New Boots and Panties

“Arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks” screamed Ian Dury in  the opening line of “Plaistow Patricia” from his superb debut album “New Boots and Panties” in 1977. Was anyone offended? I don’t know, I certainly wasn’t as a 12 year old boy listening in my bedroom and turning it down so my mum couldn’t hear. Now she would have been offended but she would never have listened to Ian Dury and to my knowledge Engelbert Humperdinck never swore on any of his albums so no harm done there. That dear reader is the point, the current wave of poor souls complaining to anyone that will listen that they have been offended by what they have seen and heard needs to stop. There is a time to be offended and time to mind your own business.

The analagy I want to use is this. If I heard Gethin Jones say “fuck” on Blue Peter I would be offended. There is obviously no place for swearing on childrens television. Now, if Gethin was on “Friday Night With Jonathan Ross” and he said “fuck” I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Everyone says “fuck” on “Jonathan Ross” I know what to expect. My wife has chosen not to watch Ross because she finds him offensive, choice put into action.

Which brings me to the the infamous Ross/Brand/Sachs incident. What they did was infantile but not offensive in my view but I would choose to listen to Ross and Brand and know what to expect. There were virtually no complaints at the time it went to air and they only started pouring in when people who would never listen to Ross and Brand read about it in the press. They have no right to be offended by the report of an incident that was not intended for their ears. My 79 year old mum listens to Terry Wogan on Radio 2 because she knows what to expect, she would never listen to Ross or Brand because it’s not for her and she knows it, simple. If Terry said “I hope all my listeners over 70 die painful deaths this week” my Mum would be offended and rightly so, if Russell Brand said it she would neither know about it nor care. She loves Paul O’Grady even though he’s “one of them” (my Mum’s words) he’s perfectly safe at 5pm on Channel 4. My Mum would never watch O’Grady as Lily Savage therefore would never be offended by O’Grady’s alter ego, not her business. 

The recent furuore over Carol Thatchers “golliwog” comment, said in private, is ridiculous. I can be racist, homphobic, ageist and sexist in equal measure in my own home mostly without meaning it or really thinking it. Hand on heart who isn’t? Honestly? But I know in public where to draw the line, I know not to offend and I know that if I told an innapropriate joke in the wrong company then I deserve all the vilification that would come my way.

The Dail Mail reported today that on QI comedienne Jo Brand likened Margaret Thatchers name change to Lady Thatcher to a feminine shaving device . That is funny, approprite for the show and completely inoffensive. It has become offensive to those who will now complain because The Mail have brought it to their attention. When I have finished this post I will complain to the press authorities about the Mail persistantly telling me about things I wasn’t meant to hear. I hope you all join me.

In conclusion, if you know you don’t like something or someone, excercise your right not to watch or listen. If you enjoy Last of The Summer Wine on a Sunday night and Russ Abbott is shown full frontally naked, excercise your right to complain. If you read about something in the press that wasn’t intended for you, excercise your right to mind your own business.

As a footnote New Boots and Panties was re-issued as a tribute album a few years ago. Shane MacGowan performed an excellant version of Plaistow Patricia and Robbie Williams performed Sweet Gene Vincent. I’ve often wondered how many parents of young Robbie fans bought the album only to hear “arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks blaring out of the family stereo. Would they have the right to be offended?

My Photo 

There is an internet phenomenon currently gathering half a million hits per day and media coverage all over the world  http://www.wwar1.blogspot.com/ is the letters from William Henry Bonser Lamin a soldier from World War 1. The “Blogger” is his grandson and with a stroke of true genius he is publishing the letters exactly 90 years to the day since they were written. It is a wonderful insight into the life of an ordinary soldier and his life in Word War 1 which has captured the imagination of millions all over the world.

I came across the Harry Lamin Blog when there was a story about it on Yahoo news. As I have recently posted some cards and telegrams from my Dad’s time as POW in Singapore on my blog I thought I would take a look.
I found a beautifully presented blog which is extremely evocative of it’s time. The photo’s and original documents draw you in to Harry’s world and the personal, intimate nature of the letters make you want to find out what happens next. As I’m sure you’ve seen from the comments many people are keen to share their stories of their relatives time during WW1 and WW2. As indeed I was when I discovered my Dad’s correspondence.
From my own point of view the 2 wars represent a time of honour, bravery and right among the ordinary people which is a complete opposite of the apathy of today. No claims for compensation, no claims for “Gulf War Syndrome” just an absolute belief in doing the right thing regardless of the cost. I truly believe the majority of people yearn for a return to traditional values but we are all swamped by the media rollercoaster that drives us further down the road to degredation, cruelty and apathy. Harry’s world and his letters give us a taste of another time, a time of war, poverty, death and illness but some of us believe (maybe a view through rose tinted glasses) that people were basically happier because they were not part of todays “want” culture and rampant consumerism. Having less choice left less chance for disappointment. A different version of the Buddhist 4 Noble Truths if you like.
There is also of course the basic intrigue of a great story. It’s like a soap opera and each letter is like the cliffhanger scene in any daytime soap that makes you desperate to find out what happens next and tune in to the next episode.
The internet will always throw up this kind of phenomenon and word of mouth and ready access to the internet makes The Harry Lamin Blog the perfect “Have you seen” for the workplace, the media and families. If I was a teacher I would certainly use this as a teaching aid,  far better than a boring text book.
I stated in my post on my dad’s time as a POW that that perod of time ask questions about todays society that could be saved for another day. Well this is that day.
It is inconceivable to believe that a time of world war could be perceived as a “better” time than 2008 but it depends on your perception of “better”.
Harry Lamin in WW1 and my dad Bill Ross in WW2 and millions like them fought for a cause they truly believed in with out question or hesitation. They were prepared to risk everything for what? I believe it was for their country, for their King, for their family, for God, for their identity and their Britishness. I know the racist police will claim that what I’m about to write is wrong but ask yourself a simple question. “Would you or your loved ones put their lives on the line today for their country, their queen, their family, their identity, their Britishness?” I would bet that some of you would agree with family, but the rest, I doubt it.
Harry and Bill were English in a time when being English meant something. They identified with their neighbours, they identified with every Englishman wherever they were in their country. They recognised the need to protect that identity, they were proud to be English and the German war machine was threat that was going to take that freedom away. They were prepared to give everything to keep what they knew for them, their famlies and future generations. How disappointed they would be to see being English in England something not to be celebrated but to be hidden away behind the threat of a racist accusation? The Cross of St George is banned in some cities as being inflammatory, St Georges day our national day is not celebrated for fear of upsetting non English and the only time it comes out is during the bi annual football tournaments (not this year obviously). We are being stripped of our identity without a fight or even a whimper. I understand immigration is a natural progression, evolution in action, we are a haven for any waif or stray from around the world, we have no need for a guilty conscience. We have done our bit and continue to do so regardless of the consequences.
In less than 100 years, the very thing that was fought for by so many over 2 wars has been eroded by government apathy and ineptitude. We are a country in decline, riddled by segregation not integration. The reason Harry’s blog is so popular is because it pricks peoples sub-conscious and reminds us of a time before the politically correct brigade convinced us all that identfying with your country, your history and your flag is wrong.
Long live Harry and Bill’s memory and long live everything they stood for and fought for.

 

My first ever post was on E-bay and was a rant against their take over of the concert ticket market. Well poacher has turned gamekeeper and I am starting to sell my collected crap that takes over every inch of my house on E-bay. It is amazing what married life, 4 children and 20 years can accumulate. If you are interested view my stuff at http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZretroeighties I doubt any of it will interest you unless you support Juventus or Charlton, have an interest in the war, or want to learn Japanese. Oh, or an interest in English or US comic books.

I Can Has Cheezburger?

August 4, 2007

 NO YOU CAN’T, NOW FUCK OFF!!!!

 

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At the age of 19 in 1941 my dad set sail for Singapore to fight the Japanese because he had to. After a pathetic British surrender (the officers not the men) 4 years later he was released alive, beaten but not broken and went on to live a full and I think happy life until he died at 71. He did what he did like millions of others because he was bothered, because he cared, because the freedom of our country mattered enough to put your life on the line. Was he a hero? I think so because he was my dad, but I doubt he thought he was a hero because to him it had to be done, it mattered, he cared.

Can you imagine asking a 19 year old now with no interest in army life, “Your country needs you”. The reply might be something like “Yeah later, I’m watching the Eastenders omnibus”. What has happened in 66 years, in less than a lifetime, people don’t care. “What can I do?” has become the mantra we all just stand back and let shit happen.

This hurts but here goes; the French care, if the French Government want change they have to fight for it, national strikes, borders blocked, rioting whatever it takes to say “Non” they give a shit, they will not be walked all over. How is it they learnt a lesson? Immigration, the French just open up Calais to anyone and over they come in their millions. My old mans generation gave everything to keep Britain British, in under 70 years we’ve caved in to a multinational army without a leader as cunning and vicious as Hitler. Nobody cares, “theres a Diamonique special on QVC I’ll worry about mass, unrestricted immigration later.” This isn’t a racist rant it’s just that we’re a little island that’s running out of room and mainland Europe is dumping on us and they can’t believe they’re getting away with it. I feel I have to say that I do not blame one single immigrant, in their shoes I would walk the same path. We need not have a conscience on that score it’s just that I wish we cared.

Our politcal system is pointless, no-one really cares who runs the country, no-one really cares what they do as long as the next series of Big Brother is commissioned. There is no right wing, left wing, middle ground it is all one fuzzy mess with no clear outlines and no-one cares. More people voted for Will Young than Tony Blair. The list is endless, The Olympics, congestion charging, fuel tax (don’t start me on fuel tax), immigration, crime, the NHS, education, Iraq, Iran (please god someone care about Iran before it’s too late).

I’m not asking for revolution but for fucks sake please wake up and start caring. Write to your MP, organise a rally, ask questions, shake the politicians from their lethargy, vote at the next election, question why Gordon Brown can be PM when no-one has ever voted for him. I can’t help thinking of that great 70’s kids show “Why Don’t You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead”. Rattle some cages, no Lauren you’re not bovvered but I am. Who wants to join me?

“Apathty, apathy they’ve all got it apathy!” (with apologies to Kenneth Williams)

If you’ve taken the time to read this. Please leave a comment, anything. Just let me know you’re out there!