Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A vulgar display of power (steering).

If you have read my blog recently, blimey. Thank you! It’s been cathartic, it’s been nostalgic, it has indeed been emotional but mostly, it’s been bloody epic. So that’s that, now. No more bloated bile on insurance and shitty (literally) office environments. Time to move swiftly onwards with a palate-clearing exercise, an entire change of subject — and crucially, a short one.

But first, a drink.

Ah, that’s much better. Oh, and I’d be lying if I said I’m done talking about office environments — but not any time soon, I promise. At least consider the insurance affair well and truly dusted anyway — and good riddance. Next, and before we go onto the main topic of this week’s exciting instalment, Bishops fans, here’s a bit of a moan.

Earlier this week, Mrs M and I were about to cross the road where we live to get to the train station, when we were confronted by the ludicrous sight and sound of a brand new, shiny red Dodge pickup truck. The UK numberplate shone pristinely from behind halogen lamps, fixed to the roll bars and already on full blast. At 9am. It was worth taking a moment to stop and take in the full effect, as it trundled down the road making its roaring, whining noise and slowed desperately to avoid all the speed bumps. 20mph, 200db, 9am, one pile of comical carmine crap on Monday morning in Chislehurst, Kent.

What was the bloody point of it? I fumed. It wasn’t the truck itself that rankled — pneumatic, pathetic, childish, unnecessary and loud as it was — but the thinking behind it. The crass display of Conspicuous Consumption. Such Veblenesque vehicular vulgarity. Bling Crimson. I studied Economics in Sixth Form, you know.

To me it’s another example of the infantilisation of society; one where money is the biggest signifier of cool not just because it can buy things, but because it’s a far simpler, more instant way to win friends and gain a reputation with obvious displays of wealth than it is to earn respect of one’s peers by being tasteful, brilliant, stylish or intelligent. Think about it. You don’t have to achieve anything memorable. You don’t have to excel in anything useful or exciting. You don’t have to improve yourself in any way and you certainly don’t need to be interesting. All you need to do is buy something that you think is A Big Deal. It’s a terrible indictment of many people’s idea of A Big Deal is nothing more awesome than a car, a piece of chunky gold jewellery, an exorbitantly priced football shirt with the name of a complete stranger on the back, or all three. My, such vaulting ambition.

I don’t begrudge a person’s right to acquire tacky shit with their hard-earned cash — after all, I own several albums by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. But I wonder if this is why I’m rarely impressed with someone’s income. It’s not what you earn but how you spend it. Besides, it’s not always entirely their decision anyway, what they earn. More likely all they did was nod yes enthusiastically when the figure was floated in the interview. But I’m clearly ranting now. Can you tell I failed Economics in Sixth Form?

Anyway, enough of this. Here’s the meaty bit. I present to you one of my get-rich schemes — a movie pitch:

What if The Wild Geese had been filmed when it was set, in the 1940s? Imagine the stars of the day:

Tommy Trinder
AKA Tommy Gun: doing his bit for King and Country, one dame at a time. You lucky people.

Vera ‘Lips’ Lynn
Forces Sweetheart. No-one forces this sweetheart to do anything.

George ‘Axeman’ Formby
Ukelele-toting avenger. He’ll clean more than your windows.

Bob Hope
AKA ‘The Yank — oversexed, overpaid, over here. He started off providing the finance...and damn well ended up supplying the funk.

and introducing

Norman ‘Wiseguy’ Wisdom
Pratfalling comic relief. ‘Cos he’s bloody Norman Wisdom.

All we need now is the time machine and we’re in business.

Ta-ta for now!


Currently listening to:
Fool’s Mate (Peter Hammill, 1971) 
Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night (Peter Hammill, 1973) 
Incoherence (Peter Hammill, 2004) 
McDonald & Giles (McDonald & Giles, 1970) 
Discipline (King Crimson, 1981)

Currently watching:
Doctor Who: The Awakening (BBC, 1984) 
Doctor Who: The Gunfighters (BBC, 1966) 
Drop The Dead Donkey Series 3, 4, 5 and 6 (Channel 4, 1993 - 1998) 
The Thick Of It: first series (BBC, 2005)


  1. Someone parks a great big ugly jeep right on the pavement at the corner of our road. The dog now enthusiastically pisses on the wheels every time we walk past it now, which brings me a small amount of joy

  2. I live in a land full of Ford F150s, Chevy Silverados, and Toyota Tundras. I still don't get it. Why buy a vehicle made for haulage if the back remains empty save for a spent can of Red Bull?

    Clearly, you didn't partake in the Wild Geese as often as I did. It was set in the 60s in Southern Africa. Maybe you're thinking of Where Eagles Dare, another Burton classic.

  3. Bugger! I sit corrected! Drat!

    No wonder the RKO execs refused my pitch when I rolled it to them in '47 - it hadn't even happened. A stranger passed me in the street and I didn't even know him!