Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Modern Western

I've watched two variants on the latter day western in the past few weeks. Neither is of hyper current vintage but they are both distinctly modern and in their differing ways elegiac. My preference is for the less considered of the two - I take All The Pretty  Horses over Brokeback Mountain.

All The Pretty Horses performs the very hard trick of doing justice to its literary source, the completely brilliant Cormac McCarthy novel, about which I've raved on here before. So now you know.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Speak Softly Love

I have long thought that if I could sing like anyone my choice would be Andy Williams. Way cool and I think it would impress the birds.

Andy Williams died today. Here is a sample of his work - an example connected to a favourite film. Not an original taste but sometimes there's a bloody good reason why a cliche becomes a cliche.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Listen Up Plebs

A quick broadcast here from the land of Andrew Mitchell. I write from my suburban (although I note that the two new 'executive' homes being built a couple of doors up are described in the marketing blurb as 'semi rural' - wtf?) strongness in the constituency of the beleaguered Chief Whip.

The accusation is that my MP called a policeman a 'f****** pleb'. This apparently was disrespectful to the rozzer and even I can see that it was probably a bit out of order. Oddly it is the use of the 'p' word not the 'f' word which causes more offence.

But here's a few questions: when did it become proper for a policeman with a complaint to pursue it through the pages of the Sun? Why won't Mitchell tell us what he actually said instead of craftily saying that he did not utter the 'words attributed to me'? How dare anyone suggest that the policeman's note of the encounter might not be completely accurate? Does that sort of thing go on?

And here's a few answers: never; because he's been caught bang to rights as the arrogant posh boy he is; Hillsborough; yes.

Mr Mitchell, you are my representative in parliament. You dishonour me. I suggest in future that in dealing with plebeians  you take a leaf out of the book of Coriolanus, that way they will simply be mystified rather than indignant and will perhaps confine their reaction to muttering 'wanker' at your retreating form.
What' the matter, you dissentious rogues,
That, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion,
Make yourself scabs?
Mind you Coriolanus came to a very sticky end so what do I know.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

I'm Only Saying

a good thing
I'm only saying that I think Salman Rushdie is a good thing. I find him difficult to read but the whole fatwa business and his survival of it is a parable of western decency in the face of infantile religiosity. There's plenty of infantile westernism and religious decency to keep the books balanced elsewhere but I just thought I should say.

And of course something else which is a good thing is red cabbage, a portion of which I had with belly pork for dinner yesterday. Mm,  Mmmm. Washed down with Ned sauvignon blanc since you ask. In Four Oaks that's bloody close to rock n' roll.

I refereed a game of rugby yesterday. One sided but players from both sides seemed to have got something out of it and were kind enough to thank me. I didn't have a great game but nor did I have a bad one - I've been around and in rugby a long time now and I'm actually a pretty good judge of these things. I wasn't bad. So why was the winning coach so carping? I've thought about this a bit and I'm afraid there is a problem with the modern phenomenon of the nomadic professional coach - he has to be seen to find fault as a means of demonstrating to his employers that he knows oh so much more than the poor old referee. He feels an ownership of the game which in truth he does not enjoy. The game belongs to its participants and these sorts of coach are not participants, rather they feel themselves above the game, puppet masters. Now not everyone is like this, indeed there are glorious exceptions whose considered criticism I welcome. But there is just a tendency favouring the blustering rootless nomad which obliterates another little beauty spot on the lovely flawed face of the most wonderful game. I'm only saying ... haven't got an answer. Ah well.

C.H. Sisson -
a good thing
As I have previously said, there ain't half been some clever bastards (lucky bleeders, lucky bleeders) (well Ian Dury said/sang it of course) and another one has crossed my radar - C. H. Sisson, poet, translator, Anglican, very high Tory and arch despiser of my mate Walter Bagehot whom he rather marvellously termed ' the founding father of the apologetics of "fact". ' Now my problem is that I can see where Sisson was coming from in hating the apologetics of "fact" (for which look no further please than the usurpation by the technocracy of Italian sovereignty), but I'm not sure poor old Walter should get all the blame for starting us down that road. But it always is the damnedest thing when people cleverer than you start disagreeing with you. I'm only saying.

An early example of Sisson's art:

A Death

We dare not mourn
And will not look upon the face of the dead
Our inattention turns
Away the head
Our inattention spurns
Grief, love and death. 


Friday, 14 September 2012

No Pictures Of Topless Royals Here

Come on you Bears.
Boy Troughton done good.
Today's title being one of my sporadic experiments in increasing the number of hits my pages get, because, lest you missed it, some French rag has today published pictures of Kate Middleton sans top. About which I have nothing to say, zilch, nada, rien, sweet FA.

But what I do want to talk about are some reasons to be cheerful. First up, belated congratulations to Warwickshire on winning the County Championship, and captained by Dr Who's grandson no less - that one surely has to come up in Round Britain Quiz some day.

Second up, Jeff Randall from Sky. Talks sense about business. Like the cut of his jib. Wonder if he likes mine? Leave a comment if you do please Jeff.

Third up, That black dog who was following me around last week has been more like a playful labrador puppy this week. I'm aiming to keep him as a pet.

I've got the whole set.
Admit it you're jealous.
Fourth up, Walter Bagehot. All fifteen (yes fifteen) volumes of his Collected Works (ed Norman St John-Stevas) plonked onto my doorstep this morning, beautifully wrapped and dispatched by Tombland Bookshop in Norwich at a very reasonable price. Apparently some of the volumes are from the library of the late Lord Blake, historian of the Tory party. Looks like even he had never read some of them.

Fifth up, we really do have to mention Andy Murray. My dear old Dad wasn't even two when a Briton last won a men's Grand Slam singles title. Well done that Scotsman. More power to your tennis elbow.

Sixth up, good legal drafting. I'm not going to bore you with examples but I love it when I see it, particularly when I'm the one who did it.

(L-R) genius, horse, jockey
Seventh up, the revived health of horse racing. Tomorrow brother William and I are going to Doncaster where we may well see two pieces of history - Camelot winning a triple Crown and his trainer, the quite brilliant Aidan O'Brien winning all five classics in one season. Regardless of history I bet you we have a great day - which may well be my only winning bet. Nothing will spoil my day - not even if we find ourselves sharing a table with John Bercow, Vince Cable and a minibus load of French paparazzi.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Life In A Day

It never completely leaves me alone and that bastard black dog has been growling around for a couple of days. I couln't get away from him today and had to keep reminding myself that he can be tamed. But then I found the answer - I channel flicked my way to Singin' in the Rain. Don't get all post-modern on me - this is a great film. 

To cheer me up all the more politics today gives us the spectacle of that odious shitbag Ed Balls toadying up to the gormless St Vince of Twickenham about his sodding mansion tax. St Vince of course believes this to be a compliment and doubtless harbours thoughts of being Chancellor in the next Lib/Lab government. Meanwhile Dave and Gideon announce that they're going to jump start the economy by allowing people to build conservatories without planning permission. God preserve us. 

Rejoice, rejoice. The Euro has been saved. The European Central Bank has today announced that it will lend to beleaguered governments at rates no sane investor would countenance. Thus goes on the whole wretched conspiracy of saving a political project which a particular elite has determined is too big to fail. I sleep soundly in the knowledge that these people know so much better than do I what is best for me. Stock markets have rallied. I am thereby richer. Temporarily.

If you want to see a real pro at work then track down the CSpan coverage of Bill Clinton's speech to the Democrat convention yesterday. We lack great platform speakers in modern politics and this was a real treat to watch. Obama rather gets up my nose but Clinton makes me smile. Chutzpah, that's the word. In amongst the rabble-rousing he also said some apt things about bipartisanship and the unworthy role of hatred in party politics. The thing I have always found depressing about the liberal left in England is how many of them hate people like me. I'm not that bad. Honest.  

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

An Inspector Calls

I don't look anything like that
And so we move on from that dreadful old fascist Egeus to ... that dreadful old fascist Arthur Birling in An Inspector Calls. I rather seem to be cornering the market in these types. Funny that. I'm about to send out a search party for redeeming features.

The Erdington Players present An Inspector Calls at Holly Lane UR Church, Erdington, 14-17 November. Watch this space.  

What I Did Last Summer

The observant will notice that the Boy Roberts is missing from the cast photo above (traffic jam M5) but you will see me in my court finery if you run the video. Darling I was simply marvellous.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Somebody Stop Me

Just on the way out to read for a part in a play. News to follow. This one's good so I hope I get something rewarding. Virtue being its own reward I'm rather buggered otherwise.

I'll tell you what's fun: refereeing good schoolboy rugby. Started my season by doing an absolute thriller (38-43 - thirteen tries, settled in the last minute) at King Edward's Five Ways on Saturday. Completely knackering but the stifff old muscles survived.

Spaghetti Francais
Also: decorating, that's fun as well. I've started giving the kitchen in Anglesey its fifteen year touch up. In between brush strokes I drank Monsooned Malabar and Carlsberg and ate sausage rolls. Before I went to bed I watched For A Few Dollars More. Altogether a cracking weekend.