Friday, 25 July 2014

Sick as a Pirate!

Tattoos, eye patches, earrings, cutlasses, rum and parrots litter the folklore of the endeavouring  Jolly Jack Tars of yore, roaming the seven seas in search of excitement, plunder and even more rum. Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest and yo-ho-ho, let’s raise a toast to them all. No, it’s not International Talk Like a Pirate Day, but my heart of oak was stirred today by the recollection of an old sea-farers tale to gladden the heart of a ship’s company during a Friday make-and-mend.

Following a run ashore in the Bahamas, the Chief Bosun’s mate of one of Her Majesty’s sleek grey messengers of death procured a wondrous bird. A bright macaw, sharp of beak and gifted of tongue, he taught his new companion to respond to the morning pipe with a traditional, “Call the hands, call the hands, call the hands! Rig of the day - Number Eights, negative woolly pulleys!” the Number Eights to which he referred being the traditional navy blue, day-working uniform but with the sleeves rolled up and no pullover to be worn. How the ship’s company roared with laughter to hear the squawk over the main broadcast and all turned to with a smile.

After a few days, however, the parrot began to get bored and would launch into the call without prompting, on some days, hands being called every half hour. The parrot was confined to the Chief Petty Officers’ mess but after two days of “SQUAWK! Call the hands, call the hands, call the hands! Rig of the day - Number Eights, negative woolly pulleys!” both the parrot and the Buffer were banished to the starboard waist paint store. It was no good. Even with all clips closed the penetrating cry could still be heard: “SQUAWK! Call the hands, call the hands, call the hands! Rig of the day - Number Eights, negative woolly pulleys!”

Soon the Jimmy heard the commotion and summoned the Buffer to a mini-tribunal in the wardroom flat. “It’s no good, Buffer” he ordered, “the bloody parrot has to go before we get alongside in Gib. The Captain will go mental if it’s still there for the cocktail party.” The Chief Bosun’s Mate sadly agreed and set about planning the creature’s demise. All attempts to shut it up or re-train it had so far failed so, with a heavy heart he went in search of the ship’s cat which he found lazing in the sun on the flight deck, quietly digesting the remains of the last albatross to get too close.

The cries of the embattled Buffer competed with the frenzied roar of the enraged moggy as, with claws gouging and teeth snapping the cat fought like a miniature tiger. Curious heads appeared around hatches and men began to line the route to the paint store, cheering on the struggling man as gouges appeared in his flesh and blood began to spatter. An advance party cleared the way and as man and furious cat approached the store a Killick drew back the clips and opened the door. From inside came the now hated refrain, “SQUAWK! Call the hands, call the hands, call the hands! Rig of the day - Number Eights, negative woolly pulleys!” The Buffer threw the spitting, hissing ball of fury into the store and slammed shut the weathertight door.

For a few seconds the cacophony from within was if all the denizens of Hades were clamouring to enter the world above and then, suddenly, all went quite… except for a low grumbling noise. The Buffer, recovering from his trauma, stood up and cautiously approached the door. He put his ear to the steel, but still he couldn’t make out what was happening, although there was no further noise of fighting. It was surely all over. Slowly he unclipped the door and carefully looked in.

Pieces of eight, my arse!
Call the hands!

There in the middle of the store, surrounded by fur and feathers was a terrified, almost naked cat. The parrot was still tearing out the last remaining clumps of fur with his beak and growling under its breath. It stopped as the sunlight flooded the scene and rotating his head, cast his beady-eyed glare toward the Buffer. Spitting out the last tuft of cat fur the parrot declared, “When I SAY negative woolly pullies, I MEAN negative woolly pullies!”

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Les Encroyables

Radio Four is a minor miracle of the civilised world and one of the few benefits to a weary homeward commute is getting to listen to Eddie Mair presenting the news cornucopia that is PM. As well as hearing about the whole world turning to shit and who has taken what bribe from Putin, how many ‘Jarabs’ have pegged it in the Gaza bonanza and the miserable fact that public spending is on the rise again – oh yes it is – we also get some lighter-hearted pieces of reportage to brighten up the gloom, now that those nights are starting to draw in.

Today it was hearing about how the French socialist dream is at least as unaffordable as our own ill-fated attempts to ignore the simple economic facts of life. When you’re starving, bread and water will do. When a car costs too much to run, get on your bike, son. And if you have no money to spend on theatre tickets, you just have to make your own entertainment. But not, by all accounts, in France. While a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker has to work all year round to scratch a precarious living from the meagre soil of overstuffed competitive markets, French people working in the performing arts have their very own special welfare system.

In return for a minimum of 507 hours of work in a ten-month period (That’s less than 64, 8-hour days, or 13 weeks; a quarter of a year of ‘normal’ employment) arts workers – from clowns to choreographers, to camera operators – can enjoy a higher level of welfare benefits to tide them over the hard times while they are ‘resting’. Apparently, it saves them from the indignity of waiting at tables or sweeping the roads when they are not acting the goat in homage to Dionysus. (Or, should that be ‘Le’ Dionysus?)

But, of course, there’s a flaw in the logic, isn’t there? The world over, arts and theatrical entertainment flourish wherever there is an appetite for them and the lack of funding never seems to deter those who would make a spectacle of themselves. In fact the French form of favouritism is known as the intermittents du spectacle system, reflecting the fact that they often do sweet FA for three-quarters of the year. Hilariously – some of them are clowns, after all – they are protesting their ‘rights’ by disrupting the performances of others who are, presumably, currently ‘between rests’.

Les intermittents
Not dead' just resting - 'protresting'

You need a particular form of deep-rooted entitlement culture to create a system like this. This isn’t directs arts funding, as practised by much of the western world to preserve those forms which suffer from a low level of patronage; this is idleness funding. It’s a bit like Child Benefit; some people will have kids regardless of the fact they can’t afford to keep them so what’s the point of incentivising them for doing what comes naturally? Now don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the arts and I’d love for there to be more funding, but there's only so much money to around. We're all equal, but it seems that in the land of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité some people have more égalité than others. What a liberté!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wrong Division

Who would have thought it? The ‘no-it-isn’t, yes-it-is’ affair of the so-called Trojan Horse plot to subvert Birmingham schools and prepare the way for nationwide anti-British propaganda and recruitment to a domestic jihad turns out to have solid foundations after all. If you have ever lived near an ‘islamic area’ you would not have needed the results of any form of inquiry to tell you what your gut screams out every time you leave England to enter any one of these little Pakistans. The sense of being in a foreign, primitive land is never worse when it is in your own country, in your own town.

Around the corner from me, the little mosque that raised a few eyebrows when it first appeared but otherwise caused no great fuss has suddenly sprouted an enormous steel frame adjacent to it that dwarfs the original structure. I fully expect, the next time I go home, it will be clad with an exterior that in no way blends in with the local architecture and for which, were it an extension to a long-established British family business premises, planning permission would not have been granted. The local property prices, still a long way behind their 2006 levels will begin to slide again and those who can do so will leave that foreign land to its invaders.

Years ago, the inheritors of large, landed properties sold off relatively small, prestige plots to individual builders in order to cover death duties and scale back on the staff. At least the new homes would be in keeping with the area and their inhabitants likely to make mostly positive contributions to the community. Nowadays, in the rush to cover Britain in concrete, the big house itself will be sold off to developers, flattened and thirty or more dwellings per acre will spring up, the only control on who lives in them being who can afford them. Money does not buy you class though, and as the local roads clog with commuters and the village school for the first time needs classroom assistants and special needs tutors, the bucolic past recedes into dim memory; another part of our precious culture gone forever.

Of course, the ex-owners of the big house are not here to see it. From their yacht in Cannes all they can see is a rosy-hued world from behind the optimistic spectacles of wealth. But for those left behind the only option is to suck it up or leave. From cities we call it white flight, as it’s the old working classes who are least able to fight back and most likely to be branded racists by the likes of Liam 'we spent all the money' Byrne, a member of the very government that accelerated the process. The Birmingham cabal openly spreads propaganda that the Lee Rigby murder didn’t happen, that 9/11 was a Zionist plot, that MI5 carried out the 7/7 attacks… and yet, from the big house in Westminster, Byrne calls the current administration ‘divisive’.

Mosque conversion, coming soon...
Board up a few windows, knock down that wing, 
add a minaret or two and some loudspeakers... 
We'll have the place fucked up in a jiffy

I’ll tell you, Liam, what I’d like to divide. I’d like to divide the ruling elites from the wealth that separates them from reality. I’d like to divide up their time in such a way that they are forced to daily confront the misery they have inflicted on their supposed constituents and I’d like to be there to see the day it dawns on them that those they have encouraged to ignore the civilised customs of this sceptred isle, this happy breed of men, this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, would happily see their heads divided from their bodies.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Blaired Lines

Tony Blair. Anthony Charles Lynton "Bastard" Blair. The figurehead of New Labour, the movement that, by sleight of hand, made the anachronistic and spent Labour Party electable long enough to deliberately lay waste to British culture and lay the foundations for the demise of the most significant force for good the modern world has ever seen. (But don’t expect to ever read any of that in the rewritten history books, or hear it from the re-educated, post-national generation.)

Under the dictatorship of those who worked his strings – masked by that oafish smile and the slick practised gestures of humility and the faked bloke-u-like glottal stops – education headed ever downward and various anti-sovereign-state policies were pursued towards their sinister ends. We tolerant Brits all became racists overnight and the welfare state was imposed on everybody with a child. The issues of ruinous uncontrolled mass immigration became an untouchable sacred cow… and everything else just turned to shit. He retired the Royal Yacht, for pity’s sake!

Now Tony  - £70-million - Blair is determined to do to the Middle East what he was so successful in doing to Britain and so eagerly seems to want for Europe… turn it over to muslim rule, by the look of things. In yesterday’s contrived ‘anniversary’ speech, despite being entirely absent from the Middle East peace process he is so handsomely rewarded for getting in the way of (although only via the corruption of the backsheesh door – charity, my arse) he has the gall to blame you, the British people and all your ancestors for all the evils of the world.

He also says "Just for the record, I read I'm supposed to be worth £100million - Cherie's kind of asked me where it is. I'm not worth half of that, a third of that, a quarter of that, a fifth of that - and I could go on.” Except he doesn’t, because £70m is actually 70% of that. The man is a walking lie, a manifestation of the old saw about selling yourself to the devil. Without an honest bone in his body, Blair is a well-paid puppet for hire because - and here’s the bit I don’t get – even though his appalling record is in the public domain people are yet in thrall to power and its public face.

The twisted picture of Dorian Blair...

He already fucked over the country once, yet he is tolerated while he attempts to bend it over and fuck it again. And again and again and again. Even Peter ‘snake’ Mandelson has largely retreated from public life and some of his former cabinet colleagues have even had the belated decency to almost apologise. What will it take for Blair to be unmasked for what he truly is and be sent into exile? Perhaps, since he seems to love it so much, he should embrace the religion of a thousand pieces and leave us all to struggle on without that winning crooked smile.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Press Statin

It turns out that NICE or whatever they call themselves these days are no such thing. In a move that would draw admiration from many a totalitarian state, they are suggesting that practically everybody over fifty-five should be on statins. Well the nice people at NICE can go and fuck themselves. This is the healthcare equivalent of tax credits, signing you up to a dependency culture and using your own money to do it. No wonder the NHS is such a vast money pit, forever looking for ways to spend its astounding budget.

I know several people who have been put on the damned things, by GPs who are clearly – like concentration camp guards – just following orders. The reports are not good. In fact this story from a GP who took them himself is fairly typical. What a brilliant idea, eh? Let’s get people to do the costly drug research that Astra-Zeneca-Pfizer-Smithkline can’t be arsed to carry out by foisting unproven, unnecessary treatments on people too trusting or too stupid to realise what is going on. Mind you, it could do wonders for the jobs market as the flag bearers at the dawn of the Brave New Zombie Apocalypse shuffle off employment and stumble on to end their days on disability dole.

They could in time become willing participants in the big story taxing the minds of the House of Lords – the assisted dying bill. Worried about becoming a burden? Of course, many people worry about it, but this is hardly Logan’s Run, is it? This is an end of life measure that will be welcomed by many in pain who have simply had enough and are sane enough not to want to suffer any more. I don’t know why we don’t come equipped with an on/off switch.

And then, as if there isn’t enough doom and gloom in the world, what with the whole Arab/Jew thing kicking off yet again and Ukraine poised to kick off World War Three, we are treated to the whining of Twitter feminist Laurie Penny, drumming up sales of her book by bitching and moaning about all the things she bitches and moans about every day. I read the introduction (Free of charge, on Amazon – I’m certainly not paying for it.) and after two paragraphs I was already feeling quite stabby. I contended myself with an acerbic review instead.

I can’t help but feel all these ills are interlinked by a common problem; there are just too many human beings in a world that clearly isn’t big enough to contain them all without conflict. Arab on Jew, black on white, old against young, men versus women… PennyRed versus everybody; where will it end? The one certainty of life is death, so maybe that’s one bit of reasoning behind the big statin conspiracy – drive people insane with pain so that they voluntarily stagger towards the exit door.

Uh, yeah... feminism's the answer... 
What was the question?

But this is a solution fraught with imprecision; what if some of them actually do experience an increase in quality of life? How long can we afford to keep paying out pensions if they don’t opt for the ‘easy’ way out? It strikes me we’re missing a trick here and a cheap one at that. We could, at a stroke[sic] solve the problem of overpopulation for at least half the humans on the planet. Just get all the men in the world to read a few chapters of Laurie Penny’s atrocious pile of crap.