Delices et Gourmandises are Scammers

Preying on older people is a disgraceful way to make money – if you have an aged P then warn them about these people:

http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investigations/2009/12/so-delices-gourmandises-wheres.html

They sent a relative of ours some unsolicited goods and then charged her for them.  I’m pretty sure they can be challenged on legal grounds but the fact that they target the vulnerable, the trusting and the sometimes confused (people like me, lol) makes them utterly despicable.  Spread the word on this…

But moving on – with regard to the recent footballing furore we all need to ask ourselves: Am I a Secret Fascist?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22000125

Take our simple quiz and find out:

Do you think the state is more important than the individual?

Do you like huge imposing buildings like this one?

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Italian+fascist+buildings&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=yLK&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Y-ZbUbKFI8rI0QWT_YDwDQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=797#imgrc=jvHqMtkyaSPV0M%3A%3BeB3LlvM8ZNolbM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.nyc-architecture.com%252FARCH%252Fitaly5.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.nyc-architecture.com%252FARCH%252FNotes-Fascist-IT.htm%3B560%3B486

Are you fond of military uniforms?

Have you ever wished you could drive a tank?

Do you think things would be much better if the government just issued regulations on every aspect of life?

If you answered YES to three or more of these questions then you may be a fascist.  But don’t despair.  Fascism is not necessarily racism – and there’s the rub.  Mussolini and his cohorts were definitely fascist but they weren’t specifically racist.  They didn’t much care who you were or where you came from so long as you obeyed the state.  Which if you think about it, is pretty much how the Romans were.  The Nazis, on the other hand, were specifically racist and – it hardly needs saying – anti-semitic, but Mussolini just went along with it for the sake of friendship.

Well, not friendship – but you know what I mean.  Just so they could belong to the big boys’ club.

And speaking of history, there has been some excellent historical drama on the BBC of late: apart from the wonderful drama about PG Wodehouse, also accused of having fascist sympathies, the series The Village tells the story of a rural community and in particular one boy, starting before the First World War.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0162bq2/The_Village_Episode_1/

The child actor in it is quite brilliant.  Not only that, but they seem to be re-broadcasting ‘I Claudius’, though for some reason they have randomly put episode 3 on iplayer but not episodes 1 and 2.  Aaaand, following on from last week’s post about the deceased Richard Griffiths, Mark Lawson was this week interviewing Miriam Margolyes.  She’s very entertaining and quite up-front about herself and others: she calls Glenda Jackson a cow and herself fat and ugly:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rr42f/Mark_Lawson_Talks_To…_Miriam_Margolyes/

I just can’t get used to watching Mark Lawson, though.  His voice is far too familiar to me from years of listening to him on radio 4 and he’s nothing like I imagined:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rl8nj/Front_Row_Museum_of_the_Year_shortlist_A_Late_Quartet_Greg_Bellow/

A good day yesterday.  I am currently tidying the house and learning all my poems by heart because performing them is much better if I don’t have to read.

Kirk out

A Better Class of Insult?

I’d like to thank two people: the person who knocked on our door at 1.30 this morning, getting me out of bed and then driving away before I got to the door; and the person who left yesterday’s enthralling comment:

You’re a fat, bourgeois bohemian and your blog sucks like a size-queen.

And I quote.  I don’t really know where to start with that one, except to say that Kevin, if you’re listening, you should really put a lot more thought into your insults.  I mean, ‘bourgeois’ hardly goes with ‘bohemian’ now does it?  You can’t be both… and I’m not fat, not by any stretch of the imagination.  And so what if I were?  Also, just to make sure he wasn’t calling me ‘queen-size’ I had to look up the phrase ‘size-queen’.  And no, it’s not the same thing as ‘queen-size.’  Frankly, I’m not sure I want to tell you what it means, but here’s a link if you’re really interested:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=size-queen

So if you want to insult me, please put some more thought into it than this guy did, otherwise I’ll just laugh and delete you.  Although, let’s face it, I’ll probably do that anyway.  Moving on… this comment reminded me of a recent news story about Mary Beard.  She’s an academic who you’ll probably only have heard of if you listen regularly to ‘In Our Time’ on radio 4

(just me then…)

Anyway she had the temerity to appear on television NOT looking like a babe and was subjected to horrific comments about her appearance via the internet.  What makes people think it’s OK to do this?  It’s like pelting someone in the stocks – except that if you’re in the stocks at least you have supposedly committed some crime.  Mary Beard was later talking in a very dignified way on Woman’s Hour about her response to the abuse.  Here’s the original story:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jan/26/mary-beard-question-time-internet-trolls

and here’s the Woman’s Hour programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pztjh

So if you want to insult me go ahead – but be creative.  Use words thoughtfully – otherwise your insults will simply be trashed.

Kirk out

You interest me strangely, Pym

The woefully-short radio series, ‘Fry’s English Delight’ comes to a close today by examining the letter X.  I shall be listening as I’m writing to you, so if anything I say doesn’t make sense, you’ll know why.

I have now finished the Barbara Pym novel I was reading: I thought I might lose interest in the characters, but oddly enough, I didn’t.  She reminds me of E F Benson, in that her books feature a set of characters I want nothing to do with, in a place in which I have no interest *doing things I find utterly tedious – and yet somehow, she manages to interest me.  The key feature of Pym’s novels are characters who almost never express their true thoughts because of social constraints, and because of this she has been compared to Jane Austen; in fact one reviewer stuck his neck out and said that Crampton Hodnet was ‘as good as anything Austen wrote’.  I wouldn’t go anything like that far, but I am nonetheless struck by Pym’s ability to retain my interest right to the end of the novel.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crampton_Hodnet

It is a novel in which nothing really happens – things almost happen, people almost say things and then don’t; or they say things and nobody hears – or takes any notice – in fact it’s a novel almost like Dubliners in its theme of paralysis, except that the characters seem, by and large, happy in their paralysis.  So it’s a bit of a Giant’s Causeway of a novel – worth reading, but not worth buying to read.

Speaking of novels, it’s time to get mine out again and this time finish the damned thing and send it off somewhere.

Yesterday I sent off a short story, finished a couple of poems, bought some bedding plants (winter pansies) and waded into the sticky mass of notes and pen-drives that is the aforementioned novel.

Daniel has gone off to college – hopefully he will find his English class today.  Yesterday I mooned about for several hours – I still can’t get used to him not being at home.

Very Happy Thursday.

Kirk out

* note the balance there in ending/not ending with prepositions

Sour grapes make good whine

What is happening to the six-thirty slot on radio 4?  That will be our theme for this morning.  I know, I know, it’s far twirly but I can’t sleep.  I am processing various recent mental and emotional events and that is keeping me awake – so I have just decided to give in and have tea.

An  unfeasibly large pot of tea yesterday at our latest discovery – a Turkish cafe in Clarendon Park.  Mark had the veggie breakfast as he hadn’t eaten and Anna and I had humus and some home-made flat bread.  Delicious although rather too generous, quantity-wise.  Plus, the humus later gave me heartburn – my digestion is not what it was.  So, all this was after the sun salutations (I nearly wrote ‘slutations’.  Hmm.)  I did 20 which is as many as I’ve ever done in one go, I think.  A number of people there who I hadn’t seen in some time including a cohort of my first lot of students, so that was good.  Then off to Peter’s for some more (much gentler) yoga followed by music and eventual food.  We forgot to discuss mice but Mark said we need a serial mouse – ? or something.  I think that’s what he said.  Something about  – no, it’s gone now and he’s asleep so I can’t ask him.  As all right-thinking people should be at this hour.  Peter and I discussed yesterday’s broadcast of ‘The Lady in the Van’ (see yesterday’s post) and thence to an analysis of what is happening to the six-thirty slot on radio 4.  They seem to have lost their way with this; seem almost to have given up on sitcoms – Claire in the Community is the only one worth listening to, and that’s been going for decades; the stalwarts of ‘Just a Minute’ and ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a turtle-neck’ (???? ‘turtle-neck’?  Where did that come from?) are as good as ever they were; The Now Show is always excellent and the best thing on at that time, but what is happening to the rest of it?  Recent offerings have included Arthur Smith’s Balham Bash – and nobody, including Arthur Smith, seems to know what that is, and don’t get me started on the sitcoms: the latest, called The Party, consists of a bunch of vaguely upper-class twits trying to launch a political party.  What gets me particularly riled is that the BBC rejected my heartbreaking work of staggering genius, ‘Waiting for Theo’, because they said not much happened in it – but nothing at all happens in the Party – they just sit around and talk.  Which I suppose is pretty much the point, but then it was the point of Waiting for Theo.  But going on about it won’t get me anywhere, since you can’t make good wine out of sour grapes.

Which is pretty much where we came in…

Toodle pip!

Now, what was Ratae suggesting about a good sign-off?  Oh, yes – SLATFATF.  Anyone know what that stands for?

KO

oh!  And I was going to mention Chris Conway’s utterly brilliant portmanteau word; utopiary.  

Reality check

They’re talking about the Miss World protests on R4 (The Reunion).  You forget just how awful attitudes were in those days.  One of the orgenisers said he’d given one of the ‘girls’ (they were referred to as ‘girls’ throughout) a smack on the bum to get her to go on stage.

That’s what you do to get cows to move.  These women were livestock.

Unbelievable.  And I lived through that.  I’m so glad my daughter is growing up in a (in some ways) more equal society.  I don’t say an equal society. Praise to Michael Aspel for admitting he has changed his mind; boos to the man from Mecca for being a git.  I don’t like being called a ‘lady’ or a ‘girl’ where you wouldn’t call a bloke a ‘gentleman’ or a ‘boy’.  So take the test: would you do that if I were a bloke?  Then don’t do it!

Not that you would.  Because all my readers are totally clued up.  But just in case…

I think I’m going to send the sitcom off soon.  I could spend weeks agonising about it and really a lot of the things I’d agonise about are imponderable.  Basically, either they like it or they don’t.

Sadly, I have to record that Mr Scrappy was not keen.  But then Mr Scrappy’s sense of humour is very different from mine.

Holly has had a good week so far at Regent and seems to be finding the work achievable – in some cases, too easy.  So she may be moved up a level.  It’s astonishing how quickly we’ve got used to her being out every day.

Craft group last night – my poem on the Upperton Rd bridge was well-received.  It is in the style of Willian McGonagall, after ‘the Tay Bridge Disaster’.

Off to DCT weekend in an hour so just putting this up now.

Have a good weekend

Kirk out

Still really cold

I heard the figures “minus 5 and minus 6” on the radio.

Just started reading “The Lovely Bones”.  Interesting but seems a little lightweight.  The style reminds me of “To Kill a Mocking-Bird.”  They spoke about Harper Lee on the radio yesterday, on “Last Words”, an obituary programme.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpmv

Like Salinger, she was a “one-hit wonder” and like him she refused to talk about the book.  Makes you wonder whether Sebold will also be a one-hit wonder.

Holly’s party today.  12 people sleeping over – gulp!  Plus she is going to drama this morning.

Have a good Saturday

Kirk out

still have a cold

Watched back-to-back videos yesterday – Groundhog Day, Four Weddings and a Funeral (yes, again!  It’s one of my favourite films and there’s so much going on in the background.  Reminds me of… wait, I’ll tell you in a mo) and Romeo and Juliet – the Leonardo di Caprio version, which is briliiant.  Even got Holly’s interest for a while, till she had to go out.  Noticed a number of similiarities between GD and Bruce Almighty: they both get stuck in a situation they can’t tell anyone else about; they are both broadcasters who are disaffected with their status; they both behave badly as a result; they both learn acceptance through their situation.  Oh, and they both tread in a deep puddle.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We were not able to find any links between the films, though.

Spooky.

Oh yes.  Four Weddings and a Funeral.  When my parents were alive it was often a struggle to find a film which would be safe to watch with them ie no swearing, no sex, no blasphemy, no nudity… basically, it had to be suitable for under-fives or else made in the ‘fifties.  Now, I wouldn’t have been tempted to watch FWF with them because the first five words in it are “Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck”  and “Fuckey-fuck!” – but there’s a line in it which makes me think of the whole problem.  Andie Macdowell is trying on a sexy wedding dress and Hugh Grant says:

“Maybe not — there’s nothing worse at a wedding than a priest with an enormous erection!  Ugh!”

My dad would’ve loved that.

I think it’s in this bit:

There’s a programme coming up on Radio 4 called “Generation Gap” where people talk about how mores have changed since their parents’ day.  They should have interviewed us.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qzrl7

The Dot Com Revolution

Got a story back from Radio 4 yesterday.  I actually didn’t feel too bad about it as they hadn’t read it, said they’d changed their guidelines, said it looked as though I’d written with a lot of care – and gave me some info about other short story sites.  Annoying, though – I wish they’d told me when I emailed them before sending it…

The story was called “The Dot Com Revolution”.  They said they couldn’t read it as it was after the deadline.  I ought to be annoyed about this but somehow I’m not.

Kirk out

Not Today, Josephine…

According to the “Today” programme, there are morning people and evening people – well, we knew that – and that also applies to those working on the programme!  Imagine being an evening person on a show which goes out from 6 am and on which you have to start at 4.  You wouldn’t have an evening at all.  You’d barely be a person.  Apparently James Naughtie gets up at 3 am.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/default.stm

Can’t say I feel very enthusiastic about today (the day, not the programme).  I lost a story yesterday and have to reconstruct it from memory.  No, I didn’t keep a back-up – I’d stopped doing that as I ended up with lots of versions and couldn’t remember which was the latest.

But I’m going to now, OK?  So don’t post any comments saying “Duh!”.  Or the equivalent.

New philosophy group starting soon, hopefully.  Will probably try to get along.  I need to do more with my evenings.

Very Happy Thursday to all

Kirk out.