Friday 10 June 2016


No, I got no free pens on me. Honest, no, they're not mine, anyway. They're just to hoodwink the old folks. Into thinking they're getting something free.

In my long career of selling dodgy funeral insurance

 and licking showbiz arse 
I've interviewed lots of interesting people. 
Some truly remarkable people. 

 It's what we call in the arse-licking trade
  a symbiotic  relationship, 
they even give you baubles for doing it.
Truly remarkable. 
the further up I can force my tongue the more tasty tidbits of showbiz life the star in question will reveal to the audience, yes, the morons, sitting at home, enthralled by some drug-addicted, slatternly, maladjusted egomaniac.  

All I ever had to do was say, 

Sir  David Niven,
Tell us that one about the empty horses...
What, again?

  you are a hugely talented, hugely successful Hollywood actor, millions, no, tens of millions of  people love you deeply and now you have written a fascinating memoir of your life  in Tinsel Town which has stormed to the top of the best seller lists all over the world and it turns out that you are also not only a magnificiently gifted actor but a brilliant writer, too;  
how do you do it?

do you think you could share with us just a few of the other ways in which you are wonderful, pretty please? 

That's my career in a nutshell.
Michael BrownNose,
that's me.
Truly remarkable.

But Mohamed Ali, what can I say?
Here we are, two of the Greatest,
pretending to punch each other,
doesn't get much cheaper than that, does it?

 One of the greatest stars in showbusiness has departed.  Down but not out. Well, out, strictly speaking, can't get more out than he is, now.

 But, as a close personal friend of the great man, what I can tell you is that one of the very last things he did  before leaving the ring and slipping away to the great training camp in the sky, was to 'phone me, claim his free pen - yes, y'get a biro, completely free, just for 'phoning -  and arrange his funeral insurance with SunLife.  Pay out?  What, now that he's dead? Well, unfortunately not. He didn't live long enough, y'see. 

I mean, fair's fair, you can't expect the insurance companies to pay money out without you having given it to them in the first place, can you,  that's not how it works, is it? 

But hold on, I believe we have another of the great ones, here, to pay his tribute to the man I was proud to call the Greatest, well, one of the Greatest. 
In my remarkable career I met so many great ones, truly remarkable, quite extraordinary, some of them. Here he comes, anyway,  Arkansas' greatest son, President Spunky Bill Clinton. 
Spunky Bill, just share with viewers of Parkinson some of the very many reasons why you are so truly, truly remarkable and wonderful and how they should all want to be you, if only they could.....

Why, shucks, Mike, hearing you plumb takes me back to them good ole days when me and President Hillary Trousers was head of the Arkansas Crime Family and we was roasting niggers like Cassius Clay regular, hang them boys up from trees and cut their balls off most Sat'day nights, we did, great times thay was, Mike, great times; why, when I became President the first thing I done was fly down to my home state and supervise the killin' a some negro boy claimed he was backwards, only had the mental age of a nine year old; we done killed that nigger anyway. Way I see it Mike, is if they old enough to shove them big, shiny, black peckers in some white pussy they old enough to hang, get gassed, roasted, castrated, whatever.  Three strikes and you's out, nigger boy.

You boys got a vote?
 Well mek sure you use it fer me or fer Mrs President, here. 
Cos we done give it ya, in the first place.
an' the mark of a man is that he knows his place.
Like you do, by comin' here'.
To be pawed by filth like me.
Yo Mastah and President.
Don't worry, Amerka, y'all safe, this nigger's daysa rapin' white wimmen's all over,
thass my job.

Naw, honey, cain't be rape, not if the President's doin' it.

And lemme tell ya, Mike, ain't nuthin' like the smell a roasted nigger to make yo woman wanna moisten y'cigar fer ya. Hear what I'm sayin'? 
An' anyway, the President gotta set a good example, like me. 

And you, Sir, certainly have.

Yeah 'sright, Mike, be back in the White House come January. Nosirree Bob, as President, just like before. Shit, man, donchoo worry about Hills, she'll do what she's told,  ain't she done proved that, already?

That was the Once and Future President, Spunky Bill, with his observations on the tragic death of Mohamed Ali, 

remarkable, a truly remarkable man, Spunky Bill. 
And a great, personal honour for me to have him on my show and be touched, in a very real sense, by his greatness. 

A smug old git reflects.
Actually,  though, as a Barnsley lad,
working in show business and insurance,
I'm pretty great, meself, anyroadup.

Meanwhile, The world of protest singing, too has been paying its tribute to Mohaned Ali.

Well, he took so many bl-o-o-o-ows
He was acting like a turkey
He was runnin' round in circles
Somewhere down in Albaquerque
Oh, yeah,

Speaking from his Never-Ending Alzheimers Tour, 
Ali's fellow clapped-out 'sixties celebrity, Bob Dylan, Face-Thinged that, uh, y'know, what was that line, he not busy bein' born is busy making money fer old rope, doodly-doodly-doodly-doo, ba-bomp-bom. (for twenty soul-abrading minutes Bob continues  extended guitar doodling in G, while his band, playing in A, wearily swtruggle to keep up.)

I can never form a fixed view about boxing. Of course it should be banned, beating as entertainment should be something done, if at all,  in private, yet boxing, world heavyweight championship boxing, anyway, can be a thing of beauty, transcending the blood and snot and spit, rising even above the the filthy parasite promoters, the ringside gangsters and the verminous sports writers, pundits and reflected celebrities, people like Parkinson, the cunt.

The world winces when Roger Rolex 
twists his ankle at Wimbledon,

 empathises when mutant momma'sboy, Murray, 

has a hissy fit at himself; 
the real thing, though, the real, bloody, sub-gladiatorial contest, the real artistry and nobility sometimes seen in a boxing match, some furious, light-speed flurry of  combined punches to head and torso, 
some sixteen-stone Nijinksy, weaving and ducking, yes, like a butterfly,  is classed as vulgar when, in fact, it is anything but. 

Not for me, then, to shudder snootily at the pugilist, nor for anyone else, either. Every year, people die horribly at the Isle of Man TT races, nobody says Boo! People fling themselves to Bungee death or perish overboard in some mad boating escapade; some trek across the North Pole and freeze, some hike up Everest and fall, some, careless do-gooders, mainly, get their heads chopped-off by Ahmed and his mates. 
 Here, we simply say, fuck 'em, all of 'em.
 And, charming as he could be, as brilliantly as he could occasionally fight, I long ago said the same thing about Mohamed Ali; people very close to him, friends by any calculation, not hangers-on,  urged him to stop fighting but he even went into the ring clearly showing the symptoms of what had already befallen him; like a fool, he mixed it and it strangled up his mind.
And we were supposed to love his half-framed dribblings, admire his shitbrain stupidity and call them both noble.
I am leaving, I am leaving
But the fighter still remains.

A sick, old man, knocked to the floor, Bravo.

his was a protracted, self-sought martyrdom. 
Fuck him.
Fuck Parkinson, especially, and fuck show business.
Being publicly beaten into a stumbling half-life, that ain't entertainment, that ain't sport, that ain't beauty,  that's Cruelty TeeVee.

As for him having raised the status of the black American, yeah, right.  
More US blacks in cruel mediaeval imprisonment than ever, more US blacks on Death Row than ever, more US blacks gunned-down on the streets by lawnforcement than ever; and way  more blacks killed, tortured, maimed, burnt and raped overseas and down in Cuba than ever before, and all on the watch of a black president.

Yeah, Elijah Mohamed and Black Islam;
and fighting when you couldn't,
way to go, Cassius. 


Caratacus said...

Reading your comments about Mr. Ali (and in the picture, is that Henry Cooper who has just dropped Clay's derriere on the canvas like a pound of mince?) I was reminded of this in-depth discussion of the relative merits of various boxing greats. It surpasses anything else I have had to sit through on the box in recent years ...

mongoose said...

Along with everyone else I have been reading about the death of the New Mandela. In truth, he was a fabulous boxer but was done and dusted by the three year lay-off. Back he came, a bit slower and a bit fatter. One of the commentators recently bemoaned that Ali later learned that he could take a punch. And there is truth in that because he could, and famoulsy did in several of those later money fights.

Back in the day, my old dad was the accountant for a few months for a reasonably famous Midlands heavyweight of the obvious extraction who had failed to get his tax papers all lined up. While Dad was sorting it out, I got taken to a few events. One sticks in the memory - only a weekday evening gym session. That guy hit that fucking great heavy bag so hard it shook the floor, the beams, the walls... They are big lads - even that relatively small one - and the energy transfer to a cranial blancmange in its bone bucket does not bear thinking about.

SG said...

Full deck here Mr C:

Come on Big Henry! Maybe if he hadn't taken the cut over the left eye in the third round?...

Bungalow Bill said...

Parkinson was always a showbiz bully and I fear he is suffering the inevitable Savilisation of his features; it comes to all the Yorkshire greats.

Yes, as Trousers advances it is salutary to remind ourselves of what a truly evil couple she and Spunky are - prepared to murder a mentally deficient black boy so's to cut the mustard. An enthusiastic aborter, a death-deliverer if ever there was one; no wonder Obamarama has given her his empty nod and that the International Liberal Humanist Illuminati anoint her.

call me ishmael said...

As a kid, mr mongoose, I played a frame of snooker with one of those golden brummies, Billy Walker, I think, and his power and musculature were terrifying, Billy something, anyway. I hope he made some money. I always liked that photograph of Bob and Mohamed, both of them then past their awesome, gifted best, both adored, still, by the feeble, uncrtical ones, by the ones like me. Play it again, Sam. And again.

call me ishmael said...

Sir Mick is to me, mr bungalow bill, what Dame Esther Crow is to you, even though I loathe Esther almost unreeasonably, I despise Parkinson almost beyond endurance and always, always, always did. That he ends his days repolishing the same old turd and frightening the impoverished elderly completes his repellent life cycle. I hope his arse falls out, he tripe on his intestines, smashes his teeth and dies a slow painful death and that a morbid Sir Billy Connolly comes to his deathbed, chortling at his own toilet jokes, plucking his dreadful banjo. Truly remarkable.

call me ishmael said...

They're all tragic, mr sg, Ali, Cooper, Frank Bruno, they all become pantomime. Apart, maybe, from the dandy, Chris Eubanks, who seems to have a strange ringside dignity. I may be wrong, it's just that I saw him recently, being cornerman to his son, and he seemed very genuinely concerned at the ref's failure to stop the contest due to the opponent's injury. Eubanks junior was going to win whatever happened and Chris obviously didn't want his family delivering another young man to brain damage, the ref and the opposite cirner were clearly negligent and I would nan them all for life. It was Eubanks junior in my mind when I was talking about lethal, high-speed artistry, God forgive me. On that occasion he beat his opponent into a state of stumbling catatonia, another time, it might be him.

mongoose said...

Eubank was/is a dick but a studied one. He also was a heck of a fighter and seemed to ship far less punishment than he ought to have. There were some great fights in that era.

There is an appalling Parky-Ali interview doing the rounds and at one point, Ali talks off screen to someone - Jarvis Astair. Well, you know that degrees of separation bollocks? Well, it's one from me to Ali, and the step is Jarvis Astair. I was introduced to this god at the World Sporting Club, in the West End somewhere, I think, and was sat on a phone book to reach me supper. Boxing had a cabal of half-adozen of these guys who carved the cake. Still does probably. Same as the old boss.

call me ishmael said...

I never knew what to make of Eubanks, his odd speech didn't help but I guess I had a hint of respect for his posturing de grandeur. Not a boxing fan, I just see the odd match, once in a while but it all comes freighted with high drama and controversy, even the morons, like Haye, is it, and Fury?

We have seen the true criminal nature of sport with THIEFA, with cycling and tennis, and nobody seems to mind too much. The one I truly detest is that Hearn geezer, who owns snooker. oh, yeah, and then there's Blair's embarrassment, the dwarf, Ecky of F1.

Sport, it's probably the One True Filth.

Bungalow Bill said...

The beauty of sport (at least of innocent sport) is a fascinating one: the geometries and physical awareness, the timing of it all. Boxing has that, I think, and has been a way, at least for some, to develop self-possession and to live well when they might have had no other route. Although the public schools and forces do it, I've always thought of it as an authentic working class skill or, better, craft. A thing that can be accomplished, leading to other good things. Though worms are in the apple, of course, as always.

Caratacus said...

Thank you, Mr. SG, for the link to the Cooper/Clay fight, I will savour it. The Cooper brothers (twins I believe) Henry and George were role models for me in my formative years. They were gentlemen, modest in their considerable achievements, quietly spoken and guilty of countless small acts of kindness. But my goodness, he was a businesslike sod in the ring. And people bang on about 'Enery's famous left hook, but actually to witness the almost superhuman speed and power of the thing was a salutary experience indeed.

Incidentally, having spent a lifetime involved in one way or the other with physical violence and the scientific study of it, I share Mr. I's disquiet about the idea of one human attempting to hurt another. But the violence, and the attendant injury and damage are almost inconsequential in a boxing or martial arts match. The real battle is one of wills and it is entirely possible for there to be two winners even if the fight is stopped due to injury (such as the Cooper/Clay fight of 1966). I am well into my 60s now and still haven't worked this one out properly ... but I have noticed that the gentlest of men tend to be those who are capable of the greatest violence.

call me ishmael said...

I used to love fives, at school, strenuous, cunning, balletic, strategic; I played lots of rugby and although I was quick and a high scorer I kinda choked on the esprit de corps, sub-public school snobbery of it all, either way, school sports did offer those tests and experiences which you value. Dunno if that is still the case, celebrity, money and the vile, contorted air-punching of vermin like Murray and before him McEnroe and others, and that's not to mention the utter vulgarity of professional soccer. I daresay that thee are people, mr mongoose, for instance, who impart sportsmanship to their children, but I fear they are an endangered cohort

mongoose said...

It broke me heart, so it did, tonight, to see 11 of the highest paid professional sportsmen in the land let in a headed lob from 12 yards, and in the 92nd minute too. Chris Eubank's grannie would have caught it in her pinny. As if we have not watched it a thousand times since 1966 and all that. What rubbish football is. Some white-toothed twat nattered at half-time that if England didn't score soon they might get beaten by the other side scoring. The insight didn't dazzle me and the cat fucked off to lay down in the garden and look at the squirrels.

Alphons said...

" call me ishmael said...

I used to love fives, at school....."

We were so poor at our school that we could only afford "three and a quarters".

tdg said...

Brain damage in eventing, say, is an accidental risk: in boxing it is an intentional certainty. Only the visibility of its consequences varies: obvious with traumatic parkinsonism, less so with prefrontal damage that turns the victim into the arsehole noone is in a position to know he was not already. Moreover, the brain does not heal, it only adapts: each injury depletes a fixed reserve, and reduces the spectrum of powers, in a way neither biology nor medicine has power to reverse. In a world less blind to the true nature of the brain and it's relation to the person, boxing would be a capital crime.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem, tdg, in a nutshell. A knock-out punch delivers a brain injury. On the other hand physical fitness, courage, and thinking clearly under pressure are all noble goals. At least it's better than effeminacy.
Would I like my sons to participate? On balance, in an amateur setting with helmets and soft gloves, yes I would. My sons went to a Krav Maga class but left promptly when a technique was demonstrated in which a supine opponent was finished off by a punch to the larynx. This is not self-defence but a technique to kill an enemy and would, if applied, lead to arrest and a lengthy stay in jail. Self-defence is legally defined and must be application of the appropriate force relevant to a given situation. My sons were wise enough to spot this inherent flaw in military techniques being taught to civilians under the guise of self-defence. Boxing, on the other hand, is but a sport. Not only that, but the self-confident demeanour and well-set appearance of a boxer would radiate into the consciousness of a would-be aggressor and probably deter anyone not drunk enough to be easily spun off-balance by a punch to the nose or shoulder, after which a quick safe withdrawal from the confrontation would be the next step, as required to justify one's action as being lawful.
So yes, as an amateur sport it's fine but on the other hand professional boxing as a public spectacle is not necessarily a good thing for the reasons you state.

tdg said...

I am not so sure, Richard. Gloves protect the hands not the brain, indeed they allow far greater force to be delivered than would otherwise be possible. Boxing helmets are useless, as the ease of knocking out someone wearing one shows. It is not just a knockout that damages the brain: every significant hit does, a knockout merely has an obvious immediate manifestation. Your sons would be safer with a martial art that does not use gloves or helmets but instead never aims at the head in training.

Anonymous said...

tdg - Been looking it up. You're right and I wasn't. I'll suggest judo or aikido which espouse philosophies which are not based upon the application of blunt force trauma. Plus, No.1 son is a gifted guitarist and I suspect that an awkward punch could break a finger and ruin his music. The lads occasionally listen to me for some reason so we'll see what happens. Thanks for arguing my point and I am now better informed. Cheers.
PS. Sir Richard Burton, a man of action and infinite resource, suggested that a dagger strike to the perineum of one's opponent would end a dispute most effectively but in these enlightened times the untrained man, disarmed by law, must take a pasting. Then - if you're fit to do so - either you call the police, someone calls an ambulance, or your family calls the undertaker. Thus is progress.

Anonymous said...

No need to shank some fucker in (or near) the nuts if you gots the evil eye. Wikigoogle Burton's rival, the unfortunate Speke...


Caratacus said...

richard - while I agree that blunt force trauma is rare in the disciplines of Judo and ki-Aikido, the form of Aikido I studied was much more akin to the earlier, more physical, system developed by Morihei Ueshiba in his early years and believe me, the trauma available for collection in that discipline was as brutal and as damaging as anything on offer in boxing today. In his later years, Ueshiba - or Osensei - developed into a much more gifted martial artist and was able to deal with most attacks with the minimum of harm to the aggressor. But even he made the point that he had to progress through the more implacable stuff in order to get to that level of ability; something some modern ki-aikido practitioners tend to gloss over.

Regarding the use of gloves in boxing - I read somewhere that the use of gloves has resulted in more brain injury than in the earlier days of supposedly brutal bare-knuckle boxing. Hitting a bone hard target with a fist is bloody uncomfortable, likely to be deleterious in the long term and is therefore better avoided in favour of softer targets such as the body. With the advent of gloves, hitting the opponent's head became an altogether more rewarding endeavour and quickly became more popular ... with the resultant increase in brain injury. Bit like driving a car with seat-belts really .. endows one with a false sense of security and encourages greater risk taking. If an immovable 12" sharpened spike was fitted to the middle of the steering wheel of every car and the seat-belts removed, driving standards would improve overnight. But does anyone listen to me? Oh Nooooo :-)

Caratacus said...

P.S. With ref. to Aikido, this story is rather good:

tdg said...

Yes, grappling styles are generally safer for the brain, unless your opponents have poor hold etiquette. So to some extent are those that operate in the trapping range, for they avoid head shots in training and do not usually use gloves. It is the boxing and long range ones that should be avoided.

Anonymous said...

Caractacus - I did a little tiny bit of aikido once upon a time, Christ it must be over 30 years ago, and I don't know what school they taught but as I recall it seemed to be wrist and joint locks plus over-balancing your opponent, as distinct from punches. I packed it in and did some training and sparring in the boxing club. Why? My girlfriend was being shown a knife disarm by the aikido instructor and despite her being untrained, sluggish, peaceful and unenthusiastic about it, she stabbed the black-belt instructor in the chest with a rubber knife. He said he wasn't ready the first time but she did it again. Instant kill against a black belt by a novice girl, twice in a row, when he was ready? Edged weapon/feeble girl defeats years of training? Hmmm.
I remember reading a story about an African village which was terrified of a bully who was an expert stick-fighter; many strong men challenged him and lost but he was driven away when a visiting white man got the local kids to pelt him with stones, an obvious cure when you think about it. Therefore, on the increasingly rare occasions when I travel at night on foot in a strange city I carry a can of cola in my coat pocket. Why? Every day, for years, when I walk whatever dogs I happen to own, I throw stones. I'm skilled at doing so. You never know, but a villain can't get close enough to hurt someone if he's dead. Peace in heart, weapon in pocket, and no law against carrying a can of fizzy pop. Since you're knowledgeable re. Eastern martial arts you'll know about the Chinese "flying olive" The principle is similar and the effect, due to the larger mass, is greater.
As for what you can do with a piece of string, watch this; that's me at the end, the baldy chap in the red shirt.

Caratacus said...

richard - did laugh at your story about the instructor and the rubber knife. We used those (and wooden ones) now and then in the other discipline I studied ... one day one young girl had the bright idea of smearing some lipstick along the "blade" and by the end of the session it looked as though the Mad Axeman had been in for a spot of self-improvement.

Bit impressed with your marksmanship, btw :-) In my dotage I have fallen upon archery as an alternative to the grappling arts, so to speak. Because I am a peasant who knows his place, I use an English longbow of around 60lbs pull, wooden arrows, and I bring death and destruction to the worms in the grass surrounding the target most evenings and weekends. But you have given me an idea about alternative uses for the bowstringer used to string the bow. Thank you ...

Bungalow Bill said...

Jesus, you're all a bit active and dangerous. I just about have enough to stagger to the telly remote and to open the odd packet of crisps.

Doug Shoulders said...

I believe boxing gloves were introduced to allow the pugilists to continue for longer, as was mentioned to previously. You wouldn’t be able to punch bone on bone for fifteen or latterly twelve (In the modern sport) three minute rounds for long enough for the punters to think that they’d had their money’s worth. Although I have read that bare knuckle fights could last for over a hundred rounds…the mind boggles as to how ‘ard or desperate these men would’ve been.. No metro-sexuals in those days. Sullivan and Corbett spring to mind.
When I were a lad it was kung foo off the telly we wanted into, then along came Brian Jacks whose stupefying chin-up display on that champions of sport thing (Difficult to know if that was the man or the sport)so then we wanted to do the judo off the telly next..
Eubank was probably one of the best boxers this country ever produced – although I believe he was born in Canada. He does seem a thoroughly decent bloke out of the ring – (And in it – I always got the impression he was holding back knowing the damage he could do to his opponent) His self-appointed nemesis, Benn, was not of the same calibre. Benn subscribes to that characteristically English trait of picking an opponent that is in the league above and blustering that you’re as good as. Punching above your weight.
The England fitba pundits do it when England are playing Germany or Argentina. They bum the game up to being a clash of equals. We all know the track record of England and Argentina in the World cup compared with that of England.

Caratacus said...

Mr. Bungalow Bill - not any more, sadly. The only exercise I get these days is a fuckin good cough first thing in the morning. Sets me up for the day ...

call me ishmael said...

I always liked The Boxer, more than liked - at the time it was the single which took a record-breaking one hundred hours in the studio to create but it was the lyric - squandered my resistance, for a pocketful of mumbles such are the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade and he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him low, or cut him, 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame: I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still is, of course, infinitely adaptable as allegory and metaphor but these last few days I have watched some serious boxing documentaries and read some articles and I think The Boxer works sublimely well as a sub-mr tdg denunciation of brutal pugilism.

Long ago, I was attacked with a weapon by an unprovoked Greek Cypriot, in defence and lacking any martial training I hit him as hard as I could, one blow to the face, which ahattered it. I was charged with attempted murder, then dropped to malicious wounding and then thrown-ouit of court, quite rightly. That event had twin impacts - firstly, I have always since known of the frightening power of the balled fist and thus never been too bothered about entering potentially dangerous situations, it is just an animal confidence, nothing overt, just a psychic cola can in the pocket, and secondly, since that occasion, I have never hit anyone, save for one nitwit and that was just an admonitory clip around the ear, a sting, really, when Reason had failed and something was necessary.

My choice of presence over belligernce per se reflects my empirical understanding of "In a world less blind to the true nature of the brain and it's relation to the person, boxing would be a capital crime."

call me ishmael said...

I have always been a bit snobbish about Eubanks, his lisp, his malapropisms, his couture, I have been a bit of an apostrophe jihadist, I'm afraid, but actually quite admired him for the reasons you cite, mr doug.

call me ishmael said...

Vertebrae 4,5 and 6 presently deny me my wish to practice Zen in the Art of Archery, king caratacus.

call me ishmael said...

I think, mr bungalow bill, that there is more than one sort of fitness, more than one set of honed responses and I wish I was as fit as you, when it comes to linguistic potency, elegance and concision, these things require exercise.