Sacred Cows – Ken Loach

The Angels’ Share

Some people always seem to get the films of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach mixed up but it’s easy enough to tell them apart. Leigh is the one who sneers at the working class whereas Loach is the one who patronises them.

Unfair? Surely Ken’s socialist credentials are impeccable, or as impeccable as any other old Oxonian lefty of the 60s. Unlike most of his peers, Loach stayed true to his calling, representing the emotional turmoil of ordinary working class lives in crisis; Cathy Come Home, Kes, Raining Stones all contemporary moral tales about homelessness, the education system and unemployment.

His historical films too have been so right-on, it’s hard or impossible for some on the left to criticise Loach. From Land & Freedom to The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Loach leaves no mystery as to his allegiances. The International Brigades and the IRA, South American guerrillas and downtrodden men and women preyed on exploitative employers or gangsters, Loach pits David v Goliath in every film he makes.

Ands what’s wrong with that?

Nothing except it’s all become a bit too self-congratulatory now. The vivid documentary style of his 60s films were a mix of French new wave and Italian neo-realism. His camerawork and editing made it feel as if we were watching real events taking place in real time. Steven Bocho would make a fortune from the same process during the 80s and 90s. By the same time as Hill Street Blues, Loach was still working in the same manner on Raining Stones but it had all become a bit too worthy by this time.

In fact Loach’s ‘style’ had become almost a self-parody of pseudo-authenticity. That familiar ‘gritty northern humour’ is as contrived and phoney as any number of soap operas or sit coms. Like many directors, Loach seems to believe that ‘northerners’ are utterly homogenous and that having scousers, Mancs, Tykes, Glaswegians and Geordies in the same film makes no difference to the audience.

Ah but which audience? Loach has tried to break free from his reputation as a humourless, hectoring director by producing ‘crowd pleasers’ such as Looking For Eric and The Angel’s Share. Pity poor Ken, winner of so many Palm D’Ors and still having the scrabble about for funding for his next straight to DVD stunner. Well maybe there’s a reason for that and the problem isn’t the subject matter but the scripts and the direction.

Since hooking up with Paul Laverty, Loach’s films have all followed a predictable path. My Name Is Joe set the template with its crudely drawn stereotypes of Glesga gangsters and alcys. Not that these people don’t exist but as believable human beings, Laverty’s evil drug dealers and headcases are all the same and they all get their comeuppance in the end, just like in real life.

The Angel’s Share in particular wasted some fine talent with its tedious rags to riches tale of misfits on the make. This was Loach By Numbers, utterly unconvincing and so lightweight, it floated away with the evaporated malt whisky of the title. This is Loach’s real crime. He likes to use untrained actors in starring roles to add authenticity and then provides them with scripts and plots so devoid of reality that they end up becoming caricatures. Not only that but the direction is so artless that they make Public Information Films look like Peter Greenaway. I don’t know what the French see in him because as a director he’s about as far away from Truffaut as Tarantino.

Still, Ken’s a good lad, he’s on the right side, he’s ‘one of us’ isn’t he? Maybe or maybe he’s just another 60s dilettante cracking on he’s down with the workers. Times have changed, politics and movie making have changed, there are new issues to tackle, new ways or representing ‘reality’ and injustice. If the best that Laverty and Loach can come up with is The Angel’s Share then maybe they need a lick up the arse not another Palm D’Or and the timid applause of people too frightened to offend Our Friend From The South.

Nostalgia Fatigue

bough

It’s 30 years since Breakfast telly began. Yes, that’s right, 30 years since Frank ‘Buttplug’ Bough sat on the comfy sofa and chatted shite about Cabbage Patch dolls and the Green Goddess got the office workers of London to bend over and take it like a real man.

It’s always 10 years since this or 20 years since that, 30 years since the other, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years, a millenium since soemthing big like a war or a battle or The Two Ronnies or Frank Bough’s cardy being seen for the first time at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Next year we’re gonna have the mother of all annivesaries, the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and rather than providing a noble and compassionate opportunity to reflect upon that appalling destruction of young lives, it’ll turn into yet another twee, flag waving PR event for royals and politicians to sentimentalise sacrifice and ram home the One Nation myth.

Nostalgia is a prison that locks those who can’t cope with the real world with all its horrors into a neverending vaccuum of revisionist torpor. There’s no escape from the TV Nazi/Yesterday/Time Team/Kath Kitson kitsch of perpetual nostalgia and this serves to keep a huge swathe of the population from addressing the real issues.

The world’s a fucked up mess, thanks to politicians and bankers largely but let’s not focus on that, let’s draw a line under the fact that trillions have been thrown at banks with zero impact and now there’s dough left over for pensions, benefits, roads, hospitals, care home and education. Here’s Frank Bough creepily noncing up a female body popper ‘don’t stop baby, you’re soooo flexible!’ and Roland Rat won’t be far away.

Dolce et decorum est.

Broken Biscuits

biscuits

I say I say I say my wife’s gone to the West Indies

Jamaica?

Terrible!

I say I say I say, my dog’s got no nose

How does it smell?

No, she went of her own accord

I say I say I say, my punchlines keep getting mixed up

Two Ronnies rejected sketch 1975

xxxxxxx

the gospel according to skippy

tut-tut tut-tut-tut-tut, tut-tut-tut tut-tut-tut tut-tut—–tut tut, tut-tut

what’s that skip? Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

tut!

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rejected comedy proposals – bbc 1 dec 2012

operation yew tree – the musical

miranda; the human caterpillar

blandings (see yentob)

outnumbered – the auschwitz years

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victoria coren’s alphabet

s is for smug
s is for sanctimonious
s is for self-congratulatory
s is for eye of horus please

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football banners too shit for words – what happened to atkinson’s got aids? and other homophobic rib ticklers? rafa out! ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa worse than an orange lodge mural of a ten foot king billy on a shetland pony

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bill turnbull interviews everything everything on bbc breakfast – this is what so-called INDIE has become – political genius aled jones asks dave cameron what his policy on snowmen is – this is what POLITICS has become

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thought for the day – a blind man is sometimes the one who can truly see/the deaf man is sometimes the one who can truly hear/the poor man is sometimes the richest man on earth/the ten bob philosopher is sometimes paid for spouting utter fucking bullshit

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

just asking like :

who clears the snow at the snow plough depot?

why is the pied piper shown dressed in lurid colours?

why have the three musketeers all got swords and no muskets?

why does paul mccartney talk like he’s had a massive stroke?

##############

knock knock
who’s there?
a loan shark
a loan shark who?
a loan shark who’s gonna smash all your teeth in for a fifty quid beak debt

knock knock
who’s there
jehovah’s witness/mormons/PPI/greenpeace/save the donkeys/united utilities/brenda from next door
I’m not in
I’m not in who?
doctor who
//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

humpty dumpty sat on a wall
humpty dumpty had a great fall
soft cunt

//////////////////////
so i said to her, i said
what did you say to her?
i said to her

what? what did you say to her?

i can’t remember

you can’t remember

you said you can’t remember to her
No, i can’t remember what i said, what i said to her

you can’t remember?
no, i said to her, er, what was it?

that’s it, i said to her have you ever read pinter?
pinter?

harold….
Wilson

harold….
steptoe?

no,pinter, have you ever read harold pinter, that’s what i said to her
what did she say?

i can’t remember

Man Utd v Liverpool – a potted history of proto-scal by Russell Jones

russ

memories of Liverpool at home …. 26th December 1980 … i had been waiting for this day all my life or so it seemed, Everton had been at OT 2 months earlier wearing their millets fishermans jacket and looking just right …. so what would boxing day bring with Liverpool …we were parked up and ready for the day by 11.30, with my mates in the dog having a drink i just mooched about as i always did back then. there wasn’t much happening but by 2 o’clock the forecourt was awash with wedge hair cuts, ski coats, bubble coats, lois inega and lee cords, ski jumpers and cardigans, lads weaing adidas trainers, pod boating shoes, kios, you couldn’t tell who was who. But inside the ground it was “sign on, sign on you’ll never get a job”. i think this was the day that the era of fun and games with the scoucers really began ….

memories of Liverpool at home …. September 1983 … i hadn’t been to a liverpool game at old trafford since april 1981 because i had stopped going for a while and missed the game the previous season. the thing was during the 82/83 season alot of things changed for me, and i had moved away from the fila, ellesse, cerruti 1881 clobber and was wearing a M+S lambswool jumper, or Lacoste jumper, faded Levi’s or Lee jeans Farah trousers adidas columbia, adidas olympia s or those wonderful adidas kosika shoes. What really hit home this day in 1983 was just how much had changed. the lads had split into two groups one still wearing the tennis gear and the other like me was dressing down. i hung around as i always did people watching checking out who was wearing what, and the thing was again you couldn’t tell who was who, it was a north west thing or even just a manc scouse thing …

memories of Liverpool at home …. Setember 1984 …. Funny but it was almost twelve months to day from the 1983 game at old trafford, this one ended in a 1 – 1 draw but a huge change had taken place in “the look”… the scousers were into suede and cord, with straight or semi flared jeans, but we were wearing full flares, golfing jackets or mountaineering jackets and for the first time in years you could tell who was who, and it felt that we were giving to them big style with the unique manc look …

russ

1

memories of Liverpool at home …. 26th December 1980 … i had been waiting for this day all my life or so it seemed, Everton had been at OT 2 months earlier wearing their millets fishermans jacket and looking just right …. so what would boxing day bring with Liverpool …we were parked up and ready for the day by 11.30, with my mates in the dog having a drink i just mooched about as i always did back then. there wasn’t much happening but by 2 o’clock the forecourt was awash with wedge hair cuts, ski coats, bubble coats, lois inega and lee cords, ski jumpers and cardigans, lads weaing adidas trainers, pod boating shoes, kios, you couldn’t tell who was who. But inside the ground it was “sign on, sign on you’ll never get a job”. i think this was the day that the era of fun and games with the scoucers really began ….

2
memories of Liverpool at home …. September 1983 … i hadn’t been to a liverpool game at old trafford since april 1981 because i had stopped going for a while and missed the game the previous season. the thing was during the 82/83 season alot of things changed for me, and i had moved away from the fila, ellesse, cerruti 1881 clobber and was wearing a M+S lambswool jumper, or Lacoste jumper, faded Levi’s or Lee jeans Farah trousers adidas columbia, adidas olympia s or those wonderful adidas kosika shoes. What really hit home this day in 1983 was just how much had changed. the lads had split into two groups one still wearing the tennis gear and the other like me was dressing down. i hung around as i always did people watching checking out who was wearing what, and the thing was again you couldn’t tell who was who, it was a north west thing or even just a manc scouse thing …

3

memories of Liverpool at home …. Setember 1984 …. Funny but it was almost twelve months to day from the 1983 game at old trafford, this one ended in a 1 – 1 draw but a huge change had taken place in “the look”… the scousers were into suede and cord, with straight or semi flared jeans, but we were wearing full flares, golfing jackets or mountaineering jackets and for the first time in years you could tell who was who, and it felt that we were giving to them big style with the unique manc look …

Russell Jones

Why Skyfall Didn’t Get More Oscar Nominations

Skyfall-2012-Daniel-Craig-600x375

As usual the British media are crying foul that the latest James Bond film only got one Oscar nomination….for the theme tune! Maybe if the media stopped viewing every single issue in terms of nationalism and instead focused upon quality, then we’d never have to sit through another tedious ‘The Brits Are/Aren’t Coming’ whinefest every fucking year. So, in the spirit of patriotic hurt pride here are 5 reasons ShitStain didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

1 The Acting’s Shit

Danny Boy Craig used to be a fine actor but James Bond is never a gig that’s gonna garner Oscars, it’s a bit of fluff, a ham’s graft. Connery, a fine actor, knew this, Moore, a ham knew this too. Craig follows on from a multitude of mediocrities who have diluted the so-called Bond brand to little more than a camp stereotype. Some say he’s re-injected macho muscularity to the role but when all’s said and done it’s just a pantomime act. As for the rest of the mob, Javier Bardem is always value for money as a baddy and can be relied upon to add menace to any role but Dame Judy Dench as ‘M’? Fuck off! Dame Stella Artois now pens pathetic novels for the type of people who buy SAS titles and think ‘Spooks’ is realistic. These ‘M’s and code worded master spooks clock on and clock off like the petty bureaucrats they truly are, not The Kings Of The Universe they crack on to be.

2 The Plot’s Shit

The Cold War’s Over. There are new Bogey Men in town yet no matter how the producers try to modernise the genre, it’s basically the same old story; Bond gets to shoot em, shag em and shuffle off to another adventure. In the good old days all you needed was megalomaniac millionaire bent on ruling the world but Austin Powers put paid to that. Alternatively evil foreigners with bogus East European accents would do but since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, people aint buying that Commy Plot bullshit no more. Bond’s a man stuck in the past, a past that didn’t even exist or not in the way it was depicted. Suave gents in tuxedos sipping Martinis and goosing Mata Hari’s in Aston Martins. How to update a tired formula? Er, move the action to vaguely middle eastern deserty type terrain and throw in a super cyber baddy. Zowee!

3 The Theme’s Shit

OK, this is the only thing the film got a nomination but it’s still shit. Adele is typical of the Brit school brand of pop by numbers robots. OK, she’s a tad heftier than most and possesses a fine set of lungs but her material is so MOR it makes Duffy sound like Diamanda Galas. The Yanks love her and that should tell you everything you need to know about Adele’s retro-blue eyed soul shtick. If the Skyfall theme is a parody of a Bond Theme then that’s because the film is itself a parody of a Bond Movie. The best Bond themes do something different; Live And Let Die was suitably orchestral but it was pure pop and at least played about with structure. The camp Shirley Basseyisms of many other themes pay homage to the accepted orthodoxy of those 60s classics but it’s 2013 not 1963 so why not do a dubstep or a hip hop theme? The soundtrack however is boss!

4 The Direction’s Shit

As with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes is a fine talent but Bond is not the vehicle to be getting Palme D’Ors or Ozzys. It’s a money gig, a careerist’s choice, a chance to schmooze and cruise and act like a playboy in sexy parts of the world, surrounded by sexy women. Skyfall was an opportunity to place James Bond back in the real world, a dangerous world where complex political, economic, religious, racial and military conflicts overlap, where nuclear technology is being developed in ‘rogue states’ and fought over, where lucrative oil and gas contracts by insanely rich oligarch gangsters results in assassinations in London and Tehran, suicide bombs in Iraq, Israel, Afghanistan, London, Oslo. It’s a mess, a sordid, hypocritical shambles as old empires die and new ones emerge. That’s the world James Bond should be placed but no, Mendes goes for crash, bang, wallop stunts and chases and shoot outs and effects.

5 The Politics Are Shit

In James Bond’s world the issues are clear cut. He’s ‘licenced to kill’ remember and he works for shadowy masters who may or may not be using him for their own advantage. It is the refusal to accept that these so-called ‘secret services’ are just a smokescreen for economic interests that insults the most. There’s no such thing as ‘the ‘National’ interest, only the narrow self-interest of those who have their wealth invested in keeping the status quo. Spies and spooks target trade unionists, peace campaigners, ecologists, little old ladies against veal exports, hippies and anyone else considered to be a potential ‘threat’ but when it comes to doing a REAL job, they fuck up time after time after time.

The 7/7 bombers and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes highlighted just how shit are so-called ‘intelligence’ and ‘counter terrorism’ services are and they’re dealing not with an efficient and organised organisation like the IRA but a bunch of half wits who use their own laptops to download bomb instructions and organise training camps in North Wales. Bond is a right wing crank’s wet dream, the all action Super Brit who will keep us safe from the ‘baddies’ the ragheads and Russians, the lefties and the losers who want to invade, bomb and take over what remains of our once green and pleasant land. Bond’s had his time and Skyfall should be his swansong. Stick that on yer posters.

New to YKTD TV

telly

Bad Night In (ITV1 + 3)

Join Nob, Whopper, Div and Meff four pals from Oldham who meet up once a week to drink beer and talk shite about girls n’ footie n’ other working class male type things. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gouge your own eyes out in this hilarious comedy drama from the writers of Geordies v Vampires On Ice In Space 3.

Andrew Marr’s Hospital Diary (BBC 1,2,4, radio 3,5,5Live, 7, 7extra)

Since suffering from a stroke the world’s leading authority on fucking everything gets to eat re-heated slop from a bucket and goes without his arse wiping for a month as killer bugs attack his body from filthy mops. See how he likes the new Tory Utopia eh?

Gok’s Underage Naked Bake Off (C4 + 1 + 1 HD)

Naked under age girls bake cakes whilst Gok Wan tits them up, stoopid.

Shit Stirring Live With David Van Day and Arthur Cox

The former Dollar singer and the former Derby County manager team up to host a live 6 hour shit stirring marathon with guests, Miranda Hart, Joe Hart and Hartley Hare.

Brush! (ITVZero)

Celebrity dentist Colin Gate rounds up former extras from El Dorado and teaches them how to brush their teeth in a desperate Saturday evening bid to get toothpaste brands to sponsor an hour of mind rot.

My Nan’s A Benefits Scrounger! (FiveLiveSexyAsianLezzers)

Brave citizens grass up their pension grabbing grandparents in a heroic bid to claw back benefits from grave dodgers placing an intolerable burden on the state. In a direct link to Westminster, George Osbourne, Prince Andrew and Eric Pickles decide whether to prosecute, execute or pardon.

Poor People Stink Real Bad (BBC1)

Pity the poor council fumigation unit as they trawl around poor people’s homes whilst social workers take kids into care and paramedics scrape up the remains of lonely alcoholics. Narrated by Clare Balding.

Crackheads (ITV4 3D)

The quiz show with a difference. Each week a team of drug workers play against a team of crack addicts answering questions on sport, entertainment, history, geography and freebasing. Hosted by Dermot O’Leary.

Counter-Revolutionaries Of The Pop World Unite – you have nothing to lose but your royalties

lennon

In a new series we’ll take a look at records by musicians that betrayed the aspirations of those who demanded political and social revolution in the 60s and 70s. Those who came out against rioters in the black ghettos of America and the social uprisings in London, Paris and other European capitals. We begin with perhaps the biggest sell out of all, John Lennon.

The Beatles  – Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.

You tell me that it’s evolution,
Well, you know
We all want to change the world.

‘You’ say ‘you’ want a revolution. The ‘you’ Lennon is speaking of may be the hard line Maoist students or just the general mass of hippies and refuseniks but by adopting the word ‘you’ he is obviously separating those people from ‘him.’ The patronising ‘we all want to change the world’ implies that he too wants to change the world but y’know that’s pie in the sky Utopianism. At a time when James Brown, Sly Stone and even some of the Motown artists were questioning the status quo, Lennon’s glib response is to poo poo the idea of revolution as childish.


But when you talk about destruction,
Don’t you know that you can count me out.


Here, Lennon sets out his stall by adopting a pacifism that refuses to engage in ‘destruction’ or any form of armed struggle or even rioting. What kind of destruction he is referring to isn’t made clear but whilst the history of peaceful protest from Gandhi to MLK is admirable, at a time when the US government was firing on students and rioters alike, it’s easy for Lennon to ‘count himself out’ from his position as a multi-millionaire rock star.

Don’t you know it’s going to be alright,
Alright, alright.

No, Johnny Boy, we don’t know it’s going to be alright! Alright for who? Alright for you perhaps. Again, that patronising tone separates him from those silly people who clamber for justice, for action, for change. It’ll be alright in the end, y’know so why bother?
You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan.

The get out clause of the establishment is always the same; you may not like the existing system but tell me what you want instead…in fine detail please. Show me the plan, tell me the solution or else you’re just a posturing pretender. Never mind you may be putting your life on the line for your beliefs and your anger at the  state of the world but have you got a whole new system of society sorted out before you start whining?


You ask me for a contribution,
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can.

Now were’ getting down to it, Lennon’s been tapped up for a few bob and doesn’t wanna put his hand in his pocket. Now I can’t blame John for steering clear of the cranks and freakos who bled Apple dry with their madcap schemes but be honest about it eh? He’s ‘doing what he can’ after all, which could mean a few quid or a few million to various ‘causes.’

But if you want money for people with minds that hate,
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait.

Except of course those who ‘hate.’  Now ‘hate’ is a strong word but what’s wrong with hating systems and individuals when they set their dogs on you, when they beat and torture you, when they shoot and kill you? It’s OK to play the peace card when no-one’s attacked you personally and even if some of the revolutionaries were just college kids, at least they did SOMETHING.


Don’t you know it’s going to be alright,
Alright, alright.

Yeah, yeah yeah, as you said, it’s gonna be alright, because you’ve got special powers and can  see into the future. Er, watch out when signing autographs John.

You say you’ll change a constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head.

You tell me it’s the institution,
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead.

I just think Lennon wanted to rhyme ‘constitution’ with ‘institution’ here but let’s take him at his word. Don’t be bothered with political action because first you better change your ideas. That could take some time, y’know do a bit of meditation like we did, travel to India, get hooked up with some ten bob guru and speak shite for a few years, hook up with a Japanese avant garde artist and talk shite for a few more years, get in bed and stay there for peace maaaan. Be not of the world and let the world take care of itself while you fuck yourself dry.


But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao,
You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

Ah, the ‘working class hero’ speaks. Lennon was never the tough nut scouse lad he cracked on to be and his objection to the Maoists seems to be based on his true middle class fear of change. Lennon spoke in vague platitudes that he tried to pass off as ‘philosophy.’ ‘Imagine there’s no Beatles, it’s easy if you try.’ At the time he wrote Revolution the Beatles were drifting apart and he was already distancing himself from the radical politics he once espoused. ‘All we are saying is give peace a chance.’ Ah, so that’s YOUR plan is it mate? Just y’know give peace a chance, go on, pretty please, ah go on, go on, go on, go on.

Don’t you know it’s going to be alright,
Alright, alright

But it wasn’t gonna be alright, alright, alright was it? No it was gonna be very far from alright, alright, alright. In fact the 70s became even worse than the 60s but Lennon was OK, he was kipping for peace and singing songs about anti-materialism from his multi-million pound mansion. And in the end, the shit you say is equal to the shit you play!

In next week’s cut out and bin instalment ‘Come In Out Of The Rain’ by Parliament. 

Planet Earth Speaks Of Anguish That Future Generations Will Inherit ‘Dysfunctional Royals’

Benefit cheat outside his tax free mansion

Benefit cheat outside his tax free mansion

In an interview with leading intellectuals, Philip Schofield and Holly Whateverhernameis, Planet Earth has spoken out to say he does not want to leave a broken Royal Family to future generations. Earth said he did not want a grandchild of his to ask him why he had not done more to tackle issues such as hereditary privilege.

Earth, interviewed at one of his many tax free mansions in the spheres said “I’ve been banging on about this for years. The importance of thinking about the damage the royal family have had on issues of freedom and democracy. We don’t want to hand this deeply dysfunctional bunch over to our grandchildren and leave them with the problem. I don’t want to be confronted by my future grandchildren and have them say ‘why didn’t you do something about Prince Charles?’

In other news :

President Assad says William Hague’s statement that President Assad’s speech was ‘beyond hypocritical’ is ‘beyond hypocritical.’

In an interview with Syrian state television, President Assad said ‘For William Hague to call my speech ‘beyond hypocritical’ is itself ‘beyond hypocritical.’ This is the man who supports and arms Islamists in Libya, Egypt and Syria yet says his government are fighting a war on terror against Islamists in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a man who says he supports the Arab Spring and democracy yet supports and arms torture states and puts down democracy movements in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. This is a man who claims to support free speech but denies it to those who support causes he doesn’t like, this is a man who talks tough on human rights and the rule of law yet ignores illegal Israeli bombing of civilians in Palestine and sucks up to China in trade talks. This is a man who espouses self-reliance and hard work yet inherited a fortune from his family business. This a man who does not understand the meaning of the word ‘hypocrisy.’

Hague meanwhile was pocketing 10 grand for speaking for 20 minutes at the Harrogate Butcher’s Association Annual General Meeting and so was unavailable for comment.

Suarez In New Cheat Row

Claims that controversial South American, racist, cheat, Luis Suarez made the goals bigger using special powers have been denied by Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers. ‘This is getting daft now’ the man with the strange all over the show accent said in a post-match interview. ‘First they say he dives, then he handled the ball, now he makes the goals bigger using ESP. Let me tell you he disappears at whim during training and re-appears on the golf course seconds later, so the boy is special, a truly world class magician like Dynamo Kiev but with bigger teeth.’

Splash Makes a Splash

ITV’s new talent show, Splash was a rating success as Saturday evening viewers reject BBC’s ‘Come Lesbian Toff Dressage’ with Claire Bunting.   The show hosted by midget gay icon, Arthur Daley teaches people you’ve never heard of how to jump in a swimming pool holding their nose. Future episodes will show more people you’ve never heard of being taught how to brush their teeth and wipe their arses.

Culture Wars – Radio 4 Stylee

bragg

There’s been a debate on Radio 4 about the so-called ‘culture war’ between arts and science all week, culminating in a broadcast chaired by Melvyn Bragg at the Newcastle Literary & Philosophical Society building (known as the Lit n’ Phil apparantly).

Like everything else on Radio 4 the entire debate was discussed by posh people providing their own interpretations of what culture is and isn’t. Big C v Little C, pop v classical, multi v mono, anthropological v academic. Despite being held in Newcastle there were no Geordie accents heard, not even amongst those in the audience who were allowed to ask questions (or rather postulate on their own interpretations of culture).

No, we had Melvyn, that self-touted Cumbrian mining man and his soft to non-existant, northern twang, we had ‘writer and educationalist, Sir Christopher Frayling, we had ‘sociologist and cultural critic’ Tiffany Jenkins and we had ‘scientist and writer’ Matt Ridley.

Here’s a challenge; tune in to Radio 4 at any point in the day, week day or weekend, early doors or late as you like and listen to the voices or should I say ‘The Voice’. It’s the same Voice that had dominated the media and ‘culture’ for centuries, maybe not as clipped and RP as it was in the 50s or even 60s, but still the voice of the middle class Oxbridge educated overlords who dominate all areas of the British establishment; the political executive, the arts, education, the judiciary, the civil service, the military, the church.

Far from being an egalitarian meritocracy as some would have us believe (mostly grammar school kids who pulled the ladder up behind them) the 1960s was never a golden age for working class progression, it was the same old shit, mass containment and a future in non-skilled or semi-skilled drudgery for the vast majority. Those who ‘made it’ (in establishment terms this meant rising above middle management or becoming an actor) soon ditched their accents to ‘fit in.’ The number of times you hear this or similar stories from so-called ‘working class’ people who ‘lost their accents’ as if this was just a natural process and not an act of will is amazing.

I heard one old duffer on Radio 4’s ‘Life Scientific’ programme announce that he was born a Cockney but was ‘cured’ of his accent by various scholars. Everyone from John Prescott’s ridiculous put on ‘posh voice’ when he was deputy PM to Danny Baker’s boiled in the bag demi-drawl adopts the same orthodoxy. You may hear the odd ‘regional’ accent here and there, usually a softened for mass consumption but hey, something that tells you roughly where they’re from, Wales or Scotland or Yorkshire or The West Country maybe but it’d be difficult to tell a radio presenter’s ethnicity by their voices.

That is the big lie of ‘multi-culturalism’ that is all about ‘racial’ or ‘ethnic’ customs. The problem with the BBC and by implication the entire establishment isn’t as Greg Dyke (dad an insurance office manager, attended Hayes Grammar school and York University – in other words a total ‘pleb’ by BBC standards) famously stated that it is ‘hideously white’ but that it is ‘hideously middle class.’   Britain has always been ‘multi-cultural’ in that different cities, regions, classes have their own passtimes and customs, their own entertainment and artforms, their own dialects and languages, their own sense of humour and prejudices, their own interpretations of what ‘their’ culture consists of.

The establishment ofcourse would prefer us to believe that ‘we’re all in it together’ and that we are ‘One Nation’ with shared ideals and mutual ‘cultural’ virtues, y’know the usual bullshit; a sense of fair play, tolerance, respect for the law as if these are somehow unique to ‘us.’ So if the British are regarded as aloof, puritanical, snobbish and cynical, then that is the Victorian upper and middle class version of Britishness handed down through generation after generation. It never applied to the generous, hard living, often lawless, spirited proles in the slums of London, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow or Newcastle.

The real culture war isn’t and has never been between ‘arts’ and ‘science’ but between those who impose their cultural identity and prejudices upon those who have no voice. Hence, Radio 4’s series of broadcasts never once asked the much patronised ‘ordinary person’ whay they thought of the question. As with everything in this country, there’s a single narrative with different sub-strands all adhering to basically the same story. You can lead a pleb to culture but you can’t make him (or her) think.