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.

 

 And Todays Problem Is….. can reveal exclusively today that The Stig, test driver on BBC2’s Top Gear is in fact drummer of 60’s boy band and TV stars The Monkees, Mickey Dolenz.

Evidence has come to light that presenters Richard “Davy Jones” Hammond, Jeremy “Mike Nesmith” Clarkson and James”Peter Tork” May are in fact the other three Monkees. Dolenz prefers anonymity and spends all his time in the white jump suit and helmet that have become The Stigs uniform. It appears they have been living in England since the break up of the Monkees and as our photographic evidence proves beyond doubt they have found moderate success again presenting the petrol heads favourite TV hour.

 

We are waiting for official confirmation from the men themselves and will bring you up to date as soon as we receive any news. In the meantime for those of you who prefer to remember them as fun loving musicians not the broken husks of mid life crisis they have become I have included a video of “Pleasant Valley Sunday” as a reminder of better times.

OK, it’s like this I’m 42 years old, a father of 4 boys all growing up into young men. I should be their inspiration, guru if you like, the person they come to when life throws up a problem. I suppose in some aspects of life that’s how it is, but what do you do when their knowledge is so superior to yours that you become the student and they become the teacher? You give in and embrace it or at least that’s what I’ve done with technology, computers and the internet. My expertise stretches to Google, You Tube, E bay and of course WordPress, just as long as I take things slowly and don’t try and get too clever.

Now my 15 year old son is something else, he leaps from one thing to the next like a bee buzzing from flower to flower. He collects information and knowledge as the bee collects pollen. It is another world  in which I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to join him in. It’s a social centre, place of learning, of entertainment and creativity. Ah yes, the creativity. My boy creates movies using computer games, a capture card, his PC and his imagination. The WWE and all related video games provide his material and his imagination and knowledge do the rest. His total views on You Tube stand at over 100000. Please join the fun at  http://www.youtube.com/user/1upmiles 

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I have learnt many things in my first 5 months blogging. There are some decent people out there, some nasty people out there, some opinionated people out there and some complete lunatics out there. But we all have the need to be heard in common. Differences can be seen in many aspects of what we all do and one in particular got me thinking about my favourite word BOLLOCKS!

I used the word in a comment on a particular blog, a very talented American talking about many different subjects didn’t know what it meant. So I sent him an explanation and he has assured me it will become part of his vocabulary. Global learning, evolution of language via the internet, love it.

So, why is bollocks my favourite word? I think it stems from the fact that most of the four letter swear words are now so common place in the media,  even the “C” word no longer shocks the way it did. So I need a word that covers all, that has impact and still gets a reaction but you have to say it right. When said correctly and in the right context there really is nothing else to be said.

This is the explanation I sent my American blogger.

“Bollocks” is an English slang term for testicles! Can be used as an exclamation i.e. “My team just lost, bollocks!” Can be used derisively i.e. “That environmentalist talks a load of bollocks” It is a word for all seasons and the more you emphasise the “boll” the more offensive it sounds. “All that fuss about David Beckham is a load of “BOLLocks”. Typically for us limeys there is an English term “The dogs bollocks” which is used as a complimentary term i.e. “Your blog is the dogs bollocks.” Seriously that is a compliment and I’m not talking bollocks

So there you have it my favourite word “BOLLOCKS”, what’s yours? Please let me know and maybe I’ll learn something new too.

 

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.

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 I have decided it is time to unleash another of my verbal rhymings on the unsuspecting world. This was written about 8 years ago, when my children were 12, 8 and 3 year old twins.  The limited response to my previous effort leads me to believe that I will not be publishing my first book of verse any time soon. Enjoy.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DAD

The alarm rings at quarter to seven,

In my dreams I was in heaven,

At the sound of that bell,

I’m back into hell,

The next time for bed’s half eleven.

It’s time for brekfast with my four boys,

I step all over their toys,

Milks been spilt on the floor,

I rush for the door,

At work how I’ll long for that noise.

An hour later still stuck in the car,

I wish work wasn’t that far,

My cars overheating,

Late for a meeting,

Doing this every day is bizarre.

Eighteen messages left on my phone,

Most of them having a moan,

By the end of the day,

They’ll all go away,

I’ll deal with them all on my own.

Now it’s time for the evening repeat,

Home to my little retreat,

My wife’s at the door,

She’s cleaned up the floor,

She really is ever so sweet .

Now I’ll put all my children to bed,

It soon clears my messed up head,

On the computer,

Read Harry Potter,

I kiss each one on the head.

Cook dinner, wash up, have a shower,

If I’m quick I’ll have half an hour,

Some time for a think,

And maybe a drink,

Tell my wife how I love her.

Half eleven and now for some rest,

My day was another big test,

I musn’t grumble,

I feel so humble,

My family is the best.