Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Jeremy Clarkson for 33.33333p

I always check out the charity stall opposite me on Friday. There's often cheap books available. Amongst the usual stale decomposing Browns, Koontz, Grishams, Rowlings, and so on, I find a couple of decent poetry books: The Oxford Book of Nineteenth Century Verse and The Everyman's Book Evergreen Verse. Good solid poetry ideal for chanting out loud, iambic pentameters and sonnets galore. The books are three for a pound so I have to choose another. It's all trash to my snobby eye so I pick one at random. It's a collection of Jeremy Clarkson's essays.

I return to my stall. It is quiet due to a a strong warm wind blowing through the market, a kind of Sirocco due to global warming, I surmise. It's a malicious wind which leaves dust all over my show cases and knocks over and breaks my favourite Green Man mirror.

I distract myself by leafing through the Clarkson book. I have to admit that it is pithy and witty but the opinions espouses, his unremitting optimism, faux common sense grate after a few pages. I object to just about everything he stands for particularly his jolly dismissal of climate change and Health & Safety law. Glib, ridiculous and ill informed. One can see why people refer to him as a twat. Please excuse this vulgar expression, not one that I would use myself, but it does seems appropriate in Clarkson's case. Fortunately I only paid 3.333333 recurring pence for his book which is about his worth in my eyes.

In a civilised country he'd be given community service and compelled to do care work for victims of road traffic accidents and industrial diseases. He'd be banned from reading Car Mags too. They're techno-porn. They cause addictions which make to difficult for men to maintain intimate relationships. Instead he'd be made to study poetry, some Willie Blake and Al Ginsberg perhaps. And memorise this line from John Cooper Clark: Nobody's got a good word for you , I have, TWAT.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Am I a paranoid narcissist?

On my way down the A1 I pondered the meaning of this phrase which was uttered by some pontificating criminologist in connection with the late Mister Moat as though it explained something. It didn't explain anything of course: it was just word play designed to demonstrate the sheer cleverness of the person who uttered it.

What does the expression mean?
Paranoid: worried about what other people were thinking about him.
Narcissist: self centred.

Which clearly describes most politicians and most experts, including, of course, the guy that used the phrase.

I am obviously one too, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this blog.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Just Another Day on Cambridge Market. And Earworms..

Deeply embedded in the cerebral folds of my brain are various tunes . One is ' Just another Day on Earth' by Brian Eno. I like this. It captures the feeling I get when I'm having a satisfying day on the market. People come and go. We talk about how hot it is or how cold is, about bumble bees, climate change, the iniquitous connivings of bankers, and so on. In Cambridge these conversations might also include the biochemistry of cell membranes, the current status of Nietzsche in philosophy departments, the conceptual assumptions made by macro-economists and the implications of the multiverse.

The latter is a particularly intriguing topic for traders. Is there an alternative Universe in which I'm fabulously successful and go home every day with [ as traders use to say ] a wad like a donkey's tadger? Apologies for the gratuitous vulgarity, but it has always been a component of market life.

Other earworms include 'Going Back Home' by Doctor Feelgood which is very nice and lively and nostalgic; something embarrassingly fey, mystical and pretentious by the Incredible String Band which I don't want to go into thank you very much, and Mistletoe and Wine' by Cliff Richards. This is The Earworm from Hell. It dances out of from some deranged bundle of neurones every Christmas like a Biblical curse. Perhaps when neurological surgery becomes more advanced I can have an electrode inserted into my brain and have the offending nerve cells fried.

A few years ago when I went on meditation retreat in Vermont this bubbled up from the depths of my mind:

Diddly di diddly di DE diddly le diddly did did did DADA

Diddly di diddly di DE diddly le diddly did did did DADA

At first I thought it was some profound message from an archetypical entity, or a spiritualistic communication from a Transcendental Master. Gradually I realised, as I sat on my cushion, that there was something familiar about the rhythm. Then the Zen moment hit me. AHA! It's the theme tune to Captain Pugwash! Kipper me Capstans, me hearties!