|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
14 April 2018
A new party has appeared. No, not that kind. A political party…come back,
come back…but will it prove to be the party of all parties? This one is based on
honesty. Wait. I know. How radical. How ridiculous.
The new political party has access to up to £50m in funding and has been
secretly under development for more than a year. And the point of the party? It
is a proposed new “centrist” party spearheaded by a former Labour benefactor
multi-millionaire founder of LoveFilm, Simon Franks. Hmm, any plans to coerce,
force, trick people into actually voting – for any party really?
Senior figures from business and charity are said to be involved, including a
number of former Tory donors. Hmm. Curious that. Anyway, left + right =
centre. That’s the projected position. It may be called Project One Movement.
Now who will suffer if this ‘revolutionary’ enterprise actually materialises? Oh
Labour of course. “We warned you Jeremy. Jeremy. Are you listening?
Jeremy!” And the Lib Dems? Who? What?
Let’s Do the Sums
Leaked secret Home Office documents - I know, I know, when aren’t they
secret? - have revealed Conservative cuts to the police force have “likely
contributed” to a rise in violent crime. OK. OK. You already know this, but surely
you didn’t know that since January 2017, local police have spent £7m protecting
Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire. See, you didn’t did you? But it does defy
One protester, when she was permitted to speak I am thinking, said that there
were about fifty police surrounding the mostly older women. Oh those older
women can be so dangerous and prone to vicious violence. Fifty not nearly
enough. Dozens of officers have been ‘surrounding’ the anti-fracking grannies.
Clearly government endorsed. Earthquakes on this small island? No worries – if
you don’t live in Lancashire.
Oh not the children. A children’s health charitable foundation, The Daily Mile, is
involved with fossil fuel giant, INEOS, which – quelle surprise - wants to operate
fracking sites in the UK. It ‘encourages’ children to get out in the “fresh air”.
Obviously the very fresh air they are hoping to pollute, contributing to
greenhouse gas emissions, burning fossil fuels, fracking…. “Deep breaths
children. Deeper. No coughing.”
The Daily Mile, which campaigns on television, says it has a “profoundly simple”
concept: ready? that children should run or jog for 15 minutes every day, which
would often be the equivalent of a mile. See what they did? The daily mile?
Handy inhalers and nurses at the ready. All right. They didn’t but they will have
Meanwhile, INEOS is busy taking the Scottish government to court. Huh? No
really. It claims the government has breached its human rights by banning
fracking. No really. Its human rights. The company is also taking the National
Trust to court after the organisation refused to allow it to frack on its sites. No
really. Poisoning the little lungs of little children, causing possible cancers and
they are actually outraged over their human rights. What humans? I promise this
is not fake news. No really.
The Mystery of the Wax Museum
More in the parallel universe of the surreal. A new museum dedicated to all
things Brexit could be in your Brexit reality. If there is a Brexit reality – still
hoping not. And the point you are asking? Well, to preserve “the story of the
struggle for the United Kingdom’s independence” for future generations. Oh
those future generations who are going to be livid if not revengeful towards all
those nostalgic, nationalistic idiots who have fatally limited their futures.
Three Eurosceptic campaigners, former Ukip spokesman Gawain Towler, Lee
Rotherham and a Grassroots Out chief executive Vote Leave campaigner Alex
Deane, whose idea it was, are now calling on the public to have a search of their
homes for any items they might like to donate. Collection points have been set
up across the country to allow members of the public to donate potential
artefacts. Perhaps WWll ration books?
The three muppet musketeers’ website says: “Our plan is to bring together
memories, stories and items that can help preserve our nation’s history.” Oh
dear. Surely that excludes the Romans, Vikings, Normans? “Our objective is to
bring together a collection that will recall, for future generations, the story of the
struggle for the United Kingdom’s independence.” O h m y g o d!
“This is the website of those working towards creating a new Museum of
Sovereignty, The Museum of Brexit.” Did I mention their outreach programme?
“The first 35 to 40 years of the movement to get Britain out of the EU, there was
no such thing as the ‘tinterweb’ [sic] so any historical archive is real. Real stuff
gets lost and thrown away if we don’t start collecting it and archiving it.” The first,
the first 35-40 years? I suggest relocating all those desperate for ‘independence’
to be moved to their own small ice float and Nige, who has added his support,
could be king. Really. Something to consider.
The Olivier Awards made me do it; repeat a rant. The 50th anniversary of the
Man Booker Prize only confirmed it. This one featuring the continuing take-over
of British culture. You remember, a brilliant history of innovation, originality,
coolness, cleverness. Oh, right. That doesn’t really exist anymore does it?
It has been systematically replaced by plastic surgery, eye-wateringly expensive
children’s parties, favourite British brands bought out, rubbish fast food, music –
hip hop? really?, fashion – if you call Ralph Lauren ‘fashion’, sports – American
football – oh seriously now, the former British Man Booker Prize – Americans
winners for the last two years – so far - with no reciprocity with the American
equivalent naturally, the Baftas, and now the Olivier Awards. And like let’s not
even like start with the like mono-syllabic like language ya know. Turn away now.
Hollywood actors in every other advert. Playing themselves of course. American
actors are on our TVs in really annoying adverts. Kevin Bacon. Really? Do you
seriously ever want to see Kevin Bacon? Hint: no. And let’s not forget those
annoying nasal voice overs and shouty cartoon characters. British actors? Oh
they have all moved to LA en masse.
We, all right, you not me, can watch every American television show ever made.
Only a slight exaggeration. Americans have infiltrated BBC, Euronews aka NBC
now, channel 4, which spends every night featuring 10-15-20 minutes of US
news. And why exactly? Do you really care? Do you really know the names of
all the senators? All of The Donald’s cabinet? Oh you know you don’t – care or
know. So why are we subjected to it every single night? No breaking news – so
forget that excuse. Seemingly every curator is American – hmm – how does that
work exactly? Now I am confused. Oh I will stop. I will continue ranting to myself.
Now that won’t be a problem as all I have to do is turn on my TV and – and like I
am in like America.
And, if you have been holding your breath or lighting candles in churches, relief
has arrived. The Smithsonian museum in Washington DC is going to share a
space in the Olympic Park with – ta da – the V&A, but uh oh, not until 2023. Oh
I nearly forgot the rationale for this rant. Taking a very quick count – note not
thorough – there are more than 30 American musicals (you might like them…)
and plays, with 10 British. Oh what would we do without Harold Pinter? And yes,
we have seen all of his plays – possibly many times thank you. Actually, I quit
half way through counting. You get the point. Hip hop hype historically incorrect
Hamilton won seven Olivier awards. Is that £200 a ticket if you purchase
legitimately? So, take the kids then. But you’ll have to tell the kids they will have
to wait two years. And no, it’s not a history lesson but here is a lot of jumping
In 2018 the English National Ballet returns to Sadler’s Wells with a mixed bill of
American-style neo-classic ballet. Voices of America brings together works from
three generations of American choreographers. Not listening.
Oh, it’s not just me. Critics/writers who have noticed have begun to mention the
take-over. Well, it certainly has taken long enough for them to notice. According
to a Gallup poll, “approval of U.S. leadership across 134 countries and areas
stands at a new low of 30%.” That’s lower than the 34 percent approval during
the last year of George W. Bush’s administration, far lower than the 70 percent
approvals America got before the Iraq War. 70%. Really? Hmmm. Doesn’t really
explain the take-over then does it? Ready? Place hand on heart and repeat: “I
Just if you missed it – how could you really – Theresa took the decision to elect
herself as president, you know, like her mentor and leader and bestie, The
Donald. Sycophantic Theresa chose to follow the Don into Syria via military
action without consulting the Parliament. 51st state? Remember? Theresa has.
Pull the Other Leg
Raja Habib or Mr YoumustbeFuckingjoking as he read on the envelope sent to
him by – quelle surprise – the Tories. The letter referred to him as Dear Mr
Fuckingjoking. No, not joking.
Mr Fuckingjoking is a 67 year-old council worker whose letter pleading for cash
was signed by Theresa and sent by Tory marketing chiefs asking for a cash
donation to help the Tories “build a Britain fit for the future”.
Mr Habib said: “At first I thought it was a scam but then I looked at the picture of
the PM, the signature, and the donation card. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was
a complete shock to my system. I was embarrassed and insulted.”
The letter said the Tories were taking on a new “army of foot soldiers to take the
fight to Labour” for next month’s local elections. “However small, your donation
will help us defeat socialism in our country.” Erm. Socialism? What socialism
exactly? Oh right. The privatised NHS? The privatised railroad? The privatised
utilities, prisons, immigration, detention centres, academies? Oh right. Those
Mr Habib said he was too ashamed to show the letter, but “Eventually I showed it
to my son and he was so shocked as well”, who then showed it to a neighbour
Laura McCormack who posted it on Twitter.
With an image of the letter, she wrote: “Trying to argue they can run the country
when they can’t even work mail-merge. My elderly neighbours were more than a
little upset to be addressed in this manner by the PM. To add insult to injury the
Conservatives then had the cheek to ask for money.” Even just considering the
millions ‘donated’ to the party, she could have simply written:
I want hours of my life back. All right. I take full responsibility for the loss, but my
only excuse is that I was hopeful, caught up in some sort of magical thinking.
One word: Marcella. Possibly one of the worst television experiences I can
recall. I know, I know, there are so many, but the ‘last’ of the eight episodes
promises the series to continue. Last? Where to begin? Best where to end.
Jammed with every possible perversion and cruelty. And all done with utter
illogical ludicrous absurdist plot lines.
Need an example? Marcella is regressed finally – was it the middle of the night
when she suddenly appeared at her therapy appointment? Counting back from
five – really? Five? Try it. One…two… She experiences her killing her new born
baby. OK so far. No one notices? Her husband? No autopsy? She forgot?
Marcella is a violent vicious nasty character. Oh right. All because she killed her
baby? Oh right. She was already insane.
“We’re honoured to have him write this purely about London and set in London.
Everybody has watched things [sic] like [sic] The Killing, Borgen and The
Bridge. Audiences don’t like to be treated as if they’re stupid. Sometimes I think
we dumb things down and underestimate the intelligence of an audience. We’re
not stupid. We don’t need it hammered into our head. We want to work a little
bit. And I think this asks that of the audience.” Total deluded, Anna Friel and
And why did I continue to suffer through the eight episodes in false hope? And
what was AF talking about? It was the promise of Hans Rosenfeldt’s first
exclusively created drama for the UK. We do remember The Bridge, the brilliant
Swedish/Danish co-production. The Bridge for god’s sake. Well, Hans. What
the hell went wrong? Perhaps I have it all wrong and it was merely homage to
Dadaism. Who doesn’t love Dadaism? Hmm. That’s not quite right is it? So over
to you, Hans.