LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
27 August 2016
WHAT'S THE WORD


Mark My Words
    
Theresa May wants to get up close and personal. Very close and very personal.
TM wants to know your every thought. Oh all right. Every thought you have that
is then transferred to your life on line will be available for police and naturally,
spooks. Oh joy! It’s the ‘snoopers’ charter’ as you know.

It’s a matter of when rather than if it becomes law during Parliament’s next
session. The Bill will give police and spooks access to records tracking every
British citizen’s use of the internet, without any judicial checks. Clue: without any
judicial checks.

Law, phone and internet companies will have to store ‘Internet Connection
Records’ (ICRs) showing the websites visited by every citizen, for 12 months. 12
months they say. Right. Your ICR will include your customer account
information, details of the device you are using, your IP address, the date and
time you are browsing, and who you are connecting with and what you are
having for dinner. All right, not the last; only if you order a take away.

Your life could be accessed by the police, security services, the NHS and
HMRC. OK. OK. They are saying not every page/search just the websites at
large will be and naturally mobile apps. So they are saying. Right.

The Government has admitted that the datasets hold personal information about
people who are “unlikely to be of intelligence interest”, including dead people.
Dead people who threaten: the interests of national security…the prevention or
detection of serious crime…or safeguard the economic well-being of the UK will
be duly noted.

Hmmm. All those porn sites you are addicted to – but not the actual videos. Or
so the Government says. None of that: “Look here, Harry. We’ve never seen this
before.” I suppose you’ll have to be more selective and possibly more diverse as
the snoopers could get bored. “Oh George. Yes we have. Last week.” So, porn
obsessed, dead or alive, they will be watching - and recording you and
everybody will know everything about you. So
1984.


Wordplay

“I can’t exercise for long. When I get back from a run my girlfriend usually asks
if I’ve forgotten something.” Pete Otway.

Yes, it’s that time. It’s time for the best 50 Edinburgh Fringe joke entries.
Guffaws, chuckles, chortles, howls can be heard. I read them, you surely read
them and to be honest, I’m not actually laughing.

Drum roll here. The Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe Award winner is West
Bromwich comic and care worker, Masai Graham with: “My dad has suggested
that I register for a donor card. He’s a man after my own heart.” OK. A smile
then.

A panel of 10 made up of the UK’s foremost comedy critics, nominated their five
faves. An anonymous shortlist was then put to 2,000 Brits to vote on. Ready to
double over? Roll in the aisles?

Well try this one: “In many ways racism is like cricket. Invented here but
perfected in Australia.” Nish Kumar.

Or “People who use selfie sticks need to have a good, long look at themselves.”
Abi Roberts.

Or “Hillary Clinton has shown that any woman can be President. As long as your
husband did it first.” Michelle Wolf.

Or “It took me two hours before I realised my pot of herbs had gone missing. I
thought: ‘No way? Where’s the thyme gone!’” Anthony Wright.

My uncounted vote goes to: “Apparently, one in three Britons are conceived in
an IKEA bed, which is mad because those places are really well lit.” Oh come
on now. You know you are smiling.


Putting in a Good Word

Time Out revealed some of what was said on the first night of the 24-hour tube.
Keep in mind, “Unsurprisingly, everybody is drunk”:

“Jesus looks like the type of guy who would wear crocs.”

“Are vegans humans? Or are they like their own species?”

“I lost my drink but I think I've found myself.”

“Don't tell anyone but I used a child travel card to get on the tube tonight.”

So, are you enjoying the tube talk more than the Fringe jokes?


The Final Word

Favourite Irish comedy? Father Ted! Obviously! Obvious humour? Faulty
Towers, Are You Being Served. The winner of the best sitcom of the 21st C
then? Mrs Brown’s Boys! Are they having a laugh? Well, the critics aren’t. I’m
absolutely not.

The ‘low brow’, non-pc, broad ‘comedy’ has just been voted the best comedy of
the 21st century by Radio Times readers. No I’m not joking. You can shriek with
laugher, roll on the floor with your legs in the air, cry with delight. It isn’t funny.
Sorry. It isn’t amusing. Sorry. It’s utter rubbish. Not sorry. It’s simply another
tied-to-a-chair torture option. Wit? More like being hit over the head with a rolled
up newspaper. Wait. That might be too funny.

Mrs Brown herself, Brendan O’Carroll himself, says that his show speaks to a
whole generation that modern comedy left behind; and clearly for good reason.
Well the BBC has looked backwards and listened. They are dragging back: a
one-off remake of Til Death Do Us Part, remakes of Keeping Up Appearances,
Porridge and Are You Being Served are about to return to our screens. You
asked. Sigh. Yawn. Hmmm. Nostalgia. Well, my nostalgia is the IT Crowd, even
Green Wing, of course Black Books. Where’s Raised by Wolves when you
need it?


A Loss for Words

The Independent has offered up ‘the creepiest lyrics you have been singing’,
but surely didn’t know just how creepy unless of course you have sat down and
given it a little thought.

1968 had Sir Tom Jones singing Delilah – and you thought you knew the lyrics?
Possibly. Nonetheless the narrative of his song is someone finding their partner,
Delilah, having sex with another man. Later the someone knocks on their door,
Delilah laughs at him, and so he stabs her to death. Ouch.

‘She stood there laughing I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.
My, my, my, Delilah.’ My indeed.

1978 Barry Manilow’s Copacabana nearly drove us insane. “Help. Make it stop!
It’s all so creepy! He’s so creepy!” But I digress here trying desperately to get
the song out of my head.

Tony, Lola the showgirl’s lover-bartender was shot and killed after defending Lola
from a customer. Now Lola sits in the same bar, now a nightclub, now struggling
with alcoholism, and wearing the same dress she worse three decades earlier.

‘Now it's a disco, but not for Lola

Still in the dress she used to wear

Faded feathers in her hair

She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind

She lost her youth and she lost her Tony

Now she's lost her mind

As I said, she wasn’t alone.’ Arghhh. I wish we were.

Of course there are more if you have the need to seek them out….


A Play on Words

You have a baby, your families pressure you with endless suggestions, you look
up the etymology of names, you search through Name Your Baby books until
finally you might decide: “I’ll call it a number. Possibly number One. Or Number
One.”

But you can’t because silly (ie stupid) names are just so on trend you know,
unless you are an attention-driven celebrity of course. Jools and Jamie Oliver
may have transcended the trend as they named their children inexplicable
names for the last 14 years. So forward thinking.

“With much anticipation…Jaimie gave a major hint last week… a spokesman
later confirmed that their child had been given a name that was 'just as unique as
his siblings'”. Well, I don’t know about you, but I held my breath until I lost
consciousness and fell over.

After the weeks of torture, we now know the name. Oh sarcasm doesn’t do
justice here does it? OK. You already know as the world sighed a collective
relief; the baby has a name! Hurray! Their latest addition is to be called River
Rocket. He’ll join the daft previously named non-sequitur siblings: Daisy Boo,
Petal Blossom, Poppy Honey, Buddy Bear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Perfect
for the playground. I’m sorry, but surely we can agree these names surpass
ridiculous. They aren’t lyrical or lovely. I’m thinking ludicrous. Oh I give up.


Not that Four Letter Word

And now for the winning word? I know you have specifically been avoiding this
word and anybody who specifically says it.
The Guardian tells us it’s the most
hated word: moist. Creepy!

A Few Words: the brilliant (and not just her hair) Sonia Rykiel has died. RIP.
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