2011 perhaps won’t be celebrated as a vintage year that will go down in the annals of history, but the temptation to reminisce about the past 12 months, proves as irresistible as an old itch.
On the plus side we finally got rid of Blair’s arch gangsta Gaddafi in a those who live by the sword kinda way. We have also witnessed the emergence of relative freedom in Tunisia, and Egypt, as well as the American withdrawal from Iraq; and who knows maybe even Putin/Jeremy Clarkson beware . A few wrinkles persist for example Syria attempt to maintain its gravity defying King Canutian vision ; surely only matter of time or more tragically a few more thousand dead.
Closer to home the economic policies of the Co-alition have come to roost with a flat-lining economy, increasing unemployment, mass demonstrations by Civil servants , riots throughout the cities & increasing corner painting wrt European Union and a pervasive air of apprehension & doom : History repeating itself with a Government and Local Authority more adroit at destroying jobs than creating them.
Global Banking pressed
If 2010 was the year when global Banking (City of London) and MP’s greed (ok they’re oota da same schools?) came under the microscope , surely 2011 will be remembered as the year the wheels came off the wagon of our so called free press.
If Gaddafi used bullets , Mr. Magoo uses print: It began with the custard pie mendacity of our imported Sopranos (aka the Murdoch’s): The Select Committee simply showed that Britain’s Tony Soprano is … Mr. Magoo (less the anxiety issues) ; The Select Committee debacle against News international marked a demonstrable falling of the scales from the public’s eyes, and the Parish Council ineptitude of our elected representatives in holding our the Waste Mangement facade of News international to account : Paradoxicaly the pompous, self aggrandising, glutton that is Keith Vass emerged from the mini-series as a modern day Perry Mason?
It’s impossible to justify the millions spent on these Select Committee Pantomimes ( oh no it isn’t), as they became mired in the choreographed exchanges between the press Coleones (Wade, Coulsen, Murdochs) and our depth challenged MP’s . It was left to the Leveson commitee to be the solitary beacon of hope in that you could actually believe some of the testimonies.
This may seem strange, as many of the complainants were of a thespian persuasion (a profession not reknown for a rigourous grounding in everyday reality).
Notwithstanding the ingenue testimonies of the Dowlers & the McCaans, I was particularly struck by Steve Coogan’s telephone negotiation with Andy Coulsen & Charlotte Church’s pre-pubescent perverse accommodation with Mr Magoo : These ripped a dissecting shaft of light through the regulation press carapace ; the public interest argument . The expose of Press financial muscle, being routinely wheeled out, was as chilling as the scene in Puzo’s Godfather, where the singer (Frank Sinatra) asks for help over a troublesome producer in his fledgling acting career( leading to some horse head in the bed action).
In a moment reminiscent of when Jamie (pukka) Oliver showed how our food arrives at our supermarket shelf, we fully appreciated perhaps for the first time, how tabloid daily exclusives are delivered to satisfy our insatiable Schadenfreude appetite. The icing on this particularly toxic cake proved to be the way these Prangstas, were so easily able to conscript the Police (Met) into their psychotic web.
Thanks to Leveson we finally have insider information on exactly how our unholy triangle of Journalists, Politicians & Police go about their daily business; As we start to document the financial meltdown, I feel empowered to throw into the mix the analogous economic trinity ; Banking, Taxation & Currency : You pays your money … they make your choice!
Northampton’s shows belated talent
The final death throes of the Fishmarket belatedly throws up a freezer full of local art under the banner Open Exhibition ; A revealing aspect of the Open Exhibition is the fact that you had to get through the dreaded Commitee (presided over by some self-ordained obermeisterfuhrer from MK gallery), and the attendant lack of publicity. The Fishmarket’s foolhardily policy pursuit, of staging five shows of National standing every year, and lack of basic amenities (eg. heat) proved a suicidal cocktail, where the public stayed away in droves: An unloveable place filled with unloveable Art & … .
Notwithstanding that certain whiff of Uni. nepotism, Open Exhibition flies in the face of Northampton’s Talibanshire cultural Republic reputation, with some truly outstanding pieces; Julia Harrold’s mixed media is worth putting your thermals on for.
Schaffing Flesh; fridgean mulled cider & self-loathing
Being funny has become an increasingly serious business (Basil Fawlty aka Jeremy Clarkson notwithstanding) but it was with naive anticipation that I strolled up for Lewis Schaffer’s free gig at the Nook cafe.
The cafe was packed with a freezing of Northampton cognoscenti . The inauspicious start was a bit like watching a vocalist fumbling for the right key, as Schaffer struggled to raise the temperature of the room beyond some nervous titters, rambling through his New Yoikese tale of UK migration.
Fortunately things seemed to momentarily pick up when he engaged in a bit of audience repartee ; the second half proved acceptable (albeit mull cider fuelled), as he seemed to gain confidence to focus on his neuroses ; a catalogue of misogynist, Gay and Jew hating anecdotes the justification of which seem rather flimsy. The awkward silences continued to punctuate Schaffer’s random anecdotes, and audience banter – specifically his unrequited boner for certain females in the audience (Hazel).
Having negotiated a toilet break, the denouement of the show was his much prefaced Holocaust joke, which given the trajectory of his previous material, proved to be fairly predictable : Having braved the onset of hypothermia, I made my excuses & left .. without paying … I guess even in the season of Peace and Goodwill, it’s just asking too much for a comic to explain their hatred or even be nice? Chris still Rocks imho !
Call to Action
Community Action grants are still available up to Friday.