Sunday, November 30, 2008

Truth

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

Karl Marx - The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte

I see that Pravda continues in its fine tradition of dispensing truth:
If aliens wanted to study us, they would have studied everything about humans already. They do not need to explore us, they have a different purpose. I would pay more attention to abduction. They take human eggs and sperm. There were many incidents when abducted women were pregnant after their return. I think that the hybrids that saw the light as a result of sexual contacts with the aliens can live among us. Michael Phelps, who won eight medals at the Beijing Olympics, could be one of them, why not?”
And here
It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design or creation be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory, especially in public schools which receive funding from taxpayers who are on both sides of the issue.
And here
Is there any connection between UFOs and mysterious deaths? UFO’s are usually attracted to geopathogenic zones. It is not ruled out that the electromagnetic fields of such zones affect man-made objects and humans, which eventually results in tragic accidents. UFOs may also be the source of pathogenic radiation.

Did he only have one?

Surely the most pointless and puerile of historical speculation concerns Hitler's tackle. Was he a monorchid megalomaniac?

The old legend was reanimated by some dubious new 'evidence' published in The Sun and it subsequently spread through the papers here and overseas recently. Thankfully,
There's no excuse now for this incessant dwelling on Hitler's sexuality, as if it tells us anything about the true nature of his evil. No, all the obsession can tell us about is the way the culture as a whole exhibits a refusal to face the profundity and complexity of evil and instead—with some honorable exceptions—prefers to escape responsibility for Hitler and the Holocaust by blaming it all on ludicrously unserious and ahistorical sexual mythologies, and the Freudian-influenced notion that all behavior has a sexual explanation at heart.
Then sensation always sells better than truth and who cares about serious history when it has become a commodity like so much else.

Via A&L Daily and hat tip to Kev

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pride and shame

It was our lifelong learning presentation evening tonight for a whole series of awards other than full degrees. It was a lovely occasion once more. Though we do get dressed up, it is less stiff than the depressing formality of full graduation. We have wine, food and laughs. It is a real celebration of achievement.

Selected students give little speeches; the bus driver with her award in trade union representation, the creative writing student who had fulfilled a dream, the youth and community worker now qualified, and so many more. I was able to fit in a reference to Patrick Geddes in my short speech, an implicit criticism of current adult education policy. The most telling moment was with a group of students who could not be there to collect their awards, they are in prison. Their tutor accepted the certificates on their behalf and said that of two hundred offenders that had been through the programme only two had re-offended, when the national rate for recidivism is 70%. That is the power of adult education.

So where does the shame come in? It is because of the fact that instead of cherishing something so wonderful, instead of investing in it, it is all under threat and being attacked by the erosion of funding. In England, one million four hundred thousand funded places have been lost outside the universities. Inside higher education, part time learning, already at a disadvantage, is being hit by the removal of funding for people studying for an equivalent or lower level qualification to one they hold already. Departments are closing and provision is being lost. This is indeed something to be ashamed of.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quickly

I just read this from John Henley and had to dash to the keyboard, after all I hadn't posted since Monday.
Like SlowFood, born in Italy of the conviction that fast food was as bad for local tradition as it was for your health, Slow Blogging is a response to the notion that fast blogging can be bad for both author and audience ...

So let's hear it for all those who take the time to think, study and reflect before they post; who do not feel the need to slap the first thing that comes out of their head straight onto the web. People who refuse to update five times a day, or even once a week. People who value quality over quantity.
Phew, so that's all right then. Back to my rather nice bottle of red wine. Self expression can take a back burner whilst I gather beautiful thoughts - well until tomorrow anyway.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Intimations of mortality

Sixty is far too young and conductors are supposed to go on forever. Richard Hickox's early death is a loss. Here he is conducting in Cardiff in 2001. The soloist is the Finnish soprano Karita Mattila.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It gets worse

Not only am I a rather unexciting duty fulfiller, now, according to the Gender Analyzer, "We guess http://fatmanonakeyboard.blogspot.com is written by a woman (51%)".

Hmm ... I thought that the title might have been a bit of a give away. It does go on to say, "however it's quite gender neutral". I am in crisis. My macho image is shot to hell.

Via Norm

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wonderful

It happened. This magnificent Australian side are fallible after all. Roared on in Brisbane by five thousand British fans, honorary Kiwis for the day, New Zealand have won the Rugby League World Cup. The Kangaroos' dominance of the trophy is over. The match took the sport to new levels; a thrilling contest full of power, speed, and unbelievable skill. A great, great game.

As I write this Wally Lewis is being interviewed, graciously accepting defeat and saying, with a big smile on his face, what a wonderful boost this is for international Rugby League. He is right. It is also a huge challenge to England, whose standards have slipped.

Up until the final the contest seemed as it would be notable only for the entertainment provided by the lesser lights, the Pacific Island nations and the amazing Irish. This shock result is what the sport needed. And, for me and probably most British fans, on a cold blustery day, with snowflakes drifting past the window, nothing could have been more warming than an Aussie defeat. Kiwis!



UPDATE
A look back at some spectacular running Rugby. The best tries from the World Cup before the final from the BBC here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Psychobabble

Now you can psychoanalyse your blog. Just go here and type in the URL and you are on the couch in an instant.

The results for Fat Man display the fact that I am an outstandingly boring old fart:

The analysis indicates that the author of http://fatmanonakeyboard.blogspot.com is of the type:

ISTJ - The Duty Fulfillers


The responsible and hardworking type. They are especially attuned to the details of life and are careful about getting the facts right. Conservative by nature they are often reluctant to take any risks whatsoever.

The Duty Fulfillers are happy to be let alone and to be able to work in their own pace. They know what they have to do and how to do it.

Fuller details of my personality type can be found here. All the rest are here.
Hat tip to the far too interesting, logical and analytical Will, a pioneer of new thoughts in our society!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tripe and bollocks ...

...are absolutely delicious. One of my abiding memories is of eating fried goats' testicles with a deaf mute Greek goatherd on the island of Tilos, whilst he gesticulated about what it would do for my libido. But what does this have to do with the credit crunch? A lot in France apparently, offal sales are booming.
“It’s not that people have become a lot poorer in this country, but they think they’re poorer because of all the talk of the crisis,” said Mr Arnoult, whose family has been selling les produits tripiers since the 1870s. “So they are looking to reduce the food budget and they are eating more offal.”
This appears to be the latest manifestation of lifestyle politics; lifestyle panic. And this is the strange thing about it all. For years a mainstay of the posh papers' weekend supplements have been middle class downshifters parading their moral superiority about the joys of a new found frugality. Now others are discovering it and suddenly we are all in crisis and being exhorted to spend, spend, spend.

And what a crisis this is if you read the papers. The Guardian headline today screamed about a "Bloodbath on the High Street". What horror has been unleashed now? Terrorist bombs, serial killers on the rampage, a surfeit of offal sellers? No, it is only that people aren't buying as much this Christmas. Retail sales in October were down by 0.1%.

Does this overwrought hyperbole mean that all the fears generated by the financial crisis are themselves nothing but tripe and bollocks? Not really, there are genuine victims of the banks' ingenuity, but they are a long way away from the fretting middle classes. Perhaps, too, the crisis shows that radical critics of consumerism, who have been going on about it since the inception of the Industrial Revolution, were actually on to something. I suppose that it has also marked a revival of social democracy as a tool of economic management. Who knows, Labour might even win the next election.

As for the offal eaters, my guess is that it won't last long and that they will soon be back wasting the money needed to keep a peasant alive in the developing world for a year on a single meal of Roast Foie Gras "Benzaldehyde". Global inequality is with us still.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Obama the Anarchist?

Germaine Greer drips with gleeful poison at the red and black dress worn by Michelle Obama on election night. Under the heading, "If Michelle Obama's such a great dresser, what was she doing in this red butcher's apron?", she wrote,
The effect of the strong contrast was to turn a mere frock into a poster in the most disturbing colours known to man, the colours of chaos. The juxtaposition of a rectangle of red on a black field is what we might expect to find on a flag or a shield. Coral snakes and venomous spiders signal their destructive potential by the display of similarly violent contrasts.
Red and black are the colours of Anarchism and whilst it might be expecting a bit much for an academic like Greer to be able to disassociate political Anarchism from a concept of chaos, she could have considered another explanation for the choice. In parts of Africa red is a symbol of mourning, just as black is in the United States. Obama had just lost his grandmother.

Remember this quote from an earlier 'election' this June?
Red rags have been tied around lamp posts that don't light and hung from bus shelters. Giant V-signs have been painted over the pot-holed thoroughfares. Bulawayo, the opposition stronghold, awakes today to find it has been painted red. As Zimbabweans turn out to vote in a one-man election, a final message of defiance was being daubed overnight on the only public space available to the opposition: the roads.

...One of the key organisers of the Movement for Democratic Change's "red campaign" who identified himself only as Thomas, said the symbolism was clear. "Red is the colour of the MDC. In African culture, it is also the colour of mourning. We are mourning the death of democracy, or the little we had of democracy."
The Obama family were mourning a personal loss, American democracy was in better health than ever. As for Germaine Greer ... words fail me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Education matters

The other night I watched the DVD of The History Boys, Alan Bennett's drama set in a Yorkshire boys' grammar school of the 1980's about a group of pupils aiming for entry into Oxford University to read history. The piece captures the petty snobberies of English education beautifully. The uncultivated headmaster, greedy for Oxbridge status, was sniggered at because he went to Hull! And there is the obvious attraction for me of a film in which one of the main characters is a fat, ageing teacher whose methods include "sheer, calculated silliness".

I find Bennett's writing utterly charming, it is always witty and wryly observed and he writes without cruelty. Underlying all is a sentimental poignancy. He is constantly aware that even the most happy of life stories must end in tragedy.

The heart of the plot is a confrontation of two traditional models of education, personified by two teachers, rigorous scholarship and anarchic creativity, with a new one, a cynical view that what matters, and is rewarded, is novelty rather than truth. And it is this model of post-modernist, contrarian history that wins the boys places at Oxford, though the ambiguity of the film is whether they could have achieved this without more solid foundations having been laid first. In many ways it is a lament for a dying tradition.

These days we face another challenge. Never mind the search for difference at any cost, or even cultural relativism, what we have to contend with today is a sense that all that matters is vocational utility and education is now being justified solely in economic terms. This was the subject of a powerful piece by John Holford commenting on the announcement by John Denham of a user consultation group on higher education. Who are the members? No academics are to be included, after all we are 'producers' not 'users', that is to be expected currently, whatever our commitment and expertise. However, there are also no students, nor are there representatives of non-commercial interests. The members are employers, implying that higher education is something that is run for their benefit alone. They are now the 'users'. Holford writes:
No "user" will speak for local communities; none for schools or hospitals; none for the old; none for charities or the voluntary sector; none for social movements; none for ethnic minorities; none for ordinary working people; none even for local authorities.

All this is, I regret, in keeping with recent government approaches to the role of higher education. Universities must not just play a part in "driving up" skills: serving the economy is now their raison d'etre.

Only the bravest university vice-chancellors and university councils with the best endowments try to implement broader, more humane visions. They receive scant support from government.

A recent case in point is the ending of public funding for adult students taking "equivalent or lower-level qualifications" - unless, of course, they enrol on specified (largely vocational) courses.

And now we have a recession, traditionally a time when enrolment in adult education grows as newly unemployed people use the opportunity to reinvent their lives, just as I did in the late 70's and early 80's when The History Boys was set. Only now it is so much more difficult. The erosion of a broad and accessible system of second chance education will really hit home.

Holford concludes,

We may hope that Denham's user group will take a broader and more humane view than their backgrounds suggest is likely. Perhaps, as the wealthy pocket their City bonuses and ordinary people pay the price, he will consider whether the rich and powerful really have all the best tunes.

Perhaps he will remember that a Labour Government should speak for the poor, the excluded, the weak - workers by hand and by brain - as well as Mandelson's messmates. Perhaps a vision of R. H. Tawney and other earlier educationists will come to him in a dream. Let us hope.

His piece is a lament too.

(Thanks to Mike)

World cup woes

England duly lost their semi-final to a New Zealand side they had thrashed only last season, a profusion of errors undermining a patchy but improved performance. England have been the disappointment of the tournament. The Kiwis will go on to meet and, undoubtedly, lose to Australia in the final. And here lies the great weakness of Rugby League. Despite vibrant club competitions there is little strength in depth outside Australia and if the international game is to flourish there has to be long term investment in raising standards elsewhere in the world.

None of this should take anything away from an Australian side that should rank with the best ever, with wonderful young centres, Greg Inglis and Israel Folau, the outstanding Billy Slater at fullback and the great Darren Lockyer captaining them from stand off. They look set to continue their domination and leave the rest of us wondering if they will be beaten in our lifetimes. Without meaningful competition international Rugby League will never thrive.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Preemptive strike

I was going to post at length on the spectacularly awful article by John Pilger in the New Statesman, condemning the Obama presidency a couple of months before it takes office. As accusations of betrayal go, this is a flying start. However, not for the first time, Olly says it all and much better than I could.

UPDATE
Read Ben Cohen at Z-Word

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Compulsory reading

If you read one thing this week read Terry Glavin in the National Post.

It is a story of hope:
But there is also the new, real-world Kabul, out in the streets, where the bazaars are bursting with life and commerce, and raucous laughter erupts from back alleys where men sit around TV sets watching Afghan talk shows. This is the Kabul the Taliban hates so bitterly. Every morning, the streets are filled with schoolchildren. Even in the dingiest parts of this bomb-blasted metropolis, among the rickety vendors' stalls that sell cow heads and sheep guts, you can't turn a corner without coming upon another newly opened computer school, or a long line of unveiled women waiting for their literacy classes to open for the day.
And of the bitter threat of betrayal:
Among Kabul's human rights activists, student leaders and women's rights groups, the big fear isn't the spectre of Taliban militias rolling back into Kabul. The much greater threat comes from places like Washington, Tehran and Islamabad. It's the clamour for a backroom deal with the Taliban (with President Hamid Karzai's signature on it for the sake of appearances). The stink of a looming betrayal is everywhere, and Kabulis, betrayed so many times before, can smell it a mile away.
Hari, Steele and all the rest of that cosy coterie can sound so reasonable, so civilised, so sensibly pragmatic when they they use words like 'negotiation' and 'peace'. It is such an eloquent way to describe putting the lives of Afghans into the hands of grotesque murderers. Read Terry instead, the truth is much less comfortable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One hundred and eighty nine years on

From The Weekly Dispatch, September 5th 1819
Through whatever part of the country a man now travels, he can scarcely find a drop of beer that is fit to drink; it is weak, sour, and unwholesome: all this is manufactured by persons who have an absolute dominion over publicans' licenses. The labouring classes whose chief strength was derived from, and whose chief comfort consisted in, the use of strong and wholesome beer, know very well the cause of their present privation; and the hatred they entertain for those whom they consider as the authors of such privations, can only be conceived by persons who mix and converse with them.
The Home Affairs Select Committee need to learn some history and I need a drink.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ninety years on

I am holding a book, its foxed pages commemorate the records of service of the staff of a bank in "The Great War 1914-1918". It is open at the entry Albert Norman Ryley. The record is short.
... in April 1918, being 1 month under 18, he joined the Royal Air Force as a Cadet. He had become a Flight Cadet when demobilised in March 1919.
He was my father.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Role model

Beware of this blog. It might be catching. According to reported research:
Obesity could be socially contagious, according to new research by two of Britain's leading economists. Professor David Blanchflower, who sits on the Bank of England's monetary policy committee, and Professor Andrew Oswald, an expert on the economics of wellbeing, claim that the nation's expanding waistline could be down to people subconsciously trying to 'keep up with the weight of the Joneses'.
Economists, please note; obviously the right people to understand obesity. So it is nothing to do with genetics or physiology, but with competition in "a Darwinian society". They might have a point though as this study of my readership shows:

Before Reading Fat Man on a Keyboard













After reading Fat Man on a Keyboard

Oh dear

England's performance in the World Cup (yes there is one going on, Rugby League, no you won't find much about it in the press, it's a Northern working class sport you know) plumbed new depths with an inept surrender against New Zealand after taking a commanding lead. However, you have to admire the ingenuity of the these Australians. As a result of the bizarre structure of the tournament, England's two successive defeats have won them a place in the semi-finals. They play New Zealand again next weekend.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Highlights

After a punishingly busy week, with a punishingly pleasurable interlude in the Old White Hart shared with some 1982 highland malt whisky and a select group of brilliant people from work, I found myself with a whole week's unread copies of the Guardian to look through this morning. There was the odd significant event, but I would like to give my own special Fatman awards to three pieces.

First, curmudgeon of the week goes to Ariane Sherine with yet another attack on the inventiveness of text language.
Nearly as heinous are emoticons, where valid symbols are robbed of their purpose and contorted into "faces", even by people over 12. "But I need to use smileys so people know when I'm joking," enthusiasts protest, unwittingly making yet another case for the exclamation mark. If you're ever tempted to clarify yourself with brackets and colons, just remember: anyone who needs their email illustrated with pictures probably isn't deserving of your prose.
OMG WTF r U going on about? :-( :-(

Next, the award for violent crime of the week goes to the Catholic Church.
An Italian man has claimed he was beaten up by two 83-year-old nuns and a priest in a row over the ownership of a restaurant in a small southern town.
Finally, the Munich Memorial Trophy goes to Jonathan Steele for a suggestion in one of the many ghastly lectures to Obama that infected the media this week on 'what he must do if he is not to be a serious disappointment to enlightened types like me'. Steele's ingenious idea was to hand over Southern Afghanistan to the Taliban because they are not Al Qaeda. Seriously.
In Afghanistan that means separating the issue of the Taliban from that of al-Qaida. Nato's tentative new policy of talking to the Taliban should be expanded, so that foreign troops can be withdrawn from the south. The trend should be to bring troops out, not send more in.
I have to warn him he has to deal with the wrath of Terry Glavin. And, in the mood Terry is in, he should be afraid, he should be very afraid.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another historic achievement

A man in Crewe has developed a model railway fixed to the ceiling that runs upside down. Video footage of this great leap forward for humanity can be found here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

History

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

W S Churchill


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Now for something completely different

Clips from the world's oldest recordings of classical music on wax cylinders made in Russia in the 1890's. There is a fuller account here. Just as I never tire of the excitement of handling historical documents in archives, these crackly snatches tantalise, reminding me that history was once someone else's modernity.

Via A&L Daily

Election day

One Day ...

Youngsters will learn words they will not understand.

Children from India will ask;
What is hunger?
Children from Alabama will ask;
What is racial segregation?
Children from Hiroshima will ask:
What is the atomic bomb?
Children at school will ask:
What is war?

You will answer them.
You will tell them:

These words are not used any more,
Like stagecoaches, galleys or slavery,

Words no longer meaningful

That is why they have been removed from dictionaries.
Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968)
Even if an election victory for Obama is merely one small step on the road to remove the poisonous word 'race' from our political discourse, it will be an event worth celebrating for that fact alone.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Top blogging

Terry Glavin is in Afghanistan and has posted about his experiences here, here, here, here and here.

Reading of the hopes of ordinary people in these posts is an antidote to the "controlled warlordism" school of pessimism. Fatana Gilani, head of the Afghanistan Women's Council, puts it into perspective. Terry summarises her views:
The recent hullabaloo about the prospects for truce talks with the Taliban should be understood as a harbinger of something horrible, and no friend of the Afghan people should be happy with it. Foreign powers cannot be trusted to "negotiate" with the Taliban, and neither can President Karzai, who's been pleading for talks ever since he was elected. The Afghan people have been abandoned before, and quite enough thugs and gangsters have been accommodated by backroom deals in recent years. If there's any talking to do, it should be led by the masses of the Afghan people, she said, with a strong phalanx of Afghan women at the helm.
As well as this, there is a strong reminder of the power and importance of adult education in transforming life chances, communities and, in this case, the future of a nation in his mention of the Afghan-Canadian Community Center in Kandahar.

I was also really taken with this comment,
The poverty here is absolutely savage. But for a foreigner like me, it's much safer to be visiting among the poor of this city than it is to be rolling around in a swish Toyota in the swanker parts of town, with armed guards.

Funny, that. Works the same way, all over the world.
It is true of my limited overseas experience too. Nevertheless, keep safe Terry, you have some important stories to tell.

What is the world coming to?

Another prank
A man had to be taken to hospital still attached to a steel toilet after super-glue was deliberately smeared on the seat.
I blame the parents, and the welfare state, Zionists of course, neo-cons obviously, Jonathan Ross, teachers, the 1960s, single parents, aliens, teachers again, the decline of Christian values, the BBC, a corporate plot by super-glue solvent makers, Muslims, progressive teaching methods, the chattering classes, Russell Brand, political correctness gone mad, the Illuminati, the Guardian, computer games, the Internet - and, of course, blogging. It is exactly the same as the Nazis.

Here endeth my application to be a leader writer.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It's just like watching Swinton

Oh dear.

It's a god awful small affair

In retrospect it had all the makings of the perfect storm of our national hypocrisies. Comeuppance for celebrities; sex and prurience; suburban morality; smugness; an elderly 'national treasure'; and a certain talent for pomposity. When a woman with the stage name of Voluptua, who performs in a sado-masochistic dance group called the Satanic Sluts, gets on her high horse about public decency we know we are in for something quintessentially English.

Suddenly the media was full of solemn pronouncements, politicians jumped on bandwagons, and it was not long before someone blamed the teachers. The public response struck me as nothing more than a passing frenzy, though all I experienced around me was a bland indifference, mixed with incomprehension.

We shouldn't make the mistake about this being some form of spontaneous public uproar that took people by surprise. This was manufactured outrage. That it took off where others have failed, such as the campaign against Jerry Springer: the Opera, was down to the weakness of the gag, the people who delivered it and its target - not the rich and powerful, not politicians, not bankers, not Russian oligarchs, but a popular actor.

Amongst the mountains of verbiage some dissenting voices could be heard. Will spotted the subtext early, in the mainstream media the Independent introduced a sense of proportion - "the BBC has reacted late, and extravagantly, to a mistake that clearly needed addressing, but should have been dealt with in a matter of hours" - and Paulie articulated serious concerns, seeing the affair as part of a continuing and concerted campaign against public service broadcasting by media interests seeking to profit from the demise of the BBC. He also introduced another important theme:
...the political right have suffered a crushing ideological defeat in the last few weeks. Something that they won’t properly recover from for some time. They will, naturally, turn all of their resources away from asserting their economic position, and instead, they will play the only card they have left: The cultural one.
It is a worrying phenomenon, but, despite the growing visibility of vocal religious minorities, I don't see British politics lurching into the polarisation of the American culture wars. Cultural politics is not new. The backlash to the reforms and social changes of the 1960's onwards has been a constant presence and a perpetual failure, people are not going to give up living in a happier way even if we are giving this form of conservatism more respect than it deserves. One of the things I like about this country is its irreligious irreverence making it resistant to the kind of politics that would turn suburban censoriousness into state censorship.

The attack on the BBC is more serious, though, given its vulnerability to powerful interests whose favour is the holy grail of most politicians. It is also the area where, thanks to Mary Whitehouse, the right is well organised. When Norman Tebbit talked of "the insufferable, smug, sanctimonious, naive, guilt-ridden, wet, pink orthodoxy of that sunset home of the third-rate minds of that third-rate decade, the 1960s", he did so in the context of an attack on the BBC. It is nasty politics too, an expression of a collective hatred and contempt for those who are different.

I have never liked Brand and Ross, they are an integral part of the wealthy, elite, celebrity culture they pretend to mock. However, anyone tempted to join the hue and cry should, at least, think about the company they are keeping. Perhaps,too, they should wonder whether a public service broadcaster that doesn't cause any outrage is one worth having.

In the end there will be few consequences, there will be no riots or Booky Wook burning, Brand and Ross will continue to make money, and the Satanic Sluts are now well on the way to becoming national treasures in their own right. All that has happened is that another chip has been put in the BBC's self-confidence and reinforced a fearful self-censorship.

As for a rebuke for a stunt I didn't like? Well the only one worth bothering with came from Voluptua herself when she said of Brand that despite his ladies’ man reputation, he was a “disappointment” in bed.

It was indeed a god awful small affair.