Sunday, 28 September 2014

50000 And Counting

At some time earlier today The Overgraduate had its 50000th hit. I know that this is nothing in the grand scale of the internet but I am still counting it as a most satisfying little landmark. Thank you to all our readers no matter how impermanent.

best with bacon sarnies
Your correspondent is in Anglesey for the weekend in what has turned out to be a fractured holiday, broken by work commitments (Sharon's not mine), rehearsals, postgraduate renewal (me not Sharon) and Sharon going from here to London to nurse an unwell daughter. Still it's an ill wind etc and without  Sharon to stir me from lassitude I have had an enjoyable couple of days taking in the Ryder Cup on my rather lovely Mac. Considering that the outcome is ostensibly predictable (Europe usually win these days) it retains the ability to shred the nerves. Some conclusions gathered from this episode of the compelling series: Colin Montgomerie was a marvellous player but, sad to relate, comes over in commentary as a singularly graceless man - actually no, singularly is wrong because he reminds one of Nick Faldo; Victor Dubuisson is one for punters to stay on the right side of; Patrick Reed was good for the Americans and no one who applauds Poulter's attitudes can rightly complain about Reed's pugnacity; Tom Watson is a giant of the sport, Paul McGinley an all around good egg; Scotland is pretty particularly when it doesn't rain; Sky have elevated the quality of television coverage; bacon sandwiches are lovely, particularly with a nice claret.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

A Good Letter

An excellent letter in this week's Spectator from the unashamed (and therefore mildly admirable) Europhile Denis Macshane.
... is there not an uncanny parallel between the rise of the Scottish desire to quit England and the English desire to quit Europe? The same arguments about control from a city outside the nation; about elites and technocrats dictating to and imposing upon a sturdy independent people.
He makes a good point but ignores the reasons why it is possible to be both a Unionist and a Euro-sceptic. It comes down to what the union in question can stand for. Despite my current contempt for most of our higher political class there is an important distinction between what the two unions might achieve. For anyone of a socialist or libertarian leaning the EU is already broken beyond repair - in fact it was built broken - it has always been (a fact that the likes of Edward Heath failed to acknowledge) a vehicle for a mainland European style of social democracy. The United Kingdom still (just about) offers hope to both left and right. We are at our best when radical and moral. It's a tricky old balancing act but it's worth the effort.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Toilet Humour

For those of a delicate disposition I warn you that things are about to get moderately lavatorial.

As any fule kno the bog is pretty much the best place to read. Thus I keep three books in our downstairs facility. One is a book of bad jokes, another is an early edition of Brian Glanville's magisterial History of the World Cup, the third is Taking Sides, a thrift store purchase and being a collection of Bernard Levin's journalism. It is to Mr Levin that I must give credit for today's bons mots - a phrase of his accurately captures the phenomenon that I have encountered over two tortuous afternoons. Levin talks of mental sludge and we're drowning in the wretched stuff.

This is, I have realised, the very apex of the season of mental sludge. It is party conference time. Yesterday was that unbearable git Ed Balls; today was the uber-weird Ed Miliband. Next week it will be Citizen Dave and the Boy George. Do you sometimes wonder if democracy isn't all it's cracked up to be?

But Balls first. Now Balls attended both Oxford and Harvard so we can pretty safely assume that he is quite clever. Which begs the question, why oh why did he presume to deliver such an intellectually lumpen heap of pudding-brained drivel? Does he really think that such crap can enlighten any intelligent audience? No, dear reader, he does not - the only people he wants to engage inhabit the floating centre of a few marginal constituencies. The rest of us can go hang.

As for Miliband, well he managed to say the word 'together' fifty-three times in his pile of platitudinous pap. Fifty-three effing times. We get it Ed. And the bogey men he fingered for our supposed ills? Well, the usual suspects - tax avoiders, fag manufacturers and owners of mansions. The current politburo speak is to drone on about those with the 'broadest shoulders' bearing more of the load. This is lazy insufferable twaddle. And next week we will hear more of the same  ... but different. Sod the lot of them.  A truly frightening conclusion.      

Friday, 19 September 2014

The State Of The Union

Had the Scottish independence referendum result been reversed it would have been characterised as that hoary old political entity a 'landslide'. In their state of thrall to that most sturdy of nationalists Alex Salmond, I have not found any media outlets purveying that term. Now Salmond has resigned as his party's leader and as First Minister so perhaps the analysts will get a bit braver in analysing his failure. He held a referendum at the time of his choosing, with the question of his choosing and he enfranchised  juveniles in a  cynical attempt to garner their votes. On a high turnout he lost by a margin of ten per cent. All political careers end in failure and we should welcome this one.

Glad I got that off my chest. To happier and more important matters I ran for thirty minutes this afternoon but am still suffering from tonky piggery.

I worked hard this week in readiness for a fortnight's holiday but have thereby merely made myself bloody knackered. I have two weeks in which to save my body. Pass the crumpets vicar.    

Friday, 12 September 2014

Thursdays Belong To Me

I work Monday to Wednesday and the plan is that Thursday belongs to me and Friday will belong to Walter Bagehot, Shakespeare and other matters postgraduate. That's the plan but as per my previous lament I'm generally shagged out by Thursday and manage nothing more than loafing about feeling sorry for myself. So last week I actually did something on Thursday and indeed I did something yesterday, even if it was working (reason for which to follow).

 damned funny old chap
I am in the early stages of directing a production of Noel Coward's Hay Fever (November 19 to 22 since you ask) and so took myself to Bath to see the Theatre Royal production. Lovely old theatre and an estimable rendition with Felicity Kendall in the lead. I can strongly recommend Bath and in particular the user-friendly Park and Ride scheme. No charge for the parking and £3.20 for the return ticket which deposits you in the centre of town. Had my habitual glass of sauvignon blanc before the show in a busy pub where, as in so much else, a Clive James lyric came to mind - 'I like to see a servile barman hustle'.

So that was last Thursday. And yesterday was work on account of attending Joy Collis's funeral on Wednesday. A bumper attendance and a just air of celebration for ninety-three years well lived.

There's a lot to have opinions about at the moment, not least the unedifying spectacle that is the Scottish independence referendum. Alex Salmond finally got his way and goaded David Cameron onto the hustings. It occurs to me that the most astringent analysis is that David Cameron is as odious to the Scots as Salmond is to the English. As for poor old Miliband, he is the same to very nearly all people - a tired joke. As for Nick Clegg, well, so what.