Tuesday, August 31

Lick Out My Arsehole - and Other Ditties

I'm sure that this claim about Mozart's Tourette's Syndrome has not been missed by anybody, but WTF?

And it means I can remind people that the kind and caring BBC have released on DVD for our delectation John's Not Mad, the ne plus ultra of TV documentaries. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling curious as to how poor John is faring (faring - not swearing) now. So, you fucks over in White City with your Patrick Cox sandals and John Lennon glasses: get off your arses and give us part three of John's story!


posted by DD @ 13:31  8 comments

"I Must Say ... "

This little jolly from the New York Times focuses on our fervid desire to bet on any old thing.

I know people who still have holes burning in their pockets from Euro 2004 - "Step over you cunting queer spic Manc, step over!" - but, given that horse racing is now akin to pro wrestling, what choice do they have but to go weird?

Incidentally, I'm sticking to my initial gut reaction that the great Simpsons "outing" will be that of Lenny. Trust me and get on to the bookies sharpish.


posted by DD @ 12:19  8 comments

Monday, August 30

Oh Lori!

Another piece here on Sean Rowley's Guilty Pleasures compilation. I've mentioned some of my GPs before: Elton John's Tiny Dancer, Billy Joel's Captain Jack and - the one that really gets me grief from my friends - Belinda Carlisle's Heaven ... But I stand defiant: that's a fucking great pop song.

I had to chuckle at the use of Adam Ant's "ridicule is nothing to be scared of" line out of Prince Charming. (Hey: is a fondness for Ant Music a GP? Hmmm. I'm getting the feeling it is.) Because it was the fact that some punters took the piss out of his Man with No Name cowboy attire as he walked into some bar that made him go home - returning a short while later brandishing a fake gun or whatever it was. Cue another breakdown.

Still: that's not the amazing fact about Adam Ant. Oh no. What's amazing is that Heather Graham actually hooked up with him (for years) while he was going lala in Lala land back in the mid 90s. I guess we can therefore assume that she's cuckoo too. A fucked-up Hollywood actress: "how novel" as Sue from Swingers would put it.


posted by DD @ 11:24  8 comments

Hari Kunzru Is a ... Wanker

So much for the opposition out there.

In the evenings, my companion and I love to pop open a bottle of the local plonk and translate poetry in and out of whichever classical language we currently favour, so I imagine we’ll find room in the suitcase for Michael Sokoloff’s Dictionary of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the Byzantine Period.
That'll be yer Hari Kunzru on his holiday reading. Yeah, I think he is taking the piss out of the whole "recommended reading" formula schtick, but he just comes over as a wanker. I hear he's a keen cyclist too - never a good sign. Thus far his sole redeeming feature: telling the Daily Mail and Associated Newspapers to fuck off - and shove their money up their arses while they're at it.

posted by DD @ 10:19  8 comments

Friday, August 27

The Devil Went Down to Barry Nease

On the chuckle front, have a butchers at this link. Oh yeah - this Barry Nease guy looks exactly like you'd expect a 'composer' of music for gymnastics to look.

From the ridiculous to the sublime with just two words: AMIR KHAN.

We're not worthy, we're not worthy ...

I'll be at the Caaarnivaaal on Sunday, but I expect we'll slip in somewhere 'quiet' for a drink and a salute to the Boy Wonder as he takes the gold. Go baby go!


posted by DD @ 19:03  8 comments

So Many Things a Girl Can Do With a Zucchini

It's Friday afternoon and I'm feeling frisky so what the hell. Flipping around some sites I came across this one, and within it an article on the making of zucchini pancakes.

Anyone pondering why I get so interested at the appearance of "zucchini" should head here. And go to the end.


posted by DD @ 15:38  8 comments

Dirty Old River

Oh my poor, poor old darling of a baby! Shat on by nature, and shat on by us peasants. How can we do this to Old Father Thames? I suppose the sad fact is that the shit has to go somewhere.

The effects are described here.

Years ago, when I was a boy (and everything was riiight) I remember being more than a little envious of the older boys leaping time after time into the Thames off the bridge at Windsor. What? Me leap in? This was true then and it's true now: one-and-a-half lengths of an Olympic pool would kill me.

And as I've always said, had I been alive then and lucky enough to be on the Titanic, I'd be fine as things went pear-shaped all around me ... Not really having much choice makes life so much easier. Plus: what's not to like about a free bar?

Over here at the business end of the river (not that there's any business going on just yet at the fabulous Millenium Dome) the water doesn't look bad at all, not from my lofty, distanced perch. It remains a wonder and a joy. Walking along it you do notice some "beastly oomskah", especially when the tide is low, but I've seen a turd or two floating in the Med and I've tasted the suntan oil slick that comes with consecutive hot days (remember those?) and crowded beaches so ...

Nonetheless the only way my body shall be in that murk in the future is if al-Qaeda force upon me a felo de se, and I opt to go for one last swim - wearing handcuffs - while the chemical clouds smother the sky above.

And yes, I shall go down singing ... Waterloo Sunset.


posted by DD @ 09:09  8 comments

Thursday, August 26

Gobbets of Blake

From this latest piece by Jonathan Jones (see BOAT DRINKS for link to an archive of his pieces) I offer up a potential blog title for anyone stuck - or bored - out there. Well, you can't go wrong with Gobbets of Blake can you?

Re: the piece I ruefully confess that I'd never heard of Christopher Bucklow. In fact, I know jack shit about Art - just bits of cornflake knowledge. But I like reading Jonathan Jones, Jonathan Glancey, and Jonathan Meades. (The latter sadly has no evolving site I can BOAT DRINK, but he always makes fabulous TV programmes.) FOAM: do you have to be a Jonathan to get a gig in this field?

And actually, I do think Charles Saatchi is a Lenin of our times. Yeah, Lenin was a shit too. Go read Martin Amis' Koba the Dread.

While I'm on this tip, forgive me if I reminisce: as a student, when not "completely mashed off my face on ecstasy pipes" (to quote Chris Morris - any excuse, any excuse ...) I occasionally found myself sitting with a blurry head in a blurry room counting the marks on the walls while some earnest comrades put each other and the world to rights ...

"No, you're wrong: I'm not Marxist-Leninist, I'm Stalinist-Leninist."

"What about Trotsky? Hobsbawm says -"

"Fuck Trotsky ... That traitor!"

Not a unique experience, I know. And of course, such heated exchanges took place with communal joints being passed round; while accepting my apathy, neither "M-L" nor "S-L" could abide my piss-poor joint-rolling abilities. "You useless peasant. Give it here. Straight to the gulag!"

Incidentally, "M-L" (or was he "S-L"?) is now working for the BBC (so I'd stake a foolish amount of money that he's now an "ABB" - Anybody But Blair, and now, as previous visitors may know, I would argue back about that), providing some pure yarbles for its much lauded online services. And on my AOL toolbar, it seems only natural to use the red flag icon for the BBC link. Well, it is, isn't it?


posted by DD @ 11:12  8 comments

Wednesday, August 25

The 50 Unfunniest Living Britons

This list from the London News Review (see BOAT DRINKS for link) has been around awhile (article dated August 12) but I've only just come across it.

Going through the list of unfunniest living Britons I'm ticking all the boxes in agreement, though once upon a long ago Harry Enfield was funny. O yes he was. Charlie Chuck I saw a few times on the circuit in the 90s: always the same act, and I have the foreboding that it hasn't changed one iota since. But is it really all over for the Big Yin? He's the unfunniest of them all? What about Harry Hill, whose act has stalled since he started taking the ITV shilling. And has Phil Jupitus ever made you laugh? And, and, and ...

Incidentally, Richard "Let me in, let me in, my cousin is Naomi Campbell!" Blackwood used to live above me - in a penthouse suite. Local legend has it that he was evicted for non-payment of rent. And we still get mail delivered to the block with his name on it - but, alas, nothing juicy. And where exactly is he now?

Come on Richie: if Linford Christie can scrub up on our screens as a gardener (yes, my friends across the ponds, 'the Lunch box' is now a TV garden expert - a lightning fast vocational transformation) there's a future in the world of show for you yet.

posted by DD @ 14:52  9 comments

"They've Never Ordered Pizza By the Slice"

In the not so dim and distant friends and others have questioned my London bias against - well, against just about everywhere else, but in particular a snooty and at times petty and childish attitude towards our northern brethrens. See? If you can hear it, there's that tone again! Here I go ...

Okay: so I've called for the establishment of an Independent Republic of London; I've called for a 'Maginot Line' (a broad swathe drawn across the map of this isle from an imaginary watermark at the level of the Wash) where there should be the strictest asylum (from northern squalour) and quarantine controls; and I've called for the banning of tractors and wellington boots from the streets of this beautiful city for ever. (I would also ban dogs - period - and only allow women reeking of spinst (acknowledgements to Martin Amis for that phrase) to keep cats, but that's by the by.)


In case you're concluding rather too hastily that I would also slam the door at Dover and so forth - all that UKIP malarkey - not at all. Au contraire, au fucking contraire. The fact is, I'm all in favour of immigration; it's the inner migration that's clogging up the heart of London. I like talking with mini-cab drivers from say, Azerbaijan as I trolley home (whether they enjoy my conversation is another matter - after all, I'm not immune to mumbling, or worse, much worse, shouting yarbles); the thing is I'm not interested - not at all mate: nowt - in the views of some prole from Oldham. Oops. Sorry.

And let's face it: I'd have fewer memories of stonking nights, and a lot more 50p pieces and pound coins, if European honeys were prevented from coming here to dance around to their favourite songs on stage. (BTW, I hear that Prince remains very, very popular in these circles, though I've not been out there 'researching' in a while.)

You see. I'm easy. Soft. The soft southern bastard personified. Moreover, I feel but a junior snark in comparison to New Yorkers. They're the masters. And they'll be in action again real soon: this piece describes the reception awaiting the RNC in a few days. (And you should read it or you'll wonder what the pizza quote has got to do with any of this. The answer: not much. But its attitude suffuses the whole thing. The whole thing. This post, this site ...)

Anyway, the piece itself is a notch above the usual pedantic offerings of Gary Younge, who is 'Bush League' compared to the Hitch and others who have merited a pitch over in BOAT DRINKS. If you think I'm being harsh on a hack (how can that possibly be a crime?) this phoned-in blurb on Bob Dylan's forthcoming Chronicles shows I'm not.

The piece on the RNC also mentions an interview with Norman Mailer that I'm pretty sure I linked a while ago. (It may still be here, or it may not. Whatever.) He's always good value; for example in The Fight, his account of the Ali-Foreman contest in old Zaire, he manages to throw in a couple of anecdotes about Vietnam - to wit:

  1. Some US serviceman volunteered to be undertakers because they got their kicks out of fucking parts of a dead body, rather than the bog-standard full-body necrophiliac boner.

  2. In the brothels organised by the US Army, the girls wore a yellow or red badge, depending on their STD status. But those out of action could still work, as there were plenty of messed-up grunts (GIs) who just needed to talk.

posted by DD @ 10:39  8 comments

Tuesday, August 24

Slated: Belgian Sand, Anyone?

I'm sure there are many, many people out there in the blogging nexus spilling their load on the Paula Radcliffe horror show. (No, a real horror show. Not my kind!) And such spiel doesn't really do it for me.

Instead I'll briefly direct you - again - to Slate; this time it's their take on the Olympics, a section called the Five-Ring Circus. Unsurprisingly, much of it concerns the USA and its athletes, but also in recent entries you can read the how's and why's and wherefores of the volleyball sand hailing fresh from a pit in Belgium, and why the 3000m Steeplechase owes something to foxhunting. Any concerns I had with the morality of the latter melted away come 9/11 - fuck all that, there are bigger things at stake now. (And right now? I feel the yokels can do WTF they like to foxes, hares etc., so long as they stop soiling our gilded streets with their tractors and wellies.)

The bigger things at stake are covered here in a piece by Fred Kaplan, which counters the false claims made against John Kerry's Vietnam experiences; and here where the Hitch nails why both parties are foolishly dredging around the swamps of Vietnam.

And finally, as the rain it pisseth down again today in London, there's this call for the abolition of August. As a September baby, that suits me fine.

posted by DD @ 17:02  8 comments

Hoffman to Play Arbuckle?

This story from today's NYT Books section reveals a possible new role for the great Hoffman. No, not Dustin you dummies. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, possibly the best screen actor around today. (Well, you can't whack Gene Hackman, can you?) No, that's not my humble... It's a fact jacked! He's right up there. And yeah, I can see him as Fatty Arbuckle. I can see him doing just about anything.

And while we're in the terrain of sordid escapades in the Hollywood Hills, this piece reflects - don't yawn - how sex sells books. Jenna Jameson: authoress! As if I didn't know I was on to something obvious with The Ampallang ...*

*A story I'm working up for 'fun'. Nothing here until it's done.

posted by DD @ 16:00  8 comments

Piers Needs Some New Braces

Those concerned as much as I am for the welfare of Piers "double yer money" Morgan and brood will be relieved to read this.

posted by DD @ 14:53  8 comments

She Brightens Up My Northern Sky

Ah, the delovely Miranda Sawyer. Here she is. How I wish she had a proper column to herself, week in week out. Instead, at the mo there's a not terribly interesting advice column she doles out in the Observer (or used to; I confess, I've stopped paying any attention to it. And if she's taking the shilling writing for any 'lads' magazine I wouldn't be aware of that either, as I have no need of them. Hey, the weird have turned pro: if I want a perv I'll swerve along the web). So, Street of Shame, it appears to me that she's an underused talent - and that is very rare these days.

I could now do a number and riff on about my 'issues' with northern birds, but I'll spare you. If, if more northerns full stop were as sassy, irreverent and - yeah, I'm gonna use that dying word - cool as she is, then there wouldn't be any issue. And surprise, surprise, the feeling is mutual.

As for the men: don't - don't - ever get me started on Anthony H Wilson.

posted by DD @ 13:05  8 comments

Earth to Marxists

The main link discusses how important a President's intelligence is in relation to the job, but first of all John Berger does his usual here over that mockumentary.

What can one say?

Well, I'll definitely have some of whatever he was on when he nosed that article on to the page. (Possibly some Candlestick Park helium?)

And then I'll counterattack.

He asks, pleadingly, "How much longer" the poor will make the most sacrifices. Now I could start picking away at what he means exactly by 'poor' and 'sacrifice' - but let's go with an obvious thing (and what Michael Moore lingers on) that it's the relatively poor who often end up enlisting - and doing the fighting. The alternative is? Well if they don't do it, it's the next poorest group, then the next, and so on.

And here the harsh economic reality kicks in that the more intelligent you are, the more money you make. Of course there are exceptions, but across the world that's the way the cookie crumbles everybody. And you know what? It always has, and it always will. Because ...

Because it's the way we are.

So you can throw a Michael Moore and fry-up stuff like "Hey, let's send the rich elite out to do the fighting" - which as a notion is a jolly little chuckle if you're sixteen in the head, but idiot wind if you actually think about it for half a minute. Think baby and bathwater. Think I know what: let's force the people behind Google to the front now! That'll really benefit all of us.

Right: I think we can all agree, it's case rested on that issue. And no further questions, your Honour.

Berger is yet another to roll out the tiresome "Bush is a cretin" line. Yeah, we're back in the playground - sixteen again. Well, I have gazed and grazed on the election over the pond before on this site, and I'm easily sated, but I'll say this: if John Kerry is "smart" where does that assessment evaluate Tony Blair? He must be a god .

Here I may as well refer from the link piece and slip in the judgement by Oliver Wendell Holmes on FDR (probably the best guy in the White House over the last century): "A second-rate intellect and a first-rate temperament." So there you go. Personally, I don't see what's wrong with that combination.

This time round? It looks to me like the US has a choice of two Joe Schmoes, both of whom are iffy on the stump. (Sorry, but you have one guy who's dyslexic, and another who can't stop spouting out conditional clauses.) Neither of them are stupid, but that doesn't mean I don't scratch my bonce and wonder why America can't do better. Still, both men seem able to do what most democratic politicians have to do: please half the people most of the time.

And yes, I mean please ...


posted by DD @ 10:13  10 comments

Monday, August 23

Stealing Tombstones

Now there are a select few people out there who will know now who I am, after I title highlight this gibbet of information about the late Pablo Escobar. It's in this story here.

Alas (alas? Yeah, I think I would have swapped lives, just about; then again, maybe not; but then again... Fact is, I am a pussy and wouldn't have lasted ten seconds in that world. Still, there's that Scarface glamour that lots of us little boys - and go on, admit it, some girls - fall for), any similarities between the two of us end right there, though I guess we've both enjoyed our share of risible guffaws over the 'war on drugs'.

posted by DD @ 11:22  8 comments

The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel - and Panther Burns

While the bits about fashion designers and their 'muses' makes you want to vom, this piece is an interesting little tale about Lizzie Siddal - the Ophelia of that painting.

On a tangent, whither Kate Moss and Bobby Gillespie? I do lose touch about these things. Earlier this year (or was it late last year?) Gillespie and some chums scrubbed up at a Panther Burns gig at the Boston Arms. It was hard not to miss him - dressed in black as per, his arrival meant that I no longer had the longest hair in the place. (As Panther's arrival slightly earlier had meant that I was no longer the shortest man in the room.) And there were only about 200 souls left when Panther came on, around midnight. But he was worth the wait, and then some.

Gillespie and chums kept calling out for a track called something like "Motor Psycho Man" - but it never got played. That's Panther, man: you can just tell, he don't take no shit from no one.

PS: Yeah, I know: when it comes to Panther Burns I'm talking into a vacuum; it's a very selective crowd who have any fucking idea as to who he is. For those who don't, in brief he looks and his band looks and sounds like they should be the act playing whenever the action switches to a warped sleazy dive in a David Lynch movie. Everybody's thinking, Who is that guy? Who's that little spiv? It's the Panther - menace incarnate on stage.

posted by DD @ 10:58  8 comments

"Rather Large!"

Sometimes you just have to get down in the swill for that extra laugh. (Particularly of a Sunday.) And this is this week's result. Little Johnny Thomson - done H, L & S. I declare that this kerfuffle is the karmic price for appearing in such a piece of shit as Cold Feet - though Tomson remains in the credit rating (just) thanks to the Fast Show, and his earlier Bernard Right-On comedy manifestation. No: as TV actors go (and ever since he fished up his boat on Cold Feet), it's James Nesbit I really, really, really cannot abide. He's in my Land One On desires as ubiquitously as he is on TV. Though in all respects, he is not short of competition.

So: finally out of my stupor come Sunday evening, I flicked around killing TV time to the late, late two song clip of the Strokes from the two hour 'highlights' of the horrid V Festival. In case you missed it (and you care), Julian Casablancas was clearly playing at being Sir Ian McCulloch.

The majestic Strokes.

Best band on the planet? Well ... probably.

Best US band - definitely.

Best site about them that I've found? Here. (And in BOAT DRINKS, natch.)

But prior to them - a roll call of this year's feckless drecks... And then there was Jamie Callum, a hobbit in a cunt class of his own. 'Teaching' a crowd how to ba-ba-ba a call-and-response figure. Please.

While on a campaign of hate, I note that my old buddy Piers 'double yer money' Morgan is having another well-earned drink. And another.

And to full circuit this tittle tattle, I read a quote by Sir John Nott (not Sir John Nott! My, my, the big guns are out) concerning the decline of British civilisation - TV is full of transexuals, alcoholics, drug addicts, the young and stupid... basically we're Big Brother nation. An easy mark, and only half true. What is true is that a very trustworthy snout once told me that at Cambridge in the early 90s one of - if not the biggest - drug dealers on campus was the son of Sir John. So you see, there's usually a goodish apple that drops off even the most insipid family tree.

ADDENDUM : today's (Monday) super soaraway has this bubble on JT's £110 A DAY booze bill. I say: come on Johnny boy, stop scratching yer arse, get a site up and running - then I can elect you into the BOAT DRINKS hall of fame ... Sir, you are a star.

And yes, I have decided that rather large is going 'straight to the pool room...' - the bar itself is (whaaat? again - one more time to celebrate) here.

posted by DD @ 01:07  8 comments

Sunday, August 22

Just Another Saturday Night

Just another Saturday night - off my tree, dancing like a tit to any old tat here (because it's near), then crawling through the tunnel and home like this.

Oh - I do remember having to explain what a blog is to a couple of earnest souls. I can't remember what I said but it should have been something like

While other people fulfill a useful function in society - helping the needy or, of equal necessity to keep our wheels turning, oiling the greedy - so a chosen few, a wilfully deluded few, say BAH Humbug! to all that and waste our time blogging. Trouble is, it's more toxic than cocaine. But over time the effects are the same - and thanks to the web's infinite Babel you can actually lick-it-back and (so long as you have the time and inclination) observe somebody disappearing right up their own arse. And, yes, just as we all know users who have no fucking need of more confidence (but simply can't leave alone), so it's clear that more than one blog out there should really be called the Daily Enema.

Yeah, stick around from time to time and just watch me disappear. Right: it's that time again. Time to find out who's the fastest brother on our planet. I love it.

posted by DD @ 20:05  8 comments

Saturday, August 21

Is This the Worst Column That the Bristol Lisper Has Ever Written?

Well I have paid the price for treating Thursday as the new Friday.

Last night I was Captain Pugwash, in my bed by ten, and comatose by eleven. Yeah: I hit the wank wall.

And now I'm back on Bobby Burnett's finest, on the way to getting slaughtered tonight; some friends are off to America for ever and nothing beats a very tired and emotional goodbye, does it?

As you know by now, each and every entry I do has to have an 'outside' link (it's my inner remit, darlings), and, luckily enough, up pops the Bristol Lisper with - I think - the poorest column I have read by her. I often disagree with her, but dammit she's a livewire and good copy. But this stinks the place out.

Oh - and of course us writers are bitchy: all self-declared precious artistes are. But here - in London - it's more to do with the talent moat (yes, I admit, it's a rip from the all-time classic Larry Sanders Show). It's simple: if Amis, Self and Ballard could be arsed, they'd have to wave down to the Lisper's now moribund old flame Gwyn Barry (see a day or three ago).

ADDENDUM : Lynn Barber shares a bottle with the Lisper here. And there's always the JB Random Recycler here (and it's a BOAT DRINK link - for now) if you feel the need to thrap one out.

posted by DD @ 15:30  8 comments

Friday, August 20

The Marchioness

Today's the fifteenth anniversary of the Marchioness boat sinking, and this is an archival report on it.

All very sad. But let's have some honesty here. I bet just about everybody on board was completely off their face at the time. Because that's the way it was then...and now. And I've been on a few over the years. Yeah: cue Lloyd Cole & the Commotions' Speedboat.

Indeed, I see and hear such boats go by night after night, with their motleys. You have your straightforward Chavs; the Jamiroquai set; the deeeeep bass Brothers...and the good mixers, amidst the usual daytime ferries of tourists and old dears. Aah, the old dears: it's Lulu on the way up, and Tom Jones on the way back for them. Bet you can't wait to be old.

That said, Joan Bakewell is in her 70s ... and you would, wouldn't you? Come on guys. Yes. You. Would.

posted by DD @ 13:49  8 comments

Wicked Arabella

Confession time: whenever I see Arabella Weir on TV, I immediately want to do a sex wee. And I've just read this, where she really nails us men down.

The piece reflects on the lack of women on the comedy circuit, and it brought to mind the funniest thing I've heard in a while - from Joan Rivers.

Reflecting on 9/11, she brings up the divorce rate and hollers: "Don't tell me there weren't some women jumping up and down going 'YES! YES! YES! Take that you sonofabitch' when the Twin Towers fell."


posted by DD @ 10:52  9 comments

What Became of the Likely Lads?

Well my head was wrapped round Sir Bobby Burnett's last night giving the Libertines' fantastic album its tribute. Yeah, the other day I said the new one was good, then it was great, and now it's fanfuckingtastic. That's what gin and bitters can do for you, my friends. Anyhow, there's a fresh review here. Here hare here. Yes, indeed, I'm well off my trolley this morning.

Hey: Thursday is the new Friday, doncha know. Though I don't think all my neighbours see it that way. By the way, there's a gorgeous new chica moved in downstairs, with a fuck off motor to boot.

posted by DD @ 10:35  8 comments

Thursday, August 19

Lo! Gwyn Barry Regained

Lo! and behold: pottering around the gaff just now I slipped the radio on (Radio London 94.9FM) and there's our Gwyn Barry being interviewed by none other than Vanessa Feltz. A perfect match of talents, don't you think?

I am now free at last, baby, free at last, so tonight I am going tits up.

posted by DD @ 16:23  8 comments

Boys With Breasts

Don't know if anyone out there tuned in for this silly-season gem from Channel 4, Boys With Breasts.

I did... and I laughed my tits off.

Still - not as good as last week's My Breasts Are Too Big. You know, Channel 4 can be easy to whack (the fifth column that is C4 News anyone?) but they've got (i.e. they import) the silver: Sopranos, Six Feet Under... And I can forgive them Friends - which I insist jumped the shark the moment the monkey left. Now: where was the monkey's bubble?

posted by DD @ 14:16  8 comments

Everyone Who Watches Big Brother Is Called Gary

Oh yes they are. See here.

Oh yes you fucking are!

posted by DD @ 10:52  8 comments

Wednesday, August 18

Voyage to the Edge of the Balcony

I kept my promise to myself. After winding and windscreen wiping my way down, down and up Kent I finally made it back to the sunshine state. Then it began to rain...

So I hit the Libertines...again. And the wine, of course.

Then at some point I came across this - Tibor Fischer's fairly subdued reflections on the the English novel (he's a Booker Prize judge this time round). I agree all the way down the line.

I keep meaning to read some of his stuff - I confess, from the blurbs Voyage to the End of the Room sounds a little close to my bones - "too much perpective" indeed - but, but, but...

Well, I have no angst (why should I?) resulting from his one-way spat over Yellow Dog last autumn. For the record, Martin Amis has said he thinks it's his third best novel (presumably behind Money and London Fields); I'd put it a little lower down the pecking order than that.

No angst, and no excuses.

So I must read some Fischer, especially now that Budapest is my new best friend of a city. Okay, it'll never top Berlin, but it's leapfrogged Amsterdam and Dublin and Lisbon; it's a great little place ... and the women are unbelievable. Truly unbelievable. And given the way things are right now (and for the forseeable), an Englishman can live like a king along the Danube.

posted by DD @ 20:30  8 comments

Who Breaks a Butterfly On a Wheel? (Again)

Well, this kind of news is gonna go cap in hand with my incessant playing of Music When the Lights Go Out and its compadres.

Let's hope he caps a lucky, and soon.

posted by DD @ 10:24  4 comments

The Hokey-Cokey Life

Referring back to an earlier entry (saturday, august 7th) on 'sloth' - "Sloth? Contemplation, my friend, con-tem-plation" - I neglected to add that Tom Hodgkinson (author of the forthcoming How To Be Idle) is one of the nefarious band of chancers behind the Idler magazine.

Excellent as it is, I feel it's fair to point out that the online edition is as true as its title would suggest; updates are infrequent, but there's a treasure trove of past interviews (with the likes of Bruce Robinson, John Cooper Clarke, Keith Allen and Alex Chilton) and other stuff to savour.

Stuff like this little homage to the pleasures of the balcony - and after my necessary errands of the morning ("What am I - a fucking taxi?") I intend a proper contemplation of the Thames, with some cheapo Chilean red and an early Evelyn Waugh to dip into (before he got spazzed by religion)...

So, to the balcony:

A good balcony is an essential ingredient for a day of languor. It can be on the eighteenth floor of a tower block, where you water the window box of daisies, sit on a deck chair with a can of Holsten Pils, and consider the intricate, interwoven stories of the city. It can be on the third floor of a villa in Portugal, with the sea below waiting for you to make up your mind, as you stumble around in front of the barbeque, gripping a bottle of red wine by the neck. It can be on the fourth floor of your office, site of clandestine joints, snatched sexual liaisons and an exultation of indifference toward that bloody job.

Wherever you find your balcony, savour its essential pleasure - half inside, half outside. Like the Hokey-Cokey, you have one foot in the world, and one foot out.
Hmmm. A can of Pils? How very 1992.

posted by DD @ 08:55  4 comments

Tuesday, August 17

Taking the Shilling

Flipping across this link via Dr Google, I just had to flip back and accredit it instant - if temporary - BOAT DRINKS status. I mean, who within would we not hurl overboard, even allowing for the fact that we all have our price?

Much as I cock my snoot at the riveted alabaster world of Hello and Heat et al, I can't help but be curious about these corporate shindigs, with their top table talk of "5K? Netto?" and "X trousered the lot, with free pie". Yes, the pitiful truth is that I too want to blow smoke rings while I swirl my brandy around a glass speckled with light from crystal chandeliers - especially if it's all on the house.

Spies have told me that Sir Ian Botham is a bit of a bore on the current circuit, trounced recently by some 7ft rugger bugger. (Oh, just pick one - who cares?)

BTW, don't forget to note that Cameron Trout, he of BB4 'fame', is available. Weddings, parties, barmitzvahs...and fishing trips. There you go, TV peeps: Catch a Fish With Trout. It's a harsh mistress that expects him to float back to the real world. Come on, get him on: the nation awaits.

posted by DD @ 14:09  4 comments

"If We Had Every Terrorist Plan, We'd Have More Scripts Than Warner Brothers"

Hell, one last (and I mean last) flyer about the war on terror - this time it's a round-up piece from the Economist. Perhaps the most salient paragraph, the one that defuses my innate fears of a big one landing on our precious heads any day now, is this:

... Jason Burke, a writer on al-Qaeda, says: “Since 9/11, there's been a rampant dissemination of al-Qaeda's ideology, which, even if its capability has diminished, has made it far easier for the group to recruit individuals.” The result, Mr Burke predicts, will be fewer spectacular strikes, such as those of September 11th, and many more small-scale, more randomly directed attacks, such as this year's bombings in Madrid. As in Madrid, these attacks will often be carried out by individuals who have only a passing contact with the al-Qaeda organisation, even if they claim to be members of it.

Right: no more yackin' about this stuff, unless some serious shit happens. I'm way too busy with my TV nirvana of the magic 'esses': the Shield, Sopranos and Six Feet Under. And yes, I'm all too aware of my third world citizen status in not having a digibox or dish or cable link or whatever. So we few retards left around suffer the hassle of these killer shows running through August on terrestrial TV.

Oh, and I've got the new Libertines record to rattle me through our cloying rainy season, and, of course, all my new best friends in BOAT DRINKS to hang with from time to time. Thus, after all, what's not to like about our privileged life?

posted by DD @ 12:55  4 comments

A Rare Interview With the Grate Gwyn Barry

Here it is, ladies and germs.

posted by DD @ 11:00  4 comments

Monday, August 16

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Came upon this pretty new Fiery Furnaces site today (see BOAT DRINKS for link to Home page), a reminder that I'm sure the song Leaky Tunnel refers to Greenwich Foot Tunnel, which is just down the road apiece from where I'm at. And yes, it does leak a few drops from the Thames.

I went to see them back in the spring, when they were supporting Franz Ferdinand. I have to confess that I was underwhelmed by them that night. I really like the first album, but that night they kinda turned the songs inside out - which is great in itself, it's just that the changes didn't really work for me.

FYI, Franz Ferdinand were excellent, though with my nitpicking hat on I just don't think they have the X factor - what Tony Parsons (a writer I detest, but it's his line, and I can't improve on it, so I have to fess to using it) calls "the divine spark". And annoyingly I missed the opening act Sons & Daughters, who I've since seen hyped in Mojo and elsewhere. In fact, this is the blog of someone who's turning into their #1 fan.

posted by DD @ 17:54  4 comments

Be Afraid ... But Also Be Defiant

Flipped through this piece today before realising, at the very end, who the writer was - venturing out into the real world where Menswear means clothing and there's no instant ineffaceable association with puerility.

Well... as it's a particularly blue monday (for reasons I will never bore you with here), I couldn't resist firing off a reply. So here it is - I suppose were I a wanker I'd call it an open letter ...

Dear John

It was only when I reached the end of your piece that I twigged it really was you, and not some other John Harris. You should stick to music punditry...and looking like a Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson on Newsnight Review.

To the point: essentially what al-Qaeda 'want' is a return to the Caliphate dating back -roughly - to the 7th century. Imagine a hockey stick shape winding up and east from southern Spain and you'll get the general idea.

Of course, given that kind of imperial base their ambitions may (I say they would) alter ...

Given that, any talk that we should just walk away from Saudi Arabia etc., ie give them Stage One of what they want, is phooey. Complete yarbles. (Unless you really do believe in a Tony Benn love-in, where everybody - given the chance - would get along just fine dunking our Rich Tea biscuits; or like say, Tariq Ali, you hold the view that since Vietnam the USA is to blame for just about everything that's gone awry in our world, and you'd rather see China as the dominant superpower or, equally frightening, that there was no dominant nation to operate the carrot and stick on the despots of the world. A kind of Limbo Logic. Not for me, thanks.)

Al-Qaeda are "super terrorists", in the sense that the moment the second plane hit the WTC the IRA were finished as a terrorist organisation. Old hat. Over. Relegated to Division One. If I may digress: the fact is that by and large we've always known where the IRA are (for proof see Roger Graeff's mid-80s book on the Metropolitan Police). The fear was that taking them out would provide future generations with martyrs. Again, that's a consideration that 9/11 blew asunder. In fact, I'd go so far as to dare the IRA to hit mainland Britain one more time - and I say that living near to South Quay* station. They could then wave bye bye to any American support, for ever. That most Irish people have no wish for a united Ireland, thanks to the economic grants gifted them by the EC, closes the whole issue down ... to the present-day level of turf wars for drugs.

Back to the real threat, the clear and present danger. It is, sadly, equivalent to a whole new ball game, and I think we can assume that we'll both be long gone before the final whistle.

And I'll confess what I feel in my bones: the longer the wait is before an attack on London, the bigger that attack is going to be. Why take a solo shot at a McDonald's, when you could hit a hundred simultaneously? (And those bits flying out of the windows will not be chicken wings - they'll be children's limbs.)

But we should keep it in mind that this is a war that we can't lose. The issues are: how dark the scenario gets before we have to start pushing some big red buttons of our own, and how far we have to compromise our secular liberal democratic traditions and habits in defeating al-Qaeda. There are plenty of excellent commentators out there - the likes of Christopher Hitchens, Michael Ignattief and, in the Guardian itself, David Aaronovitch and Timothy Garton Ash - who return again and again to analyse these grey areas.

But to reiterate, some things are clear: we know what they want; we know what they're prepared to do to achieve their goals; now we have to continue catching the bastards - and if we can liberate millions of oppressed people along the way with a relatively small fraction of casualties (cue Iraq) then I'm ticking the YES box for action each time.

So I say, be afraid ... but also be defiant.

To end on a different tack, isn't The Libertines' Music When The Lights Go Out a fantastic song?


*Go here to see a pic of what the Fenians did back in the day, in their attempt to blow up Canary Wharf's (then sole) tower at 1 Canada Square.

posted by DD @ 13:48  5 comments

Thai Platforms

Apart from the Hitch (beginners: go to Christopher Hitchens in BOAT DRINKS - pronto! and be prepared to think) who phones in a regular piece to straighten the backs of English proles, it really is something of a red-letter day when I link to the Daily Mirror. Funnily enough, I can see the newspaper offices out of my bedroom window (though I never did bump into its notorious editor Piers "double yer money" Morgan*, and, alas, he was recently given the bin liner treatment, so any opportunity for me to land one on may have gone for good).

But this piece fits my 'remit' here, so to speak. And if you have yet to do so, I recommend a read of Michel Houellebecq's Platform and Atomised, as they reflect on this kind of sex trade, and more. As I used to (actually, still do) point out about the Irish, like all good Frenchmen he got the fuck out of France pretty much as soon as he could. Yeah, I know, you're there already. The joke's on me. Where did Houellebecq go? Bloody Ireland.

*And one thing - the sole thing - in Piers' credit column with me was his hatred of Mr Chewy, otherwise known as Alex Ferguson. There you have it: what unites Piers Morgan, Victoria Beckham and myself... And what a rum triumvirate we make.

Should anyone out there be wondering what it is about old Chewy that winds us up, it's things like this (from the Guardian's Fiver:

Fergie v BBC, Round 15

The size and frequency of Sir Alex Ferguson's bust-ups with the BBC would make even Jodie Marsh blush. So when Match of the Day returned last weekend, the Fiver started our watch - tick, tock, tick - sat back, and waited for the inevitable thermonuclear explosion. After all, not many managers have claimed, like Fergie has, that: "The BBC are dying for us to lose. Everyone is from Liverpool with a supporter's badge. They will be at our games every week until we lose, that mob. That's what will drive us on."

Today, at 9am - five days into the new season - our watch stopped. Because Fergie has only gone and banned BBC reporters! The reason? Back in May, the corporation published a warts 'n' all documentary about links between him, the club, and his agent son Jason - and Ferguson is still simmering. "It is regrettable that Sir Alex has chosen not to speak to the BBC," said a hesitant BBC Sport spokeswoman. "We do hope he will reconsider."

If history is any guide, they'll be in the doghouse for a while yet - for Fergie's run-ins with the BBC are legendary. When Jimmy Hill criticised Eric Cantona for backheeling John Polston in the face, he fumed: "If there's a prat in this world, he's the prat." While, a year later, when John Motson asked an innocent question about Roy Keane, Fergie responded: "You've no right to ask that question, you're out of order. You know full well my rule on that, right? That's the interview finished. You ******* know the rules here." The Fiver certainly doesn't, but we're standing well back anyhow.

posted by DD @ 10:52  4 comments

A Little London Thing

Just a little aside that I find myself incapable of resisting. What the guy is on about in this piece is essentially Arsenal versus Spurs. Anybody who's been to one of those games knows exactly what I mean.

posted by DD @ 09:26  4 comments

Sunday, August 15

The Wonderful and Frightening World Of Fela Kuti

Ahead of the festival this October at the Barbican, there's this piece on the life story and legacy of the Black President. See you there!

BTW, the complete Observer Music Monthly Magazine is here. It's no Mojo (hey, it's not even a Spin), but it's okay.

posted by DD @ 20:07  4 comments

The Lambs of London

First notice that I've seen of the new Peter Ackroyd. Not that I'm a big, big fan of his fiction; his speciality seems to be the past, and I need the contemporary fix - hence Martin Amis, Julian Barnes, JG Ballard and Will Self, ahead of others.

Tangentially, I'm also disappointed at the lack of gut-tough New York novels. The Corrections has a New York section but that's not its scene. And I'm not buying into Jonathan Lethem. Piffle. So at the moment, that leaves Don DeLillo, in my humble. (If you know better, please lift me up out of my ignorance.)

DeLillo. Well, I've awarded myself a deserved time out on his prose after Underworld's relentless riffing - akin to John Coltrane's legendary live elongated deconstructions of My Favourite Things. Don't get me wrong: I fucking love some of his stuff - for example, the cameo appearance of Vernon Dickey in White Noise is one of the funniest dozen pages or so I have ever read. And that pay-off line: Don't you worry 'bout me ... " And yet the attention-grabbing tour-de-force of that novel, the "airborne toxic event", just left me cold.

So come on New York Conversers, where's the new Herzog? You've got a $100 million dollar market there that's gagging for greatness. And then there's us London Smokers ...

posted by DD @ 14:20  4 comments

Dirty Little Oily Little Cheating Little Spics

Checked out the Olympic blooger (sic) but there's nothing much doing. Typically safe American outlook. I mean, where's the take on the story. This.

Were I Darren Campbell I'd be mightily pissed off that that cheating cunt stole my gold medal.

And yes, sooner or later there'll be a stink about Euro 2004 too. A veritable oil slick.

And before you knee jerk, I'm pro-Europe blah blah blah... But sometimes stereotypical shit sticks; it's the old line that cliches get used because they're true. Not always, but sometimes.

BTW, WTF was the adorable Bjork doing soiling herself at the opening ceremony. And where was George Michaelis Papadopoulos? As sure as eggs is eggs Glenn Medeiros can have no 'prior engagements'.

Of course, as I've stated in a previous missive, I'm all for drugs - let them use the lot! And am I the only one surprised at the lack of coverage of the dreaded 'drug issue' in a yankee athlete's blog? (So what if he's a swimmer?) After all, if there's a country whose athletes are as near as dammit replicants, jacked up to eleven all the time, it's the good old US of A.

Ladies and Germs, I now intend to do what millions of men across the ponds are doing, and imagine how I could 'mother' these perty little gymnasts. Oh, please, toy with that ribbon - and split.

ADDENDUM: it's good to read today (Thursday, August 19) that the Greek people have seen through this pair of charlatans.

posted by DD @ 13:36  4 comments

The King Is 69!

In honour of His birthday tomorrow, this from a recent article on R & R excess:

Celebrity biographer David Brett collected some suitably salacious tales while researching his book, Elvis: The Hollywood Years. "Elvis apparently liked 'small-breasted virgins', " he says, "and developed a thing for watching lesbians in snowy white knickers having sex through the two-way mirror in his bedroom. Apparently, as he watched, in one hand he'd be holding a burger, or perhaps a bucket of giblets... "
Furthermore, in Stanley Booth's book Rhythm Oil some confidantes within the Presley circle recount how Elvis walked in on one of their card ganes to announce mock-sheepishly that He'd "just eaten my first pussy". When they asked Him who the lucky girl was He replied, "Natalie Wood."

And a little mindfuck for a lazy rainy afternoon is to work out which songs EP would have covered over the years had he lived. I limit it to "new" songs i.e. ones written since His departure, and if I may indulge in a fantasy I suggest these are the dozen or so songs that would have crept into his various set-lists as he hogged London for a week in these years:

  • Born In The USA (well, let's face it: just about any song off the entire album)
  • I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
  • The Joker
  • Save A Prayer
  • Crazy Little Thing Called Love
  • Watching The Wheels
  • Start Me Up
  • Ghosts
  • Redemption Song
  • If You Leave Me Now
  • Careless Whisper
  • Pride
  • One
  • Everybody Hurts
  • Philadelphia (Springsteen)
  • Tears In Heaven
  • Everything I Do... (O yes he would!)
  • Heaven Is A Place On Earth
  • Enter Sandman
  • Rock & Roll Star
  • Like A Prayer
  • Hallelujah
  • Sweet Child O' Mine
  • Nobody's Baby Now (yes! Elvis sings Sir Nick of Cave)
  • Baby One More Time
  • Crazy In Love
  • Hey Ya
  • Angels (yuck yuck yuck, but unavoidable)
  • Beautiful Day
  • Seven Nation Army
  • Hurt
  • Get Ur Freak On
  • Toxic
  • Family Affair
  • New York, New York (Ryan Adams)
  • Wise Up

Off the top of my head stuff, I confess (what's new, baby?), and what bugs me is that there's so many 'religious' songs there. God damn America. And, of course, two old favourites would have resurfaced: I Will Always Love You and Candle In The Wind.

One time I'll relate how I left Paris just 48 hours before she bought her ticket; cheap, snarky, childish and cruel that it is, I like to think that my presence had a little something to do with it. Just those bad vibes, maaan. My work was done.

posted by DD @ 12:40  5 comments

Je T'Aime ... Moi Non Plus

Here is an interview with Jane Birkin as she goes around mauling the great works of Serge Gainsbourg (see BOAT DRINKS for a link to his lyrics).

Sorry, I'm sure she's very charming if you meet her, but her voice is horrid.* Cat's don't squawk but if they did ...

BTW, one day I shall ponce up my brief essay on why Je T'Aime... is the greatest pop song of all time. And, of course, it's the Brigitte Bardot original that is the killer version.

*Anyone who wants a couple of Jane B's solo albums on CD - email me and they're yours, for free. Bought at a time when I bought anything with Serge's monicker attached to it. Her stuff shall never see my iPod. On such points I never yarble.

posted by DD @ 11:28  4 comments

Guerrillas of London Town

A piece that breaks nationwide what's been going on for a couple of years now around London.

All for it. (Though I'm not giving Pete Doherty the money to kill himself - so yes, I scammed a free download of the new album. It's there, but not as there as Up the Bracket.)

But as always the sometimes sententious yet nonetheless ineradicable rule is: whatever you do, just be any damn good.

posted by DD @ 11:08  4 comments

Saturday, August 14

In Further Praise of Sloth

Just to vary my links a tad, and to eat some humble over the frankly disappointingly safe New York Times, this piece is one of many recently propping up this new French literary spindle on how to get away with doing very, very little at work.

Which reminds me of the quote from the great George Costanza in Seinfeld: (when at work) "Look annoyed all the time, and people assume you're busy."

Seinfeld is, of course, listed over in BOAT DRINKS.

posted by DD @ 21:37  4 comments

In Search of Lost Time (Again)

This piece by Richard Powers dallies with how to kiss off the demands of the 'real' world. It's "Times winged chariot..." and all that.

Of course, I'm one of those guys who, having read that Bob Dylan never wears a watch, have followed suite, religiously... And yes, I do check each new photo of His Bobness that I see, not that I'm a Dylanologist nowadays - I'm younger than that now.

Besides, the current chunky look just wouldn't do my limp (but fit - well exercised) wrists any favours.

posted by DD @ 11:19  4 comments

Friday, August 13

England Is a Nation of Character Actors

In order to pacify some sick inner demon that toys with me, I insist on dragging myself - or wilfully being dragged - to the theatre at least once a year. And I do mean dragged - drugged and dragged - and I do mean once a year.

The theatre experience should be my thing, but it generally is not: no air con in the theatres; wine with bits of cork in and beer that is nowhere near cold enough in the interval; and too much bullshit chatter. All that, and the fear of bumping into, say, Harold Pinter and really having to land one on. I don't think I could turn down the opportunity.

Still I go, and as I put it it's this silly little thing about hearing so many people say they love London beacause of the theatre... When its existence has very little to do with my adoration of the city. An adoration which I'll probably try to nail, then nail again, and again, late one night, but not now. A starter: my belief is that this golden state is LA and NYC combined. A Unique City!

To the theatre. The ones I've loved over recent years include Dealer's Choice and Closer, both by Patrick Marber (indeed I actually saw Closer twice). And, of course, I loved Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell.

I also went to see Art. Having listened to it on the radio one Sunday and not even registered a single inner smile, I expected to hate it. During this West End run it was performed by a revolving cast of lower-list 'celebs' (yankees - that means British people you've never heard of) and the production I saw featured The League of Gentlemen - and it was fabulous. They were fabulous. Fabulously funny.

(Thinking back, I can only claim that I must have been semi-comatose lying on my bed as the radio production droned by. That, and the fact I can be incredibly cloth-eared and stupid.)

This year's love is The History Boys by Alan Bennett - and this piece in the excellent New York Observer is as good a review of it as any I remember reading; if I remember rightly, the play received pretty much unanimous praise from the press.

The point about England being a nation of character actors is spot on; the unsaid corollary is that the USA deals in stars. But it explains why I prefer Gene Hackman to the likes of Tom Cruise, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman to Johnny Depp. The latter a tougher call, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. Here, apart from the odd Butlins entertainer, we're all J Alfred Prufrock in temperament, despite the tacky and sordid americanisation of our public manners that filters through Reality TV. Think hugs. Hugging. Stop it now! Hands off me.

Not that I know jack about acting. Just that Nicolas Cage cannot act. (Come on: that anti-talent is in the Coppola family gene.)

So even if you think that the theatre is the least theatrical entertainment around (as I do) go see The History Boys.

Yeah, I have noted it too: an unusual number of 'loved' , 'adored' and 'fabulous' or their brethren in this missive. I could say it's a deliberate stylistic wind-up, but I think the real truth is that I protest too much. I'm a closet luvvie (which will not come as any kind of shock to some of my friends, but will come as an opportunity to the whole damn lot of them).

posted by DD @ 01:46  4 comments

Thursday, August 12

Dale Peck Bevels Six Feet Under

I thought American Beauty was well overrated (The Talented Mr Ripley was by far the better film of that year), and Six Feet Under is a curious beast: it often has me laughing aloud, or writhing on the sofa, then sometimes I sit there saying WTF?

So. A good show, but falling just shy of my pantheon of the great 'S' shows - Simpsons, Sopranos, Larry Sanders, Seinfeld and The Shield. Mighty Diamonds!

Anyway, here's the hired assassin de jour - Dale Peck - and his take on the oeuvre of Alan Ball.

Plus: via Salon here's a piece on Peck's (and - at a tangent, James Wood's) war against "maximalism" in the modern novel.

Plus: in the spirit of hatchet jobs comes Kill Your Idols...

posted by DD @ 23:35  4 comments

Slick Rick ... and Some Pure Yarbles

Slate does lots of things well, generally pissing all over the asinine and frankly often arse-licking New York Times when it comes to coverage of the US scene and beyond, (and Slate has the Hitch, and Sasha Frere Jones, and the High Sign honey and others ...) and this piece on the late Rick James is the best obit for the guy that I've read.

Actually, just about the whole damn lot of American newspapers seem babyish to my eyes. What do I mean? Babyish like the celebrity interviews/ features in the NY Times Magazine, for example. I remember wading through a particularly oily feature on Sofia Coppola around the release of Lost In Translation. Like Wacko Jacko interviewing Liz Taylor.

(BTW, I may as well slip in the anecdote about seeing the Bad tour in London in the late 1980s and hearing Wacko call for a minute's silence for his "very ill, dearest friend" - Liz T. And yep, all the mug punters shtummed. I was glared at for laughing - hand over mouth.)

Back to the US press: are they any good ones out there? I mean as good as the London Guardian in terms of scope and attitude - and I can usually ride out whatever political bias they use as default ... as they all do, though I gave up on the Independent last year. Robert Fisk and his complete yarbles re: the war. I'm guessing they gave ***** to the vomitific Fahrenheit 9/11. Oh - and you have to pay to access anything that holds any promise (just like the LA Times).


ADDENDUM: today (Monday, August 16) I found this New York Post piece via Gawker. I tell ya: over at the NY Times they're a bunch of babies.

posted by DD @ 13:30  4 comments

Ladies and Germs, Tick Those Boxes

This dissection of office life means nothing to I now that I am free at last, free at last, but...

I've had them all, and wasted way too much of my time with an "invisible woman".

But she changed... and disappeared for good.

posted by DD @ 11:58  4 comments

United States of Perverts

Apparently, the olympic event that attracts the most viewers stateside is the gymnastics. Full story here.


And - if you do read the article - are we really so sure which way Carl Lewis pole vaults? I've not forgotten that the slime did take drugs and cannot sing.

I'm for letting them injest WTF they like. Hey: let's see how fast, how high we can really fly if we use all the methods at our disposal.

Bringing it all back home, this article... Well, the title says it all: With Love from Spunky Arthur. Enjoy, my fellow travellers.

posted by DD @ 11:35  4 comments

Fighting in the Captain's Tower

Just read this piece of news about Ezra Pound. Suffice to say that where I live, Blue Plaques are a little thin on the ground. Outnumbered by 'skyscrapers' - so there you go.

Personally, I preferred TS Eliot; and I'll take Larkin over both, thank you very much. In fact, I take Larkin over any other modern poet (possibly in my ignorance).

If anyone is paying any attention to my cackling, I swear I once saw a documentary on Pound which stated that late in life he kept a vigil of silence for seven years. "I have said too much. Time to be quiet." Or something like that. Is this true, or is my mind frazzled?

posted by DD @ 10:17  4 comments

One On One

Occasionally (like, every other day) I find myself indulging in the parlour game I call One On One. This is simply a choice of which public figure you'd really like to land one on at that precise moment...and, as such, pet hates come and go.

But Tariq Ali has been an ever-present hate figure of mine ever since I learned how to stop reading with my fingers. And he duly obliges my irksome bones with regular pieces of piss like this one.

Now you will not find me waffling on about the war, because I reached my conclusions way back and have seen no need to change. I'm basically lock, stock behind Christopher Hitchens and David Aaronovitch (links to both over in BOAT DRINKS).

Re: this latest piece of guff from Mr Ali, I'll take a ratio along the lines of thirty, forty, even fifty-plus thousands of 'citizens' killed per liberation of twenty million around all the despotic lands of our world. And wouldn't you? Think. Think hard about it.

And it's good of him to notice now that the diference between the Republicans and Democrats is basically along the lines of "People's Front of Judea? Fuck off. We're the Judean People's front..." Welcome to our world, pal.

As for domestic politics, I'm with Tony Blair all down the fucking line. Right now, he's the best leader in the world and no debate. I have zero tolerance of Billy Braggian ideologues - you know, the kind of fools - fools - who would rather see Tony Benn rather than Tony Blair in Number Ten. (Yes. You. Fucking. Well. Would. So fuck off.)

Okay I've been buggering on so I may as well rip it all out now. BUT keep in mind the essential default position: ALL POLITICIANS ARE SWINE. Not only are they swine, but so are a frankly embarrassing percentage of the electorate (here I'm nailing Britain, though I picture sentient people over the pond - and elsewhere - nodding in assent that boy, things have gotta change... ); if I had my way universal suffrage would vanish. (That issue I shall whack another time - for now it's the germs we elect, not how we elect them, that I'm hitting on.) But right now, we're swamped with swine.

So, I think the best we can do is to try get the best deal we can from the shite available. For Britain, that means Tony Blair for the forseeable. He's as left (loosely and lazily meaning progressive) as this country is prepared to go - and bear in mind that he's way, way to the left of what any Democratic President would even dare to try to roll through Congress. Way, way out there... (in the promised land, heh, my American friends?) with the sole exception of Iraq. Iraq, Iraq...

Back to Blighty. Let's run through the alternatives. Gordon Brown? Well, he already is de facto P.M. of domestic policy, with his 'very good friend' as President. Bliss. Everybody should be happy. Brown and his entourage should face it: he has the shifty, sweaty-browed look of Richard Nixon. He flunks the used-car test.

The others? Charles Kennedy is an amiable pisshead but can you picture him representing us on the White House lawn? Pretty sobering, huh? And Michael 'Dracula' Howard is out of the question. Come on: you'd be off from the used-car lot at the mere sight of his oily approach.

The people I know who have vented their spleen at Blair seem to have no examinable alternative to offer: in essence, it's ABB - anybody but Blair. Now who's puppeting the expected American line, albeit that of the 'left'? What it amounts to is Walmart politics: dirt cheap, plastic and flimsy. And I can't argue with any who say it was ever thus. Still, talking of plastic and flimsy... I sat up and watched John Kerry's convention speech, and I thought: those poor, poor Americans, what kind of choice have they got. What kind of chance have they got? Either way, I look up the road and I see T.R.O.U.B.L.E.

BTW, if you're planning on voting Kerry, I'd see if you can rustle up any web action on our old John Major - a Kerryesque duffer that the loons in our land elected (with the biggest vote ever! Hence us dissenters had no option but to hit the cocaine trail to numb the pain...but, again, that's another story for another time); or go to plank in the dictionary: he should figure as Exhibit A for modern usage.

You poor, poor Americans. Not only is your choice shit-awful right now, but the more I read the more I discover that you've had a series of shits in the White House since FDR. Oh boy, don't protest now: don't, don't get me started on the Kennedys. Camelot? American 'royalty'? Big Daddy jumps in bed with fascists; The spawn are humpbacked and should have been spayed; instead the next spawn can't drink and drive with any elan; then the next can't fly a plane in the dark... That's your talent? Yeah, I mock, but you know what? I'sd still take them over our own Royal family anytime. Anytime. And I really can't get started on them now.

But they got me back to Blighty once more, and the end is in my head. Yeah: I'm pro-Europe etc, etc, etc. You can tick most of the predictable boxes. Fuck the pound. Euro is a shit term for a currency - I want us to use Mozarts, Bachs, Beethovens, Goyas, Shakies... "How much?" "Two Mozarts, squire." "Cheers."

While I'm renaming and reordering the world, I'd also change Iraq back to Mesopotamia. What fucker got rid of that gem of a name? Domain that now! And Israel and Palestine should be and would be one nation, Jerusalem. (Hands up: not an original idea; the late Edward Said banged on and on about this being the best solution to that problem.)

Ain't it funny? Even when I get a fucked-off kick-start from old Tariq I end up having fun... What's happening here? I'm spinning myself!

So what's left? Peace on Earth? That will never happen; moreover, I don't want it to happen. It would mean the castration of our very natures... And need I list all the 'pop' references to this dilemma, beginning with, of course, A Clockwork Orange.

Okay, I'll indulge. Talking Heads' (Nothing But) Flowers - I go with that over Joni's Big Yellow Taxi any time. Where would we be without parking lots?

And to bring in Royal Tenenbaum (always a good thing to do): "Let's get out there and start choppin' it up."

I could go on and on and I probably will, but I'd sooner put some joy back in...

Right, fie upon this quiet life, I want work...

posted by DD @ 09:24  4 comments

Wednesday, August 11

The Black Mahler

I did vow a while back never to bring up Croydon - poor benighted little beltway - but then I came upon this piece by Norman Lebrecht on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. The truth is, such places always kill their own.

There's this link too, and more no doubt if you hit Dr Google etc.

posted by DD @ 23:11  5 comments

Are You a Bleeding Heart Liberal?

So I wake up with my nose on the screen and I sniff upon this quiz: "Are you a bleeding heart Liberal?"

No way, no fucking way.

Then I do it and score 30.

Who am I? I don't even know myself, according to that result. My, my, I am getting soft.

Not a good start to the day. String me up! String me up!

posted by DD @ 09:15  4 comments

Reverse Tolerance and All That

For those of us who enjoy the occasional tipple, here is yet another cautionary tale, and via Dr Google, this tells us what's coming.

posted by DD @ 01:24  4 comments

Tuesday, August 10

Encore Voltaire

Well I really am rocking out tonight. Even this dead guy deserves a break. Have I read it all? Have I fuck. I'm busy rackin'. I tell you: donating blood then drinking is bloody good for you.

posted by DD @ 22:54  4 comments

I'm Back, Baby!

Clearly today is the first day of my next life after the mindwarp kristallnachts of Budapest.

So here in Village Voice I find another little ounce of joy - y'know, here we call it the 'silly season' for old Fleet Street's finest debauchees, but over the pond I guess this is just T.C.B.

(Oh, BTW, am I drunk or what? That took sixty seconds to type, and three minutes to correct. Hey: let me go!)

PS: the rhesuses did their job perfectly.

posted by DD @ 22:43  4 comments

Rhesus Negative Bloody Mary

Today - in a couple of hours - I'm giving blood. It is the only fucking thing I do 'give back' so no slap-my-own-arse hoopla.

Afterwards, though, two Spanish measures of the above to 'recuperate'.

Scouring around for talent, I came across this site which I hope is still floating, and I hope the author (Rachel London) forgives me if I find it a little hard to tell. I guess some people really do have lives. (But, to go with Borges, I've always preferred books.)

It also led me to Tangents - a home for unpopular culture, where there's a review of the recent Go-Betweens show at the Barbican, among lots and lots of other cookies. Both sites are also linked over in Boat Drinks.

Rachel's piece on Larkin is as satisfying (though in an entirely different mood and way) as Martin Amis' appreciation in The War Against Cliche. In turn, when it comes to Larkin and Jazz I recall his review (in All What Jazz) of John Coltrane's Meditations: "the most astounding piece of ugliness I have ever heard."

And he's right. There's a cat scratching its itches on the piano; there are two drummers auditioning against each other; and, if I may borrow from a classic Seinfeld episode, it can be assumed that both saxophonists (JC and Pharoah Sanders) have been busy 'down south' with their ladies prior to the recording session.

I confess: it's one of those records that sit there as one of the great unplayed. Some fellow travellers? Trout Mask Replica, Neu!, Silver Apples, and Tom Waits... and Tom Waits... and Tom Waits. And as I look I can see a hundred more that I may never play again.

posted by DD @ 13:23  6 comments

We Know What You're Doing

I must say, this action seems most unfriendly.

posted by DD @ 13:01  4 comments

Cheap Shots Can Be Perfect Little Snifters

Okay, so this is easy drollery, but as a devout "you wanna take it outside?" atheist I always, always enjoy these things.

posted by DD @ 10:30  4 comments

Enjoy Yourself

...It's later than you think.

So says little Lord Monbiot here. (For Americans - or local sand dwellers - he's our elfin Noam Chomsky.) Yeah, our George has a dose of that elfin charm. You know: he'll hug trees and ravage your daughter. That kind of charm.

So it's later than we think. Yet maybe it isn't so late after all. Monbiot and his ilk remind me of the quote by Clive James about Jane Fonda: "She describes herself as a consciousness-raiser. And that's very true. Each time I find myself in agreement with her I realise that I need to re-examine my thinking."

If I remember rightly, Monbiot recently declamed that flying transatlantic is a criminal offence against the future of the world. Huh? Chain me.

Bud: Not flying transatlantic on a semi-regular basis is a criminal offence against my soul. And as it happens I agree with the 'skeptical environmentalist' Bjorn Lomborg that we should concentrate on what we can do now for the people living now - as opposed to wasting billions of dollars on yet another hodge-podge UN 'fix'.

And who knows? Maybe some zoned-out science buckaroo riding the fear on a return flight over the Atlantic will lasso up some new theory - one that will be a much more effective approach to global warming.

posted by DD @ 09:10  4 comments

Hang On Voltaire

And here comes said bollocks...

posted by DD @ 08:48  5 comments

Monday, August 9

We Shall Not See His Like Again ... and All That Bollocks

Breaking news: Bernard Levin has just died - mid-clause, mid-sentence...

posted by DD @ 17:45  5 comments

Sunday, August 8

Guilty Pleasures

From the excellent Sean Rowley shows on BBC Radio London 94.9FM - Joy Of Music and All Back To Mine (see BOAT DRINKS for link) comes the necessary tie-in record - Guilty Pleasures. And here's a piece about it.


A triptych of joy:

  • Heaven Is A Place On Earth by Belinda Carlisle: the original classic, not the dance muck rehash of a summer or two ago. (What's really embarrassing is that I have said to girls that my father / uncle co-wrote that song and that I live off one of his generous allowances... Pathetic.)
  • Captain Jack by Billy Joel: in years past, when exceedingly drunk, I would suggest aloud that Oasis should cover this song to do it justice. Oh, how sweet to be an idiot.
  • Tiny Dancer by Elton John: well, liking anything by the weepy old queen is hands up guilty isn't it? Yeah, I concede: it did sound pretty cool in Almost Famous, but so did a lot of dodgy material.

posted by DD @ 22:38  4 comments