Horse Feathers


Whenever I have thought about getting a pet for myself and the incumbent Mrs B, a gee gee has never really sprung to mind. I know they’re lovely animals and all that, but you could never sit on the sofa watching a weepie with a 3/4 Arab laying at your feet, or send your 15 hand Palomino round to Mr Singh’s to pick up the Grauniad on a sunday morning (that’ll be after they adopt Mr Murdoch’s 7-day publishing ruse, which they surely will), and keeping a(nother) stallion in the the house would play havoc with The Incumbent’s carpets.

No a horse is not for us, and even if it was we couldn’t afford one.  I mean have you seen the price of one ? And it’s not if there’s anywhere you can just hire one or loan one out.

Oh , hang on a minute, there is !

It seems Rebekarhhh Wade loaned a nag from the Old Bill. There is a (very) little-known scheme in which the boys in Blue lend out their old dobbins to selected members of society to ride them ragged and return them in poor health in the twilight years of their lives, just before poor old horsey snuffs it – as happened in this case with Wade’s borrowed nag called Raisa (which would also explain what happened to Mrs Gorbachev).

Rebekah (left) and Raisa (née Gorbachev)

As an aside, yes I know Rebbbekah pretends she’s married now and her name is now Brooks, but she says a lot of things and pretends much, so I have no reason to believe her when she says she’s married any more than I believe her when she says she knows nothing about phone hacking. And anyway, who’d really marry that ? Yeuch.

According to The Telegraph “Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe expressed his surprise at the arrangement saying there was a lengthy waiting list of people who wanted to re-home former police horses.” But then again few in that lengthy waiting list have furnished the boys in blue with massive wads of cash for privileged info like Rebekahkaka and her mates have. At least I would hope not. There is a lengthy queue of hacks, Masons and MPs waiting to donate sackloads of bunce to plod in return for preferential treatment, of course.

The paper also added that when the horse was returned by Wade (who, funny enough pretends to be married to a racehorse trainer) “Raisa was regarded by officers from Mounted Branch to be in a poor but not serious condition.” Perhaps her “husband” didn’t have any spare nags lying around to loan to his “wife”, nor did he have time to look after the beast properly.

But I suppose if mass, consistent and organized bribing of public officers can’t get you the last few miserable years of a working horse’s existence, what does it get you (apart from an enormous pay-off and the unflinching backing of one of the most powerful men in business) ?

But money, mass corruption, animal cruelty, and fraud aside, a horse has never been for me. When I was a kid my mother would always turn on The Horse of the Year Show to watch Harvey Smith and David Broom, resplendent in their red hunting outfits take their mounts over the jumps at Olympia, or Wembley or maybe Hickstead, ably commentated on by the BBC’s Raymond Brooks Ward (or Raymond Wade Ward as he was known in our house). “C’mo-o-o-n Da-a-a-vid” he would shout though the mic. Which was odd because Princess Anne was in the ring at the time. But who knows what he was thinking of ?

But while mum was jumping up and down during the jump off against the clock, my brother and I were waiting for the gee gee to slam on the anchors and the jockey vault over the handlebars into the wall/hedge/water below. It was our only enjoyment gleaned from the event. We didn’t want the horses harmed, but cared little for the powdered ponces sat astride them.

A similar thing happened when I watched War Horse last night. The lead actor was riding the eponymous hero through the field when they approached a stone wall. The horse came to a sudden halt, through its rider up and over, through the air and eventually onto his arse. I didn’t want the horse hurt, I just wanted the rider to fly though the air, miss the wall, hit the camera full in the lens, shattering metal and glass, which then speared Steven Spielberg, the writer (one can only assume there was one) and the producers of this shite into each other and impaled them all onto a barn door behind. The rest of the cast crew and horses could then mount (geddit??) an asserted and brutal attack on all those who forced such a woeful excuse of a movie onto the general public.

“What’s that, Joey ? You’ve solved the German codes and discovered Uranium ?”

War Horse is a children’s book adapted for the big screen. I just don’t know who it was adapted for ? There are so many “homages” to old movies (Lawrence of Arabia, Gone with the Wind, Lassie Drop Dead) which will surely be lost on the kids. Meanwhile any adults watching (and I include The Incumbent and I) will be bemused in the hokey storyline, Dick Van Dyke accents, Teletubbies sets and crow-barred emotions that the temptation to throw horse excrement is tempered only by the site of so much of it on screen already (both literally and figuratively.)

SPOILER ALERT – ISH

I’m convinced you will take my word for it and save your well-earned cash by not bothering to go see this movie (like WWI itself, it never seems to want to end), but just in case you ignore my advice I shall take you though the final scene:

After the end of the first war, we’re back in Blighty , Devon (apparently), which is indicated by the huge red sky, piercing evening sunlight with the embers of Atlanta burning in the background. Joey (our horsey hero) is back home after his labours, and surrounded by his fiends and family: Albert, Ted, Rose, Uncle Sandy, Ricky, Old Shep and Bernard Cribbens. All of a sudden Skippy and Flipper hove into view and tell Joey the whereabouts of Lee Van Cleef’s buried treasure.  Everyone hugs and laughs and Albert marries Jenny Agutter who, in a moment of sobriety, has forgotten to take her clothes off for this scene.

The End

Or it may as well be.

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The One Where Mike Sees Both Sides of the Argument.


It’s difficult sometimes to know who to shout for, isn’t it ? I mean if you were watching a Rugby match and Wales were playing, well, anyone really you know you’ll be cheering for whoever that anybody is. No contest there, no flipping of a coin. A cricket match between Australia and er…. well, you know you’ll vocally support “and er…”, don’t you ? Equally true if you don’t happen to hail from Blighty and England are playing Football/Cricket/Anything against Anyone Else. The Anyone Else XI will be the bookies favourites outside these shores.

But what if one of the most evil and vile of all football teams goes into administration? What if a side disappear which has harboured and promoted sectarianism, (along with the other lot), succoured and supported everything that is nasty and abhorrent in football and in British society ? How do we feel if they go to the wall ? Happy ? Perhaps. Good bloody riddance to them ? Maybe.

But , in truth, they won’t be going anywhere. They will immediately be docked 10 points for going into administration which will take the club from 2nd place in the league down to …er…2nd place in the league. That’s how far the top 2 are ahead of the chasing pack. (if you take 10 points off them right now, they’ll still be 9 points ahead of third place, such is the joke of the pointless Scottish Football set up).

So they won’t win the league this year, but they probably wasn’t going to anyway. That bunch of bigots from the other side of the tracks are 4 points clear anyway and look set fair to win it. Again. Rampant sectarianism and bigotry aside, (and, no it hasn’t or ever will go away from the Auld Firm) can you be forgiven for feeling sorry for Rangers getting themselves into so much trouble ? Spending more than they could justify in the never-ending effort to beat rivals Glasgow Celtic and win at least one match against European oppo each year ? Shouldn’t we say “oh fuck ’em” and be done with it ?

But what about all the little people behind the scenes who make the club tick, who rely on the club for their wages, the income from the fans on a Saturday, the club shop and the local Union Jack supplier ? They can’t all be Unionist Nutters, can they ? Then again, without Rangers, what’s the point of Celtic ? If Alec Salmond gets his way, there’ll be no hopping over the border for a kick about in the English Premier League so the Bhoys will be left with a dull Saturday at ForfarfiveFifefour Academicals, or a wet Wednesday night playing Partick Thistlenil. That’s no existance for anyone.

But doubtless the Gers will return next season, just with cheaper flags and one or two fewer bowler hats. The two teams will spend the next millenia hurling abuse at each other, punctuated only by a football match breaking out occasionally (well, 4 times a year, if you don’t mind, excluding cup matches) because if this isn’t allowed to happen, scottish football will go the same way its rugby went – bereft of fans or supporters, with the authorities having to give away tickets to primary schools to foster the illusion that people actually want to turn up to watch this shite. So we have to hope the industry that is Rangers FC survives. I know, I can’t believe I’m writing it either.

Meanwhile, another bunch of hard-nosed bastards face extinction and extermination. The poor old tabloid journalist is under the cosh and he does not like it. Trevor Kavanagh, Associate editor of The Sun attacked the arrests of his colleagues by police as “heavy handed” and a “witch hunt” and “disproportionate”. And he would know. If there was ever a witch hunt which could be described as heavy handed and disproportionate look no further than the Joanna Yeates murder investigation, when the paper (among others) hounded and publicly hung Christopher Jefferies for the woman’s killing. According to the paper this was an open-and-shut case of a beardy-wierdy attacking and killing a young blonde luvverly. (And thank fuck she was blonde and luvverly or we’d have never read a word of it).

The paper (manfully aided and abetted by the Mirror and the Mail) were judge, jury and executioner on this case, just one of the many, many occasions where a private individual was hounded out of house and home because a hack didn’t like the cut of his jib. Will anybody shed a tear for these reptiles who have made so many lives a misery ? Probably not. I dunno why these blokes are worrying about anyway. If they’d read their own copy over the years they’d realise that prison is like a holiday camp and that it’s better on the inside than it is out.

But Kavanagh does point out that an example seems to being made of the Sun. Well, that’s as may be. It does help, of course, that my former employers over at News International (d’you know ? I miss them more than ever at the moment) seem hell bent on shopping anyone and everyone that’s come within a gnat’s chuff of this story, just as long as Rupe, James and Rebekah are spared the ignominy of a 4 o’clock wakey wakey call. But all this certainly seems to be buying Trinity Mirror and Associated Newspapers enough time to nip down to Staples and order another half dozen shredders before the rozzers arrive. Trevor is right that, at the moment, it seems like the only crooks in town are Sun journos.

But what of the arresting officers ? Have we forgotten that the coppers waking up shagging Sun journos in the early hours are working for the force which is the other half of the same mucky coin. There are far more bent coppers being questioned and suspended on Operation Fuck They’ve Caught Us Out than anyone imagined – an early indication of the Met Police’s  “Buy One Get One Free” policy, available to all good news outlets up until very recently.

So we have bent coppers arresting bent journos. Now it depends on which side of the fence you sit, but corrupt state law enforcers against privately paid operators carrying out the orders of their superiors ? It’s a tough one, innit ? Rangers or Celtic ?

In a final oddity, Sean Penn has come out on the side or Argentina in the Falklands row. Now then, that’s a teaser. If you were judging Sean on Shanghai Surprise I may be shouting GOTCHA! from the rooftops. As it is, his role as Harvey Milk has saved him in my eyes, so Viva Las Malvinas it is. And if settling a major political military crisis by judging a man’s filmography isn’t the way forward, then I don’t know what is.

Cover Me, I’m Going In.


Driving along the other day, I was listening to one of those shows which cover the old charts. The Top 20 of 1968, ’78, and ’88 – you know the sort of thing. These crop up, usually on old gits channels – like BBC Radio 2,  Smooth FM, or Magic. Not the sort of thing the under 30s listen to, but then again, no-one under 30 reads this, so who gives a monkeys? Back in the slagheaps of my youth, these were the sort of shows hosted by Ed “Stewpot” Stewart, Tony “Smug and Annoying” Blackburn or, of course Jimmy “Dodgy Bastard implicated  in child abuse, and protection rackets now inexplicably a National Treasure” Savile. He’s gone now, bless him, to jingle-jangle his way around the childrens’ wards of the afterlife. Owsaboutthatthen?

But that’s another story.

One of the chosen highlights of the 1978 chart was the lamentably unforgettable Arthur Mullard and Hylda Baker‘s cringe-worthy version of You’re the One that I Want, originally from Grease and sung by Elton John and Vincent Vega. We’d have never have thought there was a worse version than the original. Hilda and Arthur proved us wrong.

It led my mind to wander down many avenues and alleyways: Was Arthur the worst actor this country has produced ? Probably, (though it was a title cruelly taken from him by Mr and Mrs Law of Lewisham, south London, when they gave birth to their son Jude); should Hylda have been in the film instead of Stockard Channing ? She would have boosted the sex appeal of the movie; And of all the songs the radio station could have chosen to highlight from the top 20 of 1978, why did they decided to choose that one?

Having said that, I’ve always taken an interest in cover versions and the thought behind them. Whoever thought that it’s be a good idea for Bauhaus to cover David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust needs both their head and ears testing, as it is basically the same song, just a different sticker on the vinyl (as it was back then).

A lot depends on the listener. When I was a kid I thought Blondie‘s “Denis Denis” was a wonderfully odd new number, until I discovered the original “Denise” by the beautifully named Randy and the Rainbows. I know kids that think Rolf Harris wrote Stairway to Heaven (even though it’s nowhere near the classic that is Jake the Peg) and got very upset when I played them the original. Come to think of it, I get upset when I hear it too, overrated shite that it is.

I have little time for The Wurzels, but their version of Don’t Look back in Anger has me in stitches every time it’s played. I only wish I see the look of disgust in the pretentious, slap-inducing faces of the John Lennon impersonators who wrote the ‘original’ when they hear it. I use the word ‘original’ under caution. I wait patiently for The Wurzels’ cover of anything by Morrissey. I can die in peace then.

I could go on. The Fugees version of “Killing Me Softly” stands up very well indeed against the Roberta Flack original, whereas Whitney Houston singing George Benson’s “Greatest Love of All” sounds like someone trying to machete to death a wounded ferret. It seems to these old ears that less and less of this sort of thing goes on. I often hear about sampling, rather than covering. I don’t know where one ends and another begins. I do know that “taking a sample” means something completely different now than it did to me when I was a kid. In the same way that whereas today Loverdose is a perfume, in my day it wasn’t something to give to your girlfriend, if you could possible help it.

So there you have it (for today at least). One man’s poison is another man’s Robert Plant classic is another man’s Rolf Glastonbury Anthem. One person’s sweet scent is another’s Loverdose. Ball or Aerosol ?

The Battle Cruiser


I do love a pub.

And when I say that, I don’t mean a bar, or a cafe bar. Or a restaurant with a bar where you wait while your table is prepared. I mean a pub.

While we’re at it I also don’t mean a converted high street bank. A place which used to be a very good community bank, and is now a very shite community service pub. A place where you can buy “A chicken curry and a pint for £4.99 every Tuesday”. I don’t mean a place adorned with signs announcing “Girls get Purple drinks Half price every Monday, Wednesday and third Sunday”. I mean a pub.

Sometimes a pub's so nice it merits stopping drinking and taking a picture. This is me in the perfect Hoppe in Amsterdam. And not a hot meal in sight.

A pub should generally follow several broad guidelines. A pub should be a place where one goes to meet old friends and make new ones. And drink with them. To that end, the music out of any speakers therein should be soft enough to hear yourself think and talk, loud enough to induce an argument over the singer or the song’s identity. What decent night down the boozer worth remembering didn’t have a row in it ? And an argument over music is as good a place to start as any.

Any live singer or band playing in the pub should adhere to the above decibel guidelines. If such proves impossible, the act should always remember they are playing in a public house and therefore popular, anthem-type songs, mostly over ten years old is a must. I don’t want to sit examining my pint to the strains of the garbage you composed in your garage last night. Save that for the students. Landlords should reserve just one night per week for live music. There are only so many times I want to hear/sing Sweet Caroline down the local: Once at about ten o’clock and one encore. That’s plenty. Unless I’m drunk.

Food is an important thing to consider when running a pub, and I always think a good landlord should follow this rule of thumb: There should be no food in a pub. Packets of nibbles behind the jump are permitted. But, customers, if you want to eat a meal, then make yourself a sandwich before you go out, or go to a restaurant, eat a meal, then go to the pub. Or go down the pub, have a goodly drink, then stagger into a curry house/chinese takeaway after the landlord of the pub has refused you further refreshment.

One of the more annoying sensations is trying to enjoy the happy, hoppy whiff of a well-poured pint only to have your nasal enjoyment interrupted by the odour of fish, chips, gravy and the like. This is a pub, not an eatery. If you get peckish help yourself to peanuts, pork scratchings, pickled eggs or crisps which are available, at a very competitive rate behind the bar. You’ve already rid us of the smell of a smouldering ashtray in the corner (oh, sorry mate, is that your girlfriend ?), don’t start rubbing Ralgex into the groin by putting sachets of ketchup on the table or waving a plateful of sausage ‘n’ mash at me, when I’m only interested in a pint of Light ‘n’ Bitter.

Outdoors Bad

You would think that it would be a prerequisite of owning a pub that you serve beer (or gin, if you really must) in a glass receptacle, wouldn’t you ? No such luck any more, I’m afraid. How many times have you walked up to a bar, ordered a drink only to be greeted by the dreaded phrase “you drinking that inside or out, luv?”  Who hasn’t lied at this juncture, only to be caught out by the potman when he sees you craftily swigging from your glass while standing in the garden cos your girlfriend thought “it’d be nice to drink outside”? You reluctantly hand your drinking vessel back to the glass collector who then transfers its contents into a plastic beaker. Oh, the shame of it. A 2009 United Nations report found that one of the most (some say only) catastrophic results of global warming will be a huge increase of people being forced by women to drink outside and thus being forced to slurp from plastic “glasses”.

There’s nothing like finding a lovely cold, dark pub when the sun’s blazing outside. Or a nice, cozy, warm pub when it’s freezing outside. In short, there’s nothing like finding a nice pub. We don’t go in there to get drunk, you understand? No, we go in there for the craic. Occasional drunkeness is an unfortunate by-product of enjoying the craic, but not a compulsory nor inevitable outcome. His eminence William (Bill) Greaves (see Now Then… elswhere in these pages) has informed us how to behave in such places and situations, and it is clear from his teachings that we should endeavour to conduct ourselves in a dignified way befitting a serious (and let us not forget expensive) pastime such as drinking. Right up to the time we are plastered, that is.

Indoors Good

Is it therefore too much to ask that the landlord should present to us an establishment fit and befitting of this aforementioned due respect to our favourite pasttime? These meeting holes should be places of wonderment and worship. What they shouldn’t be is reminiscent of airport departure lounges with the addition of a John Smith’s pump. We neither want nor need plastic leprechauns on the walls, rows of vodka-shots lined up on the bar or 24/7 football on the enormous tv screens in each and every corner. Take a butchers at The Salisbury, St Martin’s Lane, London (or The Harp just around the corner in Chandos Place) and you’ll see what I mean. You don’t have to be in England to find wonderful watering holes. You may struggle to find a pint of mild, but there are always corners of a foreign field which are perfect spots to while away the hours. Try The Hoppe in Amsterdam which is as close to heaven as you could possibly be without throwing a seven. It has been a bar since 1670 and they’re still wondering how or if to redecorate it! There’s Robert’s Western World in Nashville where, if you can excuse the lack of a decent beer, you can sit and listen to fantastic music while manfully trying to avoid a bourbon overdose. You will fail. It’s sensational because of and in spite of that.

Nearer to home there’s The Fleece in Halifax, if you catch it on the right night. You could do worse than visit my own Shovel in Dartford. A wonderful example of a tiny, well-kept drinking den. Food?  Next door, mate. There’s Henchy’s in Cork, but we don’t have enough time to discuss Irish pubs. Just pick one, you’ll like it.

And why do I go on so ? Haven’t we heard all this before ? Well that’s as maybe. But I have a particular reason for sharing my thoughts with you. After a slight hiccup in the brain department last week, it seems that I’m hurtling towards my first dry Christmas since 1979. No Shovel for me this year. No hangover on Boxing Day, trying to remember what I drunk and when. No, I’m down for lashings of tea and biscuits, with the temptation of a chocolate liqueur ever-present. It may not be as bad as it sounds. You really don’t want a hangover with a malfunctioning brain like mine. And that’s before having a stroke. The spector of repeat performance last week scared the willies out of me so for my own good I’m off the stuff for the foreseeable future.

So you’ll have to have mine for me. Take it sensibly and behave yourself. Enjoy it and enjoy whichever boozer you chose to make your own. You never know, you may end up in The Rose and Crown, swinging on the barmaid’s…er…earrings. I doubt if you’ll find George there though :

Oh, and by the way: This is a pub. Want a coffee? Fuck off to Starbucks.

By Jove, I think He’s Got It


.

Time to put a smile on our faces.

The great Leslie Howard was one of Britain’s finest actors of the first half of the 20th century. He left the army and the fighting of the Great War in 1916 due to shell shock and later became the subject of conspiracy theories over his death. He featured in many great movies, probably his most notable role being Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind in 1939 (though I prefer his Henry Higgins in Pygmalion). Like so many lauded here, he was the embodiment of the English Gentleman. A David Niven before David Niven was David Niven. Think Peter Roebuck without the buttock-spanking.

And come back to me again.

Anyway, all these years later, some clever bod, nicely entitled LevZeppelin3 has posted the following on Youtube. Whether you, like me, are a Leslie Thomas fan, or indeed an enthusiast of all things ZZ Top (and I’d be staggered if you weren’t both), this will bring a smile to the lips on a cold November Sunday morning.

Made me grin, anyway.

What I Like to Do he Dousin


So they haven’t found him yet, then ? You know the one – old mop-heap – as Jeremy Bowen likes to call him. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, as everyone else calls him, in a brilliantly conceived plan, and showing superb foresight, has “had eet on ees toes”, as they’re saying in downtown Bani Walid nowadays.

How this man, a buffoon by all accounts, made his getaway in a convoy of limos, with barely four months head-start is beyond me. Clearly, too, beyond that lot in the Foreign Offices and Security Services. Daffy’s whereabouts is, at present, unknown. Anyone starting to see a pattern here ?? We couldn’t find our own arse with both hands.


Before they left for a bit of winter sun in Burkina Faso, by way of the Nigerien town of Agadez (as in “Push Pineapple, Shake the Tree” fame) Muammar’s men made sure they left behind a couple of good reads (no space in their suitcases, one supposes). The weighty tomes apparently tell the tale of how MI6 was complicit in the illegal abduction and torture of terrorist suspects – crimes for which, until now, Carlton of the F.O. has laid the blame firmly at the doorstep of Uncle Sam.

Even Tony Blair, who up til now has never been thought as of have been a liar  (subs please check this-MB) said that our boys had nothing to do with what’s known as Extraordinary Rendition and that is was purely an American affair. And I for one believed him. If, after all, one can’t believe the godfather to Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, who can one believe ? I must start buying Vogue – they get all the best stories, you know.

These men (some of whom actually did turn out to be terrorists, honest) were whisked away by the Brits and the Yanks, off to some black hole in Libya where they were subjected to waterboarding, sleep deprivation and were bombarded with hours and hours of non-stop, excruciating noise. One can only believe that somehow the CIA and MI6 had got hold of preview copies of Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film, now being screened on Channel 4. This promises to be 15-and-a-half hours of pain and deep misery, comparable only perhaps to a night at a Morrissey concert, an hour stuck in the lift with Michael McIntyre or maybe the pain suffered when your dentist forgets his root-canal kit and opts for using a desert spoon and a mallet.

But to be fair to Mr Cousins (and I’m never anything but fair) we can use analogies from his own world: His whining tone is that of the noise Harry Palmer was forced to listen to in The Ipcress File when he found himself strapped into an east-European brain-washing machine; After barely an hour I was screaming for Reservoir Dogs’ Mr Blonde to hack off my ears; The Incumbent wanted to shoot him with that gun made from a bicycle pump from the scene in Munich.

Being pretty much housebound, couchbound and eggbound for the last six weeks, how I was looking forward to the definitive documentary on my favourite art form. I imagined it to be the movies equivalent of the Olivier-narrated The World at War, or to do for the US what Ken Burns did with Civil War, instead I got an Extraordinary Rendition of my own, with all the appeal of Jude Law trying to act the Yellow Pages.

Mark Cousins: Pretentious, Moi ?

I can only assume Mr Cousins’ voice is as grating to his native Northern Irish homies as it is to me down here in the soft South East. I can’t believe his pretentious bollox is given much shrift in the bars of Belfast. It’s surely doubtful that when the great Fergal Sharkey penned My Perfect Cousin (perhaps in those very same bars) he was not thinking of this bloke. The far-from-perfect Mr Cousins may think I like listening to him and agreeing with all he says. I Dousin.

I suppose I should have known what was coming. I should have known that something was rotten in Channel 4 when they rolled-out their fledgling coverage of Athletics with the opening scenes of the World’s Athletics Championships from Daegu (apparently we looked for Gaddafi while we were there but found no-one). The Incumbent will tell you that if there isn’t a movie showing on our TV there will doubtless be some sporting event or other. As a lover of all things track ‘n’ field (apologies for the ‘n’) I settled down to soak-up a week’s worth of international running ‘n’ jumping, and not a Boris or Seb in sight. What could possibly go wrong ??

A paid-up BBC-phile, I set aside my prejudices (yes I do have some) that Auntie wasn’t showing the event as usual and sat glued, hoping to see a professional, seamless broadcast, mirroring the talent on the track.

Well one can hope. Remember that young US sports presenter in the Boom Goes the Dynamite clip ? (see Sports..er…News… earlier post). Well forget him. This is real talent:

In what I now know to be a pre-Cousins assault, and in one of the few Channel 4 programs not include an autopsy, the station unveiled the wonderfully hapless and hopeless Ortis Deley.  I have to put out a warning to all those who haven’t seen this man before. You thought Carol Kirkwood was useless? Still under the impression that Sam Fox and Mick Fleetwood at that awards show were the worst things ever to appear on TV ? Wait just til you watch Hopeless Deley. He delivers here a quite wonderful British and Commonwealth all-comers record for nervous lunacy in front of a camera.

I never thought I’d ever see Michael Johnson look nostalgic for the gin-soaked BBC studio, where the only real task is keeping Brendan Foster upright in his seat during commentary. This left me fleeing for Eurosport- a first for me and not half as truly awful as I thought. It’s a bit like standing outside a TV rental shop and having a poor-man’s Tony Gubba shout the commentary in your ear, as if he’s really there at the event. So not half as bad as I feared.

But soon I was hurtling back for more of the hilarity that was Channel 4’s coverage. Then the rotten sods pulled him from the anchor slot – bloody spoilsports. We were left with the charming and, let’s be honest, near-professional Rick Edwards. Spoilt the whole show.

So here is your chance to catchup. My personal best is 1min 37.5 secs, during his first Oscar Pistorius quote. I nearly wet myself. Take it away, Hopeless.

There would have been more of the above but those radical fun-loving sheisters at Channel 4 have decided that we mustn’t watch their presenter fuck-up for 20 minutes. We have to thank a rival broadcaster for what’s left.

Jessica Ennis. Goodnight.

In a Bucket with a Big Stick


Artist Aelita Andre might only be four years old, but that has not stopped her opening her first art exhibition in New York.

She is said to be the youngest ever professional artist with nine of her paintings on show at the Agora Gallery, in Manhattan, already selling, with pieces priced up to $9,900 (£6,000) each.

Angela Di Bello, the director at the gallery, said Aelita had already developed a style of her own.

Her parents, Nikka Kalashnikova and Michael Andre, who are also artists, both agree that their daughter’s art has an innocence to it.
(BBC NEWS, June 5, 2011)

Doesn’t that tell you everything that you need to know about the art world ?  I never know whether to laugh or cry when this sort of stuff comes up. You tend to find the people who defend this sort of bollocks are the same mob who can’t wait for this year’s Turner Prize winner, or Tracey Emin‘s latest con-fest.

When I see this sort of stuff, I inexplicably start humming The Emperor’s New Clothes (the Danny Kaye version, of course). It never fails to amaze me how many hitherto intelligent people get conned – year after year – by Man Shits in Bucket or Lump of Old Rope by the latest Brit Art genius at The Tate. They really are geniuses judging by the amount of cash they screw out of the art world and its followers.

Every now and then some elephant (usually in Germany) gets hold of a brush and makes a few daubs and is hailed as the next Jackson Pollock. A chimpanzee rubs his arse over a canvass and is predicted to have as much talent as the elephant, or even, indeed Emin herself (which is actually true). Brilliant. Well Done. Open a gallery and have a peanut. (Or can I tempt you with some German beanshoots?)

But these are not new arguments of course. There have been old farts moaning about new art (I desist from call it modern) for hundred of years. I dunno why we get ourselves so upset?  Leave them too it. I have several mates who despise my views on art. They get very defensive indeed when I scoff and try to tell them they have been conned by a charlatan and a pile of old tutt. I just can’t help myself.

But my doctor has told me not to get so angry any more. So I shan’t.  I’ll leave it to someone who can explain and expose rather more eloquently than I ever could. This is over 50 years old, and remains as spot-on as it always was.

You’re all raving mad.

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