May 23, 2010

Jarvis Cocker, Pulp frontman and ‘National Treasure’ according to the scrolling display of my digital radio during his BBC 6music show, is this week’s subject of The Observer’s always worthwhile This Much I Know column.

“The muddling through life is the exciting bit of it,” he informs us. How very true. And what a splendid word to describe it. (A word I’m also rather fond of in the context of what you do to mint to make a Mojito.)

Jarvis also tells us his greatest talent: “to sing and move my hands at the same time. It’s not something I’ve thought through; it’s not that I’m trying to do signing. But it’s nice – you can move your hands and shape the words. Shirley Bassey’s very good at it.”

It’s so true. From the wild hand movements of his youth, movements that dragged his whole body across the stage, to the gentler gesticulations of later years, the hands added a whole dimension to his performance. One that seemed to involve absolutely no muddling whatsoever.

A scaring sentence

May 23, 2010

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, two men in Malawi who had an unofficial marriage ceremony, have been convicted to 14 years in prison for gay sex. The judge said it was a “a scaring sentence, so that the public be protected from people like you; so that we are not tempted to emulate this horrendous example.” Scaring indeed.

It’s easy for those of us in the UK (and other Western countries), with all the advances in gay rights over the last 40 years, to forget how bad things can still be elsewhere. But before we get too judgemental, it turns out that the law under which they were convicted was introduced under British rule.

Let’s just hope that what’s happened since then over here will happen over there.