Search This Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2009


end of the year.
between here and there. then and now. before and after. past and present. this and that. tom and jerry. bill and ben. yadda yadda.
a time of reflection.
a time of resolution.
a time of oh fuck that.

like a member of parliament caught in the expenses scandal i am happy to see the back of 2009.
a truly shit year.

time to move on.
time to move up.

out with the old. in with the new.

happy new year one and all.

Friday, December 25, 2009


so that was christmas?
hope it was good for you.

bring on the new year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


some facts.
i like books.
i like stephen king.
'under the dome' 900 pages of new stephen king goodness.
i am broke.
borders are broke.
borders are liquidating stock like there is no tomorrow (for borders there isn't, they ceased to exist today).
90% off.
i am broke.
still go in.
lots of people.
lots of empty shelves.
stacks of books. no rhyme. no reason. just piles.
nothing of interest.
hold on i recognise that book and someone has it in their pile of books.
bloke with the copy of 'under the dome' is less than helpful.
hope he chokes when he is reading it.
mooch around for a bit more.
no sign of another copy of it.

i still like books.
i still like stephen king.
i don't have a copy of 'under the dome'.
i am still broke.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


although it started earlier this year, it has taken longer for me to get into grinch mode.
a lot of that is that i am avoiding the retail experience and it seems that christmas doesn't exist beyond shops.
time for me to dig out the dr. seuss books again - just don't expect me to be smiling come christmas.

bah humbug.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


there i was at the, rather excellent, sophie calle exhibition at the whitechapel gallery when i overheard the following.
"because the paper shakes it is really intense."

made me smile.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


it has been a remarkably mild start to winter. warm and bright. most people have enjoyed pleasant temperature, the winter clothes left in the wardrobe for a few more weeks, the heating left off (ah the savings, the savings), the bright days filling our hearts with extra joy.
well that is until you get on a 15 or 25 bus where the heating is cranked up as high as it will go. i suppose it is churlish of me to complain afterall saunas are not cheap so it is nice london transport to provide me one for my journey into the west end (perhaps it is part of the price increase strategy - your journey will cost you more, but there will be additional benefits. depending on the bus you catch it might be a sauna, there might be a gym,a swimming pool, a petting zoo just something extra to help the journey go by.
the problem with the sauna approach in mild climes is you end up at the end of your journey somewhat baked, somewhat red in the face and with big sweat stains on your shirt.
i would put up with that if the buses ran smoothly, but they never do. there is always a 'schedule delay' as they even out the times between buses (always seems to happen to the one i am on, never the one behind me). or they decide to stop a few stops too soon, because the driver is coming to his lunch break, oddly the driver never admits to this, not does he remind passengers that they can get a credit to catch the next bus in order to complete their journey.
i like the bus. there is something exciting about driving through the city and being able to look at the world around you, seeing the city from different angles. however i would like to do it in buses that were not trying to cook me - and if they are trying to bake me then i wish they would get me to my destination in a timely fashion.

boris - before you put the prices up make sure you have the service working smoothly.
not sure why i even moan at boris - it is not like he cares, if he did he wouldn't be putting the prices up.

Monday, October 26, 2009


it is a monday morning. always a good time for a smile. so here is my little attempt to brighten the day for you.
there i was scanning a copy of marie claire (oh i am so metrosexual) and there was a little bit about wives of plastic surgeons. a couple of the wives did look like dolls who had been pimped out to the max (perhaps there is a tv show in that, the only problem is the title 'pimp my ride' has been taken and 'whore my wife' is just wrong).
anyway one of the wives was married to the president of one of the professional bodies that deal with plastic surgery. i give you the 'british association of aesthetic surgeons'.
you couldn't make it up.
oh i have to wipe away a tear. i tell you material like this and i am going to be getting a bbc3 series pretty soon.


things that i have learnt this week.

1] video art is to be endured and not enjoyed.
2] that sainsbury’s move their food around not to get me to buy different items (oh look i have never seen spices before – let me get a full rack of them) but to annoy and infuriate me. it works.
3] that i now have even more people to blame that i am overweight. at this rate my porkiness will soon be totally guilt free. the world is full of enablers.
4] that celebrity biographies are so badly written it is not true. you can’t blame them for doing them, the money is good, but you would at least expect them to be vaguely competent rather than shit. katie price is exempted from this, as she is a literary giant.
5] that downloading a film you have wanted to see for years is not always the great triumph you thought it would be, especially if the reason you wanted to see the film in the first place was based on a cinema trailer you saw in the 70s. that said i am sure that when i download the doc savage movie it will still be as great as i remember it.
6] modern sculpture is rarely more than stuff thrown on the floor or against the wall. i defy anyone not to be able to create a modern sculpture in an evening while watching tv. i am pretty sure the results will have chin strokers around the world going: “yes it speaks to me”.
7] halloween has some great tat to accompany it and if i had lots of money i would buy loads of glow in the dark junk. that said if i hear another student ask, “what are you doing for halloween” i might be guilty of committing acts of violence.
8] tracey emin is stalking me. evidence? i visit the hayward gallery and tracey is there. i go to the zoo art fair and tracey is there. the fact that both exhibitions were months apart has nothing to do with it. up until her recent outburst over the 50% tax all tracey had to do was ask me if i wanted a coffee (i know i know it makes me sound cheap) but not now. i am just not interested tracey, do you hear me. not interested.
9] that if you piss in the street you have to be careful where you stand: especially if your trainer has a hole in the sole.
10] that 100 gigs a month isn’t enough, or perhaps i am just too greedy.
11] that squeezing a zit on the end of your nose just ends in disaster.
12] that winter is my favourite time of year because more girls are wearing boots. yes i know that makes me sound very shallow.
13] that i am very shallow.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


(this is a long rambling semi-coherent piece of political bilge - feel free to skip it)

well it is the day after question time and the world has not changed.
it is hard to imagine the circumstances in which you could feel much sympathy for nick griffin and the british national party, but the last week or so has come close.
well let me tell you, i do warn you though it will be a long and rambling road that probably takes a diversion here and there, a rest stop or two and more than likely a few dead ends.

let me start by saying the obvious (but regardless of how obvious it is i am following the convention of the last few days here) i have little truck with the british national party they are a bunch of odious people who have a warped view of the world (but then i think that of the conservative party as well). (it got to the point where i was expecting people to say “none of my best friends are bnp”.)

back during the euro elections over 900,000 people voted for two bnp members to join the european parliament. leading up to those elections there was a lot of hand wringing and wailing on the part of the major parties as a lot of politicians had been caught with their hands in the expense tin. no one trusted parliamentarians. the media joined in with talk of protest votes. this quickly became scare mongering that the british national party would benefit from all of this and how bad that would be.
in fact it would not just be bad it would be dangerous.
yet the more politicians and the media went on about this ‘danger’ from the bnp, the more they told the electorate not to vote for the bnp. the more they argued that the bnp should not be given a chance to be heard. the more likely it was that they were going to have a strong vote.
it is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
during those elections i could imagine nick griffin and his cohorts just rubbing themselves in glee at all the free publicity they were getting. to make matters worse it appeared as if they were being victimised for their beliefs. the bnp could have planned it better if they had tried.
election held. ballots counted. close to a million votes for the british national with the result that they get to send two of their party to the european parliament.
it is generally accepted that a large bulk of those votes were a protest vote aimed at slapping the main parties in the face and to punish them not only for the expense scandal but for not addressing some of the key issues of the day.
that said i think there was another reason for the strength of the bnp vote – people didn’t want to be told who not to vote for, when the people telling them not to vote gave no reason why they should stick with the main parties.

the result was concrete proof of the legitimacy that the press and political parties had given the bnp in the run up to the elections. if they had spent their time saying ‘oh woe are us for being bad boys, punish us by voting for the greens’ the result might have been different.
now sensible people would have learnt from that.
politicians it appears are not sensible people.

with their two european seats the bnp could expect to make an appearance on the bbc’s ‘question time’ show. now it is not like representatives of the bnp have not appeared on the nation’s screens before. nor is it unusual to hear their voices on national radio. often when they are allowed to speak they shoot themselves in the foot (and the ankle, the kneecap and at least one gut shot as well). given the chance to talk more often than not the bnp hoist themselves on their own petard. so much so that you could be blamed for thinking that they were a comedy act satirising far right politics.
that my friends is one of the strengths of democracy, it is the beauty of freedom of speech: not only can you persuade people of your veracity but you can show yourself up. the bnp are very good at showing themselves up when they are given the chance.

the bbc make the right decision to allow nick griffin his hour of glory by appearing on ‘question time’. cue the outraged politicians. the protestations of how evil the bnp are, how no one should share a platform with them, how this just gives them legitimacy they do not deserve (even though they got close on a million votes).

we have been here before.

in the main i have faith in our elected politicians. i know that there are fine and decent people in the labour party, the conservative party and the liberal democrats. i also have faith in them to be able to sit down at the same table as anyone from the bnp and to be able to win the argument.
see that is how it should be in a democracy – hear the opposing views and show where there are wrong. simple really. they do it all the time with each other. yet when it comes to the bnp they seem a little scared.

the bbc, to their credit, stick to their guns.. it doesn’t matter that people such as peter hain, diane abbott and andy slaughter were vociferous in their condemnation of the bbc for allowing the bnp a platform.
all three are members of the government yet they don’t want to instruct the bbc to ban the bnp because to do so would be create martyrs of the bnp (though quite how the bbc banning them from ‘question time’ would not create martyrs of them is never explained). in fact all of them are keen for the bnp to have their say, but not on question time. so it is sort of freedom of speech and it is sort of democracy – just not the freedom of speech and democracy that would be extended to the green party.
nor did the three politicians want to see the bnp be made an illegal party (skipping over the current controversy over their membership rules – which didn’t seem to bother people while they were a loony fringe party).
the politicians didn’t want to make the hard decision – they wanted to pontificate about it rather than do anything about it – they wanted the bbc to become the guardian of the democratic process. to their credit the bbc did. nick griffin was allowed on to question time.

outside broadcasting house (where ‘question time’ is recorded) there was a mass demonstration of people who didn’t want to let nick griffin have his say. the irony of using bullyboy tactics seemed to be lost on them. again no calls for the banning of the bnp, just their ability to have their views heard.
even ken livingston was to be heard saying how terrible it was that nick griffin was to be allowed to speak. this would be the same ken that had meetings with the ira who were involved in a bombing campaign on mainland britain.

the one main lesson to come out of the ‘question time’ incident was how little we respect democracy and freedom of speech. it seems we only believe in it when it agrees with us.
the problem is that for democracy to be strong and vibrant, for it to remain valid it has to be able to deal with dissenting voices and views. a strong democracy should have no problems with the less than pleasant views of the few. as bonnie greer said on ‘question time’ democracy is the least worst system we have come up with and it needs to be defended. you don’t defend it by banning and curtailing all the things you don’t like.

before the programme took place there were a number of bbc radio talk shows. on several occasions where there was a member of the bnp on the panel – the other panellists were at pains to tell everyone how uncomfortable they were to be seated next to, near, in the same room, building, street, city, county, country as the bnp member and that they would go home and would use a scrubbing brush on themselves before they would ever feel clean again. each one seemed to up the ante for how debased they felt, i was expecting them to commit hara-kiri to regain their honour. (i am exaggerating here, but not by much.)
several times people made the rather spurious argument that the bbc wouldn’t give this sort of time to a party of paedophiles, which somewhat ignored the issue of legality and that we would be a pretty fucked up country if close on a million people voted for such a party.
several times it was mentioned that david copeland, the london nail bomber of 1999, had been a member of the bnp and therefore you could not have talks with bnp. copeland left the bnp because he was unhappy with their move to being more democratic. by the same argument you could tarnish all muslims in britain because of the july 2005 bombings.
a few even suggested that they shouldn’t be on there because they were never going to get elected as the government – crikey nick clegg there goes your spot on ‘question time’.
most of the people being interviewed followed the line of politicians such as peter hain and andy slaughter: that the bnp should not be given the oxygen of publicity that this event was giving them. missing the point that the only people whipping up the publicity were the protesters themselves. in fact the protesters were doing the work of the bnp publicity department.

what the protesters had ensured was that more people than ever were going to tune into ‘question time’ and were going to hear nick griffin and the bnp.
job not quite so well done on the part of the protesters.
so much energy was put into demonising the bnp yet all it achieved was to cast nick griffin in the role of the underdog and provide him with a much larger audience than he could ever hope for.

the show went ahead. if it were a prison movie nick griffin was gang shanked in the showers. the other panellists picked on him, bullied him and hectored him. he was clearly shaken and intimidated by it all. so much so he is now complaining that the format of the programme had been changed so that everyone could gang up on him.
well tough shit nick what did you expect them to do? welcome you with open arms and tickle your tummy? was never going to happen and he should have known it.
yet the funny is it seems to have backfired and instead of seeing nick griffin for the odious chubby man that he is what many saw was someone being victimised.
so when someone like sayeeda warsi (who, along with bonnie greer, was the star of the show) in the follow up interviews went on about how scared griffin appeared you wanted to shout ‘well he was facing a very hostile panel and audience, not to mention a potential violent mob who wouldn’t be scared?’

if there was a problem with the programme it was that it concentrated solely on nick griffin and the bnp, not touching on issues such as the postal strike, the recession, bankers bonuses, more troops to afghanistan and other issues of the day. given the run up to the event it was probably inevitable that it would have been this way. yet a golden opportunity was missed to quiz the british national party on what its’ policies are on a whole range of subjects and to show that a vote for the bnp is effectively a wasted vote.
ironically this also let off the main parties – for once they were not under fire, they could sit back and bask in the glow of nick griffin being beaten down by the sheer weight of disapproval that surrounded him.

why it would have been important for the parties to engage in a proper political debate around the issues that affect the country right now is that the bnp have secured a hefty chunk of votes. not all of these votes are from racists a large chunk of them are from people who feel like the political process has ignored them.
there are issues that worry people. there are concerns and confusion about the effect that the european parliament has on daily life, some are worried about immigration, where it is not a question of race or colour but a question of numbers, some are worried about the breakdown in values and traditions, others are worried about the loss of identity. they are worried about the recession, they are worried about violence in the streets, concerned about the war in afghanistan, the encroachment of the state on daily life, the power of corporations and much more.

for the time being the bnp can pick up support for as long as the major parties fail to address these questions in a way that is accessible to the general public.
it is easy to tar the bnp with a racist tag – but is more complex than that the bnp have received votes from the ethnic community (which in and of itself is pretty jaw dropping) and it is pretty easy to see this in simple black and white (and brown) terms, but racism isn’t one way: there are indians out there who do not like pakistanis while they are not keen on the west indians

‘question time’ wasn’t perfect, an opportunity to demolish the policies of the bnp was missed. it did highlight, if we needed it, that at its core the british national party and nick griffin are fundamentally nasty pieces of work. it also served as a reminder to the main political parties that they have to engage, debate with and win the arguments that provide the bnp with its support. this isn’t beyond the main parties, in fact it is the bread and butter of what labour, conservative and liberal democrats are about. they can’t hide, ignore or ban parties such as the bnp they have to show the potential supports of the british national party that a vote for the bnp is wrong on several levels that it is ineffective because it will not bring about meaningful change and that is wrong because it is divisive because a vote for the bnp can lead to pointless hate and fear.
for that stark reminder of what democracy is all about and the responsibility that is in the hands of the leaders of the three main political parties the decision of the bbc was vindicated.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


confession is good for the soul, or so they say. there are times though that the thing you want to admit to is so heinous that you can’t find the words. the fear of how your revelation will be received chokes the words in your throat, the confession dying before it passes your lips. you pull back, you retreat, you back out. you go all yellow. returning to the secret world of your own personal shame.
now it is too late, now i just have to do it. time to nut up, gird my loins and spill the beans.
before i go on i have to prepare the ground a little. the reason for my revelation isn’t that i am scared that my manlove will be outed. after all i have worn certain bromances on my sleeve. everyone knows that i am bruce willis’ bitch, that he could walk me up a dirty alley and do the nasty with me and i would still respect him in the morning. that thanks to ‘field of dreams’ kevin costner could get to first base on a date.
so it is not the manlove bromance that scares me.
what i am going to confess is a little more serious than that. like my staunch defence of the comic work of rob liefeld i expect what i am about to say is will shock, startle and dismay. it will leave some questioning my sanity. it may even have some questioning their relationship with me.
but the time has come. i can’t deny it any longer. i can’t hold it back. i have to tell everyone. there is no easy way to say it, so i will just blurt it out (not quite singing it from the highest hill, nor it soaring like the hawk or be as deep as a well - bonus points for the reference).
i like danny dyer.
there done.
said it.
off my chest.
i like danny dyer.
it doesn’t matter that he isn’t a great actor, or even a very good actor. it doesn’t matter that his choice of films is generally pants. it doesn’t matter that he has the emotional range of demi moore. it doesn’t matter that he seems to have two characters (cheeky chappy or down at heel).
it doesn’t matter that he gets the documentary gigs that ross kemp turns down. it doesn’t matter that when he is presenting the latest series of the ‘world’s most dangerous transvestites strictly dance in maximum security prisons’ his eyes are screaming “i am better than this, let me make a movie with vinnie jones, i am that good…”
i just can’t help it . danny dyer has won me over.
so ladies and gentlemen stand tall, raise a glass to danny dyer: my new hero.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


the whitehouse was quick to deny rumours that president obama was to join boyzone. obama is reported to be both surprised and humbled to have been offered the boyzone position.
fox news is investigating the allegation that the reason why obama has refused the offer is becuase he is expecting to be announced as the new co-lead singer in u2.
the jackson family are not commenting on the rumour that they were in process of approaching barack obama with an offer for him to tour the complete michael jackson back catalogue.

Friday, October 09, 2009


now i like barack obama as much as the next man (while some of the thoughts i have about michelle obama are the things of restraining orders, but she is yummy). yet i can’t help but think that the reason for awarding him the nobel peace prize so early in his presidential career is because he is not george w. bush.
i am sure that president obama will achieve much in office, in many ways the fate of the future is in his hands, as yet though we are living in hope of progress rather than praising actual progress.
it is not like the nobel awarders had to give a prize out, there have been several years when they have not. i suppose i should be thankful: at least it wasn’t bono.

breaking news:
obama has been awarded the 2010 slam-dunk prize in the nba all-star game.
barack obama sweeps the boards in the 2010 oscar awards; his only failures were in the foreign language sections (well no one cares about those) and ‘best song in a film’.
the turner prize committee have announced that they will cease the prize as they feel that president obama should hold the prize in perpetuity for all the artworks he might create.
the recently awarded man-booker prize has been recalled and will now be given to obama. hilary mantel was not available for comment.
simon cowell has spoken with the president about a new tv show “obama has got talent”, meanwhile obama has become the first person to win both ‘strictly come dancing’ and ‘dancing with the stars’ in the same year - and all for the dances he performed on inauguration night. heather mills was said to be miffed that no one asked for her comments.
the international olympic committee have decided that the 2020 olympics will be given to obama, it is believed all the events can be done in his back garden.

meanwhile pat has begun his campaign for the 2010 nobel peace prize by thinking nice thoughts, writing letters to people asking them to smile more and promising ponies to everyone.

(oh ok the pony bit was a lie, but it will be part of the forthcoming conservative party election manifesto as part of the ponies for policies initiative.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


it is amazing what a few good speeches and a few belligerent performances will do.
first there was the clarion call from john prescott that the party should stop complaining and start campaigning. it seems very obvious to most of us that the moaning minnies of charles clarke (a man who would cut his nose of to spite gordon brown) et al are providing valuable ammunition to the conservative party while wasting time and energy that could be used for campaigning. (perhaps if clarke had said he would stand as a potential leadership candidate rather than his ‘oh gordon pretend you are sick’ speech. next he will be telling alistair darling to tell everyone the dog ate his budget).
prescott is right: clarke is wrong. enough said.
then jack straw said he was up for debating with the bnp. about time someone said they would do it. too often politicians have hidden behind the ‘do not want to give them credence’ argument. it isn’t an argument that really holds much water. all it does if give the bnp plenty of publicity and allows them free reign to air their ideas without direct challenge. what most politicians are not saying is that they do not want to be seen to lose an argument with a member of the bnp. so credit to jack, it also shows the start of a bit of belligerence and fight on behalf of the labour party.
a good speech by peter mandelson that entertained the crowd.
then a decent speech from gordon brown that set out reasons why we should be thankful that we have had a labour government, reminded us what a conservative government offers (not much) and gave a glimpse of what the future will hold if labour are re-elected.
when his speech had finished there was the brief glimmer of hope, a feeling of belief that actually labour could do it. some how some way they were going to pull the election out of the hat and we would be dancing in the streets celebrating victory.
i liked that feeling, much better than the creeping acceptance that the tories were going to win and that what the future offered was going to be a pretty grim time.

i know i am being foolish. i know that i am not thinking rationally and that really a belief that labour can win is a little like expecting the cleaning pixies to tidy my flat. yet it is better to grasp that sliver of joy than it is to contemplate cameron and co in charge.

Monday, September 28, 2009


i think it is significant that banker rhymes with wanker.
that says a lot.

i am fed up with them saying that they will leave if they are taxed more - let them fuck off.
i am fed up with them being so in your face about how important they are but oh so coy when it comes to admitting to the size of their bonus they get all coy and shy about it. poor little lambs.
frankly given the amount of money the state has had to put into the financial system to keep it afloat all those bonused up financiers should be touring the country and kissing our arses and thanking us.

(oh someone on the radio has just compared the political 'attacks' on the bankers are similar to the attacks on jews in the 30s. you just have to admire people.)

(oh and while on the subject of wankers: a cbi mouthpiece was on the radio going on about the 'back office of public services'. he was going on about just how private industry should work with government in order to facilitate the downsizing of public services by cutting, but because of the skills of the private sector this could be done without affecting the frontline services because they would use their talents on the 'back office'. excuse me while i hold my breath on that because the private sector has covered itself with glory after all lets look at the financial services. ooops.
i am guessing that the cbi are not talking about asking the government to stop hiring overpriced private consultants. or perhaps the cbi will insist that private companies who bid for very lucrative public contracts actually deliver what they promise.
no didn't think so.)

Friday, September 25, 2009


the four horsemen were stopped in their stables.
the line in the sand was not crossed.
the world did not end.

the jolly japers at my local cinema did actually show the new bruce willis movie.
i saw it.
i was happy.
the world goes on.

(and if i remember rightly ems you sobbed at the end of armageddon...)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


i know the world is not fair.
there is evil in the world: there is corruption, war, famine, destruction. looked at in that way the world is not a nice place.

in my own corner of this great land life good be better, but we play the cards we are dealt (gotta know when to hold them, gotta know when to fold 'em, shit i am even thinking like kenny rogers now).

well it was until i checked the cinema listing for next week. there were the usual holdovers from the previous week. a new listing for 'fame' (and yes i will admit i was a fan of the tv series, and i will admit that i am looking forward to the new movie - because fame costs and here is where i start watching.
but hold on. hold on. something is missing. can't be. it is not there. no listing for the new bruce willis movie! what is going on? where is it. where is 'surrogates'. it is an sf action movie. so that makes it a high priority to see. it is a bruce movie and that makes it unmissable. but no listing. this is wrong.
this is the end of the world.
some of us are born to win, some us are born to lose, some of us are born to sing the blues (oh hell now i am channeling journey...)

and to cap it all chas and dave have ceased to be a double act.
rabbit and sideboards.

the world is an evil place my friend.
an evil place.


i am not a fan of reality tv. in all the years that such shows have been clogging up the airways i have probably watched about 10 minutes of it. i am not being intellectually snobby here, they just never appealed.

earlier on in the year antony gormley made public his 'fourth plinth' proposal. i nearly applied. i didn't and the world breathed a sigh of relief.
the plinthers (as they are known) started their period in trafalgar square. a few times i have been in the area and it was all so dull.
what on paper seemed to be a great idea turns out not to really work in practice.
or so i thought.
now i have discovered it on the web and it is engrossing fascinating viewing.
it is not always very good - for some reason they always choose terrible camera angles, which makes me think it is done automatically and so often misses out on the sign that the plinther is holding up.
that said i am hooked on it.

right now it is an unemployed bloke looking for a job having to cope with the 3am piling out of clubs youth heckling him.

one day all tv will be like this. you have been warned.

go see the future of entertainment here

Monday, September 21, 2009


pope benedict gets a lot of bad press, a lot of it his own doing. still having survived some time in the hitler youth i doubt very much that a bit of media moaning is going to worry him too much.
he has irked many by his hard line approach to christian doctrine. it might be that he has alienated many who share his faith but not his fundamentalism. and he hasn’t made many friends with the other faiths.
i can forgive him all that. no i can, after all he is infallible and he is the vicar of god.

but fucking hell there comes a time when all good christians have to stand up and say no more. no more. and this is it. the time is now. the time has come.
for some inexplicable reason pope benedict has invited bono to the sistine chapel. true bono is only one of 500 other performers attending the little get together but we all know that we will be inundated with pictures of the oik gurning as he shakes the pope’s hand while declaring peace has broken out.

now i know what you are thinking. no i do. don’t have to be a derren or a uri to know. you are wondering just what it is i have against bono. bono who is a saint among men. for a start there is his smug attitude, then there is his sanctimonious attitude, do i have to mention the sunglasses? i’ll skip over the tax avoidance schemes of the band (but hey we all care about poverty, though we want to make sure we pay as little tax as is possible).
if push came to shove then i would have to say that my dislike of bono stems from his apparent lack of a sense of humour as evidenced by the negativland incident. sadly my ire has recently been popped on this as i have read that u2 and bono were not the instigators of the legal action against negativland.
but it is so hard to let that dislike go.
i am like a junkie and i can’t quite kick the bono annoyance.

so i am fallible.
it is why i will never be pope.
and why i will never meet bono.

thus proving there is a god.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


this is the sort of thing that brings out the total geek in me.

i shall have to start saving my pennies.

(available from all good comic shops)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


listening to the obama health care speech.
as usual he is giving a good speech.
the odd thing is he is listened to and cheered throughout the speech, even though a number of people there are not keen on the proposal. when i say not keen i mean vehemently opposed to it. yet he still gets cheered and clapped.
the respect that is invested in the office of the president is immense.

i bet gordon brown and previous prime ministers would give their pinkies for that sort of respect.

Monday, September 07, 2009


i am still engaged in the continuing battle to clear my flat (where is hercules when you need him, though i think xena would be more fun)doesn't seem to matter just how much i get rid of there is still a lot left.
one thing i keep finding is stationery. note books, exercise books, reporters books, loose leaf pads; lined, squared, plain; hardcover, softcover, spiral bound, stapled the list goes on.
some have writing in. notes from meetings, notes about exhibitions, snippets of stories, lines of poetry (oh yeah dear reader i have been known to knock out a verse or two. just be thankful i have never made you suffer them), lists of things to buy, things to do, ideas for blogs yadda yadds.
but worse still are the pages and pages of blank virgin paper. in fact enough blank space for more notes, snippets, lines, lists and ideas.

such a treat.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


the g20 have decided that there should be action on bonuses in the financial sector.
you can hear the cheers around the world. there is little sympathy for the fallen masters of the universe.
a financial service guy is wheeled out on to the news, he is there to tut tut the news. much wringing of hands, much doom and gloom for him.
his major argument is: if you want the best staff you have to pay the best.

well given that a large chunk of the financial sector has had to go cap in hand to governments around the world that pretty much tells me that for all the money they have been shelling out to 'top performers' all in all they have managed to get some pretty shitty staff in.
they all seem to be on a par with me when it comes to assessing risk and benefit and ability to maximise gain.
mmmm perhaps it is time for me to become a banker.

(oi you in the back: i said banker....)

Thursday, September 03, 2009


had a haircut.
now look more kenny rogers than bad santa - not sure that is an improvement.
it is the start of me making changes.

meanwhile in the real world disney bought marvel. bit of a shock. fanboys and geeks around the world are having kittens at what it could mean. me too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


i am of an age where zits should no longer be an issue.
mostly this is the case.
currently i have two zits. very irritating they are too. each one is located in the centre of my bum cheeks. all of which makes sitting a bit of a pain. quite looking forward to squeezing them.

just thought i would share.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


the nhs is evil.
sarah palin said so.
it must be true.
she also said 'death panels' so that must be true as well.
she is american and so right wing that she is playing out of the park.
aha nothing to worry about then.

except you have the 'eccentric' (according to david cameron) daniel hannan, a conservative mep, who describes the nhs as a "60 year mistake" that he "wouldn't wish on anyone". even worse the slimy little toad made his statements on american tv, and not in front of his electorate. (i wonder why he hasn’t said it on the hustings and saved it for american tv? could it be he wouldn’t have been elected and wouldn’t be earning taxpayers money – oh you like the taxpayers money when it goes into your pocket daniel, just don’t like it going on the health of others.)

mr. hannan is likely to get a ‘stern talking to’ – crikey i bet he is shitting himself – still we owe him a vote of thanks as he has given us a glimpse of just how secure the national health service is in the hands of the conservatives: not very.

there is little to like about either mrs. palin or mr. hannan, palin edges it because she hasn’t hidden her views from the electorate. palin is quite tasty and appears on the pat top tory totty list, but that is me being terribly shallow
neither quality can be applied to daniel hannan; still we can rest easy knowing he will be given lines and made to stand in the corner.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


we live in a fame obsessed culture. the media report on the lives of the rich and famous. it could be argued that this has always been the case in the age of mass communication – we have always been interested in knowing more about the stars that entertained us. the difference now is since the advent of the internet and 24 hour news we not only want to know more we need to have more people to know about.
people will do anything in order to get their moment in the media gaze. some will take the traditional route of hard work and paying their dues to earn their fame (and then ungratefully complain about the pressure of fame). most take the easy route and appear on tv shows making spectacles of themselves, with the vague hope that they might be spotted and turned from a nobody into a somebody. a desire to live the jade dream.
then there is that even more fleeting glimpse of media stardom that is very peculiar to modern mass communication. the voracious appetite of the modern media has led to a variation on the old kiss and tell stories, a variation on the citizen journalist concept.
the other day three people were granted a different type of celebrity: infamy. the murderers of baby p have been named in the press, this now puts their lives in danger. given the nature of their heinous crime i can’t say i am too bothered. they are unlikely to ever be reformed or redeemed and no one is going to shed a tear if parole after parole is refused.
their actions mean that they will never be safe if they are ever released. in a country that, rightly, does not have the death penalty there can be no rational argument that allows them to be released from jail without protection. to do anything less is to agree to the law of the jungle and advocate vigilante justice (if the state is not prepared to execute them, then it can not be left to the public to do the deed).
luckily for me i won’t be the politician who has to deal with this question (not unless the country really does go to the dogs).
journalists have been busy digging up the dirt on the three people in question.
it is that dirt that brings us back to the kiss and tell element of fame. we have seen it with the michael jackson when friends rush forward to tell their sordid tales rather than do what friends should do: keep secrets and honour the memory (yes mark and uri i am thinking of you).
then there has been the growth of the man in the street quote. it used to be something along the lines of: “he was a nice boy”. now they are given more time and more space, their opinions given credence.
the men in the baby p murder have previous form; it appears that they were particularly nasty towards their grandmother (nothing was proven as she died before the case could come to trial). still her neighbours have been quick to jump in with their comments. they have talked about how that whenever the men visited the granny was bruised.
on the radio we heard how the granny was very nice, a friend, how they lived in a close community, a quiet community. this quickly became a commentary about the low sentences that have been handed out, how the state does not do enough to protect people and how something like this will happen again. the implication being that the public has been let down by the state and people have been murdered because of it.
yet the irony of their close and quiet community life, their regard for the granny is lost on them. as one of them said in a piece in the metro newspaper “every time they came she was bruised.”
so you managed to see these bruises but you decided to wait until journalists arrived on your doorstep before saying anything? couldn’t go to the police or call social services? doesn’t seem like you could. yet you can go on national radio and pontificate about how the state is letting people down. perhaps some of the blame can be laid at the feet of caring concerned, but ultimately, quiet communities who only care in the spotlight of the media.
yet as many in the public gaze have found there are times when it sees just the worst of things. the desire to have that moment in the spotlight, that moment to be heard sometimes ends up just reminding us that we are not always worthy of the attention we crave.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


i have been on a quest; epic is too small a word to describe it, to clear my flat. over the years i have accumulated lots, hoarded more and collected loads.
but enough is enough.
time to make a move in on the books. sort them out. move them on. should be easy, oh how i wish that was the case.

the plan is the break the books down into various categories.
keep - because i liked it.
keep - because i will read it (some day).
maybe - i might read it and i do quite like it.
give to friends - books that might appeal to friends now that i have declared them free to go (the books not the friends).
give to local charity - books i no longer want, but are not going to appeal to friends can go to the local charity shop.
give to local charity level 2 - books that i don't want, but for some odd reason i don't think are suitable for the local charity shop so they go to the book bin at sainsburys.
recycle - books which fall into the categories of "i must have been in a muddy thunderstorm when i read that one" or "i have no idea why i would have bought that in the first place and surely no one in their right mind would ever read it".

so in effect we are talking about three piles. keep, get rid of and i am just not sure.

such a simple plan. it falls down the moment i start looking at the books. the obvious ones are not the problem (though the ‘i think i will read that one next’ pile is getting very large). it is the ‘to keep or not to keep’ books that are causing the problems. i look at them and wonder will i miss this book once it has gone? the obvious answer is no as i haven’t looked at it in years, but you never know when the need will crop that i need to research drugs in sports, or how drugs create visions (no idea why i have them), maybe i might want to go back and read some of the slipstream stuff i have, i doubt it but i never know. true crime, maybe (i seem to have a large amount of such books, i have no idea what possessed me, perhaps the same demon that had me getting several crowley and magik books). perhaps i will dip into those popular science books i have, same with those current affairs titles (of course in both cases they are now woefully out of date, but that is not the point.

looking through my bookcases i can find things that interested me in the years gone by. i get all misty eyed remembering the thrill of buying those film theory books, ah if only i had read them then.

even worse is the discovery of a title that looks like it would have been really good to read at the time, but now the moment has past, or has it? (put them on the maybe pile).

scarily as quickly as i am cleaning space off the bookcases i am just filling them up with the books that have been lying around the flat in teeter tottering piles.

at least now i know i really shouldn’t be buying books until i have read a few more of the ones i have. except i have a hankering to read (well i mean attempt to read) james joyce’s ulysses and i would have sworn i had a copy of it somewhere, but seems i don’t. oh well i will read another doc savage novel – just as good.

one book i won’t be reading is liz jones’ ‘exmoor files’, see what she did there? for those of you lucky enough to have never read liz jones she is one of the many confessional columnists who populate the papers. she spends a lot of time telling people how miserable her life is, but how much better it is than the life we are leading. i confess that as part of my ‘daily mail’ addiction i do occasionally dip into the liz jones life. i never feel very good afterwards.
anyway the reason i mention this is because her book gets a review in the latest private eye. as you can imagine it is not that complimentary.
however one part made me chuckle.
“one of the problems with confessional hackery, though is that you quickly run out of material. there is only so much you can confess to, even if you are fred west.”

mmmm perhaps i should have kept those true crime books.

Saturday, August 08, 2009


let me be the first to wish you a happy christmas.
in the world of retail there are many people who have been working on their christmas purchasing strategies for months, while others will have been planning their christmas displays. for those hardy types christmas is an all year thing.
slowly but surely it is becoming an all year event for the rest of us.
recently i saw an advert for a well known chain highlighting their christmas line. the other night i was watching bid-tv, look i really don’t understand what the attraction is of the bid-tv channel is, but i am hooked. feel free to judge me. so there i was engrossed in the patter of the presenter desperately selling some piece of tat when he pipes up that this would be a fantastic item for christmas and that a christmas gift special would be airing soon.
still fortnum and mason’s take the biscuit when it comes to early christmas coverage. in fact they take the hamper.
yes those of you who were thinking of treating me to the snow queen hamper have waited too long, as this £25,000 hamper has been taken off the market. so where will i get my goosedown powder puff, my silk opera scarf, my magnum of 1990 veuve clicquot or that 4lb tin of beluga caviar? (if you were to press me on that i would hazard a guess that i could pick them all up from fortnum and mason.)
it is not just the £25k hamper that they have taken off the market, but also the downmarket £5,000 hamper. they have kept a shoddy £1,000 hamper available for the cheapskates out there.
the reason why fortnum and mason have taken these hampers off the market because in the current climate they are “probably not appropriate”.
after all with unemployment approaching three million it makes sense that fortnum and mason show a more socially aware and more caring side. i am sure the fact that they get some press coverage for this move is just a happy by-product of the move, though i am betting they are kicking themselves now as they read that the banks have no such qualms about current climate and are about to splash the cash when it comes to bonuses.
let me be clear here.
there has never been a time since the establishment of fortnum and mason (1707) that is has been ok to drop £25,000 for a christmas hamper. for a large chunk of the population that is more than they earn in a year and that is a situation that has always been the case.
true the current financial climate is not a good one, but for most of the three million who are unemployed and the millions who are existing on the breadline what is being sold in fortnum and mason is the last thing on their mind, they are more concerned about the price of bread and milk in their local supermarket.
the only people who are going to be put out by seeing a £25,000 price tag on a christmas hamper are those city whiz kids who now find themselves surplus to requirements. my heart bleeds for them. call me scrooge.

still if you have a few thousand pounds burning a hole in your pocket and you really need to get a christmas hamper there is always harrods, although they dropped their £5,000 hamper are offering to have a personal shopper go around with you to fill up the trolley for you. i am sure you will be a few (hundred) pounds lighter after that. while harvey nichols has decided to stick with their £2,500 christmas hamper.
i’ll have three please.
by the way merry christmas.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


funny thing about politics when you are in opposition it is easy to score points, in fact it is very hard not to. the joy of being part of the opposition is that you can pretty much criticise anything for any reason.
take education.
every year when the gcse results are posted the conservatives are there trumpeting on about how standards have declined and how the papers are so much easier than they were in the good old days. their can be no confidence in the results is their cry. surely though this can’t be true as most of the top grades come from public schools. do the wealthy middle and upper classes really spend all that money just to get qualifications that no one has faith in? that can’t be right.
so it must be the state sector schools whose results we cannot believe. those estate kids who go to the local comprehensive must be getting a dummies guide to exams paper each time they get to sit an exam. that must be the answer.
unless of course the real benefit of the public schools isn’t so much what you learn but who you learn it with.
so the bottom line seems to be that it is all too easy for children to pass their exams. they need to be challenged. they need to be truly tested; they have to prove themselves in the heat of the exams.
fair enough you might say.

yet when the sats (that is standard assessment tasks to you and i) results decline in english for the first time since the tests were introduced (1995) what do the conservatives say?
step forward michael gove and tell us: "we have seen a historic drop in english results, the brightest students are not being stretched, and the weakest are being failed the most. it is deeply worrying that english results are in decline."
from that you would think that the drop had been from the highest mountain and into the deepest abyss. when in fact the decline was from 81 to 80%, a big, a very big 1%, disaster.
i believe mr. gove has entered hyperbole corner.

hold on a second haven’t the tories been complaining that standards are too low, that it is all too easy.
now call me stupid (and many do) but if you are planning on making something harder you are expecting to see more people fail because if they don’t then the tests are the same as they were before.

really all this shows is that in opposition over education the tories have their cake and they have eaten it.
oh we want things to be harder to reward those that work harder.
oh no fewer have attained the standard this year it goes to prove education system is wrong.
all the conservatives are really complaining about is that too many oiks are passing too many exams. if someone from the local comprehensive is getting those results it just makes the private sector look a lot less attractive.

for all the talk about them being caring and compassionate the tories never really change. problem is this time next year they will be in power,

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


it looks like my internet problems are solved.
it looks like i am back.
it looks like i will be writing more rants.
it looks like you lot are going to be suffering my poor prose and even poorer puns.
it looks like the rain has gone and we can all see clearly now.
(have no idea where that came from.)

Friday, July 31, 2009


not been on for a while because i have screwed up my internet.
normal service will be resumed soon.

(longer version below.)


gentle reader you may have been wondering where i have been, or you may have been thanking your lucky stars that you have been spared my brand of drivel. even so i think you deserve to hear why i have been absent.
currently i have an adversarial relationship with technology. sometimes it is my freeview box that just cuts out, or has a magical digital signal that works fine for all the really bad tv stations but doesn’t work at all on anything i want to watch. then there is the digital radio that turns itself on and off whenever it pleases, often in the middle of something i was enjoying listening to (and i will ignore the fact that the cd player on it has decided it will never work no matter what i do). shall i mention my dvd recorder that allowed me to record the recent (excellent) torchwood series and then decided at the very last moment to make the disc unplayable (not only did i lose the series, i also waved goodbye to the amiable film ‘cat ballou’). the ipod can’t be left out with its occasional moments of temperament when it just decides that the best option is to freeze. lovely. my mobile phone is a constant source of irritation i either lose if for periods or recently it has decided not to make a sound, leaving me to guess if i have been contacted (which to be honest is a rare occurrence anyway).
still the most recent technological disaster has been my loss of the internet. now i can take full responsibility for it going the way of all good things. i had stupidly taken the laptop to the local ‘idea store’, or for the old folk out there the local library (you can tell the difference between a library and an idea store thusly an idea store has wi-fi and computers and lots of people making lots of noise on their mobiles or just chatting (loudly) to each other, while sometimes eating smelly food. a library is quiet and has books. what me old fashioned? yes.) i was there to use the wi-fi. unlike anywhere else in the western world to use the wi-fi you have to reset everything on your settings. this i did. the really dumb thing was i didn’t make a note of what i was doing.
cluster fuck time.
get home and the internet and i are no longer intimate friends but acquaintances who have lost touch.
not to worry i can save this. i can rescue this. i can do this.
no. nope. nada.
worry time.
to cut an epic to a long story: i gave up and decided it was time to renew my broadband.

simple. so simple.
if only life was like that. really life would be great if it were that simple.
a period of reflection who to go with i plunk for bt.
a call to bt gives me more details and lets me know what information i need to provide them with, naturally enough i don’t have my customer reference number as i do that online (see the problem).
go to an internet café to log-in to my bt account. i am not recognised. what? ask them to send me my password again, but to answer all the questions they pose i have to see my bill (see the problem).
find an old email from bt click on the link to my online account and it takes me straight there (no need for a password or username, nice).
get customer reference number.
make the call to bt to place the order for broadband. now bt love their menus. so after a few minutes of digging down into the menu options i finally get to a point where i can place the order.
i do.
five working days.

the days go by.
internet hub has not turned up.

curse those post office employees for being on strike they are preventing me from getting back to the internet. now as a working class warrior (armchair division of the glorious galloway regiment, retired subs not paid) i can’t actually fault them for being on strike so i just grin and bare it.
ah my copy of last week’s socialist worker has arrived so the bt homehub can’t be far behind.

apologies to the vanguard of the proletariat that are the postal workers, they were not to blame for holding up the bt hub.
no it was bt. the very helpful chap who took my order didn’t actually take my order.
a big thank you to him and may he have boils on his bum for the next ten years.

another game of going through the bt menu system and a new order placed.

so perhaps next week i will be online again.
keep your fingers crossed. i know some of you have been missing this.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


with, yet another, change of tack in the implementation and purpose of the id cards perhaps now is the time for gordon brown to finally kick this unwanted (and unnecessary) piece of legislation into the very long grass.
it would save cash. it would be a vote winner.
even david cameron can see that, as he has written to several companies telling them not to sign long term contracts because he is going to scrap the scheme. have to say i agree with him.

one of the things we elect governments to do is to make the hard choice, the hard decisions that we, individually, would not do. the government should be seeing the big picture and operating in the best interest of society.
you can see why they thought that an id card scheme would be necessary and needed. yet they have failed to make the case for id cards stick. no one wants them. no one sees the need for the cards. opposition to the scheme has united people on the left and people on the right.

each time they change their approach the case gets weaker.
the only reason for continuing appears to be stubbornness on the part of gordon brown. (actually there might be a second reason they wish to continue with the scheme: the desire to push money into the hands of big business. governments seem to have a fetish for spending (well wasting) a lot of money on large-scale computer programmes. even worse business has a habit of promising the moon and providing a bit of swampland, but hey the free market always knows best).
this is the time when a good politician should step up to the crease (cricket, dear boy, and not that horrid baseball game) and admit they are wrong and they have decided to drop the scheme.
they won’t, but they should.

all the while gordon brown is passing on one of the promises he could easily make that would help restore his popularity. all he has to say is: no to id cards. simple really.

(more about saying no to id cards can be found here.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


ever since eve took a chunk out of that granny smith there has been evil in the world. along with stupidity evil is one of the human traits you can find everywhere and every when. evil is a universal constant: always there.
evil comes in all shapes and sizes, it is perpetuated by individuals, groups and societies.
you only have to think of hitler, stalin, isle koch, elizabeth bathroy, spanish inquisition, the somme, agent orange, jeremy kyle and many others to get the idea.
i don’t want to paint too bleak a picture because as easy as it is to find evil, it is just as easy to find beauty. just the other day there i was wandering the halls of the tate modern, there you get a small glimpse into the creative soul of mankind. to stand in awe at the works of picasso and mondrian, to gaze with wonder at a lichtenstein or rothko, to be filled with wonder by hockney or wearing.
and that is just the art dear reader; i have glossed over the magic that can be found in literature and music or in film.
so while there is evil in the world there is beauty and joy too.
yet it was at the tate modern that i experienced my own personal moment of evil. it was not through the works of jake and dinos chapman with their dioramas of hell, that illuminate the darker aspects of man’s psyche, not was it in the canvases of francis bacon laying bare the diseased soul of humanity.
no fellow traveller this evil was more real than the art that fills the tate modern. this was real evil.
the evening was drawing to a close, i had enjoyed my walk around the per kikeby exhibition, but the time to go had come. feeling lazy i headed for the lifts. unusually a lift was there waiting. i get in. press the button for the second floor. doors close.
then it hits me. the evil strikes.
the perpetrator more mysterious than jack the ripper, the effects as lingering as mustard gas. yes, faithful reader, as the door clanged shut and the recorded voice told me which floor i was on i tasted evil, i smelt evil. i have no idea if when the initial crime had been committed it was an sbd (silent but deadly) but i can confirm that it lingered, it congealed, and it hung around the confines of the lift. trapped in that little space what had been to someone a simple fart had become a lethal toxic weapon.
vileness on a lovecraftean scale.
i am not sure i can ever enter a lift again, the trauma was so great.
somewhere out there a rasputin type character is cackling with glee knowing that one of his farts has claimed another victim.

i tell you now brothers and sisters there is evil in the world.
evil in the world.

Thursday, June 25, 2009



there is something special about the bus. it is a microcosm of all that is right and wrong about the modern world. you can see people at their best and their worst.

it had been a pleasant day walking around london, a few galleries, a coffee or two. yet all things must come to an end, so homeward bound. joining the crowd (ah do you remember the good old days of when people knew how to queue? i do) waiting at the stop for the 25 bus. i settled back and prepared to wait. i let the first one go by as it was packed. easy to do, i wasn’t in a hurry.

one of the things about waiting for a bus is that you get to watch the people go by. a bit of a lecherous glance here, a giggle at a fashion faux pas there. the problem with looking around at people is that sometimes you just spot someone you wished you hadn’t seen.
there he was in all his glory. a very smart, neat black man who is carrying two canvases, the front one carrying the legend “ian tomlinson” the other one “mark quinsey”. he looks like he wouldn’t say boo to a goose; all that marks him out are the two canvases.

second 25 bus comes along. fewer people on it, fewer people getting on it. winner. hop on. sit down. get home. simple. i choose to sit close to the doors, hoping to get any cool fresh air that enters the bus.
canvas man sits down across from me.
doors close. the engines cough. bus moves off. canvas man starts to talk. he has a deep rich african voice. he is not talking to me, he is preaching to the bus.

he tells the assembled (captured?) passengers that he has been at a protest. he has been bringing to people’s attention that both ian tomlinson (died at the g20 protests) and mark quinsey (shot at army barracks in northern lreland) have been murdered. not just murdered, but murdered by the freemasons. not only were the freemasons in on it, but it was known about by the queen and sanctioned by a member of the queen’s family.
no one says a thing.
everyone knows it is better to let him rant. why? engage them in conversation or meet their eyes and you are trapped, you are going to be their bitch for the rest of the journey and they are going to talk to you and you alone. when that happens everyone else on the bus will just sit back and enjoy your discomfort.
so he is studiously ignored.
to his credit he doesn’t care. he just goes on.

every two stops he just starts to tell the story again.
around the fourth telling he adds more detail and colour to the tale.
the queen is still involved. so are the freemasons. now arabs and muslims are involved. hypnotism is added to the mix. throw in a little girl who looked at him, she did this, he informed the bus, in order to trap him on charges of paedophilia.
well when you add all of that up you either have one serious cover up that needs to be on the front page of the daily telegraph (if only he could have woven expenses into the narrative) or you have the ramblings of a fractured mind.

whatever the state of mind is the story is repeated like a broken record, does that analogy work in the digital world?

as i listened i wondered if in the world of conspiracy theorists there are people who are considered to be just too far out there, that even the david ickes of the world consider to be nutters?

say what you will about the bus but there are times when you get more than you bargained for.


five hundred years ago henry tudor became henry the eighth, king of england.
he was a bit of a renaissance man. a man of words, a man of action. a lover and a fighter.
before he became king he received some advice on how to live his life from jack skelton, his first tutor. some of them were banal such as "don't be mean". whoa, radical stuff to put before a king. don't worry skelton had a trick or two up his sleeve.
one of the maxims skelton offered prince henry was:
"don't deflower virgins, do not violate widows."

words to live by my friend.
words to live by.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


the two stories of the night are the decline of labour and the bnp winning two seats. a far bit of drivel spoken about both.

no shock that the european elections has proved to be a disastrous night for the labour party. talk about shooting yourself in the foot. thanks to people like ian gibson, who resigned because he didn’t like the way he was treated over his expense (still not to worry his daughter has a flat out of it) or hazel blears, resigning before she was reshuffled. james purnell, resigning in the hope that others would follow him to bring down gordon brown, but they didn’t. or caroline flint, one moment a loyalist, the next moment throwing her rattle out of the pram because she didn’t get the job she wanted.
mostly these seem to be about personality, none of them seem to have come forward with a plan on how to resolve either the expense row or how to steer a course through the economic crisis.
it is true that gordon brown is not the most charismatic of people, but he does seem to be the person who has at least an idea of what to do. if only his party would stop fighting itself.

my favourite comment from the night came right at the death when a tory mep said that if we had a different system then the bnp would not have been voted in.
i am still amazed that so many people can be for democracy but only when it provides the results that we agree with.
over the course of the night on the radio one of the big stories was the potential success of the bnp. lots of stuff about it being a dark night for democracy, various pundits making sure that they got their sound bite on how “depressed” “disgusted” they were that the bnp had polled so many votes. given the tone of the comments you would have thought that we were witnessing an updated version of krystallnacht and that the bnp had stormed the polls, rather than they won two seats. previous experience shows that they will prove to be ineffective in power and they will be out at the next election.
all the thunderous words of condemnation of the talking heads does is make sure that the bnp remain in the public view, that they get a chance to air their opinions, (and i would argue that part of the reason for the success of the bnp in this election was in part down to all the free advertising they got from the media worrying about the bnp benefiting from the expenses fallout.

lost in all of this was the fact that the green party won two seats, and increased their share of the vote, but that is a positive story and that doesn’t sell the news.

if labour does not buck its ideas up then the results are a signpost to their future: the wilderness.

Friday, June 05, 2009


listening to gordon brown giving a press conference about his cabinet shuffle. he has never been seen as the most gifted of speakers, that said you can tell that he is a man who is a man who wants to do a good job, and he believes he has the answers to the problems that face the country.
throughout the press conference he went on about how he wasn't complacent but that he was resolute, yet each time he said it you just got the feeling that even he knows that the end is drawing closer and closer.
that the government is in meltdown was further strengthened by the news during the press conference that one of his ministers, caroline flint, resigned and was pretty scathing in her comments.
whatever happened to loyalty?
whatever happened to working for the public good?
that seems to have deserted the labour party.

i don't want to see gordon brown resign from the job at hand (and during his press conference he said several times that he wasn't going to walk away, almost as if he was a country and western singer) but i do want to see him grab the labour party by the scruff of the neck and take control of labour members of parliament, remind them what is at stake and make sure that they work together to make sure that the conservatives have no chance of winning the next election.
(and if the thought of the conservative party in power is not bad enough, then the thought that we will hear more from eric pickles should be enough to scare us all).

oh and i have a pony as well, just to throw a calvin and hobbes reference in there to lighten the mood.


why on earth are kajagoogoo getting back together?
why on earth are kajagoogoo touring?
does anyone care?
surely this is a sign of the coming apocalypse?

there should be laws against this sort of thing.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


there are times when all you can do is scratch your head and wonder, not quite jaw dropping but almost. my working life was filled with moments like that when the only sane response was: “they did what”?
british politics is going through a head scratching moment that is veering towards the jaw dropping.
there are two major problems that face british government the credit crunch/crisis and the mess that is the expenses of members of parliament. ideologically the conservatives and labour may have differences of opinion on how to steer a course through the economic crisis. so far it seems that labour have more answers than the conservatives. on that basis it is a case of more of the same please when it comes to who runs the country.
the expenses question is one that involves all the main parties working together to create a new clean and transparent system, which also means making sure all the freeloaders are named and shamed. on that basis it seems too sensible not to call an election until the system is cleaned up.
i can understand why the scottish nationalists and plaid cymru are planning to table a commons motion to call for an immediate general election. david cameron’s reasons for agreeing with them are little more than political game playing as he and his team just keep going on about how little authority gordon brown has, while providing little in the way of concrete solutions to the issues of the day.

it is accepted that labour is going to suffer some serious losses in the county and european elections. most of those losses can be laid at the feet of the expense fiasco because voters are giving the party in power a bloody nose.

there is to be a cabinet reshuffle and it was also going to be likely that jacqui smith and hazel blears were going to lose their posts, both chose to resign before they were pushed. this has become gordon brown has lost two of his ministers – it makes for better press that way.
james purnell, who was the secretary of state for work and pensions, has now resigned. in his resignation he calls for gordon brown to stand down in order to give labour a fighting chance to beat cameron and the conservative party in the next general election.
mmm i wonder who is smiling at that resignation letter? oh no need to struggle with the answer it would be david cameron. so now the tories have some meat to their claims of a government in disarray. so thanks very much for that james purnell, thank you for making it even more likely that cameron gets in. thank you james purnell for making sure that the next few weeks are taken up with wittering and twittering among politicians as they plot, scheme and jockey for position. thank you james for making sure that politicians are not focused on the job of running the country but more concerned with internal wrangling.
step forward james and take a bow, you have done the conservative party a great service.

as for you barry sheerman if you want a vote to change the leadership – don’t do it by secret ballot, let us see a show of hands, let us see exactly who we can hold responsible for any changes that take place. if labour mps are too shy to take ownership of their view on who should lead the party then perhaps they should not be voting on it.

the sad part of it all is that all this has done is make sure that we have a conservative government after the next election. i am already dreading it, something else i can thank james purnell for.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


while i am not adverse to a chat and a natter i am not one of life’s most approachable people, i wear a scowl that seems to say “leave me alone, i am not interested”. mostly that is a perfect state of affairs for me. ever so occasionally i get dragged into a conversation with a stranger.
i am not comfortable with this for the simple reason i have never really learnt the art of knowing when a conversation has come to it’s natural end (these days i know by the glazed look of fear in people’s eyes “will he never shut up” they seem to say).

so there i am on sunday walking down brick lane. the weather was too hot for me (expect lots of moans about the heat in the coming days, weeks and months) though i was still cocooned in the happy glow of a decent cup of coffee. there is a part of brick lane that has become a little bazaar where people rock up to sell any old bits and bobs that they have. one chap seemed to have a leather coat for sale. i wasn’t interested in buying it but he had hung it up on the wall and it made for an interesting picture. i asked him if i could take a few snaps of the coat. he said yes. he commented on the camera, we chatted.
it was one of those chats where it wasn’t so much a dialogue but two overlapping monologues that had the appearance of a conversation.

i learnt he was out of work, was a physicist, liked walking, did photography, enjoyed a drink, was involved with a collective of artists, had problems with an ex. all the usual broad strokes you quickly get.
most importantly he provided me with a great quote: “i drink, i fuck, i occasionally shoot photographs”.
on that sunny sunday afternoon it sounded like the perfect advice on how to spend your day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


a lot can be said about the current expense row that is rocking parliament.
one of the things that seems to be lacking is the perfect apology.
thanks to a member of the public i think i have found the right words for the various members who get caught with their hands in the kitty.
now i live in an area that is filled with a lot of lads who put an inordinate amount of effort into maintaining face, they strut and swagger down the street (well some waddle thanks to their low slung jeans) courtesy is not the done thing – it is a sign of weakness. this is especially true when it is the boy racers who are involved. their shiny gleaming cars all sounding like overworked hoovers.
so there i was today minding my own business walking to the shop when two lads in cars have it out because one had impinged on the other.
i miss what the first chap says. luckily i catch what the second says. i say lucky because i think that it is perfect balance of apology, challenge and belief that they did nothing wrong.
so for members of the conservatives, labour and liberal parties i give you the apology you need to use whenever you are confronted by a tax paying member of the public.
“yeah my fault, sorry, fuck you.”

Saturday, May 16, 2009


there is a difference between needing something and wanting something.
i need food, but i want cream cakes.
i need sandals, but i want trainers.
i don't need books, but i want books.
i don't need dvds, but i want dvds.

i am man enough to admit that a lot of it is greed. all of which is complicated by the fact i suffer from collectoritis.

all that said somethings you see and you know that want and need come together in a blinding flash of beautiful obviousness that there is no denying that the object in question should be owned.
i give you the helmet of thor, crikey it is a dream come true. i need it. i want it.

by my troth, but verily tis a lovely thing.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


it was a bright warm day.
sweat came easy. sneezing came easier (no not swine flu, but hay fever).
great relief to see it is supposed to be blowy and rainy all of the coming week.
but i saw that on the daily mail website - so it is unlikely to be true.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


well i didn't win the euro lottery.
guess i will have to get a job or become a member of parliament. (oh such topical humour from me.)

Sunday, May 03, 2009


i am back on the running trail again. like most things these days i just don’t seem to stick at it for very long. i am getting fickle, as i grow older.
i like to run. running is a lot like sex for me: i do it alone, it is a lot of effort for a small pay off and anything like a headache will keep me tucked up in bed.

i like to run when there are few people around so that means either early morning or late at night, for the moment i am running in the morning.
i confess i still long for that rocky moment when i run up the steps dance and punch the air. for the time being i am just settling for making it back to my flat (i should also mention that there are no steps around for me to do the rocky dance, but hope springs eternal).

the big surprise for me has been discovering that most of my favourite albums are not that suitable to run to. when the albums work they keep me running with the occasional burst of singing and air guitar (which must thrill the people who see me).

if i run in the morning it is a great start to the day, invigorating. if i run late at night it is a great way to relax and unwind. when i run i find myself thinking, the thoughts running further and faster than my slow feet, that slap and pound the floor the thoughts slip and slide ninja style.
the run today had me thinking about why are there hidden tracks on cds or easter eggs on dvds? why? why? why? i continued to work out what was the point of danny dyer. still no answer. i came up with a great game for the iphone; sadly as i have no idea how to programme computer games it will go nowhere (but it would have been a great hit). had an idea for an art book. it would be a winner if i could ever get it sorted. more left field was the idea for a watch (to be called the iwatch); it was an odd thought because i don’t wear watches. i wondered why paperback novels have gotten fatter over the years and how wonderful it is to find a novel that is around 200 tightly plotted and well-written pages rather than the overblown 500 pagers that fill the shelves. the thoughts kept coming: just how does david caruso get away with his acting and why is it so addictive? he has developed a minimal version of overacting – it is fantastic. then there are the thoughts of things i need to buy and the things i need to do.
thoughts just tumble and rumble, some roughhousing others out of the way.
i am pretty sure paula radcliffe doesn’t have such thoughts; she is too busy counting the cash she is earning. oh slap me for being cynical.

an unintended consequence of running is that my bowel movements have become that much easier, slipping out like a silk hankie from a pocket. wonderful.

crikey i am already looking forward to the next run.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


i can't help but think that swine flu is no more than a lazy pig phoning the butcher and saying "oink can't come in my nose is running oink cough oink".
media coverage of it is at panic levels that should only be reserved for the confirmed decline of western civilization and not for a few sniffles.
i know we are all looking for things to take our minds off of the credit crunch and the impending conservative government (come on gordon you can pull it around, you can - you just have to believe, oh and cut down on the number of stupid things that happen such as the mcbride smear tactics idea (what were you all thinking?) but i don't think creating an over the top panic is the best way around it.

all that said: remember to catch it, bin it and kill it.

pat's public health message for the day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


it must be great being boris johnson. there you are in a position of power and responsibility and you can make bold statements that you don’t have to make good on because they are outside your purview. (a little like being the leader of the liberal party).

in talking about the various bail-out schemes and fiscal stimulus that the government have initiated in order to get the economy though the current financial crisis boris points out that the debt that has been built up will be paid for by all of us. boris says, "everybody, i am afraid, is going to have to pay that off in much higher taxes all round."
in a sense it is fair that it is that way. after all it is a national situation (well more an international problem) and propping up the banks was necessary so that we can all get on with our lives. the government has intervened to try to protect the market. we all benefit from that; we all suffer if it fails. so we all bear the brunt of it.

except boris doesn’t mean everyone.
indeed some people shouldn’t pay higher taxes.
for boris the new 50% tax for those earning over £150,000 (phew members of parliament are safe then, as long as we don't count their expenses) are a return to the “soak the rich” approach of the 1970s and would harm london. for boris “london is the motor of the uk economically. we need to send out a very positive signal about the enterprise culture we have in london."
in other words the rich shouldn’t be taxed because they might leave and we need them to stay here because they are the ones that power the economy and we all benefit from them. which sort of ignores the fact that these masters of the universe got us into this mess, and that much of the debt we have is due to the government bailing them out.
that doesn’t matter. you have to look after the rich, after all the rest of us benefit from the crumbs that fall from their table, we should be thankful (doff cap).
as the song says:
it's the same the whole world over, 

it's the poor what gets the blame, 

it's the rich what gets the pleasure, 

isn't it a blooming shame?

in sounding his call to the conservative party not to implement the tax rise, but at the same time saying that we will all have to pay, boris johnson is showing us that really the conservatives haven’t really changed and that they are just interested in making sure that their pals in business are looked after. they know that if they don’t they won’t have a directorship to go into when they leave politics.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


had a bit of a break from here. it has turned out to be much longer than i thought it would be.
one of the problems of the post employment state is the complete loss of any timeframe.
would like to say my batteries are recharged and i am flowing with creative juice (just bubbling with coffee i am afriad) but i am back to wow and thrill, to entertain and educate, to tell tales of wonder and spin stories of flatulence (which is next to flaunt in my dictionary which proves it is fine to let one go in public. really. honest).
in short it is business as usual.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


being taxed is a necessary evil, eating twix is one of life’s joys.
it seems (and you may have heard this) that people are getting fatter. a day doesn’t go by without a new scare story about foods that are bad for us, about how we are all getting bigger and fatter. except catwalk models who are getting thinner and thinner – so who on earth are buying the clothes they model? perhaps the fatties buy two to make a large one?
even as we are told about the dangers of getting fat we are given excuses. some say that having to think to hard to do your job causes people to eat more. some say that having fat friends stops you from losing weight. some say that there is an addictive gene and we can’t help scoffing. some say it is the sedentary lifestyle of modern man. it is due to affluence (and a few have pointed out that the current financial crisis will be good for people’s health – strangely those that have said that seem to be the ones who are least affected by the crisis. still we will have the last laugh we will be lean fighting machines and they will be dead of heart attacks).

now chocolate is to blame for our ever expanding girth (in my case it is the sensual fresh cream apple turnovers that sainsburys do. i am addicted to them), while other fat foods have been named and shamed chocolate has done a commando raid under the radar and turned us into fat prisoners in the weight war.
the solution? tax chocolate. yes dr. david walker believes that the rock road (copyright ben & jerry’s) to defeating obesity starts with a chocolate tax. cut down the amount of choc scoffed and you will start to shrink the waistlines of the nation. yay dr. walker.
unfortunately the good doctor was voted down at a british medical association meeting. unsurprisingly a spokesman for the ‘food and drink federation’ was against the idea claiming that not only would it be a bureaucratic nightmare, but also there is no proof it would work. let us not forget that this is the industry they responded to the ‘king size’ bar furore by replacing the larger bars with duo packs, because we know that you are going to save that other bar until later. no doubt the food and drink federation would also be against labelling food according to the fat content, so that consumers could make informed choices.
still i think he is right that a tax wouldn’t work – you just have to look at the consumption of booze and fags, both heavily taxed and both heavily consumed.
that said the idea that supermarkets might do a 18 bars of twix for the price of 6 like they do with beer is a tempting one, that newsagents might have a revels happy hour would be nice. though all those binge mars bar eaters who would hang around the street just after teatime would be a nuisance.

when it comes right down to it though the solution to the spread of obesity is going to be a mixture of measures from education to encouraging people to exercise and all the stops in between. a good place to start would be to get rid of all the celebrity chefs, not because they use chocolate but because i don’t like them.

right now what did i do with that yorkie bar?

Thursday, March 05, 2009


it is an odd fact about me that much of the music i like can be described as loud and being just noise.
it is only on odd occasions that i inflict it on other people. i still have fond memories of irritating a whole warehouse by playing them some diamanda galas. i thought it was only fair as they had subjected me to the craig and terry house tape wiiiiiicked mix.

the modern world has created many problems for the individual. some small, some large. one of the ones that really annoys me is that it is almost impossible to escape other people's noise. in the streets there are cars chug along with their stereos pounding. on the bus there will be someone with an irritating tinny mp3 tune playing on their mobile phone, if it is not music then they are just talking very loudly into the phone, all concept of the private lost. on the tube it is someone with their mp3 player blaring out damaging their ears and annoying everyone else. (i might be a little more tolerant of it if they all listened to decent music. they don't it is just a collection of shit urban tunes that all sound the same.)
imagine how happy when i read about the ipod jacket. my heart sank. now people can wear their speakers on their shoulders. fantastic there will be no escaping the shite sounds of the city.
the future is noisy.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


i enjoyed listening to gordon brown’s speech to the american congress. it was a sensible mix of praise of america (as one commentator pointed out not only is it polite to big up the host country, but the americans expect it) and hardheaded realisation of the problems that face the uk, america and the world.
interestingly while gordon brown was very keen to push the special relationship (which more and more seems to be a one way special relationship, except when america needs an ally in war) he was also quick to point out that america now has the chance to work with the most pro-american europe there has been.
no one really expects much more than pretty words at such speeches, it is not about laying down hard policy it is about rallying the troops.
well no one that is other than the gordon brown haters. he really is on a hiding to nothing. it is his fault that there is a financial crisis, even though it seems to be happening across the globe, he is wrong to try to stimulate the economy even though all other governments are doing something similar.
people just don’t like him; you can see that on the bbc messageboards, where pretty much to a man they hate him. it is ironic that there is so much negative comment about mr. brown on the bbc as it is seen as being the lapdog of new labour.
still never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


there i was out for a walk. i needed it as i had a mild headache that was threatening to turn into a big arsed throbbing one. out i went. then it rained and it was very windy. it was the last few days of winter coming out to play just to annoy me. a little into the walk i realised that i was wearing a pair of trainers that had a hole in the sole. ooops. soggy sock time.
headache averted.
now i just have to hope there is not a case of manful on the horizon.

the case of damp foot could not dampen (see what i did there?) the silly pleasure in thinking through my brand new blog. an announcement on it will follow soon. i know you are already excited, it will be as anticipated as the new cannon and ball film, not to mention as funny and as relevant.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


still recovering from my almost brush with fame.
though my rant was denied, i now have the taste for it. soon, sometime soon i will be on the stephen nolan show.
here me roar.

(i am now officially sad, at this rate i will be applying to appear on reality tv shows).

Saturday, February 28, 2009


i do spend a lot of time listening to the radio. i spend part of that time shouting at the radio, more often than not i am shouting at the stephen nolan show on radio 5. there is something about his delivery that brings out the worst in me, he plays the devil's advocate a little too well.
i have been known to send off a badly written ill-conceived email to the nolan show (and several other shows).
tonight they were going on about mickey mouse degrees which came about because of a comment by chris woodhead. universities are not servicing their students properly and that some degrees are just a waste of money surfing and media studies degrees were cited as proof of this.
i sent of a quick email, basically i asked why is it that a surfing degree is seen as being a waste of time and impractical but one in classical literature is not? email goes off. i get a reply requesting my mobile number. i give it. then i go back to listening to the boxing on the radio.
i get a call. they ask me why i sent the email. i say that the argument seems to come down to a case of intellectual snobbery on the part of mr. woodhead, i continued that you have more chance of getting a job and doing something practical with a surfing degree than with a classical language degree. the real difference is that cambridge and oxford offer classical language degrees and therefore they are seen as being valid. i also pointed out that chris woodhead also has an agenda as someone who is at the head of a group of independent schools he is interested in making sure that his students get into university and that the degrees they get are are seen as being worthwhile and an easy way to do that is to try to persuade others not to go to university.
the researcher who called me seemed interested in what i had to say.
could he call me back and put me on the show.
sure i said.
not sure when he tells me because of the boxing.
sadly the boxing went much longer than expected and i didn't called.
so the nation didn't get to hear my views, they were not able to be wowed by my cogent argument.
the nation was robbed and they were robbed by a poor performance by james degale.

i could have been a contender.

Friday, February 27, 2009


harriet harman, jack straw and the rest of you just stop. stop now and think about what you are doing.
now is not the time to be jockeying for position to lead the labour party. now is the time to stand full square with gordon brown to chart a course out of the financial crisis that the country is in.
now is not a time for infighting, now is the for unity.
all that this speculation is doing is playing into the hands of the conservatives. now they don't have to describe their policies they just have to point to the high profile labour dissenters and say "see."

so the time has come to shut up and get on with the work of helping the country get through this recession.

the final words go to hazel blears:
"My message to my colleagues is simple: get a grip. Our first loyalty is to the British people. If they think we are more interested in our own jobs than theirs, they will not forgive us."

too right (oh ok the last words went to me).