Saturday, 27 June 2009

Saturday 27/06/09

5 days into the Wimbledon Championships and they still haven’t had to close the new roof. Most disappointing.

Had a new business idea. You know the ubiquitous burger vans that litter the roadside? Well, I thought of an international franchise operation: Van Bergen’s Burger Vans! Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? I’d have standard vans, branded with my name, parked in strange, yet beautiful locations such as motorway lay-bys, back streets and on the outskirts of eyesore villages. They would sell only the fattiest burgers, dripping with lard and seasoned with copious quantities of the best MSG. The French fries would be mechanically recovered from chip shop scraps, being baked to perfection in a microwave. Franchisees would be supplied with pre-stained apronwear, possibly designer-stained by Banksy, just to add a touch of class.

Yesterday I took part in Biobank, a national medical research programme having the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses by monitoring a cohort of volunteers over a number of years. Given I’m a walking medical casebook, Hay had persuaded me to partake.

Besides taking samples and testing various functions and fluids, there is a long computerised interview. One of the questions was, “Do you have trouble getting to sleep and do you wake up frequently during the night?” Now any question with the word ‘and’ in it is logically 2 questions, which can be mutually exclusive, as they were in this case; I have no trouble getting to sleep (I could fall asleep on a razor), but have to get up several times in the night for a pee. Didn’t have a clue as to how to answer it.

The phlebotomist was Nigerian, the blood pressurist was Filipino and the spriometerist cum bone-densityist and measurist was some flavour of Scandahooligan. The NHS would collapse without foreigners to operate it.

One personal question was what was my libido like. I had to answer truthfully that I don’t particularly like Italian cars.

We were watching some of the highlights from the Glastonbury pop festival last night on TV. Don’t you just detest DJs who vie with the groups for airtime and provide nothing but inane and pointless chit-chat? Can’t really see what people see in Lily Allen; she’s like the girl next door who thinks she can sing and does a spot of karaoke down the pub on a Saturday night. Totally bereft of any star quality, if you ask me ,and purely out to make an utterly pointless and fatuous statement.

For star quality you have to listen to these guys. And of course, Jacko. I note the Jacko exploitation industry is already in full swing. It's strange, but despite me admiring and liking his music immensely, not one item from his magnificent oeuvre occurred at a key point in my life, and as such his music fails to lay claim to defining any moments in it, unlike say the Doors, Yes, Pink Floyd or Supertramp. Jackson's output is just great music to me, without the sentimental overtones. I guess we were just out of synch.


20 comments:

  1. Lily Allen is one of my pet hates; she's a posh, privileged girl who pretends to be working class (didn't she attend Cheltenham Girl's?) I can't abide her fake Cockney accent or find a trace of originality or likeability in her. I notice the Specials gave her a shout out last night - bit ironic as she's ripped off so much of their style. Don't get me started...

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  2. PG: I think it's Cheltenham Ladies' College.

    Can't say I'm that fussed on The Specials either. They remind me too much of Ali G - white boys pretending to be black.

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  3. My Libido is no good either, but my Latin is better...

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  4. The Specials were a voice for my generation and class in the early 80's - they sang about our crappy humdrum lives, unemployment, wasting your life getting pissed at the weekend, because that was all there was, race relations and the prejudice that was around then (especially in Coventry were they started out) - they weren't an all white band, they were mixed, and there was so much racism in at the time, and the National Front were so big, that they were making a big statement just by being a group and singing together. As a working class estate kid, with family on the dole, their songs summed up a lot for me. They weren't pretending to be black, (especially not the black members!) they were a major part of improving race relations through music and the Rock Against Racism gigs.

    Not that I'm going to get into an argument about it! :)

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  5. Braja: Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestunt!

    PG: Who says you're not going to have an argument? The whole Ska thing was white guys trying to be black. It was a particularly nasty off-shoot of reggae, which should have been left alone.

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  6. Braja: ...or should that be 'gestemus'?

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  7. No, I'm not going to have an argument! My point was not about Ska in general, (point taken) but about the Specials. (You cannot properly compare them to Ali G, who is a perfomance artist of this century). And their music was intended to be an influence for good. And they did give my generation a voice, when we felt we had none.
    But I am still not arguing. It's my birthday anway, and you aren't allowed to disagree with me. :0)

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  8. PG: Ah - but why did you feel you needed someone else to give you a voice? My generation didn't need someone else to be our voice - we challenged authority ourselves; the generation slightly before mine rioted at universities.

    Happy Birthday!

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  9. PG: ...not that I'm arguing with you.

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  10. Lily Allen does my head in - Such a fake, mockney poor little rich girl with no perceivable talent... I wish her no ill in life, but I wish so many other young talents had her place on the red carpet and the stage instead...

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  11. Because (she said, graciously accepting the birthday wishes and still not arguing) I was not referring so much to a generation as to a certain class of 1980's undereducated working class kids, who were suffering the onslaught of Thatcher, the dole queues, and no-one caring about what happened to them. My foster brothers *Sigh* I never, but never, get into arguments anymore...

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  12. Oh bugger, that got cut. What I had in the middle of that was, that my foster brothers were of that generation, and simply wouldn't have had the vocabulary to voice it, nor the upbringing to rage against it. I, on the other hand, had been brought up differently, and when I was old enough, 14 or so, I did start to fight against it; joined CND and made friends with lots of nice, eloquent middle class kids who had been brought up by 1960's parents who ahd done their own bit of rebelling and were now settled down and reading the Guardian, but had brought their children up to question things and argue (unlike the majority of people on my estate who just accepted it, having never been told any different). I went on demos, to Greenham Common, later became an anarchist (as it were) and was at the first Stop the City riot in 1984. But then, until I was 12 I'd had an intelligent upbringing; my foster parents, working class to the core, were baffled and angered at why I got involved with that kind of thing. But, to go back to the Specials, which is where this started, people do need a voice sometimes, and that is what music is for. For people who have none of their own, rightly or wrongly.

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  13. And anyway, that is a total non-argument, that your generation didn't need a voice; music has always used as a voice for someone, usually as a way of protest or rebellion, since way back.
    Right, that is as much argument as I can take for one day, oddly enough my old dad was called Bill and he could argue for England!

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  14. Banksy & Chips sounds like a winner to me!
    Yes, i watched BBC-Glasto last night.I Miss John Peel.
    Hey.If You like Neil Young I posted a youtube of his Rocking in The Free World on my blog today..........I loved the 'waving-thing' he did .Shades of Nuremberg! How did he do that?I think i will spend the rest of the weekend freeze-framing the video to find the exact point He got the crowd to join in! Gordon Brown could learn a lot from Young Neil.

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  15. Woman: Amen to that.

    PG: I get the distinct impression you're arguing.

    Tony: John Peel - now you're talking. Shame that Youtube vid was deleted.

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  16. Yes I know what you mean, Bill. I was rather looking forward to Cliff doing another sing-song while the rain passed over.

    Can I have one of those burgers? They sound great. Do you take Pay-pal?

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  17. I WAS arguing. Now I feel slightly shamed.
    But I am playing my new Specials CD, (all my other is on vinyl) so I feel slightly better :)

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  18. Is PG giving tips ?
    I'll 'ave a burger, innit (my best Lily Allen impression, just for you).
    Off to read a book so be good while I'm not around.

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  19. P.S. the ads have been videos for some time now and they've finally cottoned on to me being in France so I currently have one in French for www.holyland-pilgrimage.org. Really useful.

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