It has been brought to my attention that I’ve become a tad dilatory on the blogposting front lately. Nothing terminal, I can assure you – if I had indeed departed for the great Website in the sky, I’d be sure to let you know.
What, I hear you ask, is the explanation for such neglectful behaviour on my part? Well, for one thing, I have found absolutely nothing to laugh about emanating from our self-styled “government”, which cuts down a little on my scope. You won’t, I feel, wish to read of my despair each morning over your cornflakes when you have enough on your plate, or bowl, without me adding to it.
On a slightly brighter note, I read in the Sports section of my daily broadsheet that one David Pocock, playing for Australia in last weekend’s rugby union world cup final, uses his acquired status in the game and public profile to raise issues important to him, like fair trade food, rhino poaching, gay marriage and climate change. And, as he weighs in at over 18 stones, I’m definitely on his side.
Welsh singer and TV presenter Charlotte Church weighs, I understand, considerably less – though the Daily Mail is no doubt seeking counter-evidence plus damning photos of cellulite and “glisten stains” for its online subscribers as we speak. But I’m definitely a fan of her newfound campaigning role on the environment, the government’s austerity measures and sexism in the music industry. Doesn’t mean I’ll be buying her records anytime soon, though.
In the other corner, let’s hear it for our very own Baron Lloyd-Webber who took the trouble last week to fly home from New York in order to help the government get its tax credit cuts for the poor through the House of Lords. He failed, but thanks any way for trying, Andy – it’s the principle that counts. Lloyd-Webber understands what it’s like to be poor better than anyone, because he became rich by writing a musical about Jesus. And if there’s one thing Jesus couldn’t stand, it was the poor whining on about being hungry. In response I shall stop going to Llloyd-Webber’s West End musicals – and if that doesn’t bring him to his senses, I don’t know what will.
If I need another excuse for my recent blog-gap, it may be found in a confession that, despite popular demand, I’m starting work on another book. I know, it’s what the world needs right now. I’ve just read Bill Bryson’s latest contribution, “The Road to Little Dribbling”, and, how can I put this, while Bill’s early travelogues set a standard for amusing raconteurship (is that a word?), other writers like Tim Moore and Michael Simkins now do this kind of thing so much better, leaving Bill to growl around the country complaining about the cost of sandwiches and the sheer stupidity and bloodymindedness of almost everyone he meets.
So, here’s where you come in. I’m embarking on my own travelogue, though I won’t ask Bill B to provide a celebrity endorsement. Have you heard of “crowdfunding”? You haven’t? That’s handy. In that case, it involves each of you out there sending me a cheque for £1,000 to fund my travel costs in exchange for a mention in the book. I promise it will be the last time you hear from me. Literally.
Or, if you prefer…
Meanwhile, Blogfamily does have one trip of its own sorted. Christmas will be spent on a cruise to the sunshine in the Canaries, with Christmas Eve spent in Madeira, the big day at sea, and Boxing Day in Lisbon. (Burglars, is that all the information you need right now?) Blogdaughter is a little concerned about how Santa is expected to find us if we’re not in our proper place – oh, ok then, it’s actually me that’s worried. Blogdaughter believes this cruise will enable her to avoid the tyranny of the Christmas sprout – but I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to arrange a special sprout-based surprise for her onboard.
The Blogfamily cabin, decorated as I have requested online…
…and what happens if you insist on an outside cabin
I’m worried that the cruise is advertised in the brochure as “family friendly”. I mean, who wants kids swarming (sorry, that’s a David Cameron word, usually restricted to refugees) round them when you’re trying to have a nice time at Christmas? The term brings to mind other words and phrases that send a shiver. When scanning the TV schedules for a box office movie (we know how to live the life) I’m quick to move on when spotting descriptions like:
- Steven Seagal
- Critically acclaimed
- Hilarious consequences
- Action packed
- Lord of the bl**dy Rings
- And, probably worst of the lot, “Caper”
You may feel this doesn’t leave us with many, and you may be right. Mrs Blog wants me to add Jennifer Anniston and Cameron Diaz but this is my list. So, no. Let’s switch over and watch Doc Martin, some dark Scandinavian murdering or Michael Portillo seeking to reinvent himself as a decent human being by travelling first class on posh trains and trying his hand at making pasta. It’ll take more than that, Michael – some of us have long memories.
The “Portillo moment” — a happy memory from May 1997…
In terms of film terminology, I understand that “snuff” has generally negative connotations. But I say this: it all depends on who’s appearing in it. Does Jeremy Clarkson make movies? Does Jose Mourinho?
What else do I have to report?
Well, Lewes will go all weird and fiery again on 5th November for our annual bonfire celebrations and Blogfamily will be marching as ever with our chums and neighbours in Commercial Square Bonfire Society. Don’t be put off by what you read: it’s ages, really, since we stopped throwing Catholics on the fire. Something to do with health and safety, I believe, or equalities. We’re allowed to burn effigies of the famous – my money’s on Baron Lloyd-Webber this year.
The spirit of Arthur Brown is alive and well at Lewes bonfire
On the following day Mrs Blog and I will be entertained to tea in the House of Lords (she still harbours an ambition to be ennobled for her services to retail). We will no doubt still be reeking of gunpowder and cordite from the previous evening. Wonder who we might take with us if someone were to light a match…