Watched the Hitchcock film Frenzy last night, apart from the overt misogyny and sexism which reflected the time (early 70’s), it was a really well made film. Brought back memories of a London that existed not so long ago and coincided with my first moving there to go to college. I’m not sure if I’m allowing historic sentimentality to colour my thoughts but I think it was a time I’m glad I lived there rather than if I were an 18 year old moving there now. I went there as a very naive 18 year old with some fired up political feelings but immature social and sexual awareness and understanding.
Whilst Frenzy reflected the era’s sexism and women were certainly the victims of the neck tie murderer, Hitchcock portrayed the various women as strong characters and in many ways as superior to men. Thinking about it now I like to think that old Hitchcock was really on to something using the tie as a metaphor: on the one hand symbolising the prevailing uniform worn by men behind which any manner of evil may reside and on the other symbolising how it can be used to subjugate women. In the case of this film by the extremely visceral and disturbing strangling of women. Now I’d certainly never previously thought of Hitchcock as any sort of feminist and I still hate ties.
I remember that around that time I briefly flirted with wearing a cravat I’d bought on Carnaby Street, now there was a look!
Thinking further of neck wear I can’t allow my throat to get sun burnt for the rest of my life. So another thing I’ve thought about is designing a range of neck protectors. Ideally I’d like them to be made of silk or soft linen but they would have to be able to stay in place without feeling restrictive. Anyone aware of any such material?
Spoke with my key nurse yesterday and the conversation I had with regard to medical stuff for my retirement left me more at ease. She reiterated the still relatively unregarded awareness of how much fatigue affects people such as me; that after such treatment some people never regain their pre-cancerous fitness and have to find ways to adapt. Also spoke about my increasingly sore neck, she is of the opinion that it’s damaged/destroyed muscles regrowing.
Kate and I getting very excited about going to Budapest, I’m a little concerned that there is too much choice of stuff to do and feeling anxious about doing and seeing enough and not taxing my ravaged body too much.
Interesting piece by a geezer called David Lipsey, a Labour peer, in The New Staesman entitled: ‘The meritocracy myth – and whatever happened to the old dream of a classless society?’ Now this links with how I started this blog and how I felt society was in London in the early and mid 70’s. I remember London being awash with people and groups who thought that the time was ripe for revolution, we would dream of a classless society. Unfortunately history took a different neoliberal course and allowed a combination of equality of opportunity with “gross inequality of outcome”. This has since rapidly evolved into those ‘lucky’ few who’ve amassed/stolen enormous wealth and are doing their utmost to keep it, increase it and make sure it stays within their families; developing great inequality of opportunity. Evidence of this is all around us and our unequal society is increasingly unhappy with itself.
Just leafing through yesterday and today’s Grauniad: latest figures show that last year 5,300 people have joined the ‘super rich’ ($30 million plus), that these kleptos are most concerned about “higher taxes, increased government scrutiny and how to pass wealth to the next generation”. “BP chief gets a 25% rise to £8m last year after cutting workforce and freezing pay”. “With profits falling and more fines due, Barclays CEO pockets £5.5m”. This is all extremely unhealthy and it really is time to change things.
One of my economic heroes is Ha-Joon Chang (he wrote ’23 Things They Don’t Tell you about Capitalism’ and ‘Kicking away the Ladder’ amongst others) and yesterday he was at it again pointing out the almost unbelievable way that ‘big business’ behaves so badly and yet “is still held in awe in Britain”. They rig markets, give themselves obscene pay packets and bonuses and avoid tax. They also give business a bad name, and as Chang argues “being soft (ie the way governments and so-called regulatory regimes are with these kleptos) on rule-breaking businesses is anti-business. When some corporations and business people do not pay their fair share of taxes, they are increasing the tax burdens of other members of society. When unscrupulous business people break the basic rules of competition, whether it is rigging foreign exchange markets or not paying the minimum wage, they are hurting the rest of the business community”.
So a proper long term economic plan, rather than the non-existent one the tories keep claiming to have, is as Chang proposes: “What we need is a genuinely pro-business government, which has a clear economic strategy that recognises different business interests and priorities, while reconciling the interests and values of other members of society”. In other words equality of opportunity and more equal outcomes.
RIP Dave Mackay.
Good to see the grinning gargoyle’s policy launch on immigration cap rapidly descend into confusion.
Also good to see Steve Bell back:
- a retrospective about the 70’s, they were actually better years than history has portrayed them so far.
- Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.