You know things are going badly politically when the Americans start taking the piss out of you on Saturday Night Live. I know it’s already a couple of weeks old, and the impressions are fairly cringeworthy, but it goes to show just how risible the rest of the world is finding the Brexit debacle when the Americans, whose own political situation is fairly ludicrous, decide we’re fair game for a pisstake. It really is getting embarrassing; let’s just hope things start to right theirselves in the new year.
Last night I read that one of my all-time favourite film and tv personalities, Michael Palin, is to get a knighthood in the new year’s honours. Call me silly, but I’m frankly over the moon for him; he really has earned it. Mind you, as he himself points out, he has been a knight before, but I wonder if he’ll say ‘Ni’ this time.
Ever since I first heard about Cuba in relation to Hemingway, I’ve been quite curious about it. Cuba looks very exotic from the pictures, but you don’t hear much about what life is like there. I just came across this quite fascinating bbc report on it though, and I’m more intrigued than ever. I won’t say much about it, other than it seems fairly thorough and balanced. You have to wonder, with the Castro period now at an end and the fuckwit the Americans now call their president having undone Obama’s good work in restoring relations, what the future holds for the island. Either way, it’s definitely a place I want to visit soon.
I was just doing a bit of reading to follow up my entry on the Crystal Palace. It was, of course, built in Hyde Park for the famous Great Exhibition of 1851. When I read that, I naturally looked up exhibitions, wondering what they were and what became of them. I’d assumed they’d stopped, but they’re still going. That strikes me as odd, I must say: they appear to be quite regular, so why don’t we hear anything about them? Why doesn’t the media make as much of a song and dance about them as they do over the Olympics? Surely they are the cultural equivalent of the olympics, in that they both draw the world’s attention to one specific city. And, more to the point, why hasn’t London hosted a world exhibition since 1862? Surely putting one on would mean the world’s greatest metropolis can show what it can do once more.
Moment of the day: two people with unclear speech trying to explain to a Polish guy with English as a second language why Elfis would be the best singer at the north pole. Ahh, the joy of Christmas cracker jokes. Merry Christmas everyone!
I don’t want to go into detail on here, but yesterday I received a bit of news concerning a family member which, while not innately bad, was sufficiently ominous to make me worry. Between that and a couple of other unpleasant things recently, it’s safe to say I’m not in a very good place right now. Yet, the way I look at it, there are plenty of worse places to be. I think I’ve written on here before how I grew up with three lads with muscular dystrophy, who, despite knowing their condition would slowly sap away their strength, never once complained about their condition. Lyn has the same fortitude. It’s just a case of keeping your head held high and refusing to give in.
Moreover, I know that every day has the potential for something awesome to happen. I have done so many incredible things over the last few years, from meeting Patrick Stewart and Danny Boyle to watching Monty Python Live, The Cat Empire and Greenday. All those events arose completely by chance: for example, when I wheeled up to the park cafe that day last summer to discover a film crew at work up at Charlton House, I had no idea I would end up meeting Danny Boyle, one of my all-time filmic heroes. You never know what each day will bring; each day has the potential for something incredible to happen.
Mind you, I think another bit of awesomeness is long overdue, not just for me but for the whole country. The uk is torn in two right now; it’s getting worrying. I know I probably don’t help with my accusations of fascism and ’embarrassments to human civilisation’. Half the country loathes the other half. But I keep thinking about the summer of 2012, and how united we were: the country was behind London, cheering us on; and we felt proud to be British, and what we, together, were capable of. I’ll always feel proud of being a Londoner that summer.
That summer now seems a very distant memory. Where we were once united, we are now utterly divided. Putting the politics of Brexit aside for now – and I still think it’s totally, totally moronic – the fact we are all constantly arguing over it, online and off, isn’t good for anyone. We desperately need another huge public event we can all get behind to bring us back together again; something awesome to lift us all out of this quagmire. What that could be I’m not sure, but I think Theresa May was talking about something similar when she suggested a ‘Festival of Britain’ – although I haven’t heard anything more about that.
Both personally and in general, history has taught me that, no matter how crappy things might get, there is always potential for something awesome to happen. At any moment, you can receive news of a new event or new idea, or you could meet a new person, which could lead on eventually to something you’ll never forget. Right now, part of me thinks that it’s high time I had another moment like that. Yet, at the same time, these incredible moments can only happen if you look out for them: when you’re feeling low it’s all too easy to shy away from life. The 2012 olympics only happened because London was brave enough to apply for them, just as I only met Danny Boyle because I had the cheek to wander up to Charlton House and ask.
To do that meant leaving the house and going out into the world. Life can be incredible, but only if you do not shy away from it. You cannot let all the dire, bleak things happening in the world beat you into submission, because then you stop looking for all the special, incredible things which make life so wonderful. After all, who knows what tomorrow may bring: just as I may meet another of my heroes or find another of my favourite bands is doing a gig nearby, the country might be awarded another international event which we’ll all end up uniting behind. While I now have a feeling that my next few years may not be as easy as the last few, experience tells me to never rule out the potential for awesomeness.
Given that Corbyn just committed himself to pursuing full brexit (thereby relinquishing any right whatsoever to claim to be a socialist), this seems very apt.
The vast majority of the labour party aren’t stupid; they know how utterly foolish Brexit is. So why is their leader refusing to listen to them? Doesn’t corbyn realise brexit is a plot to set the most perverse form of neoliberalism loose in the UK?
I better warn you, once you hear it you won’t be able to get it out of your head for days, but this song is too awesome not to flag up. Who’d have thought a song about humble sausage rolls could be so catchy?
This entry finds me and John on the train south again, back to London, another journey at an end. We have just left a remarkable city; what a place Liverpool is. It had been well over a decade since I was last there and it was completely different to how I remembered. There are many outstanding museums, including the rather humbling museum of slavery.
Samual Pepys once famously wrote that to be titled of London was to be tired of life, yet after almost a decade of living in the metropolis I find myself wondering about finding somewhere new. As much as I love the capital, I think I have noted here before that it’s simply too big. I want somewhere more compact and homely, but no less vibrant. Today, in Liverpool, I think I have found it.