Well, what a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have proved to be. So much so, that we’ve all kinda forgotten that today’s the big day when David Davis’ leads the political equivalent of the charge of the light-brigade and kicks-off the long-awaited Brexit negotiations. Notwithstanding that to my mind, this is of greater importance than either who won the last election or who’s going to win the next election, it’s illuminating to analyse Mrs May’s vital statistics in her cynical attempt to gain a stronger position within these contested & convoluted conversations.
Having been given ‘the Spanish fiddler’ (el-bow!) from my latest attempted foray back into the world of work I find myself with too much time on my hands. Again. My initial good intentions of early starts and keep-fit regimes soon floundered and I found myself drifting into a diet of mid-morning cake and too much day-time TV. T’other day I heard it explained on Tim Wonnacott’s wonderful Bargain Hunt that they no longer have ‘winners & losers’ but ‘winners & runners-up’. In a race of two, this struck me as absurd: one wins, one loses. Are the teams in that delightfully British of game shows so fragile that they can’t be referred to as losers?
For many of you, my earlier article analysing the ins and outs of Pippa Matthew’s (nee Middleton) bottom proved a step too far and cries of dumbing-down & selling out to the glitterati have hounded me ever since. So, in an attempt to reinstate the highbrow I came across an interesting piece of work that sought to establish, without the usual implication of stupidity and/or bigotry, a link between the increasing gentrification of our key cities and the growth of isolationist & populist politics. In short, how the metropolitan elite have unintentionally, and perhaps intentionally, brought about Brexit and Trump.
Everyone has their personal favourite. For many, only the original will do: Sean Connery’s chisel jaw, soft, sexy Scottish lilt and DB5. Daniel Craig, the obvious choice for the younger generation: tough as nails yet with piercing blue eyes, inevitably shirtless and a killer-quip effortlessly delivered. King of the quiff, Pierce Brosnan, was a more sensitive, perhaps even vulnerable, Bond, and he remains a hit with ladies of a certain age. The troubled Timothy Dalton: dark, suffering and serious, he brought back Ian Flemming’s intended gritty realism but was seen as a secret agent on his last-legs. It didn’t help Timothy’s cause that he was up against the likes of Indiana Jones, Batman and Bruce Willis.
In true Mrs Merton style: “So, Pippa, what first attracted you to the multi-millionaire James Matthews?” Last week saw the nuptials take place between she who is famous for her derriere and he who is currently something hedge-fundy in the city until he inherits his father’s Laird of Glen Affric estate, and my, what a right do it was too. A glass marquee with an enchanted forest within, a 100ft screen so everyone could see everyone else, security wristbands & secret passwords, tables named after her ‘special places’ (Buckingham Palace? Coutts & Co Head Office? The Ivy?), 20,000 canapes served by hand-chosen maidens and a delightful Giles Deacon gown designed to show the still-pert asset off to best effect.
I am not in thrall to the driverless car. Yes, I fully get the argument that the vast majority of accidents are caused by ‘user-error’ but my simple solution would be to encourage better driving by removing all distractions, implement a rigorous programme of re-testing (age and incident dependent), put in place a non-negotiable ‘end-date’ (there is already a non-negotiable start-date) and enforce penalties more vociferously. Call me ‘old-fashioned’ but I want both hands on my steering wheel.
The earlier ‘streets of London’ post reminded me of that touching, slightly melancholic song by Ralph McTell, and my relationship with it. Hand-on-heart, I can’t recall much being given to charity when I was growing up, other than when my ol’ man thrust the princely sum of two-bob in my grubby mitt to give to the tramp who was singing this song, unaccompanied, on a wet Preston street. Hearing the song today immediately transports me back in time and renders me unable to speak for a wee while.
Had I lived a century ago, when the average life expectancy was below fifty, I’d already be on borrowed time. So, it’s not unreasonable that, as a veritable modern-day spring chicken, and with my best squash still ahead of me, I start to consider how to extend my tenure on this planet and seek to unlock the secrets of a long and fulfilled life.
There are several reasons why I put metaphorical pen to paper: I genuinely want to learn more and the only way I really take things in is to read, research and then regurgitate in written form; Once understanding more I do usually take a position and then, somewhat arrogantly, feel the urge to tell everyone about it; Often I have too much time on my hands and need to pass a couple of hours, so why not. I wouldn’t quite go as far as describing this as being lonely and bored of my own company, but could appreciate it if others did.
For years television has sold us the prospect of enjoying the retirement dream, and living-out our later years, basking under some foreign sun, mojito in hand and the national newspapers delivered only a day late. Being a pale ginga northerner it was never for me as I knew I’d end up a hermit, hiding away in darkened rooms and shady corners, but for many, a cosy life on the costa was the ultimate goal of today’s material existence. Now, thanks to Brexit, the Mediterranean lifestyle appears to have lost its shine and raises the question – was it all a luxurious daydream?