Archive for the ‘humour’ Category

Tremble: The Power Shoulder Cometh

November 3, 2009

Dallas and Dynasty, old tv soap operas, competed in dramatising the worlds of the rich. Perhaps the biggest icon of them was Joan Collins in dresses [sorry gowns] with shoulder pads that almost defied parody.

It seems the shoulder pad is back. But not just the shoulder pad, but the Joan Collins knock-you-down version. Apparently pads are being stacked vertically or horizontally.

Extreme shoulders, I am told, take four in each shoulder. Such is the sudden take of the new look that one major store reports a sell out in all its stores!

The objective is to give confidence in the boardroom, or other workplace.

This ties in neatly with a report on women as entrepreneurs, and this is done by the Financial Times in an article which refers to them as lipstick entrepreneurs.

I thought this might be disparaging, until I saw it was a co-production between Avon and the Federation of Small Business.

The report suggests the number of enterprises run by women could double in 10 years, to a total of 2 million. This includes the one person business to larger ones.

Increases in women on company boards and women millionaires are both forecast, as is the end of the glass ceiling. Almost as a redundancy the report points out the obvious that “…the workplace will become more female-friendly…”

Talking of redundancy this is also part of the switch of breadwinner. As more and more men are finding themselves first in the job-loss line, it rests with the lady of the house to start a business to keep that roof over their heads.

Unfortunately I cannot find a link to the report, nor find the name of the report – not even in the FT news story. Tut, tut. When I was a journalist…

Joseph Harris


Change, what change?

October 29, 2009

I’ve been around a bit in my life.

If I haven’t travelled the world, I have certainly travelled the work and non-work experience, as well as areas that few have to. I have been in politics, and out of it. I have been in journalism, and out of it. I have seen the financial, management and economic world at work. I have learned from uncomfortable and continued experience how wonderful our NHS and its dedicated people are.

I have done jobs near the ‘top’ and jobs near the ‘bottom’. I have met, worked with and helped and been helped by people at every level of society; and not helped by some all over the place too!

In that time I have seen a world in flux; from a post-WWII to a post-credit-crunch. Frankly, for all its deprivation and shortages, I think it was better half a century ago.

“But,” you will be shouting at me, “we have made progress. the internet and computer, the airplane travel and the food supply. Why even the clothing and housing is better; our cars, our supermarkets.

“It is not good enough yet, but even dealing with one’s debt problems is better!”

Of course it is. But is – that extraordinarily difficult thing to describe – life better?

Alright, tell me: how much direct contact with people do you have? People that are not your family or work friends? I mean face to face contact, socially and of concern for one another? And of concern about where you live, and how?

If you are a younger person how much interest do you take in your parents? How often do you see them, or contact them to check how they are? And if you are an older one, how much do you seek to advise your children?

Families: how often do you gather round a table for a meal and a chat?

And when did you last feel contented. Not contented with any specific; not happy or sad; not triumphant. But just able to be still and enjoy the world?

Even a century ago William Henry Davies [the poet of the tramps] had this to say about the ‘progress’ of the industrial revolution:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to turn at beauty’s glance,

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Because of the pressures on me, partly over the debt issue, I have not been able to keep up this blog very well, far less stand and stare ;-). I am trying to rationalise how I do all this, so I am in the process of bringing the blog into my website and making the management of the whole far better.

Then I hope to write much more on the attempts to roll back all the advances made over treatment of debtors in recent years. Then, or at the same time, to prepare books of my poetry and write new poems. Then complete my book on how to create a better tomorrow. And then a few other things that I’d like to do.

Who knows, perhaps then I can just sit – or stand – and contemplate, well, just nothing; or at least nothing consequential.

Something to look forward to, anyway…

Joseph Harris

Gordon Brown as Macbeth?

June 12, 2009

I had been seeing our most dear and revered Prime Minister as Gordon the Unready, for his parallels with Ethelread, who had a similar set of ups and downs and opened the way for William the Conqueror as his legacy to England, just as Gordon has opened us to the tyranny of generations of debt.

But it has suddenly struck me that he has far more in common with Macbeth, sometime King of Scotland, and particularly as portrayed by Shakespeare (in ‘The Scottish Play’).

Consider the line up.

Macbeth, Thane of Glamis – Gordon Brown
Coincidentally both are Scottish. When he becomes Thane of Cawdor (Chancellor of the Exchequer) his ambitions increase, and he eventually ‘kills’ the previous leader (Blair), and then becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessive.

Malcom and Banquo’s Ghost – Tony Blair
The previous leader, removed by the supplanter’s hand, is then the taunting ghost at the banquet.

Macduff – Caroline Flint or Alistair Darling or Peter (Lord) Mandelson
A friend, fellow Thane and general who finally dispatches Macbeth – offstage and therefore out of our sight.

At the end Macbeth claims no reason to fear Macduff, for he has been promised by the witches that he cannot be killed by any man born of woman. Macduff reveals he was “from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d” (meaning born by Caesarean section) and was therefore not “of woman born”.

That may translate into a number of situations that fit the three ‘actors. In theory Peter Mandelson, as a member of the House of Lords, cannot assume the role of Prime Minister. But I think this is simply convention, following the moves 100 years ago to control the House of Lords by Lloyd George.

Hecate (Chief witch/Goddess of Witchcraft) – Peter [now Lord] Mandelson
At the famous cauldron [restaurant] meeting he tells Brown his time will come, though Malcolm (Blair) is the first chosen. He turns to Hecate again when things get tough.

Siward and Young Siward – various Tory Party leaders
The English forces [political opponents] that are defeated

The play is mainly about the plotting and deeds of Macbeth. The first focus is the killing of Malcolm, and the assumption of kingship by Macbeth but, despite his success, he is uneasy and first fears Banquo and organises an assassination, and at the feast with Banquo’s ghost there is the fearful sight of Macbeth in a rage.

Macbeth seeks the help of the witches again. He is told to “beware Macduff”, but also that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” and he will “never vanquish’d be until Great Wood to high shall come against him”. All things that seem to protect him.

But he becomes increasingly paranoid and obsessive, and yet certain of his invincibility.
Another proof that Shakespeare wrote for all time – and that those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it! Here are a few quotes in which you might see resonance:

I am in blood
Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

–Macbeth, Act III, scene iv

Those he commands move only in command,
Nothing in love: now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

–Angus, Act V, scene ii

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

–Macbeth, Act V, scene v

© June 12 2009 Joseph Harris

Ah, satire; love it! 😉

Debt Control Man