Nov 22, 2005

Two reasons to love the internet.

Having been savagely castigated for semantic navel gazing over at the kitchen, a charge I will rebut when this ridiculously heavy week is looking a little thinner, I'll keep this one short and simple.

First go here, (thanks to bookdrunk):

Fifteen per cent of folks will rightly consider a vagina open to all comers if a woman has put it about a bit. Where is the tipping point between "allowed to say no" and "vagina = public property"? Is it five partners? Ten?

Then off to here, (courtesy of you know who):

This is obviously a lose-lose situation. You’re going to get burned and you’re going to get the shit beaten out of you . . . but there must be a good way to handle a simultaneous fire and lead-pipe attack in prison.

Indeed there must...

Nov 19, 2005

Guess Who?

A brief game of Guess Who?
[Tony Blair and his colleagues] take decisions based on market research or focus groups or the papers produced by political advisers or civil servants, none of whom will have ever experienced what it is they are taking decisions about.
Him maybe, or him? Maybe even them?

I'll go on, shall I?
After my speech the president detached himself from the group of appalling old waxworks who accompanied him and took his place at the lectern. He then gave a kind of 'propaganda' speech which was loudly cheered by the bussed-in party faithful at the suitable moment in the text.
Any ideas?

Ok. Time's up.

A Gold Star (or maybe an MBE) for anyone who guessed him. (via. here)

Anyone want to join me in the campaign for

We'll make something useful out of this archaic chattel of a family yet.

Not exactly BT

Welcome to the Global Village.

*a phone rings*

"Hello, you're through to orange, how may I help you?"
"Oh I was wondering if I could attach a... hang on..."
"What you doing son?"
"I'm working mum."
"For orange?"
"Yes mum."
"Oh... So will you be back for tea?"
"Why not son?"
"Mum, I'm on my gap year."
"I'm in India mum."
"But... you're on the telephone."
"I know mum"
"Yes mum."


"Can I top you up?"

As Bob Hoskins once annoyingly said, it's good to talk.

Nov 16, 2005

cinema needs you

I live quite literally round the corner from one of the most beautiful cinema's in the country, The Cameo Cinema in Edinburgh.

Now some emotionally and historically retarded property developer wants to tear to pieces this magnificent and nigh on one hundred year old main auditorium and turn it into another fucking awful bar, stripping this beautiful room of its history and its purpose and reducing it to warehouse for cheap booze and cheaper conversation.

This cinema is one of the last bastions of the glorious heart of film. Stepping inside fills you with the magnificent spirit of awe and excitement that flooded every aspect of the art. In this room you are closer than you can be anywhere else to Chaplin and Bogart and Hepburn and every wide eyed cinema lover who has gripped the arm rests with anticipation from 1914 right up to this present day. This room is cinema. And they want to destroy it. This cannot happen.

If you're from Edinburgh go to the save the cameo website and do everything you can from there.

If you're from elsewhere take bookdrunk's advice and do the following:

The other route - particularly if you live outside the city centre of Edinburgh - is to contact Historic Scotland and to urge them to consider protected status for the premises, which would prevent major alterations - such as an enormous bar where there used to be a cinema screen. Email

We cannot allow this shameless cultural vandalism to take place in a building of such importance to the history to the history both of Edinburgh and of the greatest art form of the twentieth century. This cinema is a breathtaking monument to century of film that can still miraculously be enjoyed in the way it was orginally intended. For now at least...


Terrorists do not exist.

There can be no such thing.

Since Malatesta terror has been a strategy used in the intimidation of governments and people.

It is our aspiration and our aim that everyone should become socially conscious and effective; but to achieve this end, it is necessary to provide all with the means of life and for development, and it is therefore necessary to destroy with violence, since one cannot do otherwise, the violence which denies these means to the workers.

Terror is used as means to an end. Device by which to show both your power and the weakness of governments. A device to raise awareness of your plight and to flock people to your banner. A means by which to show corruption and repression. A catalyst for widespread social disruption or a means to specific tactical end.

In the last two hundred years, across the world for an almost infinite number of political aims, terror has been used as an insurrectional strategy.

It is a path, a tool, a device, a method. It is not an end in itself.

There is no shared set of terrorist beliefs. There is no shared terrorist mentality. The anonymity of the practioner of terror is one of his/her strongest weapons.

To use the moniker 'Terrorist' is, I believe, to fall into a syntactical trap. A linguistic land mine set by hegemonic authority.

'Terrorist' is a term scarred with two centuries of association with 'evil'. From Robespierre, through the archetypal bomb-wielding wild-eyed anarchist and on into the era of international terrorism and the blinkered beardy fundamentalist, 'terrorist' conjures up a warehouse full of dangerous associations with anarchy, madness and brutality that can be wielded by authority like the medieval branding iron.

Terrorist is too big a word now. It subsumes meaning, swallows it whole and leaves only images and threats behind. Thus in using the word we become suckered into exactly the kind of non-thinking that authorities desire. In the popular imagination, terrorists become characters in themselves and their terror becomes its own end. We become blinkered to the root causes of such violence.

In branding as terrorist no further explanation is required as to their actions. They are terrorists therefore they carry out terrorism.

Terrorism always has an end. When a group is not readily given the label terrorists there intentions are readily known; Malcom X or the ANC or Striking miners who dropped fridges off flyovers all used terrorism to achieve ends far more well known than the acts they committed.

To call Hamas or Al Quieda or Sendero Luminoso freedom or resistance fighters is not to support them. This is blinkered ignorance. Freedom is not objective fact. It is a subjective state of being. And these people are fighting for what they see as freedom. That does not mean that one has to support them in this, especially when their conception of freedom runs contradictory to universal human rights and personal well-being. But at least it means there is some level of discourse surrounding the causes of such action.

If we assume they are terrorists, therefore they shall cause terror regardless, the position is self-deafeating and inevitably the only possible course of action is direct and violent opposition (we must have 90 days of detention and we must invade every threatening country because there is no alternative when dealing with terrorists - practioners of terror in the same way a dress-maker always makes dresses). Terrorists are terrorists because they are terrorists, and governments are never questionned, either for the causes or the consequences of the presence of such groups, and we quickly find ourselves goosestepping towards an unpleasant future.

We must defy such simplistic use of language.

When you say terrorist you are not calling a spade a spade, you are simply avoiding the issue of why the man is digging the whole in the first place.

Nov 14, 2005

A little tirade

Children in Need soon.


There are few sites more repulsive than a well fed (or indeed, in the case of most acresses and models, horrifically underfed) celebrity sweeping serenely through a wasteland of poverty, famine, disease and war, staring earnestly to camera and imploring us to give our money to help these people.

In itself I do not object to such acts of charity.

Charity itself I object to as a liberal salve, a few measely crumbs thrown from the carriage to the horses; always just enough to keep them heaving onwards. But it is a necessary evil. Pragmatism must win out.

I object to the people. The vile, pampered, patronising celebrities and the shameless, blindly hypocritical bile that they spew out to camera on cue whenever someone points a malnourished Romanian in their direction.

Even more disgusting is when they air drop a black celebrity into Africa, or an Asian celebrity into Pakistan, and they squeal emotionally as if there is some deeper racial connection based on the irrelevant and arbitrary similarity in their pigmentation.

If a generation of freed slaves who returned to Africa, to their 'spiritual home', found the continent a vast alienating unknown, what the flaming fuck does Lenny Henry think he knows about that the place? His blackness doesn't give him any better idea about what its like to walk 10 miles to get water than the ignorant white fucker they would have sent in his place.

Its performance. Superficiality.

He looks like them and that's enough. Because these people are never there long enough to know what they're talking about. So it's theatre. And that is repulsive.

Do these people think their personal wealth exists entirely in isolation to the poverty they see around them? Do they not realise that the twenty million dollars they claimed for their last film was not plucked, note by note, from the studio exec's ass? That (all the complexities of finance considered) almost every you penny you make is a penny taken from somewhere else?

How do you sit amongst huts made of straw and justify even one mansion, let alone three? How do you justify the decadence of that life? To live so far beyond what is necessary, to live so far beyond what is even luxury while explaining that people are starving. A gutteral rage starts bubbling in me just thinking about it.

When it comes down to it, there's no way you can justify such hypocrisy in a manner that shows genuine care for the people you are pleading for.

Acting/singing/being at parties is not hard. Ive done it and yes the hours can be long but it's easy as fuck. Bill Murray can be filmed doing nothing but staring at camera and be considered a master. Admittedly he at least has enough sense to consider this embarassing.

You begin as an unknown, arbitrarily get a couple of memorable roles/songs and you've got it made. Gravitas is guaranteed by longevity. Even if you're embarassingly awful you will eventually come back into fashion.

There is no balance. Talent and toil do not equal success. Success is the product of an abritrary series of fortunate events that you happened to be at the sharp end of. And as plaudits and money compete to rain on you harder, you invariably will be forced to question this.

And as far as I can see you have three options. You can believe your own hype. You can ignore any pangs of conscience and drown yourself in hedonism. Or you can relieve that guilty imbalance by 'giving something back'.

The last is by far the safest option. Shuffle a about 2% of your obscene wealth into a charity, take a couple of days out a month (or a year) to be shot touching sick kids or wandering through a deserted village and suddenly you feel a lot better about yourself. You are using your fortunate position to help the needy.

Except you're not. You're running 10 paces forward and skipping back an inch. You might as well wait till the camera's finished rolling and take a couple of the smaller one's out yourself. You, individually a still an obscene, grotesque bulging locus of wealth that at the end of the line ends up draining out of this barren wasteland you're standing in.

The real benefitiary of such charity are the celebrities themselves. Sleeping a little easier in their very large beds.

Nov 11, 2005

10 Reasons why Shakespeare in Love is not as good as Die Hard.

1. No one in die hard makes pseudo-intellectual references to generic pop-culture shakespeare knowledge in order to make americans feel smarter.

2. No one blows up a building in shakespeare in love.

3. At no point does Joseph Fiennes say 'yippee ki ay mother fucker' while throwing juliet down a lift shaft.

4. There is no Christmas in Renaissance England. this is objective FACT.

5. Bruce Willis is not married to the most talentless nob jockey ever to grace music ever.

5. Bruce Willis didn't name his kids after fruit.

6. Shakespeare in Love trivialises the complex gendered social and political issues that make up Shakespeare's theatre and reduces it to a spontaneous outpouring of love that even the romantic poets would be ashamed of, and in doing so subjects us to another 30 years of talking about Romeo and Juliet in the same way people talk about Dawson's Creek. "umm... yeah. i think Romeo is really sad...cos like he's in love and she's like dead."

7. Jospeh Fiennes doesn't kill Colin firth by throwing him down a flight of stairs and then stealing his shoes.

8. Alan Rickman is amazing.

9.. When Bruce Willis had to crawl across broken glass and then talk to the fat policeman on the phone it made me cry.

10. There are no Evil Germans in Shakespeare in Love.