Well …it’s been a good news week for someone , anyway.Willie Frazer, the shy , bespectacled sensationalist and all -round street-entertainer has discovered that he is no longer in thrall to the ravages of a rare cancer. He says that he has been especially picked out for this rare new treatment, completely outside any known remit of the current Health Service.
Wilko Johnston , ex-guitarist of the rhythm and blues band Doctor Feelgood had similar good luck. Wilko of the stuttering, choppy, Telecaster guitar heroics, was pronounced to be similarly living on borrowed time some months ago and had resigned himself to imminent death, but was reprieved by a surgeon who managed to remove a cancerous growth as large as a fully formed baby from his abdomen . Wilko declared that it actually didn’t hurt much but it was beginning to bulge out and was starting to get in the way of his guitar playing. He had resigned himself to death and now life is all the sweeter because of his miraculous reprieve.He hopes to resume playing full-time soon.
Willie’s story is every bit as interesting . In a week when our own Health Minister, the DUP’s Jim Wells, was mixing up his “cirrhosis” with his “psoriasis”, live on local radio, apparently a cancerous tumour in his bowel disappeared entirely due to the special intervention of a cosmic deity somewhere out there in space and time.This alien creature, by some unknown interaction, has been keeping a particular, watchful eye on Willie and was possibly only testing his resolve by giving him cancer in the first place. In a fit of geniality and back-handed, impish generosity , he then decided to take it away because he wanted Willie to stay around for another while. I suppose we would all be grateful for having a special friend like that….or maybe he didn’t just want to see Willie up- close for a while….. just yet.Willie declared relievedly that “the hand of god has taken my cancer”. I wonder what the other hand will do with the ebola plague. Willie might have a word to say about that if he wasn’t too busy planning to take a trip down Dublin- way, to demonstrate, sometime soon.A “special” relationship like that might be handy when it comes to avoiding war and conflict…..Or maybe not.
Coming soon , our own Special Friends the British Prime Minister ,the Republic of Ireland’s An Taoiseach and another Friendly American, Senator Gary Hart, are to gather with our very own First Minister and Deputy First Minister to reassure us all that we actually have a local government capable of doing something constructive.It’s their, now annual, Christmas present to us all.
Meanwhile , as an aside ,it has emerged that a proposal to save taxpayers some money by making peers and MPs share a catering department has been rejected “because the Lords feared that the quality of champagne would not be as good if they chose a joint service”.
All this at a time when poverty is on the lips of everyone and food banks and starvation are being talked about in the UK. .
The House of Lords has a £1.3m annual catering budget and has bought in more than 17,000 bottles of champagne since the coalition government took office. Out of that ,each peer of the realm can have just over five bottles each year, at a cost of £265,770. The House of Lords, currently has 780 peers and 380 bottles of champagne in stock, worth £5,713.
It’s at times like this that Willie should have a whispered word with his own Special Friend about sorting all this poverty out.