On this day in 1774 things got a bit testy in North America when the latest in a series of Acts known as the Intolerable Acts or the Coercive Acts was passed. This one was called the Quartering Act and I’m going to tell you all about it. Probably.
First things first. Don’t get all worried that this is the sort of quartering you get in “hanged, drawn and quartered“; the British were not looking to enact a mass geometrical dismembering of the American people. It was a little more prosaic than that. Basically, it was all about putting soldiers up, ostensibly in empty houses, barns etc. Some claimed that if the Governor of the colony wanted his soldiers to live in an already occupied private home, they could. This may have been the case, but there’s no evidence it ever actually happened. Why was the act passed? Well because governors of the colony were getting a bit pissed off when they’d say to the good people of Boston – for example – “all right, mate. Can you put up some of my boys?” and the good people of Boston – for example – said “Fuck you, buddy!”
Of course the other reason it got passed, along with a whole load of other intolerable acts (don’t worry, I’m not going to list them, but suffice it to say they were a big slap in the face for the colonialists and robbed them of a lot of stature and independence) was because the English were well angry about a little thing called the Boston Tea Party that had gone down in December 1773. Communication being what it was back in the days of yore, they didn’t find out about the little party until January, but when they did they were incandescent with rage and stuff like that. They wanted all the tea paid for, and they wanted the colonials to bloody well behave themselves. It’s probably worth noting that at this point in our mutual histories, tea was really terribly expensive. Nowadays if you toppled a load of PG Tips into the sea everyone would be pretty much “whatEVAH!” about it. Then, it was more or less tantamount to lobbing gold bars into the sea and showing your arse to a bunch of nuns. In other words, a bit bloody naughty.
So, anyway. British soldiers were allowed to live where they wanted. The American colonists were not happy about it. Everyone was well grumpy about the whole damned thing. No one wanted to pay for the tea, do what the English said, or indeed have anything more to do the English and their mad German king. And that’s it. Dull, boring, meh and terribly whatevs. But it did lead to a little bit of a contretemps that I think we all know about, but I’ll save that in case I’m desperate at some point in the future and want to write about Paul Revere or that terrible little turncoat Benedict Arnold.
Today was the birthday of one disgusting old fuck and is the birthday of another. The first is the Marquis de Sade, who I was going to write about, but then I remembered trying to read Justine and thought “No, really just no.” So, then I looked up other birthdays and thought “Oh,how lovely, Keith Allen.” who as it happens is also a git.
You know enough about the Marquis de Sade. He was in prison, he was out of prison, he was brutalising his servants and various prostitutes whenever he could, although he probably slowed down as he turned into an early Gallic predecessor of Jabba the Hutt in his later years. He’s been called a demon and a demonic genius. He’s been vilified and deified and rarely been viewed as the boring nasty piece of aristocratic shit that he was. But he was and that’s all we need to know, other than the fact that as a writer of pornography he sucked appallingly.
Keith Allen is nowhere near as much of a pointless waste of lard, as the aristocratic sick fuck, but he tries. Oh, he really does try. He was quite funny once upon a time in the 1980s, but he seems pretty much perpetually chippy, a bit angry and far too reliant on coke to maintain what once seemed like a
spark of real talent. He is that sad and pathetic thing, an ageing enfant terrible and a man who thinks that being edgy means saying a few swears on a culture programme like a teenage rebel. What’s charming and passionate in a young man, becomes petulant and tragic in a man who should have learned some lessons along the way, but was drinking too much and taking too much coke to hand in his homework. In short the man is a twat, a twat’s twat and a dick to boot. As such he can take his birthday and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Or up his arse, whichever’s nearer to hand.