the fact that an awful lot of jobs nowadays are conducted while seated, has caused the collective waistline of the country to expand. So while we may not have arrived at the needing-a-crane-to-get-out-of-bed stage yet, as some of our colonial cousins have, experts (in what exactly I know not) claim that soon enough we may start having to go places by rolling. And people are concerned about it, naturally. So concerned, in fact, that they were willing to let an anorexic straw-haired food fascist who bought her degree for eighty dollars prod about in their shite on national television a few years back and proclaim them a "toxic dump monster." Or ban junk food advertising, or the like. Further experts are claiming that this obesity epidemic is going to totally snow under the NHS in a few years' time, and are shouting that Something Must Be Done about it.
And at the same time, oil prices are on the up like nothing else, and no amount of cosying up to brutal insalubrious régimes is going to help that. Not even promising the Saudis a third al-Yamamah arms deal - this is a global price rise. Not to mention, of course, that the greenies are getting more and more strident in their demands for CO2 rationing and so forth because if we don't lose our "addiction" to oil and other fossil fuels we'll all be drowned like polar bears as global warming gives rise to a new ice age. Indeed, a certain Guardianista with a hairstyle that looks like someone's stapled a merkin to his skull has advocated that anyone who questions the immediate threat from
ManBearPig climate change must be subjected to a "climate Nurembergs." Clearly, Something Must Be Done about this as well, if only to shut the carping hypocrites the fuck up.
Alternative energy is all well and good, but just not doable enough, either for economic or political reasons. Tidal barrages require specific criteria for them to be sited if they're to work properly, and even then wouldn't produce that much energy. Nuclear power, despite the French having used it to generate 79% of their energy since the mid-1980s without any real problems, gets people awfully wound up - and also, I wonder how much of the FUD that surrounds nuclear energy actually comes from the oil industry because it threatens to put them out of a job if implemented wholeheartedly. And wind farms are totally crap for everything other than murdering pigeons. So what do we do?
Oh! I know!
Spin classes. That's the answer.
For the benefit of those who haven't enjoyed this particular happening, lemme explain. A spin class is where everyone lines up on exercise bikes in shiny corporate gyms aimed at yuppies and pedals away furiously for between 45 minutes and an hour while mind-numbing dance music blares away constantly in the background and a purple-faced, cadaverously muscular female instructor shouts at you a lot and harangues you for shame to pedal faster unless you want to die at 30 and for your corpse to take 200 years to decompose because of all the preservatives you've shovelled down your gullet, you lard-arsed ne'er-do-well. On the plus side, it burns calories like nobody's business, but it doesn't really do anything. A similar principle was employed in Victorian prisons with the treadmill... hard labour with no real use while being shouted at, except in this when, people pay for it.
Which gives me a thought. Maybe if we hooked up the spin bikes in every spin class in the land to a number of dynamos, and hooked these up in turn to the National Grid. Then, as everyone pedals away and pants and puffs their way into a socially acceptable BMI, they're producing electricity, which means that we can happily shut down a few coal- or oil-fired generators here or there while people pay to generate their own electricity. And the benefits of participating in this spin dynamo class also include extra bragging rights and environmental cockwaving points! So the next time some soap-dodger pesters you in the street because he saw you stuff ninety quids' worth of jungle juice into your Range Rover, you can get right back at him and saying that it's excusable because you generate renewable energy off your own back to offset it! After all, if carbon offsets, which are at heart indulgences and don't actually do anything to lower pollution, are excusable in the minds of these people, surely this would be even more so!
See? It's a brilliant system. If everyone does it, maybe we can get through the oil crisis unharmed - and get our new summer beach bodies as well!
Now where's my Nobel Prize, bitches?
UPDATE - January 2, 2009 - Looks like someone's taken my idea to heart: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7796215.stm