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!


Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Pangolin News Flash!


                         IMMIGRANT CRISIS HITS GLOSSOP

  • Strange person seen in street
  • Pensioners not safe in their beds
  • Washing stolen from line

In this exclusive report from award winning journalist Portia Fishwick, we reveal the horror of a continental invasion.

Today, the normally bustling highways and byways of this Derbyshire town are deserted, save for keen-eyed patrolling Police officers.

Chief Inspector Dave Grist
Says Chief Inspector Dave Grist: “This is something we take very seriously” C I Grist’s words were echoed by Councillor Joyce Humper on Radio Glossop when she said, “The Police are taking this very seriously.”

I was given special permission by C I Grist to speak to actual eyewitnesses of the incident which has struck fear into the hearts of Glossopians. In the town’s launderette I found Mrs Eileen O’Blimey [47], a frail,brave woman who, in her own words said, "I just had to nip out and get me smalls done as we have had our washing machine repossessed". Visibly shaken, she went on, “I was just crossing the road by the bookies when I seen this bloke. He didn’t look local and I suddenly realized he were foreign.” At this point Mrs O’Blimey looked very shaken and had to sit down. The story was taken up by launderette manager Traci Blunt [19]. She said; "Yeah, I seen him an’ all. He definitely looked foreign, an’ he was like, walking along."

Leaving these plucky women, I went next to the tap room of The Royal Gherkin, normally quiet at this time of day but now crowded with mostly men wisely taking a day off work. “I mean, its not safe to be out there, is it?” queried a young strapping chap called Grant who didn’t want his name mentioned. However, the Gherkin’s landlord, Des Gimlet, had no such reservations. He said, “I spotted him first just as I was coming in to open up. I don’t know why, but you don’t think twice in these circumstances, do you – I mean not with these millions of immigrants jumping over fences in Calais and stuff, so I just went up and asked him who he was and what he wanted.” A muted round of applause followed and I was impressed with Mr Gimlet’s selfless disregard for his own safety.
Mrs Eileen O'Blimey recounts her ordeal

These are just a few of the eyewitness accounts I have heard today. There is genuine fear here as Police try to find the mysterious and possibly dangerous foreigner seen prowling the streets.

STOP PRESS! At approximately 5.21pm this evening, Chief Inspector Dave Grist made this local radio statement. “Earlier this afternoon, a man came forward and identified himself as Dr Miguel Gonzalez. Dr Gonzales was able to confirm that he was the foreign-looking male who had terrified locals. Dr Gonzalez had become lost and was trying to find his way to Glossop Royal Infirmary where he is to take up the post of Head of Psychiatry.”

Dr Miguel Gonzales
Later, through a hospital spokesperson, Dr Gonzalez added "What a bunch of nutters. As a psychiatrist, I expect to see quite a few of them again in the near future."

The Mail says: We give thanks for the grit and determination of journalists like Ms Fishwick whose Dunkirk spirit guards us against the threat of unbridled immigration. That today’s terrifying events resulted in a peaceful ending is irrelevant. Tomorrow, it could be a lorry-load of Islamic State butchers.