Apocalypse now? Alarming number of signs of the biblical end times has almost got me stockpiling tinned goods – Kate Copstick

The bible’s warning that people would become ‘unthankful, disloyal… not open to any agreement, slanderers… without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride’ pretty much sums up modern politics

Far be it from me to sour the milk on your porridge this morning, but, much as I would love to 'accentuate the positive', as Johnny Mercer sang, and, despite my trademark sunny disposition, I am hard pushed to find much to celebrate this week. Comedy, Scotland and Glasgow in particular has lost a great man.

I met Stu Who in the ’90s, when I was making a BBC documentary about baby stand-up comics. Of course, I came to Scotland. Stu might have looked like a renegade extra from a heavy metal band, and had tales to tell that would dislocate jaws as they dropped, but he was also the kind of comic who supported and protected the newbies as they came up in a business known for neither supporting nor protecting.

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No, I do not think he did do Live at the Apollo. He was too busy being live in any and all of the comedy clubs where comedy actually lives. He died last week. We shall not, to quote a much less funny man, see his like again.

The number of disasters, natural and man-made, is making Kate Copstick worried (Picture: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images)The number of disasters, natural and man-made, is making Kate Copstick worried (Picture: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images)
The number of disasters, natural and man-made, is making Kate Copstick worried (Picture: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images)

Perhaps it is my age, but it does seem that every time I take a look, another of the good guys has gone. With no one to take their place. At the risk of characterising good old Stu as one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (although he might have loved that), in bygone times, I genuinely think they would believe we are in the End of Days. Maybe we are.

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Floods, wars and Daleks

Ask Google for a list of current 'disasters' worldwide and what comes up is a page of catastrophic floods, heatwaves, cyclones and volcanic volatility. It tells me that these are “1-20 of 3509” results. And that is, of course, before there is any mention of the man-made horrors – the wars, the human rights atrocities, and the generalised selfish devastation that we are so much better at than any species since the Daleks. I did say there wouldn't be much positive…

We have all been oohing and aahing at the aurora borealis, as the famous 'Northern Lights' come south, east, west and everywhere in between. Apropos of which… is there nothing the English won't take from us? But I digress.

Despite the fact that it looks like the sky is on fire, amazingly, most of the old beliefs about the phenomenon were really quite positive, although the lights were deemed, by some Native American tribes, to be the spirits of those who had died violently, as well as spirits rejoicing because the sun was absent, and spirits taking their revenge on enemies.

Of course, now we know that this incredible worldwide display is the result of a massive, unprecedented solar storm. So we could be frying in all manner of cosmic rays as you read. But, again, I digress.

Biblically – if that is your bag – the 'end of days' is covered pretty comprehensively, in both new and old testaments: nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom (tick), widespread famine (tick), epidemics of “terrible diseases” (tick), an increase of crime (tick), and mankind's ruining of the earth (tick). I do feel almost moved to start stockpiling tinned foods.

Politics with a capital P

Quite impressively, Second Timothy 3:1-4, foretold that people would be “unthankful, disloyal… not open to any agreement, slanderers… without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride”. Old Tim said he meant people in general, but I think he pretty much nailed our recent political classes there.

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Which is a worry, because pretty much everything is political nowadays. Now I appreciate that this is The Scotsman and readers will be perfectly aware that the term “politics” is derived from the Greek 'polites' meaning citizen and so everything to do with the people of a country is political, but the 'p' of political is getting bigger and bigger.

Let's be honest, there has always been 'strategic voting' in Eurovision – no true Scot will ever forget the farrago that was the 1969 contest, when our own Lulu with the iconic Boom Bang a Bang was forced to share her rightful triumph with three other countries because everyone somehow scored dix-huit pointes! Much less our own Kenneth McKeller coming in ninth (he obviously was 'A Man Without Love' – at least from the various juries). But, again, I digress.

Scarlett gives up on Eurovision

Although, remaining on my politicisation point, I was reminded that the the BBC actually banned the song during the Gulf War. Along with Waterloo. Really?? Anyway, this year's Eurovision was a world away from the fun and fizz of yesteryear. Which is what it should be. A 'coming together' to romanticise the concept.

Countries are allowed to take part in Eurovision simply by becoming a member of the EBU, the organiser behind the event. Hence Australia's erstwhile entry… to say nothing of Israel and Russia. Russia was disqualified because of the Ukrainian invasion. Israel, for reason's best known to the EBU, sang on.

Viewers were treated to a display of some mealy-mouthed reassurances from participants about love triumphing over the bad guys and healing the world, while thousands protested outside. It was all a bit grim, according to my dear friend Miss Scarlett Rose, who has hosted fabulously camp, fun, Eurovision parties since the Queen Mother had her own hips.

For Scarlett to give up on Eurovision, the sky must really be falling. The End of Days comes in different guises to different people. But it seems to be coming faster...

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,” wrote WB Yeats in The Second Coming. Well, it's good to have something exciting to look forward to.



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