Tuesday, November 23

The Very Definition of an Arsehole

Sometimes, when I'm feeling like a piece of shit, someone has to suffer my wrath - and this morning I mooched upon this character.

Yeah - sometimes too, the very idea of New York makes me sick.

But I am right, aren't I? A place like Nobu is Arsehole Centrale. There are plenty of such holes and such arses in London, but this guy really is a piece of work.

Sorry, I'm wiped. DVD > bed > Wank Wall > DVD . . . until I'm supposed to scrub up out in north London. How? I am still incapable of drink.

Where's the chambermaid from I Want You when I need her . . . so bad? Time to check out Craigslist, for a one-off special.

Link

posted by DD @ 10:20  7 comments

Monday, November 22

Viz Jiz Material

Because I am still shattered from the weekend, refusing to re-enter the so-called normal world, this bunch of shit from Viz that was emailed to me shall have to suffice for now.

Normal yarbles resumed on Tuesday - or mebbes Wednesday.

Until then pray for me as my body is a sad shack: my dogs are pupped; my heart feels like it's drilling for acid; and my stomach is mincing at the prospect of any liquid bar water and any solid outside the usual contents of a Kebab.

Still, I have my DVD pantheon to console my teary eyes (Peep Show, Family Guy, Big Train and Seinfeld) as well as the ongoing series of Peep Show itself.

Like Super Hans, my world is most definitely not Blue Peter.

And you can stroke your mind to these:

I have recently started to masturbate whilst fantasising about Jeanette Krankie. My problem is that I cannot work out whether I am gay, straight or a nonce. What do your readers think?
- D Barclay


Could the Home Secretary explain to me how biometric checks on iris patterns and fingerprints are going to help keep tabs on Muslim cleric Abu Hamsa.
- Les Barnsley, Barnsley


'One pound a week will supply water for an entire village in Tanzania', says Oxfam. So how come United utilities charge me twenty pounds a month for my three bedroom semi? The fleecing bastards.
- Tracey Cusick, Cumbria


They say "you can't judge a book by its cover". What nonsense. The last edition of High School Anal that I bought featured a young lady stuffing a big one up her bomb-bay on the front page, and this turned out to be an excellent indication of the contents.
- Mark Roberts


According to Nietzsche, 'That which does not kill me makes me stronger'. I'm sure my granddad would not agree. He suffered a series of massive strokes in the early '90s which have left him an incontinent vegetable for the past 12 years.
- A Thorne, Sandbach


It's uncanny how some of these old sayings are true. 'Absence makes the heart grow fonder', said my wife as she waved goodbye to me on the way to spend a month with her mother. Since then I have grown quite fond of my next door neighbour. I actually gave her one on the living room carpet this morning.
- Christopher Hampshire, Bristol


I am becoming sick and tired with the media's politically correct obsession with gay sex. It's getting so that I can't turn on the Fantasy Channel without seeing two naked homosexual women indulging in these sordid practices. I'm thinking of cancelling my subscription.
- T Cutt, Surrey


I see on the news that Lord Hutton says he is "satisfied that David Kelly took his own life". He may not have liked Dr Kelly that much, but isn't this taking gloating just a little too far?
- Dave Owen, Edinburgh


This Value Added Tax is a rip-off. I was expecting a great deal on a car the other day, and I ended up having to pay an extra 17.5% for it. There is no way that's added value. If anything, I'm about three grand out of pocket.
- Jon Cooke, Leicester


The recent suicide of Harold Shipman has thrown up some interesting questions. For a start, does Shipman killing himself take his official tally up to 216, or does it count as an own goal? Where does this final score place our national champ in the world league table?
- Magnus, Sheffield


After suffering a head-on car crash in Northumbria recently, who should I see rubber-necking slowly past the wreckage but haughty TV chef Clarissa Dickson-Wright in her Volvo. Did she stop to offer assistance? Did she bollocks. When she inevitably croaks from heart disease, I fully intend to dance on her grave.
- G Bryant, Sheffield


I was shocked to hear Home Secretary David Blunkett say that Britain's prison population has been ballooning for the past ten years. My God, has the world gone mad? Those people are there to be punished, not to be given 'thrill of a lifetime' experiences that most law abiding citizens can only dream of.
- Mrs Close, Headingley


The government says that there are nearly 50,000 people with HIV in Britain, a third of whom do not even know that they have it. Is it just me, or is it a bit harsh that the government know and haven't told the poor sods?
- John Campbell, E-mail


I drank three litres of white cider, a bottle of red wine and then a couple of cans on Friday night. Despite this, I had the shattest Saturday of my life. Can any of your readers explain why, because I am at a loss.
- Patrick Bateman, E-mail


Never mind ventriloquists like Keith Harris and Roger DeCourcey. What about Professor Stephen Hawking? I saw him on telly blathering on about galaxies for hours and I never saw his lips move once. Genius.
- Mike Woods, E-mail


Every time I use my local NatWest cashpoint, the screen says 'You have not been charged for this transaction'. Yet when I check my statement, I find without fail that I have had ten pounds debited for every tenner I withdraw. No wonder the banks are raking it in.
- Gary Beergut, E-mail


With reference to that series Manhunt where ex-Special Forces soldiers try to hunt down Andy McNab. Why don't the producers include a couple of Iraqis in the hunting team? They found the twat quickly enough the last time he played hide and seek with them.
- Shuggie, E-mail


It's all very well Meg Ryan getting her kit off for her new film, but why wasn't she doing it twenty years ago before her puppies hit the pan?
- Alan Pick, Kingston-upon-Toast


I have just spent three hours making custard using Delia's recipe and it's a triumph, in that it tastes just like Bird's Instant.
- A.W. Thompson, E-mail


I would like to thank Darren of Chelsea for not coming to Australia with Jenny. She is a great shag. Thanks again.
- Baz, Bondi


Hats off to the witty burglars who stole my entire CD collection with the exception of There Is Nothing Left to Lose by the Foo Fighters. I hope that when sentencing, the judge takes into account their splendid sense of humour.
- Chris Scaife, Jesmond


Hats off to the American police. They arrive at Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch to arrest him a mere six months after he admits climbing into bed with young boys on worldwide TV. Perhaps they should get some faster cars.
- T Barnham, London

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posted by DD @ 13:03  4 comments

Friday, November 19

The Friday Fuck It #1

Life is short and so is the Friday Fuck It.

Today's ten:

Is Like a Rolling Stone the Greatest Rock & Roll Song of All Time? YES. But some of the others listed . . . Imagine? Pure yarbles.

Is Dave Eggers an overrated oily cunt? Read the top link. Oh, don't bother: the answer is YES.

Is Ireland the best place in the world to live? NO. It's the land of men beaten with the ugly stick, who still wear ski jumpers. And that's a fact jacked from the best bit of the whole bog - Dublin.

Did Julian Cope nail it when he described hell as being "U2 on a loop"? YES.

(And while we're there, thank you Alexis Petridis: Keane are Supertramp, and I prefer the latter. There's always one good thing to be said for Supertramp: so far as I know, after they made their pile they all fucked off to their ranches the size of Reading, and spared us any further opuses. Sadly, in pop music that makes them almost unique.)

Janet Street-Porter: offal? YES. And that's official. Once Janet Bull, always Janet Bull.

Prince Charles: ditto? Fuck YES.

Mark Thatcher: guilty?. YES YES YES. And wouldn't it be the bonus balls of bonus balls if 'Lord' Archer ended up in the soup?

Is racism endemic among Spanish football supporters? YES. Go ask Roberto Carlos: he's been on the receiving end of the "mono" monkey chants for the past ten years. Most concise, reflective analysis of the whole farrago is here. The most ridiculous? A real "Woman! Know your limits!" moment on last night's Question Time, when a female panellist suggested that teams should be penalised goals for racist abuse.

Ricky Gervais: can he do no wrong? YES.

And the MTV Europe awards: accurate in ignoring Britain? YES! As I've banged on bafore, aside from the cracked-up Libertines, British pop music is moribund.
Bioth Hey Ya and Toxic piss on anything churned out by any Brit this past couple of years. But an award for Muse? Arseholes.

What Ho! I'm off down to Devon to

a) scrote some pikeys

b) scrote some farmers

c) celebrate a friend's birthday

d) sample the nightlife of Exmouth. I've been told it's 500 single women - two nightclubs. Full SP (winners, losers, dopers, fallers, riderless horses) and steward's inquiry to follow.

A crack o' the whip!

Link

posted by DD @ 06:15  6 comments

Tuesday, November 16

Delicious Snacks

No, not chocolate (although Mars bars, Mars bars . . .), but those old dependables, Sex and Death, or, to flip them over into French, Big Death and Little Death - the mixing of which can lead you here.

File her under pure yarbles.

The link is to some very odd thoughts about the orgasm. For the record, I go with that line of Woody Allen's in Manhattan, where his dinner date (if I remember rightly) explains how her analyst has told her that she's having "the wrong kind of orgasm" - to which he replies, "The wrong kind of orgasm? Not me. On the button every time."

Yep. Though there is no god, if there were, he's a guy. He's a mensch, a real mensch. And all of us guys owe him one.

Come to think about it, better make that a double. I like the line on Oxytocin as the chemical that "makes orgasm Nature's sugarcoating to disguise the bitter pill of reproduction".

Ladies . . . by way of compensation, you should go fings yourselves a Mangaian boy from the South Pacific. Read the link, and then read this: you'll see what I'm getting at.

Now tell me: how wet is "Wet"?

A tip given is to "lick her the way Pollock painted" - which I can only take to mean make sure that you're pissed out of your mind. Well, we've all done that.

But it does bring to mind the old critical advice that you should approach a Pollock painting like it's a piece of jazz . . .

. . . and I'll let you complete that connection.

Still, who isn't au fond of the "Gum Clasp with Perineal Pinch"? Really.

Or as our Homer would put it: Hmmm, papaya . . .

En passant, I note that beards are a no-no, and it's commented that drinking single-malt scotch is a pissy thing men do to "prove their refinement".

Shit. I'm currently on two strikes!

Personally, guys, my little tip of the tongue is to work your way through the alphabet. Capitals or lower case, forwards or backwards . . . whatever; and as you do, you can do worse than have some Marvin on for ambience.

As is pointed out in that link, Marvin Gaye is to soul what John Coltrane is to jazz. Yes, it's true. They both completely disappeared up their own artistic arses, before popping off early . . . which convenielty leads me to this piece about the drug-related mortality hot spots of Britain.

Well, if I had to live in Spalding, Lincolnshire, I'd be wrapping my heart around the Horse too.

Unlike these. This is proof that Germany has the toughest pensioners in the world. How come? Well, you do the maths. See where I'm coming from? You know, they'd take care of these hoodlum jokers in no time at all.

HEADS UP HOLLYWOOD: following on from my diatribe of yesterday, there's a hit comedy in this story of septuagenarian gangsters.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:02  5 comments

Monday, November 15

Why I Hate Star Wars - Or, the Numbers

. . . Or maybe I should come clean and institutionalize this spot to be known henceforth as The Monday Whine (and, come to think of it, I already have its bastard twin in place: The Friday Fuck It).

Unfortunately, a good friend of mine - a very good friend, even though he lives up in the benighted north of England - has already been donned with the monicker Oscar Grouch, otherwise I would lay claim to that as my nom-de-plume.

So, to business. Reading the link article, in yesterday's New York Times, stirred anew my disgust for mainstream Hollywood movies, a disgust that is traceable back to the movie that killed the movies: Star Wars.

This has nothing to do with its quality per se. I am proud of the fact that I've only ever seen the first twenty minutes of it: that was enough to know it wasn't for me. However, I will note in passing that even some of its biggest fans almost rejoice in its plasticity: when, in The Graduate, Ben is cajoled about his future career (" . . . one word to you, Benjamin: plastics"), I suspect that little did the writers know they were anticipating the decline of Hollywood, even as its star was rising.

It's not the quality, or lack of, that pisses me off: it's the fact that it was an overwhelming success (please read that last word with full first syllable emphasis, à la Bob Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues).

Some people will realise that I'm basically following the argument put forward by Peter Biskind in his entertaining, if ever-so-slightly anal Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. The argument is that there was a (second) golden age of Hollywood movies that was kick-started by Bonnie & Clyde, leading to the likes of Chinatown, the two Godfather films etc, that was assailed firstly by Jaws, and then killed by Star Wars. In other words, Beatty, Nicholson, Polanski, Coppola and Scorcese are heroes; Lucas and Spielberg are villains.

Well . . . what's to argue about with that synopsis?

Nothing.

The main thrust of the Times piece is that American blockbuster movies have ceased to be American: they're not about America, and they're seldom made in America (increasingly, natch, they're being made in London). The Star Wars of our times in this debâcle has been Titanic, or La epic du monde de merde, as I've been led to believe our French friends call it. Okay, maybe that's pure yarbles on my part, just to keep you thinking here. But hell, it should be true.

The point to be made is that Titanic has no sense of place, and only some trite observations to make along the lines of true love conquers all, blah blah - thanks for that, as I had no idea such things ever happened. All that money . . . to make more money.

My abiding memory of the film is not the film itself (huh, can you think of any memorable lines?), but the fact that it was shown on TV on Christmas Day a few years ago, and so it came to pass that on that day of all days the nation got to see Kate Winslet's tits at about 7pm, a good couple of hours before the divined watershed. And no, her tits weren't memorable either, but their sight was a little perky, pagan consolation for this devout atheist.

My review? It's a two bottles of wine movie. That's the only way to get through it.

The plot holes in Titanic are present in most of the filth currently being thrown at us, usually in sequential format. An example? The Matrix: film or franchise? Discuss. Oh honey, please don't.

Listen. My gripe isn't that these films are being made, but that their massive predominance has squeezed out the chances of others, indeed, of the other, being made. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that the $900m worldwide bounty from Titanic financed any great films: it all seems to have disappeared up its own template, in a succession of disaster movies with diminishing returns. Yeah: they pissed it all away. And be fair, you can't blame Kevin Costner for everything that goes wrong. Can you? You can? No!

The bottom line on all this is that Hollywood produced more great movies between 1967 and 1977 than it has in the quarter century since.

That's a fact jacked, my brother and sisters. And we all know it.

Actually, the New York Times seemed to go to town on Hollywood this weekend, with this piece asking why the delectable Maggie Cheung is not a major, major star in America. Now there is a glib answer here . . . IT'S BECAUSE YOUR FILMS ARE SHIT AND YOU'RE TOO FUCKING STUPID TO SEE IT, YOU DAMN YANKEES - but we know that's not the whole truth, all ways round.

Occasionally, the Oliver Stone stomp is justified: the truth is more sinister.

Racism?

Tick the box!

Plus ça change. It's your loss.

Anyway, I want her to stay as she is, just helping Wong Kar-Wai make his little masterpieces every other year or so. You want a sense of place? You want a sense of style, a sense of form, a sense of the intricacies of human emotion? Go see In the Mood for Love.

Let her keep making films of that quality, and I'll die a happy man. I do not want to see her floating around lost in some mutant, parallel universe that is actually a very expensive film set stuck somewhere in the vast arse of Australia.

To finish, I also note that there's a movie version of Patrick Marber's play Closer about to be released. History predicts that it will stall, at the box office and on screen, as just about all film adaptations of plays look stilted. For example, who would point anyone in the direction of Glengarry Glenn Ross (which is better than most) and say: "See? That's what you can do in the movies . . . "

Perhaps Marber has rung up some humongous poker debts - else why let your baby get fucked over by Hollywood?

When I went to see Closer in the West End, Eddie Izzard was there too (shorter than he wants you to think; and burlier) - dressed as a man, though it was high summer, which slightly disappointed me, somehow. However, were it otherwise, he would not have been the first actor I would have seen wearing a woman's attire in public: that honour goes to Timothy Spall, who once sauntered into my then local bar like he was Gloria Swanson.

I'm pretty sure that he's one of the many British character actors who have since scrubbed up in the Harry Potter franchise, and must now be rubbing their hands at the prospect of what I hear is known among actors as the "Potter Pension": the generous fees and/or points, and repeat fees from TV etc shall keep them warm, and vodka-sozzled, in their dotage.

The movie version of Closer stars Jude Law. Now, I have never kissed a man, but were I to meet him, I fear I would swoon! Ditto Johnny Depp.

Oh boy, it's the second time in a few days that I've finished with a reference to Johnny's Gablesque charms. This has to stop!

I suppose what I'm saying is, like the song, I'm looking for a girl called Johnny . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 10:33  5 comments

Friday, November 12

Say It Loud: I'm Linglei and Proud

What can I say? I'm with them almost all the way - but please, nix the tattoes.

Link

posted by DD @ 14:36  4 comments

For One Horrible Moment

Glory be to the cocaine-addled Recommissioning Editor at Channel 4, because tonight the glorious Peep Show returns to our screens (and the first series is currently running on BBC America. Discerning Yankees, I envy you your virginity - re this show).

Ah, stay those trumpets a while. The link. Hmmm. Well, that's to a review of the new Bridget Jones movie. No, I've not lost my fucking mind. Bear with me - and I'll tell you someone who has.

I have sort of snorted my way through both books (or are they now a triptych - a veritable Swis Roll of prose?) for one of the following reasons:

They really are a rollicking good read.

They're so true to life it hurts.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I get tired of listening to incessant bullshit and feel the need to rip apart a young woman's tiny mind and make her cry.

I will say this: I preferred the first movie to the first book. If I remember correctly, Andrew Davies added a certain jouissance in the film version that was lacking in the source material: namely that, like all good girls nowadays, Bridget's not averse to taking it up the arse.

Indeed, in society, the act has become a necessary part of the premarital resumé: "Have you tried anal?" Tick that box!

The review alludes to the fact that this aspect of contemporary mores is present and correct in the new movie.

Of the movie, I'll also note that I watched Parkinson last Saturday (I was visiting family - Oh yes I was! Forgive me, I know full well: there really is no excuse for watching such schlock) - and sat and stared and listened to Renée Zellwegger as she plugged and plugged away . . .

And everybody in the room, including my mother, thought: She IS out of her fucking mind. And, What's with those Chinese eyes? And - okay, me alone here: What the hell is Jack White doing with her - if he still is? Is he?

Anyway, the review is written by Peter Bradshaw, who now hacks a fat crust as the primary film critic of the Guardian (or is it still Derek Malcolm?); but before he suckled up to fortune's voluptuous tit, he once wrote and narrated a fantastic comedy series that came out on Radio 4, called For One Horrible Moment. And oh, someone in TV land, this could have been - and still could be, still could be! - this generation's Ripping Yarns.

Get to it, Channel 4. Meanwhile, thank you for leading us up to the season of wankery with at least one grace note: Peep Show. However, I must still ask this: where's the fucking DVD of the first series? Get to it!*

PS: My American friends, I note that the Zach Braff (what a name!) ego trip Garden State is about to open in London. Is it any good? What I mean is, will a woman willingly bend over after seeing it, having been suitably dilated - even if she is pillow-dreaming that the filthy, lusting gardener tending to her soil is not me but Zach?

Oh come now, everybody: that's something we all do. All the time. I bet even Vanessa Paradis occasionally envisions the porcine attentions of her straight-from-central-casting local boucher . . . while Johnny Depp goes about the business of doing what all good Americans used to do: namely, dying in Paris.

* STOP PRESS: The very beast is unleashed next week. Thank you. And it's yours for £15 courtesy of Amazon UK; and while you're getting that, I'd take advantage of the Big Train offer - both series for the same price, and Brass Eye, going for half that.

Now: where's my cocking puns?

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posted by DD @ 06:21  6 comments

Thursday, November 11

No Flies On the Hitch

Anyone who's been round my way before knows near enough where I stand on most of the key issues - the war against Jihadism etc.

And for the most part my views align with those of the Hitch. Here he is again, nailing the Mirror itself for its 50 Million Dumb Americans (or some such charge) headline of last week, a piss-poor response to the re-election of Bush . . . and how it symptomises the simple-minded "war is bad; America is bad" nostrums of the Left.

The Hitch sticks out like the proverbial, in comparison to the standard fare inked in the Mirror: here is one of its more typical columns. It's low grade, stuffed with stuff like the "unquestioning devotion" of soldiers during the second world war. As far as I'm concerned, anything unquestioned is worth little, if not nothing at all. But the point I make here is that it just isn't true, is it? It's presumptuous; it's false; it's faked feelings; it's lazy journalism.

As for the main news of the day, the death of Yasser Arafat may be an opportunity for progress in the Middle East, but I doubt it. I still think the Palestinians are willing to pay the body price for playing the long-term demographic game. I hope I'm proved to be totally wrong.

As for the old gangster . . . well the line I always think of was uttered a few years ago by Jackie Mason, who said: "Whatever you think of Arafat, I bet you this: somewhere on those towels* he wears around his head you'll find the words "Hilton International."

On the subject of old phonies who popped their clogs in France, I recently read a couple of snippets concerning Charles de Gaulle.

Noel Coward heard news of his death via a phone call, the informant on the other end wondering aloud how de Gaulle and God would be getting along in Heaven. "That," Coward quipped, "depends on how good God's French is."

In his Diaries Kenneth Tynan comments on how the de Gaulles had a mongoloid daughter who died young; de Gaulle had been devoted to her, and he comforted his wife at the graveside with these words: "Come, now she is like the others." Tynan asks (rhetorically) if this is the most moving thing ever said by a Great National Hero.

Probably.

As I'm on a hat-trick, I may as well briefly reprise the fact that Sir Winston Churchill deliberately re-routed the starting point of the train journey to take his body to its final burial spot at Blenheim, just to exact some psychological revenge on de Gaulle for the ingratitude the latter had shown Britain after the end of the war.

His final stand was: "That French fucker shall go to Waterloo!"

* The proper term for the headdress worn by arabs is keffiyeh.

ADDENDUM: So no flies on the Hitch, as per. But it's a different story over at the BBC, where a minor uproar has been caused by a female reporter, Barbara Plett, stating how she cried as Arafat's body left Palestine, during the radio equivalent of an op-ed piece on From Our Own Correspondent (Radio 4).

Here is a report (from the Telegraph: drolly shit-stirring) on the 500 complaints that followed, and here is a retort to those from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK: blaming it on the Zionists).

Personally, I thought that BBC reporters were supposed to leave their feelings back at home; but the reality is that ever since Michael Buerck (was there ever a more aptly-named reporter? Positively Waughian) drooled over the dying in Ethiopia back in 1985 that old Reithian ideal has gone.

So I must reluctantly conclude that Ms Plett should be free to shed her emotions to us on air (though she has since been carpeted by her employers for doing so), if we accept that the raison d'etre of that radio show is a personal insight into what's going off in the world, as opposed to straight down the line news reportage.

Likewise, it's up to each listener to decide whether or not to take seriously the supposedly considered opinions of someone who cried over the death of Yasser Arafat.

I'm afraid that when I saw the slightly unnerving scenes of wailing Palestinians in Ramallah I thought to myself: peasants. Before any of you wail at that, let me say I felt, and feel, exactly the same way toward those who broke down over the death of Diana, and the sentimental reaction to sundry other media-saturated deaths of recent years here in the Golden West. (Indeed, I'm still finding it difficult to leave the salt alone when Clive James stumps up, for his rolling-eyes obit on Diana was when he jumped the shark, to use TV parlance - but I do it because he remains one of our few brilliant critics: here he is on the latest Philip Roth novel.)

Hard little bastard that I am, there are times when I cry too. I just don't like people making a career out of it.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:18  5 comments

Tuesday, November 9

Money Versus Class

Following on somewhat from the brief observation I made earlier today about the Thatcherite cultural shift of the 1980s, this is David Starkey lamenting the decline of academic standards (lamentably obvious), bashing Tony Blair for destroying the old Labour Party (and your point is, Sir?), and snarking at the Scots (England's Canadians, and it's as equally tiresome a quibble as the one across the pond).

Starkey? You can take or leave him, and I usually do the latter.

But my point here is that he's one of those nouveaux riche who have made a public celebration of their wealth: in recent times, others who spring to mind include Anne Robinson, Danny Baker, the Beckhams and Robbie Williams - only one of whom I've any time for.

And it's not Robbie. His wild, no doubt charlie-fed proclamation that "I'm rich, beyond my wildest dreams" is, for me, the defining moment of Chav culture. That saw its arrival, big time. And, it follows, of course, that as such he is the ne plus ultra of chavscum pop stars. (Before any of you fans of his start protesting - in vain - may I direct you to Exhibit A: the concatenation of tattooes defiling his body.)

I contend that, at least in this country, this Loadsamoney! outlook is a working class thing. I'm tempted to type that they don't know any better, but that would be silly, puerile and wrong. Because they do know better. The truth is, they just don't care.

In America the flaunting of riches tends to occur among Hip-Hop stars - of the major ones, I've only ever heard LL Cool J cheerfully confess that "I'm from no ghetto". I'm willing to admit there must be others, but we know what the default profile is (and I've heard how some adhere to it, even when it's nowhere near the truth).

Back here, aside from the 'ghetto' scene of what was known for a while as bling-bling culture, the most obvious, headline-grabbing evidence of the flaunting of wealth comes via football . . . and footballers in turn are almost exclusively from working-class backgrounds.

Now we could dick around all day debating the social and economic parameters that decide which class someone is: and for anyone confident of these, the test case of Paul McCartney is usually sufficient to cause uncertainty. But in most cases, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . then it's a duck. Establishing which class the Beckhams belong to is not really a problem now, is it? If it is, then you shouldn't be here, you filthy peasant!

I don't like the ostentatious flaunting of wealth (new or old money), because I feel it's rubbing your money into other people's faces. It's a by-product of our relatively young meritocracy, a meritocracy which I, as a lifelong adult republican, favour (and it's done me no harm), but is it an inevitable one?

I want to say it isn't, but I think it is. Working class people brag about their money; middle class people don't. And I don't know exactly why. It can't just be intelligence, because compared to the average jerk who scrubs up on TV Danny Baker is as smart as a whip; and conversely, I've met plenty of rugby and tennis players from decidedly middle-class backgrounds (amateurs all, but still, they are the quintessential middle class sporting pursuits) who are shit for brains. Oh yeah: Tim Nice But Dim really is out there, everybody.*

Where am I in all of this? I'm with Will Self, who once said that he is a "classless intellectual". That's me. Sort of. What I mean is, you can halve the freightage of intellectual** from that phrase for a start . . . and then start chiselling away at the formless shape of the remainder.

* One of those occasional roll-calls of privilege on the Buckingham Palace balcony should be all the evidence you'll ever need for that, not that that is why I'm a republican. The Windsors could be the smartest, best-behaved, most charitable clique in the country - as opposed to the lurid reality of our 'First Family' - but no matter: I'm damned if I'll bow down to anybody because of who they are.

People have to lose my initial, cordial respect; but I obey no one.

** Does the elle embedded in intellectual denote that it is (historically) a feminine charm? If so, that's another one that's been eroded to dust by Girl Power - and the ashes may as well be scattered in a silo of the enormodepot where they concoct the vile-tasting potion that goes by the trade name of Bacardi Breezer.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:14  5 comments

I'm Sorry, But Suicide Is the Coward's Way

"Seems like every time you turn around
There's another hard-luck story that you're gonna hear
And there's really nothing anyone can say . . . "
- from Black Diamond Bay, by Bob Dylan

Judging by the way the investigation's going, it appears increasingly likely that Saturday's rail crash - killing at least seven people - was caused by a guy who had decided to commit suicide, by parking his car on an unguarded railtrack crossing and awaiting the next 100mph train to come along.

The link is to a series of articles in today's Times on the incidence of suicides, (which are actually on the decline in the world), what lies behind them, and the ethics of such action.

I had this out over an email or two with the author Toby Lott, after he wrote an article - similar in tone to the approach in the Times - earlier this year, calling for some deeper understanding of motives blah blah.

To which I replied: bollocks.

Pure yarbles.

Life's a piece of shit: get on with it. Let's face the music, and dance.

Before last weekend's events I had decided that in almost all cases, suicide is the coward's way out. Now, I'm even more righteous about it. I feel sorrow for the family and friends this guy left behind, but to me he behaved like a selfish, idiotic cunt.

He was a coward.

The exceptional case where suicide is fine by me? Where someone is completely alone in this world - no family, no friends, no one - and whose death would go completely unremarked. In other words, the exceptional case is the death that hurts nobody else. If that be so, go ahead, fuck off.

But anyone who kills themselves when there are loved ones left behind is making the ultimate selfish gesture, the ultimate cry for attention. We can't stop them doing it, but please, spare me the violins.

Let's get to it: it's no surprise to me that most suicides are committed (like most other crimes) by young men: the ultimate "me, me, me" gender and age group. Fact jacked. I've been one. (Some might say I still am one - and incorrigibly so. Selfish: yes; a coward: no.) I've known of some who have killed themselves . . . and I've been made aware of the emotional carnage they've left in their wake.

And I'm sorry, but there's no fucking excuse for it.

Now, at one point in the Times this argument is put:

"It would be both futile and cruel to chide those immured in despair (I do not refer to those suffering from a painful fatal illness) for being inconsiderate of others . . . the bleak depression that leads them to suicide maroons them beyond reason."

To which I say: bollocks.

Yet more yarbles.

So the murderer who pleads diminished responsibilty due to, say, a
temporary bout of madness is beyond rebuke by the rest of normal society? Not in my world.

I feel that suicide is one aspect of life and death where there's too much understanding given, and way too much cachet is given to the 'tortured soul' syndrome that nurtures and sullies the legends of the likes of Sylvia Plath and Kurt Cobain, both of whom were parents when they needlessly killed themselves. Shame on them. That doesn't mean we shouldn't admire their work* (I do), but they acted like cowards.

The same Times article also has this snippet:

" . . . there are suicides that affect others in smaller, more darkly comic ways. When someone stands on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, preparing to leap, traffic can wait for hours. This happens often enough that motorists now respond angrily, resenting the inconvenience and urging some poor soul to jump."

I'm with the motorists.

* As always, judgement of the art must be kept separate from the life of the atrist: if Hitler had been a talented painter, it would have to be admitted; and his work would have to be admired, if it merited being shown, and be bought and sold, like that of all the others. Of course, I could argue that his death is the exceptional case personified, but I think that he too (and for that matter, Eva Braun) died like a coward.

Link

posted by DD @ 11:42  5 comments

Saturday, November 6

The World According to America

Given the So What? events of this week, and the fact that my gut is full of Wifebeaters, and the fact that there's a cat playing the piano inside my head, I'll let the guys at Jigsaw Lounge tell it like it is, with their infamous maps of The World According to America.

ADDENDUM: I trust that anyone who's read some of my previous posts is aware that I am not your tick the box anti-American Europhile, but it's impossible to deny that these maps reference some kind of truth, albeit a warped one.

The thing with these cheap, swift satirical swipes is that they often end up being embraced by the very people whose views they're attempting to lampoon: an old example would be Harry Enfield's Loadsamoney character, who came to crystallise the ascent of money as the prime cultural signifier during the Thatcher years.

Darting back to the old prime cultural signifier, the now emphysemic novel, I'd cite Martin Amis' twin towers, Money and London Fields, as being by far the best delineations of those years, and those attitudes (indeed they top and tail the arc of Thatcherism); moreover in my humble they humble what I suppose would be seen as their US counterparts, Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho and Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities - the latter reminding me that there are those who would insist that William Makepeace Thackeray nailed all this a hundred and fifty years ago (treble 20, treble 18, double 18. Yeah, cheers).

Link

posted by DD @ 10:28  10 comments

Friday, November 5

Touching the Void

For a change, a quickie: watched Touching the Void the other night.

It's fanfuckingtastic.

There's a Channel 4 link at the top, and there's this, and then this, and then these two bickerers (if you so wish, you could google reviews and other schmutter all day).

Favourite moment: when Joe has really lost it - visions, delirium, despair, the usual . . . and Brown Girl in the Ring is torturing his head, he thinks

"Bloody hell, I'm gonna die to Boney M!"

Visions, delirium, despair . . . just another Friday night.

ADDENDUM: As this little titbit concerned a tale of mountaineers, I've since recalled being told by a friend how, at a party in Fulham (the invitation may well have said soiree but trust me, I've run into some of these people, and they're all skanks), a friend of charlie defined herself to him thus: "I've sucked off a cock that's stood at the top of Everest. Now, how many women do you know can say that?"

Of course, this year they celebrated five years of being married, and have one little miss naughty of a daughter. True. No. It's pure yarbles. But the story is true.

Link

posted by DD @ 11:21  3 comments

Thursday, November 4

Letter to America #2: Beautiful Autumn Afternoons

Sleeking in sideways, the link is to a piece by Robert Hughes, as he metaphorically waggles his delightfully imperious walking stick around MoMA: its history, its future, its current legacy - with the usual stab at Andy Warhol.

(On a tangent, here is an excerpt from a book about Willem de Kooning, and his impact on the artistic life - read nightlife - of New York in the late 1950s, the post-Pollock, pre-Warhol years.)

MoMA is reopening any day now - with a new entry fee: $20 for the privilege.

In this short piece Jonathan Jones (see BOAT DRINKS) criticises this change, contrasting it unfavourably with the free entry to most of our museums and galleries including, of course, our current jewel, Tate Modern.

As someone who begins to wilt after about half an hour in any gallery or museum (and just wants out!), I can see what he's saying: dipping in now and again could become pretty expensive. But hey, there's a lot of money around in New York, and as for here in London . . . I'd guess that there must be something approaching a quarter of a million football fans who spend upwards of $75 every other week to watch a single game.

The truth is the same for most of these things, whether it be a sports event or the arts: the people who wanna go, go. Personally, I think forking out £75 to see the Stones or Simon & Garfunkel is crazy - but I've got friends who have done just that in the past couple of years. (I might pay that to see Elvis - if he came back, baby - though it depends who's supporting him. Even then, I'm not queueing. No way.)

Actually, it was something else Jonathan Jones wrote that caught my eye, and set me thinking.

He makes a pithy remark about how Mark Rothko would be pleased that his best work was showing over here, freely available. And having read a biography of the grumpy Groucho Marx lookalike, I think he would have been pleased about it. But it reminded me, not that I really needed any reminding, that at midday our time on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I was sitting in the Rothko room at Tate Modern, staring at the handful of abstracts on display.

The room, the atmosphere of the room, is eerie; though it has an open link to the rest it feels like it's hermetically sealed off, separate from all the others. And it's eerie because of the canvasses themselves: these huge darkling maroon abysses.

That day I sat there for about twenty minutes, moving around to look at each one in turn (and aside from peering and chortling at the antics of the figures in the Bosch tableaux in the Prado, it's comfortably the longest I've ever looked at any set of art works). I've been back and sat there a couple of times since, and I can say this for Rothko: he knew how to shut people up. For in my experience, when people enter the Rothko room they stop talking.

It's those darkling maroon abysses. Well, that's what they represent for me; you're free to see them as doors of opportunity, doors to a state of peace or even salvation, but I think that's all quasi-religious claptrap.

I'll grant you that there is a quality of stillness, but he's a merchant of doom, and no mistake.

On leaving Tate Modern, I strolled along the Embankment to Westminster Bridge (along the way I remember passing a large group of young oriental students, busy drawing sketches of the view), then across that and up Whitehall, past Downing Street and on towards Trafalgar Square . . . by which time the first plane, if not both, must have hit the World Trade Center. But I was oblivious to what was happening in New York.

In fact, I didn't suss that something, somewhere was up, not even when the DLR trundled through Canary Wharf station without stopping (unusual, but not that unusual); nor when - and here I'm just telling it like it was - I saw a black guy, mobile to hand, entering the local boozer, an event that was unusual in that you seldom saw a brother or a sister entering that pub (not even a fucking karaoke night could drag the local ones in, judging by the Fridays when I used to sidle in for a late one on the way home . . . As these things go, it's been demolished, and replaced by yet more expensive executive pads).

And when I got home, I casually took a singing shower before switching on the TV.

Then, a little while later, I sat and cried.

Selfish tears. Selfish tears: selfish because I knew that my life was never going to be the same again, and that what happened there could all too readily - unstoppably - happen here; and that there would be fuck all that I could do about it.

Of course I was upset for all the deaths in New York and elsewhere, but I was crying for me, and I knew that right there and then.

So: a selfish cunt.

Then, as the sky grew dark, I went through the fairly predictable, alcohol-assisted feelings: dismay; anger; fury, and fuck 'em all.

I recall that a few neighbours lit candles on the tables on their balconies . . . You can see those as being acts of false empathy, or as moving gestures: take your pick, with a proviso that there's some chance that those people knew people, or knew people who knew people who knew people who worked in those towers, given that most people round my way work in the City.

(As it happens, I knew nobody there, and I know nobody who knew somebody there - but I know people who knew people who were murdered in the Bali nightclub explosion. So it goes.)

Alongside my aforementioned reactions, I started blasting out some music, in particular the latest White Stripes album, White Blood Cells. And the Strokes and some of the other usual suspects, through to Bob Dylan's Not Dark Yet. That's my way of dealing with most things: go loud - or say nothing at all. Ah, the quintessential male.

And all night long, I ogled the image of that second plane hitting the South Tower: the approach, the way it angled, like it was trying to domino that tower into the other; the reaction of the guy sitting in his office in a building adjacent - what the fuck must he have thought? What the Fuck!?!, probably.

Back and forth, back and forth, went the minute or so of video that I had taped off the rolling news coverage. A sick thing to do, I know, but I'm reporting exactly what I did, with no delicate elisions.

What triggered this particular memory today was partly reading the remark about Rothko; but it was also simply the weather. Here it's been a beautiful late autumn afternoon: I was out and about, treading over dry golden leaves . . . looking up at bright blue, Simpsonsesque skies . . . driving around with my cheap petrol station tortoise-shell shades on, a Stones 68-69 CD comp playing LOUD . . . Yeah, I was being swank - and loving it . . .

. . . but skies like the one this afternoon, especially at this time of year, when their rarity makes them more notable, remind me of 9/11. It's not anxiety: fuck, there are planes from City airport inching their way up and down my line of vision all day, and half the night; no, it's not anxiety - it's a check in the mind, just a check in the mind, that it could be another day like today when something happens - and what am I going to do? What are my family, my friends going to do? What's going to happen to them?

That's what's changed for me: from now on, such days can only be 99% perfect.

To finish, and to skank out the fact that I'm not maudlin about that day or those events, here (again for some, I expect) is the "atrocity special" put together by Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci, entitled 'Six Months That Changed a Year'. If you are new to it, then I envy you your pleasure.

Link

posted by DD @ 17:52  5 comments

I'll Guinea Pig This Stuff Anytime You Want, Bill

On the whole I must admit that I avoid the weighty matters of Science* and Technology: though I do indeed truffle through Wired.com from time to time, and pay some attention to bits and pieces that float up to the top of the surface of the spam-infested ocean of infotainment, I find a little goes a very long way.

You know, all too soon I get that nauseous feeling that chills us guys (as in dicks) as soon as we've shot our load.

Indeed, you could describe our attitude during that act as: I don't care how you do it, just give me consumer heaven.

And when we're sated it's Where's the remote?

However, this latest news of Microsoft's plans to unleash a single-source, multifaceted home entertainment system is what I've been expecting, and wishing, and hoping for . . . all my adult life.

And yeah, just this once - just this once, mind - I'll volunteer to be a consumer puppet. For the greater good, for the greater good, you understand.

So tell me Bill, what's the choice of colours? Because I'm here to tell you, you modern-day Gatsby, I'm sick to fucking death of Windows' lymphatic grey . . .

* My GCSE exam grade for Physics (the one science subject I studied, because at my school you had to study at least one all the way through to 16) was U ie Unclassified. But the truth was that, as part of my master plan to pass all the others (which I did), I had completely abandoned Physics. This plan caused me some grief when the Physics teacher came up to me one day, apologising because he couldn't find the rest of my mock exam papers ie. he could only find a couple of pieces. I said nothing; I guess I looked, to him, suitably alarmed. The thing was, there were no missing papers: that alarmed look was one of guilt and shame, and when he came round to that conclusion and confronted me about it, he saw that look again.

For the rest of that final year, he gave me grief whenever he could. But I've no complaints (though, I still insist, no apologies): roles reversed, I like to think I'd have reacted exactly the same way; and I have since met many teachers who have regaled me with dark tales concerning how they have managed to deal with impish little squirts like my old schoolboy self.

Link

posted by DD @ 10:53  4 comments

It Has to Be Johnny and Hillary for 2008

Quickly: apropos of my jibe posted late last night, check this out.

Okay. Already swamped with post-election guff (from the) left, right and centre, I feel a bit of a jerk for spunking up my own thoughts . . . but we all know how bad it is for us if we deny an outlet for our own desires, our own needs, our own juices . . . so here's My Two Cents, as the legendary Kent Brockman would introduce it.

It's simple. The Democrats need to go with a John Edwards / Hillary Clinton ticket for 2008.

They'll keep the core vote, and bring in a whole lot more from the South, and from women. And Hillary can rely on Bill - if he's a) still alive and b) still her husband - to bring in the spics and the micks and the brothers . . .

The link above argues the case for simplicity ie John Edwards, as opposed to Mr Conditional Clause, John Kerry. And here, by the same guy, is what amounts to a template for the next presidential campaign. In fact, for the next few days the always enjoyable (always big, and always clever) Slate is probably going to be full of similar pieces arguing for a similar turnaround - and I doubt those writers will constitute a lone vacuum.

Furthermore, here is a little sidepiece from the Guardian suggesting why Hillary Clinton will make her move: because Botox can only make so much difference. Harsh, but that's politics, baby.

It also mentions the fast-rising star of Barack Obama: unfortunately, I think it only takes two seconds' worth of thought to realise that America is not yet ready for him (I don't need to spell out what I mean, do I?), and there would have to be a seismic shift (caused by a catastrophic event?) to see any marked change in the forseeable future. Similarly, it takes about another two seconds to conclude that it has to be John Edwards running for President. I mean, America is strongly divided now, but if Hillary should top the bill in four years' time . . . Oh boy!

Elsewhere in the coverage I've read so far:

Boris Johnson
calls (from Tel Aviv: is he laying low? Does he not know he could run for Mayor of London? Now there's a thought) for Bush to repay his one true foreign buddy, TB, with some progress over Israel and Palestine . . .

Anatole Kaletsky (speciality: free-range yarbles) is another pundit suggesting that this election was a good one to lose . . .

Jonathan "fuck Blair" Freedland cries wolf - yet again . . .

Here Timothy Garton Ash condescendingly raises a glass (no doubt filled with a decent Hungarian Pinot Grigio) to the considerable increase in votes cast - but nonetheless can't resist pissing all over Dubya's chips . . .

Meanwhile Nancy Banks-Smith can't help but mock the coverage by the BBC and ITV . . .

. . . and this article by a ten-a-penny hackette straddles both the serious and the trivial before leaping off into the loony (Freed)land where "we're all doomed".

Re the TV coverage: flip-flopping around, as is my wont on such occasions, I thought - shock and horror! - ITV did a better job than the BBC, though both Bonnie Greer and especially Bob Worcester have got shit on their shoes following their woefully premature (2am GMT) declaration of a victory for Kerry.

There was a fairly jolly and decidedly keen pollster on BBC who was good value; but there was also way too much of David Frum. Assuming he gets a drink every time he stumps up on screen, I shudder to think how much he's trousered these past four or five days. For talking yarbles. Pure yarbles.

No. No. A thousand times No! I won't have some fat-faced, sponge-haired yankee misappropriating my act.

Link

posted by DD @ 09:43  4 comments

Wednesday, November 3

It Was the Guardian Wot Won It!

I note that the projected (?) election result for Clark County, Ohio, is pretty much how the US as a whole has voted: 50.96% for Bush, 48.56% for Kerry.

Given that Ohio, as expected, was the key marginal state, I expect the Guardian to be given props for achieving a complete own goal in its campaign to get British people to write to Ohioans requesting that they vote for Kerry.

As the Hitch put it on this evening's Newsnight: "What were they thinking of? So crass, so condescending . . . "

Don't worry, I'm not about to start dissecting every grain of electoral sand. I'll leave that sport to the likes of Andrew Sullivan, who wrote yesterday of a sudden rush of tears in his eyes brought about by the incidence of some politically apposite lines of Whittier being scored in his head as he walked back home after casting his vote. (I'm afraid the lines that came to my mind as I read his corn were ones by Kingsley Amis, about the type of people who "cry when things go wrong".)

Though I (gently) mock Sullivan's swooning affectation at that moment, reading through his stuff I'm pretty sure we both came at this latest jamboree using the same perspective: from the get-go, it was not so much a choice between two evils than a worrying case of the evil of two lessers.

As I argued here, it was (mildly) reminiscent of the Chirac - Le Pen run-off in France in 2002, which saw repeated scenes of voters holding their nose as they went to vote.

Back, briefly, to the Guardian's 'Let Us Limeys Tell You How to Vote' campaign. On reading some of the splenetic ripostes from some pretty pissed-off Ohioans (and others), I did feel obliged to defend my own honour ie stick up for my own sorry but not-so-little pansy-ass.

(Incidentally, though I don't believe in the hokum that surrounds religious-based marriages, as far as I'm concerned gays should be allowed to marry too, in church or out of church, if they so wish. I'm just a tad disappointed and bewildered how, having established their legal rights on that score, so many of them would want to go through with it all. Why slide into boring old heterodoxy?)

So it's four more years. Leaving aside the economic adage that when the US economy sneezes, we catch cold, I think it can be asserted that a Kerry victory would have made very little difference to us: as regards what for ease of reference I'll call the war on terror, it was always going to be four more years. And then four more. And then four more . . .

Until tomorrow, when I'll propose the 2008 Democratic Party Dream Ticket - and I promise plenty of jism, and plenty of spunk.

Link

posted by DD @ 23:25  4 comments

Tuesday, November 2

Circadian Rhythms

Wakey wakey ye voters lying (-in) heavy with dread.

According to this piece of research, you need to get out and vote early doors, when your brain is functioning at its best. The ideal time? Between 11am and noon.

Yeah: High Noon, brothers and sisters.

Then, come the dusk, you should exercise: punish your body for the shitty feelings you have harboured - for months now - about this election. Kick a dog, dangle a cat, ride the pony - whatever.

And then it's time to exorcise said demons: yep, hit the bottle.

Come now, you don't need me to tell you that if I were you I'd be getting absolutely shit-faced later today.

Here's the rituals I've practiced for the last two General Elections here:

Early evening - a bottle or so of white wine, with little hits of whatever takes my fancy on the table . . . and on the stereo.

Then at 9.30pm (a half-hour before the polls close and the TV fun begins) on goes Revolver.* Trust me: that's been THE KEY MOVE for things going my way.

Fate can't fuck with the Fabs.


Laters, laters . . . I'm two-fingering whatever bozo losers have got on my nerves during previous years (Politics: a conveyor belt of feckless drecks. No need to discuss) with two fingers of something suitably acidic kissing the ice in the tumbler in my hand.

I've made the dawn chorus both times - and of course in so doing I've completely contradicted the body's natural laws, and temporarily skewered its immutable circadian rhythms.

Temporarily. Because the body gets you back; it makes you pay. The hard way.

I distinctly remember that in 1997 I was comatose on the Saturday morning, following the Thursday-through-Friday election shindig, when my newly-elected local MP came tannoying down the street, thanking us all for our votes. "Fucking hell," I said to my then lover, as she opened her eyes with a despairing sigh. "Fucking hell, we need some of whatever he's on."

* One thing to point out is that said album is a if not the perfect summer record, and May or June is when we happy few tend to trundle off to the polls in the UK, in our ever decreasing numbers.

So if I were domicile in NYC or thereabouts I'd probably be blaring out Highway 61 Revisited or Is This It? or all over the Revolver slot.

Also, I'll make a So What? prediction that if you're going for Kerry I'd have a copy of Pet Sounds (Rubber Soul's achingly beautiful younger sister) to hand, for later tonight you'll be needing to hear I Just Wasn't Made for These Times.

Even if you're a dial-a-cliche goth-black sun-hating medusa-piercing Suicide Girl, it beats No Surrender, with its gauche "we learned more from a three minute record than we ever did in school". Shut it - and read my lips: No. You. Did. Not.

Me? I'd vote the other way just to kill off that song.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:24  4 comments

Monday, November 1

US Election Alert: "Anyone Seen Any Little People?"

What may be some final jousting on the US election - before, as I've said before, Recount Wednesday (running throughout the month).

The top link is a snapshot of feelings in Washington, while here the living legend that is Tom Wolfe plugs his new novel - and lashes out at East Coast amorality and its lazy, unthinking, unprotesting support for Kerry; meanwhile over here Bill Bryson plugs himself - and strokes his beard while giving the whole spectacle plenty of English (that's English as in the thing Tim Wakefield occasionally does with his pitches).

The conclusion seems to be: the votes of about 5% of the electorate who can be arsed to vote will determine who rules our lives for the next four years, and which way they'll go depends on which way the old fellow is hanging when they jerk out of bed come Tuesday.

And - so as not to be accused of sexism - for the daintier, more ruminative voter, I believe it all depends on which way the juice is dripping out of the goose during those essential morning ablutions.

That's it from here. Now back to Jeanne (Genie! Genie! Jean Genie!) Zelasko somewhere in sunny California . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 15:10  4 comments

Jap Sap

It appears that in their manifest desire to analyse the spunk out of everything, the Japanese have noodled themselves the ultimate chat-up line.

The literal English translation of this priceless nectar is: This time next year, let's be laughing together.

No. It's not going to work, is it? Not here, and not there. Not anywhere. Not anymore. Let's face it: it's wetter than a Christmas single. And the reaction of the admittedly few English roses sampled by the Times is enough to condemn it. One struts that the Japs should "stick to inventing gadgets if that's the best they can come up with".

Good. Don't want our ladies going all soft (not when feminism has finally achieved some sort of equilibrium: both sexes are now officially drinking for England).*

Furthermore, here is a blog by a Japanese woman who I'm sure would pour some JD over any hopeless sap who mumbled out that line to her.

I must add that a part of me can't help but imagine how some dogs in Japan must be having the time of their lives . . . picking up the slack, as it were.

* Don't presume I'm being dry or sarcastic - far from it: being sober in the company of drinking men may well be the best definition of hell there is.** Believe me, I tried it once - and it was miserable. Never again. Delayed flights are a holiday by comparison.

Also, it's day one - the first mo(u)rning - of my dry November; so, naturally, drink is teasing my brain. Already. But I'll be okay, for like Dubya I have conferred with the Lord. I have reached out in my hour of need. Yeah: now I am being sarcastic.

** Though I'll always retain a fondness for that old line by Tom Waits that "Hell for me is touring as the support act for a stadium rock band."

Link

posted by DD @ 11:43  4 comments

Goat Lab

So, Sunday was a dick around day . . . now back to the real grime.

The link is to an extract from Jon Ronson's new book The Men Who Stare At Goats, about the murky netherworld of PsyOps within the US military.

There's also a three-part series on Channel 4, beginning next week. That should be some jolly-jols viewing.

Horrorshows like the recent events at Abu Ghraib reflect the one major problem with having the US as the defacto rulers of the world: whosoevers in charge, it always seems as if it's Sonny who is bossing the Corleone family.

You know what? The simple truth is, a historical perspective is one thing - maybe the only thing - you just can't buy.

And I do have qualms about where we're going, led by a people whose cultural default mode is akin to botoxing their brains on a regular basis.

But the other simple truth is, all the alternate empires are worse.

Huh. A dream start to my dry November. And just around the corner is Recount Wednesday (incorporating the rolling thunder of Operation Injunction).

Right: off to dilly-dally and shilly-shally with this NaNoWriMo thing. Instantly darting through my mind comes that Peter Cook sketch - The Aftermyth of War:

"We're two down, and the ball's in the enemy court. War is a psychological thing, Perkins, rather like a game of football. You know how in a game of football ten men often play better than eleven?"

"Yes, sir."

"Perkins, we are asking you to be that one man. I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war. Get up in a crate, Perkins, pop over to Bremen, take a shufti, don't come back. Goodbye, Perkins. God, I wish I was going too."

"Goodbye, sir - or is it au revoir?"

"No, Perkins."

So here comes my NaNoWriMo Blog - yep, another futile gesture. That's if I have the sheer cojones to become a word whore . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 09:21  4 comments