Forget an uppity Beatrix Potter character in brogues - for a real taste of Britain, let's commemorate Cat Bin Woman.
The fifty pence piece is basically useless now that a can of Coke is 70p and it's illegal to sell single cigarettes, so in recent years the powers that be (imagine Michael Gove hunched over a minting press putting a tiny bit of his seed on each embossed image of the Queen's face as the coins come hot of the press, his face red with carnal passion) have used the coin less as a metal bit of currency and more as a way to celebrate various things that have been around for a while.
Some of these things are basically alright: libraries got a coin, and people like libraries. The NHS got a coin, and people love the NHS. But recently there have been some more controversial choices. The Battle of Hastings, Britain's only successful invasion by a foreign enemy in the past 1000 years, got one, which really squeezed lemon juice in that particular national paper cut. This week it was announced that Peter Rabbit is going to be gracing the new coins. I mean, the advent of full-colour coins is actually amazing, but let's talk about that another day.
Nothing against little Pete, but he's got a real Zac Goldsmith vibe; all organic vegetables and cutesy countryside on the outside, with a cold, aristocratic crony-capitalist interior. For a start, he wears a dinner jacket and brown brogues to a vegetable patch – and just look at the state of his prissy mates:
I bet that picture really does it for Michael Gove as well.
Anyway, we nominated 50 pence pieces that we think would have been better.
CJ de Mooi from Eggheads
CJ de Mooi says he's a killer. You forget, of course, when you're watching him on Eggheads, with his piercing eyes and his deep general knowledge pool, and his thin, lean, marathon-honed body, you forget, you forget that CJ de Mooi believes he took the last whisper of life out of the soul of a junkie and ditched him in a canal. But I remember, CJ. I remember.
For legal reasons, it's important to quote CJ de Mooi, from his own autobiography published last year, saying he killed a homeless man, in Amsterdam, in the 90s, so that I – content angel Joel Golby – cannot be personally sued for saying he did it. "He caught me on the wrong day and I just snapped," CJ de Mooi wrote. "This is the one incident of my life I do regret. I was in a phone box and this old guy, obviously a massive drug user, came up behind me with a knife in his hand. He told me to turn around, open my bag and give him whatever was inside. I punched him so hard in the face, knocked the knife out of his hand and threw him in the canal. I fully suspect I killed him. I've no idea what happened to him."
I fully suspect I killed him. I fully suspect I killed him. "I fully suspect I killed him" — CJ de Mooi, 2015.
Having got that embarrassment off his chest, CJ de Mooi now wants us to forget he killed a man (or at least said he killed a man, to spice up an autobiography that basically otherwise just says "yeah I'm good at chess") as evidenced by his Twitter feed, which is filled not with contrition or inward-looking episodes of deep grief or personal growth or other things you might suspect a killer might tweets but instead with invitations to come see him in panto and weird seize-the-day-lovers platitudes and eerily intense selfies. Here's one:
This man killed.
This man killed.
This man killed.
This is why we need a commemorative 50p. The only way to record something for the ages is to galvanise it in cupro-nickel. A Wikipedia page can be altered to pretend CJ de Mooi didn't kill that man. A chummy panto appearance can gloss over his killing rage. But that money he is raising with all those marathons will not bring a homeless man up from the depths of the Herengracht. CJ de Mooi believes he is a killer, and the only way for us to remember that is with a commemorative 50p. The only way to remember is to emboss that moment – CJ de Mooi, in a phonebox, shrieking and wrestling a knife simultaneously, a firm heel-palm to the nose of a drug addict – emboss it deep into our very currency. - Joel Golby
Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd
Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd takes no shit from any cunt. The main character of the BBC's cold case unit drama Waking the Dead, Peter Boyd continually appeared on screen as a totally humourless, irate, sneering motherfucker. He was Jeremy Kyle if Jeremy Kyle used his arsehole powers for good instead berating people with tattoos for smelling bad. Boyd counterbalanced the sweet natured criminal psychologist in Sue Johnston's Dr. Grace Foley with absolutely furious hatred of murderers and scumbags. That's why he deserves to be immortalised on the 50p coin, because he's the ultimate moody Englishman. Even though his rage arises from witnessing butchered children in the morgue, his expressions of disdain could just as easily be attributed to seeing a whole series of Ice Road Truckers deleted off the Sky+. He is every death wish levelled at a cyclist, every disgusted headshake at a family of seven living off benefits. He is us, one and all. - Joe Bish
Kinga From Big Brother
One of the things these commemorative coins do is remind us of important works of art from our past. There was one recently that celebrated the operas of Benjamin Britten, for example. Well Kinga from Big Brother entertaining that wine bottle is very much our generation's War Requiem. There is a sense of hope in that moment, when Kinga points at the wine bottle and says "I could probably stick that up my fanny," a sense that anything is possible. The housemates protest, but Kinga slaps them down. "Why not?" she asks, just as Joan of Arc asked asked as she mounted her horse, just as Amelia Earhart asked as she set off towards the Atlantic. Then, with a squeal, comes the moment of achievement, where she can not quite believe what she has accomplished. "ARGH! Oh my god! I'm sitting on a wine bottle" is the closest we'll ever know to "I have a dream". Let it never be forgotten. - Sam Wolfson
Decades before Minions cornered the bright-yellow-and-cutesy market, Mr Chips was the perfect foil to host Roy Walker's ruddy-cheeked, sometimes-offensive hosting stint on ITV gameshow Catchphrase. Chips is the stoic everyman, he never speaks but always knows, goading contestants who are simply unable to describe what he's doing. He knows what they want, an awful-sounding package holiday courtesy of Thomas Cook, but he won't let them just take it. He stands up against greed, instant gratification and consumerism, and demands that only the smartest are able to go to Tenerife with £500 spending money. That is something to which we can all aspire. - Tshepo Mokoena
Cat Bin Woman
On the 21st of August 2010, Mary Bale underwent a radical transformation. In a moment of madness that she later went on to describe as both something she thought would "suddenly be funny" and "incredibly out of character", Mary Bale threw a cat in a wheelie bin and forever became known to the world as Cat Bin Woman. The £250 fine Bale was ordered to pay the RSPCA was small change compared to the animal hatred aimed at her. As a nation that tends to prefer pets to friends, Cat Bin Woman overstepped every line imaginable. In a pre-Yewtree world, she was as evil as it got. But, and this is an important but, she also represents something else: Cat Bin Woman is inside all of us. She is the transgressive other we have to conceal to get through the day, she is the rampant id that most of us develop superegos in order to suppress, and I can't think of anything I'd rather be reminded of next time I'm buying a can of Barr's Cream Soda. - Josh Baines
A Dead Pig
If The Tale of Peter Rabbit is to be commemorated, then we should also commemorate The Tale of David Cameron Fucking a Pig's Head. That the Daily Mail's scoop was never properly stood up and probably isn't true doesn't matter. These coins help us celebrate the stories with which we define Britain – and Pigfuckgate is at least as true as Peter Rabbit or the one about the Queen being born to reign over us. The story came from a book about Cameron financed by Michael Ashcroft, a tax-avoiding oligarch, who funded the hatchet job because he couldn't buy himself a ministerial position. Despite this, the myth that Britain is a well-run and non-corrupt country remained intact. People preferred to remember the image of David Cameron with his penis in a pig's head and who is the Royal Mint to deny them from reliving that every time they get change? - Simon Childs
That "Gunman to Judge: Suck Your Mum Rudeboy" Local News Poster
The story was actually how a gunman was getting a life sentence for brutally shooting two people in their south London home. That's what the New York Times would have led with. That's how Le Figaro would have done it. But that's not how they do things in South Croydon. So God bless the Croydon Advertiser. This poster deserves to be our new monarch. – Tom Usher
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