It’s a beautiful world

I watched the Shawshank redemption the other night, sadly it was on very late and perhaps even worse it was on commercial TV. This means that just as the film turns a corner, an ad break comes on for aproximately 7 minutes.

I dislike advertisements. Actually, I hate them. I really hate them.

I hate everything about them, hate hate hate hate.

I despise mindless consumerism anyway. I’m suspicious of most technology as it seems to only want to take your money off you.

However, what I particularly despise is the ‘vie-faux’ of the adverts on TV.

Everybody is a model, they all live in large houses, everybody smiles all the time, they’re all up to fabulous things such as attending parties with tigers, or dancing in a Mediterranean palace with svelt nymphs feeding on fresh grapes and Belgian chocolates.  Car adverts show deserted roads that lead to mysterious destinations.

Of course it’s all sales. Selling a life of carefree, sexy and eternal youth with whatever the latest product is; alcohol or mobile phones seem to be the ones whom make the most expensive adverts.

However, the picture on the left of this screen shows you the local shopping precinct in Hindley. In the stores here you can place a bet on a horse or a dog, you can buy magazines that feature anorexic looking models living in fabulous houses and pretend that actually your life isn’t so completely shit for a while

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How to get ahead in ‘modern’ Britain.

 

 

One could look at the UK recently and feel a sort of sense of whimsy, perhaps a twinge of nostalgia, some folks even reported that they felt a sense of pride recently.

We’ve had the Jubilee, the football team is playing at the moment allowing brief moments of jingoism to eek their way into the press, the Olympics is coming along,complete with village greens, cricket games and scenes of rural idyll.

Indeed, it would seem to the outside world that all is well in Englands green and pleasant land.

However, modern Britain is more akin to Orwells 1984 than the powers that be would have the world acknowledge.

In 1984, Orwell describes a society whereby the majority of the people live quite happily. The Proles are kept amused with football, a national lottery, pop music, sensationalised press coverage of war and caricatures on which to project their hatred. It is the middle class whom seem to be the unhappiest, the party members whose job it is to re-engineer the truth or delete references to history. Social mobility is unheard of in Orwells Britain (aka landing strip 13) and it seems that social mobility is also moribund today.

The major professions in the UK are run by the old boy network, banking, law, politics and medicine are held together by the tiny percentage of the privately educated.

State education has left so many young people so utterly incapable of taking up paid employment that companies are now spending money to give people basic skills in written English and maths.

So, if you want to get ahead in Britain then I would suggest buying yourself an old school tie, developing an RP accent and refer to all potential employers with a ridiculous sounding nick-name.

 

Bring back the peacock!

 

Recently, I decided that I needed a new pair of shoes. This isn’t a particuarly exciting piece of news is it? Ah, but it lead me to note that actually it is nigh on impossible to buy ‘good’ shoes on the modern high street.

Good shoes are made from leather, they last for years and can stand a good polishing so that eventually the sun’s rays will cause sparks to fly when wearing them. I also like shoes that can be repaired. I don’t think that this is so extraordinary, I am not looking to have a pair of Panda skin shoes or stitched with gold linen.

So I set off to find good pair of black Oxfords, ideally with a leather sole.

Firstly, it is worth noting that when entering a shoe shop the staff tend to dress in polo shirts and some god awful thing called ‘cargo’ trousers. This is surely a sign of the forthcoming apocalypse. Also, when I asked to see the Oxfords, they didn’t know what I meant.

They showed me shoes that would be best worn by a Libyan mini-cab driver instead. Why the hell would a grown man wear slip-on’s?

It’s the same with trousers and ties, shirts etc. It is nigh on impossible to buy a ‘drab’ tie these days. Ties tend to be either of the seizure producing variety or ‘comedic’ style. As for a bow-tie, then the only stock they carry are suitable for bouncers.

Try asking for a pair of grey flannel trousers in GAP!

No. Instead we have once again settled for second best. As a nation we have given up with customer service, knowledgeable staff and good quality goods. Even Saville Row has now the ugly face of modern capitalism on it with the opening of an Abercrombie and Finch store on its legendary promenade.

This is why I would like a return to proper men’s clothing stores. Staffed with people like Captain Peacock. Where button-holes are available, the trouser press is an attainable item, cuff-links and cravats shown on display.

Staff that are articulate and clear in their annunciation rather than the unshaven rabble who sound as though they are chewing marbles when they open their filthy mouths.

It is with some sadness that I shall once again buy my shoes on-line. It’s such a vacuum of discourse whereas an oak paneled haberdashery seem the height of civilization.

 

Beware the claw

At the ripe old age of 39, I have hair growing from my ears, the hair that should be on my head long since departed. If the weather is too warm I am stricken with hay fever. Too cold and my joints ache.

Now, to cheer myself up no end I have arthritis in my wrist. My good wrist too, the one I use to point at things or chop onions.

The weather has changed too. This is not to be unexpected in England but once again the fact that it is raining makes front page news for some of the major newspapers in this country.

Given that the past week has seen the jubilee celebration take up all the available news space in the UK, it would appear that nothing else has happened in the world. The British subjects were subjected (get it?) to a 4 hour televised bore-fest of boats chugging their way up the Thames.  Then we had a ‘pop’ concert were aged songsters, attempted to show how good they were 30 years ago. This frankly did not work. Never mind the Queen, I was not amused.

Elton John seems to have developed late onset Downs Syndrome since he decided to wear his bizarre barnet. Cliff Richards has the aesthetic appeal of a zombie and as for ‘Sir’ Paul McCartney, I wish he would just ‘let it be’.

If anything, the jubilee reminded the world that Britain is quite a crap place. It’s not as bad as other countries, we don’t have earthquakes, dictatorships or pestilential plagues, but it’s just not very good at much. Other than spending lots of taxpayers money on ridiculous schemes.

My miserly world view coincides with the bout of arthritis and I can only therefore conclude that I am a cursed pariah.

 

Like a strong odour

Like a strong smell that causes embarrassment when guests arrive, I have returned once more.

Haven’t been at the old PC for a while as I was rather busy with caring for our gran. Technically the wife’s grandmother, however she passed away, so time has been taken up with funeral arrangements and such.

I couldn’t really think of anything to write about either, my joie de vivre was a bit lacking.

The play Murdered to Death starts this coming week, which is causing me no end of nerves. Quite why I’m not so sure, I can readily identify with the part of the Colonel. Him being a heavy drinking, tweed wearing chap with an eye for the ladies and terrible trouble with remembering names.

It’s dress rehearsal and publicity photographs today, so it was rather disconcerting to find an enormous spot right on my forehead. Quite why this should occur at my age and neglect to fulfil it’s duty to afflict the face of some nauseating adolescent is beyond me.

 

A rose by any other name

I do have a love of words. Some words simply thrill me, words such as ‘encyclopaedia’ are so well crafted that they titillate me!

One can imagine my disdain then at the current examples of modern English, words such as LOL, which technically is an abbreviation, but one hears actually expressed as a word, uttered aloud. The word ‘Woot’ which apparently is an exclamation of joy was added to the dictionary last year,  much to a chorus of groans.

I’m not such an old stickler that I don’t expect language to evolve, but I cannot help but think there could be more debate as to which words we enshrine in permanence.

Whilst Shakespeares influence on the English language is both admirable and prolific, the great bard himself came up with some words that impressed nobody at the time. Words such as ‘Kicky-Wicky’ which meant wife, ‘Near-legged’ which frankly I am a loss to explain, never took hold in the language.

One never hears the words ‘thou’ and ‘thee’ any more, I do still use some antiquated language on occasion, words such as crepuscule, to describe the hinterland between dusk and evening. I understand that this a quirk on my part, that words come and go out of usage.

I do have a thing about names however. I cannot abide names such as ‘Kai’ or ‘Jai’, both of which are in evidence at my son’s primary school. The repulsive Beckham family have a great deal of explaining to do at NoBacon towers with their insistence on using ridiculous names for their offspring.

It seems that we are running out of Roberts, Richards, Geralds, Vivians, Peggys and Olives. Instead our future lies in the hands of people who sound as though they were named after characters in Star Wars. When I am in my 80’s I shall be highly suspicious of anyone called Dr Jar-Jar Binx.

Viva Boredom!

I’m aware that I haven’t posted for a short while. However, things are very different in my new house. My wife and I are caring for an 89 year old lady (Wife’s gran) who has recently broke her hip and had a stroke. She also has dementia.

Rather than put her in a ‘home’ we felt it was better for her to receive care from her family in her own surroundings.

Of course, it’s hard and rather tiring. Still, it is rewarding and she is happier that she isn’t alone.

It does mean however that our own free time is somewhat limited. Hence the lack of blogging recently.

Today, I was reading the paper and was struck by something. Not literally of course, I have no wounds. The Condem government is proposing more changes to Sunday trading in order to ‘stimulate’ the economy. Given that people have less money to spend (with fuel, food and heating costs being so expensive), quite what people will be able to buy is beyond me. However, I digress. Sunday in Britain used to be a national day of boredom. One couldn’t pop out to the shops or pub as everything was shut. This posed a challenge in my childhood. We used to go for ‘days out’ in a British made car, which invariably meant parking by a motorway waiting for the radiator to cool down.

Sundays were so universally dull that Morrisey wrote ‘Everyday is like Sunday’. These days, everyday is much like another.

It seems that modern British society has become ‘boredom averse’. I feel that this is a great pity. Boredom breeds creativity. Of course chronic boredom leads to riots, sort of. I think a hint of boredom is just the ticket. It can lead to writing silly verse, or playing cards, Monopoly or attempting to teach the cat to use the toilet.

The modern answer to boredom is to go out and spend money you haven’t got on stuff you don’t particularly need.

How does that build character?

Yawn

Well moving house is not my idea of fun. Firstly why do I own so much junk? Secondly why do I now have it my new house?

Today I have been up in the attic packing away stuff from our old house that we never use. Hmm.

Still, it’s been good exercise I suppose. My trousers now keep falling down, maybe that is just the Benny Hill in me coming out though.

In between moving house, unpacking etc I’ve been on stage each evening in A Streetcar Named Desire. My scenes seem to involve a lot of fighting, which unsurprisingly is also exhausting. I think it is worth noting that Tennessee Williams wasn’t much of gag merchant!

Oh well I must dash as the theatre beckons.

Moving stuff

No, this isn’t a post about emotive things. I’m in the process of moving house, hence my on-line activity has been rather quiet of late.

A particularly miserable note is the fact that I won’t have access to the net in my new home until March.

An interesting thing I suppose. This is a supposedly free-market, whereby I could choose a whole raft of suppliers, but no. Apparently I would have to fork out a small fortune in order to get a new provider as this would entail road works.

Marvellous stuff eh? Here we are in the 21st Century, with the same old economic problems that haunted the early parts of the 20th century, relying on ineffective private companies to do the basics.

Ah well, being off line shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for me. Most of Feb is taken up with Streetcar anyway. Also it will give me more time to shout at random strangers.

 

Humbug day

I don’t know about you, but it seems that if one says “I’m not keen on Christmas” then you may as well sign the sex offenders register and defecate on Princess Diana’s grave for all the popularity you will gain.

I know I am not alone in my ambivalence towards all things festive.

I enjoy seeing my son open presents but after that it’s all down hill. Copious drinking, eating food from dawn till midnight, people talking over a TV show you want to watch. Sigh..

However, I know that men of a certain age love a good moan. It does us good, I have no empirical data to support this assertion, but as it is the time of year when magical thinking is allowed, I will assert my case.

I advocate a world wide holiday of moaning, being grumpy, brutal honesty and sobriety.

One day where we can really let rip.

It’s more likely to bring peace on Earth than some fat bloke trying to squeeze down your chimney.