What is the EU’s strategy for dealing with Brexit – if it has one?
Are confrontation and slander likely to achieve more than diplomacy?
Juncker accuses the UK of 40 years of lying and racism.
Does he hope Ms May will respond with Farage-like jibes?
Le petit Nicolas schemes his way back to the top, despite his criminal cases. Will he be given another chance? Will it make any difference to France’s failing fortunes and Europe’s little local difficulties? Probably not, mes amis.
Thomas Toad spends most days snuggled beneath the bay plant, looking smug
after a puffed-up encounter with his metre-long rival, Black Adder.
It’s a beech hedge, 70 yards long on our southern boundary. Can’t hold the electric trimmer at shoulder level for a couple of hours so it’s the shears! Do they make a battery job that doesn’t need recharging every half hour?
It’s now official, God help us. These two should be on Comedy Central and not C-Span.
Hill Liar: Compulsive liar. All the big lies are in the public domain but there’s a lot of little ones as well lurking in the atmosphere. It was the late Christopher Hitchens that wrote about the meeting of the two famous Hillarys in Asia in 1985. Mrs Clinton claimed she was named after the mountaineer. It was only later that the truth came out. Clinton was born in 1947, six years before Edmund scaled the summit. All those lies, big and small, have led HC to touching distance of the ultimate peak.
Vladimirump: Compulsive thief. Anne Applebaum and the chess expert turned astute political analyst, Garry Kasparov are just two to have written that Trump is a pawn of Putin. It is a big story in Washington at the moment. Donald’s extensive business interests in the Motherland are reason enough for him to not go to war if Russia invades the Baltics. For Commander in Chief Trump the NATO pact is not worth a rouble. Luckily for Donald there is no HUAC to grill him about his Siberian links only an Azeri Grandmaster.
With the choice being between Scylla and Charybdis expect a low turn out on polling day as voters won’t know where to turn. As Kissinger said “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.” Maybe, they can. Is there an honest, hard-working, clean-cut, intelligent Independent candidate out there that could upset the apple cart? Could the 45th POTUS be a dark horse elected by tactical voting?
By the end of 2016, we can expect the world to be changing. Oh yeah, I hear you say, you Januarians always say that kind of thing but nothing really happens.
Well, try this for size:
The confused EU will suspend Shengen without admitting it and immigration via Turkey will virtually cease, following the disappearance of Erdogan and Co.
The UK, led by its Intrepid Triumvirate, will announce a formula for Brexit which safeguards trade with individual Euromembers and drives a coach and four through the EU’s ‘four freedoms’.
President Trump will put the USA into lock-down, by limiting relations with the real world, diplomatically, militarily and commercially. (That will of course exclude his private business interests.) Guns will be issued to the few households not yet/no longer sporting them.
In the wake of the disaster that was Rio 16, international sport will become a rarity, with only football teams going abroad, employing their own armies for protection.
And President Putin will still be missing.
Vincent van Gogh will be getting the Book of the Week treatment next week on Radio 4. The book is unimaginatively called Van Gogh’s Ear. Poor Vincent, all those sunflowers and wheat fields stem into insignificance next to his self-mutilation that fascinates us to this day. Not even the subsequent self-portrait with bandaged ear could get him noticed in the art world. Only in death would VVG become famous.
My first impression of this painter was in a negative light and my post-impressions haven’t changed. Canvases smudged with more paint than a courtesan’s make-up. Unrealistic facial portraits and inaccuracies in anatomy. Then there’s all those flowers. He should have cut them up.
I’ve avoided the temptation to put this painter in the Overrated series because all painters are off their head. Hours puzzling over light and shade. Mixing oils and cleaning brushes. All this painstaking preparation when the landscape or sitter could be captured with the click of a camera.
My ears have heard many pronunciations of the painter’s last name. Obviously, I use the popular Goff but other versions include Go and the guttural Hock. Maybe, it’s Hoff or Ho, who knows?
Lastly, it was in 1888 that Vincent took the razor to his ear. What a terrible year was MDCCCLXXXVIII. Jack the Ripper was serial killing in Whitechapel and the seed was planted that birthed an Austrian monster.
Your friendly, neighbourhood contemporary culture editor is back again. (Stop groaning at the back)
The only show me the money to be made in Hollywood today is in Superhero flicks. The Days of Wine and Roses are gone replaced by spandex and CGI. Even a devoted Marvel Man like me is getting tired by the regurgitated clunkers that have been produced recently.
The latest shlocker is by our Distinguished Competition (That’s DC, folks!) and is called Suicide Squad. It has been hyped to the gunnels and expected to break all box office records. One thing going for it is it features an up and coming starlet from Australia named Margot Robbie. She’s currently at the cinema appearing as Jane in The Legend Of Tarzan. (Still think Maureen O’Sullivan is the ultimate Jane. That time she started the fire with a couple of twigs in Tarzan and his Mate. Yodel-Lodel-LEEEE)
Margot, naturally, cut her teeth in Neighbours. That soap opera has produced more studs and mares than the Darley Arabian. Here’s a wee photo of Margot as a super baddie.
The gardening lobby are a dismissive lot. According to them everything else is as exciting as watching paint dry. Bog Sage, these are the people that watch grass grow!
A garden should consist of a flat lawn and that’s it. Nice and simple, nothing fancy but the world is full of would-be Percy Thrower’s. Who really wants the hassle of extra work and of doing it outdoors? Mowing, sowing, cutting, potting, digging, raking- boring. All those -ings are nothing more than a recipe for sleeping. Endlessly working, always renovating, this gardening charade is nothing more than being an eternal horticultural barber. Just give it a Kojak and be done with. Read more…