Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Caption Compo

I lifted this pic from the excellent latest Daily Mash story.
Given the recent death of both of these gallant warriors, I thought it warranted a compo.
What is the man on the right saying, or what are the splendid chaps thinking?
I know I'm just back, but Glorious Goodwood has started, the folks have just pitched up with cellar baskets full of great vintages, and blogging time will be at a premium.

Monday, 27 July 2009


For those who are not bored rigid by such things, allow me a bourgeois moment with the holiday snaps.

The house:

Its view of the Gulf of St Tropez:

The boat....

... took us to a fine lunch at Les Graniers....

.... and stayed afloat despite the fat bastards at the back....

.... and provided a platform for children's Nijinsky impersonations:

A nearby town, Gassin.....

.... where we were entertained by an excellent busking Dutch students' Dixie Jazz Band, the chanteuse of which seemed to meet most of the Tuscan's prerequisites......

... whilst the leader and washboard player met Lady Idle's prerequsities, and spotted her taking (many) pictures of him:

That'll just have to do for now.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Idle has Lord's to attend to for the next couple of days (notwithstanding his 20th wedding anniversary), followed by a week in the hills above St Tropez from Sunday. Still, nobody said it was going to be easy.

In the meantime, for those of you who have had trouble understanding song lyrics in the past, a geeky friend of mine has put a few into PowerPoint language. I hope these may help:

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Pietersen Massive

I saw Kevin Pietersen's first innings in test cricket at Lord's in 2005, and was lucky enough to witness his astonishing 158 at the Oval at the death of the series, once Shane Warne had dropped him (and the Ashes) at first slip. I want him to succeed, and I won't begrudge him the wonga and the fame that goes with it.

Had England lost the Cardiff test match, it would have been Pietersen's fault. Yes, I know it's eleven against eleven, and all that. But KP (he's a nut) is the most talented member of the side and very good batsmen, once they have played themselves in, are responsible for scoring a significant proportion of the runs, particularly on a flat pitch against a bowling attack that does not include Warne or McGrath or Murali.

Pietersen threw it all away. As ever, afterwards, he explained himself along the lines of "It's the way I play", which roughly translated means "I am the best batsman in England and you can't afford to drop me".

He was interviewed about the Ashes last week, and cast his mind back to his debut at Lord's in 2005, and the match that followed it:

"I was made for that moment," he says. "The bigger the occasion, the greater the pressure, the more I love it. We knew how big that series was, we knew we were making history. I loved that. I wasn't scared by the Ashes at all. Loved it."

Hmmm. That's Pietersen for you. You'll find, if you listen to his interviews, that quite a lot of things are huge, or massive, or history-making. He likes to associate himself with such things.

Michael Henderson of the Telegraph is a good sort, just as knowledgable about classical music and Broadway as he is about cricket ("what do they know of cricket, who only cricket know?"). He takes up his sword against KP, and leaves him, as Zorro would, with his fancy clothes in tatters:

One man wore the dunce's hat. Having thrown his wicket away on the first afternoon, caught off his helmet essaying a senseless sweep, the Durban Opportunist found another startling way to get out yesterday: bowled neck and crop as he left the ball.
He did not just leave it. Heavens, no. The Fulham Narcissist never does anything by halves. He left it in the extravagant manner of an Elizabethan courtier in ruff collar and cross-garters bending the knee to Gloriana. Ben Hilfenhaus, the bowler, could hardly believe his eyes. These crazy Poms, he must have thought. They take their bats all the way to the crease, and then they don't use them.

If Pietersen wishes to be great (not as in 'great knock, KP' - I mean as a Great Cricketer), he needs to study others who have been awarded the mantle. I could give him a list to be getting on with, but actually he spent several hours watching a masterclass from Ponting on Thursday and Friday, from only a few metres away. Look and learn, you preening johnny. Here's Hendo again:

Why is he not loved? Because he is not one of us, and it shows. The best teams are forged by people who know not only what they are playing for, but also who they are playing for. You could see that identification with Australian cricket in the resolute batting of North and Haddin, players who have been called up late in their careers (North is 30 later this month, Haddin 31), and who know what traditions they represent.
For Australian cricketers tradition is an ever-replenishing resource, like water. To an interloper like Kevin Pietersen, whose overriding ambition is to be rich and famous, the word may have no resonance at all. There is a problem here. Huge. Massive.

Friday, 10 July 2009

The Weather Forecast

The Spectator, even under the dodgy editorship of Matthew "Ronnie" d'Ancona, is still one of the few publications prepared to splash "Relax: Global Warming is a Myth" all over its cover.

The article, written by the shy and retiring James Delingpole, is an interview with Prof Ian Plimer, an Australian geologist who calls a spade a bloody shovel, and knows how to use it.

He has written the counter-argument to Gore and Stern. Needless to say, his publishers (his previous book had been a bestseller) were too chicken to touch this one, and he ended up using an Outback family firm, who thankfully have seen their sensible decision rewarded with a book on its sixth print run already. Buy it!

The idle policy on Gaia is pretty straightforward - in favour of responsible consumption and sustainable practices, against alarmists and proselytizers, and my antennae shake like palm trees in a hurricane when governments start framing huge tax programmes based upon the Need to Save the Earth.

My instinct is that Prof Plimer is a good 'un. He'd beat Al Gore in an arm wrestle and he'd beat him hands down intellectually and evidence-based on the great Global Warming Con Trick.

Does he really believe his message will ever get through? Plimer smiles. ‘If you’d asked any scientist or doctor 30 years ago where stomach ulcers come from, they would all have given the same answer: obviously it comes from the acid brought on by too much stress. All of them apart from two scientists who were pilloried for their crazy, whacko theory that it was caused by a bacteria. In 2005 they won the Nobel prize. The “consensus” was wrong.’

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Randy Live

Here's Randy singing that song in the last-but-one post. Well, kinda singing, anyway.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Scarcely Missed

Allen Klein picked July 4 to pop his clogs. By all accounts he was a sonofabitch. But I guess if you manage to sign yourself into 20% of the earnings of the Stones, then the Beatles, you are some kind of successful sonafabitch. He certainly wasn't on the Stones' Christmas Card list.

This picture tells the Beatles story quite well. Lennon did the deal that McCartney didn't want, and guess who else was involved? Yep, that great 'artist' and beauty, Yoko Ono.

Neil McCormick writes a good blog obit of him as well. This is how it starts:

Last week, I was talking to an acquaintance of mine, a rock critic who also writes obituaries (which is perhaps not such an unusual career combination, given the low life expectancy of most rock stars). I asked whether he prepares his obituaries in advance. “Only Allen Klein’s”, he replied. “I hate that man so much, it gives me pleasure to write his obituary.”

And this is how it ends:

Discussing his reputation, Klein once remarked: “Artists fuck groupies, I fuck the artists.” Perhaps that’s what should be written on his headstone.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

A Few Words In Defence of America

A number of the blogs I enjoy reading have doffed their caps in the direction of America this weekend. Blue Eyes, for instance, the Tuscan and Thud. Also, The Speccie talking about the declaration of independence.

Any praise for the United States normally flushes out quite a lot of dissenting voices, some of whom make good points. Perspective is needed - provided on this occasion by the great (and I mean great) Randy Newman, as intelligent and wry a lyricist as they've got over there. This was his take on the situation towards the bitter end of the Dubya presidency. (From Harps & Angels, 2008) If you want to hear it, (or anything else you don't own) register for free with Spotify.com He sounds a bit gloomy at the end, but I know he doesn't mean it. Just a lefty artist needing a Democrat revival. He's fine now, I'm sure.

A Few Words In Defense of Our Country

I’d like to say a few words in defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen

Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?
Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them they were sleeping with their sister
Stashing little boys in swimming pools and burning down the City
And one of ‘em, one of 'em appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something.
That’s not a very good example, is it?

But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position
I don’t even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it

Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these we sure could use a friend.

Hitler. Stalin. Men who need no introduction. King Leopold of Belgium.
That’s right. Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo. He tore it up too.
He took the diamonds, he took the gold, he took the silver
Know what he left them with? Malaria

A President once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded. And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid. That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean.

You know it pisses me off a little that this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too.
But I defy you, anywhere in the world to find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got
And as for the brother: well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either.

The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave and the home of the free
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Ten Out of Ten

I'd say it was unimprovable. The usual guff will be written by the usual culprits, much of it ending up in Pseud's Corner at Private Eye, but I will say this:
It was a wonderful, warm-hearted evening, from a happy band (happy? Damon Albarn was gob-smacked that they could "do nothing for ten years and return to this").
There must have been twenty thousand people there, on a hot afternoon but beautiful balmy evening, bouncing to the hard rocking stuff and pouring their hearts out to the ballads. Tender went on forever (literally - I heard a gang still singing the chorus as they got off the Portsmouth train at Guildford at about midnight) and the other highpoints were To The End, This is a Low, and a great final encore, The Universal. A proper all-round band, Blur.
The idle daughter just loved it. A memorable night.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Summer in the City

It's all going to be a bit of a Blur: Hyde Park from 4pm with the elder idle girl, culminating in a Britpop singalong to the best band of the 90s. But the heat, the heat.........

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn't it a pity
Doesn't seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head
But at night it's a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it'll be alright
And babe, don't you know it's a pity
That the days can't be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Was there ever a finer pop song to get you in the mood for a steamy gig?

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

No Change, Then

Before Gorbals Mick spoke to the Commons on 18 May, I speculated that he would leave his post and "will be offered ennoblement and a seat in the House of Lords. Why? Because all previous Speakers have. In other words, this becomes an entitlement, just like having Douglas Hogg's dovecote cleaned at public expense"
The post was called How to Spot if Anything Has Changed. I went on:
"What, exactly, might Michael Martin offer the Lords? Has he any knowledge, ability, or experience to impart? I suggest not. He never held ministerial office, he never introduced thoughtful or worthwhile legislation, he is not known to have shown individual talent at all. The only noteworthy thing about him is that he became Speaker of the House of Commons. He is deemed to be the worst Speaker of modern times, and the first for 300 years to face a vote of no confidence.
There is, in short, no possible justification for raising him to the peerage. To do so would be to treat the electorate with contempt. "Change" is the watchword now, and the Speaker will doubtless use the word several times in his statement today. But if he ends up ennobled, we'll know that nothing, really, has changed at all."
Well, Martin has got his ermine despite official warnings that he wasn't worth it, and will follow Glenys Kinnock, who took her seat yesterday, in an upper chamber stuffed to the rafters with placemen and sycophants of Blair and Brown. Meanwhile, his replacement in the Commons, the ghastly Bercow, seems to have a temper problem and is already seen to be settling old scores.
It's a rum old world, isn't it? On the back of the most public and humiliating scandal in Parliament's history, one stupid, greedy and incompetent man gets ennobled, and is replaced by a man of no principle or integrity whatsoever, a practical joke played upon the Tories by the bovine Labour backbenchers, as part of the scorched earth policy Brown seems intent upon before he is dismissed by Mandelson or the electors - whichever comes first.