Dave Boyle

Jan 06

Quit Stallin’, Call in Stalin*

The Brown Wedge1 comment • 559 views

Jonathan Meades’ show last night on Stalin and Architecture was so annoying. It promised to be a welcome exposition on a often-derided subject that’s generally dismissed glibly in one fell swoop.

But that’s not what we got. It was astonishly poor. He needed to pan it out with increasingly polemical references to Stalin and the nature of dictatorship, but if I wanted 6th form denunciations of totalitarianism, I’d have watched Bill O’Reilly. By all means remind us of the grim reality of life in Stalin’s Russia, but reminding us again and again? We know. Stalin bad man. Killing bad. Repression bad. Now, those buildings…

There was also a laughable attempt to ascribe something to the Russian ‘Bolshie’ character. He said that the Germans were, well, much more compliant people (scratch a libertarian and I’ll show you a vanilla right-winger happy to generalise about nations and ‘races’ who’s read Hayek and has a posh accent), he posited that there was a link to some historical essence of non-compliant Russian-ness which is why we use the word Bolshie. Eh? As opposed to an English word for being a bit uppity that equates being an agitator with being a Commie.

He kept referring to the impossibility of being an architect under Stalin; Stalin’s desire for a style defined by the bourgeois or imperialist styles it would not be rather than any conscious idea. These were good points, but I wish he’d done some research and perhaps identified a particular building and showing us how the bureaucracy and the whims of the apparatchiks of varying ranks interfered with the design and building process leading to the weird thing we see now. Instead, he did just do a few jump cuts set to music. And reminded us that Stalin was BAD. And that Jonathan Meades is so very, very, good.

* Apologies to the 1991-2 editorial team of SCAN, Lancaster University’s student newspaper, for use of their headline.

Dec 05

Bad Tony Benn

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 540 views

We knew he shut down Radio Caroline but well will history judge him now we know he was key to stopping nationalisation of the breweries in the 1970s? Bloody left methodist fun hating tradition bah humbug.

Dec 05

Best Ad ever

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 474 views

‘Be like Maradona – give up coke’

Oct 05

The FT Top 23 STRANGE PHENOMENA: No.12 Dopplegangers

Blog 7Post a comment • 1,962 views

Make mine a double
Dopplegangers have become confused in the public mind, it seems to me. In modern parlance, it seems to be much more ‘someone who looks like me’ rather than ‘my malevolent double’. That meaning still exists in pop culture, as it’s a much richer seam than an quirk of genetics and environment. You’ve got Gerry Anderson’s ‘Far Side of the Sun’, and many Star Trek episodes where some accident with anti-matter (always the anti-matter!) brings an evil Spock onto the Enterprise where hilarity ensues, or where our heroes are thrown into an evil world where they’re all psycho-leather fetishists. Even so, it’s SCIENCE, not mysticism that creates and compels these dark doubles into our world. That progression from mysticism to science goes one step further and ends up as fascination with the idea that we could all have been so different.

In Hollywood Wives we see the degeneration of the doppleganger into a common-or-garden tale of when heredity turns bad. There, the charismatic Buddy Hudson turns out to have a twin, separated at birth, who has grown up without any of life’s advantages and is EVIL. In a piece of make-up genius, the badboy brother was disguised with a heavy beard, so we never found out that they were identical until badboy shaved.

I think underlying this is an anxiety (No! surely not etc) about the self. What would we be like if we weren’t us? How much of us is nothing to do with us and capricious fate? What would we be like if we’d not grown up in the same way, with the same influences? But even that’s degenerating. Now, it’s just about narcissism (which it surely always had elements of) in a kind of ‘oh, look there’s someone who look like me!’ with a frisson of family history skeletons (did dad have an affair etc).

Last year, a good friend sent me a text from her office overlooking the Betsey Trotwood. She’s seen me going into the pub at about 3.30pm, and joked that it was early even for me to be hitting the pub. Trouble was, I was till at work when she sent it. Sadly, I was in a meeting so I didn’t get it until later, and wasn’t able to check who it might be. A few years back, a close colleague came bounding into work saying ‘you looked distracted at Victoria Station this morning’. Having been nowhere near Victoria at all, I was surprised, but not half as much as him. He’d seen me at a distance, and shouted. Seeing no response, he’d moved closer. He’d gone past the point where you’d realise you’d made a mistake and veer away or turn on your heels. He’d been about 2 feet away from me, and said ‘Hi Dave’ and ‘I’ had looked back with a blank stare.

‘He could have been your brother!’, my colleague exclaimed. I’m adopted, and maybe he was.

Oct 05

Boot on other foot

TMFDPost a comment • 365 views

I’m a deeply amateur fisherman; given that I don’t even eat fish, my fishing is more like the nastier blood sports in its complete lack of utility. I’ve spend 2 days fishing on Loch Awe over the August bank holiday for the last 3 years, and have caught one perch and one small trout. In my defence, that’s nearly 50% of the entire catch of the party of us who’ve been doing this.

We sit in a boat with about 5 people in it, with varying degrees of amateur casting from 3 rods going on. When I’m not doing any casting I can never really relax and get drunktake in the marvellous scenary and tranquility of the Loch as I’m terrified that, like Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary, I’ll get hooked by one of my friends as we make some cack-handed attempt to do a champion fish catching cast. Luckily, all we have to show for this fear was a perceived few near misses, when someone felt the whush of spiky metal through the air.

Occasionally, we get a snag, which initially feels like a catch, and excitment miounts, and the boartd rocks dangerously from side to side. usually, it’s just a log on the bottom of the bed of the loch. We are all very relaxed as we just keep on tugging until it comes free.

No more. In future, we will row over to the end of the line and calmly retrieve the spinner and weight, because we really, really, really don’t want this to happen.

Oct 05

The essence of football

TMFDPost a comment • 271 views

It’s injury time between Heybridge Swifts and AFC Wimbledon and the wombles are 1-0 down. The keeper has the ball and the guy standing near the cameraman in this video captures the essence of football…

Sep 05

Helena Handcart writes…

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 398 views

This is revisionism. Tiswas custard* pies were totally non-diary products (good for the allergic amongst us). They were rubbish 1970s shaving foam, without any balms, aloe, pro-vitamin Cell Block H or dry weave top sheets.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s the recipe, and that site’s editor should know, as he was the rabbit who sang Bright Eyes on the show.

I therefore amd forced to conclude that you are looking back through rose-tinted specs and therefore Ptee = Richard Littlejohn. Or else it is suffering from the illusion of another false memory.

* – Now, flinging a proper custard tart would be something. It would be worth getting hit by one of those, thought ideally, you want a slightly looser one, so the outward stability holds it in, but you get runny eggy custard to coat the face upon impact.

Sep 05

Clarence Beeks lives!

Do You See1 comment • 495 views

BBC News 24 Interviewer to David Attenborough in story about decline in numbers of mountain gorilla:

“So, what were they like to work with?”

They were actors in gorilla suits all along!

May 05

Worst idea ever*

TMFDPost a comment • 220 views

Please don’t do dis dis dis dis dis dis dis gol

* Apart from anything Sepp Blatter’s said.

May 05

Pollwatch – 2.40pm

Blog 7Post a comment • 323 views

Danny Baker has voted, along with his daughter and, I presume, his partner.

An old woman wanted to check that her vote would be valid as she’d put a tick, not a cross. I assured her that as long as it was clear who she’d voted for, it’d be fine.

The Tory candidate is quite young.

No activists from the Tories or Lib-Dems joined me at the Polling Station.

Lots of people really don’t know what to do; they approach the station tentatively, unsure as to whether I was an official part of the process, or some hanger on (answer=somewhere between the two). I wonder whether beneath cynicism there lies fear, or being the ‘weird’ one who doesn’t really understand what they have to do, and hides that behind statements about how politics ‘isn’t for them’ or ‘doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my life’. The ritualistic aspect of voting, something I love, is seemingly dying out, and it need not. It really just needs explaining, and Delia Smith is the woman to do it.

I’m counting people scowling at me in my Labour rosette or point-blank refusing to give me their number as Tories, which means on current evidence, Michael Howard isn’t going to be in Number 10, as he needs to seriously run Labour close in this seat.