Saturday 16 October 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 17/10/21

Back in June, the Queen attempted to tell Boris Johnson that Matt Hancock is full of shit, during their first face to face briefing in 15 months, prevented only by Bojo, in an unaccustomedly diplomatic spirit, substituting the word beans, by talking over her - a solecism that would have his head removed from his shoulders in Good King Henry's court. Anyway, she's at it again, criticising the world's leaders for their hmm, I'm not sure I'm going yet, approach to the Weegie Cop26 conference. Apparently, she's "irritated." She's flying there herself, and hang the carbon footprint. Here we go, throwing a massive party for the world, and the invitees are just not RSVPing. Maybe its Glasgow. Maybe they've heard about the crime rates, drug deaths and rampant covid, and they would have preferred to go to Solihull. I could warm to this new, effing and blinding queen, her own woman after 73 years of naval discipline. Time was, the news that the Monarch was irritated would have had the lieges trembling, especially when the Monarch's words were revealed by semi-covert surveillance....
mr ishmael knew of her inner barrow-boy - Lahndunner, in't she? On the 6th April 2010, the prime minister, Gordon Brown, having run out of alternatives, went to Buckingham Palace and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 12 April, confirming in a live press conference in Downing Street that the general election would be held on 6 May, five years since the previous election on 5 May 2005. Simultaneously, the world's air travel had been brought to a standstill as the air was thick with ash and debris spewed out in volcanic eruptions over 6 days at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. mr ishmael was a fly on the wall at Brown's meeting with the monarch:
Good Queen Brenda 16/4/2010

A  great result for the Dark Lord of Snot  and could be  better only if Good Queen Brenda said:
 Oi, Mr Snot, We Like You Ever So and you can't have an election  after all, best that you stay and give your wise counsel on  Vaaal-ewes and Sol-you-shuns to poor, stupid Lilibet and  anyway, Mr Snot, We say fuck the people,  fuck 'em.......... 
Me, too, your Majesty, that's what I say, all the time  ........ 
They are so tiresome, Mr Snot,  the people,  wanting elections all the time and they're always wanting We to pay taxes, like We was one of them, well, Mr Snot, let We tell you, that there's not much point in them having a monarch if they want to treat Her like just anybody else, like common people.  Fuck We, Mr Snot, it's a diabolical liberty......
You know, your Majesty, as I go around this great country in my bulletproof vest and underpants, in my  armoured limousine, with my team of sharpshooters,  meeting everyday, ordinary, carefully chosen, cheering  people, they all say to me, Prime Minister Snot, you have saved the world, why can't you just stay as prime minister for ever and I have to disappoint them by saying No, my people - Your people, actually, your Majesty but you know what I mean - I cannae serve you for more than five years at a time, even if I had been  elected,  because we must have elections. No, they cry, Boo to elections,  but there it is, my election for a fourth term is certain, that I may carry forward the necessary reforms in order that the money may in future just combust before it gets into people's pockets and save me the trouble of keeping the furnace going down below Downing Street;  they only spend it unwisely if we let them keep it. 
Quite right, Mr Snot, We are not amused by them.....

While I am here, your Majesty, or Brenda, if I may, I do feel we have a lot in common, since neither of us is elected...
No,  your Majesty is fine,  We are the fucking Queen......
I would like to discuss the volcano-terrorism being perpetrated on us by the Eskimos, who all, by the way,  seem to be called Thorsen ThorsensenThorensensensensen ......
Yes, dreadful little bastards, run around naked in the snow, We understand,  jumping into hot spas........
Quite, your Majesty,  or Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Queen Victoria
The frankly terrifying Queen Victoria was anointed Queen of most of the world (well, the important bits) in  1837, aged 18. There was then no formal intelligence operation (intelligence in this context meaning spies, not being clever), so Victoria set up her own, initially by breeding her own network of nine children by her first* husband, Albert, and placing them in the Royal Houses of Europe:
Victoria married Frederick III of Germany
Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark, and got the top job
Alice married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse 
Alfred married Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess, Russia
Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Louise married John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, Marquis of Lorne
Arthur married Duchess Louise Margaret of Prussia
Leopold married Princess Helena Frederica of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Beatrice married Prince Henry of Battenberg.
Just a reminder that the First World War was a family squabble.

So Victoria set up her own Circus, running her network of agents across Europe. “Queen Victoria selected the most intelligent member of each European royal family, and ‘on any question . . . she obtained an opinion’.”* Her daily correspondence was mammoth. She had been instructed in surveillance techniques by Uncle Leopold, and was adept at reading and resealing letters and  sending misinformation to foreign powers through her Circus.
Queen Victoria's most valuable field agent was
her eldest daughter Vicky,  married to the German crown prince. Vicky sent crates of sensitive documents to England from the Prussian court, and wrote to her mother in cypher to foil Bismarck’s counterintelligence efforts. After the Second World War, Anthony Blunt visited her ancestral home in Germany and smuggled Vicky’s personal papers back to Windsor. Blunt, surveyor of the King's pictures (are these jobs ever advertised? I could look at pictures), was a self-confessed KGB agent,  pretty familiar with the dark arts, and clearly an excellent choice for wrangling sensitive documents.
The intelligence community and methodology instituted by Victoria is now a commonplace, but it is amusing to note how far the Royal Family has itself been under surveillance:  a foreign office report on the Duke of Windsor stated: he "is notoriously pro-Nazi. He is also a heavy drinker, and what few wits he had have wilted.”  Nazi Germany thought the Duke could be a puppet sovereign-in-exile. So a Nazi agent attempted to prevent the Windsors leaving Lisbon for Bermuda at the instruction of the King when Edward's pro-Nazi proclivities had become just too embarrassing in Europe - by sabotaging the car containing the couple’s extensive wardrobe as it was thought they couldn’t leave without their clothes.
George VI asked Special Branch to vet his potential son-in-law, because his family had Nazi connections. The Queen Mother allegedly referred to Philip as "the Hun". MI5 reported that his rooms were messy, his language “coarse” and that he enjoyed late-night drinking. Princess Diana and her butler, Paul Burrell, searched her residence for surveillance devices, the two of them rolling up carpets and taking down mirrors. All this and more is revealed in
 *The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana by Richard J Aldrich and Rory Cormac.

*Victoria's second, morganatic (and hotly denied) marriage to John Brown, foul-mouthed, heavy drinking Highland commoner, allegedly resulted in an unspecified number, but no more than three, unacknowledged children, brought up in America or Paris or both, depending on the rumour. 
Victoria and mr ishmael both considered the  Highlands to be worth lingering in. Here's a travelogue, extracted from a longer piece posted in 2015:

North-west of Pitlochry into Victorian, hunting and fishing Scotland, here's Dame Judi Dench and Dame Billy Connolly, at her own wee postbox.

This is the hated A9. 
More accustomed, previously, to the M42,  I love it. 
It is my own Route 66, my own Highway 61,

running from up in the hovel-sprinkled
Badlands of Caithness

  down to sparkling Inverness
and Perthshire.

Driving northwards from Dundee

we entered the Tay Forest Park. It was gorgeous; trees, water,  and mountains, trembling on the edge of Spring, the odd sheep, some Highland cattle,

 just like the Beasts, Drinking at Sunset,  in all those Victorian water colours. 

There was no traffic and we travelled about fifteen miles, as fast as the road would allow, which was  approaching thirty miles an hour, until we reached our hotel for the night. We passed a farmer now and again, coming the other way on a quad bike, going between his jobs, giving us a brief wave; I am sure one could work a life away there, in the country, nestling in the mountains, watching the seasons.

When I was an infant, sitting on her knee, my mother lullabied me with a song which I now know to be The Road To The Isles; her father's family were Orange Glaswegian and she, like many in Belfast, had absorbed Glasgow street slang and idiom and was fiercely sectarian. The song of The Road To The Isles, though, in her voicing,  was  rhythmically wistful -

Sure, by Tummel and Loch Rannoch
And Lochaber I will go,
By heather tracks wi' heaven in their wiles;
If it's thinkin' in your inner heart
Braggart's in my step,
You've never smelt the tangle o' the Isles.

It was just a couple of years back,  I discovered that not only were Tummel and Loch Rannoch and Lochaber  real places but that quite as a result of an accidental departure from the A9 I was actually standing beside Loch Rannoch reading a signpost to Tummel, Lochaber and to the Isles.

The approach to Loch Rannoch

The view from the hotel window

On this trip we were heading back home, looking just for an overnight stay, and for the river- and loch-side journey through the still-snowy glens. Any half-way decent hotel would have served that purpose but this was an establishment in which you would expect to find George Clooney,  being rich, debonaire, handsome and  gipped out of his coffee. Inside, it was a fairly typical Highlands hunting lodge - tartan carpets, antlers on the wall, fireplaces, settees and oak sideboards, all perfectly fine; the food and the service were nigh-on perfect and the tariff half that of Dundee's Malmaison Knocking Shop.  But it was the view outwards  which electrified; in Dundee  I had looked-out over a depressed,  grubby street, strewn with food containers, fragranced, occasionally,  with happy hash smoke;  in Loch Rannoch, a vast, crisp Creation bid me Welcome, have a nice day, and meant it.

Here, in the Highlands,  in the distant, off-road Wilderness,  is the Scotland for which people say they would die;  here is the prompting of my own thought that  Scotland is  the very best part of England.  

It is oddly encouraging that those of us who reside and wrench a living in rural and remote Scotland are the least likely to vote with  a road-locked and ranting urban  minority cult, inebriated,  embittered and too lazy to even visit the lands over which they claim Lordship.

 If  Scotland's natural, fierce,  soaring grandeur could speak it would say, Ye've never, wee Gnasher, smelt the tangle o' the Isles, awa' then and boil yer heid.

Cookery Corner

 Make Chip with Stanislav, young Polish Plumber, chef and connoisseur, busy Making Better Life.

National dish of Great Britons, chip, but rubbish is usually. Even esteemed missus of Stanislav old friend and mentor, ishmael smith, is problem with chip. Ishmael come round my gaff, desperate for proper chip. Stanislav, she did it again. Raw inside and black burnt outside.

 Why not teach her, Old Friend and Mentor? Here is instruction, as delivered to Scottish Women’s Volunteer Service in chip demonstration in Clackmacfuckery Village Hall.

 Go down in garden, find where planted potato,  called tatty in Jockbastard language in smart successful Scotland, best part of England, the noo. Locate tattyplant, hiding in weed and maverick turnip. Kick weed aside and pull out tatties. Search vigorously for leaf of dock, as bastard nettle not weed; grind leafs of dock into arms until have green arm, not finger. This is English joke or pune, as green finger is good at gardening, but not nettling.  Howling and cursing like bastard, as leaf of dock is horse and cart economy rubbish alternative to proper medicine, prise slugs out of little holes  drilled in side of scabbytatties, throw away and go down Tesco to get weedkilled tatties with no additional slimy protein.

In Tesco, many, many, many sort of potatoes are. Best for chip is Maris Piper and Edward King, but most will do, if no slug living inside or if not poison green or if no long wavy white sproutings like octopus arms have.

Stand at sink, peel tatties under running cold water.

 Get front of jeans wet, so tell everyone this cold water not piss. Proper bloke not wear pinnie. Better get meat and potatoes frozen and wrinkly with cold water as more manly is. Pinnie is for happy bride and lady boy and jockbastard in kilt. We plumbers is used to torrents of cold water, with soluble but not very, sanitary towels, toilet paper, bits of poo and diced carrot. And sweetcorn.

Use Big, Fuck off knife to cut tatties into slices. 

First cut a bit off tattie and place tattie on cut side to stop it rolling like bastard. Cut slices into sensible width of chip. If not expert like stanislav, do not show off knife skills, or deep fry finger ends. 

Ratio of surface to chip interior is important. Big fat chip useless as not possible to cook inside and not burn outside. Throw raw chip in running cold water.

 Wedding tackle already soaking so no problem.  Running cold water remove starch and make crisper chip. Science. Ask Esther Blumenthal. Dry chip in teatowel. Clean, not teatowel of death. Discard wet teatowel and line a roasting tin with fresh dry teatowel. Spread chip to air-dry.

Prepare oil bath. Very Important not use chip pan or chip basket of set-on-fire-burn-down-house. Fire Brigade had Amnesty to hand in chip basket in caring Scotland but is possible chip basket is still hiding in Witness Protection Programme in cupboard under sink. Throw away immediately in special recycling containers for hazardous domestic waste in local dump.

Returning from expedition to highly technical biohazard recycling centre, rummage under sink for Big Saucepan, which is best for chip. One third fill with Rape Seed oil. Do not use Pig Fat to fry chip. Disgusting.  Pig religion say Humans is Great Satan. Do not use Extra Virgins Olive Oil as they not  get hot enough and give steamy, oily chip. Heat up oil. Not too much. If blue haze form, you is fucked. Throw away start again. Insert trial chip. If rise to surface, with pretty bubbles, 

okay to put in more chip. Not too many or steam not fry. When chip blanched, take out with fishandchip slice. Spread in cold roasting pan, single layer. Blanched chip will continue cooking gently in its insides without heat. Blanch second batch as same way.  Sprinkle salt over blanched chip to draw out water. 

Take oilpan off stove and go and do something else.

When ready to eat, fire up oil bath to hotter than before but not blue haze hot. Add blanched chip, which should bend, not snap. Briskly fry until golden brown. 

 Remove from oil with chipslice 

onto kitchen paper. 

Serve on hot plates. Can put mayonnaise on side of plate if from Amsterdam, like in Pulp Fiction, but proper bloke tomato ketchup has and white bread spread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Petroleum By-Product.

Proper Chip crisply rustle like golden autumn leaf. Not greasy. Not black. Not wet, limp and white.  Not Fries To Go. When cold, filter and funnel oil into bottle and store in cool dark place.  Do not keep reusing it like UnHappy Haddock or CodULike chippy shop or contract  Grumpy Bowel Syndrome.

 Anyway, good happy cooking with love from  Stanislav. 


"Why don't you write a book, my friend said to me, for forty years. There's enough books, don't need any more fucking books, books're the last thing we need more of. The last time he asked, a couple of years back, I wanted to say Well, in a sense, I have, it's called stanislav, a young Polish plumber."

And you can buy both anthologies of the books of mr ishmael and Stanislav :  Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack from Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link 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 our 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.) 
Link for the paperback:


shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:

 Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :

Link for Paper Back

At checkout, try PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or 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.  
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89

I stamp on you British. I do, I do (image created by mr verge)

mrs ishmael is on holiday for the next two weeks. 
Yep, I'll be taking the route described so beautifully by mr ishmael in the travelogue above - through the Badlands of Caithness, where even grass struggles to grow and on dark wet nights the demons come rolling out of the gorse-covered hills; down into Sutherland, so named by the Vikings, as only the north men could consider Sutherland even a little bit south; passing through the stony Victorian town of Golspie, over which the massive monument to the First Duke of Sutherland broods, and his gaff, Dunrobin Castle, squats on a gorgeous stretch of coastland; then down to sparkling Inverness, city of the sea and river, Gateway to the Highlands.


Mike said...

Bon voyage, Mrs I. Make sure to keep us posted. Its a regret I have that I never, and never will (as I have forsworn to never set foot in the UK again), explored Jockland - apart from long ago business trips to Edinburgh, and an overnight stay in Glasgow and a close encounter with extra-terrestrials in a pub. Not quite as scary as an encounter in a Liverpool pub where the clientele were like extras from Mad Max, or that Star Wars movies where the babe had 3 tits. Other than that, and I seldom wish my fellows ill will, I look forward to reading Gordon Snot's obituary in the Filth-o-graph. It will be a hard one to write - to strike the balance between civility and the fact (to use one of Mr I's sobriquets) that the man was a cunt. I might even subscribe to the Filth-o-graph so I can post my last comment.

mongoose said...

I was once in Largs, mr mike, on a dark and wet February night. Got there after dark, left there before the sun was up. Little, dark, stone sheds on either side of the road. Doubtless populated by mr i's ginger mutants going about their dastardly business.

The COP26 business is going to be a trial. Quite why we are trying to beggar the nation as quickly as we can is beyond me.

Mike said...

Mr mongoose: the nation, and the West in general, will be beggared long before its beggared by the COP26 business. China isn't going so what is the point?

Anonymous said...

Pedantic point of order, mr mike - the 3-tits lass may have been from Total Recall. Star Yawns was family friendly.

stanislav's hoped-for hospital-horror demise of Spunky Bill almost came to pass just now, apparently. Urinary tract sepsis. The rest writes itself.



(google, mr mongoose, claims Largs is "a popular seaside resort". Are they pulling our leg?)

mrs ishmael said...

Yes, indeed, Total Recall, very loosely built on Philip K Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for you Wholesale". Tremendous cinematic stuff of the huddled radiation-mutant eccentrics living in constant sight and sound of the huge revolving fan bringing costly air to their enclave. On a more joyous note, we have Douglas Adams offering us Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six.

After a ferry passage (one and a half hours to go 9 miles) and a day's hard driving through the loveliest part of Scotland mr mike - not the CentralBelt where you did your scary business trips, I'm still - still!- in fucking Scotland. Dundee, actually, with another massive drive ahead.

mongoose said...

A little climate loon link.

It just shows the company we are keeping. Who is serious and who is mad.

I found Largs somewhat disturbing actually. It was as if they had set The Prisoner in Vladivostok, mr v.

mongoose said...

More to the point...

What does this tell you?

Doug Shoulders said...

It tells me that every 100 thousand years there is a peak in those 3 values at Dome Fuji.
And that we are approaching or are at a peak just now.

mongoose said...

That's about the size of it, Mr DS. You would think that in a world that spends 90,000 years in a row getting ten degrees cooler than this a degree or two of warming would be a welcome thing. And all those heat pumps are going to get less and less useful too. It is a rum do and getting rummer.

Mike said...

Mr mongoose: you are not the only one confused by what is going on now in the West. I spoke with my sister the other day; she lives in Canada. She's a rational soul and refuses the jab, but is now under virtual house arrest. Her grand-daughter (4 years) is in tears having to go to school in a mask. We both agreed that something sinister is happening.

Doug Shoulders said...

Used to be a scientist could tell you something you don’t know and then explain it for your understanding.
Seems, now, a "scientist" will tell you something you don’t believe and has no evidence to back their theory.

mongoose said...

I know that we discussed the conspiracy/cock-up explanation business just a couple of weeks ago but things are getting seriously out of hand now. Energy from electricity costs five times what it does when it comes from gas. So what we are going to do is to stop using gas - even to make electricity FFS! - and re-engineer everyone's gaff to use heat pumps which don't pump heat when it gets cold. It doesn't make sense. It isn't evenly remotely feasible. And there isn't enough electricity to keep the lights on now let alone when everyone has electrified their everythings. And it's all going to be cheaper too! Hurrah! It is, I am afraid, a stupid idea and it is doomed to failure.

It is however popular with the young people. They, of course, and famously, don't any longer have a practical bone in any of their bodies. If there isn't an app for it, they can't do it. My youngest tried to make yorkshire pudding at college the other week and assessed 6oz of plain flour by dividing the bag in the appropriate ratio. 6oz being whatever it is in grams, she estimated at about a fifth of the 1kg packet. The uselessness of the rest of the packet of flour - unless we start a system of stock chits - will dawn on her perhaps next time. SWMBO chimed in with "a cup and a bit". Alas, that did not compute. But I digress.

Given that the periodical anture of glaciation is a known matter, the average length of same on earth likewise, the availability of the Greenland ice core data too, the lag of CO2 to temperature hinting at an embarrassing reverse causation... Etc etc. There should be a queue of eminent scientists much cleverer than me shouting warnings from the rooftops. But of course, they hide 'neath the stairs for fear of career ruination. David Bellamy having been about the first to be bayonetted pour encourager the autres.

I cannot bear to discuss the covid lunacy these days. It is too depressing.

TPTB cannot be so serially and consistently stupid. Therefore cock-up it cannot be.

Mike said...

I agree Mr mongoose this isn't a cock-up. Something else is going on. You might be interested in listening to Putin's speech the other day at the Valdai Club in Russia. Its online. He speaks some very searing home truths to the West. A man at the heights of his intellectual powers; Biden....embarrassing, cringe-worthy.

mongoose said...

Indeed, I saw some of that, mr mike. I thought it was an extraordinary "the Emperor has got no clothes" moment.

Bungalow Bill said...

Hope you had a fine absence, Mrs I. The travelling time, the abolition of time therein, mattered for Mr I, I guess. Perhaps for you too.

It's common to believers and scoffers. We're bound for elsewhere.

Thom Gunn in his early, muscular, Nietzchean phase here but a fine thing, even so:

Mike said...

Mr verge: shirley there is enough material in the archives for a Stanislav cookery book?

Anonymous said...

With photographs and large type, mr mike, you might well be right, especially if we included the "reviews" of young Jamie & Marco P Gob. Probably outside my skill-set, though, incorporating photos between covers.

Meanwhile the material for Ishmaels Blues is coming together - daunting but doable. (With, it now emerges, enough remaining stanislav highlights for a possible further book along the lines of Vent Stack.) And mrs ishmael showed me over a dozen emails that led to youtube comments on music videos, some of which are like brief "stanislav returns" outbursts; suffice to say the Mark Knopfler and Gerry Garcia fans didn't much care for the round of fucks being fired into their idols. Watch this space.

Suppose we all dare a future from our taken routes, mr BB.



Anonymous said...

Thanks again for that Gunnsmoke, mr BB - I just noticed that an average American anglophone would likely miss the mischievously contradictory pun available in "future from the taken routes", the tendency there being to pronounce the last word to rhyme with gout. (Nothing so old-fashioned as gout for mr Gunn; according to wikipedia he died at 75 from "acute polysubstance abuse." How dare there be poets, as mr ishmael liked to say.)


Bungalow Bill said...

He was exemplary, Mr Verge. Technically taut but insatiable. Nothing, only everything, was enough.

Bungalow Bill said...

PS, sorry to Friedrich, and all on here, for the misspelling of "Nietzschean". The drink, you know. I'm sure the old comedian would understand.

ultrapox said...

i won't denounce thom gunn's on the move as a cheap rip-off of rainer maria rilke's 8th duino elegy, because i understand that mr gunn's mother committed suicide when he was a teenager, and frankly, i reckon the poor guy suffered enough - however, for those with a taste for repro rilke, i would certainly recommend ted hughes' healthy hetero animal-poetry.

in order to snuff any vicious speculation at source, i would hasten to point out that mrs gunn's death occurred well prior to her son's poetic musings, by-the-way...

but alas, the same defence cannot be mounted in the case of ted hughes.