DEAR HUGH (STATE OF EMERGENCY SPECIAL EDITION)
Friday July 8th 2005
(Language deteriorates below the fold)
One ' Geldof's fucked, then.
Two ' I'll put a fucking bomb in London if Blair doesn't learn to speak faster.
Did you hear him yesterday? Jesus Christ; it made you want to catch a bus. What is the matter with this man and his brain-to-mouth impediment? Is it some form of elaborate stutter?
OK, I know he was at a press conference and reporters these days don't do shorthand but, for fuck's sake, even my one-armed thalidomide tortoise could take that dictation.
Did you hear him?
'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''.by this shoc''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''king'''''''''''''''''''''''.atrocity'.
Fucking get on with it, you twat; Shameless is on in a minute.
As Robbie (12) pithily put it 'Maybe he's got Tourets, Dad, and he needs to think about what he says'.
As a patriot (which I am, actually; Elgar, green and pleasant, the sacred rite of conkers and all that) I am concerned that our Slo-Mo PM is giving the wrong impression to the towel head bombers. They must have watched him on the telly and thought that they'd scored a direct hit, because he plainly appeared to have concussion.
Actually, what is interesting is that Tardy Tony's first remarks to camera ' uttered before some half-wit decided to write a languid, cortege-speed address for him ' revealed his true feelings. And, God, wasn't he is a tantrum then? There he was, getting his moment of G8 glory trashed, and it was all 'This is jolly rude! These people are spoiling my turn to be king and it's not fair! Beasts!'
I hope they catch the fuckers; not just to keep them off the streets but so that somebody can tell them that as far as bombers go, they are really crap. Fifty, or whatever, dead, is dreadful, appalling, but it's still a crap kill-rate compared to what they could have achieved if, for instance, they had just stood in one of those long queues to brush past the Big Issue sellers and down the steps at Oxford Street tube station.
Or in one of the lines outside the Planetarium. Plainly, these bombers do not know their way about.
I noticed that unfortunately it took less than an hour after the blasts for the Americanisation of the tragedy to kick it. This began with unsolicited e-mails from people asking me 'Are you alright?'.
Of course I'm fucking alright, I live in Wiltshire. After about eight of these messages from masters of geography, I thought I might as well join in with the spirit of universal concern and phone my Mum to reassure her (just in case she was worried that times are so hard that I've taken to travelling by public transport).
I rang and said: 'Hi, Mum; I'm just calling to say that I'm not dead'.
She said: 'No, dear, it's Grandma who's dead. The funeral is on Monday. Aren't you coming?'
I said yes, I know, but there's been a terror incident in London and I was ringing to say that I'm not there. And then the idiocy of this struck me and I made a note to call her and say that 'I'm not there' the next time there's an earthquake in China or a flood in Pakistan.
As usual in times of emergency, the news coverage here was bizarre.
'This is the attack that we have long been waiting for', said somebody on Sky News. No, it isn't. The attack we have long been waiting for, and still are waiting for, is one from a dirty bomb. By which I do not mean a device that explodes by calling everybody a cunt.
Talking of which, which bright sub on the backbench of The Times was it who thought that we Brits needed the event to be described in the vernacular of Las Vegas? I don't know if you've seen The Times, but they've taken to describing it as '7/7'.
Ugh. '7/7', '9/11' ' has nobody other than George Galloway worked out that it's because of our bed-sharing with Americana that this has happened in the first place? We, being British, do not need '7/7', thank you. We, being British, are perfectly capable of enunciating 'July the seventh'. It's bad enough standing around waiting for a bus that never arrives without blowing up, let alone having to suffer a terrorism of semantics.
Talking of which, my suspicion that the people responsible are not some slick act was endorsed this morning when I read that the group claiming responsibility are called 'The Secret Organization Group Of
Al-Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe'.
That's really up there in catchiness with Pepsi, isn't it?
What sort of fuckwits are they? Who (other than a cretin with scant command of English) uses the snappy word 'Organization' twice in their title? And spells it with an irritatingly-inappropriate 'z'? It's with a fucking 's', you inarticulate heathens.
Anyway, I read the statement from the easily-remembered SOGAQJOE
and noted that among its claims, apparently 'Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern and western quarters'.
Once again, wrong. Speak to my Mum. She lives in the 'western quarters' and she was so 'burning with fear' that she knew fuck-all about it when I rang.
Our mate Al (as in Maclennan, not Qaeda) was not so fortunate. He was at Edgware Road yesterday at the time of the disaster but wisely decided not to hop onto the Piccadilly Line after observing smoke billowing from the entrance to the Tube station. Of course, this could merely have signified a Keith Richards gig in action, but thankfully Alex decided otherwise.
As you may know, Al has moved into the village here and his will be one of the homes that Robbie and I visit tonight in order to orchestrate the inauguration of the All Cannings Defence Corps.
You will have noticed that the ACDC is already a notch up on the SOGAQJOE when it comes to superior acronyms. We also have an air-gun. A .177. So nobody better come around here leaving their sarnies in a paper bag on the Wiggly Bus, or we'll take their eye out.
Anyway, back to the lysergic acid-style reporting. I knew that things were grim when the BBC Nine O'Clock News reported from outside New Scotland Yard that 'what the police have to discover about the bombers is were they foreign or were they home-grown British?'
Well, what the fuck do you think? Home-grown British? What does that mean? Are Home-Grown British terrorists the sort who bomb London because they're fed up that it's been raining a lot and the price of black pudding's gone up? And how exactly are these people grown at home? Under arc lights?
Inevitably, the local news bulletins made it all worse. BBC South West was spectacular in its optimism to be part of the gang. 'The bomb may have gone off in London but it felt as if we were ALL under attack', they said.
No. Wrong. We didn't feel under attack here. But then we've got an
Undaunted by their display of singular ignorance of the location of London, BBC South West continued 'The advice from police in the West tonight is 'be alert but not alarmed'. But although the region is a long way from London and few would expect a bomb here, none expected a bomb on a red double-decker bus to Hackney'.
Oh, right. That's up there with 'Although the tsunami was centred on Thailand, it could have hit Trowbridge, because that also begins with a 'T''
Then, as the Americans had not featured in our domestic news for all of a minute, we had to 'go over, live, now' to Washington where Condaleeza Rice was signing a book of condolence that some enterprising spark had opened at the British Embassy. Did you see what she wrote? She wrote 'they will not die in vain'.
What the fuck does that mean? Not 'did not' but 'will not'. 'Will not' implies a knowledge of future events; has she got some retaliation up her sleeve? And against whom, exactly? What's she going to do, have F1-11's take out Tottenham?
Talk about giving the game away; she may as well have signed the book with 'you'll be sorr-ee, luv and kisses, Condy'.
Perhaps I am being too harsh in my expectation that leaders (Blair, Rice, the BBC) should give some thought to their exhortations before spewing rubbish like drunks in a pub. But then their knee-jerkery paled in comparison with Bono's response.
Don't know if you clocked this but Bono was asked whether he thought that the attacks would shift the G8 agenda from aid for Africa and he said 'It's not a problem'.
Hello? Earth to idiot. 'It's not a problem'? That's up there with 'it's a drag', isn't it? Maybe he'll have to regroup under a new banner now, Make Pomposity History.
But the best coverage was kicked off by that guff from the Mayor of France with his 'maintenant, je suis il Londoner ici' nonsense. No you are not. WE are; you lost, remember?
Personally I don't like the sound of the French trying to muscle in on our gig with all of this 'ich bin eine chirpy Cockney geezer, ain't I my old Dutch' lark. Fuck off and get your own bomb; this is nothing to do with you.
Or is it?
We shall examine the French Connection in a moment. But I haven't finished with the Yanks yet. As I was saying, it's a damn shame that this atrocity has to be described through usage of all four pages of the American Dictionary, with terms like '7/7' etc. And just as it was after September 11th, so the newsmen here last night had to go into Americanised fits of description about the Blitz spirit and stiff upper lips.
Ignoring for a moment both the stiff upper and lower lips of our Prime Minister which prevent him from talking properly, I've not noticed any Blitz spirit. All I've seen is what you always see from us lot in times of dire emergency and national threat ' which is essentially a response of 'do piss off you bloody camel-shagger, you're making me late for the pub'. Blair could do worse than adopting a touch of this 'Oi, fucking keep it down' attitude and less of the hand-wringing feebleness.
Anyway, according to the way that the BBC's entire staff of reporters on work experience put it you'd have thought we'd never had problems on the streets of London before.
I remember the days of Scotland v England football matches at Wembley. That WAS a fucking terror, waiting for a Tube at Kings Cross with all that lot of peat-reeking pissheads in their cloaks of St. Andrew's cross and cans of Tennants Super Brew.
In fact, if I back up my memory by twenty years I remember a time when you couldn't walk down Fleet Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street without some bog brigader setting off a letter box without asking you first. And if it wasn't bombs on every corner, then it was bloody riots going on all over the place. And Millwall playing at home. I know all about ruddy terror on the streets of London; I remember the first royal wedding ' the sight of Barbara Cartland's caked-up face gaping out of one of those carriages was petrifying.
Anyway, having exhausted my interest in the BBC coverage, I switched to ITV because I figured that by now they would be proving true to type and screening 'Celebrity Bomb Victims'.
Oddly enough, this wasn't on. I expect the broadcast was delayed while lawyers negotiated with Ulrika Johnson to present it topless. But no matter because instead we had the highly-entertaining sight of watching Sir Trevor McDonald present an EXTENDED ITN NEWS by continually SHOUTING.
Just in case the gravity of the situation had not dawned on everyone, ITN made it evident by adding a headline to the left hand top corner of the screen during Sir Trev's FURIOUS REPORTS. This read:
'TARGET LONDON' and was illustrated with a graphic of three little FLAMES and implied EXCLAMATION MARKS.
After staring at 'TARGET LONDON' (snappy, evidently not from the same copywriters as those that SOGAQJOE use), I began to wonder whether this was an announcement ' or an instruction?
Was 'TARGET LONDON' a call to arms to all of the swarthy men in skirts who have been poncing about studying engineering at the University of Richmond (sic) since 1977? Was 'TARGET LONDON' the sign that they had been waiting for? Was ITN a sleeper front for Al-Qaeda and, come to think of it, where did Sir Trevor Bin Laden get that tan from in the first place?
But, as I have previously alluded, who says it's the men in skirts that are responsible? It could be the French.
You may scoff but look at the circumstantial evidence. First the garlic-munchers get stuffed on Britain asking pointed questions about the subsidies of the Common Agricultural Policy and how come every French farmer drives a Rolls. Then the brown envelopes that Seb Coe put about in Singapore pay off and Paris fails to get the Olympics.
You can see a pattern. Personally, I reckon Chirac got his over-eager secret service to get their Rainbow Warrior plan out again in order to provide a diversion that would get Blair the hell out of Gleneagles.
I reckon the G8 came down for coffee and biscuits and said 'where's Tony?' and Chirac replied that he'd had to rush to London about something or other but he'd left a badly-typed note which read:
Sorry I've had to away nip. Agree pleaze with the French. They are bon!
You can scoff but these are strange times indeed. Anyway, as I am not in the least bit xenophobic about it all, here follows a recipe for a Solidarity Supper of Towel-Head Cous Cous With French Beans.