Thursday, September 30, 2004

And more reasons to be miserable....

From yesterday's Guardian diary. Why do we worry about the state of the country - indeed, the world, again? Hmmm... Anyway, here you go:

"Meanwhile, the hunting debate remains the most elevating exchange of views in British politics, with yesterday in Brighton its glorious fulcrum. On the one hand, pro-hunt campaigners made some still obscure intellectual point by dumping four animal carcasses in Brighton city centre. And on the other, conference organisers banned the League Against Cruel Sports from selling their fox glove puppets, apparently out of concern that delegates might have waved them too excitedly during Blair's speech. Such class!
By the way, if anyone's wondering where the real debate's taking place, it appears to be on Five's reality TV show, The Farm. The programme's first night yielded a heated discussion between the various celebrity contestants about racism. The second featured a debate over the Iraq hostage crisis, which resulted in diminutive magician Paul Daniels squaring up to the profoundly imbecilic former US rapper, Vanilla Ice. Paul Daniels has now left the show. Anyway, if you're inspired by the fact these arguments are being rehearsed on reality TV - by the former Every Second Counts presenter and a man once spotted reading Smash Hits with his finger - while Brighton rocks to the sound of glove puppets fighting it out with animal corpses, why not give the Diary a call? We want to hear from you."

Marvellous - thank you, Marina Hyde. At least it's not just me...

A treacherous, murderous, hypocritical liar...

OK - quiz time. To whom does the subject above refer?
a) Wayne Rooney;
b) Bryan McFadden;
c) Mr Tony Blair;
d) All of the above.

Well, I'd like to say (d), but lets narrow this down to one person. I'm not going to talk about the coke-addled, talentless, moronic, publicity hungry media whore, who's simply trying to get his grubby little mitts on as much money as possible before fames fickle spotlight shines on someone else. And I won't talk about Bryan McFadden, either.
No, Mr Tony. It's back to him.
He seems to have removed the word "sorry" from his speech yesterday. Apparently he doesn't believe he has anything to apologise for. So, let's see. Lying to the country. Leading it into war over the lies. Massacring several thousand Iraqis, after a 10-year bombing campaign against their country. And then there's the lining his own pockets with the money of rich people for whom he abuses his position to do favours (I believe in past times it was called bribery). Accepting gifts - holidays, for example - from people who want his influence. But no - those last items have become features of modern politics that no one would ever apologise for - the very idea of it didn't pass through his tiny mind. But Iraq - the fact that the word "sorry" was expunged from his speech says all you need to know about his arrogance and unsuitability for leadership. - go on, you know you want to...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Most illuminating

Who says there's nothing on telly these days? Well, I do, quite a lot, but ignore me. Tonight has been a televisual feast. I sat down at 10.00, to watch "Britain's Hardest Seaside Resorts" (I mean, come on - pubs, I can understand. There are fights and some of them can be rough, but seaside resorts? Old ladies and candyfloss? Thus, I searched for enlightenment) but sadly missed it, thanks to the announcer telling me that on the other channel was a programme about the Illuminati. Fantastic. Sod the seaside resorts - nutters with paranoid conspiracy theories, that's what we need.
A spot of background, for those who don't know - the Illuminati were a German secret society, set up in the late 18th Century, with an agenda of anti-monarchical republicanism, enlightenment and knowledge, and a vague anti-clerical stance. Sound good, don't they? Sadly, they were suppressed, and the movement died out after only a few years.
Anyway, the programme was entertaining enough, and hosted by a mildly amusing (albeit sub-Jon Ronson) silly bloke, who pandered to the loons, whilst subtly taking the piss (I did like his comment to the man with the megaphone, shouting anti-illuminati messages outside the house of the Governor of Texas - "I hope he's in...").
However, the question that was begging to be asked never was - that, assuming the conspiracy theorists were correct in their assumptions of the "goal" of the Illuminati - complete domination of the world, and also that they were correct in their assertions that they had controlled all aspects of the world (wars, economies, etc) for several hundred years, what exactly were they striving for that they didn't already have?
Hmmm. Never mind. I'm sure someone could have answered in a way that makes sense within their weird world-view.
But I still do need to find out what is Britain's hardest seaside resort. And what next - Britain's hardest bingo hall? Britain's hardest flower-arranging guild? The public must be informed. Lord Reith would have demanded nothing less...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Just one question...

Who the fuck are Bryan and Kerry McFadden? Really?
No - let's make that two questions - why should I care?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Death and taxes

In the course of putting off filing my tax returns (I don't know why. It's hardly difficult) thoughts wander to other things. Other inevitabilities. And so - how can I start planning my funeral? Is there some way I can do it in advance? Specify a non-religious memorial service (the very word "service" seems innately linked to religious ceremony. Have things reached a critical mass?) Ensure that people sing the songs I want (in particular "The Red Flag" and "The Internationale" - as much to annoy my relatives as anything else). And, as the coffin enters the ground/furnace/whatever, the strains of AC/DCs "Highway to Hell" kick off - well, I like the idea...
Or a more organic burial, wrapped in a cloth, in the woods somewhere - seems nice. Still want the music, though.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Is there a sexier rock star than Kristin Hersh?

I'm not even sure I should be writing this. It could be misconstrued as some sort of Loaded-esque "Phwoar - look at the tits on her" type thing. Or, indeed, it could be seen as detracting from her music - some of the most powerful, poignant and great in all of modern pop, as opposed to the sort of crap that relies on being performed by pretty, plastic non-entities for anyone to listen to it. But having just come back from watching her latest band, 50 Foot Wave, I feel I have to say that Kristin Hersh is truly amazing. I don't know what it is. Clearly she's intelligent, funny, and writes great songs. She's attractive and slightly off-kilter. But there are other women like that in music - Katy Carr, Paul The Girl, Rosalie Deighton, Thea Gilmore (all of who you should see, and listen to. Fantastic musicians, fantastic performers all), but none of them have quite the same effect on me. I think it's the voice. How a small woman (and she is small) can have such a powerful voice is beyond me. It's possibly more noticeable when she plays acoustic sets - but, even tonight, with a loud band belting out powerful rock riffs, she was truly astounding.
Kristin - will you marry me? No, obviously you won't. Oh well, never mind.


We have a Prime Minister who, it seems, has deliberately lied to parliament, over the necessity of waging war against another country, who has appointed friends and cronies to senior positions, used his influence to prevent these people, and indeed himself, from being investigated whenever anything untoward seemed to be taking place, and has lined his own pockets, and those of his friends, through using his influence and power to gain advantage for a lot of very rich men.
Finally, though, people are beginning to take notice. sets forth the arguments for impeaching the Prime Minister. At the very least, you should read it.

Astrology, religion, bad journalism

An article in today's Guardian seemed to be contemplating whether religion had been usurped (ah, there's a word, eh? Usurped. Penelope's suitors usurp Telemachus, Claudius usurps Hamlet, Buck Mulligan usurps Stephen Dedalus, astrology usurps religion) by the star-crossed seers. The basis for this pointless navel-gazing comes from a survey, seeming to say that two-thirds of people believe in astrology, whilst only one third believe the bible to be true.
In some bizarre abuse of statistics, the author then goes on to imply that these are two distinct groups. To my mind, they're likely to have significant overlap - anyone who believes the bible to be the work of god is likely to lack sufficient critical-thinking skills as to believe that stars determine one's destiny. And vice-versa. And if they were distinct, there'd be very little elbow room for the likes of me, who thinks they're both rather silly. The point of the article is really rather irrelevant - who cares about the internecine squabbling of various superstitions, but once again, the lack of understanding of basic maths is a telling feature. Will they ever learn?

Saturday, September 18, 2004

unspeakable, uneatable, yah-de-yah

So, following on from the man dressed up as batman to promote the "Fathers for the right to beat up their wives and still have access to their kids" movement (or whatever it's called, I forget) comes the invasion of parliament by the landed aristocracy. What the fuck for, don't they own the country already? No, hang on, the industrial revolution handed it over to the capitalist class. Nonetheless, they arrived, no-chins, gene-pool diminished through centuries of in-breeding, in order to demand their right to gain some sort of sexual kicks by watching a small animal get ripped to shreds.
"Protect the rights of minorities", they yelped. Wonder how many of them went on the gay pride demo to protect the rights of that particular minority. Wonder if there's a tradition of "toff-bashing" - beat the shit out of someone simply because they enjoy drinking Bollinger, eating caviar and ripping foxes to pieces. Nah, don't think so - not a particularly dangerous minority to be a member of.
And for those of you who don't believe this is a class issue, why is it that the "working class" bloodsports - dog fighting, cock fighting (no, no, no, it's with male chickens, you disgusting reprobate) etc are all banned, but the one which requires you to own a troop of horses, a pack of dogs and several hundred acres of countryside is still permitted.
And, having got that out of my system, I can stop for the evening...

Friday, September 17, 2004

televisual feasts

Mind, Body and Kick Ass Moves. Yeah!
BBC3. That quality channel. For those of you who have digital.
Presented by some amiable Brummie martial artist, who wanders around the world meeting other martial arts expert. OK, so to my mind, he's a little too non-sceptical about "chi" - when I studied a martial art, a few years ago, I bought a magazine called "Combat" for a while, until it got too heavily into writing bollocks about this (and feng-bloody-shui, I mean, really...) so tend to get a bit irritated by it at the best of times. Nonetheless, the programme is still worth watching. He has enough good humour, interest in the subject, martial-arts ability and general charm to make him a good host.
Although the "Iron Penis" technique was, frankly, disturbing...

Liffey and soul

Ah. It seems I've not written anything here for a while. Not that anyone's really noticed. Ho hum.
Anyway, what's happened? Well, I've been confused by Leopold Bloom (which, I suppose, is a step up from being confused by Orlando Bloom. But only a small one), Mr Tony's been lining his pockets with more money whilst appointing his friends to government positions, and George Dubya is taking a large lead in the US presidential elections. Oh good. Because we all hate life, right?
But what's fucked me off to an unreasonable degree, more than most other things, is the new National Lottery advert. OK, so the lottery itself is a disgraceful farce. A tax on the dreams of people with little hope. Or great stupidity. But nonetheless, what's possibly even more galling is the woman on the advert who says "in the lottery of life, your chances are improved 100% if you take part". So the leap from zero to some non-zero number is a leap of a hundred fucking percent? Is this a deliberate attempt to lower mathematical standards? If people know some maths, they realise they're not going to win the lottery, and they'd be best off spending their money on the horses, if they want to gamble, or just binge drinking and pissing it up the wall, so, to counter this, they try to appeal to ignorance.
For fuck's sake.
And I also saw some "diet" crisps that the shop-keeper had advertised as "less than 10% fat-free". But that's another story.