Saturday, 3 October 2015

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant.

Hullo, Justin here.
Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosomed friend of the maturing sun... Ah, Autumn... Almost upon us and even here in our sleepless city, the signs are there... falling leaves, thoughts of a still distant Christmas, and more immediately the Rugby Union World Cup. Presently, this clash of the Titans dominates our little household. My lady wife and the young man with the wire in his ear are both terribly keen on this competition, and so I am free to indulge one or two minor passions of my own.
I recently unearthed a few brass rubbings I made in my student days. One – of Sir Gilbert de Ponce and his wife Lady Edith taken from their tomb in the nave of Glossop Cathedral reminds me always that Man makes plans and God smiles. Research tells us that the ambitious Sir Gilbert and his new wife journeyed from France early in the 12th century to join the court of King William. En route from Dover to Winchester they were set upon by what appear to have been ne'er-do-wells and hobbledehoys, robbed of all their worldly goods and left naked and bruised by the roadside. I mention this by way of making the connection between circumstance and solution. Far from being discouraged, the de Ponces girded their loins with leaves, lay in wait for the next French emigrés to appear and repeated the procedure, eventually reaching King William’s court, late but unbowed, ending their days as Master and Mistress of the King’s Commode. Were theirs Christian actions ? Well, in the words of the Bard, “Needs must when the Devil’s made off with yer kecks.”

Sadly, I am tugged back to reality by shouts of “Ref! REF! – FORWARD PASS!” as Tongans jump on French heads, and try hard to weave something rugby-ish into Sunday’s sermon.

Pip! Pip!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

'At a Dead End' - a review of Art in the Mausoleum, by R T Faherty (our resident art critic)

As part of the annual Glossop Open Cemeteries event, I was invited to review a series of site-specific installations which some of these arty types had, er, installed in carefully designated mausolea around the county. Well, as you know, I'm a regular attendee at these arty events and so off I went in anticipation of warm white wine and peanuts, and called at my first family vault.

It was staffed by a lugubrious young man with '****' tattooed on his forehead. No, he didn't actually have a row of asterisks engraved on his bonce; more that I'm aware that Auntie Florrie may be reading this and rude words give her heartburn. He offered me what looked like liquid manure from a hip flask. I tasted it and found my initial impression to be correct. Then I asked about the artwork. He pointed to a set of headphones resting on the capstone of the monument.

"It's for a sound installation," he explained. "But there ain't no electricity or running water in there, so you can't actually listen to it."

"I thought this was supposed to be, ahem, site-specific!" (I raised one eyebrow in the manner of James Bond).

"It IS site-specific," he protested. "It's just that it's specific to a different site".

Just then, my old friend Bogg arrived. He was wearing his usual donkey jacket which looked as though it had spent the night with its namesake. I once had a cucumber reduce itself to mush in my fridge over a period of several months, and the aroma was similar. He didn't attempt to find any artwork, and when I left he was still engaged in a struggle over the hip flask with the tattooed tippler - a scenario fairly typical of Bogg's art appreciation activities.

I wiped a blob of marmalade from my map and set off in pursuit of my next exhibit.

The next family tomb was remarkable only for its lack of family. There was nevertheless an old tramp making himself comfortable in there. He threw an earthworm at me and uttered a terse, Anglo-Saxon expression. "Oh," thought I. "Not much chance even of a cup of tea here then", and turned to go. He called me back and offered me a dirty scrap of paper with 'Benedict Ping - artist statement' written at the top. It went on to explain:

'As subtle derivatives become frozen through studious and repetitive practice, the viewer is left with a hymn to the outposts of our era...'

I read no further. If I can't spot the inane ramblings of an Arty Bollocks generator, then who can?

I might add that some of these family vaults are situated in some pretty out-of-the-way places, and my next one involved a trip across an area of quicksand, a wood known to be inhabited by werewolves and a sheer 20' drop.

I teetered on the brink of the quicksand. I could see the top of an artistic-looking toupée and a cheese sandwich (with a bite taken out it) floating on the surface. I turned back, dropped into our local off-licence and speedily liberated a bottle of single malt while the owner was remonstrating with a bunch of hoodies.

Sitting by my own fireside, I reflected on what a very arty day it had been, and how highly I recommend the tour to anyone who's hoping to shed a relative or two en route.

Monday, 14 September 2015

CORBYN the CONQUERER from our political correspondent Bridget Barmie

So, Labour has a new Leader. In a seismic , unprecedented, amazing, stunning, unparalleled, stunning (you’ve said that already. Ed) victory, Jeremy Corbyn became the new, grizzled, loveable leader of the Labour Party. In his victory speech, tie-less, sockless Mr Corbyn paid tribute to his countless trillions of supporters throughout the galaxy. Looking on were his vanquished rivals, Yvette Cooper, aka Mrs Balls, a name which has haunted her family for years, Andy Burnham (the little bloke with long eyelashes) and another lady who everybody’s forgotten now.

Congratulations have poured in from politicians and public alike. Mrs. Primrose Thicknesse (47) from Glossop, Derbs., said, “At last we’ve got somebody who’ll sort out all those rich bastards.” When reminded that Mr Corbyn had won a leadership election and not a general election, Mrs Thicknesse said, “Oh. Right. I can’t abide General Elections. All that having to vote stuff.”

Kyle Brutle of Goole said, “He seems like an OK sort of bloke. He’ll get my vote as soon as he bombs the shite out of ISIS and starts hanging paedos.”

Opinion from the other side of the political spectrum is probably best summed up by Sir Julian Loaded who said, “Ha ha ha ha! Both feet! They’ve shot themselves in both feet. My job as Head of Various Really Indecently Well Paid Things is safe as houses. (Sir Julian is paid £12547k per annum) And in a rare departure from Royal protocol, HM the Queen said, “Oh for Christ’s sake!”

The Leader of the Lib Dems was not available for comment because nobody could remember who he/she is.

Of course, not all present prominent Labourites are happy about Mr Corbyn’s election and some have refused to serve under him. Said Simon Smoothie, MP for somewhere in the Midlands, “What, and have to wear T shirts and tracksuit bottoms? You’re joking!”

Later tomorrow, Mr Corbyn will throw a celebratory dinner for supporters.

On the menu will be Shredded Wheat (one per guest) and skimmed milk.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Thought for the Day, with Justin Webly, more or less Arch of Cant

Justin here. A rather chastened Justin, I must admit. I have been encouraged by our creation of church-based credit unions to successfully combat payday lenders like the notorious Wonga. In fact, I can now reveal a very small part of my exchanges with one Len Smootharse, the then head of Wonga.

“Listen Bish”, said Mr Smootharse, “Why shouldn’t we make a bob or two out of idiots?” My hackles rose. I do so hate “Bish”. Well, we settled Wonga’s hash, did we not? Mr Smootharse left and has been replaced by Ms Penny Niceperson who I haven’t met but am assured smells of lavender and new mown hay.
So, on the basis of a battle won, I rose in the House of Lords the other day to make what I considered to be a perfectly reasonable moral suggestion. Of course, I had run through the gist of my speech with my lady wife, but at the time she was shouting at Hull Kingston Rovers to “For pity’s sake get hold of the ball, you bunch of sissies!” on the television, so perhaps I did not have her full attention. 
However, in the long car on the way to the House I outlined my proposed address to the young man with the wire in his ear. He immediately laughed – quite derisively, I thought, and said, “Look Archie (much nicer than Bish, I have always thought), yer landed gentry and stately homes mob aren’t going to go for that in a month of Sundays. It’s a lemon“.
What would Jesus have done, I thought. No matter. I pressed on. So that, dear reader, you may judge my heartfelt plea for yourselves, here is a précis of what I said.

“My Lords, Ladies, Peers of the Realm, fellow clergy, Her Majesty’s Government, The Lions Rampant and all who draw nigh… (Intros do go on a bit in the Upper House). I stand before you as a man of God acutely aware of Our Lord’s teachings on mercy and compassion. Do unto others…" (I let that bit hang in the air for a few seconds), then continued…

“Presently the free world is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the form of thousands, nay, millions fleeing to our borders so as to escape hunger, imprisonment and death.” At this point I did notice several snowy heads nodding. Whether this was in agreement or the onset of sleep I cannot say. 

I went on... "I therefore respectfully propose that all of us who live in grand houses, palaces even, should set aside as many rooms as we possibly can so as to accommodate homeless, penniless, starving migrants, and thereby demonstrate for all to see the essentially British maxim of Fair Play For All.“
I am sorry to say that at this point I could not continue because of shouts of “Bollocks!” and “Get lost, Bish!” (I do so hate Bish). Various items were thrown in my direction and the Leader ordered all amplification and recording devices switched off. My mortification turned to fear as I spotted Eugenie, Lady Pinchbeck, a one-legged woman of at least 102 summers, bearing down upon me waving her zimmer frame whilst shouting, “I’m not having any of that swarthy mob anywhere near Crabbers End!”(her family seat) “You’re nothing but a God-bothering do-gooder!” Fortunately for me, the young man with the wire in his ear stepped in and felled Lady Pinchbeck with a very respectable short left hook before bundling me from the building and back to the relative safety of the long car.

This unfortunate episode may well not make it to the media, but I don’t mind admitting that I found it frightening and most revealing. Well, for good or ill, I have decided to do what Jesus would have done. Next Tuesday, unbeknownst to all but myself and the young man with the wire in his ear, Lambeth Palace will take delivery of 35 Portakabins, 100 chemical toilets and a canteen. The young man with the wire in his ear supports my madcap scheme, but does keep muttering something about fans and manure.

Pip, pip!