Thursday, 10 March 2016


You would think that a few minutes listening to  We Can Work It Out; From Me To You; Please Please Me; And I Love Her or any other of dozens of sparkling, fifty-year-old songs would be enough of a tribute to a dead ninety-year-old but no, not for the New People, the FlashMourners, the Necro-Babblers, 
they've been out and about today, messaging, tweeting the dead, thanking Sir George Martin for his life. What the fuck's the matter with them? Talking to the dead.  He can't read the Guardian, filled with messages to him, and even if he could read I'm sure he wouldn't be polluting  his everlasting life with Oh-No-ing Twitterites.

That documentary was just broadcast again, George Martin and his missus and son in their country pile, talking about this or that aspect of their own perpetual Beatlemania; Fab Macca fabbing his arse off, like he does, in reminiscence with Sir George - Hey, and do you remember when John said this and I went like that and you were just like so out there and Linda was just like being  Linda, You Kno-o-o-w, like she did. He's the proof, Sir Paul, that a fierce musical intelligence can't be transposed to the real thing, not even with a string quartet.  But why should it, if everybody was as good at what they do as Paul McCartney is at what he does then the world would be a place of very different properties.

Ringo was there, too, guffawing with Sir George, although never in the same shot as Sir Paul, clapping his hands to illustrate the miracle of his drumming, looking every inch the luckiest man alive, which he is.

He always came across as polite and benign, did George Martin, with none of the bombast and hauteur of much lesser showbusiness people but I bet that inside he's a proper Mean Mr Mustard - utterly, eternally  pissed-off that it was the Beatles and  EMI who made all the money, and he didn't, and that after his years of patient tutelage and inspiration the ghastly moptops  took the Let It Be tapes from him and gave them to junkie-murderer, Phil Spector, for him to fuck them up. I suppose it's like that for a jobbing producer, dealing with a roomful of posturing egomaniacs,  especially a quartet of pilled-up psycho-Scousers, and there's a novel, a real novel in that relationship, a proper musician, polishing a beatgroup turd into a brilliant, dazzling  global enthusiasm.  Now that he's dead, maybe his missus will spill some  Fabster beans, about how he really felt.

As to the ubiquitous Fifth Beatlehood, conferred upon anyone who knew them and then died, leaving the newspapers scratching their heads for something to say, well, Sir George was only the third- or fourth- or fifth-Fifth Beatle.  There was Stuart Sutcliffe, often referred to as the FB but who was actually an original Beatle;  there was Pete Best, the original Beatles drummer sacked by George Martin, with, it must be  said, a fervent lack of loyalty from John, George and Paul, I betcha Pete isn't tweeting fond farewells to Martin, tonight; Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall, Beatles roadies and gofers, have both been called the Fifth Beatle, as has their Hamburg friend, musician Klaus Voorman. Brian Epstein, their manager,  who quite literally made it all happen for them, when he died he was called the Fifth Beatle. And now, Sir George Beatle. Be a pretty packed studio, wouldn't it, with all those Fifth Beatles.

The true fifth Beatle, of course, is known to all, and she joins us now. When her husband was killed a quarter of a million Lennonites descended on Central Park, New York, chanting and singing and praying and weeping, until Yoko complained that they were keeping her awake and would they all just fuck off; 

Yok-ho, too, is artist, 
an' pwophet an' genius, 
like Joh', only more. 
To create new rock a' roh century
Yok-ho need sleep.

Noh-won wi' be watchi' us
Why doh we do it in de roh.

Look a' lightbulb, an' breathe, see, is art; screech-screech-screech, bang-bang-bang, see, is rock-ah-roh symphony. Yok-ho is work of art.  Joh' was quite good but Yok-ho is real McHoy. Is like Joh' say, evewybody go' somethin' to hide, cep' for me a' my mohn-key. 

Shake i' up, baby
Twiss an' shou'

Man call George? Ah so, twiddle knob an' push butto'. Is no-one.
Fifth Beatle is Yok-ho. An' first Beatle, an secon' Beatle. Beatle is all Yok-ho. An' Joh. 
But mainly Yok-ho.

Climb ladder an' see apple, is Beatle magic. Breathe. An grow beard, is Beatle art. Everyone is Beatle, come togetha an' worship Beatle Queen Yok-ho. God-Empress Yok-ho write all Beatle song, Bang-bang-bang, screech-screech-screech, 
Joh' is dead, Joh' is dead, 

Long live Yok-ho Ono-Beatle.
Fifth, first and always.

That was Yoko Ono for us, there, at 84 years  young; 
the original rock-chick, 
still screeching after all these years.

There's a lacquer you can buy for brass, stops it tarnishing.
George Martin sprayed some such over those early Beatles songs. 
The chord structures and the harmonies are all their own, McCartney could sing - and eventually play - anything; Lennon, like Keith Richard, sang great harmony and the other two were at least adequate. 
Somehow Martin wrought a coalescence, which although produced and engineered as far as then possible, retained and retains a smiling effervescence,  complex and deceptively simple;  George Martin was, accidentally, the greatest pop record producer of his own time and in my judgement he is too modest, the Beatles were extremely fortunate to have known him.  Martin wasn't a Fifth Beatle, he was far more important than that.

Everybody did very well out of the Beatles;  their managers and publishers, their wives and staffs made fortunes, the quartet for a time were demi-gods, McCartney still is;  journalists prospered from Beatlemania and unlicensed retailers made fortunes from BeatleTrash and today I, among millions of others, still occasionally enjoy their early tracks, in between Byrd and Tallis, Handel and Beethoven. I listen up-close, on the laptop's soundbar, to sounds as fresh as morning dew. I buy the odd Anthology and rarity and in some sleepless nights, trawl youtube for filmed studio performance. New generations also buy into BeatleProduct  and most of this bonanza is owed to George Martin's toe-tapping, singalong knack and his personal dexterity in directing and assisting, for so long, a group of uncouths whose nemesis was writ large from the start.

I do wish he had jumped ship before the ghastly Sergeant Pepper destroyed rock'n'roll forever - or at least until Punk came along - but I only have to hear Hide Your Love Away  or I'm Looking Through You to joyfully forgive him that one lapse in judgement.
Seems fair, too, that he lived long, happily and prospered, dying among his family, largely untouched by showbusiness.

It only comes to about eight hours of music, the whole Beatles canon,  and both he and the surviving Fabsters have individually produced much more than that, but as far as most people are concerned they may as well not have bothered with any of that other stuff.
It was a phenomenon of the time, Beatlemania and there has been nothing approaching it since, in scale or impact; it was marketing, it was teenage hormones, it was non-deferential and pseudo-revolutionary but most of all it was the music,  the peg from which these other things hung.
  Creating them, perhaps unwittingly, George Martin was the hidden face of the Swinging Sixties; it wasn't the times which produced the music, it was the music which, for good and ill, produced the times.
NecroBabbling at George Martin  online seems such a betrayal.


Mike said...

When I was a young lad oop north, the Beatles were exclusively for girls - I don't remember there being any poofters around then, but if they were then maybe they were Beatles fans also.

I rather liked the Kinks.

Doug Shoulders said...

There was a thing on teevee years n’ years ago showing Ono in concert screeching onstage as some concert or other. The session musicians must have been laughing there arses off. They could have played anything they wanted and it would have made no difference to the end result.
It was so mind bogglingly bad that you’d think she was just taking the piss. Which she was…out of everyone.
It was a combination of all three wasn’t it? The success of the beatles? Manager, producer and band. In that order too. The Beatles wrote some good songs, but it’s the manager who procures the right producer and gets the deals to sell the stuff.
I have a double album…somewhere…that has rendering of all the big Beatles songs done by other folk… Fucking dire. Other “Artists’ Can’t do Beatles songs. (Cept Just Seventeen by the Pink Fairies) I think it was George Martins production saw to that.
Was it real though? The screaming females? The Jesus album burning thing…the break-up. Pop bands are manufactured from the ground up. Personnel substituted when they need to be.
Teenage girls bussed in to scream. All that stuff takes place in cyberland now.

Bobo said...

Ringo Starr:not even the best drummer in the Beatles.

Dick the Prick said...

I think I read somewhere that Yoko was the richest of the lot of them - now that is a piss take.

I don't think I ever really got them but if, as mentioned, there's never been owt like them before or since then never having before seems to exonerate me from noticing their direct influence. Some dude on Jon Sox's fake news last night was banging on about George was the 1st chap to bring in orchestral associations to pop through the innovations with equipment which is fucking Ubiquity's banality these days - even dance music has died, let alone pop.

But George probly had a better life than the rest of the poor fucks - who the hell would want to be that famous that security concerns send you mental? There's the meme about John Lennon's last words: 'shoot her' - sounds about right!

call me ishmael said...

The Searchers did some great US covers, mr mike and had a light, jangly touch with 12-strings and harmonies, prefiguring the Byrds and that awful Crosby, Stills and Nash gang, a couple of them are still touring Sweets for my Sweet. I never cared for Ray Davies, still don't, the Stones were preferred to the Beatles at my grammar school and there were lots of other allegiances, the Hollies' stuff, the singles, anyway, still sounds good; Manfred Mann, the Zombies, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, then just the Tremeloes, the Small Faces, all had a substantial following and lengthy careers, the Beatles,though, with a relatively slender output, seemed, then and now, to sweep the board.

There are youtube clips of Steve Marriot of the Small Faces and as singer and player he was vastly superior to Lennon and McCartney put together, his bands and collaborators, however, unlike the Beatles, never amounted to more than the sum of their parts, maybe it was Epstein, maybe it was Martin, maybe it was just the shitegeist but there was certainly something about them, where, objectively, there shouldn't have been.

call me ishmael said...

Someone recently bought me a similar thing, mr doug, a crowd of caring, Amnesty-supporting showbiz arseholes doing Bob Dylan covers, y'know, giving their time freely, in the hope that anybody but them will part with real money and it was painful to hear, oddly, the only one even vaguely tolerable was the usually execrable Marianne Faithfull, doing Baby, Let Me Follow You Down, of all things. Cover versions, it's a strange business and the fact that there are three or four thousand covers of Yesterday ought to be a crime.

I have always wanted to like Yok-ho but never managed it, her art is shit, her performances intolerable and diabolical, her ethics and her personal conduct display mountainous hypocrisy and her vanity is fathomless. Still, she can't continue screeching for much longer and best of all, she can't take her money with her.
I think it was mostly real, they were managerless at the time of the dissolution, out of it on junk, some of them and hadn't been particularly nice people to start off with, years of Preludin in Hamburg not refining their characters, JCB scoopsful of money not helping things either. And Lennon was born and died a cunt, anything he was in would go bad ways.

All too real, I should think. It was said, even by them, that their performing tours resembled Fellini's Satyricon; I wonder if the survivors would pass a Savile Test. But then, lessbeclear, it was a different culture, back then.

call me ishmael said...

I think that was just Saint John of PeaceThroughWifeBeating being snide, mr bobo, Starkey was as steady as a rock and unusually knew the value of space, in time. He remains obnoxious and stupid but as drummers go, I thought he was alright, better on his drums than was Lennon on his Epiphone.

call me ishmael said...

There's no law says you have to get some aspect of showbusiness, mr dick. I didn't get them in the sense of being a fan, always, instead, wondering what on Earth girls saw in them which soaked their knickers; Starr and Lennon looked ugly, simian, dodgy, low-life; Harrison seemed to have too many teeth for his mouth, only Fab Macca looking a bit OK. I think they were a girlies' band at first, an early example of celebrity masking ugliness, teenagers lusting after an idea, rather than an individual.

It was much, much later that I started to pay closer attention to their singles, their originality and complexity. Lyrically It was only ever a rung above bubblegum music but it would have six or eight or ten chords where most pop, rock and country had three and a relative minor, they really were delightful.

I have no idea whether or not there will be a musical continuum a hundred years from now, or indeed, anything else but should there be I doubt that the LennonMcCartneyMartin catalogue will feature very prominently. Nice as it is, Beatle music, it remains silly love songs and preposterous, druggy doggerel, meaning rather too much to people unhealthily preoccupied with their imagined pasts, terrified of their inevitable future, people like me.

Doug Shoulders said...

Mr Ishmael; does Yesterday not make the heart weep? I have heard Nina Simone sing it as you have probably too, but not like the writer. McCartney nailed it that time. The sentiment, simple as it is, resonates. That’s why I would rate McCartney as a worthy songster.
Other songs he has written, while not strong on lyric, have excellent melody and construction. Even his pop shit..frog chorus and stuff..are works of a man who knows his craft.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, of course it works but only on a demographic with a certain emotional expectation; it is not timeless and transcendent, as is, say, Allegri's Misereri or Mozart's Requiem, McCartney's is not the Rock of Ages and Yesterday is just an expession of frustration at not getting one's own way, a restating of My Baby Left Me, My Baby Left Me.

I have seen McCartney perform Yesterday, probably for the five-thousandth time, and I d swear he was only in it for the money

But as I said above, if we all worked as hard at our trade as Paul McCartney does at his, then I would think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Having said that, the brand loyalty of my generation really is something to see, how many times must we hear All Right Now, Bohemian Rhapsody and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday?

I think that Here, There and Everywhere easily surpasses Yesterday, it is a proper love song

Bobo said...

Oh,undoubtedly apocryphal, Mr I, but a good line nonetheless.

Also good is Lennon and Starr's first encounter:

Lennon- "So, why do they call you Ringo?"

Starr- "Cos I wear rings all the time."

Lennon-"Well, I wear underpants all the time, and I don't go around calling myself Underpantso."

inmate said...

Well Mr I, I am at present preparing a suspended floor, for insulation, in an extension/music room, where I shall listen to the music that did and still does inspire, uplift and reduce me to tears.
Whilst doing my best not to trip over hidden speaker cables, twin and earth, HDMI's, co-axials, inter-connects, opticals etc. I've considered buying a tool belt to look like a proper builder. Pr'aps not.

Fortunately there will by no Beatles, no U2 or Lady Sir Elton John and their ilk polluting the atmosphere. However there will be God's own composers Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Elgar and Mr Vaughn Williams true masters of their craft. Along with Mr Bob Dylan, Mr Leonard Cohen, Mr Muddy Waters, Mr Robert Johnson and Mr George Thoroughgood. Alongside the Floyds, the Zeppelins,the Stones, Metallica, AC/DC, Mr Peter Gabriel, Alabama 3 and the sublime Mr Ry Cooder.
The music I listen to takes me back to 'Yesterdays' I am no longer physically capable of enjoying, yet I can be there in my day-dreams.
My taste in music is not to most of my families or friends, but I like it. So nerr.

mongoose said...

Does any of this excuse "Mull of Kintyre"?

call me ishmael said...

My approach, if such it is, to music, mr inmate, has changed, this past little while. I have one of those big, smart, curved teevees, with youtube and all manner of eviltude on it and what I'm inclined to do is just hit Pallestrina or Ry Cooder or Tallis, or Mozart or anything, really, and just let it run. I've sort of abandoned the practice of listening to the same stuff, repeatedly, I just don't do it anymore.

I do have recordings by everyone you mention, apart from Metallica but by the time I dug them out they could be running, in cyberspace, maybe in concert, often in multiple versions, often covered by other performers. Sometimes I do have a hankering for a specific, maybe a movement from Berty von K's number six, Pastoral symphony, maybe Maestro Cooder's Boomers Story, maybe Buddy Holly, maybe anythng from a man's listening lifetime. Trouble is, they often disappoint, I am not he, anymore. And the more I learn of music ancient and modern, the more I am aware of my ignorance, the more I know that I will never hear the vast majority even of European music, much less world music and so I just ramble around, down the highway, down the track, down the road to ecstasy and I have never felt more connected to whatever it is which makes us hum and sing and whistle, clap our hands, stamp our feet, blow into twigs and beat stretched animal skins.

As for fidelity, my Citroen is fitted with bulletproof windows, merely to enhance the experience of the thousand-pounds JBL speakers, honest, not invent and the Volvo has a sound syatem too sensual for a man to be driving at the same time as listening but there's a bit of me rebels at all that stuff, mindful of the murderer, Phil Spector's, exhortation to Play It In Mono.

When I used to take mescalin and listen to Indian classical music, I found that the thousands of notes didn't just come at you head-on and then decay, replaced by the succeeding note but instead fell off themselves on both sides, hitting myriad other notes on the way down, fair done me 'ead in, I can tell you, but it is just like that ripple thing, with the stone in the pool, the notes don't stop sounding.....

Those tool belts're shit, just another builders' fetish, better to do the ballet of painfully outstretched arms, although on flooring projects I use a small wheeled cart I made and pull it to me on a rope.

call me ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
call me ishmael said...

Not quite Meet Me In The Morning, is it, mr mongoose, that pipe band thing. I think his mrs had a poor effect on his judgement, Wingy Linda, I mean; she's got proper wings now, maybe.

mongoose said...

Now that all of those sixties people are in their seventies and ripe for the grim reaper, are we going to be treated to this carnival on a monthly basis, do you think?

The skill, of course, is remembering to put the tools back in the cart and not just down. And tape measures. Why does one need three tape measures for any job?

call me ishmael said...

Ishmael said

Still reeling and a-rocking, mr mongoose, from the loss of Major Ziggy and Sir George Beatle and then fuck me but Keith Emerson blows his brains out, not quite I want to be in America, OK by me in America, after all. It is as you say, a fast train coming of FlashMourning; I don't know if the nation can bear it. Been thinking about your denunciation of Labour for not toppling HamFace and then, if needs be, doing a second renegotiation, to stay in, since that's what they want; hopeless, I think you said, and hopeless is what we are, too, mourning light entertainers, with every fibre of our critical acumen, wishing well the monstrous Murdoch and his doxy.

No, the cart worked, I attached rails, down the sides, for square and screw drivers and hammers to hang from, kept the power tools and fixings inside, it helped only because I was down on the floor, kinda static; it is no use for other, walking-about projects, in which I would consider myself very fortunate indeed to use only three tape measures. I did buy a bigger, wheeled trolley, like a Snap-On one but I can't get comfortable with it, more trouble than it's worth.

I am much more sorted than most but I'll never get on top of it. If only I had gone to Bournville Tech, instead of King Edward's, I might have been useful.

mongoose said...

That's what the cardboard boxes are for, Mr Ishmael. When you buy the extra bits that you need from RS or whomever, they come in a stout box. You then chuck into it the various obvious tools you need and away you go. That they go missing from this box is one of life's eternal mysteries. I do think though that a great many bits and bobs get safely hidden away underneath the bloody new floorboards and behind new wall panels. And if you fix white goods - most of which anyone can do if they just get brave for ten minutes - you can create a whole new category of hiding place for tools. And in time, they come to make pleasing rattling noises.

The Corbyn is a dick. Three quid wasted.

Anonymous said...

Don't play this one in the Citroen, furious driving is an offence.
Chill out.

call me ishmael said...

No, mr mongoise, if I lose something I am distressed beyond measure, even a nail punch, a screwdriver, so unsettling is it that I don't allow it to happen; I have insufficient masses of anal-retentive storage, benches, cupboards, shelves, racks and notably magnetised bars, about ten of them, screwed to walls and cupboard sides, loaded with tools of common purpose - pincers and pliers, wrenches and spanners, chisels; hammers, mallets; cases and cases and cases of power tools - and in descending order of size; all the battery chargers are mounted on a tilted board and all the odds and sods - screws, brackets, nails, pins, washers, springs, clips are all in about sixty clear plastic containers, labelled and shelved in alphabetical order. I would just go fucking mental if it wasn't like that and yet, even so, in the transition from being on the wall to being in use everything acquires properties of camouflage, invisibilty, hence the three or four tape measures phenomenon. I dunno what the remedy is, it is not that I am disordered or clumsy, maybe I need a new way of looking, a way to maintain visual order in the chaos which most projects bring, tool vision, maybe that's it.

Mike said...

Mr I: if I may be so bold....the answer I have found as I grow older is to throw stuff away (or give it away). Life is a lot easier with less stuff - you don't have to remember where you put it all, and you don't actually need it. I always put my keys on the same table, and leave my specs in the same spot every night. This works for me.

Now...there is the phenomenon of anti-matter; stuff just disappears. How often have you looked for keys, only to find them in a place previously searched? Matter can come and go.

inmate said...

Mr Richard if I may, google Metallica Moscow 1989, Sandman, monsters of rock festival, I believe. Shortly after Whiskey Maggie and Ronny Raygun defeated the Commies. The Bewilderment on the faces of soldiers providing security for the band, from 2 million Russians now 'free' to enjoy western, decadent, rock music. Brilliant.
Apologies Mr I, for going off topic.

mongoose said...

Ah, the old Catholic-Protestant divide poking its wee head up again. Dear me. It's the toolboxes and racks with their requirement of order that are creating an illusion of disorder.

My old mate - the one who had to wait in the cold for weeks one winter until I visited and he could get a plug magicked onto his bedsit convection heater - he is now, may the saints preserve us, a Headmaster. He still does not own, or did not own, even a hammer. As he flits from school to school and house to house, I am always to be found plumbing things in and screwing stuff to walls. We would go to B&Q and buy yet another box of woodscrews-for-a-house. "You only need one sort - but we'll buy some longer ones too so that you think about it when you reach for them. No, don't buy fat screws you'll just break shit. Flat screwheads require a level of skill you do not have. This wee packet of sandpaper will last you until you die." And so on - twenty quid and it is done again. And I'd leave the woodsaw there instead of taking it home. They're a fiver now. Who cares? But it all gets lost. And so over, oh a fucking a decade or so, I learned to just take the obvious and a couple of power-tools with me on the first couple of beer-drinking visits to any new place. "I've moved to Norfolk! Shall we go and drink beer in Norwich?" Why, do you know, I think that we should.

This time, the dick has moved to Outer Godawful London, but the other side of it. Bloody darkest Surrey. It was horrible when I had to live there and it is horrible now. Mytchett? You're kidding me. Aren't they the ones who think it is funny to ask for a pint of TEA? It is a purgatorial drive from here but an hour's crossword tootle on the train. So no car this time and it was going to be the "have you got that screwdriver I left last time" question for a thousandth time. Not being able to face this, I looked out my third best unused and empty toolbox, small enough to lug one way on a train, and was loading it up with the normal necessary plus a bit. Just a box really. And I would come to the reserve miniature snips and grips etc. The mental calculation happened of these being the unused reserves, for the rainy day, for the grandchildren, for supplementing my risible pension on Flog It! But this is a nice, engineer's, even German yet, adjustable spanner. It's even lawful to use an adjustable as good as this. But you have five. At least. And only three children. Ah, bollocks. And so now they have them. Life simplified, and goods in Heaven too.

Anyway, it all transpired, thank-yous were expressed and beers were bought. I was there last time and the Christmas lights had, naturally enough, stopped working while slung as a rats' nest into the box in the roof. As I went to look in the garage for that cheapo Chinese multimeter I gave him that time, and root for fuses and bits of wire - in that drawer that there always is in a new house, I came across a toolbox. Top tray now somewhere else not immediately obvious; tools and half a box of Polyfilla slung into the body of it; inexpensive but nice enough pair of chisels, hammer, screwdriver, and tiny, beautiful-no-more miniature snips. All of it slung in an inglorious shit heap. God was watching though, or I would have stolen those wee snips back. And Proddies too.

Bungalow Bill said...

I have been listening to Jan Dismas Zelenka, another one of whom I had never heard. Turns out he did some lovely stuff around (as we have learned to say) the impending solemnities, Mr I, if you and maybe others on here have a devout moment.

yardarm said...

Gods, Mr Mongoose; Mychett. Remember it from the seventies, not dark but drenched in summer sunlight, riding the old man`s horse beside the Blackwater.

yardarm said...

Between the family stamping grounds of Farnborough and Frimley. Ma and Pa Yardarm, in separate gangs used to swim in the Blackwater, aged seven or eight, in the war, and befriended the Italian POW`s set to work clearing the river bank. Our notional enemies welcomed the kids into their camps, cooked them fine bread. Unsupervised swimming, fraternisation with the enemy ? Contrast that with now.

call me ishmael said...

He's lucky to have you, your headmaster friend, and I hope he buys the beer, mr mongoose. And I hope he's not like many I met, coming into the shop and saying, I got this little bureau, might be worth something, how should I strip and polish it? To which the reply became, tell you whar, there's a lawyer, a few doors down, pop in and ask him if he'll show you how to write a letter, and if he does, without charging you a hundred pounds an hour or part thereof, then come back and I'll demonstrate my shit to you, freely.

It is, though, very much a work ethic, with me, the pursuit of order. I could never say to a customer, Oh, that astragal moulding, on your book case, well, do you know what, the pin-push, the pin hammer and the pins, I simply dunno where they are, and, what am I like, I can't find my Volvo keys, they're around here somewhere, just can't put m'hand on them; how about if you come and collect it and you fix it, when you get it home.

Now, I haven't been in business for a long time but I still like to know where my pin hammer is. Or hammers. If I didn't it would mean I was fixin' to die.

That I now have not just a few hammers but an armoury of tools, ancient and modern, well, other blokes buy season tickets for Birmingham City, foreign holidays and meals out. and rely, for home maintainance, on people like you and I.

call me ishmael said...

It is a commonplace, here, that Eyetie POW thing, mr yardarm, they built the Churchill barriers by day, fraternised by night. Their descendants still visit annually, in a strange act of - I dunno - remembrance, gratitude, mortification; their ancestors built a
ittle tromp l'oeil chapel, out of a Nissen hut and bits of scrap, which is now a global attraction, to students of incarceration, but not to me. I can see it, way across the Sound, and whistle to myself the theme from The Great Escape. It is a formidable barrier, the Pentland Firth, but they didn't even try, the Wops. God only knows how they manage to run organised crime, politics and jurisprudence in the USA.

call me ishmael said...

Not quite yet, mr mike, not on a big scale. I tried to bin the contents of a couple of wardrobes but with every other shirt mrs ishmael would exclaim, No, I can wear that or, No, I can use that - she is a quilter, a sewist and a textileist, and two of the walls of her studio, each sixteen feet by ten feet, protrude eighteen inches, from top to bottom, edge to edge, with boxes of fat quarters - quarter square metres of fabric, for quilting, there must be thousands of them and we were talking just a few minutes ago about the fact that no matter how long she lives she will scarcely make a dent in them.

What can one do? Better to die rich in the stuffings of a busy life, I think, than just have a skulking lawyer disburse scraps of money.

One of the nice things about living here, far from the Badlands, is that the carkeys are always in the car, one less thing to worry about; visitors take really deep, frowning offence at that, as though I was pissing on their children's heads, they're outraged, you shouldn't do that, Oh, I would never do that, it's just not right. One visitor brought me back home after I had taken a car to the garage one nignt for service the following day and left it on the forecourt with the keys in the ignition. You can't do that, you can't do that. He squealed about it for twenty four hours, until we collected the car and then for a fortnight told me how lucky I had been to get away with it but I wouldn't be so lucky another time.
It is one of Ruin's hallmarks, that so many, now, cannot or will not for a second trust their neighbours not to steal from them.

On stuff clearance, however, I have shifted a few hundred books - and only bought about a dozen - and binned some stuff that had been kept on the basis of You never know when you might need one of those plastic lids, one of those ring binders. Being a Stuffaholic, it's a matter of one day at a time, Sweet Jesus.

call me ishmael said...

I shall make thise links this morning, mr bungalow bill and mr richard.

Dick the Prick said...

I guess the Eyeties had no need to try to escape - fuck all to escape to or for, really. There was a great stat at around the time of the great banking crisis, or rather, the pop huge debt on the never never and fuck the kids up whilst sorting out your mates crisis - that Italy were pretty well placed, on the whole, as about 40% of the economy is illicit. I think they've come to terms that governments are just populated by cunts - most healthy.

I guess it's one thing to de-clutter your own stuff but chucking the missus' stuff out could be considered err....brave!

Re: leaving your keys in the car, just as well you don't live in Shetland, my mum watches a prog on TeeVee and it's like fucking Mosside on a Saturday night - cripes!

call me ishmael said...

It is appallingly dark, that Shetland show, mr dick, and although they are, in my experience, anyway, a depressingly infantile bunch, I don't think that Shetland can be quite as bleak as portrayed.

No, I wouldn't dream of dumping mrs ishmael's stuff, we were just talking. And she'd kill me, anyway, after a fashion.

That's probably right, aboit the Eyeties, they don't seem to give a fuck about anything, although mr mike says that the immigrants are pissing all over la dolce vita.

Mike said...

Mr I: its not just that they are pissing all over la dolche vita - which they are.

In Florence and Venice - you can't get more iconic - the fuckers were everywhere trying to sell shit copies of stuff and intimidate innocents, like me. Its even hard to walk without tripping over the bastards; and they are cocky when you tell them to fuck off. It wasn't like that 30 years ago.

I asked several locals what is the story: they say the mafia take a cut, and it couldn't happen in open view of the police if they were not on the take. The locals just shrug as if there is nothing they can do.

For me the height of absurdity was in Milan; at the Duomo the place was patrolled by the Alpini, a front line Italian Army unit - but I have to say they looked a little fat. Fully tooled up with automatic weapons, fingers in the ready-to-shoot-mode. Meanwhile, in the square outside the Duomo the fuckers are plying their trade and intimidating everyone. WTF is going on? Italy is lost.

Bungalow Bill said...

Mr Mike, that is so depressing to read. But then I think all Europe is lost. Except it isn't because there are still quiet curators. hidden keepers. It's in the unregarded corners that we will survive and in the unregarded actions, daily practised, of grace and virtue. Please, insofar as you exist, God.

call me ishmael said...

Two sides, exchanged, there, of the same coin, the currency not of rage but regret.

Passengering in the car, today, I was listening, in my Godlessheathenbastard way, to choral evensong, live from Bath and Wells cathedral, wondering how many sung variations there might be to the Minor Doxology - Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without e-end, A-amen. And wondering, after we, how many will give a flying fuck.

SG said...

I don't quite see why the MSM think this is anti-Russian or, for that matter, why the Ruskies would be upset by it - Enjoy!

Woman on a Raft said...

Meanwhile, the Mail (yes, I know) informs us that Sir Michael Jagger wants the other half the house back where his ex, Ms Hall the new Mrs Murdoch, was previously living.

It appears she never had any ownership of the property, but rather an interest of occupation, and even that was conditional.

Exactly how much money do you have to have before that kind of thing is irrelevant? His net worth is an estimated $360 million, and he just inherited his ex-girlfriend's flat, worth about another $8m. Dollars rather than pounds but still.

With that kind of money, I would have enjoyed telling her to keep it, but not before installing a Stannah Stair Lift and telling her it was a wedding present to her and Rupe.

Dick the Prick said...

@Woar - Hello :-)

Meanwhile, the Conservative & Unionist Party accidentally treats us like adults. Their pettiness screams volumes.

It's all very well to bang on about freedom, sovereignty, efficiency but it's a soul thing. I can't understand the silence from Labour - who are their guys? I could do a better job than them just out of principle. Hmmm...none of my business....

As always

Mike said...

Mrs WoaR: took a brief look at the Mail website. I saw some celeb in a tight red dress flaunting her arse on the red carpet at the James Bulger gala dinner. Didn't think it could sink lower, but it just did.

Going Postal said...

Mr Smith,

If I didn't know better I might think this was you:

All the best Swiss Bob / GP

SG said...

Your absence has led to a slight feeling of unease Mr I. I trust all is well and that there is no need to mobilise the Ishmaelian militia to conduct a search?

Anonymous said...

I'm slightly uneasy too. Look at the title of this post. Prescience, irony or coincidence? Are you OK, my dear fellow?
- richard

Alphons said...

I too am rather concerned by your absence. I am fully aware that it makes the heart grow fonder, but it also cost a pile of money just buying joss stick !!!

Mike said...

Trust you are well, Mr I. A brief signal, a puff of grey smoke, would ease our concern.

Doug Shoulders said...

Joining the queue of the worried Mr Ishmael.
Hope all is well and not amiss as we are all assuredly pondering now.

Caratacus said...

May I tentatively add my voice to the list of the concerned? Your trenchant observations on the disgraceful goings-on (and Dog knows there is a positive cacophony of stuff that needs the unremitting piss taking out of it) is missed. Hope all is well ...

Nick Gaskell said...

Come on Mr I, the sane world needs you!

Dr Yllek said...

Alles OK in Ishmaelia?

SG said...

Hmmm... Bikini Security State has gone to 'amber' in respect of our host. Hope it isn't warranted...

Anonymous said...

I'm worried too. Code Red here.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Give me a ping, Mr.I. One ping only, please.

mrs narcolept said...

A familiar voice floated through the freezing air and I feared I was wandering in my wits but no, it really was George The Hat Galloway on a big blue bus, on a mission to become Mayor of London. I thought of you.

SG said...

Yes - Mrs Narcolept is right - with the amount of material out there just now maybe Mr I has blown a fuse - I hope that's all it is. Give us a ping Mr I. One ping only...

Alphons said...

I am just hoping that where ever he is, and whatever he is doing, he is suffering no harm, mental or physical.

call me ishmael said...

Sorry, for any anxiety caused, there is a sort-of explanation on the next thread's comments, although, whilst not exactly feeble, it is a bit vague. Anyone seeing me on the street would think, at worst, Hmm, got a bit of a limp, that bloke, sprained his ankle, maybe, the limp, itself, being protective rather than enforced, otherwise I look fine and am no closer to Death's door than anyone else, but that's only because of the meds and I guess that's quite common, too. Had I sickened or died or both mrs ishmael would have and will, of course, post lines to that effect. As I said, I am sorry for my omission, which was just, I suppose, a creative ambivalence. There's lots of stuff, I just couldn't finish it.