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.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
I’ve mentioned before that the Danes are a precocious bunch, especially at this time of the year. Celebrations start on 23rd – known as ‘little Xmas Eve’ -and continue until after the noisy New Year bashes. Hence my bah-humbug picture.
But hey! (happy seasonal retort) Backside and I wish all you intrepid Charioteers the holidays you wish for – for yourselves and your families. Ding dong as merrily as you like, deck your halls and save a glass for poor old Santa!
And a Good Brexit in 2018!
It amazed me, gladdened a few and perhaps amused many to read that Coventry has been named City of Culture 2021. It’s hardly a natural epithet for a city whose history might better be described as dour, bordering on tragic. Oh yes, it’s had its moments of industrial significance (is that the word?) with Frank Whittle’s jet engine and a string of well-known badges gracing its car factories. But genuine culture is harder to discern. Does Mary Ann Evans count? She was born nearby in Nuneaton but lived in the city for some years as she became the noted novelist George Eliot. A bit ponderous for my taste.
But soft ! (etc.) What about Philip Larkin whose only widely known poem starts with a very rude observation? Yes, he counts as culture and he went to ‘my’ grammar school. Even more significantly his poems are imbued with a fatalistic gloom that is an essential part of being a Midlander.
So here’s one of his best poems, Afternoons, written in 1959.
Summer is fading:
The leaves fall in ones and twos
From trees bordering
The new recreation ground.
In the hollows of afternoons
Young mothers assemble
At swing and sandpit
Setting free their children. Continue reading “Home town thoughts”
My reader may not remember 1963, owing to age or wha’ever, but it was a year when the Tories had little local difficulties as potentially disastrous as their current turmoil. They also made prurient reading – often referred to as the Keeler affairs, with her famous beau, Cabinet Minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat, Yevgeny Ivanov.
We were entertained by Christine Keeler’s fellow ‘escort’, Mandy Rice-Davies, immortalised by her comment in Court when confronted by a Defence Barrister: ”Well ‘e would say that, wouldn’t ‘e?”
The gubmint fell and Labour’s Harold Wilson became PM.
I think it would be fair to say that Britain has not always dealt with Ireland fairly or squarely. Think famine and the Troubles. But I have always wondered why the Protestant Sect in the north has been allowed to create endless mayhem when it has been obvious that the best solution would have been a united, independent Ireland. There are enough precedents around the world that would support the idea.
Of course it won’t happen but I’ve had anough of the tail wagging the dog over there. And now the Republic wants to impede progress with Brexit. Typical.
And that’s only the boys, if Archbishop Welby has his Christmas wish. (Sorry to mention the C word in mid-November, but M & S started it.)
Continue reading “Frocks”