Sunday 3 December 2023

The Sunday Ishmael: 3/12/2023

 These days, if you take a picture to be reframed, it will be finished by the back of the picture being sealed to the frame with adhesive tape. It is important to seal the picture to prevent insect damage and the ingress of dirt and damp. I was once restoring an old picture and nestled between the glass and the mount, I found the desiccated body of a woodworm. It had been unable to make a flight hole for its escape when it metamorphosed. It had eaten some of the picture but it was clearly not to its taste. The Victorians employed a different method to seal their pictures, which is still employed by the better picture framers.
A line of glue is applied around the edges of the back of the frame. The framer then takes a piece of brown paper, larger than the picture, which has been dampened by wiping it over with a damp sponge. The paper is then laid over the picture back, pressing down on the edges to ensure good adhesion. Wipe it over with a slightly damp cloth. Leave to dry out. When dry, the paper backing will have shrunk onto the frame and become drum-tight. Bend the paper overhang to create a strong and accurate crease, then take some fine sandpaper and stroke it along the crease until the excess paper just comes away. You then screw in your little picture-hanging eyes, thread them with a nice gold wire and Bob's your uncle. That's the problem with having stuff. You've got to keep at it. Cleaning, polishing, mending, displaying or safely storing in acid-free tissue and stout cardboard, keeping the ravages of time and insects at bay. Curating, in other words.
I had occasion to take apart a picture a little while ago. It was old stock from our antiques emporium that had never found its forever home, so it had made its way into our personal collection, although I'd never liked it. A black and white depiction of a group of bewigged, frock coated gentlemen smoking pipes and plotting sedition. Anyway, it had been cleaned and resealed by mr ishmael and his dyslexic assistant some 25 years ago. The integrity of the seal had been compromised,  Damp had got in and there was condensation. So I had the back off and a scrap of paper fluttered out. Here's the message to the future that the dyslexic assistant had secreted under the brown paper backing:
"We don't no who these dead basterds ar but mr ishmael and me backed it in 1997 and we are both bead basters by the time you are reading this!!!!😊"
This small instructional tutorial and anecdote was triggered by the news this week of three bead basters, two of whom, it seems, were perfect beings who graced the world with their diplomacy,  wit and dedication to the improvement of the human condition, and one who wasn't. The first two - Darling and Kissinger, were just lucky basters. The third, Shane  MacGowan,wasn't.  
He died at the age of 65, of pneumonia, in his home in Dublin, with his wife. He had been wheelchair bound since breaking his pelvis in a fall in 2015. He suffered a further fall at home in 2021, breaking his knee, and was hospitalised in 2022 with viral encephalitis.

Kissinger, by contrast, "the aged warrior, full of years and honours, venerable from his piety and courage and implicit obedience" made his full century and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize early in his career for interfering in the affairs of foreign countries.  His approach to politics was called Realpolitik, which prioritizes pragmatic geopolitical considerations over moral or ideological values. Kissinger has been criticized for ignoring war crimes committed by American allies during his tenure and, of his death, House of Representative member  Gerry Connolly, stated Kissinger's "indifference to human suffering will forever tarnish his name and shape his legacy". Rolling Stone ran an obituary titled "Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America's Ruling Class, Finally Dies", HuffPost labeled him "The Beltway Butcher" and  Teen Vogue's  headline ran : "War Criminal Responsible for Millions of Deaths Dies at 100".

mr ishmael took a dim view of Kissinger's career and Peace Prize, called him a: "horrid little turd, Kissinger, but typical of the lowlifes with whom poor, barmy Nixon surrounded himself." Here's an essay from July 2011:

Hello, Norway und Heil Hitler. Seckatry Kissinger here,
butcher of Laos und Cambodia und Vietnam 
und Father Confessor to asshole president, TrickyDicky Nixon und all-around sex god.
I just vant to say sank you all vunce again for giving me ze Nobel Peace Prize und a million dollars of cash.  
Giving zat award to a person like me goes to show zat ze committee truly has its hand on the pulse of global whatchamacallit und it also spelled the end of satire in Amerka because all ze funny men said zat zis was so shit zat it was beyond satire, zat zey couldn't make up shit like this. Und I vood say to ze Norwegian peoples zat a good way to purge zis unhappiness is to take a few ragheads up in ze helicopter and throw zem the fuck out.  It wuz srategy like zis vot helped me secure my historic victory in SouthEast Asia.  Zat vill be twenty sousand dollars, bitte. Oh, und don't forget zat I brought peace in the Middle East,too, und so can I have anudder prize?

The Mayor of London, seeking to milk the Norway business* for all it's worth, has offered the entire Metropolitan Police Service to Oslo, at a knockdown price.

They're jolly good chaps, what, blustered the albino charlatan, and if the Norwegians want stuff covered-up, want evidence ignored and if they want an investigative team which will spend it's time on freebie piss-ups with international criminals then there is no better body of professional, dedicated law enforcement officers anywhere in the world. Any faults they may have are of course due to my good friend the unelected prime minister and not to me; you know me, good old Boris, never one to take things too seriously, especially when they're codswallop. Not, of course that an island full of dead sardineheads is codswallop, or even sardineswallop,  but as we say in showbusiness, there's no such thing as bad publicity and anything which diverts attention from my accomplishments in policing has to be simply spiffing... So come on you Olympics-hungry Londoners, let's all stand together with the Oslovians in forgetting all about Sir Paul Gob and that other cove, wotsisname; see, I've forgotten him already. And so should you. And so, if he knows what's good for him, should  Assistant Commissioner Yates.
My fellow Nordic motherfuckers. I join with you tonight, in sorrow, and Michelle and I, and our two robokids, sit here in the White House, eating sardines on toast, out of a sense of solidarity, yes and kinship. It's not widely known but my great grandfather, Sven Obamasensen, sailed those icy Northern waters all the way across the Atlantic and founded Amerka, the greatest and most indebted nation on Earth. So, your loss is my loss and if you want some of Amerka's peace-loving, democracy-loving, crewcut, psychobastard, mommasboy, gangraping troubleshooters to come over there, wherever the fuck it is, and kick some ass then all you need to do is ask and we'll come and set up some secret bases and secret prisons and surveillance systems and make you pay for them.  Just like we do with our British subjects, I mean friends. No, I don't, I mean subjects. Those Brits, they can be subjects of Europe and Amerka, why the fuck not?

And let me thank you, once again, motherfuckers, for my Nobel Peace Prize, which you sensitive, caring Norwegians so kindly gave me for stopping the wars and shutting down Camp Freedom, or Camp Guantanamo, as it has been known.  I will be doing these things, of course, just not now, because   in the meantime we have some other wars to start, regimes to change and suspects to torture.  Never forget that the price of Freedom and Peace is a police state and permanent,  total warfare. Thank you and God bless Amerka.
Aye, that's right, so it is. And as First Minister of Northern Ireland I know that I speak for  my fellow Mick, Father Blair and my good friend Mr Gerry Nonce, when I say that we deplore acts of violence against civilians, anywhere and anytime;  they are totally unjustified, so they are.  Unless it's us who's doing them, But in this case it wasn't, so it wasn't, and so I say to the people of Norway:  If this slaughter leads to the release from prison of hundreds of murdering scum,   like me,  then it's a price worth paying in what we call conflict resolution terms, so we do.  And by the way, we took a dim view, me and Gerry, so we did, of youse pofaced Presbyterians giving the Nobel Peace Prize to that Davy Trimble and not us, so we did. And youse better remember that I haven't put my Black and Decker beyond reach, so I haven't.  Next time youse're giving out a Peace Prize, bear that in mind.
*The 2011 Norway attacks, were two domestic terrorist attacks by  Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp, in which a total of 77 people were killed.

Baron Darling of Roulanish, or Darling Alistair, managed more years than MacGowan, but fell far short of the "old warrior's" centenary. He died this week of cancer at the age of 70. He followed Gordon Brown into post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post he was eminently well suited for, having such a grasp of economics that he changed the designation of his second home four times in four years, allowing him to claim for the costs of his family home in Edinburgh, and to buy and furnish a flat in London including the cost of stamp duty and other legal fees. Darling said that "the claims were made within House of Commons rules"
Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "given that very unique responsibility that [Darling] has [as Chancellor], it's simply impossible for him to continue in that role when such very major question marks are being raised about his financial affairs". 
On 1 June 2009, Darling apologised "unreservedly" about a mistaken claim for £700, which he had agreed to repay. Gordon Brown dismissed it  as an inadvertent mistake.
He continued to be at it, though, and the next year, he resigned from the Faculty of Advocates as they were investigating a complaint about his expenses claims. Darling Alistair denied any connection between the two events.
mr ishmael honoured him with this little essay in 2009:

Badgerisms: Axioms for the New Depression 2009
"And you say, mon ami, that you work for le governement des Rosbifs?"

"Yes, Christine, in my country, too, an old woman can be finance minister."

"Nobody is actually opposed to bonuses per se."
Alastair Badger, a Scottish solicitor and laughably the pretend Chancellor of the Exchequer, at the final NewLabour conference.

Actually, comrade, we are opposed to bonuses per se , unless they are awarded to all who exceed the requirements of their job description and not just to those who, already handsomely paid and pensioned, fail spectacularly to do so. Nurses, for instance, or paramedics whose prompt action saves lives, although not yours, you worthless gabshite.

"The taxpayer has put his hand in his pocket to bail out the banks."

Actually, comrade, you put your hand in our pockets, to bail out the banks, for whom you will shortly be working on a more formal basis; this a juxtaposition, it is true, more desirable than having, like yourself, Gordon Brown's nail-bitten fist up your arse, but not much more.

I tried in vain to find anything  by mr ishmael about MacGowan. I don't think mr ishmael rated him at all. Maybe it was the formidable, toothless ugliness, maybe the alcohol and drug use, maybe the fact that mr ishmael was a musician and MacGowan wasn't, not really - or possibly it was the Oirishness - apparently MacGowan's regret was that he didn't have the balls to join the IRA. MacGowan was an English-born Irish musician, best known as the co-founder, lead vocalist and chief songwriter of Celtic punk band the Pogues. MacGowan's songs were influenced by Irish history, Irish nationalism, the Irish diaspora, and London life. He went to Westminster School (a public school) as a scholarship boy, but was expelled at 16 for possession of drugs. Which kind of set the stage for the rest of his career. I did like 
 "Fairytale of New York" (1987), though, which he recorded with Kirsty MacColl.  There actually isn't now, nor ever was, an NYPD choir, unlike the song's assertion - "The boys of the NYPD choir still singing Galway Bay".  But they do have the NYPD Pipes and Drums who are featured in the official video. They did not know "Galway Bay" and so sang a song that all of them knew the words to – the "Mickey Mouse March". The footage was slowed down and shown in brief sections to disguise the fact that the Pipes and Drums were not singing Galway Bay. The NYPD Pipes and Drums were drinking  on the coach that brought them to the video shoot, and by the time they arrived they were drunker than the band, refusing to work unless they were supplied with more alcohol.

That's enough bead basters. Lets turn to old statues, instead. 
This former Chancellor of The Exchequer is not in the current Prime Minister's Good Books. Rishi Sunak snubbed the Greek Prime Minister this week by cancelling his appointment with him after he  appeared on the Laura Kuenssberg Show last Sunday and said he wanted his artefacts back.  Laura had dressed up nice for him in her expensive leather skirt.
 "Just say",  he told Laura, "someone ripped the Mona Lisa in half and put part of it in London and the other part in Paris, wouldn't you want it to be reunited? "
Apparently, Rishi would not. He must have reflected that this situation was very much the consequence of Bukkake George's machinations as Chair of the British Museum. - particularly when George announced to the press that the row had encouraged the British Museum to go ahead with its negotiations about loaning the Parthenon marbles to Athens. Osblow continued: " We can go on doing it whether or not Rishi Sunak meets the Greek prime minister. In fact, if anything, things have been rather clarified by this week. We obviously know we’re not going to get any particular support from the Conservative government.”
So Number 10 snippily rejoindered: Osborne can as a “private individual” – continue with any talks he wants but be warned that it saw moves to remove the sculptures from the UK as a “slippery slope” that could lead to the return of other contested antiquities.

Everything he touches turns to shit. Apart from his bank balance.
Former Chancellor George Osborne was the highest earning MP of 2016, raking in £628,000 on top of his MP’s salary of £74,962 – chiefly from lucrative public speaking engagements.  
He was sacked as Chancellor by Theresa May – but is one of 14 MPs who earned more than the Prime Minister that year, according to the Register of Members’ Interests.

After losing his job, Mr Osborne was signed by the Washington Speaker Bureau, the US agency that also acts for Tony Blair, and embarked on a round of lucrative engagements on both sides of the Atlantic. His most profitable speeches were two for investment bank JP Morgan, for which he received £81,174 and £60,578, a speech for Palmex Derivatives (£80,240), and another for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (£69,992).
Who appointed this clown Chair of the Trustees of the British Museum?  You've not forgotten that under Osborne's chairmanship, the British Museum had to report that it  had mislaid  many valuable artefacts, including gold, jewellery, gems and semi-precious stones that date from the 15th century BC to the 19th century AD. The thefts came to light when an art historian spotted items from the British Museum collection being sold online. 
“Essentially, we were the victims of an inside job by someone, we believe, who over a long period of time was stealing from the museum and who the museum had put trust in,” Osborne told Parliament’s Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. “Quite a lot of steps were taken to conceal [thefts]… a lot of records were altered and the like.”
He added that there were “lots of lessons to be learned” as a result. But, the good news is that: "350 objects have now been recovered, and titles have been transferred to us, so we have the makings of a good exhibition that was not previously planned.” 

I believe that these are still there.

More japes, jollity and political satire  can be found in the  four-volume Call Me Ishmael oeuvre,  the work of editor mr verge.

Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack, Ishmael’s Blues, and the latest, Flush Test (with a nice picture of the late, much lamented, Mr Harris of Lanarkshire taking a piss on a totem pole) are 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.

 Hamnavoe Bay, Stromness.


Yardarm said...

Nothing indicates more that Ruin has succeeded as the fact that worthless little pansy, Gideon Osborne infests the public and private sectors.

mongoose said...

Kissinger: “Given a choice of order or justice, he often said, he would choose order,” [biographer quote in Times obituary]. “He had seen too clearly the consequences of disorder.”

This refers BTW to the experiences he had had in Germany during the Nazi period, his parents took him and fled, and much of his family that stayed was slaughtered in the camps. A moment's fucking reflection, Henry, you dumb bastard, would find that the slaughter of your kin was among the most orderly slaughters in the history of the universe. What was lacking was not order but freedom, and even humanity yet. The last thing the world needs is order delivered by the likes of Henry Fucking Kissinger.

Shane I doubt could play a note on anything but there was a maudlin o'irish sentimentality to his songs and some of his singing when still toothed that, to be fair, plucked at the heartstrings of the diaspora.

Kirsty sang him right off the surface of the damn Christmas record. "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash" is worth a couple of plays BTW for the energy of it.

(I have done you an xword grid, mrs i, and am now writing the clues.)

Mike said...

Masterful segue from picture framing to the war criminal and Nobel peace prize winner, Kissinger.

A disturbing number of the western politicians advocating genocide, regime change, torture etc. are "women". (BTW I'm not excusing the males). But what is it with the "women" of the species?

mrs ishmael said...

True enough, mr yardarm, it is beyond rational comprehension that Bukkake Osborne so infests offices of state, finance, business and god knows what else. He is a living exemplar of the class-rotten, incestuous, daisy-chainery that is Britain today. Mind you, it was probably always thus - but they used to be able to hide it better in that distant country that is the past.

mrs ishmael said...

Well done, mr mongoose - your crosswords are now a christmas institution in ishmaelia. Thank you for the recommendation for Rum Sodomy and the Lash - I will have a listen.

mrs ishmael said...

Thanks, mr mike - the picture framing was an introduction to obituary corner by way of the charming note to the future from mr. ishmael's assistant. Another assistant, a literature graduate from an ancient and revered institution, who, on sweeping out dust and spider webs from old drawers, would remark, in similar vein, "the hands that made this are coffin dust now." I thought it was a brilliant phrase, product of a brilliant mind, but it turns out that it was more the product of a brilliant memory, as he was quoting from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Anyway, I missed out another bead baster, who also shuffled off this mortal coil at the weekend - our Glenys, the first Glenys to go t'University, where she learned a financial trick or too - either there, or from the Labour Party. You know what they say - Tory disgraces are sexual, Labour's are financial.
And why do we suppose, mr mike, that women in public life are not as bloody, vicious, ruthless, cruel, sexually exploitative, avaricious and stupid as their male counterparts?

Mike said...

Call me old fashioned, but women are/used to be the loving, nurturing sex of the species. (BTW this is the case in other species).

Yet we have, for example, Madeleine Albright who said the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children from American sanctions "was a price worth paying" Just one example from a long list.

Yardarm said...

There`s some scuttlebutt that Mr Useless has been dangling his sporran where he shouldn`t. When he`s not at Piss Up 28, sorry, COP 28, pretending he`s someone important.

inmate said...

Lets not forget Glenys eh? The trougher’s trougher.

Socialists thru and thru...
GLENYS KINNOCK, the new minister for Europe, has amassed six publicly funded pensions worth £185,000 per year with her husband Neil, the former leader of the Labour party.
They have already received up to £8m of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances, he as a European commissioner and she as a member of the European parliament.
The pair are already drawing payments from three of their taxpayer-funded pensions. Glenys Kinnock, 64, soon to be elevated to the House of Lords alongside her husband, is collecting a teacher’s pension and from next month is entitled to another from Brussels with an estimated annual value of £48,000.
Lord Kinnock, 67, is receiving one pension as a former MP and a second for his service in Brussels, together worth more than £112,000.
Glenys Kinnock is simultaneously drawing a ministerial salary of £83,275. Her job entitles her to a further ministerial pension.
After she retires from her job she will be eligible to draw a further UK-based pension related to her service as an MEP, worth £19,730 a year.
Neil Kinnock, who resigned last week as unpaid chairman of the British Council to avoid “perceived conflict of interest” with his wife’s ministerial role, receives a pension of £83,089 for his service as European transport commissioner between 1995 and 1999 and vice-president of the commission from 1999 to 2004.
He receives a further £28,936 a year for his 25 years’ service as an MP, including time as leader of the opposition. He also claimed £13,700 of allowances while a member of the House of Lords during 2007-8.
During their time in Brussels both Kinnocks claimed a housing allowance on top of their incomes, even though they lived in the same home. This alone would have netted the couple almost £600,000 over 10 years.
“The Kinnocks are Brussels’s very own Lord and Lady Expenses,” said Mats Persson of Open Europe, the London-based think tank that calculated the Kinnocks’ earnings.

The pansy Gideon is a fucking amateur, mr yardarm, compared to this family, nay dynasty of ‘Champagne Socialists’

mrs ishmael said...

Wow- Glenys-Six-Pensions!! Thank you, mr inmate. Her habit of stopping the taxi on the way to the airport to sign in for the day in Brussels raised mr ishmael's ire. What he'd have had to say about the six pensions would have turned the walls blue.
Still, it didn't stop her from developing dementia, she couldn't take it with her to bribe Lord Beelzebub and she didn't make it to her 80th birthday, so there's some justice.

mrs ishmael said...

The Scottish Daily Express broke the story that two prominent SNP politicians were involved in "sordid SNP lockdown affair" that wrecked the marriage of one of the participants. No names were released. Is this the scuttlebutt about Useless, mr yardarm? Do they think they're Tories, or what?

mrs ishmael said...

"Call me old fashioned, but women are/used to be the loving, nurturing sex of the species"
No, mr mike, this is a vile calumny perpetrated by the Victorians to keep middle class women in the home, embroidering doilies, arranging flowers with their soft little hands and strapping themselves into corsets to present an alluring figure for the exclusive use of their husbands. Shakespeare started it, as he put into his Kate's mouth the problematic speech from the problematic play Taming of the Shrew: "And place your hands below your husband’s foot: In token of which duty, if he please, My hand is ready, may it do him ease" - although you could say he was having a larff as one reading of the scene could be that Kate was helping her perennially impoverished husband, Petruchio, to win a bet and the whole incident was pre-arranged between them.
Working class women, of course, didn't have time for all that nurturing and loving as they were too busy working and murdering unwanted babies.
And I'm happy to report that men that I have known, from my dear old dad onwards, have been loving and nurturing.

Yardarm said...

It is, Mrs Ishmael. Did they borrow Gnasher`s campervan for their sordid tryists ?

mrs ishmael said...

Isn't it impounded by the Polis, mr yardarm? Who is mr Useless' Innamorata?