Mac said he was struggling to write anything in the last few days, because he was still in shock at the arrest of Miranda. He couldn’t understand why the Intelligence Services (surely that contravenes the Trade Descriptions Act?) held her for nine hours. Mac has watched most of her programmes on the BBC and thought that she was actually quite funny. Why anyone would send in men with hammers to destroy the computer hard discs in her Joke Shop cellar beggars belief. Her comedy surely isn’t that bad. Holding her for all that time must also put a bit of a strain on the men involved too, cos she’s a large lass and tends to fall over quite a lot, breaking the furniture. She’s very well connected too, with loads of aristocrats and admirals in the family, so you would have thought that young Cameron would have been at Eton with them all. Well certainly the rear admirals. Maybe the effects of the cannabis he took there are longer lasting than we thought. Mind you it was probably that nasty Maggie May. Wake up, Maggie.
Talking of folk songs, didn’t the Broadstairs Folk Festival go well? Well, apart from the low life morons who put glass in the children’s play area. Mac spent three days there and enjoyed every minute. Larkin Poe were the highlight for him, two young American sisters who were simply terrific, but all of the acts were good. The costumes of the Morris Dancers were so colourful and contrasting, tatter jackets et al, and clearly put together with love, passion and presumably a fair amount of alcohol. He didn’t see enough Loose Women for his liking, but there were Kent Korkers, Brooms, Bricks and Bowlers, and Wild Hunt Bedlamers to ease the pain. Mac tried to look everything up, but then got confused between the Border and Cotswold styles, the Mollys and the North West Cloggers. We used to play football like that, because it was always easier to kick the man than the heavy leather ball we all used. ‘Clogging’ is good.
His friend John was going to drive him round the town in the Popemobile, but actually you needed to be on foot to enjoy the atmosphere. Good to see all the people on the sands, and the beach huts being used. Mac’s family had a beach hut down on Westbrook Sands during the 60’s and 70’s so it brought back happy memories. The Albion beer garden was a good base for the third day, with its wonderful views across the bay – until the band started up. Mac had been joined by a collection of very old school friends from Chatham House and one or two of them are a bit deaf now. One is actually a Mayor somewhere in East Sussex and had travelled to Broadstairs hoping for a free drink or a food bag. We had hoped he might have brought some of the mayoral funds with him, as he could have argued he was beginning some form of new twinning relationship with St Peters, but nil desperandum. Anyway let’s hope they can recover the mayoral chain from the pawn shop at the end of his term. Mac also enjoyed Sunday lunch down in the harbour and he was convinced he saw one of those feisty female Guardian journalists at a neighbouring table. She writes some cracking prose. He wasn’t at all sure it was her but then she ordered the men’s testicles for a starter. Mac says he just had the pint of prawns. Very nice though.
The original Morris Dance was, of course, thought to be based on some sort of circle dance around a female figure. Some think it a fertility rite, some an assertion of the ancient religions, others as some form of satirical protest against the national and local ruling dynasties and councils. It was the only form of protest ordinary folk could get away with. Strange though how so little changes with time. Juvenal, the Roman poet, wrote a number of satires lamenting the value systems and morality of those who seek to govern us. He wrote scathingly of liars and crooks, and much about avarice. His very first satire claimed that since the dawn of history, greed and fiscal corruption have never been worse – so you could argue that Rome was no different to the present day. And you thought we were just unlucky with our current crop of great men and women. Look more closely at the Morris troupes and you will see that many have a squire or leader, most have a bagman and there are always one or more fools. Surely that tradition could no longer be based on our local councils today? Thank goodness. Mind you, it’s a good idea to follow the bagman. See who benefits directly or indirectly from the financial dealings. See who joins the boards of the companies who have been granted the contracts. Sadly, integrity and probity are all too often trumped by cronyism and avarice. Mac went to college with a guy whose sole ambition was to become an MP and he quickly succeeded. Became a Junior Minister. Still at least Attila the Hun had some company on the backbenches. You always hoped that as in the old films, justice would prevail ‘when the boat comes in’, but often by then the money has disappeared ‘over the hills and far away’.
The Wild Hunt Bedlam troupe may look scary but at least they are inspired by great legends and traditional values. A simpler time when mostly a man’s word was his bond. Mind you, you could be hanged for just stealing a loaf. The authorities could lock you up for hours on end with no rights at all. Thank goodness for Magna Carta. Tony Hancock’s wonderful aside, “Did she die in vain” is suddenly topical again. Now it is less bells, whistles and big sticks and much more a case of smoke and mirrors. Maybe that’s why they raided the Joke Shop. All in the cause of power and control. Madness. Don’t think Robert Owen was ever a Morris Dancer but he did know a thing or two about madness and Bedlam. As he rightly said, “All the world is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer.” Or as Miranda succinctly put it, “Is it just me?” Hope they leave her alone in future or they’ll have that Patricia Hodge on their tail. OMG.