Whatever you think of George “Moonboots” Monbiot’s politics, you have to give him credit for some nice touchés, as in Gdn 20.8.13, suggesting that POLITICIANS are for FRACKING, rather than biogas, because they love being seen to support mining …
“Who wants to make speeches about sewage when you can stride manfully around drilling rigs in a hard hat and a yellow jacket?
“The government’s enthusiasm for fracking arises from something it shares with politicians the world over: a macho fixation with extractive industries.
“Conserving energy or using gas from waste are treated as the concerns of sissies and hippies.
“It’s true that industrial lobbying often defeats a rational assessment of our options.
“But cultural and psychological factors can be just as important. Supporting shale gas rather than the alternatives means strutting around with a stiff back and jutting jaw, meeting real men who do real, dirty things, shaking hands and slapping backs, talking about barrels and therms and rigs and wells and pipelines. It’s about these weird, detached, calculating, soft-skinned people becoming, for a while, one of the boys.”
Gdn obit on Molly Ivins, Texas columnist, 1944-2007, recalled that she skewered a local politician with the line: “”If his IQ were any lower, they’d have to water him twice a day.”
David Letterman on Mitt Romney (and it suits a lot of American politicians):
“He looks like you would see his picture on a packet of men’s briefs.”
Russell Brand On BORIS JOHNSON: “A man perpetually in pyjamas, regardless of what he is wearing.”
Terry Eagleton described DAVID BECKHAM’S first autobio as “runng t gamut o emotions fm chuffed to gutted”.
Barbara Ellen, Observer, reviewing MARILYN MANSON, end of 1998:
“About as scary as a ghost train in sunlight – all t charisma o a pumpkin lantern w t candle blown out.
“Considerg he’s a satanist, it’s ironic he seems to be on some one-man crusade to prove tt, actually, t devil doesn’t hv all t best tunes.
“… less Uncle Sam’s wildest nightmare tn just another bad metal merchant preying on t famously bad musical taste o suburban American youth”.
“Leavg Marilyn to his desperate wailgs and rummaggs down t front o his legggs, I cdn’t help feelg if Lucifer ws tappg a hoof, it ws only out o loyalty”.
In Gdn 9/12/6, quoting fm New Statesman, Ziauddin Sardar, commissioner of Commission for Equality and Human Rights, complained about the neocon angle on Islam being given voice by the likes of MARTIN AMIS, Rushdie and McEwan, and quoted Amis on a disagreement with a gatekeeper at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem …
“His expression, previously cordial and cold, became a mask; and the mask was saying that killing me, my wife, and my children, was something for which he now had warrant.”
Sardar commented: “By the simple observation of facial expression, Amis was able to divine the entire plot. But might it not be that the humble gatekeeper had never encountered such an obnoxious, arrogant and ignorant tourist?”
Also in the files …
Paul Morley, in Sun Tel mag 19/11/06, on AMY WINEHOUSE at the Koko in Camden:
“She sings with bustling, lusty glee, exactly like a flamboyantly rebellious wannabe starlet with self-destructive tendencies, brought up in north London, who has heard plenty of defiant, candid, female jazz singers, soul-searching Motown and gothic northern soul … A serious artist might be emerging out of this tangle of narcissism, insecurity and talent, but Amy remains hoodwinked by her own potty, scandalous image. She’s something, she’s a one, but she’s only too damned aware of it.”
The Week 15.6.13 quoted Spectator quoting Will Self on BORIS JOHNSON:
“An enigma wrapped in a whoopee cushion.”
Jenny McCartney, Teleg, 23.9.7: on GORDON BROWN: “Despite the impression that Brown gives of unshowy common sense – which may well hold broadly true in matters of social policy – he has been in the habit of doing quietly risky and exceedingly complicated things with the economy, like a boy locked up for months in his bedroom with a giant chemistry set.”
Always fun to see BONO getting slagged and George Monbiot did it well in the Gdn at
In his brilliant and blistering book The Frontman: Bono (in the Name of Power), just released in the UK, the Irish scholar Harry Browne maintains that “for nearly three decades as a public figure, Bono has been … amplifying elite discourses, advocating ineffective solutions, patronising the poor and kissing the arses of the rich and powerful”. His approach to Africa is “a slick mix of traditional missionary and commercial colonialism, in which the poor world exists as a task for the rich world to complete.”
Bono claims to be “representing the poorest and most vulnerable people”. But talking to a wide range of activists from both the poor and rich worlds, I have heard the same complaint again and again: that Bono and others like him have seized the political space which might otherwise have been occupied by the Africans about whom they are talking. Because Bono is seen by world leaders as the representative of the poor, the poor are not invited to speak. This works very well for everyone – except them.
Clive James on infamous guest spot by JENNIFER LOPEZ and her bum on Britain’s Got Talent: “Worst moment was when J-Lo shouted what desperate soubrettes always shout in the middle of their most tuneless number: ‘Everybody sing!’.”
Brian Sewell on DAMIEN HIRST: “To own a Hirst is to tell the world that your bathtaps are gilded and your Rolls-Royce is pink.”
Nicholas Shakespeare, Teleg 31.10.9, on GYLES BRANDRETH: “The real world flaps under all this brocade like a dying butterfly. His diaries offer the poignant spectacle of an intelligent, talented, evidently nice and charming man, without a wicked bone in his body, who, for whatever reason, sets his sights deliberately low and maintains an unswerving course.”
Geoffrey Lean, Teleg 15.6.13, on PHILANTHROPY: “Seven decades ago William Dwyer, a prosperous – and notoriously promiscuous – Cork mill-owner turned, in remorseful old age, to financing the building of a church in the north of Ireland’s second city. And in a sense, he achieved the immortality he sought: his irreverent fellow citizens still call the sacred edifice ‘Dwyer’s fire escape’. “
Teleg reviewer Jake Kerridge, on Inferno, by DAN BROWN, author of Da Vinci Code …
“As a stylist Brown gets better and better: where once he was abysmal he is now just very poor.”
Robbie Williams on MUMFORD & SONS: “The Wurzels with a degree.”
Nov 09: Everyone quoting a Texas putdown being applied to Barack Obama: “All hat and no cattle.”
The brilliance of this folk line was celebrated, and added to, by Randy Newman in Big Hat, No Cattle on the album Bad Love (1999) …
Since I was a child/ I’ve tried to be/ what I’m not
I’ve lied and I’ve enjoyed it/ all my life
I lied to my dear mother/ To my sisters/ and my brother
And now I’m lying to my children and my wife
Big Hat, no cattle/ Big head, no brain/ Big snake, no rattle/ I forever remain/ Big hat, no cattle/ I knew from the start/ Big boat, no paddle/ Big belly, no heart
Can’t remember why I do it/ Oh, maybe I can/ An honest man these days/ is hard to find
I only know we’re living/ in an unforgiving land/ And a little lie can buy some real big/ piece of mind
Oftimes I wondered/ what might I have become/ Had I but buckled down and really tried
But when it came down to the wire/ I called my family to my side/ Stood up straight, threw my head back and I/ lied, lied,lied
Big hat, no cattle/ Big shoes, well you know…/ Big horse, no saddle/ He goes wherever I go/ Big hat, no cattle/ Right from the start/ Big guns, no battle/ Big belly, no heart
When it came down to the wire/ I called my little family to my side/ Stood up straight, threw my head back and I/ lied, lied,lied/ Lied, lied, lied
Big hat, no cattle/ Big head, no brain/ Big snake, no rattle/ I forever remain/ Big hat, no cattle/ I knew from the start/ Big boat, no paddle/ Big belly, no heart
Big boat, no paddle/ Big belly, no heart
See also, ahem, my Yorkshire Post cutting from 2007
See also the beginnings of my NANCY BANKS-SMITH collection.