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Vox Pop

You wanna know what’s wrong with the world? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the world! What’s wrong with the world is that the world isn’t Bafflesby!

Take my word for it. I know all about this stuff. Bafflesby born and bred, that’s me, man and boy! Never set foot outside the sound of her ancient bell tower, as it happens, and never wanted to. You can’t get lost here, see? The streets tell their own story. Witchfinder Way, Gibbet Gardens, Bedlam Bridge. You can’t move for history.

I’m like a stick of rock, I am, Bafflesby through and through. I got traditions built in. That’s what these Outcomers can’t understand. They’re not like us, are they? Smell different, for a start.

Old Barry Cade says they look different, too, but I wouldn’t know. To be honest with you, I can’t bear the sight of them. Last thing I wanna see is them curling their lips at our old ways, sneering at our customs. Forever asking the rules of Bladderball when any fule no there ain’t none! You either get it or you don’t.

Same with the Festival of the Flaming Firkin. Spot a stranger a mile away by his singed whiskers, the Old’uns used to say. Used to. Not no more. Six foot under, most of them, and their wisdoms buried with them! The good old days is gone for good. Anyone says he can bring them back gets my vote, even if he is pissing into the wind.

See that mausoleum through the mullion window? That was our old Squire, that was, bless his brutal heart! Time was when every job in town was in his pocket. If you wasn’t true-blue Bafflesby, you never got a sniff. He knew we was born to it, you see, it was in our blood. Natural aptitude, he used to say, comes with the territory. We didn’t need telling what to do, all that nonsense! Nowadays it’s all, What do I have to do?

They tell them, too. Waste of money even if they are paying them less! Back in the day we never needed no training up. Hit the ground running and – Bob’s your Uncle! – you got a job for life. Not just your life, neither, the job were yours to pass on. Keep it in the family, they used to say, and the family will keep you.

Not no more. These days the thought police are everywhere. They got to have interviews. All these Outcomers talking stuff they don’t know. Asking things. We never had to ask nothing.

Same as the Facts of Life. No one said nothing. You kept one eye open and your ear to the ground in them days, then if something arose you jumped at the chance. You don’t have to go to college to cook a pie, they used to say, may they rest in peace …

Ha, fat chance of that, they’ll all be spinning in their graves! They wouldn’t recognise the place now. All these new estates, you get lost on them, with their Anyroad Avenues and Whatchamacallit Walks. Go to the end of your street and you don’t know where the hell you are. No point asking a constable because there aren’t any. And the ones in cars don’t like you flagging them down. It’s a war-zone out there.

Worst of it is, the enemy don’t wear different uniforms. Muggers, rapists, murderers … they look just like you. Once upon a time there was just the village idiot and the old witch who used to shout things at you. You knew who they were because their jobs ran in the family. They came from a long line of idiots and witches. They just knew what to do. Now they got to have interviews. Political correctness gone mad, I call it, taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. And you can’t crack a joke without po-faced prudes breathing down your neck. Anyone who gets those creeps off my back can have my vote.

What’s wrong with the world is too many creeps. Anyone takes a sledgehammer to my back door has a surprise coming, I can tell you. Can’t tell you what it is, so don’t ask, but let’s say I’m good and ready. Fort Knox has nothing on me. Time was when you could leave your back door open in case Old Mother Hubbard came round for a cup of sugar. Now you don’t know who is outside your house trying to sell you exploding clothes-pegs  and foreign encyclopaedias. And if Ma Hubbard gets both barrels, tough!

So anyone says he’ll Bring Bafflesby Back gets my vote, even if he just wants to turn it into a theme park. He doesn’t need to change anything much, as long as he shoots his big mouth off about people I don’t like so that I can too. Time was you could say whatever you wanted. Now it’s all, button your lip in case you upset every little waif and stray in the big cruel world.

Well, losers, get used to it! The candidate who gets my vote will shoot first and ask questions later. The candidate who gets my vote will always say the first thing that pops into their head just like I do. The candidate who gets my vote will promise me the moon without waiting to commission a boring old feasibility study. And after no consideration whatsoever, I have decided that the only person worthy of my vote is me. My election campaign begins here.

Image result for vote meImage: Clipart Kid

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Whaassup?

OK, this isn’t like Houston, we have a problem … the bravery behind those words puts my little hiccup into perspective.

My little hiccup? Well, my comments are not appearing in other people’s blogs. Or rather, mostly not appearing because for some reason the occasional one shows up. One person said they had received a message from me in a foreign language with an unfamiliar script, which suggests I’ve been hijacked or whatever the word is.

I like to comment on other people’s posts. Blogging is a community activity and any support I get is contingent on any support I can give. But my side isn’t working so please bear with me until I can get to the bottom of the problem.

I’ve posted my problem on the WordPress public forum and asked Akismet to look into the possibility that I’m being treated as spam. I don’t know what more I can do, as I’m not a paying customer. Has this happened to anyone else, I wonder? I would be grateful for any advice about what may have happened and what to do next.

Life and death it ain’t, but it sure feels uncomfortable …

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Don’t Just Say No

When I was a child my friends had a nickname for me. They called me The Preacher because I would turn every situation into a moral lesson.

Where did this finger-wagging tendency come from? My dad had a somewhat sententious manner arising from his rather straight-laced Methodist upbringing. And my mum had an unusually heightened sense of social justice which spilled out whenever anything made her angry. Climbing on a soap-box just came naturally to me, I suppose.

I can only pity my poor friends, having their ears bent like that! And now it’s your turn, WordPress people, because looking back over my posts I can’t find one that isn’t a sermon in disguise. Poems, satires, opinions – each of them a little homily to a happier future where prejudice, ignorance and cruelty are unknown.

A world without evil is impossible if you believe in Original Sin – the idea that we are all born bad and must be redeemed. I happen to believe the opposite – that we are born good but corrupted by social conditioning into bad habits. I’m reading a biography of children’s writer Lewis Carroll which explains how he was influenced by the poets Blake, Coleridge and Wordsworth towards an idealised yet honest view of childhood – his Alice books show their feisty little hero more than holding her own against the nonsensical gibberish emanating from so-called adult authority.

Carroll works through parody, a skill he honed as a child producing countless magazines for his younger brothers and sisters to read. He was just thirteen when he wrote the spirited poem My Fairy which spoofed the solemn rubrics and prim & proper prudishness of conventional Victorian society.

I have a fairy by my side
Which says I must not sleep,
When once in pain I loudly cried
It said “You must not weep.”

If, full of mirth, I smile and grin,
It says “You must not laugh”;
When once I wished to drink some gin
It said “You must not quaff.”

When once a meal I wished to taste
It said “You must not bite”;
When to the wars I went in haste
It said “You must not fight.”

“What may I do?” at length I cried,
Tired of the painful task.
The fairy quietly replied,
And said “You must not ask.”

          Moral: “You mustn’t.”

So finger-wagging isn’t the way to go. Who knew?

And how easy it is to glimpse, in this barely teenage prodigy with his natural genius for companionable hilarity, the witty man who transformed children’s literature by giving children a stronger voice in the bewildering world we grown-ups create for them.

 

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Image: ottmag.com

Reasons to be Cheerful …

Haven’t felt like posting for a while. Or reading other people’s posts, for that matter.

It’s not much fun sitting around in somebody else’s clothes – especially if they’re too small for you – while you wait for your delayed baggage to be delivered.

I’ve spent hours online trying to get some response from the airline, who had faithfully promised to keep us informed.

Guess what. Zilch.

8 days we had to wait before last night our bags finally came through. At last we could give our family the presents we’d chosen, the baby clothes we’d bought for our new grandchild, the TV box-sets they can’t get hold of. It feels like our stay with them has begun all over again.

Still, I’ve learned one lesson. Banging your head against a brick wall isn’t so bad, after all  … it’s really nice when you stop.

 

The Swinging Blue Jeans : Merseybeat Kings – The Hippy Hippy Shake, You’re No Good

Just read this wonderful labour of love by Thom Hickey and got so misty-eyed with nostalgia for the decade we came of age, I just had to reblog it. We were so spoiled for choice it’s easy to forget some of those bands. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be sitting around in old folks’ homes singing Vera Lynn songs …

The Immortal Jukebox

Some Other Guys 2 – British Beat Groups in the shadow of The Beatles

As the 1960s dawned winds of change were blowing not just across the colonies of the British Empire but also whistling through the great provincial cities of England.

A generation of young working class men, now that military conscription had been banished to history, no longer had to shudderingly look forward to years of endless spud peeling, square bashing and boot polishing.

Now, if they had the imagination, the will and the courage they could march to the beat of their own drum. And, if along with the drum they added two guitars and a bass they had a beat group!

If you’re looking for the great provincial city where the new call to arms was most resoundingly answered you have to sail down the River Mersey to Liverpool.

Liverpool was a great port city. And…

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Email Problems

Can’t seem to access my emails because I can’t sign into Outlook.com at the moment. Have tried through Internet Explorer, Google, etc. but no joy. My Windows Mail shows no emails received for 2/3 days. This all means I can’t respond to new posts from people I follow, which is frustrating.

Anybody else experiencing this? I’ve seen an online map which suggests outage problems in Europe and the UK. Is there anything one can do other than wait for things to improve?

UPDATE: the problem is resolved! I’m plugged back in!