Monday, 30 June 2014

The Devonshire Dialect - Clement Marten

THE DEVONSHIRE DIALECT - 
CLEMENT MARTEN

Yer! Duz us tok prapper Engliz dan yer in Deb'n or what?
Or to put it another way: I say! Do we talk proper English down here in Devon? Yes or no?
Not so very long ago when visiting Exmouth, if you wished to understand what the natives were saying then a book such as The Devonshire Dialect by Clement Marten would have been essential.


On entering any local tavern, for example, the bar would inevitably fall silent as everyone turned to see who the 'vurriners' were. 'Vurriners' as in foreigners, and to be 'vurrin' you didn't necessarily have to be from another country; you could just as well be from another town or parish within the same county.
You'd be approached by the landlord and asked to lay your guns on the table which could be meant metaphorically or to actually physically do so. As soon as it was established you were harmless - or armless - and you'd ordered your cider then everyone would resume their rudely interrupted conversations. At this point you might cast an eye around the tavern and take in the customary pentagram chalked on the wall above the log fire and then wonder what fevered language was being spoken by the people there. There'd be no talk of bagging a pheasant or any such civilised matter but simply a constant stream of surreal comments:
"Yer! I snores, I do. I snores so loud I wakes mezel' up but I think I've sorted it now. I sleep int' udder room, an' no mistake...."
"Yer! I got wan foot bigger an udder but my mate eez complete appasite eez got wan foot smaler an udder...."
Or anecdotes (as relayed in Clement Marten's book) such as the one about a young man walking down a lane at night with a young lady. He's carrying a piglet in one hand and a lantern in the other. The young lady suddenly starts to cry so the young man says to her: "Yer! Wat be 'bout maakin' awl thick awl scritch ver?" So the girl says "Wull I be vrit y'um gwain taak 'vantage o' me." So he asks "Ow c'n I taak 'vantage ov ee?" "Wull", she says "Yu mite ztart kissin' an cuddlin' o' me." So he says "Doan't ee be sa maazed gurl, ow c'n I be kissin' an cuddlin' uv ee, way a peg een wan 'and an' a lantern een t' other?" "Wull," she says "I cud 'old the lantern ver ee'..."

Was this the sound of cider tripping off the locals' tongues or had a block from the Tower of Babel somehow embedded itself in the depths of Devon? For any passing 'vurinner' twuz a right experience, an' no mistake.

But as renowned writer and aficionado of all things opiate William Burroughs once pointed out: language is a virus. And as we all know - viruses mutate. So nowadays the Devonshire dialect of old is changing though unlike a lot of other places in the country it's not heading down the path of Thames Estuary mockney, Australian soap opera inanity or gangster Jafaican patois. The Devon accent still sounds like music to the ear even when the person talking is threatening to "stave yer 'ead in, my babber - an' no mistake".
Many of the old Devon words are also still in use to this day so for example, David Cameron could be called a 'strapper'; meaning an unskilled person - an odd-job man - often applied to someone who undertakes a job for which he's not qualified and ends up making a mess of it. Holiday makers - particularly the type who are a nuisance and block the country lanes with their caravans - can be called 'grockles'. Whilst anything from the invasion of Iraq to the plans of Exmouth town council can be called a 'Saltash rig', meaning any enterprise that has been unsuccessful and summed up as "a wet arse and no fish".

So the answer to the question about whether or not we talk proper English in Devon is a most definite 'Yes'. Though we might be at the end of an age - and Clement Marten's book is a nod to a bygone era - it's a mighty fine thing that we retain our accents and our words and that we don't talk in the same way as everyone else.
An' no mistake.

Language is a virus from outer space
John Serpico

Monday, 23 June 2014

Walkabout - James Vance Marshall

WALKABOUT - JAMES VANCE MARSHALL

At just 120 pages, Walkabout by James Vance Marshall is a very simple story but rich in the extreme with thoughtfulness, care and exquisite descriptiveness. Written in 1959 and turned into a film by director Nic Roeg in 1971, it offers an insight into civilization, reality and life that is all too rare. On reading it, it's impossible to not picture the three characters in the book as played by the actors and actress in the film though thanks to the inspired casting this is no bad thing and actually adds to the reading experience.


It's the tale of two children - brother and sister (in the film played by Jenny Agutter and Nic Roeg's own son, Lucian) - who are the sole survivors of a plane crash in the middle of the Australian outback. They have neither food nor water and it's quickly apparent that though having survived the crash, they have little or no chance of staying alive for long in such inhospitable conditions; that is, until they come face-to-face with a naked Aboriginal boy (in the film played by David Gulpilil) who is on his walkabout. It's here and at this point that two worlds suddenly collide.

'The brother and sister are products of the highest strata of humanity's evolution. Coddled in babyhood, psycho-analysed in childhood, nourished on predigested patent foods, provided with continuous push-button entertainment, the basic realities of life were something they’d never had to face.'
The Aboriginal on the other hand 'knew what reality was. Among the secret water-holes of the Australian desert his people had lived and died, unchanged and unchanging, for twenty thousand years. They had no homes, no crops, no clothes, no possessions. Their lives were utterly uncomplicated because they were devoted to one purpose, dedicated in their entirety to the waging of one battle: the battle with death.'



The girl views the Aboriginal as an uncivilised heathen whose nakedness perturbs her and so is loathe to get too near him. Her younger brother, however, though viewing him as a 'darkie', recognises him as being their only source of water, food and help. The Aboriginal boy in the meantime views them with bemused curiosity.
Through the innocent and simple method of gestures, mime and laughter the children manage to communicate with each other and the brother and sister are led to water and provided with food but for all this they all resolutely fail to actually understand each other. This failure is brought to the fore when during a playful song and dance it suddenly dawns upon the Aboriginal that the larger of the two strange creatures is in fact a female; which in turn brings a look of sudden fear to her eyes which is then translated by the Aboriginal as her having seen the image of the Spirit of Death in his eyes.

The book explains how Australian Aboriginals are an extremely tough people who can survive extremes in both heat and cold but that they have a propensity for dying purely of auto-suggestion. 'Death, to the Aboriginal, is something that can't be fought. Those whom the Spirit wants, he takes; and it's no good kicking against the pricks.'
As confirmed by the female of the two queer creatures seeing Death in his eyes, the Aboriginal boy believes he is soon to die. The fear in her eyes, to him, could only mean this one thing. He understands, however, that if he dies then they - being such helpless creatures - will die also. He understands then that he must lead them to safety to save them from also becoming victims of the Spirit of Death. And so begins the most strangest, the most enchanted and the most important of walkabouts.

Nic Roeg is one of Britain's greatest and original film directors and his interpretation of the book is nothing less than a visionary work of art. Though he keeps to the premise of the story as written by James Vance Marshall there is sufficient deviation from it so as to make it his own. The start of the film, for example, as in how the two children end up stranded in the outback differs from that of the book as does the ending. In fact, the way Roeg ends it by showing the girl some years later seemingly safe but trapped in domesticity, casting her mind back to a moment when all three played and swam naked together in a billabong is actually far more satisfying than the book's. By depicting this memory of them all naked, at ease and at play it dispels the theme within the book of the girl's sexual fear of the Aboriginal boy, so leaving the story less weighted. The book on the other hand is full of wonderful descriptions of the animals, insects, birds and fauna of the Australian outback whilst Roeg's film is actually full of quite violent images of nature in the raw.
Both book and film, however, are uniquely beautiful and brilliant and both deserve to be recognised as classics in their own right.

Dreamtime
John Serpico

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Guilty Pleasures (Part 2)

GUILTY PLEASURES (Part 2)

"Brothers and sisters! I wanna see a sea of hands out there! Let me see a sea of hands! I want everybody to kick up some noise! I wanna hear some revolution out there, brothers! I wanna hear a little revolution!
Brothers and sisters, the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are gonna be the problem, or whether you are gonna be the solution? You must choose, brothers, you must choose. It takes five seconds, five seconds of decision. Five seconds to realise your purpose here on the planet. It takes five seconds to realise that it's time to move. It's time to get down with it! Brothers, it's time to testify and I want to know, are you ready to testify? Are you ready?"
Brother J.C. Crawford, Spiritual Advisor - MC5.

".... Change down, man. Find your neutral space. Take control. You have done something to your brain. You have made it high. If I lay ten mils of Diazapam on you, you will do something else to your brain. You will make it low. Why trust one drug and not the other? That's politics, isn't it?
Politics, man. If you're hanging on to a rising balloon, you're presented with a difficult decision. Let go before it's too late? Or hang on and keep getting higher? Posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope?
They're selling hippy wigs in Woolworth's, man. The greatest decade in the history of mankind is over. And as Presuming Ed has so consistently pointed out, we have failed to paint it black...."
Danny, purveyor of rare herbs and prescribed chemicals - Withnail and I.

Right now, right now it's time to, right now it's time to KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Serpico - Peter Mass

SERPICO - PETER MASS

My namesake! I must, however, inform you that for such a classic film, the book that it's based upon is a pretty dense affair and rather disappointing. Written by Peter Mass, Serpico is the story of Frank Serpico, a New York City cop whose boyhood dream of what a police officer should be clashes with the reality and the actual practises of those in that job. It's a story of morals, essentially. A story of non-conformity, bravery and above all, integrity.


Set in the 1960s and based on real life events, it details the progression of Frank Serpico from rookie to plainclothes cop and his encountering of entrenched, systematic corruption all along the way. Serpico's dream is to become a detective but the reality of law enforcement in New York comes at complete odds with his perception of what the role of a police officer should actually be.
The doubts start with just little things such as seeing how officers on the beat are given free meals at certain caf├ęs in return for special treatment as in swift, unquestioned action whenever there might be any trouble at the premises. Or how officers would physically assist bailiffs with evictions when they were meant only to be there to maintain peace. Or how officers would set up places around the city for them to sleep or to play cards with fellow officers when they were meant to be on duty. To Serpico these are all indications of 'a growing estrangement between the police and much of the public, a breakdown of respect - a feeling that too many cops were taking whatever they could and not caring what anyone thought'; exemplified by such comments from fellow officers as: 'The public, what does the fucking public know?'.

As Serpico slowly progresses up through the police ranks, the corruption he bears witness to becomes ever more pronounced and excessive; involving bribes from and extortion of racketeers, criminals and the general public alike. Gravitating toward the bohemian Greenwich Village area of the city he starts to identify and feel more at home with the community there than with his work colleagues. He grows a beard, grows his hair long and starts wearing bracelets and sandals ostensibly as his undercover police disguise but something else is going on: Serpico is going hippy and in more ways than one.
He comes to realise that marijuana is not the road to perdition and that his neighbours are by and large gentle and law-abiding. He starts to side with them and they in turn - little knowing that he's a cop - quickly accept him as one of their own, nodding and smiling at him on the street and saying 'Peace, brother' when walking by. On the other hand, when passing fellow police officers on the street whilst in his hippy garments all he gets is a sense of reflexive hostility.

Serpico refuses to take bribes, pay-offs or to take part in the police-run protection rackets and to his colleagues soon becomes an object of suspicion and contempt. When attempting to get the issue of police corruption addressed by his superiors he is met with rejection, avoidance and fobbing off, resulting in him becoming probably the most isolated man in New York: living a lie in his job and - because his neighbours don't know he's a cop - living a lie in Greenwich Village. Finally, after threatening to go to 'outside agencies' an investigation is set up but for Serpico this is just the start of his troubles.


Released in 1973, the film of the book featured another towering performance from Al Pacino in the lead role and perhaps it's because of this that the book is diminished? It's a good story and obviously all the ingredients were there for a good film but the book is just too dry, full of unnecessary detail. I was expecting or hoping for a good novel - a ripping yarn - but instead got a book-length magazine article.

The subject of corruption and whistle blowing is, however, just as relevant today if not more so than as it was when the book first appeared what with Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, (and in the UK) the Stephen Lawrence case, Hillsborough, Orgreave, cash-for-questions, Libor, parliamentary expenses and so on and so on and so on. It's shameful, really. Throughout both the public and private sector corruption is rife with apparently almost everyone out to get what they can for themselves. If it's a given that corruption is rife at the bottom - and I assure you it is - then it's a given that it's going to be far worse and far bigger the further up the chain you go. As has been shown.

Serpico ended up siding with the alternative values of the hippy community of New York at that time and it was these very values that - kind of - won out in the end with regard to the corruption at the New York Police Department. It's interesting to see then that nowadays any such similar values are denigrated, side-lined and belittled; viewed as naive, treated as a joke and ultimately truncheoned into submission. It's also interesting to see that modern-day undercover cops such as Mark Kennedy have not the slightest hint of integrity and do exactly as their masters bid; who these days actually view hippy/alternative/activist communities as an enemy within, to be tracked, disrupted and ultimately disabled.
So has all this come about by accident or design?

Our time on this earth is so very short so should we spend it trying to grab all we can or follow the example Serpico (and others as mentioned above) set and do what we know is right even if it means ridicule, ostracism, and potentially very real danger? Should we have the courage of our convictions or should we when in Rome do as the Romans?
Should we create? Should we rebel? Even though it's done in a long-winded way, these are the questions that Peter Maas's Serpico puts before us and leaves only for us to answer.

John Serpico

Monday, 9 June 2014

Love It Or Shove It - Julie Burchill

LOVE IT OR SHOVE IT - JULIE BURCHILL

When in 1976 the New Musical Express advertised for two hip young gunslingers to join their staff, what they got was Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill who as legend would have it immediately went to war with the hippy hacks at the paper by surrounding their corner of the office with barbed wire. This was, of course, at the advent of Punk and the reason for them being taken on by the NME was to inject new blood into what was an increasingly moribund state of affairs at the paper.
Being so young (Parsons was 21 and Burchill just 17), so enthused and so willing (or so young, so dumb and so full of come, as Burchill might describe it) they both flung themselves into the Punk maelstrom with Burchill heading straight down to the Roxy and Parsons heading out on tour with The Clash.



From such tiny acorns mighty oaks can grow and as the years passed they both managed to climb the greasy pole of success to become fully-fledged authors and pundits for the national media. Parsons became a columnist for the Daily Mirror and a regular fixture on BBC cultural review programmes where his opinions steadily shrivelled to the point of insignificance, ending up as the UKIP-voting antithesis of his younger self. Burchill became the Queen of the Groucho Club, holding court over a constant stream of coke-blitzed acolytes and fellow media travellers, hopping from one national newspaper to the next as an outspoken, somewhat provocative columnist.

Of the two, Burchill was always the better writer due to her no-holds-barred approach to any subject. Blasting away with a double-barrelled shotgun assault upon anything that fell beneath her expansive gaze; offering praise to things which in media circles were often deemed unworthy; going against the grain without fear of ridicule or condemnation; and just generally speaking her mind and getting things off her chest. To this day, for anyone familiar with her oeuvre she is either loved or despised and in the process has become an unacknowledged national treasure.

Burchill - as she has forever reminded us - was born and raised on a white, working class estate in Bristol and though her readers might be bored to the point of distraction in hearing about it, it is precisely this fact that separates and has caused her to remain separate from all other writers. You can take the girl from her class but you can't take the class from the girl, and Burchill is no exception to this rule. Unlike others in the media (particularly Parsons, for example) she has never turned against her own kind and has always been a staunch defender of her class and the demonisation of it in the form of terms such as 'chav'. In her writings she has criticised the proletariat (and so she should) but it has always been done through a sense of understanding, and this is one of the very things (quite apart from her dexterity with words) that makes her interesting.

When she's in the throes of pummelling something or someone with baseball bat-like prose and you're in agreement with her, she's brilliant and you could be egging her on thinking 'Go on Julie, tell it like it is'. But then the next moment she could be turning around and saying "And what have you got to smile about?", as she makes her way towards you with her baseball bat once again swinging. And then she's doubly brilliant.
One of the annoying things about her, however, is that she'll throw something into her writing in an almost off the cuff manner simply to cause controversy for the sake of it - as Morrissey testifies in his autobiography. Whether any of these off the cuff comments might be true or not doesn't seem to matter because she does it in such a way that it's almost taken as read, or if there's any doubt over what she's written there's no quick way of checking it. The reader simply moves on though the seed has been planted and remains. In Morrissey's case it was her stating in an interview with him that he 'lives with his boyfriend in Santa Monica', to which he took umbrage because according to him the subject of his sexuality or Santa Monica was never broached.

But Burchill is actually a very funny writer and it's this aspect of her that a good many people seem to miss. She's what might be called 'a wind-up merchant' and her comment about Morrissey should probably be taken as a joke. A misplaced joke, perhaps, but a joke all the same. As Morrissey himself writes in his autobiography regarding the incident: 'We suddenly have a picture before us of Burchill alone at midnight, a bottle of Gordon's gin resting against her typewriter... suddenly laughing at the inclusion of fingerlicking fantasy'. And this is the giveaway. Morrissey may have found her comment unpalatable but he can envisage her laughing as she writes it because she finds it funny. After wishing her dead, he even goes on to concede that Burchill 'may very well give genius a bad name, but she can still wow and slay like no other entertainer. Yes, entertainer'.


On reading Love It Or Shove It - seeing as how it was first published in 1985 - it's surprising how much of it has stood the test of time. Much of the reason for this is down to the timeless subjects that Burchill covers as in Hugh Hefner, Graham Greene, classic pop, agony aunts, feminism, class, pop idols and so on but it also has a lot to do with her sense of humour.
In an article entitled Food For Faith, for example, she writes: 'Healthfood really has very little to do with health; America's oldest citizen, Charlie Smith of Florida, aged 136, has two shots of vodka for breakfast and a hamburger dipped in sugar for dinner'. Which is actually pretty funny though not, of course, if you're a dietician.
In another article entitled Old Bores' Almanac she makes her predictions for the year 1984: In May - 'Factory supremo Tony Wilson announces that in future all gigs by Factory artistes will be known as 'rallies'. The Factory package tour plays Nuremberg, the bands appearing in Waffen SS uniforms. Comments Tony Wilson, 'The accusations of crypto-Fascism are simply facile'.
In June - 'Factory Records invade Poland', and 'In a sensational article in the News Of The World, reprinted from Christian Review, Cliff Richard reveals, 'I have not had sex since 1961'.
In July - 'Cliff Richard explodes' and 'Sting's Maserati ploughs into a Right To Work march, injuring dozens of unemployed health workers. 'I am still a Socialist,' insists Sting through his lawyer'. And 'Tony Wilson takes poison in the bunker under his Manchester office'.
In October - 'The BBC bans Julien Temple's video of the new Rolling Stones single, 'Everybody Suck Ma Thang'. Comments a distraught Mick Jagger, 'The song is about Belize. Or is it Grenada? Somewhere out there, man. Julien told me all about it. Now I can see no hope of resolving this issue peacefully'.
Which again is all pretty funny so long as you're not Tony Wilson, Cliff Richard, Sting, or the Rolling Stones, that is. 
And we may all laugh but only up until when she turns her baseball bat prose on us. And then, apparently, it's not so funny. Though still very brilliant.
John Serpico

Friday, 6 June 2014

Under Exmouth Skies (Part 3)

UNDER EXMOUTH SKIES (Part 3)


"I've seen the needle and the damage done, a little part of it in everyone. But every junky's like a setting sun."
Neil Young - The Needle And The Damage Done.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Guilty Pleasures (Part 1)

GUILTY PLEASURES (Part 1)

New York, London, Paris, Milan, Exmouth. Spot the odd one out?

Exmouth might not be deemed the most chic of places and it may not be the cultural centre of the universe but it has a certain charm and is not without its guilty pleasures. In fact, if we're talking guilty pleasures then Exmouth is a veritable den of vice whose sins cannot be so easily absolved with a few Hail Marys and a how's-your-father. For many even, it's a seaside Bacchanalian nexus of decadence, debauchery and Dionysian excess. A princely pleasure dome of rich delights that if visiting only for a holiday can still leave the skin sparkling and cause the eyes to shine.

I don't pretend to talk on behalf of everyone in Exmouth but I'd say that down here people know what they like and they like what they know. We are a free people; ungovernable and ruled by none. There are no bosses for us. We have our cider and our guns and our discussions of Wittgenstein down the pub and we drink what we want, we smoke what we want, we think what we want and we do what we want.

"Guilty feet have got no rhythm" as the great prophet George Michael once upon a time sang but he was wrong. Here in Exmouth when it comes to our pleasures we have more guilt than most but we can skip the light fandango and turn cartwheels in the snow as well as the next man and it's precisely for this reason why Exmouth is the natural home for The Neil Diamond Story.

Neil Diamond - the undisputed king of guilty pleasures, the number one smooth operator with a voice as deep as a mine shaft and as smooth as chocolate. Whether dressed in a red jumpsuit spangled with sequins or faded denim and baseball cap; always the epitome of sartorial grace and style. Composer of world famous hits such as Sweet Caroline, Forever In Blue Jeans, and I Am I Said. Combiner of gravitas and kitsch, all round entertainer and melancholic balladeer. Living legend, rock'n'roll icon, trail-blazing pop god.
And he's coming to Exmouth. Or possibly even better than the real thing, tribute act Bob Drury is coming with his homage to the great man himself. This is guilty pleasures personified and multiplied to the max. This is heaven on earth.

Get your tickets now and get there early, starfuckers, as this is going to be rammed.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Cruel Britannia - Nick Cohen

CRUEL BRITANNIA - NICK COHEN

Through his weekly columns in the Observer newspaper, journalist Nick Cohen chronicled the behaviour and the rightward swerves of Tony Blair's New Labour government better than most. Week in week out he would highlight the conservatism and the mendacity that was being played out before a distracted populace, raising all kinds of awkward and uncomfortable questions in a clear, intelligent and insightful manner.


New Labour's great art was in media manipulation, the spinning of news, and of having all its main players 'on message' so as to present a complete vision. The trouble was that they were actually quite rubbish at it and it never took a lot to expose them.
When Blair first entered 10 Downing Street, for example, jubilant crowds waving little Union Jack flags were shown lining the street cheering for their new leader. So there was Blair on television, smiling his smile and happily shaking hands as he was proffered bouquets of flowers in thanks for him finally freeing the country from Conservative rule. The problem, however, was that it was all staged. The crowds were all New Labour party members, issued with special passes to allow them entry beyond the Downing Street gates and then given little flags to wave.
When Lady Di was killed, Blair appeared on television and gave his famous 'People's Princess' speech; the emotion and the sincerity dripping from him as he articulated the dismay of news reporters everywhere. Blair sounded as though he was talking from the heart, summarising an event and the impact of it that had still not properly sunk in. The problem - or rather, the truth - was that his little speech had actually been written by Alistair Campbell and Blair was simply delivering the words like a good actor.

Prior to his election victory, a lot of people wanted to believe in Blair because in him they saw a light at the end of the 18 years of Conservative government rule tunnel. They were willing to forgive, forget, compromise and turn a blind eye just so long as it meant the Tories would be ousted. They wanted to believe that all the niggling doubts they had about him were misplaced and all the abandoning of Labour standards was simply a ploy to get elected and that once in power he would usher in a kind of post-modern socialist new age.
It should be pointed out that at the same time there was also a significant number of people who didn't want to see Blair win because another Tory election victory might have led to much desired riots and revolutionary action on the streets of Britain. But that's a different story.

For Nick Cohen, the first sign that all was not as it first appeared with New Labour was when he rang the then Shadow Home Secretary Jack Straw to ask of his views on zero tolerance tactics and as floated by President Clinton, the idea of curfews being placed upon teenagers out after dark. Cohen was somewhat taken aback by Straw's response which couldn't have been any less liberal.
Firstly, Straw suggested that imposing martial law upon children who had committed no crime might actually be a good idea but secondly, Straw called Cohen back an hour after talking to him to ask if he could forget the conversation they'd just had because Straw hadn't been authorised to talk about curfews. As if an on the record interview might be censored by a politician.
Cohen's final confirmation of all that he feared regarding New Labour was when Gordon Brown declared his party's commitment to stick to Conservative tax laws and spending targets, guaranteeing that however the electorate voted, conservatism would remain in power. "In effect," Cohen wrote "Brown announced that a permanent government of the Right had been installed without opposition and the hope of change."

Cruel Britannia is a selection of Nick Cohen's writings taken mainly from the Observer but also including pieces from the New Statesman, the Independent on Sunday, and the London Review of Books. Reading his columns as a whole in book form reveals a consistency in New Labour's obsequiousness to the market that is almost fetishistic but at the same time it also reveals Cohen's consistency in lifting up the skirts of New Labour to reveal its dirty underwear, or often to even reveal that no underwear was being worn at all. He's like a dog with a bone that just won't let go though to Blair et al he was probably nothing more than an annoying gnat buzzing around that just wouldn't go away. If Cohen hadn't been alone and instead part of a swarm then maybe things wouldn't be the same today but alas he was but a voice in the wilderness so subsequently was easily contained.

It's all water under the bridge now of course so what purpose Cruel Britannia serves these days, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's just to show that whilst different governments come and go - each successive one trying their hardest to tighten the screws and shore the ship up - the market remains permanently in place even if it's slowly sinking under the weight of its own suicidal tendencies? Or perhaps it shows that those wishing for a more radical and genuine change back in 1997 were right in wanting to see a Conservative election victory again so that riots, class war and revolutionary action might erupt on the streets?
But as I said, that's a whole other story.
John Serpico