This guy really takes the biscuit. Right. First of all, he’s dead. Secondly, he has destroyed my computer with one of his 15th century Tudor viruses. What a fucker. I was going to present you with something well-informed for a change this week. I thought you deserved it, dear dwindling readership, after having to read my television reviews for the past fortnight. I was preparing an essay on what the Kings of England have done for us Londoners. So, like the UK Curriculum, I start in 1485. I started in 1485, because when you are an anklebiter, and they drag you from the playground kicking and screaming, to attend your first history lesson, they steer you to the bit after the Plantagenets and before the Tudors. You start with Richard III lying dead on the field at Bosworth, and everything before it is just a black, hellish, dark age, medieval hole (a bit like Weston Super Mare).
So I rocked on up to my friend, Mr Google and I said to Mr Google “please direct me to the nearest page regarding Henry VII and the grande olde citie of Londone”. It sent me to a page where Henry VII majestically leered out at me from behind an Anna Wintour-style bob. One of his eyes was bigger than the other. I have never seen a dead man look so unrelentingly wry. And no sooner had I got to the bit where Henry bought a leopard for his menagerie at the Tower of London, than that fool of a Tudor farked up the page. Typical. I imagine he exclusively designed this webpage himself because it’s complex and inscrutable and, as I was finding out about his attitude to various courtly people, it froze my computer and I had to shut it down. They didn’t have to do THAT in the fifteenth century. You see? It’s a conspiracy. First of all they fark up your medieval internet, and then they introduce complex economic reforms and tax rises to make your eyes water.
Bow to me, peasant, for I am the twisted internet crasher who shall destroy your shopping page on tesco.com. Do you like my hair?
Henry VII is personally responsible for ruining most 16-18 year olds lives in the 1980s and 1990s. He started his career with his personal aim of getting onto the History A level syllabus, from which vantage point he could bore future generations of people to death. He plotted to have a particularly tiresome life and tiresome fiscal plans just to sadistically sap sixth formers of their will to live. Tudor History was a non-negotiable on the first A level paper. At the time in your life where you should be learning how to French inhale a cigarette, talk to boys without giggling and should be working nineteen to the dozen on developing your sexual allure, they make you sit down and learn this crap. And there is nothing that is going to make you feel less like sex than looking at a drawing of Cardinal Wolsey. (Trust me, I’ve tried). Basically, beyond the torpor of economic policy and fiendish grooming of his son into some sort of king / stud / badminton playing superhero, it is difficult to see what Henry VII was up to most of the time. I mean, for pleasure. Because they don’t teach you that at A Level. Because they don’t teach you anything of any genuine interest at A Level. It’s just an outdated factory line for red-brick Universities.
But I want to know about Henry VII the Man. Was he a shopper or a browser? What did he like? Dinner parties? Rugby? Darts? Bridge? Hardcore pornography accessed secretly on his Royal I-phone? (“Click HERE! Plague victims show ankles. They’re YOURS. Fee: 1 sheep for the first minute and various livestock for every 5 minutes thereafter. Download our new Protestant Lutheran prayer as your ringtone NOW)? We just don’t know. What he did spend a lot of time doing was ensuring that nothing happened in the financial or judicial system without him pocketing all the lolly (in the case of the former) and having the final say-so (in the case of the latter). He appointed Justices of the Peace for the first time and Parliament met in Westminster Abbey.
Now he’s in my computer. He’s tinkering with it, crashing pages, and screwing things up with his avarice and his desires for an over-fat SuperHero lunatic son. He’s playing the lute in there or something. He’s back. What is this guy’s problem? The Tudors are coming back and they are going to control our minds through the internet. Are we quite ready to take on the Gordon Gecko of the pre-Modern age? I doubt any modern politician would be a match for this guy. The only person who could ruffle his feathers would be Ann Widdecombe. She heralds a kind of fear in the populace that can easily be translated from century to century. But note : Henry has waited until La Widdecombe is distracted by trying to get rid of those tricky, last three stone before her appearance on Strictly before trying to infiltrate us. SEE? I told you these Tudors were sneaky. It’s the thin end of the wedge, my friends. Before we know it we’ll wake up in the 1500s, find some fat bloke using the Tower of London as some kind of holding pen for the wives he wants to kill, have all our individual rights stripped away from us, and the only exciting thing on the horizon would be the prospect of a Spanish galleon invasion or two.
Apparently, he is in a tomb in Westminster Abbey, but I demand immediate verification because I have reason to believe he’s in my hard drive. Also, can somebody PLEASE explain why the A Level syllabus insisted on dragging us all back to the late 15th century? It was a fiendish plan, and one they have apparently abolished. I am delighted to note that those flibbertygibberts picking up their A Level results in clammy hands this morning have not had any papers in AS or A2 History which go back further than 1830. Thank Goodness. Plus, I think it’s quite easy to get an “A” at History A Level now. But in our day it was hell, dear readers. I am too old for school now, but I despaired at History teaching in my day; they teach you all the wrong things, make it sound dull as dishwater, refuse to historically contextualise anything and then blame you if you turn up and can’t remember what kind of tights James I wore. Erm….Hello?
This may explain the massive – and well-deserved success of Gombrich’s “A Little History of the World”. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Little-History-World-E-Gombrich/dp/0300108834. This is a truly excellent book. Although originally intended for a ten year old child (a rather advanced one who knew his Assyrians from his Babylonians, but a ten year old, nevertheless), its accessibility and engaging tone with its audience renders this book totally readable. It’s fun and naturally enquiring. It’s been my bus book in the morning for three days and I have learned so much more than 14 years of those textbook fundamentalist fools at school – so far we’ve done the Heidelberg jaw, the Sumerians, the ancient Egyptians, I have learnt how to write one word in Egyptian hieroglyphs, have found out where the word paper came from, how the origins of the names of the seven day week came about and found out that King Nebuchadnezzar was a pioneer of irrigation. And I’m only on page 19. Never mind your Tudors, these people really did know a thing or two.
Henry VII can go fish. Taught history in schools is so uninspiring I wonder how anyone can truly get through it. And for those of you this morning who may be smarting (or may have younger relatives smarting) at poorer than expected results this morning, do remember this : beyond jumping the hurdle into University (which you shouldn’t attend before you’re 25, by the way, by which point no one will care what you did seven years ago but what interests you have developed since) they are completely and utterly useless. By the time you’re 27 their value as academic currency evaporates and they are no longer considered a reflection of ability. Exams are so irrelevant that it’s not until you get to 30 that you turn around and realise the whole thing was a conspiracy designed by nutters to keep you academically disciplined during the years of your life when you should be out enjoying yourself and chasing chaps. If you still need to be convinced, Bluebird is getting an MA in History in five weeks. Bluebird got an “E” in History A Level. This is because she was out until 2am the night before and was hungover (or still drunk) during the exam sitting. But either way, none of it matters a jot now. I’m still Bluebird MA. Stick that in yer Tudor pipe and smoke it.
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