Monday, 30 May 2011

‘Comedy, Socialism and Socialists, Performers, Writers and Actors’



There is nothing better in my book than a good old laugh, chuckle, giggle whatever you will call it; especially in these times of austerity and renewed and regenerated class conflict. You need to take a chill pill at time’s I feel or else you go mad and depression takes over, granted there may not be a great deal to laugh about when you're back is up against the wall and the Rottweiler’s, the government, the bosses are trying their level best to rip life apart, body and soul.

So it is only right that from time to time we escape and amuse one’s self in or occupy in an agreeable, entertaining or pleasant fashion, as the clown amused the children in a manner of specking that is.

I have been planning to write something about comedy and laughter for quite some time but just haven’t got round to it until now. But what I want to look at is British comedy, socialism and socialists, performers, writers and actors.

I suppose I can guess, those of you reading this right now are thinking of Citizen Smith, that’s of course ‘Wolfie’ Smith, the young Communist "urban guerrilla" living in Tooting, South London, who was attempting to strive to equal, match and emulate his hero in a crazy sort of way the great Che Guevara. Wolfie is the self-declared leader of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front (the TPF, which is simply a small crew of his friends), the objectives of which are "Power to the People" and "Freedom for Tooting". In actuality, he is an unemployed day-dreamer and petty malefactor whose plans fall through because of laziness and disorganisation and disarrangement, bit like the SWP of late (hay-up that’s a bit sectarian).     

John Richard Thomas Sullivan was the creator and screen-writer of ‘Citizen Smith’ he hailed from working-class roots in South London, Sullivan had worked in a mixed bag of low-paid jobs for 15 years before getting his first break writing Citizen Smith. However, it was for the sitcom Only Fools and Horses (1981–2003) that he is perhaps best known. Other sitcoms he wrote include Dear John, Just Good Friends, Sitting Pretty, Roger Roger, and The Green Green Grass. In addition, he wrote the comedy drama serial Over Here and the drama series Micawber for ITV, and co-wrote the comedy Heartburn Hotel. He won a number of comedy awards during his calling and career, including the BAFTA for best sitcom on three occasions, and he was awarded an OBE in 2005. His last work was Rock & Chips, a comedy drama prequel to Only Fools and Horses. The final episode of Sullivan's last comedy series aired five days after his death from pneumonia on 23 April 2011.

Unmistakably and obviously, it was ‘Only Fools and Horses’ which was his greatest sitcom hit, loved and very much still popular with working people all over the world; not surprisingly the show become one of the BBC's most popular programmes ever, however not wishing to focus to much on the Only Fools and Horses plot and it’s excellent actors, the thespians who played their parts so well will go down and take their place in telecasting history, and which after all, this sitcom is still very much fresh in all are memories, let me just say that its important to recognise that Sullivan’s work mostly focused on the lives of working people, that’s their up’s and their down’s in the struggle to survive and get on in life’s not so rich trappings, and the characters of Del Boy, Rodney, Granddad and Uncle Albert were fine examples of that struggle waged every day by ordinary people who’s only crime is to be happy and seek contentment even though they may fail to question the lifestyle they seek to emulate, for the truth is no matter how hard he tried or how much he dreamt and daydreamed of escape, Del Boy would always belong to the class he was born into, his wanting the privileged lifestyle of others, has been what has held our class back in some ways along with the divide-and-rule application of the boss class controlling everything including education, the media and so on.

I did say that I didn’t wish to focus on the plot, but can we not see people who are not so unlike these lovable characters around us, and at some time in all our lives, wherever we may live not just in Nelson Mandela House, Peckham, South London?”

Returning to ‘Wolfie’ then and the grate actor Robert Lindsay who played him so extremely well in fact superbly and I remember the programme so well now over 30 years on, even had a mate in the Labour Party Young Socialist that use to dress not too dissimilar.  

Lindsay became famous in the UK for his role as the very incompetent revolutionary Wolfie Smith, this role made him as an accomplished character actor in this country and for a while I think in the US on Broadway. The other most important thing that I like about Robert Lindsay is that he always been known for his left-wing politics. He describes himself as a staunch socialist, and has marched in the past in support of miners. He vehemently opposed Prime Minister Tony Blair's decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now feels disillusioned with mainstream politics:

 "You see those images of Iraq and Afghanistan and Lebanon, don't you? And I suspect somewhere, when he goes home at night and the kids are in bed, he must go, Jesus, what have I done?"

The one other aspect that I wish to make in closing this particular post which is Part 1 as I have more to come on the subject of ‘comedy, socialism and socialists, performers, writers and actors’, it is the real talent that our class has that matters the most, talent that sometimes is not used, suppressed and pushed down the drain by the needs and dictates of the master class that rule over us all, the very few who profit when they see an opening to accumulate the wealth that we generate and they take out of greed not need.

I could not resist putting up this video hope you enjoy!” 


"Power to the People"

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