Thursday, February 19, 2009
One of the disadvantages (and let us be clear, there are very few disadvantages praise be to St Rupert) of having so many television channels is the occasional confusion about which programme it is that one is watching. Today, for example, while innocently flicking through the channels (hopping, or surfing as the young people call it), during an interval in the presentation about the use of Kenyan yak wool on the Crochet channel, I was slightly bemused to find myself witnessing a comedy sketch about skateboarding in the nave of Malmesbury Abbey. I was distressed at thinking that I had forgotten a Python sketch, and was only brought back to some degree of composure by realising that I had ‘tuned in’ to the BBC news channel and what I was watching was an excerpt from the continuing series on life in Kaliyuga that the British Broadcasting Corporation foists upon us when we are least expecting it.
There is, indeed, a group called Christian Skaters UK, who hope to, er. Well actually, I have no idea what they hope to do, and care slightly less, I just hope that they choose to do it in a locality not adjacent to mine. I am, as you know, very liberal in my views, but am pleased that the whirling dervishes who held their annual convention in my garden have moved on. They played havoc with the forsythia.
I am hoping that Kaliyuga is on its last legs, I am growing tired of it. Someone told me that on the 14th of February, the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, although if I had to grade the weird and wonderful philosophies which we tiny brained bipeds have created in order to make sense of the nonsense around us, then astrology would fall far short of a D-.
I am therefore resigned to having life imitate art by coming up with even stranger religious practices. I expect the latter part of my life to be decorated by tap-dancing transvestite imams, otter-juggling lamas or tattooed Taoist trapeze artists. I won’t mention the Hindus, because they are always one step ahead, and will have done it already, whatever it is you can imagine.
I include, for your entertainment, a little vignette by the much missed messrs Cook and Moore, from the film Bedazzled (see my remark about life imitating art, above).
Interestingly – yes it is interesting, Dave – the original sketch, which you can find here, claimed that the leaping nuns came from Norfolk, which is where we now exile our more eccentric clergy, ever since New England became filled to capacity.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
There was a splendid documentary about John Mortimer. Sadly it coincided with his death, so I will not be inviting Melvyn Bragg to my home to discuss my life and works in the near future, lest there be a connection.
I have enjoyed the serial about John Adams. It filled in gaps in my knowledge about that period in history, and I read about it as well in order to see how whether there was any bias in the production. An excellent production, despite the appearance of Tom Wilkinson (I know he is a good actor, but he is in bloody everything) and David Morse as Washington (I thought someone was going to extreme lengths to avoid idolising Washington by this bit of casting – a bit like having Dale Winton as Nelson, or Vinnie Jones as Wordsworth).
I have just watched, for the second time, the concluding episode of “Folk America”, which dealt with the folk revival of the early 60s and its legacy. It was wonderfully entertaining, mildly informative and coherent. What usually happens with documentaries about that period is that they get taken over by the rock stars of the period who try to tell you that they took part in the most amazing things ever to happen on the planet in a disjointed, incoherent and up-themselves way. (I mean the telling, not the taking part, Dave). This time the musicians were pretty much restricted to talking about music, apart from the more lucid ones, like Joan Baez who was able to talk about the times in a way that wasn’t centred on her ego. Even John Sebastian made sense, which was a first in my experience. The music seemed well chosen and representative and the narrative flowed. One of the most poignant sections, naturally, was Dylan and Baez performing at the march on Washington, but the small section that I found most moving was the film of Mississippi John Hurt at Newport. I defy you to listen to his music and, once you have finished appreciating the brilliance of his guitar playing, not be touched by the warmth, humility and humanity of this man.
This is the latest from the BBC.
Andy Hornby, former chief executive of HBOS, said that he also took no bonus last year, and that he had never taken any bonus in the form of cash.
"I have never received one single penny in cash bonus," he said, referring to his time not only as boss of HBOS but also his time on the board.
Instead, he said, he had taken his bonuses in the form of shares.
"I have lost considerably more money than I have been paid," he said, referring to falls in the value of shares that he had been given by way of bonuses.
If the head of your bank thinks that this amounts to a loss, then he is, as you all reminded me, not worth a bullet. He has been given some shares. Lots of the fuckers. They are worth less now than when he was given them, (the drop in value entirely attributable to his own gross incompetence) and he thinks that he has lost more than he has been paid. This would only be true if the shares were of negative value.
I hope he is proved correct. They should fine the fucker for his crimes. Leave him penniless, like the victims of his negligence.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
My friends at the BBC and Alistair Darling were discussing banking bonuses, again. The consensus appears to be that something ought to be jolly well done about it, and we shouldn’t be paying the chaps whose greed and stupidity caused the current economic fiasco.
Then along comes a Mr Justin Urquhart Stewart, who is described by the Beeb as a financial expert, but who appears to me to be a plummy voiced prat, who says that if these chaps are not paid large bonuses, we are in danger of losing them.
I share this concern with Justin, or short-dick as he is known colloquially; it would be a tragedy to lose these people before we have had time to give them a sound beating, chopped off their genitals and then lined the motherfuckers up against the fucking wall and fucking shot them.
One of the stories around at the time of the great depression was that Wall Street financiers were throwing themselves off of the top of skyscrapers. We should, in these civilised times, not allow that to happen again. If you come across a banker, a financial expert, an entrepreneur or a hedge fund dealer make sure that you throw them from the top of a tall building, not forgetting to break their noses before you do it.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
The British Humanist Society already claim to have converted two bishops, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and a visiting lama from Lhatse. “I’d never given it much thought before”, confessed Imam Hassan Yousuf from Blackpool, “but in future I will be travelling by bus more often. You are never too old to take on new ideas.”
Now, according to the Grauniad, sundry God-botherers are hitting back with silly slogans of their own. Already the Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Russian Orthodox Church have produced advertisements for buses. This is all very well, but which one do you join? Which one has the real God? It beats me. (I have ruled out the Christian Party – I don’t like parties, and the last thing I want is to spend evenings nibbling inedible snacks, singing jolly hymns and being vomited over by the provost of Milton Keynes cathedral, while sundry deacons tell me that “Jesus is my best mate.”)
These advertisements are all so persuasive. If the Moslems, Jains and Taoists all join in, my brain will probably explode. If the whirling dervishes get in on the act, I won’t know which way to turn.
Monday, February 02, 2009
I have done my best to discourage young people of my acquaintance, and of a largely American disposition, from witnessing the disagreeable spectacle of what is commonly called “the Superbowl”.
I have few regrets about king George’s clever and well-informed decision to allow the religious loonies to go their own way. As in most things, the benefits of his wisdom have been demonstrated over time. I do, however, have misgivings about the failure to instruct these poor folk in the basic elements of cricket and rugby union, and consequently they have been left to their own devices when it comes to playing sport.
What a sorry collection of third rate games they have come up with. They are too far gone now for us to change them, I think. We even sent Mr Beckham to help, but even his towering intelligence was of no avail. A deluded Texan named Stanford then thought that he could buy “cricket” – and would make it a game suitable for the American market, but only if he changed all the rules. Pillock.
So, once a year, American ex-pats, many of whom have almost been converted to accepting Western culture, revert to their Neanderthal type and stay up all night watching what can only be described as nonsense, even by the kindest of observers.
Congratulations, then, to the folks at Club Jenna, who managed to introduce a few seconds of culture to the televised proceedings yesterday. The cheap, distasteful and despicable filth that I feel obliged to display here:
was interrupted by a short documentary film made on behalf of Club Jenna.
I did not, of course, watch the broadcast, but am informed by the BBC that it comprised of "a woman unzipping a man's trousers, followed by a graphic act between the two."
I am pleased that my friends in the United States were able to see the results of cooperation between friends. I am a firm (missus) believer that our cultures have much to teach each other, and welcome enterprises of this sort.
I am not entirely sure what the BBC meant by “graphic”. I assume that it means explicit or vivid. Perhaps they thought that the makers of the film were being a little patronising, but I can see little harm in emphasising clarity, even at the risk of offending those who are slightly quicker on the uptake. Perhaps they meant, more literally, that the gentleman had some sort of written instructions to aid his partner in whatever “act” took place. I am not sure why he could not convey these directives orally, there may have been good reason, but I am sure that they were helpful.
If, for example, the young lady was learning to suck a toffee (some of you may know what was actually portrayed, but I am sure that the advice is still relevant), commands such as “give it a good lick before you start”, “don’t use your teeth”, “try to make it last as long as you can”, whether written or spoken would be invaluable.