The UK celebrity pensioner sex scandal is still hurtling to its infinite endgame… and the latest (possible) pre-lag in the limelight is Cliff Richard – the English Elvis, the non-American Peter Pan of Pop.

His Berkshire flat has been raided by the police. Cliff was in Portugal and knew nothing about it but the BBC was there filming live and his agent saw it on the rolling-news.

The police are now in trouble for tipping-off the BBC and the BBC are in trouble for their coverage… Unless this is just Elite common decency it either means that Cliff is well-beloved and no pundit believes he could be guilty or he’s the kingpin that could bring down the entire alleged Establishment abuse ring.

As I spend my life steeped in internet gossip – and before that I was steeped in Anarchist conspiracy theories – I’ve been hearing about his alleged perversions for over 20 years – so I don’t really understand why anyone is bothered about it being out in the open. People are perfectly capable of enjoying the tabloid melodrama sincerely while equally thinking that it’s all lies. His image is in trouble – his career might suffer – he might lose his mind under the pressure of a rapidly changing image and a quaking career – but as a person he’s innocent until he’s been banged up so long we forget he was ever free. Or he’s been horribly wronged and the nation will be outraged (while loving every last disgusting second). That’s how showbiz works.

I hope he’s not guilty… He was great as a teen star… he’s been naffly harmless (albeit with a reactionary 1970s Christian-based blip) since about 1965… and well – who would want any of this horror to be truly true when you could listen to his 1950s songs instead?

O Captain! My Captain

This poem features in the film Dead Poets Society staring Robin Williams.

This poem features in the film Dead Poets Society staring Robin Williams.

O Captain! My Captain!


O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
The arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Robert Aickman

To mark the centenary of the birth of Robert Aickman – one of our greatest horror writers – Faber and Faber are publishing new editions of four of his ‘strange story’ collections.

Not only are the stories chilling in subtle and intangible ways – the covers are beautiful.

The Steamie Press Release

Anne-Marie Feeney, Marianne Boyle, Alison May.

Anne-Marie Feeney, Marianne Boyle, Alison May.

I’m either fuming at the press or courting them – such is showbiz…:


Govanhill Theatre Group presents

‘The Steamie’ by Tony Roper

Songs by Dave Anderson

Directed by Jennifer Joyes

21st – 26th July 2014 at 7.45 pm

The Steamie @ Govanhill Baths

99 Calder Street, Glasgow, G42 7RA

Tickets: £10/8

Staged on location in Glasgow’s last remaining wash house

Tony Roper’s iconic play ‘The Steamie’ is a hilarious, bittersweet, portrait of working class Glasgow in the 1950s, centring on four women who have gathered at the local Steamie on Hogmanay, completing one last laundry load before the New Year.

They share stories of men and mince, dreams and aspirations – as the shadow of the new laundrettes threatens their tight-knit community.

Coming second in an online poll for ‘STV’s Best Loved Shows’ this site-specific revival, performed by an experienced local cast, takes The Steamie back to its heartland, with a set comprised of reproduction pieces and genuine Edwardian fixtures.


Govanhill Baths was closed by Glasgow City Council in 2001, and after a strong local campaign, is now run by Govanhill Baths Community Trust. It has played host to The National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and a version of Hamlet supported by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages programme.

Rolf Harris and Cheap Fame

two satyrs by Rubens

two satyrs by Rubens

UPDATE UPDATE : It turns out that a respectable journalist – Ben Leapman – has been convicted of rape… The story is here :

Maybe hacks have their own sex scandal to cover-up? Or they’re being loyal to friends they hoped were innocent… 

UPDATE : In some quarters the media reaction has been shocking…

Peter McKay in the Daily Mail conflated consensual sex with rape and said we were foolish to bother prosecuting it – sex crimes being ‘instinct’ in a way that theft and murder – apparently – aren’t :

and now Simon Jenkins in The Guardian has this to say :

Yet we deal with sex crimes by licensing anonymous accusers and staging celebrity show trials, with lawyers in gladiatorial legal combat before juries. From the attendant publicity, no reputation survives. It is judicial barbarism.

Accusers – not victims… Show trials – not trials… Legal combat – not our justice system… What other crime is treated this way? 

The rest of it is here :

I’m soiling my blog with unpleasantness again – but I was pondering about the conviction of singer/tv presenter/artist, Rolf Harris, for sexual assaults on (mostly) underage girls – and I’ve made a list :

1. Journalist Amanda Platell has admitted that – when she was a newspaper editor – she killed a big story about his unhappy family life because he phoned her up and cried… Who knew the press were that easy to emotionally blackmail?

2. His wife and daughter seem to have lost their sanity (to various degrees) and been crushed by his fame – while developing a dependence on it.

3. Women are so used to abuse that we mostly take it in our stride – it’s the vulnerable or vengeful ones that crack… Normally we’d dismiss them as cranks and crooks but the Savile Panic has made us take them seriously. The OTT nature of the panic is like a dam bursting… Will we go back to denial and silencing?

4. Rolf seemed so nice and cheerful – but now I look at some of his pictures and I see the hard gleam of a man who just wants fame and will do anything to get it.

5. In the pursuit of fame he’d made himself such a naff, childlike, ridiculous figure that any sign of his sex life would revolt us… it’s the queasy mix of jumpers and Rolfaroos with groping and porn that really destroys our faith in entertainment… he’s like some ugly satyr panting after us at a village fete.

6. Satire has always told us that ‘nice personalities’ are never that nice… Children’s authors hate children, jolly Uncles are really a bit pervy… and yet still we fall for it… They smile like goofs and we watch like it isn’t a hideous charade.

7. Who next?

8. Are sex pests still getting away with it because Jimmy Savile was in light entertainment? When will we purge Parliament? Or Hollywood? Or fashion?

9. How sad that he’s featured on Kate Bush’s albums ‘The Dreaming’ and ‘Aerial’ – but then – she’s a serious artist and it probably doesn’t matter… My ears will adjust.

10. Dismay.

Random Headline Unrelated To Post


UPDATE : The mods woke up and removed the comments below! 

I’ve been commenting on Comment Is Free… And it’s not… They censor us for annoying the sensibility of the mods… Sometimes you can get round it by re-phrasing your original comment using whatever rhetorical tricks you think this particular mod will respond too… But that takes stealth and planning and why should we? If it’s not hate speech, it’s not libel, and if it was prompted by the article or a discussion that evolved from the article – it shouldn’t be pounced on and silenced in a way that makes you think the paper has total contempt for its readers and likes to laugh at them for stupidly trying to engage with their above the line superiors… It’s not as if they spell better than us!!!

It’s become so prevalent – and so many of us have been unfairly burned – that it’s turned into a joke… Here’s a copy and paste sample of two comments that are clearly doomed – the word ‘mod’ is verboten.  :

if the Guardian believe in a free press and free speech then it should show it by extending what it demands to the CIF section.

Im not talking about letting every comment be published, but thoes that are not breaking any rule other than annoying a moderator.

But again this comment will be removed and for what ?

Talk about freedom of the press but you know and I do its only really the freedom to say what you would like to see and hear!

The moderators make a mockery of the very princaples the guardian claim to support.

Said by modssuck at 1.06 am on the 3rd of July 2014 – when the mod was probably asleep… and this cry in the dark by jackiscool at 11.47 pm on the 2nd of July 2014 :

The Guardian routinely uses moderation to shape the argument in its comment section in a way which suits the agenda of said article. This is increasingly the case lately. The best example which comes to mind is the CiF article in which a woman who claims to have been in some abused by the photographer Terry Richardson was so heavily moderated that even people who were raising concerns that she doesn’t even appear to have reported this to the police, or that people are innocent until proven guilty, we’re being deleted.

So basically. Don’t act like a bastion of free speech whilst manipulating free speech to suit an agenda.

There were lots of comments pointing out that non-violating comments were being removed – irony of ironies – under an article complaining about google censoring The Guardian. Some lasted a while but they all went in the end (obviously the mod came back from lunch, or dinner, or the loo) :

Behold the cheek of it here :






Savile Redux


Wtf headlines.

Leering pictures of a deeply weird yesteryear ‘personality’.

Another report has been released about the behaviour of the late DJ Jimmy Savile – and it’s so baroque that it reads like a penny dreadful from the 19th Century… Sex with dead bodies, making rings out the glass eyes of victims, dragging small children to uncertain doom… What’s certain and true is that children’s homes and hospitals were so awestruck by a light entertainment star (& in the case of the 80s Tory government) so hostile to the Trade Unions that they’d allow him unlimited access to vulnerable people.

I wonder if part of the story’s strangeness is due to the showbiz world Savile became famous in – smut and sick jokes furtively prevailed from the sexy schoolgirls of St. Trinian’s to the mock-rock-horror of Screaming Lord Sutch… It was a tasteless, confused era negotiating it’s way from overt Victorian prudery to pill-popping permissiveness… England was also clinging to the old faith in enthusiastic amateurs, welding it to the new meritocracy of teen-pop-telly.

I don’t doubt that Savile was a sex pest… and the last vestiges of his slap and tickle chase the secretary round the table universe of unwelcome fumbling needs obliterated… but I do wonder if our reaction has reached a pitch of Gothic excess that will seem embarrassing and unbelievable in years to come… And I’m clinging to the hope that some of his sicker jokes may truly have been jokes, whatever else he was up to…

Although – I may be delusional – here’s a brilliant and surprisingly self-aware interview conducted by Lynn Barber – where Jimmy does seem to have an almost Dennis Nilson attitude to the dead (they’re all yours) as well as some footage of Screaming Lord Sutch – a lost soul who spent the 1980s and 1990s standing in parliamentary elections under the name ‘The Monster Raving Loony Party’ :