Anyway, people of the West Midlands, it is my humble duty, as an (in no way) internationally recognised member of the Pato Banton memorial Emergency Safety Broadcast team to deliver the following serious news update:
The West Midlands in general and Birmingham in particular is on the edge of invasion. A foreign power has taken hold of the populace and guerrilla terrorist attacks have already started with devastating results. You will already have noticed the signs, but do you know the cause?
Are you ready?
Can you help us fight back against the insidious horde?
If you don't, your way of life will be forever changed. Do you currently live in a comfortable house with a cat, a dog, or some fish? - Well think again, when the unleashed plague has finished with you, you'll be sitting in a pile of ash, cuddling the remains of something that may be your deeply loved pet but, looking at it from a different angle, may well be a piece of fire-resistant foam out of that sofa that you got from eBay - And your fish will have boiled dry, or possibly exploded - We didn't really test that bit in fairness.
What am I talking about? What could possibly hope to destroy a area with a population of 5,000,000 or so people, What vile, uncompromising foe could be sneaking into our most loved metropolitan area where everyone has a slightly funny accent?
I'll tell you...
I can hardly bring myself to say it...
It's... It's... Chinese paper lanterns... There, I said it.
Do you remember, back in July, the fire at the recycling plant in Smethwick? Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish were mysteriously and completely burned, causing a firestorm of such epic proportions that it may well have been visible from the surface of Mars, probably.
When questioned by BBC local radio, a worker from the company, who had turned up for work as normal, not noticing either the mile high flames, nor the fifty mile long plume of smoke, had this to say:
'Err.. I don't know really, we just collect the recycling, then recycle it.'
Wise words there, a rare insight into a world that we don't often get to look at, I think you'll agree.
The local Council take the threat so seriously, that it is now a criminal offense to launch Chinese Lanterns (or, as they are more rightly called in all of the professional literature 'Fiery Paper Death Balls of Death with added dripping Death-wax') from any of the local, council owned parks - This is punishable by a fine of up to, but not exceeding your total Council Tax rebate amount. And will be levied by specially equipped Park Services Rangers, once they have shot the offending FaPDoBODWADDoWs out of the sky using a highly modified Super Soaker and a battery operated hand-fan from the Pound-Shop. (So, if you could just hang around for a few minutes whilst they do that, promise not to run off or anything during the process and then pay him - Exact amount only, no change is carried by members of the parks service for personal security reasons - That'd be great.)
Don't add to the problem people...
There's a very real danger that a cloud of FaPDoBoDWADDoWs could bring down an airliner. A real, live airliner people! For instance, a Boeing 747 flies at an altitude of, ah... well, I don't really know, but it's pretty damn high I'm guessing. And the lanterns? they probably fly at exactly the same height at least I should think. Imagine the damage that a tiny amount of paper and two matchsticks worth of bamboo could do to a couple of tonnes of rapidly spinning, razor-sharp titanium blades... Imagine it!
Carnage! - It would be like The Hindenburg all over again, if the airliners were made of canvas and full of hydrogen it would be anyway... Which they might be for all you know, you're not a aeroplaney-designer person. Oh! the Humanity!
Also, there's the ever-present problem of wax drippage. Clouds of as many as four lanterns have been spotted over the Small Heath and Erdington areas and locals have complained of warm exudations falling from the skies and landing in their hair, faces and mouths, often to the accompaniment of 70's guitar music. The relatively minuscule amount of this oddly opalescent liquid that has been spat out, rather than 'accidentally' swallowed has been gathered, scientifically tested and found to taste a bit like wax (in most cases).
Experts have told us that 'large amounts of scalding hot wax falling onto unsuspecting people' rates quite highly on the United Nations 'Probably best not to do that' list. In fact, it sits right in between 'Water-boarding civilians in their sleep' and 'Using nerve-gas and blaming it on one of the other big kids in the playground' Obviously, we wouldn't just pass on potentially inflammatory statements like that without testing them first.
So with your safety in mind, we spent over £14,000,000 million pounds of your money (what with it being your safety and everything) on dripping wax onto people from various heights. We found that from any height above six and a half feet (or, two meters or so, if you happen to be French) the wax cooled and solidified before it had time to cause any damage, between zero feet and six and a half feet, the wax was warm, but not hot - and felt much like that feeling you get when you get drunk and poke your finger into the melted wax of a candle, stuck in an empty Mateus Rose bottle, in a cheap Italian Restaurant, that you've taken that new girl from Accounting to in the hopes that she'll say 'Oh! Mr [State your name] No-one's ever made me feel like THAT before'. To ensure completeness, we dug a large hole fifteen feet deep, in the middle of the A38 dual carriageway and tested to see if wax dropping from negative heights would be hotter. Unfortunately, despite numerous, increasingly expensive tests, we were unable to both make the wax drip upwards and also to make the lanterns float below ground level.
(Please note, due to completely non-related funding cuts, the New Birmingham Library will close with immediate effect.)
And so the warning ends. Be vigilant and report any sightings of these potential infernos to your local police, fire service and/or religious organisation.
Wake up and smell the bamboo people!
Gods! I'd never thought...
You don't think it might be the Pandas doing it do you?
MESSAGE ENDS - Your normal programming will resume momentarily...