Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Blog 68 Private Eye - my Slavish Apology

Though I am neither white nor a bloke I do enjoy white/blokey Private Eye. More than that, I celebrate its vigour in this sceptic isle (surely sceptred Ed!) of flaccid morals and limp politics. Imagine my horror and upset (shocked and saddened I think is the pat phrase in these situations) on reading that some poor contributor had a rough time watching 12 Years a Slave.

The witty article suggested the film might win ‘Oscars’ for being tedious, worthy and guilt inducing (issue 1358 pge24). Witty? 'If wit was shit he’d be constipated' – I seem to hear my old dad say.

On behalf of all other descendants of slaves and – (why not) - the slaves themselves who had the brass neck* to get kidnapped, flogged, lynched, raped, torn from families, murdered in their millions  and so on and so forth yada yada yada, I apologise. And whoever at Private Eye forced the poor, presumably lowly, gadgie to sit through a celebrated, realistic portrayal about a true story on a subject no one in their right mind would be interested in, should be locked in a broken lift for a week with Tony Blair.

*(the neck irons were not brass as the name makes clear – sorry again)

I was lucky enough – despite studying British and European history to degree level in UK educational institutions – never to have been bothered by my teachers on the subject AT ALL and only in passing by lecturers. It was as if the country never benefited from the proceeds of African slave misery. Phew. With hindsight, I’m sure they were simply trying to avoid being tedious, worthy or guilt inducing, for which I am truly grateful.

Hopefully the contributor was more relaxed at, for example, the first of the Hobbit films being leeched out of the book of the same name.  I understand it’s a nice concise ‘starter’ film. Or perhaps the latest action movie like the one featuring a couple of square jawed blokes and Ms Knightly with that lovely I-don’t-want-to-get-any-wrinkles facial expression she is so good at. Perhaps he might go and see any of those films about Russians or Arabs or aliens or monsters or bad weather trying to destroy America. I know there aren’t many films with Bruce Willis or Colin Firth – or that lass off the Hunger Games or enough films based on a misogynistic, hard drinking, slightly slimy (hon exception Sean Connery) bloke in contorted mind numbing testosterone fests who blows things up in service to her Majesty, but if he looks hard he may find the odd one.

Really what we need are more Jane Austen adaptations or films about Vietnam or films about how America won WWII or please please more Star Trek or Sherlock Homes or shite remakes of just about anything that was ok the first time round or Iron Man 12 or ANY film with guns and car chases because there haven’t been any of those in ages or any film with no plot, no meaningful dialogue and no f’ing point or, pretty please, films with women weeping and dripping round steely eyed men and lots and lots of technology that ALWAYS works and comedies about how funny men are when they are pissed or more of those  sexy-young-scientists-save-the-world-while-being-nice-and-sexy type films or films where everyone is rich and glamorous – because there aren't enough of those and stiff upper lip Brit films and really great films like Notting hill based in London with no black people and films that make shallow people cry attractively without ruining their makeup like Love Actually because for God’s sake I’m sure we had a realistic film about slavery sometime last century. For crying out loud I had to sit through ROOTS on the telly when I was a kid. I can’t believe it’s happening again just in the next century it’s TOO MUCH. In fact they should just ban any film that doesn’t include a young fit guy, a sexy older seen-better-days actor and a vacuous thin woman. Everything else should carry a worthy warning.

So let me just finish by saying, yet again, SORRY to the poor bastard at Private Eye who couldn’t find anything better to slag off in the film industry right now than 12 Years a Slave

I’m sorry
We’re sorry
You poor sod.
Ok I’ll stop now.
Cartoons in the usual place.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Blog 67 Lord Rennard is perfect...

...for a Liberal.

Loudly claiming vindication from a review but ignoring the uncomfortable bits – isn’t that pure Lib? Trumpet the elements that suit and threaten to sue if anyone says you should abide by the parts that don’t. The real irony is that it seems to be that Rennard’s double standards are unacceptable to head honcho hypocrite Clegg! Tuition fees anyone?
However – while Rennard et al may have the fence well and truly stuck up their collective butt, where liberals are used to having it – the opposition fella isn’t even on the fence – he is in some field in a rocky outcrop in far-far-away land.
COME ON Harriet. For heaven’s sake. STEP UP.
It’s the potential all time babe trio. Angela, Hilary and Harriet. Never has the world needed sensible women more than it does now to sort out the global testosterone fuelled shite that is the 21st century.
Everyone knows (apart, it seems, from the high-ups in the Labour party) that no one, NO ONE wants to elect The Bollocks Brothers, Little Ed and No Ed. No matter how much the public hate the chinless, slimy, posh prats who are selling us down the river – no matter how much they gag at the prospect of seeing Knickers Clegg oozing around the Tory tall boys again, they don’t like the Eds. Cameron’s I-wish-someone-would-push-Farage-under-a-bus and how-soon-till-I-can-retire-and-go-round-making-global-speeches-like-Blair effluvia won’t push the public into the arms of two C-list politicos.
COME ON Harriet.
Maybe you are worried that you are too old? No. Hillary is considering it and Merkel is doing it – my lord is she.
Maybe you are worried about your association with Blair – the as-yet-to-be-convicted war criminal and mass murderer? Don’t be. If Hillary recovered from ‘misremembering’ her actions in a war zone and insulting Dolly Parton you need not blush over a few hundred thousand deaths caused by the guy you used to hobnob with. People forgive all sorts.
By the way – well done to the chap who attempted a Blair citizen’s arrest in a restaurant last night.
What the Eds don’t understand (apart from their own deep unlikeability) is the M&S effect.
M&S hasn’t worked it out – but those of us who used to shop at M&S - say in the 80s - and now only call in for humous – know why it’s gone down the pan. If they asked the customers – sorry ex-customers – instead of employing a rotation of senior managers and consultants, we could tell them in a sentence. M&S doesn’t DO M&S anymore.
We used to go to M&S and be happy to pay that bit extra – in my case for a little Christmas frock for my daughter – underwear for me etc. We would pay the extra because it was actually better quality than the other high street stores. It was often actually made in England. The patterns and appliqué on the dresses went all the way round not just on the front (cheap yuk) and they were traditional styles and quality. The kids’ shoes were LEATHER and things didn’t look like bits of rag after two washes.
Chasing the bottom feeders but not really letting up on price has been fatal. What is to distinguish between M&S kids clothes and say H&M? Apart from H&M is often cheaper and a bit more stylish. In downgrading quality M&S lost its natural customers but didn’t grab the cheap market either. It was a lose/lose situation. We want M&S to do better in the same way we really want a proper opposition with a real prospect of stopping the rot in this country – whether it’s the economic con or the racist diversion or smashing of the NHS.
In the same way that M&S can never compete with the shit shops but alienated its natural customers – the Labour party can’t ever be the total bastards it would need to be to corral what we euphemistically refer to as middle England. I think Harriet is the one person near the top of Labour who knows this.
What a trio of World class babes they would make; Harriet, Hillary and Angela!
Come on Harriet.  The hottest three degrees, the most kickin arse, handbag swinging, headmistresses with smirks, kittens with whips you ever saw in your life.
Harriet – your country needs you.

click on orange Amanda Baker in right hand column for cartoon

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Blog 66. New Royal Male Privatisation - funded with Pay Day Loans!

Well – males and females.

Yes – you heard it here first.
Actually, privatising the Royal Family is an idea that I first heard back in the late 80s (and it wasn’t new then) just before young people disappeared under the toxic cloud of low-expectation education, the curse of access-all-areas consumerism and the heavy boot of pre-adult debt; a time when they could still think about the world around them and believe in things and protest. Now that we live in a world of regurgitated ideas and fake reality this is a winning combination. Notions are recycled so quickly you can still see the arse end of them as they are forced down your throat next time around. Ideas are about the only things that get successfully recycled so let’s combine this one with the celebrity obsession, media mediocrity and pungent nostalgia that’s currently clogging our national pores.
What’s not to like?
Everyone can take part. Fortunately our economy is set up so that you don’t have to have money or even any prospect of financial stability to spend like a maniac.
Also – we have nearly run out of things of real value that used to belong to the country that the government can sell off to their mates.
Railways cost tax payers more now than they did when the nation owned them and if your experience is like mine – when a train turns up on time you feel blessed, that’s if you can afford train travel and the train isn’t so crowded that you can actually get on.
As for BT - don’t start me on the shite communications skills of the privatised communications monolith.
Gas and Energy (covered that issue in blogs 56 and 59)
Water (presumably it will be air next) now in French hands
And most recently the scandalous underselling of Royal Mail (blog 55)
We are told that the Windsors are a national treasure, a benefit to the nation. People lucky enough to earn sufficient salary to pay tax but not rich enough to evade it pay for them.
Now – I hear a few nasty cynics screaming that the royals are neither use nor ornament to anyone north of Watford with a pulse – shame on you.
I for one propose, in the interests of inconsistency, to put aside my repulsion of pernicious unfair, dishonest, nationally disastrous practice of privatising anything that is of any use or value and cede my stake in the royal family. I wholeheartedly support them being floated on the stock exchange (or on a leaky barge down the Thames when it has subsided).
Let’s say at the same price per share as Royal Mail.
Depressed folk who watch day time TV could buy shares instead of getting pay day loans at 100,000,000 % per hour to play on-line gambling. Instead of giving away money they don’t have to unknown bastard swindlers hiding behind internet anonymity they could own a bit of Liz. How cool would that be?
Those who believe the crap – sorry – informed view – that the royals are worth every penny can put their delusions where their mouths are and buy all the shares.
There would be a new Royal privatised name – Royals-4U or Monartrica! Perhaps some Russian oligarch who got blindingly rich by inveigling the natural resources of his own country or an Arab prince – ditto – could buy them and use them to offset their tax liabilities.
Or maybe we could swap them for some well staffed hospitals, old people’s homes and schools that teach our kids to read and more humane prisons.
There is a cartoon this week but on the subject of the T.V. abomination that is Benefits Street – in the usual place

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Blog 65 Will Nigella be canonised? & Big Mouth Britain!

As we ponder the big questions of 2014 (When will Nigella be canonised? Have you started Christmas shopping yet? Will the BBC ever be able to report on Africa without the producer making the locals sing in the background?) – Britain continues to behave like a loud, deluded, slightly whiffy, bonkers old aunt.

I recall an acquaintance who used to eat in a way that made sitting at table with her a full on horror B movie. The woman was blessed with an impressively large mouth but also seemingly powerful jaws. As she masticated, the orifice would open and close wide each time revealing the increasingly mashed and saliva-slicked contents. Accompanying the gruesome visuals were a selection of smacking and schlomping, slurping and squelching, sucking and smashing noises; the kind of effects you might get if a mixture of cold offal and landfill was placed in a rusty concrete mixer on full power. Occasionally, as the cavernous hole gaped and closed, chomping and gnawing, half or even fully chewed bits of food would escape, sometimes projected by the sheer energy of what was going on in the gob, across the table. It was both sickening and fascinating. One of this woman’s favourite topics of conversation was other people’s table manners.

For some reason the revolting image above crashes to the forefront of my mind when I hear/read more media hysteria on subjects such as East Europeans coming to Britain to fling themselves into the waiting arms of our welfare system. Many of them – if you believe the hysterical  headlines – criminals who are just waiting for the rules to change so they can make their way to our shores (yes there is a ridiculous contradiction in that last sentence).

I listen confounded to news readers with that us-&-them tone underpinning items of international news. Just as in one of my favourite performance poetry pieces African Journalist in England – I wonder what reporters from other continents and countries make of this little island’s arrogance and self deception.

Do the people of Portugal and Spain run long bitter reports on their news channels about the ex-pats turning vast swathes of their country into a kind of outdoor old people’s home-cum-golf course? Does Thailand consider everyone in Britain to be a potential paedophile because they see so many western men using their country for sex tourism? Do people on the large beautiful much abused continent of Africa despair as yet another generation of privileged western travellers use their land as a white man’s playground – from hug-an-orphan safaris to the white’s only clubs that are now implied rather than legal in many more developed areas and where indigenous people are turned into servants in their own homeland. Do the people of the Philippines laugh or cry when they hear boasts of the millions of pounds in aid that we in Britain  congratulate ourselves on raising to support the thousands up on thousands of victims of ever increasingly extreme weather devastation? Do they think about how wealthy western nations are disproportionately contributing to the very climate change that makes their lives more fragile? Do they compare the few millions in aid to the multi-multi millions they have to pay in debt to the World Bank after western governments leant freely to the corrupt Marcos regime? Do they?

What do struggling nations make of a country where the wealthy live in a land of more than plenty but still feel the need to contrive to dodge tax, secreting enough in off-shore accounts to make Midas blush.

And so young ambitious people continue to migrate to Britain, as they do to all developed countries. The stats tell us unequivocally that the vast majority work and are driven to achieve and be successful – those that are not escaping conflict and who deserve nothing but our sympathy and help. The working immigrants far outweigh the so-called benefit tourists and not only that – with an aging and poorly educated (by western standards) population – many of those immigrants – through their taxes – support our own unemployed and sick.

Granted we can be proud of marmalade and David Attenborough but really it’s time for crabby old Aunty Britannia to shut the F up.

Happy 2014 and here is a list of

Most popular blogs of 2013

Blog 23What is Love – (philosophy of Wil-e-coyote)

Blog 31 Oh Shut Up

Blog 39 What is the point of Newcastle City Council?

Blog 53 I suffer from PANTS syndrome

Blog 58 Chri£tma$ - we who are about to buy salute you!

Most popular blog of 2012

Blog10 My One Night Stand with the ghost of Bill Farrell

Most popular cartoon 2013 (based on sales of prints at the Love Libraries events last autumn)

Posted in the usual place – click on the orange Amanda Baker in the right hand column to view.