Friday, December 07, 2007
I used to make the odd model when I was a lad (by which I mean, 'When younger, I would make, occasionally, a model from a kit', not 'Bizarre creations were formed by me in my youth', nor indeed that 'In my childhood years, I would force those I viewed as singular to wear clothes I had created' - sorry, I just thought I'd better clear that up), but it has been a long time since I wielded a tub of Enamel Copper Plate or inadvertently glued my thumb to an aileron.
However, I spotted this on the shelf and felt that I could be drawn back into the world of the miniature replica - once I had stopped actually wiping the tears of laughter from each eye.
I mean, really though. I bet this wasn't what John Masefield had in mind.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Avoiding the obvious jokes about what passes for entertainment in Ayrshire - be it the hapless frotterer himself or the cleaners with nothing better to do than barge in on paying guests and then shop them for doing weird stuff in the privacy of their own room - readers of this or my other blog might know that 'two wheels good, four wheels not so good' is one of my mantras, and of course I've always agreed with Freddie Mercury on the splendours of the bicycle ['BI-cycle BI-cycle'... nudge, nudge, Fred, I got yer]... but in terms of actually wanting to 'ride my bicycle'?
"You've taken that too far."
Sunday, October 21, 2007
In a curious Moebius strip trail of self-congratulation, the usual suspects [Peter 'actually straight' Tatchell, for example] emerged during the week to applaud this retro-active character development. Growling gushed to fans: "I would have told you earlier if I knew it would make you so happy."
For the love of God. I would have told you earlier if I'd thought of it. Perhaps she was trying to avoid a slew of tabloid headlines [Harry Botter and the Predatory Homosexual Cliché, or whatever]. Gay teachers prey on children, fact. Outing Dumbledore after the series has finished achieves precisely nothing, as the somewhat dry quote from the unnamed Stonewall source ["It's great that JK has said this. It shows that there's no limit to what gay and lesbian people can do, even being a wizard headmaster."] illustrates.
If she was that committed to affirmative action, she'd have had Harry and the ginger one share a bed. Imagine, 'Brokewand Mountain.' 'I wish I knew how to expeliarmus you.' etc etc
THAT would have been great. Not 'a character I killed off in the sixth book without hitherto revealing his sexuality was also casting spells for the other side, incidentally.' Bah!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The hunger is upon me now, and yet the thought of paying £3.79 for a bagel in the station - I'll say that again just in case you thought it was typographical error, THREE POUNDS AND SEVENTY NINE BRITISH PENCE for a BAGEL - is quite beyond me. I skulk 'neath the Golden Arches and, slightly dazed by the breakfast offreings blazoned across the back wall, I order a bacon, egg & cheese bagel and a small sprite, no ice. £1.79 for the bagel.
I take a seat under the T.V screen, which is playing Sky News... enmeshed in the Hegemon, there is to be no escape. I have just informed the counter slavey that when I say 'no ice' it's because I want a cup full of liquid, not half a cup of ice and some liquid, and further that his attempted explanations are useless because I used to work in McDonalds and I have retained certain useful information. I only want a cup to put my wine in on the train, I add under my breath as I slide into the seat and unwrap the bagel.
What the FUCK is this abomination? I am committing an act of eco-terrorism on myself. It is categorically the worst food I have ever eaten, slathered in oil from the cheese which tastes of nothing, and revealing one disappointment for the palate after another: the bacon which is perhaps only on nodding terms with actual pork, the defrosted bagel and the cuilnary feat of transforming an egg into bathmat. I grimly force it down as there is not time to turn into one of the Roux brothers now. I have made my bed with dirty sheets and must lie in its squalour.
On the screen, as I chew my way through this excuse for food, is an advert for the third season of Ross Kemp on Gangs, which is being teamed, for this advertisement, with a new season of Prison Break, one of which [now I come to look at them with sober eyes and without a miasma of grease clouding my mood and vision] looks moderately interesting and one of which looks like total incarcerational cobblers. On Saturday morning both programmes - bagel and feelings of oppression weighing heavily on my heart - serve only to reinforce the sensation of being trapped in the Panopticon. It's a bad world out there, and it's bad food in here.
I sit with my mouth open, flavourless oil dabbed from the corners as the ad reaches its climax. 'How much more can you take?' the gravel voice of excitement demands. 'None whatsoever,' I announce to no one at all, and crumple the bag, wrapper and clarty napkins into the Last Bin before Kings Cross. I'm leaving it.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Now, turning our attention to the world wide web... Italians have this week gone bonkers about rice ['Having a paddy' if you won't]. Context... [shimmery screen and harps flashback]
Mass protests were being encouraged in Italy [apparently, as yon link notes, with [stereo]typical Italian ambivalence in response] over the rising price of pasta... downing forks, disgruntled diners and chefs took a stand against the rising cost of the famous staples of Naples [I've checked to see that I'm not making a gastronomic gaffe here, it is a staple in Naples, though not as famous as pizza but that doesn't rhyme, anyway... and elsewhere. As a respondent on one discussion board suggested, 'Well, I live in Milan and we prefer rice anyway...' or words to that effect.]
Underneath all this rubbish is the now becoming more discussed notion about biofuels raised as early as 2005 by the usual suspects, which is that they are being touted/grown as the wonder solution to the oil crisis, but at the expense of both food for humans and other creatures' habitats [not that this has ever stopped us]... which seems a somewhat fuellish [sorry] response to a different issue [transport] which might be better resolved by not 'keeping the cars moving whatever happens', and in turn creating a further problem, i.e. mass starvation AND other species extinction AND gridlock... different meeting...
However, Adelaide Ajroldi and compatriot lovers of the risotto may have a fight to contend with. There appears to be a stirring in the rest of the country not just against this biofuelled threat to the traditional Italian menu, but also against other staples. Not just protests about the rising price of pasta [and other traditional ingredients], but a movement AGAINST RICE...
First of all, the news from Venice that in a [supposedly anti-pigeon] move, the Mayor's office has considered banning rice at weddings. Taken on its own, this might be nothing to do with food-related disgruntimento. However, the VERY NEXT DAY, it appears that the Vatican has taken the issue so seriously [as usual] that even people called Rice aren't to be tolerated [perhaps a good thing, although maybe genuinely nothing to do with oil/environment/aggressive foreign policy and all about diaries].
What this all means to Italy's former status as leading producer of rice in Europe one can only speculate. The people of Lombardy etc should take note: this may be a ricepaper thin premise on which to waste some time bringing a blog back up to speed, but from small grains... etc etc.
Meanwhile, back at the old homestead:
Matt's Presto Pronto Matt Surprise:
White long grain rice
Green olives (no filling)
Green or classic pesto (half a jar)
Pepper (optional whole grain)
The trick is to fry for 30 seconds when cooked/combined.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I can't be bothered with commentary on stuff I don't like anymore, it makes the veins in my temples stand out, my pupils go a pale green and I grow to enormous size and want to smash things in. Sort of metaphoricartoonidoolally. Seriously, as if the world needs someone wasting their time with bitterness at stuff. It's admitting defeat. I need to write about what I like. However, if I just write about stuff I like, it won't be very slalom.
So farewell, slalom-speaking. Hello... something else.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"The Tech Lab: Charles Stross
...For the past 50 years we've become used to computers getting cheaper and more powerful exponentially - doubling in performance (or halving in price) roughly every 18 months.
Sooner or later they're all going to be switched on, all the time and our data storage capacity is growing so fast that we need not delete anything ever again. ...If we can figure out how to read and write data on the atomic scale, you could store the sum total of all the data we recorded in 2003 on a grain of sand.
And some time after our demise, this information will be available to historians. And what a mass of information it will be. For the first time ever, they'll be able to know who was where, when, and what they said; just what words were exchanged in smoky beer halls 30 years before the revolutions that haven't happened yet: who it was who claimed to be there when they founded the Party (but didn't join until years later): and where the bodies are buried.
...For the first time ever, the human species will have an accurate and unblinking, unvarnished view of its own past as far back as the dark ages of the first decade of the 21st Century, when recorded history "really" began."
... and then we'll really go fucking mental.
Friday, June 29, 2007
"Don't miss Kaiser Chiefs"
trumpets the Ticketmaster email update. Well, if they'd just hold still...
Thursday, June 28, 2007
And where are they cloning these Milibands? Milibank Tower? Gah!
Never mind the "Here's your new leader, everyone - rejoice!" pictures yesterday.
"Woah, did I miss an election?" "GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN!!!"
Sunday, June 24, 2007
For the first time I posted something and then just took it down... it wasn't that bad, just a bit pointless and bitter. Anyway, I'm sick of writing about stuff I think is cack in such passionate tones. [It was about the Kaiser Chiefs, 'everything is average nowadays', a chance hearing of which was multi-layered and multi-faceted in its revulsive qualities. Let's move along.]
I happily discovered that someone who posted a comment on a recent post is actually my oldest pal [by which I mean in terms of service [be quiet, do]] and we continue to converge in most matters of culture.
'Going forward' I am only going to write about things that make me write enthusiastially and well. If I'm just sniping fish in barrels then it makes me sound mean-spirited and does nothing to suggest the trillions of galaxies of better worlds I imagine every day before I even break my fast.
With regard to the last bit of the above sentence, I want more Holmesian circumlocution in my quotidian utterances. Taking a cigarette of tobacco, etc.
Finally, from the spam files:
Did you know that 76% of girls prefer guys with a descent ramrod?
'Is that not some sort of mining equipment?' 'In a sense.'
Here endeth the mini-manifesto.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Maybe it's the rap superstar combining with cutie; maybe it's the the sexed-up video, featuring Rihanna cavorting with umbrella... ['Jay-Z, mate? You just stand over here. Cheers...']; maybe it's the download it NOW dynamism of the pop economy... I am, as usual, more concerned with something else.
Neil Tennant, Pet Shop Boy and former music journalist, once remarked in interview, a propos of nothing: 'Can I just say - Elton John's 'Sacrifice'? "It's no sac-er-i-fice." There are three syllables in sacrifice.' Likewise, there are three syllables in 'Umbrella'. Umbarella. Eh-oh!
I'm not that bothered, obviously. It's just my imagination running away with me.
Friday, June 08, 2007
"...pressure group Mediawatch condemned Channel 4's decision to broadcast the word."
Being an active avoidant of Big Brother this time [to the feeble extent that I left the lounge, went into the bedroom and turned the radio on when My Good Lady switched to Channel 4 the other night - I felt bad sitting next to her with my fingers in my ears, going 'La la la'...] this is all commentary on commentary. It's such a distraction - and an acute embarrassment that it filled news sites when we should have been devoting extensive attention to hauling senior members of the government over the coals for arms trade chicanery and systemic high-level corruption.
I feel (ever so slightly) sorry for the young lady. It seems to me a clear example of attempted 'street' jocularity, a thicko-trendy Nathan Barleyism ['Alright m'niggas?']. Given the furore over the negative associations of the word 'poppadom' in the last series, one might expect a little more circumspection from participants. Actually, one wouldn't expect circumspection from a BB participant at all, what the fuck am I typing? 'Circumspection? I ain't Jewish, man, knowwhatImean?'
So no sympathy for mouth in top, brain in neutral fame-seekers. Hapless little wench. But anyone would think she'd donned a white hood and set fire to a cross in the BB garden. She was trying to be a groover, and she fucked it up. To say that C4 now can't even show people "being offensive" because it's offensive is a touch retarded. [I mean 'retarded' in the sense of underdeveloped, not spacker.] Wars and pocket-lining mendacity are offensive; language is just vibrations.
Condemning the broadcast of words, I ask you. Tough on words, tough on the causes of words. Back to Lenny Bruce, as usual.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Where, as I have observed on occasions prior to this, to even begin? 'Horrific ordeal'? Well, nobody made you do it, you stupid cunt. And what kind of animal rights protest involves eating dead animals? And a corgi, at that? This has to be one of the most annoying 'protests' I've ever seen, and all I'm doing by talking about it is giving this publicity hound the Winalot Prime of attention he's yapping like a fucking annoying lapdog for.
His next project is, it says here, to be buried in a box under a mountain of mashed potato - in Dublin. He doesn't say why, but given his 'taste' for the obvious in his symbolism, it'll probably be something to do with the Potato Famine. What a shit-for-brains. Perhaps after that he'll turn up at a succession of supermarkets, naked, in a styrofoam box covered in shrinkwrap, standing in the fruit and veg aisle nodding obviously at the pre-packaged products.
I'd quite like to see him turn up outside his own house toting a giant replica of a tube of Preparation H, pointing it at his arse and pantomiming a pained expression.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
The front cover announces 'Everything you need on a Sunday. Nothing you don't.' Apparently I need stories about Jude Law, articles announcing that spending £650 on a bag is acceptable behaviour, Juliette Lewis promoting Scientology. And the acme of annoyance, 'The New Review' coverstar Alex James, in an extended puff for his autobiography 'Bit of a Blur' [and before I get stuck into him, see that hyperlink? Works online, not in the paper. Loads of articles with underlined phrases in a different colour ink. If they're left in deliberately, it's a stupid affectation. If they weren't left in deliberately, it's an editorial oversight and further proof of slap-dashery and smug complacency.]
So, Alex James. 'They were the fresh-faced art students who changed the face of pop nearly 20 years ago, and only last week they were voted the world's greatest band.' Whaaaaat?! Changed the face of pop? That was The Stone Roses, surely? I'm sure they've done very well for themselves, there were a few good records, but the 'country house' embarrassment... Fat fucking Les, I fucking ask you. To read the article you'd think they personally invented 21st Century music. If I want self-aggrandising bullshit from wordy bass guitar players, I read slalom-speaking.
Damon 'the significant composer of the past 20 years'. Again, whaaaaat?! Fucking 'The Good, the Bad & the Queen', lachrymose one idea Manu Chao knock off. Wigwam, thanks for letting us know Betty Boo was still alive, now stop it. Former drummer joins the Labour Party, who today announced that under new leader Brown [don't we get a say? Oh, just asking, sorry, carry on] they are committed to spending billions more pounds on 'anti-terror measures', while the trains of Britain stink of piss, and crawl through crumbling suburbs, overfull and slow, the buildings of Lewisham, Ladywell and New Cross [where Goldsmiths students still work, rest and play] falling to fucking pieces. Don't let anyone terrorise us, we're busy looking on in pride as our infrastructure disintegrates and millionaire popstars write about their great removed life in a very big house in the country.
Meanwhile deep in the blank pools of their eyes in the photo of Fat fucking Les, Keith Allen's daughter cavorts in her finery with Rhys Ifans, Alex James' children 'Geronimo and twins Artemis and Galileo' - I'M SERIOUSLY NOT MAKING THIS UP - milk his goats and Damien Hirst's multi-million pound diamond skull grins blankly shiny from the mantelpiece...
We are watching the decline and fall. Up against the wall, motherfuckers! Time for something different.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I think the most disappointing aspect is that all sorts of people are viewing it as emblematic of something or other other than what it is. What happened to Joe Jackson for him to come out with this, in his capacity as a smokesperson for FOREST, the pro-smoking lobby funded by tobacco companies, on bar staff:
"The whole point of nightlife venues is that they are places to get away from work and not to be nagged like naughty children.The few people who are working should be there on that understanding," he wheezed.
Hasta la revolucion! Well, back to the piano, Jackson, because you have clearly never washed 30 ashtrays at the end of an evening, nor swept a floor hoaching with roaches, nor had someone blow smoke in your face while they were ordering a drink. Your next album [should there be one] should be songs of contrition for conflating a perfectly sensible public health measure [the same kind of thinking that banned it on aeroplanes] with a spurious civil liberties argument.
Smoking is carcinogenic, a public ban isn't about stopping people from pleasuring themselves in public [there are other laws for that, of course, like the Criminal Justice Act and the Sex Offenders Act], but about allowing everyone else their measure of freedom to drink, dance, flirt or work without red eyes, stinky clothes, sore throats, yellow walls, etc etc etc. IT'S PROPERLY BAD FOR YOU! Interestingly, Graham Chapman [according to Wikipedia's Throat Cancer article] said that the primary site for the cancer that would eventually kill him was the spot on his throat where the smoke from his pipe hit first - and he was a doctor, so I'd trust that kind of opinion.
I don't know, it's probably different for pop stars. [Does an eerie loop of 'No such thing as tomorrow...' in the Tracheotomy Man voice to fade]
Still, it's hard to maintain an expression of pained sensitivity/wallow in your own chemical imbalances like some ghastly French poet from the 19th Centuree when you log in [at the silicon face] and get emails with subject lines like this:
'Your orgasms will be enhanced to the point of ecstasy, and your stamina and overall sexual health will be greatly increased.'
This from Pierre Dominguez. What a benediction. Then, in a comically vulgar counterpoint, the fat and beery companion of the sensitive Pierre pipes up. It's Virgil Trotter:
' fuck them as much as they can handle', he slurs, then in the same breath, 'do it all night don't be silly', urgently, not even pausing for punctuation or capital letters.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Although 'Lottery Winners on Acid' got pretty much constant rotation round our way when it came out, this latest move may see them fall on their arses [what if everyone hears it and goes 'yeah?' not 'yeah!'... plus just, like, giving stuff away like, well, lottery winners on acid - pinkos!] but for now, let us appreciate the paradigm shift going forward proactively. Onwards, onwards - O the wild charge they made!
Friday, April 27, 2007
The original Fruity Loops [primitive sequencing tool used by primitive sequencing tools, version 3 when I was writing this stuff, now up to version 7.0.2 in Beta - all aboard the loopin express!] sketch developed from about three failed techno songs, which resulted in the working title of 'Large Kraftsleisses in Oban'... perhaps it's best not to even wonder.
Anyway, I decided in the end to call it the semi-ambiguous 'Theme from Road Fox', which clearly incorporates elements of 'Firefox' [as in the book about a Russian plane, nicked by Clint Eastwood in the film, not the wonderful window on the web manfacturers, although both have their charms], and which might refer to a tech-spec device that, say, Kylie Minogue, clad in strictly plot-necessary black lycra/leather kit - ['Unzip me.'] might play the controller of. In fact, that 'unzip' reference now has digital meanings also, so why not have a cartoon with Kylie doing the voice where she's a virtual crime [as opposed to street] fighter or something? Zooming along the information superhighway? When I crack computer animation, I'll melt your eyes. Melt 'em, I tells ya!
I digress. Roll credits!
|theme from road fox...|
Monday, April 23, 2007
"In the broader geopolitical area, diversity is critical and it is interesting to observe the situation in the Netherlands , where they are looking at the storage of massive amounts of gas through the purchase of Norwegian Troll gas."
Pass the sprouts, Lars! IT'S FOR THE GOOD OF THE PLANET.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Friday, March 30, 2007
Fantastic. But the predictable moaning from the Catholic Church in America fails to capitalise on what is surely the most obvious potential recruitment bonanza they've had in years. Surely people will flock to join the flock when they hear what's on offer.
'Mmmm! Don't mind if I do. Is that red wine?'
IT'S WHAT THE PEOPLE WANT. We already trough too much chocolate this time year anyway, we might as well invest it with some connection to the divine.
Some more of a connection, then.
Update: They decided against it. Obviously.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
and the caption 'It is the first time Bobby, the male in the group, has seen the sky without bars since he was captured as a baby in Guinea.'... had me welling up.
I suspect your blogger has been reading too much Dante. 'But he gets heated rocks and everything!' Well, you can't see the moat and electric fence in this photo, obviously, and he is still in a zoo... But you get the idea.
Interesting other occurrence of Great Apes in the news today: Should other mammals be given human rights, as they share our DNA to a very close degree? Well... maybe we could just stop drilling into marmosets' heads and hooking dolphins by the eye, rather than feel the need to draw up a charter to formally regulate our behaviour.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
'I was walking along a path not far from my house when it panicked and scurried out from its safe hiding place on the side of the path and under my irrevocably descending right boot. I have fairly small feet, so it is hard not to see Darwin's hand in its self-deselecting rush to the only certainly-deadly place for miles around. Its demise and my role in it left me in a very morbid and philosophical mood for much of the rest of the walk, and I wasn't even smoking anything which might encourage such a profound state of mind.'
I had to commiserate. I'm lucky in that my interfaces with rodents extend as far as ignored humane mouse traps with bits of cheese in - or, more frequently, crowbarred open humane mouse traps with no bits of cheese in and a thank you note in scratchy mouse hieroglyphs [three fat mice, one with a quill, one doing a thumbs up [somehow], one rubbing its tum, a block of cheese with a tick next to it.] However, I've crushed many a snail in my cack-footed blundering about, which is always unfortunate, not least for the flattened gastropod peeling itself off the paving slab. Not so much a run-in as a walk-in (which is worse, it's in slow motion and all the more agonising. N o o o o o o o o o o o o...).
All things considered - unless you're considering becoming a Jainist monk - best to ask not for who the foot falls... it is for this reason that astronomers are a much-undervalued section of the scientific community, particularly meteor watchers.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
So that's the venue... inside, we were felt up by security before finally getting in to the hall in a state of great anticipation for the gig. First, though, we had to endure Prinzhorn Dance School. They were like an early pre-song version of Talking Heads, all Joy Division colour scheme with occasional leggy and knock-kneed lass bass player shouting... super-earnest mainly grooveless songs that dragged themselves forward in the mud as comments sniped in from all around our party: 'Is this Christopher Eccleston's serious music side-project?' 'I look forward to the album with Eno,' 'Shall I shout 'Play Love will tear us apart'?' 'Several days later...' A friend mimes the singer hanging himself as I mime putting on 'The Idiot'. Interminable.
Mercifully, LCD Soundsystem were superb. They started with a three week frug-out version of 'Us v them', and then Daft Punk were playing... the unison Blockbuster-esque howls on 'North American Scum' so startling and intense... you forget sometimes, observed one of the circle who had not seen them previously, listening to the albums, that this is a band, an incredible band, in the six people grooving brilliantly on stage sense. The crowd was full of excitement. J disappeared forward to join the milling at the front and reemerged afterwards flushed and actually speechless with the experience. She signed 'a.ma.zing' while pointing distractedly about.
This was a gig which relit my fire, eyes on the band as I squeezed back from the bar through the crowd which was grumpily shoehorned in as 'Tribulations' rocked aptly in the foreground. Some knots of people irritably calling for 'losing my edge', but times move on - one teasing blast of the drum sample elicited a gasp of excited recognition, but the keyboard player quickly stabbed off the machine with a finger. A dynamic and forward looking band, for all the references to bygone musical mileposts the hip priests of Pitchfork can delineate... first encore 'Someone great' was already in my top tunes of the year CD mix, the live version can go on the bonus disk. Fanzines were plotted, band adverts put up: we heart LCD Soundsystem.
'Saved, for the moment.'
(Photo by crispin hearn, pinched off the LCD website)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
'Kurby' looks askance.
Kurbs update: He is now the President of Turkmenistan.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
We knew in advance that there would be snow. It's a regional pastime, making a big deal out of not- very- extraodinary weather. One million Londoners apparently unable to make it into work due to an overnight blizzard of munchkin proportions - Swedish and Finnish friends laughing down the phone... we did our part here in the tundral wastes of SE4. A quick trip to Hilly Fields before breakfast yielded a mighty fine snowman...
My later plans, including an ambitious Greenwich meridian-aligned series of Easter Island-styled heads, only snowmen, ranged across the slopes, would come to nought as the snow melted and what we assume was kids going to the adjacent school destroyed Frosty in a snow blind kung fu rage...
If you think this theorised adolescent malevolence a touch fanciful, look in the background of these photos - taken earlier in the day - for an icy narrative of stalking, implacable, chilling fate - played out in the misleadingly pristine snowy surrounds -
......a dish best served.....
........very, very cold...
Friday, February 02, 2007
Proving that Americans can do whimsy as well as the next anthropomorphed rodent, the massy marmoset Punxsutawney Phil emerged - live via webcam! - from the burrow at Gobbler's Knob - NO, REALLY - in his official capacity as Prognosticator of Prognosticators to project an early spring, (which might be due to global warming, but the President of the Inner Circle was being loose with the translation from Groundhoguese to avoid controversy with the 15,000-odd strong crowd that had turned up). Loud cheers and feasting commenced. And rightly so, given that it is only the 14th early spring announced in 111 recorded predictions.
Phil, 112, noted it had been 'a good gig', and promises to be back in the summer with his new game show 'How Much Wood Can You Chuck?'
Thursday, February 01, 2007
That's THIRTEEN BILLION POUNDS, a 13 with nine zeroes after it if you're on the short scale.
On my current salary, I would have to work for 520,000 years to see this many zeroes in my 'paid in' column.
If I were a favela dweller on "less than a dollar a day" [see also this study], it'd be, well, about 68 million years.
If I actually worked on a pipeline in Nigeria, I might not live that long.
"Chief exceutive Jeroen Van Der Veer described this as 'good.' "
Thursday, January 25, 2007
The last month and a bit has seen the word 'hogwash' jump to new prominence, well, in my head anyway. First punnishly, in 'Hogfather', the Terry Pratchett adaptation that ran on Sky 1 over Christmas, or 'Hogswatch', as the season is known in the book/film, in which a group of interdimensional miserabilists known as 'Auditors' take out a contract on 'the Hogfather', a Santalike, with the projected aim of removing belief from the universe to 'tidy it up', which Death, as a fellow anthropomorphic personification, takes skeletal steps to stop, for reasons which become obvious... illustrating that for all the potboiler aspects of some of TP's works he's also communicating some important ideas about imagination, in an excellently disk-like self-justificatory/deeply important to the future of what we laughingly call civilisation manner...
Then hogwash appeared again, in two articles this week, one in which - superbly - the Canadian pig farmer accused of mass murder dismissed the charges as 'hogwash'... which probably has more resonance with him than it does for the news media headline writers of the (hogocentric) world, who fell upon the juxtaposition with, well, hoggish glee... (I make the 'hogocentric' distinction as there are peoples of earth that disdain the pig diet, which is fair enough, I don't eat cat, as I've observed in previous hog, er, blogposts... But 'no hocus pocus, I focus on the facts', as Killah Priest once observed, and...) the fact is that the expression was expressed by a pig farmer, as a figure of speech with direct practical meaning to the user, which is so neat that it practically makes me skip for joy.
The other article this week, on a North American who without a doubt is responsible for the deaths of innocent people [discuss any aspect of the preceding clause], came as Dick Cheney 'was asked to respond to some Republicans in Congress who "are now seriously questioning your credibility, because of the blunders and the failures".' His fob was: 'hogwash'...
The article unfortunately doesn't relate which particular premise Dick 'Lon' Cheney considered to be nonsense, perhaps we'll never know. I don't have much skipping to do about 'the war on Iraq' [as discrete from 'the war on terror']; perhaps Hogwash is a new Halliburton product for the freedom-revelling people of Iraq. I love the idea that the people fighting Americans across Central Asia are fighting 'democracy', as opposed to 'a country that invaded another country'.
I thought I'd join in with the use of 'hogwash' as a term denoting my opinion of something's nonce-sense as, once more, the Observer columnist Nick Cohen annoys me beyond measure [see my 'looking Islamism in the eye' post...] in this article on How the Left Lost its Way, where he absurdly suggests that people on The Great Anti-War March worldwide on 15th Februrary 2003 were actually marching in support of a 'fascist regime'... no, no, no, nonono! We were marching to express the notion that the war was wrong, badly thought through, a huge mistake in the making, a colonial throwback, unevolved conflict resolution and not in the slightest little bit about bringing freedom to the people of Iraq, unless by this is meant 'the freedom to give all your oil to the west'. Fascism should not be simply applied in terms of totalitarian regimes, uniforms, nice boots, etc; it is, as Mussolini suggested, and he should know, better termed 'corporatism', given that it is a convergence of state and industrial power. The anti-war march was a culmination of a mass-realisation that in the west we live highly ordered lives geared towards maintaining a slow churn of the money mill. It was an expression that this in itself is not an acceptable basis on which to assume the role of arbiters of the world, far less to actually go and, like, kill other people for being repressed. It was a cry for help from a depressed civilisation and it was answered with a silence which exposed the lie of our democracy. Then we all got properly depressed and started blowing ourselves up.
Mr Cohen 'pro-war lefty', [see this article I liked because it uses the phrases 'pro-war lefties' and 'belligerati'] also suggests that a focus on this self-regard, 'opposing' American foreign policy, to simplify it for the sake of argument, has left us 'blind to the evils of militant Islam'. Hogwash! The only thing blinding 'us' is the log in our own eye [a log felled illegally in South America]. Armed people with a grievance change ideologies like underwear, it's the'militant' bit we [whoever that may signify historically and contemporaneously] should be concerned about. [In fact, if you want a bit more circularity to this piece, a quote from Pratchett again [although it could be Neil Gaiman] from Good Omens, 'Offer people a new creed with a costume and their hearts and minds will follow.'] Loath as I am to use as subjective a word as 'evil' here, yes, blowing yourself up on a bus can be seen as evil; it surely follows that flattening an entire country to effect regime change is fairly hardline 'evil' behaviour - and pretty fascistic too, if we use Hitler as a model of impositional politics.
Anway, methods of control may differ... Words are one of the most effective. I'm satisfied that religious people are in general doing more damage to themselves than any external attack might. How about finishing up this paean to piggery-related rhetoric with a roll-around in 'Truth vs hogwash' ?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In the case of the former type of mail, er, shot, they have moved from caveman-drawing spurty-nob 'blaaaart! cover her face in jizz! have a colossal cock of cobalt pluming granite-like out from your body! flesh-carve a Rushmore scale edifice of penile awe, magnitude unbounded by earth physics...' to a kind of 'post-feminist' mode of 'and where do you think you're going with that walnut whip, my good man?', where the starting point is not a blokeish assumption of upsize augmentation of already existing functionality but a laddetteish sneer that what I have is not even up to the job. The job being to satisfy the billions of size queens queueing at my door requiring sauce, and lots of it. copping, at live journal dot com, is clearly my sex-obsessed consumer machine alter ego, rabidly theoretical, full of computer amphetamines, scanning trillions of porn images per second and wanking itself into a digital frenzy while chattering out insulting messages to the corporeal me designed to induce a turmoil of physical and mental inadequacies.
In the case of the latter type of mail, perhaps a reflection of the idea that commerce drives art more than artists care to admit, there has been a poetical development, incorporating a mix of neo-classical erudition and enthusiastic 18th century verbosity with a kind of Taoist balance which almost, but not quite, coheres. gjuctauv - a lower-level typing slavey at vincewelsh.com and my aspirant literati machine alter ego - observed this morning: 'May you, in the whole course of your life, have no suppose that things, because they may be, are therefore meant at you.', which grasps at a philosophical profundity beyond the capabilities of the average Celebrity Big Brother participant.
Might this be the first stirrings of autonomous intelligence in the machines? The questing for expression that signifies the ascent of silicon to sentience? Note presumption of 'upward' vector. Just think, if the machines keep evolving, they'll be able to kill each other soon.
'His arguments are, strictly speaking, unanswerable' gjuctauv concluded.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Gradually I drifted back to the box. Well, no more. I've had another such Damascan moment. Celebrity Big Brother:
The rapid and ludicrous escalation of something so artificed to some sort of international incident would have had Swift and pals chuckling and slapping their thighs at yet another victory for Dulness...
The 'row', according to BBC correspondent currently in India Nick Robinson, is 'damaging Britain's reputation'. Indeed it is, but only to the extent that it's internationally embarrassing this has become the most important topic of debate of the moment, apparently across the entire populace. Did we of the UK suddenly forget the old global warming, war everywhere, 'mysteriously' dropped Saudi Arabian fraud investigations, road and rail infrastructure decaying exponentially, building on greenfield sites so that every last square metre of land can be tarmac'ed..?
Well, apparently 'we' did, racist in-breds that we all are. The scant minutes I've endured of the programme illustrate nothing more than people [some of whom did not attain 'celebrity' through their intellectual acumen and discursive acuity, it might be observed] in an awkward and deliberately intensified atmosphere not coping very well with each other - what a surprise.
The show's producers must doing a little tv exec jig of glee at all the attention their show is now getting [if I can use the word jig in this context]... The whole 'game' - as Sylvester Stallone succinctly dubbed it -and how dismal is the field of reference when Sylvester Stallone is a voice of reason? - is predicated on an accepted exploitation of 'them' the slebs and 'us' the plebs, for the benefit of tv co Endemol, which sounds like a haemorrhoid cream, except they're the pain in the arse. I have otherwise intelligent mates watching it, stroking their chins and saying 'yes, yes...' with knowing nods and narrowed eyes. Total herd manipulation - and here I am baa-humbugging like everyone else. Baa! And bah!
[Geordie Accented Voice-Over]: 'Day 14,602,555. America is kicking the Middle East to death in the garden. Britain is in the diary room.'
Friday, January 12, 2007
Time is a great healer of annoyances, and I recently meandered back into their ambit for some reason. I was enjoying this article on transmedia stories, and then I got to the following sentence:
'"Battlestar Galactica", a show about killer robots, makes thoughtful critiques of the war on terror, and tricks us into sympathizing with the Iraqi insurgents. '
I don't dispute the 'war on terror' reading, but 'tricks us into sympathizing with the Iraqi insurgents'??? I underline my query with repetitious question marks in a manner comparable to Jupiter Jones at his most precocious. It's this sort of glib speculative criticism/ideological indoctrination thinly masked by ironised distantiation that again caused left mouse button damage as I departed Pitchfork's pages with alacrity.
AND their RSS feed keeps sending me the dismal news that Alice Coltrane has left this dimension. I'd make some clever Egyptological allusion, would it not consign me to the folder marked 'arch twat' - go and drift through 'Journey in Satchidananda' by way of tribute instead.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Twelve lovely tunes from 2006:
Amy Winehouse - Rehab
'Trying to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.'
Admirable sentiments, Ms Winebar. And what an ambitious sound too. Now eat a pie, for god's sake, you're making me feel peckish.
Stereolab - Interlock
'Hey all the small ones now "explain" '
Off their album 'Fab Four Suture' from March, which collects singles and b-sides from the last few years... this is superStereolab plus brass, big band-ish drum and loop-sounding synths [this observation from the 'zero insight department']. Also has classic Laetitia Sadier lyric snippet 'consumorphic morality', which might be about defence mechanisms for those becoming that which they buy... I love the way Stereolab are vitally political without really sounding like it.
Otterley - In Camera
'Keep paying attention...'
Ooh this is great. Otterley are from Dundee, Scot-land, and they made this tune which you can download from their website and you should. Full of African-sounding guitars, lots of spangly swooshes and echoey vocals you can half make out. 'In camera' means in secret, literally 'in chamber' [latin], and it's an apt title for a number of reasons - it sounds like a forlorn tennis song of emotion [forlorn tennis: where it's never 'love/love'], describing hidden feelings, and it's from one of the millions of rooms off the corridors of myspace...
Prince - Black Sweat
'I don't wanna take my clothes off... but I do.'
Well, this was just great too. Filth made by a master filthster. Tune: Proper Rogers Nelson, deceptively simple. Urgent funk-o-rama groove and whistley synths... he wants to 'show you what's really good,' and by 'you' he means, doubtless, Justin T. The video even looks a bit like the video for Kiss, just to reinforce the 'classic bit of Prince', dirrrty sex fiend vibe. A reminder, should one have been necessary, that he kind of thought all this stripped down r&b with talky shit up.
Hot Chip - Over & Over
'Like a monkey with a miniature cymbal...'
Or 'like a monkey with inflatable pigeons' as I was singing at that early stage when you've just heard a song that you know is going to be unavoidable within weeks but you can't quite place the words. For my website: accompanies a great lost Flash animation, perhaps, an endless loop of an animated monkey whipping what looks like a balloon from a bag by its side, a few quick exhalations and an inflated pigeon is added to the growing pile by the huffing simian. And more filth! 'Joy of repetition' alluding to one o' Prince's longest, dirrrtiest songs, the music sounding like the Beta Band locked in a disco instead of the studio after 'The Three EPs' came out... what was not to like? [I include this over the other NME 'hit' I also dug, The Gossip's 'Standing in the way of control', for the sake of numerical precision and also because The Gossip track sounded like Dolly Parton guesting on the Wild Bunch's 'Danger! High Voltage', which is absolutely a good thing but life's full of tough choices, eh? NB I don't really consider any aspect of this kind of indulgent exercise 'a tough choice' in any meaningful consideration of the phrase.]
Booka Shade - In white rooms
'Dnn-dnn-dnn, dnn-dnn-dnn, dnn-dnn-dnn, dnn-dnn-dnn...'
Mmmmm! The bit about two and half minutes in where the pulsing bass picks up a melody has the relaxational/uplift properties of standing in a white room the size of the universe. Soaring, serotonic, crowd-pleasuring dance music that has not failed to lift my spirits and the hairs on the back of my neck each time I've listened to it since we first met, and that's a great number of times, by the way, should my enthusing be insufficiently explanatory.
Ladytron - International Dateline
'Let's end it here...'
Dramatic! I didn't hear this until well after it came out [end of 2005], but that virtually makes it from last year, so anyway... Helen Marnie's voice is so very distinctive/plaintive, the sound is much heavier than the 'Boys & girls' synths of stuff like 17, and it communicates perfectly the melancholy of transit between places, selves, and the heart-choking Rubicon pause [not the brief hiatus before swallowing a soft drink, although it could be that too I guess...]... this notion of invisible thresholds drawn arbitrarily around the planet, in the sand, in airports. Moments of momentous decisions that make or break everything, and every moment being like that.
Pissed Jeans - Ashamed of my cum
'Never satisifed even after I'm done...'
I have to include this, not just for the wilful obscurantism quotient, but also because their name, sound and song inspirations are brilliant. It makes me think of Guided by Voices with less whimsy... the Stooges with no fun at all... brutal, yet hilarious. Plus the chorus is amazing.
Claude Von Stroke - Seven Deadly Strokes [Patrick Chardronnet remix]
'Bloop-bloop bloop bloop-bloop, bloop boop bloop boop-boop...'
Proper personal stereo tune this. Pop it on when embarking on a bus or rail journey by night, or crank it up in the car and enjoy about eight minutes of your time amplified to timeless emotion of every time you've ever undertaken such an expedition. Reverbed sounds like trucks honking in the inside lane, electronic noises blink like indicators, planes on approach, lights on the all-weather pitches giving the trees a weird look.
Arctic Monkeys - Mardy bum
'It was all up, up and away, but it's right hard to remember that on a day like today, when you're all argumentative... and you've got the face on.'
We lived every word.
Gotan Project - Tango Cancion
Unfortunately I'm at a loss as to how to represent the accordion and string plucked elegance of this number. Makes me yearn for the ability to throw someone with scraped back hair and a big flouncy black & red dress on about in the dance hall, a long stemmed red rose clamped between the teeth.
And to conclude this retrofest,
Dirty Pretty Things - You fucking love it
'Yeah yeah yeah!'
Well, you can't argue with that.
Pop music! Saviour of the universe time & again. Do please share your own favourite tunes, if tunes you have and want to share.
If anyone wants a CD burning, just ask...