Monday, 30 April 2007

yesterday i saw an old man in a caff, with a large tattoo on his forearm, in dark ink.

the tattoo read
Trust in God, wisdom and art

(it definitely said "trust in god, wisdom" although i am not 100% sure about the last bit as his arm was obscured slightly, but it looked like 'and art'.)

I don't know what qualifications are required to be a weather forecaster on television or radio, but you would have thought that there were plenty of people who would like to do the job. Why, then, do the selectors find so many who are unable to pronounce the word 'Arctic' (it has two cs in it, neither silent) or the word 'Ireland' (it has an r in it, making it sound different from 'island')?

Charles Moore

Saturday, 28 April 2007

oh yes, Myleene (looking pregnant and very well, the announcer said) is preparing a six-part series on Elgar.
anyway, yesterday morning Classic fm (office ambience innit) was very affecting on the death of Mstislav Rostropovich.

their announcers and reporters were touching, eloquent, plain (in the best sense of the word), and powerful.

the first piece of music played after the news by that station was some Tchaikovsky by the London Phil, conductor: Rostropovich.

after that was the man himself playing Bach.

actually, again on Ch4 news yesterday, their arts correspondent had an emotional piece at the end of the programme, with a few figures from the world of that profession, and friends.
Andrew Neil on Channel 4 News last night was on magnificent form, plucky and full of spirit; vim & vinegar has a nas, wu-tang, & others thing, up here.

S/FJ linked him the other week actually (wot can i say, we must be on the same mail-list).
here for S/FJ, becuz, frankly, you need that picture.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


it is so on

'According to the BBC's business editor, ABN will not want to halt the sale of LaSalle, and will view RBS as "a hostile invading force rather than an institution trying to offer more money to its owners than Barclays"'

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Chicago Triad

three random Second City snippets - unrelated, really, and what have you - called to mind/sprung to attention, in the last few days, for me, just underline how much i miss that town, not in themselves you know, but, they just do.

it's a great city.

1. Virgin Atlantic airline is introducing a daily service from Heathrow to O'Hare.

2. two of the world's 50 best restaurants are there (you know those poll results), specifically the otherworldly and transporting Alinea (is the conjuror Grant Achatz still there? got it going on) and the celebrated Charlie Trotter's (again, not a surprise).
{two alternatives to flag from the most recent* food issue of the local Time Out i've seen would be the pepito sammich' at Costa Rican gaff Irazu, in Logan Square, and the somun bread at Adria Mare on Broadway at Balmoral**.
oh, ok, three: take the apple fritter at Old Fashioned Donuts on the South Side, on Michigan, around 112th, 113th.
money quote: "The most. Insanely. Delicious. Doughnut. On. The. Planet."}

*a coupla years old, granted.
**what can i say? i must be in a carbs mood.

3. the Barclays-ABN Amro merger, one effect of which is the possible sale of ABN arm LaSalle to Bank of America.
apparently the RBS is quite cheesed off with this proposal, as one financial journalist (Stephen Kahn) writes : ABN's Chicago subsidiary LaSalle was a gem that RBS coveted.

again, it's a great city.

gosh i miss that town.
the WWF on its Borneo rhino images

Monday, 23 April 2007

a recent Big Issue (UK street paper) had a piece by Hazel Healy about an April 5 demonstration - rallying 70-handed - outside Dallas Court Reporting Centre in Salford, base for UK Immigration Services.

the protest was called to show support for 50 Sudanese asylum seekers who were due to check in at Dallas Court that day, people facing the possibility of detention and eventual deportation.

"Sudanese people had been rounded up from across the country the previous week, according to Abobeker Zureya, secretary of the Darfur community in Manchester, which organised the event.
Zureya claims Khartoum is not safe for Darfuris, who will be targeted by the Sudanese government if they are returned...The Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture has documented Darfuris being tortured in 'ghost houses' in Khartoum.
Last week the Aegis trust..publicised a case where a returned asylum seeker was tortured in Khartoum."

on April 4 the Court of Appeal ruled that, in the case of three Darfurian asylum seekers due to be deported to camps near Khartoum, the deportations must be halted, on the grounds that same action would be unduly harsh, given conditions in those refugee camps.
the Home Office said it would consider an appeal to the House of Lords.

on April 5 no one was detained at Dallas Court.
Zureya says the rallies will continue until the Home Office acknowledges no part of Sudan is safe for Darfurians while conflict continues.

(one of the protestors - 27 year old Adam Al Noor Ibrahim who left Forbaranga in west Darfur in 2005 - was wearing "a blue beret representing a plea for UN peacekeeper intervention in the conflict.")

Boris Yeltsin shuffles away, and all that that entails for his family and friends*, and i wanted to say - bringing it back to 'the personal'/almost solipsistic arguably - that Dr Matthew Wyman taught a Russian politics course at undergrad level at Keele (where i, essentially, wasted a degree) and it was his passion and humanity that came through, and he was starting to teach Russian politics to me at roughly the same time as other friends in literature departments were being taught about Russian literature by their tutors (which is good as that meant everything mixed), and Dr Wyman was/is a really, really lovely bloke (one of many awesome academics i was fortunate to meet and be taught by at Keele, though in my case "taught" is perhaps a stretch) so here is the homepage at Keele for him, here, showing his interests in the teaching of politics itself and so on.

*this blog is pretty good at stating the bleedin' obvious
Abu Sayyaf delivers seven headless bodies to the Philippine army.

at least 32 people die in a molten steel industrial accident in Liaoning Province.

the UNHCR says people are trapped in Mogadishu.

5 babies are killed in a fire at a Sarajevo orphanage.

a young man dies following his participation in the London marathon.

there are many, many deaths, and much violence, entwined with the Nigerian elections.

in the weekend that just passed Gaza and the West Bank suffered numerous killings.

this is some news of recent days.

what is my point? {if any.}

i don't know.
"Amnesty International today repeated its call to the Syrian authorities to release immediately Anwar al-Bunni when his trial before the Damascus Criminal Court concludes tomorrow, 24 April 2007."

more here
Oliver Kamm is honest enough to flag up this debate here he had with aid worker Conor Foley about intervention and Darfur.

Foley cites Alex de Waal, Human Rights Watch and the ICTY, applauds some of the United Nation's work, and asks questions of Kamm.

Kamm gets stuck in to numbers, cites Brookings and pays tribute to the work Foley does.

I think that we share the same wish for peace in Darfur and agree that this crisis should not be turned into a proxy for ideological battles elsewhere. I hope that the investigation by the International Criminal Court will continue and bring those responsible for war crimes to justice, but my priority for the region is peace - and you rarely get that by bombing.
- Conor Foley.
one feels like one should almost be apologising for posting the following link as what is said is so clearly reasonable that (surely) anyone reading it would agree with a sad shrug (sad given the matter under discussion), but the final paragraph of this normblog post appears to be news to Henry Porter of the Observer.

and that is a very odd thing.

[as per with the Guardian, you may want to hold your nose if you read all the commentary.]

Sunday, 22 April 2007

the other day i was sat in a shaft of sunlight and ripping up envelopes and with the paper being rent asunder there were wisps emanating from the papers. like you know how if you are within a shaft of light, the sun shards will (almost forensically) illuminate particles of dust and such in the air and you can trace their path as it were, well, this was a bit like that. you know what i mean if you've recently done this and remember it. the smokiness was almost like an old gun being fired and the wisps appeared like the result, if you can remember the credits for BBC rogueish antiques-dealer programme Lovejoy (you might call it a 'dramedy' these days i suppose), there was an old pistol being discharged there iirc. (then Lovejoy himself started saying "cocksucker" for HBO, brilliant.)

of course it may sound a very monotonous or mundane observation but there was something very enchanting about the few minutes and i definitely felt as if i'd been improved by the whole experience, though to what end i cannot say; some magic – as it were – had happened to me or within me and it changed me, these things always change you a little don't they, something gets let in, and it is all for the good, the positive.

(and there again, here i go trying to pin all this down, hammering nails into butterflies. why would i do that?)

speaking of Discharge, are they from Stoke?
was that Crass? i forget. (it was Discharge, wasn't it.)

got the Sugababes singles collection on, Overloaded, cracking stuff.
i'd like them to work with Tony Matterhorn.

i ain't linking to it now for tedious technical reasons but that site blissblog linked to recently, an article, original meaning of the word fey and that, eldritch not twee, and other stuff, with their folkie nights in south London, that was bob on as folk (hah!) say in parts of Lancashire.

Paul Morley, he likes Ronson's versions, he doesn't like Razorlight, that's not libel innit. he's also a proper fanboy for Bob Dylan, i mean proper fanboy.
that's alright though, becuz - yawn - as long-term readers know, i'm a proper fanboy for Stockport beers.


i went to a football match yesterday.
oh dear.
saw a lot of old faces though, a few old mates. that's always good, isn't it.

one mate teaches in central Nottingham, in a school with a few problems, kids with issues and all that, kids speaking different languages (quite a bit), kids that just literally cannot get on the bus cuz they don't know how but are at home with stealing bikes cuz that they do know (for instance).
told me about one year 7 boy (that's eleven years of age) with an ASBO who – ASBO, be that as it may – possessed enough civic pride to do a citizen's arrest on a drunk driver. this driver was gunning his car down a street, crashing into parked cars, and then got out of his car and started stumbling down the road, so the little eleven year old karate kicked him and lay on top of him until the law arrived.
and a few hairier stories, but it sounds like they're getting results, getting along, and my mate is a good progressive sort, heart and mind in tandem, everything in the right place.

another mate living the good life out in Austria, but gets down to Italy a fair bit (especially Sardinia), to keep his Italian in, and making friends with a lot of Europeans, knocking about now with a lot of kids from central Europe, Kiev and Croatia and Serbia (Vienna ain't it).

our team lost but that's good for the other team and their fans eh.
right, stop waffling, s.

there's a lot of money at stake (personally) next weekend in the football. garn. ("Garn" is a swear word one of the baddies uses in 'Prince Caspian'. it’s like darn for CS Lewis-types.)


the indignity, the absolutely absurd FUCKING INDIGNITY of the great Brian Lara's last ever knock, being run out for 18 by his team-mate, i think the Beeb's man at the game actually said "stupidly run out by Samuels" or "idiotically run out by Samuels", pah.



Friday, 20 April 2007

MurĂșch on Mavis Staples
given the photo i saw this morning of Duncan Fletcher with a tear in his eye i do feel like a bit of a horrid stain for my post yesterday but no matter, it is for the best he has gone.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

"It will be a pity for her family to welcome her home at Heathrow in a body bag just like some of her colleagues from Iraq and Afghanistan."

- what appears to be an explicit threat on the life of Gillian Dare, political officer at the British embassy, by Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper, earlier this month

you can now join us, if you so desire, for a spot of –

Pseuds Corner anyone?
{it's not even that, is it}

the new Wildhearts single is called something like 'the sweetest song' (research? pah! to roughly quote this very weblog many times in its more prolifically-posting-yet-still-lazy-fool-manner past) and it has bits of na na na, like Hey Jude or realising that the Kaiser Chiefs do well with that. nah i jest.

the chorus has some lyrics (i've heard it only a few times in hardly ideal conditions) about hearing, to you (the writer of song, anyroad, i guess), the sweetest song ever, what you take that to be, and how it hits you just so, gets you just there, just right.
the 'hearts do seem to have a talent – in a few great tunes from their fine catalogue – of articulating quite precisely and poetically what seem genuine truths about the power of music, and this universe-sized ocean of music we all pursue
for saying universal things about art and life, and how art can enrich you, and enlarge your heart, which seems a quite special, well, gift.

by the way in an Uncut magazine from, ooh, about 3 or 5 years ago now i'd say, maybe, Reynolds said something about reggae being an "ocean of sound", those three exact words (it might have been ocean of music, but it was ocean of__ something) and i just want to say, that's spot on. he was reviewing some re-issues iirc, i don't even know what, just Trojan or Blood & Fire or something ("just", he magnanimously hedges..)

i am in love with that.

so, yes, the Wildhearts in concert should be decent, one hopes.

'Nationwide, the number of people killed or found dead was 233, which was second only to a total of 281 killed or found dead on November 23, 2006.'

I rushed with others to give a hand and help the victims. I saw three bodies in a wooden cart, and civilian cars were helping to transfer the victims. It was really a horrible scene.

28 year-old Salih Mustafa, who was waiting for a minibus to take him home, in Baghdad.


in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shooting massacre, myspace pages belonging to victims of the tragedy got deluged with messages of love and remembrance and fraternal good vibes and all that stuff. (i'd bet the Holocaust survivor professor who was killed didn't have one, but some of the younger victims certainly did.)

anyway one page had a message from a young lady saying how she wished she had said this earlier, but she loved the victim, and other pages had stuff about the wit and warmth and heart and empathy and whatnot of victims, and i'm sure you've read this elsewhere with memorialised names in a paper etc. more properly/respectfully remembered, but myspace is amazing, becuz it seems like alongside counselling and inquiries and due process and faith and community love and sincere empathy and the kindness of strangers, that a big big route out of something was, if only in terms of a small small thing but maybe remembering someone like that is a big big thing but anyway, that myspace was being used and opened up in this way, and that's pretty damn awe inspiring, if i'd stop to think, which i don't suppose i have truly yet, becuz you would likely break down entirely or maybe you have and i should shut up anyway.

so heart the myspace and people adoring each other and friends and colleagues being actual friends and colleagues. [that might be enough waffle.]


You've got to appreciate what you have while you still have it.

- the title character in aforementioned 'About Schmidt' (i suppose there's also Scottish indie rockers Idlewild with their listen to what you've got.)
toward the end of 'Curse of the Golden Flower', it is basically almost a bit:
if Titus Andronicus was originally in Mandarin.
Duncan Fletcher, it's never anything to do with him, is it?

the Dame Shirley Porter of international cricket.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

separating fact from fiction in Zimbabwe

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Nat Bedingfield seemed to be a missing strand between Dee Dee Warwick and Diamanda Galas earlier today.

that, and Dizzee Ras has grown up!
he's got a bit buff.

the video on the Orgreave estate, with huntsmen on horseback chasing through, settles on a wall with the scrawl ONLY COWARDS STEAL FROM THE POOR.

thunderous sounds.
apparently the youngest victim (and his father) came from a very small, tight-knit community. (the proverbial fishing village.)

and then it was a salvage mission.

Friday, 13 April 2007

RIP Kurt Vonnegut
NEVER do that
all those tugboat crewmen that are missing in ice-cold waters after their vessel overturned between Norway and Scotland, and, well, some of their colleagues are now in hospital and, well, some did not make it that far,
one of the people on-board is a fifteen year old boy.

he was only there for his work experience.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

there's a programme on British tv called 'Musicool' about a bunch of musician kids from diverse musical backgrounds (grind/thrash vocalist; dancehall emcee; drum'n'bass sort; etc) that has them gelling together in training in order to put on a show in London.

crowding around a piano for some song exercises on the first day, the dancehall lad remarked that the melody was heavy..all the emcees found that part easier than the singers.

it's combustible, and good.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

'The Insider' strikes out in fine ensemble style – again – from Michael Mann.
i love the camerawork, just the jerks and the long views and the fleshy shots.
and the middle American river and how south Beirut looks. entices.

the script, tight as a gnat's chuff. (usual brooding and appropriate tunes.)

he really knows how to show cities; the view of the Big Apple from the CBS offices does make one catch their breath.

it's there.

when the sharp Gina Gershon (suit and hair and face on) is playing hard-ball with CBS press section, outlining dangers from the baccy giant, Pacino requests she repeat herself at one point in their tall office, above streets.
he doesn't ask can you repeat that please?

he says, to Gina, "come again".

Oh. Well. Then. Now.

yes. exactly.

now 'i'm sorry' but, yes, i am a bit sad, and a bit horny and a bit messed up at the mo, so, forgive me, but, that line,