Friday, 20 October 2017

David Starkey on The Reformation: ISIS in action

The Oct 2nd edition of the bbc history mag podcast is very interesting. The (atheist) historian David Starkey is interviewed on the Reformation.

He says its iconoclasm was the Isis of its day and left England a land of ruins - and that it was hugely unpopular in England. It meant art especially was stopped dead for 2-300 years. He references Eamon Duffy’s excellent work studying the Reformation’s effects, but not Cobbett’s seminal work, The History of the Protestant Reformation in England & Ireland, which is a shame as the latter centres on the social impact, i.e. that the poor, infirm & elderly who had been helped and supported by the monasteries, were left with no support structure - a cataclysmic event for the lower working classes. 

The podcast was put out ahead of a new bbc2 programme by Starkey on the Reformation. It sounds fascinating. 

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

My Pub Urinal Limerick

When I visit a pub urinal,

I often think of old vinyl,

But you never oughta

Get Smoke on the Water,

The prognosis could be quite final. 


By Gareth Hurley esquire, 11/10/2017. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Death of a Superhero

You've all heard of Cornman right? He was the pint-sized superhero who used corn-on-the-cob handles/skewers like throwing stars, to fight evil n stuff. 



Above: cornman's weapon of choice. 


His jokes could be a bit... corny. And he could get a bit moody when he 'got a cob on.'

But criminals and evil-doers feared his homespun brand of justice. 

So today I can only apologise because after I parked the car I saw this directly behind one of my tyres. 

Yes it seem Cornman is no more. He's moved onto that great BBQ in the sky. 

And the streets feel a little less safe...

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Nasty Nazi Slippers?

There was a Daily Mail (quelle surprise!) story 'tother day about a bloke upset that his online ordered slippers has swastikas in the grip pattern on the sole. 


Above: Sam Purdie with the Nazi slippers. "They ain't purdy."

Well imagine my shock when for my recent birthday (I'm 28) Mrs H asked what I wanted. After my usual litany of wine gums, beers n whiskey, I said I might need new slippers. 'Cos I like gardening I said "what about some pansy ones?" (I move with the times, see). 

I think I may have to return these though: 


Not only did she get it wrong, but they clash with my T34 loafers (if you don't know, ask your dad). 

Mind you, I have taken to singing "snooze-time, snooze-time uber alles" of an evening. 

Plus I can't wear them whilst shaking my fist at the News at Ten. I don't want people to think I'm a sauerkraut. 

And to close here's a sign Mrs H and I stumbled across in Marlborough, in case the above has driven you to alcohol. Amen. 


Friday, 11 August 2017

My Trusty Chalice Needs Cleaning

Like an ancient oak whither a regent hid, amidst the foliage, escaping the accursed roundheads of Cromwell, my mug can be aged by counting its rings. 

Yes I need to take it home. To misquote another regent, 'a clean mug, a clean mug, my kingdom for a clean mug.'

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Time to Defeat Jihadi Terror

Britain beat the Nazis in WW2. Not by hashtags, not by tying teddies to lampposts, nor by asking Germans here if they'd be offended if we said hurtful things (or indeed sang Germaphobic songs, about Hitler's testicular deficiency).

The difference is we declared war, interned Germans, imprisoned PoWs and hung traitors. We're doing none of that. We just talk about inclusion & communities...

So when politicians talk about the "Blitz spirit" or how we are stronger together, point out these differences. 

The Blitz-spirit got the benighted victims of carpet bombing through a long dark night, but it didn't happen in a vacuum. 

In 1940 Nazi sympathisers were interned, British forces fought in France, Norway, volunteers were called on to fight in Finland, Britain invaded the Faroes & Iceland, Churchill promised blood, toil, tears & sweat, we engage the Italian navy, the Home Guard was established, civilians were evacuated from Gibraltar, the Italians were fought in British Somlialand, the RAF fought bitter battles with the Luftwaffe in the skies over Britain, Churchill ordered the bombing of Berlin, British forces fought Italy in Libya & Egypt, the BBC set up anti-Nazi French & Dutch-language Radio Belgique, convoys were started to Malta, Britain defeated Vichy France in The Gabon... and tens of thousands of troops were evacuated from Dunkirk.  

So the idea that the Blitz occurred in a vacuum is absurd. We waged war. 

There comes a time when a nation has to stand up to an evil ideology that worships destruction and murder. 

Isn't that time now? 

Wherever & whenever jihadis raise a flag we should work with forces ranged against them, via aid, supplies or involvement depending on the situation. Fighting Isis (and not the Syrians fighting them!) might be one example...

But the idea that we are fighting jihadis like we fought the Nazis is a joke. And the analogy is a good one. Not all Germans were Nazis, but all Nazis were German* -- not all Muslims are jihadi terrorists, but all jihadi terrorists are Muslims. 

So let's declare war on jihad & the hateful Wahabi and similar strains of extreme Islam behind it. If we don't fight it - by all means necessary - we'll never defeat this cult of murder and destruction.


*outside of Germany few fellow-travellers were out and out Nazis, just as outside of Islam few fellow travellers are out and out jihadis. 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Super Hillary?

They say not all heroes wear capes. Hmmm. Not all cape-wearers are heroes. It seems. Though salutations to whoever devised this costume for sheer bravado. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

The Ballad of the Goodly Fere

If you get a chance read this poem on Good Friday. It reminds us of who Christ was and what He did. Fere means 'companion' from old Saxon. 


Ballad of the Goodly Fere

By Ezra Pound 

Simon Zelotes speaketh it somewhile after the Crucifixion.

 

 

HA’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all 

For the priests and the gallows tree? 

Aye lover he was of brawny men, 

O’ ships and the open sea. 

 

When they came wi’ a host to take Our Man 

His smile was good to see, 

“First let these go!” quo’ our Goodly Fere, 

“Or I’ll see ye damned,” says he. 

 

Aye he sent us out through the crossed high spears 

And the scorn of his laugh rang free, 

“Why took ye not me when I walked about 

Alone in the town?” says he. 

 

Oh we drank his “Hale” in the good red wine 

When we last made company. 

No capon priest was the Goodly Fere, 

But a man o’ men was he. 

 

I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men 

Wi’ a bundle o’ cords swung free, 

That they took the high and holy house 

For their pawn and treasury. 

 

They’ll no’ get him a’ in a book, I think, 

Though they write it cunningly; 

No mouse of the scrolls was the Goodly Fere 

But aye loved the open sea. 

 

If they think they ha’ snared our Goodly Fere 

They are fools to the last degree. 

“I’ll go to the feast,” quo’ our Goodly Fere, 

“Though I go to the gallows tree.” 

 

“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind, 

And wake the dead,” says he. 

“Ye shall see one thing to master all: 

’Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.” 

 

A son of God was the Goodly Fere 

That bade us his brothers be. 

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men. 35

I have seen him upon the tree. 

 

He cried no cry when they drave the nails 

And the blood gushed hot and free. 

The hounds of the crimson sky gave tongue, 

But never a cry cried he. 

 

I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men 

On the hills o’ Galilee. 

They whined as he walked out calm between, 

Wi’ his eyes like the gray o’ the sea. 

 

Like the sea that brooks no voyaging, 

With the winds unleashed and free, 

Like the sea that he cowed at Genseret 

Wi’ twey words spoke suddently. 

 

A master of men was the Goodly Fere, 

A mate of the wind and sea. 

If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere 

They are fools eternally. 

 

I ha’ seen him eat o’ the honey-comb 

Sin’ they nailed him to the tree. 

 


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Me & My Future Proof £1 Coin

 Today somone crossed my palm with silver... actually Gypsy Rose Lee it was a £1 coin. But lo. It was a Manx one. And after October 2017 it will REMAIN legal tender!

So it's going in my Arkwright's money-belt for after the revolution/armageddon/Welsh independence/Boris's benevolent dictatorship. 

Yes. When the proverbial hits the fan and the Isle of Man is the only functioning society I'll be sitting pretty with my old school £1 coin. Who needs gold bullion?

Tru dat. 

Sunday, 1 January 2017

My Mum, Barbara Hurley

Well the last few days have been chaotic. It started yesterday (New Year's Eve) morning with a phone call from my sister Jayne, saying that mum had been rushed into hospital and she couldn't be sure but she was told it could be a stroke. We awaited more news, hoping for the best.

By 10.30 we were told it was a stroke and it was serious. We jumped in the car and headed for Cardiff. It was only what I can describe as weird seeing mum. She looked a lot better than I thought she would, she was conversing with ease. We talked about family history, the relatives in America, the news (the honours list etc.), and various other matters. She was joking too. Every now and then she'd say something a bit silly, but I assumed it was the drugs that were being pumped into her. Having said all that, the paralysis down her left hand side was almost total and obvious to see.

The hospital staff said the course she was on could disperse the clot that had caused her stroke, but we wouldn't know for 24 hours. There was also a danger the thinning of the blood could cause complications. Other relatives came and went throughout the day, before we arrived and after we left too.

We left feeling positive. Mum's response to questions on how she felt was "tickedyboo" and given her lucidity I certainly hoped for the best.

I phoned the hospital this morning at 10.30 - 24 hours after the first course of drugs were given - to be told there was no visible deterioration, which was good news as far as it went. We'd know more later in the day when a CT scan was given and they could let next of kin visitors to the ward know more as the results came back.

Then this afternoon I got a call off Jayne to say her boy Ross had been in to see his nan. The staff told him that the first course of drugs hadn't worked and that the next few days were crucial to see if mum pulls through or has some sort of relapse or follow-up seizure.

I started by saying the last few days had been chaotic. In fact it's only been two days. But with the emotions, the downs, ups and downs again, the to-ing and fro-ing, it's seemed like much longer.

Now we're waiting and praying for good news.

Monday, 26 December 2016

A Merry Hurley Christmas Everyone

Well, after a busy day yesterday starting first and foremost with Midnight Mass, we had all the usual fun - gifts in the morning, Christmas Dinner, snooze time, Queen's Speech, afternoon/evening games then some films & comedies with drinks n snacks.

And so on St Stephen's Day, aka Boxing Day, aka the second day of Christmas may I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

And like Tintin, let's all remember the "reason for the season" and honour the Holy Family.

Nadolig Llawen! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Glyndwr, Churchill, St Francis: Judging Some Historical Figures by Their Pasts

Owain Glyndwr: an English Soldier
History is funny isn't it? If we judged everyone on their pasts, well here's a few:

St Augustine would be an arrogant lawyer who freed a murderer. 

St Francis would be a materialist party animal (probably a misogynist to boot). 

Owain Glyndwr would be an English soldier defending the crown and killing for his king. 

Winston Churchill would be a disgrace who ordered troops to fire on strikers and the mastermind of a battle that killed many and ended in total failure. 

And of course there's Mary Magdalene who - although never called an ex-prostitute in the Gospels - was said to have had a 'colourful' past.

I dare say there's many more...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Merville Barracks - Keeping the Memory Alive

Wow. Got an order in work going to a Para captain at 'Merville Barracks' - named after the DDay gun battery where my uncle, private Daniel 'Roddy' Hurley, died (DDay plus 1). The Paras disabled the battery (see my other posts for further details on Roddy & the battle there). 

What a small world. Hope the order gets there ok. Wouldn't like to deal with an angry Para captain. ;)


Below: 3 Para memorial garden at Merville Barracks. 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

On Pondering October...

Does anyone else think it's weird our 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th months are literally named 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th (Sept to Dec)?

I'm sure there's a perfunctory, boring reason - probably at the behest of one of history's most interesting & romantic figures - the civil servant; but I don't think I want to know that. 

I'm with the 8 year old me who would imagine an upside down table in the living room was a boat being thrown about on the (shark infested) high seas. 

I'd rather imagine some invading horde besieged Rome with their strange aquamarine banners, stitched in the Urals or Katmandu by expert craftsmen who were killed on completion to keep the secrets of their intricate craft from falling into enemy hands, fluttering in the breeze on the banks of the Tiber, to demand some late Emperor or early Pope insert an extra two months in the calendar. 

Perhaps the truth is stranger still and more interesting, perhaps more baffling. But I doubt it. So don't tell me. 

And as I look at the calendar proclaiming today the tenth month of the year, called October, starts and we move further into autumn and headlong towards 2017 wherein I shall be another year older and continue to pay bills and put up with all the cares and worries of adulthood, I can at least imagine those swarthy hordes encamped outside the Eternal City to demand those two extra months. 

If it didn't happen that way I don't want to know about it. 



Below: a Goth. He likes Blue Oyster Cult and tribal tattoos. His mum says he should clean his room and wear brighter clothes. Whatevs. 

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Hills Have Eyes meets Dad's Army

As Warden Hodges (a character I have based my entire persona on) might intone: "RUDDY HOOLIGANS!"



It was like (the Sly Stallone/Davide Carradine film) Death Race 2000 trying to cross the road this morning. 

Two social outcasts were bearing down on me at the speed of sound (I could tell, as the Abba medley they were blaring out reached my ear as they drew level). Only their twisted grimaces were visible through the grimy windscreen - the kind you see backwoodsmen driving in those horror road movies which invariably involve a digit or two being lost to a rusty blade. 

And how apt, for 'twas the kings of the rusty Stanley blade themselves. The fearsome duo who walk around local shops just to wear down their carpets in an evil plot to garner business. The cads!

Some foul abuse was thrown from the open window as the driver cursed about my shop not selling suitable receptacles for Freddo Bars as the passenger (ensconced within what locals, with a wobble in their voice, call the "offcut van") laughed with a blood-curdling chuckle (the type only a hired-help can truly master over countless cups of tea).

Passers-by cowed in horror at the sight of such anti-social behaviour in broad daylight, though it may have been at the graffiti written on the back of the van (finger in dirt style), employing various cuss words and questioning the parentage of the boss of Carpet Rite. Who cares? Er I mean, who knows?

Then with a Speedy Gonzalez (and deeply racist act of cultural misappropriation) shout of "andalĂ©, andalĂ©" (though in hindsight it may have been "underlay underlay") they were off with a wheel-spin to the rough end of the high street where the police will only patrol in pairs and the grannies have tattoos with swear words. 

I barely escaped with my life. It's true. Honest.