Sunday, January 30

Here Comes Nathan Barley

So, in heeding my own mantra, let's get back to the great, the good and the damn fine - starting with the return to our screens of Chris Morris, in a new series called Nathan Barley.

For me, his best work probably always will be Blue Jam - the radio series, containing the apogee of his work, the fantastic monolougues - which were too long for TV, although one of them - which I self-title Rothko Woofed - was the basis for the BAFTA-winning short film My Wrongs . . .

I think it's fair to say (if unfair on Morris) that he's the one holding the candle left by Peter Cook, in that he's the only guy out there producing stuff outside the expected turf patrolled by everybody else. Eddie Izzard is an out-of-left-field performer, but one doing conservative material. OH YES HE IS!

As for Nathan Barley, he's all over "Bohemia": Soho, Fitzrovia, Brick Lane . . .

Link

posted by DD @ 13:35  18 comments

Shame on the Left

Just a little more bile to add on to yesterday's diatribe: here's Michael Ignatieff on the shallow fools on the Left who seem too timid to condemn the al-Zarqawi's of this world . . . you can, it seems, say and do what you like ie tell Democracy to Fuck Off - and terrorise those that attempt to exercise their rights in its name so long as you're anti-American.

I've had it with the lot of them, and I think I'll just ignore them from now on, to save me time. It's an ignoble act, almost fascistic to do so, but I'm sick of the shits.

It doesn't mena I'll never read or look at or listen to anything such fools do in their day jobs, as it were, but each time they try to open their mouths on anything above their station* eg Chris Martin on Channel 4 last week, I'll just start laughing - and mute them.

And I have my own name for such silence: I am calling it the Pinter Pause, after the antics of the Red Baron himself.

* Typically any area where soggy-hearted thinking is a waste of adult time. That covers the A-Z of political action for a start. How I wish - in vain, I know, in vain - they'd all take to their soggy hearts the admonishing advice given by Peter Cook to one of his wives: "You know nothing; keep it to yourself."

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posted by DD @ 10:50  7 comments

Saturday, January 29

So That's Why Athlete Are a Piss-Poor Band

I thought it was simply another case of bank tellers daring to cross the Talent Moat* but no, it's because they're a bunch of fucking Christians.

And the 'bunch' factor is important. For some reason, I find it easier to deal with - reluctantly all the same - an individual's religious calling eg Sir Nick of Cave, Bob Bobness and L Cohen, but the sweep of a band eg U2 has me reeling with righteousness. A band seems to imply a congregation - 'we lead, you follow' and all that yarbles - as opposed to the lone voice in the wilderness of the solo singer-songwriter.

Fucking Christians. They walk among us, people; even in glorious, secular London, they walk among us. Don't let them get away with any of their sanctimonious waffle.

* I suppose a sorry few may need to be told that the "Talent Moat" hails from an episode of Larry Sanders, the one where various members of the backstage staff are encouraged by Larry to appear on the show, much to Artie (wonderfully played by Rip Torn) the producer's consternation. Of course, tantrums abound. Come the end Artie says, "Lesson learned, Larry? Don't fuck with the talent moat."

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posted by DD @ 10:19  6 comments

Who Remembers the Garden Gnome?

Apolly polly loggies for disturbing yer metaphorical morning wank, but I've just realised that this old ginger turd is still trousering sums for his old worlde opinions.

Yes, we're talking Robin Cook aka the Garden Gnome - and Iraq. Read if you must his yarbles on "post-election sttrategy" ie We Must Get Out, which he's pretty much argued for from Day Two of the military practice session his ikkle ilk called a "war".

The interviews - and pictures - these past few hours of Iraqis enthusiastically voting for the first time should be enough to shut all such fuckwits up - for good. THEY WERE WRONG!

And, sometime in the next decade, it'll be clear to all just how fundamentally wrong thay all were, and why Bush and Blair should have won - hands down - the Nobel Peace Prize for the changes they've wrought in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I could make a pissy point about counting the number of dead Cook allowed on his watch as Foreign Secretary . . . so there, I've alluded to it. You google around and see for yourselves. Then calculate the number of free Iraqi minds - free now, and those not yet born to be free in the future, thanks to the small coalition of the Strong. (I still feel it's shameful that the Spanish lost their cojones, but let's bear in mind that compared to them the US has a mature democracy.)

On a tangent, but still answering some petty anti-Americanism (vide the 'debate' on Third World Debt this past week on Channel 4), I noticed the other day that the US now has a $3 trillion trade debt running; alarming to some, no doubt, but there is a way of looking upon this as $3 trillion of 'aid' that the richest country in the world is 'giving' in its bartering with everybody else, with China leading the rest in the ledger of recipients.

That's a real figure: fluff such as the $10,000 Sharon Stone* slitted out yesterday at Davos is really pissing in the ocean. Had she added another digit to her cheque, and lifted them out of binary code, it may have been a worthy gesture. That figure to her is, by my guessing, equivalent to my throwing a cent at the cause: as a percentage of income, I'd be giving as little as her.

"Now, now, that's okay, thank you; no kudos. No, no. It was nothing. Really. It was really nothing."

* Her motivation? Hmm. Try Fading Career. Or that ubiquitous Hollywood ailment (more pervasive than Hepatitis and Aids in them there hills), Soggy-hearted Idiocy.

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posted by DD @ 10:19  3 comments

Thursday, January 27

No, No, 250 Million Times No!

I can only react to this news like Barney Gumble - even though I am - o yes I am! - maintaining my course set fair of staying off the wagon throughout January.

With that, the album keeping me sane above all others is From a Basement on a Hill by Sir Elliott Smith; while I've been reading bits and bobs of How to Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen, alongside my daily portions of Nabokov.

Watched the movie adaptation of American Psycho again last night, as it was on TV, and it reaffirmed my view that it's better than the book. For one thing, the film delivers the message in a tenth of the time it would take you to read the novel; and the movie adds little cupcakes of pleasure such as the scene where two girls get it on while psycho Bateman eulogises the 'supreme artistry' of Whitney Houston's The Greatest Love of All.

And good as Christian Bale is in the title role, I still insist that Tom Cruise should have played Patrick Bateman. His presence would have given us all all kinds of pomo fun.

Right. They're coming to take me away again . . .

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posted by DD @ 11:28  4 comments

Wednesday, January 26

"Phoney Clash Mania Has Bitten the Dust"

"Phoney Clash mania has bitten the dust": just getting this line down, and it's © ® here!

So when used, you'll be hearing from my devilish left hand.

And some BREAKING NEWS: Radiohead, having already poured scorn on the tired old full-length album concept, have announced that henceforth their recordings should be filed under "Observations".

Meanwhile, Thomas Yorke is reportedly in Outer Mongolia, working on pieces with the Juit-Ruit tribe, suggesting a possible new 'World music' direction.

posted by DD @ 23:35  4 comments

Tuesday, January 25

Too Much of Nothing

My man David Aaronovitch casually rips apart the latest darkly-cloaked racism from Michael Howard - simply by looking at the numbers.

Take it from me: even down here in Strictsville (an area which, if you believed the local press and local people, is being 'overrun with foreign muck') Johnny Foreigner in any shape or form (even Black British!) is thin on the old terra. And it was the same story back when I was shedding my bicycle stabilisers round these parts.

Now I consider myself a bonafide Londoner, I'm used to the wondrous mix therein - and no, the Secular Capital of the World is not being overrun with 'foreigners': there is an argument that it's getting too crowded for its notoriously underinvested and thus crumbling infrastructure, but that's as much to do with the influx of (white, British) Yossers from the North, seeking some soft southern gravy, as any net immigration of 'coloured types' from abroad.

The joke house prices are the most instant manifestation of this increase, which to my now jaded clutch foot, became noticeable (longer journey times) at the height of Britpop (1995) - so blame the Gallagher brothers for it all!*

You know me: I can't blame our yokel friends for wanting a piece of London pie.

The title of the piece? It's a little bit of Dylan, from one of his spats of distaste on the glorious Basement Tapes, which were highly popular around the time of Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech (which I read for the first time recently; he was way off with his predictions, way off). Plus ça C.

Anybody who votes for Howard later this year is clearly somebody who votes with their paw.

* Watched a BBC4 doc on Mark E Smith last week, wherein A H Wilson (yes, that bête noire of mine; he of the same suit for twenty years) dismissed the Gallaghers from the pantheon of Mancunian music legends (Smith, Curtis, Morrissey); in my humble, it's simply because they got the fuck out of Dodge as soon as they could, came to London - and stayed, just like the Beatles, baby (though I hear they've now had enough of the overcrowded roads and are scuttling off to the shires, with new song Part of the Queue expressing their feelings on the matter).

And as we all know, fucking off doesn't mean that you can't look back . . . in anger.

Wilson? He's one of those northerns who really believe that Manchester is the twin of New York. Yeah, yeah, yeah. More likely its twin is Chicago (both being dark, dirty, windy, cold and unromantically dangerous); and Liverpool could play the Boston role. Sort of (the Irish connection). London, of course, is both NYC and LA rolled into one.

Link

posted by DD @ 11:27  4 comments

Monday, January 24

Jazz Britannia

Here's a piece on Britain's jazz scene - a pitiful scene for the last thirty years. Then again, if you go with the theory (and I do) underlying Ken Burns' Story of Jazz docs, the music died around 1975 anyway, with the five-year sabbatical taken by Miles Davis.*

Actually, I'd argue (poker style) that Bitches Brew is the last important jazz record - important in its effect as the bullet Hitler used on himself was the last important bullet of World War II.

As you listen to that double album, you can, I swear, hear Jazz going Jism.

A brutal Bluffer's Guide to the pout-out of our benighted isle? Keep Stan Tracey, bin the rest.

* Though much to my disappointment, Burns' series sped through the sixties in one episode, after shilly-shallying - sorry, dwelling lovingly - through earlier periods, and literally licking clean Louis Armstrong's shoes.

Trouble is, pre 55 recordings of Jazz have shit sound, whereas the sound (ie the production) achieved on, say, the Impulse! recordings of the sixties is fantastic - Rudy Van Gelder take a bow. Ditto the pout-out from Miles's Columbia recordings from that era - and ditto props to Teo Macero. Blue Note? Overrated in every single way, aside from the covers.

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posted by DD @ 09:39  4 comments

Saturday, January 22

The "Yeah But, No But" Generation

We are surrounded by swine!

There's only one rule to apply: allowing for exceptional cases, if you're an adult, IT'S ALWAYS YOUR OWN FUCKING FAULT.

Deal with it.

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posted by DD @ 13:18  4 comments

Friday, January 21

Film Class of 99

Here's a Telegraph piece on some of my favourite film directors of late (my faves being the two Andersons, really) - the anti-Hollywood Hollywood set, if you will.

Watching Magnolia yet again the other night, I've started clocking the various filmic references - for instance the Cruise/Robards deathbed scene is lifted from Last Tango in Paris, while the final shot - the close-up smile - tributes Once Upon a Time in America.

Also: does anybody out there know why it's called Magnolia?

And while I'm there, here is an interview from the same paper with Mercury Rev, a band who, in a world ordained by myself, would be replacing the tired-out sound of the Big O in future David Lynch movies. Let's face it: "All Is Dream" is pretty much the latter's modus operandi.

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posted by DD @ 15:06  6 comments

Confirmation

Confirmation - not that I needed any - that London is indeed the Secular Capital of the World.

Glory be!

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posted by DD @ 10:54  4 comments

Thursday, January 20

"Jazz Chord . . . "

Because nothing else is really happening in the world right now - unless you're even the least bit excited by presidential inaugurations.

The scenario: Stevie Wonder is playing a gig in Tokyo.

He's just finished playing his Seventies classic Sir Duke. The crowd is still going wild when a young Japanese man at the front says, "Stevie Wonder, you play a jazz chord, you play a jazz chord!"

So Stevie plays an F# minor on his keyboard and goes off on a jazz riff.

The Japanese man says, "No Stevie Wonder, you play a jazz chord!"

So Stevie tries an A and off he goes with the band on this amazing improvised moment.

When he's finished, the lad says, "No Stevie, a jazz chord, a jazz chord!"

By now old Stevie is a little confused. "What do you mean, play a jazz chord? I've just done two for you," he says to the fan.

"But it best song of Stevie Wonder! It bery famous!" comes the reply.

"Ok, well how does it go then?", enquires the blind musical genius.

The young Japanese man clears his throat and starts to sing:

"A jazz chord . . .

to say . . .

I ruv you . . . "

Yep: it's sick, it's racist, and it works for me.

posted by DD @ 11:52  7 comments

Monday, January 17

Clusters of Boredom

This report on the way songs are profiled these days is no surprise, not even news; but as it's whacked out today I thought I'd remark on these clusters of boredom attempting to infiltrate our lives - and why I'm tuning out.

I've spent the past week leaving London, and am temporarily ensconced in Strictsville, somewhere in the deepest south of England, before I'm free to embark on some proper european adventures.

While moving, as various bits of home entertainment were packed away, ready to be freighted, I was left with a sole clock radio (old, awaiting the dump), which in turn left me at the whimsy of daytime radio.

So I flicked around Radio One, then XFM, and back and forth. For two days. Giving them one last chance. What did I get?

Didn't hear one new song I rated.

I was slightly surprised that both stations still plunder the back catalogue of Oasis (two or three times per day) and other, lesser, Britpop luminaries of the 90s (I assume it's the dominant taste of the target audience); slightly surprised but, given the current moribund state of British music, it's understandable.

What really pissed me off was the drivel being spoken inbetween. There's a particularly annoying Irish git on Radio One - a reminder that the IRA should abandon the peace process and return to what they do well: killing Irish people. (And from now on, I promise to make my contribution to The Cause every time I'm approached in a faux-Irish boozer on either side of the pond.)

It was this, on top of the fatigue I felt while having to pack my few thousand CDs, that pronged me to thinking that I should actually throw two-thirds of this collection away. I didn't do it, but I came close.

Seeing the nominees for the Brit Awards was another nail; in the old words of Morrissey (himself a nominee, thouigh with zero chance of winning), the list said "nothing to me about my life". Yeah, for Franz Ferdinand* - and no to just about everything else. The Libertines' nod for Best Live Act is in itself a joke, given that throughout 2004 they didn't play a single gig as the REAL band.

The Lifetime Achievment nod to Cunt Geldof is shameful, when someone like Ray Davies goes unrecognised (I remember laughing, laughing with bile, when during the 80s Ray Davies was used to present the same award to Eric "the beard" Clapton. Shurely shome mishtake?

Nope. That's the way it was . . . and it's the way it is.

A world of yarbles. Pure London yarbles.

So I'm retreating. Retreating to the likes of Miles, Mingus, and stuff outside the daytime clusters of boredom. People like Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, neither of whom got a whiff of airplay in two days of my listening. And I'll be doing more of what I have been doing: listening to shows on stations such as WFMU - shows like Trouble and Give the Drummer Some, where I hear loads of songs, albeit often old songs, that are a fresh delight to my ears - and there's a whole lot less DJ bullshit.

Oh - the capper on it all was flicking around the TV channels to see that Busted held a press conference to announce their splitting up. What the fuck!?! Who do they think they are, the Beatles? Of course, we all remember that legendary press conference when The Smiths decided to call it a night . . .

Yeah, exactly. And they're just the first off-the-top-of-my-head act that I could pipe up who should be ahead of Geldof in any Lifetime Achievment gong.

My, culturally in the UK, these are dull, dull times. Well, I could surmise that it's the price of prosperity. Everything levels out. No confrontation, no fun. Dull books*, dull films, dull music.

Even Prince Harry's Swastika stunt was dull. It proves that, even in a family of idiots, he's the king biscuit. So fucking what if he pogos round his empty study to the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen?

To end at the bottom of the trivia heap, this morning I saw old Lovejoy, Ian McShane, scooping up a Golden Globe for his notch in Deadwood (a very apt TV show title, I trust). In twenty or so seconds of highlighted acceptance speech, he rubbed the bow doors of his nose three times, which tells you all you need to know: he's one more jolly rogerer on the ship of fools . . .

Of fucking course, I want aboard! Let me out of Strictsville, let me out now.

* Franz Ferdinand. Well, they're okay, but to reiterate what a good friend of mine said about them: "Everyone's wrong: they're not the Talking Heads, they're Showaddywaddy."

** Over the weekend, I read an excerpt from the new Ian McEwan. Boy, he just doesn't do it for me. And this new one, Saturday, seems to be a tiptoe through the territory of JG Ballard. I expect a lot of the critics to hack it to pieces. I think he should leave the London of NOW to Martin Amis - and me, of course. Yeah. McEwan: fuck off back to the past!

Link

posted by DD @ 09:42  3 comments

Wednesday, January 12

American Words of the Year

A frankly dull lot of new words/phrases . . . Red/Blue/Purple states - who cares?

That said, I do like pajamahadeen.

Back here I have it on very good authority that girls have been known to break down in tears if, in the course of a night out, not one guy has come up to them and said, "Bitty?"

That's Little Britain for you.

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posted by DD @ 13:31  4 comments

Blogger Sacked! Oh My - and a Boo Hoo

Shock. Horror.

Truth is, old Joe Schmoe was sacked for looking like a cunt. Come on: ginger, bearded, John Lennon glasses, and a fucking flannel on his bonce.

For the record, I too once worked - briefly - at Waterstone's. What I learned was that shifting books was like selling shampoo, except that, while being paid the same as a checkout assistant at, say, Superdrug, because it's books you're supposed to have expert knowledge on every tome pushed at the public in the last few years . . . not forgetting the living dead with their interminable telephone enquiries.

I'm hear to tell you: HELL IS . . . WORKING IN A BOOK STORE IN DECEMBER.

The management, on the whole, were exactly what you would expect them to be: arseholes. And, of course, all the arseholes would be bitching about the real arseholes perched higher up the book publishing tree.

One quick memory: Steven Berkhoff came in to sign some books (often authors would be shunted around several London stores in one day); clearly in a foul mood, he called our Manager(ess) a "fucking useless bitch" - very loudly, in the centre of the store. Humiliating, for her. The result for him: his signed copies sat in a pile out back by the staff room, along with any other copies of his latest piece of fluff.

One day a customer asked me if we had a copy. I said, Hang on a minute: not only have I got one for you, but it's a signed one as well.

Other authors who trundled in during my spell:

Michael Palin: annoyingly, as nice (urgh - that word!) as you would expect.

Nick Hornby: personification of dull, as I expected. Smaller than you think.

Zadie Smith: Tall, unkempt hair; looking like she takes it up the arse - regularly. (I have a signed first edition of White Teeth, my friends. So I'm rooting for her to have the status of an Ian McEwan or a Martin Amis in a decade or so. Either that, or she dies young, in a Diana stylie. Either way, it should deliver gravy.)

There you go: the essence of the book trade done and dusted in fifteen minutes. Now go look at your bookshelves. How many of them are really any good? How many are art at all? How many are actually of more use to you than a bottle of shampoo?

So . . . Throw the fuckers away!

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posted by DD @ 11:30  7 comments

The Great Unwatchables

There's no link this time.

Blame it on the booze.

Getting pissed tonight with my brother, we fell into a general argument over movies, and who was responsible for making whom watch what. (Fucking hell, that reads like some of Dylan Thomas' pissy alliteration.)

Well, my dears, the bottled god's gone flat.

Anyway, we had a free and frank over certain movies, and top of the pile of the overrated came 2001: A Space Odyssey (his choice) and Raging Bull (mine).

I agree with him: unless you're fried, 2001 . . . is pretty tedious, as soon as the chimps are gone ( man, I love those surly chimps!); unfortunately he thinks the dull thud of . . . Bull is up there with Taxi Driver as Scorsese's lasting legacies. I say yarbles: Taxi . . . yes, along with Mean Streets and Goodfellas.

Well, brothers never agree (fact jacked, yes?) , so we parted for our respective wank chambers on my girly point re: last year's Greatest Britons, and how shocking it was that Alfred Hitchcock - the greatest, and, at the same time, commercially succesful director of the 20th century - was nowhere on the list: I'd argue that, along with Shakespeare, he's the only Brit who is undisputed #1 in their field.

(Of course, in a metaphorical 100m Olympic showdown of artistic talents, in the race of mankind's greatest playwrights, the likes of Chekhov and Ibsen refrain from wasting their time in running; and, as the field widens through the heats, taking in the best of all the other arts, Shakey maintains the red-hot favourite's lane four as we line up the Greatest Artists of All Time: in my book, he's giving pre-race verbals to an effete, horny Italian and a pair of recalcitrant Germans - yes, the fancied Austrian threw a tantrum and was disqualified in a previous musical heat (while the frankly bewildering Irishman insisted on starting the race from the finish line, and that each contestant should then run backwards).

All told, in my poll Shakey strolls home as Greates Briton; followed by a Winston, but not that Winston - oh no; I'm talking John Winston Lennon, but more specifically I'm talking about his group: the Beatles. In Britain, unlike America, it's simple: there was life before, and then there's the life we lead now, after the impact of the Beatles.

But above the social, cultural and political dimensions they infused, there's the simple, unignorable fact that they are, so far, the greatest popular music act there has ever been. Indeed, in what I would argue is a dying medium, I doubt that they shall ever be matched, let alone bettered.

Yes: happiness is a warm gun. Bang bang!

posted by DD @ 01:36  4 comments

Tuesday, January 11

Oh My, Am I Drifting into the Arena of the Unwell?

I'm worried. Very worried. For this is the second time this month that I've sort of tallied along in agreement with Mark Steyn aka Mr Beard.

But he's right, and Decca "off my baps on Czech Cake" Aitkenhead is wrong: responsibility for the homophobia of some Jamaicans lies solely with the Jamaican individuals concerned. None of this legacy of slavery yarbles; if you've got dumb-ass opinions it's down to you.

Yeah, there are still a few pockets of the world where ignorance is explainable, but for most of us the knowledge is out there and available to be used, and if need be, abused.

And of course, like so many of the know fuck all opinions that shit up our world, the Jamaicans dislike of 'batty boys' is really down to the rants in that fabled book of ripping yarns, the Bible.

Thankfully, I'm pretty sure that when it comes to our attitudes toward that grand old refuge sack of contradictory waffle, Steyn and I go entirely separate ways.

Link

posted by DD @ 13:30  4 comments

How Sweet to Be an Idiot

That'll be yer Terry Jones - ersatz comedian, who to my knowledge hasn't written a joke for twenty-five years. (Then again, I suppose you can have a laugh at him attempting to be earnest every other week or so in the media.)

Also present today is the Crown Prince Oleaginous himself, George Monbiot. Just look at that face! Well, today he pins some valid points re the successful economic model of Sweden. The only problem is, never having been to Sweden, the only Swedes I ever meet in London have felt the need to get the fuck out from there to escape the blandness of it all.

The thing is, a state of profound Inequality is interesting, exciting, possibly a little dangerous. And resultiungly, culture flourishes.

Now, aside from the blip factor of Ikea, what part does Swedish culture play in your life nowadays?

Such arguments as those put forward by Monbiot bleed themselves into the quest for paradises - environmental, social, political - all of which are preposterous notions, completely alien to human nature, and tend to be a scourge whenever and wherever there is an attempt to apply them.

Hah! We're back to four-eyed John's Imagine. Yeah. Imagine peace on earth. Nothing but tranquility, agreement, passivity. Yeah. Completely fucking unbearable. I don't like quiet!

So, paradoxically, we need such bullshit arguments to exist in order to keep things spicy; and naturally, there's a distant point where spicy becomes Fascism.

But British history is the story of people successfully agitating one another between those extremes of blandness and terror. I think that shall always be the story: it's our default DNA now. It's in the water.

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posted by DD @ 10:03  3 comments

Sunday, January 9

Cocaine in Boots

Oh, that this would come to pass.

Link

posted by DD @ 11:21  3 comments

Saturday, January 8

GG on CBB? It's the Money, Stupid

Let's face it: you'd have to have been having your coconut repasts on a drifting raft somewhere off the coast of Banda Aceh for several years now to have no idea about Big Brother (and all it's little sisters), of which we Brits have another Celebrity* version.

No, I'm not watching. I never do watch this stuff, properly, darlings: the part of me that recoils in dismay at the "Look at me! I'm on TV! Yes, I do exist!" culture of our times overrides - just - the part that finds people fascinating. (Hey, I'm a writer: what else am I going to write about for the rest of my life? Clouds?)

In particular, it's the
unreality of these shows that appeals to me. They are, in effect, TV as written by JG Ballard (it wouldn't surprise me to hear that he's a fan of Reality TV) ie take a commonplace idea, and then bend it every which way you can, à la a Ralph Steadman caricature.

The point I would insist on is that JG Ballard works his schtick with a lot more style than these shows.

In fact, rather than the forced activity of various challenges etc that pollutes these shows, I'd get more kicks out of them and pay more attention if, on arrival, there was nothing. Nothing. Nothing to do. Yes: pure Samuel Beckett. Just waiting . . .

But while I cock a snook, I'm aware that I myself am guilty of the desire for attention that feeds Reality TV. After all, who isn't guilty of it - to some degree. Admit it, bloggers! That's what we're all about.

But I shall continue to cock a snook at BB et al, as there are degrees in every sort of behaviour.

For instance: some people slow down at the sight of car crashes; others speed up. I'm one of the latter. You can't help but see it anyway, but I don't need to linger. And that's how I feel about Reality shows, Soaps etc. No need to linger, because I know what's there.

Sitting in my high chair, I proclaim no forced stunt - such as someone being forced to eat rabbit shit - is going to dazzle my mind like a page of Nabokov.

To the merde at hand: the linked article ask why Germaine Greer - renowned feminist/scrubber (delete at will: the choice is yours. Me? I have a hunch she's still both) has parked her rump down in the household this time round.

There's a simple answer: about 75 grand for her pouch - that's 75K GBP, by the way, not striney dolly mixtures.

Some time ago she confided on Newsnight Review that she was a possible 'contestant', depending on whether Nancy Dell-Erickson (sic) took part; the hitch being that the Italian was holding out for 100K (clearly she shares Sven's love of zeroes): we can conclude that the producers have decided in their infinite wisdom that Nancy's not worth it.

Judging by the rest of the rabble huddled inside, Greer must have pocketed the top fee, and by some margin. Dear old Bez would go in for a bagful of sweets - yeah, they'd have to be those kind of sweets . . .

PS: Germaine Greer? Would you? I dunno. As I've quipped before, Joan Bakewell - yes (no harm in going where the Red Baron's been**), but GG? A ballbreaker, and no mistake. Still, I can't imagine anything she wouldn't know how to do . . .

* I tend to apportion the poisened chalice that is the term celebrity to those who couldn't walk down, say, Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon without being recognised. As such, most of this latest rabble are NOT celebrities, are they?

** The Red Baron? That'll be your Harold "fucking Americans" Pinter. Should have got him involved in CBB! (Well, it looks like he's got fuck all else better to do with his rapidly diminishing time in our midst.

ADDENDUM: there's a CBB-induced profile of Germaine Greer right here. By the way, doesn't everybody sleep in the nude?

Link

posted by DD @ 14:48  4 comments

Where Do We Go from Here?

Today there's a couple of pieces on the General Election (coming our way this year, by all accounts) that attempt to factor in the (strange) death of New Labour. Both are bogus.

The link is to one by Neal Lawson (who he?) that describes New Labour as "the party of the living dead": "it functions but not for the purpose it was intended". Well, to me Tony Blair's govts have done pretty much what they said on the tin, and I have precious few complaints, save for his occasional dreamer moments when he attempts to quick-fix the almost unfixable: Ireland, Africa, post-tsunami Asia.

Then there's this piece by John Harris, an extract from his latest volume of trex. In it he poses the possibilty of disaffected Labour voters turning to the Lib Dems, though, after one of Charles Kennedy's malted answers he calls their leader "ill-informed" (slightly rich, coming from the guy who last year asked in an article 'what do al-Qaeda want?').

Some points to nail.

Firstly, in the death stakes New Labour has been responsible for one act of patricide: the killing off of old Labour, the one beloved of Harris, and most of his interviewees (judging by the excerpt).

In essence, Tony Blair did what had to be done. Old Labour was, and still is, unelectable in Britain. The worldview of Tony Benn et al is moribund - probably forever (its rekindling as a political outlook eg nationalisation is about as likely as global communism). It may amuse and bemuse Harris to hear that I have friends, and know of friends of friends, who bandy with derogotary emphasis the term "socialist" at this govt - and at supporters of it such as myself.

Judging by these pieces the two main complaints from the left re Blair's govt are (a) the Iraq war and (b) tuition fees. To take the latter first, it's a fact jacked that for us graduates we earn a median figure of at least £500K more in our working lives than non-graduates do. So, from that half mil, we have to cough and drop around 5% of it over the years. Tell me now: what's the fucking problem with that?

The war? Well, let's get real now: what war? It was an intervention. And since that relative stroll, there's been a political scramble, involving acts of terrorism by factions who realise that they'll soon be in deep shit when there's a new, democratically-elected govt in Iraq. Some of them, plainly, just don't wanna know - period. And as for grief, I daresay that more Iraqis (and allied soliers) have died post-intervention, due to terrorism, than during the three-week exercise that took the coalition into Baghdad.

But it's worth it. It's worth it for the millions living now, and the millions in the the future generations to come, who can live freely, as opposed to life under a despotic dictatorship. It can be argued that, giving the shit going on now, we got there just in time. I've yet to read a convincing scenario for a future Iraq where they would be less bloodshed than has happened as a result of us taking action now.

Most of the opposition to the intervention is based on unthinking, unworthy junk: the anti any war lot, and those anti anything US foreign policy involves. Yeah: quite a few sport both badges.

Funnily enough, I think that old, old Labour, with its belief in the betternment of the conditions of mankind, would have got behind the Iraq intervention all the way. I would argue that, in global economic terms, what we've done is a socialist act: the rich are spending billions to help those poorer than themselves.

So, back to Britain, and to the question I posed in the title: Where do we go from here? Well, the real answer is: nowhere.* We stay where we are ie we vote Tony Blair back in. Picture in your mind the alternatives: a Scots drunk (Kennedy - a man who needs a stiff drink or three to run our third biggest political party, let alone the world's fourth biggest economy); a Tricky Dicky jock-jawed miserabalist who fails the used-car test (Gordon Brown); and, frankly, a relic - with blood all over the gaff - of the bad old days of busted flush Thatcherism (Michael Howard).

Me? I'll be abroad, and will sigh just a little bit and hide my shame if one of these becomes the next prime minister of the old country. And my heart shall sink as I see how small they are on the White House lawn. And, of course, I'll give the unfortunate one a complete dose of yarbles from my perch right here.

In that sense, I'm going nowhere too.

* There is, of course, another, slightly surreal answer out there. Where do we go from here? Cue Haircut 100.

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posted by DD @ 13:05  6 comments

Friday, January 7

Jerry, Jerry! Jerry, Jerry!

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck; cunt, cunt, cunting fuck; Jesus fucking H Christ!; cunt, cunt, cunt:

Jerry Springer - the Opera is on BBC 2 tomorrow, despite the typical complaints - blind, in advance - of the god-botherers sects.

Well I can't wait. Can't fucking wait. I'll be tuning in all right, just to stick it to my mortal enemies, the sandal wearers. Fucking cunts.

Enjoy, my gloriously diabolical friends!

ADDENDUM: Today (Saturday, the day of the broadcast), the pissy-poor Tories have chirruped in with a dig at the BBC (possibly their 8000th 'complaint' to the Beeb within the last 25 years?), who, for once, are showing some cojones and are in the right.

I mean: Jesus in a nappy? (chickle chuckle) So fucking what? No need to climb out of yer pram, you blue rinses.

I tell ya what: how's about a scene with that god of yours proclaiming "Tsunami! Tsunami! That'll teach the heathens!"

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posted by DD @ 19:10  6 comments

The Curse of John Lennon

Unaccustomed and uncomfortable as I am in nodding continuous asssent to a Daily Telegraph editorial, I agree totally with this dismissal of the Blair-Brown 'Marshall Plan'.

It's the Curse of John Lennon. Or, more precisely, the curse of pure yarbles that is the lyric to Imagine, a song that, aside from the almost as execrable She's Leaving Home, stands alone on the podium of pompous old twittery in the Beatles' collective canon.

As the legendary Kent Brockman would put it: "Wake up people! It's never gonna happen."

And I thought TB knew better. GB? Well, he's just gone fatherhood soft. It happens. Still, they could diddle a kid for charity and get reelected, and I'm orff anyway, soon enough, so . . .

My, it is an unusual day, for I also agree with Simon Jenkins, who's spent most of the past two years as an anti-war urchin. But the trade, not aid argument is the best, and the only viable, long-term solution to all this bullshit enveloping us.

I hope everyone's enjoying the sight of the Indonesian and Sri Lankan forces going about their essential business: ie stamping down fucking hard on indigenous insurrectionists - even if such troublemakers be, temporarily, woefully indigent.

It's pure Apocalypse Now out there; continuous News Gravy. And what's more, let me tell you that you won't believe what you can order from room service at the ***** Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort . . . Indeed, there is a wicked whisper going round that intrepid reporter Jeremy "hairshirt" Bowen (see previous entry) discovered the other night just what it's like to snort gak off a young girl's pert tits. True to type, Dry Martini is his tipple of choice.

Incidentally, some fools would (and no doubt will) loudly sneer at Jude Law for palming £20K on a ring for the lush Sienna Miller, but I'm all for that - especially right now. It's my argument contra the tsunami appeals - EXACTLY. In its purest form. Besides, imagine snorting gak off her taut satsumas. Can you put a price on that?

Hey Jude! Get in there! (But isn't it about time you made a great film with a talented director? Never mind the surgeon's scalpel; the clock's always ticking . . .)

As for Sienna? Judging by what happened to Sadie Frost, she's facing imminent pasture, and a bumpy tumble down the talent ladder. But what the hell: judging by the likes of Renée Zellwegger, pursuing a 'star vehicle' career only turns you into a slit-eyed mongoloid with a not all there stare. And it's not like they're gonna stay together forever now, is it?

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posted by DD @ 16:15  4 comments

Thursday, January 6

Plink Plonk, Plink Plonk, Plink Plonk

Before I get back to my own magnificent world - ce soir, the film rocking my boat is the immortal Once Upon a Time in the West, indeedy - I feel it would be remiss if I did not give my reaction to watching the first few minutes of this evening's News Gravy - an hour-long trawl through the tsunami by the BBC.

It began with the reporter Jeremy Bowen entering, for once sans chest hair on display, but with a hard on - I kid you not*; and then some accompanying plink plonk piano to stories of good deeds blah blah - just like the music that covers the boy dying of cancer in a Made-for-TV movie. Yeah. Top quality, from our premium broadcasting station.

Oh, and for your delight, the link is to some D-list celebrity sex tourists who, alas, managed to climb a greasy pole to safety.

* At my old school, one tedious Sports Day was brightened by the smirks and giggles of myself and several friends as we watched an outstanding high jumper (initials TP, who went on to jump - badly - for Britain at an Olympics or two ) break the school record again and again, each time walking back to begin his approach right in front of us, with an obvious hard on straining his running shorts. The heat of the limelight does that to some people - including, on tonight's evidence, the hairy Jeremy Bowen.

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posted by DD @ 21:12  4 comments

"Gordon Ramsay, On a Kitchen Table"

Just noted via Slate that BBC America is now showing Kitchen Nightmares, wherein the soi-disant king of swearing Gordon Ramsay sticks it to various arseholes in the restaurant business here in the UK.

We saw this show, in all its fucking glory, last year.

In reality, I've mentioned this just to slip in how more than one female friend of mine has a deep-seated desire for some home cooking from the balding Scottish git - a yearning for "a piece of rough" that convinces me, yet again, that what every woman wants is to be rogered senseless, and that all this talk about loving English diffidence (as personified by Hugh Grant in 95% of his movie roles) is pure london yarbles.

I limit it to London - in our dying island - as elsewhere so few mares get to have a choice: pie and chips it is, or else another meal for one (typically a warm courgette and a bottle of white wine).

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posted by DD @ 15:50  4 comments

The Coconut Diet

As we all know, every major disaster brings its own fashion craze eg army fatigues post-9/11, and diet book: following 9/11, Mohammed Atta's anti-Atkins, anti-Westerner hip-pocket-sized tome Get Fit for Heaven (on a strict potoato diet) was a runaway bestseller; now, following the South-East Asian Tsunami spectacular, we have the promise of The Coconut Diet, set to storm the coming spring's publishing schedules.

However, the real fortune may lie with the rainwater rights: the usual suspects, Pepsi and Coca-Cola are said to be preparing rival patents at this very moment. Said patent will then join the queue at the US state dept, behind others including the patent being considered that will give a US company the 'rights' to trademark Basmati Rice.

All true, my friends, all unbelievably true.

That's why I love mankind.

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posted by DD @ 15:12  4 comments

Blumenthal's Gas

Frankly it seems rather pointless to stick it to one of yesterday's men, a forgotten figure, a jew in the wilderness; but bullshit is bullshit and he's still trousering a considerable amount of spondulicks for emptying his sack, so . . . peruse the latest guff from Mr Sidney Blumenthal (most exalted role: relief fluffer for Bill Clinton during the blow-job years).

And shit, I know that I should let pass his pissy point re the old salary of Saint Pedro Martinez being larger than the US govt's initial aid. But I can't. Fuck: I'm afraid the little folk of Aceh, Phuket and other recently-drowned hovels have done nothing to brighten my life; whereas Pedro? He deserves every cent of his $17m paycheck just for slamming down old Don Zimmer. Pedro has given way more than seventeen million people oodles of pleasure over the years - and then there are those who despise him but have still drawn succour from his exploits as the petulant pantomime baddie.

The Thais et al? Unless you enjoy Cat Stew, underage sex and/or grooming, What have they done for you lately?

Be honest.

By the way, I can cheerfully confess that I was in the midst of a jolly good run at the wank wall throughout the three minutes of silence. Action over gestures!

And as I've argued here in recent days, I'd keep your change. Real change in that armpit of the world will only come from Western intervention; an intervention that will take decades, involve a lot of political shenanigans, and consume hundreds of millions of dollars.

Timothy Garton Ash ponders the probabilties and the possibilties here.

Personally, I'd let the fuckers dig themselves out of their own holes. It's the only way they'll learn. Tough Love. No charity box built the British Empire, which invigorated itself despite the torments of plague, famine, pestilence, and powdered wigs.

Still, give if you must. And, if I may reiterate: £10, 20, 25, 50, 100 - all are tantamount to fuck all; the least you can do is remortgage your house. Then sell all your possessions. In my moral handbook, the least should equal the most. All, or nothing. Everything in between is posturing; self-pleasing bollocks, handcream for the smug generation. YES: pure yarbles.

"Doing your bit." Yeah - bit being exactly apposite.

Give, if you must. But please! spare me the gatherings of solemn faces for some three minute pedantic exercise of shallow-end grief. We all know the moment they disperse they're straight into Starbuck's for a latte, and texting like monkeys attempting to compose Hamlet to ask where everybody was for that special moment.

It's pathetic. It's vomitific. It's weepy-weepy Britain. And it's why I'm fucking off out of it.


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posted by DD @ 13:31  3 comments

Tuesday, January 4

Cat fight #4: Steyn v Monbiot

I can't stand Mark Steyn and George Monbiot, so sticking it to both while they stick it to each other's kind over the Asian tsunami is too much jolly, and too easy, to pass up on.

If you can take seriously someone who watches the Vicar of Dibley (Monbiot) then I pity you. By the way, he has proposed that we have a govt of the world, with one person, one vote ie the world shall be run by Chinks.

Yeah: he's yer original bona fide egghead cretin.

Steyn's in partly because he's sticking it to Clare Short, that weeping Chip-bowl-faced Brummie. And the UN get it in the neck as per. But once a god-botherer . . .

Incidentally, is it true that while, say, the US govt has pledged hunderds of millions of dollars, the French govt has, so far, offered a couple of cheese hampers?

If so, that's why I adore the French. And I mean adore. The land of Mr Contrary. But I still find this funny:

Four surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on: the first surgeon says, “I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered.”

The second responds, “Yeah, but you should try electricians. Everything inside them is colour-coded.”

The third surgeon says, “No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order.”


But the fourth surgeon, Dr. Morris Fishbein, shuts them all up when he observes: “The French are the easiest to operate on. There’s no guts, no heart, no balls and no spine. Plus, the head and arse are interchangeable.”

STOP PRESS: I recently reported Saint Michael Jackson's aborted plans to lay down in vigil on Phuket beach, communing with the souls of the many, many dead children - plans aborted because he's busy donning the white suit for some LA justice.

However, his holeyness Bono has announced that he shall, once more, step into the moral breach, accompanied by his long-time unrepentant Magdalene Ms Andrea Corr. Their respective publicists in lala land are already building this "'10' meets Splash phenomenon".

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posted by DD @ 11:12  4 comments

Sunday, January 2

'The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair'

To get back to what really matters to me in this old world, I'm gonna get me some of this guy: George Plimpton.

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posted by DD @ 15:28  6 comments

Oh Do Please Fuck Off

The EC has declared there shall be three minutes of silence for those obliterated by the Asian tsunami.

Oh do please fuck off. Why three? Why only three? I suggest a week of silence - at least. A week-long moratorium on yarbles. A week off the News Gravy.

Still, I must allow myself a couple of brief slugs (though in truth said gravy is dribbling down my chin as I type). Firstly, call me an ignorant little fucker, but I did expect the tsunami waves to be BIGGER. Don't get me wrong: they were big, but . . . Damn. I imagined a real monster. Yeah, no doubt about it: that's Hollywood, diddling your brain, boy, diddling away with your brain.

And this piece on how most of the other animals apart from us humans seemed to have rode the waves okay is a jolly joll. Essentially, our lesser companions are able to pick up the vibes. Here comes trouble! I would venture in our defence that if some of those safari park elephants had drunk, smoked and snorted what at least some of the dead must have done - come on! - then they may have struggled too. But so it goes, so it goes.

It seems I'm just about the sole 'heartless' freak out here - though there is the guy who has sent hoax emails confirming the deaths of loved ones to their relatives (yeah, it'll be a guy, it always, always is in such incidents). Well, that's clearly cuntish behaviour, and I trust he'll be punished: private grief is private grief.

But I'm afraid my loose £20 is going where it is predestined, default-DNA-mechanismed to go: on a glorious bottle of single Scottish malt.

Maybe - just maybe - the night shall come when I shall sigh: I have room for no more bottles of malt; my shelves are replete - whereupon I shall doubtless, and guiltlessly, turn my wallet to the task of acquiring a high street shoeshop's worth of shoes.

Yeah. I'm a pisser. But I piss straight. How about you? Go on then: give all you've got spare. Remortgage your life for them: it's the least you can do. Reason the need - for everything you have.Or be bullshit free and do fuck all. Sit back and stroke, lovingly, your glass of malt. Have another. Reason not the need . . .

Ah, the unnecessary (and gaily switching tragedies); there's the rub. Of course, we're about to suffer the charity record. Within a week, there'll be plans afoot for a monster charity bash at Wembley, or wherever. Live Aid 20 - doncha just know it?

And just as the original broke U2 in the US, so I'm sure the dimes in the eyes of Mr Bono are already dilating at the thought of these as-yet-untapped Far Eastern markets. (¡Oye! The second day of the year brings the first dig at the lift-wearing, pudgy, bog-brained god-botherer. Do you think I can keep it up? Like a bear in the woods, my amigos, a bear in the woods.)

Yeah. Oh yeah. As the Strokes put it, truly, "the end has no end". (I have enough artistic faith in them that they won't be found anywhere near such a stage, and such a rabble. Now don't go and make me eat humble, guys.)

By the by, I happen to know for a fact - jacked - that Asda has about 500,000 of its famously inedible seasonal puddings waiting to be pulped: so let the survivors eat cake. There are, I'm sure, equivalent vats of paté, and mechanically-reclaimed meat with dollops of bacon rind wrapped around them, etc, etc, etc - that can be freighted out. There's little worse than waste, is there?

I've also the exclusive skinny that, were he not obliged to show up in court in LA this month, Michael "King of Pop"™ Jackson would - at this very moment - be lying down in a candlelit, Sky/Fox News sponsored vigil on the beach at Phuket*, communing with the souls of the thousands of dead children.**

Should he win (aha!) his case, I'm sure the bewildering amount of damages he'd receive could solve just about all of earth's immediate problems . . . but the little man inside me says that (a) he's snuffed; (b) even if he wins, he'll get chuff all - and (c) should he fill his mincing boots, he'll probably have other plans, along the lines of new rides at Neverland.

Finally, shame on his old muckers, Herrs David Blaine and Uri Geller, and their shoddy ilk, for not turning back the tsunami. Huh. So-called magicians. And Oi! Osama, you bearded git: top that. Top that.

* No, not even Wacko and his advisors could contemplate Sri Lanka, where whispers about Arthur C Clarke and cockmunching still hum occasionally through the fine, downy langourous afternoons.

** Pantomime Dame Elton John has immediately scorned such actions, reiterating his recent outburst that "the Thais are a bunch of cunts" and thus "deserved everything that happened to them."

ADDENDUM: This evening's ITN special compared the tsunami to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yeah. These jokers really did that. (For those unfamiliar with the delights of British TV news, and thus quite reasonably saying to themselves So fucking what re ITN, imagine FOX's main evening news bulletin being edited and presented by 'Princess' Diana- and you're pretty much there. Why, even Homer Simpson himself would exclaim at its coverage: "Hey! Stop talking to me like I'm a child.")The jokers do have a slight one-dimensional point in their favour, in that this natural disaster may have a larger initial impact, but the atomic explosions brought with them political and psychological dimensions that continue to dominate our world. In short, the nuclear age has really fucked with our heads (the aftershocks of which forming the theme of Don DeLillo's tsunami-stopper-sized novel, Underworld).

Whereas the message of this last week? Shit happens, and nature can take you away at any moment.

Oh - and that concrete buildings stand up better than mud huts and wooden shacks. Funny that.

As I've argued, in the face of such chance hazards, such cruel, oftentimes ludicrous fate, where the innocent get it in the neck, the best revenge for belligerent fuckers like myself is to live well. So chin chin!

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posted by DD @ 13:03  4 comments