Saturday, 16 March 2013

Aquatic teenage sex and squalor

We watched a rather glossy version of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' on DVD last night, starring Derek Jacobi as the old gambler. The most shocking thing about this well-known, Dickens morality tale is how life carries on so sweetly for Nell's grandfather, immediately after he has driven her to an early grave (aged 14) through his constant and ruthless pressure on her to obtain money by any means necessary, so that he can fritter it away on cards, rather than giving her just one square meal which might have been enough to keep her alive.

Nell's estranged father turns up toward the end, and is seemingly completely untouched by the death of his daughter as well. In this version, there is no explanation of why he went away in the first place, unless I missed it. He even buys back the shop for the old bastard, and the final scene is of all of them sitting around, smiling whilst surrounded by all the comforts of home, and enjoying a jolly meal together - without Nell.

Gambling is the one vice that I have never had a problem with (well actually one of quite a few, not least incest), but I do understand that it is quite a problem for some people, like any other addiction. I don't think I have ever actually known a gambling addict either.

I quite often tell people that I don't much care for Dickens (heresy!), but I love watching adaptations of all the classics on screen. They are an escapism for me, and last night I needed to escape.

To cut a long and boring story short, I posted a comment on You Tube and bruised one of the largest egos in town, the owner of which is now accusing me of being an evil troll for posting it under the name Tom Stephenson, as if I could ever have kept my true identity secret, given how small this town is and the nature of my comment.

The truth is that my machine is  - of it's own accord - kept permanently switched to that name, and if I simply go to the top bar of Google and open You Tube, an account is set up under that name automatically, and I forgot this when I (somewhat drunkenly, it has to be said) posted the comment a few nights ago. By the time I clicked 'submit' it was too late, and Tom Stephenson had uttered the words.

My other You Tube account is set up under the name, 'iampooter', so without signing my actual name beneath the comment (and wasting valuable letters from the 500 allotted), he would have been none the wiser anyway, without doing the simple guesswork which he did in any case. Nobody signs their name separately to their account name, unless they are trying to sell themselves as rock-stars or film-makers, do they?

That's the trouble with egos - the bigger they are, the easier they are to bruise. All I did was call him 'boring', as far as I can remember, and make a joke about one of his many stories (yawn) about sexual exploits, shouted in a loud voice over the bar.

I wonder how long I will be in the dog-house for as a result of this stupid spat, and I wonder how many more people are going - on his advice - to give me the cold-shoulder.

Self fulfilling prophecy - maybe I will end up as one of those old gits who sit around in pubs on their own, mumbling into their pints and shunned by everyone?

Looking on the bright side, Oscar Wilde - before he was shunned by society - said anyone who could read the account of the death of Little Nell without laughing, could not be human - or words to that effect.

P.S. Pretty eye-catching title and photo at the head of this post, eh? I must look her up - under an assumed name, of course...


  1. Oh dear.....the online version of drunk dialing..

    1. You know that they make some cars which have in-built breath-detectors which - if they sniff alcohol - refuse to allow the car to be started? I am thinking of fitting one to this computer, somewhere around the email area.

    2. Ironically, I had been getting drunk with his girlfriend (who I really love for her sheer fun-loving personality) that night, and now she isn't talking to me either. Oh well.

  2. I had an uncle who was a 'professional gambler'. He was very cautious, not at all crazy, and was happy to live on a reasonable income from choosing the right horse. Maybe it was because he never chased after 'the big win' that he remained sane.

    Are you expecting someone to offer a cash prize for Blog Title of the Year? There seems to have be several contenders about recently.

    1. Cash prizes are always welcome in this household.

  3. Dear Tom,
    from what you write I will never see Little Nell on that DVD - though I love Derek Jacoby (a very fine voice, he has). In The Tale of Two Cities Dickens portrays himself through Charles Darnay - you see you are not the only one with an alias - though Darnay's fate I hope you will escape: locked up in the worst prison of all prisons, the Bastille. ...

    1. Simon Callow has the better voice, and also specialises in Dickens these days.

      If I really had to go to prison, I would LOVE my own suite in the Tower of London - one with a view.