07 August 2009

Daily Chat 07/08/09

Today's date reminds me of the old joke, "Why was Six scared?" Now, for our usual broadcast:

The first documented performance of Macbeth took place in the Great Hall at Hampton Court in 1606. Anna Månsdotter was the last woman to be executed in Sweden in 1889 and Philippe Petit performed a high wire act between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City in 1974. Celebrating birthdays today: Edward Hardwicke, Garrison Keillor, Alexei Sayle, David Duchovny and Charlize Theron. It is Youth Day in Kiribati.


  1. Incest and murder were the keys of Anna Mansdotter's life. Awful, indeed. How many incests and how many murders have taken place since? Which brings the death penalty up for discussion. Nothing easy, really.

    Anna Mansdotter

  2. Jose
    Death penalty ? No.

    But, by coincidence, Charlize Theron is also noted above as it's her birthday. Her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, in the 2003 film Monster was sympathetic and harrowingly brilliant. Wuornos was executed in 2002.

    In the dock (for six murders) she said (this from the actual court transcripts, not the movie)

    "I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I'd do it again, too. There's no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I'd kill again. I have hate crawling through my system...I am so sick of hearing this 'she's crazy' stuff. I've been evaluated so many times. I'm competent, sane, and I'm trying to tell the truth. I'm one who seriously hates human life and would kill again"

    Still. I wouldn't have the death penalty in this country.

  3. Oh dear, this is one on which I struggle, bacause as much as I oppose the death penalty, every so often something like the Baby P case comes up and I can't help myself thinking that I could live with seeing those bastards hang.


  4. Thank goodness it's the 7th and we don't have to look at that terrible, hauntingly beautiful photo of the mother and child from Hiroshima.
    And the look in their eyes...

  5. I sympathise with you Vari, but it's the cold bloodedness of the execution process and the effect on those who have to carry it out that is so utterly vile.
    Now I think we change the subject to something more cheerful. How about the imminent and inevitable collapse of America through hyperinflation and civil war? Because it's coming and it's going to bring the UK down with it.
    Thank goodness I live in the eurozone...

  6. Vari

    Agreed. I'd like to see them towed behind a busy cross chanel ferry for a few years. Trouble is our justice system cannot prove guilt infallibly. So the death penalty won't work.

    Dan Pearce

    Thanks for the uplift.



  7. My ex was a crown court clerk. he said that he would have to resign if they brought back the death penalty - he would have have had to sign the death warrant.

    So Dan I agree its the effect on the people who have to do it that is key i think. That and the fact that sometimes we convict the innocent.

  8. Lovely picture Montana - what a contrast with yesterdays.

    appropos of nothing at all - theres a delicious little piece in the print Graun this morning - as follows:

    "The Home Office has quietly slipped out a major concession on ID cards - for the aristocracy.

    They are to be allowed their full titles as well as their family names on their ID cards.

    This will not apply to the rest of us….The concession will not only apply to all members of the H of L but also their wives and families as holders of knighthoods, baronetcies and their wives as well as dames….

    This must make the Right Honourable the Lord Mandelson of foy in the country of Hertfordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham the favourite for the holder of the longest ID card in Britain.”

    I make no comment at all....

  9. Hi Sheff - yes, I chuckled over that one too! I mean, what else can you do?

  10. Anyone else remember this? Found it on an old tape when I was clearing out some old boxes. Can't find a link.

    (Sammy King)

    Arthur Edward Pickersgill
    Workin' 'ard at mill
    Sorting out the bales
    The ones to empty and to fill
    It's Sat'day night, he's rushing home
    To check his football pools
    While Chelsea won and let him down
    And so did Hartlepool...

    So off at dawn on Monday morn
    Working for his rent
    Money's hard to come by
    And half's already spent
    'Cause Billy wants a pair of shoes
    And Tilly wants a dress
    And Freda wants some curling pins
    She says her hair's a mess...

    And so, where do you go from here
    Where in life do you belong
    You've worked so hard throughout your life
    To make your country great
    And now it runs away from you
    Leaving you behind and out of date...

    Every week your Sunday joint's
    No bigger than your thumb
    With eight of us to share it
    And that's not including Mum.
    But first you've got to find it
    And the kids are lookin' out
    It's there, Dad, in the processed peas
    Behind that brussels sprout...

    And Freda's getting married soon
    You'll 'ave to pay for t'do,
    Invitin' all the folks we know
    Will cost a bob or two
    And after all the toastin'
    And the speeches and the gags
    It's back to working overtime
    And rolling your own fags...

    And so, where do you go from here
    Where in life do you belong
    You fought for King and Country
    And your comrades in the war
    And is it any different now
    You're fighting to exist, just like before...

    And so, where do you go from here
    Life's inclined to hurry by
    Your clogs went out with ration books
    But still you carry on, forever if you can
    'Cause you're the kind of man who
    Can't afford to die...

  11. Thauma

    Always been opposed to the death penalty but there are times as vari said.... and when it comes to aristos, in my mind the knitting comes out and the tumbrils roll...

  12. Monkeyfish's poem sounds as though it should be set to the music of Peter Sarsted's classically awful 'Where do you go to, my lovely?'.
    Apart from that, it's new to me.

    Sorry to depress you, Bitterweed- let's cheer ourselves up by continuing the uplifting thread on capital punishment.

    But seriously, folks, does nobody else share my concern about the cack handed, ostrich-like approach to the US economy? Does anyone seriously think Geithner, Bernanke etc have the slightest idea or even care about what they're doing?
    Bill Maher is right- most Americans are politically naive beyond belief and when they do eventually wake up to how they've been fucked over by successive administrations there's going to be big trouble. It's really not surprising the US government is attempting to restrict the supplies of ammunition.
    Obama may be a good and intelligent man but he doesn't stand a chance against the malign forces ranged against him (including many Democrats)
    And git yourself, Bitterweed, with knobs on ( I'm trying to concoct an emoticon with a tongue sticking out...)

  13. Possibly it's because I've never actually met an aristo, but the upper middle classes bother me a lot more.

  14. Dan
    Thanks, cheered me right up

    yes, the difference is that aristos are clueless inbred f@cktards; the upper middle class on the other hand are completely soulless and mercinary b@astards who blame everyone else for their greedy, shitty ways and should be fed to hungry swine.

    Not that I like to generalise...

    Peter Mandleson could easily have a much shorter name on his ID card, coming in at just under five letters and ending with, say, "UNT".

    Nice poem.

  15. It seems to me it's the class system that makes the UK such a shithole to live in and it doesn't seem to get any better. This knee-jerk deference to the royals and our contempt for pikeys and chavs is endemic and unique to the UK. Actually I think it's getting worse as the general population gets dumber and dumber thanks to the brain rotting influence of TV. (Things must be getting serious if Top Gear is hailed as a good program)

    God, I love a good rant...

    So who's coming to stay with me in Marrakech? I'm back there in a couple of weeks- can't wait.
    Any other fans of Morocco out there?

  16. That's sheer genius, Bitterweed. Did you just make it up?

  17. Yes
    see youse later

  18. This knee-jerk deference to the royals and our contempt for pikeys and chavs is endemic and unique to the UK.

    Sorry, Dan. That's nonsense. It's the same in just about every other country, it's just that their pikeys, chavs are called different things.

    (Things must be getting serious if Top Gear is hailed as a good program)

    You're not wrong there though.

  19. That should have read ....

    ... it's just that their pikeys, chavs and royals are called different things.

  20. But surely, My Lord, you must admit the UK's class system is qualitatively more extreme than anywhere else. I take your point about name calling (ie 'trailer trash') but nowhere else is the class system more difficult to overcome. You can climb to the top of society in the US simply by becoming extremely rich and I would guess that applies in most other countries. Just name another country with such a pernicious class system as the UK. You'll have a hard job.

  21. Well folks I am off, going to sneak away and catch a bit of the cricket before home to nappies and noddy...

    Have a great weekend people...Enjoy your holiday Kiz!

  22. I've not scrolled back so someone might have noted this already, but at 12.34 and 56 seconds today, it was a moment that will not be repeated for a thousand years...

    12:34:56 7/8/9

    (unless you are in the States, of course, in which case you missed it last month....)

  23. MF - I remember that song - or at least the chorus. I am singing it now. Can't remember how the verse goes though.

  24. Comment to Miliband

    "I have been struggling to find a form of words that expresses how I feel about Mr Miliband, that will be fully expressive and candid, and yet escape the CIF censor. It has been a heroic struggle, but I have to concede defeat."


  25. The miliband brothers: So much shit they had to start a another pile.

  26. @BB

    Sure, if one ignores the fact that it's not 9 but 2009.

  27. Dan -- sorry, but your assessment of the US and class is a bit off. In theory, just about anyone can get rich, etc., but last autumn there was a report on social mobility (and I can't remember a source -- it was fairly widely reported here at the time) that put the US behind almost every industrialised nation in the world (including Britain). We might not have a formal aristocracy, but getting to the top of society here isn't just a matter of making a lot of money and making a lot of money isn't as easy here as it is claimed.

    But there won't be a revolution here any time soon, either. The average American is too comfortable, too complacent, and too ignorant to care.

    BB: I've got about 2 hours to go before I hit that special moment in time. Thanks for the heads-up. It wouldn't have occured to me.

  28. Anonymous

    I'll ignore anything for a laugh...

    Montana - savour the second! :o)

    Jay - I don't dare go near the miliband thread cos if I do I will get my post deleted anyway. All I have to say to him is to ask why he committed perjury or, at the very least, deliberately mislead the High Court in the Binyam Mohammed JR proceedings. Asshole.

  29. Dan P
    "Any other fans of Morocco out there?"

    Have you ever come accross "Ieuan", damned decent CiF poster, who wouldmight be pretty at home here.

    Multi-linguist, from the UK, was in the music business for a while, lived in Finland, now lives and works in Morrocco.

    Don't see him there that often but I reckon he'd be a good one to meet up with ever I was out there. Old hippy basically, but pretty damn sharp-witted.


    What's wrong with this scenario:

    Wine in fridge downstairs
    Me on computer upstairs


    See youse laters..

  30. JayReilly
    Good quote

    Fair comment (the new pile)

  31. Jay good post on the Laurie penny thread!

    Policies are more important than gender give me a good socialist candidate over a Nulab aparatchick any day - whatever their gender!

    Bless her she tried hard but she doesn't get it does she - neither does the graun if thats an example of 'new young feminism' heaven help us!

  32. Montana: Hi- very interesting comment on social mobility in the US and VERY surprising to me. But as for being too comfortable and complacent, that situation is surely changing rapidly as the dollar continues its inexorable slide downwards. It seems to me that they're going to get pretty mad before too long. I can't see how printing all those dollars with nothing to back them up is going to lead to anything but big trouble.

    Incidentally, I had a delightful couple from North Carolina staying in Marrakech recently and they have been living and working in the financial services in London for the last couple of years and they said that their English colleagues were really snotty and unfriendly in what sounded a really snobbish and somehow VERY ENGLISH way.
    The longer I live away from the UK the less attractive I find the English and the nicer I find the Americans. They seem to have a greater generosity of spirit in contrast to the Brits who celebrate mediocrity. But then I only meet the Americans who travel outside the US...

    Has anyone heard Jill Bolte Taylor on TED yet? Amazing and wonderfully positive story. Will bring tears to your eyes or your money back...

  33. Dan

    Just watched the Jill Bolte Taylor talk - a very positive take on having a stroke - will try and remember if/when (I smoke & drink too much) it happens to me.

  34. Dan, what you fail to understand is that most Americans buy into the twin myths of the American dream and America as a force for good in the world. Even 'liberal' ones. The people who are running this country are too intelligent to ever let a large enough number of Americans to get so materially uncomfortable that they would take to the streets. They will always make sure that there is just enough panem et circenses to keep the masses complacent. It just won't happen, Dan. Certainly not in my lifetime, at the very least.

    As for your North Carolinians -- given that they were in financial services, it's not entirely surprising that they were surrounded by snobs. My own experience was that, the higher up someone was on the socio-economic scale, the more insufferable they were. Working-class and lower middle class Britons were the friendliest, most hospitable people I ever met in Europe, bar none.

    Americans who travel abroad are not typical Americans by any stretch of the imagination. The very fact that they are willing to travel abroad sets them apart from most Americans, but even among Americans who travel abroad, you will find incredible amounts of ignorance and insularity. The world beyond our shores is little more than Disneyland for some. And remember, Dan, that most Americans who meet you on their travels will have no frame of reference to peg you. Americans who would meet me in a café in Italy and snub me will be charming to you because they don't know where to fit you in their hierarchy.

  35. For all you hippies, if you have sky or cable, Blind Faith's free gig in Hyde Park from 69 is on Sky Arts 1 at 9.00pm.

  36. Americans who travel abroad are not typical Americans by any stretch of the imagination.

    You can say that again. I once met an American in the Horn who was living with the Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front during their long war with Ethiopia, who a confessed Communist, it seemed of the Stalinist variety - I don't think he had any plans to go home though.

  37. The thing is, most Americans -- even relatively well-educated ones -- seem to almost take it as a point of pride to say that they have no desire to travel outside the US because there's just so much worthwhile to see here. It's as if a willingness or desire to see another country or culture is somehow unpatriotic.

    I have to confess, however, that living with the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front seems extreme, even to me.

  38. Montana: Why?

    Would you rather live with the Peoples' Liberation Front of Eritrea ;-)

  39. MW

    It is a bizarre way of looking at things, not to want to visit other countries. There's nothing I would love more than to have the time and the money to visit a few dozen countries in the world before I die.

    I wonder how much of it stems from the way in which you, as americans, are taught from a very young age that you live in the greatest country in the world, pledging allegiance to your flag every day at school etc.

  40. BW - "wine in fridge" is already a serious problem. The only proper wine is red and made from grapes, and it should never be refrigerated.

  41. Wot a day of cricket! Mental!!!
    Here in greeky land there's a word that almost directly translates as pikey... It's (transliteration here) yifti... It's used to describe travellers and gypsies and anyone that's a bit cheap or chav-like... ho hum!

  42. Aw thaum. There are some damn good white wines out there, though.

    I have finished my Old Speckled Hen and am now on a bottle of bordeaux that is remarkably good considering 'Im Indoors found it at three for a tenner in Tesco. I swear they didn't realise what they were doing!

  43. BB - I think you've nailed it there.
    Great posts by Montana that completely tally with my own experience living there.

    Americans are brought up to believe "we are the greatest nation on earth," "we have the best health care system in the world," and other rubbish, and never think to question whether these premises are true or not, or to what degree.

    Ah well, the citizens of other empires (eg British and Roman) have thought the same thing, only to be brought down.

  44. Oh and Bitters... seconded on Ieuan.. liked him for a long time as a poster.. He's been around quite a while but I haven't seen him post as much as he used to.. still a fab poster though...

  45. BB - didn't see your wine post before my last! Speckled is respecktable. I will accept that some very dry whites are drinkable, but I still don't call them proper wine.

  46. Am seriously knackered so heading off now ... 'night all!

    Btw, Montana - "why is 6 scared" - took me a minute, but *groan*!

  47. thauma
    Americans are brought up to believe "we are the greatest nation on earth,"

    I remember being taught exactly the same thing at school in the 50's about 'England". Pink maps of 'Empire' on every classroom wall - even though it had effectively gone down the swanee by then.

    I think the thing about the US is that it's so enormous and has such a huge variety of stunning landscape, plus if you have been brought up in Seattle say, going to Louisiana is like being in a foreign country even though everyone waves old glory.

  48. Well I do think this health care debate in the US is very interesting especially the way 'liberal' is used- makes even the use of 'commie' over here in Europe seem tame.
    And I don't think those in power CAN continue to provide the bread and circuses for much longer, however much they'd like to.
    Your point about the lack of a frame of reference is very interesting and helps explain the attitude of some American friends- as though we were exotic creatures on the other side of a fence in a zoo.
    So, Montana, tell us the things you love about your fellow Americans cos you sound quite vitriolic in your condemnation. Have you ever considered living elsewhere?

  49. Montana: I’ve just noticed that you included the name of the “Scottish Play” in your intro today.

    If imogenblack ever does find her way in here, she’s going to find that very off-putting...

    Dan: you’re not about to suggest that what Montana needs is some time in Morocco, are you?

    Anyway, I’ve been working far too hard this week, and I’ve got various holiday preparations to make tomorrow, so an early night is in order.

  50. andy

    I thought only mentioning the scottish play in a theatre was unlucky?

    Night night x

  51. But BB, “all the world’s a stage”, etc, etc.

    I’m sure that’s how imogen sees it anyway.

  52. :o)

    ...And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances...

  53. Well yes, Montana, have you ever been to Marrakech? It is the most fabulous city- but not as fabulous as Varanasi...
    Good night all.

  54. As long as you only refer to it as 'the scottish play' you're alright... and you can always turn round three times and spit if in doubt..

  55. Dan, I'd love to live in Europe. Britain would be my first choice, followed by Denmark. Anywhere where there's some semblance of public transportation and national healthcare would be fine. Never been to Marrakech or Varanasi. Been to Delhi, Karachi & Lahore, though. Was supposed to have gone to Agra, but my trip was right after the mosque at Ayodhya was destroyed and the entire state of Uttar Pradesh was under curfew.

    I don't mean to sound flippant or vitriolic, but you'll have to give me some time to think about things that I like about my compatriots in a general sense. I don't mean that all Americans are totally ignorant or unpleasant -- obviously I like plenty of people as individuals, but to try to point to general characteristics of Americans as a people, I need time. I'll give you something in a day or two, I promise.

    Andy - I'm not superstitious, so even in a theatre: Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth! :-p

  56. You've never worked in the theatre then WH... Coz that would freak out even the hardest old hand.. I'm not superstitious at all... except when it comes to theatre performance... hard to explain why though..

  57. Night dan. x

    BTW, would love to go to marrakech some day, so I will send you an email when I decide to.