The book is better

Only a couple of weeks ago I read A Legacy of Spies, published last year; as ever with le Carrè, having to concentrate hard on the intricacies of the plot while drooling with appreciation at the vibrancy of his descriptions, both of people and places. And now I have almost finished re-reading Smiley’s People – written 40 years ago and as intriguing as ever. Continue reading “The book is better”

Full-colour horror story

The 1914/18 war was  always in monochrome; and film footage always depicted armies marching in double time, gesticulating like robots. But all that has changed, thanks to the modern technology Peter Jackson has deployed to shocking effect. I cannot imagine the reality of blood and guts in the trenches when the whole picture is revealed. Lest we forget? After this we never will.

Goodness me

I can’t help thinking I’m an egalitarian. The word seems to connote more or less what I stand for, morally speaking. It cements the aims of all those who want to lift our species out of the life old Hobbes described as natural: ”solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”. But ever since the Americans crystallised the principle – ‘all men are created equal’ – plenty of gainsayers have ensured that some are more equal than others. They have used pseudo-science, pseudo-religion and pseudo-economics to justify their belief in the subjugation and humiliation of other races and creeds. Not to mention politics where we witness so-called social democrats identifying members of their clubs who have unsuitable views about equality.

Of course the best strategy for my opponents is to deny the principle – which in their book gives them licence to deny their hypocrisy, their dressed-up inhumanity, their sense of innate superiority. Their  tribes just play their cards more skilfully, they’ll say; and devil take the hindmost. But I can’t hope St Peter will deal with them in the end; so many of his adherents agree with their flawed conclusions. I just want them to know they can’t fool everyone with their arguments.

A mystery in Hundred-acre Wood

I happened upon the trailer to ‘Christopher Robin’ the other day;  a film (as my reader knows) about the denizens of Ashdown Forest, just down the road from here – which I can see as I write.

So just imagine my mystification when I heard my little ursine friend speak! Wasn’t that a Transatlantic accent? Yes, of course, he is ‘spoken’ by Jim Cummings, who is Disney’s go-to voice for their animal animations.

But then, said I to m’self, said I: the Bear of Very Little Brain (and his friends) are well-known polyglots, talking to their readers all over the world. Even to Romans, in the 1960 best-seller. Salve, Pooh!

There is nothing like a Dane

I came across a Grauniad leader this morning – and had to read it twice. Is this about Denmark, with the happiest people in the world?

I suppose the biggest difference a non-Dane notices over there is that most of the folk in the shopping centres (except perhaps in the few cities) are discernibly descended from Scandinavian stock. Compare that to most British towns. But there is another major difference. Since WWII we have grown used to seeing and living cheek-by-jowl with incomers of all races and persuasions; they are part of our landscape. I hate the word ‘integration’ but I would say they play a part in our society which most of us recognise and no longer resist, as we did at first. But the Danes are still where we stood after WWII! Hence the existence across that small country of 56 ‘ghettoes’, as described in the article, linked below.

After my second reading, I have had visions of PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen playing our favourite Viking, King Canute (never mind the spelling), as portrayed in fake news as a megalomaniac resisting the waves. I hope I’m wrong.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/08/the-guardian-view-on-forcible-integration-in-denmark-this-cannot-end-well

 

Effortless surrender

Your mates, the House of Windsor, have shown the world that the game is up. The centuries of polite condescension practised at arm’s length from popular culture came to an abrupt end amid uncomfortable glances and nervous grimaces. The gates were flung wide. No Trojan horse was required. Come on in, no contest. Canterbury had no reply to Chicago. Gospel trumped the choir boys. Oscars outnumbered Garters. Not an MP or General or billionaire in sight. Just our daily tweeters: George, Idris, David and Victoria. If Diana was the people’s princess, Harry is the champion of the chavs. Bring on the clowns? They are already here.

Festival of Chariots

Ratha Yatra, Brisbane style

When I saw the headline in the local paper, I thought we must have done something rather well if we’d achieved such an exalted status.   But no, nothing to do with us.   Just an annual event that’s been running for about 5,000 years or so.   And even for the past 5 years in Brissie, I find.

It’s a celebration within Hinduism which has caught on in many cities around the world, possibly because of the Beatles’ early fascination with Krishna, and a jolly good thing it has, in my ‘umble opinion.   You can look it up in Wiki, or on this local site.

Unlike many other religions, which are so often associated the screaming of dire imprecations and much frothing at the mouth, Hinduism likes to look on the sunny side of the street, so notice that everyone is smiling broadly, and entering into the spirit of the thing.   Which seems magically to make pulling a four-ton chariot a pleasant task.   Good on ’em!   Here’s the article in the Brisbane Times which caught my eye.

Boadicea is in Japan for a while, but she’ll be back soon.   I hope.

Ripley’s believe it or not!

It’ll soon be the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. On that Sunday 500 million viewers worldwide tuned in, mostly on black and white TVs, to watch the  Lunar parking. I missed it myself, only three at the time, and probably in jammies in bed. Now for the older, wiser (?) me the buzz words “over eyes” and “pull the wool” knit my brows. Was this a big hoodwink?

You could say I am an agnostic Moon Landing conspiracy theorist because I believe it could be 50% right. Firing a rocket with men in it to the moon seems possible. It’s the getting them back that puzzles me. The spaceship has shrank, there’s no scaffolding on the moon that can support/straighten Apollo’s back to earth trajectory and the computerised age of steering things is in its infancy. No drone technology here, only rotary dial phones. Cars in the 60s were basic beasts and prone to breakdown, what chance a ship going all those light years without any wear or tear? I mean, even the communication system was on the blink and the sound man missed an a on Armstrong’s rehearsed script.

I blame Concorde. Continue reading “Ripley’s believe it or not!”

Heads

Gold is very yesteryear, innit? Silence – which is undoubtedly golden – has no place here and speech is silvern. Hence this flattering new portrait which shows me (l) in the limelight and Backside in the shade, just as it should be.

Any road up, we hope you like our new livery – although once again, Backside’s actual words do not bear repetiton. Goodness knows what’s eating him this time.