Sunday, April 30, 2006

What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?

A question worth asking on a regular basis.

Comradely kisses and manly handshakes (from all except one of us) for all our readers on May Day.

A Picnic in Phoenix Park. How Nice.

Celebrate May Day - Dublin anarchist picnic (Sunday)

The 5th annual anarchist picnic will be joining forces with the
monthly Anti-Authoritarian-Assembly for a day of outdoors food, fun, music
and political discussion. (with a back up plan in case of bad weather)

Meet at the front gates of Phoenix park (Parkgate Street.) on Sunday 30th
April at 2pm.

This event is brought to you by the Anarchist Youth Collective and the
May 1st branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement

Saturday, April 29, 2006

just fabulous

pointless pete wylie quiz

i created this quiz for my mates on the music board i frequent.

i know you're all dying to have a go.

you don't have to give a real email address if you don't want to, by the way. just make one up.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Felix for Alex

Philip K. Dick's Head Is Missing

Well worth a read is this surreal story from Wired.

"That would be a really strange ending," Hanson says, "if the head of a Philip K. Dick robot wound up being exploded by another robot."

Be on the lookout.

Empire of the Sensible

Yesterday's Guardian on John Betjeman's recording career, including a list of other author-musician collaborations (my favourites being William Burroughs and Sonic Youth, the Mekons and Kathy Acker).

Must Have Been a Shiraz

The April 3 issue of People Weekly magazine carries a story on the side-effects of the sleeping pill Ambien, including people driving, painting, and shagging in their sleep.

"Last July 11, British painter Sean Joyce, then 38, boarded a US Airways flight in Charlotte, N.C., with a tablet of Ambien his mother had slipped him for the long trip back to London. After taking the pill and drinking some wine, Joyce, normally mild-mannered, ripped off his shirt, threatened to kill other passengers and head-butted a flight attendant. The flight had to be diverted to Boston, where Joyce was led off by police. "The last thing I remember was sitting on the aircraft," he says. "The next thing I was waking up in jail"

Simply a misunderstanding between two cultures, surely?

What Kind of Fool Would Sign Up for This?

Ahem! e-mail me offline and I'll explain you the joke.

Courtesy of Jimmny.

Because Rennie Says So . . .

That messy Handsome Family missive can now be found here.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Full (of shit)

The idea being to fill all available shelf space with any old crap.

A Work in Progress, You Understand

Circle I Limbo

Celebrities, Buddhists, Cat Lovers
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

The Chaste
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Daily Mail Readers
Circle IV Rolling Weights

Libertarians, Drug Dealers, Pimps
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Academics, Wine Snobs
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Sales Reps, 4x4 Owners
Circle VII Burning Sands

Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Wife Beaters, The BNP
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Spotted at the excellent cat lover.


Scholars Discover 23 Blank Pages That May As Well Be Lost Samuel Beckett Play.

Hong Durie? Rubbish!

With Jane mentioning Skinner and Baddiel I thought I should share with everyone my World Cup 98 players-who-are-a-phrase entry which Skinner introduced on Fantasy Football with "and this is my favourite from Martin Green in Cheshire" and then read out "Hong Durie".

If I can remember correctly it went:

El-Ouaer (Saudi Arabia)
Cerny (Switzerland)
Issa (South Africa)
Guivarc'h (France)
Hogh (Denmark)
Earle (Jamaica)

Slight Geordie accent required

A Quick Study

Ah, a bit of diversity here: Roget's Thesaurus (x2), the Marquis de Sade's 120 Days of Sodom (both obviously for reference purposes), Jonathan Rose's Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, various bits of Brecht, Chuck Palahniuk, Pat McCabe, Edmund Husserl, and assorted tapes, CDs, and vinyl. Note also the two boxes of Cuban cigars, the talking Kenny Doll, and, just in picture at the very top, a photo of yours truly with Cuban boxer Felix Savon, whom I met on the May Day parade in Havana in 1997.

It's Touch and Go at the Hideout

News of the Hideout's tenth-anniversary block party in September can be found here.

The 'S' word

Ronald Aronson in the April 17 Nation argues that, if anything, what the Left needs now is more socialism.

It's Arse v. Barce!!

With Larsse!

On Grass

In Parse

Ok, I'll stop now.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Harp: It's Our Thing

There's an interview with Kelvin Knight and Alan Riggs of Delta 5 in the March-April issue of Harp magazine.

That Kelvin, he used to kip on our floor, you know. When he couldn't be arsed getting back to the band's pad in St. John's Wood.

The May issue of Harp also features an interview with Jon Langford of Mekons, Waco Brothers, Pine Valley Cosmonauts etc.

Full Langford archive here. Mekons archive here. Three Johns archive here.

The Outré #2

For your perusal, including an entire shelf given over to Sartre and de Beauvoir, just so you understand that I know better than to genuinely believe man is a bad animal.

And you see those yellow books down the bottom? I edited them. And have barely looked at 'em since. Kept out of vanity.

Mis-henthropy Corner

From the same issue of Maclean's as the item below, an article by Julia McKinnell reports that efforts by geneticists to produce bigger-breasted chickens may have resulted in them tampering with and deleting the gene responsible for rooster courtship, with the result that roosters have begun murdering and raping hens.

The article presents the views of Ian Duncan from the University of Guelph, who says that, initially, the rape reports he was receiving pertained only to one line of rooster but that, within 18 months, there were reports of the same problem in other lines. Duncan is quoted as saying, "there are very few normal roosters" in North America.

It's Duncan's belief that geneticists have been selecting roosters that are more "forward" in their attitudes to hens because of a fear of declining fertility rates, when they should have been selecting roosters that court hens. This may have led to an increase in aggressiveness being selected for.

So not only are we bad animals, we're making other animals bad too.

Misanthropy Corner

From the March 20 Maclean's:

"Byron Perkins might have been facing 25 years in a U.S. prison for a variety of felonies, but he told his son Destin he'd make good by donating one of his kidneys to Destin after the 16-year-old's body rejected his mother's donated kidney. Perkins has a history of robbery, gun possession and home invasion, but he told several court hearings he wanted to help Destin. When jailers in Kentucky let him out for medical tests, Perkins vanished."

Sometimes you wonder if Brion Gysin was right: "Man is a bad animal."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

RIP "the last of the corinthians"

a sad day, indeed. brian labone, the greatest evertonian of them all, has passed away, aged 66.

nobody loved the club more. nobody served it better.

a great player and a true gentleman.

rest in peace, skipper.

Yet Over Here It's a Documentary Series

TV Guide magazine for March 27 to April 2 has an article entitled, "5 Reasons We Love Footballers Wives." In short:

1: Very little actual footie.

2: Ridiculously over-the-top plot twists.

3: The short attention span needed to follow what's going on.

4: Tanya Turner

5: Lessons in Cool British Slang. "With those thick working-class accents, whole patches of FW dialogue may sometimes sound like an oratorio of tortured vowel sounds. But if you stay with it and listen carefully, soon you'll be able to impress your friends by throwing words like "cheeky git," "slapper," "daft cow" and "gormless hag" into everyday conversation.

Not to mention, "Scouse wanker," "Cockney slag," and "That was clearly handball, you blind bastard."

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Outré #1

Just call me a Comment whore.

By the way, I should point out that this bookshelf is two rows deep, which means all the embarrassing books are hidden from view. And that's saying something, given what's visible.

Message from the Judge

From Kathleen Judge (link left)

"Hi All-

Headed to Europe on tour w/ Neko Case (see below for tour dates):

Wanted to let you know about it in case you or someone you know lives in one of the below cities and would like to go out & hear some great live music. Most of the venues are smaller than those she plays in the U.S, so it should make for some nice intimate shows.

Also, I was wondering if anyone might recommend a few *MUST SEE's* in any of these cities. We won't have much time-- but if we have a few open hours I'd rather go & see something interesting or strange than sit in a restroom trying to figure out those bidets. Also, If there are any poster artists who know of some great poster art studios(silkscreeners) that might be open to me stopping in & saying 'bonjour, or Ciao or...' please let me know that too.

I'm also participating in a group poster exhibit, May 12th-May 29th, 2006 in the UK:


12pm - 6pm Monday to Saturday
12pm - 4pm Sunday

The Basement
Argus Lofts
Kensington Street, Brighton UK
(then scroll down & click on link 'Subscreensonic: An International Gig Poster Exhibition')"

Neko Case European Tour

9/5/06 - Milan - La Casa

10/5/06 - Lucerne - Boa

11/5/06 - Munich - Orange House

12/5/06 - Berlin - Tacheles

13/5/06 - Gothenburg-Sticky Fingers

14/5/06 - Stockholm - Sondra Teatern

15/5/06 - Oslo - Rock Bottom

17/5/06 - Copenhagen - Vega

18/5/06 - Hamburg - Fabrik

19/5/06 - Rotterdam - Nightown Theatre

20/5/06 - Amsterdam - Paradiso

21/5/06 - Brussels - Botanique

22/5/06 - Paris - La Boule Noir

24/5/06 - London - Shepherd's Bush Empire

Friday, April 21, 2006

19 points from 2 games should see us safe

Yesterdays decision by those fair minded bastions of non-league football representing the interests of the Conference means that, subject to an appeal, Alty will be relegated this season.

Our manager and secretary, Graham Heathcote, is calmly confident about the outcome of said appeal but any pressure that can be brought to bear on the panel to counter the influence of some of the weasels/chairmen of other clubs can only help.

If you can find time to follow the link to a petition set up by some nice people at York City (nothing to do with the number of goals we shipped against them i'm sure) your support would be most welcome.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It was Oswald, in the Conservatory, with the House of Saud

Marc Jacobson examines the various 9/11 conspiracies in the March 27 edition of New York magazine.

The In Tray

Books half-read, waiting to be read, or otherwise unfinished.

It'd help if these guys weren't recommending new books every half-hour, mind you.

And before the snarky comments begin, yes, my house is named "The Villa." What of it?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

And While We're on the Subject:

Here's an interview from last Tuesday's Guardian with the mighty John Hyatt.

He Knows Whereof He Speaks

From an interview with Jon Langford by Hays Davis on April 13 at

9X: You've covered a staggering amount of ground
between the different bands and albums and project
over the past 30 years. What are two or three things
that come to mind that you've been involved with that
you'd most prefer to be put in a Jon Langford time
capsule and checked out in 100 years?

JL: There's an album called 'The Curse Of The Mekons'
we recorded for A&M and they haven't released it,
which is pretty hard to get a hold of, but I always
thought that was one of the best things we ever did.
Some of the stuff I did with The Three Johns as well,
which was this other band, sort of heavy metal/hard
rock/disco band in the mid-'80s. There's a few songs
that The Three Johns did; there's one called 'Death Of
The European,
' and one called 'Torches Of Liberty,'
and one called 'AWOL.' I don't know. I always liked
them. Seeing that band live, that was a really
exciting live band when the band was on form, which
didn't last very long on form, basically. Descended
into Got-knows-what. A lot of that was really good for
me. I'm really pleased with this 'Executioner's' show
now. I think that's really great. And the 'Gold Brick'
record. A lot of people I know who've always expressed
interest in what I'm doing are really, really happy
with this record. It's been really encouraging that
people see it as a departure and something different.
I like that. I wouldn't just like to be churning stuff
out for the sake of it.

9X: I've got an old cassette copy of The Three Johns.
I'll have to dig that out.

JL: I started playing 'Death Of The European' again.
It's just a great song. I really like it. I can't even
remember how it came about. It seems to fit as well.
There's a sort of anger and horror in some of that
stuff of The Three Johns which is quite extreme.
Seems to fit the times quite well.

Indeed. Anger and Horror. But Laughter too.

Plus ça change

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Birmingham: Still Manufacturing the Best in the World

Mom and Dad. Dad is 75 today. Mom is a little bit older next week. But then aren't we all?

Many happy returns you wonderful people.

More Unadulterated Genius

From Twenty Major.

The Place to be on Saturday Nights ca. 1985-91

and April 2006.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Unadulterated Genius

From a review by Alex Ross in the April 10 New Yorker of a six-concert series by the Kronos Quartet at Carnegie Hall, one of which featured historian Howard Zinn being interviewed by David Barsamian, with Kronos playing interludes.

"My favorite moment came after Zinn said that free speech was being curtailed in America: a man in the balcony yelled “Amen!” and a woman near him yelled “Quiet!”"

A Good Pub is Hard to Find

Just when we settled on a new Monday night drinking venue what happens but members of Man City's coaching staff have the same idea. I wouldn't mind but how can anyone who claims a wage training David James show their face in public. And Tim Flowers has got a large face. At least Steve Wigley is as anonymous as his spell in charge of Southampton would suggest.

Yes, but why labyrinth?

Heard on TV this morning.

"I'm not in Longleat, I'm actually oustide "The Lover's Labyrinth", so called because there's only one way in and one way out."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Out With It, Laura!

A letter to the April issue of Harper's:

"Caitlin Flanagan's probing review of the culture of girls and oral sex was marred by her telling and gratuitous insult of Laura Bush. It is precisely because role models like Ms. Flanagan denigrate women known to be monogamous, committed, and polite that young girls feel they must service every boy who comes along, Ms. Flanagan's assumption that a good woman like Laura Bush neither enjoys nor gets good sex (and that everyone agrees on this) really says it all."

Joseph R. Egan
McLean, Va.

The Case for Anti-Intellectualism

From yesterday's Guardian letters:

As an American academic, educated at what is probably the top research institution in the world, Harvard University, I beg to differ on Arnaud Chevalier's glib assessment of French v British universities (French employment crisis, April 8).

While the facilities may indeed be "grotty", and the salaries are, perhaps, lower, it is 20th-century French thought - in literature, philosophy, sociology, psychology and psychoanalysis, architecture, and many other fields - that is globally influential. Nothing produced in Britain even comes close. British universities may be producing a well-trained and smoothly-tailored upper class, but it is in France, still, that the most important theoretical advances are being made in the liberal arts. British cultural and literary studies is a thin regurgitation of French and German original thought.

At Harvard, when Oxbridge graduates came, as they did, for advanced degrees, they often fell laughably short of Harvard standards. Narrowly trained in one field, the Oxbridge degree does not appear to produce either the dynamic originality of American thought or the intellectual richness of the French, who seem to understand that the best thinkers are those who reject the majority of what they've been taught in school (Foucault, Derrida, Bataille, Baudrillard, Lacan, Le Corbusier, to name a few).

France has been the major cultural force in modern Europe. My apologies to Oxbridge, where conceptual advances seem less important than old school ties and reinforcing class distinctions. We Americans know that we have jazz, Walt Whitman and Faulkner, but France has everything else.

Dr Annie Seaton
Harvard University

From what I can tell, written without a trace of irony. A list of spoofers, every one. Where's the fieldwork, where are the empirical data, where's the verification and testability? This is tantamount to a cast list from Aristophanes. Either you go and find out what the world is like, or you sit on your fat arse all day and speculate as to what it might be like.

Or else, of course, you channel (I almost wrote "sublimate") your rage and despair into blogging.

Angry of Tunbridge Wells

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It Doesn't Suck Blood, It Just Sucks

Scott Brown's review of the vampire movie Ultraviolet from the March 17 issue of Entertainment Weekly:

"Futuristic vamp Violet (Milla Jovovich), in the early goings of the lo-fi sci-fi thriller Ultraviolet, warns someone, "Don't overthink it." Sage advice for anyone masochistic enough to watch this pile of poorly pixelated vampire poo. Yet it's impossible to take: Crank your brain to its lowest possible idle and you'll still overthink Ultraviolet. Set in a generic, crudely rendered futuristic dystopia (the computer imagery is sub-Tron), the story picks up in jabbery voice-over, telling how the military, while trying to build supersoldiers, made a vampire virus instead, then launched a genocide to correct its mistake. The Big Bad is one Vice Cardinal Daxus (Nick Chinlund), a germophobe with tea strainers up his nose. Violet's a freelance member of the "Hemophage" resistance who dispatches legions of faceless evildoers to bloodless, badly choreographed deaths, changes her hair color at will, all but refuses to wear entire shirts, and engages in conversations like this: "He's not dead!" "What do you mean?" "I mean he's alive!" At least she's not overthinking it."

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Norm describes coming back from Saturday's match at Old Trafford and meeting a couple of fellow United supporters who'd specially flown over for the match from Dublin. "That," says Norm, "is love."

Pfffftt! How undemanding could you be? I've never found love to be so easy. Even disregarding cheap price of flights from Dublin and the tragedy that is the FAI (except for the mighty Bohs), loving United costs nothing.

Whereas, had they been wearing Altrincham scarves and they'd flown over from Dublin, THAT would have been love. And before you ask who on earth would either do that or admit to it, I'll concede that only a complete fool would. But isn't that what love does to you? And isn't that why it's so great?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Send in the Clowns

Everyone's favourite fascist, Manuel Estímulo, has some profound thoughts on prospective voting patterns in the upcoming Italian elections.

Not sure I agree with him, but I do like the image of small children biting into Mussolini's teeth.

Must Have Been the Bowmore

Dreamt last night that I was in an empty, darkened room, sat in a chair at its centre, while Ivor Cutler walked around in front of me, on his hands, mind you, reciting a new work of his. It was a scene straight out of Twin Peaks.

This could have been my Kubla Khan moment, except when I woke up this morning, all I could remember was that he'd rhymed "Eight Academy Awards" with "Sideboard."


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I Knew It Wasn't Just My Own Perverse Fantasy

That's Degas hiding in the shadows to the left, there.

Well, you would, wouldn't you?

Have a Friend for Lunch


God: An Utter Shit

Further to the comments below about the power of prayer or lack thereof, I located the details of the researcher I mentioned who died while studying the effects of prayer on disease. In fact, I've mentioned it before on C&S, here.

Now I'm beginning to wonder: Who's cynical, us or God?

God: Purveyor of Porn

At least if the March issue of Ladies' Home Journal is to be believed. According to an article by Rick Warren, "The Secret to Soulful Sex,"

"God put a sex manual right into the pages of the Bible, in the form of a love poem called "The Song of Solomon," which shows the relationship between a man and a woman from their courtship to their wedding night."

But before you get out there and follow God's call to be fruitful (or maybe just to bang away relentlessly like a shithouse door on a windy night in Sligo), read Rick's disappointing qualification of the image he's presented of God the procurer:

" . . . (R)esearch reveals the pleasures of married sex are far better than those experienced during premarital sex or sex outside marriage. Would it surprise you to know that research suggests married women have more orgasms than unmarried women?"

Well, it might surprise my wife, but that's another story. He goes on:

"When you consider that sex was invented by God and not Hugh Hefner, the findings of these surveys not only reflect reality but also the biblical teaching that sex was designed for our enjoyment within marriage. In other words, God isn't embarrassed by sex or ashamed of it, and when we engage in it within marriage, He's pleased."

Pleased. That's a strange word to use, I think.

Towards the end of his career, Pablo Picasso produced hundreds of pornographic drawings, mainly lesbian orgy scenes, and in each one, just to the side of the main event, he included a sketch of Edgar Degas, in his suit, with a top hat, in profile, watching the goings-on. What Picasso had against Degas, I don't know, but the cumulative effect of seeing these hundreds of obscene pictures, focusing mostly on the female anus, accompanied each time by an unresponsive, voyeuristic Degas in the corner, is both surreal and very funny. And now it's how I will think of God: Skulking in the corner of the room while we're shagging, saying nothing but seeing everything. Still, what else would you expect? After all, he is God.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

That's "Cult Classic" in the Heaven's Gate Sense, No Doubt.

The increasingly unpredictable and bizarre Canadian magazine Maclean's carries a review here of corrupt Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff's one foray into Hollywood, as producer of the Dolph Lundgren vehicle Red Scorpion. A truly bizarre-sounding movie, it is described in the review by Jaime J. Weinman as Abramoff's tribute to African anti-communist guerrillas, the central guerrilla character being based on Jonas Savimbi,

"the Angolan rebel leader who was the toast (sic) of conservatives until (and in some cases, after) it turned out that his followers had been burning people alive."

Somehow, I can't see it becoming a cult classic in the way, say, Glitter did. Dolph Lundgren is no Mariah Carey, after all. But then, I suppose, it depends on what you mean by "cult."

Talented Celts

Doing rather well over there. It must be Craig Ferguson and Martin McDonagh.

Who'd'yuh think I meant, Billy Connolly?