Heresy

Before I start this, I must declare an interest: many years ago, back when I was Entertainments Officer at college, we booked and I met Jo Brand. This would have been at the end of the 1980s/start of the 1990s, long before she was the national treasure she is now. She was utterly lovely, and went out into a room full of rugby top wearing neanderthals and totally owned it.

Anyway, Jo has been in the spotlight this week. In case you missed it, I’ll summarise the important points.

Earlier this week, the BBC aired a pre-recorded comedy programme on Radio 4 called Heresy. Brand was a guest on it, and during the course of the show, Brand said this:

“Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore and they’re very, very easy to hate and I’m kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?

Cue social media melt down.

Here’s Piers Morgan, who of course had to throw his twat hat into the ring:

Probably because she’s not a BBC employee, Piers. It’s not complicated.

And of course Nigel Farage had to have his say too:

Yes. Yes I can, Nigel. Except I don’t have to imagine it, for you said this:

Just in case you can’t listen to that, that’s Nigel Farage saying that he would “don khakis” and “pick up a rifle” to defend Brexit.

There’s a difference between the two courses voiced. Brand: permanently scarred; Farage: shot dead. You can decide which is the more final of the two.

What I find most astounding is that the same people who are now apoleptic with rage at Brand’s comments are the same people who only weeks ago were defending UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin’s rape tweets at Labour MP Jess Phillips as “just a joke”.

You see, context is everything, and Brand’s comments have been taken right out of it.

Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?

Farage’s comments (above) were at a political gathering of like-minded souls. Let’s put aside for a moment Farage’s previous comments about the Brexit vote having been won “without a shot having been fired”. Similarly, both his comments were made after one of his supporters quite literally shot a Labour MP in the face.

But it is, of course, hard to incite people to do what has already happened.

There was – and trust me, I’ve looked – no meaningful criticism from the right after Farage’s comments.

Now let’s look at Brand’s comments. First up, she’s a comedian, she’s not a politician. Ergo: things she says are not (always) meant to be taken seriously.

Secondly, and this was not reported as far as I have managed to find, after she had said “… why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?” she went on to say “Obviously I’m not suggesting anyone actually does this.”

Thirdly, again, context is everything. Brand’s comments were made in the context of a comedy show. Farage’s were made in the context of a political meeting. You understand the difference, right?

And fourthly, and I think most importantly, Brand was appearing on a show called Heresy. In case you’ve never heard it – and you should, Victoria Coren-Mitchell is the host, and if you ever need a stamp of quailty, Property of VC-M branded on the rump is as good as it gets – the premise of the show is that panellists “commit heresy” by defending an unpleasant or unpopular point of view.

And that’s what Brand was doing. Appearing on a panel show and playing along in the spirit intended.

So what Farage and Morgan et al are saying – along with all the other people who have never heard the programme or the quote in question – is that Brand should be punished (and make no mistake, the police were involved before realising how stupid this is) for answering a question on a comedy panel show in the manner she was contractually required to.

Sigh.

Jog on.

James – Say Something

More soon.

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Be Llyrious

Sometimes it’s the simplest, stupidest things which spark a memory.

And whenever I hear this song, in my opinion the greatest record to air-drum to, I’m transported back to the flat Llŷr and I used to share.

And there he is, proudly sitting on the sofa, massive grin on his face, air-drumming along to this, as I sat opposite on my recovered chair with a washing up bowl for a seat, desperately trying, flailing and failing, to do it with as much style and accuracy as he did (I never got the hang of imaginary tom-toms).

Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows

There’s two reasons I think that’s not only a great record, but also a great record to air-drum along to: Dave Grohl (who actually plays drums on it) and Llŷr (who didn’t but would have made a pretty darned good fist of it, I reckon).

More soon.

50 Ways To Prove I’m Rubbish #10

It’s 1988. I am at 6th Form, with the last streaks of my accidentally-died-purple hair still prominent (heck: my hair was still prominent!), my left ear pierced (and then re-pierced as, oblivious to the clue in the name, I didn’t realise that I wasn’t supposed to take the sleeper out at night), and in possession of a pair of truly awful tartan-print jeans.

I am drowning myself in late-80s jangly indie pop. And my fellow students decide that they want to go to a club.

Now club/rave culture hadn’t quite hit the sleepy backwater that is Peterborough by 1988, so going clubbing was still very much of the shiny mirrors, chrome features and fittings, pre-ecstacy meat market type.

And we weren’t exactly spoiled for choice when it came to nightlife back then; Richard and I had begun frequenting an indie club called Viva La Rock, essentially an end of terrace house which had been converted into a three storey den of iniquity. But despite my efforts to entice people with the endless slew of mixtapes which I had carefully prepared every other evening to play in the common room, I knew that my chancesof persuading my peers to go there were precisely nil.

And so it was to Canters, a nightclub above a furniture store. The odd name is because it was originally owned by former Peterborough United manager Noel Cantwell.

I hated it.

But I did dance. Once. To this.

Because it’s brilliant:

S’Express – Theme From S’Express

Truly a record which never gets old. And a record that all these years later which, if I ever hear it when I’m out and about, is pretty much guaranteed to make me throw caution to the wind, get off my fat arse and see just how knackered these knees are.

This also gives me the chance to post a link to this, an old post where I posted all (I think) the tunes sampled in Theme… I’ve re-upped the links for those who missed it first (and, to be honest, second) time around.

More soon.

A History of Dubious Taste – 1987

Ok, well, there’s no point in me pretending that I’m able to keep to my mission statement of posting all of the records I bought in the order I bought them.

I’ve realised I’ve missed loads out – often with good reason: I very much doubt (m)any of you would be the slightest bit interested in the glut of Status Quo records I bought as a teenager – so from hereon in, we’ll jump about a bit in this series.

Ok, that’s the admin done.

So. Regular readers will know how much I hate adverts, particularly ones which appropriate songs I love in an effort to try and draw those of us ‘of a certain age’ towards the product advertised. If you’re new here, go to the Categories drop down on the left and click S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs) and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, this means that I’m really happy that the weather has been so terrible here in the UK for the last week. Because I can laugh at the supermarkets trying to flog their wares by way of referencing barbeques we won’t be having, or the cosmetic companies banging on about whether we’re beach ready or not (I’m not, haven’t been for years and I suspect I never will be again).

And when I think this, I have to rein myself in, for I have a record lurking in my collection which shows that I too have fallen foul of the curse that is the British summer.

Now, I know that one of my tag-lines here is that “there’s no such thing as a Guilty Pleasure”, and I firmly believe this. But I also believe that there’s also such a thing as a record which you own from which you derive no pleasure whatsoever.

And this is one of those.

Yes, I own it (I dare not check my box of 7″ singles, for I fear it might still be there).

I hate it.

Because it’s awful.

Bruce Willis – Under The Boardwalk

No, wait! Don’t you look at me like that! I can explain!!!

In 1987, every other night was spent fervently compiling mix-tapes to be played the following day in the sixth form common room. Homework? Schmomework!

Now, I knew that my own musical preference – jingly-jangly indie-schmindie – was not to everyone else’s taste and that my fellow students would indulge me, but only as long as they knew they would hear something they recognised every now and again. Something – I shudder as I write it – from “The Charts”.

And so to avoid the utter ignominy of having a mixtape ejected mid-flow, I bought some chart-bothering crowd pleasers.

Which is why I own(ed) this.

Please don’t judge me.

More (better, I promise) soon.

Hello

A year or so ago, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer be bothered with how many visitors were attracted to this blog you’re reading now.

I decided that I’d become a bit too obsessed with numbers, and that was probably having an impact on the quality (such that it is) of what I posted.

So I vowed not to check the visitor stats anymore; writing was is the important thing to me, and whilst it’s nice to know that people read what I write, it shouldn’t be the main factor in me posting stuff. A bit like when a band says “we’re not in it for the money…if people like what we do, that’s enough for us.”

Unfortunately, WordPress – the platform on which these posts are hosted – had different ideas for me. For last Saturday, I got a message from them telling me that my “stats are booming!” And seriously, who can resist that kind of ego-massaging news?

And so I had a peek. And booming they were indeed.

I have no idea what prompted this.

But I figured a “Hello!” was needed for any new or returning visitors who have stumbled or restumbled upon my little corner of the internet.

S’okay, I’m not about to post Lionel Richie.

But I am about to post this, if not the greatest record to name-check Jimmy Corkhill, then unquestionably in the top three:

Welcome aboard, and welcome to the weekend.

More soon.