Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pants Says Knickers To Ducktatorship

When I finally move to the tropics, I have decided I’ll take all my furniture with me. It’s not that I have particularly nice furniture, in fact quite a bit of it comes from skips, I’m just not interested in furniture. You do have to have some furniture in your house unless you want to stand up all the time and pile up your belongings on the floor. It may be an aid to fitness but not to lifestyle. I will stick with the furniture I have. I’m used to it and most of it works perfectly well. Whereas I have nothing against IKEA furniture, I don’t like going to their shop. It doesn’t make sense to throw out all my IKEA furniture here and then buy the same stuff again on the other side of the world.

The most expensive piece of furniture I have, apart from the piano, is my Warren Evans bed. It is one of three sensible purchases I’ve made in my life. I’ll keep this bed for ever. It doesn’t do anything fancy like elevate at one end when you press a button or make you think that you’re lying on a lilo in a swimming pool. It just lets you go to sleep quickly and wake up not remembering where you are for five minutes, although, that may be the wine. Part of the success of the bed is the mattress but I won’t be taking that with me. It’s twenty-five years old and, although perfectly serviceable, not the sort of thing you want to transport abroad. Besides, in all the time I’ve lived in Hackney, I have never once deposited a mattress on the street. It is time I carried out this civic duty. Hackney without mattress-filled streets would be like Venice without the gondolas or Paris without the dog shit – unimaginable.

I’ll be taking my baby grand too. I wasn’t going to. I’ve had a hankering for one of those little Yamaha electric grands for some years now but you can’t get a decent price for a baby grand these days. In the mean little flats that are being built now, no one has got the room for one and children are learning to play iPods now rather than pianos. It is certainly a lot easier to fit an iPod into a small living space. I fancy having a shed that I can turn into a music studio. I’ll put the piano in there along with my old DX7 and maybe start making music again.

One thing is certain, I’ll be going home with a lot more luggage than I came with. I sold everything when I moved to Britain and arrived with only a Roland Keyboard and amplifier and a small suitcase full of clothes. But I will be leaving behind quite a bit of baggage. When I first came to Britain I found the political maturity of people in general stimulating. Everyone I met was involved politically in some way. I called Australia ‘The Bossy Country’ because people seemed to be falling all over themselves to obey every government directive. It was thoroughly distasteful. The near anarchy of Britain was so refreshing by comparison. All that’s changed now. Australians seem far more politically literate by comparison. Now that is something.

Ex Tory leader Michael Howard’s emotional outburst this week on Newsnight in which he laid the blame for the amorality of contemporary British public life firmly at the feet of Alistair Campbell was instructive, not least of all because Campbell spent the whole tirade nodding in enthusiastic agreement. He took it as a compliment, obviously. Campbell might have been manufacturing the bullets but there has been no shortage of enthusiastic gunslingers in this government willing to intimidate the population into submission. I know Thatcher’s thugs did as much, and worse, but because getting a Labour government was a hope we’d clung to all through the eighties and nineties when life was so bleak, it feels like being fucked over by family rather than the enemy and it hurts so much more.

The ascendancy of Gordon ‘Scrooge McDuck’ Brown into the premiership will complete the transformation from country to cuntocracy. Incapable of being magnanimous even in unchallenged victory, the world’s dourest duck couldn’t wait to wave the carving knife over the still warm corpse of his predecessor, claiming in his speech yesterday,

‘One of my first acts as prime minister would be to restore power to parliament in order to build the trust of the British people in democracy.’

You what? It would work better if you retired duckie. Ever heard the term ‘part of the problem rather than part of the solution’? Wishful thinking as the wreckers have already moved into No. 11 Downy Street and are converting it into a brand new money bin for the exchequer. Checkers, the PM’s country residence is to be renamed Dunsinane and The Proclaimers have been been commissioned to write a theme song for our new ducktator, sorry PM. Rumours that the song is to be entitled Things Can Only Get Weirder proved disappointingly unfounded. What about We’re All Insane in Dunsinane?

There is some glee to be drawn from the gloomy rituals of the last few days. In the course of reading yet another account of the inheritance of the McDuck family moral compass, handed down through the generations as they were far to mean to buy one that actually works, I discovered that Scroogie’s dad was called John Ebenezer. How I laughed. As Scroogie glumly intoned ‘I have never sought the public eye for its own sake’ in his coronation speech, he was most assuredly not anywhere near the public eye as some ridiculous auto-cue device obscured his face for the entire speech. I like to think there was a conspiracy in our beloved BBC to make the old duck look like a bit of a twat. The camera operators must have noticed they couldn’t see his face, mustn’t they? Maybe anarchy is not entirely dead in Britain. I hope not…

Scrooge McDuck, Disney Comics


Quink said...

Great post. Fair point, especially about the amorality of political life. But the bit that made me smile, as always, was nearer to home:

"Hackney without mattress-filled streets would be like Venice without the gondolas or Paris without the dog shit – unimaginable."

Spot on.

That's so pants said...

Hi Quinkie

I know. Call me a sentimental old fool but I can't imagine looking out and just seeing healthy wildlife and no beds. I'm sure I'll get over it though.

R.H. said...

Dumping an old mattress has always given me a laugh. It looks so obscene laying out on a footpath, especially when it's got holes in it.

Boris said...

Yeah to all that, but what really pisses me of about him is that thing with the bottom lip. What is that about?


That's so pants said...

Hi R.H.

Everyone's picking up on the mattress thing, and why not. There's a lovely tartan ensemble outside my window right now and I'll take a pic for tomorrow's post.

Hi Boris

I know. I KNOW. That wondering jaw! How's a comedian to deal with that? We'll wait and see. The obsessive reordering of imaginary paperwork should easier to mimic.

R.H. said...

My mate Geoff W smashed his whole kitchen up and hurled it into the street, but he got away with it because he's mentally ill. Well I'm glad to see that the good solid unpretentious culture of dumping stuff is alive in England. But the more I hear about these similarities the less unique Australia becomes. If we didn't have kangaroos there'd be nothing to talk about.

R.H. said...

Miss Pants you are a marvellous Miss Brownie ('Go Away Please'), good fun. When you land we'll all get on the plonk together. I'll pay the bill.

(within reason of course)

swimmer6foot4 said...

Birkbeck Road (by Ridley Road market) is a favoured place for dumping mattresses in Dalston. And yup, mix mattresses and dumped vegetables together and it pretty quickly looks like Tracey Emin's studio. I wouldn't change it for the world.

If I remember correctly, a few years ago some bright spark took a zucchini and two potatoes and arranged them strategically on a dumped mattress in Birkbeck Road. I never discovered whether it was Emin herself, in her creative process, or a pale imitator. Sometimes I wish I had a camera!

Crikey, you've linked me! That's my first one ever, I'm gobsmacked and honoured. (I just look upon my blog as a necessary vehicle so I can act like a social butterfly and lurk on others' blogs). I almost feel obliged/inspired to write and post something on it. Almost.

That's so pants said...

Hi Swimmer

I know, I'm a sentimental old fool. I always look at your blog to see if you have put anything. I'd be thrilled if the act of linking inspired you to post more often



Political Umpire said...

In New Zealand they periodically have 'inorganic collections', which involve people leaving their junk on their grass verges and the council collecting it. The council aren't stupid, however, and always show up at least two weeks after they say they're going to. That way, half the stuff has already been scavenged/recycled. Good for the environment, good for the ratepayers. Once, however, my father observed a family loading some of his junk onto a trailer, but then later saw them unloading it down the road and replacing it with the stuff that the other person had left. He considered that the ultimate form of rejection - his rubbish wasn't as good or desirable as the neighbour's.

I admire the Australian government's approach to cricket with Zimbabwe - a clear statement that they'll have nothing to do with those crooks. By contrast, the supine British government meekly said it wouldn't get involved last time England was due to tour there, and left it up to the ECB, who then said it was up to the players (the ECB not wanting to incur a fine). Pathetic. One up for Australian politics.

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

Re 'organic collection'. They do that in Australia too. They usually only leave it a couple of days but by that time, all the good stuff's been snuffled up. I have gotten some gems of the street in London but never in Hackney and not since about 1985. I have a friend in Islington who virtually survives from selling items she finds in skips there on eBay.

Re - Aussie cricket decision. One had a slight feeling of pot/kettle at the sight of John Howard calling Mugabe a 'grubby dictator'. Is that disingenuous of me? Probably. At least SOMEONE's taken some action at last.

Political Umpire said...

Hi Ms Pants,

No government's perfect, certainly not Howard. But government's aren't equally bad either. Try this one (it made me wince, almost weep this morning when reading it): the average life expectancy for men in Zimbabwe is now about 35. If Andy Flower (the one genuinely great batsman Zim has produced, he had to retire young because of threats from Mugabe and he has now resettled in England, where he's just been appointed assistant national coach) had remained there, chances are he'd be dead. And he's 39.

That's so pants said...

Hi Pumpie

Yes. As I am about to move back to Australia, I ought really to appreciate more fully the relative merits of the freedoms and privileges we enjoy. It can appear trivial to be squealing about our minor problems when so many people suffer a lifetime of brutalism and oppression. Here at House of Pants, we believe rights hard won should not be carelessly exchanged for Top Shop vouchers and we are not best pleased when our fellow citizens relinquish their democratic rights to privacy etc under the most spurious pretexts. Obviously Mugabe is a vicious genocidal killer and Howard is merely a twat with too much power. I appreciate there's a big difference. Sporting sanctions did hurt South Africa. I'm not convinced they'll have quite the same impact on Zimbabwe but I guess the present objective is simpler than that - going makes a statement of support and not going makes a signals disapproval, which makes not going the right thing to do.

Tai said...

Ah yes, the grand baby grand dilemma. I cannot seem to divest myself of mine. It's beautiful, but it takes up all the space in the living room. For a while I fantasized about replacing it with a Fender Rhodes, but I knew I would someday regret the loss of Baby G.

Divine blog, by the way.

That's so pants said...

Hello Tai and welcome

Have you seen the Yamaha electric grand though? Mmmm I could lose my pride for one of those...

I love the Fender Rhodes as well but they ain't half ugly. You'd have to keep it in a shed.

Tai said...

I'll take a look at that Yamaha of which you speak. Hmm, a piano shed. Now there's an idea I can live with. A piano certainly merits its own pagoda.

That's so pants said...

Hi Tai

Yes - I've got lots of old equipment - four track, Dr Rhythm drum machine (remember those!) and DX7 so I'd like to set up a proper music room and learn how to use Band in a Box eventually.

Janejill said...

I agree totally about the kick in the stomach over "new" Labour - It has taken me till nearly now to be able to come to terms with it and stop making excuses about them. They had such an opportunity and did they blow it. But what next? Wobblechin and his cohorts will not do, though I feel George Osborne has some sort of intelligence. When are you leaving ? It sounds as if you may have sold up and I missed that..

That's so pants said...

Hi Jane Jill

Yes. Well, between us, I have sold and I'm on the move.

Janejill said...

Well it's good news for you I hope.. I cannot imagine Hackney ever matching up to "home"

That's so pants said...

It's really a matter of it being easier to put on slippers than carpet the world, I think.