Tag Archives: Quentin Tarantino

March 27th

On this day in 1881 Basingstoke erupted in rioting. The cause? The Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army had turned up in Basingstoke the previous year and immediately begun temperance campaigns. So far, so ever so slightly annoying, but their campaigns became rather noisy. Every Sunday they’d march around the town blowing their trumpets, banging their drums and calling out anti-drinking slogans that were as imaginative as  “Ban all drink!”. One can only imagine that

The riot probably looked a bit like this, but better drawn

religious self-righteousness had taken up the part of their brains where the imagination lived and killed it. The good people of Basingstoke were rather irritated by these marches. Some, who would no more think  of going into a public house than they would show off their hairy gardens on the high street, because they did not want the peace of the Sabbath being broken by the noise and the clamour. Others, who liked a pint or eleventeen, were outraged that these dull fuckers were ruining their drinking time and trying to close down their favourite haunts. Something had to give and give it did.


Before the big riot, there had been smaller incidents and there were also a group, who called themselves Massagainians, who followed the Sally Army around the town. They would play home-made instruments, sometimes nothing more than a tin can filled with stones, and sing bawdy songs very loudly, in an attempt to drown out the holy Joes and Josephines. There was something of an incident on 20th March, when 1,000 people gathered in Market Place armed with sticks and cudgels and had a bit of a go at the Sally Army. There were few injuries as supporters of the musical prohibitionists protected them and got them away. Not deterred, the following week saw full-on action from the folk of Basingstoke.

2,000 people turned up, armed as before. There were also 100 special constables there to ensure that things didn’t get out of hand. They didn’t quite manage to do that. It kicked off big time, sticks were flying, blows were being rained upon the Sally Army and high dudgeon was a place being occupied by all those who’d had enough of being told they shouldn’t have a pint or several to enliven their otherwise dull lives (this was Basingstoke after all, it was a bit of a deadly place to live if you wanted excitement). The Mayor (himself a member of a local brewery) had to call in the Horse Artillery, who were stationed in the town, to break up the riot before someone got killed. He then mounted the steps of the Town Hall and read them the riot act. Yes, that’s right! Back in Victorian Britain if you got a bit rioty, you were physically read the riot act. I love the idea of some poor bugger having to read out reams of legalese in an attempt to subdue an angry mob.

Luckily, no one was killed, but there were plenty of injuries and many sore heads that couldn’t be blamed on too much ale. The attempts to rid themselves of the God Squad went on until 1883, but there were no more riots. By 1883, the townsfolk realised that Salvation Army were going nowhere so they might as well get used to having them around. It took a little longer for the Sallies to realise that drinking wasn’t going to be stopped by hymns, pipe and drum. Stalemate, is not a victory, but it is an end of sorts.

And there we have it, dear readers. Even somewhere as boring as Basingstoke has had its moments and its lovely to know that while people might be backwards about coming forward over issues as varied as workers’ rights, social deprivation and the pointlessness of war, can be relied upon to break heads when it comes to the matter of depriving them of a drop of the hard stuff. Basingstoke we would salute you, but then you might think we were all Sally Army and get out your sticks again. So we won’t.


Today is the birthday of a man with a face like a Halloween mask. He is a writer, director and sometime very bad actor whose name is Quentin Tarantino.

Tarantino is one of those men who you know you’d slap stupid if you had to spend more than ten minutes with him, but he has made a couple of good films. Personally I mostly hate Reservoir Dogs because it’s a rip off and because there’s that whole bit about Like a Virgin which is totally fucking sexist. I love Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, however, so kudos and all that. I’m not keen on Natural Born Killers, which he scripted, but I love From Dusk Till Dawn, especially the bits where we get to see Salma Hayak’s lovely eyes and when he is killed.

I have yet to figure out if Tarantino is an idiot savant or just an idiot, but given that occasionally he gets it spot on he’s probably at the

Quentin styling out those smouldering looks of his

very least an idiot semi-savant.  He used to go out with the wonderful Mira Sorvino and I do feel a bit sorry for her because I imagine that sometimes she must have woken up and seen that face looming over her and thought that a burglar in a bad mask had crept into the house and was going to kill her.  I think he’s single at the moment, so no jostling in that queue laydeez!


Whatever his faults, and I don’t blame  him for his face because he didn’t ask to be born like that, he does love film with a passion and this makes me like him more than I’m otherwise minded to. He’s also not a big fan of the whole digitization thing, the 3-d thing and other related jiggery-pokery, so this makes him sort of okay (but not quite) in my book.

And so, there remains nothing to say but that elusive genuine happy birthday thing. Happy birthday then, Quentin. If you happen to read this after I’ve submitted a screenplay and you think of ruining my chances in Hollywood because of my scant praise for you, do not. If you do I will cut you.


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February 18th

On this day in 1954 an amazing event took place. One can compare it to Moses getting some stone tablets off of God; Baby Jesus being born in a manger; the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad; Joseph Smith coming up with the idea of Mormonism. Yes, it was as earth-shattering and epoch-shaping as that, for in 1954, L. Ron Hubbard took his Church of Scientology to California and founded the first Californian Church of pure shite Scientology. Prior to making up a religion, L. Ron was best known as a mediocre author of turgid science fiction novels and a great fantasist. He claimed he was a nuclear physicist, when in fact he got thrown out of a civil

Old mutha Hubbard

engineering degree for being a lazy thick. He claimed to be a great explorer of the far east, when he’d been to Guam and China for holidays with his mum and dad. He was also a git and very ugly.

One could describe his church in great detail, Thetans, blah, auditing, blah, psychiatry is bad, blah, blah, blah; but the bottom line is it’s all about money and the other stuff is the biggest load of bunkum since some bloke reckoned he fed five thousand people with a few loaves and a couple of fishes and at least that bloke was quite nice and not locking people in rooms and telling them they were shit but if they gave him all their money they might be a bit less shit.

Scientology had started a bit earlier than 1954, on the back of Dianetics – really hard to explain, some of bullshit about being able to cure everything from warts to schizophrenia by thinking about it in the right way – but it was in California that it reached its apogee, for in California there was Hollywood and there be celebrities!

Scientology should have crept away, crawled under a rock and quietly died, but thanks to L. Ron being a big blow-hard and idiot

Cruise proves that Scientology sends you loco in the coco

celebrities, such as noted heterosexualist dwarf, L. Tom Cruise, getting involved with it, it has grown big and bloated. Most people think it’s a big old bunch of nonsense, but are not allowed to say it in public because if they do Thetans come and sue them and probably put dog poo through their letterboxes as well. So, in short, prior to this day in 1954, the world was pretty much fucked, but didn’t have to watch films starring sciencebollockists; since then, the world has got more fucked, L. Ron wrote more books and even the sort of people you’d think might be slightly sane – Beck, I’m looking at you – have decided that jumping up on down on sofas and claiming their love for an actual woman while grinning insanely and believing in alien type nonsense, is a rational way to live their lives. As P. T. Barnum didn’t say, there’s a sucker born every minute.

Today is the birthday of noted scientologist, pilot and sometime actor, L. John Travolta. In a lovely piece of serendipity, L. John was born in 1954 on the very day the church he would later join was being set up in California. Before becoming a scientologist in 1975, Mr Travolta had acted in a series called Welcome Back, Kotter in which he played a young cocky Italian-American. He reprised this role under a different name in Saturday Night Fever which made him very famous and in which he busted some fine dancing moves. He got even more famous after Grease in which he and Oliva Newton-John pretended to be teenagers and sang some pretty songs.

After this he made some utterly appalling films and was pretty much a tramp living on the streets when Quentin Tarantino gave him a role in Pulp Fiction which made everyone remember him again and comment on how much fatter he was these days. Since then he’s flown his planes a lot, made some half-decent films and starred and directed in Battlefield Earth, a film so dire that one would wonder what had led him to make it, if one didn’t know that it was based on a very bad novel by L. Ron Hubbard. So, today the dashing pilot and noted heterosexualist celebrates his birthday, probably at the Scientology centre, eating pie and busting moves with some of the high up Thetan auditors, or whatever they call themselves. Happy birthday, L. John, you were cute when you were young and you died well in Pulp Fiction, but please don’t do another Battlefield Earth, you muppet. We know you think L. Ron was some sort of genius saviour, but even you must know he couldn’t write for shit!


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