Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why I want to cut my ears off.

Or alternatively I could cut the lad next door's hands off.

Does that sound like an extreme reaction? A *tad* curmudgeonly? A bit *overly* violent? After all it’s only a bit of drumming. O, ok, it’s incessant arrhythmic drumming at all hours of day and night. Yeh, that’s pretty much what it is. If he was gettin any better I might feel better; if he was attempting to play music of some description that might help. But no, as I whine and whinge to myself via the medium of fast typing – I will tell you (the potentially non-existent) reader the dull tale. I’ll tell it quick...

It goes like this. I think the lad – he’s 16, 17 – he’s certainly off college and bored this summer – got given a big drum a couple of months ago. Someone must have brought it round and forgotten to take it home. Or else he’s practising to join a band: a band of FUCKIN IDIOTS

I’ve seen him banging it in the back yard – quite proud of himself, wanting to be noticed, wanting – have no doubt – someone to complain – it would give him a smirking sense of self-worth. A confirmation of his noisy existence. Ah, the life of the talentless egotastic artist – please notice me, please. I can empathise – well, I will be able to once I’ve hacked off my lugholes and stuffed the holes full of Superglue.

Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him
Pa rum pum pum
I played my best for Him
Pa rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
Rum pum pum pum
[Little Drummer Boy]

But oh yes, it is a big big BIG fuckin drum. A big – bang it at both ends - drum. Strap it to your chest, take out your aggression – then take it out, slash it to bits and put it in the nearest fuckin bin – sorta drum.

Rat, tat, rat, tat, smack, smack (pause) smack, bang. Standing there in the back yard pausing to look around and see if anyone is looking out of their windows at him. Givin him a bit of attention. Except round here, no one says boo to a goose. In fact if I had 10 geese in my back yard no one would be bothered. Someone might nick over the wall n rob em, cook it for tea, but no one would be that bothered about the noise. I think I am going to get a dozen geese actually; set them to quacking, see how that goes down. Just as an experiment. Either that or a moose. Or a nuclear storage plant – but that would be too quiet. A quarry. Yeah, but the explosions would just sound too much like fireworks or gunshots, how would that annoy anyone? Too everyday, compadre. Sounds of the city, eh? Wild animals, that’s the way to go. Or evil spirits. A gaggle of wailing banshees would up the stakes; get em to spring into psychedelic satanic song just as idiot drummer boy lays down his gentle head to sleep.

Except. The sort of people that are idiotish enough to make that kind of Neanderthal noise are not exactly gonna be the sensitive sort of – upset by car alarms, street fights and randomly screaming neighbours – kinda sleepers. It’d be me that ended up gettin annoyed by my own user generated noise attack. Grrr. How I hate myself.

Bah and humbuggery. Pshaw…

Drummer boy – still at it - I have the feeling he bangs it when he’s annoyed, or when there are adverts on the telly, or while he’s waiting to download something. Because that’s how it sounds. 15 minutes of random banging. Then he stops. I stop my occasional screaming at the wall. And I sigh and relax. Breathe out. Then 30 minutes later he’s starting again. Just random banging in the room adjacent to mine. It’s a kind of Guantanamo torture, really. The sorta thing the US military tried to do when they were trying to flush General Noriega out of the Vatican Embassy in Panama.

So what am I supposed to do? Phone the council? Go round and have a word – cos oh, we are big mates. Big friendly mates. Especially after the dog thing (don’t ask). Explain to Drummy that it would be quite nice if he could just play at a set time for an hour a day. So that I could arrange to leave the house. Sounds effin reasonable, right?

No, it’s dull. It’s crap. I can’t make writing about it seem funny or interesting. Really, having no ears will be the best solution, because ear-plugs + big orange ear defenders don’t work. State of the art B&Q ear defenders only seem to highlight the drumming.

All other sounds are minimised (just don’t eat while wearing them, the crunch of an apple is terrifyingly loud). O dear. I am at a loss. I am still live blogging this now to the sound of that shitty drum. How long has it been 20 minutes? What do I look like sitting here typing in the headgear of a man who works on a construction site? Odd, that's what.

O, the thing is, I hate myself for caring. It seems so fogeyish – complaining about noise seems like complaining about someone kicking a football in your garden. Oi, mind my daffodils yer little ficker!

But here is my day in a cotton pickin nutshell – let’s take a Saturday or a Sunday par example…

I wake at 6.30-7am to my neighbour on the other (non-drummy) side making her breakfast while she listens to Talk FM at deaf person decibel levels. I can actually hear the shitty opinions of the drones that idiot in to tell their small listening world (and me) about how everything is wrong and even at 6.30 on a Sunday morning they’re so fuckin unhappy about the whole fuckin thing. Fuck them. My neighbour on that side must be 60 and must be completely fuckin deaf. Clattering around her kitchen throwing pans and shouting at her yappy little dog. You know how you hear a noise though a wall and try and work out – WTF are they doing in there? She must be making pancakes but throwing them against the wall. Making cement pancakes. Perhaps she’s part of an industrial metal band – it sounds like an Einstürzende Neubauten song called, ‘Full Ingerlizh Breakfast: part 112’. It’s an effin joke.



Lying in bed in the morning I can tell the time by who is making the noise.

During school time, the mum at drummer boy’s house comes into the bedroom next to mine (where drummer does his fuckin drumming) around 7.30am and screams at the kids to get up. No, really. She does. She probably comes in at twenty past and whispers and they do nothing, that has to be the only reason why she is so angry so early in the morning. Unless maybe she has been phoning up Radio Local to complain about the state of the world. How else would she get so psyched up so early? What a way to start your day, geez, Louise...

I try & be up by this time. I tend to run out of the house screaming, I tend to want to just run screaming into oncoming traffic just to get the blessed peace afforded by being thrown over the bonnet of a car and smacked into a coma. Ahh, silent bliss. A nice quiet 6 months in a coma, what a luxury it would be…

Cos if you don’t go out right then, then you get stompy lady upstairs sounding like she’s square dancing and weirdly moving furniture around on a daily, hourly basis. Why are you moving your furniture now? Didn’t you move it all yesterday morning? Can the bed not stay where it is? How about that scrapey bangy chest of drawers – come on, it’s alright where it is. Leave it! Jeez.

How odd it is to try and make up reasons for the noises that people make? It’s almost funny…

Still, prior to this house I used to live in a room next to a boiler/bathroom. Awake until the last beery club returning person in the house had finished their farty late night ablutions and awake again at 6.30am when the office worker got up to have her early morning wake up shower. It was a case of take drugs, get drunk or sleep on a bench in the park, wake up with a squirrel chewing on your nuts…

But yeh, I guess I’m not the only person in the world to have the gift of hearing. I shouldn’t complain. There’s always someone worse off than yourself. War zones can’t be that great to live in.

But this must be why people want to get rich and live in the countryside, or at least move into a semi-detached house. Then you would only have one neighbour to really worry about. Instead, living at the bottom of the property pile in a shared house dump, you get - let’s see – assuming you have a window out front onto the oooh so quiet road – you’re surrounded, boxed in, people on top of you, people underneath you, people behind you, to the left of you, to the right of you. People and noises and lives you don’t want coming at you from all angles:

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I fall off my chair,
And I'm wondering how I'll get down the stairs,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you
[Stuck in the Middle With You]

I’m tempted to ask if the kids in the street really need to scream and shout all day long but then, clearly, I will have ruined my specific point and become the grumpy (old) man I know I am. What a dick. But the point is really. I’ve now typed 500 (?) words and drummer boy is still doing his shitty noise making – if I was younger – I’d just go round there and lamp him one. But of course I’m older and aware of the law, aware that his dad and his dad’s mates would come back round and batter me. Or the lad might just beat me up himself, and when where would I be? Blogging about the terrible queues at the A&E; trying to type with broken fingers.

Peace on Earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day, when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on Earth, can it be

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
[Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy]

So there’s really no other option, I am going to have to get a pair of scissors and chop off my ears. And then buy some contact lenses, or else what am I gonna do with my glasses? O, I swear, one problem just LEADS to another…

Why John McCain could learn a lesson from Spencer Tracey

So I was watching an old Spencer Tracey/Katherine Hepburn film the other night. On a proper dvd, not via the medium of wonky little YouTube, but still, it was remarkably prescient plot-wise. Well, y'know, sort of, anyway.

State of the Union (1948) - the Republicans were looking for a candidate for President, they want someone who's an outsider but a great talker - old Spencer is. He's a maverick. O, yeh! He has some great speeches - that YouTube won't provide - and thinks outside the box, before the daft phrase was even invented. But then, guess what, the party insiders get to him, persuade him to moderate his views, not upset big business bla de bla de schma...



Of course, Kate Hepburn's character goes along with this - heck, they don't even get on that well, but that's another love story - until she decides, *Gosh Darn It!*, she's had enough of this charade. If he won't run honestly, what is the point? What is the blinkin point, in being a so-called maverick, huh, Spence, huh?

So, not wishing to give away the plot - but giving it away anyway - as you, my invisible reader, will never get round to seeing the film anyway, cos you're incurably lazy - Spence basically freaks out - screams into the microphone in an "I'm Mad as Hell" moment. Has to be seen to be believed and enjoyed. On DVD. Similar to this moment of genius when a newsreader goes bonkers in the film, 'Network':



dAMN - I WISH SOME POLITICIAN WOULD GO TONTO LIKE THAT. And then get locked up soon after...

So State of the Union (1948) Review: black & white, bit over-long, lots of good bits.

But while you're at it - check out the 1st minute of this YouTuber - before the mawkish music kicks in. This woman kills me - really kinda wonderful...

Why Jeffery Archer, the world's Greatest Storyteller, got it right yet again.


O Jeff, how I adore thee and your scrunched up face that looks weirdly like Sting being bitten by a wasp. Bitten by a hundred little wasp teeth. You are so cute and angry looking like you know the whole world is wrong and you, yes YOU, Jefferey, are right in a thousand different ways that those eejits could never never understand.

My life for instance. When I was 16 our Ingerlish teacher went round the class & asked everyone what our favourite books were. There were lots of blank looks, jokes and mentions of Lords of the Rings & Playboy. O, boys in a boy's school - you are so silly! So, umm, immature. And that's fair enough. It's almost endearing. So it got to my turn and I confidently asserted, "Kane & Abel by Jeffery Archer is the favourite book. It's the best book ever written." I had no doubt about that. It made me stay awake at night it was so unputdownable. I flicked through the pages with glee.

It was virtually the first grown-up book I'd read - certainly the first by a male author. Prior to that there'd been Enid Blyton then a gap filled with war comics, not very funny comics, football comics and football magazines. There were no books for a 13-16 year old boy as far as I was aware.

Billy Bunter was a pile of crappy crappingtons about some greedy public schoolboyand just seemed a thousand years out of date. Jennings I liked but fuck Billy Bunter. Bah. You kids nowadays with your Melvin Burgess books about heroin abuse etc, you just don't know etc etc, my day etc.

I really don't think people used to write stuff for teens back in, ahem, my day. Or if they did, they didn't stock em at Woodsend library. But then the library got burnt down anyway, so there probably weren't any Billy Schmunter books after that anyway - or maybe that's why I burnt it down. I mean, that's why it got burnt down, but I digress massively...

Round my house it was basically a parade of female people: mother, sisters, sisters' friends living there on a permanent basis etc etc. And me. So telly-wise, for instance, I never got much of a go (in my memory - though my sisters might disagree). But weight of numbers meant that we watched Crossroads & Emmerdale Farm on ITV instead of Monkey & Star Trek on BBC2.

Amos in the Woolpack, yesteryear>>>

So I never developed an adolescent affection for sci-fi & fantasy. I can't join in pubby conversations about The Water Margin or Captain Spockie. I know a lot about Amos Brearley, but who wants to talk about that? "Do you remember that episode when Jack Sugden was having an affair with that barmaid behind his wife's back, and he was driving the tractor ... no, okay... "

Book wise, there were a few of em, hanging around the house. And in a haze of pre-internet boredness, I had a go at readin em. My mum was into Mills & Boon. So I gave a couple of them a go. A very quick go. But no. No sex, no car chases, no interest. I swore off M&B at a very early age (13). That left me with Barbara Taylor Bradford and Catherine Cookson - but, well the covers of them - with their proud ladies having unfortunate lives in the olden days, but struggling through... were enough to make me want to feign dyslexia.

Fortunately there were a few books hanging round written by the two greatest, most influential female authors of the 80s, Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper. Those I ate up. Especially Collins. I sunburnt myself to blistering painful insanity sitting in the back garden one sunny day reading *Hollywood Wives*. I think it was that one. My sister had purchased one of those reclining padded sun chairs. It looked comfy, it looked sunny. I sat on the nice chair wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and read. And read. And read.

5 hours later I noticed that my shins were just a little bit red. As were my arms. Sun cream was obviously something that girls bothered with...

5 hours later I was weeping as the suppurating boils on my arms continued to grow and my skin felt as hot and tight as... well, as if I'd been put on a kebab stick and shoved in a bonfire for an hour. Yeh, I was a mess. Thanks very much Jackie Collins with your lovely perma-tan & rip-roaring plot full of Hollywood hotties, drugs and occasional walk on parts for Mick Jagger and various other Hollywood people. That was odd. But did give the story an extra layer of verisimilitude - not that I would have known that word to say the time... as I wept with feverish sunstroke and hideously damaged legs. For a week after I walked like the Little Mermaid after she made her *love or tail decision*. It was funny, but not really, or at all.

**And then the witch laughed so loud and disgustingly, that the toad and the snakes fell to the ground, and lay there wriggling about. "You are but just in time," said the witch; "for after sunrise tomorrow I should not be able to help you till the end of another year. I will prepare a draught for you, with which you must swim to land tomorrow before sunrise, and sit down on the shore and drink it. Your tail will then disappear, and shrink up into what mankind calls legs, and you will feel great pain, as if a sword were passing through you. But all who see you will say that you are the prettiest little human being they ever saw. You will still have the same floating gracefulness of movement, and no dancer will ever tread so lightly; but at every step you take it will feel as if you were treading upon sharp knives, and that the blood must flow. If you will bear all this, I will help you."

"Yes, I will," said the little princess in a trembling voice, as she thought of the prince and the immortal soul.** [from The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen]

But Jeff is the point. God, I'm discursive. The current American election? Come on, you've heard of it (imaginary reader), haven't you? Well, heck, Jeff Archer predicted all of it. Really. No, reeellly. He did. He is a Lord after all, but I never thought he was a Time Lord. But it is all coming to pass, all his predictions. Back then people didn't rate Jeff Archer - sure he was no.1 in the book charts but the bookerati claimed that he was a shitty writer - God they were wrong!

The look on the face of my Ingerlish teacher when I told him the Archer truth was a combination of priceless & withering. It was wasp-chewing disbelief

!!!Jeffrey Archer!!!Author of the greatest novel ever written!!!

His head must have been full of exclamation marks!!!!!!!

O, Mr Walker, you slightly arty, more than slightly pretentious Ingerlish teacher, you! Who would think that we would ever have anything in common at that point. Me snotty nosed urchin child, you urbane, and clever in your chalk dabbed sports jacket. And now look at us! I read books! Amazin, huh?

But I still like Jeff for his early novels. He was the first grown-up male writer I ever read. He turned me on to reading The Mail on Sunday, when it gave away his novel, To Be The Best, in 4 collectable parts. If you haven't read it, it pretty much goes like this:

**Product Description Synopsis In the 1960s four new MPs take their seats at Westminster. Over three decades they share the passions of the race for power with their wives and families, men and women caught up in a game for the highest stakes of all. But only one man can gain the ultimate goal - the office of Prime Minster.** [Amazon.co.uk description]

It's hard to imagine how exciting that book was to a 17 year old Smiths fan in Flixton. No, it really is *hard to understand*. In fact it may have been a small let down after the heights of the earlier novels like K&A, The Prodigal Daughter, & Shall We Tell The President?

But from then on and for the next 5 years I was a confirmed Mail on Sunday reader. It had a colour magazine, it had boring political stuff, it had horoscopes, it had a nice colour magazine, it once gave away a Jeff Archer novel. Great. And at the age of 17 it was a big step up from my usual read on a Sunday - the News of the Screws - with its boobs, bonking and Woodrow Wyatt, the Voice of Treason. So thanks, Jeff, you were the making of me in more ways than you will ever know. You were like a surrogate father to me in a time of need; ever since I have wanted to write like you, but I know I will never manage it. Boo and many many hoos...

Point is: make a long story, even more unfeasibly long: this sexy Vice President lady candidate lady - Jeff was there first! He predicted it in The Prodigal Daughter, & Shall We Tell The President? In those novels, Florentyna Kane gets to be V.P. and then the old bastard of a President dies of a heart attack - and she is the 1st lady Presidentess. Virtually like it will be in real life! Probably. Almost wow!

Alaska Governer Sarah Palin, made out of Lego, yesterday >>>

But what is worthy of further study - is the fact that in the second *novel* - when Florentyna is president, there's a plot to kill her. And guess who one of the suspects is? Yes, none other than sarcastic Democrat Senator Joe Biden.


<<< Senator Joe Biden on the Pelham 123, yesteryear

The same Joe Biden, who is now the Democratic party's candidate for V.P. Opposite the lovely/scary GOP party candidate Sarah Palin (no relation to Michael)!

Hmmm? Hmmm? Make any sense yet? No, maybe not. But read the novels and it will. Jeff knows stuff. And according to Archer's novels from 1982 & 1987 - it goes like this:

  1. McCain wins
  2. Then dies
  3. Sarah Palin takes over
  4. Biden and a bunch of completely fictional characters are suspects in a plot to have her assassinated.
Yeh, damn skippy. IT COULD HAPPEN. You read it here first, but obviously, hopefully not...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why my Nana made her own jam. Why the Queen always eats all her potatoes. Why the *plastic age* is to blame for everything.


"Once I start a book I finish it. That was the way one was brought up. Books, bread and butter, mashed potato - one finishes what's on one's plate. That's always been my philosophy."

----> The *Real* Queen of England, yesteryear ---->

My grandad had an allotment, my nana made sugary jam out of his gooseberries n raspberries.

My nana liked have a tidy house, she was forever runnin the Ewbank up n down the carpet in the living room. While we sat there with our legs in the air watching her push n pull the thing up n down - trying to get it to pick up a patch of dry speck of dirt - when frankly it would've been easier to bend down and pick up the fleck of dusty wool by hand. If my nana could actually bend down etc. But with an old Ewbank, it was more *the thought that counts*. If it had been Ewbanked it was clean; despite all those flecks of whatnot on the rug. Much effort was expended. No electricity was wasted.

"However, as some of you may know, I have always disliked waste. One not wholly mythical version of my character has me going round Buckingham Palace switching off the lights, the implication being that one is mean, though these days it could better be put down to an awareness of global warming."

But, yeh, that was about the size of it as far as my nana's interest in conserving and *preserving the environment* was concerned. She liked to keep her conserves & jams neatly stacked in date order in the back larder. She liked to keep the sideboard dust-free and the fancy horse brasses that hung on the wall polished. And yet. And yet. And yet...

The way she lived then, is how we are expected to live now - and in the future:
  • put a padded sausage dog thing against the bottom of the door to keep the draft out
  • knit
  • garden
  • use cheap natural things instead of expensive chemical products
  • cycle, get the bus, walk
  • put an extra jumper on when it gets cold [advises the CEO of Centrica/British Gas]
  • 'make do & mend'
Why we are inevitably returning to a slightly more *techno* version of the 1950s

Here it is. We lived through *The Age of Plastic* from about 1970 to its apogee in, well, 2006? Maybe? When people started gettin into the whole recycling/cycling to work kinda deal. So we had a good 26 years of increasing waste and until we reached a time where it was a *good* thing to have products with micro-life-spans: sell-by dates of tomorrow, razors you use once & bin, contact lenses you use for 8 hours & bin. P*****k clothes that are so *fashionable* and cheap to produce that the manufacturers really aren't expecting you to wear them in 2 months, never mind 2 years time.

We had a *Golden Age* of wasteful consumerism and now we're coming out the other side. We're just sort of starting to realise that.

Of course, when I say we, I mean me. I enjoyed it while it lasted. Cheap clothes, cheap 3p baked beans, Megabus for £1, Easyjet for 1p. *What's not to like?*

But now all that's over, apparently - and the future might be the return of...

  • Schools collecting newspapers & gettin paid money for the old newsprint - like they did when I was at school.
  • Glass beer bottles that are now expensive to manufacture it becomes more economically viable to clean em & refill em. Like they used to do where you got tuppence if you took em back to the shop.
  • Rag'n'bone men - I saw one yesterday! Well, sort of. A man with a baby buggy with a broken electric cooker precariously balanced on it. So he was a sort of a rag'n'bone man. A or a thief, an idiot, or someone moving house.
  • Tinkers stealing lead of the roof, ripping out copper pipes & making a fortune.
  • Everyone wanting an allotment (hmmm, started).
The past 20-odd-years - were just the aberrations of the plastic era.

Biofuels? Bio-fuels? Like gettin crops n converting them into fuel to power your vehicle?

Ooooh, sounds complex. Possibly a wasteful process powering all those machines that do the job of converting oily crops into useable vehicle gas. Right. Okay. Fine.

How about this idea. Get a field of grass. Or some bales of hay, whatever! Get a horse. Get a cart. Sit in the cart. Tether up the horse. Go.

Biofuels a go-go. The future is the past, but with wooden laptops...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why you are so lucky to be an immigrant. Why Lawrence of Arabia got it all wrong. Why the Welsh language is modern and exciting.

Here, check this out then come back to me. Here - go go go - follow the link like a pigeon that's flying high in the sky then spots a crumb of bread 40 foot below on the ground - and swoops down like a guided missile - go go go - but come back.

Do come back.

http://www.google.com/search?q=popty+ping&hl=cy

Are you coming back? ... No, it's okay, I'll wait. Read it yet?

Yet?

Ready?

Okay, now is that good, or is that good? I think it's good.

‘poptŷ ping’ = microwave – or ping - oven.

‘malu cachu’ = bullshitting – literally ‘mincing shit’.

'pry heglog' (pree heg log) = Daddy longlegs.

'bwrdd smwddio' (boorrdh smoodhyo) =
ironing board.

Brilliant.
!!!Bord smoothio!!!

as I like to spell it in my pidgeon Welsh style.


How I would like to be bilingual! What a gift it is to learn a second language as a child. Of course it may not seem like that at the time, when you're forced - perhaps as a newly arrived immigrant to learn to speak Ingerlish at a pace you find difficult and seemingly impossible.

School days are obviously going to be hard. But later on? You're laughing. I went to Cardiff University and met this guy there whose parents were Italian. This guy, Luigi, I'll call him cos I can't remember his name - his parents - slightly stereotypically - well apparently it was a stereotype to Welsh people - if not to me - owned a chippy in the Welsh Valleys. So Luigi, like lots of kids of immigrant parents, got to the age of 9 or 10 and was perfectly fluent in 2 languages. Spoke Italian at home & English (with a little bit of Welsh thrown in for good measure) at school.

!!!Poptŷ Ping!!!

The point being - what did he study at University College Cardiff?

Joint honours: Italian & Welsh.

"Hmmm, so Italian GCSE & A Level - how hard was that for Luigi?"
"Not ver-rry."
And the year spent abroad as part of his degree course - yeah, that's right - in *Italy* - didn't prove that taxing either.

So good for him. He studied languages he already had a knowledge of - and as is usually the case - once you get your head round learning one 2nd language - it just gets easier and easier to learn even more. The lucky 2nd generation bastards! What do we children of the Irish get? Huh? An ability to drink till we fall over? An ineffable poetic sensibility? Skin that burns at the very mention of the word *sunshine*. Hmmm, cheers, Ireland. I'll be back to have a word with you at some later time, just you wait....

So when some Latvian boy chooses to take Russian A Level at the age of 18, or some girl with Iraqi parents completes a degree in Arab Studies - it's gonna be undoubtedly easier for them. And good for them. My point is getting lost here. Hurrah. It's a good thing. You go immigrant kids! Bring us your new food, bring your new genetic mix to stir into our island blood, bring us your music, your dancing, your hard work and your smiling initially baffled faces...

There's a very cute article in this week's Observer about the thoughts and reactions of young children who have recently migrated to the UK. It makes ya think, I think. It does.

What must it be like to be dumped in a school where you have NO IDEA what anyone is saying? How crazy, how Kafkaesque must that be?

[kafkaesque - characterized by surreal distortion and a sense of impending danger; "the kafkaesque terror of the endless interrogations"]

Looking on oneself as something alien, forgetting the sight, remembering the gaze. - Franz Kafka

Back in the 1970s & 80s under the fantastic Tory goverment there was a lot of economic migration out of the UK. Builders and plumbers going to live in wooden cabins in Germany while they worked on building sites (As usual, my research for this information comes from watching UK Gold).



I had a friend at school whose dad had a job working for Shell (or some oil company) in Saudi Arabia. Now when the family migrated over there - if they ever did - when I say friend I mean someone I vaguely knew. When the family moved over there - let's say - did they send the little lad to a regular Saudi school? Nah. Course not. He went to an Ingerlish Language school. Of course. Commmon sense. Because they could afford that. Yeh, that's the difference here.

So praise the child that makes the effort to learn our lovely language. And help her out if she finds it a struggle, if she wants to give up and retreat back into the easy security of her family and original tongue. The early years are not gonna be easy.

Respect and a sense of wonderment to the teachers that put in all that effort every day. But keep on working harder y'all, cos right there is where the hard work gets done - and if it doesn't - our society suffers. No integration. No communication. No mingling. No love, no sorrow. No Ugandan boys learning to support Manchester City and then realising what a mistake they've made - but cannot undo once the love affair has started. Bonded to a silly, ridiculous football club. Walking around in a lazer blue shirt talking with fellow misery guts fans about how unlucky we were this week... For a change. A weekly bout of sorrow and footballing misery, it's all part of being a true blue Mancunian.

After all, everyone in Manchester is an immigrant. Everyone in Liverpool is an immigrant. And London? Blimey, how did Morrisey get told off for saying that he could hear a lot of foreign voices when he was walking around near Harrods. I mean, aren't the only people that go to Harrods either ridiculously rich or tourists? And possibly both?

But hey hey, let's just back up there, baby. No way are we gonna let that first sentence there just slide through unquestioned. "Everyone in Manchester is an immigrant..." O really? And that's a statistical fact is it? Or just a wild generalisation thrown out there by some irresponsible idiot?

Yeh, okay, probably the latter. But you get my point, right? We are most of us in these industrial cities, folk who originated from elsewhere. Irish, Scots, Welsh, Picts, Vikings, Goths from Leeds, Visigoths from Halifax (Yorkshire is a foreign country, so if they've moved to Lancashire, they're immigrants). Then the commonwealth of nations people from the West Indies, Uganda, Pakistan, India. Then more recently our 'European cousins' and people from unfortunate, hideously grim places like Zimbabwe, Iraq & the Congo. Places we should all thank our stars that we didn't end up being born in when the babies were being handed down by the storks that arrange world baby deliveries. Yeh, I'll admit, Gosh am I glad I live in *Great Britain*.

All the rubbish things. The occasional tabloid fueled fear of knifings or terrorist bombings, the bad weather, the expensive everything, Big Brother ... (insert your own bugbear here, but don't bother me with it) ... all of those things. All of em. Even the weather - I would not swap - for the chance to live in the warm, sunny holiday climes of Zimbabwe, Iraq or the Congo. Yeh, so what? All so obvious, right?

And all equally true when Jews were escaping from Stalin in the Ukraine in the 1940s, when Ugandan Asians were escaping from Idi Amin in the 1970s, when the Irish were escaping from economic doom & gloom (every year up to the 1990s) - and coming to settle here. In Manchester, in Liverpool, in London.

Weirdly, prior to the recent temporary influx of casual foreign workers into the countryside to help with the chicken plucking & strawberry picking trades - our rural villages have always been pretty light on immigrant families. I guess that's always the way with the countryside, hence the propensity for marrying cousins and having banjo playing offspring...



Cos isn't that one of the things that makes us such a warrier, weird and wacky nation - the fact that we kinda aren't sure who we are? We're a little bit this, a little bit that, a little bit the other. So a big thank you to all you - all of us - immigrants. Thank you for your food, music, shops. Your help with strengthening our gene mix. What the world needs now, is love, love, love, it's the only thing, that we just can't get enough of.

"When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'"
The I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King

And that is why Lawrence of Arabia was wrong?

Not wishing to get too het up about a subject I know very little about - I struggled with The Seven Pillars of Wisdom - and am I allowed to say? - I think the 220 minute film is a little over-long...

But Lawrence - here's what you did wrong - wearing the traditional Arab clothes - you should have worn a bowler hat and carried an umbrella, man. What is wrong with being proud of where you came from? But then again, what is wrong with wanting to blend in with the place where you moved to? Perhaps a bowler hat and a pair of sandals? It's a look I often go for. A good one I think...


I had a point here, but it may have got buried. But some Welsh words are nice, aren't they? Is someone going to tell me some clever new foreign words I can learn and use? I wish they would.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Why I am gay for David Cameron. Why I want to be Robin to his Batman. Why Samantha Cameron's sister seems quite nice.

Robin & Batman preparing to fight crime, yesterday ---->

Ok, I'll admit it. I've always been a toryphobe. Yes, it's nothing to be proud of, but there you are. I'm outing myself. I used to hate tories in a vile and irrational way.

I wouldn't even go in a communal shower if I thought there was a Conservative MP in there. I would just rather stay dirty.
(insert lame joke about shafting miners)

I'm sorry, but there you are. There was just something about these Tory types... Something icky, that irked my northern soul. I'd look at them - all looking the same in their clone-like suits, their neat short hair and their slightly creepy zombie smiles. "Hello, we're the Conservatives, would you like to join us?" This spectral smile beaming down at me. No. Never. You can take your Conservative manifesto and shove where the sun don't shine, sunshine.

Etc, ibid, cf & viz. Quite.

You've got no chance. It - it - the idea of me being a tory - disgusted me.

But then I met Dave...

You know, there I was, at the Farmer's market buying my organic veg; a newly bought - and very rare - French import of the The Queen is Dead LP tucked under my arm - when this guy comes up to me and starts chatting about rare Comsat Angels 12 inchers... Hmmm, hmmm? I think we know where this is going. He started telling me about his likes and dislikes and it seemed that we had so much in common: cycling, cricket, chubby faces, C86 style indie music, chinese food, crime fighting...

He told me how it wasn't like I'd heard - being a Tory - you didn't have do to all those nasty slightly grim things that the old school tories were into.



It might be a bit painful the first time you tried it, but surely that was all part of the fun. If I tried it, I was sure to like it. Then he said something about how his analogy was getting strained and got on his bike and left.


Dave Cameron had turned me. I'm in love with a Tory!!!!!!


A crime fighting, tough on the kidz, down with the kidz, has a wife n two kidz, tory... O the shame. O, please please Dave, you are my Dark Knight let me be your Robin!

I could do a better job than this hottentot hottie...


"Alice Sheffield, Samantha Cameron's half-sister, is on the leader's staff at Westminster in his correspondence unit.
However, she is an employee of the Conservative Party and is not paid out of Mr Cameron's staff allowance as an MP.
" So says the Daily Mail.

<-------Vicky Vale (aka the Lovely Lady Sheffield) & Bruce Banner (Dynamic Dave C) relaxing, yesterday <-------

Now surely there'd be less nepotistic semi-accusations if Dave were to employ me as his little assistant. His fag. It'd be like Eton all over again. Ahh, well I can dream...
For any American readers (ha! unlikely times 8million) - please do not get your notions of faggery mixed up:



p.s. this has to be worth reading, right?

http://www.thetoyzone.com/the-truth-about-batman-and-his-tight-leather-suit/

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Why Tracey Emin is a like the 'Warning.' Why her art is like a 15 year old girl's MySpace page. Why she will end up a Dame.


This is what I think about when I think about Tracey Emin:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
with a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves.

Artists using words have always annoyed me. Cos usually they're crap. If they knew what do do with words, they'd write poetry.

And if they're using these daft words in the context of making some really really chuffin *obvious* statement, then all the more crapper

Student Art Show 101 - something mega-obvious involving oil & death; fame & superficiality; the end of art & their own empty heads ... Come on. Do better.
War = bad. Love = good.

Cheers. I would never of thought of that myself. Thanks, artist mate. Nice. Hmmm. Pro-found.

If you're going to step on "our" writerly territory, well, yeh you're gonna have to be good. Damn, girl, you're gonna have to be better than good. I want you to surprise me. You don't have to *make me think.com* but you do have to make me shake my head n frown...

Artist Sol LeWitt has this to tell me about what is what Conceptual Artists are *meant* to do:
  • Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
  • Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
  • Irrational judgements lead to new experience
[35 Sentences on Conceptual Art, written May 1969]

Yeh, well fair enough, LeWitty boy. Hard to argue. Certainly, our Tracey Emin is someone that has always seemed - in her public persona and her art - to have a touch of the irrational about her. The drinkin n the shoutin, the shouty words sown into the tent.

She doesn't always make sense to my rational mind. And that's fine. Me n LeWitty like that from our artists. Bein deliberately *wacky* can be fun. Like Jennifer Joseph says in her (unwitting) Ode to Emin:


But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

When Trace is as old as the hills and starts actin like she is as mad as a hat stand, no one is gonna be surprised are they? She's kinda kooky now, but she's obviously sane and rational (generally). But when Dame Tracey says fuck on the telly in 2038, it isn't going to create a stir. It's what you'd expect of her at 80. It's sort of *what she's for*.

Words in Art: where were we
?

Gillian Wearing has done some pretty whacked out weirdy wordstuff. Like this photo of a twatty bloke's *intimate thoughts*. So yeh, Gillian, a big *thumbs up* to you.

But you art school boys (that I'm randomly slaggin off to make myself feel clever & superior). Whaddaya know bout this world, you lot? Hmmm. Go paint a picture, fools. Draw me some fruit n come back when you're as mad as a bag of wolf puppies floating on a bin lid on the Manchester Ship Canal. Then. When you're that mad, that close to death, and in that sort of weird life situation - then you will have something interesting to tell us. In the meantime, make me something nice. Okay? Pretty. Decorative. Pictures.

Well that's my quasi-philistine attitude anyway..

(God, I really hate lookin at this bloke now, he's doin my head in. I guess that is the power of Art. Scroll down, for fuck's sakes...)

About Tracey Emin's words.

She has that kind of lack of spelling ability where even spellcheck wouldn't be much use. She'd end up pickin the wrong word out of the list. *Causal* sex, instead of casual. But at least her wordage is sometimes surprising. Like in these titles for her bits of art:

Forgot to Kiss My Soul; Every Part of Me Is Bleeding; My Cunt is Wet With Fear; I Need Art Like I Need God.

Kind of original, not exactly drop-down brilliant, and yeh, mebbe she's deliberately setting out to shock. But odd, I would say. A bit nutty/scary, on-the-edgy. Don't come round my house spoutin words like that Ms Emin...

I've not got anythin against her, like, but I don't necessarily want her coming round for a cup of tea. Well she can if she wants, but not after 4.30 - I've got Countdown to watch...

But I do want to be surprised by word art, even if I'm only surprised at how crass the words are. "You forgot to kiss my soul" it has the ring of something written on a 15 year-old's Bebo page. Or like this Myspace page I've randomly Googled:

-_ _
(o\---/o)
( , , )
,~~._(_(-)_)_,~~.
|"--",-"-,-"-."--"|
| ( hug ) |
| ". ." |
| _,-."._.",-._ |
'-(ooO )---( Ooo)-'
((_) ) ( (_))
"--" "--"

*Laugh Out Loud*

Throw in some *Ascii bunny rabbits*, some folksy aphorisms about *dancin like no 1 is watchin* & a few disorganised spellin mistakes. It all adds up an early Emin work.

You have the feelin that their bedrooms probably look a lot like a TraceyEmin artwork as well. (I'm thinkin specifically of the bed one. O, do try & keep up.)


Tracey Emin's artwork is a sort of slice of a weird little bit of the *Modern World*. The female bit especially. If you were gonna bury a Time Capsule in the Blue Peter garden, you should probably include something of hers. The famous bed would be something for future archeologists to look at. Provided they wearin gloves & had pegs on their noses. A portrait of the *Great Unwashed*. It's Emin MySpace. It's like looking through your noisy neighbour's window to see *WTF* has been going on over the weekend. What did she get up to?

In comparison, Damian Hurst's animal things - as pretty as they are - probably wouldn't tell you much about 21st century Britain. Emin's work would be there to represent all the ferment of internet bloggery, the self-questioning, self-loathing, celebrity obsessed, attention seeking world that we're all a part of...

Dame Tracey, the artist of our time and her time. Like it or not.

Her early work is like a *readymade* blog. The sewing/text stuff. It's like a habidashery version of the the original *home-pages* people started making back in the early internet days of - when? 1997? But round about the same time that she was doing her sewin - the html autodidacts were startin to present us with lots of excitin information about *what they had for their tea* & postin up pictures of their cat's new kittens. Wow. Nice. Taking 12 minutes to download the photos via your screechy modem cos the ejiits forgot to reduce the size of the cat pics. Usually downloadin em by mistake cos you were lookin for porn & your primitive search engine came up with that load of old kitten crap. (Yes, there's a joke there, but don't go searching for it...)

She lives & then the art happens as a by-product of her life. The art is ordered & polished detritus. Her brain has a burning need to expurge her thoughts and feelings. O, yeh, just like a blogger.

*In Real Life* some other artists like Jeff Koons or Andy Warhol are wallflower fellows producing Alpha art. But take away their art and they are nothing. Would you even notice them *In Real Life*. Koons would be a helpful shop assistant in a stationary store & Warhol would own a small painting & decorating business in Walsall. Emin in comparison, would have got sacked from her call centre job for telling a flirtatious customer to fuck off. Or for being unable to get out of her mucky bed in the morning and get to work on time. O, you'd notice her.

As in her life, so her art: chaotic, all over the place, messy, lacking any narrow aesthetic theme or methodology.

[Okay. Hands up. Confession time. The reason I'm writing all this guff is that she's got a career retrospective exhibition on at the moment in Edinburgh. I've not seen it, but I'm reviewing it anyway. Next week I will be reviewing a book I haven't read. O yes. Bring it on, my friend.]

Continuing unabated (and unabridged).

Compare and contract Trace with Rachel Whiteread. Whiteread seems like a determined sort; hard working, spends her time mouldin stuff out of concrete. And she's happy with that. That's what she does. Fair enough. But hard to imagine Emin still doing the *same* thing for 20 years.

  • Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
  • It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
  • When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art

Is she a dilettante? Perhaps. But you would say the same about her CV in our *alternative non-art reality*. Whiteread has build up a good business doing driveways and paving over weedy front gardens. It's a job, it pays well if you're prepared to put the hours in. Koons has his special offer on pencils. Warhols got a lot of work on doin up buy-to-let properties. Emin, meanwhile, has spent some time abroad, working in a bar. It didn't turn out that well. Then she got the call centre job, then a job in Boots the chemist when she came back. She ended up packin that in. She admits that she doesn't know what she is going to be doing tomorrow.

*Alternative Reality* Tracey lives her chaotic life and flatly holds out her hands to show us the life lines, the tattoos and scars.

I find her fascinating & eerily needy. The new baby clothes are creepy - but then they're meant to be. Probably. She has this desire to be loved that she spreads all over everything she does. Loved or wanted or pitied or understood - but then isn't that what all artists - across all media want?
"Emin's rude text on eBay
A swear word texted by art rebel Tracey Emin is up for sale on eBay for £20, labelled as art. The message, which reads simply 'T***', is being flogged by David West. He got the artist's number from a notice she put up in East London asking if anyone had seen her cat. He texted her a summary of a newspaper article about her and she sent back the obscenity. Mr West, of North London, is selling framed copies of the text. In an ad for BT, Emin said: 'Art's everywhere. A text message could even be art.'"

  • If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.
  • All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art.

Screaming at people. It's what most artists do. Tryin to get attention one way or another. It doesn't matter what they're screaming about, so long as they have the passion, the energy, the desire to be noticed and to exist in the world. Sending furious texts. Sewing. Doing crappy little anguished paintings.

She's like a Jane Austen heroine transposed to the 21st century, aware that Mr Darcy is a bit of a dick n gettin on with her needlepoint to stop herself from going mad. She is never gonna be a mother, but eventually she will become a dame. Like all reviled eccentrics, we'll miss her when she's gone.

  • One usually understands the art of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
  • Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
  • The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
  • There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most important are the most obvious.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why David Cameron is nice. But why Max Moseley is more of a genuine rebel.




David Cameron is nice. That's just a fact. He's lovely. I could go on and on about why he is so chubby and cheeky, but I won't. I'll leave him on his little bike to go and do a wheely down the street. Off you go, Davey boy, the grown-ups are talking. Go on, play with little Boris and Georgie Porgie Osbourne. There, he's gone. We can talk.

No, I'm joking. He's a real grown-up with opinions. He has a wife and children. His wife has got a tattoo. His children have no tattoos. That's how ordinary and yet *on-trend* they are.

Cornwall holidays, cycling, stopping off at Tesco to pick up a few bits of salad. Getting your bike nicked.

Lovely. Cute. Chubby.

Wouldn't he look nice with a moustache though?

It really would suit him. Make him look like he was in the RAF. Or sold Barrett houses in the early 1980s. And operated as the leader of a gang of quasi-middle class football hooligans on the weekend. Like Bexi, the Tory voting gang leader in Alan Clarke's masterful suburban epic, The Firm.



Is that you, Dave, love? Do ya want steak pudding for your tea?
Nah, ya alright, ma. I've gotta go out n smash Gordon 'The Yeti' Brown up.

I'm sure that clip is virtually a documentary about Dave's younger days. Bring it on, Labour. Let's hav ya...

Still it may be true. His wife has a tattoo. Apparently her ankle is 'adorned' with a dolphin tattoo. How cute is that? And we all know Dave probably has a Chelsea FC tatt on his left bicep. Scratched on with a penknife and some biro ink. Always keepin it real, is our Dave.



"Straight outta Eton crazy party leader named Dave C
From the gang called Toriez with Attitudez

You Labour muthaz can't muck with me
So when I'm in your parliament, you better duck
Coz party leader Dave C is crazy to ruck
As I leave, believe I'm stompin
but when I come back, boy, I'm comin straight outta Eton

Chorus: College of Eton! College of Eton!
College of Eton! College of Eton!
College of Eton! College of Eton!

[Money George] Yo Boz!
[MC Boris] Whassup?
[Money George] Tell em where we from!

Yeh, we straight outta Eton n hangin wi tha hoodies... "

(Of course, many humble apologises to N.W.A. for the above.)

But O! O! How I wish he would just come out of the house one day with a full-on Maori face tattoo. Come on Dave, Mike Tyson did it? Why can't you? Wimp.

At least grow a tash? Very big in Hoxton they are. Very trendy.

O how I wish that his wife looked more like Amy Winehouse. Or that she actually was Amy Winehouse. Then I’d vote for him. I'd like to Photoshop them together. Preferably the wedding photos. How lovely they would look. O well, we'll just have to imagine it. He would definitely get my vote anyway.

In a Boris Johnson *only havin a laff* kinda way. Perhaps I could start an internet rumour.

*Winehouse in cocaine Cameron sex shocker*.

Not sure it’d be that shocking though really.

I mean we’ve all done it, haven’t we, at one time or another? Had sex with Amy Winehouse whilst David Cameron watched and snorted cocaine of the naked body of a sleeping illegal immigrant? Oh, right. Just me then. Hey that was a night, let me tell you.

But back to brass tacks. The tieless toff. He caught up on that trend pretty early on. Every day is ‘dress-down Friday’ for Dave Camera-on and his pals. He’s like a kid rebelling against his Dad, but in a way that merely makes his dad *a little bit cross*.

Wouldn’t it be nice if his dad was Max Moseley? How do you rebel if your dad is a sado-masochist fantasy spanker? How do you do the opposite of that? Become a nun, probably. Let’s have a quick at the pages of *Wiki-untruth-pedia*. Yes, turns out one of Max Moseley’s daughters is a nun. Whereas his son is a prominent fascist leader. Sorreeeee. Got confused. That’s his dad. Ahhh, it’s all starting to make some kind of crazeeeeeee sense. So to rebel against his father – whose Black Shirt party tended to like beating up foreigners (allegedly? do I have to say *allegedly* regarding Oswald Moseley & his fascist chums?) - young Max rebelled by doing the opposite - he paid foreign ladies to beat him up!!! Ha and ho and ha ha ha.

O how he must have laughed. Max is an anti-fascist. He’s the opposite of a xenophobe. A xenophile.

But better than that cos he lets foreigners beat him up, then pays them!!! Genius. This whole spanky spanky German lady episode is like his own personal programme of reperation for the sins of the father. His whole life and personal pleasure seeking is as finely nuanced as one of Zeno's paradoxes.

I want to applaud young Maxy. I want to spank him on his naughty bottom. But I’m not sure he’d appreciate it cos I’m never going to look sexy in a prison guard’s uniform and my German language knowledge is limited to the phrases found in the *Commando* comics of the 1980s.

But yeah! Take that Dave *make sure the* Camera-is-on. Ker pow!!!! In your face. If you can come up with a better rebellion than that I will doff my flat cap and put a *cap* in my whippet’s bony head. Bring it on, big Dave. Make my whippet quiver with fear.

Sorry, what? You want to care for the poor….. oooh. Well that’s some Tory rebel talk. That’s going to have Mrs Thatch spinning in her care home bed. It’s the sort of talk that will start to frighten the horses. But not the riders on the hunt for power and influence, cos they know you’re not really telling the truth.

Election fighting kit all present and correct:

Spread betting multimillionaire’s bazillions of pounds to spend on directed advertising (ready)

Smoke and mirrors polices: caring for the poor by bringing back the workhouses, cancelling Tax Credits, getting rid of SureStart and nursery school provision for all. (yeah, sorted)

Nice hair (it’s a bit helmet heady at the moment but if I brush it through with some jojoba dry shampoo it’ll be lovely. Give me a minute…)

Ok. Let’s stop. He’s a nice guy. He’s a pretty straight kinda guy.

My, don’t you just love ill-informed, fact abusing tinternet rants? Amusing for about a second then it just seems like the whole world is going to cave in or your head is going to explode. So say no. Go out. Go get some fresh air, I don’t care what time it is. I don’t care what the weather is like. Get out. Get your face out of this screen. Be gone with you or the ranting madness will eat up your brain…

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Why Channel 4 need to contact me now. Why *Berkshire Hunt* is more than just cockney rhyming slang. Why Labour's 35th bestest thing aint *all that*.

Remember all those protests about fox hunting? Nasty angry people fighting each other?

Auntie Hunt: "I like lovely pretty orange foxes! I want to kiss them and let them eat my chickens!"

Professor Hunt: "I like lovely pretty bloody foxes! I also like chasing them and letting dogs rip them apart!"

All that pushin n shovin n arguin n bonkers madness when Norbert (or was it Otis?) Ferry invaded the House of Commons. He ran around n shouted at people. It was funny. But not very. Just a bit silly. O my. There was a time - when was it now? Seems like ages - when you couldn't move for people wanting to kiss or kill foxes.

And now where are they, huh? What are they doing these days?

I'll tell you: ripping open black bin bags n eating next door's rabbit, that's what.

Bloody hippies, haven't you got any environmental issues you could be protesting about? Hmmm? Instead of hanging round my back yard freecycling your way through my household detritus like some bloomin Womble.

Well that's who I like to blame anyway for all that late night noise and bin emptying. So, where are we now with fox hunting? It's all just yesterday's news, matey boy. Finished. They don't do it any more....

But no. It hasn't finished. Not really. Not... at all really. It just (to use a Jeremy Clarkson style sentence structure) got a helluva lot more exciting (insert screaming Eddie Van Halen guitar solo of your choice) ...

PREPARE TO EXPERIENCE - FOXHUNTING 2.0

Yes, that's right - they've TAKEN it to ANOTHER LEVEL>>>>>> Fox Hunting: is now NEW & IMPROVED, baby... now with !these !!!NEW!!! Foxtastic modifications

Read this:
"The first professional huntsman to be prosecuted by police for hunting a fox has today denied all the charges against him. Julian Barnfield, of the Heythrop hunt, which rides in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, is accused of hunting a wild mammal with dogs... The Hunting Act bans the killing of foxes and other mammals with dogs, although it allows hunts to use their hounds to flush out the animals so they can be shot or killed by a bird of prey." [from The Guardian]
How cool and exciting does that sound?

Why oh why oh why oh WHY is fox hunting NOT a televised sport? Huh? How can it not be?

Channel 4, listen! Also, you, Michael Grade, controller of failing & 0906 obsessed network ITV - this would so work on ITV4. Come on! Here is the pitch:-

Treasure Hunt meets that diggin up old dead people show that Baldrick presents. That one. Only with nice jaunty posh people on horses. It is gonna be so smashing!!!
Or: Big Brother meets The Horse of The Year Show meets Bill Oddie's strange and unnatural interest in animals meets Public Executions meets... okay, most of those shows are rubbish, but this takes the best elements from them and, okay, no, okay, I know... no, please, Michael, can I start again?... How about this other idea I've got: MONKEY TENNIS! What? O. You've heard that idea before?



O. Okay. Well listen, Fox Hunting - here is my idea - in PowerPoint bullet point format. Ready?
  • Sexy Jilly Cooper look-a-likes in black leather boots chase furry wild dog.
  • Or they just chase the cast of Big Brother, and leave the fox to get on with harrying free range chickens. Imagine the scene - Springwatch with added violence - cameras in every tree - danger, excitement. Dead idiots. Bill Oddie chuckling; Davina McCall screeching.
  • Phone 0906 to guess who will win the game. A) the fox, B) the eagle, or C) Rex from Big Schmutter, or D) the telephone company.
  • Use it as a punishment for inner-city hoodie criminal types. Chuck em in a field. Tell em to run. "Release the hounds!" Of course, the dogs aren't allowed to actually kill the miscreant scamps. But if an eagle was to unfortunately peck out their eyes. O what a pity. Maybe that'll teach em a lesson. Hmm? Plus what a fantastic combination of reality shows that would be. Too many to even be bothered to list...
  • The idea has worked well in many films. That one where John Claude Van Damme gets hunted; Punishment Park, The Running Man. That Disney film with foxes cuddling up to hounds.
  • Best of all!!! On a list of 50 bestest things they have done since 1997 - at no. 35 - Labour proudly proclaim that they have "banned fox hunting". Hey!!! Well they've pissed off the dogs, but given more employment to eagles. Well I'm always in favour of giving more work to eagles, so I'll vote for that improvement.
Michael Grade, Channel 4 - contact me at the usual address - but if you do come up with a fox/people hunting show and don't credit me with the idea. I will sue you and then I will hunt you with my pet poodle...