Why can’t people write any more?


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I must confess I am becoming increasingly irritated by the poor quality of the written word these days.  Now, I’m not setting myself up as some modern day Leo Tolstoy but Bart Simpson’s lines at the start of the programme each week are better constructed than almost anything I see emanating from the pen of most people under 30 years old.  Put it this way, it’s as if English teachers have thrown in the towel.  Good syntax is as prevalent as an effective pass at Easter Road.

William Burroughs would be having a field day.  His cut up technique (also known as non-linear narrative – how appropriate) now looks like one of  the most visionary movements in world history.  Only he didn’t know it.  And if you are unfamiliar with his challenging (and frankly pish) work.  Here’s a wee Wiki definition…

Cut-up is performed by taking a finished and fully linear text (printed on paper) and cutting it in pieces with a few or single words on each piece. The resulting pieces are then rearranged into a new text. The rearranging of work often results in surprisingly innovative new phrases. A common way is to cut a sheet in four rectangular sections, rearranging them and then typing down the mingled prose while compensating for the haphazard word breaks by improvising and innovating along the way.

I’d have thought blogging might have brought youngsters back into the literary fold, the thought of publishing their prose publicly maybe incentivising a bit of attention to detail.  And maybe it does but then, we’re not all bloggers.

I despair.  I really do.  In my short sentence, short paras and starting sentences with conjunctions ways.


Yes Minister meets Jackass.


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In the Loop is a quite extraordinary political romp.  I say romp because the film does 0 -60 in three seconds and then stays in top gear to the end, smashing through red lights, taboo barriers, and political incorrectness like a deranged Starsky and Hutch.

It’s a political satire, sure, and so in that respect it should be compared to West Wing or Yes Minister, but both of these are so relatively genteel that they occupy very different spaces.

The central character, The Minister for Development played beautifully by Tom Hollander, bumbles his way deeper and deeper into an international crisis that is a nod and a wink to Bush and Blair’s hapless invasion of Iraq.  The star of the movie though, is Peter Capaldi, unquestionably lampooning Alistair Campbell with a ferociousness that makes your eyes bleed.  At one point he threatens to sever hapless Toby Wright’s leg off at the knee, break his shin bone in two and stab him to death with it.

You get the drift?

Capaldi puts in a career best performance as a complete and utter bastard.  Power mad and every second he is on screen is gold dust.

Armando Iannucci’s script is packed full of foul one-liners that serve up belly laugh after belly laugh.  It actually makes In Bruges look restrained.

9 out of 10.

This clip pretty much sums the movie up.  But beware, it is wholly intended to offend and features that C word that many of you find most unappealing.

Or try this.  It’s misogynistic, foul mouthed in the extreme, rude, violent, sexist and with a reference to bestiality thrown in.

Apart from that it’s perfectly innocent.

I’d be obliged sir.


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Two radical Arab terrorists boarded a flight out of London One took a window seat and the other sat next to him in the middle seat. Just before takeoff, a U.S. Marine sat down in the aisle seat.

After takeoff, the Marine kicked his shoes off, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the Arab in the window seat said, ‘I need to get up and get a Coke.’
‘Don’t get up,’ said the Marine, ‘I’m in the aisle seat, I’ll get it for you.’

As soon as he left, one of the Arabs picked up the Marine’s shoe and spat in it. When the Marine returned with the Coke, the other Arab said, ‘That looks good, I’d really like one, too.’

Again, the Marine obligingly went to fetch it. While he was gone, the other Arab picked up the Marine’s other shoe and spat in it. When the Marine returned, they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.

As the plane was landing, the Marine slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened.

He leaned over and asked his Arab neighbours…

‘Why does it have to be this way?

How long must this go on?

This fighting between our nations?

This hatred?

This animosity?

This spitting in shoes and pissing in Cokes?’