Friday 25 May 2012

Singing For Your Supper

The real issue facing Europe and causing the most acrimony is of course the Eurovision song contest which is to blast the ears and boggle the eyes tomorrow night, Saturday, asteroids and ancient prophesies willing.

Azerbaijan is the country that is hosting it and Baku the location.  The choice was made by the performers from that country winning last year, so the complaints about it are met by “rules are rules” responses.

Our fair nation is being represented by one of my contemporaries, yes he is that old, Arnold Dorsey, stage name Engelbert Humperdinck who might have been the oldest ever contestant but has been upstaged by some Russian ladies of even greater age.

The hot money is on the Russian Dancing Great Grannies.  So whether there will more protests next year is an open question.  But given the shady behind doors fixes and betting plans it might by anyone.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has taken an interest, not as a break from the usual stuff, but because its government, financing and human interest issues give it cause to raise questions about both the nature of regime and its closeness to people in London.

Although based in California where he has spent much of his life Arnold also had a pad, a big one, at Kirby Muxloe by Leicester, once a decidedly posh place to live.  The people who lived there when Arnold was a lad were the sort who owned cars, had full china tea sets and read newspapers with a lot of big words in them.

It was a place to aspire to if you climbed the greasy, or greased pole of local life and commerce and like most of the villages and communities of the Shire had a long and complicated history.

During the time of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th Century it was the hands of the Hastings family.  These were one of the most prominent families in the Midlands and it was at Kirby that William Hastings began to build a major new home, above.

Unluckily, he was one of the losers in the vicious infighting that occurred during the reign of King Richard III, losing his head at the Tower of London in 1483 and the castle remained unfinished. 

The King lost his life a few miles down the road at the Battle of Bosworth Field of 1485.  When his remains were being conveyed into Leicester over the back of a horse the head was banged against the parapet on entering into Leicester along the road from Kirby.

Let us hope that Arnold keeps his head and makes it back to California or Kirby in one piece.  He might even get a booking to appear with the Great Grannies in Moscow.

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