Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Political Correctness



BBC Radio 1 has banned the word 'faggot' from this 1987 Christmas hit to avoid offence. The word, sung by the late Kirsty MacColl as she trades insults with Shane MacGowan, has been dubbed out for the radio - to preserve listeners' delicate sensibilities no doubt.

What a load of fucking bollocks.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Copperhead Road



Steve Earle. I saw this guy a few years ago in the now-defunct Aqualung in Madrid - and I was very impressed. Country rock at its best and this song is, according to my very good friend (and excellent guitarist) Tom, the best song ever written....

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Sex Gang Children vs. Edith Piaf



Sex Gang Children at the Dark Hole's 11th anniversary party in Madrid. Andi explains how his love of music came about and the band cover one of his mother's favourite songs. I was on hand to record it for posterity.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Where is my mind?



Frank on stage with Placebo in Paris as they cover the Pixies classic - which was also the backdrop for the closing scene in Fight Club.

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind

Way out in the water
See it swimmin'

I was swimmin' in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rocks
Except the little fish
But they told me, he swears
Tryin' to talk to me, coy koi.

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind

Way out in the water
See it swimmin'

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

More insidious behaviour

If you thought yesterday's tale of the nazi handbag invasion was ridiculous then brace yourself for today's installment of relgious stupidity from the Middle East.

A British teacher in Sudan has been charged with inciting hatred and insulting religion - and could face 40 lashes, a fine or six months in jail if convicted.

And what heinous deed has she committed to warrant this? Did she vandalise the mosque? Burn a copy of the Qu'ran in front of the local cleric? Get drunk and play poker in the town square?

No, something far far worse than that.

She named a teddy bear Muhammad.

Fear not people of the Sudan, it's safe to go out into the streets of Khartoum again for Gillian Gibbons is safely behind bars and no longer a threat to your national security.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

An insidious fascist plot

The fashion chain Zara has withdrawn a handbag from its stores after a "shocked" customer pointed out that the design featured swastikas.

You can just imagine the neo-nazis carrying these things around, can't you? They're just perfect to keep their flick-knives in.

Clearly from their design, these bags have nothing to do with peace-and-love or tree-hugging religions like Buddhism, in which the swastika is also a meaningful symbol. Indeed, swastika comes from the sanskrit word svasti which means well-being.

I'm just glad that Zara managed to thwart this insidious fascist plot before the whole of the UK was overrun with nazi handbags.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Pushing the envelope

I've mentioned before my liking for Lucy Kelleway's weekly column in the FT, where she hilariously pokes fun at management fads and jargon and celebrates the ups and downs of office life.

Her latest column features a company of solicitors called Eversheds which has come up with a list of personality types to embody what it is looking for in its trainee lawyers. Finding the English language inadequate, the company has pushed the linguistic envelope and thought out of the vocabulary square by inventing new words, including:

Knowlivators Knowledgeable motivators
Logithizers Logical empathisers
Proactilopers Proactive developers
Winnowmat Winning diplomat

As Lucy says in her column, this is old hat. Martin Lukes, Kelleway's FT alter-ego columnist and another favourite of mine from the FT, invented these hybrid concepts in 2000 with his leading edge Creovation™, which was 50% creativity, 50% innovation – and 120% bollocks.

Brilliant!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Making a mountain out of a molehill

The British singer who sang the Croatian anthem before England's ill-fated match with Croatia apparently got the words wrong and accidentally sang My penis is a mountain.

And I thought the Croats were laughing at the team put out by Steve McLaren.

The line which singer Tony Henry slipped up on should have been "mila kuda si planina" (You know my dear how we love your mountains). But what he actually sang was "mila kura si planina" which means Dear Penis, you are a Mountain or My Dear, my penis is a mountain.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The hardest job in football

If being manager of England is, as many would have us believe, the hardest job in football then you'd think that possible candidates for the now vacant position would have the right kind of experience and the necessary skillset to guide our now-not-so-golden golden generation back to the path of glory.

Fabio Capello says he's interested in the job. Good. Ok. He's at least won some trophies - unlike the previous incumbent. So what does he say his credentials are?

"I'm the right age."

Oh dear.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Man's best friend

Sounds like some typical lads conversation down the pub at night.

Man 1: Is Selvukmar's new bird fit, like?
Man 2: She's a right dog, she is. Wouldn't touch her with a barge-pole...

So when I saw the Man marries dog headline on the BBC a few days ago it didn't strike me as being particularly out of the ordinary. Why is this one of their most read and most mailed stories, I wondered. Then it hit me.

Man marries dog. Literally.

India's been the source of quite a few From the Planet Gong stories recently, and this one perhaps takes the biscuit - the dog biscuit of course.

P Selvakumar married a female dog, hoping to atone for stoning two other dogs to death. He'd been cursed since the killings, suffering paralysis and a loss of hearing.

The wedding took place at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu state. The 'bride', who is called Selvi, wore an orange sari with a flower garland and was fed a bun to celebrate.

I don't get this at all. Does the guy have to consumate this marriage to cure his curse? And how does the dog say "I do"?

Another amazing little fact is that this kind of thing is not uncommon in India. Superstitious people in rural parts of the country sometimes organise weddings to animals in the hope of warding off curses.

They say every dog has its day so let's go back to that pub conversation:

Man 1: So what's Selvukmar's new wife like?
Man 2: She's a right bitch, she is.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Thursday, 15 November 2007

North American Scum



LCD Soundsystem - one of the highlights from this year's Summercase festival in Madrid and Barcelona. James Murphy plays everything on the albums and then puts together the band for touring.

Clearly a very talented bloke.

Though not talented enough to do the female vocals on the albums he's still very impressive :-)

A Scotsman and his beer goggles

Beer goggles can turn the most hideous crone into something approaching shagable but Scotsman Robert Stewart has really pushed that particular envelope in this story.

He was caught – whilst under the influence - trying to have sex with a bicycle and has been sentenced to three years probation for his sins.

The story brings a whole new meaning to the idea of shagging the town bike.

Sheriff Colin Miller, who sentenced Stewart, said: "In almost four decades in the law I thought I had come across every perversion known to mankind, but this is a new one on me. I have never heard of a 'cycle-sexualist'."

No shit.

Full story on the BBC

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

The reincarnation of Vishnu


Lakshmi Tatma's mother Poonam Devi says of her daughter: "She is a miracle, a special blessing from God."

Obviously not that special though, as she goes on to say: "But she is my daughter and she cannot live like this."

The girl was born on the celebration day of the Vishnu, the four-armed Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity after whom she was named.

It's strange that Vishnu is the goddess of wealth when the parents only earn 50p a day as casual labourers.

Someone's certainly going to make a packet out of her though, as the operation to remove the parastic twin - which has no head - costs £100,000.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The numbers game

Camelot, which runs the lottery in the UK, has been forced to scrap one of its new games because punters couldn't understand it.

It's hardly Mastermind, but the Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on the card they'd bought. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

However, the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for many and Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme (near Manchester), called Camelot after failing to win with several cards: "I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher, not lower, than -8 but I'm not having it."

And who said that standards of education were slipping? Fantastic!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Demented Are Go


Demented Are Go are apparently psychobilly, but they're nothing like the old school psychobilly I know. The double bass is cool though! And they put on a good show at Gruta 77 last night.

They look quite scary up there on stage but when you realise it's just two Welshmen, a Yorkshireman and a German - and you see them after the show, and they're not that tall at all - it kind of takes the sting out their tail.

Still, I'm glad I wasn't anywhere near the front.

On a related note, I noticed that the Demented Are Go drummer didn't have a hi-hat as part of his kit. Instead he spent most of the time using the floor tom or the ride cymbal. Maybe this is a psychobilly thing as I remember in my old band, our drummer Jeremy loved psychobilly music and more or less refused to ever play anything on the hi-hat, which he called "the bitch". Curious.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

This the sound of a Deadman's song

My band Deadman played our first concert on Halloween.

At the last minute we were asked to play with the highly experimental (but very cool) Proyecto Moi at La Leyenda - a place I've played at many times before with my old band The Plant She Killed.

We're still polishing some material so we only did a short 25-minute set of 6 songs:

Hating / Looking away / Without me you're nothing / Seropram summer / Out of my head / Hear this

Deadman will be back on stage on 24 November in El Juglar (c/ Lavapies 37), supporting Estereotypo, a britpop band from Santander. Can't wait!

(And I'm glad I resisted the temptation of using the easy title Deadman walking!)

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Ring a Ring o' Roses

After last night's Gruta 77 concert farce I submitted a comment on The Posies' MySpace page. My comment was:

"What the fuck happened in Madrid last night? I've seen you guys twice before and felt very let down by last night. Struck me as a lack of respect to all the people who'd paid money to stand around in a packed, smoky venue - and for what?"

I got a reply a couple of hours later. It said:

"Hey there. This Jon's wife, Michelle. I handle the Posies page when they are on the road.
I spoke to Jon last eve after the show. He explained that the paperwork they had had a different start time than what was advertised on the tickets. So they thought they were only running a few minutes behind schedule when they showed up. Imagine the surprise when it turns out people had been told it was starting hours earlier! He said they felt really terrible about it.
The guys are very professional. I've been watching them play shows for the last 12 years and have never heard of anything like this happening before. They don't have internet access right now, but when they do I will make sure you get a proper response from one of them. I know they are just as dissapointed that it turned out that way. Jon sounded really bummed about it last night. They love Spain. It is one of their favorite places to play. It was simply a really unfortunate administrative error. I'm so sorry for the inconvienence.

xo
Michelle"

Which is nice.

On The Posies MySpace page, comments are regulated. This means that all comments have to be approved by the artist - or the artist's wife in this case - before publication. My comment was not approved but another comment was. It says:

"OK, you were very late last night in Madrid, but the show was grrreat!!"

Now what does this tell you?

Maybe they don't like swearing and never actually wrote a song called Everyone's a fucking liar!

Taking the piss

My wife and I went to see - and I use the term in the broadest of possible senses - The Posies last night in Gruta 77. Jon Auer is a member of the band and we literally saw him.

The evening started well enough - my new band Deadman played the miniset we're going to perform tonight to a small group of spouses, friends and girlfriends. They all seemed to really like it and it makes me feel confident about the future of the band.

Things went downhill from there.

Gruta 77 was sold out for The Posies, who played in a much bigger venue last time I saw them in Madrid (Sala Heineken). There was even a queue of people at the ticket office, waiting for it to sell tickets they didn't have. Looking back on it, maybe all those people had some kind of weird future sight and knew something we didn't at the time.

The doors had opened at 2130 and, after our short performance in the rehearsal rooms upstairs, we went in at 2210 or so. It was packed and smoky but we managed to get drinks from the bar and find a place near the back, in the middle where we had a good view of the stage.

And we started to wait.

And we waited.

And we waited.

And the DJs ran out of stuff they'd prepared to warm the crowd up and just put on the whole of Dolittle. Twice.

It was now 2250

People were starting to get very pissed off when the DJ started speaking over the PA. He explained that the band had disappeared - they'd not gone to the restaurant that had been reserved for them and had gone somewhere else. He apologised, all the time stressing the fact that the delay had nothing to do with the sala. He also said they were on their way back and would be playing soon.

So we waited.

And we waited.

And we waited.

At 2345 the DJ piped up again, telling us that one of the guitarists had arrived and that he said the others were on their way. The crowd were now very pissed off and when Jon Auer came onto the stage to try and placate us and say they'd be playing in 10 minutes tops he got booed off. Gruta 77 offered us our money back and as we had to work today we took it and went home.

I think it's a complete lack of respect towards all the people who'd paid their hard earned cash - €18 a pop - to leave them hot and uncomfortable for over 2 hours without any explanation or any justified reason. Jon Auer tried to say they thought they had to be there at 2300 - but by then it was already 2345 so I don't know where that argument was either coming from or going.

The Posies go on about how much they love Spain but they certainly haven't shown any respect towards all the Spanish people who went to their gig last night.

2130 doors. 2230 band. I could accept some delay, if there was a good reason for it (none of your Guns 'n' Roses style delays, you hear). 2300 would be fine if they'd had a car crash or something. But no. These guys went to fucking dinner. Probably had a few beers. Maybe thought they had to be there a bit later. Probably thought, oh fuck them, they can wait. They're our fans. We're fucking rock 'n' roll stars. We can do what we fucking want.

When we left at 2350 there was a queue at the ticket office - people waiting to get their money back from the overworked girl in the office. It was quite a long queue - about the same as the queue waiting to buy non-existent tickets when we'd arrived.

I hate queues, and I'm quite impatient sometimes, so what did I do? I rehearse at Gruta 77 so I went to the side door of the office and got my money back straight away, thus avoiding having to queue. See, I'm a fucking rock 'n' star too, and I can take the piss in my own little way.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Hurdy gurdy man



Steve Hillage. This guy really is incredible.

Not only is he an amazing guitarist whose solo work and the stuff he did with 70s psychedelic gods Gong still sounds great to this day, he is also at the forefront of underground dance with System 7, a band he started in the 1990s and which continues today.

Hillage played with The Orb after hearing them mixing his album Rainbow Dome Musick (an ambient piece created for the 1979 Festival for Mind-Body-Spirit, dedicated "to the universal spirit of New Age synthesis", which played continuously in a rainbow dome) in one of their DJ sets and going over to say something along the lines of "hey, that's me, that is!"

But that's not all. Hillage is also heavily involved in world beat music. After producing the 1, 2, 3 Soleils show - and album - with Faudel, Khaled and Rachid Taha he went on to work as co-writer, producer and guitarist with algerian punk-rai star Taha.

Here he's covering Donovan somewhere in Germany.

Monday, 22 October 2007

"I am a cunt"

Whenever I see people with Oriental characters on their t-shirts I always wonder if they've been duped - told that the t-shirt says peace and love in Chinese when really it says I am a cunt.

So it came as no surprise when I read about a guy from Watford who'd been proudly showing off a tattoo he'd had for 26 years thinking it said his name in Chinese. It actually said Coca-Cola.

What a plonker!

Vince Mattingley had asked staff at his favourite restaurant to write his name in Chinese symbols.

But the waiter, who was obviously a bit of a wag, drew the symbols for Coca-Cola. Vince obligingly went off and had that etched onto his chest for life. The spaz. I'd have definitely got a second opinion on that one.

I'm actually quite surprised it took him 26 years to discover the ruse. And that's only because when he recently travelled to Thailand a barman asked him why he had Coca-Cola written on his chest.

Vince said: "I thought it was a joke then I found out that's what it said. The restaurant staff must have had a good laugh about it."

Of course, the expression once bitten, twice shy doesn't apply to Vince and he now plans to get another Oriental tattoo to cover up first one.

"I'm going to go with something Japanese this time."

Maybe this time they really will tattoo I am a cunt on the twat.

In a similar but entirely unrelated story from the UK press, a teenager who thought she had mum tattooed on her back in Chinese letters was horrified to find it really said friend from hell.

Brilliant!

How the fuck she could have believed that I don't know. Friend from hell has one or two more letters in it than mum, I'm sure. Even in Chinese!

Apparently Charlene Williams only found out something was wrong when a passing Chinese woman shouted at her: "Evil, evil, very bad."

Her dad had smelled a rat as well. Says our Charlene: "He joked it said chicken chow mein. It was worse than that." No shit.

At least Charlene's not tempting fate another time - she's now covered the insult with a leaf design tattoo.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Method writing

In all the books I've seen giving advice on how to write fiction, experts always bang on about how you should write what you know. A Mexican guy I read about the other day has taken this advice a little too literally.

Jose Luis Calva, an aspiring horror novelist, has been arrested after police discovered his girlfriend's torso in his closet, a leg in the refrigerator and bones in a cereal box.

Nearby they found the draft of a novel titled Cannibalistic Instincts.

Flesh found on a plate and frying pan in Calva's apartment corresponded to parts missing from the corpse of his 32-year-old Alejandra Galeana.

It certainly sounds like a case of writing what you know, though Calva claims he only boiled some of his girlfriend's flesh but that he hadn't eaten it.

One witness said Calva was fascinated by witchcraft and explicit and sadistic literature. No shit.

A surviving girlfriend - who was no doubt glad she got out sooner rather than later - told police that Calva was initially charming, winning her trust with poetry. But he soon turned jealous, controlling and obsessive, and once attempted suicide.

Calva was arrested last week but tried to escape when police came for him by swinging down balconies from his upper-floor apartment. Unsurprisingly he fell and is currently being treated in hospital.

I guess that'll give him an escape scene to write in one of his future action novels.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Engrish


Childish giggle of the day from www.engrish.com. Somehow I'd lost touch with this site but my wife reminded me of it on the phone today. I quickly dived back in and it had me howling with infantile glee once more. So thank you, my love, and than you www.engrish.com.

Tears of a clown



The Beat covering Smokey Robinson and the Miracles with a song that was co-written by Stevie Wonder. A fantastic bit of ska dance that my old band The Plant She Killed also managed a fairly decent cover of. This song actually remained in our repertoire for quite a lot longer than many other covers we did.

Now if there's a smile on my face,
It's only there tryin' to fool the public,
But when it comes down to foolin' you;
Now honey, that's quite a different subject.

But don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression.
Really I'm sad.
Oh, sadder than sad.
You're gone and I'm hurtin' so bad.
Like a clown I pretend to be glad.

Now there's some sad things known to man,
Bbut ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around.

Oh yea, baby....

Now if I appear to be carefree,
It's only to camouflage my sadness.
In order to shield my pride I try
To cover this hurt with a show of gladness.

But don't let my show convince you
That I've been happy since you
Decided to go.
Oh, I need you so.
I'm hurt and I want you to know
But for others I put on a show.

There's some sad things known to man,
But ain't too much sadder than
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around.

Just like Pagliacci did,
I try to keep my suface hid.
Smiling in the public eye
But in my lonely room I cry
The tears of a clown
When there's no one around.

Oh yea baby,

Now if there's a smile on my face
Don't let my glad expression
Give you the wrong impression.
Don't let this smile I wear
Make you think that I don't care

Really I'm sad
Hurtin' so bad......

Monday, 8 October 2007

Niños de mamá?

Today I'm going to write a short novel and I'm sure I won't cover everything that this topic deserves. This one will definitely exceed the word count for web-written stuff.

But here goes.

Italy's economy minister has sparked an uproar by offering tax breaks to so-called bamboccioni (big babies) if they let go of their mother's apron strings and leave home.

According to Reuters, over a third of Italian men over the age of 30 live at home with their parents. This phenomenon is blamed on sky-high flat rents and bleak job prospects as much as a liking for mamma's cooking and clothes washing prowess.

Economy Minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa offered to come to the rescue with a €1,000 tax break for 20- and 30-something Italians who rent.ç

€1,000. Now there's something!

It was Padoa-Schioppa himself who used the term bamboccioni, which evokes images of clumsy, overgrown male babies. It sounds pretty condescending to me and has unsurprisingly caused a bit of an uproar in Italy.

The comment was immediately condemned by politicians from all shades of the political spectrum. They asked: Can young Italians be blamed for a sputtering economy and high rents?

"This absurd gaffe shows how he's probably not clear how precarious is the situation afflicting an entire generation - the first generation that has to deal with social conditions worse than those of its parents," said Francesco Caruso, a communist from Romano Prodi's coalition.

Rome mayor Walter Veltroni said the comment was an 'unhappy quip' and that problems facing Italy's youth were the country's biggest challenge.

Isabella Bertolini of the Forza Italia party said Prodi should reprimand his minister for the "offensive epithet."

Right now in Italy there is a broader debate going on over the country's increasingly geriatric society where the best jobs are often occupied by those over 50, thus squeezing out the young and ambitious.

Many Italians do not graduate until their late 20s and end up in poorly paid internships or with short-term contracts.

A sharp rise in the cost of living since the introduction of the euro has not helped, and even a €1,000 tax break will not be enough to help young Italians stand on their own feet, said Guglielmo Epifani, who heads a major Italian union.

"Renting an apartment 30 years ago cost a quarter of the salary of a worker," writer Aldo Nove who has penned a book called "My Name is Roberta, I'm 40 years old and earn 250 euros a month," told Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"Today, it costs more than the salary of a young apprentice. What else is there to say?"

In many ways you could substitute Italy with Spain and this story would still ring true. Lots of people live with their parents until well into their thrties, good jobs are hard to come by for well qualified university graduates, and those that do find jobs find themselves earning next to nothing compared to their middle aged bosses who are raking it in and do no work.

House prices have also sky-rocketed in the past decade and lots of young professions have found that without the help of their parents - who probably own two or three houses themselves, one in the city and another family home or two in the pueblo or playa - there's no way they can afford to buy anything decent themselves.

The €1,000 euros they're offering as a tax break in Italy seems quite significant to me as the mil euristas in Spain are basically the generation that earns one thousand euros a month. I kid ye not. If you earn more than that then you're in a well paid job.

This what El País has to say about them: "Pertenecen a la generación más preparada de la historia de España. Rondan la treintena, son universitarios y saben idiomas. Pero los bajos sueldos, la sobreabundancia de titulados y los cambios sociales les han impedido llegar a donde pensaban llegar. Comparten piso; no tienen coche, ni casa, ni hijos y ya se han dado cuenta de que el futuro no estaba donde creían."

Sad, isn't it?

Between us my wife and I earn what would be considered in Spain to be small fortune yet we can't afford to buy a decent house in an area we'd like to live.

How do people manage it?

They must all be bankrolled by their parents or some other rich relative, otherwise it just doesn't make sense. And you can't ask anyone about this - nobody is going to tell you that the house isn't entirely theirs, that el suegro has paid for part of it. It's a question of face.

Then again, I'm not sure I really help the situation, being a foreigner working in a multinational company in Spain. Many of my foreign colleagues and I are taking away the Spanish people's jobs - and we earn higher salaries than they do in Spanish companies for the privilege.

You could say we're more qualified, or we have certain advantages like speaking English. But you could also say that there are enough jobs in our more industrialised, lower unemployment countries and we should be sent back there post haste. Would that be racism or plain economic nationalism?

It certainly reminds me of Enoch Powell and his rivers of blood.

If you ask me the whole situation in Spain and Italy is completely unsustainable and sometime during this generation it's all going to go pear-shaped somewhere. Tits up. I'm not sure how that will manifest itself but it won't be nice for anyone involved.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Arnold Judas Rimmer



Writing the story below reminded me of an exchange from Red Dwarf. The crew have landed on a world populated by wax droids who've broken their programming and are fighting a war. It's the nazis and the rest of the world's evil against a bunch of philosophers, artists and scientists - which includes Gandhi, Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and Oliver Hardy. Rimmer becomes a Full Metal Jacket Sergeant Major, putting his troops through their paces, with a "Don't eyeball me, Gandhi!" and to St. Francis: "There's only two types from Assisi; steers and queers. Which are you, boy?"

Lister: Rimmer, what's going on out there? Is that Mahatma Gandhi? What's he doing practising hand-to-hand combat with a nun?
Rimmer: That's not a nun, Listy. That's Lieutenant Colonel Mother Theresa.

Absolute genius!

The spirit of Gandhi

2 October was Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday in India to mark the birthday of the father of the nation. It is one of a very small number of holidays observed in all states and union territories.

The holiday, also called the International Day of Non-Violence, sees prayer services and tributes all over India, especially at Raj Ghat, Gandhi's memorial in New Delhi where he was cremated.

On this day, due to Gandhi's abstinence, alcohol cannot be bought anywhere in India.

So, the day before Gandhi Jayanti most Indians go out and stock up on the stuff so they have something to drink on their day off.

In the spirit of Gandhi, India's shopkeepers duly double the price of all the Kingfisher beer they sell.

Well, I guess it's a form on non-cooperation.

In the Political Compass self quiz I was quite proud to find myself sitting right next to Gandhi on the axis, firmly in the area of left libertarianism.

I don't think I'd have survived his fasting, vegetarianism and abhorrence of alcohol though. So, whilst wanting to celebrate his legacy and the many things he achieved through non-violence, I'd be in the queue with the rest of the country buying double-priced Kingfisher to toast the spirit of Gandhi.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Bloodlust



Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon - inventors of black metal. When these guys speak it sounds like Biffa Bacon, when they sing it's more like Beelzebub.

And I love Cronos' bass.

God in the dock

There are a lot of things - most of them incredibly dumb - that can only happen in America and last week I read about another one of them.

God sued over pestilence and terror, the headline screamed.

The story originally came from the Associated Press and reported that a court in Nebraska is being asked to cast judgement on the ultimate judge - God himself. Fantastic, I thought, but only in America could something like this happen.

State lawmaker Ernie Chambers filed a lawsuit, which also claims that God uses a number of aliases, against the Almighty for causing "fearsome floods, egregious earthquakes, horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes, pestilential plagues" and other alliterative catastrophes.

These are actually quite clever alliterations and that made me think he must be taking the piss!

Even more brilliant are the claims that because God is onmipotent then this gives Douglas County District Court jurisdiction in the suit. Similarly, God's omniscience eliminates the need to issue a formal notice of the lawsuit, which is handy, and reminds me a little of the babel-fish-and-God-disappearing-in-a-puff-of-logic sequence from The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Chambers vs God asks the court for a "permanent injunction ordering defendant (God) to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terrorist threats."

Of course, this whole thing is a publicity stunt by the authorities to draw attention to the fact that in the US a lot of frivolous lawsuits are served.

Is it a case of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em? I think was I right earlier and he's just taking the piss.

Thank god for that!

Friday, 28 September 2007

An Iranian in New York

Not Sting's orginal, or even Shinehead's ragga adaptation - A Jamaican in New York - this time we have a real snake in the city, as one US congressman described this guy.

It's been a busy week for me and my scribbling hand, hence the lack of updates here. A couple of things have caught my eye in the news in the last couple of days, though, that I wanted to allude to, or comment on, or rip the piss out of, or whatever it is I do.

First up is an old favourite of mine, the guy into whose mouth the CIA put "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah" in Wikipedia. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in the US this week and, needless to say, his visit didn't pass by surreptitiously.

Speaking in front of Ivy league students at New York's Columbia University Ahmadinejad began well enough, asserting that Israel persecutes Palestinians. No arguments from me there.

It was only later he came out with a line that had his audience howling with laughter. After being asked about why Iran had recently executed two gay men, Ahmadinejad said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. In Iran we do not have this phenomenon,I do not know who has told you we have it."

This really is laughable. It also reminds me of some copy I was editing at work this week which said that one of the negative effects of tourism was that it "increases social vices such as prostitution, crime rate, lesbian and gay practices." Neither of these two will win any diversity awards in the near future!

Apparently lots of people thought it was a bad idea to have the Iranian president speak at Columbia. I personally don't see the problem. It's a free country - insn't it? - and this guy seems to be capable of shooting himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth, if you'll spare the almost mixed metaphor.

Case in point is what he went on to say after his gay denial (not to be confused with his holocaust denial, of course).

He tried to crack a joke, but I think it was a case of you had to be there. Either that or his interpreter was the one taking the piss.

"Let me tell a joke here," Ahmadinejad said. "I think the politicians who are after atomic bombs, or testing them, making them, politically they are backward, retarded."

Thinking about it, maybe the "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" reference in Wikipedia wasn't too far wide of the mark.

Full story on Reuters

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Big exit



Not only does PJ Harvey sound like Patti Smith on this track, she even looks a bit like her, I think. Awesome opening track from the Mercury Award winning Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I will run after you



If you went away
Called it all a day
Say that it was through

'Cause a new man
Or an old friend
Or a guru

'Cause you got a bit tired of me now
That I could believe
Yeah but if you do

If you leave

Wouldn’t even cry
Wouldn’t even try
Wouldn’t even stew

Wouldn’t look for another love, no
Listen if you leave
Tell you what I do

If you leave
I will run after you

Celtic tigers

The British may take the piss out of the Irish a lot but The Economist has just named their country the best place to live in the world - for its "quality of life".

Factors such as health, freedom, unemployment, family life, climate, political stability and security, gender equality and family and community life were all taken into account in order to come up with the list, which covers 111 countries.

Ireland supposedly combines new with old very well and despite having a crap football team came out on top of the pile, though researchers admit that not everyone will agree with the findings - except in Ireland no doubt.

One thing I'll say on their behalf - the Guiness is good!

And the worst place to live?

Zimbabwe, where according to The Economist "things have gone from bad to worse under Robert Mugabe." No shit.

My country of residence came out in 10th, a good 19 places above my place of birth. It's strange that Europe's major industrial powers - France, Germany and the UK - are all in the twenties (25th, 26th, 29th). Despite high incomes in these countries there are a number of quite serious social problems.

So no more Irish jokes then?

Well, maybe a couple of old groans....

Did you hear about the Irish shoplifter? He was found dead under Woolworth's....

and

Did you hear about the Irish woodworm? He was found dead in a brick....

Groan

Friday, 21 September 2007

The seven year itch

Gabiele Pauli, arguably Bavaria's most glamorous politician, has shocked the Catholic state in Germany by suggesting that marriage should last just 7 years.

She says: "The basic approach is wrong... many marriages last just because people believe they are safe. My suggestion is that marriages expire after seven years."

After that time, couples should either agree to extend their marriage or it should be automatically dissolved.

There's something really fucked up about this story.

Maybe it's the fact that the woman proposing these measures is a Christian Democrat. Surely she should be talking about the sanctity of marriage and all that, no?

And what do her party colleagues say about it? "She is diametrically contradicting our Christian, ethical values," says Ingo Freidrich (Christian Social Union party and European lawmaker).

But that's nothing. [Her ideas are like] "...the dirt under your fingernails," adds Peter Ramsauer (Head of CSU in Germany's parliament).

Indeed her ex-boss and former Bavarian premier Edmund Stoiber says she does not even belong in the party. But then again neither does he, it seems, as Pauli helped bring him down by revealing how his office had launched a snooping campaign against her, trynig to obtain details about her lovers and alcohol consumption to use against her.

Then again, after deposing Stoiber, she is now running for leadership of the party. Hmmmmm, the plot thickens.

But hang on, apparently she's got no chance of winning that, so are her words just desperate measures?

According to Reuters Pauli is viewed as a party rebel - no shit sherlock! - and the leadership contest will be fought mainly between Bavarian state economy minister Erwin Huber and German Consumer Minister Horst Seehofer.

Like the good Christian he is, 58-year-old Seehofer - a married father of three - has also been having an affair with a younger woman who recently had his baby.

The dirt under the fingernails anyone?

For me all this is just typical politics.

In other words, bollocks.

At least Pauli has a bit of cool, posing on her website in motorbike leathers and appearing in magazines wearing long black latex gloves.

As an aside I'd just like to say that in many places in the world common law marriage starts after seven years.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Jah, Boy & Sinead



An unholy trinity if ever I saw one :-)

Friday, 7 September 2007

Stating the bleeding obvious

In a test North Wales Police chief constable Richard Brunstrom was zapped by Taser electronic stun gun, which delivers 50,000 volts to its victims. His no shit sherlock description of the experience?

"Not pleasant."

Well, duh!

What next? Man wins lottery and admits to "feeling happy"?

Full story on the BBC.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Divine intervention

No, not the Matthew Sweet song. This:

"I always ask God if it is his will, and if so then let it be. That's the message I got and that's why I'm here at Hull" - Nigerian footballer Jay-Jay Okocha confirms that God has a cruel sense of humour.

Post-punk in the modern world



"I don't give two fucks about your review!"

This is the modern world

You'd have thought flag carriers would know better, but not in Nepal where the state-run airline has sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection, following technical problems with one of its aircraft. The animals were slaughtered in front of a Boeing 757 at Kathmandu airport.

Apparently, after Sunday's ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong. Nothing to do with the electrical fault that engineers had repaired then?

Amazing, isn't it? First the Vatican starts up a pilgrim airline - and I wonder who they'll blame when one of those goes down.

(The muslims, no doubt.)

(Or not enough - or too much - holy water in the fuel mix.)

And now this: Hindu god in divine aviaton intervention. I bet he's a whizz with the Boeing 757, can fix anything on it in two shakes of a goat's tail. Does he know anything about the Airbus though?

And what's next in animal sacrifices? British Rail kill a couple of cows to stop the London-Crewe Intercity being late again? Housewives start the wholesale slaughter of household pets to protect against their hoovers breaking down?

Take it further afield and away from animal cruelty: People believing St. Christopher will keep them out of trouble on their travels by wearing a little necklace with his image on it? Oh hang on....

Full story on the BBC.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

More pointless surveys

Ages ago - indeed on my Live Spaces blog - I posted some sarky comments on a study at Leeds University on how to make the perfect bacon sandwich.

This morning a couple more studies caught my attention.

First up we have this one:

A New York State University team quizzed over 1,000 students, finding women place a big emphasis on kissing. They use kissing as a way of assessing the recipient as a potential partner, and later to maintain intimacy and to check the status of a relationship. But men placed less importance on it, using it to increase the likelihood of sex.

is it just me or does that last sentence makes you want to go "No shit, Sherlock!"?

Second up we have an Indiana University team who looked at the behaviour of 46 people taking part in a speed-dating session. These boffins' results are even more eye catching.

Apparently men look for beauty, while women go for wealth when it comes to assessing future partners. And men want to date more women.

More taxpayers money well spent in the US then.

Enemies like this



Radio 4. Fantastic band from New York who I first saw at Benicassim 2005, They got their name from a P.I.L song and still have a quite distinctive post-punk sound, reminiscent of The Clash at times, with driving and often dub-influenced bass lines. This is the title track of the their latest album.

I'm wearing a Radio 4 t-shirt in the photo you can see of me on the right. I bought it at the band's 2006 Madrid concert in Sala Heineken.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Health food

I remember my mum always telling me to eat my greens. "They're good for you!" she'd say. And she was right - these days I genuinely like, and eat, most vegetables.

My palate does, however, have its limits and this story from China doesn't just overstep them, it steamrollers them.

There are many thousands of Chinese restaurants around the world and everyone has their favourite dish, but it seems that in China itself chefs specialise in a range of slightly more 'unusual' delicacies.

Most of them are penises. And most of them are supposed to have some sort of therapeutic qualities.

So what have we got on the menu?

Well, first there's Russian dog's penis and testicles, which is good for virility. Add to that Salami-sized donkey dick - ditto on the virility front - and a kind of penis hotpot or fondue which is apparently low in cholesterol and good for a whole range of ailments, not just the male sex drive.

Then there's tiger penis.

This is both rare and expensive but has exactly the same taste and 'medicinal properties' as all the other animals' private parts. Indeed, there have been accusations from animal rights group that this kind of trade is endangering the existence of tigers in China, though the restaurant owners - or nutritionists, as they prefer to be called - say that they only take the penises of tigers who've died from old age. My question here is this: where's the virility in that? To be fair, they reckon they only get a couple of orders a year for that particular delicacy, due in main to its elevated cost, so Im'not sure how far that would go to endagering a species.

Snakes apparently have two penises and you can also get them here. They've very potent it seems. And sheep, horse, ox and seal penises are all good for circulation.

Dicks are not all they've got on offer though. Bull's perineum is another delicacy. Bon apetit!

And we can't forget the pièce de résistance from the menu - something that'll really make you go mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Who in their right mind could ever order aborted reindeer foetus? It's apparently good for the skin so maybe there's a always queue of eczema sufferers waiting for tables in that particular restaurant....

Me? I think I'll stick to spring roll, egg-fried rice and beef chow mein.

Full story on the BBC.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Toilet humour

From Sporting Life's live commentary on Liverpool's Champions League qualifier with Toulouse:

'Crouch looks for goal but from six yards out on the far left-hand side of the Toulose (sic) penalty area the striker sends his shit just wide of Douchez's near post.'

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Monday, 27 August 2007

Ryanair vs. The Vatican

Further to my recent posts about the Vatican starting up a pilgrims' airline and my look at the thoughts of Ryanair's controversial boss, here's something linking the two.

It seems that the Vatican aims to undercut Ryanair - which itself flies most of the proposed routes for the church's service - by about 15-20%.

The ever-friendly Ryanair has hit back with this gem: "Ryanair already performs miracles that even the Pope's boss can't rival."

Friday, 24 August 2007

"I see myself as a jumped-up Paddy running a good airline that gives great fares and screws British Airways."

Michael O'Leary, head of the controversial low-cost carrier Ryanair (one of Wired magazine's "top 40 companies driving the global economy"), certainly never minces his words. He was famously quoted a couple of years ago, when asked about demands the Belgian authorities had made for the return of €3.5m in subsidies received by the airline: "We have written back to say fuck off."

Here are a few more of his gems:

"For years flying has been the preserve of rich fuckers. Now everyone can afford to fly."

"Screw the travel agent. Take the fuckers out and shoot them. What have they done for passengers over the years?"

"We don't fall all over ourselves if they... say my granny fell ill. What part of no refund don't you understand? You are not getting a refund so fuck off."

"Weber [Lufthansa's chief executive] says Germans don't like low fares. How the fuck does he know? He's never offered them any. The Germans will crawl bollock-naked over broken glass to get them."

"There is too much: 'we really admire our competitors'. All bollocks. Everyone wants to kick the shit out of everyone else. We want to beat the crap out of BA. They mean to kick the crap out of us."

"Free tickets. In a decade or so, airlines will pay travellers to distribute people around Europe. The airline industry is Tesco, is Ikea, is network TV in the way viewers watch for free and advertisers pay for access to them, is the internet in the same way that websites earn money for delivering click-through traffic to other sites."

“Business books are bullshit and are usually written by wankers.”

Camouflage



Ah Stan Ridgway: leader of Wall of Voodoo, whose song Mexican Radio was excellently covered (albeit from as far left field as you can imagine) by Celtic Frost on Into the Pandemonium, played with Frank Black on Show Me Your Tears.... and of course made this great record in 1986.

It was in the jungle wars of 65
My weapon jammed and I got stuck way out and all alone
And I could hear the enemy movin in close outside
Just then I heard a twig snap and I grabbed my empty gun
And I dug in scared while I counted down my fate
And then a big marinecca giant, with a pair of friendly eyes
Appeared there at my shoulder and said wait.

When he came in close beside me, he said don't worry, son, Im here
If charlie wants to tangle now, he'll have two to dodge
I said, well, thanks a lot! I told him my name and asked him his
And he said the boys just call me camouflage

Woah-oh-oh-oh, camouflage
Things are never quite the way they seem
Woah-oh-oh-oh, camouflage
I was awfully glad to see this big marine

Well, I was gonna ask him where he came from, when we heard the bullets fly
Comin' through the brush, and all around our ears
It was then I saw this big marine light a fire in his eye
And it was strange, but suddenly, I forgot my fears

Well, we fought all night, side by side, we took our battle stance
And I wondered how the bullets missed this man
cause they seemed to go right through him just as if he wasnt there
And in the mornin we both took a chance and ran
And it was near the riverbank when the ambush came on top of us
And I thought it was the end, and we were had
Then a bullet with my name on it came buzzin through a bush
And that big marine, he just swat it with his hand
Just like it was a fly...

And I knew there was something weird about him,
cause when I turned around,
He was pullin a big palm tree up outta the ground
And swattin those charlies with it from here to kingdom come

When he led me outta danger I saw my camp and waved goodbye
He just winked at me from the jungle and then was gone
When I got back to my HQ, I told 'em about my night
And the battle I'd spent with a big marine named camouflage
When I said his name, the soldier gulped, and a medic took my arm
And led me to a green tent on the right
He said you may be tellin' true, boy, but this here is camouflage
And hes been right here since he passed away last night
In fact, hes been here all week long...
But before he went, he said semper fi, and said his only wish
Was to save a young marine caught in a barrage
So here, take his dog tag, son, I know hed want you to have it now
And we both said a prayer for a big marine named camouflage

So next time youre in a jungle fight, and you feel a presence near
Or hear a voice that in your mind will lodge
Just be thankful that youre not alone youve got some company
From a big marine the boys call camouflage

Hup, hey-ho, hey, left... left...
Woah, woah, camouflage
Hey, hey-ho, ho, left... left...
Woah, woah, camouflage

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Vatican to launch pilgrim flights

I’ve just read that the Vatican is starting a new charter service to fly pilgrims to global holy sites.

So much for the camino de Santiago then.

According to the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, cabin crew "specialised in the voyages of a sacred nature" will man the planes. Is that a reference to last rites?

The interiors will be decorated with sacred inscriptions such as seat covers with the words: "I search for your face, Lord," written on them. Presumably that’s for when you have to adopt the brace position.

I can’t help but wonder how they’ll manage the pricing of this. Will it be a low-cost carrier with ‘holy water’ costing an arm and a leg on board? How much for the sacrament?

They could charge for ‘mile high confessions’ as well.

One thing’s for sure, at 35,000 feet passengers will certainly be closer to their maker than with both feet on solid ground. 35,000 feet closer.

So fucking what?






Anti-Nowhere League vs. Metallica. This song was actually banned in the UK when it was first released as a b-side to the Anti-Nowhere League's cover of Streets of London and later on the band's first album. Disaster struck as police confiscated thousands of vinyl records featuring the song under the Obscene Publications Act. Apparently it was something to do with being offensive - a bit like that guy's t-shirt I reported on a few posts ago.

When Metallica play this live, James Hetfield normally replaces the "I've been to Eastbourne too" line with the name of whatever city they're playing in. There are some other minor lyrical differences between the two versions. Hetfield normally swaps "cunt" for "fuck" - as in "you boring little fuck" - which I guess is more meaningful for the septics, and when talking about the goat zoophilia he changes the original line "I've had my cock right down its throat" to the slightly more violent "I rammed my cock right down its throat." Which is nice.

Of course Metallica are quite well known for their punk covers having done versions of the Misfits' Die Die My Darling, Last Caress and Green Hell. They also covered a lot of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands of the 80s - like Diamond Head and Budgie. Am I Evil or Breadfan, anyone?

Anyhow, here are the lyrics. Offensive? Nah....

So fucking what!

Well I've been to Hastings
And I've been to Brighton
I've been to Eastbourne too
So what, so what

Well I've been here
And I've been there
And I've been every fucking where
So what, so what

So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you

Well I've sucked sweets
And I've sucked rock
And I've even sucked an old man's cock
So what, so what

Well I've fucked a sheep
And I've fucked a goat
I've had my cock right down its throat
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I've drunk that
And I've drunk this
And I've spewed up on a pint of piss
So what, so what

And I've had scag
I've had speed
I've jacked up until I bleed
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I've had crabs
And I've had lice
And I've had the pox and that ain't nice
So what, so what

Well I've fucked this
And I've fucked that
And I've even fucked a schoolgirl's crack
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Who cares, who cares about you
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you....

Monday, 20 August 2007

Swords of a thousand men



A blast from the past. We actually managed a fairly decent cover of this in my old band, The Plant She Killed, though I seem to remember we only played it at one gig. I was surprised to see Eddie Tenpole presenting The Crystal Maze on Channel 4 the last time I was in the UK. You may remember that Richard O'Brien, of Rocky Horror fame, used to have that particular honour.

Friday, 17 August 2007

T4 translations


Again, sin comentarios....

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Big Brother

Everybody loves Wikipedia but just how accurate is it?

I remember the story last March when a Wikipedia editor was revealed to be a 'fake professor'. The guy said he taught both undergraduate and graduate theology at a private university. He edited articles on the site and also had the authority to arbitrate disputes between authors. In an interview with the New Yorker in July 2006, he was described as a "tenured professor of religion." In reality he was Ryan Jordan, 24, a college student from Kentucky who used texts such as Catholicism for Dummies to write his entries in Wikipedia. At the time I thought 'What's wrong with that? You've got to be a dummy to be a Catholic....'

Given that the so-called experts might not be all they're cracked up to be, what about the content itself? How much of it is balanced, unbiased information, and how much is mere propaganda?

Well, according to the BBC, Wikipedia itself has a tool - the Wikipedia Scanner - which reveals the identities of organisations that edit the online encyclopaedia’s pages through checks on the IP addresses accessing the site and making the edits.

The tool has thrown up some interesting results. I know that everyone has their own version of 'the truth' but maybe this is going a bit too far.

For example, the CIA has defaced the Wikipedia page about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adding the exclamation "Wahhhhhh!" before a section on the leader's plans for his presidency. I know the guy's mad but do they really have to make him seem like such a slobbering lunatic?

In their defence the CIA says: "The CIA has a vital mission in protecting the United States, and the focus of this agency is there, on that decisive work." By this I suppose they mean supporting fascist dictators, operating torture facilities and other secret prisons, drug smuggling, kidnapping and backing terrorist organisations.

The Vatican has also changed the entry on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. They removed links to newspaper stories written in 2006 that alleged that Mr Adams' fingerprints and handprints were found on a car used during a double murder in 1971. I can only think that this is because they're all such good Catholics in Ireland.

The US Democratic Party has made changes to the site of right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The changes brand Mr Limbaugh as "idiotic," a "racist", and a "bigot". An entry about his audience now reads: "Most of them are legally retarded." Whilst no doubt true, this is probably the not the most ideal entry in an unbiased online encyclopaedia.

Diebold, a US company which supplies electronic voting machines, has also carried out a bit of creative editing. First they removed paragraphs about Walden O'Dell, chief executive of the company, which revealed that he had been "a top fund-raiser" for George Bush. Then they deleted other paragraphs and links to stories about the alleged rigging of the 2000 election. Dodgy, dodgy.

So what does Wikipedia say about their new tool? "We really value transparency and the scanner really takes this to another level. [It] may prevent an organisation or individuals from editing articles that they're really not supposed to."

That much may be true given what's been revealed so far. But one thing's for certain - despite its obvious drawbacks, if people are going to these lengths to 'polish' entries, the powers-that-be must think Wikipedia has a lot of power to influence the masses.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Pratt wears 'offensive' t-shirt

I'm not saying the guy's an idiot - in fact I think it's ridiculous and idiotic to suggest that a t-shirt could 'incite violence' - indeed, Mr Pratt seems to know which side his bread's buttered on. After being threatened with an £80 fine if he wears the shirt again in Peterborough, he says "If I get a written apology I will wear it in the city centre again." Nothing to do with the prospect of having to cough up 80 quid then?

Or is this apology talk really about freedom of expression? Says Pratt, an American living in the UK: "It's a bummer because I like the shirt but I am trying to get citizenship but if I get a fine I can kiss citizenship goodbye."

So British citizenship is more important than our freedom to express ourselves, is it?

And talking of 'offensive' clothes - FCUK anyone?

This story from the BBC reminded me of when I was kicked out of the Lemon Grove student union bar at Exeter University for wearing a baseball cap that said 'FUCK OFF' on the front. Contrast that with the warm welcome I received at the Doral in Miami wearing the t-shirt in the photo below.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Delamarca vs. Skolnik







Delamarca and Skolnik playing at Gruta '77 on 10 August, 2007. Motherfuckers!!!!!!!!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Black Sunday, 1960



From Mario Bava, the man who brought us the first ever giallo film (The Girl Who Knew Too Much, 1963), the first ever slasher movie (Bay of Blood, 1971) and the film on which Alien is based (Planet of the Vampires, 1965) - apart from this fine example of gothic horror. He was also one of the major influences on and mentors of Dario Argento.

Indeed, Bava was reported to be behind the impressive underwater scene in Inferno (1980) where Irene Miracle tries to retrieve her dropped keys from a flooded ballroom only to 'stumble across' the painting of the one of the three mothers and then her frenzied escape from a corpse that stubbornly pursues her despite its dismembered, disintegrating state.

The red and blue lighting in the cellar that leads to the underwater ballroom is so very Mario Bava as well. Black Sunday, despite its monochrome, boasts some of the most beautiful low budget lighting ever seen. Truly haunting.

Balck Sunday is also apparently Tim Burton's favourite film. A gothic horror masterpiece.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Yûkoku (Patriotism), 1966



The story made me feel sick when I read it, and this extract from Mishima's 1966 short film is equally powerful.

Mother vs. Motherfucker





Danzig vs. Datsuns would also work on the alliteration front but motherfucker's ruder - and maybe I'll get more Google hits from its pride of place as the title of this 'entry'.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Bad art

Oscar Wilde said that "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life" and today brings us an example of just that from the baltic state of Estonia.

What film does this remind you of?

Police stopped a man who was driving erratically only to find he was blind. Indeed, his 16-year old passenger was helping him out with 'left a bit, right a bit, RIGHT A BIT NOW' kind of directions.

"At first they thought he was just drunk, but the man kept missing the tube for the breath test," said a police spokeswoman.

Indeed. Not blind drunk, not even 'just drunk' - just plain blind.

What film does this remind you of? Would it help if the passenger had been deaf as well?

Reuters reported this.

Euphemism

A US soldier who served in Iraq has been sentenced to 110 years in jail for his part in the rape and murder of a 14-year old Iraqi girl and her family. He was the lookout.

One of the charges to which he pleaded guilty was wrongfully touching a corpse.

The mind boggles. Or rather reels.

Read more on the BBC

Monday, 6 August 2007

Satanic goings-on in Iran

Compare and contrast two recent events in the world's favourite islamic state.

Iranian police taking part in the country's annual summer crackdown on 'immoral behaviour' have detained more than 200 people and seized alcohol, video cameras, CDs and ladies' dresses in a raid on a 'satanic' underground rock concert.

But how satanic was this party really? Was it all about black metal? Had Venom reformed to play in the Middle East? Was Ozzy going to bite the heads off more bats, or better still, Americans? Well, not exactly. According to Reuters, the event in Tehran had local disc jockeys as well as rock and rap groups performing. Hardly plumbing the depths of satanism, is it?

In a separate event two men were hanged in a public square in Tehran, with a crowd of 200 people shouting "God is great!", laughing and taking photos with their mobile phones.

These hangings followed nine other public executions in other Iranian cities the previous day, and a further twelve hangings in Tehran's Evin prison a few days before that.

The BBC says that there were 177 executions in Iran in 2006 and, seven months into 2007, Amnesty International says 151 people have been executed. The country is second only to China in the world's execution league table.

As my old A-level essay questions would say: Iran is the most satanic country in the world - discuss.

Bananas vs. chicken curry - the laxative challenge




Bananas or a chicken curry? Which would do it for you?

On 'doctor's orders' an Indian man in custody for stealing a necklace - which he swallowed shortly before being apprehended by the police - was forced to eat fifty bananas as a laxative.

Fifty bananas! The world's gone nuts! Or bananas even! Why couldn't they have just gone to the chemist's and bought some real laxatives?

Unsurprisingly the bananas didn't work and Sheikh Mohsin was still in possession of the necklace, which the police had seen via an x-ray. Next up on the laxative list was the curry. Police gave the would-be thief a chicken curry with some nan bread. Unsurprisingly, that did the trick and the necklace was soon retrieved, albeit in a slightly worse than shop-soiled state.

In another bizarre twist, the thief himself was forced to wash the necklace before it was returned to its rightful owner.

Full story on the BBC.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Fisherman says: "It was an enormous fish. It had phosphorescent green eyes and legs."

Had Justinus Lahama been smoking particularly strong Filipino skunk?

Not at all. It's time to meet the - ahem - world famous coelacanth (or Latimeria menadoensis), renowned throughout the animal kingdom for being able to perform headstands on the sea bed. I kid ye not.

These circus performers apparently provide researchers with a 'window into the past' as their fossil record dates back 350 million years.

They're are odd in appearance too, looking almost as if they have legs because of their large-lobed fins. Indeed, according to the BBC, they are sometimes dubbed 'old four legs'.

Scientists previously thought the fish group had died out about 70 million years ago but discovered they were wrong in 1938 when one was caught 30 kilometers southwest of East London (which is actually in South Africa - confused? So was I...).

The fish don't seem to have evolved much either over the years. Of two different types found - with only a 3.5% genome difference - in places separated by an enormous gap of thousands of miles, estimates from genetic fingerprinting suggest that they separated about four to five million years ago.

However, the boffins tell us, if you look at the geology of our oceans, this suggests that they should have separated about 30 million years ago. This leads me to my - possibly erroneous - assertion that the fish haven't evolved much.

And who would evolve much living down there in the cold and the darkness with nothing to evolve for?

All this lack of evolution seems to have taken its toll, though, as the fish is on the world's 'critically endangered' list. Poor little bugger.

That should teach it to be more proactive in the future!

Don't you just love him?

Celtic Frost - new age goth crap?

A number of things annoy me about this Septic guy and his 'analysis'. First things first, if he can't even pronounce the name of the band correctly how can he actually opine about them? Second, what is it with his obsession with the word 'gay'? If he doesn't like it it's 'gay' - the music is 'gay', the new look is 'gay', is he a homophobe deep down?

He doesn't like the new image either. What's wrong with swapping a leather jacket for a trenchcoat? Maybe he's wearing the snow hat because he's lost most of his hair - after all it's been 15 years since Celtic Frost last released something.

"And what I really hate...," says our 'analyst' - if the image and music which he thinks are gay aren't enough to be getting on with - is that when you type Celtic Frost into Google images you get new images of the band coming up first, not the old ones. Now call me old fashioned, but I thought that Google would obviously throw up the more recent images of the band first - the ones they've got on their website and the ones they've been distributing with their PR materials (so that journos will publish them all over the place). Also, don't searches normally throw up results ordered by age? On top of that, the older images are from before the Internet boom and so are much less likely to be plastered over the web, in my humble opinion.

Right at the end of his hissy fit our intrepid, incisive analyst complains that Tom never does any of his trademark grunts and oohs any more. I was listening to the first track of Monotheist this morning and there they are - ooohs - after precisely 10 and 18 seconds.

Really though, I just think the anal-yst guy with his anti new-Frost rant is just like totally gay, dude.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Alektorophobia re-revisited

So Shannon Elizabeth is scared of being sodomised by a chicken, is she?

I can imnagine it wouldn't be the best of experiences, but imagine how they must feel when the boot's on the other foot, as it were....

Monday, 30 July 2007

Fact of the day

According to the BBC, and after the recent story of the cat that predicts the deaths of old people in a home: Dogs with an acute sense of smell can detect cancer and predict epileptic seizures.

Examples given:
  • A woman in Wiltshire said her Chihuahua detected her breast cancer on three occasions
  • A Dalmatian kept smelling a freckle that the owner discovered was a malignant tumour

Like a Dolphin

Who'd have thunk it?

Dying has its rough edge
no escaping now
The warden has his eye on me
his bad eye
I'm doing hard time now
In solitary
locked down
I'm not the first nor the last
I'm just telling you how it is
I sit in my own shadow now
the face of the people grows dim
The old songs still play
hand on my chin
I dream of nothing
while my lost childhood
leaps like a dolphin
in the frozen sea

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Ghouls Night Out
















Gorgonas and Los Carniceros del Norte at De Profundis in Madrid on 21 July, 2007. Appearing in the photos, apart from my good self, are the lovely Marisa, Hector, Miguel, Nino, Luis, Gema and the two bands, of course.

While you're at it, DJ Morgis (aka Miguel) has a top notch and highly respected goth journal you might want to check out.