Monday, February 22, 2021

"Smooth Runs The Water Where The Brook Is Deep And In His Simple Show He Harbours Treason"

Welcome you very much are, dear blog reader, to the latest From The North bloggersationisms update in the area. It's bona t'vada yer dolly-old eek and all that.[*] And, it's also nice to see some new faces in church this evening. Pull up a pew. 
[*] Ceefax subtitling is available on Page 888 for those of a nervous disposition.
And on that bombshell, dear blog reader ...
Infamous. This blogger is with From The North favourite Mark Kermode on the subject of Toby Jones's performance in this movie. Infamous may not be a better movie, per se, than Capote, that's an entirely legitimate argument. But Jones's Truman is - fractionally - more Truman-like than the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's extraordinary Oscar-winning turn in the latter. And, Sandra Bullock's a far more Harper Lee-like Harper Lee than Catherine Keener's Harper Lee as well. So there. 
Callan. One of the finer TV-big screen transfers.
In The Heat Of The Night. Stumbled across, late one night, on the - rather obscure - Sony Movies Channel (immediately after Callan as it happens). A broadcast which kept this blogger awake till gone 1am and, in doing so, reminded this blogger what an utterly superb film In The Heat Of The Night is. Great Quincy Jones soundtrack too. 
The Man Who Fell To Earth. And, speaking of great soundtracks ... 
Star Trek. Which never seems to be off TV these days but it is always a olly welcome distraction, nonetheless. 
To Kill A Mockingbird. Because, a week simply isn't a week without watching To Kill A Mockingbird at least once if one gets the opportunity. Plus, it's the rat-faced loathsome wretched odious nasty slavver-merchant, George Formby lookalike (and tit) Gove's favourite movie, allegedly.
Double Indemnity. Still a twenty four carat masterpiece. 
The Be-Atles (A Popular Beat Combo Of The 1960s, You Might've Heard Of Them): Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years. Cos everybody needs a good, hard scream every now and then.
The Blacklist. This blogger watched the latest three episodes of The Blacklist back-to-back upon their arrival at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House over the weekend when he was almost, once again, on the verge of giving up on the series. As he has been on the verge of so many times over the last eight series. And, just as he has done on so many occasions over the last eight series, something always seems to come along in the nick of time to stop him from doing so and pulling the actual plug. Which can be bloody annoying at times. Nevertheless, this blogger particularly enjoyed the episode with (a News-less) Huey Lewis in it. That's the power of love. 
NCIS. On a similar theme, this blogger tends to have something of an off-on relationship with NCIS with periods of considerable binge followed by lengthy spells of aridity. Having spent much of the last year knee deep in the latter, Keith Telly Topping ended up watching about a dozen episodes from the last two series over recent days and, to quote Al Pacino in The Godfather Part III, 'just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!' It's all that there Emily Wickersham's fault, obviously. 
American Gods. There was a really nice use of Siouxsie & The Banshees' 'Hong Kong Garden' in the latest episode. That's one reassuring thing about American Gods, no matter how bonkers it gets, the soundtrack is always impressive.
Raiders Of The Lost Past. It's never-less-than-great to see From The North favourite Doctor Janina Ramirez back on the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House widescreen tellybox doing her 'effortlessly enthusiastic and learned' thing all over us viewers. Dangerous stuff, this, dear blog reader - you might just learn something from it.
I Care A Lot. Released this very week this may well be From The North favourite Rosemund Pike's finest one hundred and eighteen minutes.
Manchester By The Sea.
Two Mules For Sister Sara. Sunday afternoon at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House, a big filling roast dinner and a Clint Eastwood movie on telly. Sorry, when exactly did this blogger step into the TARDIS and travel back to 1976?
Things this blogger really should have known but didn't and discovered, last week, completely by accident: The minor planet 7345 Happer (which is in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter just in case you didn't know) was named by NASA after the character of Felix Happer (played by the late Burt Lancaster) in From The North favourite Local Hero; he was the oil executive in Bill Forsyth's movie who was also an amateur astronomer and wanted to have a comet named after him. Why did this blogger not know this fascinating factoid until recently? 
And, speaking of From The North's favourite movies, the greatest film ever made, bar none, A Matter Of Life & Death was on BBC2 last weekend. Presumably because someone perceptive in the scheduling department at Auntie felt that what everyone in Britain really needed in a country suffering from The Plague, lockdown, Brexit, freezing weather and the continued existence of Piers Morgan was a damned good cheering up. Good call, mate.
Watching the end of an episode of Whitehouse & Mortimer: Gone Fishing on Dave, recently, this blogger was wholly unprepared for the sudden and unwelcome appearance across the credits of the voice of That There Mel Giedroyc. She was plugging a forthcoming episode of her turgid and appallingly rotten new format, Unforgivable. The inequities of which his blogger has already mercilessly (and with great vengeance and righteous anger) slagged off on From The North. 'Join me on Tuesday where my guest will be Tom Allen, Gemma Collins and Darren Harriott ...' begged Mel in her perky - not entirely unappealing - 'will you come and get it like a big funky sex machine'-style voice that we all know so well from Bake Off. This blogger merely has time to bellow at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House widescreen tellybox 'no thanks, Mel, I'd sooner stab me own eyes out with two toasting forks and bleed to death instead of watching that tripe' before he found the remote control. And thence, changed channel to something less effing worthless. Which, trust yer actual Keith Telly Topping dear blogger, was every bit as much of a relief to this blogger as a nice healthy dose of Bicarbonate of Soda when he needs a short-term cure for severe indigestion.
Social media posts by Gina Carano, who used to play Cara Dune on The Mandalorian, have been described as 'abhorrent and unacceptable' by Lucasfilm shortly after they sacked her ass. In a statement, a spokesperson said: 'Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future.' The hashtag 'Fire Gina Carano' had trended on Twitter for hours following a story shared on her Instagram page, that many people considered to be anti-Semitic. The post has since been deleted. But, not before it was screengrabbed and widely seen - another classic example of people who use the Interweb, seemingly, not actually understanding that once you've said something you can't simply wish it out of existence. In the post, the former MMA fighter compared 'hating someone for their political views' in the US to the treatment of Jewish people during the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. A spectacularly crass and ill-considered example of hyperbole to which more than one person replied, wearily, that if you see one political group being murdered in their millions by another the two situations might, just, be analogous but, till then, it really might be an idea to keep such disgraceful overstatements to oneself. Just, you know, this blogger's view concerning a far more complex and nuanced world than can be reduced to simplistic and, frankly unhelpful, examples of rhetoric. Something which, one imagines, Gina Carano her very self will have much time to reflect upon as she signs on for her unemployment benefit in the coming days, weeks months and years.
Now, dear blog reader, can anyone answer this blogger a simple question? Why is it that Facebook - which this blogger does like far more than most of the other social media he's had (brief) interactions with - nevertheless contains, seemingly, just as many twenty four carat Duck Eggs as the rest of the Interweb? Case in point: This blogger happened to be scrolling through his home page last week and he came across a post from someone whom he only knows vaguely but she seems like a very nice lady; she was mentioning, in passing, that she had been feeling a bit run-down recently. No specifics, no other symptoms mentioned, just 'a bit under the weather.' Within seconds - and this blogger means about as quickly as it takes to type these very words - she'd had a reply from one of her own Facebook fiends (not this blogger hastens to add, anyone who frequents Keith Telly Topping's Facebook page ... and, believe me, dear blog reader, this blogger has checked) with the following pearl of wisdom: 'Ooo, you want to be careful with that' [no shit, dear? One is sure she'd never have thought of that if you hadn't mentioned it]. Followed by: 'Someone I know had the same symptoms' [what symptoms? She didn't mention any] 'and it turned out to be Covid.' Well, great, one is sure that the original poster now feels absolutely brilliant having had a worst-case-scenario crowbarred into her skull without her wanting it there in the first place. This blogger has seen this sort of thing so many times over the years and he's even had a few examples of it in the past directed towards his very self. 'I've just stubbed my toe,' this blogger may have said. To which some well-meaning-but-clueless glake will invariably reply 'ooo, you wanna be careful with that, my auntie's fifth cousin's brother-in-law's nephew's girlfriend had the same thing and it turned out to be cancer of the arsehole.' Maybe it's just the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House cabin fever talking but this sort of thing really grates this blogger's effing cheese. If people are in need of a medical diagnosis for some real - or imagined - ill, then they should visit a medical professional and seek their advice; not listen to 'some plank on the Interweb.'
So, dear bog reader, on a related note yer actual Keith Telly Topping was awakened from his peaceful kip one morning pure dead early due to a nasty stabby Ronnie Lane in his Gulliver (the second such occurrence in about five days as it happens). 'Oh no,' thinks this blogger, 'I was supposed to be doing the weekly shop this morning - highlight of the week, that, since it's about this blogger's only interaction with anyone else that isn't a TV or a computer screen. Guess I'd better go back to my stinkin' pit and watch half-a-dozen more episodes of NCIS on FOX.' However, there was a need to transfer some money from one Stately Telly Toing Manor bank account to another (and, also, for the purchase of necessary supplies - bread, milk, eggs, hot dogs, Turkish Delight, et cetera) so yer actual was forced to get the Twelve up to Lloyds in Byker and then, have a nice, leisurely walk down Shields Road to the supermarket to buy something for Us Tea at the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House. And, it was whilst yer actual Keith Telly Topping was idly browsing in the Spices and Condiments aisle that the pain suddenly - and without warning - disappeared as quickly as it had first come. This blogger has no idea what Morrisons pump into the air which has such healing qualities but, whatever it is, they really ought to mention it in those adverts they do featuring Ant and/or Dec. 'Morrisons Makes It ... and we heal the sick, too!' As marketing slogans go, it has some potential.
Some sage word from the pages of Viz, now, dear blog reader.
'Cor! Sid The Sexist just said "tits"! Fnaar Fnaar ...'
This blogger is also grateful to his old mucka Ben Adams for alerting him to yet another comic first, Valkyrie's Mister Horse telling Marvel readers 'Never trust a Tory.' Wise advice.
More than twenty six thousand people have, reportedly, signed a petition protesting at a Cadbury's Creme Egg advert, which features two men kissing. The petition's creator has claimed - not particularly persuasively - that the advert's 'sexualised content' was 'offensive' to Christians and that casting two men in the advert was a way of evading criticism by hiding 'under cover of LGBT rights.' All of which proves but two things, dear blog reader. Firstly, that many Christians have, seemingly not bothered to read Matthew 7:1 ('judge not, lest ye be judged') or, if they have, are too much of a bone-shit thick bigot to actually understand it. And, secondly, that there are - at least - twenty six thousand ignorant homophobic louse scum walking the streets in the UK. Truth be told there are probably far more, but it's good to at least have a number in ones head when one ventures out-and-about so one can avoid ... people, basically. When contacted by the Independent, a spokesperson for Cadbury said that it was proud of the advert and its message of inclusion. Good for them. 
This blogger has already spoken in past, at some length, of his long-standing love affair with the band The Go-Go's - whom he first saw supporting Madness and The Specials in Sunderland forty years ago. So, he would like to draw all dear blog reader's attention to a piece the divine Goddess that is Belinda Carlisle recently did for the Gruniad Morning Star in their Teenage Kicks strand. Check out Belinda Carlisle's Teenage Obsessions: 'I Was Going To Be Anita Ekberg In Rome, But Ended Up In A Band' dear blog reader, you will not regret it.
The Masked Singer's second series finale was watched by an average audience of 8.6 million overnight viewers. That was the largest live TV audience for any programme so far in 2021, outside of news and sport and is final and conclusive proof, dear blog reader, that there is no God. The series culminated last Saturday with a pregnant Joss Stone, who had been cunningly disguised as a sausage - yes, dear blog reader, a sausage - revealed as this year's competition winner. The final attracted two million more gullible punters than the overnight viewing figures for last year's final, which saw Nicola Roberts emerge victorious. And, which won the coveted runner's-up slot in From The North's Worst TV Shows Of 2020 list. Well-deserved it was, an'all.
The German woman who posed as a billionaire heiress in New York has been released from prison. Anna Sorokin, who pretended to be a wealthy socialite Anna Delvey, was released from The Joint last week, according to media reports. She was found extremely guilty in 2019 of theft of services, grand larceny and other assorted general naughtiness, having scammed more than two hundred thousand bucks from banks and luxury hotels. It is thought that Sorokin could now face deportation. Although the fact that there is, reportedly, a major Netflix movie in production telling her 'you couldn't make it up' story - and starring Julia Garner - might soften the blow of getting kicked out of the gaff somewhat. Sorokin's release comes months after she reportedly grovellingly apologised at a parole hearing for her bad, thieving ways. 'I just want to say that I'm really ashamed and I'm really sorry for what I did,' the New York Post, who obtained a transcript, quoted Sorokin as saying. 'I completely understand that a lot of people suffered when I thought I was not doing anything wrong.' A lawyer for Sorokin previously told Insider that she was trying to appeal against her conviction, despite her planned parole release. When Netflix first got in contact with Sorokin, she had not, at that stage, been convicted, but once she was, there were rules which needed to be followed. New York's 'Son of Sam' law kicked into play. The law's origins stem back to 1970s serial killer David Berkowitz amid concerns that he would profit from his notoriety by selling his story of his serial-killing malarkey. In response, New York state passed a law to prevent profiting from such fame and multiple states followed suit. However, publishers fought back. In the late 1980s, Simon & Schuster was working on a book in collaboration with the ex-mobster-turned-super-snitch Henry Hill, when the authorities came knocking over a ninety thousand dollars payment. The resulting dispute went as high as the Supreme Court, which ultimately struck the law down, saying it was in conflict with the first amendment right to free speech. The book, Wiseguy, went ahead, as did the royalty payments and it inspired the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas, from which Hill reportedly earned a further four hundred and eighty thousand dollars. A reworked Son of Sam law was introduced in 2001. Today, a company is required to notify the Office of Victims Services if they are paying a convicted felon more than ten grand. The office will not seize that money, but it will freeze the bank account and notify the victims of the crime, who can then file their own lawsuits to make claims if they so wish.
This blogger thinks that one of his favourite lines concerning American politics of late came from the excellent Jon Sopel on the BBC's - always superb - Americast podcast on Friday (one of four rapid-fire episodes posted online covering Donald and the Giant Impeach II) quoting a joke which was, apparently, much told when the subject was running for President five years ago. 'Why do so many people instantly take a dislike to Ted Cruz?' 'Because it saves time!' Something which events of the following week in Texas proved to be remarkably prescient. As, indeed, a subsequent episode of the podcast was more than happy to highlight.
USA Today's article They Rioted At The Capitol For Trump. Now, Many Of Those Arrested Say It's His Fault - by Rachel Axos and Josh Salman - is worthy of a few moments of your time, dear blog reader. 'As the cases against nearly two hundred of the Capitol rioters begin to wind through federal court, many of the defendants blame the commander in chief they followed for the violence that left five dead during the insurrection [of] 6 January. In court documents, media interviews and through official attorney statements, staunch supporters of former President Donald Rump who carried out the attempted coup argue they were merely doing what they thought the nation's leader had asked, some citing a cult-like loyalty.' Presumably, in the hope that singing like a canary with save them from their own date up a'fore The Beak. Gotta level with you guys, this blogger believes that ship's already sailed. You may also like to have a good old butchers at NPR's piece, The Capitol Siege: The Arrested & Their Stories for further comedy genius. 'A group this large defies generalisation. The defendants are predominantly white and male, though there were exceptions. Federal prosecutors say a former member of The Latin Kings gang joined the mob, as did two Virginia police officers. A man in a 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt took part, as did a Messianic Rabbi. Far-right militia members decked out in tactical gear rioted next to a county commissioner, a New York City sanitation worker and a two-time Olympic gold medallist.' Dagblog's 'exclusive' A Majority Of The People Arrested For Capitol Riot Had A History Of Finanical Trouble also spends time looking into the backgrounds of the conspiring insurgents, domestic terrorists and treasonous pond-scum. 'The financial problems are revealing because they offer potential clues for understanding why so many Rump supporters - many with professional careers and few with violent criminal histories - were willing to participate in an attack egged on by the President's rhetoric painting him and his supporters as undeserving victims. While no single factor explains why someone decided to join in, experts say, Donald Rump and his brand of "grievance politics" tapped into something that resonated with the hundreds of people who descended on the Capitol in a historic burst of violence.' In one specific case, highlighted by the Chicago Tribune, a man will serve four years in prison on a drug charge, but his alleged participation in the Capitol insurrection weighed heavily on the judge's and prosecutor's minds during his sentencing. Kash Lee Kelly was sentenced to four years in The Slammer and three years supervised release on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana during his time as a Latin King gang member. He was first indicted on the charge in 2015. Kelly has also been extremely charged for knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority after authorities saw photos of him inside the Capitol during the insurrection on his Facebook page. But, during the hearing, Judge Philip Simon and Assistant US attorney David Nozick weighed Kelly's co-operation throughout the drug case and seeing photos of him inside the Capitol during the insurrection. Nozick said Kelly' choice to go to Washington, made the drug case 'extremely prickly now. I really wish he didn't get wrapped up in Washington,' Nozick said. 'Today would've been much easier.' During a debate on whether or not Kelly had 'accepted responsibility' in the drug case, Nozick said that by committing another crime Kelly had, clearly, not accepted responsibility. 'It's immaterial whether the new criminal conduct is related to this case or not,' Nozick said. 'He was part of a violent insurrection on our nation's Capitol.' Other recent arrests in relation to the seditious shenanigans having included a mother and son from Iowa, several Oathkeepers, two men from Missouri, a UCLA student who, reportedly, described fascism as 'epic', a man with a stick (and a cowboy hat) and a North Cornwall Township police officer. The majority of those arrested and charged thus far - who haven't either copped a plea and thrown themselves upon the mercy of the court or tried to blame their sorry position on the urgings of now extremely former President Mister Rump - deny any wrongdoing. One or two people even believed them.
Still on the subject of naughty recidivists, Alison Durkee's article Dominion Had To Use 'Extraordinary Measures' To Serve Sidney Powell In Defamation Lawsuit for Forbes magazine is in a class of its own in terms of thigh-slapping hilarity. 'Ms Powell had no reason to evade service as she looks forward to defending herself in court, her attorney Howard Kleinhendler told Forbes. Once again, one or two people even believed that. On a somewhat related note, the Independent's Rump Can't Hang On To Lawyers After False Erection Claims should carry a government health warning over its comedy quota. 'Since losing the November erection to President Joe Biden, Rump has been haemorrhaging attorneys. Established firms backed away from his baseless claims of election fraud. Those he did retain made elementary errors in cases that were quickly rejected as meritless. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani was ridiculed for his performance before a federal judge during one erection-related case.' But, by far the funniest story about the fall-out from discredited claims of erection fraud The Washington Post's A GOP Donor Gave 2.5 Million Dollars For A Voter Fraud Investigation. Now He Wants His Money Back takes the biscuit. Good luck with that, mate. Seriously.
Johnny Rogan, the London-Irish music journalist best known for his biographies of The Byrds, Neil Young, The Smiths, Van Morrison and Ray Davies, has died at his London home. He was sixty seven. The author of more than twenty five books on music, by far his most successful was Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance, a book about The Smiths first published in 1992 five years after the band's break-up which prompted Morrissey (already, at that stage, turning into a mental bloke) to say: 'I hope Johnny Rogan ends his days very soon in an M3 pile-up.' Thankfully, he didn't. Rogan, whose parents emigrated from Waterford to Pimlico in the 1940s, divided his time between London and his second home in Tramore, Coty Waterford and his interest in music and second-generation Irish identity fused in a lengthy series he wrote for the Irish Post in the 1990s, Dislocation & Celebration, which explored the influence of their Irish roots on the likes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Morrissey, Oasis's Liam and Noel Gallagher, John Lydon, Kate Bush, Kevin Rowland and Shane MacGowan. Rogan revisited the subject in an essay for the Irish Times in 2016, Rebel Yell: How The Irish Dominated British Rock Music, which began: 'British pop music has been celebrated around the world for decades and rightly so. Rather less attention has been paid to an almost invisible strain of Irishness manifested in the work and characters of several of its leading proponents.' Ironically, although he lived close to the Kings Road in Chelsea, his childhood tenement home had no inside toilet or electricity so he first heard the music which would become his life's passion while on holiday in Waterford with relatives basking in the glow of rural electrification. 'I think 1965 was maybe the greatest year in music that there's been,' he told John Meagher in an Irish Independent interview in 2017. 'Virtually every week, one great song after the next was released. They're songs from The Beatles and The Stones and The Kinks that are revered today and it was the year that 'Eight Miles High' was released, too.' His early life was marked as much by tragedy as poverty. His father died of a heart attack, his brother drowned, and his sister died of a brain haemorrhage. In his introduction to Requiem For The Timeless, he wrote of 'what was left of my death-ravaged family.' His writing career was bookended by a passion for The Byrds. While still at university in 1980 he published Timeless Flight: The Definitive Biography Of The Byrds, which Record Collector named the rock and/or roll biography of the year, calling it: 'One of the best biographies ever written ... Expansive enough to rival War & Peace, Johnny Rogan's definitive Byrds biography comes close to matching the emotional, if not geographical, range of Tolstoy's epic novel.' His last published book was Byrds: Requiem For The Timeless, Volume 2 in 2017, the afterlife of six Byrds after the band split - Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Kevin Kelley, Gram Parsons, Clarence White and Skip Battin. It was a follow-up to 2011's Requiem For The Timeless, which Time Out said 'may yet prove to be one of the key works of rock journalism - it's certainly set to be the definitive book on The Byrds.' His book Starmakers & Svengalis: The History Of British Pop Management (1988) was adapted for a BBC radio series presented by Alan Freeman. He was also a rigorous and talented book reviewer, not least for the Irish Times. Rogan was famous for his forensic attention to detail and dogged approach to researching his subject, often over many years. For some, such as David Sinclair reviewing his deeply unflattering Van Morrison biography No Surrender in the Gruniad Morning Star in 2005, you could have too much of a good thing: '[while] the all-encompassing rigour of the approach is impressive, the narrative in the early stages tends to be swamped by an almost neurotic attention to detail.' Rogan was 'the Rottweiler of the music biography,' wrote Brian Boyd, who would 'hunt down his quarry with, as one reviewer put it, the relentlessness of a marching army of termites. Pedantic and painstaking in his research methods, he consistently provides incisive and illuminating accounts of his subjects. This is a man who, when working on The Smiths biography (the superlative Severed Alliance), found out that there were eighteen students in Morrissey's secondary school class - he interviewed all eighteen.' For Rogan, Kevin Courtney observed in an Irish Times interview with the author in 2011, being someone's biographer is 'a lifetime commitment' and he felt compelled to keep up to date with his subject long after the last chapter had been written. Rogan attended the 1996 court case when Smiths drummer Mike Joyce sued Morrissey and Marr over unpaid recording and performance royalties. 'I was the only person who went for the whole two weeks. The guy from the Manchester Evening News was there, but that was it. No fans, nothing. It was a very odd experience, because I knew most of the characters who were under oath, since I'd interviewed them.' Ironically, Morrissey referenced Rogan's book in court to help bolster his case, but it didn't do him any good. Ruling in Joyce's favour, the judge described Morrissey as a 'devious, truculent and unreliable' witness. 'Most biographers, when they've finished, they leave it behind and move on, Rogan said 'I keep boxes of material at home and they keep getting filled up with stuff. I might wake up in the middle of the night and write an essay about, say, is Jarvis Cocker the new Morrissey?' 'There's a lack of investigative journalism, it only seems to be done in the financial areas now,' Rogan noted. 'But nobody in the music press does it. You're more likely to see it in Vanity Fair or The Economist. The music-press tradition that I grew up with, they would, on strange occasions, go off and do these incredibly investigative pieces, simply for the reason that they liked this singer, this act, this phenomenon and wanted to know more about it. And some of my favourite pieces of writing have come from that. It's no use making a thesis about a particular artist or group or whatever, based on press cuttings or your assumption of what they're trying to do in the work. It's looking at sources, getting back to the sources and then applying your critical tools to them. When I write a book, I'm trying to bring all those different skills into it and get better at each of them.' As well as music, Rogan had a great love of literature and was very knowledgeable about Irish writing. His first degree was in English language & literature at Newcastle University and his MA was on Spenser's The Faerie Queene. He is survived by his partner, Jackie Taylor.
A 'highly significant' - and rare - carved Roman phallus has been discovered by archaeologists working on finds unearthed during a major road upgrade. The massive dong was found on a broken millstone by experts along the route of the A14 in Cambridgeshire between 2017 and 2018. However, it has only just been put back together, revealing the wanger. Archaeologists said the massive throbbing member was one of only four known examples of Romano-British millstones decorated this way, with an 'uge power tool. During work on Highways England's one-and-a-half billion knicker upgrade of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, more than three hundred quern and millstones were recovered by archaeologists MOLA Headland Infrastructure, working with partners Oxford Archaeology. The stone which recently revealed its genital markings had been preserved by being reversed and adapted for use as a bedstone, after being initially broken. Decorated querns and millstones of any date are extremely rare, with only four such Roman millstones discovered from around a total of twenty thousand nationwide, said Steve Sherlock, Highways England's archaeology lead for the A14. He said the groinal images were 'seen as an important image of strength and virility in the Roman world, with it being common practice for legionaries to wear a phallus amulet, which would give them good luck before battle.' This cock-carved millstone is 'important as it adds to the evidence for such images from Roman Britain.' Plus it's a right good laugh, too. There were, already, known associations between images of the plonker and milling, 'such as those found above the bakeries of Pompeii, one inscribed with "Hic habitat felicitas" - "You will find happiness here"' he added. Doctor Ruth Shaffrey, from Oxford Archaeology, said: 'As one of only four known examples of Romano-British millstones decorated this way, the A14 millstone is a highly significant find. It offers insights into the importance of the mill to the local community and to the protective properties bestowed upon the millstone and its produce - the flour - by the depiction of a phallus on its upper surface. In the Roman world the phallic image was found all over the place. It was associated with good luck.' The cock-decorated millstone is the latest in a list of finds on the route of the upgrade to be made public by Highways England. They include the earliest evidence of beer-brewing in Britain, dating back to as early as 400 BC, only the second gold coin to be found in the country depicting Roman emperor Laelianus, who reigned for about two months in 269 AD before he was killed and woolly mammoth tusks and woolly rhino skulls.
From The North's latest Headline of The Week award goes to the BBC News website for Alaska Woman Attacked By Bear While Using Toilet. There's an 'Oh, I say, a bear behind' joke in there somewhere, dear blog reader. Shannon Stevens reportedly 'sustained a puncture wound while using a remote outhouse toilet at Chilkat Lake last weekend.' After hearing her scream, Ms Stevens' brother went to see what had caused the kerfuffle, only to find a bear's head in the hole of the toilet. Ms Stevens said that the wound was caused 'by either a bite or a swipe from the animal's claw.' She was spending the weekend in a yurt with her brother, Erik and his girlfriend when the incident occurred. Earlier in the evening they had cooked sausages on an open firepit. 'I got out there and sat down on the toilet and immediately something bit my butt as I sat down,' she told the Associated Press news agency. Ms Stevens told the Anchorage Daily News that she will practice a 'look before you sit' policy in the future.
Walkers were, reportedly, found 'wearing trainers and flimsy clothing' during 'blizzard-like conditions' and sub-zero temperatures in rural Northumberland recently. Rescuers on a training exercise came across a group of five people atop The Cheviot, which is over two thousand six hundred high, amid fading light two weeks ago. Rescue teams have warned people not to put themselves and others 'at risk' by indulging in numbskull glakery. This incident came shortly after a man suffered 'life-changing injuries' after a fall while helping a camper in the Lake District. Volunteers from the Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue teams have reported a number of people wearing 'unsuitable clothing for walking,' such as lightweight jackets, cotton jogging bottoms and wellies. People have been seen in the Simonside Hills near Rothbury and at Hedgehope Hill in The Cheviots dressed like they were out on a summer stroll in the meadows. The group of 'young adults' discovered at summit of The Cheviot at the end of January managed to get back to safety after rescuers, wearing helmets and crampons, spoke with them. Harshly, one imagines. 'Thankfully they got down safely, they lived to tell the tale,' said Iain Nixon, from Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team. 'They were younger individuals, probably new to the outdoors. There was half an hour's light and they had to get down from the highest hill down to their car. Even a reasonably fit walker, if you really pushed it, would take an hour and a quarter. We are training for these harsh conditions and we wouldn't want people to put themselves at risk. If something happened it puts our members at risk but that's what we train for. These are conditions which you would normally find on top of the Scottish mountains in the middle of the winter. You have whiteouts where you can't see where you are going, there is no distinction between the sky and the land.' Nixon said that there had been 'a significant increase' in people coming out into the hills since the first lockdown eased in 2020, many of whom are new to hill walking. Northumbria Police said it was 'extremely disappointing and concerning' to see people putting themselves and rescue teams at unnecessary risk.
And, finally dear blog reader, on Monday this blogger drew a phone call from a delightful young lady at the local medical centre to arrange yer actual Keith Telly Topping getting his first pandemic inoculation. Which will be on Wednesday afternoon. Thus, by the time you read this here bloggerisationism update, it is perfectly possible that this blogger will already have been well and truly pricked. This is, admittedly, the first time that this blogger has actually been looking forward to having a sharp piece of metal forced into his body. Normally, of course, you have to pay good money for that sort of thing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

She Clepes Him King Of Graves & Graveforkings, Imperious Supreme Of All Mortal Things

Greetings, dear blog reader, to the latest From The North bloggerisationism update. How y'all doin' out there in Interwebland? Keith Telly Topping hopes that all From The North's dear blog reader are currently saying safe and are at home, nice and warm, healthy and fit. Or, just know, the first three at least since nobody seems to be very fit at the moment.
This blogger's own, personal, highly fragile physical and mental state is, perhaps, best summed up with this very illustration.
Anyway, for the second From The North bloggerisationism update in a row, dear blog reader, From The North's TV Comedy Line Of The Week comes from From The North favourite Would I Lie To You? In this particular case, from host Rob Brydon on the subject of his stated intention to sell the memorabilia of dead celebrities on eBay. 'Do you have a lot of signed memorabilia and you're waiting for the people who've signed them to die?' asked David Mitchell, in surprise. 'Well,' replied Rob, 'there's all that stuff I've got you to sign. All those Peep Show DVDs, I'm not watching them, that's for sure!'
Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall has praised John Bishop for 'bringing a different flavour and a different humour' in his role as new companion, Dan, in series thirteen of the BBC's popular long-running family SF drama. Bishop was unveiled in a teaser trailer at the end of New Year Day's episode Revolution Of The Daleks and, according to the BBC, his character will become 'embroiled in The Doctor's adventures' in the now-filming series, where he will 'quickly learn there's more to the Universe(s) than he could ever believe.' 'Embroiled' is such a great word, don't you think dear blog reader? Albeit, its normal use would be in a sentence which also include words like 'nefarious skullduggery' or 'illicit doings'. The Chib did not expand on, specifically, what 'new flavour' the large-toothed cheeky-chappie Scouser would be bringing to Doctor Who when it returns to our screen. This blogger is very much hoping for cheese and onions, personally. But, definitely not prawn cocktail cos those have a tendency to make yer fingers smell all funny. Explaining why he cast Bish in the new series, Chibnall told Doctor Who Magazine: 'I've always got my eye out for performers who are loved and wondering how good they might be as actors. There's such a great history of performers who start out as comedians transitioning into becoming terrific actors - the best example being Robbie Coltrane in Cracker. John's somebody I've been keeping a beady eye on for years. He's quietly built up a body of work, through working with people like Jimmy McGovern and Ken Loach, while also doing a dozen other things like stand-up, autobiography, interview shows, podcasts and travel documentaries.'
Stars of the BBC's hit gangster drama andf From The North favourite Peaky Blinders have been spotted filming scenes at an Aberdeenshire harbour. Cillian Murphy - who plays Thomas Shelby in the drama ... you knew that, right? - was photographed at Portsoy. Filming is under way for the sixth and final series of the award-winning show, after being delayed by the pandemic. The production team have had to ensure filming complies with the latest lockdown restrictions. The news series has seen Anthony Byrne return as director and Nick Goding as producer. Tommy Bulfin, the executive producer for the BBC, recently said he was 'very excited' - in 'Welsh Pavlov' 'very excited' style(e) one presumes - that filming had begun and promised a 'fitting send-off that will delight fans.' He added that he was 'so grateful to everyone for all their hard work to make it happen.' Another executive producer Caryn Mandabach said the 'safety of our cast and crew is always our priority' and that they had been 'working diligently' to get safely back into production since filming was halted last March. The period crime drama is expected conclude with a big-screen movie following the show's final TV series. Though to be fair, lots of TV shows announce that plan and then end up back on TV when they discover that making a movie costs shitloads. Luther, for one. 24 for another.
Death In Paradise recently broadcast scenes which saw the character of Richard Poole return for a brief cameo - appearing as a figment of Camille Bordey's fertile imagination. Camille (Sara Martins) arrived back in the Caribbean to visit her mother, who had been hospitalised after being attacked by a masked assailant and had a moment of quiet reflection on the beach, which is when Poole (Ben Miller) appeared to offer her words of encouragement and support. Speaking to the Radio Times, executive producer Tim Key and Death In Paradise creator Robert Thorogood explained how they managed to bring Miller's character back to the show. The pair mentioned that it took a while to figure out the best way to bring back Poole. Explaining that one idea was to bring him back through a series of flashbacks, they eventually settles on seeing Poole as 'a sort of ghost' who is 'just there in [Camille's] head.' Thorogood added: 'It's magical, he's there and then he's not there. As Tim says, of course he's not a ghost, because ghosts aren't real, so you have to try and address that. But we deliver all of the joy that a ghost might be able to give you.' Due to the on-going complications surrounding the pandemic, Key and Thorogood thought they may have to cut the scene due to restrictions. However, Key added: 'All of us were determined to try to make it happen. And so was Ben. I thought Ben might just go, "Nah, it's too much. I can't do it." But Ben really wanted to do it. He was so up for it.'
The BBC has confirmed rumours which first started to appear last week, that From The North favourite Line Of Duty will be back 'soon' for a sixth series, with an added treat for fans: the series will be seven episodes long instead of the usual six. The news was announced by Steve Arnott himself via a first look at the upcoming series. The sixth series will see From The North favourite Steve, From The North favourite Ted (Adrian Dunbar) and From The North favourite Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) go up against the 'most enigmatic adversary AC-12 have ever faced,' Joanne Davidson (From The North favourite Kelly Macdonald). Though details about the plot are being kept under wraps so everyone can enjoy the twists and turns which have become Line Of Duty's signature, it is known that Macdonald's character is 'the senior investigating officer of an unsolved murder, whose unconventional conduct raises suspicions at AC-12.'
Long-term From The North favourite Charisma Carpenter has detailed the 'toxic' and 'hostile' abuse which she, allegedly, suffered under extremely former From The North favourite Joss Whedon, in a series of Instagram posts which she wrote, in part, to 'Stand With Ray Fisher.' Fisher, who played Cyborg in the superhero movie Justice League, has previously accused Whedon of, among other things, 'gross, abusive, unprofessional and completely unacceptable' behaviour upon picking up the directing reins from Zack Snyder; the actor also claimed that DC president Geoff Johns 'enabled' Whedon's disgraceful conduct. Warner Media ordered an internal investigation conducted by an outside law firm which led to 'remedial action' - allegedly - being taken. From The North favourite Charisma has, over the years, alluded to her own experiences with Whedon (who created Buffy The Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel, on both of which Charisma played The Divine Cordelia ... You knew that, right?) In the eight hundred-word statement she issued on Wednesday morning - prompted by Fisher's on-going clash with Whedon - she elaborated on her previous claims, including what she called Whedon's 'history of being casually cruel' to actors on his shows, his creation of 'hostile and toxic work environments,' what he allegedly said and did to Charisma during her real-life pregnancy when they were making the fourth series of Angel and how she coped with it, 'at times, destructively.' Charisma's allegations were subsequently, to various degrees, supported by former castmates Amber Benson, Michelle Tractenberg and, most notably, Sarah Michelle Gellar. As someone who spent the best part of a decade writing extensively about - and making a very good living from writing extensively about - both Buffy and Angel this blogger finds himself shocked, appalled and horrified to discover that rumours which have been in the public domain for a decade and which this blogger always previously took with a pinch of salt have, seemingly, turned out to be true. And that, it appears, one of this blogger's former heroes may well have feet of clay. Let this blogger repeat, shocked, appalled and horrified.
A decade ago, a plan for new local TV channels to provide 'a new voice for local communities' was set out by the government. Since they launched, the local identities and ambitions of many have eroded, but their operators insist they have fulfilled the original aim. And, to paraphrase the great Mandy Rice Davies, 'well, they would, wouldn't they?' TV channels for towns and cities around the UK would 'transform lots of communities,' broadcast leadership debates for councils and police commissioners and provide 'probably the biggest shake-up in our broadcasting landscape for two decades.' Not unsurprisingly, absolutely none of that happened. That was the idea behind local TV - The Vile & Odious Rascal Hunt's big idea as the lack of culture secretary ten years ago. Since then, thirty four stations have launched from Manchester to Maidstone, Bristol to Belfast, each given a prime slot on the Freeview TV guide. However, many soon struggled financially and have been hit further by the pandemic, meaning local programming has been pared right back. Now, many viewers probably don't realise they are watching a local channel at all. That's if anybody actually bothers to watch 117 on their Sky Guide at all which, given the content, is pretty unlikely. The biggest operator has removed the locations from its channel names - so That's Manchester, That's Swansea Bay, That's Hampshire and the company's other seventeen stations are all now simply known as That's TV, while the company bills itself on its website as 'the home of classic TV.' That's TV's only local programming is now a ten-minute news bulletin every weekday, with the rest of the schedule being a diet of nostalgic music videos and teleshopping. And if you look up the phrase 'the home of classic TV' on Google you'll probably find a statement which states: 'Try Talking Pictures, or ITV4, or GOLD, or Alibi, or Drama, or Yesterday, or Sony Classic or, in fact, anything but That's TV.' The story of this absolute twenty four carat fiasco is covered by BBC News's Ian Youngs in this article
Australian journalist Cheng Lei, after months of detention in China, has been formally arrested on charges of supplying state secrets overseas. Prior to her detention, the Chinese-born Australian had been a TV presenter for Chinese state media outlet CGTN. Chinese authorities confirmed her arrest on Monday, adding that her legal rights 'would be guaranteed.' One or two people even believed them. Cheng was detained in August and charged last Friday, Australian officials had earlier said. At a press briefing on Monday, Chinese ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said he hoped Australia would 'not interfere with China's handling of this case,' according to news agency Reuters. Canberra has repeatedly raised concerns with Beijing over Cheng's detention. 'We expect basic standards of justice, procedural fairness and humane treatment to be met, in accordance with international norms,' said Australia's foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne. 'Our thoughts are with Ms Cheng and her family during this difficult period.'
Washington correspondents Robert Moore and Matt Frei have warned that the 'toxic' culture of US TV journalism could spread to the UK with the launch of new rivals to the BBC. The ITV News Correspondent and Channel Four News presenter called on regulators to prevent the 'tribal and poisonous' approach of Faux News being introduced to British screens. The pair spoke out as GB News, the new Right-leaning 'opinionated' challenger to the BBC backed by odious louse Andrew Neil, prepares to launch. Billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch's News UK is also set to unveil a new TV service. Moore, whose report on last month's Capitol riot scooped the US networks, said of the nation's cable news channels: 'People are on panels either agreeing with each other, in a kind of broad political consensus, or if it's choreographed in a different way screaming at each other in perpetual enmity. It is polarising and facts gets completely discarded. This is an issue of our times, and it's going to be a pressing issue for Ofcom.' Speaking on a Broadcast and ITN panel session called Watching The White House, Moore welcomed competition in the UK news market but added: 'There is a danger that if people just play to the kind of the darkest instincts of their audience, then we take the national political conversation into a very dangerous and toxic place.' Frei, who reported from Washington for the BBC and Channel Four, added: 'What happens in America doesn't necessarily stay in America; you do not want that coming to Britain. Ofcom is the policeman ... that keeps us all in line.' Actually, Ofcom is a politically appointed quango, elected by no one - just, you know, for a touch of perspective. 'What the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms is to the lack of gun control, the First Amendment on free speech is to the power of the media to be tribal and poisonous,' he added. Odious louse Andrew Neil has dismissed claims that GB News is seeking to replicate Faux News. 'GB News will be passionate, but it will not be shouty, angry television that denies people the space to have their say,' he claimed. And, if that isn't a perfect description of Faux News, then nothing is. 'Above all we will conform to all the Ofcom rules designed to ensure impartiality and the absence of bias in news broadcasting.' One or two people even believed him.
This blogger has never made any secret of his embiggened appreciation of Roger Corman's magnificent 1963 Edgar Allen Poe adaptation The Masque Of The Red Death, once describing it in a book wot this blogger wrote as 'One of the most colourful and least boring films ever made.' This blogger even used a Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House viewing of the movie last year during lockdown as a prop to build a From The North bloggerisationism update around related to the movie's horribly - if unintended - topicality in 2020. That topicality - which continues into 2021 - has, clearly, been spotted by the rights owners who have recently release a sumptuously restored print on Blu-Ray which was given a glowing review by the Gruniad Morning Star's Peter Bradshaw (other reviews in Middle Class hippy Communist broadsheets are available, dear blog reader). The Gruniad has also done a further piece on the movie, interviewing both Corman and Jane Asher about the production which is well worth a few moments of your time.
And, speaking of that book, this blogger was shocked - and stunned - to find this here photo posted onto his Facebook page by the very excellent Ken, showing off his latest online purchase. To which, yer actual Keith Telly Topping could find but one response: 'Ha! Sucka!' Remember, dear blog reader, A Vault Of Horror can be purchased here. That's here. Please buy one, several or lots - this blogger has the Stately Telly Toipping Manor Plague House rent to pay and a significant takeaway habit to support. Thank you for allowing Keith Telly Topping into your homes.
The Gruniad have clearly been round the Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House and looked through the window to check out the contents of Keith Telly Topping's DVD collection judging by this pictorial study on the making of another Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House favourite, Aliens.
This blogger has met many famous people over the years, dear blog reader, it kind of goes with the territory of being an author, journalist and broadcaster. These have included a couple of Prime Ministers, a couple of Be-Atles, several Doctor Whoms, et cetera. But, the only occasion in this blogger entire life that Keith Telly Topping walked into a room, saw a famous person and actually let out a stifled scream was when he met Mary Wilson of The Supremes a few years ago in Gatesheed. That Mary, who has died this week at the age of seventy six, seemingly found this blogger's subsequent tongue-tied inarticularity as charming and helped him through the first, awkward moments of our (brief) interview made her an even greater hero in this blogger's eyes than she already was.
The Tamla-Motown founder, Berry Gordy, said that he was 'extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of a major member of the Motown family. The Supremes were always known as the "sweethearts of Motown" Mary, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, came to Motown in the early 1960s. After an unprecedented string of hits, television and nightclub bookings, they opened doors for themselves, the other Motown acts, and many, many others.' Gordy said he was 'always proud of Mary. She was quite a star in her own right and over the years continued to work hard to boost the legacy of The Supremes. Mary Wilson was extremely special to me. She was a trailblazer, a diva and will be deeply missed.'
Mary was born in Greenville, Mississippi, in March 1944. Her family subsequently moved to Chicago and, later, Detroit. Wilson first met Florence Ballard while singing in a primary school talent show. In 1958, Ballard recruited Wilson, Diana Ross and Betty McGlown to form The Primettes. The group performed covers at local events and made a name for themselves in the wider Michigan area. Aspiring to sign to Motown, Ross asked her neighbour, Smokey Robinson, to get them an audition with Berry Gordy. Undeterred by Gordy deeming them too young to sign at that stage, the quartet made themselves a regular presence around the Hitsville USA studios until he allowed them to make guest appearances on records by other artists - contributing hand claps and backing vocals for Motown artists including Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells. 'It really was like walking into a Disneyland,' Wilson told the Observer. 'All these creative people.' In January 1961, Gordy gave in and signed the group under the proviso that they changed their name. Betty McGlown's replacement, Barbara Martin left the act in early 1962 and Ross, Ballard and Wilson carried on as a trio.
At first they failed to make much of an impression - indeed, they were often referred to mockingly by their contemporaries as 'The No-Hits Supremes' - but in 1963 their version of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland's 'Where Did Our Love Go?' topped the US charts and reached number three in the UK. It was the beginning of an international chart streak with an astonishing run of pop classics that included 'Baby Love', 'Come See About Me', 'Stop! In the Name Of Love', 'Back In My Arms Again', 'I Hear A Symphony', the outstanding 'Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart', 'You Can't Hurry Love', 'You Keep Me Hangin' On', 'Love Is Here & Now You're Gone', 'The Happening' and 'Reflections'. Following the departure of their writer/producers, Holland, Dozier and Holland from the Motown organisation in 1967, they then worked with a variety of others in the Motown stable including Ashford and Simpson, R Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Johnny Bristol and Smokey Robinson on further hits like 'Some Things You Never Get Used To', 'Love Child', 'I'm Livin' In Shame', 'No Matter What Sign You Are' and 'Someday We'll Be Together'. Though Wilson and Ballard sang backing vocals on the majority of The Supremes hits prior to 1968, it was subsequently revealed that Motown used in-house background singers, The Andantes, to support Ross on some of their later hits. The group became extremely popular both domestically and abroad (particularly in the UK where they had a huge fanbase), becoming one of the first black musical acts to appear regularly on US television programmes such as Hullabaloo, The Hollywood Palace, The Della Reese Show and, most notably, The Ed Sullivan Show, on which they made seventeen appearances.
The trio also became known for their glamorous attire and in 1966, their LP Supremes A' Go-Go became the first record by an all-female group to top the US charts, knocking The Be-Atles' Revolver off the number one spot. The group splintered by the end of the decade as Gordy primed Ross - at the time, his partner - for solo success and Ballard experienced depression and alcoholism and was replaced by Cindy Birdsong in 1967: she died of a heart attack in 1976. 'What hurts me is that some people say: "One of the Supremes was an alcoholic." Flo drank to cover the pain,' Wilson told the Observer, referring to the sexual abuse which Ballard reportedly suffered as a child. 'She only become an alcoholic because of that.' Nevertheless, Wilson continued with Birdsong and Ross's replacement Jean Terrell having a golden period in the early 1970s with 'Up The Ladder To The Roof', 'Stoned Love', 'Nathan Jones', 'Floy Joy' and 'Automatically Sunshine' and several collaborations with The Temptations.
Mary was the only consistent member of the group until their eventual demise in 1977. After a legal battle with Motown, she re-signed with the label as a solo artist, to middling success. She found herself on top again in 1986 when her memoir, Dreamgirl: My Life As A Supreme, broke sales records. She also enjoyed success in musical theatre. Four years later, Wilson released her second autobiography: Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together, also a best seller, which focused on The Supremes in the 1970s. In between this period, Wilson became a frequent guest on TV talk shows and began regularly performing in Las Vegas casinos and resorts. Protracted business negotiations left Wilson out of a Supremes reunion planned for 2000, which was ultimately cancelled. Wilson later became an inspirational speaker, an advocate for musicians' rights, creator of a touring exhibition of The Supremes' famous gowns - which was the event that saw this blogger meet and interview her - and in 2019 appeared on US series Dancing With The Stars.
She had been planning to release solo material, including her unreleased 1970s LP Red Hot recorded with producer Gus Dudgeon. In a video uploaded to YouTube two days before her death, she expressed her wish that some of her recordings would be released by the time of her birthday on 6 March. Mary married Pedro Ferrer in 1974. They were divorced in 1981. They had three children: their youngest, Rafael, died in a car accident in 1994, in which Wilson was injured. 'I think you’re lucky if you don't get that kind of loss in your life,' she told the Observer. 'You can lose a job, you can lose a love, but the loss of a child and the loss of a dear friend, can be very detrimental. It helped me grow up and I don't mean in a good way. It made me see that life can be very cruel to someone you love.' She is survived by her children, Turkessa and Pedro Antonio and ten grandchildren. She was also adoptive mother to her cousin, Willie.
And now, dear blog reader, From The North's latest How Ironic Is That? moment.
Did you know, dear blog reader, that Brian Dietzen, who plays Doctor Jimmy in From The North favourite NCIS was 'originally scripted as a [single episode] guest star and had no idea that his character would become such an integral member of the NCIS family'? Well, you do now. Albeit, this information comes from that bastion of always truthful and accurate reportage Hello! magazine.
The latest episode of From The North curiosity of the year, Prodigal Son - Bad Manners - featured all of the elements that we've come to expect from the drama. Excellent performances from Michael Sheen, Lou Diamond Phillips, Tom Payne and Halston Sage and a teeth-grindingly rotten one from That Awful Young Woman. So, no change there, then.
Yer actual Stately Telly Topping Manor Plague House Freeze Out, dear blog reader. And, the central heating was on the blink for some of the day on which this snowy malarkey occurred (fortunately, a very lovely heating engineer arrived within a couple of hours and precious warmth was restored to the gaff. Which was nice).
Of course, given the state of the weather in the Uk at the moment, this blogger really deserved this.
And, indeed, this.
Now, dear blog reader, a couple of things which this blogger spotted on Facebook this week. Starting off with this. One for mothers and/or brothers everywhere.
Next, they travel around the country in a van solving crime ... with significant use a feedback and very hard drugs. To think, dear blog reader, Andy Warhol probably would've gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling Velvet Underground & Nico kids.
The latest winner of the semi-regular From The North Headline Of The Week award goes to the Daily Scum Mail.
Closely followed by Changing America's Pablo Escobar's Hippos Breeding Out Of Control & Must Be Stopped, Scientists Say.
Also, this week, there was the singular moment when the BBC Sports website's live coverage of the first test between India and England, briefly, turned into Carry On Stumping.
And, if you missed the result then - spoilers, be damned - England won. Jimmy Anderson and Jack Leach bowled England to a famous two hundred and twenty seven-run victory against India on the final day of the first test in Chennai. Anderson inspired England with three for seventeen and Jack Leach took four for seventy six as England inflicted just a second home defeat on their hosts in eight years. Jofra Archer sealed the win by having Jasprit Bumrah caught behind thirty minutes before tea. This victory - England's sixth successive overseas test win - must rank as England's greatest in recent years. There have been landmark successes: the Ben Stokes-inspired victory in the 2019 Ashes, a historic win in Cape Town thirteen months ago and a fine comeback against Pakistan last summer. But this was India in India. Virat Kohli's side had lost one of their last thirty five home tests, a run going back to their last series defeat on home soil - England's victory under Alastair Cook in 2012. There were questions about the tourists' batting tactics on the fourth day and Kohli delayed things for a while, but Anderson and Leach ensured those whispers were irrelevant (and, in the case of the former, ill-informed and ignorant). In truth, it was almost the perfect performance from England, who are unbeaten in eleven tests under Joe Root's captaincy. Root has also equalled Michael Vaughan's record of twenty six Tests wins as England captain, doing so in forty seven tests as opposed to Vaughan's fifty one. There were stand-out performances from experienced players like Root himself, whose first-innings two hundred and eighteen set up the win, Stokes and Anderson but also contributions from their emerging young players. Opener Dom Sibley made a crucial eighty seven on day one and Dom Bess, although disappointing on the final day, took four for seventy six in the first innings.
Cornish Fishermen are, reportedly, to rename two of their biggest exports in a bid to attract British consumers after post-Brexit difficulties selling to the EU. Megrim sole is to be sold as Cornish sole, with spider crab being rebranded as Cornish King crab. It is being driven by the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation after 'research with chefs and consumers.' Rumours that Shit Cakes will be similarly rebranded as Lovely Cakes in a bid to sell a few of those to gullible Johnny Foreigner cannot, at this time, be confirmed or denied.
Passengers who conceal travel to the UK from coronavirus hotspots could face a ten-year jail sentence, Matt Hancock has announced, as the Scottish government went further by unveiling plans for all visitors from abroad to enter quarantine hotels. The health secretary said that people who arrived in England from thirty three high-risk countries would have to pay up to seventeen hundred and fifty smackers to quarantine in government-designated hotels for ten days. He also confirmed a new 'enhanced testing' regime for all international travellers, with two tests required during the quarantine process from next Monday. He also announced a grand fine for international arrivals who failed to take mandatory test and a five thousand smackers penalty rising to ten thousand knicker for anyone failing to quarantine in their designated hotel. Plus, you know, ten years in The Slammer. Banged up like a Toffer, Tommy Nutters with all the murderers and the rapists and the people who nick stuff from ALDI. Quite right, too.
Ellie Rowsell, the singer with Wolf Alice, has accused Marilyn Manson of pointing a camera up her skirt at a festival. She is the latest to make claims about the star's alleged abusive behaviour. It comes after the actress Evan Rachel Wood and four other women - including Esmé Bianco - published accounts of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. 'Solidarity to Evan Rachel Wood and those calling out Marilyn Manson,' tweeted Rowsell. 'It's sad to see people defending him, just because he put his depravity in plain sight doesn't give him a free pass to abuse women?' The rock and/or roll singer has not responded to Rowsell's account. The BBC has asked his representatives for a comment. He denied Wood's allegations, saying they were 'horrible distortions of reality.' Writing on Twitter, Rowsell explained: 'I met Marilyn backstage at a festival a few years ago. After his compliments towards my band became more and more hyperbolic I became suspicious of his behaviour. I was shocked to look down and see he was filming up my skirt with a GoPro [camera].' The singer/songwriter, whose band won the prestigious Mercury Prize in 2018, added that there were 'no repercussions for his behaviour' at the time and that his own team admitted that such incidents were not uncommon. 'If he does this kind of thing all the time why on earth has he been headlining festivals for so many years?' she asked. 'When will we stop enabling misogynists on the account of their success? Women must feel safe in the male dominated world that is the music industry. I wasn't sure whether to bring any of this up but Manson claims in his recent statement that his relationships were "entirely consensual" - I don't think he knows the meaning of consent if he goes around up-skirting young women at festivals.' Last week, Wood claimed that Manson 'horrifically abused' her during their three-year relationship. Manson denied the allegations via Instagram, claiming: 'My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual.' Last week, his ex-wife Dita Von Teese said the allegations 'do not match my personal experience during our seven years together as a couple.' She wrote on Instagram: 'Had they, I would not have married him in December 2005. I left twelve months later due to infidelity and drug abuse.' She added: 'Abuse of any kind has no place in any relationship. I urge those of you who have incurred abuse to take steps to heal and the strength to fully realise yourself.' Meanwhile, Oscar-winning composer and Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor again denied claims in Manson's 1998 memoir that the pair were involved in a sexual assault. 'I have been vocal over the years about my dislike of Manson as a person and cut ties with him nearly twenty five years ago,' Reznor said last week. 'As I said at the time, the passage from Manson's memoir is a complete fabrication. I was infuriated and offended back when it came out and remain so today.'
So, anyway dear blog reader, on Tuesday of this week, the Senate Impeachment of now extremely former President Mister Rump began. It is expected to last ... as long as it takes until the case has been made and then the majority of the arse-licking, chicken-shit scared Republican coward scum can cast their votes of 'not guilty' and now extremely former President Mister Rump can get away with his naughty crimes and leave his foot soldiers to face the music alone. To be scrupulously fair, the first hurdle - deciding whether the trial itself was constitutional - passed and at least one more Republican than expected (one Bill Cassidy) discovered a - previously missing-in-action - moral compass. In all six Republicans voted in favour. The Democrats opened their case against now extremely former President Mister Rump by showing a chilling and extraordinary thirteen-minute video from the Capitol insurrection which US senators watched in shocked - and stunned - silence. Except for the one that was spotted doodling all through it. And, the one who had his feet proped up on chair. The goal of the prosecution was clear: to keep the focus squarely on now extremely former President Mister Trump, linking him and his sick, sneering, self-congratulatory words to the deadly riot which followed. They also wanted to ensure that the jury of senators - and, importantly, Americans watching at home - saw the full brutal violence of the mob, the panic of police and the fear of the lawmakers. The montage opened at the time soon-to-be-former President Mister Rump was speaking to a cheering crowd on 6 January before moving through clips showing the full horror of the day - played out in excruciating, expletive-laden detail. It was quite a sight. The undoubted highlight of the opening arguments was Democratic congressman and chief House Manager Jamie Raskin sharing an emotional story about his daughter fearing for her life on 6 January. Raskin said that his twenty four-year-old daughter, Tabitha, does not want to return to the Capitol building after experiencing what she did that day. The other highlight was the barely competent, meandering and utterly hopeless performance of the couple of clowns now extremely former President Mister Rump managed to scrape up off the floor to defend the indefensible. Now extremely former President Mister Rump's allies were said to be 'flabbergasted' when the attorneys switched speaking slots at the last minute. An alleged 'source' who - allegedly - advised the Rump campaign allegedly told CNN: 'Getting criticised by both sides. Yikes.' That was alleged source Mister Norville Shaggy Rogers, there, dear blog reader. One person who was most definitely unimpressed with the performance of the Rump legal team was now extremely former President Mister Rump his very self. Who, according to MSN was reported to be 'screaming at his TV during his lawyer Bruce Castor's meandering opening statement[s].' This came as news emerged that prosecutors in Fulton County have initiated a criminal investigation into now extremely former President Mister Rump's - thankfully unsuccessful - attempts to overturn Georgia's erection results, including a notorious phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Rump pressured him to 'find' enough votes to help him reverse his erection loss. On Wednesday, Fani Willis, the recently elected Democratic prosecutor in Fulton County, sent a letter to numerous officials in state government, including Raffensperger, requesting that they preserve documents related to Rump's call, according to a state official. The letter explicitly stated that the request was 'part of a criminal investigation,' said the official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Meanwhile, the FBI net is closing on yet more insurrections scum that stormed the Capitol in their failed coup d'état. 'Already the number of people who have been arrested, either by the FBI, Capitol police or local Washington DC officers has reached two hundred and thirty five, spanning more than forty states,' noted the Gruniad Morning Star. 'As the investigation widens and deepens, the focus is tightening on anyone considered to have acted as a coordinator of the action in an attempt to take out the ringleaders.' Far-right insignia was spotted on the clothing, badges and flags of several conspiring insurgents, but the vast majority of the people charged to date with their sick and naughty insurrectionist ways are ordinary pro-Rump activists. So far, only about ten per cent of those charged have been found to have direct ties to organised far-right militias or other right-wing extremist groups. For example, The Feds on Tuesday arrested a Long Island man accused of filming himself smoking pot inside the Capitol. Greg Rubenacker of Farmingdale, who the FBI say works as a DJ, was expected to be arraigned on charges in Central Islip federal court for his alleged role in the violent insurrection. The FBI tracked down Rubenacker after one of his Snapchat followers snitched him up right good and proper like a Copper's Nark and forwarded incriminating screenshots from his account posted on the day of the siege. On a similarly ludicrous theme, Federal authorities also arrested a New Hampshire man who admitted to storming the Capitol and 'chugging wine' which he, allegedly, 'found in a lawmaker's office.' The FBI's Boston division said it had arrested Jason Riddle with the help of New Hampshire police. Riddle is charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and theft of government property. Last month, Riddle - in common with many of his, bright-as-a-two-watt-bulb fellow conspiring insurgents - publicly detailed his experiences when committing a crime, in his case, during an interview with NBC10 Boston. The FBI has also arrested the woman seen on video participating in the insurrection while, apparently, directing fellow insurrectionists with a bullhorn and donning a pink hat, after she defended her involvement with the deadly mob in a news interview. Rachel Marie Powell was extremely arrested by authorities in Pennsylvania and charged with obstruction, violent entry and/or disorderly conduct, depredation of government property and entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon. She could face decades in The Joint if convicted on all counts, reports suggested. 'I have no military background ... I'm a mom with eight kids. I work. And I garden. And raise chickens. And sell cheese at a farmers' market,' Powell said in her own defence. So, that's all right then. Hopefully the authorities will let her off, for, as Jesus once noted, blessed are the cheese makers. Probably. Federal prosecutors have charged at least eighty three people with 'violent entry and/or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds,' a crime which, on its own, carries a possible sentence of up to six months in The Slammer, or up to five years if paired with a weapons violation. The Department of Justice has, reportedly, identified hundreds more people as suspects in the violent assault on the Capitol. 'We are committed to seeing this through no matter how many people it takes, how many days it takes us or the resources we ... need to get it done,' said Steven D'Antuono, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office.
And, dear blog reader, if you're wondering how relatively 'normal' people could find themselves down the rabbit hole of some of the crazy QAnon nonsense which inspired these kind of blitheringly stupid shenanigans, check out this interview in which former QAnon believer Melissa Rein Lively spoke to From The North favourite CNN's Alisyn Camerota about how she was drawn in by the conspiracy theories and how she came to see the light. And this extraordinary interview in which another former QAnon follower apologises to From The North favourite and CNN host Anderson Cooper whom, he believed, was 'a robot that ate babies.' And, this South Carolina mother who 'spent days on TikTok, Facebook and YouTube becoming indoctrinated into the world of QAnon.' By inauguration day, she claimed to be convinced that if then President-elect Joe Biden took office the United States would, instantly, turn into a Communist country. She was terrified that she would have to go into hiding with her daughter. And, Jake the Bison (who lives with his mom) who is now, seemingly, the new spokesperson for 'I was in a cult, I got out' party. In a bid to avoid doing shitloads of jail, admittedly. These are all, seemingly, reasonably sensible people, dear blog reader (well, not so much Jake The Bison who lives with his mom, perhaps, but certainly the other three seem to be relatively tuned-in) so how on Earth did they get so far from reality?
On Wednesday, it was reported that a second police officer took his own life in the aftermath of the insurrection, bringing to three the number of officers who have died in the aftermath of the event. An additional one hundred and thirty four Capitol and DC officers are known to have been injured, some quite seriously. The injured police and the families of those who have died, have civil recourse through lawsuits against a host of people who rioted or who directly incited the deadly attack on the Capitol - a list which potentially includes now extremely former President Mister Rump, members of his dysfunctional family, elected representatives and Rudy Giuliani. Who doesn't fit into any of the above categories. It has been a right bad couple of weeks for Rudy Can't Fail, legally, what with him being extremely sued for billions of bucks by both Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic over the various libellous conspiracy theories he (and others) have been pushing in public ever since the erection. As Stephen Colbert helpfully noted on The Late Show: 'Rudy's never had that kind of cash. Although, he might now that he's stuck oil!'
Another highlight of the media week in the US was White House press secretary Jen Psaki shutting down an uppity Faux News reporter's question about trans athletes in schools after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on competition, saying that she believes 'trans rights are human rights.' Shutting down with extreme prejudice. That was a joy to behold, dear blog reader. So perish all bigots and scum. This shall be The Whole of The Law.
Texas lawyer Rod Ponton was left flummoxed when he discovered his face was appearing as a cat during a court session on Zoom. As his assistant tried to rectify the issue, he can be heard saying, 'I'm here live, I'm not a cat.' Tweeting about the incident, Judge Roy Ferguson, who presided over the session, said it showed 'the legal community's effort to continue representing their clients in these challenging times.' And that cat's get everywhere.
Shockingly - and stuningly - dear blog reader, it appears that Majorie Taylor Greene may have been correct about dangerous Jewish Space Lasers after all. As this evidence of Jews, in space, with lasers, demonstrates.
And finally, dear blog reader, some wise words from yer man Jesus there ... Albeit, Our Lord is looking more than a touch suspiciously Anglo-Saxon White there for a Jewish man born in North Africa. Just, you know, sayin'.