Monday, January 31, 2005

find no porn on the internet

The internet is, as we are all somehow aware of without checking, full of porn. Not just a little porn but fuckloads of it. And not just standard porn, but really weird shit like would never have occurred to you if it wasn't for someone from Iowa with a digital camera on a tripod in their spare room.

So, presuming there is all that specialist stuff out there, just how weird does it get?

As an experiment that varies the format of Googlewhacking, try putting double quotes round any noun you can think of followed by the word porn, give it to Google and see what you're given in return.

There seems to be no noun left unporned.

There is, as perusers of the Bristling Badger daft quicklinks already know, a shudder-inducing clown porn site.

Brilliantly, "furniture porn" brings up a hilarious site called that does exactly what it says on the tin. The whole site's a corker, but the furniture porn movie is especially funny.

"Penguin porn" has 829 results.

"Mussolini porn" gives 1,460

"Sand porn" gives 9,840.

"Avocado porn" brings up 10 results.

"Bacteria porn", 429.

Even "cornflake porn" has a result.

This could be a new form of top trumps, see who can guess the porn with least results. Or maybe, as a dispute settling decision maker like paper-scissors-stone, people could use 'who can guess the noun with the least results', or 'who can most accurately guess the number of results for a given noun'.

(Incidentally, "paper porn" gives 151 results, "scissors porn" 231 and "stone porn" a mighty 4,510)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

jesus & the gospelfuckers

No matter how mundane or stressful things may get, you never know what unexpected little ray of sunshine lies around the corner.

I imagine it's news to you that there was an Amsterdam punk band called Jesus and the Gospelfuckers who released a single called Your Mother Sucks Cock in Hell.

Finding that one out certainly made my day.

Monday, January 24, 2005

scientific puritanism

Futher pondering and pontificating on our government's absurd drug policy:

The puritanism on which prohibition is based is not just derived from religious misthinking but from ill-founded scientific presumption as well, according to Colin Tudge in his astoundingly well informed and hugely important book (you've got to respect someone who gives their book a title this good, this long, and has it printed in full on the cover and the spine) So Shall We Reap: How Everyone Who Is Liable to Be Born in the Next Ten Thousand Years Could Eat Very Well Indeed; and Why, in Practice, Our Immediate Descendants Are Likely to Be in Serious Trouble.

He explains that there are many important elements in our diet apart from essential nutrients. There is a whole new sphere known as nutraceuticals, agents that we don't die or even get very ill without, but which positively benefit us. Things that are consituent parts of plants that we eat, bits that our bodies have grown used to and over time come to utilise. The example given is sterols that reduce cholesterol. Presumably, apes have always eaten plants that included sterols, and our cholesterol function evolved to semi-rely on them.

These days with our pharmacologically impoverished diet, we don't get the sterols and consequently we get high cholesterol levels. In the face of this, we invent Benecol, a sterol-enhanced margarine.

Our diet is certainly pharmacologically impoverished, as hunter-gatherers make use of up to a hundred wild plants and use all parts, whereas what looks like variety to us is actually twenty types of pasta made from exactly the same durum wheat. The benefits of a 'varied diet' are obvious, even though they are not fully understood because quite how all the various component parts interact is still not figured. What is clear is that a limited diet is not healthy. 'Unhealthy' means foods and diets that don't match the ways of eating we evolved on.

Following this through to our drug policy, Tudge writes:

We have in general a puritanical attitude to these agents. The legal case against them is not based simply on the harm that they may do. It is rooted, more deeply, in the belief that our bodies and minds ought to be free of such materials. The moral puritanism is reinforced by a kind of scientific puritanism: the deep (and necessary) belief of scientists that all explanations and descriptions of nature should be as simple as possible - according to the principle known as 'Occam's razor'.

Doctors, traditionally, tend to be both moral puritans and scientists; and putting the two together they have concluded that our bodies (and minds!) are more or less bound to function most efficiently when their chemical intake is as bland as possible; when indeed it is more or less confined to those materials that are recognised as bona fide nutrients - proteins, essential fats, unrefined carbohydrates and the approved list of vitamins. The idea that our bodies might actually function better in the presence of a weird assemblage of apparently arbitrary materials seems to run counter to those most fundamental premises.

Yet evolutionary theory explains why this might be so. Our bodies feel deprived of plant sterols, and since our modern diets are so biochemically innocent, sterols must be added. Additives in margarine are not ideal; but for the time being, in the absence of a wild diet, they are perhaps the best we can do.

Our minds, perhaps, feel and are deprived of the stimulation and the relaxation that out ancestors once derived from the berries and mushrooms around them. I am not a 'druggie' myself, incidentally, apart from a perpetual intake of tea and coffee. I need the caffeine buzz but otherwise have no stake in the drug culture. But I do feel the Western world's 'War on Drugs', which it has so obviously lost, probably does far more harm than good; and the deep reason is that it is misguided. It is rooted in the belief that it is good, in all senses, to be as biochemically innocent as possible, and that may simply be wrong. It runs against the tide of evolutionary history. Like most government policies in the modern world, in all spheres, it is rooted in bad biology.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

tony blair on drugs

At the height of the late 1990s upsurge of clamour to decriminalise or legalise cannabis, I wrote to the government to ask why it was illegal.

Surely if an activity is so dangerous that nobody can be trusted to do it under any circumstances, it should be easy to explain why it's a bad idea. If someone presumes the right to take away my liberty to undertake an activity, surely they owe me an explanation.

The reply was nonsense. It made reference to several things that were untrue - cannabis causing infertility, etc - and I replied pointing that out.

My case got passed to a higher up civil servant at the Home Office Anti Drug Unit (gotta love that name - I presume none of these people use aspirin, and certainly never have coffee breaks). They too talked nonsense. They saw no discrepancy between the way alcohol is taxed and the money used to help those few users who have a problem, and the outright ban on cannabis and other drugs on the grounds that a few users have a problem.

The current literature the government hands out also uses a variety of arguments unworthy of a mediocre high school debating club. Cannabis contains more tar than tobacco (yes, but cannabis users use far less of their drug of choice than tobacco users so inhale much less tar). Getting busted can have a detrimental affect on your life (that's not a problem with cannabis but with legislation). Using the problems of extreme use to imply moderate use is dangerous - a direct quote now, 'if you always get stoned and eat too much you could end up fat and skint'.

My favourite ever was a late 1990s government leaflet on magic mushrooms. At a loss for what to warn against but still needing some kind of sensible sounding justification for their puritanical position, they warned against picking the wrong type. 'Telling the difference between a species like the poisonous amanita and a liberty cap is not at all easy'.

Firstly some basic biology; amanita is not a species, it's a genus. All species of the amanita genus are noted for fat stalks and large flat caps. The Fly Agaric, the classic white-spotted red toadstool, is an amanita species.

The Liberty Cap, on the other hand, has a steep conical head on a very thin stalk, and is about a tenth of the size of an amanita.

Nobody who has a sense of sight or touch could ever mistake one for the other. But, as with my correspondents at the Home Office, faced with defending the prohibition of a relatively harmless substance they have to say something to save face, even if it's untrue.

I'm careful here to say relatively harmless. Recreational drugs are not harmless. That is precisely why they should be brought under control. Most users of drugs take them without any real damage to anyone, not even themselves. Which is why they should be allowed to have them.

As the cool folks at Transform have pointed out, the wisdom of having consistency in drug policy is made clear if you substitute 'drugs' for 'alcohol' in the Tony Blair's foreword to Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England, published by the government in March 2004.

Millions of us enjoy using drugs with few, if any, ill effects. Indeed moderate drug use can bring some health benefits. But, increasingly, drug misuse by a small minority is causing two major, and largely distinct, problems: on the one hand crime and anti-social behaviour in town and city centres, and on the other harm to health as a result of binge- and chronic drug use.

The Strategy Unit's analysis last year showed that drug-related harm is costing around £20bn a year, and that some of the harms associated with drugs are getting worse.

This is why the Government has been looking at how best to tackle the problems of drug misuse. The aim has been to target drug-related harm and its causes without interfering with the pleasure enjoyed by the millions of people who use drugs responsibly.

This report sets out the way forward. Alongside the interim report published last year it describes in detail the current patterns of drug use and the specific harms associated with drugs. And it clearly shows that the best way to minimise the harms is through partnership between government, local authorities, police, industry and the public themselves.

For government, the priority is to work with the police and local authorities so that existing laws to reduce drug-related crime and disorder are properly enforced, including powers to shut down any premises where there is a serious problem of disorder arising from it. Treatment services need to be able to meet demand. And the public needs access to clear information setting out the full and serious effects of heavy drug use.

For the drugs industry, the priority is to end irresponsible promotions and advertising; to better ensure the safety of their staff and customers; and to limit the nuisance caused to local communities.

Ultimately, however, it is vital that individuals can make informed and responsible decisions about their own levels of drug consumption. Everyone needs to be able to balance their right to enjoy drugs with the potential risks to their own and others health and wellbeing. Young people in particular need to better understand the risks involved in harmful patterns of drug use.

I strongly welcome this report and the Government has accepted all its conclusions. These will now be implemented as government policy and will, in time, bring benefits to us all in the form of a healthier and happier relationship with drugs.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

please make it stop

It just gets weirder and weirder. I am being buried under the psychic avalanche caused by the rapid discovery of the unholiest alliances imaginable.

First there was The Krankies and David Bowie.

Hot on their heels came Nick Drake singing with Chris De Burgh.

Now, I find a picture worse still than these abominations.

Jeffrey Archer and John Lennon.

It's 7th December 1963 and Archer, then 23 year old student in Oxford involved in Oxfam's 'Million Pounds For Hunger' campaign, has blagged his way in to see the Beatles and get them pictured putting coins in collection tins.

In keeping with what was already a pattern in his life (he'd given fake academic qualifications to get on his one-year university course just so he could say he'd 'been to Oxford'), Archer was heavily suspected of embezzlement after he bought a house with the 'commission' he said he earned from the Oxfam campaign. Oxfam said they never paid him any commission.

Sadly and oddly, no charges were brought. We had to wait nearly 40 years for the joy of seeing the crooked tory tosser incarcerated.

Even then, regrettably he wasn't being slammed up - in more ways than one - in a cell with an 18 stone gangster thug with a penchant for greaseless buggery. As he'd been doing before he was convicted, he was poncing about in the local theatre putting on plays.

Prison authorities said there was nothing untoward or privileged about this treatment. Yeah right, so I await Peter Sutcliffe's appointment as director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

His blagging, cheating and lying continued unabated. He published his prison diary (in doing so breaking prison rules) with details of his hardships - how he'd had to haggle for a battered old radio (even though prisoners are allowed radios sent in to them), how he had to dangle some wire out of his cell window as an aerial in order to hear Test Match Special (even though it was broadcast on Radio 4 Long Wave, so an aerial isn't needed).

Last year, seemingly on the advice of his old mate 'Sir' Mark Thatcher, he chucked $134,000 to Simon Mann to help finance the failed coup against Equatorial Guinea. When the whole plan went tits up, Archer referred enquiries about it to his lawyers who responded with a very carefully worded statement saying Archer had 'never met or communicated directly' with Simon Mann. Meaning; yes he did give him the money, but through an intermediary (the plot's instigator Ely Calil).

For all the brilliance of Paul McCartney's blistering set at Glastonbury last year - two-thirds Beatles, one-third solo stuff, almost entirely pre-1980 - just think if Lennon had been there doing the same thing. A great young band like McCartney's who make the music really live, breathe and kick. Help, Whatever Gets You Through The Night, everyone going mental. Across The Universe. I'm Only Sleeping. Closing the set with Tomorrow Never Knows. Final encore of Imagine, a hundred thousand people heads back singing every word as loud as they can, not a dry eye on stage or off.

But no, John is dead. Yet Archer walks.

I never met John Lennon. You never met John Lennon. But Jeffrey Twatting Archer did.

Whatever next in these twisted allegiances? How could it possibly get more confusing and unsettling? Footage of Margaret Thatcher, spliff in mouth, playing bass for Bob Marley? Hitler and Ghandi laughing, slapping each other's knees, sharing an intimate private joke?

I really can't take much more.

Monday, January 17, 2005

scouse rhyming slang

'Whaoh there' I cry to my metaphoric trusty dusty stallion as we end our gallop back into cyberspace, I dismount, tether him to the post by the trough and swagger in to resume my blogularity.

For yes, I've had several days away from the online world, in Liverpool and in loco parentis for my nieces whilst my brother and his girlfriend sodded off for a long weekend.

It was certainly peculiar to hear the announcement that Busted have split up whilst being in a place where it really matters. And despite any rumours to the contrary, it's an unusual weekend that sees me playing Twister with seven year old girls and making Flintstones choc-chip mini-muffins.

When I was growing up back over there on Merseyside, we didn't really go in for rhyming slang. However, one term was in common parlance yet I rarely find anyone from outside the Liverpool area who's familiar with it. It is, to my knowledge, the only example of scouse rhyming slang.

'Bills', meaning underpants: 'Bill Grundys'.

Whilst being biggest on the old rhyming May (May Pang = slang), for 'underpants' Cockneys use the term 'beetles' (beetles and ants).

Now, it was the 1980s and 90s when me and my mates were using the term 'bills'. The small minority of us who knew who Bill Grundy was only knew it from punk history, we were all too young to actually remember him from the Sex Pistols incident, and we'd never heard of him being anywhere else. Yet there we all were, using 'bills' and 'billies' without even consciously thinking of it as slang.

This wouldn't be worthy of note, except that the words keep cropping up in other contexts and making me laugh, which unnerves and/or baffles those around me. First off there's the use of 'billy' to mean amphetamines (derived from Billy Whizz. The term that is, not the amphetamines).

'He stuck a load of billy up his nose and then stayed up all night juggling ashtrays and gurning' has a wholly different meaning if you understand 'billy' to mean 'underpant'.

But far funnier are the instances where the term 'bills' is used.

Are your bills getting too big too handle?

Sign up today and you'll receive no bills for 12 months!

Need an affordable way out of your Christmas bills?

Deal with all your bills from only 50 pounds a month!

Is your mail just bills, bills and more bills?

The cheap laugh it provides is one of the few things that makes advertising momentarily bearable for me. However, it always entails a lengthy explanation to any companions by the end of which, as with any explanation of humour, it's not actually funny any more.

Curiously, Australians have their own TV presenter Grundy, a guy called Reg. So, in Australia, one's bills are referred to as Reg's or Reginald's.

One source gives contemporary Cockney underwear slang as Eddie Grundies. The same place also lists Reg Grundies, which is peculiar as nobody in the UK has really heard of the guy.

Now the term bills is in your head you too have the benefit of the semi-smutty amusement, shackled to the burden having to explain it to anyone with you who's not a scouser. Sorry about that.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

let the people decide

Scroll down, look in the sidebar and vote in the Chris De Burgh explanatory poll

on the other hand

Having thought about it some more - and that's all I've been doing this last few days - I've come up with an alternative explanation for the Drake/De Burgh and Bowie/Krankies collaborations.

Obviously it's still supernatural. Such an occurence is too weird not to have cosmic significance. But maybe, just maybe, it's not about the triumph of lizard-run global totalitarianism. I now suspect that the stage at Marlborough that day was, in effect, a metaphysical filmset.

In the afterlife, whether it's the vengeant wrath of the Abrahamic God or some fluffier eastern deity giving you things to ponder for a couple of aeons before your next incarnation, I think there's a room where certain people have to watch these baffling collaborative perfomances constantly.

People like Mohammed Atta and the pilots of 9/11.

People like Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister who killed his six children just before his suicide.

People like that American bomber pilot on CNN just after the war started. She was asked if it bothered her that there were people down there where she was dropping tons of explosives. 'I have a strong faith,' she said, 'and I figure I'm doing the work God put me here to do'. Mr Atta couldn't have put it better himself.

They get led into the room by St Peter, who removes their eyelids. Then he says, 'you people! You really think one person can be entirely good or evil? The world is straighforward moral absolutes and in this infantile dualistic vision the two sides are always represented by opposed individual personifications? Eh?'

'Why is it you vicious simpletons who believe in this shit always think it's you that's Good?

Turning to the projection booth he says, 'roll the film, Azrael'. The image of the Krankies doing Starman fills every wall, the soundtrack thunderously loud. The audience react as we all did when we first saw it - shocked, stunned, confused, frightened, their lower jaws dangling making ubububub noises. Only unlike us, these poor wretches have nowhere to look, they are compelled to watch.

'What do you make of that then? And that's nothing - check this out', Peter declares. 'Show the main feature, Az...'

And there it is: Nick Drake and Chris De Fuckin Burgh, voluntarily singing together, on a loop, indefinitely.

'Always good versus evil?' Peter chuckles to himself on the way out. 'Right, sure'

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

nick drake corrupted by lizard minion

Following the profoundly upsetting collision of David Bowie and The Krankies on Starman, I've discovered something comparably weird.

Some artists create music that is as good as music can ever be. You might find music that's different to Kind of Blue or Bob Marley, but you'll not find music that's better. Music that is immensely personal and yet universal, clearly a kind of high-water mark against which other endeavours can be compared.

Nick Drake is one of those artists. His work is holy, haunting, enveloping, wise, mystical, graceful and complete. It can float over you on a balmy summer's evening making you feel like a petal spinning on a warm breeze, and yet be right in there with you articulating your thoughts on the darkest of lonely nights.

It goes right into you now and yet - and this is the real magic - it somehow feels just as much in you even when you change, it sort of becomes part of you and grows with you. It achieves what the greatest art achieves, it makes us feel understood, it shows us new ways to see, it informs and affirms.

Writing in last November's issue of the absolutely amazing Arthur magazine, occult elder statesman Genesis P-Orridge described Nick Drake's music;
The intensity of melancholia drenching the analog tape, the sheer PRESENCE of his voice is an honour to share, as is the raw intensity with which he describes turmoil, creating confusion in us by delicately flecking every edge of his words with guilty beauty

Among Nick's schoolmates at Marlborough was a lad called Chris Davison. This being the 1960s, there were a number of bands among the boys at the school.

The alarming element comes in the specific memory of Nick and Chris' Marlburian contemporary Simon Crocker. He clearly remembers Drake and Davison 'on the same stage together singing the old boys' song'. It's goosing because Davison is better known to us by his stage name. Chris de Burgh.

De Burgh is not just The Krankies to Drake's Bowie, cos it's not just a cover version it's a collaboration. This is the people who gave us Northern Sky and The Lady In Red singing as one. Imagine if there were some 1966 incidence of The Krankies and Bowie performing together.

In further weirdness, De Burgh was one of the fawning twats who gushed sappy saccharine sentimental shite on the day of Diana's funeral. His royal connections run deeper, as he was at school not only with Nick Drake but also Mark Phillips, who went on to marry Princess Anne.

Princess Anne is for some reason now known as the Princess Royal. Isn't royalty implicit in the term 'princess'? How could she, or anyone else, be a princess and not be royal? Doesn't this title cause consternation and/or confusion amongst other equally royal princesses? I'd look into it if only I could convince myself it possibly mattered in the least.

But anyway, if we take it as read that the royals are indeed a bunch of shapeshifting lizards bent on world domination, then we can clearly see De Burgh as some toady minion, polluting and corrupting the forces of light and humanity - such as Nick Drake and his ability to make some of the most beautiful music ever recorded - and preserving our subjugated torpor.

Why else was De Burgh so avid about getting in on Nick Drake's musical action? Fortunately Nick appears to have been aware of his mission to deliver to the world his great music, and consciously fought off the lizardly usurper De Burgh. As Simon Crocker remembered;

The thing was that Nick was absolutely the musical director. There was a bunch of us together, but Nick was the musical centre... [De Burgh] was very keen, always wanting to join in... I remember him as being quite pushy, and Nick wasn't pushy at all and didn't like pushy people

(source: 'Nick Drake' by Patrick Humphries)

De Burgh is obviously part of the Lizard scheme for ruling all humankind. Indeed, he says as much in his song A Spaceman Came Travelling. Whilst, on initial examination, it appears to be some space-age rewrite of the Christian nativity, when you read it through it seems to be more about aliens coming to dominate the planet under a guise of enlightenment.

Which, tellingly, is also the case with Starman by David Bowie, which is where we came in.

Shit - I think Bowie, De Burgh and The Krankies are all in it together.

If I suddenly die in mysterious circumstances you'll know it's because I knew too much.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

here comes the sun king

You've got to hand it to Mr and Mrs Presley.

If you're going to have an immortal icon for a child, give them a name that nobody has ever heard before so the world can use that single name, just like the way we refer to Buddha, Moses or Jordan.

It just wouldn't have been the same if they'd named him Alan Presley, would it?

Elvis' image is now an integral part of our cultural firmament, as evidenced by AOL's new advertising campaign. It features a bunch of Elvis impersonators being very pleased that the internet has information about Elvis. The premise - that the internet is interesting, therefore I should sign up to AOL - is about as convincing as telling us that because travelling is interesting we should buy a Reliant Robin.

But that's not why I'm mentioning it. The thing that gets me is that all the Elvis impersonators are 70s Elvis in flared catsuits and shades.

Elvis hit so hard because he was a fiery pioneer. This was a guy who went round in a pink shirt and bolero jacket - clothes that'd draw flak in contemporary cosmopolitan environments - when he was an unknown teenager in the postwar Deep South.

Elvis took all the dark, brooding libidinous rhythm and outsiderness of the blues and added the tension that only white culture's repression can generate. This incendiary hybrid is the basis of rock n roll. Elvis served it up with explosive sexuality and dynamic power that swept away all that came before it.

The young Elvis' swaggering kinetic energy is impossible to imitate. So feeble unimaginative twats devoid of talent do an 'Elvis impression' by putting on a rhinestone studded romper suit and going uh-huh-huh. It makes Showaddywaddy look like authentic rock n roll.

The prevalence of these half-arsed half-brained tosspots shifts the popular notion of what Elvis was. We've seen so much of this that it's come to be the first image in our minds when his name gets mentioned.

Just like Grease, this lame light entertainment disconnects us from the fire and fury, the passion and drive of rock n roll. A social revolution is morphed into predicatable entertainment, mild amusement at stale cliches; everything rock n roll came to save us from in the first place.

Today would have been Elvis' 70th birthday. But his life was cut short when he keeled over in the middle of taking a shit in August 1977, full of drugs and weighing over 18 stone.

In honour of that, here's a comparitive chart of what he would have weighed on the planets of our solar system on that day.

Earth : 255 pounds - 18 stone 3lb - 115.67kg

The Sun : 7,140 pounds - 510 stone - 3,238.65kg

Mercury or Mars : 97 pounds - 6 stone 13lb - 43.99kg

Venus : 232 pounds - 16 stone 8lb - 105.23kg

The Moon : 43 pounds - 3 stone 1lb - 19.5kg

Jupiter : 648 pounds - 46 stone 4lb - 293.93kg

Saturn : 75 pounds - 19 stone 9lb - 124.74kg

Uranus : 204 pounds - 14 stone 8lb - 92.53kg

Neptune : 306 pounds - 21 stone 9lb - 137.44kg

Pluto : 10 pounds - 4.54kg

Thursday, January 06, 2005

gm seeds planted

The public emphatically don't want GM crops. What to do if you're the Labour leadership? Launch 'GM Nation?' a national consultation bringing in people from all walks of life, experts, novices and random punters.

The report from the consultation showed majority hostility. Ah, all based on ignorance, luddites and anti-science fearmongering, right?

Nope. Among those random people, the more they learned about what GM is and how it's planned to work, the more they came to oppose it.

The Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission was also founded by the government as a classic 'consultation' exercise. By getting anti-GM campaigners and staff from GM corporations on the same advisory committee to discuss the social and ethical issues, it was a safe bet that no firm decisions would ever be made.

But even the AEBC came out with some strong and unequivocal blocks to rolling out GM.

The Environment Minister, Michael Meacher, gave an interview in which he clearly opposed GM crops.

'Grumblegrumble, off with his head, can't have such bias in an Environment Minister, resign' was heard throughout medialand.

Never mind the conflict of interest with Lord Sainsbury being Science Minister - the man responsible for national policy on GM - even though he's a founder and funder of the Sainsbury Laboratory which does GM research and development, as well as being personally involved with biotech firms Diatech and Innotech. After he became Science Minister, government funding for the Sainsbury Laboratory trebled.

Still, keep it quiet as we can, it'll blow over.

Tell you what - shuffle Meacher out quietly, put a proper party loyalist in his place. Margaret Beckett will do - she so loves Labour power that she vocally opposes any change to the voting system. Realising it can't be defended on any kind of democratic terms, she says that the first past the post system - in which a majority of votes are always cast against the winner - should stay because 'it's the system the British people understand'.

Ah right then. When all the Soviet Bloc countries shook off communism in the 1990s, not one of them chose first past the post. They knew it's laughable. But we have it here because it's what we understand. We're simply too thick to understand anything else.

Beckett has solid party allegiance and contempt for the masses. Just what we need in someone charged with foisting unwanted and damaging technology on us that benefits only the wealthy.

When Beckett took over, the GM issue was too hot to be forced. Indeed, it still is. But an industry with so much invested is not going to roll over and die just because it's unwanted due to being environmentally destructive and designed to price the poorest out of the food market.

So goverment, as the political wing of corporate interests, must ignore the results of the consultations and tests, and keep the door open for GM.

It's going to be a tough task. The ground must be laid stealthily and over a long period of time. Any obstacles must be cleared.

Next up in this plan, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission is to be disbanded, on orders of Margaret Beckett. If your advisory committee won't give you the advice you want, abolish it.

Make no mistake, the campaign against GM is not over, only in a lull.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


Remember, the benefits of GM are obvious, there is no need for the pro-GM lobby to shy away from any tests of environmental impact. The corporations will win the case for GM by consistent use of solid scientific argument.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

he told them not to spoil it

Jesus, just when I thought the weirdest thing to discover about the Krankies was Wee Jimmy's age - fifty seven I tell you, fifty fuckin seven - I've been given a link to something far beyond that.

No, I'm not talking about the distressing page from their tour programme where Wee Jimmy is dressed up in a Madonna-style blonde wig and pointy-titted corset.

I'm talking about the most unholy alliance yet conceived by the human mind, the kind of thing that is surely specified in the Book of Revelations as a sign of the imminency of The End of Times.

I'm talking about a True Abomination.

I'm talking about The Krankies singing Bowie.

Rob Manuel's musical blog archives the Krankies doing a cover of Bowie's Starman, shown as the end credits for light entertainment no-mark Shane Ritchie's appearance on Room 101 the other week.

Turn your speakers on, check it out and be appalled.

Weirdly, they've altered the lyrics a bit too. They can say 'blow our minds', yet feel they have to censor the blow two lines later. In the hands of the Krankies, 'he's told us not to blow it' becomes 'he's told us not to spoil it'.

You what?

Bowie trivia fiends may like to know it's not the first time this has happened to Bowie's early 70s output. He made demos of dozens of songs around 1971, and pop svengali Mickie Most heard Oh! You Pretty Things and though it'd be the ideal vehicle for launching the solo career of Peter Noone, the Austin Powers-alike lead singer of Herman's Hermits. Noone's version - featuring Bowie himself on piano - was released in May 1971, six months ahead of Bowie's own.

However, whilst Noone's management apparently had no trouble with their chirpy cheeky chappie singing a lyric primarily about the sudden onset of a schizophrenic episode, they balked at one line, 'the earth is a bitch', and changed it to the apparently more acceptable 'the earth is a beast'.

If you thought Lulu's talent was too lightweight to tackle The Man Who Sold The World, I tell you it's as nothing compared to the permagrinned I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-singing-about voicing Noone gives Oh! You Pretty Things.

To save you parting with any dosh for such twaddle, I've MP3'd my copy of the single, and it's the new addition to my little MP3 page.

Monday, January 03, 2005

a happy new year

Bit of a longer break than I was expecting from my Badgerly soapbox, due to not actually asking the people I was going away with for new year how long we were going for.

Five days without a computer or a phone call at a farmhouse on a hill in the High Peak on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border. Fuckin great. Daytime baths with a gin and tonic, extensive gourmet feasting, and steady drinking that just sets in.

Imbibingly speaking, if the Withnail game is a high dive into a shallow pool where you crack your head on the bottom, this was a slow wade out to sea from somewhere like Southport where after two miles you're still only up to your waist.

Still, our judgement was clearly somewhat impaired when we spent the final hours of 2004 writing dares and then putting them into a hat and picking them at random. There was some variety; 'Do serious full-on hardcore moshing to Susan playing her mandolin'; 'do a headstand'; 'snog everyone here'; 'go outside and moon at the horse'.

However, the most lasting memories come from either end of the dare spectrum, though peculiarly from the same person. 'Sing a soppy song - no speaking or silly voices, give it your sweetest best shot' brought forth an amazing song about Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Irish 1916 Easter Rising, who married his sweetheart he night before the British executed him.

The same person who had moved us with such a beautiful poignant song later drew 'fake an orgasm'. A combination of intoxicants conspired against him, as both the handwriting and the power of comprehension were poor and it was misread as 'fuck an orange'.

We instantly knew this was a much better undertaking, and to his credit our Irish rover went into the kitchen and came back carrying an orange where no orange should ever be carried, doing so with a greater degree of subtlety and dignity than you'd have thought possible.

As is traditional, we sang Ace Of Spades at the turn of midnight, then burned the lyric sheet for good luck. We then went out and looked down from our hill northwards where, six miles away, the plateau of the Manchester conurbation begins. The shimmering orange lights were alive with thousands upon thousands of fireworks pricking the darkness, right to the horizon. We watched in psylocybin glee and I smoked a big fat football manager style cigar.

Indeed, the psylocybin supplanted the alcohol for the rest of the evening. So it was that we ended up with five of us under a single bed at about 2am. This is made more odd by the fact that five people couldn't fit on a single bed so surely they shouldn't be able to fit under it.

We giggled and gurgled there until realising that we'd only ended up in the room cos one of our number wanted to go to sleep, and it's not helping having five people lying under her bed thumping away seeing if it's possible to do that Kill Bill Vol 2 punch-your-way-out-of-a-coffin thing.

New year's day saw a big load of proverbial cobwebs blown out by a walk along the River Goyt. Refreshed, rotund, and returned to your screens; a splendid 2005 to you from the Bristling Badger.