Sue Townsend – My Dear Adrian Mole…

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A childhood hero of mine died today. Sue Townsend was a sense of wonder to me: as a teenager myself who desperately wanted to be an author and achieve literary greatness so much, I was in awe of Sue Townsend – she had managed to start from the same place as me – uneducated, leaving school with nothing, from a working class background where no-one respected and cherished literature – she managed to create the most wonderful world of imaginary characters – the Mole family and their world was an intricate study of characters in the modern world written in the most unassuming, accessible, funny and, most importantly, touching way. Yes – that was the most important aspect to me – Adrian Mole was not just very, very funny – the insight he gave into the changing world of the 80s and beyond was wonderfully, cuttingly and incisoringly insightful – but Adrian was touching. His innocence and naivety coupled with a morality inspired by the greats of literature left him a easy target in such a Machiavellian world. I remember reading an entry in Adrian’s diary where his English teacher asked him why his homework was unreadable due to being covered in candle wax – when Adrain said he was desperate to do the work for her, but had to do it by candlelight in the freezing cold, wearing a duffle coat because the electricity and heating were cut off in his home, she was overcome with pity for him. I was overcome with pity for him too – because exactly the same thing had happened to me – in reality. Sue Townsend, I kiss my original copy of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 in honour, memory and respect. You were wonderful, and will always be remembered in my heart – you really did have the powers of Prospero, and, along with the child, an adult hero of mine died today – goodbye, Sue Townsend, and thank you.

Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead: The Cowardly BBC–if they only had the courage.

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Director General Tony Hall – aka The Cowardly Lion.

I made this official complaint to the BBC today:

I have been a dedicated supporter of the BBC my whole life – I never stop defending it and extolling its wonderful body of work and its huge cultural achievement. I often defend the BBC vehemently – however, I have been left feeling utterly betrayed by the new Director General, Tony Hall’s, decision not to play Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead. The song has reached No 2 in the national charts because of the strength of political feeling towards Margaret Thatcher – and this outrageous act of censorship is cowardly, insidious and in direct defiance of the BBC’s duty to be politically unbiased. I am appalled, but ultimately, very saddened by this decision – if the BBC is unable to stand up for itself, how can we possibly look to it to represent the people of Britain?

 

Perhaps when Tony Hall gets his knighthood the medal will finally give him the courage to admit he was wrong.

Milk Snatcher Thatcher

 

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“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.” – on her election as prime minister in 1979.

The death of Margaret Thatcher this morning has generated no sympathy from me – the descending spiral of banal, obsequious and sycophantic comments on the television and internet news  are exactly what I would expect from the media – she generated a devoted admiration from the same type of people who revere the selfish, callous, unthinking and greedy mores of Britain and the US in the 80s.  These fallacies of greatness do not represent what Margaret Thatcher did, what she was or what her impact on Britain was. 

I grew up in Thatcher’s era – I lived on a council estate, went to school, went on the dole and witnessed the devastation all around me – it was a time of great change – instigated by Margaret Thatcher and based on her ‘ideologies’ – I can’t write the word without inverted commas for fear of giving it some sort of credence. ‘Thatcher’ and ‘greatness’ are being bandied about as if there is an inherent connection – let’s hear from the citizens of this country – the artists – Alan Bleasdale and Alexi Sayle, the people who suffered under her. 

“There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.” she said in 1987; great – in that case, let’s respect her wishes, and not grant her the ceremonial and state-paid-for funeral she is to have – let the individuals bury and praise her – not society.1987

Spider Goats Vs The Humans!

 

She looks innocent enough – and she is – but behind those eyes infamous in Christian theology for their likeness of the very Devil himself lies a most disturbing secret – but not of the Da Vinci Code variety – no, this is far more real, much more fantastic, and really does give us something to worry about.

Scientist have successfully bred goat with spider genes to produce super-strong spider web – the web comes out of their udders in their milk, which is then extracted onto spools – a miracle of human engineering.  At the moment, these goats have names, live on a little farm, and are treated lovingly – but I predict a future where animals are farmed in huge factories in incredibly inhumane conditions, cruelty on a vast scale, all for our advancement – and I don’t like it.

George Orwell wrote animal farm as allegorical tale – but let’s take it literally – and it works just the same – inhuman – I use the work for its conceptual meaning – I quote  here from the Shorter Oxford Dictionary:

A adjective. 1 Of a person: callous, unfeeling, merciless. Of conduct, an action, etc.: brutal, barbarous, cruel. Cf. inhumane 2. LME. Shakes. Tit. A. Her spotless chastity, Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forc’d. C. G. Wolff Having been dehumanized, they act with inhuman indifference to the feelings of others.

I don’t think  of this level should be treated very differently from people – their closeness to humans is astonishing – and that’s because I they are  close to humans.

The science is undeniably exciting, the applications offer wonderful possibilities for the future of us all – but we need to understand ourselves, our relationship to the world we live in, and our responsibilities to our fellow animals before we carry on playing God – and we can play God – we are clever enough, and powerful enough – but we also play the Devil just as well.

The Guardian report the Spider Goats

Obsession – Hitchcock’s Vertigo

Kim Novak this week took out a newspaper advertisement reporting a rape.  I am now putting out a blog reporting an assault – I have been assaulted by the sheer beauty and brilliance of Vertigo – and Kim Novak and James Stewart are wonderful in it.

I saw this film many years ago, became bored half-way through and stopped watching.  What a fool – never stop watching Vertigo!  That was my first mistake.  My second was not to go back to it.  I did this week, quite by accident – it was being shown in high-definition on ITV here in the UK – and I thought I would take a look, just for the aesthetic of it – and I was astounded, astonished – the film looks utterly beautiful – the gorgeous scenery, colours and tones, the majestic sweeps of San Francisco Bay, and the  mazeic quality of the streets – it is so inspirational, that I just coined a new word – mazeic.  Yes, it is like a maze, and abstract, back and forth confusion of meanings and emotions.  James Stewart is amazing to watch – his acting is never better – a ‘nice’ man, driven to a Macbethian level inner turmoil, beautifully, gently, intricately played.

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Kim Novak has left me breathless, aching and forlorn.  She is one of the most intensely mesmerizing creations I have ever seen on screen – an ethereal beauty which makes the heart ache.

And Hitchcock – he has produced the most subtle, beautiful and intense and meaningful pieces of art I have ever seen – Vertigo should be hanging in a gallery, just like Carlotta, for us all to sit and gaze, and be sucked into that vortex of two souls touching.