Wednesday, 29 June 2005

I Know, I Know, I Know …

… that I shouldn’t be writing so much about Big Brother. But I just love this skinny on new housemate Orlaith:

Orlaith came 2nd in the Miss Northern Ireland competition in 1999 and is currently ‘Belfast’s Model Of The Year’. She loves exercising and is a keen boxer but hates spiders and self-obsessed people. Orlaith has had breast implants and says Marilyn Monroe is her idol.

The italics are mine.

I think Makosi is probably the most absurd housemate. Livid that someone had called her an ‘arsehole’, she complained in the Diary Room, saying something like: ‘It’s not a nice word. I am a nurse, and I know what an arsehole looks like.’ Then she leant into the camera and solemnly repeated: ‘I KNOW what an arsehole looks like’.

To borrow from Fry and Laurie, these people are rotting in Hell and they don’t even know it.

If You Can Say Something Nice …

I thought I’d subvert my usual approach, and talk about a few people that I might be expected not to like, but actually like a lot. Herewith, in no particular order, a few of the people that against the odds I admire:

1. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. He’s a self-described ‘hairy leftie’. He pops up to comment on matters that many commentators feel are none of his business. He is very Welsh. I think he’s GREAT.

When I did A-Level Sociology, a hateful subject that involved reading a lot of poisonous drivel by thoroughly evil men like Karl Marx, we had a poster in our room with a quotation from that old fraud Desmond Tutu. It read: ‘It puzzles me which bible people are reading when they say that religion and politics don’t mix’. These were atypically wise words, and I have carried them with me ever since. EVERYTHING is political, and the job of a good Archbish is to act as a wise voice that rises above the Party fray, highlights injustice, and provides moral ballast.

Dr Williams does that with interest, and immense intellectual clout. He was on the TV last night bemoaning the deportation of Zimbabwean refugees. Good for him.

2. Del Amitri. Derided – grotesquely unfairly – as Beautiful South-type purveyors of undemanding background music, the Dels are one of my very favourite bands. Incredibly insightful and original lyrics are sung soulfully over gorgeous melodies. Ignore the naysayers, and get yourself copies of Waking Hours and Change Everything.

3. Alan Titchmarsh. He’s nice, he’s funny, he’s gentle, and he is a class TV act. He is also responsible for one of the greatest examples of sagacity I have ever come across. Interviewed in the Radio Times, he was asked some of the things he’d wish he’d known when he was 20. He said something to the effect of: ‘There are lots of people in the world. The chances are that some of them will quite like you.’ Adorable.

By the way, what is the obsession with Charlie Dimmock? Hasn’t ANYONE else noticed Rachel de Thame?

4. Stephen Pound and Nick Brown. I’m not clumping them together to assert or imply that they are a couple. But they are the only two Labour MPs that I got to know when I was working for the Tories, and they are both splendid fellows. Steve is terrifically funny, and frequently brightened my day when we bumped into each other in the corridors of power. Nick is unpretentious, genuinely interesting and interested, and the sort of decent cove who makes me realise that not all Labourite Parliamentarians are so bad after all.

5. Derek from Big Brother. He is obnoxious and rude, and absurdly fey and arrogant, and first class entertainment. I suppose we should expect nothing less from an erstwhile Conservative Party researcher. My favourite Derek moment came when he said of his housemates, over and over again and to himself: ‘Ghastly people. Ghastly, ghastly people.’ He also asked Big Brother to lower the blinds so that he didn’t have to look at them.

How ghastly almost all of them indeed are (I quite like Saskia, if only because she is a VERY cut price Rachel de Thame and, I gather, very right wing), and how splendidly arch. I doubt Maxwell and Science (whom I suspect is not in fact a particularly gifted scientist) have ever used the word.

Newsround

The Independent outlines a very powerful incentive for the Tory Party to select David Davis as its next Leader:

Rory Bremner may not be a natural Conservative, but he is taking more than a passing interest in the outcome of their leadership election. The idea of the current front-runner, David Davis, gaining power fills him with dread.


“The make-up would be a nightmare,” explains Bremner, right. “Davis looks like he’s had his nose broken at least five times, so preparing for the part would have to involve being punched in the face over and over again, which I’m not really keen on.”

Whatever happened to suffering for one’s art? I guess Rory really does prefer to be given an hour by Channel Four to safely spout his wholly unoriginal and ill-informed left wing bile.

The same Indie article further reveals that Bob Dylan has signed a deal with Starbucks. The times they truly are a changin’.

Incidentally, it would seem that Dave Gorman – who has not replied to my VERY generous email – is officially no longer funny.

How I Wish I Could Join Them

My GOP friends in South Carolina have come up with a tremendous way to welcome Howard Dean to that great state. They will be holding a “scream” contest:

The South Carolina Republican Party announced today a “Dean Scream” contest to be held on Wednesday, June 29th at 3:30pm in front of the State Capital in Columbia.

Contestants will be asked to recite National Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean's infamous “Scream” from the 2004 presidential primary. The public is invited to participate and in case anyone would like to practice, the “Scream” wording is:


“We’re going to South Carolina and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. We’re going to California and Texas and New York, and we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we’re going to Washington, D.C. to take back the White House......yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”

Contestants will be judged on lack of poise and appearance, loudness, and quality of insane angry ranting.

No wonder I am so keen to go back to the South. The Tory Party should do stuff like this. I am VERY good at the Dean Scream. Read the entire press release here.

By the way, can anyone recommend a decent anti-histamine? I’ve taken a Piriton. It’s worked on the hayfever, but it has left me so drowsy I could sleep for 12 hours. tommywgreeves@yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Once More

I have a post on Once More today. Please check it out.

Monday, 27 June 2005

Come The Revolution

Sunday, 26 June 2005

First Responses

I’ve had the first bits of feedback on my script. One person really liked it – but then she is MY MUM. A few hours later I walked passed my Dad, who was sat on the sofa with the script by his side SOUND ASLEEP.

I Must Be Going Soft

It was with a little reluctance that I sat down to watch The Girl in the Café last night, Richard Curtis’s BBC romance that centred on the G8 summit. As much as I like his films, I was expecting something contrived and preachy. But it was lovely.

I don’t subscribe to this notion that scriptwriters shouldn’t let their politics come through in their work. Nor am I necessarily hostile to a film (or a song) if the bias is left wing. The West Wing would be wholly unconvincing if we didn’t know that Jed Bartlet was a Democrat, and didn’t see him and his staff spout the odd liberal cliché. And I freely admit, like David Cameron, to liking a lot of ‘left wing bands’.

But I had a feeling this plot would be clunking and simplistic. So it was a pleasant surprise, and an informative exercise, to see how Curtis developed his theme around a very touching and complex love story, and employed sparingly and with great skill the statistics about poverty that he was so keen to share with us. But I also took comfort from reading that he had to make a few rewrites to get the balance right.

My one criticism would be that as with Love Actually he treated American politicians a bit like cartoon villains. But otherwise he crafted a very persuasive polemic. I’m still not going to go out and get myself a Make Poverty History armband – I just do not believe in protectionism – but Curtis DID get me thinking.

I think the politically correct and the hardheaded brigade BOTH ought to get reflective. I’ve opined about the former before. But we Right Wingers, who quite rightly say that one of Africa’s greatest handicaps is her multitudinous corrupt governments, are also in danger of looking at things too straightforwardly. There comes a point when we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. In other words, we can’t expect Africa to get its house completely in order before we send aid, or cancel (SOME) debt.

Yes, we should try to bypass dictators, and focus our efforts on putting in water pipelines, not buying limousines for monsters. Yes, the best way to avoid getting AIDS is abstinence. Yes, it is wildly irresponsible to call for one million people to march on Gleneagles. Yes, protectionism is murderous, not life enhancing. But let none of us sit back contentedly, secure in the apparent knowledge that Africa is best left to stew in its own juice. That is not so. We don’t have to agree with the Make Poverty History campaign or everything that Bob Geldof says to find some common cause.

And what of Geldof and his Live 8 lot? Should we worship those pop stars who will play this Saturday, or ignore them completely as ignorant celebrities who are as interested in self-promotion as in helping the poor? Neither. Like it or not (and a big part of me doesn’t like it), we have a cult of celebrity in the Western world. Bono, whom I used to detest, and Bob Geldof, whom I have always broadly liked, are unsentimental and realistic about the fact that they have an audience. As they do, they want to use it as a platform for something worthwhile.

Of course it’s probable that the bands performing on Saturday and the stars of the Make Poverty History advert do not understand the complexities of global poverty as well as the finest economists, and don’t care about it as much as they pretend to (possibly even to themselves). It is absurd that anyone gives a damn what Jay Kay from Jamiroquai or Brad Pitt thinks. But they can fill the pages of a newspaper and make millions of people sit up and take note. So too can the brilliant Richard Curtis. The challenge is to get them to say the right things.

Friday, 24 June 2005

Alive Yes, But … Phew!

I’m off to the printers after lunch. Then the script is being posted to a handful of critics (aka friends). An agent should have the synopsis by now, or shortly. A couple of friends ALREADY have the script. My family will be reading it in the next few days. I’m in bits.

Or rather, I’m nervous as Hell. I haven’t been finding it easy to get to sleep in recent days, which is VERY unlike me. I am knotted up inside. It doesn’t feel quite as bad as Finals, yet, but it matters SO much more.

I should stress that it’s not just nerves about what people think of it. I THINK I understand emotionally as well as intellectually that nothing artistic is universally liked. It’s much more a product of the fact that it’s REALLY happening.

However excreable it may be, I have written a script, and people are really going to read it. I’ve done something I have always had in the back of my mind to do, and frankly, I’m a bit chuffed about that – even if people think it’s woeful, or dull, or weird or deeply flawed.

And you know what? These nerves are all for the good. Because when you care this much about something other than your loved ones, you know you’re alive, and life seems real.

I’ll let you know what the agent says.

I’m Alive

So … your humble blogger has been busy and neglectful of you in recent days. Sorry. What have you missed, dear Reader? Well, let’s see.

Last Saturday I went to see Elly in a play in Oxford. She was SCINTILLATING. I’ve always been very lucky when going to see friends act, in that they have all proven themselves highly able. I dread the thought of having to choose between dissembling and being hurtful. I expected Elly to stand out, and so she did. She’ll be a globalmegasuperstar in due course.

The job hunt continues, not wildly fruitfully. But I am optimistic that something is around the corner. Powerlifting is going well, although this week has seen me a little weak.

Last night was tremendous. I went to an awards ceremony hosted by the Centre for Social Justice. I caught up with lots of friends and met some interesting people, which is always immensely life enhancing. The CSJ honoured organisations, predominantly small ones, that have had tangible and demonstrable success in helping vulnerable people. These groups don’t just manage problems, they SOLVE them. Cameron (who was kind enough to put me up), Tim and the gang at the CSJ are doing terrific work to publicise and support these heroes and heroines.

I also pay tribute to Iain Duncan Smith for having the determination to make the CSJ happen. Downing Street may not await him, but he will retire from politics, when that day comes, having made a real and positive difference to disadvantaged people. What more could, or rather SHOULD, a politician want?

Big shout out to Mark for remembering that “Sorry I’m late, was a bit rude, but it was worth the wait ‘cos I’m a real cool dude” were the immortal lines uttered by Harold Bishop’s son many years ago on Neighbours.

A big shout of thanks to James as well. He was very swift to express interest in helping me with my film. As we only know each other in cyberspace, it was all the more appreciated. I encourage y’all to visit his cerebral and appealing blog. I also look forward to meeting him in person.

The film is done, in first-draft-form. It’s too long, but I can edit down in future. I just need to get an agent to read it. I’ve sent a synopsis to one, so if you could all pray, cross fingers, chant, kiss someone or something, wear the same pants three days running, touch wood or a combination of any or all of the above or whatever else it is you do for luck – I’d be mighty grateful.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Sorry I'm Late, Was A Bit Rude, But It Was Worth The Wait, 'cos I'm A Real Cool Dud

Hey y'all,

Enormous apologies for the lengthy absence. In my defence, I have been working on something VERY exciting - well, something I have found very exciting anyway. My movie script is now finished!

I'll be sending it off to an agent in the next couple of days, and we'll see what we see. Whatever happens, at least it's no longer the-film-I've-always-meant-to-write-but-haven't-got-round-to-doing. Currently it's the-film-I've-written-that-no-one-wants-to-make. But hey - at least for the next few days I can say that the reason no-one wants to make it is that no-one has read it yet. Ho-hum.

I'd be missing a trick if I didn't ask if any of y'all who read this blog have links to the movie world. If so, please email me on tommywgreeves@yahoo.co.uk.

Oh, and a big shout out will go to anyone who can tell me where the phrase I've used as the title of this post comes from ...

Friday, 17 June 2005

Not Skinny As A Rake's Progress

I seem to be getting somewhere with this powerlifting lark. Y’all may recall that not so long ago I was looking forward to the day when I could bench 100 kg again. Well, I can now bench 115 kg (253 lbs) for a one rep max, and 100 kg (220 lbs) for five (count ‘em, FIVE) too-cool-for-school reps.

I also did 90 kg for eight close-grip reps the other night. Which is pretty sick.

I’m getting there. 120 kg is the next target, 140 kg is the medium term target, and I’m not setting a limit for the ultimate destination. But 280 kg - 600 lbs - would be nice.

On a distinct note, I would just like to say that the opening bars to Sweet Home Alabama are AWESOME. Thank you.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Come On Gorman

I have just sent a fan email to Dave Gorman. Its contents are self-explanatory.

I do hope he replies. Celebrities don't always do so, you know. I mean, you write and write and write to Jennifer Lopez over a three month period, and still she can't be bothered to pop a used tampon in the mail. Which means that either a) Jennifer Lopez is as stuck-up as she's made out to be or b) she is an obsessive-compulsive who retains her own used tampons.

Anyway, here is my email to Dave Gorman. If he responds, I'll upload it. Thank you to my sister Becca for the unwitting loan of the book.

Dear Dave,

I thought you might like to know that I have just finished reading 'Are You Dave Gorman?', and thoroughly enjoyed it.


I acknowledge that I could have been wrong to think that you might like to know that I thoroughly enjoyed your book. It could well be that every fibre of your being silently screams 'PLEASE GOD STOP MAKING PEOPLE GO ON ABOUT THE DAVE GORMAN THING' (while your lungs audibly bellow it) whenever you open an email and find out that it is primarily about this subject. Your website intimates that this might be the case.

Another alternative is that you are utterly indifferent. Certainly you are likely to attach little significance to the fact that Tom Greeves liked your (joint-with-Danny-Wallace) book. I didn't even purchase the book (it's my sister's), so you don't even have cause to be grateful to me for swelling your coffers. Although - unless you send me an unkind email in response to this one - I will be recommending the book to other people on my blog and in conversation.

So it is in hope rather than in breathtakingly arrogant confidence that I assert that I hope you will be pleased to hear that I liked your book. Thank you for providing me with considerable entertainment over a three day period (with breaks - I'm not a lunatic).

Yours sincerely,

Tom Greeves

PS I am copying this email to my blog. Any response you might send will also be uploaded. So you'd better not call me a **** or anything.


http://bigtommygspeaks.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

Frost Deserves A Warm Welcome

Richard's friend Vicki (I think she's very nice too, but I wouldn't presume to call her a friend yet) has joined us in cyberspace, with a new blog. Have a look at http://victoriafrost.blogspot.com/. She has begun with two very moving posts.

Also check out Spot's Doghouse at http://spotsdoghouse.blogspot.com. I don't know Spot at all, but he is friends with my buddy Trash, and his blog is one-of-a-kind - IN A GOOD WAY.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Quel Surprise

It doesn’t look as though the Radio Times is going to publish my recent letter to them, so I thought I might as well upload it here. Bear in mind that the Radio Times is a BBC publication, and that the BBC – funded by all UK television owners through a compulsory poll tax known as the licence fee – has a legal obligation to be non-partisan.


Dear Letters Editor,

So Jerry Springer might not go into politics to be ‘just one out of 50 senators’. (RT, 4 June). Mr Springer should take an elementary American politics class – each of the 50 states has two Senators.

In the David Frost piece, George Wallace was dubbed a ‘white racist US Senator’. Wallace was Governor of Alabama, not a Senator. Furthermore, he repented over his segregationalist stance. A fair reference would have acknowledged this.


A few pages later Barry Norman praised Alec Baldwin’s ‘diatribes against the Bush administration’ without offering any supporting evidence, and in another recent RT Desmond Tutu’s likening of George Bush and Hitler went unchallenged.

If RT – a BBC publication - feels it must stray into political comment, perhaps you could do your readership the courtesy of checking the facts and employing some balance.

Yours Sincerely,

Tom Greeves


OK, so it included a small typo (a period outside of brackets when it should have been inside), but I think it was a pretty darn good letter! This week’s edition of the Radio Times seems to have more of the same – a fawning Nelson Mandela interview from Rageh Omaar, and a load of the typical twaddle about Live 8.
What sends me round the bend is the almost certain knowledge that the Radio Times and the BBC genuinely cannot see that they are being partial. An anti-Bush and a pro-EU stance, opposition to free trade, and a variety of other liberal Left truisms - these are not examples of bias, they’re just common sense. Bias would be not giving a fair hearing to Ken Clarke.
The tragedy is that I don’t WANT to hate the BBC. But they make it hard for anyone with a remotely curious mind not to increasingly despise them.

Monday, 13 June 2005

Canvarsing About

I have a post up on Once More today, about the relative merits of canvassing and direct mail. Rather lamely, I have used the heading ‘Only Connect’ again.

Sunday, 12 June 2005

Iron Mike and Melanie

Melanie Phillips and Iron Mike Tyson may not have a GREAT deal in common, but they do share a remarkable way with words, specifically in the put-down department.

My all time favourite Tyson statement has to be what he said to Donovan ‘Razor’ Ruddock before their 1991 rematch:

‘You know you’re a transvestite and you like me. You’re sweet.I’m gonna make sure you kiss me good with those big lips. I’m gonna make you my girlfriend.’

Other gems include:

‘I was gonna rip his heart out, I’m the best ever. I’m the most brutal and vicious the most ruthless champion there’s ever been. No one can stop me. Lennox is the conqueror? No, I’m Alexander, he’s no Alexander. I’m the best ever, there’s never been anyone to beat me. I’m Sonny Liston, I’m Jack Dempsey. There’s no one like me, there’s no one that can match me, my style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable and I’m just ferocious. I want his heart, I want to eat his children. PRAISE BE TO ALLAH!’

And:

‘My power is discombobulatingly devastating. I could feel his muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.’

And:

‘One morning I woke up and found my favorite pigeon, Julius, had died. I was devastated and was gonna use his crate as my stickball bat to honor him. I left the crate on my stoop and went in to get something and I returned to see the sanitation man put the crate into the crusher. I rushed him and caught him flush on the temple with a titanic right hand. He was out cold, convulsing on the floor like a infantile retard.’


And:

‘I want to throw down your kid and stomp on his testicles, and then you will know what it is like to experience waking up everyday as me. And only then will you feel my pain.’

And:

‘I’m not Mother Teresa. But I’m also not Charles Manson!’

Muhammad Ali may be the Greatest but, for all his poetic majesty, he has stiff competition for the title of Most Lyrical Heavyweight Of All Times.

And That's Kicking Your Ass

Melanie Phillips sure knows how to dish out a verbal beating:

‘Lady Warnock is a preposterous figure who in the pages of a Dickens or Swift would have been immortalised as one of the comic monsters of our literary heritage. As it is, she has played a monstrous part in helping destroy our moral and social heritage. She is surely one of the most titanic and dangerous egos of our troubled age.’

Melanie Phillips rocks.

Saturday, 11 June 2005

I’m Touched That He Assumes I Do Read Books

Andrew has thrown down a challenge. Apparently it is all the rage on the Interwebnet to get people to answer a series of questions about books. Well, I’m usually game for a challenge, unless it’s canoeing, so here goes:

Number of books you own: I’m not sure. My guess is that it’s something like 300 - 400. (I’ve cheated and revised my original post, which said 200!) I actually need to do some pretty serious pruning. But it won’t be easy – I somehow feel it’s an act of vandalism to throw away a book. My parents own between 5,000 and 7,000. I was genuinely astounded as a child when I first realised that lots of homes have hardly any books at all.

Last book I bought: In Pursuit of Excellence and Self-Fulfillment, by Judd Biasiotto.

Last book I read: In Pursuit of Excellence and Self-Fulfillment, by Judd Biasiotto. This is a series of lectures by a magnificent chap who is a powerlifting champion, sports psychologist, teacher and writer (among other things). I suppose it would count as a ‘self-help’ book, and maybe that’s not a bad thing after all.

I’d always had something of a horror of secular self-improvement books, but I have reassessed in light of the terrific good sense and wisdom in these pages. If the term ‘beautiful person’ has any meaning, it applies to the good Dr Judd.

Five books that mean a lot to me: This is ferciously difficult, and I’ll undoubtedly leave out something that I should include. But I’ll give it a go. In no particular order:

1. Goldwater The Man Who Made A Revolution, by Lee Edwards. I feel more than a little ashamed that one of the reasons that The Road to Serfdom isn’t in my top five is that I’ve not got round to reading it. I suppose I find biographies more accessible – if I may use that ghastly term. Moreover, as much as I hate self-professed pragmatists, political philosophy is much more tangible and meaningful when seen in a human context.

Goldwater was terrific – a true visionary who rightly takes his place as the father of American conservatism. Without Goldwater, there would have been no Reagan. He was a libertarian of the best sort – a true small government Constitutionalist. Edwards chronicles the life of this Great American Hero beautifully, and anyone interested in the Republican Party is well-advised to read his book.

2. Rogue Warrior: Task Force Blue, by Richard Marcinko and John Weisman. I plucked this off a bookshelf because I fancied an undemanding action thriller one day. It has proved to be so much more. Dick Marcinko is a real-life Navy SEAL who has parlayed his experiences into a series of biographies and novels. They are rip-roaring good fun, and a particular joy is his superb use of very robust swearing. He is also a man of great integrity and decency.

I keep dipping back into this book, as it contains some exceedingly good advice on managing confrontation – be it in a boardroom or on an oilrig. Marcinko is an expert both in man management and hunting down and killing people. This book contains a supremely effective fighting technique that I would definitely use if forced to defend myself on the street. Marcinko has his own website, which I have decided to link to in tribute to his utter awesomeness.

3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. It is far too long. It outlines some pretty wacky views about sexual relationships (although at least the hero isn’t a rapist, as is the case in The Fountainhead). It may well be true that The Wealth of Nations is a more worthy and worthwhile read. It seems to be the case that Rand was a deeply flawed human being. But this novel – which did the rounds of the Conservative Research Department – could very likely change your life.

It makes the moral case for capitalism majestically. It demolishes the case for competition law and the absurd proposition that money is the root of all evil (it’s actually a remarkable civilising force). Read it and be inspired.

4. The Rise of Political Lying, by Peter Oborne. I had to include it. It is one of the five books that mean a lot to me because I worked on it, because I loved working on it, and because it made me realise that actually I do have some marketable skills! I didn’t write any of it, and Peter takes full credit for the fact that it is an absolutely brilliant expose of the New Labour regime.

5. Any Book That Has Been Given To Me As A Present. I suppose this is a little bit of a cop-out, but it is true. It’s LOVELY to be given a book by someone. It serves as a reminder of them every time you dip in, and it requires real thought to choose a book for someone else. Peter gave me a signed copy of his book, which was a nice gesture; Mark and Yasmin gave me a bible for my trip to the States, which was really kind; and Geoff sealed our friendship – established on that trip – by sending me a book called, appropriately, America.

Who gets this next: The Baileys, Venusberg, JK, Trash and Michael.

Sorry that I haven’t been very active on the blog recently, or indeed on Once More. I’ve been a bit busy, and to be honest, I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost a bit of my mirth.

Thursday, 9 June 2005

The Baileys Have Landed

The Bailey Family, all of whom I am very fond of, have launched themselves into cyberspace. Their blog is at http://baileyblogspot.blogspot.com, and I encourage y'all to pop in regularly.

I weekended there once again recently, for Oliver's eighth birthday party. We played tug-of-war, football, British Bulldog and Murderball, ate gorgeous food, enjoyed the sunshine, and saw the first episode of Big Brother, which features an erstwhile Conservative Party researcher!

Richard, Lara, Oliver and Jasper - welcome to the blogosphere. Keep the posts - and the poems - coming.

Like A Bear Playing Hockey

The following poem, which is EXCELLENT, was written by my friend Oliver.

All about the Sea

The sea can swish,
The sea can prance,
The sea can blow,
The sea can dance.

The sea can glide,
The sea can tear,
The sea can roar,
Like an angry bear.

The sea can be calm,
The sea can be rocky,
The sea can be nice,
Like a bear playing hockey.

The sea can flow,
The sea can tow,
The sea can blow,
Like an angry buffalo.

Oliver Bailey (7)
This is a quite superb poem. It conjures up a very clear image of the sea, and is a perfect description of how volatile and wonderful it can be. The analogy with a bear playing hockey – which would indeed be nice – is so utterly brilliant that I am full to the brim with admiration. Only someone very special could have come up with a line like that.
I hope Oliver knows how proud I am that he is my godson.

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

You Have Only Begun To Discover Your Power

We have just been visited by some friends of my Mum. Claire brought over her son Sebby and his cousin Neve for tea. Apparently Sebby is Star Wars mad, so I was asked if I would mind VERY KINDLY letting him play with my toys. No problem. Dad told me that they'd bought a couple of Star Wars things too. Cool.

So Sebby, Claire and Neve arrive, and they're all lovely. The kids are 5 and 6 respectively (I think), very agreeable and lots of fun. We sat down for tea, and Mum said 'Can you go and find the lightsabres?' WHAT? We've got lightsabres?!

Oh YES. We now own two lightsabres - one is red (Darth Vader) and one is green (Luke). They are beyond cool. The handle is very realistic, and when you press a button the 'laser' shoots out. Oh man, this is going to be FANTASTIC.

I think I'll invite Donnan round. He has dressed up as Darth before and, at 6'3, he can carry it off. Plus I got one of those card thingys with a recorded voice that does Vader breathing off the cover of Empire magazine the other day. And Donnan has the 'dum, dum, dum, dum, de dum, dum, de dum' music.

We played touch rugby in the garden, and me, Neve and Sebby BEAT Claire, Becca, Mum and John. We WON. We BEAT them.

I'd absolutely hate to be fourteen again, but I'd love to be 7.

Monday, 6 June 2005

Grammers Is Gay

Hey – want to buy a handbag, a pair of shoes, a baby item or another special gift? Do you live in or around the great city of Charleston, South Carolina? Would you travel to near Chucktown to find that perfect present for yourself or a loved one? If so, then pay a visit to La Ti Da in Summerville.

It’s run by my good friend Elizabeth Donehue and her mom. La Ti Da’s fun website is well worth a look. Here it is: http://www.latidagifts.com/.

The headline to this post refers to something else. It really ought to accompany a post bemoaning Britain’s descent into depravity, but I just wanted to put it up. It is a verbatim reproduction of a piece of graffiti left on the wall of Sale Grammar School when my former colleague David was a boy there.

For the benefit of my American readers, let me explain that grammar schools have been largely been phased out in this country, but do still exist in parts. In the old days our kids took an exam at the age of eleven. Those who passed were sent to grammar schools, while those who failed were forced to make footballs in sweatshops - er, sorry - were sent to less academically demanding secondary modern schools. The pupils at each often hated each other.

Nowadays the clever and the cretinous are educated together in comprehensive schools, unless they can buy their way out or are lucky enough to live in an area where selection continues. Two generations have been condemned to mediocrity.

In its own way, ‘Grammers Is Gay’ says more about contemporary society than a thousand opinion pieces ever could.

I am nearing the end of my film script. I’ll be a multi-millionaire this time next year, just you wait and see.

Friday, 3 June 2005

Jolly Boating Fellows

Two friends, known to me quite independently of each other and who have never met, have both emailed me today to kindly invite me on two totally distinct caneoing holidays.

Isn't this a pretty extraordinary coincidence?!

To add to the mayhem, my powerlifting coach is a keen canoeist. However, he rightly assumed that it's not really my thing. But, well, wow!

He’s Not Such A Bad Chap After All

I’ve never quite been able to decide if I like Tim Henman.

On the one hand, I consider him a very fine player, and I do not believe this almost universally held proposition that he is a Loser. I think he has choked in the past, notably against Goran in the Wimbledon Semi Final, but he is nevertheless a supremely talented player. I’ve also heard from two sources that he is a nice guy, and I would love him to win Wimbledon one day – you never know.

On the other, he is a little bit bland on court, and I don’t see why I should support him JUST because he is British. Sure, I’d like a Brit to win, but players like McEnroe and Becker have given me more pleasure. And one does get a LITTLE bit fed up with the reverses. He is also rather over-exposed by the BBC.

So until today I’ve been a could-go-either-way-on-Tim-type. But I have just learnt that he is an Oxford United fan. It is official: I now like Tim Henman A LOT, and I wish him EVERY success. I also have good wishes for Desmond Morris (who I believe somewhat improbably designed our club crest), Jim Rosenthal (who introduced the coverage of the 1986 Milk Cup Final dressed in Oxford gear) and even Timmy Mallett. Which is quite something.

It’s A Genuine Honour

I am as pleased as punch to report that I have received the blogging equivalent of an England call-up. Once More has been launched by two veritable giants of the Conservative-leaning blogosphere. Blimpish and Andrew have been kind enough to invite me to join their new project – a home for Tory bloggers to share their erudition and insight.

Tommy G will remain my blogging home, of course. But I’ll be posting at Once More as well, and have done so today. Think of Tommy G as my club side - my Oxford United - and Once More as my England team. Meanwhile Conservative Home, where I also hope to pop up again if they’ll have me, is a bit like the Barbarians. Which is slightly mixing an already tortured metaphor, as the BaBas are a rugby team.
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