Thursday, September 30

Watching London Burn

After my sodden, wetheaded, demented drunken ramblings and lashings out of the past couple of days (though I retract nada), I'm drunk again - of course - but relaxed and wishing to salute some fantastic little gems courtesy of Watching London Burn. The link is to the site - and it's in BOAT DRINKS; here's Overheard #6, but the others are just as endearingly pithy - trust me:

At our local, quite late one evening. There is a group of utterly pissed old men mumbling to each other. They smoke fags, drink cheap beer - there is a small cloud of dandruff whenever one tosses his head back to laugh, along with a lovely view of the teeth that lost an empire. Suddenly one says: "I'm Belle de Jour, you know . . ."

- after a second, everyone laughs again.

Link

posted by DD @ 21:47  26 comments

Idiot Wind (Again)

Though I'm pretty sure that I can probably count the people who pay attention to this guy's column using my fingers and toes, I thought I'd link to him just this once to show how he pulls off an odd feat. Anyone familiar with Sir Kingsley Amis' dictum about Berks and Wankers* should enjoy a quick trawl through this article to see how this guy manages to be both at once.

The snarky - and ridiculous - "more than a hint of intellectual pride" description of Tony Blair's rhetoric tells you what's coming: yarbles. Superior balls. Another slap-head attack on the prime minister. I do wish they would all piss off, instead of pissing me off week in, week out. "Wankers are prissy, fussy, priggish, prim . . . " to quote the King, and this article ticks the box labelled wank material. Ticks it? It reeks of it.

To nail his absolute folly, his anti-talent for reason has Tony Blair somehow saying that Al-Qaeda are "isloated gangs of madmen with no defined objectives". In fact, in his speech he said no such thing. Because everybody who cares knows that they do have defined objectives - the restoration of the Caliphate etc.

And from that basic error the whole attack is bogus: careless, coarse, crass and gross - the very things the King puts forward as the tell-tale nomenclature that signals beware: there's a berk in the house.

I'm actually at a loss to see how a supposedly sentient human being can completely misread a speech - I mean Tony Blair laid it out so clearly that even irredeemable berks like Peter Kilfoyle and Clare Short had to have grasped the fundamentals. The article concludes - with all the surprise of seeing a slap-head pawing around the erotica corner of your local bookshop - that the prime minister "has lost his power to reason".

Like I said at the top of this spiel, I doubt anyone who reads through this pays any attention to the custard cream thinking of Mr Anatole Kaletsky; but sometimes I feel it's good to let others know that they're really not missing anything.

And, of course, I love taking cunts like this to task. Am I being personal? Yes. Is he a slap-head? Have a look - here. He's for hire - as a celebrity speaker. Oh yes he is. No joke.

* The King's English by Kingsley Amis. An essential treat, if you're British; and a delicious slugfest, if you're American.

Link

posted by DD @ 16:04  4 comments

Wednesday, September 29

Bono Wears Lifts

Bono in Brighton: I predicted a dollop of bullshit - and I wasn't disappointed, was I?

Oh lay off, some whimper, he's trying to save the world from itself. Yeah, he's well meaning but as Jeffrey Bernard once said, "Hitler meant well."

And have a look. Have a close look at those side-on shots of the bog-brain potato head: he's wearing lifts! Yes he is, yes he is.

No, I'm not anti-Irish, though I do give them a good pasting from time to time. How can I be prejudiced against the Irish when they spawned the great Peter O'Toole - who famously was Jeffrey Bernard in Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell. And then of course there was Richard Harris.

But I hold with what I once opined a little too loudly one night, causing a dull-witted - and presumably Irish couple - to leave a Vietnamese restaurant in Greenwich without eating: how James Joyce was right, and that any Irishman with any sense and talent gets the fuck out as soon as he can.

Yes, I am a bastard at times - a loudmouth, uncouth bastard; or as my brother sometimes puts it, pleadingly: "I trust you're leaving Liam in his box tonight."

There you go: the Gallaghers!

Plus, I cheer on the Boston Red Sox; admittedly, that's mainly because their fans share my hatred for the New York Yankees. But I've learned some baseball history and there's the romantic - yes, even distinctly Irish - appeal of the Curse of the Bambino. And once more, the post-season is upon us, and a Red Sox vs Yankees showdown beckons. Not that I'm superstitious (if I see a ladder, I gambol under it) but I'll be developing my Johnny Damon look as the Sox blast their way through the play-offs.

And I'll leave with one great quip of Johnny's, remarking on his recent 'bulking up' - and alluding to the ongoing BALCO steroid scandal: "I'm gaining weight the right way - I'm drinking beer."

Link

posted by DD @ 20:14  4 comments

The Cool List 2004

Blah blah.

I always bear in mind the catty words of Debbie Harry: "Of course cool rhymes with fool."

As for the list - well, apart from the great Pedro Almodovar, and Johnny Depp - who's not on the lists linked to but came top as coolest person on our planet - they're all a bunch of talentless cunts. Roll up the usual rabble: childish artists for childish minds. The Streets? The Streets? Fuck off. The Libertines are a cool band - in fact just about the ONLY cool band in Britain, in what is a moribund music scene full of feckless drecks.*

Okay then, this is pretty much it for Britain right now: Jude Law is cool. Damon Albarn is cool. Jarvis Cocker is cool - but in exile. Lucien Freud is so cool - for a half-kraut. Noel Gallagher is cool. Gervais and Merchant are cool. East London is cool. The new Mini is cool. Miranda Sawyer is cool. Peep Show is cool. Unadorned Vespas are cool.

I am a fucking wreck - but this site is cool.

You are here, so you must be cool too, else you're here on holiday by mistake.

And there's my select band of local friends over in BOAT DRINKS. Other than that, you need to walk across some water to find fellow spirits.

Don't forget now: cool rhymes with fool.

* And in case anyone assumes I'm some fan of the Horse and the pipe and that that lies behind my love for the Libertines - well that is so not so. Actually, great though Barat & Doherty are as songwriters (clearly the best individual duo - if you see what I mean - since Strummer & Jones) my secret affection is for their fabulous drummer, Gary Powell. Much, much better than the average clown in your bog-average indie band. Point of fact, I think he's the coolest one we've had since Reni of the Roses. And where are you, Reni?!?

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posted by DD @ 13:51  6 comments

The Legend That Is Christopher Doyle

How do I feel?

Like a pig has shat in my head.

Last night? She said . . . Bar Lorca in Brixton is a) not in Brixton, but in the dark triangle of Stockwell-Kennington-Camberwell: the land of moochers and no mistake; b) actually the old White Horse - only the name has been changed so . . . c) still a hovel.

My friend's old band are dated and iffy, I'm pretty sure he's back dallying with the Horse - and I drank my age in units of alcohol. I had a shocker, replete with the typical end of the evening Spanish Inquisition - always unwelcome and seldom necessary - from another friend as to the state of my novel and my so-called life. This topped off a night that had found me talking to this ex-public school guy who gave the impression of having read fuck all as an adult, bar the corpus of Andy McNabb (he of one usable quote, I'll admit: "Suicide - the arsehole's way out"). I told him to get hold of The Great Gatsby . . . and go from there. Such types do make me wonder.

So, aside from spewing up during Bono's inevitably smirky and falsely self-deprecating lecture at the Labour party conference this afternoon, this is going to be a quiet day. I have no boosters left to turn up.

The link is a rollicking interview with Christopher Doyle, lensman extraordinaire. Yes, he's awfully fond of a sherry. A boat drinker. He regularly bashes just about everyone, from the West through to Quentin Tarantino. You'd never guess he's Australian. Yeah, a striney bastard.

For good measure, there's another recent interview here - and the excellent Reverse Shot also has an in-depth feature on Richard Linklater among other cookies.

And there's one more little striney gem here. (Here hare here ... at the ha ha wall. Nah, don't worry if you're going Huh? What the fuck? It's yarbles. Pure London yarbles. Time to send for a rhesus negative Bloody Mary.)

After that, ladies and germs, I suggest you converse with Dr Google if you want more of the living legend that is Christopher Doyle . . . or, better still, watch In the Mood for Love: it's majestic.

Link

posted by DD @ 11:06  5 comments

Tuesday, September 28

What's Eating All You Gilbert Grapes?

Okay, well I'm okay. But what's up with the average American teen? See the link - and see here. Fucked. You're all fucked!

Just watched Tony Blair's speech. For a while it was fairly dull, even when he was interrupted by crazy baldheads and wax-haired peasant types from the sticks supposedly moaning about their rights to rubbing their cocks and pussies to equine ecstasy whilst hunting foxes. Uh huh: put that way - and two fingers of single malt before Tally-ho . . . I'm in!

Anyway, when the Dear Leader hit the Iraq section he took off, and proved yet again why he's the top banana in our world. And when I looka yonder - askance - to the US presidential election, I kinda see why everybody's on anti-depressants.

So: I'm off to Brixton - to Bar Lorca to be exact, to watch my friend's band - RoC. Reprobates, every man jack of them. Despite them, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. Of course it is: I'll be there . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 15:56  4 comments

Monday, September 27

Chronicles of Bob Dylan

I've just read this extract from the soon-to-be published first volume of Bob Dylan's autobiography - and it looks like it's going to be worth going through after all.

There's a so-so interview you can link to as well, where he contrasts the methodology of writing his memoirs as to how he writes songs; but to me the extract has the same modus operandi: a surprisingly liberal and obviously deliberate use of cliche, which sets up the swift flash of an original phrase, an anastrophe, or a fresh twist on a familiar phrase - delivered in that imitable whiney voice.

For there looks like being plenty of whining going on throughout the Chronicles, though again few have pointed the finger quite so often as Dylan over the past forty-five years. But there should be plenty of humour too, using the same track record - and it's good to note that it looks like all his -ing suffixes are rolling to their proper end.

I really hope this three-volume autobiography does do just about all it could do, as it would then put to bed the sheer wankery of Christopher Ricks and all those other waxy Dylanologists. They (though it's true of all - and I mean all - pop music biographers) embrace the curse of being unable to resist inserting song titles or lyrics to decorate the climactic point of every other paragraph they write. I may be alone and baffling everybody with this comparison, but these biographers remind me of newly-appointed junior prefects at school. There's something false, trite and pointless about their positions, and what they're (on) about. In essence, they are predisposed to be annoying.

PS: Due to my chubby-fingered typing skills (hey, you know what they say about a guy with fat fingers ... ), I chanced upon another potential blog title, following up the Gobbets of Blake line I liberated a while ago. This time its for a piss-head with big ideas: Moethodology. I thank you, I thank you. Aw, come on, its no worse than Bob's stage(y) jokes . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 13:27  4 comments

Sunday, September 26

"You Can See the Halo Over His Head"

I so wanted to let this pass. I know that picking on anything to do with Bono is as easy as shooting fish out of a barrel, or, indeed, finding a list lyric in a U2 song.

I knew what would happen to me. But, but . . . I just had to read it. I couldn't not read it. And it duly wound me up.

It's a bog-standard hagiography, only unusual in that it sits in the Observer - for its true home is surely the New York Times magazine. Yeah, it's that oily, despite its relative brevity compared to the latter's tree-log-long love-ins. And I don't have the time to rip apart this anti-talent style - again; nor can I be arsed to flush out all its inaccuracies - no.*

However, it would be remiss of me not to point out a glaring omission: the fact that the walking tin of spam has had his C chord fingers rammed up Andrea's core for the past few years - and the whole pop world knows it.

* Okay then, just the one: it's stated that U2 have spent "almost thirty years at the top". Well, outside of paddyland they were jack shit before 1983 at the earliest; others would snark that it was their slot during Live Aid (1985) that made their career.

Link

posted by DD @ 08:56  5 comments

Saturday, September 25

Say It Ain't So, Pedro

Last October the great Pedro Martinez was throwing fat old men to the floor. Now he sounds like he's throwing in the towel. I know which I prefer.

Damn Yankees.

Damn contemptible Yankee asses.

Will it always be thus? To use one of Saul Bellow's titles, "More die of heartbreak."

I note in passing that A-Rod has contributed a little of his hard-earned to the CREEP. Following his nine-digit deal to move to Texas, I remember it was once calculated that he would be, in effect, accruing a few million dollars during the time he spent on the john (assuming his needs, at least in this regard, were those of the average American). Presumably, his drink for Dubya comes from this flush fund.

But it is what it is: another two fingers to Massachusetts.

Link

posted by DD @ 22:38  4 comments

"Come Up Here and Give Me Some of That Strange"

Here is the trailer for John Waters' latest movie, A Dirty Shame - and a new John Walters is always a red letter day round here . . . well, from now on. Slightly nervous that he's been drifting a little of late eg Pecker's dull last half hour, but he's due one.

Having blurbed all that, the New York Times review here does not bode well. Then again, the same reviewer gave a fidgety thumbs up to The Motorcycle Diaries, so . . .

If it is another (semi) duffer, Waters is sliding into the comfort zone of the likes of Noel Gallagher and - dare I even suggest it? - Martin Scorsese ie people whose interviews of late are better value than the new work they're ostensibly promoting. And, to invert Leonard Cohen's magnificent Tower of Song ("I asked Hank Williams how lonely does it get? Hank Williams hasn't answered yet. But I hear him moaning all night long. He's a hundred floors above me, in the Tower of Song") at the foot of that slippery slope you'll find Dame David Bowie and Sir Mick of Jagger reminiscing about shared beds, threesomes and the latest discreet services available on the Upper East Side . . .

Yeah, give me some of that strange.

Link

posted by DD @ 21:09  4 comments

Hasta Siempre? No More

When I was a boy I did indeed do as so many others have done, and had the obligatory 'rebellious' Che Guevara poster on my bedroom wall. "Hasta la Siempre Victoria!" - that was the tag; I think I bought mine in Madrid. It made a kind of backwards sense then: now, now I know a whole lot more about him, and as far as I'm concerned his whole world view was, and, as it appears to live, is simply backwards. My poster? Ripped apart and binned.

The link is to a righteous dismissal of the new movie The Motorcycle Diaries, a hagiography perpetrating the delusional myth of Che. It's the myth embodied in this song. Things like this film ensure that it lives on, in the West, and in the East.

There are grown men and women on the streets of London - and New York - that I have seen wearing Che images on T shirts in the past year. A part of me laughs, and shakes my head; and another part of me thinks and wonders if the next generation - the sons and daughters of these people - will be wearing Osama bin Laden transfers or embossments on their T shirts.

In a way, I hope they are. For every age must have its rebellion, it's fuck you to their parents. And to my reasoning bin Laden's iconic image on T shirts means that his legacy shall be akin to that of Che ie a delusional, demotic fantasist for ideologues, an if only candidate for if only people; and not that of, say, Adolf Hitler. The likes of Gap would never contemplate flogging merchandise with the latter's visage on them. In other words, the history books shall be free of such a horror as the bin Laden years.

Link

posted by DD @ 20:33  6 comments

Good News

Continuing my recent Spanish kick, here's news of a series of hits on the Catholic Church's nauseous, noxious influence - and any returning visitor to the land of yarbles should be aware of how much I hate religion: en totale, every man jack. I'm an atheist fundamentalist.

Reluctantly, I've concluded that the only way to deal with intolerance is to be intolerant of it. Completely intolerant of it - all the way along the fucking line.*

So strike me down.

In the style of the previous entry, I read through the news from Spain thinking Yes, yes, yes, yes: yes, yes, yes. Good. And not before time.

Filter around from link to link off this piece and there's more jolly news from Spain - plus a piece on some old Dutch guy's lifelong obsession with Initials BB - Brigitte Bardot. Too lazy to search? It's here.

The main squeeze is this exchange:

. . . the reasonable assumption that Mr Storm fell "madly in love" with Bardot as a boy and began keeping the odd photograph or magazine before his youthful admiration turned into an lifetime obsession. Not so, said the Dutchman.

"That was never in my thinking," he said. "I was not in love with her but interested in her image. I thought she had wonderful - " "Breasts?" his wife suggested helpfully. "Charisma," Mr Storm insisted.
Yeah, I think his wife has his number too. And let's not mince words here; let's Elton John them: she's in a worldwide, historical sisterhood, numbering in the millions - and counting, albeit detumescently from its late sixties peak - of women who have been fucked while BB's image has been fucking with the head of the lover above, below, behind, spooned . . . or wherever.

So you see, she's been an angel for both sexes. Oh yes she has!

As for her egregious far-right views - she's French, so we can let those beliefs be, because the French are never going to take out anyone else. They are weak; they are, as the Iron lady put it, frit: they infamously succumbed to the Nazis in what was it? thirty-eight days? or am I being generous there? They just about had time to round up the Jews in their midst: but not only the men, as was ordered by the Boche, but the women and children too.

You know what I think about the French right? They're all guilty of trying to over-compensate for their failures ie the failures of the French nation during the second world war. Bardot and her fools, Le Pen and his, back and back to de Gaulle. And it was de Gaulle who told Churchill, after our liberation of France, that "We will stun you with our ingratitude." Well, he's been proved right about that, hasn't he?

And no, I don't think it's that great a stretch to contemplate how we'll be called on to go in again in twenty-five, thirty, forty years time ... to sort out the threat to us caused by France's burgeoning islamic fundamantalist population.

There endeth the lesson.

ADDENDUM: yep, it's sick-making isn't it? I go to Paris for a break, have a great time, then come back, sober up and slag her off! But we go back a long way, and you're always harshest on the ones you love.

*The great, GREAT thing about blogging is that you can say what the hell you fucking well like - whereas a top commentator like David Aaronovitch deals with the same topic here, but has to tart it up and tone it down for the old print medium.

Link

posted by DD @ 14:40  4 comments

Catfight #2

Back on the beat and back at the Bristol Lisper. Here she does her usual scratching - an early assault on feeble men which then flips into an assault on feeble women.

And, as such, I kind of go along, with my usual mental ticking of the boxes, which goes something like: No, no, no, definitely no; no, no; then yes, yes, oh yes, yes, no, too far, no, yes, no.

But I always bear in mind that she hates Tony Parsons to a degree that only women are capable of - and on that specific capability I think that, just this once, we'd be in agreement.

And on catfights, I caught the segment of Jonathan Ross' chat show last night where the Wobble was very bitchy about those What Not to Wear women: sue me if I misquote you, you closet cunt, but it included the phrases "the one with the good tits" and "but only with a bag over her head".

It must be said that I bow down to nobody - nobody, not even a Gallagher - in my hatred of the Wobble, but is there anybody out there who doesn't think that his latest effort "Radio" stinks the place out? It sounds like he's been listening to Franz Ferdinand's demo tapes. It sounds absolutely fucking awful. And - the good, good news - it looked like he was back on the drugs. Do one! Do one!

My hatred of the git? Well, I have been known to use Bono's epithet for Bob Dylan: that he's the Picasso of Rock & Roll. Wobble's fans have been known to throw hissy fits - and even walk out of bars - as I've deadpanned that in relation to the Gallaghers the Wobble is Rolf Harris. As those that can't handle it walk away, the words from the source always float up: "You shouldn't take it so personal."

Anyway, it's not my fault they're ignorant little shits, is it? Life is short, my friends, and I'm a big enough dolt to myself half the time. Oh, and someone please tell the Wobble that he's not rich - at least not in the way he thinks he is: he is, indisputably, loaded. The opposite of rich is not broke is it? And the reason why he's on the drugs, and in and out of the depression clinics, is that when it comes to artistry, he's poor. Piss-poor. And he knows it.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:58  4 comments

Maybe I Don't Really Wanna Know How Your Garden Grows . . .

. . . I just wanna fly.

I want this stuff now. Right now! And I shall bend at the knee for geeks and nerds.

Link

posted by DD @ 09:37  5 comments

Wednesday, September 22

One Day . . .

One day, there will be a piece written by a woman whose twenties were not despoiled by an "unerring ability to attract the strange, the lost and the irretrievably insane . . . " [the 'the', they be men, not that any of you were ever doubting that, were you?]

One day . . . but not, I fear, in my lifetime.

Still - albeit for some wrong reasons - she's championing the life-enhancing, delectably faux-outre Britney Spears. But the use of "Britters"? No, no, a thousand times no! Unforgivable.

PS: the "David" mentioned in the article is not me. Again, no, no, a thousand times no. Though given that for a while I lived in Brockley Grove, I think I know of the Catford all-girls' school she mentions. But my lips are sealed on the scaling of those walls.

And as for the nurses at Lewisham Hospital - ditto. Though I can finally confess that YES! It was me and my friends who let off several fire extinguishers and caused "hundreds of pounds worth of damage" at a charity party one Halloween's night. Well . . . you should never have invited such a bunch of inebriates back. You knew what was coming . . . and it came to pass.

And secretly you loved it.

Link

posted by DD @ 21:41  6 comments

The Jackalass

"Is there no balderdash this ass will not produce to grab a headline?"

So sayeth Frederick Forsyth - aka the Jackalass - but about whom?

Who do you think he's referring to?

Well, it's his bete noire, Tony Blair. Am I alone in not seeing No 10 as a House of Balderdash, or Tony Blair as an ass?

The link is to the Jackalass wagging his finger at the book trade for sticking "prize winner" over all the books written by a prize-winning author. Personally, I'm with JG Ballard, who feels that booksellers should use what marketing tactics they can to sell books. As for this year's trinkets . . . I'm afraid I haven't read one iota of any of the shortlisted books for this year's Booker Prize, so no comment there. My excuse? I'm covered in Proust - and boy, he's a real aspirin merchant.

Still, one should always consider the Jackalass' opinion on such issues. For, as the great Noel Gallagher once put it, "I don't pay a whole lot of attention to critics, but when someone like Mick Hucknall says that one of my records is average, I pay attention: because if there's anybody who knows all about making average records it's Mick Hucknall."

Link

posted by DD @ 19:30  6 comments

"Personally, I Think It's All a Load of Bullshit"

Here's the lovely Natasha Walter iterating what I've banged on about before around here: the current obsession with a dainty escapism into never-never lands.

She rips through the hogwash world of star signs. Which leads me to revealing my second least favourite question to be asked, namely "What star sign are you?" And, I'm afraid, as it's rude to point, it's girls who ask me this. Only ever girls. And it tends to be the last question they ask me as well. Sorry.

As Jim Morrison once put it (and it's on more than one Doors concert album available out there, replete with a girl in the audience going, "Yes, Jim, yes . . . me too . . . " while he makes a fool of her), astrology is "a load of bullshit". Thanks Jim, though your 'poetry' is still fucking awful. Listen: if you don't burst out laughing at his American Prayer record, then you are doomed, friend - you can have no sense of humour.

I'll hold back my least favourite for another time - but it's not (quite) the one which was asked of me - by a girl, naturally, as you'll see - a couple of weekends ago, when I was out and about and getting off my tits at a bar called Home in Hoxton. The question she raised was this: "Do you wash your hands after you've been to the toilet?"

(Yeah. It was one of those ones. She likes you . . . )

Well, yes I do wash my hands each and every time if you must know, but need I be the one to tell you girls that a hell of a lot of men don't. Worse, I've seen men waddle out of the cubicle and not wash their hands - though in London the odds are only 5/1 that they were actually racking a line out, and that the sound of the flush was just a beard, a McGuffin.

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posted by DD @ 18:07  4 comments

"Suck It Baby, Suck It!"

Oh dear - all these living legends suddenly dropping like flies; must be the change in the weather.

Tha latest is Russ Meyer, who made a bucketload of trash - out and out trash - but also one of my favourite films, Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill! starring the vixen to outfox all vixens, Tura Santana. Indeed, John Waters is on the record as stating that it's the greatest movie ever made.

By way of tawdry comparison, I just picked up on the news that La Ficelle - aka Gwyneth Paltrow - is to trouser £2 million for destroying (or else lip-synching her way through) Cole Porter's wonderful What Is This Thing Called Love?* for a biopic of Truman Capote - yes, that old faggot fraud. That's no answer to my prayers. Gwyneth's head in a box - now you're talking . . .

*Written by Cole Porter, who is in BOAT DRINKS. For a definitive reading of this song listen to (or - shame on you slouches! - dash out and buy / steal / do what you have to do to get) In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra. The album is a stone cold classic, and includes three fantastic Rodgers & Hart songs (Lorenz Hart - my favourite lyric writer from that pre-Rock & Roll period - is, of course, listed in BOAT DRINKS too).

Sinatra's themed cycle of songs is said to be about his doomed relationship with Ava Gardner (and how about hers for Meyeresque assets?) - doomed in part because she was a nympho who would fuck anything that moved. Meanwhile, Frank was no wallflower (and his prize asset had to be taped down before a public performance - much to his embarrassment), spending his loose change in those portable twenty-four hour slot machines which keep Las Vegas purring.

ADDENDUM : there's a good obit of Meyer here.

Link

posted by DD @ 17:20  4 comments

Even Better Than the Real Thing

Naturally, football-loving hearts around the globe are bleeding as Real Madrid suffer the moral-sapping effects of caviar with every meal (I believe it's known across the big pond as the Elizabeth Taylor diet).

But I must insist that the dressing-room tantrums of Real's galacticoes (read overpaid duffers) and acts of boardroom insanity (current psychopath puffing cigarillos from the big chair: Snr Perez) are mere tadpoles in the dirty used-syringe-laden river of professional sport, in comparison to the late, great Jesus Gil, who ran Atletico Madrid (the Mets to Real's damn Yankees, though Real have the added political and social damnation of being General Franco's poodle outfit during his reign of terror - though despite that past they are Spain's best-supported team). Never heard of Jesus Gil? Then read this.

Besides his notorious shenanigans at the helm of Atletico, Gil also presided as mayor of Marbella - indeed it was his financial power base. Cue more corruption, and more dirty deeds. Would I say that Gil had killed a man? No. Do I think that he had men killed? Yes.

I could blather that 'we'll never see his like again'. However, football in particular has proved itself to be a magnet for such incorrigible little shits. We shall see his like again, don't worry.

Reminiscing a little, as a student I got to piss around in Madrid for one summer, smoking lots of dope with some smart, funny and langourous Americans while learning fuck-all Spanish. I distinctly remember how one American girl in our circle got it in the neck for her professed desire, on returning home to Texas, to "live on a farm and have, like, ten kids". "Ten? Ten! How can you be so fucking selfish?" was the line of attack - mostly from her fellow Americans, it must be said. I didn't feel strongly one way or the other about it then, and I don't see anything wrong with doing that now, if that's your fervent desire, and you can afford the time, effort and money necesary to do it successfully.

I stayed with a pretty big family (minus the ex-husband: in my head I'd decided that he must have been a shit and that after Franco died and things loosened up, ie you could get a divorce, he was given the boot - pronto) who lived in a pretty big apartment up a hill called Calle Balbina Valverde (I hope that's spelled correctly) - no further than a small running riot from the Bernabeu stadium, the home of Real. As it was summer it was football's close season so I didn't get to see either Real or Atletico in action; however I did - for my sins - get to see U2 ("U Dos! U Dos!") play the Bernabeu. For about €10. (Actually, the real sin was that I liked their bombast back then. Ah, I was so much older then . . .)

This was also the trip where I fell asleep (read passed out) in a club god knows where and awoke - it was now light outside, but the club was still going strong - to be told by the sole English-speaking companion with me - a girl - that but for her charm (read lies: she told them I was her boyfriend) I'd have "a very sore arse by now". (Once again, thank you Wendy - and I hope that name's right, too.)

And this was also the trip where three or four of us, in attempting to score dope, were led a merry dance through a mini twilight zone lit by pokey little bars jacked back-to-back on the level above the ground we were on, and then beaten and chased as we refused to part with our money. We kept our money, but lost the shirts off our backs, which were worth more. A lesson learned.

Hey, shit happens. Back then, I fell in love with Madrid. And I still love Madrid. And I think I always will.

ADDENDUM : to date (the first week of October) Real are still struggling - see this - though they came from behind midweek to prevent the absolute shock to the foundations of European football that would accompany their early exit from the Champions League. And their best player, the talismatic Zinedine Zidane, is fit to play after being injured for several weeks.

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posted by DD @ 16:28  4 comments

The Rat (One Last Time)

If you can be arsed to read this piece about the Rat then you'll realise that:

  1. Dyke crawling his way up and out from Marks & Spencer's lowly ranks is apposite, because that's where the BBC are heading - into an M&S-scale crisis. The parallels in the decline and fall of these two 'institutions' are eerily familiar. Lesson to both: stop trying so fucking hard to please. Restore some hauteur. Step back from the fray. The public always, always wants what it's not deemed to be worthy of, and will come to you. Oh yes we will. History - political, economic, social and cultural - manifests this fact: we love it up the arse!

  2. His daughter would appear a far better judge of TV programme-making than he has ever been. I pity her for having such an oily father.

  3. And, of course, the whole thing inevitably reiterates what we already knew: the Rat is a Cunt.

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posted by DD @ 15:42  4 comments

Is Jonathan Freedland An Idiot?

Short answer: yes.

You know, I've concluded that there are people out there who would, like this old fool, really prefer to have our world run by the Chinese. No offence to the Chinks, but no. No thanks. In fact: No. Fucking. Way. And believe it or not, this jerk gets paid - handsomely paid - week in, week out for this kind of nonsense. (Okay, so he's alluding to Jonathan Swift's dark satire A Modest Proposal, in a way which has been done before by chief bore Noam Chomsky among others, but I think this guy really means it. And unlike his imitators, Swift's piece is both angry and funny.)

Whoah! No sooner have I zipped up my flies than I come across this. Yep, yet another plonker proselytizing "our dream" - this time it's to impeach Tony Blair. Dream on, dream on. Why not imagine no possessions while you're at it? Cunts.

It may seem odd that I'm slating two articles wafted out on the same day by the Guardian. Why not fuck off? - like I did about a year ago when I raised my two fingers to the Independent, and hit delete. Now I completely ignore its shabby journalism (last year Exhibit A in this regard was Robert Fisk) though I miss the pithy pieces by Howard Jacobson.

Well, I like the fact that the Guardian vents both sides of most issues - and does so more than any other newspaper in Britain (only Slate compares on the web, though I'm always hoping to find another journalistic Eldorado). Long may it be the case. But bullshit is bullshit is bullshit and I know it when I read it.

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posted by DD @ 14:39  5 comments

Farewell Then, Brian Clout

Oh my. While I've been busy dying others really have died, chief among them Brian Clough - or as he was renamed by some after he took to whacking boisterous supporters, Brian Clout. (If I remember rightly, it was the title of a collage track put out in the late 80s by Adrian Sherwood that sampled the great man's inimitable voice.)

For my friends across the ponds wondering Who the Fuck? old Cloughie was our equivalent of, say, Tommy LaSorda. A permanent enfant terrible of a manager. Outspoken? Tick the box! The link above has a few of his choice moments, while here, here and here is a hat-trick of obits by three renowned football writers, Brian Glanville, David Lacey and Martin Samuel.

But let's not forget the dark side. He almost certainly took a drink (ie a bung) out of some transfer dealings; he made some awful, misguided and just plain wrong assertions concerning the Hillsborough disaster of 1989; and some of his other loudmouth opinions were either sexist or xenophobic bullshit.

And yet, and yet ... He is the guy who really fucked with the heads of the Luddite scum - that cuntingly annoying and annoyingly succesful Leeds United team of the early 70s.

Plus, as a clincher, he was awfully fond of a sherry, so he makes it into my private universe, my private pantheon, an honorary Boat Drink member.

Not, of course, that he would have given a flying fuck what I thought about him.

PS: I must slip in Danny Baker's remark about the Clout's son, Nigel: "He breaks the first rule of being a professional footballer: you're supposed to be able to run faster than us punters can."

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posted by DD @ 13:49  4 comments

Tuesday, September 21

"To Err Is Human ... "

"To err is human; to loaf is Parisian."
- Victor Hugo

Well, well, well. I feel so ill. And I deserve it - for being a very naughty boy and buggering off to Paris for the weekend. Yeah, a dirrrty weekend. A real shocker.

It was a birthday treat. Or two.

Stayed in Abbesses at this hotel: okay rooms, great nosey views - more in a bit - and, very importantly, a great French breakfast.

First time in Paris for a while: my last visit involved a scene of my then flame locking herself in the bathroom with some Bikini-Bare; and nothing, but nothing I said could get her out of there. For hours! Oh, I was a silly boy with a silly mouth - and I paid the price for it, believe me.

So before the real shots, there was a shot of culture: the Musee d'Orsay - long fucking queue, but worth it. It pisses on Tate Modern; matches the Prado for top boys, and beats the latter for views from the terrace.

Also paid homage at Montmartre cemetery to Francois Truffaut. (It was seeing a season of his films on Channel 4 when I was a schoolboy that really opened up the possibilities of the world to me for the first time. Later, I would be that close to being a hapless private investigator, just like Antoine Doinel in Baisers Voles!)

So: Truffaut, and out! back to the rue des Abbesses. Dining like princes at a pauper's prices; though when it comes to drinking in the bars it's the reverse. No wonder I've never heard of, let alone been on a stag do to Paris.

I'm just about all done in. Oh yeah, the views. There was a jolly juxtaposition of this great old church and Les demoiselles d'Avignon, if you will, who would stroll by - shift completed ? - late morning, breaking off bites of their breakfast ficelles. As for their habitat: Pigalle itself is pretty tawdry; in fact it's tawdry, and not pretty at all. You want decent looking hookers? Head for St Denis - at least that's where I think they were ...

I can see the slide into cliche before my sorry eyes, so that's it.

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posted by DD @ 22:01  4 comments

Friday, September 17

Flashmob #4

If you feel like a spot of loitering with farcical intent, another one of these popped through today.

Dear Sir/Madam,

You have asked to be informed of Benrik flashmobs.

The next flashmob takes place tomorrow Saturday 18th September in London (UK) between 3pm and 5pm local time, and accompanies the launch of the 2005 edition of This Diary Will Change Your Life.

The location is the book section of Selfridges Oxford St, where Benrik will be taking polaroids of people to appear on the cover of the 2006 edition. Participants are to blend in with other customers and, once they get close enough, slap Benrik on the cheek (gently) whilst yelling out PERVERTS!

They are then to leave without a word to the other customers.

Good luck.

Unfortunately, I am due elsewhere, though I'm working on a way to work it in.

If you're sitting there wondering What the Fuck!?! then hit the link.

Link

posted by DD @ 16:54  5 comments

Thursday, September 16

Men: Tick Those Boxes!

I have absolutely nothing to say about the list that's linked, until the arrival of my virtual lawyer.

As for this companion piece, as I ticked each type the title of a wonderful song by Ray Davies came to mind: All of My Friends Were There.

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posted by DD @ 15:09  4 comments

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

Fresh from my recent championing of the US station WFMU (see BOAT DRINKS) comes this news that internet radio bliss may be available to us all, anytime, anywhere - and transportable - soon(ish).

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posted by DD @ 13:19  4 comments

Joanna & Devendra Rule My World

I've quickly realised that this is going to be one of those days when I get nothing proper done - so I've started early, losing myself in the records I'm playing every day right now: The Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom and Rejoicing in the Hands ... by Devendra Banhart. They rule my world - along with the Libertines and WFMU. Ah, boat drinks!

The link is to an obscure folk singer named Vasti Bunyan, one of Devendra's heroines who duets on his latest record. Her site has a no bullshit first person account of her travails in the fickle world of show.

Plus if you go here to Arthur magazine there exists (for now) a stream of a new compilation that Devendra has put together. I've listened to it, and if you like him, or Joanna, then you'll like most of the acts he's chosen. For example, it kicks off with Vetiver.

Envy me not. When you're all enjoying that post-coital shared joint, I'll be sitting up combing my way through Proust. I just hope I don't pick up any of his bad habits ...

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posted by DD @ 11:18  4 comments

Tally Ho!

I'd like to say that my car bumpers have the blood of a few rustics dripping off them, but alas my late night trawl round the heavenly Embankment felled no such spawn. Obviously they were idling their tractors back up the M1 etc.

The link is to Simon Hoggart's sketch on yesterday's kerfuffle in the Commons. He's the hack of hacks, and usually pretty good value. For instance, I just read this playful puppy-snap at PJ O'Rourke - forgive me if I include it in full context:

The main topic of the day was fox-hunting, and the government's extraordinary decision that the bill to ban it is so urgent that it has to be pushed through all stages in a single day ...

After this, the House of Lords will be told to rubberstamp the bill, and if they don't the last hereditary peer will be hanged immediately with the guts of the last life peer. Or something along those lines.

After which, the urgency will suddenly disappear, and the bill won't come into force for two whole years.

The reason for this, we are told, is that the government is afraid that hunts will slaughter their redundant hounds and dump them on politicians' doorsteps during the next election campaign.

It seems curious that anyone imagines there are votes to be won by murdering innocent dogs and slinging them around the streets. But this topic makes idiots of almost everyone.

But many Labour MPs are spoiling for a fight with the House of Lords, led by that ornament of the new establishment, the lavishly tanned apparatchik Peter Hain.

Lunchtime yesterday found me at South Africa House in Trafalgar Square. They have celebratory photographic murals there depicting the people, many British, who led the fight against apartheid.

There on the wall, sporting long sideburns, with shaggy hair and a leather jacket, was Peter Hain, leading a demonstration.

As an American humorist once said of PJ O'Rourke, "even when he was a young man, you could see the policeman's boots underneath the kaftan".
Does anyone out there in Babel know the identity of that American humorist? I'd like to know.

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posted by DD @ 09:37  18 comments

Wednesday, September 15

"I Can't Read and I Can't Write, But It Don't Really Matter ... "

"I can't read and I can't write, but it don't really matter;
because I am a country boy, and I can drive a tractor"

- from the official anthem of Rural Britannia

I've just seen the footage and stills of the loutishness that took place in and around the House of Commons today, and I must say that I stood in front of my screen cheering the police on as they beat several shades of shit out of those rustics. I'm here to tell you that in glorious London town on this point I speak for all my towny friends in saying:

All you fucking yokels. Fuck off. Fuck off out of our town.
And don't forget to pick up your torn,
smelly Maoist-coutoured wax jackets.


As I've mentioned before, I'm anti fox-hunting (though more for the pleasure in depriving said yokels of their pleasure, than because of any real concern for the welfare of foxes), but right now there's much bigger game to catch in the world - islamic fundamentalists - so frankly I don't give a toss whether it gets banned or not. The thing is, this bill for its abolition has been around for years, and it's going to happen; watered-down and time-released no doubt, but realpolitik demands that Tony Blair throws the occasional bone to his own village idiots - the left - and the abolition of fox-hunting is clove oil for their rotting gnashers. (Sometimes I despair that none of these guys on the left are going to get real, and get these redundant 'teeth' replaced by ones that work ie follow Colgate Tony aka Kid Charlemagne aka ...)

Hell, if the pro-hunting lobby are so right about the calamitous effects of such a ban - allowing foxes to proliferate, and so on - then I'm sure that this government (which shall still, after all the bullshit of recent times, be the next government) can eat some horseshit and hastily reverse it all.

And don't whimper to me that it would take that long to revive any kind of show that kicks off with two fingers of your favourite pre-prandial, followed by the prospect of the sweaty husks of our equine servants caressing our nubs while we suck up the life-enhancing odours of morning dew.

PS: above the rabble, back in the delirious world of pop culture, as I spieled this missive out I've been bopping on my chair to this newly discovered joy courtesy of WFMU (see BOAT DRINKS). Give the Drummer Some!

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posted by DD @ 22:42  69 comments

Gay As a Window

I do believe I detect the snout of Sir Max of Clifford (self-proclaimed PR guru) at work here, protecting his 'boy' Craiiig Daviiid. Poor Craiiig; it seems he's found no honey bunny hopping around the Great White Way of Broadway. (A whisper in his ear: Chelsea, Chelsea ... take a midnight jog along Chelsea Piers. It's lovely.)

Marriage to Jamelia? Who knows. She's got her sprog - so there are no immediate issues of seed. And they would both feel the benefit: she gets her leg-up into the US R&B scene; back here he has a beard - and mug punters get reminded as to who he is.

Either way, I rest easy. I have complete faith in Warhol's law concerning gravity wave.

And as far as I'm concerned, he is and always shall be gay as a window.

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posted by DD @ 14:52  12 comments

Blue Jam: "She Has a Soggy Valve for Writers"

No, the previous entry is not the return of Sir Chris Morris. I know that.

I felt I should provide the background to my current introductory quote (over in the sidebar), but before I reproduce the source there's an old interview with the man here; a nod to where he started to parade his genius here; and an overview of the Blue Jam series here .

If you google Chris Morris you'll get a whole lot more - as per - but the one site that's still going strong is Cookd & Bombd (see BOAT DRINKS).

The source transcript is from this site. And, to be frank, the fucker needed some cleaning - rogue semi-solons all over the gaff, mate. But here it is - still imperfect, but hilarious.

Over the three series of Blue Jam there were several monologues, all delivered in the persona of an unnamed but clearly deranged male. His delusional infatuation with a girl named Suzie - "da Suze" - enables her and sundry other shits of the first water in London to take advantage of him.

Other fantastic monologues are Clive: the Suicide Journalist, Rothko (who's a talking dog) and Suzie's Wedding. As the latter is also available in rough, rough form I may well hack through it in a couple of days, and post it up (for posterity, dear boys and girls, posterity).

Pour a large one, roll a large one - whatever helps you make it through the night - and enjoy ...

Monologue : Cigarettes

I was in Suzie’s house looking for a cigarette. I knew I wasn’t going to find one because she’d given up, and had hired a smoking agent to remove all tobacco products from the house every other day for a year. I had no cash, and to earn my keep, I had to stay by the phone and answer it and take messages. She made me do it in a gay New York accent, so her friends would ask questions.

In between phone calls, I thought about cigarettes. I thought about breaking off their filters and putting the ragged end in my mouth, sucking a flame into the leafy tube, inhaling very deeply and savouring the mild anoxic rush with caustic crumbs of tobacco stuck to my tongue and lips.

I opened the window. There’s an office block opposite Suzie’s flat. Its smokers skulk in the lane at the back. Sometimes the smoke drifts up and in through Suzie’s window. Today there was only the smoke from next door’s incinerator. They have two dogs, and they burn their turds in it. In desperation, I phoned an ad into Loot. Cigarette wanted, it said. Please phone Suzie’s number.

The phone rang as soon as I put it down. Suzie. She wanted her Astrakhan coat delivered to her office on the South Bank. "I need it for six. I’m meeting a playwright." I knew what that meant. She has a soggy valve for writers. "Oh, and could you change the sheets first?"

I wore the coat to make sure I didn’t lose it. My arms are about a foot longer than Suzie’s. In the street, I paused by the smokers. Standing downwind and about two yards away and breathing like a runner, I made good use of their fumes. They stared at me with some suspicion. I felt a little conversation would help. "I don’t work with you," I said. More stares. So I explained. "No one answered the ad in Loot." They shook their heads and went inside.

Two hours later, I attempted the same method outside the stage door of the National Theatre. There were only two smokers, and the river breeze ripped their smoke up and over my head. I leapt and gulped, breathing six times too fast, and reeled giddily into the road. A car screeched to a halt and blasted its horn. I froze in shock. It drew up to my legs and honked again. I remained confused. There was a shout from inside. Then, slowly, the car pushed me over.

As I squirmed in the grit, trying to remember how to swear, I heard a brusque male voice:

"... and on the basis of that, I’d say felling a pedestrian feels more exciting than shooting a cat with an airgun, but not as genuinely transgressive as coming in your mother's handbag."

Suzie’s laugh coiled round this pronouncement and she appeared, tugging at the end of my arm.

"Stand up," she said, "and meet Gobi Jovvler. He wrote that play that won the awards." I remembered the critics had said that it was the most devastatingly accurate play that will ever be written about sex. "It’s the most devastatingly accurate play that will ever be written about sex," said Suzie.

Jovvler looked younger than I had imagined, and meaty in the face. He was dressed smart felty-brown (as if for a photo in a colour supplement), and barking at a nervous stick with a handbook. The stick wrote everything down, including the volley of insults levelled at him, and laughed through a sycophant’s fringe.

Jovvler inspected the front of my head. "Is this the one that fancies you, da Suze?" He was clearly amused. Suzie giggled. Jovvler jabbed a few words at the stick. Something like: "Casting note: an underdog so ugly the audience is incapable of any sympathy, no matter what befalls him."

Then he turned to me and said, "You may follow at a discrete distance. I have a plan for you."

"Do you have a cigarette?" I wondered.

"What sort of fart-skull are you?" he sneered. "Was I not holding a lit cigarette in last month’s GQ?"

"Could I have one then, please?"

"You can have a whole box, if you can tell me the name of my next play."

His last play had been called Fuckers. "More fuckers," I said.

"Sadly, it is currently nameless, but if you do turn out to be right, then you may find your scroungings in Harwich."

And he lobbed the box into the river.

Suzie and Jovvler led me by twenty yards along the promenade, with the stick one gruff remark to the right. Twice they stopped and held hands, gazing at the roof of the theatre while Jovvler’s name swept across the light display. Once he bawled me out for blocking the view of his poster. When we reached the bridge, he insisted on repeating the stroll, because he had only been recognised by five people.

"You said you only wanted five," said Suzie.

"Yeah, but three of them recognised me from the telly," he snorted.

And we traipsed back and forth two more times, before he announced that he and Suzie were going to get pissed in a limo.

Jovvler’s driver slung us over the river.

Jovvler and Suzie helped themselves to the car bar. Watching this, the stick’s eyes bulged - and he reminded me of a featherless anorexic owl I’d dreamt about in hospital. Jovvler poured him a large colourless one.

"What do you do?" I whispered. "Neat gin,"’ he replied, but Jovvler had heard me. "Daniel is a scribe, cursed with the intelligence to know that he will never be a first rate writer, and with enough ambition to rot horribly in this knowledge, until in twenty years time he claims that he wrote all my plays - and shortly afterwards drinks himself to death."

Daniel snivvled before Jovvler cut him off with: "No time to laugh, fuck-pen, get it all down."

Later, I found a note in my pocket that said: "I don’t write his plays - it’s the actors who do that."

We toured London in great random sweeps, Jovvler all the time extemporising on urban alienation inthe sexually malfunctioning zeitgeist. "Look," he’d say, "look at them. Dual income, six dildos." And once: "If you’re bored of London, you’re bored of fucking, and I’m bored of fucking London because I’m bored of London fucking."

This last the stick applauded, until he was slapped.

By the time we reached Suzie’s flat, Jovvler had pronounced himself "ready for the final act". As he dragged her to the chamber, he called over his shoulder to the stick, "Tell New York I’ll be up for an hour."

Suzie wondered if Jovvler might give me a few cigarettes, so I could remain in a fug at the breakfast bar while they got torrid. "No, no, he’s part of the scene" he said. He leered at me like a randy bandit, and waved a box of cigarettes under my nose.

‘Fancy one?’

I did.

"Then you must witness the tup."

With that, he shoved Suzie on to her four-poster, and started to savage her bodice. Stick sat me down on the floor. "It’s where they usually sit," he said, and wrote feverishly as he spoke. I glanced up to behold Jovvler, now naked and kneeling before a slightly ripped-looking Suzie.

"Gobble my Stoppard," he ordered, and fell on her in such a way as to bring this about. As he pushed himself into her face, Jovvler turned to me and said: "How does it feel to see the woman you love being plugged by me?" An unborn scream burst in my stomach and spread like cold mercury through my chest. I put my hands over my face, but kept looking through my fingers. "Right that down," he panted to the stick. "Visibly destroyed, but can’t look away."

Then he whipped Suzie round so her forehead slapped the wall and declared: "Mr Stoppard will shortly be entering his box."

Hammering continued for ghastly minutes, until the mobile phone which Jovvler had gaffered to his buttock chirruped a manic arpeggio. He ripped it upwards, listened, and interrupted: "Not now Mamet, I’m fucking." Then he beamed the hideous grin of the unreservedly successful and slapped Suzie quite hard around the face to celebrate.

Now I could turn away; and to the sounds of this dubious pleasure I began to ponder a vague tumescence of my own. Eventually, with a series of pathetic squeaks, the playwright emptied himself in the region of Suzie’s chest and armpit. She didn’t seem to notice. By this stage she was mainly asleep. He lit a cigarette, and ordered his amanuensis to read back his notes.

"Good," he said frequently, and "Hmmm ... Pinter," before dropping the butt in my lap and pronouncing himself pleased with a decent first draft. Then he told the stick to leak the Mamet episode to the Sunday Times.

"I’ll deny it in my next interview,"’ he said. "That’s how it’s done. Leave now!" he said to me, and the stick prodded me through to a large sofa, where I dragged urgently on the soggy filter. Through the stripped pine I could hear Suzie, awake now and softly sobbing, accompanied by the fart of his voice, which had taken on a new, almost pleading tone.

"I hate the slapping too," he was saying, "it’s just that, well, it really is the thing now, you know?"

Three hours later he was gone, and I was asleep in the bed next to Suzie. She’d called me in to cover the damp patch. I slept fitfully, tormented by febrile visions of a Jovvler rampant, until Jovvler’s voice jolted me to. It was mumbling through the answerphone. "Da Suze," it was saying, "you do love me, don’tyou? Yeah, I’m sure you do. Yeah, alright, good. Err, hope you’re not too, you know, and er, hey it was er, it was er ..."

A voice behind him prompted something inaudible. "Yeah, it was a fuck supreme. You are the Marquise of Muff. Hmmm."

There was a loud plunk but the phone didn’t ring off, and for some minutes I heard Jovvler explaining to the stick how this last phrase would work at the National, and would be quoted by twenty percent of the audience in the interval, and he would hear it, because he has a special window for listening ...

Link

posted by DD @ 13:55  12 comments

Tuesday, September 14

Is This the Return of Chris Morris?

Some may think I'm being cruel (straight after boasting of my status as an utter bastard) but this blog is, in its way, a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

I'm serious!

I have just spent the past hour pissing myself with laughter as I went through it.

It's going straight into BOAT DRINKS - and I want proof that this is NOT Chris Morris at it again.

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posted by DD @ 17:36  8 comments

Find Out Just How Selfish You Are ...

Puffing my way through this page, I was assaulted by the fact that I really am a selfish bastard - in a country full of selfish bastards. Okay, I can't say that this was really news to me; nonetheless, it's damnation and blast that now there's some instant stats to prove it.

The link has a test from Earthday concerning your own GLOBAL FOOTPRINT: ie as to how much of the world's finite, precious resources you as an individual or individual household are using. I can ruefully admit that I scored 4.8. on the scale of greed. Now before you scoff: that's better (lower) than the national average my friends, but still, apparently, a disgrace to the human race. However, I just know that some of you out there are capable of notching up real horrorshow figures. The odds-on favourites? All those big, beautiful people with all those big, ugly air cons whirring around the clock in New York. Off the scale! Off the fucking scale!

Let's face it: if you're here, reading this, then, in the words of Noam Chomsky, you're in the "playground of the elite". (Tell me it feels like that. Go on, tell me it does ...) If I remember rightly, old Noam is fond of citing that half the world's population has yet to make a phone call, and if that's so, a cheap-shot, facetious part of me feels they are the lucky ones.

Chomsky. I did once trawl his website, culling down this and that article, and quickly discovered his habit, essentially his modus operandi, of using the same stuff over and over again. (Seemingly, every piece on Israel and Palestine brought in Central America, and vice versa.) With him - and I must be careful not to say "his type", for with a name like that he has clearly sought some form of uniqueness from the off - the slate can never be wiped clean for any incoming president, prime minister etc. The sins of the past are duly to be accounted for.

Frankly, I think that's a bullshit idea. It's an idea that eventually turns round and eats itself. Let me see: Britain should now be suing the Italians, on the basis that when the Romans came and built our roads, they built them way too narrow for our current traffic needs. Idiots. No imagination. And while we're at it: if you're going to build a wall to honour your emperor, finish the fucker, eh? Was that really too much to ask? Facile points, I admit, but Chomsky's whole argument is facile.

Likewise, I don't think Earthday's reproachful eye is going to shift me to the Sophie Dahl-endorsed rice diet (growing my own grains, of course - and Sophie insists on the blurb that 500g can suffice for a year, bless her) nor to its big rival for the christmas market, Mohammed Atta's Get Fit for Heaven potato pamphlet. Yes, that's now an old riff, but hey Earthday people, I'm recycling, recycling.

No, I'm afraid that I shall be continuing on my merry way (right now: to the fuck-off car; to the supermarket; to the wine aisle, where I shall take maximum advantage of the fact that perfectly drinkable Chilean wine is practically given away; and home to whoop and holler along to Sopranos and City of God. Bene! Bene!). And so I'll exit with a rip from the heart of my favourite arriviste, Edmund in King Lear: "Stand up for bastards!"

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posted by DD @ 13:24  8 comments

Monday, September 13

59 Deceits ... Or Why You Should Never Trust a Lardy Arse

This link completely nails Fahrenheit 9/11. It may take as long to read as it takes to watch that mockumentary, but you'll learn more. A whole lot more.

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posted by DD @ 21:36  8 comments

The Importance of Being Idle

Yes my friends, it's a recurring theme here in the land of yarbles - don't know why.

And yes, it is slightly odd for me to be nodding assent at the use of Coldplay as an argument for idleness paying dividends - but they're not all bad. No they're not!

And not half so much now that I realise that they're really yet another London band.

And yet, and yet ... merely for the sake of artistic creativity, I do wish that someone would spike some GHB into Chris Martin's orange juice - just to see what happens.

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posted by DD @ 14:04  8 comments

Saturday, September 11

Feeling Shit? It Must Be My PMT

It's always jolly to pick out some scientific yarbles. And this guff about men suffering PMT is pure yarbles.

I think I can take a wild guess at a time of the month when vast numbers of men suffer stress: the days before pay day. And I've got friends who have a chronic habit of coughing up blood of a morning. But it's self-inflicted.

Let's jack the facts. All men know which sex got the shit deal courtesy of evolution. And it's not us.

Don't get me started on the way things are elsewhere in the world. Let's just stick to right here, right now.

We earn more than women.

We hog positions of power.

We even get to queer their TV soaps.

And now this.

Sorry, I have to stop. I really am feeling shit. Memo to self: stop paying £5 for an aspirin.

The remedy? Shower and shampoo, then turn up the boosters ... and it's back on the shampoo.

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posted by DD @ 13:00  8 comments

Dog Earrings

This exchange of mails between a Russian translator of a novel and its original author gave me a chuckle - though I doubt that the work in question is worth the effort. Ouch!

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posted by DD @ 10:11  8 comments

Friday, September 10

Catfight! Catfight!

Well, it's the weekend after all, and I'm always up for a little bit of virtual entertainment. So ... if you put this piece by Oriana Fallaci in one corner, and this piece by Naomi Klein in the opposite corner, then we can all stand back and let it kick off big time.

Regular visitors will second-guess that, when push comes to shove, my thoughts and affections lie with Oriana. If you go to the link there's some basic background material on her life and work, though be warned that in terms of style it's fawning fan club material.

I now realise that in journalistic circles she's a living legend, but I confess in my ignorance that until her name cropped up in a Clive James aside about Henry Kissinger (contained in a long piece on Mark Twain in James' recent Even As We Speak collection of essays) I had never heard of her. Apparently, it was an interview that Kissinger granted her during the Vietnam war that revealed to many just what an arrogant little shit he is. He now regrets consenting to the interview; but does he regret that war? Does he? Does he fuck.

And, of course, the Hitch's unofficial website (come now, you should know who the Hitch is - he's in BOAT DRINKS) has heaps of dirt on the oily, two-faced philanderer (there you go: prerequisites one, two and three to climb the greasy pole as a politician), and here is Dr Google's cachet.

Here in London, autumn's dew is definitely in the air. Tonight I'm hitting Brick Lane; tomorrow back thereabouts but left a bit, in Hoxton. Watched A Clockwork Orange again last night, to get me in the mood for some serious action with my droogies. All above board, officer, I swear - just pure horrorshow. I trust you'll enjoy your weekend, too.

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posted by DD @ 17:46  9 comments

Cash Is King

There's a slew of tributes on the way for Johnny Cash as it's the first anniversary of his death, and a bunch of them are printed in today's Guardian. Culled from a tribute put together by Rolling Stone, there's the usual fluff from the usual suspects - yes, Bono is on his knees yet again - and fluff from some less expected sources - reporting for duty, Al Gore. Al Gore?

On the other hand, there's this from Bob Dylan:

I was asked to give a statement on Johnny's passing and thought about writing a piece instead called Cash is King, because that is the way I really feel. In plain terms, Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him - the greatest of the greats, then and now. I first met him in 1962, or 63, and saw him a lot in those years. In some kind of way he was with me more than people I see every day.

There wasn't much music media in the early 1960s, and Sing Out! was the magazine covering all things folk in character. The editors had published a letter chastising me for the direction my music was going. Johnny wrote the magazine back an open letter telling the editors to shut up and let me sing, that I knew what I was doing. This was before I had ever met him, and the letter meant the world to me. I've kept the magazine to this day.

Of course, I knew of him before he ever heard of me. In 1955 or 56, I Walk the Line played all summer on the radio, and it was different from anything else you had ever heard. The record sounded like a voice from the middle of the earth. It was so powerful and moving. It was profound, and so was the tone of it, every line; deep and rich, awesome and mysterious all at once. I Walk the Line had a monumental presence and a certain type of majesty that was humbling. Even a simple line like "I find it very, very easy to be true" can take your measure. We can remember that and see how far we fall short of it.

Johnny wrote thousands of lines like that. Truly, he is what the land and country are all about, the heart and soul of it personified and what it means to be here; and he said it all in plain English. I think we can have recollections of him, but we can't define him any more than we can define a fountain of truth, light and beauty. If we want to know what it means to be mortal, we need look no further than the Man in Black. Blessed with a profound imagination, he used the gift to express all the various lost causes of the human soul.

This is a miraculous and humbling thing. Listen to him, and he always brings you to your senses. He rises high above all, and he'll never die or be forgotten, even by persons not yet born - especially those persons - and that is for ever.
The link is to another worthwhile tribute, this time one written by Nick Cave which appeared when Cash died. Personally, I've had enough of Sir Nick's overblown, overlong, way too verbose songs - how I wish he would do a Bob and write a John Wesley Harding or Nashville Skyline. The strict template: three verses plus chorus and break and out. Less is more!

Laters I may post a brief piece on seeing Johnny Cash in concert, but you'll have plenty of time to set up the whisky and run through, say, the Folsom Prison and San Quentin recordings.

Right now, I'll end with the opening lines of my favourite Cash song: Big River. Dylan told Nicholas Dawidoff (for his excellent book In the Country of Country) that the the lines of the song seemed to him "words that turned into bone".

I taught the weeping willow how to cry
And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky
And the tears that I cried for that woman
Are gonna flood you big river
And I'm gonna sit right here until I die

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posted by DD @ 09:37  8 comments

Thursday, September 9

A Kevin Does Art

This link is a typical piece of Times Polyfilla, but the simple juxtaposition of a fitness instructor evaluating the likes of Rubens' voluptuous dollies gave me a chuckle. Then again, I'm halfway through my first bottle of white (Chilean Sauvignon Blanc - a throwaway £3 a pop if you're not asking), so don't hang me for it.

As a little filler of my own, during my years at university it was something of a pissy joke among my friends that the word juxtapose had to be slotted into as many essays as possible. Majoring in Literature, this was easier for me than some: Shakespeare's basic modus operandi of main plot and sub-plot positively cries out for the term. But, I feel safe in saying, in all my yarbles so far this entry has seen the first appearance of the word.

And for anyone out there who cares, the Diary of Noel G: Poete Maudit shall be returning soonish - I hope - but the thing is the Chief simply isn't happy with it. He claims I've been f# with his words ... though of course he hasn't got the brass eye to accuse me of plagiarism.

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posted by DD @ 18:30  8 comments

Go With Your Guts

From the start, if there was one thing I knew about which way this site was going to go it was this: it was in no way to become a diary.

And I've followed my guts, haven't I? - apart from the occasional piece about odd adventures in town and abroad. Jesse's Diets is, I admit, a flashlight on what's rocking my world from week to week, but it's brief. A minute steak.

I followed my gut instinct, and now comes scientific proof (see link) that keeping a diary fucks you up.

What happens? Shit happens. Then you go soft in the head.

As we in the West approach the third anniversary of 9/11, I think we should take stock on how soft we're all getting. Here in London it's the fixation on childhood - and the child's eye perspective - via books (from Booker Prize winners to serial bestsellers) and films; it's the radio dominance of valium rock with its neutered lyrics; it's the fact that it's not enough to announce on the news that there's going to be a statement from Buckingham Palace in the near future, but that a reporter has to be standing outside the Palace to restate what the guy back in the studio has just told us, while we all await this statement ... In essence, it's news for dummies. Where's the beef? Nowhere.

And it's just about the whole output of the post-Diana heart-embossed ITV network - though a friend tells me that it is what all Italian TV is like. (But then this didn't surprise me: Italy is a land where the average twenty-five year old male owns more pairs of shoes than books. Oh, and that's not one of my petty surmises - that's a fact jacked. What they get as a result is a load of overly smart-dressed men - and bo for a culture.)

So no, I'm not saying we're completely fucked; rather, as Bob Dylan put it in song (his best?) back in 1997: "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there."

There's a softness in the head apparent in other social arenas, such as the knee-jerk anti-war rallies of last year. Then there's the gloopy campaign to replace Tony Blair with Gordon Brown. I've rattled on about those before, so I'll spare you here, though I'll slip in this link to a woman who's most definitely going with her guts (and it also suggests that the stereotypical laid-back image of the Dutch is in itself lazy thinking).

I want us to get back to Seinfeld territory. The moral underscore of that show was the motto no hugging, no learning. Yes, the very opposite of Friends. Now I'm not immune to enjoying a homily - the entire corpus of Jane Austen springs to mind. But, as with her work, I want them to be tough to the core, not wrapped in flimsy material. Yes, the very opposite of Bridget Jones.

My friends, my friends, there's so much yarbles out there to rip into - plenty of jollies for all. Why, just today (via the always wonderfully scandalous Popbitch) comes the news that 'Cave' Man Rooney has been caught diving into a cocaine sandpit. To think that a mere couple of months ago, had England won Euro 2004, he would have been a shoo-in for Sports Personality of the Year; now he's hated - for joining the Scum, and being ghosted in the Sun. And quite right too, on both counts.

Dame Kelly Holmes shall take all the plaudits now. But, if I may whisper this: am I alone in wondering if she dreams of electric sheep?

For the record, my woman of the year has to be Britney Spears. Simply off the scale in entertainment value. I declare her to be the Queen of Rock & Roll. What matter to her is the sanctity of marriage? The Queen says: Kiss my ring. And don't kill the drink, you motherfucker.

Plus: Toxic remains the best pop single released so far this year. Yes. It. Is. C'mon guys, it's even got a Barney Sumner or Robert Smith - take your pick - new wave circa 1979 guitar loop to go with its arabic strings. And, whatever it takes, you just know she's going to look fabulous if she does go through with this second betrothal, which in itself is but an hors d'oeuvre before our new Taylor meets her Burton. You know it makes sense. Me, I can feel it in my guts ...

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posted by DD @ 17:03  8 comments

Tuesday, September 7

Papa Wemba and the Safeurs

Just yesterday I was doing a spot of catch up on TV bits and pieces I had videoed but had yet to check out, and spent an entertaining hour watching a documentary about La SAFE, or the Safeurs - a group of Congolese exiles living mainly in either Brussels or Paris.

The Safeurs take their name from the French slang for clobber, or gear, and their thing is exactly that: dressing up in fuck-off expensive clothes. They may well live in a room in a hostel, but they hustle the streets and, when they've accrued enough money, spend it mostly on designer threads. How expensive are we talking? €5000 for a jacket. More than once in the documentary the cry went up within a group of them: "Cavalli! Roberto Cavalli!" (A top Italian designer, in case you were wondering. And while I'm here I can't resist sneaking in that these guys are the guys buying the animalistic coloured fabrics that keep the likes of Donatella Versace furred in cocaine.)

These Safeurs had self-aggrandizing street monickers such as the "Archbishop", and the "Anti-gigolo", but there was no doubt as to who they all bowed down to: Papa Wemba.

He really is their Papa, combining the roles of entrepreneur cum mentor cum emperor. As the actual founder of La SAFE, he has encouraged (by his actions and songs) scores of young Congolese to flee their war-torn homeland, and their first destination is usually that of the colonial patriarch, Belgium. And thence, we can suppose, to the French-speaking world's matriarch: Paris.

Papa serves as their spiritual father too, having found the Lord in a big way. At times he is seen, in the role of adviser, to question - and denounce - the desire for wordly goods: but this is approached abstractly; there is no reflection on the Safeur's borderline absurd pursuit of luxury items. And, of course, in walking the walk and talking the talk the Safeurs in Brussels and Paris have issues with one another ... on top of the sadly predictable problems.

A touching moment in the documentary is when a young Congolese reflects that Europe is perhaps not the Holy Grail that Papa has painted it to be. And a telling point made by another is that job opportunities are so limited - basically levelling out at washing dishes - that in order to get any decent amount of money he has had to become a street hustler. This hustling remains undefined, and though it can be said that the chosen look of the safeur is at times a cartoon of your stereotypical pimp, that doesn't mean that's what they all do.

(I remember seeing a French cinema verite movie of the 90s called Pigalle - and if that was even half-accurate in its presumptions then the Parisian pimp racket is, unsurprisingly, not one you casually strut your way into.)

The scandal involving illegal immigration via Papa's band was ongoing at the time the programme was made; and this news of a fresh trial is not unexpected. Do I think he's guilty? Yes.

Though his own home was a modest one in the suburbs of Paris, Papa's own clothing needs - and the usual unusual entourage expenses - clearly necessitates a large flow of cash. And as much as he rattles out his records (he was filmed recording what I think was his 55th album, some of which reflected a recent spell in prison resulting from these self-same charges) you can't help but feel that he's a guy who can't turn down the chance to make a buck.

One amusing segment of the documentary was the process of tributes - whereby for a certain, though unfixed amount of money Papa would mention you in a song.* Within the Safeurs, this was clearly akin to a papal blessing. And if the money isn't right, you can forget it, as the "Archbishop" discovered.

If all this sounds like I'm bashing Papa on the head, then I apologise. For one thing, I'm definitely going to check out some of his music. And, though he's had his downs, and I guess he's requested to do this, do that and deal with several kinds of shit every waking minute of his day, like another larger-than-life African superstar Fela Kuti he's had a pretty good crack at life, hasn't he?

* And let's not forget that such stuff is part of the lingua franca of the music business. For instance, the reason why Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On has such a muddy sound is that in return for sexual favours he kept inviting girls to contribute backing vocals, which were then wiped the next day ... clearing the way for that night's shenanigans.

ADDENDUM: nosing around as I do I came upon Resonance FM (see BOAT DRINKS list for link) which has a show dedicated to the music of the Congo on each Saturday at 1330 GMT. So I'll be checking that out pronto. Furthermore, that site has a link within it to lots of stuff about Papa Wemba and La SAPE. Enjoy.

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posted by DD @ 09:42  9 comments