Wednesday, 7 November 2018

"Handle Me With Care" by The Travelling Wilburys - A song for my darling

Having written and recorded his album 'Cloud Nine' George Harrison was asked by his record company to write another song, one intended as a single to promote the album. George wrote this song that went on to be the first track of the debut album by The Travelling Wilburys. The song was 'Handle Me With Care' a wonderful song from a person who has loved before but suddenly encounters another love, the love of his life, his soul mate. The song is personal to George perhaps but manages to hold a message beyond the singular vision so that song and lyrics embrace a whole different meaning. The finding of someone you haven't planned on meeting then finding that they, beyond all other previous loves, are the one you were made to meet, to be with. It is a fantastic song.
: : :




Been beat up and battered 'round
Been sent up, and I've been shot down

You're the best thing that I've ever found

Handle me with care
Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable

Baby, you're adorable

Handle me with care
I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give

Won't you show me that you really care?
Everybody's got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on
I've been fobbed off, and I've been fooled
I've been robbed and ridiculed

In daycare centers and night schools

Handle me with care
Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized

Overexposed, commercialized

Handle me with care
I'm so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give

Won't you show me that you really care?
Everybody's got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I've been uptight and made a mess
But I'll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care
.
.
.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

America's Mid-Term Elections 2018


United States Senate elections, 2018 with specials.svg

Donald Trump is a president without an ideology. He panders to the extreme right needing their support in maintaining his position. This is why certain segments of Democrats, are calling Donald Trump a “fascist.” That tag is little more than a crude joke. It is a word as George Orwell said in his short essay 'What is Fascism,' that has been degraded to the level of a swear word.' It is a convenient label used to throw at any one of the far right. Ironically it is those self-same moderates, those of the centre-right or the centre-left who have, as previously seen historically, moved perilously close to the right as they all chase desire as conceptualised by free market trade. History never repeats its self exactly but the similarities here are remarkable.

America is sick. The nation that sits atop the world, the Empire bigger than all empires before is if not terminally then dangerously ill. The only man now, as during the American elections that saw a demagogue defeat a neoliberal, able to pull America back from the abyss it is headed toward, is Bernie Sanders.  Sander's is not a full blown socialist but more akin to F.D.R but even so his views on fair play, on a more equitable American society are undeniably better than those of Bill Clinton, Barak Obama or Donald Trump.

"Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye but not notice the log in your own eye?"

I think with Bernie Sanders pounding the progressive drum the centrist Democrat's or Moderate Republican's as they are in reality are moving in time to Sander's beat. There is real change afoot if not real acceptance of complicity. Going over old ground, over the wrong committed by the Democrat Party is not positive or very helpful. However, had they selected Bernie Sanders rather than Hilary Clinton then Sanders would have beaten Trump. You should not trust a poll as they can mislead but all polls undertaken at the time showed Sanders as pulling more votes from Trump over Clinton. We all know how the Democrat's stuck fast and true to Hilary Clinton and we all know what a disaster that was. The disaster now though is the President of the world's most powerful nation.

Just as in Great Britain and Europe, the USA have embraced corporate capitalism along with its heinous associate globalisation.  The power to run and rule the world is no longer in the hands of the political class and certainly not the people but rather those whose interest is self interest. When Donald Trump signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia it was not from a moral but rather a profit perpesective. If there is one act that proves the point that power is in the hands of the rich it was this one especially in light of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. America has long stood by the Saudi regime whilst a profit was to be made and that includes Republican's and Democrat's.

Whether there is time between now and the next general election to remove Donald Trump from power and overthrow the corrupt methods used by Republican's and Democrat's alike is debatable. It may be, as Chris Hedge's believes, too late. Even so, a vote for the Democrats is the better option. If it is a choice of the better of two evils, I'd sooner see a blue flag flying rather than a red especially if the flag being held in is in the hand of Bernie Sanders.

.
.
.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Masters of The Short Story - L.P. Hartley


Leslie Poles Hartley, forever known as L.P, was born in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire in 1895. I first remember watching a TV ad, I think for British Telecom, where J.R Hartley is mentioned, an allusion to L.P Hartley I think as the J.R was a fictional character created specifically for the advertisement.  The advert was memorable only for the persistent mention of this fictional characters name not for whatever it was they were selling.

L.P died in 1972 having left the world of literature a better place for his input. Never accepted into the Bloomsbury set he became aligned instead to the Garsington set, a group of friends associated with Lord Asquith. He became firm friends with Asquith's son.

Harley's big claim to fame, two claims in fact, were his novels 'The Go-Between' and 'The Hireling.' There were others, he was no two-hit wonder. His other trilogy of novels which won much acclaim was  'Eustace and Hilda.'  For me though, not to dismiss his work as a novelist, it is his macabre short novels which I like. Tartarus Press published a collection entitled 'The Collected Macabre Stories of L.P. Hartley' which contain a story I am fond of.

'The Cotillon' is a short story that sets the hairs on your neck standing up. Now, a Cotillon is a dance, or rather was a dance which was popular in Europe and France in the 18th century. In the 17 hundreds, it was highly popular, especially if posh circles. You would have four couples who came together into a square formation. It was the sort of dance the nobility would have gone in for, a bit like a quadrille or even a square dance. Now, I mention this for obvious reasons. The story is entitled 'The Cotillon' hence the explanation. The story is nothing like the dance. The story is cleverly deceptive as it bears down on you bringing a series of hair-raising scenes which go along the writer's preconceived path of raising the alarm bells within you.

Marion Lane is a beautiful, flirtatious woman who attends an event called a cotillon, which is like a masquerade party with a series of games designed to choose a dancing partner without knowing who that person is. A mysterious man takes her interest during the event. An aura of cold surrounds him and he doesn’t speak much. When he does speak to her after getting her alone, he says things that are both chilling and horrific. The ending of this story will stay with you long after its completion.
.
.
.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Life With The Lump 10



I'm wearing a patch now, a fentanyl patch which is a Mezolar Matrix containing Fentanyl, an opioid used for pain relief. Ironic as I am in no pain whatsoever unless I have to swallow, an action I avoid whenever I can but even then I have to swallow when partaking of the glorious gloop I need to digest to maintain weight and some sort of nutritional level. The meal I was meant to have eaten tasted like potato ice cream. It was an unpleasant experience that only lasted mercifully for two spoonfuls. Had I had any molars to chatter then mine would have performed like an orchestra of castanets as my tongue wrestled the frozen spud liquid down my gullet. I returned instead to that other culinary delight mushy Weetabix which flowed down my throat the way concrete flows down a rusty pipe. 

I now know how Keith Richard must feel. I am totally spaced. My pupils are like two small dots on a distant horizon. My mind is somewhere else man. My marbles are rattling around in the jam jar of my brain. My thoughts foggy. My speech slurred with a stammer and stutter that has people looking at me thinking 'this man is pissed.' I cannot conceive why chaps like Keith found drugs so glamorous as I find them awful.

I have two meetings a week with the Oncology Team. I say team but many of the original line-up have been benched as the people I now see are either Ann and Hattie, Ann and Henry, Henry and Hattie or variants of. It was they who prescribed the patch but also the Ensure Drink of which I am confident a cook-a-hoop goat would secretly enjoy. I am not a goat and not very cock-a-hoop at the moment, therefore, don't.  I shall try the drink again though as it does seem to do the trick.

Months and months ago the twins, Jacob and Joshua, crashed into the bathroom I was showering in. The pushed the door so hard that when it crashed into the wall I thought tiles might come flying off. Thankfully no tiles broke. The boys, seeing my naked form in the shower started giggling and pointing to my genitalia. I have no idea what the found so amusing but it has left me feeling very inadequate as a man. More recently they came into the room I sleep in where they found me again naked as I hadn't dressed. Jacob went straight for my willy which he used rather sportingly as a punch-bag as Joshua ran behind me. I jerked away from the bashing my penis was getting only to feel Joshua's forefinger jabbed up my rear aperture. I jerked away again and again as Jacob begun his bashing of said gentleman's meat and two veg. Had anyone been observing my actions through my window they would have seen what looked like an old fossil fornicating with an invisible femme fatale as I gyrated back and forth. With a swift movement of the old plates, I skedaddled out of the room post haste like a granddad on grease.

With only four weeks left to go it could be said I am halfway through the process. However, heartening this looking on the positive side is the fact remains, as I enter my fourth week of treatment, four weeks are four too many. Unfortunately, my weight is going down. I have lost a couple of kilos and have dropped to 72 kilos. Oddly, I was talking with my next door neighbour Ray the other day, a man who, uneducated as he is, knows a great deal about marine biology specifically matters ecological and whose son Jonathon is a qualified marine biologist. Armed with all this knowledge you might cry, 'what has any of this to do with us or with your lump?' The honest reply is zilch. However, Jonathan and Ray's business has taken a bit of a downturn leaving Jon with no alternative to seeking other employment. This he has done and is working now as a film extra. With this in mind perhaps I could make a small killing as a Belsen victim what with my wasted frame, skinny legs and cadaverous rib cage. Every penny helps.
.
.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Baby-boomers. A generation That Failed Us All


.
.
.

Timothy Leary was right. To change society you need to first change yourself. Many did. I was not one of them for I was far too young being only thirteen at the time. Those that did turn on, tune in before dropping out only did so for a short moment in time. Those Hippies who promised so much, who saw themselves as a force to change the world wore the clothes, took the drugs, fornicated with anything that had a pulse, male, female and various combinations of but by the time of Mrs Thatcher's ascent to power along with Ronald Reagan's that same generation took to wearing suits and begun yearning for cash. They went from being dismayed by the war years and the austerity that came with it and turned their backs on their principles. God had gone East but the East with all its wonderful philosophies was placed in a box labelled 'What we did the sixties' as those that wore flowers in their hair so short a time ago turned to Wall Street and embraced the culture of I, Me, Mine and began worshipping at the altar of greed.  Now, as we suffer in a world where surveillance cameras monitor our every move, where peoples health matters less than private enterprise one asks why did you children of beatniks betray us?

For me, the sixties began in 1964. As much as I loved The Beatles I did not feel the same about their number one hit 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' Being of the mature age of 10 I thought singing about holding some birds hand a trifle drippy. I was so glad when those boys from North London, The Kinks, shoved the fab four off the top slot with what I thought then and still do, was proper guitar-based music. A song with a riff like a razor blade. The song was "You Really Got Me." It kick-started my love of what was soon to be called rock but also set me on the tracks of youthful rebellion. Once The Who grabbed hold of that guitar sound, specifically Pete Townsend, I was locked into a battle with authority. Not just teachers but all authority. Me and authority just don't get on. You simply do not need it. Mrs Thatcher? A storm in a teacup.

From 1964 until 1969 the world was lit by sound. Of course, The Beatles did feature in my ever-growing musical world. "I Feel Fine," that wonderful song by John Lennon with its opening feedback, the first feedback at that point I had heard, was a song made all the more good by Lennon's colloquial language, his scouse pepperings throughout the song. The Pretty Things were anything but and yet their song "Rosalyn" was perfect pop. It was brazen, lustful and just a little manic. I loved it.  I especially loved the slide guitar.

David Bowie's album 'Pin Up's pretty much encapsulates the music I was into during that period with one or two exceptions. Dylan's "Time They Are a Changin,'" The Monkees "I'm A Believer," Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence," Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth" but by and large I was in love with the sounds coming out of Britain. Not exclusively so as is obvious by my above selection which also included The Beach Boys. Then, as '64 turned into '65 and The Who smashed forth with the explosive sound of "My Generation" I fell in love with the idea of being part of that group, not The Who but a generation that sought societal change. When '66 arrived and me still reading Marvel and DC  comics I became aware of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart as both featured in the ad's placed in Marvel Comics.  The counterculture grabbed me by the neck and I was hooked. Here was a music fired by a desire to bring the established order to its knees and replace it with something better, kinder, fairer more tolerant. Things were getting weirder.

So the years passed and 1967 arrived bringing with it the Summer of Love. Drugs, sex, flower power and the promise of a new beginning for humankind which all too soon turned into a fashion where anyone with long hair, love beads or a kaftan could claim they were Hippies. "Go to SanFransico where the phoney Hippies meet. Psychedelic dungeons popping up on every street." Right then, during its nascent years, the counterculture had been poisoned. Being a Hippy was no longer what it had been in '65. You just had to look the part and play the music. The force for change had been corrupted.

Zappa and Beefheart where never Prog Rock although they got sucked into that label many years later. They were both King's of the Underground movement. By the time King Crimson released their debut album thereby fueling the need to give their kind of music a convenient tag so Prog Rock was born. There was  Family who was OK but not really weird enough for me. Jethro Tull was another band but the likes of Crimso and Van Der Graaf Generator, Pink Floyd and The Soft Machine were still part and parcel of the attitude that had given rise to alternative music and an alternative lifestyle and was far more adventurous and dangerous. It was now the early seventies and all hopes of seeing the establishment crashing underneath the weight of a  music and generation were fast fading. By the time Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979 so the thoughts of she who is the one that fashioned the world we now live declared her passionate dislike for the sixties preferring, as she said, the Victorian Epoch and old fashion liberalism ideals. Not for her the overthrow of a system she was so committed to but rather the destruction of all and anything that stood in her and its way. Punk, with all its nihilism, its rage and frustration only added its power to that destruction of the Hippy dream even though Punk was very much related to the sixties counterculture even if some Punks said it wasn't and they weren't. 

The eighties saw all those values held so high by the sixties' generation obliterated as blokes put on suits, went to University and beetled away so as to have a career that would afford them the lives of kings. The sixties was buried beneath a tsunami of Free Trade, get rich quick mentality and took us down a road trodden before where the very rich get filthy rich whilst those that work for them get peanuts.

The sixties generation should be ashamed of themselves. Where were all those values, the end of war, the end of greed, of a caring sharing society when we needed them most? Now the right is on the rise again and fear rules the minds of the many. What a shithole of a world we now live in even if the world has little to do with it but rather those that make the machine that we all work for function. A once in a lifetime, or generation even, opportunity slipped through the net as hedonism raced toward avarice singing its all over now baby blue although the colour blue was in the ascent not decline.

Will a sixties type generation spring up now? A youth full of challenge for the accepted ways, who hold a vision firmly to their hearts of creating a better world for them, for their children and for those who follow on. If there is a generation so bold then they have a fight on their hands and they have been dealt a bum deal. The doomsday clock is set close to midnight. Environmental catastrophe is predicted by science to occur by the year 2030. Donald Trump is acting like the mad pied piper who not so much leads but follows those who placed him as head of the Western World's empire down a cracked and broken path to extinction. I really cannot see how a younger generation has time to make the necessary changes as we have run out of time. The sixties generation promised so much but delivered so little. If there will be history books that record this period then those that read such things will know what a dismal failure those of the counterculture proved to be.  
.
.
.


Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

Follow by Email

LinkedIn

Facebook

A Utility Fish Shed Blog

A Utility Fish Shed Blog