“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Idler.

When Tom Hodgkinson decided to produce The Idler as a hardback I have to say I had serious misgivings. I mean who would be able to afford to buy it? Or more to the point, who would be willing to part with so much dosh for what is, after all, just another magazine? One part of me was saying that but another part of me, the part that loves a bit of flash, was gung ho for the project and going hardback with a small circulation magazine is nothing if not flash. It really is in the spirit of the Situationist International who's original journal was ostentatiously produced and in stark contrast to the grim duplicated offerings of their equally grim rivals on the left. Anyway, I put The Idler on my birthday list and hoped for the best. I was not disappointed. Not by my nearest and dearest - nor by the publication itself. The Idler is so bloody English , and so incredibly relaxing. You only have to open it's pages to feel the tension just ebbing away. All those concerns about Red Milliband turning into a PolPot for our time, or even a Harold Wilson for our time, will drift into the ether. So pull up a chair, chuck another log on the fire and open The Idler. There! See what I mean?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

A modest proposal.

I think that it's important for us older comrades to keep as mentally agile as possible. Try to stay at the cutting edge of libertarian political debate and ideas, that kind of thing. So here's the plan. Time was when food in pubs, if available at all, was consigned to a special area, usually upstairs, and known as "the dinning room". This meant that a chap could sit at the bar and enjoy his pint while reflecting upon the Gaitshead Koran Burning, Ed Milliband and the lurch to the left or whatever without having to watch a load of office workers eating their fucking dinner. Can you see where I'm coming from here? Truth is that there are a number of pubs in London that have maintained their dinning rooms and they tend to be pretty reasonable boozers. It's clear to me that what is needed at this juncture is an Anarchist Luncheon Club. A group of committed and dedicated comrades who would explore these pubs, discuss matters of the day and have a few pints before repairing upstairs for a decent roast. Bit like the the Pickwick Club, but probably not as radical. What do you think?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Down with the miserablists!

What is it with anarchists? Well, that's not fair actually. "What is it with some anarchists?" is closer to what I'm trying to say. What I'm referring to is the seemingly perennial strand in the anarchist movement that having, quite rightly, come down on the side of the poor and downtrodden as apposed to the rich and powerful, decide to show solidarity with the oppressed workers by trying to live the life that they imagine real workers lead. Nowhere is this miserable attitude more noticeable than in the minefield of consumer choice. What's the naffest, down-market shop we can find? Well lets do our shopping there. Might as well. Some of us are so fucking scruffy no self-respecting up market shop would let us through the door. We mustn't aspire to the good things in life in case we get accused of being middle-class. Apart from the very dubious politics involved; where is the fun in this. No wonder we don't get taken seriously by normal everyday folk who would quite like to have the best for themselves and their kids. I would like to see more anarchists striding along in the Crombie (fell of the back of a lorry guv), twirling a rolled umbrella as they make their way to the hostelry of their choice for lunch. I never had that much time for Derek Hatton but immaculately turned out in Armani suits he was everything that lefties were meant not to be. No anorak, combats and sandals for Degsy; and a serious two fingers to the miserablists.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A blogger returns.

There has not been a lot of activity on this blog recently although I am on target for my usual fourteen posts a month. Amongst the number of lame excuses for not writing has been my short visit to the Derbyshire Dales where I learned that the area is a bit like Last Of The Summer Wine; all dry stone walls and old people. I also discovered that a Bakewell Tart is actually a Bakewell Pudding and that this delicacy is, well, a bit ordinair as you might say. Wonderfull scenery though, and Bakewell itself has a bloody good market.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Of Popes, pints and pumpkins.

On Friday about 150 of us turned up to boo Razinger at Twickenham and yesterday about 15,000 packed into Whitehall to let the old Nazi know what we think of him and his weird paedophile cult.It was actually a very good day out. The high point for me was the appearance on the balcony over Fortnum and Masons of a "Pope" swathed in sheets and tablecloths and blessing the multitudes below to rapturous applause. Top work! As someone pointed out, "he will probably get the sack tomorrow but it will have been well worth it". And we had a nice little drink in the Red Lion afterwards. And I won First Prize for biggest pumpkin at the allotments autumn social today.
And they say that the anarchists can't get anything together.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Tea Party. Is it a load of old wank?

My insistence that laughter and ridicule are amongst the best weapons against the Forces Of Darkness frequently gets me into hot water and for sure it's easier to laugh at the Right if you are standing where I am as opposed to say being a Roma in France right now. But every time that I start to feel twinges of guilt about my flippant attitude toward the stormtroopers of the new order along comes some new nutter to cheer me up good and proper. Latest addition to the cavalcade of rightist show stopping side splitters is the lovely Christine O'Donnell. The Tea Party candidate wants to share with us the good news that her Bible studies have revealed that MASTURBATION IS A SIN. Way to go Christine! Some old chestnuts never wear out do they? You might have to think about that last bit Christine.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Work and the drinking classes.

Walking over Hungerford Bridge this afternoon I paused to watch one of Cory's tugs with a pair of thousand ton barges in tow working up river on a strong flood tide. Carefully getting the right line the skipper made a perfect job of shooting Westminster Bridge. Watching a master of their craft at work is always a pleasure. When Ian Bone interviewed me on his radio show a couple of years back he remarked that I was perhaps the only old hippy who believed in the dignity of labour. Not that I havn't enjoyed several periods of voluntary unemployment in the past and am now embarked on what I hope will turn out to be the lengthy voyage of retirement. That said, and even though I am an admirer of every champion of idleness from Paul Lafargue to Tom Hodgkinson, I still feel that to be denied the opportunity of employment is also to be denied the right to the self-fulfillment that can be found both in the workplace and in work itself. I don't have any problem at all with people choosing to not work. The cost of the benefits involved is a drop in the ocean and many jobs are not only boring and alienating but totally useless as well. What I would say though is that when unemployment is visited on a community it generally proves to be a curse rather than a liberation. The idea of a generation growing old and never feeling the elation of a job well done is nothing to celebrate. The dignity of labour is not the same as the work ethic. As I was once advised- serve the task, and not the master.

Monday, 13 September 2010

One final call to give Ratzinger something to remember.

With only a few days to go before the start of the papal visit I thought that I would make a last post on the reason why I for one will be joining the protest. Personally I will be motivated not by a particular aversion to Ratzinger himself, loathsome character that he may be, but to popes in general and the whole ethos and morality of the Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism has done it's best to preserve the worst aspects of Judao-Christian feelings of sexual guilt and fear of female sexuality and is perhaps only surpassed by some strands of Islam in this respect. There has been a lot of quite justified outrage at the shocking levels of child sex abuse in the church but we should not forget the truly heart wrenching amount of physical cruelty that has been inflicted on children in catholic schools and orphanages and the terrible damage that has been the result. Ratzinger presides over a rigidly hierarchical and authoritarian organization that has tended throughout history to be an enthusiastic ally of the forces of reaction. The Vatican is a tin-pot pseudo state set up by it's champion Mussolline and as head of this so called state Ratzinger is being afforded a full state visit at a cost to the taxpayer of over 12 million quid.
It should go without saying that this is not an attack on individual Catholics. I won't claim that some of my best friends are Catholic (though some are ex-Catholic) but of course I have met very many nice folk who were believers in Christianity, Islam. Buddhism, Crystal Therapy and have even met quite decent members of the Tory Party; that is really not the point. I will be protesting against everything that Ratzinger represents. I intent turning out for his visit to Twickenham as well as to the big demo on Saturday and I hope we can give him the reception that he deserves.

Friday, 10 September 2010

The worst job that I ever had........

The party conference season is in full swing now. This weekend the Greens are conferring in their usual well intentioned way and next weekend will see what may well turn out to be a thoroughly bad tempered and entertaining Lib Dem gathering. The following week the Labour Party will do their best to implode and finally the Tories will be holding their Old Thatcherite Reunion in Brum during the first week of October. This last event unfortunately clashes with a British Trotskyist "Right To Work" retro event being held at the same time.
Truth be told I have a bit of previous when it comes to party conferences. Regular readers of this blog may remember me posting about my short but enjoyable career in the circus. Well when the circus moved on I found some work as a stage hand in an ice show being staged at the Brighton Centre and eventually this led to a full time job as a auditorium hand/cleaner at the same venue. The work involved everything from building stages to operating spotlights to cleaning the bogs. It was a classic 80s local authority job with all that that entailed. Long hours were spent in our underground tearoom and when we covered the tables with check tablecloths complete with candles in Chianti bottles management thought that we really were taking the piss; which of course we were. They even went as far as recruiting an ex military policeman to try and tame us, but to no avail. Management did finally give me the bullet on a technicality but not before I had suffered some pretty excruciating party conferences including seeing Thatcher dust herself down and get on with it on the morning after the IRA demonstrated their own brand of politics at the Grand Hotel next door. Looking out across the hall at a sea of dark suits and floral dresses and listening to all that Tory self assurance is something that will live with me forever. Mind you, it wasn't as bad as doing follow spots for Julio Inglesias.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Rugby League Night on BBC 4.

Last night was Rugby League night on BBC 4 and fans of the game itself, Eddie Waring or that great movie This Sporting Life must have been in their element. I have never followed rugby of either code that much but the social and political issues reflected in the Union/League schism have always interested me and no prizes for guessing where my sympathies lay. One thing that I have never really understood is why Welsh pitmen stuck to the snooty Union amateur code while their northern counterparts opted for the League and an extra couple of quid on Saturday afternoon. Can anyone explain this to a dim Southerner who lives just down the road from Twickers?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Morrissey is a sub-species.

Is Morrissey a racist? Search me mate but I do know that he is a tedious self pitying waste of space. When The Smiths released The Meat In Your Mouth Is Murder and Morrissey whined his way through this tribute to vegetarianism I felt as though the will to live was ebbing away from me. I seem to remember that my assertion at the time that the number was actually a gay anthem dedicated to fellatio went down rather badly with some comrades. Such is the lonely road of the iconoclast.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Two Andy's and a proper Charlie.

The story so far....... Gutter Press Editor Andy 1 sets up phone taps in order to get the dirt on various public figures. Andy 1 is employed by The Great Media Mogul.
The public figures get really pissed off and demand a police investigation. Andy 1 resigns from the paper and becomes "communications director" for post-grunge outfit Dave And The Big Society.
The police investigation is carried out by well known bad cop Andy 2, who finds that Andy 1 and his paper have done nothing wrong. When Andy 2 is caught in a legover situation he is forced to resign but finds immediate employment with The Great Media Mogul.
Meanwhile the Mad Prince sets off on his recycled cooking oil powered Royal Train to bring to the masses the good news about organic living.
Is it just me?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Can the News Of The World teach anyone anything about honesty?

Papers like the News Of The World tend to be like a dog with a bone once they get hold of a story. They will run with it until they are sure that they have got every bit of benefit from it or something juicier comes along to divert their attention. The Pakistan cricket team scandal is one such story and it looks set to run for a while yet. In amongst the mixture of liberal hand wringing and pompous twaddle that has made up most of the media coverage a few interesting and worthwhile comments have emerged. I heard some old retired general on the radio. He sounded like Peter Sellers doing a retired general and I don't suppose that he and I would see eye to eye on very much but when it came to the incident of Amir's "no balls" in the Final Test he talked a lot of good sense and rightly pointed out that it would be a great shame if a brilliant match was remembered only for something that influenced the outcome not at all.
One point that I have not heard made by anyone is that only gamblers themselves can ensure that sport is on the level. The English tradition of "fair game" did not come about because of some innate love of honour and decency but because of the aristocracy's love of gambling and the need to be confident about the matches that they were betting on. Notions of fair play, level playing fields and all the rest of it are firmly rooted in gaming; not the playing fields of South Slough.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Blair, New Labour, And the truth about politics.

So Tony Blair stands by the New Labour project and is convinced that any deviation from NL orthodoxy and the slightest hint of a return to old fashioned Labour Party ideals resulted in electoral defeat and will do so in the future. He is probably right. The argument however is not if the Labour Party of the 80's had become unelectable, but why it had. The continuing expansion of the middle class meant that only by appealing to these voters and convincing them that they could vote Labour without fear of any of that socialist redistribution of wealth nonsense could Labour return to power. And here is the perpetual dilemma of political parties and political elites in general. To compromise principle in order to take or retain power, or stand by your beliefs even if it means being condemned to political backwaters and the footnotes of history. That is the truth about politics and it is a truth that will endure for just as long as politics remains a specialised activity rather than part of everyday life.