Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dean Martin: Rich, Loved Drunk

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you
You're nobody 'til somebody cares.
(Nobody. Absolutely nobody. You are of no worth. Your life isn't worth living. You might as well go kill yourself.)
You may be king, you may possess the world and its gold,
(But more likely you're not well off and lacking love.)
But gold won't bring you happiness when you're growing old.
(Money can't buy me love? Bullshit. Llok at all the ugly rich old men with beautiful younger women. Then look at the ugly poor men with nobody. If you're ugly and you're poor you might as well go kill yourself.)
The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.

The world still is the same, you never change it,
As sure as the stars shine above;
(If you're a tramp stars are all you've got to look at at night. You're damn' right, you can't do a thing about it, Dean. Whereas if you're rich and a drunk, the world's your oyster.)
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody, find yourself somebody,
Find yourself somebody to love.
(Go on. It's piss easy. There's really something seriously wrong with you if you can't. Just get off your arse and find somebody! Go on! You might as well kill yourself if you can't.)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Orwell, Only Another 85 Pages To Go

Maconie's shamed me into reading The Road to Wigan Pier. I could never get on with Orwell's fiction but I thought I'd give this a try.

The first part gives us the facts and figures of northern working class life in the thirties. You can't argue with them. Orwell lives for a while in a crowded boarding house. He goes down mines.

The most revealing thing for me was not the overcrowding or the squalor or the danger of the work, but just how fit you had to be to be a miner. Not only was the work bloody hard but just to get to the coalface could involve miles of walking underground, bent double, banging your head, breathing in that lovely underground air. Just thinking about it makes me feel claustrophobic and knackered. And the miners had to do it fueled by a really basic unnourishing diet.

I'm slowly getting through the second part where Orwell gets all political. Attitudes of different classes to each other are analysed.

There is some unintentional light relief. Thank God for that because I can't read a book without there being some light relief, intentional or not.

According to Orwell, in the thirties middle class people believed that the working class were inherently dirty. They smelt, not through lack of bathing opportunities but because that's the way they were.

When Orwell was thirteen...

"I was in a train coming from a market town, and the third-class carriage was packed full of shepherds and pig-men who had been selling their beasts. Somebody produced a quart bottle of beer and passed it round; it travelled from mouth to mouth, everyone taking a swig. I cannot describe the horror I felt as that bottle worked its way towards me. If I drank from it after all those lower-class male mouths I felt certain I should vomit; on the other hand, if they offered it to me I dared not refuse for fear of offending them - you see here how squeamishness works both ways. Nowadays, thank God, I have no feelings of that kind. A working-man's body, as such, is no more repulsive to me than a millionaire's. I still don't like drinking out of a cup or bottle after another person - another man, I mean: with women I don't mind - but at least the question of class does not enter. It was rubbing shoulders with tramps that cured me of it. Tramps are not really very dirty as English people go, but they have the name for being dirty, and when you have shared a bed with a tramp and drunk tea out of the same snuff-tin, you feel that you have seen the worst and the worst has no terrors for you."

This, written in all seriousness, is hilarious. Whether it would have been so funny to a reader 70 years ago is another matter. Orwell is travelling third class because his family are lower middle class, not really that well off. Why the farm workers should want to offer him some of their beer, I don't know. The passing round of the bottle seems to me to be a bonding thing, you were part of the gang if you were offered it. The only reason they would offer it to a thirteen year old middle class boy would be to humiliate him. "Come on, lad, drink up, this'll put hairs on your chest!" They obviously didn't offer it to him, were not in the slightest bit interested in making a fool of him. He was not so central to the plot as he thought. This is Orwell's unintentional humour.

On a more serious note, Orwell's predilection for sharing tins of tea with female tramps is perhaps a clue as to how he contracted the tuberculosis which led to his early death.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Man On The Train (Part 3)

Sorry about the poem. I've had yet another technologically frustrating week and felt like lashing out. It wasn't aimed at any of you.

Remember the man on the train? I'd managed to avoid him since we came back from holiday. I'd moved up to the next carriage.

So this morning I was settled down with not a care in the world.

At the first stop, the internal door opens. Someone stands by the seat next to me. They stand there for ages, taking their coat off, adjusting their clothing and bag, adjusting their ipod, their mobile phone, breathing heavily.

I know it's him. I don't need to look.

He's out of breath because he's run for the train, just about getting on in time, on a carriage that's one up from where he usually sits. He's spotted me as he's walked towards the back carriage.

"Aha," he thinks, "There's that wanker I used to annoy. Yes, I really used to annoy the hell out of him. So this is where he's sitting now. Well, if he thinks he can get away from me, he's got another thing coming. Look at the pathetic cunt, reading his book. He's thinks he's all intellectual and superior. He used to turn his face away from me, as if I was a piece of shit on his shoe. Well, I'll show him who's boss."

He sits down next to me. He begins to text. He turns his music up.

I read the same line, over and over again. I'm thinking of a way to nip this in the bud. I don't want to cause a scene. I'll have to write something on a piece of paper and hand it to him. Something like, "I moved to this carriage to avoid you." No, I can't, he'll think I think he smells. I could write, "WHY?" Yes, I could write, "WHY?" In big letters.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Blogsbury Set

Phil was a blogger who breathed rare air
No-one could touch him for literary flair
His words they were funny, his words they were wry
He made readers laugh, he made readers cry

He was part of a group called The Blogsbury Set
Birds of a feather, they regularly met
Stroking their egos until they all came
Certain that Phil would become a big name

A publishing deal was surely in sight
All of his friends knew Phil's future was bright
But he got a reply saying, "Thanks, but no thanks
For no-one will buy your self-satisfied wank"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Manchester's Marvellous Musical Menagerie

Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn't just Morrissey who persuaded us to become vegetarians in the 80s. The most vocal vegetarian in pop music when I stopped eating meat was Kid Creole. He loved to lick out a coconut or two and wasn't shy about it.

Recently I have been re-evaluating our Smiths albums, as Stuart Maconie had made the staggering revelation that The Smiths were the best ever Manchester band. During Meat Is Murder, just before our chicken curry, I asked Betty if she agreed.

Of course not. We agreed on Joy Division as number one. But who was second?

Of course it had to be The Smiths.

That's if you discount, in no particular order,

The Fall

And Buzzcocks

And Magazine

And A Certain Ratio

And Durutti Column

And 10cc

And New Order

And 808 State

And The Stone Roses

And Happy Mondays

And Blue Orchids

Which makes The Smiths the 13th best band to come out of Manchester. Which proves that the number 13 is not necessarily unlucky.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Drowning In Berlin

Doesn't he look like he's sitting down to have a shit?

Anyway, bollocks to rugby and its fair weather friends who couldn't tell you the names of any of the London Irish or Wasps or even who the Barbarians are but who will be watching tomorrow's match with their hearts in their mouths. Was I like this in 1966 when millions of people who couldn't give a shit about football cheered on our lads in red? Of course I was, I was a four year old cynic.

Anyway, there's something much more important to look forward to.

Berlin Alexanderplatz holds a special place in my heart. It was there for me in my loveless eighties. I recorded it on the family video and watched it late at night, when my mum and sister were tucked up in their beds. According to my research, this was 1985, I was 23 years old and should have been married with a kid or two or at least living in sin with some Luther Vandross loving bird, but I was waiting for the "right one" who would appreciate my art film and eclectic music loving ways as a gift from God and not as grounds for running off with someone less "weird". Yes, I was no catch, but the films and music made my own company tolerable.

Every now and then I ask Betty if she saw Berlin Alexanderplatz. I say it was the best thing I've ever seen on tv. Each time she says she didn't see it. Each time I forget, and a couple of years later I ask her again.

There'll be no more such questions soon. Because the DVD's out next week. I hope it's as wonderful as I remember. Although I remember nothing, of course. I'll come fresh to it. With all those years of experience under my middle aged belt.

I love Fassbinder and I love his muse, Hanna Schygulla.

He was very much in love with her, you know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tomorrow's Headline


er, that should be...


Ha! Who gives a shit?



Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Victorian Values

I love Victoria Wood. I love her sketches. I love her sitcom, dinnerladies. But if there's one thing she'll be remembered for, it's her awful songs. This one in particular.

This song is the first thing I associate with her name, before any of the great work she's produced. For this is my regular earworm.

It's sheer bloody torture. It's so long. Just when you think she's finished, there's another verse. Then another.

"Let's Do It!" "Let's Do It!"

No! Please! I don't want to! Geoffrey doesn't want to do it! Please, Victoria, no!

And the climax, the bit at the end, the bit that's with me, day in, day out. The bit I can never get out of my head.

"Beat me on the bottom with a Woman's Weekly!"

It almost makes me physically sick.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Death Is Not The End

The black eyebrowed, silver haired devil has started redistributing wealth. Stealing from the poor, giving to the rich. Patrick Collinson's summing up in yesterday's Guardian Money section makes you want to turn Green, not with envy but with disgust.

£600,000 tax-free, up from £300,000. Due to rise to £700,000 tax-free by 2010/11.

Patrick's been banging on about inheritance tax. Here's two letters from Guardian readers. From the rich south of England, of course.

Firstly, this from someone who I assume is a rich bastard pretending to be a cynical batten down the hatches kind of guy in order to get a letter in The Guardian:-

"Patrick Collinson can 'see no reason' why 'children of 50-plus need to inherit large sums'.
I can think of two. Firstly, they've somehow got to fund their children's education, as the state no longer does this, and secondly they've got to fund their own retirement, together with any medical and personal care, as the state no longer does this, either. You can see why some people think that if the welfare state is being dismantled, it's only fair to dismantle some of the taxes that used to pay for it."

And secondly, this from someone who I'm guessing is a selfish self-made man, a man who thinks the NHS is in a disgusting state and the government really don't give a shit about the health of its citizens but who wants his kids to be rich for doing fuck all. A Guardian reader, all the same:-

"I am a little irked by Patrick Collinson's article. The reason why it's not unreasonable for people to inherit large sums of money is because they then have the chance to help their own sons and daughters in setting up some kind of life for themselves.
I have two children aged seven and nine, and one of my last goals in life is to try and sort them out financially. It sticks in my throat when I think of this government trying to take what rightfully belongs to my sons when we finally 'croak it'."

These were letters responding to Patrick's previous article, before Darling moved the goalposts. I hope these two nice men are happy with Darling's new pronouncements. Or hasn't he gone far enough for them? The Tories are proposing £1 million tax-free. Now that's a fucking real bonanza.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mersey Sound

Let Me Die a Youngman's Death

Let me die a youngman's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death

Roger McGough, 1937-

An Epitaph
(Twopence coloured, penny plain)

He worshipped at the altar of Romance
(Tried to seduce a woman half his age)
And dared to stake his fortune on a chance
(Gambled away his children's heritage).

He valued only what the world held cheap
(Refused to work, from laziness and pride):
Dreams were his refuge and he welcomed sleep
(He failed in business, took to drink and died).

Colin Ellis, 1895-1969

Doesn't the "constant good tumour" sound forced and wanky. But it gets a titter from the audience. Laughing at death? It just feels a little naughty, doesn't it?

I like my poetry easy to understand. I'm not clever enough to enjoy the complex stuff. I usually like rhymes, too. I like Colin's poem. You won't find Colin on the internet. You will find Roger, though. Oh yes, lots of Roger.

I've never got on with Roger's twee sentimentality. And his clever plays on words are not as clever as he thinks.

Patten, Henri and McGough all rode the Beatles' coattails. Right place, right time. Thousands of people in Britain were writing poetry as well if not better than the Liverpool poets. Maybe even more "accessible". Most kept it to themselves. But the Mersey was where it was at and these three had the guts to read their stuff in front of audiences who lapped it up because the poets were scousers and the Beatles were scousers and Liverpool was a hotbed of creativity, working class kids making it big.

I've nothing against these blokes earning a living from what thousands could have done if they'd been in the right place at the right time with the right self-confidence. Good luck to 'em. But Melvyn fucking Bragg fawning over the surviving two like they're something special? Give me a break! It's only piss poor poetry.

A couple of years ago there was a South Bank Show about The Darkness. I'll remember that when Melvyn comes knocking to interview the cream of Bexleyheath bloggers. I'll remember that when I say something humorous and the camera cuts away to Melvyn's orgasm face. I'll remember Justin Hawkins. And where he is now. (Rich cunt).


The Liverpool Poets

If it wasn't for the success of the Fab Four
The Liverpool Poets would be dead poor
And instead of publishing yet another edition
McGough would be dying from malnutrition

Geoff, 1961-

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Willy Russell

This is Willy Russell in The South Bank Show about the Liverpool poets. Once we've finished watching it I'll write a post about it. Willy Russell is currently modelling himself on Noel Edmonds. Why, I have no idea.

Willy is described as a "Playwright and Musician". If you look closely at my very dark picture you will see an acoustic guitar propped against the wall behind Willy.

Most writers are filmed in front of bookcases filled with books. Or computers. To prove that they don't sit on their arses all day doing nothing. They read and they write.

Willy's guitar proves he is a musician.

And look, here's his CD!

Well done, Willy!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Weekend Fun

So we go out for a curry to celebrate England's win. Rugby Union and Patriotism really are my favourite things. All those posh cunts singing about chariots really turns me on, in a Johnny Rotten and classical music kind of way.

So we go out for a curry, a mere 15 minute walk away. We're a bit nervous as last time we went out for a curry, in the town centre, Betty was verbally abused by some young tossers in a car on the way to the restaurant. And on the way back we were nearly killed by some young tosser in a car who thought it fun to drive at 50 m.p.h. jerking the steering wheel like it was his tiny cock.

So we're a bit nervous but this time we're not heading for the town centre, we're going down some quiet roads.

So ten minutes into our walk, we hear the screech of tyres. The car is coming up behind us. We've put our life in our hands again. The wanker revs up. We can hear the car speed up. He slows down, speeds up. He isn't jerking the steering wheel like it is his tiny cock but that's probably because there are a couple of girls in the back seat and he wouldn't want to scare them too much. No, he just wants to scare us pedestrians as he goes past us at 80 m.p.h. Thank fuck we survived, nervous but alive.

So we're within two minutes of the restaurant. A large group of teenage boys cross the road and arrange themselves into a pavement gauntlet. We don't run, just keep our heads down and walk through them, waiting for a comment which thankfully doesn't come.


In the restaurant, a couple of blokes talk about football, rugby and Ruskin. This is the first time I've ever heard Ruskin mentioned in Bexleyheath. Or rugby, come to think of it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

About Bloody Time, Too!

Ah, Norfolk. It seems like another lifetime. When windmills were active on land and not in the sea. When postmen sang and were happy with their lot!

Here then are the photos. What a lovely time we had.

1. Winterton-on-Sea
Winterton should really be called Windterton. If we'd brought any sandwiches to eat on the beach, they would have been full of sand by the second mouthful. Winterton has a desolate air, a bit like George Alagiah.

2. No Dogs!
Most of Norflok's beaches have a policy of not allowing dogs to roam the sands in the summer months. Presumably so that we don't get any headlines like "Devil Dog Ate My Little Angel". Of course, the dogs themselves can't read and drag their owners onto the beaches, unclip themselves from their collars and run around like crazy. the second photo in this section is proof. Those aren't seagull footprints!

3. Cromer.
Cromer. A poor man's Great Yarmouth. Whereas Yarmouth pier has the superb Jim Davidson, Roy "Chubby" Brown and the Chuckle Brothers on its bill, Cromer's lineup is distinctly provincial. I mean, "Magic, a Kind of Queen"! Who dreams these up? Elton Ben*?

4. A National Trust Lake
This is the lake we stopped at to take some pictures, just minutes before my brand new Primark t-shirt was shat on by some bastard bird. "Get off moi fuckin' land," the bird chirped as I walked disconsolately to the cafe, to be greeted by some foul tasting National Trust tea which was polluted by its "green" recycled packaging. What's wrong with a proper cup, eh?

5. Sheringham Park
Beautiful, beautiful Sheringham Park. Go there. The garden to our holiday cottage was supposed to contain grass snakes. I'm glad I didn't see them as I have a snake phobia. At the entrance/exit to Sheringham Park kids can write what wildlife they have spotted on their way round the routes. Adders came up quite regularly. I'm glad that most kids are lying little shits otherwise I would have been cacking myself all the way round. One kid had seen a "bear". Oh yeah? This isn't Yellowstone, buster!

* Copyright Betty's dad.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bear With Us

I'm coming out in solidarity with Betty. Until our home broadband is connected (fuck knows when) I'm not going to post another thing. I'm so pissed off with everybody connected with fucking technology at the moment. Nothing is going in the right direction. One step forwards, three steps back.