Dear Hugh 15
Thursday July 14th 2005
I have to write this quietly because there’s a kind of hush all over the world in a sec; a Two-Minute Silence that takes place in half an hour for the poor souls who copped it from The Tubeway Army.
This is apparently not like the two-minute silences that you and I have been observing over the years on Poppy Day or in respect of stuff like Diana’s death or the end of Pan’s People dancing on Top Of The Pops.
No, this is a New Labour silence and, predictably, we here in the fields of England are therefore having to be instructed on how to behave appropriately. Call me dim but I would have thought that there wasn’t too much to learning how to master this silence lark; it’s not like studying Wittgenstein, even for people who wear trainers.
But once again my presumptions were wrong because it turns out that this here silence cannot be like any silence we’ve known before. The organisers are saying they don’t want any of that head bowed in quiet contemplation and prayer stuff.
No, this is a New Improved Silence with added extra display of public calm. According to all the newspapers and radio bulletins here, in order to mark The New Silence we have to “go out into the streets; leave your homes and offices and stand in silence with others”. If I sit here and pray for the souls of those who were murdered, then apparently that doesn’t count.
I expect that unless I go out and stand in the middle of the road, I’ll get busted by John Prescott’s Silence Detector Vans, who’ll issue me with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order signed by The Noisefinder General.
Well, they can fuck off. I’m marking the loss (in a few minutes’ time) by having a fag, thinking on the ageless tragedy of religion, composing a prayer in my head and then, doubtless when official klaxons sound to signal that we can all be rowdy again, getting the Les Paul out and playing along to Steve Earle’s Jerusalem; the pithy irony of which will be lost on the cretinism of The New Silencers (“well maybe I’m only dreaming and maybe I’m just a fool, but I don’t remember learning how to hate in Sunday School”).
Here we go. Back in a mo….
That was decent. There was not a sound, above the birds singing, across the whole of the village. There was not even the noise of planes in the sky like there is now; which is dead impressive, pilots being able to glide 747s like that for 120 seconds. Although I didn’t see anyone out in the streets dressed up in black bunting, so I presume we’re all for it.
What do you say when they knock on your door – “sorry, I was silent already at the office”?
Of course, you don’t have to have been the publicist for an international rock star for more years than you can shake a stick at to have sniffed nouvelle PR spin in The New Schtum - or the Gedenkminute as we should perhaps call it, now that we’ve gone global (* see below).
In this Slave New World of engineering perception to be reality, the powers want us out in the streets so that the cameras can see it. Come on now, hush for the birdie – because if it can’t be seen on Sky News then it didn’t happen. Probably that plane that just glid over was passengered by hordes of Fleet Street snappers, all taking aerial photographs for tomorrow’s front pages of “The Moment Britain Stopped”.
Because that, of course, will scare the breakfast out of the other suicide bombers who are sitting up on Ilkley Moor planning their next outrage. You can imagine the conversation that is going on as I write:
“What about the Old Bailey?”
“No, the Irish did that; we don’t want to be seen as plagiarists”
“How about a soccer match?”
“The football season’s over”.
“What about a cricket ground, then?”
“Nah, the crowds are dead already”.
“Hang about – look at this! Fuck! The Brits are all out in the streets, holding hands and saying nothing”
“Bugger me, they are as well. Well, that’s it; fuck Osama, I’m out of here! Tell him he can stuff his virgins in Paradise offer, I’m not bombing anywhere else if they’re going to get all mute on us. I’ve had that before with my deaf Granny; it’s terrifying! Ee up, pass us me ferret, you barmcake”.
Respect for the tragically dead is right and proper but if we think this “We Shall Not Be Moved” philosophy is going to stop anything, we’ve unfortunately got another bomb coming. As I’ve said before, the only thing that will work is application of the Hitler Theory of Retribution. In other words, sort out Pakistan.
And before anyone gets jumpy about that, look at today’s newspapers and their potted biographies of the bombers. In each case it’s “he changed after he went to Pakistan”, “he became very religious after a visit to Pakistan”.
Which bit of the clue don’t you understand, guys? Talk about dealing with fools who skip the bleeding obvious, it’s like going into a Tel Aviv travel agent’s in 1939 and the manager saying “Well, Germany’s nice at this time of year”.
Not that anybody is going to take a blind bit of notice of the Pakistan Problem in Downing Street or The Pentagon. I’m just pissing in the wind here; we can’t rough up Karachi because if we did it might damage our arms sales to the heroin warlords on the Kirthar Range.
I expect we’ll get hate-mail about that and I’ll have to do a Rushdie (which isn’t so bad, judging by the gorgeous women he gets to shag). I warn this because, as I alluded earlier (*) DEAR HUGH has now gone global. Hoist the daft Olympic flag that would be appropriate if only seven countries entered the Games; play The Internationale; hang out sheets bearing the felt-tipped slogan “WELCOME YANKS” – because we are now on the Web. By which I mean the Internet, not caught in my hedge.
It seems that somebody – and I suspect our good friend and excellent Englishman Timbo here – has slipped these here Letters To The Coronarians under the door of Stephen Hawkins, or whatever it is that you do to “post on the Net”, as the hipsters call it. I know this because somebody told me to check it out and, lo, up on Google and Yahoo! there is DEAR HUGH.
And beneath our scribblings there’s reaction like the review from hugely-sentient readers such as someone who lives under the unfortunate title of “Darulharb”.
“Darulharb” - whose peculiar conjunction of vowels and consonants makes me suspect him to be one of the cave-dwelling associates of the alarmingly-lipped Osama (Have you ever looked at his lips? Talk about Fish-Faced) – applied his A.J.P. Tayloresque analysis and came up with the acute observation that “You mother takes it up the ass, without Lube”.
Just so that me and Darulharb are on the same page here, he should know that my mother is 75 and, as such, would be very happy to take it anywhere – with or without the participation of his mate Lube, which I presume is an abbreviation denoting his pal as a resident of Lubeck. Or perhaps Lublin, in eastern Poland.
To tell you the truth, I’m a bit disappointed with the likes of Darulharb and Lube (whom I’m beginning to suspect might be Hall & Oates
re-launching themselves under a new moniker) because I would have thought that they could have done better than alluding to my Mum’s apparently cavernous bottom.
In fact, so pathetically “you smell, you do” is the attempted insult that I’m starting to wonder whether old Darulharb is actually just one of those New Labour Silencers who is too PC to write “fuck off, you cunt”.
Still, it takes all sorts. Even those who clearly should have been drowned at birth.
And there’s another lesson that the New Mob has failed to learn from history; there needs to be more of that Herod stuff in their anti-terrorism tactics. There’s nothing like a good cull of the infants to shake fundamental belief – or at least to get your wife on your case, which is pretty much the same thing.
Anyway, as we’re now global and you’re famous can I leech onto the back of your celebrity and ask all of our readers out there if anybody has found the little gold cow charm that I lost in Montserrat in 1988. Send it on, if you have.
Must dash as I’m dying for a piss, but before I go can I show a bit of solidarity with you there out in France by saying how gutted I am that London’s avarice has prevented the staging of the Paris Olympics.
Shame, that. I was really looking forward to live coverage of Ms. Hilton working her way through a long line of men. Maybe they’ll ask my Mum to step in instead. They can get old Lube along as the Polish entry.
And in celebration of that, here follows recipes for Borsch and something you can do with Blinis. And don’t get all pedantic, saying that’s Russian and not Polish; they’re all the same, women with bearded armpits and all that.