29 Jul 2011

Miserable Lie

When The Smiths took indie rock by storm in the mid 80s I was one of thousands of fans who loved their music, and found Stephen Patrick Morrissey's lyrics witty and intelligent.

I am sad to say that since the demise of the band Morrissey's personality has become more and more self-obsessed and narcissistic to the point where every utterance from the increasingly isolated former icon's mouth merely shows him up to be, as he would have said all those years ago to be "Half A Person", and that's being generous.

His latest ill-considered piece of spotlight hunting had him saying to his equally deluded fans from a Warsaw stage that he thought the tragic deaths in Norway were less than equivalent of animal slaughter for fast food. Turn away now if you're already feeling queasy...

“We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried sh*t every day.”

Jaysus Christ on a bike! If Morrissey had a shred of decency or humanity in his bloated crypto-fascist body he would realise that making such a comparison is wrong on so many levels, and idiotically simplistic to boot. One of these days these desperate attempts to drag himself back from artistic irrelevance will backfire spectacularly, if this isn't that instance as it fully deserves to be.

Morrissey has since tried to justify his nasty rhetoric, but I won't bore you with that. Read about it here if you have to.

A Facebook friend highlighted Morrissey's idiocy followed by a suitable put-down and after over thirty replies, some of which included rambling non-sensical justification for their hero's drivel, sensibly deleted the thread after this piece of crap:

"100,000s have been died at the hands of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, many innocent of any crime and some who's only crime was to defend the sovereignty of their nation. We spare them no thought, even praise the work of "our boys and girls over there" as if it's all a big game. A few dozen white people die and suddenly we're all treading on egg shells." 

Talk about missing the point, this man is so far off he's on another planet entirely. Connecting the Norway tragedy to any other moral outrage is as irrelevant as it is tenuous. Yes you may well be right about our wars in hot dusty places, but right now the comparison is crass and stupid. Think about the families of all those who died in Norway before you go off on a moral outrage trip, please!

I shall withhold the guy's name to protect the "hit keyboard before engaging brain". If this was a piece of trolling then it sure got me going, but from its tone it seems to be serious. Un-fuckin'-believable.

22 Jul 2011

Fear Of Music

Torchwood - an anagram of Doctor Who or utter bollocks? Or both?

There's 5 dogs in there somewhere...
About six months ago a new resident arrived on our street, a scruffy woman who has the appearance of a Bag Lady who has come into enough money to buy a house, and luckily for us she chose one two down from chez nous. With her came a number of dogs, at first thought to number three or four, but later confirmed as five. Almost as soon as she arrived with her own kennel club, said mutts were climbing over the fence and mucking about in neighbouring gardens. D, who has the misfortune to live next door to Bag Lady frequently found her mutts in his garden, who it seems were pretty much allowed to wander about untended whenever she was away from the house. Although not a problem to us, D & my neighbour had to put up with garden invasion and incessant barking as soon as one of the pack heard one of us in our gardens. Although fences have been strengthened since, and garden invasion is no longer a problem, one mutt in particular who looks like some kind of poodle/hound cross is frequently to be seen wandering about in the road outside. When asked about this Bag Lady's response is "Oh, he'll come back" and then to continue her conversation with a friend stood in her doorway. She won't get any sympathy when it gets run over, I'll tell you.

Bag Lady's lackadaisical attitude was in evidence again recently when she held a party for some young kids in her back garden. They camped in the garden overnight, and again, we were not disturbed, but L who has D between him and Bag Lady said they were kept awake by the noisy little blighters until 4 in the morning. Obviously Bag Lady had just left them to it, and probably sleeping in the front of the house did not hear the cacophony from her garden.

I hope her lazy outlook on life is not reflected in her personal hygiene!

The impatience of some car drivers is well known and illustrated yet again the other day. Approaching a young woman crossing a road, admittedly at a fashionable dawdle, a middle aged bloke in some kind of sports car of the type Clarkson and co would describe as being favoured by "cocks", doing no more than 5 mph decides to parp his horn loudly as he got close to her. Jeez, it's not as if he didn't see her and making her move a tad faster would have saved him all of 3 seconds. Fair play to the woman, she ignored him completely, which made him even angrier. Catching my eye he glowered at me as I looked straight back at him slowly shaking my head. He took off from the junction with a roar and a tyre squeal. Clarkson is right, his kind are indeed "cocks".

I am used to Phill's missus regaling me with tales of woe regarding the over-stretched HM Revenue & Customs staff and the ludicrous management dictats they have to put up with, but this takes the biscuit. Due to a tax worker's tiredness (Friday post-lunch perchance?) a client of mine had her limited company accidentally liquidated. This could have had serious consequences were it not spotted early, both by me and the client. The tax worker admitted that he had erroneously got my client's company name mixed up with a similar sounding company that was in liquidation and in his "tiredness" accidentally attached the two sets of records together. Sad but true.

It's our annual family BBQ on Sunday and so far, touch laminated chipboard (can't afford wood furniture these days), the weather forecast is looking quite good. Watch while I feign ignorance and let Robert take over the BBQ (I'm buggered if he reads this!)

Aggressive begging is a thing that I thought only happened in documentaries, but I was a target for it the other day. My view on begging is never give them anything, for although this country is broke, there is still a safety net, stretched to breaking point as it may be. No-one need starve here, they can just go without Diamond White instead. And they make the place look untidy.

Anyway, I was walking home the other day when a slightly deranged looking young guy mumbled something incoherent as I passed him in the street. As is my policy I ignored him and walked on. Next thing I know he's shouting at me "Oi, I'm fuckin' talkin' to you". Idiot that I am, I turned round. Once he got my attention he started a rambling nonsensical diatribe that possibly included drivel about me going home to feed the wife and baby, or maybe his wife and baby, I couldn't tell. He wasn't drunk, and didn't look stoned, and although his teeth all seemed to be pointing in different directions I just think he was a maybe a Murdoch or two short of an obfuscation of liars. After a couple of minutes of this crap I told him "Cut the bullshit, you want money, right?" "Er yeah, can I have 40p?" he mumbled. I almost laughed. All that for 40p? Have some ambition, man. "No, you can fuck off" I replied, turned and walked off, instantly regretting it as although he wasn't a big bloke, he was definitely a bit mad. As I walked away I could hear a stream of half-hearted abuse being shouted at me, which quickly petered away. I looked round and he was already talking to his next victim/punter.

You may think my views on begging a bit harsh, but face it, if you give these pests money what are they going to spend it on? A nice cheese roll and a tub of macro-biotic yoghurt? No, I don't think so either!

Some of you may know I do a music blog, and a few weeks ago I did a brief line about Steven Wilson (he of prog rock kings Porcupine Tree for the uninitiated) and his soon come new solo album Grace For Drowning, and included a video clip from his website. On Blogger one is able to see where traffic coming to your blog has come from, and this piece has had hundreds of hits directed from file sharing sites in the vain and frankly idiotic hope that I have uploaded an album that hasn't even been finished yet. Prescience is a great thing, but unfortunately I am not yet privy to time travel.

That's all folks, such is the exciting life I lead. In the words of David Byrne "Heaven...heaven is a place...a place where nothing...nothing ever happens", ergo Shoesville must be Heaven! Aren't I a lucky boy?

8 Jul 2011

Notting Hill 2 (og, Grant) - Wapping 0

Did anyone see Hugh Grant on Question Time last night? What a fella! He's certainly gone up in my estimation, and is anything but the wet liberal wine quaffing proto-toff he comes across as in his films. Within seconds of the program starting he was off, rightly describing News International's decision to axe NotW as "A cynical managerial manoeuvre which has put several hundred...(innocent) not editorial staff out of work...(while keeping) the editor while Milly Dowler was hacked in a job". Mrs Brooks'  position is looking increasingly untenable and by the time I publish this she may well have gone, and good riddance.

Moving on to Cameron's stooge on the panel Chris Grayling's refusal to say how the enquiry into the sordid goings on at NotW would be set up, Hugh said that he "smells a rat" in that "Cameron is still thinking "do I stay in bed with Murdoch or do I cut him loose...and finally become my own man"...he's squirming" And for balance he also laid into Labour's Douglas Alexander, agreeing with him that the whole thing is obscene, etc, etc "but is not a fact that you (Alexander) were at Rupert Murdoch's party (full of Westminster politicos by all accounts) a few weeks ago?" He later interrupted a spat between Grayling and Alexander with "..you're  quarreling over who was the most in bed with Murdoch, I would say it seems a pretty even match to me".

Commenting on the fear in which Murdoch is held by UK politicians, Grant made a link between the then Mrs Ross Kemp's confessional gaffe before a Select Committee of MPs re paying bribes to police, and the MP who asked the question (Chris Bryant) being outed as gay in The Sun some weeks later, and MPs getting the message that if they were to be too inquisitive their personal lives would be destroyed  Powerful stuff indeed.

Grant projected more gravitas in his pinky than the two indistinguishable grey politicians put together. Oh, Shirley Williams was there too dispensing her usual common sense, and  former Sun journalist Jon Gaunt, who was a little too fond of the sound of his own strident and whiny voice for my liking. Gaunt rather shot himself in the foot by asking Grant "who are you to tell us who we should or shouldn't watch" in response to Grant's fear of Fox News rearing its ugly head on a fully Murdoch controlled BSkyB. Grant's instant and obvious response, which got a big round of applause was "and who is Murdoch to tell us who we should or shouldn't vote for". Marvellous!

The NotW issue took up nearly all the program, but there was time for a last question on the frankly idiotic decision to award the Thames Link train contract to a German company forcing the only UK train maker to lay off most of its workforce. Jon Gaunt redeemed himself answering the audience member's question of how the Germans and the French can still manage to build all their rolling stock in their own countries thus apparently circumventing the same EU legislation that the Tories would have you believe was responsible for the UK contract going abroad. David Dimbleby asked Gaunt how the Germans and the French "get away with it" and in the best traditions of tabloid journalism, Gaunt said they got away with it because "they stick two fingers up to the stupid legislation". Sad, but essentially true. Regardless of the macro economic reasons for sending the contract across the channel, which ultimately saves jobs over here (another debate that one, but Shirley Williams nailed it), as Hugh Grant said it is a morally depressing state of affairs that we are no longer competitive on the manufacturing front. In all too predictable fashion, Grayling and Alexander then proceeded to blame each other. Sad but inevitable.

QT can sometimes be very dull, and it is a long time since I've watched the entire show, but last night's edition was a gem.

Murdoch's clumsy ploy in crushing NotW out of existence is so obviously a ruse to sweeten the way to him taking full control of BSkyB, which I'd be amazed if it is not approved, if not now, at some later date. One can only hope the Government have the balls to tell this horrible embodiment of everything that's wrong with global capitalism to go do one, but I do not hold out much hope while politicians of all colours are afraid of Murdoch's power and influence. If Murdoch is "a fit and proper person" Then I am Tamsin Egerton's bikini line waxer. Further developments tonight indicate that Ofcom will put a big obstacle in the way of Murdoch's takeover ambitions by launching a "fit & proper" enquiry after the police have concluded their investigations, leading to a big fall in BSkyB's share price, so hopefully my inital view is wrong!

Back to the furore surrounding the hacking scandal - we should all be very careful what we wish for. Remember that countless scandals, lies, and tales of corruption in high places have been exposed by the press over the years, doubtless more than once involving legally dubious methods. Whilst surely no-one can argue, that for example, uncovering the obvious endemic corruption encompassing football mandarins using whatever method comes to hand is to be applauded, hacking into the phones of murder victims is plainly wrong. What the press in general and News International in particular is in need of is not legal censure but a moral compass. Quite how this is done is another debate, but placing restrictions on the ability of the press to uncover wrongdoing by the not-so-great and the not-so-good is the start of a slippery slope to a world where the amoral rich and powerful get away with their questionable practices with even more ease than they do at present.

7 Jul 2011

The Wizard Blew His Horn

Hairy has aged a bit since
the first film...
Today's shocking revelation that the vile Australian's Sunday rag may have hacked into the mobile phone of Hairy Porter in order to find out the details of the long overdue d√©nouement of the seventy one part film franchise in advance of its world premier tonight at the Doon Cinema, Dalmellington has sent a whole generation of 30-somethings, who, lest we forget, were only lustful urgings in their parents' loins when the first film came out, into a scweaming fit of gusset ripping knicker wetting. J R Hartley would only say "No comment" when asked if this would spoil the filmoid experience for the hordes of childlike adults in thrall to Hairy's every utterance, while all the time counting through a seemingly never ending wad of £50 notes in a Uriah Heep like fashion.

"You're my wife, now"
Seriously though, can the powers that be let the moral vacuum that is the vile Australian and his cronies take full ownership of BSkyB at a time when he is more loathed than ever before? Unfortunately, probably yes, for after a short delay for expediency Murdoch's evil magick will cast a spell of fear over the powers that be leaving him to stride on in his quest for worldwide media domination without hinderance.

"Mmm I'd like you to lick that too, but sssshhh,
...you never know who might be listening"

Meanwhile, the flame haired woman with the pretentious parents who carnt spel Rebecca is going through all sorts of semantic twists and turns in the course of desperately attempting to put new spins on her admission back in 2003, while sat alongside former Cameron employee Coulson before a Parliamentary committee, that the NoTW paid police officers for story information, or to put it another way, paid bribes. More interesting methinks is the fact that the coppers have sat on the list of potential phone hacking victims now causing all sorts of moral outrage and indignation since 2006. Why, one has to ask? I think the answer will turn out to be what we may all suspect, but me, I couldn't possibly comment!

One wonders how many folk currently expressing righteous indignation and threatening boycotts of the NoTW, a paper they probably don't read anyway, regularly buy The Times or pay a Sky TV sub? You can excuse Sun readers for they are not supposed to know any better, but the rest should stop paying into Murdoch's evil empire if they had any chutzpah. Of course since writing this Murdoch thinks he's got round the shit & fan scenario by closing down NoTW, no doubt to soon re-open as Norks on Sunday or somesuch. He really is a reptilian little sod that man.

Now then Hairy, where did I put that copy of Mr Norrell's Book of Darstardly Machinations and that potent mix of dandelion, elderflower, deadly nightshade and frogs' gizzards?...I've a cunning plan to turn £50 million pounds into a useless prancing over-gelled footballer. What do you mean, Roman's done that already?.....Oh well, I'll have to settle for £30 million pounds and a lummox........that's been done too? Damn!

5 Jul 2011

Pressed Rat & Warthog

Some observations...


A bit of a departure for Jay, methinks...

...but not tonight, for we won again!


There is a story up on the BBC website about some noob in the the Navy medical corps who refused rifle training on moral grounds, this being his defence at court martial. Huh? He's joined the Royal Navy, which, although they seem to have a dwindling number of ships and other hardware, is, as far as I can ascertain, part of the Armed Services, and as such has a tendency to get involved in the numerous expensive and pointless conflicts our glorious leaders seem obsessed with, and so comes under fire and subsequently shoots things back at sundry inhabitants of anywhere hot and dusty from time to time. Did this guy not realise this when he joined? What next, firemen with arsonphobia, accountants with numerophobia etc etc, all claiming constructive dismissal?

Another example of a world gone a bit daft is the completely over the top reaction of a school involved in the production of an opera "oop North" that has the temerity to include the word "queer" (in the sexual orientation sense) just the once, and only once in the lyrics, throwing the school head into fits of apoplexy, withdrawing the schools involvement causing Opera North to cancel the production. Jeez, so what? Someone should tell the head that it is 2011 not 1951...and what if one of the pupils is being brought up by a gay couple? How would this decision make both the child and the parents feel?

Those phobias mentioned above come from The Phobia List...you would have thought arsonphobia was fear of starting fires, not fire itself...anyway, here are a few of the more barmy:

Acerophobia- Fear of sourness..."fear" of sourness? How does that work?
Agateophobia- Fear of insanity...driven mad by fear of mad!
Ambulophobia- Fear of walking...excuse for lardy
Ballistophobia- Fear of missiles or bullets...See Navy bloke above. Mind you, you'd have to be bonkers not to be afraid of bullets, would you not?
Blennophobia- Fear of slime...that one made me laugh
Chionophobia- Fear of snow...not good if you're an Eskimo
Dutchphobia- Fear of the Dutch...it's all that orange you know
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666...hope that's never a pub quiz question
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words..see what they did there? Let's not have a pub quiz question on that either!
Levophobia- Fear of things to the left side of the body...huh?
Linonophobia- Fear of string...perfectly reasonable!?
Papaphobia- Fear of the Pope...again, perfectly reasonable
Paisleyphobia- Fear of Ian Paisley...and again
Polyphobia- Fear of many things...or, you're completely mad
Pteridophobia- Fear of ferns...oh dear
Rhabdophobia- Fear of being severely punished or beaten by a rod, or of being severely criticized. Also fear of magic.(wand)...strange connection, that
Scriptophobia- Fear of writing in public...the Meter Maid's curse
Vestiphobia- Fear of clothing...Tamsin Egerton anyone? Oh hang on that would be fear of acting
Walloonphobia- Fear of the Walloons...no, really!
Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat...who isn't?

...that's enough phobias...goodnight!

3 Jul 2011

Carry On Round The Table

Camelot  - Channel 4, Saturday nights 9pm.

Spoiler alert – if you’ve not watched episode 5 there is a spoiler here, but the described scene is so bloody obvious you’ll work out what happens about ten seconds into it anyway!

I know I had my lines written here somewhere...
Despite warnings that watching this would be a waste of time, we’ve stuck with it and we are now up to episode 5 of 10. The one reason we’re still watching is the fabulously arch Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, whose actorly skills stand head and shoulders above the other cast regulars. Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur is the least plastic, or wooden, call it what you will, of the others. Eva Green as Morgan tries to camp it up √† la Fiennes but falls short to much unintentional (?) comic effect, and I’m convinced the only reason Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere is there is for her fabulous body. That or the budget wouldn’t stretch far beyond Fiennes’ fee.  Egerton would not look out of place on a dreadful soap in the style of Crossroads, or Waterloo Road for those of you too young to remember the shaking sets and plank-like acting of the Brummie soap. Still, nice to look at though!

Second in the acting stakes to Fiennes’ is Sinead Cusack as a deranged nun on the “bad” side with Morgan. She manages to play it straight while somehow injecting gravitas into the juvenile script. 

Ah, the script…There was a laugh out loud moment (well every scene involving Morgan made me laugh, but this didn’t have her in it) in last night’s episode when a persecuted peasant called Colfur played waay over the top by the normally dour Liam Cunningham, who was on trial for murder was explaining to Arthur (acting as judge) away from the court room why he couldn’t give the court his defence in front of his daughter as she was the result of Colfur’s wife being raped by the brother of the man he was accused of murdering, but of course she was unaware of her true parentage. The brother as head of the village “has his way” with all the village maidens in lieu of rent apparently. These things doubtless still go on in Cornwall…..Anyway, Colfur’s daughter is asked to leave the room while Colfur tells Arthur his motive in a VERY LOUD VOICE interspersed with wracked sobs. Of course the door is left open and she hears everything, and the second Colfur has finished confessing his reasons for the dastardly crime, she reappears and says “But father, I knew this already”.

It was bit like the classic silent movie scene  where you are the victim tied to a railway line and you can see the train that would kill you approaching from miles in the distance. It was like something out of a play wot Ernie Wise wrote.

Last night’s episode centred on the trial and the effects of the new rule of law which Arthur imposes in his guise as a Dark Ages Tony Blair on the village dominated by the maiden stealing brother of the deceased and his similarly bullying family. A new era of fairness and equal opportunity (well, raping women for rent money is now a no-no anyway) dawns on the inhabitants of Ringstead. Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.

As Merlin, a sort of cross between Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, with added wizardry and sundry mental problems, had little to do, they showed him descending into a permanent dark night of the soul throughout the episode, replete with manic grins and twitches. His troubles are caused by him effecting the death of the Lady Of The Lake parallel in the previous episode. The scenes involving Fiennes leaping about while perusing runic charts pinned up all over his hovel were a joy!

I think where the program falls down, apart from the daft script, is that it doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. It started as a passable fantasy drama with lots of gratuitous sex which mysteriously dried up (fnarr fnarr) after the second episode, then it got all po-faced and moralising, and now we have Eva Green playing it for laughs, deliberately or not I cannot tell.

Personally, I’m now looking forward to the next episode in a “so bad it’s funny” way, and of course there’s the brilliant Fiennes who almost makes it worth watching on his own.

2 Jul 2011

BRCC - 1st Biannual Report

Formed out of a mutual love of spicy comestibles the BRCC was launched in February 2011 with a view to sampling the wares of the many curry houses here in Shoesville and its environs. At this point I would like to doff our collective titfers to our ancestors for taking control of Indian subcontinent from the Dutch and the French all those centuries ago, without whom etc etc!

Agenda Item 1 
Founding members Vicky (logistics, conviviality) and me (treasurer, grumpy old bloke) decided on our first venue. This initial outing in March saw B & I, Mike & Chris and Vicky descend on The Maharaja, which is situated on the main drag into town.

The treasurer, being a curry snob, found the food ok, but nothing to write home about, hence this belated review. I always judge an English "Indian" restaurant, the majority of which are not actually run by Indians by the way, on the standard of their Onion Bhajis. A simple starter you may think, but one that takes some time to prepare. In a busy eaterie they are often pre-prepared rather than freshly made as a result, and this was the case at The Maharaja. Can you now see why I refer to myself as a grumpy old git? :)

After the meal we retired chez moi and proceeded to demolish some fine single malt. We ended the evening somewhat slightly pished. A fine time was had by all.

Agenda Item 2
The second outing was last night's visit to Vicky's choice The Imli Lounge, a mere fifteen leisurely minutes' stroll from our street. A-carousing and a-chattering eight of us (as Item 1 plus Pete, Dave & Mary) arrived at this small but friendly restaurant and Dave's first impressions took a dive when his daughter Mary was served with a flat lemonade. Luckily, and as far as I know, this was the only service cock up of the night.

There were some curious items on the menu, including some Bangladeshi specials, which was a nice touch. There were also some duck dishes on offer, and there was even a venison section! Venison Tikka Masalla anyone? No, I don't think so! Although we didn't have a starter this time, my Garlic Chicken was fine, and everyone else enjoyed their grub. Vicky and I agreed that it was better than The Maharaja. Mike talked the hind legs off the camel in the corner, so it fell over. I'm sure he'll agree!

50% of the BRCC - Pete's doing that trick where you make your head disappear!

Again retiring chez moi, some booze was drunk, albeit at a pace that the GMC would approve of. I think we were all a bit tired after a hard week working like dogs or whatever! I think Vicky now knows what camera to buy....or not.

Agenda Item 3
The next outing is planned for early October, and it's Mike's turn to pick the venue. Get that thunking cap on matey!

I now throw open the meeting to floor - if anyone has anything to say, shout, or mumble, kindly use the Comments box. If there's nowt to say, then I declare the meeting closed.