That was the week that was

Richard Lutz stumbles through another bit of life…




Another week, another flash of Donald Trump on all the networks as he loses the Iowa caucus. I believe, firmly believe, that no-one on this planet knows what a caucus is, no less how to spell it.

Author John Irving (World of Garp, etc) says he has no reason to invest any time following the first of fifty meaningless state bunfights. It will be forgotten in a fortnight.

But still. Trump was trumped and did show an iota of dignity. A voice from New York City tells me that Trump is not the problem. He is entertainment and is doing it for no other reason than to have a laugh: “Hey, you guys, not only will we build a wall on the Mexican border. But we’ll make Them pay for it.” And then he has a little snigger as he watches a crowd of Midwest cavemen, who still point at the moon, roar with approval.

No, my contact warns..the dangerous guy is Ted Cruz. He is the real deal – the lock ‘em up and shoot ‘em for Jesus brigade. That’s the guy you don’t want in the White House. It’s Cruz that’s going to blow us to kingdom come. That’s the guy with lunatic conviction politics

That’s it for politics. Onto the refined world of literature. Well, not high-minded stuff but one of the funniest reads I have had in a long time. A book that left me laughing out loud alone in a room by myself. What a simple joy to run across someone who can make the written word nudge you to tears. It is called Dear Lupin and is a catalogue of letters from the author’s father as he (the writer) stumbles from personal disaster to personal disaster.

His dad is ex-Coldstream Guards, all English public school and stiff upper lip. But his worried paternal letters are hilarious as he questions every bad manoeuvre his wayward son makes (“Driving lorries to Poland? Are you sure that’s a good idea?” or “Organic farmer? You don’t even know what a tomato is”). But what comes out is a father worlds away from a louche son, who doesn’t understand how things have changed over the decades but despite all, still simply loves his boy (“Come unstuck again, old bean? Let me slip you a sly fifty to help you along.”)

The delight is picking up a book like this and not expecting much but devouring it hour by hour, ending, of course, with that empty feeling you get when you finish a good read that is unputdownable. It’s all over. There’s no words left, no pages left and you are reduced to reading the blurbs on the back cover or the six line biography of the writer on the inside flap or the Library of Congress code number.

Of course, to read you need light. And my reading light this week has blown. Shop after shop on my local high street won’t stock the bulb I need because they stopped making them in Mesopotamia somewhere back in the late medieval ages. I hate, I detest Amazon. But I am forced to use it. Every lighting link seems to guide you back to that dreaded monster of a site. The company seems to own every sector of the marketable world. And, I have to say, its prices are (sigh) pretty good.

I put the cursor in Amazons’s evil search space: “Mesopotamian late medieval light bulb”. I find it from some Brighton company that has unbreakable ties to shitty Amazon, making Amazon’s owners richer and me more pissed off. But I can read at night at least.

I can also, by the way, drive with the latest addition to my ramshackle fleet of cars. A friend gave me an old Mondeo with the usual caveats and warnings about leaking water pumps, dicey rusted wheel nuts and parts of an interior that don’t work anymore after 150,000 miles. (“If you need an inside light, there are candles behind the driver’s seat”). That kind of stuff.

I go for it and I look online for insurance. The premiums begin at £250 a year and slowly I crank it down to £135 – about 65 percent cheaper than the cheapest at the vast Gocompare site.

I get the fever and begin to see if I can get the cost down to the £125 mark, £110 and then, of course, the magic £100. My eyes redden, my voice goes growly and coarse and I am finally dragged away from the IPAD and told  I need immediate Best Deal Rehab at a local clinic and settle for the £135.

I consent and am dragged back to normalcy still not understanding the car insurance trade. Why is that comprehensive is actually cheaper than third party? Why is it cheaper to have an added driver than not to? Is the answer that bank robbers, drug addicts and generic bad guys only buy comp and never allow anyone else behind the wheel? And why do they need to know my lovely mother’s maiden name?

So the week…that’s it: Trump, book, lightbulbs, car insurance.

But I’ll end with a weekly afterthought. And that is Mr Trump redux.

I flipped through the channels when the results were pouring in about his Iowa loss. All these po-faced presenters and reporters validly but boringly explaining some numbskull arcania about American politics.

Then I stumbled upon the GMTV morning show. That’s right GMTV which will abjure cover of the EU referendum to bang on about Harry Styles’ hair or ignore global warming to analyse who got kicked out of Celebrity Nude Housekeeping.

In the presenter’s chair was Piers Morgan, late of the the Mirror and CNN…both jobs which he left after being fired. He was great. He’s such a big mouth egoist he wouldn’t stick to script or any sign of impartiality. And, true to form, jerked the chain of his co presenter by continually cutting her off and not allowing her to get a word in edgeways.



The correspondent in Iowa, who looked as he was was reporting from the back of a Des Moines knocking shop, was Jerry Springer. Fucking Jerry Springer…last seen physically separating cretinous morons on that toilet bowl of a chat show he fronted and produced.

But Springer was terrific. Morgan, pompous blowhard that he is, would ask a question such as; “Jerry, how  did that loopy fat idiot Trump even get one single vote?”

And Springer (who knows a thing or two as he was a city mayor in his former life)  would say something like: “Well Piers, Trump is a 12 times bankrupt with an ego the size of Boris Johnson’s sphincter and has a 2000hp diesel engine for a mouth. And if the pigfuckers in Iowa wanna vote for the clown, so be it.”

Now, that’s reportage at its best. Or is it at its worst? I’m not sure. Tune in as the primarie  or the caucuses in some godforsaken frozen state continue to explode from your 48 inch flatscreen as you schlurp another vanilla-flavoured mock cappuccino made from a ludicrous machine that George Clooney hypnotised you into buying.



One thought on “That was the week that was

  1. The last book you recommended to me was “Country Driving – A Chinese Road Trip.” It was such a fantastic read that I bought two more copies, pressed them on friends and commanded them to Read This Book or walk in the street of shame. So I suppose I’d better read Dear Lupin. Inside info – Lupin’s sister Jane Torday was so annoyed at her sibling’s book that she, too, published one about her father. Ne ner ne ner ner he loved me as much as you.

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