Lizards, sewage, antisemitism, and Rembrandt: It’s the non-pandemic news from Britain

Is anything happening in Britain other than the pandemic?

Why yes, and thank you for asking. 

A fake Rembrandt has been hiding in the basement of a museum. It’s a small picture of an old man with a beard, looking unhappy (the man, not the beard). When it was first stashed down there, the man was young, clean-shaven, and hopeful looking. 

The painting was given to the museum in 1951 and spotted as a fake in 1981 by the world’s leading authority on the subject, the Rembrandt Research Project. 

Then a new curator came along and the picture just bugged her. It looked too Rembrandtish to write off. 

It’s now been analyzed by dendochronologists. Those are people who, um, analyze dendos. Or possibly dendons. In time–that’s the chronology part. 

Oh, never mind. You don’t need to know what they do and I don’t either. What matters is that they’ve figured out that the wood the old man’s painted on came from the same tree as an acknowledged Rembrandt. So it was, at least, likely to have been from his workshop. And may be by the master himself.

It’s a pity it couldn’t have happened when the man was young and optimistic, but at least it’s happening.

*

Utterly irrelevant photo: A castle ruin near Edinburgh. Photo by Ida Swearingen

A seven-year-old with cerebral palsy climbed Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, raising over £17,000 for the National Health Service and a disability charity. 

When he was born, his parents were told he’d never walk, sit up, or talk, never mind raise money for the NHS. 

*

It was always going to be hard to make importing sewage sludge for farm fertilizer sound appealing, but it’s being imported anyway. It’s happening quietly, though, so no one has to take on the job of explaining why it’s a good idea. 

Why is it a good idea? Well, its use on farmland is effectively banned in the Netherlands, and the Dutch water authorities had problems incinerating it. And the stuff has to go somewhere, so they looked across the channel and saw Britain and said, “Hmmm. Betcha they’d pay good money for it.”

Only in Dutch. 

The sludge could contain E coli and salmonella, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals (not the musical kind–no one’s complained about it causing noise pollution), and microplastics. And it could be a source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Other than that, it’s nice stuff and does return nutrients and carbon to the soil. 

Yum.

*

The rapper, singer, and songwriter Stormzy has donated £500,000 to fund scholarships for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. They’ll go fifty students of any age–and not just university students. 

The plan is to give £10 million over ten years to groups fighting racial inequality in Britain. 

*

The street artist Banksy donated we don’t know how much for a refugee rescue boat, the Louise Michel, which is now sailing the Mediterannean. Last I heard, it had picked 219 people out of the water and the deck became so crowded that the boat was effectively stranded. The most vulnerable 49 (along with a man who died before being picked up) were transferred “to safety” (I’m not clear where), and the remainder were put aboard another rescue ship.

Finding a port willing to accept refugees is a serious problem. Plucking them out of the water is, relatively speaking, the simple part.

The International Organization for Migration says more than 7,600 people have been picked up at sea and forced back to Libya–a policy of both the Libyan coastguard and European Union states. Another 500 are known to have died in 2020, trying to make the crossing, although the actual number is likely to be higher. Libya has been accused of mistreating refugees at sea and of selling them to militias. 

Banksy explained why he wanted to get involved when he wrote to Pia Klemp, who’d captained several rescue boats: “I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something?”

Klemp initially thought someone was putting her on, but they soon settled down and worked together. She summed up the arrangement this way: “Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists.”

*

Local governments in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole have proposed, in their wisdom, fining homeless people £100 for sleeping in doorways or leaving their belongings in the street. If they don’t pay up, that can go up to £1,000. 

Which of course they have. That’s why they’re living on the street.

*

Emma Cownie and Doug Jacquier have clued me into–

Guys, I don’t know how to break this to you, but it seems the royal family are actually lizards. Shapeshifting lizards.

I know. I couldn’t have imagined it either. And it’s not just the royal family. The whole world, it turns out, is run by lizards. It explains a lot, doesn’t it? 

This isn’t new news, but then this isn’t a newspaper, I’m not a reporter, and I only just found out about it. It rose from the depths of the conspirosphere in April, when a former broadcaster, David Icke, did a TV interview in which he left the road way, way behind. 

This wasn’t the first time he’d talked about it. You can find him here, explaining everything to us. “Much of it,” he says, “is backed up by hard factual information.”

And the rest of it? Oh, hell, who cares?

Okay, I confess: I haven’t listened to the interviews, relying on the writeups instead. How much time do you think I have here?

Icke’s life moved from sports to broadcasting through the Green Party and alternative medicine to spiritualism to–well, he did predict that the world will end in 1997. As far as I can tell, he was wrong. He’s been accused of antisemitism, which he denies, but he also says that whoever wrote The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (an antisemitic forgery) ”knew the game plan.” 

I’m working from WikiWhatsia here. I normally hold out for something marginally more reliable, but with a topic like this, why quibble?

The lizards are from the Draco constellation and have been breeding with humans. And the scientific method is bollocks and climate change is a hoax. 

Um, yeah, I think he’d broken with the Green Party by the time he announced that.

Anyway, it all gets complicated. Have a good time. It could almost make a person go back to the pandemic for a little rest. 

77 thoughts on “Lizards, sewage, antisemitism, and Rembrandt: It’s the non-pandemic news from Britain

  1. Sewage….have people become so anally retentive that we have to import the stuff?
    In my student days,there was work for Dagenham council bagging up dried sewage residue which was sold as compost for the garden. It rejoiced in the name of Dagfert.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fining the homeless for – erhmm – being homeless seems to be the modern answer to debtors’ prisons.

    How do you pronounce David Icke’s last name ? That might be a clue.

    The Lizards in World Control theory is a lie fomented by the Cats, who really ARE taking over the world.
    But if a Lizard shows up and eats Donald Trump, I won’t be sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure how to pronounce his name. This is England, working with the English language. Spelling isn’t necessarily a good guide, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of leeway. Nominative determinism, anyone?

      The cats really are taking over? Can we rush this along, please? We’re not doing a good job.

      Like

      • Eye-k. I remember him as a sports commentator before he got into herpetology. It was good to see him joining forces with Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers at the anti-mask rally, last week, hadn’t realised he’s a virologist too. It’s quite staggering how many people believe their twaddle. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The English language never fails to amaze me. You wouldn’t think you’d have space to go wrong when you’re working with only four letters. I did hear about Piers Corbyn, along with, I thought, some mention of a hefty fine. (I was in the car listening to the radio, which isn’t always a good way to concentrate.) If true, I expect his family’s the reason the price went so high.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. “The International Organization for Migration says more than 7,600 people have been picked up at sea and forced back to Libya–a policy of both the Libyan coastguard and European Union states.”

    Hmm, interesting. Is this the same EU that complained about the US policy on returning South/Central American refugees to Mexico? Nah. Must be a different EU.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Years ago I heard Dubya (former POTUS. G.W. Bush) was suspected of being one of these lizard people. Supposedly there’s a video where his face or eye does some weird reptilian-like thing. Then there’s a case like Billy Corgan, frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, who claims he saw a man transform or something. I’ve visited the “interesting” side of YouTube a couple of times; we humans sure can be quite creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the dividing line between creative and nuts is whether you know that you’re creating or think you’re just proclaiming the truth. The lizard thing is wild, but I’m very much afraid these people–at least some of them–believe it. So yes, we can be quite creative. And totally insane.

      Like

  5. I have some sewerage sludge, Ill sell it to the highest bidder… I don’t think we produce as much as The Netherlands though…

    I remember seeing David Icke in Wogan as a child… he would only wear turquoise and claimed to be the second coming of the messiah, this was before his “the royal family are lizards phase”

    Don’t Scientologists believe a similar thing? Only with far more terrifying backing than David Icke

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think the Piers Corbyn fine was £10,000, for being the organiser for a gathering of people at an event in contravention of safe distancing rules.
    A relevant tweet I saw was ‘I wonder if I might get fined £10,000 for organising a gathering of around 1500 people, on a single site of around 4 hectares, into smaller groups in close proximity numbering around 30. I’m a school headteacher.’

    Liked by 2 people

  7. When I mentioned David Icke to my husband, he remarked “Obviously he had a breakdown” which made me feel bad about laughing at him….but there are a number of these people whom you suspect have mental health issues (Gemma O’Doherty in Ireland is another) who you’d feel sorry for and say needed help for it it wasn’t for the fact that a lot of what they say can harm other people (not wearing masks, saying the Pandemic is a hoax etc) and actively stoking racism in Britain and Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Truly. It’s sort of like dealing with someone out in the street, ranting and carrying a gun. Yes, they may be completely nuts and you could try talking to them and settling the situation down, but you’ve got to think about the gun.

      Liked by 1 person

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