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Friday, 13 January 2017

This is it boys...

Morning Swipelings,

Hope the trudge through the hardest part of the year isn't getting you all down up there in the northern hemisphere. Obviously here in the Bahamas, it's all sunshine, palm tress and free pina coladas summoned up with the click of a duty free castanet from the waiters at the 'all-in' holiday resort next door to my humble German-engineered beach shack. The world of Trump, Putin, Brexit and the apparent resumption of hostilities in the war between everybody reasonably well known and the grim reaper* seems light years away. Indeed, if it wasn't for Negrita and her constant ejaculations of disgust at the TMS on the long wave, you wouldn't believe you were even in century 21. My goodness, loves the cricket does that one. She's even bought some pads along. And a box. Incredible...

But enough with the dull cares of the huddled masses. What brings us to the lovely Bahamas besides the obvious incentives of massive tax avoidance opportunities and freedom from extradition?** Well, truth is, I'm enjoying a real surge of mid-late career creative energy and where better to start committing to tape a dystpoian vision of a cold, wartorn, dysfunctional Europe than on the perfect white sands of the Caribbean? Plus it's obvioulsy saving me a packet on the old tax into the bargain. And you can never be 100% sure that those photoshopped images of Putin in a Grayson Perry outfit *won't* get traced back to your own personal computer, regardless of what Ian Hislop might say, now can you?

Anyway, enough of the context. What about the content? Well, we're certainly on  a bit of a roll. Armed with a collection of Eno-generated loops, I've been assembling core tracks on (currently) about 9 new pieces. These range from a bizarre, scarifying and as-yet-untitled 80s style dance number with collosal compression on the snare and snarling synth brass riffs to a couple of reflective ambient instrumentals. Newest off the production line is a sombre Vangelis style epic with a disconcerting synth lead on it that is somewhere between a saxophone and an air raid siren. It's painting mental images for me of the ruins of a bombed out city and that I think will probably be the environment in which the lyrics unfold - assuming I can write any. I'm thinking 'Matter of Life and Death' meets 'Casablanca' re-staged on the bombsite where they plan to build the Burgundy Lido. If that makes any sense. These are suitable soundscape, anyway, over which to contemplate the horrible futures that seem to be hovering just a short way over the horizon for most of us.

Still, nil desperandum and all that. All I can see over the immediate horizon is a smart young chappette in a smart white uniform and bearing a silver salvour crammed with peachy blasts of ice-cold alcopop so, if you'll excuse me...

"Gladstone, I presume..."

L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob xx

*RIP dear old Graham Taylor.

**Thanks Cliff!!!

Friday, 6 January 2017

2017...

Greetings Swipelings...


Well, what a shower of unholy shit that was. 2017, I mean. Blimey, what a cacktastrophe of a year. Easier to name who didn't die than those we very sadly lost. So many luminaries - Daniels, Dickman, Corbett. Rossi, Di Canio, Peroni, that one whose Dad looks the spit of Iggy Pop (pretty much the whole Italian backline by reckoning), Martin, Michael, Carrie, Fischer, Dogger Bank, German Bight (those poor sailors are in for one feck of a year what with half the shipping forecast suddenly popping its clogs). The list is almost endless even without all the poor sods in Aleppo. And then, to top it all, Bert Kwouk goes and snuffs it. I spent half the year checking my own pulse just to make sure I was still alive - and even that was nip and tuck some days, especially during a Copydex flashback. So, for small blessings, we are thankful.

And then, of course, there was the political situation. One minute I'm sunning myself on some exotic shore with various scantily clad economic migrants of no fixed gender persuasion larding on the factor 50, casually swilling down a breezer or two, the next I find I'm living in a country doing its damnedest to turn the clock back to 1973. Oh sure, the music and the flares were great. And the three day weeks, casual sexism and who can forget the blackouts. Jesus, I had a fair few of those. Boy, I could really knock the stuff down back then. Anyway, that's the last time I holiday in Albania, that's for sure. And then there was Brexit. Crisis on a bike, what have you silly sods gone and done? I mean, I was hardly the biggest fan - overwrought, top down, authoritarian, inflexible, rarely seeming even to be cognisant of the UK's existence let alone its interests and increasingly dominated by neo-fascist nations from the former soviet bloc. But as song contests go, Eurovision was a beacon of hope for many and its passing will surely leave an incredible void in the lives of many. 

Well, it's done now. And we've got Trump to...er hem...look forward to as well. Dark days indeed. But, hey ho, where there's a will there's a way...as the saying goes, 'what doesn't kill you probably leaves you stuck to the ironing board covered in someone else's vomit until the emergency services can get to you...' Onwards and upwards. It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to get to Aberystwith....and countless other meaningless platitudes that will serve no purpose whatsoever when pitted against the forces of inhuman corporatism and the neo-liberal apocalypse.

Still, on the plus side...

After a year in the creative doldrums, I'm happy to report that I'm back at work again on a new Long Player. Eno's been popping over with his synthesizer-in-a-knapsack. I don't know where he picks these things up. Last time I went to Curry's, I couldn't even find a hair straightener. Anyway, he's really been on fine form and in between ginger snaps and Peter Cook impersonations he's been challenging me to try to recapture the dizzy heights of our late 1970s oeuvre (I'm never sure how you spell that, less still what it actually means...) I must admit that I was initially reluctant to resume our partnership as I was finding the principle of leaving everything to chance was getting a bit tiresome. I mean, yes, using the oblique strategies cards can open you up to leftfield notions and take a piece in unexpected directions. I don't know, maybe it was just me or rotten luck, but for whatever reason, I just seemed always to end up getting Mr Bun the Baker. And there's only so much you can do with a bag of self-raising flour, a bit of bicarb and a few currants. Well, at least in an experimental electronic music sense.

Right, that's enough waffling from me. Let's get this party started. Here, in the unlikely event that you haven't already played it to death, is a brief preview of the unfettered joys to follow. That's me on synthesized basso profundo and Eno's doing interesting things with a vocodered hairdryer and a bag of bathing crystals. It's a dazed and battered slice of almost-romanticism in a jaded and cynical world. Think David Niven channeling Rik from Casablanca while his plane is shot down on a daring mission to bomb the Acropolis and hurtles to near certain oblivion somewhere just south of Bruxelles . It's not much, but it will at least give you something to wave your zippo at until the fuel runs out....

L.U.V. on y'all,

Bob


Thursday, 20 October 2016

RT Farty...



Director Ken Loach has taken aim at Soviet Russian news channel RT, describing its news coverage as “manipulative and deeply political”. "The USSR Russia is a “rotten place for a director - rampant environmental degradation, it's run like a mafia state and its people are dying off. And Syria is not much better, the way they're bombing the shit out of it fair breaks me poor old 'eart, 'Arold”, said the director of British classics such as Cathy Come Home and that one about the Spanish Civil War with Ian Hart in it.

Prominent leftwinger Loach, who is currently promoting his Palme d’Or-winning film about a man’s struggle with the UK film awards system, I, Daniel Radcliffe, in between embarking upon completely unprovoked Albert Steptoe impersonations, said there was a need to “democratise” the organisation many people believe to be little more than a de facto propaganda arm of the Russian leader Vladimir....sorry, I can't even type his name. He brings me out in hives. Or is it chives? Well, something unpleasant and rashy anyway...
.
“Diversify it," said Loach, "so that different regions can make their own dramas - Ukraine, Chechnya, various parts of the middle east and the bits of Norwegian water they plough through so they can command another few raids on the poor bleedin' children of Syria....you would'n leave me like this would yer'Arold? Not with me scurvy and me lumbago and me severely compromisin' 'alitosis, would yer narer?? And its notion of news has got to be challenged,” he told Pravda.

“Russia Today is very aware of its role in shaping people’s consciousness; this is the story you should hear about, these are the people worth listening to - i.e. P..P...Pu...no, it's making me retch too, just visualising him gallivanting around in the nip, carrying a surface to air missile launcher. It’s manipulative and deeply political. Narer, boil us a pan o' water so's I can soak me bunnions, there's a good lad....”

In response to the comments, an RT spokeswoman said: “Russia Today is independent and adheres to clear published editorial guidelines including on impartiality that have all been agreed by Mr..P...P..., no, sorry, I can't say it either. Just trying to shape the words in my mouth is making me feel nauseous, as if the foul vapors of corruption were trying to strangle my soul and turn me into a witless harpy vocalising the deranged newspeak of a man who'd happily butcher his own children and sell off his people for a few re-runs of The Man From U.N.C.L.E and a Downton Abbey boxed set... Right, that's it, I'm jacking all this in to become a weather girl on Look East. The money and the audience are lousy, but at least I get to choose my own frocks and I'll have at least a shred of self-respect when I go to bed at night..."

Mr. Loach is 80.




Friday, 8 July 2016

Euro 2016 semi final - France 2 - Germany 0...




Nohing has changed, everything has changed...

Is it just me or did something cosmically wierd happen at midnight on 1st January 2016? Within a few days we'd lost Lemmy, Bowie, Rickman... Terry Wogan...George Martin... Ronnie Corbett... Victoria Wood....Prince....just a few days ago, poor Caroline Aherne. A pretty shit year for deaths of the great and good, by any standard. Simultaneously, we in the UK have spent the first half of the year bracing ourselves for a possible exit from the European Union and will no doubt spend the rest of the year and beyond, regretting the reality of actually leaving. Isis, NATO troops massing in Poland, Sophie leaving Love Island...can it seriously get any worse? And now, to top it all, the reigning world champions and, in my view, the most entertaining German football side in a long time have been knocked out of Euro 2016 by a French side who barely seemed to get a kick of the ball in the whole 90 minutes. You could forgive any visiting Martians for wondering what kind of a wierd-arsed planet they'd landed on. Something in the water does not compute.

There was something plain wrong right from the start, the BBC for some reason honing in on the seemingly ubiquitous theme of sausages in common German football related epithets in their preview clip. Wierd. That alongside the always disconcerting apparition of Rio Ferdinand's mouth suggested that already things were not all they seemed to be. Stranger still, the panel all fancied France to win. [Gallic shrug] ??? Did they know something we didn't? Off to the anthems, hard not to recall that famous scene in Rick's Bar from Casablanca; the calm majesty of 'Deutcshland uber alles', stately and slightly chilling as ever, followed by 'The Marseillaise' pumped out here on home town soil with almost as much frenzied and slightly hysterical passion as in the film.

The game kicked off and it immediately looked as if we were in for exactly the kind of classic that both teams' form in the rest of the tournament had promised. The game seemed open and end to end, Griezmann carrying on the sort of form that he'd been showing from precisely 2 minutes after my observation during the game against the Republic of Ireland that he was a vastly over-rated and useless waste of space, scoring twice almost no sooner than the words had left my mouth. With further slackness completely in line with my journalistic standing, to-ing and fro-ing about the kitchen to dish up supper (Trompetti pasta with a plain tomato sauce and garlic bread) as I am, I miss the one genuine moment of quality the French produce in the whole 90, only catching the second half of a blazing Griezmann inspired move that involves an entire repertoire of feints, wriggles and gives and goes before the new French talisman shoots low, forcing the first (and only) real save he has to make in open play from Manuel Neuer (James Corden). It's an exciting opening passage and bodes well for the game ahead.

And then the Germans take complete control of the game. For the next 35 minutes, they pass and probe until someone, usually Mesut Ozil (Peter Lorre as Ugate in Casablanca - "aw, Meestah Reeek") slides in an impossibly cleverly angled pass for someone to either cross to no one in particular, scuff a shot in the general direction of a French defender or force a corner. On and on it goes, wave after wave... Ozil ("You're hoiting my oirm") to Draxler (Joey Essex) to Muller (Frank Ifield) to Schweinsteiger (Brendan from Strictly) to Boateng (Duke Ellington)...on and on they pass and move, pass and move, pass and move. The camera cuts to the watching German coach, a progressively drained looking Joachim Low (any male member of Blondie) as yet another exquisite move ends in yet another fumble by Muller or an equally exquisite, well-intentioned and algebraically implausible pass from Ozil ("You despise me, don't you...?")

The half seems destined to peter out ahead of what promises to be a rip-roaring second half of further sustained German domination leading to an equally inevitable German goal, probably in the 77 minute leaving far too little time for a tired and demoralised France to even think about equalising, let alone another 30 minutes of being played off the park in extra time and the sheer formality of losing on penalties, should the need arise. Then, having offered nothing else in the way of attack except for a plodding jog and equally unconvicing punt goalwards from Olivier Giroud (A Young and Dashing Captain Haddock), France somehow contrive to win a corner. It's floated over and seems to have come to nothing. The cannier French supporters at the opposite side of the ground have already begun to make their way towards the bar so as to beat the queues for a casually squirted 3/4 full plastic mug of tepid Stella Artois. But what's this? The referee marches towards Schweinsteiger and is brandishing a yellow card - was it something he said? Dissent? Another of those illegal lifts in the American Smooth? No, he's only gone and given away a penalty. It seems barely credible, but then the Germans have form already in the tournament, Boateng doing his jazz hands in the box had similarly gifted Italy an equaliser from the spot in the quarter final.

Griezmann (who else?) steps up and sends his penalty high and true in the opposite direction to the flailing Neuer. The camera surveys the German support (evidently none of them Arsenal fans) who, having seen their team completely dominate possession with an adventurous and stylish display somehow still go in trailing the French who've mustered barely two attacks. They stare blank and uncomprehending into the crazy chasm of chaos and uncertainty that's casually blown a gaping hole in their 21st century worldview. First Brexit, and now this. How, we telepathically intuit from their shocked and broken collective countenace, could we have been so much in control and now stand to lose everything? Half time: France 1 - Germany 0.

Back to the studio for some reassuring 'don't worry, the Germans always win, usually on penalties'-type banter from Lineker and co. In case that's not enough to soothe our frayed nerves, they re-run the highlights of the 1982 world cup semi final - the terrible beauty of Harold Schaumaker's wrecking ball challenge that left Patrick Battiston a crumpled wreck on the eighteen yard line; a subtle marker of German indomitability. The subtext: don't worry, the Germans always find a way.

The second half opens with a close up on a tragic Mesut Ozil. He's been yellow carded even before the game's had a chance to restart - possibly for carrying transit papers obtained by murdering German couriers in the Free French zone? There will be no way back now, you can see it in Mesut's face and the indignation rising up and visible in his cheeks. We're all sat back expecting Germany to once more click through the gears and regain the astonishingly fluent rhythm they'd established in the first half. But nothing's doing. The French, emboldened now, start to come out of their shells and when they're not giving the Germans stuff to think about themselves, they're good enough at disrupting the teutonic rhythm to introduce a degree of fraughtness to the German side that seemed inconceivable during their dominant period in the first forty minutes.

The Peronis start to kick in now and the horrible prospect of France reaching a tournament without having fired a shot in real anger brings the cumulative Brexit-inspired xenophobia and Little Englander mentality sharply to the surface. The English fans are right - they'd be speaking German if it wasn't for us. It's all a conspiracy, a last ditch effort to keep the fraying fabric of the coalition at the heart of the doomed European project together...Once more unto the breach, dear freunde...like daschunds in the slips....straining upon the start...the game's afoot... follow your spirit, and upon this charge cry 'God for Merkel, Deutschland, and Saint Gerd!'

As if in reproach for this Ukip-y display, France start to take the upper hand looking dangerous now everytime they break into the German half. Then it all goes Fawlty Towers in the German box. Sybil's on the blower to Audrey asking if she's staunched it yet and thus completely oblivious to the oncoming Pogba. Polly trips over the Major and hands the ball straight back to Pogba who dinks in a harmless looking cross, but Manuel collides with Basil while he's trying to fix a moose head to the cross bar and can only palm the ball right onto the boot of (who else?) Griezmann and before you can say "You started it, no vee didn't, yes you did you invaded Poland" it's 2-0 France. There's still time enough for Germany to make a game of it, but they don't really. They decide to go the whole Arsenal hog and spend far too much time trying to create a perfect opening when they'd be much better advised to lump it in the box and at least get one goal back quickly. Too late, they start creating half chances with the latter approach. But the game was lost just before half time, in another of those wierd and explicable moment of madness that seem to be defining this year.

France versus Portugal in a final on Sunday that surely won't be anything like as fitting a finale as this game promised to be. But then, going on current form it will Portugal 17- France 58 and President Hollande will do a striptease at half time.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Scott Walker's Indispensable Guide to the Tory Leadership Election!!!...

Nice to have a little light relief yesterday from all the Brexit hoo-ha, however brief, with the long-awaited unveiling of the Chilcot Inquiry report completely dominating the day's news coverage. Didn't it feel great for once to be talking about a country needlessly plunged into chaos and civil war, left without civilised leadership and ultimately taken over by psychopathic lunatics that *wasn't* the UK? Sadly, today throws us straight back into the tumult of the post-Brexit fallout as that wonderful old British institution the Conservative and Unionist party seeks to find a new leader, one whose future role will no doubt be to oversee the gradual break up of the UK and the dismantling of whatever of the nation's institutions they were supposedly set up to conserve that they haven't destroyed already. And, this being the cradle of democracy and the a beacon for all those around the globe who see societies best governed not by a small all-powerful elite, the same 330 MPs and several thousand Conservative members who choose the party leader will also be responsible for deciding who becomes Prime Minister at this critical time in the nation's history.  Love Island, it is not.

Fortunately though, those few thousand people aren't *all* swivel-eyed neo-Nazi xenophobes who would gladly force the repatriation of everyone born outside the home counties to flea-ridden shanty town just outside Calais, so I'm sure they'll make a very wise choice. Even more fortunately, the infinitely wise Parliamentarians on the government benches will very kindly weed out all but the most fantastically inept and completely ill-equipped to serve in a series of voting rounds. Anyone who doubts the wisdom of this process need only look at the two candidates who've already been given the heave ho. Stephen Crabbs - a man who obviously doesn't look in the mirror whilst shaving and who fervently believes in the principle of same sex marriages, but presumably only so that those thus joined in matrimony can then be cured of their homosexuality as couples - is evidently not yet ready to become PM. He would be no slouch in a Boy Band though, I'm sure. Dr. Liam Fox on the other hand, is not yet ready to be allowed out in public without an accompanying adult and yet this has not prevented him from being able to practice medicine with sufficient competence to, as far as we know, have avoided disbarment (or dismemberment, even) - well, so far. Furthermore, he also managed to hold a cabinet office until his complete dependency upon "a special friend" made his attendance at the already somewhat overcrowded meetings unsustainable.

So who are we left with? Well, the second round of voting will see three candidates - Theresa May, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove - whittled down to just two whose names that will be put before the Tory party membership for the final vote. Obviously as many of those members are avid Swipe Show readers, I felt it incumbent to provide the most detailed and insightful analysis of all the runners and riders. And who better to give us the ultimate low down on who is best suited to take the nation's helm at this perilous juncture, than Sixties crooning heart-throb and avant garde noise-making legend.....Mr. Scott Walker!!

OK, so here's the form...


Theresa May

The Swipe Show analysis:

Odds on favourite to become the country's second female Prime Minister (the first if you don't count Ted Heath), May has proved an astonishingly liberal and forward looking Home Secretary, contributing massively to the cosmopolitan aspect of the nation by vastly increasing the number of immigrants entering during her stewardship to the hundreds of thousands - and all this in the face of an explicit manifesto commitment to reduce immigration levels to below the tens of thousands! If you want a Home Secretary who will leave the country's small airfields completely unattended and secure our coastline with three small tugs and a flotilla of rubber ducks daubed with the legend 'Keep off the shingle', Theresa's your man! Competent, stylish, and wholeheartedly commited to a vibrantly multicultural and permissive Britain, May is none of these things so should be an absolute shoe-in with the rancourous closet racists who will have the final say.

Scott says: 

"The ribald cataclysm of my jurisdiction conjugates the mad and smooth banana whimsies of my porcupine desire.

Andrea Leadsom

The Swipe Show analysis:

The dark horse who emerged from nowhere to become the Brexiters best hope of leading the country's protracted negotiations to leave the EU. Critics have poured scorn on her attempts to over state her experience in the financial sector, but this is mainly sour grapes. As well as being able to count to 38 mainly unassisted, Leadsom also set up her very own internet banking account with the Halifax and is a steely and redoubtable presence around the Monopoly board. She may yet be outflanked by tactical voting from members of the May camp who have already received communications from Gove's campaign team attempting to sway them, but don't bet against her in the Cheltenham Gold Cup - especially if the going is good to firm.

Scott says:

"The gibbons of nomenclature are rattling soda streams upon the violent stoneage prism ullulating strange propensities of haddock on my shins".

Michael Gove

 The Swipe Show analysis:

What can be said about the Justice Secretary that hasn't been said already? Very little that doesn't involve language so obscene that even we at Swipe Towers blanche at using it. Compassionate, sincere, a committed internationalsit who wants to create a new, kinder form of political discourse, why can't Jeremy Corbyn be Prime Minister instead?? OK, so he'd spend half his time worrying about the soil sustainability of a small indigenous tribe in the Gambia while the whole European economy collapsed around his ears, but at least if we were ever stupid enough to lie our way into another ridiculous and counter productive invasion, plunging the entire  middle east into anarchy and chaos just so the US president's best pals could all make a killing from the reconstruction process, at least he'd have the good grace to apologise on behalf of his party......and he's an Arsenal fan. .......Nice beard?

Scott says:

"Maudlin eyed the clams of grief are dormant with vertiginous delusions of a cardboard cutout hell."




Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tangled up in blue...

23rd June 2016: An Undisclosed Greek Island Hideaway....

Negrita and I rise early and decide to take a walk around the Harbour. It's a stunning morning; cloudless, azure. Gentle wafts of warmth ripple above and around us as a swirl of heat-haze wraps itself around the base of the far off boobs of Ithica. Dogfighting swallows swit and swoop down over the road ahead of us and a brilliant diamante lightshow flickers playfully over the calm blue-green waters. From somewhere deep within the shade of a sun-bleached holiday apartment an English drone rises above the chorus of cicadas: "....mmmm, I see David Cameron's resigned dear..."

Hey-ho. Another day in paradise.

As Negrita pauses to re-do the laces of her steel toecapped DMs, I feel a gentle stirring in my pocket and the muffled accompaniment of the theme from Emmerdale. Who's ringing at this ungodly time of the day? I wonder. Eventually I manage to fish the wriggling mobile out from inside a heavily velcroed patch pocket and look at the screen of the vibrating rectangle. It's SamCam:

"Hello, is that you Boris?"

"Sorry love, scroll down a line or two in your address book for the former London Mayor. You've got through to me, Bob..."

"Oh Bob, I'm like so sorry to ring so early, it's just such a blimmin' terrible mess that my stupid, fat-faced hubby's gone and got us all into. If I told him like once he was a fool not to confront his stupid blimmin' party instead of making himself a hostage to fortune with that stupid refer-ruddy-rendum, I told him a flippin' hundred times....Argggghh!!! Men! (Soz! Not you obvs.) Anyway, so soz to witter on. Enough of me and my petty domestics, how's like everything with you? BTW, did I ever tell you that I suggested they use 'Tangled up in blue' for his lordship's walk on music at the last party conference? Too long, appar. Not to mention too depressing. But yeah. Oh and Dave and the kids just *l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-v-e* the Christmas Album. Was it hard to do? You know, you like being Jewish and all that?...."

"....erm, Bob *Swipe*...

"Oh darling Bob! How *are* you?? So soz! Honestly, I'm like all ruddy over the shop this a.m. as you can probably tell. Don't know whether I'm coming or going - well, *you* know what I mean. So, how's Negrita?"

 "Still incredibly erm...*gothic*..."

"Serious? LOL. Yeah, but like *w-o-w* what a lucky accident. Actually, you might be just the very man - sorry, *person* - to help out at this time of our like greatest national need and everything...well, since 2008 anyway...mmm. What say ye The Great Robert Swipe? Will you mount the silver charger and be the knight who rides to rescue the nation in its time of peril???"

"Why, what's happened?  We don't play Iceland til Monday night....it's not....no.....NO! They *didn't*.....????? *O-h*....*M-y-y-y-y-y-y*....*G-o-d*.....please, tell me it isn't true...Camantha....please.....?"

"Soz Bob....the votes have been counted and the UK has chosen to leave the European Union...."

"Phew, thank Christ for that! For one horrible moment I thought you were going to say they'd voted out the one on Love Island who swings both ways....Is she still in there? And has she 'hooked up' with another lassie yet? Answer the second question first..."

"No, it's true Bobsters. We're leaving the EU, Dave's resigned and we need *you* to come back and lift the nation's spirits with your edgy, politically incorrect, gender non-specific satirical glamorousness.....-ness....."

"Listen Camantha, I'm very flattered and everything, but for one thing...I'm *retired* and for another thing....I'M ON BLADDY HOLIDAY!!!!"

"Oh no, Bobsters - we *n-e-e-e-e-d you!! P-l-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e!! It's like the old hubby is always saying - at times like this we need all our beloved national instituions to put aside all their many differences and come together for the sake of the party. *Country*, I meant country. *C-o-m-e* *o-n*.....*p-u-r-l-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e*! Who else could swan into a room looking like a baggy-eyed Librarian on Prozac after a marathon scrabble orgy, wearing a ridiculously patterened pair of kitten heels, a poorly-conditioned grey bob and an ill-fitting tartan man-suit and still give off the impression of being an imperious fashion icon always at least two steps ahead of the general zeitgeist with his/her finger firmly on the pulse of the nation's movers and shakers? Besides, you're like the only national treasure left alive who isn't on the sex offenders register..."

"...Lummy....I hadn't thought of it like that. I suppose you're right - Bowie, Prince, Wogan, Daniels, DLT, Savile and Cliff...."

"You *s-e-e-e-e-e*?"

"....and just for the record, the thirty three crates of junior-sized bottles of Vimto and all the boiled sweets genuinely *were* for a charity wheelchair marathon I was organising....you do know that..."

"*P-r-e-e-e-e-e-e-t-y* *p-l-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-a-s-e*???

".....Oh alright then.....I'M IN!!!! (....erm....you know what I mean)..."

                                                          *            *            *

5th July 2016: Sky Studios, Osterley, Middlesex...

"...and that facking useless tosser Crabbs? Facking great that's going to sound around the facking negotiating table: "We've got Merkel, Hollande, Junker ....how about you?" "Erm, we've got Crabbs." Ezackly - and another thing. May? May? MAY????? I wish she *facking* would. I'm sorry, no disrespect or anyfing, but even your bladdy Negrita does a better impersonation of a woman than that. Lord, give me strength. I mean come on, Leopardskin patterened kitten heel never did a fackin' parsnip butter, non? And as for Gove...Gove?? Gove??? GOVE????? CUNT! more like. I'll give him fackin' experts....Ere, Mikey! Whaddaya fink of experts narer you speccy little nerdicunt? Come in fackin' handy helping you to extricate your fackin head from yer shitting fackin A-R-S-E...after I've fackin' *RAMMED* it up there, wouldn't they!! You divvy little SHITRAG....."

It had seemed such a good idea at the time. Get a few Tory grandees and informed members of the commentariat together over a hot toddy or two to discuss the runners and riders on a prime time cable television news show... Unfortunately, and like many people, I'd never seen Sir John Major as pissed as a fart on Oranjeboom and 12 year old Irish whiskey depth chargers. Lord preserve us. And Norman Tebbit hasn't even started yet.

Everything was so straightforward in the run up to the referendum campaign, wasn't it? Well, it was for me at any rate. I hadn't given it a single thought aside from wondering whether to do a three way accumulator on us voting to stay in, Scott and Cady being kicked out of Love Island and Bournemouth winning the Premier League. That aside, little had perturbed the old Swipe noodle beyond whether or not to ask Negrita to revert to using the daywear nail extensions whilst observing the traditional fin de jour after-sun rubbing ritual and how many slices of lime with which to jack up the first calming, post-swim 'buie breezer of the day. Greece being Greece, a day by the pool wouldn't be fit for the name without the occasional heated debate about the politics of the moment. Nicholas, our kindly white-haired, olive-skinned concierge would gaily appraise me of the national mood as he and his fellow countrymen grappled with the rigours of Troika-imposed austerity.

"You know who I like?" he says on the night of the referendum vote, glaring at me as if he wants to rip my bladder out, inflate it with his own breathe, tie it to the end of a long stick and fire several thousand rounds of machine gun ammunition at it in front of a baying crowd of equally angry Greeks. "Terrorists!! I like, yes! See my house....mmm??? (pointing to the next building down the hillside from our villa)... there...*three* *guns*....yes! (a trident of angry Greek fingers waved under my nose for emphasis)...YES!!! Politicians, mmm? (Nicholas mimes taking his part in the summary execution of the line of politicians arranged in front of him in his mind's eye, presumably using one of the three guns he keeps in the house.) I'd only asked him about the football.

"Mmm? Is good?" he asks, pointing at the beautiful sugary pink wedges of water melon he's very kindly brought for us on a paper plate to eat by the swimming pool. But Nicholas has a point. His pension was EU2,400 per month before the last Greek election. He voted against austerity and the troika and got the government he wanted. His pension is now EU1,200 per month. Negrita and I wave from the taxi that will take us through thunder, rain and lightning, all the way down the length of the island to the airport. Nicholas and his wife stand by the gates to the villa, waving back, mouthing the same two words over and over: "Thank you..."

Friday, 14 August 2015

Tom Waits......and Waits......and Waits......and Waits.....and Waits....



....course what old Jedediah never reckoned on was the fall of Communism and the subsequent loosening up of trade barriers and the eventual globalisation of market conditions that we know and love today. See he had all his savings tied up in a little lobster hatchery out there in Somalia - pretty humble returns at first but low overheads and plus he used to get the little bits of broken off shell and pincer sent over to him in Wisconsin by mail order and they kind of came in handy on the rockery that he and old man Snowden down the way were constructing for Mrs Liebedish who had the Crowbars' old place over at Sleaman's Gullet that she came into when her Great Aunt Evadne came down with the croup and had to be shipped out in several separate packages to a rest and recuperation centre in Devil's County where they tried to shock out of her with electrodes the spirit of a 19th century Rosicrucian card shark and illusionist called Saul F. Magorian whom she claimed had been directing her every action since VJ Day on account of the mysterious and untimely manner of his demise at the hands of a German immigrant called Otto Schlussbomblats who had inadvertently sliced through a major artery with a piece of cheesewire having mistaken Magorian for a finely matured segment of Roquefort he'd been saving to celebrate Kaiser Wilhelm's recovery from a terrible stomach upset in the Spring of 1914....

Scott Walker To Take on Janner Defence Role in Historic Sex Abuse Case...



Breaking news just hitting the wires would suggest an astonishing turn of events in the impending trial of Lord Janner. The ageing peer of the realm has been controversially called to stand trial for alleged child abuse dating back to the 1960s. Despite the protestations of innocence of Lord Janner and his family, the peer's lawyers appeal against his being tried for the alleged offences on the grounds of poor health and dementia was recently overturned despite their being strong evidence that he is a member of the House of Lords. However, this traditionally strong indicator of poor mental health bordering on pyschotic insanity was dismissed by magistrates and so, on pain of arrest, Janner has been forced to attend initial hearings where, with alarmingly suspicious alacrity, he was able to answer yes to his own name. It recently came to light that he has also been suffiently mentally agile to fiddle his expenses for the past 2 years despite having previously testified to being unable to distinguish his own faeces from an airfix model of a Lancaster bomber.

In light of the mounting evidence of an attempted cover-up and potential miscarriage of justice should it transpire that Janner is no more insane than any other member of the political establishment, his choice of 1960s crooner turned avant garde bete noire Scott Walker as his defence lawyer is guaranteed to raise eyebrows, not least in the legal profession. "It's either an incredibly canny double bluff on Janner's part or he really is as loopy as a box of tadpoles", opined human rights lawyer Michael Mansfield QC. "Obviously, if I was looking for a brief who could supply silver throated harmonies to a gossamer-fine melody and soar above the gothic baroque of a quintessential dark sixties pop arrangement, Walker would be my go-to guy. But I fear he may be criminally exposed in the cut and thrust of the law court - especially if he pulls any daft stunts like whacking a pig's carcass with a drumstick or spending three weeks talking in a Mickey Mouse voice like he did on his last LP...."

In a tersely worded statement, Janner's new advocate outlined the bare bones of the case for the defence...

"The harbour kitchen ratchets up a crimson vestibule of mawkish rectitude and spinning rams the dog's leash sawdust billows of the prowling VOLE SPEW VOLE SPEW VOLE SPEW. Arachnophobe."

The case continues on Monday...



Downton Jihadi - episode 5...





 Previously on Downton Jihadi...

Sybil informs Gwenda that she has applied for a position at the Daily Telegraph on Gwenda’s behalf. Gwenda is thrilled to discover she has an interview and fakes a head wound in order to sneak out of the house. Sybil takes the governess cart and together with Gwen speeds off towards the town, tomato ketchup streaming from the roll of bath towel she has unconvincingly wrapped around her forehead. Although the interview goes well - they're impressed with her until she makes the silly mistake of mentioning the well-known editor who had resigned over the, as he saw it, alarming degree of influence wielded over content by the paper's advertisers. Having resigned, he wrote a damning opinion piece about the matter for a rival publication. Incensed, the Telegraph's owners described the piece as 'ridiculous - an incoherent conflation of the self-justifying, the bigoted and the biased, completely devoid of truth, evidence or accuracy - in short, exactly the kind of journalism that made him such a fabulous Telegraph contributor.' The interview over, the pair run into problems on their return journey when they are denied entry into a compartment on the train - they are told it's against the railroad's regulations to bring a governess cart onto a mainline commuter service. They have to walk the governess and her cart the rest of the way home and, with the family worrying about Sybil’s whereabouts, they arrive at Downton late, wet, covered in sticky red condiment and miserable.

Daisy is unable to get over what she witnessed on the night of Pamuk’s death. 'Psycho' is just one of those films that stays with you, I suppose. Like 'Honey, I shrunk the kids'. Edna O‘Brien-O'Edna-O'Brien O'Edna and Thomas suspect that the girl knows something. When questioned, she replies Le Paz, which is indeed the highest airport above sea level in the world. O’Brien-O'Edna deliberately hints to Edith that Daisy is hiding what she knows and that it may be harmful to Mary. This indeed turns out to the case. When asked 'What is the nickname of Association Football team West Ham United? She eventually gives up her ridiculous attempts at concealment and replies, 'The Hammers'.


In the village hall, they are preparing for the summer flour show. Isobel learns that Violet always wins the Grantham Cup for Best Wholemeal , despite Molesley’s father, Bill, growing the best self-raising. Violet denies that any outside influence is ever brought to bear but Isobel isn’t convinced but it all becomes a moot point anyway when Bill is discovered pouring a fresh bag of MacDougall's into his pestle.

Cora informs Robert of a rumour going round London questioning Mary’s virtue - she has none whatsoever, people are saying. Who could be spreading it? And what kind of man spreads things on a woman who patently has no virtue whatsoever? A pervert?? Surely not Evelyn Nappier-Rash? Although he was spotted leaving Mary's bedroom bearing a tub of Bovril and a spatula just the other evening. Cora wants Mary married so she suggests a local landowner, Sir Anthony Strallan. Robert Peston is unconvinced. Call him old fashioned, but if there's any marrying to be done around here, surely it's best left to the local priest or vicar? Or Imam? Strallan is too old and stuffy, so maybe there's still hope for him if he can do a crash course in theology and pull a few strings to get a stipend somewhere local. Mary rejects the plan. She tells Cora to concentrate on Edith’s martial art prospects, as she needs all the help she can get with her ju-jitsu. Edith is listening, which is a start, but she'll need to do more than just cop an ear when the blows start raining down on her torso.

Mrs Patmore seems fretful. Nothing is right, and Mrs Hughes notes to Carson that Daisy is bearing the brunt. At least, she hopes that's what she said. Her increasingly erratic hearing and advanced cognitive impairment have led to several highly embarrassing exchanges of late. Cora has the recipe for a pudding that she’d like to give to Sir Anthony. Sir Anthony, a complete botcher when it comes to anything cullinary, would much rather she just baked the ruddy thing herself and just gave him the pudding. Mrs. Patmore will have none of it and shouts at Daisy when she suggests she could read the new recipe to her. However, later, as pudding is served, Sir Anthony splutters in disgust. The whole thing is covered with salt instead of sugar - I told you he was a botcher, a ban-jaxed bollocks of a cack-handed clot when it comes to anything to do with the kitchen. Mrs Patmore is quick to blame Daisy but when she is alone with Carson, she confesses she thinks she’s going blind. Carson reveals this to Mrs. Hughes and although she sympathises, she makes it known that this behaviour cannot continue.

Thomas is almost caught stealing wine by Bates and when Thomas’s bullying of William continues, he has now progressed to episodically beheading him having drawn a dotted line around his neck during the last crucifiction and is now hacking away at the dots every so often with a special mail order scimitar he saw advertised in the Downton Gazette, the boy has an ally in Bates who foolishly hints to Thomas that he might reveal the latter’s stealing of the wine to Mr. Carson. He never would, but Thomas looks to O’Brien for help and they embroil a naive Daisy into their plan.

One of Robert Peston’s snuff boxes has gone missing and Carson rounds up the servants, dresses them in demeaning orange boiler suits and has them incarcerated in a Cuban prison camp without even the courtesy of a trial. Anna realises that Thomas and O’Brien O'Edna are involved - they have been secretly dying the boiler suits orange for years and desperately hoping for a cataclysmic event such as the disappearance of a snuff box to act as justification for an aggresively expansionist foreign policy and the suspension of Habeus Corpus. She warns Bates and sure enough he finds the missing box has been planted in his room along with a 'dodgy dossier' based on a thoroughly inaccurate failed Ph.D thesis that attempts to prove that the servants have also been using the snuff box to conceal chemical weapons. But, although he enjoys watching O’Brien and Thomas fret when Carson demands a room search, in the end he replaces it without giving them away in the vain hope that this clemency will be enough to deter Thomas from crucifying him. Anna tells Bates how she feels about him - he makes her skin crawl, but she finds the sensation strangely arousing - but he cannot allow himself to respond. Something in his past is preventing him, quite possibly a historic bout of lumbago which makes any form of sexual intimacy acutely painful and prone to flatulence.

(....to be dis-continued....)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Gardeners Question Time....

....With this week's guest host...


Joe Pesci!

JP: Arright ya  mama Luke's - what can I do for yous?? OK, our first question today comes from Mr. Derek Robledo - huh, what kind of crazy assed fuckin' name is that? - of Stoke D'Abernon, Surrey. OK, fire away Fuck....

DR: Good evening Mr Pesci. My wife and I have been having terrible trouble with our sebaceous borders - can you recommend a good mulching solution for the incredibly chalky soil conditions we have round our way....

JP: Oh sure! Why the fuck don't I just fucking well come round to your fucking *shit* *hole* of a garden in Stoke d'Fuckin'-Abernon, dig a great big fuckin' hole in the fuckin' ground and I can bury yous two fuckin' assholes in the fuckin' hole and then you can take your stupid fuckin' mulching fuckin' soil con-fuckin'-ditions and shove them up your cock suckin' fuckin' *ass* you crazy motherfuckers....

Next week:

Thought for the day with Frankie Boyle...

xxx
'Berta

Downton Jihadi - episode 4....





Previously on Downton Jihadi...

Edith's reefer madness at the local Hindu mosque has got her ex-communicated from the C of E. She is now on the hunt for a new religion, desperately so as she still wants a church wedding and has to do *something* with those 3,479 tins of piccalili she has been systematically swiping from the local Marks and Sparks since her confirmation, hoping one day to bequeath it to the tombola stall at the annual summer fete and simultaneously catapault herself into the Guinees Book of Records. Pamuk's death has deprived both Arsenal and England of a very capable stand-in for their mercurial midfield schemer, Mesut Ozil. The former Miss Leichtenstein is also completely beside herself, itself a very useful asset when playing the offside trap. She is currently being courted by several scouts from the elite of European football but is thought to be considering seeing out her current contract then 'doing a Bosman' to Italy in the summer where she'll be a shoo in to the defence of any top flight club. Catenaccio, isn't it. She too has no idea what an entail is not neither, nor what a Catenaccio is.

Now read on...


The fair has come to Downton Village,which is just as well because the unfair was seriously starting to piss a heck of a lot of people off. Bates encourages William to ask Daisy to go with him but before he gets a chance, Thomas jumps in and a delighted Daisy accepts his offer to go to Gateshead instead - anywhere there isn't a sodding fair going on. She can't abide them and if it weren't for the yet-to-be-born-and-buddy-up-with-David-Cameron-to-usher-in-the-Coalition Nick Clegg, fairs would probably be her least favourite things in the whole wide world. It is left to Mrs Patmore - no, don't worry, she's a new one on me too - who tries and fails to explain to Daisy why Thomas is not right for her. She gets as far as his halitosis and the fact that he simply has no interest whatsoever in extending the life of his calliper by occasionally giving it a once over with the brasso but then gives up and flounces off, puffing out her cheeks and making a strange angry moaning noise. She is clearly a 'glass half empty' type, which, to be fair, is more than often the case. Thomas’s bullying increases towards William - he has progressed to crucifictions now. Even William notices and tempers flare, but there's little he can do from up there but grimace and wince and occasionally ask his Father why he has forsaken him. But Thomas takes it all in his stride, walking around with a mouthful of nails and a hammer on the off chance that he might bump into William and hastily erect a cross out of any loose timbers that might be lying around. He is definitely a 'glass half full' type is Thomas.

Sybil has awoken politically and is toying with joining Sinn Fein, even though they aren't standing any candidates on the British mainland. She instantly connects with the new Irish chauffeur, Branson, who shares her affinity for politics, although he's always been more of a Democratic Unionist himself. Robert is, at first, amused by his new chauffeur’s radicalism - he even invites him to go into an electoral pact with the local UKIP candidate in the hope that they can *really* stuff the Tories - but he comes to regret his choice, accidentally voting Lib Dem when he meant to put his cross by the Literal Democrat candidate. It might be legal, he seethes, but it really is *not* cricket, a trick like that. Meanwhile, Sybil is determined to help Gwen get a new job as a weather girl on the BBCs West Country local news programme and despite Gwen’s first interview falling through due to her making some very disrespectful comments about yet-to-be-born/famous Poldark actress Angharad Rhys (no, I don't know if that's the proper spelling either - it could well be Rees....), Sybil assures her there will be a next time.

Anxious to get the entail broken (some sort of lock?) and to advance Mary as heiress, Violet shocks Mahfuz by visiting his office to see if he will look into the matter. He says he'd love to, but he left his monocle at home. Could he give it a quick feel and maybe that way he'd be able to give her some idea as to what the matter is? Later, an awkward Mahfuz visits Robert to discuss Violet’s request. The two have grown close and Mahfuz takes his role as heir very seriously, he later runs into Mary, whom he appears to have a crush on. Mary for her part is still mourning Pamuk whom she is still convinced could have gone on to win the Champions League if only he was still alive and had been played more often in the central midfield role his surgical final passing skills demanded.

Mahfuz informs a delighted Robert that he does see Downton as his future, but only if it can be physically relocated to somewhere in the Levant. He desperately wants to die near Mecca and is not to be moved on the subject, even when told that there is an excellent William Hill's just at the bottom of the hill. But Mary feels that in Mahfuz, Robert Peston has found his ‘son’ and will no longer bother trying to fight the entail - I thought they'd made that illegal anyway, like badger baiting and things like that?

Robert Peston makes it clear to Violet that he is not moveable on his position regarding the entail and can she please leave him is peace now as the final deadline for a Greek bailout is looming and he has had several wagers over at Broadcasting house that there will indeed be a Greek exit (or Grexit). A later conversation (or latsation?) with Cora reaffirms his decision. Cora does not fight him because, although she still loves Mary (lovary?), she realises that following the incident with Pamuk, Mary is damaged goods (damoods? Or just Doods?) and that ironically, Matthew is the more suitable heir (Sueir?).

Violent is also in conflict with Isobel over a medical ailment affecting Molestation - she has been unable to contract one and it really is giving her the screaming ab-dabs (scrabdabs?). However, this time Isobel’s treatment fails to work and Violet’s does, which is confusing me every bit as much as it is confusing you, believe me.

The servants gossip about Mrs Hughes who takes a very rare evening off to meet a former suitor (foruitor?), Joe Burns. The evening makes Mrs Hughes question her position at Downton - she has always had a thing about tailors and haberdashery in general - and it is left to Carson to reassure her that she made the right decision all those years ago to become a black belt. Indeed, her repertoire of chops and headlocks proves very useful when Joe cuts up rough and tries to drag her forcibly back to Savile Row so he can use her as a pattern for a new range of suits for Lesbians.

Elsewhere, Carson has a problem, the wine book suggests they are missing at least two dozen of a special vintage. It might be Liebfraumilch and therefore almost by definition undrinkable, but that's not the point. Anna, in bed with a cold Frenchman, is touched by Bates bringing a tray of food up to her room - that's the French for you. An Englishman would never let a manservant touch his woman unless it was his own. It’s clear these two have feelings for one another, however, at the moment, they are unable to realise them. Not least because there's a Frenchman in the way.


...to be continued...

xxx
'Berta

Last night's telly....

It's a long time since I did a TV review - well, it's a long time since I watched a television programme, but that was never really an impediment in the past, so I don't know why I'm getting all particular now. Anyway, as there's not really much in the news today worthy of my scarcely considered adjudications, let's pick over the still warm carcass of last night's telly, possibly one final time.

Eastenders never disappoints. Invariably unfolding its unremitting misery on an increasingly obvious set, no doubt miles away from the rancourous festerings of the actual east end of London, it's now rapidly becoming the cultural glue that binds together such remnants of our fragmented and dissolute society as can still be joined together. I mean, where else can British Muslims go to see themselves presented as decent, ordinary hard working folk who bear no threat to the established order? Apart from Syria, obvs. My money is on Shabnam (Mishal Husain with a 'Demi Moore') being the first Albert Square resident to tell her folks - in her case the fabulous Masood Ahmed (David Aronovitch) - that she's just nipping out to buy a copy of OK! before boarding the next flight to Turkey, being driven to the Syrian border and smuggled over into ISIS controlled Raqqa there to enjoy a long, secluded, fertile life of domestic servitude and violence in between popping out the Caliphate's future Ummah. You can see it coming; her relationship with her dear old Dad increasingly strained, Kush's ill-advised and inconsiderate snog with Stacey (which will presumably develop into the full carnal Monty at some point during Ramadan) eventually revealed to her, not to mention Unrepentant Rapist Bastard Dean (Ched Evans played by a young Robbie Williams) and Shirley's campaign to drag poor Jade, scion of Dean's and her drunken cloakroom shag, away from the security of her adoptive home into the near-warzone that is the Mitchell/Carter stand-off and Shabnam will be just ripe for jihad. Cuckolded and shamed like that, who wouldn't want to behead a few western journalists? I know I would. Besides, Raqqa after curfew must seem like an eartly paradise after one of Mick's ever-more volatile cheery cockney knees-ups; the head-wetting of new baby Oliver being just the latest to descend into alpha male antler-locking immediately upon Dean's ill-advised arrival. The quest for Jade promises to be a good storyline and watching Shirley (Petula Clark as she would be in an alternative Universe run entirely along the lines of a sink estate) charm the social services will be a treat in itself.

One Mitchell who has managed to escape the carnage of Albert Square is Victoria Coren- who wound up as far west as Soho in last night's concluding installment of How to be Bohemian. Confession time: I missed the first programme, have yet to watch the recording of the second so have jumped straight in at the finale, so anything I say here is appropriate only to last night's show, not the series. Ronnie and Roxy's smarter, prettier and more gambly sister, Victoria began her exploration of post-war London Bohemia with Francis Bacon - and immediately it became clear why mobile phone giant EE have chosen younger sibling Kevin to front their various TV ad campaigns. Not only is he considerably better looking than Franny, but he's far less likely - at least by the looks of it - to go on a three day bender, be sodomised and battered by a violent petty criminal before smashing his mobile phone into someone's face in a jealous gay hissy fit. On the other hand, Kevin's paintings probably can't quite match Fran's when it comes to dark, brooding intensity and existential suffering. At the other end of the Bohemian misery scale was light-loving Molly Parkin (Nefertiti). Wonderful, touching footage of her younger self, fresh-faced and newly drawn to London from her native Glamorgan, basking in the sun, full of fun and smiling inside and out. VC-M teased out some of the oddities of her free-loving life - for instance, she divorced her first husband for infidelity despite having had, by her own estimate, 'countless' lovers, among them not one but two whole rugby teams - 'all that brown hair...' I know the feeling Mollster, I know the feeling. But Molly's attitude seemed sane - what's sex? she asked; just like putting your arms round someone with but with different parts of the body.

John Cooper Clarke (Harry Cross from Brookside, halfway through the third week with the jar) contrasted the rigours of his father's generation - 'no such thing as leeeeeeezure wear' for Cooper Clarke Snr. - with his own identification with and apeing of the new 'kings' of pop like Keith Richards and Bob Dylan. And suddenly *everyone* was a Bohemian, even innocents the like of Will Self now feeling possessed of the gum and gumption to wear a spotty scarf, as he still does to this day. The sixties and the seventies saw the pill enabling women to explore some of the sexual freedom that had previously been the exclusive preserve of the men in the sixties and seventies, in the eighties it was the turn of gay culture to explode. But Rev. Richard Coles (the Verger from Dad's Army) and Johnny Woo (Julian Clary, midway through the third *month* on the jar) highlighted differing reactions to the new orthodoxy that seems to have emerged from that initial liberation. Both Woo and Coles rued the rise of consumerist materialism - Woo in the gay community, Coles more generally - but they have taken radically different lines of resitance. Whilst the former dons increasingly outre costumes in which to run around the west end shouting 'Woo woo woo', the latter joined the clergy. It's perhaps a more interesting route and I agree with Rev. Coles that at the core of Christianity is a subversive and challenging code of living.

But as hipsters stoke the nation's pogonophobia to new heights of murderous antipathy, is there still a need for, let alone the possibility of a Bohemian - or any - alternative to the slow, dull grind of people making money for other people and all that that entials? The truth, perhaps, is that it's probably happening right here and right now, we just aren't aware of it and, quite possibly, wouldn't even recognise it for what it is even if we were. Just as Soho became the focus for those who sought another path after pleasure centres like Southwark and Vauxhall became absorbed into what was allowable, so will new sites emerge after Soho has been gentrified and developed to extinction. It's still a shame to see it go. But there will always be resistance to the normal out there somewhere.

xxx
'Berta

Monday, 22 June 2015

Under the influence...

Well, it's official - I *finally* became a brand. And no, before you ask, that's not because Russell saw sense offered to make an honest woman of me, because he didn't (although I did get a couple of nice offers from Jo and Katie that I'm still mulling over....) No, this is all about the belated realisation among the movers and shakers of the cognoscenti that I, your humble scribbler, am an *Influencer*. Yep, the threats, extortion and bullying *finally* paid off! And in recognition of my newfound and not inconsiderable cultural *heft*, I've been asked by no less august an organisation than Twitter to curate my first 'collection'. I can't tell you how honoured I am, especially as I am just down to my last pair of marigolds*.

So, I can almost hear your silent, urgent inner question before you say it yourself, what's *in* the collection 'Berta??? Well, obviously we're still at the development stage and there will be a lot more product coming onstream - see, I'm getting good at the patter already, and I only just got the job.... - but I can let you in on a few of the highly desirable ranges we've already identifies as fulfilling the unique niche market value most closely associated with my work, lifestyle and image-reach.

First up, ladies and gentleman, I give you .....

The Deluxe Roberta Swipe Lock-tite Knee Pad...

Specially contoured by our underpaid Korean slave operatives highly specialised team of international designers, these little beauties won't let you down when you need that extra bit of traction. Whether you're being pummelled senseless from behind by a fat balding international salesman en route to a pointless sales team-building exercise in Rhyll, or you just need that little extra protection from the shagpile while you're submissively licking the Haagen das off a spaniel, the specially reinforced yet reassuringly elastic build of the Deluxe...won't let you down. Also available in special limited edition flame retardant and glow in the dark ...

Or how about these...

The 11th Anniversary Roberta Swipe Bin Liner dress....

No other item says 'Roberta Swipe' more clearly than that timeless, classic, that icon of modern fashion that is the badly creased and ineffectually sewn up refuse sack dress. For centuries women have dreamed of a look that's not only stylish, affordable but incredibly useful during industrial action by refuse collection operatives over weekend working rota, overtime and subsidised laundry payments on the part of the employer being put under review. Well, now you can have it all ladies. Available in black, white grey and green, although any biodegradables left out in anything other than a green receptacle may lead to fines and, in extreme cases, imprisonment... [Influencer's note; a small tip here, don't make the same mistake I made and make sure you remove as much of the refuse from the sack as you can before you put it on....saves a heck of a lot of Savlon...]

And finally...

Genuine Sophie Raworth and Tanya Beckett Ripped and Laddered Pantyhose....

Tired, lonely and alone in your opulent Swedish flat? The dawn can't come too soon over the Pacific Palisades? We've all wished for them, I know, and now, finally - they're here! Now you can own and wear the bespoke lingerie item that's been driving the civilised world's onanists into heights of Ryvita-assisted frenzy for the past decade. Yes, *personally* assessed by Channel 4's Miquita Oliver and stress tested to our own highly exacting standards, this limited edition collection in a variety of denier(s?) has been exclusively discarded by some of British broadcasting's most celebrated early morning news/business presenters. That's right, you'll *never* have to ladder your own to get that early morning slattern off the telly look again!

More product details as we think of them/find them in the bins outside Broadcasting House....


xxx
'Berta


*see previous post

Sophie Raworth stole Tanya Beckett's pantyhose, ripped them to shreds with her bare teeth, and smeared them both with chocolate caramel Haagen das...

A short interlude, blessed reader, from the mythologically proportioned pornography. Honestly, it's been cock, cock, cock, cock, cock this week, wall to wall. And that's just chapter one. In fact, I'm not entirely sure I actually want to start *writing* the thing now if this any indication as to the groundwork that's going to be involved, but needs must, I suppose. Besides, as I'm reliably and continuously informed as I wind my wary way through the delightful world of publishing - invariably by men, most of those single - sex sells. You could have fooled me last weekend. There was precious little commercial activity in cubicle number three of the public conveniences outside the new Asda just off the high street, I can tell you. But, heck, what do I know? I thought Marcel Proust was a mute Formula 1 racing driver.

But to be serious for a fleeting freekin' second. Straits being as dire as they currently are, I started doing a little research the other day into how to boost readership, publicise one's wares and generally start turning all that random computer generated 'traffic' into cold, hard, filthy lucre. Well, without taking recourse to spreadsheets, pie-charts, powerpoint presentations and all the other bullshit marketing paraphernalia my research pointed to, the basic upshoot of it all is actually quite simple: *know* *your* *readers*. Wowee. Thanks for diddly. Part of the problem over the last 11 years - OMG, 11 years? That's crazy! Do I get soem sort of medal or something, just for putting in the hours? - is precisely that: *I* *know* *my* *readers*. (And I sincerely hope you're both having a lovely day and haven't strated on the gin and it just yet....or the methadone for that matter.)

The shock having subsided somewhat, I began slowly to pick myself back up off the floor again and compose myself. A stiff drink or three later and I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Going back to my research, I realised I had to be a little more forensic and, delving a little deeper, I started to see a pattern emerging, barely discernible at first, but slowly growing clearer until, finally there in front of me like a 10 foot high flashing signpost of the bleeding obvious, was the plain and simple truth. Sex may not sell, but *smut* abso-bloody-lutely does!

If you don't believe me, take a look at the cold, hard facts. Last week's numbers: top search terms in ascending order:

10. Marigolds - 452 hits

9. Zoe Telford - 466 hits

8. Crotchless - 489 hits

7. Garter-chafe - 512 hits

6. Tanya Beckett - 553 hits

5. Ridged - 554 hits

4. Underdrip - 798 hits

3. Butane-minge - 12,467 hits

2. Sophie Raworth - 13,584 hits

1. Pantyhose - 15, 404 hits

Well, I don't really need to spell it out to you, do I? It's just bloody genius, isn't it? I mean, these things will virtually write themselves. So, it's with renewed vigour that I return to the fray, eager to give my adoring public - yep, that's you Ms. Sandvik, Vasstra Gotoland (7 min, 23 seconds, 01:46, 21/06/2015) - boy, have we got some threats in store for you, lady!! And as for Mllle. Pacific Palisades, CA (1 min, 45 seconds, 03:47, 20/06/2015 - boy, you don't hang around, huh? Go for it girl...), well, those cold and lonely three a.m.s just got that teeny-weeny bit brighter. No really, it's all part of the service....just remember to click on the ad at the bottom on your way out....

xxx
'Berta

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Call me Bob...


As it's been a while since I communicated with you my dear, loyal reader, I thought I'd try to make it up to you for my inexcusable absence by letting you in on a little secret. That's right my limpet-like little bijou(s) ....(bijoux? Damn, I hate the French - why can't they speak English like the rest of us, Dammit!?) as the exclusive preview of my latest Vanity Fair cover shoot will more than amply demonstrate, I am...(come on gal...I mean...guy ...let's be true to the real us, boyfriend....shame on all the haters....we can *do* this* thang*!!!) Yes, I can finally reveal that, after years of denial, decades of pain, misery and living a falsehood, I am, finally....ta-da..., yes, you guessed it...I am in mid-*trans* *for* *may* *shun*!

Yay brothah!

Go me!!

Oh sure, there's still a little bit of work to be done, as you can see. For a kick off, the tummy-tum-tums is *waaaaay* too flat and almost lends me a look of someone who does the occasional bout of exercise requiring more effort than just reaching over to the coffee table to take another slurp of 'buie breezer in between mouthfuls of Tesco finest salt and vinegar potato sticks. The beard? Well, that's still a little too obviously false and velcroed on to make me look like the genuine lard-bucket male hipster dude I aspire to be. And as for that mascara brush that's been poorly run over my flimsy blonde down to give the impression of a full pelt of unsightly male chest hair - well, it barely registers so much as a blip on the Giggs scale, does it? I know, I know, I know. But hell, give me time to *eaaasse* into my new gender will ya?? And besides, look how well I'm carrying off that grimy, 'just gone for a wee in the middle of my afternoon nap, but still didn't get a stain on my sweat pants' look. *Sexy*!! So, ladies, gentlemen, people of indeterminate gender who fall somewhere in between...I give you...

my new body....

my new self....

the new *ME*.....!!!!.....

                            

So how, I can tell you are *dying* to know, am I doing? Well, it's all been a bit of an upheaval, obviously. But the lads at the Rygbi club have, to a man, been very kind, and as gentle and supportive as you could reasonably expect of a bunch of hardened Welsh farm lads with minimal familiarity with their own bodily hygiene, let alone the needs of someone experiencing the biological turmoil of a complete gender reversal at an age by which most impoverished valley folk have either perished or been consigned to a dismal end of life spent salivating into a Toby jug of Harvey's Bristol Cream, muttering about Max Boyce whilst watching the 'Pobl y cym' omnibus on repeat. Given the difficulty they have in even accepting the existence of someone like Alan Carr-Chatty-Mann, they've taken having to watch the fragrant, lithe, leggy, lushly-maned nymph from whose ample cleavage they've grown up pinching the half time orange segments transmogrify herself into a portly bearded nerk pretty well I suppose, all in.

Obviously, this is just the beginning for me. I still have a long way to go, I knows that. There will be very difficult adjustments to make - not least in the undercarriage department. At the moment, I'm still finding a few *blocks* to my masculinity. For instance, I can't be doing with those badly bitten false nails with the fake black grit in the pith - no, it's Maybelline extra durable with a Cardiff City crest tattoo for this boy's talons, every day. And how do you guys walk in those shoes???? I know better than any one that, come hell or high water, high heels were never, ever,*evah* meant to be worn with a pair of tracky bottoms. But I'm sorry. I'm just not ready for the ultimate sacrifice. Can you *seriously* imagine a lad like me wearing flats? No, exactly. So, as we say at Laboratoires Garnier: *day-ull* *way-uth* *ay-ut* - Because *I'm* *wurth* *ut*...