Thursday, May 31, 2012

Who Killed Teddy Bear



I simply cannot understand what the fascination is in Facebook, and it is obviously universally fascinating as it is worth billions. Life is short enough without wasting time with messages like “someone has pasted a photograph of something or other on Facebook.” or “so-and-so likes the photograph of so-and- so.” Who cares? Someone you’ve never heard of about someone else you’ve never heard of. Can anyone explain to me please just what the fascination is? Is this to be the whole future of social intercourse? Facebook, Twitter, and Texting? Sounds like a firm of solicitors.
Watched a 1965 movie titled ‘Who Killed Teddy Bear?’ And watched it all the way through despite it being probably one of the worst films ever made. Little wonder it was never released but is now out on DVD and Chris bought it. Why, you ask, would we sit through an entire 1965 black and white never released bad bad movie and not give up after the first ten minutes? Well the answer is quite simple; it stars our friend Sal Mineo. In the first place the title was meaningless. Our sadistic pervert, stalking a girl, ripped open the head of a teddy bear and left it on her bed but that is hardly killing Teddy is it? And why would he do it anyway? I tell you the script had more holes in it than a dozen colanders. Of course one never saw the pervert, only parts of him, an arm reaching out to dial the girl’s phone number, a cigarette being lit, (everyone did an awful lot of smoking in those early movies), a large pair of binoculars as he peeps at her from his window. She lives just over the way and is always removing articles of clothing with curtains open, the lighting very dark, the music sinister but you knew all along who the pervert was. Oh, boy, it really was a movie of its time but unfortunately not a good one. Badly directed with lots of jiggy dancing in the club where the pervert and the girl worked, she as a DJ, these scenes going on forever, much too long in fact; and endless running at night down the streets of New York. The director was obviously into disco dancing and had a thing about running down streets. More moody shots I suppose. At one point the wonderful Elaine Stritch indicates she has lesbian tendencies and is unceremoniously and violently rebuffed by our heroine before the scene can get too juicy. She leaves the building and, surprise surprise, our pervert just happens to be lurking close by. He has spent the last few hours walking (not running you understand, these shots have to be lingered over for full effect) the streets of New York looking into sex-shops, browsing through porn magazines (he doesn’t actually buy any) and bringing himself on by gazing at saucy lingerie in shop windows. He calls her name, ‘Laura!’ and, for some reason she starts to run. The question is a big fat - why? She hears her name called, she knows the guy, they all work in the club together, he’s a personable young man, so surely if she was scared of being out in the streets of New York alone at night she would welcome him being there to walk her safely home. But, no, she panics and runs through the streets of New York and he follows, eventually after quite a chase (building the tension you see) catching up and killing her. Dark moody lighting so you didn’t actually see how – throttled her I presume. ‘Nother question? Why does he kill her? Silly me! Because he’s a sexual pervert of course and at some point he has to arrive at the point of no return and become a murderer. So goes the screenwriter’s thinking. Meanwhile our tough tight-lipped macho detective who is the paradigm of every clich├ęd Hollywood detective has naturally taken a personal interest in the girl (don’t they always?) but is too thick to ask why Laura, when she was killed, was wearing the girl’s distinctive fur coat, and the next night in the club it’s all jolly hockey sticks time despite their associate Laura’s untimely death. Anyway to cut a bad story short, it ends up rather lamely with our pervert raping our heroine and running away down the streets of New York for his very life only to be gunned down by New York’s bravest. Boy, what a load of crap! Sal was okay though.
Also watched/listened to Sondheim’s 80th birthday concert; a tribute performed by the New York Phil and a host of Broadway stars. Our lovely Elaine Stritch climaxed the show with “I’m Still Here.” What a trooper! What a performer! What an event!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

stolen childhood



When I was teaching in America one of my students said to me, ‘I am a fucked-up kid who comes from a fucked-up family.’ So here is something for members of the American Family Association, Christian Voice, Cardinal Timothy Dalton and Mister Romney and others to ponder over for a while. It’s an English story but universal I guess. Fortunately it is a long long way from the horrors of India where babies, I suppose for some kind of crazy religious belief, ritually have boiling milk poured over them. But to the English story: A mother and step-father in Grimsby have been jailed for four and five years respectively for the treatment of their two sons. The defending solicitor pleaded mitigation saying, ‘It is not a case of sadistic brutality. It is a case of strict parenting going badly, dreadfully and seriously off-track. So then, just what did this strict off-track parenting consist of? The boys were kept locked in a bedroom for 23 hours a day, a rope was used to secure the door. Meals were totally inadequate. Lunch usually consisted of two slices of toast and the evening meal something like plain pasta with perhaps vegetables and marmite. Sometimes if they we’re in trouble they didn’t get any dinner at all. When social services eventually got around to rescuing them (it only took seven years) the younger boy, now aged seventeen weighed just five stone six pounds and the elder, aged nineteen, six stone. They were both so malnourished neither had gone through the normal physical changes of puberty. They were allowed one hot shower a week and in the bedroom they were expected to lie silently in bed like statues. They entertained themselves by creating fantasy games they carried out in whispers. The judge said the boys’ emotional well-being and physical health had been seriously damaged but he hoped they would recover from “their stolen childhood.”
The sad fact is that a great many people should simply not be allowed to bring kids into the world to end up as damaged goods. ‘I’m a fucked-up kid from a fucked-up family.’ Never a truer word was said.
It’s not that the problem goes unrecognised. The British Government has now spent £3.4million launching a website that gives tips on every aspect of child rearing. David Cameron said it’s ludicrous that people get more training in driving a car. What about all those well-meaning but ignorant or incompetent or inadequate mums who don’t have computers, how are they to get on? Well he has launched a raft of measures aimed at supporting families including free parenting classes and relationship support sessions (!)  He rejected criticism that the government is interfering in family life, saying, ‘this is not the nanny-state – it’s the sensible state.’ The fact is there are many families that for various reasons are in dire need of being interfered with or sad to say there will simply be more kids who have their childhood stolen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Africa and the pink pound



Moral rights… morality… money money money. Where money is concerned morality can fly out the window faster than you can cay cock Rubenstein! The President, or is she the Prime Minister, I forget, of Malawi, in the face of dwindling foreign aid  is rescinding the ban on homosexuality. Yes, folks, damn it all I’m back there yet again but I can’t help the news headlines blazing away, now can I? While the money flows homosexuality is bad bad bad but when the money stops because of human rights then it’s okay to be gay. The hypocrisy I suppose is inevitable.
South Africa on the other hand is not only the one sensible and liberal country in Africa where homosexuality is concerned but evidently is actively encouraging it. Why? Money money money, the power of the pink pound, the pink dollar, the pink whatever.
There is arguably no worse place in the world to be gay than Africa. Today more than two-thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing homosexual acts and across the continent the imprisonment, murder and abuse of gays has become part of the fabric of society. So to many Africans the Rainbow Flag, which has emerged as one of the most powerful and recognisable 21st Century symbols of gay rights, is an unknown quantity. ‘But Cape Town is hoping to usurp Rio, Toronto and Tel Aviv to become the world's favourite gay destination and win a big slice of the "pink tourism" market which is worth an estimated $80bn ($50bn) worldwide.’ Tel Aviv? Who would have thought it? The ancient prophets must be turning in their graves. Does no one these days read Leviticus? Gay men from all over Africa face persecution, violence and even death in their home countries but in Cape Town, if only on holiday, they can be free”
South Africa has the continent's only openly gay hotel, Cape Town's Amsterdam House, founded in 1998, and usually fully booked. The hotel's manager, Laurens Botha, (po po po as a Greek would say, what does the Dutch Reformed Church think of that for goodness sake?) says other businesses are benefiting from the regular influx of gay visitors. Last year, in a survey carried out by the publication ‘Out There’, North American travellers ranked South Africa as the third "most wanted" travel destination. Cape Town, where 10% of all tourists who visit the city are said to be gay, also won status as a worldwide favorite by ‘Out and About’ magazine. Last year alone an estimated 200,000 gay tourists (there can’t be that many in the world surely!) holidayed in Cape Town. South Africa's laws and constitution have helped to make all this possible. It was the first country in Africa to legalize same-sex marriage, and only the fifth in the world to do so. For those forced to stay in the closet in their home countries, South Africa is liberating. The popularity of the Rainbow Nation amongst gay travellers is thanks to liberal laws and the fact that this is the only place in Africa where you can be openly gay. You can walk on the beaches, go on safari and eat in restaurants as gay partners without raising eyebrows let alone anything more hazardous to health.
Businesses across the country are also becoming more aware of the value of the pink Rand. This year the United Nations World Tourism Organization singled out South Africa in its Global Report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) tourism. It said progressive attitudes in South Africa as well as Argentina, (Catholic!) India, Spain (Catholic!) and Mexico (Catholic!) had attracted the gay market in droves.
However all is not sweetness and light. Prejudice remains. Lesbians in South Africa have experienced shocking violence such as “corrective rape.”  
Fanney Tismong, an acclaimed Johannesburg based film-maker who specialises in gay issues and township life, says huge strides have been achieved in South Africa but he agrees deep prejudices still remain in many parts of the country and many gays in the townships live in fear of sexual assault and murder. More than 30 women have been killed in South Africa in the past two years because of their sexuality.
"We are making progress and we stand out alone in this regard in Africa, but we are not quite at the end of the rainbow yet".

Friday, May 25, 2012

Author's Moral Rights



The apricots are falling and, despite the recent winds of Crete, it looks like being a bumper crop so Douglas trotted off to Lidls to get, amongst other things, twenty-four kilos of sugar. Guess you can make a whole heap of apricot jam, chutney, apricot raki, apricot wine, ice-cream, etcetera, with twenty-four kilos of sugar.
We’ve not had rain for a while so some shrubs are beginning to look a trifle wilted and we still haven’t planted out the loquat I have grown from seed. It is now a good three feet tall or more and we really must do it soon before it gets too heavy (well heavier than it already is) and becomes pot bound. Having nurtured it this far I would really hate to lose it. Have started to take down the nectarine that has produced nothing but peach curl all the years we have had it. Shame really as it was a present from our American friends, the Pardoes, but there you are, it has been totally useless as far as fruit is concerned and has to go. More firewood for next winter. There’s a dead pine at the bottom of the garden as well but that will have to wait until we can afford a woodsman to do the job. It is a forty feet or more fully grown tree and we would more than likely be in the line of serious injury or death if we attempted it. This last winter everyone, including city dwellers, because of the cost of oil were using wood stoves.
I still swear this machine has a will of its own. It decided the word I wanted wasn’t   Pardoes but Parodies and went ahead all on its own to change it. I swear on my life it was not my chubby fingers. I most definitely typed Pardoes.
I have finally discovered what an author’s moral rights are. I’ve been bemused by it ever since I first read it in a flyleaf: The Author’s moral rights have been observed. In “The Hollywood Writers’ Wars” by Nancy Lynn Schwartz which is taking me an awfully long time to plough through, on page 230 I read this – ‘ ‘“The Author’s Moral Rights,” a code employed in Europe that considered the artist’s work an extension of his or her personality and concerned itself with protecting that work from distortion by middlemen. This was an obsessive concern of screen writers who were suffering under the very fact that they had no control over the final product; with which the studio could do as it liked.’
So there you are, obviously this applies to publishers whose editors might get a bit too big for their boots. More, when rehearsing a new play, actors sometimes consider themselves to be much better writers than the playwright and insist, in their opinion, on improving things. Alfie Bass did it to me when filming ‘Bindle’ coming out with appalling lines he believed to be the soul of wit and Ronnie Stevens did it to me in “The 88.” Mind you it’s not just actors who trample willy-nilly over a script because they always know best but directors as well. When ‘Thriller Of The Year’ was first produced Ben Hawthorne (now known as Raymond) cut so much from the third act we were left with a mere fifteen minutes. Who wants to come back after an interval for a mere fifteen minutes? It has since then naturally been rewritten and corrected. When my play ‘One Candle For Jenny’ was bought by the television company Associated-Rediffusion it was given to a director by the name of Mark Lawton, who did so much rewriting the play was eventually shelved. No moral rights protecting me there. Same with a film script called ‘Finishing School.’ Even the title was changed becoming ‘It Happened On Tuesday.’ Have you ever heard a more ridiculous title? Anyway it never happened on Tuesday, or Wednesday or any other day so that was another one not protected by my moral rights.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Law and Justice




Law and Justice – are they compatible? Not such a strange question when one stops for a moment to consider it? There are thousands of laws both draconian and piddling and every country, every state, every city and town for that matter has its own laws and by-laws. It seems odd that what is illegal in one place is perfectly within the law in another. The one thing law isn’t is universal and neither, it would seem, is justice, nor the administration of punishment.
Amnesty International has called for the US to stop sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole. More than 2,500 adults are in US jails for crimes committed as a child - under current rules they will never be freed. The US and Somalia are the only two countries not to have ratified a UN convention that bans life in jail without parole for under-18 year olds. Amnesty wants the US to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been in force for two decades. It prohibits the imposition of life imprisonment without the possibility of release for any offence committed by under-18-year-olds.  In the USA, people under 18 years old cannot vote, buy alcohol, lottery tickets or consent to most forms of medical treatment but offenders as young as 11 have faced life sentences in the US and they can be sentenced to die in prison for their actions. These sentences are handed down without considering factors such as a history of abuse or mental health.
So let us turn now to Sharia law, God’s law, the law which so many people are trying to impose on so many other people. It was Australia’s Prime Minister who got me thinking about it and, realizing I actually knew next to nothing about it, I decided to do a little research and this is what I found: Although there are many different interpretations of Sharia, and differing perspectives on each interpretation, there is consensus among Muslims that Sharia is a reflection of God's will for humankind. Sharia must therefore be, in its purest sense, perfect and unchanging, a bit like the Pope’s infallibility I suppose. The evolution or refinement of Sharia is an effort to reflect God's will more perfectly. Something can be more perfect than perfect? The problem as I see it is unchanging perfection is simply not on the cards. The law differs from time to time and community to community so how can it be God’s unchanging law? As stated above there are many different interpretations of Islamic law.Sharia Law is hard to define because it’s not merely a specific body of laws, nor is it merely a list of things that are prohibited or required of a society.  It is more a methodology.   It’s basically a way of arriving at decisions on how to live life by studying religious texts to determine divine will. Sharia law is also not just a legal system…it’s also a moral system, a structure for living life as a devout Muslim. For Muslims who are devout, living life according to the divine will is the basis for existence.  Sharia law is the anchor for society for devout Muslims and it’s based on several factors in a complex web of history, religious texts, interpretation, modern influence, scholars, community, custom, public interest, regionalism and the conduct of the Prophet Mohamed. Sharia law is flexible (?) and like many systems based on analyzing ancient texts, subject to various interpretations. (?) Jurists are the people who study Sharia law and come up with the specifics on how to conduct life in modern society.” So much for unchanging perfection. What a contradiction though Islam teaches that Sharia as God’s revealed law, perfect and eternal, is binding on individuals, society and state in all its details. By logical extension, any criticism of Sharia is heresy. Muslims who deny the validity of Sharia in any way are labelled as non-Muslims (infidels) or apostates (those who convert to another religion) by traditionalists and Islamists. As such, they face the threat of being prosecuted for apostasy, a crime that carries the death penalty in Sharia. The mandates of Sharia are extremely harsh compared to modern Western standards. They infringe on many modern principles of human rights, religious freedom, and equality of all before the law and this is what scares non Muslims more than anything. Hudud punishments are the severe penalties prescribed by Sharia for offences defined as being against God himself. The punishments for these crimes are seen as divinely ordained and cannot be changed by humans. These include 100 lashes or stoning to death as punishment for adultery; 80 lashes for false accusation of adultery; amputation of limbs for theft; 40 or 80 lashes for drinking alcohol; imprisonment, amputation or death (by crucifixion in serious cases) for highway robbery; and the death penalty for apostasy from Islam. Methods of execution for apostasy can include decapitation, crucifixion, burning, strangling, drowning, impaling, and flaying. Apostates are denied a decent burial after their deaths, and the Muslims who participate in killing them are promised an eternal reward in paradise. Is this really possible in the 21st Century? Unfortunately only too true and would appear that anything, no matter how outrageous or bizarre, can be considered an insult to God so just pray when you come up for trial that the Judge is not having a bad hair day. If you are a nine year old girl caught thieving you are liable to lose three fingers. The same applies to a boy who has a little more leeway – he is fourteen before being punished. In Islam men and women are not equal even as children.



 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sexual Orientation



Continuing the story of the butch straight thirteen stone Welsh rugger fan turned gay, a change in sexual orientation in a stroke sufferer is a controversial issue that can divide scientific opinion. Dr Qazi Rahman of the University of London, an expert in human sexual orientation, has researched the neurological differences between gay and straight men and women. He has tested hundreds of lesbian, gay and straight volunteers and discovered certain key patterns which reveal if a person might have been born gay or straight.  He says the brains of gay men could be organised differently to those of straight men. He invited Birch, who has swapped banking for hairdressing, to undergo the computer-based tests to see if he may, indeed, have been born gay. On half the tests, Birch performed in the expected direction for a gay man, and for the other half was within the range of a straight man. “The bulk of the evidence in the biological sciences of genetics and psychology and neuroscience suggest that sexuality is something you are born with and it develops later on through life,” says Rahman. “Sometimes it takes something like a neurological insult - which is what a stroke is - to make you reassess those feelings, perhaps that are lying dormant, and bring them into the front of your mind and it is possible that is what has happened with Birch.”
Yet consultant neuro-psychiatrist Dr Sudad Jawad has worked with young people who have had strokes and has come across a similar case in his practice of a man whose sexuality changed from homosexual to heterosexual. “Just like a stroke can change you as a person, your behaviour, your personality, the way you think, why not sexual orientation? It is part of the personality of the individual,” he says.
There are other examples of radical personality change. Tommy McHugh suffered a stroke in 2001 which unlocked his creative side. He used to be a builder and is now an artist, sculptor and writes poetry. However before the stroke, McHugh had no interest in art apart from the tattoos on his arms.
One of the first recorded instances of a personality change after a head injury dates back to 1848, with the case of Phineas Cage. While working as a railroad construction foreman, his head was pierced by an iron bar propelled by an explosion. He survived the accident but suffered behavioral changes and was reported to have permanently lost his inhibitions. Although science may never be able to reveal what happened after Birch's accident and the lasting effect of the stroke, he is continuing to rediscover himself and move on with his new life.
Personally I have long maintained, not from scientific or psychiatric experiment but from personal experience and observation, that the word normal in sexual behaviour means bisexual: not necessarily 50/50, sometimes as much as 90% one way 10% the other but always an element of both homo and hetero sexuality. 
“I'm convinced more than ever looking at old photos that the stroke did turn me gay, because there is no way that I was gay before. I have photos as proof and I have friends as proof and now I have memories as proof. I'm happier now than I ever have been, why would I want to change?”

Joke by my cousin Bert – I’m trisexual – try anything once. Many a true word as the old saying has it.
And definitely the last word – St. Petersburg and three other Russia cities with the urging of the Orthodox Church have banned “homosexual propaganda” and seventeen people have been arrested for trying to display a rainbow flag. They have been accused of “not co-operating.” It is possible the law might come into effect nationally. Religion really is a disaster for the human race and, as the opium of the people, it will continue to be so.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Obama and gay marriage.



Thanks to Mister Obama and the uproar caused by his statement in support of gay marriage, in particular amongst the fundamentalists and ultra-right wing, I am back once more on that subject but hope to drop it and not return for a long long time. Reiterating my comment on the way families ignore the fact that gays are also a part of them, I merely want to discuss the reaction of Cardinal Timothy Dalton, President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Mister Obama’s remarks, he said, are deeply saddening. “We cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society,” he said in a statement. “The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better.” Note that – especially our children – once again the blinkers are on – some of those children will be gay and grow up to be gay no matter what the Cardinal might or might not think. Some years ago a well known pop singer said he took notice of his parents warning about certain men until he realised he was one of the men his parents had warned him about. Mitt Romney, the Republican who is expected to challenge Obama for the White House is naturally against gay marriage and how much influence is actually brought to bear by Mister Obamna’s statement? Thirty-one US states have legislated against same-sex marriage and the basic reason for this is of course religious. For example Pentecostal Pastor Charles Bargaineer, of the largely black “New Fellowship Church of God” in Florida, told the Associated Press he was troubled by the president's position. “I don't think that's appropriate for the president,” Mr. Bargaineer told Reuters news agency. “The Bible's strictly against that.” When asked whether he would vote again for Mr. Obama, Mr. Bargaineer said: “I'll have to pray about that.” Support for gay marriage among black church-goers remains lower than many other groups. On the other hand the Reverend Scott Clark, a gay pastor from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, said it had been “deeply moving” to hear Mr. Obama “finally acknowledge the full dignity and humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and our families.” And we will leave it at that, marriage or no marriage, two men or two girls who want to be together both romantically and physically will do so whatever politicians, religious leaders and bigoted homophobes might think. And homophobia can be really vicious, apart from “God Hates Gays” brigades, the queer bashing, killings and all the rest of it. Fairly recently an Argentinean politician said he would rather have a dead son than a gay one. So much for family. Once upon a time the anti-homosexual law in England was known as “the blackmailer’s charter” and to this day being gay, or being thought to be gay, or reputed to be gay can lead to the same thing. You don’t like the politician opposing you? He’s too far ahead in the polls? Accuse him of being gay. The latest to suffer is John Travolta who has been accused by two masseurs of trying it on. It’s their word against his and who knows where the truth lies?
And finally a truly weird story for you to ponder over: in a previous Blog it was mentioned that homosexuality was not a result of “a peculiar life experience” so make of this what you will. Following a stroke, 27-year-old Chris Birch's personality and sexuality altered dramatically. Now he is trying to rediscover who he is and why these changes may have happened. Looking at past pictures of himself, he struggles to remember or identify with his old self. He used to be a 13-stone, beer-swilling, party-loving rugby fan from the Welsh valleys, the life and soul of a party. He worked in a bank and loved sport and motorbikes. After a freak accident in 2011, he says he underwent a big change to his personality. He believes that he has gone from being straight to gay. A stroke occurs when the blood, and therefore, oxygen supply to the brain is disrupted. Without oxygen, any part of the brain can be destroyed as brain cells die, leaving the brain to make new connections, which can affect how a person thinks, moves or feels. “The Chris I knew had gone and a new Chris sort of came along. I came to the realisation that the stroke had turned me gay.” There are few known cases of a stroke doing that, and major personality changes in stroke sufferers are rare. Even Jak Powell, Birch's other half, believes his partner may always have been gay. “People grow up not knowing they are gay and have families and then they realise they are gay, but they don't have a stroke to realise that.” Yet Birch disagrees and is convinced that, neurologically, it was the stroke that altered his sense of self. The moment he realised his feelings towards men had changed was a scary period in his life. “It was a sort of lonely time. It was a time I was afraid to tell anybody because that wasn't who I used to be, so it shouldn't be who I am now,” he says. “You're afraid to tell people, you're afraid to have that conversation or even talk about the possibility that I have even changed in some way, and I suppose I dealt with it by moving out of my family home by myself and having to realise who I was all over again.”
To be continued.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doctor Dungu and Mama Bele




If the farts don’t get there first I wonder how many eons must pass before ignorance is eradicated on earth. I suppose the depressing answer is never. How long before the Vietnamese and the Chinese come to the realisation that rhino horn, at an estimated $55000 a kilo does absolutely nothing for a man’s sex life, that surgically extracted bile from a bear’s gall bladder by means of a permanent hole in the stomach does not and never has produced a miracle elixir. So rhinos continue to be killed and bears tormented for the sake of man’s cupidity and stupidity which brings me to what has started me off on this track: two leaflets I have received from South Africa. The power of the witch doctor is purely in the mind. Once upon a time a certain Mister Kellogg invented cornflakes because he thought it would stop the youth of America from abusing itself. Why he believed this is anybody’s guess. It was a complete failure of course but snake oil salesmen are still around particularly, it would seem in Africa and people are still willing to believe in them even though it is a well known fact that pigs don’t fly. The first leaflet is from Doctor Dungu and Mama Bele and, except for two small English announcements in boxes, is in Afrikaans. The gist of it is that Doctor Dungu and Mama Bele will increase the pleasure of your sex life, and the size of your penis, as well as solving any of life’s problems. The English in the first box reads, “OUR GUARANTEE INCLUDES  - Men of any age can gain 4cm or more in length and width. This system offers only advantages. No side effects reported in fourteen years of experience.”
The second box headed “3 in 1 penis” informs us:
1)      Size and thickness.
2)      Power. (Hardness and strong.)
3)      Stop early ejaculation and make more rounds (!)
4)      Are you diabetic, aged or have high blood pressure and its affecting your performance. (sic)
There are three addresses where you can find the good Doctor Dungu and Mama Bele. The consultation fee is R50 which is approximately 5euro and visiting hours are from 7.00AM TO 8.00pm seven days a week including public holidays. (I nearly wrote pubic and there’s a Freudian slip for you.)
Now the question that comes to mind, apart from the possible miracles, is how does the good Doctor Dungu to say nothing of Mama Bele manage to be at three addresses at one and the same time between the hours of 7AM and 8PM seven days a week? Maybe there are actually three Doctor Dungus and three Mama Beles.
The second leaflet is from the “Healing Tree Herbal Shop” and this one is in three languages; English, Afrikaans, and an African language. It could be Zulu or Xhosa or Shangaan or any of the African languages but that I don’t know I’m afraid. Anyway, the English section tells it all and this is how it goes – MARRIAGE CONSULTANT  MAAMA AFRICA – If you have failed with other Doctors, please come to us. With God nothing is impossible.
We have medicine that solves the following problems

Cleansing the evil and bringing Good Luck
All male sexual problems/Impotence
Weak erections, low sex drive and enlargement
Rejoining broken relationships (binding Lovers) forever
Protecting you’re (sic) business and home from Witches and Thieves
Court problems (all cases winnable and guaranteed).  So I am discovered in flagrante delicto committing murder and you guarantee to get me off? Sounds good.
All Pregnancy problems (wanted and unwanted).  Is there such a thing as a wanted pregnancy problem?
Clean your debts and recover lost properties
Don’t know why you can’t keep money?
And here is the truly scary bit – “Safe Abortion.”
And if you believe any of that then that is most certainly the reason why you can’t keep your money.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Global Warming



Global warming, the hottest subject of the day (no pun intended) what is the cause, that is if it is actually happening and not simply scaremongering by the powers that be or meteorologists suffering a fit of the angst? No, guys and dolls, it really is happening. The temperature is rising, not exactly at an alarming rate just now (that’s South African parlance) but worrying nevertheless and it will get to the point where the planet will become uninhabitable. Is it a perfectly natural phenomenon that happens every so many years and, when it reaches its maximum, will the earth start to cool off again possibly to another natural phenomenon, an ice age? Well I am here to tell you global warming is actually happening and would you like to know why? The answer in one word is - FARTS!
No, I kid you not, that is the real reason for it and scientists have proved it? How? I will elucidate in a moment but in the meantime consider this – how much methane do you suppose is generated by the farts of cattle by the billion, horses, mules, donkeys, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs, cats, camels, yaks, bison, wildebeest, zebras, elephants (how did Noah and his family exist on the ark without air-conditioning and odour eaters?) and so many more? But that is as nothing compared to the methane released into the atmosphere by the farts of nine billion human beings.  Nine billion and counting! Or is it seven? Whatever, in another twenty-five years there will be eleven billion all merrily gobbling up the earth’s resources and farting away fit to bust. And there you have it. That is, without any doubt, the real reason as to what is causing global warming. It’s not the internal combustion engine, not aeroplanes, ships, trains, buses, lorries nor cars though their number may be legion, it is not the heat sent out by quadrillions of light bulbs, advertising signs, fridges, freezers, and air-conditioning units, television sets, movie projectors,  central hearing, no none of these things. It is entirely down to human farts. And just how have I come to this conclusion? Well, according to British scientists a previous global warming was caused by the farts of the giant dinosaurs known as sauropods. They studied farts made by cows and then calculated from the cow’s size as compared to the size of the dinosaur the amount of methane a poep would produce. They worked out the dinosaurs would have farted out 520 million tonnes of gas every year. How they actually arrived at this calculation is anybody’s guess but my guess is they were somehow spot on. Evidently according to the experts from Liverpool, Glasgow and London University the gas was caused by microbes living in the dinosaurs’ guts. How they actually discovered this without getting inside a dinosaurs tummy is a scientific secret known only to themselves; and just why is methane so dangerous? Well it is a “greenhouse gas” that absorbs radiation from the sun and traps it in the earth’s atmosphere thus causing global warming. So there you have it. I always thought the world would end not with Armageddon but would be submerged in a quagmire of shit and this time there would be no Noah’s ark to the rescue. I guess I was wrong. The farts will get there first.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Julia Gillard Mandela Nomse Dube



Why in heaven’s name do the fanatics want to introduce Sharia law where it doesn’t exist? It might have been applicable in the time of The Prophet, but now? In the 21st century? What has prompted my thinking about this yet once again was reading what the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard had to say on the subject – Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told to get out of Australia as the government targeted radicals in an attempt to ward of potential terror attacks … ‘Immigrants not Australians must adapt, take it or leave it. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture (she might have added or their religious beliefs.) This culture (Australian) has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly English, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian or any other language. Therefore if you wish to become part of our society … learn the language.
Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. This is our country, our land and our lifestyle and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'.
'If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.'
Courageous woman to say what I am sure many have wanted to say for some time but have not plucked up the courage to do so. Why, for example, in England are kids denied the right to enjoy the Nativity Play in case it should offend kids brought up in a different religion? It is PC nonsense gone mad. And it’s not just Muslims who are a problem. The subject of colour has people treading on eggshells. The police are handicapped because they are afraid of being accused of being racists. It is always the white man’s fault. We used to joke that if a double decker London bus knocked down a black man it wasn’t because he didn’t look as he stepped out into the street but it ran him down simply because he is black. Even the great man Mandela used this argument once when referring to Kofi Annan which demeaned Mandela slightly in my eyes. I never thought I would ever hear him use it.
African nations wanted their freedom from colonial rule and they got it. What then did they get say in Zimbabwe? They got a vile dictator. They got poverty, starvation, massacre, intimidation, fear and torture but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s is all the fault of colonialism by the white man.
The Boer used to use two arguments for the maintenance of apartheid. The first came from the Bible, the word of God, and of course no one can gainsay the Bible. The second was they didn’t believe Africans were capable of running a country for themselves. I am beginning to wonder if they were right on the second count. A president who denies HIV, another who believes HIV can be averted by taking a shower, taxi drivers who torch municipal buses so that passengers have to use their taxis instead, thieves who electrocute themselves by cutting into cables, witch-doctors who batten on the sick and the ignorant, even to the point where the police are scared gutless to do anything that goes against them, murder, violence and mayhem out of control, corruption, massacres, human sacrifice, the body parts of albinos for magic medicine, civil war, brutality and child soldiers, thousands of refugees,  the list is endless but of course it is all the result of colonialism and the white man.
Now comes the latest example  and I am not sure you are going to believe this but it’s true - KwaZulu-Natal MEC for “co-operative governance and traditional affairs” Nomse Dube called on the national department of science and technology to investigate the causes of lightning after seven people died in lightning strikes "We will do an investigation and talk to the department of science and technology on what is the cause of the lightning, and if it only happened to the previously disadvantaged as I have never seen any white people being struck by lightning," said Dube. She was visiting Mpumazi in Eshowe where seven people from two families died after being struck by lightning on Sunday.  "Scientists from the department could perhaps help us and come up with instruments that could help community members protect themselves against lightning. The department has dealt with floods and fires, but lightning was new to us," she said. I can’t help feeling it’s that double decker bus syndrome all over again.










Friday, May 11, 2012

American Family Association




“Touch my prick and I’ll tell my dad and he will kill you,” the nauseating child is reputed to have said for all to hear, but I can’t help wondering how many pricks daddy might have touched in his lifetime. Yes, I’m back on the subject I swore I would never write about again. Why then, you ask, am I back with it? Well, the answer is quite simple, it is back with me. I can’t open a newspaper or download the news but there is more often or not a gay article. There are the boys in Iraq who are perceived to be gay and in consequence murdered; the so-called Emo killings. The creation of a group to campaign for gay rights in Liberia has led to a fierce backlash - a house rented by the mother of a campaigner has been burnt down and even the president - last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner - has waded in to say she will never support laws recognising homosexual rights and the campaigners have had to seek police protection from the mob. A Ugandan cabinet minister has raided a workshop for gay activists and tried to arrest the organizer, a Ugandan paper and UK-based rights group have said. ‘Minister for Ethics and Integrity’(!) Simon Lokodo said the gathering was "illegal" and ordered delegates out of the hotel near the capital. It comes days after an MP retabled a controversial anti-gay bill. It proposes increasing the penalties in Uganda for homosexual acts, which are illegal, from 14 years in jail to life which, considering the amount of homosexuality that takes place in prison, is totally ridiculous if only they could take the blinkers off and see it. David Bahati, the MP behind the proposed legislation, says a clause proposing the death penalty will be dropped. It originally said those found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality" - defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled(!) or a "serial offender" - would face the death penalty. I haven’t had any news recently of the proposed St. Petersburg bill putting a silencer on any mention of the subject but occasionally, only occasionally, you do get something positive like a group of leading Anglicans saying the Church of England has "nothing to fear" from the prospect of gay marriage and it  should be a cause for rejoicing. In a letter to The Times prominent figures including five former bishops say statements by church leaders give a false impression of popular feeling. "We believe the Church has nothing to fear from civil marriage for same-sex couples," it says, and now Obama has come off the fence and endorsed same-sex marriage. But now we come to the latest from America – Dominic Dieter, a bigheaded DJ with a popular rock station in Cleveland, Ohio advised a listener, who found his daughter kissing another girl, that he should get one of his friends to “screw her straight.” Think of the message that sends out. Huge headlines – ‘Gay Romney spokesman resigns amid conservative backlash.’ Richard Grenell previously worked as a spokesman for the UN mission under President George W. Bush.  An openly gay spokesman for presidential candidate Mitt Romney he quit on his first official day of work amid criticism by anti-gay conservatives. Bryan Fischer, director of “issues analysis for the American Family Association,” a group opposed to homosexuality, wrote a Blog posted on 20 April attacking Mr. Romney's choice, saying it sent a "message to the pro-family community: drop dead". Did it really? Well let us for a moment discuss the family. Where do they believe gays come from? Do they drop from trees? Do they sprout up out of the ground? No, for goodness sake, they are created by heterosexual couplings, they are born out of heterosexual marriages, they are, or were, themselves members of families, even American mom’s apple-pie family, even Ugandan and Liberian families. If you want to eradicate gays then stop having sex and breeding, that is the only way: sons, daughters, cousins, uncles, aunts, even fathers and mothers can be included as having some gay experience, even if only emotionally, which brings me back to why I ask how many pricks may that child’s father have touched?
An opinion in Gay Community News in 1980 by John Lauretsen reads - Human males are powerfully attracted to other males – erotically and emotionally. This attraction is not the product of peculiar life experiences of any sort, nor of hormonal imbalance, nor of genetic aberrations, nor of any other such etiological foolishness. The male capacity to love another male is inborn, a phylogenetic characteristic of our species. If a man has any libido at all – he is not a total eunuch – his libido has a homosexual element. Homosexual desire is universal. A gay man recognises this desire; a straight man consciously or unconsciously does not.
Finally here is a scenario for members of the American Family Association to mull over: a same sex couple adopt a child, protect and nurture it with all the love, consideration, and respect it deserves as a human being. A straight couple neglect their child, deprive it of love, abuse it, and in some instances actually kill it (Baby Peter for example). Which child reaps the most benefit? Which child has the better start in life, the better family? I really do not believe the answer can be in any doubt except possibly by the American Family Association and others of a similar blinkered, ignorant, fearful state of mind.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Royal National Theatre Royal Shakespeare Watford Palace


Have you noticed, and I’m sure you have, that film credits are getting longer and longer? There was a time when only major players both artistic and production-wise were credited, now everyone has to be named. Greek television doesn’t bother with credits. The moment a film comes to an end that is it. Who, they seem to ask, wants to sit through five minutes or more of rolling credits? In the cinema by the time the credits have rolled to an end there is no one in the house to look at them anyway. The disease seems to have spread to the theatre. Okay so okay, you say, credit where credit is due but what is the point if it is for the most part simply ignored? What made me think about this is that, while they were in London Chris and Douglas attended two performances, one at Watford Palace and the other at The National Theatre and, looking at the programmes, it makes me wonder how Ben and I managed to run a full repertory season with a company of no more than a dozen or so including stage staff who numbered a magnificent six plus one for publicity. They were a stage director (now called a production manager I suppose) three assistants, a designer one design assistant. What about lighting you may ask? Today it would seem a stage cannot be lit with anything less than a hundred or more lamps but we lit our stage with a dozen without a team of lighting experts and, before you sneer and go ‘oh yes,’ I can inform you we maintained the highest standard of production throughout the whole season. It most definitely was not a case of tat.
The same applies to the summer season I was a part of part at The Wayside Theatre in Virginia. Here the assistant stage managers were called interns. There were four of them and they worked their arses off for experience and very little else; a roof over their heads and what amounted to no more than pocket money. One of those interns is now professor of theatre at a major US university. As far as performers were concerned both at Buxton and Wayside, for the most part the plays produced were of necessity small cast and should more be needed, for a musical say, then the cast was naturally augmented. And both seasons included a musical. At Buxton it was ‘Salad Days,’ and in Virginia, ‘A funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum.’  This was in 1964 and 1989. Now let’s look at the two London theatres in 2012. First the National. Now I know there are three theatres to run in that vast complex, the upkeep of which must be considerable on its own even before the production of plays, but is it really necessary to employ a staff of 450? There are for example 42 personnel managing the ‘Box office.’ The list under the heading of ‘Commercial Operations/ Bookshop’ contains 12 names, ‘Catering’ 150, ‘Hospitality Events’ 25. ‘House Management’ is rather sparse with only 8 names, similarly with ‘Information Tours’ and ‘Stage Door,’ but now we come to the list of ‘Ushers’ and here the mind really does boggle – there are 73 names! 73 people required for ushering in three theatres? And we haven’t touched on ‘Development,’ ‘Digital Drawing and Design,’ ‘Director’s office,’ (a measly 4 here – you would have thought high-powered busy as bees directors would have at least 14 if not more.) Nor have we touched on 34 more headings that make up the remaining hundreds. Why go into detail? ‘Health and Safety,’ and ‘Human Resources’ had to be included of course. Keeping all those jobs filled and tabs on them really does require human resources to work flat out, especially as there are only 6 of them. The weekly wage bill for this lot must be astronomical and all that even before the first actor is hired. I don’t know what the situation is at The Royal Shakespeare but I should imagine it’s much of a muchness.
Now let’s turn to Watford, a minnow of a theatre in comparison to these whales but again it would seem to me that the number of staff isn’t really necessary. For example there are 13 members of the board, under ‘Operations,’ 29, something called ‘Participation’ has 6, ‘Production’ has 18 and ‘Marketing’ 14.
This startling increase in the inclusion of credits for all involved must surely have started with Joan Littlewood and her socialist theatre at Stratford East when even the cleaning ladies were credited for the first time but her theatre was run on a shoestring and still produced some historical work, ‘Oh What A Lovely War,’ Brendan Behan’s ‘The Hostage,’ and ‘The Quare Fellow,’ Shelagh Delaney’s ‘A Taste of Honey,’ ‘Mother Courage,’ Lionel Bart’s ‘Fings Ain’t’ What They Used To be,’ ‘Sparrers Can’t Sing,’ and more.
 I somehow doubt Joan Littlewood would have longed for a company numbering hundreds.


www.glynjones.net

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ken Follett - World Without End


Ago ago ago ago ago! Ago ago ago! I have been reading Ken Follett’s, massive tome “World Without End” and thoroughly enjoying it; a real page turner, all 1111 pages of it and, in old-fashioned boy’s own language, a gripping yarn. I’m a sucker for period romances anyway and can hardly keep my nose out of it so it would seem a bit peevish to come up with a sort of minor complaint in the writing. I see in Mister Follett’s acknowledgments he lists a number of “literary advisers” so how they let it pass and why his editors didn’t cotton on to it I really don’t understand. Maybe it’s because to most people it doesn’t add up to a can of beans but for me it is like an itch that has to be scratched. What am I referring to? I  refer to every time he writes in the past tense it invariably ends in “ago” and when you have read that word umpteen times it begins to stick out like a sore thumb and irritate accordingly. There are alternatives to “ago” but never once does he use one; past, before, previous, previously, since, or the past tense of verbs none of which seem to be in Mister Follett’s vocabulary or, if they are, he assiduously shuns them in favour of ago ago ago! Grrr! But hoorah! Finally on almost the penultimate page he uses the word “earlier.” So there you ago.
The sign of a jolly good read, apart from not being able to take your nose out of the book, is that you simply can’t wait to get to the end to discover how it all turns out, hopefully for the best but then, when everything has come to a satisfactory conclusion, you’re sad that it’s over. It’s like having a truly fulfilling role in a wonderful play, something that doesn’t happen all that often, perhaps half a dozen times in a lifetime if you’re lucky, and reaching the end of each performance wishing you could do it all over again and reluctant to leave the theatre. Now I look forward to reading the prequel, “Pillar of the Earth” which I am sure I will enjoy just as much, as long as there aren’t too many agos.
And whilst on the subject of writing, Chris’s biography of George Leybourne, although shortlisted, did not win the Society for Theatre Research Bookprize 2012 but let’s hope even being in the top six will help to sell it, and sales invoices from the printers were e-mailed and revealed that for me there had been a few sales of three or four plays but not a single book.  Not one single book! Just how does one start the ball rolling when one does not have the means of promotion? Does one just wait for a little miracle, like someone with influence discovering one accidentally, or what? Any ideas?

www.glynjones.net

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Michael Jackson Steven Green Edward Bond



I know I have said it many times before and I am in dire danger of repeating myself ad nauseum but there is little doubt I will say it again and again – it’s a crazy world we live in and here is the latest piece to boggle the mind; a black surgical mask alleged to have been worn by Michael Jackson the night before he died is up for auction. It has been in the possession of one of his bodyguards (why?) who swears it is authentic. The offered item is said to be made of a silk fabric and wow, guys and gals, it bears visible traces of his stage make-up and a lock of his hair! Scream scream scream! Howzzat to make any fan swoon? The bidding is expected to reach £90000. I shake my head in wonder. What is it? Is it a fetish? Is the lucky idiotic purchaser going to spend the rest of his/her life masturbating over it? A thousand orgasms and it is still costing ninety quid a throw. Ten thousand and it works out at nine. If the purchaser is very very young he or she may make it well along the way but I would think at the price it’s reputedly going for the eager buyer must be at least middle aged and won’t get his or her money’s worth before joining Michael in everlasting bliss.

I also swore blind I was never going to return to this subject but it is too much in your face as it were to be continually brushed under the carpet and ignored as it would seem many people would like it to be. Reactions are either viciously ignorant and phobic (Uganda, Liberia, Muslim states, now Russia) or just plain silly: The Emperor Justinian banned it because it causes earthquakes and now some idiot has decided it is the cause of a plague of mice in a Tesco store! No, don’t laugh, this is truly sad. As Frankie Howerd would have said, it’s wrong to mock the afflicted. The idiot concerned goes by the name of Steven Green and is the leader of – you guess correctly, it simply had to be – something called “Christian Voice!” According to Mister Green there is a quite obvious explanation for the infestation of mice – it is retribution from a divine god – in which case all I can say is god has a wonderful sense of humour or maybe he has run out of plagues, locusts, and famine in the close vicinity of Tesco’s and mice will have to do to wreak his divine wrath.  According to Mister Green this retribution has descended on the Tesco store in question because it donated £30000 to London’s Gay Pride and this is their come uppence.
But here is something to really give Mister Green the screaming habdabs, cause him to cream his knickers, explode with righteous indignation, or faint away like a Victorian maiden. A British commercial has been made – in the best of all possible taste I may add – in favour of equal marriage called ‘All Men Can Be Husbands’ and is on the internet. Heavens to Betsy! Maude, the smelling salts, quick! And as Edward Bond once said, “There are no supernatural answers to natural problems.” But obviously that doesn’t stop some people’s imaginations from running amok.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Derby Leicester Loughborough



Not that there is anything new in riots: it’s the same thing all over again as history repeats itself. In 1811 the towns of Derby, Leicester and Loughborough saw rioting but there was a reason for it, even if the reason was in fact unreasonable, and that is it happened because of industrialisation and many in the cloth trade, weavers in particular of course, felt their livelihoods were at stake. What was the reason for the 2011 riots? People have come up with all sorts of theories, mostly in sympathy it seems with the rioters, so you tell me what it was all about?
Neither, or so I believe, is multiculturism a viable proposition. The circumcision of young girls is still carried out in the UK despite being against the law and last year London saw what was called the “Religion of Peace Demonstration!” There was a complete blackout with photographs of the marchers not shown on television or in the press and can you imagine why? They were however available on the internet and the idea of peace evinced by these crazy Muslim fanatics is displayed on the placards they carried.
‘Slay Those Who would Insult Islam,’ ‘Butcher Those Who Mock Islam,’ ‘Behead those Who Insult Islam,’ ‘Europe Is The Cancer. Islam is The Answer,’ ‘Exterminate Those Who Slander Islam,’ ‘Islam Will Dominate The World,’ ‘Europe take some Lesson from 9/11,’ ‘Be Prepared For The Real Holocaust,’ ‘To Hell With Freedom,’ and that says it all, as it is this very freedom that allows them to behave in this appalling fashion; and that is their idea of peace?
What do you think the reaction would be if someone carried a banner down Whitehall reading, ‘To Hell With Islam?’ I will tell you exactly what will happen; he will be arrested within minutes, bundled off and charged with a hate crime and could very well be sent to prison. Did any of these chanting hysterical Muslims get arrested? Who knows, as the government tried to keep it all a dead dark secret? There is also the small matter of clerics inciting violence, child brides, arranged marriages, acid attacks, and honour killings and the constant demand for places of prayer, that is the building of mosques, but try getting permission for a Christian church to be built in a Muslim country. Can you honestly see that happening? I know they do exist but were built in less fanatical times. I shouldn’t think any of them are of recent construction. In Paris at times of prayer certain streets are entirely blocked by the kneeling faithful and in London a Muslim bus driver left his cab and his passengers to kneel in the road and pray. You can imagine how the passengers felt about that! And finally there are too many taking advantage of English generosity, not just Muslims but immigrants from Eastern Europe as well who simply refuse to learn English so government documents, road signs etcetera have to be produced in a multitude of languages. The work and expense this involves is almost incalculable. America has the right idea, ‘Welcome to our country, now learn the language.’
It would be comforting and pleasant to think that people can live in harmony cheek by jowl but unfortunately, in practice, it simply doesn’t happen and the demonstration for peace only goes to prove it.

Part Three to follow…

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jimmy Edwards Frankie Howerd Kenneth Williiams




Having decried the situation in Africa with particular reference to South Africa, what is it like today in a civilised country like Britain? Some years before we moved to Crete fifteen years ago England was becoming a country uncomfortable to live in with the social fabric in some parts disintegrating alarmingly, not just because of a worrying rise in crime, in particular violent crime, sometimes involving knife or gun, part of the problem being a feral undisciplined younger generation without fear of any consequence in response to their behaviour. To be a school teacher is to take your life in your hands not that that is anything exactly new (Blackboard Jungle?) but it would appear the situation has got worse and worse. I remember standing at a pedestrian crossing in Manchester when a young boy beside me was about to step out in front of a car that obviously was not going to stop and I warned him to which his response was ‘Why don’t you fuck off?’ To which I would have liked to have said, ‘Why don’t you drop dead and make the world a better place?’ instead of which I bit my tongue.
The riots last year were an inevitable result of the way things have been going as the malcontents get younger and younger. Recently we heard a story that would have been unthinkable a few years ago. A well-known and popular television entertainer was unfortunately, due to rather bizarre circumstances, outed as being gay and from then on his life both personal and professional started to completely unravel. Now, as far as their entertainers are concerned, the strange thing about the British is that they will happily accept someone obviously as camp as a row of tents who make no bones about it: Julian Cleary for example, Paul O’Grady, Larry Grayson, but god help you if your private life remains private until the great unwashed discover your true nature: Jimmy Edwards, Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams and many more. Anyway the story is about this particular one time popular entertainer who, practically at rock bottom, was offered a pantomime which he took. Now I don’t know how au fait you are with the traditions of English pantomime but, in case you are not, there is a spot in the show when a song sheet is lowered and the audience is invited to join in. Also during this interlude half a dozen young children are invited to go up on stage where they are asked their names, ages and if they married (wink wink nudge nudge - audience laughter) etcetera. There is always an ‘Ah!’ factor, that is a very young child usually shy and who, when the sweeties are handed out at the end, there is a moment of pretence that there are none left though eventually of course, before the tears start, he or she gets a lion’s share of whatever’s going. At one performance a young boy having given his name went on to say, “If you touch my prick I’ll tell my dad and he’ll kill you.”  Use your imagination. We were not told the outcome of this story; instant public humiliation at the foul tongue of an infant.  

To be continued.