Saturday, 28 July 2012

Albionist: Paradise Is Your Birthright

 The following is an essay I wrote a couple of years ago for an art exhibition entitled Albionist: Paradise Is Your Birthright, which attempted to look at modern Britain through the eyes of William Blake. For various reasons the exhibition never happened (not least of which being the death of one of its focal figure), although it will be recreated online this December. This essay will be published then as part of a free ebook, along with an article on William Blake by CJ Stone, a look at the Gog Magog hill figures as art by Flinton Chalk, and an alternative founding myth for these islands by Brian Barritt.

Following Danny Boyle's wonderful Olympic opening ceremony yesterday, however, it seems like a good time to stick this online. For any Brits who in no way consider themselves patriotic but were strangely affected by the ceremony, and for any non-Brits who have found themselves looking at Britain and thinking WTF?, this may be give a bit of perspective.






This is an exhibition of Albionist art. Albionism is the recognition of a spirit.
Don’t be too concerned by that. I know that ‘spirit’ is a loaded word these days. It’s used so casually and in so many different contexts that you can never be sure if it refers to something real. To be clear, when I say ‘spirit’ I am not talking about something real. It is nothing that you could measure or contain, nothing material, nothing that has mass or velocity. It is not available in a range of colours and you cannot have it gift-wrapped. It is something that simply doesn’t exist.
It behaves like it exists, of course. But that’s not the same as actually existing.
And you’ve been influenced by it, and you can recognise it. The people in your home and town, they know it too. People no longer living, and people not yet born, in generations moving away from where you are now in both directions, through hundreds of years, then thousands, all these people would recognise the exact same thing.
As I say, it behaves like it exists, and that’s enough.
Albionism is the recognition of a visionary spirit, a spirit that arises from these islands. It raises us up and, cleverly, it also prevents us from falling into the abyss of nationalism. This may seem contradictory, but it will make sense once you look at the aspects of this spirit.

These are the three aspects of Albionism: it is bawdy, anarchic and accepting.
We’ll look at each of those aspects in turn:


Albionism is a bawdy spirit.
Consider The Miller’s Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This features a lusty clerk who, desiring to steal a kiss from a carpenter’s wife, is tricked into kissing an arse sticking out of a window. Anyone British who reads this story will recognise this style of humour. It runs through the Carry On films, post-war seaside postcards, Viz Comic, Hogarth and Little Britain. It is lusty, and base, and crude. It is immediately recognisable, the world over, as being very British.
More than 600 years have passed since Chaucer wrote that tale. Why has that sense of humour not been affected by the passing of those years? During that time cities replaced villages, industry replaced agriculture, population exploded, an Empire came and went and the rest of the world was encountered and absorbed. The daily life of the people of these islands was torn up and rewritten time and time again. How, then, is it that this sense of humour remained unscathed? How is it that completely different people living completely different lives produce and react to the same humour? Here we have a sense of humour that transcends centuries, and there is only one linking thread. That is the island it emerged from.
The story of the crucifixion had been around for nearly 2000 years before Eric Idle thought, “you know, it could do with a song. Something cheery, with whistling”. Always Look On The Bright Side of Life is loved throughout the world, but could it have been written anywhere else? Could it have been written by a Frenchmen, or an American, or a Brazilian? It is difficult to imagine a non-Brit writing that song, and if they had it seems likely that the result would have had a very different charm.
Note that these two examples emerge from a sacred narrative, from the act of pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket and the Crucifixion itself. Neither is an attempt to deny the spiritual. Instead, the sacred setting is used as a tool to increase the delight in mockery. It is like drawing a cock on the entrance to a temple, not because you deny the teachings of the temple, but because it’s the funniest possible place to draw a cock.
Bawdiness itself has a similar function.  It is a sexual humour, and its targets are the elements of our personalities that are most clearly revealed as absurd by our sex lives.  There is a very good reason why most cultures do not find comedy in sex, and that is because sex should not be funny. If you look at what comedy actually is, it is an awareness of ignorance.  Charlie Chaplin’s little tramp does not know that there is a banana skin on the pavement where he walks, but we do.  Ricky Gervais’ David Brent does not know that dancing in that way is not acceptable in a corporate environment, but we do. Likewise, the characters of bawdy humour, the hectoring fishwives, the terrified scrawny men and the lust-driven lechers, do not see themselves as we see them. The aim of sex is not to be aware of yourself, it is to stop existing. It is for two people to dissolve away and become no-one.
Which is, of course, what makes bawdy humour so inappropriate and hence so funny.
Likewise, spiritual enlightenment promises overwhelming understanding and omniscience. Albionism doesn’t deny that, but it knows that gaining omniscience makes comedy impossible because it removes the necessary ignorance. Luckily, though, we are not enlightened yet. We live in a realm of comedy and music.  We’ll be in eternity for long enough but for now at least, arses are funny.


 
Albionism is an anarchic spirit.
Anarchy is not chaos. Anarchy is an absence of leaders or authority. Anarchy can produce order, but to do so requires a practical mind. It is what works that matters, not what makes sense.
In their book Blighty Steve Lowe and Alan McArthur spent a year exploring the matter of Britain and came to understand how practicality defined the natural character far more than common sense. At the end of their journey they wished to perform an act to mark its end and, inspired by all the Druids they met along the way, knew that making something up was a reasonable solution when there is a lack of a genuine ritual. In this spirit they headed for the sea, with the aim of making a sacrifice to the waves by throwing in some food. But what food? A bitter argument built up between McArthur, who wished to throw a chicken into the sea, and Lowe, who felt that throwing a chicken into the sea was not the sort of thing he wished to put his name to. The pair became deeply entrenched in these positions and, as their argument became increasingly bitter, a successful outcome seemed unlikely.
Eventually they arrived at the coast and went to buy food from a local Spar. Here they found, shrink-wrapped and all but ignored in the corner of the fridge cabinet, half a roast chicken. This, clearly, was the answer. It was a compromise that made no sense whatsoever, but it was a compromise that they both could accept. Hence, their year long quest ended with the ritual throwing of half a chicken into the sea, and a profound point about the national character was demonstrated.
You can see this at work in much of the British state, a hodgepodge of arcane and unjustifiable institutions that have survived the centuries for no other reason than they (just about) sort of work. The monarchy is a prime example. The notion of a hereditary monarchy is not easy to defend, as much of the rest of the world would be quick to argue. Yet we keep ours for practical reasons, because the alternative is to have a politician as Head of State.
Politicians are largely unaware that they are nothing but middle management, doomed to be swept away by fate and great movements which they neither understand nor control. They believe that they have some form of ‘power’, some form of ‘authority’. This delusion of authority means that those who assume the symbolic role of Head of State infect the idea of their nation with their own dysfunctional ego. On a practical level, we keep the monarchy because we recognise that an idiotic system is better than a cancerous one.
The monarchy showed a deep understanding of the spirit of the nation when they cast off any pretence of power in favour of a purely symbolic existence. They are our pets, and we look after them. And yes, we probably do spend too much money on them, and they can misbehave and we were wrong not to get some of the spare ones neutered, but look at them! Look how funny they are, look at their little faces! You could argue that it is cruel, I suppose, keeping them caged up like that, unable to live a natural life. But they don’t seem to mind, do they? You don’t hear them complain. What we have here is a system that works (provided, of course, that they only people who take it seriously are the tourists).
Keeping the royal cage supported, however, does involve an elaborate system of private schools, private clubs, and the fostering of a pretence of elitism on many thousands of innocent victims. We need to be honest here; this is cruel. These people, who think themselves ‘the upper class’, could have lived and enjoyed genuine, valuable lives instead of the fake, delusional existences we condemn them too.
I don’t claim this system is perfect.
What has this got to do with anarchy? With anarchy, you have to work things out yourself. By denying authority in others you must become responsible for yourself. You have to find a way, and if the only way that works is idiotic it is still the only way that works. Nobody is responsible for you, because nobody has authority over you.
It is this aspect that in part explains the importance of comedy in Albionism. The British way of dealing with a problem, namely by taking the piss and waiting for it to go away, is remarkably effective. Consider the alternative, such as Richard Dawkins’ attempts to attack religion through logic and anger. Dawkins was angered, to take one example, by organised religion’s habit of indoctrinating children through education. As a result of his attacks, however, the monotheists dug in, came out fighting, and now there are many more religious schools operating or planned in this country than before. As a result, he has undone much of the good work achieved by the Monty Python team in The Life of Brian. The tactic of taking the piss and waiting for things to go away is preferred over logic and anger simply because it works better.
In both of these aspects we see a refusal to take seriously any claims by others to have authority over ourselves. This brings us to the third aspect of Albionism.



Albionism is an accepting spirit.
Head out, away from noise and distraction and into the country. See the moors and downs, walk the coastal paths and the woodlands. There is a voice you will hear, when it is quiet enough. A gentle female voice which you will hear time and time again, when you are still.
I’m not making any distinction about “England”, “Scotland” or “Wales” here. These are arbitrary distinctions produced by quirks of history. Different corners of these islands have different personalities, sure, and perhaps this Albionist voice is clearer in some places than others. But you can hear that voice on every part of these islands for every part is wonderful, and enchanted.
Have you heard it?  It is perhaps louder in older places, where you are put in the context not of now but of always.
That voice says, “You are welcome.”
It tells you that you are in the right place. This is where you are supposed to be. You are welcome.
And that voice says the same to everyone, it always has and it always will. That voice was heard by the Celtic immigrants when they first arrived in these islands. It was heard by the Angles, the Jutes and the Saxons, the Vikings and the Normans. It was heard by the West Indians, the Indians and the Poles. And yes, not everyone listens and not everyone hears it. Some people shut themselves away in their suburban prisons and hide from it by immersing themselves in the Daily Mail and lashing out whenever they feel joy start to stir within them. But everyone has the potential to hear it, regardless of how tough their lives are or how deprived their backgrounds.
Not everyone understands it, or at least not at first. You can see it this in inner-city grime artists returning from the Glastonbury Festival, aware that something inside them has changed but not having the context to understand exactly what. Sometimes it will take a generation, sometimes even two. But it doesn’t matter how strong the original culture or family is, or how little an individual cares to listen. At some point they will hear, “You are welcome”, and they will feel a connection and they will feel at home. And at that point, they know they are British. The Albionist spirit always wins out.
When Nick Griffin, the leader of the quasi-fascist BNP, appeared on BBC’s Question Time programme he was asked about a series of BNP adverts which featured Winston Churchill. The question was whether these adverts misrepresent Churchill, a renowned fighter of fascists who would have been appalled to be used this way by such a party. But this was the wrong question. What they should have asked him is whether the word ‘British’ in ‘British National Party’ was in any way justifiable. For whatever you think of the British, there is no way, no conceivable way, that they would line up in jackboots and march behind Nick Griffin. There is no-one alive who could put their hand on their heart and swear that this is in any way possible – not even Nick Griffin. 
Loyalty to a leader is a temporary thing in these islands, granted for practical reasons when it is necessary. And it is necessary, sometimes, to get things done. National Health Services don’t build themselves, you know. In most circumstances, though, a leader’s self-proclaimed authority is a cause for ridicule. We can live with it because we know that by throwing shit and stones we can prevent ourselves from ever falling for it.
That voice, that understanding that we are welcome and accepted here, is all we need. It is enough to support us and give us confidence. Why would we need an authority over us when we have that? Why indeed would any individual, who hears the same voice, try to claim authority over others? The only answer is that they are deluded, and the only response is to take the piss.
It is a hang-up from World War II, but we are too harsh on the fascists. So they have an overwhelming need to hang out with men with a similar skin colour to themselves? Who are we to judge? Provided they harm none, we should accept them for what they are and respect this desire for the company of similarly-skinned others. Why should they not have special clubs where they can go? We fear their potential for violence, but left alone in their special clubs alongside men with skin just how they like it, would they be so angry? They will always be a small minority, it is true, and they will always be funny with their shiny boots and shiny heads. But surely they are as welcome here as everyone else?
Is this not the famous British sense of “fair play”? When no authority is taken seriously, there is no way to justify one individual getting special treatment over others. And so, we queue. We applaud Pakistan or Sri Lanka when they outclass us at cricket. We create organisations for the greater good, such as the NHS and the BBC, and we feel a deep sense of loss when the capitalists destroy such organisations, such as the Royal Mail or British Rail.
Look at the idealised British folk heroes: Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond or Doctor Who. These are all people who are heroes because of their bravery and exceptional skills, not because of any rank or status. They may mix with figures of authority, they may even work for them, but they never lose their anti-establishment grounding. More importantly, they are driven not by personal gain but by the desire to do the right thing, to promote the greater good. If you look at the narratives of other cultures, this is surprisingly rare. American folk heroes, for example, tend to be gangsters or cowboys, men whose focus is their own personal freedom and gain.
This sense of ‘fair play’ and the ‘greater good’ follows naturally from this welcome that requires no authority. 
There are those who have tried to deny that voice for their own gain. But no-one has succeeded in drowning it out yet. 
Chances are, it will always be there.



Albionism, then, is a bawdy, anarchic, accepting spirit. These aspects, in turn, make it an anti-establishment spirit. But is it also true to say that it is a visionary spirit?
Is it visionary in the sense of William Blake, seeing a tree filled with Angels in Peckham Rye?
Is it visionary in the sense of Francis Crick, suddenly understanding the double helix structure of DNA whilst under the influence of LSD?
Is it visionary in the sense of Doctor Dee, rushing from the counsel of the Virgin Queen to converse with spirits?
Is it visionary in the sense of Dickens, struggling against the injustice of Victorian capitalism yet still able to create something as beautiful as the Ghost of Christmas Present?
Albionism is not about looking up to these visionaries. They have no innate status over us, for all that we may enjoy marvelling at their genius. Albionism is not a request to respect them; it is an invitation to join them. We have no need of authorities to grant access to our Higher Selves, we just need to help each other up. It is no coincidence that this country, which gave the world everything from football to democracy, from the Beatles to the Industrial Revolution, from Shakespeare to Newton, never gave the world a religion (with the possible recent exception of earth spirit-based Wicca.)
Or to put it another way:  Look for the Albionist spirit.
Look for it in the green turf Mohican that a protester slapped on the head of a statue of Churchill.
Look for it in the cock of the Cerne Abbas Giant.
Look for it in the foam pie thrown at Rupert Murdoch in parliament.
Look for it in the catchphrase, “They don’t like it up ‘em!”
Look for it in our complete bafflement about the building of Silbury Hill.
Look for it in the Restoration of the Monarchy, after a decade of Cromwell.
Look for it in the Beatles making a TV film to be shown to the whole nation on Boxing Day 1967, and coming up with Magical Mystery Tour.
Look for it in safety pin through the Queen’s nose on Sex Pistols’ record sleeves. Look for it when Jeremy Paxman patronised Dizzee Rascal on Newsnight and Dizzee just sampled the whole thing and used it as part of his Glastonbury set.
Look for it in the Blitz spirit, and the insistence that Hitler only had one ball.
Look for it and you will find it everywhere. Look for it until you are saturated in it and until you can see it running through your history, culture and the ruts of your own brain like the words running through the length of a stick of Blackpool rock.
Look for it amongst the content of this exhibition.
And then remember, it doesn’t exist.
I was very clear about that at the start. This is not something that is objectively real.
Then look at it again, and ask yourself what it is that you are looking at.

Now you can answer that question for yourself:
Is Albionism a visionary spirit? 






Saturday, 21 July 2012

Death and The Batman

Yesterday some nomark shot up a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. You know this, of course, people are talking about nothing else. What makes the whole thing so unthinkable is the shooter's lack of motive or other insane ideology. The story may change over the coming days, but currently it appears that it happened because the limit of this guy's dreams was to put a mask over his mouth and shoot up a Batman film. 

The fact that his appearance and weaponry matched the look of the character Bane and Christopher Nolan's aesthetics, and that his behaviour mirrored that of Batman villains, brings to mind the reason why Alan Moore dismisses the modern comic industry. He says that all it produces is "revenge fantasies for the impotent." On a subconscious level the fact that it was a Batman film feels relevant, as if Batman's fictional universe had spilt off the screen and into the real world. There is an unspoken suspicion that this couldn't have happened at, say, a screening of a Spiderman film.

The tragedy brings to mind the other death that lingers around the Dark Knight films, that of Heath Ledger. This caused me to drag out the text below, about Ledger's death, which I wrote a couple of years ago for a (since abandoned) book about the British post-punk band Killing Joke. I'm struck by the reference to the character "wanting to pull others down to his level." I'm still not entirely comfortable that putting it up as a blog is the right thing to do, at a time when all thoughts about the incident should be about the victims. I may still change my mind and take it down. My gut feeling is to put it up now, however, so here we go.

--


The Joker first appeared in 1940, in the very first edition of Batman comic. Green haired, white skinned and with a crazy red grin, his appearance was modelled on the Joker in a pack of playing cards. Of all the hundreds of villains in the decades that followed, the Joker became the most prominent and is considered to be Batman’s ‘arch enemy’. Wizard magazine voted him number one in their 100 Greatest Villains of All Time list. The Joker has changed over the years, however. Although originally a homicidal maniac, the character was softened and spent much of his first few decades as an eccentric prankster thief. This is how he appeared in the 1960’s Batman series, played by Cesar Romero, where he plotted comedy-themed heists such as turning the city’s water supply into jelly. The major turning point for the character, the moment when the silliness was replaced by insanity, chaos and total amorality, was a 1988 comic written by Alan Moore called The Killing Joke.

The character of the Joker, as he has appeared on film, owes everything to The Killing Joke. Tim Burton has spoken of it’s importance to his Batman movies. “I loved The Killing Joke”, he said, “It’s my favourite. It’s the first comic I’ve ever loved.” Heath Ledger, who had not read Batman comics and who wasn’t a fan of comic books, explained that “The Killing Joke was the one that was handed to me. I think it’s going to be the beginning of The Joker.” 

The book gives an origin story for the Joker, an unsuccessful comedian who cannot provide for his pregnant wife. Desperate for money, he agrees to help a criminal gang gain access to a chemical plant. Just before the job, he learns that his wife has died. The raid is then foiled by Batman, who causes him to fall into toxic chemicals that turn his hair green and his skin white. Turned mad by the days events, the heart-broken comedian becomes the insane Joker. Tim Burton based his Joker’s background on parts of this story, but it is only one of a number of origin stories for the character. As the Joker admits himself in The Killing Joke, “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” This idea is echoed by Heath Ledger’s Joker, who makes a number of contradictory claims about his past during the film.

The book uses this background to underscore the Joker’s basic argument in the book; that the only difference between a homicidal maniac such as him and the average law-abiding citizen is one bad day. In this it positions the Joker as a dark image of Batman, a character who is also the result of one bad day. Batman is just as insane as he is, argues the Joker, for how else can you explain the behaviour of a man who dresses as a bat? The difference is Batman hasn’t realised that he is mad, and still clings to the belief that he can somehow do good or make a difference. That belief is hubris, argues the Joker. The world is random and meaningless, and the only honest way to relate to it is to embrace this and go insane. To prove this, he kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, and keeps him naked in a cage in a dark, disturbing funfair, guarded by fetish-gear wearing freaks and dwarfs. Gordon is then lead through a twisted fun house where he is presented with naked images of his daughter, who the Joker has shot and paralysed. The Joker believes that Gordon will be sent insane by this ‘one bad day’, but Gordon does not crack and he does not choose to deal with the horror by escaping into madness. Indeed, he insists that the Joker is captured “by the book”, in order to show him that “our way works."

The director Christopher Nolan described this well, when he discussed the influence of The Killing Joke on his film The Dark Knight, “I definitely feel the influence of "The Killing Joke," not so much in the specifics as in constructing some sense of purpose for an inherently purposeless character. That is to say The Joker is an anarchist. He's dedicated to chaos. He should really have no purpose but I think the underlying belief that Alan Moore got across very clearly is that on some level The Joker wants to pull everybody down to his level and show that he's not an unusual monster and that everyone else can be debased and corrupted like he is.

Alan Moore’s Joker, then, is a figure of chaos, one who’s sanity was snapped by the cosmic joke. Given his book’s name and the fact that it was published in the late 80s, there has been speculation as to what inspired it. To quote the occult blogger Christopher Knowles, “My personal take on Batman: The Killing Joke was that it was Moore's admirable but not-entirely successful attempt to translate the very powerful musical and iconographic energies of the British band, Killing Joke.” Looking at some of the imagery in the book, such as the Joker sat on a throne of mannequins and doll parts, and considering the philosophy espoused by the Joker, it is not hard to see how this conclusion was reached. In the period before Moore's book was written the band used very similar imagery, in particular an evil mannequin character.

Knowles, however, goes further. He points out the similarities between the visual design of Ledger’s Joker to Killing Joke's vocalist Jaz Coleman. In the Hosannas From The Basement of Hell video, for example, Jaz wears his usual white face paint with long, greasy hair very similar to that worn by Ledger. The red ‘glasgow smile’ lipstick Ledger wears, emphasising a knife wound, is similar to that worn by Coleman in, for example, performances like this. The dark energies that Jaz and Killing Joke created, and which Moore funnelled into the Joker via The Killing Joke, were at the heart of the blockbuster film and took as their focus the actor Heath Ledger.

Jaz himself has alluded to this in a number of interviews. Discussing the protective role of his stage make up with the journalist Justin M. Norton in December 2010, he says, “If you don’t take the mask off, you take that world into your own life. Take Heath Ledger, for example. We are well aware of the energies that surround us in Killing Joke and the peculiarities. The mask isn’t for other people’s benefit. It’s for my own protection.”

Heath Ledger died on January 22nd, 2008. It was a major shock; well liked and hugely talented, Ledger was only 28 years old. It took a few weeks before the official cause of death, accidental acute intoxication caused by a combination of prescription drugs, was announced. During those weeks a number of strange stories started circulating, as shocked, grieving people tried to make sense of what had happened. Ledger had finished playing The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight three months earlier, and the persistent rumour was that it was this role had lead to his death. So deeply had the actor emerged himself into this dreadful, evil character, it was said, that he was unable to emerge from it.

He had given an extraordinary performance. Wally Pfister, the film’s cinematographer, said Ledger seemed “like he was busting blood vessels in his head,” he was so intense. “It was like a séance, where the medium takes on another person and then is so completely drained.” The review in the New Yorker said that "His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss." The role would later earn Ledger an Oscar, only the second time an actor has won posthumously and the first time an Academy acting award was given for the portrayal of a comic book character. Certainly Ledger didn’t seem well afterwards. "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. ... I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going" he told Sarah Lyall of the New York Times. He admitted to taking a number of sleeping pills, but claimed that they did not help. Michael Caine, who played the butler Alfred, remembered that on set “He was exhausted, I mean he was really tired. I remember saying to him, ‘I’m too old to have the bloody energy to play that part.’ And I thought to myself, I didn’t have the energy when I was his age.” We know now that Ledger had suffered from insomnia for some time before he took on the part, and a number of his friends and colleagues have insisted how much fun he had playing the role. But in the first days and weeks after his death, as people tried to come to terms with this awful, unexpected loss, the idea that his fate had that something about the energies of the Joker, and the depth he immersed himself in them, made a strange sort of sense. A cryptic remark by Jack Nicholson, who had played the Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film, didn’t help. 

“Well,” drawled Jack, “I warned him.”

 



UPDATE
After I posted this yesterday James Kelleher informed me via Twitter that Jack Nicholson was referring to warning Ledger about the sleeping pill Ambien. This, of course, makes far more sense. However it has also been reported that the Aurora killer had died his hair red and told police that he was 'The Joker'. God knows where this can of worms will lead, no doubt there will be further revelations in the days to come. 

We have seen plenty of real-world vigilante superheroes springing up, and it appears that we now have a wannabe super-villain equivalent. Which, disturbingly, was exactly how The Joker character was introduced in Nolan's Batman films, as a reaction to the existence of superheroes in the world. 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Osbornicide: Why Drunk George Osborne has been killed off

The spoof twitter account Drunk George Osborne (@OsborneDrunk) is no more, alas. It's a shame, but its time was up. Spoofing George Osborne is no longer possible, or indeed necessary.

As crazy as this may sound now, when Drunk George launched in May 2011 the real George Osborne was lauded by both Westminster and the press as a strategic genius, a Machiavellian powerhouse and an economic heavyweight. He was none of these things, obviously, but what was interesting was that he almost believed that myth himself. I say almost, because there was doubt there: you could see it in his eyes. He had been raised to believe that he was entitled and worthy of power, and he had continued to rise by being in the right place with the right friends, but deep down he seemed to know that he was not up to the task.

All this made me wonder what he would be like when he was drunk, when those demons would surface, and Drunk George was born.

The character of Drunk George was written as a child, and the comedy came from the disparity between the wide-eyed naivete of this idiot boy-child and the public persona of the real George Osborne. Once the real Osborne's persona descended to something akin to the fake one, however, the joke stopped working. If I'm honest it hasn't really been working for a while now, so it is time to stop.


Huge, huge thanks to the 15,000 people who have been following Drunk George, especially those who retweeted, interacted, favourited and follow-friday'd him. I have many favourite @OsborneDrunk moments - such as The Duck That David Killed, the time he stove David's head in and replaced it with a melon, David's ritual intercourse on the cabinet table with Lord Ashcroft and TV's Kirstie Allsopp and the Drunk George at Leveson interactive adventure. But best of all was the abuse and praise from his followers. 


A number of people have said that they thought I made Drunk George too sympathetic, and that he made them feel sorry for the real Osborne. This was intentional, really, because the target was always Osborne's illusion of competence rather than the man himself. Much of the politics on Twitter is aimed at stoking up hate, be that personal or tribal, but this has never made anything better. We do need politicians, but we need ones who combine a political intelligence and competence with an internal moral compass. The ones who can't be bribed, basically. There are politicians like that from around the political spectrum, for example Caroline Lucas, Ken Clarke, Vince Cable and maybe even Ed Miliband. It is the 90% of politicians who are short-termist career gonks, and the genuine lunatics like Gove, that we need to call out.

With Mister Flaps, Head of the Office of Budget Responsibility
So thanks again to all his followers. I have a idea for another spoof account that I may launch in the future, so if you like Drunk George keep an eye on my real twitter account for any announcements. And I have a hunch you may even like this cheap-as-chips short novel that I am very proud of.  And if not, hopefully every time you have a bowl of Baileys for soup, every time someone eats your favourite colour of vodka jelly, whenever nobody buys you the Keane album for your birthday or every time you fail to persuade people to go with you to see the Smurfs movie, you might remember Drunk George Osborne.