Monday, 8 September 2014
The Battle of Britain
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.