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Peter Rhodes on blowing a Brexberry, talk about York and the gentle death of a singer

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Peter Rhodes

In the interest of fairness, there should be some suitable mass response by Remainers to the flurry of fireworks by Brexiteers on January 31 which I proposed a couple of days ago. May I suggest the Brexberry? This involves many millions of Remain voters waiting for the celebratory fireworks to fade away and then blowing an enormous collective raspberry. It might shake roof tiles. It might even shift the earth on its axis.

Although frankly I doubt that. Do you remember how, back in the old days before everybody could know everything at the click of a mouse, we were repeatedly told, in comics and by wise old uncles, that if the entire population of China jumped up and down at the same time, it would cause an earthquake? And then some spoilsports did the sums and posted it online. Turns out that the collective landing of one billion Chinese people would have about as much impact as a mosquito flying into the Empire State Building. Wasn't life much more interesting before the internet?

If you're a blues music fan you'll know about the black humour of blues deaths. A blues death has got to be sudden and it's got to be South. So getting shot, stabbed, hanged or sent to the electric chair in Tennessee, Arkansas or Georgia is definitely a blues death while dying under liposuction in Boston is clearly not. A few days ago the respected Nashville folk singer David Olney died on stage of a heart attack. His fellow musicians say Olney apologised to the crowd before closing his eyes. According to a colleague: “He never dropped his guitar or fell off his stool. It was as easy and gentle as he was.” The ultimate blues death for a legend and a gentleman.

I may have mentioned York rather a lot. That's probably because I lived there for a while, working on a great old hot-metal newspaper smack in the city centre. The traffic was bad then and it's much worse now. So it's good to hear the old place is set to get a car-free city centre, for all but disabled drivers and other essential users. Meanwhile, York is also in the running to provide a new home for the House of Lords. How much do you bet that the list of “essential users” includes their Lordships?

York was never short on self-confidence. I remember an inquest where the coroner grandly referred to it as “this Second City of the realm.” Hang on, I thought. What about Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh? It was explained to me later by a patient old sub-editor that York is the Second City, but only in church terms. After Canterbury.

Which way should you face to blow your Brexberry? Hard to know, given that Brexit strongholds can be found in the north, south, east and west of England. You could try blowing while going round in circles. Just like the Brexit debate.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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