Sunday 19 February 2023

The Sunday Ishmael:19/02/2023

When I was a child, being educated by the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, we were encouraged by the nuns to bring pennies to school on Monday mornings, extorted from parents who themselves had hardly a pot to piss in, to buy Holy Cards. Here's a fine example of a pale-skinned, blondish Jesus, displaying His Sacred Heart, encircled by thorns, dripping blood onto his nice pink dress. A Jesus for North Europeans. A heart-throb Jesus for little girls with pigtails to swoon over. There was fierce competition amongst the girls to collect new Holy Cards, and some swapsies. The Holy Cards were reverently placed between the tissue-thin pages of our Missals, and gazed at during the lengthy and incomprehensible Latin Masses that we were required to attend to avoid committing a Mortal Sin and going to Hell. 
The nuns, their nice white faces encircled by nice white starched wimples, told us that our pennies would be sent to Africa, to help the black babies.
God knows those black babies needed all the help they could get. Decade after decade throughout my life, they have popped up on my telly, scrawny limbs and distended bellies, too near death to suck on the flat breasts of their malnourished mothers. We little northern girls had ice flowers on the inside of our bedroom windows in the winter, chapped legs from the cold wet tops of our wellies, and thought that the frozen cream standing proud of the milk bottle top in the snow was a great treat, but at least we didn't have flies in our eyes and clean water came out of our taps.
And it never seems to get any better. Decade after decade, suffering black Africa remains a constant, with its famine, drought, disease, war, corruption, flies in their eyes, despite all the pennies from nice little Catholic girls, all the Oxfam flag days, Live Aid, famine relief, Save the Children,  government international aid. And still there are the unspeakable adverts on my telly. I swear the footage is recycled - I'm getting to recognise the emaciated babies with huge bellies full of worms and the little girls scooping out water from some filthy hole in the ground to fill a container that they carry for miles on their heads. Today there was a wailing, snotty baby, with flies crawling into its eyes, with neither the mother nor the cameraman doing a damn thing to wave the flies away. The advert exhorted me to send  some money to treat the babies for the ensuing ghastly eye disease. There's only one sensible response to this blatant charity banditry
Fuck Africa.
Whatever we do, whatever we give, despite Saint Geldof, it gets no better.  Judging from the TV adverts, it is getting worse year by year. 
Fuck Africa.
You know Henry Ford's maxim? “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Fuck Africa.
Maybe then they will sort themselves out. Maybe then they will agree a form of government that doesn't syphon off international aid for personal enrichment. Or maybe not. But as things are getting worse, we need to stop doing what we've always done. As we're making it worse.

Here's a snippet of mr ishmael on the worthlessness of the life of an adulated pop singer dead at the age of 69 after a life of self-publicity and debauchery:
"Did his years of self-absorption advance medicine, for instance; did he bring peace to places of fiery conflict; did he bring clean water to the thirsting black children with flies in their eyes, was he successful, even by the self-referential standards of Art?
The Barbarian is at the Gate. And he's wearing a dress."

What is a life well-lived? It is a phrase bandied around a lot these days, especially in respect of dead celebrities. Dead celebrities, who made a lot of money doing what they liked to do, is that to live a life well? Or maybe just keeping on keeping on, going to work every day to a job that is, at best, boring, and at worse, life threatening, keeping a roof over your family's head, food on the table, clothes on their backs, walking the dog, sitting by the hospital bedside, doing the ironing, going shopping and washing up - maybe that's a life well-lived. A friend approaching retirement confided in me her sadness about her lack of achievement. Started out well, went to University, but the career didn't really happen. Achievement - that concept is in itself an indulgence not achievable by the majority of the people in most countries. Staying alive, keeping out of prison and performing the grunt jobs that keep society functioning is the most achievement most of us can aspire to. When we were in business, restoring and retailing antique furniture, mr ishmael would be approached occasionally by relatives of the recently deceased wanting their loved one's house cleared for a wad of cash. We hated that work, loathed and detested it because it was so depressing. Going into some ordinary little house, still filled with old person's smell, Utility furniture, worn out carpets and drawers filled with bills, old photos, bits of string, mismatched cutlery, the detritus of a life well-lived - heart-sink stuff. mr ishmael stopped it entirely after one encounter - a harassed youngish mum, who told him the Council wanted her gran's house cleared by next week and could he help, and there was some really old furniture that would be worth a lot. We met her at the house that had been her gran's home and mr ishmael gently explained that the furniture was made after the War from the cheapest materials available, that the sideboard her Nan had lovingly polished for years until age and infirmity prevented her, had no value at all, that if he took it away, all he could do with it was to take it to the tip. She clearly thought he was negotiating the price down and she said that she had been hoping for a good price to pay the funeral expenses. mr ishmael gave her fifty quid because he was sorry for her and we took the furniture to the tip, where we were charged to leave it. 
More from mr ishmael on a life well-lived and the relative worth that society ascribes to different occupations:  

"In a corner of the British Museum, today, a team of sound archivists was retrieving and safeguarding historical recordings from all over the world, it may have been a fragment of a Florence Nightingale address,  recorded on wax in 1870, a conversation with  Jung,  the mating calls of species now extinct;  wire recordings, wax, deteriorating 70's vox-pop cassette tapes, or remember-me flexidiscs recorded by UK soldiers, serving in Egypt in World War 2 and sent to their relatives, on the Home Front.
I drove here, to Dundee, today, on roads generally in good repair, white-lined and cats-eyed, cambered for drainage, well sign-posted;  I could have continued to Land's End and back again at a speed undreamt of, even fifty years ago. Had I spun off the road emergency services would have done what they do, tired young doctors would have done their best to stabilise me, if alive. Anaesthetists and surgeons and  physiotherapists, dieticians, pharmacists, porters, nurses and cleaners, ambulance drivers and paramedics and eventually community nurses and occupational therapists would have put me back together, as best they could.

In schools up and down the country teachers teach, when not dealing with the social fall-out of fifty years of rotten govament, despite the insult hurled at them by the insufferable "Jamie" Oliver and his grisly cast of celebrities, like  the cheesy, embittered cocksucker, Starkey, famous for his needs-a-punch-in-the-face rudeness and little else. Some teachers go home shattered by behaviours learned at GlobaCorp's  University of Consumption, others go to hospital, Oliver and his bunch of  celebrity filth go home tens of thousands of pounds better off and with the floor manager's Darlings, you were wonderful, ringing in their ears."

Nicola Sturgeon thinks she's had it hard, suffered misogynistic insults, personal attacks and threats that are reserved for female politicians. That social media bubbles and boils with hatred of women. I would assert that in this blog at least, mr ishmael lavished his most excoriating attacks on male politicians - who can forget Gordon Brown in a nappy on a rocking horse or Ming, sitting gingerly on his pile of cushions, with his back firmly against the wall, having been fucked up the arse by his entire Party. 
I would accept that I haven't been respectful of wee Gnasher - but that's satire. Playing the misogyny card is similar to playing the racism card - special pleading cos I is a woman/black/disabled/gay/transgender. Bollocks.
She's throwing dust in our eyes - she hasn't resigned because politics suddenly got brutal, nor because she's suddenly realised that her reign has been polarising the Scoatisch people .  The SNP's finances are under investigation by the police. Just saying.

So who's next? The fact that there isn't an obvious successor goes some way to show that this resignation is something that she was forced into. She didn't intend relinquishing power and she didn't have time to groom her successor. Over the next few days, we'll see which of the mome raths will be thrusting themselves forward to be insulted by social media. 
Will it be The Jub-Jub Bird?
Katie Forbes, Wee Free, anti-abortion, anti Gender Recognition Reform

Or the Frumious Bandersnatch?
The Right Honourable Angus Robertson, MSP, whose expenses in
2015 included a television costing £1,119, a £400 home cinema system,  a £500 bed, a £20 corkscrew and a £2,324 sofa bed. The home cinema system was initially denied by the expenses office; however, Robertson appealed this decision and it was subsequently awarded.

Or the Mimsy Borogove?
Twice married Humza Yousef, who made the honest mistake of driving a friend's car without insurance and had a £300 fine and 6 penalty points to learn him.

At least we know that The Slithy Tove has ruled himself out

John Swinney, faced votes of no confidence in 2020 and 2021

I went to a lecture down Edinburgh once by The Swiney when he was, briefly, Finance Secretary- very sincere, very compelling, well prepared, with a Power Point - an ocean-going politician, with subscriptions, in fact. He told us all about The Red Wedge, a financial model, which meant that everyone was poor and had to pay for the global banking cock up, yea, even unto the third generation and in perpetuity. I hates him. But that's not misogyny. Because he's got a prick and ball set.
If only it could be wee Fat Alex- and that's not misogyny, because he, too, unbelievable as it may seem, has also got a prick and ball set, no, it's 'cos mr ishmael has left us a wealth of satire at his expense. I suppose Wee Fat Aleck  could propose an extension of the Independence Coalition - Greens, SNP and Alibaba party, and front it all up - he's got a lot of front ....
And he's a bit of a tosser - and that's not misogyny, either, again because of what he's allegedly got up his kilt.
In case anyone doesn't know his Lewis Carroll - an Oxford poet, mathematician, paedophile and the author of Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass, here's the full text of Jabberwocky, which is, I think, my favourite poem, rich in satire, but not misogyny.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son
   The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
   The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
   Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
   And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
   The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
   And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
   The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
   He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
   Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
   He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
   Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
   And the mome raths outgrabe.


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 :

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.
This isn't misogyny either - it's Art.


Mike said...

Mrs I: Blogger wont let me view your latest. Says it might offend sensitive eyes. FFS. I don't (wont) have a Google login, so I can't view. Is there an alternative?

inmate said...

Same here Mr Mike, have to prove I’m old enough and must have a gooogle account, fuck that.

mrs ishmael said...

I've been slapped under a Warning - second time, to be fair, and I will keep on offending. It might be the misogyny, the racism, the bad words or the assertion that a famous Oxford don, poet and author, is a paedophile. Or the sexually explicit embroidery.
I have to report to the Headmaster's office and persuade him to remove the Warning.
I'll see what I can do. Careful you don't also end up on the carpet, what with your tastes in transgressive blogerature.

mongoose said...

What a sorry lot the SNP are becoming. It'll be a lifetime of free Buckie next to bribe the blue-arsed to get back into line. I think perhaps the devolution bug is past its most virulent phase. The tinpot despots have overplayed their hands and pushback is starting to grow. Even in London there is talk that the mad car charges extension might not survive Westminster's over-ride button. It would be good, I think, to thrash a couple of the buggers back into their boxes fro time to time. "This is none of your business, matey. You do the bins and the streetlamps."

Dick the Prick said...

About this time He'd beastiing the dj. Humungous hugs xx

Mike said...

This Scotch stuff could soon be academic.

I read in the Filth-o-Graph that Boris and Tank Girl are egging on Sunak to send fighter jets to Ukraine. They do realise (?) that the UK could be cinders in 10 mins, and that's without resort to nukes. As a reminder, the UK has no anti-missile defences. This is entirely within the whim of the Kremlin - and there are those who want to replace Putin the moderate FFS.

I'm coming to the conclusion that Russia will wipe out a small country (and the UK is a prime candidate) to stop any move to the nuclear threshold.

mrs ishmael said...

Dear mr DTP, thank you for the humungous hugs - how kind you are. Just a tad confused, though, about your comment? Do, please, explain.

mrs ishmael said...

Not just London, mr mongoose - when I visit my daughter, who lives just outside Birmingham, we have to take the train into the city as both our cars emit nasty things.
And those trains are not salubrious. Dirty and horribly overcrowded. Did I tell you about the bloke who tried to push his bike into my daughter, in the packed standing area by the door? Bloke standing next to her took up the cudgels on her behalf, picked up the bike and threw it off the train, just as the doors closed on the thwarted face of the cyclist and the train sped away. The woman standing next to my daughter promptly threw up. Or, as they say here in bonny scotland, boked.

mrs ishmael said...

I hope you are wrong, mr mike. I do understand the provocation and humiliation that Putin is labouring under, not least Biden strolling about in Kiev, and that his position depends upon him winning this war with Ukraine - but to eradicate by nuclear weaponry any country would bring Armageddon down on his head. He will achieve more by diplomacy - and there's already signs that global opinion is shifting in his direction. It all depends upon which way China jumps.

mongoose said...

I see that wee Kate has made a muck of it the first day.

"Now, Kate, you're a devout Christian. A Wee Free even. The very first time you poke your nose out of the door, pesky TV louts are going to ask you about gay marriage but will swiftly pivot into asking if gay rumpy-pumpy is a sin. And if mess all that up, they'll then ask you about tranny malarkey. And maybe they'll even have a bit of a laugh with asking whether the land of The Bruce is ready for sharia law under the yon Yousaf chap standing against you. You will need clear answers to all of these points. Are you ready?"

"Yes, mum."

"And remember that it doesn't matter what you say. The telly and the papers will ad hominem you into a straitjacket of fire and brimstone orthodoxy that would have given Ian Paisley a shudder. You'll need a plan because the whole country laughs at religious folk. Are you ready?"

"Yes, mum."

"Oh, and never, ever, the fuck ever, hen, apologise. And especially don't do one of those if-i-have conditional apologies because you'll look a weaselly dick. Are you ready?"

"Yes, mum."

Oh dear. Tears and apologies before the sun was up.

mrs ishmael said...

I loved the bit where she said some faiths are more acceptable than others - looks like Islam eventually won the Crusades after all.
Christianity is still the established faith of this country, right? I actually admire wee Katie for defying the secularity and new orthodoxy of god-less Scotland. Although she does express her views in one of those god-awful accents.

mongoose said...

I like her too, mrs i, and she married a widower and took on his kids. So good for her but FFS these questions were foreseeable, indeed inevitable.

"Thank-you for asking but as a devout Christian, I follow the teaching of scripture that all 'rumpy-pumpy' - is that how you say it? - is a sin unless it is practised within the sacrament of marriage. So gay, tranny and wildebeest sex for me would be a sin. It is however a matter of faith and personal conscience. This is the Lord's teaching and if you have a problem, take it up with him. While you're at it ask Yousaf what he thinks and from which tall building in Glasgow he intends to launch gay miscreants into their eternity."

It is, of course, understandable that they are all in such a err, bugger's muddle because they are arguing that white is indeed err, black.

mrs ishmael said...

I canvassed opinion this morning from a few Scottish church going chums, who are of the view that it is ok for wee Katie to hold traditional Christian beliefs, but those beliefs should be kept to herself and she shouldn’t act on them, vote on them, or indeed, mention them. One said Katie shouldn’t be mentioning her own views at all, but should represent the views of her constituency. I did remind her that, as she represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, then her views probably do represent those of her constituents, who are not exactly cutting edge metropolitans. Are they allowed to hang out their washing on a Sunday yet?
As for Yousaf, no criticism is allowed of anything a Muslim believes, eats or has sex with.

Mike said...

I have to say that that pic of Salmond as a Scottish cowboy never ceases to cheer me up.

On the other hand Mrs Fish as Braveheart is scary. Great photo=editing work, however.

mrs ishmael said...

Hi, mr mike, it is the work of an AI programme called Stable Diffusion. I gave it the task to render Sturgeon as Braveheart, and it produced that fabulous image.
Scottish Cowboy Salmond, however, is entirely his own work.

Mike said...

Thanks Mrs I. I had a go with Stable Diffusion. Its quite remarkable.

mrs ishmael said...

Isn't it just, though, mr mike? It will put a few illustrators out of work. And no copyright problems, either. I've had great fun with it. The Nadhim Zahawi as Aladdin's evil uncle was the original work of Stable Diffusion.