Thursday, June 30, 2005

Last Refuge of the Scoundrel

A wee snippet spotted in the May/June Foreign Policy:

"Bahrain trumpets itself as one of the Middle East's most wired countries. But some Bahrainis are fuming after their government recently shut down two popular Web sites whose discussion forums contained criticism of the current regime. On one forum,, which received about 200,000 daily hits, users had made allegations of state corruption. The government's response? “There are no limits to freedom,” said King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, “but this freedom should be based on patriotism.”"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

At home with the intelligentsia. No. 21: Margaret Mead

(Full image shows Mead reading Tarot cards on the seafront in Morecambe in order to finance another bloody field trip.)

We're Rich! Rich as Nazis!

The Irish, that is; at least if you believe this bollocks from Thomas Friedman in today's NYT.

For a more balanced assessment, have a look at the post here and the accompanying comments, to see what Friedman neglected to mention.

Kevin Coyne's Books

Available at the appropriately named

Why Go to Barcelona When You Can Come to Co. Laois?

The 2nd Electric Picnic festival is being held on Saturday and Sunday the 3rd and 4th September at Stradbally Estate, County Laois (that's pronounced "Leash"), featuring the Arcade Fire, Human League, Nouvelle Vague, Nick Cave, Fatboy Slim, Asian Dub Foundation, Bob Mould, De La Soul and many, many more.

Tommy Tiernan and Des Bishop will be hosting, but don't let that put you off. Just come well armed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Roots Rock Wine Bar?

What a strange set up this turned out to be. 14 Lloyd St. is your typical Manc, glass and steel, bar/restaurant-cum-nigthclub pumping out house music to the cocktail brigade. So it was a bit odd to have Appalachian banjo and rockabilly guitar in one part and disco sounds in another separated only by a small set of steps and glass walls and doors. Some seepage did spoil it for the performers apparently but where I was sat (the bar) it wasn't too bad.

The banjo playing came from local lad JP Moss, a fine imitation of Dock Boggs, all Jack of Diamonds and icey graves. One for the Harry Smith afficionados I would imagine. Most laughs were provided by former Rhythmaire and Bury's answer to Johnny Cash, Stuart Warburton. Apart from decent repartee and witty songwriting he had the rocking with laughter with his Jeffrey Archer inspired adaptation of Folsom Prison Blues.

Now, as the gig was a hasty amalgamation of two separate gigs (4 acts for £5) Anders Parker , who I expexted to headline, came on third. (Abbott and Costello joke in there somewhere). Unfortunately this meek New York state resident (NC native) struggled to keep peoples attention, on piano and accoustic guitar, over the hubbub and chattering coming from the room we were in. I think he was relieved if not a little disappointed to cut his set to 6 or 7 songs.

Chatting to him afterwards (such a sweet fella) he said you could've heard a pin drop the previous night in Newcastle, and from listening to his new CD I can see how he would've benefitted from having a backing musician or two to fill out the sound and dominate the room.

Last act was alt-country rockists Buchanan who were tight but uninspiring, more suited to the Mid-west than North West. Still decent value for money, beer not prohibitively expensive, but I would be surprised if they used this place again in a hurry, this sort of gig would be better in the usual pub venues than in characterless wine bars

You Always Hurt the One You Love

From Uruguay's MercoPress:

"British Defence Ministry officials incredibly considered selling powerful weapons to Argentina only months before the 1982 Falklands War invasion, including an aircraft carrier, Sea Harrier strike aircraft, Vulcan bombers and battle tanks, even though the British intelligence services were warning that Argentina might be considering “full scale military invasion”. The sales did not go ahead and all these weapons subsequently deployed by Britain were vital factors in winning the war."

"These are among astonishing revelations made public in the Official History of the Falklands Campaign by a distinguished military academic, Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor of War Studies and Vice-Principal of King’s College, London, who was given access to previously secret documents when the Government asked him to embark on this task."

Read the rest here.

Does Mockney Count as a Race?

Big Brother promotes racial and ethnic understanding, says Trevor Philips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality.

"I don't suppose that the Big Brother house is most people's idea of any kind of reality. But in Kemal, the bisexual Muslim, Derek, the world's poshest black man, and Makosi, the feminist Zimbabwean nurse, we have three people who would confound any possible stereotyping."

Hang on a minute. What about Maxwell the cartoon Mockney Geezer, Anthony the Geordie moron, Leslie the Yorkshire ladette, and Roberto the food-loving Italian? Not an original idea between them.

And if you doubt that Starey Mary was an Irish stereotype, you've never been to Galway.

And Why Does It All Smell So Fishy?

CNN profiles Ferran Adria of "Spanish" restaurant El Bulli:

Bright green truffles, carrot-flavored foam and liquid that tastes like olives may sound like odd dishes, but they are among those that have helped Spanish restaurant El Bulli earn its reputation as one of the best in the world.

For chef Ferran Adria, creating these unusual dishes requires him to be a scientist and chemist as much as a cook, combining science, art and haute cuisine.

The gastronomic innovator and his team serves diners a 27-course meal full of weird-sounding food.

To start there is "pistachio truffle cooled in liquid nitrogen" or "air of carrot," a beautifully presented dish of frothy carrot foam.

For something a bit more filling, there is butter ravioli wrapped in a gelatin of marine water, and for dessert, there is "finely spun caramel," or a course simply called "liquid," which is peach dipped in liquid hydrogen.

I wonder if he serves "Bunch of Arse."

Workers Exploited by Nonexistent Bosses

However, the main suspect is God.

Odd story from Indymedia Ireland:

"A Dublin "technology" company with links to Christian religious groups in America has been accused of intimidating staff, of failing to pay salaries, and sexual harrassment. Its work practices are bizarre. Fire escapes are locked. Management deny the allegations."

What's odd about that? Management ALWAYS deny allegations.

"Up to last Wednesday, Global Mobile Vision employed between approx. 60 staff at its offices in Clondalkin, north Dublin. GMV supposedly develops software for audio and video streaming technologies for 3G phones. Yet, a search of Vodafone, O2, Hutchinson, and other 2G and 3G mobile operators turn up a big zero for any partnerships. A search for "Global Mobile Vision" and other related search terms shows up nothing. Zero. Nil. No inbound, or outbound links anywhere. Very strange for a "high technology company with valuable intellectual property". It's so "high technology" that no one knows what they "do". One would be forgiven for classifying this as "snakeoil". Current and former staff said that they did almost no work at the company, they received few orders, and no conrete work (other than "go search the Internet for a while"). One ex-staff member said "after one week, I eventually got a computer but it had no software. I had to use my own software - I told them I would use it until I got me some official legal software but it never arrived."

Ethereal computing? Spooky, eh? And just how many angels can you get on a CD-ROM?

Yet, for a company that does so little, management still felt obliged to engage in the traditional management practices of intimidating staff, witholding pay, and sexually harassing employees. They clearly realized the need to keep up appearances.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ooh Ken McKenna!

Quote of the week for me (and Griff I imagine) comes from Jordi's favourite Alty legend and Manager of Welsh champions TNS, after being drawn against Liverpool.
" A village team playing the European champions, it's unbelievable," said Ken McKenna, the TNS manager. "But I'd have preferred a draw which gave a chance of reaching the third round, when the big boys come in, like Everton."

Age is neither barrier nor excuse

Check out the piece at Hooting Yard entitled "Mrs. Gubbins and Mr. Smith," about an octogenarian's recent discovery of The Fall.

Gerald Davis

Irish artist and scholar, died last week, but obituaries have been few on the ground. Here's RTE's report.

Illicit Booze Deaths

An article from Kenya's The Standard reports on the dozens of deaths caused by drinking an illicit alcoholic drink.

Unfortunately, the writing is somewhat florid and at times it's difficult to know what the point is being made. Here's one description:

"There were desperate cases of people clinging to life as relatives forced liquids down their throats. Their white limbs, cold hands and starry eyes gazed in infinity. The compound of the examination room resembled a political rally. Anxious relatives thronged the place."

What kind of party has rallies like this?

Monkeys of the World Unite!

A bit slow in picking up on this article in the New York Times magazine of several weeks ago, which reports on lab tests attempting to discover whether monkeys can be trained to understand the concept and use of money:

" . . . in a clean and spacious laboratory at Yale-New Haven Hospital, seven capuchin monkeys have been taught to use money, and a comparison of capuchin behavior and human behavior will either surprise you very much or not at all, depending on your view of humans."

Indeed, one of my opinions of humans was confirmed by the very existence of this experiment. Nevertheless, the monkeys gave us all reason for cheer. Efforts had been made to train the monkeys to budget by assigning each of them a limited amount of money, a process that deliberately atomises the community, dividing them into individuals a la homo economicus. However,

"(one) capuchin in the testing chamber picked up an entire tray of tokens, flung them into the main chamber and then scurried in after them -- a combination jailbreak and bank heist -- which led to a chaotic scene in which the human researchers had to rush into the main chamber and offer food bribes for the tokens, a reinforcement that in effect encouraged more stealing."

Can't allow communism, can we?

Sadly, the commodity relationship is all too rapidly comprehended, even by monkeys:

"Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)"

The sex of the partners is not recorded.

Under the Radar

It's not exactly Emerald Bile, but I've linked (see left) to McManus, an intriguing site that's just started up and purports to be a blog by someone working for the CIA in Ireland (it's all pseudonymous but links to Slugger O'Toole, maybe just a sign of good taste).

Might be worth keeping an eye on, though I can't imagine what the CIA would find worth undermining here.

Maybe they're behind this. I always knew there was more to the Michelle Smith story.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

so called experts

And more on the anti-gay views of conservatives in Spain (any minute now someone accross the Atlantic is going to call me a maoist queer...). The Partido Popular and Convergencia i Unio (Catalan Conservatives) vetoed in the Senate the government's plan to introduce gay weddings, a useless exercise because the bill will be passed next week at the Spanish Congress. A few days ago the Partido Popular appointed an 'expert' to back their cause at the Senate. Aquilino Polaino, a psychiatrist, claimed that gay people are ill and the outcome of alcoholic and abusive parents. This came as a shock to Partido Popular's representatives, who quickly dettached themselves from Polaino's speech, claiming that they're not homophobic and that they don't share these views. They can't get away from the fact, though, that Aquilino Polaino is their own man, the 'expert' they appointed and whose opinions made PP's attempts to provide some 'scientific' justification of their position backfire spectacularly. Well, here's some empirical evidence that right-wingers have small brains, I would say.

Friday, June 24, 2005

you'll know when you see it.

no really, you will.

Double Parker

I've just finished Alanna Nash's bio of Colonel Tom Parker (or as the cover has it "the story of Colonel Tom Parker & Elvis Presley).

Admittedly the man is defined by his association with The King but having read Elvis bios in the past I'd become intrigued by the mystery surrounding the Colonel's early years in Holland and as a carny in the States.

These parts of his life are well presented here and could probably justify a book on their own but once we reach the 60's and 70's the focus shifts to Elvis to such an extent that the last 20 years of the Colonel's life are dealt with in the last 20 pages.

It's not as revealing as I hoped and not particularly interesting from a musicology point of view but then it was only £3 from Music Zone so not a great loss.

Parker no.2 is Anders Parker, former label- mate of Steve Earle , who plays tonight at 14 Lloyd Street, Manchester, (a new venue and hopefully not as semi-detached as it sounds). I'll drag my arse down their in order to have something to post about next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

understanding rwanda, "tutsi" and "hutu"

i've just finished watching "hotel rwanda" and one of the things that stuck in my mind was a scene when it's explained to a western journalist that the hutu and tutsi aren't even real tribes, and that the terms were given to them by belgian colonists (having huge dramatic effect, of course, cinematically speaking, in terms of illustrating the absurdity of the impending genocide). this surprised me enormously and i wondered how much truth there was in this assertion, so i decided to do some research on the net

the first thing i happened across was an essay which stated:

The Hutu have larger noses and larger all around facial features than the Tutsis. Most Tutsis are seldom less than six feet tall, while the Hutu are very short people. The Tutsis are related to the Masai and the people along the Nile, while the Hutus have a Buntu history.


The way of life for the Hutu and the Tutsis is considerably different. Traditionally, the Tutsi were the wealthy, upper class and the Hutu were little more than slaves. Now the power is a little more equally divided, but is still more in favor of the Tutsis. The Hutu are mainly peasant farmers, while the Tutsis are mainly animal stock breeders. One thing that the Hutu and the Tutsi have in common is that they are both a Buntu language speaking group.

the whole essay comes across as a 6th from C grade essay attempt, though, and can hardly be seen as authoritative.

next i found this on wikepedia"

It was Belgian colonialists who created the notions of two different races rather than castes. When the Belgians took over the colony in 1916 from the Germans, they felt that the colony would be better governed if they classified the different races in a hierarchical form. They felt that the Hutu were children who needed to be guided, and saw the Tutsi as the superior race. In fact they couldn't believe that the Tutsi were part of the African race at all. They thought that they had immigrated from somewhere else, or were survivors of the lost continent of Atlantis. This "invented" superiority by the Belgians sparked and increased hatred of the Tutsi by the Hutu, and led to many cultural conflicts, including the Tutsi Genocide.

then i came across this website which states:

[in pre-colonial times], the means of power and wealth was defined through the number of cattle owned, hence the Kings of Rwanda always had many cows. The differences between ethnic groups was largely economical; those that owned cows were Tutsi and those farmed the land were Hutu. The Tutsi were seen as rich and ruled the country for centuries. The title ‘Tutsi’ was awarded to the more prosperous but there was mobility between the groups so if a Hutu acquired more cows he could become Tutsi and vice versa.


Many believe that colonialism has been the source of Rwanda’s troubles and that the colonial powers were largely responsible for the deep divisions between the Hutu and Tutsi. Throughout the colonial period of 1898-1962, the terms Hutu and Tutsi began changing from their socio-economic meaning to a more dangerous racial-ethnic meaning. It was the introduction of a racial ideology that created an ethnic division not only in the rule of the State but also within the minds of the people.

it seems the colonists very probably did turn a class system, in which tutsis and hutus could move between each group depending on their economic circumstances, into a "caste" or "tribal" system with an inherent economic inequality.

i suppose the reason this interests me so much is because we've no doubt all often heard the "feuding jungle bunnies too uncivilized to live in peace" argument about what happened in rwanda. i don't know. maybe lots of people already knew what i've only just found out and i'm just horribly ill-informed, but it was an important discovery for me to make.

just rappin'

i really liked this post made by somebody else on the music message board i hang around on:

I love these rap discussions. It always comes down to something like this, hashing out how fake Eminem is, or "the rest of them".

Here's what I've learned so far. Let me know if I've got this right:

Rappers, unlike other artists, can be judged solely on lyrical content. Style, flow, originality, and even the music can be partially or completely ignored when evaluating a rap artist.

Rappers do not have personas, stage identities, roles, etc. What you see is either the reality, or the artist is trying to pull something over on us.

Rappers fall into two categories: positive and negative. We tend to like the positive rappers much better, and they're probably smarter as well. Some groups may go negative (Stakes is High), but the backlash usually brings them back to their senses.

Rappers do not have families, children, etc. They have posses.

Rappers cannot be compared to other artists unless those artists are also rappers.

Rappers are all alike, almost interchangable. Some are just paid more.

Rappers need to be role models because their audience seem to hang on every word they say and imitate their every move.

Rappers deal solely in reality. While most rock lyrics are acknowledged as fiction, rap lyrics are inextricably tied to the artist as his or her reality.

Rappers make up nasty identities because that's what white people buy.

Rappers who are white wish they were black. Rappers who are black wish they lived in the suburbs.

Rappers shoot and kill each other in alarming numbers.

Have I got it right?

If you need reply, be sure to qualify whether you are a racist or not. It helps to know who I'm speaking with.

sex pistols to play live8?

so it is rumoured. i'm really not at all excited about it, although it has raised my interest in the "spectacle" from nil to vague. in other news, it appears that the pistols are still white so damon albarn won't be happy.

I'll Never Enthuse Again

This blog, "The Shins Will Change Your Life," presents breathless overstatement from music reviewers that are just a joy to read.

In fact, I think it's magisterial and majestic in its knowing iconoclasm.

Poor John Robb!

Just Flap Your Wings and Fly

From today's New York Times:

"An Air Force panel sent to investigate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found evidence that officers and faculty members periodically used their positions to promote their Christian beliefs and failed to accommodate the religious needs of non-Christian cadets, its leader said Wednesday.

But the panel said it had found no "overt religious discrimination" - only "insensitivity" - and praised the academy leadership for working aggressively to confront religious problems in the last two years."

The article continues,

"Among the incidents highlighted in the report were fliers that advertised a screening of "The Passion of the Christ" at every seat in the dining hall, more than 250 people at the academy signing an annual Christmas message in the base newspaper that said that "Jesus Christ is the only real hope for the world" and an atheist student who was forbidden to organize a club for "Freethinkers."

Freethinkers? What was he thinking? He's in the military for pete's sake.

But let's not get carried away. We need to get this in perspective:

"The group found that several incidents widely covered by news organizations were overblown. The report said a chaplain who reportedly exhorted cadets in a worship service to tell their classmates to accept Christ or "burn in hell" was merely using language "not uncommon" for his Pentecostal denomination."

Though the fact that he was waving a canister of napalm around lent his threat an immediacy it might not otherwise have carried.

Don't Panic. Don't Panic!

From the Fingal Independent:

"Balbriggan and Skerries locals hoping to gatecrash the REM and Meat Loaf concerts at Ardgillan Castle this weekend have been warned not to risk ‘life and limb’ by trying to cross the railway line.

Over 40,000 rockers are expected to descend on Balbriggan and Skerries this weekend as the first ever outdoor concerts are held in the grounds of Ardgillan Castle.

Rock legends Status Quo and Meat Loaf will perform on Saturday, June 18, while US supergroup REM take to the stage on Sunday. Neither concert is expected to be a sell out."

And they're worried about people trying to get in for nothing? Surely the real danger will be the mad rush to get out when the 'music' starts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Don't ever say nothing happens in Drogheda

matters musical

1. The total volume of music on my mac:

god knows. i have 7,034 songs playlisted in my iTunes library but i have about 53GB of music in total on my external hard drive. how many songs is that, roughly? about 12,000?

i have about 3,000 songs on my iPod.

2. Song playing right now:

the first song on the ghost of fashion by clem snide.

erm, let's have a look.......

...ah yes, "let's explode"

i like clem snide.

3. Last album I bought:

not sure. i think it was the trojan skinhead reggae boxset although i've probably bought something off since then. (good site for independent record label stuff and cheap, too. $20 a month for 90 downloads)

4. Five songs I've been listening to a lot:

"twisting mary's arm" - hefner

"born to a family" - the go-betweens

"deeper into movies" - yo la tengo

"sister jack" - spoon

"the sporting life" - the decemberists

5. Passing this along to:

dunno. is kev jones still alive?

No Jazz Here

Kara has roped me into the music meme, and I'm trying to knock Griff off the top of the blog, so here goes:

1. The total volume of music on my pc:

About 1,000 tracks on the hard drive of my PC at work, another 300 or so on my Creative Zen JukeBox (29 GB to go!).

2. Song playing right now:

"At Least That’s What You Said" - Wilco

When I sat down on the bed next to you
You started to cry
I said, maybe if I leave, you'll want me
To come back home
Or maybe all you mean, is leave me alone
At least that's what you said

You're irresistible when you get mad
Isn't it sad, I'm immune
I thought it was cute
For you to kiss
My purple black eye
Even though I caught it from you
I still think we're serious
At least that's what you said

3. Last album I bought:

Sons & Daughters The Repulsion Box

4. Five songs I've been listening to a lot:

"Patience" – Micah P. Hinson

(In fact, the whole of The Gospel of Progress, a cracking album, especially given his ridiculous youthfulness.)

"Kennedy" – The Wedding Present

"Formed a Band" – Art Brut

"The Laws Have Changed" – The New Pornographers (audio sample available here)

"Idiot Strength" – The Nightingales

5. Passing this along to:

Reidski because Darren didn't but could have, Ed, just to annoy him, and Griff in order to rope in some new, unsuspecting dupes (and give him a chance to get back on top again).

edwyn collins progress report

his wife, grace, posted this on his site today:

Edwyn is maintaining a steady course although he is now, as a result of his returning strength, mightily browned off with being in hospital. We should have a better idea quite soon as to when he comes home, but probably a couple of months. This seems like an eternity to him. We have had some home visits over the last few weeks and that has been wonderful, but going back to hospital is hard to take. I asked him if he had a message for all of you and he said "Yes, disaster area," but followed it with his nutty laugh, which some of you may be familiar with. Keep the faith, love Grace

it's been a long four months since his brain haemorrhage and subsequent MRSA infection, but he's visiting the pub in a wheelchair on a fairly regular basis, i believe, and this is very encouraging news.

keep on burning.

Hold That Thought

“I remember my first break with rationalism. It was Bergson, 1934. His work had come at the turn of the century. And was startling to me on two counts. 1) He attacked the abstractions of Understanding, their mechanical categorization, etc., and opposed to this, Intuition. 2) Humor, he said, was the fulfillment of the desire to see the snob and aristocrat humbled. So that the well-dressed man slipping on a banana peel was his classic example of humor. It is still individualistic, as it would be in the philosopher, but I remember it broke me with morbid and melancholy philosophy speculation . . .”

C.L.R. James (from notes for an unpublished autobiography)

the little things

a friend i know through a music website i haunt on a daily basis (and actually met for a beer-fueled music chinwag in liverpool earlier this year) pointed me in the direction of his website.. i like it. would it sound unkind to say that i'm taken by its seeming celebration of the small, almost futile, gesture?

i hope not. i mean it in a good way.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

that pre-champions league final istanbul wah! gig review, in full...

Μόνο μία καρδιά μεγάλη όσο το Liverpool, θα μπορούσε να χτυπάει στον ρυθμό της μεγαλύτερης γιορτής που έστησαν ποτέ εκτός του Merseyside οι οπαδοί της πιο ιστορικής και πραγματικά θρυλικής κόκκινης ομάδας.

Τέσσερις ώρες πριν από το εναρκτήριο σφύριγμα του Ισπανού διαιτητή Mejuto οι περίφημοι Kopites είχαν γεμίσει το Fan Festival χώρο που τους αναλογούσε έξω από το Βόρειο πέταλο του τεράστιου αλλά αντικειμενικά πολύ άσχημου και δυσπρόσιτου Ολυμπιακού Σταδίου Ataturk της Πόλης. Χιλιάδες κόκκινες μπλούζες, εκατοντάδες πανό με τα πιο ευφάνταστα συνθήματα, μεθυσμένα ήδη χαμόγελα, και αμέτρητα καφάσια της εξαιρετικής Efes Pilsen και η ενθουσιώδης φωνή του Pete Wylie, αυτή η μεγάλη καρδιά του Liverpool, να καθοδηγεί τους πιστούς και σίγουρους για την νίκη οπαδούς, όπως ο Rafael Benitez τον Stevie G και την παρέα του.

O Pete Wylie, o αυτοαποκαλούμενος "Part time rock star, full time legend", για πλέον από τρεις ώρες συνέδεσε την φωνή του με το σπουδαιότερο και πιο συγκινητικό pre-game show που έγινε ποτέ. Μαζί με τους The Mighty Wah! έστησαν μία ποδοσφαιρική μουσική γιορτή από αυτές που μόνο οι Άγγλοι ξέρουν να στήνουν και να χαίρονται. Διότι ότι και να πει κάποιος κακοηθέστατος και σίγουρα προκατελημένος Ελληναράς, οι Άγγλοι ξέρουν πως να το διασκεδάζουν συνδυάζοντας την μουσική και το απαράμιλλο φλεγματικό τους χιούμορ.

Ο δρόμος για την Κωνσταντινούπολη τραγουδήθηκε στο ρυθμό του "Ring Of Fire" του Johnny Cash.
Οι στίχοι του ρεφρέν του "Yellow Submarine" μετατράπηκαν σε "We all dream of a team of Garraghers!".
To "It's coming home" του 2005 μιλάει για τον ερχομό του πέμπτου στο Anfield.
Η λατρεία για τον Stevie G μετέτρεψε το ιταλικό "Que Sera Sera" σε "O Gerrard Gerrard".

Ο Pete Wylie προσκαλεί όποιον θέλει να ανέβει στη σκηνή, να τραγουδήσουν μαζί, αγκαλιά, για όλα τα καμάρια του Merseyside, για τον Bill Shankly, τον Kenny Dalglish, τον Ian Rush, τον John Barnes, αλλά και για τους τωρινούς ήρωες, τον στρατηγό Rafa και την ομάδα που έστησε και τελικά κατάφερε να το σηκώσει το γαμημένο... (το ομολογώ, γίναμε για λίγο Ελληνάρες και το τραγουδήσαμε το άσμα).

Και φυσικά το "You'll Never Walk Alone"… Αυτό το συγκλονιστικό λιμπρέτο των Rogers και Hammerstein, που πίσω στο 1963 διασκεύασε ο Gerry Marsden και οι Pacemakers του για να μείνει στην ιστορία...

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high,
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm,
There's a golden sky,
And the sweet silver song of a lark.

Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown...
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart,
And you'll never walk alone...
You'll never walk alone.

Βλέπω ένα δάκρυ στα μάτια του Pete Wylie καθώς τραγουδάει και το τελευταίο στίχο έχοντας μπροστά του χιλιάδες υψωμένα κασκόλ και μία αξιοζήλευτη χορωδία να τον συνοδεύει. Δίπλα μου, ένας τεράστιος τύπος, κάτι σαν παρακμιακός παλαιστής βρετανικού κατς, κλαίει που τα κατάφερε και έφτασε έστω και την τελευταία στιγμή στην Κωνσταντινούπολη, με πτήση μέσω Γεωργίας.

Ο ήλιος πέφτει, η ώρα του μεγάλου τελικού πλησιάζει. Ο Wylie εμφανώς συγκινημένος ομολογεί ότι όταν έγραφε το επόμενο τραγούδι, τελευταίο προτού κατευθυνθεί και αυτός προς την θέση του μέσα στο γήπεδο, ονειρευόταν να το τραγουδήσει σε μία τόσο σημαντική περίσταση για την πόλη του. Έλπιζε να είχε και τον John Peel μαζί του, αλλά δυστυχώς εκείνος επέλεξε να παρακολουθήσει την συναυλία και τον μεγάλο τελικό έχοντας μία πανοραμική άποψη του σταδίου από πολύ ψηλά...

Heart As Big As Liverpool. Άπλα, όσο χρειάζεται...

a complaint

i have to say, clicking on the link on the left of this page entitled "spunk library" left me sorely disappointed. well, maybe not "sorely" but you know what i mean.

i suppose the handsome family are not that fit either, eh?

apart from wanking.....

other things to do with your hands

of course, in this case, it's no fun if somebody else does it for you.

tough on crime, tough on the mothers of crime

those lovely chaps at the BPI are getting tough on a mother who's daughter has been downloading music . i, for one, am pleased that the likes of 14 year old criminal mastermind, emily price, are finally being dealt with in such a shortsighted and heavyhanded manner. the time for pussyfooting around is gone. emily price's mother should be stopped!

BPI spokesman Steve Redmond defended the tactic of targeting the parents of downloaders. He said: "If we don't demonstrate that copyright law has teeth, we're going to be out of business and countless musicians will lose their livelihood too."

knowing that there are good guys like steve out there fighting for the rights of madonna and bono to continue to be obscenely rich helps me sleep soundly at night. the BPI's actions in no way compromise any sort of goodwill that might still be left towards the music industry amongst the people who pay their wages.

Masturbation: Better than Heroin

From Wired, reports that clinicians and researchers appearing before the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee, told senators that Internet pornography leads to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction.

Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and adviser to the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, told the committee that

"Pornography really does, unlike other addictions, biologically cause direct release of the most perfect addictive substance. That is, it causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids. It does what heroin can't do, in effect."

Am I the only one seeing the potential here for a campaign to get junkies off drugs?

No difficulty trying to find a vein now, eh?

Pro-Catholic Posting at C&S Horror

Cardinal Sin is dead.

Spain anti-gay rally

mentioned by Jose below. These pictures from the BBC are too good to miss.

Why Jazz is Shite

A profile from the latest Down Beat magazine, selected at random:

"Too often, a musician's reliance on arch concepts is proportional to his inability to make an emotional connection with listeners. Rarely does the opposite occur: an artist who practically conjoins with his audience with music grounded in heavy post-existential ideas.

Tord Gustavsen is such a rarity. On his two trio albums for ECM—the latest, The Ground, has recently been released in the United States—the Norwegian pianist creates transporting moods with heart-on-sleeve melodies and reverent hymn-like themes, rendered with a soft-spoken intensity, often at a glacial tempo. Yet, Gustavsen is not merely playing pretty for the people, but explicating a set of ideas set forth in his post-graduate thesis, “The Dialectical Eroticism of Improvisation.”"

I rest my case.

Actually, no I don't.

"Oversimplified, Gustavsen examines the role of listening in the improviser's negotiation with materials and the moment. Given the unabashed romanticism of much of his music, it's intriguing that Gustavsen turns to the terminology of musique concrete avatar Pierre Schaeffer. Ironically, Gustavsen uses concepts like “scenic consciousness” and “emergent quality” in the service of music that seems the polar opposite of Schaeffer's. Yet, Schaeffer would most probably agree with the spirit of Gustavsen's mood-setting application of scenic consciousness when the pianist describes it as “an approach that bypasses the conventions of music to make it a transcendent experience. It's a way to live in and breathe in the music as we play, to encounter the phrases as a landscape.”"

Yes, yes, it all makes perfect sense, but so what? I could make just as good a case for the dialectical eroticism of seven-a-side football, the pleasure derived from my response to my teamates' response to my decision to take the ball down the line and cut inside, but if I used the jargon on display here they'd give me a good kicking in the showers afterwards, and rightly so.

It annoys me that they daren't say it in plain English because they'd be found out. We'd all realize they're not so deep after all.


More from Barcelona

Kind of busy weekend. On Saturday I went to the concentration pro-gay marriage in Barcelona. It was actually an anti-Partido Popular/anti-Church concentration, since PP and the priests demonstrated in Madrid (where else?) calling for a ban on gay marriages, which have recently been legalised in Spain by the socialist government. Last week the PP also demonstrated against the return to Catalonia of Catalan republicans' personal documents, which had been confiscated by Franco's army as a war prize. And they also took the streets to oppose future conversations with ETA, even if they offered to give up violence ('no surrender to the ETA...'). Funny the same people who last year mocked and despised anti-war demonstrators are now marching on the streets nearly every day. And pretty scary too, the PP hasn't softened a bit after Aznar, they're as full of hatred and prejudice as ever. But this hardline could also be interpreted as a sign of desperation, since PP and the Church have lost touch with the rest of the world (as I'm writing this, PP is on the brink of losing the absolute majority in the Galicia elections, held on Sunday).
Yesterday I popped in the Anarchist Bookfair, which, at least when I visited, was a small affair. Mainly a few collectives selling their publications. A few interesting books, but a bit skint at the moment, so I just bought papers! The workshops and video sessions in mid-week were very successful and well attended (so I've been told). By the way, does anybody know when and where is the London Anarchist Bookfair taking place this year?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sartre Centenary: "Being Beats Nothingness Every Time" says Dead Philosopher

(Full image shows Sartre singing "Je ne regrette rien . . . mais je suis responsable pour tout.")

Job Opening for Kevin Keegan

FC United given League go-ahead

16:35 Monday June 20th 2005

FC United of Manchester established by disheartened Manchester United fans has been given the go-ahead by the North West Counties League for next season.

The club will join the Second Division of the League and play at Droylsden FC's Butcher's Arms Ground, subject to council approval.

The stadium has a capacity of 3,500.

FC United are interviewing potential managers and will hold an open trial for players on June 26th.

More than 2,600 disgruntled Manchester United fans have already pledged money and help to the new club.

The fans are fighting Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the Red Devils but are not likely to have much effect on his plans as he controls 97.3% of Manchester United.

we really shouldn't laugh....should we?

of course we should!!

i refer, of course, to the hilarious fiasco that was the US grand prix, yesterday.

"ooh, this circuit looks a bit hard for us. could you change it for us? you know, make it possible for us to win, like?"


"well, it's just that our tyres are a bit shit so we wondering if you'd make the race a bit easier for us."


general finger pointing, bleating, gamesmanship, dummy-spitting and door-slamming ensues

end result: farcical race, punters ripped off, F1's future in the USA in disarray, etc...etc......


That Joke Isn't Vinny Anymore


Revenge of the S*ith*

In the absence of a genuine reunion this looks like as close as we'll get for a while.
I just hope he's got a good lawyer.

I Was a Teenage Anarchist

And those years are faithfully reproduced here, on Darren's Web site.

A must, must read.

Bellow the Belt?

An eloquent and contrarian retrospective of the work of Saul Bellow by Anne-Marie Cusac in the latest issue of The Progressive.

Melville & James

Mistress of the Deep* Alphonse generously links to us thanks to our affection for Moby-Dick and manages, almost topically, to make reference to C.L.R. James in the process.

*Deep as in Profound. Yes, I know it's a dreadful pun, but what do you want, I'm just out of the pub.

Best Blog Name Award

Goes to this site, which just referred some poor unsuspecting fool to C&S.

"heaven knows he's les miserables now"


"the queen musical is dead"

following "mama mia" and "we will rock you" (and maybe some even more dreadful musicals that escape me right now), "some girls are bigger than others", a musical based around the songs of the smiths, is to debut in the west end at the end of this month. of course, it would be desperately uncool to admit that i'm actually tempted to go and see it, so i'll just keep quiet.

*stares at feet uncomfortably*

how long must we wait for that pere ubu on ice production? will we ever get the trout mask replica operetta that we've been craving all these years?

Why do you call him Tiny?

Documentary by Tim Irwin about art-punk combo the Minutemen, We Jam Econo, enjoying a showing at the Lincoln Center.

Jimmy Cunningham IS Back

Legendary local journalist James Cunningham, who has entertained readers of the Drogheda Leader with his stories of frustrated pensioners hijacking buses, shoplifting dogs, and, in one case, of a robber who was caught by police on foot when he tried to cycle off with a shop's cash register on his handlebars (he fell over twice), has been poached by local rivals the Drogheda Independent.

Here's his latest:

"BATHERS in Laytown have called on anyone with a knowledge of marine life to help identify a frightening creature washed up on the beach last week.

The fish was on the seashore for no more than one hour when it was discovered.

Locals are undecided whether the creature is actually a fish or a variety of eel but one thing is for certain the creature is armed with razor sharp teeth, mysterious holes on the side along its body and a single eye perched on the top of its head.

Some seasiders dubbed the strange fish the ‘beach beast’ because of its grizzly looks.

The creature was discovered last Tuesday night by two walkers out on an early evening stroll.

The man who discovered the creepy fish, Jim Cooney said the fish is the oddest creature he has ever seen.

‘I’m walking the beach for over thirty years and I seen some unusual things.

‘But I can safely say I’ve never seen anything like it.

Jim, who lives in Marian Villas in Laytown said he walks the beach at least twice a day.

He said the creature would ‘freak out anyone’ because of its unusualness.

‘At first it looked like an eel but I can’t say with certainty what it is,’ he added.

Other locals who witnessed the freaky fish said they were scared by the teeth and the shape of the head.

Bathers who normally swim in the sea have called for the identity of the fish to be revealed before they’d get back in the water.

The area where the creature was washed ashore is a popular bathing spot especially with families.

The fish is approximately one metre in length and is red and black in colour.

The creature was discovered near Laytown church about 100 metres from the seashore.

Some locals say the creature looks like a relative of the Sea Lamprey.

Others disagree saying they were put off by the grizzly nature of the beach beast.

Jim Cooney has called for the creature to be identified to allay fears that the fish could be dangerous.

‘Certainly the razor teeth and mysterious holes make the creature look very, very scary.

‘I was amazed to see the spooky eye on the top of its head rather than at the side of the head.

‘I hope someone with a knowledge of marine life can tell us what it is,’ he added.

Over the past number of years many varieties of marine fish have been washed ashore in Laytown including a Basking Shark.

Last year the beach at Laytown was invaded by thousands of harmless jellyfish."

and HERE's the Beach Beast of Laytown.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Sonar is On

It started yesterday, the other big music event in Barcelona. It’s the Sonar, the “Advanced Music and Multimedia Art” festival. In a nutshell, an electronic music festival.
You can pretty much imagine what kind of gigs and performances you can see at the festival sites. Chemical Brothers or Jeff Mills are among the regulars at different editions of the festival. But in my opinion, one of the most interesting and surprising aspects of Sonar is always the promotion, the image of the festival.
A few years ago, for instance, they used the image of Diego Armando Maradona to promote the festival. You may wonder what the retired football star has to do with advanced music, but somehow the mix worked.
This time they used the photographs and stories of different con men, cheaters and forgers. if you visit the web site of the festival, you can read about them. In Spain, the most famous of them is el Dioni, a security guard who disappeared with a considerable sum of money he was supposed to watch.
Just before the start of the event, the organization of the festival revealed that the people starring in the promotion campaign, except for el Dioni, are not real. The fakers were fake, and so far everybody had bought it. Brilliant.

Only the Good Die Young

The papers loved this story last year when an old Italian bloke put himself up for adoption to be the granddad to any family willing to take him.

Here's an update. The old git skipped town, leaving behind a dentist's bill of 2,360 euros and bounced cheques.

"He wasn't the granddad we wanted. He got on well with mom, but when we talked to him about our stuff, he got bored," said Dagmara Riva of the retired classics teacher her parents gave a home to.

Read the rest here.

32 grand on whisky in one night? Easy

Except this bloke at a hotel in Surrey spent it on one bottle, a 62-year-old Dalmore.

Surrey. Nuff said.

Lucy in the Sky Has Died

According to this Australian news report, the girl who inspired the Beatles song has died at the age of 47 after a two-year battle against breast cancer.

Just Another Day in Saudi #3

An article by M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan in today's (pro-government) Arab News:

RIYADH, 17 June 2005 — Waleed Al-Soweidan, chief of the Saudi Arabian National Recruitment Committee, said yesterday that Kingdom had no plans to stiffen laws on runaway workers. He said that the Kingdom had laws that safeguarded the interests of sponsors and their foreign employees.

Al-Soweidan, however, said the labor sector needed to be streamlined in the interests of both the employers and the employees.

“The problems faced by sponsors because of the growing number of runaway workers are being effectively dealt with by government agencies,” he said.

The Labor Ministry is expected to announce some measures to prevent workers from fleeing from their employers without apparent reasons. Al-Soweidan was commenting on a report about Riyadh’s moves to stiffen penalties on runaway workers, which appeared in a section of local press early this week.

He pointed out: “The Labor Ministry or the concerned government agencies are authorized to take punitive measures and to take erring workers to court”.

In many cases, he said, it has been found that a substantial number of workers try to escape and work elsewhere despite the fact that the existing regulations ban such actions. Runaway expatriate workers especially housemaids had often found “excuses,” he added, such as maltreatment or non-payment or delay of salaries, to escape from the employers.

A substantial number of foreign workers are reported to go job hunting immediately after landing in the Kingdom despite their contractual obligations. Many of them simply run away after receiving residence permits (Iqama).

During the last six weeks, Saudi police have detained thousands of illegal and runaway workers from Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah.

Asked about the denial of visas to certain nationalities, Al-Soweidan said that this was not the case. “Employers — individuals or companies — are granted employment visas according to the categories or the nationalities requested in the visa application. After processing the application, only the required number of visas is issued to the companies or individuals,” said the official, adding that, “There is no basic change as far as the recruitment policy is concerned.”

Saudi Arabia, he said, had been recruiting workers from various countries, mainly in Asia, Africa and Europe. The total number of foreign workers in the Kingdom currently exceeds 7.5 million according to a report published recently

Atomic Explosion in Nagasaki: First Reports

Japan's Mainichi Daily News is carrying the reports from the first foreign journalist to arrive in the city of Nagasaki after the atomic explosion of August 9, 1945, here.

Occupation censors refused to allow the publication of George Weller's stories and photos that told of conditions in the city and the pain suffered by those with radiation sickness.

Weller died aged 95 in 2002. His son, Anthony, a writer from Massachusetts, found the stories and pictures last summer in the Rome apartment where his father had lived during the last few years of his life.

Writing Against

Just finished this excellent biography of Jean-Paul Sartre. My only disappointment was that there was no mention of Topo Gigio anywhere, although apparently he did a passable impression of Donald Duck. I'm starting Les Mots next so let's hope there are some cartoon capers in that.

Today I Will Be Mostly Reading C.L.R. James

Specifically this, which arrived in the post this morning from AK Press in Oakland.

What a mighty fine service they provide.

Dead Anarchist Watch

has drawn our attention to the latest copy of Organise (pdf file) the magazine of the anarchist communist Anarchist Federation. Page 25 features brief obituaries for Chris Pallis (Maurice Brinton), John Crump, and Antonio Tellez.

Rather depressing, if only because they're rather underwhelming tributes that suggest maybe the authors are too young to recall the significance of Solidarity in the 1960s and 70s (described as having a mostly positive effect on the anarchist movement - Jesus!). Tellez I remember as the author of the biography of Francisco Sabate, Sabate: Guerrilla Extraordinary, which Stuart Christie translated, but there's a far better obituary than the Organise one at the Kate Sharpley library (click on his name, above).

That'll be the traditional Irish police corruption/tribunal culture, then.

The findings of the Morris Tribunal, previously discussed here, are due to be debated in the Dail today. Frank McBrearty Jnr., the bloke framed by the Gardai for murder, will be keeping an eye on events; he claims that a cover-up is already well under way.

The family of the man killed in a hit-and-run accident and whose death was blamed on McBrearty, Richie Barron, have now filed papers against the state over Garda corruption, reports today's Irish Examiner.

We do love a good tribunal over here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

But, no, seriously, thank you for your interest

Our stats have gone through the roof in the last week, clearly thanks to the arrival of a new member on the team and to the very fertile Comments section. Only half-way through June and we're already way ahead of our May figures, and the past two days have seen successive record Page Views.

Can't imagine what it is we're doing right, but we'll keep on trying to do it!

Thank you for your continued support!

Ah yes, that'll be the notorious Scottish Knife-Bevvy Culture

How seriously should we take The Scotsman?

Consider this story which reports that,

"SCOTLAND is in the grip of a deepening weapons culture, police warned yesterday, as new figures revealed an increase in the number of knives, baseball bats and other potentially lethal items being carried in almost every part of the country."

Other potentially lethal items? What could they be?

"The majority of serious assaults are now involving either belt buckles or bottles and ashtrays smuggled out of clubs."

Presumably glass ashtrays rather than crappy plastic ones, but isn't this trend indicative of a lack of other MORE lethal weapons, such as, I dunno, knives and baseball bats? The article explains,

"Officers are now reporting a surge in the use of "impromptu" weapons such as belt buckles and pint glasses in towns and cities, their use fuelled by alcohol, as well as a steady increase in the carrying of knives."

I like that. Use of pint glasses fuelled by alcohol. My use of pint glasses was always fuelled by alcohol. Well, motivated by the fact that they contained alcohol, anyway. Why not, erm, use plastic glasses?

I suppose because if they don't have pint glasses to hand, they'll resort to knives. After all,

"Scotland has to take a long hard look at the bevvy culture as well as the knife culture. The two go hand-in-hand, causing mayhem in many areas, particularly at weekends."

Hand in hand. That's right. Can't go out for a few nice pints and NOT take the old knife with me. Wouldn't be right, would it? It's tradition.

Reidski, Darren, help me out with this crap. Have we soft effeminate Sassenachs been missing something?

Punk's Not Dead, Just Unwell

Excellent post by Victor about this. The top 30 punk songs of all time; the giveaway, of course, is "as voted for by you," meaning as voted for by 12-year-old girls.

I'll Wait for the Paperback

The world's biggest book has just been published, Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom, by Michael Hawley. It weights over 130 pounds, and each of its 112 pages is 5 X 7 feet. That's feet.

Read more here.

Bloomsday, me arse!

Noreen and Ball Bag are right!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

At home with Topo Gigio. No. 3: Topo Gigio

(Full image shows embalmed body of Topo Gigio lying in state in Red Square)

At home with the intelligentsia. No. 20: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

(Full image shows Lenin enjoying a bit of postrevolutionary R&R in a sensory deprivation tank while listening to the music of Topo Gigio)

Send THESE GUYS the Superhero meme

From an advertisement posted in March on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site by the U.S. Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

"In order to achieve long-term peace and stability in the Middle East, the youth need to be reached. One effective means of influencing youth is through the use of comic books. A series of comic books provides the opportunity for youth to learn lessons, develop role models, and improve their education.

The Contractor shall provide development of an original comic-book series. Knowledge of Arabic language and culture, law enforcement, and small-unit military operations is desired. The comic books will be produced in Arabic so the boxes will have to follow a sequence of right to left and top to bottom. The series will be based on the security forces, military, and police, and set in the near future in the Middle East. If the subject matter for a specific comic does not do well in its intended focus group then it may be dropped and/or a new basis for the comic will be selected.

A designated representative of the U.S. Army will provide thematic guidance, cultural expertise, and oversight to the Contractor. Additionally, photos of regional architecture, vehicles, and people, which will serve as a basis for the artwork, will be provided.

This will be a collaborative effort with representatives of the U.S. Army who have already done initial character and plot development."

from the latest Harper's.

But My Religion IS Misogyny

Interesting article in the latest issue of The Nation by Deborah Scroggins (subscription only) about Holland's "Muslim Problem."

In passing, it reinforces what I wrote below in an earlier Comments Box: Many critics are too ready to see all Islam as inherently oppressive of women. My point about Saudi Arabia's restrictions on women drivers, however, points up the fact that the problem is NOT Islam as such, it is patriarchy. There are female-friendly readings of the Koran (and many different forms of Islam) and it isn't as though the oppression of women historically has been the exclusive preserve of Muslim countries.

We're not massively sympathetic to any religion at this site, as you know, although, as I've written before, the human "urge to religion" is something I believe necessarily arises from the human condition. Even so, it still behoves us to know precisely what our problems are and when criticism is deserved or not. Why antagonise people of goodwill simply because we regard their values as bizarre?

Who are U2?

Considering Bongo and the boys were in town last night (ditto System of a Down, The La's, Joy Zipper) it was still almost a full house at N&D for Sons & Daughters. First support, The Alpha Western, started with a country-rock vibe, and faux American vocals, and got heavier as their set progressed. Solid enough stuff if a little unimaginiative and uncommunicative.

Glasgow's Mother & the Addicts followed with a much sunnier attitude and an 80's New Wave sensibility. Good jerky/jerk-y pop in a B-52's/Rezillos vein, comic song titles which weren't quite as funny as they thought they were.

Running late by now, S&D still made us wait through the compulsory intro song (if bands would stop doing this they could squeeze another song in, surely), but did seem to keep the songs short and sweet. From what John tells me about the CD, these songs come into their own in a live context. Bigger venues than N&D will suit them no end.

A decent show all the same. I missed the encore (assuming they did one) to get the last tram but would recommend them if they're playing near you. Plus they give away free S&D lighters. I'll be using mine to light the cooker, obviously.

Some More Fun at the Expense of the Provinces

From the Counago & Spaves archives, I give you Spalding Gray in Offaly and Terry Eagleton in Mayo.

We had that Oliver Cromwell in Drogheda, an' all. Left it in a right bloody state, he did.

I bet they were really West Brits from D4

From the Irish Examiner (formerly the Cork Examiner)

"ON two consecutive weeks recently, letters claiming to have been written by visitors from England have appeared in your letters column.

Significantly, the pattern in each is almost identical. The visitors expected great things in a European Capital of Culture. They were disappointed in what they found in Cork and then went on to castigate the city.

The first pair came on the weekend of the choral festival. They dismissed that on the basis that it happens every year. Now the Cork choral festival is rated as one of the best in the world. This year’s festival reached even greater heights of perfection than in any previous year, filling halls, churches and other public spaces with glorious music.

They were furious to find the Glucksman Gallery closed on the Monday. They can hardly claim to be keen gallery-goers since most of the great ones the world over close on Mondays.

I can only conclude that the writer of that letter, in the immortal words of Samuel Beckett, “never gave a fart in his corduroys for any form of art whatsoever.”

The writer of the second letter did concede that the magnificent Airgeadóir exhibition at the Crawford was ‘nice.’

I was reminded of a time in the distant past when I coerced a young man to accompany me to a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

When I enquired at the end what he thought of it, he said he thought it was long.

I don’t think either of these two letters merits a serious reply, but I am greatly concerned that you would consider them worthy of publication."

Ald Mairín Quill
1 Wellesley Terrace
Wellington Road

Now, officially, my favourite Beckett quotation.

First, two-way mirrors, now, one-way Windows

From today's Guardian, an article by Jonathan Watts entitled "Microsoft Helps China to Censor Bloggers."

"Civil liberties groups have condemned an arrangement between Microsoft and Chinese authorities to censor the internet.

The American company is helping censors remove "freedom" and "democracy" from the net in China with a software package that prevents bloggers from using these and other politically sensitive words on their websites.

The restrictions, which also include an automated denial of "human rights", are built into MSN Spaces, a blog service launched in China last month by Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology, a venture in which Microsoft holds a 50% stake."

read the rest here.

Obviously, "Counago" and "Spaves" will still be accessible, so why worry?

Sucker MC

Max Clifford, self-publicising publicist, quoted on the acquital of the world's most famous babydangler, "I think a lot of things came out in the trial which have left a bad taste in the mouth of the general public."

Does your Jesus Juice lose its flavour on the bedpost over night?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Antiterror legislation: Greenpeace verdict introduces collective punishment in Danish law

From Statewatch (see left)

"In a court verdict on Friday, 10 June, the environmental organisation Greenpeace Nordic was sentenced to pay 30.000 Danish kroner (4.000 €) for being the responsible organisation behind a group of activists, who had climbed to the top of the headquarters of the Danish Agriculture Council in the centre of Copenhagen on 13 October 2003."

"The new development came when Greenpeace Nordic were charged as being responsible for the action. This was made possible because the Danish Penal Code (§ 306 (1)) was amended in 2002 to follow the recommendations of the UN and EU provisions on fighting terrorism."

The rest is here.

Sidney the Bat is Awarded the Order of Lenin

One of my guilt-free pleasures is the quaint, bizarre, and hilarious Hooting Yard, a sort of "Country Diary of an Edwardian Maniac," a pleasure I've nevertheless indecently indulged in for some time without realizing its provenance, science-fiction writer Frank Key, here profiled by Dave Langford of ansible fame and brother of our beloved Jon the Mekon.

I'll never look at Ferenc Puskas in the same light again.

Traffic News

From Reuters:

"A Sicilian court condemned road authorities Monday for suspending the driving license of a man after finding out he was gay.

The court on the Mediterranean island said being gay was merely "a personality disturbance" which had no bearing on a person's ability to drive, Ansa news agency reported."

The rest here.

and Arab News reports:

"Interior Minister Prince Naif has criticized calls to lift a decades-old ban on women driving and said the issue was not a priority for the Kingdom.

He said he was surprised the matter had been raised in the Shoura Council. Referring to the council member who brought the issue up, the prince said: “Does he understand what the priorities are? We consider this issue to be a secondary issue, not a priority. These matters are decided by taking into consideration the public interest and what is dictated by a woman’s honor. I urge everybody to end this and not make an issue out of it, pitting one group against another.”

The rest here.


As Primavera is a distant memory I'll just review the gigs that I've been to since. Teenage Fanclub (OK), Alabama 3 (Four stars), M Ward (Genius), and The Trashcans Sinatras (better last time). Tonight I'm going to see Sons & Daughters who impressed in Barcelona in the short time we saw them so good things are expected in what will no doubt be a packed Night & Day.I might even review it tomorrow if I get a chance.

Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced

Nicholas D. Kristof's op-ed piece from today's New York Times:

"No wonder the Pakistan government can't catch Osama bin Laden. It is too busy harassing, detaining - and now kidnapping - a gang-rape victim for daring to protest and for planning a visit to the United States.

Last fall I wrote about Mukhtaran Bibi, a woman who was sentenced by a tribal council in Pakistan to be gang-raped because of an infraction supposedly committed by her brother. Four men raped Ms. Mukhtaran, then village leaders forced her to walk home nearly naked in front of a jeering crowd of 300.

Ms. Mukhtaran was supposed to have committed suicide. Instead, with the backing of a local Islamic leader, she fought back and testified against her persecutors. Six were convicted.

Then Ms. Mukhtaran, who believed that the best way to overcome such abuses was through better education, used her compensation money to start two schools in her village, one for boys and the other for girls. She went out of her way to enroll the children of her attackers in the schools, showing that she bore no grudges.

Readers of my column sent in more than $133,000 for her. Mercy Corps, a U.S. aid organization, has helped her administer the money, and she has expanded the schools, started a shelter for abused women and bought a van that is used as an ambulance for the area. She has also emerged as a ferocious spokeswoman against honor killings, rapes and acid attacks on women. (If you want to help her, please don't send checks to me but to Mercy Corps, with "Mukhtaran Bibi" in the memo line: 3015 S.W. First, Portland, Ore. 97201.)

A group of Pakistani-Americans invited Ms. Mukhtaran to visit the U.S. starting this Saturday (see ). Then a few days ago, the Pakistani government went berserk.

On Thursday, the authorities put Ms. Mukhtaran under house arrest - to stop her from speaking out. In phone conversations in the last few days, she said that when she tried to step outside, police pointed their guns at her. To silence her, the police cut off her land line.

After she had been detained, a court ordered her attackers released, putting her life in jeopardy. That happened on a Friday afternoon, when the courts do not normally operate, and apparently was a warning to Ms. Mukhtaran to shut up. Instead, Ms. Mukhtaran continued her protests by cellphone. But at dawn yesterday the police bustled her off, and there's been no word from her since. Her cellphone doesn't answer.

Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer who is head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said she had learned that Ms. Mukhtaran was taken to Islamabad, furiously berated and told that President Pervez Musharraf was very angry with her. She was led sobbing to detention at a secret location. She is barred from contacting anyone, including her lawyer.

"She's in their custody, in illegal custody," Ms. Jahangir said. "They have gone completely crazy."

Even if Ms. Mukhtaran were released, airports have been alerted to bar her from leaving the country. According to Dawn, a Karachi newspaper, the government took this step, "fearing that she might malign Pakistan's image."

Excuse me, but Ms. Mukhtaran, a symbol of courage and altruism, is the best hope for Pakistan's image. The threat to Pakistan's image comes from President Musharraf for all this thuggish behavior.

I've been sympathetic to Mr. Musharraf till now, despite his nuclear negligence, partly because he's cooperated in the war on terrorism and partly because he has done a good job nurturing Pakistan's economic growth, which in the long run is probably the best way to fight fundamentalism. So even when Mr. Musharraf denied me visas all this year, to block me from visiting Ms. Mukhtaran again and writing a follow-up column, I bit my tongue.

But now President Musharraf has gone nuts.

"This is all because they think they have the support of the U.S. and can get away with murder," Ms. Jahangir said. Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was happening, President Bush received Pakistan's foreign minister in the White House and praised President Musharraf's "bold leadership."

So, Mr. Bush, how about asking Mr. Musharraf to focus on finding Osama, instead of kidnapping rape victims who speak out? And invite Ms. Mukhtaran to the Oval Office - to show that Americans stand not only with generals who seize power, but also with ordinary people of extraordinary courage."

Anarchist Bookfair in Barcelona

All this week (Mon 13 - Sun 19 June) an anarchist bookfair is taking place in Barcelona. The event is held at the Ateneu Llibertari del Besòs and there'll be presentations of books about Joan Peiró, El caso Scala and Alessandro de Giorgi's 'Zero Tolerance'. Also, documentaries, films and talks about education, art, theatre, industrial conflicts, etc. Vegan food all weekend (must make sure I eat my jamón serrano sandwich before I go...). More information on

Monday, June 13, 2005

Just don't get him started on Bob Geldof

Actor Owen Wilson slags off Dalai Lama as "corny."

Another bloody meme

Norm snagged me for participation in another meme, and I could hardly refuse since it directed so many of his readers our way. Hence:

1/ Total number of books I've owned:

Owned, rather than own, mark you. I've got around 1,500 to 2,000 scattered around the world, a figure I've managed to keep down by attrition. I try to hang onto the ones I haven't read yet, the ones I might use for research, and the ones that have sentimental value. The rest get shipped off on a twice-annual basis to charuddy (use Smashie & Nicey accent). I suspect I've owned over 3,000, but I've no way of knowing.

2/ The last book I bought:

Everything Bad Is Good for You, by Steven Johnson. My current read. I enjoyed Emergence, Johnson's book that argued the case for a networked anarchistic society (that's how I read it, anyway), and this book supports a case (implicitly) that I've been making for years, namely, that popular (low) culture is just as sophisticated as supposed 'high' culture and that the only difference lies in the codes used to read them.

3/ The last book I read:

Critique of Economic Reason, by Andre Gorz. I'm on a bit of a Gorz binge at the moment. He's a 'good' Marxist, as opposed to a 'good Marxist,' by which I mean he's to all intents and purposes an anarchist. A fascinating book, although it covers some of the same ground as Farewell to the Working Class, and it contains an appendix specifically aimed at trade unionists, which you don't find that often in academic texts.

4/ Five books that mean a lot to me:

The Education of Desire: The Anarchist Graphics of Clifford Harper.

A beautiful, glorious, life-affirming book that I treasured for many years until I encountered a working artist in Chicago, Kathleen Judge, who was responsible for this and this, but who'd never heard of Harper, so, drunk, of course, I promised it to her. It nearly broke my heart to part with it, and I almost never sent it, but a promise is a promise, and I figured she'd get something out of it. I've seen secondhand copies for sale since, so I might get one some day.

Moby-Dick, by Herman Melville.

I read this instead of the Bible. Everything you find in life, you'll find here. As Larry Kramer once said, it shows up Ulysses for the pretentious piece of crap it is.

Being and Nothingness, by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Started reading it when I was 18. Finished it a couple of years ago. Still find it stunning and its theory of consciousness and free will unanswered by determinists. Sartre gave me a materialism I could live with and an explanation of consciousness, "n'importe qui," that made sociobiology look just silly.

Poetic Works, by Percy Shelley.

Bought this 1908 calfskin-bound edition at a book fair at the Mansion House in Dublin about 8 years ago for 15 punts and still feel privileged to own it. You can't be a socialist and NOT have Shelley on your shelves!

W. P. Nimmo edition of The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

Bought in 1982 in a secondhand bookshop in Altrincham for 75p, I got it home to find a couple of inscriptions inside:

"G.M. Robinson. Mitre Court Chambers. Temple. From his father & mother. 29th March 1877."


"Lilian Runbaken “Maryvale,” 144 Manchester Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, 1914"

It has three inscriptions in now. I'm just having a lend of it from posterity.

5/ Tag five people and have them fill this out on their blogs:

Victor (in return for previous tagging), Wilson (out of curiosity), Stuart and Dave (ditto), and any of the guys at Fruits of Our Labour, as if they don't have enough to do!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Not Books

Treated myself today to the new Sons & Daughters album, Repulsion Box, only out this morning in Ireland, having seen and enjoyed them in Barcelona; and, to my embarrassment to this. Embarrassment because I never had it before and I'd forgotten just how fucking good they were.

Ozymandias Revisited

Here's an extract from a poem, entitled "New Turkmen Spirit," by the president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, who recited it at a grain-holiday celebration last July.

Translated from the Turkmen by BBC Monitoring.

"I am the Turkmen spirit and I was reborn
To bring you a golden age and happiness.
Like the sun, I shine upon your heads
Defying a cold welcome for myself.
I refresh the world like a spring!
My sight makes everything flourish
With a new vision of the old world.
I am a messenger of heaven on earth!
I make justice, I have a sacred spell
Giving wings to those who will fly high,
And swimming trunks to those who will swim.
I protect my followers
And award them royal presents.
When you have times of mischief
And hardship follows you day and night
If you are still faithful to me
I am savior of you, be sure!
My sight is sharp, I see everything.
Are you honest in deeds?-I see this.
Have you done wrong?-I see that too.
My sight brings life everywhere,
My visit brings luck to everyone.
Richness enters every door I open.
I have not humiliated anyone
Nor have I neglected anyone in need.
I prefer those faithful and adherent.
I am life, goodness, and youth!
Keep your head high, son of Turkmen,
Remember me when you get tired
Or when death knocks at your door.
Here I am, meet me, my fellow!"

Well, obviously, it's a metaphor. He isn't referrring to himself, but to all manufacturers of dairy produce.*

*(c) Monty Python

Anyone for Tanis?

While you're over at the Archaeology site, you might also want to read this abstract for an article (unavailable online) about the treasures of the ancient city of Tanis, in many ways far more spectacular than those of Tutankhamun. It might even motivate you to seek out the magazine, although really the only reason I mention it is to use that fabulous heading.

I Thought Indiana Jones Had Killed Them All

An article from the latest issue of Archaeology magazine reports on the odd goings-on surrounding Reiner Protsch von Zieten, a larger-than-life professor with a penchant for luxury cars and Cuban cigars.

Von Zeiten

"was forced to end his 30-year career as a carbon-dating specialist following a year-long investigation into his professional "indiscretions." Many of Protsch's colleagues had their suspicions about his work, and in 2001 Thomas Terberger of Greifswald University sent several fossil samples originally dated by Protsch to Oxford University's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit for reanalysis. Hahnhöfersand Man, the "world's oldest German" at 36,300 years old, proved to be only 7,500 years old. Binshof-Speyer Woman, a 21,300-year-old specimen known for her remarkably well-preserved teeth, was just 3,090 years old. And Paderborn-Sande Man, dated by Protsch to 27,400 years ago, had died in the eighteenth century. Terberger published a paper on his findings with Martin Street of the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, and the University of Frankfurt later launched an investigation. Protsch dismissed the new dates, blaming the results on the possibility that lab workers did not remove shellac from the samples before performing carbon-14 testing.

Then things really got weird. Investigative reports in the German magazine Der Spiegel last year first revealed that Reiner Protsch "von Zieten" had lied about his ties to Prussian aristocracy and was actually the son of a Nazi party member who fled to the United States after the war. Der Spiegel also made public allegations that Protsch was unable to operate his own carbon-dating machine, ordered the destruction of materials in the university archives associated with Nazi medical experiments, and attempted to sell off the anthropology department's chimpanzee skull collection to a U.S. collector for $70,000. Protsch told the magazine that many of the specimens up for sale were part of his personal collection."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Under a Cruel Star

In a review essay in the latest issue of the Columbia Journalism Review, E. J. Graff explains why Heda Kovály's book Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague 1941–1968 has stood the test of time.

Kovály was a prisoner at Auschwitz and lived under the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia; her keenly observed, politically astute memoir offers intimate insight into how people behave under totalitarianism, how the human mind can surrender to absolutism in the pursuit of beautiful ideals, how idealism can lead to genuine evil, and how, even after such horror, civilization can heal itself.

Everyone Likes a Happy Ending

Former Schoolteacher Mary Kay Letourneau, who was jailed for seven years for second-degree child rape after initiating a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy when she was 34, has managed to finally walk him down the aisle.

They married in a winery; at 22, the groom is now legally permitted to consume alcohol.

Easy mistake to make

From the April issue of Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel (trust me):

I was enjoying the beautiful scenery on a recent bus tour in southwest Washington when in the middle of a meadow I saw a wild animal with its ears perked up. “Look, look!” I yelled excitedly. “A kangaroo!” The man behind me peered from his window. “Lady, we're not in Australia,” he said. “And that's not a kangaroo, it's a deer taking a crap.”

Virginia Andersen, Tumwater, Wash.

Primavera Gallery

Primavera have put up a gallery here so you can see everything we missed.

Haven't spotted my Tiswas T-shirt yet.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Called "Vagina Dentata," presumably

From South Africa's Cape Times, an article by Jillian Green, "New Device Gives Women Teeth Where It Matters":

"A rape victim once wished for teeth "where it mattered". Now a device has been designed to "bite" a rapist's penis. The patented device looks and is worn like a tampon, but it is hollow and attaches itself with tiny hooks to a man's penis during penetration.

"We have to do something to protect ourselves. While this will not prevent rape it will assist in identifying attackers and securing convictions," claims Sonette Ehlers, inventor of the device."

Read the rest here.

He Should Have Worn Stockings

Reuters reports that

an Israeli researcher has challenged the popular belief that Jesus died of blood loss on the cross. Instead, argues Professor Benjamin Brenner in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, he probably succumbed to a sometimes fatal disorder now associated with long-haul air travel.

According to Professor Brenner, Jesus's death, traditionally thought to have occurred 3-6 hours after crucifixion began, was probably caused by a blood clot that reached his lungs.

Such pulmonary embolisms, leading to sudden death, can occur as a result of immobilisation, multiple trauma and dehydration, observed Brenner, a researcher at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

He went on to point out that recent medical research has linked immobility among passengers on lengthy air flights to deep vein thrombosis, popularly known as "economy-class syndrome" in which potentially lethal blood clots can develop, commonly in the lower legs.

Moreover, according to Brenner, Jesus, as a Jew from what is now northern Israel, may have been at particular risk of a fatal blood clot: Thrombophilia, an unusual condition in which blood has an increased tendency to clot, is common to natives of Galilee.

Whose Side Are They On?

Taken from an article in People Weekly magazine of May 30th, about Private Jessica Lynch and her best friend, Lori Piestewa:

"What happened next riveted the nation: Iraqi troops ambushed their 507th Maintenance Company convoy March 23, 2003, killing Piestewa, 23, and 10 others. Lynch was severely injured, captured and later rescued by U.S. troops."

How did they manage to capture AND rescue her, that's what I want to know.

I Have No Excuses

The Fat Dollie Maker. The potential is there to spend hours on this.

I'm sorry. I'm deeply, deeply sorry.

In my defence, I know of at least one bloke in Altrincham who'll just love this. Mentioning no names.

Big in Spain - The Mockers

Saw a profile of the Mockers in Virginia Living magazine which reports that they're a major success in Spain despite being nobodies in the States.

New album out on the Zebra label entitled The Lonsemome Death of Electric Campfire.

Any help Jordi, Jose?

Sex and Death

Or Girls and Corpses, in this case, courtesy of Kara.

Can't imagine why it hasn't been done before.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Revenge of the Shit 2

Anthony Lane's marvellous review from the May 23rd New Yorker.

Holy Ridiculous, Batman!

The ever-considerate Victor of Apostate Windbag has lassoed me with the latest meme on superheroes. After giving it far too much thought, here's my effort:

1/If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why? (Assume you also get baseline superhero enhancements like moderately increased strength, endurance and agility.)

The ability to make life-threatening danger go away just by ignoring it.

2/ Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you fancy, and why?

It has to be Jean Grey, a.k.a. Phoenix from the X-Men, since she's the only one who comes anywhere near Neko Case.

3/Which, if any, 'existing' superhero(es) do you hate?

Captain Bird's-Eye

And as a long-time Mekons fan, I have to say Dan Dare.

But in fact, practically all of them. Social change should be brought about by the collective, democratic will of the people, not as a result of some farcical radioactive accident. You can’t expect to wield supreme executive superpowers just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. I mean, if I went around saying I was an emperor just because a spider bit me, they’d put me away!

4/ What would your superhero name be? (No prefab porn-name formulas here, you have to make up the name you think you'd be proud to mask under.)

Naive Boy.

5/ Is there an 'existing' superhero with whom you identify/whom you would like to be?

I’m tempted to say HellBoy, just because he’s a Brummie, but he’s probably an Albion fan.

After witnessing the unprovoked attack by the hierarchical, authoritarian militarist organization Spectrum on the Mysterons’ Martian home, I have to confess that I do have a soft spot for Captain Black, the epitome of cool with his 5 o'clock shadow and Goth attire. Far superior to the goodie-goodie indestructible Captain Scarlet and his virginal sidekick Captain Blue. Believe me, the Mysterons are the anarchists (and therefore the good guys) in that series.

Also, I rather like Howard the Duck, since he gets to smoke cigars when most other superheroes are self-regarding fascistic health nuts.

Pass it on. Three people please, and why....

Darren’s already been got, so I suspect Reidski will be too, so Lisa, (predictably), on condition she doesn’t take the easy option and resort to Buffy (and in the knowledge she’ll include Cloud), Kara because she IS Radio Active, and Jim at Times New Roman, just so I can refer to him as FontMan.

One Grand Lutta to Go

Darren at Inveresk Street points out an article by Anya Kamenetz at the Web site of New York magazine about efforts by the I.W.W. to unionize a branch of Starbucks.

"Unbeknownst to its customers (or “guests,” as they’re called), store No. 7356 birthed the first-ever campaign to unionize a Starbucks—a movement that renegade baristas hope will spread through the chain’s 6,668 other U.S. outlets."

She continues,

"The trouble started back in May 2003, when Daniel Gross began work as a barista at store No. 7356. Gross is a 26-year-old from L.A. who’s now at Fordham Law School. He has piercing blue eyes, persistent stubble, and an easy laugh. He’s also a “Wobbly,” a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the once-storied “one big union,” which was largely stamped out after World War I and only partially revived by campus-activist types in the seventies.

The grandson of a truck-driving Teamster, Gross may have a predisposition toward rabble-rousing. He was even fired from a Green Corps gig for what he claims was pro-union activity. “I’ve had every bad job,” he says. “I’ve been a delivery person, worked in tree care. Borders Books was my first introduction into the reality of multinational corporate employment.” And soon after his arrival in New York, he decided to infiltrate Starbucks."

I don't know about "largely stamped out," but it seems to me there's always going to be a need for Wobblies like Gross, and any apparent victory over them can only ever be temporary while exploitation continues.

Monday, June 06, 2005

At home with the intelligentsia. No. 19: Iris Murdoch

(full image shows Murdoch inserting a fistful of ball-point pens into a jar of Quince preserve)

Radio Active

Kara has set up a new version of her old blog here and promises to write about sex and pornography, amongst other topics. That's good enough for me (She does also mention feminism and pop culture obsessions, which we're hardly going to sneer at either, here at C&S).

I can't wait for a posting that combines all of these: Something about the empowering nature of female mutual masturbation on Coronation Street, I hope.

Now there's a sentence that'll up our Google hits.

Blogging from Bed

Just thought you'd like to know that today is a bank holiday in Ireland.

Pass the Pimms, Claude.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Star was the Venue

Better late than never, as they say. After the splendid reviews provided by John, here’s my view of the Primavera Sound festival.
The first thing that comes to mind among those of us who had been to previous editions, is that the new site for the festival proved very convenient. The Forum has plenty of room for an audience that increases every year. Among the venues, the Auditori (aka Forum Building) stands out, an indoors auditorium with a capacity of 3,000 comfortable seats and excellent acoustic conditions.
There I got to see Antony and the Johnsons, one of the most eagerly awaited gigs of the Friday program. Afterwards I learnt that I had been lucky to get a seat, since the Auditori has a limited capacity and some people could not get in.
Anyway, the place was perfect for such a performance, with Antony at the piano and four musicians playing mostly string instruments. All in all, the gig was worth it for anybody who appreciates any of the tracks from his hit CD I am a Bird Now. But I could understand why there are some people who find the character a bit annoying.
On Saturday, Jordi and I queued for the Auditori, because we did not want to miss Echo and the Bunnymen. I myself had never seen them on stage. While we were waiting we enjoyed a chistorra sandwich, which we managed to consume before getting into the venue. No food was allowed in the Auditori. Once inside we could get great seats, but we abandoned them after three or four songs, when Ian McCulloch, in front of an all-seated audience, said: ‘You can stand up, if you want’. Actually, McCulloch was in a good mood. He took a few steps ahead in order to stand outside the lights flooding the stage, so he could see the people in the audience.
As for the song list, the Bunnymen played most of their hits. I guess that’s what the public wanted (well, that’s what I wanted, at least). In short, no surprises but a solid gig.
Along with Echo and the Bunnymen, the Arcade Fire, They Might be Giants and New Order where the shows I definitely didn’t want to miss in this year’s Primavera Sound festival. And I must say I wasn’t disappointed. It’s true that New Order got bad reviews in the local newspapers, but having seen them only once before, about 20 years ago, I really wanted to enjoy their show this time. And I did enjoy it.

More on Primavera Sound

Hello there,

Just some more (late) reports on the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. My highlights were They Might Be Giants (I'm the Catalan guy who said they're bonkers...). Great fun and excellent sense of humour, and they made the effort to say a few phrases in Catalan. And, as always, I also enjoyed Echo & the Bunnymen, who played in the Auditorium, all seated, and invited the audience to stand up and dance (which we happily did). Ian McCulloch, predictably, made a few comments about Liverpool's Champions League title and hummed something like "Rafa, Rafa, Rafael Benitez" between songs. As cool as usual, Ian is still in good form and the band reviewed some of the Bunnymen's career, mainly from their early albums (although they ignored my requests for 'Over the Wall', but nevermind, maybe next time!). They opened with 'Going Up', the first track from their first album and played a few Bunnymen classics like 'Rescue', 'Never Stop', 'All My Colours', 'The Cutter', 'Ocean Rain', etc.
Another band I liked was Dogs Die in Hot Cars, although I could only see four or five songs of their act. I hadn't heard them before and they sounded good, to me anyway.
If I had a disappointment that was perhaps Sonic Youth. I enjoyed the first half of their concert, with songs like 'Dirty Boots' and 'Catholic Block', but at the end they started stretching the songs into 15-minute long themes and, sorry, I became bored.
In conclusion, a great festival and a great weekend, when, also, Hospitalet finished top of the Spanish Division Three. Which, in case someone had forgotten, means that Hospitalet has won more than Real Madrid this year...