MINISTRY OF CULTURE
LESSON NUMBER 12
I WON'T TELL YOU AGAIN
History? What do you arses know about history? Nothing, that's what. Less than nothing in some cases. In America you only have a couple of hundred years of history. A pretty volatile and bloodstained few years agreed, but who on God's earth would want to remember them?
Over here in Europe though, we have shitloads. We've got so much history we have to manufacture tremendous warehouses to store it in. I know where they are and I have a crowbar. SO: this week I am going to prize the padlock from the dusty barn labelled THE SIXTIES. Come on in, and let's do a couple of lines of the past and maybe skin up a couple of reefers full of yesteryear.
LIKE, FREAK OUT, MAN
"If you can remember the '60's" begins the remarkably self-satisfied cliché, "you weren't there." Taking that discernment to extremes, since I can't remember the sixties at all, I must have been there. Let me tell you all about it.
If you mention the sixties to an American they will think of The Grateful Dead, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, Timothy Leary, Ginsberg's Howl and so forth. But I say "FUCKSTICKS" to that hippie balderdash. Because I am British.
So here's how the sixties worked in Britain. The post-war positivity united with the fresh naiveté of the 50's gave the sixties a wide-eyed purity of heart and willingness to explore. It was a season of boundless possibilities and a period of immense social upheaval. And drugs.
Take the following significant topics:
BRITISH SATIRE IN THE SIXTIES
At the beginning of the sixties a group of privileged, over-educated, middle-class, public-schoolboys got together to become the most influential satirists of the age "Beyond the Cringe."
Their bonkers public schoolboy outlook rocked the foundations of British civilisation and brought the establishment to its gin-soaked knees. Sketches such as "I say, the Queen is wearing a silly bonnet" and "My word! The Prime Minister's face is just like an arse!" trod a path through un-charted waters and arrived atop the peak of a cultural-revolution mountain.
The establishment was gibbering mad and immediately stopped their pocket money, forcing them into the newspaper trade. The crazy privileged foursome set up a satirical horticultural magazine to earn a decent crust; "Privett Eye."
But, what happened then? How did this tale of fearsome revolution end? Well, one of the fops became a respected BBC playwrite, one a Hollywood movie star, one a theatre director and opera mainstay. Anti-establishment? They are the sodding establishment. Plus ca change, as they say in Idaho.
BRITISH CENSORSHIP IN THE SIXTIES
Up until 1960 British censors were rabid guard dogs who gratified their treacherous fancies by wantonly ruining any potentially absorbing art. These arbitorial connoisseurs would prowl around museums chiselling the nipples from statues, tearing pages from dusty tomes and putting their hands over peoples eyes should anything racy occur at the theatre.
It was all part of a brilliant scheme created by Thomas Gerald, a movie director of little repute and even less moral fibre, to justify his succession of bawdy comedies. He knew that if he could repress British sexuality his tawdry movies starring Daphne Mamms and John Piss-Chocolate, would be box-office gold forever. By splicing the genes of a nosy, masturbating voyeur and an art-hating sociopath, he created a battalion of bio-censors who routinely sought and destroyed any artistically-valid references to sexual activity or bodily functions.
He would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for that meddling DH Lawrence and his book, Lady Chatterly's Lover (AKA Grunt grunt grunt).
Lawrence's earlier works, such as Parting the Sticky Curtains and The Purple-headed veiny Bang-stick had escaped the censor's gaze by vrtue of being indescribably dull, but page 140 of Lady Chatterly's… contained the first written reference to the word "Minge-rubber," a reference which caused fourteen of the BIO-CENSORS to explode.
The publishers, "WAGONWHEEL" found themselves in court on a charge of capital naughtiness and four separate counts of "sauce." But the case was to famously collapse when the prosecuting council asked the jury the following question:
"Is it a book that you would wish your whore-bitch wife or stinky-arsed servants to read?"
"Yes it is m'lud" came the unanimous verdict of the lovable working class jury.
"Fuck it then," began the judge, "case dismissed."
Later that evening, while appearing on the BBC show Booky Booky Bookcase, Kenneth Tynan, the renowned theatre critic, said "Minge-Rubber" at total of forty nine times, to celebrate this historic slackening of public decency.
So, you impertinent arse-piece, the principle of censorship was taken into the pub car-park and had seven shades of shit kicked out of it by some casuals. Which is significant from the point of view that you can say any old word on TV these days, but if you go against the party-line at the BBC you still get fired. Or if you work for MI6 and you publish the names of the people you work with on the Internet, it gets removed quicker than a supermodel's arse-hair. Political and Governmental censorship is still allowed you see, because they have the power to MAKE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAPPY WITH THEIR MAGICAL POWERS. I LOVE THE GOVERNMENT. But if they find out that I sent this item in, they will edit that last bit out.
The LOVELY PEOPLEuckers.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT?
NEVER TRUST A SATIRIST: THEY ALWAYS BECOME THE THING THEY SATIRISE
DH LAWRENCE IS SHORT FOR DIRTY HARDBACK
CENSORSHIP HAS SLACKENED SOMEWHAT, THE ONLY TABOO LEFT IS THE TRUTH
Until next time
Eu sou um amante