Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Email to a pal concerning Osama, Obama, The Beatles, Liverpool, Chester and the Ras Prince
From: William GAZY
Subject: Jelly Roll and the Ras Prince
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 14:24:09 +0100
Many thanks for the CD. I literally hurried to put it on. What was my disappointment to find 'CD not finalized' come up on the display! Not dissing your work old boy but I really fancied a listen.
The landlady has had the builders in at Highgate doing the windows and other bits and bobs. This has taken six weeks. I have been camping out at Croydon and getting no work done, by which I mean the work of using one's imagination to create things of aesthetic or literary interest. I have been busy lately, continually diverted by the two largest claims on any Londoner's time: work and Drink. There has been precious little time for art, low or high. I did have a dalliance with one Tina Perch but what with her one-year-old child, her part time lesbianism and belief in UFOs etc I felt that a long-term relationship was not in either of our interests.
I did have a fair run of luck on the Turf. One afternoon placing six horses in six races either first, second or third which, had they all won in a £1 accumulator, and they were all capable of winning, would have netted me one million and fifty three thousand pounds. Of course, I would have had to forego the £53,000 because bookmakers' payout limit is just the round one mill. Unfortunately I had them in different trixies. Ah well - but still a good pick-up.
I was pleased to see the Americans shot Bin Laden because among other things it would in a matter of hours reveal the hypocrisy of many of my liberal acquaintances, liberals in the sense of that seam of inchoate right-on opinion that dominates broadcasting, academia and etc.
Where was the outrage at this act of western imperialist freebooting? Where were the luvvies bussed in to BBC news studios every hour to be prompted into anti-American rhetoric? Where was the outrage on Facebook? There was none to be seen among my many liberal friends, none of the hand-me-down sarcasm from the world of stand up comedy. I dare say Noam Chomsky had his say somewhere but I didn't hear about it. Of course, one expects the the head of the Church of England to side with Al Qa'eda now and one receives the news with equanimity; the gobsmacker would have been the tiniest vindication of the action delivered with impeccable Anglican tact. Why have we spent a thousand years listening to old poofs in funny hats? (Good album title)
But really, it was a muted reaction from the Righteous.
And then of course it dawned on my slow brain: Barack Obama, the President of the U.S., is a black liberal. Or is perceived to be so. Had a white man named Bush, or indeed anyone from the Republican Party been in charge then etc.
In those crazy days nine years ago you regularly heard a kind of coded praise for Bin Laden, remember? At that time his war on the U.S. appeared to some of the more addled members of the Islington Tendency as a sort of underdog football match between Crewe Alexander and Manchester United. It was years before they grasped that Bin Laden and his friends were not the sort of edgy young shavers who would dig The Clash, Mark Thomas and dub reggae. I knew a stoner bus driver a few years ago who openly admired Bin Laden, pronouncing his name fussily each time as ozammabin ladenne.
As I used to say too much: it is impossible to keep up with the cuntishness of modern opinions.
But it does make you wonder who'll the Righteous Left will blame everything on while they wait for the next Republican government to come along. I did wonder at one point if the BBC would go against all instinct and make the French out to be the wrong 'uns of the world. They had Sarko AND the Burka ban, maan, to go on.
A pal from work suggested a trip to Chester races prefaced with a jaunt round his home town of Liverpool. I had never been up the North before. Day one was L/pool. The beer was better than beer served in London, there was no doubt about that. Another northern friend had said to me: I don't like southern beer, it's warm and flat; I like northern beer, it's cold and creameh. He was bloody well right. I liked the city, what I saw of it, with its faded but grand architecture and old pubs. My Liverpudlian pal took me in the best example of an ornate Victorian pub I have ever seen: The Philharmonic Dining Rooms.
We went down Mathew St and in the fake Cavern and past the electrical sub-station which stands on the grave of the real one. There is a Beatles shop at the top which had a large poster of the bad lord Jagger in the window marked: 'was £4 now £2'.
My interest in the Beatles' music faded a long time ago and I found the area slightly sad, but we went in a couple of good pubs, one called the White Star (filled with dramatic sea pictures and four brass plaques on seats where the Beatles are supposed to have caroused, marked with their names). In another pub there was a photograph of the 'the boys' next to the corner where it had been taken. 'THIS PHOTOGRAPH WAS TAKEN HERE'. There they were aged 17 and the spot did not seem to have changed. We contemplated this for a moment and then Agadoo by Black Lace came on very loudly. The area seemed to have potential for ironists.
Later we went to an old RC church that had been converted into a bar. I forget its name but seek it out if you go up there, it is well worth seeing inside.
Chester was a nice city and the racecourse very good in its appointments but every knobhead for miles around had come. I should have realised this when agreeing to the trip, in fact I think I did but I agreed to it a year ago and clearly forgot.
We had press tickets which kept us in the good bit while the races were on. The women were very hot but there was a lot of footballers wives-a-like mutton accompanied by coked-up wrong uns in the mix. Fair enough, that's racing anywhere. But in a pub beforehand my accent had been clocked by three laddos at the bar and there'd been some mild screwing out. From that moment I realised I was a) 180 miles off the manor and b) Londoners are by and large disliked up there. I briefly considered adopting a northern accent but found I had too much pride and self-respect. I had a forecast up and had a nice pick-up on the last. As we left the racecourse it occurred to me that it was rather like being a POW on the run in Germany during the war: every time I opened my mouth it was clocked and not admiringly.
I had to get a train to Crewe, which turned out to be full of drunken chavs going back to Sheffield and similar. As the train pulled in to Crewe one of them, very drunk and half-abetted and half-restrained by his mate, tried to start a fight with me outside the toilet, which was out of order (the toilet). He grabbed hold of my hair, which was slightly bouffant, and started calling me a fucking gay cunt. I was holding him off trying to delay the full fight because I knew there was more of them in the carriage behind. Then he clocked my accent and he the abuse increased. They don't half hate Londoners! I was very calm during this, which always surprises me when I'm in real danger. Both him and his pal had had chunks out of their faces in the past so one could guess their hobbies. However they were both slight compared to me and I made up my mind to do my worst if it came to it.
I am by no means a keen fighter but I am as strong as lion, plus I'd had a few pints of Okells myself. Just then an Asian woman came along the corridor and this claimed the main antagonist's attention: he began racially abusing her in a manner to make a BNP-er blush before being dragged away by his pal. The train came to a halt and off I got. I headed for the station bar and ordered a drink at the precise moment five drunken scousers came in and clocked me and the accent. One of them did a strange silent 'square up' to me which he immediately backed off from to play pool.
By this time I felt like Sedgwick the Manufacturer in the Great Escape.
I drank my drink and thought: these young idiots are monkeys and they know they're monkeys: that's why they hate us cos we remind them of it. Caliban shrieks. Eventually I got on the train to London. I travelled virgin first class because I’d got a deal on it - £35. As I sunk into my seat, thinking ‘fucking close call’ and the fields sped by at 125mph, a stewardess comes along and asked me if I wanted a drink.
‘Got a gin and tonic?’
‘Yes,’ she said brightly. ‘You might as well have two, mightn’t you?’
That’s a good idea, I said. I asked her how much.
‘Oh there’s nothing to pay, it’s free drinks in first class.’
Thereafter it was a happy journey back to London - 90 odd mins. Pope-like, I considered kissing the platform upon arrival at Euston. I went in the Doric Arch and ordered a large VAT: seven quid! Definitely back in London. I paid up cheerily.