Foregone Conclusions.


It was a shock to wake up this morning (no changes there, then). No, I mean to say it was a shock to wake up this morning and discover Vlad the Putin had swept to an election victory in Russia, and once again the great man sits on the throne of the third biggest power in the world, after USA and FIFA. If only Barack Obama could be so sure of victory in this year’s election, but I guess there is no Jeb Obama resident in Florida who could steal the vote for him, so he’ll just have to trust  Minty Metro, the Republican Tool-of-Choice, to win it for him. Which he surely will ?

FIFA, of course have long-since had elections far more corrupt than that of either the Soviet Union or The Russian Federation, so we can expect Herr Blatter to remain in his position til he has accrued enough cash to be able to retire and hand over the reins to the Crook-in-Waiting, Michel Platini. Then, of course, we can all sit back and wait for Mad Michel to launch a series of decrees even more self-serving and dictatorial than his predecessor, Sepp the Swiss Soccer Swindler.

Who do I let these people get to me ?

Anyway, just to show that it’s not what you take out of life, it’s what you Putin, take a look on another on a theme. It’s quite fun, and includes a guest appearance from my old employer TIME, formerly of this parish.

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Lenin and McCarthy


The old Soviet Union could be a tough place to live. According to some commentators food shortages and the suspension of personal liberties were commonplace. The absence of a free press and freedom of speech was a constant worry. Censorship was also rife in the arts. Some songs were completely stripped of all lyrics. Please give generously.

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One last thought: Is he miming ?


1982 And All That


I was in a pub in Portsmouth. It was 1982 and I was on my first Rugby Tour, with the school first XV. On this particular evening, I decided to pop over the road to the phone box to call the then incumbent Mrs B. When she picked up the phone she was crying. “What’s up with you?” I gently inquired. “We’ve declared war on Argentina” she wept. It transpired that she was terrified that I’d get called-up. After pointing out to her that the Argentine army were hardly up to beating Our Brave Boys (“They’re hardly the bleedin’ Israelis, are they ?” I recall saying) and I saw no way that the draft would come my way, she seemed a bit cheerier, so I returned to the pub to announce to my chums that we were indeed “at war with Argentina”, for which I received a dousing in lager from my mates for telling porkies.

It seems another world away: Phone boxes, The Falklands, School trips. Mobile phones were around, but they were the size of chest-freezers and there were about four of them in the country. In that year, Channel 4 was launched, De Lorean went out of business, as did Freddie Laker. Women were protesting outside Greenham Common and Princess Di knocked out her first chavvy, William. Unemployment reached 3 million and Thatcher was in her Pomp. Colin Welland told the Academy that “The British are coming” when Chariots of Fire swept up at the Oscars.
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In 1982 I looked like this

In 1982 Allan Simonsen, the 1977 European Footballer of the Year, signed for Charlton Athletic from Barcelona. We all thought that he must have made a mistake and thought he was signing for Bobby Charlton. He wouldn’t pass the ball to anyone else. They didn’t look good enough. They weren’t. Aston Villa won the European Cup (honest). Yuri Andropov led the Soviet Union, long before he became the subject of funny bar songs.

Michael Jackson, who was turning a funny colour, released Thriller and we all strutted around parties like Zombies. In 1982, if I was buying a computer, I’d buy the newly-released Commodore 64. The world mourned the death of John Belushi, Marty Feldman and Arthur Lowe. They were replaced by Jermain Defoe, LeAnn Rimes and Gavin Henson. Hardly a fair swap.The price of a pint was 62p and petrol was 159p-a-gallon. That year they completed the construction of the Thames Barrier.

In 1982 Sean Hodgson went to jail for a murder he didn’t commit. 27 years later (today, in fact) a High Court Judge quashed the conviction in the light of new DNA evidence unavailable at the time of the trial. But it also emerged that Mr Hodgson could have been released 11 years ago but for an admin cock-up. I watched open-mouthed on tv as a smiling Plod spokesman took to the steps of the High Court and said the Hampshire Police were pleased they were able to help in the legal process and secure Mr Hodgson’s release. They’re going to look into the case again.

In 1982 I didn’t trust the Old Bill or the system. They scared me. Wonder how Sean Hodgson feels ?
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Sean Hodgson