Thursday, 10 October 2019

The Kurds certainly helped these Brits in WW2

Dad, on the left, rampaging through Belgium, commandeering German equipment in-between sleeping with princesses

My ol' man was a terrible father but a great soldier. He went from Private to Lieutenant Colonel in WW2 and was commissioned at the request of King George VI and further promoted at the direct recommendation of Monty.

He was rescued by HMS Skipjack at Dunkirk, which was sunk the next day. He was disgusted at the leadership of the army at that time, which largely comprised ex-public schoolboys placed by their fathers, schools or starry-eyed generals despite lacking any aptitude for their roles. After Dunkirk there was a significant clear out of these people, which gave people like my ol' man a chance. He was at El Alamein and then D-Day, where he rampaged to Belgium.

He boasted loudly to me and my brother in  a Belgian restaurant in the 90s that a certain Belgian princess was an 'old slapper'. We remonstrated with him and he responded: "Even I slept with her..."

After he left the Army he refused an MBE. None of us believed the latter, but my daughter found the records online.

But the thing that impressed me the most was his story, which he has written down, and which I mean to translate into usable English, about Monty's request that he find a route into the USSR from North Africa for a possible retreat should Rommel push us back.

It is a fantastic story of getting a platoon of men through exotic middle-eastern places, and over geographical boundaries, eventually reaching and passing into the Soviet Union.

However, there was one major drawback. And it was pretty big. Nobody had told the Soviets. So when the ol' man pitched up to some Soviet army base expecting a warm welcome and pint of vodka, he and his men were immediately arrrested as German spies. Even this bloke from Hoxton couldn't get past the famous Soviet distrust of anybody, even each other.

He was invited into the local commandant's office to discuss the situation. But rather than a discussion, he found out at the end of the cosy chat that this was, in fact, the trial. The translator, who grew up in New York, told him him: "Jeez, I feel sorry for you guys, but at least it'll be quick." They were to be shot the next day.

He and his men were locked up with some Kurdish prisoners, who had been planning an escape. I don't know the detail of this until I make some real effort with the ol' man's manuscript but somehow the Kurds got themselves out, and my ol' man and his men, and they all made a break for the border.

One of the reasons I found my dad hard to deal with was his hypocritical racism. He was opposed to the UK accepting Ugandan Asians into the UK, for example, but made a fortune selling them refrigeration equipment they bought with Government and other grants, and made friends with many but criticised them being here behind their back, as so many British people did (and still do).

But if you said anything against the Kurds...

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Cynical Business Poet

I heard John Cooper Clarke, the punk poet, on Desert Island Discs the other day, I found it really inspiring. So much so that I'm adapting much of the copy from my A-Z of Cynicism in the Workplace into some cynical poetry. Here's the first one.

The alpha-male

The alpha-male
Will never fail
To drive you fucking insane
His ski-ing prowess
Will create much stress
With endless tales of Gastein.

He's sold more than you
And clients love him too
He'll lead you to understand
His bonus is massive
And his Rolex is magic
Wiping his arse with its minute hand.

He causes office division
Whilst oozing narcissism
With slicked-back hair
And a leather office chair
From which he can wipe his jizm.

His car's a Maserati
And his bit-on-the-side is nasty
With a mouth only made for slagging
She'll insult your suits from her Gucci boots
Not knowing who else Alpha is shagging.

I'll stay in my baggy suit for now
Waiting for my chance to wow
Like the alpha-male does
With his designer fuzz
And a wife he refers to as 'Cow'.

D Eckhoff

Sunday, 31 March 2019

The Remlic card

Brexiteers: put your money where your mouth is!

The Remlic Card, pre-Brexit life for Remoaners on plastic

It looks the men of the people like Rees-Mogg, Johnson, Farage, etc, have persuaded (some of) the people that despite their public-school backgrounds and careers that their parents worked so hard for them to be given, that a vote their way is a vote against the establishment. So, if you’re a Brexiteer you’ll have won for them what they wanted. Let’s just hope they look after you when things don’t go as well as they promised you they would.

No doubt you’ll be proud of what you’ve achieved. Maybe you can write down what exactly this is in a quiet reflective moment. But in the mean time I’d like to propose something that will make it easier to push through what you wanted so much, and enable you to confidently back what the Daily Mail, Sun and Daily Express recommended you do with your vote.

As a dedicated Remoaner who never wanted your country handed to over to the hard right, who never wanted to see a neo-Nazi preaching and being lauded by our cenotaph, who didn’t want to see your standard of living wrecked, your jobs decimated and your services lost, I’m suggesting that all Remoaners down tools and let you get on with it, on one small condition, that you put your money where your mouth is.

I’m suggesting a two-tier society where you get exactly what you voted for, it’s the Remlic card: the Remoaner Life Insurance Card. You got blue passports (made in France), we want a good British Remlic card. This will provide us with:
  • NHS queue jumping over Brexiteers. There will be less money for the NHS after Brexit so we want better odds of getting treatment for the tax we paid. We want that money to be spent on our bunions and haemorrhoids, not on ensuring your heroes got a crack at being Prime Minister.
  • Access to health services overseas like we had with our EHIC cards. If you go to Spain and fall off a bar stool after sixteen pints of Tennents, get your mates to sort you out and drive you home.
  • If there is any rationing, double coupons for us and our families, a bit like double Green Shield stamps from the halcyon days of the 60s. I’m slightly concerned that some warnings on this might be a bit overkill but don’t want to take the chance.
  • 20% more than you on foreign exchange. When you go overseas and you suddenly realise a pint costs you nearly as much as those crimplene trousers in the back of the Daily Express, you can always blame the EU, like you’ll be told to do, and that’ll take your pain away. We will blame you but as we’re not allied with the BNP or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon we won’t give you the good hammering you deserve. Knowing that we’ll get our drink cheaper will sort us out.
  • Discounts on goods that get a Brexit mark-up. Again, you will blame the EU. You will also blame our politicians, yet before the referendum you agreed with me that they were useless and never did what you wanted. But I will blame you, you were warned about this, yet you chose this.
  • We can resort to those pesky EU laws that the Daily Mail told you that you didn't want. So if your shoes or union flag fall to bits after one wearing or waving you can just buy some more. We can have a two-year guarantee on ours.
So, what have you got to lose? It cannot go wrong for you, Johnson and Nige said so! You can register your agreement by leaving some poorly spelt abuse through the comments link.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Crime, punishment and hypocrisy - at Tottenham Hotspur

Last night I was asked to accompany a friend to Wembley to see his beloved Spurs, at Wembley as their house isn’t ready yet. I’ve been lucky enough to visit many grounds across the UK, but all of them feature ‘football fans’. Last night’s special subject amongst Spurs fans holding court over various sections was ‘Fernando Llorente and his contribution to Tottenham Hotspur’. It wouldn’t have taken Stephen Hawking to work out that Fernando was unpopular. He was described for 80 minutes as “useless” and a “c*nt”. Some of the more mathematically gifted worked out and argued over how much he was being paid per minute to besmirch the lily-white shirt with his Spanish body. Derision was also aimed at Spurs’ manager, who apparently had ‘no balls’, when there were two substitutions yet Fernie was left on.
And then he scored.
I’m not saying that football fans are fickle but the calculators were put away and every positive thing the heroic Fernando had ever achieved for Spurs was recounted lovingly. He could have married their daughters, and whilst waiting for the wedding he would have been invited round for Sunday afternoon intercourse with their wives whilst the husbands looked on and admired his technique.
And then poor old Fernando needed a rest. He knew that after he’d scored he could go down if a Watford player so much as gave him a sideways glance, and then stay there whilst waiting to be tucked up in a duvet by Spurs fans now concerned about what his ‘work rate’ had done to his geriatric 33-year old body. Contrast this with the reaction of the Spurs faithful who had demanded throughout that Watford’s keeper, Ben Foster, be executed for time-wasting each and every moment he got the ball.
The other observation is about fans of the same team fighting amongst themselves. In football crowds things are said that couldn’t be said elsewhere. They are not always ‘politically correct’ and thankfully most of outright racist comments have disappeared. And some of the things said are very funny.
But an incident I saw last night was funny in its abject hypocrisy. A man of about 70 stood up and laid into another, younger man. “Don’t you f*cking swear in front of my son!” he screamed. “You can f*ck off to another seat if you want to f*cking swear you c*nt!” The son looked on bemused; he was about 45, and looked as though he’d like a good swear himself. Eventually the stewards intervened and settled them down. But then it all erupted again and the protective, sweary father and sensitive son decided they would move to two of the other 70,000 seats available in the stadium.
The only other crowds I’ve been in that are as amusing as this are at the ballet, and possibly the rugby where you can drink with abandon and trade insults with opposing fans who won’t try to murder you in return. At baseball you can sleep and eat your own weight in burgers as the ‘sport’ is as dull as the audience. At cricket you can also get a*seholed but as it goes on for so bloody long you can leave and visit an art gallery during a game and not miss anything so drinking yourself into oblivion won’t waste any money spent on the ticket.
Who wants to take me to another game?