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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.)