Your man Frankie speaks

Frankie Boyle

Here’s a wee column the Guardian wouldn’t print because they didn’t like the Rupert Murdoch jokes:

Say what you like about Donald Trump but he’s already done things people said were impossible, like made Twitter worse. Looking back, the Harambe situation is the closest working model we have for a Trump presidency. Last week he gave the sort of press conference that in a movie would bring a weary superhero out of retirement. His answers were filled with pointless digressions and absurd sentence construction, like he was desperately trying to avoid the buzzer on some unfathomable new Radio 4 panel game. And yet I wonder if Trump isn’t playing to his base quite effectively: grievance is a key part of his appeal, and chaos may well just look like him butting heads with Washington insiders. His approval rating among Republicans was 84%, before he started what will no doubt be a series of rallies. Even Trump isn’t stupid enough to think he’s still fighting an election, so the assumption has to be that he’s trying to enthuse his base to create pressure for his agenda on Republicans in Congress.

Trump’s base are people who believe that the U.S is a country run by elites enabled by mainstream media propaganda. Which, awkwardly, it is. Distorted media has been around for as long as Rupert Murdoch. By the look of him that would include telling Moses the commandments would go down much better if he took the third tablet and carved a pair of tits on it. I do feel for Rupert. Not least the arthritic tadpoles that shuffle around in his scrotum, clutching their tiny hearts every time they hear Jerry’s voice, muffled by his adult nappy. Trump isn’t inventing public disillusionment with the news media, just as he hasn’t invented their dissatisfaction with the fruits of globalisation. He has co-opted these grievances, and followed the pattern of his whole life by bringing a lot of disparate stuff under the Trump brand.

The loyalists Trump has appointed form a kind of intellectual wing of anti-intellectualism, but really they’re pouring out of the gates of Mordor so fast it’s hard to keep track of them all without some kind of bestiary. Steve Bannon, who has the name and face of a relegation haunted Scottish football manager, agitates for a white supremacy that already exists. Ironic, really, that one of the main things his Administration seems to have illustrated is that only black people are good at being President. Seemingly every day we have the unveiling of some new cabinet member who has stepped screaming into our dimension after being outwitted by a Princess in a cautionary folktale. If Trump nominated his horse as a consul it would be a blessed relief.

The modern far-right have a lot in common with Jihadis in that their sexual desperation has been used to radicalise them online. The Brexit and Trump campaigns have been their training camps: the equivalent of a few weeks in some desert barracks shooting an AK-47 into an old mattress. Imagine the adrenaline surge of feeling responsible for a huge election upset. And then they have to go back to normal life. A life where during the 10 minutes they had their picture up on Tinder it was left-swiped so many times they got whiplash due to voodoo. Where they look like Joseph Merrick carried a photograph of their face in his wallet as an appetite suppressant. Where their mail-order bride heard who she was being delivered to and chewed off her toes just so she had something to block up the air holes in her crate. And so they channel their energy back into the trenches of hate that now pass for political discourse, to where they feel safe and newly empowered. There’s never been a better time to be wrong.

I sometimes think that the new right have arisen without warning, then I remember that there were loads of warnings but I just kept muting and blocking them all. In all the hilarity of Trump, in the all the cluelessness of Brexit; in the sheer inchoate, transparent, head shaking, WTF of it all, it’s easy to forget that we are losing. We sign petitions while they sign executive orders, pass laws, remove regulation. We share pictures of them signing away our rights as caption competitions. And yes, I realise columns like this aren’t any more effective. There’s obviously a limit to the need for humorous metaphor when describing a society literally being run from a country club.

RGH Primary 1

Aged 6 at Wrotham Road School, already the matinee idol good looks showing… the trained eye.

The disillusioned electorate that voted for Trump are right to feel the establishment doesn’t care about them, it rarely even considers them. The Democratic Party’s response to Trump has had all the zip of an adulterous journalist phoning in coverage of a conference they didn’t attend, and there isn’t a war he could declare that they won’t back. For Republicans, Trump’s unpredictability is tolerated because his ideology largely overlaps their own. These are disaster capitalists and Trump is their unnatural disaster. They look to adapt to and capitalise on the situation as they would try to find profit in any scenario from hurricane to plague. Whatever happens next, it’s certainly not going to be dull. Or survivable

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Replace or not to replace.

So the Acer Aspire started playing tricks. It wouldn’t boot up or it would boot up, eventually, and run ‘right’ for around 10 minutes and then it would start slowly becoming  un-responsive and then finally  freeze altogether. Very irritating especially when trying do something useful on it rather than waste a morning on You Tube or similar. It’s just on five years old and has been  a good tool up until recently.

So the decision was made to replace it with an equivalent bit of kit, your standard i5 desktop sort of thing. As time wasn’t pressing I took several days out to research the best deal and finally settled on an HP Pavilion with an AMD 10 processor, giving an Intel based PC a side swerve for a change. It arrived promptly some 14 hours after I’d ordered it online (thank you DPD) and upstairs to the office it went to be unpacked and flashed up.

Hmm, firstly, the desktop is around twice the size of the Acer it’s replacing (ooops, didn’t check the measurements) and noisier despite being described in the marketing blurb as ‘super quiet’. No show stoppers though.  I booted it up and just about the first thing it wants to do is download a 4GB update and then install it. There’s a warning this may take around 90 minutes. Very un-impressive that’s half the morning gone then and nowt achieved. Anyway off it goes on its self-determined voyage to updateland and back. Sadly the voyage got interrupted near the end when during one of the many self initiated ‘restarts’ it didn’t restart. Instead there was a blue screen with the words  ‘Disk Failure’ prominently featured. Oooh bugger. Luckily a branch of the vendor is only a couple of miles away so back into its box it went and off we went to have a word with the chaps at ‘Knowhow’.

Now as luck would have it there was no queue and phaffing around before an earnest and geeky young chap (though a tadge smug I thought) said I wasn’t to worry because he’ll do a simple ‘restore’ and all will be well. With a disk failure I queried? Yes he said firmly, it’d be no problem. He’d give me a call when it was done and I could come along and collect it. ‘Fankyoo’ I replied, trotted off to the car park and tried to remember where I’d left the van.

True to his word a few hours later our earnest geek rang me on my mobile. ‘Erm, we couldn’t restore it’ he said, ‘there’s a total disk failure, come in and we’ll give you an exchange.’ Coo fancy that.

So some 24 hours later the new HP is up and running with data transferred over and all is well. Very well in fact. Since the HP arrived the Acer has been working absolutely splendidly, as good as new. That’s £499.99 down the Swanny then?


Allatsea some 26 years before he bought his first PC in 1993.

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I sat down and ritt


Blimey, not much blogging of late, there’re good reasons though.

Aged mum still in hospital, been there since November 29th, requiring much support in many ways. This has been a large absorber of what would otherwise have been free/blogging time. Aged Uncle also needing much support, admittedly mainly from memsahib allatsea and he too is now in hospital, the same one (so far) as mummy allatsea. His faithful moggy ‘Spot’ needs feeding twice a day so he’s being incorporated into the daily ‘to do’ list.

Things learnt:

A certain ‘Care’ home in Deal doesn’t quite grasp the concept of care. Mummy allatsea lasted 48 hours there before falling (when unattended) and smashed her already smashed hip …again. Back to QEQM she went. No wonder the NHS is struggling, she’s in a ward crammed with similar cases.


Q: How long would you expect a HP Pavillion desktop PC to last?

A: In our case, 93 minutes, as experienced yesterday!  From delivery to being taken back to PC World. The replacement too is struggling with a 4GB Windows 10 update. Deep effing joy. The whole malarkey  triggered by our faithful Acer Aspire starting to go a tadge awry (it’s 5 years old) but ironically behaving impeccably since forking out £500 for the new HP. Grrrrrrr!


Finny ‘Bigmog’ is diabetic. Not faggy easy to control Type 2 either. Full blown needing injections twice a day (cue memsahib allatsea as a certain coward runs for the hills) and careful diet regulation …….. oooh yes and great wodges of cash to the vets too.


A poem by James Farrar


Brave roadside ragwort scurried under wind.

The mad meadow grass where mildewed agony

Spews forth crows like ghouls

Clanking the hedge-eddies with fingered spread.

The hedge-dank leaf-fouled lane before me falls

To a dead distance of hills and sky.


Struggle under the writhing wood which a mile back

Roared like a sea. The lustful air,

Harvesting shoals of jaundice from frenzied oak,

Plucks vainly at the slow arc-tracing pines.

Stand in a devil-darkness of leaves and smoke,

Shin-deep. Wild branches scream despair

At the full thunder of the drowning year.


A caravan comes up the lane: old horse cringing

Like a tired insect in its slow grief.

Bleached painted sides, lean leathern gypsy driving:

Old woman and blind son with bitter mouths curled.

Yet the lean one turns with lit face; his voice peal

‘Bound away north. Back in spring, in spring!’

Thralled I watch them away under the hills

In the tunnel of darkness, the dying world.


Break fibre, raise and fly leaf!

Rise, in the wind’s lusting mouth sing –

Soar and shout, to the faint stars away!

I care not that night comes cold or the dead sun

Droops on the earth in the short weak day –

Back in Spring, in Spring!

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The Seaman


Between the innocence of infancy and the recklessness of adultery comes that unique specimen of humanity known as a seaman. Seamen can be found in bars, in arguments, in bed, intoxicated. They are tall, short, Fat, thin, dark, fair but never normal.

They dislike ship’s food, Chief Engineers, writing Letters, sailing on Saturdays and ‘dry’ ships. They like receiving mail, paying off day, nude pin ups, sympathy, complaining and beer.

A Seaman’s secret ambition is to change places with the owner for just one trip, to own a brewery and to be loved by everyone in the world.

A Seaman is a Sir Galahad in a Japanese brothel, a psychoanalyst with a “Readers Digest” on the table, Don Quixote with a Discharge Book, the saviour of mankind with his back teeth awash , Valentino with a fiver in his pocket and democracy personified in a red Chinese prison cell.

A seaman is a provider in war and a parasite in peace. No one is subjected to so much abuse, wrongly accused, so often misunderstood by so many as a seaman. He has the patience of Job, the honesty of a fool and a heaven-sent ability to laugh at himself.

When he returns home from a long voyage no one else but a seaman can create such an atmosphere of suspense and longing as he walks through the door with the magic words on his lips;

Have you got an ale then?

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Working load limit (WLL), safe working load (SWL) and minimum and
maximum rated loads explained.

The term safe working load, (SWL) was the cornerstone of engineering, particularly with regard to load carrying equipment, for many years.
It was generally considered to be the breaking load of a component divided by an appropriate factor of safety giving a ‘safe’ load that could be lifted or be carried.
About 20 years ago, however, the USA ceased using this term, because of legal implications.
The European and ISO Standards followed suit a few years later. However, while this was a
clean-cut move, for some time there has been indecision as to exactly what replacement terms could be used.
Over the past two or three years, both the Americans and Europeans have agreed that working load limit (WLL) should replace safe working load (SWL) in describing the capacity of items such as hooks, slings and shackles etc.
A general definition of WLL was:
the maximum mass or force which a product is authorized to support in general service when the pull is applied in-line, unless noted otherwise, with respect to the centreline of the product:
i.e. the WLL of a component is specified by the manufacturer.
However, while the definition for working load limit was originally confined exclusively to the manufacturer’s specified maximum load that the item could lift, it is now generally extended to include both of the following:The maximum load that an item can lift and the maximum load that an item can lift in a particular configuration or application.
If the WLL is thought of as an assessment of the maximum load an item could lift under ideal conditions, the SWL (if the term is going to be used) can now best be thought of as being a derating of WLL, following an assessment by a competent person of the maximum load the item can sustain under the conditions in which the item is being used.
If a 3 tonne (t) sling hook is attached to the bottom end of a 3 t single-leg wire rope or chain sling in a general use application, it retains its inherent WLL of 3 t. This is its maximum load.
However, if a two-leg sling consists of two such legs, the WLL for the sling hook in such a
configuration is (1.73 x 3 t) / 2 = 2.6 t.
If the hook is to be used in a non-general application (e.g. in a mine shaft or in a hazardous situation such as a hot environment), it may be derated further. Its SWL (as determined by the competent person) in this particular application will be less than the original WLL of 3 t.
Some British (BS), European (EN) and International Standards (ISO) for personal protection against falls from a height have introduced the terms maximum rated load and minimum rated load into revisions of standards and into new standards. The maximum rated load equates to the WLL. Some components require both the minimum and maximum rated load to be marked on the product.
In the UK the Construction Lifting Operations Regulations 1961 defined it such that it actually became the load which could legally be lifted.
The minimum rated load is required where the performance of a component is
affected by a low mass. An example of a product where both a high mass and a low mass can affect performance is a descending device.

Crikey, that’s all as clear as mud then.


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Erith, when it was in Kent

The following poem, ‘an Ode to Old Erith’, Robert the Devil’s stomping ground, written by Pat Watson in 1982, mentions ‘Bob the Devil’.


It was always a shabby, funny town, when I was small:
It’s only claim to fame, I suppose, was the River,
which ebbed and flowed in muddy brown and grey regularity,
providing an ever changing picture of dreams for the eyes of the young and old,
or the idle, to dwell upon.

It was always a strange, little, sprawling town,
with nothing at all of importance to merit a place in the shape of things to come.
Here it nestled, like a favourite, comfortable, patchwork shawl, the fringes of which tapered towards the creeks of Slades Green and Crayford;
dwelling a moment at Bexley and Welling;
crossing to Bedonwell and Bostal.
Beneath the folds haphazardly tumbled Northumberland Heath, with upper and lower Belvedere here, and Barnehurst there;
in between glowing a patch or two of changing green, as the woods and parks filtered through the embroidery of stitches
that held it together with fields and ditches;
eventually sweeping around and down
past abbey wood marshes
and back to the river.

It was always a friendly, squat, little town,
with industry forming a warming collar
around it’s neck; the ribbon of water wandering by firmly held in it’s place,
loosely tie-ing a flexible knot of strength
against the fogs and mists
of all that threatened the pattern of sleeping security.

Quickly, quickly, write it down
before those that remember have long been forgotten,
with nothing to show
and no-one to know how reshaping
and raping could possibly happen,
and why such a garment lies in tatters,
threadbare and worn, and all that matters
is sadly forlorn and desolate now,
abandoned, exhausted-
and those that permitted such devastation
have gone, long gone …
moved on.

Just for a moment indulge in nostalgia,
name a few names for memory to conjure
the magic that hustled and bustled under
the harlequin cloak, before the plunder
of planning and banning and closing
tore the patches asunder.

The Causeway of old, with convenient railings
on which you could lean to gossip, and yarn,
and gaze on a scene of rocks, and mud,
and pools of water in which you could paddle,
when the tide was out, with wagers to swim
to the other side of the river –
there was even sand
for children to dabble.
Piers and jetties, chains and things,
wet warm timbers, ropes and rings
which held the dinghies and yachts and boats
buoys and floats bobbing
when the tide was in.

The fat black barges gliding by
with ochre brown sails riding high in the water
like graceful swans;
the diligent tugs, tooting and fussy,
pushing and shoving, eternally busy.
Tramps and Cruisers and Men-O-War;
Coasters and Colliers and Steamers galore;
port and starboard, for and aft,
every conceivable waterway craft,
casting off and heaving to –
the Pilot’s Hut with the tide times on view.
Regattas and pennants and flags a –blowing,
never-endingly coming and going watermen,
merchantmen, rowing and rowing-
straining backs and muscles aquiver,
Doggett Men too-
the pride of the River.

The coal, the grain, and the flown mill;
Fraser’s Pond and Bunker’s Hill-
the Cinder Path, the Rec’. the Terries,
the Seamen’s Home; picking blackberries.
The Ritz, the Rialto, the Oxford, the Rex;
the Locomotive- Sunday School texts.
The Cobbler, the Smithie; the disinfect can;
the Sea Scouts, the Saw Mills; the School Board Man.
Frank’s Park fireworks, Callender’s Band
tightly packed in the small bandstand.
The betting slips; the Registrar;
the Library Museum; the four-ale-bar;
little boys fishing with tiddlers
in jar.

The ‘Rose and Crown’ and the ‘Wheatley Arms’ ;
gipsy weddings, the crossing of palms.
St. Fidelis; ‘Bob-the-Devil’ ;
running round tombstones in the
Old Church yard to ward off evil;
the wicket gates at the level crossings.

Swiftly, swiftly, paper and pen,
put down the words and
remember them ……..

Gone are the Cobbles, the alleys,
the paths, the trams, the prams,
the open air baths.
Bye-Brothers; Linwood’s the Salvation Army
on Burton’s corner every Sunday.
The gutters, the shutters, the Home-and-Colonial;
the World Stores, the Maypole, the neatly professional
patting of butter with spatulas wooden;
kippers for tea, faggots, pease pudding.
the Fibro; Selfe’s; Penton-and-Deans;
shrimps and cockles and coffee beans.
Starkey’s, and Randal’s printing presses;
the local paper done on the spot;
gammon from Davis; the wet-fish shop.

The hub of it all was Mitchell’s Store,
the very core of the town, with personal
assistants, yards of material measured
with care, the buttons, the cottons,
the crimping of hair; second hand furniture
round the corner; three brass balls if you
wanted to pawn a thing on two;
the Knackers’ Yard; the Late Night Final;
the Laundry; the Dairy; the Men’s Urinal.
checks of tin from the Co-op Stores;
Mence Smith’s; Dales; and pails
of manure yours for the taking;
barber’s poles; Groom’s and the smell
of baking.

It was always an honourable, vulnerable town ….
that could be the reason for knocking it down!
Tear out its character, flatten its face-
we’ll soon think of something to put in its place.
Never mind what, and never mind where …..
move it around a bit- up in the air!
Let’s have some changes- let’s have some ‘go’-
What were we putting here? Someone must know!

And so it went on, and on, and on …….
until all that we knew of Old Erith had gone
It took them some time to take it apart;
dying by stages, a work of ‘art’ you might say,
in a way –
All that was good was whittled away, and all
that was bad was left to decay
of its own accord.


I could write more but I’ve gone on too long,
progress, we know, has got to go on- but
why did it happen and where did it start?
We’re left with a town without a heart,
not better but worse than we had before!

There’s very few left who remember it now,
the new generation could not really care
about something they never would know or share.

Sadly, sadly, read it through,
the ones who recall it all-
you, and you …….
the ones who grew up with me
when I was small – born here,
and taught here, and worked here-
you know what I’m writing of-
you understand and,
if you’ve a moment or two in hand,
go down by the River …….
yes, it’s still there- and stand
and share with me dog-eared regrets
for the ‘used to be’-
of the rough little, gruff little
Erith we knew, and read to yourself
this Obituary.


Written by Pat Watson
March, 1982.

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Sea sung ditty

Eeeh you can say what you like about the arts but a good old sing your heart out verse of song can work wonders. They say.

How’s this then? Filched from ‘The Campfire Songbook’ by the plagiarisors  at the towers without shame or regret. Speaking personally, it was the last line that did it for me!


       D                                                        A7                 D

When I was one I sucked my thumb and sailed away to sea,

                                                                 A7               D

I jumped aboard a pirate ship and the Captain said to me

                      D                                         A7               D

“We’re sailing north southeast west and UP the Irish Sea

         G                     D                      A7                    D

“A bottle of rum to fill my tum, and that’s the life for me”.

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