Saturday, February 05, 2005

Bum Keynotes

It was good to hear John Major on the radio this morning doing his affable golf club buffer act and using those expressions that disappeared about fifty years ago. 'People will think this a very rum affair' he said. On one occasion he described himself as 'an old plug-ugly' and when, after Black Wednesday, Kelvin Mackenzie of The Sun told him "tomorrow we're going to pour a bucket of shit over you" Major replied: "Ooh, Kelvin, you're such a wag!"

This use of archaic slang was really the only amusing thing about Major. I once had the misfortune to be at a lunch where Major made a speech. It was probably a Keynote Speech. Why is every bloody speech today a 'Keynote Speech'? Anyway, the keynote of Major's speech was excruciating, paper napkin-chewing boredom. It didn't contain a single joke or witticism. And the first rule of public speaking is to make 'em laugh.

I have a theory that these humourless and boring speeches are the revenge of the civil servants who write them on the bastards who have to read them. Unfortunately they forget that they're punishing an innocent audience as well. I once heard Lord Strathclyde, when he was the new Tourism Minister, begin a speech with the line "London is the capital of Britain". Perhaps he was accidentally reading the briefing document his civil servants had given him.

On the subject of political speeches, I was present at one by Shirley Williams, then of the SDP, when she said "class no longer has any relevance to British politics." The sad thing is that she wrote that herself and my friend and I were the only people in an audience of hundreds who roared with laughter.
Another favourite was a speech by Tom King, the pompous Tory Northern Ireland Minister who was trying to sound like Churchill by pausing dramatically mid-sentence. His opening line was: "I have just come from Liverpool." What he said was "I have just come....." ......long pause in which someone shouted "Oh Christ, he's another Cecil Parkinson!"
Student audience convulsed with laughter.
Baffled Minister sees speech derailed after just four words.
What bliss.

Note: I have an uneasy feeling that using the portcullis logo, above, is a contempt of Parliament. I trust my fellow bloggers will campaign for my release if I'm locked up without trial in Belmarsh.

An Old Fogey writes: I see that Mr Biz Stone of Blogger writes in Blogger News about the Bloggies and instructs us to "rock your votes". What??
Biz darling, would you think me unforgiveably old fashioned if I just cast my vote? If it makes you happier I'll hum a song by Meatloaf while I do so.
Last night Channel 4 launched their new youth-oriented entertainment show The Friday Night Project.
It was like watching a car crash. The only entertainment to be had was watching Jimmy Carr's face when one of his co-presenters was speaking. He looked like a man waiting stoically for the fire brigade to come and cut him out of the wreckage.
Just to prove how cutting edge it was, one of the presenters used the word 'motherfucker'. I suspect he was told to by a producer in his earpiece because Channel 4 had sold the show in the trails on the basis that no language was off-limits but halfway through the show nobody had said so much as 'Damn'. In a strange piece of synchronicity 'motherfucker' was what I had just shouted at the said presenter, a little-known comedian who, in Bernard Manning's delightful phrase, was about as funny as woodworm in a cripple's crutch.
OK, I know I'm not in the 'demographic' but why do channels put these programmes out at 10pm on a Friday night when the target audience are in the pub and at least six lagers or alcopops into their binge drinking session? And if I was in that age group I think I'd rather go out and get rat-arsed than be so pathetically patronised by this type of programme.


At 10:52 PM, Blogger peter said...

I think Jimmy Carr is the "next big thing". Like a straight version of Julian Clary, the idea is that he's funny simply by existing. That's the idea. Me, I prefer material. So thanks for the estimate. Saves me from bothering with the repeat tonight.

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Although a very intelligent man, Jimmy Carr is making th basic mistake of agreeing to front every programme that C4 ask him to and this could damage him.
You might want to watch it for a game called 'Hard Man Bingo'. Then again........

At 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the trend of the last few years, dragging out polititians who failed miserably in their own time and treating them as sage elder statesmen, the interviewer hanging on their every word.In particular has-beens like Major,Shirley Williams,David Steele et.c.
What really grates is that they had nothing to say at their peak and to hear them speak now they seem to have learned nothing since.
But remember "Fine words butter no parsnips!"
Where DID Major get that from?
As for Jimmy Carr,he was a late starter in comedy and show-biz and I suppose he is making up for lost time by accepting everything that is offered,I believe he also has a part time job in the channel 4 canteen between engagements and also that If you shove a broom up his rectum he does in fact sweep up on the way out of the building.

At 3:44 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

The origins of 'Fine words butter no parsnips' is mentioned in The Adventures of Carlo in the episode of 19th December.

I can understand Jimmy Carr cashing in while he can but it's not a wise long-term move. Ant and Dec have been very clever in limiting themselves to three high profile shows a year with virtually no guest appearances on other shows and no commercials. As a result their market value is off the graph.


Post a Comment

<< Home