Mental prompts and consequential amazing journeys…

It’s been one of those weeks really, but then, when I sit and examine the facts, check out the cigar ash and finger prints and ruminate in silence for a few minutes,  the coals in the open fire glowing, the pipe unlit and Watson hanging on my every word, it pretty much always is.

My mind, like my writing, meanders and ravels, compelled hither and thither by words, years, events, comments, smells and music, in short I am something of a basket case.

I have been greatly troubled for the last ten days or so, no, let’s get this right, the last six months or so, by the word trump. Now, probably obviously, the word has been surfacing regularly as it is the name of a potential American presidential candidate, so it’s fair to say that this is what has placed it in the ether.

Watching the pantomime from this side of the pond is, I guess, less scary, but, nonetheless, pretty frightening all the same. I can’t really be bothered to catalogue the verbal carnage that he has produced but last week I was compelled to seriously consider drop-kicking the old wireless across the room when Sarah Palin entered the fray. There is very little more needs to be said about either of them other than the fact that she is his advocate. This, to me is a self completing circle, but of course, whilst assuring you that I have no delusion about my own appearance (I was a tolerably cute kid and teenager but ‘progressed’ to being a bald orc with the physique of a Buddha upon the discovery of the twin curse of beer and curry in young adulthood) the Trump man cannot be mentioned without reference to his ridiculous mane and the very fact that he gets up in the morning, ablutes and dresses in rooms that doubtless have at least one mirror in and thus must be confronted by this physical embodiment of insanity, says enough for me, and predates the unnecesary, high-pitched whining weighing-in of la Palin.

This also calls to question the qualities of his advisers; what a craven, spineless group of people, in fact I think the collective noun of a ‘Craven’ of advisers would be good (who makes these things up? I’ve looked it up and the three that I have been given are a council, a spin and a grudge – all pretty good but when one assesses history I still think craven fits the bill best of all, and it certainly fits the Donald, though I am am sure there is some spinning involved in his barnet!). Apparently it has now become the vernacular on the street to call a hairpiece, comb-over or syrup a ‘trump’ as in ‘have you seen the trump on that?’ – I like this though it can be no coincidence that another modern meaning of the word is to fart (I am sorry, child that I am I have just read these two definitions of ‘fart’ as a noun and screamed with laughter – ’emit wind from the anus’, and ‘a boring or contemptible person’, strange that they should both apply to our mate in the weave).

The other bit of news that has got me this week is that of the sad demise of the sperm whales in Lincolnshire/Norfolk – why does humanity have such an affinity with whales and dolphins? So incredible, graceful and powerful in the water yet  hopeless on land – I know that’s the case with most sealife but a combination of our affinity with them and their great size just seems to accentuate it – I wonder if we look ridiculous in the water to sealife? I am also wondering if the fact that these whales are exploding due to internal gases means that they spend most of their time ‘trumping’ as they traverse the seas and also contemplate what contribution this makes to methane emissions, as livestock apparently emits more of the stuff than the worlds transport systems combined ( I really did check the date when this was read out on the radio last year as it does smack of an April Fools prank.

To illustrate how my mind ‘works’ as soon as I heard the words ‘sperm whale’  I thought about Charles Durning and the character that he played in the 70s film ‘The Choirboys’. This sets me off in several directions…’Tootsie’ and ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ both of which Durning is equally excellent in, but where it really gets me to is Joseph Wambaugh, the author of the book ‘The Choirboys’ (the film was average at best btw) who also wrote ‘The Onion Field’ a book I read in my mid-teens and have re-read several times – a true story of the murder of a policemen and the consequences in all the protagnists’ lives. I thought it was a disturbing but brilliant bit of writing and have made a mental note to get it again but…dead whales to murdered policeman in LA? Eh?

Now this book was written in 1973 and, with stunning continuity, arguably the most famous try ever scored was crafted in Cardiff Arms Park 43 years ago last Tuesday (27/01/73). You either know what I’m talking about or don’t but it was brilliant. That said, looking at the clip, several times, of it when it popped up on Facebook  this week, several things are apparent.

The lineouts – sadly I am old enough to have played with lineouts like this and as a hooker trying to accurately throw a ball like a piece of soap into that – it looks like the ‘Sarlacc’ in the ‘Great Pit of Carcoon’ from the ‘Empire Strikes Back’, a mass of arms, legs, hair and teeth!

The Tackling – it was either non-existent or violently high.

The pace – so slow compared to today, but of course, brilliant at the time!

My final thought is of a far more important leader than the President of the United States of America, namely, Dylan Hartley, the new England RFU captain. As stated before I was a hooker and naturally they are known for their keen intelligence, but it is also fair to say that if someone is a bit hefty, aggressive and fiery they are likely to be the No 2. My concern is an apparent inability to learn from mistakes. He’s a good player, I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt but I do so with limited positive expectation, in the hope that I am wrong. It’s fair to say that I disliked Eddie Jones intensely when he was coach of Australia, however, I’ve liked what he’s done so far and it is nice to have a few people about with a bit of ‘flavour’…already I am nervous for the 6 Nations.

And so today’s mental journey comes to an end (‘Sickness would surely take the mind, ’cause minds can’t usually go, along the Amazing Journey, and learn all they should know’ – with apologies to P.Townshend) as I close and wend my wearing way up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire.

Cheers

Tony