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Time has been a bit of an issue lately – Sorry :)
Normal service will be resumed shortly
Time has been a bit of an issue lately – Sorry :)
The MPs’ Expenses Scandal refuses to go away. In a rare interview, the Expenses Scandal said “No. I refuse to go away”. Gadzooks, is the world really that wrong? Well, we will tell you it sometimes is. Let us give you the news other weblogs refuse to publish…
The elfin and former Cabinet Minister, Hazel Blears, has been targeted by vandals in Greater Manchester. A gang smashed the windscreen of her Citroen Xsara Picasso and slashed all four tyres while she was out canvassing in Weaste. The Salford MP, who was at the centre of the MPs’ Expenses Scandal, dismissed the idea the attack could be the result of a vendetta, telling the Manchester Evening News it was “teenagers with nothing to do on a hot afternoon“. A hot afternoon in Manchester? Is the little gnome sniffing pixie dust?
We can reveal that Hazel Blears, or “Tinkerbelle of Fairyland” as she insists on being referred to, is purchasing the luxurious “Duck Island” belonging to disgraced Tory MP Sir Peter Viggers. For those of you who have missed the story, let us enlighten you.
Sir Peter Viggers said he felt “humiliated” after his expense claims were published in the Daily Telegraph. The £30,000 claim for gardening costs included the 5ft Stockholm duck house which acts as an island to protect ducks from being attacked by foxes. Whilst we applaud the man’s compassion for ducks, we fail to understand why this cost had to be borne by the Taxpayer. What the hell was he thinking of?
Mr and Mrs Blears were said to be over the moon about their new abode. Mr Blears added “Our old house was a bit cramped, even for us”.
Hazel said “We now have room for our entire family, including the dog. The dog used to have to stay outside all night, as he could not fit through the door of our old house”.
“Now we have the room to spread out. Even Grandpa Blears has the space to relax on the vast decking area that surrounds the entire house. I am as happy as a pig in shite” added Ms Blears.
To change the subject entirely, I must now report a very strange incident. Some of you readers out there will remember the 1988 film version of the classic tale of Baron Freiherr von Münchhausen, entitled “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”.
Münchhausen supposedly told a number of outrageous tall tales about his adventures. According to the stories, as retold by others, the Baron’s astounding feats included riding cannonballs, travelling to the Moon, and escaping from a swamp by pulling himself up by his own hair (or bootstraps, depending on who tells the story).
Anyway, I digress. The point I am trying to make is that if you intend to watch the film, please ensure that you watch it yourself. Do not get a friend to watch it on your behalf. I did this, and was immediately contacted by the authorities, arrested and diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.
Talley ho, I am off to the Blears. I have been invited for canapés and Pimms.
The banks are at it again. They really are a law unto themselves…The Bank of England recently said that conditions in the financial system are easing, although the banking system is fragile and vulnerable to disruption.
Interestingly, the first two large banks to issue their six monthly results are HSBC and Barclays. They do indeed appear to be frail and vulnerable as they muddle along on their £9 billion collective profit. Heaven knows what the next six months will bring these breadline paupers.
It has to be said; the aforementioned banks did not in fact request or receive state funding during the economic crisis. However, they have benefited from the entire banking system being bailed out in general terms. Without such intervention, these two stalwarts of the banking fraternity would not have had a pot to piss in either.
These impressive results have reanimated the dash for large bonuses. Reading between the lines and extrapolating the data, this should mean that over 22,000 staff working at these two banks alone will be on for bonus enhanced earnings in excess of £250,000 each.
Yet businesses are struggling. Businesses are being starved of funding from their banks. The banks are keeping all the pie. Unless you own a business, you work for a business. Yes, I’m speaking to you! And, if your business collapses, you are out of a job and the bank has lost two sources of revenue – you and the business you worked for. So, I do not know where the banks think this one is heading.
To generate profit, the banks have to lend money and see a return on the money loaned. Without lending the money in the first instance, there are no future profits to be had. A bank then simply becomes a building with money in it. That’s not strictly true, but I won’t go into that now. All I am pointing out here, is that there is a certain “I want my cake and eat it” attitude that is rife in the so called “City”. The only politician speaking any sense regarding the current state of financial affairs is good old Vince Cable – the best Prime Minister the Liberals never had. His voice is a lone beacon of common sense and considered judgment, in these bizarre times.
Sir Grenville Palmer of the London Bankers Association is reported to have had an extension built on his Georgian home in Surrey. The extension, made of solid platinum, is said to contain three bedrooms, a library and a “trumping” room. The Trumping Room, a throwback from Georgian England, is where gentleman would retire from dinner and trump to their heart’s content, out of earshot from the ladies. These opulent, but often smelly rooms were the ultimate in sophistication – the navel piercing of their day.
“We now see some balance restored to the pecking order of society” said Sir Grenville. “I intend to employ a small team of dwarves to trim my moustache. You see, people don’t realise that I am an equal opportunities kind of chap. The tabloids only focus on the salacious side of my life. And for the record, my involvement with the slaughtering of nine hundred fluffy kittens in Gloucestershire was never proven. I was in the Cotswolds that day and I have witnesses”. At that, Sir Grenville Palmer blew a plume of cigar smoke into the faces of newspaper reporters and left abruptly, with one swish of his cape, he had gone…
“Spare A Copper” – The wartime Ealing Comedy starring George Formby who is hot on the trail of some dastardly fifth columnists and Nazi saboteurs.
Or “Spare a copper Governor?” – The pitiful plea of the destitute in today’s modern Britain. It makes you think…Perhaps we should take a radical approach to solving our economic blues? Maybe mix and match – match and mix. Create chimeras, thump genes together and ram-jar a funnel of chromosome pellets into plasma, mash up and stretch lumps of brain cake. Foreclose on sense and propose new sheets of white writing blocks.
Whatever that meant, we should do it – and do it in a crumb-free environment.
I want to witness the Rt. Hon. George Formby MP Chancellor of the Exchequer, deliver the budget of his life whilst sporting preposterous black eyebrows. I want to see Alistair Darling leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street, assuring people that it has “turned out nice again”. I want all short people to wear numbers, not just jockeys. I want Sugar Puffs banned. I want ducks to be paid for quacking. I simply want things to go back to how they were. I want my old cell back.
Sorry, I’m off my tits on drugs. I will try and compose myself.
I was reading that foreign banks might end the mortgage drought. Despite all time low interest rates, it’s not really getting any easier to find a mortgage. Here’s a thought – How about Alistair Darling, I mean George Formby, telling the banks they’ve got two weeks to begin pumping money back into the economy by offering reasonably affordable loans or the taxpayer’s money must be returned instantly? And do it! Send the bailiffs in, if necessary. You know? Like the banks do…
However, the Bank of China has announced it will start lending to British borrowers. Will foreign banks end the drought in finance? What is the Bank of China offering? The Bank of China has announced it will start offering mortgages here in the UK to both residential and buy-to-let borrowers. Apparently, the deals being offered are very attractive, only being beaten by the giant HSBC bank (a global bank, but still essentially a Chinese bank). Bank of China is also launching a buy-to-let loan at 3.5% above base rate, so it is currently 4%. This is likely to prove quite attractive. Is this the beginning of the end for British finance? Do you think the monarch has been offered another role?
It is getting increasingly difficult to think of any area in which we actually specialise now. It is the basic, dare I say, vital services that are of concern to me. Somehow, we seem to have lost control of our water, energy, transport, manufacturing industry and now perhaps banking. Those are pretty big things there in that list. Who am I kidding? As far as things go, those are great sequoia trees with fecking bells on! I could never, ever see France allowing the same to happen to such vital aspects of national infrastructure. Vive la France. Here’s a short list of just some of Britain’s vital industries:
EON owns Powergen (German)
RWE owns Npower (German)
Centrica owns British Gas (German)
EDF (Électricité de France) owns British Nuclear Fuels (French)
London Electricity (French)
Iberdrola owns Scottish Power (Spanish)
HSBC Bank (The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation)
Tata Steel (Indian)
Corus Steel (Indian)
Santander owns Abbey National and Alliance + Leicester (Spanish)
It goes on…
How do you let your energy companies slip out of national ownership? It beggars belief, it truly does. Dame Margret Thatcher should be wheeled onto the stage and made to explain her privatisation plans all over again. She sold this idea as some sort of universal panacea. She certainly sold something, and by that, I mean everything. The cupboard is bare.
Could you be a professional witch? An estate agent will swap selling houses to live in a cave after winning a £50,000 job as a witch at the Wookey Hole Caves tourist attraction. Carla Calamity, whose real name is Carole Bohanan, won over the judges at her audition for the job of the Wookey Witch. It makes you proud to be British.
“Turned out nice again” – The catch phrase of a certain George Formby (not to be confused with George Foreman of boxing and lean grilling machine fame). Ah, such optimism from Ealing Studios, and indeed the Met Office, for this is the “barbecue summer”.
With our nation’s propensity toward chest puffing, the grandiose predictions for our summers are becoming more and more bizarre. I am becoming a bit of a “weather bore”, every April I inform my friends and family of how it will all pan out, getting my predictions in before the Met Office makes its grand claim. A few years back, there was even speculation that the British grass lawn would become a thing of the past. Our summers were going to be so severe, even humble and hardy grass would not survive its searing temperatures. We were advised to plant more Mediterranean style and even consider growing orange and lemon groves. The British public lapped it up with a spoon; it did cause quite a stir in Scotland. However, I have never been able to square these predictions off, knowing a little about global warming and the Gulf Stream effect; I could never see the logic. It is little understood that as the planet warms, Britain in fact, could become cooler. I won’t go it to that now… Chief Meteorologist, Ewen McCallum, said the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 were highly unlikely to be repeated. He predicted: “This year will be much drier than normal. Get the BBQ out.”
Needless to say, whenever the Met Office forecasts a barbecue summer, you should be rushing to build yourselves large boats – especially if your name happens to be Noah.
Mr McCallum said at the time “After two disappointingly wet summers, the signs are much more promising this year. We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C, something we hardly saw at all last year.”
And the animals came…two by two
I’m not going to get into a theological debate, but this “two by two” notion is a little far fetched, don’t you think? The pairing of animals, one from each gender, to enable each species to procreate and survive the catastrophe, is puzzling on some levels. For instance, what of a pair of ants? Or even a pair of termites? As you are aware, the standard blueprints of these little chaps have no reproductive organs. Banish two ants to the wilderness, away from the colony, and all you will produce is two dead ants.
Listen to this: “I took drugs to win medals” says top athlete Geoff Woad. Shot-putter Woad admits to taking massive doses of steroids – drugs banned in sport – to improve his performance. “He used to act up and pick on me” says his wife, “but now he’s stopped he’s much better, in our sex life and in our general life.” Look at him! Look at Geoff Woad! Jesus, this huge, thatched head, with its earlobes and cannon ball is now considered sane! Geoff Woad is prepared to step back into society and start tossing his orb about again! His head must weigh fifty pounds on its own! Imagine the size of his balls… imagine getting into a fight with the fucker! “I’m going to pull your head off.” “Oh no, please don’t pull my head off.” “I’m going to pull your head off, because I don’t like your head.”
Sadly, Geoff Woad does not appear to exist. However, aficionados of the classic “Withnail and I” will have just had a treat. Those lines were sublimely delivered by a young Richard E Grant with the precision and finesse of pure genius.
Geoff Capes, on the other hand, does exist. One can only assume that he was the template for this fictitious character in the film. Geoff Capes, former professional shot-putter and Britain’s Strongest Man – He went into business with a shop called Geoff’s Capes, which sold only capes. It soon closed. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
That ex Etonian dandy, Mr David Cameron, made me smile the other day. When Absolute Radio host Christian O’Connell asked him about his views on Twitter, the Tory leader said: “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.” He had obviously spent some time thinking about some witticism in response to any questions he may ever be asked about Twitter.
I’m no expert, but I do know there is no such word as “instantness” and I do know the meaning of the word “twat”, but then again, I schooled at the other place – And the only reason I am allowing the word to go uncensored on my weblog is that I strongly suspect most moderators do not.
Incidentally, “twat” is from an ancient Viking word and is a vulgar synonym for vagina. It is an extremely offensive word in some quarters of society and totally misunderstood by others, perhaps for its similarity in sound to the innocuous “twit”.
Cameron compounded matters when he said “people were pissed off – sorry, I can’t say that in the morning – angry with politicians“, seemingly more critical of himself for saying the less offensive word.
Cameron’s aides pointed out that “twat” is not a swear word under radio guidelines and said he had apologised immediately for his latter comment.
Attempting to play down the incident, he added: “I was doing a radio interview and I’m sure that people will understand that.” Twat!
I understand that in a preamble to the interview by O’Connell in which he said Cameron’s press secretary, Gabby Bertin, “leapt out of her skin” after the questionable language.
In the exchange between Cameron and Bertin after the interview, Cameron said: “That seemed to go OK” to which Bertin replied “Yeah, apart from the language”. Cameron added “Oh, yeah, pissed, sorry about that, I’m really sorry”… “But” he said “people are pissed off with politicians, which they are. I think that is choice language well used personally, from my point of view”.
Bertin responded to Cameron “No, it was the twat”. David then insisted that it was not a swear word. She went on “It is”.
She privately added “I think he must be posh, where a lot of them don’t think twat is a swear word”.
Once again, Ealing Studios provides me with a title that encapsulates the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Or at least provides a segway into it.
Songs, more specifically nursery rhymes, are deeply disturbing when considered in a sober state. I’m certain there are very good explanations and origins of most of our received rhymes, but on face value they are utterly absurd. For example:
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
We’ll all have tea.
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
They’ve all gone away.
What the hell can that possibly mean? Is this the ranting of some opium fiend? Were ancient tea rooms the sanctuary of the clinically insane? The plot thickens, for the nursery rhyme is not as ancient as I had first imagined. It was composed and written in 1797. So it’s a mere pup as far as nursery rhymes go. The story has it, that a man wrote and published the lyrics to this nursery rhyme. The origins were based on the man having five children – two boys and three girls. There were constant arguments as the boys wanted to play “soldiers” and the girls wanted to play “house”. If the girls wanted to get rid of their brothers, they would sometimes pretend to start a game of “house” and Polly would put the toy kettle on. As soon as the boys left, Sukey would take it off again. Their father was so amused by this ploy that he set it to words and added the music.
So, in summary, it’s nothing more than a ruse or a distraction for repelling unwanted company or callers. I actually now use this ploy whenever I answer the telephone.
Ah, the beautiful drawings of Kate Greenaway. As a child, I would study the detail of her pictures in nursery rhyme books for hours.
Here’s another strange fish:
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?
Once again, apparent lunacy. However, the origin of the words to the Three Blind Mice rhyme are, as you would expect, based in history. The “farmer’s wife” refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of “Bloody Mary”. Not everybody’s favourite drink, but I love a good Bloody Mary. Anyway, the reference to “farmer’s wife” refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The “three blind mice” were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith who were convicted of plotting against the Queen – she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three Blind Mice – but she did have them burnt at the stake.
Incidentally, another nursery rhyme which features “Bloody Mary” is “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…”
Of course, this is all a far cry from Gracie Fields in the Ealing comedy (Sing As We Go), where she plays a feisty mill girl trying out various jobs in Blackpool during the summer after her mill is forced to close down. After getting into some hair-raising scrapes, she has an accidental meeting with magnate Sir William Upton, whereupon she is able to start negotiations to restore prosperity and save her colleagues jobs at the mill. They don’t write them like that anymore. Blackpool, with its fine erection in honour of Monsieur Eiffel is again a far cry from Walmington-on-Sea. I mention this because I was reminded of aforementioned town, when I saw the map on the war room walls of direct.gov.uk
I often wish that the Department of Health had read my weblog from the onset, perhaps I should drop them a link (and that’s not a euphemism). Yes that’s right dear reader, it’s Swine Flu again. As you are also aware, we are the best prepared country. Best prepared to accept it, spread it and generally give it a good solid base to work on. Now, apparently, we are shifting the public away from doctor to non-medical staff, who will deal with it “Call Centre” style. The general advice is to telephone these help lines, have your self diagnosed and get a healthy person to collect the purported remedy from a clinic. So, let’s recap. Take one healthy person who has now been in contact with a swine flu victim, and then send them out to infect a whole lot of vulnerably unwell people at the clinic. Thus, ensuring the airborne virus has a damned good foothold for its next batch of chumps. This sounds an awesome idea. You have to be a special kind of idiot to dream up these schemes. This isn’t your regular idiot plan, no sir, this is advanced stuff. This is pure Rampton grade.
Totally changing the subject now, I’m certain my neighbour is wearing my socks. It’s something I feel I will never prove, but I’m watching him. One false move and he’ll be de-Argyled faster than a speeding trolleybus.
Damn you Ealing Studios, but a title is a title, and it’s the theme of today’s weblog.
This missive is definitely a tricky egg. I’ve already alienated my Formula One readership and now I risk losing my female audience if, and I cannot stress that enough, this is read the wrong way. Men are in a bit of a crisis – that’s hardly front page news you’re thinking. They’re in a kind of “damned if they do – damned if they don’t” paradox. It’s the small things that highlight this peculiarity – don’t open a door for a woman and you’re ignorantly rude – open a door for a woman and you’re a patronising throwback from the past. I simply hurl myself out of the nearest window when I see a woman approaching any form of doorway; it’s simpler but very painful.
I will make no apologies for being attracted to, and adoring the female of our species. This is not in a patronising way; this is simply base instincts taking over. That’s just the way it works and that’s why we are all here as a species today. If, en masse, one generation had decided to think otherwise, there would be no next generation – simple.
Now, here’s the rub. I am beginning to wonder about the “I want my cake and eat it” philosophy that is permeating our culture. Equal rights for both sexes are not an issue, they were a painfully long time coming, but thankfully they’re with us and here to stay. That is a given!
I can broadly sum up my confusion in two statements: Sheila’s Wheels and Girl Power
These social and iconic entities are wrong on so many levels.
Let’s take Sheila’s Wheels for example. I’m certain that everybody has heard of this insurance phenomenon, solely aimed at a female only audience. It’s very, very pink and very, very girly. It’s also very, very sexist. Yet, I hear no outcry from the lumpen male populous. Trust me, if there was an insurance deal out there called “Bob’s Bollocks – Car insurance for real men”, it would provoke civil unrest. I cannot understand why this insurance company hasn’t been beaten about the head with a rolled up copy of the current equality legislation laws. I am overlooking the fact that they advertise car insurance for women drivers by showing three women standing up in the front seat of a car wearing pink ball gowns. I am also overlooking the adverts’ claim of women being the safer of the two genders when it comes to driving, albeit without having to use a steering wheel like their dumb male counterparts.
On the Sheila’s Wheels website, they offer things like:
“Handbag cover up to £300, with comprehensive cover”
“Courtesy car when using our repairers, with comprehensive cover”
And here’s the cruncher “Female friendly repairers”. That will be the men, but only special men who have been carefully vetted for their subservient and friendly deference towards their women superiors. You see men are good for certain things, even if it is only the designing, planning, building, repairing, and in some instances buying of the cars. Apart from that, they have very little input and certainly are incapable of dancing and driving simultaneously.
Now “Girl Power”… When did this happen?
How did a noble fight for equality and suffrage, involving pain and death, end up as this?
Poor Emmeline must be turning in her grave; this was not what she had in mind. She didn’t break down the barriers of prejudice, chauvinism and bigotry for this. She had high ideals of women accomplishing the heights of human endeavour without fear of restriction. Her intention was never that women should emulate the worst qualities in men – laughing when they fart and taking the drink “Canada Dry” as a personal challenge. The point has been missed entirely.
Today, we have girls joining the Boy’s Brigade and the Boy Scouts. We never see a queue of boys waiting to join the Brownies or the Girl Guides. We see the concept of the “Gentleman’s Club” forced to open its doors to women, yet we still have a women only W.I. (Women’s Institute). We have “Woman’s Hour” on Radio 4, no mention of a “Man’s Hour”. The Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP is also Minister for Women. There is no comparable Ministry for Men (although that is a debatable point I do concede).
And how long does it take the panel on television’s “Loose Women” to get onto the subject of men? Check it out – at least 2 minutes maximum. These emancipated goddesses have their own show and totally blow it within minutes of the show being aired. After a brief introduction of whatever these crones cackle about, they are immediately onto the subject of how to attract a man. They talk about their curves (or lack of them), their boob size, their lingerie… my point is, the conversation goes in one direction only: Men and how to attract one. Come on girls, you have the forum, use it.
Interestingly, I was checking out the history of women inventors and scientists. From Sybilla Masters in 1715 through to Ellen Ochoa in 1993, there have been a total of fifteen worthy of note. Yes, that is fifteen!
Whilst female forums and platforms continue with this pandering to a “Barbie” lifestyle, the Paris Hiltons will always outnumber the Marie Curies.
There is one underlying fact that is simply a universal truism – Women are attractive, men are attracted! That’s it. The sooner we simply accept that fact, grow up and accept the way we are hardwired together, the sooner we can all engage in the common pursuit of excellence.
Men have always worn two hats when it comes to the subject of women – one on their head and one between their legs. I am now speaking with the hat on my head and will say that there is nothing sexier than an intellectual woman. However, if there are any women out there, wishing to act like drunken ladettes down my local tavern in Pimlico – I am quite prepared to be disappointed and swap hats.