tweets by executive order

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  • Money is worthless.
  • Join every mob at banks and shops, cash in.
  • Arm yourself
  • Bring the family home, with a chimney, you can cook by firelight.
  • Bring the bike in from the garden shed.
  • Plan your meals. Starve slowly.
  • With much love
  • You won’t hear from me again.

 

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Jhumpa Lahari (2004) the namesake

I love books. I’ve got a stash of books in the toilet, by the side of every chair I’m likely to sit on and that includes the lavvy pan. Under my bed and by the side of my bed. But I don’t read enough and a book has never saved my life in the way it did Ashoke Ganguli after a train crash 209 kilometers from Calcutta he is involved in when going to visit and read to his grandfather, who also loves books and in particular the giants of Russian literature, but is now blind and cannot read.

Over an hour passed before the rescuers arrived, bearing lanterns and shovels and axes to pry the bodies from the cars…the lanterns light lingered just long enough for Ashoke to raise his hand…He was still clutching a single page of ‘The Overcoat’, crumpled tightly in his fist and when he raised his hand the wad of paper dropped from his fingers. “Wait!” he heard a voice cry out.

Gogol saves Ashoke’s life, but that’s as action packed as it gets. The structure is simple it follows the lives of Ashoke and his wife Ashima Ganguli as she stands, two weeks before their due date, in their apartment in ‘a sticky August evening in 1968,’ where he’s studying and teaching as a doctoral candidate in MIT, and ends in the year 2000 going home to Calcutta to live with her younger brother Rama. But she’s no longer sure where or what home is and neither is the reader.

This is not a story of immigrants making good, although there is that disconnect to it, the element of speaking two languages and living in more cultures than there are Hindi gods. Ahoke seems the most centred, he moves seamlessly from arranged marriage to associate professor to professor to family man and father of two children, Gogil and, four years later, Sonia than he is being carried from the wreck of a train. Ahima speaks English, but it is people speaking and shouting and arguing in Bengali she wants to hear, her family to advise her, to be near to her and not just to sit and watch TV with the sound down. Her son, who they eventually name Gogol, is a step into a different identity and a pushes them firmly into two worlds. But like magnets drawing iron fillings other families from the Indian subcontinent meet to speak their common language and eat their own cooking and to rejoice at the lives they have in this new country, but also to long for home.

Gogol is an American boy, who fits easily in with his classmates. He is always getting confused with being Spanish or Greek or Italian. His sister calls him Goggles and although he speaks the language hates going home to Calcutta every few years for an extended stay. And he also hates his name Gogol.

Gogol goes to Yale and Columbia, he’s an all American man, but before he takes that step he changes his name. In the summer of 1986 he rides the Green line, goes to a Courthouse and has his name changed from Gogol to Nikolia. It’s simpler than he thinks.

But the women he hooks up with during college and afterwards are not the type Ashima can approve of. It’s on a train he meets with his first love and breaks with his last love, so trains figure prominently, but the writing is so warm and loving it’s hard not to fall in love with the girls yourself. See what Gogol sees and hear what he hears when travelling, dutiful son that he is, back to his parent’s house from Yale at the weekend on a packed train, looking for a seat and finds one with a girl’s jacket taking up the other.

‘It’s pretty brilliant, actually. Sometimes I pretend to fall asleep for the same reason,’ he admits. ‘No one wants to fall asleep next to me if I’m sleeping.’

She laughs softly, putting a strand of hair behind her ear. Her beauty is direct, unassuming. She wears no make-up apart from something glossy on her lips; two small moles by her right cheekbone are the only thing that distract from the pale peach of her complexion. She has slim, small hands with unpolished nails and ragged cuticles.

With Jhumpa Lahiri there is a sense of woman like Ruth  having lives outside the text. When Gogol later meets with Moushami my mind flips back to a girl I’d marked out earlier in the text, a kind of whodunit when you pick out the next victims of marriage. And she does seem the one, beautiful, speaks the same languages and the glamour of having lived in Paris, lived a different life, speaking fluent French and writing learned articles for international magazines.  She is the kind of girl that would make Ashima happy, and Moushami’s mother ecstatic, a girl at thirty, dumped at the altar by some rich white man. Not an arranged marriage, but does seem fated. Lahiri’s great beauty is she allows life to be as complicated as it is. It is fitting that such a writer should win The Pulitzer Prize. Now off to read Gogol again.

The Problem with Donald J Trump is Donald J Trump.

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Donald J Trump’s mother, Mary came from the Isle of Lewis. There’s more than one Scottish word for her son. Bawbag is a good Scottish word to start with.

Perhaps Robert Burns, our national bard,  put it better in The Cotter’s Saturday Night, the kind of dwelling his mother Mary came from:

An honest man’s the noblest work of God;

And certes in fair virtue’s heavenly road;

What is a lording’s pomp? a cumbrous load,

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,

Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin’d

Here’s Donald J’s take on intelligence. He holds up his first-born son for the camera and tells his audience he wants his son to be ‘strong, tough and vicious and I hope intelligent.’ Intelligence is an afterthought, and add on. Being vicious that’s the thing. Be a killer.

Donald is his father, Fred’s son. Freddy’s first born wasn’t smart. He did dumb things like when he was put in charge of a housing project he gave the tenants new window. Donald’s take on that was he was soft, a great guy, very, very intelligent, everybody liked him, but they took advantage of him.

I’m not as dumb as George W Bush and its worth remembering when it came to counting the chads in 2000, an election he lost, asked for a recount because he’d ran out of fingers and toes, but the numbers came up right and he won, even though he didn’t know who or what a chad was. Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife’s narrator is a bookish girl that grows into a woman that marries somebody like George W Bush, who can’t be trusted to run the family firm and becomes United States President to keep him out of harm’s way. Lionel Shriver asks much the same question of Donald J Trump, that most writers do, ‘Faced with current reality, how can fiction compete?’

Donald J Trump cheerfully admits he is a cartoon character and yet he is the forty-fifth President of the United States. I’d like to say I predicted that. And I did, I did, but I’ve a tendency to say when playing The Chase on telly when the correct answer is read out, and out of three options I’ve got some part of it wrong, most part of it wrong, but I’m right because that’s the one I meant. Lining up reality and opinion is not always that easy, but fantasy always figures and finds the shortest route and in a post-factual society finds its way to the truth, by not being the truth, or a neologism in the Oxford dictionary, but a simulacrum. Who really cares about that stuff?  I like to quote Socrates, ‘Speak so I can see you,’ so that I can seem more intelligent. If we tried that experiment with Trump taking away his orange face, shiny suit and swept back blond mop and left the screen blank and simply listened to him, you’d laugh, because he lisps  and not like an eight-year old girl, but not Liza Simpson, and that’s a fact that’s been tested. You’d be saying grow up. Read a book. Something else Donald J admits he never does. Only dumb smucks have the time to read. But he’s published an international bestseller. The Art of the Deal. He didn’t write it, of course, but it’s his, because it’s got his name on the cover. Tony Schwatz who wrote the book shadowed Trump. He liked that, people following him about, disciples. A kid showing you his toys. Matt Damon mentioned it in a recent interview. Trump’s propensity to pop up when they were filming on his property and sneak into shot.  You see a snapshot of it in Anthony Bartlett’s Dispatches programme entitled President Trump’s Dirty Secrets. In truth his connection to big oil and his disdain for little people isn’t much of a secret. Any dolt with an internet connection can spend five minutes and find out everything that you need to know about Trump and even Putin’s not-so-secret dossier of Trump cavorting with two prostitutes in a hotel room and them peeing on a bed. Look more closely at the images outside the hotel room and you’ll see him squeezing the flesh of contestants at the Miss Universe contest, a project which he bought and owns. Perhaps he plans to buy a contestant and bring her home and put on the mantlepiece to replace Melanina. Before he buys he likes to try them, not that he’d know what droit de seigneur means, but he understand enough to know that the people that buy the land owns the people in the land and that give him the right to push up against them and feel them up. He’s admitted as much, boy’s stuff, locker-room chat. Not rape, of course, because the women were gagging for it. His lawyers say so.  And his toys are irresistible. Trump is happy hosting. See as an example Bartlett schmoozing in his car, Trump’s telling him how much the car cost and how the seat-belts are gold, yeh, real gold.

But Trump knows about discipline. He was sent to a military school when he went too far and his father, Fred, found he’d bought a flick knife. One of his classmates remembered him as being, and I’m thinking how to paraphrase this, an empty jacket. Someone that is hanging on the peg but isn’t all there. Psychopath, devoid of compassion, all human feelings, apart from vanity. Schwartz tells how Trump liked to start the day with what was in the news about him. Narcissus looking into a stream of photo feeds. Now he’s won the biggest beauty contest in the world, the American Presidency it will be a full-time job. The worry is he’ll not like what he sees or hears. A multiple bankrupt that has never been poor. A groper and potential rapist that has never been called to account or arrested. A non-tax payer whose father’s business was based on scamming the federal dollar to build houses for ex-servicemen. A Manhattan businessman that broke Federal laws and refused to sell or lease apartments to blacks and explained to young persecuting attorney, Elyse Goldweather, in an aside she admitted she couldn’t quite belief she was hearing, ‘Now, Elyse, you don’t want to live with them either.’ Black lives matter, but only to black people. The Ku Klux Khan represented in office. Right-wing feeds triumphant and showing Melanina replacing an image of a First Lady taken from the Planet of the Apes. Trump a boy that went to military academy but avoided the draft to serve in the military, but denigrates those that did has become Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. You couldn’t make it up.

The FBI and CIA accuse him of being Putin’s dupe. Donald will sort it. He’ll win the war by tweets. Ewan McMullin, a former CIA officer tweeted: ‘While you avoided the draft, John Lewis risked his life for equality in America. You’ll never dream of such selfless patriotism.’

Donald J Trump settled his hash, he became President and boasted about how many Twitter followers he had in comparison to crooked Hillary. Fake news  such as ‘thousands and thousands’ of Muslims in Jersey City cheered as The World Trade Center crashed can be viewed on YouTube, alongside his pledges to build a wall along the Mexican border and make the Mexican government pay for it. The sting in the tail here is every comma in every sentence, every shady deal Trump has ever made will be uncovered. There is no hiding place when you are the American President. He asked to see Obama’s birth certificate. His detractors in a divided America will be asking to see a lot more than that.

Twitter feed, that’s where you’ll find the American President. 140 character tweets of what Trump’s policy is going to be, telling you what he and America is going to do next. There is a conflation here that Walt Disney might recognise, what is good for Donald J Trump is good for America and what it good for America is good for Donald J Trump. American Presidents are supposed to set up a blind trust, transparent so that they have no interests which conflict with that of running government and they should not directly, or indirectly, profit from the office of government. Nepotism and public office should also be divorced. The ethics committee set up to look into Trump’s financial arrangements for when he moves from becoming President elect to President started laughing. Cartoon characters are always funny, even when they’re trying to be serious. You love them or hate them and that is why Trump’s inauguration will not be a smooth transition from the outgoing President to the President elect, but the biggest protest since the Vietnam War divided America. Then again, I could be wrong on this. The business as usual model is stronger than any ideologue. Al Gore won more votes than George W Bush in 2000 Hillary Clinton gained 2.9 million more votes in 2016, both Democrats lost. To the winners the spoils. The casino President gambled and won. The billionaire daddy that says he’s too rich to care about money appoints his chum Ben Carson as housing tsar. Expect tens of millions or billions of US federal dollars to flow into the Trump real-estate coffers. Expect Trumps portfolio and investment in fossil fuels to grow exponentially. Oil is once more king. Alaska, with the help of global warming, a fish bowl open to being mined. One of his advisers – Paris Treaty on Global Warming, joke. Let’s laugh and end with that joke for a cartoon President.

Burt Reynolds summed Trump up as a fun guy, ‘but he might just start a war’.   He is the most powerful man in the world and could end the world in a tweet. And that’s no joke, but a worry. The world’s big worry, even greater than the backlash of the persecution of the poor, more worrying than the rise and rise of the super rich and the inevitable rise in global warming and pollution of our blue planet in a death march of rising acidic seas and failing crops and tens of millions on the move.  Inconceivable, as it seems, the question must be asked, like Bush, can Trump serve two terms as President? Is he despite his dimness, crafty enough, vicious enough? Or will the world end in a ball of fire first. I’m repeating myself, as Trump does. Listen to him. He says the same thing again and again and again and again, until you believe him. Funny, eh?

 

Caitlin Moran (2012) How To Be a Woman.

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How To Be a Woman has Caitlin Moran on the front cover surrounded by a proscenium arch of accolades. ‘Galaxy Book Awards Book of the Year.’ ‘Funniest Book of the Year,’ Evening Standard. ‘The book EVERY woman should read,’ Grazia. Well, I’m at a disadvantage here because I’ve read it and I’m a guy, or at least like to think so. I’m normal that way, obviously when you’re lying in bed, you’ve had sex with someone you don’t know very well, and she leaves her diary and Cosmopolitan lying about you read the diary first and the magazine later, because when she come back from the toilet she’ll be pissed off at you reading her diary. This is that diary. And it took her 36 years to live and six months to write the 312 pages, with a bit of help from friends and family.

But for me it’s strangely familiar. Most folk on ABCtales also know Sooz, who published her diary there, a year block at a time and that would be about 100 000 words. The term more honest than was good for her applied to Sooz. She told you about her father raping her, her husband’s grandmother stealing her son and bringing him up as her own, her life in a home and in a Women’s Aid hostel,  the many disasters of everyday life as a caring district nurse and trying to bring up a son that other kids bully. It would take me 312 pages just to scratch parts of her life, but let’s just say it was interesting. Is interesting. Her diaries are out there, but some troll she hooked up with set out to destroy her and her writing. He largely succeeded. Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman is the success story she never had but deserved.

Let’s look at Moran’s prescription in the postscript.

‘Anyway, by sixteen, I had a new idea. I didn’t want to be a princess. Princes were dull. It was all about the artists instead…I wanted to be a muse… WRITE A SONG ABOUT A GOBBY BIRD! WRITE A SONG ABOUT MEEEEEEEEE YOU FUCK!

‘18th birthday, not a muse, not a princess…Just “being” me isn’t enough. I’m going to have to do something, instead…Simply being honest about who we really are is half the battle.’

‘I don’t want men to go away. I don’t want men to stop what they’re doing. What I want, instead, are some radical market forces…I want women to have more of the world, not just because it would be fairer, but because it would be better.’

There is nothing Caitlin Moran writes about that I disagree with. She is particularly good on ‘I am Fat’. Fat is functional in the way that other vices are not. People that think of lunch while eating breakfast and snacking in between breakfast and lunch because the world is such a boring place to be and hey, Marlon Brando was fat and it never did him any harm. But there’s a hierarchy of addictions, just the same as there is a hierarchy of HIV sufferers, those that get the virus from contaminated blood products deserve to live, all other AID sufferers can rot in hell. In the same way she contrasts ROCK’ N’ROLL (she has an addiction to capital letters for emphasis) and the Stones.

‘Imagine’ she says, ‘if instead of taking herion – Keef had started overeating and got really fat instead. If he’d really got into spaghetti bolognese, say, or kept coming on stage holding foot-long Subway Meatballs.’ Instead of being a junkie he was a fattie. My guess is a fat stone cannot roll. They’d get rid of him sharpish. It reminds me a bit of a character in one of Jane Godley’s sketches, shouting ‘c’mere ya fat cunt to a mentor yeh’.

I also like Moran’s take on women that spend thousands of pounds on plastic bodies and faces. The world would be a so much better place if somebody instead of saying I’ve spent £500 on botox for my forehead, said I’ve taken £500 out of the cash machine and gave it that wee guy sitting on the park bench. You should have seen his smile. I’m still waiting for a Scottish Socialist Republican Scotland. Dream on. I like How To Be a Woman, but whisper it I watched three minutes of Raised by Wolves and it aged me, you know how much botox that’s going to cost me?

 

 

Imagine: Marlon Brando, BBC 2 – On the Waterfront, director Ella Kazan, 1954 and Steve Riley’s award-winning documentary, Listen to Me Marlon.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bfww6

I spent three and a half hours with Marlon Brando, which is quite a long time for an old buddie like me without falling asleep, especially on a Saturday night, when there’s football on, and I’ve not got a beer in my hand, but I don’t feel that it was time wasted.

I’ve watched On the Waterfront before. Don’t ask me when, or what it’s about, that’s a bit like asking me if I’ve read a book, and I say yeh, and then can perhaps pick out some detail that has sellotaped two neurons together with sufficient force to constitute working memory. In this case, it’s Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) telling his brother ‘I could have been a contender.’ There’s universality about that line that sticks, an everyman truth that if we did the right thing and stuck at it, we’d get our just rewards. It’s a morality play and the American Dream, writ large on Malloy’s face and nothing and no one is going to stop us.

The film is black and white, but that’s not what makes it dated. Johnny Friendly (Lee J Cobb) is mobster that runs the docks and what he says goes and without him no ship gets unloaded. He’s corrupt because unions are corrupt and, with kickbacks, stop people from working for a fair’s day pay. Yankee Doodle I say to that, because I remember mobsters, I even remember unions, but this notion of a fair day’s pay that really was an 1950’s invention. Offshore tax free havens for money laundering such as the British Virgin Isles, Jersey or London hadn’t even been invented. All right then, London had been invented.  Shoreman lining up for a job, if their face fitted, they got a job, if it didn’t they never. No change there, as far as I can see. I ask myself who the villains would be now? Ask yourself that question too.

Then there’s the question of loyalty and ratting on your friends. Johnny Friendly tells Terry to go and spy on those that want to do things differently, the disgruntled masses that don’t want to pay kickbacks to workshy loafers in their chapel that give nothing back but take everything. Strangely familiar too. That’s not ratting, or grassing, because you’re really for us or against us, and these people are different. That was a theme Ella Kazan was all too familiar with. In Arthur Miller’s marvellous autobiography Timebends he tells how Kazan was asked to appear before the Hoover inspired witchhunt House of UnAmerican Activities to talk about his friends, associates and work colleagues. Someone like B-part player, Ronnie Reagan was delighted to do so. As did Kazan. Miller, his former friend and associate, didn’t. Kazan’s knowledge about ratting and stool pigeons came first hand.  (http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/50s/navasky-chap7.html)

I get it, I really do, and Marlon Brando, the youngest actor to receive an Oscar for best actor got it too. Hollywood was open for business and Marlon Brando was the new star and the bright young thing that offered something different from traditional male leads. He was lucky. ‘I arrived in New York with the clothes on my back,’ Brando tells the listener. ‘Luck Be A Lady Tonight,’ Guys and Dolls. Brando was hot as Sarah Palin in snow boots. Watch him being interviewed by two young and attractive presenters. It makes your toes curl with embarrassment. But a magazine cover asked ‘Could there have been an Elvis without Brando?’ Another way of putting this is could there have been a John F Kennedy without Brando? JFK didn’t even like wearing hats, that’s how hip the first Catholic president was.

Brando sought a new self, away from the razzmatazz of Hollywood in Haiti. There wasn’t just a Mutiny on the Bounty. He found that the old self didn’t go home. The old self was home. ‘Give me the boy and I’ll give you the man,’ is the Jesuit epigram in Apsted’s 7-UP series.  Luck isn’t always a Lady. A son that kills his half-sister’s boyfriend and is convicted of manslaughter and his daughter that commits suicide.

Brando’s life becomes what he says he most hates – a soap opera. If he didn’t become an actor he claims he would have made a good conman. The world’s greatest actor. Imagine how he felt having to audition for roles such as that in The Godfather. That’s like Muhammad Ali, being called Cassius Clay, and  having to audition for the boxing ring. Then I realized that Ali did have to, when he came out of prison. Brando supported King and the black right’s movement. He was an activist for social justice. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine what he thought of Donald J Trump.

Actors come and go. Brando’s tapes include him boasting about being paid $14 million for twelve days work on Superman. Then, there’s Macbeth’s soliloquy, all actors seem to have it in their portfolio, even the best actor in the world but if you want to hear the real thing then listen to Anthony Hopkins sending up his Shakespearean friends on Parkinson, most notably that other best actor in the world Laurence Olivier. Even the mad Conrad’s Kurtz, in Apocalypse Now would recognise the sentiments.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

John Updike (2000 [2003]) Great Loves. The Women Who Got Away.

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This is a book of five short stories – Natural Color, New York Girl, Licks of Love in the Heart of the Cold War, The Women Who Got Away and Transaction –  about man’s priapic need to love women, come what may and whatever the cost to existing marriages or children. A man that thinks with his dick is a man I can believe in. And I ask myself a simple question is this a true story or not? If I’m not really sure whether it’s fact or fiction then the stories are coins of true worth. I guess there’s every kind of women here, but only one kind of man.

Eddie Chester, for example, in Licks of Love in the Heart of the Cold War is a banjo player from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (which reminds me of the Laurel and Hardy sketch). He’s hitched a gig on a cultural exchange programme during the Khrushchev era of 1964 and during a briefing in Washington he meets up with Imogene, ‘one of the receptionists a little black haired coffee-fetcher from that afternoon’s briefing came up to me as if her breasts were being offered on a tray.’  It seems like bad manners to resist and like the other narrators being away from home and children means different rules apply. Imogene, Eddie finds, is an easy lay.

I like to press my face into a girlfriend’s nether soul, to taste the waters that we must all swim out to the light. I strove to keep my manly focus, amid the juggling caused by government-issue alcohol, my wondering what time it was, the jostling of my conscience…

In other words they have sex or make love. And that become Eddie’s problem. He sees it as the former and she regards it as the latter – flooding the diplomatic pouches with her missives and plans which follow Eddie from Moscow to the Caucasus.  Eddie’s not an unreasonable man. He just wants to be left alone and he’s got a bit of a thing for Nadia his KGB, translator.

There would be a moment, towards the end of a long public day in, say Tashkent, when her English would deteriorate, just shy of weariness from drawing on a double set of brain cells, and her eyelids and the tip of her long white nose would get pink…and she would give me the handshake, not the palm and meat of the thumb, but four cool fingers, aligned like a sergeant’s stripes.

The narrator is a man that loves women as does, I suspect the author, who has a propensity for it seems for long white noses and hiding from former beaus in shop doorways. Jane, the New York Girl,  for example, is an artist and a bit of a klutz, ‘with a bony face, high cheekbones and powdered over freckles, seemed a little tugged to the one side.’ Stan travels  Route 17 to New York on the train, leaving his wife and kids behind, to measure up her art for the aluminium frames he installs. He’s shy, but she’s got his measure and he’s got hers. They have a working affair. When he’s working in New York, she meets him and gets a baby sitter for her boy.

Updike is good at when sex becomes love and usually the kick is the narrator looking back with regret and the high of nostalgia for what had been and what could have been. The past is the future in reverse. Yeh, I get that. It’s a man’s world that is constantly expanding, but the choices for women, well, that’s a different story. Try Elena Ferrante for that one. Or if you stick your hands over your ears for the over-exuberant rant try Caitlin Moran, How to be a Woman.

 

Rangers 1—2 Celtic.

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Celtic were expected to win the last Old Firm clash of 2016 and they did, scoring two goals to Rangers one. But it wasn’t quite as easy as the last few meetings in which Celtic dominated from start to finish. Here Rangers scored first. We all know the rules. If the diddy team is going to win they must score first and their keeper must play brilliantly. Tick. Tick. Things go awry with the Tic. Wes Fotheringham has been brilliant for Rangers.  Motherwell recently did it better at Fir Park. Bang, bang and the Steelmen were two up, hitting on the breakaway and cruising. Chris Sutton recently caused some controversy among ex-professional football players and commentary pundits by naming almost the entire Celtic first team as the best players available for the starting eleven positions in Scotland. He omitted Craig Gordon and Emilio Izagurre, both whom are back to their best and were Celtic’s best performers here, which was a calculated mistake on Sutton’s part. Mikael Lustig has played the last few games in the centre of defence and perhaps that would be a better option, because he took a roasting, particularly early in the game from Barrie McKay, who was Ranger’s best player by quite some distance. Erik Sviatchenko also had a nervy start, and passed to blue shirt to concede possession forty yards from goal. Josh Windass (whose dad thinks he’s the best player in European football) played a pass inside to an overlapping James Tavernier and a ball to the back post had Lustig, Joso Simunovic and Sviatchenko standing like the three stooges as Kenny Miller came hurtling it into the net.

I’m still not convinced about Simunovic. He’s six-foot four and still not scored for Celtic. You might think, aye, but he’s defender. But Lustig can win balls in the air and score goals with the head, as has Sviatchenko. Of course, we were spoiled by Van Dijk, the best header of the ball since Paul Elliot and the irreproachable Bobo Bolde, but the former was better with the ball at his feet, as was the latter and mostly everybody else that could put their boots on the right feet and tie their laces in a bow.  Simunovic frequently gets beaten in the air, which should be his strong suit and Kenny Miller, hardly a Godzilla, or Bobo Balde, figure was at it here. Of Celtic’s back four, only Izzagurre was playing well in the first thirty minutes. Further forward Callum McGregor was posted missing and missed a sitter. James Forest against Danny Wilson. That should have been reet-peteet-the-best-girl-I-should-ever-meet, or some kind of show tune, but was a slow tune and the man with no neck was hiding inside a Celtic jersey.

Moussa Dembele scored bringing the ball down on his chest and lashing home to equalise from a Scott Sinclair corner, who a minute before, in another breakaway, had hit the inside of the post (but should really have scored). Sinclair missed another few chances, as did Moussa and Stuart Armstrong and even Emilio.  The second half was better for Celtic. Rangers were gifting the ball. Patrick Roberts on for Forest picked up a ball from a blue shirt, threads the ball to Armstrong and it’s a back post tap in for Sinclair. He contrived to miss another few.

Kenny Miller on the back pages tells how he was hunted by that miss near the end of the game. Aye, admittedly, he should have scored, but what he forgets is he’s Kenny Miller and if he was a better player he’d be playing for a better team, like Celtic. Oh, aye, he did that as well, but we gave him a free after he scored about five goals in a season under Strachan. He can kiss the badge now in the knowledge he’s at his level and playing for the right team.

Dembele’s cameo at the end summed it all up. He held the ball at the corner flag for five minutes and Ranger’s defenders couldn’t get it off him with fouling him and sometimes that didn’t work either, because he ran past them. Not bad for a £500 000 investment. Celtic were missing their best attacking midfielder in Tom Rogic. And Rangers were missing Joey Barton. I guess that balances the books. Happy New Year and all that.

The best joke, of course, was the way the Celtic fans left the Ranger’s toilets, leaving plenty of smelling salts and thousands of glowing red prayer candles. If a Chinese consortium comes in and buys Rangers they have a prayer, until then they have Hun hell and Celtic will continue to scud it into them. Long may your lum reek.