Another bad weekend for progressives...
Sunday started badly - Hitchens (,C) and Billy Bragg arguing the toss over Saturday's anti-war/Trident march. Bragg far too conciliatory against Hitch's articulate John Self-pro-Bush-bluster, blithered into the age old frustrated lefty failing of trying to talk louder over his already too loud opponent, thus drowning out any meaningful exchange. The most eloquent point in the whole show was made by a banner at the march: Trident = 160,000 nurses. To his credit, Hitchens is in for a penny/pound on the Iraq thing, isn't he? I wouldn't want to put a figure on the number of deaths and casualties it would need before he'd even be prepared to concede that perhaps in one or two areas, Bush and Blair might have gone about the whole thing slightly differently. We'd be somewhere between Hitler and Stalin numbers I reckon. You really have to admire intransigence like that, don't you?
Then things got rapidly worse. Started reading this article in Sunday's Obs., finishing it on the way back from Cardiff, where Arsene's youthful, joyous-to-behold young gunners were crushed out of an astonishing (and highly unlikely) victory in the Carling Cup Final by Jose Mourinho's pragmatic, Petro-billion-financed Chelsea. A double shame, as the verve and exhilaration of their play in the first period and for much of the second has been eclipsed somewhat by the more typically Arsenalesque denouement of the game, as the slide rule passes and exquisite movement of the kids' first-half performance ended in a tetchy brawl when cooler, wiser heads may still have salvaged something from the game's lengthy Terry-in-a-coma-provoked stoppage period. Still, this team's time will come soon enough. And at least we got to land a few shiners on the Cheslea scum.
Without over-extending the obvious parallels between the current premiership heirarchy and the new Russia of Putin and the oligarchs, there was the very same sickness to the stomach induced by reading the stark and succinct description of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya as I experience whenever a dubious offside or disallowed goal ensures another Cheslea victory:
She took the tiny elevator up to her flat on the seventh floor and dropped two bags of groceries at the door. Then she went down to fetch the rest of her parcels. When the elevator opened on the ground floor, her killer was waiting. He shot her four times - the first two bullets piercing her heart and lungs, the third shattering her shoulder, with a force that drove Politkovskaya back into the elevator. He then administered what is referred to in Moscow, where contract killings have become routine, as the kontrolnyi vystrel - the control shot. He fired a bullet into her head from inches away. Then he dropped his weapon, a plastic 9mm Makarov pistol whose serial number had been filed away, and slipped into the darkening afternoon.
And before the point I'm trying to make here gets drowned out in a chorus of "how can you possibly equate a football team with a cold-blooded assassin"....Just think on this. Both are at one man's beck and call. Conceivably the same man. No wonder the Russians are drinking themselves to extinction.
In the same paper, Nick Cohen - who variously exhorts either a "sanest man in Britain" or a "wad the f...." from your humble scribe - is strangely muted as he questions the extent to which the web has transformed the globe (here). I don't know whether my own imminent elevation to the blogging equivalent of the mile-high club (100,000 visits, presuming I don't get a call in the night from the King's Road KGB) will make any difference to the way I view it, but I'd have to echo Lennon's claim here that "[we're] still fucking peasants". This of course has nothing to do with my having been
a) splashed by a four-wheel drive as it raced through a puddle earlier today, as I were some 'umble, snivelling costermonger who'd mistakenly got to close to the Lord Mayor's cart.
b) ticked off by Will Hodgkinson for telling him I hoped his record label went bust.
I don't know the first thing about Mr. Hodgkinson other than that he has been given £5,000 (and a regular column/ceaseless free publicity) by the Grauniad in order to start up a record label and that he has been capped several times as a fly half by the RFU. (Typical Grauniad, isn't it? Give a few grand to some rugger bugger to start a label up when there are poor black kids like me struggling to work in the rain, being splashed by Abramovich's KGB stooges in their blacked out window 4 wheel drives....) Anyroad, I sent him a note back saying, words to the effect, that I was releasing my own CD and I didn't need his (or the Guardian's for that matter) poxy money, and while we're on the subject, if he'd asked, I'd have given him £30,000 *not* to start up a record label....etc. etc. etc. You see, this is how things are now - the middle classes don't just want to have their cake and eat it. They want yours too and to slap you in the face as well, just for being so cheeky...
Speaking of Rugby, as we were a few days ago...The one bright spot of the weekend? The marvellous reception extended to the England Rugby team at Croke Park for the highly emotive and symbolic game played there on Saturday. Always nice too to see a good stuffing administered to the rosbifs so beloved of the Green jacketed hordes who regularly make my life a misery, taking over the pubs and streets of Twickenham as if it were Tuscanny, insisiting on watching some Belgian third division Ladies XV while the Arsenal are playing, braying long into the night air before riding back to the Home Counties, innocent children and pets wedged like roadkill between the front bars, mere trophies as they pollute their way back to the Shires. And the Irish were good enough not to make too big a fuss about all the innocents gunned down there on Bloody Sunday too.
So maybe we *have* turned a corner, of sorts...
L.U.V. on ya,
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