If anyone is is after something to chuckle at this evening, check this out. A poll conducted by outist in chief Farage himself has backfired spectacularly, with 63% of respondents now saying they would now vote to remain in the EU. How delicious! And what greater sign can there be that the tide is turning against this shameful farce?
I’ve recently started to think about the olympics again, and whether Manchester could host them in 2032. It seems to me that if there’s one sure way to get a city onto the global map it’ hosting an Olympic Games. (The notable exception being New York, the only truly global city yet to host). While I am now firmly a Londoner and adore the metropolis, living down here has given me a fresh affinity for the nearest big city to the town where I was born. I now want Manchester to thrive and throb as London does. A couple of questions present themselves though: for one, would this idea actually have any traction up in Manchester itself? And how on earth could I get this idea off the ground, rather then just remaining my whimsical daydream of repeating the glories of 2012 up north? Any suggestions how I could take this forward?
Blackadder, like say, Monty Python and One Foot in the Grave, is one of those cornerstones of British comedy which everyone gets nostalgic about but which we assume are long gone. Most people probably take it that we saw the last of Blackadder and Baldric thirty years ago when they went over the top at the end of his fourth incarnation. However, it seems that may no longer be the case: just before bed last night I came across this Metro article. Tony Robinson has hinted that the old cast may be getting back together for a fifth Blackadder series. He reportedly said: ‘We’d have to get the old group back together again. ‘I know everyone is busy doing wonderful things, but we all have fond memories so I’m sure we would work it out.’ Before now, I’d have just dismissed such stories as wishful thinking, but after James Bond’s incredible appearance with the Queen in 2012 turned out to be true, and the 2014 reunion of Monty Python proved equally awesome, I wouldn’t rule anything like this out any more.
I still don’t see what is so wrong with the notion that humanity should be trying to outgrow nationalism. Why can’t we see beyond state borders and try to work as one? Does nationalism not just ferment rivalry and bitterness across essentially arbitrary lines on a map? If the planet has limited resources, shouldn’t we be working together to ensure those resources are used in the best way possible? I know many people derive much of their identities from their nationality, taking pride in the fact that they were born into a particular state; but would it not be better to take pride in the fact that one is human, and in what humanity as a whole has achieved. Granted, nations add to human variety; but, now more than ever, borders are irrelevant to cultural diversity. We no longer need to segregate ourselves to remain unique or maintain diverse identities. Indeed, maintaining division only perpetuates friction between cultural groups. Thus I ask with increasing exasperation, why are we maintaining national borders, resorting to nationalism and shunning international cooperation? I may be british, I may be English, but those are just two of a plethora of identities which make up who I am. Far more important to me is the fact I am human.
We are all unique, so getting rid of the lines on the map which currently separate humanity won’t diminish human diversity: now more than ever, culture exists independently of geography. And taking inordinate pride in the fact that one was born in a given piece of land only serves to perpetuate the rivalries which have lead to the most shameful episodes of human history. Isn’t it time we all started coming together?
A while ago on here I wrote that I wanted to get back into psychology again, having taken it at A-level gut going no further. I was thinking about that again today: as a writer and film-maker, I mostly focus on my own experiences as a guy with a physical disability. But it occurs to me that, in terms of disability and disabled people, physical disability is only part of the story. These days, the term ‘disability’ covers a hell of a lot more than conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or spina bifida. There are also many more people, marginalised by society for all kinds of reasons, who I could be writing about. Until now, my stories and scripts have attempted to convey what life is like for someone like myself; but there’s another group, arguably even more marginalised than physically disabled people, whose stories need telling just as much. That is an area I now want to expand into as an artist. It will take quite a bit of work, but I think it could be fascinating.
It now looks like I have something else to keep an eye on, alongside the return of Captain Picard. Late last night, just before bed, I came across something about another Monty Python comeback. It wasn’t much: just Micheal Palin saying that the pythons are planning something to mark their fiftieth anniversary next year, but it was enough to send my mind racing. Today I consulted the Monty Python fan facebook page. Predictably, no one knew much, but there is talk of an exhibition up at the V and A. I was sort of hoping for another full-on reunion show, although that might be unlikely due to Terry Jones’ Alzhiemers, and it probably wouldn’t have been at the o2 (or indeed in the uk) again, so I knew that the prospect of a repeat of that epic night in 2014 would have been too much for me to hope for. Nonetheless, I was directed here, to the exhibition site. There isn’t much to go on at this point, but it certainly looks like they once again have something interesting in the making, and all being well I’ll be able to make my way up there to check it out when it’s on. Monty Python had an enormous impact on British comedy and culture, and it is good to see that legacy being properly marked.
I just came across something rather interesting on facebook. On one of the anti-brexit pages, someone had posted a link to a poll on Farage’s facebook page asking whether we should Leave or remain in the EU knowing what we know now. Expecting it to show a large majority favouring leave (his fb page will mostly be visited by outists) I clicked Remain. To my surprise and joy, the poll showed a 61% majority for remain, as of six o’clock. Surely that must be a good sign. I just hope it stays that way.
I just rewatched the first episode of Michael Palin’s new channel Five series on North Korea, because I missed bits of it when it was on tv a couple of days ago. I must say I found it quite intriguing – I didn’t think Channel five were into making programs like that. They have obviously taken a format they know works on channels like bbc1 and applied it to the most despotic country on the map, so that we glimpse a place so foreign and frightening that it quite beggars belief. It was fascinating to glimpse a country we all know so little about. Palin makes his usual show of being the affable middle-class Englishman abroad, attempting to be both serious and vaguely comic simultaneously, but below that we get a glimpse of something truly puzzling. What we are being shown here might well be propaganda, but the question is ‘whose?’ Are we seeing what the North Koreans want us to see, or are we seeing what Channel Five want us to show us about North Korea? Through Palin this program projects the image of the quintessential Englishman abroad exploring what we have all been told is a brutal despotic country, but to what extent is that in itself a contrivance? How can we be sure that in itself is not just as manipulative as the North Korean regime is supposed to be? or am I being over analytical? It’s a fascinating program either way, and one I look forward to watching more of.
The sparks are really starting to fly over this travesty. All we can do now is sit back and watch. I’m now pretty sure that sooner or later brexit will be cancelled: May and the tories know full well the damage it will do, but can’t admit it. They’re continuing what they know is folly for ideological reasons. But on the other hand, guys like Macron are starting to lose patience pointing out that the Leave campaign lied to us two years ago.
Any reasonable person can now see how stupid Brexit is getting and what damage it would do to the economy. Even the tories know it’s stupid. But I also think they – or at least the cabinet – know why the 27 other members had to reject their silly plan yesterday, and were forced to push it forward or risk losing all integrity and authority. Any intelligent, informed person can see why the remaining 27 cannot give the tories what they want, or the entire project would become meaningless.
Brexit has always been a charrade. CaMoron only called the referendum to get rid of UKIP; he probably thought he would win it easily. But his plan backfired, and the tories have no choice but to give the appearance of honouring the referendum’s outcome. They know that, if they don’t, they would become a laughing stock; they also want to keep the nationalist nutters who actually believe in brexit in the Tory party happy. But they know too what damage leaving the EU will do, and why the remaining 27 rejected the plan yesterday; they just can’t admit it or they could kiss goodbye to any authority they ever had. Their image as stern authoritarians would fly out the window and they would never win an election ever again. Thus they have no choice but to keep up the appearance of continuing with something which they know full well will damage the country, and which they know full well will end up in no deal. It would be an utterly hilarious situation, if it wasn’t so dangerous, frightening and infuriating.
The question is, how do we end this charade?
While it is rather long, I think I need to flag this video up. It is a discussion of the return of Captain Picard, and why Picard is exactly the character we need at the moment. In it, Steve Shires looks at some of the best Picard episodes, arguing that he is precisely the figure of wisdom, patience and tolerance we need in the current political atmosphere. I think it’s worth a watch, even for non-Trekkies. Star Trek has always had the ability to show us an optimistic, hopeful vision of the future built on tolerance and respect – two things which the world seems quite short of right now. While of course it remains to be seen whether the return of Picard isn’t just a gimmick to coax fans back, it is also true that he was always a figure of wisdom, who helped make Trek great. At the end of the day, you can be as cynical as you like: seeing Picard sat in the captain’s chair or ordering an Earl Grey again is enough to fill any Trekkie with glee.