Archive for the ‘comedy’ Category

Armando Iannucci’s 10 Questions for Blair

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

I’ve been reading Armando Iannucci’s “Audacity of Hype” recently. It’s patchy as you might expect – some throwaway random stupidity but also some really really on-the-ball political and social comment.
(With the launch of the iPad the other day, I coincidentally came across the spoof of the iPhone launch. Hilarious: describing Steve Jobs explaining you don’t even have to touch it, you just wink at this icon here.)

Much more interestingly, he’s been saving the rest of us the trouble and paying very close attention to the Chilcot Enquiry, posting a series of tweets in the run up to Tony Blair’s questioning: – a list of questions they should (but probably won’t) ask. Questions that really expose the changes of mind and hypocrisies.

I’m taking the liberty of repeating the full set here. I think these really expose the level of scandal that has gone on. (I’ve tidied up the abbreviations and typos a little to make it more readable)

1 Was regime change an aim? Campbell diary Apr 2nd ’02 records you said it was, though Straw agrees that aim is illegal

2 Advisor Manning writes Jan23 ’03 your support for Bush even if no UN vote. Mar ’03 you tell House of Commons no decision taken. Explain.

3. On Sep 24th ’02, you told Commons Saddam could get nuke ‘within a year or two.’ No intelligence ever claimed this. Explain.

4 Between 7+17th Mar’03 Attorney General changed war from illegal to legal. How many helped revise advice? Are you happy they talk to Inquiry?

5 Did Attorney General’s wife play any part in change of advice from Illegal to Legal? Would you be happy for her to speak to Inquiry?

6 Wilmshurst resignation note was censored for “security”. Censored bit referred to 7th Mar advice war is illegal. Not security. Explain.

Q for Goldsmith. Do you stand by claim you changed Iraq advice to “legal” yourself? Happy for wife and Lord Falconer to confirm this?

7 Legal advice was war illegal as self defence as Saddam not planning imminent attack. Why did you not retract 45minute claim?

8 Why did you present Attorney General’s advice to Cabinet, Commons and Military as clear and unequivocal when you knew it wasn’t?

9 Last Dec John Prescott said ‘Bush is crap. You know it, I know it, the party knows it.’ Why were our troops at his disposal?

10. Did you let political considerations delay proper military planning and financing, especially over troop equipment?

I could barely bring myself to listen to Blair’s answers… I will write more on this topic when I’ve calmed down a bit.

Mollie Sugden’s Penis Extension

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

No, I’m not going to write any kind of glowing review. She wasn’t exactly a versatile or even charming actress. But she was mildly funny in a 1970s double entendre way.

She has died at age 86. Who knew she was still alive?

The one thing I remember was a few years ago… She was prosecuted for speeding in her Porsche. Yes. Her Porsche. Now while I’m hardly going to condone dangerous driving, I just love the juxtaposition. Go Old Lady, Go.

Right, who’s next in the dead pool? Margaret Thatcher, Stephen Hawking?

Clive Anderson on class

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Some years ago, I knew some Americans who came to live here. Not knowing anything about how to find a place to stay in Glasgow, they’d accepted whatever the agency sent them. They were overjoyed to find out they’d be living on an estate! …the Queen lives on an estate, doesn’t she? When it turned out to be a housing estate in the east end of Glasgow, they were less pleased.

Clive Anderson came up with a great quote in his “Chat Room” radio programme last week.

“The upper classes tend to be similar to the lower classes. There’s a sort of established theory… They gamble a lot, they drink a lot, they smash up things, they have lots of children, they marry young, they live on estates, they have guns.”

Excellent! So true…

This was in the context of a serious discussion about David Attenborough’s support of the Stop At Two campaign for population control. For more info:

RIP Clement Freud

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Ah… another one bites the dust. One less of those Grand Old Men of British Radio: the lovable lively eccentrics.

In recent years, we’ve lost : John Peel, Ned Sherrin, Humphrey Lyttelton…

Is it too much to hope Nicholas Parsons keeps in good health for a bit longer?

So, for those who don’t know: Clement Freud was grandson of Sigmund, brother of Lucien, a renowned cook, a Liberal MP and radio broadcaster.

I knew him mainly for his droll dry wit on “Just A Minute” – a programme that appeals to me for its combination of Silliness and Pedantry. But apparently I was – as a very young child – present at a cookery demonstration of his and heckled in a very loud voice “Why is that man burning sausages?” To which he returned a hard stare.

One other thing to mention. According to popbitch, he was spotted at a Sonic Youth gig. No idea if this was corroborated, but I like to believe it’s true.

Star Wars and terrorism

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

I’ve been saying this for a long time, for anyone who would listen: why do we revere characters in the film “Star Wars” who are essentially using the same thinking as the Islamic (or any other!) terrorists we hate so much. My point being that we should be looking not at whose side people are on but what their methods are. I disapprove of the use of violence by Bush just as much as by bin Laden.

Now finally, BBC Radio 4 has made a comedy sketch which encapsulates this far more concisely than I ever did.

Humphrey Lyttelton

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

Oh dear. Humphrey Lyttelton died last night.

86 is a pretty decent age to get to, though!

Sad there will be no more “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue”… or at least, they will never be quite the same.

Radio 4 had seem so reliant on old men… With John Peel (a shock early death) and Ned Sherrin gone, who is left? Nicholas Parsons and Clement Freud are getting on a bit, well into their 80s. All these Old Men of Radio… Barry Cryer must be getting on a bit, though he seems robust to the point of indestructible, fitting with his adolescent character and childish sense of humour.

OK, I’m not big fan of trad jazz, but understand his importance. And of course know his contribution to Radiohead’s “amnesiac”. And the Beatles “Lady Madonna”!

Lyttelton ran a jazz club; told very rude jokeson Radio 4; presented a jazz programme on radio 2 for 40 years; had an old 1970s Volvo, which he still maintained even though it had been round the clock 3 times. He was a calligraphy expert, a cartoonist on the Daily Mail, a journalist and “romantic socialist”.

He was also – admirably – among a small group of people who have turned down a knighthood. (A group which includes: David Bowie, Alan Bennett, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, LS Lowry…)

Well, of course it’s easier to live a life like that if you come from an aristocratic, privileged background (educated at Eton etc.). But it would also be very easy to follow the accepted path of the landed gentry and go into law or the City… So I think this shows his truly rebellious nature – to turn his back on the obvious careers and follow his love of music.

One last footnote: the name Humphrey had been eschewed by his family for hundreds of years because the last Humphrey Lyttelton was implicated in Guy Fawkes’s famous plot. His parent’s decision to break with tradition and use this name suggests even as a newborn baby he showed that spark of rebellion.

Arms Sales

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Hilarious to hear that old “Yes Minister” on radio 7 this week (I’m a bit addicted to radio 7, especially since i got my new DAB radio for xmas- which can RECORD programmes). The one where it transpires that a vast amount of money has been paid as sweeteners to a deal with some Arabs.

And now – in real life – there’s pressure to reopen the fraud enquiry about Saudi Arabia and the corruption associated with years of arms deals. A can of worms of course!! Of course we don’t want to upset the Big Boys.

More info at The Guardian’s story.

Warming to Russell Brand

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

I admit he irritated me to begin with. And yes, to some extent he still does: that ridiculous hairstyle, the smug self-satisfaction and the Victorian mockney urchin slang…

And yet, it’s the language that makes him funny. He sees the ridiculous things that are around us all and bursts their bubble by taking the logic to a frantic extreme. Language is his weapon.

I’m warming to him.