Cats, furthermore, do it in much more manageable portions, which also seem to calcify at a much brisker rate. In a nutshell, cats know they are responsible for their own shit.


"Dogs.... pet dogs, street bull-shit/asslick dogs" (copyright Mark E Smith)


I realise this is a music magazine. I am quite aware that you will have grown used to me slagging off various aspects of our great and wonderful music industry in this column. I also realise that this piece may come as a surprise, and, for some, an unwelcome one at that. But that's just tough luck on your behalf. Dogs, whether pure-bred or mongrel; their owners, dog magazines, dog toys, plates made by porcelain manufacturers depicting various dogs; indeed the mere concept of dogs is one that is really pissing me off at present.


For one, I'm heartily sick of standing in their shit. Or sick of having to jump over these afore-mentioned turds in an effort to circumnavigate them. I dislike the peppery smell their faeces give off. Not that the canines are entirely to blame here, I admit. I dislike the owners for leaving it willy-nilly in the parks and main thoroughfares of my town. I appreciate this is something that dogs can't help. Yet this self-helplessness is something else that is, by its very nature, utterly, profoundly annoying. Why can't they shit like cats? Cats don't leave great dollops of unguent stinking wet putty in the street. Cats do it in the neighbour's plant pot, which is right and proper. Cats, furthermore, do it in much more manageable portions, which also seem to calcify at a much brisker rate. In a nutshell, cats know they are responsible for their own shit.


Cats also know they are responsible for their own grooming. Dogs, on the other hand, don't, and consequently have to be bathed. Furthermore, they are worse than three year old children when it comes to washing. They can't stand it, and constantly refuse to believe it is any good for them, despite them stinking out anywhere that is remotely habitable with their coats of matted, briny, sticky hair. They whine and mewl when it comes to bath-time, and try to make the entire experience as difficult as possible both for themselves and their owner; an entirely self-defeating act, as any being with the smallest grain of fore-thought and common sense would appreciate that standing still and bearing it would bring the unpleasantness to a much quicker end. More often than not the dog's owner has to resort to dragging the ungrateful mut to the designated wash-area -  the floor of which, after five minutes of grappling with the whimpering lump - normally resembles a floodplain.


Then, fresh and fluffy, they hare out into the open and roll around in a chip-wrapper full of mayonnaise.


This is not all. We haven't come to the main issue of contention. Barking. Why, oh why can't they just shut the fuck up? It may be an inherent part of their nature to bark, but why do it in my neighbour's back yard? Why not save all the barking for the field or the beach or the park? A friend who lived next to a nervous Jack Russell only had to open his kitchen door for the idiotic whippersnapper to indulge in a frenzy of barking and growling that clearly revealed it's utterly unhinged state. It wouldn't bark at anything else mind, just the noise of the kitchen door. Why did it never get bored? Why did it never realise that the sound it had probably heard thousands of times before in its short (but not short enough) life was a benign one? The sound of a door with a slight squeak was not life threatening; surely to goodness the idiotic canine midget could have realised that? Did it believe that the door was suddenly going to release itself from its hinges and attack? It must have seen and heard other doors in it's own place of abode. But no, every time the door opened, the dog went ballistic. Cats don't do this. They only make a noise when they are hungry, or want to go out of or come into the house. No random mewing and hissing at squeaking doors.


Doubtless there will be people writing in telling me of their dog's unspeakable devotion, the companionship, kindness and insight that they daily show. All these things are undoubtedly true. But they do not outweigh the appalling faults that I have outlined earlier. With this in mind, I now profer a piece of well-meant, intelligent and considered advice. Don't get a dog. They are too much trouble. Get a cat, or better, a lizard, or a ladybird; in short something that requires no fuss or effort, or shit cleaning.


Next month normal service will be resumed and I will continue to rail against the iniquities of the music business with nary a mention of dogs. That is if that bloody mutt next door shuts up for more than five minutes...