Here at Blood and Porridge I like to think I have my finger on the pulse, offering opinions on the big news stories the moment they happen. Alas, I’ve been up to my eyes in work this last fortnight and haven’t been able to post much. And meanwhile, during the same fortnight, the big news stories have come thick and fast.
To make amends, here’s a quick round-up of those recent news items as Blood and Porridge sees them.
Knobhead of 2017 found already
Only two-and-a-half weeks ago I named Nigel Farage as the biggest knobhead of 2016. The reason why Farage won that title despite stiff opposition from US president-elect Donald Trump was because: “Trump is the equivalent of the loud malevolent playground bully who blighted your childhood. But there was always one kid who was more detestably obnoxious than that – the slimy little sneak who grovelled before and sucked up to the bully, hoping to attain a smidgeon of his aura of cruel power. And since it became clear that Trump was going to be the most powerful man on the planet, Farage has been doing a good impersonation of the slimy little sneak, scurrying across the Atlantic to do some major sucking up to the gruesome orange-skinned tycoon.”
Well, if that’s the criteria for making yourself the most loathsome and pustulent human being of the year, it looks like we already have a winner for 2017.
© The Daily Mirror
Michael Gove recently scuttled over to Trump Tower in New York to sychophantically interview Trump on behalf of the Times newspaper. The resulting article was shocking even before Gove started the interview. Describing the ascent in the Trump Tower’s infamous gold-plated lift, he wrote, “It was as though the Great Glass Elevator from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had been restyled by Donatella Versace, then staffed by the casting director for Gone with the Wind.” Gove felt moved to insert that Gone with the Wind reference because the lift had an “African-American attendant kitted out in frock coat and white cotton gloves.” I wonder if the Trump organisation had forced him to pick the cotton that his gloves were made of.
Is Trump a Russian plant?
Speaking of Donald Trump, there’s been a kerfuffle lately about an intelligence dossier accusing Trump of being a puppet of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The dossier alleges that those pesky Russkies spent more than five years cultivating Trump as a US presidential candidate with the intention of getting him into the White House and letting him wreak havoc on the Western world. It also warns that they have “potentially compromising personal and financial information about him”, including saucy stuff involving prostitutes and what’s euphemistically known as ‘golden showers’. Cue a million jokes on Twitter about Trump being the next Pee-OTUS and about him talking pish. Oh, and ‘urine for a shock’ when he becomes president.
Just before Trump’s lawyers get in touch with Blood and Porridge, I should say the dossier’s claims are so far unverified and their accuracy has been questioned in many quarters, not just by Trump’s supporters. And the Orange One himself has strenuously denounced them as ‘fake news’ and ‘phony stuff’.
Still, this malarkey calls to mind certain works of fiction and celluloid – for example, Richard Conlon’s conspiracy thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1959), filmed in 1962 and 2004, about the Chinese and Russians using a brainwashed Korean War veteran to carry out a political assassination in the USA; and Robert Harris’s The Ghost (2007), filmed three years later by Roman Polanski, in which a very Tony Blair-esque former British prime minister turns out to have been a CIA plant.
My favourite entry in this sub-genre, though, is the Don Siegel-directed movie Telefon (1977), based on a 1975 novel by William Wager, in which mad Russian scientist Donald Pleasance tries to start World War III by activating a network of brainwashed sleeper-agents across the USA. These agents develop a glazed look and lumber off and attack American military installations as soon as Pleasance gives them a ‘trigger’, which is the recital of certain lines of verse by Robert Frost: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep / But I have promises to keep / And miles to go before I sleep…”
Not that I think Trump would become glazed-eyed and trudge off zombie-like to attack a military installation if you recited Robert Frost at him. Somehow, I doubt if poetry has much effect on him. In fact, he probably he thinks Robert Frost was the guy who interviewed Nixon.
May rejects Europe, except for Bulgaria
January 17th saw British prime minister Theresa May give a historic speech about the nature of Britain’s ‘Brexit’ from the European Union at Lancaster House. Guess what? It’s going to be hard!
If there was one thing ghastlier than Ms May’s pronouncements – she even warned that if the EU didn’t accommodate Britain’s demands, she would “change the basis of Britain’s economic model”, i.e. slash taxes to lure businesses away from the EU even though this would leave next-to-no-money to pay for Britain’s public services – it was the head-to-toe blue tartan outfit she wore that day.
© The Daily Telegraph
It makes me wonder if someone somewhere is making a movie of the old British TV children’s series The Wombles and May fancies her chances of landing the role of the Wombles’ venerable patriarch, Great Uncle Bulgaria.
From Wombles Wiki
Trump’s inauguration still short of talent
Back to Donald Trump. His presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington DC on January 20th has been beset by problems. At least 50 Democrat lawmakers have announced they’ll be staying away. The demand for hotel rooms has been low compared to previous inaugurations, with some Washington DC hotels reporting they’re only half-full. And scalpers are struggling to offload tickets for the event.
On top of all that, there’s been a noticeable reluctance among the musical community to perform at the thing. Everyone from Elton John to Celine Dion, Kiss and even Vince Neil of Motley Crüe have turned down invitations to sing / play and the names booked for the inauguration concerts aren’t exactly household ones, at least not in the Blood and Porridge household: Jackie Evancho, Three Doors Down, The Piano Guys, Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood, DJ Ravidrums and the Frontmen of Country.
Apparently, a group called the B Street Band, who do covers of songs by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, were on the line-up but recently cancelled. They cited as their reason the ‘respect and gratitude we have for Bruce,’ who coincidentally hates Trump’s guts. Maybe there’s another Springsteen tribute band that could be recruited? The C Street Band? The D Street Band?
But if Trump’s people are still hunting for a performer to enliven those inauguration day concerts, I could direct them to one famous artiste whom I’m sure would be only too happy to step in at the last minute.
He’s someone whose stomping, glitzy anthems capture both the brassy boldness that Donald Trump no doubt believes is one of his winning qualities and the shiny opulence of the Trump empire, gold-plated lifts and all. Someone who was a legend in his time, but who’s been off the radar for a little while and would surely welcome the new exposure that playing the inauguration would bring.
Yes, I give you…