It’s A Wonderful Life – living in Osborneville.

osborne and clarence

Yeh, I know, it’s that time of year when they show old films and wheel out stories about the Angel of Mons, and of our boys in the trenches singing Kristlenacht with the Huns, and kicking a ball about no man’s land. Or that old Capra favourite It’s A Wonderful Life in which George Bailey (Henry Ford) wishes he’d never been born. I’m from Clydebank, so I know how he feels. One of the key scenes which establishes George Bailey’s creditability is when he uses the money set aside for his long awaited honeymoon to bail out the Savings and Loan. George is down to his last dollar. He holds it up in the air, kisses it and whoops as they shut the door to bankruptcy, and him being charged with a criminal offence, going to jail, but most of all he whoops at not being duped into buying into Old Man Potter’s vision of a town dominated by a man with the most money, a plutocrat who isn’t scared to use any means to get what he wants. As George explained when people were busting the door down to take out their money from the Saving and Loan, it’s not here. ‘You’re money Mary is in Bert’s house and Bert your money is in—’ well, we know how he saved the day.

Clarence the angel showed George what would have happened if he hadn’t be born. This was Second World War American angst. Troops would come home. They’d work hard all their life, but no matter what they did men like Potter were always was one step ahead, and all the money and power went to these pre-war profiteers.

The houses Potter built compared to the houses the Savings and Loan were small fry, built with the defects of, in English estate-agent language: spacious detached residencies, rent or buy, reasonable terms. No Angels allowed! Jesus where to I sign the lease? For of course, this is heaven, a time when Reagan played second fiddle to, and picked up a few tricks from Bonzo, which he used later to great effect. We don’t, of course, live in Pottersville, we live in Osborneville. We never had it so good. If you believe that you’ll believe an angel will come to save us. I vote for the next fucking Bonzo that will stand up to these idiots. Where’s a monkey when you need him?

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