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 Now, at this considerable distance, Busby Berkeley has been replaced by reality television as a means of escape.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…)
This little piggy went to the Common Market
Clearly David Cameron is facing a number of questions that require something approaching answers rather than his predicable, tiresome and carefully rehearsed weasel words.
Like all elected representatives in a supposedly mature and functioning democracy, the Prime Minister is answerable to the electorate at the ballot box but with questions regarding electoral fraud being firmly asked and robustly ignored, the certainty of legitimate parliamentary representation is far from certain. It is patently absurd to suggest that illegally spending pots of money in marginal constituencies during elections is anything other than an administrative oversight or an honest mistake which offers conclusive evidence that the Conservative Party still exhibits trace elements of the human race. Equally preposterous is the notion that by flooding marginal constituencies with young hooray Henrys dressed like their grandfathers and displaying a rather disturbing Bertie Wooster fetish, the voting intentions of the public would be swayed toward the nasty. (more…)
After a busy evening of making a new Mayor of Walsall and a new Deputy Mayor of Walsall, adjourning the meeting of full council to the Mayor`s parlour for the ceremonial opening of the municipal drinks cabinet has to be a very good idea. Traditional local authority Mayors and Deputy Mayors are simply wonderful and the appearance of slightly embarrassed elevated councillors in pantomime robes and chains of office at school assemblies, garden fetes, supermarket openings, whist drive closings and dog shows is a joy that epitomises the very essence of British eccentricity. Traditional Mayors and Deputy Mayors raise an absolute fortune for charitable causes and display a civic responsibility that is generally a stranger to other elected members governed by self-interest. (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…)
Being blessed with merciful anonymity, the little town of Walsall seldom attracts either wanted or unwanted attention. The diurnal 15 mile tailback at Junction 10 might excite the traffic reporter at a ghastly local radio station and the occasional nail bomb lobbed at a Mosque by some deranged Eastern European neo-fascist certainly raised a few eyebrows but, in terms of global influence, Walsall is generally happy with inept local politics, average football and a minimal media profile. There are, however, certain moments when the planets align resulting in an event horizon that places Walsall at the epicentre of galactic flux. (more…)