Sunday, 30 May 2004

FUCKING GET IN to both Palace and Brighton, MTV 2 on a Sunday morning has a tidy bird showing non-stop rap videos, last night i drank a bit and i saw about 11 kittens word to Qasim, Russell Simmons, Qawa, Barbudan Ello chowin on the plantain and soaking up the soca, all Brummie krew holla at ya all Edinburgh/Aberdeen/Glasgow set and London types.

Mark McGhee alt. lyrics to sleepy gene.

Michael Jordon rox (even the 1st time he retired evrbdy knew he was the NBA's finest) also but not as much as Maradona bewitching the entire Belgian back line in '82 being bitten by a kitten don't hurt like a big cat i tell ya that.

Lil Jon has wild eyes and a beard that makes him out to be a strange, lusty mysterious Scottish settler or something, he resembles increasingly a character in a minor RL Stevenson novella.

i was with a load of mates e'd and wizzing off my tits once at Glasto around '98 and saw Kelis in a big tent do 'caught out there'.

as they say, fucking champion.

i'm off for croissants and hopefully peas and vinegar, Riga and Dublin and Dakar these are proper cities, get a clue.

Saturday, 29 May 2004

Rsf on the Mexican-hosted EU-Latin American and Caribbean summit: spotlight on Cuba...,
Hilary Andersson in Darfur,
and three pieces from the guardian today:
Berger on Bacon, Suzie Mackenzie on Alice Neel, and Isabel Hilton.

Friday, 28 May 2004

whilst the news is abuzz with such issues as about 20 confirmed Taleban deaths thus far near Spin Boldak following a Tuesday attack by American-led forces, Iyad Allawi's nomination as the interim Iraqi PM, an earthquake near Tehran that has already claimed confirmed lives, at least twelve children missing in Hubei following a burst dam, Pinochet being stripped of his immunity, the drama and tragedy of the Hispaniola disaster {as it emerged yesterday that graveyards had been unearthed in the flood a nursing student lamented It killed us twice}, an eruption of fighting in Mogadishu, and Idriss Deby's path seemingly depressingly clear to now seek a third term if he so wishes, i just wanted to say thank you very much to Oliver for the big-up, and needless to say, i found what he had to say about Chomsky very interesting reading (the interview really is classic and an extremely eye-opening chat at that with some fascinating illumination from Noam about his views on capitalism; 'i don't want to use fancy polysyllables like philosophy when what we're discussing is common sense' etc.: tool! i think stepping carefully around Chomsky is a good idea on this one).

over at k-punk's footy post (large to k-p in general, incidentally, where the comments boxes are firing with informed and passionate debate thanks to Mark's YBA-slagging; i would also just like to say that Dave S might be interested to know that both Manchester City Council and neighbouring Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council are particularly adept at painting over graf) Philip of It's all in your mind renown {a Southampton fan, i believe, incidentally} has been having a right old time arguing about the merits of what constitutes a truly great player (hint: a certain Swede who is in the business of leaving the Glasgow area doesn't qualify), and whether Zidane is already the greatest European player there ever was (some recent UEFA diktat argued this apparently?!).

i like the idea of a canon for footy players, so i just wanted to post here:

10 great European players in no particular order off top of me head:

- Gerd Muller (watching archive of der bomber is truly exhilirating, his appetite for the game was stupendous)
- Cruyff
- Beckenbauer
- Puskas obv., George Best's anecdote about him teaching a load of American kids who didn't know who he was is magical (if you know the one i mean, it's the cross-bar story...)
- Bestie of course (my father is a Utd. fan [boo!! even though he hails from Moss Side and his old man was a City fan...] and Best is clearly the greatest player he's even seen in the flesh. all rheumy-eyed about him if you ask for tales of wonder)
- Van Basten [in 1988 when but a wee nipper one was at a rollerskating party where all the girls were skating and all the lads were watching the Irish get despatched on a big screen by the mighty Orangemen that very afternoon]
- Czibor
- Kocsis (alrite, ya gotta rep for the Magyars!)
- Neeskens i definitely would argue
- Eusebio.

ignoring plenty of gods like Platini of course but there we go, a subjective 10... for the play-offs i'll be hoping for Palace (Dowie innit), Brighton and Mansfield victories (though fear for Brighton in particular).
it's hard watching games in the USA, bars charge a hefty cover charge more often than not for live games, although you can generally get in free if it's a 'tape delay' (and so not actually live in the slightest, which is something).

it's a damned shame what Chelsea are trying to do with Ranieri, force him out so they don't sack him so he can't get his money.

i don't know about best player i've ever seen w' my own eyes, but as a supporter of both pro- and semi-pro teams, the worst would definitely be someone in the latter end of the market. possibly too many to mention, a chap called Ian 'Puffer' Tunnicliffe stands out, for one.
but i think possibly the most dire player i've seen in the colours of the outfit i support might have to be Darren Royle, son of Ipswich boss Joe.
Darren was (sorry!) pretty bad.

oh and congratulations to Zheng Jie, history-maker at the French Open.

Thursday, 27 May 2004

it seems that some new films to see at the moment might include Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, and Guy Maddin's 'The Saddest Music in the World' (even if it's only half as good as his fine revisionist Dracula, it'd still be an okay pic).

well, that's not all.
the announcement that Carandiru is getting a proper release oop north is a welcome one. Hector Babenco directs, the chap responsible for 1981's masterwork 'Pixote' (that was the comparative flick some unkindly types held up as a stick to beat people w' who they felt were being too breathless in their endorsment of 'City of God' last year).

a lengthy review by J.R. Jones in today's Reader is available as a shortened capsule here. meanwhile, the Onion A.V. Club's Scott Tobias has less time for the film here.
it's almost like they've not been watching the same film.
Jones' longer review in print form outlines several points that would seem to powerfully contradict Tobias' complaints of caricature (it's perhaps odd he mentions Elephant as demonstrating a keener intuition for how an institution functions in the average day, given Jones assures us "Babenco uses the individual stories as tiles in a larger mosaic detailing the social structure and moral codes of the prison", though Jones admits "the prison is a microcosm of the outside world - except that it has no prisons" [though, perhaps that line is wiser, less clear-cut, and more poetic than a first glance would give it credit for]).

all very odd.
i think Jones might actually be the one selling me (he generally seems more clued-up although they both write shit-hot when they want), but i guess we could see...
in the midst of Abu Hamza being detained on 11 charges, the words of Ahmed Versi are surely ringing in certain ears; not least those mindful of the arrests of Iraqi Kurd and north African residents last month (although the police are to be credited for some smoothing of relations).

everyone accepts how Hamza is a peripheral figure and are familiar with the toxicity of his speech, granted, yet Anas Altikriti's assertion that The worrying thing is that these dawn raids and arrests are becoming quite a frequent occurrence in the Muslim community is distressing and increasingly accurate.

god damn, the onion's only gone and rumbled us Limeys./
cozen/Marcello OTM.

the ILE thread about the Saatchi warehouse fire is kinda amusing, almost a little 'oh those ungrateful Iraqis, moaning about some damage to their museums and such' in places...
actually Angus' sports answer was just as exciting. Gide for #2 was interesting; i know he must be fairly well regarded in the academy or whatever but in my experience it's fairly true that he's not terribly widely read.

i've been wuvving Geeta on men starting fires, dancing &c./
Angus replies to my questions.

as a budding foodie, i'm particularly pleased to see he tackled #3 with (ahem) relish.
via Jon, Maher Shalal Hash Baz's Tori Kudo (they put out one of last year's best full-lengths, dontcha' know), replies to questioning.

East Kilbride is not a country town, it has two pubs.
John Howard shocks the free world w' his attempts to drag Australia back into the 1950's~ [via a little birdie]
the death toll continues to rise in the Caribbean flooding disaster.

it seems the only sure thing is that this is already (far) too much for everyone to bear (pace Giuliani).~
is it just me, or is the guardian a bit behind the times?

everywhere else was writing about Dr Shahristani a day or two ago (in that 'quick, it's a new story' way, i mean), i thought.

if Lakhdar Brahimi stays in the final throes of working out a leadership slate for much longer, a new wristwatch may well be in order.

top editorial, mind.

and - apart from a slight danger that perspective may be lacking, and some sappy overtones are skirting behind his boards - Jonathan Jones seems reasonable with his response to the Momart fire (certainly re. the Chapman's Hell).
good article here about Hirst aping &c. Bacon, from the magazine of the Chicago Art Institute's school.
k-punk talks footy.

oh, well done Porto.

feeling like a right heel now that one's noted a comment from the (utterly wonderful, obv.) mark s over at auspicious fish, that the smouldering BritArt warehouse contained the Craft Council's collection (and also some Victoria&Albert stuff).


also whatevs may think of Emin's work (and perhaps one was too hasty in not according it props, as that is such the easy reaction, granted; not that who/cares) praps feel a bit churlish now.

Wednesday, 26 May 2004

as all the chatter is of the Sudan peace deal, and the international community shakes fists over a well-publicised massacre that took place at the start of the week in Darfur, yesterday, in Addis Ababa, the African Union set the ball rolling with its new Peace and Security Council (PSC).
the PSC will look to pursue an interventionist policy comprising five regional peace-keeping bodies on the ground (expected to be fully operational by 2010, though up in place next year), as Nigeria's President Obasanjo said Africa was poised for action.
these peace-keepers, it is hoped, would complement UN forces, but constitute an effective rapid reaction outfit where soldiers could be mobilised into conflict areas far quicker than international units can react (30 days or less, like it or not, is too quick for the UN, generally).

the now-defunct Organisation of African Unity (charter) was, of course, not so keen on regional intervention.
spent the last few hours walking around Graceland [site, Sandburg poem, photos], a vast - 120 acres - cemetery in Chicago's northside Wrigleyville neighbourhood (near the ground of the beloved yet largely ineffective Cubs baseball team).

it's a pretty old memorial too (by urban American standards); Graceland became the town's chief cemetery in 1860 after the graveyards that had been established during the first half of the 19th century in lakeside Lincoln Park started polluting the city's water.

a chap called OC Simonds came to Graceland in 1861, to be the chief landscaper and superintendent. he stayed on in that role for the next two decades.

what was striking among all the imposing memorials and works of art (some exquisite) in stone were the last names. Chicago as a city in its early adult period has a lot of residents of German, Swedish, and Irish extraction, if this quiet oasis is any representative guide. other Scandinavian-sounding surnames and Polish names predominate too, and many headstones and tablets were written in German.

of course there's a lot of ornate work here in plots and tombs and so on, that just screams "money" (i don't know if there are a lot of black residents entombed herein; i certainly didn't spot any Chinese names [a longstanding and big Chinese Baptist Church is across the street from one side of here], but a fair few Latino ones), but not to let politics intrude on grief... ...the most unsettling and saddest plots were of the youngsters, of course, or of mothers being buried with offspring.

this place is filled with startling and remarkable design to catch the breath; also, many, many beautiful and amazing birds of varied stripes and song.
there were very few people about: couple of workmen, a guy in a car (the roads are wide and suffer tarmac), one party of visitors, and a girl i was talking to who had gotten lost (she'd walked one way for about ten minutes and hit a wall, then realised that was clearly not the front gate).

a Louis Garcia, 'Baby Louis', was interred in December 1959; he was approximately a month old when he passed away. heartbreakingly, a sibling died within a year, not too older.
there were many others of a similar age.

anyway, i was toddling along here, and getting all reflective and invariably filling my head with pseudo-profound thoughts (even maudlin, about that poor puppy that was killed; see news story below, and, incidentally, i apologise for the, er, language there - it is undeniably despicable and sickening that a bound and gagged puppy should be killed by being hurled off a motorway bridge but my anger needn't manifest itself in the sort of phrasing a Sun columnist might employ when discussing a paedophile...), and thinking all manner of things.

one of the (doubtless) less asinine thoughts i had was a digital camera would be useful, to blog some pics in a hipster way... ...ho- hum.
British National Party attack police~


the police's censorship is regrettable but is it as unseemly as the BNP's opportunistic conflating of a horrible and serious issue with unhelpful selection reflecting only part of that issue, not all the issue; therefore not engaging with the bigger picture (which would be useful)?

their partial straw man approach will not convince many voters who remember those now infamous 1997 election broadcasts.
fucking scum
checking out DJ Martian's excellent blog-roll thingy we notice that auspicious fish has its own take on the YBA blaze.
which is also true dat.

yeah the whole temporal argument is one reason why it was basically (perhaps one shouldn't say entirely, since what does one know...) pointless for the David statue in Florence to be cleaned.

the sculpture had grown into its surroundings and been enriched by the passage of time yadda yadda; it was mostly a PR exercise - a bit of mould on his knee, oh boo-hoo!

besides, w' ref. back to the up in smoke biz in Leyton, some Sarah Lucas work expressly hinged on decay and change, given organic materials could often be used there. so that's, well, i dunno.
finding it hard to get worked up would be mean-spirited, but... said before {my girl Jess and i disagreed time ago} - and i've got no love for Emin's work, TBH - Emin is, at least, always more interesting than her critics.
interview with Matthew Collings in the Idler from way back in 1999 here.
i suppose one way to approach that Nick Hornby piece scandal is to leave the "final word" to a cursory-sorta approach and (here, paraphrasing the NME), conclude:

'Marah? 'effing Marah?!'

* & leave it at that./
News from Nowhere txt. file.
there's top bombing blogging and then there's the faberge classics.

i'm thinking here of crumbling loaf, the ONLY blogger w' valid opinions on the Britart fire [guardian story; the Chapman's 'Hell' was good], mt. disappointment shopping for reggae loveliness, The Rambler tackling In C, The Mile Long Shadow of a Cooling Tower on what sounds like a turn that merits 'i'm a cheeky cunt, me!' status, from Damon Gough, and, of course,
Baal on cock-sucking.
look at that in central Glasgow, a redbrick municipal museum-type place "depicting a certain" narration of Glaswegian history inc. parochial and Old Labour signifiers.
i wonder what Robin C.'s classifications of socialist good work in W. Yorks etc. would make of all that, that'd slide in nicely one supposes.
from the same correspondent as t'other day:

Hopefully I should find a tape of Therapy?'s acclaimed Donington
performance of 1994 when I arrive home tonight. Full set in order

Stop It You're Killing Me
Trigger Inside
Die Laughing

I particularly like the idea of ending the set with those 3 tracks.
It must have been awesome. Surely better than the year after when me
and Chris saw them support Metallica at Donington - and Michael
McKeegan kept doing cowboy impressions.

i used to be really into Idlewild, and the early pop-punk rush too, not the more mature Getrude Stein-quoting or Edwin Morgan-using calmer period of tossed-off early REM comparisons.

but also their cover of Peeps into Fairyland's 'Palace Flophouse', that was supple and subdued and that b-side 'meet me at the harbour' that was good too like.
at time of writing, more than 500 confirmed deaths in Hispaniola.

rain set to continue...

man o man.
The Chicago Tribune is a centre-right broadsheet that's - generally speaking - fairly sensible.

critics have recently said it's both too soft on Mr Bush (on balance, an unfair charge), and too harsh on the Sharon govt (definitely inaccurate).

yesterday's editorial contained the odd misstep, however.

Obstacles remain. Doubters abound. But President Bush made it forcefully clear Monday night that neither he, his nation nor its most loyal allies will cut and run. Instead, Bush is committed, come June 30, to the rise of a sovereign Iraq--and to the extinction of the Coalition Provisional Authority that now governs there. Global leaders who have long called for a more internationalized effort to build a free postwar Iraq should now put their troops, their foreign aid and their hearts into crafting a nation that enhances the security of the world.

Bush laid out the path to that new Iraq. His speech capped a remarkable day that gave Americans the full measure of their president's determination to empower Iraqis. Earlier, the U.S. and Britain requested United Nations endorsement of the June 30 transfer of power to a transitional Iraqi government, to be followed by elections six months later. Just as important, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi explained in Baghdad how that interim government--which he has designed--will reflect, not ignore, the diversity, the rivalry, of Iraq's Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.

Taken together, Monday's events proved that a run of difficult weeks--with attacks from insurgents and a prison scandal--hasn't broken the momentum to give Iraqis control of Iraq. In Bush's welcome words, "The terrorists will not determine the future of Iraq." Neither will an unknown number of abusive American troops. "We must keep our focus," Bush said to other nations as much as to his own. "We must do our duty."

Bush's speech no doubt surprised some in a global television audience more accustomed to leaders who grasp for power rather than set schedules for giving it away.

er, not really, no.
tip: instead, try for more 'least we can do, therefore surprises no one'.

His resolve to surrender governance of the country, train its security forces and rebuild its infrastructure should, in time, reduce Iraqi anger and frustration over foreign occupation. The building blocks of progress he outlined--in education, government, commerce and exercise of personal freedom--could, if they flourish, ease the hate-filled toxicity of that often impoverished region. "Beyond the violence," Bush said, acknowledging but not bowing to the obvious, "a civil society is emerging." That's what some in the neighborhood fear.

As Tuesday dawns, especially in the Middle East and the capitals of Europe, the question is how other world leaders will respond. Some seem inclined to keep fighting the last war. Was anyone surprised Monday by a cloying French call for a more precise timeline for giving a government not yet formed full military control?

yeah, that's right. damn those perfidious French! pesky Euroweenies keep insisting on the new govt being allowed to exercise control; one of the basic tenets of any sovereign govt.

i realise my jokey response is a simplistic one, not taking into account realities on the ground, but god-damn if the Trib's own phrasing isn't a little less than satisfactory...

America's president has described the creation of an independent nation in what was a tyrant's playpen. Other influential leaders can quibble at the fringes--or negotiate a UN resolution to achieve that end. The choice is simple, at least for those who appreciate the world's keen interest in a peaceful and stable Iraq.

Tuesday, 25 May 2004

letter from some bloke to the guardian about Elvin Jones.

also from today's newspaper, OOH: getchoo! to the San Jose Mercury News, Meaoww...

and news about a row over the wording proposed in the new EU constitution.

BBCi's One Day of War programming from the other day was very interesting.
here is a bear.



Monday, 24 May 2004

ARISBE: a fine C.S. Peirce homepage.
this is the fourth most popular search return at Google Image Search for the query 'Wiley'.

here is Fennesz, here is Hugh Masekela, here is Amy Tan, and here [again?!] is Susie Ibarra.
Clint Eastwood

i know it was a vehicle for him but wasn't it disappointing when Sean Penn won the Oscar for his role in Mystic River.

Robbins probably deserved his Best Supporting gong really; the way he slumped and lived and felt his way through the maelstrom was outstanding. Laura Linney's scary wife w' the dodgy social philosophy and a busy Fishburne were both enjoyable but Murray for Lost In Translation would have been a better choice for the best actor gong.

anyway, i just wanted to say, re. 'Unforgiven' that i know a standard criticism might be it's too immediate and easy, and everything opens up by rote, without any immense difficulty on the part of the audience, no grappling, but if you consider how it looks easy riding an inner tube at a waterpark from a distance away but if you're there in the choppiness yourself it can become a Hyrda of endeavour (well, if you're young, or can't swim, or are afraid of water or something: these are how my wafer-thin metaphors are sustained, i.e., gentle prodding and not too much critiquing now or the entire blog falls down).

anyway, just thought i'd mention it...
it's always a pleasure to return to a beloved flick that you've not seen for some time.

yesterday i watched The Conversation for the first time in years. one of my favourite Coppola movies, one of my favourite Hackman pictures (Leonard Maltin actually called it one of the best films of the 1970's; whilst i think it's pretty bloody decent with an outstanding Harrison Ford, face set to quietly chilling, i don't know if i'd go that far, but hey).

'Popeye' Doyle and Little Bill are actually probably my absolute fave Hackman pieces, along with this film's Harry Caul [his performance in Hoosiers {"Hoosiers are people too!"} might well be next, even taking into account AMG's accurate concerns about sentiment].

this is a really obvious thing to note, but i didn't realise until yesterday that Hackman's Brill in Bruckheimer's supremely enjoyable Enemy of the State is not entirely dissimilar to the younger Harry Caul. they're both paranoid assholes with some serious deficits in the people-skills department, although must admit Caul's spirituality and love of jazz redeem him somewhat (as does Brill's bond with Lisa Bonet and her deceased father in the Will Smith film).

anyway, that line about repeated (but best to do it but very rarely) viewings of good films revealing things really hit home.
just wanted to scribe about that.

also finally saw 28 Days Later - must be the last person i know to see this.
definitely liked it, it was okay, good laugh innit, homage and all that, and Christopher Eccleston was great, as per.
bit mystified recalling one pal though whose opinions i usually trust; i remember him going well apeshit overboard on this. it was alright like, but nothing too special...
my brother went to his first rugby match the other day. this is his account:

Went to see Hull FC (as the Rugby league team in Hull are confusingly known) play Leeds at the KC Stadium last night. Gate just below 17,000, incredibly hardly any rozzers there tho (if it was footy Hull-Leeds there would have to have been at least a couple of thousand coppers). Lots of families there and lots of lads my age who were all in colours. Quite a good atmos, but then again its Hull's biggest game of the season. Amusing chant called "Old faithful" goes like this>
"Old faithful we roam the range together, old faithful in any kind of weather"
"When the grand old days are over, and the fields are ranged with clover"
"Old faithful pal of mine"

Something to do with Hull FC being formed in 1865 and their fans referring to the club as old faithful. Other chants were "We hate (Leeds) Rhinos and we hate Rhinos", the old standard "We all hate Leeds scum, we all hate Leeds scum". Leeds it would seem are despised equally in both footer and ruggers in dull.
Amusingly Leeds RL seem to have same chants as the bellend road lads "Marching on together" had a number of airings.Good away support too, despite it being a Friday night and live on Sky, Leeds must have had about 2500ish there. All in all a good first visit to a rugby game for me, tho it just didn't get the juices going in the same way that footy does, still an enjoyable night. Oh and Leeds (top of league) won 23-12 (Hull 4th).
i know Dadrock in the British mid-90's isn't very popular (and rightly so) but a good friend of mine was telling me in an email about listening over some old Ocean Colour Scene.

wasn't that 'the day we caught the train' tune great? i used to love that. the only one of theirs, of course, but great sentimental value.

am i turning into my mother??

sat in a Mexican caff on Saturday afternoon, tucking into a huge plate of (delicious and dirt-cheap) quesadillas, one's attention kept wandering to the flickering telly over the counter, showing grainy images of the royal wedding.

on more than one occasion i caught myself wondering 'doesn't the bride look lovely'.

a correspondent writes
Via the Therapy? website message board, I have managed to acquire a tape containing Therapy?'s set from their performance at Donington in 1994. I used to possess such a tape as I recorded it off Radio 1 back in the day when Monsters of Rock used to be broadcast LIVE ALL FUCKIN' DAY!! Sadly, it was lost some years ago but I think the setlist was something along the lines of:

Stop it you're killing me
Trigger Inside
Die Laughing

If I remember correctly it was a mammoth performance which led to the release of a bootleg CD, despite Nowhere, Teethgrinder and Potato Junkie not featuring.

Can't wait to hear it.

sounds great.
whilst it was too much to hope either Millwall (nice to see Dennis Wise is still a dirty little shit, eh) or Dunfermline (though they had the Bhoys worried for a little bit, which is something) would do any of us a favour over the weekend, at least Palace and the Hammers will provide us with a (hopefully) classic London derby on Saturday.

most people i know (including myself, ahem) thought Sunderland would be there of course, but there we go... for the other divisions, Huddersfield and Mansfield are the two best teams to be in at this stage, whilst i'd hoped Hartlepool might come through. still, at least the possibility of Brighton going up is something.
Brummie Dave's views on it all are, as usual, fiery reading:
Can I say at this point that both Swindon and Hartlepool were robbed and that I hope the Millennium Stadium disappears when full of Brighton and Bristol City fans. They're a fuckin disgrace.
When Bristol City fans invaded the pitch to celebrate on wednesday night, did they first attempt to hail their conquering heroes? Did they fuck! Instead they chose to scale the length of the Ashton Gate pitch to gesture at the 1000 Hartlepool fans who were, understandably, distraught at having conceded two in injury time. Brighton invaded the pitch before the game had even finished. I shall make Hartlepool my team of choice in Division Two next season. Brighton and Bristol City - I hope you have a shit day at Cardiff and wish the victors a speedy return to Division Two.

in other news, given how they finished their run-up (lost the last five games on the trot didn't they) it's hardly surprising Real have sacked Queiroz, whilst - as Houllier packs his bags - who is Rick Parry kidding?
The board decided change was necessary if we were to realistically challenge for the title next season.

also, it seems that Telford may have to reform at a far lower level (a la Aldershot), thus ensuring that Northwich Victoria stay in the Football Conference next season, rather than dropping to the new Conference North.
and congratulations to Hednesford.

Other Music Presents:

WEDNESDAY 26TH MAY at "Over the Top", 78 Kingfield Road, Nether Edge,
Sheffield. 8:00pm sharp, £5/3

Soulful, melodic free jazz from

GREG MORGAN (soprano and C melody saxophones, flute)
CHAS AMBLER (percussion, drums)


SYNAESTHESIA (guitars, electronics, percussion)


Polyrhythmic patterns weave about Morgan's searing, tortured lines
on the archaic C melody sax and ancient soprano conjuring up a world
somewhere between Atlantis and Greenwich Village.

Although working primarily within the "free" music environment the
work of this unit is actually carefully structured, allowing areas
for improvisation within defined melodic and rhythmic forms.

GREG MORGAN is one of the few modern sax players whose sound does
not obviously owe anything to John Coltrane. With his slow moving,
intense melodies, Morgan can more justifiably be compared with Albert
Ayler. Trained in classical piano, Morgan has played saxophone in a
wide variety of settings: jazz ancient and modern, folk, R&B, world
music. Since 1996 he has concentrated on writing and performing his
own work, both in a live setting and on record.

The son of London pro musicians, CHAS AMBLER's early interest in jazz
led to playing in pianoless trios in the 60s: he went on to work with
Jamie Muir and Don Weller, Lol Coxhill and Dave Holland. His love for
jazz is matched by his interest and experience in many other genres,
playing over the years in dozens of rock, soul, pop, R&B, country and
folk bands. The long list includes Trees, Johnny G, 7:84, John B Spencer
and the Ran Tan Band. In between all this he's found time to be a
songwriter, theatre composer, actor and only he knows what else.


Guitar-based quartet improvising around written instructions, after
the fashion of La Monte Young or Karlheinz Stockhausen. The results
can be drone-like, or more noisy and jagged, or both.
i feel pretty bad about my waffling the other day on Pilger and Steyn and Chomsky.

i even said i thought i could remember reading an article where Pilger said he supported insurgents in Iraq! George Galloway once had this thrown at him - when it turned out to be an invention from an enthusiastic interviewer - and the episode certainly didn't help Gorgeous George (personally i ain't a big fan, but come on...).
since - even if i did read that - i can't find it, or, rather, be bothered to look, i feel bad for impugning Pilger. that's on about the same level as criticising an anti-war person for giving succour to the old Ba'athist regime in Iraq because they didn't support one particular method of removing the regime (i.e., the American-led invasion).
so sorry Mr Pilger, i'm off to go and buy a copy for keeps (i must have misplaced about 4 copies in my life) of your excellent A Secret Country.

as for slagging off Steyn with somewhat imprecise and unfair language, you might say why should one feel penitent about that when Mark Steyn himself is sometimes hardly fair with his columns (well, two wrongs don't make a right). well that's a bit harsh. i know Steyn himself is fond of George Bush's tub-thumping and this feeds into the way Steyn appreciates the lack of nuance to be found in the most rabble-rousing Bushian rhetoric, because Steyn feels moral choices in world affairs can sometimes be simple and reduced.
so sometimes this means Steyn's journalism itself can be guilty of a lack of some nuance ("anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian" from an article the other day is rather sweeping, for instance). but - and i'll just stop digging in a minute - that doesn't make it fair for me to be slagging him off. so perhaps i'll just be sensible and largely ignore him in future or something... [incidentally, musta missed that story at the time: first British usage of bayonets since the Falklands war - utterly remarkable] ...or rather, engage in a more reasonable manner. of course, there's nothing one can really editorialise, or add to, about Steyn's recent outburst that President Bush shouldn't have apologised for prisoner abuses...

...that aside, i do find Steyn quite interesting. he is against theories of imperial overstretch and all that, he had a little spat with Niall Ferguson recently. but you don't have to be a fan of Chomsky's consistent theorising of American policies of new empire building, etc., as Michael Ignatieff has identified (in that strangely but i think reasonable ambivalent way of his, although LENIN'S TOMB clearly disagrees) to see there are therefore some contradictions in Steyn's world-view. and he is hawkish. but he cannot be aligned with some neo-conservatives one assumes, given his repudiation of how the British performed in the Middle East historically with their imperial entanglements.
so he is an enigma among hawkish north American political commentators (i wonder if he's not unsymapthetic to the claims of The Arab Mind, though, and probably therefore like some other folk in this regard, if so).

as for Chomsky, well it feels unfair that i generalised that his dismissal of Monbiot was unsatisfactory. on the first key point, it wasn't really. Monbiot does misinterpret the Hippocratic Oath as Chomsky sees it. so my bad.
and even though at first glance it appears that Chomsky has an overarching (i.e., general) principle on intervention (now, that would be troubling), it's actually the case that he's case-by-case.
but that is Monbiot too, of course. so i'm not sure that i prefer Monbiot, frankly.

but, a really humanitarian way of looking through (the lens of) the Hippocratic way to intervene would point out a decent physician would not have waited so long to beneficially intervene on its patient's body (Iraq, in this case). of course, this backs up what everyone says about western duplicity in Ba'athist crimes in Iraq in previous decades (lancing the boil of Iraq could have been done far earlier, blah blah, if we are to look at intervening in the spirit of healing).
but Monbiot and Chomsky clearly both agree on those basic points, so i'm not sure where to take it from there. and, after all, since this is so well-known it is unfair not to allow for the possibility of past misdeeds being exorcised (as Oliver had convincingly argued).

reading Chomsky's recent Hegemony or Survival you're frustrated at his conclusions for grass-roots alliances, everything's vague, the classifying of public opinion as another super-power seems a bit airy-fairy; is it just me or is it genuinely difficult to sometimes discern what he actually thinks (there is no discussion of either American involvement in Somalia, or western non-involvement in Rwanda, in the book, for example)?
but there again, he's basically a libertarian type of socialist isn't he i think so revolution and all that innit. fairy nuff.

i don't want to sound like a churl engaging in knee-jerk criticisms of him (although i realise i probably do sound like that) but it's just that some of Nick Cohen here i actually agree with (doubtless persona non grata to some on the left; i remember Ian Penman discussing Andrew Rawnsley and the like as liberal hawk cheerleaders and how he wasn't feeling them, but to be fair the Rawnsley article archived at the observer site of the time seemed reasonable and sensible: this was all a long time ago though, so it's a bit pointless to dredge up links now).
a lot of it is redactive and unfair to the likes of Chomsky but in lifting a veil when he discusses Chomsky on propaganda it's interesting. the question from Ramos-Horta is really unfair though, but you have to laugh at the pluck of Cohen for putting it in like that.
Chomsky would no doubt answer with some qualifiers about American misdeeds in the past, etc., or some point about current problems with what is happening in Iraq.
it's in that respect that i'm not so sure one would look towards him for undogmatic salvation, as i like my grey areas shaded in with pragmatism.

but the book itself is at pains to point out how all American policies are working towards one goal of American supremacy. you either agree with that analysis or disagree with at least parts of it, so fair enough in general.

incidentally, one of the friendlier reviews of Hegemony or Survival i read contains the stupendously amusing line that Turkey is run by an iron fisted dictator (don't forget, the book came out in 2003 so the review is from then too).
that must be news to both President Sezer and Mr Erdogan eh?

god, i'm a right po-faced pompous cunt.

Saturday, 22 May 2004

harm on the clarity of historical perspective...
Baal - epic - on Slint.
Robert's Requiem for Dead Cattle~
nice up Jim for a wonderful Elvin Jones photograph.
big up dan for wanting to make me break out the William Gibson.

Friday, 21 May 2004

Matos on Stephen Merritt is great mind:

Stephin Merritt in old, out of it, and talking out his ass shockah. "OutKast is boring music for suburban teenagers"--yes, and the Magnetic Fields is boring music for their older siblings who fancy themselves intellectual because they read half a magazine piece by David Foster Wallace. ~
saw Amblongus' very amusing take on that Hornby piece earlier - and can i just say, Eppy, you're being too kind (trust me, he's ours) - but, really, how much does Sasha's piece on Nick Hornby rool?!

yes i enjoy his fiction as much as the next foghorn.
and now, to lighten the mood, some links to other blogs before the weekend rush.
whilst i'm pretentiously (and doubtless wrong-headedly) waffling shite about politics, i must draw attention to this recent Mark Steyn article in the National Review.

buggered if i know how it finishes because i ain't going to sub to it for that am i, but blow me if it's not a frustrating start!

I know what I'd like: Iraq, circa 2010, is a functioning confederal state, not a perfect democracy, but a respectable one — not New Hampshire, not Norway, but not Zimbabwe, either. Think Singapore or Belize. It has a growing economy, an enlightened education system, a free press, and an expanding middle class. Its representative at Arab League meetings votes with the King of Morocco more often than with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Its presence as a free society in the heart of the region changes the dynamic, encouraging reform in some of its neighbors (Jordan) and shriveling the dictatorships in others (Syria).

well - pausing to note that, yes, of course, this sounds nice and who wouldn't want it - i'm almost convinced i bet Mark Steyn goes on to beat his political opponents almost w' 'is this what you really want, Ed Kennedy?'
i realise i'm being extremely redactive here and even an uber-hawk like Steyn (as someone at Salon amusingly called him the other day) doesn't really think that, and i realise differences are all healthy, but it just strikes me as a tad unseemly that he's throwing that sort of phrasing out as if to plant seeds of doubt in his readers minds along the lines of 'well, do those anti-war types really want what's best for Iraqis too, like us reasonable folk?'

just strikes me as a tad, well, hmm, i'm unsettled.
alright, "so disappointed" is undeniably intemperate language. i meant it's a shame a bona-fide dictator couldn't get as much of a roasty reception as Mr Bush, is all.

and yes, arguments from one former Amnesty Intl' person that human rights groups, certainly in the US, are recently more and more becoming almost moral pawns of intervention arguments and all sorts of bedfellows they really shouldn't be comfortable w', is endlessly disturbing, i know...
Colourless green ideas sleep furiously

very interested to see that Simon silverdollarcircle attended a Noam Chomsky talk t'other day, especially as he found Chomsky to be the antidote to one's political grey-area i'd mentioned recently. i must say i am rather - well, if not fond, then perhaps appreciative or such - friendly towards my grey-area. i'm not sure how far i agree with Simon that it sounds inspiring to have, to hand, something to repel this queasy grey-area of indecision, but i admit it all sounds rather useful.
and on the surface Chomskian rhetoric appears to take us away from stubborn dogma, which is nothing if not unappealing.

but politically speaking i'm not so sure that even Chomsky (and he merits praise not only for his foundational work in linguistics, but his speaking truth to power too) doesn't lapse into that now and again.

i'm not one of these people that wants to spit a somewhat kneejerk cry of 'apologist!' at him (although, one has to say, Edward Herman's defence of his pal from DeLong tends to get bogged down a bit and, frankly, obfuscates at times; and all that said, i've never come across a convincing excuse for Chomsky's bizarre labelling of Vaclav Havel as "morally repugnant", though i'm sure one must exist somewhere) and the people that criticise him for his sometimes poor grasp of history are perhaps being a little unfair: that is the curse of the generalist, after all [incidentally, for a more useful round-up of the whole 'Chomsky on the Khmer Rouge' hullaballoo, check out, firstly, Sophal Ear's original thesis, Josh Buermann's eminently reasonable-looking defence of Chomsky, a good response to that article, and an enlightening spar between Bruce Sharp and Josh Buermann].
his inspired response to Anthony Lewis should clear a few things up for people that like to muck-rake.

but i think Chomsky can sometimes get bogged down in a little sticky stiff-mindedness. don't get me wrong, many interviews i've read of his have him being good-humoured, even-handed and witty (though he can be rude). and his drawing to public attention in the west what Suharto was doing in East Timor was very important, for a start.
and his critiques of American foreign policy (god, this is turning into a 'wot i fink of Chomsky' post...) in Central America mean that he should be commended in a similar way to how John Pilger should be wuvved for his writing on East Timor and the Aboriginal experience in Australia and his early journalism, even if you did read him the other day opining that the insurgents in Iraq should be supported (i swear i read that somewhere, but i can't find it now, so maybe i was dreaming...)/

i did love how Simon says he made him challenge some of his own views, an example would be where Chomsky was discussing (i'd say) pretty widely-held beliefs about the USA and 'its puppet' Israel. i don't know what sort of thing Chomsky held up at this point but a very mild example might be recently where the USA did not veto a UN resolution on Israel, merely abstained [okay, in the face of what everyone has been seeing happening there, that might not sound like much, but it's quite a bloody big stick in diplomatic terms, believe it or not].

standard view of Chomsky:
that's before we start to praise him for his politics of dissent, which - even if you disagree with him, and it seems reasonable to sometimes - are so invaluable and refreshing amidst a culture of bland acquiescence from some commentators.
western hypocrisy over East Timor was indeed sickening and disgraceful and all manner of other bad words you can think of, and Chomsky's worldview when discussing American clients across the globe has usually always had morality on his side.
but his almost pathological obsession with hypocrisy does hit you somewhat badstyle (and tad dogmatic, going after the Great Satan? who can say...). as someone far wiser than i once said, if you recognise hypocrisy as the tribute vice pays to virtue, a lot of his recent stuff (certainly Media Control, which does touch on themes that Gore Vidal enjoys too, but with far less success than Vidal) is essentially bobbins.

but his pointing out that military intervention in humanitarian guises is usually not what it seems is a fine Orwellian one, even if the spin-off from consequence is a whole 'other debate you can have with yourself about that (e.g., to pick an obvious one, re. Pakistan in East India, did the Indian military intervene with entirely humanitarian reasons at heart on behalf of Bengali separatists: no, but there were readily apparent - and i think this is an interesting point - humanitarian consequences). as a side-issue here, i don't think Monbiot is satisfactorily dismissed by Chomsky here.

one thing i will say in his defence is doesn't it irritate you when you read stupid or absurd criticisms of him predicated on issues like 'well, he should criticise X or Y such and such more frequently, not just our very own Z'. our responsibility lies with our own govts, and that much should be easily apparent.
tho' i must admit, on the above issue, and i don't want to sound like a simplistic fool or anything here, but it was so disappointing when George Bush attracted more protestors than Jiang Zemin did in London a few years back.
i read The New Military Humanism: Lessons from Kosovo, Chomsky's 1999 effort on NATO intervention over Kosovo/a, soon after it was available (my own views on that episode was i was pro-intervention before the intervention happened, and then, beset by doubts to the point where i felt myself a troubled fool, after the fact).
Chomsky had a lot to say in that book (like many, what happened to Rambouillet, why did we walk away from that when we did and hunker down to military options, how much escalation on the humanitarian bad eggs scale can we easily discern once aerial bombardment started, etc.), and it's always interesting, and keenly argued.
however - and who am i but a fucking semi-anonymous chod w' a blog so what do i know {except to vouch that in terms of area studies at university and really since then the only places politically i am very familiar w' arguments are Russia, China, Indonesia, the Balkans, Britain, and central Africa} - one should point out Adrian Hastings' review here is actually, pretty much spot-on.

Wednesday, 19 May 2004

Auget largiendo

can't believe Elvin Jones has gone (as marked in many blogs, and understandably so).

what an immense talent;
he had gifts.
what is the word up from 'powerful'?

i can't be the only one who thought immediately of a particular scene from Shakespeare in Love today when i heard the news.

for some reason, i feel the need to quote some of the Norman and Stoppard script at this point:

That goes down very well with the entire COMPANY...except
for VIOLA and WILL. He looks at her, helplessly, then
makes as if to say something. VIOLA ducks away from him
and blunders blindly out of the street door, in tears.
VIOLA passes PETER who is coming in from the street.
WILL, attempting to follow VIOLA, is grabbed round the
shoulders by PETER...who, we now see, is in a highly
emotional state. WILL tries to fight him off but PETER
has the strength of the news he brings.

PETER (shouts): Will! Mr. Henslowe! Gentlemen all!

He brings the room to silence.

PETER (CONT'D): A black day for us all! There is news
come up river from Deptford. Marlowe
is dead.

There are general gasps and cries for information.

PETER (CONT'D): Stabbed! Stabbed to death in a tavern
at Deptford!

No one is more affected than WILL. This second blow is
worse than the first. He stands horror-stricken.

WILL: Oh...what have I done?

ALLEYN (standing up): He was the first man among us. A great
light has gone out.

Tuesday, 18 May 2004

I have only seen...a harrowing sight
_diary, summer 1918, John Singer Sargent.

'The event that he decided to commemorate took place between Arras and Doullens on 21 August 1918. The Germans had put down a gas barrage which had caught several units of the advancing British Army
Severe mustard gas poisoning is usually fatal and invariably disabling. The symptoms begin with a heavily running nose, nausea and vomiting. After a day the eyelids close. The victim's scalp and genitals may be severely burnt, because hair contains sebum which aggravates the effect of the chemical. By the second day blisters form, the ears swell and the victim coughs up his own mucous membrane. Mustard gas killed the soldiers of the First World War, just as it killed Kurdish villagers in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, by destroying the respiratory system. Death occurs within two to ten days.'

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning
__Wilfrid Owen.

"The claim that Iraq gassed its own citizens has often bee(n) repeated. At best, this is uncertain."
Edward Said, 7th March 1991.
Is it at all possible to speak of 'a lack of clarity' and 'haziness' when the matter is one of an order to remove people from their homes, bind their hands and gag their mouths, beat them with clubs in order to break their hands and feet?
Acts of this sort arouse every cultured person and no haziness or lack of clarity can excuse them
__Justice Moshe Bejski.

"This order, when we are sitting here in this room, it seems something like a monster, but in this time, in this area, in this situation, it wasn't like that. Everybody did these things all the time. It wasn't something so bad. It wasn't something that dropped from the sky. It was something you saw every day."
__Captain Eldad Ben-Moshe.

...a very confused situation - confused orders, confused commander, confused soldiers, everyone was confused.
__Lieutenant Omri Kochva.

Jon Burge's watch at Areas Two and Three: Chicago's shame.

Cannon says he was addressed as "n*****," beaten about the knees with a flashlight, and driven to a remote site on the southeast side...--->read more here.
letter in paper:

In the review of the film Secret Things, J.R. Jones wrote: "I've watched this 2002 French drama twice, and I still can't decide whether it's a masterpiece of sexual provocation or just a really classy stroke film."
Oh, I dunno. I'm guessing the latter? But maybe you need to see it a few more times just to be really sure?
__Rose Selavy
as a state of emergency is declared in Plateau, amongst the background of roiling violence, none other than Wole Soyinka has asked President Obasanjo to resign.
new Amnesty International report up: Killings of civilians in Basra and al-'Amara.

"UK Armed Forces in Iraq have shot and killed Iraqi civilians, including an eight-year-old girl and a guest at a wedding celebration, in situations where there was no apparent threat to themselves or others".
the script don't come for free

my brother and Whidizzle and Miguel saw the Streets and Calvin-Schmalvin in Leeds - live for Radio 1 - the other night, support from Shystie (who didn't pause for breath for half an hour).

live band of drummer, keyboardist, and bassist to supplement the Skinner stylings, which was a mix of choons from his first and second albums, starting with the first tune from his first LP. encore finished with 'don't mug yourself'.
Calvin "fantastic" range, Skinner a fine riser w' every conceivable spirit on there and a top night was had by all.
as Shystie's DJ ripped More Fire at the beginning with who's that Darren Francis my brother turned to Whitbizzle to say 'our kid would buzz off this'. apparently he wholeheartedly agreed with his viewpoint.

our kid also mentions that the NME is currently making schoolboy errors in its full-flavoured endorsements of the new Morrissey... ...k-punk's agreeable spin on wuvving the chap's persona notwithstanding.
good lord

Monday, 17 May 2004

this is the post where i entreat Angus [capital fellow] to do me a favour.

Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest, largest, and best art museum in Australia (sorry Canberra!).

it has significant holdings of work by Fred Williams (including this startling Upwey Landscape), one of the finest artists of the Australian 20th century [here is a very good webpage about Williams, if you're interested].

the NG of Victoria recently launched a major touring exhibition of Williams' 'Pilbara Series', due to travel to several regional Aussie galleries, between now and next year.
this series of paintings and gouaches had for a long time been in the hands of the mining giant Rio Tinto, but they donated it to the public in 2001 when they gave the collection to the NGV (although as this Age story shows, Rio Tinto weren't entirely losers over the whole affair).

my absolute favourite Williams piece is quite possibly the Red landscape of 1981, painted very shortly before his cancerous death, that you can clearly see on the NGV's own page above about the touring exhibition.
as Andrew Graham-Dixon noted, the spiniform bleached trees, the suggestion of hardy spinifex, the endless horizon, all these observations in the painting add up to what is a spirited engagement with the landscape of the vast Pilbara region of northwestern Oz [National Geographic mini-site, image #1, image #2, map]; an attempt to create - with those wispy essences of ubiquitous spinifex as a sort of shorthand for natural grandeur&toughness, the dots of brush, the stark/luminous red earth {see Aboriginal Flag} - a visual vernacular of this area.
the implacability of this monumental slice of Mother Nature in all her impassive glory is rendered well by Williams.
i have the feeling if i ever actually saw this tremendous picture in the flesh (ahem, coff-coff), i would be simply dumbstruck.

Williams flew over the region by helicopter whilst preparing for Red landscape and his euphoric diary entries of the time show his enthusiasm for, and appreciation of, the stunning and wonderful scenery he encountered out there. groups of wild horses ("brumbies") and a strange clashing of light and land were just two of the phenomena he saw with his own eyes.

this is possibly a bit of a stupid time to ask Angus this, given that the Pilbara holdings (although not all the Williams that the museum has, presumably) will be on tour and out of Melbourne for quite some time now, but i was wondering:
the next time (if you're arsed and do go there from time to time, as i'm sure one must do) you visit the NGV, could you possibly go and find one Williams piece, any would do ya know, {if this ain't too much trouble}, view it, and blog your response?

cheers mate.
go Gunes!!

just been speaking to my boy Cengiz (he's the one who works as a Turkish/English Kurdish/English interpreter at a community centre in Tottenham).

he's going for a volunteer research position at Amnesty International.

good for him.

a very interesting BBC page about the Somali community in Cardiff.
and an interesting page of photos of two demonstrations, one pro-war, one anti-, taken in Manchester the other year.
here is Samuel Butler's Erewhon Revisited online.

Q: What is the best thing about being a City fan?
A: Shaun Wright-Phillips///
big up Sean Acid's eloquent musings on death and funerary practices.

best post EVAH.
critics may point out that there have been more mentions at this blog of Jim Carrey than of Husserl or Feyerabend put together.

to my critics, i say yes, you are quite right.
on the train the other day i saw a young man reading the screwtape letters who looked a bit like jim carrey.

the wonders of modern life [and speaking of Lewis there is "this remarkable page" about scran and booze in Narnia, via Tom Ewing, w' another fine Narnian page to go].

also on the train i saw a young man wearing a Morrissey jumper and reading a book about the who.

the banality of evil.
deadly serious

One gang member alleged that guards refused to unlock the doors when they called for help.
President Maduro returns home.


went to a billed as new wave/ppunk night the other day. good stuff, excitable vibe. lot of old classics ('wall of voodoo', tones on tail, much depeche mode, john foxx and the feelies and visage and fuzzbox) but a fine variety of left-of-the-field choices too, much stuff was shamefully unfamiliar with but sounded like DNA or Bucks Fizz being buttfucked at the same time by Arthur Russell or Yello. played some Yazz and at the start of the night, some Clash, 'EMI', some Buzzcocks before the floor was busy: clearly demonstrating the DJ's lineage, and jumping of bones. 'don't you want me' fucking immense. was gonna ask the DJ for slits covering Gaye but so enjoyed spandau's 'true' it didn't matter. they didn't play big country though, ah well. was on the rock/dark metal iconography side of these things, methinks. bar pricey.

the greatest sport in the world

(1) Parker, Defoe and Smith as standbys (even though i am a Ledley King fan Vassell before Smith?) is a bit poor, Sven. alas no SWP? glad Upson is at least in the stand-up. nevermind salivating about invincible Arsenal man Ashley or indeed Sol, the only two defenders there that are definitive starters are Terry and Neville, G. looking at the squad it strikes you at present England have arguably (only?? and of course everything is always at present) 3 or 4 world-class players, two scousers (one of whom is really quite Welsh), a manc, and a londoner who supports a manc outfit. funny that.
(2) Chunklife, you owe me twenty (tho' somedisco owes Brummie Dave 20).
(3) obv. congrats to the Gooners ladies and gents (haha, Sir Jock Purple Face, haha), to Valencia, to AC, to Werder, to Lyon and to Ajax. Pete Baran said ladies victory not covered much at all in the press, ho-hum.
(4) even more obv., congrats to the Shrews, v. pleased w' that.
(5) good (we can't get rid of him cause of the 2 yrs left to run meaning he would be entitled to bank-busting compo and whatnot).

english play-offs
(6) palace (they are in form of course) and ipswich (dark horses) start brightly hmm, brighton's still competent attack on swindon and hartlepool still fighting against bristol c., huddersfield and mansfield on a collision course as to praps be expected, 2 best outfits really (recent league result for cobblers/mansfield unpicked in first leg).
games today and over the next few days, Auntie has the best intro here, keep it locked to the Beeb you know it makes sense.


too saddened by the whoa bodyform passing.

Sunday, 16 May 2004

let me clarify: Jacques is on reasonable grounds with his historical point.

but to ignore such sights as forced labour in Myanmar at the behest of the SPDC (or, indeed, such issues as the January murder of Chea Vichea) whilst one is taking the waters is, frankly, offensive.
Roy Greenslade on Piers Morgan
Dr Mohamad and Asian Values

politically speaking, Indonesia is the region's only true failing state (so he is therefore correct; tho' we could go futher east: to Oceania, and see some sights but that is to digress), and of course one is sympathetic to the claims of Jacques here.

alas, Jacques is absurdly wrong w' Historically speaking, this is nonsense....But let that pass. - the touch of arrogance with 'let that pass' underpinning some of his argument.

Laos? Vietnam? China? North Korea? Burma?

and this, thus, fatally compromises - for me - the thrust of his plea, even though he is, of course, right on the issues that matter w' ref' to the USA.
RIP Jesus Gil.

Thursday, 13 May 2004

bowled over

to be honest with you, just utterly flabbergasted about the news (and the resignation of Vajpayee!). perhaps some people were not terribly surprised, but i doubt it, certainly would doubt 'in the slightest' (and i admit my outbursts here are exaggerated for effect, but even still...)_

Congress won nearly half the seats up for grabs in Gujarat, for instance.

was planning to post quite a lot (politics, food, movies, music, literature, mostly) over today and tomorrow but this is all going to take a few days to read and digest instead.


the BBC has a useful introductory/regional guide to where votes went etc. here.

due to the unexpected results in India and (therefore, it follows) the very real possibility of a blog hiatus for a good few days, let me please post some links to interesting web-free articles from recent issues of the NYRB.
Anthony Lewis on Michael Ignatieff and Washington's suppression of civil liberties
Ahmed Rashid on 'the rise of bin Laden'
Ingrid D. Rowland on 'Faith and Power (1261-1557)' [i.e., the latest mammoth Byzantium exhibition at the Met Museum, their page here]
Adam Shatz reviews a number of pieces on Hezbollah (there's a lovely article on Gerard Manley Hopkins in that particular issue)
oh, and the
full text of the letter from the 52 former diplomats to Blair.

one thing i've been frankly wanting to say for some time and i don't wish to offend any possible readers here but you know how the USA is renowned for quite a lot of progressive politics magazines like mother jones and the nation, well just as ones like those are to be fair good and the likes of adbusters is really frankly showing itself up these days and a bit dubious well i didn't want to rip on adbusters i just wanted to mention it was only the other day where i first read a copy of my first utne reader which i'd heard so much about (you know, their press awards and all that, and it's a good name to drop) but i have to say i thought this particular sheet was, to be honest, pretty crap.
maybe it was the just one issue i had but a lot of recycling from other organs and stuff, a lot of quite lazy stuff in there, i'm afraid i'm going to sound like a cock now as i read it about a month ago and couldn't give examples now it's in the mists of time but i remember thinking that quite strongly at the time and i'm normally pretty careful like that, so yeah (they did mention a recent Keenan piece in the wire no less tho' which had Heather Leigh Murrah playing! which is something i suppose, about the ol' free folk explosion and Sunburned Hand of the No-Neck Black Emperor and all that lark {ducks from Jon}.

ah well there's always daria~

big up Matt, a true gentleman and one of the good ones

oh and one final thing today's best google search here proving who the top chronicler is///

gone reading.

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

David Stubbs on Laurel & Hardy is absolutely superb.
well, this seems to be it;
The first ever Conference North will now comprise:
Alfreton Town, Altrincham, Barrow, Bradford Park Avenue, Droylsden, Gainsborough Trinity, Harrogate Town, Hinckley United, Hucknall Town, Lancaster City, Leigh RMI*, Moor Green, Northwich Victoria, Nuneaton Borough, Redditch United, Runcorn FC Halton, Stafford Rangers, Stalybridge Celtic, Southport, Vauxhall Motors, Worcester City and Worksop Town.
The official listings were made by the FA National Leagues' manager Mike Appleby and representatives from the Conference, Northern Premier League (UniBond), Dr Martens League (Southern) and Ryman League (Isthmian) at a meeting in Loughborough on Sunday.

*If Leigh RMI are reinstated in the Nationwide Conference due to Margate's ground problems which have to be rectified by May 31st, Kettering Town will be switched to the Conference North and Margate to Conference South.

these are truly exciting times for the upper echelons of English non-league footy!

for those interested, the situation with Unibond Premier promotions within the context of the new Conference North next season is as follows (north midlands and northern-situated teams w' geographic locations in brackets cause i'm anal).

Unibond champions Hucknall Town (darkest wilds of Nottinghamshire on the edge of the county city, tho' the town has some pleasant boozers) can't go up to the Conference proper, as - sadly for them - their ground is not up to scratch.
runners-up Droylsden (east Manchester, and easily my least favourite derby for Alty due to their pisspoor pitch, among other factors) have the same problem.
if only poor old Barrow (the edge of the world, in SW Cumbria) had finished 2nd and not 3rd, they might have been able to have gone up, and then be having (no doubt fierce) derbies with Carlisle. Barra's ground is A-OK.

in related news, it seems that Leigh RMI (Wigan way) who finished 2nd bottom in the Conference may escape demotion to the Conference North. this is because Margate are almost certain to be booted out of the Conference proper for not having their ground ready in time for the new season. the knock-on effect of Margate being relegated to the Conference South means that Kettering will be shifted from Conference South to Conference North meaning old foes like Altrincham and Stafford can be reunited with them.

one final thing to report is a rumour doing the rounds (bit unlikely this one, admittedly) that Conference outfit Telford may go bust, given they are looking for a new investor and chairperson. this would mean Northwich (mid-Cheshire Soviet salt-mining town, and notable only for the fact that Tim Burgess, baggy Madchester type, hails from there) would get a reprieve, and also not drop from the Conference proper to the Conference North (they've been relegated, as it stands).
this final option though, is extremely unlikely.
i would hope this is not the case as;
(a) i don't like Northwich
(b) 'we' (i.e., that pathetic plural thing sad footy fans do to refer to the team they 'follow', that is in this case, Altrincham) want our derby with the green slime back (as they're known)
(c) yes i am sad.
readers in the S. Yorks. area who are interested in this sort of caper (if there are any) might be interested in the following.

this is a plug where i cut and paste an email i got the other day, from some Discus Recs associated ppl. given the geezer's giving out phone nos. over mass email, i don't see any problem putting this on the innanet.

If you think you'd like to try your hand at improvised music,
or want to take your playing a step further, there are still
places available on the improvisation workshops currently being
run by Mick Beck.

These are being held at Over The Top, 78 Kingfield Road,
Nether Edge, Sheffield, and run from 7:30 to 9:30 on
Monday evenings from now until the last workshop, which is
on the 21st of June, with a gap of one week for the 31st May
Bank Holiday.

Cost: £5 per session or £3 if unwaged.

The workshops will explore the balance between ambient and
interventionist approaches to making improvised music.

Participants are invited to bring their own instruments; there
are also some percussion instruments and a piano which can be

experiment, listen and communicate. Between 1988 and 1992
Mick led an influential improvising big band, "Feet Packets",
which was based on a workshop group, and has since run
several series of workshops for mixed age and ability groups.

If you are interested, please phone Mick on 0114-258-4999
or email him at

Tuesday, 11 May 2004

Gareth goes shopping~
Brummie Dave clarifies his Brighton views:
As for Brighton. Two issues. Firstly, Kidderminster were refused league status in 1996 due to not meeting the league's criteria on stadia. However, Brighton's ground resembles nothing more than an athletics track with a tent stuck in one corner posing as a stand. Secondly, their fans on the whole are whining cockney wannabees who can only dish it out in numbers - I heard a nasty story about 4 of them doing over one sole Millwall fan. Leatherhead and Sheff Utd fans have proclaimed similar tales.

i know QPR John is very fond of banter with Brighton fans, so who can say? this one could run and run.

one thing's for sure though, without getting involved in any new stadium issues, he's right that where the Albion have been plying their trade is about as impressive a ground as, well, Hucknall's.
speaking of the lovely companion, she reckons the fog was all:
came into work this morning on the train, just as a fog rolled in off the lake, a thick, cat-like curvy fog the likes of which i've not seen since i was in san francisco, all cold and misty, rendering everything above about the 20th floor completely invisible.
it's really quite beautiful.

apparently the Repub. Rep. from OK. was heard to remark "seven people are being punished for what they did, but now we have these do-gooder humanitarian people crawling through prisons looking for abuses when our heroes are out there dying", and also that "those abused prisoners should praise their Allah that Saddam Hussein is out of power" and is fond of attaching the label a "political agenda" to things.
re. the Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra wanting a stake in Liverpool football club, it's a shame the most sensible people here are (as per) the fans.
James Inhofe is a Republican senator for Oklahoma.

During today's meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was speaking [basic txt report here/pdf report here], Mr Inhofe remarked that I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment...These prisoners, you know, they’re not there for traffic violations...If they’re in cellblock 1-A or 1-B, these prisoners, they’re murderers, they’re terrorists, they’re insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands, and here we’re so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.

the lovely companion, who heard the entire thing on the radio (i didn't catch any of it), assures me that "they quoted, possibly, the most benign of his comments. he was just getting started, there."

i wonder where all his 'no traffic stops, these' stats are from.
  • My #1 result for the selector, Political Economy/Philosophy Selector , is Liberal - (Locke, Adam Smith, Madison, J.S. Mill, both Roosevelts) - The belief that social justice is best facilitated by limited, popular government and free (and fair) markets. Some Republicans, most Democrats, most Reformers.

    [note: i should perhaps apologise to Baal that i am apparently endorsed by Adam Smith {Baal no fan of his}]

  • My #1 result for the selector, Middle East Political Opinion Selector, is Palestinian moderate / peace-oriented

  • Nouakchott? it's right by Skowhegan, i think; take a right at Norridgewock

    today's NY Times has a report from their Craig Smith in Stuttgart - concerning north African countries; well, really, Sahel states - that's been fairly widely syndicated (read it in the IHT here).

    in light of widespread concerns that Islamist terror outfits and sympathisers may be operating in the region, or looking to shift operations from elsewhere, it's just mentioning things like how American special forces have been posted to countries like Mali to train local troops (in March the American military was finishing what was reported to be a highly successful counter-terrorist training program [sic] in Mali and Mauritania), and how western powers want to ensure any support or territorial base the likes of al-Qaeda have (or are scouting for) in the region is eradicated (NATO officials are in Mauritania this week to discuss border security).
    these American efforts are all part of the Pan Sahel Initiative, launched in 2002.

    now, this is not the time for any political analysis, merely my anal demi-GUMG-job stylings which is to note that the (benign in its representations of course, and hardly Ivor Crewe wondering why the miners are always pictured outside the pit, whilst the bosses get interviewed in the boardroom or whatever, but you 'get the idea'...) article struck me as charming in its 'ungoverned swath' and 'vast, arid region is a new Afghanistan'-type ways. i was half expecting a bit of a 'the fierce Tuareg have long roamed this region of outstanding natural beauty and hunted from their backs of their fiesty horses...few things - except BBC Wildlife Natural History Unit cameramen - survive out here'-type "Sahel 101" jobs... ...still, weeks ago The Rambler noted half-arsed central/eastern European coverage in the guardian, so i don't see what i'm moaning about...
    regarding the death of gay marriage opponent, California Senator William Knight, one can't be the only one that felt Sasha's happier news: Die, motherfucker, die! was perhaps a tad, well, OTT and uncalled for.
    something about Ouroboros?
    of course that whole episode is classic all the way through.

    on the subject of sitcoms and when back in the UK i normally like Garry Shandling or whatever, and a sentimental thing for Cheers, and have never been able to look past an on-song Frasier or a truly on point Seinfeld.

    i am coming round to a way of thinking, however, that states that - just
    possibly - Seinfeld might be the greatest of all American sitcoms (well, that, and the Simpsons).

    i certainly respond well to the snarkiness.

    on an advert for the simpsons t'other day they get sent down to Alcatraz for some bizarre reason and make a break for it. so they're swimming in the Bay when Marge points out SF, i'm sure the cartoonists did a half-decent job of rendering the Transamerican etc. (beautiful lovely tower that, if unfamiliar which is admittedly unlikely you should read a little about here), and Homer in a classic response, gulps out I'm not made of money, we're heading for Oakland.

    when i say stereotypical frilly white shirts, i of course mean the kind that Blackadder (one of the world's great sitcoms, obviously, certainly the second through fourth seasons) takes the piss out of Shelley and Byron and Coleridge for wearing in the dictionary episode.

    whilst we're on the subject (isn't my authorial voice POMPOUS eh?! HO HO it's all good fun of course)/
    one of my favourite bits of that episode is when the Prince Regent is discussing Dr Johnson with Blackadder and Blackadder reckons he's never heard of him til the Prince 'mentioned him just now' but proceeds to call him out, there's that bit about a fat dullard or wobblebottom; a pompous ass with sweaty dewflaps.
    these days of course, dewflaps are a rather rude word.
    and the general interplay between the pair there.

    a decline, and fall...

    spoke on the blower to my old man yesterday. his younger cousin is the director of some thinktank on American foreign policy at this uni (i really wouldn't feel the need to tell people i'd been hob-nobbing with Al Gore; the Dalai Lama maybe, though not Al Gore, but hey that's me). the last time he saw her was the other week (she'd flown back to England for a do).

    now, my old man likes a drink as much as the next fella, and he told me there were 2 bottles of wine at this place for nineteen people.


    flaming nora.

    he also told me he saw my brother and his missus yesterday, had them round for tea. he told me my darling brother's girlfriend insisted on wearing a baseball cap (this is INSIDE, don't forget) ALL THE TIME, whilst eating the meal even!

    i have sent our kid an email.

    the relevant part of it reads:

    mate mate mate, you *need* to have words, as that sort of behaviour is REALLY not on.

    i am reminded of a post from my beloved Erase The World once, where he quotes that great man of letters, Christopher Lee, on what he feels is the greatest threat to western civilisation (or suchlike).

    perhaps if i had a poetic soul, i would even have gone as far as to weep for humanity, perhaps go out on to the veranda (if i was in a uptown district of Naples and had a veranda and some breadfruit to hand, that is), thumbing through my gilt-edged copy of Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene', sighing deeply, with my profound eyebrows and a frilly open-necked white shirt.

    that was very mean spirited of me, and nasty.

    almost like a sprite (one of those small mediaeval creature things you get in fighting fantasy books and presumably warhammer 40,000 [i don't know, i'm not 11], and dungeons and dragons and whatnot), and not the soft drink).

    somedisco does not endorse any commercial products.
    it's like this.

    i would want Aldershot to go up, but - yes - Shrewsbury will do them, i feel.


    this site has been getting like a LiveJournal of late.

    if you give me a moment, i can find some old fragments of undiscovered Plath verse, and a GIF. icon for Buffy the Vampire Slayer somewhere to make the transformation complete.
    To Ian 86400 (i know he reads me sometimes, and IF you are interested)
    plug (posted second time around cause just got second mail 'bout it)
    Reminder of tomorrow night's Other Music event ...

    The Grapes, Trippet Lane, Sheffield, 8:30pm, £5/3
    Bus: West Street/Rockingham Street
    Tram: West Street/City Hall

    An evening of top quality electro-acoustic free improv with

    Gert-Jan Prins (electronics, fm-modulations, radio)
    Cor Fuhler (EMS synthesizer, turntables, mbiras)


    Martin Kuchen (reeds, found objects)
    Herman Muntzing (flexichord, electric bass, sampler)
    Andreas Axelsson (percussion, drum machines, CD player)

    this, truly, is a shite music magazine. actually bobbins.
    good Isabel Hilton piece in today's het graun and (whaddya know), a day after slagging him off (i am a churl hoho!), Adrian Searle has an interesting piece (dig the Erskine Childers reference in the headline) on what sounds like a fab installation by Mike Nelson at the ever delighting Modern Art Oxford.