Monday, 31 October 2011

rabbit appeal ...

The rabbit was hopping down High Holborn this lunchtime after returning from a visit to the Big House aka Her Majesty's Prison Feltham when he spotted the above young lady with her billboard. Just in case it's not clear to all from the pic it reads:



It struck me that for a qualified lawyer (her name is Annie and she is an Australian qualified lawyer who spent a number of years in the New South Wales Attorney-General's Office) to be standing in the street with a billboard looking for work is (a) a sign of the times (b) a sign of optimism and (c) shows guts.

Soooooo .... A rabbit appeal is in order. Any lawyer reading this and needing a  paralegal should get in touch with Annie at e-mail - she said it was okay for me to put her e-mail addy up here. Or contact the rabbit via e-mail addy on my profile page. I have a cv for her that can be scanned and e-mailed. Like all sensible people she is presently based in Croydon. And no, I have never met her before and do not expect to meet her again. I'll see if the great and good Charon QC  can do a link to this appeal as I somehow suspect that he has more lawyer readers than the rabbit.

Some readers may be wondering how the smallest rabbit is getting on. Even if they aren't I confess I can't help it. Well at 13 weeks last Friday, he's getting his sleep as can be seen.

Friday, 28 October 2011

George Formby mostly ...

After spending ear earlier part of the week running up and down the country, the rabbit was pleased to slump in front of the television last night. On BBC4 he saw comedian Frank Skinner, a rabbit favourite, present a documentary of George Formby.

I suspect George Formby (1904 - 1961) is a mystery to overseas readers, but he is hardwired into the folk memory of British popular culture. He was a comedian in the tradition of Lancashire music hall comedians and a singer songwriter. His unique selling point accompanying himself on his banjo ukelele. It's difficult to get a grip on just how big he was in the 1930s and 1940s but he was mega - with earnings to match. One random fact the rabbit didn't know until researching this piece was that Formby was born blind due to an obstructive caul; his sight was restored during a violent coughing fit or sneeze when he was a few months old.

Hi songs are now real period pieces, little pieces of insight into a bygone world but they are very funny. The song above is the complaint of nerds and geeks the world over: Why Don't Women Like Me? Our man warms to his theme...

Last night I went out walking, my intentions were to click

But the sights I saw while walking out, they nearly made me sick.

I must admit I saw some girls, attractive little dears

Arm in arm with ugly men with cauliflower ears.

Now if women like them like men like those - why don’t women like me?

A mystery I'm sure all will agree. His songs are loaded with innuendos. In fact you end up with innuendo overload and everything becomes an innuendo, rather like Viz magazine's Finbarr Saunders - surreally I note that someone who is really called Finbarr Saunders is running for Knoxville City Council. I must drop him a  line and ask if he is related. Here are a  couple of frames from the Finbarr Saunders strip. For the record, the word between 'to' and 'it' in the speech bubble in the right hand flame is 'flick'. Tsk!

No, I don't know what he's really talking about either. Now back to George Formby. He and his wife Beryl became unlikely anti apartheid heroes.  In 1946 Beryl and George toured South Africa shortly before formal racial apartheid was instigated. They ended up refusing to play racially segregated venues (when they arrived Formby - who was barely literate - didn't know what segregated meant but soon found out and didn't like what he found out). Beryl was presented with a bunch of flowers onstage by a little black girl and - thinking nothing of it - gave her a kiss. The result was uproar and the Formbys being escorted out of the theatre under armed guard.

The leader of the National Party, Daniel Malan - who was shortly to introduce apartheid - came to complain. Beryl slapped him in the face and unburdened herself of the immortal line:

'Why don't you piss off you horrible little man?'

Nice one Beryl.

Let us end with our man's Blackpool Rock - enough innuendos to make Finbarr Saunders (either one) blush...

With my little stick of Blackpool Rock, along the promenade I stroll.

It may be sticky but I never complain, it's nice to have a nibble at it now and again

Erm ... Quite so.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Lord Bonkers - beyond satire

'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which' as Orwell had it in Animal Farm. It occurs that the rabbit mentions Orwell quite a lot. This is a sign of approval, but I digress. The line came to mind on viewing - with Hat Tip to Charon QC - the above clip of some naughty Australian satirist taking the - erm - rise out of a person named Lord Monckton, a man so bizarre that it is hard to tell who is the satirist and who is the satirised.

There are a number of things to note about Lord Monckton.

Firstly, yes - he does look like that.Secondly, Lord Monckton is a prominent member of UKIP. For the benefit of overseas readers, UKIP - the United Kingdom Independence Party - is a particular rabbit aversion made up as it is of petty nationalists, xenophobes, saloon bar bores, all manner of obsessives and - how does one put this delicately? - self pleasurers.

Now our man has a number of odd claims to 'fame'. One is that he is the only person in the entire history of everything to have copped a 'cease and desist' type edict from the House of lords telling him to stiop claiming that he is - or ever has been - a member of the House of Lords. Yes, he's a 'Lord' but...

Oh never mind.

Well if you insist... Monckton is a hereditary peer and is of the opinion that 'the House of Lords Act 1999, which purported to exclude hereditary peers from membership of the House of Lords, is defective'.

So that would explain it. He has also been told to stop using the House of Lords logo (left) so our man uses the logos centre and right instead. Isn't there some concept of 'passing off'?

Even weirder, his UKIP profile (he is head of Scottish UKIP and of policy development, which is nice) lists among his achievements '2008 Inventor, cure for Graves’ Disease (100,000 UK sufferers) and other chronic infections'. Graves' Disease is - it transpires - an auto immune disorder that leads to overactivity of the thyroid gland. The catch is - he has not invented a cure for Graves' Disease - only he - and apparently UKIP - believe he has done any such thing. There is no cure for Graves' Disease.

Oh and the rabbit was amused to notice among his lordship's interests as per his UKIP profile was...


Which is nice. What a pleasant relief after all this weirdness to see that Christine O'Donnell has written again. Now what tendresses may pass through cyberspace between the rabbit and Christine is nobody else's business but I'm sure I betray no confidences if I quote selectively..
'Dear Andrew,

While running errands at my local Target Friday night I was unexpectedly contacted by ABC News asking me about my personal political contributions in the 2012 GOP Presidential Primary. This seemed to cause a bit of a stir, so I am writing to you directly to share my thoughts on the upcoming 2012 elections...'

Very thoughtful I'm sure but what exactly is Christine's local Target? Must be an American thing...

'I contributed to Gov. Romney, Herman Cain and I plan to personally contribute to Sen. Santorum and Speaker Gingrich. Let me clarify that these contributions are from me personally, not my campaign or PAC'.

So there we have it. Christine has contributed to the Mormon one and the bloke with the pizzas or burgers or whatever it is. I'm a bit surprised at Christine spreading her largesse so widely as she invariably seems hard up and keeps asking the rabbit for money. I can only conclude that the candidates so favoured by Christine must have a sound line on - erm - UKIP's favourite activity, something that Christine takes a dim view of. Below is Christine taking a dim view of... Oh never mind.

Ending where we began, with Orwell and Animal Farm, it is not as widely known as perhaps it ought to be that in one of his most disgraceful moments, rabbit fave poet T.S.Eliot as director af Faber & faber (publishers) rejected Animal Farm. In a letter from 1944 explaining why he would not be publishing the work, Eliot told Orwell that he was not persuaded by the 'Trotskyite' politics which underpin the narrative. To publish such an anti-Russian novel would jar in the contemporary political climate, explained the poet.

Eliot had been leant on by the men from the ministry. There was a war on and Marshal Stalin was our friend. The fact that he was a yellow eyed mass murdering psychopath was not to be the subject of satire in the public prints. 'We have no conviction ... that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time. It is certainly the duty of any publishing firm which pretends to other interests and motives other than mere commercial prosperity to publish books which go against the current of the moment' wrote Eliot.

There's a 'but' coming, isn't there?

 Eliot then goes on to say that he was not convinced that 'this is the thing that needs saying at the moment'.

Shameful capitulation.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

a nip to the air..

There was, I reflected as I made my way to the train station this morning, a nip to the air. The brief Indian summer is firmly over and the weather is distinctly autumnal. The phrase 'a nip to the air' comes from the Grateful Dead's Scarlet Begonias from Grateful Dead From The Mars Hotel - one of the best album covers ever (see below). This posting became inevitable in a matter of several seconds. Here - thanks to David Dodd's good works - are the annotated lyrics with theories - they are theories rather than explanations - of 'too pat to open and too cool to bluff' and the rabbit favourite 'the sky was yellow and the sun was blue'. The song is Robert Hunter's hommage to England. He's hugely under-recognised as a rock lyricist and up there with the best in the rabbit's opinion. By all accounts, he's a top bloke as well. A story to illustrate...

One problem writers have when they want to quote lyrics is copyright. I wanted to use a fragment of lyric from The Wailers' Duppy Conqueror in twentytwelve (yes that's a blatant plug - go buy!). I eventually tracked down whoever it was who dealt with copyright issues for the estate of Bob Marley. It would take some months to get a permission and there would be a fee I was told. I believe there is some scope for using fragmentary quotes (what's the answer Peter?) but decided life was too short to work out exactly what I might get away with so did a quick rewrite to have the relevant character humming the song instead.

Anyway, someone wanted to use a Robert Hunter lyric in his literary endeavour some time ago. Anxious not to blot his copybook and - well - anxious generally he tracked down Hunter and asked permission to use his lyric. Hunter's response was immediate and to the point - 'use what you like'.

Top man or what?

And with Hat Tip to JoJo, so that's what it's about! I went to an all male English equivalent of High School and I am so not interested...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

spooky huh?

After the rabbit's invention of Tea Partyer Hiram J Whackjob last week, he was startled to see in Steve Bell's If cartoon strip that Hiram appears to have a relative, namely Humbert Whackjob. It will further be noticed that Humbert is an elephant. This is even spookier as the symbol of the Republican Party, of which the Tea Party is the provisional wing, is an elephant. Spooky huh?

It occurs to me that the cartoon may be mystifying to overseas readers, by way of explanation,  a very boring man called Liam Fox was Defence Secretary until he had to resign the other day due to his connection with a man called Adam Werrity who described himself as Fox's adviser despite having no official standing. There is an odour of special interests, lobbying and even a whiff of money changing hands although there is no evidence that any landed in Fox's hands. I suppose I had to make that last statement in case he wants to sue me. Actually I don't care if he does. I could do with a laugh.

Monday, 17 October 2011

rabbit as photojournalist...

The rabbit was hopping around central London on Saturday, mostly for lunch with two of the nearest and dearest at the Wine Wharf where after discussion on Shelley, Byron and Coleridge (pretentious? nous?) one of our number claimed that there were no good writers with right wing politics. The other two, including the rabbit, exclaimed with one voice...

Evelyn Waugh!

Orwell said something to the effect that Waugh wrote about as well as it is possible for a human being to write but had some insupportable opinions (I can't find the exact quote - even with the help of Mr Google). Uh Huh. And before anyone says 'Ayn Rand' I confess ... I dutifully bought Atlas Shrugged. I accept that she has a very good prose style. I put it down after a few chapters. That was several weeks ago. I shall attempt to pick it up again but confess that it was not doing it for me on any level beyond thinking ' nice sentence' from time to time.

Coming out of the Wine Wharf having compared French and New Zealand Pinot Noir to his satisfaction the rabbit encountered a troupe of Morris dancers in Borough Market (see pic). Someone said you should try everything once except incest and morris dancing. Obviously no-one told the characters above.

The rabbit then hopped off across London Bridge in the general direction of his London office (yes - on a Saturday - very sad) and on approaching St Paul's Cathedral what should he enounter? Yes, the Occupy the London Stock Exchange event. Out came the rabbit phonecam. This is the eastern police line with the cathedral in the background.

Inevitably the visual media were in attendance complete with coralled off area.

Here we have the protestors on the steps of the cathedral. They had been prevented from occupying the Stock Exchange (private property etc). The police took their positions on the top of the steps to 'protect' the cathedral and move the protesters on. What happened then is rather funny - and like the rest of events so far - very English. The Dean of St Paul's Giles Fraser (who the rabbit has met and rather liked - he says 'fuck' a lot for a clergyman) thanked the police for their interest in the cathedral's 'protection' but declared the cathedral not in need of the same and asked them politely to get off the steps, which they had no option other than to do. He then told the protesters that he didn't mind at all if they stayed but warned them the bells were very noisy if they were planning anything other than an early morning. And there they remain complete with a field kitchen, portable toilets and a media area streaming the protest to wherever. Oh and a sign telling all and sundry not to litter.So far it is all very English and understated unlike the event in Rome on the same day, which turned into a riot. The rabbit was amused as he left the scene to see a tourist bus gingerly executing a three point turn on finding its route blocked.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Just because you're paranoid...

After yesterday's message from Mr Damian Omen, the Tea Party disappoints today with a message from their friends from Americans for Prosperity - the message is 'tell Washington to cut spending' not 'get down in your cellars and prepare for armageddon'. Very dull, I have to say. C'mon, shape up Tea Partyers!!!

So the paranoia baton has fortunately been picked up elsewhere as revealed by Tony in his most excellent blog.  Here is a list of 'must have' items for the paranoic who likes to keep up with the Joneses - I'm not sure quite which is my favourite - probably The Evacuchut, but if I were a woman I'd love scaring the crap out of every man in a 200 mile radius with the Rapex Rapist Dick Destroyer. Every home should have one...

And today's music? Well it's a no brainer really.

Oh and also following from yesterday's posting here is the New Riders of the Purple Sage's version of Long Black Veil. Johnny Cash and Dylan also recorded it among others but I think this version by their very stonednesses is my fave.

What's more and with Hat Tip to Laci the Dog, here is The Framley Examiner a spoof online version of a local newspaper which induced giggling fits verging on mild hysteria in the rabbit's case (follow the link - don't risk a ruptured eyeball trying to read the sample page below). Okay, if I had to nominate one favourite it would be the small ads page which literally had me in tears of laughter. 40 gallon drum of owls??? Enjoy!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

return of the rabbit...

The long drugs importation case has concluded (let's just say we came second) and normal rabbiting on will now be resumed. But first, I must have a word with my friend Christine O'Donnell. It's always nice to hear from Christine and she writes regularly - which is sweet - though she always seems hard up as she invariably ends up asking for money. Having said this, she naughtily seems to have passed on my e-mail address to her friends in the Tea Party.

Christine's Tea Party friends have been filling the rabbit's inbox of late with the most unutterable balls. Okay, they utter it but it's still balls. They don't seem to understand the word 'unsubscribe' despite implorings from the rabbit using this word. Usually the Tea Party e-mails are along the lines of 'I am Hiram J Whackjob and I'm running in the Republican primary in Nosepick. Idaho against Deirdre M Toadthrottler, the most liberal Republican in the known universe. Blah. Drone'. Nobody in the Tea Party can have any money as they always end up asking for money too.

Anyway, an odd message arrived from the Tea Party the other day. It is headed '37 Things You Should Hoard...' and is from someone the rabbit has not met named Damian Campbell. I assume that he is another member of Christine's startlingly wide social circle.

It starts Dear Fellow Patriot (I assume there is no point in telling them I'm not even American let alone a fellow patriot),

This will be short and to the point (You need to read this message and I want to get you this information as fast as possible).

Very thoughtful I'm sure.

FEMA has ordered 420 million survival meals.

Not being American (see above) I had to google to discover that FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Why would they need a 7000% increase of survival meals?

Good question, Damian. I wonder if he is related to the Damian in The Omen by the way.

Warming to his theme, Damian continues...

Disasters have been pummeling the world over the past couple of months. Maybe it’s the X-class solar flare that knocked out all of China’s communication back in February (“X” is NASA’s highest solar flare classification).

Or the reality that our fragile food supply chain could be knocked by just the threat of a disaster (even if it was just a false alarm)…

Whatever the reason, it’s about time the Government woke up and started paying attention!

As your fellow American, I’m hoping you won’t put your faith in a system that is bound to fail, but that’s your choice.

Really there are 37 critical items that you can buy from the grocery store that can be the difference between life and death:

So here is the life and death stuff from Damian. I confess I've absolutely no idea what he's blethering on about but am quite sure there's an explanation. Think of the above as a rabbit public service announcement.

I did promise some more cricket rabbit pics and here is one from the first England v West Indies 20/20 floodlit game at the Oval. A rabbit complaint: his ticket cost £60 ($91 - American persons). Okay the ground was pretty much full so the English Cricket Board would no doubt say that the market can bear those prices but they are hardly likely to attract first time spectators at that sort of price. oh and the food and drink was a rip off. The rabbit had a Caribbean burger (sic) at £6 ($9.10) which although not bad was about the size of a button and shared some potato wedges at £3 ($4.70). Not to mention 2 pints of beer at £6.80 ($10.67). What it is to be a captive market...

And finally and just because it came to mind, here is the original Long Black Veil by Lefty Frizzell (great name by the way). A cautionary tale...

And finally finally and with Hat Tip to Charon QC, here is his take on the great global non-functioning Blackberry disaster.