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The Trouble With … The Guardian (Postscript)

8 December, 2017

One week after the following:

‘[The Guardian] spends more time feuding with its two old enemies the Daily Express and Daily Mail – two former broadsheets which gave up the broadsheet ghost over half a century ago (unable to compete against the The Times and the Telegraph for journalism) and which The Guardian – in turn – will be obliged eventually to join.

Which may be sooner than they think.’

Anyone like this week’s Lotto numbers as well?

It means handing over the printing of the Grudiard to Trinity Mirror (the mouldering remains of Robert Maxwell’s greasy empire). No word from these guardians of the poor exploited proletariat on redundancies – that would really have been testing their ethical mettle too far.

Needless to say, the Daily Mail have wasted no time in rubbing salt into the Guardianistas’ wounded pretentions in their editorial today:

‘The Mail congratulates the Guardian on finally seeing the light and becoming a tabloid. True, it’s taken a long time and – through awesome business ineptitude – losses of hundreds of millions of pounds.

We sincerely hope that by joining the tabloid club, the paper might now begin to make financial sense, rather than depend on massive subsidy.

Just one bit of helpful advice. Commercially-viable tabloids – even mid-market ones like the Mail – rely on putting stories on their pages that actually interest people.’


The ‘massive subsidy’ The Mail is referring to is the so-called Scott Trust.

Set up originally in 1936 so the Guardian’s owner of the time could avoid paying death duties, it is now a limited company based in the tax-haven of the Cayman Islands to ‘accept’ donations to the Guardian Media Group (Guardian and Observer) from mainly rich benefactors in return for ensuring ‘favourable’ coverage – which amounts often to little more than a guarantee any negative stories about them which could prove damaging to their interests get ‘spiked’.

This allows the Guardian to enjoy all the business advantages from being sponsored by corporate capitalist pigs while maintaining the twin pretences of impartiality and not ‘selling out’ by running adverts from ‘unethical’ sources.

For example, The Guardian are no friends of Israel, yet they sacked Nafeez Ahmed for a piece exposing Israel’s continued interference in the Gaza Strip (part of the so-called ‘State of the Palestine National Authority’) due to its alarm at the discovery of natural gas reserves worth $3 billion off Gaza’s shores which if fully exploited would leave Israel with a very dangerous enemy on its boarders with plentiful revenues for all manner of mischief. The word was a certain international bank funding the Scott Trust whose clients are involved in the exploitation of said resources didn’t want the matter to come to wider public knowledge in case it interfered with ‘business’ (i.e. making money).

‘Don’t do as we do, do as we say’ – it’s the Guardian way.

The Trouble With…. The Guardian Newspaper

1 December, 2017

On Thursday past, The Guardian Newspaper posted the latest in a ceaseless succession of klitta pieces about what fine people Guardian staff all are and what a blessing be their existence in a cruel unjust world. Usually this practice is reserved to fading regionals or tabloids which serve as the propaganda sheet of the proprietor’s ego.

The Guardian tends however to do this a lot, and increasingly so. It is becoming annoying.

Like all of Britain’s four major broadsheet national ‘quality’ newspapers – the others being The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The i (a truncated more mainstream successor to the now-online only Independent) – it has been suffering from a decline in readers, and despite a near monopoly when it comes to the serious left-wing newspaper market (its only actual competition being the tabloid Daily Mirror which is more or less a comic for grown ups who found the vocabulary of The Beano about their limit), despite the surprising rise of Jeremy Corbyn to a national popularity no dyed in the wool left wing leader has enjoyed in the United Kingdom since the days of Clement Attlee.

Trouble is, The Guardian backed all of Corbyn’s opponents before they saw the light. Twice.

They also backed Tony Blair for too long – who threw old Labour table scraps from the masters to the prole dogs so they would accept Diet Toryism as still better than full fat. The public have not been in a mood to forgive – not least of all to a newspaper which seems to have more in common with a religious cult.

Look no further than how its loyal readers (‘Guardianistas’ as they’re sometimes referred to, a pun on the Sandinista left wing revolutionaries who took control of Nicaragua from 1979 to 1990 to popular claim by leftists worldwide, but who were soon found as wanting as the pigs and dogs in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ – reacted to the above puff piece, or rather the way The Guardian allowed it to be perceived they reacted.

Remind you of anyone?

The Guardian is for people cosseted within the snuggly duvet of their own smugness who think themselves as better than they really are (whether intellectually or morally), and as such its readers are in a permanent daily grind of rationalising a perpetual cognitive dissonance towards a capitalist society they’re happy enough to take what suits them to enjoy from it – on ethical or moral grounds, of course – before criticising anyone who does the same over what they don’t like. Don’t do what we do, do what we say.

They are particularly obsessed with righteousness of thought, or at least pretending to be. They ‘think’ multiculturalism is all about being able to buy foreign food and experience foreign culture when what they really mean is they get to pay less for a tradesman to do their kitchen, next to nothing for child minders, have an endless supply of ‘competitive’ Uber taxi drivers, desperate Eastern European ‘interns’ with evening dive bar or cleaning jobs to make ends meet (while awaiting the offering of the full time contract that will never come) and their morning takeaway pretentious coffee ‘treat’ on their way to work.

In short all those things the proletariat (whom they ‘love’ in a paternalistic fashion) struggling to pay food and board cannot afford – all the while congratulating themselves that they’ve allowed foreigners to come into the country as a good thing for the lower orders to experience rather than being the importation by confidence trickery of free range wage-slaves for the sole benefit of the affluent.

Any negative consequences, meanwhile, are simply people being racist. Or sexist. Or any other of a hundred other -ists which Guardianistas like to label anyone who disagrees with them. Bad names for bad people. Bad people deserve bad things happening to them.

It is a paper for those living comfortable lives with little major material worries over paying for food, energy and the rent – the sort of matters that tend to drive people to populists proffering panaceas (whether left wing like Corbyn or right wing like Farage) when matters get desperate. The sort of world your average Guardianista never understands, and has little interest in doing so. It is no coincidence that university academics, members of the clergy and others in well paying or at the very least genteel professions propound within the ranks of the Guardianistas.

Deep down your average Guardian reader despises the working classes and lower orders, who sold their liberal-socialist birthright for a mess of pottage in accepting Thatcher’s destruction of their livelihoods, communities and traditions in return for any sort of employment. Let none dare suggest this as anger that they lost in turn their own birthright as ‘facilitators’ of the proles (‘yes, they do need to be led by the right sort of people, you understand of course – it’s for their own good, poor little ducklings.’). Or merely facile.

They see the lower orders as easily led by their base instincts toward strong drink, the abuse of prescription drugs, loveless sexual practices and other short term escapes for the horror of their meaningless lives. As such, they are gullible, shallow and likely to make poor life choices, such as buying non-ethically sourced products from multinationals. From this they need to be protected. By legal coercion if need be.

They are unaware that they are part of an international racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, [insert current fashionable oppressed minority being treated like they are a pet]-phobic capitalist conspiracy traversing the world in a perpetual maelstrom of divide and conquer in order to continue their exploitation and suffering.

(This, despite all evidence to the contrary that the working classes and lower orders are more than capable of finding reasons to scapegoat and turn against one another without any outside intervention, such as the pogroms against cats and the Jews during the Black Death, despite repeat attempts by local authorities to stop them)

The irresistible impression of the average Guardianista is one regarding the lumpen proletariat with much the same view the old English ‘High Society’ did, with a paternalistic instinct at best so long as they knew their place and didn’t start getting ideas above their station (for all the lofty talk about ‘bettering’ them, the notion of them rising to equality of opportunity was a step too far – ‘it wouldn’t work, it would only spoil them!’).

They despise them even more than their arch enemies the Daily Telegraph. Or at least that’s who The Guardian likes to consider as opposition. In truth it spends more time feuding with its two old enemies the Daily Express and Daily Mail – two former broadsheets which gave up the broadsheet ghost over half a century ago (unable to compete against the The Times and the Telegraph for journalism) and which The Guardian – in turn – will be obliged eventually to join.

Which may be sooner than they think. On the same day The Guardian indulged in self-congratulation by devoting their letter page to having all their readers telling them how wonderful they are, the following appeared:

The editorial of the paper ‘whose values are needing more than ever before’, attacking goody-goody woman-tween Taylor Swift (twenty seven years old, going on fourteen) because she personifies the value of the great Twitter Behemoth known as Donald Trump and has (unsolicited and unwanted) support from being postergirled by rednecks and racists. At least, when viewed by the Guardianista’s eye.

It would be funny if they didn’t actually mean every bit of it. They are trying fairly transparently to coerce her into attacking Trump in order to prove her ‘innocence’ and spare her from the casting of other such aspersions – the same bully-boy verbal thuggery that is the meat and drink of the far-left, and equally as unedifying.

This isn’t new ground: back in the late 1980s they painted bubblegum popster Debbie Gibson as everything that was wrong with Reagan’s U.S.A. as it bullied the globe and taught impressionable young minds swearing Nazi style allegiance to Old Glory in schools that Americans were the master race saving the world from the Communist Evil Empire, homosexuals and other degenerates who didn’t believe in the All American Way of Freedom (mainly freedom to exploit, extort and exterminate). Much of the criticism was regurgitated from The People (a Sunday tabloid of a supposed left wing bent) and the rather Trotskyite music papers of the time (all but one of which have since gone bankrupt) because The Guardian as it wasn’t very interested in the latest popular music (too ‘low art’) unless it involved someone working with former members of The Clash or Jerry Dammers.

It looked incredibly stupid a blink of an eyelid later when the very heterosexual Ms Gibson became the first mainstream celebrity to break ranks openly concerning ‘God’s Judgement On Gays’ (as opposed to merely teasing support) and take part in an AIDS telethon at massive risk to her own nascent career – for which she is still regarded as a gay icon. It turned out she was still involved in a number of local homeless and Catholic church charities dating from long before becoming famous, but she’d chosen to keep quiet about to spare them unwanted outside attention. You could hardly blame her.

Being a smiling, giggly blonde airhead singing about the fatuous concerns of the average teen and cosmo-chick doesn’t necessarily make you shallow and stupid. Thinking it automatically does however smacks of the inverted snob – a two word summation of both the Guardian and its supporters if ever there was one.

Kelvin Hopkins And Ava Etemadzadeh – Here’s What You Are Not Reading In The Media

3 November, 2017

Put matters into perspective, and you may see what others do not.

This MP,

is accused by this woman,

who has a lot to say about people who supported Brexit,

People like the man being accused,

A dyed in the wool old Labour type and supporter of Jeremy Corbyn with all the bearded sandal wearing veggie burger munching Trade Union loving lefty crap he stands for.

The sort of person who is the immortal enemy of this evil piece of work,

Who is the hero of this piece of work,

Old Twitter account abandoned after Momentum put Comrade Corbyn in charge – AvaBlair1990.

Thought you ought to know.

Which may explain why the Labour Party’s office reacted the way they did to the allegations in the first place.

Just saying.

Although some of you out there may have felt something stank from this skeet from the start if you had been paying attention,

Not mentioning any Guido Fawkes websites in particular.

Jazz-Hands Unmasks East Devon’s Long Time Politics Troll Blogger ‘East Devon Watch’ As Paul Freeman

25 June, 2017

A week or so ago (the month has flown by!) Jazz-Hands made a post about the general election to provide some entertainment over what looked like a dull night ahead.

The unexpected general election announcement resulted in many of the smaller political parties which add colour and variety to elections (and also in the middle of the local council elections where they ply most of their resources offering their best chance of success) had little choice but to put up token or no resistence to the big behemoths of Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Scottish National.

Even those veteran patron saints of hopeless political causes – the Communist Party ¥ and the National Front § – found themselves without the funds or organisation to stand candidates in time, the result being the first time the Communist Party has failed to contest a general election since its founding in 1920, and for the NF for the first time since its own founding in 1967. A century and a half-century’s continued participation brought to an abrupt close. If ever there was a metaphor for how much the little guys have been crushed by modern party politics, this was it.

With a pitiful turnout from the small parties to liven up proceedings, Jazz-Hands decided it was in the public’s disinterest to mull over what others had taken to the lists anxious to flush £500 of perfectly good money down the toilet and report back on the findings, if for no other reason than fleeting entertainment.

All good harmless clean fun. Except someone swiftly took exception to it.

Posted on 8th June 2017 at 8 am, much to my amazement at 2.49pm and 3 pm that afternoon came two snide replies (notifications coming by email and directly into the blog Comments section pending approval) from the same person not too happy with what had been said about the East Devon Alliance and those associated with it when it suits them.

Wish I could type so much so quickly.

This is the paf_uk Twitter account this creepy skeet posted from.

Were this a certain other blog I could mention, a point by point rebuttal would be in order.

But this is a Simming blog (and other distractions at my discretion), not a politics blog, and I will not drag Jazz-Hands into the circuit of CAMRA affiliated leather elbow patch jacketed men and Ms Jabba The Hut Cosplay Of The Year contestants trolling the web in the break times of their busy careers trolling newspapers’ online comments sections.

To put a Sims 3 perspective to this:

However, there is one matter from the above that I would like to bring to general attention as this is very much in the public interest:

‘You say that the EDA is “spending a lot of time on the web via yellow press sites such as ‘East Devon Watch’ telling anyone who will listen how she’s the only one with enough support to win the seat”… In particular, East Devon Watch is a blog run by an individual (not me) and reflects their opinion on local politics and is not (and has never been) run BY the EDA. Once again, please provide your evidence supporting your statements.’

Let’s look at that again, once more with feeling:

‘East Devon Watch is a blog run by an individual (not me) … and is not (and has never been) run BY the EDA.’

First, how could you know – possibly know – whether the East Devon Watch blog was run by an individual? Unless, of course, you are the individual running it. Elementary logic, rookie troll mistake.

Jazz-Hands regular readers deserve greater proof than this however – small and perfectly formed their numbers may be. The daily readership for this rather part-time blog could be measured with both pairs of hands and feet on a good day.

Which is exactly my point: it is impossible that Paul Freeman could have spotted the contentious post on Google or any other search engine, which only updates its searches for even the bigger blogs after a day has elapsed; let along the ten billion skiffies like this one and the many others on WordPress, Blogger, etc.

Nor for that matter does Jazz-Hands post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or anywhere else for dissemination.

The only way he could have possibly known in such a short space of time therefore is by the pingback and trackback section whenever you make a post on WordPress, which lets another WordPress blog editor know whenever you have made a post copying in a link from them instantaneously.

I keep forgetting to switch it off when I make posts in order to avoid cranks. This time it has proved to be very fortunate I did forget.

East Devon Watch is hosted on WordPress.

While ‘The Owl’ has done his best to hide his identity from a lot of angry Devonians who would like to know who is, and despite trying to cover his tracks by replying to it from his Twitter account (using the Gravatar feature, by which you can link and comment across multiple platforms such as Twitter and WordPress), the fact that Paul Freeman posted two snotty comments to this blog so swiftly indicates beyond any reasonable doubt that Paul Freeman is the person behind the East Devon Watch blog.

Even more damning, as Paul Freeman also happens to own the East Devon Alliance’s own website (as you can see above), you can dismiss his other claim that the East Devon Watch website is nothing to do with the East Devon Alliance – accused by its detractors as the Have Our Cake And Eat It Party (being a party while pretending to still be independent candidates). It is the same person running both, and it is disingenuous to try to claim there is no intentional overlap with the objectives between the two sites.

What makes Freeman’s behaviour all the more pathetic is he spends considerable time on the East Devon Watch yellow blog posting in the comments section agreeing with his own sock puppet Owl alias!

Look no further than the post general election aftermath (the East Devon campaign proved a very bad tempered affair): where ‘The Owl’ (ie. Freeman) decided to deny thrice before cockcrow the claims by the victorious candidate Sir Hugo Swire that the East Devon Alliance and the East Devon Watch weren’t quite as independent of one another as some would claim:

Sir Hugo Swire is wrong in saying ‘they’re all the same sort of people’ – he ought to have said ‘they’re all the same people’! Or rather ‘person’.

Paul Freeman added the below in ‘reply’ to his own post:


Paul Freeman has challenged local MP Sir Hugo Swire to take him to court, doubtless in the confidence he could never prove that he is the person running the East Devon Watch blog (which one suspects is where the ‘libel’ alluded to by Freeman in the screenshots above exist – buried somewhere amongst almost a decade’s worth of pompous bile).

Tempting as this may be now for the exasperated Swire to seek to litigate (and for that matter Councillor Stuart Hughes, which Freeman appears fixated with despite all evidence pointing to an honest hard working councillor – a rare loon swimming on the lake of local government in that respect), a far more pragmatic outcome may simply to be let every media outlet he is still friendly with know about this, before pouring himself a stiff one and having a bloody good laugh.

Paul Freeman may like to think himself some gadflying political maverick, but posting in the comments section of his own blog in order to agree with himself sums up the pathetic truth of the man. Whatever credibility he ever had is now shredded to ribbons.

It could be argued the East Devon Alliance are innocent regarding Freeman’s antics, but this is their website owner behind this and a leading member with a track record for accusing everyone else of being liars at the drop of a hat. If they’re hoping for there to be no comeback on this for themselves, they could be disappointed.

The same could be said even more for Paul Freeman, hiding behind alias to bitch about local politicians while being sanctimonious about their ‘dirty tricks’. Creep.


¥ once of Great Britain, now only of Britain – ignore the party claiming currently to be the CPGB. They were forbidden from using the old CPGB name by the courts when the party split in 1992 over the subject of the European Union, the pro EU half becoming the Democratic Left.

§ actually they’re not the National Front at all, more a rabble of John Tyndall worshipping Jew-fixated aged life losers pretending to be the real National Front after they were chucked out of the BNP because by chance the name was going spare. The real NF died – lock, stock and barrelled off the UK register of political parties – in May 2011 when veteran member Terry Blackham (the NF’s on-off National Activities Organiser for two decades and poster boy of the anti-racist Searchlight magazine) found love: dropping his entire wasted old life revolving around the far-right for a whirlwind romance and marriage. He is now settled down as a hard working respectable doting dad and husband enjoying family life complete with son and cute woof-woof. More’s the pity some of his old compatriots (and adversaries come to that) don’t try the same. You know, growing up.

On the other hand, the Socialist Party of Great Britain and Official Monster Raving Loony Party still managed to provide their regular slate despite being equally as stuck as the CPB and NF in a retro-timewarp. Even the Social Democratic Party made a comeback. Sort of.

How Does A Kipper Turn Into A Newt? (Apologies To The Dee Daas For The Social Democratic Party!)

8 June, 2017

Yes, Jazz-Hands accepts full responsibility for what has happened to the people of Sheffield being landed with the Gang Of Five.

Two years ago, it all seemed like good fun, making up hypothetical SDP posters, billboards and T-shirts.

Never thought it would give a bunch of disillusioned Kippers (that’s UK Independence Party members to all you foreigners) the inspiration to adopt the Social Democratic Party brand in this election, including a full slate for the city of Sheffield.

Why they are doing so would be interesting to know of course.

In any case, apologies to the entire British political system for the monster Jazz-Hands has created – uncorking the claret bottle and releasing an 80’s retro demon!

Today’s British General Election: Some Of The Independents, Who Aren’t That Independent!

8 June, 2017

In British parliamentary general elections and by-elections, you will often encounter people standing as ‘independent’ candidates. The face value is these are altruistic citizens who wish to do good in the corridors of power without being tied down to the rules and regulations of a political party, pressure group, or otherwise.

Except sometimes this is not the case. People also stand for all manner of reasons which have little or nothing to do with the above. Deselected candidates going solo out of principle to let the voters decide; or to spite their old colleagues by splitting the vote to let their rivals win; those standing simply as a publicity stunt for their business or a charity (you are entitled to a free leaflet drop from the Royal Mail so long as your election literature is not disqualified for ‘advertising’); there are even those using it to highlight some wrongdoing in the hope of forcing the issue into the open if picked up by the press (or by forcing their target to take them to court).

Confused? Here’s a special Jazz-Hands investigation!

Daniel Bamford (Amber Valley): Not the same Danny Bamford once of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party and Raving Loony Green Giant Party. A disgruntled UKIP member angry his local branch stood down to give the pro-Brexit Conservative candidate a clear run. This has been the most common of the ‘independent’ candidates this time out who aren’t once you scratch the surface.

Roseanne Edwards (Banbury): Despite the People’s Voice for Banbury tag, is actually one of the NHS Action Party, who appear to have made a complete arse of getting their nominations organised this time out. She’s a successful local newspaper journalist.

Aleks Lukic (Batley & Spen): Another disgruntled KIPper over UKIP giving a Tory candidate a free run because they claimed to be anti-EU.

Chris Coghlan (Battersea): Blairite who failed to get nominated under the pro-Corbyn Momentum juggernaut. Due to ‘anti-terrorism’ business connections, suspected ‘trial run’ candidate for a breakaway new ‘centrist’ party for disgruntled Labour and Lib Dem members.

Ajmal Masroor (Bethnal Green & Bow): ex-Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate and now minor TV celebrity on cable TV stations aimed at Muslims.

Duncan Miller (Blackburn) : Blackburn Rovers Fan standing to demand the removal of the Venkys family in control of his ailing football club.

Vicki Browning (Blaenau Gwent) : The Orion’s Reusables Nappy Library candidate. No really.

Kieron Wilson (Bournemouth East): Another ‘save the NHS’ candidate who didn’t appear to be aware of the NHS Action Party.

Olivio Barreto (Bracknell): And another disgruntled Kipper over the party giving the Tory a free run – their candidate for the Crown Wood council ward less than two years earlier.

David Ward (Bradford East): Former Lib Dem MP thrown out of party after one remark bordering on anti-Semitism too many (far too many to be precise).

Salma Yaqoob (Bradford West): former titular leader of the ‘anti-Zionist’ vanity Respect Party of serial oxygen thief George Galloway. Already criticised for holding ‘Muslims only’ election meetings in a seat becoming infamous for returning candidates later shown to be anti-Semitic.

Khadim Hussain (Bradford West): former Labour Lord Mayor of Bradford who quit before he was expelled for – wait for it – anti-Semitism, to be precise posting on Facebook: ‘your school education system only tells you about Anne Frank and the six million Zionists that were killed by Hitler.’

Amazing Richard Edmonds never thought of standing here.

Louca Kousoulou (Brentwood & Ongar): father of The Only Way Is Essex reality TV ‘star’ (it’s a show that makes Jersey Shore look like Panorama) hoping to cash in on his daughter’s Z-List fame.

Isabel Robson (Bridgend): Councillor for the Change For Bridgend party – a Welsh town made infamous by tabloids for its unexplained high number of teenage suicides.

Doktor Haze (Brighton Kemptown): Real name John Hayes Mabley. Is abusing the electoral system to advertise his Circus of Horrors Alive show which just happens to be playing in Brighton during the period of the General Election – his ‘candidacy’ is being advertised via the business’ website. Um, isn’t this illegal?

John ‘Rockard’ Langley (Bristol South):  Was a UKIP candidate until they discovered he’d been a porn star for forty years. Amazing he never thought of standing for the Corrective Party. Less funny are his links to the English Defence League.

Scott Raven (Buckingham): is standing for the election because he is ‘tired of politics’ Which is confusing as he’s a politics teacher for a local school.

Liam Byrne (Bury St Edmunds): AKA Dobbyliplop.  Twice liver transplant survivor who claims to be ‘passionate about the NHS.’ yet didn’t throw his hat in the NHS Action Party ring. Derp! However he may have succeeded just by turning up in causing the withdrawal of another ‘medical’ independent candidate,  Paul Hopfensperger, a local ‘complimentary medicine’ and assorted quackery guru.

Robert Holden (Calder Valley): Councillor who left the Conservatives after whistleblowing over financial irregularities in the Calder Valley Conservative Association. Could be one of the more interesting side battles of the General Election as he may get enough votes to save his deposit (5%).

Nick Mattey (Carshalton & Wallington): In an almost carbon copy of events in the Calder Valley but on a blockbuster scale, Mattey was a Lib Dem councillor who was expelled for whistleblowing over his party lying about the cost and environmental impact of a waste incinerator as well as granting council contracts to a private refuse collection company who ‘just happened’ to donate over quarter of a million pounds to a church whose hall was the local Lib Dems regular meeting base. Amazed Private Eye haven’t been all over this one.

Ankit Love (Cities of London & Westminster): Serial attention whore who claims to be the Maharaja of Kashmir, an MTV star and will run to be India’s next PM. His father Bhim Singh is leader of the Jammu & Kashmir region National Panthers Party in India (a Congress Party splinter – whose logo, confusingly, is a bicycle and not a panther, unless of course in Jammu and Kashmir panthers are masters of mimicry and can mimic bicycles), who lost their last elected seats in 2014.

Sandy Steel (The Cotswolds): Genuine tin hatter whose website is dedicated to his belief of mass electoral fraud and conspiracy from local to international level ‘controlled by a Global Corporate New World Order’.

Ciaran Norris (Coventry North West): resigned from Labour to fight their local MP who he claims is in cahoots with Coventry City’s owners (the hedge fund group Sisu) who many fans blame for the club’s terminal decline (they took over the club in 2007 when it was twenty minutes from administration for insolvency) as they slipped into the fourth tier for the first time in fifty eight years.

Don Locke (Croydon Central): Estate agent who a fortnight ago had an attack of conscience over ‘fleecing people’ and is standing to highlight the need for affordable housing.

Peter Faithfull (Devon East) : One of the East Devon Alliance ‘independent’ councillors, who appears to have fallen out with them in throwing his hat in the ring as they wanted another of their number to stand. You couldn’t make it up. Claims to be standing to highlight ‘new evidence’ regarding the famous Genette Tate disappearence cold case – a favourite with amateur Miss Marples, conspiracy theorists and – to put it bluntly – creepy ghouls.

Claire Wright (Devon East): The ‘independent’ councillor the East Devon Alliance did want to stand, and are spending a lot of time on the web via yellow press sites such as ‘East Devon Watch’ telling anyone who will listen how she’s the only one with enough support to win the seat. Reality check: Wright did score a remarkable 13 140 votes (24%) at the last General Election (2015), but this was a straight transfer from the Lib Dems whose vote collapsed by 12 833 votes during the great national Lib Dem wipeout – a percentage of the vote drop of… 24%.

Amongst their propaganda pieces is the following tasteful effort made from stealing the pictures from The Sun’s tacky ‘Deirdre’s Photo Casebook’ (cheap titilation masquerading as an agony aunt page). Funny how they should chose that one – which was originally about a girl being subjected to unwanted advances from an older relative: as if there’s not enough incest jokes doing the rounds about the West Country.

Robin Julian (Devon West & Torridge): Another disgrunted Kipper standing in defiance of the party (he’d been their council candidate a few weeks ago!).

Frank Calladine (Doncaster North): Along with wife Phyllis were regular Kipper candidates (and indeed councillors on Adwick On Dearne) standing as recently as a few weeks ago. This time there is however a Kipper candidate standing, so they appear to be part of the revolt against those currently in charge.

Yen Chit Chong (Dulwich & West Norwood): Not to be confused as some sites have with the Bridport lady who stood for the Green Party for Hackney North and Stoke Newington in 1997 and 2001. This dude is the local plumber.

Yen Hongmei Jin (Dumfries & Galloway): Was Scotland’s only ever Chinese councillor who left the SNP amid allegations of bullying and racism towards her but lost her seat when she tried running as an independent last month.

Dr Tariq Mahmood (Grantham & Stamford): Another ‘save my local hospital’ candidate who ought to have gone with the NHS Action Party.

Christina McGilligan-Fell (Great Grimsby): the mayor of North East Lincolnshire. Could be interesting as she was a Lib Dem before her shock defection.

Semi Essessi (Guildford): central to the 2012 controversy over Codemasters threatening to bankrupt former employees after reneging on overtime wages.

Robert Blay (Hampshire North East): Was the UKIP candidate in 2015 until he threatened to shoot his Tory opponent!

Rainbow Weiss (Hampstead & Kilburn): George Weiss, leader of Captain Rainbow’s Universal Party. But you knew about him already, didn’t you from here and here!

Nicholas Wilson (Hastings & Rye) : HSBC corruption whistle blower.

Ann Buckley (Havant): Another ex-Lib Dem councillor who fell out with the party.

Jim Kenyon (Hereford & Herefordshire South): Current mayor of Hereford.

Dr Sasha Norris (Herefordshire North): A strange one. She is a Zoologist and broadcaster who runs a wildlife rescue charity, yet is standing as an independent when there is also a Green Party candidate.

Michelle Dewberry (Hull West & Hessle): Former winner of TV reality show The Apprentice.

Susanne Cameron-Blackie (Islington North): The inimitable Anna Raccoon. Blogger who downs a six pack of Whoop Ass for breakfast. Now sadly dying of cancer after a lifetime of telling everyone things they don’t want to know, but marking her last hurrah by standing to highlight the madness of half of all the NHS’s budget being pocketed by people suing it.

Michael Foster (Islington North): One of Labour’s largest donors, standing in opposition to Jeremy Corbyn. If you are at the count, best not to stand too close to him, he is not likely to be very popular on the night.

David Crabtree (Keighley): former alcoholic turned care home tycoon who has been involved in a running feud with Bradford City Council.

Michael Basman (Kingston & Surbiton): former British chess champion and originator of the Basmaniac Defence. Unfortunately his defence against HM tax inspectors for evasion was not so inspired.

Jonny Orr (Lagan Valley): The Give Stormont A Kick Up The Hole candidate. Popular with an alarming number of local shops.

Willow Winston (Lewisham East): The Millwall FC candidate who also skillfully evaded eviction (so far) from a dubious compulsory purchase order of the sort being attempted against the local football club. Could be one of the surprise flashpoints of the night.

Phil Gray (Lincoln): Lincoln’s famous busker

Adam Heatherington (Liverpool Wavertree): disgruntled Kipper time.

Graham Hughes (Liverpool West Derby): First person to visit every country in the world without flying.

Lord Buckethead (Maidenhead): stood against Margaret Thatcher and John Major before.

Yolande Kenward (Maidstone & The Weald): Masonic conspiracy tin hatter

Terry Lawton (Middlesbrough): Councillor expelled from Labour over dubious social media posts.

Stuart Hill (Orkney & Shetland): Britain’s worst sailor standing to make Shetland and Orkney’s an independent state.

Paul Mack (Paisley & Renfrewshire South): Dead ringer for Barry Grant from Channel 4’s old soap ‘Brookside’. Was local council’s deputy leader until 1997 when he fell out with local politicians over his campaign to close local pubs and clubs linked to gangsters. Old school socialist standing over proposed closure of the local children’s ward, but may get surprise protest votes due to local post-council elections unhappiness of electorate (an abortive SNP-Labour coalition which collapsed and a new Tory councillor being a long time BNP activist).

Oliur Rahman (Poplar & Limehouse): Sidekick of former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman – banned from standing for office for five years in 2015 after being found guilty of electoral fraud.

Lotta Quizeen (Putney): Shit comedian.

Sally Woodhall (Redditch): former UKIP Branch secretary for Redditch who survived links to rival far right groups only to chuck the Kippers after the May elections.

Ron Woodley (Rochford & Southend East): former Southend Council leader and Residents Association leader whose been feuding with the Tories since prehistoric times.

King Pendragon (Salisbury): Arthur Uther Pendragon (born John Timothy Rothwell), King of the Druids who has dabbled with the Wessex Regionalists in the past.

John Freeman (Scarborough & Whitby): local watercolours artist.

Mike Baldock (Sittingbourne & Sheppey): another disgruntled Kipper over the party giving the Tories a free run.

Paul Janik (Slough): Slough Times editor and controversial councillor subjected to a restraining order for harassment due to a feud between rival ‘Britwellian’ groups (which had passing links to the Liberal Democrats).

Donald Davies (Somerset North): The leader of North Somerset Council’s opposition.

Keith Morrell (Southampton Test): Is a local councillor for the Socialist Party. Was supported by the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition until they backed Corbyn.

Nicholas Sheldon (Staffordshire Moorlands): Another save my local hospital campaigner.

Barbara Fielding (Stoke-on-Trent Central): anti-semite, racist campaigner who wants to abolish Magna Carta and restore an absolute monarchy. Banned in 1997 by the Attorney General from making any civil proceedings in court as a vexatious litigant.

Tim Garbutt (Thanet South): An ‘independent green anti corruption’ candidate, despite there already being an official Green Party candidate. Is actually a restaurant owner and eccentric blogger who was once jailed for six months (out after six weeks) over his refusal to back down on a minor point of principle. Apparantly hasn’t changed much. Not to be confused with one half of Utah Saints.

Philip Tate (Thirsk & Malton): Anti-fracking candidate.

Andy The Durham Cobbler (Tynemouth): legendary anti-corruption candidate featured many years ago in The New Statesman.

Waj Ali (Wakefield): An actor, apparantly.

Allyson Barron (Waveney): ex-Labourite councillor until a few weeks ago.

Abby Dharamsey (Westminster North): The seventh least successful candidate of the entire 2010 general election is back for another shot.

Mr Fishfinger (Westmorland & Lonsdale): potential shock on the cards here as the anti-Tim Farron candidate. Conflicting rumours on how well he’s doing, but some bookies have him in third place.

Jagmeet Singh (Wolverhampton South West): campaigning to be Britain’s first Sikh MP.

Roy Ivinson (Workington): Local farmer who has stood several times before on an anti-global warming platform. Has been given a free run by the Greens this time.

For those interested in a running tally of the common causes independents above:

Renegade Kippers (excluding those standing as Social Democrats) = 9

Hospital campaigners who ought to have been with the NHS Action Party = 5

Z-List Celebrity Attention Whores = 7

Jew-baiting Tin Hatters = 6 – half from Bradford

Save My Football Club candidates = 3

Let’s see how many of the above spring a surprise and how many turn out to be burst couches.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child At The Palace Theatre, London: Is It Worth It?

1 May, 2017

After seeing this a few days ago, I am going to do my best to tell you everything you need to know about this (hopefully!) to make up your mind whether it is worth your time and money to make the pilgrimage to see it down at the Palace Theatre in London.

By all means don’t take mine as gospel, there are other views equally as valid or invalid, go read them too if you desire.

The Plot

Here is my attempt at a very brief summary of the important parts: it’s not going to spoil anything as it certainly falls perfectly in line with all other Harry Potter stories (official and otherwise) of being a rehash of old popular story tropes, nothing original, groundbreaking, but enjoyable nontheless.

Starting back on that same platform where Deathly Hallows ended, Albus Severus Potter becomes friends (to everybody’s horror) with Scorpius Malfoy, luckily for Albus as the Sorting Hat (apparantly recovered from being burnt to a crisp by Voldemort whilst sitting on Neville Longbottom’s head) shoves him in Slytherin. Both have a miserable time at the hands of the other students over the next few years, Albus from being the new Neville Longbottom when it comes to be crap at everything, and Scorpius due to malicious gossip that he’s Voldemort’s son (the Malfoy family, despite walking away from the Battle of Hogwarts, remain pariahs) but mainly from being the school geek. For both boys, this causes friction increasingly with their fathers.

Determined to prove to everyone they’re not quite the losers everyone paints them to be, after overhearing Harry refuse the request of the slowly dying wheelchair bound Amos Diggory (now stuck in a granny farm for witches and wizards) to use a recently discovered Time Turner (seized from unrepentent Death Eater Theodore Nott) to prevent Cedric Diggory’s death at the Triwizard’s Tournament, they get the idea of stealing the Time Turner and putting matters right themselves. In their quest, they are aided by the chirpy Delphi Diggory, Amos’s niece, who works at the granny farm and exists so it appears merely to wheel her unpleasant bitter uncle around.

Yes, those of you who have saw the ‘Timeslides’ (the one with the Tension Sheet and Thickie Holden) episode of Red Dwarf know what’s all coming next. Om!

At around the same time, Harry’s scar begins to hurt again, resulting in tensions between him, Headmistress McGonagall of Hogwarts, and Draco Malfoy – whose concern for his son’s welfare has increased upon his mother Astoria Greengrass’ untimely death as Harry obsesses over keeping the two Slytherin friends apart.

They are completely unaware the duo is now a trio, with Scorpius suspecting Albus’ interests in Delphi being carnal as well as on a point of principle (he in turn has a comic unrequited crush on Rose Granger-Weasley, whose loathes the more he loves has less to do with principle too and more to do with the child of Hermione Granger can’t take being second best to the child of a Malfoy as the year’s cleverest student, a matter Scorpius holds complete indifference to, loving learning for learning’s sake rather than out of any superiority complex).

One bottle of Polyjuice Potion and a visit to the Ministry of Magic later (and a near comic rerun of the events of Deathly Hallows), they pinch the Time Turner, travel back to the Triwizard Tournament and several pieces of meddling with the timeline later, succeed in preventing anyone other than Harry making the fateful Portkey trip to face Voldypoos.

Tip for all future time travellers. If you come back from the past to find this symbol all over the place, please return back to your time travel device in an orderly manner and undo everything you did in the previous time visited without delay. Thank you.

When Scorpius returns to the present day however, Albus is not with him, and Scorpius finds himself in a world where an embittered Cedric Diggory (never getting over his humiliation in the Tri-Wizard Tournament) joined the Death Eaters, killed Neville Longbottom before he could kill Nagini, thus allowing Voldemort and his Death Eaters to win the Battle of Hogwarts – and thus control of the wizarding world.

In the new timeline, Scorpius discovers he is Head Boy, a star Quidditch player, and everything his father ever wanted him to be. However, in this reality (where the Ministry of Magic resembles the Third Reich), Draco Malfoy as Head of Magical Law Enforcement (which encourages all manner of harm on ‘mudbloods’ and ‘undesireables’) shows the strain when he discovers his son appears to have flipped overnight and when called in to explain his erratic behaviour has his own conscience read right back to him by a horrified Scorpius, showing once more that family means more to the Malfoys than Voldemort.

Some near misses with Dementors and mucking around with the Time Turner later, Scorpius puts everything back to exactly the way it was before – restoring Albus, but being caught by their parents and the Ministry in the process. Scorpius lies that the Time Turner was destroyed, in reality he wants him and Albus to destroy it because they know if they hand it back to the Ministry they’ll keep it again ‘just in case’.

Delphi reappears and tries to persuade them all to have another go. Matters go very wrong when Scorpius realises out loud that the Minister for Magic in the Voldemort led world was Delphi – at roughly the same time Harry, Ginny, Draco and Ron discover that Amos Diggory was under the Confundus Curse and never had a niece called Delphi. Delphi is really Delphi Lestrange, the illegitimate daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix.

Again, cutting a long story short, Delphi (with Albus and Scorpius her prisoners) decides the only way to prevent Voldemort’s fall is to go back to the very beginning, and stop him from trying to kill baby Harry Potter (an idea rather like the Doctor Who episode ‘City Of Death’there’s also a part from the later Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’, but you can find that bit out yourselves). Their parents turn up in the nick of time to stop Delphi (who gets a one way ticket to Azkaban), and all are forced to watch Voldemort murder Harry’s parents again before blasting himself to smithereens trying to kill baby Harry.

Everyone returns back to the present, better and wiser people, living happily ever after and all that bullshit.

The Play

‘Keep The Secrets’?

When you’re merrily charging up to two hundred quid premium to watch the show whilst accusing others of shameless profiteering?

Um, up yours Rowling and the golden broomstick you rode in on!

Contrary to what you may here or read elsewhere, none of the stagecraft is particularly original. Some of the clever magical stunts – whilst very impressive and enjoyable – are nothing new, as anyone that’s observed a modern stage magician will know. It does pack in a lot of them over the five hours, and the costume changes, Floo Network, Ministry of Magic telephone box, wands and various others are very good.

Some aren’t so good – the talking books in Hermione’s room where you can clearly see the hands operating them are terrible, and Bane the Centaur should have been left out completely – not only do his lines add nothing to the plot, but he is the worst pantomime horse (or rather half-horse) since the legendary Dobbin from Rentaghost (as namechecked in Half Blood Prince by a drunken Trelawney).

There are also places where they have been downright lazy. The Hogwarts train is down to utilisation of the students packing cases and the audiences imagination – something lifted straight from the theatre version of The Woman In Black down at the Fortune Theatre. But the latter play relies on being barebones as part of the plot, when you are selling tickets for what some people earn in a week on the basis of how spectacular the effects are, you have every right to feel a touch cheated.

For how this should have been done, please see Bjork’s interchangeable train for the stage play in her ‘Batchelorette’ video.

But the Dementors!

Oh, they are everything the film versions were not – and more!

Completely brilliant, utterly enthralling, and the terrified screams from those sitting in the ‘Gods’ seats when one of them paid them a visit during the show brought the house down. One of the major highlights of the show.

A dog’s dinner-dinner, dinner-dinner, dinner-dinner, dinner-dinner Batman.

Which is more than can be said for the half-arsed choreography routines. The constant swoopy-whooping around like it is Batman The Musical got wearing after a while. At least there wasn’t a song, but I bet they were tempted.

The actual plotline itself I dealt with in part last year – see here – and plenty of others especially in the Potterhead forums have done this topic to death. There’s a host of annoyances that could be brought up but there’s one in particular that needs to be raised and nailed: why would Harry’s scar be hurting him now when the only reason it did was via the long destroyed Horcrux within him transmitting any of Mouldy Voldy’s rages? It certainly cannot be due to Voldemort’s daughter – she’s been around since at least a year before the Battle of Hogwarts.

‘The Black Hermione’ controversy – does it affect the play?

Probably the biggest row about ‘The Cursed Child’ other than the pricing has been the ‘Black Hermione’ one. Rowling’s feeble excuse (with much moralistic finger wagging) was Hermione’s race was never specified in the books – a complete inversion of the point that she made damned bloody sure in the books her readers knew whenever her characters were not white!

From Sorcerer’s Stone (nb. not Philosopher’s Stone)

‘And now there were only three people left to be sorted. “Thomas, Dean,” a black boy even taller than Ron, joined Harry at the Gryffindor table’

From Goblet of Fire

‘A tall black girl who played Chaser on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Angelina [Johnson] came over to them…’

From Order of The Phoenix:

‘And this is Kingsley Shacklebolt.’ He indicated the tall black wizard, who bowed.’

From Order of The Phoenix:

‘Before Hermione could answer, a tall black girl with long braided hair had marched up to Harry.

“Hi, Angelina [Johnson].”

“Hi,” she said briskly, “good summer?” And without waiting for an answer, “Listen, I’ve been made Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.”

“Nice one,” said Harry, grinning at her.’

From Order of The Phoenix:

‘Harry glanced around at their fellow guests. He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes; there were also two seventh-year boys Harry did not know and, squashed in the corner beside Slughorn and looking as though she was not entirely sure how she had got there, Ginny.

“Now, do you know everyone?” Slughorn asked Harry and Neville. “Blaise Zabini is in your year, of course—”

Zabini did not make any sign of recognition or greeting, nor did Harry or Neville: Gryffindor and Slytherin students loathed each other on principle.’

Also, she did confirm Hermione’s race in the books – and this time she can’t rewrite history to suit herself:

From Prisoner Of Azkaban:

‘Harry tugged harder on the rope around Buckbeak’s neck. The Hippogriff began to walk, rustling its wings irritably. They were still ten feet away from the forest, in plain view of Hagrid’s back door. “One moment, please, Macnair,” came Dumbledore’s voice. “You need to sign too.” The footsteps stopped. Harry heaved on the rope. Buckbeak snapped his beak and walked a little faster.

Hermione’s white face was sticking out from behind a tree.

“Harry, hurry!” she mouthed.’

This of course isn’t the first time Rowling’s tampered with characters after the fact for real world expediency. We had the ‘gay Dumbledore’ farce (which famously generated confusion in Tom Felton in an interview hours after the ‘announcement’) to deflect loaded questions on her first U.S. book tour about the lack of gay characters – and despite the fact in the very first chapter of the very first book it is apparent there’s some smouldering sexual tension between Dumbledore and Madame Pomfrey:

‘It’s lucky it’s dark. I haven’t blushed so much since Madame Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs.’

But there is a particular resonance to this being done to Hermione. Since the Goblet Of Fire movie, there’s been complaints that J. K. Rowling was rewriting this character and interfering with the movie scripts to over-inflate Hermione’s role, the suggestion being she was not merely reliving but rewriting her awkward unpopular teenage years through her literary creation, at the expense of character development and story structure.

But does this latest tinkering jar in the play? YES!

Why is Hermione the only recurring character in Cursed Child who changes race? If it’s really not that much of a biggie doing so, why do all of the other characters stay true to their general physical characteristics in the previous books and films? If she wanted to make a statement, why not juggle the whole damn lot? This is London after all, where The Black Mikado made household names of Derek Griffiths, Floella Benjamin, Norman ‘Desmond’ Beaton and not forgetting Pattie Boulaye ( adoobeedoobeedoobeedoobeedoobeedoobeedoobeedowah! )

It’s pretty hard to resist the conclusion it’s yet another ham-fisted piece of virtue-signalling from Rowling instigated slap bang in the middle of last year’s Black Lives Matter fad. With the cast due to change over this summer, don’t be too surprised if the next Hermione is a transgender Syrian refugee user of mental health services. Or whatever special interest group is this summer’s hip cause amongst the Guardianistas.

(You will look in vain, incidentally, for even one South or Oriental Asian in the play. Just saying…)

This latest meddling with Potterverse canon is the final confirmation to many that J. K. Rowling will prostitute almost anything in the series for either a quick buck or a few real world brownie points from politicians, the Fourth Estate, fellow luvvielanders, or anyone else she feels is important and wants to be in their gang. Or at least stay in the first class compartment on the train of relevance.

The Cast

Let’s be brutal about this – they’re a curate’s egg.

One major complaint throughout the show is periods where the cast hurry or mumble lines so you could not hear the dialogue properly. I was in row C of the Dress Circle (first floor), so it certainly wasn’t down to the acoustics. The films got away with cutting corners because everyone knew the books by heart for years anyway. This is new territory, and this time there can be no excuses for failing to have a sympathy for the audience.

Jamie Parker, Sam Clemmett and Poppy Miller do well enough as Harry, Albus and Ginny respectively – Poppy Miller is one of the best and most believable of the cast. Clemmett does his best with a difficult role, certainly he makes Albus a far more sympathetic character than the dry script suggests.

Might have known you’d have trouble with the Malfoys!

Scorpius as mentioned before has without any shadow of a doubt the best dialogue and best scenes of the whole play – if only they’d let him. In many ways, by accident rather than design, this is Scorpius’ story more than anyone else’s. But despite the numerous awards Anthony Boyle has collected for the role, all too often he spoils matters with a switch to a silly voice like the token funny character from a cheap Hanna Barbera cartoon. It’s unnecessary and detracts from the show where he has some of the major sidesplitting pieces of dialogue. When he’s speaking normally, the serious lines (especially when telling Albus and Draco some home truths) are knockouts, and the way he sounded so scandalised at the notion of anyone else doing his homework for him was a rare moment of hysteria in one of the darkest parts of the show.

As for Alex Price’s Draco Malfoy, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether this is someone using Polyjuice potion. This Draco is having to live down the utter disgrace of his family, the death of his wife and his only child suffering thanks from the sins of the father and grandfather at Hogwarts – and yet if there was a Minister of Magic election tomorrow he’d easily be the best candidate. Calm and collected in a crisis, just about the only adult character apart from Ginny who appears trustworthy enough to sort out anything more complex than the pairing of socks, the former sneering spoilt brat turned into every single role Charles Dance has ever played – whilst cute – raises an eyebrow.

At one stage he even gets involved in a dual with Harry appearing less angry than having the time of his life – when he made the clichéd fight scene long-time villain vs long-time hero rejoinders of ‘keep up old man’ and ‘that the best you’ve got?’, I was half expecting him to declare he wasn’t Draco Malfoy at all but Basil Rathbone.

Finally the Granger-Weasleys. Paul Thornley’s Ron is there for comic relief and little else. The supreme irony of casting Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger is she plays the role too often as if she was trying (badly) to impersonate Kingsley ‘The Fridge’ Shacklebolt’ – really they may as well have that character in the play as Minister for Magic and had Hermione doing something else instead – and her ‘modern mum trying to have it all, family and career’ schtick is a bore when we’re already getting the same slice of the humdrum from the Potters.

Thank Merlin’s pants for Cherrelle Skeete as Rose and the back in time Hermione. Her main character like Scorpius is far from a chip off the old block, a touch manic, fitted hand in glove with Albus and Scorpius, and did what little contribution she gets to the show down to a fine pat – she’s the one member of the cast so clearly underutilised for her talents (she’s also one of the few that could actually dance!).


Of the rest of the cast, special mentions for two holding down two roles apiece: first Sandy McDade’s faultless Headmistress Minerva McGonagall (a perfect port of Maggie Smith’s) along with the psychotic Hogwart’s Express Sweets Trolley lady.

Secondly, Annabel Baldwin’s hilariously saucy Moaning Myrtle Warren (Potter, Diggory and Malfoy’s bathroom antics two decades earlier it seems caused her to flip into a raving nymphomanic ever since) along with her later poignant Lily Evans Potter. Her moments with equally doomed husband James and baby Harry watched by Albus and Scorpius there to seal the happy family’s doom, are truly touching moments.

Finally there’s Esther Smith as Delphi Diggory, who is jaunty, likeable and gels well with Boyle and Clemmett. She comes across better in the earlier part of the show before her true colours are revealed: as a villainess it appears too laboured, and the silly bird outfit they have her flying about in later during the final battle (which looks like a cast off from an early Fields of The Nephilim video) doesn’t help. To be truthful, the whole final climatic battle scene is one of the weakest moments of the whole show, and one of the strongest cases for a need for the show to undergo some pruning and cutting before it takes to the road (you could do The Cursed Child in three brilliant filler free hours plus one interval and have a production tight as a tick).

Buying the tickets

Thanks to a very effective media disinformation campaign, most believe you can only get tickets in advance for the shows via the website. With blocks of advance tickets being ‘released’ six months in advance, this has left a very healthy black market for ticket touting, and the reports of people paying thousands for tickets are not exaggerated.

But beware – anyone who buys tickets from anywhere apart from Nimax or ATG online, or directly from Palace Theatre London’s Box Office on Shaftsbury Avenue, risks having their precious golden tickets annulled and the seats resold via the website or the box office.

The first those unfortunate people will discover this is when they go there and either find someone in their seats or someone coming along and demanding they move out of theirs. Down come the Palace staff, and soon after the security guards to persuade you to leave with the minimum of fuss (if you know what’s good for you). This to be fair is once every moon of gobbags – most buying tickets for dishonest purposes are singleton skeets trying to make a quick killing selling them on rather than being part of any organised touting – but all the same the tickets are expensive enough without going down this route. It is only a play.

I acquired my tickets through the weekly block of resales which come in three guises. In essence there is no difference as to how these tickets come back into circulation having been sold once before – they are made up from a combination of seats being bought by resellers (‘touts’) being put back out for sale and those seats which have gone unsold via the website, which are more substantial than you may imagine or that those behind the show would want you to know (the main cause being those tickets secretly reserved for sale only to those also buying hotel accommodation at the same time, which appears to backfire a lot).

The first is the so-called Premium seats. They are put on sale at once on the website, appearing at all manner of times, on a first come, first served basis, for a rip-off £99.50 per part (remember the play is in two parts).

The second is the so-called Friday Forty (as opposed to the Founding Fifteen, but this concerns Death Eaters, not Granny Eaters):

‘Every Friday at 1pm we release 40 tickets for every performance the following week, for some of the very best seats in the theatre, at an amazingly low price.’

‘Amazingly low price’ in comparison to the usual ticket price, that is.

If you are not a regular theatre goer, you will remain in innocent bliss of the ‘amazingly low price’ being merely the box office standard for any decent theatre’s tickets – the current £30 and upwards rip off that is now the industry standard as almost every theatre is owned by a private company such as ATG or Nimax – the latter being the owners of the Palace Theatre.

To give you an inkling what these skeets are doing to the theatre industry, in the last twelve months there’s been a £5 increase in ticket prices across much of the British Isles box offices – nothing to do with Brexit, ‘the living wage’ or any of the other excuses, but simply that Britain’s Luvvilanders like J.K. Rowling, David Walliams and so on have decided that ‘writing plays’ is what ‘clever people do’ inbetween their next intimate memoir in a broadsheet newspaper supplement or mundane novel aimed at ‘grown ups’.

The roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd is ‘in’ amongst the mediums of the kulturgeist, and the strijdkreet amongst the Guardianistas is that the moronic multitudes – for The Common Good – need to be coaxed away from their television soaps (‘tsch!’) and computers (‘meh!’) back to the highbrow world of the theatre those same Secret Masters of the Zeitgeist (or Smozzers for short) did their best to drive away with complaints about councils and central government should not be funding their ‘dumbing down’ to begin with: inflated ticket prices to watch pretentious offal performed by second rate hacks or and incurable alcoholics doing the rest.

Theatre is ‘in’ – and devil take the hindmost (stage left, pursued by a bear) when this army of Esmé Squalors – for whom the Fourth Estate is their blogpage – and their passing fascination with emulating The Bard fades.

Grumbling over.

The third guise? Going to the box office at Shaftesbury Avenue on the day you are interested before one o’clock (on the left hand side of the theatre, rather than the side across from the two dreadful public houses making enough noise to wake the dead). You will pay the standard prices. It’s a lottery, but after seeing four people buy tickets ahead of me as I waited patiently to collect mine bought online – and overhearing the mancake behind one counter say there were plenty left in all but the stalls (which you don’t want anyway) – my advice is it is worth the gamble. If it doesn’t come off, try again another time.

The pricing is certainly a major gripe and Rowling really ought to be downright ashamed of herself. Yes, the cast are having to put in a five hour shift some nights, but name any other theatre play with such a mammoth amount of supplementary merchandising inside to boost the final net profits – indeed items which in some cases can only be bought by going to the play, enough perhaps to sway some Potterheads not entirely convinced the show is ‘canon’ to relashio some more galleons, sickles and knuts from their piggy banks on a pair of tickets.

If you live in London, don’t bother getting the tickets online at all – chance your arm if passing by and you will get lucky sooner rather than later.  You can visit the box office between Monday and Saturday, ten until seven.

(Was I cross about discovering this final option? As cross as Snape with Lupin when he suspected Potter had got another precious piece of parchment ‘straight from the manufacturers’!

Regarding food and drink options surrounding the Palace Theatre, take my advice and steer clear. Most of them are too noisy, too expensive, and being on the major commuting route of Charing Cross Road (the famous No.84 directly across from the theatre is now a McDonalds. Is nothing sacred?) they know they can piss off as many customers as they want as there’s plenty of transient trade to take their place tomorrow. Save your money for somewhere in the centre of town later or Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club around the corner (expensive, but worth it for the best real jazz anywhere in Britain and packed every night with real fans of the genre).

Oh, don’t attempt to buy food or drink in the Palace Theatre during the intervals. Not unless you have a Time Turner yourself – you’ll need one.

Tickets and Hotel packages

ATG in particular will try to lure you into tying in your ticket purchase with buying hotel accommodation through ‘approved’ hotels, as you may have guessed ones having trouble selling accommodation for a good reason and looking for those who aren’t too fussed about one-night’s roof over their head so long as the room is warm and next morning’s breakfast. Don’t do this. You will save yourself both value for money and potential misery doing it separately.

In London, always go through your hotel choices with a fine toothcomb because a bad hotel will really ruin your stay with bedbugs, sickness, diarrhoea, burglary of your room, or worse. There are too many hotels competing for too few customers, and those particularly at the bottom end of the scale aren’t fussed about being outright dishonest – leave the ‘slumming’ part of your trip to the cafes or pubs you visit (some marvellous, some malevolent). Being unable to buy one or two less Harry Potter souvenirs at the theatre or at Platform 9¾ in King’s Cross Station is a very small price to play for a happy trip in a secure hotel run by the likes of Ibis, Premier Inn or Travelodge where not only the rooms but the corridors and sometimes even lifts can only be accessed by keycards to keep out unwanted visitors.


Don’t come to London only to go and see Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. You will be wasting your money.

See the play as part of an overall holiday to the capital of no less than at least three days, otherwise you are going to waste an awful lot of money for what will eventually be on tour or appear on Sky Arts as part of their live theatre broadcasts (same as they did with the Rocky Horror Theatre Show reboot last year). Or will become more accessible once the novelty starts to fade (which from what I encountered is fast approaching).

It is good, very good, but not for what they are charging. If you just happen to be in London that day or that week, get tickets if possible and enjoy, but otherwise my advice for now is go and see The Woman In Black at the Fortune after a slap up Indian at Bhatti’s restaurant instead.