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Showing posts from September, 2019

VAR: the real societal schism

It has become fashionable over the last few years for bien-pensant political commentators to stroke their beards, either real or imaginary, and declare ruminatively that the real divide in society's fabric is no longer Labour or Tory, but Leave or Remain, the referendum having proved so divisive that it transcends traditional political affiliations. This is an argument which has a little to recommend it, certainly the big B seems to be the issue which will swallow both of the old major players whole (as I type, Labour are cheerfully shooting themselves in both ankles at their conference)*, but crucially, to my mind, it ignores a vital part of the thinking which makes up the British body politic: People Who Can't Be Arsed. That sizeable portion of the electorate who, each election day can be relied upon to fuck the whole thing off, or who weren't aware that it was happening in the first place, or who meant to go and vote but went to Gregg's instead. So it was a misnome

Angry people

There's a fairly atrocious advert doing the rounds on commercial radio at the moment. In it, a man with a warm Northern voice (the voices are always warm and Northern for ads of this ilk) extols the virtues of sitting round the kitchen table and airing your differences over a proprietary brand of convenience food (which, for obvious reasons I won't name - not least because I'm always too busy boggling at how bad the ad is to actually notice who it's for). Maybe you say dinner, or maybe you say tea, it says, but you can still shove our fat-sodden shite into your uncritical maw (I paraphrase). Leave or remain sort of differences, it says, cheerfully exploiting the imminent collapse of the country to sell chips (which seems fitting, to be fair). The message, as I understand it, is that it's good to talk stuff out, and preferably do so over some poor quality food. Whilst I can't subscribe to the latter part of their message, I do enthusiastically endorse the first p

The decline of Western Civilisation as evidenced by the tea available in the Morrison's Cafe.

One of the less edifying aspects of the culture wars in which we find ourselves more or permanently (and tiresomely) embroiled in these fervid times is the concept of keeping it real. That is to say, "authentic". A peculiarly modern notion which sniffs at any evidence of artifice, of pretension, of (whisper it) thinking you're better than other people . It is this tendency which makes Love Island the love that dares speak its name loud and long, and woe betide you if you think it's a bit rubbish. It is this tendency which saw poor old Lucy Mangan get pilloried on Twitter for admitting that she'd never seen Dirty Dancing. Get back in your ivory tower, you speccy pseuds, you're not REAL. In a country where the PM derides a recent predecessor as " a girly swot" and popular culture is celebrated and seriously engaged with as never before, it is indeed a brave person who sticks their head above the parapet to criticise any aspect of the quotidian. Becau

The tragedy of Boris

Cast your mind back to those hazy, pre-referendum days, when all we had to worry about was whether or not our Prime Minister had put his penis in a dead pig's mouth. They were innocent, pre-lapsarian days, and on one of them, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson sat at a great desk, dappled with the late spring sunshine and wrote two essays. Utilising all of his famed powers of rhetoric, and employing his considerable gifts for applying the lessons of the Classics to a modern milieu, this acolyte of Pericles, the great soldier-statesman, applied his vast intellect to the problem of Leave vs Remain. Long, long into the night he wrote, evaluating each case forensically, weighing the pros and cons of each outcome, projecting their ramifications and repercussions down the ages before finally deciding, with a heavy heart, that the case for Leave was unanswerable, and he must go against his great friend for the good of the nation. It was a tragedy which was pleasingly Greek in its scope,