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Carlos Allende

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About this blog

Havin a daft laugh and that.

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Carlos Allende

I have great news for EVERYONE.

So ...you know your book case? Full of books that you've _naturally_ accrued just by being alive, and being interested in _something_ in the world? I don't care exactly what kind of books. It doesn't matter.  Turns out that _none of them_ are worth under £15. And if there's a specific, niche subject you're into? Ho-ho _(sings, 'You're in the money')_

The reason for this post: well, y'know that little bookshop in the Wye Valley, between Monmouth and Chepstow? _YES,_ it's opposite the office with the soul-disturbingly frightening taxidermised animals, but just ignore those. The one that was always really magical, because it was on a five mile stretch of pine-strewn road that didn't even have any newsagents? And the books were all CHEAP, and it felt like you were looking around a bookshop in a dream?

Well, it's been taken over by some very, very conceited nerd women ('Stella' and 'Rose'). Imagine a large charity shop, like an Oxfam bookshop, and they randomly remove 50% of the stuff (like a very parochial version of Thanos),--leaving whole empty shelves!?--  and then raise the prices on everything else to a mysterious, prohibitive level. I just don't understand. I would understand if this was some yuppie suburb of cosmopolitan London, where they pay £5 to eat Frosties out of a shoe ...this is a small bookshop in the middle of nowhere. It should be a working class operation, scraping a living. It shouldn't be pushing its luck with conceit.

Here's the thing. You get those ultra-scavvy eBay booksellers that sell 10p ex-library stock for £2.49, and send them out in blue clingfilm. Then you get pretentious full price bookshops like Waterstones. That's the scale you should use. Oh, I mean, if you look at the website https://stellabooks.com/ it gives you the impression their shop is all rare and collectable. Well, admittedly, they do have an exclusive 'roped off' section ..but the two upper floors? Just contain ubiquitous, normal books. Not antiques. Not first editions (what's the big deal about first editions anyway? You're _literally_ judging a book by its cover). These are just the regular, non-fiction books you'd see if you randomly walked into anyone's house. Books about sport, about travel, about the military -- but don't think plush 'Jane's' reference books --these are just Osborne-style cash-in books, written by scholars, admittedly, but ...scholars exist. Their 20-years-dated insight doesn't cost £30 a pop. It's not the same as getting a signed photo of Jaqueline Pierce from Blakes 7. 

Y'know what? It almost makes me side with the "What y' reading for?' Waffle Waitress from Bill Hicks.

And before long, I will use voodoo to make those taxidermised animals next door come to life, and climb through the book shop letter box, and maraud those conceited auld women. 



Carlos Allende

Avengers Endgame - my gobshyne opinions

***Spoiler alert, by the way.***

So, there's a new Hollywood blockbuster film out called 'Avengers Endgame'. I really enjoyed it. There's close-quarters fighting, and laughs, and moments of PORTENTOUS DRAMA --in other words, all the things that are DEFICIENT in the real world. 

But now, in the style of a passive-aggressive internet gobshyne, I will list my top ten grievances.

Ten) The title -- it's not actually a game, is it? The stakes are HIGH and both the goodies and the baddies are taking it deadly seriously. 

Nine) I'm kinda intimidated by Captain Marvel. I don't know why. In the Captain Marvel solo film, it was implied by the Jude Law character that she could never be a good warrior because she was too emotional, but then, in the end, it didn't matter if she _was_ emotional, because she still defeated him. Was this a conscious statement by the filmmakers about the female personality? In my experience, women aren't necessarily more emotional, they're just _generally_ more unknowable and hard-to-figure, and that's a good thing. And when she squared up to Thor, that implied she had an attitude, too. So, what, she's got an attitude _and_ she's emotional? I want to see a strong female lead that's more nuanced. I mean, I _LOVED, LOVED, LOVED_ it when Tilda Swinton's Dr Strange character returned. That's my kind of woman.

Eight) I was annoyed that Howard Stark wasn't played by Dominic Cooper (he of 'Preacher'), like he is in the Agent Carter TV show. That guy is such a good actor. I've got a £5 bet on at a well-known high street bookmaker at 1000 / 1 that he'll be the next James Bond. It _COULD_ happen.  

Seven) Time-travel. I _hate_ the use of time travel as a plot device. I mean, could I have written a script that tied the whole thing up _without_ it? Yeah, not to blow my own trumpet, but yeah. It's long been accepted that using the word 'quantum' gives a writer leeway to explain any kind of sci-fi McGuffin he or she likes. And there's nothing wrong with that, because quantum physics is nuts in real life, too. But if that's the case, why use 'The Quantum Realm' to do something as cliched as time-travel? Why not use it to go full-on freakout ala Donnie Darko, The Fountain, Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker. Eh?

Six) Token deaths. They were just _abrupt,_ weren't they? Look, if I want to see the unexpected deaths of main characters in an ensemble drama, I'll watch Atone Fuqua's super-messy Magnificent Seven remake. I'll watch the Eagle Has Landed, or The Great Escape. The Marvel films have traditionally have been easy-going summer fun. I don't want to see anyone suddenly die. If Robert Downey and Scarlet Johansson don't want to be in the films any more? Fine. Just end the Avengers franchise here. Unless, Marvel Studios, via Disney, you're actually _chasing_ that cash-cow, law-of-diminishing returns money pot, the way you're running Star Wars into the ground?

Five) The all-female advancing army during the final battle. Really? In all that chaos, the ladies have time to find each other, just to make a sexual-political statement? At least put Independent Woman by Beyonce on the soundtrack so it's spelled out for people who aren't woke enough.

Four) Still on that subject, I don't buy Valkyrie as the new ruler of Asgard. She's a cool character, and I like that actress, but nah. Why not a reformed Loki? That would be cool.

Three) When Cap makes his own way back to the time travel rendezvous spot at the end of the film --why does Hollywood _always_ use those beige, nylon jackets to denote old men? The same thing happened in Saving Private Ryan. When I'm an old man, I'm just going to wear _exactly_ the same stuff I'm wearing now. SORRY IF THAT MAKES MY PERSONALITY TOO COMPLICATED. 

Two) I didn't like 'Future' Cap fighting 'Past' Cap, and Future Cap laughing at Cap's ass. He's only got a weird-looking jacksy. You're _both_ wearing what a lot of people think are symbols of imperialist aggression, and war, and no NHS, so probably don't throw stones, yeah?

One) Here's my biggest objection. Thanos sits down, defeated. 

No speech. No 'History vindicate me'. One of the great things about Thanos as a character was that he wasn't just doing the 50% thing just for a laugh, or his own selfish needs, or through a neurotic compulsion. He had a solid rationale viz-a-viz dwindling resources and overpopulation. Prior to that, with his decision to just destroy _everything_ -- his thinking seems like a pouty, cosmic Anders Brievik. Uncool. That's not the Thanos we saw in Infinity War.

Y'know what I say? _Come Galactus, Come_


Carlos Allende

Keith Flint - A True Giant

I remember, in the early nineties, at the height of the animosity between The Sun and The Prodigy, they featured a story revealing how, just a few months before the band was formed, Keith Flint had been a meek, mild-mannered public schoolboy -- as opposed to the sneering, leering punk-god that he appeared on stage. They intended it to be a death-blow revelation. But collectively, we dance music fans -- simply shrugged. The nihilistic power of the Prodigy was not something that could be faked or cheaply appropriated. Keith Flint made more of an impression just by scoffing than the KLF did by burning a million quid.

As a scampy twenty-something (when I wasn't selling out by going to work), there was one main way I could be identified: I always wore a Prodigy T-Shirt. The scuttling crab of Fat of the Land, the screaming T-1000 head of Music for a Jilted Generation, an 'Experience' vest. The Prodigy had an angry, uncompromising ethos that otherwise could only have been found in right wing politics. In dance music terms, they were Orbital drained of every single ounce of romanticism. They were a version of Chemical Brothers specially designed for twenty-somethings about to fight in an Omaha Beach-style class war, scalping their enemies and cooking grenades to within a split second. 

Also, let's not forget that they were skilled, hard-working musicians. Look at their contemporaries: no one's going to deny that Leftfield, or Goldie, or Fatboy Slim are dance music heroes. But let's face the truth, their albums are _full_ of lazily-written filler tracks that are really just a single bloke messing with the tempo of his John Shuttleworth keyboard.  Each Prodigy record is practically an orchestral, ultra-dark concept album. The concept? Antiheroes stalking each other on an apocalyptic battlefield. Certainly there were moments of beauty or Rasta-style irreverence, especially in 'Experience', but then you were never going to forget that this was the type of music _Darth Maul_ probably listened to. The type of  music Tyler Durden listened to (and I refer you to the Fight Club soundtrack album -- emulating Prodigy as Gobots emulate Transformers).

 And so, I would say, 'Rest in Peace'. But 'Peace' was never a Keith Flint kinda thing.

And as for you God, NO MORE CELEBRITIES THAT I LOVE. Here's a list of musicians that no one will miss:

Gilbert O'Sullivan.

 Tom Chaplin from Keane.

The whole of Snow Patrol.

The _'I wasn't expecting that'_ c---.

James Blunt.

Carlos Allende

Jehovah's Witnesses ASSEMBLE

I was walking into Dursley from Cam, alongside the little chain of shops, fire stations, etc. What''s the point in having so many supermarkets and newsos so close together in an otherwise completely rural valley? But that's another debate for another time. I was walking along, past the rozzer hoose, and I noticed this new, swish, Jehovah's Witness meeting hall. The meeting was just about to convene: even though there was only about a dozen parking spaces in the car park, loads of blokes in hi-viz jackets were fanned out and waving people in. And walking past me on the pavement was a young family all dressed up in their best clothes. These weren't posh clothes, though: what made them suitable for such a special occasion was just the fact that they were elaborate-looking and very well-pressed. The woman wore a 1950's jive hall dress, like you'd see in Back to the Future. The bloke was dressed as like a stage magician. The kid? Wore a tiny white suit with matching braces, belt and bow-tie that was neon, sparkling red. 

And it occurred to me: if they were hipsters, I would hate them on sight, but as it was, I just thought, 'Good on 'em'. For I am the Jehovah's Witness Witness. 

Carlos Allende

Valentines Day

‘Some time ago’, I decided to come here to Hell to rescue the soul of my girlfriend Eurydice. She of the steep brow, atypical nose and distinctive jawline. I was young and naive, and it was almost inevitable I'd become trapped. 
Famously, you're allowed to take with you one physical object when crossing over. I'd been watching a lot of Marx Brothers films and was fascinated at how all the chaos would pause while  Harpo brought forth a musical interlude with his Harp. So, quite simply, I decided to take with me a Celtic Lyre made of strange, non-specified metal, shining like spilt petrol on a garage forecourt. The plan was, I would play it before the King of Hell and thus persuade him to free Eurydice through sheer pathos alone.
This is how naive I was: I didn't have the slightest understanding of how someone actually descends to Hell. Some people report that it's like crawling through a barely-human-size cave and emerging into an arid desert. Others, that suddenly, with the act of blinking, you find yourself in a fiery pit surrounded by similarly damned souls. Perhaps these phenomenon are real enough for the people experiencing them: I would suggest it's simply their minds creating an explicable narrative for something which is wholly unknowable and insidious beyond words. 
This place isn't about pain and torment. You feel pain and torment, certainly, but they're only a means to an end. Some time ago, the King of Hell came to a highly political, perhaps even logical understanding that consciousness is a spiritual cul-de-sac. For anyone who arrives in his kingdom, only relatively small amounts of self-awareness will be tolerated. Eventually, it will be burned away altogether.
My lyre, I kept it under my bed. I never learnt to play it and eventually it broke down into tiny pieces -- though how exactly this could happen with high-tensile metal is a mystery. 
But I’ve never stopped loving Eurydice. Indeed, the search has never properly ended, though I’ve no idea what would happen if ever we came face-to-face again. I’m not the same man she knew. There are men who carry shame and weakness, and then there's me. Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that she was able to leave this place on her own, and if that’s true, more power to her. 
It’s not as if I’m not a hateful, monstrous hypocrite. Within a few decades of my arrival in Hell, my marriage to Nessa could easily have lasted forever and been called ‘true love’, except for a few strange missteps. Anna was sweet and lovely. Rosey was wise, and scintillating, and she absorbed strange new intellectual ideas as easily as you and I might breathe. 
More recently, my relationship with Starla ended on such bitter terms it made my head spin.   
And what of Billie, the next one? She looked eerily similar to Starla, right down to a ‘space nebula’ tattoo on her shoulder. What does it all mean?
All I know is that I need Eurydice more than ever. The line of her jaw, the fierce shape of her mouth. Soulful eyes set beneath a stormy brow. In Hell, people try to make their own little religions, and scrape tiny bits of meaning from pure horror. Eurydice is beyond all that, and her companionship would be like a rocket ship escaping clean into space.

Carlos Allende

Nadine Dorries’ malfunctioning escape pod

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this thought in my head: if I was a celebrity, I’d actually  _half-welcome it_ if my TV / movie / political career went south (or at least petered out), because I could then just write novels for a living.

Think of it in terms of being in a space-ship, and it gets wrecked in the middle of a battle, and you gotta quickly climb on board a _slightly, slightly_ smaller escape pod, but which is still a pretty cool spaceship in its own right, enough to get you from A – to – Z, doing your own thing, etc.

Look at it this way: no matter how disgraced you are, the public would still retain its fascination in your celebrity status, and also they tend to read any old tripe, therefore: GET WRITING, MY SON.

Jeffrey Archer invented it. And then there was Stella Rimmington,  Andrew Marr, Cara Delevingne, Ethan Hawke. Good luck to ‘em frankly. But …Nadine Dorries. What’s going on?

Nadine Dorries MP, who obviously I like for being a bit-between-the-teeth Brexiteer –has branched out into writing the most ubiquitous, saccharine ‘granny’ novels. Think ‘People’s Friend’ turned up to the max but also somehow _dummed down_ to the point where you’d think she was deliberately being a cliché for comic effect.

Check it out. I’m not even lying.

Image result for nadine dorries novels


Y’know. I’m not expecting you to write like David Peace or JG Ballard, but GOD ALMIGHTY, WOMAN! You’re a British MP, presumably elbow deep in tangible working class problems. What you writing this biscuit tin stuff for? Are you doing it for a bet?

Carlos Allende

What if the future really_is_ partisan?

So. I've been haunting Discord and Mastodon. https://chatrooms.talkwithstranger.com seems to be 'where it's at' in terms of sheer entertainment and human zoology -- and yet, https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com (in my opinion) remains home of all the most spiritual and thoughtful folk. 

And I've been thinking. One of the main narratives of Brexit, as told in a thousand broadsheet fluff pieces and opined by a thousand talk radio hosts –is that the main horror that’s befallen us is not the referendum result _per se_ but the fact that we’ve all turned against each other, and there’s so much angst, and ill-feeling.

But what if the future of civilisation really _does_ need a diametric turn, a complete reversal of polarity, even if it upsets a significant part of the population? And it’s not as if we’ve got any precedents, is it? Like the plot of Game of Thrones, enemies have become allies and allies have become enemies –but unlike Game of Thrones, there’s no end in sight, or even the concept of an end. For instance, left-wing Remainers are increasingly suggesting a bypass of democracy in the form of ignoring the referendum result. Call me old fashioned, but when I think of anti-democracy, I just think of the Nazis.

And yes, “As soon as you compare things with World War Two, you’ve automatically lost the argument” is another recent trope. Fine. I hereby declare that Nazism bears no relation to the modern world whatsoever. Is that any better?

It all comes down, in my opinion, to our blinkered view about quite how fragile our economy is. You can’t admit it to yourself or you’ll go insane. Better to fight and row,  or whine and cower, or make stupid enemies of people who were previously your stupid friends.

Everything is fragile. When Sting sang ‘How fragile we are’, he hadn’t seen nuthin yet. It’s all fragile like that stuff the Fraggles built in their little cave in Fraggle Rock. It’s fragile like the bus on the edge of the cliff at the end of the Italian Job, and when Michael Caine says ‘Hold up lads, I’ve got an idea…’, the idea is to just fall to his death. It’s fragile like the spider’s web that flies in your face when you leave your front door in the morning, the distraction leading you to get killed by a lorry, and the spider feels guilty but he has to put on a brave face for his spider family. It’s as fragile ...as this blog is rambling.



Carlos Allende

2019 predictions...

Here's my predictions for what'll happen in 2019. Not so much in a psychic sense (ALTHOUGH THERE IS THAT), more as if I was a bow-tie wearing expert in a Sky News fluff piece --and they're letting me wear my own clothes (ostentatious leather jacket plus Swindon Town Wembley scarf). For ease of reading, I'll divide the shizzle into 'Good News', 'Indifferent News', 'Bad News'.

Good News.

* Coca-Cola will reintroduce Tab Clear into UK supermarkets.

* Corbo will finesse a vote of no confidence, lose, No Deal Brexit will come to pass and no one will be eaten by the Millennium Bug. 

* Terminator 6 will be weirdly successful, both with critics and punters.

* Interest rates will rise and fall like no one's ever seen before.

* Huge snowstorms will engulf major American cities, and at the press conference, a reporter will ask Trump about global warming: he'll pull a face and say something stupid and the ultimate meme will be born, which schoolkids will still be studying hundreds of years from now (after global warming is proved to be rubbish).

* Swindon Town will end third in League Two.

* Royal Mail will release Blakes 7 stamps.

Indifferent News.

* A faulty Vape charger will catch fire and cause the Houses of Parliament to be evacuated.

* Kevin Spacey will make a further rape allegation Youtube video, this time in the guise of John Doe from 'Se7en'.

* Zinedine Zidane will be the new Man United manager.

* Elon Musk will begin researching holograms, and no one will be impressed.

* The Simpsons will end.

* Prince Philip will not die.

* The new Bond film will not feature a romance subplot.

Bad News.

* Clinton Cards will go into administration.

* Libt ards will start making a fuss about too many toys being made of plastic.

* RT will be banned from broadcasting in the UK following more Putin shinnanegans.

* The radio host James Whale will explode.




monkey spacey.jpg

Carlos Allende

Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie

I spoke the other day about, whenever you think of two people you loathe and despise, there’s always one you loathe and despise _slightly_ less than the other, and that probably gives hope for the goodness of the human spirit.

But with Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie, it’s a very, very close-run thing.

I look through the Christmas TV guides and see John Malkovich is playing Poirot, in the same inexplicable way that gifted actors (Albert Finney,  Kenneth Brannagh, Rowan Atkinson, to name but a few) have always chosen to play the (let’s face it) blandly pretentious and claustrophobically annoying characters created by that STUPID WOMAN.

I quite like Sherlock Holmes because there’s a bit of life in the character, y’know, with the pathological impatience and the heroin, but GOD ALMIGHTY do I hate that Arthur Conan Doyle paved the way for Agatha Christie, and in turn all ten million interchangeable episodes of Midsomer Murders, CSI, NCIS. Let’s make things quite clear, writers. Just setting up a labyrinthine web of plot-turns to be laboriously unwound by a Private Eye (‘dick’) DOESN’T MAKE A STORY. Take the denouement of any Agatha Christie story: forget the preceding two hours of Poirot wondering around narrowing his eyes like Pepe the Frog trying to fart: imagine the clever little conspiracy being explained by, say, a train announcer or a backbench Tory MP. Because that’s what I hear.

We need to let Agatha Christie become extinct. She’s an old writer. She’s a clichéd writer. Ever seen that Family Guy episode that’s an Agatha Christie parody? It’s terrible. Even _Family Guy_ is bland and characterless when it tries to do Agatha Christie, that’s the level of Satanic, all-consuming boredom we’re dealing with.

And Dickens always crawls out of his effing hole at Christmas, too, doesn’t he? Just when I’ve finally started to dig Ben Elton, the Upstart Crow Christmas Special is a Dickens pastiche. It was a good job I had Festive Whiskey in front of me.

And yet, and yet. God help me, I hate him less than Agatha Christie, despite the way he stole hours of my life during A-Level English. Despite the fact that he reveled in working class misfortune (whereas, if this had been any other country in the world, Oliver Twist and Tiny Tim would no more have wasted time eating gruel than organised some comrades to lynch Harry Secombe on Day One).

For one thing, actors seem to be wise to Dickens’ bad writing. Only Simon Callow seems to really rate him. What’s that thing about Charles Dickens once seeing a train crash and getting messed up? Y’know. I won’t send him to hell to get chased down a never-ending track  by a Satanic Thomas the Tank Engine. That would be going too far. I’m not going to do that.

Whereas Agatha Christie? You’re afterlife is in the bag, love. You’re in a country house. You’re trying to solve a murder. Your own. The suspects are the tens of millions of writers, TV and filmmakers who would have done far more meaningful, entertaining work if your bland shh-etty nonsense wasn’t jamming up every channel. There’s a little detective there to help you, a little fat Belgian with a stupid face and mustache, but unfortunately, you can’t really concentrate on anything the C says because you keep getting distracted by the fact that


Carlos Allende

Here's an eerie yuletide phenomenon...

Something I noticed about a decade back --it started as a piece of wancy observational comedy just bouncing around in my head, but has since become EERIE out of all proportion. 

Now, because I'm kinda disorganised, and also duty-bound to drive me mam to her last-minute shopping, I invariably spend Christmas Eve in, say, The Galleries Bristol, Brunel in Swindon, Yate Tesco (by all accounts the biggest in the country), always when they're crazily busy. And I don't mean 'busy' as in, 'ah, those loveable, scampy humans and their consumer culture', I mean --just picture the Dawn of the Dead zombies-and-bikers shopping mall sequence, only suddenly a lot more zombies are feckless housewives and bourgeois men.  You think, 'Aren't I lucky / unlucky to have found the _one_ parking bay that's left out of a gazillion spaces'. As far as the eye can see, the whole place is like a 'Where's Wally' poster of people tottering around picking out _just the right_ ratio of chocolate and mini-cheddars and gravy and cheese and crapping paper and Mary Berry cook books, as if the whole thing is a deadly puzzle designed by Jigsaw. You turn to your left, there's a lurching house-husband an inch from your face. You turn to your right, there's a little student type who thinks she's some kind of zany, Catlin Moran-style domestic goddess prototype but is actually just scurrying greed incarnate. To the south, a swarm of old men who retired age 55 in 1982 and have stayed 55 ever since. To the north, some scarf-wearing male models and their ten kids. 

The place is a nightmare, densely populated --to the point where you can't imagine being on your own ever again. The crowd has you in kind of a mass-queue where everyone's waiting for such inexplicable domestic tat. The next time you see auld Schwarzenegger in 'Jingle all the Way', you just know it's going to trigger some 'Our Brave Boys'-style PTSD. 

So answer me this: outside the toilets: a horrific swarm of bodies. Inside the toilets: empty. Explain.

The first time I noticed it, about a decade ago, I just thought, 'funny'. Y'know, just 'Funny'. Funny.

Then it happened again the next year. And every subsequent year. No matter how insanely busy the shop is, there's never ANYONE in the khazis. How does that work? Does the high-pressure of buying Christmas shig cancel out their natural biological need to wee? 

And it's weird to feel such joyous isolation in a toilet. Today I just wondered, why do our business leaders and the media claim that 'we're having a bad season' in terms of trade? Everywhere is just a huge, milling crowd. It's plain to see, every company's Purchase Manager (or should that be Purchase _Middle-Middle-Middle_ Manager) is just buying too much stuff no one wants to buy. The stuff people _are_ buying is flying off the shelves. 

The same is true of the Royal Mail. When was the last time you saw a Post Office at the weekend that isn't stuffed? And they _literally_ have commercial inputs on every street corner. How can they go wrong? I'll tell you: stoopid corporate projects, inefficiency, an adherence to trendy, inexplicable fashions.

So yeah. It's only Christmas good will that's stopping me clicking my Thanos fingers multiple times as if to a Hall and Oates track.


Carlos Allende

Who's up for some Queen's Speech Bingo?

Prince Charles is a nutter. He’s an affable nutter, entertaining us all by pointing out the funny sounds turkeys make, and making guest appearances on ‘Look Around You’ --but a nutter nonetheless. And I’m not saying that like it’s a bad thing. I really dislike the Queen –not the necessarily the monarchy as an institution, but the Queen personally. “Oh, look how well she’s done to have spent so long as a national figurehead”. Well, yes, fine, whatever. I’m sure the residents of Skull Island were very fond of King Kong, and the mischievous T-rexes that were his version of corgis. I mean, she’s basically a lowest common denominator, rent-a-public-speaker curmudgeon –being a fan of auld Norman Wisdom is not enough to constitute having a personality. The Three Stooges, maybe.

And you just know –you just _know_-- her Christmas speech this year is going to be super-wangky. Here’s my lottery predictions for the words and phrases she’ll use.

   * Division  * ‘Our Country’s Place in the world’  *  Spirit of friendship *  British ingenuity * Scars  *  ‘Our sporting successes’  *

    I mean, playing using National Lottery rules, I reckon I’d get at least three and win £1000 --which, of course, because it’s Christmas, I’d give to some poor orphan lads (as I call the cashiers in CEX, and ‘give’ as in ‘buy PS4 games’).

When ‘The Crown’ gets to, say, Season 15, will the Queen start being played by a heavily-prostheticked Stephen Tobolowsky? When it starts skipping ahead a few decades, long after we’ve all died and the Queen is age 260, will it need the crazy production values of an Avengers film when she undertakes her final battle with Lord Xenu?  

But tradition isn’t a bad thing is it? We can stand anything if it’s called ‘Tradition’, so giving psychic punctuation marks to the otherwise random, relentless cluster eff that’s life in the twenty-first century. And no matter how vague and prosaic the Queen’s speech is, you know it’ll still be a gazillion times more watchable than whatever Channel Four is putting up as an ‘alternative’ Christmas speech. I’ve not looked in the Radio Times yet. What is it, those Last Leg gonks hypnotically staring into everyone’s eyes so that smarminess becomes the dominant force of human evolution? What is it, some mindless Gogglebox slags watching The Snowman flying upside down over Britain in an anonymous mask and yellow jacket? What is it, Corbyn giving some scripted, low-hanging comebacks during PMQ’s, but with a Christmas ribbon taped to his forehead?

Come to think of it, there’s only one solution. Come Christmas Speech time:



Carlos Allende

When is the psychic epicenter of Christmas?

I guess, like most things nowadays, Christmas is being swamped in irony, and distraction, and rudderless confusion. It was bad enough back in the day, when you wouldn't know whether the Two Ronnies were going to have a musical interlude featuring David Essex singing 'Winter's Tale' ...or Barker blacked up as Kid Creole. Now we can watch whatever we want, play with whatever fancy gadget we can imagine, but there's still no 'pith'. It's like going on holiday: you only figure out what the essence was once you get home. Weirdly, I think it's safe to say the epicenter is not actually Christmas Day itself. Keeping everyone entertained? Bah. What about, me? Or Boxing Day. By then, the radio will no longer be playing Slade, or Mud, or Shakey, or John and Yoko, or McCartney _quite_ so much. And I love that McCartney song. 

I think the epicenter is probably tomorrow. Waiting to go the Christmas party. Hanging out, telling endless Christmas-parties-of-yesteryear anecdotes, getting home drunk, listening to the Church bells and thinking, 'one day, they'll be going mental like that because a nuclear war is about to kick off, BUT NOT TODAY'. Listening to George Galloway's politics show about 'Stupid-woman-gate' (OK, that might just be unique to this year). Above all, I'm going to try and consciously stay in that moment. Like in Star Trek Generations. When that thing happens, and Jean Luc Picard gets trapped inside the thing, but everything's fine (even though it's not) because it's Christmas.  

Carlos Allende

Here's a fun Christmas game...

Here's a fun Christmas game I invented. It's a bit passive-aggressive, but then, what isn't?

What's the main vibe of Christmas, apart from the gratitude of Jesus getting born, and good food, and Shakin Stevens?

Peace and goodwill. 

Think of two people that you blackly, bitterly, _loathe and despise._ Fortunately, I'm in a position where I no longer have anyone in my life that I actually _hate,_ therefore I have to use celebrities.

For example. I hate Miranda Hart. I hate Jenny Eclair. I think they're lazy. I think they abuse any real potential they have and take opportunities away from far better people. And yet. I search my mind for any redeeming factors. Imagine spending time with them. Inevitably, in a Celebrity World War, I'd join forces with them against the radio presenter Zoe Ball. And if there's a potential for me to make peace, --even temporary peace--, with people I hate so insanely and bitterly, it suggests there's an even greater sphere of hatred where I'd side with Zoe Ball against ...who knows? The Devil himself?

Another example: I hate and loathe Keith Allen. I hate and loathe the film director Ken Loach. Yet I would team up with those two lads in a four-way fight to take down Bob Geldof.

Hours of fun.

Of course, I'm not sure what would justify an alliance between myself, Tony Blair and the Devil. Maybe it's the three of us fighting some kind of Incarnation of Entropy, inside each and every atom, and that's what causes the world to exist?


Carlos Allende

I kinda like Michael Gove...

I kinda like Michael Gove. But then again, I have got 'form' for liking cliche public school Tories (or at least, not hating them as anyone else with my old skool communistic, Ian Bone-style mindset does). I don't mind Bojo the Clown. I like the way Jacob Rees Mogg's aristocratic personality is matched by his very leisurely lateral thinking. Question: if you took Jacob Rees Mogg's consciousness and put it in John Lydon's body, with John Lydon's vocal chords, how long would it be before anyone noticed? I reckon it'd be a couple of days. Even my own tweed-wearing MP, James Gray --I've grown to like him (ironically just as he's about to retire).

But Michael Gove is just intriguing. Presumably, he's the Brexiteer which remoaners hate least: unlike the rest, all of whom can easily be accused of being opportunistic career politicians who never really cared about the referendum, _he_ was prompted to campaign 'leave' because the Common Fisheries policy wrecked his dad's working class business.  Beyond that, he was a reluctant public schoolboy, and never went anywhere near the pig-luvin' Bullingtons. Personally, I'd be quite happy to see him go for the leadership when Mayhem Bot finally stands down. 

Unfortunately, there's no getting around the fact that he looks like Pob.

 Image result for michael gove pob

My advice? Grow a beard. Look at how rubbishy, parochial and expense-wonking Stephen Crabb was, but he was still in contention for the leadership at one point. Because he had a big, Bluto-style beard.  Hell, why do you think I grew mine?


Carlos Allende

So, about this idiot monkey creature...

About this crazy thing that sits in the middle of our collective unconscious ...it just lounges around all day juggling these hugely contradictory ideas -- I mean, it _is_ just a gibbering chimp, innit?

Who is the one person --the default, go-to person-- that all rabble-rousing, studenty, city-working, hipstery lefties love to hate? Tony Blair. Yet he's vehemently in favour of Remain, the self-same hobby-horse that all the rabble-rousing, studenty, city-working, hipstery lefties spend their time wonking over. Why do they not see this little clue that everything they believe in is just a weird, rich man's conceit? 

On RT today (I watch RT because I am a soulless Russian spy), there was a documentary about Patrick Crone, a French CEO, previously in charge of a ubiquitous industrial company, who'd sold off his assets to foreigners without consulting the government. The French ministers went nuts. The Yellow Jacket rabble went nuts. Yet how do we treat his English counterpart, Sir James Dyson, for similar moral crimes?  We just ignore him, and carry on buying his (let's be honest) pointless housewifey tat. So are people on the continent more working class than us? Must be. Except ...why then would they spend billions for the pleasure of signing up to an institution (the EU) that allows race-to-the-bottom economics to spread everywhere like shh on a IRA hunger striker's wall? 

And that reminds me. The big Brexit-cancelling Irish border dispute? We live in one of the most bureaucratic, over-administrated countries in the world. Employ _an army_ of clipboard-carrying jobsworths to check every square millimetre of every pallet that goes in and out of Ireland. It'll just be business as usual won't it, unfortunately? 

Carlos Allende

So that's it for the Severn Bridge charges...

So, they've started dismantling the toll booths on the Severn Bridge so everyone can get a free ride. I'm thinking just one thing: on that little hill overhead, by the religious cult plaque, there's an ancient pay-telescope jammed up with 20p coins. IS IT STILL THERE? WHY DOES NO ONE PRIZE IT OPEN AND GET THE CASH? So much for austerity Britain -- if we're so rich, we can't even be bothered to get some free money. 

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