If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Poped Out

I only ever watch TV while I am eating my tea, and I usually flick on the BBC News channel for half an hour to catch up. For the last four days, it has been wall-to-wall Popery. I'm not sure I know what the BBC is up to here. It seems as though the coverage has been even more intense than if a US President were visiting - and certainly a lot more uncritical. In fact, the BBC coverage has been awash with the kind of sycophancy usually only reserved for Great and Good figures like Nelson Mandela.

There was a revealing comment made by Matthew Amroliwala this evening, as we watched the Papal jet taxiing across the apron (along with "I'm told that if you look at the third window back, that's where His Holiness will be sitting"). The total cost of the visit to Britain is in the region of £12m, and we were informed that half of the cost will be met by the Catholic Church, and the other half by ... The Government.

NO, NO, NO. The Government doesn't have any money of its own. That money is taxpayers' money. We have given it to the Government to spend on our behalf. If the BBC were truthful, he would have said "half the cost will be met by the British taxpayer". Doesn't sound quite as cosy, does it?

Sounds better than something Anna said, though. As His Ineffable Hugeness [© Peter Cook, Bedazzled, 1967] and David Cameron sat down together in chairs under a gazebo-like canopy in the middle of a runway surrounded by men in frocks and other men in San Serriffe-style begonged uniforms (a bizarre setting, truly), she said that she was glad it was Cameron and not Tony Blair doing the greeting. "If that had been Tony Blair, we'd have seen him kissing his ring and everything." I swallowed down the small bolus of vomit that had risen from my throat and pushed my food away.

And in other news ...

I went to the Vintage Motorcycle Club bike display at Saundersfoot harbour this morning. It's a great setting for a show, with the harbour on two sides of the display area. And there was a good café selling all-day breakfasts, so the TOMCC all met in there for an early fry-up. The show was excellent, as usual. There were very few immaculate restorations trailered in for the occasion: the majority of bikes were in roadworthy but everyday condition, which is how I like to see them. There was a good mixture: some modern 'classics' like a Honda CB400N Dream (eurgh) and close by a CB400F, which was a delight. There were a lot of good honest British 60s bikes, like Bonnevilles, Tigers, BSAs and Nortons, with some unusual characters like an unrestored Scott two-stroke and something with an Ariel chassis and a V-twin engine that I didn't recognise. There were a number of proper 'Veterans', like flat-tank Triumphs from the 1920s anf two examples of the 'Neracar', a feet-forward design that prefigured the Quasar and Voyager that were discussed on this blog recently.

There was a ride-out organised which, I was told, was open to modern bikes as long as they rode behind at a respectful distance. But this wasn't a mass ride-out; all the entrants had been given a roadbook and were setting off individually. I took off and followed a sedate BSA for a few miles, but eventually I got bored and took the longer (and quicker) way home.

No pics, sorry to say, as the new iPhone still hasn't arrived. It was sent last Thursday, and I tracked it through the UPS website. Apparently, they tried to deliver it on Friday, but no-one was home. There was a point mid-way through the afternoon when I was out and Anna was collecting blackberries in the field, so I assumed that was the time they tried and failed to deliver. Then some people, who some time ago had rented a house half a mile away and who had been there to check on the post, called in with a UPS "Sorry but you were out" note. UPS had tried (and failed) to deliver my new phone to an empty house. I went down this evening and pinned a note to the door of the empty house which said "You are a dickhead", only more politely, and with directions to where I really live. They plan to re-try tomorrow.

Fingers crossed.


  1. I like to watch telly when having me tea. I watch Russia Today. Propoer news you get on there.

    Ghastly creep of a 'man', Ratzinger is. He has the would-be 'coy' face of a nasty old woman that would try to sell you lucky white heather and then damn you to hell when you didn't, except that the nasty old woman has the excuse that at least she really is a woman.


  2. I can not watch the news anymore on TV. I will listen to NPR (National Public Radio) in the stated for my current affairs but TV News is way to Glamorized. It's more about ratings then actual information which I suppose is the fault of the capitalistic environment we live. Don't think I am knocking capitalism, I love it but 24 Hour a Day News Hype is more then I can handle. I do like the Daily Show..........

  3. Have to agree there, Jim. He is an evil-looking old bugger. Not so sure about the Pope Joan revisited thing: he looks like he works for the Other Side as in Lucifer rather than as in feminists...so, not all bad, then...

    Channel 4 news for me - happens to coincide with my teatime - although that seems to be going downhill quite fast, too. Too much story and opinion, not enough fact. And the reporters all seem to have taken on the intensely irritating Jonathan Rugman style of declamatory speechmaking, which involves leaving all the verbs out of their sentences for added dramatic effect. Lucky there's a mute button for when it all gets too much.

    Please thank Anna for that thought of Blair, won't you? I'm having some difficulty getting shot of it, particularly once it occured to me that his tongue could be involved.

  4. I don't watch C4 news very often, but I have been impressed with some of the interviewing I have seen by Krishnan Gurumurthy, which were hard-hitting in a way you don't often see any more. Must try that again sometime. My problem is that so many of the BBC News presenters are hign on my babe-meter. If C4 can beat that, I'm a convert.

    I understand that there is a bit of controversy going on in the US about 'sexy' news presenters. I think Rob is right, and TV news is now a beauty contest as well. On balance, I would rather watch a beautiful woman read the news than an ugly man, but not at the expense of news quality. To be fair to the BBC, even its glamorous presenters are serious and capable people. If they used airheads*, that would be different.

    The Pope does have a slightly evil sideways look in his eyes, I have to admit. Every time I see him, I can't get the thought of the Hitler Youth connection out of my head. He'd fit perfectly in a Dan Brown novel.

    * Thick, pretty women, not BMWs.


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