Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Conversations With Ben #12: The Mourning After

Before I start this week's conversation, I just want to convince you, once and for all, that I don't make these posts up, and despite what Alyson (and others among you) may choose to believe, Ben is an actual real person. I'd love to have the time to spend writing fictional conversations like this every week, but really it's just a cheap excuse for a blog post when I can copy & paste then edit down a week's worth of Whatsapp messages into this regular Tuesday nonsense.

Secondly, I was a bit worried about this week's conversation, in case it upset any of my regular readers who may actually have been in mourning this past weekend. So I popped over to Jez's place on Saturday to check the mood of the blogosphere (always a good place to start) and was reassured that I probably didn't need to worry too much. 

Ben sums it up best below when he says, "I feel awful for his family. It's never nice to lose a loved one. But let's not lionise the man..."

OK, enough with the pre-amble. Surf on over to another blog now if you're part of the Mary Whitehouse crowd (topical references, as always, my speciality).

Ben: Sorry, not thinking straight. The news about Prince Phillip has got to me.

Rol: Can we have a national day of mourning? Say, next week, when I'm back  in work? Wednesday is good for me.

A bloody week is not enough. Not enough.

Especially as he embodied the way in which the current administration seem to go about their business.

There, there. You'll get over it.

It'll be Harry and Meghan's fault. You wait and see.

It's so lonely on a limb.

No entiendo Rol-englesa.

Rol links to...

Ben replies with a link of his own...

Royal Mail cutbacks. One less telegram the Queen has to send next year.

Mrs. Ben made that joke already.

Low hanging fruit.

She also has given him one every year, I'd assume.

I thought you only got one at 100.

I'm sure family got more.

Like a nan usually does.

A tenner stuck inside.

She was his wife, not his nan. He'd be lucky to get a card.

This isn't an 80s sitcom. Partners are nice to, and do like, their spouses. Mrs. Ben gave me a treasure hunt on my birthday.

Sorry. I was just going from personal experience.

My year 8 form tutor once told us a joke that ended with the punchline, "why would [my wife] want a watch when there was a clock on the oven?" and I remember thinking, "and you're a dick". I ended up getting put on report numerous times because I called him a dick on several occasions.

One of those real old fashioned teachers.

Copy what was on the blackboard and you could sit in silence till the end of the class.

I walked out of his class numerous times.

Then again, I was just a little shit.

Like when Miss Miranda in Spanish made me move and I'd slowly drag my chair to where I was told to sit because, "that chair's cold and this one's warm already."

Pity they'd stopped corporal punishment by the time you got to school.

That unproven method that made a teacher feel a little better?

Our junior school teacher used to throw the board rubber at our heads if we were messing around. We stopped messing around when he did.

Only because you didn't want it to happen and not because it taught respect.

I had a lot of respect for him. He was a great teacher.

Don't be pedantic.

I'm extremely pedantic, but I don't think I was being then.

He was the first teacher to treat us and talk to us like adults. More so than a lot of the teachers we had at high school.

That had no relation to the eraser attack though.

It was a proportionate response given the mores of that time.

I do so enjoy challenging your cosy, parochial neo-liberal worldview from time to time. It gives me a reason to keep going.

I resisted using the term "namby pamby".

I genuinely hope you're using the term neoliberal as a joke there.

I just plucked it out of the air because I figured it would achieve the desired response.

Would namby pamby be better?

Well, since Thatcher is the archetypal neoliberal, yes.

Namby Pamby is fine.

Shows what I know. In what world can the term liberal be applied to a nazi?

As in the classic sense of the term Liberal. Someone who believes in the free market.

Surely that's a political-only definition?

That's what neoliberal means. It's a politics term that's become more mainstream.

Actually, I just looked up liberal and the first definition I came across was, "willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one's own; open to new ideas."

So I take it back. That's definitely not you.

The "neo" part relates to the belief that it is important sometimes to interfere when the market struggles to allow it to stabilise. A removal of unnecessary state interference.

I just thought it was to do with Keanu.

No. That's Johnny Utah.

Now Prince Phillip can join the Ex-Presidents.

(Obscure references to the movie Point Break there. Sorry.)

Running a benefits scam for the last 75 years wasn't enough?

You wouldn't think he'd have had time. What with all his royal faux pas duties, counting his Nazi gold, and casual racism.


I feel awful for his family. It's never nice to lose a loved one.

But let's not lionise the man.

Your humanity will be the death of your hardlinism.

Can you write my obit?

I'll be long gone.

Nothing a little necromancy can't solve.

Just caught 30 seconds of the BBC's rolling 24 hour-wake. "...a man who stood against facism..."

Facing it?

Propping open the door?

Ben sends a photo of the BBC iPlayer's Friday night content choice...

I know people live different lifestyles to me, and I accept that. I just wish they wouldn't shove it down my throat.

It is astounding. And I think it will backfire on them. The BBC in particular are out of touch with their audience.

(Ben points out that rapper DMX died on the same day as Prince Phillip.)

It's Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson all over again.

Was TV too focused on him when he died?

I remember it was my third date with this girl.

But then she wanted to spend all night talking about him.

I didn't. I wanted to do... other things.

Nothing compared to Diana. I was supposed to be running a Party in the Park event with the Spice Girls the day she pegged it.

I was quite relieved at the time.

I just remember being really annoyed because my mum wouldn't let me watch cartoons and was crying at the TV.

I'm just wondering which part of his back catalogue Elton will sacrifice this time?

Phil-adelphia Freedom?

Honky Cat?

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. All to footage of him ramming that civilian. Where he was "spoken to" by the police.

I think all footage mysteriously disappeared before AC12 got there.

I'm still cringing from the "Hastings, like the battle" quip last week.

He's been waiting 6 series to do that gag.

Several toenails fell off as my skin shrivelled at it.

I didn't mind it. It fit Hastings' character as a purveyor of corny idioms.

I think Jed Mercurio should resign because of it.

It's only a TV show, you know.

He should resign.


  1. I enjoyed this post on many levels. First rate embeds, of course, and finding kindred spirits with regard to the DoE.

    Have to say, I quite enjoyed Ted's Hastings line, it fit him like a glove. Besides, I can forgive Jed Mercurio anything when he delivers political commentary like this: https://twitter.com/WillHoddinott/status/1381382762247163906

    1. He'll probably get kicked off the BBC for that.

  2. Phil-adelphia Freedom!
    Chapeau gents, chapeau!

  3. I stand corrected. Apologies. Since giving up my office job I no longer have this kind of badinage with AN Other, so have on occasion resorted to having a conversation with WIAA!

    Very funny post - I've gone down a different route on my blog re last Friday's news but because it tied in with a theme I wanted to write about. Like the song references too but you've packed in so much there, it's blogging gold (not Nazi gold).


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