Christ Almighty !
Spent all day crying, watching BBC coverage of the D-Day Vets. So proud of those old guys and they are all so humble. Wonderful stuff. I would never fight over oil or for spurious reasons to kill people, but if the Nazis ever again threatened our shores I’d like to think I’d do my bit.
70 years on, we’ve started voting-in racists, bigots & homophobes. Might as well have let Hitler in. What a waste.
So they’ve won. I shouldn’t give up so easily, but for the past four-or-so years I’ve written at length (and incoherently) warning about the rise of the Right. I may not be right about many things, but I was spot on about UKIP and their mob.
Any humour I ever possessed came from a smidgen of hope. I no longer have that for this country. I don’t have the energy to fight against what’s happening. I’m an out-of-date old leftie who’s views are no longer relevant, so I shall leave it with you all. By the time most of you read this, you’ll be under a government more right-wing than Thatcher’s — and when I started this blog I’d have never believed such was possible.
So goodbye and thanks for reading and commenting. If you don’t care about living in a liberal (small ‘l’ )society, only one other thing is important: Please adhere to Greaves’ Rules (they are posted in this blog for your enjoyment) and use whichever heavy implements you can on the local nazis —you know who they are (so that’s two things).
THAT IS ALL
Sad to see that Bob Hoskins has left us today. Always seemed to me like a decent bloke, and a very convincing actor. There’s that famous yarn about him getting his first break in acting when he accompanied a mate along to a theatre and fell into an audition himself. He landed the part and the rest, as they say…
Bob never knew it, (and even if he did I doubt if he’d have cared) that he got me through English A-Level. In a moment of weakness I’d neglected to read the set Shakespeare work —Othello that year (1982/3)— but, as luck would have it, the blessed BBC decided to show their production of the play staring Anthony Hopkins as the Mad
Taff Moor, and Hoskins as Iago. Both were brilliant in their roles, Hoskins especially. It’s a hell of a lot easier remembering quotes and plot lines when you have a strong image of a Cock-er-ney Geezer delivering each line like he was asking for a pint and a pie down the Old Kent Road. So thanks Bob for getting me my one decent qualification. Yours is the performance by which I judge all others — which rather puts Kenny Brnnnnnnaaaaaagh at a disadvantage.
Hoskins was Roger who fell for Jessica Rabbit, could play anything from Capt Hook’s Smee, a jobsworth plumber in Brazil and a gangster in The Cotton Club. But he’ll doubtless be best remembered for his brilliant and brutal portrayal of Harold Shand in The Long Good Friday. The only thing more fascinating than the 1980 London backdrop is his peerless performance.
British cinema rightly boasts of Dickie Attenborough as Pinky Brown in Brighton Rock; Michael Cain’s Jack Carter in the superb Get Carter, whose direct descendent is Don Logan in Sexy Beast. Standing shoulder to shoulder with these three is Harold Shand. A great British Gangster. The Mafia ? I’ve shit ’em
Some quotes from one of THE most quotable of all movies:
Harold: (announcing his big plans) I’m setting up the biggest deal in Europe with the hardest organization since Hitler stuck as swastika on his jockstrap.
Pool Attendant: (informing Harold of his mate Colin’s death). They kept it all incognito. They’re gonna collect the body in an ice cream van.
Harold: There’s a lot of dignity in that, isn’t there? Going out like a raspberry ripple.
Harold: Alan found him dying. He’d been nailed to the floor.
Jeff: When was this, then?
Harold: Well, it must’ve been just after you saw him and just before Alan saw him. Otherwise, you’d have noticed, wouldn’t you? I mean, a geezer nailed to the floor. A man of your education would definitely have spotted that, wouldn’t he?
Casino Manager: It was a good night. Nothing unusual.
Harold: “Nothing unusual,” he says! Eric’s been blown to smithereens, Colin’s been carved up, and I’ve got a bomb in me casino, and you say nothing unusual?
Harold: (holding a gun in his pocket) Move to the car, Billy, or I’ll blow your spine off.
Billy: That’s not a shooter, is it, Harold?
Harold: Oh don’t be silly, Billy. Would I come hunting for you with me fingers?
Harold: (on learning that the Yanks have pulled out of the deal) I’m glad I found out in time just what a partnership with a pair of wankers like you would’ve been. A sleeping partner’s one thing, but you’re in a fucking coma! No wonder you got an energy crisis your side of the water!
Harold: The Mafia? I’ve shit ’em.
Harold: (bidding The Americans a fond farewell) What I’m looking for is someone who can contribute to what England has given to the world: culture, sophistication, genius. A little bit more than an ‘ot dog, know what I mean?
Harold: (to the captured mobsters, trussed up in a deep freeze). Right… it’s up to you. Frostbite or verbals…
There a million quips to be had from this story: N.F.Farage opening for the Gentlemen etc but I shall desist. So instead of reporting this to you in my own words, and not being able to do it justice, here’s the full story from todays Beeb website. As a regular (every morning about 6:30) cricket tourist, I am not sure I’d have made myself available for this one. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating read. Great stuff.
The visits of sports teams to Nazi Germany in the 1930s still generate controversy today, from the Berlin Olympics’ anti-Semitism to the England football team’s Nazi salute in 1938. But a new book tells the story of a cricket team from Worcestershire that found itself at the centre of a now-forgotten furore.
In August 1937 the Gentlemen of Worcestershire cricket club arrived in Berlin to compete in three games organised by members of the Nazi hierarchy who had developed an interest in the sport.
The Nazi Reichsportsfuhrer Hans von Tschammer und Osten had visited England to watch the Davis Cup tennis semi-final between Germany and USA at Wimbledon. He was also invited to Lord’s as part of a tour of the summer’s sporting events, where he watched Middlesex beat Worcestershire.
The MCC recorded the visit, and it’s likely that von Tschammer met Maj Maurice Jewell, a former Worcestershire player and stalwart of the Gentlemen of Worcestershire, and asked him to bring a cricket team to Berlin. The Gents, as they are still known, are one of the oldest surviving cricket teams in the world, having played their first match in 1848. Known as a wandering or nomadic club, with no home ground, the team has always been made up of a group of cricket enthusiasts and predated Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
After the Nazi minister’s request, Jewell was able to rustle up a team of wealthy gentlemen, five of whom had played first class cricket for Worcestershire, as well public schoolboys who could travel within a few weeks to Berlin.
Peter Robinson, a 16-year-old schoolboy, “was taken on the tour to make up the numbers”, says Dan Waddell, author of Field of Shadows, which tells the story of the 1937 tour. But Robinson ended up playing every match after a regular was taken ill with pneumonia. In a letter sent home on 4 August 1937, Robinson describes drinking on the morning they arrived: “It is about 9.15 am. The beer here is much nicer than in England.”
The Gentlemen were too good for the Germans and won all three games comfortably.
But what went on off the pitch was more remarkable. The team arrived in Berlin as the city was celebrating its 700th anniversary in an event manufactured by Nazi propagandists as another excuse to show off military might in a series of parades.
The Gents were asked to give the Nazi salute before their first match. As dutiful guests, they obliged.
“I think they were just being polite” says Waddell, who tracked down diaries and scrapbooks handed down by the players to their relatives. “They would have hated to have been seen to be impolite, or snubbing their hosts.”
Richard Williams, one of the players, later recalled their departure. “We were lucky and glad to get to the station.” As well as detecting the sinister atmosphere, some players were annoyed by gamesmanship from the Germans. Robinson complained: “I was run out in the match to-day by the bowler. He never bowled the ball and ran me out as I backed up. He never warned me.”
The team had been closely watched during their visit. Although able to enjoy the delights of Berlin’s famous nightlife at first, the close scrutiny under which they were kept had left them increasingly unhappy.
The relations between the two teams were generally good, Waddell says, though they disliked the Berlin captain Gerhard Thamer, “who had a penchant for punching fielders who dropped catches off his bowling”.
The atmosphere of intrigue around the tour led to speculation that one of the English players might have been a spy. Robin Whetherley was a good cricketer, but had no connection at all to Worcestershire or the Gents cricket club. He even travelled separately.
Waddell’s theory is that the English cricket authorities informed the Foreign Office of the tour, and that Whetherley, who spoke German fluently, was asked to join the team and gather information. “There was a very good chance he was sent along by London to keep a very close eye on what everyone was up to, and perhaps when he came back, travel to Whitehall and have a chat to somebody,” says Waddell.
Whetherley was killed in the Balkans during the war, while serving with British special forces.
All of the players served King and country in the ensuing war, and perhaps because of embarrassment rarely spoke about the cricket tour. One of the players later described Germany as a “strange place” and said they could hear the sounds of gunfire in the background when they played some matches.
The players witnessed a torchlit procession along the Unter Den Linden which was described as “alarming and eerie”.
A small number of Germans – including enthusiast Felix Menzel – kept the game alive. In 1945, along with a few equally bedraggled friends, he emerged from the rubble to challenge a group of extremely surprised British troops to a game of cricket. They played and the British team won, narrowly.
But Menzel is now an obscure figure and even the world of English cricket has long forgotten the 1937 tour.
The end of another traumatic week, one way or another. Thankfully this week wasn’t all about me or the member of staff in a pub I’d abused in some way (though it’s early yet). No, this week was certainly all about The Incumbent Mrs B — the long-suffering female who’s been so lucky over the past few years to have the pleasure of living with me. If you stick your head out of the window you may be able to hear another chunk of Crimean cannon ball being filed down as they make her Victoria Cross. Nobody said it was gonna be easy, kid. And they were right. I’d like to take this opportunity here and now to apologise to The Incumbent for all the pain and sorry she has gone through on my behalf over the years, and state categorically that it won’t happen again. Not unless I get drunk tonight.
So, first some good news: the hunt for the Incumbent’s family continues. Those of you in the know will understand this house has recently become a poor man’s version of Who Do You Think You Are ? (I’m appearing next year on BBC3’s highly successful “Why Do You Think You Are ?” where, if you can’t justify your existence, you are made to sit down and watch a whole episode of The Call Centre —a show worse than anything Jack Whitehall has come up with.**)
Our version doesn’t have a film crew, a producer or mood music; we haven’t had to fly Mrs B around the globe (I had to drive her to Feltham once); and there’s not even a visit to the British Museum or a Holocaust Memorial in sight, but I’m hoping the Beeb or even 5 might pick us up sooner or later. I won’t go into too many details here — as The Incumbent will want to tell you her story in her own words, and probably with more accuracy and clarity, but suffice to say that she’s suddenly become the rather shocked relation of a slew of new full-sisters, half-sisters, short dogs and tall nephews and heaven knows how many other assorted family members. Good news indeed after such a long search. However, having traced her lineage, if Nigel Farage (rhymes with garage) ever comes to power my Missus will be one of the first he’ll send back home to the continent. I do hope so anyway — as if Farage (as in marriage) and his mob get in I’m going to need somewhere to stay as I shall be packing my bags and will be on the boat right behind her. Like Kaiser Wilhelm II before me, I fancy my own place in the sun.
Mid-week she lost her favourite pen. It was a nice one, a present bought by a dear friend, and it was her favourite shopping list-writing tool. We have had the house turned upside down but cannot find it anywhere. It could have been lost anywhere between Canterbury in Kent and Feltham in Middx.: Approx 88 miles, according to Google Maps. The pen is fitted with a tracking device, but you have to clip it to your top pocket before you can actually hear the signal it sends out. The battery on the tracker last up to 4 minutes. Some have said this is a design fault. I have poo-poohed such suggestions. Me and a chinese mate attached a microphone to a broomstick and went and sat in his rubber dinghy just off Erith Marshes, dangling the mic in the water. Oddly, nothing has turned up yet, but I’ll let you know.
Anyway, the point of this tribute to my very own Leader of the Opposition is to wish her a very happy birthday. Sad to say, m’lady, you will never be as old as me, and don’t you enjoy telling me so ? One of us has a very significant, important and depressing birthday this year but unfortunately it’s not you. So enjoy it while you can, and as is traditional on these occasions: it’s your round. xx
** correct at time of going to press.
If there is a nicer bloke than my mate Johnny Mac, then I’ve yet to meet him. So i urge you, I beg you, to read the following from him and give generously. Yes, I know, you’ve drunk all your money last night, or the `missus persuaded you to hand over your card details to the BBC on Friday night cos some Welsh bird cried while hanging off some rock, but this one is important. Thankyou.
My elder brother Bob, was born on 16.8.1960, with a strain of Cystic Fibrosis, the same condition that took our sister Jackie, (18.11.1965 – 31.12.2011) and younger brother Andy (15.5.1964 – 9.2.1992).
This year he’s decided to run the London marathon with his eldest daughter, Beccy, to stick some well overdue “Thank You” money back into the charity pot that has helped keep him and his siblings alive, for far longer than nature had intended.
Rest assured, with completely sh*t lungs, and at the age of 53, it’ll be an enormous task for the poor sod; and if it’s a humid day, just breathing will be phenomonally challenging for him, but SO much respect for him for giving it a go…..and he’ll do it too, because he’s still here and others aren’t. What bigger incentive is there??
It’s completely obvious where the money he raises will be going, and I’m sure you know the rest, without me having to spell it out.
And don’t be shy with small or insignificant amounts either, he’s a Banker after all, so rest assured he won’t care, fivers and tenners are fine!……..But I guarentee he will be as grateful as anything!!
….because he genuinly is the nicest bloke in the world…..
Thanks for reading this, and many thanks for supporting him,