Friday 14 August 2015

Corbyn, Warbler, Buster

'With four weeks to go...'
That was the phrase, in a news bulletin, that jolted me out of my stupor. Yes, this Labour leadership election farce still has four weeks to run. What will Jez Corbyn's opponents be prophesying by then? Darkness across the face of the land? Crop failures, murrain, famine and flood? It's clear now that the rise of Corbyn was entirely predictable - after the General Election catastrophe, what else was Labour going to do but jerk itself back into a semblance of life with a shot of pure retro Leftism? A Corbyn victory will be followed in due course by most of the old guard peeling off, reaching out to the still more benighted Lib Dems and forming a grand centre-Left anti-Cameron alliance. They could call it the SDP, or the SDLP... Yes, it's back to the future again!

I hear there's a new 'app' called Warbler that claims to be able to identify birdsong. You just turn your phone to the sound and - hey presto - up comes the name of the bird responsible. They demonstrated it on the radio yesterday with a birdsong recording. Name that bird. Up came Warbler's answer: 68 percent Chaffinch, 51 percent Eurasian Tree Sparrow. It was a House Martin.

Radio 4's Film Programme is appealing for memories of Buster Keaton's tour of British music halls and theatres in 1951 - a tour that seems to be strangely underdocumented, even allowing for the fact that Keaton's star was not shining very bright at that stage in his career. Ten years later, though, he starred in a curious episode of The Twilight Zone - and that, happily, survives. You can watch it here...  It's a fun silent-movie hommage - not exactly classic Keaton, but it's still impossible to take your eyes off him, and there are odd flashes of the old genius. And what an athlete he still was - bear in mind that Keaton was 65 years old when he made this, and had devoted a good many of those years to the demon drink.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the Buster Keaton link Nige, sadness with hints of greatness. As for our poor old socialists, the runners and riders appear to be a bunch of pit ponies, put out to grass. Corbyn has been in Aberdeen, Scotland's least left wing city, showing that he is either hopelessly advised or possibly simply hopeless.