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Sunday, December 31, 2006


here is a goodbye to 2006.

here is to 2007 and lets hope that it is better, for everyone, than 2006.

sadly for you all there will be many many more blogs from me.

however you celebrate the passing of the old and the ushering in the new, whether you dance your tits off or as a grumpy old git (and no prizes for guessing how i will be doing it).

have a good one.


(for some unkown reason this has taken me ages to write - hence the parting comment at the end, it was not worth the wait.)

we all know the world is a dangerous place. from all sides we are assailed with danger whether it is on the global level in terms of terrorism, climate change, economic collapse (and more recently the fear of an asteroid hitting the earth). we can’t escape it on a personal level, doesn’t matter if we are man, woman or child there is something there for us to be afraid of. it could be an eating disorder, it could be gambling, and it could be sexual predators, obesity, home invasion, and identity threat.
the list is seemingly endless and getting longer.
no doubt sometime soon we will be told that solo reading of shakespeare causes obesity of the eyeball.

somehow we all go on living our lives and mostly our greatest worry is trying to work out what to eat that night or what to watch on the tv.

none of which is deny the potential of terrorist attacks, a city like london has had its fair share over the years thanks to the ira and recently the perpetrators of the 7/7 bombs. in the main these remain a background threat to us, just like we live with the chance that the tube system is going to grind to a halt while we are between stations or some idiot in a car is going to run us down because they are speeding. they remain no more than a background buzz to the workings of our daily lives.

i doubt many of us understand the difference between yellow and orange alert or defcom 1 or defcom 4. the truth is we probably don’t need to. why don’t we need to? because we know for one reason or another daily life is a minefield of real problems rather than conceptual worries.

so you have to wonder why sir ian blair thought that the christmas period was a good time to remind us all that the country faced a "level of unparalleled threat".
he continued by saying that "the threat of another terrorist attempt is ever-present.”
all pretty scary and all pretty much guaranteed to get the good copper a headline or two.

such a shame he takes the wind out of his own sails by then saying hat there was no specific intelligence that an attack was planned.

oh that changes thing a bit.
see how quickly we went from a holy shit put your head between your knees and whistle up your barcelona situation to carry on nothing to see here business as normal situation.

ian blair
ian blair also makes the rather large statement “that al-qa'eda poses a greater threat to civilian life than the nazis did during the second world war”. and in so doing he has jumped straight into the clash of civilization debate but added nothing to it other than a bold statement and the imagery of the world at war.

you have to ask about the timing of this announcement by blair. more than likely he was being bullish ahead of the reports of the various shootings that have occurred by officers under his watch.
perhaps this was ian blair’s way of saying you need me here, i am the steady hand that is guiding you through these moments of crisis, even if the crisis is one that i am making up.

the police and security forces face a lot of difficulties when they confront terrorism: it is hard for them to explain about their successes or their ongoing investigations without revealing their sources or, more cynically, facing a cynical public who wonder if they are telling the truth.

so when ian blair makes such a statement as he did you have to wonder why he did it. because if there are no attacks or examples of foiled plots then there is egg on blair’s face for crying out like chicken little. but it there is a successful attack then blair looks like a chump for saying there was no viable intelligence of an attack.
to me it looks like a lose-lose situation.

as i have mentioned this is more than likely blair’s way of “encouraging” a vote of confidence in ian blair’s leadership of the metropolitan police.
while i have no problems with public servants speaking their minds to the public, but there has to be a moment when some people should keep their thoughts to themselves, especially as it may lead to panic and it may lead to more antagonism towards the muslim community in the uk.

ian blair must be kicking himself that he didn’t wait until the hanging of saddam before he made his comments.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


it is that time of year when the gongs are handed out.
as ever there are the usual arguments about the value of them.
of course they are pointless - i have been given one. again!

so we have the tiresome arguments about it being a hangover from the days of empire and how in accepting a gong you are somehow validating the empire. even though most of us realise that the empire has long since gone. but it is a cheap political point to score.
then there are all the debates about who gets the gongs. why should sportsmen get them - surely they are rewarded for their efforts by the money, fame and acclaim they receive. the same could be said for actors, artists and musicians. not to mention civil servants and businessmen.
there never seems to be much of a hoohah about the lollipop lady who gets her gong for services to ushering kids across the road.

frankly who cares?
the only people who should care are those that get them. they get to go to buck house, meet the queen and probably have some bad food.
dickie bird, the ex cricket umpire, talked about his gong as being one of the most important things in his life. to him it was a validation of the good works he did. i am as happy for him as i could be for someone i don't know and don't care about.
to the best of my knowledge all the gongs give you is the right to put a few letters after your name. not that much really.

so i have no problems with the honours system - it doesn't affect my life and it brings a bit of happiness and pride to those who receive them. so i can't see what gets so many people exercised over them.

but the one thing that really irritates the tits off me is that when anyone who has received one is interviewed they feel duty bound to say that this gong is not for them alone, and in fact they are accepting it on behalf of all the people who helped them in the past or worked with them on the project, or happened to be in the room with them at the time they were told.
i bet they are not sharing the letters after their name, and i bet they are not letting the gong itself go anywhere other than the mantlepiece at home.
just once i wish they would all say - yup i deserve this. worked hard for it and it is mine and mine alone.

for the person who showed that degree of honesty i would give them an award...


so saddam has been hung.
the only thing that is surprising is the speed at which he swung.
should we be surprised? no not really.
did he deserve it? well if anyone did, saddam will be close to the top of the list. the british government were placed in an awkward position in that they (rightly) do not support capital punishment but the iraqi government does agree with capital punishment and they are now a "democracy".
will it make a difference in iraq? you would like to think it would do, but no one really expects it to.
on the radio there is a lot of talk about it being the end of a chapter in iraqi history, you get the feeling that this is said more in hope than expectation that tomorrow will be the start of a brand new iraq.

among the criticisms of the execution is that we will not get to hear about the other crimes of saddam and perhaps discover the complicity of the west and the arab world. i reckon there are a few world leaders who are breathing a sigh of relief that they will not be called to task.

Monday, December 25, 2006


happy christmas one and all.
however you celebrate it i hope it was as you wanted.

and a ho ho ho from me to you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


for as long as i have been going to the cinema one of the treats of the experience was the trailers. as a child the weeks of many happy summer holidays were counted down by watching the trailers counting through the films i would be seeing in the coming weeks. the picture palaces may have lost their grandeur, the double bill has come and gone, adverts have improved in quality but the trailer, ah the trailer remains.
the trailer served to get you in the mood for the main event and also gave you a promise of future treats. it teased you with cinematic delights to come, had you eagerly anticipating your next trip to the cinema. true they sometimes lied and the film that looked oh so good in the trailer turned out to be ooh so boring when you paid your money and took your seat (this aspect of the trailer is still the same…) back then the trailer also gave a glimpse into the world of what the adults were watching, films i was too young to see, many of which i wanted so desperately to see then and now can’t remember.
back then the key thing about the trailer was that when it said coming soon it meant in the next few weeks.

flash forward to today.
i still love the cinema.
i still love the trailers. they still hold out promises and they still (occasionally) lie.
however in this world of ever decreasing attention spans, in this world of almost instant gratification the trailer seems to have gone the other way and now it is more of a tease then it ever was.
now there is the teaser trailer, the short trailer, the long trailer and the longer trailer.
and they start showing months before the actual film is released.
this means that by the time the film is finally shown some of the trailers have become old friends and some have become so tiresome that you probably never want to see the film ever.
i am sure “the holiday” is a wonderful film but i have seen the trailer so many times i am pretty sure i know the film. while the “300” trailer with its over the top man-love imagery and shouting combined with stunning action shots make it a trailer i can watch time and time again.

call me a purist, call me sad, call me old fashioned (or call me the man with no broadband at home) but i prefer to watch trailers on the big screen, the only place you can get a true sense of their majesty…..
none of this watching them on the internet for me.

but there are times when you have no choice but to go to the computer and watch the trailer.

it should come as no surprise that i love (in a manly fashion) bruce (no not bruce “the brute” anderson of the independent – whose photo makes him look like he is sucking on a mouthful of wasps). i discovered bruce willis when i saw die hard 2 with a pal of mine emma w. when we left the prince charles cinema i knew i was hooked on bruce, and little did i know that my adoration of bruce would last longer than my friendship with emma w.
i have taken days off to go see bruce movies. i have the dvds and watched them many many times.
so when someone tells me that there is a die hard 4 trailer on (thanks jim, thanks kevin), well what is a man to do?
that’s right he goes and watches it. then watches it again and again and then one more time for good measure.
it’s bruce as john mcclane. it means dry quips and wisecracks, it means lots of shooting, there will be a vest , there will be action and with a yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker we will all know that the bad guys have been beaten and the innocent can sleep easy again!

the trailer is awesome (like i was going to say anything else) except for one thing: the july 4th date.
that is seven months away.
seven months.
i have to wait seven months.
it is the first date in my diary, the clock has started ticking and i am counting down.

i love trailers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


now i don't normally read the sun newspaper. the main reason being i do not agree with its bigotory.
but there are the occassional time when i am in the take away or i am in coffee@ and there is a copy lying around and i will flcik through the pages of the sun. the sun is very good at moral outrages and seems to be able to conjure up a new outrage every month or so.
as if their mock shock wasn't bad enough there are also the comment pieces by various opinionated writers that make my blood boil and have me clenching my teeth as i want to scream "cunt" at the top of voice (never a good thing to do in a take away or coffee shop).

the one constant in the sun is the page 3 girl. an institution many will say demeaning to women others will say. strangely i don't really care if the sun prints a topless picture or not as i am not a reader of the paper (for titilation i am always going to get the daily sport: the nipple count is much higher, the humour funnier and the news as accurate as the sun) but i don't see the harm in it.

however the arguement is being made that now is not the time to show nudity. nigel farndale over at the telegraph is at pains to explain why he buys both the sun and the guardian and why he hides the page 3 from his sun, who he encourages to read the sun.
he goes on to make the point that while there is a serial killer stalking prostitutes in ipswich perhaps now is not the time to show nipples. he describes the issue he is looking at the murders on the front page, becky and her nipples quickly following it. then comes more details on the murder and then a nude kate moss.
"phwoar!… sickening!… phwoar!… what it amounted to was a blurring of the nightmarish world of the suffolk strangler and the masturbatory fantasy that is becky, 24"

or does it really?

now this won't come as a surprise to many i have wanked over pictures of naked women. i know i know that is not a pretty sight to contemplate but when i am slapping the johnson and making monkey noises i am generally doing it to some sort of fantasy. sometimes i will use visual aids. now true i could jerk off to the works of the great master (baters... you knew i had to get it in there) or even the recent works of the old ybas of hirst, wearing and emin. to put it bluntly they don't cut the mustard when it comes to 5 knuckle shuffle.
so i might use a magazine or two.
i doubt if i am the only male who does this.
while andrew dworkin may think all men are potential predatory rapists. i don't.
nor do i believe having a wank turns you into a serial killer who preys on woman.

i don't believe that looking at page 3 of the sun is going to create a nation of perverts (i am scared that reading teh sun may create a nation of tory voters).

if you take page 3 out of the sun, should you also go around the national gallery and remove the nudes of artists such as valazquez, rubens and others. or is highbrow titilation (sorry i mean art) ok because only the educated view it?

to the best of my knowlwdge there is no conclusive link between viewing pornography or violence creating violent dangerous individuals.

and if you want to know why i think that the sun could be considered as demeaning to women it would be in the same way that much of the media is: in the creatioin and the constant pressure created for women to conform to a body type, to be told how they should look, to be criticised when they don't match that ideal only to be chided when they slip from the the straight and narrow as defined by the media.
not to mention the double standards applied to men and women. a boozy womaniser is seen as a lovable rogue. a boozy maniser is seen a a fallen harlot. you only have to look at the way the press deal with britney spears, lindsey lohan and paris hilton to see what i mean.
it is this sort of treatment that i find demeans women not the occassional nipple on page 3.

but then i am a man so what do i know.


in my time at work i have had to suffer to consultants working with me. in both cases they have done as their name suggests: they have conned us and insulted us.
in neither case have they provided value for money, in both cases they trousered an amount of cash that made them the highest paid earners in the company.

if there is one thing that new labour should be condemned for then it is its reliance on consultants. currently it is running at £2.8 billion a year. part of the reason for using consultants appears to be the continuation of the legacy of the thatcher years of wanting a small state and a belief that the private sector can do everything and anything better than the state itself.

what does seem to be the case is that consultants seem to be able to rack up tremondous fees and yet we, the people, see little benefit from it.

it is rare that i find myself agreeing with edward leigh but when he says that government departments must "kick their consultancy habit" i am in agreement with him.
the problem with consultants is that they get paid regardless of whether or not their advice is worthwhile or not. additionally they are not accountable to the voters and seemingly they are being asked to consultant on things that they have a vested interest in such as tax programmes, computer programmes and such like.

new labours inability to stop squandering the tax payers money on consultants and quangos is for me their biggest fault.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


now i have to confess that many many many years ago i had a crush on diana. i know i know what was i thinking.
(while in this confession mood i have to admit to sending marie osmond a love letter,she did reply to me and enclosed a paper rose, i still loved her after that even though she had spurned me....)

the investigation into diana's death is about to say that it was an accident.
no shit sherlock.
it has only taken 9 years and several million pounds for the obvious to have finally been stated.

i missed the tv programme about the conspiracy theories around her death, i am pretty sure that i would have ignored it even if my tv had been working. i am guessing that when they mentioned anything to do with assassination they did not cite the thoughts of the great one, david icke, who believed that diana (like the kennedys before her) was killed because she was in direct opposition to the babylonian brotherhood.
oddly in the independent newspaper mary dejevsky
says; "By breaking free from the Royal Family and behaving as indiscreetly as she did, Diana was subverting the monarchy, and thus the state.
The establishment may have underestimated the threat to the social order from her untimely death, but what of the destabilising effect had she lived?"


we'll leave aside the social turmoil that we have undergone since di died.
but can someone remind me when we were last so deferential to the royal family and monachy? sure we (mostly) like them. true their antics sell papers, books and tv shows, but really when did we last look up to them as being something special? (yes there might be a serious debate that perhaps the lack of such respect is it at teh heart of all that ails us, but that is for another time).

it seems icke was right diana was going to be the standard bearer in the forthcoming war of us versus them.
or perhaps she was just a vacuous spoilt little rich girl who slept around - a proto paris hilton.

you decide.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


samantha janus once described hell as being other people; true she was quoting jean-paul sartre (but lets be fair where would you rather get your french existentialist philosophy from? the lovely ms janus or the po-faced mr sartre … i rest my case).

janus used it to refer to her flatmates in the classic british comedy “game on”. sartre used it in his play “no exit” to refer to how people can torture each other by means of words. for janus hell was located in a shared house, for sartre it was a hotel.

let me tell you ladies and gentlemen that hell is a slow, packed train that goes from birmingham to london.
when in front of you there is a child who will not shut up but seems incapable of speech so all you get is a constant squeaks and squalls of gibberish and sing song sounds. all of which is accompanied by mum and gran going “shush”, “go to sleep”, and “naughty baby” ad nauseam ad infinitum.
while behind you there is the book reader who occasionally has to read passages aloud, but behind his hand. but he is not just reading aloud he is enacting the page. to him it is wonderful entertainment but to those around him it is the semi-audible hiss of the mad. made worse by the fact he wasn’t a constant whispering mutter, but would stop and start irregularly.

hell indeed is other people.

(annoyingly this is post 667)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006