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Saturday evening in Budapest, and as I write, either war has broken out on the streets around the apartment I’m renting, or there is a big fireworks display going on nearby. That’s Budapest for you, at least when the temperatures are hot. Every night in the Summer, something different. The Hobo is definitely housebound this evening however. Last night’s carousing with the Tasmanian Princess and the Welsh/Hungarian actress/antique dealer was quite enough high voltage bonhomie for one weekend. Probably.
Anyway, today we hoisted ourselves up to the highest point above Budapest we could (using our best petard but for good this time) in order to take a look at those not-so-distant London lights. Okay, I used Google Earth. Well, as previously noted, commentary on the British sociopolitical landscape has been part of the Jet-Set Hobo’s loosely assembled, journalistic beat. It might as well continue this way until the end, which may be nigh. So no more ado, here’s a quick round-up of today’s headlines from the Old Dart. (Colonial slang for Great Britain).
Raoul Moat manhunt: Investigation into Taser shots fired at fugitive
According to The Grauniad, sorry the Guardian, shots fired from a Taser could have caused the Northumberland gunman to shoot himself after a six-hour standoff with police. Investigations have already begun into the actions of local police in the hours before the death of Raoul Moat. They are apparently focusing on whether the two Taser shots fired at the fugitive may have pushed him over the edge.
Read More »
At least, not as drawn by Grauniad cartoonist Steve Bell, which is to say, as a Jellyfish; a completely see-through invertebrate.
Truly one cannot much envy the choices faced by the British electorate on Thursday.
Ritual humiliation, Sky News style
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, or you know & care nothing for British politics, you will have heard the story about soon-to-be outgoing Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his encounter with a 66 year old lady named Mrs Gillian Duffy. More or less accosted on the street by this redoubtable woman, Gordon Brown appeared to respond well or at least functionally to her questions about immigration and student tuition fees, even moving the conversation on to the subject of her grandchildren’s names in his condescendingly genuine fashion, with the rather ghastly pasted-on smile Brown has been forced to adopt since roughly the time he became prime minister by default.
And then, a Sky ‘news’ microphone still taped to his waistline, he got into his car and was driven away. Forgetting the microphone was still on, the Prime Minister almost instantly began complaining to his aides. “Just some bigoted woman who used to vote labour” he said, and “totally ridiculous – who arranged that? Sue?” or words very close to that effect. Sue Nye was the aide he blamed wrongly as it happened for arranging the ‘chat’ with Mrs Duffy, who remarkably, had just happened to be walking by. In any case, it was interesting that Britain’s outgoing Prime Minister immediately wanted someone else to blame for what he obviously considered to have been a fairly grisly encounter. Read More »
Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland
So… last night I’m in one of the smokier old Jewish district bars of Budapest with some of the finer members of my local chapter of the Deadbeat Club, when I notice a sullen faced Scot ordering shots on his own, and looking as if he’d like to join in the conversation. Perhaps it was his accent, or sympathy for a castaway bar fly, but I cleared a path for this fellow to join in with myself, the ‘Tasmanian Princess’, Kenyan painter, Argentine Polo Player and the rest of the gang.
“Let me guess, just taking a look at you,” the big bloke said to me. “I reckon you would’ve been a failure everywhere else but a you’re a big success here in Budapest.”
“Oh, no, no, no, no, don’t be mistaken”, I said: “I’m a failure here too.”
The Scottish Oscar Wildes’s ensuing conversational sallies were equally likely to endear the assembled company, and soon the bugger was politely refused more alcohol and left. Later as I made my way home, I spied this same bloke hanging onto a lamp post, even worse for wear, and it must be said, not looking terribly successful. Read More »
Artist David Hockney has said he loathes the Labour Government for interfering in his life by introducing the smoking ban.
The 72-year-old lifelong smoker is backing a cross-party group of MPs who want the ban to be relaxed, so people can light up in designated rooms in pubs.
Hockney told the BBC’s Politics Show that he was appalled to find that his local cafe in east Yorkshire no longer allowed people to smoke at tables outside, because they were frightened that smoke would waft inside and breach the law.
He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair were responsible and added: “I loathe them for it.”
via Artist David Hockney slams smoking ban – Yahoo! News UK.
The Jet-Set Hobo couldn’t agree more. As I’ve said before, if non-smoking bars were such a great idea, why didn’t the abstemious of this world open their own smoke free pubs a long time ago? There was never anything to stop them. The truth is, they wanted it both ways. Look at the prevalence of smokers among actors and writers and other interesting types. Certainly, for our ilk, smoking goes hand in hand with drinking, literally speaking. On the one hand you have your glass of red, on the other a Malboro light. Sociable types that we are, we still congregate in bars, and the non-smokers have had their petty, longevity obsessed victory. They get to hang out with dangerous chancers and charmers, but at no risk to their cautious, dull existence. I was always more of a Hockney man than a Warholian, now you can make that a double. And smoke if you’ve got ‘em…