Monday 18 January 2016



Following the tragic and unexpected and untimely, yes and shockingly and utterly devastating deaths of a coke-snorting, elderly drag queen and a simpering, old, farceur luvvie, the world of light entertainment is reeling with untimely tragedy and shocking loss and, y'know, death stuff. Fuck Je Suis Charlie, fuck singing the Marsellaise, like a cunt;  this is a proper feast.


Writing in the Independent's  forty-pee I-Comic, world-famous gossip, Suzanne FuckMe said:

My David Bowie is not dead.  
Nor ever can be.  
What he gave to me is forever mine.  
He formed me.  
He was my lobster, I mean lodestar.
 In the years when I was trying to become a paid gossip, he showed me the endless possibilities. 
 He extended out into new spaces, metaphorically and physically. And that's why I write cruel things about everybody.

In the same journal, Mr Piers Moron, crook, bully  and arsehole, said,  

I just know that like so many of my generation of inside dealers and toerags, that at every stage of my life, Bowie's been lurking in the background, probing at my consciousness.
Piers Moron and consciousness,
must be a limerick there.

He would regard death as just another challenge, 

said Mary Finnigan, 79,  some old hack who fucked the dead loony for a fortnight or so, in the 'sixties, I am profoundly sad at his passing, but also optimistic that he will have a smooth passage through the after-death state and an auspicious re-birth.
And buy my book, it's juicy.

On the death of the playactor with the fruity voice, one of his fellow players, 
Juliet Ghastly,
said that she and his many, many, many, many, many other friends, yes, and his wife, dear, dear, dear Wotsername, too,   had lost their King, their Guide, their Mentor, their Friend, their Joker, their Example;  he was a brother, a shoulder, a beacon, a lover, a confidante, a friend and a very valued colleague; he could entrance and bewitch Creation with a raised eyebrow;  there was simply nothing he couldn't do, apart from a proper job,  and he had so much left to do, apart from a proper job, and how the world was going to carry on without him was, well, just an unbearable mystery. We would just have to try.
 It's what he would have wanted.

Well, Jools, if playing cartoon baddies in Hollywood pulp films, a sepulchral villain in kiddy flicks and arseing about in sub-Notting Hill romances are the sign of thespian brilliance then you mourn him if you want, and all his trivial works but Harry Potter and Rickman's part in it do not define a generation - the very idea -  and his passing is irrelevant to all but those close to him.

Sir Ian McGhastly, wizard, x-man and real-life new age priest, Facebooking, was even better than Juliet.

Ian Mac, some totty, and the dead guy.
All shall have prizes.

"Beyond a career which the world is indebted to, he was a constant agent for helping others. Whether to institutions like RADA or to individuals and certainly to me, his advice was always spot-on. He put liberal philanthropy at the heart of his life. He and Rima Horton (50 years together) were always top of my dream-list dinner guests. Alan would by turns be hilarious and indignant and gossipy and generous. All this delivered sotto, in that convoluted voice, as distinctive as Edith Evans, John Gielgud, Paul Scofield, Alec Guinness, Alastair Sim or Bowie, company beyond compare.
When he played Rasputin, I was the Tzar Nicholas. Filming had started before I arrived in St Petersburg. Precisely as I walked into the hotel-room, the phone rang. Alan, to say welcome, hope the flight was tolerable and would I like to join him and Greta Scacchi and others in the restaurant in 30 minutes? Alan, the concerned leading man. On that film, he discovered that the local Russian crew was getting an even worse lunch than the rest of us. So he successfully protested. On my first day before the camera, he didn’t like the patronising, bullying tone of a note which the director gave me. Alan, seeing I was a little crestfallen, delivered a quiet, concise resumé of my career and loudly demanded that the director up his game.
Behind his starry insouciance and careless elegance, behind that mournful face, which was just as beautiful when wracked with mirth, there was a super-active spirit, questing and achieving, a super-hero, unassuming but deadly effective.
I so wish he’d played King Lear and a few other classical challenges but that’s to be greedy. He leaves a multitude of fans and friends, grateful and bereft."
-- Ian McKellen, London, 14 January 2016
Everyone I have ever known, sweetie, has been "by turns  hilarious and indignant and gossipy and generous." What is it about these insufferable fucking luvviebastards, that they call themselves Everyman whilst esteeming their commonest grunt and fart as mystical,  divine, inventive, contramundal;  who do they think they are?

Responding to this unprecedented though manufactured double tragedy,ributes were paid  everywhere; all across the telegraph, their names they did resound, linked in death as never in life - aside from their membership of showbusiness - on phone-ins, in TeeVee studios and on IdiotMedia, people wept, inconsolable, at such crippling loss, as cardboard,  pantomime theatre playacting stood-in for reality.  Even  a  parliamentary debate on Britain in Space - honest, not invent - was opened by some mad SNP tubbygirl

Live long and prosper. 
And eat lots of porridge. 
And Mars bars. 
Dr Phillipa, of the Scottish Trekkie Party.

quoting letters of support she had received from, honestly, space luminaries, William Shatner and the little guy who played Mr Sulu - she read them out and members of this suddenly infantile legislature clapped -  and was peppered with references to Major Tim-Tom - that gobby little fucker who can't shut up talking about himself, his mission, his work, as if anybody but retarded, mutant lunatics care, especially now that his spacewalk is a fuck-up - and our minister for Space said that the nicest thing said about him recently was that he was a minister prepared to

  boldly go where none had gone before.  

This was in the house of fucking commons of the United  Kingdom, last week, the place where laws are made;  oh, yes, and he closed by saying of Britain's future in Space, we could be heroes, just for one day.  
About right, there, I should think;  maybe half a day.

Mr Tiny Speaker should say something about this blatant trivialising of  parliament.

Honourable and right honourable member should be advised that there is no USS Enterprise, there have been, I can advise colleagues, a series of cardoard models and there is now, I understand, a flexible computerised image-generating programme which can, in  a heartbeat, produce a realistic image of a StarFleet ship  and indeed of  a Klingon cruiser.  But. It. Is. Not. Real.
There is no Enterprise.  There is no StarTrek.  There is no Prime Directive. 

"Space is one of the last known frontiers, mostly untouched by mankind in his politics," he was quoted as saying by Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) MP Philippa Whitford.
"In opening a debate on this subject, it is is my hope that you take the tenets of Star Trek's prime directive to universally and peacefully share in the exploration of it. I wish you all a wonderful debate. My best, Bill." 

Neither, members should know,  is Captain James Tiberius Kirk real, no more than is Mr Sulu, their correspndence, therefore,  with the member for McFucktyVille, should be seen for what it is.

Yet another example of the Tibesmen failing to understand why they are here.  This is the parliament of the United Kingdom, not a StarTrek Convention. The honourable lady, and indeed the minister should try to remember that.
May the Force be with honourable and right honourable members. 

Anyway, the entire world of light entertainment, from MediaMinster to Hollywood is shocked and horrified by the two deaths with some calling it a conspiracy, that two near-seventy year olds should die of cancer  so closely together, especially when they were born in more or less the same place, the South East of England, within days of each other. Had they been poisoned by NHS vaccines when they were children? What other explanation could there be, for two such gifted luvvies to die so unexpectedly? Any number, I should think, how about old age, drugs, drink or VD. A mourning nation is entitled to two full, televised autopsies and toxicology investigations.  Otherwise how can we ever sleep again, fearing that our idols may be snatched from us? Have we learned nothing since Robin Williams?

The govament,  many of its members themselves besotted by the two dead luvvies,  has reacted by establishing an enquiry into the deaths, to be held under Lord Justice John Deed.

I will get to the truth of this matter, if I have to sleep with every foxy lawyer and vulnerable appellant, accused or witness in the country.

Now, you say that the two deceased both died of cancer.  Will you be calling expert witnesses to assist the Court?
Wossat? No, no, I assure the home seckaterry that I am amply qualified to chair this enquiry. Before I was a High Court judge I worked for the intelligence services.

I did proper detective work in Northumberland.

I served, albeit only for two series as a Chief Constable, up North, somewhere.

And for those concerned about my unfamiarity with the music business, I sat as Elvis Presley, in the West End.

His Honour, Judge Deed, as the late Mr Presley.


Well, then, let's get on, shall we?  I can see several experts at the back of the Court;  perhaps, individually, they would stand up and identify themselves.....

I am DCI Tom Barnaby, my lord, of Causton CID, and my evidence is to do with a Tudor manor house in the village of Midsomer Finger, to which elderly showbusiness people retire, - its motto, being, incidentally, my lord, There's a Sho-o-o-w-man, waiting in the sky -   there, generally, to be murdered in a succession of improbably grisly slayings, the narrative characterised by a greedy, 40-something, slutty redhead in a miniskirt, driving a sports car and fucking the handyman or the groom or the mechanic;  

A bit of rough, you mean, DCI Barnaby?  They like that, in my experience, redheads, but please continue.... generationally feuding families, sacked employees and embittered neighbours;   by a pair of gossipy old sisters who run the local post office and a flash git who works in the City, is going bankrupt, batters his wife and drinks too much and by a brooding nurse with a criminal record....

Yes, yes, DCI Barnaby, but where do the victims fit-in, if victims they are, which is something I intend to find out, the saintly Mr Bowie and the talented Mr Ripley.......???

Rickman, my lord, Mr Rickman, 
Mr Ripley is another show. In fact, a film, my lord, of a book.
A franchise, if you will, a vehicle,  rather like yourself.

Very well, then, Mr Rickman it is.  Sorry, was. Where do the two dead luvvies fit-in?

Ah, your honour, all in good time.  Y'see, if it please the Court, I was in the Plough public house.....

And where is that?

Oh some hundreds of miles from Midsomer Finger, a pub chosen by the location managers and sort-of MidSomerised - horse brasses, pickled eggs on the bar, crusty old yokels propping-up the bar, ooh-aaarhing, oh, and definitely no black's not like the  Tabard in Chaucer's Southwark,  but it's a sort of a moveable detection feast, for clue-gathering. The landlord is always dodgy, his wife unfaithful, his customers malevolent.  My sergeant and I often discover little tidbits of narrative utility.  Which I explain to him, with just a hint of exasperation.

He's a man, I take it, your sergeant?  Otherwise I might have invited him to dinner.  I mean her. Never mind.
But what happened in this mythical Plough?

Well, your honour, I was just about to have  a quiet family luncheon with my wife, Joyce, and my daughter, Cully, 

and while popping into the Gents for a gipsy's I had my customary end-of-episode Eureka! moment, which not only solves the crime but hastily excuses me from lunch with Joyce....

Your customary Eureka! moment?

Yes, sir,  it happens in every episode, rather as,  in this show, your honour sleeps with the defence or prosecution counsel, with a claimant or with another judge. Or all of them.

Yes, DCI Barnaby, I see, continue...

And it was in the loo,  as I glanced at the johnny machine on the wall that I realised mr ishmael was right...

And who, pray, the fuck, is mr ishmael?

He's the writer, sir.

Which writer?

 Ours, sir, our writer, he's writing us.

What?  As we speak?

Not just as, my lord, not just as we speak, but what.

But that's outrageous. 
I'm normally written by Mr GF Newman, as a complex and vulnerable  jurist, fearless but flawed, yet in whom Virtue and Truth find a voice increasingly hushed by an overmighty executive in pursuit of absolute power. I don't want to be fucked about with by a blogger. How dare this mr ishmael presume to write a High Court Judge, one like me? I'll hold him in contempt if he has the nerve to write himself into my courtroom.

Oh, he'll hardly do that, sir.

And why not?

Because he doesn't exist. 
There is no mr ishmael smith.

 Well then, how has he informed your evidence?

It was the johnny machine, sir, reminded me of what he said, what ishmael said, above, about the deaths being down to drink, drugs or VD.

And so I dashed to the crematorium in my Jaguar, rather like your lordhsip's,  narrowly managing to stop the proceedings, called for  new autopsies, by my own chap, George, 

and arrested any person, male or female who has slept with either of the deceased, or both of them, only not your honour, obviously, and I fully expect both those reports to conclude that both victims died as a result of a lifetime's drink, drugs, narcissistic self-abuse, unprotected sex and old age. Particularly the late Mr Bowie And let's face it, my lord, they were 69.

So, DCI Barnaby, no Midsomer Murders here, then?

I rather think  not, my lord, and their respective publics will be disappointed, just a couple of dodgy old geezers, popping-off,  like old geezers do, although I expect there'll be two or three along shortly, proper murders.  

......................................continues on page 94

Never understood it, me, the David Bowie business.  I didn't think he was anything to do with Rock'n'Roll.  I liked, in a childish sort of way,  Space Oddity, even though musically it is dreadful, and I quite liked bits of Hunky Dory but there were hundreds of singer-songwriters, hundreds of  bands  that I preferred. I never felt any need of or identification with a showy gender-bender.  That other people liked David Bowie's antics didn't trouble me;  other people also liked Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple.  And anyway, there were always Beethoven and Bach and Mozart, there was always real music, even if I didn't know it, I knew of it;  who gave a rat's arse about a skinny, screechy little freak? If I yearned for novelty, for experimental, for  avant garde, Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa did it divinely, for real. I'd read William Burroughs myself,  and the Tibetan Book of the Dead and I had read more science fiction than he;  I had lived out on the street, known queer people; I had my own twelve-string and felt no need to wear make-up, what was the fuss about?  I thought David Bowie was a joke, still do.

It was not that Bowie was a great musician, he was never that, just a would-be shape-shifter, captivating staid suburbanites who didn't know any better. I was just doodling through the chords of Space Oddity, this morning, and it is a bit different, it is true, especially in the break, but only from some very inferior stuff; it wasn't a patch on the Beatles or the Beach Boys and never became so, going, in my judgement, from bad to worse.   He had the odd musical moment, we have discussed one here, Oh, You Pretty Things, was that it? But his career, to me, was like a pop music version of Top Gear - a, to some, endearing performer, doing ever more convoluted, extravagant and pointless tricks to the unquenchable delight   of an audience which thought itself adventurous merely for sticking with his tired old, phony old avant garde schtick, after a moment's reflection on the matter it seemed  simply impossible for this little scrubber to be the polymath he claimed to be. As with Sir Ian McGhastly, who did he think he was kidding?  Oh, I just wake-up, write a Japanese kabuki play, read a volume of William Burroughs, practice my saxophone, design a dress for myself, paint a still life in the BauHaus style, make love to my neighbour and his wife, write one side of my next album, chant and then meditate in silence and then  get out of bed and start my day's work as an artist-in-myself. His career seemed to be a desperate maelstrom of counterfeit emotion, dragging into its noisy vortex almost every knucklehead in the world, one piece of bombastic, pretentious, narcissistic  junk following another, humming to itself, there's no success like failure.
 For my money, David Bowie hadn't been near a good record since Mick Ronson and he - but mainly Ronson - produced Lou Reed's Transformer, way back,  when God was straight.

The miserable, woebegone strumming at the beginning of Space Oddity set the tone for decades' worth of  nasty noise.  I never heard a Bowie melody or harmony which I wanted to hear again;  he was, to music, what the Sun is to journalism. And after ditching the genuinely gifted Ronson, Bowie consorted with all sorts of riff-raff.  There was his pose-too-far attempt at neo-Nazi techno-cool in Berlin and elsewhere, with Tin Machine, 

an ensemble truly onomatopoeic; he hooked up with the dreadful, tone-deaf, amelodic, self-styled sonic boffin,

 Brian Eno, a man with the effrontery, in his sixties, to become Nick Clegg's LibDem Youth spokesman, 

honest, not invent 

and the equally unlistenable-to Robert Fripp, 

"(my life is) a joyless exercise in futility"
If you say so, Bob.

another old codger, who was never any good even when he was young, just a fucking bore, I dunno who he was with, Soft Machine, King Crimson, some quartet of poncey, miserable fuckpigs, Hell- bent on strangling the joy out of popular music. This gang, anyway, produced Heroes, Scarey Monsters, all that stuff.

And then there was Young Americans, masterminded, if that's the word, by Nils Rogers, author of the dismal  Chic's irritating Freak Out. Nuff said.

Seems that maybe the eternal wunderkind knew all along that he wasn't any good, musically, and so constantly re-invented himself, as he described his succeeding flibbertigibbet failures. Sure, he sold a lot of records but Rupert Murdoch sells a lot of what he calls newspapers

 His eulogies and obituaries  cast him not as the wealthy, hedonistic, New York socialite he was but as the fearless, ground-breaking founder of our not very brave new world,  the patron saint of   adolescent grievance, of international gender reassignmentism and transvestism for fat, women-hating comedians.  

How's this for cultural fascism?

Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.
 It is one of the abiding cynicisms of MediaMinster - as well as a terrible endictment of the felonious, beasting elasticity of our jurisprudence - that the Great and the Rich and the Royals cannot be junkies, much less filthy druggies because having for decades consumed pallet-loads of banned  drugs, which, taken by the rest of us, carry long prison sentences, our betters seek help, go into rehab,  time and again - rehab is where rich junkies have  their drugs served to them with NutriBulleted  fruit juice, carrot cake and Evian water - and maybe get knighted by some cunt of a prime minister.

The filthsters of MediaMinster, in reporting Bowie, airbrushed away his lengthy drug addiction, or failed to condemn him for it, as they would you or I.  It's funny, the double standards applied in showbusiness - on Any Answers a caller using the word crap is severely reprimanded by hostess, Anita Horrid, yet in other programmes on the same station, Radio Four, the late Humphrey Lyttleton and the current panel of the News Quiz are permitted any number of lewd and licentious cocks and dicks and pussies, load-shootings, red letter days, rear entries and up the back passages, mrs,  as indeed, were those on Around the Horne, before I was born. And so it is, when one enters the charmed circle of celebrity, one's sins shall all be as nought, not only unpunished but not even seen as a bad example.  I wonder, often, how many Bowie acolytes were jailed for aping him, jailed or worse.  I would rather all drug use be de-criminalised but since it is not why is it OK that Elton John gets soireed in Number Ten and his dealer goes to jail? Why is coke-snorting fine for Nigella Lawson, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac but criminal for the rest of us? If these gushing showbiz sewerpeople are the egalitarians they claim to be why don't they flounce into the police station with a half-pound of coke and say, OK, Sergeant, arrest me?  Why don't they do that? I would've bought all of David Bowie's records if he'd done that. 
Fat chance. 

And we interrupt this bulletin, viewers, to bring you the very sad news of the death of the musician, fashion icon and arse bandit, David Bowie, look you, isn't it.  Seems the man who created Ziggy Stardust, it says here, and the Spiders from Mars, no thassworritsez, look you,  Spiders from Mars, has fallen off his perch, isn't it, boyo, kicked the bucket, checked-out, croaked, bit the dust, isn't it, bought the farm, gonna take a dirt-nap in a wooden overcoat and, best of all, this, sent in by a viewer, it was, look you, the things people'll do to get a name-check on the telly, he's gone to count the worms.  I love it, boyo, gone to count the worms.

So, on this saddest of sad days, it's over first to the prime minister. 

Altogether, now:
lessdance, put on your red shoes,
and dance the blues.

Well, first let me say, on behalf of I'm sure every citizen-suspect in the land, that we are all truly devastated by this news. Rich men snorting cocaine, getting off their heads,  dressing up like ladies and being fawned-on by degenerates at the PBC, and no, I don't mean just Mr Yentob,  is the very cornerstone of  the govament, especially the Treasury, where I am sure you'll find the Chancellor hard at it, as usual.

The Fat White Duke

Criminal?  What, coke?
Course it's not criminal. 
 No, no, you don't understand, there are lots of so-called laws which do not apply to decent chaps.  
Yes, hunting's one of them, obviously. And keeping proper accounts, I mean, howsa chap to make any money, I mean create wealth for other people, if he has to keep accounts? Yes, laws against stealing and bribery and tax-evasion and money-laundering and blackmail and murder and child so-called abuse, I think you'll find that these just get in the way of decent gentlemen trying to do their very best for their less fortunate neighbours. I mean, just consider the late Lord Janner, he did his very best for children in care homes, quite proply, in my view. and look how they repaid him, hounded the poor fellow to his grave

But on a personal note I would just like to say, on behalf of myself and Mrs First Lady of the Treasury that I will never forget the day we heard Mr Wotsit doing that fabulous number, Golden Years.  And aren't they just?  For some of us, anyway.
And I won't take any questions on my own use of cocaine.  If it's alright for a jolly good chap like David Bowie, it's alright for me.  Not that I did, mind you. Or do. But I wouldn't tell you even if I did. Or am. Which I didn't. And amn't

And we are joined in this, this, quite frankly, what has become  this Studio of Mourning, by another legend, Her Majesty's favourite guitarist and star-gazing environmentalist, Dr Brian Badger. 

  Sir Brian, you knew him,
 give us your take on this terrible loss.

 That's right, (sighing sincerely)  
I did know him. And had the privilege of working with him over many years and call him my friend, which is not as easy as it sounds, not when you're a rock god. You know, everybody wants part of you, when you're a rock god.

But tell us what he was like to work with, if you would, Dr Brian?


Oh, we had our differences, Freddie and I, especially like when he brought that arsehole, David Bowie, into the studio, when we were doing Under Pressure, in Zurich.  I mean, he completely took-over that session, Bowie.   
Wanted us all to dress in frocks, too.


And that's not how I work.  I mean, one ladyman in any great band, like Queen,  is enough, I didn't want another one.....


But it's him we're all here to celebrate, Dr Brian, David Bowie.....

Not much to celebrate, if you ask me........

But he's passed away....

Oh, well, never mind.  I expect we'll all have to do a charity gig, or something, in his memory.  'Swot usually happens. Although it's not actually why I came into this great industry of rock'n'roll - to play obituary gigs, for old geezers, doesn't seem right, somehow.
But back to Freddie.  When we were recording Bohemian Rhapsody, a song of which I am very proud.....d'you know, I can be playing it anywhere in the world, in front of millions of people and just that little bittersweet lick, the one after  Nothing really matters, anyone can see.... and before Any way the wind blows....that moves them all to tears. ....he said to me, Freddie said, Dr Brian, he said, because we were all PhDs, in Queen, Dr Brian, he said, this song is gonna make you never need work again.  Even though I do. Touring with RumpQueen and for the badgers, yeah, and working for the stars, the ones in the sky, not those at LiveAid, which is my other great love, the stars.  Are my other love. Not is.  Not everybody is fortunate enough to be a god, like that, like I am. It's not just the playing, though;  that's important, of course, but the hair, and the shoes, and the waistcoats, they're all part of my, what would you call it? My Act?  No, not my act.  My Divinity. Yes, that's more like it.  That's what a god has.  Divinity. Not an act.

And we are now joined by a proper junky.  Sir Keef, how are you feeling, on learning of this dreadful news?

Oh, wow, man,  that's some heavy shit,
that's just, like, oh, wow, it's like the pits, man, 
the end of the line; the cat just, you know, man, just dyin' like that.  
I mean, whooda thought it, some cat dyin', before he made his three-score-and-ten. Goin' down the graveyard, an' never comin' back. Six black horses, man, that's the shit I'm talkin' about.  Never mind that  My baby done left me shit, 'swhen a man done left himself, that's what you call the Blues.

But you know, Alan, some rock'n'roll cat dead? 
 An' it ain't me?
Wossnottalike, man?
Work with him? Did I enjoy workin' with the cat?  Who, who we talkin' about here?  I worked with lotsa cats.  I mean, that's my thing, man. You know?   My gig.


I'm always just riffin' and jammin', with other cats. The Stones, man, I put 'em together, man, and tour 'em, when I wanna do that shit, on the road, man, down that lonesome highway, do all them Ry Cooder numbers.  But they're just like a backbeat, the Stones, just kinda pulsin' away, yeah, that's cool, like a slowly beatin' heart, man, that just refuses to die.  Until it does. Like it did with this cat we're talkin' about. We are still talkin' about that cat, aren't we? Shit, man, sometimes, I just dunno.   Seem's like my life's just one long interview.  Yeah. No. I don't think I ever did work with him. I can't remember all them cats I played with.  It's hard t'tell, man, hard t'tell, when all your love's in vain.  But I don't think I woulda played with this cat.  Not my shit, that, man.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I got lotsa gay friends, man,  you know, I am in showbusiness, after all, like you, like all of us, but, you know, extraterrestrial stuff,  fairycats, man, waitin' in the sky, t'come an' see us, an' blow our minds? Fuck that shit, sister,  that ain't the blues, man.

Life on Mars, man? Fuck, man,  where's that shit at? I mean, that's the kinda  stuff belongs on Sergeant Pepper, man, you know, that shit by the Beatles. 

 I mean, don't get me wrong, man, I can't say it enough, I loved them cats, 

you know, John and Paul and George, even the thick, spastic one, at the back, can I say spastic? No? OK, man, no offence, the pikey, then,  at the back, the pikey at the back, on the drums, right? Hey, I tellya what, I betcha, when they were touring, the Beatles, man, when they were touring, they coulda sent the the little pikey out with the Transit, to do some tarmacking.  Each town they visited, the three main men, they could be bangin' all the underage girls and the thick pikey, man, he could be out, fucking-up people's driveways,  earning some bread. But we was tight, man, us and the Beatles, the non-pikey ones, we came up the same way, we'd just play and play, until we'd copied something so well, we'd made it our own.  

But that Sergeant Pepper, man, that was some seriously bad shit. I'm with that cat, ishmael, who writes this stuff.  End of rock'n'roll, that was, and the start of pomp and pretence. Fuckin' concept albums, man. Yeah, Tales from Topographic fuckin' Oceans, man Yeah, right, you got it. Spiders from fuckin' Mars, man?  Spiders? From fuckin' Mars?  I blame Sergeant fuckin' Pepper. Lucy, man?  In the fuckin' sky?  With diamonds? I mean, some cats, they just shooden bother with marijuana, man, hear what I'm sayin? It's like, their heads, man, they can't cope with it.  Lucy in the fuckin' sky, man;  fixin a hole, where the fuckin' rain gets in, man, stops my mind from wanderin' where it will go, ee-aye-fuckin'-addy-oh? That musta been some heavy shit, that, that they were doin'.

I suppose that David  Bowie's death acts as a joyful public dress rehearsal for the deaths of those deemed even greater than he - Dylan, McCartney, Jagger-Richard. Simon and a shoal of smaller fry: Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler, Pete Townsend, Richard Thompson, Jackson Brown, Neil Diamond, Queen, Joni Mitchell, but mainly Bob Dylan,  all of whom have legions of fans and admirers, and all of whom can claim with varying degrees of truth to have provided the soundtracks to tens or hundreds of millions of now greying, frightened  lives.  I guess they became scriptures, those songs, learned and repeated, despite their largely general worthlessness, speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

I doubt that Cilla Black's passing meant much to anyone, really, not even that bloke she faghagged for, the dogbloke, Lily Savage,  but when Paul McCartney and the other one go the whole wide world will mourn and many of its older inhabitants will be significantly troubled  by their passing and by a concommitant reassessment of their own youth and lives. What could be more poignant than all the Beatles being dead? The late John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Most of these deaths will become largely commercial events;  media will feast, politicians will fawn  and attempt to connect, and people old enough to know better will re-purchase, as an act of  continuing faith, all those songs they love so well, as they, like savages,  post messages to their departed  idols on the TwitterBook OfTheDead,  while ignoring, scorning the old words, the old sayings, the old prayers:  in the midst of life we are in death, sic transit gloria mundi, God  rest his soul and No Further Comment. Even the deaths of their idols are commodified, to be consumed. It is certainly what the wretched Bowie would have wanted.

I've watched a few Bowie interviews over the past week and he did seem to be more courteous and smarter than the average entertainer, although that's not saying very much;  he was, nevertheless,  every bit as helplessly self-absorbed as you would expect, everything he touched apparently miraculously turned to art and he spoke from a bottomless, blissfully Philistine ignorance about music and the impossibly exaggerated merits of his dreadful songs, songs devoid of melody and harmony, screechy anthems to anxiety and arty alienation.  

I argue with myself all the time about the very idea of Art and find myself in this revolving doorway: Art is anything which can be gotten away with, an unmade bed or a pile of bricks, the chutzpah of the person selling them is the Art, along with the connivance of the purchasers or the compliant audience, additionally, there is the influence of the marketplace, dealers in art getting together and promoting one artist - whose works they already own - over another;  Science, however,  is thought to be something which must be proved against such benchmarks as currently exist, must be measurable and repeatable by other scientists or practitioners.  The artist has nothing to prove and depends entirely upon his audience, rather than his peers.  The revolving door analogy stems from my own belief that I could scientifically review almost any pre-Pepper Beatles song, just for instance, alongside any David Bowie song and prove by analysis, deconstruction and comparison that the Beatles song was art, the Bowie song trash,  that I could scientifically prove Art.   I have just started reading the New Scientist periodical and I am constantly unnerved by how unarty it is, compared with almost everything else I read.  Art and Science, they are different, although I have a dreadful feeling that all learning, all art will be colonised by Google or some derivative thereof and homogenised into one ubiquitous InfoCommodity, neither art nor science, neither fact nor fiction, just stuff, to access. But with adverts. For everything.

I see this seeming merger of Art and Science when, once a year, or so, I watch Mr Ronnie O'Sullivan,  the snookerist. 


What is it that he does, is he  a sportsman, an artist, an entertainer, a cipher or a scientist? 
I think he is a magician and a philosopher.  No, I really do.  His moving, potting and rearranging of balls-by-stick simply cannot be due solely to practice, for others have practiced as devotedly as he and do not what he does. 
O'Sullivanry  cannot be due simply to a knowledge of geometry, velocity and balletic collision; 

 his poise, economy, grace and purpose in motion are what Michaelangelo's David are in stone, 


 they are quiet, manly perfection. I think Ronnie O'Sullivan is ten times the artist of David Bowie.  And better looking, too. Bowie did gobby, dress-up, trashy, pantomime.  
O'Sullivan does voodoo.

 That David Bowie had any audience at all is a mark of how commodified existence has become, here, in the ruined West.  Bowie wasn't selling words and music made song, he was selling an artificial image, artifice, and demanding that he be looked-at. 

The fact that this wretched man wore a dress and make-up apparently removed the need  for any critical analysis of his miserable output - the caterwauling,  ridiculous Life on Mars and Jean Genie or the turgid, dolefully pouting narcissism of Let's Dance and Under Pressure reeked not of exuberance, spontaneity and enthusiasm but of resentment, morbidity and decay.  The whole, hideous, jangling and juddering Bowie cacophony no more than a skidmark on Creation's underpants.

I suppose that, excluding his all too conventional death,  the final insult to Bowie's  adoring masochistic millions, although they are far too dim to feel it, is that his last twenty years or so  were spent

 joined-together in  the same boring, old holy deadlock as the rest of us, as he calculated his value on the stock markets, popping back to Blighty to promote his latest dirge-collection, on the television, with fellow cultural icons,

like this cunt.

Well, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it falls to me to summarise these arguments and inasmuch as I am allowed, to direct you towards a true and accurate verdict and I will commence by a re-examination of a short story, written by William Tenn, in the early nineteen-fifties and called The Liberation of Earth.  Tenn depicts a planet Earth, now a wasteland,  long the scene of a proxy war fought by two conflicting  inter-galactic civilisations.  As each force temporarily triumphs, it tells the natives - us - that it is the true force of liberation, the bringer of peace and plenty, and that we have been wrong to support the other side, whilst it colonised us. Each successive thermo-nuke  Armageddon sees the victor doing that thing which victors and occupiers do - trying to win the hearts'n'minds of the people, giving them candy and beads and bright toys. 

Emperor Steve addressing his subjects.

No, you only think your cultural landscape wasted, your private lives plundered and marketed, your very imaginations shorted-out.  Look, look at what we have brought you.  Even though he  is dead you can watch David Bowie 4ever, or Alan DieHard, on your bright shiny i-thing.  Or until the battery fails, which won't be very long.  And no, you can't replace it, but better buy a whole new one anyway, a whole new i-thing, because they just keep on getting better. And to all intents and purposes it's free. It may well cost you a lot of money but to all intents and purposes it is free. No, not made by child slaves, but by young people participating enthusiastically  in our economic and cultural plan for Planet Earth.

Emperor "Charity" Bill.

I was your very first liberator and you should be loyal to me.

Field Marshal Mark Zed.

No, no, all I want is for you,  all of you, to write down every single thing that happens to you, ever, yes, write it down, all your feelings, you embarrassing mistakes, send it all to me and I will sell it on to advertisers.  yes, it's like you, the customer,  creating the product for me to sell to advertisers and also back to you.  What could be better ? 
This is liberation big-time.

Mr Tenn's Liberation of Earth may be seen, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, as a metaphor,  not only for the Korean and the succeeding Vietnam wars, and indeed for the torching and gang-raping of Iraq  and her children but also as a sideways glance at the predatory global marketing behemoths, such as those in the the pictures above which the usher has passed to you.  You should look at them very clearly and decide for yourselves whether they portray kind and benevolent visionaries, a blessing, in fact, to mankind, or, if they are, as mr ishmael might describe them, greedy, psychobastard, fuckpig vandals destroying civilisation; a view with which the bench has some sympathy.

In the Tenn novella, the stunted, hypoxic, starving, gibbering remnants of global humanity greet each other with the salutation, suck air and grab clusters, referring to the fact that oxygen, once abundant,  is now in short supply and the only foodstuff is a hardy green weed which forms clusters, here and there -  heigh-ho, this is the way of it, suck air and grab clusters.  Written before the events, Tenn's was a foretelling of Agent Orange and of depleted uranium shells, both deployed against Mother Earth's defenceless civilians, in the name of Freedom but for the purposes of this court his prognosis can be refined a stage further.

Our distinguished expert, mr the dyers garden,  has often given evidence on the matter of the global death cult, in  this he has not referred to a gang of killers but to a phenomenon which I shall describe as FlashMourning, in which, fuelled and connected by IdiotMedia,  vast numbers of entirely unaffected strangers showily go through Mourning's motions, weeping and wailing, in some pop-up CyberHall of Remembrance,  tearing hair and ululating, as though suddenly, unfairly and violently bereft of someone they had never met;  millions FlashMourning the death of some drugged-up show-off, doesn't matter who, Amy Winehouse or Robin Williams, David Bowie or Alan Rickman;  and if a convenient celebrity fails to oxygenate their hunger for  pretend public grief then any bunch of white Westerners will do, thousands of  Brits, ignorant even of their own national anthem, mumbling stupidly through the Marseillaise, in solidarity with some imaginary fellow-gaspers, hungry to breathe the Airs of Grief, to slobber, uninvited,  over funerary meats, heigh-ho, this is the way of it, suck air and grab clusters.

If historical records are correct, which is by no means certain,  the early life of the late Mr Bowie was, indeed, if you will forgive me, ladies and gentlemen,  a bohemian rhapsody, perhaps even a creative idyll;  perhaps his long career really was an artistic treasure trail, to the treading of which he invited everyone else in the world, in order that they be....(looks at papers).... showed  the endless possibilities. 
 He extended out into new spaces, metaphorically and physically, as the lady gossip columnist said, in her evidence. Quite how much weight you should attach to the evidence of someone who works in skymadeupnewsandfilth, ladies and gentlemen, is something you must consider carefully.

But even if he was, even if he was all of these lovely, noble, fearless artistic qualities blended together in a promiscuous drug addict, is his passing of any real significance?  Did his years of self-absorption advance medicine, for instance; did he bring peace to places of fiery conflict; did he bring clean water to the thirsting black children with flies in their eyes, was he successful, even by the self referential standards of Art? Was his work instrumental in eliciting improvement or was it an end in itself?  The Court leans to the latter, that however popular it was, the work showcased only its' creator's interest in himself and that for it to have been popular for forty years floodlights the very barren emotional and cultural landscape which so many inhabit and which has grown the darker and more windswept by the corporatised selfish indulgence of dissolute people like Bowie and his dimwit followers, feeding off each other, presenting improvised fastfood, as though it was haute cuisine, because they want it to be.  In no future history, ladies and gentlemen of the jury,  will Ashes to Ashes be equated to Guernica or the Mona Lisa or the Fighting Temeraire;  Space Oddity will not vie for listeners with the Moonlight Sonata; the cheap, thumping  shuffle of Let's Dance is no rival to  Bach's  Gavotte  in D, and never will be. But this is not of any importance, some would argue that Beethoven  did not drink from the same icy stream of lonely existence as did Pallestrina, yet both are equally adept, both do what art is widely supposed to do, why then, should Mr Bowie's canon not be similarly respected? It is a question which could be asked about any light entertainer in history and is thus probably pointless.  We live in an easy-come, easy-go age where nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me. Mr Bowie, more than most in showbusiness, cynically promoted nihilism, not as a route to  betterment, not as a means of overthrowing outdated privilege but as a route to him and the purchase of his product.  In that he was hugely successful, whether his audience, purblind, now resentful as a child whose Teddy has fallen from the pram, has benefitted from the transaction is another matter.

That our culture, ladies and gentlemen  is now shaped by child abusers at the PBC, junkies in Hollywood, filthsters in the press and monster svengalis 

gabshite slatterns, merchandising cruelty; 

is, or should be, widely accepted;  people are famous for wanting to be famous, happy to be tormented publicly in the hope of entering the charmed circle of celebrity.  Decency, modesty, privacy and self-restraint are now subjects of mockery and derision and it is those who delight in Decay's cruel, androgynous, narcotised wasteland that are now FlashMourning one of its architects;  that Mr Bowie's followers now so hysterically and absurdly relish his death proves how very little he was able to teach them.  Wasters in a Wasteland, they will wonder, now,  what can possibly top the Death of Dave, heigh-ho, suck air and grab clusters.

I  now invite you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to retire and consider your verdict in the matter of the Crown vs. Bowie, Rickman and others too numerous to list and ask yourselves, is Art whatever you can get away with; is the worship of invented celebrity a fair substitute for God and are we all, now, whether we like it or not, spear-carriers in some global Oedipus the King, nondescripts, satellites, orbiting the vain and the famous, their deaths ours, instead of free citizens, commanding our own destinies?  Is the piece by Sir Ian McGhastly, above, a respectful eulogy to his dead friend or is at an instantaneous, showy  performance before millions, is his friend's passing merely an opportunity for showboating? 
Are we cultural vagabonds, electronic nomads, shiftless, blowing in the corporate wind or do we believe our Western Civilisation predates 1970 and may yet succour and defend us against the vulgarian FlashMourners? Take your time, ladies and gentlemen, but not too much; the Barbarian is at the door, dressed as a woman.


Bungalow Bill said...

Your finest work, Mr I.

The polymorphous perverse, isn't that what the Sixties Hippy Marxists craved as the solvent of oppressive social norms? Bowie and his prancing ninny followers imagining themselves as heroic re-writers of human grammar. Do what thou wilt, be what thou wilt and, most of all fuck what thou wilt. That other eejit, Alesteir Crowley, was at it half a century before with his cod occultism, playing at demons.

I was refreshing my dead Catholic soul the other day reading some Hilaire Belloc and there are some words worth digging out in light of your piece: " We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh, we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond; and on these faces there is no smile.".

So mote it be.

Alphons said...

What a wonderful summing up of stardom, Mr ishmael.

I think :-

"Please could every radio station around the globe just play David Bowie music today – I think the world owes him that.

— Eddie Izzard (@eddieizzard) January 11, 2016 "

Just shows how far apart from reality many of the "Star Entertainers" are, and Eddie is far from being on his own.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done, Mr Ish.

"...the chutzpah of the person selling them is the Art." There's a documentary worth watching in this context, about a holy fool called Mark Landis who is a very unusual forger. "Art & Craft".

Small point of order, Mr BB: "do what thou wilt" did not mean "do what you want", though I agree it may as well have done.


Bungalow Bill said...

Ah, Mr Verge, I am not a Thelema adept.

Mike said...

Tour-de-force, Mr I.

I cannot add anything, other than "guilty as charged".

SG said...

I shall put aside my desire to seek compensation for damages done to my rib cage, Mr I, and welcome this fine expose of wankery masquerading as art. For some reason or other, Sid Vicious' fine rendition of "My Way" sprang to mind as I was reading it.

call me ishmael said...

It is a thing of beauty, indeed, mr sg, sid vicious in his white tux, stumbling down the steps, snarling that dreadful doggerel.

call me ishmael said...

It is almost a stand-alone commentary, that eddie izzard thing, mr alphons, skirted man demands control of the world's airwaves, in solidarity with talentless dead reprobate.

I love this what we owe them scam, as though they are not, the entertainers, only in it for the money, as if we should surrender everything to them, house and car and all, in exchange for a good knees-up.

Leaving, now, on a jet plane, back this evening.

Doug Shoulders said...

Very very good Mr Ish..
He’s always been a bit bargain basement, Bowie. Could never really discern where his talent lay..As you said…anyone can dress in drag and demand to be heard. Only O’Sullivan can do O’Sullivan. And you can make stuff up and pass it off as art where it simply isn’t. There’s probably a name for manufacturing share prices to entice investors to put their money in..Same can be applied to art. Or at least that what is offered as art..unmade beds and shit.
I don’t actually believe Bowie was as popular as he was made out to be. I don’t recall him headlining some shitfest in the country..sure he’d turn up and do a few songs, but in the same way as someone like Shirley Bassey would. Bassey probably sells zero unless it’s Christmas or Vegas. I Don’t think Bowie was that bankable even in his heyday. Could be wrong though…certainly in my sphere of entertainment he never figured much.
His songs were unpalatable. No melody, no hook and not even a message. His teamups with others, various other “projects” and sheer perseverance kept him in the studio. If Bowie did actually have any talent for song writing it took second place to his posturing and garb.
Rather like what we’re seeing now, more famous, but again not for his music.

call me ishmael said...

This, from te filth-o-graph, is what I was referring to, mr doug, about the rebel, watching the stock markets. Looks like his passing will please his investors, anyway, as his back catalogue, whatever that is, is resold, not to mention the release of wahtever old junk is in the can. Gosh, how we owe him.

It is a mad world, showbiz, poor, mad Michael Jackson sold more copies of Thriller than Bob Dylan sold in his whole recording career and yet died $400,000,000 in debt.

Junk status: Bowie Bonds have been downgraded

12:01AM GMT 25 Mar 2004

In 1997 David Bowie became the toast of the financial world when he issued bonds against his future income. Now things have turned sour. Nic Fleming reports

It was billed as the innovative union of the Stock Exchange and rock 'n' roll.

The headline "Bowie Sells Himself On Wall Street" signalled the unlikely marriage of the worlds of asset-backed securities with the glamour of showbusiness. Seven years on, a divorce is on the cards.

David Bowie made both music industry and corporate finance history in 1997 when investors paid £35 million for bonds paying a generous 7.9 per cent interest rate over 10 years backed by income from his back catalogue.

The financial device, known as a "securitisation", more usual in the credit card and mortgage sectors, made him the first musician to issue bonds against his future income.

Now, however, the credit rating of the Bowie Bonds has been downgraded to only just above "junk status". Investors have been warned that internet music piracy and the slump in record sales have reduced the credit-worthiness of the bonds.

A spokesman for Moody's Investors Service, one of the big three credit rating agencies, said: "The downgrade was prompted by lower than expected revenues generated by the assets due to weakness in sales for recorded music."

Bowie's 1997 guise of corporate innovator was the latest for a performer who has constantly reinvented himself. Famous for hits such as Space Oddity and Changes and for his lead role in the film The Man Who Fell to Earth, Bowie's issuing of bonds allowed him to raise revenue upfront instead of waiting for royalties to trickle in.

He was able to do this because, unlike most recording artists, he owned the rights to his songs. The bonds were all bought by American company Prudential Insurance.

Commentators spoke of a brave new world for artists who could free themselves from the shackles of the music industry. Bowie, now 57, and with a personal fortune of more than £100 million, was followed down the intellectual property bond route by other stars such as James Brown and the soul band the Isley Brothers.

However, Bowie's stock waned and with sky-high video budgets and costly international promotional jaunts, his 1999 album Hours was a commercial failure.

Mark Bezant, head of the intellectual property group at accountants Deloitte, said the hopes of artists being able to raise funds by issuing bonds had been hit by the downloading of music from the internet. "There was a lot of hope around intellectual property bonds at the time the Bowie Bonds were launched," he said.

"With the Bowie Bonds, people's expectations for the cash flows have been dented by the problems of digital downloading."

David Pullman, whose company the Pullman Group organised the sale of the Bowie Bonds on the New York bond market, insisted that no one would lose money because of the downgrading of the investment rating.

He said: "The bonds have not defaulted and will not default. The value of the assets of David Bowie's catalogue, publishing and recording masters are far in excess of the outstanding balance of the bonds.

"This type of deal was only ever appropriate for legends with big catalogues."

A spokesman for the singer refused to comment last night.

mongoose said...

Ah, the securitisation game. I think I commented here a ways back down the road when that scam method and I crossed swords. Such a bond is a lottery ticket. One has either properly investigated the odds of winning or one hasn't. Unfortunately investigating the odds is the lottery itself. Once again most of the profit sausages flee leaving only a residual sizzle. And all of the risk.

To his credit otherwise though, Mr Ishmael, Mr Jones seems to have contracted his illness - after an industrial strength lifetime of booze, fags, coke and Lord knows what else - and after a seemly struggle against the perhaps inevitable has met his demise with as much decorum as any of us can hope to look forward to. A swift date with the municipal crematorium and the dance is done. It was not the man himself then, nor his family now, making all this fuss.

And I bought several of those LPs. It was that or the ELO, you know. We were rescued soon enough.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr bungalow bill, for that - or this:

“The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marvelling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.”

The commentary concludes with observations on drug-taking and the decline and death of Western Civilisation. I have just listened to the whole thing on LibriVox and it seems to be what I have been trying to write here, for some months; I should read more and write less.

It is worth the twelve minutes spent, if you can cope with a know-it-all, American delivery. Much more rewarding than coming here. Except for the figuring-out which we do here, ourselves, generally without recourse to literary stimulants. All I knew of Belloc before this morning were the nonsense rhymes, yet his take on the Starfucker and Decline, a century ago, is little different to mine, above, albeit much more assured and elegant. Those with a quarter of an hour to invest will not be disappointed: Librivox, Belloc, The Narbarian.

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

Blogger call me ishmael said...

Well, as usual, mr mongoose, I admire your catholic charity and am humbled by it; it is meet, not to mock the dead but I am not sure that I did, just his career and his cutomers, as well as the FlashMourning and the IdiotMedia which enables it; as for a modest and decorous death, I dunno about that, either.

You may know of Warren Zevon, a compadre and alter ego noir of Jackson Browne and the Eagles and that gang, a classically-trained pianist who studied with Igor Stravinsky, Zevon was ten times the musician Bowie was and twenty times the asshole, too; he was an original, however, at the piano he made Billy Joel and Elton John look like children, he could play a twelve-string like ringing a bell and he entered music as arranger and band leader for the Everly Brothers, who, in the 'seventies, were still a big name. His songs were broken-hearted tender and fuck-this-shit sardonic, he was a rare talent.

Anyway, drink and drugs and I guess pure, personal poison messed him up, too, and he got lung cancer. He went on a farewell tour of TeeVee studios, mainly David Letterman's and issued an open-house invitation, for his peers to come and help him make his last album. Springsteen and Oh, I dunno, all sorts of riff-raff rock royalty, I can't remember, all took turns in jamming with the walking dead, to produce The Wind, an album of wheezy, dying songs, one of them inviting the listener to Keep Me In Your Heart For A While. Having seen Zevon at Warwick, a few years before he died and having always enjoyed his music, like a fool I bought it, and it strangled up my mind. I played half of it and threw it on the fire. I don't wanna hear that dead man's music. It's one thing to hear a relatively healthy person singing Fixin' to Die Blues, see that My Grave Is Kept Clean, or, my favourite, DeathBed Blues - the doctor came to see me, I heard him sayin' low, well y'know he might get better, but he'll never be well no more - but to actually watch the videos and hear the recordings of someone dying before your eyes or just recently dead, well, mr mongoose, that ain't what we call rock'n'roll.

And it appears that the Thin Dead Duke has done something similar to the late Maestro Zevon, milked it for all it was worth, the dying. I saw a few seconds of that Bowie thing, is it Lazarus, him in blankets and bandages, singing about being in Heaven and I turned my face to the wall, as would any decent Christian, such as yourself, crossing himself and praying for the rest of a poor, narcissistic soul.

As it is, his customers will be able to listen-to and watch, forever, his self-portrait of the artist as a dying old man.

I wouldn't do it for all the farms in Cuba

call me ishmael said...

Hope you're not on fire, down there, mr mike. All we ever seem to hear about Down Under is that the fucking place is ablaze, its politicians a bunch of redneck incompetents and its populace gagging for a sight of a Ruritanian baby.

mongoose said...

I didn't make it even half of the way through the Lazarus schtick. Not rock'n'roll? Indeed, Sir. Terrible dreck - not even a dirge when one might have been forgiven. And those Children-in-Need sewn-on windows to the soul? No, just don't, eh. You were never M.R. James, lad.

Mike said...

No fires here in Sydney, Mr I, its down south (Melbourne/Adelaide I think).

Mentioning Ruritania, its the big one we all await - the death of Brenda. That will bring out the Wotton Basset in us all. Then Australia will become a republic.

call me ishmael said...

I hope so, because if you do then maybe we will, too, after a decent interval, say a few months of Brian sticking his oar in.

SG said...

Unlikely Mr I, Brian would be 'retired' were he to risk the position of 'The Firm' back here in 'UK' or whatever remains of it by then. However I suspect that Mr Mike is right regarding the Australian branch...

call me ishmael said...

That IS the conventional wisdom, that the Firm and the govament are in a MAD symbiosis, but he might just go rogue and spill the beans before they can nut him off. And if mr mike IS right then it makes thinkable what was once un. C'mon you republicans!

Bungalow Bill said...

Mr Caratacus kindly quoted some Chesterton a while back and, of course, the Fat Prophet and Belloc were as one. Much wit and wisdom but also a particular Catholic strain of anti-semitism lurking. Effortless stylists.

Mike said...

PS The Kiwis will go when we go, and I suspect Canada as well.

call me ishmael said...

Something happened to, what would you call it, stylism, in commentary, there were those you mention, then there was the Isherwood and Auden school, then Orwell, then people like Malcolm Muggeridge and Donald Soper, then Waugh and Wilson and then, fuck me, Jesus, there's people like PJ O'Rourke, Hunter Thompson, Julie Birchill and Toby Young, all ranting their heads off, and now, thanks to IdiotMedia, every bastard and his dog's a commentator. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing, but I know that, on the newspaper threads, one comment in a thousand is worth the time it takes to read it; actually, thinking about it, it's more like one in ten thousand, and most of them hostile and tribal. Lapham, he's the man, do catch him while he lives.

Bungalow Bill said...

He is, I've read him a fair bit now after you pointed me to him. Hitchens could do it but became monstrous and I couldn't read him. As you say, I can't think of another single one.

call me ishmael said...

Such a schism, mr mike, would suit Project Europa, the final collapse of the Empire, and it's political and judicial systems, its pesky constitutions. Tories, too, would like it, not having to rub noses with big fat fuckers dressed in curtains, animal skins and bones in their fucking noses. Archbishop Dallas is already prefiguring such a split in the worldwide Anglican Community, the blackfellows wanting to boil samesex-marriagers alive and Synod, here, wanting to pack the pulpits with pre- and post-operative tranny vicars.

Mike said...

Mr I: I'll repeat what I've said before: the gene pool in the UK is now too degraded. Its going the same way as the snout of the duckbill platypus - ie extinct.

I saw project Europa up close last year in Italy. Very ugly. On its way West to a place near you very soon.

Australia re-invented itself after being shafted by Heath over the EU. Ditto NZ. I like certain aspects of (particularly Southern) Europe, I'm an old sentimentalist, but I'm now more in sync with SE Asia. Off to Bangkok-Cambodia-Laos in 4 weeks - my birthday treat.