I noticed from my 'hits list' that some one had arrived at my site after reading a very old post of mine (Decemebr 2005) that I wrote for The Sharpener following an invitation from them to do so. I should add that following my harmless little essay I never received another invite - can't think why! Re-reading it, I rather enjoyed it and given the pressure on my time at the moment - we open "Hamlet" in 10 days - I thought I would print the whole sorry mess including the comments:
"This rant is spat at you from the baleful keyboard of David Duff, who sits, or rather, slumps, in his armchair viewing the actions of his fellow man through a beady, and occasionally, it must be admitted, blood-shot eye. Those possessed of a strong stomach may inspect, at a safe distance, his other putrid opinions at www.duffandnonsense.typead.com
“STOP! I ORDER YOU IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT’S DECENT, NO MORE – ENOUGH!”
Alas, my Canute-like orders are of no avail. Still it advances; inexorably it slithers and slides and smarms its way into every nook and cranny, mounting ever higher until now, this, my last rant, is delivered with the ghastly, treacly, oily, viscous slime up to my chin and I can only croak one more time, “Stop this soppy, sanctimonious, show-off sentimentality - NOW!”
There was a time, and I am old enough to remember it, when the English were renowned for their sang-froid, their upper lips stiffer than a Grenadier guardsman (no jokes, please, gentlemen!), their emotions stacked neatly in the deep-freeze of rectitude. Wailing and gnashing of teeth was strictly for that peculiar species, ‘Johnnie Foreigner’, but never, ever, for an Englishman.
Well, all that’s long gone. I’m not sure when and where this oozing, sticky glut of sentimentality first arose. Probably Liverpool, under the Celtic influence of its Irish population. Certainly the ‘Scousers’ have developed it into a fine art form helped, no doubt, by the practice they get each time their ‘footie fans’ get bored with their tedious team and decide to crush the other fans to death, on the not totally unreasonable grounds that it is likely to provide better entertainment than watching their lack-lustre team. Later, of course, this sort of event provides excellent opportunities for a lachrymose outpouring of utterly insincere grief with all the modern icons of sentimentality in the form of piles of cheap flowers and vomit-inducing ‘notes of condolence’. These are presented with a canny eye on whether or not the ‘telly’ cameras are present and normally involve prodding their deeply unattractive children forward to, and please don’t laugh, ‘pay their respects’. Not even the tiniest glimmer of a thought enters their fat, stupid heads to the effect that if they had behaved like civilised people in the first place; no-one would have died!
I thought, and hoped, that this glutinous tide had reached its peak with the funeral of Princess Diana, when the entire nation, except me, went into a welter of sopping wet sentimentality that I had never thought to witness on these shores. But no, exactly the same lunacy took place only a fortnight ago when hundreds of thousands of my fellow subjects started behaving like a bunch of emotional Italians over the deserved, indeed worked at, death of George Best. Was he a war hero? Did he find a cure for cancer? Had he personally run a shelter for Ethiopian war orphans? No, he was a footballer! Instantly a queue of tear-stained morons formed to help produce a mountain of shirts and scarves and the ubiquitous cheap flowers.
As a last effort to fight against this sentimental effluent that is threatening to drown us all, I have decided on a plan of direct action. The next time you drive past a woeful, little bunch of decaying flowers set by the roadside in order to mark the spot where some Darren, or Kevin, having borrowed Dad’s ‘Beamer’, chucked back ten pints and then, presumably in the interests of scientific enquiry, decided to test Newton’s laws of motion, and coming to the conclusion a nano-second before his head went through the windscreen that probably the old boy was right; instead of driving past, swerve slightly to the left and run over them! If, on the other hand, the flowers are reasonably fresh, stop the car, pinch them and give them to the wife. (Actually, that might not be such a good idea because she will instantly suspect that you have been up to no good and give you hell for it. Well, that’s women for you, no sentimentality there then!)
Oh, and by the way, er, Happy Christmas!