Thursday, November 25, 2004

Greetings From Happisburgh*, or, Wilful Misspelling.

The Irish are probably the worst. Give them an alphabet of 26 letters and they run mad. This article names one "Fionn MacCumhail" for example. It took a moment or two to realise that yer man here was talking about someone I thought of as "Finn McCool" or similar. It was actually years before I twigged that "Dun Laoghaire" was the same place I'd heard spoken of as "Dunleary".
The Welsh do it like mad: for God's sake.
And how many times have I been asked by American tourists, for Lye-sester Square? (Leicester Square, pronounced "Lester").

But am I really asking for standardised phonetic spelling? No, far too dull.

More examples from around the world, please.

*pronounced "Heysburra". It's in Norfolk you know, but just barely.

Whee!

Massup & I, off to NICE with sleazyjet for the weekend. Byee!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Displacement Activity

Nothing to say? Then fanny about with your template.

Diary of Samuel Pepys: Friday 22nd November 1661.

"Within all the morning, and at noon with my wife, by appointment to dinner at the Dolphin, where Sir W. Batten, and his lady and daughter Matt, and Captain Cocke and his lady, a German lady, but a very great beauty, and we dined together. Spent all evening fannying about with my Blogger template until my eyes went runny, and so to bed."

Swift's Journal To Stella - September 2nd, 1710.

"We made our Voyage in 15 hours just; last night I came to this Town, and shall leave it I believe on Monday. Spent all night arseing about with my Blogger template and thus have written or done nothing of note since."

Monday, November 15, 2004

Quick. Get Help.

"Exit my Life, you Uninteresting and Spurious man: I want to run with the Stag and sing with the Bee."

Pausing only to give the gladsome eye to the only man on Earth less interesting and more fully egregious, she accepted a job as a croupier in an egg-box factory, and passes from our tale.

I turned away sighing, and briefly shared, with a dangerous spider from Costa Rica and a novelty Donald Duck towel hook, a penthouse barrel reachable only by ladder. On venturing out one lunar eclipse and several redolent tavernas later, I met and beloved the fabled Massup and a new beginning was begun. Forged in the thrill of an A-Frame dress and an A-team T-shirt, all was 'la' and 'hap' thereafter, as we spooned to the Goombay Dance Band and danced by the light of the moon, the moon.

That's what I tell people anyway.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Weekend Pursuits

Let's go out and Kick Some Leaves! If you can't get pleasure out of Kicking Leaves you're getting OLD!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Frightening man, RIP

Some of the scariest moments in movies occur when Howard Keel contorts his face so that his chin starts to blend into his neck and you think, "Oh God, he's going to SING! Run away!"
Man, he was in some strange stuff. Watch "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" if you don't believe me: seven men in varying stages of gingeryness and wearing colour-coded shirts kidnap and imprison equal number of women, with view to marriage. Features dancing with axes.

"Bless your beautiful hide, wherever you may be
We ain't met yet but I'm a-willing to bet
You're the gal for me."


Seriously Weird.

Then he was in "Dallas". Some career. I thought he must have died already, but he hadn't.

So, farewell then.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Anti- American? Tempting, but no.

Look back. The peoples of India (now India, Pakistan & Bangladesh) absorbed, embraced and also enhanced a great deal of British culture: cricket, railways, government, much more: there are still many people of Indian extraction both in the UK and in India who were brought up believing in and who continue to believe in Britain as, in some limited sense "the mother country", as a result of the years of British rule there. And yet ultimately the people of those countries could not bear to be ruled by Britain and there were years of violent, and famously, non-violent protest and pressure to be free of Imperial rule.
And now? The people of the world drink in the American Way with their Pepsi. We watch Buffy and West Wing and the Hollywood movies and we love it. A man will wear a T-shirt with the word "Michigan" printed on it, but wouldn't dream of wearing one that said "Gloucestershire".
The anti-Americanism only starts when we see the iron fist behind Mickey's glove. The fist was there in Carter's or Clinton's time as much as it is in Bush's. We've had US forces in the UK and Europe since WW2. But we in Europe didn't truly see the iron fist, it wasn't displayed to us. All empires have it. The stupidity of the present US administration lies in its carelessness in displaying that fist. We'll embrace so much of the culture, much as the Indians did of the British culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries. But only so much as we'll consent to.
We're belatedly starting to realise, partly thanks to the neo-cons, that the USA is a truly foreign country, just as much as The Ukraine or Uruguay, and not a powerful lost colony that will always be on our side.
We have to realise that the USA will only be our friend on its own terms, not ours, and deal with it on those terms and stop deluding ourselves about "special relationships".

Yes, still being po-faced. Perhaps a beer will help. Incidentally, my Google search for "Gloucestershire T-shirts" yielded no results at all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Management skills

12 sales people in my company were summoned to see the man. "I'm sorry", he said, "We're going to have to make 4 of you redundant".

So far so sad, but so normal.

"We're not going to tell you which 4 until tomorrow."

Sheer class.

Casinos

I'm getting a bit po-faced here, and I'm dying to rejoin young Orlando in his pee-po-belly-bum-drawers campaign, but first here's a copy of a dull email I've just sent to my MP.

Dear Ms Moran

Casinos

I'm really bothered by the casino provisions in the proposed gambling legislation. You and the local authority may be tempted by the possible windfall that new casinos appear to represent, but I believe the cost far outweighs the benefit.

Regeneration - I don't believe it. The owners, sleazy characters and shady corporations all, will, after a "honeymoon period", do their utmost to evade any fig-leaf social obligations and will lobby hard against "unfair" or "restrictive" rules and laws. Local life will not be improved one jot by these licensed fleecing parlours and once the feet are under the table YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET RID OF THEM. Ultimately we'll just have all these ugly barns full of sad losers wasting all their money, a lot of people most of us would want to avoid meeting getting mighty rich, and nothing for Luton Borough Council or the government to show for it bar a marginally-increased tax take and a whole new species of chancers and conmen and their victims to deal with.

I don't believe there is any significant demand for this measure; in fact it appears to be highly unpopular, and not just among snobs!

Additonally, does this government really want to be chiefly remembered (pace today's Guardian (3rd November)) for making Britain the Atlantic City of Europe? I'm going to risk sounding mighty pompous and say that I'd really hope this town and this country would be a more productive and upstanding place than that.


Best Wishes