Showing posts from January, 2010

The Other Brown

Am I missing something? Scott Brown looks like a greasy, insincere, ageing Estate Agent to me.

But he drives a pick-up truck, so he must be a man of the people.

The health care debate in America confuses me because comprehensive, free-at-point-of-access health care seems such a fundamental feature of a civilised society to most British people, whether they vote Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat.

But I don't get all that "get Government off our backs" business either--and that's a part of the political debate in the UK too. Well, in London. If the Government aren't there to act as stewards of society economically,culturally and sometimes morally too, what are they there for? To me it seems obvious that unrestrained capitalism leaves the few free to prosper at the expense of the many. Look at how Thatcher's letting-loose of the markets in the Eighties freed business to take away employees rights, for pay to go down nearly as far as employment levels and for…

Polarities & Union

I'm bored of all that large press/small press mainstream/underground gubbins. You're either good or you aren't. The only place worth belonging is in the arms of your loved ones anyway, however sentimental that sounds.

I've never fitted in anywhere intellectually or creatively, from school days right up to these days. I used to wish I did, and tried frequently to insinuate myself into this or that group, usually failing miserably, but now at last, staring old age, disease and death in the face, I've learned to take pride in my difference. It is, after all different. And I've found some happiness unexpectedly, by being me...People still either hate or are mystified by my writing, but you can't have it all. For some reason.

(By the way, it's a faintly comical exaggeration to say I am staring old age, disease and death in the face, in case that's not immediately clear. I am facing middle age, illness and morning torpor in the face really.)

Are You Garrett or Bill? I Really Don't Know

I watched Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid" again the other night. A classic movie, this, unknown by most, which ruined my mind at an impressionable age and made life a lot harder than it should have been! (I should say "lol" there, but I won't.) In my favourite scene--it's my favourite because of the way it's shot, and the Bob Dylan music attached to it, and the Christ imagery Peckinpah chose to use--Billy is arrested by Garrett on the latter's first day as Sherriff of Lincoln County.After he's surrendered, Billy says, "You're in poor company, Pat," and Pat replies, "Yeah, I'm still alive, though." "So am I......," says Billy, with a challenging grin on his face.

Garrett, of course, rode with Billy once upon a merry moon, but took the job of Sheriff and dutifully obeyed the Sheriff's true masters, the local cattle barons (not much changes, does it?), when they ordered him to kill Bi…

Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer died in Paris on Monday. One of the great artists of an outstanding era in French cinema. Hollywood can offer very little that is as subtle, as insightful, as memorable, as a film by Rohmer. Look one up, if you haven't done so already. A world of mature delights is waiting for you.

Racism, War & Public Dissent

People seem very black-and-white in their thinking about race, religion and war these days. Which is not intended as a pun. The Government tells us we're all equal; civilised legislation tells us that racism is unacceptable; expressing racist views is a sackable offense in every workplace. And yet as soon as the boss goes away, or the Jamaican or the Pakistani or the Sri Lankan or the Kenyan go away, out come the same old jokes and stereotypes and prejudices that we used to see on tv in the bad old days; which the State congratulates itself we have driven out of modern life. It's been sent partially underground; but it's still there. I hear so much racism and cultural ignorance in everyday conversation it staggers me. I'm sure it wasn't like this 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, of course, we had a common enemy in Margaret Thatcher.

Since then, one hardly needs reminding, the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Centre has happened. As brutal and ugly and disg…


I am too old, gnarly, tired, and yes indeed, perhaps intelligent, to want anything other than a stress-free, drama-free life these days. When the fat lady starts caterwauling in my ear, it's definitely time to get out of the opera.

One Day

One day a counter-culture will live again that you can't buy in a hairdresser's.

A Thought.

There is nothing to achieve in life except a warm hand across the breakfast table.

Music And Their Message

I was listening to some hip hop the other day. Or whatever they call it now. Or some variant of it I haven't heard about, being "a man from another time". And I'm sorry, but what a lot of illiterate, juvenile, posturing horseshit it seemed to my small hairy ears. That's the way we talked in school when we were trying to make the other kids think we were tough; that we did something with our evenings other than go home, watch "Blue Peter" and read comics until bedtime.

Although I believe that the more basic art forms condition the minds of those who are exposed to them, and that therefore some people who listen to this crap will be prone to the primitive language and behaviour it glorifies--in other words,that it isn't necessarily a game of projecting what one imagines, mystifyingly, to be a heroic personality. Hip hop has been around for a long, long time, and it may have helped degrade a whole generation.

It doesn't seem to have changed that much…


Congratulations Pat Hewitt and Geoff Hoon. Now Labour really doesn't have a chance of winning the next Election.

You can imagine the headlines already: "How can they govern the country when they can't govern themselves?"

And Gordon Brown gave one of his best performances yet at PMQs today.

Wootten Bassett

Anyone who has read "Suffolk Punch" with any degree of attention will know that I am as opposed to the Afghan war as anyone could be. But a pro-Islamic, anti-Coalition demonstration in Wootten Bassett, as proposed, would be an act of cruel provocation sure to make the life of Muslims in this country even harder.

Still, for the Mayor of Wootten Bassett to deny, as he is doing all over the national media at present, that the repatriation ceremonies for British soldiers killed in Afghanistan, which go through the centre of the village, are political in their subtext if not overtly so, is either disingenuous or just plain stupid.

The Fate Of This Country

The fate of this country is decided not by those who have opinions, but by those who don't.Which is most people, at least when it comes to politics. They don't bother themselves with such things because they are too busy dealing with their jobs, their relationships, trying to pay their bills...Life is not only a struggle, for the majority, it's a bloody busy one. But we need to take the time to look at what is going on around us, what's being done in our name, because if we drop our guard, as history teaches us so clearly, all sorts of infamy can sneak in and set up home. And is it REALLY just time that stops us from giving our coat to the man freezing in the street (as someone I know did recently)? Is it JUST mental preoccupation that keeps us from forming our own opinions about the Afghan War rather than regurgitating whatever we read in the Sun or the Daily Mail? I don't think it is, you know.


I visited the grave of the man who wrote "Amazing Grace" yesterday.It's in a beautiful, overgrown old churchyard in Olney in Bedfordshire that looks down on the muddy River Ouse, surrounded by smaller graves so age-mottled, in the main, the inscriptions can no longer be read. John Newton, the song's author, was the vicar (if I have the terminology correct) of the church there, a marvellous building whose uneven brown stones support a spire so great it can be seen from some distance away, pointing into Heaven.

Standing over Newton's bones was moving even for an old Heathen like me. I've loved the song all my life, as I love many of the great Christian songs. But Newton's example, I believe--having been, as he once was, a slave trader--exercised a powerful influence on William Wilberforce, who as we all know was the principle figure in this country behind the abolition of the slave trade. So one man's conversion to God, and his ability to articulate his …

Happy New Year

Yes, 2010 is here. Have a Conservative Government, people, like in the good old days of the poll tax, the Miner's Strike, legislative discrimination towards homosexuals. Have an escalating foreign war. Have a cowardly media reporting what the Government tells them to about Afghanistan. It's all good.


Brown may not be the most inspiring leader of all time but don't forget, it wasn't him who caused the financial collapse. It was greedy free-market capitalist bankers who have wet dreams about Margaret Thatcher

A Warning

If anybody out there is actually reading this page, please be savvy and ignore the rubbish that keeps appearing in the comments field inviting you to pages where you can unlock phones and buy sex dvds.SUFFOLK PUNCH is obviously being targeted by internet scammers looking to steal your credit card details, or whatever it is these parasites are after, by luring you to click on bogus links. I will be reporting them, rest assured.