Where did I go well? How I lost my left by Geoff Norcott
When did comedy on BBC Four radio not become a laughing stock? And why have Labor lost the working class?
If Geoff Norcott were to write this review, he would now drop an untimely joke, just to reassure the reader, or readers, that he is not about to leave us.
Sounds nervous not being funny enough often enough. For a comic, this is very scary, although on a personal level it should also be carried.
There is laughter on almost every page of Norcott’s memoirs. “I Laughed Loud: Andrew Gimson, ConservativeHome” won’t change any additional copies, in fact it could cut sales by suggesting that no member of decent, left-wing society would want to be seen dead reading this book.
Still, I laughed out loud. And, as I never quite believe such recommendations, as it is more than possible that the reviewer has an excessive statement, or exchanges favors with the author, or has absolutely no sense of humor, here you have a fragment of Norcott himself.
His father, a one-armed trade unionist, has become seriously ill and the family has gathered at the hospital, prepared for bad news:
The consultant has really come in. One might think that “breeded” is already a verb that carries the foundations of bias, but there is no other way to describe it. He was about forty years old, looked like he was wearing a recent tan, and had no hallmark of anyone about to deliver the kind of gloomy news he had to give. As I reviewed the notes, I seemed to remember the context and made a sad face with my head bowed that reminded me of Jennifer Saunders in Absolutely fabulous when he feigned melancholy with his daughter Saffie.
He started with a decent level of gravitas: “I’m afraid to say it’s a late-stage pancreatic cancer.”
We all stopped, breathed and looked at each other.
Then, after a brief pause, the consultant added, “It’s the same cancer that Patrick Swayze died of.”
I looked at her straight. It was such a strange thing to say. I didn’t know what he was doing, if he had said it to shed light on the disease, or if he suggested to us that, as a family, we should be proud that our father came out with a relatively high-profile cancer. twin. Meanwhile, the father was looking so hard at the woman that he was convinced he was about to turn blue.
“Who the fuck is Patrick Swayze?” he finally asked, never especially about pop culture.
“He is the one of Big problems in little China“My sister explained.
“No,” I interrupted, “this is Kurt Russell, him alone looks with Patrick Swayze “.
If you liked this excerpt, you will enjoy Norcott’s book. If not, no.
But this book is not only enjoyable. It also explains, without presumption, why comedy on Radio 4 has ceased to be fun and why Labor lost workers.
For Norcott it is a comic that, alone among his trades, he decided to go out as a conservative. In this memoir, he describes his journey, as Tony Blair would call it, from a dilapidated South London council estate to a Tory vote.
Looking back, he detects some preservations of the little c up to his childhood. At the age of 11, she goes to school, leaving her mother in her dressing gown, “smoking and gauze” with the other mothers, who are sitting on the stairs adjacent to the front door:
“When I came back at 3.30pm, she was still sitting there, still in her dressing gown. I was lawful. “
He notes that this experience “has left me distrustful of the life of gowns.”
He was certainly not ready to come out as a conservative, but he already has a “pathological fear of poverty.” His parents have divorced, which makes his finances more precarious, but he admires his stepfather’s work ethic.
This is certainly the way to escape poverty, as long as the state does not take most of its money in taxes and distributes it to the idlers of the estate who sit all day with the robe , getting more money for inactivity. of what they would do for a day of honest work.
But I went into preaching mode, which Norcott never does. His conservatism is more a matter of intimacy than of moral certainties.
These belong to the left. His parents took every opportunity to reinforce the predominant narrative that conservatives “don’t give a shit about normal people.”
Something about it doesn’t quite fit. Norcott, born in 1976, attends Rutlish School in Merton Park and, while there, a former student becomes prime minister.
In the 1992 general election, the Conservatives ran a successful advertising campaign to accuse them of not caring about normal people:
“What did the Conservatives do with a Brixton working class boy? They made him prime minister. “
Norcott is not exactly a big fan:
“Like most people in Britain at the time, my point was that I didn’t mind. It inspired an almost ideological level of ambivalence. “
However, when Major comes to talk at his old school, it turns out that there are more things for him:
“Rutlish’s staff, like most teaching faculties, was overwhelmingly left-wing. Coming out of Thatcher’s last years, they were very open in their contempt for conservatives. And yet, the night Major arrived, it’s fair to say he surprised everyone by enchanting his left-handed pants. “What an honest man,” they praised. It was also noted that it had a particular effect on women. Before publicly knowing his affair with Edwina Currie, the last one you would have had in Major, as it would have been a “beach”, but the female staff was worried about the charismatic who found him … As my colleague Michael said , after meeting him, “The guy sucks drive. He has his shoulders like a closet.”
Norcott notes that Labor candidate Neil Kinnock “looks a little pillock,” for example, saying “We’re fine!” in “an absurd American accent” in “an unnecessarily cheerful and self-congratulatory concentration in Sheffield.”
It’s also harder, Norcott says, to become prime minister if you’re “bald, ginger or Welsh” and “Kinnock was all three”:
“I’m not saying these aversions are morally justifiable, but part of the conservative mindset is to understand the public as it is, not how you want it to be.”
In the mock general election held at his school in 1992, the year Major surprised the winning experts, Norcott ran as a Liberal Democrat.
Shortly afterwards, her mother loses use of her legs, has to spend a lot of time caring for her, and her expected grades are reduced.
Goldsmiths College, which includes recent students including Damien Hurst, Blur and Tracey Emin, offers you a place to read English if you get two B’s and one C.
He surprises everyone, including himself, by getting three Aces, but he goes to Goldsmiths anyway, where he finds the corridors “full of revolutionaries in the city trying to save Cuba, whales and rainforests,” while “many people he knew in Mitcham was still busy trying to save themselves and their families.
For the first time, he realizes that he is “properly working class.” When people look at him badly, he feels steep, but when he supports him he feels sponsored.
He has one or two strange jobs in advertising, becomes an English teacher, almost by chance starts a career parallel to the comedy circuit and marries the love of his life, which he suggests, when he has gone to full time as he is a comedian and is looking for new material, which could make jokes about becoming conservative.
Which he does. The joke is that he is the only conservative comedian. All trade is monolithically left-wing, which is one of the reasons (though it doesn’t bother, or is too tactical, to point out) why Radio Four has ceased to be the most fun (though I recognize that it can have I was funny again: I get the deactivation button with desperate agility whenever a supposedly comic program is about to air).
They tell us what to think. Instead of being invited to laugh at the world as it is, we are instructed to keep the right opinions about the world as it should be.
The objection to the progressive pact is not that the opinions are incorrect, but that they are binding.
Puritans do not support theater, its frivolity, immorality and unpredictability. They yearn to shut it down and somehow have managed to shut it down on Radio Four, crushed under a layer of self-censored lead.
The subversiveness of comedy, which usually includes the absurdity of the comic, the will of the comic to look ridiculous and make jokes at his expense, has been supplanted by a uniform moral certainty and monumentally extinguished.
Self-justice is not fun, but why waste time getting in a row about it, when the only effect is to make your opponents fairer.
As the 2015 general election approaches,
“In the circles where I settled, it seemed that it had been universally decided that no one would agree with austerity and that the unconvincing head of the sixth way Ed Miliband would surely become the leader of the fifth world economy.” .
Instead, David Cameron’s Conservatives win an overall majority of 17. “WHO DID THAT ??” Colleagues on Norcott’s right are shouting.
“11.3 million people,” he wants to respond, but “hesitates to throw sarcasm at an already feverish environment.”
The media pays a lot of attention to the “Shy Tory” phenomenon, but, according to Norcott, they complicate the matter too much, for
“All that really happened was that people had seen the increasingly vengeful moral certainty of the left in sight since 2010 and had prudently decided to keep their backs.”
Norcott is not particularly interested in Boris Johnson and says almost nothing about him in this book: “He’s not my kind of politician.”
But one cannot help but reflect, as one reads this account of the awakening of a conservative in south London, that one of the reasons for Johnson’s success is his unparalleled ability to mock the solemn rule of the virtue that the hypocritical self-critics of north London are determined to impose. about us.
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