Frankly Vulgar Introduces The 9 People You WILL Meet At University

1)  The Wierdo

The weirdo inhabits a tragic Quasimodo-ish world of social anxiety, unwanted reclusiveness and permanently bad hair. I can guarantee that one of the first people you meet will be a weirdo and they shouldn’t be as easy to identify as they are, because there is usually nothing that physically identifies them (admittedly they often smell pretty bad). But identify them you undoubtedly will. The real mark of the weirdo is their ability to kill conversation stone dead simply with their presence. You could have a room with four best friends enjoying some high level roistering until the sudden appearance of the weirdo dissipates all the joy in the room. Large parts of your first year will revolve avoiding roaming weirdo’s who will attempt to befriend you inappropriately.

Famous Example(s): Dementors, Uriah Heep

2)  The Wasteman

(via The Telegraph)

(via The Telegraph)

There is a strange paradox at the heart of the wasteman. Wastemen literally do nothing at all: they don’t do any work but they don’t go out and have a good time either. They are just sort of there like that unshiftable antique armoire in your great aunt’s house. This raises the paradoxical question: surely the absence of effort requires effort to maintain? It can’t be easy to do no work at all and get away with it can it? Plainly the vast web of lines constructed by the wasteman means that he might be less of a waster than he appears. If only he could use that energy for good eh?

Famous Example: Nick Clegg

3)  The Northerner

It's cold 'oop North (via www.fanpop.com)

It’s cold ‘oop North (via http://www.fanpop.com)

As a Londoner, pretty much anyone who hails from north of Watford is both a strange and fascinating creature. Imagine my delight then, when the first person I met at Uni came from the barren post-apocalyptic wastelands that surround Leeds. Seriously though, northerners are great and by far the best kind of people on this list. Raised on a diet of glassing each other, wearing shorts in winter and pronouncing bastard as basss-ted. Northerners are not only generators of pure mirth but also make handy bodyguards when you start a fight in the local takeaway. Keep them close at hand because they are destined to eventually die in one of Blair’s oil wars.

Famous Example(s): The 9th Doctor, John Snow and DCI Gene Hunt.

4)  The Gym Guy

The reason you go to the gym is to do this one day.

The reason you go to the gym is to do this one day.

One of the more boring brute facts about the slow Americanization of our culture is that everybody has to look like a fucking Californian nowadays. The only way to do this is to sweat it out at the gym, which used to be the sole preserve of those fat public school boys whose latent homoeroticism leads them to beat each other up ‘playing’ rugby. Now we’re all in there, although beyond being relatively healthy I’m not sure I understand why. All gym guys seem to want to be, in Clive James’ imperishable phrase, ‘brown condoms stuffed with walnuts’. The paranoia and lack of basic satisfaction with life that the gym guy has is all a little bit sad really.

Famous Example: James Haskell

5)  The Toff

Draco finds out that Daddy just lost his job. (via harrypotter.wikia.com)

Draco finds out that Daddy just lost his job. (via harrypotter.wikia.com)

Toffs are incredibly defensive nowadays. Speak to any of them (they’re easily identifiable by their large jowls and un-ironic presence in the VIP areas of the worst clubs) and they will reveal this. It’s not fair whines the toff: Not fair that my parents have more money than yours! Not fair that people hear my accent and shout ‘rich nob’ and ‘wanker’ at me! Not fair that nobody takes my subscription to the New Statesman seriously! It’s just so tough for them. I guess the toffs will have to console themselves with all their money, their country hunting lodges (hurrah for killing small animals!) and their inevitable invitation to Prince Harry’s wedding to whatever Tattler-fodder he ends up knocking up.

Famous Example: Draco Malfoy

6)  The Private Schoolboy

The most slappable face in show business. (via www.mirror.co.uk)

The most slappable face in show business. (via http://www.mirror.co.uk)

Social status, shit loads of money and the far-reaching benefits of nepotism aside, all private schoolboys know that they are basically fucked. They are doomed to one day wake up aged 50, look glumly into the mirror and see Nigel Farage staring back at them. Unlike the toff who welcomes this fact (and has a hard on just thinking about it) the private schoolboy spends his time at university trying to hide from the inevitability that their career will involve fixing the stock market and fucking over ‘povo’s’. All the retro 90’s gear, the ‘Urban Renewal Trucker Mesh Snapback Hat’s’ and the pointless drug habit can’t obfuscate the bottom line here: privately educated men are c***s (trust me I’m one of them). Most private schoolboys have supported Chelsea since 2007.

Famous Example(s): Chris Martin, David Cameron, Michael McIntyre

7)  The Poser

Arguably the most dangerous character on this entire list and not just because they are the hardest to spot. The poser is that person who comes to university to finally be a proper ‘grown-up’. This results in a slew of tawdry certainties: drinking shit white wine makes you better than people who drink lager, incense is brilliant and anything French is the height of sophistication (I reckon this is how the poser justifies serial infidelity). Slightly less knowing than hipsters, the poser is mired so deep in self-parody that his/her life is nothing more than an unceasing satire, like the violence in a Paul Verhoeven movie. The poser usually studies languages or the humanities because those are the subjects with the most space to emit their special emulsion of bullshit and self-delusion. As comfortable in their own skin as a miniskirt salesman is in Tehran.

Famous Example: The guy with shit hair in the clip above who gets his ass whooped by Matt Damon.

8)  The Alternative Sports Guy

A classic case of a guy who enjoys alternative sports.

A classic case of a guy who enjoys alternative sports.

Before I arrived at University I thought that the only people who actually played darts were born before the start of the First World War but apparently this isn’t the case. You’re highly likely to meet alternative sports guy, a man who can only be dubbed ‘insane’ at pointlessly shite pseudo-sports like pool, table tennis and squash. Alternative sports guy’s ability in any given sport is in direct proportion to just how unpopular said sport is – the more shunned it is, the better he is at it.

Famous Example(s): Jesus Quintana, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ronnie O’Sullivan

9)  The Stoner

Arnie loves a spliff. (via marc.perkel.com)

Arnie loves a spliff. (via marc.perkel.com)

Christ stoners can be boring if they want to be. Seriously only when gym guy starts banging on about his dietary plan and how ‘whey protein isn’t what it’s cracked up to be’, does shit get as boring as when stoner’s tell you about how the hemp industry will change the world one day. Fuck off. And I don’t want to discuss the hidden symbolism of ‘Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle’ either because there is no symbolism in it. The best argument for the legalization of cannabis is that it will stop these guys from droning on about it sub specie aeternitatis.

Famous Example(s): Stone Cold Steve Austin, Steve Stone, Oliver Stone, Sharon Stone, Emma Stone

On Batfleck and Superman

(Warner Bros)

(Warner Bros)

I can’t have been the only one.

Walking out of the cinema with a huge grin on my face, still reeling from the formidable slice of cinema that is Man of Steel, to say:

“Boy, they could only better that if they had Ben Affleck as Batman in the next one!”

Batman totally breastfeeds now, didn't you hear about it?

Batman totally breastfeeds now, didn’t you hear about it?

I am of course being facetious. Man of Steel was not a terrible film but no one actually walked out of it with anything other than a headache and slight motion sickness, let alone a demand that the star of Gigli should don Batman’s famed cape and cowl.

Indeed the very idea of a Batman/Superman smackdown seemed strange even before Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne. The presence of two iconic characters in one film demands that the principle question of why they are together is answered with panache.

I fear that this fundamental imperative will be ignored. I fear that it is economic considerations on the part of Warner Brothers that are driving Batman/Superman towards its July 2015 release date, instead of what ought to be the prerequisite of making such a picture: a great idea for a story.

Films have to make money – I get that, but cherished characters like Bats and Supes have to earn that showdown, just as Marvel did with The AvengersMan of Steel certainly did not lay the groundwork for such a clash and director Zack Snyder and studio Warner Bro’s have not yet created a cinematic universe big or interesting enough to explain the presence of these two icons in one movie. This is the equivalent of making The Avengers after the first Iron Man

Marvel’s massive success at universe building has probably disturbed the suits at Warner. It ought not to though. They are after all the studio that gave us Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the only sequence of films in the whole superhero genre that might be called definitive, thematically interesting and perhaps even imperishable.

The reason the announcement of Affleck has been met with such consternation across the internet is because it is very difficult indeed to imagine anyone playing Bruce Wayne other than Christian Bale. The latter was an utterly ferocious Batman imbued with a physical and emotional intelligence that will be hard for Affleck (or any other actor for that matter) to emulate. God help them when they try and cast a new Alfred after what Michael Caine did with the part.

This doesn’t mean casting Affleck was wrong. Or that nobody can ever be cast as Batman again. On the contrary, he may be a good Batman. The decision to put Bats in the next Man of Steel is wrong though, simply because instead of respecting both the work of Nolan and the intelligence/wallets of cinema goers, Warner are content to chase the quick buck that Batman/Superman represents. I guess some men just want to watch the world burn, or they’re really, really impatient. For me the whole thing stinks of desperation.

The aforementioned Mr. Caine has a very wry observation on Batman and Superman:

“Superman is how America views itself. Batman is how the rest of the world views America”

In other words if Superman was an American politician he’d be a bullshitting and mythologised emulsion of various founding fathers and Batman would be Richard Milhous Nixon, a man with a crozzled and blackened heart whose very existence taints the American dream.

Good luck Ben, I think you’re going to need it.

England 3 – 2 Scotland: Frankly Vulgar Matchday #3

Rickie Lambert, pictured here with giant tracksuited owl behind him. (Photo: Telegraph)

Rickie Lambert, pictured here with giant tracksuited owl behind him. (Photo: Telegraph)

Alan Partridge would describe this as a ruddy good football match. Thankfully for both you (the reader) and I (me), I’m not Alan Partridge, so I will have to spend the next 5 paragraphs describing this match without recourse to the word ‘ruddy’. Partridge aside, this was a bloody good football match and arguably the most entertaining friendly England have played in a long time. Much of the match was defined less by England than by their Scottish opponents who gave a seriously pugilistic account of themselves here at Wembley. In fact, I’d written a long and elegiac match report about just how great Scotland were.

Then Rickie Lambert went all Roy of the Rovers on me.

Rickie Lambert scored his first goal, a powerfully directed header, for England yesterday with his first touch after coming on as a second half-substitute for Wayne Rooney. Rickie Lambert is 31 and not long ago had a job screwing lids on the top of jars of beetroot.

“I couldn’t get a club anywhere, I was training at Macclesfield without a contract and I didn’t have any money so I had to had to earn some by (working in) a factory. It was a beetroot factory. I don’t even like beetroot!” – Lambert

Now he is winning matches for England. Stories like Lambert’s are why football is the most popular sport in the world. Now before I get even more sentimental lets talk about Scotland, a country which is pretty difficult to get sentimental about unless you are noted ham actor and fascist, Mel ‘FREEEEEDOM’ Gibson.

International friendlies are usually an exercise in pointless corporate bullshit and incredibly boring football. The clear animosity felt by Scotland and their fans towards the English lifted this encounter into a far less dismal realm.

Manager Gordon Strachan who on the night looked like a cross between Boris Becker’s nan, a glazed ham and a giant walking wasp sting, has reinvigorated Scotland since he took the team over in January and this progression was clearly shown against England. Captain Scott Brown was a study in ferocity, bald and snapping like a turbo-charged turtle alongside his more cultured midfield partner James Morrison. Both were particularly dynamic and assertive in the opening half-hour, when Scotland had their best period in the game.

Joe Hart, clad in an embarrassing kit that made him look like an irradiated banana, was almost entirely at fault for Scotland’s first goal. It has to be worrying for both England and Manchester City that high-profile mistakes are becoming increasingly common for Hart. The aforementioned Morrison received a clearance from a Scottish corner and with Theo Walcott failing to even flail in the way of him, took a fairly straightforward shot from the edge of the box, straight in the direction of Hart who had to fuck up spectacularly in order to allow the ball past him and into the net. Which is exactly what he did.

The 20,000 Scots in Wembley duly went completely batshit, fuelled not only by the joy of taking the lead against the hated English but by an afternoon well spent doing this to Trafalgar Square:

BRokHZOCYAAU1Mu ay_116240618 ay_116240572

Furthermore those 20,000 Jocks present yesterday managed to unequivocally shut that shite brass band up for most of the match – I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them on behalf of all right thinking English football fans everywhere for this unassuming service.

England started poorly and looked toothless, unable to make use of some intelligent running from Theo Walcott or Jack Wilshere’s ability to turn and beat players in tight spaces. Instead they relied on the rapidly calcifying Steven Gerrard to spray and wedge pointless sideways passes to Kyle Walker or Leighton Baines in areas where neither was able to threaten Scotland.

Gerrard might have his uses as a leader and a deliverer of lavish set-pieces but the fact he was made to look so unauthoritative by Scotland’s midfield may give Roy Hodgson doubts about whether Gerrard ought to automatically start for England should they qualify for next year’s World Cup.

England’s Lazarus act began in the 26th minute when a neat exchange between Rooney and Tom Cleverley fashioned a first proper chance for the home side. Moments later it was Cleverley’s supple pass that put Walcott in behind Steven Whittaker and despite a dodgy succession of touches, the Arsenal forward was able to finish smartly past McGregor.

England’s leveler was an injunction that ignited Rooney’s interest in the game, after he spent most of the opening half hour looking as angry as an old man who’s golfing holiday had been interrupted by his teenage daughter’s unplanned pregnancy. A clever interchange with Welbeck led to a shot that almost crept past McGregor, and a dubious offside decision late in the first half prevented him from scoring his 9th goal in his last 10 England appearances.

Kenny Miller’s turn and surging dispatchment gave Scotland the lead and hope of a profound victory in the second half; a goal notable for the dummy Miller sold Gary Cahill, a dummy that the Chelsea centre-half bought so thoroughly that he probably didn’t even ask for a receipt.

England were roused by this affront, like some great cantankerous sea beast brushed by a school of fish. The response was swift – Welbeck heading a classy Gerrard free kick into the net within five minutes of Miller scoring. England continued to clank through the gears, threatened occasionally by the running of Naismith and Miller, until Lambert got his improbable debut goal twenty minutes before the end to give England a tenuous win.

Promising for the Gordon Stachan’s men; Roy Hodgson will be hoping that his side can improve before the crucial World Cup qualifiers they face before the end of the year.

Papiss Cissé and The Hypocritical World of Buffet Religion

Papiss has been rolling the dice with his Newcastle future during the off-season. (Photo: Guardian.)

Papiss has been rolling the dice with his Newcastle future during the off-season. (Photo: Guardian.)

Papiss Cissé is a striker for Newcastle United and he is a muslim. He could also probably apply for an honorary doctorate in hypocrisy if such things existed. Newcastle’s new shirt sponsorship by the pay day loan firm Wonga has conflicted with Cissé’s belief, common under some interpretations of Sharia law, that Muslims must not benefit from lending money. The row has reached a stage where the player left the club’s pre-season tour of Portugal as he continued his anti-Wonga stance, although he’s clearly not anti-wonga per se as he earns a not undismal £40,000 a week.

Cissé has already been accused in some quarters of a cynical attempt to force a move from Newcastle for two reasons: Firstly he had no problem abnegating his religious beliefs before when the club strip was branded with financial services like Northern Rock and Virgin Money (he wore both kits). Secondly all the other muslim players at Newcastle of which there are quite a few, like Hatem Ben Arfa, have no problem wearing the new kit.

Then it was revealed that old Papiss enjoyed doing stuff like this in his spare time:

Papiss, pictured here in the fetching black gilet, fingering some chips.

Papiss, pictured here in the fetching black gilet, fingering some chips.

 

A spokesperson for Aspers Casino described Cisse as “an occasional visitor” who was “very well behaved and very welcome”, but would not confirm whether or not he placed any bets.

In Islam gambling is an even more grievous sin (or so I’ve been told anyway) than money lending. In the Holy Qur’an it is labelled as “Ithm al-kabir”  or “a very great sin”, a description incidentally only used elsewhere for the practice of drinking (not rape or slavery or murder eh?) It is probably for the best that Cissé hasn’t been papped sporting a pint of Newcastle Brown Ale in the city centre somewhere.

The player’s actions have of course been granted with all the usual vehemence you’d expect. Newcastle city councillor Dipu Ahad had this nugget of wisdom to share with us:

“People will say, ‘look, this is Islam they can pick and choose whatever they want’, and Islam isn’t about picking and choosing”

Ahad is of course utterly wrong. Life and by extension, religion is about picking and choosing things, and the process easily makes hypocrites and liars of us all.  A short quote from Dostoyevsky ought to be sufficient to cool the councillor’s umbrage:

But,  finally, there are things that man is afraid of divulging even to himself and every decent man has quite an accumulation of them.

I’d love to find someone who could honestly say they were not the same as the above. We all do things we shouldn’t sometimes and often these are not things we want to share with anyone else. It is easy (and will no doubt be commonplace) to argue that Newcastle deserve better than such duplicitous treatment from one of their star players. The football cliché of choice would be that he has ‘sullied the shirt’ or whatever. Personally I’d argue that Cissé’s objection to Wonga is not entirely without justification as by all accounts they are a horrid company. Yet it is Cissé who has been damaged most in this affair, simply because he now appears a hypocrite to all the world, however noble his original intentions.

Papiss is no different to the vast majority of religious believers on earth. Only by being a product of Catholic education was I able to spend a great deal of time observing this ‘pick and choose’ phenomenon first hand, and in my time at school contradictions such as the one so aptly displayed by Newcastle’s want-away striker were as common as rain in Wales.

I’ve met many inspirational and intelligent Catholics and to a man and to a woman they were just as flawed as me, except that the flaw was dug even deeper into them by their poisonous subscription to a pointless faith. Some of these people, who professed to love everybody equally, would happily envisage condemning homosexuals to fiery torture sub specie aeternitatis. Religion makes it easy to believe and espouse two completely contradictory notions at the same time. Confront any believer with whatever obvious discrepancy of their faith you can find (there are thousands in Christianity alone) and you will be confronted with some wretched theodicy or breezily unsatisfying explanation. They may as well be as mute as a stone.

This kind of thing is not a good symptom for us humans. Samuel Butler claimed that life is a bit like playing the violin in public and learning the instrument as you go on. If we attempt to be the best we can be without recourse to the blood-flecked codicies and manuals of laughably primitive tribes, hypocrisy won’t disappear, but it will certainly be less pervasive as it is now amongst the parties of God. If Cissé had the good fortune to be an atheist he wouldn’t have been able to undermine his own cause quite so easily.

I won’t be bowing down for our new Queen: Beyoncé

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

 

“Nothing bothers me more than when groups like Pearl Jam and Nirvana whine and moan and complain about life and being famous. Let me tell you, being famous is great! If you hate your job so much, why don’t you fuckin’ go work at a car wash or McDonald’s or something?” – Noel Gallagher

Remember when you actually liked Beyoncé? Me neither. However I never really disliked her, she was just there (or everywhere actually) in the same way that Nando’s or traffic lights are. The tipping point from passive disinterest to actual dislike came when her astonishingly misguided HBO documentary ‘Life is but a Dream’ was shown a few weeks ago on the BBC. This came complete with a fawning introduction from Alan Yentob that was more than a little embarrassing in its ‘get down with the kids’ hand-wavium about what a paradigm defining artiste Beyoncé’ really is.

The film is a skewed, boring and hagiographic 90 minute attempt to get people to like Beyoncé. It instead ends up revealing her to be a classic study in God-fearing American narcism. We are compelled to empathise with the loneliness of superstellar stardom, the kind of celebrity that eradicates the ability of the star to live a normal life. Yet her attempts at introspection – obviously scripted, filming herself with full hair and make-up at 3am complaining about how her life has changed – are too fatuous to take seriously. I found myself muttering ‘give me a break darling’ at the TV, rolling my eyes and saying it like Jeremy Kyle when he is mining a serious vein of prickishnness.

Beyoncé’s life does seem like a dream, perhaps because nothing about it feels real.  It seems as if she lacks the intelligence to realise that she has lost touch with what it means to be a bag of perspiring, respiring carbon like the rest of us down here below the Mount Olympus where the likes of her and Jay-Z live.  She lacks the ability to turn what her life has become – being an outsider due to wealth and notoriety – into great art. Think of Bowie, looking down at his audience in the 80’s wondering how many of them owned a Velvet Underground record. Think of Eminem’s lyrics in the song White AmericaWhat has Beyoncé contributed to this rich seam of artistic introspection? This:

Way to make your fans feel appreciated Bey.

Thats whats most grinding about Beyoncé, her enormous, all-conquering sense of entitlement. She genuinely believes the guff her record label executive spouts about one of her albums being ‘totally original’. Beyoncé talks about songs, mostly written by other people, songs that Alexandra Burke could sing just as well, as if they re-shaped the surface of the planet. This leads to two problems: firstly her nauseatingly transparent humility, which manifests itself in constant referrals to the role God has had in her success feels insincere. Secondly because she  is told be those around her (and by Alan fucking Yentob) that her music is original, that it is groundbreakingprofound and all the other shit, she actually seems to believe it. In the realm of Queen Bey its not familiarity that breeds contempt it is insularity that breeds it.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry's costume from 2004's 'Catwoman' movie.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry’s costume from 2004’s ‘Catwoman’ movie.

The success of ‘Single Ladies’ (a song co-written by three men) has led to Beyoncé being lauded as some kind of modern day icon of the feminist fourth wave. In fairness much of what she says is admirable:

– women and men should be payed the same

– men shouldn’t alone in defining whats sexy and what is feminine

Why then are her actions at odds with her words? Beyoncé espoused the above in the pages of GQ (spoiler alert: she comes across badly) . Consider that the cover shoot was orchestrated by Terry Richardson, a man so misogynistic he may as well have the word tattoo’d to his fucking forehead for the rest of his days so that nobody mistakes him for being anything else. Our Queen appears in the shoot half-naked, playfully posing in male sportswear, complete with ‘the gap’. Whoops looks like you’re playing a role in classic male sexual fantasy Bey! As long you sell some Pepsi I’m sure its worth it though.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Beyoncé has been called “the most important and compelling popular musician of the twenty-first century … the result, the logical end point, of a century-plus of pop.”  She is a phenomenal performer, arguably the best in the world today; but when her shows are broken down they are around 60% lights and effects, 30% shaking of her famed ‘booty’ and about 10% singing.   It’s gospel burlesque shot through the prism of 21st century technology at a thousand miles an hour. It’s not important. I’m not compelled. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the logical end point of a century of pop:

“In 2009, both Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson had hits (Beyoncé’s “Halo,” which charted in April, and Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” which charted in August) that were created from the same track, by Ryan Tedder. Clarkson wrote her own top line, while Beyoncé shared a credit with Evan Bogart. Tedder had neglected to tell the artists that he was double-dipping, and when Clarkson heard “Halo” and realized what had happened she tried to stop “Already Gone” from being released as a single, because she feared the public would think she had copied Beyoncé’s hit. But nobody cared, or perhaps even noticed; “Already Gone” became just as big a hit.” (From this article in The New Yorker.)

This probably is though. Perhaps Beyoncé is the perfect 21st century pop idol, an iconic pop vacuum. She has very little to say, her life is about as different from you and me as Henry VII’s (they were both desperate for an heir) was and her twitter account is about as enjoyable to read through as the first time you used Microsoft Excel without knowing what the fuck was going on. The worst thing is that we don’t expect better, the market has made us dull, paralysed and stupefied us into expecting nothing more than an attractive woman writhing in front of some neat graphics.

Bow down bitches!

Maggie, Morrissey and Legacy

Image

Mozza and Margaret (Getty, AP)

‘Great’ people tend to be those who can ignite profound change and inspire blind devotion in equal measure. They are those rarities amongst us who can ‘set the weather’ by shaping it with their very will. Above all they never compromise, they can’t be bought or sold: they lead and others simply follow, shellshocked in their wake.

People like this don’t actually exist of course. Great people merely make waves in the tides of history, they don’t direct the process itself. Yet with the death of Margaret Thatcher this week, an inevitable operation of mythologising and beatification, led by Downing Street and in the rightwing press has begun in earnest. View with trepidation the front pages of the Mail and Telegraph on Tuesday: a backlit photo of ‘our Maggie’ at her ‘Rule Britannia’  peak, smiling benignly, the light warming the famously unmoving hair into a halo, a visual representation of a calculated attempt to rewrite the history of our country. This is Thatcher rebranded – above the swill of old hatreds, joining the pantheon of British political leaders who are now apolitical symbols of national unity.

Who stands against this?

Certainly not the Labour Party – their last Prime Minister spent £100,000 renaming a room in Downing Street after her. The BBC has been cowed into showing vapid commemorative programming that, deliciously enough, has been beaten in the ratings by Coronation Street. The really despicable moments of Thatcher’s reign, for instance discrimatory legislation like Section 28 has barely been mentioned this week. When the discord and disharmony sown by Thatcher has been shown on the news this week it has dwelt far too much simply on the fact that many people despised her and not why they despised her. Similar to the way the 2011 film ‘The Iron Lady’ showed a horde of screaming protestors battering the great ladies car without explaining their motives at all. Terrifyingly that film and the sycophantic press coverage this week will probably shape the way a vast majority of under-35’s remember Thatcher.

That leaves us with Morrissey.

An 80’s icon who divides opinion in a way that is startlingly similar to Thatcher, Morrissey’s song ‘Margaret On The Guillotine’ was probably the first protest song that I ever heard and actually understood. Ironically the artlessness of Thatcher the person (her interests didn’t stretch very far beyond watching the occasional episode of ‘Songs of Praise’ and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tennyson) and her government created an atmosphere of opposition that created great art – everyone from Billy Bragg to Sue Townsend owes a strange kind of debt to Thatcherism.

Through his music and interviews (in one he famously wished the Brighton Bombing had claimed her life) Morrissey represented a slice of culture and a section of society that vehemently loathed Thatcher. This week his chance to dance on her grave finally arrived. He didn’t hold back.  Much of the truly vehement appraisals of Thatcher this week have come from similar figures from the period.

Yet by displaying such naked, reckless hate for Thatcher, Morrissey reveals a character remarkably like that of the Iron Lady. In fact there are many similarities between the two; their aforementioned divisiveness, their intransigence and their proclivity towards hubris. They are both magnets for hatred from the press and the public. Thatcher’s slide to irrelevance began as she was tearfully ushered out of Downing Street, Morrissey’s as The Smiths fell apart around him in 1987. For Thatcher’s remark about the ‘enemy within’ trade Mozza labelling the Chinese a ‘sub-species’. Was it Mozza or Maggie who said this:

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing”

It ends there though. Morrissey is merely one of the great songwriters of the last 30 years. Mrs. Thatcher was a politician who changed Britain in a revolutionary way. What transpired under her leadership may have been better than the alternative; a managed decline of a former great power, Michael Foot creating a Warsaw-upon-Thames land full of nationalised pubs, intermittent electricity and unbreakably powerful unions. This does not however excuse the unblinkingly one-eyed coverage of Thatcher that has occurred since her death, nor does it mean the public should contribute to what is already being called an “all but a” state funeral. Churchill – a leader who united the country in a remarkable way deserves such an honour but Thatcher, who has left us with a legacy of profound divisions especially between rich and poor and between the celtic fringes of these islands and England, simply does not deserve the accolade. Nor would she want it.

She blazed a trail, with the caveat that it was for herself and for people like her. All opposition was either wrong or the enemy. To consider her a symbol of national unity is to be sadly misguided. Equally to assess her legacy as she assessed her opponents: in extreme terms that border on hatred, is to poison the discourse to come: the sight of smug Brixton hipsters who probably wouldn’t even know what a ‘pit’ is celebrating her death was almost as irritating as the tearfully masturbatory tone of the right-wing press this week.