Tuesday, 4 January 2011

On ordure

    Yesterday was the last day of freedom before the return to the normality of the New Year, and my wife and I were determined to make the most of it. So we went for a walk in the country.
    The start of January is as good a time as any to enjoy the beauty of the British countryside. The mounds of dead vegetation from the autumn have been broken down by the winter so you see everything for what it is, stripped bare and covered with a film of moisture, black trees stark against the grey skies. Horizons melt in ranks into the distant mists, giving the feeling of a Japanese print, and the lush green of summer is supplanted by the blue-green of the foliage hardy enough to survive the winter. It may be cold and rather muddy, but it can be very atmospheric and pleasing to the eye.
    Our walk didn't exactly proceed as we'd hoped. We tried to avoid muddy paths but ended up carrying half the county on our wellies. When our route made detours to avoid further mud we ended up by the railway, then walking along a busy main road for half a mile, before passing what must have been the largest steaming manure heap in the south of England. Never let it be said that I don't know how to show my wife the best things when I take her places.
BBC Christmas comedy, as visualised by cattle.
    While I'm on the subject of monster heaps of steaming turd, let me direct you to this review of one of the less funny pieces of the BBC's Christmas output. A review that found itself displaying a surprising lack of visibility in the search engines compared to other pages on the same site a day after its publication. This would be odd under any circumstances, but this isn't the first time it's happened.
    Maybe I'm a tired old relic of my 1980s youth, but when I was younger, comedy was funny. It was called Alternative Comedy, and it was a reaction to what had gone before in that it gained its laughs without offensive racial stereotypes or grotesque parodies of other minority groups. It didn't need those devices to gain cheap laughs because its practitioners were genuinely very talented and amazingly funny. I feel privileged to have been of a generation who was still just about able to catch that crop of comics before they grew fat and went off to do pantomimes, and I feel sad that judging from current offerings we seem to have lost something in the comedy that is reaching our screens today.
    If someone who has a public profile genuinely aspires to be seen as part of the wider transgender community and to stand up and speak out for that community then it behoves them to put their money where their mouth is. Creating a taunt that hangs like a yoke round the neck of visible trans people on the streets of Britain, then inserting crass references to transsexual porn in your later work can not really be seen as making a good start in the matter.


  1. It would appear that steaming piles of dung, are not confined to the countryside in the UK. Trust me, its no different here. A US Navy Captain who commanded the the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, was recently relieved of command, because it was discovered that he made comedic videos full of anti gay slurs, that were broadcasted over the ship's closed circuit TV network, when he was Executive officer, ostensibly to "boost morale". No doubt the morale of countless closeted gay and lesbian sailors was not boosted in the least.

    Some of the blatantly offensive stuff being passed off as comedy today, is a far cry from Michael Palin singing, "'I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK!"

  2. thanks for the links, Jenny!
    I just sat through some of that USS Enterprise video, Melissa, to see what the hoo-ha was about. Yes, ill-advised at least.

  3. I watched a minute or so of the BBC drivel that Jenny refers to - that's all I could manage..
    It's like an end of term revue where kids dress up - all the fun is in the dressing up but there's no talent on display. To be funny, a comedian first has to have funny bones.. ie, they have to have that indefinable humorous quality about them that makes you warm to them in the first 2-3 seconds. There was a programme about Bob Monkhouse the other night and apparently he craved recognition from his contemporaries - such as Tommy Cooper, Frankie Howerd, Eric Morecambe. Unfortunately, poor old Bob - while he had a million jokes in his files - just wasn't a funny man. Not even close.
    Of that generation of Alternative Comics, Rik Mayall & Alexi Sayle had it - while Ben Elton definitely didn't. And that's before they even started with their intro patter.
    These two from Little Britain are the same.. lots of dressing up sketches which they clearly enjoy but neither of them have 'funny bones'.
    The same is true of that ill-advised XO in the USN clips who clearly thought he was funny.

  4. I often wonder why it is that Walliams and Lucas often dress in womens clothing. I think they are veiled, closeted Tvs themselves. It is a well known fact that comedians (iennes) are not choosy who they pull apart in their jokes and sketches. We could be accused of being too sensitive if we raise objections to their behaviour. All's fair in love and war as they say. Having said that it does nothing for the image of those who are on the receiving end. As long as Joe Public doesn't take it all too seriously, it should be ok. Personally I don't think anyone should poke fun at others, no matter who or what they are. It is cheap and offensive. That's human beings for you!

    Shirley Anne xxx

  5. Evening all, and thanks for your comments.

    Being responsible for a picture of a pile of manure appearing on the front page of T-Central was naturally my crowning achievement thus far as a blogger.

    I've just sat down and watched the US Navy guy destroying his career. Such a bloke video, what an idiot. But strangely I have more time for him than I do for the LB duo. He's a Navy pilot, and presumably a good one, doing what people in his line of work so often also do so well, being an offensive idiot meathead. But at least he's not doing that in any pretence of being otherwise.

  6. @Jenny - Glad you now feel fulfilled. We at TC are here to serve.

    Wellies? I had to google it. Appropriate for in, on and around juicy piles of cow poo-poo, I suppose.

    So far, keeping up with my published New Year's resolution. Only 360 days left.

    Calie xxx

  7. I guess in California there might be less use for a pair of wellies.

    My apologies for missing your new years post.