Diary… Government policy linked to Nik Kershaw hit ‘The Riddle’

Tree by river and hole in ground offer clues to Cummings-Johnson strategy


>> Listening to an Amazon Music 80s hits playlist in the bath, one song hooked me.

It was Nik Kershaw’s ‘The Riddle’. The lyrics are intriguing. They have an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ fantasy feel about them.

It was a surprise, then, to discover that there is no such mystical-magical intention. The words are a load of rubbish, a pile of gibberish.

Or at least that’s what Nik Kershaw himself says, describing the song in one quote as “utter bollocks”.

He claims to have simply thrown together a bunch of words to fit a musical pattern he had in his head.

There’s a copy of the 7in vinyl version of ‘The Riddle’ on sale at eBay for £2.63.

On eBay for £2.63…

The song is probably too catchy for its own good.

Had it not been so infectious, the grand theories as to its deep ‘meaning’ might never have been born and multiplied so readily.

The problem words for me are the first two lines of the chorus:

“Near a tree by a river there’s a hole in the ground,

“Where an old man of aran goes around and around”

Is that a reference to Aran, the group of islands off the west coast of Ireland?

An old man is out there…

Or does this man have some kind of connection with the knitting style that was invented there?

As worn by Nik Kershaw…

Either way it is hard to shake off the image of an old man scuttling round and round a large hole in the ground off the west coast of Ireland.

What is he doing there? Is he trying to find himself? Or some buried treasure? Or the meaning of life?

These two chorus lines mark the song out immediately as required reading for students of existentialism.

Few of whom, I suspect, are likely to use the words “utter bollocks” in any of their essays.

>> There is more comment in the news about Boris Johnson’s new existential cabinet. 

The sacking of Chancellor Sajid Javid is top of the chatter charts. He was told to dismiss all his advisers if he wanted to keep his job. 

So he walked the plank and the PM installed one of his poodles into the job of counting the country’s pennies.

The knifing of the Chancellor is widely believed to be the work of Johnson’s Special Advisor Dominic Cummings, who is commonly referred to as some kind of Rasputin figure.

Rah rah Dominic

If the commentators are to be believed, it is Cummings who is in charge and the PM under his sinister control.

If this is true, there is a drama waiting to unfold when ‘the people’ (ie, voters) are looking for someone to blame about something that’s gone wrong. 

The government’s seeming abandonment of UK citizens aboard a Coronavirus-infected cruise ship in Japan is a current example.

One passenger is quoted as saying, “I’ve never felt less loved by my home country. Are you closing the borders to us?”

If this kind of story gains traction with ‘the people’ their view of our national leaders will sour.

And when blame is ready to be dished out, they will fire it at the PM. 

But will the PM then start to question Rasputin’s usefulness to his party’s cause? Or will he sink deeper under the svengali’s spell?

Or might Rasputin somehow divert the blame elsewhere, to a hapless poodle minister? 

Then the drama becomes a countdown, as one by one the PM’s flimsy house of cards starts to fall.

>> In an episode of TV’s ‘Endeavour’ set in 1970, someone is heard to use the expression “confused dotcom” when describing an elderly man suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

I repeat, this advert slogan from the present day was used in a police procedural TV show that is meant to be set in 1970.

>> My wife is getting very irritated by TV dramas in which valuable information is displayed on mobile phone screens, without the required magnification.

Every time a phone appears or is heard to ring she jumps up and dashes to press her nose up at the TV screen.

I am arguing the case for a bigger TV. Fingers crossed.

Read yesterday’s Diary…