Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Cultured Club

I stood in the Basquiat exhibition at the Musee d'art moderne in Paris the other day looking at all the pretty pictures. Scribbled drawings and slashes of paint. References to a heritage and a present and it was all rather fascinating.

Thought about going to see the Gauguin at the Tate Modern in London on Monday but realised that Tate Modern and school half term did not really go hand in hand. So I have left that blockbuster for after the school holidays.

As I slouched onto the platform at St Pancras International this morning I looked out for the ICE. But it wasn't there. A couple of weeks ago it was being shown off ahead of the Deutsche Bahn service between London and Frankfurt that will make the German city accessible in only four hours.

Mein Gott.

I have very happy memories of Deutsche Bahn as I swept through Germany during the 2006 World Cup in its first class carriages. There was some month long ticket available on a special rate to journalists so I bought one and had a rail of a time.

That's a poor joke.

But with the new sleek ICE trains, Germany will be even closer. And for an anti aircraft person like myself, this makes me happy. If this possibility had existed before, I'd probably be living in Deutschland and commuting to London rather than Paris.

Cologne will be soon just a three hour breeze away. Wunderschön. And with 500,000 or so public sector workers newly idle, the trains ought to be full of day trippers heading off to savour the delights of the Chocolate Museum and the local beer.

But they're not likely to have much cash to be able to travel. Oh weh.

I assume the bigger brains than mine have taken all this into account.

Or is there a bigger gamble going on? I'd love to think about right wing military take over but even the armed forces and the police are being reduced.

That's reassuring in the event of social unrest. I'm going to seek the odds on a state of emergency being declared in Britain in less than five years.

The Strike

A few people in the office in London have engaged me in conversation on the subject of the strikes in France. Moreso since the eldest was interviewed by a reporter and asked about running the gauntlet of hate - that's my spin on it.

I thought it was quite strange, a journalist from my paper phoning up the daughter of a journalist on the paper. Let them get on with it which was apposite for both spheres.

The Economist was succinct as ever on the issue. Demography and economics make the pension reform in France inevitable. And bleating about it in the streets doesn't alter the state of the nation.

I'm always intrigued by the amount of anger that can spill onto the streets over these issues. And I muse why couldn't this energy have been used to rally support against Nicolas Sarkozy.

I mean if it is so appalling and everybody hates it why did they vote for him two years ago? It's something to do with the fact that he said pensions wouldn't be touched.

So he's gone back on his promise. Wouldn't be the first politician to do that. Ho hum. In two years time there's another presidential election.

Maybe in the campaigning for that the candidates will promise to put the pensions back to the way they were.

And Iraq will be uninvaded.

The Plunge

All of a sudden gloom appears to be the theme. It is very important from a media point of view because nothing sustains the chattering classes like misery. Systemic incompetence is so very good for the debate.

And there's been such a lot of it that it's impossible to call it a vicious circle because the virtue is that we've been forced to face the reality of big living.

Only now the cuts that are being heaped upon us are going to hit the very people who were powerless to stop the reason why they're being visited upon us.

As my little brain understands it, the banks had to be saved because they spent and spent without restraint. The taxes plugs the holes to save them because they're really important. And now the things that tax payers like - things like hospitals, decent rail services and local services like libraries all have to shut because the country can't afford them any more.

I have been reading around trying to find out what the 500,000 public service workers are going to do once they've lost their jobs.

And exactly how are they going to get some cash to live on since things like housing benefits are going to be cut.

I am sure an article will tell me in due course, perhaps the articles have already been written. I just need to surf the web to find it.

Of course once I've found it, Ill probably be quite gloomy.