Old Git Demonising Youth

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Junior Chavs on the Beach

Junior Chavs on the Beach

So, I go down to the beach to cool off in the sea breeze (what there is of it; its been a dead, heavy, muggy sort of day – right on cue there was a clap of thunder just then.) And I sit on the pebbles by the old outflow pipe from the defunct Walney Baths, and idly throw pebbles down the beach into empty space. There’s nobody in front of me, and I’m fascinated to see the way they ricochet off larger pebles in random ways, apparently gaining energy from nowhere as they do so.

And then I realise that pebbles are crashing around me. I look back. There’s two lads, and a girl right behind me (top picture), trying to look innocent. The girl in blue walking to the left came over at one point, gawped at me, and wandered back via her friends (lower picture) who were also deperately trying to look innocent. I ignored them. The pebbles began to crash around me again, and this time I knew which directions they were coming from. So I got the camera out. As you see, they were so innocent they were anxious not to be photographed; however, when I got up to track them they ran away and disappeared down the bank and into the nearby housing estate. I’m sure when I present the pictures to Walney School tomorrow, somebody will recognise them.

I don’t know if they habitually chuck stones at anybody on the beach, or only at hapless middle-aged women, or that they just took a dislike to me. Although I’d had no interaction with them previously. But even if they are identified nothing will be done. We are terrified these days of telling the thick and worthless that they are thick and worthless. They are just misunderstood. It’s all my fault for ‘demonising’ them!

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To err is human…

Sunday, 11 May 2008

According to the programme I’m listening to on Radio 4, Alexander Pope is a forgotten poet.

Blimey, and they try to kid us that this isn’t a dumbed-down society.

Oh yes,

… to really foul things up requires a computer.

Young Frankenstein

Let me get one thing clear from the outset. I’m wary of cults; it’s in my nature to distrust them. There’s a big difference between enjoying a piece of off-the-wall genius, and using some artefact or other as a shibboleth to determine inclusion or exclusion into the ranks of the ‘cool’. Well, cool be damned; I’m a hot chick, myself, and if it’s just not done to criticise Mel Brooks, well, tough!

I felt some of this exclusion when I was a teenager. Now, I admire Marty Feldman as the comic genius behind Round the Horne, but there he had geniuses like Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams to work with who could take smutty innuendo and elevate it to a work of art. Feldman had a show of his own in the late 60s, and although it contained moments of comic brilliance, there were longeurs of elaborate, puerile, unfunniness. Unfortunately it was just not done not to think of it as the greatest show ever, and I was made to suffer.

As it happens, Young Frankenstein does have flashes of comic genius. Mel Brooks is like that – he can have one brilliant idea and then pad it out with banal, unsophisticated schoolboy smut. Bug-eyed, insouciant Feldman is wonderful here, in small doses. The scene in which Gene Wilder and the Monster do a musical turn, Putting on the Ritz, before an audience of scientists is a masterpiece worthy of standing alongside Springtime for Hitler. But the rest, well, I can imagine the Marx Brothers taking what ideas there were and doing something wonderful with it in half the length, but to me it was puerile. Slapstic mitteleuropeans all basically Nazis at heart (the police inspector’s prosthetic arm routine ripped shamelessly from Dr Strangelove. Scantily-clad young women with their boobs hanging out, and a central joke about the size of the Monster’s plonker; an adolescent schoolboy’s wankfest. The laughs were few and far between and the whole thing was ponderous.

I may risk social death but this one really dragged for me and I’d count it the least enjoyable film for me in this Diary. Sorry and all that but there it is.