The Iron Lady has left (without meeting her hero Sarah Palin), and it’s one of those farewells where history has come down pretty decisively on the side of her policies being misguided at best and deeply damaging to the fabric of British society at worst.
Sure, she was the strongest female politician since — who? Victoria? Eva Peron? — and she moved the women’s movement forward by her very existence, but her devotion to Cold War policies and her indifference to the working class in her own country did not go over well, and has aged poorly.
But there is a silver lining. She ran the UK during a bit of a musical golden age, and so she inspired some fantastic music. These are the songs I’ll be singing today.
The (English) Beat’s “Stand Down Margaret”:
Elvis Costello’s “Tramp The Dirt Down” is as angry a screed as I’ve ever heard him deliver:
UB40’s “If It Happens Again (I’m Leaving)” is about her impending re-election:
Out of dozens of Billy Bragg songs that would fit very well in a post like this, here’s “one of “It Says Here,” which is a great snapshot of how mean people could be. Now that stuff is so normal that we don’t even pay attention to it anymore, but at the time, Billy Bragg on some morning chat show yelling this stuff at people seems a little vertigo-inducing.
Note: This was borrowed lovingly from the Dollymop Files - http://www.thedollymoppfiles.co.uk/blog/2013/03/london-se1-escort-blog-borough-london-bridge/ - I’m only copying it here because that site is blocked on some sites. All commentary theirs, along with my gratitude for this lovely… piece.
In my searches and love of all things whorestorical (new word) I found an old brothel menu of services from 1912.
I must say, old fashioned porn is so much hornier than the neon plastic McPorn of modern day, in my opinion. I love searching for retro and vintage porn sites! Here’s my interpretation of some the services available for the ‘Fast, Slow and Smart Set’. That’s us. Well, you’re fast and slow, and I’m smart. Hahaha.
French fashion with finger in ass hole….69/soixante neuf with a prostate massage? Oui, monsieur, now swivel, s’il vous plait.
Diddling on the edge of the bed, one foot on the floor….Wanking furiously whilst observing the rules of snooker. Pot Fuck.
Blowing in the ass hole, new style…Some sort of farty bumlove fetish combining faked rimming? What was the old style? That’s what I’d like to see.
Finger fucking with juice…Self explanatory, but you are served with accompanying refreshments. How kind of you, I don’t mind if I do.
Dog fashion…Good old ‘doggy style’ as we know it. Or the best at Crufts. Maybe both. Hope not. Ewww.
Dry bob…Dry humping? Having a bit of a rub and a rummage whilst clothed. Or not wetting your hair before being cut into a Louise Brooks hairstyle.
Sitting on prick, shoving in stones and all…Cowgirl, but also managing to capture the testicles in there too? How? And what is the ‘and all’? What more have you got to put in? A leg?
One female suckoff, stones in mouth…Blowjob including the testicles. I like the word ‘suckoff’ more than ‘blowjob’. Can you suckoff before you fuckoff? Brilliant chat up line.
Maid to rub your tool, hardon guar’d…The maid will sort of ‘fluff you’ ready, it’s guaranteed. Then you can just leap on the waiting girl and shove it in quick before you lose the hardon and become a flat prick*.
Free back scuttling whilst woman rubs your nuts with a feather, must stay out of poop hole…Back scuttling is free! Hurrah! Free stuff! Bring it on! What is it? I think it’s a spooning shag, or doggy style lying down. Why is it free, but the rubbing your nuts with a feather costs $3.85? Those goose quills must be expensive. I bet they ‘accidently’ found the poop hole very often too, I’ll bet.
Ass hole fucking for men over 45…Oh let me find ye olde strap-on for you there my good man…what? You’re only 44? Oh that’s a shame…no ass hole fucking for you, until you’re old enough. No, sorry, them’s the rules.
Bob cocks and flat pricks*…Either small or circumcised or flaccid or…just not very nice things to say to any poor nervous man!
Stink fingers and jerk off matinees…mutual reverse masturbation with a lady of the morning. At 2.30pm. Get yourself through those doors and onto the conveyor belt of the ‘Despunking Factory’ now if you know what’s good for you! Pinkey’s Special sir?
I have no beef with Kevin Clash. Right now, I don’t think most people do. The facts as they now stand in his story point squarely at a raw deal. He had a bad relationship with someone crazier than he was. We all have been through that. If you haven’t been in a relationship with someone crazier than you, then your mirror misses you.
We all get to be the crazy one for a little while in our lives, I think. I sure as hell have been, for a lot longer than I’d have liked. If I had to go back and apologize to everyone I ever met who I freaked out, well, I’d have no time or energy left to try and get out of that cycle. I hope those days are over. So do everyone I now know.
I can’t speak to Kevin Clash’s personal life and style, but he created a public character and lived in it for close to 30 years. Elmo, as played by Clash, was an innocent who needed the world explained to him, sure, but that wasn’t the core of that character’s personality. The core message of Elmo was simple: be joyful in everything. Whether you understand what’s going on or not, whether you’re trading cultural references that you, as a five-year-old doppelkinder in red fur, should have no business keeping up with, or whether you’re having Gordon or Big Bird or Ricky Gervais or whoever explain to you how money works, or whether you’re teasing Oscar the Grouch and he’s teasing you back: be joyful, in everything.
Compare this to another person accused recently of a similar, if far worse, crime, and one with far more evidence against him: Jimmy Savile.
Jimmy was a children’s host in England for decades. He looked like an early 70’s glam rocker, and apparently debauched like one too. How this could have been a surprise to anyone I have no idea whatsoever. Watching videos of him on YouTube shows a man who was always looking out of the side of his eyes, drawing his tongue over the syllables he spoke with all the charm of a hungry, horny python.
But that stuff is always crystal clear in retrospect. At the time, hey, it was the 70s. Everyone looked like they’d been kicked out of ABBA, everyone looked a little cokey, everyone looked like they’d been up all night the night before and had walk-of-shamed their way home in some Japanese woman’s clothes. It was the seventies, you know? Everyone was creepy. It was a creepy decade. It looks bad now, but what are you going to do?
I don’t bring up Jimmy Savile to bury him, as people are digging him up just so they can pump his greasy corpse full of bullets delivered way too late to stop him from doing all the horrible shit he did, and then bury him deeper alongside (it is hoped) everyone who helped him keep his secrets, but to compare him to Kevin Clash. One of these people is a guy who had a bad relationship with someone who sure looks like they’ve decided to go on the revenge spree of the dumped, and the other is the real monster, guilty of all the crimes Clash was seemingly falsely charged with, plus dozens, maybe hundreds more, and of course far, far worse, given the relative ages and consent capabilities of the people involved.
Clash is a legend, a man who up until last month was at the zenith of his profession, almost as famous himself for creating, maintaining and unfolding so many different sides one of the most beloved characters in the history of children’s television as for the red clump of felt that he wore for 28 years. To see him give up that position because of a vengeful ex is more than sad, it’s a karmic felony. I can only hope that things are the way they seem now, that this is little more than an ill-considered relationship punctuated by an unnecessarily messy breakup, and that Clash’s phone is blowing up right now with other offers. Talents like him don’t come along every generation.
I have been the crazy wronged person in a breakup, and I’ve found myself on the high ground. Each of those spots has their own unique torture. Neither one is fun, especially if there’s any emotional bond between the two parties.
Perhaps Pee Wee Herman, or Fred Willard, neither of them strangers to Sesame Street, might drop Clash a line this month. There is life after accusations like this, especially false ones, and especially if you’re as beloved as Messrs. Rubens, Willard and Clash are. I don’t know what the Sesame Workshop is going to do with Elmo in the future, but If Kevin Clash wound up, say, on Broadway or on his own TV show somewhere, it would mean that the pure, truly innocent joy he has brought to an entire generation of kids, from literally every stratum of society and every part of the world, wouldn’t disappear into the ether just yet. In fact, this could be the start of something just as great.
Just jumping off points. These aren’t novels or anything. You can read them all at once. Whatever. This is 99% for me. But here.
1. He’s obsessed with Chuck Berry. Teenage wedding to a 16-year-old who can’t tell the truth, but she loves to dance and doesn’t mind that the seat belts in his car don’t work.
2. Eating makes her happy. She’s afraid she’ll get too fat to leave her house. She tries to find other happinesses. Love eludes her, as does passive entertainment, sports, taking extra shifts at the drug store and planking. She starts taking long walks, and finds the vertigo at the top of mountains to be soothing. Her nausea balances off her appetite, and she finds uneasy happiness.
3. He can’t sing, but his friends take him to a karaoke night. He drives everyone, including the DJ, out of the bar with a rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.” The bartender offers him a job.
4. A Greek chef can hear the screams of the halloumi as the waiters light it on fire. It’s a good job. He’d leave if he could. The wails haunt his nightmares.
5. A trampoline that doesn’t bounce. A floor above a floor. Too much support.
6. She’s learned to sing the Star Spangled Banner backwards. She wins a televised talent contest. The Republic falls apart.
7. He can’t be anything but a roadblock. He has a knack for blocking doorways, standing in the most inconvenient place, he can put one plate in the sink and it’s full. He’s only dimly aware of this. His best friend, a dance teacher, tries to teach him the spaces around his body. She breaks a rib when he accidentally pushes her against the ballet barre in her studio.
8. I am an oxygen molecule. Into someone’s lungs, I and a friend hook up with some carbon, out we go into the world, through the air we fly, land on a tree leaf, in we go, and we uncouple, having had a lovely day together.
9. You are a chef in a high energy Michelin restaurant. Your work is exacting, your bosses uncompromising. Nothing ever goes wrong. You read memoirs of other chefs, with their screaming matches and drug problems, and wish your life was that interesting. You chop the snow peas exactly right, and even when you err, there is room for error. No one dies. No one yells. Your wish for an interesting life isn’t a real one.
10. She has a hamster, named Herman. The last one was also named Herman. They keep dying. They get fat, and they die. She keeps getting new ones. They’re cheap, and she likes the noise they make when they run in their wheels. The rolling squeak of the wheel is a lullaby. They usually live about a month. She goes to multiple pet stores, because she feels guilty, like she’s killing them by bringing them into the house. She’s not. Death happens. That’s part of the attraction too, though she’d never admit it to herself.
11. The number 4 turns him on. He’s very old, but lately, every time he sees the number four, or hears it mentioned or referred to, he gets a little thrill. It comes from a dirty playing card left behind when he changed rooms at the home. Someone had left a playing card in one of the drawers. A 4 of hearts with a redhead in a negligée. He’d changed rooms because his wife had died. 57 years of marriage. He was free again. Fours showed up a lot. It was becoming a problem.
12. Whenever he finds wet cement, he carves an eyeball picture into it. All over the city. He becomes famous. A filmmaker uses his eyeballs as a motif in his film. It wins an Oscar, and the search for him is on. He has no idea of any of this. One day, a blogger hunts him down. He reacts angrily, but his family are pleased. Our criminal artist.
13. He’s a metaphor. She’s an idea. He’s a proton, she’s an orange. He’s oil, she’s a long-debunked concept that high school students use as a model to demonstrate their ability to properly write a proof. He’s a fart in a hurricane, she’s a cliche from an Aerosmith song. How can they possibly make it work?
14. He listens to salsa like some people buy groceries. His cupboards are bare, but he can dance like a motherfucker. He doesn’t see it as any big deal.
15. She wants to set a world record for rolling up the largest hill. She practices in the hills around her home, training for her dream: an ascent on Kilimanjaro. Commercial sponsors, promotional campaigns, Jimmy Kimmel, it’s a whirlwind. Then word comes that someone’s rolled up Everest. A desperate Indian man who lost his family in a flood. It was the only way he could work out his grief. She sends him a check for his hospital bills. Maybe downhill is better, she thinks.
16. I’m not an alcoholic, I just like the way gin makes my face all puffy, like I’m wrapped in an oily pillow. Let me sleep, captain. This stairwell is plenty comfortable. I’ll be gone by sunup.
17. He tries to read Ulysses, and fails, and tries, and fails. He takes classes. No dice. He’s not dumb, he’s just unable to parse it. He thinks he’s alone in this. He’s obsessed. Someone told him it was the greatest thing ever written. In between, he reads other books, finishes them, enjoys them. He wants what he can’t have. It seems so straightforward, and yet.
18. It’s shit. Everything I do is shit. Maybe shit is the material of my art, not words. Or better yet, nothing. Silence, wordlessness, nothing. Retreat into the black hole of my nothing. Everything is perfect in zero dimensions.
19. You’re warm to the touch. You insist you’re not sick, but I hold you down, make you miss work, force you to have soup and green tea and herbal remedies. Your temperature goes down, but you lose your job. I loved you too much.
20. A young Amish man comes to the city for Rumspringa, finds the trappings of the modern world a little odd, finds a way to get along while he acclimatizes, and lives happily ever after. He starts a bluegrass band, goes to college, dates a Ghanaian girl, takes up golf. It’s all so damned exotic. Turns out he really likes Korean food.
She’s allergic to good news. All her best friends are miserable.
I’ve invented a sandwich that you can never finish. But only one person can eat it, or else it loses its magic.
A woman with one heel. Cinderella, half vindicated, half discovered, limping to the castle.
A fetish for the grotesque. Finding freaks, outcasts, buying them dinner, watching them eat, though his cover story is plausible. A writer. It’s the best excuse.
Dead eyes don’t always hide deep thoughts. Aloof. Or maybe zoned out. Or alpha-waved. Or zero iq. A, z, a, z.
A golfer who never golfs. A chef who never cooks. A filmmaker who never makes a YouTube short, or even picks up a camera. An office worker who never gets anything done. A great lover who dies a virgin.
I missed my bus. The book I wrote last year got made into someone else’s series while I sat on my ass and played angry birds.
I’d rather be privileged than free. Privilege is given. Freedom is taken. If you have a choice, you’d be stupid to choose freedom. If you don’t, then, well, you’re not privileged, are you.
He knew Robert Johnson. Played the delta blues out of the back of his car for 60 years. Toured with the stones, thorogood, stevie ray vaughan, the dead, jack white, then he got back in his car & drove home. One day his hand breaks, and he gets offered an office job.
I run an auto body shop. One day I get an application from the kid who bullied me in high school. He just got out of prison. I hire him, and nice him as hard as I can. He doesn’t recognize me. My revenge is complete, internal.
A jury of eleven people get sprung from their case to find all their friends and family are gone. All they have is each other.
I’m a rat on the train tracks, looking at the stars. They’re actually the lights of the subway. My feet and fur are always sticky. I wish.
He tweets his turds. It wins him a Pulitzer Prize. Hollywood calls him. He answers from the toilet. He’s not Elvis, he always has to tell them.
She fantasizes that she’s Julie Hagerty from “Airplane.”
Everything is brown. He thought he loved it, but it’s too much.
She’s obsessed with looking up her own skirt in public. Mirrors, video cameras, trip wires. One day, she gets caught. It’s not sexual, she insists. She just needs to know she’s all still there.
He’s in love with the announcer on the subway. She’s a sixty year old housewife in Maine. He hears her voice everywhere. He tracks her down, goes to her house. “I’m calling the police now,” she says, in perfect diction.
Siamese twins, connected at the earbud. It’s a medical condition. Doctors come from all over the world. It’s not music, but an exposed vein they share. They can’t hear the diagnosis. They die happy.
He identifies with Jonah. He wants to be swallowed by a whale. He keeps jumping into oceans, he gets banned from cruises and all sea travel. Finally, he stows away and gets his wish. Regular whales won’t help him, but a killer whale will.
A cassette tape. He has no player. It’s all he has left of her.
All those chickens, drowning in feed. Crushed by plenty.
He’s never won an election, because he tells people what they want to hear. Also he has a single horn coming out of the top of his head, and two tails, one coming out of each buttock, hairless and mouselike.
The greatest panhandler of all time. He saves up, buys a football stadium, fills it with people wanting to hear the secret of his success, and then bums fifty cents from each of them.
She makes it to 100 years old. When asked what she wants, she says she wants to fuck Willard Scott. One night, he comes in, incognito, and fucks her. Her last orgasm ever. Eleven years later, and she won’t shut up about it. No one believes her. I believe her.
The lonely spinster with forty rhinoceroses in her apartment. How does she feed them? Love.
It’s not like I can come up with a whole lot of reasons why I’m not sad to see Roger Clemens fall so completely, to the point where he might be the first ever major leaguer to actually do time for crimes related to steroid use, but the ones I have feel like plenty.
To say he was a pompous piece of shit impugns all other pompous pieces of shit, even among all-star major leaguers, which frankly is a self-selecting group of PPOSes. The guy had never heard the word no, never acknowledged his team once over his entire 76-year career — he often appeared convinced that the other people on the field dressed just like he was were merely ardent fans who had won some kind of contest to stand closer to the light of the world that was the Rocket than anyone else did, and not fellow players, often all-stars themselves, who at least still had some dim understanding of what being part of a team was all about, or at the very minimum understood the good PR of paying lip service to same — and seemed, constantly, to mistake himself for some kind of God, whose word was law and whose every thought was gospel.
He had long since surrounded himself with an entourage of people who worshipped at the light that shone from his Texas-sized ass, and who repeatedly covered for his every indiscretion and transgression, be it with an underaged country singer, a botched negotiation that resulted in switching teams under cover of night and under suspicious circumstances (a feat Rocket and his people committed multiple times over his career), or getting his people to bring steroids across the border in both directions so he could maintain his self-image as the greatest pitcher who ever lived.
The numbers he amassed over his career are impressive. Of course they are. But the conversation of the best to ever throw no longer includes him. His reputation has finally caught up with him, and all the puff pieces in ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated aren’t (and won’t be) enough to hide the fact that this guy is missing a certain self-awareness that is required to actually function in society, and all those strikeouts, all those awards and all that money are merely numbers on a page, next to the actual careers-as-careers of people like Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax. Shit, Don Drysdale and Steve Carlton turned out to be jackasses of the highest order too, but at least they played the game properly, and they earned their way into the Hall of Fame.
It wasn’t just that Rocket did steroids. Lots of people have had that happen, and seriously, it’s baseball, the sport of stolen bases, the hidden-ball trick, spitballs and hidden emery boards. If you cheat and get away with it, more power to you. Crime pays. It’s that Rocket forgot that sports aren’t life. Had he stayed in the sporting world, he’d still be a world-class dick who ruined every team he left and named his kids Kody, Kris, Krusty, Kumquat and Karrot, but he’d have been able to take a few years off from the game, go sit on his pile of money on his half of the state of Texas where all his trophies are, and come back in a few years after all this had blown over to accept his Hall of Fame induction and re-enter the sport as an owner or a broadcaster or whatever the hell he wanted. But he forgot sport wasn’t reality, or maybe he never knew in the first place, and so he showed up on Capitol Hill and testified under oath that he had never taken steroids, had never met with the people they were accusing him of meeting with, and what, you’re gonna believe these little shits when I’m the one telling you the truth? I didn’t do anything wrong. These twerps just hate the Rocket for being Rocket! Look me in the face and tell me you believe them over me. Fuck this sworn testimony bullshit. I’m telling you, man to man, I ain’t done what they say I did. How can that not be enough for you, Senator?
So now, he faces a couple of years in the pen for perjury, and Cooperstown is fading fast. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. There was another way, though. Consider the case of Mark McGwire.
A lot of the facts are the same. kid phenom, power player, succeeded at every level he ever played at, was a star from Day One in the majors, developed a reputation for being reclusive and boorish off the field, but no one cared as long as he kept hitting the long ball, and allowed himself to be the marquee guy in the sport when it really needed one. He played the game. And when congress came calling to investigate him for steroid use, he didn’t thump his chest and try to lie his way out of a paper bag. He actually listened to his lawyers. He turned turtle. I’m not here to talk about the past, Mister Senator, sir. I’m here to talk about the future of the game. Over and over again. He wouldn’t answer a single question. I’m not here to talk about the past. Like Alberto Gonzales, his testimony-that-wasn’t made him look like the lying sack of shit he was, and he was mocked unmerciful for years afterward, but after that, he disappeared into the California hills, and has only started to make appearances again in the last few months. And people seem to have begun the forgiveness process. He might even get into Cooperstown someday.
For Rocket, there’s no chance. If he spends even one day in prison for this, he’ll replace Barry Bonds as the poster child of all that is wrong with this era. And frankly, that’s as it should be. But he’ll probably get probation, and he’ll buy a baseball school somewhere, and while his statistics will endure and be passed by better cheaters and the occasional actual great player, his place on the Mount Olympus of the greatest douchebags in the history of sport will remain unobscured, unblemished, and immutable.