Monthly Archives: April 2010

Everything’s on the wonk

I tried, I did, but this sums up my week.

And Gordon’s probably. Drowning not waving. But as for the other two, God help us.

How You Like Me Now?

Well you might ask lads.

At least of one these kids is from round these sides. Big up to Essex. Watch David Letterman ask them to go again – a first on his show.

Shame about the would-be PMs.

Front Doors

I have a new old one, and someone might make my old old one their new one, although I can’t see it myself. Over the road have a new one too, they think theirs was the first new one, because my new old one spent a while in the dining room considering life, the universe and everything.

When ours was “hung” on it’s new hinges, Over the Road wryly remarked:

What’s this – Door Wars?

All of which meant, when I was watching one the last days of Gordon Brown in Rochdale all I could think was that Mrs Duffy “the bigoted woman” had the worst kind of narrow front door. The skinny type of UPVC door that makes me claustrophobic just to look at it, never mind try and enter it.

Appparently Mrs Duffy has engaged a PR firm, but The Sun gave up interviewing her because there wasn’t much more to add. She lives in Rochdale, has voted Labour all her life, is concerned about all the Eastern Europeans coming over here, but is definitely no bigot.

I told someone they were being racist this week in the supermarket, they had made the usual disclaimer before making a racist statement. The ubiquitous disclaimer goes along the lines of:

I’m not a racist but…

Ok sure, that’s what I think when I hear this crap. Then I think about these people: actually I don’t know what’s in your heart and neither do I care because, however odious I find it, you are entitled to your own opinion but, in my experience, stuff that sounds racist usually is.

What I think those people mean when they say that thing is that they tend towards the indolent type of racism but they wouldn’t actually bother to do much about it, apart from bitch and moan in the supermarket to their friends. But if that Nick Griffin and his ugly lot smarmed round your street what then?
My worry is that you might flap a non-critical, non-racist ear in their direction.

Brown has said he is mortified, he also said Mrs Duffy’s question about immigration annoyed him. It would have annoyed me too.

I would have asked her:

What about all the Eastern Europeans Mrs Duffy, what about them?

A power player in Door Wars

But then I’m not trying to get my trotters back into this front door a week on Friday.

“The Maxims of George Moore”

I was given this little book (it measures about 2″x4″) for my birthday last year and it’s been going round with me in my bag and pocket recently. George Augustus Moore was the son of a horse-breeding Irish MP and became a novelist in the realist style in the late 19th Century, this after trying his hand at being a painter in France where he met the Impressionists and was painted by Manet.

I don’t agree with all of George’s Maxims, but some are pretty pertinent, some are truthful and some are amusing.

“I would lay aside the wisest book to talk to a stupid woman.”

“We only recognise a selfishness when it takes a form different from our practice.”

This morning I was struck by these two quotes. Most probably because we are just over a week away from the General Election and the Party Political Machines have gone into Overdrive.

“Practice and principle are never reduced to perfect agreement. One is always marauding into the other’s territory.” Esther Waters

“It is not with truth that we persuade people, but with lies. Everybody is willing to listen to lies.” Evelyn Innes

Very true George.


One person’s rubbish etc.

I spent a good few hours on LASSCO’s website when we moved here, anxious as I was to replace 1970s doors with four panelled ones and to reinstate Adams’ fireplaces… What I discovered was that they stock loads of lovely gear, but it’s bloody expensive. I still covet oddments like these street signs, some of which are extra desirable being from Hackney and all.

Any road up, my planned trip to a LASSCO yard never materialised, but last Sunday morning, in the hours before dawn, I was wandering through Vauxhall clubland (it’s called Voho you know) and was most excited to walk past a LASSCO yard. I took a photo through the stout railings of one of a pair of lovely hounds. I couldn’t see the price tag, but they looked beyond my means.

The faces he's seen

Sunday Night, Monday Morning

Time was in my twenties I got into the habit of squeezing the last drop out of the weekend by spending Sunday nights in the boozer. A proper old-fashioned London pub mind you: first the Brownswood Park Tavern, one of those crossroad corner-straddling pubs and then latterly The Clarendon with a little Magpie & Stump and Mulligan’s thrown for the sake of a change being as good as rest.

If this approach (albeit in the days when they called time at 10.30 pm) meant a slow start the following morning it barely mattered, my employment being a succession of mundane jobs you’d really rather not think about until you absolutely had to.

These days, and I find it no measure of my progress in civility or refinement to admit this, it has to be early to bed with a camomile tea (which is filthy stuff) in order to face the Marathon that is the Makemeadiva Monday. The day of the week that I wish out of the way because it so long, so demanding and, frankly, so Mondayish. If I am your colleague, tutor, mother or friend on a Monday don’t take it personally, it’s not you, it just the extended hours at the face that I resent. I don’t like the preparation for the endurance test that tucks me in bed by ten p.m. drinking a cup of what smells like someone’s wee. I’m sorry, but I still wish I was parked on a bar stool somewhere with the hard stuff and pool cue: the winner stays on.

Busier than I remember it

A Perplexed Note on Fashion

This is before I forget and someone blinks and the fashion is gone.

It has been noted (by the *Trouser Police with whom I live) that there is a new way of wearing your trews if you are blokeishly inclined. I think you have to be young to carry it off(ish) and certainly proponents have only been spotted in London and Essex.

The wearer appears to twist whilst turning up the trouser leg to end up with a kind of origamied bicycle-clip effect at the bottom of trousers that started their day as a pair of straight cut jeans. I had the chance to study the effect at close quarters on the bus today from Mile End, but as you see it actually defies description and I couldn’t deconstruct the method.

It is, of course, wrong if you are prescriptive about these things and I think my companion found it bordering on distressing, but one supposes it will pass off soon enough. For myself I find a kind of liberation in wearing wrong things. Old-fashioned Wainwright walking boots being such a one. They look like they are missing the calipers only but I don’t care. Marvellous. Carry on twisting and turning chaps and don’t worry if middle-aged men nearby faint.

Take these but with more volume and more twisting...

*There are people who have an invisible tape measure with which to pass or fail hem lengths – the offence or pleasure can be a matter of a mere millimetre. After 10 years it is fair to say I have a good bit of paranoia about passing these inspections. I thought I was fairly attuned to such matters in my twenties, but my eye lacks the laser precision of a true Trouser Policeman. For a further insight into such important sartorial matters I would refer you to Stephen Foster’s Strides

Note to self: read the trouserish bits of said novel to the in-house Trouser Police for confirmation and denial…

There’s been a party…

…and it’s worn me to a ravelling.

Fortunately, at times like these, I can always fall back on the girls. Driving back from The Big Smoke, or as I think of it at the moment The Big Dust, they entertained me by winding the windows down and singing along to Alexandra Burke’s Bad Boys with great gusto. It was only a little distracting from the small matter of the A127 at hand.

They have both provided me with blog gems this weekend. The eldest has enquired why some people I know dress like Hypnotists and the youngest has identified a shade of blue know as Turk Boys.

Groovy Chicks with Turk Boys

Yeah, the Bad Boys are always catching my eye too kids. More about that when I have recovered my energy!

A Mixed Bag

That’s what’s in my head this morning. I have started thinking about the 2000 Guineas next week and can’t help but wonder why Richard Hannon persists in his insistence that Canford Cliffs is his number one Guineas horse. After the Greenham last Saturday he said something along the lines of Canford Cliff would have won the race from his stable mate Dick Turpin if he hadn’t hung left, but horses don’t hang for fun, they are telling us something.

I think Canford Cliffs hung left because he was at the outer edges of his stamina limit. There is no doubt he is a speedy, classy individual, but the horse that finished off the race best was the winner and I am certain that of the duo the only one likely to improve again for the extra furlong of the Guineas is Dick Turpin. That’s not a given either, with the Greenham having been 14 days earlier and needs a whole new mulling over with the horse having been mooted for the Irish Guineas in any case.

Of course it is likely Hannons Senior & Junior (who always strike me as biznissmen not horsemen) are well acquainted with my theory and are mindful of the horse’s future career as a stallion as they continue to talk up Canford Cliffs Guineas chances. I will be very disappointed if the horse I consider to be their real live Guineas contender Dick, gets diverted to Ireland to leave the Rowley Mile clear for Canford because Canford Cliffs just cannot win. I don’t yet know who will though, that’s going to need some more time on the hob…

Sandown hosts the end of the jumps season to day with some nice flat races at the end of their mixed card. I toyed with the idea of going as I am in London later anyway, but other commitments have prevailed.
They are parading some of the season’s stars: Kauto Star, Imperial Commander and Deman were in the original line-up. Last year in the same parade Denman got loose and crashed out of the parade ring for a little canter through the crowd. A loose tank would have been quite a sight but he was quickly caught. I love Sandown very much. I like arriving on the train and walking across the course to get a real feel for the going before racing starts. Sundown @ Sandown is quite possibly perfect.

Anyhow, I’m not there, I’m here and I have looked at the card and I can’t decide on anything. I am a big Paco Boy fan but they say he may not want the ground and they may be right on this! I have looked at the Group 3 at 4.15 and I can’t say I like the look of that much either. Laaheeb looks very smart, but it is probably fair to say Crowded House and Tranquil Tiger might give him a race. Tranquil Tiger looked a bit worked up before running second in the Earl of Sefton last week and I have a suspicion he may prefer to race off a turn which he will get here today. I couldn’t select any one with confidence, although at the prices I will probably side with Henry Cecil’s quirky 6yo.

In the first, the flat v the jumps race, the flat lads will either be carrying lumps of lead or have made free with the pies – Kieren Fallon is riding at 11 stone and I think he’s got a good chance on Twilight Star.

Whatever, the jumps *is/are over: Long Live the Flat!

Dick Turpin: impressive as a 2yo

*either could work grammatically: the jumps’ season is/the jumps are…
I don’t care, I’m off duty.

Master McGrath

For me, greyhound racing is even purer than horse racing, given that the outcome is up to the dogs. Running left-handed round an oval is one thing, but the Waterloo Cup where points are won on the turns the dog makes in pursuit is a fascinating spectacle.

The great Irish greyhound Master McGrath came to England to win the Waterloo Cup three times in the late 1800s, besting the England bitch the White Rose in the process and earning a summons to Windsor Castle from Queen Victoria.

This is an Irish song, using the vehicle of the great Master McGrath’s victory over the English bitch to have a little patriotic dig at the old enemy. And who can deny them that pleasure? I say that with a drop of Irish Manogue blood coursing through my own veins.