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Sunday, October 31, 2004


tony blair has never been someone who made my heart sing, but i admired him for getting new labour into power and making sure that the conservative party will never be elected again.
and i appreciate that he has done many things wrong but the pendulum has swung so far the other way against him that i have to wonder if i am living in the same country as some of the commentators.
in the current issue of new statesman he is likened to stalin. which is somewhat over the top if you ask me.

one of the points that service brings up in his article is how secretive blair is and how he avoids criticism. if only i am sure the cry is from blair. he has been attacked (and rightly) over the iraq war pretty much non stop since the war started. and frankly if there are any secrets left out there that are important that we don't already know about the war then i will be open mouthed when they are revealed!

it is one thing to criticise blair and his government, it is another thing to go so far with the hyperbole that in the end the criticism comes across as a bit of a mindless rant that deserve to come from the mouth of david icke.


never been a fan of cherie blair. why? simple that smile is scary. that and the fact she obviously has a marble or two loose when it comes her choice of friends and advisors. none of which has anything to do with her career as a lawyer - she just makes me feel odd when i see her.

but let's hear a cheer for cherie.
she has made a few speeches in the states to lawyers which are "critical" of american law. she has of course been attacked for making political points close to the election.
whatever happened to free speech?
go here for the story

quite liked the fact she was also against a law backed by bush regarding sodomy in texas. i am guessing that it is not a pro law.

so once again raise a glass and cheer to cherie.

Friday, October 29, 2004


from the guardian
"Disliking Bush is one thing, but working up enthusiasm for Kerry is another - and there's little sign of that in the Middle East. "

it seems not everyone is as keen as me to see the end of bush.

but you have to wonder when some of the fans of bush are the ones mentioned in the report - it sort of turns your sensibilities upside down!

Thursday, October 28, 2004


where's the remote? a cry often heard in my flat as once again i have misplaced the darn thing.
i sent it, it must be lost in the post! is an excuse i have heard (oh ok i have used it as well!)
i have put down papers i am working on and they are not there when i go back to them, i have saved files on my computer and they are not there when i go to access them.

hell we have all lost stuff in the past.
i bet we have even lost important stuff as well.

but you just have to admire florida they have lost 58,000 votes. hey but they were only absentee voters votes. (maybe they have gone to the same place all the explosives in iraq have disappeared to. not been a good week for losing things for the bush administration!)
of all the states to have problems with the election you would have thought that after 2000 florida would have been squeaky clean. i am not sure if that is them being incredibly stupid or just supremely arrogant knowing that nothing is going to happen to them if they do mess around with the votes.
because in the scheme of things 58,000 votes are a bit harder to lose than my remote and a lot more important to find!
already the democrats are backing nine lawsuits in the state!

to quote:
"It looks like they're trying to steal the vote again," said Diane Glasser, vice-chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party.

now it maybe me - but if india can get its national election to work right, you would have thought the world's greatest democracy should be able to as well.
let's be honest this is not really the example to be setting the iraqi people for their january election.

perhaps they should have accepted fidel castro's offer to send in impartial observers!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


one of the odder stories i have seen for awhile. have released a top 10 list of dead celebrities and their earning power. elvis comes out on top, followed by charles m schultz and tolkien.
all i can ask is why?

is this because people can't help themselves and like to make lists?
or is it because the estates of these dead people want to make sure that they can make even more money?

just plain odd is all i can say.

Monday, October 25, 2004


the us elections loom ever closer.
pretty much all the people i know want a kerry victory.
there are two notable exceptions. tammi who wants a bush victory and will vote for him (don't do it tammi you know it is wrong, you know it is i keep telling you!), tammi is based in new york which will go to the dems.
the other person is nick, who is welsh and won't be voting, he has thought about a bush victory as he thinks it will be the thing that kills of the republicans for a long time to come. then he starts to think more clearly and like the rest of us he knows that another bush administration means 4 more wars.
the only other americans i know well enough to speak to about this are both going for kerry (hi adam, hi kevin).

yeah i want a kerry victory.

but more than anything i want a clean election. i don't want to be seeing a repeat of 2000 where the calls were it was a stolen election.
yet judging by the number of lawyers, dirty tricks that have been mentioned to prevent people from voting, i fear we may have a period of instability and accusations of foul play, dirty tricks and lies.
and it won't be much of an example to put before the iraqi's when comes to their turn to vote.

so heres to a night of sitting up watching the tv, watching the results come in and no matter who wins in the that america is united in the victory and the rest of the world can see it was a fair and true election.
(but lord let kerry win.)


it's a subject i know little about. yes i go a lot of shows (and there are currently a whole heap of big shows i have to go see the turner prize at the tate britain, robert frank at tate modern and raphael at national gallery) but i would be lying if i called myself an expert.
i love to go to galleries big and small, have walked miles at the weekend around parts of london just to get to a gallery to see a show. sometimes i have been rewarded with some stunning artistic expressions and other times it looks like something a 4 year old did!
hold on did i say a four year old .... yes i did.
well lets just check this out shall we.
marla is a 4 year old who paints abstract canvases and guess what they are currently taking the art world by storm. at her current rate of producing paintings she is booked up for the next 3 years (probably more after the piece in yesterday's observer about her!)

now i am going to be honest here and say that if marla's work was hung in a gallery with no explanation and no biography there is a very large chance i wouldn't know if it was good, bad or indifferent. all i would know whether i liked it or not. whether it moved me or not, if it scored highly on the i like it scale and it moved scale then i am looking at a work that will make me happy.
but when i am looking at art i am always making the subconscious assumption that the artist meant something by what they are doing (often when you read what the artist things they have created and compare it with what they have created you know it is a case of emperor's new clothes and i am thinking of you tracey emin!) so the idea of a 4 year old creating moving or interesting art is one that stretches credibility.
(mind you as the article points out pyschologists think we are constantly reworking those first 7 years of experience so perhaps marla is just getting it all done early?)

good luck to her and her family i hope they earn a nice few bob out of it.
i am just not sure the art establishment should be proclaiming her the next big thing, but hey i am all for the dealers getting caught out on it.


there is a primordial part of each man's brain that fears zips (trust me it's in freud and even joseph cambpell has written about it). as we have become more civilised and moved away from being hunter gathers we have faced fewer and fewer challenges to our manhood. but the zip is always there, always waiting and always ready to strike.
the zip has two modes of attack, and as men we have been trained to protect ourselves against each, but even the most vigilant can slip sometimes.
there is the direct zip attack - we have all suffered this at some time, normally in our formative year. a cavalier tug on the zip, the merciless teeth draw closed catching a bite of the most tender of flesh, a moment of dumb comprehension, too slow to stop the upward movement and then the burning, searing white hot pain that chokes the voice from your throat and brings tear to the eye. and the only hope you have is that a gentle downward pull will release the precious organ from the deadly peril without any recourse to an outside party.
this is the attack we most guard against, we are aware of the zips frontal attack we defend against it. only the most complacent get caught.

the other attack of the zip is the silent and deadly one.
it's where the zip just lowers itself, allowing you to air you most intimate of parts but without you knowing it is happening. oh sure we try to protect against this. the surreptitious tug on the zip every now and then to assure ourselves it is up and we are protected. but the zip is crafty, it is cunning, it has patience and it will wait and then when you least expect it you are standing on the bus oblivious to all and sundry and then you realise that there is something wrong - it's a slow feeling, a sixth sense and then it hits you - your flies are undone and you are for all intents and purposes flashing the woman who is sitting in the seats facing you.
the zip has won and you know it. shame for flashing and shame for being caught out engulf you.

yes yes damnit i admit it was me - i was caught out by the zip.

ah lucky for me the 25 bus wasn't that busy at that time and the lights were low.... or else it would have been worse.

but now i double check, triple check and then check again that the zip is done up.

heed my tale, check the zip do not get caught out.

Friday, October 22, 2004


i was told a story today and i truly would like to share it with everyone, but i can't.
trust me it's your loss (well only if you are a certain age and certain culture).
but thanks to cliff i have an image in my head i just can't shake - i will need the brillo pad to get rid of it. perhaps it is best if i do not tell you!
so thanks for that cliff.

but it reminded me of some of the other great stories i had heard or things that had made me laugh so hard that i cried tears and still to this day i remember them with a big cheesey grin on my face.
but to tell those stories to others would take such doing in terms of backstory and set up that it wouldn't work. but for the wrestling story (even as i type this i smile broadly) i thank you jim. for the geppi heads i thank ? (i still don't know who it was who did them, or is still doing them) but to the mystery person i thank you. for the missing the toilet story phil i thank you.

now if only i was a good writer there is a book there.


max hastings was writing about the forthcoming decision as to whether or not let the black watch go help out the americans in baghdad.
in part of his piece was this, it was there to show how communication between american and british troops might be a problem.

"Years ago, I met a staff officer who served with the British brigade that met disaster against the Chinese on the Imjin river in Korea, in April 1951. He believed its fate was partly attributable to the fact that American higher commanders did not understand British parlance: "When our brigadier told the US corps commander that things were 'a bit sticky', the Americans did not respond effectively, because they did not get the message that this meant 'absolutely critical'."

now as proud as i am being english there is a moment when i read the above when i thought mmm i have to say i am with the americans here.
to me a bit sticky just means a bit of bother.
a case of too much stiff upper lip methinks.
the lesson here is when the shit hits the fan cry out for help.

the decision to send the british troops to aid the americans has been made, and it can only be seen as a token effort as it is only approximately 650 troops. i can only hope that this has been done for military reasons. as part of the coalition we can't ignore a request for help from an ally (i know this ignores whether we should be there in the first place- but we are there so we have to deal with that).
however if the request was made for political reasons in order to aid bush, then i think it will go very badly for blair. if the only reasons they are there is to allow bush to say that there is a working coalition of the willing and that not only americans are dying - then there is something deeply wrong with both blair and bush.
(as cynical as i am i would like to think that neither of them would do something like that).


there is something that i find wonderful about technology it is liberating, it is enabling and it allows me to voice my opinion to the whole wide world (ok so there are some downsides to it!)

but i also know that technology isn't our friend (at least where it comes to any of the technology i own or have to use), technology is just a tool for our use and most of it works on the SISO (shit in shit out) principle.

i remember reading somewhere many years ago that supermarkets where in some ways the pinnacle of capitalism, they proved the power of the market, they showed the working of the invisible hand, the wonder of supply and demand. supermarkets responded to the need of the individual.
and the secret of this EPOS, thats electronic point of sale for you and me.
and that to JIT, thats just in time for you and me.
but what you get is is
SHIT, thats should have it tomorrow to you and me.

i know some people who are putting EPOS into their stores (hi jim, hi kenny) and i wish them well with it, but the one thing i have learnt about EPOS is that it is a very SISO system. it don't matter how good the EPOS system is if you do not put the right information in you get the crap out, not only that if you do not have the staff they are not going to implement it all properly.

now i may have mentioned that sainsburys is my local supermarket, and you may have noticed they have been in the news recently because they have had to offer a profit warning.
but how can that be they have EPOS - they should know what is selling and what is not.
they might do - they just don't look at it properly.
some of my favourites from them recently
1] i am a veggie and i like quorn slices for my sandwiches. so where am i going to find my meat free food? oh yeah silly me, of course in the meat aisle. after all it's the first place that a veggie would go. but it's ok when i do finally find the section i can always guarantee that it will be virtually empty.
2] bread when i go into the supermarket at 9am i would like to think it has the essentials such as bread and milk already stocked up. nope, no not even close they are stocking it up. but there is going to be someone stocking up the booze section so it packed with gleaming filled bottles and shiny tins of alcohol.
3] i have a goatee, sometimes i have to shave the rest of the face to make the goatee look distinctive. just finding disposable razors is a nightmare. last night i discovered that my local sainsburys has moved them to a new "shop" in the store. i go buy them after i do the rest of the shop. only to find out that the new "shop" might sell the razors, it doesn't sell the shaving cream, foam, gel....... they go together like beans on toast, but not in sainsburys thats for sure.

geez i have no retail experience but i couldn't run that store any worse.
no wonder they lose money.
but they have EPOS.

just goes to show sometimes technology isn't going to help you if you have idiots at the top.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


in tuesdays guardian martin kettle wrote a comment piece saying that the one thing we have in common is our differences. he goes on to say that the reason why we are not keen on politicians is that they do not see those differences and the issues those differences raise, and that we are turned off of politicians by their offer of the quick fit one size fits all solutions.
in short we don't like politicians because they say we have a solution to the problem.

ah if it were only that simple.
we don't like (or trust) politicians for the more practical reasons of sleaze and greed. we don't respect our politicians because in the main we see them as having little to do with us. (i am sure the majority of back benchers are not living the life of larry, but one can't help feel that for most of them it's a case of hoping to get a leg up onto the gravy train. ok ok i am cynical and i know it!)
another reason we don't like our politicians is that we are so aware of them being "spun" having to wear the right clothes, the right hair, the right words, hand movements etc etc, it's why we take kindly to the boris johnsons of the world - they look natural they act natural (and for him it is being a pompous twit). not only have politicians given up their individuality but they have taken on board the buzzspeak of management training course. out goes vision and passion and in comes professional jargon. and lets be fair who can blame them it's worked so well for sainsburys.

but even when they decide to do something - it's not like they go for the simple uncomplex solution no they find away to make it messy and incomprehensible so that for those of us on the outside we have to scratch our heads and go "huh"!

look at immigration - the simple answer is open door policy or none at all. easy see i can be a politician (ok i still have to decide which one, but i have gotten it down to two choices). no what do the politicians do ? should we have a quota system? should be only have people in who can offer something to the country? what about refugees (proud heritage, not racist, made me what i am, but i am in you are not- pretty much howard's speech at the conference in a nutshell), what about asylum seekers? where to put them etc. all the time couching the debate in terms of we are being nice about it those unlike those people on the far right (who we are catching up) would be!

you only have to look at the public private partnership (PPPs) to see that politicians can take a simple issue such as investment in the infrastructure and turn it into a maze of complexity. oh i know what makes sense we can borrow money cheaply as we are a state, private companies have to borrow at higher rates because they are private companies. so if we want to finance the building of new infrastructure we will let the private companies borrow the money, but here's the neat part we will underwrite it so if it goes tits up the private company will not lose money the state will. and once the infrastructure is built we will rent it off the private company - they make loads of money and the tax payer out of pocket. and when it don't work properly we will do it again with another company. (yeah i know it sounds silly and i am confused by writing it but what can i say).
want a simple solution ? state finances infrastructure building.
vote pat.
and vote now.

we know our lives are complex, we know we are all different in one way or another. we don't need or want politicians to tell us that. we know! we know!
it's the reason why single issues do so well check out the anti-war marches, the fuel protests, the pro and anti hunt marches (no guesses for which of them the SWP were not at) we want simple solutions. we want to know that there are people who want to provide us with something like a solution.

what we want are politicians who have a vision (big or small it don't matter) who have passion and belief that things can be better.
instead we get people who tell us well they don't have a clue, well not really, but it's a nice career and if they are lucky they might get a job in the media or a directorship....
and they wonder why fewer and fewer people vote.

i tell you vote pat! you know it makes sense.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


have booked time off work so i can recover from the usa elections - or more fully that was the plan but i have to come in for part of the day!
i am not sure that the early morning of november 3rd will be spent with me whoooping like a maniac because Kerry has done the job. Or sobbing like a baby because bush has gotten in. i still remember Maggie winning her second term and being dumpster by the sheer madness of the vote.

just noticed that there have been 666 visitors to the bloc (thank you all) but is it an omen and that for my many sins i am going to end up in a circle of dainties hell (please don't let me go where all the estate agents and right wing comics end up).

boris - i am a little upset that boris has been made to go and apologies for an editorial in the spectator. having said that i was happy to see that bigley's brother (in an earl spencer moment) has used his time in the spotlight to call boris a pompous twit. nice to see liverpool can still produce class political satirists.

olympic parade. i missed it, not heard anything about it. hope it was a bit of a damp squib really as i do not want the olympics in london. i don't want them near here, not even close.
my travel costs are going to go up and one of the reasons is that ken has giving the london bid free advertising over london transport. it starts already i have to pay for a sports event i don't want.

because of my job i get sent odd things in the post. today i got a vanilla condom. just wish i had a practical use for it.

still not repaired the computers at home.


for no real reason it's been a bad week at work.
too many competing issues to deal with, too many people not paying attention to anything i say and then wondering why stuff doesn't work the way it should (hi kenny!)

i like my job and one day i will write about it more fully. we are in a small small part of the entertainment business, but lord the egos of some of the people in it are immense.

sometimes i wonder what it would be like to have a real job but i know i wouldn't like it - there is something special about what i do that helps keep me young(ish).

but this week was a little harder than i wanted it to be.


i am suffering from major overload problems.
too much stuff calling out for my attention. some of it is stuff that is just there in the background - the news, social things, cultural things. things to be done, places to go etc.
then there is the stuff i go out and buy (or am given - lucky me!).
so i have a pile of new books - all unread, that can go with the pile of old unread books. some of the books are worthy tomes about the issues of the day and are crying out to be read so i can get a better grasp on the world we live in (and i am sure i said exactly about the handful of books i bought at this years SWP conference, and the year before that.....) it is made worse when i find books i had forgotten i bought.
then there is the growing pile of fiction books i have to read.
so the current reads are
neal stephenson's quciksilver - have only just started this, but have shoved aside another of the bed books that i had just started to get straight on to this. it's a bed book because at nearly 900 pages i am not lugging it around with me. neal stephenson is a wonderful writer of great skill, wit and erudition. i am not ashamed to admit that if i knew a tenth of what he does i would twice as clever as i am! so there are chunks of this work of historical fiction i have to and look up.
for all that i am not sure i like neal Stephenson's website nor am i overly keen on this one but both will give you a feel for the author's work and the start of the wonderful baroque cycle.
if you only read one book this year make it this one (and for at least one person i know - hi paul - it will be the only book he reads for the rest of this year).
the bag books are:
allen steele chronospace - an entertaining SF romp. he writes in a jaunty style that combines interesting ideas with a decent pace and a sense of needing to find out the climax (unlike baxter's space, those last 40 pages still remain beyond me!). all of the steele books i have read in the past have been good. if you like your SF fun then allen steele is someone to check out.
the other book is
american dream global nightmare by ziauddin sardar and merryl wyn davies it is a polemic that seems to be arguing that america is built on fear and lies and that it's mass culture is there to perpetuate this state. i feel i should be agreeing with this book but i just find it a little too "anti" and the supporting arguments never seem to be enough to convince me.
(it may also be that a book that talks about how myth has overtaken truth but uses a film quote "when legend becomes fact, print the legend", i feel it is selling its audience short).
however it is an interesting book.

as for the cds - geez i am so far behind on what i have to listen to it is not true. there are cds i have bought weeks ago i still not listened to, still have 2 more discs from the ELP boxset to go (should i admit to that ?) plus there are copies that have been made for me , and some bootlegs that i have downloaded (3 hours of led zep live at wembley - oh yeah!). so i probably have days of new music to listen to.

then there are the dvds - even more to watch than the cds i have to listen to. and i am expecting two more CSI boxsets to arrive tomorrow.

i need to downshift (a current buzzword) or win the lottery so i can move into a much bigger flat.

i am not sure life is better with all this stuff in it - but i have to say i like to have more options than i know what to do with, it's a nice problem to have.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


i have only been to the one football game in the last 20 years (my sport of choice when i go to spectator is basketball or wrestling), but this story of a guatemalan team is worth reading that is for sure.
stars of the track are a team of prostitutes who play football.
and passing on all the jokes about sharing showers and giving rub downs or playing for the other side. it is a story that reminds us that sport can be a great leveler.
it makes it all the more a pity when professional sport seems to have forgotten it's roots and becomes more and more a business that is doing it's best to exclude the average person.


i am the first person to admit that i do not have my finger on the pulse. i am the first person to admit that my ideas my not be cutting edge (or for that matter particularly original). but there are a number of things about the world we live in that always leave me flabbergasted.

such as why does time slow down so much when other people are in the queue in front of you ? there i was standing in front of my local cash machine (atm for the americans among you) and all i wanted to do was take some money out so that i could come to my local coffee shop, drink the nectar of the gods that is caffeine and type some words of wisdom. but no what do i get the slowpoke - they seem to type their numbers in like i do dot-dash-dot-dash and the machine whirrrrrls and clicks like it does for me - but it takes so much longer. i swear i could have printed the money up faster than the bloke in front of me got his from the machine! i wouldn't mind if this was an odd occasion but no it happens pretty much every time there is someone in front of me waiting to get cash!
i get to the machine and faster than steven segal can say budda bing i have my money in my hand.

to compound matters in tescos the bloke in front of me - spent minutes counting out loose change - he pretty much counted out all 81 pence he needed. while across from me another bloke argued about the change he should get.
why me? why?

i have still yet to come to terms with the hanging down trouser fashion. it's where skinny people end up wearing trousers that are too big for them and so they have the waist positioned just south of their arses. (ok i admit on some women i don't mind this fashion), but on blokes it looks so silly as not to be true. i watched (yes i had to stop and look) one bloke waddling down the road like he was a modern day charlie chaplin - his waist band almost at mid thigh. all i could think was how stupid he looked with his trousers like that, how utterly twatish he was as he waddled, and when he broke into a little run i nearly had a hernia laughing, as all he could do was shuffle his feet a little bit from side to side. he soon had to stopped to pull them up. very very sad and very very funny.
then it set me thinking why do people dress like that - in my day (when mars bars were 5p and you could have a three course meal and still have change from a £1 note) the only people who dressed like that were tramps and dossers. now people pay to have ill fitting clothes.

why do newspapers have so many supplements in them on sunday? it's not like i can ever read them all. and not only do they have the supplements they also have all those little bits that fall out and make the reading of the paper a right nightmare.

right thats the end of this little rant about absolutely nothing.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


broken yet another computer. so enteries to the blog are going to be a little eratic for awhile.
i hope you won't miss me too much.


went to see rainbow rising last night. they are a tribute band for the sadly defunct ritchie blackmore's rainbow. it was ok - but not as good as i hoped it would be. it was not helped by the fact that the band came on late - which might explain why they are a tribute band, so we had to miss the end of the set. so as my pal, joel said, there is unfinished business there.
most enjoyable was the heavy metal poppet boy who was jumping up and down at the front, which locks that came from shirley temple he was a sight to behold.
all in all not a great night.

Friday, October 15, 2004


ah how things change.
there i was just the other day writing about how nice the carnaby street lavs were, and so what happens? i get caught short, need to use them the other day and my how ugly they have become. obviously there must have been a spate of over therinal checking out of cock sizes, or some serious cottaging going on in the place as each of the urinals is now divided by a steel barrier. while it means i point percy at the porcelain without fear of being spied on, it has turned these nice bogs into an ugly ugly place to go.
(mind you it's not like i want have social meetings there i am just going to have a piss after all!)

and talking of toilets - check out this story from the independent. eliot spitzer, new york's attorney general, has decided to go to bat for the towns toilet attendants
"the unpaid attendants who hand out towels, aftershave and other little extras in the lavatories of posh city restaurants. Not only do these unfortunates not receive a wage for their work, they even have to pay a slice of the tips they live off to the agency that recruits them.
Spitzer has just filed a $4m lawsuit against Royal Flush, the main placement agency for restaurant lavatory attendants, for breaking state labour law by not paying the official minimum wage. It was "unconscionable", Spitzer thundered, that people work without wages and must "pay a fee to stand in a bathroom and wait for tips." (the independent)

you have to hope he wins - and you have to wonder about people who will make people pay to be allowed to work. hey you gotta love capitalism.


i was in the process of writing a piece for this that concerned itself with the "lurch" to the right of the conservative party. there was a nice little comment in the mail on saturday (october 9th) where ian woolridge complained that the bbc was once again showing it's bias by describing the conservative party and howard's conference as being a "lurch to the right", asking why is there never a lurch to the centre?
of course to ian and most the the readers of the mail - there is no such thing as being too far right.
sadly for howard and the tories it is really difficult for them to be in the centre right as it is a territory that has been overrun by new labour in their rush to become the new tories. you only have to look at blunkett and his move to curtail as much civil liberties as he can, look at new labours love of PFI etc etc have it camping on the outer reaches of the centre right.
so for howard and the tories they have to find new ways to distinguish themselves from new labour. so its more talk about lower taxes, tougher on crime and, of course, tougher on immigration (and look they are not racist, well not much). not only do they have to worry about new labour, but now they are running scared of the extreme parties such as UKIP or the BNP. in both cases rather than ignore the extremists they outflank them to become more extreme or bizarre.
where the BNP talk about immigration - the tories and david davis have to be tougher on immigration in order to prevent the loss of a handful of votes. and why do they feel they have to do this, according to davis it is so it can be dealt with by a "sensible" party in a sensible way. except that the tories froth at the mouth and may as well say - if you are not rich you ain't coming in, the only other way in is to promise to clean our toilets for 2 years and then we deport you. yup they steal the thunder of the BNP but end up just a few gooseteps short of a nazi party.
while on the other hand UKIP talk about leaving europe totally, the tories just want to ditch bits of europe - the bits they don't like - social charter, fisheries policy etc. not only is that such a lame and half hearted thing as to be unworkable - they just give credence to UKIP.

but it is so easy to be on the left and laugh at them until you read .......
"Workers should be forced to train to improve their skills, the new special adviser to Alan Milburn, Labour's general election coordinator, proposes today as part of an attempt to cut social immobility and inequality.
He also suggests "significant" penalties where individuals fail to attend parenting, childcare or literacy programmes.
Tony Blair signalled a welfare crackdown in a speech in Budapest yesterday in which he said he would stop people "languishing on benefits" and attempt to free people from a culture of dependency. " (from the guardian)

of course in principle there is something to be admired about plans to enable individuals to better themselves, but you just know that this will be one of those things that ends up penalising individuals.
whatever happened to companies training their workforce ? no need i guess when you can plan to send it all to india.
to be honest i distrust anyone who talks about people as human capital as this article does.

new labour seem to be hellbent on bring back a class system, not that most of them care as they seem to have their noses firmly up the arses of the rich.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


just to bring you all up to speed it does seem that mark thatcher's attempt to organise a coup in equatorial guinea did indeed involve jeffery archer.
that is a big old wooooooooooo hoooooooo from me.
i am not sure i want to see archer banged up (again) as he is one of the few tories that always manage to bring a smile to my face. but it is nice to know that he is about £75,000 out of pocket.
how have they linked him to the foul deed. through phone records. you would have thought that in this world of cheap mobiles all the key conspirators would have just equipped themselves with cheap mobiles to use and then ditch them when they had been used.
and there is jeff a thriller writer who couldn't think to get out of such a jam.

the leader is still in a zimbabwe jail.
one one of the co conspirators is facing a potential death sentence.

in this world where we are involved in a war against terrorism - it is nice to see some justice prevail.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


the things you learn surfing the web!
who would have thought that there was a british toilet association ? is there an american one, a french one, a japanese one - do they talk about flushing movements? size of seats or what?
anyway the bta (as they are known) are calling for more money to improve london's public toilet services.
wittily the article talks about having to spend more than a penny to get the services up to scratch - i wish i could find a bog at a mainline station that was only a penny - most when they charge are 20p. time to change the famous song "paid the penny only farted now i am broken hearted."

one of the best public bogs is in carnaby street. it looks great, is clean and is convenient and has won awards (not sure i want to be on that judging panel!) the only problem with it is the fact that cleaner, who on each occasion i have been there, seems to be a formidable woman who has no problem cleaning the floor when there are a number of blokes all have a leak. it is very off putting and makes it even more difficult to let go!

but the last words have to go to richard chisnell of the bta:
"Everything else has changed in life, our priorities, our expectations, but our toilet stock has been left to rot and now we are suffering the consequences. "

it surely does bring the situation in iraq in to sharp relief, as it were.


i am not a big sports fan.
but i am an addicted to radio 5 - which means that if i am not listening to music or watching a dvd the chances are that radio 5 will be on, and this means listening to a lot of sport.
today there were a number of important internationals on as teams jockeyed to get themselves into the next world cup. england versus wales was the game that was to be played live on the radio.
yesterday ken bigley was murdered by those who held him hostage in iraq.
today at the game all that was asked of the fans was that they gave a minute of silence to commerate this event.
it is not much to ask.
it seems it was too much to ask of the 60 000 football fans gathered there.
so much so the minute silence was cut short.

and in those very few seconds i give you all the reasons why peace will never happen on this planet.
and in those very few seconds i was ashamed to be proud of the fact i am english.


not at my best at the moment as i have a stinking cold. bunged up nose and annoying cough. it's the sort of thing that makes you really irritable. it meant i missed going out last night - there were several clubs i wanted to go to, and it also meant that i fell asleep during the presidential debate so i missed it - and it is probably the only one i am going to get to see.
why do i care about the debates? well simply put america is the hyperpower and the fate of the world largely rests on it's shoulders. thanks to it's iraq adventure (and thanks to blair's desire to do what he saw as the right thing) we are now in a situation where the world is being quickly crystalised into two warring camps. it is almost like we are about to have the crusades all over again, only this time the stakes are much higher and each and everyone of us is a potential casualty in the conflict.
and why have we gone down this road? more and more i can't help thinking that bush and co are doing this purely and simply to finish off the job they started when it was bush senior in charge.
of course the even more whacked out conspiracy theory is that they are happy for the war on terror to spiral out of control as it means they can take away more and more civil liberties from the population. until such time as the new world order has taken hold and that we as individuals have no say in what is really going to be going on.

as i say colds make me more miserable than normal. they also make me think that david icke is a wonderful human being and he has something sensible to say, rather than his books are the funniest things ever written. dont believe me then read this stuff.

Thursday, October 07, 2004


now i may have mentioned this in the past but i am an art fan - there are few things i like more than wandering around an art gallery stroking my goatee and humming to myself (or trilling if you happen to be a doc savage fan) and contemplating the meaning of the work in question. but i am the first to admit that i am firmly in the camp of i-don't-know-much-about-art-but-i-know-what-i-likers. to me for art to work it has to move me, it has to have that wow factor that makes me stop stare and want to come back to it, i want to know that the artist has put something of themselves into the work.
hell i am not even sure i need to understand what the artist is trying to get at. i just have to like it.
so i can enjoy the works of damien hirst, gillian wearing, rothko, jackson pollock, mapplethorpe and many more. it's why i go looking in galleries to discover more artists and more art to go oooh aaah over (paul noble's work at the whitechapel is among my current wow work). but even i know when someone is taking piss.
the large pile of bananas that were displayed in trafalgar, 30,000 of them. even without seeing them ( i was at work while this installation was erected and dismantled) i can believe it would look spectacular and impressive but that doesn't make it art. doesn't even make it close to art, it just makes it a big pile of something. this is what the artist, doug fishbone, had to say about it
"A lot of people have asked me what it means but I'm stepping back. I want this to involve the audience. It's such a big physical presence and changes so much in different contexts that I cannot honestly say any more whether it still has its original meaning,"
i am with brian sewell who saw it as being an attention grabbing scam.
you can read about this here.
the independent this thursday (7th of october) had an interview with martin creed, he has a new show on in london starting this week for the rest of the month, part of the interview was about how he had not decided what is to be shown at the show yet. creed has won the turner prize in 2001 with Work No. 227, the lights going on and off - which was simply the light going on and then off in a room. heavy stuff man.
creed is lumped in with people such as hirst and emin as part of the young british artist movement. although creed argues this is not the case as he is not a conceptual artist - he argues he makes things and not ideas.
which is all well and good but when you consider some of his work includes just pressing blutac onto the wall, creating an inch block of packing tape and sticking that to the wall. you have to wonder if creed is not an artist but more of a stand up comic.
go here for more about creed.

i shall be going to the show and i will let you know what i think. (hey that's worth the return trip alone and you know it!)
i can only hope i don't get kicked out of the gallery because i am laughing too much - i will tell them i am living with and not laughing at...... lets hope i just like the art.


i know the guys will understand this.
i read somewhere that the body does not remember pain - to a large extent i might believe that, except for one thing.
and all i have to say for the guys to know what i am talking about is ZIPPER.
oh yes mention zippers and mentally guys will wince, probably all blokes have a memory of being a little too hasty in the toilet, a forceful tug of the zipper and that eye bulging moment of white hot pain as you realise you have caught your knob in the uncaring teeth of the zipper.
hell even writing this now is making my eyes water and toes curl.

so imagine how i felt when i read the story of romanian constantin mocanu, 67 years old, who rushed out into his garden in order to kill a noisy chicken who was preventing constantin from sleeping.
instead of doing the chicken as he had planned constantin cut off his own penis, which was promptly eaten by his dog.
now i have let out several silent ooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwws as i have typed this.
and no i am not making this up (you just couldn't make it up if you tried).
look if you don't believe go to the daily telegraph's website and see for yourself here (and if you need to register go ahead it's free and you get to read boris johnson as well).

even in the midst of tears, leg crossing and biting of knuckles in order to prevent a shrill shriek of pain i still have to think at what point (even in a sleep addled state) can you forget where your cock is ? look i don't think it's bragging to say that even in the dark and with my eyes closed i can find mine! so you have to wonder at the state of poor old constantin's mind at the time of the deed.
and whichever hand he used to chop with was plenty strong or the blade was as sharp as a samurai's blade because it was all done in one fell slash.
you just have to love the dog as well - no care for his master (who just had to have screamed) he was in there straight away - fresh meat!! fresh meat!!

hell i am a veggie and even i want to go out and eat a chicken just to show solidarity with constantin!

constantin proves that while he may not know the difference between his knob and a chicken's neck he is the mast of the understatement
He said: "I confused it with the chicken's neck. I cut it and the dog rushed and ate it."

when he has a moment to reflect i bet he wished he had just choked the chicken.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


listening to deep purple machine head –
another of those sports stories where you have to wonder at what point are these people in touch with reality. i am not a fan of grand prix racing – not sure what is so exciting about watching cars go round and round and round.
it transpires that bernie eclestone the head man in formula 1 (also donated £1 million to the new labour party and caused one of the first stinks of tony blair’s leadership – was the money donated in order to stop/ delay the cigarette advertising ban in motorsport ?) has decided that silverstone (the british grand prix has not stumped up enough money to get included into the 2005 calendar.
jackie stewart, who is involved with silverstone’s management, wants the government to get involved to protect the race or to make up the shortfall of the bid. the reason he gives is that without silverstone the uk would lose it’s leading edge in sports car engineering, and that jobs would be lost.
now a couple of things jump out at me from this.
grand prix racing seems to be a very rich sport – so why should governments step in to prop up races?
if you are a going to be running a sporting commercial business and you can’t make it work why should you expect the government to step in and underwrite you?
if you are a centre of technological excellence (as is partly claimed by silverstone) why aren’t those people contributing to your upkeep.
or is it more that you just expect people to come and bail you out when you discover you can’t run the business properly.
all this when ford are closing down car manufacturing plants in coventry.
there was a comment about the shang hai grand prix where one pundit said that the chinese government was just going ahead and building a train line to the venue from the city and that there was no delay over the planning permissions. i am sure that has something to do with the fact that it is a totalitarian government.
these are the people who keep saying that politics should stay out of sports but always seem to be the first people to want the state to prop them up when it is going wrong for them, with grants and handouts.


listening to giles giles and fripp –
there is an art to telling a good story, some of us have and some of us don’t. think of all the times you have been out with friends and they are telling a story and something is just not right about it – perhaps they laugh too much at what they think is funny, perhaps they embellish the pointless aspects of the tale, maybe they just rush it, or may they just tell it straight. it’s the reason we love storytellers. for the rest of us we go about our days telling stories and hope that occasionally we get it right.
so on that note i have a tale to tell of a night out with old school friends, of a coffee, of a curry and then a trip to the pub. i make no bones about it i am a lousy storyteller, and i will not do this story justice but believe me it does fall into the category – you just had to be there.
over the last year an old school friend (hi joel) and myself have gotten into a routine of meeting every fortnight for a coffee and a curry. it’s a nice way to end the week and start the weekend. we swap copies of cds we have copied for each other – growing our music tastes along the way, we share tales of woe about how work is not going the way we want to, we plot future art extravaganzas we have planned (and you will all be invited to that first exhibition we give) but mostly we just chat about nothing.
this week another of our old school friends came along to join in the fun. in order to keep his identity secret i shall call him phil. i have not seen phil for 3 years, joel has not seen him for even longer maybe 10 or more years. so it would be fair to say we were all a little anxious to see what would happen. phil has been successful in his chosen career as an accountant, he has enjoyed himself when not working by being an amateur athlete and being an avid gig goer, and happily involved with the same woman for 12 or so years. i would say that phil is a very decent person, with a good heart. but phil is also one of the world’s great eccentrics – odd in a charming way that is almost beyond description, that being the case i am not even going to try to explain how eccentric other than saying he followed simple minds on much of their recent tour and then capped it off by seeing sampled minds the cover bands version of simple minds.
neither joel nor me expected phil to arrive, but he did.
for someone who has to make important decisions about the future of the company he works for i have never seen anyone so nervous about buying coffees at coffee@ anyone would have thought he was asking them for a dildo and a tube of ky. for the next 20 minutes or so we get the are you sure you want me to be here etc. there were a couple of times when i thought he would just get up and leave.
the coffee was good and then the curry we had was good as well. then we went off to the pub – now i have to admit i am not a great lover of pubs, especially as they all seem to want to play the music so loud as to make it impossible to hear each other speak. the plus side is that the pub is normally filled with interesting people – a mix of the young, hip and trendy and the rich city workers (sadly i don’t fit any of those categories).
it was here that we heard the story of the week (and perhaps the point of this rambling story).
there is no way i can replicate this as it happened it was surreal enough when it was being told to us, almost like a william burroughs cut up story, and i recall it only in a haze that seems to occur to people who have been abducted by aliens and are then trying to recount what happened. i am not even sure how we got to the subject but phil started telling us about a scandinavian girl who he had met in order to go to see simple minds in liverpool, it was all to do with the simple minds fan club. so he tells us how he thinks she was coming on to him – because when she was in his room showing him her pictures from the gig she bumped his hips with hers, they were kneeling down next to the bed and the camera was on the bed. her vagina was in an odd place… what…. how did he know… she was showing it to him….. what she stripped off….. no she came to his room in a nightie in order to show him her tattoo… a simple minds one on her arm and oh look there is one near her vagina that she wants to show him. she had told him on the way back from the gig that she would come to his room. she was going to have sex with him but he couldn’t get it up – he had given blood during the week so he was down 20% of his blood and so no way it was going to get up. but that was ok he didn’t want sex anyway as he is happily involved and besides they are simple minds fans …. except he had an 18 pack of condoms with him…. oh and she sends him pictures of her semi clothed over the internet.
both joel and me were flabbergasted to say the least.
it was a great tale, you had to be there and the moral of the story is "if you are going to meet scandinavian women do not give blood the week before."