Confessions of an English Wheelie Bin Sniffer

“Oh! Just, subtle, and mighty bins! That to the hearts of poor and rich alike, for the wounds that will never heal, and for ‘the pangs that tempt the spirit to rebel,’ bringest an assuaging balm; eloquent bins!
That with thy potent rhetoric stealest away the purpose of wrath; and to the guilty man, for one night givest back the hopes of his youth, and hands washed pure of blood…”

If perusing the latest wheelie bin happenings on google ‘News’ throughout the month of April has taught us anything, it’s that the Metro are apparently running out of things to write about. In what can only be described as a Spring-time drought of wheelie bin related news, various outlets (though mainly the Metro guys), with cracked lips and rasping voices have been traversing the Sahara, thirsty for bin news, parched from lack of receptacle-press, desperately bleeding the same Oasis dry as sand falls from their weather beaten cheeks and the carrion vultures circle hungrily overhead. Regardless of The Metro’s fecklessness on this occasion (I mean come on team, the same article twice in the space of a week!), a pressing issue has indeed been raised and must be addressed: wheelie-highs and the dangers therein. Now I’m all for the Everyman getting joy from a wheelie bin, after all, their primary function next to domestic waste-storage is to delight the human soul; the one thing I will not abide however is people setting bins ablaze so as to consume their very spirit essence in some ritualistic bin burning. Picture it now, the paved avenues of a quiet British suburb, oil lamps billowing in the night breeze as the shadows of wheelie-bins past morph through forms of terrible beauty. Local residents clad in dried leaves and tattered copies of The Mail gather in the cul-de-sac, household bins in tow as they prepare for conscious awakening and the bi-annual sacrifice to Imhotep. The tribal drums pound in the deep of Middle England as Mrs. Norris lays the sacrificial wreath at the foot of the 240 litre standard-household-size pyre. “Show us” the residents chime in psychedelic rapture as the soul-fire burns and the wheelie truth is inhaled deeply, ecstatically. In the far distance, plates gyrate as the Earth-Mother groans and you are destroyed entirely. Or something along those lines.

Whilst possibly less dramatic than this, articles in the Metro and Daily Star have brought to light the recent records of youngsters getting their “weird drug related kicks” by means of binhalation. On the surface I’ll admit this behaviour seems odd, though when viewed in the context of history these actions fall in line with many cultural modalities and rites of passage predating even the invention of the wheelie bin (if ever such a time even existed). Take for example the vision quests of the Native Americans (pre-Columbus), where long bouts of self-imposed sleep deprivation and fasting were used as a way to induce intense states of delirium. Far from being viewed as the actions of a maniacal bin-crazed pariah, these behaviours were the cultural norm for many years, often helping young men and women to find their place in life and in their immediate communities. Ancient cultures often contested the idea that perception is monophasic, an idea that is still prevalent in more isolated communities and one that often goes hand in hand with the use of psycho-active substances. With that said then I ask you: are these renegade bin-sniffers simply a post-industrialised attempt to reengage with our natural habitat? To understand oneself wholly in the context of the organic surroundings from whence you came, is that really so bizarre? How far detached from Nature we’ve come as a collective society where we would view breathing into one’s lungs the fumes of an incinerated wheelie bin as anything other than nourishing and proper behaviour. A cynical day indeed kind reader.

That is certainly one way to look at this – the other offers us a far more farcical take on humanities attempts to get on one throughout the course of our sordid history. The sad truth here is that for all the advancements in science, literature and the victories afforded us through a broader social awareness, humans are and always have been fatally single-minded creatures, and for as long as we’ve been walking this earth every culture and continent has had its sect of hopeful reprobates who dwell in that absurd place between brainless desire and simple-ingenuity. Put plainly, people are just as laughably idiotic now as we’ve ever been, the only difference is that in the modern world there’s more plastic to inhale.

So in the memory of those perennial binhalers, sleep-evaders and nutmeg sniffers – in the good name of those timeless and enduring dreamers who, in a way they couldn’t even begin to comprehend, represent all that is fundamentally human, we remember the age-old adage: “Humanity always finds a way”. A phrase which truly makes far more sense in this context.

Confessions of an English Wheelie Bin Sniffer