Tag Archives: History

June 8th

On this day in 1191,  Richard I who was, among other things, the King of England, arrived in Acre in Palestine and so started his part in the Crusades.

The day Dick took some acid and thought he was a bear

Many of you will know him better as Richard the Lionheart, although if we were going to give him a more accurate epithet for him would be Richard the great big fighty bastard who didn’t care about anything other than having big old fights and killing people, who was a really shit king. This is, admittedly, a slightly long epithet, which is why, despite a lot of effort on my part, he’s still known as the Lionheart and why people who’ve never studied any history at all, but have seen Robin Hood, think he’s all great and lovely and have no idea what an utter twat he really was.

Here are a few nice facts about this lovely king. At his coronation in Westminster, he said that Jews and women were not allowed in because they were shit. When some Jewish people came along to give him presents, he and his men stripped them, beat them and threw them out. This made the people of London, who were notoriously stupid, think that what their king wanted was for them to kill Jews. So they did. There was basically a huge massacre which he eventually told them to stop, not because he cared about the people who’d been killed, but because he wanted to go off and kill Muslims and if everyone at home was killing Jews, then there might be a bit of an upset and someone else might get to be king while he was off getting his jollies being a killer.

How long did he spend in the country that he was king of in total over a ten-year reign? Eight minutes. Well, probably eight months, but he didn’t like it here, didn’t speak much English and thought the only point of being king was taking lots of money from the country so he could go to other countries and kill people.

His brother, King John, you know, the bad guy i6541n all those Robin

A toilet seat in honour of the Lionheart. Just what every king wants. To be shat on.

Hood films, was not necessarily a good king, but he was better than Richard in that at least he bothered to be here and didn’t whinge about it being cold and rainy here all the bloody time.

Anyway, he died of a manky arm on 6th April 1199. He was crying like a baby in his mother’s arms and being all “it’s not fair!” Probably. He did die in his mother’s arms. And that’s Richard I for you. Crusader, shit king, killer of anyone who was a bit Middle Eastern and all round the most over-hyped king in history.

One final note which is true and tickled me a lot. A Bishop of Rochester wrote about him in the 13th century that he spent 33 years in purgatory for being a big old sinner, and then finally got into heaven in March 1232. There’s nice.

Today is the birthday of a few unimportants, but before I go on to one of them, it was also the birthday of my brother Bobby, who once sung about a crooked zebra to a small wee girl. Not me, by the way, as I was his big sister and never heard of the crooked zebra while he was alive.

Moving on. Today is also the birthday of a man who makes it hard

Look away from the horror!

for all other gingers to be taken seriously. Yes, Mick Hucknell was born in 1960, go famous in the early 60s for singing a bit and having curly ginger hair and a very ugly face. He also liked to have as much sex as he could with as many women as possible, which is probably why he got into music, because frankly if he wasn’t famous he’d have been lucky to have managed the sex with even one laydee. He is 52 today and not doing so much of the singing and probably a bit less of the sex as he’s getting on and one imagines his willy is a bit bored and more easily tired these days.

This is what happens when you listen to Mick Hucknall

Some of his songs were okay, but the man is such an unbearable wanker, that it’s hard to like any of them because you know that you’re listening to him and this whole cognitive dissonance thing happens and could lead normally sane people to a moment of self-harm. That said, at least he’s not Bonio off of U2.

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January 12th

On this day in 1995 Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X was arrested for conspiring to kill Louis Farrakhan.

Qubilah with Malcolm

This is in fact a really shitty little story of a woman being hounded, nasty little FBI informants and, being left with a feeling that it all seemed to be about getting one over on Malcolm’s daughter rather than any real awful murder about to be committed.

Why do I think that? Qubilah had seen her father murdered when she was just four years old. From that moment onwards her mother, Betty Shabazz believed that Louis Farrakhan had been involved in the murder of Malcolm. Farrakhan has denied being actively involved, but at times has said that maybe the things he said led to it happening. Then again in a speech he gave in 1993 he said:

Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats.

To be honest, if a man who I had reason to dislike, fear and possibly

Qubilah escorted into court (May 1995) by her lawyer

hate, said that about my father’s murder, I’d be strongly inclined to believe that he had been part of the conspiracy to murder him. Qubilah did hate Farrakhan and worse, she was worried about her mother’s safety. Betty was vocal and without fear in her belief that Farrakhan had planned her husband’s murder. Her daughter feared, rightly or wrongly, that Farrakhan might also plan the murder of her mother.

Forward to 1994. An old school friend of hers, Michael Fitzpatrick, claimed that she called him and asked him to murder Farrakahn. She definitely did call him and there was talk of how dangerous Farrakhan was and that she wanted him dead. Unfortunately for Qubilah, what she didn’t know was that Fitzpatrick was an FBI informant. They spoke throughout May and June of that year. He asked her to marry him and actively encouraged her to talk about her hatred of Farrakhan and her desire to see him murdered.

However, luckily for Qubilah, Fitzpatrick also started recording his phone conversations with her, probably at the request of the FBI. After her arrest she was indicted on the charges of using telephones and crossing state lines in a plot to kill Farrakhan. A couple of surprises came up at this point. One was that the recordings made by Fitzpatrick to prove her guilt, made him look like he was entrapping her. She came across as unsure, nervous, tentative and an unwilling conspirator. The other was that Farrakhan himself spoke in her defence, saying he did not believe her capable of murder, that she was a good girl who had been led astray. Certainly, Qubilah was, by then, suffering from alcohol and drug problems. Her life had not been easy, she was almost certainly paranoid and Fitzpatrick and the FBI had used this to push her into breaking the law.

This is the bit I find so despicable. Hadn’t the woman suffered enough? I mean really, did the FBI think that she was some sort of national danger? Anyway! It was clear that it would be hugely difficult to find her guilty of the original charges (which could have seen her do up to 90 years in jail) and so a plea bargain saw her maintain her innocence, but she took responsibility for her actions. She was then required to undergo psychological counselling and drug and alcohol abuse treatment for two years in order to avoid prison.

As far as I know, the FBI weren’t told to sort themselves the fuck out and nothing happened to Fitzpatrick, even though a good kick up the arse was the very least he deserved for being such a nasty little shitehawk.

Unfortunately, there was more sadness in the Shabazz family in the years following this, but let’s end on something that at least approaches a happy ending. I am in no mood to bring myself and all of you down any further than I already have.

Today is the birthday of French actor and serial dater of hot women, Olivier Martinez.

His name won’t mean much to you if you never read the gossip pages, because while he is an actor, he’s not really that famous as an actor. He is however famous for being good looking and dating, cheating on, breaking up with and then dating, a number of hot famous women. It has been said of him that given the number of women he has probably had pre-marital ghastliness with, his wank bank is probably as big as Fort Knox.

His Milkshake brings all the girls to his yard

He first came to notice as the boyfriend of Mira Sorvino and has since been attached to a lot of famous women, including Kylie Minogue, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and is now, allegedly, engaged to Halle Berry. He’s definitely been her boyfriend for a while and he’d probably be mad to not want to marry her. Well, for all I know she could be as mad as a box of frogs, but she is stunningly beautiful.

Anyway,he’s 46 today, still hot, still making laydeez go weak at the knees and occasionally being in a film that no one ever gets to hear about. I’m not going to wish him a happy birthday. I’m not being churlish, but frankly the man has everything. He needs nada from me!

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January 11th

On this day in 1912 a strike began in Lawrence Massachusetts that became known as the Bread and Roses Strike or the Three Loaf strike.

Women strikers marching through Lawrence, Ma.

The strikers were all women and children who worked in the local textile industry. Most of the women were immigrant workers. Lawrence had been a textile town for about seventy years. In 1845 most of the workers employed were skilled workers but by the turn of the century, with industrialisation and mechanisation, the owners of the various (by now) factories had got rid of the skilled workers and replaced them with non-skilled women and children. They were paid far less, had few if any rights and worked longer hours.

In the decade before the strike, conditions had worsened. The work had

Contemporary cartoon of the strike

always been dangerous, but became more so with the introduction of the two-loom system in the woollen factories. It allowed the owners to speed up production, reduce wages and lay of large numbers of workers. Those still working earned less than $9 a week for 56 hours of work. They also lived in awful conditions. The apartment buildings they made their homes in were overcrowded and dangerous. Most families survived on a diet of bread, molasses and beans. Meat was a rare treat. At this period the mortality rate for children under the age of six was 50%. 36 out of every hundred men and women who worked in the woollen mills died by the age of 25.

Children at work in one of the textile factories

The strike was caused by a new Massachusetts law which came into affect on January 1st 1912. The maximum number of hours that women and children were allowed to work dropped from 56 hours a week to 54 hours. On January 11th workers realised that what they had feared had come to pass: their employers had dropped their wages to take into account the fact that they were working two hours less per week. A 32c drop meant several loaves of bread for a family and the difference between just about getting by and dropping into abject poverty.

The first mill to see the strike action begin was the Everett Cotton Mill. Polish women walked out shouting “Short pay! Short pay!” The next day workers from other factories also walked out and by the end of the week 20,000 women, mostly immigrants, were on strike.

The strike was led by the Industrial Workers of the World union, who had been organising in the city for some time before the strike. The union was, as the name might suggest, a socialist group. This didn’t go down well at all and meant that the strikers and the union leaders met some horrific opposition from the Police, judicial system and the factory owners. The union, for their part, arranged for all strike meetings to be translated into 25 different languages, so that all strikers could know exactly what was going on and put out a set of demands: 15% increase in wages, a 54 hour week, double time for any overtime work and no discrimination against workers for strike activities.

The strike went on until March. In that time strikers had to put up with

Bringing out an army to deal with innocent women and children always looks "good"

a lot. The local militia walked the streets to “police” the “trouble”. The strikers then formed mass pickets. The mill owners reacted by turning fire hoses against them. The strikers, who were determined not to be put down, reacted by throwing ice at the factory windows. 36 women were arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for throwing ice and breaking windows. The judge said “The only way to teach them is to hand out severe sentences.” The governor of Massachusetts then ordered out the state police and state militia in order to stop the strikers.

At the same time the United Textile Workers, a conservative union, tried to break the strike, but the women were having none of it. Anna LoPizzo, a striker, was murdered, almost certainly by the police, but the local leaders of IWW were arrested and kept in jail for several months after the end of the strike, despite the police knowing that they had been three miles away from the murder at the time it happened.

There was also a problem with looking after the children of the strikers, with the lack of money coming in. On a national level donations were being made and there were soup and food kitchens, but several hundred children were sent to the homes of IWW supporters in New York, which was publicised and brought more sympathy for the strikers. Another hundred children were going to be sent to Philadelphia, but they and their parents were met at the station by police who refused to allow them on to the train. The police clubbed both women and children before dragging them off into a truck. One pregnant woman miscarried. All of this was captured by the press. They were taken to a police court where the women refused to pay the fines levied and chose instead to be put in jail with their children, some of the women had babies in their arms.

All of this helped more sympathy toward the rights of these women throughout the country. One person who was disgusted by what was going on was Helen Taft the wife of President Taft. Finally, the union was able to claim a victory. By the end of April the women were back at work with a 5% rise in pay and a promise of better conditions.

Unfortunately, within a few years all the gains won had been reversed, but for a short period of time, immigrant women, were able to bring a city to its knees, simply by refusing to accept less than was their absolute right. Conservative unions had claimed that it was impossible and ridiculous to try to try to organise immigrants in Unions as they were just not capable of understanding/taking part. The IWW and the immigrant women of Lawrence proved that this was just a pile of stuff and nonsense.

Despite the eventual bad ending to this whole situation, it has a lesson for us all, 100 years later. When people are organised and share a strong feeling of right and a refusal to give in to corrupt and inhuman forces, sometimes they can make a difference. These women, who were seen as nothing but factory fodder, whose rights were nothing but a joke to their employers and whose lives were often short and harsh, stood together and demanded to be treated with decency. For a time, they won that right. They refused to be put off by violence, lies and unfairness. Th need to stand up and be counted is just as strong 100 years later.

Right! After getting a bit “we’ll keep the red flag flying here”, I thought I’d find a birthday of someone really hateful and get all sweary about them, but instead I found that it is the birthday of a childhood crush, so …

Today is the birthday of Australian Actor and man who I am still a little bit in love with, Rod Taylor.

I know a lot of you will be going, “who?” well shut up! His first leading role was in The Time Machine and then everyone in the world realised he was brilliant and put him in a lot of other films, including The Birds and The V.I.P.s. Also, if you love the proper, original One Hundred and One Dalmatians he did the voice for Pongo, which is probably why you all love Pongo so much.

Being all manly and fishing while taking a break from The Birds. Probably

In the 1970s he did a lot of television work, which I’m not interested in, because I like him in films and more recently he’s apparently been in Inglourious Basterds playing Winston Churchill. He is now 81 though, so I don’t want to look at him and see all that lost beauty. Not that he was particularly beautiful in a pretty boy way; he was more manly man. sigh. Anyway, I loved him, even when he was a bit older and appearing, every so often in Murder She Wrote with Jessica Fletcher (yes, I know she’s a character! I’m being intentionally stupid, thank you very much).

To be completely and utterly honest here, my love for him has always been pure, because he sort of reminds me of my dad. I probably fell in love with Rod not long before my dad died and I’ve stayed in love with him because he’s my little reminder of my dad. If you cry at that, you’re a wimp, so just stop it!

Anyway, I love Rod Taylor and I hope he has the best birthday ever and lives to be 101 in good health with lovely twinkly eyes and all his wonderfulness.

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January 10th

On this day in 236 a bloke called Fabian became the Pope.

Does this seem a little dull? I’m sorry about that, but all the stuff I could find for this day more or less bored the arse off me, so in the end I just went with Fabian because it was that or write about four paragraphs about how bloody boring January 10th is. Which I might still end up doing anyway, but meanwhile, back to Fabian.

Jesus the Dove flies into JPII face. The message being "why did you make this idiot pope?!"

There is one interesting thing about him becoming pope. You see, it is said that he wasn’t a bishop or a priest, or anything like that. He was a a simple layman who just happened to be in Rome when all the bishops had got together to elect a new pope (Anterus, the previous pope had died about a week before after being pope for only one month and ten days. It’s almost certain that he was murdered for being more trouble than he was worth. Cf. Pope John Paul I who might turn up here one of these days). They were all up for electing a Bishop, as was the usual way of things, but as they all stood around nattering about who’d make the best pope and comparing frocks and jewellery and stuff like that, a dove came along and sort of fluttered about over Fabian’s head.

Well, being religious sorts who knew their bible and all the stories it contained they all went “Bloody Nora! That dove is totally like Jesus innit! He’s telling us to elect Fabian! Er, do we have to do that? Really?”

The dove did not move while they were all prevaricating, so they decided

Fabian's deadly poo. Bishops look on and are heard to say "that turd will kill him!"

they’d better do what Jesus was telling them to through a bird, the big thickos. To be honest, it wasn’t that difficult for them to decide to go along with the dove, because even though being pope was a top job with well nice frocks and the best jewels in Christendom, given that Anterus had probably been murdered and they reckoned that the next pope would probably be done in as well, none of the bishops were that keen on being pope as they preferred being alive.

As it happened, Fabian turned out to be quite a good pope, sending people to places like France to tell them how nice it was to be a Catholic and doing some nice building and stuff around Rome. Oh and he also did something with Chrism, which wasn’t as rude as it sounds. So, he wasn’t murdered and got to be pope for fourteen years. He wasn’t murdered to death, he died of bursting a vein in his head when struggling to have a poo, just like Elvis.

And that is the story of Pope Fabian. Oh he got to be a saint as well, which given what we read about yesterday, doesn’t mean much of anything at all.

Still, nice as it was to talk about bishops in pretty frocks, doves and getting to be pope in olden times, I bloody hope there’s something more interesting to rabbit on about tomorrow. Let’s hope there’s a semi-interesting birthday for today. Fingers crossed, I’m off to have a look now.

Today is the birthday of Roderick Stewart. I mention this not because I give a flying fornication about Rod the Mod, but because until today I had no idea that his given name was Roderick and it amuses me no end.

Imagine having that face looming over you?

I’m not totally anti-Rod. The man’s done some good songs and stuff, but anyone who can sing “do you think I’m sexy” whilst wearing the most hideous leopard print tight trousers in the world is a bit of a joke. That and the fact that he keeps marrying the same blonde woman, just changing her for a slightly younger model every few years or so, which is just too icky for words.

But, blah, it’s Rod’s birthday. He will probably put on a kilt and a tartan hat and go on about how Scottish he is, despite being from North London and being a plastic Jock. Or joke, whichever you prefer.

It was also the birthday of Mary Ingalls, the older sister of Laura Ingalls

The real Mary Ingalls.

Wilder who wrote all the “Little House” books. Unlike the pretty crazily blue-eyed girl in the tv series of Little House on the Prairie, Mary never married, although she did go blind and did go to the blind school that the TV Mary went to. But there was not crazily blue-eyed teacher for her to fall in love with and get married to and so her non-existent husband did not fall over and get concussion and magically get his eyesight back and take her to NYC where he could finally be a lawyer and not a crappy old teacher. Her life was slightly less dramatic than that.

When she finished school, she went back home to live with Ma and Pa, made fly nets for horses and when her parents died went to live with her sister Grace and then with Carrie, before dying herself. I note that she did not live with Laura, who was probably to high and mighty to let her blind sister live with her by then.

Despite her dull life, it’s fair to say that Mary was probably more worthy of inclusion in this little blog than Roderick the Mod, because while she never accomplished much, she also never put her flabby arse into stupid trousers and pretended to be a bit half gay when she thought it was trendy. All in all, Mary the bland trumps Rod the twat.

Happy birthday to them both! Sort of.

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January 9th

On this day in 1493 Columbus sailed the ocean and stopped to do a pee.

Do I look like a pretty mermaid, you twat?

That is a lie, although I’m sure that he did at least one pee on this day, but he didn’t stop to do it. What happened was that as he was sailing near the Dominican Republic, or to be more precise about the name of the Island itself, Hispaniola, he was one of the first people to see not one, but three manatees. What did he have to say about this sighting? that they were “not half as beautiful as they are painted.”

Yes, that’s right, Christopher Columbus was an idiot who thought that the manatees were mermaids. Thankfully, for the sanity of the manatees, as far as we know neither Columbus nor any of his sailors attempted to have sexual congress with the manatees. Not because they weren’t all a bit sexually frustrated, but because as they thought they were mermaids, they had no idea where they should put their willies and were too embarrassed to ask.

All in all, this sighting tells us a lot about sexual frustration, being at see

There are no photos of Mermaids, only paintings. This is because they are not real, dirty sailor boys!

for months on end and how desperate sailors must get if they can see a manatee – not the prettiest of animals – and actually think that it is a woman, albeit a half fish, half human woman. We should note that Columbus said they weren’t half as pretty as they were painted, not, as any sane person would say “they’re a bit bloody ugly”. Actually that’s unfair to sane people. Sane people would not think for one second that a manatee was a laydee. Ergo, sailors are mentalists who would probably shag anything that stayed still for long enough. What a bunch of dirty boys they are.

Today was the birthday of a chap called Josemaría Escrivá. Since 2002 he’s been known as St Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás. He was a Spanish priest, the founder of Opus Dei and according to Pope John Paul II who canonised him he should be “counted among the great witnesses of Christianity.”

Like buggery should he. Opus Dei is a well dodgy movement. Of course the members would say that they are not and anyone who says they are has an agenda. But given that in the late sixties all c.50 male members of Opus Dei had volunteered to join the “Blue Division” in 1941, one might poke ones tongue out at the Opus Dei bunch and say “yeah, well what about your agenda, ha!” The Blue Division was a collection of Portuguese and Spanish volunteers who joined the German army in their fight against the Soviet army in the Eastern Front.

Opus Dei say they are not political, as did Josemaría, but the evidence is that for all their claims of apolitical holiness, they are extremely anti=communist and have got into bed with some rather dodgy people as a result of this.

Some of you might say that there’s nothing wrong with anti=communism, but being chummy with Franco? Allegedly claiming that Hitler wasn’t so bad as he was anti-communist and probably didn’t kill 6 million Jews (only 4 million, which is but a tiny amount. Not!) and popping over to stick your tongue up Pinochet’s arse? In short, it’s difficult to see either Josemaría or the whole organisation are as neutral as they claim.

This man was dodgy as fuck

It’s also clear that Josemaría was a bit of an elitist, thought he was above the Vatican and basically did not live the life that one might expect of a man who’s now a saint. He lived in luxury and he was a stranger to compassion and charity.

So, how did he get made into a saint if all this is true? I dunno, maybe the fact that JPII was also not all that fond of the communists had something to do with it. That and the fact that try as they might to be decent, a lot of the Catholic church and the whole of the Vatican are as bent as a 10 bob note.

Should we celebrate his birthday with joy? Should we fuck. He was a vile man and when he got made a saint, the RC church might as well have been seen kneeling down to suck Hitler’s dead cock. That’s how bad it was. So screw him and his happy birthday. He sort of makes me want to believe in heaven and hell, because I like the idea of a saint being poked in the arse by a laughing Satan in a pit of fire.

Please note that any offence given to Opus Dei or it’s batshit nasty members is totally non-accidental. Thank you.

Oh! Just a wee bit more. Opus Dei is well secretive, which is probably because it’s a cult. And old Josemaría had some super cool stuff to say about women. He told wives that it was their job to look purty for their husbands at all times and not try to be all clever and shit as that wasn’t very feminine of them. In short Opus Dei hates women. That hasn’t stopped Madonna from allegedly joining up with them, but then she is, much as I love/hate her, a bit of a stupid cow.

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January 8th

On this day in 1941 William Randolph Hearst took very much agin Orson Welles and refused to allow any adverts for Citizen Kane in any of his publications.

William Randolph "I'm bog-eyed" Hearst.

Hearst was 70 at the time and probably the most powerful publishing magnate in the US. A bit like Rupert Murdoch, but probably a bit less friendly. Most people are aware that Hearst was not happy about CK and most people know that it’s because the character of Kane was based on Hearst himself. According to those how knew him, the thing about the film that enraged him the most was the depiction of his screen second wife as a drunk and a talentless singer. Welles himself admitted that this part of the storyline was a “dirty trick”. However, other insiders claim that while he was pissed off by the depiction of the second wife – who was a close model of his long term mistress Marion Davies – the thing that enraged him most was Kane’s sledge, the name of which led to his last word on his deathbed: “Rosebud”.

It seems a particularly innocuous word, but if rumours are true, then

Rosebud or "is that a clitoris I see before me?!

rosebud was Hearst’s pet name for Marion Davies’s clitoris. Oh and yes, Marion Davies was an alcoholic, mostly because the life she ended up living with Hearst was so difficult. She was a talented comedienne, but less talented when it came to dramatic roles. Hearst, like Kane, insisted that she be given dramatic roles that were beyond her skill, hence she looked like an idiot and drank more and …art really was reflecting life. Welles was right, this was a dirty trick, more so to Davies than Hearst who was old enough and ugly enough to take that and a whole lot more.

However, the enmity went further than banning adverts. Hearst newspapers printed articles about Welles claiming he was a communist and unpatriotic, dangerous and sick. He also threatened Hollywood studios and made a lot of noises about Hollywood being full of immigrants and refugees. In other words,  Mr Hearst, as well as being a great big crybaby, was also more than a bit anti-Semitic.  Luckily for Hearst, Welles was not very popular in Hollywood, mostly because he was young (only 24 at the time) and didn’t play the game. Louis B. Mayer offered to pay RKO $842,000 to destroy the negatives of the film. The then studio owner, George Schaefer, refused and then threatened to sue Fox, Paramount and Loewes theatre chains when they said they would refuse to show the film. All in all, things were not pretty.

They got less pretty at the Oscar ceremony the following year. CK was nominated for nine Oscars but only got one (screenplay, which went to Welles and Mankiewicz). Some might say that was fair enough, but was it fair to boo Welles and his film at the ceremony? Because that’s what happened.

A man never knowingly more than a couple of feet from a pie

Immediately after this, George Schaefer was pushed out of RKO and so was Welles. Citizen Kane was then put in the RKO archives and forgotten for about 15 years. It was seen as a piece of shit that no one should bother themselves with. Of course, now the film is seen as one of the best movies ever made. To a lot of people it’s still pretty dull, but for any cineastes, there is so much in it that is new and has gone on to influence decades of film makers, that it’s not even a case of “liking” it. It just is a truly great film.

And finally, we know that Welles went on to live his life like a show business Benjamin Button, having all his success as a young man and ending his life in adverts for sherry. Not that that is exactly what Benjamin Button did, but, blah. It’s the whole backward life type thing. Just about all of Welles later problems can be seen to be the work of Hearst. Not that Welles was without faults, he was a bit of an arrogant twat when he felt like it, but his talent, or our chance to enjoy it, was nipped in the bud by William Randolph Hearst. Rupert Murdoch probably learned everything he knows from him.

 

Today is the birthday of …65 today, 65 today, he’s got the key to the … well to his OAP bus pass. He’ll probably be seen at the Post Office a lot, queuing up for his pension and shaking a stick at young people who get in his way and threatening them with his scary false teeth.

Yes, the sublime David Bowie is 65 today, which seems truly mental and

Oh no love, you're not alone

makes me feel old myself. Of course given that I’m only 25 or something, it should have no such effect on me, but I guess I feel the Bowie running in my veins.

What plaudits can I pay him that haven’t already been paid? The man is a genius. He went through a well dodgy stage in the late seventies, when too much coke made him think that giving a Hitler salute was a good idea, which should have been what the government used in anti-drug adverts rather than those ones where attractive skinny people who looked like models with a cold were supposed to put us off heroin. D’oh! Thousands of girls were all like “Fuck me, all I have to do is snort smack off of some tinfoil and I too will look like Kate Moss!” A photo of Bowie doing the Nazi Salute with the caption “Drugs make you think it’s cool to be a Nazi twat” would have been much more powerful. Except of course to people who thought it was cool to be a Nazi, but frankly the thought of them all dying of smack AIDS really doesn’t bother me at all.

Meanwhile! Back in David Bowie land. I have heard nice stories about him from people who sort of knew him. I also like his songs a lot, although less so in the late 80s, but I figure if Mozart had lived to a proper age he might have put out a shit symphony or two, so I don’t really hold that against the lovely Mr B. I spent last night trying to think of a favourite and there really isn’t just one. Depending on my mood, it can be several, but there is something about Rock and Roll Suicide that makes me tingle, so right now, at this moment in time, that’s what I’d like to thank Mr B for as I wish him a very happy birthday.

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January 7th

On this day in 1618 Francis Bacon became the Lord Chancellor of England.

Francis contemplates how he's going to pay back all his debts.

Of course you are all more aware of his later fame as an Irish born artist, but before he began painting screaming popes he spent his [far] earlier life as a statesman, scientist, jurist, lawyer and author. As you can see he was quite the Renaissance man.

We might never have been introduced to his painting skills if it hadn’t been for the fact that he got into a bit of bother as Lord Chancellor. Unfortunately in 1621 it was discovered that he was in serious debt which did not look good, so he was fined £40,000 which was about a billion pounds in those days and sent to the Tower of London. Luckily he only spent a couple of days there before the king let him out and realising that a bloke in debt would probably not have forty grand, the king let him off his debt too.

Of course, nowadays people would be suspicious of the Lord Chancellor wasn’t a bad man with debts aplenty, or so it would seem given the type of person who gets that job these days. In 1621 Bacon was declared unfit for office. In 2012 he’d have been given the job as Chancellor of the Exchequer as we seem to be happy to give that job to numeric idiots in the second decade of the 21st century.

Anyway, long story short, due to him being all disgraced and stuff,

Bacon looking all smug after he gave up the other stuff and became a painter

Bacon had to find something else to do. He was fed up with writing and as he couldn’t event a nuclear bomb because he hadn’t heard of nuclear energy, he decided to do some painting which made him very famous and renowned.

Because his paintings did not appear until the 20th century, by which time he was allegedly an artist who had been born in Dublin, most people think that the painting Bacon is different to the earlier Bacon. He is not, he’d just had a rather long kip and not woken up for a couple of centuries. It could happen to anyone.

Today is the birthday of a man who we all know is a few follicles short of a full head of hair and several sandwiches short of a picnic. On this day in 1964 Nicholas Kim Coppola, better known as Nic Cage was born in Long Beach, California.

Nic Cage, mad as a badger on Ketamine

Back in the old days, Nic was a rather wonderful actor, if a bit of a batshit mental human being. The Oscar he won for Leaving Las Vegas was well deserved, even if it was a very difficult film to watch. However, in recent years you can more or less measure the shite content of a film by whether or not Cage is in it. He has been in some hideously shit-shite films in recent years.

But, through it all, there’s been his compellingly ugly but interesting face, the fact that he’s about as sane as a box of manic frogs and the knowledge that under the increasingly awful hammy acting there is a real talent that he’s decided to forego in favour of being the go-to mentalist for shit films.

I can’t help liking him, even when his personal life becomes almost too hard to look at and his talent fades more quickly than his ever receding hairline. So, for a change, I’m going to be nice to today’s birthday celebrator and say to the wonderfully insane Mr Cage that I hope he has a rockin’ good birthday!

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January 6th

On this day in 1066 Harold Godwinson became the king of England after the death the day before of Edward the Confessor.

Godwinson being all "I'm the king now"

Now, the whole thing about who got to be king after Edward the Confessor was a bit of a nightmare. Edward had no children of his own and hadn’t got round to saying for sure who he wanted to be king after him before he got sick, fell into a coma and died. There were three men who were up for the job. Godwinson, Harold Hardraada and William Duke of Normandy. None of them had what could be called cast iron rights to the throne, but that didn’t stop them all getting a bit fighty about the whole thing. Harold Hardraada’s claim was that when Harthacnut (son of the often misspelled Cnut the Great) was alive him and Magnus, who went on to be King of Denmarkhad made a pact that if one of them died then the other could become king of their country. But as Magnus was king of Denmark he didn’t bother going after England when Harthacnut died and let Edward the Confessor have it. In

"Oh bugger, that cad Godwinson is about to kill me!"

short, Harold Hardraada had no real claim to the throne, but Harold Godwinson’s brother Tostig said “Go for it mate, me and all the noblemen in Britain will be right behind you!” This was a bit of an exaggeration, but Hardraada went for it. He went over to the North of England in September of 1066 and had a big fight with the other Harold and his army . The big fight happened at Stamford Bridge – luckily Chelsea were not playing at home that day, because then the fight would have to have taken place somewhere else – and Godwinson won. So, for the time being Godwinson remained king.

What was Godwinson’s claim to the throne? Well there was minor family connection, but ultimately, him and his mates reckoned that just before he died, Edward the Confessor came out of his coma and said “yeah, be the king for me, Harold Godwinson, not Hardraada or William of Normandy… ach, urgh…[silence]” before dying. When William heard about this over in Normandy he thought it was all a bit chinny, chinny,

William "I'm the king now!" the Conqueror

reck-on. That said, although he too had a tiny bit of a family connection, his claim to the throne was based on the fact that back in 1051 Edward had told him he wanted William to be the King of England when he died and that Harold G had agreed that he should be in 1062. It seems an awful lot of people were claiming things that had been said when no one else was around, but then that was what it was like in ye olden times with no digital recorders or mobile phones or computers and stuff like that. They couldn’t even write quickly, so by the time some monk had got round to copying down what Edward the Confessor had said it would probably be the next year and he’d have taken so long drawing nice pictures around the first capital letter that he’d have forgotten half of it and had to make the rest up as he went along.

Any road up. As we all know, after betting the other Harold, the still living Harold had to get his arse down to Hastings or Battle – which was so named because it was a good place for a bit of a barny – and have another fight with William. He wasn’t so lucky this time and ended up deaded. Some say it was with an arrow through the eye, but in fact he had the shit kicked out of him by William and three of his mates. The cartoon that they drew of it all after, like the writing by the monks, took a long time to put together and a lot of it was made up.

Since this date, The English have been afeared of having a king named Harold in case the same sort of thing happens to him, so the name has been banned by the Royal Family, along with the names, Jason, Vincent, Kevin and Nigel.

Today is the brithday of a so-called actress who is generally known as Trudy Styler, Mrs Sting, or as I like to call her, in reference to her stupid face, a jug-eared, monkey-faced cunt*.

She met Sting while she was appearing in Macbeth with a drunk Peter O’Toole and her friend and Sting’s then wife Frances Tomelty. She stole her husband and then started having lots of babies by him, spending his money, pretending to give a shit about the planet and ill-treating her staff.

Jug-eared, Monkey=faced Cunt

Her and Sting like to go on about how much sex they have and how good at it they are. Listening to this is a good way of making yourself sick if you have accidentally swallowed poison. Sting claims that he is a master of Tantric sex and so he can do it for hours without coming. What he fails to admit is that if he’s doing it with a normally attractive woman he comes in about 5 seconds and it’s only because Styler has a face like a jug-eared monkey-cunt that he cannot come and so he pretends to be all tantric and shit.

Anyway, she is an unpleasant piece of nothing who is only famous because she nicked her mate’s husband and gave birth to his progeny. As well as being a shit human being, she is also a shit actress. She is also a shithead of a producer type thing as can be evidenced by her love of mockney Guy Ritchie. Today she is probably dressed like a clueless bint and eating baby mice while drinking champagne while imagining that she’s good at sex because her so-called tantric husband takes hours to come.

Should I wish her a happy birthday? Ha! I think not.

*Please note that I am a great lover of monkeys and would hate to insult them in any way by claiming that they look like this she-devil.  Given that I have done that, can I please apologise and make it clear that when I call her a monkey-faced cunt, I am referring to a very rare monkey so ugly that even its mother would not be able to love it. Thank you.

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January 5th

On this day in 1945 while war still raged in Europe and the far East, while rationing was at its height and the British were living off of powdered eggs and a little fingernail piece of butter a year, something rather wonderful happened in the US of A.

A Chuck Jones cartoon for Warner Brothers was shown for the first time. It was called Odor-Able Kitty. It featured a character called Stinky who fell in live with a male cat who was disguised as a skunk (complete with odour of Limburger) with comical consequences. The character proved rather popular and went on to star in a number of cartoons, including:

Cats and Skunks do not make for a happy couple

Have you guessed who it is yet? If I tell you that he also appeared in a cartoon called Little Beau Pepé you’ll know right away, that Stinky was the first name given to Pepé Le Pew, the skunk who spent his life falling in love with female cats who’d got some white paint on their backs and then had to try to get away from a skunk who didn’t understand the words “no” or “non” or very probably “get your stinky f**king body off me!”

Pepé is not everyone’s cup of tea. He’s no Tom Cat or Jerry Mouse and his stories are all very much the same. He meets cat, he pursues cat like a great big sex pest, he smells bad, he does not get cat. But, all of that aside, he is my cup of tea. Pepé never failed to make me laugh when I was a child and I still love him now, even though he’s beyond well dodgy. Part of the love comes from the wonderful voice, given to him my Mel Blanc doing a rather wonderful impersonation of Charles Boyer from the  1938 film Algiers. If you want to argue with me and tell me that Pepé’s voice was based on Maurice Chevalier, then I will fight you because you are wrong and I, am ever, as right.
So, that was this day, mes amis, that just as the war was entering its

Don't lets ask for the skunk, Pepé, we have the Limberger

final countdown (if I’ve given you a Europe earworm … hahaha!), a little French Skunk entered the world of cartoons and became the horror of pretty little kitties everywhere.

And now, La Marseilliaise! Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! 
Er, maybe not. That anthem’s a tiny bit violent. Á bientôt!
Today is the birthday of former footballer, “actor”, alleged hard man and annoying twat, Vincent “Vinnie” Jones.
To those reading outside of the UK, Vinnie may be a twat you are unaware of. I envy you. He was a professional footballer in the 1980s and 1990s. Throughout his career he was a dirty player and never quite as good as he wanted to be. He was always more famous for his dodgy fouls than he was for any real skill. He was too shit to play for England, which was going some in the 80s, so eventually he made himself Welsh and played as Captain of the Welsh team. I’ve always thought this was unfair. While the Welsh team have never done that well on the international stage, even they were too good to have to have a no-mark git like Jones as their captain.
When he was still playing football he also put out a video called

Fugly man still playing it "hard" after all these years.

“Hardmen of Football” which showed him and others being violent bastards on the pitch and gave advice to wannabe hardmen. Which was nice. He was banned from playing for six months (I think his team did better without him and even if they didn’t, they probably felt like they did) and he was fined £20,000 for bringing the game into disrepute.

When he finished playing most of us hoped we’d never have to look at his decidedly ugly face again or hear him giving it large. Unluckily for us, Vinnie decided he was going to be an actor and noted Mockney wanker Guy Ritchie (for those of you who don’t know, he comes from a proper posh family and goes around pretending he’s a right proper eastender. He makes me wish the Krays were still alive to show him from hard. They could probably take out Vinnie at the same time) gave him a part in one of his many “gangster films”. Vinnie played himself, or what he thought was himself, as I suspect he’s about has hard as the penis of an 85 year old man who’s run out of Viagra.
If there is anyone in the world who actually likes Vinnie Jones and finds him funny, you have my sympathy and  my advice that you please go to the hospital and have a brain transplant.
And that is all. I am not going to wish you happy birthday, Vinnie Jones, because you are an ugly untalented shithead who is part of everything that is wrong with the world we live in. My present to you is a finger. Given that you live in LA these days, I’m sure you can figure out what that means.

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January 4th

On this day in 1903 Thomas Edison proved that he was as evil as I’ve always said he is. He electrocuted an elephant to death to prove that his way of providing electricity – DC, direct current – was better than the AC (alternating current) preferred by others, notably, George Westinghouse.

Now, before you read on, I warn you that this is upsetting and if you liked Thomas Edison before because you thought he was a great inventor and blah, then if you read on you will hate him and want to stick electric currents up his dead arse. Right, warning given, on with the hideous bastard story.

Hard to find a happy photo of Topsy, this is her memorial

The elephant in question was called Topsy. She was 28 years old and was owned by Forepaugh Circus. She spent the last years of her life, before the electrocution at Coney Island’s Luna Park. To be fair to Edison, which I’d rather not be, but there you go, Topsy wasn’t chosen for no good reason; she had killed three men in three years and so it was decided she need to be executed. The initial decision made about her death was that she should be hanged, but the American society for the protection of cruelty against animals, (ASPCA) complained that this was unnecessary cruelty, so the plan was put on the back burner.

It’s a shame that the ASPCA didn’t point out that the whole thing was cruel, full stop, period, etc. Topsy had a pretty miserable life, with no space to be a proper elephant and enjoy running about. One of the men she killed was a nasty piece of work who tried to make her eat lit cigarettes. She was killing because the life she had been given was slowly making her lose her mind and she was surrounded by utter bastards who deserved anything she did to them.

When the hanging was ruled out, along came Edison who was in the midst of a “War of Current” with Westinghouse (FFS!)and he said

The life Topsy should have had

he’d kill her with electric. The electric chair had already been used in prisons, so they knew it worked, he just wanted to show them that it worked with his direct current. She was fed carrots containing potassium cyanide before the current was put through he body and thankfully she was dead within seconds. Edison, not happy enough to have killed a beautiful creature, also filmed it and released it as a film called Electrocuting and Elephant, which toured the US and was watched by millions. To think that people get upset about that film about the human caterpillar thing when over a hundred years ago people went to the cinema to watch an elephant being murdered. THE BASTARDS!

Edison went down in history as a great inventor, unless you’re like me and have always wanted to smash his face in, in which case he went down in history as an utter twat. Topsy may have had her revenge though. In 1944 Luna Park burned to the ground and the destruction became known as Topsy’s revenge. In 2003 a belated monument to her was erected at the Coney Island Museum.

 

 

Today is and was the birthday of any number of really dull people who I cannot be bothered to write about. In my defence, I did spend much of last night with the Winter Sickness virus which has left me weak and rather irritable. Also, an awful lot of the people were either:

  • Who are you?
  • Dull beyond belief
  • Slightly interesting like Louis Braille, but how much can you possibly write about a man who invented a way of reading for the blind? Don’t answer that. I’m sure you could come up with loads, but I don’t really care
  • Slightly more interesting like Wat Tyler who lead the Peasants Revolt in olden days, but again, I’m not in a “up with the revolution mood
  • Pretty cool, like Michael Stipe, but again, I’m not in an R.E.M. place right now
  • Blah

"Lovely" birthday cake

There’s no one wicked or evil or who one could happily take the piss out of for several paragraphs and anyway, none of them probably spent last night being sick and ill. To be fair that’s because a lot of them are dead, but that’s merely an excuse.

So, there is no birthday celebration today, because I have deemed that none of them are worth my sadly low energy, so they can go elsewhere if they want to see someone being all “happy birthday!” because they ain’t getting it off me.

Ha!

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