It’s Bedlam out there!


Miranda held for 9 hours

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.

Larkin poe

Larkin Poe were a highlight

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.


Happy memories

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.

A fertility rite..?

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 images-4college 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’.


Wild Hunt Bedlam

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.


2 thoughts on “It’s Bedlam out there!

  1. Dear Mac

    What fun it sounds in Broadstairs. Andrew and I used to go to these folk festivals sometimes, especially when his mother was alive and we could take her in her wheelchair. She used to sing when she was young, and she’d sit by the stage lalling away quite happily while Andrew and I went off for an ice-cream and a ciggie.

    Do you like Miranda too, Mac? I did laugh, because when I read about that chap and all the fuss, well, I hadn’t put 2 and 2 – you know…But it’s Miranda Hart, isn’t it? Yes – because I was not a small girl. But luckily Andrew didn’t seem to mind, and his older brother George (remember him and those 50s songs?) was no lightweight. Sometimes I wonder how we got his mother back in the car.

    I’ve got to page 71, and I am enjoying the detective bits.

    And you, Mac – knowing a government minister. George was especially impressed. Andrew told me off again for writing to posh people, but you sound very nice, Mac, even if you are a bit posh.

    All the best now. I’m off for my flu jab.

    Mrs Vary

    • Dear Mrs V
      I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write to you just at this moment, as apparently that David Frost has died.You know, the one who had that strange hair style back in the early 1960’s. He went to some posh college called Gonville, probably named after one of the lieutenants who successfully defended Rorke’s Drift against the Zulus. Gonville’s Keys, I think the full name is. Presumably the keys to the ammunition boxes I shouldn’t wonder, that led to the debacle the day before.The English and Welsh soldiers tried to beat off the natives by singing ‘Men of Harlech’ (or am I confusing the two films). The Zulus were led by the formidable Zulu Dawn – as big a girl in her own way as that Miranda. Knobkerries all came alike to her. Dawn, not Miranda.

      I met a group of rather eccentric aged countrymen this summer and I would swear that one of them said they had met playing soccer at Gonville’s College, rather like Frosty. Isn’t that a coincidence? Mind you, they didn’t look very athletic and the Scottish old boy present seemed to have spent most of his life on a bench. Probably not good enough to get in the first team.

      I’m sorry you were rather over-endowed physically whilst in your formative years. My wife sometimes tells me that I am ‘sizeist’, but I have never had anything against large girls – or not that I can remember. Your Andrew and George sound very nice, although I have failed to find any George Vary who were singers in the 1950’s. Carrying you and your mother about sounds heroic. I hope the hernias have healed.

      Glad you are enjoying some of the book. The guy who done it is still in the clink, one of the longest serving prisoners. That’l teach him to hold up our cricket match.

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