Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hands up, class, anyone who can tell me what this is

I recall an Andy Capp cartoon* in which he says to his wife “I’ve just read another article about how boozing is bad for you, I’m going to give it up”, “You’re going to give up boozing?” asks the astonished Mrs Capp. “No, stupid, reading”.

I feel a strange empathy with him, having perused the online Torygraph. Even in Kali Yuga some of these stories are barely credible. The first one concerns the criminal activities of an elected politician. This dastardly villain travelled to Iraq and purloined a cigar case belonging to a government minister there. Astonishingly, the Torygraph gives this footpad – who goes under the unlikely name of ‘Boris Johnson’ – space on their website to justify his actions. Johnson was educated at Eton. Can you imagine their giving the same space to Kevin Spode of Hackney to explain why he nicked a Twix bar from WHSmith? Or invite Herbert “Fingers” McGillicuddy of Salford the opportunity to inform readers of his motives in breaking and entering the premises at 77, Kropotkin Road, Wilmslow and tea-leafing a Ratsarse 7485 DVD player? I say that 25 days in the stocks at the Tower is the only suitable punishment for Johnson. Only when justice is done and seen to be done will our streets become safe. I have done my bit by searching down the blog of this Johnson cove and leaving him a piece of my mind.

Equally noteworthy is the story of Ms Pritchett, a schoolteacher from Alabama, who has been accused of having sex with eight boys. Not all at the same time, apparently. Whenever I read one of these stories, I am saddened that these studies were not on the curriculum when I was a lad. Young people these days have so many more opportunities. This chance has well and truly passed me by. Even the youngest of my teachers would be getting on for seventy now, and I am not sure that I could rise to the occasion, as it were. Anyway, Ms Pritchett was a sponsor of the Christian Athlete’s Club. I don’t recall there being one of those at my school. I would not have qualified for membership by either criteria, so perhaps I am destined to be unmolested. Ms Pritchett faces two charges of second degree sodomy. I was intrigued by this phrase. It occurred to me, briefly, that she was awarding marks in the subject, based upon technique, penetration or artistic interpretation, but on doing a little research find that it is to do with one of the participants being on the other side of 21 to the other. Another disappointment.

I think that is enough slander** and smut for today. I will not comment on the headline “Bishop urges clampdown on homosexuality”. That would be like stealing cigar cases from fascists – much too easy.

* Andy Capp – for non-Daily-Mirror-reading viewers - was a cartoon character based on an educated George Bush.

** Yes, Dave, I know that it is libel and not slander, but slander scans better.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru

On the train to London today, I finished reading “War and Peace”. I should clarify that I did not begin to read it on the same journey. That would have been a very long journey. Or a very fast read. It wasn’t either of those. Oh no.

It is over 35 years since I last read this book. I remember being very impressed with it at that time. This time I have to confess to a sense of disappointment. I rationalise this by having read many more books in the intervening period (at least 3), some of which I judge to be more enjoyable than Mr Tolstoy’s epic. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, rather than I was much less impressed than I had expected to be.

In addition to “W&P” I have read Anna Karenina, most of Dostoevski, and “Fathers and sons”. I read “Crime and Punishment” for the second time a couple of years ago.

Like my comments on the scripture writers, I find the great Russian writers to be a fairly dour lot. There ain’t many belly laughs in “Crime and Punishment”, and Anna Karenina does not live happily ever after. I loved “C&P” both times that I read it (but still didn’t have much occasion to titter). I seem to remember (years ago) that “F&S” had much more warmth than the others.

Anyway, I was particularly unimpressed by Tolstoy’s banging on about the forces determining historical events. Almost as dull as those ubiquitous bloggers about whom we read so much.

In case anyone is wondering what happens in “W&P”, I can tell you that Napoleon loses. This is just as well. Had he not embarked on his campaign to annexe Russia, he would probably have conquered Europe, including Britain, and our culture would be very different today. Our high streets would be populated by shops selling “croissants” and “baguettes”, and “coffee shops”, instead of the traditional English Tea Room – hard to imagine, isn’t it?


I was particularly fortunate to be on the railway network today. Someone had organised a “Guess the Twat” competition. I later found out that most of the competitors were on their way to Ascot, to watch a lot of other twats pretend to have some interest in midgets engaged in bizarre equestrian perversions. Twats. Later in the day I read an account by Alan Davies of visiting Lord’s during the Test match this summer. More twats. I can only think of one sporting tradition that I enjoy.


On the way back, I began reading a book by one of my current favourite authors, James Lee Burke. Try reading the first two paragraphs of one of his books (not you, Tom, you fucking philistine) and see if you can see why.

If any of you had any hopes of becoming a successful author, then reading that will probably put paid to those ambitions. There are very few around who can use language like that. I love it.

I was also listening to Beethoven’s 4th piano concerto. I recommend this as an antidote to atheism. By the time I got to Brookwood, I wasn’t half a million strong, but the memories of the twats in hats had vanished, to be replaced by much more mellow feelings. I should also mention that I also listened to Janis Joplin, just so that Tom knows where to start reading this little entry again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

You will all be very proud of me.

On way to airport to pick up in-laws.
Mrs S. "I forgot to bring any nuts".
Me: Nothing. Not a word. Nary a smirk. Zilch.
I will be giving lessons in self-control next month. Please sign up here.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I hope that this helps

Having spent the day away from the computer screen and interacting with others of the species, I thought I would share with you some of the wisdom that I have dispensed during the course of my busy day. After all, it would be unfair not to spread it around.

Friend to Scurra: “How come your wife doesn’t complain about you like mine does about me?”
Scurra to friend: “She’s waiting for yours to finish – it’s only been 20 years”.

Friend to Scurra and others: “When I was in India I had a thorough medical check – it only cost 5,000 rupees*. I asked the doctor if I was OK and what I should do. He said that I should take it easy – after work, I should have dinner and sit and relax with a couple of beers for the evening”. (Scornful laugh from friend’s wife).
Scurra: “You should have gone to the 10,000 rupee doctor, he would have told you to have sex as well.”

*5,000 rupees = approximately £60 or US$5,000.

Then on the way home I realised that, frivolous though I might appear to some, I was probably in the upper ranks of those offering advice. Having tuned in to a radio station that was playing nice music, I was somewhat alarmed to find that it was psychic help time. Some woman wanted confirmation that now was a good time to leave her partner. For fuck’s sake. I didn’t hang around for the answer. On consideration, these airheads can’t be doing too much harm. If anyone is chronically stupid enough to pay them any attention, then the chances are that any advice given would be better than said fuckwit could imagine for themselves. I think I might apply for the job. I could do that. Sit there pretending that uncle Herbert, who was congenitally thick and incoherent throughout his life had been transformed into a purveyor of wisdom as a result of decomposition or being burnt. I fear, however, I might be a little extreme. I am not sure whether I could keep up the pretence of revering the dead, a group of people who, by definition, have already made one enormous miscalculation.

Anyone out there need any help from the spirits?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

For ILTV - our mission to educate

My dear friend introduced the idea of including cultural references in this blog.
I give you Wilson, Keppel and Betty.
Wilson became Labour Prime Minister.
Keppel changed his name to Dave and entered the ministry.
Betty shacked up with Geoff.