I know I can sometimes be a little picky but one of the things that drives me mad is when I'm watching a modern film set in days gone by which has been written by a young person. Now I have nothing against young people per se, after all I was one myself once, but their language skills leave a lot to be desired, especially if used in a period film.
The modern Estuary English is one of the most grating I've ever had the misfortune to have to listen to, especially the use of "like" as a punctuation mark and the peculiar way of pronouncing any word ending "ility" which sounds as "iliteee", I'm sure any of my older readers will recognise exactly what I'm describing. Even worse when these pronunciations are transferred into a period film.
I happened to catch a moment of "The Archers" on the radio where a character who was a grandfather and I imagine perhaps in his sixties or older was asked to do something and replied, "I get it, I'm on it," not the sort of language I usually hear from people of that age and I suspect a line written by a much younger person.
In the previous sentence I used the word "radio" to describe what would be called a "wireless" if you were writing for a piece set in the 40's or 50's, I'm sure I'm not the only person who finds these mistakes really annoying.
One of my all time favourite films is The Dam Busters, which tells the story of The Dam Busters raid in 1943, where 617 Squadron led by Guy Gibson flew with bouncing bombs, invented by Barnes Wallace to destroy the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany. Because the film was made in 1955 and based on a true story they used language which was correct for the period, including the correct name for Gibson's dog called "Nigger."
The film was shown in 1999 on ITV and the word "Nigger" was edited out, which I find ridiculous as this was the historically correct name, I suppose it will eventually come to the point where we will be teaching history to modern children and omitting names like "Vlad the Impaler" and "Adolf Hitler" and just referring to them as "the naughty man."
During my lifetime the word gay has had at least three meanings and should be used accordingly in whatever period one would be writing for. The first meaning is happy, as in "We had such a gay time at the dance I didn't want to leave," then of course, "he's so gay, he's as camp as a row of tents." Lastly a meaning I'm not so familiar with as it is a modern version, "Oh, your so gay," which I'm informed means, you're such a loser. Then, just to confuse matters, or as they might say to "queer the pitch" we have more options for the word gay which would be right in a period drama, that of faggot or queer, nancy boy, or just nancy.
To me there would be nothing worse than watching a period drama about Bletchley Park where Alan Turing was refereed to as "gay" for in the 1940's he would have been called homosexual, a nancy boy, or queer.
There is nothing worse, when watching a World War Two drama with the dialogue, "What ho, Squadron Leader, dam good show on the raid last night, frightful shame that Bunty bought it though." "Yes old boy, he was a dam good egg." When written by a modern young person comes out as "Wa gwarn bredrin, sick raid last night, gutted Bunty's dead." "Yeah man, he was an OG." To put it bluntly dialogue written like that just doesn't cut the mustard when written for a 1940's drama.
I was going to continue with a discussion on the use of the word "darkie" which whilst being correct for something set some many years ago may be the final straw as far as the blogger algorithms of today are concerned, so before my blog is closed down, I shall stop whilst I'm on a winning streak.
I have a very addictive tendency and am extremely lucky that all of the drugs I've been addicted to in my life have been legal, the worst of which used to be my habit of chain smoking 80 or more cigarettes a day.
When I was a young person it was de rigueur to smoke, everybody smoked, it would have been virtually impossible to avoid smoke, either your own or what is now called passive smoking, by breathing in the smoke from someone else. It was fashionable to smoke, film stars made it glamorous, we even used to smoke when we went to the theatre.
Should any young person read this I know they will be astounded to know that we smoked absolutely everywhere, the pubs were crowded with all types of smokers from pipe to cigar and to cigarette, the fug created was considered part of the atmosphere of the pub experience.
I seem to remember the buses were smoking upstairs and the underground had one carriage either end for non smoking which was invariably empty as all the smokers were crammed into the smoking carriages, eyes watering from the thick smoke. Everyone must have stunk of tobacco but I have no recollection of it being so, we must have been so conditioned to it we didn't notice.
Which brings me back to the pub and my other addiction alcohol, both I hasten to mention quite legal, although in the old days not available twenty four hours a day. I rather enjoyed the days when the pub used to shut in the afternoon and not stay open late, one had to pay one's dues by becoming a regular and eventually being able to join the metaphorical club which entitled you to drink after hours.
When closing time came the publican would call time and the first ones to leave were the passing trade, then the locals who wanted to join the club but hadn't been around long enough for membership, then finally the coast was clear for the publican to draw the curtains and serve all the hardened drinkers who remained, often until the early hours of the morning.
My how times have changed from those heady times smoking and drinking oneself to death in a smoke filled pub with a nicotine stained ceiling, waiting for "afters" and driving home in the early hours of the morning, slightly the worst for drink.
Hard to believe the breathalyser came into use in 1967 but from my recollection was widely ignored until the 1980's when the police suddenly seemed to be taking things much more seriously, likewise the smoking ban in public places in 2007, both of which we take for granted nowadays.
Personally I'm delighted to say I gave up smoking in 2001 and tend to drink at home now or get my wife to drive if I drink when we go out, we have become accustomed to laws prohibiting us from smoking in public and drinking and driving.
Just as eventually in America there will come a time when there are laws prohibiting people from having guns and school shootings where large numbers of people are murdered will become a thing of the past. People will look back in amazement rather as I do with chain smoking, which was a fairly anti social thing to do and realise that gun laws which permitted people to mow down large numbers of their local community were also fairly anti social.
It seems some considerable time ago that I wrote something funny or amusing on either of my blogs and sadly today is no exception as I have as my subject today, two paedophiles and one escaped psychopathic murderer, all very jolly there then. I do however live in hopes of fitting in a moderately amusing "and finally" at the end, so it's not all doom and gloom.
Jumping in at the deep end, we start with the tale of Matthew Falder, who as one of the most prolific paedophiles this country has ever known, has been jailed for 32 years. Whilst posing as a female artist requesting naked pictures to use as studies, he persuaded vulnerable people to send their images which he then used to blackmail them, forcing them into more depraved acts.
Falder persuaded both male and female victims to produce increasingly indecent images of themselves, the focus of which was to humiliate and degrade, which he then distributed on so called "hurtcore" websites.
I think it safe to say, without putting too fine a point on it, that this man is a particularly evil bastard and yet one wonders how on earth he ended up this way, for by all accounts he was brought up by a loving family in Cheshire, excelled at school, graduated from Cambridge with a Master's and a PhD and later became a university lecturer in Birmingham.
Judge Phillip Parker QC said when sentencing Falder, he was "warped and sadistic," it was a "tale of ever increasing depravity" and that, "You wanted to assume total control over your victims." "Your behaviour was cunning, persistent, manipulative and cruel."
Sadly, whilst he has only to serve 32 years, his victims will have to live with it for life.
I wish I could say, moving on in a lighter vein, but I'm afraid I can't as also today was the sentencing of serial paedophile Barry Bennell for hundreds of historical sexual assaults committed on young boys between 1979 and 1991.
The extraordinary thing is, he has already served three jail sentences, one of which was in America where I was under the impression they had a tendency to lock people up and throw away the key, but apparently not.
Bennell abused the boys when he was a football coach and once again, here was a man who had power over his victims as they wanted to become professional footballers. He was compared to the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, luring the boys to his home where he had arcade games and exotic pets and would also abuse them on trips away, and in his car.
He was unable to come to court during the trial as he needs to be fed regularly by a tube after he developed oral cancer more than ten years ago, which means that although he was sentenced to 30 years he may not live long enough to serve the full sentence. Shame.
Now, also today and I think by now you may be able to see why I am having trouble finding anything of an amusing nature to write about.
Keith Whitehouse a mentally disturbed man who was serving a life term for the manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility of a woman he battered over the head with a brick and raped at knife point in a graveyard in 1991, this while on home release from prison, has escaped from custody again. When I say escaped, this may be a euphemism as he was serving his sentence in Leyhill open prison, where one assumes he just walked out.
My, what a day it's been, the Somerset Police said, "If you see him, he should not be approached and you should call 999."
"And finally,"one is left to wonder why on earth a dangerous psychopath was serving his sentence in an open prison and you can call me old fashioned but I've always felt a safer way of containing dangerous people would be in a proper prison with walls and locked doors. In the coming years I certainly don't want to be hearing the news that a dangerous paedophile has escaped from prison after telling the guard, "I'm just popping down the pub for a couple of pints, won't be long!"
I have to admit as someone who is lucky enough to live in Great Britain, that the news of yet another school shooting in America leaves me somewhat lost for words, which may result in this particular blog being somewhat on the short side.
This is the eighteenth shooting at a school so far this year, although apparently only five or six have involved death or injury, one assumes that all the others must have been very bad shots, or didn't have access to an assault rifle, where I imagine even the most feeble minded would have been able to reap absolute carnage with very little effort.
The figures vary as to the number of guns in America but according to a survey in 2015 it would seem there are roughly 357 million guns, not counting the illegal weapons, whereas there were only 317 million people in the country, which doing the simple arithmetic means there are 40 million more guns than people.
As someone who has no understanding of gun culture, the surprising thing to me, is that this enormous arsenal of weapons is owned by only 37% of the population and whilst I realise America is a little paranoid about being attacked or invaded by communists, I very much doubt whether 37% of the population would be able to hold them off, even if they formed the wagons into a circle.
Whilst one cannot be absolutely accurate as to these figures, after all, as our past Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli said, "there are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics," suffice to say no matter if the figures are a little inaccurate, there are still far too many guns for what might be called sensible use.
I know the gun lobby always put forward the argument that if everyone carried a gun this sort of thing wouldn't happen, but I find it hard to imagine a class full of students when being attacked by a crazed gunman, each pulling out a pistol and blasting away in self defence.
You will have to forgive me if an element of sarcasm has crept into this blog, as I really feel so very sorry for the victims and their relatives but whist the powers that be in government in America can't take this seriously I find it hard to do the same.
It seems Members of Parliament are to be given a code of conduct, which leaves me somewhat surprised and I have to wonder what calibre of person are we electing that they would need a code of conduct for the work place?
At this point I have to insert a warning for the benefit of the snowflakes, the outraged females or males, the gay, bi-sexual, transgender and lesbian, the generally over sensitive and any other groups of the population who I have omitted who may take offence, that the following article may contain words of a sexual nature.
One would have hoped that most of the Members of Parliament would have had a reasonable education with which to equip themselves for the job, long gone are the days when a working class hero was elected from a down trodden mining village, short on education and manners. Having said that I think they may have been quite good with the manners as they knew their place in the old days, so the doffing of their cap to a better would have been second nature, even if they may have left a little coal dust on the furniture when sitting down, although obviously not in the presence of a lady.
I'm guessing that the modern code of conduct will contain useful information, for example, don't come into the office and grab your female assistant by the breasts and utter the phrase,"What ho, Dorris and how's your day been so far." Whereas the previous advice in the bad old days would probably have been, remember to warm your hands first.
Leering at a young female intern with your hand down your trousers in a suggestive manner will also be frowned upon in the modern politically correct culture.
The same type of rules will apply when it involves two men, it's not going to be considered cricket to grab a young male employee by the waist and whisper in his ear, "I hadn't realised you were quite so muscular, Robert, I'd love to see you naked." Together with, "I have a conference in Brighton at the weekend Robert and I am taking you as my assistant, I have booked a double room, I'm sure that's ok with you?"
Threatening someone with a visit to the Whip's office is permissible as long as it's just a dressing down from the chief Whip and doesn't involve any sadomasochistic acts much as the phrase,"a visit to the chief Whip" may suggest it.
It will be frowned upon for any person to harass, harry, torment, persecute, annoy, bother, disturb, or in any way upset fellow workers, grabbing a colleague by the throat and shouting in a violent fashion will be deemed a sack-able offence.
Long gone will be the practice of having sex in the stationary cupboard and about time too I say, I tried it once and would not recommend it, having, in a moment of passion, nearly stapled a vital part of my anatomy to the cupboard door.
These are just a few suggestions from me which could go in the code of conduct, I can't wait to see the list of sexual perversions the MP's themselves think should be in the book, oh yes, I haven't mentioned bestiality.
One hundred years ago today women first got the vote, quite an achievement and looking at it in retrospect it seems quite extraordinary they didn't have it in the first place. Their struggle started in 1866 when it was considered odd that women should even want the vote, after all their husbands were quite capable of taking care of any matters of a political nature.
A woman's role was child rearing and household responsibilities and I have to admit even now this seems fairly sensible for I am delighted to say I am unable to give birth, a task I am more than happy to forego. As for household chores, I am unable to cook, sweating over a hot stove is not for me and as for cleaning I can just about manage if the item to clean is a motorcar. I am more than happy to leave all these tasks to my delightful wife, this says more about my incompetence to do the tasks than anything else, I have to admit.
In 1897 the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies was formed mostly to no avail as all the bills for suffrage were defeated in parliament which led to the formation in 1903 of the Women's Social and Political Union led by Emmeline Pankhurst, their motto being "deeds not words." Initially they were a non violent organisation but gradually they became more militant, chaining themselves to the railings in Downing Street and to statues in the House of Commons.
Initially they were predominantly upper class but as time went on they realised they needed the help of the working class and of men, although there was considerable anti suffrage feeling from many men who must have thought these women were getting ideas above their station.
By 1909 the WSPU had branches all over the country and their newspaper called Votes for Women sold 20,00 copies a week however they were being put in prison on a regular basis as their protests escalated.
The most famous of these must have been when, on Derby Day in 1913 Emily Davison threw herself in front of the Kings horse and was trampled to death, there was some suggestion that she didn't mean to kill herself and merely wanted to place a suffragettes scarf in the horses bridle, which I think is true.
The suffragettes and their male supporters were treated abysmally in prison and went on hunger strike leading to them being force fed but gradually they were getting the message across, helped by the fact that their services were needed when the First World War started.
You have to admit they played a straight bat during the hostilities and gave valuable service in factories and as nurses etc, even to the point of not protesting during the war which must have gained them respect, I would have thought.
Finally after a long and hard fight on 6th February 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed which allowed women over the age of 30 who owned property to vote, which was a step in the right direction and eventually with the Equal Franchise Act of 1928 women over 21 finally gained the same voting rights as men.
It's rather a shame that having gained the vote they are faced with such a mediocre bunch of candidates from any party to choose from, even a man has trouble choosing and we used to be the ones who would take care of matters of a political nature!
I am primarily aiming this blog at the younger folk who, I think, are not as genned up on the subject as they might be and will therefore start my blog in the style of a fairy story, as this seems to be the only way to gain their attention.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, in a time long, long ago, well actually Europe and the time was February 1957, there was no European Union, it wasn't until March of that year that the European Economic Community, commonly known as the Common Market was formed.
On the 25th March 1957 a treaty was signed in Rome between France, West Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg which established the European Economic Community the EEC which came into operation in January 1958.
Just to put this in perspective for you younger folk, prior to 1957 all the countries in Europe and the UK existed as separate entities, how scary is that!
How brave the British must have been, for as far back as the seventeenth and eighteenth century hoards of the extremely wealthy would have gone on a Grand Tour often lasting up to four years, extensively to broaden their horizons and take in the culture, language, geography and architecture, but which often just turned into a glorified booze up.
It would be wrong to accuse the British of being anti Europe for we have travelled extensively on trains like the Orient Express and the Blue Train to places like Paris, Milan, Vienna, Strasbourg, Belgrade and many others. Later in 1907 the Caravan Club was formed and by the 1930's, touring the continent was within the reach of wealthy middle class people, however the best story of this time is of the race between Woolf Barnato, owner of Bentley Motors and famous Bentley Boy, who raced the Blue Train from Cannes back to London in his 6 1/2 litre Bentley Speed Six, and won!
Meanwhile, as we were running amok with our Bentley's, it was suggested by some European political theorists who, with a view to preventing war and improving Europe's economic climate that economic integration might be a good idea, and the first major step was taken in 1951 when France and West Germany integrated their coal and steel industries. Now for us older fellows and with the benefit of hindsight, we can all see where this is going.
I know that you will find this surprising, but initially Britain and other nations declined to join the Common Market, however by the early 1960's the Common Market had shown signs of significant growth and Britain changed it's mind.
From the British point of view there was a slight flaw in the plan, as the French President was one Charles de Gaulle who twice vetoed the British admission because of our close ties to the United States, hang on, I'm seeing a pattern emerging here, if I'm not much mistaken.
As you can imagine we were not greatly impressed with his actions, this, some might say from the "cheese eating surrender monkey" who as leader of the Free French during World War Two, when overrun by Nazi Germany fled to the safety of Great Britain for the rest of the war. One would have thought that, one good turn deserves another, but apparently not.
There is a possibility that had he not been so against us joining, we may have just walked away and got on with our lives, but we Brits are never ones to back away from the taunt "come and have a go, if you think you're hard enough", or in this case De Gaulle's taunt of "Non".
For the benefit of the younger element who may be reading this, it may surprise you to know that it wasn't until January 1973 under the leadership of Ted Heath that we were finally able to join, which means we have only been in the Common Market for 45 years.
Two small points here, 45 years in the concept of world history is a drop in the ocean and the Common Market that we joined then is a distinctly different animal to the current European Union we are currently shackled with.
Having given the history of getting in, I now propose to discuss the thorny subject of, getting out and will start with a quote from the latest film about Winston Churchill, who allegedly said, "you can't reason with a tiger, when your head is in it's mouth."
Rather along the lines of a visit to the dentist where upon sitting in the chair, one clasps his testicles in one's hand and utters the phrase, "we're not going to hurt each other, are we?" Perhaps, when next our negotiating team enter the room, I think they too should have a useful phrase to get our point across and I suggest this; "Exactly what do you want to sell us, I'm sure there must be something?"
I have no idea what to say on this subject but will write the facts as far as I can and perhaps I will be able to make some sense of it all at the end.
From what I understand a mass brawl took place on Thursday between Eritrean and Afghan migrants in the French port town of Calais resulting in four of the migrants being in critical condition and another two who were also shot suffering less serious gunshot wounds.
A total of 22 people were hospitalised, some from stab wounds whilst others were attacked with iron bars, sticks and rocks. The seriously injured migrants were Eritrean youths aged 16-18 one of whom had been hit by a bullet in the back of the neck and according to the BBC a 37 year old Afghan man is suspected of shooting at a queue waiting for food handouts.
Some aid organisations have blamed these actions on criminal gangs and said the initial fight lasted almost two hours and began on the southern outskirts of Calais whilst migrants were queuing for food.
The French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said there had been an escalation of violence and the clashes and been exceptionally serious and had followed 3 deaths and 2 nearly fatal accidents in the last 2 months.
Only two months ago there was another fight between migrants which resulted in gunshot wounds after an incident involving Afghans where 5 people were injured and was believed to be between smugglers settling accounts.
What on earth can be so good about Britain that would encourage migrants to stay in these conditions risking their lives and not to register in France and be taken to safety, I've always found France to be quite a pleasant country and can see no reason for not wanting to live there.
Perhaps it's a foolish question to ask, but how can the French police allow these marauding gangs to be running amok armed with illegal guns? Has anybody been arrested for these deaths?
Obviously I don't know the answer to the problem of the migrants in Calais but it seems curious to me the these people would have marched for miles and miles through a considerable number of European countries with the sole intention of getting to Britain and be so desperate to get there that they are willing to live in Calais, risking their lives in the process. I thought they were trying to escape violence.
For those of you who have read my previous blogs you may have noticed I always write a little tongue in cheek with a touch of sarcasm and generally like to put a witty paragraph or two into the story, however I must apologise if I have disappointed you as, try as hard as I could, I could find nothing funny about this story.
Professor Robert Winston has had his ears assaulted by a woman on a train who held a loud and banal conversation on her mobile phone and yet he has been criticised for posting a picture of her doing so on Twitter.
He has been criticised for posting a photograph of the woman who choose to take an hour long phone call in public and has been accused of invading her privacy, I find that hard to believe when her actions took place in a public railway carriage in front of many other people.
I could understand the criticism had the woman chosen to take the phone call in the privacy of the toilet and he had barged in to take the photo, but then commandeering the toilet for an hour would leave one open to the charge of anti social behaviour, from the queue of people waiting to use the facilities, especially from those getting a little desperate!
It seems he tweeted three separate tweets, the first of which was; "This woman has been on this phone call for 30 minutes in a crowded carriage. We are not interested in her conversation."
Then again; "She's now been on phone 40 minutes and having worn out one ear is now using the other one."
And lastly; "It's now 60 minutes- she has a child with her. Why not talk to her child?"
I'm rather wondering if he took the photograph in such a manner that might have suggested to the woman that her actions were not appreciated by the majority of passengers in the carriage?
Lord Winston has been criticised, mostly, it seems for posting the picture rather than the tweet itself and people have accused him of cyber bullying and that he should have merely told the woman to her face that her actions were annoying.
I could be wrong but it seems to me that anyone who is thick skinned enough to continue a loud and boring telephone conversation in a crowded train carriage for an hour, is not the sort to take too kindly to being asked to cease. Having had a similar experience with a chap in a theatre using his phone during a performance who when asked to stop, told me to "F" off, I can quite understand the dilemma as to how to deal with the situation.
Modern technology has been with us for some time now but it has not come with a set of rules or etiquette on how to use it, one frequently sees people out for dinner at the table and all of them are completely ignoring each other, preferring to communicate with someone elsewhere on their telephones.
It seems so blatantly obvious to me and others, including Lord Winston, that this is not the right way to carry on. When I was younger I rather wasted the benefit of a fairly privileged education by spending too long looking out of the window and day dreaming, however I was lucky in that, I was paying a modicum of attention when the subject of good manners was being discussed.
Judging by the way people carry on nowadays I think it would be fairly safe to assume that the subject of manners is not on the curriculum for modern school pupils, which I think is rather a shame.
Why on earth have they done away with the F1 grid girls, did any of them complain about their working conditions or complain of any sort of harassment whilst at work, I have seen no evidence to suggest that to be the case, far from it.
Whether this has anything to do with the fact that Formula 1 has been taken over by the Americans, I have no idea but I suspect it may have something to do with the decision.
The publicity surrounding this seems to imply it has been taken on the grounds that it was no longer politically correct to employ scantily clad young girls for such work as it undermines their self esteem and degrades the girls who take part.
I feel I must question some of these statements, firstly, as most of the Grand Prix are scheduled where possible to take place in the summer and in warm weather, what would you expect the girls to wear, a tweed suit. Most of the outfits I have seen when watching the F1 seem to me to be most suitable for a hot climate and at no time have I thought them in any way too revealing.
Oddly enough I have come across girls on line who are bemoaning the fact that they have lost a fairly lucrative source of income and one where they felt they were both appreciated and safe in an environment where they enjoyed their job.
Strange that the Americans who come from a country which seemed to tolerate racial and sexual harassment on a wide scale and certainly doesn't seem to be renowned for it's broad minded attitude to so many things has so suddenly come out against the grid girls, has someone taken offence on behalf of the girls, has someone employed a no win no fee legal team?
Having been to many motor racing events over the years with my wife and friends of mine and their wives I have never heard any of the women complain about the grid girls, nor any demands that they be removed.
Since this happened I have heard people question why there are only men on the grid and why aren't women taking part in the racing, well I have news for them, as soon as a woman can drive as fast as the men and have a genuine right to be on the grid it will happen. Can you imagine the amount of publicity and therefore money that would be generated by a woman on pole position for a Grand Prix. When there is one strong enough, fit enough and fast enough, she will be on the grid.
In the mean time we have motor racing without the grid girls and I'm forced to wonder what next, we already have electric motor car racing, which I have to admit I find as dull as dishwater, however in these days in which we now find ourselves, it is politically correct. The logical conclusion, if women can't take part is to do away with the drivers altogether and have autonomous car racing.
No grid girls, electric cars, no drivers, it would make watching Scalextrix seem exciting, actually, now I consider it, I think it would make watching paint dry seem exciting.
Well, that's my blob for today, I have to leave you now as I have some rather interesting magnolia which I need to keep my eye on, it's at that fascinating point where it's just past tacky.