Billy Ray

It’s been an odd few weeks in Seattle, it seems I moved into the American epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic – some guys have all the luck.

Today, Seattle is now in utter lock down, I can’t help but feel its all a bit over the top- I have a feeling lots of people are pretending to be more anxious than they actually are, in order to get their employers to furnish them with a laptop and let them do the nine to five, at home, in their favorite pajamas

Nevertheless, the highways are hideaways , the center of town now merely caters for bags that swirl in the wind and the shop shelves hang wistful like a mausoleum afternoon

It’s even been banded about on social media, news print media, as well as on World Wide television media… That, due to the, Billy Ray, virus, we should no longer partake in the age old custom of “shaking hands”.. Even though the custom has been around since medieval times.. Surviving civil unrest, wars, the great plague and the career of Bonnie Langford.
I think it would be a shame if the custom died out, if only through fear of it being replaced by the French habit “Faire la bise” or social hugs – I’m all for hugging a loved one, but have always failed to divine why ANYONE would want to hug a stranger.

I remember around 1981,
The council estate I grew up on had a number of people in rattle vans that they would plod around and push their product from .. There was a mobile library , a sweet van, a fish van (P U K E), a chip van and also a couple of soda pop pushers, who would sell their one liter delights, come pink skinned summer.
Whats curious to me in 2020 is the name of the pop being pushed was Corna.
Could it be, it was these sunny afternoon frizz pop slingers that were the real genesis of the modern day killer?

It’s worth maybe nothing, but I will note that one of the Corna delivery boys had three nipples.
The tough and tumble kids would play football on the grass, then stop their game and say “look its three nipples”
If I was nearby, I’d run home to the safety of my bedroom. I didn’t know if his spare nipple was a symbol of something more sinister.
More than that the thought of having three nipple made me anxious .. I didn’t know what to do with the two I had.

In spite of COVID-19 I have managed to scout around Seattle and have found another area I like….Magnolia.
It’s only a mile away from where I live – basically I walk out the front door and over a bridge (see picture)


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It’s, rather, expensive there but is one of those Whistle Stop Cafe type villages-Lewes, in the UK, kind of, has that kinda feel, also.
That is, if Whistle Stop Cafe was in the Northwest and populated by lots of Catholics and Jews-I’ve come to notice, nearly, all my fave parts of the world are Catholic and/or Jewish

In Magnolia, the views are fantastic and the houses range from bungalow to Parasite style modernism.
It manages to keep alive that sense of white picket fence 50s Americana- toy town style Fire stations, garden furniture and so on.

Magnolia, Is where my wife used to own a home , which is probably worth a million now…
I try to be supportive with a “well, money isn’t everything ..You like romance and adventure ”
However, I think if I was her I’d take out legal action against certain British pop stars and authors, for bending her mind enough to give all that up.

Speaking of The Wife, she said last night (after I explained why getting up early doesn’t agree with me)
“You people from working class stock are meant to be hardy but really you are wimps, you cant cope with anything”

I advised most are hardy.. Unfortunately, her Quality Street selection was one of the softer centers.

She didn’t laugh, I also got the distinct impression she would never buy Quality Streets again.

The end

The Tale Of The Tape

Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee has wrtitten a column stating “white men” should stop telling her fathers story .
Now, I understand her frustration..If she feels her father is being attacked, she jumps to his defence,
However, to say “white men” in the way she has is the definiton of racism, odd as her mother is also white.

The things is Bruce Lee’s daughter would be the definition of ” privileged ” Not to mention, yes sure if Jews, Blacks, and to some extend Muslims say this kind of stuff , its understandable they have all been kept down in one way or other for 100s of years BUT the Chinese ( a culture I have always liked, generally speaking) have a worse human rights history than most white countries – to this day..

Look how they treat women , workers and Muslims and of course the lies around the pandemic

Now, getting to the point at hand the white man Shannon is talking about is Quentin Tarantino. Now, sure Quentin can be mouthy, he can be shallow , his films are a stranger to depth, largely speaking….He tends to be someone who speaks a good game BUT the truth of him doesn’t quite match up, a bit like Russell Brand.

However, he is 100% correct about what he says regarding the truth behind the TV series Kung Fu.

I was/am a huge fan of the show and of Bruce Lee. For a while, I believed the myth, that is to say Buce wrote the show , took it to Warner Bros, they turned it down , then turned it out with a different actor, one David Carradine .
This I soon discovered was a lie . The tale of the tape, shows the truth, click here for more detail https://tvwriter.com/herbie-j-pilato-tells-all-about-the-origin-of-the-classic-series-kung-fu/ . Ed Spielman wrote/produced the show, they wanted Bruce to be involved , at one point, but the person Bruce spoke to, couldn’t understand what he was saying .. So , Bruce was passed on . The irony is it was Bruce who based his story Warror on Ed’s show.

As I say, I am a fan of Bruce Lee and I don’t see that any of this takes away from Bruce , the man or the myth.
The reason for this is Bruce achieved so much and reamins an important figure in film, TV, Martial Arts history and pop culture in general
Also, and this is key …It wasnt Bruce that claimed he wrote the TV show Kung Fu, it was his wife in Linda Lee, in a book she wrote about Bruce.

The

End




Fairweather Friends

I was never really into Friends BUT I wasn’t a Friends hater , it was what it was ..Well meaning, well crafted light entertainment. Anyway, the cast break up and go out into the show biz world…Some surviving better than others

The decades pass..Now suddenly along comes a “Reunion” show for HBO MAX. To many this is an exciting moment, Friends was hugely successful and birthed millions of hardcore fans.

However, as science states, every action causes a reaction..Thus, to counter the ocean of love for the show, comes an ice age of hate. The reason given, for not meeting todays moral, social standards and. of course, the examples they give are so daft..

“Chandler Kept being worried about being gay” – they say this shows he was anti gay . Fine, in 2021 that kinda storyline MAY border on using “gay” in a pejorative way.

But I say, so what .. .Do we all have to want to be gay now? Do we have to pretend some people who are gay would rather not be gay and do we have to pretend, Hetero males aren’t at times, comically terrified of becoming gay. These are facts of life, its better to laugh at them that to pretend you are more emotionally sophisticated than we are

It has been argued that pop culture has become SO gay , its completely shallow and lacking. . I don’t fully agree with that BUT there is room for agreement in aspects. More than that though and this is whats worrying me..

The show wasn’t being homophobic in the least,It was anti being anti gay, the joke WAS ON Chandlers character for being so up tight and worried about being gay..THAT WAS THE JOKE Even 8 year olds in the 90s, saw this was a joke .. The fact adults don’t is scary.

WE live in idiot Times

Green Card – A short story long


In 2016 my wife and I decided enough is enough and fled the UK We did so with an embarrassment of funds.
In fact all we had was 3 months rent paid and 3k, 1.5k of which had to be used on a visa application
On top of that , we arrived with no jobs and ONLY my Wife could legally work for the first 5 months.

Not one immigration forum or lawyer ( some of which wanted over 10k) thought I would get a green card, due to a light police charge with a serious drug, in the 90s.


Basically, the stack was stacked against us .
Thus, I worked illegally and came up with a plan based on delay.
The trouble with this was I couldn’t leave the country and employers didn’t want to risk employing someone who’s visa needed to be reviewed each year .

This was fine for the first few years, I was living (at last) under a Hockney blue Californian sky, why go anywhere else?
However, after 4 years being on house arrest, even if the house is the whole of the USA , I needed to force immigration’s hand and so I did and they replied by denying my visa (Prats!)

Even though the denial was part of the plan, by this time I was pandemic tied, worn out and depressed, basically I thought “ Sod this”…

Suddenly comes the sound of trumpets and from stage left in flies Cross Reference Krissy (my Wife) ….
Krissy, who until this point hadn’t had anything to do with the visa application, beyond signing a few forms,.took over.
Amazingly, she managed to find a lawyer for FREE who agreed with my legal assertion and agreed to represent me.
Mainly the lawyer (and Krissy) did this by taking my files and said legal assertion and stripping my statements of an air of a pompous, mental patient and putting it all in a more professional legal setting

Only 4 months after having my application denied, an email arrived stating they had changed their mind and they are granting me a Green Card

And so it was… When my Wife and I decided enough is enough, tc🙄🙄🙄ime to give America a go.😪There’s been a speeding disaster so we’ll go 🔙cqqqf🔙 theqf motorway🤤

At last I feel free…
Wwwhhooopppiiie

The View

For the last 6 months my days and nights have been divided philosophically and spiritually. Generally speaking, the day is flavored by European realism and the nights are infused with a kind of cozy American fantasy
In the day I mainly watch English, French and Italian “New Wave”, mainly the films of (and about)
Pier Paolo Pasolini. In fact, I’ve been re-reading quite a lot of Pasolini’s poems and other various writings.
After, living in in America for 5 years, the heart longs for something and someone searingly poetic .
There is an odd kind of brainwashing and slight of hand, that goes on in America, where the notions of “Freedom ” and “Personal Rights” are used to take away peoples freedoms and give less rights. Americans are the new puritans that live within a comfy lie, in someways.
When on the run from the American attitude, Pasolini is the perfect refuge .

At night, I join my wife for Little House On The Prairie…. Isn’t Albet such a cute kid, isn’t Laura Ingalls brilliant, Isn’t Nellie Olseson a horror….I quite like the pitiless camp of Harriet Olsen, played by Katherine MacGregor

It’s a dangerous show to watch.. As its one of those “Why isn’t life like this? ” shows..The constant nagging of crisis and human loneliness never gets a look in or if it does it’s dealt with in the handy time frame of 50 minutes..No matter what the crisis, blindness, heartbreak or death… By the 46th minute its all peachy…Michael Landon will cry and they will share some home baked cookies around the table.

The key to the eternal happiness is the fact life in Walnut Grove is, nearly always, fair, there is usually a “silver lining” to most mishaps and the unkind will, nearly always, get their karmic kick in the privates (of course, in 2021 most peoples “Privates” are far from Private, it seems the whole World snaps, jpegs and sends theirs in speedy zeal) In short, the folk at Walnut Grove are spared the bitterness of the unfairness of “real life’ I think Little House On The Prairie should be essential viewing in these pandemic times

“Woe to him who doesn’t know this Christian faith is bourgeois.”― Pier Paolo Pasolini, Poems

Baynard Rustin

Years before Rosa Parks refused give up her seat , Bayard Rustin did it first…He was  a prominant voice in the Civil Rights movement and chief organiser of the march on Washington with MLK , in-spite of this Bayard was written out of black history , almost, completely..This was mainly because he was gay .. Also he didn’t see every problem as a “black” and “white” issue.
He was interested with truth NOT with political game playing and getting a story in The Guardian .

He was a socialist , in an old school way, and wouldn’t have joined the “identity politics ” , “cancel culture ” mob of today (like many on the old left)…. He said limiting the freedom of one race, in the end limits it for all- he would have been at odds with BLM and ANTIFA , in a few ways.

He loathed “white liberal syndrome” …He felt the left , via their forcing forever victimdom on blacks .. Were patronising and only doing it for moral absolution. He could see how it limited the black persons reach
I’d never heard of Baynard before…Until a black lady from Georgia told me about him last last week when she asked me what my thoughts were on the recent troubles,..She said “Read Byard Rustin , he was saying the all stuff you are saying years ago, honey ..You would like him”

She was right I do.

 

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My Worry

This was one of the scenes in London during the many BLM marches. Any other time I’d be all for this
Although this time I have to wonder what its really about …?

Black Lives Matter protests

The officers involved in the George Floyd incident have been sacked and charged …

So why is it all still going on and how come Covid was so bad we had to stay in for 3 months and a person would get dragged all over the internet and thrown in a police car if they stood an inch too close to someone in the local supermarket , yet now its Ok to go on mass protests ..You can’t go to the pub BUT its fine and dandy to join thousands and march through the street

Black Brits don’t get treated no where near as badly as black Americans (I’m not saying there is no racism though, there is plenty that needs stamping out ) …

Even the George Floyd incident wasn’t actually a racist attack, I don’t think.
It was the police going too far with a guy who was , acting odd and who had a rap sheet with home invasion on it. Who had just used fake money ( he may not have known it was fake)

NOW it is a disgrace how they treated him but it wasn’t a racist attack…Just like it was a disgrace that a white old man, about 76, got knocked over by police and that wasn’t a racist attack- I wouldn’t say these scumbag Police officers speak for all the Police in America, let alone the world.

I’d also , politely, like to say “whitey ” is no more racist than the blacks, mexican or chinese etc .
The issue isn’t really a “race” issue in that sense its the side effect of being a minorty in a white country, a power and influence issue (the UK ) or founded by whites (USA)
However, If you are white in Iran, China , Korea , parts of Africa etc then the power dynamic would be reversed–I only mention this as I’ve read in various places that “whites” are inherently more racist than any other race.. I don’t think this is true.

My worry is this, it’s been proven that blacks are dying more from covid than whites… So, if there is another spike due to protests and riots, which is already happening in the USA..Wont that kill more black people?

Basically, we could be in a situation where these protests kill more black people than the Police.

The Talking Gardens Of The USA

Americans and their garden signage are a curious thing..

You walk past these talking houses and you see placards telling you “Black lives matter” , ” Gay rights ” , ” Trans rights”
“Equality for women” …” I’m with jesus ”
and , for the goths ” I worship the devil ” ( this one is helpful as you know off the (flying) bat ..That lot are gonna be possibly over weight and certainly somewhat braindead )…. You get Xmas decor , Halloween decor , “Welcome to spring ” and ” I love Autumn ” bows.

You get the persons voting preference and pop culture choices as garage stickers …Their gate fittings,at times, tell you about their pets and they leave books to browse, borrow or keep ..They even leave take away philosophy quotes and homemade poems

In short the American garden is a social media post before social media was invented

 

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Lockdown Review

As we are all locked in, a hostage to our streaming services.  I thought I would pop up the odd review. I will stick to films on Netflix ,Amazon Prime, Hulu etc …..They are kind of “also ran” types …NOT the Obvious classics in Movie or TV – thus, no Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Mike Leigh films etc, no  Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under , Curb Your Enthusiasm and so on.

Film-

The Foreigner

It says its new on Netflix here, USA, however the film is from 2017.

The film places Jackie Chan in a role that, in the past, would have been taken up by Harrison Ford and these days , for reasons I can’t divine, is usually filled by Limping Neeson.

That is to say Chan finds himself in the kind of role that has an everyman, who nips out to buy a packet of Hobnobs only to find, he has, unknowingly, picked up the wrong Tesco bag and thus is now forced into combat against corrupt, army trained, killers.

In The Foreigner, Chan takes his daughter into town, only for her to get blown up by a Real IRA bomb. Unfortunate.

Chan, unhappy that the police seem to be getting nowhere slowly, decides to take matters into his own hands.

It helps that Chan, although in his 60s , was once in the Chinese Special Forces (before moving to the UK and opening a Chinese Restaurant) and can,seemingly, make explosives out of discarded items from Debenhams lost and found department.

I quite liked the film.

 

 

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TV show-

Blacklist

If anyone has ever sat at home on a cloudy Wednesday afternoon and thought ” Well, I wonder what happened to that actor who played obnoxious rich teens / 20 somethings in the 80s”

Then simply by turning on Netflix and watching The Black List, you can see that James Spader (like all of us) has aged – his hairline has decreased, as his waist line has increased

He has swapped iZod tennis tops (with the collars turned up) and pastel colours , for dark coloured designer suits and a fedora.

The show , in many ways, is typical of NBC/CBS shows- in the same kind of way that BBC and ITV dramas tend to have a certain look / feel.

Spader, plays one of Americas most wanted fugitives who teams up with the FBI to hunt people on America’s “Black list” – mobsters, terrorists and other assorted types one may not want to spend a bank holiday weekend with .

The agreement being, he will work for the FBI only if he can work with a certain female agent …It’s all a bit Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling….

Spader, also followed Hopkins Lecter lead in regards to acting style… We find he too graduated, with honors, at the University of the louche and the hammy .

Spaders character, it would seem, is more cultured than Brian Sewell and deadlier than Charles Bronson in Death Wish – Handy if you want help with an art history essay and also if your best friend has been kidnapped by gangster Muslim clerics

Enjoy

 

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The Bridge to Magnolia

Yesterday, I had to brave the elements to go to the post office.
It was due to an ebay item I was meant to post. I had been putting this off, thinking I don’t want to risk my life for a mere $30 ..However, although the buyer was very nice about the situation, I did think 4 weeks is long enough and I didn’t want to smear my 100% ebay rating…

So, I set off to the Post Office in wealthy , healthy Magnolia.
As its a Peninsula, to get there I had to walk over a Bridge..
As I was doing this, I kept thinking a hateful village sherif was going to pull over with cruel sirens and angry tires to hassle me and ask me to turn back from the cozy village back to the wilderness of Upper Queen Anne. Just like what happened to John Rambo in First Blood- dear reader, I should stop to point out, before my wife tells me off, Upper Queen Anne, is actually rather upper middle class, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, there was no sherif about to drive me out of town and put me in jail if I tried to return- this was lucky as I wasn’t a vietnam vet, so I probably wouldn’t have been able to escape like John Rambo did … That said I had watched Tenko a few times, so who knows

Once I got to Magnolia, I discovered the Post Office queuing system meant you had to wait until someone comes out of the Post Office, until you could go in…. The trouble is one gets bored so you read a book or go on your phone.. This means you can miss when sone one walks out.. Which I did yesterday..
The women behind me shouted “GO ON, YOUR TURN”
So, I said “Bloody Nora, keep your wig on”… Which in England can be amusing, in a retro saying kind of way.. However, it didn’t translate in America and I thought she may call the police.
The end

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Regarding Woody

Most people , probably, wouldn’t want to order this first quarter of 2020 , if it was a menu option
In fact , I wouldn’t be surprised if the masses demand we re do this whole year .
The entire world will get together and pretend this was just a collective nightmare, that vanished as soon as we awoke into our new “do over” year,- like the famous season long, Bobby Ewing, dream sequence in Dallas.
This would also be handy if you are 21 and want to stay 21 for a year longer, it would be helpful if you were on death row and due to go to the electric chair this year. Although, granted this would be a nuisance if you had to reschedule your Dignitas appointment.

For me, apart from January, I always hate January, this year has been nice. Yes, Covid-19 is frightening and heartbreaking,.. However, it has meant I can work remotely and not have to share an elevator with people who’s total number of tattoos is greater than their IQ score- life is a game of give and take.

One of the delights of this year, so far, as far as I’m concerned, is that Woody Allen’s autobiography was, finally, released and what can I tell you, it’s brilliant, utterly hilarious .

I remember, the fantastic, Victoria Wood once said that Woody Allen had become ashamed he was ever funny, he now just wanted to be a “serious” dramatist. Apart from being not true , it implies Woody had stopped being funny
You only had to watch a number of his films, around the time Victoria said this and beyond, to see it wasn’t true.
This book is further proof that the Woody Allen of old, is pretty much the Woody Allen of the present.
In a way, it’s, almost, impossible for Woody not to be amusing, as his humour is based around his philosophy on life and the many abusdaties that imbue it and flow from it.

It’s the reason he has such a loyal core fan base, which since I first discovered him in my teens I have been a part of, if you “get” Woody, if you are a fan, its largely, due to having a shared view of the world.

“There was no trauma in my life, no awful thing that occurred and turned me from a smiling, freckle-faced lad with a fishing pole and pantaloons into a chronically dissatisfied lout. My own speculation centers around the fact that at five or so, I became aware of mortality and figured, uh-oh, this is not what I signed on for. I had never agreed to be finite. If you don’t mind, I’d like my money back.”

Woody Allen

I say all this, as if you buy, borrow or steal, the book you won’t be let down. The book over spills with “it’s funny because it’s true” observations and Samurai sword sharp quips .

He is, also, open hearted, at least for Woody, discussing his parents, his loves, his likes and his loathes. As well as taking us through his relationships- of course, he gives his side of the story regarding Mia, her children and his wife, Soon Yi as well.

“I helped her get work in TV when she moved to the city. We had no secrets, we were closer than family. This extreme and pleasurable closeness continued decade after decade until I sued her.”

Woody Allen

“But the arguments we had over free will and monads, while heated, were never as combatative as the ones we had over our marriage. I knew I was in trouble when, in one philosophical discussion, Harlene proved I didn’t exist.”

Woody

Anyway, if it doesn’t sell out, the book should be available, at most, closed for Covid-19 book stores, as well as with the usual online sellers
.

For what it’s worth, going by the evidence he gives and from what I’ve read in the past, I can’t help but think Woody is innocent and I can’t help but feel Mia’s greatest acting achievement (even greater than her brilliant performance in Rosemarys Baby ) is her ability to fool people into thinking she should be anywhere which isn’t a Psychiatric Hospital .

I will leave the last word to Woody himself

“As much as we whine and moan and insist, often quite persuasively, that life is a pointless nightmare of suffering and tears, if a man suddenly entered the room with a knife to kill us, we instantly react. We grab him and fight with every ounce of our energy to disarm him and survive. (Personally, I run.)”

Woody Allen

“All that I ask is my ashes be scattered close to a pharmacy.”

Woody Allen

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