Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Help! I'm a prisoner in an Evening Standard column factory!

The main bit of Nick's Standard col today actually bears quite a lot of arguing against, and I hope that someone else will take it on if I don't get the time. But the little joke items are quite funny; on first glance, they all appear to have been written by that part of Nick's subconscious which is begging to be let out of the Euston Manifesto Group. Thus:

If you want to change the world by fighting for homosexual rights and compassionate treatment for the handicapped, do it and I’ll be with you. But don’t duck out of the struggle by falling for the lazy belief that you can change the world by changing language

("or in other words, Amnesty not calling a gulag a gulag won't stop it from being one")

As I looked at the audience, I realised it was getting what it couldn’t get elsewhere. Not even Radio 2 plays much Motown these days. Nor does it play much Sinatra, which is why there’s a Rat Pack show at the Savoy. Nor does the BBC put on left wing ‘Play for the Days,’ which is why Sir David Hare and his kind churn out political dramas which never challenge their liberal audiences’ prejudices. Niche marketing has its place, but can’t we be more ambitious?

("how many signatures? Is the next Euston Manifesto group meeting more likely to be held in the Cambridge Theatre or in a phone box?")

THE ONE thing journalists enjoy above all else is mocking the sports’ desk. Obviously, we have to use words of only one syllable and speak very, very slowly or they wouldn’t understand us, but it is worth the effort because no one gets it wrong as thoroughly and regularly as football correspondents.

(this just writes itself)

more later I hope ....

7 Comments:

Anonymous redpesto said...

Nor does the BBC put on left wing ‘Play for the Days,’ which is why Sir David Hare and his kind churn out political dramas which never challenge their liberal audiences’ prejudices.

I really do think Nick ought to start writing drama or fiction in order to show the rest of the arts world how to write a decent/Decent play or novel, or at least give the restof us a laugh. Quite apart from the datedness of the Play for Today reference (anyone under 30, ask your parents), Nick really ought to know that Hare's speciality has always been the theatre. (Hare's Iraq play, Stuff Happens, was put on by the Royal National, so if Nick's going to pick a fight he should start there.)

6/07/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Backword Dave said...

That is a weird article. Roughly what percentage of people do you know who read papers starting at the back? (Anthony Wells probably has figures.)

What does he expect of plays? Pinter didn't get a play for today, IIRC; if Stoppard did, I don't remember. Did they challenge liberal audiences' prejudices? I don't think Brecht converted anyone; and Shakespeare was a royalist and a christian from what I can tell, but despite all the bloodshed and some pretty good lines, my liberal ideology has prevailed.

Seriously, you can get Motown CDs for less than a fiver in Tesco. (I know, I have). I'd be amazed if there isn't at least one pub with a soul band less than 2 miles from Nick's place in Islington.

"Any freelancer can take in the ideology in radical bookshops, on the Net or in prison, and go off and kill." Er, didn't Hitler write Mein Kampf in prison, and so take his ideology *out* ...? Lots of ideologies start in prisons. And what's he talking about re the IRA? Weren't they nominally ideologically Marxist; to quote Norman Geras, "the great intellectual and moral authority Marxism continues to enjoy, notwithstanding its many enemies and critics".

6/07/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Marc Mulholland said...

The provisional IRA were never formally committed to marxism. They were revolutionaries and socialist, but not quite socialist revolutionaries. Certainly they were usually sympathetic to marxist analyses, but rather unwilling to take too much advice from those offering critical, unconditional but definitely sidelines support for the 'armed struggle' (stand up SWP).

6/07/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous redpesto said...

That is a weird article. Roughly what percentage of people do you know who read papers starting at the back? (Anthony Wells probably has figures.)


Er, me for one - but then the grauniad no longer has its sports section at the back.

Marxists writers in prison - Gramsci anyone?

Oh, and a further thought re. the single play: the 1990 Broadcasting Act made them pretty uncommercial unless they were by Linda LaPlante and starred David Jason, Robson Green or Caroline Quentin.

6/07/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

There may appear to be egg all over the faces of the police. But those who carp and criticise need to be reminded that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. And, anyway, Al Quaida would make an enormous omelette if they could, so a few cracked heads (I mean eggs) shouldn't worry anyone. Ask any chef, recipes are hard to come by, not like in the old days, and those paid to think professionally about eggs can't put them all in one basket. Like unspecified others not blinded by anti-Americanism, I can tell an egg when I see one, and German eggs and Islamic eggs look much the same to me.

6/07/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Cian said...

The "official IRA" were trotskyist, or Stalinist, or something.

If one was going to criticise the main part of the article, you could do worse that start with this:
"older officers remember with nostalgia to the days when they fought the IRA
with the help of a small army of informers."

That's fought as in: ignored intelligence about bombs, ran at least one of the protestant terrorist organisations and used an extraordinary number of agent-provocateurs and let us not forget, plotted to bring down a labour government. I'm not sure its really the example I'd pick myself. I mean if that's what they do when they have an enemy that's easy to deal with...

6/08/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this article really shows how far NC has gone form his "vil liberties" days. So many absurdities, including "Tony Blair
has got many things wrong but he got one big thing right when he said after
9/11 that if al Qaeda could have killed tens of thousands rather than
thousands it would have done". And if Nick's auntie had bollocks, she would be his uncle. Unable to deal with the actually existing terrorists, Nick has invented a set with super powers, against which any kriptonite can be safely used.

6/08/2006 12:12:00 PM  

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