Monday, April 10, 2006

Don't ask me

In my brief blogging career I have encountered several references to things that the average person, blogger and Joe public alike seems to assume, all too foolishly, everyone else takes for granted. They are things about which I know very little or have never experienced. Now, I’m not sure whether that makes me above or below average or indicates a sheltered upbringing or indeed, an insufficient education. I feel none of these reasons to be adequate.

I have never run with the pack. If I share opinions it’s because I’ve arrived at them of my own volition and reasoning, not because others have them. Clubs make me feel uneasy, even the ones that I belong to. I’m not a fanatic although I have been and still am a fan of things, people and stuff. Bring forward the five sacred cows for slaughter, just like that bit in Apocalypse Now that made you turn to your girlfriend and say it was a special effect. Definitely.

I’m 45 yet I have never owned a single track by the Fab Four. My Mum and Dad had “Twist and Shout” on a 45 but it was never played until they finally purchased a working gramophone in 1971. My Grandma had “With the Beatles” though. She liked them. I appreciate their immense influence on popular music but had I been 15 in 1963 I think I may well have been listening to some of the Lomax recordings instead. Their influence was even greater. As for their solo careers, George’s and Ringo’s were the most interesting. Lennon’s career seemed to be a triumph of marketing over mediocrity and that dreadful dirge “Imagine” is the most awful piece of fourth form poetry one could ever hope to read. Thank heavens they have never allowed their stuff to be included on compilations and that Ray Davies was born.

I have never seen a single full length screening of any of the Star Wars motion pictures on any medium. Realise I this gap in my education is. You see, I can do the jokes and I more or less know the characters because I’ve been unable to bloody escape them for 30 sodding years, despite my best efforts. My supervisor in the Civil Service a few years back was 12 years my junior but dressed up as Obi Wan Kenobi and waved a fluorescent tube about at weekends. Why? I always meant to go and see the first one and I will admit to seeing 10 minute bits of it here and there, but my patience was severely taxed when I realised I was going to have to sit through 5 or 6 hours of the stuff to get up to speed. At least Sir Alec had the right idea and screwed Lucas for a percentage of the gross. The same goes for Red Dwarf. Not funny. Just not funny.

You gotta have faith? I have never read the Bible, The Koran, The Talmud or any other sacred philosophical text and nor do I ever intend to do so. I was made to memorise The Lord’s Prayer when I was 4 and never understood what it was about. Then I went to Sunday school and learned all this stuff about a higher power who bossed everything about for reasons we were only meant to guess at. These turned out to be its own reasons and we couldn't question them. Then whenever anything or anyone I loved and valued died I was told they were with Jesus. What in great big buggering hell did a dead bloke want with Sooty and Gingey? Couldn’t he have got his own cats instead of taking my ones? I thought stealing was against his own rules anyway. I know this is a bit of a cliché but any philosophy that can be twisted and turned to suit any interpretation because it has a built in get-out clause in absolution, is a con and evil. Having said all that and doubtlessly insulted those to whom faith is a necessary part of their life, my atheism is worn inconspicuously under my sleeve. To be honest, my lack of faith isn’t important to me in that I am quite content to bumble along not asking the kind of questions that end up upsetting half the world. I don’t need to believe in something neither do I need not to believe in anything. Therefore, as I have nothing to preach about, I shan’t.

I am a bloke who likes football yet I have only ever been to two professional football matches in my entire life. A school trip to Crystal Palace v Leeds Utd (2-2 and you could hear me shouting at Brian Moore on the commentary because we were behind the gantry) in November 1972 and Ashford Town v Walsall (1-3) in the 3rd round of the cup in 1975. That was because proper football had come to Ashford at last. Being from the south I have “followed” Manchester United ever since I knew what they were, largely I think because they played in red, my favourite colour, and George played for them. But even though I now live only 30 miles from Old Trafford, Only a large team of the wildest dogs would be able to drag me there on match day. Football crowds scare me and after all, it’s only a game. On the other hand, point me at a cricket match and I’m the proverbial smelly pig because, as everyone knows, football is for life cricket is for eternity.

I was born in London. Both of my parents have strong connections with the city, Dad especially, and I spent a lot of time there. I lived there from the age of 19 until 41 and my children still live there. Nothing on this planet would ever entice me to ever want to live there again. It’s a well full of arrogant wankers. They are the nearest we have to flat earthers with seemingly no concept of the outside world unless it can be packaged up and presented on the life pages of what used to be broadsheet newspapers and able to be read between 10 tube stops. Has everyone forgotten the Guardian was a provincial paper? Evacuate all the decent people (my kids, Sharon’s mum and Geoff and Betty and drop a dirty bomb on it so we can still look at the architecture). Eastenders? Yuravinallarrf, incha? What an absolute load of toss. Only one family on the take and without being divisive, an Englishman runs the chippy AND the caff? Where’s the Somali grocery selling bushmeat and khat? And the litter? And the white kids trying to be Jamaicans? And the flytipping on every bit of open space? Here’s some advice for Londoners: don’t believe all you read in the papers. Property prices everywhere in the provinces are approximately 5 times what they are in Edgware. You can’t buy any kind of cheese anywhere except Kraft Dairylea and the salads you get in gastro-pubs contain hard boiled eggs, rolled up slices of ham and yesterday’s cold potatoes covered in Heinz salad cream and we like it like that. Frisé? Haircut. Better stay where you are then.

Stew anyone?

16 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Geoff said...

Mostly agree apart from the Beatles and would go to football now and then if it was affordable and there were 36 hours in a day.

My dad was evacuated to Derbyshire in the War. Have we got a choice of destinations?

12:32 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

My mum went to Derbyshire too. Parts of it are quite pleasant. As 8 million Londoners will be fried, there will be plenty of second homes available around Buxton for you to "mind".

12:46 pm  
Blogger Pamela said...

So, no Star Wars, no religion, no Beatles and no football. Are you sure you've still got a pulse? :grin:

7:35 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

It's OK Pamela, the cricket season starts in a week. I wake up then.

7:59 pm  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

It's good to see someone else who's pleasantly maladjusted.

I have to admit what is either a dark secret or perhaps a source of perverse pride . . . I spent three of my formative years in Cornwall in the mid 1960's when my father was stationed at a U.S. Navy "weapons facility," to borrow a euphemism, at RAF St. Mawgan.

When someone here in Southwest Virginia once asked me what it was like, I helpfully responded; "It's just like here, except there's water on two sides and more sheep."

Actually, I probably enjoyed Cornwall more than I would have London.

And yes, even at that age, I got my crack at being a dumb American tourist when I got loose from my folks and proceeded to tangle myself in the barbed wire that surrounded Stonehenge.

1:37 am  
Blogger said...

You've never run with the pack?

So you weren't in the cub scouts either?

7:40 am  
Blogger tom909 said...

I was in my car last night listening to 'The Lennon Legend' and Imagine came on. I can't listen to it anymore without getting angry because everytime I hear it it reminds of a discussion I listened too once by a bunch of pretentious wankers who were all basically saying John Lennon was over-rated crap.

You've touched a raw nerve here, Richard, which was no doubt your intention. The Beatles without John would have been totally aneamic and wouldn't have worked. And if you truly don't own any of their music, start buying now - It's fucking brilliant.

8:37 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

I was in the cubs, Steve; 1st Shadoxhurst. I was sixer of red six. We were cool.

Tom, I've managed well enough so far without it and I don't think I'm being pretentious in reckoning he's over-rated. He was ok in the band, sum of its parts and all that but on his own? Not for me. I've often wondered whether their decision not to allow their stuff on compilations was because they too realised there was other stuff going on in the 60s and that it wasn't all about them.

I'm now off to Liverpool - honest!

8:57 am  
Blogger tom909 said...

Come on Richard, your deliberately trying to annoy me now. What other bands even came close to being as good as the Beatles in the 60s. Possibly the Stones! The Who were good, The Kinks were goodish, there were a few others. Are you thinking of Hermans Hermits, or Gerry and the Pacemakers, or The Searchers. The list of mediocrity goes on and on.
Then there were a few classy bands towards the end of the 60s like Hendrix and Floyd, and a few American bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Mothers of Invention, not to forget The Captain but he was a bit of a specialist item.
Are you sure you not suffering from the 'because it's popular it must be crap' syndrome. In fact in history this is generally proved to be incorrect. The good stuff lasts and the crap fades away.

8:03 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Tom, I wouldn't dream of deliberately setting out to annoy you because I'm certain I could do it easily without even trying. I do believe I originally set out to slay some sacred cows i.e. things I personally don't particularly care for but for most are part of the wallpaper. Most people have never heard of my particular musical hero but that doesn't bother me.

The thing is, would you berate someone who didn't like rock and roll music at all but had managed to live a perfectly adequate and fulfilling life? Of course not.

But if you really must know, Leadbelly, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Walters, The Beach Boys, Dick Dale, Phil Spector, Link Wray, Otis Redding, Jerry Lee Lewis (who nearly knifed Lennon once) and of course, Freddie and the Dreamers. All excellent in their own way, as were the Beatles, but they are all much more to my liking. I think it's called "having an opinion."

10:53 pm  
Blogger Miss Cellania said...

I honestly believe you need to get out more.

3:33 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

I do go out though. We were actually in Liverpool all yesterday afternoon. We walked past the permanent Beatles exhibition at Albert Dock but as it's underground and Sharon doesn't do stairs very well, it was a no-no. I very much doubt it would have told me anything I didn't know already.

9:40 am  
Blogger Sharon J said...

Come on, Dick! We wouldn't have gone in even if there hadn't been stairs! One simply doesn't mix Turner with the Beatles!

Miss Cellania. He is getting out more. I'm taking him to Stoke with me next week to go shopping in Matalan.

12:53 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Dick? Who on earth are you thinking of, Shaz?

1:19 pm  
Blogger krusty the baker said...

If I may lend my voice to the Lennon/Beatles debate - even Cliff Richard has had his moments, albeit half a century ago, but I ain't rushing out to buy. 'Imagine' - you can hear the adolescent zit-ridden hypocrisy in it. Listen to the words, if you can stand to. It's drivel. Possibly worse than that 'Candle In The Wind' excreta. I have got Beatles records, but my favourite Beatle songs are Pink Fairies' cover of 'I Saw Her Standing There' and Garcia Band 'Dear Prudence'. 'Red Dwarf', yep, you're right, shite. As funny as piles. The first football match I ever went to featured Garth Crooks, playing for Stoke, it can only get better, but not much.

I live on the very edge of London, which enables a relatively quick getaway. 'Eastenders' is indeed inaccurate; I don't think they're as intelligent or pleasant as the telly suggests. 'Eastenders' can't really be London as a) it doesn't have a McDonalds and attendant pool of litter, b) it doesn't have any Australians, c) they can get a cab and d) they don't wait at the bar while the morons ignore them and get on with texting one another. What does it say about British telly when several million people regularly tune in to a programme that is essentially about incest? "It's va fairm-lee, innit." Why do I stay down here? Masochism.

10:39 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

Yes yes, you can stay.

10:45 pm  

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