November 2nd, 2008

Ross And Brand

One reason we're all having so much fun with the Brand/Ross affair is that it's a good deal more interesting than the gripes about the economy that were entertaining us in the weeks before the scandal broke. It's a distraction from the serious business of the day.

Only it's not. This is the serious business of the day. It raises serious and fiercely contested issues about public morality, misogyny, generational politics, celebrity culture. It's given us an excuse to discuss the way we live now.

It's our "Profumo" moment. It shows us who we are, what we think, how our society works, where the power resides. The fascinating revelations keep on coming.

For instance, we've found out that Brand's own production company had control of his show. Blame the producers, the editors? But how can you when they're hirelings of "the talent"- and can't cross him for fear of losing their jobs? Brand was the one with the power. Curious, eh, how the scourge of the establishment  turns out to be the establishment? We're learning things here. Fascinating things.

I can't get enough of it.


After a pause in Sunderland to buy lunch, we turned right and headed home through Yorkshire. We stopped at Rievaux Abbey- a small detour that entailed climbing Sutton Bank- one of the steepest roads in Britain- and nearly getting killed on a narrow, winding, country lane by a speeding 4X4.

Rievaux was the first Cistercian house in the north of England. Even today it's a secret place-  a long way from the major roads. They charge you an exorbitant amount to park - £6.00, refundable at the gate- to deter the fell-walkers who clog up the car park with no intention of visiting the abbey.

There's a notice in the gents (probably in the ladies too) asking you not to wash your muddy boots in the sink.

I've been here before- once, twice, I forget how often- but never when the sun was shining.