Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Shot George Orwell

Not entirely true, but it was the headline that loomed out of the Ripperian fog of my mind in a Bloomsbury student hostel sometime in September 1985.

It was fast followed, in true Hammer style, by an orchestral blare of "Noooo!" as I realized I'd let a journalistic career-kickstart walk off the National Express at Digbeth without leaving his name.

Then I fell asleep, and thought little of it for years. The next day I flew to the Soviet Union for a year of language debasement, alcohol riffs, cramped sexual encounters and hair loss.

It all started in Llangollen, where I boarded the London bus with high hopes, thermal underwear and an encouraging lecture from my Uncle Dai on KGB honey traps. I sat next to a flat-capped gent who might have been a Robert-Maxwell-O-Gram in earlier days. We got talking, and it turned out he was a Czech wartime emigré who'd spent the last few decades as a manager for Lucas, the headlamp people.

I turned the conversation as quickly as I could from car components to interwar Czechoslovakia, and took a step into a world I was only to enter in earnest the following day - the realm of full-on Communist nuttery.

Our man - for the sake of simplicity let's call him Jiří - was a leftwing Socialist in the early 1930s. He'd had his first brush with international intrigue when smuggling party literature into Austria, which was then run by a midget fascist yokel called Engelbert Dollfuss. The police caught Jiří in Vienna, held him overnight, and deported him to Czechoslovakia the following morning.

They carried out the deportation by making him walk all the way back to Bratislava, a petty gesture that marked down the Dolfuss regime as lacking the brio necessary to qualify as truly fascist. I like to think this was one of the reasons why Mussolini let Hitler take Austria in 1938 - dearth of la bella figura.

When his call-up papers came through Jiří decided that munching those Czech cheese pasties in an Olomouc barracks while waiting for Adolf to call didn't sit well with his reputation for woeful foreign adventures. So he swapped national service for three years of fighting Franco in Spain.

By now Jiří's jaded collectivist palate was demanding the gamier flavours of Stalinism, and he spurned the dowdy International Brigades for the thrills and glamour of the Soviet goon squad in Barcelona.

“Our main target was Trotskyites.”

I shared his contempt for trustafarians in keffiyehs, but suggested that Francoists, Falangists, Carlists, fifth-columnists, Fifth Monarchy Men and other rotters were surely a higher priority.

“Not for us, boy. POUM were collaborating with Franco, and had misled large part of Catalan proletariat.”

The POUM used the Catalan language, George Orwell was proud to be in their rambunctious ranks, and I seemed to remember that Anaïs Nin was their leader. This tipped my minority, literary, romantic heart lazily in their favour when compared with rat-faced Russians in dead men’s suits.

(I also liked the Durrutti Column because they defended Madrid and didn't brag about it. If I’d run a Spanish anarchist outfit I’d have called it the Bugatti Brigade and just waited for the petrolheads to sue. And I'd have been a Basque, too.)

Anyway, Jiří set me right on all this objectively-bourgeois flummery that passed for my historical knowledge.

“Listen, they were bunch of nun-loving Nazi poufs. They had to go, and we were the blokes to get them gone.”

There followed accounts of beret-wearing intellectuals and baffled dockworkers being blatted by the J Man and his greasy mates in a variety of primitive and protracted ways, often involving masonry tools.

This brought him to a startling account of a shift that went wrong at the coalface of revolutionary violence.

“So we spent whole day waiting in lobby of hotel where some English Trot was staying. He never turn up. Wife tip him off about us before we could tip him off balcony.”

“Er, any idea what he was called?”

“No. Writer or something. Frondeur!”

"Was his name Blair, Eric Blair?”

“Could be, sounds familiar. Wrecker!”

I gave Jiří an O-level synopsis of Homage to Catalonia, recalling mention of Mrs Blair's flight from a hotel. He acknowledged that it could have been him and his team of charmers.

"If you’d known who he was, would you have killed him?"

“Of course. He was fifth-columnist, Trotsky-Maxtonite traitor to worker class. My boys would have tattooed hammer and sickle on his head with bullets. We had many. Soviet economy strong,”
he confirmed.

How different world literature would have been if Jiří and The Mausers had fulfilled their Five-Bullet Plan that day. No Animal Farm or 1984. We'd have had to make do with Charlotte's Web and the unfilmable Brave New World.

Jiří got out to Britain via France in 1940 to serve in the Free Czech Forces with distinction. He remained true to Uncle Joe throughout, as further Tales of Violence and Hypocrisy attested, but the dialectic urged him to stay in cosy Britain in 1948 rather than return to Soviet-run Czechoslovakia.

He proceeded to build Socialism in One Company, and probably helped apply Plekhanov's dictum "The worse, the better" to British Leyland in the 1970s.

He left the coach at Birmingham full of envy at my imminent submersion in Soviet life. I wish I'd taken his phone number, as his story deserved a better telling than I've managed here.

Still, spotting a chance and letting it go is what life is all about. Just like Jiří and Mr Orwell.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Dos yn Galed, Brawd Rhif Un

All right-thinking people will enjoy the thoughts of evil honorary Welsh Laban Tall on the subject of Marcus Brigstocke, the Mark Steel of Maidstone.

Mr Brigstocke should certainly leave the big issues to comedy colossi like Tarby and our own Owen Money, for God has given him the precious task of stuffing David Blaine and "DJ" Tim Westwood in the knackersack - something he does well.

I can't help thinking that Westwood ought to change places with Chris Eubank. Mr Eubank is genuinely black, and could pick up the intricacies of putting records on turntables in no time. Tim would fit in as Lord of Brighton Manor, given that he was born to that sort of thing as hereditary Bishop of Peterborough.

And I for one would pay good money to see Tim Westwood go four rounds with Nigel Benn, himself a distinguished DJ.

The BBC has successfully driven all well-born, classically-educated Englishmen from its news and current affairs division, but it's inevitable that they would find a niche somewhere - in this case among the "wrap" and hip-hopping fraternity of Radio One.

Indeed, at his drug-smuggling hearing in Dubai last month it emerged that DJ Grooverider is one of the Ludlow Grooveriders, and that he would have got off if Judge Kif Fil Argilah hadn't had to fag for his Uncle Jasper at Harrow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wales to launch Arabic TV channel

A statement by Brâd ap Ŷt, chairman of the Cymru Rouge Commissariat of Foreign Relations and Unprovoked War Broadcasting and Censorship Department:

The Comrade Commissar for Fighting, Brother Iago Anffawd, has rightly remarked that "anyone who seeks a real ruck in this modern world of ours cannot afford to overlook the immense potential of the Arab nations" ("Mae'r 'rabod 'na wastad lan am uffar o sgarmas, chimod." - Address to the United Nations Development Programme International Women's Day conference, 8 March 2008).

The English neolab BBC's recent launch of an Arabic television channel is literally a skewer thrust through the sweetbreads of Cymric hegemony in the Middle East. Not content with its radio service and Foreign Office, England wants to dominate all areas of Arabian intercourse.

With this and the higher interests of the dai-alogue of civilisations - announced by Brother Leader Huw Samphan at the ceremonial closure of the University of Wales in Year Zero Minus Five (2005) - in hand, the Cymru Rouge Broadcasting and Censorship Department hereby inaugurates Sianel Goch i'r Arabiaid (SGA - Red Channel for the Arabs) TV.

A review of current pan-Arab channels (Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, Al-Alam, Al-Manar, Al-BBC) reveals a surprising degree of uniformity beneath the apparent diversity of political, and cultural vectors - namely that they all broadcast in Arabic.

SGA TV will refuse to talk down to its audience in their own language, but will respect their desire to embrace the modern world by broadcasting totally and utterly in Welsh.

A similar refreshing policy will apply in news, religious, cultural and entertainment scheduling, said Channel Director-General and former DJ Ali ap Rap.

"Our coverage will avoid stale reports about Iraq, Gazza, horse racing and oil prices in favour of exciting developments in the world of Welsh Marxism, rugby and slate-mining," Rap told Taffinfform news agency from behind his spinning turntables at the Ministry of Culture and Interrogation (formerly Clwb Ifor Bach).

"Likewise our director of religious programming, the Rev Goronwy Elias of the Independent Calvinist (Independent) Church in Cerigrafu, will bring a new, Evangelical angle to those endless debates about prophets, fatwas and wearing bags on your head - all of which he approves of, by the by," added Rap.

Aware of the demographical demand for children's programming, Ap Rap reported that he would be presenting a regular before-the-midnight-watershed show himself. "'Sesh!!' will feature all the latest in Welsh teenage drinking and pregnancy developments, coming at ya!" he grinned aimlessly.

Another area in which SGA TV will differ from other, lesser pan-Arab channels will be in its treatment of women.

"Look at their lady presenters," nodded Rap to the phat sounds of a Shaky/Umm Kalthoum mash-up, "It's Apartheid Wall-to-Wall honies, mun. How d'you think that makes fat birds feel? Exactly. That's why all our bulletins will be presented by munters from Carmarthen what we auditioned outside the chippy."

Asked what array of correspondents SGA TV intends to base in the Middle East and at key foreign bureaux, Rap took the opportunity to note another fundamental difference between his and other pan-Arab broadcasters.

"Any independent observer will agree that a measure of distance from the heated disputes of the region can only benefit news values. That's why we are keeping well out of it up by here, mun," Rap expounded, pointing to the lavish SGA TV studio and entertainment suite located behind the stage.

"If I was looking for tribal rivalry, religious fanaticism, endemic underdevelopment, misguided colonial adventures and funny stuff with sheep I'd have stayed home in Dwyfor, innit," he added.

SGA TV is available on terrestrial channels in the Morgangrad (formerly Cardiff) area of Wales, and by subscription on a series of C60 cassettes from the Welsh Ministry of External Trade, Trafficking and White Slavery (audio only).

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Nite Klub

Al-Jazeera and the other Arab satellite TV channels have grown bored of al-Qaeda videos, just like Bokharan emirs of old whose palates were jaded by endless circles of Turkoman dancing boys. I can't blame them.

Grainy pictures of mad old men wagging their fingers and complaining about who owns Cadiz, interspersed with burning American tanks and Heads Off at the Herat Palladium, are hardly likely to improve their ratings when they're up against the Pouting Lovelies of Lebanon's LBC TV.

This leaves our intelligence agencies scrambling over copies of Tritton's Teach Yourself Arabic to find a video tape that doesn't have precious Dad's Army episodes on it to record and pore over the latest bad hat rants on the Al-Jibrish website or what have you.

This takes up enormous amounts of time, tape and bandwidth that could be better devoted to the louche activities that Osama and his crypto-Calvinist chums disapprove of, thereby reducing the net amount of Western depravity in the world. In other words, we're doing their work for them.

The answer is to fight back using the same weapons.

Rather than issue statements condemning jihadis for their various acts of mayhem, or analysing their latest outpourings on Newsnight, our democratic governments should respond solely by means of video clips on Western-friendly, password-protected websites.

In order to find out what Zionist Crusader schemes we have up our wizards' sleeves, Zawahiri and that ghoulish American bloke they like will have to register with, and log on to,, Madame Minh's House of Cracks, Modern Drunkard's membership page and various Jackie Mason fansites.

In these posts they would find practical displays of secular slacking, the most powerful weapon in our anti-jihad armoury. They would spend hours analysing drinking patterns, pocket billiards and ill-informed sports comments for hints as to our blasphemous intent:

Ghoul: We have the latest tape from the English Brownite dogs, O Sheikh, as posted on!

Zawahiri: Render it unto the VCR, O brother mujahed, that we might get a better look at it. (tape rolls) What are they saying, Al-Ghoul?

Ghoul: Our British analysts say that it looks like a tavern called The Amir of Wales, in the Caversham settlement of Barq-Shir Province, England. The content is an extended commentary on a game of football between The Arsenal, as is the beloved of our Sheikh Osama, and the Quds-occupying team of Tottenham Hotspur, which is also known as The Spurs. This would place it sometime in the last month.

Zawahiri: And who is the one who is speaking?

The main speaker, judging by the tattoos and bite marks, is the one they call Neckless Steve. The research department says that he is particularly uninterested in matters of ijtihad. The local dialect is as impenetrable as Maghrebi, but he appears to be debating with an unseen interlocutor, possibly his murid "Whack", the virtues of buying two "pints" - a total of nearly 1.7 litres - of a liquid described as "largah" at a time given that, and I quote, "the bar is chocka with tossers".

Zawahiri: Alarming. And what of this Whack? What is his ruling in the matter?

Ghoul: Ya ustadh, Whack has countered with a proposal that the majlis should reconvene at the Clifton - this is a bridge near the port city of Bristol - as his "dog needs a wazz".

Zawahiri: Is this a coded threat against the strugglers of Al-Anbar?

Ghoul: That is not clear, but we have our best men working on it, O Luminous One.

The hours would fly by.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mynd i Rymni

A statement by the Cymru Rouge Responsibility Reallocation Department

There has been a considerable amount of what we can only soberly call total and utter over-the-top and typical anti-Welsh media hysteria about the recent comments of Uffar O'Gwair, Director of the Cymru Rouge Rugby Union and Chemical Weapons Division.

Comrade O'Gwair, speaking yesterday at the Martyr Cayo Evans (formerly St David's Day) celebrations down the staff social club of the Live Ordinance Manual Disposal Depot and Juvenile Deliquents Re-education Camp, Sennybridge, made some remarks about the forthcoming Six Nations fixture between the massed socialist ranks of the Welsh rugby squad and the prancing lager-drinkers of the Continuity Irish Free State [ed: Irish Republic].

His words were as follows: "Cromweliwn ni Iwerddon y tro 'ma fel chafodd y Padis erioed eu chromwelio ers dyddiau'r Hen Gromwel ei hyn, ynafe!"

This has been translated as "We shall give Ireland the sort of Cromwelling the Paddies haven't had since the days of Old Cromwell himself, isn't it!" (cf Reuters, AFP, Irish Government web site, UN Security Council, Council of Europe, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, that Hague Tribunal again)

While acknowledging the possibly literal accuracy of this rendering, the Cymru Rouge deems it necessary to issue the following urgent clarification.

"In using the term 'Cromwell', bourgeois media outlets and Illuminati hirelings are trying to incinerate that Brother Uffar was suggesting that the Welsh Rugby Squad would carry out a massacre of the Irish team in the way that the Anglo-Welsh laypreacher and military personality Oliver Cromwell did on the broader Irish scene in 1649-1650.

"There is no basis for this aspertion, as an ideologically-atuned reading shows that O'Gwair was clearly using the Welsh verb 'cromweilio' in a dialect form common in the Radnor area.

"Its meaning in this context is 'to show Celtic and agro-proletarian fraternal sporting solidarity while kicking their clerical-reactionary behinds through a stack of Enya albums'.

"This will be confirmed in the forthcoming reprinting of the Welsh Academy Dictionary of the Welsh Language, once the Academy members have been released from hard labour on the Bardsey Island to Haverfordwest Anti-Hiberian Defensive Maritime Barrier.

"On behalf of the Senedd and People of Wales, we hope that this will go some way to persuading the Irish Coastguard to return the Abersoch Under-15s' ball that got blown out to sea on Friday."

Buddugoliaeth neu marwolaeth!

Brawd Rhif Naw
Clebran Brân