Monday, January 01, 2018

Guest author

Today is the first day of the year, a blank slate full of unimagined (or all too easily imagined) possibilities.  A day to start off fresh and eager.  But also, paradoxically, a holiday when nothing gets done because everyone is inert on the couch, gazing at football or trying to process some weird parade that wastes millions of innocent rose petals.  So I won't even try to write something coherent, but will share this delightful excerpt from Alan Bennett's diary, a regular year-end treat in the London Review of Books:

"31 October, Yorkshire.  I'm sitting in the armchair by the fire this evening trying to work when there's a knocking at the door.  Before I can lever myself up, whoever it is knocks again, and indeed again before I get to the door.  Grumbling, I remember it's Halloween, a celebration that has always passed me by, as in Leeds in the 1940s there was Mischief Night and Bonfire Night and not much else, Halloween, like Mother's Day and Father's Day and indeed Valentine's Day, never heard of let alone observed.  Tonight it's a small boy, fair-haired and wearing make-up, but not looking particularly ghoulish.  Scarcely have I got the door open before he embarks on his spiel, which is so quick and so aggressive I can't make it out, except it ends with this scowling angelic child saying:  'Give me some money now.'  'Well,' I say, reaching into my pocket, 'that's at least direct.'  Then out of the darkness behind him comes the voice of the accompanying adult:  'He's Donald Trump.'  His role explained (and the make-up) all bluster has gone and the supposed Trump lookalike is wreathed in smiles.  He thanks me profusely for my 50p and the whole gang (all Trumps) go off giggling into the night."

Elsewhere Bennett remarks about the self-described Greatest President of All Time, "He seems to have no moral compass, and if he has a compass at all it's fixed permanently on self-seeking."  A very neat analysis, and a glimpse of the sort of welcome Twitler can expect if he persists in his childish wish to put Obama in the shade by playing golf with the Queen at Balmoral (which he seems to think is a country club).  Or crashing her grandson's wedding, which wouldn't surprise me.  Even the kids in Yorkshire have your number, Donzo.  Go to Moscow instead.


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