Monday, 16 June 2014


This miserable response to the question “hi, how are you?” invites an invitation to ask to know more… and more is what you usually get. A torrent of misery about health, injustice and ill fortune. The only responses to the hi-how-are-you question that are worse are “fine” which = fucked-up, insecure, neurotic and emotional. Or “could be worse - musn’t grumble”… but you are going to mate, aren’t you, aren’t you? … any second from now.

(The lion on the left has just asked that “hi how are you” question by the way.)

When life in Britain gets sunnier every day, when the weather is heading towards a possible heat wave, when wherever I walk I see vibrant street theatre, investment, new art and enterprise why do I detect the whiff of “fings aint wot they used to be” UKIPism? Well actually I don’t see it amongst the young so much as the middle aged and elderly bewailing the dismantlement of Old Britain. Overall the young seem pretty fine to me. For the first time in years I even like and appreciate some of their music and some of the recent advertising…Look at the current World Cup McDonald’s ad which is pure generous genius

And last week when Rik Mayall died and we all rushed to You Tube to watch the astonishing tour de force of his Lord Flashheart in Blackadder we appreciate the joy of “tour de force” rather than grumble and mutter. And what a tour de force this was. Deliciously we learn he didn’t do it quite like that in rehearsal so this is also a piece of glorious upstaging.

The tired old cliché is that life isn’t a rehearsal either. Why Mayall and his various characters struck a chord is they weren’t careful, they weren’t sensible, they were just full of ranting life. Alan B’Stard was not admirable in any way bar one. He too was enormously full of life. Just like that old boy with his unforgotten football skills in the McDonald’s ad. Because this isn’t about age it’s about attitude.

Wake up, feel glad to be doing whatever you’ve got to do that day, do it with vitality, energy and laughter. The world really is a better place than it was and more than 50% of what happens is great (which means, if my arithmetic is right, that we’re winning). So what do we do about those whingers and grumblers - the “not too bad considerings”?

Do a Rick Mayall and say loudly “not too bad? … Bollocks….you are so, so lucky…the sun’s shining and life is great” and then laugh. They’ll think you’ve gone mad but you’ll have achieved an important thing. You’ll have communicated that how you feel depends on how you see things. There’s a phrase I hear more of now than the dreaded “whatever!”.

 “What’s not to like?”

Apart from that football result….but look on the bright side….we might be Spanish.

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