Fred and Ginger
Viewed from this considerable distance, watching Hollywood musicals produced in the 1930s is tinged with an indistinct melancholia. With sumptuous sets, casts of thousands, spectacular production numbers and improbably storylines, the golden age of RKO, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount and Warner Brothers portrays a fantasy world in stark contrast to the Great Depression that preceded the Second World War.
In these marvellous yet shallow movies, “ordinary” Americans pursuing the American dream would tap dance in penthouses the size of aircraft hangers; relax with cocktails by the pool, fly down to Rio; dress for diner with minor European royalty and always have a happy ending. A few precious nickels and dimes, or shillings and pennies, could in those dark days buy a couple of hours of escape from a harsh reality. Now, at this considerable distance, Busby Berkeley has been replaced by reality television as a means of escape. Sadly, this escape is based on watching people being thoroughly unpleasant as a form of entertainment and as a reassurance that there are, out there, people more unpleasant than us. (more…)
Duel between Onegin and Lenski – Ilya Repin 1899
In these enlightened times of character assassination by sound bite, gossip and actual defamation, it is interesting to look back at a more chivalrous age when aristocratic politicians desperate to wield power would demand satisfaction from opponents by taking up rapiers or by the challenge of pistols at dawn. The noble heritage of snotty-nosed inbred yet wealthy imbeciles nominating themselves for the Darwin Awards in the name of saving face or some misplaced notion of self-importance is an honour code that deserves revival given the arrant nonsense, cant, garbage, perfidy and unmitigated testicles currently being spouted by snotty-nosed inbred yet wealthy imbeciles on both sides of the European argument. (more…)
Picasso sketch 1964
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention to describe just how bloody wonderful it is to be an Englishman living in these joyous times.
Firstly we celebrated 90 glorious years of divine monarchy dedicating a lifetime of hollow crown duty by waving a lot and having to endure the permanent smell of fresh paint. Then we commemorated our holy English values as epitomised by our noble patron Saint George. As with most versions of English history, George`s origins and ethnicity are a little vague. He might have been born in Cappadocia which would make him a Turk or he might have been born in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina which roughly translates as either Syria or Palestine. What is certain is that he was not born within the concrete O of the M25, he did not speak English and his dragon slaying activities took place far away from Albion in a place called Beirut. Crying God for Harry, England and Agios Georgios might make you sound… well… a bit foreign. (more…)
Even going as far back as the Book of Genesis, it is still pretty obvious that you can choose your friends but you can`t choose your relatives. Being born into what can only be described as an “unusual” family, the story of Cain and Abel is not a story that ends well. A certain degree of sibling rivalry is inevitable in any family group regardless of incestuous necessity but Cain managing to invent murder, treachery and a curse on the entire human race across three major religions is impressive to say the least. According to the established patriarchy, this should not come as a surprise given the sort of woman his mother was. (more…)
Via Stefan Rousseau Reuters
With just four short months to go, preparations for the summer solstice have hit fever pitch with the announcement of a self-selected all-England Morris Dancing team to challenge the world. The six most honest, intelligent, hard-working and photogenic synchronised handkerchief wavers have finally stepped out from the shadow of collective ministerial responsibility and can now campaign for patriotism unfettered, un-gagged and, if the first 24 hour hours is anything to go by, more than a little unhinged. With Boris Johnson sewing flowers into his hat and strapping bells to his knees and elbows, English Morris Dancing is certain to enjoy a tumultuous resurgence. (more…)