The Plastic Hippo

December 22, 2014

Hippo Birdie Two Ewe

Mandy Rice Davies

Mandy Rice Davies

On the 22 December 2009 at 1:08am, this blog surfaced from the depths and has continued with its annoying blather ever since. Exactly five years ago, Gordon Brown was Prime Minister and Ed Balls was in charge of education. History has smiled upon these hapless individuals as they were lucky enough to be succeeded by individuals who were even more useless.

Michael Gove proved to be such a liability that David Cameron had to sack him and David Cameron has proved to be the most inept Prime Minister since Anthony Eden and the most corrupt Prime Minister since Robert Walpole. Some things, however, never change. On December 22 2009 a suicide bomber killed three people and injured a further 17 in Peshawar and two police officers were wounded and the suspect shot dead in Washington State.

On the sorry anniversary of this blog`s wretched drivel being imposed on the internet thingy community, I had intended to offer a nostalgic review of the rapidly ending year and a withering critique of nearly five years of being ruled by some very nasty, unpleasant people. However, satire is now writing itself and as the coalition parties and the Labour Party are asking us to judge them on their records, there is no point in stuffing any further Semtex into the suicide vests. A red light and a bell just sounded at the NSA and GCHQ.

Instead of pimping the same old rant against the very nasty and unpleasant people ruining and running my country into the ground, some proper nostalgia popped up in two news stories during the past week.

Mandy Rice Davies has died at the age of 70 and Washington is offering rapprochement with Cuba. As a man of a certain age, these two events are not without significance. As a boy in primary school, I only became aware of the Cuban missile crisis when, on a Friday afternoon, my teacher lined the class up at the end of the school day in preparation for home time. She did this every Friday but this day was different. Instead of shaking hands with every child and giving praise or encouragement to do better, she hugged each child and kissed the top of their heads. By the time she got to me, she was in tears. Being an unruly child, I asked her why she was crying. I was eight years old. She kissed the top of my head and said:
“I just pray to God that I will see you all again on Monday morning.”

I walked home and even at that tender age thought that her behaviour was odd. In those days, front doors were left open and I entered our house to find my mother intensely listening to the radio. I think I saw her trembling. Later, when my father came home from work, we were watching the news on the black and white television. As I rambled some childish nonsense, for the first and only time he told me in no uncertain terms to shut up. On the television, there was footage of ships and missiles being launched. My father hugged my mother and kissed me on the top of the head. That night, I had nightmares about a wall of flame engulfing our house and family and the memory is so vivid that I can recall the bad dream even now.

It is impossible to explain to younger people the ingrained fear of nuclear annihilation that my generation grew up with. My own children look at me with astonishment when I tell them that we expected a four minute warning prior to being vaporised. As an adult, reading the accounts of the Cuban missile crisis, it is clear that we came very close to destruction which makes the rapprochement between the US and Cuba even more remarkable. There have been 50 years of antagonism that need not have happened.

My teacher who cried has now either passed on or is happy retirement but back then she was breathtakingly beautiful, intelligent, witty, a bit posh and stunningly blonde in a way that the early 1960s can only conjure. She looked like Mandy Rice Davies.

Watching the news as a boy, I followed the Profumo case with interest not because of concerns about national security but because Christine Keeler and her pal happened to be drop dead gorgeous. I was only eight, but the attraction to breathtakingly beautiful, intelligent, witty, posh blondes became evident in more ways than one. What made Mandy Rice Davies different from my school teacher is that she had a reputation as a “good time girl” or, as we might now describe her, a bit of a floozie. She contributed to bringing down a government and the beginning of a permissive society with a sensible attitude towards what is sometimes referred to as sex. Another red light has come on and a bell has just gone off at the NSA and GCHQ. Well I would say that, wouldn`t I. What is interesting is the government`s reluctance to fully investigate some allegations of sexual perversion and actual murder involving some of their own. Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice Davies might have brought down the MacMillan government by being cute and almost irresistible to middle-aged powerful men, but powerful middle-aged men continue to abuse children under the protection of complete silence.

So there you go. Five years of ranting and things have not improved. Sleep well Mandy Rice Davies. You are gorgeous



  1. Hi Hippo, and happy blog birthday to you.

    I first noticed you commenting on my blog before you started this wonderful excoriation of all that’s wrong with the world. I remember reading your stuff and feeling inadequate compared to your eloquence, wit and sheer joy with words.I still feel that inadequacy. I love your work.

    I can guarantee that without you, the Brownhills Blog would have vanished by now. You and your kind advice, imparted via email and social media often in the wee small hours, got me through some dark times. That and some very strong shared cursing. You are a wise and honourable Hippo and you are now one of the elders of the local online community.

    Keep it up. You’re the only writer I know that could link a nuclear bomb to a blonde bombshell and not only get away with it, but make me nod along.

    Best wishes to a true gentleman and the best writer I know

    Merry Christmas old chap


    Comment by BrownhillsBob — December 22, 2014 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  2. I echo BB’s sentiments entirely Hippo, old son. Without doubt some of the wittiest, most intelligent and best written stuff around. When you digest some of the insufferable nonsense in our mainstream media, you should have been given a weekly column years ago to allow a wider audience to appreciate the value of satire. Long may you continue comrade.

    Comment by Bob Piper — December 23, 2014 @ 8:36 am | Reply

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