I Shall Wear My Trousers Rolled 30

A couple of days ago, posting the video of Peter Cook’s wonderful satire of the judge summing up the Thorpe trial (which performace was itself a twenty year on reprise) I calculated that, to a student today, the reference was as distant as a joke about an event in 1938 was to me as a student. Yet I remember, vividly, the detail of Norman Scott crying as he bit the pillow and poor Rinka getting shot. That made me think I am very old indeed.

This was reinforced by reading a review of the current Monty Python Live revival. Again, to me as a student, the Goons seemed ancient history, so irrelevant and distant that I found older people’s nostalgia for them a part of the gulf between me and their different world. Well, to today’s students, Monty Python is two decades more removed than the Goons were from me.

I got into Monty Python a couple of episodes in to the first series, as word got round the school. There was something slightly illicit about it. There was a divide between those who could watch it and those whose parents refused to have it on (families only had one TV in those days). I seem to recall – and it may be a false memory – that it was even quite difficult to find, subject to strange time changes in the schedule, but I may just be building on a recollection of one night’s disappointment.

I wrote above that it made me think I am old, quite deliberately. I don’t feel old at all. Emotionally, I don’t feel significantly different to how I felt at eighteen – despite an extraordinary collection of life experience, I feel love and compassion in just as consuming a way as I did as a teen. I certainly don’t feel a great deal wiser, and I don’t seem to have become more cautious, and certainly not more right wing. But I make absolutely no effort to be young, What I have not done is adapt my tastes – I do not try to be trendy, (and that word perhaps is itself dating).

When I see my reflection, I always have a moment of disconnect as to who that heavy, fat, lined person is. I wonder how I got trapped in here. It is not that I am in denial about how old I am or how I look. I don’t have a different image of my physical self in my head. It is just that I can’t imagine that stolid and respectable person being moved or wracked by the emotional storms inside me or the radical thoughts on society. Than I realise I must misjudge others, daily, on the basis of their appearance.

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30 thoughts on “I Shall Wear My Trousers Rolled

  • James Dickins

    The kidnap victims were not the innocents which the media has presented them as. They were all members of extreme settler groups which propose the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians:

    The Makor Chaim yeshiva in Gush Etzion and the Shavei Hebron yeshiva in Hebron which they attended are well-known centres of nationalist-religious extremism:

    “Dov Lior [is] the leader of the Shavei-Hevron yeshiva at Kiryat Arba, a radical Jewish settlement near the occupied Palestinian city of Hebron and a hotbed of Jewish terrorism. Lior has vigorously endorsed Torat Ha’Melech [‘The King’s Torah’ – an extreme racist-nationalist interpretation of the Bible], calling it “very relevant, especially in this time.”

    Lior’s enthusiasm for Shapira’s tract stems from his own eliminationist attitude toward non-Jews. For example, while Lior served as the IDF’s top rabbi, he instructed soldiers: “There is no such thing as civilians in wartime… A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail!” Indeed, there are only a few non-Jews whose lives Lior would demand to be spared. They are captured Palestinian militants who, as he once suggested, could be used as subjects for live human medical experiments.

    Otherwise, Lior appears content to watch Palestinians perish as they did at the muzzle of Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s machine gun in 1994. Goldstein, who massacred 29 Palestinians and wounded 150 in a shooting spree while they prayed in Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs mosque, was a compatriot and neighbor of Lior in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At Goldstein’s funeral, Lior celebrated the massacre as an act carried out “to sanctify the holy name of God.” He then extolled Goldstein as “a righteous man.” Thanks to Lior’s efforts, a shrine to Goldstein was constructed in center of Kiryat Arba so that locals could celebrate the killer’s deeds and pass his legacy down to future generations.”

    (the rest of this article is also very good):

  • Phil

    “radical thoughts”

    LOL. Joining pro NATO political parties. Supporting the EU. If you don’t mind me noticing your actions seem somewhat less radical than your thoughts.

  • Beeston Regis

    I was up near East Runton the other day. I recalled the time I went camping with the Scouts in a field
    along Greens Lane, felt like yesterday, was actually 1978. 🙂

  • ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?

    Monty Python came out over 40 years ago. Forty bloody years. No thanks for reminding me. How time flies whether or not you are enjoying yourself, is all I can say.

  • MJ

    “There was something slightly illicit about it”

    Yes, it was on pretty late as well, 10.30ish, which didn’t help. We don’t have illicit TV anymore. You can watch anything, any time. I always regret that my mother refused to let me watch the original Batman series. It was on ITV (a major black mark) and was in her view too silly and cartoonish. How I wish I could have told her about post-modernist irony.

  • Tony M

    The Goons live on and are hugely appreciated by newer and younger audiences, well me anyhow. The game-changing technology that was audio compression methods such as mp3, makes things possible such as having copies of every single (surviving) episode and it hasn’t aged at all, the humour is abstract, pure thought, timeless. Python was only fairly good, the Goon shows were fantastic. Old radio programmes are the new Rock ‘n’ Roll, opiate of the masses. I’m just off out for some Mullard valves and a roll of Ersin Multicore solder.

  • Z

    As the man said:

    Age is a question of mind over matter.
    If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!

  • Jemand

    “Fed up with comebacks. Stifles any new talent.”

    And we’ve seen two from you, Mary, to illustrate the point.

  • Mary

    This is a unwelcome blast from the past for some. Sir Leon looked a tad geriatric in the BBC News film clip

    Leon Brittan urged to comment on 1980s ‘paedophile dossier’
    BBC News ‎- 5 hours ago
    A Labour MP calls on ex home secretary Leon Brittan to say what he knew about an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.

    The MP is the same one who has written about Cyril Smith. He was on Booktalk the other day.

    The BBC powers that be allow only 4 more days in which to view it. It should stay up for a year like some other programmes on the iPlayer. Who decides on these time limits. Mr Purnell?

    Watch now 4 days left.
    Duration: 15 minutes

    Mark D’Arcy in discussion with Simon Danczuk MP and Matt Baker about their book ‘Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith’.

    It was a different Matt Baker to the ubiquitous One Show/Countryfile/etc performer.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    “Leon Brittan urged to comment on 1980s ‘paedophile dossier’
    BBC News ‎- 5 hours ago
    A Labour MP calls on ex home secretary Leon Brittan to say what he knew about an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.”

    Brought to our attention, with lubricious glee, by the salacious Mary.


    Summer’s here – buy superb grenadine jam from Israel, you won’t regret it!

  • ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    …I have seen the mermaids singing, each to each;
    I do not think that they will sing to me….

  • ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    heard the mermaids…it’s looking at a screen that does it.

    BTW its – “I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled, ” from memory

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    I can’t believe you don’t feel wiser than your teenage self. That’s nuts. Or were you a teenage Solomon who had scaled the heights of earthly sagacity by the age of 18?

  • Clark

    Craig, thank you for this introspective post. So many look exclusively outside themselves when considering the problems in the world. Few have the self-awareness to realise that we cannot consider the world directly, but only through our lenses and filters, the concepts and values that we have made part of our personalities.

  • MJ

    Mary: you have to wonder what possessed Geoffrey Dickens to give the dossier to Brittan. A bit like giving a dossier on Israeli war crimes in Gaza to Netanyahu for safe-keeping. The dossier is of course “lost”. Well I never. Still, at least this repellent matter is getting some wider coverage. Credit to Aangirfan and others for plugging away.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)


    So that what he was up to during his hasty circuit of the safer bits of the ME a fortnight ago. It’s mow blatant. He’s leveraging profitable little sidies from his ‘position’ as ME Envoy.

    Blair’s new advisory capacity is in collaboration with a task force meant to prop-up Egypt’s ailing economy, a program funded by Sissi-proponent United Arab Emirates

    Egypt’s ailing economy? Or Tony’s very fat and largely untraceable one?

    “…He’s digging a deeper and deeper hole for himself and everyone associated with him.”

    You said it, chum.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    Murdered Pal teenager -latest;

    Quartet Representative Tony Blair also commented on the killing saying, “There is no possible justification for such a horrendous act – and the perpetrators must be found swiftly and brought to justice. Extremists must not be allowed to exploit the events of the last weeks to spark a further escalation in violence.”

    So far, so good.

    “The fanatics must be sidelined,” Blair stressed. “The Israeli and Palestinian leaders must continue their pursuit for a negotiated settlement that will bring about peace and security for their citizens.”

    Apparently the Quartet rep has yet to notice that no-one’s pursuing anything of the kind.


  • Peacewisher

    @Ba’al re Chilcot…

    No, especially as the same excuse was given for not publishing before the 2010 election!

  • Chee Bai Charlie

    That would explain the fat guy in the suit who keeps following me around.

  • Fool

    As a child I thought WWII ancient history but is was actually rather close, far closer in measured time than my own childhood is to the present day. Time only really means anything to me if it is experienced and even then it is subjective and elusive.

    Who knows what we are let alone who others are?

    Apologies for a reference to the Daily Mail, but it leads online today with a story from a neighbour of Rolf Harris, who has difficulty in coming to terms with Rolf as both a compassionate man and a sex offender. She doesn’t accept that he wasn’t compassionate and concludes “If it’s taught me anything, it’s that people aren’t one thing: they’re made up of different layers and you only see the side they choose to reveal.”

  • Muscleguy

    Around the centenary of the start of WWI it is worth bearing in mind that as it started there were still people alive who were at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. How could that be? there were children there, drummer boys mainly and some of them lived to great age.

    That we don’t have any WWI veterans left is testament to a century’s worth of social progress when it became socially unacceptable to send young boys to sea or to be drummer boys. Sure some boys of 15 lied about their ages to sign up, but they weren’t 8.

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