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Thursday, December 30, 2004


like so many things humour is in the eye of the beholder.
i am english and of a certain age so benny hill, carry on, morcambe and wise and citizen smith are among the things that make me laugh. hell even charlie drake and some mothers do have them can raise a titter from me.
there was even a time when i thought i could be a comedian, (no seriously it was up there with policeman, probation officer and international man of mystery as a possible career) but then i realised i was not as funny as i thought. a good sign is when you are the one laughing hardest at your own wittisms.
as the years have gone by and i have become more and more bitter, cynical and twisted and in doing so i have left behind my carefree youth to adopt the mantle of a misanthropic misery guts i find that i like dark, twisted and warped humour. sometimes i direct it at myself other times it is other people.
and while the two funniest jokes in the world end with "yes it does" and "he was collecting coconuts" (just typing those words has brought a smile to my face), there is nothing quite like real life to provide you with moments of pure humour.

in a past life i had a thing for liza minnelli so her recent trials and tribulations have been of a passing interest. but her recent accident has me smiling like a chesire cat! as if falling out of bed is not enough she had to get the police involved. and then to end this story off there is the little bit at the end about being sued by her ex husband and bodyguard because she beat them and forced them to have sex. liza is of course keeping a low profile on this - she is countersuing them both.
i hate to break it to a friend of jacko's but it is a little too late to worry about your good name now!

in it's own little way it is as funny as andy fordham breaking down on celebrity fat club (i read about it!) or princess margaret and the hot water.


i love them.
i hate them.
every time there is a sale on i go in the hopeful expectation that there will be things i need, not just want, but need. pretty much each time i am rebuffed and disappointed.
so currently i want to buy some expensive tech stuff - there is the apple ibook i want - oh cheers and apple store you are not even bothering to have a sale......
then there is the nikon d100 i want - nice one jessops £20 off (and considering the mark up they have on that they are still making mondo bucks).
just going to have to look harder.
so what about the books, cds and dvds i could get (notice i have skipped clothes and household goods. lucky i am a slob!)
oh borders make a big song and dance about their sale - but it amounts to a bunch of books chucked in boxes with no rhyme or reason. pretty much the same at foyles. blackwells actually have some items for sale and they have them on shelves for you to look at! (and i bought some). haven't tired waterstones yet, not that i need to as i have enough books to last me for years. besides which i have a few months to wait until the sequel to "quicksilver" comes out.
hmv have yet again got one of their many sales on - where certain dvds seem to be permanently on sale, but sometimes they are half price, sometimes they are part of a buy one get one free, or just have a basic sale price. oddly in all those guises the prices are roughly the same once you take into account the offer. hmv are like the enron of the sales world. virgin's sale prices just seem to have no basis in reality, so why bother going there.
while the national gallery proclaim their sale in big letters throughout the gallery and it seems to be about 5 items and the stuff they have left over from christmas. i know you are an art institution and should not be sullied by commercialism but i can tell you now: it's not a sale not by a looooong chalk.

and what i really hate about sales is that they are always packed (which is part of the reason for them i know) but it still doesn't make going to them any better. i suppose that is why i don't do clothes and household goods, because as bad as it is in some of the stores i have mentioned above its even worse in the other ones.
just walking around in the centre of london is an assault course at the moment.
but i just have to do as one of those stores might just have that copy of larry adler plays gershwin i have been after.

criminey christmas is over and i am still a grinch.
more things change the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


right away, right up front i have to say that this is going to be one of those rambling things where i know i had a point to make at the start, somewhere in the middle i will realise that i have lost it and towards the end i will just meander to a stop. (in many ways like most of the conversations i find myself in....)

ok so why am i talking about fear?
a number of factors have sparked this.
firstly a member of the curry club II mentioned he had seen a programme on the tv about campaigning based on the fear factor. politicians now get us to vote based on what they can make scare us. (hey joel).
secondly another pal (wotcha nevile) wrote an email saying how, because of various circumstances he was feeling fearless.
thirdly there was the moment while watching "the grudge" with sarah michelle gellar (look i was tired ok, it spooked me, i was alone at home in the dark - ok enough already!)
fourthly i had read something about seneca, a stoic, who basically said prepare yourself for the worst and you won't be too upset. admittedly he used a lot more words, bigger and better ones and has been read by more people than i will ever be.... (find out a little about him here or here
and then today there was this from the bbc website
"In his New Year message, the prime minister said he understood people's confidence was undermined by the fear of crime and insecure national borders."
and this goes a long way to proving the first point.
while this commentary piece from the guardian points to the current fears we have about things that in many ways are beyond our control (which is where seneca comes in); such as the recent earthquake and tsunami that has potentially killed over 100,000 people with more to go because of the possibility of a large outbreak of disease.

and when you put all this together what do you have?
well to be honest i am not sure. each of us encounters a level of fear in our daily lives from the silly phobias that we might have of the dark, spiders or hunters. or it might be the fears of modern living: being mugged, robbed, being made redundant or forced to listen to an endless diet of urban music. or we might have the fear of not being in a relationship or it might be the fear of commitment.
in some way or another we deal with all of these fears - some more successfully than others.
which is why we are shocked and horrified when an event like the earthquake/tsunami. it is an event so beyond our ken that we have to find ways to make it manageable and personal (such as the death of some of the attenboroughs (who cares?) or the death of over 40 britons, or in the case of the survivors they will talk about how poor the rescue services were in dealing with the disaster, as if it is something that happens everyday).
we do this partly because we are being told endlessly by those around us in politics or in the media that there are all these things we have to fear (immigration, weapons of mass destruction, organised crime, boybands and the like). they do this because they want to tell us that although they do not have all the solutions they are best able to protect us from this potential harm they have mentioned.
they want us to be on our guard against something, anything. it's not quite orwell's 1984, but it is not the carefree days we used to enjoy. so the media and politicians will get us to agree to stricter immigration rules, harsher punishments for criminals and get us to agree to carry an ID card.
in the meantime when something like the earthquake and tsunami that has devastated indonesia, sri lanka , thailand etc occurs it catches all and sundry on the hop.
as it should - thats part of the beauty of an act of nature (or of god) is that it happens and you just can't stop it or really prepare for it. (that guy seneca he had the right idea!) so in some senses it is pointless to go on about what could or couldn't be done about it, or to make the argument that it only happens to the poor.
but by the same token those world leaders who are always talking about the threats to our ways of life (that would be you george and you tony) have to be prepared to actually respond when a crisis occurs. it's not good enough to say the right words and look soulful in front of the cameras. now is the time to gird your loins and do the right thing. whether it is making sure that there is money available, whether it is excusing those countries who are affected their debt, ensuring that the knowledge, materials and manpower is made available in order to clear up the situation that has occurred.
in order to do that though there is a chance, just a small chance that they have to let go some of the fears they have been feeding us, and instead offer out something that looks and smells a little like hope. so instead of offering us a shield from which we can hide behind to protect us from the unknown fears, they start offering us a vision of the world as a better place.

fear is easier though. you can change it to suit the times and the circumstances. you can always offer up fear and a ready made solution to it. we all know that as bad as this tragedy is in a few days time it will be replaced in the headlines by some wayward celebrity showing her draws to another overpaid footballer or singer. cynical but true.
meanwhile as vision and hope are a little harder to do politicians and the media will avoid like the plague.

this is the point i mentioned when i started this. i have sort of come to a stop.
i may just come back to this at a later date.

Monday, December 27, 2004


are they a dead party?
you have to say that they are pretty much.
is this a good thing? there is a part of me that says yes (it's the part of me that remembers thatcher....), but there is another part of me that says no it is not.
why isn't it pat (i can hear you cry) why are you saying the demise of the party of the fox hunter (no not them again!) is a bad thing.
firstly and mainly it means that there is no real opposition to the madcap schemes of new labour. the problem of being in opposition and with no real chance of getting into power you spout nonsense and make stupid plans and policy because you know you have no chance of being voted in to make those ideas realities. it is why the liberal party can always go on about increasing tax to fund education (it's not a bad idea) and why they can go on about increasing tax on the super wealthy (even better idea), we know they won't get in and they know they won't get in but we all feel much better that the ideas are out in the open so we can pay them lip service. but then we will vote for one of the two serious parties.
the problem is that more and more there is only one serious party and that is new labour. the conservative party has found itself moved more and more to right, appealing more and more to a hardcore votership and being less and less in touch with the common people.
part of the reason has been mismanagement - the internecine fighting over europe which has dragged on and on, the election of frankly unelectable leaders (hague, duncan-smith and now howard) and the fact that they have no one on the front bench who is, how to put this .... well frankly likeable....
the other reason has been the incredible skill at which blair and the new labour project has stolen all the jewels that used to belong to the conservative party. you want low taxes - well new labour will offer them to you, you want private enterprises in the public services - new labour, you want tough law and order - see new labour, you want harsh immigration laws - check out new labour, you want ID cards, you want wars, you want to allow big business to get away with tax evasions, you want a little bit of sleaze... all can be done by new labour.
so the tory party has to move to the right. it has had to learn to almost goosestep, it's got to dust down it's brown shirts or else there will be no clear blue water between them and new labour.
oh the tories can bang on about having to speak the unspeakable in order to prevent extremist parties from getting the vote, they are not scared of the BNP getting a vote or two - they are worried that they are losing votes to the BNP.
so what do the tories do - they think of ways of cutting government, they think of ways of cutting red tape for businesses, they think of ways of cutting taxes and all the while preaching the mantra that our services will not be cut (and they expect us to believe them).
but in the course of looking for smaller government they support the ID card bill - lets see how that works and interferes with the average persons liberty.
in the course of cutting taxes they are expecting the market to provide but look at how well the market has done with building schools and hospitals (say hi jarvis - or is that bye jarvis because you have not done a good job of it?). look at how well the market has done with sorting out transport in this country - oh not well at all.
the tories solution? more of the same......

still they will be cutting back on the numbers of mps that will be in parliament. (which is a little bit of irony while they talk about brussels being a place where we are governed by the faceless they actually want to reduce the numbers of mps - that means more of us are represented by fewer of them.... it should be the other way round. they should be able to hear our voices and they should be dependent on each and every vote!)
the irony of it is that it will be a bit of vote winner for them. not because we want less representation it's just that those people who do represent us we don't trust.

and the ones i don't trust the most (well aside from galloway of respect) are the tory party. hell they can't even keep their most electable mps in position of power.

heres to an interesting 2005 as howard and the tories try to convince us that they really care.

Friday, December 24, 2004


to my readers (oh yes there are more than one of you) i wish a special seasonal greeting.

so to adam, cliff, jay, jim, joel, kenny, kent, kevin, nate, nick, nigel, paul, tammi and the others i have no doubt missed.
i say to you all have a merry christmas and a happy new year.
may any of the troubles you had in 2004 disappear in 2005.
and lets hope that 2005 is indeed a year of peace - well we can hope.

have a good one folks.

normal miserable service will be resumed shortly.



they say misery loves company, they could be right but i can be really miserable all on my own thank you very much.
and if you think i have been miserable recently about the run up to christmas - i will spare you the utter despair i go through during the new year festivities. i time when just the letter NYE are enough to turn me into a raving lunatic who wants to hunt down and kill all those insipid smiling twits who go on and on about how much they love you because they are too drunk to realise that 1] you are a total stranger and 2] you are the same sex they are.

so yes at this time of festive joy and pleasure i am indeed the grinch, scrooge and jack skellington all rolled into one - the difference is there is no walt disney ending that comes along and turns my heart of stone into a heart of gold.
bah humbug.

but even i can raise a smile when stories like this appear.
posties refusing to deliver mail to a no go street because they are always being attacked. where one of the posties was even soaked in urine. in a one of gesture the postal service managers will go out in pairs to deliver the mail in order to make sure that the households get their post on time. frankly (geddit) if it was down to me i'd soak all their post in piss until they learnt to behave.
but it is this sort of attitude which means that i will never get elected.

my local mp is in the news again. apparently oona king has mentioned that an mep once propositioned her for sex, the unnamed mep offered her £10,000 , now i have to say she is a tasty lass (but no diane abbot hubba hubba - who could almost qualify as top tory totty since her recent move to the dark side of private education), but £10k is a lot of money and to my untutored eye and taste there are going to be very few people who are going to be worth that much for a roll in the sack. and sadly oona isn't one of them.
what has gotten everyone up in arms is that this was something that had been dealt with many years ago, that in an ulrika like move oona is not saying who so all the meps of the time are tarred with the allegation. (sod the fact they wanted to buy sex what are we doing sending someone to represent the people of the uk who has a spare £10k for an orgasm?).
given oona's poor showing with sending out eid cards to the wrong faith (and not sending me a card this year.....) perhaps one can say she is looking for victim status ahead of the forthcoming election against galloping george galloway.
even though i am offended by oona not being able to send me a card i will still have to get off my fat arse and campaign for her.

hunters - i still hate them. once again i have had to listen to some arse on the radio going on about it being an infringement of liberty, it being against human rights etc - this from a bunch of landowners who will fight tooth and nail to stop you walking across their land!
i know i have banged on about hunters a lot and there will be at least one more to come before the year is out.

hirst's shark is up for sale and it looks like saatchi is going to sell it. i have to say it is an impressive piece. i have seen it a couple of times and have been deeply moved by it. in fact a lot of hirst's work has had that effect on me. equally a lot of it has left me thinking that this is all about money for old rope. i suppose i had better get over to the saatchi gallery and see it one more time before it goes.
apparently saatchi is going to sink (geddit) some of the profits of this into buying paintings as saatchi sees painting as the new art.

and a little story to make you go aaaaaaaaah a bunch of penguins have survived an earthquake on a remote antarctic archipelago. its the biggest earthquake since 2001.
not only did the penguins survive but:
"Despite its size, 22 staff of the Australian Antarctic Division slept through the tremors.
"Nobody felt anything," a spokesman said. "
if that isn't an antidote to my cynicism i don't know what is

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


what did hip hop santa want for christmas ?
ho ho hos

well it is the season to be jolly.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


there are times when someone shows such a lack of common sense you find yourself having to stand and admire them for the sheer front that they have to expect to get away with it.
think david blunkett and his recent foray into nanny headhunting (and there is so much to write about that ... but all i can say is that it couldn't have happened to a nicer bloke).
then there is donald rumsfeld, a man who appears to be smart and in control. a man who looks like he was a star of numerous 1970s american tv shows (he reminds me of robert culp, and if the iraq war is ever made into a musical then dick van dyke is a shoo in to play donny!) obviously running the iraq war is time consuming and so donny has his hands full (after all they have given up the search for osama - remember him?) so he has had to answer questions from marines and to have to explain why they do not have adequate kit (they might also want to ask him why they are drafting ex servicemen, why they are looking to cut servicemen's benefits....)
but of course donny is in the news not for his adept skills as an administrator, but because he couldn't find the time to sign the letters of condolences that are sent out to relatives of dead service men.
nope donny and co have used technology to speed the process up, the signatures are mechanically reproduced onto the letter. you have to hand it to him - why waste precious time when you can automate it.
as someone said:
"To me it's an insult, not only as someone who lost a loved one but also as someone who served in Iraq," soldier Ivan Medina - whose twin brother Irving was killed in Iraq last summer - told Stars and Stripes.
hey why should rummy care it's not like it is his son he is sending to war, nor the son of his friends and colleagues. it is just the strange kids of those urban poor who see the military as a way of escaping poverty or getting a career for themselves.

so i admire donald rumsfelfd for at least continuing to treat the relatives of the dead with the contempt that bush, condi, rumsfeld and co treat active troops and the rest of the american public.
but sometimes it doesn't pay to be honest.........


according to this week's private eye (a great magazine that has a unique slant on the news and often has stories you will never see elsewhere) the US military has just bought 130 million bullets from the UK military, because they face a shortage.
lets look at that number again 130 million - that's a lot of bullets. a hell of a lot of bullets.
but lets back up a bit - the US military are facing a shortage... how can that be. the simple answer is of course iraq! but lets look at the number again 130 million bullets (ok for some american militias that is barely a weekends playing in the woods.... )
from the private eye story it appears that the one factory in the usa that manufactures the bullets cannot keep up with the demand.
i am going out on a limb here and thinking that this is a factory that is dedicated just to the american military, and that because of what it does it has to be highly defended and protected - but there is only one? whatever happened to the free market, is that why there is fighting going on in iraq - so we can just bring them monopolies - say it ain't so gi joe!
but i can understand why you would want this sensitive operation to be under very strict control and so you might only want the one - that way you have total quality control and you also have complete freedom to control supply - increase it when demand is high and lower it when demand is low (again it's the market stupid....)
somewhere along the line either the military planners have forgotten to place the requisition order (hey it happens), or the usa military have gone a little too gung ho and are firing bullets off like they are auditioning for the next john woo flick.

guess what? what pat what i can hear you cry. the ministry of defense is providing the bullets to the americans at book price - not a bit of profit being made from them. now on one hand you can understand that, don't want to be a war profiteer after all. but dammit man we are also providing troops into iraq to aid the americans free of charge (and last time i looked there were not that many british companies getting fat on the riches of iraq reconstruction!)

but lets go back to that number again 130 million bullets. why in all that is holy do the british army have a spare 130 million bullets, it's not like a cup of sugar, it's a 130 million bullets.....
hey at least this bit of arms trading might be called ethical arms trade (and who remembers new labour's promises on that!)

one more time 130,000,000 bullets. perhaps they should learn to be better shots or spend less time popping off shots into wounded combatants.
just a thought.

Monday, December 20, 2004


i am a bit of an art fag.
there are few things i like better than to go to a gallery, wander around, stop, contemplate and be mesmerised by a piece of art that is either so beautiful it takes the breath away or so challenging it forces you to think, to ponder and to wonder. there have been exhibitions i have been to that have all been like that.
there are art spaces i go to just because that are beautiful places to be in. the whitechapel art gallery, the tate modern, the tate britain, white cube, flowers east and many others.
when the two come together it is almost a religious experience. i can think of picasso and matisse at the tate modern, mapplethorpe at the hayward gallery, gormley at the white cube, lichtenstein at the hayward, pretty much anything i saw that was photographic at the hamilton gallery... and there have been many others.
anyway i like modern art.
i like the tate britain.
i have spent many a happy hour looking at the turner prize in years gone by.
except there has been a problem with the turner prize - as each year has gone by i have enjoyed it less and less. the art seems less "art" and more commercial junk making.
this years has been the worst one i have been to.
the winner, jeremy deller, presents the viewer with a dull documentary centred around texas. this is complemented with some photos he has taken of memorial plaques he has had erected.
kutlug ataman, has a video installation of interviews of people who claim to be reincarnated. the position of the videos makes for an interesting view, but what is on view is not at all interesting.
landlands and bell, produce a mix of items which centre around afghanistan and the UN's involvement. some of it is interesting, none of it is fully engaging. the stills of the various official signs soon pales. the video installation of osama bin laden's house is both trite and poorly done, it becomes interactive because, you the viewer can control the view and route through the house.
yinka shonibare, who to my mind should have won it (but that damns with very feint praise) produces his usual signature colourful cloth constructions - but this time not only does he have a mannequin that is done out in the garb but he also has the ubiquitous video installation. this is of a courtly dance, all the courtiers are attired in the colourful cloth garb so beloved of shonibare. the dance is very formal, but also mechanical and the dancers jolt and jerk around. taking the familiar style of courtly dances and adding a new dimension (part of this is the fact that they manage to overact as they dance). the video is on a constant loop and the performers seem to go forward and then go back over what they have done again. this combined with the stagey arty gives a sense of being slightly outside reality.

you want to know what i feel when i walk out of the exhibition into some of the other halls in the tate britain, where the walls are decorated with art in which you can see the artist has not only put thought, but they have put effort, they have put passion and they have put skill into what they have done and what they have created. the feeling i get is a little close to despair that modern art has sunk so low, that some how we have to "award" and "reward" work that is little more than bad documentary, that seems to have little creative thought behind it other than one clever(dick) idea.

you know it is bad when you know you could have done all of it yourself and without too much trouble.
maybe i should just put my money where my mouth is and win the turner prize ? not next year but perhaps in a couple of years. trust me if you have seen what they had there this year you would have to be bad not to win.

i am turning into angry from tunbridge wells

Friday, December 10, 2004


i know i have banged on about how much i hate christmas - and it's true i do.
it's an almost passionate hate - give it a few more years and it will burn with the fire of the sun.
but even in this less than jolly period there are times when i find things that make me smile or make my heart sing like it did when i was 5 years old and i couldn't wait to catch santa leaving my presents. (never did always fell asleep boo hoo).

so pat, what has made you smile this year? - i can hear you cry.
well i shall tell you (and thanks for asking).

firstly there has been the hue and cry over the madame tussards celebrity filled nativity scene. the scene in question featured david and victoria beckham (or more commonly posh and becks) as joseph and mary. also included are kylie and sam l jackson. not quite sure why this is offensive and why it has caused so much fuss. you only have to go around the national gallery to see loads of paintings of various religious scenes that feature either the patron of the artist in them or someone the artist wants to curry favour with being portrayed in the scene. i don't see anyone standing outside the national complaining...
and those of us who have been parents have had to suffer through at least one nativity play where we mumble that our little treasure would have been better off in the lead roles. (and if memory serves me right my one time on stage was as joseph in my sunday school's production of the nativity).
so perhaps it was because it was victoria and david? who knows.
to me it seems like harmless fun that, if anything brings the nativity to the attention of many who may only think that christmas is for booze, food and crap tv (no i don't mean you jay even if you like crap tv!)
well to make matters worse - someone has run in and punched the wax model and damaged them. (and no it was not fergie!)

oddly this comes at a time when the *cough ahem* pious david blunkett is bringing in a law to stop religious persecution. so while he is trying to argue that this is not a blasphemy law various religious groups show that they have no sense of humour (yes i mean you Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor - get a grip somethings can be lighthearted without being sacrilegious). but in this "outrage" that the church can show at something like this they go part of the way to showing that such laws will get miss used by those in positions of responsibility.

(perhaps the cardinal is just responding to the fact that everywhere you turn there is someone trying to "deny" christmas because they don't want to offend someone of a different faith ? your thoughts on a postcard please).

the second thing that has me smiling is the light show currently on display on oxford street in london. normally the christmas lights leave me cold. but this year a simple idea has me going oooh aaaah and standing and watching. basically they have mounted searchlights on scaffolding along the length of the road, and these searchlights cast their beams into the sky above - so in different parts of the city you can see amazing light shows against the clouds and in the sky.
from the millennium bridge (near the tate modern) you can watch the lights paint the sky and observe the wonderful patterns they make.
it is one of those things i want them to keep there through out the year.
it truly looks amazing.
and such a simple idea.
if you get a chance to wander along to oxford street - you have to go, they are wonderful.

and lastly the thing that has made me laugh like a drain is this: santas is a street brawl.
first of all i am impressed that there is such a thing as a santa charity run, the idea of getting dressed up as santa and then running reminds me that runners are an odd breed. i am even more impressed that 4,000 of them finished.
but several hours after the run some santas went rogue and a fight started - not just any fight but one that needed the use of cs gas and batons by the police. who would have thought that santa was that hard....
it's like have it's a knockout back - all that is needed for the story to be perfect is stuart hall to be doing a commentary.......

as if that were not enough. someone told me that santa mobs are organised and lots of people just turn up as santa. apparently that got kicked out of hamleys a few years back. i am tempted to contact them. i have the waist for it.
also while i was out checking out some art i saw a santa in a phone box - he was obviously phoning the RR (reindeer recovery..... oh i sleigh myself i do ..... ok i'll stop now).
and then to top it off in bethnal green just round corner from the famous york hall there is a house that has gone ott on the christmas decorations so much so that they have a life sized santa in the doorway, that not only moves but sings as well. so tacky.

it's what christmas was made for - well that seems to be the case these days.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


i don't use drugs. i don't approve of drugs.
i may have mentioned that i have been stopped in the streets as a drug pusher, but nice mr plod was polite about it and well i still smile when i tell the story of it.
but it did help clarify and change the way i think about drugs. just because i don't like them, don't use them and don't approve of them doesn't mean to say they shouldn't be available. so i have gone from being staunchly agin 'em to hell legalise them, sell them in tescos (would have said sainsburys but they are so awful they would end up putting the narcotics in with the baby food), and let the chancellor get lots of dosh back in the form of taxes.
we all know that the moment the government finds the courage to buck the desire to please middle england and the sun/ daily mail readers and say that drugs are legal, that is the moment when the cigarette and drinks companies will have their cannabis ciggies and cocaine spritzers on the market.
and i reckon they would have them out in the shops within weeks - if not days.
you know they are itching to do it.
make it legal and most of the problems associated with it go away. it will become easy to get hold of, it will be come cheap, it will be safe. so no more gang troubles (frees up the police to do real work rather than chase down a few stoners), no more od'ing on bad stuff, no more having to find money for the next fix (after all you don't hear quite the same stories about alcoholics and smokers having to knock down grannies to feed their habits).
i am sure at the start people will get all silly and get of their tits permanently and then the novelty will wear off and it will be come like any other social substance.

best of all we can then dispose of all the drug doping stuff in sports.
(though my solution to that is easy. you let everyone who wants to take performance enhancing drugs take them, but the only records that count are those posted by clean athletes and to be clean you have to say you are clean and be tested regularly.
you could then have a drug league and clean league - and occasional crossovers.
the public could decide which to go to see and which to support).

after all aren't we told the market is the best regulator there is ?

anyway why am i wittering away like this?

well it is nice to see science and especially genetics coming to the aid of the drug barons.
apparently GM'ed cocaine is being grown in colombia. it means that the yield is up by 8 times and this means that although USA and colombian forces are trying their best to destroy plants and fields - the price in the states has stayed low.
"A spokesman for the US embassy in Bogota said there was "no scientific proof" that "transgenic coca" had been developed, although rumour of its existence were rife.

you have to wonder if it has anything to do with monsanto ? if they the plants are indeed transgenic whether or not the "creators" still have the patent and are making the drug barons pay through the nose (excuse the pun) for the stuff and then off course tying them into a deal where they can only use one type of seed to grow the plants.
or does that only happen to peasant farmers who have to grow crops to live?
it does go to show though that where there is a demand for the item the market will find away to get the stuff made. if only it worked on crops that the world needed... oh hold on they are not profitable in quite the same way.

one thing i am betting on is there will be no warning on the pack that these drugs are GM'ed drugs.
so at least the drug user is no better off than the rest of us if they want to know if their drugs are "natural".

won't be long before they are in the shops now that the GM crew have gotten on board, as soon they will have the cocaine that works but is not really addictive (sort of like ciggies *cough*).
that they can sell with the slogan cocaine hit that gets you high but leaves you dry or all the rush but not the crash. or some such marketing bollocks.

Monday, December 06, 2004


i don't like christmas parties. i don't go to the works one (actually the people at work are grateful for this). i hate hearing stories about how wonderful the party i never went to was (how come all the ones i did go to were so dire?)

but this is one party i really wish i could have been at. i can just imagine the seething looks on their faces.
whose faces? i can hear you ask.

well the BNP (british national party - one of many far right organisations we have in the uk, they are the ones who are closer to getting political respectability. well they would be but thanks to new labours continued rightward drift the tory party are more and more becoming the BNP..)

but picture it if you will. the BNP organise a christmas bash. a good thing to do - all that peace and love to all mankind stuff. it's what christmas is about, even if it is not what the BNP is about.... you organise the hall, the sort out the grub, you send out the invites, get the dj. all done and all dusted all you need to do is sit back enjoy a great night out.
except - the dj walks in ready to spin the tunes and he is ... yes you guessed it BLACK!
bob garner said of it
"There was a bit of a cock-up. The chap who booked him didn't realise. The DJ sounded white on the phone."
so some of the BNP walked out while others
"A lot of people weren't happy - I wasn't, really - and one or two walked out. But some younger members thought it was a bit ironic and danced away the night."

go here or here for the story.

i wish someone had interviewed the DJ - i hope he did it deliberately to wind them up. lets hope that santa brings that DJ all he wants this christmas, because he has made me believe in christmas parties again!

Friday, December 03, 2004


been told that some of my last posts have painted me as a miserable so and so. (yeah thats you kevin and you kenny).

there is a reason for that - i am a miserable old git.
i am the glass is half empty and not half full sort of person.
i see the grey cloud and not the silver lining.
the light at the end of the tunnel i know is just an on coming train.
i am a grumpy guts.

but for those of you who have asked here is a big old smile

(call me brian wilson - you'll wait as long for the next one ....)


hunters are still in the news......
i know i have banged on about hunting a few times now. but this story tickled me and i just thought i had to mention it.
poor old princess anne there she goes out hunting the implication is she breaking the ban on hunting – which doesn’t come into force until february 2005. no i am not defending her or hunting. just seems that you really can’t have a go at her until she is really doing something wrong.
now as i have said before my objection to hunting has nothing to do with the animals and all to do with the people who hunt. i admit it is all about class and for once in this part of the class war we have won a battle.
and for all those hunt fans who go on about tradition, community and jobs i just say where were you when it was the miners, where are you now it is the car workers in coventry. why aren’t you having words with digby jones and his outsourcing for destroying jobs. oh that’s right can’t hear you because you are all selfish gits.
stop going on about it being your human right to hunt and i hope all those who hunt after the ban are banged up.
the other part of the story i liked was that the hunt met at chavenage house – given that it is the burberry set who hunt perhaps that is the origin of the word chav.
and frankly chavs (rich or poor) are scum…..


why oh why? as i may have mentioned i am an armchair socialist. i have been to many of the swp (that’s socialist workers party) summer conferences to sit and listen to the various speakers tell me that the crash of capitalism is just around the corner, that the revolution is almost here and that the swp is ready to lead the working class to the promised land. while i have never once thought that "yes this summer will see it the great workers paradise... oh yeah get the barricades ready..." i always come away from them with a feeling that more could and should be done in order to change the world.
(i am the first to admit i am not very good at putting that into practice - hence the reason i am armchair socialist.)
but there is always something about the swp and its members that stop me from becoming active with them. well there are many reasons - firstly there is the incredible amount of doctrinaire stuff that goes on about who said what and to whom and what marx really meant in his early, middle and mature period. while all along ignoring the fact that the world has moved on since then. which means that the radical left is incredibly splintered as people are caught up in arguments about phrases in old books, rather than paying attention to changes around them. rather than uniting to bring about change.
secondly there is their reluctance to answer the basic stuff like who cleans the toilets. yeah i get there will be no exploitation and i am down with that, i get that from each according to his ability to each according to his needs - i cheer the principle. but who cleans the toilets? we can't all be painters, poets and boss. some of us have to do the grunt work. (a pal of mine changes his question to "what about the beer" but this is aimed at the young muslim fundamentalists who come into his shop...)
then there is the stubborn refusal to admit - well when we said last year it was collapsing, ooops we got it wrong.
fourthly there is their tendency
but worst of all is that they have no sense of humour what so ever, not mention that people keeping calling each other comrade - it's the lefts version of mate and just as irritating.

anyway what does all this have to do with the story.
well i am not a fan of george galloway, i am not a fan of respect (who are involved with the swp - and it's not because of the fact that there is a link between, its more to do with the fact that they have changed their name in order to pretend to be something else). and now i have to look forward to them banging on my door in order to get oona king out in the next general election.
so why is george galloway, a scots mp, coming to my area in the east end of london?
his constituency is being done away with for a start.
then there is the fact that oona is seen as being very new labour (and lets be honest most who voted for new labour really wanted tory lite and that is what they got and oona is not stupid enough to think she got voted in because of who she is, she knows her votes mainly came from people who saw labour next to her name).
but perhaps key is that oona is seen as being pro war in iraq and tower hamlets has a large muslim constituency.
so george who has the concerns of the local population on his mind (ok i am being sarcastic) is going to spend the run up to the election harping on about the war but little else. he talks about how he and respect "would "turn the east end of london into a fortress". "
i am not quite sure what that means but it does make me want to get off my arse and see if i can help oona king in the forthcoming elections.

(two more points -
firstly from the story it looks as if galloway accepted his role as prospective mp at a meeting in my favourite coffee shop in brick lane.
secondly respect are not just anti-war they also are for the repeal of anti-union law and the end of privatisation. both noble things - but for me a little light on the policy end of things...... it always comes back to who cleans the toilets...)


should education be a commercial enterprise nice to see chris woodhead is keeping his hand in. according to the ft he might be the country’s leading educational entrepreneur. nice work if you can get.
he sees schools as businesses ""i think schools are businesses. they should be run as efficiently as possible. schools that are run for profit are likely to be run as efficiently as possible. the future probably lies in an education sector where more schools are run for profit."
which is odd because the only way to increase the profits in a school is either to increase the amount of fees you collect (either increase the amount each parent pays or increase the number of paying parents), you could cut costs (cheaper teachers, fewer facilities etc) or you could hope that at some point the government of the day will step in and bail you out when it all goes a little tits up.
i know we live in a period when there is a mania for getting private money into doing things that it seems so obvious that the state should be doing (private prisons, public private finance initiatives in building schools - which end up costing the state even more than if they had done it but the business sector never seem to pick up the costs, private companies running the transport infrastructure and then having to increase the price of tickets because they have/will not invest their profits ....... moan moan) but the idea that schools can be seen as businesses just strikes me as total madness.
woodhead was a champion of a back to basic style of teaching (not sure i have any problems with that to be honest) and he is also quoted as saying
""children have different aptitudes and different aspirations. it's quite wrong to see oxbridge as the only goal. our schools won't be academic hot-houses."" (which is interesting, if only because it is so true - but of course when prince charles says it he is pilloried for being old fashioned but when someone who is now in control of many private schools says it - well hey that is fine....)
as an armchair socialist the ability of all children to be able to get a decent education is one of those things i see as a human right. while there is a part of me that has always wanted to burn down private schools i always thought it would be better to make sure that parents who could afford to send their children to such schools paid through the nose when their kids went to universities (remember i am old enough to have gotten a grant for my period at poly... ah those were the days) and then use that money to bring the state schools up to a level that equalled or excelled that of private schools.
you create a level playing field for kids to learn and then perhaps they can achieve the aspirations that they have.


drinks club social ruins pub
i have never understood the fraternity thing at university, even less as it is popularised in american high school/ grad school movies (never very funny and never very insightful - ok i make an exception for election as that was wonderful..... oh and rushmore. ok already so i lied so there are some good ones).
i can remember my few short months of playing club rugby where the whole drink and prank culture was part and parcel of playing. in the end my love of running around on a muddy field in the cold getting pummelled into the ground was overtaken by a desire to avoid getting involved in drinking games and setting off fire alarms because it was funny.
so reading about the oxford university drinking club that went into a pub with the sole intention of causing havoc brought back all those bad memories.
but it’s ok even though it was intentional and the group broke 17 bottles of wine, every piece of crockery in the bar and a window they were nice about it.
""even when i pulled them off each other when they were fighting and chucking bottles at the walls, they would say 'sorry old chap, just a bit of high spirits'." "
when the police got there, they arrested 4 of them, and those four are going to be fined £80 each.
but it's tradition so that’s ok.
you have to wonder if they had been chavs if the story would have been so "nice" about it or would it have been yet another example of soaring yob crime.
i guess it goes to prove the old song is still true. "it's the same the whole world over - rich get all the please and the poor get all the blame."

Thursday, December 02, 2004


christmas decorations have gone up in part of the office. so far though none in mine, and long may it stay that way.
there are many reasons why this time of year does not fill me with cheer (actually most people who know me would say little fills me with cheer).
but now begins the long long days of having to listen awful christmas music (classical and pop), the struggle to be able to find the things i want in shops that are crammed to the gills with christmas suggestions (why does sainsburys have to have gifts when it can't even keep in stock the food it should be selling.....) , even more crowded streets in the west end, drunken revellers who have spent the last 30 minutes puking up the inside of their stomachs - having moved from pure liquid to only being able to pass stomach lining up. people wearing silly santa hats, people pretending to be friendly and cheery when really all they want to do is stab you in the eye with their umbrella. then there is the period where you can't do anything because everywhere closes down (yes yes i know it's a good thing that people aren't working, that they are at home with their families. the socialist in me respects that - the part of me that just wants to be out doing something doesn't. ok so i am a complex contradiction, so sue!) then there is the fact it won't be a white christmas, at the best it will be slushy, but i can guarantee that all the other people i know will have had snow.
then you have to listen to all the stories of how wonderful the christmas was, and how they are looking forward to the new year festivities.
you hope that the sales are going to be good, but you know they never are. oh yeah there will be one nice priced item amongst the dross. the rest of the stuff will be warmed over stuff from previous sales (yes i am talking about you mr HM(poxy sale)V).
ah you can see i am bursting with the joys of christmas.

bah humbug.
i am the grinch (who wishes he could steal christmas).


just recently matthew pinsent and james cracknell, part of the gb's victorious olympic rowing team, have announced what they plan on doing.
pinsent is quitting - he is happy with 4 gold medals in 4 olympics.
cracknell is taking a year out to do other things.
this led to an article in the independent from his missus, the gorgeous, beverly turner.
the headline of which was along the lines of "james is just putting the energy he gave to rowing to other things".
and judging by the smiles on both their faces we know what activities they are.

i know it was a bit of a crass one - but i grew up on carry on movies and this sort of thing makes me smile.