Things I hate #25

Duvet covers. Not intrinsically, obviously. I mean, I’m not fucking mad. Not yet, anyway. I might be wobbling but I’m still on the fucking tightrope. And, in principle, I’d be the first to say that, on the face of it, duvets are a good idea. They’re certainly warmer than the bad old days when you had to layer up on cold nights with woollen blankets. In the days when we had wooden framed windows with single panes of glass and the central heating was temperamental depending on how much nutty slack you’d banked up on the fire. When you could see your breath condensing in the air and the frost was on the inside of the glass. Fuck me, woollen blankets were bloody awful; you’d always end up with prickly buggers next to your skin when you’d been moving about in your sleep. And there’s nothing like sliding between crisp clean bedding after a long day and a big soak in the bath. Nothing like burrowing under a huge, big tog duvet on a cold and starry winter’s night. In fact, thinking about it, I love bedding. Bedding is great. No, really, bedding is fucking brilliant. But duvet covers are bastards. Or, to infuse a moment of clarity into what might be misconstrued as the angry ramblings of a fucked up mind, it’s getting the bloody duvet cover on the duvet that’s an absolutely and utter bastard. I really hate fitting duvets covers. Really fucking hate it. Every time I realize that I’m going to have to fit one my shoulders go down and my heart sinks. It’s enough to break any man. Even when I try to apply a bit of method it never works out. You try to line the hem with one corner of the duvet and shuffle along the seam. You miss the corner of the duvet cover that you’re aiming for or stray off the seam and suddenly you’re disorientated. Suddenly you’re lost and it’s starting to look messy. Suddenly you’ve wandered out of Hollywood and you’re right in Compton and there’s the sound of automatic gun fire and someone screaming ‘Motherfucker!’ over your shoulder. You try to recover and that just makes things worse. Now you’re tucking the wrong corner and it’s all getting muddled. Chaos. You’re lost and you know it. It’s like when you lose count of a set of stuff that you’re trying to keep a track of; you can’t recover that with any real confidence. You might as well just jack it in and start again. Chalk fuck all over it and go back to square one. And again. And again. And again. And… Then suddenly you’re left with a big ball of material and still nowhere to sleep. Even when you do get the first two corners something like, you have to get the rest of it in. And then as you try to do this the duvet moves inside the cover and it’s all gone bollocks up again. It’s a – if you’ll excuse my Anglo-Saxon – cunt.


In this way duvet covers are indicative of one of the modern world’s most keenly felt and fundamental problems. Inconvenience. Because the trouble is that getting the duvet cover on is something you have to do in order to do something else. It’s not an objective on its own. By comparison climbing Mt. Everest or getting to the Moon are a piece of piss. They’re sensible options. Because they are an end in themselves. They are an objective. Duvet covers on the other hand are like filling up with petrol or taking a pebble out of your shoe or untangling a bunch of wires. Because the thing is you just want to get into bed and get wrapped up. You’re not interested in the cover per se. With wires all you’re wanting to do is listen to some bleeding music. With the car all you’re wanting to do is drive from A to B without making any kind of fucking detour to fill up on over-priced petrol. Is it too much to fucking ask, eh?! EH???!!!!! IS IT TOO FUCKING MUCH?! It’s like when your personal computer goes to the pictures – something that should facilitate life suddenly fucks it up. Then everything feels to be conspiring against you. Nothing feels to be going right. And it all builds up and suddenly that duvet cover is like having to do a Rubik’s fucking cube or work your way through a bumper book of competition grade Sudoko before you’re going to be allowed to go to sleep. And so duvet covers become one of mankind’s greatest challenges due to its inherent pointlessness. Then duvet cover is another bloody obstacle to a stress free day. It’s another fucking hurdle to negotiate. It’s another sodding hoop to jump through. Hurdles and hoops are to the 21st Century what Buzz Bombs and Arthur Askey was to the 1940s. A pain in the fucking arse. Because in modern life most of us are juggling. Time, money, commitments… one up, one down, one in your hand. And most of the time we manage it. We keep the balls up in the air and all the plates spinning. But once one goes then that’s it. The whole lot suddenly breaks over your head. The next thing you know you’re bowling for Columbine. Like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers when he’s thrashing his Morris Marina with a branch. You lose it. At that moment in time the problem seems insurmountable. Hurdles and hoops will do that to you. Hurdles and hoops will strip the civilization from your back like turps on a set of dirty brushes. Duvets covers, tangled wires and malfunctioning self-service tills are like acid poured on the naked soul. Any one of them could be tasks for Hercules. They’d test him, believe me. They’d have him stamping his feet and smashing his toys. The anger and genuine anguish that can be generated by an awkward duvet cover or a bunch of tangled wires is tremendous. Because it’s not just the awkward duvet cover or a bundle of wires. This is the final straw that broke the camel’s back. This is it! No more! I can’t take it! Fitting duvet covers drives people over the edge. Duvet covers are why people kill themselves. Ask the Samaritans. They know all about it. I told them.