Thursday, 31 October 2013
At last some good news. Morph is making a comeback. We used to know the bloke who did the voice for Morph. Worked in a hardware shop down the end of our road. His wife was a teacher. Taught our lad in Middle School if memory serves. Will the old Plasticine Trouper prove the exception to the fight game adage,"they never come back"? We shall see.
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Saturday, 26 October 2013
In the acres of newsprint and hours of TV and radio coverage about "gypsy blond child abduction" the voice of Roma people themselves has been very limited. It's refreshing therefore to see this piece in today's Guardian by the young Romany boy Filip Borev. Filip (Pip) is also no mean blogger and you can catch up with him on the excellent Pipopotamus site.
Friday, 25 October 2013
Oh! Joy. Deep joy. After a protracted and detailed vetting procedure I have been accepted as a subscriber to that most august organ The Cunningham Amendment. There really isn't anything quite like TCA. Amusing but pertinent, wonderful letterpress printing, fabulous graphics, superb production values and as sound a political journal as you are likely to come across these days. Don't bother searching for TCA online, they eschew such fripperies. That's a point - why am I still behind this keyboard when TCA awaits me downstairs?
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
The idea of criminals, rebels and other marginals being called on by the state and "respectable" society to get it out of the mire is a perennial favourite among fiction writers but is a theme sometimes based on fact. The Dirty Dozen is loosely based on the true life exploits of WW2 proto-punk airborne bad boys, the Filthy Thirteen, and no work of fiction could surpass the wartime adventures of master safe-breaker, double (triple?) agent and all round loose cannon, Eddie Chapman. Now we hear that jailed hackers will be released to form a special military unit designed to protect the free world from the evils of cyber crime and alien invasion. Mind you, for every one master criminal willing to swap sides for a seat in the Batcave there must be a million wannabee superheroes convinced that they have what it takes. A combination of Crimewatch (Is it just me, or is this one of the most unpleasant programs on TV?) and the publicity given to the blond girl in the Greek Roma family has resulted in the work of British police investigating the disappearance Madeleine McCann virtually grinding to a halt. Apparently the cops have been inundated with phone calls and emails as every loony-tune conspiracy theorist and space cadet crypto-criminologist emerges from the woodwork to lend a hand. Perhaps these poor souls will now transfer their interest to the cyberterrorist prevention squad but at the end of the day only one thing will shatter their delusions - "NEAL, SWITCH THAT COMPUTER OFF AND COME DOWNSTAIRS, YOUR TEA'S READY."
Monday, 21 October 2013
The case of the blond haired little girl found in a Roma settlement in Greece has sparked a resurgence in all the old tales of Gypsy child kidnapping and the usual suspects in the gutter press have not been slow in linking this case to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann thus heaping more woe, and perhaps misplaced hope, on the McCann family and strengthening the fear and dislike of Gypsies at the same time. Child abduction is a terrible thing no doubt but the Roma couple in Greece seem to have been found guilty before any kind of enquiry has taken place. This all has the whiff of racism about it. The key words here are BLOND, GIRL and ROMA. We might all do well to pause to reflect on the countless thousands of indigenous children snatched from their parents by white imperialists so that they could be "tamed" and "civilised". A Roma settlement in Greece might seem like a holiday camp compared to the "boarding schools" endured by generations of Australian Aborigine and American Indian children.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
There's a new store on the block. A branch of Whole Foods has recently opened and is chock full of introduction offers and cut price vitals. Her indoors reckons it's the dog's bollocks but I have yet to explore the emporium myself. Having never heard of the company I was curious about it's ownership and did a quick online search. Bloody hell! I am not a big believer in ethical shopping because although I know that the idea is well intentioned a commodity is a commodity is a commodity and be it "green" "ethical" or "fair" the social relationship remains the same. However Whole Foods owner John Mackey should give ethical shoppers plenty to think about. Mackey is a committed vegan, environmentalist and believer in animal rights and he is reported to have donated his stock portfolio to charity. Mackey is also a committed free market libertarian, a follower of Hayek, Friedman and Ayn Rand and a strong opponent of trades unions and all this leftie Obamacare nonsense. In fact he is on record as saying that ordinary folk are no more entitled to health care than they are to food and shelter! Plenty there for ethical shoppers to try and get there heads round. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, vegan or not, Mackey's store has been offering a very tasty half-price spit roast chicken. Fill yer boots.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
The fate of activists from the Weathermen and the Black Panthers would prove to be very different and was a reflection of the unjust society that both groups fought against. Bill Ayers came from a privileged white background. Had he been a working class black militant he would have been stretched out in the morgue long ago, and I suspect that Ayers would be the last to deny this. That said, it's refreshing and heartening to hear that after all these years the man still unashamedly stands by his actions and his comrades. Right On Bill!
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
We should never expect too much of artists and musicians, especially famous ones. There is no reason why the opinions of scrapers of catgut and canvas should be given more weight than those of surgeons, bricklayers, professional footballers and other truly talented individuals. Despite all pretencions otherwise, the primary function of the artist is after all to entertain us. I know next to nothing about pottery and not much more about cross-dressing but I know what I like and Grayson Perry makes me laugh and I'm thankful for that. In his first Reith Lecture Perry was amusing enough and poked fun at the art establishment without ever pretending to not be a part of it. Ostensibly, his theme was "How do we value art?" and the answer was pretty much summed up in the Q&A session at the end of the lecture. When asked if he made ceramics for poor people, pots for those without a pot to piss in, his reply was simple. "No. I used to. You could pick up any of my stuff for a weeks dole money but now I get what I can get. The market has decided". Who can blame him? and as I say, we should never expect too much.
Monday, 14 October 2013
Mary Berry reckons that basic cooking should form a part of every child's education and that all kids should be able to cook ten meals by the time that they leave school. The Great British Bake Off judge and renowned Middle England fossil is actually talking a lot of sense. Gove and his ilk are turning out a generation of school leavers who are incapable of doing anything at all practical. Those who make it up the greasy pole will no doubt employ someone from the third world to take care of their cooking, cleaning and childcare needs and those who fall behind in the race to the top will have to rely on reality TV shows and the likes of Jamie Oliver to save them from a life of squalor and crap takeaways. Cooking, like tying your own shoelaces and cleaning your own kitchen, is a basic survival skill and, truth be told, not that difficult. If kids are taught essential skills like cooking, first aid and simply how to care for themselves and each other we at least arm them with the fundamentals before setting them adrift in an uncertain world.
Sunday, 13 October 2013
Next Saturday will see the annual pilgrimage down the Mile End Road for that cornucopia of libertarian delights, the London Anarchist Bookfair. Once again the organisers have brought together a stellar line up of just about every conceivable branch of anarchism. This year the bookfair will also stage the premier of Suzy Gillett's blockbuster movie Epiphany featuring those stars of stage, screen and assorted disturbances, Martin Wright and Ian Bone. See you there.
Saturday, 12 October 2013
Just back from Swanage and the wonderful Isle of Purbeck. The Swanage Blues Festival was a total knockout. Great bands and a really nice inclusive atmosphere. It never ceases to amaze me what a huge depth of talent there is on the pub and small festival circuit. Lovely stuff!
Friday, 4 October 2013
Right! I'm off on me hols. Swanage Blues Festival here we come. Walking the Purbeck Way and the Jurassic Coast. Pints of Piddle Bitter. Swanage Pier. Fish and chips. What's not to like? Swanage itself is an old fashioned small seaside resort that might have been visited by Rupert Bear. The town has literally tons of old London street furniture ranging from bollards to a huge monumental clock tower that was all shipped down from London as ballast in the vessels loading the prized Purbeck Stone for the rebuilding of the metropolis. Anyway, normal blog service, including cutting edge political comment and everything that you ever wanted to know about wrestling and allotments, will be resumed in due course.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
What can we make of the Tory "earn or learn" ultimatum to the country's under 25's? In part of course this is just another effort by the upper echelons of the party to convince it's rank and file that they really are coming down hard on a skiving, criminal underclass that threaten to spoil it all for Middle England. It's a conference tradition. The Tories have been coming out with this kind of "look how tough we are" claptrap for as long as I can remember. Schemes to harass people out of the dole queue always seem to come into their own during times of economic downturn and diminishing job security. This latest plan to motivate NEETS will not save the nation a penny but will rather cost a small fortune to implement and do little but heap yet more worry on the shoulders of hard pressed families. No parent needs to be reminded about what an irritating waste of space teenagers (and especially teenage boys) can be but they are also frequently vulnerable and isolated. So if these bash the young unemployed projects cost more to implement than they could ever save, and if only a tiny proportion of the young people targeted actually end up in full time paid work anyway, what on earth is the point? I think that the sad truth is that all this tough rhetoric rings a bell with the voters. We have a terrible tendency toward the "why should they" view of society. Why should they, live off the taxpayer, get a house, get a job, not get a job? What's worse is that this malevolent jealousy and fear that some section of society is getting away with something is always directed at the family down the road and never at the people who are really getting away with something. Bash the rich - not the NEETS. Bash the rich - not each other.
Owen Jones, Alan Sugar and Sunny Hundal (a liberal conspiracy if ever there was one) have upstaged the Black Bloc and called for direct action by picketing Paul Dacre's home and/or the Mail office. Serious hat tip to Political Scrapbook for this.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
None of us are responsible for our parents, and that includes Ed Milliband, but that never stops us from being proud or ashamed of our family as the case may be. At the same time, politicians who frequently refer to parents in the public arena can't really whine too much when the same parent is criticised by political opponents. Look, let's be honest here, let's leave aside Ed Milliband's political aspirations for a moment and just consider this. Any one of us might well be proud to have had a dad who escaped the Nazis after various adventures, arrives in this country as a young penniless refugee, learns English, spends three years in the wartime navy, goes on to become a leading academic and retains a lifelong commitment to socialism. On the other hand if we were standing in the shoes of Daily Mail owner Jonathan Harmsworth (Viscount Rothmere to you), how would we feel about having a great grandfather who was a personal friend of Hitler and Mussolini and who used the paper he owned to sing the praises of Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts? I hold little brief for Ed Milliband but the pondlife who own the Mail are in no position to slag off anybody's ancestors.