Archive for October, 2008
For the first (and almost certainly the last) time I am moved to post a comment on Have Your Say this morning. To my surprise the BBC website asks me to remove my obscene and offensive language before submitting the comment for approval. I can only think it is because I have mentioned the stage name of Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter.
I really meant to write a blog about the onset of winter time and how it depresses me more than it did when I was younger. We knew it was winter before the clocks went back. For the last few weeks we have had to wind up the radio because the sun has dipped so low the little solar panel no longer provides enough power on its own. But this morning I wasn’t sure who was doing the winding up. There’s catastrophe beyond imagining in the Congo, there’s the threat of peak oil, there’s the looming ecological credit crunch, there’s Alastair Darling borrowing billions for small businesses and BBC Today leads with the ridiculous story about Brand and Ross. Que?
Now I usually think emailing the BBC is for the green ink brigade (what is the email equivalent of green ink? writing in capital letters I suppose, phew, AT LEAST I DIDN’T DO THAT). Though come to think of it I am the proud possessor of the Alex Thomson C4 news ‘sane email of the day award’ for my comment on the media coverage of the bird flu scare when that poor dead swan pitched up at Cellardyke.
For some reason I am irritated by this nonsense though there isn’t even a dead swan to show for it! I have much better things to do with my time but instead I spend ten minutes logging on to BBC; skimming some of the comments; watching YouTube clips of the actual radio show; checking the interview with Andrew Sachs.
Now this clip is worth watching in full.
As Ziggy said last night one of the main reasons people have got so steamed up is because everyone likes Manuel. But Mr Sachs seems a nice guy too. He also sounds tired of the whole business: he’s touched by the ‘very nice letters of apology’, thanks Brand and Ross for the flowers and now, “I have a life to live.”
So I post my comment and am a bit taken aback when I am asked to remove obscene and offensive language. I duly delete Georgina Baillie’s stage name but my comment is not published. Just for the record, here is the uncensored version:
While the Congo faces catastrophe BBC Today leads with this non-story. The only one to come out of it with dignity is Andrew Sachs who is not asking for heads to roll. He graciously accepts Brand’s and Ross’s apologies (and their flowers!). End of story. Ross should not go – let him apologise on his show and invite Sachs to sit on the sofa. An even better guest might be his sweet grand-daughter Georgina Baillie (aka Voluptua of Satanic Sluts).
Now I should get on with something worth doing! I was going to write about the energy saving genius of a wind up radio and how we might put such imaginative technology to all kinds of other good uses.
October 30th, 2008
Is Baroness Warsi the Sarah Palin of the Tory Party? I watched last night’s Question Time torn between hilarity and horror. If I am disillusioned by Labour it is always sobering to see how very much worse that other lot could be. Thank goodness for dear old (Lord) Roy Hattersley (and he used to seem so right wing too!). The best line of the show came when the Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion began another divisive rant by accusing the Labour peer of “living in a parallel universe to me”.
“I hope so!” Hattersley replied and brought the house down.
October 24th, 2008
A couple of comments on the blog have got me rummaging about in my dressing up box. Where on earth is that other shoe and whatever did I do with the kaftan I made for the gig of the 60s? The clothes are falling to pieces but the memories are made of stronger stuff.
All this nostalgia because two comments have suddenly arrived on a blog I posted last year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Barbecue 67. It is hard to believe that the likes of Hendrix, the Cream and Pink Floyd all came to rock Spalding Bulb Auction. But perhaps it is even more incredible that the promoter celebrates his 70th birthday on Sunday.
How do I know that? I opened my blog ten days ago to find a comment from Paula Scott who is searching the Internet for trophies to present to her brother in law on his birthday. That was fascinating enough but a few days later I find another comment, this time from Pete Barraclough, one of the two guys who compered the event and actually drew up the extraordinary line up for the gig and couldn’t believe it when Brian Thompson (aka Checky) decided to go for it.
The tickets for Barbecue 67 cost £1
The rest is history (and old clothes). But history has an odd way of turning up on eBay and other nooks of the Internet. As Pete says, there’s a poster which would make a great birthday present for Checky; he just wishes he had had the foresight to make a film of the event in those innocent days long before YouTube. ( just think, the tickets for Barbecue 67 cost £1). We probably all have our regrets: what could have possessed me to turn down that opportunity to interview Hendrix and why didn’t the promoter think to keep any posters or newspaper cuttings?
Luckily for Paula there are lots of compulsive hoarders around and a quick Google soon turns up a lot of old rockers: take a look at UK rock festivals! I would however like to point out that I myself also rather enjoy 21st century music (Ray and I occasionally while away an evening battling hip hop and old blues, giving each other the opportunity to say, “But they all sound the same”…)
So what does Pete Barraclough do now? He’s a presenter on Sky Sport but music is still his first passion. Maybe there is still scope to dream up another fantastic event… Meanwhile, good luck Paula with the search – and thanks for the excuse to delve into happy memories, nicely tinted with time. And Happy Birthday to Brian with thanks for an unforgettable gig. I can’t get used to the idea of a rock festival impresario turning 70, any more than I can believe that quite a few of the Barbecue 67 audience must now have bus passes. Me included.
Now, where is that other shoe? Do you suppose there would be any eBay interest in one shoe? Right foot, in good condition. And, by the way, I should have a lot more old LPs (I used to review them when I was on the Spalding Guardian and got them free after all). I bet one of my sons has pinched them for sampling.
October 22nd, 2008
They ate all the fish in the sea and all the birds in the sky. They cut down all the trees and when there was nothing left growing they possibly started eating each other. At any rate pretty soon they disappeared off the face of the earth. There is something eerie about reading Collapse by Jared Diamond as banks implode across the planet. Societies fail when they consume more than the environment can supply. Sound familiar at all?
I couldn’t face watching another episode of financial disaster last night so I went to bed before Newsnight and tucked up with a comforting tale of social catastrophes through the ages. So far I am only a third of the way through this remarkable chronicle of human folly, mismanagement and sheer bad luck but although different societies fail in their own ways they all seem to share common causes. Environmental damage resulting from over-consumption is the strongest link in the chain.
Easter Island is the most dramatic: those huge stone statues built at such great cost to the environment are all that is left of a complex society. The weaker the social structure became, the bigger the statues grew, the more the people consumed of the world around them.
As Diamond says: “The parallels between Easter Island and the whole modern world are chillingly obvious. Thanks to globalization, international trade, jet planes, and the Internet, all countries on Earth today share resources and affect each other, just as did Easter’s dozen clans…..if mere thousands of Easter Islanders with just stone tools and their own muscle power sufficed to destroy their environment and thereby destroyed their society, how can billions of people with metal tools and machine power now fail to do worse?”
The morning paper brings more echoes and ironies. Is the banking crisis the edge of the abyss or the jolt we need to start living within our means? The front pages are devoted to tumbling share prices. Inside there is a small story about the threatened extinction of the UK’s fish and fishing industry. We have pretty much eaten all the fish in the sea. What next?
The sub-title to Diamond’s book is How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive. It’s up to us.
I’m off to cheer myself up watching Question Time.
October 16th, 2008