Sunday, October 31

How a Mere Crease Can All But Ruin My Day

Fucking Halloween.

I have just been rudely jolted from my dreams (a late afternoon siesta; an essential forty winks) by what I can only assume were some chav trash Trick or Treaters - some rats off the local sink estate.

And sometimes, when you're caught unawares . . . Cue a flux of panic in case it were a proper unsolicited and unwanted visitor (it wouldn't be the first Sunday that a distraught friend has arrived on the doorstep, declaiming that they are "through with love" - straight out of the movies, of course, and pure yarbles), as opposed to some filth I could simply ignore; and in the Chaplinesque process of half-dressing and attempting to clear the bed of material that had aided and abetted a jolly good run at the Wank Wall (yes, a touch of Larkinesque) I creased the front cover of my paperback Collected Stories of Vladimir Nabokov.

(I should quickly explain here that books give way only to female flesh on my lopsided double bed.)

So? I hear you ask.

Ah, you don't understand, do you?

Now, at times I can look a shambles, and feel an absolute wreck - "Oh if this is how I look, imagine how I feel . . . " - but I am FASTIDIOUSNESS personified when it comes to my books. They are, almost without exception, my treasures; those I read with a rhythm of snorts and grunts and bodily scratches don't get to hang around: passing on such filth to charity is my idea of a good turn. (Actually, I do give blood, but that is my sole offfering to society!)

My books are my treasures, and a mere crease in one can all but ruin my day. Consequentially, when I lend a book I rate to a friend, I know I am in effect waving goodbye to that copy for ever - for when I get it back it's usually been tortured by said friend, walking tonka toy spawn, or dog. Really, the book may be sordid, but there was no need to give it a bath . . .

I suspect such behaviour is borderline some irrational psycho-something or other - and here I may as well confess that I can tick the boxes of the Big Three of childhood dementia: an attraction to fire (I burned down our house!); the need to torture helpless animals (a bashed-in tortoise shell may still be holding rain for months on end somewhere on a hillside in South Wales); and bed-wetting (no memories - I just assume I did this too, for I was a nervous child).

Having told you all that, I may as well tell you this: when I was nothing but a bawling bundle of limbs in my second-hand cot, the ceiling gave way above, missing me by just a few feet. A few feet, but that was enough: it's my first memory - quelle damage!; and since my first conscious recollection of the incident I've been waving two fingers at the supposed gods of fate. You. Yes you. You had your chance . . .

Back to now. All this reminds me: I have still to prattle down my thoughts on a supposedly great contemporary novelist whose latest tome I snorted, grunted and scratched my way through last weekend. And, hilariously, she is on the list attached to Nabokov in the gnod: the Global Network of Dreams (see link).

I feel fairly certain that the great man himself would snort, grunt and scratch away at the authors whose works are seen here as fellow travellers to his corpus; only Tolstoy and Joyce would remain. Some of those listed have come along since Nabokov's death, but, judging by his dismissal of the supposed greats of his time, you can assume that, using the Critic as Bouncer theory espoused in Martin Amis' novel The Information, only geniuses would be allowed in Nabokov's speakeasy.

Unsurprisingly, inside the gnod link there are some retarded views on Lolita, a novel which in my not-so-humble cruises into the Olympic final of the greatest novels of the twentieth century - though in Lane 4, it must be said, there's Ulysees.

So: fucking Halloween (America's shittiest invention - period). And, for the record, I can't stand Bonfire Night either; here in London, practically every night in November is punctuated by the fizz and pop of fireworks, as the street urchins (those runts, those rats again!) pick up half-price catherine wheels and sibling horrorshows from the local convenience stores - no questions asked.

For once, and just this once, I feel for the wailing dogs. How I hate this time of year.

Fucking Halloween.


posted by DD @ 19:01  21 comments

Alma Matters

Judging by this review of a newly-expanded edition of Gustav Mahler's letters to his philandering, skittish wife Alma they shall take their place among the great collections of lovelorn correspondence, alongside those involving Vincent Van Gogh and F Scott Fitzgerald (merely mentioning the two collections I have read).

I find it hard not to ruminate on how old Charles and Diana fitted the doomed template of the Mahlers almost exactly; and if he's so very well read he should have known what was coming: trouble with a capital T, as my mum would put it.

But as we know, the real trouble is there's no such thing as an intelligent prick.


posted by DD @ 15:14  23 comments

Abstain! Abstain!

Returning home from an errand to the Royal Academy yesterday, I had no option but to hear this little term of endearment cooed (repeatedly) by a boy chav to his girl chav on the Jubilee Line - southbound:

"You're my skimpy chicken."

One for Tube Gossip (see link or Boat Drinks). Actually, she wasn't skimpy, though her skin was akin to that of an uncooked chicken. To think that within the decade she'll most likely have hatched a handful of hens.

So a pain in the arse journey, which topped off a pain in the arse mix-up at the RA; and a pain in the arse stroll through the throng (albeit there were some adorable babes lolling about), which led me to seek the refuge of the back alleys of Piccadilly down to Charing Cross.

It's never been the most invigorating bit of the West End (there's always, always, a failed business - well, who wants to eat or drink in a restaurant or bar where the prime view is that of the arse of a fucking great cinema or gallery?), and much of the way it was absolutely reeking of piss.

Most modern Western, enlightened cities have a dawn clearance whereby they wash the filth away; not just hoovering up the obvious crap but really hosing the streets down. I don't mind the filth occurring; in fact I embrace it: I like that summer feeling of walking around the empty streets at, say 5am; I feel like I'm surveying a whore's bedroom at the end of a busy evening, after all sorts of shit has taken place.

But like her mouth, these streets need brushing and flossing every day.

Of course, I'm doubly pissed off because the nightmare journey was of my own making. It's a classic mistake to leave the centre of town at 5pm on a Saturday, when, let's face it, the outgoing trains are full of mewling babies, bored or boisterous kids and other beastly oomska.

And to make it worse, I always then envy those heading in.

So when I got back home I got loaded. ONE LAST TIME! For the next three weeks, I'm a muslim, a bloody sharia muslim: no fucking booze, and no shit food. I've delivered a self-imposed fatwa on myself: it is time to stop taking the piss.

Or, as a friend of a friend's wife would put it (it came out over drinks last week that this was her favourite word): abstain.

Abstain! Abstain!


posted by DD @ 11:52  5 comments

Jokes from the Edinburgh Fringe

I guess they're going and have gone the rounds but what the fuck: here's a selection of jokes from this year's Edinburgh Fringe - a veritable comedy wonderland . . .

The dodo died. Then Dodi died, Di died and Dando died . . . Dido must be shitting herself.
- Colin & Fergus

My parents are from Glasgow, which means they're incredibly hard, but I was never smacked as a child . . . well maybe one or two grammes to get me to sleep at night.
- Susan Murray

Is it fair to say that there'd be less litter in Britain if blind people were given pointed sticks?
- Adam Bloom

My mum and dad are Scottish but they moved down to Wolverhampton when I was two, 'cause they wanted me to sound like a twat.
- Susan Murray

A lady with a clipboard stopped me in the street the other day. She said, "Can you spare a few minutes for cancer research?" I said, "All right, but we're not going to get much done."
- Jimmy Carr

I realised I was dyslexic when I went to a toga party dressed as a goat.
- Marcus Brigstocke

My Dad's dying wish was to have his family around him. I can't help thinking he would have been better off with more oxygen.
- Jimmy Carr

You have to remember all the trivia that your girlfriend tells you, because eventually you get tested. She'll go, "What's my favourite flower?" and you'll murmur to yourself, "Shit, I wasn't listening . . . Self-raising?"
- Addy Van Der Borgh

The world is a dangerous place: only yesterday I went into Boots and punched someone in the face.
- Jeremy Limb

Cats have nine lives, which makes them ideal for experimentation.
- Jimmy Carr

I saw that show, 50 Things to Do Before You Die. I would have thought the obvious one was "Shout for help."
- Mark Watson & Rhod Gilbert

I went out with an Irish Catholic. Very frustrating. You can take the girl out of Cork . . .
- Markus Birdman

Got a phone call today to do a gig at a fire station. Went along. Turned out it was a bloody hoax.
- Adrian Poynton

Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time.
- Demetri Martin

The right to bear arms is slightly less ludicrous than the right to arm bears.
- Chris Addison

My dad is Irish and my mum is Iranian, which meant that we spent most of our family holidays in Customs.
- Patrick Monahan

A dog goes into a hardware store and says, "I'd like a job please." The hardware store owner says, "We don't hire dogs, why don't you go join the circus?" The dog replies, "What would the circus want with a plumber?"
- Steven Alan Green

I like to go into the Body Shop and shout out really loud, "I've already got one!"
- Norman Lovett

It's easy to distract fat people. It's a piece of cake.
- Chris Addison

I enjoy using the comedy technique of self-deprecation - but I'm not very good at it.
- Arnold Brown

If you're being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then on to a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire. They're trained for that.
- Milton Jones

I was walking the streets of Glasgow the other week and I saw this sign, "This door is alarmed." I said to myself, "How do you think I feel?"
- Arnold Brown

Sleeping with prostitutes is like making your cat dance with you on its hind legs. You know it's wrong, but you try to convince yourself that they're enjoying it as well.
- Scott Capurro

This last one is my favourite, given that said supermarket is my local one. And yes, like some of the other jokes listed here, it's less a joke, more a bald statement of fact.

Hey: you want to feel really handsome? Go shopping at Asda.
- Brendon Burns

Plus: following the news that blessed litttle baby Jesus is the #1 icon for black people, here's the old, old list about how Jesus was a Jew / Irish / Black / a woman.

Whatever. Personally, I'm with Shaun Ryder: "Jesus was Batman."

AND if all that's not enough, there's more (some good, some lame) here.


posted by DD @ 09:13  4 comments

Saturday, October 30

You Rub Me the Wrong Way

It was only on reading the Douglas Wolk tribute to John Peel (see October 26 for link) that I realised Greg Shaw had also passed away - and on the same day.

I guess that, along with Lenny Kaye, Shaw can be called the Great Curator of Garage Rock (Kaye with his Nuggets series, Shaw with his Pebbles ones). There's an obit from the Guardian in the link, and an obit from the SF Chronicle here.

So I pulled down my Pebbles (Vol 1: Misfits and Vol 2: Hooligans) to pay a noisy tribute late last night, and inevitably hit the long-time standout for me, You Rub Me the Wrong Way by the Hard Road. Naturally, given my comments of just the other day (October 27), this lot hailed from Ohio.

So I googled and got this list of famous Ohioans.* There's your Armstrong, your Bierce, Edison, Gable, Gish, Dino Martin, Newman, Nicklaus ... and on to Cy Young.**

Furthermore PJ O'Rourke was on BBC Radio 4 this week, and mentioned his early years in Toledo, Ohio.

Well, I can acknowledge and eat some shit - this week of all weeks, though I still don't think I can howl at Jenna Bush for confusing Iowa with Ohio, as she did the other day. But I can laugh at her. What does she care?

Talking of shits - and, trust me, completing the circle - I've just heard on the radio that John Selwyn Gummer (High Tory) is one of the motley crew calling for the impeachment of Tony Blair over the WMD claims concerning Iraq. For those unfamiliar with Gummer, he is as oily and imbecilic as his almost Dickensian monicker suggests, and his views should never be considered seriously.

The way to consider him is like this. Back in the late 1980s, I remember an NME Proust Questionnaire which included asking respondents who was the living person they most despised. John Peel's answer to this was Gummer, who, under fire for inaction during a major BSE scare of that time, made his clearly bemused and uncomfortable youngest sprog eat a beefburger while photographers and cameras whirred away.

Yes: he's oily, imbecilic - and despicable.

* D'oh. Stupid-assed that I am (sometimes) I had completely blanked on the fact that America's First Family dwells in Springfield, Ohio. Shame on me.

** Of late, when sober, I've been reading through the Diaries of Kenneth Tynan, a book full of scurrilous gossip, a snippet of which is Paul Newman's revelation to Tynan that he was a chronic drinker throughout his career, until the mid-seventies, capable of dispatching a crate of beer plus plenty of wine and scotch per day on set. Tynan, describing Newman as "a mature version of Michelangelo's David", concludes that he's either full of the typical actor's bullshit braggadocio or a walking monument to cosmetic surgery.

Tynan, who like Shaw died in his early fifties, often remarked on how 'it's always the shits who survive'. Well, there's no shortage of proof around, is there?


posted by DD @ 11:45  4 comments

Friday, October 29

Hold Your Nose and Say "He'll Do"

While I've been on planet Delirium (where the President is Sr Manny Ramirez and the veep goes by the name of Papi) there's been some sort of joke election going on . . . and the link is to a recent article about why one of our expat women is going, with some relutance, for Dubya.

Meanwhile here is evidence that lots and lots of people don't find the election any fun at all - and comedy rule #1 is that they're the sort of people who are instantly open to ridicule (I'm a little amazed to hear that John Stewart has opted for the funny bone bypass too, but there you go).

I've shot my load before on the thin gruel on offer to the American voters, but I'll add this: apropos the views of the woman writing the initial link piece, I too find Kerry's belief that the war on terror can be parleyed into being nothing more than a pesky "nuisance" in the future - presumably the near future, under his watch - both balmy and barmy thinking, but it has some support here. I just don't go the whole hog with the analogy that al-Qaeda are of the same ilk as previous terrorist groups such as the Baader-Meinhoff gang.

Indeed, with the rise of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi it may be time to shift our line of attack from al-Qaeda to World Jihad (an idea being stirred up by the Israeli government, so keep that salt to hand) as it's unclear who if anyone is pulling al-Zarqawi's strings, though the Hitch argues here that he's right in the thick of a connection between Saddam's Baathist regime and bin Laden's al-Qaeda.

As for this morning's headline grab of 100,000* deaths in Iraq, I'm not so convinced of the accuracy of this figure. It's a sad fact that thanks to Saddam, women and children and the young constitute a much higher percentage of the population than what would be considered normal; and it's just a fact that their deaths are more emotive than those of grown men.

But above and beyond that, even if the figures are an underestimate, I'm still glad we went in and removed Saddam from power. Moreover, I want our troops to stay in Iraq until the job gets done - and to get it done it's pretty clear that we need more troops in there. If I remember rightly, even Hillary Clinton has argued for that to happen (and, en passant, there's a woman who probably won't break down crying if Dubya gets his second term).

Anyone who thinks that all the indigenous Iraqis will kiss and make up the moment our troops leave is simply deluding themselves
; and what do you think would have happened in Iraq had we decided to let Saddam continue to dick the UN around while we waited for him to die or relinquish power? The two most likely outcomes: more of the same grief, courtesy of one of his son's or favoured hatchet men - or a horrific civil war as Iraq breaks up.

Whoever wins next Tuesday is going to need to develop some brains and some cojones and send in more troops, and also devise something like a five year plan for setting up Iraq (again, I've warbled on previously about wanting to see it carved into three - or even four - states, with the absolute priority among them being a Kurdistan for the long-suffering Kurds).

But for now, just like with the French election of 2002 (remember that classic? "Vote for the crook, not the fascist") I'm going to sit back and enjoy the tears, the tantrums and the chaos. The way I see it, be it for Bush or Kerry, the intelligent voter is walking in to the voting booth holding his nose . . .

(And for those about to dally in the murky swamps of Florida, check out this Slate piece on your eastern twin: Ukraine.)

Needless to say, but just to rub it in: no such problem, no such dilemma here. We're sorted - with no more stench than usual. But whaddya know? That's politics, baby.

Well, old sport, it's time I got back to the sport - and the orgastic night that really did happen.

* This piece by Fred Kaplan rips apart the process behind the survey, and puts a guesstimate figure of 20,000 forward as being nearer the truth which, given an equally guesstimate figure of 20 million as Iraq's total population, breaks down as 0.01%.


posted by DD @ 22:01  4 comments

The Jeanne Zelasko Blues


I still feel elated after Wednesday night: I, a fly-by-night supporter compared to the diehards of Red Sox Nation. They must feel like they're walking round with a head full of magic mushrooms . . . yeah, some Big Pappies, baby.


First of all I have to eat a whole lot of grateful humble for when I clanged the bells of doom right here, after the calamity of that Saturday night. And now I know that the Pixies lyric in my head was the wrong one too - it should have been

"You know: when you grope for lunar!"

Well. The eclipse came. We hit the clubs: what ass, I was hoping to have her in the sack; I was looking handsome, she was looking like an erotic vulture . . . So I did. I took my baby to the carwash and she had the full service. And I still made the first pitch of the game.

Hey, what can I say (plenty . . . but): I'm fast; I'm thorough - and I'm trying hard he here not to turn playground puerile.

One thing. Yesterday, I did the whole thing all over again, and watched the game all over again - just to make sure!

Yep: no complaints.

Backtracking some . . . An observation or two about South Kensington. Now South Ken is not somewhere I usually float my boat, but some friends were stashing away a few prior to the mash up between Chelsea and West Ham, so I joined them for a while.

South Ken is like a little bit of Paris in London: all these grand old public buildings (eg the Natural History Museum), grand old streets full of grand old white (Georgian?) houses - and the Institute Francais is there too, which means you encounter an unusual amount of French accents and French-speaking on the streets. Indeed the two people I asked for directions to this secreted little boozer were French - and no, they didn't have a clue, as per.

Also, it's absolutely teeming with au pairs / foreign students - only equalled in terms of perving points by Picadilly and Leicester Square.

I'm sure that all sorts of shenanigans take place behind those repectable facades, but outwardly it's all too refined for me: I prefer a splash of vulgar; some murk, some grime. In short, I need the buzz!

So South Ken was okay. Best little bit of banter: the fact that one guy's wife's favourite word was abstain. "Abstain! Abstain!" From deviant sexual practices, naturally - like the ones doubtless taking place in the airy rooms of the mini-mansions opposite us. Me? I'm pure, as you know.

Fast-forwarding some . . . As I watched the game a second time via, I sat through a slew of American ads. Now I think you can tell a lot about a culture from its adverts, TV or otherwise. And a number of things struck me as being noticeably different than they are here in Blighty.

Straight off the bat, I picked up that the people in US ads are much more ethnically diverse than here: it's like the bleeding UN! Brothers, Chinks, Wops, Spics, Curry Chuddlers . . . though, it has to be said, still predominantly Wasps. And I lost count of the plastic-fantastic choozies on display . . . and cue Jeannne Zelasko.

Well . . . not quite yet.

The ads themselves probably reflected the target audience of those watching baseball - and prepared to watch baseball on FOX (is there any choice? I don't know) - the main link above has one guy's opinion on their whiffy coverage of the hallowed World Series. Of the ads, there were two main types: those for wheels (I swear, there were so damn many it struck me that this channel must be some kind of autophiliacs' dream) and those for insurance, including, of course, insurance for your precious wheels.

If I may here's a quick roll call:

The best actor in an ad: has to be Badger the dog in the Mastercard series.

The best ad I saw: either DHL or the one about the Grown Man Meal deal.

The biggest load of yarbles: the Bank of America - hands down. But a dishonourable mention for AOL - and that mother.

The smuggest gits: a three-way tie (at least) involving - again - the head honcho of Bank of America; the Taco Muncher, and the Dad in the Honda Pilot ad who wants to take his beloved wheels to "the next level". Oh - now I remember, the IBM guys (incidentally, that's the only one of the ads I saw which gets aired over here).

The most worrying ad: the life insurance one with the two young lolitas (friends or sisters) predicting the future for each other eg "She'll be a singer, a dancer, or a lawyer . . . cause she talks a lot." All I can say is who know what they're gonna be, but to me right now they're a pedophile's wet dream.

Ah, wet dreams, wet dreams. Now I can get to Jeanne. That's Genie. Genie! Jeanne Zelasko. For research I googled her and landed here. Is it me, or has she changed? (By the by, are they still married? And who on Earth calls their son Trevor nowadays?) I think she's part of some new breed: I have used the old Blade Runner term replicant before, but I have another one; that she's American Anime.

Pure American Anime.

Keep her out of the sun, goddammit - or she'll melt!

Her dress sense is American too - and no, that's NOT a good thing.

And, to quote a phrase, I'm not so sure she's capable of 'thinking outside the bun'. (Oh - that ad plays here too.)

Okay: to finish here's one more roll-call, the one that matters:


Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


posted by DD @ 13:47  7 comments

Thursday, October 28

So It Took a Little While . . . But Now We're Dancing

Hey everybody. Hey! Everybody!



The Dirt Dogs.

The Idiots.

The Cowboys.

Whatever. They got the job done.

I've had a very tired and emotional last 24 or so hours, but I'll leave off the full morality tale until tomorrow.

For now, of all the pieces I've read, an observation that struck me was this one from Bob Ryan in today's Boston Globe:

It took a little while, but the championship of baseball has come back where it belongs. Since the 1870s, baseball has resided in the heart of Boston. While an entire nation has sold its soul to the violence and essential callousness of football, Boston has been a proud, stubborn holdout, preferring a more subtle, intricate sport appealing equally to the mind and the senses. If we are the only locale in America in which baseball is king, so be it. When you're right, you're right.


posted by DD @ 21:16  4 comments

Wednesday, October 27

Weenie-Spined, Yellow-Toothed, Tea-Sipping Pansy-Ass That I Am . . .

I had blithely ignored the brouhaha over the campaign, initiated by the Guardian, to have British people writing to the residents of Ohio, begging them not to vote for Bush next month.

So I've only just read through the reaction from the US (see link).

Easy tigers!

Silly idea that it was - and doubtless there'll be a reciprocal campaign during our next General Election (though no matter, for it will be a shoo-in for Tony Blair; it's an even greater lockdown than . . . the RED SOX for the World Series. YES!) - I do sense a tad of overreaction.

My, some of you Americans really don't like us, do you? Well, that's okay. I mean, I go with the comment by the great Orson Welles that when it comes to the States "after New York, it's all Connecticut". So I don't really give a shit about Ohio, because I've always sensed that New Yorkers don't give a shit about Ohio either.* In sensibility, they're much closer to metrosexual Londoners than the pseudo-simple folk over in Little House on the Prairie-land.

But I'm open to be corrected on that. Politely corrected.

So: let's tick those boxes shall we?

Pansy-ass? I wish. I'm afraid my arse has become way too fond of its seat. It is fit, though: I mean, there are times when I swear I could shit bullets.

Tea-sipping? Well, yes I do. Why, would you prefer that I slurped it? By the by, I drink a whole lot of most things. Besides, tea's good for your memory, or so it's been alleged.

Yellow-toothed? What is it with you guys across the pond? Why are you obsessed with our teeth? I mean, we don't laugh at all your teens with their girdled mouths and bubblegummed braces . . .

Oh. Actually, we do.

Let me see now (and then): Chaplin. Niven. Olivier. Grant. Leigh (Okay - half Indian). Burton. Finney. O'Toole. Lennon. Jagger. Caine. Christie. Twiggy. Springfield. Plant. Sting. Campbell. Moss. Boy George. Morrissey. Cocker. Branagh. Law. Beckinsale. Watson. Morton. Winslet. Zeta-Jones. Knightley. Driver.

Need I go on?

All yellow-toothed horrorshows, yeah?

Let's file this untruth down: sure there are some dodgy teeth around, but I tend to go with the rough maxim (based on pure demographics) that whatever we've got, America enjoys to the power of six. Six. Six. Six.

Weenie-spined? Does that mean that my spine is as solid as my dick? Well, I'll take that. Or is it meant to mean sausage-spine? Huh? Please explain. Also, you're not confusing us with the French, are you?

To conclude with a fresh boast, for a people described as above (though we would much prefer being called a bunch of scrubbers and tarts - believe me, we would bask in that sobriquet) we're not doing so badly right now. To wit:

We have

  • the #1 political leader in the world: Prime Minister Blair

  • the most gorgeous, iridescent actresses in the world: Samantha Morton, Kate Beckinsale, and Keira Knightley

  • the most drop-dead gorgeous actor in the world - talent with talent: Jude Law (albeit with my abstracted eye**)

  • the most talented young film director going: Christopher Nolan

  • the best up their own arse arty rock and roll band on the planet: Radiohead (who doubtless consider themselves "citizens of the world" as opposed to plain old British)

  • the best fuck 'em all new band - not necessarily on the same daily planet as the rest of us: the Libertines

  • the most promising young novelist out there: Zadie Smith
Right: I'm off to comb my teeth!

* In fact, I must confess my knowledge of the Buckeye state begins with "Four dead in . . . " and ends with an off-the-top-of-my-head belief that both the Cramps and Marilyn Manson crawled out from Outer Space, Akron. If so, very strange, very strange . . .

** Methinks I do protesteth too much. Am I in denial? Well, am I?


posted by DD @ 13:00  6 comments

Tuesday, October 26

Sir John Peel RIP

I was going to launch the assault I've been trailing on a book I chortled my way through last Saturday, but the news of John Peel's sudden death puts that back a day or so.

There's a slew of tributes here, and links to other bits and pieces about his life and work.

The truth is, if you love rock and roll and have even a modicum of moxie (and thus a few thousand songs on your shelves, in your iPod or wherever), he probably kick-started or at the very least championed the careers of dozens of the artists that have soundtracked your life.

Still, Rock and Roll is here to stay, and my usual bile will be back on the beat tomorrow. For as the great man put it: "It is much easier to write about things you don't like than things you do."

ADDENDUM: in the few days since his passing, I've come across this tribute from Douglas Wolk, and, in the spirit of the man, the John Peel Sweet Eating Game - the rules for which are here. And if I may amend the ends words used there, John Peel was the best DJ that Radio 1 ever has had and - judging by the way things are now - ever will have.

Right: here's another one by the mighty Fall . . . at the wrong speed.


posted by DD @ 15:00  7 comments

Monday, October 25

Three Cheers for the Countryside Blues

Most of the few (the happy few!) who read this will know by now my lack of regard for rural folk - and, as I've mentioned before, the feeling is mutual: mutual, and irrevocable.

So, much as I take delight in doing the necessary deed myself, it's always good to see somebody else pissing on their chips . . . and the link is to to the novelist John Lanchester doing just that - though he does so with some sympathy, some sadness, and some reluctance, as opposed to my gleeful gusto.

The thrust of his piece is aimed at the whingeful, vengeful, suspicious and spiteful attitude of the waxed jacket brigade, and the falseness of their familiar cosy nostrums concerning the 'threat to our way of life, our community'. There's a couple of cemented truths he cites: far from urban blight, only 5% of habitable land in Britain is actually used for that - the rest is farmland; and that in this land of ours (reiterating what has been argued by Jonathan Meades and others), there is no such thing as nature: the whole damn caboodle is organised - fenced, fed, protected, manicured. Man-made.

The waxed jackets are a fringe, minority group that like others eg muslims has a democratic right to be heard: but they should then accept the democratic will of the majority - or fuck off out of it.


posted by DD @ 14:28  4 comments

Saturday, October 23

Another Fellow Traveller

Yes: step forward anglophile and so-so writer Bill Bryson, who reflects on the "serene" appeal of baseball compared to the brutishness of American football, and - as a lifelong Red Sox fan - what this particular World Series means to him.

On a related tip, here is a piece by Gordon Burn on the use of sports in the American novel, from Ring lardner's short stories to the behemoth that is Don DeLillo's Underworld (in my head I now call that novel Conjunction Underworld, in honour of its house style).

I shall be lynching an esteemed American writer in the next couple of days - but it's not him (not this time), although it is something to do with the git and the American novel, which is the floating title of a little whiskey-fuelled thesis of mine.

But my weekend is set fair and clear for the first two games, so things may be quiet(ish) on this stump as I quaff and nibble my way through the first two games.

By the by, I am here to tell you that all those spacehopper asses jelly-wobbling along America's streets are not simply the fault of greed. This is a fact jacked: American TV makes you FAT. All I've done, all I've done, is sit here and watch the playoffs via the MLB feed, and each day (okay - afternoon) I've arisen to find myself that little bit more pregnant.

Oh boy, come November some hatches are going to be closed down, como el hijo de puta mundano Christian Bale. Oh boy. Cerrado! Sin vino, sin whiskey, sin gas! - for internal repairs. But until then . . .

Go Johnny Nazareth, go!


posted by DD @ 22:22  4 comments

Thursday, October 21

Haven't I Seen You Guys Before?

I mentioned as a little slider during my Red Sox eulogy below that I had a political epiphany, of sorts, during last night's coronary-lite clincher.

Osmosis has taken a while, but after watching bits of the debates (as much as I could stomach) and a couple of the campaign ads (from watching baseball play-off games via MLB TV) it hit me: I've seen these jokers - Bush and Kerry, not that you were wondering, were you? - before: on Wacky Races.

O yes.

Bush is Private Meekley - a Meekley wishing he was Red Max in the Crimson Haybailer; I leave the role of Sarge to whosoever you feel is the chief puppeteer in the White House.

Kerry is Peter Perfect - always on the look out for a maiden in distress, particularly one weighted down by her dowry.

Just for added juice, a look at a Hanna Barbera tribute site (see link) awakened me to the existence of the Arkansas Chug-a-Bug. Now, I wonder who's driving that babe magnet?

And woah! let's not forget Penelope Pitstop, and that pitstop taking place right now in New York: soon enough she'll be whizzing to Washington, keeping her fingers crossed that Peter Perfect doesn't get there first in the next couple of weeks.

To finish, I could swear that's an Austrian steering the Buzzwagon.


posted by DD @ 23:48  4 comments

Who's Your Daddy, New York Yankee? Who IS Your Daddy?


Who was I to expect the Greatest Comeback of All Time!?!

Where do I begin?

Johnny Damon, baby. Johnny fucking Damon - all the way! Or shall I say Johnny Nazareth, as I hear he's affectionately known in the Bronx. Well, Jesus went 3 for 6 last night, you bozos. I trust all you denizens of the Bronx zoo choked on your choc-fat bambino bars.

En passant, whatever happened to Wok-face Matsui? Seems they just don't like it up 'em. He may as well have been using a a wok as a bat this past week. Hey, I'm not playing the ungracious winner: I for one trust that Sheffield and Giambi can get back on the drugs that made them such great players, once upon a long ago.

To quote - yet again, I know - Humbert Humbert in Lolita: "My little cup brimmeth over with tiddles."

I confess my head and my emotions are still spinning, giddy. I'm still drinking . . . and still drinking it all in.

But last night, while watching history, I had an epiphany: that the US presidential election is not jejeune; no, and it's not completely juvenile; however, it is a cartoon.

No guarantees, but like the great Johnny D this D may well come back with his third hit of the day in a while, to run through this jolly little thesis.

Until then, to the Yankees out there - three fingers.

Do you all get it?

You remember?

Or are you all too shellshocked?


Three fingers: in The Candidate (1972) Robert Redford plays Bill McKay ("Vote Bill McKay. Because there's got to be a better way"), an 'alternative' - ie young and naive - political scion who loses his naivete as he realises the vicious game he's got himself in to. Early on in his campaign for governor, McKay gets a three finger salute from a black street kid; he turns and asks an adviser what it means . . .

"What it means is: Peace and Love and Up Yours!"

ADDENDUM: I must add this neat little celebratory piece in Slate, which also gives a little colour for those unfamiliar with the Curse of the Bambino.

And of course, my question at the top was rhetorical.

I know the answer.

I've known it for years.

The Yankees don't have a daddy - because they're all a bunch of bastards.


posted by DD @ 19:28  4 comments

500 Million People Eating Yoghurt With a Fork

Before I move on to the SERIOUS news, this burp of bullshit had me rocking my (celebratory) Irish coffee.

Just what the world needs: a re-recording of Do They Know It's Christmas? with Chris Martin playing the part of "the young Bono". And you think I just chisel away at those two at random, don't you? No. I tell you, I tell you: there is method in my madness.

BUT do they ever know when to fucking well leave alone?

May I suggest that before they do this, the would-be participants (Noel G: I thought you knew better; you'll disappoint me) and the would-be purchasers of said product read the link piece, an expose of the current vortex in Darfur (with, I'm afraid, the usual read it NOW before they charge you for it proviso of links to the New York Times). There's also the Wikipedia rolling review here.

It may take some of them a week to finger their way through it, but they should get the gist: that there are both simple and convoluted reasons for the depredation and ensuing deracination that the variously intertwined and yet combative tribal, religious and political groups continue, inexorably, to exacerbate.

Yet even the likes of the mighty Midge Ure should be able to suss that the roving death squads of the janjaweed are EVIL incarnate.

Of course, if I headed the UN - as opposed to the freeloading cretin who does so right now - I'd have thousands of peacekeepers in there to halt this bloodshed.* That's step one. Automatic for the people.

BUT then we need to ask ourselves this: what are we proposing to throw money at?

And then this: who are we proposing to throw money to?

PLEASE let's take note of a key salient point: twenty years on, twice as many people are starving in Ethiopia. Thank you, Live Aid.

Why? Well, the answer is probably inside those two previous questions.

For fuck's sake, someone has to say it: Bob Geldof gets on my dugs.

Whenever I hear the word 'saint', I have to fight the itch to start scratching my arse. Am I alone in this?

Crying out feed the world ain't gonna get the job done. Sorry, I'm not sorry. We can give them food, but behind every natural disaster in Africa there are always underlying catastrophes of incompetence and corruption that have to be addressed, but never are. They never are.

So no, I'm not going to be buying this fucking single, just like I stayed clear of the original. Why? Because at best - at best - with this sentimental approach we're only ever going to get them to this symbolic level: 500 million people eating yoghurt with a fork.

* In the longer term, I've been toying with the idea that the rich West needs to reconquer Africa, correct our original cock-ups (and there were many) and set up a viable infrastructure for the poor fuckers. And I'm using the harsh word reconquer, because there's no point in applying a silly band aid to the festering wound enveloping that continent.

What I mean is, if we leave it to themselves, they're fucked. And yes, this may well be another argument for the one-armed man leading the blind in this world, but that's the way it has to be.

I say get over it, and let's get in there . . .

ADDENDUM: Noel G has since finagled his way out of this wankfest - "recording commitments, blah blah". But it appears that Damon Albarn is going to be involved. For the record, I think he's Britain's most talented living pop musician - I fucking love that Mali Music record - but his politics is stuck at the Che-Guevara-poster-on-the-wall level of naive.

Furthermore, it appears to be genetic. He once proudly stated that his grandfather (or some other close blood relation) was a conscientious objector during the second world war; now to me, in relation to that war, that's nothing for any British person to be proud about.


posted by DD @ 13:01  5 comments

Wednesday, October 20

King Curt and the Band of Idiots: We're Not Worthy!


And it's here we go with Game 7. GAME 7, baby! Doncha love it?

The link is to the usual Boston Globe stuff, and here's two pre-game primers: here and here.

I could rant on about how shoddy, shabby and unsporting the Yankees were last night (the conveniently blind Matsui, the sulking hothead that is A-Rod, and the steroid (ab)using "What? Me cheat?" Sheffield to name three), but I'll let it ride.

I know that chances are I'll be in a vengeful mood in eight hours time.

But if all goes well, I may well let it ride.

Now, like a whole lot of other fans, I'm that jerky combination of tired and nervous, murdering what's left of my fingernails and trusting that Lowe and Wakefield can get enough english on the ball to send this boy, stuck upon English terra firma and already in a state of giddiness, in to utter delirium.

If JUSTICE occurs, I am treating myself to the Seinfeld DVD box - accompanied by several large ones juiced with the dew of the peaty hollows of Scotland.

Whoever you are, wherever you are . . . Enjoy (if you can).


posted by DD @ 22:08  4 comments

Farewell Then, Paul Foot

Actually, this would normally be an addendum to the previous piece, but I didn't want to taint the memory of one man who undoubtedly did some good with the pathetic bleatings of a cunting arsehole.

The link is to a pretty rounded appreciation in The Spectator; and, if you care to, Private Eye currently has a section devoted to Paul Foot's efforts.

The dour, sour remarks aattributed to Jeremy Hardy (the ex-circuit comedian turned figure of fun) in response to some seemingly well-deserved heckling brought back memories of a defining moment (for me anyway) in the whole debate over Iraq, an incident that revealed the aporia in the minds of the Stop the War brigade.

It came during one day of protesting, prior to the largest march here of February last year, when one carefree guy strolled up outside the House of Commons to argue for the invasion of Iraq in order to remove Saddam Hussein; he was jostled and manhandled, his placard was torn to shreds, and he was verbally threatened by a small, shriekingly demented mob within the mob.

Yeah: typical peaceniks. Their aporia? They're not really for "peace" at all - other than completely on their own fucking terms. And no, I'm not going to glibly mention the term fascism to describe them and their mindset: fascism to me suggests a real - if yet latent - threat in the offing; a real menace ie the islamic fundamentalists are fascists. But this rabble? This lot just has to be argued out, and then shaken off; shaken off like the lover clinging on to a limb of yours while you're determinedly heading out the door and out of their lives - because that's the right thing, the best thing to do.


Aaah. Their ilk, and the spastic in the previous entry, really stick in my throat - the more so when I know I should be fully embracing the fantasy baseball that is this year's play-offs. My, they're even better than last autumn's hoedown.


posted by DD @ 19:44  4 comments

Paul Bigley: File Under CUNT

I've sat and kept shtum, given that there's a grieving family involved - and let's not forget, a wilful act of murder by despicable people; but yes, it's been hard keeping shtum when Mr Paul Bigley has been anything but.

His ignorance - yes, ignorance, of what's going on and what needs to be done in and around Iraq has been painful to read and listen to, culminating in his call last weekend for the coalition troops to get out of Iraq.

Has he thought for one second - let alone two minutes - what will happen if the coalition summarily withdraws its troops?


Does he have any consideration for the wider context, the message such a withdrawal, such a kowtowing to terrorism, would send?


Why? Because he's a CUNT.

Listen, pal: just because because you're crying doesn't give you the right to boo-hoo bollocks. Complete and utter political yarbles. The behaviour, the unthinking of a peasant. A cunting little peasant. As if we didn't have enough of those in parliament already (though they tend to be not so little, living very high on the hog: for example, let's waddle up scousehead #1 Peter Kilfoyle).

Anyway, for how long has this Bigley been a bleeding heart peace merchant? I assume he was on that pitiful march last Sunday - a waste of police time and taxpayer's money. I doubt very much that he was on the anti-war charade of February 2003, or the smaller gatherings that preceded that. And his late brother? Well . . . do you think he was anywhere near those?

So today Bigley has called Boris Johnson a "self-centred, pompous twit" who should "get out of public life" following the latter's striking, and strikingly valid comments on the local overreaction of Liverpudlians to the death of Kenneth Bigley.

An overreaction all round?


I agree with Boris on this: I think a two minute silence was at least one minute too long. His original editorial is here in full. (I say his, for although he didn't write it, as editor of The Spectator he okayed the piece through to publication - and as a prospective Tory leader after the next election, he's been forced to take full responsibility and smell the shit sandwich.)

I also agree with the overall point made about the mawkish sentimentality that has overtaken British cultural life in recent years - a theme I've banged on about quite a few times since I began this blog.

I disagree with the apportioning of any - any - blame for the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 on "drunken Liverpool supporters". Yes, some of them were no doubt drunk - but I'm here to tell you that at every major football ground in this country, and most abroad, the last minute push into the ground from local pubs happens before every big game: the police here know that and their job is to deal with it, which they do, week in, week out. And they get handsomely paid for doing so. But that one time they fucked up, and 96 people died. They fucked up, and they know it.

And today, Boris apologised for hashing out that old line, while sticking quite rightly to his guns on the prescient point about our crybaby culture.

Now, back to the words of our cunting friend. In the OED pompous is stated as meaning 'grand, solemn, self-important': so Bigley's "self-centred" is a redundant phrase. But is Boris Johnson solemn? Grand?


When it comes to Boris I think the majority of people in this country would tick the boxes to terms such as bumbling, endearing, eccentric - and interesting. And probably add that our political life could do with more of his kind; more colour, more character.

Sadly, there has been a self-centred, pompous twit in all of this - and he goes by the name of Bigley; and today it is he who is hoist by his own petard.

ADDENDUM: there's a further written apology and explanantion from Boris Johnson here.


posted by DD @ 18:21  6 comments

Tuesday, October 19

Not On My Watch

The title to the link reads "Good news for Chavs: they may be cool people soon."

Well, not on my watch.

There are pieces covering the same story - the history of neologisms - here and here; the latter sees the author of the tome behind it all - Larpers and Shroomers: the Language Report - predicting the demise of the metrosexual and the return of the retrosexual. Wonderful women of the world, I'm afraid Exhibit A is right here, right now.

The prime reason why Chavs, just like the equally hideous Sloanes of the 1980s, will never be cool is this: their zip worthwhile contribution to culture.

By quick comparison, Grunge had an element of cool (despite the egregious Pearl Jam), thanks to Nirvana, and the early faux-stoner Beck. (Incidentally, I found it odd that Grunge itself was not on the hot 100 buzzwords list. Whatever. And there you have another overlooked wonder.)

As for the old phenomenon of Shroomers, back in the heady days of Grunge I remember sharing a plateful of magic mushrooms prior to attending an all-night party in Charlton (in the part that estate agents like to call Blackheath borders); the effects kicked in over drinks in the nearest pub, the Standard, where the motions of going to the bar or toilet became akin to walking on the moon.

Oh baby, it's a wonderful feeling. And nobody can deny.

A longer term effect of that night was meeting the girl (the provider of the mushrooms, as it happens) I then proceeded to waste five of the best years of my life with. Okay, waste is a tad harsh . . . but the moral is there, kids: don't do drugs.

Joking apart, one other thing I can relate: I soon learned that trudging through the beastly oomska called the countryside looking for said little poppets of pleasure is just about the most boring thing you can do of a Saturday afternoon.

(Not that that memory checks my curses on the beastly oomska getting in my way in the local* Asda, when I am at my weakest - in the middle of a crying jag of a hangover - and make the mistake of entering our modern-day Hades for some emergency relief.)

* My local treats us punters to an Arthur Mullard-esque tannoy announcer, warning us not to miss out on all the "boot'ful bargains" available each day. Still, it does have both a halal and kosher meat section - though a lot of the normal meat is Dutch Product so there's a good chance that all is not what it seems on those counts, but is in fact this.


posted by DD @ 21:58  4 comments

All Bow Down and Kiss the Erotic Gherkin

I loved it the moment I saw it. For those few left wondering, there's lots of pics here and here, and especially, here. And the link (above and below, everybody; always, always arsehole and beak) is to a paean by Jonathan Jones (more pieces by him via BOAT DRINKS). Yeah, I agree with him on this "wonderful inflation shimmying out of the earth" - and, as he puts it:

this is the most satisfying new work of art I've seen in years. It is modern and ancient; it is site-specific; it sculpts the sky. It is a monument and a mirror. It makes you see London in a new way. It does things that artists - people who are officially called that - have given up even trying to do.

Oh, and as regular visitors know, I have a spastic penchant for making up titles for blogs - and this bundle of joy has inspired another: Heaven Is a Gherkin.

Funnily enough, if you google that in right now you'll get a top link to Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition - which is juvenile shit for when I'm feeling like a juvenile shit (as opposed to being told I'm a juvenile shit - by a juvenile shit, of course) and as such the site thrapps its merrry way into BOAT DRINKS.


posted by DD @ 13:44  4 comments

Flaming Pie, Anyone? And Googlism

Something has been bugging me for a few years now and it's this: what exactly is a flaming pie?

Yeah, as used by our peer of the realm, Thumbs Aloft Macca, for a recent album title.* And, given that I think flaming pie = hairy pussy, that's a choice and cheeky phrase for the country's unofficial poet laureate to be using, is it not? (Continuing the - ahem - theme, spies tell me that his next album has a working title of Vertical Smile . . . )

Sticking with the Fabs, I'm also curious as to what John Lennon was on about when using shaved fish as an album title. To me, that's your Hollywood, your depilator's dream, your shaved pussy. QED in my cocked head.

Anyway, I googled in said phrase, which led me to this site, a blog by a girl called Allison (starting to happen): she rides the pie; she goes lower case; she loves the Beatles; she has a crush on a guy with a Beatle mop-top at her college, which is in Pittsburgh; and she has a pet fish that mopes around his block to the name of Frank; and she (occasionally) picks at her acoustic guitar.

There you go: pass on said ingredients to, say, the great Evan Dando - and hey presto, a song.

In turn, one of her entries was her Googlism. And so I just had to do mine - well, mine as in the transitory concept that is "DD". Of course, in my parallel life my name is Frank, I'm a beautiful red fish, and you won't believe some of the things I get to see and hear. Oh boy!

So, for now, here is DD:

dd is for ddictionary
dd is for ddragon
dd is for discrimination
dd is spinning out of control
dd is not talking much
dd is up
dd is a national car rental company
dd is doctor of divinity
dd is for dippy duck
dd is deadly
dd is used?
dd is a leftie
dd is a teacher at ours
dd is slowly slipping away
dd is 11 months old
dd is for tune
dd is 4 today
dd is and how to use it
dd is struggling with dairy yet again
dd is a national car rental company with the strongest and largest network of rental offices in istria
dd is dear daughter
dd is 03/27/87
dd is better than cd
dd is doctor of divinity date
dd is operating in a time warp
dd is intelligent as well as talented
dd is satisfied with the report
dd is among the oldest associations of computer technology
dd is already available almost everywhere
dd is doing
dd is the day of the month
dd is the wednesday of that week
dd is often referred to as a highly creative survival technique
dd is space control and aggressive bombing
dd is young and only in adv beg more inside
dd is set to 00
dd is virtually a completely digital variant of rme's reference converter adi
dd is the youngest member of rme's world
dd is used to connect definite determiners
dd is just someone you can call up who will always be willing to go drink with you
dd is a very integral part of our canine and human family
dd is known as 5
dd is available
dd is available to help other ngos work up their policy portfolio in this way
dd is for dog
dd is an integral part of a separated network security architecture
dd is unresponsive
dd is told the data is from the same gel
dd is my daughter's very first security buddy and has been with her for most of her four years
dd is pleased to announce that ms
dd is the flagship balloon lettering font in our library
dd is to duplicate a floppy disk
dd is 629
dd is for dolphin
dd is a graphical representation of how the files and programs work as a system
dd is a 2
dd is known
dd is greater than 4
dd is attached
dd is 27 months and weighs around 37 pounds
dd is first applied
dd is especially suited to i/o on raw physical devices because it allows reading and writing in arbitrary record sizes
dd is working correctly
dd is also a nickname for the liz on the block
dd is the day
dd is mostly brsch
dd is all about
dd is good education
dd is maintaining its own internal database of usernames and passwords
dd is 7
dd is the
dd is a sociologist
dd is the 5v power supply

" . . . and you know what they said, well some of it was true!"

* Prior to his Glastonbury gig (wellington boots? What a waster), the old mocker hired my beloved Dome across the river for a couple of weeks in May, to rehearse - causing some bother to the nearly dead living round here. Me? I fucking loved it. I remember sitting out on the balcony with a bottle of wine one Friday afternoon as he just about did a whole concert, with the odd false start etc. And yes, he did play fucking loud. Oh, and I'm pretty sure he sped away one afternoon in a private chopper that flew right by: any closer and he could have heard me giving it the full Liam: "He shot the wrong Beatle! You're dying in reverse, perverse order of merit - the best first! I thought Heather had a plane . . . Oh yeah, she has, but that's so she can shave both her legs. Raspberry Ripple!"

Yeah, I can be that obnoxious - just ask my friends.


posted by DD @ 10:41  6 comments

Who's Your Papi?

So it's 3-2.

The dream lives on.

Papi! Papi! Papi!

It's hard not to go all sing-song. I feel like a yo-yo. Before I go back to bed, it must be said that the Red Sox are impossible . . . truly "idiots".

Some of the ball played by us during this series has been awful, with last night's Exhibit A Johnny D's attempted bunt. Johnny!?! What the fuck?

Thank fuck last night's voyage down the crazy river that is Boston baseball pitched off at 10pm my time. Just this once, I laughed to beat the dawn. Alas, tonight it'll be tomorrow before things get going - 1am. That's if they get going, given the forecast of heavy rain. But I'll be standing come game time to find out.

My, how every game has been a hair-puller, a hair-scratcher, a face-mauler, a headshrinker, a nail murderer.

Yeah, that's how I feel too. Add a bottle of scotch in to the mix and shake - gently.

So it's back to bed. Sleep. Shower. Make lasagne. Eat along to the Sopranos - for three hours . . . and then it's time for Curt Schilling to seize the day.

By the by, I suppose there's some Champions League football taking place tonight, but so what? Red Sox vs Yankees is the nuts.

Hold tight, my fellow travellers.


posted by DD @ 09:38  4 comments

Monday, October 18

Ortiz the KIller

Enfuckingfin the big guy - Papi - has delivered - and we live to fight another day.

Probably another shambles tonight (9pm GMT); right now, bed beckons.

I just hope St Pedro has kept well away from the Wank Wall, cause he's gonna need all the juice he can finesse out of his courting fingers.

Me? Well . . . my hands are free (it's my nails that are sore). And, in case you hadn't guessed already, I'm a switch-hitter.

ADDENDUM: It's now a good twelve hours later, and, as can be observed, the rather droll matters across the pond are obsessing my simple mind right now; but still, tonight, I shall find time to have a Kit-Kat and pray for the health of Marc Almond.


posted by DD @ 06:30  6 comments

Sunday, October 17

This Is a Low

Well, I've had a shave. A good long shave. And faced the facts.

It's over.

Stick a fork in our asses, we're done. For another season.

Late as it must have been by the River Charles when last night's marathon fiasco ended, I doubt anyone around the world can trump the dark dawn I saw over the Thames, the dimmed red warning lights anointing still the dozen steel masts of the Millenium Dome.

And what came just then to what was left of my mind?

"You're so pretty when you're unfaithful to me . . . "

The Sox? Hell, no. The Dome. Unfaithful? I hear you ask. An unfaithful building? Have I fallen for the pathetic fallacy? No. As it happens, and just to rub it in for me, a few hundred anti-war squatters have been holed up in the Dome over the weekend - at a princely tenner a pop, courtesy of mayor Livingstone - to do this shit, stroking the bald pates of the usual shits: Benn, Galloway, Corbyn et al; and subsequently to lift to an inflatable level the doubtless pitiful numbers in the pitiful Stop the War stroll that disappeared up its own aureole at some point today.

Such is life. I was busy sleeping mine off.

Now I hope that the Cardinals take the World Series - if for no other reason than that St Louis is the birthplace of Miles Davis. And they don't have the two-faced git that goes by the name of Roger Clemens. And, hey, they're NOT the Yankees. And that's not small-mindedness: in this ALCS the Red Sox have been out-pitched, out-hit, out-run and out-managed; put it all together: outplayed by the better team.

But none of that changes the fact that the Yankees are EVIL.

And why should I worry? No one's gonna come up to me here, taunting, "Who's yer Daddy?"


posted by DD @ 20:37  4 comments

Wednesday, October 13

The Future Dictionary of America

McSweeney's: Mcshite.

As the great Sir Kingsley Amis would have put it, "Woe betide any berk or wanker who finds any of this stuff remotely funny."

Oh yes, my foul mood continues.

Again, I suppose spewing out cheap shot shit like this is better than letting these dummies deforestate rain forests to bring us the latest clump of their oeuvre.

Some of the usual suspects are also here letting you poor undecided know why they're voting for Kerry. Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes: you know who you are. Now be told.

It's sad to see Jonathan Franzen contributing to both these links, particularly the dicktionary (sic), as he's the only writer involved who probably will be read and admired once Judge Time has had his say - thirty, fifty, a hundred years hence.

As I have been known to compile these sorts of things on my own (see GREAT YARBLES OF LONDON) I have one to insert into this future dictionary:

franzen : when inside (behind) every doctored profile image there's a fatter version dying to get out. Use as in, "Oh yeah, I got all my photos franzened: let's face it, honey, truth is you might as well hang the sign Waffle Waitress around my goose neck and be done with it." Or, as I heard on CNBC only the other day, "That's not Ann Coulter; if so, she's been franzened."

You know, I don't think I'm alone in quickly reaching the conclusion that Dale Peck is a self-mythologizing cocksucking cunt, but when you come across the assembled guff of the whole sick crew, you can't help thinking that he's got a point when he tells just about all of them to walk the plank . . . and keep walking.

And I don't think I'm alone in imagining Saul Bellow, John Updike, Philip Roth, Don DeLillo and Richard Ford looking behind them along the Great American Way for some fresh-legged, mint-minded competition and wondering, "Where the hell are they? Can't see anybody . . .

. . . "Oh, wait a minute - what's that frizzled thing sitting on the roadside, to the left?"

"Nah, that's just Norman: he's all puffed out. Fuck him."


posted by DD @ 18:05  4 comments

Creative Wanking

Yes, I fucking hate the idea of "Creative Writing" courses. Why not teach creative wanking? More useful - and it would give those mongoloids with sticky digits who should never be allowed to empty their heads via a keyboard something to do.

I hate the shit these graduates invariably churn out.

I fucking hate the Campus novel.

David Lodge and his sour ilk get on my tits. Malcolm Bradbury didn't just die. I killed the fucker for the damage - irreparable damage - done by his school. Look out Lodge: stay clear of my manor.

What Waterstone's and its fellow travellers need is a good clearing of the fiction decks. And a blind man couldn't go far wrong with a hook stick.

Yes, I'm in a fucking filthy mood.

Why? Because the Red Sox are fucking it up all over again.

Why? Because some turd of a plumber has swindled 7K out of my mum for shoddy work, and now I have to pop back down to Bungaloidville and swish my baseball bat about to get things sorted.

I tell ya: something's gotta give.

"Are we gonna do Stonehenge?"

"No, we're not gonna fucking do fucking Stonehenge."


posted by DD @ 13:14  4 comments

Tuesday, October 12

The Role I Wish Oliver Reed Had Lived to Play

First: hit the link (to newcomers: mouse over the title, and click, or left click on link at the end of my spiel).

Then we can - sombrely - reflect on the vagaries of Judge Time - of how the likes of Austen, Van Gogh, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Proust and James were relative flops in their lifetime.

Or, as Martin Amis has put it, for each artist "the real work begins when he's dead".

And then crack open a bottle at the fact that old Olly Reed was the spitting visage of Henry James. Furthermore, just look at the latter's eyes: that is a man familiar with the wank wall.

Oh, he's not alone, even in his exalted circle: we already know of James and Nora Joyce's mutually masturbatory correspondence; we know how Proust chiselled away at his doorstopper from his four-poster bed; so now Henry James was fond of whacking one out. Quelle surprise.

I trust that the estimable Mark Kermode (see BOAT DRINKS) shall lament this lost opportunity the next time he takes late luncheon with his neighnour - and hero, and spiritual faather of Olly, and this country's greatest living enfant terrible - Ken Russell.


posted by DD @ 21:24  4 comments

Crazy Like a Fox

Some final thoughts on the hunting farrago.

At my youngest niece's birthday party last month, conversation turned to the recent protests and her Irish grandmother recalled the destruction that foxes caused to her family's land and livestock (and thus livelihood) back in rural Ireland.

" . . . they'll kill anything - for no reason."

"Just like us," I glibly replied.

[Insert here your image of Irish motherly scorn.]

"They kill anything. Not for food, just pure malice. Awful creatures. I'd shoot them all."

"Well, obviously they have to be culled; I'm really - my beef is against the whole celebratory nature of the hunt: two fingers of your favorite tipple and 'tally ho!' -

"And I bet you have a drink before you set out to have a good time."

"Point taken. Reason not the need . . . But those pro-hunters - "

"Are a pack of shits?"

"Yes. Exactly."

"So where do you stand on bullfighting? Are you in favour of that?"


With a conceding smile: "Yes. Yes I am. Though I want the bulls to have as good a chance as possible: stop doping them to the eyeballs and half-killing them with those sticks they stab in [to them] before each fight."

With a glint in her eye - scenting victory and no mistake: "But you don't mind that spectacle?"

"No. [Laughing.] In fact, I love all that. I just want the contest to be real."

We both agreed on these things: that it was silly to be pushing such a contentious ban through when there are much bigger and more important issues at stake ie the war on terror; and that the reason the Hunting Act is being rushed into law right now is not so much because Tony Blair promised such a ban back in 1997 but that he has to throw a carrot to the donkeys on the far left of the party* who are still in a mutinous sulk over the decision to go to war in Iraq.

* What matter it to them that the left in Iraq (and the left in Afghanistan, and no doubt the left in Iran and so on) were in favour of the war - as the only foreseeable means of getting rid of Saddam.

ADDENDUM: I've just read this piece and, well, I'm game. I should also note that I'm with the Spanish on the dictum that if you're going to kill an animal for food, you owe it the morality of eating as much of it as you can, from arsehole to beak. Come on: show some cojones!


posted by DD @ 08:23  4 comments

Monday, October 11

Prosto Koshmar

Granted there are times when I would have to plead guilty to being the boy in the plastic bubble, flicking the fluff from my navel, lost in Coleridge's "delicious, diligent indolence". After all, it's not my role to keep a finger on the clitoris of the world - that's the job of the president of the United States (or, should there ever be an effective one - and a certain Tony Blair should be available in three or four years time - the Secretary-General of the United Nations). But I simply had no idea of the dishevelled state that Russia is in.

You read the link - from the New Yorker.

Then you do the maths.

It's simple: Russia is over.

You want to hear about some real flip-flop? Try this:

For most of its history, Russia has defined itself physically: as the biggest country on earth and as the place where Europe and Asia come together. Today, however, a nation’s significance is determined more by people than by land. Twenty-five years ago, the population of Russia was a hundred and forty million, and that of its neighbour Pakistan was eighty million. Within twenty years, that ratio will have reversed itself. If United Nations projections hold true, even Yemen will soon have more people than Russia.

Or consider this, from the same article:

In the past decade, life expectancy has fallen so drastically that a boy born in Russia today can expect to live just to the age of fifty-eight, younger than if he were born in Bangladesh. No other educated, industrialized nation ever has suffered such a prolonged, catastrophic growth in death rates.

The New Yorker piece concentrates on the Aids epidemic about to hit Russia, and how the government's lack of relevant action is endemic of the social, economic and political mess that the country is in. Prosto koshmar, they say in Russian: it's simply a nightmare.

What about President Putin? What's he doing?

Frankly Putin is looking more and more like a clown - but a sinister clown (trained in the KGB circus), not least when you read about his crackdown on the remnants of Russia's intellectual community, nor when you realise that it's sheer hubris on his part to pretend that Russia is still a major player, a net giver rather than taker of aid, when it needs all the international help it can get. As things stand, his solution is to establish a fascist dictatorship, based on fear, whose chief business is the dissemination of lies. Hello . . .

The worse part of all? That the Russian people are probably going to go along with this. They're so scared of the future - on top of everything else, there's terrorism: how many more atrocities will there be after what happened in Beslan? - that they want to go backwards, back, back, back into the benighted past.*

Funnily enough, of late I've been allowing myself a mirthless chuckle as to how our world was 'safer' when it was run by 'Bonzo' Reagan and - in turn - by those other two walking lobotomies, Brezhnev and Andropov. Those were the days, eh?

Don't worry, I see through the superficiality of my own argument, though as a schoolboy I did feel safe back then. Soft southern bastard safe, to be succinct about it. I certainly felt no fear. But it was the safety of ignorance.

I didn't know how fucking horrible life - life? merely existing is not life, is it? - was under 'Uncle' Joe; I didn't know how fucking horrible life continued to be under his successors; I had no grasp of Russia's terminal malaise. In truth, after the Berlin Wall came down, I thought that things would only get better for them.

For Russia the twentieth century was a lost century. But sadly, that was just the prologue.

Leaving aside the separate issue of Pakistan's leaping demographics and what that may entail, Russia's forthcoming social, economic and political collapse will hit us too, possibly in ways that don't bear too much thinking about.

* The rationale for the return of fascism? As quoted here: "A totalitarian state cannot be blackmailed by the threat of death of civilians," said Mikhail Leontyev, one of Russia's most prominent pundits, in his nightly commentary on federal Channel One, the most-watched network. "Terrorism happens only in democracies."


posted by DD @ 13:02  4 comments

Sunday, October 10

It's On, Baby, It's So On

Well, well, well . . . the Yankees managed to scrub up some and crawl through to the ALCS.

I spent a good while yesterday explaining - drunkenly yet exultantly - to all and sundry why they had to be tuning in on Wednesday night at least (when Game 2 - Pedro - will be on Channel 5), because it's all gonna kick off.

And I predict that this time next week, we'll be finishing the job off at Fenway Park. 4-1.

I tell you: when I told my friends about Pedro flipping down old Don Zimmer last year, they laughed. Cause it's still funny.

And hey: maybe it's written in the stars that we can serve up the coldest dish of all - revenge - to Roger the Dodger (aka the pocket Stalin, always trying to rewrite his history) in the World Series.

Can't wait.

Can't fucking wait.

Come on Johnny, let's go get 'em!


posted by DD @ 19:08  5 comments

Piffle Is Football's Default Mode

Judging by this report of the match coverage yesterday, it's just as well that I was semi-spasticated and off my face, not paying much attention to the turkey shoot taking place on the big screens around us.

As Garth Crooks is mentioned, I may as well slip in this old but immanent observation by Danny Baker: " . . . did I say Garth Brooks? I meant Garth Crooks. Well, I can get confused. Note to self: one wears a hat, the other talks through his."

A couple of pie-eyed observations of my own re Greenwich:

  1. The North Pole is looking mighty swank, with its new (to me) creamy beige and dark brown decor. Worthy of the new Lower East Side.

    During the game, a friend of mine also pointed out the Andrew Gilligan guy hunched over a stool at the bar; in reality, a 7/10 lookalike, but the mere thought of the unbridled source-sneak being reduced to the status of a bum was consolation for the drabs up on the screen.

  2. St Christopher's: still a rathole, though surprisingly (to me) full of what must be the fresh crop of students attending the university - possibly overspill from the completely packed Auctioneer. I arrived there to the singing of the spastic national anthem, so I walked back out again.

    Re St Christopher's, it would be remiss of me not to remark on one leggy blonde customer with a spectacular rack and the mane of a brat doll; oh boy, we thought - some poor schmuck (ie lucky bastard) is going to be smitten with some very high maintenance there.

  3. The town still only feels half-alive - and I think it'll stay that way until the cinema is reopened or they do with the site whatever they're planning to do. But hey! DO SOMETHING.


posted by DD @ 11:10  4 comments