Elvis Presley Challenge 24 – Raisa, the lady from petty cash

These new style recessions are confusing everyone.  Ordinary people either lose their jobs or watch their wages lose value.   Meanwhile, an out of town currency speculator visits Liverpool to watch Arsenal and spends £205,000 on a drinks bill in one of itsRaising Ayn Rand's spirit bars.   The residents of Liverpool are shocked.   ‘There isn’t £205,000 worth of booze in the whole city,’ said someone interviewed by the local radio.  Well, there is and we now have an idea of the kind of throats it goes down.  Admittedly, the beer is better in the North but this is excessive.  ‘Where is this bar?  I think I’ll rob it,’ says another.   Those prone to conspiracy theory suspect something sinister was happening.  Perhaps a couple of billionaires were raising Ayn Rand from the dead.

Similarly, whatever happened to our landed gentry and its affinity to horses, and what kind of world do they live in?   Everybody makes mistakes but few men have been as disloyal to the opposite sex as Cameron has been to Raisa, the lady loaned by the Met to Rebekah Brooks.   And while we are talking about confusion where did the k come from in Rebekah?   The girl is from Warrington.   Nobody spells Rebekah with a k in Warrington.   In fact, Rebekahs, even those with two cs in the middle, are about as rare in Warrington as currency speculators are in Liverpool.

Cameron and horsegateWhatever happened to our honest Prime Minister? You know, the man who calls people chum and who so believed in his ‘proper and upright’ friend Andy Coulson.   David Cameron, he rolls up his sleeves, shouts a lot and is somewhat overweight.  If he had been more careful about his backside he would never have got in this mess.   First, David denies ever riding with Rebekah, maybe he thought it was two cs and a different girl but then he says he did ride a horse with Rebekah but nothing as common as a girl from petty cash.  Later, Cameron, not in shirt sleeves but as grim faced as ever, stated he probably could have ridden the horse and finally, yes he did.   He remembers it now.  He sat on it and it moved forward.  The horse was called Raisa, that’s right, the name of the wife of Mikhail Gorbachev.  The easiest thing in the world, forgetting a horse named after the wife of a leader of a once evil empire.  According to a locked up Russian punk band member, ‘It’s not too pleasant at the moment, either.’   We best not mention the famous beefcake pose of Putin on horseback naked from the waist up, Putin not the horse.  Actually, they are easily distinguishable.   Putin is the one with the face lift and the watery eyes.

Thank God the Met are in the clear.   Rehoming horses is something they do after the poor creatures have been traumatised from confronting the lower classes in street riots and outside football games.   What else can they do?   Horses cannot recover from visiting Anfield football stadium by popping into a bar and spending £205,000 on booze.  Horses don’t like bars.   In Anfield, a neighbourhood in Liverpool where Joe Fagan ex-manager of Liverpool football club was happy to spend all his life, houses can be bought for under £30,000.   Sell a street and you would still be unable to get a round in.   But, just in case Plato is turning in his grave at what is happening to his vison of the elite, we have a rescuer.   The Ferrarri revs into view from a distance and from it emerges a self-effacing gentleman to calm us all.   ‘I can categorically state that he never rode that horse.   I do actually live there.  It’s all rubbish.’   Well, Mr Clarkson, we all make mistakes and the next time you overtake a not so clapped out police horse in your Ferrarri perhaps you should slow down and take a proper look.

In the great movie, ‘Notorious’, by Alfred Hitchcock there are two scenes that involve horses.  Both have glamour but they are dark Notoriousand sinister.   Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergmann are out riding at a stable in Rio de Janeiro.  They make a gorgeous couple.  Cary has an open necked shirt and has never looked more handsome.  Bergmann does what she does better than anyone else.  She wears a trilby.  What makes the scene sinister is the intention of Devlin (Grant) to lend Alicia (Bergmann) to Nazi agent Alex Sebastian (Claude Rains).   Devlin stampedes Alicia and her horse, and Sebastian rides to the rescue.  He collects not just the horse but Alicia.   Sebastian claims his woman through masculine assertion.  The movie, ‘Notorious’, is full of men too vain to have real compassion.   The boss of Devlin is easily flattered when he hears he has been described as handsome and Sebastian is as impressed as Alicia by the good looks of Grant.

According to the Met, Raisa was returned to them in poor condition.   She died in pasture not long afterwards.  Alicia also suffered whilst she was on loan to Sebastian but like Raisa was rescued in the only way possible.  Devlin claimed her back.  He walked in and took her away.   This is what the powerful do with people and their animals.  The other scene in the movie that has horses also has a romantic and exotic setting.   Devlin and Alicia are at a ractrack that faces the Copacabana beach.  They have no interest, though, in the racing.  Devlin learns that the plan is working.  Unfortunately, Sebastian has had sex with Alicia, the girl that Devlin loves.    If the world of ‘Notorious’ is cruel, the villains within the film all have elegant manners.  They sip brandy, smoke cigars and wear bow ties while they arrange a murder.   Hitchcock makes clear that he has no illusions about the rich and, of course, in his later movie ‘Marnie’ his fragile heroine falls over the edge into craziness whilst out riding amongst them.   As the Americans almost said about Hitch, ‘You can take the boy out of the East End but you can’t take the East End out of the boy.’

Elvis at the ranchElvis also had affection for horse riding.  Often, he would return from a ride around the grounds of Graceland and without leaving his saddle sign autographs for waiting fans.   He became so obsessed with the freedom horse riding offered him that he tried to create his own ranch where he and his friends would escape the world.   He probably believed that the man who sat on top of the horse was worthwhile and likeable.   Fresh air and motion does that to people.  The ranch plus essential accessories like not too far apart barbecue stands led Elvis to spend over a million dollars on the venture.  Parker finally intervened although by then Elvis was already becoming bored.   There are only so many times you can ride around the outskirts of Memphis.  I am no fan of the Dutchman but this may have been one of his better moments.    Parker said that Elvis needed to regain focus and, just as important, stop spending so much money.    The irony is that Parker had a father who trained horses and Parker was an animal lover.    Indeed, there is nothing wrong with liking horses and nobody should be begrudged the pleasure of the saddle, I suppose.   Horses trample the countryside and ruin the bridle paths but they do make a lovely sight or they would if only some of the people on top of them could behave a little more honestly and, like currency speculators, not get carried away with themselves.


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  1. Howard has done it again, excellent range of issues brought together in his usual creative way.

  2. A very biting commentary this week – but also very funny, Howard evidently has a talent for satire. Having said that, the first picture made me a bit nauseous. Couldn’t help but think of the previous comparison between Cameron and the Col Parker – both of whom never showed a capacity for caring for whoever was under their charge (in Parker’s case, Elvis, in Cameron’s case, the rest of us).

  3. Great post as usual.
    Horses represent freedon, strenght and bravery. I remember the charge of the light brigade at Balaklava immortalised by Alfred, Lord Tennyson where ‘horse and hero’ were praised as part of the noble 600.
    About 250,000 fans invaded the pitch of the first Wembley Fa cup finals in 1923, perhaps endangering the life of King George V, up rose Pc George Scorey riding a light coloured Horse Billy and both of them cleared the Wembley field of the invading fans and launched themselves into immortality. A footbridge near Wembley is named White Horse Bridge in it’s honour.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the movie War Horse this weekend.

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