+What a day. On the Today prog this morning a chap who gave evidence to the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC—or should that read sic?), one Bill Browder, a founder of Hermitage Capital was given free rein to assert that the United States (and inter alia the UK) didn’t engage in assassinations, shooting down airliners, etc., etc. Only the Russians do that kind of thing. Mr Browder has an interesting background (see Wikipedia) but despite his obvious success at making money in the City it must have escaped his attention that in 1988 the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger jet killing all 290 on board, that the US has vicarious responsibility for the death of democratically elected Chilean president Allende (and God knows how many others), the overthrow of Mossadeq in Iran, starting an illegal war in Iraq on false pretences: the list could go on and on. The report of the ISC to which Mr Browder gave evidence now apparently has come up with the main conclusion that the UK government had not given sufficient attention to the Russian threat to our unimpeachable democracy. This is ‘the line.’ I’ve not read the report yet so cannot comment further on its content. Suffice to say, please ensure that when you go to bed tonight check under your mattress to see whether there’s a Ruskie following your every move. Closely followed by a BBC ’security’ correspondent.
+I’ve not watched a great deal on the telly lately, but I have largely enjoyed the three part BBC4 ‘Being Beethoven’ series. There was a lot of focus on Ludwig’s forlorn love live, which indeed may have inspired a good part of his music. What was largely skated over was the fact that Beethoven was a serious alcoholic. My definition of a serous alcoholic is one who dies young(ish) as the result of cirrhosis of the liver, as did Beethoven. One of the anecdotes recounted at the end of the series regarding his last words were, just as a delivery of wine arrived, he exclaimed ‘Too late!’ What I wonder stopped the series producers delving deeper into this issue—that he drank a lot was alluded to merely as a slight background problem. A regularly featured psychoanalyst didn’t refer to his alcoholism. I think this is part of an agenda. Beethoven’s greatness, for these purposes had to be cast in the light of a great struggle between love and loss, rather than something aided by reference to the booze. I think—speaking as one who knows alcohol well - if it’s a part of your life, it’s not an adjunct, it’s a formative part of your very being (whether you like it or not, and I happen to like it). The protestant instincts of those who would like to think that Beethoven’s music was purely a result of his born genius and a few unrequited love affairs overlook the spirit.
+I’m pleased to report that here in Scarborough (North Yorkshire, not Ontario) the pandemic is completely under control. This at least is the verdict of 99.9999% of people walking up and down the main drag who don’t need to wear masks, physically distance or make any effort to cover their gobs when coughing and sneezing. I am greatly relieved. I imagine most of them to be Johnson supporters.
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