Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Start 'em young

With school place in some areas now determind by lottery, could it be that the government is merely attempting to ensure the success of the new super-casinos by styarting kids on games of chance at a young age? I think we should be told.

Good news, music lovers

Great news! Short-arsed Napoleon complex sufferer and occasional chart worrier Jay Kay is hanging up his oversized hat and solitary tune (that he's somehow convinced a large swathe of the public that it's actually a dozen different records) and quitting music. Huzzah!

Minority appeal

The Equalities Review report comes out shortly and, as is traditional, the salient points are aired in the media first.
All very worthy, I'm sure. The bit that sticks out for me is the assertion from Trevor Phillips that all Britons could expect to be "part of a minority" at some stage. Rubbish. I know it's a tactic of the Mail and Express to paint it as such, but white, middle/upper class males will never be in a minority and never subject to the vagaries and inequalities society seems fit to inflict on
vast swathes of the rest of the populous.

Where your food originates

I caught the back end of a report on the news this morning that suggested a large number of children didn't know where their food came from and that bacon and pork chops come from cows. Some, apparently, even think cows lay eggs.
It's not a new problem, or one specific to children. I remember the story of GB prop Lee Crooks when on a tour of New Zealand. On asking for some bacon to go with breakfast (all fit professional atheletes back in his day, oh dear me yes) and told there was none, he remarked "A country full of sheep and you've got no bacon?"

AQI - again

AQI seems to be creeping more and more into the realms of normality. If, like me, you are annoyed to your very core by this, then avoid 'Project Catwalk*' on Sky One, as all of them feckers do it all the fricking time.



* - yes, I know, but if it's on in the house it's difficult to avoid, OK?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Unbearable Heat

I can't help myself sometimes. A fellow commuter can be reading any old tripe and I find my eyes wandering towards it. I really should take a book. Anyway, today I chanced upon Heat. What an execrable waste of trees that is, and summed up best by a two page article (I know, I already know way too much about this) on why a large number of female celebrities keep getting photographed without any trollies on, seemingly oblivious to the self-perpetuating cycle magazines like Heat generate. It makes me sick.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Corporate bull honky

I received an internal e-mail yesterday (internal to the company, I don't have an e-mail server in my colon or anything) and in the sender's signature was the following line (her capitalisation, not mine):

EARNING THE TRUST. EVERY SECOND. EVERY DAY.

Pass the sick bucket.

MoD off their rockers

It emerges that the Ministry of Defence undertook tests to see if psychic powers exist and could have military applications. There is one wholly predictable thing that's come out of it: that 'known' psychics refused to take part. I think your answer to the whole question lies in there.

Cameron

Whenever I see an image of David Cameron, the first thing that pops into my head is a single word: lickspittle.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Read this

The Trailerpark Times



from the mighty Jerry Chicken

Demonstrating - some tips

Make sure your slogan is brief and to the point, just like Chris Eubank didn't.
His protest is due, in part, to the news that HRH Harry Hewitt is off to do the job which he willingly signed up for. It's had a lot of space on the news on all media today and it's bloody irritating. Do we have to hold the front pages for every individual soldier going to Iraq? No we don't. It's newsworthy that this regiment are going, not that this one man is among them.

Egyptian blogger jailed

News is emerging that a blogger from Egypt, Abdel Karim Suleiman, has been sentenced to jail for some articles he published. Egyptians may not be able to criticise Islam or the president, but the rest of us can.
Hosni Mubarak is an ersatz dictator. Suppression of independent thought and opinion is the action of a dictator. Laws like this do nothing to enhance his image to the world beyond Egypt - or, one suspects, inside as well - and nothing that's been reported has shown Suleiman to be insulting towards Islam, even though it leaves itself open to criticism as does any other organised religion. It appears more like criticising the actions of people operating under the banner of Islam. Quite a different beast. The hearing took five whole minutes before the judge declared Suleiman guilty - sounds like a nice fair trial then eh? Eh? Oh.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My favourite footballer

Footballers eh? All money grabbing prima donnas without an ounce of humility or a foot in the real world (I'm talking to you, Craig Bellamy).
Well not all of them. Zinedine Zidane - a master of the game with a vicious streak a mile wide and an understanding of the world around him thanks to his upbringing in Marseille's roughest area (which is a superlative like saying 'Milan's skinniest model' or somesuch) and a real man of the people. Dennis Bergkamp - similarly a master of the game and with a similar vicious streak and social awareness, if not the hard knock life of Zidane's youth. Bergkamp also scored the best goal ever. Those two stand out for me, but my favourite footballer:

Oleguer Presas.
Read. Be impressed.

You're not Russell Brand

Sat quaffing cold, refreshing beverages with a chum last night, we encountered one of a growing number of Russell Brand-wannabes. You know the type. Anyway, an ode I wrote in tribute to the growing number of people wanting so very desperately to be someone else:


Your bad backcombed hairdo
Cost half a grand.
You wear a thin scarf,
But you're not Russell Brand.

Your stubble is thick
But your comedy's bland.
You wear skinny jeans,
But you're not Russell Brand.

Your spell in drug rehab
Was carefully planned.
but you had no problem.
You're not Russell Brand.

You're not Casanova,
The stud of the land.
You don't get the ladies.
You're not Russell Brand.

So why try to ape him?
On your own two feet stand.
You are your own person.
You're not Russell Brand.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random amusing things one overhears in the street: #1

"She's a lesbian. She can't do that!"

The Number 23

The Number 23 is a heavily advertised Jim Carrey vehicle which I will not be going to see. Not because I don't like Jim Carrey - I think he's reasonably good when he's not doing the rubber faced monkey-man act. I shall not be watching it because in the trailer which is only on at every ad break on TV, one of the characters explains that 23 is significant because two divided by three equals 0.666 and that 666 is the number of the beast. Well it isn't. On either score. If you're going to three decimal places, two divided by three is 0.667 and there can be no room for such basic mathematical slip-ups in modern cinema. And 666 is not the number of the beast, or indeed anything else. Nowhere in any classical literature is any sort of beast described by the number 666, let alone 667 or even 0.667.
So, I put it to you that this film is bollocks.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Half Man Half Biscuit at Manchester Academy

Another triumph from the Wirral's most famous slackers. In contrast to the previous time I saw them, this was a massive hall.


Incidentally, the Holmfirth Picturedrome has been saved from a fate worse than death. The plan to make into a Wetherspoons got chucked out by the council, which is great news.
Anyway, the gig. Classical Biscuits really. At Holmfirth, we got a taster of a new song - Blue Badge Abuser. Yesterday, we got the fully fleshed out version.




And, as is traditional, the caravan guitar got an airing in the encore.


I managed to miss the 11.42 train home by, literally, seconds, so was forced to spend 2 hours in a Canal Street bar while waiting for the 1.42am train - the next 'service' out of there - and managed to stay awake and get off at the right stop, which was a bonus. So all in all, a grand day out with convivial beers in a few choice bars - The Briton's Protection (with added staff drama for real life soap opera. The phrase 'and don't bother asking for a reference' was used!), the Knott (where a £7 burger is actually pretty good value considering the size and quality of it and the amount of chips you get) - good company and a cracking gig.

Satire. Can it be 'right'?

I read in this morning's paper that the creator of 24 is set to launch a right-leaning satirical show as a counter-balance to Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. It sounds horrific, mainly because it gives the hateful Anne Coulter air time. I'm not sure the right can do satire. Maybe it's because all I knew as a kid was bloody Thatcher which lent a huge amount to satirists of a leftish bent that I think this. Or maybe I think that satire is by nature not of one political leaning or another. Everyone can be taken down a peg by some knowing wag, but it just feels easier to pick at conservatives like President Gump. If you feel that you need to set yourself up as a rightist satirist, I think you've already lost your edge.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Human rights hypocrisy

Two pieces of news stand out today: the EU report into 'extraordinary rendition' flights and Charlie Falconer's latest musings on the Human Rights Act.
The EU report criticises the UK, Germany and Italy most harshly of basically either colluding or turning a blind eye to the abduction of residents who are then transported to countries where torture is commonplace. The UK is specifically criticised over the cases of four people: two were tortured, two remain in Guantanamo.
And yet Lord Falconer says that the Human Rights Act is our best defence against terrorism. I happen to believe that's right, however with the government of this and many other countries riding roughshod over it, it becomes worthless. They are trying to have their cake and eat it. As Falconer says, human rights are for everyone, not just in certain cases. And yet they're applied, or not, on a person-by-person basis.

Not that the Conservatives have taken the opportunity provided by this flagrant hypocrisy to score some points. They're for scrapping the Act - a big step backwards - while the leader of British Conservatives in the European Parliament has criticised the rendition report as being driven by anti-American feeling and remains 'opposed to the report'. Which says all you need to know about how the Tories value your basic liberties.

Decor hating

If I ever have to strip another room of wallpaper, it'll be several million years too soon.
I don't like DIY - I prefer SSHECOGAMITDIFM - however finances dictate... Oh well, back to it.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Civil war inevitable, apparently

Remember this? It's come to court, finally.
I may be going out on a limb here, but I think that Cottage's assertion that civil war in Britain is just around the corner is - ooh, I dunno - wrong.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Never learning anything #2

2005. England win the Ashes, get gongs from her majesty and have a jolly up on an open top bus trip round London.
2006. England get completely blown away by Australia 5-0.

2007. Following Ashes humiliation, England's one-day no-hopers somehow manager to put four wins together to win the Commonwealth Bank series.
Now if a lesson was to be learned, you would hope that no laurels would be rested on and the undoubted hard work that saw them win this series would be continued. But no. Instead, we get the captain telling everyone how we're now going to win the World Cup which starts soon in the Caribbean. I can only hope Flintoff had been at the drink, because that's just bloody silly and sets us up nicely for a massive fall, just as that bus trip did 18 months ago.

Never learning anything #1

Picketts Lock. Wembley. Spiralling costs of the Olympics before a spade has hit earth. Obviously all these lessons from recent history are no barrier to hair-brained plans, so the British government today brings you World Cup 2018. I shan't hold my breath.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Laugh at psychics

Apparently there's a Psychic Museum in York, of which Jonathan Cainer (licky arsed Wikipedia link here) - newspaper astrologer and apparently one of the highest paid people on Fleet Street - is something to do with. And it's closed.
Says Cainer "If you are asking me for predictions when exactly it will open up again, then it's hard to say".
Ha ha ha

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Spam of the day

Will she now?

Chaos tomorrow

We all know that once a single flake of snow lands in London, the national papers go mad with tales of Britain coming to a grinding halt and general chaos ensuing. Well today, Fleet Street has surpassed itself. On perusing the front pages in the newsagent this morning, at least two and probably more (I was in a rush), foretold of the chaos to arrive tomorrow when either six or seven inches of snow, depending on who you believe, will descend on the capital rendering all normal human activity impossible!
Must be a slow news day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dear Yorkshire CCC

Please tell me this isn't true. Please.

Yours etc
John

Watch this

BBC4, 10pm, tonight. Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe.

You won't regret it.

Living on the edge

For my lunch today, I have a turkey salad which involves some Bernard Matthews turkey. Ooh, aren't I brave?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

BBC v ITV

The BBC had Who Do You Think You Are. ITV have You Don't Know You're Born.
They're the same.
Celebrity researches their family history. There may or may not be anything interesting. Interesting is relative. Interesting means that the person's history appears to be at odds with their public persona. Even then, it's stretching the term 'interesting' to it's very limit.

The BBC had Strictly Come Dancing. ITV have Dancing On Ice.
They're the same.
Hosted by greyhead TV veteran and vacuous blonde while truly irritating studio audience claps along and boos when judge gives an honest assessment of performance. They take a celebrity and put them into doing something alien to them with varying successes while greyhead veteran makes awful, awful, awful puns on either their name or the thing they're famous for. I don't understand the attraction. If you want to watch dancing or ice dance, why not watch people who know how to do it doing it? If you want to watch these people, why not watch them do what they do for a living rather than something totally different.

Is this the best we have to offer? No wonder Britain is the best in the world at binge drinking. Everybody goes to the pub to avoid this.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Punk

It was great. Breathed a new life into British music just as it was about to disappear up it's own arse. But it wasn't always the greatest in terms of quality. In an effort to keep up with the changing musical landscape, all sorts of bands got records out when most of them really had no right, being basically half a step away from pub rock. Dare I say, even the Sex Pistols weren't actually that good musically, but managed to get away with it.
Well you can't say that about everyone around at the time.

A bizarre notion

I've got a lot of time for Dave Woods. He's an articulate bloke and passionate about his sport, his sport being Rugby League, but this is perhaps the weirdest thing he's ever written. This type of thing gets written once every four or five years, but almost exclusively from the other side of the fence. I don't know why a Rugby League man feels the need to write it. Farrell is one of three recent retirees from League that have chosen to take the quinziste dollar in their dotage. Rugby League survives.
There are three types of people when it comes to rugby. People who like League, people who like union and people who like both. The presence of any one individual, especially a 34-year old with two buggered knees, is highly unlikely to make any one type become a different type.
Were there articles about football fans becoming boxing fans when Curtis Woodhouse jacked in the former for the latter? Were there similar about Rugby League fans turning to boxing when any of Solomon Haumono, Anthony Mundine, Monty Betham or John Hopoate took up the noble art? No there weren't. So why when players retire from League to take up union? Can it really be because the two sports use a similar shaped ball? More like lazy journalism.

He's carrying on

It all looks like it's coming to a head for President Blair. Lord Levy's arrest (for the second time) over the cash for honours investigation and the continued fall out from his intervention in the SFO's investigation into BAe are the twin tips of a large iceberg into which the New Labour ship has run. Any semblance of Blair's, or indeed Labour's, authority is basically gone. But he can't see it. He's staying.
I'm a big believer in things running their course - see also Duncan Fletcher in charge of the England cricket team - and it's clear to me that in both cases the time has come for the man in charge to go. They've both gone as far as they can. A continued Blair presence will further undermine Labour and it will then be a case of relying on the Conservatives to fuck it up at the next election. Even then, I half wonder if one term of Tory rule would be a price worth paying, which is crazy talk and not something I even ought to be contemplating in any sort of serious terms. For a start, they'd need at least one policy. And yet that might be enough, such is the disarray Labour are in right now.
Blair needs to go.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Derek and Clive

Some Youtube gold from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore in their Derek and Clive guises. It's foul-mouthed comedy geniuses at work.

Guinness Book of Records
This bloke comes up to me
Prince of whales

And while I'm here, what if George Bush was a Jedi?