Sunday, 29 November 2009

Downfall of a copycat

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum has been on the phone, again.

I am ignoring his calls.

The cheek of the man!

He has blatantly attempted to base his construction in Dubai on the great towers of Homeward, without the cash or good taste to even begin to emulate my domain.

Not surprisingly, he has run out of cash, cannot finish it, and wants to pump me for a loan.

A tennis court on top of a tower! Talk about conspicuous wealth and ostentatious waste! Why, a whole village of the Crookball people live on the top of Lonely Tower!

His impossible dream to outdo Homeward is over - an insane act of hubris!

Mind you, he was awful at University - he used to ridicule my lowly roots at the same time as trying to ape my mannerisms - trying to cut an ascetic, brooding figure and associate himself with philanthropic causes!

Why, he even tried to adopt my literary and camel racing interests!

He has, of course, never written a play to rival those of Sir Ernest Wiseman like what I have done.

The one thing that both Beaver Hateman and I agree upon, for a change, is that the treatment of the workers, building this facsimile of Homeward, by the Shiekh was disgraceful!

We made sure they all got to enjoy the party last year, however.

As any good employer knows, one has too properly incentivise ones workers and treat them with respect - but one can only know this, I suppose, if one has humble origins like myself.

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The most appalling breach of security has taken place!

Last week, I held a banquet in honour of a visit by President Obama of the United States.

I was standing in line, shaking the hands of the distinguished guests. A rather odd man wearing a tatty blue sackcloth suit and accompanied by, to put it bluntly, his rather ugly wife, introduced himself in a most impolite manner.

“Hi Unc, sucking up to the Prez again?” he declared.

I was so taken aback that, without thinking, I put my hand out when he proffered his.

I felt a stinging shock run through my whole body!

“Yah Boo Unc!, that’ll teach you for livin’ it up at the expense of the proletariat!” laughed the ugly woman!

As the man withdrew his hand I saw that it contained an electric shock device.

I looked at his face – he was cleverly disguised but I realised that without his beard and glasses he looked uncannily similar to Beaver Hateman!

As they made a run for it I grabbed the woman’s hair – it came off in my hands revealing Sigismund Hateman!

“Suckered you, Un!” he declared, as he made for the window.

I managed to catch up with Beaver and give him an almighty kicking up!....but not before Sigismund had made off with the commemorative gift that Barack had given to me. A gold medal inscribed “Thank you Uncle, Saviour of Global Capitalism!”.

It was all most embarrassing, and A.B.Fox, who was supposed to be in charge of security, is mortified.

Barack was most understanding – “It has happened to the best of us!” he declared.

It transpires that it was all a publicity stunt – Beaver and Sigismund are to be participants in a Badfort TV reality show programme called ‘The Real Revolutionaries of Homeward’.

This is not an end to the matter. I was planning to wear my new medal at my Christmas party and I am determined to retrieve it.

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Friday, 20 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 4

The fourth gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" is entitled "The Towers of Homeward" and has a most splendid scale model of my home filling the entire space.

As you know, Homeward consists of hundreds of skyscrapers all joined together and surrounded by a most with a drawbridge over it. The towers are of many colours, and there are bathing pools and gardens among them, also switchback railways running from tower to tower, and water chutes from top to bottom.

There will be graphic panels describing the history of each tower - and by pressing a button on the panel you can light up the tower in question.

Here are some details of the information on the panels.

Homeward Tower – where Gleamhound and Eva live. There are two hundred storeys and they live at the top. There is a big field on the roof and they have a small house in the middle of it. He is a chemist and purveyor of medicinal remedies. They are all very good, but act the opposite way. For instance, his Headache Mixture gives you a frightful headache.

Lion Tower – it is so high that the whole tower bends in the wind. It has never been fully explored. Doctor Lyre has written a book about the history of the tower which he claims was built in 1066. Uncle, however, claims that it was built by Wizard Blenkinsop only 60 years ago. Being a great philanthropist Uncle had 144 drinking fountains erected there for the dwarfs, which you have already seen in this exhibition. At its top is Summit Station. Here it is possible to catch a train on one of the many switchback railways that link the towers of Homeward.

Standing, like a pencil, at the edge of Lion Tower is Walrus Tower. Living in the top storey of a very slender lighthouse upon this tower is Captain Walrus, and, rough old sea dog that he is, he seems really to enjoy the sensation of constant swaying.

Afghan Flats - is the highest tower and Uncle’s Aunt, Evelyn Maidy, lives there. It is not a very nice neighbourhood. It’s full of thousands of dwarfs of the most cross and irritable disposition. She only lives there because she loves domineering over the dwarfs. The tower has a spiral lift – rather like an ordinary lift but keeps going round and round.

Montague Tower
– a most mysterious and baffling place houses the Closed Gallery. Each floor contains examples of only one item, The first floor has nothing but treacle bowls through the ages, the second a collection of Flemish cooking stoves, the third nothing but flamingo bird-baths. Uncle has turned it into a Pleasure Palace.

Watercress Tower – right up the side of this tower is a gigantic salmon ladder. They are like steps with water running over them. Bathing Costumes are requisite for climbing this tower. At the top is a gigantic lake mostly overgrown with watercress. This is where the Maestro and Little Lion live.

Biscuit Tower – made of biscuits.

The Haunted Tower
– everyone avoids the place; the last man who tried to sleep there came out in half an hour, unable to speak and with his hair perfectly white. Each room has its own ghost – The White Terror, The Remorseful Duellist, The Wailing Murderer and Chain Dragger etc;

The Sweet Tower - Sweet Store and Chocolate Warehouse. This has hundreds of rooms all filled with coconut ice, toffee, mint rock and every kind of chocolate. The great hall is walled with toffee and floored with slab chocolate. The interior courtyard is paved with glacier mints. The boiled-sweet room has a cascade of hard sweets of all colours which pour out of a spout making a beautiful rainbow-coloured pool on the floor.

Lonely Tower – The only way to climb this tower is via a great stone staircase built in a zigzag right to the top. Here, there is a grassy plain laid out in plots with little wooden huts round the edge. The home of the Crookball people.

Ironside Tower
– houses the Antique Shop of Steiner Brashbag. He used to have very little business due to the lack of entrances until a tunnel was dug through the tower.

Treacle Tower
– is of course infamous for the Treacle Trouble it caused.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 3

The third gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" is entitled "Transports of Delight" and showcases the various methods of transportation about my domain.

As you know, Homeward consists of hundreds of skyscrapers all joined together and surrounded by a moat with a drawbridge over it.

Switchback railways run from tower to tower, and an underground railway circles the perimeter.

On display will be many artifacts, such as tickets, timetables and posters.

They have all been selected by our resident railway expert and steam enthusiast, Noddy Ninety.

After school, during the school holidays, or when truanting from Doctor Lyre's Academy, he likes to drive the trains. He has chosen this picture of him and myself on a tour of my home.

The Gallery will also feature a model of my helicopter:

Pride of place, however, goes to my traction engine. I have lent it to the V&A to form the centrepiece of this gallery.

This is the description that accompanies it:

Cowgill, his engineer, always keeps Uncle’s traction engine, in first-class condition. It is garaged at his works, which are part of Uncle’s vast domain of Homeward. It is painted red; but the big fly-wheel is polished brass. In front of the engine is a small brass elephant as a mascot. This is kept very bright, but someone from Badfort often succeeds in throwing mud over it. This makes Uncle furious, for he can’t bear to see a spot on it. Uncle has a gilded armchair set among the coal, and there is a steam trumpet, which makes a noise like an elephant. It’s most thrilling to hear it.

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Monday, 16 November 2009

The Purple Gowned Philanthropist

The King of the Badgers insisted on making a speech last night, about me, at a banquet he held in my honour following the donations I have made for civic works.

It was most embarrassing:

"It is a privilege to make this speech thanking Uncle who is known throughout Homeward and Badgertown for his charitable work. He has a fine reputation as a philanthropist business elephant and benevolent employer. Why, he has even sent over some of the dwarfs, from his mines, to work on his own designs for the 'Home for Fallen Badgers'.

It is gratifying to see the good feeling between Uncle and his workdwarfs. Uncle doing the brainwork and his dwarfs doing the handwork. Both, doing their best and realising that their interests are identical. The true solution to the present depression and consequent social problems is work...and plenty of it!

None of this silly nonsense from the red flag wavers of Badfort!...who want everything shared out for nothing...most of those fellas are too lazy to work for a living....they just sit around drinking Black Tom all day!

If ever that Badfort Crowd were to get the upper hand there would just be a few of the artful dodgers, like Beaver Hateman, who would get all the Scob fish and there would be nothing left for the rest. There have to be elephants and workers and as long as the elephants are as clever and bountiful as Uncle, and the dwarfs as grateful and well-behaved as these chaps then everything will carry on in a grand manner!"

I do so hate having all this praise heaped on me - for I am merely doing my civic duty as all good leaders of men must.

I only hope that sneaky reporter from The Badfort News, Hitmouse, does not get wind of this speech - heaven knows what kind of nasty spin they might put on it.

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Jed & Ward Controversy

I had not intended to write about my voting decisions on the Homeward Singing Competition, that is being broadcast by the Badgertown Broadcasting Corporation.

However, on Saturday I decided not to vote against the dwarf twins Jed & Ward - preferring to allow their fate to be decided by the public vote.

There has been such a storm of protest about this issue.

It is true that I have consistently said that their singing is appalling.

I have been accused, by the Badfort Crowd, of only pretending to be a fair judge whilst all along, really, being an extremely calculating millionaire tycoon and showbusiness mogul, who owns the production company that makes the singing competition.

They say I have cynically kept them in because of their popularity with the millions of dwarfs of Homeward and that I was scared of the ratings going down.

Let me make it clear - all the funds generated from this competition go to the many good causes that I support.

If you allow - which I think is right - the public to determine who wins, you've got to go with it. You don't have to agree with it but you have to go with it.

Besides, did the Badfort Crowd really think that I would let Sigismund Hateman go any further in the competition after he sang this?

Under a spreading chestnut tree,
The village tyrant stands;
Uncle, a mighty elephant is he,
With large and sinewy hands,
And the muscles of his waving trunk,
Are as strong as iron bands.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear is boastings blow,
You can see him swing his loaded trunk
With measured beat and slow,
And he often kicks his neighbours up
When the evening sun is low.

Lying, swindling and boasting,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some crime begun,
Each evening sees it close;
Somebody bullied, somebody done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thank goodness one can rely on the good citizens of Homeward and Badgertown to see this for the blatant Badfort propaganda that it is!

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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 2 - Part 3

This big carved table is also on display in the " Haute couture & Objets d'Art" gallery of my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward".

It formed the centrepiece of the Dining Room of Crack House and is ornamented with a very complicated pattern of leaves and acorns.

A very special and unusual object. The whole table tilts sideways revealing a square opening – proceeding down this visitors can see a recreation of the secret room below Crack House.

As you know, at first we thought this a mere dusty room full of rough furniture. Of course, we discovered on clearing the dust that the floor had a lovely yellow glow. Crack House was built upon a solid block of gold!

My first intention was to coin gold pieces from the great mass and to give one to all the inhabitants of Homeward. On one side is a picture of Homeward and on the other, on my followers insistence, because they argued that my good works are known to all, a picture of myself .

However, Cheapman felt that flooding the economy with such a vast sum would distort the economy, prices would rise and nobody would be better off. So it was decided that instead I would give each tenant a shilling when they came to pay their rent each week for a year!

This is the only coin actually minted from the huge lump of gold – on display for the first time.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 2 - Part 2

This is another beautiful exhibit from the second gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" entitled " Haute couture & Objets d'Art"

A gift from my good friend Cheapman, the well known store owner and entrepreneur, a beautiful pair of elephant’s boots encrusted with rubies and emeralds.

There is an interesting story that explains why Cheapman gave me such a noble present.

The Badfort News had printed a leaflet which read thus:


A blatant lie. It caused a huge crowd to swarm into the store. The people were packed so tight that Cheapman was afraid that there would be an accident and that his good name would be gone forever. Beaver Hateman’s plan was to loot the store during the confusion. I immediately organised a free distribution of food outside the store to relieve the pressure inside.

Unbelievably, and with colossal cheek, Beaver Hateman walked right to the front of the free food queue and threatened the people behind him with a boar spear!

“Ha, ha!” he yelled “Bully bounty is here, is he? Thank you for the load of free grub, you boaster and blackguard!”

He did not go unpunished.

The shoes had been given to Cheapman’s father for saving the life of some rajah. Not being an elephant, he was not able to wear them, so he put them away. So grateful for my swift actions, Cheapman made a noble present of them to me.

“They are now yours." he declared "You have saved, if not my life, my reputation, and this is dearer to me than life. Accept them, I beseech you, and when you put them on remember my gratitude.”

I was too moved to speak and I always feel most proud whenever I wear them.

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Monday, 9 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 2 - Part 1

The second gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" is entitled " Haute couture & Objets d'Art" and will include some of my my favorite clothes and works of art.

Foremost amongst these, of course, is one of my most treasured possessions - my throne. Made of solid gold and decorated with the most exquisite jewels it is truly a sight to behold.

It has been said that I have been the greatest fashion trend setter of our age.

I always aim for comfort. My 'look' is based around the Gentleman's Dressing Gown - in my favourite colour, purple. A mysterious colour, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality.

On display will be my day gown, a detail of which can be seen below.

Also on display will be this Japanese silk dressing gown - used for formal occasions:

and my 'club' gown for evenings beside the fireplace with a bucket of cocoa:

One of the most splendid items on display will be this gift from the successful scrap-iron and general merchant T. Benefit Barworthy.

A magnificent elephant’s robe of white silk with gold facings and a jewelled collar and cuffs. I wear the splendid gold chain with ruby insets, for more ceremonial events.

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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Uncle at the V&A: Gallery 1

The first gallery in my exhibition at the V&A "Uncle and the Splendour of Homeward" is entitled "Bountiful Uncle" and will show some of my many charitable works.

Most famous of these is, undoubtably, the Dwarfs Drinking Fountains.

The centrepiece of this gallery, filling an entire wall, will be the painting of the opening of the fountains as realised by, the great artist, Waldovenison Smeare.

I have also arranged for parts of the fountain to be displayed, allowing visitors to view the splendid sculptures that make this otherwise utilitarian object into a great work of art.

Sections of the fountains containing some of the finest examples of the art deco style:

Here is photo showing how the individual drinking fountains work - water gushes from my trunk enabling passing dwarfs to partake of refreshment.

The centre piece of the fountain is, of course, four magnificent sculptures, of myself - filling the pool at the base of the fountains.

This is the text accompanying this exhibit:

Uncle is, rightly, very proud of the 144 drinking fountains he generously erected for trhe dwarfs in Lion Tower when he first became rich. Since then he has been a great benefactor to the people of Homeward - but this gift, being his first, will always have a special place in his heart.

They are very fine. Made in marble, each one is carved with an elephant's head from which water gushes.

At one time the fountains, sadly, fell into disuse. The dwarfs stopped using them.

It was discovered that a Mister Goatsby, friend of the Badfort Crowd, had been poisoning the water with Wizard Snipehazer's vinegar.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Maharaja at the V&A

Maharaja: The Opening Night from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.

Recently, I went along to the opening night of the Maharaja exhibition at the V&A.

It is a showcase for the wealth of the Indian Royal Court - thrones, gem-encrusted weapons, a Rolls Royce...all very nice but not a patch on the riches of Homeward.

Take for example the Maharaja of Patiala, whom we see in a film of his birthday celebrations in 1940 wearing the Patiala necklace, re-set for his family between 1925 and 1928 by Cartier. The second largest commission ever filled by the Parisian jewellers, (the first being an item I designed for myself) it consists of five strands of huge diamonds, with the light yellow 234.61 caret De Beers diamond as its central pendant. The whole thing hangs over the birthday boy’s tunic like a glittering breast plate. The necklace is a wonder of natural beauty and supreme craftsmanship but not, somehow, an object for aesthetic contemplation.

Just so much bling, really. Thank God I’m not an elephant who looks vulgar in diamonds!

Needless to say they did not seem inclined to interview me for the above video - clearly they were very embarrassed about the life sized model of an elephant draped in silver necklaces in the first gallery.

To add insult to injury a, clearly, not very bright super model was interviewed and was surprised that a mere elephant would be wearing jewellery!

Only proving that elephantism still exists today.

The guests quaffed their champagne ignoring the 'elephant' in the room. For let it not been forgotten that the days of elephant slavery are, in reality, not long over.

Elephants were only allowed to wear jewellery to dazzle the populace, to bludgeon their senses and win their affections. Look at the enormous throne they were forced to carry!

I shed a tear looking at an image of my ancestors being forced to fight for the sport of humans.

Now I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in a lot of trouble.

Remarkable as all this is, it must be remembered that the best art was created for the Maharajas by elephants. Indian craftsman did not have the skills or imaginative vision of their Elephant counterparts.

The interviewer avoided me as he could see my mounting fury at the way my ancestors role had been portrayed!

I was about to storm out when the curator bounded up to me apologising profusely!

She begged me to allow them to put on an exhibition of the wealth of Homeward - her timing could not have been worse. I am always being asked to display the wonderful artifacts of my home and the exhibition had hardly put me in the mood to acquiesce to her desperate request. She remarked, however, on the fact that the Maharaja exhibition would pale in comparison to my own riches - which is of course true.

I have always had a place in my heart for the plucky poor people of Britain - and I felt at this time, when they are particularly poor, it might cheer them up to see some of the jewels in my crown.

So, I have agreed. Over the coming weeks I shall reveal to you some of the lovely paintings, photography, architecture, textiles and dress, jewellery, jewelled objects, metalwork and furniture that make up my home and that will be included in the exhibition.

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Sunday, 1 November 2009

He is not Heavy, he is My Brother

I feel I have to respond to this inflammatory missive, criticising my brother Rudolph, on Mister Hateman's blog.

His welfare is of my concern, no burden is he to bear. There is some truth that in his youthful, and misguided days, he was a big-game hunter.

However, he has distanced himself from his difficult past and I am proud to call him my brother - even though the stories of his adventures do get somewhat boring.

He now helps people with their everyday problems of surviving in the wilderness. I know, for a fact, that Ray Mears owes his career to Rudolphs kind mentoring.

He is looked up to, by many, for his conservation work and rehabilitation of wild animals.

Some of them, particularly tigers, are quite wild - often furious when caught by him.

But he soon turns them into exemplary citizens who become a credit to my domain of Homeward.

I can also say, for certain, that he has never shot a baboon.