Friday, January 25, 2008


Takeaway shows is great, whoever runs it gets various bands, generally good bands, to a sort of impromptu busk as they pass through Paris.

And if that isn't good enough, there is always daytrotter.

Ain't life strange, ain't life grand. While I was having a search around for the brilliant, peerless Felice Brothers, I thought about The Pernice Brothers who put out a brilliant album, oooh, years ago, and at the time, the main Pernice wrote a brilliant blog, so I looked. The blog is still there, but not much cop, really, but if you click on the audio link you can listen to streams of a few albums. I had forgotten how good those buggers are.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The world doesn't mourn for Andy Palacio, and nor should it, I don't suppose, but Belize does and it is bloody sad that he has gone.

Poor old Ken Livingstone seems to be getting hammered left right and centre. I would not normally be bothered, not having any interest in what goes on in Londinium and generally believing that the pampered bleeders deserve everything they get. The national media though, have decided that this little local difficulty is vexing the people of Britain from Pontypool to Paisley so we can’t really escape it. Ken is big enough and ugly enough to look after himself - but the way in which he is being demonized while the Boris gets away scot free troubles me. Has the media lost all sense of reason because Boris cultivates the image of an oafish buffoon, or is this a perfect case of hegemony at work? Whatever, it is a poor imitation of democracy.

Mind you, this little contretemps in the South East could benefit us all if Boris wins. I am no fan of New Labour, but by Christ the alternative is terrifying; as much as I despise the placemen, careerists and empty suits that seem to populate the labour party these days, the thought of a bunch of multi millionaire hooray henrys and chinless wonders running the country for the benefit of their cronies is too much to bear. So, let Boris win (it’s only London, after all) and let the whole nation be reminded of what useless bunch of small minded, self serving twats the Tories really are. Then, when new labour get back in, we can despair all over again and mourn for the innocence we lost on a hot May night in May 1997.

How did Cameron earn his millions anyway? What has he produced?

A French bank gets stung for 30 odd billion and still manages to turn a profit, who says capitalism doesn't work?

I should probably pay a bit of attention to this writing blog.

Play a word game, feed some people.

More babies

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Radio Radio

My car aerial has snapped off, leaving just the bit that threads in, with nothing protruding so I am more less without a radio, and given that the cd player is also kaput, I am growing used to the sound of silence, or, more accurately, the sound of the endless stream of nonsense that flits in and out of my brain. I can get 5 live until I get to the other side of Pontypool, deep in the valley, then nothing. So from Pontypool, to Abertillery, I have been omming, as in chanting om, or aaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I let the sound start deep in my belly and travel up and resonate through my chest and throat until the mmmmmmmm vibrates behind my eyes and cheekbones.

It's marvelous, and, safely cocooned in the vehicle I have no fear of looking a berk, at least, not until the spring, when I will forget I have the windows rolled down and will notice fellow road users at traffic lights regarding me with suspicion and alarm. I don't know if it's connecting me with the universe but it certainly isn't connecting me with the patron saint of traffic lights, as I hit every set on red, every day. Maybe it's working at a deeper, more subtle level. Maybe it does nothing at all, but it keeps me occupied.

I do have some coverage; I get a crackly 5 live between Cwmbran and Pontypool, but once I go deeper into the valley, all is lost. My ten minutes of 5 live every morning really irritate, me, but it’s like an itch and I have to tune in, not least in the hope of hearing that the Blues have signed somebody, anybody. 5 live has decided that we, the audience, want to listen to press conferences; the whole thing, not just the juicy bits. So, the parents of a murdered child are holding a press conference; lets go and hear the whole thing; a man has been convicted of an appalling crime, the head of the local CID is holding a press conference; lets hear the whole thing, a man who cannot speak English but who knows a thing or three about football is holding a press conference, lets go and hear the the whole thing, and on it goes.

They are invariably shambolic and chaotic. We can never hear the questions, just the answers, and, when it is all over, a reporter repeats to us what we have all just heard. There will then be a discussion before the presenter goes back to the previous discussion, which will probably involve some bloke moaning about how the NHS treated his swollen nuts, or somesuch. This morning as I switched on for my ten minute fix, they went over to a press conference to announce the nominations for the baftas. I don’t know if they listed each nominee for each category, because I switched off, and started my omming early.

I may be wrong, but does the BBC not have a small army of well trained, well paid staff to go to press conferences, sit through them sift out all the boring bits and then present us, the people of Great Britain, with the salient points?

The five live entertainment reporter has said that these could be the most important Baftas ever, because due to the writers strike in America, these awards will have more stars present than any other. No mention of quality, or profundity, or art. No, these will be good, in this breathlessly idiotic reporters opinion, because a load of stars might turn up. I should stop listening to 5 live, it is detrimental to my emotional well being.

Christ, there isn’t any romance left in football is there? Shortly after Luton drew with Liverpool in the cup they sold two of their better players for peanuts, so one of their only two chances of getting anything out the reply, Slim, left town, leaving only his mate, None. Luton duly got stuffed whereupon their manager, who hadn’t been paid for 4 months, got the boot. Five live sports news led on news of the “dead man walking, Benitez and his relief at the victory. I know which story was of more interest to the true aficionado.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sex And Drugs And Double Chins

Who needs Wilson Palacios when you can have the rather special Andy Palacio:

I used to have a great deal of interest in the American elections, but no longer. I really can't get very excited about who will be the latest son or daughter of privilege to be granted the succession. Having said that, I am glad that it has become interesting, not least because the BBC has decided we are actually part of the union and has sent half its bloody staff there to provide us with non stop coverage, across all mediums and channels. The other half has decamped to Liverpool. What was that about having to tighten the belt following the licence fee settlement?

Never mind, at least we have the excitement of the transfer window and Blues have done us proud by one, yet. Pull yer bloody finger out Eck, give us something to talk about.

Big Sam says he isn't filled with bitterness and bile following his sacking from Newcastle: while I appreciate that 6 million quid compensation can be an effective pain killer, I don't believe him, I think that his whole essence is bitterness and bile, it makes him the man that he is.

I had a look at the Wychwood festival site the other day to see who they had booked so far. My heart didn't exactly skip with the joy when I saw that The Blockheads and Phil Jupitus had been booked. I don't buy into the myth of the Blockheads; they were an above average pub band, who got lucky and enjoyed their 15 minutes. If they were turning up to warm the crowd up early on Saturday afternoon (as Chris Difford did, brilliantly, a couple of years ago) I would be happy, but it looks as if they will be near the top of the bill. As for Jupitus, isn't he supposed to be a comedian? Aren't comedians supposed to be funny?

I did a search to see if maybe I was being a bit uncharitable, though not with any expectation of having my prejudices confirmed, not with Dury having been deified since his death. The best thing I came across was this piece by the peerless Wreckless Eric on his more than decent blog.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Down In The Hole

There is a brilliant thread about The Wire on Metafilter, containing superb links a really good, really intelligent discussion and here and there, memorable quotes; it could keep you busy for hours. The heads of both organizations, official and criminal, wrestle with similar management and personnel issues, and resolve them with similarly cold self-interest. In both the department and the gang, the powerful exploit the weak, and within the ranks those who exhibit dedication, talent, and loyalty are usually punished for their efforts. is phrase that could equally apply to any social work department I have worked for as well as Baltimore drug gangs.

Also found on mefi, an interesting article on the banality (or otherwise) of evil, funny how I found myself thinking of my various managers again.

Talking of work, I was so fed up yesterday, I had to book the rest of the week off; I will come to regret that when the spring arrives.

Mr Eck has been talking the talk again regarding the type of player he wants for the Blues. Despite a slightly disappointing start in terms of results, I am genuinely excited about our prospects with this bloke in charge. The contrast between him and Bruce couldn't be more stark. OK we never really looked like doing much against Manchester Utd but for those of us used to Bruce, to see us patiently knocking the ball about to one another rather than just booting it straight back to the other buggers is to have our faith in the game restored (even if we aren't very good at it). My God, if we manage to score a few goals along the way as well, I might just come over all unnecessary.

I saw a review for No Country For Old Men the other day, don't know what it's like, but the novel is one of the best, as well as one of the bleakest that I read last year.