Monday, 10 May 2010

Elections, seriously

In honour of the election I give you my favourite political quotation, taken from Hancock's Half Hour of March 1958 - "The Election Candidate". Discussing the two contenders for the seat of East Cheam, Tony says

"I shall show my contempt by going down to the polling booth, taking my form, crossing both their names out and writing "get knotted" in."

Tempting, no??

Hancock's Half Hour, The Classic Years has eight scripts from the radio series, including "The Poetry Society", "Sunday Afternoon at Home" and "The Diary", part of which is better known as the "test pilot".

Incidentally, "The Election Candidate" also has one of my favourite bits of dialogue involving Griselda Pugh. Griselda is Tony Hancock's secretary, a woman of forceful personality. During the episode, Kenneth Williams comes to see Tony to invite him to stand as a candidate for the East Cheam Liberals! Kenneth rings the doorbell and the door is opened by Griselda:

Kenneth Oh good morning, are you Mrs Hancock?
Griselda Do you want a punch in the nose?

Only Hattie Jacques could be rude so politely!

I've included some images that I've made from photographs that I've taken at different times. At the top of the page you'll find the imaginatively titled
DandelionDaisy. I find it hard to think of either as weeds as they can both be so lovely.

Below is a celebration of all the cats that we have ever owned called
we've always had cats

Moving on, I just wanted to mention another book that I've read recently. Very far removed from Hancock and light years away from election or democracy,
"Colours of the Mountain" by Da Chen is the memoir of the author's childhood in rural China in the 1960's and 70's.

His family were landlords and following the revolution they were treated as outcasts by the other villagers. As a description of childhood and adolescence it is eloquent and remarkable. As a description of growing up in the midst of a harsh regime, in which humiliation and fear are often present, it is truly inspiring. Da Chen gives a wonderful picture of his family, communicating the love and strength he gained from his parents to us through the strength of his own character.

Throughout the book Da Chen describes some truly savage treatment at the hands of the Communists in the village, and gives a clear idea of the grinding poverty that his family was forced to live in for much of the year. He also tells stories of bravery in the face of cruelty and of adolescent misbehaviour that clearly is common to teenagers all over the world.

Da Chen's lack of self pity throughout is remarkable and he is so likeable that it is easy to warm to him and to share in his (and his family's) joy as he leaves to take his place in Beijing's Language Institute, in the English department.

I think it is probably easy to tell that I enjoyed and admired this book. I was sorry when it ended, and was delighted to learn that there are sequels which continue Da Chen's journey. That will be part of my holiday reading this year and I look forward to becoming re-acquainted with Da Chen.

Give it a try, or if you have already read it let me know what you think. :)

The last image is of a feather that landed in our garden called, curiously,

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