Saturday 11 August 2012

Eton Shirkers

The BOF is so tired of hearing rose-tinted accounts of the bracing nature of Bogus 'mayor' Johnson's experience of sport at school that he thinks it is time to describe the torture as it really was. Generously, the BOF comes clean about his upbringing at Westbury House, a post war prep school in Arcadian Hampshire, and Eton College. Oh yes, he knows and will, for once, speak directly of his experiences.

Prepare for the change of person.

I was never good at sports of any kind, and I had no interest in them until it was too late to start playing. The first time I was picked for a school team, it was as scorer for the second XI cricket team, this only because of a summer cold laying strong boys low.

I declined, provoking a storm not unlike that associated with Oliver asking for more. What amazes me now is that I won. I did not have to fulfil the role. I was never picked again for anything, which suited me.

On to Eton, and a quick word about how it worked. There was no compulsorary two hours a day. No, it was a weekly total that mattered, and that was arrived at by a system which optimistically relied on the honesty of teenagers. We marked up a chart with Xs for the exercise we had supposedly taken.

As someone still allergic to team sports, I soon found the slacker's fallback, the cross country run.

Or, rather, the stroll(in shorts) to the Road Bridge. Shimmying up the slope of concrete, a place of safety could be found where blue tobacco smoke (and more) filled the afternoon air. A small transistor radio, a tranny, wafted 'Flowers in the Rain' or 'See Emily Play' or 'Honey'  around the new world environment of the motorway flyover.

During the summer I would row gently up the river to Queens Eyot, an island in the Thames with a bar exclusively for Etonians and a lawn on which to loll and laugh and become very drunk. How I ever rowed back, I don't know. Once, on this trip, a child's life was saved on the way there, something more satisfying than any sporting victory. 

No doubt the same thing was happening in every type and level of school. For those who wanted it, sport was there on tap. For those who didn't, it was a perfect exercise in skiving. Or perhaps a perfect exercise in self-determination - who knows? 

Whatever, it was not two hours of cumpulsorary sport a day. For many of us it was a daily triumph over authority. Sorry, Bogus; it was Xs, not hours that mattered. And, as every politician knoe, Xs mean votes. Come clean about your real school sporting days, Bogus.

Thursday 9 August 2012

Lines written upon visiting Damien Hirst's shop, Other Criteria, on Bond Street

Damien Hirst 
Is now the worst
Artist in this country. 

Other Criteria
Couldn't be drearier
Even if the cunt tried. 

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Fiat fuck up

The BOF is puzzled.

He has been listening to and reading journalists on the subject of the financial crisis for years now. Slowly, they are getting down to a proper appraisal of modern capitalism but without focusing on what he believes to be at the centre of the crisis.

Money as we know it is based on a system of symbolism. The numbers and names of the money are a symbolic representation of value not the value itself. Fiat money by definition faces in one direction: it reflects the value of the real world back on itself, giving us a benchmark by which to judge comparative worth. It is a mirror.

What the casino side of the banks has done is to turn that mirror on itself, giving the instant impression that money goes on growing for ever. As with any multiple reflection, there is still, in reality, only one real object. All the rest, stretching into infinity, are an illusion. The fact that the real object at the centre of it all is still only a symbol gives a brittle delicacy to the construct.

The banks have tricked us into thinking that all those reflections are real objects with real value, whereas they are actually an illusion. They do not exist. There was no relationship between the stated value and the actual worth of sub-prime mortgages. It wasn't even smoke and mirrors, just mirrors and salesmen's talk.

The only way to stop this happening again and again is not to separate the high street from the casino. What must be done is to create two different forms of money: there is our money, the stuff we are paid for work and for selling things which we use to buy food and fun; it is a straightforward symbol of our worth; and there is gambling money, the stuff that's used to to turn money into an actual object. The symbol can be used to buy the chips, but the chips should never be allowed to affect the symbolic relationship which defines the value of money.

There is not enough natural morality in people to expect them to maintain this distinction on their own. They must be helped by legislation. A system which allows the value of a nation's currency to be arbitrarily altered at the whim of kids barely out of college who've come up with another wizard wheeze to reposition the mirrors and who have disdain for the actual people who have to live on that currency is not a proper system for safeguarding life savings and daily earnings.

In fact, who ever said it was ok for individuals to gamble with the wealth of nations? It's not, and it should be stopped. We have to retrace our steps a fair distance to do the rebuilding, but it must be done.

Money for us and money for them and never should the two of them meet. Only, ours is the real money. Theirs is the gambling chips that they have to buy at the door of the casino (paying a good tax), and then cash in again on the way out (paying another good tax). No buying Bollinger with those chips - they can't be used as cash, and any attempt to do so will be punished by removal and selling of all chips in the criminal's ownership to benefit the public good.

That should sort it. Well done the BOF.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

spiced shit

This Spice Girls musical: the BOF is horrified by the level of support it seems to have, by the misplaced goodwill being shown to it, by the complete lack of opposition. It is a bad thing from all angles.

The records were only acceptable as popculture of the moment, and even then were horrible. For god's sake, doesn't anyone remember gerI halliwell? She couldn't even spell her own name, thinking that I was at the end of everything. Posh became infinitely more acceptable as Mrs Beckham, and as for the rest, they turned out to be ok once they'd disbanded the crap band.

So why would anyone want to...

Ah! Money. Of course.

There is no cultural significance to the Spice Girls, other than being the standard bearers for a particularly odious pair of Simons.

Should anyone really, really wanna see them and hear them again, can't they take a laptop under the duvet and do it there? At least the animals won't be scared again.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Seaman Shines

The old fart was chortling with frustration earlier. He'd heard that old Pony Tail from up Highbury way had been lobbed again. Memories of those days came back: every Big-Sam-type team that came there tried the lob, and more than a few went home. But the clip of today's lob isn't instantly viewable. No returns on searches, not right now, in the early evening of that day.

Good BOF behaviour, that exclusion: keep us waiting, make the reveal of the video that much more exciting...oh no, wait a minute, we're all supposed to decry manipulation of the media, we should be able to see it now rather than when some politically motivated TV production company chooses...cries of "No!" from the BOF. Umpires decision. Enjoy the show, even if it means No for now.

No will become Yes.

Saturday 28 April 2012


The BOF always enjoys the surprise of accidentally bumping into some half-way decent writing. Often, it only seems to be that way because of circumstances, but, hey, who cares? The pleasure's still the same. He suggests you try this.

Friday 3 February 2012


St Martin's Lane - for a few days only - go see.

Sunday 22 January 2012

Dusty tricks?

The BOF says: if you're bored and want to pass some time, try searching for any previous mention of asbestos removal at Roman House, the site recently occupied and then hastily un-occupied by OccupyLondon, who appear to have been fooled by mendacious PR from a dodgy property spiv. (Try googling "should I buy from Berkeley homes?" as a starter)

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Ain't no mountain high enough

The BOF woke up just in time to see it. The whole game, that is, not just The Moment. It had become a little dreary, with the dreadful russian making his now-familiar hash of things.

Then Thierry came on.