Monday, June 13, 2011

What's happened to saving the planet? And Smack and Chet, or, if you like, Chet and Smack (his funny valentine)

What with Libya, the atrocities in Syria, the Milibands pledging each other eternal loyalty (for which read ‘I’ll get that bastard brother of mine just as soon as I can’), Kate buying her dresses at Oxfam, drought being declared throughout the country despite the very heavy rain everywhere and widespread flooding, ‘climate change’ has had rather a poor Press these past few months. All together now: well, there’s a shame. But the debate is still going on, and canny businessmen throughout the land are still making a mint by building ‘wind farms’ everywhere, usually where no one wants them, on the back of government subsidies. It’s not really the government, of course, that is providing the money – we are.

I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of ‘climate change’ and whether it’s ‘man-made’, down to sunspots, just natural change or some mad scheme by the Teletubbies to take over the world. Life is simply too short for that. Either you believe that unless we do something now! we’re all off to Hell in a handcart, or you are thoroughly convinced it’s all stuff and nonsense dreamed up by damned lefties, I mean, look, it’s on record that the Vikings not only grew grapes on Greenland, but regularly used to sunbathe on the beach, and yes, I would love another G&T, but could you go a little easier on the tonic, please?

Me? I just note that we all love a disaster as long as it doesn’t involve us, and happens elsewhere.
There is a strong ‘apocalyptarian’ streak in all of us. A few years ago The Economist ran a feature detailing the various doomsday scenarios which had frightened the living daylights out of mankind for these past few hundred years, of which the Second Coming was always a favourite. The various Christian denominations learned very early on the best way to keep the faithful in line was to scare the living shit out of them.
In my lifetime the various coming disasters which were relied upon to put an end to humanity have ranged from ‘overpopulation’ (there won’t be enough food to got around / the Red Chinese – remember them? – will burst through their frontiers in search of Lebensraum), nuclear annihilation (which meant every earnest young man and woman and their beards and duffel coats were obliged to march to Aldermaston at least once a week calling for disarmament), acid rain (which was going to see off our forests for ever and always and leave Europe an arid wastleand), Aids (which was going to decimate humanity within months unless we all stopped shagging once and for all) and now global warming (there’s only 24 hours left to save the planet!)

That’s all changed now, of course. For one thing, no one refers to ‘Red China’ anymore, least of all the comrades in Peking / Beijing (it’s apparently racist to refer to Peking and Ceylon it’s got to be Beijing and Sri Lank, so that’s my goose cooked) because they are all – well, there’s no point in sugaring the pill – capitalists now. And anyway there’s even more of them (several hundreds of millions living on the poverty line by the way – so much for the ‘revolution’) but they still haven’t the stomach to invade Surrey in search of Lebensraum.

The fairweather bleeding hearts have also stood down on the Aids disaster (remember all those natty little red Aids badges they attached to their lapels. Can’t get one for love or money now). Granted it loome large in the late Eighties, but it has mainly peaked here in the ‘civilised’ West and we are, more or less safe (at least those of us who don’t own an extensive Judy Garland record collection). That Aids is still causing havoc in Africa and Asia (especially Russia) where in some countries infection rates are horrendous is, of course, neither here nor there, apparently. We in the West are OK now, so what is all the fuss about? Come on, get a grip.

As for ‘nuclear annihilation’, well gone are the good old days when only the Yanks, the Brits, the Frogs and the Ruskies had the Bomb. Now, it seems, everyone does, not least, India and Pakistan, who aren’t particularly inclined for a bit of peaceful negotiation when they fall out and from where I sit look more likely to pick a fight at the drop of a hat than not. But where are all the earnest folk in their duffel coats urging Britain to disarm? Well, a few years ago, they were all attending Aids benefits, but now the West is off the hook on that score, they have moved on to saving the planet. Unfortunately, first the Egyptians, then the Bahrainis, then the Libyans and now the Syrians have shown us they have other preoccupations.

. . .

Here are before and after pics of the great jazz trumpeter and occasional singer Chet Atkins. I dug out these two photos a few days ago specifically to post on this blog, but now I can't for the life of me remember why. Chet was once a good-looking young man described as having matinee idol looks. When he died (falling out of his Amsterdam hotel bedroom it seems while high on heroin and coke) he had lost those good looks and then some.

So all I will say is that they should be a warning to young folk everywhere: stay off the jazz!

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