THE BIG NAZI AND OTHER WATERY TALES

nazi donald

If you are looking through your window just now, shaking your head at the relentless gloomy greyish rain and wondering when it will ever stop falling, all I can say is that they are suffering a similar fate across the water in Liverpool. It may be a degree or two milder but the skies have been pouring down with an incessant vigour for the entire weekend and look like continuing .I was over visiting and had to check whether or not the sea had really risen and finally separated Scotland from England . It seems that global warming might actually finally grant Scotland physical independance from the rest of the landmass as the water continues to rise .The next thing you know is that there’ll be a ferryboat service between Scotland and everyone else below what used to be Manchester.
I was already feeling a frisson of nostalgia; the way your old sentimental head works at the dying of an old year and at the moment that the new one is learning to crawl on all fours..It’s all an illusion , of course .There’s no ending and no beginning of anything .It’s just the same old clock ticking away the time as we get older. We love to fill it full of demarcated lists to measure its passing. All the magazines do it. I’m as much a sucker for a list as the next man.
Let’s see . Who died last year that we might have known?
BB King, Sir Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy {Mr. Spock}, Cilla Black,Ben E King, Keith Harris{?}, Gunter Grass, , Patrick Macnee, Val Doonican, James Last,Percy Sledge, George Cole, Maureen O’Hara, Brian Friel, Warren Mitchell,Allen Toussaint, Motorhead’s “Lemmy” Kilmister and “Philthy Animal” Phil Taylor, Omar Sharif, Ron Moody, the great reggae trombonist Rico Rodriguez,who played with the Specials and everyone else…. and the Specials’ drummer ,John Bradbury who almost made it out of the year, but unfortunately died on 28th December. My barber friend was particularly upset by the news of this last death. He was a friend. ……Every one of them had a story to tell and I suppose some of them are unknown to many.It’s to do with your age too; whose story coincided with a particular time in your life.You’ll notice that I have included no politicians.
These are quite famous names in their own milieux and I’m sure I missed many who deserve to be remembered, but these are a few whom you might know because they left a momentary little mark on our collective consciousness, for one reason or another. My own favourites from that list would include Warren Mitchell whose television comedy work really made a difference in the 1960’s. He caused a little bit of outrage but he opened a few ears, eyes and minds with his cartoon bigoted character “Alf Garnet”. I’m sure there is a generation of people who wouldn’t recognise his name at all.Christopher Lee will always be “Dracula” , the pagan, old gods, “Wicker Man” or Bond-villain “Scaramanga”, for most of us born in the 1950’s, but our children might have known him as “Saruman”, Gandalf’s nemesis, in the highly popular “Lord Of The Rings ” film series. Omar Sharif will always be “Doctor Zhivago”; Ron Moody will always be “Fagin”; George Cole will forever be Arthur Daly from “Minder”….and Maureen O’Hara will always get a non- politically correct spanking from Big John Wayne’s “Quiet Man”. Those were the days, when men were men and women were grateful….indeed!!
My own personal memories are wrapped up in music primarily .Just as a smell can unearth a long-buried memory , so too music does it for me. I loved Percy Sledge and his recording of “When A Man Loves A Woman”.When I hear that, I’m fifteen again, dancing at the “hop”. Then there was the sublime Allen Toussaint whose presence was felt throughout any popular music that mattered these past fifty years, bringing the swampy New Orleans funk to everything from Lee Dorsey’s “Working in A Coalmine” and “Holy Cow”, Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade”, Otis Redding’s “Pain in My Heart” , or the music of Doctor John …..and my personal favourite , the horn arrangements on the Band’s “The Last Waltz” concert.
There was a nostalgia of another kind while I went through airport security this weekend.While in Liverpool , we joked about the “Airport Nazis”. I had to disagree and say that coming over via Belfast was something of a breeze this time .There were so many people escaping Norneverland after the New Year revelries that the airport staff were hard-pressed to deal with them all. We were used to this kind of security while shopping in Belfast back during the bad old days of lockdown security where you had to be frisked for bombs before entering the shopping centres . At the airport , although I had to take off my shoes, belt ,coat, scarf and put all my electronic gizmos and my little plastic bag of liquids in a tray, essentially it all went as smooth as mollasses and I filtered through the system easily. The opinion , in conversation, was that a lot of the searchers were employed from ex-military stock and as such were basically somewhat anal-retentive and prone to throwing about the little bit of power they had over the compliant public. I could only relate my most recent experience and it was a good one.On the way back from Liverpool to Belfast, on the return journey, I was forced to take my size eight boot out of my mouth.
This time , I was returning with a near-empty suitcase , having already unloaded the contents of late Christmas presents on the Golden Grand-daughter.All that remained were some socks, boxers,some odds and sods, a recipe book and a fancy new ceramic pan that Daughter Number One had bought as a present. There were not as many travellers to contend with and having more time on their hands it really brought the “Big Nazi” personality out in force in some of the searchers. The first notion I had of it was when I plunked down that same little plastic bag containing my liquids.Somehow, it had , unbeknownst to me or modern science ,mysteriously transmuted into the entirely wrong aesthetic shape for Mr Big Nazi.He must have been bored rigid doing this search routine all day and every day and had decided to brighten up his life somewhat by utilising his considerable power .
Mr Bullhead was not pleased with this sudden, mysterious mental transubstantiation that had somehow occurred between the last inspection in Belfast and the then -present scenario.
” You’ll have to get another self-sealing ziplock bag for these and put them into it”, he scowled, obviously having bypassed his class in customer -care . I didn’t begin to explain that the bag was perfectly okay for flight some few days previously, when it looked exactly the same and went through Belfast security without any such worry or delay .Why bother explaining the niceities to Mr Charmschool? I imagined he meant that I should go to the back of the queue and buy another of their neat little rip-off £1.00 plastic bags , but I merely zipped open my case and fished out another little plastic bag stashed therein for such emergencies and transferred the very same items into it.He, very obviously, didn’t like this novel turn of affairs at all.
Like I said, I hadn’t yet spoken one word at this stage. I was thinking, “A fucking, plastic, bloody bag!!”… of course, but I didn’t betray any of that. Then the plastic bag had to go into a separate tray, all on its own.He was very pedantic and made damned sure I knew that .I complied with that without any comment whatsoever, but some secret signal must have already been activated ,either by body-language or hidden, secret button ,because I had then to enter the full security programme where I had to put my hands above my head in the “special” body scanner in a very specific way and await several seconds while i was scanned for any internal bombs or drugs.Then the little stool with the footprint on it was brought out and I had to put my leg up on it while my skinny legs were felt for hidden contraband. Then followed a full intimate body search. Each sole of my sock was inspected to make sure that I had put clean socks on that morning and I was finally allowed through to pick up my case and gizmos and dress myself again. Isn’t it bad enough that we are all being charged extraordinary prices for some very ordinary food and drinks, but we also have to extend that to the acceptance of some dumb-brute behaviour from the people whose wages we are also paying?
Ahhh ….the nostalgia of it.
It reminded me of the great old days when cops and soldiers swanned around,fully- armed to the teeth… and dangerous, stopping anyone in the street they fancied having a chat with , asking them where they’d bought the fancy tooled Mexican cowboy boots or why their hair was so long and shiny……All that power in their hands. Life would never be as sweet again for them .
Life in the good old days of Norneverland .You really had to be there.