Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Sea Views of the Gulag for a Menopausal Jordan

Hideous Man Flu yesterday - nearly died! What makes it ironic is that I forgot to go to the doctor's surgery on Saturday to have a flu jab.

Menopause. Why call it that when there's no chance of it resuming again? Should be called the menocease, surely?

Sir Jimmy Savile has been buried at a 45 degree angle 'so he can see the sea'. Now as far as I know, he has actually been buried in the ground, so (letting alone the fact he's dead) his view of the sea is actually obscured by half a ton of soil (plus the concrete they poured into the site to prevent vandalism).

I wonder if estate agents will start using this premise? "Wonderful views of the sea," despite the house in question being in the middle of a concrete jungle.

The BBC is resurrecting Jim'll Fix It for a Christmas Special as a tribute to Sir Jim; however, rather than showing a Best Of Jim'll Fix It (as befits a tribute), they're showing a new one hosted by a soap actor. Surely they should call it Shane'll Fix It, as it will have nothing whatsoever to do with Jimmy Savile except the name?

I'm currently reading Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago - an expose of the Soviet labour camps - and a harrowing read it is too. Here is a particularly vivid passage showing the terror people were placed under.

A district Party conference was under way in Moscow Province. It was presided over by a new secretary of the District Party Committee, replacing one recently arrested. At the conclusion of the conference, a tribute to Comrade Stalin was called for. Of course, everyone stood up (just as everyone had leaped to his feet during the conference at every mention of his name). The small hall echoed with "stormy applause, rising to an ovation."

For three minutes, four minutes, five minutes, the "stormy applause, rising to an ovation," continued. But palms were getting sore and raised arms were already aching. And the older people were panting from exhaustion. It was becoming insufferably silly even to those who really adored Stalin. However, who would dare be the first to stop?

The secretary of the District Party Committee could have done it. He was standing on the platform, and it was he who had just called for the ovation. But he was a newcomer. He had taken the place of a man who'd been arrested. He was afraid! After all, NKVD men were standing in the hall applauding and watching to see who quit first! And in that obscure, small hall, unknown to the Leader, the applause went on—six, seven, eight minutes! They were done for! Their goose was cooked! They couldn't stop now till they collapsed with heart attacks! At the rear of the hall, which was crowded, they could of course cheat a bit, clap less frequently, less vigorously, not so eagerly—but up there with the presidium where everyone could see them?

The director of the local paper factory, an independent and strong-minded man, stood with the presidium. Aware of all the falsity and all the impossibility of the situation, he still kept on applauding! Nine minutes! Ten! In anguish he watched the secretary of the District Party Committee, but the latter dared not stop. Insanity! To the last man! With make-believe enthusiasm on their faces, looking at each other with faint hope, the district leaders were just going to go on and on applauding till they fell where they stood, till they were carried out of the hall on stretchers! And even then those who were left would not falter. . . .

Then, after eleven minutes, the director of the paper factory assumed a businesslike expression and sat down in his seat. And, oh, a miracle took place! Where had the universal, uninhibited, indescribable enthusiasm gone? To a man, everyone else stopped dead and sat down. They had been saved! The squirrel had been smart enough to jump off his revolving wheel.

That, however, was how they discovered who the independent people were. And that was how they went about eliminating them. That same night the factory director was arrested. They easily pasted ten years on him on the pretext of something quite different. But after he had signed Form 206, the final document of the interrogation, his interrogator reminded him:
"Don't ever be the first to stop applauding!"

I hear Jordan has called on Syria's Assad to step down. What sway a chav has on a dictator is beyond me, but I suppose it takes all sorts to make a Bunga-Bunga party.


  1. Glad to know you're feeling much better. I know a simple case of Man-Flu wouldn't keep you down of long, just like the simple fact of being dead won't stop JS from seeing the sea.

    Best wishes, Hero Bill


  2. I didn't know that about Jimmy Saville and I'd probably still be laughing if you hadn't switched to the terrors of the Soviet Union.