Prometheus was punished by the Gods;
forever, day after day, his liver would be eaten by eagles;
as with Radio Four's Today Programme,
the horror would start anew every morning.
All Prometheus had done was he had nicked the secret of fire from the Gods and shared it with humanity.
And that's what happened to him,
Gods, what are they like?
Plagues, floods, fire and brimstone,
I mean, if it hadna been for Prometheus we'd be freezing our bollocks off.
Mr Roy Wood, a popular musician, originally from Birmingham, however, has compelled a large section of mankind to endure the yearly, aural torture occasioned by the playing continually and on all media of his dreadful, Consumermas nursery rhyme, Oh, I wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday-a-ay. It happens every year, for about a month. Soon, it will be here, there and everywhere.
A condign punishment for Wood’s offence might be that one snowy Christmas Day, someone visited his home and broke all his fucking fingers with a lump hammer; that they would be almost healed by the following Christmas Eve, permitting him to cautiously finger his twelve-string, saxophone, cor Anglais or piano but then, just around midnight, Santa would emerge from the fireplace, Ho-Ho-Ho-ing his jolly fat arse off, remove a blunt instrument from his sack
Wish it could be Christmas every day, do you?
and smash Wood’s fingers all over again, to bits.
But that raucous Yuletide rubbish is not Mr Wood’s greatest crime against the people, not by a long way. After they had aborted their perfectly acceptable beat group, the Move, Mr Wood deserted his joint, pop-classics musical project with Mr Jeff Lynne, another Brummie ex-Mover, and went off to form Wizzard, leaving Mr Lynne, unrestrained, to develop what became the Electric Light Orchestra.
A working class hero is somethin' t'see.|
It's loike, the strings, them's the thing wot does it, int they?
Jeering at his former business partner’s musical pretensions, the late John Lennon averred that had the Beatles stayed together then, given Paul McCartney's musical pretensions, we’da turned into the fuckin’ Electric Light Orchestra, and whooda wanted that shit?
In fact the sawing, incongruous orchestral part of Walrus would have been composed and arranged by George Martin, rather than the Fabsters, themselves, but essentially Junky John was right and Lynne’s wholly derivative ELO took the Beatles’ I Am The Walrus, copied it, re-hashed and repeated it for years over several albums, countless massive concert tours and made a career and a fortune from it.
Bass lines descending, string parts rising, easy when someone else has done it first; Richard Thompson has a fine take on McDonalds grub: shove it in their faces, give 'em what they want, gotta make it fast, it's a fast food restaurant; and like burger'n'relish junkies, uneducated stadium audiences relished Jeff Lynne's fast-food, nutrition-free, classical pastiche, lapped it up.
Harsh things are said about Mr Leonard Cohen’s doleful ditties but it is the endlessly repetitive, wretched cacophony of ELO which would make me suicidal; wouldn’t it just, meaningless teenage lyrics; the same old boomy string section groaning away at the same old classical romantic/late Beatles figures, in the same old time, to the same old dreary lyrics sung by the same old, thin, reedy falsetto; same-old-same-old,
a phrase probably coined to describe Mr Lynne’s musical career.
I thought that ELO’s records were symptomatic of the culturally dire nineteen-seventies, bombastic and banal,
as bad as the chirpy eunuch music of the Bee Gees,
smiling their over-toothed smiles,
snorting their over-priced coke.
Not for very long, though, lads.
Made more money out of I Am The Walrus,
did ELO than did ever the Fab Four.
None of this matters in the slightest, it's just that I am of that generation which naively and for a short time felt that the popular music of my day could prove useful, maybe even a bit revolutionary, although mr tdg would argue that you can't have a bit of a revolution. The Beatles, though, having produced a clutch of shining, magical LPs, all bursting with charming melodies and harmonies, jangling and sparkling, eventually disappeared up their own Strawberry Fields, the facetious, absurd druggy doggerel of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band killing rock'n'roll stone dead and, worse, spawning double and triple concept albums from legions of imbeciles and, worst of all, igniting Mr Lynne's eternal, unquenchable flame of plagiarism.
And as if ELO was insufficiently irritating, Mr Lynne, post-ELO, when people had finally twigged that this was a load of old shite, formed what is known as a supergroup - dodgy old people, past their best, cobbling together their spent talents, hoping for one last ride on the Gravy Train, but insisting that they’re just regular guys, just hanging-out together.
Happens all the time, a current, most astonishing amalgamation is that of Paul Simon and eco-gabshite, Gordon Sumner, or Sting as he is generally known, who are touring the world, mutilating Mr Simon’s considerable catalogue of work and joining forces on Mr Sting’s Police Punk-Reggae-StalkingBeast music.
I listened to them perform a verse and a chorus of Simon’s much and justly revered, The Boxer, and I nearly fucking died. But there’s been loads of such ventures, as incongruous and show-offy as they are futile – David Bowie and Bing Crosby, Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, Sir Tom Jones and almost anybody; there was that ridiculous Queen stuff, with the opera diva and didn't lardman, Pavarotti, slum it for a while, with some pop slut? Mr Lynne’s band was The Travelling Wilburys, consisting of the late Roy Orbison, the late ex-Beatle, George Swami Fuckwit, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and himself. Really, really great guys, they’d hang out, man, in Bob’s garage studio - I love that garage studio thing that geniuses have, it's a fucking studio, isn't it, never gonna be any Bentleys in there, lawnmowers, sets of ladders, but it works, doesn't it, people think their musical heroes are just like them, roughing it, with a tape recorder and a mike and an ouija-pad with a music app on it - or in someone’s kitchen, somebody’d loike, lay down a groove, then somebody’d write a line, someone else’d think of what rhymed with that; one day we all just read things out of a car magazine and created, loike, a to’ally brilliant track. Naturally, Jeff would then produce it all up in the studio, dusting it with his magic and it sold by the trainload. Must be good, then. But it wasn’t, it was just bits of nineteen-fifties Rockabilly, Western Swing and early Rock’n’Roll, all thrown together and marketed to people too young to have heard or too decrepit to remember the originals. It was the triumph of music-lite, flatpack music, mixed and matched. No business like showbusiness.
Evry-body, need some-body, to leeeean o-on.
I watched a bit of a rockumentary and just this one ego-snap took them hours to arrange, to pose for, these regular guys.
But no matter, shifting product, especially old product, where the costs have already been paid, is the Holy Grail of showbusiness and Maestro Lynne, with a newly-assembled Electric Light Orchestra, recently did a mega-sell-out, critically acclaimed concert in Hyde Park, rehashing, with the august participation of the BBC Concert Orchestra, all those dreadful philistinisms of yore, Don’t Bring Me Down, Mr Blue Sky, It's a Livin' Thing, da-de-da-de-da-de-dah-dah-dah and dozens of other overblown and indistinguishable doodlings,
performed for a hysterically cheering,
weeping crowd of singalong braindead morons who had imbibed this shit from their parents, or maybe were their parents.
It’s loike yer pop songs, an' yer ‘armonies
an’ yer classical bits an’ bobs, loike,
all in the one song;
that’s worritis, ELO,
grinned septuagenarian Lynne,
pleased with himself.
As well he might be.
Not only has he based much of his life's work on Lennon-McCartney, he even goes to Sir Paul's hair colourist.
Don't get no better'n that.
The greatest irritation of the Hyde Park nostalgia feast was when it closed with the large orchestral section of Lynne's ensemble blasting out the da-da-da-daah opening to Beethoven's Fifth symphony before Jeff took charge, merging clunkily into a miserably inept and misunderstood reading of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven,
Whatever he might call ELO
it's not rock'n'roll and I don't like it.
Lynne's desultory guitar managing to play about every third note of the original.
Both Ludwig and Chuck are known for their bad tempers and would be unlikely to bless this pointless confection.
Doesn't matter, the music trade is in wetting-itself overdrive, musically illiterate broadsheet hacks paid to deliver unanimous, nostalgic acclaim for a true survivor, one of the greats, great songs, great music, a great night and a truly nice guy; can he be persuaded to go on tour, national treasure, do we deserve him?
It was fucking rubbish, every note of it.
Lynne should fuck off back to LA where he is producer emeritus to pop music's AristoTrash.
If this poncey gabshite has the keys to his and my (adopted) home city,
they should be taken off him
and shoved up his arse.
In the studio, loike,
Oi can take a litt-ul scrap of a tune,
an' mek it grayt.
No, mate, you can't.
I have a huge, reproduced catalogue of Victorian household goods
400 pages of British manufactured stuff for living;
stuff for every conceivable household, transport, travel, gardening, medical, self defence, camping, jewellery and correspondence purpose, to name just some of the categories; the variety and the quality of the designs and manufacturing processes, the imagination,the invention and industry are breathtaking and the majority of these items would have been made in Birmingham or the Black Country; some would have come from Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool; much would have been made in the Potteries, just up the road but the majority would be made in Birmingham.
There is still a chocolate factory, might be a brewery or two and there remains a vibrant jewellery quarter but I don't know what else is Made in Birmingham, once rightly known as the workshop of the world, or the Empire, at least; shame it was never similarly acclaimed for its popular musicians. The Moody Blues, Jeff Lynne, UB 40 and Black Sabbath; break the 'eart of a bleedin' wheelbarrow, that lot, woodenit, bab? Ta-ra a bit.
But such flashy dullards are characteristic of the city, itself, not even incorporated as a city until the turn of the nineteenth century, Birmingham, actually much like Mr Lynne, bedecked itself in cod-classical grandeur, its Town Hall, Council House and civic buildings Grecian rather than British and despite its showy, nouveau riche Victoriana it is now something, city-wise, of a flash in the pan, it's industrial dynamo burnt out, leaving nothing more than a haunted theme park, where people used to make things. Never had time to settle down, like proper cities, before being trashed by MediaMinster, dancing to GlobaCorp's tune - I know that many, like mr jgm2, see the wrecking of the Ostin/BMC/Leyland as the responsibility of militant unions, I disagree, I think it far more complex, but you and I, we've been through that - Birmingham's cathedrals are like parish churches, it's only proper university a 19th century, red-brick Gothic mish-mash; Birmingham's greatness as a city spans about a century - the Chamberlains, the Cadburys and the Longbridge car plant, that about covers it. It is true there was Fort Dunlop, Lucases and Smiths; tyres, batteries, lights and instruments went from Birmingham all over the world but those companies, like the jobs and skills they furnished were here today and gone tomorrow. Unlike what happens in a proper place, Brum's city fathers maul and tear at her, ever seeking improvement; there have been three Bull Rings in my lifetime, three central public libraries;
The new, new Birmingham City Library.
there's an occasional old 'pub, in the outlying suburbs but only a short stretch of Digbeth contains any mediaeval buildings at all and it is a wonder that some deranged planner-vandal didn't dynamite them in order to erect more concrete, glorious concrete. But never mind, for ghastly concrete and idiosyncratic futuristic outrages
Selfridges, I tried to like it
but from street level it looks even worse than this
characterise the city centre and even a couple of miles from the centre, Spaghetti Junction, infamously a project borne of bent contracts, councillors and contractors using sub-standard materials has been falling down since the day it opened, a road of constant repair. Considering that it claims Second Cityhood, Birmingham is a dreadful dog's breakfast of a place, being thrown-together one minute, pulled down the next. And for all its permanent orgy of rebuilding it seems to me that the most pleasantly striking, settled and dignified building in Birmingham - and I am one of God's Victorians - is the Central Mosque;
how's that for the second city, the workshop of the empire, it's native architecture outshone by that of immigrant sons of the Raj. Birmingham's built environment is to civilisation
what Tracey Emin's shitbed is to art.
But as usual, I digress.
After paying itself, the Paedophile Broadcasting Corporation's child buggering kleptocracy seems to have little money left for programming, hence the artful mythologising of tripe like the Archers, Just A Minute, Newsnight and Have I Got Stale News For You, now in its forty-eighth season. Surely no other nation on Earth would tolerate for so long the smirking,
unspeakable chubby ToryBoy, Ian Hislop, or
the tediously unfunny, self-winding malapropism,
not to mention the cavalcade of grotesque panelists
- and there is virtually an infinity of other clapped-out, rubbishy shows; Gardeners World, the Money Programme - how to save a farthing a year to your ISA by paying close attention to some shit or other; File On Four, the Now Show, Top Gear, Just a Minute; these and so many others run and run, like a Niagara Falls of excrement, flooding the nation's kitchens and living rooms. Despite wading about in shit we are bombarded with pulled-out-of-thin-air ratings which tell us that, actually, we love all this trash and somehow, in that strange, seductively deceitful way which underpins Mythology, some people, enough people, believe it; even though deep down they don't, they still do; it's what the Monty Python Brainwashed Syndrome is based upon, you know it so well you could recite it in your sleep and yet you still pay good money to see it again and again and again; it works, anyway; and viewers grow addicted to the stupidest, most vapid, contrived, worthless and narcissistic filth, to people, for instance, like Monty Don, the Guardian readers' Face of Gardening,
year after year peddling his simpering but actually quite shrewdly reasoned sincerity, his earnest environmental realism, challenging but do-able and his all-round, well-balanced, impeccable but harmonious worthiness, as though he was God's Own Ethical Gardener and not a wholly fraudulent, every-word-scripted, cosmetically enhanced, costumed, floodlit and soundtracked, neurotic, fucked-up, typical telly personality who couldn't, unassisted, find the hole in his own arse. He presents, Monty, as though he has kept, for centuries, Botany's ancient secret, has taken holy horticultural orders, is in some shrubby, composty Noble and Chivalrous Order of the Knights Gardener. He belongs in a loony bin, picking the weeds out from between the slabs, with a blunt knife, so he doesn't harm himself; yet we are taught to worship him, Monty, the luckiest costume jeweller in history
Wouldn't any decent, normal person long to jump repeatedly, until their feet fractured, on Victoria Coren's head,
even before she doubled her grotesqueness quotient by marrying that whiney, chinless clever clogs, the ubiquitous panelshow bloke, actor, raconteur, columnist, but mainly panelshow nomad, migrant guest from Steven Fag to Jimmy Carr, his nasal cavities afire with acid indignation and incredulity, another waste of an expensive education, for it is he, the nation's most famous throat-speaker, David Mitchell.
Christ, can you imagine that particular Beast with Two Gobs,
I mean Backs, Mitchell and Coren-Mitchell, ( if he was a proper dude he'd call himself, gender-reciprocally, Mitchell-Coren, wouldn't he?) I'd give it three years and he'll be knocking on Jemimah's door, down Chipping Sodom way, now that Wussell Gwant has fucked off from his one twue love.
A Celebrity Honeymoon.
Would it be hyperbole, darling, if I said that, as usual,
the clever one - I - was on top?
No, darling, exaggeration.
being clever with one another in the sack? Jesus fucking wept. She won half a million pounds at poker, Vicky, they probably just gave it to her to get rid of her, her bitter, rehearsed know-it-all-ism, her voice like fingernails on a blackboard, her heels higher than her and her scrunched-up, Little-Madam arseface; how could you play cards with that at the table? Yet she gets series after series, barrowloads of my money, for fronting a quizshow that nobody in their right mind would want to watch, let alone be in; she'll be a national treasure - you know, from the PBC's zero-value national treasury of tellyturds - before we know it; probably get a gong, off good for fuck all Brenda. If they're not fucking our children, stealing our money, telling lies all across the news and current affairs, promoting one after another form of morally and ethically bankrupt perversion and degeneracy, they are impertinent enough to tell us that, actually, we are crazy about Mad Victoria Coren's ShitShow, we may not think we are but we are. Be told.
All across TeeVee, but especially at the PBC, once the leader in the field, drama is in a worse, more unappetising and indigestible state than any other part of the national viewing diet; all channels regularly trailing, as though they were new, series of ancient cop procedurals or perhaps worse, reviving formats already done to death, Inspector Morse is now in its third incarnation, a new Sherlock Holmes lurks around every corner, 'Ercule Poirot is officially dead but that won't stop them resurrecting him, they've done it once already with David Suchet, why not do it again? And do you know what, Mr Suchet so loves, so inhabits the character of the little detective that he might just be persuaded, if the nation asked him nicely, to play him again; it would take great courage to put himself Out There, like that, but those of us in showbusiness, we all suffer for our art. The PBC has even moved an ancient, children's TeeVee space'n'time soap opera cartoon into prime time, and many of the nation's adults are rivetted by the philosophical conundra framed by successive Doctors Who working with successive, pouty, leggy, jailbait cyber minxes, the whole show, now, like the awful Harry Potter, marketed at discerning and sensitive adult viewers, probably the same, smug eco-dimwits who adore Monty Don. In the crumbling, pock-marked dessicated face of this shoddy, parasitic, amoral and demented corporation's shamefully indifferent, lacklustre and unwholesome output, something new, therefore, and interesting from the national House of Horrors is a real treat.
Yow talkin about us?
Something new and interesting is Peaky Blinders, The Godfather part one transported to the streets of 1920s North Birmingham, not a Sicilian family but Gipsy, settled Gipsy, not travellers, making the best of a bad situation.
Home, in Birmingham, after a heroic and horrific war, tunnelling under the Western Front with their local regiment, Thomas Shelby and his brothers find that the land unfit for heroes offers them little, no employment, no housing, a bent political system - boasting Winston Churchill as home secretary - and a corrupt law enforcement system, coppers then, as now, for sale to the highest criminal bidder. Where we now have Murdoch the Monster and NoncesRUs jointly owning the filth, the 1920s had organised criminal families and organised criminal political parties paying the policing piper, calling the policing tunes. His mind war-attuned to danger and the survival thereof, the decorated war hero, Shelby, had no choice but to Godfather his family, friends and neighbours, as best he could.
No choice but to parade his comrades from the trenches
on the streets of Small Heath when danger threatened.
He establishes an illicit bookmakers, fights off IRA activists in Birmingham and, expanding, launches a war against Jews and Wops
for control of parts of London;
throughout, Don Thomas Shelby, in proper Corleone fashion, shepherds his family - a brother, his mind dangerously damaged by the war; an aunt robbed of her children by the Parish authorities; a sister widowed young as well as comrades, neighbours and friends, all short-changed by wartime leaders, now facing hunger and unemployment; Tommy, patient, shrewd and really having no other option, does what he can to put food on many tables, booze in many mouths, and the odd bit of cocaine up the noses of those tormented by total trench-recall.
And as if that's not enough to be going on with he becomes a reluctant participant in lethal, extreme prejudice black ops
launched by a sinister Ulster policeman, working in Birmingham against the IRA as Winston Churchill's director of clandestine assassinations.
It's great stuff, hugely derivative but none the worse for that; it is icily well written, deftly acted and while it lacks the painstaking locational extravagance of Poirot's sumptious Art Deco mansions and the wardrobes, vehicles, aircraft and sandbagged South Coast towns of Foyle's War these absences are more than compensated for by the harshly outraged Brummy accents, the haircuts and waistcoats, the dark cobbled streets (actually Leeds and Liverpool,) the canalsides of the Midlands waterways and the regular explosions of graphically portrayed, ex-soldier violence.
Sum fucker gonna get their 'ead kicked in t'noight.
Peaky Blinders, by the way, the nickname of Shelby's gang, refers to the custom and practice of violent men of those times, whereby razor blades were affixed surreptitiously to cloth cap peaks, in order that they could be whipped-off and slashed across the eyes of opponents, blinding in the blink of an eye. The Teddy Boys of the nineteen-fifties deployed similar ingenuity, stitching razor blades into their lapels, lest they be grabbed by them and head-butted.
Peaky Blinders is well into its second season, now, but if you haven’t seen it, whilst we are denied much in the way of new drama at least we are now favoured with all sorts of ouija-portals where we can watch the old stuff over and over again and I am sure Peaky Blinders will be available somewhere; If it's not it will soon appear at LoveFilm
Although it is a work of fiction it draws on deep historical roots, Tommy Atkins was and remains a discardable piece of kit on the road to political glory;
Little Big Man, NewLabour's John Reid.
The War Seckatry who said: I doubt that there will be a shot fired at British troops in Afghanistan,
now, 450 dead and countless injured later, Johnny is a football team Chairman and paid consultant to more Security-by-Death corporations than you could shake a spliff at. Everybody who knows John knows that the dope found in his home was not his.
New Labour killers for hire,
torturers , extortionists, money launderers, blackmailers, ponces, pimps and slags. But mainly killers. Hoon, Straw and Blair. Killers of Tommy, Killers of Ahmed, killers of you and I, give them half a chance. Give me an honest gangster, anytime
buttered-up in public by generations of Brigadiers Rupert Golightly-Jockstrap,
We simply must invade wherever it is,
wherever those wogs are.
men gleefully willing, in private, to throw him to the wolves,
hurl him against machine guns at Paschendale, lugging his non-automatic rifle; against roadside bombs
in Helmand Province, in paper-thin Land-Rovers; carelessly leaving his mending and healing to the paper flowers of guilty, mawkish, tin-rattling charity, jealously guarding their own pensions and peerages. The cops are always for sale, always keen to share in the proceeds of crime, nicking a small fry or two, now and again, for show; prohibition, porn and vice or drugs, always plenty to go around, eh, fill your boots, constable. The poor, as we see even now, are always damned as the feckless authors of their poverty and - for their insubordination - cavalry charged, then, or kettled and tasered, now, kicked into a fatal heart attack.
It was the wealthy, teetotal, Birmingham Quaker industrialist, George Cadbury, who said: If I lived in Small Heath, (the setting of Peaky Blinders) I, too, would be permanently drunk on gin. The series looks more and more like not so much a crime thriller but more a hard-core revision of Robert Tressel's turn of the century socialist lament, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.
I once read a serious review of Mario Puzo’s New York Mafia epic, The Godfather, which claimed that everything one needed to know about US law enforcement and politics was within its covers.
We are all, now, rightly sceptical, cynical, even, certainly better-informed about Inspector Filth and the thin blue line which separates us from outright Decency. Even so, the repeated sight of 1920s City of Birmingham coppers trousering folded white fivers and leaving crime to its own devices is oddly shocking, as is the story of a hired assassin, guaranteed immunity, being led, struggling, to the hanging cell, betrayed by Winston’s copper, who had recruited him to carry out the mission. A Belfast relative of mine on my father’s side, served intermittently, repeatedly, during the ‘twenties, in the Smethwick station of the old Birmingham City police, Sergeant Robert Ishmael Smith. I know no more than that, although nothing would surprise me about my Masonic, Orange paternal forebears. If there was a secret society, ganging-up on weaker people, they'd have been in it.
Peaky Blinders is dark, violent and terribly depressing; it is only the hope of Thomas Shelby’s eventual triumph over the ungodly which makes the series watchable; like Don Corleone, Shelby is hoping to make all his business interests legitimate,
the only forces which can prevent this happening are the cops and the government.
My infant memories of Birmingham are predominantly of my mother’s immigrant tears. No blacks, no dogs, no Irish was a common sign in the windows of lodging houses, I keep one on a bookcase somewhere,
here it is.
And sometimes she’d come home from the local shops, crying to my Dad, Joey, they eat sheep’s brains, so they do, and lungs, and pigs’ feet. In her native Belfast not even poor people ate stuff like that but the Tripe Eaters of Balsall Heath nevertheless felt superior to everyone, especially Paddy.
But in addition to Brummy bigotry I vaguely remember, - it’s just a feeling, now - an air of menace, a backdrop of danger. As I grew older I learned that seemingly everyone’s big brother had, tucked away, a big fuck-off Webley pistol, with ammunition; some had hand grenades, sten guns, many had bayonets, souvenirs of war, I saw them all, in sheds and cellars, one kid I knew was injured, he had put a bullet in his Dad’s vice and struck the centre of the cartridge case with the point of a hammered four-inch nail, a clever child. Many kids had air weapons, BSA and Diana rifles, .177 and .22 calibres; others had air pistols, the Gat was a chromium-plated pistol, wildly inaccurate, yet capable of blinding; flick knives and knuckle dusters were everywhere, people were slashed and disfigured outside cafes and pubs, on the all-night ‘bus and although many of these lethal weapons were surrendered in a ‘sixties police amnesty, for that ten or fifteen years after the Hitler War the streets throbbed with grievous bodily harm, malicious wounding and attempted murder.
I guess, after World War One, when there was not even the hint of a welfare state and when – unlike in the Second – nearly everyone who returned had seen and fought in desperate, terrifying, front-line close combat that violence in civvy street was only ever a raised eyebrow away. Make a man swift and handy with a broken bottle, that would, all that war shit.
And the no-fucking-about violence of Peaky Blinders is probably an accurate depiction of life in the urban tinderbox that was the post-war slum.
The series is so popular that the PBC will want to milk it forever, turn it into a long – indefinitely – running, everyday story of urban crime families; I hope that the writers, like their anti-hero, Shelby, have more integrity than the lazy, pampered bureaucrats and know when to quit.
The Great War has been badly served in this centenary year, every historical-cultural, military-historical, literary-cultural-historical-military, every academic-celebrity-cultural-literary-historical-military arsehole in showbusiness has ventured his or her unique understanding of those events; every ignorant numbskull in the land has earned a few quid, from donkey-brain, Jeremy Paxman to Daddy's Boy, Dan Snow, well-connected Mediocrity has fought valiantly for a show and a book deal, somehow makes it all worthwhile. And if those Tommies, fighting in the War of the Royal Cousins' Falling-Out, dying, screaming on the barbed wire or drowning in the mud or shot for lack of moral fibre, if they had known that great men like Max Hitler Hastings of the Daily Hate and Simon Schama off the telly and Professor Niall Ferguson of the Filth-O-Graph would have been, a hundred years on, whoring themselves out, For the Fallen, you understand, Lest We Forget, old chap, Lest We Forget, well, I should think they'd have pissed themselves laughing, if they still had something to piss through. Peaky Blinders, though, surviving comrades, kicking rotten Privilege up the arse, that's the stuff to give the troops, the sort of home fires to keep burning, then and now.