Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stalin Wasn't Stallin'

Mrs Boyo and I start the day with target practice and Radio 4's Today Programme Bingo - combining the two if possible. As respectively a Marxian Spenglerist and a Welsh de Maistrean of reptilian sang froid, we find the consequent rise in blood pressure helps us blend in with the neighbours, while the kitchen-table cries of "House!" remind us of what we're meant to be living in.

Today runs three types of story:

I. Things Today thinks we need to know (global warming, Gaza, what Bono's up to).

II. People doing things that aren't illegal, but which Today thinks ought to be (drinking, smoking).

III. People doing things that are illegal, but which Today thinks have "root causes" (recreational drugs, bombing).

The aim of Today Bingo is to find a story that combines at least two, and ideally all three of these elements. If it then interviews a BBC correspondent to reinforce its point with exquisite solipsism, you've got a full house.

The other morning I was quick to bag a story that sounded promising. The gist was "Naturists are taking teens to their nudy camps, but what if there are paedos about?" It had a strong strain of Element II - naturists are not illegal, but their suburban vulgarity puts them firmly on the Today list of undesirables. I could also stake a claim to Element I, as Today was running stories on "The Kids" all week.

No chance of Element III, I'm glad to say, unless the London media were even more depraved than I'd thought, but two out of three put me well ahead of Mrs Boyo and her Element II bid on the weather forecast (it was snippy about the Home Counties, where Todaythink maintains people ought to be guilty about residing).

But then I realised, with almost toast-crunching horror, that I agreed with an aspect of the item. Naturists - or nudists, to use the technical term - were alright in Carry On films and Sunday Express cartoons, but there remains something suspiciously German and 1920s about them in real life.

I have a list of types who, while not criminal or inherently evil, I would not allow near "The Kids". These are Quakers, vegetarians and Esperantists. Quakers are worthy in a wheaten way, but are Wrong About Everything. Vegetarians deny God's meaty bounty, and dare to be smug about it. Esperantists are usually an intersection of the last two, like in a Venn diagram *.

To that number I now add nudists. The Lord filled Britain with brambles and damp weather, and made our kinfolk lumpy and uneven of tooth. He also granted us the bounty of Scotswomen to weave sturdy tweeds and the colony of Malaya to provide sap for our gumboots, so that we might adapt to the tepid discomforts of these islands.

Not good enough for nudists, apparently. Like Quakers, they think they know better than God. As this is a free country, nudists are free to frolic on the sunkissed beaches of Llanbedr and get bullied on the Today programme like the rest of us, but they set an example of poor taste, self-absorption and blasphemy to our youth.

Mrs Boyo pointed out that Stalin locked up as many Quakers, vegetarians and Esperantists as he could lay his iron fists on, when not distracted by trying to destroy the few clever, well-born and good-looking people who'd survived his mate Lenin. I replied frostily that this argument of guilt by association didn't intimidate me.

Until I understood that she wasn't trying to contradict me at all.

(* Thanks to Scaryduck, for explaining a Venn diagram in response to my gesticulations.)


The Birdwatcher said...

I would expand Quakers to include any form of Christian. In fact anyone that has any use for religion at all. You've spoilt the today programme for me now!

No Good Boyo said...

Sorry for spoiling Today, BW. Try to find other ways to enjoy it.

There's something about Quakers, many of whom balk at being called Christians from what I gather.

I never forget the day some Friends stopped me with a petitition to get the UN to outlaw war. I signed, of course, adding famine, pestilence and death of the firstborn to the list.

Gorilla Bananas said...

In America, it's mainly ageing hippies in what remains the nudist movement. I wrote a post about their attempt to attract young blood (or should that be meat?) to the cause. I was expecting you to denounce nudism as being un-Welsh, which it surely must be.

Gadjo Dilo said...

My mum's an ardent nudist and used to attend Quaker meetings regularly, and it never seemed to do her any harm. I thereby also grew up with a healthy regard for the mature female form (though not my mum's, obviously) and for people seeking God in silence. Vegetarians are a different matter - Hitler was a vegetarian. Speaking of which, I used to attend classes in German expressionist dance, which was developing parallel with the Weimar "body beautiful" ethos. It's since been shown that this ethos adapted itself oh so very easily and quickly to Nazism. Esparantists translate Bob Dylan songs into Hispano-Polish and consider this to be progress.

No Good Boyo said...

Gadjo, it's not the harm it did your mum. it's the harm it did you...

GB, I don't want to acquire a web reputation for being the bloke who just denounces all things for being un-Welsh, which they indubitably are.

Nudism is not only un-Welsh, it is anti-Welsh. We didn't Calvin up our already scary Methodism because we like hippies, beatniks, the Weimar Wandervogel or other degenerates.

Gyppo Byard said...

Gadjo Bor - did your mum ever combine the two and attend Quaker meetings in the nude? Holding a root vegetable? That would have ticked all of Boyo's boxes (so to speak) and probably caused heart attacks...

M C Ward said...

It has to be said that Quakers make great oats, and the world would never have experienced the comfort of the sturdy Clark's brogue were it not for their industry.

There is a nudist beach at Shell Bay in Dorset, which is frequented by speccy, oh-so-British "birdwatchers" with powerful ex-naval binoculars and open-air exponents of homosexuality. And me, on a fine day with decent visibility.

Gadjo Dilo said...

No Good, how can it be wrong when it feels so right? :-)

Gyppo, yes, that would tick all my mum's boxes (she's also a keen gardener) though for entirely different reasons than it ticks Boyo's.

MC, yeah, I've heard of that too. It does sounds a bit lechy down there.

Myself, I've never felt the need to strip everything off in order to feel comfortable; but I lived in Denmark for 5 years where it's pretty much the norm all the time :-)

Mrs Pouncer said...

Oh please don't be mean about Quakers. My old mother's charwoman was a Friend, and a nicer more compliant person you couldn't wish to meet. Never complained, never mentioned God or war or the Cadbury family. Kept herself to herself, used "thee" and "thy" which was absolutely adorable. My mother bought her an aluminium bucket on wheels and it brought tears to her eyes.

No Good Boyo said...

Mrs Pouncer, your charlady's joy at cheap ironmongery and scorn for advances in the use of pronouns is further evidence of the error of Quakery. At least she seemed to keep her stays on.

I was interested in your blog about bees. We have some solitaries nesting in our attic room. I say "hooray!" and have my honeypot at the ready. Mrs Boyo is seeking very small Albanian hitmen.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Re bees: do beware Isle of Wight's disease. Our swarm was made weak and apathetic during the great drought because of this pestilence. Find yourself a reputable apiarist, and don't cut corners like Mr Pouncer who is only interested in thrift. He has just returned from 3 days in your neck-of-the-woods, ie Wales. I will write about it forthwith. Cordially yours etc etc

Ian Plenderleith said...

There's a reason why nudists are kept in their own special camps. If we all went around nude, we would be way too familiar with the deficiencies of the overwhelming majority of human bodies, and bone-ons would become a rarity - thus the human race would die out. So naturism is not in our long term interest. Plus, nudists of both sexes seem to sag, and that's not something anyone should be compelled to look at. Please, put it (or them) away.

Gadjo Dilo said...

I'm not sure that anyone's suggesting we be nude all the time.

Try taking a summer holiday in Scandinavia, Indie-Pop.

The late, sainted, comedy legend Peter Cook did a piece about Peace Through Nudism; it was a joke (obviously), but maybe it could work - all fascistic organisations have gone in for uniforms big-time.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I have looked up the reference to Llanbedr, seems like a nice place to get filthy drunk at. And I totally agree that it's not for nudist that will stick out like a sore er... whatever.

Next you know, all kinds of people in lederhosen will run around yodeling in this peaceful place. Don't you shudder at the thought?

No Good Boyo said...

Mrs Pouncer, I await your report with morning breath.

Pop - you're right about the impact a flesh glut would have on birth rates. That's why there are so many little Muslims and Hassidim about and so few Icelanders and Viennese. My time in Vienna was regularly blighted by nude volleyball players on the Donauinsel.

Gadjo - as ever, reality beats satire pants down. If you want "Take Me, Osama!" pacifism combined with silvery danglers, visit Berkeley.


Snoop - the Bavarians might not feel too at home, given the proximity of a Royal Air Force base.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Yeah, not too attractive, I agree with you! Still better than goose-steppers, though - and it's those folk for whom Mr Cook was recommending nudism, if I recall correctly.

Anonymous said...

"naturists are not illegal ... explaining a Venn diagram"

Now that you've learnt Venn diagrams, you might want to complete your maths education by joining French naturists as they do Vennus diagrams.