LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
29 June 2012
Bend it Like Beckham

No bend it for Beckham; only the bankers are bent. Keep Rooney as he has
been doing so well on the international stage: World Cup 2010, Euro 2012.
Lumbering, lazy, lacklustre. Has his hair gone to his head? Incompetent,
ineffectual, inept.

Speaking of... was Germany (touted as the best and inevitable champions of
Euro 2012) inspired at the semi-final? They played like England. The Italians
are so (in)famous for (even recent) match-fixing...you might wonder.

Italian newspaper
Gazzetta dello Sport printed a cartoon of Italy's saviour
Balotelli as King Kong. Charming. The Manchester City striker of Ghanaian
descent is regularly the target of racist abuse when playing in Italy. He said
before Euro 2012 that he would leave the pitch if he was racially abused from
the stands.

Beckham had been so vital in getting the London Olympics and was clearly
thrilled to bits to be offered a place on Team GB a month ago when it was
abruptly retracted by coach Stuart Pearce. Shameful. As if they even have a
chance. Makes one really proud.


Diamonds are Forever

The politicians are suddenly outraged: "He has to go"... to prison that is... not to
one of his palatial estates in the US. Barclay's chief executive Bob Diamond,
one of the smuggest, greediest gits on the planet can easily live off one of his
annual bonuses (£63m 2010, his £28.3m pay packet) so surely a single cell,
solitary confinement would be fair. There he'll have time to review his
disgraceful disregard for the banking public. He did tell us that he'd had enough
of us disrespecting the bankers after they had wiped out the world
economy.We apologise if we upset you, Bob. The £290m fine is risible. If
there's a god.... It would take a miracle for these criminals - 'dudes', 'big boys' -
to be criminally prosecuted.

A few of Bob's quotes:

"We are very grateful to the central banks. We are thankful to everyone...We
need to be responsible...the fact we never took a single penny of taxpayer
money anywhere in the world." Bob stressed the bank is complying with the
"spirit and letter of the law". "It's not pleasant for us at Barclays. Banks did
make mistakes but we are very proud." He demanded the "remorse and
apology" period for banks to end. "Nothing is more important to me than having
a strong culture at Barclays." Surely not the same 'culture of entitlement' - the
latest favourite of the PM CallMeDave having given up on 'hug a hoodie'. CMD
called for the end of 'bank bashing', in 2010.


The Nasty Party Exposed

CMD is determined to create a collective rejection bordering on spiteful distain
of the working poor by potential voters and it is succeeding - thus far.

A few suggested details he has put forward to establish his position in the
'nasty' party:

1. Kill your third born. There will be a two child system. Research Chinese
policy and methods. Hint: abortions performed at seven months.

2. Share a bed with your parents. Regardless of accommodation/situation: one
bed flat, five 'illegal' children at home, abusive step-father, drug/alcoholic
parents, childhood bedroom now rented out without a break clause - favourite
teddys donated to charity.

3. Know how to read, write and count. No cheating by studying if you don't
already know how.

4. Those on sickness benefits must improve. Regardless of infirmity such as
blindness or deafness.

5. Live on £2.60 an hour for an apprentice position. Particularly one that is
totally inappropriate.

6. Those living in affluent areas will be moved out. Preferably in the middle of
the night while still in pyjamas.

7. Living on £71 a week unemployment pay is too extravagant with average
monthly rents £1200-2000.

8. It's your own fault if you are disabled. You should just get over it.

9. If you aren't rich, you'll have to move north where benefits are less than in
the south.

10. Al fresco living is an appropriate alternative. But scroungers will have to
purchase their own tents.

In reality only 1 in 8 people drawing benefits is out of work; the rest are low
earners. Successive governments chose to subsidise greedy private landlords
rather than invest in affordable social housing.

The Commons pay review chief revealed what the public think of MPs:  
underworked and overpaid. 'MPs are probably the most despicable,
incompetent, corrupt, treacherous group of people that [sic] have ever lived.'

With 88% of benefit cuts are still to come, be afraid, Dave, be very afraid.


Oooh Yoookoooo!

Yoko goes To the Light with her first exhibition for more than a decade at the
Serpentine Gallery.

She stays true to the ethos of 60's underground art movement, Dadaist-inspired
Fluxus with significant as well as rather light references. Smiles all round will
help change the world? Not unless the entire population of the planet has had a
collective lobotomy.

"My ultimate goal in film-making is to make a film which includes a smiling
face snap of every single human being in the world. Of course, I cannot go
around the whole world and take the shots myself. I need cooperation..."
Yoko in1967

"People from cities and countries around the world will be able to freely
upload and send their smiles by mobile phone and computer to the world and
it's [sic] people. Each time we add our smiles to #smilesfilm, we are creating
our future, together. Give us your smile! I love you!"
Yoko in 2012

You can have your smile recorded at the gallery or upload it. I chose an
misanthropic position.

Wasn't it
Ceiling Painting 1966 that made John Lennon seek her out? A ladder
which features a framed piece of paper on the ceiling, a magnifying glass to
read the word 'Yes' in tiny letters.

Twee does come to mind several times. War, peace, love. Is that Yoko or is
that the 60's?

I wished - no not on a tag to be hung on the Wish Tree - that she had offered
an explanation on how to view art. No matter where I stood to read her not
particularly original Zen-ish philosophical musings, I had to read them
backwards, and yes, making them more interesting, because a tourist wearing
white-framed sunglasses and some sort of ridiculous hat planted himself in front
of every piece for what seemed days. He and his girlfriend laughed, looked
around, posed, chatted, hugged. Admittedly, smiling was not what came to mind.

One of her most famous pieces,
Cut Piece 1964-65 (filmed by the brilliant
Albert and David Maysles), redone 2003 (why?) was surprisingly disturbing. I
had seen it before, but my mood may have influenced my experience after
sharing my conceptual art encounter with Mr I'm So Cool in My White-Framed
Shades. After nearly ten minutes, I couldn't help but feel a prurient shared
malevolence of the participants - those cutting Yoko's dress off and the
audience. Uncomfortable for the wrong reasons.

Joseph Beuys, Ed Ruscha, Charlotte Moorman and Nam June Paik, Richard
Long, Bruce Nauman she isn't. Yet an intriguing contributor to the avant guarde.
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