Thursday, 24 July 2008

The Grimleys


When I was a child I remember the man who lived next door very well. His name was Bob. About ten years ago he developed oral cancer which spread to his jaw bone. He had an operation that resulted in him losing half his jaw and having it replaced by a metal prosthesis which caused constant pain and badly impaired his speech. His doctors gave him just a short time to live. But in the face of this news, for the first time in his life at the age of about 60, he started writing fiction. He poured out page after page of comedy play. Some of his plays were produced by a local drama group and were given ace reviews. Bob himself was interviewed on TV and he was smiling and spoke eloquently, ignoring his own speech impediment. One of the things he said I will never forget: “No matter how bad something is, if you can learn to laugh at it you can take away its sting.” Bob died in 2000.

While Bob was busy writing his plays Jed Mercurio had just seen his situation comedy series The Grimleys first broadcast: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0187643/ . The Grimleys is one the finest comedy series I’ve ever seen. The reason I love it is because, like Bob’s plays, it makes a joke out of the injustices of life, particularly in terms of human relationships. The show has been criticized for its stereotyped characters, but I see them more as perceptive caricatures and this adds to the show’s style. The Grimleys has given me the inspiring and uplifting effect Bob sought after in his literature; it has also given me Earth-shaking flights of insight into how the mass human culture is controlled by the Conformist Regime, those implementing the New World Order, and helped me deal with an issue over which I used to have devastating personal hang-ups.

The series is set in Black Country in the 1970’s and has a retro and nostalgic theme. The Grimleys are a family of five and one of the sons, Gordon, is the central character. Gordon is a schoolboy in his mid teens and the underlying story arc of the whole series is his deep unrequited love for his English teacher Miss Geraldine Titley. Matters are complicated by the fact that Geraldine lives in the house opposite the Grimleys’ and that her own father Reg Titley, is a friend of the family and the series hints that he is having a clandestine affair with Gordon’s mother Jan. Gordon’s family is staunchly working-class and his father expects him to leave school as soon as he is old enough and join him at the Longbridge British Leyland car factory. (Ironically Gordon’s father, hilariously played by Nigel Planer, is a lazy couch potato who has never put in a single hour at his job. He went off sick with a bad back on his first day and went out on strike the day he was better and has been so ever since. During the entire series he is never once featured anywhere other than his armchair!) However Gordon is highly intellectual and studious and if he were at an American high school he’d be no doubt labeled a “nerd”. He has ambitions to read English at university. He is also physically feeble and mild-mannered, inevitably making him a target for the school bullies. The worst of these bullies is one of the staff! The sports teacher Mr. Doug “Dynamo” Digby; he is played by the sketch and stand-up comic Brian Conley in one of the greatest sitcom performances I’ve ever seen. Digby is a sadistic and hounding PE instructor who tortures and humiliates his charges like a drill-sergeant. He despises students like Gordon who are academically-inclined, physically unfit and unsuited to playing sport. The driving force behind the plot is that Digby is also Gordon’s love-rival because he is dating Geraldine! Unlike Gordon, who reveres and adores Geraldine, Digby feels nothing for her and just regards her as his “bird”, a masculine accessory, like his car or sports trophies. He also liaises with other women behind her back, like one of the other sports teachers, Miss Thing. Gordon and Digby box their way through a whole array of situations, Gordon tries desperately to court Geraldine and Digby, although he never fears Gordon as a serious rival, tries to maintain his own precarious grip over her affections. Of course Gordon never wins Geraldine’s heart. Geraldine never loses her devotion to Digby. The viewer is never led to consider any other outcome because in every episode-plot fate itself turns on Gordon and works against him. For example in one episode, Geraldine is seriously injured after being hit by a car and rendered comatose. Digby immediately forgets about her and simply goes public with Miss Thing. Gordon on the other hand begins a bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Geraldine to recover. He writes love poems in get-well cards which he places beside her, talks to her, buys her flowers, holds her hand etc. Geraldine remains in her coma for many weeks, but Gordon refuses to abandon her. Then, on the one brief occasion when he nips out of the hospital to visit a shop across the road, Digby is dumped by Miss Thing and decides to visit Geraldine and, yes you guessed it, Geraldine wakes up to see Digby at her bedside! Digby immediately purloins Gordon’s devotion and claims to have been there the whole time that she was unconscious, the cards and flowers were from him and that he wrote the poetry. Geraldine believes him without a second thought and Gordon returns to her bedside to find them in an embrace.

What is so apt about The Grimleys is that life really is like that! The characters are very like many real people that I know; probably HPANWO-readers will too. Women are generally most attracted to men who treat them with inconsideration and contempt, whereas “nice guys” are virtually untouchable. If you’re a man who respects and is kind to women then you really do take an oath of celibacy! This is a social element that has become more and more extreme in recent years. I know many other men who are sensitive and caring guys but have engineered Digby-like personas because it’s the only way they can be “in the game”. For several years I was tempted to do the same. I’ve never been a Gordon Grimley, but I’ve always been a sincere and simple kind of person if I’m on a date with a lady I will treat her as a lady. I’ve never two-timed a girl, been violent to her, stolen her money or any of the other things some men do. And I could see that the men who do those things were far more popular with women than I or any other nice guys were. It drove me into a frenzy of bitter rage; I was positively eating myself alive from the inside through resentment at the appalling unfairness of modern romancing. I was truly miserable and very irritable. I would completely lose my temper whenever a woman bleated about how badly her boyfriend was treating her. I used to yell: “You chose him! You could have had Mr. Nice Guy if you’d wanted, but you chose him; Mr. Dangerous, Mr. Thrilling, Mr. Exciting! Don’t you dare whinge to me when he treats you mean ‘cos that we blokes have to do to keep you keen! You’ve got what you paid for and it does what it says on the can!” I was inventing a new image for myself; I was determined to become “lean, mean and mainstream”. I falsely-justified it to myself by seeing it as a choice that womankind themselves had made; they’d voted with their feet and that we blokes were merely responding to market forces. But I never went down that road. I began to see the situation in a new light, and one of the most enlightening insights I had was watching The Grimleys.

I began to ask myself: why are humans like this? Why have we become so shallow and petty? Why do we have such little respect for each other, or ourselves? We perpetrate viscous and selfish acts without a qualm, and sometimes without any identifiable motive. We tolerate such degrading ordeals at the hands of others, not only tolerate them but even become morbidly addicted to them! It seems so blatantly obvious now, when I look back, but it took a long time for it to dawn on me: Society has not naturally evolved like this; it has been deliberately engineered to be like this! I began to research the people and organizations who try to mould the human mind, people like Edward L Bernays. He was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, the famous psychoanalyst, and at the start of the 20th Century he discovered how advertising and portraying something to the public in the right way could completely change the way we perceive it, and therefore the way we act towards it. Organizations like the Tavistock Institute were born out of his discoveries (Background: http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2008/02/tavistock-founder-dies.html and http://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2007/11/reality-tv.html ). And I see Bernays’ footprints today in the modern media. Eastenders is one of Britain’s most popular soap operas of all time ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/ ). I used to watch it regularly, but gave it up; however I still tune in occasionally because I’ve been studying a sinister trend in the storyline: A recurring plot that keeps coming back again and again and again, sometimes running concurrently in file with more then one character group. First I should explain how some of the characters are used to promote particular mindsets, lifestyles and attitudes; they are what I call “CMI’s” (Conformist Male Ideals). The CMI is almost always one of the “Alpha Males”, a powerful and masterful character. He is materially rich and usually runs his own business. He is manipulative, ruthless and unfeeling. He is very attractive to women, even if he is not conventionally handsome, but cares little for them. He abuses them and cheats on them and the viewer knows he can do so with impunity because his women will always come running back. Female viewers are often very attracted to him and send his actor lots of fan mail. Famous examples of CMI’s are Den Watts ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_den_w.shtml ), Phil Mitchell ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_phil_m.shtml ), Steve Owen ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_steve_o.shtml ) and Andy Hunter. ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_andy_h.shtml ) Some CMI’s are so grossly overplayed that they cease to be characters at all and become concepts, like Dennis Rickman: ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_dennis_r.shtml ) Alternatively there are certain characters who are presented in the story as figures of contempt; the message is: “Don’t be like him! If you think you’re in any way becoming like him, then change!” This kind of character I call the “CAP” (Conformist Asexual Punchbag). CAP is a very gentle and inoffensive man. He is capable of enormous affection and kindness. He aids and assists those in need, shows respect for everyone around him, and is as a result usually single! He’s invariably materially poor and lowly; sometimes he's a bit eccentric. People often take advantage of him, sponging off him and using him as a stooge or the butt of jokes and pranks. Prime and typical CAP's are Mark Fowler ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_mark_f.shtml ), Robby Jackson ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_robbie_j.shtml ), Gus Smith ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_gus_s.shtml ), Minty (http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_minty_p.shtml ), and, many years ago, Lofty Holloway ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/characters/character_lofty_h.shtml ). The sinister recurring plot runs thus: A CAP is in love with one of the female characters, but she’s not interested in him. Sometimes she just likes him as a friend. This same female however is either dating or smitten by a CMI; what follows is a tragic and very one-sided love-triangle with an inevitable conclusion: The female’s affections cannot be wrenched away from CMI and CAP gets his heart broken. A good example of these plot structures are Mark Fowler-Lisa-Phil Mitchell; Minty-Andy-Sam; Gus-Sonia-Jamie (although Jamie is not a pure CMI) and Lofty-Michelle-Den; there are many other examples. The message is loud and clear: If you want to be attractive, powerful and successful, be a CMI. Don’t be a CAP or you’ll be a forgotten and trampled-upon nobody.

“It’s all just a story! It’s got no bearing on real life!” you might say. You’d be wrong. These kinds of soap operas are watched by more people than any other programme; M.K.Enders gets up to 12 million viewers every week! People talk about them, think about them and write about them on the internet. They often site examples in the plots which relate to situations that are going on in their own lives. BernaysEnders is incredibly influential, and it is intended to be. I’d bet my bottom dollar that the Tavistock Institute is involved in its production! It doesn't say so in its own site ( http://www.tavinstitute.org/ ) but that means nothing! Read the links I posted above to my articles on Reality TV and you’ll see how much in the media, TV especially, is designed to tell us how to think, feel and therefore behave. It’s intended to demoralize us, to breed despondency and to filter humanity into two false-Darwinian channels: Green Channel: Those who surrender to the Conformist clone CMI template. Red Channel: Those who don’t. These people are browbeaten and harangued, soap opera CAP's are paraded in front of them as a threat, until they either rethink and conform or socially die. It’s happening! I can see it every day! The free and easy days of the 60’s are gone and we have regressed back to the age of repression and social violence. But it’s a new form of repression, the new social elite are no longer those from the upper classes, but those who follow the social engineering of the New World Order. Another part of that engineering are “Lad mags”. This is a new phenomenon that has only appeared in the last ten or twenty years. Big glossy magazines with titles like FHM, Loaded and Nuts. They are frightening to read because within their pages you’ll find that the Conformist Regime’s agenda is even more obvious than it is in the soaps: “If you want to be a real man then get a six-pack stomach, drive a big fast car and only fancy the girls we tell you to fancy!” There are articles teaching men how to seduce women of different kinds through lies and masquerades; as well as articles entitled like: If Any of Our Readers are Nice Guys, We Can Cure You! The boundaries of acceptable behavior have become so chokingly narrow that even wearing the wrong type of watch or a mobile phone of a slightly old design can be enough to get a man spurned by society. I was given some intimidating looks in the pub the other day because I carry my money in a plastic bank bag! Is that really the level we’ve descended to? Would the flower-power generation be dismayed if they could see into the future to our age? Is it too late; is there nothing we can do about it? The answers to those questions are respectively: Yes, yes and no. We can do a lot about it. We can stop conforming and be individuals, even if we are shunned and rejected by our peers. We’re only being rejected from the Ickian prison. Those who reject you are prisoners themselves; they may want to be as free as you, but aren’t willing to face the consequences. Set an example! Show them that the consequences are not as bad as they thought. If we’re holding ourselves in prison then we can let ourselves go! It’s that simple. Cruelty is not natural human behavior; it’s an aberration. It’s not what we are, it’s a role we’ve been chivvied and chased into playing. Let’s choose a different one!

So where does The Grimleys come into all this? You may well have noticed that the sinister plot I refer to in Eastenders, matches the central one of The Grimleys. And that is why I like it! It makes the terrifying and oppressive propaganda of TavistockEnders into a joke; it’s a satire! Bob was so right. Look at something horrible, see if there’s anything funny in it, laugh at it and its horror drains away. The Grimleys is the perfect antidote to Manchurian-CandidateEnders and I recommend it to every HPANWO-reader. The problem is that it’s not easy to get hold of. Just a few years after I watched it I went to the shop to try and buy a recording, but no shops have it. I found it on Amazon eventually; just the first and second series (The third series isn’t as good anyway). They were on a pair of old and crackly VHS tapes that cost me £18 each! This is odd! The Grimleys was a very successful series; it was a prime time comedy-drama with lots of famous actors in the cast that achieved very high viewing figures. By now I’d have thought you could pick up a DVD box set of every episode plus bonus footage, out-takes and interviews with the director etc… Could it be that whoever is behind the propaganda in Eastenders has understood how defusing the satire in The Grimleys is? And have they subsequently taken steps to ensure it never gets released to those who might benefit from it?

17 comments:

Nicky said...

Really good writing! That's exactly how the world is! I live in Sweden and it's even more conformist than UK. But the good thing is that more and more people are awakening, like you and me, to see what's really important in the game called life.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, Nicky. A place more Conformist than the UK doesn't bear thinking about! Well done for coping with life in Sweden! You're right though. More and more people are awakening. "The Grimleys" is just one example of that. Films like "V for Vendetta" and "Dead Poets Society" would not have been made unless a spark of our true free spirit was emerging... And Red Ice Creations Radio of course! How does that go down in Sweden? :-)

Nicky said...

I didn't now about Red Ice Radio actually. Now when I looked, there were about four Swedes (including myself).

PS. I'm also "scones86" and I send you a pm some time ago at the Icke Forum.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Ah, hello, Fellow Icke forum member. I'll keep an eye out for you there.

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