About poetmcgonagall

Left wing, atheist curmudgeon with a black sense of humour and a heart of gold. Love music, books, theatre, tea, and marmite.

American Student in Cunning Stunt

Deep joy to read that the younger generation is still capable of big dreams. I refer of course to the American student who attempted full-body penetration of a giant vagina in the German university town of Tubingen. Possibly he’s a Star Trek fan with the motto, To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before, engraved on his heart. Jim Kirk would certainly be proud.

The Guardian has a full account here. Unfortunately, the lad became trapped, and had to be rescued by 22 firefighters “by hand and without the application of tools”. Quite right too. Anything else would be unsuitable for a family blog.


The vagina in question: Chacán-Pi (Making Love), by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara

While you have to applaud our hero for his ambitions, clearly he didn’t know what he was getting into.

Lest you should think this post is merely an opportunity for gratuitous smut and innuendo, I was struck by a comment made by Tubingen’s Green mayor, Boris Palmer:

He told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that he struggled to imagine how the accident could have happened, “even when considering the most extreme adolescent fantasies. To reward such a masterly achievement with the use of 22 firefighters almost pains my soul.”

It demonstrates a command of wit and irony to which most politicians in this right, tight little island cannot even aspire. It seems you get a better class of mayor in Germany. This excellent English-language interview with Palmer is well worth a listen.

And let’s spare a thought for the student, who probably wishes the internet had never been invented. There, but for the grace of the gods…

Book Review: Delete This at your Peril!

Delete-this-at-your-PerilEveryone with email has received them – messages in fractured English from corrupt officials in oil-rich nations, job offers that involve merely processing payments, love letters from stunningly beautiful Russian women who will happily overlook the fact that you are fat, balding and middle-aged. The common factor is a request for your bank details. Amused or irritated, you can’t really avoid them.

Allow me to introduce an unlikely White Knight who tilts at these internet trolls on your behalf. His name is Bob Servant, a native of Broughty Ferry, which is a suburb of Dundee – the spiritual home of Beautiful Railway Bridge. Ah, that shining city on the silvery Tay! Bob is a veteran and chief beneficiary of the Burger Van Wars (1988-9), once owner of the biggest window cleaning round in Western Europe, and consummate piss-artist.

Bob likes to unwind of an evening, after the pubs are closed, by leading scammers down the long and convoluted garden path of their own greed. He’s a sort of Scottish Siren, luring them onto the unforgiving rocks of Broughty Ferry. If they weren’t such amoral scumbags, you could almost feel sorry for the victims. His method is to distract attention from the point – their need for his bank details – with a bewildering array of side issues. He also puts forward counter-proposals that proliferate into surreal and bizarre scenarios in Bob’s mind, aided and abetted in these imaginations by his drinking pals, Frank the Plank, Tommy Peanuts and Chappy Williams. Invariably the scammers go along with these suggestions. At one point Bob is so disgusted at the lengths they’ll go to that he voluntarily ends the game.

Sadly, Bob Servant is the fictional creation of Scottish author, Neil Forsyth, based on his own experience with internet scammers. This does have its benefits. Bob is allowed the most outrageous libels against the worthy institutions of Broughty Ferry – the Post Office and Bowling Club get a lot of stick – and Forsyth can then ride to the rescue with a footnote saying this couldn’t possibly be true. Appropriately enough, each section is a sequence of emails, with all the necessary footnotes to defuse Bob’s cheerful defamations.

Delete This at your Peril! became a BBC Radio 4 series, and Bob Servant also reached television in BBC 4’s Bob Servant Independent, where he runs for election. I watched the first episode – you can see episode 2 in the video below – but it was so bloodless compared to the inspired profanity and deranged imagination of Delete This at your Peril! that I didn’t watch any more. The best thing about it is the Broughty Ferry location, the views of Dundee and the glorious Tay Bridge.

I urge you get the book and enjoy a vicarious revenge against internet scammers.

Happy Bloomsday

Today in 1904 Dublin, James Joyce and Nora Barnacle went on their first date. Joyce celebrated the occasion with an iconic novel that everyone has heard of, and most people haven’t read. Which is a shame because James Joyce’s Ulysses is only occasionally difficult – the rest is a cracking read. Even the challenging bits can be negotiated by simply going with the flow of the language. Our minds supply multiple meanings if we let language have its wicked way.

My good deed on this happy day is to post RTE’s ‘unabridged audiobook’, weighing in at at 9 hours and 33 minutes. I just started re-reading the novel, so I’m wary of the audiobook in case it preempts the picture I get from reading the text. I’ll read first and listen later.

I hope you enjoy the audiobook, realising there’s nothing to fear except fear itself. And heaping handfuls of glorious language to enjoy.

Chaps in Dresses

Spot the difference between Conchita Wurst, currently being reviled for offending Russian prejudices sensibilities and…

Conchita Wurst
…some of Putin’s chums.

Vladimir_Putin_with_bishops_of_Russian_Orthodox_ChurchMoscow has banned a parade in honour of the Austrian winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on the grounds that “it would provoke clashes between ‘gays and their opponents'”. Heartwarming to see the authorities are mindful of the danger to gay Russians from a homophobic society, or even those who champion the right to freedom of speech and assembly.

I usually avoid the Eurovision Song Contest, but here is Conchita Wurst’s winning number. If it gets Putin’s knickers in a twist, then it gets my vote.

It’s been a long, long, lonely winter

And here comes the Sun…

It is probably not a good thing to internalise my avatar to the extent that I hibernate during the winter. Forgotten how the blog works and there has been much disgruntlement and growling. Oh, and some quite intemperate shouting. On the plus side, it’s my birthday, though at this point in my life perhaps it’s better not to be reminded.

I took this picture today, on the first walk in months that didn’t have a utilitarian purpose, just to get started. An earnest of good intentions.