Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Topless Politics. man stuff.

(originally posted on myspace here)

What do I want and why do I want it? When does hope become greed? Just generally. Is it a sign of aging? That's something I considered up in Edinburgh. "Never trust anyone over thirty" said Charlton Heston to a monkey before galloping off to meet his destiny topless with a rifle and a mute brunette. And yes that's all very well for 1968, but - Actually it was odd because if you turned over from "Planet of the Apes" on Bank Holiday Monday to Channel 5 there he was in again in "Ben Hur", nine years younger, but standing in exactly the same loincloth, tan and beard. I mean literally. (He wasn't standing in a beard, alright, although that might look good. I'll make that.)

Anyway yes that's all very well for 1968, but I've noticed a number of angry twenty-year-olds at work, angry and hopeless, robbed of any ideology. And it occurred to me of course, any fellow thirty-somethings, that these people have lived HALF THEIR LIVES under the present government… so no wonder they're so scared and racist. It was alright for us because we knew the Tories were baddies when they talked about "Preserving the British Way of Life"… We grew up with images of gorgons smeared in blood and cash and war… But "kids today", they've heard that same poppycock from the good guys. Thatcher's not the baddie anymore, it's something called the New World Order, and expect to hear immigration mentioned a lot. That's all I'm saying. I should formulate that argument a bit more. Don't worry, I won't. That's the other thing I'm saying. And "Don't trust anyone under thirty" is probably where I was headed, but I doubt I'll arrive.

One of the angriest of these twenty-somethings is "ricky", whose friend request I have just accepted on myspace. I thought about it. His mood is ":Angry" and his page is papered with images of 9/11. He writes a lot about the New World Order and posts about ten bulletins a day, but in the end I thought… yeah, alright, this IS the internet, and he hasn't mentioned the Protocols of the Elders of Zion once, and there definitely IS a Bilderberg Group (although I keep confusing them with the Wooster Group) and he might be what Ken Campbell calls "a seeker".

And he is.
But he's not wearing a shirt. And he's posing outside his bathroom. With his arms raised.

So interesting and valuable as many of your conspiracy posts are, Ricky, put a shirt on and bring your arms down because you look like a scary madman. And maybe a bit more hair?

By the way, dear readers, you do realize that extremely significant and sublime things might be happening in my life and I'm just not recording them, don't you. You do realize that. Here's Charlton Heston standing in a beard (signed):

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Sunday, 26 August 2007

("pizditz"?) and a man who has seen one film

(originally posted on myspace here)

Katie Fey is, I believe, one of Kiev's most popular internet nudes (I can testify to her nudity, just not her popularity.) She is 23. Fey is probably not her real surname (or else she hails from quite a big porn family because there are an awful lot of Feys out there on the net, taking their bras off in pool halls and leaving their socks on and wotnot). Anyway I notice she has just accepted my friend request. Perhaps I should add a comment (I see she's a Scorpio.) She has also just sent out the following bulletin:

Today my dog has died!
It had a breast cancer
And it should be drowned...


Drink for my dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


P I Z D I T Z ! ! !

Which is not really what I was expecting from our friendship but Muzzletoff, Katie.

And the day before yesterday I came back from Edinburgh.
And yesterday I went to Kew, and was shown this:

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And tonight I saw a topless man asleep on the tube and thought of David Banner (post-Hulk) and took a photo:

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So there, I'm bang up to date. G'night. (I might start a group on F*c*book actually, to see if anyone can think of any other film that might fit Con Air's description. I've already thought of two.)

Sunday, 19 August 2007

This is what we do. Part 1

(originally posted on myspace here)

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"This is what we do."

Those words spiral in white from a gobo across the floor of the new cafe in Broadcasting House. Free-standing plastic pillars are covered in catch-phrases. It's like the Millennium Dome, except it's a corridor. It employs whatever the opposite of Feng Shui is, a bit like that triangular cell I hypothesized about a month back, and is an even worse place to stay behind and have a drink in than the Drill Hall, which may be the point. Oh you BBC!... whose buildings have inspired literary and filmic dystopiae for nearly a century now. Always at the forefront of baffling and inhuman architecture. "This is what we do." Isn't that what they hung around Morgan Freeman's neck in "Unforgiven"?

What I was there to see was excellent however, and not the work of idiots, so I'll stop being mean: Two recordings of "Safety Catch", a new sitcom about a hapless arms dealer by Laurence Howarth (an alchemist of comic assonance - eg. "infertile wind-surfer") and an excellent idea all round as it gives him the opportunity to a) write a treatise on the nature of evil without anyone minding, and b) have carte blanche to a motherlode of new and amusing-sounding words like "Uzi", "Howitzer", the "Gambia", and "Chad".

These two nights of recording ran either side of Chris Goode's last London preview of "Hippo World Guestbook", which was also an excellent idea perfectly executed (and an uncharacteristically simple idea for Chris): the reading aloud of a selection of six years' worth of comments from a hippo fan site guestbook... first about how much they like hippos, and then about how much hippos suck, and then about how much people who think hippos suck suck, and then how about much they like to fuck hippos if anyone is interested in visiting their site to watch, and then just endless adverts for internet gambling and viagra, and then nothing... in short, a neat portrait of the death of, well, hope Hahahaha. In the bar afterwards ("Bar"? Pub. Downstairs) Chris said something about being "surprised by the people coming out of my mouth" and I thought to myself: "He's talking about acting. *Gasp*. Not theatre-making, not even "performance" - which he's said is like Texas and I can't work out why - but Acting. Capital A. Pretending to be someone else. Awwwww, he's got it!" Which was pretty petty of me actually. It's on in Edinburgh. It's very good.

When Chris originally told me about it I was immediately reminded of my own first glimpse into the dark heart of an internet community, when I finally got broadband and discovered youtube and found a lovely little film someone had posted spoofing someone else's lovely little film, and then read the comments beneath... There were over a thousand. Some people loved it. Some people didn't "get it" and made the usual complaints about "twenty-five seconds of my life I'll never get back". Some people retaliated with the usual "you wasted even more time writing in to complain" which in turn inspired charges of retardation and general volleys of hatred increasingly based on what country a post had come from leading in turn to heated debates about the state of Israel and the existence of God, the War, and on and on and on and it went EVERYWHERe, and it was all AnGRY and in a way... actually... that was the one thing I missed from Chris' show: None of the dissenting "Kill All Hippos" posts that he read out had to be taken that seriously. They were evidence of vandalism, nothing more. Sad, but not scary. Not as scary, anyway, as an open forum's flip into the dark side can be.
Nor as scary as, say, my own flip...

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When I last visited Chris' blog I did a very bad thing, and I'm not sure I can go back. Why does this happen? I'd just come home from Dungeon team-building exercise. I had made someone cry without noticing. Go team. I was a bit rattled so I sat down to the powerbook and saw that Viv had just joined F*c*book and posted photos of Sofia, so I cheerily insulted her ("hunchback") and then her baby ("Dylan Moran") and then moved on to Chris' glowing review of my friend Mel's astonishing Edinburgh show "Simple Girl" and insulted that ("I..." actually what the hell am I doing quoting this stuff again) and then went Ahhhhhhnm-nm-nm-nm-nm-nm-nm and got into bed and went to sleep.
And then woke up.
At seven.
And waited until twelve.
And made some phonecalls.
And received some texts.

In our kitchen now are five large bin-liners full of uneaten cake from Morgan. And there's a sixth in the hall. And I'm off to Edinburgh today. I still don't feel that well. I'm just waiting for the water to stop dripping from the lightbulb above me and the ceiling to stop fizzing from where I let the bath overflow and my room to stop smelling of Copydex. I may be gone some time.

And I am so very sorry.

(To come in Part 2: Nice stuff about the BBC... and everyone... redemption... padlocks folded into swans.)

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Spurious Temporal Generalisation (dark noye sandwich)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Now I was promised a future that was down and dirty full of, yes, weird new crime but also gaudy animal excess and a lowered everything age.
So what's happened?
Why are they talking about raising the drinking age, say?
Who do they think that's going to calm down?
What happened to our pre-packed longpig sandwiches and mescaline patches?
Someone recently posted on their profile the simple question "What in the name of God is going on?" and I posted back "The fifties" because that has been my consolation. It's what I said to Ms. Meikle back in the caravan when she expressed a global hopelessness: that for all the paranoia and the bangs and the juvenile delinquency and the dead-eyed certainty of a culture telling us how badly our lives were being led, that this was just a bad decade and a smarter sixties future was just around the corner full of excellent music and second-hand clothes and popular art that made no sense and kids expressing their discontent with society through slapstick and dirty comics. "This is just the fifties," that's what I kept telling myself. "History's a cycle. I can't wait for the sixties."
But, Ms. Meikle, if you're reading this: Dudo, I doubt. There is another possibility that seems increasingly likely to me every time I step out of work and see the news-stands and a surrendered public... that history in fact is like a pellet in a game of pong, not a cycle... that we're going the other way, and that what in fact lies just over the horizon is not another 1960s, but another 1940s. And not a cool Lauren Bacall 1940s either, with lots of great roles for women and smoking in the library but, you know... 1948... Strength through Joy... Lights out.

But on a lighter note: I came home from work to find that Morgan had left us a big black bin-liner full of pain au chocolat.

And on a darker note:

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Tuesday, 14 August 2007

FACEBITS (newsnightreviewze me)

(originally posted on myspace here)

Morgan lives next door. He used to leave odd messages through our letter box burnt into banana skins. Now he leaves us recycling bags full of organic bread and vegetables. It's his new business. He has a van. And even though he's got a website ( and I've lived here now for almost eight years I've never really known that much about him except that he practices the didgeridoo and is nice. A few weeks back however we got a flyer saying that some of his art (!) was going to be exhibited up the road at the Carnegie Library until September (which is open four days a week, looks like it was drawn by Ronald Searle and stocks mainly leaflets). More of these flyers then appeared all over Brixton with FREE DRINKS circled heavily in red. So we went, and it was great. It turns out he's been responsible for all the stenciling around Herne Hill over the past three years, including the life-size portrait of Gandhi looking cheeky in a doorway... And this evening returning from the big fridge across the road with a box of chicken I saw him out and about doing some work on his van. He's giving it ears:

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So I thought I'd note that down. Which brings me neatly to my absence from this blog. It is not a subject I am trying to dodge... I've seen a lot of other people's stuff since I last posted, too much to recount in one post... I've seen some stuff of my own as well, which has been exciting and empowering and which I shall also recount... I have seen one boy film another knock a girl to the pavement outside my window at seven in the morning and have no idea how to take it as all three parties were clearly friends before, during and after (Is that why it's called "happy" slapping? Are we all missing something?)... And I have - this very afternoon as it happens, coiled and beaming in front of a matinee of Interstella 5555 at the Ritzy, formulated an incredibly good idea for a radio show which I might actually keep to myself now I think of it... but I have mainly... I have mainly... to the extent where I will now find myself in a crowded room sorting mentally through Groening noses and eybrows for a match... I have mainly like every other itchy sucker been creating "avatars" on the Simpsons Movie website and sticking them up on F*c*book.
They're not really "avatars" though, are they, in any sense? They are simply lifeless portraits made from bits of Simpsons' faces and if you're lucky you might be able to get one of them to walk. But here, as an apology for being away so long, is mine:

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Hang on no. That of course is my Newsnight Review avatar. I remember I used Ian Hislop's hair for the moustache.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007


(originally posted on myspace here)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket... except I can't work out how to open this post with the word "The." Well it's been a while. I'm rusty (Hello). I ran my bath upstairs. The downstairs bath no longer has any hot. I got in and found there was a wasp hovering around. I got out and tried to hover in a manner that might influence his own hovering towards the door. I didn't flap I just waved my arms, switched the light-saving bulb on and off... He knocked about the bulb and the lintel, inscrutably. Both of us looked stupid. Neither of us were equipped for this. Neither were a credit to our separate species. "Basta! We are the paragon of dumb animals" I thought after the bath and set about building a circus from youtube:

A lot of silent acts had to be cut I'm afraid, but they can be easily found. "The Miller and The Sweep" who just whack each other with sacks until they're both grey... "Princess Rajah" who can belly-dance with a chair between her teeth... The legendary Annie Oakley from 1894 displaying a marksmanship that has to be taken a little bit on trust given the state of film stock from 1894... The stripper on the flying trapeze and "the Gordon Sisters" endlessly boxing for Thomas A. Edison...
Edison's own electrocution of Topsy the elephant however (to illustrate the dangers of Tesla's Alternating Current) I left out after much deliberation. It did smack of epoch, but this wasn't going to be that kind of circus.
And I would have loved to have had the extraordinary "Julian's Troupe Acrobats" on the bill, but they refused to be embedded.

Darrell Bluett stays. He has to. I can't stop watching him. I don't know why. I even thought of reproducing his act myself verbatim, then found someone else on youtube had already done that. I am glad.

And in the world: I compered. My first time properly: the Wambam Club at the Battersea Barge. Our burlesque act Lady Chocolat never arrived but I'd written two songs that day to cover. One was called "Scrap Brain Zone". It was accompanied by the music of Sonic the Hedgehog from my phone and was supposed to sound a bit like Julian Fox ("I'm a blue hedgehog. And I'm running around a factory that's very, very dangerous. Collecting Gold Rings..." etc.) The other was "O Suck It In", an attempt to phonetically reproduce Asha Bhosle's "O Saathi Re" (from the 1978 film "Muqaddar Ka Sikandar") into a language that let me join in... an old idea, but a great opener. Coincidentally there happened to be a large and mainly Asian birthday party in that night to see the burlesque act, so witnessing me singalong to a Bollywood legend probably sweetened the pill of her absence considerably. Definitely. It wasn't racist. They could tell I just wanted to sing along:

Oh suck it i-i-i-i-in.
They let me market your demons.
They let me market your demons.

Oh lower your belly on me.
Suck in and put your belly on me.
Oh lower your belly on me.
Suck in and put your belly on me.
Remind me of Butch my cleaner.
Then let me knock at your knee-knaw.

Oh suck it i-i-i-i-in.
They let me market your demons.
They let me market your demons.

Johnny Hayseed,
I need you knee-deep.
On yon fa├žade we'll eat brassy monkeys.
Up with the southern butchers!...
Who aren't bad people.
Bjorn says when he's king
He'll pardon them mostly.
And build the office on me-ee-ee.
Build the office on me.
Make love and stooge on me.
Only joking for real.
And let me knock at your knee-knaw.

Oh suck it i-i-i-i-in.
They let me market your demons.
They let me market your demons.

Hurry, hurry, Carnaby.
Just take it easy.
Sandstone may easily be the pushier moon, heh?
It's the third year BC.
Who saw the burly detective?
My old nun said to me it's too easy to hate.
Bjorn ain't too thin now-w-w.
Bjorn ain't too thin now.
Who said the rude thing now?
Someone joking for real.
They let me market your demons.

P.S. That's Asha Bhosle singing on my homepage now. (I may switch back to the Eno though at some point because his music is actually supposed to be used as wallpaper. Just makes it more ethical.) Anyway we'll catch up properly tomorrow maybe.