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A Funny Thing Didn’t Happen on the Way to the Forum


When the moon hits your eye
Like a big pizza pie
You’re Pissed

fatvesuvius

In the background, the massive Mt Vesuvius, an active volcano which erupts, on average, every 50 years. In the foreground the massive Mike Bealing, an inactive 48 year old who’s trousers erupt, on average, every 24 hours, plus a matinee on Saturdays. (Baseball cap courtesy of Small Boy Fashions inc, Sorrento.)

Those few of you who take an interest in these things, and who glean all sorts of delight in the numerous mishaps which befall me every time I rub shoulders with my fellow European Citizens will be amazed, if not a little disappointed, that our Italian Campaign passed without incident. Almost.

But like so many things — Ben Elton’s funny period or a solid stool — it all seems to be a distant memory…

(queue harp)…………

We arrived in Sorrento on a bright, hot September morning. The place was buzzing. An enormous cruise ship had relieved itself of its cargo of fat American pensioners, making it nigh on impossible to purchase any over-priced beer, linen or lemon-based products, try as I might. Rumour has it the Costa Concordia flipped over when a couple from Wisconsin leant over the rails to feed the seagulls. I don’t believe this. I think they were trying to eat the birds. So, taking their lead, we settled down to the first in a series of pizza & ice cream snacks, enjoyed the hot September sun and decided we’d chosen the right spot for our first break in a while.

It’s not what you’d call a beach resort, and my eyes lit up when I discovered there was only one ‘disco’ in town, and that was at the other end of town. I would just have to put up with great food & wine and a lack of boozed-up bastards from Barnsley and Bournemouth wrecking the town every night. That’s not to say that the Brits aren’t catered for. There is a “English Inn” on the main street, right opposite an Oirish Bar (both doing a ‘Full English and Guinness on tap”) which, for the most part The Incumbent and I gleefully avoided. For the most part.

Slow Cooked Water Buffalo enjoying his meal.

A large portion of Water Buffalo enjoying his dinner.

For most of our stay, the sun shone, the booze flowed and the food arrived by the skip load. But we weren’t the only ones enjoying a regular bite. So were the mozzies. If there is one breed of animal that The Incumbent attracts more than Neapolitan handbag salesmen it’s mosquitos.  Every morning we would idle away a couple of hours counting up and applying ointment to the previous evenings mozzie bites. She even got bitten on the verandah, which brought tears to her eyes. After a while, the critters had had their fill of the missus, and started on my extremities.

In an attempt to put off these little bastards, we’d brought from Blighty an industrial-sized tube of Deet insect repellant. I would carry it around in my pocket when we went out for a stroll of an evening — or at least I did until a passing scouser pointed at this long bulge in my pocket and decided to ask his cap-tee’d mates if they could see the size of “that fat bloke’s knob end ?” We continued our promenading activities at pace, diving into the nearest Trattoria for our seventh meal of the day. As the insect repellant was with us (though sadly we were out of scouser repellant) we decided to apply another layer as we waited for the menu. The whiff was overpowering, and I extinguished the table candle as a precaution. She needed me to cover her shoulder blades in the stuff, and I made sure I had some Deet for my Feet (Sugar for my Honey). I wanted the fish, which was something of a speciality around those parts. The waiter arrived and I ordered in my best Engtalian “Carbonara for bonna Signora, and oh, Sole mio”. It was all he could do not to spit at me.

They brought us whisky, and gin and beer… I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks. Though they didn’t get to play with my 4 x 2.

But please don’t get the impression that all we did was sit around and eat. No, no, no. That was only 85% of the time. We went on day trips too. No visit to the area would be complete with a visit to Pompeii. It’s really worth a visit, if only to escape the endless piped Opera music (if you’ve ever been to the West Indies and suffered Bob Marley overdose, you’ll understand when I say I never want to hear Caruso again. Neither him nor his Man Friday).

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Us at the Forum, Pompeii. Proof positive that there is an upper age limit, beyond which it is impossible to take a decent selfie.

But the ruins of the once thriving city, sadly lost to the world in 79AD due to the huge eruption of nearby Vesuvius. Our guide Paula, pronounced PouWla, was a local girl who had clearly grown up on a heady diet of Benny Hill Shows and Bunga Bunga parties. She was a fag paper away from snorting fnarr fnarr as she concentrated and pointed out to us each and every “Three Dee Willee” on the road or on the walls. These protruding pointing penises might, she mused, have indicated the position of a brothel, or historians now think Pompeii residents could have used the phallus images as a protection against evil spirits. (Tonight, try getting your willy out in front of your missus and telling her it’s for her own protection. It doesn’t work — believe me.)

What would have been much more interesting would have been if she had told us about the popularity of cricket in this ancient roman metropolis. I myself saw clear evidence of a thriving cricket culture in existence. Who knows? If it hadn’t been for the devastation of the volcano, Italian cricket might now rival that of Australia, or perhaps even one of the major Test-playing nations ?

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(l) The Author gives his pitch report at the Pompeii Oval (a dusty one which was bound to spin on the 4th day) while recreating a Roman sight screen; (r) The remains of the scorecard to the match which was abandoned by eruption. Reg made 15 in the 1st innings. No record has been found of who was bowling at the time.

My exclusive and World’s-1st discovery of the Pompeii Ageas Oval was, as you can imagine, pretty much the highlight of the tour. There was of course the time in Napoli itself. We travelled there by boat, and on our arrival at Naples docks, two Australians with placards were shouting “Send the Boats Back”. We assumed they were lost. Later we sat outside a cafe in one of the less salubrious parts of the city (as opposed to all the many, many, lovely areas….er…) chugging away on bottles of Peroni and listening to Funiculi, Funicula for the 28th time that day. A grin burst across The Incumbent’s face as she watched and listened to the two rather vocal young women behind me.

I hadn’t realised these girls were of the working variety and that every tourist, workman or delivery boy who walked past were treated to the sight of them pulling down the lurex boob tubes and flashing their gnocchi. The going rate was, apparently, “10”. We didn’t hang around to find out if that was Euros or Lira: I glanced over my shoulder and it was a terrifying sight. It was clear to me that at least one of these birds was once christened as a geezer and those chicken fillets he was waggling at the lads were new additions to her being, (matching nicely with her adams apple which was the size of The Vatican). Any version of Funiculi, Funicula  playing once he/she got a victim back to her/his gaff would be merely to accompany him being mashed, bashed and slammed on the floor. Speaking for myself I’d rather hold it in my hand.

It could truly be a case of see Nipples & Die. (© National Joke museum 1923).

Naples: Bust of "Gaveen" —patron Saint of Big Noses.

Naples: Bust of “Gaveen” — Italian Patron Saint of Big Noses.

Troubling the Scorers


leg bye

Lords Cricket Ground, London, August 2009. Jesuit Spitfires vrs Opus Dei Casuals. Final of The CCCCC (Catholic Church Club Cricket Cup), or the Pontiff Playoff, as it’s known.  Standing umpire ‘Jordie’ Bergoglio signals a Leg Bye, denying the batsman, Cardinal K Fiddler of Baltimore, his debut first class century. Opus Dei went onto to win by courtesy of a Mother Superior run rate (Duckworth Lewis) (source: PopeCrickPix)

…And the Winner Is


 Best Performance in a Leading Roll (in a Foreign Comedy)

frederick Michelak

In a tightly contested race, the award of biggest comedian on show yesterday went to the French No.10 Frédéric Michalak for his near perfect portrayal of an explosion in an idiot factory during an amateur production of Les Miserables in Paris last night. Michelak, although easily carrying off the award (while trying not to drop it), had to fight off some pretty strong competition, notably from the likes of The Stade de France groundsman, Monsieur Herbe du Somme; Scotland’s own Jim Hamilton for Sunday Morning Lummox —his harrowing portrayal of a 1974 ExB Lock Forward with a forearm smash addiction; and Luciano Orquera, the Italian Outside-Half for his reprise of the Daniel Day Lewis‘s role from My Left Foot.

But in the end the award rightly went to Michelak for possibly the most embarrassing display by an old man on a sports field since Muhammed Ali ‘fought’ Trevor Berbick or Henry Leconte stopped his ‘zany’ antics on the ATP veterans tour. Michelak, of course, even in his prime could never be accused of having been an Ali, but yesterday many french rugby fans were heard to dub him “Leconte”. Or something like that.

The 30 year of from the south of France (born To Lose Toulouse 1982) is also in the running for Worst Director of 14 Other Men, and The Academys honorary Do Us All a Favour and Hang Up Your Boots Award (colloquially known as The Warnie), but has been withdrawn from circulation until further notice, having been found to contain at least 90% donkey.

Thought for the Day


Having deserted t’BBC Breakfast program (eey oop, here’s t’beenees nooz) I’ve been enjoying a couple of week’s worth of The Today Program where, for reasons known only to themselves, journalists are allowed to report on the latest world events, the economic crisis, wars, famine and political intrigue, occasionally punctuated by a sports report or 20 seconds of guessing at the weather.

Icke (top right) with the BBC's first Breakfas...

The way they were. The original BBC Breakfast crew including the late, great David Icke. Whatever happened to Uncle Frank ? Dirty Boy !!!!

Spend an hour watching t’Breakfast program, then switch over to listening to the radio and you’ll think you were listening on a different day. Where, please tell me, are all the “Corn Flakes can give your child rickets” stories ? What about the “What comes first on a scone ? Jam or Cream?” exclusives ? And there’re no interviews with “last night losers on Strictly”. And thank fuck for that ! Radio 4 sticks to the stupidly crusty old news program format of bringing you the …er…news. There’s not even any vox-pops from the streets of Wigan, for christ’s sake!  When I worked for a living for the highly respectable and reputable newspapers of Fleet St, the Today program was required listening, and this was so for the best part of 30 years. Since I do sod-all nowadays I lapsed into Sian and Charlie, Bill and Suzanna’s grasp, My mind turned to mulch because of it. Well that stops here and now.

Woken up by nightmares last night, I switched on the BBC World Service in the hope that the dulcet tones of a foreign correspondent talking to me would enable me to drift off to sleep (it always used to work – especially in the office). Sadly for me the opposite happened. Some bloke who’d certainly never darkened the sweet red couch of t’BBC Salford studio, was explaining with ultimate clarity and menace what was happening and going to happen if (and when) the Greek economy threw a seven and went belly-up sausage-side.

So his tale went: the Greeks pull out of the Euro and immediately, people’s savings lose two-thirds of their value and there’s a hiatus until they sort a new currency out. If that can happen in Greece, the Spanish people will calculate that it can happen in their equally-fragile economy as well. Then the Italians, and so on, and so on…

But.

Intelligent Greeks, Spaniards and Italians will see that situation coming and they don’t wanna see their savings go down the toilet. So there’s a run on all banks as anyone with any money left at all withdraws all he has and shoves it under the mattress/missus. The economy collapses, the Euro-Zone closes due to lack of interest, Presidents Obama then Romney instigate Part II of the Marshall Plan and 30 years from now we all star in a documentary by an ageing Robert Peston explaining how poor we all were in 2012/3.

The alternative to all this, of course, is the German plan of austerity: raise the Greek taxes, cut all welfare and public expenditure for about, ooooh, ten years or so. It’ll be tough “but we put up with it when we took on East Germany andwecameoutstrongerontheotherside soyoulotbetterputuporshutupandtinkyourselfluckythatyou’renotstilloccupiedyouungreatful
littleshitsandsnywayitwasyoulotnotpayingtaxwhichstartedallofthisinthefirstplace.”

Of course, that’s the argument: Greek teachers and bin men scrimping on their taxes are the ones to blame for the state of the continent’s economy. The Euro would be strong, the Banking industry would still be making fortunes if it wasn’t for all you bastard nurses and Public Sector workers borrowing what you couldn’t afford, trying to cheat the Inland Revenue and then having the balls to expect a pension at the end of it. Jesus! Those poor men at JP Morgan and such places spilt their own blood for you, some of you walking out with less than a $32 payout. How is a man supposed to live on that ?

Perhaps I’ll go back to telly where all I have to worry about in the morning is that the heavy rain has affected this years asparagus crop ?

Still. it’s not all bad news. I actually made £95 quid this week. A combination of selling Tee-shirts and predicting the odd correct score means I’m flush, for at least a couple of hours. I do have options. I could give it to The Incumbent to spend on food down at Sainsburys’. It’ll take 15 minutes to spend and £95 quid’s worth of food lasts about 3 days round here; There’s a Ralph Lauren cotton sweater at Harrods going for exactly £95 but I’m not sure they do my size (quiet at the back, please!).  I could pre-order from Amazon 11 copies of Joey Barton’s autobigraphy (and still have change for a bag of chips). Like Hitler’s Mein Kampf this will surely mostly be written (or dictated) while in incarceration. I can’t help thinking that’s not where the similarities will cease. Although, I’m told, Hitler had a good command of English unlike the captain of the Waffen QPR.

8 quid seems a lot of money to me to waste on a book by a complete arsehole, even though many buy Jeremy Clarkson’s books. Times are tough, and I should spend my cash wisely.

I’ve got it.

I am going online today to reserve a ticket on the Water Chariot to take me from Limehouse Basin to the Olympic Park. I’ll have to go on my own, though. That’s £95. London to London. One Way. I’ll have to get to Limehouse first, of course, but can you think of equal value available today ? You could probably buy the Parthenon for 95 quid.

This stuff writes itself.

Polls Apart


Don’t you hate it when you’re told what to think ? Tune into the 6 o’clock or 10 o’clock news and get bombarded with stories stoking up the ‘excitement’ in anticipation of the Olympic Games and the patriotic revelry over HMQs 60th Jubilee. Everyone’s excited, everyone’s throwing a street party/volunteering to help/ buying a ticket/wearing a funny hat cos THE WHOLE OF THE COUNTRY LOVES IT !!!!!. Really ? Come down my street, mate and test the waters. You could cut the atmosphere with a block of  lard. But there is no doubt that all of us are behind both Brenda and Seb when it comes to this year’s celebrations – well, not according to the force-fed stories the Beeb are putting out. There’s nothing like objective journalism, and this is nothing like it.

If you’ve been watching the BBC’s coverage of the London Mayoral election, you could be forgiven for thinking there were only two candidates – Bonkers Boris Johnson and Honest Ken Livingstone (and by the way, Manchester, Brimingham, Glasgow et all, you ARE interested in all this:cos the BBC TELLS you that you are, that’s why). Admittedly, between them they do make a riveting contest, albeit in the way that watching two grandmothers argue over who’s gonna look after the grandkids is riveting. Mind you, I’ve yet to hear any nan in my family call the other a “fucking liar” as Boris did to Ken after their LBC bust up this week.

With a month or so still to go, I’m sure someone will dig something up on the other one which will tip the balance at the polls, but my bet is both will distance themselves from their party leaders over in Westminster – two of the most loathed men in the kingdom. Ken and Boris are bright enough to employ that bargepole when Dave and Milibean come to town, and who can blame them ?

But there are others involved in this contest. The other coalition candidate is Pc McGarry Number 452. Brian Paddick is gay, a former policeman and Liberal Democrat. (yes I know, Monty Python’s sketch when a quiz contestants hobbies are “golf, masturbation and strangling animals” springs to mind). Paddick came out and admitted his sexuality as a way to divert attention that he was a Liberal Democrat.

As a copper, Brian was and is one of the very few not to currently be under investigation for racial abuse, or arrested for his dealings with News International. So a Copper and a LibDem. The rush of the electorate scrambling to vote for him will be deafening. Nice bum, though.

The BNP triumphantly announced that their candidate was to be  their press officer Carlos Cortiglia. The more alert of you will notice a less than British ring to his name. Carlos was born in Uruguay to parents of Italian and Spanish ancestry then moved to England in 1989, presumably on his never-ending quest to find a someone who doesn’t feel the urge to slap that face. The Nazis see his appointment as proof that the BNP are no racists. As their website puts it “So much for ‘xenophobic’!” British National Party chooses Italian for London mayor“. It certainly has already proved to be a little taxing for the knuckle-draggers in my local pub l as the regulars debate on the merits of choosing between “a bender, a wop and a commie” (I am unsure which one of these descriptions was aimed at Boris ).

UKIP seem like they’ve finally decided to call it a day and not put up a candidate for the post. At least it looks like that when you see the list of candidates. But on further investigation into Lawrence Webb reveals that, although he is standing on the ticket of “Fresh Choice for London”, he is in fact he UKIP candidate. Perhaps they thought having UKIP, BNP and LibDem on the polling card would split the Complete Cvnt vote ? (there’s also a bit of a visual clue to who he represents in some of the photos of him they’re touting about.

Then there’s the token genuinely independent candidate, Siobhan Benita, who is the daughter of an Anglo-Indian mum and Cornish dad (more issues which I’m sure Carlos and Lawrence would dearly love to chat to her about as she’s deported).

Benita has several obvious advantages over her rivals: 1) she’s a woman; 2) she’s not Ken; 3) or Boris; 4) she doesn’t look like a complete bonkeroonee crook (note I said she doesn’t look like one – I stand to be corrected) . She has been accused of playing the ‘babe’ card, but let’s be honest if you look like she does and stand next to any of the above, how can the fact that you don’t make people feel physically ill not be worth promoting.

Which brings me nicely to our final contestant, Jenny Jones, representing the Hosepipe Ban party. Somewhere in East Sussex, there’s a room full of hessian-wearing 70s throwbacks who thought picking a bona fide loony would be a good idea. Jenny wants us all to return to wearing Wode and get our water from droplets left on rose petals. It’s difficult to vote for a political party who’s policies to bring us out of recession start and end at forcing the army to wear British-made organically-grown wicker helmets. She also looks like an explosion in a Scary Spice factory, but that would be too cruel to point out.

Don’t forget to register to vote.  Oooh! me minge.

.

Going Back to a Simpler Place and Time (Woo Woo!)


The Incumbent suggested I might like to look up on Youtube the latest sensation to take to the stage in Britain’s Got Talent. In the spirit of Susan Boyle, the producers have unearthed a young lad with the face of a fat Ross Noble and the voice of an Italian fiver. The missus was drawn to tears by the young man’s performance, and quite right too. I always cry when I watch a show including David Walliams but this time I had moist mince pies not because the poor man’s Michael MacIntyre was on the box again, but because he was on a panel (how ? HOW?) judging the worth of various acts. This eclectic bunch had, presumably, seen he’d had his own TV show and thought “well, if he can make a couple of quid with bugger all talent at all, I must have half a chance”.

Walliams, like the other half of the new BBC Sports line-up, John Bishop, is about as funny accidentally ending up at Michael Barrymore’s holiday home in Homs, Syria  where he’s holding a comeback swimming pool and toilet brush party. Recently, in lieu of telling shite jokes, the gruesome twosome have donned swimming trunks and taken the place of horse racing, Formula1, cricket, Football and Rugby. Just in case you find yourself enjoying it, Mike Bushell pops up to fuck up all the continuity announcements, and Boom Goes the Dynamite. The half time entertainment is provided by Freddie Flintoff naming the flags and national dishes of Commonwealth countries.

But I digress.

So Walliams with his fellow smug arse Simon Cowell (I neither have time nor space to discuss him here) hold the power of life and death over a motley collection of talented (or otherwise) men and women, boys and girls (or otherwise) who perform on stage in front of a tv audience of millions. It’s mostly pretty buttock-clenching stuff, but every so often they unearth a Susan Boyle or a Jonathan Antoine and his friend Charlotte (who The Sun exclusively reveal today is an aspiring model !!!! Who knew ???)

The boy John really can sing. He has a fantastic pair of lungs. (I’m not posting the video here because a bit of me thinks every click justifies Cowell and Walliams existence and that’s not what I’m here to do. Honestly. ) But it got me around to thinking that after the success of Subo, the fat and ugly clubs of the UK have been inundated with Simon’s talent scouts looking for someone with a face like a blind cobbler’s thumb and the voice of a Disney cartoon nymph to “surprise” the panel for the new series. If you happen to have  a face like a bulldog licking the piss of a thistle, expect a mic thrust under your nose on the off-chance you can knock out a tune like Engelbert Humperdink – or even maybe in tune.

And before you ask, no – I have not been approached by a team of researchers with a tape recorder asking me to warble Old Shep for Amanda Holden to weep over. And weep she would, for all sorts of reasons. Weeping is also rife in my house – and not just when The Incumbent watches young singers on talent shows. DIY SOS gets me, if you really want to know.

So big Johnathan and his sister got through to the next round and I suppose the recording contract has already been signed (even if it hadn’t been by the time we saw him on our screens). Is Susan Boyle still a going concern ? I don’t know but I suspect she is making shedloads of cash from sales to every other mothers in the land. Johnathan, I suspect, will be heading for a similar, successful career.

If you really want to see talent, take a butchers at the below, sent to me this afternoon by The Talented Mr Rapley (raconteur, bon-viveur and wit) who couldn’t help himself from reminding us all of the great talent that were Gladys Knights Pips (and that’s not a euphemism). If Johnathan could squeeze himself into either one of these magnificent flared suits, or even Gladys’s poncho, and perform these moves he’d get my vote every week. But in the meantime, no weeping just sit back and enjoy these chaps at their peak.

Shove that up your arse, Walliams.

Humvees for Goalposts


Messi’s footwork part of anti-Syria conspiracy-TV

By Oliver Holmes REUTERS

BEIRUT, March 21 (Reuters) – Barcelona footballers don’t just have a slick passing game, they can also secretly indicate arms smuggling routes to Syria, a pro-government Syrian television channel claimed this week.

Without a hint of irony, Addounia TV superimposed a map of Syria on a screen [above) to show how Lionel Messi and his team-mates, representing smugglers, had kicked a ball, representing a weapons shipment, into Syria from Lebanon.

The subtle signals to rebels were transmitted when Barcelona played Real Madrid in December, said the channel, which is owned by a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad. It did not trouble viewers by revealing Barcelona’s motives for the exploit.

“First we see how the guns are brought from Lebanon,” the presenter comments as one player passes the ball. “Then they cross into Homs and give the weapons to other terrorists in Abu Kamal,” he added, referring to rebel strongholds in Syria.

Messi’s final flick indicates the successful handover of the weapons to their destination in eastern Syria, he said.

Bizarre it may be, but paranoid conspiracy theories are common coin in the deeply divided and conflict-ridden state.

Messi smuggling in AK47s to Homs. (AET)

This is not, of course, the first time vital messages were sent by strange means. There’s the famous case of The Daily Telegraph Crossword during the build-up to D-Day when all the codewords which were to be used in the invasion of France – Omaha, Utah, Neptune – started appearing as crossword answers in the daily newspaper.

Let’s not forget the time when The Manchester Grauniad published a free wall poster for your bedroom showing all of Montgomery’s tank movements in the run up to El Alamein, The Daily Express front page on the morning of 9/11 read “Does Flying United Airlines Give You Cancer?” and Charlton Athletic’s tactics were so close to the attck formations of  Mussolini’s Republican Guard that Churchill considered disbanding the club. Don’t believe me ? How dare you !

So before you poo poo the reuters story above, take a butchers at England’s crap running between the wickets next week in Sri Lanka and ask yourself: what are they trying to tell us ?

They may be trying to tell us that they don’t know what they are doing. Or maybe they are signalling to militants in Yemen ?

Or not.

Buy, Buy, Bye, Bye.


I think I must have put them all in a box which is now in the loft. I remember separating them, dividing them by type, each having their own little baggie. When we moved all my stuff out of Railway Cuttings down to The Potting Shed I’m pretty sure that they were in a box which ended up in the loft. Or the garage. Or under the stairs. Wherever it is, I want to find that box because I’m gonna need it. With the Euro’s future likely to be confined to Pathe News, episodes of QI or International Baccalaureate history exams, I’m gonna need something to spend on my next trip.

There was a bag containing Marks, one which had about thirty quid worth of Francs therein, and another with a collection of Pesetas, Drachmas, Italian lira and and Dutch Guilder. In total I reckon there’s at least 60 quid’s worth of old foreign currency,nearly enough to buy me a cup of coffee on Rue de Rivoli. How glad am I that at the time I couldn’t be bothered to hand over all my loose European change to those charities who, back in 2002, were asking for the coins “we wouldn’t need again”? At last my inertia and apathy towards helping others is paying off. Well that’s my guess anyway.

Now I know I’m only guessing, and my glass is typically half empty, but guesswork is all I’m left with as I’m no economist. No, really I’m not. I know I’m a world authority on cricket, lemons, modern art and movies, but I fall just short when it comes to economic nouse.

Not that the supposed experts know what’s gonna happen either: Tony Blair said that the collapse of the Euro would be “catastrophic” for the UK and urged all of us to get behind it. I don’t actually know how to get behind a euro, but on the other hand Tony once told me that I had 45 minutes to put on my tin hat and get to the air raid shelter before the nasty beardy-wierdies attacked. Well, as Tony’s mate George Bush once said “Fool me once, shame on … shame on you. Fool me … You can’t get fooled again.” So I think it’s fair to say I won’t be heeding what Blair says. Let’s look farther afield for help:

Chancellor Merkel has indicated that Germany either receives Britain’s support for invading Belg…sorry, for economic treaty changes or Germany will go it alone, drawing a new map of Europe with Germany at it’s fore. Where does she get her ideas from ? The German Chancellor can’t stand the French President Sarkozy, which doesn’t make her a member of a particularly exclusive club, but both countries hate Britain more, and this antagonistic feeling is only second to their disgust at Greece for dropping us all in the mire, so they have common enemies: David Cameron and this week’s Greek PM, [subs: please fill in name here].

Events in Italy seem to have muddied the waters even further. Berlusconi’s finally gone, just not that very far. He’s made it clear he still intends to make a comeback (this man has the Blair-like gift of being unshakeable and unshameable), and anyway, Super Mario Monti looks like he’s in Silvio’s pocket. No measures or acts will get through the Italian Parliament without the former Milanese Media Mogul’s nod. He’s still the leader of the biggest political party in the chamber, and we have learned from past events, he’s never out of the limelight for long. Once he gets a firm grip on either power or a woman’s gusset, he’s a bugger to shake off.

If you believe (and why the hell would you?) the analysts queuing up to talk to reporters, France looks like the next in line to go tits-up. The Euro economy domino theory goes thus: If Greece goes, Italy goes. If Italy goes, France goes. If France , Britain goes, (always bearing in mind that love grows where my Rosemary goes, and nobody knows like me).

No wonder Sarkozy, David Cameron and his attack-poodle George Osborne are looking nervous and sounding unusually vicious, even by their standards. Every one is blaming everyone else for the big pile of doo-doo we find ourselves in. But of course, still no-one is attacking the banks. Small businesses being refused bank loans, poor people being given huge mortgages which they could never have afforded to repay; mass redundancies and huge unemployment causing the collapse of the highs street: all these factors seem to have been forgotten.

The Brit govt blames the public sector workforce for striking in an attempt to save their pensions and pay.; the French blame Greek bin men and schoolteachers for not paying tax; the media blame the Italian citizen for voting for Berlusconi in the first place. UK finance minister Osborne has been blaming the referendum on Scottish devolution for the state of finances north of the border. Sarkozy accused Uraguay of being a tax-haven. Rare indeed for a French politician to consider tax havens as a bad thing. They’ll be coming out against extra-marital affairs next. Merkel, of course, is blaming everyone within spitting distance.

The shites are coming out, all over Europe.