Tuesday 9 August 2016


Been a wee bit under the weather and lying, like Hamlet's father, in my accustom'd place, I awoke to find the PBC news  playing mutely on the big telly, images of  a young, swarthy Leonard Cohen, intercut with that fucking nincompoop, 

Gavin Hollywood Esler, 
looking grim;  
Gavin Esler, an airhead even by PBC standards, the one who sits  with Mark Kermode, gibbering over the latest offering from TinselTown 

 - just one of the extravagances granted by the license fee, that we pay rubbish like Kermode 

Yes, Tom Cruise's eighth Mission Impossible reminded me of Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin or perhaps, more tellingly, Gavin,  Takashi Miike's Yakuza Apocalypse.

 Well, yes, I agree but I also saw nuanced shades of Gene Kelly's Singing In The Toilet.

 Rain, Gavin, singing in the rain.

to go to the pictures for us, as though any Hollywood shit differed from any other Hollywood shit, and then smugly tell us all about it,  how it compares with Karasawamoki's materpiece, The Seven Sushi Warriors; Kermode, after a paid career busking about watching make-believe rubbish, coming-on like he was fucking Einstein. 
Really, what is the point of an industry-salaried critic?

Lenny Cohen wasn't dead, though. 
 An old girl-friend of his, from the nineteen-sixties, has died. 
 Hold the fucking presses, must have shrieked the head of PBC pretend news.



Turns out that the old lady's name was Marianne and that she is the Marianne not from girl On A MotorCycle but from So Long, Marianne, one of Lugubrious Lenny's fretful, turgid love songs, the sort popular with student teachers, back then, before-before. 

 There  are a few of those songs -  So Long Marianne, That's No Way To Say Marianne, The Sisters Of Marianne and Like a Marianne On A Wire. All the same, self-centred song, really -  I loved you, baby, I've used you, baby, and now I gotta split and write my poetry,  baby. 
 A man's gotta rhyme what a man's gotta ryhme.

Distinguished only by their unleavened, emotionally monochromatic moodiness, accompanied by Cohen's dismally pedestrian nylon-strung guitar, these psalms to himself were overblown, angst-ridden nonsense, mainly;  
alright from a teenager, from Cat Stevens, maybe, or from Nick Drake but Lenny was a mature man when he churned-out all this desperate, undergraduate drivel. 
Maybe it was that smooth, older-man thing, which wet so many pairs of knickers, around the English-speaking world. 

And he was one of those showbiz Buddhists, as well, like Richard Gere and the unspeakable gargoyle, Annie Lennox, mewling, whining, demanding and  self-obsessive prima donnas, and Buddhists; probably vegetarians, also, schedules and locations permitting;  there'll be a special seat near the fire in Buddhist Hell for these showbiz vermin;  yes, poet, light entertainer and Buddhist, all in all a churning urn of burning pretension, is  Leonard Cohen.

As such people go, however, Cohen is relatively pleasant and decent enough and on a recent, octagenarian's world tour


 played those songs with great conviction and aplomb -  although I always find that  particular activity to be a sign of  mystifyingly stupid narcissism, old people singing songs they wrote and performed half a century ago, becoming their own tribute act;  
I simply don't know how they do it -  and playing them to an adoring audience which, equally and reflectingly, has not matured in fifty years. 

 I guess I have just never really understood the last word in the phrase show business - Yes, I will sing you this song which I have already sung ten thousand times and I will sing it as though it were freshly off my creative griddle, drawn from my creative well, forged in my creative fire and beaten on my creative anvil, delete as appropriate,  and I really mean it, this song, singing it directly to you, I will sing it really sincerely,  as long as you gimme money - that's-what I want - that's what I want - that's - what I want- that's what I wa-a-a-a--a-a-a-ant, yeah - that's what I want.
I love you all, all you people out there.

Esler, though, solemnising his arse off, on the PBC, behaved  like he was announcing the death of JFK, instead of that of an old Norwegian lady of whom no-one had ever heard.  
It seemed to last forever, this item, Esler was pumping some old geezer in Norway who had been the old lady's friend and was speaking for her umpteenth husband and then, right-before-your-very-eyes,
as our prime minister's husband might say,
Number Ten's First Gentleman,
Mr Arthur Askey.

 the whole News show had turned into an appreciation of Leonard Cohen, what a great guy he was, writing to his old flame, on her deathbed.  He was graceful, gushed Esler. Yeah, he was really graceful, truly graceful, in a truly dynamic and graceful sort of  graceful way, echoed Neil McCormick, 

showbiz  gossip and filth writer from the Filth-O-Graph, although both had meant gracious and not graceful, still,  they are only journalists, why expect them to be able to write when all they do is gossip?

I turned it off eventually, Esler still singing Hallelujah to Cohen.  what sort of a person, or superbeing, he asked, writes to another person who's dying? That's just so special.

I'm gonna go straight home, viewers, and listen to Leonard Cohen until I orgasm. Or until I die. And he writes to me. 
 And I think that Leonard's incredibly graceful gracefulness  just goes to show how very much ordinary people can learn from celebrities.

 Later in the News we'll be talking about whichever posturing knuckleheaded athlete has won or nearly won something in the Rio Olympics,  they will also be telling us about just how much incredible pressure they are under but we definitely won't be talking  about Brazil's recent coup d'etat, which is one of which we strongly approve, and very definitely not talking about the people rioting over the eye-watering expense of the games, themselves.
  In fact, the PBC would go so far as to say there is no rioting in Rio, none at all, although there is, quite a lot of it. But only from left-wing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn. Well, not Jeremy Corbyn exactly, but people who don't agree that the world should be run for the benefit of the rich people. Yes, trouble-makers.

And our political editors will be telling us why it is vital to our British democracy, which is the envy of the world, although it isn't, that every right-minded person must get behind elder statesman, Ed Miliband,  and insist that Jeremy Corbyn stand down as leader of the Labour party; why the courts are wrong to uphold the claims of new Labour members;  why the democratic will of seventeen million people is just plain wrong and  our panel of economics experts will be explaining why it is vital to the economy that rich people pay no taxes. 
Join  us for that.

And in a special programme, later, our American correspondent, Jon Sopel, will be telling us why it is in Democracy's interests for Hillary Trousers to win the presidency, even if she has to rig the results.
It was just common or garden PBC tripe, the Cohen feature, showbiz and celebrity as news, the usual fucking rubbish but aimed, I thought, right at me, well, not me, I never liked Cohen, just m-m-m-my generation, baby. 
It was like one of those Michael-Parkinson-Is-A-Cunt adverts, 
the ones reminding older people that they're all gonna die. 
I am very definitely not gonna die 
but even if I was the very last thing I would want is a so-long letter from Leonard fucking Cohen.

Christ knows who leaked this non-news event but for all the decency displayed by Esler and his bosses Cohen may as well have posted it on the ugly, square-head mutant  Zuckerberg's Face-thing, for all the world to read, 
and I am sure he didn't.


Caratacus said...

Now I know that you may find this difficult to accept, Mr. I., but there lurks deep within what passes for a recirculatory plasma pump in the Caratacus corporis a certain fondness for Cohen's early works. This is in no small part due to my nefarious designs on a certain young lady back in 1970 who played his canticles endlessly and v.earnestly ... ye gods, but I could have done with an early inoculation of Rasselas in those days. However, I have been a bit pensive of late regarding how Life, Universe et al have been panning out and have realised that, in certain aspects at least, I may not have matured much in these past 50 years. Thank you for reminding me ...

SG said...

You have a point about this infantilisation business, Mr I. Sometimes I think we're being boiled like frogs. Its fucking everywhere, but especially on the PBC - and the damned advertising industry - same thing really. The only bright spot, in this evening's viewing, was Left Wing News' Cathy Newman, still stuck in the Sixth Form, trying to get an edge on the Tea Party guy from Texas in the Ten Gallon hat, by recycling "the 'The Donald' is mad theorem".  You could almost hear the rowels spinning as he took her in his stride...

call me ishmael said...

My pleasure, your majesty. I hereabouts often insist that I am fixed at about twelve and a half years old, surrounded by the grown-ups.

My own bitter internal battle is between the vulgarian and the critic; the Cohen songs are as vapid and pretentious as I describe them, although I fully acknowledge the charm and the power rendered them by nostalgia.

mongoose said...

Folk singers and socialists, eh. What are you going to do? Jezza and Cohen are both better shows than the 'Lympics though.

Mike said...

I've never heard a note from Mr Cohen's canon, and never will.

He looks like the Woody Allen of faux-intellectual Jewish bullshit. Mr Caractacus: I sympathise if you had to listen to him to get your leg over. For my part, I had a Jewish girlfriend at the time of the 6-day war. Her father would make Moshe Dyan look like a liberal. It all ended in tears - thankfully - but she was hot.

Doug Shoulders said...

I shall write a strongly worded wotsit to Points of View. I don’t pay my licence fee to for them to provide positive reviews of white heterosexual males. Haven’t they heard that black lie smatter?...mon
Was Cohen a gay icon? Did he even have gay thoughts when he was going through his sexually formative years at five or six? Didn’t he write about heterosexual longing for a heterosexual female member of the opposite sex?
Was he Trump or Clinton?
Did they happen to mention during the piece that Daley Thomas won a number 3 rate medal in an obscure, unwatchable ‘lympic sport. And he was only able to do so ‘cos he is gay and black? And that he went through his formative diving years oppressed and terrorized by his white heterosexual school mates.

Might have only heard one song of Cohens me. What I did hear I didn’t like. Suzanne it was.
Too miserable for my taste. Think he might have given birth to Tinita Tikeram.

call me ishmael said...

Tanita Tikaram, fuck me, Jesus, mr doug, where'd you dredge her up from, a fuzding nightmare. (clutches desperately at mind bleach bottle)

call me ishmael said...

You have been sheltered, then, mr mike, blessedly so. It was de rigeur for me, the Songs of Lenny, I'm afraid, although I never dreamed that the PBC would splash with the death of one of his lovers; it was, I found, really offensive, and yes, infantilising. When the Filth-O-Graph was a decent 'paper this old lady's death might have made a small paragraph, just a note, around page seven or eight. Esler's gushing was not only imtemperate but obnoxious, mr tdg's death cultism.

He plays one of those toy guitars which you favour, Cohen, although he does so lamentably, fingering little patterns which would sound better on steel strings, but not much better.

call me ishmael said...

All sorts of people call themselves folk singers and socialists,mr mongoose, that Essex Arsehole, Billy Bragg, calls himself both, he's a humdinger, folk singer.

I have a Zen-inspired ability to be wholly unaware of the Olympics; alright, I'm aware that I am unaware of them but that's as far as it goes, when I hear the word I just trance-out, it's nothin', somethin' I learned over in England.

Dick the Prick said...

The Esler does a thing called 'Dateline London' - a ridiculous and meaningless title for a show that purports to analyse world affairs through the eyes of foreign correspondents stationed in Blighty but is essentially a microcosmic wanking group-think of ersatz student politics. It's fucking cringeworthy at best and unacceptable in the main. They get that racist cow Alibaba Brown on as some kind of global expert where her only credentials are she's a gobby rag-head who thinks the empire owes her a living when in actual fact we gave her family safe refuge from Idi Amin's righteous fucking hatred of her clansmen. Cunts all.

Doug Shoulders said...

We were discussing here, on the west coast of the best part of England, how, upon hearing and seeing them again on say...TOP2.. how truly and utterly fucking awful some of the "artists" were back in those days.
Bowie for example. I can't think of a solitary tune of his that inspired even a morsel of appreciation.
Music written by a committee.
Tikeram's fame lasted about the length of the two songs she wrote. Her impact on music was minimal but just goes to show how bad it was when she's still frightening people today. Poor girl.. all flat shoes and woolly jumpers as I recall. Wasn't even shaggable.

Anonymous said...

Bowie owed his fame to NASA.

call me ishmael said...

I have glimpsed that London Dateline, mr dick, Gavin has some old sultan-type and some deadbeat hacks from France and the USA, never caught Yazzer, though, speaking as a Muslim woman, praise be to Allah, she is utterly vile, as, in fact are all p[eople who say Well, Speaking as a this or that. And I say that speaking as a mr ishmael. Cuntish, isn't it.

call me ishmael said...

I'd rather cut my eyes out, mr doug, than watch TOTP, then or now. Funny the clamour around Bowie's death has only partially subsided, he has become a motif and an inspiration for every tiny band of shouty degenerates and freaks demanding their own exclusive brand of social justice; considering the credence given to the ravings of self-mutilating gender terrorists I would expect there to be a statue of Bowie in every city of the land; shame their heads are so empty, that they deify a cynical popstar, when there are so many proper counter-culture heroes.

As I have said, Bowie certainly came up with some interesting chord sequences and suprising changes but it was his Danny la Rue drag queen impersonation which generated the real excitement felt by feeble-minded fans. The late Mick Ronson, his discarded musical collaborator, was the musical brain behind the production of Lou Reed's Transformer, although sulky, flouncy Dave took all the credit. If they put up a statue to him round here I'll pull it down; there's proper iconoclasm, and no need to wear make-up and girly frocks.

mongoose said...

The Olympics always start with the swimmers and as I am encumbered somewhat by same, it is difficult to hide. There is this time a great deal of drug-cheat bad temper though none of it gets through the BBC filter. It should get spicy when we get around to the competitors that people actually know.

As we are on the subject, Mr Ishmael, I see that there is a proposal to put up a statue at the BBC - of George Orwell. They have obviously not read any and this had me foxed more a few minutes until I saw that it is a scheme supported by, and we must hope, originating from, the thinking man's satirist, Joan Bakewell. Quite how the lady expects to get away with this wheeze, I cannot imagine, but it is a good one.

call me ishmael said...

I remember, mr mongoose, being strangely moved by the elderly John Betjeman; asked if he had any regrets, he twinkled, hesitantly, Not enough sex. Can't see Dame Bicycle saying that, hagging coquetteishly for all she's worth every time one sees her. I suppose where there's a will there's a way but she fair makes my skin crawl. Dunno if she's done a nude calendar, like Gerry Greer, but there's probably time yet. Perhaps Belbin Bagg will do one of his leery documetaries; he did one of Lynda la Plante, which was an embarrassment to all the man part of mankind.

Seems to me that Orwell would enjoy the irony of the state propaganda service putting up his statue, laughable as it it is.

call me ishmael said...

We have had a young swimmer, here, for a few weeks, taking him to Inverness airport in the morn, but I have more sense than to voluntarily jump into water with strangers, their germs and vile habits and so the pleasure falls to mrs ishmael, who is heartier than I but unlikely to remain so if she keeps on swallowing the bumcrack and armpit detritus of Everyman.

SG said...

Talking of TOTP, this is 'trending' (I think that's the term used these days, 'Pop-Pickers'), at number 2 in the PBC news chart:


As much as anything its the way they seem to look like one another that I find most disturbing.

Any chance of you passing what's left of that bottle of Mind Bleach back Mr I?

call me ishmael said...

No, it's all mine, I need every drop, mr sg. Is there a link to that Cathy Newman debagging which you mentioned at the top? I'd love to see it. There have been some very good female journos at both the PBC and ITV, now, though, they are all braying, narrow-minded bossy shrews, even the dreaful Kirsty Wark, before she got so rich, used to do a thorough and fair interview, provocative but fair, now they all just have a self-referential agenda to promote, basically that the neo-liberal global banditry, combined with unbridled, disease-ridden licentiousness, sorry, self expression in a context of social justice is the high point of civilisation.

I'll have alook at that, now.

call me ishmael said...

Yes, it was wrong of the security guard but as the two beardies so sagely said he probably wasn't equipped to tiptoe through the minefield of contemporary sexual manners, he could have offended the female complainant or offended them. If they were as smart and sensitive as they claim they could just have put him straight, out him at ease with a quiet, gentle word, instead, they screech their indignation from the rooftops,like parakeets; cunts, the pair of them, come around here and I'll pull their fucking beards out.

SG said...

Or maybe send them to Texas Mr I? The Newman debagging is right here:


I had real trouble firing it up (its the interview with Ken Crow), yet all the other clips fired up straightaway (brings out the conspiracy theorist in me so it does!). Enjoy (as we seem to be supposed to say these days...).

call me ishmael said...

That just took me to a C4News page and couldn't find Newman Crow, I will try, myself, to-morow, in my UInverness hotel. Thanks, anyway.

SG said...

Damn - I'll try and get you a better link, Mr I - but tomorrow also! I had to fire up the PC to get to it - the 'Aye-Pad' being fucking useless for the task. Adieu for now!

call me ishmael said...

Oui, d'accord. L'I-thing, c'est merde, a bientot.

gasky said...

Conspiracy theory Mr SG? When it's there, in broad daylight for all to see.

SG said...

I can see it alright Mr G but just can't play it unlike all the other clips.

If you follow the link here to the 'Catch Up' page Mr I, its in the panel of clips on the far right below the main picture - 'Interview with Trump supporter Ken Crow'.


Alexius said...

There was always Sandie Shaw. I remember her - she must have been about 19 - walking onto the set at TOTP (barefoot) singing `Long Live Love` and walking off almost contemptuously. Blew my young socks off (we never found them) Still shaggable too.

I greet you Mr I.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr alexius. She's a showbiz Buddhist, too, Sandie Feet, and is frozen in my memory screeching that awful Puppet On A String; could be worse, she could be Lulu. I think that from that period only Dusty Springfield had any real talent or style, a proper David Bowie, she was, a proper glam, and a proper headcase, too.

Try Walk Away Renee by Vonda Shepherd, she knows how to treat songs, how to transform them with just a chord, just a line of harmony; she worked with Jackson Browne and I guess she learned, there, about arrangement. For me a little goes a long way with Vonda but she's a proper soul Diva, can read the dots and everything.

call me ishmael said...

I will try again, mr sg, seems quite overshadowed by the Games, doesn't it, the suicide of America.

call me ishmael said...

This is whatt the link yielded, mr sg; you fuckin' wid me, nigger?

3 results (0.27 seconds)
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7 days ago - the whole News show had turned into an appreciation of Leonard Cohen ..... http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/display/playlistref/090816
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SG said...

That's damn peculiar Mr I! I just checked the link and it works OK at my end - maybe you stuck the URL into the Search field rather than the address field?

call me ishmael said...

Ah. Does it make a difference, then?

call me ishmael said...

Yes, thank you, mr sg, well worth the look, it just shows how insular is the C4 Bubble of Righteousness. I hope Mr Crow is right.