Sunday 31 January 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 31/01/21

It's been cold, here, in the bracing isles. 
A damn sight colder than this, the ice palace from Dr Zhivago, which was mocked up from several tons of
 chipped marble and melted wax  to simulate ice. When I saw that film back in the land of before-before, I totally believed in the authenticity of all that ice, snow and frozen moustaches.

In fact, the actors were at risk of expiring from heat exhaustion, as the majority of the locations were filmed in Spain in 30 degree temperatures and the charge over the frozen lake took place over a cast iron plate laid on a dried river bed covered with marble dust pretend-snow.
Add in some atmospheric cold sounds and you are shivering in your cinema seats. You can't believe the evidence of your own eyes. And that was before CGI.
I suppose Dr Zhivago has come to mind as hundreds have been arrested this week during rallies across Russia in support of that brave boy,  Alexei Navalny, opposition leader, anti-corruption fighter and Putin's sharpest critic, who returned to Moscow upon his recovery from Novichok poisoning, having spent months hospitalised in Germany and was arrested before leaving the airport.  His wife, Yulia, joined the Moscow rally, where police sealed off pedestrian access in areas and shut down metro stations. Mrs. Navalny was among the 500 detained. Across the country it is estimated that 3,000 Russians have been detained as they protested to demand Mr Navalny's release. Whatever the uniform, weaponry, or country of employment, it seems a lawnforcement officer is a lawnforcement officer. Do you think they come from central casting?
Mr Putin tells us that the pictures of this Black Sea holiday cottage 
have got nothing to do with him.
Here's Britain's finest, being zealous with a young man on his way to work. In Solihull. Which is posh, despite the comedy accent of the arresting officer.

What else have we got to worry about this week? Mainly Covid, it seems. Will Europe let us have our vaccines? Following Boris' "spicy" conversation with Ursula, in which he accused her of wanting to murder British pensioners, yes, we will have them. The little fracas didn't go down well in Brussels, where diplomats thought it best that she now resign as EU Commission President. Having routed Johnny Foreigner, Boris may have recovered from his bruising charm offensive up North on Thursday, when he attempted to turn his attention to the enemy within the gates. Madam Sturgeon encouraged her followers to reject his overtures of affection, nay, his very presence on the sacred soil of strong, successful Scotland. She tweeted a photograph of Boris stepping down from a plane with the message: "Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives."  That's rude, but that wasn't all. She strongly expressed her disapprobation of this invasion of her country by her Prime Minister. She's only a first minister. Prime trumps First. (see what I did there?). Let us look on the positive side.  Perhaps it demonstrates her insecurity if she is so concerned about the effect of Boris' incoherent  charm on the voters.   
La Sturgeon is also beseiged by the vast numbers of trans people in Scotland who find that the SNP is just not a safe place for them. She has undertaken to introduce yet more legislation to prevent them from  flooding out of the SNP in their thousands - I hadn't realised there were so many trans people in Scotland that oor Nickie could feel seriously threatened by their departure to some other party. It is increasingly becoming a bit of a worry, with Nicola committing the SNP to a Unilateral Declaration of Independence if Boris sticks to his line that once in a generation means once every 40 years, so shuttup. Maybe if I self-identified as a British man, Nicola, would, on balance, tolerate me in her Tweed and Tartan Bankrupt Nation? No, seriously, I think, post-independence from the Union, I would be treated as a foreign national. Probably be made to apply for Scottish citizenship and take a citizenry test on Robert the Bruce, Robert Burns, Rob Roy, Robert Wallace and any other Robbin bastards. Or graciously surrender my job to a proper Scottish person, have my goods sequestrated, my bank account frozen,  my house sold at a loss and be booted over the Border.
Enough from me and my paranoia. I thought you might like a look at this piece from the draft archive, from the 27th March 2015:
Hard to be excited about  any of this stuff, the doings of the kleptocracy, hard for me, hard for most here, I should think.  It might be news to the NewPeople, that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is a branch of organised crime, extorting money from us under pain of forfeiture and abduction and then giving it to their bosses in GlobaCrook.  It might also be news that almost by definition, Ministers of the Crown, like Jack Torture and Malcolm Shouty, are likely to be more crooked and more depraved than most. It is not, however,  news to anyone who is properly alive, in the old-fashioned  sense - alert, curious, rational and watchful. 
It is a lovely word,  watchful, yet so few of us are. Too busy. Messaging.

mr dick the prick was fulminating, recently, about his daily encounters at Leeds railway station with texting-walkers; clever multi-tasking, they'd call it, this unique form of self-enslavement, in which all are now messengers, the i-phone  their herald's horn, their wax-sealed despatch, all compressing their existences into as few characters as possible, crushing and dehydrating  their imaginations into salty little stock cubes of abbreviation and acronym  and firing them off, for others to glimpse for a moment and forget.

It is odd that language has been so truncated, one would think that with the arrival of Platforms4All  it would develop and flower but no, language, like people, just gets uglier. 

 Miniature, too, is such a lovely word, now eradicated by, of all people,  motor car ad-men and fashion designers.  

When it was about ten-years old I owned one of the very first Austin Sevens;  

it had a solenoid starter-button on the floor and simply refused to drive in the rain, its distributor cap sitting virtually unshielded, just behind the radiator grille and shorting-out at the first sign of rain;  by the time I owned it, however, it was called a Mini and so, swiftly,  was anything else that was not full-sized, not its previous size or just small; mini now - incorrectly - means small.  Now the word miniature is only used by arseholes like this,

  referring to small works of art, executed  using all the skills of portaiture or joinery but in miniature. Min-ee-ah-tyuhs as the inexpert poseur above, would pompously say, gobbing his ignorance on any number of ersatz antique shows. Miniature can also properly refer to a horse, a flower and a single-measure bottle of spirits; it does not, however, and never did, even truncated,  mean small. Except to the NewPeople. Gr8, innit?  Worthless cunts. 

If somebody said to me, Here is a communication/writing device, only you have to use numbers instead of letters, y'know, to save space, like, make up nonsense words and gibberish, I'd tell them to go and fuck themselves.
Ex is  another one that drives me nuts.  Not properly a word it is a prefix meaning from, out of - ex officio, ex gratia, ex cathedra; ex does not mean former, well, it didn't used to but now it does, now it's almost a proper noun, people speak of The Ex, meaning the former spouse, my Ex, her Ex and these two little letters somehow come freighted with a universeful of contempt, disdain and regret, are generally delivered with a sigh or a grimace. mr a young anglo-irish catholic, of blessed memory, was in the throes of a bilious parting, Ex-ing, wasn't he, when he was around. I hope he has found some equilibrium.

Now, lemme tell y'all. 
My first marriage was an interval so fucking horrid and vile, so troubled and disappointing that my survival of it mystifies me to this day. I have had major surgery these past three summers but none of it, not the knives, the tubes and the stitches; not the anaesthetics, the drips and the pipes; not the bullying, incompetent nurses or the braying consultants; not the pain, the sickness, the fear; not the mad, morphine nightmares;  not even the fellow patients chuntering at me endlessly, as though I was their comrade, gibbering, confiding, enlisting my support;  none of this entire protracted, humiliating horror show compares for soul shredding agony with one week of my first marriage. Even so, I have never been known to describe my former partner  in holy deadlock as my ex-anything. It seems so utterly disrespectful, such a blameworthy term, such a continuance of that better left. One is a wife or a husband, one simply cannot be an Ex-Wife and the Ex-ing of those relationships seems so trite, so detrimental, so trivialising of a love once new, now grown old - and worse. I used to lover her, but it's all over now, that's enough isn't it, do we have to create a nightmare character, an Ex? It will no doubt become a staple useage among Same-Sexers, married now, who will simply adore the idea that now they can get divorced, Oh, my dear, the thrill of it all, the spite, the recriminations, the scandal, the hatred. I think that's the real reason for all this horseshit, they all just wanna be divorced, like proper men. No wonder our children are all fucked-up, we can't be bothered to name the other parent correctly, as former wife, former husband or as, in my case, the-person-to-whom-I-was-first-married. Such a vicious little prefix, ex.

 Government, too, since Blair, deliberately and  determinedly savages our language.  Govament ministers, as they call themselves, say the govament are; pompous Little Orphan Gove, when he was education seckatry, posed as the doughty saviour of learning, language  and especially of grammar, even though he was adrift on a raft of solecisms,  his  cheesily pedantic and didactic  speeches littered with examples of his own lazy ignorance - In a speech of one hundred and one paragraphs - on the subject of the teaching of english, I counted thirty-two which opened with So, But or And,  verbless sentences.

No use talking to the NewPeople  about the meaning of words, their potential for corrosion. No use telling them about tax evasion  being the sperm of Austerity, no use saying that tax evasion is a polite term for money laundering. They're far too clever to be told about words,  hurriedly surrendering  all the skills which brought us here to some cunt peddling them a needless application. Sensa direction?  WhadooIneedoneathem4? Got an app for that. 
Applications? I have  more applications in my little finger than Appleoids ever dreamed of, stupid fucking bastards. With my little finger I can turn a chord into a suspended fourth, a minor, a minor seventh, a major seventh and so on, almost indefinitely

It is a matter of some sadness to me that the silicon chip, first shown to me way-back, before-before,  by an IT enthusiast - it was tiny and he said, It's only this big so it can take a connector, otherwise it'd be even smaller - has become not a liberator but a shackle.  The NewPeople trading their individual consciousnesses for that of a disciplined collective;  the whips and scourges of Totalitarianisme Consumeriste Nouvelle being the successive launches of each new Apple collar'n'leash. They queue all night, don't they, to acquire these things, entranced, there at slavery's cutting-edge.

And then they offer up to Uncle Sam's NSA their every thought, Goebbelsing themselves, nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Although what they are doing is worse than self-enslavement, they are corroding and short-circuiting their very minds.

I bought my first Richard Thompson album in the 'nineties, a triple-disc career compilation, it was called Watching The Dark. Since then,  when anyone questions my late-nightery, my being up all night leaning on the windowsill, when they say, whyn't you go to bed, just sitting here, on your own, whaddayadoin' anyway, I say I'm watching.  Watching what? I'm watching the dark. Somebody must. And I don't wanna miss anything. Like what? Like whatever my quieted thoughts might show me, if I just permit them, watching the dark.  And sometimes writing things down.
Not right, you're not.
 No, I guess I'm not.  I could be a member of the gaming community, couldn't I, instead of sitting quietly, watching.  I could be killing cyberpeople in cyberspace.
Is that, I wonder, the new form of pulling the legs off insects?

But back to Lord Fink and Lord Green and their mates.
Private Eye is, I know, a minority sport and its editor deeply unwholesome, the fact, therefore, that for some years the Eye has been reporting on the criminality of HMRC and its cosy interface with GlobaCrook's bent accountants - all the top names - has made little difference to the great British public; who, after all, gives a fuck about a tinyprint, barely legible, inky little magazine, written by and for a gang of permanently adolescent public schoolboys?   Me and the other 220,000 people who buy the Eye? Well, what's that translate into, a fifth of a sixty-fifth of the population, nothing.  

We wretched middle class oiks, we think we're so clever, so in touch, so fucking  cognoscenti ;  the total readership of the broadsheets, however, is about 1.23 million - a sixty fifth of  all the population, nothing. 

Radio Four listenership is claimed to be 10 million a week, 1.3 million a day, nothing. We are all nobodies.

The people who read the Sun and  the Mail, who listen to Radios One and Two, they're the real people.  

Radio Four is just our own version of AppleTruth, isn't it? Belbin Bagg, arseing away about his idea of High Culture. And what it means, to a working class Lord, like him. As if he'd know, after a lifetime spent MichaelParkinsoning his way around the droppings of showbiz, sniffing a thread, here, a nuance, there, an overarching theme to the entire series of shit-sniffing, stupid cunt.
I read one of Belbin's  novels, once, Credo, about the Romanocising of native Christianity in the seventh-century North, Cuthbert and Lindisfarne, that sort of thing, and although it was based on others' researches and was an interesting tale, Lord Bagg peppered it with unspeakable, pornographic, extreme sexual violence.  I have read a lot of such stuff, le transgresif, although mr verge is the house consultant on these matters, but I found Belbin's stab at the ouevre sickening and if I might say so,  unnecessary.

Having such a highly developed sense of the public good, why doesn't the Eye release some of its undoubtedly worthy revelations and discoveries online, freely, pro bono? Ho-ho, would chortle the grubby little editor, in response, it's a business I'm running here, doncha know, not a campaign.

If  I, as a long-time subscriber, so dismiss the fortnightly  Eye, then why should some braindead texting-walker pay it any mind, not that he has a mind to start with, just a pair of over-developed infothumbs, through which he interacts with Creation, in its digitised, pseudo-reality.

Did anyone else read and love Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Tom Robbins' hilariously profound diagnosis of the Modern Illness? It was the lightest, laugh-out-loudest example of American popular philosophy, a canon originating with Jack Kerouac and passing through Alan Watts, Richard Brautigan, Robert Persig and Robbins, himself, among others; funny Zen.
And there it ends - I think he was going to develop the theme of the over-developed thumb, as a terrific adjunct to hitch-hiking, as
introduced by Tom Robbins, but I can't find any more of it. Instead, here's John Cooper Clarke on why he doesn't have a computer. It fits rather neatly with mr ishmael's diatribe.

mr ishmael's essay today was :
Down to Brass Tax incomplete draft  27/3/2015

Honest, Not Invent is an anthology of essays by stanislav and mr ishmael. It is  available from  and  is listed by both Blackwells, the Book Depository and Amazon.
To buy a copy:
please register an account with Lulu first.  This will save you a couple of quid, as going straight into the links provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer.  Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Honest, Not Invent" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  If you follow a link, a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed.  If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box (found at the bottom left by scrolling down) has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.
Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back : 
Link for Paper Back : 
There may be a 15% discount try the voucher code = TREAT15 in the coupon box, which takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.   

Tuesday 19 January 2021

mr verge's prize

mr verge has given us something to chew on in his choice of prize for unpicking the covert scottish nationalism embedded in the Scottish Makar's poem illustrated by a drone show over Edinburgh on New Year's Eve. I liked the drone show. 

"I vote for a recap of the Jimmy Galligan/Mimi Groves story (American madness, Mr Mike) with a John Cooper Clarke video clip counterpoint, say "Some Cunt Said The N-Word", which would also serve as a counterblast and antidote to that ghastly Scots Makar drivel...v./" 
 Here we go with the recap:

15 year old American Mimi Groves, on getting her driving licence, took a 3 second video of herself, saying:  I can drive, niggers. She didn't say I can drive, niggas, which is the spelling used by rappers and black chaps talking to other black chaps, in an allowed, ironic sort of way. I tried to find an unexpurgated video clip - but they have all been beeped over, however, you can determine the spelling from the lip movements. It's a triumphalist moment. It's not very nice. If she'd said: 
I can drive, fatties,  or I can drive, spazzes, that wouldn't have been very nice, either. She was 15. That's young. 15 year olds are often intemperate and characterised by immature judgement.

The habit that young people have formed of filming their lives, their meals, the patterns formed on the foam on their coffee, themselves, and then posting them on platforms that render them liable to be reposted has brought grief to many, especially when their dic pics are viewed by their employers. In Mimi's case, not only did it have life-changing consequences, but it triggered a massive, still on-going controversy, played out ponderously, academically and polemically in the United States. This was because her 3 second video was sent on to her fellow school pupil, Jimmy Galligan, who then complained about it to his teachers, who took no action. I don't think Jimmy liked Mimi. Jimmy, also a young teenager, kept the video clip for three years, when he used it to scupper Mimi's chances of entering the College of her choice - now 18, she was required to withdraw, because of the racism she had displayed in the 3 second video. Here are your Book Club Questions:
  1. Was Mimi a racist?
  2. Was Jimmy spiteful or motivated by altruism?
  3. Why would the College authorities pay any mind, when the High School teachers didn't?
  4. Can you hear a Bandwagon?  Or is that a Medicine Show?
  5. Why doesn't Mimi change her name and apply to Cambridge, or Luton?
 I have said many times that America is a foreign country, where they do things differently. There used to be dissenting voices, but now a vast porridge of uniformity clogs national debate, thickens individual thought and proscribes freedom of speech. Lenny Bruce challenged the thought police back in the mid century but he couldn't get away with it now. Well he didn't then - in and out of Court and prison cells. Here's a line or two from mr ishmael:  
Lenny Bruce was a little before my time and I discovered him through LP recordings and transcripts of his gigs;  he remains the funniest man I have ever heard, the most gracious and empathic, one of the connected ones, a warrior, as Joan Rivers described him. An accidental  martyr to his drug addiction and to his persecution by the US  authorities, Bruce's last performances were convoluted rants against his legal tormentors, harrowing rather than entertaining but his body of work - Didn't Ya Ever Piss In The Sink, He Said Blah Blah?, Religions Inc. and the rest are comedic scripture.  There is not much videotaped  stuff and the 'seventies film Lenny, starring Dustin Hoffman is just a Dustin Hoffman film but there are a lot of gig recordings and books about Bruce on How To Talk Dirty And Influence People..... 
The moral upheavals of the twentieth century - racism, Vietnam, Chicago were chronicled and stage-lit by Bruce and his followers. Like the Rolling Stones ripping-off Ry Cooder, successive generations  of UK and American comics have built careers on Bruce's improvisations. He influenced his contemporaries, The Smothers Brothers and George Carlin, and  his  black successors, Richard Pryor and  the ghastly, fabulously successful  Chris Rock and his actually humourless  automatism of shock, motormouthing offence without light, grievance without remedy.

Before he OD'd in Phil Spector's toilet, crazy-saint Lenny Bruce, well, he perfected the art of How to Talk Dirty  and Influence People.

He was a profound influence, his raps accenting  much of what appears here. I heard somebody say shagging, in a BBC play the other day, they meant fucking; contextually, fucking was the right word but they said shagging, shagging just wasn't right. It was a bit like when people of a certain age say Oh Shh --ugar, everybody knows they mean Oh Shit, everybody hears Oh Shit in their minds; the person who said Oh Shhh-ugar wants people to think Oh Shit without them having to say the filthy word in their nice clean mouths but nobody has actually said or heard Oh Shit, even though, in code, they have. Coded swearing, that is some fucked-up shit.
Now, what if young Mimi had said,  I can drive, n..ninjas. Coded racial slurring.
mr ishmael profoundly admired John Cooper Clarke,
 born 25 January 1949, he is an English performance poet, who first became famous as a "punk poet" in the late 1970s. mr ishmael was so moved by Evidently Chicken Town that he read the poem to the ishmaelings when they were about 14, and told them there are no dirty words. Just dirty minds and evil intentions. Here's an extract:  
The fucking cops are fucking keen
To fucking keep it fucking clean
The fucking chief’s a fucking swine
Who fucking draws a fucking line
At fucking fun and fucking games
The fucking kids he fucking blames
Are nowhere to be fucking found 
Anywhere in Chickentown
Here's the great JCC in performance:

mr ishmael again:
And this, as the world is barracked and harangued, fettered and coralled, lectured, abused and short-changed by pinstripe, banker mafiosi, is our ration,  white male millionaires, interviewing each other in deathly non-debate;  white male hacks scribbling to order for their whoremasters and  white male comics, like The Crazy Gang on valium, wanking away there, on telly, at their failed, limp, geriatric crotches, as funny as cancer, rank and cloying, like piss in an old people's home.

Sunday 17 January 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 17/01/21

 Sunday Morning Telly
Determined not to be accused of broadcasting from his toilet, unlike Matt Hancox last Sunday morning,  Dominic Raab presented himself to the nation in a manner commensurate with his important position as a Great Officer of State. Didn't even doff his tie for Sunday. Properly suited and serious, with the Union flag furled behind him, his stage management made him look positively American.
Bravely laying himself open to accusations of flouting the Covid regulations by travelling unnecessarily - what do you mean, that's his sitting room, Dominic had his serious-but-approachable  bigboy pants on, the very picture of a future Prime Minister. As usual, he didn't actually say anything.
And then, in the interests of balance, having grilled Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer over the previous two weeks, Andrew Marr interviewed the leader of the Liberals, Sir Ed Davey. 
What's that? the nation will be saying, bemusedly. 
Much more interesting was 59-year-old Nicky Campbell's Big Issue show. (sorry, Questions) Hasn't he done well since his Wheel of Fortune Days
He had Professor Simple and Lord Sumption elegantly biting each other, in a socially-distanced manner of speaking. Jonathon Sumption, twitching and controversial as ever, has guaranteed his lucrative future appearances on television as the contrarian spokesperson. Shocked participants indignantly shouted How dare he say that dying is something that people in their 80's do, and their lives are less worthy than those of twenty-year-olds because they have less life left than the youngsters? Aren't all lives of equal weight? Jonathon, himself a gentleman of advanced years, unapologetically stuck to his guns. To protect the lives of elderly people, lockdown is fucking the life chances of a generation of youngsters. My life is less valuable than that of my grandchildren. Nicky, acutely aware that he is approaching the age at which his life might be seen as less valuable than that of his many daughters, found this to be strong stuff. Grimly, but politely rigorous,
Sumption did not deviate from his mission to tell the simple truth and cut out the sentimental guff, despite being hysterically accused of legitimising eugenics arguments. Throughout the coronacrisis, he has also never deviated from his firmly expressed opinion that the removal of our civil liberties has been far more of a disaster for the human race than COVID-19. He is a bit of a tart, though, popping up all over t'telly.  His whole argument was then  to'ly undermined by a student advancing her opinion that adults don't understand what the students are going through. She demanded proper funding to compensate for the dreadful trauma they are going through in not being able to go to the pub, because going to the pub is about so much more than getting drunk. It is a therapy session for students. No, Jonathon, if she is an example of these youngsters whose life is more important than yours, I'd have to disagree with you.

The closure of the schools, a matter of the deepest regret by everyone forced to do it, calls to mind a crisis in 2014 when schools were not available and parents were required to stay at home with the fruit of their wombs (and loins). mr ishmael commented on that disaster:

This is the PBC lunchtime news with me, Jayne Tits, and the top story of the day is that decent hard-working working parents all over the country have been forced to look after their own children, themselves.  For more on this story, over to Birmingham, where Samantha Tits has the latest for us.
Fifth columnists, marxists and paedophiles gather in Brum to molest children and undermine long-term economic reform and  growth and whatever.

Thanks, Jayne, and yes, that's right, this is the news that communist teachers, many of them of interest to the security services, have betrayed those many parents who expect teachers to do as they're told by the gabshite, mutant  lunatic,  Mr Spit, the education seckatry.  

I wrote the Bible, you know, children. Let's see, now....
  Chapter one, verse one, in the Beginning there were  Free schools.
And God looked on Mr Spit and was pleased.

Mr Spit has, today, reiterated his delusion that it is quite clearly the teachers' reponsibility, first and foremost,  to look after other citizen-suspect's children for them, while they, the hard-working parents, pursue their rewarding and important careers down Tesco or in the call centre. If it wasn't for their child-minding capacity, said the diminutive education seckatry, why, I could dispense with them and teach the nation's children myself, via television screens in their classrooms, bedrooms, nurseries, prams, buggies and so on; just imagine,  a constant LoopOfLearning,  A nineteen-fifties curriculum, for which we are all so nostalgic, for which the nation cries out  to me; me, Mr Gove, the nation's teacher.

  And I am joined now, Jayne, here in - whereisthisplace? - here in Birmingham's Victoria Square  by a local grandmother, Mrs Maxine Cough. 

Maxine, you're a local grandmother,  tell us what this strike has meant to you,  how has it impacted you? 

 How'sitwot, love, impacted me? 
 No, Oi'm a bit old fer that lark, me, bein' impacted.  Although there's them as does say, loike, that there's manys a good tune what gets  played on an old wossaname. But no, moy grandchildren, luvemtobits, me, doanyfinforem, 'snuffin's too good for 'em, phones, games, chips, pizza, if I got 'em, they got 'em; what's their names? Well, there's Delroy, loike, an' Winston an' Chardonnay an' Kylie an' Jason an little Manjit, only he lives wiv 'is dad, loike, in Pakistan. Never could take to 'im, Manjit's dad; nuffin' against them people, honest I int, right 'and up to God, so 'elp me, I int racialist, no way, Jose,  but they smell different, knowharramean, love, different than what we do.  Must be all them spoices, loike, what they 'ave in their dinner, Oi mean, you wooden wanna go in the smallest room, not right after Manjit's dad's been in there, prayin' to Allah, so to speak, break the 'eart of a bleedin' wheelbarrow, it would. Gorra face as  long as bleedin' Livery Street, they 'ave an' all, most on 'em, all beardy an' wearing frocks, loike, over pyjama bottoms.   An the blokes is just as bad. But 'ark at me, here's you wanting to know about the school stroike and I'm  gooin' all around the Wrekin, moaning about our Tracey's last husband, partner, achelly, don't seem no point in 'er marryin' em any more, all ends in bleedin' tears, dunnit? Well, what can Oi tellya, love, it ain't roight, is it, them teachers'm  s'posed to look after the little uns, int they, I mean, swot we pay  'em for, innit?  Take me, Oi should be at 'ome doin' me online Bingo an' instead I gorra go traipsin' over to Druids 'eath and help our Trace out wiv the little darlins, and she ain't used to bein' up so early, at lunchtime, loike.  Diabolical liberty, 'sworrIcallit, them teachers gooin' on stroike an' expectin' us to do their work for 'em, idle bleedin' gits. That Nigel Fruitcake bloke, 'im wots on the telly, wiv 'is pint, loike, an'  puffin' on his B an' Haitches, he'd soon sort 'em out, send 'em all back where they come from, shouldn't wonder, send 'em all back to TeacherLand, or wurevver it is.

That was Birmingham grandmother, Maxine Cough,  there, telling us what, frankly, Jayne, we are hearing from all over the country.  People are utterly dismayed at being dumped with the care of their own children; it's absolutely not what we had them for, complain many, to look after them,  that's why we have teachers in the first place,  as child minders, so we can go out to work to pay the mortgage; isn't that what the property ladder is for, isn't that where it leads, slavery?

Thanks, Samantha, that was Samantha Tits for us there, in Birmingham or Wolverhampton, one of those dirty places, anyway. 
New Variant Service will be resumed one day.

On Friday, I waited in for the meter man to visit to change my Economy 10 meter to a standard single rate meter. Got up promptly, warned Harris that we would have a visitor, cleared out the meter cupboard under the stairs to give the chap room to work, washed up, cleared out the fire, vacuumed. Two hours past the scheduled arrival time  the chap had not turned up - despite the company having sent me two letters and  four automated phone messages during the two months since I booked the appointment,  alerting me to remember the appointment, ensure easy access to the meter and lock away my pets. I phoned. For 20 minutes they played music at me, told me my call is important to them and explained how they are very busy with unexpected levels of calls, and thanked me for my patience. I did  need to know if I was still expected to stay in because the chap was on his way, or if it had all been forgotten about, and I could reschedule and take Harris out for his walk. He was most disgruntled that he hadn't been taken out yet. He'd been gazing  out of the window from his look out position, looking for people to warn that he's on duty and they'd best be careful and move rapidly on. I tried to distract him by giving him some paperwork to do - I had some brown paper parcel wrappings to be dealt with by my Admin Dog. But he only ripped it a little before abandoning it and saying, plaintively, big-brown-eyesing at me, how can you expect me to do paperwork when I've not had my constitutional, and dealt with all my dog emails in the neighbourhood with copious quantities of pee??
 Eventually, I  get through to a human being with a strong Punjabi accent. I explain the reason for my call.

Didn't you know that you guys are in tight Lockdown?
No we're not, we're in Tier 3
No, Missuss ishmael, all Scotland is in tight Lockdown. Ve haff to protect you and protect our engineers.
No, I live in Orkney.
Aurkeney? But vhere iss dat? Is it not in Scotland? You guys are in tight Lockdown for your protection.
Yes, Orkney is in Scotland, but it is a group of islands and we are in Tier 3. Tradesmen can visit the house.
Ah, our system did not recognise that.
Well, is he coming to change the meter this morning?
No, Missus ishmael that vhill not be happening this morning.
Can I reschedule the appointment?
I vhill put you on hold, Missus ishmael, whilst I attempt to reschedule the appointment. Is that all right? Is that all right?

20 minutes ensues, with more of the music and gratitude for my patience. Then Kalinder is back on the phone:

Well Missus ishmael, I cannot reschedule your appointment because our system says that you are in tight Lockdown and we have to protect you and our engineers.
We're not in Lockdown, we're in Tier 3 and tradesmen can visit the house.
Unfortunately, Missus ishmael, the system vhill not accept that because of the current situation. You must phone back in several vheeks to reschedule your appointment.
But I've been waiting since early December to have my meter changed. And I've been waiting on the phone this morning for an hour. And I've stayed in all morning waiting for the meter man. And cleared out the cupboard under the stairs so he can have access to the meter. And put my dog away - all in compliance with the several automated phone messages you have been leaving on my answer machine on many occasions over the last 6 weeks since I originally booked the appointment. Why did no-one phone to tell me my appointment had been cancelled to protect me?
Ah, Missus ishmael, I understand your frustration. These are difficult times for all of us. I vhill help you out here, by placing a note on your account that Missus ishmael is frustrated. That vhay, you vhill receive an excellent service vhen you telephone in several vheeks to reschedule your appointment for your Smart Meter. 
But I've requested the removal of my dual Economy 10 meters and their replacement with a Standard single tariff meter so that I can change my provider. I did not reqvest - sorry, request, a Smart Meter.
Missus ishmawel, I regret to explain that you have misunderstood. it is a Smart meter that vhill be installed, in compliance with our current operating protocol. I am sensing your increasing frustration and I am very sorry for that. Would you like me to escalate this matter?
Yes please.
Very well, Missus ishmael, I vhill now put you on hold while I escalate this matter for you.

A further 10 minutes of playing music and gratitude for my patience. Kalinder returns.

Missus ishmael, thank you so much for vhaiting. I haff now entered a note on your file that you vhould like this matter to be escalated. You must now go to our website vhere you vhil be able to make a complaint. Is there anything else you vhould like me to do for you today?

I put all the stuff back in the meter cupboard and did a bit of comfort eating. 
mr ishmael's essay today was :

Honest, Not Invent is an anthology of essays by stanislav and mr ishmael. It is  available from  and  is listed by both Blackwells and the Book Depository. Lulu assures me that it is shortly to be available through Amazon.
To buy a copy:
please register an account with Lulu first.  This will save you a couple of quid, as going straight into the links provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer.  Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Honest, Not Invent" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  If you follow a link, a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed.  If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box (found at the bottom left by scrolling down) has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.
Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back : 
Link for Paper Back : 
There may be a 15% discount try the voucher code = TREAT15 in the coupon box, which takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.