BAKER STREET

By Eric J Baker

Anyone who has seen a Mel Gibson movie knows that the English are pure evil.

In Braveheart (1995), King Edward the Utter Bastard spends his days raiding Scottish villages and his nights raiding Scottish panties, much to the chagrin of one William Wallace. Not to be outdone, a total rotter named William Tavington shows up in The Patriot (2000) to burn down a church full of parishioners during the early days of the American Revolution. And who can forget The Passion of the Christ (2004), in which the usurper, King Richard III, locks Jesus in the Tower of London so he can take His place at the right hand of God?

The Brits killed Jesus and then made a film about it, "Life of Brian," which was not very funny, but because every snickering geek thought Monty Python was hilarious no matter what they, did you sort of chuckled along with it. Lame. It was a case of the emperor has no jokes.

I think it was Posh Spice who said, “With great evil comes great invention.” Or maybe it was me. I forget. But it’s true, is it not? The Nazis invented rocket engines. The Soviets put the first man into orbit, Yuri Sputnik. That kid invented Facebook. Given that Great Britain is the hub of all that is wicked, it’s no wonder the English are responsible for some of the most game-changing inventions in human history, like…for instance, the… the…um…

Hey, what happened, England? A Jaguar hood ornament is cool, but it isn’t exactly an invention. I don’t suppose there’s been a lot of foot traffic in and out of the patent office over the years, has there?

I’d like to say they made up for their inertia on the invention front with great contributions to world literature, but, let’s be real, Shakespeare was simply a lackey propagandist for the Tudors, and everyone knows the Tudors were the white trash of the middle ages.

Then what of H.G. Wells, you say, author of War of the Worlds? Or Mary Shelly, the writer of Frankenstein? Have I forgotten Charles Dickens’ name sharing a book cover with the words A Christmas Carol?

Sorry, film novelizations are not literature. But I wouldn’t expect a Philistine like you to know that.

Surely the English countered their lack of notable contributions to technology or literature by producing some of the world’s greatest masterpieces of art. In London, for example, you can view Leonardo Da Vinci’s Madonna of the Rocks. Which, of course, was painted by an Italian guy in Italy. You can also see the Elgin Marbles, named after Lord Elgin, the British guy who found them. The “marbles” being ancient Greek sculptures from around 450 B.C. Carved by Greeks, one wisely surmises, the folks whose art is the benchmark by which the entire history of western art is measured.

Hey, guess what? I found Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night hanging on a wall in midtown Manhattan. I’m going to call it Eric J Baker’s Paint and Canvas from now on. Why not? I found it. Lord Elgin makes the rules, not me.

First they string him up, then they paint crap about him. This one from William Holman Hunt. A rainbow? Come on, people.

An excellent example of a British painter is William Holman Hunt, who, if it weren’t for elf calendars and unicorn posters would be the worst painter of all time. Yes, I know Joseph Mallord William Turner almost invented Impressionism 50 years before the French, but he’s got four names, which is at once greedy and pretentious, so he must be disqualified.

If Queen Elizabeth is reading this, and I think she is, she should be hanging her head in shame, not walking around all puffed up like she’s some kind of, I don’t know, royalty. Come on, the crown jewels? Gluing a bunch of expensive rocks to a hat is not art, all right? As far as I can tell, Ms. Elizabeth, you’ve got nothing to boast about but a long history perpetrating evil acts, the fact of which that tireless watchdog Mel Gibson often reminds us.

Should I even bother with the history of music? The big three, Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven… all krauts. Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky… Ruskies. Dvorak… Slavic. Do you see where this is going? England did not produce a single noteworthy musician or, as far as the world knows, make the slightest impression on the history of music.

Well, perhaps that’s not quite true.

I wonder if saving the Queen was on little Paulie McCartney’s mind when he wandered into Liverpool Music Emporium in 1957, probably on his way home from delivering a prize turkey to Bob Cratchit’s house, and saw, hanging on the wall, that strangely shaped, painted wooden object with the metal strings attached, just like the one Elvis Presley had.

Or maybe he just thought, “Well, i’nt that the mutt’s nuts?” Either way, he decided to use the half crown that Scrooge had given him to buy the guitar. Proudly, he carried it home to show his friend and fellow underage chimney sweep, little Johnny Lennon. Who told his friend, little Keith Richards, who told little Ozzy Osbourne.

It went viral.

While British art continues to be beyond redemption, rockers like Ozzy keep the loaves and fishes, a.k.a. sardines on toast, multiplying.

Stirred from a thousand-year creative slumber by the strange and alluring musical sounds emanating from the colonies, the lads of England rushed out, seemingly en masse, to buy up all the guitars and drums they could find with but one thought in mind: Girls will want to have sex with me now.

By the end of the 1960s, the primary colors of modern rock had been established: The Beatles (pop, art rock), The Rolling Stones (blues rock), and Black Sabbath (hard rock and metal). Like an overpriced HP ink cartridge that can produce 250 million colors from three, these three music artists can be blended into just about any sound that rock and roll has come up with in 50 years  (with the partial exception of a few southern American rock bands).

The Beatles, The Stones, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Yes, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton/Cream, Elton John, The Kinks, Duran Duran, The Police, Sex Pistols, Def Leppard, Rainbow, Queen, George Michael, Oasis, Depeche Mode, Judas Priest, ELP, Iron Maiden, Dire Straits, Coldplay, The Cure, Genesis/Phil Collins, Deep Purple, Bush, Motorhead.

That’s an off-the-cuff list of rockers from England. If you were to combine the numbers of albums sold, concerts attended, musicians inspired, people laid, songs illegally downloaded, eardrums damaged, and CCs if adrenaline pumped in response to the collective output of the folks on that list, you’d need to use math. Counting would take forever.

Meanwhile, let’s check back in with the Greeks, Germans, and the Italians to see what they’ve been up to as far as literally writing a soundtrack for the modern world… Hmmm.

Putting aside your humble writer’s taste for obscure German speed metal (come on, look at my picture), it seems like the other players in the music game know when to fold ‘em.

Queen Elizabeth, if you’re still reading this, have you noticed that Mel Gibson has not been able to come up with a single historical drama depicting the evils of the British Empire that takes place after the first Beatles album was released? It’s not for lack of trying on his part (sadly, his dream project, Margaret Thatcher: Cannibal Goddess, is stuck in development hell). It’s because the English stopped being evil when they finally found something they were good at. It’s because creating is so much more rewarding than destroying. It’s because, after a millennium, ordinary English boys finally found a way to get Lady Alexandra Kensington-Devonshire-Drake’s daughter Edwina to sleep with them.

Good grief, England. Don’t wait a thousand years to get laid next time. The rest of the world can’t take such a hard shagging.