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Scattergun Reproach January 17, 2011

Posted by markswill in Media, Politics, Schmolitics, That's Entertainment, Uncategorized.

I know, I know… after all my braggadocio about cranking up the bloggery again, I’ve been a bit schtum recently but truth is, I’ve been so damn busy scribbling for filthy lucre that I haven’t had the time or energy to dish out any amateur vitriol. And for the next few weeks, I doubt that’ll change. Having said which, after whining about under-employment for a couple of years, it’d now be a bit rich to moan about the stresses and strains of overwork, but truth is (for the second time in one paragraph), I’m actually enjoying the slow swell of adrenalin that builds up during a 12 or 13 hour day of virtually ceaseless toil, and the modest satisfaction of hitting deadlines and turning the odd cute phrase.

But that’s just self-justifying guff and past posts have at least attempted to provoke thought across wider, less narcissistic lines. I’d certainly like to get back into that groove, however spiky – or tellingly silent – the responses might be, but sitting in front of my ‘pooter, eyelids involuntarily screwing down as midnight approaches, I can offer little more than a few disconnected bullet points to prompt your own investigations… or not, as the case may be:

THE TUSCON SHOOTINGS   Sarah Palin and the Super-Right’s media provocateurs have already turned around arguments for a quelling of their inflammatory vitriol and accused the Democrats of niminy-piminy (™ D. Moggach) posturing. I was nonetheless impressed by the Mayor of Tuscon’s measured, enough-is-enough condemnation of the savage polemic that has passed for American political debate in recent months but fear his was a lone voice.  Fuelled by the Tea Party bonkerists and aided hugely by the swaggering bigots of Murdoch’s Fox News (see below), one-in-five Americans now believe that Obama is a Muslim, so I ask you, how long will it be before he’s assassinated?

WANKER’S ONUSES   Last week it was revealed that the head of Lloyds TSB bank, which we taxpayers saved from collapse in 2008 and still own a huge chunk of, is unapologetic about the £2.3million bonus he’s about to get on top of his £1m salary. The Cleggarons are (almost) equally unapologetic about letting him have it because, as they tell us, the financial sector contributes some 10% of tax revenues to the Exchequer and if we’re nasty to ‘em, they’ll all pack up and move to the Bahamas. This may also be why the six-form coalition who “manage” our affairs continue to let our once dominant manufacturing industries go to the wall, e.g. Sheffield Forgemasters, because their blind faith has it that financial services will buoy up an economy which the banks almost brought to its knees and which we, the taxpayers, are having to subsidise by accepting swingeing wages cuts, mass unemployment, withdrawal of social and cultural services and a bleak vision of our children’s future… unless we’re bankers of course.  Or am I being a bit harsh here?

EMPEROR’S NEW WARDROBE   I don’t watch lots of t.v. because I’m too busy nasally nudging the grindstone, oh, and I have a life, but with the exception of The Times’Caitlin Moran (who, incidentally, on a good day is the funniest journalist currently employing the English language), every t.v. scribbler and features editor is falling over themself to laud every new comedy series that hits the tube when most of them are patently rubbish.

Deborah smiling

Episodes and Not Going Out are but two recent and entirely rank offerings that have basked in media overkill, so one has to ask, is money changing hands or what do the controllers of BBC1 and 2 know about the sex lives and drug habits of t.v. critics that enables them to get away scot-free with this crap? And talking of which…

RUPERT THE BARE-FACED   Just say for example, it transpired that the BBC had been routinely tapping the mobile phones of a few celebs, and politicians, the ensuing stink would forced the Cleggarons to shut it down, or at least severely clip its wings, within a nanosecond. Yet R. Murdoch’s News International is apparently considered inviolate from such censure, presumably because the government needs to keep it onside whilst they impose their “tough economic medicine” on a cowering population. Alarmist conspiracy-theorising? Well why else have the cops been soft-pedalling on the blatant breeches of privacy practiced by Murdoch’s News of the World, the relevant government ministers been so quiet and that quintessential defender of Briton’s freedoms, The Thunderer, a/k/a The Times (prop. R. Murdoch) entirely silent on the matter?

RAYS OF SUNSHINE   But that’s quite enough vitriol, for it hasn’t been all horrid since I last scribbled. Movie junkie that I am, there have been a few silver-screen highlights during the last few weeks  – although internet pseudo-documentary Catfish was execrable and G. Clooney’s latest outing, The American only somewhat less so. But I was lucky to catch a lone, cinema screening of Citizen Kane which beyond the t.v. screen totally justifies its ‘Best Movie of All Time’ accolades, not least for the incredible energy of  the performances but primarily due to the really extraordinary images conjured up by Welles’s cinematographer, Greg Toland. Seen writ large, the political rally speech and the Xanadu scenes are unlike anything else certainly before, and possibly since, and should you ever get a chance to see it in a cinema, do so.

Back in real life, last week here in Presteigne we had the annual Wassail ceremony when a bunch of locals urge the town meadow’s apple trees to bear great bounty come autumn. A good-humoured, pleasantly pagan festival involving

Wassailing Furiously on Wentes Meadow. Pic. Alex Ramsay. Check out http://www.alexramsayphotography.net

much consumption of apple-based food and drink (i.e. strong mulled cider), music, fires and fireworks it was just another great example of a community celebration which if nothing else, reminded me that despite all the crap bearing down on us in the wider world, the natural one can still uplift the human spirit.

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1. Jonti - January 17, 2011

Your blog, and email alert, is about the only thing I look forward to in my inbox! Maybe I’m just a sad person….which reminds me..I can’t wait for summer 🙂

2. Gus Sette - January 17, 2011

Can’t disagree with you there Mark.
Particularly your comment about Caitlin Moran – a journalist who’s talents are chronically wasted at the Times (Prop. R. Murdoch) these days.

I’d love to know what would actually happen if all those bankers who so successfully screwed our economy into the ground were told ;
OK then, you’re not getting your bonuses, so, if you don’t like it, F*ck Off !

3. markswill - January 17, 2011

To answer your question Gus, I rather sadly fear they would.

4. Martin Craig - January 18, 2011

Psheew, Mark, where to start..

1. Didn’t actually reply to yr last blog re. new work, but smiled enigmatically at the good news as I whittled a stick. Delighted though.

2. Caitlin Moran – I follow her on Twitter, always good, as are many of her Twit-mates. She even replies, unlike some of the wannabe-sleb journos on there.

3. Bankers/politicos. Incensed enough to record an album aall aboot the fokkas; ‘Tough Decisions’, by Border Rebels, on iTunes et.al. All proceeds going to Shelter. Would like to call their bluff on leaving, bet they like throwing their dosh around London too much.

4. Wassail ceremony – great, a wonderful thing to do. All our neighbours seem happier to strut around with guns & pose by quad bikes, competing to see how far apart they can get their feet without falling over. Yours seem much nicer. Be well.

markswill - January 19, 2011

Martin, thanks for the valedictory comments but I have two questions:

1) How on earth d’you have enough time to Twitter away with the likes of the Fragrant Moran? And;

2) Are you by any chance related to the Border Rebels?

Keep whittling old son, keep whittling!

5. andy tribble - January 18, 2011

It’s the guns of course. Simple maths, nutter + automatic with big magazine = more dead people. In the UK we have nutters too but they just have shotguns so it takes longer for them to load.
If Americans were a bit more grown-up they would look again at the Second Amendment, which clearly states that the right to keep arms is connected with having ‘a well regulated militia’. Your gun is not a private weapon for your own mad use but something you keep in case the well regulated militia gets called out – not a private army either. They might also take a look at Switzerland where they really do have a well regulated militia. Most male citizens are army reservists and keep army issued guns at home. They have army issued ammo too. But that ammo is sealed and inspected for unauthorised use. To carry a gun in public you need a permit, and for that you need to pass a exam. So they have lots of guns and people who know how to handle them but minimal gun crime.
Having said that, in 2001 a Swiss citizen killed 14 people in a government building with a rifle. But apart from that…

markswill - January 19, 2011

“Apart from that” Andy, we’re all fucked, but your reading of the Second Amendment is interesting. I wonder what Sarah Palin would make of that?

6. WTK - January 18, 2011

*Tsk. Vitriolic hate language concerning politics and mentioning “asassination” on Martin Luther King Jr.’s national holiday; a day that Ronald Reagan pushed to sign into law? I’m not going to bash Sarah Palin any longer but will start bashing you, you rabble-rouser! The Tuscon shooter was a Bush-hater and a leftist and here you go using politically incorrect language. I think you would look dandy in one of Sarah Palin’s dresses you right-wing extremist hate-monger.

*Are you saying that Citizen Kane finally was released to the local theatres in Wales?

*The average worker clocks about 2,200 hours per year (about 1,500 hours in Ireland, so simple math dictates that he only made about 1,500 pounds per hour. He probably just works very hard and very fast with a low error ratio. No?

markswill - January 18, 2011

Yeah, twas tasteless of me to talk about assassination on King’s national holiday, but when did good taste govern my spewings? Everything else I stand by Cap’n K, but I must censure you for exposing my penchant for cross-dressing… mind you La Palin does have a nice line in severe business suits – which I know you favour, too.

Ooh, and see Andy Tribble’s comment, below.

Nah, Citizen Kane was a one-off screening in London (the wonderfully eccentric Prince Charles Cinema). We of course don’t have cinemas in Wales, in fact we’ve only just got electricity and make our entertainment with wildlife, sheep in particular.

7. misstokes - January 19, 2011

Hmmm..so many things…so little time…well…in America (del Norte), killing people you dont like
is what our leaders do, and finally, thru the trickle
down system, begun in the ’80’s, were finally seeing some resluts in the general pop..or….killing people over here is as American as, well alcohol, tobacco, and firearms…and few, few mental health facilities.. yeah Citizen Kane is tops.

markswill - January 19, 2011

I like the idea of “resluts in the general pop”. Are they old sluts who’re enjoying a new lease of sluthood? But seriously everything else you say is true, Prof. Stokes. As always, of course

8. MC - January 21, 2011

Glad to see you’re alive and kicking.

Mike Cline
(of Japan, Kawi press intros, and late nights in London)

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