Sunday 4 December 2022

The Sunday Ishmael: 4/12/2022

mr Bungalow Bill said...
The good old sun, Mrs I, and the waters. They will do. (27/11/2022)
Do not forget the new life, mr b.b. - in the leaf litter, the small green tips have already appeared 

The Sports Page:
Now, I know that there's a big football tournament on, but that's no reason for me to pay it any mind. Especially in Scotland, which is fairly indifferent to the event as Scotland is not in it, not being very good at football.
Wet herring:
There's been a not-inconsiderable controversy this week. About racism. Lady Susan Hussey's line in small talk has been criticised, even though her former boss, Her Late Majesty, the QE2, was famous for asking "where have you come from today?", or "have you come far?"
The allegation that Susan's particular line of chat strayed into racist interrogation has lost her the job she has held for decades. Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish that she would take her employer to the Employment Tribunal on the grounds of constructive dismissal, illegal dismissal, ageism, sexism and reverse-racism. 
Now, your hand may be itching to seize the handiest wet herring and lay about that elderly, privileged, hatted, pearl-earringed, expensively coiffed head with its extravagantly fire-proof teeth, but hold your contempt, for here is  Ngozi Fulani, the recipient of Sue's "violent racism":
Ngozi, birth name Marlene Headley, is a black activist who went to a Buckingham Palace party looking for a ruck, equipped with a tape recorder and a grievance. Doubtless the notoriety she has achieved will assist her charity for black victims of domestic abuse in terms of publicity and grants. Dressed up like Hollywood's idea of an African woman, she utterly refused to give a straight answer to Lady Susan Hussey's increasingly bemused polite ice-breaker conversation, then marched herself off to the BBC, who very gleefully took up the cudgels on her behalf.
I've been the recipient of that sort of questioning here, in Bonny Scotland:
Where are you from? Kirkwall.
No, where were you from before that?  Stromness.
No, where are you really from? Oh, alright then, I give in. England.

Talking of Bonny Scotland, what has Fatty Blackford been up to?
He likes to project the image of a simple crofter on the Isle of Skye, does Fatty, whose vicious campaign to become the MP ruthlessly hounded to his death the last holder of that constituency, amiably alcoholic Charlie Kennedy. Fatty, of course, is no more a simple crofter than I am - an Edinburgh man, he was first an analyst, then a manager with NatWest Securities before running Deutsche Bank's equity operations in Scotland and the Netherlands. He has maintained his lucrative financial side-hustles whilst trousering his fees as SNPMP and has amused us in the Commons as leader of the SNP, having been twice ejected for unParliamentary conduct. He has now been moved onto lesser things by Gnasher. He attributes his downfall to a group of Scottish National MPs known as the Tuesday Club, a sort of sub- sub- Bullingdon Club, who play five-a-side football, go drinking and eat curry together on Tuesdays and plot. It's a tough game, politics. Doubtless Charlie is laughing his leg off in the Elysian Fields.

Poetry Corner

Provincial Public Houses blaze,
Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze,
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky.
Extract from Christmas by John Betjeman  
It is dark, dreach, drear, depressing, oppressive December, again. I wish they would stop pretending that we are all surrounded by friends and family, all hotly anticipating a jolly, holly, snowy, sexy, tinselly, greedy, non-faith christmas extravaganza of party clothes, sparkling wine, perfume, perfect presents and feasting in which the eyes of little children light up at the sight of Brussels fucking sprouts. Lightly sauteed with chestnuts and crispy bacon of course.
I brought on the depression myself by watching Jamie Oliver's  Perfect Christmas. Some clever, money-saving Christmas producer has hit on the wheeze of editing all Jamie's Christmas Specials into one time-travelling marathon, in which Young Jamie wipes the turkey entrails off on the seat of his jeans, cutting to old Jamie ripping the skin off a boiled ham and striating the white fat, back to Young Jamie making cock-tails wiv 'is best mates: 'ere you go - fill a crystal whisky tumbler - yeah, we've all got one of them in the back of the cupboard - wiv ice, pour in a jigger of Rum, then a capful of Angostura Bitters, more ice, a tablespoonful of caster Sugar, give it a stir, frow in anuvver jigger of rum - wotever  takes your fancy, top up wiv more ice, slice of dried orange, stir it up a bit, drink it down, fall over. 'Ere's anuvver: fill your cock-tail shaker wiv ice, pour in your snow goose voddy, squeeze a halved lime into it over your 'and to catch the pips like and show how manly you are, not wincing as the lime juice seeps into all those little burns, abrasions and cuts that we proper chefs 'ave on our 'ands, top up wiv more vodka and a tablespoon of sugar, give it all a big shake - if there's any space left in the cock-tail shaker, best fill it up wiv a bit more vodka, strain into martini glasses and serve to your guests when they arrive. Guaranteed to get them excited.
It's on an endless reel on The Food Channel, together with the rest of the TV chefs. 
It's the season to remember mr ishmael on haute cuisine:
"Bought some Sainsbury's sausages yesterday, there's a picture of Jamie Oliver on the front, on the back it says "Prick with fork" Can't argue with that".
 Everyone seems to hate Jamie Oliver, but, let's be honest, he's done well in life for someone with mild Down's Syndrome. The secret ingredient in a lot of those recipes is saliva.

   I value my intestinal wellbeing too much to eat food that some filthy fucking bastard has prepared in some fucking crawling, infested shithole of a kitchen.  Y'ever work in a kitchen, d'ya know how little they get paid? Christ allfuckingmighty, Cookie coulda had his hand up somebody's arsehole five minutes before he went on duty, he could have all manner of infections and diseases and like that insufferable prick, Jamie Oliver,  he might think that food handling hygiene and cross-contamination are all imaginary, dunappen in the real world, bish-bash-bosh, there y'are,  snot, shit and gonorrhea, all prepared for under a tenner and in less than fifteen minutes an' my kids, lemmetellya, my kids, Poppy and Floozie,  they love this shit, can't get enough of it. Oh 'ang on, the rosemary and chili souffle is ready, they're bezzie mates, rosemary an' chili, drizzle 'em all up wiv some good olive oil and they make magic togevva,  just have a quick taste, dip me 'and in, shove it in me Norf'n'South, 'ave a good old lick, wipe it on the arse a me jeans an' jobsagoodun.
 I musta seen this cunt of a man a hundred times, handling raw flesh and then going to his black pepper mill, givin' it a good ol' twist, then going and handling some salad and then coming back to the good ol' pepper mill and givin' it another good ole'twist and then  handling some bread, never washing his brass bands, never, in its entire life, washing the pepper mill, the man's a walking disease, anyone dining at his house must wake up next morning with the old posterieur flambee, arse on fire from overspiced food laced with bacteria off mine host's dirty hands.  That's Oliver, filthy fucking Cockney gabshite, the second luckiest man in the world, after Ringo Starr.  I donwanna eat any shit prepared by anybody of the same subspecies as Jamie Oliver.  I'd rather go hungry than eat in a restaurant
Millionaire Mockney luvvie-cook, Mr Jamie Oliver, on the death of the drunken waster, Mr Keith Floyd: I fink what we should do is like stuff 'im, up the Jacksie, just go out in the garden and grab some really 'ot chilies, like the ones wot give 'im the arse cancer, chilies really love bowels, what the Poles call le posterieur flambee, just mash 'em all up in a mortar and wotsit, or just 'it 'em wiv a brick, add some really, really 'ot curry paste, Sainsburys is best, a coupla good 'andfuls of paprika and cayenne pepper and a tablespoonful of finely ground glass, all mixed up wiv a good pincha salt and wheelbarrow fulla garlic and shove it up the old boy's bottle and glass, innit, send 'im off a treat that will, 'smore or less what 'e done to 'imself, daft fucker, coulda 'ad a right proper career. Like me. Oh yeah, and mustn't forget, summink else, you get a tanker full of nasty red plonk, most expensive is best and you just keep pumping it into the old boy, even after it comes running out, you keep on pumping that shit in there so's it pickles all the bits wot ain't supposed to be pickled. Bon vivant, they call it. Gluttony wiv a plummy voice. 
Mad bastard and shaven-headed freak, pretentious arsehole and lousy cook, Mr Heston von Blumenthal said:
I want to take him into my laboratory (his kitchen, the cunt) and preserve him in cognac laced with a julienne of wrens tongues, in a casket of bitterest Belgian chocolate garnished with gold leaf and crushed diamonds and stored in my specially constructed pantry, kept at a perfectly controlled optimum temperature by Tahitian virgins fanning the air across trays of Moondust imported from NASA and keep him until cryogenics have caught up with me and at some point in the future, when he has been revived, I want to decant the late Maestro. And eat him.
mrs ishmael: whenever I suggested to mr ishmael that he might like to go to a restaurant to celebrate his birthday, there would be an anguished cry: Are you MAD? Let other people touch my food? And on my birthday? Have you no heart?

Church Notices

Wednesday the Ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing Put Me in My Little Bed accompanied by the Minister.

Scouts are saving cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

This being Easter Sunday we will ask Mrs Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

Don't let worries kill you - let the Church help.

The Low Esteem Support Group will meet on Thursday at 7 p.m. Please use the back door.

The congregation is asked to remain seated until the end of the recession.



thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three anthologies of the collected works of ishmael smith:

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack  and Ishmael’s Blues are all available from Lulu and Amazon. If you buy from Amazon, it would be nice if you could give a review on their website.
Ishmaelites wishing to buy a copy from lulu should follow these steps :
please register an account first, at This is advisable because otherwise paypal seems to think it's ok to charge in dollars, and they then apply their own conversion rate, which might put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow one of the links below (to either paperback or hardback) or type "Ishmael’s Blues" into the Lulu Bookstore search box.  Click on the “show explicit content” tab, give the age verification box a date of birth such as 1 January 1960, and proceed.
Link for Hardcover :
Link for Paperback :
At checkout, try WELCOME15 in the coupon box, which (for the moment) 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, PB (including delivery to a UK address) should be £16.84; HB £27.04.



Mike said...

Excellent Sunday Ismael, Mrs I.

Is it spring already in the far north with the early signs of life?

Not often I side with the hoi polloi, but the good Lady does seem to be the victim of a setup.It was a gentle question, the former Duke of Edinburgh would have been a little more pithy.

The mockney chav Oliver never fails to deliver.

The Church Notices had me lolling. I read the first one and my mind did a deconstruction, but it was all evident by the second.

And finally, Harris (or is it Buster) having a pee - that's a cue for Editor Verge. The cover of the next book.

verge said...

Thanks, mr Mike, not a bad call. Either this new one or last year's longer shot of Harris watering the base of that totem pole. Vol 4 is a while off but all remaining stanislav material is gathered for consideration and the longer/stronger stuff (Obama and Brown) should get a look in, nerves permitting.

Perhaps I might take this opportunity to encourage any ishmaelites who might consider doing so to give Ishmael's Blues a quick amazon review. None so far.



mrs ishmael said...

Thank you, mr mike, how kind you are. That is Harris surprised at his toilette - but I know what you mean, he looks very like dear little Buster used to.
We have a Weather Warning of snow for Wednesday for the north of Scotland and the northern isles, so we can't predict Spring yet awhile. I was astonished to see the green shoots so early - I actually took the photo last month, in late November, so it is even more astonishing to see the bulbs coming through - the times are out of joint.

mrs ishmael said...

Thank you for your industry, mr verge - three books in two years is just amazing - and a fourth one in the works. You could run an opinion poll on which photo ishmaelites would like to see on the cover of Stanislav's Lament.

Mike said...

Talking of joints, Mrs I, I just read a disturbing article about the world's best health care system. I trust (no pun intended) this affliction does not affect any Ishmaelites.

PS interestinly not one comment makes the obvious point: is the manufacturer legally liable. Its a yank company, so the answer is fairly obvious.

mrs ishmael said...

I have been banging on about Glucosamine supplementation for years, mr mike - the article you link to gives fuel to my campaign. As mr ishmael used to say - the person most likely to kill you is your doctor. There's fortunes to be made from surgical interventions; many of them don't increase quality of life and they are best avoided. Preventive measures are best - try and keep your weight down, take a couple of 20 minute walks every day, don't engage in high impact exercise that wears out the load-bearing joints - for fuck's sake stop footballers embarking on victory knee-slides, don't do sprinting, hurdling or long distance running, don't cross your legs, don't tuck one leg under yourself while sitting, don't sit at 45/45 for prolonged periods and if your knee swells up and hurts, elevate. Watch telly while reclining on the couch like a Roman. Go swimming - gently.
And take Glucosamine with chondroitin - no need to go for a fancy brand - supermarket's own are fine.

mongoose said...

Oddly enough, my neighbour is booked in a few days before Christmas to receive his fifth (FFS!!) knee replacement. Three have failed but as he has had both repaired we can say that one-and-a-half per knee have failed. He says that his new knee - the one to come - has been designed by Toyota. The pain of it has put years on him these last months.

Knees, ankles and shoulders are devilish structural bastards. Once seriously damaged they are a balls-ache for the rest of your days. Me? Left knee, right ankle and right shoulder. Add "Never bowl a cricket ball" to your list, mrs i.

Mike said...

That sounds terrible, mr mongoose, 5 knees.

Reading that article and the comments it was clear that a knee replacement is a bugger as you say. Painful and 12 month recovery. And a repeat is even more problematic - given the foundation is already compromised. Although the headline was 10,000 knees, if you read the detail the number could be very much higher. And the stats show the NHS as the biggest user of these defective implants in the world.

This comes shortly after the same story but this time with French supplied hips. We have 2 relatives in the UK who have had to have repeat hip replacements not entirely successful.

As Mrs I correctly states prevention is the key. I will instruct the memsahib to look for glucosamine.

mongoose said...

It's the dual rotation, mr mike. My college tutor was Prof Lee of the Exeter hip. NB Pelvis effectively stationary against the rotation of the femur, His design has lasted 50 years and will last fifty more.

The Exeter Hip.

Mike said...

This replacement and transplant surgery business reminds me of the phenomenon known in the antiques business known as "George Washington's Axe".

When is a restored antique an antique?

George Washington's Axe came up for auction. It had had 3 replacement handles and 2 replacement heads in its lifetime. Could it still be considered George Washington's Axe?

Mr mongoose, when you have your knee, ankle, shoulder etc replaced, at what point are you no longer mr mongoose? Which part really counts?

verge said...

Also known as Trigger's Broom, mr mike, though I must confess I never much cared for OFAH.


mongoose said...

I have just stopped playing cricket, mr mike. (It was getting embarrassing anyway.) I'll not anything replacing - it is to be hoped - but then I am a scrawny bastard and there isn't much load going through my joints these days.

I had a Ford Cortina like that broom, mr v. New engine, new gearbox, new transmission. The only original bits were probably the panels. Three or four days after I got her back running, my brother borrowed it and stuck it into the side of a truck on the A45. For which the bugger still owes my. Alas, he has crossed to the other side of the veil so I may as well close that ledger and stop moaning.

verge said...

Those ledgers tend to have haunted hinges, mr mongoose, forever springing open of their own accord. Sorry to hear about your having retired to the pavilion - not tempted to take up umpiring?

mongoose said...

I have done my share of umpiring over the years, mr v, not "professionally", as it were, but once got out again, it's better than sitting mournfully studying one's meagre average.

I don't know what it was about Brother No2 but he was almost as expert at car destruction as mrs m has turned out to be.

verge said...

A chacun son metier, mr mongoose. A skillset's a skillset.

mongoose said...

I have found - after a great deal of expensive trial and error - that Japanese technology is most resistant to her metier. She once turned a brand new Vauxhall Astra CDE or SRi or something - fast, and with all of the trimmings anyway - into a smoking pile of squeaks and screams. It was to it's credit the fastest car through a small roundabout that I had ever driven up until that point but it didn't take her even a year to destroy it. Fortunately, her shiny Yank employers bought that one for her. OTOH my old Da's maxim of "Never buy a Vauxhall" has stood me in good stead all these years.

I currently have the lady snookered in a one litre, one pot Toyota Aygo. There is nothing to break that I cannot lift out with my bare hands. And she loves it because she can see out.

verge said...

Not a driver myself, mr mongoose, but I can well imagine that being able to see out might be a form of progress. My brother's former girlfriend (our favourite, as it happens) had a strange genius for retiring antique wine glasses.

Bungalow Bill said...

Fabulous stuff, Mrs I. Your photos always cheer and you have covered much of the natural range there. Thanks too for Betjers and the slobbering cook.

mrs ishmael said...

Glad you enjoyed it, mr bungalow bill. I take my photos with you in mind. I was hoping to post snow photos tomorrow - you know the sort of thing - sunlight striking strange colours and sparkles from the frosted crust of deep fallen snow, branches boughed low with their snow burden, plucky little birds with feathers plumped up against the cold - but, alas, nature let me down. Our snow didn't turn to water, as the poet has it - it never arrived. Oh we had what the weather girls call wintry showers - gale force winds, hard, fast hail, thick sleety rain and bitterly cold - but nary a proper, old-fashioned, Chrisymassy snowflake. So much for the Met Office's Yellow Weather Warning.
You'll probably realise that I took liberties with the Betjers - just plucking out a little to suit my purpose - but the whole poem deserves a full outing at Christmas - with it's tantalising and simple question - Is it True?
Because of course, if it is true, then what the fuck do we think we're doing, mucking about with the sweet and silly Christmas things, when the only appropriate behaviour is to be prostrate with awe? So Betjers answers his own question - of course it isn't true and nobody believes it, especially the clergy. It has always been a most convenient fiction for keeping the lower orders putting up with hardship and inequality to make sure the shining ones who in the Dorchester do dwell remain at the top of the Christmas tree.
Wouldn't be Christmas without a rant from mrs ishmael.
Ah well, I'd better get on with wrapping up my sweet and silly Christmas presents and agonising whether they are good enough. Competitive gifting, eh?

mrs ishmael said...

Ah, mr verge - your reference to the former girlfriend who smashed the antique wine glasses - if wine glasses are used for drinking wine out of, then of course they'll be smashed, wine playing havoc with motor skills and caution (she didn't throw back her red, red wine then toss the glass into the fireplace, on purpose, I assume) - reminds me of mr ishmael's destruction of a shelf of Rhine glass - green, twirled stems, deep bowl etched with vinery, carefully retrieved from Germany after the war by my father and subsequently cherished over the decades, until mr ishmael casually leaned his body weight through his elbow on the teg-supported shelf on which they were displayed, to the utter destruction of shelf and glass ware. He was on the phone on the time and ensured his conversation continued until he could be sure that the white-hot anger had boiled off my pointed little head.

mrs ishmael said...

Mongoose senior's maxim of "never buy a Vauxhall" can be added to the store of car warnings and advice in which reposes ishmael senior's exhortation to never buy a Ford.
The beautiful beast of a Mercedes Benz adorning my drive, slathered in mud (it's Orkney, it's winter), cannot even drive past the Garage without a bill being rendered for thousands of pounds and long delays as parts have to come from Germany. And it is remarkably accident prone. Honest, not my fault - it has sustained two collisions whilst parked and waiting for me to return from work.
There's a lot to be said for a sweet and simple little car.

Bungalow Bill said...

And yet, Mrs I, would you not sit patiently in church, waiting? I ask because I ask myself. Come to think of it, maybe we should be prostrate in awe? If we were would not a deal of trouble be saved?

Love is the answer but it is too scorching to admit. Probably.

mrs ishmael said...

Not a Christian, me, mr b.b. Oh, but I was. Educated by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion. But as I grew older, I put away childish things.
However, I'll grant that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. Just not contained in those Middle Eastern, sacrificial religions dominated by blokes. I suppose pantheistic hedge-witchery might sum up any belief system I retain, but the ritual, music, architecture, embroideries and art of the English christian church still have the power to move me unbearably.
Now, mr ishmael described himself as Zen-Marxist-Presbyterian. He roundly despised the Presbyterian ingredient, but was stuck with it, having been born and raised in Belfast, so he was, until his family relocated to Birmingham. You can take the boy out of Belfast, but you'll never take Belfast out of the boy.

Bungalow Bill said...

I like this from the atheist surrealist-mystic filmmaker Luis Bunuel, Mrs I:

“Fortunately, somewhere between chance and mystery lies imagination, the only thing that protects our freedom, despite the fact that people keep trying to reduce it or kill it off altogether.”

Wallace Stevens always too, of course, the greatest of the atheists:

This is exhilarating for unbelievers, as is his very well known:

What's the answer? Fuck knows, but that can be exhilaration enough.

mrs ishmael said...

Thank you, mr bungalow bill,
I shall think on't.