Whilst Conservative members (at least the few who live in the UK and any who’ve registered abroad), are busying themselves with satanic rituals in woodland clearings to decide who this news-cycle’s PM is to be, the rest of us will be seeking relief from the traumatic doomscroll-yourself-to-depression times in which we live.
For this writer, relief has been in short supply: the climate appears to be collapsing, the two candidates in the bi-annual Tory leadership contest are engaged in a lies-and-xenophobia smackdown, inflation is shooting up and Wakefield Trinity are in their customary relegation battle.
All of these things keep me awake at night.
Social media algorithms know best
On top of this, social media’s evil algorithms seem to have also lost their mind. They currently appear to believe that I really want to buy an expensive straw hat. Not just any expensive straw hat but an Outdoor Travel Sunshade Raw Edge Jazz Hat “with its understated character and stately presence no dress hat can match.”
All the models have beards.
Facebook’s demonic equations, designed by rich nerds with hygiene issues have also concluded that I desire a horrifyingly expensive “easy beach transition shirt” or, at 59, might want to work for Network Rail.
The low point came with a targeted ad for a new album by Gilbert O’Sullivan.
He’s got the same haircut he had in 1973, but clearly someone in his festering orbit believes I might be swayed by the prospect of his duet with KT Tunstall. In the video, she performs with all the elan and vim of an Isis hostage. I’m sure nostalgia didn’t used to be this bad.
So, where can you go for some instant joy? Well, though this column trades on the stereotypical comfort of pies, we like to leave all that eebygum-weer’s-me-whippet shite where it belongs: in Dominic Raab’s head while winking at Angela Rayner. Or that Yorkshire Prose bloke. (Where is that accent supposed to be from? Nowhere I’ve been, that’s for sure).
Levelling UpTM for idiots
There are many reasons Levelling UpTM is nonsense, apart from semantics. The optimism which infused postwar cultural thinking was based upon people’s memories of pre-war Britain. Those who went to war weren’t fighting to preserve something, they wanted something better. They didn’t want to shake things up and see what happened. They didn’t believe some vague, nameless blob or conspiracy needed vanquishing.
They just wanted, you know, something better.
It’s for this same reason we’re in Wentworth on a Monday afternoon. Tucked amidst the chocolate-box architecture dictated by the whims of its former owners the Fitzwilliam family, is the best wine shop you’ll ever find. If you want a nice bottle of wine but haven’t a clue, you can either spend your hard-earned money taking potluck in the supermarket, endure sneering snobbery at Majestic (“Oh, you don’t want a case? Er, there’s this. Sixteen quid”), or you can have a ride out to Lightfoot’s in Wentworth.
Lightfoot Wines, Wentworth
Their enthusiasm is such that they’ll virtually dismantle the shop searching for something you might like. We went in mumbling about something from Moldova we’d had once and emerged with the one we asked for, plus a Romanian one and two FREE bottles of a sparkling red one grown in Renishaw.
Result? Sitting on my arse in Wentworth with Renishaw’s finest plus some cheese we got at the Yorkshire Show (or “th’Yorkshuh Shoowuh” as the Yorkshire Prose might put it), we were definitely in the presence of something better. After this cut-price luxury restorative, I concluded that the aforementioned internet-bothering word-abuser was, in fact, Dominic Raab with a false beard and a cloth cap.
I haven’t even got to the Romanian stuff yet; I’ve got books to flog tonight.
“Nathen, owd on lad sithi tha sees. Tha were recknin’ on this were all abaht pies, sithi lad nah then,” I hear a resting actor cry. But, reader, if you sympathise, you’ve missed the point and not been paying attention.
A good pie means comfort. A nice wine means the same. We’re the North. We like nice stuff too, Dominic.
See you at the opera, Karate Boy. Any more of that winking shit and we’ll make sure it’s Harrison Birtwistle.
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