Monday, February 16, 2009

Jake Thackray v Jim Davidson? No contest

THERE’S OFTEN talk of a North/South divide, usually based on some soft Southerner claiming that we all wear flat caps and keep pigeons and whippets. (I’m guilty on only two of the three charges. I don’t like pigeons.)

From my point of view, as a proud Northerner, it’s more about class, or dignity, or self-respect. We have it, they don’t. Remember the glorious Thatcher years? Yes, we might have been out of work and stood around a brazier in a donkey jacket, but they were the ones who turned up at football matches waving their wads of tenners. Who’s the class act there?

They had Watney’s Red Barrel; we had Sammy Smith’s. They had Mike Brearley; we had Sir Geoffrey. They had Jim Davidson; we had Jake Thackray (I suspect that comparison clinches the deal in anyone’s mind. The Bantam Cock versus that hilarious ‘Chalkie’ routine? No contest. Type his name into YouTube and you’ll be there all night. Altogether now, “Yan, tan, tether …” )

And so it goes with public art. We have the Angel of the North; they are soon to have a great big plastic horse wedged between two electricity pylons on a housing development in Kent. And not just Kent, but Ebbsfleet, Kent.

Have you been there? It’s the worst kind of new town horror show. Full of chavs and hoodies with only a Eurostar railway station and a failing football club to put it on the map. And now they’re about to get a White Horse. Not a classy, limestone-carved one like the Yorkshire version at Kilburn, but a 164-foot tall monstrosity designed by an ‘artist’ whose most famous recent work was dressing up in a bear suit and stalking a Berlin gallery at night for 10 days.

The artist’s impressions published in the papers this week were horrendous. It looked like a plastic Brittain’s farmyard model perched in a Blue Peter-produced bog roll and sticky-backed plastic landscape. Perhaps that’s to be expected when the £2 million project is being paid for by property developers.

And the legs looked all wrong. Mind you, as Northerners we must admit a degree of culpability on that score. You see, our most famous Northern artist, L.S. Lowry, couldn’t draw horse’s legs. No, really, trust me on this. Look at any Lowry painting in which there’s a horse and you’ll find that it is conveniently parked behind a low wall, a stack of cotton bales, a gang of tubercular children or a flock of coughing pigeons. He just couldn’t do it. Even Rolf Harris does better horse’s legs than Lowry could do. Oh, the shame.

Anyway, back to the point. There is only one man in this country who can do public art properly and that’s Antony Gormley, the man who sorted the aforementioned Angel and also populated the Merseyside seashore with those wonderful standing figures. But wait, I hear you catcall. Gormley was born in Kent. Yes, he might have been. But where did he go to school?

Ampleforth, Yorkshire, of course. Enough said.

WHILE WE’RE talking about Watney’s Red Barrel, I should alert you to the new drink from India that may very well turn up on the shelves of a Lidl near you any time soon. It’s been developed by the Hindu nationalist movement and it is made from … err ... cow’s urine.

No, really. The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department whose head, Om Prakash, says: “Cow water is undergoing laboratory tests and should be on sale very soon.”

“Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine and it will be tasty too. Its USP will be that it’s going to be very healthy.”

I just thought I’d let you know, just in case you end up in a London pub, any time soon.

STILL ON the subcontinent, a group of young Indian women are planning to send pink knickers to a radical Hindu organisation that has been threatening to attack unmarried couples celebrating Valentine’s Day.

The 10,000-strong group, formed during a Facebook campaign, defends the right of women to pop down the pub for a swift one and goes by the quite wonderful name of the Consortium of Pub-Going, Loose and Forward Women.

Do let me know where the local branch meets, won’t you?

I WAS watching that Lorraine Kelly on the telly the other morning when she wrapped up a story about Jennifer Aniston hitting a landmark birthday by asserting that “40 is the new 30.”

I bet there was an angry traffic cop on every street corner on her journey home …

WHAT IS going on with our OAPs? We’ve got used to them stomping around the Post Office after collecting their heating allowance, waving wads of notes like Cockney plasterers, but now they seem to be bonking themselves silly as well.

Take Coronation Street, as accurate a snapshot of Northern life as you’ll ever find. We’ve got Ken Barlow getting jiggy with the gorgeous Stephanie Beacham (I’ve reported him to the RSPCA – that poor little dog shouldn’t have so many walks) and Eileen’s Dad inviting himself inside Rita’s boudoir.

And even Norris Cole has been invited to play Hide the Sausage by fellow competition fan Mary. It’s outrageous.

Mind you, I suppose they could just be trying to stay warm …


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't care how full of karmaic goodness and yogic bubbles I'm not drinking that! On the other hand the barman has a tailor made retort to the claim "it tastes like p1$l"

9:50 AM  
Anonymous professional yorkshireman said...

Thou can't beat a pint of Crudgingtons 6X Gold Medal bitter, lad. That and some olive skinned Loose and Forward women for company.

12:28 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Remember the glorious Thatcher years?


And before you say she broke the Unions, she also broke a once great tradition of manufacturing in this country.

The cunt.

And there are plans afoot to give the harrigan a State Funeral? That's enough to make a golliwog vomit.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous professional yorkshireman said...

Did she bollocks! No doubt regurgitating the same old crap you heard in the student union bar.

Clearly Trotsky Chris is too young to remember what it was like before she arrived, when Scargill was running the country. You call today a depression? You know nowt son.

What manufacturing did go the wall (and I defy you to name a few without Googling) did so because of the emerging Far Eastern economies. We cannot compete with them in knocking out widgets so we need to keep ahead of the game with expertise in advanced technologies.

Luddites like you would still have us with a thriving candle making industry if you could.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

So that rusting monstrosity with aeroplane wings is admirable art? That Sammy Smith's must be exceedingly strong...

3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I always wondered why people were so proud of something a ten year old kid could have drawn up.

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angel of the north my arse, angel of the junkyard more like.

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

As the son of a former miner, 1984 was no picnic - but, since then, since she broke the unions, companies have run rough-shod over their employees, where you are expected to work longer than your contracted hours for no extra payment - just for the sake of the company.

That's bollocks.

Mind you, I wouldn't trust the Unions nowadays: they're in it for themselves, just another group of pigs feeding from the trough, leaving just enough scraps for the likes of us.

Scargill was his own worst enemy, but there was nothing false about him - you knew where he stood, and what he believed in - unlike Kinnock that ginger tosser, who jumped ship over to Europe and will still let you believe he's a fucking socialist.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

I'm with Chris on this one- well put, Chris.

I saw Thatcher intentionally break the working class and create a non-working underclass, American style. And if she'd killed industries such as coal mining merely to put a stop to Scargill, then that's the behaviour of a bloody psychopath. Why not, for instance, treat the miners better? And I know what I'm talking about, I was a miner. And how was it that sucessive governments- including Thatcher's- discouraged other industries from setting up in coal mining areas, so that it was the pit or nothing? And then sweet bugger all to replace them industries?

Now chickens created by Thatcher- and perpetuated by Blair and Brown- come home to roost, as we slowly realise that we need that coal. Anyone who knows about mining will tell you that it's unlikely them pits will ever be opened again. Unless you fancy open cast? Laugh as our almost exclusively foreign owned utilities call this place "fantasy island" because they can charge what they like. THIS is sticking up for Britain?? Selling it off, piecemeal, in order to get money to pay the dole bill, in the name of fanatical dogma?

A candle industry would be preferable to what we have now: a nation of pathetically enslaved little middle men, utterly dependent on countries- including western countries- who still have the sense to retain their industries. Countries like France, Germany and Belgium. Not to mention the great Chinese conveyor belt.

Not to mention the lunacy of the housing market, and the so-called "Credit Crunch". A "Global" recession, is it? Watch and see if the UK comes out of it first. It won't.

Now the greedy and stupid "good times" are over, the jumped up, reactionary former working class who fancy themselves as tuppence h'apenny middle class millionaires are feeling the pinch, and are demanding Socialism for the rich, after 25+ years of advocating the Free Market for the poor.

Like it or not, ordinary and decent working people will have to become more militant, and it'll be a long time before those of us with sense will fall for Thatcher and Blair/Brown's "pie in the sky, we're all middle class now" (except the underclass) bollocks.

Governments are supposed to make laws and policy for the greatest good for the greatest number of their citizens- not decimate one section to pacify the simple minded and false prejudices of another. Or to create a wasteland in order to re-distribute wealth UPWARDS.

Funny how some people have such short memories. Like how the climate has changed, like just how many coal strikes there were- you'd think that they were weekly- and the thoughtless and destructive Americanisation of British society never happened. Like drugs, gun crime, political correctness, greed, feminism of the most brainless kind, corporate bullshit, the underclass, the credit crunch, high house prices, sub standard education and compensation culture. All willing American imports via Thatcher and NuLabour. All to the worsening of the country as a whole. I will personally piss on Thatcher's grave, see if I don't.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I'd join the queue now, Black Dog...

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Forester said...

Well you surprise me Black Dog - I'd have thought you'd have taken the hard line....

6:07 AM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

You mean dig her up, and recycle her as donor kebab for the vampires in Canary Wharfe? ;-)

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll cheerfully pee on Thatcher's grave along with the rest of you...Evil woman

But Black Dog...I'm sick of this one-eyed hypocritical bile trotted out by ex-miners, their friends and families and millitant left wing supporters.

I don't recall too many flying pickets of miners round our way in the 60s and 70s when the textile mills of West Yorkshire closed in hundreds... No... you were too busy enjoying yourselves poncing round in clothes made in the Far East from cloth made in India and driving your Toyotas and Datsuns made from non-british steel and taking your holidays in Spain or the occasional cruise on a ship made in Norway.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Anonymouse- I agree with your sentiments, but they are pretty much the same symptoms I describe in my rant, er, post.

Consumerism and Thatcherism intentionally tried to shatter Working Class solidarity- it did so. Could you imagine a National Strike happening in the 70's, never mind the '80s? No, nor me. That is because coal miners from Yorkshire failed to have any sympathy with, as you say, Yorkshire textile workers, and they have little understanding or sympathy with car makers from Luton. Consumerism- the cult of the self- does this. Communism made the mistake of seeing everyone as a producer, consumerism makes the mistake of seeing everyone as a consumer. The cult of consumerism is to divide society into single units- as that bastard woman said, "There's no such thing as society, you know, just individual men and women".

The first step is to isolate industries, and convince coal miners, for example, that textile workers don't have similar problems, or that they're having it easy. Think about this: everyone now believes that they're having it harder than everyone else, who are having an easy life. Petty resentments which divide us.

I have never worked in the textile industry, but I have worked in the glass industry, and the town I come from had the whole damned industry shut down in a very short time. Everyones family had someone who worked at Pilkingtons, United Glass or Triplex etc.

I don't just decry the loss of the miner's industry, but the loss of ALL industry which employed on a large scale, largely because where working people work together, there is far, far greater social cohesion and hence a better society. Working class institutions of all kinds have been taken away- deliberately- by government "redevelopment" and "new towns" and concentration camp style housing, with no room for traditional working class, self made institutions you may remember.

Part of consumerism is to not care where a product came from, so long as you get it, and a middle class press and media have every interest in never pointing out the impact of buying foreign on British workers. Yes, the miners were just as guilty of this as everyone, and you may believe that they had it easy (but you shouldn't), but the truth is that the defeat and utter betrayal of the miners spelt the end of working class militancy which is now more necessary than since the '80's. They're pinching our pensions, making us work longer, destroying our NHS and attempting to lower taxes for the rich and increase them for the poor. Your industry went under because of "market forces", but banks- who behave a thousand times worse- get taxpayers money to bolster them. Socialism for the rich, free market for the poor.

I am not a socialist per se, nor any other particular political affiliation. I just believe that life is too short and precious and that it is immoral to rig things in favour of those who have plenty when British citizens have their little bit taken away from them as government policy. We cannot rely on them to play fair, hence we need to rebuild solidarity and institutions away from the corrupt and greedy and backstabbing middle class careerists. This will happen and is already beginning to do so. If one cannot take action to save one's livelihood, then what else is there?

2:31 AM  
Anonymous MAggie Thatcher said...

It's interesting how songs have been written to celebrate her demise such as Thatcher's death anthem and The lady's not for Burning (Piss anthem) by The Maggie thatcher Experience

3:40 AM  

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