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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Brigadoon

I’ve been researching the background to Calvinism and came across an interesting titbit.

Apparently there’s an additional gospel which has been suppressed by the ancestors of the “Better Together” people.

In it it talks of three great leaders visiting the Northern Lands at a time of great crisis when the world will split asunder. They arrive carried in the talons of great birds and harangue the weak-minded inhabitants of the Northern Lands about the disaster that is about to befall them should they follow the false prophets of the Sassenachs eat my Nuts Party (SNP).

They brought  gifts, well, actually IOUs and PowerPoint presentations promising, it turns out, not very much.

The first Magi - David attempted to pull at the heart strings - for him the Great Kingdom of us and them was more important than his wife. Contrary to the traditional biblical tale - he was presented with a ripe raspberry.

Next was young Edward. He promised a new start - he said he only had the Northlanders interest at heart. Except he couldn’t explain why only now he’d visited these far flung lands.

Then there was the one called Clegg - no one knows his first name. But he was swallowed up by a bog of indifference the moment he landed and no one knows what he said.

Finally there arrived John the Aged - a venerable survivor of the Age of Anthony. Loved by the weak-minded he was regularly rolled out to capture the non Islington vote. Except now he was not the bringer of the Good News, rather a reminder of the Age of Unfettered, Liberal capitalism embraced by Anthony and his acolytes.

It is foretold in the Runes of Mori  that the tribes of Yes will smite the tribes of No, but it will be a close run thing.

And the Very Venerable (and Ancient) John of the B flat Major has warned of knashing of teeth and the revenge of the  Curried Furies. But he’s an old fart so he was left in a Radio Four studio to mutter to himself and Mrs Trellis of Tring.



Monday, 8 September 2014

The Battle of Britain

It's worrying. I spent my whole childhood under the treat of nuclear annihilation. On the TV there was always this pulsating mass of Red threatening to do God knows what to little old ladies, women and children and the Conservative Party.

I crapped through the Cuba Missile Crisis. I was with the Viet Cong at Mi Lie, and Barry Maguire had no greater fan than I. Surely a "Hard Rain Was Goin' To Fall", and ever so sweetly it was "All Over Now Baby Blue".

I watched in Grovernor Square as right minded  lefties and the forces of repression slugged it out while Joni Mitchell sung about Yellow Taxis and Concrete. What was all that about?

And then there was George and Bangladesh - we were so  there. Deeply spiritual, while the Arabs and Jews continued to  knock the shit out of each other.

Cuba passed me by, but I was in a state of deep distress as President Salvador Allende was kicked into touch by Mrs Thatcher's favourite South American military hard man. Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam: if it ate noddles they had to be Commies. And so it goes.

Then there was Africa: the Congo, Biafra, Mozambique, Liberia, the Horn of Africa, Live Aid, Freddie Mercury and "Radio Gaga". It all meant so  much.

Lebanon, until the early 70's the play ground of the elite. Great place, lots of beautiful people, even more pissed off people and it exploded. Then there was the Shah of Persia: So cool, loved London and our royalty: so disconnected. A peanut farmer made good and hostages and we find ourselves at loggerheads  for 40 years with a pretty powerful player.

Then there was the Berlin Wall and it fell. My, my; no more eyeball to eyeball with cousin Boris. Except...when the centre fails...

Bosnia, Kosova, Serbia. Lose one dictator and three step in: and then the Near East goes ape. The Arab Spring has brought a pretty unpalatable harvest. Libya, Egypt, Syria, not to mention that gross misadventure - Iraq - knocking down the Wall across Europe appears to have opened up the gates of Hades.

At the moment it looks to us that the Barbarians are at the gates. Putin is giving a fair impression of Ivan the Terrible in the East. Africa continues its inability to govern without corruption. But now there's the added spice of Islamic fundamentalism seeking to slaughter that benighted continent back into the 6th century.

And then there's big bro' ISIS the caliphate in waiting, chopping their way to heaven and giving us in the West Hell.

It's enough to make you want to watch Strictly or the GBBO.

It's not much better at home. That unruly rabble just north of Tyne and Wear look to be going their own way. I hear Costain have put in a bid to renovate Hadrian's Wall. There are, according to the Express, billions of foreigners at Calais taking over every lorry and car in an attempt to get to the UK. Why?

We're all doomed anyway. If you've a mortgage you're screwed 'cause you won't be able to afford it once  interest rates move up. If you rent - you'll have to hand over at least 50% of your income to pay for the leaking, rat infested shit hole you call home. And any job you may get will be part time, below the  minimum wage and as secure as a turd on the side of the loo.

Confronted with all this where are our leaders? They talk the talk, but walk and talk and chew gum at the same time? Scrabbling around they're playing catch up on the Middle East and the Ukraine. Powerless in the face of gangster capitalism - where the rich rip off the poor and Governments cheer from the side lines.

No wonder people are popping pills like there's no tomorrow. No wonder any little niggle, disruption or delay causes huge detonations of bile and abuse. No wonder some people spend 365 days on cruise liners and others shout obscenities at every non white they meet. Many more find reality in a bottle and Jeremy Kyle.

But all this is not new. It's happened before,we coped, contained and came out the other side. It's just that most of our leaders' first memories are of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Wham. They know nothing of John and Yoko and beds in the Hilton.

Mind you, we may have to get used to a new experience. A Scot without a chip on his shoulder.

x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Time's Winged Chariot



Let's hear it for life. Let's beat the drum for that continuing heart beat, that feeble but vital pulse, the murmured word as the blood is suctioned away.

Too much death recently, far too much. Head chopping, body shattering, unexpected, undeserved death is hitting our iPads, iPhones and Samsungs like a flock of incontinent magpies feasting on a harvest of over-ripe figs.

I have to admit my erotic dreams featuring me and Lady Penelope and "Stingray" are often certailed by the Grim Reaper at the bottom of my bed reminding me that I'm almost out of my three score and ten.

The reports of deaths of those in their early, middle and late sixties give me cause for pause. The fact that Robin Williams topped himself doesn't help. It just highlights the existential threat that we older folk face.

Let's face it (if only we could) death is a bummer.

Frankly as a child of the 60's I'm in a double bind. My passport to being a child of the age of Aquarius was Love, Love,Love. Constant bonking, or in my case constant thoughts of constant bonking with all those beautiful babes. Thoughts are as real as deeds says the Good Book. The fact that I didn't get a million miles near having it away with Jane Fonda in Barbarella is no salvation. I am damned.

Which makes me extremely angry. Because of all those missed opportunities to bed those fab dolly birds in '66, '67, '68, '69 etc. - but didn't because I thought God was looking over my shoulder and would have had a front seat. 

I should have joined a cult. One of those "Sex gets you to Heaven" cults. I thought about it as I was sitting my Maths finals at University. It was obvious that I was going to get a pretty crap degree, if I passed at all. My mates, who for some reason appeared to have no problem with three hour papers in large rooms with hundreds of other brains, had careers marked out. More importantly they had nookie on tap - lovely, long legged, long haired, doe eyed beauties - and me, nothing. A lonely bedsit in Dollis Hill.

Can you blame me? Had I the balls I'd have been on a plane to L.A., Paris, Marrakesh or taken the Last Train to Clarksville and joined a boiling, bum bouncing, barrage of testosterone. But no....I tried to become an actuary.

Which in an interesting way brings us back to death. That's what actuaries are all about. Making money out of dying.

This morning I hit upon "The Sounds of the Sixties" with Brian Matthews. It was on the Beeb's iPlayer. I have no idea when it was actually broadcast because it was a podcast. There I am time shifting with a DJ who is still broadcasting in his 80's.

I'm surrounded by the echos of my youth. Brian Matthews, Cliff Richard and Tony Blackburn, who was on "The One Show" this Friday - all in the final trimester of their moral coils, their vales of pain, their "out, out brief candle".

To cap it all, there are old London Routemaster buses running around the streets of this great city of ours with a massive blown up visage of 74 year old Ringo Starr. I thought it was for an AgeUK campaign but apparently he's modelling John Varvatos' Fall/Winter collection. Time and the Ages of Man have been cast adrift.

It's all the Doctor's fault - this rip in the space/time continuum. His rebirth has peeled away the onion skin of my experience and I'm staring at the Final Frontier and singing along to Herman Hermit's "I'm Into Something Good" at a Warner's Holiday Camp somewhere dreadful in 1964.

And those songs about dying: they really get to you when you're young: ironic or what? "Leader of the Pack", "Terry", "Knocking on Heaven's Door", "Missing You", "The Monster Mash". 

It becomes profound and moving when someone close to dying sings about it. "Hurt" by Johnny Cash is one such performance. Watching him singing/talking this song is so intense it hurts.

No, as that great 20th Century American philospher once said "It's not the men in your life that matters, it's the life in your men." She knew what she was talking about.