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It is that time of the Olympics once again when all Britons feign interest in some completely stupid sport or other because we have had a sudden, shocking glimpse of gold.
During the Sydney games it was the arcane rituals of rowing and shooting.
This winter it is curling, the sport where one person hurls rocks down a piece of ice, while two more people brush the floor with the vigorousness only usually found after a house visit by many unhouse-trained dogs, and a fourth yells incomprehensible bollocks very loudly. "Tactics" apparently.
With some skill but *extreme* flukiness, the British women's team beat Canada yesterday, despite being rank outsiders, and progressed to the final against Switzerland.
It's easy to hate the Swiss.** They're like your smug next-door neighbours who always have a bigger, better car than you. If you go to Florida, they go to Antigua. If you buy a new stove, they get an Aga. If you have a headache, they have a brain tumour. That sort of thing.
So fucking perfect with their cowbells and chocolate and pristine streets and yodelling and the-hills-are-alive wholesomeness. And their not-giving-women-the-vote-until-1971 and their status as private bankers to the Great Bastards of the World (Mugabe, Mobutu, Arap Moi, Duvalier, various Nazis... collect them all and get a free Pol Pot!).
The only bright spot is that they have given citizenship to Phil Collins, thus relieving Britain of the responsibility for housing the unctuous, tuneless, rightwing sod.
I expect the British to be winning right up to the last end and then blow it gloriously, because this is what we always do. (Usually against the Germans or Argentinians, enabling the broadcasters to trot out their tired cliches about various wars.)
If they do not blow it, then we will face the odd situation of a team entirely composed of people from a devolved Scotland standing on the medal podium to 'God Save The Queen' [the most useless national anthem in the world, but I won't subject anyone to that rant again.] It feels like it should be 'Flower of Scotland' playing up there.
Come the Commonwealth games, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland get their own anthems and England still gets 'God Save the bloody Queen'.
I hope they win anyway. It would be Britain's first medal since 1984, to give you some idea of Brit skill at winter sport.
[**Don't really hate the Swiss. Am only mocking them for the purposes of jingoistic claptrap this evening]
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Tension is getting to me. Just switched over to "So Graham Norton" to see Victoria Beckham talking about her new book. An autobiography of the most vapid, talentless member of the Spice Girls -- a true accolade, given the Olympic-standard bimbotude on display there? How could I possibly resist?
Graham: Did you write it all yourself?
Posh Spice: Oh yeah, I did. But I had an editor to help me, you know, put it together, because I've never read a whole book in my life.
[rolls eyes so hard that sprains something]
Presumably the editor did the nuts and bolts stuff like actually getting the words and putting them in the right order, while Victoria got on with the vital job of pouting.
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Curling update: From 3-1 up, they've gone to 3-3.
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We're getting to the end of the curling now, so I've switched over to "Question Time" because I hate the tension of knowing the British team is about to do the traditional Sporting Royal Fuck-up.
There's one Labour fool who is really stamping on my last nerve about now. And a stupid Tory twat who, if his IQ were any lower, would need watering. Shamefully, I heckle the politicians on Question Time.
I've lived on my own too long.
All the main parties are talking about raising taxes because it's a vote-winner. No one, save a few hardliners, wants to lose nationalised health care.
It's a weird time in politics right now. One gets the impression that both the main parties are hated equally: the Tories out of nostalgia for 17 years of misrule and Labour because we wanted them to be different and they're not, they're just as corrupt, but they're better at lying about it.
It feels as if the recession is starting to bite here now, and I think that the slump will be long and shallow, a slow, painful grind rather than a sharp shock. Uncertainty is all-encompassing. Kondratieff posited a cyclical economic pattern in which there was a long, violent and severe recession every so many years (might have been 56. can't remember). If he was correct, we're entering the bottom phase of a Kondratieff cycle now.
Translation: we're buggered.
Oooh. Depressed myself now.
After the Recent Unpleasantness at work, my father thinks I should get a "second string to my bow" and do some freelance work, just in case of More Unpleasantness.
Where he thinks I will get the time for this, and renovation work, I do not know. My dad does not believe in pleasurable leisure activities for anyone but himself. (He annoyed the shit out of me this weekend. Can you tell at all?)
Accordingly, I have decided to take his suggestion with the seriousness it deserves and will acquire a second string. I have decided to become a rapper.
I think it has a future. Really I do. A white rapper talking about the gritty vicissitudes of London life for the middle classes: The problem of parking in front of one's house. Getting your children into the right school. The way the Tube doesn't run properly ever. The motherf***ing house prices.
Straight Outta Clapton!
No Sleep til Balham!
Get Ur Pashmina On!
The Feng Shui Clan! "Get the mirror outta my money corner or I bust a cap in yo motherfuckin' ass, bitch"
"Another string to your bow" Sheesh. *g*
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Curling update: Bloody Swiss are going to win. I know it.
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Pole-up-the-arse pedantry demands that I mention that "Jewel In The Crown" was not made by the BBC (nor were Brideshead, Sharpe or Hornblower). It was made by Granada, back when British TV had verve, ambition and aspirations to make landmark productions -- as opposed to a million and one cheap knock-offs of "Changing Rooms".
It's weird watching older series though, how much more patience we were expected to have with the pace of drama. "Jewel in the Crown" in particular verges on torpor. These days everything is cut fast, faster, fastest. Pace is not a bad thing if it suits the material.
I'm writing this offline or I'd go check out the interesting comment made by Loligo about what would happen if Prince William married a nice rich Indian girl.
I think the answer would be nothing much. Lots of press pontification, obviously, but nothing else. Tony Blair is in bed with rich Indians, why shouldn't the future monarch be?
(Blair. Feh. Talk about Look the innocent flower but be the serpent under 't Horrid, smiling little man.)
Snarking aside, I really don't think it would matter. There are two reasons: The first is that despite its problems, the country has become a lot more tolerant in the last ten years. The racists would be horrified -- but everything horrifies the racists save for their own stupidity.
The second is that the royal family is increasingly irrelevant to most people. Diana's death *broke* something in the implicit contract between the monarch and her people.
The attitudes displayed then made a lot of people realise how remote and strange and *expensive* the royal family really are. After Princess Margaret's death, Buckingham Palace rolled out its first ever post-Diana spin-control plan. They lowered the flag to half-mast, as the Queen had so pointedly refused to do in the first days after Diana died, and books of condolence were opened.
The result? A resounding "whatever". Princess Margaret was spoilt and pointless and no one much cared when she popped her clogs, except for feeling sorry for her family.
This year is the Queen's Golden Jubilee. The Silver Jubilee in 1977 was the hugest celebration. There were enormous street parties and we all got silver medals from school... This year, all it means is an extra two-day holiday in June (which I won't get anyway because of our weird working patterns) No one is making a fuss much and celebration plans seem very muted. There's much more excitement about the World Cup.
If Prince William's future spouse were from a different ethnic group, I doubt it would matter to most. The symbolism of it would be interesting and its effect would be positive, I think.
However, I suspect he will marry some bit of posh tottie from an aristocratic English or Scottish family. Just like his dad.
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Curling update: We won. Eeeeee. Britain won a medal. *g*
I'm glad the medal ceremony is at 3am GMT, otherwise I would be feeling choked up at watching them get their medals *and* annoyed that the national anthem isn't something good like "Land of Hope and Glory" *and* annoyed at myself for being such a stupid sap as to get sucked in by patriotic fervour.