Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Conservative Education



Today I am very proud of my girlfriend. She had to teach her class of 8 to 9 year olds with the Conservative leader Michael "Something of the Night" Howard and his education toady, sorry, spokesman Collins, plus a student-battering camera crew in her class. She looked gorgeous and took it all in her stride, only falling apart gently when she came home. The school was in the national news and she appears on the BBC website 3rd image down. My Maths display is in the background.



The Conservative idea is pretty straightforward. Take more than a billion from state funds to give to the would-be middle class to subsidise school fees. Marvellous. Non-Conservative voting deprived urban areas suffer, wanna-be toffs get a pittance and vote Tory so they can chase their dream of escaping from the dead-end lives they have been locked into. The Tories always peddle class division and cuts in services as choice, but I expect since Labour has been in power 7 years that people will forget this, and still some will be taken in.



Although I voted Green in the Euro elections I have no intention of repeating my vote at the national level. Howard is clever and sadistic; it would be terrible if he ever got executive power - the ghost of Thatcher reborn with Conservative zombies wrecking us all once again...

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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Sense of Belonging Athletic versus Personal Freedom F.C.


I've been musing about why the football animates me and 30 million other citizens (subjects, actually) of the Disjointed Queendom of Little Britain where I live, and I have come to the conclusion that it's because we as a nation have precious little about which to feel genuinely proud. Whilst I am delighted not to be in a disease-ridden hell-hole, and whilst I do love and appreciate much of our mad island culture, our protestant knowledge of our failings somehow sours the patriotic experience and prevents many of us from sharing a healthy attitude of self-confidence and unambiguous national identity that the population of other nations seems to enjoy.



This mixed feeling about our national identity runs deep; I know I don't conform to very many British stereotypes but I do suffer the ups and downs just like the rest of my compatriots. OK so we invented television, Penicillin, the Web, and loads of other cool stuff... but what recently ? Nothing. We got involved in a shameful war in the Middle East. We stood by while the USA abused human rights in Guantanamo. Our Mars probe disappeared. Really, we haven't much to weld our self-belief as a nation together, not much in the way of national pride to speak of, so sporting success (football in particular) is as near as we get to all feeling good about anything as a tribe.






We do have reasons to be proud, but these are trotted out so often that they have become meaningless and trite. Within living memory, Britain stood alone against the fascist threat to democracy, while the mighty and moral USA stood aside and watched us take a hammering until Pearl Harbour forced the issue, and this heroism underpins us, in both a positive and a negative way; positive because we remain rightly proud of our resistance and our refusal to cave in to the Nazi war machine; negative because nostalgia is a terrible way to live, the worst form of rose coloured spectacles, as it prevents honest self-assessment and self-improvement.



We have as a long catalogue of sins as any nation. Like Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, the United States. et al. slavery is the foundation of this country's wealth, and genocide it's legacy, but we were particularly inventive. The original Gun Boat diplomats, we got the Chinese hooked on Opium, we invented concentration camps for the Boers, in which we incarcerated women and children, we pioneered the use of gas against civilians in 1920s Mesopotamia. We helped create the current Middle Eastern nightmare by handing Palestine to the Zionists. I could carry on but I won't because I will have to emigrate.



Why do we not feel good as a nation ? Probably the only two moments in the last 50 years when we did were 1966 when the Beatles ruled the Pop World and England beat Germany in the World Cup; and in 1982 when we took back the Malvinas from Argentina - another preventable war carried out for political reasons (Thatcher's re-election). Long gone are the days of the British Empire and yet this remains as a folk memory. Our last 500 years of history in fact is one of colonialism and domination. Somehow though despite this murky past we still expect this little island to be Great. It's a truism to say that we have become Greece to America's Rome. Yet once we were the largest Empire, on which the sun never set, dividing and ruling in India, China, Africa, North America, the Antipodes. I think this is part of what holds us back.




Win or lose, we riot in the streets, vandalise, and threaten. Like the child who has nothing except his football we say - it's my ball and it's my game and I can wreck it if I like. This disrespect betrays a lack of genuine confidence and the knowledge that we did better once and somehow our achievements however good are lessened by the feeling of diminished national status. If only we can look ahead and not back, stand up for human rights, educate ourselves to be less xenophobic and push to be more equitable as a nation, we will win the World Cup and finally lay our colonial ghosts.



I would like to be as proud of my country as I am of my football team. Personally, I think the team did really well; deserved to win, and only refereeing bias prevented it. I am proud of the way they fought against the host nation and took it to the last. And I am proud of the way they took defeat with dignity.



The good news is, France lost to Greece. Go Greece !!

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Friday, June 25, 2004

Tribalism

So what is is about this mad English game which elevates and animates and devastates so many ?



I watched the game away from the raucous hordes and mad alchoholic indulgences and still my blood pressure increased so much I had a nose bleed. The end-to-end excitement.. the luck and the lack of it. The disallowed goal !! It's just too much. I have pulled a muscle in my back. I woke at 5am with the injustice of it all hitting me hard. The disappointment is too great. I attached too much of myself to my local tribe and lost my sense of self.
I have decided to support Palestine from now on.

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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Robbed

The referee was clearly in the pocket of the host nation.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/euro_2004/3830451.stm

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Palestine



I listed one of my interests as Palestine and now I want to explain why.

Firstly, I have been brought up with an understanding of politics. My Grandfather and my Grandmother were Socialists. My Mum's family (and my family) were brought up believing in the ability of the common man and woman to bring about positive change in their circumstances and in the circumstances of the people as a whole, knowing the evils of fascism, nepotism, corporate greed, racism and bigotry of all kinds, and with a healthy disregard for politicians and their duplicitous lying ways, encouraged to be aware but not a part of (or a victim of) politics.

I remember lecturing the other children at primary school on the necessity for the boycott of South African goods. I must have been insufferable ! Apartheid in South Africa was eased during 1992-3 but the other sore spot in the human world, Palestine, seems to have grown more monstrous and painful as the years have gone by. What shocks me is the apathy and the ignorance of people in the West.. how little they connect the "terrorism" with the genocidal actions of the Occupation.. and how they don't understand that this directly affects us all. I am not anti-jewish - my grandparents sheltered jewish refugees during WW2 - and german refugees afterwards - but news coverage in the West is appalling and very biased. Check out this article by James Read : Mid-East coverage baffles Britons - Role reversal: Palestinians seen as occupiers An academic study suggests that TV news coverage in the UK on the Middle East conflict confuses viewers and features a preponderance of Israeli views. So much so, that many viewers think Israeli territory is occupied by Palestinians, not the other way round.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3827207.stm



There are many Israelis with a conscience, but just like there were many Democrats in the USA who voted against Bush - more in fact than voted for him - their voice is not being heard in any way politically at the moment. The fascists have power in Israel, and they are merciless. The use of military force against a powerless civilian population is unparallelled anywhere in modern history - except in Nazi Europe - a point which is not lost on the Israelis. The Justice Minister Yosef Lapid recently said that a TV picture of an elderly Palestinian woman in the rubble reminded him of his grandmother (in Eastern Europe under Nazi occupation) and was censured for saying so: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3740649.stm



Oxfam and Amnesty International are hardly revolutionary organisations, and usually meticulous. They have this to say: Mid-East civilians 'suffer most' Oxfam says more should be done to reduce the impact on civilians Aid agency Oxfam is calling for more to be done to protect civilians caught up in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Both sides have failed to safeguard civilians as required under international law, it says in a report. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3748155.stm
Israeli demolitions 'a war crime' Israel says the demolitions are needed for security reasons Amnesty International has condemned Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes as "war crimes". In a new report the human rights group accuses Israel of destroying more than 3,000 Palestinian homes in the current three-and-a-half year intifada.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/3724361.stm



The infamous War on Terror - Iraq - etc. Please read this article by Firas Al-Atraqchi writing about the situation regarding the beheading of civilians in Iraq, and making the point that.. "Until the Palestinian issue is resolved with the Palestinian people recognized as an indigenous part of Palestine and with their right to a contiguous homeland recognized as much an enshrined right as the right of Israelis, there will always be conflict in the Middle East. Invading and illegally occupying Iraq didn't help. And it will gradually get worse and worse." I think he's probably right.
http://www.yellowtimes.org/article.php?sid=1987



I am not very religious but I have the Tao Te Ching and I read it. Number 74 says:

If men are not afraid to die,
It is of no avail to threaten them with death.

I am against all violence which breeds more violence. But I know that if my country was invaded, my home taken from me, my family members killed, my right of movement and assembly restricted, my livelihood denied me, food and water supplies put the other side of an insurmountable wall, I would resist. My heart is with the Palestinians.







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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Rain in Portugal Falls Mainly on the Italians

So, nights are drawing in, soon be Christmas, the warm summer weather has become a cold windy drenching East Atlantic storm across most of Europe and Italy (!) are out of Euro 2004

Not that Italy are my favourite team.. but in comparison to Bulgaria they are saintly figures who always play fair, never foul, and tend to just shrug off an injury and soldier on bravely for the honour of team and country.
I avoided the England - Croatia game on Monday by going to Brighton beach with my true love and enjoying bright sunshine until 9.30pm

Considering it was midsummer's day there was a quite a cool breeze (hey!) and so we walked to keep warm and drank a bottle of non-French bubbly and reminded ourselves that the universe is a big wonderful place and that we are small wonderful parts of it. We drank to small wonderful parts. Then we had chips and came back to London which had contrived to rain in our absence. Well Done London ! May you always rain when I am not around, keeping the parks and gardens green and me dry.
I have just seen that my old pal Lagowski has a Blog habit: - go marvel at the boy genius. Gosh he does know how to bleep murmur rumble and crunch...

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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Summer Solstice

Well it's that time of year again.. a tale of lovely madness, people swooning and fucking and clucking like fluffy ducks... and I've been cleaning carpets. How romantic is that ? I love the solstices, all of them, and I always make sure I do no work and reject the middle-eastern import religions. Pagan I am, pagan I shall blessed be. Here's to the next six months - may we all be healthy, wealthy and wise.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Spam

Am I the only one who likes the craziness of random spam ? I mean, spam is an appalling waste of time.. but the mad shit that arrives masquerading as genuine email contains treasures like nuggets of gold in a pan of dirt.

For example, just arrived:
"HarDco*re Teeen Movies & Piks DowwnLoa*ds! P"
and since I have inline images and HTML turned OFF (as all good hard-working children should do) I get a few links (which of course I ignore) and a whole wadge of random text:

co avid samba simulcast windy artifact flack adulterous anglophobia morton worst hocus cadre duff privet fissure shock disseminate burmese zirconium delegable graduate cliche disjunct commit egalitarian sarsaparilla durkin piotr synagogue recife roughneck desert adore inalterable halvah hundredfold tramp y chine kumquat emphasis chester browse strike autonomic lamar blutwurst crankshaft buildup stearns cowslip synergism brillouin allegation ardent dapple ark retardation hermes dovetail bishop bonneville embroider demand correspond bunyan shampoo transfer denture rembrandt attach connect incongruity lodestone consular americium amorous dutchess scotland yarrow asbestos cachalot armoire bourbon fig ginseng ambiance implore pro ellison florican soot fischer clatter sticktight winfield bursitis authoritarian boxcar pinkie probate upsurge conjecture degum cretin decontrolling kajar nanometer embark district provocation phenol mcclure ravenous sylvester checksum isle nazareth pabst senate blanche assure germanium marcello boreas suffix helga waterhouse brouhaha bryn bulletin absence catapult pay kathy pernicious stiletto custodial clamshell harold true dominant stockroom catheter englishman justiciable class dandelion widgeon defrost deforest bolivar elinor midscale cataclysm sulfanilamide phytoplankton challenge alarm beryllium auric cloister terry aftereffect suite autonomic coniferous burch limousine bacillus solitaire fertile off palo gender gordian adjutant impudent mendacious prairie cuddly crag cony guggenheim rig turnover neutrino windshield ascomycetes repetitive barrack endpoint colosseum filial inflict drumhead america lombardy cantonese streak niobe rafferty owing wrote flagellate ix corey codomain huxley denver countenance flagstaff stock anemone pandanus diagram wispy descriptor jurisprudential conference dunbar stature destruct conspiracy illegitimate aperture completion startup sanderson secretary kitakyushu cytoplasm demoniac poise battelle teratogenic electro anharmonic cattlemen cotangent bulkhead compete exotica corrodible turing nd denial buzz pass umbilici amok acerbity revulsion climax born bloodstain bangui conner insane dreamy typewritten neater tango grover duchess gainful promotion tootle belittle clive taper tapeworm winch electroencephalography hoofmark chariot tennyson trenchermen ceil palette corrigible sedimentary



terry aftereffect - what is the Terry Aftereffect and Should We Take Action Now ?

authoritarian boxcar - I Am Not Getting Into That Car, It's Too Bossy

district provocation - "he crossed the border, see, your honour, and once in Camden, we just had to take him out"

shampoo transfer - "My Head - Your Head - beautiful cross - FOAM !!!"

cuddly crag - "You Can Come Down Now..."

catheter englishman - please don't, I'll piss quietly...

anharmonic cattlemen - "Tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen, singing their own brand of raucously out-of-tune country music.."

tapeworm winch - "slowly now..."

bourbon fig ginseng ambiance - mmm I wondered what the incense was...



See what I mean ? Or is it just me with a morbid sense of humour and a memory of being very bored as a child and playing word games ?

Here's Wispy Descriptor, signing off...

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Pain

Yesterday morning I had the worst hangover of my adult life. It was mostly caused by drinking Pimms celebrating the historic whitewash of New Zealand in the Test Series, then beer to aid and abet the England team in the Euro 2004 France football game. History will record that we suffered a huge and dramatic reversal of fortune and lost in the last 3 mins. Too much has been said about this already. Let me just confess that I fell hard and hurt my head. I was not alone; and the people with me also suffered. By which I mean the entire nation. I am not proud of it and it wasn't clever. At one point near to the end, I wondered whether I was seeing double, or whether I was in fact two people seeing single. The level of suffering would have been increased by the cognac which I remembered and produced when the beer was insufficient consolation. By 3am horizontal seemed less like a concept and more like the inevitable and then I woke up 6 hours later flat on my back in the same position I had crashed out in.

9am. I got up, reeled, put on my trousers and lay down again. Then I got up again and drank water. Instantly felt much worse. Then I lay down again. I tried to work out whether I was hungover or was technically still drunk. The room was spinning, of course it was. Then I tried again to get dressed and only succeeded in making the room spin so much I ran to the bathroom and puked. I felt totally morose, tried to tell myself that disgust self-loathing and shame were quite normal in these circumstances and fell back on the bed. I pulled the sheet around my head and clutched at the straws that the bed was made of. Then I really had to get up - it was already 11am - I'm normally up by 7am. I didn't think I would be able to stand, let alone go and work, and the thought of the Tube filled me with dread.

The pain was enormous. Yesterday was a bright and cheerful morning and everyone went about their daily Monday tasks as usual, but the whole mood of London was strangely flat. It might as well have been pissing down. Nobody was quite meeting anyone's eye. No banter. No chirpy whistling.

Keeping carefully vertical and speech to a minimum, I went to Tottenham Court Road and spent money on behalf of one of my best clients. God how I missed my girlfriend. I wanted to marry her when she sent me a text message asking how I was. Somehow I struggled through the day and the pain lessened. But the real pain is still there, in my poor tribal heart, writhing at the injustice of the result, trying not to blame Emile or Sven or Steven. And trying to avoid French alchohol products from now on.

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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Pyrotechnics

Went to see Groupe F, Christophe Berthonneau in Victoria Park last night. What a fabulous use of light, fire, aerial movement and music. I have not seen fireworks triggered as if played by an intstrument before.. the crowd of about 5 to 7000 were very appreciative and it occurred to me that this would not be seen in Central London - it was just too imaginative and the content was frankly rather depressing - realistic - even though dealt with using the fantastic.
So now Sunday is upon us, the weather is kind, I've had a very pleasant run around the park, and a nice breakfast. Here comes summer - ooo - ooo - ooo...

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Friday, June 11, 2004

Migraine

I worked yesterday on music - yes I have a real life that even pays me proper money sometimes. The session was cut short by a migraine which laid me low for a lot of the day; I think it may be linked to seratonin levels. See here. I hate migraine, it's disabling and unpredictable, and damned annoying if you enjoy your work like I do and it interrupts it !

I notice that Labour have done appallingly badly in the elections; I hope Ken Livingstone is re-elected as London Mayor (my only Labour vote this time) but frankly, I am happy to vote for my conscience AGAINST the party that led us slavishly into a stupid and avoidable war.

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Thursday, June 10, 2004

No More a Blirgin

Decided to vote Green. Decided to start a blog.

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