Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year, innit


Mrs Boyo has just fastened name tags to my clothing, as we're off on our annual pilgrimage to Ukraine - the touristic delights of which are carolled here.

Back on 5th January, so have yourselves a lively time over the New Year. I'll be somewhere on Maydan Nezalezhnosti or arm-wrestling Kolya Lektryk for the return of my trousers as usual.

In the meantime, here's some more of the thoughts of Capt Deakin on the rainbow nations of the North-West Frontier:

... could mimic a bassoon at 100 yds by straining slightly for
weeks thereafter. I could not have imagined such horrors those
few months ago as I was summoned into the Govnr's State Rooms
in Peshawar, even though I was not expecting thepleasantest of
conversations.

"I'm innocent, Sir! The native girl was sick; she would have
died anyway," I said by way of greeting, after the G's curt
nod.

"Desist, Capt. Deakin. I have no wish to trawl deeper through
the sump of degeneracy that is your personal contribution to
the White Man's Burden." The G pointed wearily at a large
area of the Punjab, coloured crimson on his campaign map. "The
main chieftains of the area have been appeased by the gift of
many head of elephants, and the urban curfew is now being
observed, despite many days of mutiny by the Seventh Sepoys
and the disembowelment of fifteen Unitarian missionaries by
the indignant populace in Chunki-Pazaar."

"Capital! No real harm done then, eh, Your Excellency... What
about a round of billiards? I'll let yer win, treat you to a
Siamese Sandwich at Madame Wong's Star of Mandalay Rub-and-Tug
Parlour, if yer know what I mean, and we'll forget all about
this ghastly misunderstanding - watcha say?"

My normally successful tactics for dealing with anxious
superior officers failed me in this my one encounter with the
Govnr, who was clearly not a Fifth Lancers' Man.

"Capt. Deakin! Confound you, man! Thanks to your grotesque
behaviour we nearly lost the whole of north-west India to
bloody insurrection, and all you can suggest is table-games
and further molestation of His Majesty's colonial charges!
Have you any idea, you depraved cretin, of how close you have
come to a full court-martial? THAT close!" bellowed the
clearly overwrought G., hacking at the punkah-wallah with
his scimitar by way of illustration of my proximity to
disgrace. "It is only the intercession on your behalf of Col.
Dunn-Chan - Lord alone knows why - that spared you from five
years in the stockade and a transfer to the Gurkha Target-
Practice Platoon, for Heaven's sake!"

Good old Gussie Dunn-Chan, I thought to myself. Not much of a
soldier, but a sound chap who knows when he's been done a
favour. The sale of his appalling spouse to those devil-
worshippers in Chitral for a sack of goat-fat and a set of
Uighur embroidered undergarments, only slightly soiled, was
one of my most successful trades as Commercial Commissioner in
Chini-Bagh two years previously, and Gussie's gratitude has
been as touching as it is useful. I also got him out of some
bother over the Inflatable Sari business in Sindh prior to the
King's Durbar, and he has never let me down since.

"When all is said and done you're still an officer in the
British Army of India, but the Ghorband of Amritsar is
demanding that an example should be made of you, nonetheless,"
continued the G., mollified by my respectful silence. "With
Russian agents crawling all over the place we cannot afford to
be seen to be ignoring his demands, nor can we give in to an
ultimatum from some damn'd native nabob. So I have decided on
a compromise."

With that the Govnr drew a service-revolver from his
desk and handed it to me. "Mortified by the distress and
sanguinary bedlam caused by your incontinent behaviour, you
did what any Lancer would have done," he said, with more
relish than I thought necessary. "Your death will calm the
Ghorband, and impress upon the masses how strict is the
British officers' code of honour. The worst of the damage will
be put right, and we can get on with the job of winning border
tribes to the Empire's side in preparation for the final
reckoning with the Czar and his Cossack marauders. You know it
makes sense, Deakin."

I thought it worth seeking some sort of dignified alternative
that would, nonetheless, not diminish my standing in the
Govnr.-General's eyes. "Can't we shoot one of the men and
dress him up to look like me Sir? My batman, Rose, would
gladly sacrifice himself the greater good, and anyway we
needn't tell. Give me half an hour and I sort it out myself,"
I volunteered.

"A coward, a bully, and a disgrace to our Island Race, as I
always suspected!" exploded the G., which I thought was
rather hard on poor old Rosie. Never the model fighting-man,
it must be said, and prone to excessive perspiration when
being used as a human shield by an officer under heavy
artillery-fire, but an ideal if reluctant beater on tiger-
sticking outings and a ready source of cash in that difficult
last week of the month - after a little physical persuasion
and threats to deport his mulatto family to the molasses-farms
of Guiana.

"Don't worry, Captain, I don't seriously expect you to do the
decent thing and blow your warped brains out, given your
incompetence and the sheer volume of your gin intake, not to
mention the difficulty of finding the target. No, we have a
much more positive use for you mottled neck."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Cahiers ou Cinema?


I like to spend my lunch hour drinking with NCOs, people with further education, religious scholars, that sort of thing. Conversation ranges widely, with owl etiquette and myself as frequent reference points.

Recently the Spirit of Radio 4 descended upon us and led to a discussion of whether the original book is always better than the film adaptation, with particular reference to Trainspotting.

I thought a more interesting question was why call either version Trainspotting unless you wanted to introduce the wrapped-sandwich community to skag, turps, fast music and Scottish culture, but as usual I was wrong.

Our conclusion, after scant consideration of little evidence, was that the book is always better. At which point we thought about it a bit more, and reached the following more comprehensive assessment.

The book is better than the film, with the following exceptions:

1. Films of Stephen King novels are better than the books, unless the films have the words "Stephen King's" in the title;

2. The same goes for Philip K Dick and in fact almost any piece of science fiction (see the Solaris debate I had with myself);

3. Our Man in Havana; and

4. Hardcore porn (that was my idea).

Unlike Radio 4 we are open to informed dissent, so fire away all you Christmas objectors.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cyfres y Ceirw II: Vincent Price


Now as always, Wales dominates the ham section of the acting profession. Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, Ray Milland, Richard Coyle - they all had to come from somewhere, I'm afraid, and that somewhere was Vincent Price.

Price's career as an actor, cook, art-collector and TV gobshite is all too well-known, but his humble background, political activism and sheer Welshness are not.

Born Fychan ap Rhys in Bethesda to Rhys and Falmai ap Rhys, Price spent his childhood training to follow his father into the sin-eating business. This prepared him well for his later role in The Witchfinder General and various adverts.

A defining moment, however, came during his preparations for the Bethesda Cwyniad - the local Welsh-language freestyle toasting and dissing sessions. He used the hwntw expression "chimod" to rhyme with "Ichabod" during a bravura dismissal of Archdruid Cynan, and was booed off the chapel benches by the local Gog separatists.

Although there is no proof of this, Cynan incited the local bigots to drive Price away from the well where his family had dwelt for generations - partly in jealousy over the young man's courtship of Dolgellau harp diva and ankle-model Telynores Dwyryd, or so it's said.

This made Price a doughty champion of Welsh national unity and an opponent of racial intolerance, even when it was entirely justified.

He fled south to the easygoing port city of Tenby, where he eked out a living as a crwth-player with a street jazz combo and developed his interest in cookery by slapping Welsh cakes for the demimondaines at Maison Griff's all-night speakeasy - the only place you could get a drink in Pembrokeshire in those days, even a cup of tea.

Fate grabbed Price by the danglers once again when the US Fleet steamed into harbour, heralding Wales’s entry into the Second World War on the Allied side.

A group of Calvinist street toughs had marked his card over the "hot" version of "Arglwydd Dyma Fi" he'd performed at a Griff jam session one crazy night, so he stowed away on a US frigate heading for Havana to pick up cigars for Mr Churchill.

Price was discovered near the Azores, but his cooking and rhyming skills, plus his ability to see U-boats underwater, soon had him shoot up the ratings. By the time the ship had docked in New York, Price was a Senior Captain - which meant he not only ran the ship itself but had the use of another when his was being mended.

A glorious naval career followed, but Price showed his principles once again by resigning his commission when President Truman refused to carry the war to its logical conclusion and free Wales from English occupation.

Instead, he sold his medals to fund a Broadway musical version of Caradog Pritchard's "Un Nos Ola Leuad" called "Mam!". Literally no one came to see it, which allowed him to recycle much of the material in a concert work for male voice choir and crwth that he toured around clubs in LA.

Michael Jackson loved the piece so much that he turned it into the hit single "Thriller". Price, ever the crusader against racism, praised Jackson for giving so many prominent parts to black people in the video, and agreed to play a cameo part. That, as they, is the measure of the man - composer, warrior, lover, short-order chef and Welsh.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Russia: Man the Humping Guns


Keen readers of the television, newspapers, political web blogs and the radio will know that dwarf bodybuilder Vladimir Putin has decided to let the even shorter Dmitry Medvedev become President of Russia for a while.

Was there any chance of the various opposition parties beating him, even in a bar fight? Not really:

- The democratic parties would fit neatly in the Cwmdonkin Bowls Club jacuzzi, even when it's full of friendly ladies;

- The Communists are all pensioners, and post-Soviet healthcare reforms will ensure that they're unlikely to survive until polling day;

- All the other parties were set up by the Kremlin because Mr Putin needs quadraphonic adulation to go with his mania for the 1970s (oily martinis, tinted glasses, sticking political opponents in mental hospitals, and Disco!)

How wrong we were. Comes the hour, comes the man. Yes, Beat legend Charles Bukowski has announced that he's standing for president - in Russian!

Many have written off Bukowski, saying that he doesn't have the time to build up a convincing campaign, that his work has tailed off recently, and that he died in 1994.

Anyone who's followed Bukowski's career will know that he's a better man dead than Putin is alive, and his unspoken manifesto shows a deeper understanding of Russia than that Petersburg boy scout could dream of. Consider it:

I. Putin is near teetotal, speaks German and arms Iranians.

Russians have shown throughout history that they think these are bad ideas. Candidate Bukowski stands firmly against arms, apart from the odd flick knife for one's own personal use. He was actually born in Germany, and so knows exactly what that lot are up to. His position on drink is well-documented, and broadly enthusiastic.

II. Putin has taken control of the televisions, so that they show little except his holiday films and soft porn (I didn't say he was all bad).

Russians do like propaganda and filth, but they also like boxing and poetry. Bukowski would keep the best of Putin programming, and enhance it with two-fisted action and live dissing contests with Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

III. Bukowski looks like 90 per cent of the male population of Russia, and so is able to connect with them like moonshine on an empty stomach.

Putin looks like the man at the end of the bus queue whom the monster eats first in 1950s horror films.

IV: Putin says things like this: "Russians will never allow for the development of the country along a destructive path, the way it happened in some countries in the post-Soviet space."

Bukowski says things like this:"I don't like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there."

V: In Californication, the David Duchovny character is clearly based on Bukowski.

Dobby, Harry Potter's house elf, is the closest Putin will get to a celluloid homage.

C'mon Ivan, if you've only got one vote, get out of bed just after noon and cast it for Hank Chinaski.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Sing the Body Dai-alectic


A press release by the Grievances and Slights Amelioration Committee of the Cymru Rouge ("Mon coeur est un luth suspendu"):

Our plenipotentiary representative in Occupied Swydd Henffordd (Herefordshire) has passed on a communiqué by coracle about further English exploitation of the Welsh people.

This time, the English have adopted the cunning ways of their comprador overlord Edward Longshanks (who is dead, while we are still alive, let us recall) in using a Welsh to attack a Welsh. That frankly is our job, and we're not having any of it.

The plutocrats who have literally usurped the name of Martyr Commandante Dic Penderyn and appended it to a distillery have done themselves no further favours at all by promoting their "Brecon Five Vodka" through the medium of challenging the Philosophy Department of the Valley College of Further Education.

The charges laid before the Flying Court (Marsupial Division) of the Cymru Rouge are that the Penderyn Distillery did knowingly, and with knowledge aforethought:

1. Waste Wales's scarce water resources on vodka - a drink favoured by prostitutes, "pop" singers and mink-trappers - while the hemp-clad toilers cry out for yet more ale to slake their Cambrian thirsts;

2. Usurp the name of Martyr Commandante Dic Penderyn, which belongs to the People (and is held in trust for them by the Cymru Rouge);

3. Denigrate the name of the Brecon Five, pioneers of Welsh Maoism who vanished while attempting to cultivate rice in the River Honddu;

4. Misspell the name of the Valley College of Further Edjucation.

5. Promote the cult of the rootless intellectual over the native wisdom of the Welsh Wise Woman.

6. Admire Existentialism - a philosophy banned by Cymru Rouge Edict 456/26(XIX/b:iii) "On The Rationing of Thought Allocation";

7. Verbally apply the English "language" without due consultation with the Cymru Rouge Unnecessary Surgical Procedures Subcommittee;

8. All the above, with "Conspiracy to" prefixed.

How have the bourgeois running corgis of Welsh liberalism responded? By complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority - a watchtower of the capitalist Panopticon that imprisons the workers, peasants, revolutionary-minded soldiers and public-sector employees of Wales, and possibly elsewhere too.

The answer these Dic Sion Dafydds received was a contemptuous rap on the pizzle for daring to question the Laws of Mammon.

We, the Rouge, follows the Laws of Mabon and reject the infantile, anti-Cambrian deviation that is Existentialism. With the exception of the clerical reactionary RS Thomas, no Welsh has ever sought a personal encounter with God, or yet believed in creating individual meaning in his, her or anyone else's life.

A. Our dealings with God have always been handled by highly-trained specialists, with disastrous results.

In pagan times all religious matters were the domain of druids, who prepared our troops for battle against the Romans by getting monged on 'shrooms in an oak glade, stripping off and taking orders from an astral badger.

Later, we left it to monks, until they challenged the autocracy of top Welsh lothario Henry VIII Tudor and lumbered us with the imperialist Act of Union.

Since then, it's been the preserve of Calvinists, Methodists and sometimes weird The-Fly-like combinations of both. In consequence we dropped polyphony, sex and novel musical instruments for male voice choirs, tea and piano lessons with the late Miss Roberts.

Given the failings of these theologians, the Welsh people have as one decided that they themselves as deracinated individuals are unlikely to do any better.

B. "Meaning in life" is an inherently un-Welsh concept that seeks to distract the People from their revolutionary tasks by promoting the sort of brooding self-doubt that makes the Scots what they are today.

The case of the People vs Penderyn Distillery will be heard in the coming days. Appeal against the sentence is permitted before it is carried out anyway.

Henffych!

Ta Moc Tudor - Brawd Rhif Un
Huw Samphan - Brawd Rhif Dau
Paul Pot - Brawd Rhif Tri

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Desert Island Dicks


Former Genesis-album magnate and human installation Ward Cooper once remarked that footballers always say their favourite television programmes are David Attenborough nature documentaries, because it makes them sound intelligent.

In a similar manner, the various captains of industry, Booker also-rans and faded party leaders who make up the Desert Island Discs guest-list allege that they like to relax to some Dvořák, their granny's old 78s and, in the case of politicians, something randomly modish with an uplifting title that their researchers tacked on at the last minute ("Things Can Only Get Better", that perennial hymn to back-passage auto-erotic stimulation "My Way", and Schoolly D's "Gucci Time").

I've yet to hear any mention of sex aids among the one luxury items these gonks select, either. ("Well, Kirsty, I'd like a Dilmaster VII, a colour photo of Caroline Quentin and a jar of goose fat, please.")

I've had enough of this, and kd lang is frankly a disappointingly bland hostess, so here's a way of livening it up, Welsh stylee.

(Druggy music, with auk accompaniment)

[Presenter Charlotte Church] Hiya, my guest today is No Good Boyo. Nice to 'ave you b'yer, Boyo, and thanks for the basque. Just one size too small, is it?"

[No Good Boyo] Aye.

[CC] Lovely. So, No Good, who is yewr nominee to spend the rest of their lives on Bardsey Island, then?

[NGB] Well, Charlotte, I'd like to nominate Glenys Bloody Kinnock.

[CC] Lady Kinnock of Lle Chwech? Orbital! And what's the first record you'd like to make her listen to endlessly, then?

[NGB] Her first record will be "Don't Rain on My Parade"...

[CC] A classic!

NGB] ... in the cover version by Japan.

[CC] Yew bastard!

(brief yet horrid snatch thereof)

[CC] Oh, Christ came to Crumlin, don't ever let that happen again! Before the next record, NG, would you like to speculate at length on the various physical indignities Baroness Kinnock could expect to endure on this windswept and possibly haunted rock, or perhaps suggest other ways of making her life miserable?

(more nasty stuff)

[CC] With gravel? Exotic! Now, tell us more about yewr next record.

[NGB] "I Mewn i'r Gôl" by the Rhos Male Voice Choir is more than just a lumpy 80s hymn of fealty to Wrexham FC, sung in grinding unison yet out of sync to an oompah backbeat. Coz I've got the 12-inch...

(on it goes)

[CC] So, when the Nigaraguan Contras have got bored with her, Glenys can recuperate with a book and a luxury item. She's already got the collected works of Daniel Owen in extra-small print and a sheaf of Plaid Cymru leaflets, so what else is she 'aving?

[NGB] I think she'd enjoy a transcript of her husband's "All Right!" speech in Sheffield, just before he achieved the near-miracle of losing an election to John Major in 1992.

[CC] And the luxury item?

[NGB] Why, Neilo himself!

(Fade out over insane cackling and the sound of lingerie snapping)


Who would you like to see go steadily mad while listening to Lou Reed album tracks on Rockall? C'mon, share the Schaden!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mark of The Mole


From the press office of the Cymru Rouge Grievance and Slights Department ("Inventing Dignity"):

It has come to the attention of the Vanguard of the Welsh People's various struggles that an English has begun to perpetuate a stereotypical slander against our brothers, sisters and others in the Tribe of Morgan.

Not content first to denigrate the Prophet Mohammed, the immortal leader of the Muslim people, the buffoon Kes Gray has now slurred our Silurian race with his mole-centric aspersions.

His suggestion that entire the Welsh people, and the Tribe of Morgan in particular, are short, dark, irascible creatures who spend most of their lives underground in no way represents the sunlit European vector of our new Cardiff Bay identity.

It is the will of the Welsh people, as expressed through the inerrant voice of the Cymru Rouge, that this Clarksonite debaser should have his car painted green, assuming that he's man enough to drive (probably a 2CV), and that his car is not already green.

In that event, a darker or lighter hue will be applied, depending on the assessment of the Cymru Rouge Coordination and Accessorising Group ("Peintio'r Byd yn Wyrdd").

Appeals will be heard before sentence is duly carried out anyway.

Henffych!

Huw Samphan (Brawd Rhif Un)
Paul Pot (Brawd Rhif Dau)
Ta Moc Tudor (Brawd Rhif Tri)

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Car That Ate Corris


As Mrs Boyo and, it seems, the first Ottoman Sultan so rightly predicted, I failed my driving test.

I find comfort in the words of the Ruthenian poet and amputee, Sam Dureppa, who once wrote "That which does not kill me needs less cooking", and list the faults noted by the examiner by way of enlightening the young.

1. Misuse of gear. Rolling a fat one while idling at junctions constitutes a serious fault, unless you're doing it with just one hand and not looking either.

2. Misuse of road. All four wheels must touch the road at all times, as we know, but the steering wheel and spare do not count. At least not on a test.

3. Country ways. Saying "we all kicks caravans passing the Cross Foxes near Tabor, and no one ever complained" cuts no ice with these English examiners. They neither know nor care about the Ways of the Welsh.

4. Bribery. Against the law, apparently. Doubling it gets you off, though.

I ought to have done all this when I was 17, and the test consisted of driving around the Co-op car park in Machynlleth without dribbling on the dashboard.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Victim of the Brain


Mrs Boyo has convinced me by sheer force of repetition that Solaris by Stanisław Lem is a work of fiction, not the diary of an intrepid Polish astronaut.

To reinforce the point she replaced my Coupling omnibus dvd with a film version of Solaris, directed by Russian auteur Andrei Tarkovsky. I have watched this film, all 170 minutes of it, and reached the following conclusions:

1. Whatever else they may have lacked, the Brezhnev-era Soviets were not short of film stock.

2. The Russians foresaw a future in which space exploration would be carried out in natural fibres, which puts them miles ahead of the Americans.

3. As established elsewhere, Russians don't know how to have a good time unless there's distilled potato and other people's countries involved.

4. Mr Tarkovsky was clearly an early master of the Kieślowski Gambit.

Named after the late Polish ennuier, the Gambit replaces plotting, pacing, action and characterisation with rapt vistas, unleaven religiosity and inconsequential dialogue, often delivered by women without any make-up. "Ah, sophisticated!" breathe Anglo-American film reviewers. "Mais où est Arnie?" ask Europe audiences.

Which brings me neatly to the US remake of Solaris. Hollywood is often accused of crudening the textures of European cinema with its abridged versions. The Vanishing, Les Diaboliques and the Second World War are indeed travesties of the European originals. But in the case of Solaris, I think Hollywood got it right.

Yes, Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall is the film Tarkovsky's Solaris could have become. The left-field Dutchman made his mark with gay porn classic The Royal Dutch Marine Corps and The Fourth Man, being the further adventures of Harry Lime, before heading west to achieve his career peak with Showgirls.

On the way there - somewhere over the Azores in terms of his creative flight path - Verhoeven turned his hand to Lem's slender volume and produced a bar of cinematic gold.

Total Recall corrects four fundamental flaws in Tarkovsky's version:

1. In Total Recall, Quaid imagines a dusky, kick-boxing lingerie model. In contrast to his wife - a blonde, kick-boxing lingerie model. The Kelvin character in Solaris dreams of his own wife - a sallow, undernourished, apparently dead homemaker from Perm.

2. In Total Recall, the planet is a real planet - Mars - and has nuclear reactors, mutants, prostitutes and more guns than a Beirut wedding party. The planet on Solaris looks like Dovey Junction and is inhabited by the said uncommunicative frump. And neither she nor the planet are real, from what I could gather.

3. In Total Recall, you have Arnie. Fair enough, Tarkovsky was in no position to hire the Governator in 1972, but he could at least have tried for someone who combines action with Arnie's light touch. Sir David Niven springs to mind.

4. In Total Recall, there's an early scene of Quaid going home from a construction site. This establishes the essential characters and plot. From then on, it's two-fisted, many-tentacled action, with added sleaze. And it also raises important issues about the environment, reality etc. In Solaris, there's a visit to the Kelvin family hut, and then it slows down drastically.

In a nutshell, compare the escalator fight scene in Total Recall with the traffic jam in Solaris. Now imagine what Kelvin would have done on the moving stairs, and how long Arnie would have waited before clearing the motorway with a nuclear-fuelled Humvee armed with laser-powered rocket-launchers. And he wouldn't have taken ten minutes to do it either.

Solaris is available in a subtitled, remastered DVD from the Criterion Collection at £14.86, with an informative article by Phillip Lopate. Total Recall is available pretty much every day at Casa Boyo on ITV2, with an excitable commentary by myself.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Cyfres y Ceirw I: Hag


Gwasg Gwynedd is a publishing colossus that bestrides the Menai Straits like a man, or woman, made totally and utterly out of Welsh books and no others. It runs a list of popular biographies devoted to Gwalia's worthies entitled Cyfres y Cewri (The Series of Giants).

Keen observers of the Welsh cultural and political sidduation have long noticed lacunae in this list, and so the rice-paper publishing and summary-execution wing of the Cymru Rouge has resolved to supplement it with Cyfres y Ceirw - The Series of Deer - so called because the notables honoured therein are nimble hornèd beasts of Cambritude.

And so the first Hart of Hearts is Hag - Councillor Robert "Hag" Harris - owner of Hag's Record Shop and Ceredigion kingmaker, seen above in his official uniform as quondam Mayor of Lampeter. His roll of honour is as follows:

- His election as the first truly scary Burgomeister gave Lampeter some much-needed Universal Horror glamour.

- His shop has played a vital role in keeping students tricked into attending Lampeter University from going stir-crazy and trying to break out of the Cardigan Cordon, which is patrolled by the Daughters of Rebecca wing of the Young Farmers (Provisional).

- His militant baldness is a literally shining example to all of us whose heads grow too fast for their hair.

In keeping with the official Cymru Rouge philosophy of Existentialist Nihilism ("I think, therefore it does not exist"), we cannot endorse any of our candidates for Ceirŵaeth without personal testimony, so here is mine.

Hag used to take his vinyl circus of second-hand records around South Wales campuses in the 80s, and one visit to Swansea University prompted a rare foraging trip for me out of the Hendrefoelan student internment camp.

Before heading off I asked Ward, the coffee-based leech-tamer in the shadow of whose sound system I lived, whether there was anything I could get him.

"Ask Hag what he'd give me for a full set of Genesis albums," muttered the Sage of Wyrley from behind a stack of 2000 ADs.

And so, a little later I beckoned to one of Hag's creatures across a pile of Soft Cell singles, only to hear the reedy, disingenuous voice of a caller to a social disease helpline say "I have a friend who'd like to sell a set of Genesis albums". The voice was mine.

"Oh, you have a fri-END who'd like to sell some Genesis albums, have you?" leered Hag's little helper with troglodytic glee.

"Er, er..."

"Oi, Hag! This one's got a firrrr-END who'd like to sell some Genesis albums!" the Morlock yelled across the room.

Hag, like Count Orlock in a Clash t-shirt, emerged hungry from his crypt and glided across to feast on the bared neck of my mortification.

"Right, you've got a FUH-UH-UH-UH-RRRRRRENDDDD who'd like to sell some Genesis albums, eh?" he beamed, sweeping a roomful of women who would now never sleep with me into the conversation.

I thought of taking the Lawrence of Arabia amendment and declaring "He. Was. My. Friend," but realised that there was not crawling out of the well of prog-rock purgatory wherein I had hurled myself.

The crowd of loafers in German army surplus eventually shuffled off with their Elvis Costello records, leaving Hag to lean across and whisper "I'll give you 15 quid for the lot".

"Seven quid's his final offer, Cooper, take it or leave it," I reported back to Ward as he adjusted his java drip.

I learned a valuable lesson that day about music, finance and friendship, and all at the cloven hooves of Hag - a Welsh.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Humbughead


Vladimir Voinovich, Russian wiseacre and author of the commendable Life and Amazing Adventures of Soldier Ivan Chonkin, once developed a political theory called the Bald and the Hairy.

He held that Soviet/Russian leaders who were thinning on top tended to be relatively decent losers. They ended up being marched off to house arrest (Khrushchev, Gorbachev) or dying of clap or whatever before achieving much (Lenin, Andropov).

Top Bolsheviks with the glossy coat of a labrador retriever, on the other hand, were their own men who didn't play by the rules but got results, whether in the fields of mass murder and world conquest (Stalin), collecting Mercedes and ballerinas (Brezhnev) or having it large on the world stage like a goose in a bad suit (Yeltsin).

Even Malenkov and Chernenko, usually dubbed pasty failures despite their shaggy manes, at least managed not get stomped to death by coked-up dwarves in the Lubianka cellars, unlike so many other Soviet also-rans.

Humbly following in the path of Voinovich's tennis shoes, I would like to propose the political theory of the Mismatched Collar and Cuffs.

It posits that British financial supremos whose silvery hair jars with their black and owlish eyebrows are doomed to career misery and alcohol-related humiliation - and not necessarily the fun type I enjoy most evenings either.

In evidence I cite George Brown, Wilson's buffoonish pisswizard, Norman Lamont, the cheap-bubbly berk who mislaid the pound sterling for several months, and current cashbox clown Alistair Darling.

As far as I know Mr Darling has yet to hit the bottle, but I'd certainly back Senator Blutarksy in advising him to start drinking heavily. Things can only get worser, so he may as well observe them sullenly through the bottom of a whisky tumbler.

Back home in Wales, having more than one eyebrow marks you out as a fairy child destined for greatness in the Land of Men. But at least our politicians are content to watch badgers rather than putting them in charge of the Mint.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Anti-Danube: Chapter VII


In Which Mountains Vanish as My Troubles Do Not

I settled onto the floor of the leprous cell and ran my bloated, rubbery hands over the first page of the League of the Wives of Bohdan Naxajlo file.

"Real paper," I whistled to myself. So unlike the impacted cobweb and acorn paste on which my collection of essays had been printed. The whole run of "The Waters Have Burst" was eaten by a squirrel, but I endure.

Naxajlo - what bewilderment that name evokes, and not least phonetic! Rarely uttered aloud except within the stag-heavy walls of the NAKRO senior officers' club, it refers to the the scion of a prewar corsetry empire who joined the Communists as Minister of Church Expropriation before failing to return from a solidarity visit to the militant milliners of Marrakech.

Since then Naxajlo has been an umbrella tip embedded in the pimply thigh of Socialism, elusive yet inevitable in his wrecking of Five-Year Plans, folk festivals and visits by unfocused Western playwrights alike.

Linked variously to the Latto faction of the Democratic Rhomboid, the Continuity Langerites and the Shutak List (Renewal), Naxajlo's sabotage has been impish in subtlety and often indistinguishable from Party policy itself.

The doyen of Ruthenian poets, Vaclav Futon, once told me "When you travel to foreign literary conferences and announce yourself to be a Ruthenian, you are asked two questions. The first is 'Please will you hang up my coat?' and the second - 'Do you know Bohdan Naxajlo?' To answer either in the affirmative is to invite a lifetime of crude dentistry in a forced logging camp - as Murdo Bartkiw, the gumless timber bard of Colony 49 might testify if he officially existed anymore."

Naxajlo nonetheless danced across international borders and First Secretaries' saunas like Hrindöl, the spring-heeled otter of Carpathian legend.

I pushed back my sagging brow and began to read.

The file presented evidence that Naxajlo relied on a network of agents, safe houses, midnight feasts and dewy embonpoints throughout the People's Democratic and Popular Republic, and all supplied by this aforementioned League.

It is said that sailors have a wife in every port, when it is more likely that they have been fobbed off with a barbary ape in a gingham frock as was my cousin Pilcho during his national service, but Naxajlo did seem to have eased his way between the swampy sheets of beldames in all the provincial centres and capital districts of Ruthenia. And this was achieved through a combination of hosiery from the family stockpile and what the report called "Belgian practices".

These "wives" were not susceptible to the same methods of persuasion that NAKRO applied to dissidents, Quakers and festival-goers who crossed its path, and this was for the bald dialectical reason that they were without exception the spouses, daughters, sisters, or mothers (and in one diverting case all four) of Party leaders.

I can recall only one occasion when I felt sorry for the organs of state security, and that was when the Vanguard Youth League's International Division allowed a Cuban five-year-old to win the competition to design NAKRO winter uniforms. This looked worse, whatever the weather. But how was I expected to help?

Then a sudden chill ran down my spine. I glanced at my hand, which had abruptly turned raw and hairy, like a badly-shaved spider. To my horror, it was also numb. In panic I slammed a night pot down on it, and my ears echoed to a howl of pain.

I understood through the power of rational deduction that the hand was not mine. The application of logic and experience told me that the fist now pounding the pot around my beret was its twin. Subsequent monosyllabic explanations, embellished with blasphemy and vigorous physical gestures, introduced their owner as one Agent Kafka.

It was he who told me that Bohdan Naxajlo had now exceeded himself. One of our mountains was missing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Le Marquis de Queensberry en Vacances


For Daniel Ash, lately of Bauhaus (and Tones on Tail), now posing cockaltoo of Paphos Bird and Animal Park.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Είναι οι βάρβαροι να φθάσουν σήμερα


The House of Boyo is set for 10 days in Cyprus, home of British sherry and starting-point of the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt.

Posting will be unlikely, given the demands of brandy sours and the Women of Boyo (Mrs B and our daughter, Arianrhod ferch Saisladdwr), but I shall have my trusty moleskine and crayon ready to complete the next chapter of Anti-Danube, in which Zhatko regrets the birth of Agent Kafka.

I'm having trouble translating the coastal dialect phrase "odperdnyk skumbryjskoh jibanytztva", and any assistance will be rewarded with a libellous mention.

Οι άνθρωποι αυτοί ήσαν μια κάποια λύσις.

Down the Oxus on a Log


Gorilla Bananas, earnest as ever for closer Welsh-Simian links, has expressed interest in the memoirs of Colonel Peter Deakin, one of Britain's most avid if luckless players of the Great Game.

Thorpe's An History of Inner Asia notes that "if any one man can be held responsible for the successful Soviet conquest of Bokhara, Khiva and the Badakh Shans, then it is Colonel Deakin. His military ineptitude, diplomatic insouciance and Neronic excess left the benighted khanates longing for the relative reason and solicitude of Bolshevist rule" (footnote iii, pp 157-158).

The manuscript has long resided in my Uncle Idris's meatlocker, and the time has come for its biennial skimming, so I'll copy the covering letter and introduction for your perusal.


R. Cooke
Dept of Manuscripts,
India Office,
Whitehall,
London W1
Dr. M. Atkin,
Curator, Turkestan Collection,
British Museum,
Bloomsbury,
London W1C

16th February, 1927

Dear Atkin,
We found this down the back of the "Afghan,
Bokhara, Misc." trunk last week. Not really our sort of stuff,
so I thought you might like first refusal, so to speak. It is
an unnumbered manuscript written on what the Yard tells us is
regurgitated rice, hence the sumptuous texture, but it
contains significant traces of mutton fat and human saliva,
I'm afraid, so you may want to wear gloves and keep it away
from radiators.
There is no mention of any Capt. Deakin in our military
files, and the records of the 5th Baluchi Lancers were
destroyed in a Pathan raid on Quetta after the unfortunate
"iron pig" incident in the Mess involving the Eid-ul-Fitr
pilaf and the Governor of Qandahar's favourite wife - it is
interesting that the survivors I have spoken to do mention a
Subaltern Champion in this connexion too, but are reluctant to
discuss the spontaneous combustion reports.
Deakin's comments on the policies of the Government of
India, not to mention his rampant Germanophilia and priapic
exhibitionism, preclude any possibility of publishing it in
anything but a heavily-edited form in England. Nonetheless, as
I am sure you will agree, the manuscript is not without some
interest in shedding light on the petty khanates of the Pamirs
on the eve of the Bolshevist Revolution, and might perhaps fit
in your "Yellow Collection".
The first few pages are missing and, again according to
the Yard, it seems that someone (the egregious Subt Champion,
perchance?) tried to eat the manuscript - whether out of
hunger or fear of discovery in that noisome oubliette I
frankly shudder to think. The fate of these poor wretches
remains a mystery, although I enclose a clipping - with
translation - from the Bolshevist "Naqatepe haqiqati" district
newsletter obtained by the redoubtable Mrs Robinson on her
perhaps ill-advised Bach Choir tour of Red Army border posts
in Turkestan last year. Note if you will the Naqatepe
commissar for corrective work with juvenile delinquents,
Comrade Dzh. T. Bugariy, and read on.
Yours,


R. Cooke, Archivist.







[Manuscript, in pencil, on rice; incomplete, c 1915. Author
identifies self as Capt. Peter Beauregarde D'Arcy Deakin of
the 5th Baluchi Lancers (disbanded 1919)]


... kept it in her mouth until she stopped breathing. But not
even these recollections bring me much comfort in this reeking
bug-pit, where my every movement provokes more larval gnawing
at my sweetbreads, and my slightest sigh brings down a bucket
of rancid offal on my head from the pitiless heathen guards in
the cell above. The putrid camel innards excite the diverse
vermin further, although Champion - stout fellow - is doing
his best to consign all sources of torment to the oblivion of
his pelican-like maw. The ensuing eructations from his
fundament serve to warm our dungeon on the cold nights,
moreover.
Months have passed and I have all but abandoned hope of
seeing England and Mavis again, while Champion must curse the
day he turned down the Pink Turcomans' invitation to stay on
as their cricket-bashee and install bells in their Inter-
Denominational Mosque and 24-Hour Women's Self-Help Centre. I
don't know what he really thinks as he still hasn't spoken to
me since his hideous ordeal at the hands of the Akhund of
Basiq-Arvil, for which he persists in holding me responsible
on grounds of my purely-tactical conversion to the sect of the
Assassins and my strategic withdrawal to the Akhund's harem
for a week.
The Amir's Mingbashee visits us each Friday with
entreaties that we should embrace their heathen faith in
return for our liberty and our clothes, which sounds fair
enough to me, but Champion has indicated via the guards that
he will press for my expulsion from the regiment if I should
submit. I suppose he's right. As every Englishman will agree,
it is better to be eaten alive, manhood first, by four-inch
insects with serrated mandibles in a cramped cesspit in the
High Pamirs, and then to have your dismembered body dragged
around the local bazaar by jabbering, pointy-headed urchins,
than to lose one's place on the Lancers' Polo Team and
Maidservant Selection Committee, or something like that.
My only hope is that this record of our ill-fated mission
to Turkestan will find its way back to England in time for the
war, which is scheduled to start any day now. The Mingbashee
says he has heard reports that battle has already commenced
between Germany and the French, so it can only be a matter of
time before our brave troops show their Saxon colours and
rally to the Kaiser's cause against the reptilian Gauls, their
decadent poetry and hirsute women. Our intelligence about the
Russians' sale of laminated cooking utensils to the unlettered
Mohammedans of this remote Himalayan outpost will be crucial
in deciding the fate of Europe, Civilisation, Mankind, the
World and indeed of England itself, I believe.
My greatest wish now is that whoever finds these scraps
of paper should seek out Mavis and tell her that throughout my
travails, even when I was forced for tactical reasons to
submit to the shameless caresses of the depraved, large-
breasted denizens of the Akhund's harem, my thoughts were of
her and her alone, apart perhaps from the occasion when they
slathered two large aubergines with mutton fat and ra....
[remainder of page illegible]

Friday, November 02, 2007

Cymru Rouge hails New China


People who read big newspapers and watch TV programmes featuring clothed types sitting around tables hear a great deal about the growing strength of the Chinese economy and its global impact. China's spending power, thirst for resources, investments in Africa, military might and diplomatic stance are widely seen as a cause for concern.

We in the Cymru Rouge disagree, and not only because we are roiling, hemp-clad Maoists who subsist on our own slate-flecked spittle. We regard Western foreboding about China as little more than a centenary lap of dishonour for the "Yellow Peril" that so baldly maligned that noble apothecary Dr Fu Manchu.

Indeed, any moral panic about the Middle Kingdom ought to be mitigated by its consistent failure to capitalize on its many centuries of achievement and innovation.

For example, China invented paper and printing, but has yet to master the art of writing - prefering as it does to produce crude Rorschach inkblots in place of proper letters.

Furthermore, its invention of the compass now has few uses beyond geometry classes and self-service ear-piercing among bored schoolgirls. The rest of the world navigates by satellite and the map function on Google - which we believe is banned in that potato-less patriarchy.

Gunpowder was another triumph. We used it to manufacture modern weaponry and conquer the world - one consequence of which is that Hong Kong is still a Special Autonomous Region with elementary human rights, working drains and the Cat III film industry. In China, they put it in fireworks.

So let us join Karl Marx (Literarischer Nachlass, vol III, pp 444-5) in voting thanks to China for giving us the boons of capitalism while selflessly sticking to feudal warlordism itself.

Brawd Rhif Un, Ta Moq
Brawd Rhif Dau, Huw Samphan
Brawd Rhif Tri, Paul Pot
Cymru Rouge Political Bureau and Ents Society

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Le Mystère de Madame Boyo


That Hague Tribunal, the London School of Tropical Medicine, HM Immigration Service, a wife-swapper from Chippenham - they all ask me the same question: "what's Mrs Boyo like?"

Let me just say this. She's the only person I know who can use the words "Anti-Dühring" and "obvious" in the same sentence and make it sound normal.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to the crypt


As a public service employee with a good degree, to whom the world in a very real sense owes a living, I spend much of my time pushing the boundaries of discourse with my colleague and landsman, "Gyppo" Byard.

Today we were struck by a headline in Olly Onion's web blog noting "Strong winds forecast for Marcel Marceau funeral". This set us to thinking about a sub-genre of comedian funeral jokes.

Gyppo (his real name) recalled Peter Sellers's insisting on having the much-despised "In The Mood", the anthem of the GI seducer, played at his service, and I fondly remembered Spike Millgan's chosen tombstone inscription "I told you I was ill". Thither we proceeded to:

George Burns to put on two shows at own funeral. 2300 show is a bit blue.

Tony Hancock's ashes amounted to barely a sleeve-full.

Jacques Tati's coffin was accidentally placed on a conveyor belt leading into a hotel laundry.

Harpo's funeral proceeded in complete silence.

Chico missed his altogether on account of he was playing pinochle at the time

Groucho refuses to attend funeral home that would have him as client.

Rabbi asked to take Henny Youngman's funeral.... Please!

Rabbi Jackie Mason not to take own funeral due to prior engagement.


Oh please yourselves!

Best gags wins Welsh citizenship, again.

Pointy black hat tip, Olly's Onions.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anti-Danube: Chapter VI


In Which I Encounter the League of the Wives of Dr Bohdan Naxajlo

Although words are the tools with which I fashion rude furniture from the stuff of my life, on this occasion I had to defer to our national poet Lub Farmaceuta and his epic The Sanding of St Bronislovlj:

"O Lord you judge men harshly
And none so more than me
Sometimes you pass by my affliction
With a mocking glance
Other times you return with an accordion
A flask
And a Turk."


It was as if the bard, diplomat and necrophile himself was convulsing with me there on the floor of Colonel Nadroth's office, as if he too knew what it was to have hot gravel fly simultaneously from your throat and fundament, to be raised from the Slovak shagpile on the blistering brand of your engorged glans, then spun around by the roaring trump from your own rear, and to have your nostrils slit by the stench of your spilt groin gravy. The editorial board of Literaturna Ruthenia disagreed, hence their failure to publish "Tropes of Contemporaneity in the Works of Farmaceuta". Nonetheless I stand by my analysis, which was more than I could do that grim afternoon at NAKRO headquarters.

"Tschtjetz, hose down Citizen Zhatko, he seems to have stopped erupting. Citizen Zhatko, kindly fill in this form, once you've been sufficiently hosed, paying particular attention to the sections on asphyxiation, blindness and rectal prolapse. You may use my pen." With that, Col Nadroth scraped his boots on his sword and retired to contemplate the lignite clouds from his window banquette.

Agent Tschtjetz hosed me as requested, using what he called the "organic method". He rolled me back onto the chair and handed me my unsullied trousers.

"Got 'em off in the lift. All part of the service," he grinned, pushing a form in front of me. It read:

Ministry of Disproportionate Defence Measures of the People's Democratic and Popular Republic of Ruthenia
Department of Unlicensed Chemical & Biological Warfare
Release Form

Dear citizen/relative of the deceased [delete where applicable]!

On behalf of the Cabinet of Ministers and Politburo we, the progressive scientists and troops of the People's Military and Apothecary Vanguard wish to acknowledge your ex post facto agreement to and/or sacrifice in pursuit of ever more drastic and economical means of defending the interests of the workers, peasants and revolutionarily-inclined bureaucracy.

Strychnoparalaxicum is the latest achievement of the shockworkers of Experimental Laboratory 547 of the Department of Unlicensed Chemical & Biological Warfare in the Name of Dr Paul Kammerer. You/your recently departed are/is the first person to encounter this toxin in objectively-voluntary, non-laboratory conditions. Your treatment/burial is conditional upon your completion of this form.


There followed a series of sections assessing the effects of this potion on my mind, organs, evacuative processes and ideological attitudes.

"Biological warfare," I whimpered.

"Cheer up, comrade, it's chemical in your case. All part of Prodekon," said Tschtjetz.

"Correct," continued Nadroth, lighting another Karbin filter-tip with a handful of confessions."Prodotvyrna ekonomikalyzatyja - productive economizing - the Party's new policy of saving money by having one state association farm out some of its activities to another. In this case, the Ministry of Disproportionate Defence Measures has paid us to combine its weapons research with our recruitment of informers. It's not all so challenging. The Batko Voskoboynikov Slyvovytz Distillery is trying out its new 120-proof batch on the five-year-old violin class at the Henadz Katz Special School for Panda-Eyed Prodigies. Teatime is quite an event there these days, and some of them have been signed up by the jazz department of the Gramodisk record company."

"Could be worse. Mrjakobes Meat-Processing Plant has this line of eel sausages that, well…, just don't eat out in Breb, that's all I'm saying," whinced Tschtjetz.

"You know Breb well, of course," smiled Nadroth as I tried to stuff my elephantine feet through my trouser legs. "The swelling in your extremities ought to subside within a few hours, but I suggest covering that with a waistcoat unless you want to attract the attention of the Vice Squad."

I took his second hint and adjusted my tripod stance. As for his first hint, I braced myself for further unpleasantness.

"The good if unlettered folk of Breb are convinced you're - " Nadroth glanced at some inky scrolls of what looked like toilet paper before him "- a pre- and post-war collaborator with the monarchists, social-democrats, Nazis, Trotskyists, 'so-called Hungarians’, real Hungarians and even us Communists, for dialectic's sake!"

"What did I do during the war? I forget, it’s being 20 years before I was born,"
I inquired mildly.

Nadroth leafed back a few rolls. "You were engaged in decadence, male prostitution, profiteering, and preparing for your post-war treachery. Ah, you also collaborated with 'Topo' Zjyvkowytz."

"But he was a cabaret comedian!"
I wailed.

"They didn't like him in Breb. Told Breb jokes apparently," noted Nadroth over his tinted, half-moon frames.

"That's right, comrade colonel. Where did the first Brevian come from? A Slovak banged a monkey and chucked it across the Danube! That was one his," recalled Tschtjetz.

"Thank you, sergeant," signed Nadroth. "The point is, Zhatko, that you have been denounced and condemned by an entire village of worthy if gastrically-troubled citizen-peasants, not to mention the Comrade First Secretary of the Party, for dissidence and lack of dissidence. On top of that, you've violated Socialist norms of morality and taste in your grubby ruttings with Comrade Madame Lottie Slavko and that librarian with all the Hungarian uniforms, while impersonating the son of a late possible Zionist, Professor Yitzhak Zhakto. In short, there's enough on this charge-sheet to get you a forced-labour camp all of your own, if that's what you and the Will of The People Made Manifest in The Deliberations of the Security Organs want. So I suggest that you put your addiction to collaboration to good use by performing some simple, patriotic tasks of personal betrayal for the Party, fatherland and your dear old mum."

"Prisoner 4567049/D, we were going to call her,"
explained Tschtjetz.

I pondered for a moment as my fingers slowly defused under the gentle encouragement of Tschtjetz’s truncheon. "I am ready to serve," I declared. "Can I have the antidote, and some clothes that aren't coated in most of me, please?"

"All part of your rehabilitation!"
smiled the colonel. "Tschtjetz will give you a fuller briefing later on, once you've rested and that thing's turned a normal colour. In the meantime, read this."

As I hopped away to a cell of my own, I glanced at the title of the bulky folder Nadroth had eased between my teeth. It read "The League of the Wives of Dr Bohdan Naxajlo".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Walesffact no.6: The Welsh Language


The BBC Radio 4 "Today" programme ran a feature yesterday morning on the oppression felt by literally millions of super-qualified monoglot civil service drones in Wales, who are literally scared of speaking out - except to national radio - against the tyranny that requires them to accept that some people in the service sector ought to be able to deal with Welsh-speaking tax-payers in their own language in their own country.

Or so I gather. I dunno. That time of the morning I'm having my sac shaved by a strumpet in a Glenys Kinnock mask, and can rarely muster the strength to re-tune from Radio 3's weekly rediscovery of Alexander Zemlinsky.

Since then, the bucket next to the mangle that serves as my post box has been full of crayoned requests from concerned No Good Boyo readers, Cymru Rouge cadres and junkmailers asking, to quote them all, "what the ffyc's all this then?"

I have therefore taken some time off mining literary gold to provide this brief primer on the Welsh Language.

Welsh is a language spoken by people in Gwynedd pubs about 15 seconds after someone an Englishman knows once walked in.

Most languages are written in ink. Welsh is written in green paint on road signs and cars belonging to passing morticians from Birmingham.

Welsh has only two genders - masculine and feminine - thereby proving its reactionary nature through this deliberate deprivileging of the hermaphrodite community.

Welsh is the only language that cannot be taught. The traditional means of transmission to non-members of Plaid Cymru is through being "rammed down the throat" and the denial of toilet rights to apocryphal children on Anglesey.

Welsh has no vocabulary to convey complex modern ideas like "engine", "love-grinder" or "tea", and Welsh-speakers from the south use diametrically opposed opposite words to those from the north, and perhaps vice versa. According to a bloke in the Cader Bookshop in Dolgellau who smelled of Deep Heat.

Welsh is an ancient language, having been invented by the BBC in 1928. For many years it was only spoken by the late sister of George Thomas, quondam Secretary of State for Wales, Speaker of the House of Commons and pit-pony, until JRR Tolkien made it the official language of Trollland. Since then computer scientists and the t-shirt community have taken it up.

It was later promoted by a vigorous Luftwaffe bombing campaign during the Second World War, when pacifist native-speakers set fire to heathland around Wrexham in the hope that someone might one day build a holiday home there.

Welsh books are very small, so the language fanatics that make it up as they go along randomly double-up letters like "ll", "dd", "nn" and "ff" to make them look longer.

Being able to speak Welsh is considered a racial characteristic by some Labour Party supporters, which comes as a surprise to the Welsh-speaking Sikh bus-driver on the Dolgellau-Aberystwyth Arriva route.

Speaking Welsh is the only remaining requirement for joining the South African Broederbond.

Irish is less threatening. As is Gaelic, as long as you pronounce it "Gallic". And have it sung by Enya.

Monday, October 22, 2007

For Our Ruthenian Reader


Sorry for the lack of posts. My head is farshtopt mit possibilities, and it's gummed up my hands like the mouth of a Piccadilly pansy. In the meantime, I have a literary announcement for our Ruthenian and Sub-Carpathian reader.

Czytajte szvidko, zabuvajte zavsze!

Vyshla nova knyzhka zloricznoho anhlyys'ko-amerkyanks'koho pismenchyka Yjanu Plenderlyt'ju (Ian Plenderleith) czeszkoju movoju, z jakoj-toj prychyny. Linkolnskyj xlopczyk maye dvy nohy y tylki jednuu hlavu, szczo ridke v tomu centri krovozmishennja y kultusu Cthulhu (Iä, Iä!). Tematyka je pilkanyzhka y neuspyxa v koxannjy, yoho druzi durenyczni y mat' mat' mat'!

"For Whom The Ball Rolls" zasluhaje pevnu uvahu y Politzyjy, i psyxyatrycznyx doslizhen'. Centralnist' pilkanyzhky v anhlyys'koj svitskoj zhyttj'ja namnoho poyasnjuje rozpid Brytanskoji Ymperyjy y vvspyx lezbianizmusu posryd zhinok Albionu. Dlja toho, Plenderleith meszkaje za kordonom.

Na zhal', tzi czeszki depravnyky vydali knyzhu vpersze v Slavjanskomu sviti. Ale Brevska Vyddruknytztva "Ozhynyk" je rad byty na poczesnomu, druhomu misti, jak zavsze, z svyjym rutens'ko-pidkarpatskom tlumaczinnja tzej vazhkoj knyzhky, pid nadzvyzko "Dlja koho dzvoni tantzjuvalnyj veczir", szob uspili do Zelenix svyt y Ivana Kupala, abo Malanky.

Redaktor Vyddruknytztvy "Ozhynyk"
Bohdan Naxajlo

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Cymru Rouge School of Business Schools


Colleagues gaze adoringly at me and say "No Good Boyo, how did you survive being a manager during that halcyon age when The Bosses appointed anyone who'd sat in the same place for long enough?"

Now that I'm back among the workers by mutual agreement with the Board of Directors, the Crown Prosecutors and solicitors acting for Ms Jenny Agutter, I've decided to share some of my managerial insights with those who have yet to learn The Ways of the Welsh.

No. 1: If the Job's Worth Doing, Let Someone Else Do It.

Simple, n'est-ce pas? And yet how many aspiring young executives ignore this golden rule. Remember that you were appointed a manager for one or more of the following reasons:

a). The leathery chairman likes having you around because you remind him of dear, dear Justin from Brasnose, and you might be amenable to dressing up in a deep-sea diving suit filled with Swarfega sometime;

b). You got through recruitment because you're a glib sociopath who is to responsible working what Ed Gein was to bespoke tailoring, but employment legislation makes it impossible to sack you; or

c). you're a wall-eyed drone who loves to work, who wants to work, who loves to work, who's got to work, and so can be counted on to carry out such gruesome tasks as talking to staff and clients, implementing strap-on business plans, and chairing endless meetings with coked-out 500k outside consultants.

If you're a). then you probably have little to trouble your honey-hued, tousled head with but preparing for the chairman's marketing trip to Morocco and San Gimignano.

If you're b). it's congratulations time for, as long as don't actually bite anyone, you will be able to spend years plotting against that deputy accounts bastard who looked at you, you know, that way, at the inter-departmental do where that minx whatever her name is wouldn't stop crying. Maybe you could call Customs & Excise next time he goes on holiday. I wonder what colour he is inside, you know, deep inside, and would light come out of his eyes when you press them in and would he speak with God's voice? That sort of thing.

If you're c). then this post is for you. You were appointed by the boss because he has understood that If the Job's Worth Doing, Let Someone Else Do It. This presents you with a choice:

Option One. You have been conditioned to act like a gimp, and can go along with it for ages, mocked and despised, racking up the hours, losing your hair and physique, gorging on tubby food, panting eagerly as the chairman's PA (signing off in his name) flicks through your unread reports with the sticky fingers of an odalisque just to make sure the pagination is right, on and on until your heart shrivels then bursts open like a jelly supernova in your mid-50s.

The sale of the expensive house you never really saw will fund your slatternly wife and Emma/Toby kids through a few years of gardening boys, designer drugs and novel surgical procedures, and with that all memory of you ends.

Option Two. You can seek out a gaggle of wannabe drones still at shopfloor level, appoint a sociopath to coordinate them, and let them do the job for you. This is how all successful organisations work, from the Early Church to Stalin's NKVD and Murdoch's Sun.

Then you can lie back and laugh, ideally after pleasuring one or more of the drones' neglected life-partners, and take the credit for their sterling efforts.

The drones will be grateful that a manager is pleased with their work, especially if he gives the impression that he might have been willing to rein in the sociopath but, well, you know how it is...

The sociopath is buoyed up, sensing in you a tool in his plans to destroy all known life and build a Mary Chapel out of his secretaries' pelvic bones.

And you showed your colleagues that you appreciate the gravitas of their trust by Not Trying To Do the Job Yourself.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Электрические ли друзья?


I for one am delighted to have people of all races, class, creeds, genders and species visit my web blog. It makes a pleasant change from the months of silence when even I didn't bother writing anything on it.

Only yesterday we saw our first guest from Africa; from the Sherifian Kingdom of Morocco to be exact - marhaba, ya habibi! I trust you did not reach us via a Google search on "Charlotte Church custad bukkake" as did a young visiter from the United Arab Emirates.

Mrs Boyo, however, has not been slow to put my euphoria into some sort of rational perspective. She raised red, Caligulan eyes from her copy of The Intelligence of Evil long enough to say "The Inter Net is a living, alien organism. It senses your pathetic, Silurian longings, and manufactures little friends to post on your site. They no more exist than do human pity, compassion or that Brithdir Wife-Swapping Society you're always going on about. Read this!"

She tossed a copy of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris into my pen, and let me get on with it.

I'm easily alarmed and confused, not least of all by my own clothing, but the diary of this Polish cosmonaut was a chilling revelation. Mrs Boyo insists it's science fiction, but I'm not so certain.

All science fiction books have so far come true - Brave New World, Planet of the Apes (book, not the film), Minority Report; you take your pick - all except for Colin Wilson's seminal "Topless Lady Space-Vampires from Outer Space". And that's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Cymru Rouge Citizenship Test

Literally millions of ordinary, working-class Ruthenians, Sub-Carpathians and Uzbek billionaires have taken one look at the British government's citzenship test and said "Ffycs this, mun, I's going to become a Welsh!" And we in Cymru Rouge are only too happy to have them as a counterbalance to the waves of Brummie white-flighters, Giro smack-heads and hey-nonny fans of everything Celtic (except Welsh) who clutter up our slate-laden land.

Nonetheless, standards is standards, so the Edjucation (and Fighting) Committee of the Cymru Rouge Great Angka (myself, Ta Moq, Huw Samphan and Paul Pot), have devised a series of questions to assess the suitability of these massed huddlers for Welsh citizenship, bringing as it does many rights as well as obligations.

So here's the first section. Watch this video, and answer the following questions:




1. Is Charles Bukowski a Welsh?

2.
Is Rheinallt H Rowlands right to want to be like him?

3.
The countryside in the video lies near Llanfihangel-y-Pennant. Which side of the road should Rheinallt be driving on?

4.
Those Welsh girls look lovely, don't they?

5.
But what if they're dirty?

6.
How come Rheinallt has such a lovely deep Welsh voice if his pods don't look like they've dropped yet?

7. What will Rheinallt's mam say when she gets hold of him?


Answers will be assessed and sentences passed in the coming week.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Latin America: An Open Letter


Dear readers,

I'm often accused of being parochial. "Youse blog is all !Welsh!, mun, apart from some Eastern Europe. Show a bit of cosmo-fycin-politanism, innit?"

So I am happy to announce a series of No Good Boyo Open Letters to the people, or peoples, of the world, highlighting their shortcomings and suggesting ways in which they could overcome them.

First off are the Latin Americans. Like most newspaper-reading types I thought Latin America had sorted itself out, but then along come the likes of Snr Chavez and various disgruntled Andean rustics and -!Ay mira! - they're at it again.

A young lady from Mexico, now living in Amsterdam, complained to a colleague of mine that Europeans use the term "America" when the mean the United States. Latin America is America too, and has an untold history that the rest of the world needs to hear, she opined.

I hereby reply to her, and all of her ilk.

Dear Maria,

If that's your real name. Given that you are a female native of Mexico now resident in the Netherlands, I assume that your professional line of work permits me to call you anything I'd like for a reasonable fee.

To hear a Latin American complain of injustice pains us Europeans greatly, given the fine record your continent has on human rights, fighting drug-funded organised crime and keeping the Catholic Church in business.

This unknown history of Latin America that you mention is a catalogue of madmen building Toblerone temples in the middle of jungles, then amusing themselves with unnecessary surgical procedures and scrawling glyphs on the walls with their fishbone-spliced members.

The Aztecs thought a syphilitic Spaniard was their god, the Incas ran around the mountain tops like ninnies when there was perfectly good llamas to ride, and the Amazonian natives never quite grasped that strapping a gourd to your johnson does not a fashion statement make. There are some histories that one simply choses to know less about.

Latin America is so benighted that the only vaguely normal people who considered colonising it were clap-ridden Iberians (who were in fact looking for Indonesia), confused Scots, some religious maniacs from Bala and the remnants of the Waffen SS.

America brings to mind an image of power and plenitude, whether you approve of it or not.

Latin America conjures up the tableau of an unshaven army officer in shades shoving a cattle prod up some student's arse.

!Hasta la victoria siempre!,

No Good Boyo

Friday, October 05, 2007

The History of the Welsh Economy (Short Course)


You have two ewes.

You sell both and buy a ram.

You don't know what to do with it.

It looks at you funny.

You fight it.

You sell the ram to pay the hospital bill.

You get a job in Tesco.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Anti-Danube: Chapter V


In which I attack the Secret Police with my lunch

A secretary brought in plates of papanasz and glasses of afinata, all embossed with the NAKRO crest - a fist clenched around a hank of hair, punching through a top hat.

Colonel Nadroth was a long, knobbly man armed with a blood-clotting mustache that made him look like the sceptre of St Hryhor the Becalmed.

"Well, this is cosy, isn't it?" he remarked. "Here we are, a shield and a sword of the revolution respectively, eating papanasz and drinking afinata with you, a shock-worker in the salt-mines of meaning. In some ways, this is a model of what Comrade Yutz had in mind in his speech at the disbanding of the Academy of Sciences in 1949.

"And yet, this comradely spirit could so easily be dissipated by, say, some misplaced familiarity, a lack of awareness of forthcoming Central Committee decrees, or inappropriate enquiries about the current location of one's relatives. And then - lo! - Agent (Class II) Tschjetz is giving a practical demonstration of Newton's First Law down the back staircase. Please bear this in mind, Citizen Zhatko."

(- "Who is this Comrade Newton, the new minister of justice? And what is his law? What am I doing here? Is this afinata from La Roata's? It's very good. My legs aren't right" - These were some of the thoughts that passed through my mind as I tried to work out how I had got from Tschetjetz's car into the colonel's office, and where my trousers had gone.)

Colonel Nadroth lit a Karbin filter-tip.

"The question today," he continued "Is one raised by Comrade First (General-)Secretary Novak K. at next month's inner-Party plenum. I quote; 'The elder-fraternal Soviet Union has Academician Sakharov, an eminent nuclear physicist. Czecho and Slovakia share Vaclav Havel, the oblique playwright. Even the Poles have attics full of cuckcolds churning out mimeographed clerical nonsense while their hatchet-faced wives practice French inhalation at various film festivals. And what do we have? The trainee philosopher Zhatko, and the one they call Kodoba.

"'Have any of you read Zhatko? Has anyone? Here is the poem he wrote to mark the 34th anniversary of the 1947 All-Ruthenia Referendum to Abolish Elections. It is called "The Apocalytic Vision of the Father". I could go on. (Calls expected from the audience: Please Do Not, Comrade First (General-)Secretary!).

"As for the one they call Kodoba, his tirades against the 'rotten rootless cosmopolitan liberal rot of consenualisticism' are no more interesting now that he's an ultra-nationalist than they were when he worked for our own Ministry of Propaganda and Adult Education.

"'in short, comrades, we must raise the quality, speed and service of our dissidence, enhance its accessibility to the workers, and raise its profile among the capitalists and their comprador hirelings."


Nadroth lowered the paper, and glinted bloodshot at me over its mealy brim. "You agree, of course. Any comments?"

"Bearing in mind the staircase,"
I ventured, "I would like to propose that I am not a dissident."

"Until this speech by Comrade First (General-)Secretary Novak, that was objectively true," said the colonel. "Now, you will have to modify your behaviour to accommodate the Party Plenum ruling. You will begin by committing an act of sabotage against Agent (Class II) Tschtjetz. Tschtjetz!"

"Comrade Colonel!"

"Hand the Accused Zhatko your chafing iron and proffer him your ears."


The contrary waters of another Danube lapped about my lungs, and I deposited a half-portion of papanasz onto the Shield of the Revolution.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Singalonga Slorc II


"Country road
Take me home
To the jail
I belong

"Cell Block 9B
Pyintaw Facil'ty
Country road
Burn my home."

Monday, October 01, 2007

Save Energy - Burn a Witch


As we approach the end of October, sentimental minds turn to mush at the thought of witches, goblins and other leathery Devil's playthings. Not mine. We Welsh have learned the hard way not to give any quarter to these broom-brandishing banshees.

Feminism, cat-fanciers and the Millennium have earned witchery an unthinking eclat, aided by the Emo phenomenon and the popularity of the Melanie Phillips look among our yoghurt-fed pubescents.

I'm happy to report that all of these fancies have passed Wales by, and any witch who dares clutter up our Cambrian mountain-tops with cauldrons and the like will be dowsed with willow, kettle and llymru ladle by the Snowdownia National Park Power Rangers, then packed off back to her creative writing class before you can say dream-catcher.

In the long centuries between the Tudor sacking of the monasteries and the rise of Calvinist Methodism, which met local demand for something livelier than bland old Swiss Calvinism, Wales was a predominantly pagan country.

Men wandered around oak groves clad in grubby dressing-gowns and monged on fly agaric, while our rosy womenfolk pleasured themselves on menhirs. Goats had the vote, hallucinating craftsmen decided that triple harps and round boats were an advance for two-armed people who wanted to go somewhere, and the rabbi of Llanelli Hebrew Congregation filled the village of Gorseinon with his estuarine golems.

In short, oedd 'na le yn ty ni.

The Godly advent of literacy, four-part harmony and public humiliation spared us this hippy nonsense for the last two hundred years, but now it's trying to creep back. No bloody road!

You seen one of these, you burn her. Simple as that. It's good for the environment, it brings communities together, the kids love it, and - who knows - you might save some old biddy's immortal soul.

And you can't say that every day, unless you're the Pope or something.

Singalonga Slorc


O, tie a pink accordion
Round my empty head
If you walk the streets
Of Rangoon you're dead

If I don't see a pink accordion
Wrapped around my head
I'll drop all the fuss
Step under a bus
And frankly that's nuff said
If I don't see a pink accordion
Wrapped around my head.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Burma - The Interview


In response to an extensive demand from our Indian readership, No Good Boyo is happy to provide a translation of the interview he gave to Radio Cymru on the Burma protests the other day.

Presenter Calla Dawe: Well, No Good Boyo, as Radio Cymru's foreign correspondent, what do you think is going to happen next in Burma then?

No Good Boyo: Well Calla, Burma has been run for decades by authoritarian socialists in khaki fatigues. It's warm, poverty-stricken, and under a US embargo. So I imagine it's about to be flooded by English liberal tourists wanting to see the country "before the Americans ruin it all". Actually.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Anti-Danube: Chapter IV

In which I appreciate the virtues of heavy drinking

Sartre said that Hell is other people. I say that Hell is certain other people. One of these people is Zhloba Tschtjetz. Winning Radio Ruthenia's children's programme "Child, How Big Are Your Hands?" had propelled him from his father's mullet-trawler into the lower-middle ranks of the secret police via the People's (United) Youth League in the Name of Fast Trotzdem and, briefly, a mental hospital over all those fires. Lady Luck had belted him twice with her lead-lined garter-belt, as he was later assigned to monitor intellectuals, progressive or otherwise, through a win on the NAKRO lottery.


Years of accumulated opinions, theories and conjectures came spilling out between his tombstone teeth now that he had a captive and profoundly depressed audience. Topics that Tschtjetz had raised with me over the summer months included "Gypsy control", direct measures to correct bourgeois tendencies among schoolgirls, the relative flammability of hedgerow animals (based on his youthful experiences), and "so-called Hungarians".


Strategies of resistance amounted to taking Agent (II Class) Tschtjetz to U Branki, Zhakhiv's only bar with a strict "no food" policy, buying a bottle of "Four-Metre" Slyvovytz and letting him hold forth until it was whore-sorting time back at the central gaol - an event he never missed.


"D'you know how much Gypsy blood I've got in me, Zhatko? Not so clever then, are ye? Go on, then, ask me. Well, I'll tell you - none! And that's the way its going to stay, an' all."


I refilled his tumbler and turned as a stranger asked Branka whether he could have anything to eat with his glass of horilka. She hawked in it, and rang up the result as 50 stotinkas extra on the till.


Tschjetz chinked my glass and winked. "Perdlak!" he grunted in his coastal dialect. I could only nod, again.


"Anyway, Zhatko, the colonel, he said to me, he said 'Zhloba, son' - we're like that in NAKRO, us - Zhloba, get a few drinks down that boulevard cowboy Zhatko and drag him in before lunch, and don't, DO NOT, let him know I told you, got it?' Anyway, I reckon you're drunk enough to have no idea how much trouble you're in, but sober enough not to spoil his carpet. So let's go."


We decanted ourselves into Tschetjetz's Victory-45 two-seater and bored a path through the oncoming market-day traffic on Prospekt Pinteru towards the rear gates of NAKRO HQ.


Colonel Nadroth pointed me to a chair, and eventually I worked out what he wanted. Once seated, I committed myself to denying everything.